Grump grump grump! I wanted Sarah Palin to drop an f-bomb or something! (… still, more on that later) Instead, it was a bunch of 2-minute stump speeches. “What did they say that was different, really? … There’s all this talk about change, change, change. It’s all gimmicks.” I guess that’s bad, if the only reason I’d watch a debate is to hope for a meltdown.
Maybe it’s because I (like you, probably) don’t follow local or state politics, really. It’s just this one shot every 4 years, and by the time you have enough consensus to have half the country behind you, you have to be this inoffensive boring person. Glenn Beck wrote an article about how partisanship is the death of everything, and also you should follow politics more often than the Olympics. (I support the first half of this article, and not the second)
Tom Robbins seems appropriate, as ever:
“As any of the learned professors would explain, plied with sufficient tequila, no matter how fervently a romantic might support a movement, he or she must eventually withdraw from active participation in that movement because the group ethic- the supremacy of the organization over the individual- is an affront to intimacy.
As for magic, there’s none at all because the aim of any social activist is power over others, whereas a magician seeks power over only himself: the power of higher consciousness, which, while universal, cosmic even, is manifest in the intimate. It would seem that a whole human being would have the capacity for both intimacy and social action, yet sad to say, every cause, no matter how worthy, eventually falls prey to the tyranny of the dull mind.
Dullards can put a pox on the most glorious moral enterprise by using that enterprise as a substitute for spiritual and sexual unfolding. Finally, it is dullness and not evil that begets totalitarianism, although some… go so far as to contend that dullness is evil.” - Still Life with Woodpecker, chapter 53
I think this is appropriate. Maybe it’s just a case of me agreeing with every zany thing Tom Robbins says, and forcing a quote where it doesn’t really fit. Either way, with two-party politics, I am dissatisfied!
So vote Obama, but don’t do it just because he’s a Democrat. Or vote Tom Robbins. Or Optimus Prime, or Mickey Mouse, or Richard Nicklaus Hoesdown. I don’t even know anymore. I’m voting for a good night’s sleep.
I was just cruisin' through your blog and read this post again.
One quote I find strange:
“As for magic, there’s none at all because the aim of any social activist is power over others, whereas a magician seeks power over only himself: the power of higher consciousness, which, while universal, cosmic even, is manifest in the intimate. It would seem that a whole human being would have the capacity for both intimacy and social action, yet sad to say, every cause, no matter how worthy, eventually falls prey to the tyranny of the dull mind.”
My paraphrase, with [me] in brackets.
a magician seeks power over self, not others
[I’m confused - why is he doing magic, then? You can’t be your own skeptic!]
this power manifests (shows itself, becomes real) “in the intimate.”
[What’s “the intimate?” Does it have to do with other people?]
Causes can be intimate, [and?/]or social [but not both?], and every social action –> falls to dull mind.
Maybe I need the context of the rest of the writing, but this strikes me as saying that whenever something goes wrong, it’s because “you just didn’t understand!”
Or like if your hippie friends say you aren’t really liberal because you’re a square now. Or something. To me, it smells like pretension and exclusivity. Which is ironic, because I think that’s part of what its talking about.
I am procrastinating from doing something very unappealing, by the way.
Uhhhh… and here I defend Tom Robbins in all his zany latter-day-hippie glory.
About “magicians”, I think he was using “magician” in another sense of the word, not like a Houdini type dude. What sense was it? I don’t remember.
And maybe same with “intimate”? This is such a cop out: “it depends on the meaning of _____.” I guess I pulled out the quote because to me it said this:
Humans are amazing. Individual people are so cool. You, yourself, can do whatever you want, and meanwhile develop yourself in cool ways. “Spiritual and sexual unfolding.” (I’m not sure where sex comes into this, but maybe he’s suggesting it’s more than just procreation or a fun thing to do.)
But when you get a bunch of people together, it gets all lame. You lose that magic that every person has. If one person has n amount of magic, k people have, not k*n magic, but like n+1 magic, or maybe even n/k, or whatever. Groups make things dull. You see this with corporations all the time: name a 20,000-person corporation that you can really get behind. (I can name exactly one, and I work for them, and they’re still way less magical than when they had 100 people.) Name any organization of even 1000 people, it’s probably lame.
Plus I love how it’s “dullness and not evil that begets totalitarianism.” Like the thing that caused the Nazis was not the handful of crazy awful people, but the huge mobs of bureaucracy that mindlessly followed them.
Yaaagh! It makes me want to scream out at people who are dull and who are okay with being dull. But furthermore, it makes me want to hate on big ol' organizations like the Democratic Party, which has much less cool ideals than say the Green party (maybe, I don’t know what they say now) because they get tempered by the dullness of having millions upon millions of members.
And now I’m not sure if I answered your question. I don’t see how that quote implies hippie pretension, or how it implies that things going wrong means you didn’t understand.
I’m not sure if it means too much at all even! After all, Tom Robbins has cranked out thousands of pages of this stuff. Maybe I shouldn’t read too much into it. Just take it as the exciting jolt that it is and move along. I mean, maybe I should say “meh, think whatever you want, I’m not going to bog down in a debate about this.” That’s kind of flighty, though. So, I dunno. At any rate, I’m up later than I wanted to be, so I’ll stop talking.
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