Great Storms… .on being more and other

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The image above is from damage left after a tornado that passed from Kansas, into Missouri and Kansas City, in 1957. A link at the head of this blog will take you to an account, and to the memories left by dozens of survivors in comments. I watched the great churning, half mile wide funnel approach in a state of wonder and awe so profound, it left no room for fear. This was the beginning of a life long fascination–I should better call it, an obsession, with tornadoes, hurricanes, great storms–something that stirs in me a kind of moral dissonance–a reminder, perhaps, that the appreciation of the sublime. there is something profoundly un-human. When I consider the passionate wonder these storms arouse in me–as though like calling unto like–I have to ask–“What is it, of that which I call my Self, that is itself–so Other, so alien, to all that I think of as human?”

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Doing Art

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Bed at 10:30. An odd sort of mood. Like being really agitated without being agitated. Blank. The emptiness of doing when all there is, is doing. Neither reward nor recognition, and such reward is reward for the wrong thing, and such recognition is nothing that matters. Not a bad state–it just is.
That fantasy of peddling a cart and never coming back… or going anywhere. But that’s where I am. What I’m doing. Not going anywhere. Standing in one place. Nothing moves or changes but the things I make, and if I stop I won’t exist. That’s the tricky part. Stop doing what? Only if it’s the right thing… the right doing. And no one can tell you what that is. And you can’t stop.
I glued and nailed to the stretchers of a canvas I’d primed: roofing. rusted mettle. shattered auto glass. Dirt. String. Art should show the world truly.
I need large needles with large eyes, large enough for some lovely, fine hemp cord I bought. I want to darn and sew stuff to a canvas.
Pointless. But do it because doing is all there is. Make and give the stuff away. Or paint over. Free art. Free. But it costs… everything.

Singapore: The Rational Society as Technocracy

Southern Nights

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Human beings, regrettable though it may be, are inherently vicious and have to be restrained from their viciousness.’ –  Lee Kuan Yew

In a recent post Nick Land refers to an old essay by William Gibson Disneyland with the Death Penalty (1993) about the absolute rational society of Singapore, a technocratic City State transformed under the direction of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first premier. As one commentator tells us it was Yew’s unique destiny to construct a rational society, whose guiding vision was of a state that would not simply survive, but prevail by excelling. Superior intelligence, discipline, and ingenuity would substitute for resources. He summoned his compatriots to a duty that they had never previously perceived: first to clean up their city, then to dedicate it to overcome the initial hostility of their neighbors and their own ethnic divisions by superior performance.1

One could say that Singapore is the…

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Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING

By David Bayles & Ted Orland: Santa Cruz, CA & Eugen, Or.  1994 – 2000

Picked this up at the Faerie Pot Luck. Only 118 pages, but have never read anything better on what goes into making art, for an artist. The motivations, the distracting temptations–what constitutes the only possible reward to keep at it, to keep doing it. I’m a 74 year old artist, and have gone through all the phases of despair, stopping, starting again. This book made me weep with joy. I don’t know that I found much new here, new for me, that is, at this stage in my life and my art, but the confirmation for what I’ve struggled with over so many decades is like a blessed cool rain after a long drought. Would that I had read this book… had it existed, when I was 24.

The reviews on Goodreads either thought it was 5 star (like me)… or didn’t get it. I’d be interested in what other’s who’ve read it have to say about it. Comments welcome.

What does it matter?

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Soon, when the last human has joined the earth, the wind will clatter broken plastic cups across asphalt, into the weeds chocking what had once been a busy street where young trees are reclaiming cities as forests. Of the animals and plants that have survived, none will think the worst of us, none will remember or care. None will blame us for the disaster we brought on ourselves, and on so many others of the living, and once living. None with think us wrong… or right. What will remain, will be neither good nor bad. Our brief span of a million years or so will pass with none to mourn or celebrate our frantic, violent sojourn on this planet.
We are of no importance… except to ourselves. The domesticated animals and plants, the symbiotic, the parasitic, viral and fungal bacterial diseases unique to us, will adapt and change, or vanish with us. It will not matter that we chose to shake our fists at the universe for a few seconds, chose to commit suicide out of stupidity and spite. It really won’t matter. Not at all.
Think about it.