Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Equanimity


Equanimity (Latin: æquanimitas having an even mind; aequus even animus mind/soul) is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. The virtue and value of equanimity is extolled and advocated by a number of major religions and ancient philosophies.

In Buddhism, equanimity (upekkhā, upekṣhā) is one of the four immeasurables and is considered:

Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality's transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as "abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will." (read more)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In the Spirit of Cautious Optimism

We find ourselves at the beginning of another year.  Although the news we are constantly subjected to regarding the state of human affairs around the globe gives us cause to be pessimistic about prospects for the future viability of the species, there are also trends that may suggest a different future.  I have come to this conclusion not out of unfounded optimism or purely wishful thinking but rather out of the realization that there lies an insatiable hunger within the vast majority of the world’s people for a more peaceful world grounded in true human equality and social justice.

The desire to satiate this longing is evidenced by the multitude of voices around the globe that are not only insisting upon changes in the status quo but also actively pursuing  paths towards the peaceful transition to a sane and viable future.  These voices are everywhere, and cannot be silenced.  This conclusion can be readily verified by simply searching the Internet for those organizations built upon the premise of creating the conditions for a more peaceful and equitable world.  Such organizations focus their attention on human rights abuses and the often intolerable conditions that are the daily reality of hundreds of millions of individuals; these kinds of organizations literally stretch around the globe and are often deeply intertwined.

It might be argued that there are also very powerful forces of oppression focused on limiting human freedom and social justice for personal advantage.  In addition, these forces often use overt violence and aggression as the means to maintain the status quo.  This is no doubt true; however, this point of view is not sustainable over the long term.  It is not counter-violence that will subdue them; it is the power of ideas embedded with the bedrock of social harmony and universal justice that will ultimately prevail.  As we have seen in the history of many civil rights movements,  true and viable social progress is a painstakingly slow endeavor – the struggle for women’s suffrage, the abolition of slavery in the United States and the demolition of Apartheid in South Africa are excellent examples.

In my judgment, the lesson here is not to give up hope and yield to despair – as enticing as that might seem at times – but to persist in the ongoing struggle for sanity in this exasperatingly human world.  There are many ways to contribute to the interdependent causes of peace and social justice.  May the beginning of a new year bring inspiration, hope and renewal to us all. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

justice

Allegory of Justice, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1537

evil lution

Cuz!

- Recently saw tv about Spencer Wells' Genographic project, where he claims all human DNA came from east Africa. I'm cool with that; his presentation - the tv version at least - makes plenty good sense.
My pasty white German/Welsh ass is fundamentally African, and I am your cousin. Admitedly a few times removed but still, that sits cozy in my mind.
Of course you've got your critics, some of whom make sense; like scientists who say there's a problem or two with Wells' methodology, but also some indigenous folks who are scared of "biocolonialism," wtf that is; another who claims to be a scientist and says there's racism involved and in the same breath lambasts the sampling for including "some tribe from somewhere" and "a bunch of bozos from Tibet; my favorite 'critique' however is from those who cite the "evidence" of seeding by aliens in spaceships.
Well, around the same time I saw that show, I also had the great good fortune to witness the third episode of "Africa" on the Discovery Channel, which covered "Congo." The U.S. version narrated by (there could not be a better voice for this; I was mesmerized) Forest Whitaker. When we got to the part where they're showing us the forest 'breathing' clouds into the sky, and explaining that these clouds don't go elsewhere, they just rain right back down on the forest, then fill the streams and rush like floods into the rivers

...- I swear every chakra in my body started whirlin.' Not just the seven 'major' chakras, but ALL of 'em, clear down to my feet. It was like this...


I don't know nuttin.' When it comes to the world at large I'm kind of an 'impressionist.' This has just been one.

dream upon a star

Alternative Futures


There appears to be two disparate world views that dominate the political landscape in the United States in the beginning of the twenty-first century.  One of these philosophical orientations has at its core belief the idea that the individual is the central preoccupation of the social order and the other belief system maintains that it is the well-being of the community that is the primary concern.

The individual-based political system takes as its model the viewpoint as delineated by Ayn Rand in her seminal works, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.   She defined her philosophical conclusions within the framework of what she referred to as Objectivism.  Within this construct, the primary force that should propel human behavior is self-interest.  In essence individuals are to be guided by rational and ethical egoism that hold that action is rational only if it propelled by one’s self-interest and that a moral agent ought to act in its own self-interest.  This philosophical point of view rejects the idea of ethical altruism – working towards the common good.  It naturally follows that this view of life supports limited government and presupposes that government should not act to address the needs of the community, especially those in need.  In addition, the belief in laissez-faire capitalism would be consistent with this overarching idea since it would benefit individual rights, especially those of the powerful.  The implication inherent in Objectivism is that the powerful members of society are rightfully privileged for they are endowed with abilities that set them apart from everyone else.

