Some Constraints, But No Complaints

There’s something I’ve been wanting to get off my chest. I’ve alluded to some of this a time or two, but I want to make a more thorough statement.

As a blogger, I operate under a few constraints, all of which are self-created. One, I’m working on a book, so I’m often too tired to write a long post or to post very often. Most of what I really want to say requires length, often because it’s “off the tracks,” so to speak. I don’t subscribe to the speculative, egoistic lines of reasoning that most people consider axiomatic nowadays. For example, I think the idea that we need to be more “competitive,” that competition brings out the best in human beings, is utter nonsense. But to explain my point of view requires a lot of defining of terms. I take frequent mind trips down hypothetical posts, but I usually encounter too many difficulties. My book is intended to be the vehicle for most of this. I don’t enjoy reading books by an author that come off as mere rehashing of his or her previous work. So I’m sensitive to that. I’m always having to feel my way through this blog—trying to figure out what I can say as well as what I should probably avoid saying, at least for the time being. I’m happy to have readers, though. I am.

I think we’re nearing a heavy moment in history. I can’t say exactly what it is, but I feel it coming. And I know where I’ll be standing when it does come. This blog should get more interesting as time goes on.

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6 Responses to “Some Constraints, But No Complaints”

  1. JDM Says:

    “For example, I think the idea that we need to be more ‘competitive,’ that competition brings out the best in human beings, is utter nonsense.”

    Since resources are not unlimited, competition is a fact of nature. What sort of world do you envisage that could somehow eliminate competition?

  2. Tracy Glomski Says:

    I hear what you’re saying, Mark. As a teacher, though, I try to avoid overdefining my terms. Sometimes it’s actually alright to be a bit cryptic, cock an eyebrow, and flash ’em your best Mona Lisa smile. Those who are open to hearing the message will find their own way to understanding, a process which deepens the comprehension. Those who aren’t ready to hear won’t catch your point, regardless of how well it’s worded. I keep relearning this the hard way.

    My first (and best) yoga teacher has led a Dharma bummish life not unlike yours. The last time I saw him, he was residing partly in his van and partly in spare spots provided by kind souls. He tried to warn me, as far back as 1996, about the transition that’s underway. I nodded my head as if I understood, while quietly fretting to myself that my poor dear friend sounded awfully depressed. A fuller sense of what he was saying finally hit me about 2007.

    Because I have a dark and inappropriate sense of humor, I have a pet name for this thing that’s happening. I call it “the one hand clapping.” The sound that it makes is a bit like hubris and a bit like our modern economy. It’s like self-congratulatory applause when one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing, or even where that other hand is. Perhaps the invisible hand is busy in the till. Or the cookie jar.

    I’m as guilty as anyone of too much hand waving. The only antidote which has seemed to work for me is to put both hands into the gentle work of tending those around me. Writing a book is just as good, if not better. You can reach more people more quickly that way. And people need to hear stories like yours. They need to remember that it’s possible to move through fear, to visit the place where there’s little or nothing left to lose, and not only merely survive that, but to find love and a soul-sustaining path.

    If we can still trust that such things are possible, the future is not without hope.

  3. Piper Says:

    I sense something coming as well. On the one hand, I sense it is not going to be easy and good. On the other I feel that the changes ahead will be alive with creative possibility. I wish they would hurry up and get here already because I feel like I’m not able to commit in either direction, either the status quo (I should strive harder, compete more, be successful) or toward how things will be different (I should grow my own food, participate more in the community I will come to depend on, untangle myself from a system in collapse.) We’ll see what happens.

    • markbittner Says:

      It sounds like you could be referring to Peak Oil. If so, good. It’s a subject I intend to get into in the near future.

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