Archive for November, 2009

Here's a great article about Thanksgiving history. To
European-Americans this holiday is laced with fanciful symbolism and
metaphorical memories about that great feast between Pilgrims and
Indians. But the historical truth often goes untold and unheard. I
thought this tragic, yet beautifully redemptive account would be worth
posting… even a day late.

Thanksgiving: A Native American View.

Advertisements

Maude’s Cafe, Gainesville FL

Posted: November 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

Smiling faces

reflecting the bright sun,

reflecting inner beauty, inner turmoil, inner peace.

Familiar faces

sitting side by side,

sipping coffee, reading papers, reading books.

Silent communion gives perspective,

glancing smiles and quick hellos let us know

we are not alone, not here, not now.

Idealization of Narcasism

Posted: November 14, 2009 in Uncategorized

Smoking Sometimes I just wish I didn't care about things as much as I do. My life is plagued with worry. I'm a critic of everything, especially of myself. That's why I am 'radical' in my politics, but it's probablty also why I am always so stressed out. I developed prostatitis at the young age of 23. Most people with prostitius are middle aged and often are going through a midlife crisis. The main cause of the chronic disease is anxiety. Geez…

I have always looked with envy at people who just live in the moment and don't worry about things. Sometimes I even idealize non-caring attitudes and wish I could be so non-commital. With the help of some good herbs (kava, mugwort, linden) and the occasional brew I have been learning the value of chilling out. Sometimes it's good to take a deep breathe and realize things are what they are in this particular moment. There is nothing we can do to change the moment we are in, only the future. So each moment we should have peace and contentment, and mindfully enter into the future without freaking out about it.

Of course the good old bible verses about not worrying are helpful, but so have been some other less quoted ones.

Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."-Ecclesiastes 1:2

While I was venting about how I have been feeling disconnected from community, how noone understands me, and other self-depricating things, my friend gave me this advice:  "Don't spend your time soaking your soul in others' mendacity. Stop going to church; cut off some people; others avoid in some ways. History is a long war."

The point is not to give up, but to realize that the problems of the world are so much bigger than us and all we can do is all we can do, not more, trusting that things will take form in time. Patience, trust, hope, vanity- all necesary elements of the modern narcasist.

Free Stuff

Posted: November 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

All good things are free, but you won’t find any good things here.


Instead, go make a friend, or read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf all year. Take a nap and pray you dream about something crazy. Take a walk outside and see what the birds are talking about. Yank some herbs out of your nieghbors yard and make her a big salad. Close your eyes for an hour and make yourself tune into your other four senses. Smile 10 times a day at random points even if you aren’t feeling happy… you’ll trick your senses into thinkning you are. Kiss someone, but ask first.  

My Bio

Posted: November 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

I’m just a kid from the south, taking life one day at a time. I don’t feel like I am cheating myself by saying that I am ‘just a kid.’ I am admittedly and proudly young. I respect my elders and know that they have a lot to teach me. I also have a lot to say. That’s why I like to write. Much of my writing comes from a deep angst inside of me, a longer for a more just world. Yet much of it is also more grounded then that, as I explore topics like health and healing, and begin to integrate the wisdom of mindfulness with the guiding rage rising from my 25 year old world-view. Categorically I am an anarchist. I prefer the term radical. I critique things from the roots. Sometime roots are as deep down as a tree is high. You can’t get to the bottom without a lot of digging. I live in Gainesville, Fl. I spent most of last year traveling and trying out city living only to realize that I am very content in this small town. I go to school full time for massage therapy and I am an aspiring herbalist.

Some articles I’ve written:

Ancient Paths: The Way Forward

Radical Health Care

Smash The Health Care System: Revolution Not Reform

Revolt?!

Embracing The Journey: Thoughts on Christian Morality

The Gospel According to Rusty

Writing projects I’ve been involved with:

In The Land of the Living (journal of anarcho-primitivism and christianity)

Young Anabaptist Radicals

The OOZE

and various zines.

