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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

To Find Lost Manhood

I'm often told my posts are positive and optimistic.  This one might seem cynical and dark.  But it's about truth we must face, and I hope you see the optimism behind all truth.


I made it to Denver from Vermont.  I'm staying at the house of my friends, Joan, Sokha, and their daughter Charya.  Now I have to find a ride to my friend Stephanie's in Pagosa Springs in southwestern Colorado.  She plans to take me to our Peace Corps reunion in San Diego at the beginning of August.

My new friends, Sara and Torri, with their children, Ian and Marta, brought me to Denver from Vermont.  Ian (age 9) and Marta (age 7) were a joy to me.

I've gotten to see my friends Cody and Jesse, and Tim and Cherry and their son Daniel, while in Denver.  (Cody, Jesse and Tim are in the book).  Cody just had a dread-cutting party, which I missed, and is now bald.  He had me cut off one of his dreads beforehand, though.

Cambodian Abode

It's interesting staying with Sokha.  Sokha's native Cambodia was devastated by Pol Pot's genocide, on the one hand, and Henry Kissinger's genocide, on the other.  Sokha lost his entire immediate family and many friends to the ravages of genocide and starvation caused by politics.  He keeps telling me about the joyful simplicity of his native Cambodian culture, and can't help but see how ridiculous the rampant materialism and absurd complexity of life in the US has become, even as he is grateful to be here.  He tells me of the generosity and hospitality of Cambodian culture, how anybody can drop in at anybody's house un-announced and be fed, no matter how poor.  And here, in this nation of wealth, you often go away hungry after visiting somebody.  And you can't visit many folks in the US without calling ahead of time to make an appointment, as if you're dealing with a business, not people.  He observes, also, the irony that the more people have, the less they can share. He says, in his Cambodian culture, people don't need accountants, because "never go in debt, spend only what you have only on what you need, and keep only possessions you need, and work only as much as you need" are all you need to know.  

Que Mall 

Joan and I got into a heated discussion about mega churches in Denver - a whole franchise of them - which we've both visited several times.  The churches look like malls - because they are malls, with coffee shops and bookshops in foyers, cash registers and all.  You can't get into the sanctuary without walking through this merchandise department.  And, once you're in the sanctuary, you get to see high tech video screens everywhere with hip bands playing hip music.  To me it's a no-brainer, "Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!", you know, what Jesus said as he wielded his whip.  No matter from what angle I look at this, and whatever argument for it I hear, I simply can't help but feel utter disgust.  But there are really nice people in those churches, doing good things, donating lots of money on really nice programs helping lots of people. And the preachers give good, insightful sermons (which, surprise, never ever happen to include Jesus' basic teachings, like about money and possessions, except on rare, rare, rare occasions, only for the sake of explaining them away).  Nice people and nice programs and nice words and the "Gospel" make the pill go down smooth.  I hope to write a full-fledged essay about this for the website.  This is very important, because we're talking a big political force here, not an inane, offbeat religion.  We're talking about a force behind American world policy.

Book Readings I Missed

Mark Sundeen is doing book readings in Albuquerque (Monday the 23rd) and Santa Fe (Tuesday) and invited me to participate, but I couldn't get my act together to hitch hike in the heat out of Denver, which would mean hitching back to Colorado again for my ride to San Diego.  Too much traveling is getting to wear on me.  

mass grave of massacred Cambodians
Which Mass Homicide Do You Prefer?

Most folks have heard about the next mass shooting that happened in the Denver area since I've been here.  We keep thinking these killings are isolated, random, freak events.  But they keep happening.  And they will keep happening, more and more, as certainly as the cause-and-effect laws of physics.  

Mass killings are a guaranteed symptom of a sick society.  

The President with his
future Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
proving their lost manhood
Henry Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize, even after he and Richard Nixon master-minded the mass bombings of millions of innocent men, women, and children in Cambodia and Vietnam.  What if the whole nation looked on in horror over Kissinger's acts as it does over James Holmes' killing of 12 people and wounding 58?

"How Many Mass Killers Were Women?"

Columbus' first project on Hispaniola:
proving lost manhood.
The founding seed of America.
My friend Whitney brought out a glaring fact in Facebook: "How many mass killers were women?" She asks. "And violence is overwhelmingly male (both perpetrators and victims). Time to start talking about how to reach young men and help them learn to stop this cycle."  And she references this article by Erika Christakis: 

Some men brought up the fact there are isolated instances of women serial and mass murderers, too.  But that doesn't erase the obvious, that the overwhelming majority of killers have been males.

Whitney's comment:  "I'd like to see a much more open attitude toward mental illness. We should make it not only possible, but acceptable to say 'hey, I'm hearing voices in my head]' or 'Mom, Dad, I'm really pissed off and want to shoot someone' and know that while these things are not normal, they're nothing to be ashamed of, and that there are ways to help and feel better."

"Hmm... I'm dazed and confused...
after all that,
I still can't find my manhood!
I guess, to be a man, you have to
be like Kissinger & Columbus,
and massacre thousands or millions!

Another fb person explained it by saying it's due to lowered levels of testosterone, brought on by bad diet, lack of exercise, and environmental toxins.

