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October 31, 2006

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And this, from his piece, is at the heart of wirearchy:

"Blogging is just that. No matter how bland the majority of blogs may be, no matter how much blogging becomes distorted by an "attention economy", the truth still obtains that bloggers have the means to share and access whatever information they wish. It is, in a very real sense, the ultimate tool of democratization, and its potential ought not be minimized by those who proleptically predict its demise."

"In the disciplinary societies one was always starting again (from school to the barracks, from the barracks to the factory), while in the societies of control one is never finished with anything--the corporation, the educational system, the armed services, the blogosphere being metastable states coexisting in one and the same modulation, like a universal system of deformation."

http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9512/msg00012.html

You can feel blogging conforming to the more established norms of normalcy. It takes an effort to "dance like no one is watching," when so many are. There is a Deputy Editor inside each of us.

You poor, sad motherfuckers. Like anybody cares.

Here's my payment in advance, Tutor (snatched from the post golden age of blocking, 1994):

Life is a jest, and all things show it,
I thought so once, and now I know it.

"Nowhere do we have less privacy than online." - Tutor

"Like anybody cares." - DT

Well, you both have a point, and I think the Inspector's breadth of concept comprehends both. I'm sure you recall, back in the day, when Rebecca Blood stood up in front of the class, and technorati, which hadn't yet been invented, would have counted maybe 85,000 blogs, of which maybe 137 were actually being written and read on a recurring basis, and the Canuck down under, yclept Wonderchicken, took her to task, and we all, silent or aloud, cried AngloSaxon oaths of approbation tossing emptybottles to the Pleiades, and the spirit descended and we dined on fiery tongues of teriyaki and went home quite contented - right? Not that we'll find that post of yore. Nevermore.

"We must embrace disappearance;" says Lohmann, and he's got the right sow by the lug, because the fact is we make our connections as we do, without entirely much help needed from technorati, Ms. Blood, or the innumerable small groups of edelweiss spawning spin and spam for Uncle Sam, no, not much at all. I remember a Haitian singer I heard once, 16 years ago, for half a song, on the radio, barely catching the name, a name no one has ever bothered to repeat. Still small voice. It disappeared, but didn't. Fuck us. Fuck the concern with whether us matter. we do not, as Mustafah Dickor reminds us. The connections, and their strange compounds, elixirs, libations, frissonated back of head lifting spurts of transposed heads making light of thought because the lighter we are, the more we can obsess less with justifying what is essentially a vast tossing of intellect into a bottomless dumpster and after all what we are after isn't some declarative sentence that will save the day but rather the sense of as the lights go on, others go off, in the counting houses of CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, the radio cartel that shall remain nameless, and all their assigned heirs, chattel, indentured persons, ad agencies, marketing houses, think tanks etc. Every glimmer of intelligence in the dumpster means one less moran mainstreaming on Rush, Bill and Lou. Movin on up. Takes time, but the Jeffersons got there. And, Macaca, who fucking cared about them?

I love you guys. Thank you, Dikor and Doctor. Still, I got to say, when the cameras drop by the Dumpster, and the crew turns on the lights, and someone sticks a mic in my face, I don't want to be the only one here while the rest of you vanish back into the night. We do have a spirit that you see in Gay and in Brecht, and Wilde, a sad gaity, as night comes on in cafe, and Homeland Thugs take their seats, and some Dumpster type at the piano starts singing of Mack the Knife.

You wrote, Tom, awhile back that what matters is not the post but "the pulse."

Units in battle go to their death because of small group dynamics. "The little platoon." The Dumpster and the Dumpster Alumni Association might be that.

Wonderchicken has toned things down, right? Who still blogs like that, like he used to, a drunken raving truth-telling wildman, or like Lohman's post retrieved from 2004?

Tom, you have only gotten better, not backed off. Mr. Scruggs is as dodgy as ever. TV is when he gets time to do it. Et alia is good for a scalding tirade from time to time. Lohman is incorrigible. Inspector 38 is still at it. Kombinat is still crazy after all these years. Gerry is sounding more and more like Chomsky every day.

Ah, there are no songs like the old songs. Let us open a bottle, and drink a toast to yesteryear. I feel better all ready. Thank you all for ripping me a new one. I needed that. Here's to Nobodies. Let's keep it that way.

Me too, me too! You forgot me, Tutor! I don't want to sound self-pityingly, but life as a tanker isn't easy. Outreach like this even less so. I'm an interpretive community of one, being all I can be, yet my needs are still very human, every day in every way.

Disquisition sounds like something you'd do with a sponge.
Melungeons - who cares about them too?
I got some yclepts, you want yclepts? I got some.
People adapt to circumstance when they have to, when they can.

Mr. Belmont, people adapt, yes, or endure, or go extinct. I am not feeling too well today.

When I made my first tentative dips into the blogosphere I received some encouraging words from a tribal preceptor:

You have a chance to make a difference, small enough, in the world. Each of us who is willing to risk our thin skin is an example to the others. We keep each other in the game. Like in those cowboy movies, when the Good Guy says, "Who is with me?" And one by one the townsfolk swallow hard and take a single step forward. We are at a tipping point. Each person to stands abashed and holds his tongue is a discouraging example.

These words had a decisive effect on me — they compelled me to dive in and not look back.