The other philosophical system is in many ways diametrically opposed to Objectivism.  I would refer to it as Liberalism or Progressivism.  Within this system, working towards the common good is of great value and importance.  It presupposes that government plays an active role in the life of the people, especially those in serious need of basic services.  At the core of this belief system is a commitment to what Vandana Shiva has often referred to as The Commons – those community-based aspects of living that encompass the quality of water, food and air, the health care system, the infrastructure, adequate housing, child care, services for the infirm and the handicapped and public security.  This political philosophy does not preclude self-interest, but it does presuppose that both self and other be a significant part of the equation.  From this worldview, it naturally follows that the dynamics of the social order include everyone and that the fate of all members of society are intertwined.

The ascendance of either of these political philosophies will naturally give rise to strikingly different futures.  An ego-centric system will inevitably lead to an extreme and inherently destructive disparity between the status of the ruling class and everyone else.  It will also produce a social order strikingly devoid of the Commons – leaving a stark, bleak and formidable world for the vast majority of individuals.  On the other hand, a social order that embraces the common good and the essential equality of all individuals, in my judgment, is more likely to lead to a sane, equitable and viable future.  It is for us to choose what kind of public policies we wish to embrace keeping in mind the long-term consequences of such a choice.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quotes

Blessings my friends;

A paraphrased quote(To inspire folks to do their own research and think for themselves) in honor of a great man;
"It is really mean to tell a shoeless man to pull himself up by his bootstraps...
It is extremely cruel to tell him that while standing on them."

I realize that from time to time many of you question my sanity and choices in life, but i think most of you will agree that, whether or not mis-guided, they do come from the heart. I feel one of the major problems that our society faces on whole is how APATHY has been programmed into us...To paraphrase a quote i saw while my buddy was checking his facebook today; "Why is it when we are kids, we are told it's good to question everyone's intentions and actions, but when we are adults we are told it's bad to question the intentions and actions of government and media?"
Below is a letter i received from a man living in Victoria, B.C. I was first told about him years ago on my blog by a viewer on a post i did about the "War on the Poor"...It's why i left Toronto and went to B.C. to meet him in person.
His case of fighting for the rights of ALL Canadians, and indeed ALL the free peoples of the world, has been reduced by media to almost zero coverage and skirting around the REAL issues and crimes being committed against ALL Canadians...not just the Natives, poor and homeless...by corrupt politicians, police and courts.....please understand, when the rights of even one of us are violated, they violate us all. When they poison the waters of one people, they poison us all.

Please remember, my experiences don't come from reading a book or watching the news or making a movie, but from living on the streets, by choice, for years. From MANY witnessed interactions of how police deal with the rich guy driving his luxury sedan, (as calling it a "car" would be an insult) the wrong way down a one way street...by letting him go so they can race across that same street and ticket a homeless kid, sitting under a tree playing his guitar....cause that's against the law and a prime example of aggressive panhandling and endangering people. 

The REAL motto is; "To SERVE ourselves, And PROTECT the rich."

Or who can forget when the cops came into a homeless shelter just after i showed up at a press circus and bus tour of homeless shelters designed to show MP's care, but was refused when i offered my sandels so they can walk to the shelters like the poor do, and just before i was supposed to meet and speak with some politicians on behalf of a local poverty group...or how, after failing in killing me, or having me committed, kidnapped me and held me prisoner until my passport expired keeping me a prisoner of the country...and despite filling out the paperwork and filing charges against them, has still never been investigated, nor have any charges been laid, to either original offending parties, nor to the supsequent parties now guilty of "Conspiarcy after the Fact".
(we keep trying to forget about it ancient, but you keep bringing it up from time to time)...though on a sidenote i'd like to point out that  i did still meet with city officials, despite having a warrent out for my arrest, for breaching bail conditions by not signing in on time...didn't want to miss my meeting, afterall, they are so hard to get in the first place for people like us.