I agree with both the above, and add my own observation as a male who went through suicidal clinical depression. Self destruction.  I'll dare find the rage that I felt in myself and shed some light on this.  Here was my response to the conversation.  This is not about excusing the mass murderers.  We're each responsible for ourselves.  Yet we can never be responsible until we realize the whole society is ourselves:  

"It's pretty damned obvious males don't feel useful and feel emasculated in a control-freak society obsessed with security and fear. Boys don't play in the woods any more, don't explore, don't experience the natural dangers of life that we all need (yes need, like we need air) and learn how to cope with challenges. 

It's a principle of biology. Don't allow your body to naturally deal with illness and pain, popping antibiotics & painkillers at the drop of a hat, and our immune systems get weak, and our bodies start attacking themselves. Auto-immune diseases, cancer and mental illness are more rampant than ever before. 

"I have no doubt about my masculinity,
and I'm  not even a man!
Maybe if I stop cockfighting petty individuals
and dabble in massacre,
I'll become a man!"
Socially, this is true. History and biology show us males are, generally speaking, the antibodies of society. It's in their genetics to protect, and this is repressed. Is a rooster stupid for being "cocky," or is this its biology? Now they begin attacking their own selves, own societies. The more males get bashed for being male, the more their repressed anger boils. How long does a cap stay on a pressure cooker that has no release? 

In physics this is true. Can we eliminate negatives when for every positive there is an equal and opposite negative? Won't the negatives backlash in violence? Instead of fighting and denying what will never, ever, ever go away (night, winter, violence, anger, aging, death) why not just accept it all as natural and then finally live with it in balance?"

I often hear how it's such a wonderful thing how civilized we are from our barbaric tribal days, and how we continue to civilize barbaric tribes the world over.  But does the barbarism of the Yanomamo and head-hunting Juarani in the Amazon even begin to hole a candle to to the incessant mass genocide and perpetual, prolonged suffering promoted by commercial civilization?  But we wrap our mass murders in methodical, civilized morality, even as we are appalled at splinters in the eyes of "barbarians." And what a pretty wrapping it is, huh?

How can we be happy dealing only with the symptoms when our system itself is flawed to its very foundation?  There's often no better way to see a system for what it is than to step outside of it.  To find a real man, that is the manly challenge. 


  1. Suelo, you wont find malls in any Eastern Orthodox churches. I cannot believe how cavalier Americans are when the empire invades other countries.Just think about the 550.000 widows and orphans in Iraq.

    1. Alex, Eastern Orthodox church is no better, it is a business model. In my country, the patriarch is the 3rd richest person. He has a monopoly on candles in all the nation's churches. The church is widely involved in politics. New churches appear every day and yet another priest drives a Lexus. The priest of a community goes by each house and collects specific products, like eggs and flour, that is not aimed at being given to the poor, but as a payment for the service of the church, this is not hidden, everyone knows that this is direct material benefit to the priest. You cannot baptize your child or burry your dead without paying the church fee for each service(there is a pricelist), the priest will literally say no to you. More disgusting things are happening but there's no point in writing them here, you get the idea. Just look at Russia and tell me money is not involved there. Or political power. I don't want to generalize, but I assure you that as a whole Eastern Orthodox church is not working on any better moral grounds than the other ones mentioned here.

  2. Since there's a character limit I'll break this up.

    Part 1

    "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein ©1977


    "A Pattern Language" is thick book, but each pattern or chapter is brief and can be read in a few minutes. So it's easy to steadily work through. The book is divided into three sections, Towns, Buildings and Construction, the first section is probably the only part necessary to fully understand the patterns as they apply to broad social issues.

    The whole book is online except in a slightly different format. Also it's difficult to cut and paste the text from this site:

    Here's a site presenting just the problem and solution paragraphs:

    The book is a favorite of mine because what underlies every concept is a geometrical pattern that many would say is a fundamental aspect of beauty and morality. The geometrical pattern is the semi-lattice. A semi-lattice is formed when hierarchies overlap. Here's a related artistic example:

    "A City Is Not A Tree" is a short essay online:

    Here's a commentary regarding "City Is Not A Tree' essay:



    Arrange the workspaces as HALF-PRIVATE OFFICES (152) or WORKSPACE ENCLOSURES (183). Keep workgroups small, and give every group a common area, acommon meeting space, and a place where they can eat together - COMMON AREAS AT THE HEART (129), COMMUNAL EATING (147), SMALL WORK GROUPS (148), SMALL MEETING ROOMS (151). .


    . . . the balanced LIFE CYCLE (26) requires that the transition from childhood to adulthood be treated by a far more subtle and embracing kind of teenage institution than a school; this pattern, which begins to define that institution, can take its place in the NETWORK OF LEARNING (18) and help contribute to the network of MASTERS AND APPRENTICES (83).

    Teenage is the time of passage between childhood and adulthood. In traditional societies, this passage is accompanied by rites which suit the psychological demands of the transition. But in modern society the "high school" fails entirely to provide this passage.

