REFLECTIONS
by David Eide .

Tolerance is a pretty word. The destroyer of tolerance is always politics. When people live together they understand the dynamics of interdependence and see that there are more similarities than not. It's when a person stands for something politically that irreconcilable differences appear since politics is an adversarial process. Not when people take a political stand but when self and other are defined primarily as political objects, then all bets leave the table.

Democracy is not about ceilings, it's about horizons. It's action must be out, pushing out against the edges of what it knows. Ceilings are for the eternal stuck that populate democracies, theocracies, dictatorships of the people, benign monarchies and any other form of power. But the spirit of democracy is to break ceilings, break molds, break barriers, break records, break anything that constrains the necessity to do better, get better, make better.

When it becomes a critical mass of mediocrity, fright, and hatred then forget it. The sink hole is deep and wide.

There is infinite space, physical nature, and what we build. What else is there? Government and society are certainly things we build.

The more you know the greater is the discouragement but the greater is the recovery.

I don't know how "culture" can be created without a knowledge of "civilization."

Knowledge of what happens when the tap is opened, when the switch is flicked, when the ballot is cast, when the money is lent, when the investigation takes place, when the law is passed and so on. Without this knowledge liberal democracy devolves into cult, into extremism, superstition and the like.

Many things happened outside the art of writing. The art of writing was saved, conserved for the very best energy but it built, did it not, on many other types of energy?

I know I expanded my own resource base and pulled in a great deal in my 20's and early 30's. Plus I was exposed to quite a bit when I was young, both in terms of perception and experience. My own best efforts wanted to affirm my humanity. Then the long process of assimilating and making sense of things helped by the attentions I gave to stuff like solar power, environmental concerns, energy system and the like.

To the novelist it's never about him or her. To the poet it is always about him or her.

I was influenced by the counter culture, the black mountain types, surfiction and that type of thing. At a certain point I became very disgusted with America. American culture seemed backward, crude, conformist. I couldn't believe a nation that believed in extraordinary things demanded such ordinary lives. I found the people addicted to the wealth and power of the country and hiding behind it with lives of quiet desperation as Thoreau put it. That's when my mind went back to antiquity, to classic Europe and asia, the classic middle-east and so on. It took me more than a few months to move back to the American culture.

This decade starts to end. There is something physiological about it. And then the rush back through all the decades of consciousness and how they were and what happened. So a complete block of things and events, people and progressions. My time, my place, at least of what I know. Of the billions of things to know we get only a few to posses as our own and then it slips away.

It feels right to know just as it feels right to stare into the center of the universe and wonder mindfully about its origin or its possibilities we can't imagine at this time.

Put this block next to many other blocks and I don't know what it adds up to. There is more energy yes. But, there will be more energy in the future so we are juxtaposed between the less and the more.

We are aware of the extraordinary changes that have taken place to take us from grandmothers world to this one. But we are not yet aware of the more extraordinary changes that will come and make our own look rather paltry. That's why the goal of the writer is full humanity rather than cleverness.

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There are a 1,000 people lined up. 990 don't care and will never know of what you do or write. Do not spite these people! Study them. The ten that care will have a variety of interests, most of them very casual. If you can individuate and note those then you have a decent chance.

The '60's'. I pity the people who were on the sidelines at that time. After all the stupidity, all the acrimony, all the foolishness, all the mistakes the one thing that period did was to stimulate a young man to think. And the thinking came in reflecting on the time as it started to slide out of sight in the late 70's. I thought about civil rights, Vietnam, cold war, environmental, women's rights, space exploration among other items from that period. I thought about America's position as a world power. I thought of how best assimilation would take place. I thought about changing habits. I thought about my views of women, I thought about whole earth and nature, I thought of the cosmos. That was the stamp for me from that time. I knew no other stamp but I've studied a few others.

What had to happen, happened. What had to die to the good earth died for the most part. The lingering aspect got dumped on the defenseless. Rulers became rulers and clowns became clowns again. But the memory! But the sweetness of youth in thrall to its own possibilities!

I'm not satisfied. But I do believe the foundations formed out of the phases of development, represented by the various projects and journals meet my criteria for "productive." That is, writing, study and thought, and experience.

I had to pass through a few tits of fear.

The civil rights movement was the one that upheld democracy more than any single item in my lifetime. It proved that all of history had been wrong in setting up their false hierarchies in providing access to some and keeping out the others on the pretext that the others were not fit. "Ah, look how they talk and dress!" All of this collapsed with the civil rights movement, at least as one who studied history. It proved to me, as most idealism did, that we are here to listen, to help, to learn, to develop, to do at the highest undiscovered level; that all people have potential. This is a creed that belongs to one and all and it must be practiced as much as it can be.

The dilemma was always that I was not of the elite. I never had the luxury of keeping anyone down, seeing how I was trying to struggle myself up.

And I was fiercely devoted to the completed manifestations of any culture that could teach me.

I was not satisfied with this democracy and I put the burden on the people. It's their democracy. It's their ability to "self rule" that determines its success or failure. Yet, there is something absolutely right about it, about the people as well.

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2009


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