The game is not lost, it has just moved to another level. Tutor reminisces about some of my ideas formed in 2004 that only now find air, awakening in him a sense of nostalgia for a past that never was that contained a promise it never had.

Well, the ideas may be two years old, but as the blogosphere is increasingly co-opted those ideas become increasingly germane: The more the light shines on the performers, the more easily others can hide in the shadows. And not to quaff over what was and what could have been, but to chart where to gather so that barns can be raised, how to travel underground railroads, and provide aid and comfort to those who seek to disappear together.

The blogosphere has been discovered. It was inevitable. And, contra Klaus's spurious editing of Deleuze, it is not a "metastable" state seeking equilibrium with other social institutions -- it is a decentralized carrier wave at anybody's disposal and service, a crack in the enclosure. And now it can mature. So long as those of us who understand the blogosphere don't co-opt ourselves, so long as we remember that, as activist Steven Biko reminds us, "The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed," so long as we do not succumb to the temptations of the spotlight, we — we — can take it to the next level — amongst ourselves, in the shadows.

Well, the ideas may be two years old, but as the blogosphere is increasingly co-opted those ideas become increasingly germane: The more the light shines on the performers, the more easily others can hide in the shadows.

yeah ... that was pretty much the point of the uproar over the Deputy Editor, and the ensuing distillate ooze. It may be enough just to show that in laughing and spitting obscenities, it's known that we know how to be polite, and that it hasn't made any discernible impact on anything that really matters.

Dumpsters are not yahoos, just volunteers willing to show their insides and stick around for any catcalls, whether in adoration, friendship or disgust.

I spent the day today with Tracy Gary, we spoke of democracy, giving, activism, donor organizing, Gifthub, WB, The World We Want, her site and firm (Inspired Legacies) success, satire and madness. She reads WB and fears for my mental health. She asked me if I have "companions," by which she meant inner voices, demons, split off selves. Little does she know how studied and how calculated WB really is. Madness is a disquise, an alibi. We on the margins here around the Dumpster are not exactly "well adjusted" to the status quo, but then again the status quo may not be very well adjusted to us, either. Light and shadow, public and private, real and feigned, persona and propria persona - am I crazy to enter the world of the sane preaching this Dumpster Gospel? Would I do better to go deeper underground?

What you and we are up to, muttering about, is too big and too abstract and is of course mad ... it is outside the dtruvctural frame of how things operate, and why. It harkens to other eras and adresses timeless human issues with the same questions that have always attended. Humans lay structure(s) over motivations and activities that will always be there, it just depends what system of exploitation and control dominates at any given time.

What do you want to accomplish ? You can probably only get through to one or two people at a time, at a deep level, and it takes time. The most interesting scenario for this place is presumably when someone pays attention to what passes in places like this through regular reading, and has the odd blinding insight, a crack whereby light gets in.

Fundamental and substantial and enduring change can't come incrementally nor rationally, I don't think. It may when major systems fail from imbalance. Then, everyone's mental health balance fails all at once. It takes a long time for change to happen quickly.

You're only crazy preaching Dumpster Gospel to the sane if you sincerely expect or hope for the sane to listen, and / or take you seriously. If you know it's crazy shit, and they know you know it's crazy shit and that you're just raconting to amuse or offer counterpoint, I imagine you'll be alright. A boundary-spanner (or spinner ?), even. You could put it in your two-paragraph bio.

That's why (imo) Borat makes some peoples' heads explode .. it's because he's obviouly talking shit, but so earnestly and almost-right sounding that it seems too close for comfort, somehow.

Are we split personalities? No, but like two eyes trying to bring a single reality into focus - sermon and satire. I just have to keep repeating, "No, this is not dissidence, much less insanity, Sir, this is a work of art in the Augustan Tradition." Think anyone will buy that? Could I be gotten under torture to admit that I am "really" the Author Function of Wealth Bondage? As if I were God?

In my opinion the times require those in the know to use their resourcefulness to form their own invisible colonies while partisan forces aboveground entrench ideologically in preparation for hotter entrenchments.

I began my series with a discussion of contemporary zombie mythopoesis. The theme recurs throughout the series, with a pointed example towards the conclusion drawn from Romero's underappreciated Day of the Dead, which, shockingly, concludes with a ray of hope, a hint of how to escape. Here is an excerpt from my rough draft:

George Romero's third zombie movie...may well be one of the most subversive movies ever made. Day of the Dead shows us scientists studying the zombies, under the tutelage of the military. Zombies are still insatiable monsters who want nothing more than to consume living flesh (ie, "consumers"), but here they are drawn — astonishingly enough! — with sympathy. They are coralled like chattel and submitted to medical experimentation, under the hopeful eye of stupid, brash and power hungry exemplars of the military-industrial complex. Everyone is involved in an insane dance of mutual misunderstandings and exploitations. The zombies have a vague, unconscious awareness of their status, an underclass to be exploited as chattel, prisoners within a system in which they function as their own unconscious oppressors in their mindless pursuit to "consume".

Eventually the three survivors escape to a paradise island. And this, implies Romero, is the way to freedom. The entire trilogy ends on a note of hope, and this is what makes it so subversive. How do they escape? They simply decide to leave, then do so. It's as simple as that.