  3. Part 2


    Replace the "high school" with an institution which is actually a model of adult society, in which the students take on most of the responsibility for learning and social life, with clearly defined roles and forms of discipline. Provide adult guidance, both for the learning, and the social structure of the society; but keep them as far as feasible, in the hands of the students. The most striking traditional example we know comes from an east African tribe. In order to become a man, a boy of this tribe embarks on a two year journey, which includes a series of more and more difficult tasks, and culminates in the hardest of all - to kill alion. During his journey, families and villages all over the territory which he roams take him in, and care for him: they recognize their obligation to do so as part of his ritual. Finally, when the boy has passed through all these tasks, and killed his lion, he is accepted as a man. In modern society, the transition cannot be so direct or simple. For reasons too complex to discuss here, the process of transition, and the time it takes have been extended and elaborated greatly. (See Edgar Friedenberg, The Vanishing Adolescent, Beacon Press, Boston, 1959 and Coming of Age in America, Random House Inc. N.Y., 1965). Teenage lasts, typically, from 12 to 18; six years instead of one or two. The simple sexual transformation, the change from childhood to maturity, has given way to a much vaster, slower change, in which the self of a person emerges during a long struggle in which the person decides "what he or she is going to "be". Almost no one does what his father did before him; instead, in a world of infinite possibilities, it has to be workedout from nothing. This long process, new to the world since the industrial revolution is theprocess we call adolescence.

    And this process of adolescence calls up an extraordinary hope. Since coming of age traditionally marks the birth of self, might not an extended coming of age bring with it a more profound and varied self-conception?

    That is the hope; but so far it hasn't worked that way. Every culture that has anadolescent period has also a complicated adolescent problem. Throughout the technically developed world, puberty sets off a chain of forces that lead, in remarkably similar ways, to crisis and impasse. High rates of delinquency, school dropout, teenage suicide, drug addiction, and runaway are the dramatic forms this problem takes. And under these circumstances even "normal" adolescence is full of anxiety and, far from opening the doors to a more whole and complicated self, it tends to benumb us morally and intellectually.

    The institution of the high school has particularly borne the brunt of the adolescent problem. Just at the time when teenagers need to band together freely in groups of their own making and explore, step back from, and explore again, the adult world: its work, love, science, laws, habits, travel, play, communications, and governance, they get treated as if they were large children. They have no more responsibility or authority in a high school than the children in a kindergarten do. They are responsible for putting away their things, and for playing in the school band, perhaps even for electing class leaders. But these things all happen in a kindergarten too. There is no new form of society, which is a microcosm of adult society, where they can test their growing adulthood in any serious way. And under these circumstances, the adult forces which are forming in them, lash out, and wreak terrible vengeance. Blind adults can easily, then, call this vengeance "delinquency."

  4. Part 3

    This has finally been recognized by an official agency. In December 1973 the National Commission on the Reform of Secondary Education, working with the Kittering Foundation, has come to the conclusion that the high schools in American cities are simply not working; that they are breaking down as institutions. They recommend that high school be non-compulsory after 14 years of age, and that teenagers be given many options for participation in society; that the size of high schools be reduced drastically, so that they are not so much a world apart from society; that each city provide opportunities for its young to work as apprentices in the local businesses and services, - and that such work beconsidered part of one's formal learning.

    More specifically, we believe that the teenagers in a town, boys and girls from the ages of about 12 to 18, should be encouraged to form a miniature society, in which they areas differentiated, and as responsible mutually, as the adults in the full-scale adult society. It is necessary that they are responsible to one another, that they are able to play a useful role with respect to one another, that they have different degrees of power and authority according to their age and their maturity. It is necessary, in short, that their society is a microcosm of adult society, not an artificial society where people play at being adult, but the real thing, with real rewards, real tragedies, real work, real love, real friendship, real achievements, real responsibility. For this to happen it is necessary that each town have one or more actual teenage societies, partly enclosed, watched over, helped by adults, but run, essentially, by adults and the teenagers together.

    Provide one central place which houses social functions, and a directory of classes inthe community. Within the central place, provide communal eating for the students,opportunities for sports and games, a library and counseling for the network of learning which gives the students access to the classes, work communities, and home workshopsthat are scattered through the town - NETWORK OF LEARNING (18), LOCAL SPORTS(72), COMMUNAL EATING (147), HOME WORKSHOPS (157); for the shape of what buildings there are, begin with BUILDING COMPLEX (95)

  5. PART 4

    75. THE FAMILY

    The nuclear family is not by itself a viable social form.

    Set up processes which encourage groups of 8 to 12 people to come together and establish communal households. Morphologically, the important things are:
    1. Private realms for the groups and individuals that make up the extended family: couple's realms, private rooms, sub-households for small families.
    2. Common space for shared functions: cooking, working, gardening, child care.
    3. At the important crossroads of the site, a place where the entire group can meet and sit together.

    Until a few years ago, human society was based on the extended family: a family of at least three generations, with parents, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, all living together in a single or loosely knit multiple household. But today people move hundreds of miles to marry, to find education, and to work. Under these circumstances the only family units which are left are those units called nuclear families: father, mother, and children. And many of these are broken down even further by divorce and separation. Unfortunately, it seems very likely that the nuclear family is not a viable social form. It is too small. Each person in a nuclear family is too tightly linked to other members of the family; any one relationship which goes sour, even for a few hours, becomes critical; people cannot simply turn away toward uncles, aunts, grandchildren, cousins, brothers. Instead, each difficulty twists the family unit into ever tighter spirals of discomfort; the children become prey to all kinds of dependencies and oedipal neuroses; the parents are so dependent on each other that they are finally forced to separate.

