The Collective of Think A-likes

West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'

 


“Hajime ni” © 2017 Robert Redus

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

In the movie, Full Metal Jacket, when private Pyle has finally lost the last drop of sanity and is confronted by private Joker in the head. the end result is expected, and not a surprise.  Private joker says to private Pyle, “If Hartman comes in here and catches us, we will both be in a world of shit.”, Private Pyle replies, “I am in a world of shit”….then Pyle’s greatest moment is not far away…nevertheless,…a seemingly cohesive collective  is seconds from taking on enough water to capsize the entire vessel….

I really used to believe that the power of a collective was an unstoppable power that when directed and adjusted could accomplish incredible things…yet now…I don’t believe that so much, why? you ask…well because every collective has at least one private Pyle, 1 person who is in a world of shit, for what ever reason creating a compromise in the integrity of the collective…I mean think about, we all are in a world of shit…who knows, could be a few days a month…once a quarter…maybe twice a year…

The word collective means: “a cooperative enterprise”.  Herds,( my favorite is a quiver of cobras)… flocks, packs, gangs, parties, anything with people sharing a common idea/goal is considered a collective, creating something called, “Collectivism” which is defined as:

“Collectivism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the group and its interests. Collectivism is the opposite of individualism. 

or better put…”the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.”…

And that to me is where the notion of the collective fails completely, and not because of the group priority…but because of the diametric opposition of those within the group on the really small micro scale….in other words, everybody in the group is on a different part of the group’s bell curve…let’s simplify…remember this part, OK?….in a collective, individuality is in the back seat, while the collective itself drives….right? yet if everybody in the back seat has a different way of driving, directional skills, methods of getting from point A to point X….and exactly what they define point A and X to be, somebody or some group of bodies is going to decide the driving habits of the collective….now a box within a box within a box….yabitty…yabitty…yabitty… So, the collective now is no longer about the collective, rather about the individuals guiding and directing the collective…sort of individualism directing collectivism….sound vaguely familiar…

Here’s my solution and I’ll start with a 2 questions first…here they are…

If tomorrow you woke and you were doing exactly what you wanted to be doing, you know that ikegai, that passion that we all have for something and long to live, (here it is) what would you be doing?…..and what are you currently doing to get there?….if you can’t answer the first question….you can’t answer the 2nd question either….So before you join a collective, you think you kind of believe in most of the time, answer these 2 questions….then start the process of living that life….

Here are 10 readily accepted scenarios in the world we live in…we should think hard about changing these….. 

  • WE PRIORITIZE MONEY AND THE ECONOMY OVER BASICS LIKE AIR, WATER, FOOD QUALITY, OUR ENVIRONMENT, AND OUR COMMUNITIES.
  • WE UTILIZE AN ECONOMIC TRADING SYSTEM THAT FACILITATES THE DEATH OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE EACH YEAR.
  • WE DIVIDE THE WORLD’S LAND INTO SECTIONS AND THEN FIGHT OVER WHO OWNS THESE SECTIONS.
  • WE CALL SOME PEOPLE “SOLDIERS” WHICH MAKES IT OK FOR THEM TO KILL OTHER PEOPLE.
  • WE TORTURE AND KILL MILLIONS OF ANIMALS EVERY DAY NEEDLESSLY FOR FOOD, CLOTHING, AND EXPERIMENTS.
  • WE SEND CHILDREN TO SCHOOL FOR THEIR ENTIRE CHILDHOOD TO MEMORIZE FACTS AND SKILLS THAT THEY WILL RARELY USE. 
  • WE IMPOSE FINANCIAL PRESSURES ON PARENTS, FORCING THEM TO MISS OUT ON VITAL STAGES OF THEIR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT.
  • WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF RELIGIONS, EACH ONE BELIEVING THAT THEIR GOD OR GOD-STORY IS THE ONLY TRUE AND UNIQUE VERSION.
  • LOVE AND COMPASSION, WHICH PROMOTE LIFE, ARE MOCKED AS FACILE. WHEREAS WAR, WHICH HARMS LIFE, IS SEEN AS HONORABLE.
  • ANYONE WITH A REALLY USEFUL INVENTION CAN FORCEFULLY PREVENT OTHERS FROM USING OR MODIFYING IT.

I think we each have to work on changing ourselves first…plant tomatoes, raise some bees…take longer walks…have less stuff…write more…talk less…read more…teach more….learn more…maybe your neighbor might see that and do the same…and their neighbors might see them doing than and their neighbors, neighbors might see….and then that world of shit just might not be that bad….if its compost….

here’s some great music…and some great mescal

“You are only as strong as the liquor you drink, the tables you dance on and the of friends that hold you together”

 

 

 

 

537. June 15th…New Chopstick Earrings…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

These Chopstick earrings are made from both ends of the chopsticks and have hand textured, hand stamped copper discs floating above them. Each pair of earrings ranges in length from 1 1/2 inches to 3 1/2 inches…they are light weight since they are made from real bamboo chopsticks,some are covered with Japanese paper or painted.