At some point one must decide that sharing pearls with those who appreciate them is better than throwing them at swine. Any psychologist will tell you that a patient cannot be helped unless and until they are ready and willing for it. The same is true on a sociological level, particularly when the patient is entering a psychotic break from reality.

I believe we have reached a point where those in the know must join together in new and redefined forms of community. Blogging is the tool in which those who dream such a dream can find each other. We must create our own new Commons, hidden, but in plain site. It's possible, and it's being done in a variety of ways by those willing to take such a terrifying leap away from the status quo: It entails giving; And cooperation; And trust: Particularly a sense of giving, cooperation, and trust that are so deeply contrary to our culture's very raison d'etre. It means forming connections via our own ever-fluid credentializing networks so that given (giving?) networks can find a way amongst itself to disappear together in plain sight, rather than wasting time, energy, and resources lobbing gifts to selfish zombies who scurry away when their hands grasp a morsel.

Like they tell you on the plane, put the mask on yourself before you help others with their masks.

http://www.ruthannzaroff.com/wonderland/curiouser.htm

Good heavens, Lohman, that is profound, and very helpful to me and very hopeful.

"I believe we have reached a point where those in the know must join together in new and redefined forms of community. Blogging is the tool in which those who dream such a dream can find each other. We must create our own new Commons, hidden, but in plain site. It's possible, and it's being done in a variety of ways by those willing to take such a terrifying leap away from the status quo: It entails giving; And cooperation; And trust: Particularly a sense of giving, cooperation, and trust that are so deeply contrary to our culture's very raison d'etre. It means forming connections via our own ever-fluid credentializing networks so that given (giving?) networks can find a way amongst itself to disappear together in plain sight, rather than wasting time, energy, and resources lobbing gifts to selfish zombies who scurry away when their hands grasp a morsel.

Like they tell you on the plane, put the mask on yourself before you help others with their masks."

When you study how the right became ascendent, the first step around the time of Goldwater's defeat and the rise of the civil rights movement, to withdraw as a "saving remnant" into their own shelters where they hashed out their own mythopoesis of the market, military, liberty, and God, etc. I guess at some very deep and compulsive level, I take the Dumpster to be a saving remnant, our little commitatus in the wilderness, who will appear mad to the Zombies, but we are prophetic of what is to come, on the margins, as the at the center the militias move in under whatever pretext to maintain order and prevent terror so we can all be Free.

Your themes in that last comment are exactly the ones that I endlessly process, about giving, art, zombie creating advertising, and consumption for which we are produced and by which we are consumed.

I am writing stuff now for givers that is getting very good, and I am wondering where to surface it, who will own it, what purposes will be served. Your comments are very helpful to me.

Would you consider posting your whole 14 part Assay, or continuing to mine it, with cross conversation here, with the rest of our saving remnant of bankrupt philanthropists?

"Go ask Alice; I think she'll know."

Through the looking glass, or down a rabbit hole, or through a wormhole, Wealth Bondage connects to Reality. Depending on which world you inhabit, the other appears quite insane. Read Wm. Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell for a comparable effect, inside clock time the world is a factory or a mill, touched by eternity, it is a river by which a young man plays a harp. "The eye altering alters all."

Mr. Lohman, reading your post and comments was a strange experience, because you cited me as an inspiration in a dark hour to keep going. You returned the favor at what is for me such a turning point. Thank you.

Dude:

I guess at some very deep and compulsive level, I take the Dumpster to be a saving remnant, our little commitatus in the wilderness, who will appear mad to the Zombies, but we are prophetic of what is to come, on the margins, as the at the center the militias move in under whatever pretext to maintain order and prevent terror so we can all be Free.

... we kept trying to tell the DepEd that's what we were up to ... he wasn't having any of it ;-)


"Take it out back", I think he said .

Tim Berners-Lee weighs in on some aspects of blogging.

When you presage the saving remnant idea with the story of the conservative movement, it gives me the willies. Their outcome was not too good. They seem to have put a whole lot of incompatible things into a big semantic bag and called that the conservative frame.

In progressivism there are many saving remnants and they don't need to dominate each other to thrive. Diversity is strength, and we seek to encourage its expression. Conservatives seem to have gone for a false unity that is now coming apart explosively. If we follow their lead, we become the liberal characature that they have framed us as.

Good thoughts, Gerry. I definitely do not mean a Cult of the Dumpster, nor that we would have out daily talking points emailed from HQ by Smoky Joe.

"Take it out back" - Give you an idea. Tracy G will be on PBS this month. She will publish a new book this year and go on tour. The nice man at Gifthub is in the book with a chapter on "Partnering with Advisors for Optimal Outcomes." She and he are deep into an effort to create a "Summit" or "Hub" for the "best of the best" people and firms in financial services, nonprofit mavens, and key donor networks to meet to create a commons to promote giving and living a legacy - meaning money, time, energy. That is what I was working on today, and yesterday when we met in Dallas. That was, you all may remember the crazy Dumpster Dream that led to the Open Space for Giving Conference in Chicago which many of you attended. The Dream has not died. And Tracy and I are still playing our double game, our duet. "Take it out back," sure. "And keep the noise down, please." The stakes have never been higher. Tracy's site says she has moved

a half billion dollars in transformative giving.