    Philip Slater describes this situation for American families and finds in the adults of the family, especially the women, a terrible, brooding sense of deprivation.There are simply not enough people around, not enough communal action, to give the ordinary experience around the home any depth or richness. (Philip E. Slater,ThePursuit of Loneliness,
    Boston:Beacon Press, 1970, p. 67, and throughout.)

    It seems essential that the people in a household have at least a dozen people round them, so that they can find the comfort and relationships they need to sustain them during their ups and downs. Since the old extended family, based on blood ties, seems to be gone- at least for the moment - this can only happen if small families, couples, and single people join together in voluntary "families" of ten or so.

    In his final book, Island, Aldous Huxley portrayed a lovely vision of such a development:
    "How many homes does a Palanese child have?"

    "About twenty on the average."

    "Twenty? My God!"

    "We all belong," Susila explained, "to a MAC -a Mutual Adoption Club. Every MAC consists of anything from fifteen to twentyfive assorted couples. Newly elected brides and bridegrooms, oldtimers with growing children, grandparents and great-grandparents everybody in the club adopts everyone else. Besides our own blood relations, we all have our quota of deputy mothers, deputy fathers, deputy aunts and uncles, deputy brothers and sisters, deputy babies and toddlers and teen-agers.

    "Will shook his head. "Making twenty families grow where only one grew before."

    1. Yes. The nuclear family is unique to modern culture. A child dissatisfied with her dysfunctional parents has no choice but to grin and bear it and likely also become dysfunctional. But in a classic traditional tribal society, she has the option of going to different "mothers" or "fathers". And this also ensures she doesn't become narrow-minded, indoctrinated with only one parent's views.

  6. PART 5

    "But what grew before was your kind of family. As though reading instructions from a cookery book, "Take one sexually inept wage slave," she went on, "one dissatisfied female, two or (if preferred) three small television addicts; marinate in a mixture of Freudism and dilute Christianity, then bottle up tightly in a four room flat and stew for fifteen years in their own juice. Our recipe is rather different: Take twenty sexually satisfied couples and their offspring; add science, intuition and humor in equal quantities; steep in Tantrik Buddhism and simmer indefinitely in an open pan in the open air over a brisk flame of affection."
    "And what comes out of your open pan?" he asked.
    "An entirely different kind of family. Not exclusive, like your families, and not predestined, not compulsory. An inclusive, unpredestined and voluntary family. Twenty pairs of fathers and mothers, eight or nine ex-fathers and ex-mothers, and forty or fifty assorted children of all ages." (Aldous Huxley, Island,New York: Bantam, 1962, pp. 89-go.)

    Physically, the setting for a large voluntary family must provide for a balance of privacy and communality. Each small family, each person, each couple, needs a private realm, almost a private household of their own, according to their territorial need. In the movement to build communes, it is our experience that groups have not taken this need for privacy seriously enough. It has been shrugged off, as something to overcome. But it is a deep and basic need; and if the setting does not let each person and each small household regulate itself on this dimension, it is sure to cause trouble. We propose, therefore, that individuals, couples, people young and old - each subgroup - have its own legally independent household - in some cases, physically separate households and cottages, at least separaterooms, suites, and floors.

  7. "Anger is never justified." ~ ACIM (not in any form) Behind anger is fear...collective human fear - which we all received as a "gift" the moment we were conceived. What puzzles me is why there seem to be more expressions of this particular form of insanity in the U.S. - both domestic and foreign.

    It appears that kindness has to be taught, by example and in words. Thankfully, we have many Way-show-ers.

    1. There is an anger that comes from calculated thought (mind) and an anger that comes from natural instinct. The anger from instinct, part of all nature, is expressed immediately as it is needed. Yes, needed. A mother bear or dog expresses anger as soon as she sees her baby in harm. If she had no anger, her species would die. Such anger comes sparingly, which is why it is effective.

      Antibodies attack invading germs, and this attack is good, unless we believe that nature is innately evil.

      But the anger stemming from mind, not instinct, is, ironically, a direct result of repressing instinctual anger, or repressing any natural emotion! And such anger multiplies, and seethes into a constant state. Our minds are taught to repress anger, usually by skewed religious teaching, not to express it, or express any emotion, as it naturally arises.

      To repress what is natural is to be false.

      And anything repressed will come out in the insanity we see today, both in the US, and in all civilizations of history that have taught "civilized" repression of natural instinct. Antibodies that aren't allowed to attack, to protect in the moment they are needed, go awry, manifesting in auto-immune disease. Massacre and genocide is this very manifestation.

  8. Yep, I go to an Eastern Orthodox Church. Check it out Suelo. You may find yourself impressed. We talk A LOT about consumerism, materialism, and dispel the ills of fake boxed Christianity which young adults are leaving in droves due to a lack of substance and authenticity.

    As for manhood, I like a lot of the observations. I guess I'm a bit old fashioned but I think men these days are very confused about their roles in a post feminist society which hasn't entirely benefited men or women in the long run. People just "hook up" instead of establishing meaningful relationships/marriages and there is no longer the sense of purpose which used to come along with working to provide for your family with both parents working....hence, both parents work or have their kids overscheduled in a bazillion activities, not realizing that this isn't a substitute for quality family time. Kids are left alone to their own devices/peer groups without a sense of real community with the family.....and the cycle goes on.

    The word teenager wasn't even invented until the 50's when it became a clever marketing tool. So now teenagers have an us against them mentality we have conveniently created with their own clothes, music, culture, etc.