Again, please understand, this is not about me ranting on a soapbox about how unfair it is to be a homeless person...boo hoo hoo....woe is me.
This is not about me, wrapped in tinfoil, spouting government conspiracy theories and seeing shadowmen following me everywhere....Oooo, they are out to get me.
This is about the FACTS, that are being ignored, misrepresented and distorted...i think "SPIN" is the socially accepted word for lying when politicians, police and media do it.
The FACTS, that poor people were evicted from low income housing for renovations to accommodate rich tourists when the Olympics came to Vancouver, or how the deathrate of the homeless almost tripled...but hey, we got GOLD in Hockey, so who cares about that now, why pay attention to those coincidences...???
I mean, even when the poor people DID find an advocate and legal team to take their case of Human Rights Violations before the Supreme Court of Canada, our highest place of TRUE Justice, they were first DENIED JUSTICE when they were allowed to be DELAYED 2 yrs by the city and police, who didn't think the case should even be allowed to be heard...then again for another 2 yrs by the Province of B.C. who really asked the courts; "pretty please" to reconsider even hearing this case stating as their reason;(Paraphrased) "It must not be allowed to be heard, since it must not be allowed to be victorious and so would be a waste of the courts time."...but your NEWS told you that the coaching staff for the men's Olympic Hockey team has finally been decided on and will be annouced shortly.
Let's NOT think about what it REALLY means; when after spending 4 yrs trying to have your case even heard by the greatest JUSTICE in the lands...while the death rate triples and witnessess to police and city corruption are eliminated, the Supreme Court Judge then says, after hearing all the evidence on both sides, they need an additional 8 months of people dying in the streets to decide whether or not it should be illegal and considered a human rights violation to prevent people from sleeping?

As a matter of FACT, even when Canadians did finally win the right to sleep, the city of Victoria already had lots of time to rewrite it's formerly Human Right offending laws into more legal friendly and acceptable wording to continue to deny those rights, and still provide themselves access to legal kidnappings and murders. So most people are unaware, by design, of how much of the population and economy are carried on the backs of what are called; "the working poor".
People who have part/full time employment, but not a place to live...they sleep in their cars, or under a bridge or in a homeless shelter, or a friend's couch, or their parents basement..etc,etc. Then we can ignore how cities never have any money to build affordable housing for all those working people, but can afford bigger prisons, more lawyers, judges and cops to enforce laws against being homeless.
We can also pretend not to notice that by putting homeless people in jail you can control the statistics put forth that make it seem like the unemplyment rate is dropping and the economy is on the rise...because those formerly unemployed and employed homeless people are now statistically called prisoners and creating a need for bigger jails because of overcrowding, creating jobs for more cops, lawyers and judges...driving up their economy and further lowering the unemployment rate. Throw in a fake war or two to really boost the arms economy, decrease more of the formerly unemployed and suck away the last remaining rights people spent decades and world wars fighting for....Aaaaaah....now we finally have a perfect world, with justice and liberty for all who can afford it...definetely the path we need to continue following.
People will share cats falling off tables videos on facebook, or tweet about what some moviestar was wearing or did at last night's big party and these things will go viral around the world in minutes, but take issues like poverty and homelessness and start making honest and VERY REAL links to corruption in governement and police and the causes of the REAL, DEADLY ISSUES humanity faces and people become afraid and try to distance themselves from you by saying things like; "I don't believe that is really happening.", or "Cops wouldn't do that", or "There's nothing we can do about it."...and i could agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

Please share and do something about really ending SLAVERY and this War on the Poor...see how fast those REAL, DEADLY ISSUES disappear when we start being a part of the solution and stop being a part of the problem. What would happen if all these groups for Women's Rights,  Veterens Rights, Minority Rights, Gay Rights, Children`s rights, Rights for the Elderly, etc, etc. all suddenly realized....wait a minute...there are poor and homeless people who are women, veterens, minorities, gay, children, elderly, etc, etc, etc and maybe we should all be working together instead of seperately.


 "Empathy is the primary sense needed in the search for TRUTH and UNDERSTANDING...It would be senseless to search without it."

(please forgive my babble above...the letter is below)


Hello. My name is David Arthur Johnston. I've a case that needs to be forwarded to the SCC. The 'right to sleep during the day' was denied in the Appeals Court of BC because of lack of evidence of its need (being that it is now recognized that we've the right to sleep at night). I don't use money and its a miracle that I made it to the Appeals Court in the first place.

