Saturday, November 24, 2007

Blog Voices This Week 11/24/07

I'm going to move away from my normal content this week. I know this means that I risk two things: first of all, buhdy might get mad that I'm not posting what I was originally asked to write about and secondly, I will make the title of this series meaningless to my content. I must admit that I'm much more nervous about the later.

But my motivation this week comes from a series that Nezua has done over at "The Unapologetic Mexican" titled Let's Have Nexus. I think the content of this series fits very nicely with the goals of Docudharma in that he is stepping above the current fray and trying to find patterns that can help us change direction. He's also trying to find common ground as a way to build coalition across different interest groups, which I think is the struggle of our times.

I'll focus on the first post that introduces the topic and then highlight the main themes in the subsequent four posts. My task here is to give you enough of a flavor of what Nezua is saying that you'll go read the whole thing. He packs a lot in most of these, so you'll really only get a feel for the thought process if you click through and take it all in.

In the first Let's have Nexus post, Nezua defines the questions this way:

What of the intersection of race and class and gender? How do we navigate these nexus of privilege and oppression?...

Because if we all are truly interested in forming an ongoing conversation that cuts away the the husk of empty discourse and scoops out the Essential, we have to look not only at the symptoms of hate, violence, authoritarian rule, and oppression, but at the seeds that inform them and keep them entrenched, as well as socially acceptable. These vines are by now thorny and tangled and hearty, but the seeds were planted long ago, and the nourishment is delivered by all of us, and every day...

The problem with a "progressive" being unaware of underlying malaise and focusing on the symptomology of same is that they not only doom themselves to chasing a whack-a-mole variety of myriad inexhaustible offshoots, never addressing the bedrock cause, but they also unwittingly lend their power to the current dynamics in place. That is, s/he unwittingly aids that which s/he professes to be against. You do not need to see the entirety of the process for it to take place, unfortunately.
For the "nexus," Nezua draws on the writing of Derrick Jensen in his book The Culture of Make Believe. Jensen finds the nexus for hate in entitlement:

I have spent the past several hours now thinking about the notion that masters "shall be entitled to their labor," and at the risk of overstating, it seems to me that entitlement is key to nearly all atrocities, and that any threat to perceived entitlement will provoke hatred.
In response, Nezua finds the anecdote to entitlement in humility:

What happens when you nurture a sense of humility in place of entitlement? You place your feet on the same ground as I. You remove racism without really chasing "racism." You remove environmental harm without getting caught up in side arguments. You remove sexism without feeling less-than as a man. You remove road rage. You remove exploitation. You remove rape. And you join with others in the understanding that you are not entitled to a damn thing. Nope. Entitlement is the antithesis of gratitude. And honestly, you are one lucky human.
The second in the series is titled Where is the kindness? In this post, Nezua addresses these questions:

Are we backing ourselves into a trap? With our surety and righteousness and protection?...

Do we really want unity? Or just to be tight and safe in our posse? Either one is okay. But do we want one and say we want the other? Do we actually want unity but not know how to work to get there? Is our safety eventually protecting us from even reaching our goals?
The third in the series is a short one titled The Path is Always Sound. Shying away from any narrow consistent path, Nezua reminds us:

But school is out. Summer is here, and I return to my heart. I trust it, and that's why you will not ever see me get stuck on any one paradigm or style or stance... Because I need to breathe free. And in the land of the heart, the air is always fresh. The water is always clear, and while unpredictable, the path is sound.
The fourth in the series is titled Love is Revolutionary. In it, Nezua discusses our lack of empathy in this culture and gets close to home in talking about how/why we engage in flame wars. Here's a taste:

I guess another way to say it is that this habit or approach is about reducing wonderfully unpredictable and complex human creatures and their realities into pre-conceived boxes and slots and theories and doing it to bolster one or more old arguments that we are pleased to continually reinforce. And in the interim, forgetting the interconnectedness of all of us. That is—and not to lose anyone in HippieSpeak, I mean this very literally—forgetting that if a person is allowed to speak their truth honestly, to the Whole, and without pressure to conform to anything/side, they will bring an angle to the common reality that the larger whole very much needs; a piece to the puzzle of what is best for all.
The last and most recent in the series is titled The Coming Battle. In this one, Nezua talks about the "nexus of evil" (my words) that we are facing.

The ghosts stir. The symbols of hate and division and dominance appear more and more. Do we see/dismiss the single incidents one by one? Deal with each symptom to our satisfaction? Or do we sit back and note the larger mass, the overall pattern taking shape?...

In actuality, this division and battle forming is not just about "White Supremacy." That would be a little easier. And even then, remember, "White Supremacist Thought" is not at its core about a Nazi flag, a Minuteman membership, or a noose in the office. White Supremacist Thought disregards certain humans as less-than-human due to an arbitrary and unverifiable variant. But this post is not about nooses, and it is not about racists. I see something larger. I feel shadows flitting across this haunted ground, grabbing at any purchase. I hear, in these seemingly isolated shrieks, a call to stand.
Nezua ends this post with the clarion call:

The time is now. A rot grows on our collective bounty, ghosts again rise from this mowed-over green. If we ignore them, they continue to animate our hands when we are not looking, they continue to poison us as we sleep.

We must know we are in a new time, where what we say and do and what forces we feed matter greatly. It always has been so. But now more than ever it is time to take a position, and to make an unmistakable stand.
This statement about the "forces we feed" took me back to a diary written by infidelpig a log time ago titled The Two Wolves Within where he relayed wisdom that had been shared by a great Choctaw medicine man that taught him about his Cherokee heritage:

Cherokee Lore
An old Indian Grandfather said
to his grandson who came to him
with anger at a friend who had
done him an injustice........

Let me tell you a story. I too,
at times, have felt a great
hate for those that have taken
so much, with no sorrow for what
they do. But hate wears you
down, and does not hurt your enemy.

It is like taking poison and
wishing your enemy would die.
I have struggled with these
feelings many times.

He continued......

It is as if there are two
wolves inside me;
One is good and does no harm.
He lives in harmony with all
round him and does not take
offense when no offense was
intended. He will only fight
when it is right to do so,
and in the right way. He saves
all his energy for the right

But the other wolf, ahhh!

He is full of anger.
The littlest thing will set
him into a fit of temper. He
fights everyone, all the time,
for no reason.

He cannot think because his
anger and hate are so great.
It is helpless anger, for his
anger will change nothing.

Sometimes it is hard to live
with these two wolves inside
me, for both of them try to
dominate my spirit.

The boy looked intently into
his Grandfather's eyes and asked...

Which one wins, Grandfather?

The Grandfather smiled and
quietly said......

The one I feed.

Remember to feed the good wolf today!

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