Archive for March, 2009

Mass Society

Posted: March 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

The following is an excerpt from an article called Against Mass Society. It is very good in it's analysis of civilization and the destructiveness of society organized on a large scale. I think all of us in this movement are weighing the scales between the cultural diversity that globalization brings us and the reality that economics and politics on a global scale, or a large scale in general, has caused severe problems. Today I was chanting OM with a bunch of other white 20-30 year olds while we sat in a yoga studio in the middle of the city. The yogic lifestyle has brought healing to many, rescuing troubled minds and nervous systems from this schizophrenic, non-stop nightmare of civilization. Yet the fact such an art is available is a product of mass society. But then again, we would probably have no need to learn how to get back to a peaceful state is we not trapped in this game in the first place. Anyway, here is the excerpt:
"Many who challenge oppression in the modern world strive toward their conception of a “free society” by attempting to merely reform the most powerful and coercive institutions of today, or to replace them with “directly democratic” governments, community-controlled municipalities, worker-owned industrial federations, etc. Those who prioritize the values of personal autonomy or wild existence have reason to oppose and reject all large-scale organizations and societies on the grounds that they necessitate imperialism, slavery and hierarchy, regardless of the purposes they may be designed for…
Civilization, not capitalism per se, was the genesis of systemic authoritarianism, compulsory servitude and social isolation. Hence, an attack upon capitalism that fails to target civilization can never abolish the institutionalized coercion that fuels society… 

Democracy is necessarily representative, not direct, when practiced on a large scale – it is incapable of creating organization without hierarchy and control…
The structural complexity and hierarchy of civilization must be refused, along with the political and ecological imperialism that it propagates across the globe. Hierarchical institutions, territorial expansion, and the mechanization of life are all required for the administration and process of mass production to occur. Only small communities of self-sufficient individuals can coexist with other beings, human or not, without imposing their authority upon them. "

On a daily basis, I struggle with a chronic disorder called Interstitial Cystitis. It is an inflammation of the bladder. The causes for IC are unknown. Symptoms include frequent trips to the toilet, every 20-30 minutes at least, pain in the bladder and pelvis and, painful ejaculation. It is also an extremely under-diagnosed and over-looked disorder. Many doctors will tell you that nothing is wrong with you.  It's often super frustrating for people to suffer with this, being that they generally go from doctor to doctor, hearing time and time again that nothing is wrong. People with IC used to be considered paranoid and crazy, thinking something is wrong when is "wasn't." The benefits, I suppose, are that such inconsiderate treatment within the Western medical world often leads people like me to alternative cures. The following is some info that I have accumulated relating to cystitis and natural healing. 

Michael Moore (RIP), renowned herbalist and cultural critic has this to say about IC:

"It is yet another one of our chronic and subtle late-20th century health problems

(like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities),

whose causes lay somewhere between iatrogenesis, environmental factors such as

overt pollutants and covert xeno-estrogens, diminished dietary complexity

resultant from centralization of food distribution and manufacture, and something

akin to a cultural "Spirit Sickness".  ALL of these disorders are to be found in

the First World, with the United States having the vast majority of sufferers.  

Even a decade ago, those with such disorders as Epstein-Barr and Cytomegalovirus

infections, as well as those with Interstitial Cystitis, were generally treated as

if they were suffering from "yuppie burnout"…having spent too long in a

fugue-state self examination…self-obsessed hypochondriacs that should simply get

back to work and shut up.  Since 90% of those with Interstitial Cystitis were and

are women, the most frequent response was tranqs and other anti-anxiety agents. 

These women had "neurotic bladders", were probably neurotic themselves, and were

best dealt with by shunting them over to the garbage collectors in psychiatry.  It

took the work of a physician-sufferer, Vicky Ratner, stubbornly educating her

profession and the public about the disorder, to finally start to get medical

recognition of the disease.  The organization she founded, the Interstitial

Cystitis Foundation, estimates that, as of 1995, the average person sees SEVEN

physicians before the condition gets correctly diagnosed."

I have read that IC, Prostititus and other inflammatory ailments are often associated with strict childhood upbringings, especially ones that repressed sexual expression. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is also associated with IC and strict upbringings. 

A great herb for UTI's and bladder/kidney stones is Uva Ursi, also called Bearberry. Also used for cystitis:

other herbs helpful for IC are: 
Hydrangea root
gravel root
Marshmallow Root
pygeum bark (will make you pee)

Some extensive info and formulas for IC by Micheal Moore (quoted above). This guy is an anarchist herbalist and is amazing. Unfortunately he just recently passed away.

Try to get fresh, organic, wildcrafted herbs if you decide to try any. Capsule pills should be seen as a good option only when you can't afford the time to make a tea infusion using fresh herbs. Also, there are some that you should only take occasionally (uva ursi) and others that you can take regularly. Make sure to check the detials. 

There are herb stores in a lot of cities, and places online to get fresh herbs,

If you believe in chakras or energetic healing, the root chakra (located around your bladder area) is often associated with IC, Prostititus and other inflammatory conditions around that area. Meditiation and yoga are really, really good for decreasing IC pain and have often been prescribed by western doctors as a "last resort" option. I say it should be closer to first resort. There are specific yoga practices for IC as well.

You also might find this interesting. It is an interview with a lady that wrote a book on Cystit, Yoga and Acupressure:

Acupuncturists have also found success is treating IC pain. Consult your local acupuncturist for details. 

There is also a network on the internet completely dedicated to IC, 

Where did all the trees go?

Posted: March 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

I just moved to Chicago a little over a week ago. I have been having a great time. I live in a collective house in a poorer part of town with 8 other folks that I have quickly gotten to like. We share our food and cook for each other, grow vegetables (now that it's about spring), and have an all around good time each night. I like Chicago too. It has a lot of history, anarchist history even. There is always something to do. There is a great art scene. There are always shows to see, films to watch and galleries to walk through. There are tons of anarchist organizations and collective houses. The number of vegan-friendly coffee shops is crazy. It's a city full of stuff to do and see. But I have noticed one disturbing feature… there are no trees. None. Not one… Okay, maybe there are a few, but if you see one, it has probably been planted for aesthetic purposes in the middle of a walkway. 

I miss open space. I miss fresh, unpolluted air. I miss the sound of quiet and the comfort of soft grass (there's no grass either, just concrete). I often wish I could ride my bike out to a secluded area to talk to the trees and think, but there is no such option in this concrete jungle. 

Perhaps I am over- reacting, or romanticizing where I came from because I miss is for a score of other reasons. This is possible. I have only been here for a week. So for now, without putting any value-judgement on the fact that there are no trees, I will just leave it as an observation. 

It is quite odd though that the city can have ANY sort of claim to being "green". There are no shades of green in the city, they have all been cut down to make the city. Oh the grand irony of the green city! It's like a in the movie Dumb and Dumber when Loyd sells his dead parrot to a blind kid who ends up cherishing it as his own living pet bird. Or as Slazoj ZIzek puts it, a chocolate laxative. It's a claim that hides itself in the realm of paradox, when in actuality it is just nonsensical. By definition cities are not "green." 

I came across this Chicago website today called Green Right Now. It is ABC News Chicago's attempt to offer insights to the community on how to be "green." It's the most ridiculous thing I have seen in a while, and is worth checking out for laughs. When I went on, the advertisement was for McLatte's, the new bourgeois drink from McDonald's.

So I'll stay in Chicago for now. But I am pretty damn sure that I will be moving back to green space very soon! It's one thing to live somewhere where there is no sun, but no trees or grass or singing birds??? Craziness.