    I say we could learn a lot from how the Amish/plains people integrate young people within their community and how they grow up to be well adjusted contributing members to their society.

  9. Here is another very relevant pattern to this post and one I think Suelo solved by living without money.

    The artificial separation of houses and work creates intolerable rifts in people's inner lives.

    In modern times almost all cities create zones for "work" and other zones for "living" and in most cases enforce the separation by law. Two reasons are given for the separation.

    [Photo of factories and parking lots]
    Caption: Concentration and segregation of work ... leads to dead neighborhoods.

    First, the work places need to be near each other, for commercial reasons. Second, work places destroy the quiet and safety of residential neighborhoods.

    But this separation creates enormous rifts in people's emotional lives. Children grow up in areas where there are no men, except on weekends; women are trapped in an atmosphere where they are expected to be pretty, unintelligent housekeepers; men are forced to accept a schism in which they spend the greater part of their waking lives "at work, and away from their families"and then the other part of their lives "with their families, away from work."

    Throughout, this separation reinforces the idea that work is a toil, while only family life is "living" - a schizophrenic view which creates tremendous problems for all the members of a family. In order to overcome this schism and re-establish the connection between love and work, central to a sane society, there needs to be a redistribution of all workplaces throughout the areas where people live, in such a way that children are near both men and women during the day, women are able to see themselves both as loving mothers and wives and still capable of creative work, and men too are able to experience the hourly connection of their lives as workmen and their lives as loving husbands and fathers.

    What are the requirements for a distribution of work that can overcome these problems?

    1. Every home is within 20-30 minutes of many hundreds of workplaces.

    2. Many workplaces are within walking distance of children and families.

    3. Workers can go home casually for lunch, run errands, work half-time, and spend half the day at home.

    4. Some workplaces are in homes; there are many opportunities for people to work from their homes or to take work home.

    5. Neighborhoods are protected from the traffic and noise generated by "noxious" workplaces.

    The only pattern of work which does justice to these requirements is a pattern of scattered work: a pattern in which work is strongly decentralized. To protect the neighborhoods from the noise and traffic that workplaces often generate, some noisy workplaces can be in the boundaries of neighborhoods, communities and subcultures - see SUBCULTURE BOUNDARY (3); others, not noisy or noxious, can be built right into homes and neighborhoods.

    In both cases, the crucial fact is this: every home is within a few minutes of dozens of workplaces.

    Then each household would have the chance to createfor itself an intimate ecology of home and work: all its members have the option of arranging a workplace for themselves close to each other and their friends. People can meet for lunch, children can drop in, workers can run home. And under the prompting of such connections the workplaces themselves will inevitably become nicer places, more like homes, where life is carried on, not banished for eight hours.This pattern is natural in traditional societies, where workplaces are relatively small and households comparatively self-sufficient. But is it compatible with the facts of high technology and the concentration of workers in factories? How strong is the need for workplaces to be near each other?

    The main argument behind the centralization of plants, and their gradual increase in size, is an economic one. It has been demonstrated over and again that there are economies of scale in production, advantages which accrue from producing a huge number of goods or services in one place.

  10. I think that is a kind of utopia but we have to work with what we already have in place unfortunately since that scenario is unlikely to happen.

    As for stay at home moms being expected to be "pretty and unintelligent", I think that the feminist camp has perpetuated that, as well as the media. Anyone who has been a stay at home mom (as I am) knows how ridiculous that sounds. If we can get more people working outside the home, more people buy products they don't need. That is the specific aim of getting women outside of the home.

    I think more men (those who choose to marry and have a family) would feel fulfilled as the breadwinner. I think it is the two income families who are more torn because they have to figure out how to share household responsibilities that would otherwise be pretty clear cut with one parent staying home. This causes more resentment and fighting than knowing your specific role within the family. Men end up feeling pretty useless and it's no wonder they are like grown boys sitting around playing video games. Then the women are expected to be supermoms who do everything (work, parent, change diapers, clean house, mow lawns, etc.). We have almost eliminated man's role within the family. THEN he is miserable with his thankless job outside the home because that is all he has left.

  11. If you only look for the good in people, all you will see is the good. If you’re a good person the idea of evil is something you don’t want to even consider. I never used to believe in evil. The book Babble On has unpleasant answers to life’s unanswerable questions; and an entirely different explanation of the origin of organized religion. You’re right to tie the two together in your blog. You can download 80% of Babble On for free at

  12. The "Y" chromosome is an incomplete "X" chromosome...a knockoff, if you will. Significant? :-)

    1. That's awesome! Then it's like the whole Genesis Adam's Rib thing is a completely reversed lie.

  13. Daniel, you have an anthropology degree right? I think you'd enjoy reading "A Pattern Language". I think it will make clear how geometric patterns effect the flow of information and energy. Especially if you keep mind the underlying thesis, that the semi-lattice, borne of overlapping hierarchies, is the living healthy pattern whereas the hierarchy by itself although necessary is much more dead by comparison. Because each pattern can be read in minutes it's the perfect bathroom book. : )

  14. Just read your blog on the Colorado rampage. I'd like to throw in another major problem - James Holmes was on prescription drugs - a huge dosage from what I've read. The book "The Drugging of America" is old, and wise. That issue dovetails into our shared concerns, I think.