No one here, including me is getting a dime. Don't even ask. We are Stewards of the Dumpster Commons. Stewards get fed last. Filthy Lucre is what we Stewards disdain. We do it for love, strictly pro bono publico. Honor - you will find it here in the Dumpster if not among the Stewards ravaging our country from the top down. We are going to set a better example of selflessness.

Now, does the Dumpster Crew help or hurt this as a real world effort that might truly move billions?

You tell me. Just please don't act like this is about a few pals giving one another a hard time in total obscurity for evermore. We will get our moment of truth. I just hope we are having a good day when it happens, that I am not alone, and that the jokes are pretty funny.

Now might some of those funders and allies in tax and finance, back away if they smell garbage? You tell me.

All I am saying is recognize the stakes for which we, Dumpster Dwellers included, are playing. I have not backed off, but we had better get ready for prime time folks, and I don't want a whole lot of whinging and people disappering on me, when the kleig lights come on and Chastity Powers shows up to do an expose of progressive philanthropy and the Dumpster Dwelling low-lifes it attracts. My good name as a reputable Dungeon Master to the Stars is at stake.

I (like Blowtorch in another thread) am getting a hard-on just thinking about it. And if Tracy's sight has moved, she'd better update her links.

The link is to a gifthub post with a slideshow by Tracy about Inspired Legacies. Her site is inspiredlegacies.com. I am glad you and Blowtorch have at least something in common. Nice to have hobbies that cross lines of class and politics and religious beliefs. That is the benefit of civil society, I guess. You can find all kinds of private action in the public square.

Don't kid yourself. When we get together, I'm the Captain, he's Tenille...

Get me the photos. Happy to run them right here.

Delighted:

Low road High

Off the Chart

I hate being an asshole, but I would want to know more about

1. what exactly "transformative giving" means .. what is being transformed, who is being transformed and who is doing the transforming, and why .. and

re: Now, does the Dumpster Crew help or hurt this as a real world effort that might truly move billions?

see above .. what are we being asked to judge with respect to our engagement or engagment ... or do we just accept that it is good because it has been stated to be so ?

Not "you tell me", but YOU inform us ... and ask politely whether or not we might want to show up on good behaviour. So far, it feels like we are once again being admonished for "not getting it".

Whoever comes is the right people, etc. ... but that is always preceded by an invitation, not a warning.

Blogged the Aristophenes at The World We Want.

Good points, JJ. I'm mostly content to wait for our cue. I trust Tracy and Phil to get it right. That means that whatever takes place in the big house, there has to be space for the party out back. There has to be the possibility of interaction.

The question I have is when some of those resources will start flowing to the Stewards we discussed above. Not the official ones empowered by bought off political types, but the real ones gathering here out back. The free-range intellectuals we talk about are in the same position, marginalized by Wealth Bondage with all their energy sucking away in a day job that interferes with our real work. If that transformation doesn't do something about these issues, why should we care?

"The question I have is when some of those resources will start flowing to the Stewards we discussed above. Not the official ones empowered by bought off political types, but the real ones gathering here out back. The free-range intellectuals we talk about are in the same position, marginalized by Wealth Bondage with all their energy sucking away in a day job that interferes with our real work. If that transformation doesn't do something about these issues, why should we care?"

Maybe I misunderstand. It sounds a bit like a rich kid asking, "If this doesn't end up improve my wardrobe and sculpt my abs, why should I care?" Shouldn't we care because it would make the world a better place by our lights?

In the past, most intellectuals, like most chickens, were free-range. You fit it in with your day job, like Chaucer and Swift and John Taylor the Water Poet, or you took on the obligation of sucking off patrons or the book-buying or the theater-going public, or you were born into power in safe times, or you were a ill-kempt unsavory layabout. Socrates didn't lack a job because Athens was in an economic depression but because a job would have interfered with what he needed to do.

As far as being rewarded for our real work, historically you'll find only a sliver of nostalgia to appeal to. Even that sliver doesn't appeal to me much. Back when people still thought academic careers were possible, not only did I never consider an academic career, I even avoided takinng classes in the subjects I knew and cared most about. If I was going to plunge into those waters anyway, why let an institution muddy them?

And although I have many regrets, that's not among them.

You may have a point, Ray, but that was not the intent of my remarks. My sense of it is that many of the established institutions of philanthropy would be a better target of this critique.

When I say this, I have in mind many people that I know who are working hard organizing grassroots work and have little or no financial backing. What, after all, is the purpose of trying to land the dumpster in the public square if not to make this work more powerful? Are you saying that the financial suffering is part of the path? I don't buy it, I don't want good people to have to choose between a vocation and family, for example.

The part that the conservatives got right is that you have to provide financial foundations whether it was in the form of think tank and other institutional posts. If you want a healthy army of intellectuals, you have to feed them.

With all due respct, Ray, you can't stand outside Wealth Bondage and change it from there. It will run you over. We have to find ways of rewiring it, and changing the flows of philathropic dollars is one of those ways. I am clear that my interest is for these funds to flow more freely to independent thinkers, and to flow in ways the enhance their freedom and not contract it. This is not for myself, although it might eventually go that way, this is because I think this change is critical to our future.