I am currently exorcising my last resort by fasting and ignoring sentence conditions. So far, I've been meditating constantly under the sequoia tree at Centennial Square in Victoria and the police pick me up and take me to Wilkenson (VIRCC) on Fridays. Not giving me any extra charges while I've ignored the 'reporting to probation immediately', 'being at Centennial Square, and voluntarily reporting to Wilky on Fridays for my 'intermittent' sentence (I had told the judge the sentence wasn't reasonable).

the 'adams' ruling (recognizing the 'right to erect temporary
abodes')- http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/Jdb-txt/SC/08/13/2008BCSC1363.htm

its appeal by the city (resulting in the Appeals court adding the
words 'at night' to the disposition)-
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/09/05/2009BCCA0563.htm

My Factum/Argument Challenging The Daytime Tent Prohibition-
http://www.angelfire.com/apes/hatrackman/myfactum.htm

The City's Factum/Argument Defending The Daytime Tent Prohibition-
http://www.angelfire.com/apes/hatrackman/cityfactum.htm

Anyhoo, I'll cut and paste the update I made today-

St. Ann's update- Monday, January 21st, 2013: oh the games we play

-

Where to begin?...

On Friday the 18th around 6ishPM police van pulls up in front of the tree. about 4 or 5 cops. 'arrest' me and take me out to Wilkinson for my intermittent 'jail-on-weekends' sentence. No extra charge for ignoring my 'conditional obligations' of 'reporting immediately to probation' after sentencing on Tuesday, not being at Centennial Square, and turning myself in at wilky.

Got out this morning (Monday) and am smoking and having coffee while my laundry gets done. Then I'll secure another blanket or two (cops stole my sleeping bags) and head back to the tree to continue fasting and meditating until my next arrest, which could be bet on to be by this coming Friday, at least.

The fast is now at 19 or 20 days minus 2 or 3 to compensate for the 'unofficialness' of the time before sentencing (the allowance of sugar and milk in my coffee), the half-way through 'cheat' and the pre-sentence fast-breaking. The official fast beginning at 9:30 AM on Tuesday the 15th. Enjoying an old guys body, moving slow as I have to. I continue to be unusually high in the spirit.

Patience be with us... A mindful Constitutional lawyer/law firm volunteering to forward my case to the SCC would save me for a while.
Patience be with us.

David Arthur Johnston

Victoria, BC, Canada

Hatrackman@Gmail.com

The 'Right to Sleep' Data Hub (or The Process of How It Is That It Is Legal to Have a Tent, at Night, in a Park in the City of Victoria, BC, Canada)- http://goo.gl/maps/5P9ZU

PS: cops didn't steal my sleeping bags. presumption on my part. sorry.

passive non-violent resistance


Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism.

With assistance from the Quaker group the American Friends Service Committee, and inspired by Gandhi's success with non-violent activism, King visited Gandhi's birthplace in India in 1959. The trip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of non-violent resistance and his commitment to America's struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected, "Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation."

African American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin had studied Gandhi's teachings. Rustin counseled King to dedicate himself to the principles of non-violence, served as King's main advisor and mentor throughout his early activism, and was the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Rustin's open homosexuality, support of democratic socialism, and his former ties to the Communist Party USA caused many white and African-American leaders to demand King distance himself from Rustin. (read more)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"planet"


Marc Quinn's sculpture of a baby entitled Planet.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

the writing on the wall


Antônio Vilas-Boas (in many English sources misspelled "Villas-Boas") (1934–1992) was a Brazilian farmer who claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials in 1957. Though similar stories had circulated for years beforehand, Vilas Boas' claims were among the first alien abduction stories to receive wide attention.

At the time of his alleged abduction, Antônio Vilas-Boas was a 23-year-old Brazilian farmer who was working at night to avoid the hot temperatures of the day. On October 16, 1957, he was ploughing fields near São Francisco de Sales when he saw what he described as a "red star" in the night sky. According to his story, this "star" approached his position, growing in size until it became recognizable as a roughly circular or egg-shaped aerial craft, with a red light at its front and a rotating cupola on top. The craft began descending to land in the field, extending three "legs" as it did so. At that point, Boas decided to run from the scene.

According to Boas, he first attempted to leave the scene on his tractor, but when its lights and engine died after traveling only a short distance, he decided to continue on foot. However, he was seized by a 1.5 m (five-foot) tall humanoid, who was wearing grey coveralls and a helmet. Its eyes were small and blue, and instead of speech it made noises like barks or yelps. Three similar beings then joined the first in subduing Boas, and they dragged him inside their craft.

Once inside the craft, Boas said that he was stripped of his clothes and covered from head-to-toe with a strange gel. He was then led into a large semicircular room, through a doorway that had strange red symbols written over it. (Boas claimed that he was able to memorize these symbols and later reproduced them for investigators.) In this room the beings took samples of Boas' blood from his chin. After this he was then taken to a third room and left alone for around half an hour. During this time, some kind of gas was pumped into the room, which made Boas become violently ill.

