Friday Philosophy: Stone Soup

My brain seemed barely capable of stirring together a topic for this evening.  But that was this morning.

Time to make stone soup?  Maybe.

I had some set-ups, like buhdy’s piece about why he is a liberal, like the wholesale denigration of community activists I’ve heard about, or like even Governator Palin, but to be honest, I avoided the RNC broadcasts as much as possible.  Their message never changes.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

The WeaveMothers were one and several.  The several part was not without its danger.  Getting lost in the a reality of a happentrack was an ever-present  possibility.  When that happened, sight of the larger tapestry was usually lost.

And when that happened, there was danger of the tapestry unravelling.  There was even the danger that what had already going to be happening could be forgotten, so that it would never actually ever reach the state of having happened.

They came back together determined to repair the snapped thread.  Raveling was kept to a minimum.  A dropped stitch or four would have to be picked up.  But only a few realities had ceased to exist.  The WeaveMothers mourned the consciousnesses that were still.  The Greataway would be poorer for them never having existed.

The WeaveMothers have appeared before.  In what passes for chronological order, they are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Having ready Michael Greatrex Coney’s, Song of Earth is also helpful.  Or you could just relax and accept the possibility of the Celestial Steam Locomotive passing through the Greataway.

The collectivity willed the Locomotive into motion once again.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

The Engineer incanted, “What the world needs now.”

The Storyteller chanted, “All you need is love.”

The Listener watched the Passenger’s head re-form into something approximating how it had looked before.  Together they responded with the customary, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.”

There was a train reaction and the wheels rolled.

The Storyteller shared a tale.  The Listener leaned forward intently.  The Passenger once again fell into a sound sleep.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

Maybe this stew needs some herbage.  Maybe it could be spiced by the show I watched the other night entitled Chimps Are People Too (embedding of this snippet is disabled…some may think it not workplace safe, for some ungodly reason).  But I’m not sure about that.  Maybe a dash of cultural relativity would enliven the flavor.

And a Monk marathon is running in the background…and I hear the words,

Here is a list of things you cannot flush down the toilet.

I hope the Constitution is on that list.

And morality.  It would be nice if that was there.   And maybe personal integrity.  But that’s probably where the division occurs.  Those of us who think we can discern what is right and what is wrong through the use of our own native talents as human beings and those of us who require an Über-morality enforced from above.

I’m no doubt slow on the uptake with the Palin thing.  I sometimes erect walls to protect the few unused synapses I have left from being used to store that which I do not desire in my brain.  And I didn’t feel I needed to see the irrelevant but inevitable sexist approach of some who think that’s appropriate.  Nor did I wish to read the gratuitous attempts at humor invoking the funniest thing going…people who have sex changes…as a means of denigrating a person’s character.  So I’m slow on the Palinator uptake.

Imagine that:  the first ever woman candidate for Vice President of the New-Knighted States of A’murka™.  Well, except for Geraldine Ferraro, but she doesn’t count because she was a democrat.  I understand Geraldine sympathizes somewhat.  Not that Geraldine has been popular recently, but that may be a discussion for another day…or never.  Whatever.

I only need to know one thing about Sarah Palin.  It concerns the censorship of books.  I had an interest and was spending time wondering which “objectionable” books Mayor Palin wanted removed.  Then I realized that it didn’t matter (though I’m laying even-money on Heather Has Two Mommies).  Nor did it matter if any books were in fact removed.  

When the matter came up for the second time in October 1996, during a City Council meeting, Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla housewife who often attends council meetings, was there.

Like many Alaskans, Kilkenny calls the governor by her first name.

“Sarah said to Mary Ellen [Baker, nee Emmons, who was the librarian involved, as well as president of the Alaska Library Association–ed], ‘What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?'” Kilkenny said.

“I was shocked. Mary Ellen sat up straight and said something along the line of, ‘The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.'”

Anchorage Daily News

What mattered was that Mayor Palin claimed it was simply a rhetorical inquiry.  She was simply trying to gauge loyalty.

Palin told the Daily News back then the letters were just a test of loyalty

What kind of a person measures loyalty by asking if someone else is loyal enough to violate their own sense of morality, to abandon their personal integrity?

But that’s an easy one.  I’ve known the answer to that for-just-about-ever.  A conservative.  Loyalty trumps morality.  Ideology dominates integrity.  Isn’t that primarily the shame of it all?  And isn’t domination their pot at the end of the rainbow Holy Grail?

