My thoughts about culture and our present conditions. As Dianne Moore says in Learning to Love a Wounded World, "This requires a willingness to feel everything…. the horror and the beauty of what is here…. the fear and the Love.”

On Collateral Murder… and Empire

The recent Wikileak, the collective uproar, and various predictable social permutations that resulted, have inspired me to post a blog piece finally. Here are short and long versions of the leaked clip from collateral murder, WikiLeaks dot com:Short:




A fellow Vietnam Vet friend of mine, commenting on some of the comments by those trying to make guesses about what was going on in the heads of the soldiers in the Apache Helicopter said:

IMO, mind readers tend to project their guilt and paranoia.

He’s now something of a practicing Buddhist, and in his practice is given to simple, clear points.

I’m not sure what to say about myself.  I’m too mentally messy for Zen, though I admire those who strive for that state of mind. I am ever impelled to embellish the world I see, and clarify the networks of abstract connections so that they turn on in my mind like fluorescent strings enmeshing, connecting.  The universe is not a void for me, it’s not silent.  Color and light can be as noisy as words. In this instance, with noting an underlying motive, I see his point. I see massive denial and dissociation on a grand societal scale, like shutting down the grid when the power goes out. 

Anyone participating in this society without recognizing the necessary conscious responsibility of that participation, and doing so without protest upon that recognition of guilt, must inevitably face that responsibility in other ways.  Unfaced directly it becomes unresolved guilt.  Unfaced it produces fear and paranoia.  Faced without consciousness it becomes despair.  Despair becomes inertia, voicelessness, spiritlessness, acquiescence.

About acquiescence, Wendell Barry wrote:

Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence. — Wendell Barry, What Are People For? p. 62

The simple yet very complex poem by Hayden Carruth from Wendell’s essay in that book: “A Poem of Difficult Hope”

Hayden Caruth:

On Being Asked to Write A Poem Against the War in Vietnam
Well I have and in fact
more than one and I’ll
tell you this too

I wrote one against
Algeria that nightmare
and another against

Korea and another
against the one
I was in
and I don’t remember
how many against
the three

when I was a boy
Abyssinia Spain and
Harlan County

and not one
breath was restored
to one

shattered throat
mans womans or childs
not one not

but death went on and on
never looking aside

except now and then
with a furtive half-smile
to make sure I was noticing.


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