In Defense of Self-Liberation

Posted: November 8, 2009 in Uncategorized

(This is another post in the series about the Gathering Around the
Unhewn Stone. Sorry it's been a while, I just moved back to Florida and
am dealing with a lot of decision-making about life and the future and
all those arbitrary things. This particular writing is also being
posted elsewhere in the hopes of sparking some conversation. Enjoy!)

In Defense of Self-Liberation.

"Don't confuse self-liberation with communal liberation."
-admonition by Nekeisha Alexis-Baker during 2009 Gathering Around the Unhewn Stone

I
quoted the above statement because it stuck in my mind, prodding and
probing me think about it after the gathering. It wouldn't let me go.
The statement holds a certain emotional weight. In many ways the
gathering had the weight of this emotion hanging over it the whole time
like a heavy rain cloud waiting to burst. Throughout the event, several
similar comments were made that hit me in the same manner as this one.
For me and for many, the gathering started us on a good process of
healing that we will need to endure to move forward in this movement,
yet I think a lot has gone unsaid. That is why I am writing this.

What brings people to a gathering about Anarcho-Primitivism and radical Christianity? There is definitely
a specific demographic of people, and though we may all come from
differing regions, have different interests, and come from different
backgrounds, I think we all share a common disillusionment. We are all
fucked up. Anarchists are people who have the gall to critique society
from it's roots, and often coming to this critique is a result of
either personal experience of the inherent inequality of the system, or
a hard personal process of detachment from the destructive pathologies
rooted in society. The anti-civiliization critique involves an even
deeper process of disillusionment and detachment. And it complicates
things even further when the people coming to these ideas are coming
from a religious system that has pillaged and colonized the world and
has been waging a battle of cultural warfare on the home front. Many of
us are at a point in our lives where we are rebelling against and
recovering from the religious abuse of conservative evangelical
movements and the constant bullshit of modern society.

Over the course of the weekend, I heard several
people talk negatively about the general appearance of Christian
anarchists- tattoos, dreads, unwashed, homemade clothes. The comments
seem to imply that there is a look that many are 'going for' and if
someone doesn't have it, they won't fit in. I even heard a comment or
two about how these types are pretentious. This kind of hidden
conversation really bothers me. I have been around 'lifestyle
anarchists' long enough to vouch for the fact that many are pretty full
of themselves, but I have also been around long enough to have already
worked through these sorts of issues and stereotypes that I see being
perpetuated within the Christian anarchist community. (I really haven't
been around very long in all honesty… but long enough). This is a
personal issue for me for two reasons. First of all, I am too often the
one being judged. I have tattoos, smelly clothes and stinky armpits.
But I am also really shy. When people look at me they see someone who
is sure of themselves, someone who has been through a lot and perhaps
someone who knows what they want. So when they see me being quiet and
reserved, they think I must be stuck-up. I can't tell you how many
times I have been through this. The second reason that this is personal
is that I have been the one has perpetuated the judgment, and I have
gone through a sobering process that has led me to recognize this
tendancy within myself. As someone who is shy, it is incredibly
difficult for me to talk to new people. When I travel, or go to
gatherings like this, I have to really force myself to talk to people.
When I see people that look like they have it all together, I am
extra-hesitant to talk to them, thinking that they must not want to
interact with me. Yet nearly every time I push through my fear and open
up to someone, I find that my assumptions are false and I that they are
actually really nice. At this gathering in particular I found everyone
I talked with to be extraordinarily welcoming.

Why do we make
assumptions about people? I have noticed that for me it is a matter of
projecting my fears on others. I am afraid that someone won't like me,
so I make up things about them to justify my insecurities- they are too
cool for me, they don't like people who don't listen to folk, I don't
know enough about John Zerzan to uphold a conversation, etc, etc.