In the end, I'm still confused by your attitude. I want resources not bound to institutions, but rather to communities or something like that. How would providing resources more directly to free-thinkers and Commons Stewards hurt this mission? Does the flow of cash create institutional drag in of of itself?

Thanks, Gerry. I understand better now what you hope for. Seen through the (probably distortional) lens of my own attitude, it would create another day job, one called "think tank", whose laborers will, like any laborers, have to strive for intellectual achievement on their own time, if any. But it may be, as you say, a day job well worth establishing. I have nothing against day jobs, some day jobs are better than others (better Chaucer's than Melville's, better John Taylor's than John Berryman's, better Camus's Resistance than Heidegger's acquiescence), it's almost always more pleasant to work at a day job whose every aspect doesn't spiritually appall you, and some day jobs even seem critical enough to be worth the indefinite postponement of other endeavors. (Although history's sometimes scathingly cynical on that score.)

What "transformational" means in context is a contrast with measured and managed by business metrics. The word transformational is meant to suggest disproportionate change, of self and society, giver and recipient in a spirit of community.

I take the point about invitation; you understand, though, that my own position is tenuous. Satirizing your host at a party is not necessarily considered good form. The Happy Tutor is not exactly dressed for success in a white leisure suit and gold vest. His invitation won't get anyone in the front door of anything except a Bordello.

As for who judges a gift - well, the giver does and satisfied by give again, and if not, perhaps not give again.

Does the public have a stake? Legitimacy? Yes, maybe, but how do you aggregate the opinions of the public, and why should our sense of someone's gift much matter to them, we are but one of millions and millions.

If any of us put ourselves on the getting side of giving, we cease to be of much interest. Want a grant, then start a nonprofit, make it succeed then write a grant proposal for a particular project. Be sure to say that results you will accomplish for the $10,000 or whatever, what the time-line will be and how you will manage and measure it all. A hard way to make living, I would think.

I did ask Tracy what percentage of "progressive" giving went for things like grassroots alternative media or for troublemakers. I got the impression that the answer is, not much, or very little, or next to nothing.

The way I see it, the Dumpster types are givers, not getters, they set an example of generosity and selflessness, rather than being potential recipients of much of anything.

If you made a list of who needs help most, and who could effect the greatest positive social change for the least input of money, would the Dumpster make the cut?

We do it pro bono publico.

Tutor, if I have had a comparable effect on you that you had on me then I am immensely pleased that I can return such a tremendous favor. And so we bear mutual witness with each other on the life-changing effects our little blogs can have on people. All great tasks, from writing a novel, to developing software, to changing society, happen sentence by sentence, function by function, person by person. (Or, in the words of Doc Trotsky, "Every glimmer of intelligence in the dumpster means one less moran mainstreaming on Rush, Bill and Lou. Movin on up. Takes time, but the Jeffersons got there.") The process is what's important, not the product, for the process of life and community is the product. And that's the difference between the forces of reaction and the forces of humanism: the former envision a definite goal, a product that is a static utopia where idealized tradition trumps human needs, and thus will require tools of control to compel obedience; the latter is, in tao parlance, "the way", ever fluid, ever adaptable. Utopia is found in the search for it, not in reaching it.

To refresh your memory, I began the Zombie/Blogger series in response to a question, or, rather, challenge you posed me. I lost the email, but it was something along the lines of 1) how do we find a way out of wealth bondage, and 2) what role, if any, do blogs play. My apologies for the delay in completing that response, but the requirements of my unfortunate current citizenship in Wealth Bondage means that trivial pressing matters frequently necessarily trump far more important ones. (Which, of course, is an (un?)intended consequence of citizenship, isn't it?) I want to give each chapter it's due, which means onerous demands on my time, which I just don't have at present: the superfluous, unfortunately, must trump the vital once again. (I look forward to the day when I get a dual-citizenship and can move freely between the two countries should I need or want to.)

Which brings up the notion discussed by Gerry and Ray.

The problem is that we have internalized our own oppression to such an extent that we are even discussing the benefits of good day jobs for intellectual laborers, or ways that independent thinkers can beg for handouts from elite coffers so that they can have the leisure to pursue their dangerous iconoclasm. What's disconcerting in this is how the very assumption of "job" is a given, one we must simply accept like eating, sleeping and death. Can we not even conceive of a life in community in which the very notion of "job" doesn't exist? to exist such that no one has a "job" — understood, connotatively, as a drudge that one "does" to "make a living"? Can we conceive, rather, that one's work can be an organic, integrated part of a life shared with others? A "job" is something one does for someone else because they need to survive in a competitive economy that is inherently inegalitarian and undemocratic. "Work", on the other hand, is something one chooses to do for oneself because they value the necessity of duty for oneself and one's community. Is it inconceivable to even imagine an existence without the notion of a "job"? When Ray considers historical examples, he considers them from a written record composed by a cultural victor in some conquest. Successful, invisible communities are not in the habit of recording their history, nor are they in the habit of segregating their time, and their life, between "job" time that consumes their life and "leisure" time in which life can be lived. Life, work, community, art can be inseperable, where divisions of labor are ever-fluidly agreed upon.

New communities demand redefinitions of basic concepts: holism, where work is an organic part of life, rather than the ontological segmentation of everyday life where a "job" demarcates one's life; sharing in plenty rather than competing from a notion of lack; redefinitions of family that move from the atomic to the molecular; chores shared by all, rather than jobs one is stuck in by oneself; "ours" instead of "mine".