Retail on these earrings is $28.00 and $30.00  (click on images to enlarge)

Style #C5P Pointed end with single disc $28.00
Style #C5C Capped end with single disc $28.00
Style #C6P Pointed end with 2 discs, $30.00
Style #C6P Caped end with 2 discs, $30.00
 
         
      


Opening special,  Buy 2 Pair get one pair FREE

 
 

470. January 10th…I am capable…therefore I shouldn’t….

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Contour” 2011

“Information: the negative reciprocal value of probability.” – Claude Shannon

I’m beginning to think…everything is either about redefining ourselves…or fundamentally fooling ourselves…

every situation we find ourselves in is…a). has the potential to be workable….or…b). has absolutely no potential to work…what so ever…and I find the idea that taking either of those situations and willing trying to make them opposing to their natural probability seems by far the most destructive…time wasting…futile effort one could pursue…

I don’t know if we deserve or are entitled to anything…yet we can make conscious decisions that will  allow our lives…to…remain the same…make it easier…or make it less easy…and difficult…and why we opt for the latter is voluntarily stepping out into traffic just because…we are capable of doing so…because we can…doesn’t always mean we should…and for every reason to do anything…there is one that is an equal and opposite reason not to do it…sort of emotional physics…

fooling ourselves really is all about being there everyday for the same grand opening and acting surprised…while knowing that it’s basically going to be about the same with an end result that sounds..smells and taste…just like the day before…where as redefining ourselves….maybe doesn’t make us any better or  right…but allows the scenery to change…as we too change…maybe take a look at what is and see if it still fits…

I think it is more of an evaluation process initially as it takes a different eye to step away from what we know for something we know is going to be different…we just don’t know what that is…until we’re on the move…but we know that we can’t stay here…and I’m pretty certain redefining ourselves is a direct result of Critical Mass…or…the minimal amount of something to produce a given effect…and a good dose of being in flux….otherwise we remain…continue to fool ourselves…

most everyone I know is in a process of remaking themselves…understanding more what they are about rather than what they are capable of…I think that place offers a great deal of space to think…see how it feels…test drive it a little…and if it needs to change…then perhaps it does…

I had to jump over a high chain link fence the other day to retrieve my keys….after the experience of planning my assault…where I was going to land…was I capable of an olympic dismount…and if so…were we talking 9.7’s across the board….the reality of the leap and the fiction I had put into place were grossly  different…yes I am capable of jumping a 7 foot chain link fence…and no it is not anything of beauty…but what I realized…I’m much more capable of carrying bolt cutters in my truck…and next time I find my keys on the other side of the locked gate…I’ll cut the chain….

“I’ve made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I’m convinced of the opposite.” – Bertrand Russell

 

 

 

466. January 5th…”Fate chooses our relatives…we choose our friends.”

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Squab on Glass” 2011

“It takes an extraordinary intelligence to contemplate the obvious.” – Alfred North Whitehead

It is funny how we end up where we do…in every aspect of our lives…we have a vision…maybe even a plan…and either it rarely emerges as scheduled…is derailed along the way for a new mode of transportation…or is redeveloped..remade…reconstructed…for  re-assualt on the castle…

I mean if you are a piano virtuoso at 3…the plan is pretty clear…then there are those…whose great grand father…grandfather…father…4 brothers and 2 sisters all became lawyers…it seems pretty clear what the last hold out might become….and I think that is there long before the capability of walking occurs…either the genetic predisposition…or the sanguinal energetics…when dad’s holding you above the crib saying…”The latest surgeon in the practice“…it’s hard to resist that kind of force…

I’ve always admired those people who knew what they were going to be when they were young…I ask my students all of the time…what they’d like to be…some have no idea and if lion tamer sounds good…that’s it…while others say they want to be a “Cardiac surgeon“….a “Mechanical engineer“or the ever popular …”Paleontologist“…I tell them to do what ever they want…as long as it makes them happy..and they are passionate about it…many of the parents frown when I have this conversation with them as they see me…teaching a group of 8 year olds…karate…and must wonder …”Why…maybe he’s doing what he wants

then there are those of us who are the…”Black Sheep”…

the first reference to “black sheep” is around 1786…black sheep were considered not as desirable as their white counterparts by sheep owners because their wool was worthless…as it could not be dyed well…so they were outcasts…the term typically has negative implications and often speaks of “waywardness” and so….the legacy began…

