Tuesday, July 22, 2008


A comment in a history book about how American empire is pretty much a carbon copy of British colonialism brought to the forefront something that had already been in the back of my mind. Much of America is patterned on the British which is a natural outgrowth since it was the British who initially settled here. The same with Australia and to some extent Canada. But what America has become has also been influenced by other countries such as Germany and other northern Europeans. The French influence never took much root here as it did in eastern Canada. Spain and Italy even less so.

Given the strength of the British influence I have also noticed that its influence tends to be rather global because America stepped into England's shoes after WWII as a world hegemon. The two greatest influences are in the realm of economics and education. These two in fact go hand in hand.

While there is a great deal of written material on the matter, I find that Pink Floyd is the perfect medium for highlighting the nature of these two influences. On Dark Side of the Moon is the track Money. The thread going through the next two albums (Wish You Were Here and Animals) culminates in The Wall and the nature of education as the linchpin of maintaining an adherence to a system that is anything but humane.

Unfortunately, America is now stuck in a paradigm that is also anything but humane, but the ability of the people to change it or chuck it is amazingly minimal given how well the educational system has schooled people into a system of thought that teaches them There Is No Alternative (TINA).

If there is to be any changing of the paradigm at all it must begin with a set of principles that can overturn what people have been taught. However, the entrenchment of what has been taught was perfectly encapsulated over 150 years ago in a story about the re-humanizing of Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.

The point that Dickens makes is that greed is NOT good and profit for its own sake does not equal happiness. In other words, there is more to life than money alone. This is a moral axiom.

The other moral axiom is from John Donne in his poem "No Man is an Island" which ends with "never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

In other words, our existence, lonely though it may be, is not lived in complete isolation from the rest of humanity. People are not born capable of fending for themselves. Babies and children require the care and attention of others for many years before they become capable of taking care of themselves, usually requiring nearly 2 decades. And in that time no one ever gets everything they need from their own work or craftsmanship or skill in farming like some Jeremiah Johnson mountain man. The medium of money makes it possible to get the things other people grew or made.

However, in the years since WWII and the Highway Act of 1956 and the aggressive dismantling of rail systems around country by General Motors and others with vested interests in getting rich without a thought of the consequences, people are now more isolated than they have ever been. As a result, we have forgotten how to act as if we are not the center of the universe living a world full of other people. Our hearts are nearly completely shut to others whose only purpose is to make ourselves feel good about ourselves, whether warranted or not. The social fabric is in complete tatters.

We don't need an ownership society. What we need is a give a shit society where Martin Luther King Jr's words about "an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" as real meaning, not to mention actual moral force.

I had meant for this to be simple, but instead I have blown a lot of hot air so I shall post this and edit it down later.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I have been going through a transformation of late. It began with a conversation back in March and has culminated in a deep interest in Pink Floyd and David Gilmour.

I once asked what it means to be truly alive. Something Roger said during a documentary about the making of Dark Side I watched on YouTube recently was that I had asked the wrong question. What I needed to ask is what it means to truly live.

The story of Pink Floyd, and particularly of both Roger and David, is that they took the reins of their destiny firmly in their own hands and with their passion and determination got where they wanted to go. In another interview David said that that kind of ambition asks all of your energy. Elsewhere he mentioned that most people haven't found their medium for creative expression. He doesn't necessarily mean artistic expression but it DOES require putting yourself out there in front of others one way or another because the definition of success is to achieve the accolade of others. I'm coming late into the program but I'm finally catching on. I'm not an artist. I am a philosopher, social critic, and political activist. What I am becoming is unapologetic for what I know is right. More importantly, I have found a fellow collaborator for a project that I think has real potential to help people. At least I was already moving in the right direction. These things with Pink Floyd are the final nudge.

Anyway, there is much about David Gilmour that deserves admiration. His emotional sensitivity and palpable humanity shines out of him like brilliant sunlight. A few songs on his first solo album resembles my own emotional timbre in the inner core of my own being. But we'll not get into my theories about how people relate to each other in the language of sound and light waves. Let's just say that polarity, frequency, and phase are factors in finding the kind of person you can truly bond with at the soul-to-soul level. To feel a love like that....there just isn't anything else like it. I felt that with someone back in March, but the circumstances aren't favorable to even being friends. So, I pretty much feel like the first photo below. The second photo is from a YouTube video doing one of the songs that reflects my loneliness in the absence of the one I found. The last photo is just to show his youth and his vulnerability.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Japan pix