Ok, back to the will to power as disappearance... A painfully brief encapsulation without all the context and background that lead to these conclusions.

I think Tutor is astute in raising the cultural retrenchment that occurred after Goldwater's repudiation — it was one of the successful examples I had in mind. Another happened to the same tribe after Scopes was indicted. One can look towards their contemporary success on a structural level without having to adopt their outlook. A strategy is a strategy, and can be adopted by any community that seeks to hide in plain sight, from Xtian Identity Supremacists in Idaho to squatting anarchists in San Francisco; from organized crime families on the streets of New York, to classless families in the tunnels below.

I take Gerry's concern with Tutor's example seriously. However, one of the quickest ways communities fail is in admitting those who are poor fits. That's why there are interview and intake process in communities, whether a corporate organization, a food coop, or a co-housing community. The sad truth is, not everyone can or should gain admittance to a big tent if it means the tent is imperilled by a poor admission. That doesn't mean those who are not admitted are not given all due respect and courtesy; it's merely a realistic assessment that serves both party's mutual benefit.

Diversity is a wonderful thing. The only way, however, that a community can thrive in diversity is if its members 1) respect each other's differences; and 2) respect the means of communal decision making. Hence the need for standards of admission — there is no quicker way to destroy an inclusive community than to admit anyone who wants to join. That's why hidden societies have tacit standards of vouchsafing for and credentializing those who are permitted to join. Credentialling, thus, becomes very important. The mafia, for instance, admits new members only when two made guys vouch for the new guy. (It used to be one until Donnie Brasco came along.) In a virtual community that need becomes all the more important if it's to translate to the bio-regional realm. Bloggers, if they want to move between these two worlds, will require their own vouchsafing tools. And such tools do already exist, and have proven very effective in bridging the virtual with the bio-regional: ebay and linkedin, for example. Bloggers can form their own vouchsafing and credentialing tools to form their own decentered networks that can assist in moving virtual relationships towards bio-regional ones. (I explore this in more concrete depth in my series.)

Hiding in plain sight is a sociological necessity for those who must exist together in dangerous settings. It is a form of demographic camouflage. The church, for example, is a perfect locus for such a community. But who's to say what the church worships, or even if it is a church? The anarchist with short hair who wears a tie and a flag lapel pin can move about freely in hostile settings, even providing himself the means to monkeywrench from within. (After all, this is exactly what the cointelpro folks do, for their nefarious ends.) "Demographic camouflage" is simply one tool of hiding in plain sight. There are others, and they must be embraced.

The xtian right has been inordinately successful in this. They have succeeded very well in hiding in plain site, forming their own decentered networks that have developed into their own economies and their own schooling. Unfortunately their particular cultural pathology demands everyone share it, thus it was inevitable they would re-emerge. The point, however, is that their retrenchment and disappearance succeeded so well that they could emerge so publicly and so powerfully after only a generation or two.

The sad truth is, no matter how safe, happy, and utopian a community is, the might-makes-right crowd will swoop in and steal your resources whenever they feel like it, justifying it with the supremacy-excuse-du-zeitgeist: eg: civilizing the barbarian hordes; exporting freedom & democracy; etc. — just ask the Aztecs, the Beothuks, the Iraqis... But until that day the natives can live in relative peace and harmony amongst themselves. This is even easier to accomplish behind the advancing front-line of the "civilizing" force — just make sure that when you set up your tents they look like those of the occupying force. As Yale Professor of Anthropology and Political Science James C. Scott says in one of his two important books:


It is reasonably clear that the success of de facto resistance is often directly proportional to the symbolic conformity with which it is masked. Open insubordination in almost any context will provoke a more rapid and ferocious response than an insubordination that may be as pervasive but never ventures to contest the formal definitions of hierarchy and power. For most subordinate classes, which, as a matter of sheer history, have had little prospect of improving their status, this form of resistance has been the only option.

Basically, one can get away with a lot, so long as they hide in plain sight.

(And I agree with Tutor about humor: to paraphrase Emma Goldman's famous, apocryphal quote: "If I can't laugh I don't want to be in your revolution.")

Mr. Lohman, consider the blogger-debt repaid with interest. In fact, I had been trying to find the books you referenced, but had neither the title nor the author, only the faint memory of the theme.

"Demographic camouflage" is simply one tool of hiding in plain sight. There are others, and they must be embraced." - Hiding plain site, inside/outside Wealth Bondage, both upholding the system from within as an exemplar of it, and also contesting it as only those who have mastered a system can. Open insurbordation inside Wealth Bondage - is that possible? Certainly, it is the role of the Fool, but the role is treacherous.

Consider the progression:

1. Hidden insubordination, unseen.

2. Insurbordination hidden but sensed

3. Insubordination hidden but seen and passed over in silence , overlooked by those whose seeing is unseen and unremarked.

4. Insubordination by a respected insider that is seen, and seen to be seen, and which goes unremarked, though the silence is deafening and the tension palpable.

I am at step four. I am not sure what comes next.

Your thought about healthy communities being an end in themselves and not a means to something useful is so right. A dumpster tribe is already something rare: A society of pariahs with their own strict admissions standards.

