Thought I would introduce my cat, Lila. She is doing some acrobatics going after a fly.
Archive for September, 2007
50 years ago this month On The Road was published. This is a novel close to my heart. There is a certain romanticism of being on the road, between destinations. It’s a mixture of feelings of freedom and emptiness that is hard to explain.
But On The Road is much more than that. A review of this classic, by Louis Menand, is published in this week’s New Yorker that helped me see deeper into the book and why I love it. If you are at all interested in this book or Jack Kerouac or the Beats, I encourage you to take the time to read this article. The author explains that the term “Beat” came to describe a certain generation. It is traced back to a conversation between Kerouac and John Clellon Holmes in which Jack stated, “You know, this is really a beat generation.” In this description he meant beaten down, poor, exhausted, at the bottom of the world. The review goes on to underscore the significance of On The Road and the influence this work had on American Litterature.
Menand writes, “The sadness that soaks through Kerouac’s story comes from the certainty that this world of hoboes and migrant workers and cowboys and crazy joyriders—the world of Neal Cassady and his derelict father—is dying. But the sadness is not sentimentality, because many of the people in the book who inhabit that world would be happy to see it go or else are too drunk or forlorn to care.”
Menand calls Jack, “a poet and a failed mystic.” He also states the Beats were not rebels, but misfits.
But what Menand ultimately identifies as the genius of Kerouac’s work is his ability to convey a sensitive masculinity. He writes, “It is sensitive and it is earnest, a performance of one of the most difficult emotions to express, male vulnerability.”
This might be the real reason I love this book. I feel my friends and I can identify with these same characters as we ramble across the weird American outback.
“Namaste” a common greeting in India. Does anyone know what it means? I came across this translation a few months back that is just beautiful.
I honor the place in you
where the Universe resides
I honor the place in you
of love, of light, of truth, of peace
I honor the place within you,
where if you are in that place in you
and I am in that place in me
there is only One of Us.
A dead Pilot whale was found on the beach south of Trinidad (a small town north of Eureka) on Monday. Apparently this type of whale does not usually frequent these waters, so it seems the poor guy was a little off course. The Eureka Times-Standard“> has an article about it and a gory slide show of Humboldt State biologist hacking it up. When a whale is beached it presents a rare opportunity for biologist to study these giant creatures. One reason the international moratorium on whaling should not be suspended is because researchers have very little knowledge of whale populations numbers and whales in general. A very close friend of mine works for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and she has increased my knowledge of cetaceans greatly.
Meanwhile it seems ships are killing an average of one blue whale per week in Southern California!
Widespread protests lead by Buddhist monks in Rangoon were reported today. Burma is a country that has been ruled by an oppressive military regime for some time and I believe it is high time for a change in the power structure. But how do we support this kind of action. The Washington Post has a good article stating the US should put heavy pressure on the Chinese to keep the Burmese government from reacting with violence. However, would this country have been “liberated” from the dictatorship if it had as much oil under its soil as Iraq does? I pose this question to show the hypocrisy of the United States foreign policy. I would like to see India throw some weight in on this event.
From what I could tell during my travels, Burma is a rather mysterious place, meaning we don’t really know what is going on there. Tourists are allowed in but they are very restricted in their movement and huge areas of the country are off limits. The travelers I talked to who did go there said the people are incredibly friendly and happy to see foreigners.
My sister saw this play “Bulrusher” recently that is being performed in Berkeley. Apparently the play takes place in Booneville, a small town in the Anderson Valley in Southern Mendo County. She highly recommends it. I hope to see it next time I’m down that way. The chronicle has a good review
I read this book about 6 years ago. It’s about a young guy who drops out of school, is sickened by society, decides he wants no material possessions, travels around the country for a while and ends up dying of starvation living in a bus in the Alaskan wilderness. Sean Penn just made a film of it and Slate has a good review of the film. Sounds like the film has some flaws but the scenery is quite incredible.
India has a system embedded in its society for those individuals who decide to renounce the material world and focus all their energy on the spiritual. These individuals are called Sadus and they are usually highly respected as they wander the country. They are the Mystics and Ascetics; the Rishis and the Sanyasins. The Indian peasants are happy to have the opportunity to assist them with food or spare change. Our society treats people who renounce, or fall off the tracks, as low-lifes and bums.
If this kid who is the subject of Into The Wild had lived in India I believe he would have lived a much longer life filled with spiritual fulfillment.
In a discussion with my father yesterday he outlined the primary reason for war. He stated that warfare occurs when humans identify with a smaller group of humans and no longer see humanity as a whole. He also reported that there are three ways in which people identify with a smaller group; these are ethnicity, race, and religion. When we are unable to recognize that we are all made from the same flesh, blood and spirit and humanity is one we begin to kill each other.
Today I went down to the park to check out an Alternative Healing gathering put on by KMEC. Some Native people were there singing songs and speaking. One man native man from Lake County, Clayton Duncan, spoke about his movement to change the name of Kelseyville, a small town in lake county. Apparently Kelseyville is named after a man who raped and killed native people in the mid 1800s. This seems a pretty good reason to change the name of this town.
Here is an artcle with more about it.
But then again, Andrew Jackson is on the 20$ bill and he ordered the mass killing of hundereds of thousands of Native poeple. This is all part of the dillema we face as “Americans” living in a society founded on mass murder which praises those who orchastrated these events.
Andrew Jackson #1 Indian Killer of all time.” />
When I was traveling in India I first learned of this great spiritual powerhouse. Adi Shankara single-handedly revived Vedanta (Hinduism) in India after Buddhism had taken hold of most of the sub-continent. In his short life of just 32 years he traveled all over India engaging in philosophical debates. He extolled the supremacy of the Upanishads and “non-dualist” thought and was able to recognize and distinguish the importance of the 13 most read Upanishads.