I never really knew I was a black sheep..nor thought I was one until I found most of the people I liked and enjoyed being around were “Black Sheep”…there was something really enjoyable about a party where everyone there was right on the edge of the world…and not worried about tipping over…into the abyss…it was quickly revealed that those who wore the black wooly jackets were those  I really wanted to be around…and migrated too easily without hesitation…it seemed like a fraternity of …those who looked differently at everything…those whose plans were a little off-center from mainstream…and full of big stuff…with great sounds…wonderful visuals…a great deal of hand waving and everything smelled like a bbq in summer…with glasses clinking in the background…oh and always exceptional hats…and loud Hawiian shirts…of course…

being the odd colored sheep is fine…it’s like being left-handed at a parochial school in the 1960’s…which I am…and was…or using the right-handed scissors with the wrong hand…to cut precisely…sort of gives you an abstract sense of things without all of the effort of having to train your brain to think abstract…which most black sheep already do…

and try as we may to fade to a whiter sheep…that is an impossible task…one that in my opinion should be quickly dispelled…seen as one of those tasks that even if possible seems like a really unsuccessful Evil Knievel jump…that doesn’t end well…so why???…is my question….sometimes just accepting what is…is harder than what is…. really is…

and as a child I really wanted coal-black hair…gold teeth…and marry a woman I named “Judy”…that was on a deck of my fathers…topless playing cards….but…it just never happened…and I’m pretty certain when my father held me above the crib he said something like…”hmmm…boy…this is a tough one“….

are you a “Black Sheep”? tell me about it…..

“Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.” – Jacques Delille

416. September 21st…Reality…will return in 20 minutes…..

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“The Real Wizard” 2010

“I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer

sometimes what appears….is nothing close to what it really is…..maybe it’s the make-up or the mask or maybe it looked like a cat when it crossed the road in the headlights….yet was a black trash bag….so was it a cat…or is it a trash bag….maybe it is/was both at the same time….today feels like a day of many folds….much like Damascus steel…long before it is hammered out….and polished….where the beauty and cross section has not yet been reveled…but is hidden well beneath the surface…and the crust of the metal…..

as a change in season creeps….so does a deep desire to change along with it…… maybe plant myself thin atop the surface….pull everything in a little tighter….talk less and listen more…..make the things in my life….beautiful…those that just need the wrapper removed to reveal…..the tree to the west of my house is dumping it’s fruit into my backyard…a sure sign things are moving another direction and moving quickly…..yet not quick enough to make notice….each second or even every minute….

somedays I don’t now what is real or not….and I’ve given up questioning the reality of it’s authenticity….it is real no matter what….at least for that time…..as the questions…sort of add fragility to the equation…and make it all like an ice crystal on the window….forgetting any thoughts of the future…or plans…..or what it might become…rather seeing it…for what it is…..taking my mental Polaroid snapshot….and filing it away for…another time…another recall…another ice crystal to remind me….that I’ve done something kind of like this…but not even close to this….so the experience becomes a brand new series of familiarity…. contradiction… synonymous….removed and full of the unfamiliar with the slight fragrance of baking bread……that reminds me of days when I was six……so how do I explain any of that….

it is a way of doing it all that allows me to keep getting to where I belong…..not questioning the small little lines that twist and turn…go different directions….and end up under some huge boulder…..rather….it’s the big pieces of the rope….the ones that tie me…secure me…..that I chose to struggle against….and maybe because I don’t understand…..or want to know…..or feel that a life of smaller threads….gives me much more than anything else…..and I can put them away….in my pocket…..walk and whistle at the same time….comb my hair to the right….dream those night time dreams where it all is smooth and clear…..or think of those days….I’d prefer not to be me……but instead….

the Wizard of Oz…..

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.” – Simone Weil

415. September 20th…. “It is weight that gives meaning to weightlessness ”

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Babe” 2010

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” – T.S. Eliot

I’ve thought of the times…I’ve chosen to accept something that I was originally opposed to….and yet  by accepting it…I am in essence saying I will accept contradiction and acknowledge it as now it is Ok to be in my life…..rather than going with the natural confirmation and agreement….that takes most of the bumps out of the road….

I think maybe it’s the …”Some“…is better than the… “None“….mentality….and I suppose in  dealing with hunger and thirst….some is better than none…..seems most everything else outside of that….doesn’t follow that rule…it really translates to…”I’ll get what I can even if it isn’t what I want…for right now“….kind of like the filler in hot dogs….don’t know for what or why….just that it is…..and hopefully when the void is filled with anything…it appears to be the ideal thing…..the only thing…the best thing…..with a little luck…maybe it is…..