The problem with insubordination within WB is the ease with which is can so easily be co-opted, branded, and sold back to would-be revolutionaries as a fashion/lifestyle statement. The Blob cannot be faught by attacking it, for it absorbs all and converts it to its own energy.

Disappearing, on the other hand... What cannot be seen cannot be co-opted.

As for step 4... is the deafening silence a projection? What would happen if it was ignored by the one projecting?

It's hard being a double-agent, yet it has its tremendous seductions, doesn't it? And what happens when one becomes one's cover story?

You sound like you're going to explode. You don't need to.

"What happens when one becomes one's cover story?" - The Wealth Bondage Witness Protection Act does not permit me to say.

Judge: Do I understand that you're trying to show contempt for this court?

Attorney: No, Your Honor. I'm trying to hide it.

4. Insubordination by a respected insider that is seen, and seen to be seen, and which goes unremarked, though the silence is deafening and the tension palpable.

I am at step four. I am not sure what comes next.

My experience exactly as well, given that I am still 'a consultant', and still interested in organizations, business and why and how people work together on purpose.

Like a gay person whose sexuality is an "open secret" in a "don't ask/don't tell" environment.

Brings to mind a famous book ... The Outsider, by Colin Wilson (which incidentally was the inspiration and touchstone for a less-famous but well-known-in-the-domain (OD and change mgt.) model for addressing systemic change.

Interestingly pertinent here, it struck me as I read this brief synopsis (pasted below).

Colin Wilson (1922-) is a prolific English writer of non-fiction on human potential, psychology, existentialism, criminality, literary criticism, and the occult. Wilson has also explored his theoretical ideas through many novels.

Wilson, by his own admission, makes the same point over and over again in all his books.

The human mind tricks itself into underperformance. Humans too easily fall prey to unnecessary defeatism. Certain kinds of experience trigger our full capabilities, e.g., on receiving surprise good news we get a sudden surge of enthusiasm, optimism and meaning. When we are threatened, we suddenly spark into action.

Wilson has an very indepth background in literature and reading many many literary, philosophical, and psychological writers and thinkers. He has also studied the lives of many famous and not-so-famous individuals.

Wilson's work belongs in several disciplines, but is unified by a focus on the human condition and how "it can be solved". Yet Wilson has been somewhat maligned by mainstream literature, science, and spirituality fields, perhaps for his outsiderish autodidactism.

Wilson became famous with his 1956 book, "The Outsider", published when he was 24, written in a library during a summer when he slept in the park. It quickly attained cult status and is still cited by many people as a 'life changer'.

The original title of the book was "The Pain Threshold". The basic thesis of 'The Outsider' is that the health of a society can be measured by how it treats its "outsiders". Outsiders are about the 1 in 20 people who do not "fit in". Outsiders may be artists, religious people, writers, criminals, adventurers, etc. They may also be society's shamans, seers, visioneers, and litmus testers. Cultures which incorporate and tolerate outsiders get to enjoy the knowledge contributions of outsiders. Cultures which alienate outsiders by rejecting and repressing them, risk losing the contributions of their visioners and innovators, an unhealthy situation.

Wilson also places a great responsibility on outsiders themselves for failing to meet their duty to society. Wilson identifies the main flaws that outsiders tend to suffer from. Wilson sees many outsiders as failures since they didn't fulfill their potential to themselves or society, e.g.,:

by being overly physical: e.g., adventurers who overemphasize the physicalness of adventure e.g., in exploration or war

overly emotional: e.g., romantics who who fall prey to depression and negative thinking

Essentially, this boils down to outsiders who "give up" on the real task of creating truthful meaning from life by being overly active or overly passive.

Mind you .. if he wrote The Outsider in 1946 when he was 24, he wouldn't have the context or experience from having grown up post-1960 and experiencing late-stage capitalism, globalization, etc.

I'm probably wrong, but it seems like there is more now to want to be outside of, if one has the courage to stay outside consciously.

This is seeming highly synchornistic at the moment. I came to post something from a book I'm reading (Robert Laughlin, "A Differnet Universe").

It seems to me that this is the same Colin Wilson whose book I've had for some time and have tried to pick up a couple of times, I think it is called "Mind Parasites".

Anyway, I'll back up and give you the what comes before this too:

Like Bugs Bunny, Spike Jones, and the Marx Brothers, all real theoretical physicists are anarchists. It took me a very long time to appreciate this, for I am a highly conservative person with a stable family who pays income tax and makes mortgage payments. I also studied so assiduously as a student that I had no time for politics or distractions -- quite a feat at Berkeyly in the early 1970s. However, the studiousness was misleading, for what I was actually doing all that time in the bowels of the library was not my homework but something funding agents in Washington viscerally hate and have come to disparagingly refer to as "curiosity-driven research"--rapid, off-line investigations of things I judged to be important. The abstruseness and abstraction of theoretical physics permit one to get away with this behavior while looking responsible, which is why the discipline is such a magnet for the independent-minded. But I failed to make the connection with anarchy until it was pointed out to me by Paul Ginsparg, the creator of the Los Alamos Bulletin board, the first truly successful electronic journal of science. ... Paul felt that this cultural difference was fundamental, and that free institutions such as his would be difficult of impossible to create in any other discipline. His theory is now being put to the test, for attempts are underway to create new, electronic communication media for medicine. We will soon see whether they are genuinely new, like Paul's, or just sped-up versions of conventional journals. Still there is no denying that physicists are culturally the exact opposite of doctors.