    1. Drugged instead of avoiding or fixing sick patterns at shown in the book "A Pattern Language". As I work my way through this book I am recognizing so many sick systems that I took for granted. Two of my favorite bits of subversiveness:

      21 FOUR-STORY LIMIT **

      There is abundant evidence to show that high buildings make people crazy.

      High buildings have no genuine advantages, except in speculative gains for banks and land owners. They are not cheaper, they do not help create open space, they destroy the townscape, they destroy social life, they promote crime, they make life difficult for children, they are expensive to maintain, they wreck the open spaces near them, and they damage light and air and view. But quite apart from all of this, which shows that they aren’t very sensible, empirical evidence shows that they can actually damage people’s minds and feelings.

      79. YOUR OWN HOME 

      People cannot be genuinely comfortable and healthy in a house which is not theirs. All forms of rental - whether from private landlords or public housing agencies - work against the natural processes which allow people to form stable, self-healing communities.


      Do everything possible to make the traditional forms of rental impossible, indeed, illegal. Give every household its own home, with space enough for a garden. Keep the emphasis in the definition of ownership on control, not on financial ownership. Indeed, where it is possible to construct forms of ownership which give people control over their houses and gardens, but make financial speculation impossible, choose these forms above all others. In all cases give people the legal power, and the physical opportunity to modify and repair their own places. Pay attention to this rule especially, in the case of high density apartments: build the apartments in such a way that every individual apartment has a garden, or a terrace where vegetables will grow, and that even in this situation, each family can build, and change, and add on to their house as they wish.

  15. Re: mega churches - they're organized, founded and run pretty much like any other business, which are essentially all they are, brand "Christianity" businesses.

    The evil genius that is the mega church business model is that it creates a perfectly captive and loyal consumer base, the kind that marketing departments salivate over. Your consumer base (i.e. "the congregation") shows up, and you offer to sell them coffee mugs, T-shirts, CD's, DVD's, Bibles, bumper stickers, key chains, anything you can think of. Just slap a cross or a bible verse on it and it's ok - whatever the "Christian" marketing departments can come up with.

    The mega church fits perfectly with the larger pattern of social trends in America - it becomes another alternative, bubble community for another personally customizable niche identity. Goths shop at Hot Topic, yuppies shop at Crate & Barrel, mega churcher's shop and hang out at their mega church. The mega churchers are not really all that different than every other one of these niche communities with their niche identities - every one of these groups, no matter what their flavor, are all united in that they're all dedicated to consumerism. Christian-themed movies, Christian-themed apparel, Christian-themed camping events, Christian rock concerts, etc., it's all about people gathering together into one homogenous tribal identity for entertainment and consumerism.

    Like you said, this way of life has absolutely nothing to do with what figures like Jesus (or the Buddha or Lao Tzu, etc.) were talking about. I can't think of anything that could be more conformed to "the way of the world" than mega church culture.

  16. Daniel,
    Hello, my name is Michelle. I just wanted to say thank you! I'm currently reading Mark Sundeen's book about you and the life you have led thus far. I thought that it was quite funny that I thought of you when I checked this book out from the library (not knowing it was you), thinking that in some way, I felt connected to you. Then, while reading the book, a mention of a man sitting in a tree in Oregon hit me like a ton of bricks! I followed that story everyday. If you would ever consider coming out to Reno, NV please contact me. Our home is open to you! :)

  17. Well, let's blame this on the fact that I am reading this in the middle of the night. I always love to hear anything you have to say, Daniel, as you know. I feel the same about you as I do my children (an now grandchildren). You are a part of my heart, and always will be.

    So as I came to read your latest blog post, I was confused as to whether it was yours, or someone named Michael's. I have to admit, and apologize in advance, that I first read his postings, then began skimming, then began skipping them altogether. I occurs to me that the point of your views was somehow missed. While I appreciate everyone's viewpoint, as I know you do, too, I felt that his where somehow in the wrong place.

    That being said, here are my opinions. Remember Penny, Daniel? She lived in our spare room for a while. About prescription drugs, she used to say, "Better living through chemistry". When I first learned that I would be on prescriptions for the rest of my life, I was first in denial, then angry, then came acceptance. Without them, all quality of life for me goes out the window. I always remember those two years, before I found the right doctor and the right meds, when I prayed all day to go be with Jesus. Death seemed a better alternative to the suffering. Since being on medication, I've been able to live a productive life. So I get a bit turned off when people use blanket statements about prescription drug usage. Without it, I would still be praying to die, or that prayer might already have come true. People should take care with such statements.

    Second, I used to not believe there was evil in the world. And the Colorado massacre might have involved mental illness, I'll give you that, but you'll never convince me that some form of evil wasn't involved.

    I can't wait to hear more about your adventures. As usual, I need my dose of Daniel. Again, all of what I've said can be chocked up to the fact that it is written in the wee hours. Probably not all. Let's settle with some.

    Love you man!

    1. Yeah, Kelly, I don't think anything is evil in itself, but what we project our belief onto it, including meds, and it can become evil to us. Everything is a medicine, including every bite of food we eat.

      Then about "evil people". The only evil is thinking others are evil. People harm others because they fall into delusion that others are evil - you know, like the Nazi holocaust. People might persecute us because they think we are evil, we turn around and then believe they are evil, and a cycle of vengeance begins. So evil is only a belief created in our heads, manifesting into the very real horrors we see today. When we can't see that every single person is the image of God, we are in delusion, believing evil. As Thomas Aquinas said, "Evil has no substance, so why bother", and as Paul in the Bible says, "Nothing is evil in itself, but to him who believes it is evil, it is evil."