Shortly after this, Boas claimed that he was joined in the room by another humanoid. This one, however, was female, very attractive, and naked. She was the same height as the other beings he had encountered, with a small, pointed chin and large, blue catlike eyes. The hair on her head was long and white (somewhat like platinum blonde) but her underarm and pubic hair were bright red. Boas said he was strongly attracted to the woman, and the two had sexual intercourse. During this act, Boas noted that the female did not kiss him but instead nipped him on the chin.


When it was all over, the female smiled at Boas, rubbing her belly and gestured upwards. Boas took this to mean that she was going to raise their child in space. The female seemed relieved that their "task" was over, and Boas himself said that he felt angered by the situation, because he felt as though he had been little more than "a good stallion" for the humanoids.

Boas said that he was then given back his clothing and taken on a tour of the ship by the humanoids. During this tour he said that he attempted to take a clock-like device as proof of his encounter, but was caught by the humanoids and prevented from doing so. He was then escorted off the ship and watched as it took off, glowing brightly. When Boas returned home, he discovered that four hours had passed.

Following this alleged event, Boas claimed to have suffered from nausea and weakness, as well as headaches and lesions on the skin which appeared with any kind of light bruising. Eventually, he contacted journalist Jose Martins, who had placed an ad in a newspaper looking for people who had had experiences with UFOs. Upon hearing Boas' story, Martins contacted Dr. Olavo Fontes of National School of Medicine of Brazil; Fontes was also in contact with the American UFO research group APRO. Fontes examined the farmer and concluded that he had been exposed to a large dose of radiation from some source and was now suffering from mild radiation sickness. Writer Terry Melanson states:

Among [Boas's] symptoms were 'pains throughout the body, nausea, headaches, loss of appetite, ceaselessly burning sensations in the eyes, cutaneous lesions at the slightest of light bruising...which went on appearing for months, looking like small reddish nodules, harder than the skin around them and protuberant, painful when touched, each with a small central orifice yielding a yellowish thin waterish discharge. " The skin surrounding the wounds presented 'a hyperchromatic violet-tinged area".

Boas was able to recall every detail of his purported experience without the need for hypnotic regression. Further, Boas' experience occurred in 1957, which was still several years before the famous Hill abduction which made the concept of alien abduction famous and opened the door to many other reports of similar experiences.

Antonio Vilas Boas later became a lawyer, married and had four children. He died in 1992, and stuck to the story of his alleged abduction for his entire life. (read more)


Antônio Vilas-Boas

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

story of the seed


Vandana Shiva (Hindi: वन्दना शिवा; b. November 5, 1952, Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand, India), is an Indian philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1978 with the doctoral dissertation "Hidden variables and locality in quantum theory."

She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization, (along with Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith, Ralph Nader, Jeremy Rifkin, et al.), and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her interview in the book Vedic Ecology (by Ranchor Prime) that draws upon India's Vedic heritage. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS, Spain's Socialist Party's think tank. She is also a member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993. (read more)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

there are buildings on the moon


Here's a close-up of Tycho crater. 

Download and enlarge image

to see buildings on the moon.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the horse


"A Lion Attacking A Horse" 

George Stubbs 1770

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Decision making

Decisions are mostly intuitive, logical explanations
catch-up milliseconds later ~ Robert Sapolsky [ link ]

chained by illusion

Saturday, January 5, 2013

the limits of tyrants


"All tyranny needs 

to gain a foothold 

is for people of good 

conscience to remain silent."

Thomas Jefferson.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Roger Swanson



Most Minnesotans have never heard of Roger Swanson. But among voyagers around the globe, he's known as the man who circled the world not once -- but three times -- on a 57-foot sailboat whose home port is listed as "Dunnell, MN."

His travels carried him from the tip of South Africa to the Arctic, winning international honors along the way. He also happened to launch a half-dozen manufacturing businesses in rural Minnesota, overseeing production of everything from snowblowers to farm equipment.

Swanson is being remembered this week as an extraordinary adventurer who lived an otherwise ordinary life in southwestern Minnesota.

"Roger Swanson was one of the greatest long-distance voyagers of this era or any other era," said Herb McCormick, senior editor of Cruising World magazine. "Few sailors have gone from the Arctic to the Antarctic and everywhere in between. He was one of a kind." He died December 25th 2012. R.I.P. Roger Swanson.

where are we going ?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

earthrise


Download and enlarge this image

and you can see structures

inside the large crater near the bottom.

(moon rising)

(download this image)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013