He introduces the chapter with this little piece:

Ancient Greeek mythology contains deep insights about the human condition that make it endlessly wonderful to read and think about. For the story of the Dawn of the Golden Age of Knowledge, I refer to my well-thumbed copy of Hesiod to guard against slips of memory. It says here that fire was brought to mankind by the Titan trickster Elvis, who stole it from the gods' secret hiding place in deepest Africa. Zeus, enraged, sent a monstrous evil in the form of thousands of shy mainens, the groupies, to Elvis' brother Liberace, who was not that interested and referred them to Elvis. Zeus had given each groupie a small box full of misfortune, misery, and despair cleverly disguised as a Japanese lunch. Sure enough, each groupie eventually succumebed to the curiosity or hunger and opened her box, whereupon out flew all the ills of life; phone solicitations, rush-hour traffic, televisions in airports that will not turn off, and many others. All that remained at the bottom of each box was a small jewel, a jolly personal greeting from Zeus, and the emergency hotline phone number for the Betty Ford Clinic. Not satisfied with this revenge, Zeus chained Elvis to a peeing-cherub fountain in Las Vegas and sent an eagle every day with a delivery of cocain, barbiturates, and alcohol to gnaw at his liver. Elvis was eventually rescued from this torment by Hercules, who obtained in return the location of Zeus' marvelous golden apples and the recipe for the world-famous peanut butter and banana sandwiches that had made Elvis so big and strong. Elvis then retired to Hades, where he became immortal and fell in with some alien agents from outer space, who were there too. The aliens revitalized Elvis' career, and he now makes frequent guest appearances at abductions.

I feel guilty telling this story because, like most burlesques, it is not actually funny. Elvis Presley was a genuinely tragic hero, a person in whom the flame of creativity burned brightly , who illuminated his fellow citizens in a way they had not known before, and who died young as a result. There are countless examples of this effect from the music scene -- CHarlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Tupac Shakur -- but the important point is that it is an archetype as old as mankind itself and not confined to musicians with questionable personal habits.

His book is quite a good read and a recommend it to the Dumbster crowd. I think he would be at home by the dumpster. At points he even lapses into satire in a book about physics and science. Wonderful.

Tom Matrullo in a private email said once to me that WB shows what happens when over a long period you write every day and trust your deepest instincts as crazy as they may seem. Eventually, the muddy stream clears. I think this is what Frost was saying in the Pasture Spring, a poem that he uses to open a volume of his poetry. Given that we are talking about the Ancients, and this is about a VT or NH hardscrabble farm but also about Horace's Sabine Farm, and also about the spring of Helicon, where the muses meet, I will quote it all here.

I’M going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n’t be gone long.—You come too.

What I have learned or relearned in the last few weeks here is that WB is a community, and I am at best only its steward or custodian. It isn't really mine to open or shut. WB is an institution affected with the public trust, like the library where that homeless person wrote "The Outsider." People from all walks of life are welcome here, but they have to put up with us, and most can't or won't. We may be nice people in real life, but here in our world of possibility, we put the old ideals of truth, beauty, and justice above the contemporary ideals of whatever works and gets measurable results within a logic model that the leaves the contriver better off.

The Outsider is most often a Loser, and the Win/Win people despise losers. We play Lose/Win, the empty quadrant, the Dumpster Quadrant, where society wins, we lose. They used to call that heroism. Prometheus is a good example of it. I could think of others.

How do we play lose/Win for the long haul? What are the strategies for survival, when the only final Win/Win payoff is "immortality," after premature and gruesome death? I would rather be a Clown by night and a Fraud by day for as long as I can keep it up. Matrydom these days has been given a bad name. We will probably attract more to the Dumpster if it looks like we have strategies - such as parable and humor and satire and carnival - which can remain hidden in plain sight for the duration of The Ever-Widening War on Terror and the Dragnet now cast as we all struggle to keep America Safe.

I'm a humanist pessimist, Lohmann, it's true. That doesn't mean I believe the worst must always happen, or should be made to happen as quickly as possible: I do believe the better can happen with some assistance.

But I don't believe in your perfectly "organic, integrated" community. Even in non-capitalist societies, I believe there are conflicts and dissatisfactions -- always a Bondage one is both never outside of and never comfortably within -- and that's where the pro bono work/play I call "the intellectual" takes place. You may say I cling to an unnecessarily wizened concept of "the intellectual", and you may be right.

Regarding the blogging community, may I point to a few Montaigne citations of my own?

WB is an institution affected with the public trust, like the library where that homeless person wrote "The Outsider." People from all walks of life are welcome here, but they have to put up with us, and most can't or won't. We may be nice people in real life, but here in our world of possibility, we put the old ideals of truth, beauty, and justice above the contemporary ideals of whatever works and gets measurable results within a logic model that the leaves the contriver better off.

You might try describing it (WEB) to nice people, the Insiders, as a triage unit, your unique connection with the street ... "I'll see what my gang out back think about it, they have their ear to the ground, a connection with the less fortunate amongst us, and will flush out an useful perspective about what's there".

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