  18. When the human species, in its current form does more harm than good, nature will phase us out.

  19. I tend to agree that men are not being what men need to be and this is causing huge issues for society as a whole. Testosterone is a natural chemical that needs to be released through activity and other things. The more I look around the more I see testosterone and male-type behavior seen as bad and it is repressed at a growing rate. Men are not allowed to do what men have always done (hunt, fish, provide, protect, and bond with other men) This is causing us to act out in strange ways. Some men get all hostile and act out in violent ways which is not appropriate. Others forget all about thier natural selves and sit around doing nothing and become increasingly depressed and suffer identity loss. Men are becoming something that the world has never seen and it not good for society. The digital age is keeping people indoors and this is something that should change quickly. Something happens to me when I am out in nature for a few hours and it gives me so much satisfaction and recharges my "batteries" in real ways...not mey cell phone battery. It is impossible for me to feel depressed or idle or alone if I am in nature. Men need to be men and need to be allowed to express themselves and all of society would be better off.

    1. I think the assumption that women need no physical outlets, however, is off mark. Some young females definitely need to do the same as a male, with other women and men as well to bond. True differences occur, but there is a lot of divisiveness incubated, even from pre-birth to separate men and women. I have to say that hunting animals disturbs me. Why does the death of another being need to be part of existence of being male? Do women get homicidal urges, yes? More frequently than understood. I think if the body and mind are more in harmony, i.e. eating better diet then some of what is labeled/plague us as hormonal urges will subside. This of course goes for women. It's time we as a collective whole stop making our bodies seem so mysterious and out of control.

  20. Hi Daniel,
    I read Mark Sundeens book and I was particularly inspired and excited by your view that chance is god. That, as you wrote, "what is natural will unfold naturally without our manipulation if we are open to it."
    As I go through a transition in my life, with the wonderful possibility to spend time traveling with the desire to be involved in nature oriented activities, I took alot of strength from that idea because planning at that time had become burdensome, with all of the choices (even within the confines of looking for 'nature oriented activities'), and trying painstakingly to follow, find and construct a path that would lead me towards truth and my vision of happiness.
    I find the idea wonderful and revolutionary and am not sure if I should be doing research and planning or letting it be and following the path wherever it may lead.
    Thank you

  21. What Great blog. There are quite a few people out there that live this way. Here is one from the Midwest. He lives almost the exact same way.

  22. Daniel, I found your blog! It was nice meeting you today at Joe's for your group's Peace Corps reunion. You are an interesting dude and I am proud of your choice to do what you are doing. No box for you. No rut, no well worn path, no traffic jam of leaf cutter ant people.

    Next time you find yourself in San Diego, get Joe to call me and we can play some guitar, maybe go camping in Anza-Borrego desert, chat some more about the present.

    Good luck.


    1. Yeah, good meeting you, Todd, chatting sobre la vida. Hope to hook up more with you, & have fun with those kids!

  23. Suelo,

    I share your sentiments. Please read my blog entry on the need for an American soul searching process akin to what happened in Germany after World War II.


  24. Genocide is bad in any country that it comes to, and it should never happen.

  25. Superb, thought provoking read once again. Many thanks indeed.

    Hope my blog can be of some use to you and others. I grew tired of society so I distanced myself and my family and I now live in a caravan in the woods in the UK. We're are as self reliant as we can be.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Very nice take. It just goes to show that the buck hasn't stopped. Even worse yet, it's promoted by our system. Supposedly we condemn this "evil" as a whole, but when people turn on the television, or turn on the radio, or look into the history books, what is it that they get? The same thing over and over again. People personifying "evil". I'm no supreme authority by any means, but I can say this. If we as a whole where to come together, to live for one and another instead of wants, to show love and compassion for all living and inanimate
    things- simply for existing, we could live fully satisfied lives. People aren't interested though. It isn't promoted. Violence, selfish greed, hatred, all promoted by our media and our system. Some find it hard to believe that nothing in the world is truly evil. People turn things into evil with thoughts and negative influence. Look at small children for instance. They live for fun, for play, 100% innocent, the most purest form of human life. Every person alive starts out this way. Then something happens. People become subjected to these ideas that they must live to serve some cause. To be better than who they are. That they must acquire wealth and certain items because its Its the denaturalization of the man kind. Not every person is capable of reaching these levels of success. When they realize it, people lose their self identity and become angry. Our leaders could do something about it if they had the courage to stand up for what is right, but greed keeps them from doing so. They cause death and destruction to keep our systems current. What great examples they set for us huh. In nature, as I have seen from being homeless, everything works its self out. I can't explain how, but it just does. Every part of it comes together. There isn't any arguing, any records, fees, paperwork. It's pure. And it works. It would work for us if we gave it a chance as a whole. People would't inflict pain and suffering onto others if they were truly free. We could all be free and in peace with ourselves and each other. We could all come together and sustain ourselves with simple barter and trade. Simple local living. Gathering of sustenance that nature readily provides- which is truly a display of masculinity.
    People just don't know it.

