Monday, July 30, 2012


Everything is owned. Every. Thing. With the exception of "trash", which can best be thought of as anti-property: not worth owning. So I'll adjust:

Everything worth owning is owned. But, it's easy to see that many things that are worth owning — to somebody, somewhere — are nevertheless tossed away as trash, and this is owed, rather simply, to convenience. Craigslist Free and the like create a new convenience (in which someone else — worse off than you, ostensibly) comes and takes your trash, shrinking the trash pile a bit, but still the trash piles and piles.

When the moments feels right, I tell youngens that they live in a world where absolutely everything is owned, and if not owned in the traditional sense of "that is mine, take your grubbies off", then regulated. I ask for counterexamples, "tell me I'm missing something", I'll request, "tell me there are some things that aren't "owned".

The air. I get that a lot. Obviously, that is both regulated and owned based on where that air happens to be. Next...

Me! I'm not owned! 

Ahem... I wouldn't be quite so sure... please reference your parents. school. and eventually (and quite sadly, if you're lucky) an employer. 

I enjoy the definition of employ:

The most common — give work to someone and pay them for it — isn't terribly enjoyable, but push a little further...

To keep occupied Or make use of. What an adjustment to a conversation. "Does someone/thing make use of you?" to replace, "what do you do?" and "are you employed?" That's very nice. A nice undermining, indeed.

Go back a bit more, and we find those straight-shootin' Latins whose implicari is allegedly the root of employ. Implicari is to be involved with or attached to. Attached to. In a world where everything is owned, the vast majority of us born debtors, being attached to a creditor is a winning strategy. The Land of the Free, some say.

Finally, this dictionary steers me to a 16th/17th sense of the word employ, a feeling which employees inherently commiserate: entanglement. To be employed is to be entangled. Twisted into a net. Involved in complicated circumstances that are difficult to understand or escape. This idea, a base quality of everyday life, something that I suppose is too jarring to easily accept: our very ability to obtain the necessities of life requires becoming entangled — caught! And put to work for money. 

I'm ready for a promotion. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good To The Last Drop (and then...)

I can participate on existing terms: "Yeah, Obama let us down but he's better than the alternative!"  Jesus. I'd rather put a bullet in my head than utter such a thing — not because I have an opinion about Obama but because the very assumptions this utterance enjoys begin from a very different place than I begin. 
I can try to change the terms of the discussion: "Well, what do we want from a president? Are these things even possible? What is the role of the government?" But then I'm exhausted and feel like a douchebag — probably because, in that situation, I am one. Such behavior is not socially acceptable.
I'm not saying I know any more than other people. In fact, I know less. I'm just saying that it would be nice if, in general, our collective discourse embraced a certain criticality in which questioning assumptions wasn't met with so much hostility and, worse, annoyance and befuddlement. Imagine, just for a moment, if you went to a party of strangers and the very way in which people discussed life — love, politics, art — was surprising! And you were invited to have your own strange perspective!
                                                                               - Daniel Coffeen 

In all of the descriptions of perilous situations that I have studied, arising during adventures on the high seas or in the high mountains, or during armed conflict, a single mistake rarely proves fatal. More often than not, death comes as a result of a sequence of bad choices which reinforce each other. These choices may not appear bad at the time—but they certainly do in retrospect! The end result is a situation in which no further steps can be taken that would not be either harmful or futile. This is the essence of checkmate: no moves left. At that point, none of the previous moves can be undone. Nor do they even exist, really: they have gone off to an imaginary universe populated by the regretful ghosts of those who didn't make it.
                                                      - Dmitry Orlov 

I had been considering "depletion" this morning. From the latin plere (to fill), with a de in front. Rather incorrectly, with a sidecar of embarrassment, I got myself in the jerkoff position of considering my life, my existence, as something that is being depleted. Meaning: I was thinking how I'm "running out" of life. Now, this is a very silly way to think of Time and its ways... but of course, Time is not terribly easy to think about (how would I know?).

The impetus for this contemplation was Part "Fuck IT!" from the bestselling series, "Rich People = Control of Energy". This installment peeked at Infill Drilling Optimization which is a means to keeping an existing oil field at its highest daily production for the longest time possible, and then production completely collapses... very very quickly. Despite modest efforts towards avoiding such a process (you should see this garden I'm stewarding) it is clear that I am doing essentially the same thing: keeping my material/energy consumption standard of living as high as possible — for as long as possible. This is not a good idea. And yet, like a tee vee addict (or any addict) who knows their addiction is not serving them well, the addiction is — at least to some extent — all I know, and re-becoming "me" (which is very necessary since current "me" is too often paralyzed) requires the type of attentiveness that I'm a bit to weak (or a bit too something) to stick to. 

My daily tool against this weakness/something is to look around more often (I figure this is a low energy activity, and one that I enjoy quite a bit). Anecdotally, I'm guessing restructuring my "free" time first, and then work towards the more rigid "unfree" time in which the human monoculture takes a bite out of my ass, is the way to go. I can't abandon the ass-biting if I'm lost without it. 

Here are my moves, and I'll happily take suggestions for new ways of looking:

1) Go horizontal: lots of laying down outside, the middle of the kitchen floor, etc.
2) Get high: slightly dangerous, but climbing on the roof and easy-to-ascend trees is a favorite
3) Stare: this one gets me all jazzed up, staring makes the normal go away
4) Strobe effect: slightly dangerous here as well, move quickly with eyes closed, open... close and move again