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The documents below have been slowly collected since the late 90's. Some of them I typed in by hand from much loved original sources, others I simply copied from somewhere online. All of them are here because at the moment I read them, they struck chord within me.
Initially I saved bookmarks to my favourite writings, but over the years I discovered that links don't last. More often then not when I went reread a story, or send a link to a friend, I found that it was no longer available. Eventually I realised that if I wanted long term access to these writings, I had to keep copies of them myself. It didn't take long to realise that if I was going to do that, I may as well share them with others.
Where I was able I have included attribution to the original author and site. Nearly all documents have been copied without permission and all of them remain under the copyright of the original author.
If any of these writings belong to you, and you would like them removed or the attribution changed, please let me know.
Wendell Berry, a quiet and humble man, has become an outspoken advocate for revolution. He urges immediate action as he mourns how America has turned its back on the land and rejected Jeffersonian principles of respect for the environment and sustainable agriculture. Berry warns, “People who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped; by influence, by power, by us.” In a rare television interview, this visionary, author, and farmer discusses a sensible, but no-compromise plan to save the Earth.
This was written for publication in “Marihuana Reconsidered” (1971) under the pseudonym Mr. X. Sagan was in his mid-thirties at that time. He continued to use cannabis for the rest of his life. After his death the publisher, Lester Grinspoon, revealed the identity of Mr. X.
Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive.
So here I was again: a Luddite, a Nimby, a reactionary, a romantic; standing in the way of progress. I realised that I was dealing with environmentalists with no attachment to any actual environment. People I had thought were on my side were arguing aggressively for the industrialising of wild places in the name of human desire.
Written during the run-up to World War Two. Jeffers saw the coming war as inevitable, tragic and world-changing. He believed it would be a disaster, but he also knew he could do nothing to stop it.
How should I live? And what is worthwhile? I ask these questions one cold April morning when I am feeling particularly dark and gloomy, forbidding and unapproachable.
I walk the dirt trails, admire the scenery, breathe in the fresh air, ogle at the mounds of fresh, home-cooked food served in the communal dining hall and can't help but feel envious. It feels a bit like summer camp, year-round. But after a few days of exploring Twin Oaks and talking to its members – current and past – I begin to see an underbelly to this idyllic haven. In a way, life here isn't so different from life on the “outside:” It, too, can get complicated.
Canada is independent of England, isn’t it? I think so. Not a bad society. Canadians have good health care. They have a lot of things we don’t have. They didn’t fight a bloody revolutionary war. Why do we assume that we had to fight a bloody revolutionary war to get rid of England? In the year before those famous shots were fired, farmers in Western Massachusetts had driven the British government out without firing a single shot. They had assembled by the thousands and thousands around courthouses and colonial offices and they had just taken over and they said goodbye to the British officials. It was a nonviolent revolution that took place.
To Confucius it seemed much better to be human-hearted than righteous, and to the great Taoists, Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu, it was obvious that one could not be right without also being wrong, because the two were as inseparable as back and front. As Chuang-tzu said, “Those who would have good government without its correlative misrule, and right without its correlative wrong, do not understand the principles of the universe.”
When the glamour of one's marriage wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that comes along. Someone whom they might indeed very profitably have married.
If you believe in the real underground of Rock 'N' Roll, then now is the time to do something about it. The time is now to overthrow the current situations and declare war on the record companies, radio stations, publications, clubs, and anyone who promotes the whole so called “scene” as it now stands. We need to destroy it all and take it back from the corporate phonies and conformist. But action must be taken now and blood must be spilled.
“How many of you know how to watch television?” I asked my class one day. After a few bewildered and silent moments, slowly, one by one, everyone haltingly raised their hands. We soon acknowledged that we were all “experts,” as Harold Garfinkel would say, in the practice of “watching television.”
On the floor of one cavern, officers discovered an ominous metal container. The object was fat, festooned with wires. The police called in the bomb squad, they evacuated the surface, they asked themselves, What have we found? They had found a couscous maker.
An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship. “I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”
Part of the mythology of science is that cogent thinking equals scientific thinking, and that therefore anything that science rejects is likely founded on shoddy reasoning, poor observation, self-delusion, or perhaps outright fraud. This belief depends on two assumptions: that the Scientific Method is superior to other sources of knowledge, and that the institution of science honestly upholds and applies the Scientific Method. Granting all that, we can draw a convenient line in accepting or rejecting new ideas by asking, “Is this idea consistent with accepted science? But what if these assumptions are not true?
I still get asked with appalling regularity “where my ideas come from.” Here's the deal. I flood my poor ageing head with information. Any information. Lots of it. And I let it all slosh around in the back of my brain, in the part normal people use for remembering bills, thinking about sex and making appointments to wash the dishes.
The Western comics industry is scattered, unfocussed, badly confused. Such periods are optimum for violent revolution. The Old Bastard says sharpen your axes, make your peace and pack your Rohypnol; we're going on a road trip to reclaim the comics industry and remake it in another image.
Steampunk is funereal theater. It's a pageant. A pageant selectively pumps some life into the parts of the past that can excite us, such as the dandified gear of aristocrats, peculiar brass gadgets, rather stilted personal relationships and elaborate and slightly kinky underwear. Pageants repress the aspects of the past that are dark, gloomy, ugly, foul, shameful and catastrophic. But when you raise the dead, they bring their baggage.
Does the operating system business have a future, or only a past? Here is my view, which is entirely subjective; but since I have spent a fair amount of time not only using, but programming, Macintoshes, Windows machines, Linux boxes and the BeOS, perhaps it is not so ill-informed as to be completely worthless. This is a subjective essay, more review than research paper, and so it might seem unfair or biased compared to the technical reviews you can find in PC magazines. But ever since the Mac came out, our operating systems have been based on metaphors, and anything with metaphors in it is fair game as far as I'm concerned.
Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.
There is nothing in human nature or the requirements of human social organization which intrinsically requires that a culture be contradictory, repressive and productive of violent and frustrated personalities. Recent findings in anthropology and psychology make this more and more evident. One can prove it for himself by taking a good look at his own nature through meditation. Once a person has this much faith and insight, he must be led to a deep concern with the need for radical social change through a variety of hopefully non-violent means.
Harvard dermatologist Madhu Pathak calls redheads “three-time losers” because their red pigment is an inadequate filter of sunlight and their skin is more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkling with age.
Secrets Of The Little Blue Box by Ron Rosenbaum Source: Esquire Magazine
I am in the expensively furnished living room of Al Gilbertson (His real name has been changed.), the creator of the “blue box.” Gilbertson is holding one of his shiny black-and-silver “blue boxes” comfortably in the palm of his hand, pointing out the thirteen little red push buttons sticking up from the console. He is dancing his fingers over the buttons, tapping out discordant beeping electronic jingles. He is trying to explain to me how his little blue box does nothing less than place the entire telephone system of the world, satellites, cables and all, at the service of the blue-box operator, free of charge.
I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.
At one station the doors opened, and suddenly the afternoon quiet was shattered by a man bellowing violent, incomprehensible curses. The man staggered into our car. He wore laborers clothing, and he was big, drunk, and dirty. Screaming, he swung at a woman holding a baby. The blow sent her spinning into the laps of an elderly couple. It was a miracle that the baby was unharmed.
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