Except, you know, conservatives apparently don’t feel shame the way most of us would think.  That little old traffic-cop-in-the-brain we call a superego has apparently been evicted, replaced by the external god-figure, whether that be an actual God or simply striving for personal gain (aka mammon).  More likely both.  Isn’t it strange how the external god telling people how to behave is such a fellow traveler with that mammon creature?

Why is someone a liberal?  Liberal is no doubt an ill-defined term.  I’ll accept the term if someone wants to pin it on me, but I prefer progressive.  I want progress towards a better world more than a laissez-faire attitude about people’s participation in this one.  I believe in trying to fix a problem when I recognize it…or at least trying to instigate those who are better situated and have better tools to fix the problem to attempt to do so.  Community organizers they are sometimes called.  Sometimes I have included my self among their number, at least on certain issues.  Some people even use the word activist rather than organizer.  I prefer it myself because people who seek social progress are rarely organized.

See a problem.  Fix it.  Or try to get someone else…or a group of them…to help in the effort.  Why the fuck else are we here except to learn how to get along and work together for common goals, paramount above all being to make this a better world, more bearable to live in for us all.

Suffer an indignity?  Or recognize that someone else is suffering an indignity?  Do your best to make sure nobody else might ever have to suffer than same indignity…or even anything like it.  Persevere in that effort.

Never give up.  Never surrender.

–Commander Peter Quincy Taggart

Alas, as I have gotten older, persevering has gotten harder.

Build a better world for us all.

And by “us all” I include the chimpanzee people and the dolphin people and…and…and…and even for people who are not like me.

Anyone else got something to add to the pot?

Δ  Δ  Δ  Δ  Δ  Δ

For no apparent reason, other than that it always did so, Sun passed over Canyon.  And Canyon felt warmer.  Pine and Birch soaked up the radiation and exhaled some oxygen.  The lives nearby brightened.


The Path Well-Chosen

The fork in the road

of humanity divides us

into givers and takers

Fundamentally I know

the givers will reach

the prize

at the end of the rainbow

of human endeavor

and put it to good use

for the good of us all

…even the takers

But the takers

make the road

seem so damn long

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–September 5, 2008


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    • Robyn on September 6, 2008 at 00:01

  1. Alas, as I have gotten older, persevering has gotten harder.

    Or is it that as we feel our time ticking away more succinctly, we lose patience? And of course, the more fools you encounter (a pure function of time, since they are so numerous) the less you are willing to suffer them.

    A friend said to me recently that when he reached fifty, “My bullshit meter pegged.” It IS harder to be gentle and compassionate, time after time. But I  have also learned (though am FAR from grokking) that mere lambastation is woefully ineffective. Another mere impatience, wanting to communicate too quickly, hoping for quick change, forcefully imparting wisdom.

    Annoyance is hard to dodge.

    As I remember every time I am annoyedly envious of yer excellllllllent Weavemother theme! Why didn’t i not think of that ? Envy I tell you!

  2. But here’s what grabbed me because of where I am today.

    I believe in trying to fix a problem when I recognize it…or at least trying to instigate those who are better situated and have better tools to fix the problem to attempt to do so.

    Just this week I had a conversation with a friend and what appeared before my eyes was a “savior complex” that seems to be embedded in me. I think it gets in my way pretty regularly. So I’m contemplating that without alot of clarity right now. Hopefully it will begin to make more sense and when it does, I expect I’ll write about it.

  3. The Listener leaned forward intently.

    This is a grand and glorious essay, and poem and story and multimedia event.

    Thank you.

  4. Is that the 999? The 8001?

    Don’t tell me its the 0042!

    • Alma on September 6, 2008 at 02:54

    Bingo!  “Loyalty trumps morality.  Ideology dominates integrity.”  Fits most of them to a T.

    The end had me laughing my ass off:

    But the takers

    make the road

    seem so damn long

    They sure do!

  5. i love quoting ‘galaxy quest’…thanks for that ..

    Why the fuck else are we here except to learn how to get along and work together for common goals, paramount above all being to make this a better world, more bearable to live in for us all.

    this part reminded me of my mother…and i may have referenced this philosophy of hers before…but she being of catholic upbringing, and stunningly reasonable in spite of it ;), is of the mind that god put us here to learn to get along, because heaven would be a pretty crappy place to be, once you get there, if we hadnt learned that yet…

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