People
with tattoos are often seen as people who have it all together, but I
don't understand where such a perception comes from. In my experience,
and speaking for myself, people with tattoos are generally really
fucked up. They are working through deep issues in themselves and are
jaded enough to write their stories of dissalutionment in ink and blood
for the world to see. Of course this is a stereotype too, but it is
often true. There is just far to much bickering within the Christian
anarchist community for me to be comfortable with. I felt like I was
being judged for 'looking cool' and I heard others say they felt like
they were feeling judged for not 'looking cool,' or for dressing too
'normal.' This is too nonsensical to be going on within our community.
We have too much to work through in our critique of society to be
preoccupied with silly bickering. Yet that brings us back to the point
of this writing. We all have so much to do to liberate ourselves
personally. For a movement to be healthy it needs to provide space for
this kind of personal liberation. Of course we can't confuse personal
liberation with communal, but we have to recognize that without space
for personal liberation, our attempts at communal liberation with be
ill-informed and half-assed. So many problems in life seem to stem from
misunderstanding. Let's not judge each other and make assumptions. We
have to realize that we all have issues to work through, all of us.
There is no one who has it all together, not one. (Isn't that a bible
verse?) So many people are hiding behind masks of confidence, when in
reality they question themselves everyday and live with constantly low
self-esteem. Don't forget that over-confidence on an external level is
often a sure sign low-confidence on an internal level. So let's make
room for each other to work through our issues, without making
assumptions about people.

I am so thankful that the gathering
ended with a panel discussion between the elders (Ched Myers and
friends) and the youth (organizers of the event). That was a
particularly helpful time for me as I took in the advice that Ched and
the others offered. Ched spoke of the reality that we all come from a
post-modern (or hyper-modern) culture that is super fragmented. The
conference began by Ched asking everyone where they are from. He said
that he would have asked us which religious traditions we come from,
but that we would all have inevitably answered in the negative… I was
raised _____, but then… I went to a _____ church for a while, but
…, etc, etc. I laughed, but then was hit by how true it is. I would
have absolutely answered by saying that I grew up in a fundamentalist
church, but have been hanging out with Mennonites, Episcopals and UCC
folks for the last few years. This fragmentation was felt as I had
several deep conversations with friends about how we feel as if we have
no roots, no heritage, no ancestral community. In fact I would say that
this was a theme of the gathering. I think a ton of us are attracted to
these ideas because of the emphasis on recovering tribal ways and lost
cultural identities. We feel so disconnected, tribeless, wayfaring
strangers. This is the American predicament. So many feel it, but it
runs even deeper when you are aware of it, and you know you can't do
anything about it.

The last word was given by Jay Beck. His
response to the wisdom of the elders was one of caution. Just as the
elders encouraged us youth to be patient in our response and mindful in
our reaction to the psychosis of civilization, Jay encouraged the
elders to not dismiss our reactionary tendencies as illegitimate
responses to our trauma. "When we come to learn from you, don't tell us
to calm down. We are angry." I was really encouraged that this was
said. It's not healthy to suppress feelings. We can't pretend that
everything is okay. We can't pretend that we will find some sort of
inner peace to numb the pain of societal problems. Maybe it is the
prophetic vocation of youth to be angry and so reveal the otherwise
accepted neurosis of society. Maybe when we get older we will calm
down, start listening to jazz and become sedentary both geographically
and internally. But maybe not. Really. Maybe not. As Andy Lewis
mentioned during the panel discussion, much of our rage as a generation
stems from the failure of our parents generation. The 'revolution' of
the sixties and seventies was halted by it's focus on, well to put it
bluntly, peace. The new-age focus on inner-peace and tranquility, the
self-indulgence of sedating drugs and free-love, anything to liberate
oneself from the problems of society by indulging in vices that ease
the inner turmoil and kill any sense of responsibility. Make yourself
believe that everything is okay when it is not. Make love, not war.
Peace is the answer, what was the question? Hippies quickly became
yuppies as their self-indulgence transformed from marijuana and sex to
shopping malls and SUV's. This is what we are rebelling against! We are
caught in the wake of a preceding generation that had the chance to
really change things and yet dropped the ball, leaving us to deal with
both the problems of a post-war society and a failed attempt at
revolution. It's no surprise that the punk rock and straight-edge
movement began directly after this, undoubtedly in direct response to
this. No drugs, no alcohol, no promiscuous sex, just unhindered,
untamed rage. In terms of the Anarcho-Primitivist critique, our
generation is also rebelling against a failed promise. Chellis
Glendinning brilliantly puts the rage of our generation in historical
context:

"If God died at the turn of the twentieth century,
the hero seems to be dying at the turn of the twenty-first, and in it's
place the up-against-the-wall, deluged-by-unsolvable-problems nature of
our situation is revealed. We find a growing sense, confirmed by actual
developments, that there is no future in an age of mass society,
multinational takeover, military dominance, unrelenting development,
and ecological disaster."

We're fucked and we feel it. Maybe
we just don't have the foresight to see the bright days ahead, or
perhaps we have the unwelcomed and dreadful insight that there are no
bright days ahead to see. The proper, healthy response to this
predicament is rage. So much of the work of this movement (from Zerzan
to Glendinning to Jensen) is an attempt to break apart the illusion and
to help us see that in a world so messed up, there is a proper
psychological response and an improper one and that most of society is
exhibiting the latter.

We all have so much to work through.
There is so much going on inside of us. We are disconnected,
fragmented, without vision, and as the bible tells us, without vision
we will surely die. How can we deny that we have so much
self-liberating to do? If we accept this, the question then becomes
more constructive: what is self-liberation? Surely the self-indulgence
of the sixties and seventies is not self-liberation. Focusing on your
own problems at the expense of other people is not self-liberation. But
is putting your genealogy back together piece by piece to re-discover
your roots self-liberation? Or what about throwing a brick through the
window of a bank just because you know that for once you won't get
caught, or what about pulling out of a mass action because you are
traumatized too much still from the last one. Is that self-liberation?
What about taking 40 days to re-connect with the wild and with
yourself? These are the kinds of questions worth asking. I think what
this movement needs more than anything is a clear sense of what healthy
self-liberation is. The problem of civilization is a psychological one
inasmuch as it is a social, political or economic one. Liberating
ourselves from the taming whip of the master in the first step to
rediscovering the wildness within. It doesn't stop here, but perhaps it
does begins here.

These are some thoughts that have been with me since I left Philly. I'm
glad that I have finally taken the time to write them down, and I am
hoping that my doing so will spark some conversation. I am so
appreciative of the sense of community I feel in this group, even if
our gatherings are few and far between. I'm hoping that the
conversations we started in Philly will fall on fertile ground and go
to seed. I'm tempted to neatly wrap this writing up by saying something
about how everything is not as negative as I have made it sound in the
last few paragraphs, but that would be untruthful and unhelpful. I
heard someone say that the truth will set you free, but first it will
piss you off. I think that is our reality. Still though… I want to be a healer. I
study meditation and herbal medicine. I want more than anything for
everything to be okay. I know it's unhealthy to always be up-in-arms
about stuff, physically and mentally unhealthy. We need peace, internally and externally. But there is a
conflict within me as I try not to fall for the illusions while at the
same time maintaining a healthy state of mind. I don't want an escape
mechanism. We are privileged in the U.S. to be able choose whether we
will ignore problems or face up to them. I don't want to use my
privilege as an escape mechanism. Jeremy put it very well in the last
In the Land of the Living zine, "Perhaps this is the suffering we are to endure, not turning
our eyes away from the abyss to believe the illusions.
" There is no easy way out. Surely there are hopeful things happening. This gathering is one of those things. When we see those small glimpses we have to hold tightly to them, but we just can't let ourselves be fooled. There simply is no easy way out.