  28. I like this blog posting Daniel. Thanks. Not that I'm excusing the shooters but I can't help but feel that control freaks will use this as an excuse to limit our second amendment right to keep and bare arms. While I'm not a gun owner myself I do support liberty and when only (an ever increasing fascist) government has weapons there's no way we can stop even more of our civil rights from being stripped of us. Sad to say.

  29. Hi Daniel
    Thanks for your thoughts - they are definitely food for thought (as usual).

    Can't wait to read your book though I find it surreal that I will have go into further debt to pay for it!! Lol..only joking I will wait until my finances have recovered slightly.
    All the very best


  30. This post has inspired a lot of thoughts. Thank you, Daniel.

    When I think about aggression, I often arrive at pent-up energy. I think there is a strong link between pent-up energy (cause) and aggression (result), and that our modern way of living means that many people who need to release energy lack access to or knowledge of the very things that could help relieve it: 1) activities framed as "aggressive" and thus prohibited and 2) wild nature (the former sometimes occurring within the latter). Bear with me.

    A dear friend of mine has taught at an "alternative school" for many years. I've always found it interesting and somewhat amusing that alternative schools for "troubled youth" figure out and accept so many things before other schools do, for instance: how not feeding kids ton of sugar; feeding them fresh food instead of processed stuff; starting later in the day at more humane times; and adding lots more physical activity to the day results in less aggression and far better behavior in the students. As my friend put it: "They do a lot better in school when they've spent a good part of the day digging holes in the ground, just because they want to."

    This is not to say women don't need an outlet for their pent-up energy and, yes, aggression. Have you ever seen a womens soccer game, for instance?! I attended an all-girls Catholic high school and we had one annual powderpuff (flag) football match. No padding, no helmets. The guys from the boys' school next door called it the event of the year, because it was the best football they'd ever seen: bloody noses, black eyes, broken bones, fights on the field, but everyone... happy and enjoying themselves, in this festive and fun atmosphere. I remember looking forward to it as the one day when we could let it all out.

    This event had the blessing of our school (and hey, God, because we went to mass immediately before!), our parents, with everyone's approval and participation. For them, it was framed as a rite of passage, a tradition, but for us it was the one day to get bloody and crazy and feed something deep in our brain stems.

    We also don't like to talk about how having the shit kicked out of you (in non-serious ways, to be clear) is kind of good for you sometimes. It's good to remember you're not king of the hill. I love surfing because the wild ocean beats the shit out of me and... puts me in a better mood. For whatever reason, being reminded of how precisely insignificant I am to this planet lightens the mental load and leaves me smiling and singing in the car afterward. "I am a speck! A tiny speck!" I always think, and the day is brighter - really!

    All of these activities, whatever they are, show you that you can DO something, that you have an ability: you can ride a wave in to shore, or shoot a pheasant (not easy). You are simultaneously not in control, but an agent. This was key where I grew up, in Detroit. There have been urban farms there for decades, long before the NYT picked up the story. And those farms were so important to kids who had really shitty lives, with some really awful parents: They simultaneously learned that they could grow and tend things but also that, sometimes bad things happened (a lamb died, a frost came late and killed the plants), and it wasn't their fault. That is key.

    No answers. Just a lot of thoughts. Best to all of you.

  31. Suelo...You know what you need? You need to somehow figure out a way to be on twitter. You can access twitter on a free computer or something can't you? Of course you would not be able to tweet much since you are away so often. I am just sayin this because it would be cool to hear some of your thoughts on a daily basis or something like that. It would only furhter connect you to the lame world, but it would be kinda neat at the same time. Wishful thinking on my part I guess.

  32. Timely read for me. Thank you, Suelo. I see this frustration mostly in my brother, Johnny. when one realizes the cage itself is wrong and there's no room and no option to dismantle the cage a normal response is outrage. men are father's "blood boils" and he has no right way to channel his emotion. throw fits and you are drugged and/or jailed...maybe electroshock or lobotomy. at least those who lash out are expressing themselves. yet, a grown man is wiser and gentler, yes. so the sage speaks without care for who is listening. speak, tweet, write it on walls and in the sand. once we know, we are responsible. enjoy.

  33. The Cage of Cages hits this point from a slightly different angle.

  34. I think today's young people (and perhaps nearly all of us) have little sense of agency.

    In the U.S., kids are in school for 18 years and kept in programs oriented to (1) preparation/education for "The Real World" and (2) recreation.
    But how many kids help put food on their families' tables? Or work in some essential function that allows them to feel needed, wanted, useful?

    So combine feeling useless, unseen, unwanted and unable to effect anything + testosterone + energy + films/books that rever the gun-toting renegade + opportunity (getting the gun) = Males shooting at crowds.
    Females are less likely to do that because their systems-oriented brains are more clued to consequences. Also, their way to effect change is to have a kid. And we don't have the testosterone push.
    If I had a male child, I'd have him engaged every day in hard manual labor---ideally, farming---until he was out of my house. And even then.

  35. People haven't caught on yet that morality in the 21st century is a shifting platform. It begs the disturbing question of who is more immoral, the one who works for a corporation, or for that matter any organization, whose lobbying efforts cause others pain, displacement, sickness and death-- and ignorantly believes they're doing a service to others, or the one who explodes one day in a fit of rage and murders 2 dozen people? And then goes to jail for the rest of their life.

    It is not cynical to point out that what goes around comes around.