sure sitting around and waiting for whatever “IT” might be….to come knocking on the door…doesn’t seem like the likely alternative…and probably isn’t…..as what we want requires we cross the path of that object of desire more than once….yet moving our direction as well…and perhaps at that intersection……the magic may or….may not happen…and often what we don’t get in our lives is really the blessing…..as it may illustrate itself one way…yet appear an entirely different way……

the lack of certainty increases the possibilities of what may happen as well as increase the unknown….”with big risk comes the possibility for big success“….yet trying to achieve that success…via personal compromise….may only bring a fleeting glimpse of the success….as it passes by…and everybody waves from the speeding car…..I’m not suggesting we don’t compromise…..compromise is necessary to make it all work….but to sacrifice a piece of ourselves for the hope of something we don’t want to transpire…..seems like cutting off a finger….just because we’re not planning on using it…..anytime soon……

we strive for the what we know to be the best….how ever we define “The Best“…may be particle board dining room furniture with real fake wood grain from Country Dan’s….or a coffee table by Isamu Noguchi…..but the best is still the best…..and the best for our soul…..hovers there waiting for us to know a truth…..rather than a confetti of uncertainties…..and wavy glass that blurs the vision….while we move forward…. hands in front of us…stepping with uncertainty…and overly cautious….

the answer….any answer is the correct one…..if it is doing what you…me….everybody wants it to do…..even if the truth is questionable….or untrue…..or not even a matter of truth…..

the Tao talks about defining a stream by its componants….yet to identify a particular componant….is impossible…..we can not reach into the water…grasp a piece of “Current” or “Ripple”….and have an answer…..but we can observe the action without the action being a real tangable…something that explains how the stream works….but without any real explanation…..

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” – Lao Tzu

414. September 18th…. “Getting it”…might just mean…. “Accepting it…..

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“The Right Signs” 2010

“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept. ” – Bill Watterson

pouring coffee…..in the dark…full is full when my finger feels the heat….

figuring anything out…..is worth the effort if the results produces more than blisters on your hands…a  vacation to a mental hospital….or an extended stay at any place that has “State of” preceding it….that’s the beauty of getting it….there are as many ways to….as there are ways not to…..it’s just getting to that point that the method becomes as simple as opening your mouth to fill it with crab Louie….while on vacation to the Bay area….yet getting it…or figuring it out requires that the problem if that’s what you want it call it is spelled out in a few different ways so…the ability to truly understand the method of assault is clearly defined…and not some arbitrary swing in…hopes the pinata breaks on the first hit….

everything worth getting is usually designed to “Get” over some period of time…with some level of frequency….and a large degree of repetition….kind of like….love….it may be elusive….while in pursuit of it….yet when we throw our hands in the air and affirm…”I’m done”…..all of that pursuit begins to unravel…and things really do start to happen….and all of the effort sort of holds you there like the 12 and 1/2 minutes of new/old footage in the Exorcist Redux……getting it is also…a balance of perfection….too much one direction…and getting it becomes a pseudo-religious experience….with far more questions than answers….and little if any result…other than a new wardrobe of flowing intricately patterned robes….cool hats and new rather esoteric sounding names…..while too little….balance…..and the experience is a perpetual one night stand with different women…but they are all named Dolores….so the actions remain the same as does the name calling….

I thinking “Getting it”…can often be seen as an enlightening experience…no more stepping on a floor full of tacks any longer….some torch that has guided us from the dark…led by a mystical deep…yet soft and assuring wisdom evoking voice……..when in reality the right medication and usually a 180 degree turn is ample to make the enlightening experience…no more of a leap of faith than stepping off of the curb…..which I like to do….plant my feet together…arch my back and raise my hands high in the air in my best Olympic dismount fashion…..stare at that invisible golden ord there somewhere above the horizon….deep exhale…..wait for the 9.73…9.71…9.88….etc……

“Getting it”…comes in many ways….and whatever works…works…ultimately isn’t that what we all are after….because once we “Get it”…..all of the rest of the stuff…..sort of rolls down hill…..and maybe that’s the energetics behind it all…I mean it’s really easy to be more pissed off when you’re already pissed to begin with….just as it is easier to accept and give goodness…when your life is encompassed by it…..it’s just deciding to do it…..

I like to think of it as we are all giant boxes of cereal….sure I might say I’d rather be a healthy alternative choice, green, organic cereal…with whole grains, so full of nutrition that just looking at it will clean out your colon for the next decade and sweetened with  some exotic sweetener from deep in the forests of Borneo….but I’m not…my box shows a picture of some guy dressed up like a cowboy……wearing big shiny spurs……sheep skin chaps……a ten gallon hat…wearing a t-shirt with our catch phrase “Get it while you can” on the front…….balancing precariously on one foot high on a tightrope….over a pool full of alligators……cereal spilling from a Jethro Boudin  sized cereal bowl in one hand…and a giant wooden spoon in the other….and musical notes are above his head..lips are puckered like he’s whisteling….and there on the box in lapis blue letters outlined in bright red…..it says….

“2 cups of sugar in every spoonful of Getting It Cereal…super high in sugar…but what the hell you think makes it so tasty”……

“Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.” – Miyamoto Musashi