Archive for the ‘In Progress’ Category

review: endgame volume 2 chapter 4

February 14, 2011

preamble to the review…

I’ve read through to the end of chapter 8. ( and as this review sat “In Progress” I read through to chapter 18. I’m more determined now to go chapter by chapter through this work. I don’t want to write a reductive reactionary review. What I’m after is an engaged reading so my plan now is to read both volumes and then with an over all picture of the work, go through it, developing my understanding of his argument.  Jensen’s work at times is personal to the point of confessional. This interests me, because I believe that the personal sphere is where we are most able to make changes. So in this idea of direct action Jensen and I are in complete agreement. The confessional also demands of an empathetic reviewer a certain higher level of respect.

This reminds me of a story. My son was kicking a soccer ball back and forth with another kid. My son was at the time at that age of very little control and the kid he was playing with was a few years younger. So my son would kick the ball as hard as he could at the smaller child, who would then cry. The other parent and I explained to my son that he should pass the ball a little easier. So my son tapped the ball very lightly, and the younger child incredulous says, “I’d rather get hit in the face then have you pass it like that!” What I’m getting at is that Jensen with his confessional would rather get hit in the face then have us take it easy on him.

And finally in this revising note: In radical movements there’s a general dislike of criticism. This dislike is warranted. Anyone working toward social change is constantly getting it from all sides. But this needs to be reformulated as a good thing. We need to be open to criticism. We need to reject censorship of both ourselves and others.)

I’m going to try to continue going through this book chapter by chapter. At this point the exercise is reminiscent of a chapter for chapter read through of Echkart Tolle’s Power of Now. This is some seriously flawed thinking. I feel the need, in this, (the Tolle reading was done with a real friend over email, so I didn’t need to publicly state anything) that I am consciously living for revolution. I am thinking, reading, acting and sometimes writing toward living the revolution everyday. I feel the need to state this in reply to Jensen’s tendency to paint every critic of his ideas as some sort of accomplice in the maintenance of the status quo.

I fell for the advertising surrounding this book. I looked at the book’s page and this description sold me. “Derrick Jensen is a force for the common good. His books are mandatory reading in the study of culture and social change. Derrick Jensen is a contemporary philosopher with his feet firmly on the ground.”

And maybe more than anything it was this bit of bait that hooked me. The book was called “a powerful argument that demands attention in the tradition of such important books as Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization…” I wish there was a contemporary writer working and generating discussion in the tradition of Marcuse.

Jensen is not a philosopher. And yes Marcuse’s books Eros and Civilization, One Dimensional Man, and his essays on Liberation, and on Repressive Tolerance should be read by anyone interested in social change. Endgame is more precisely described as of the tradition of abridged thought that philosophers like Marcuse were writing against.

Review of the chapter titled Identification.

The cultural critic is not happy with civilization, to which alone he owes his discontent. He speaks as if he represents unadulterated nature or a higher historical stage. Yet he is necessarily of the same essence as that to which he fancies himself superior.

This is Adorno from ‘Cultural Criticism and Society,’ the whole of which may be read in Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1967), p.19.

This is a short little chapter, but there’s a lot happening here. I pulled that quote from Adorno, who writes in the same tradition as Marcuse. When you read the quote, you need to remember that Adorno is a cultural critic. Then you understand that he’s being self-critical here. Self-criticism is part of the philosophical tradition. I’ll come back to this later, in the next chapter on abusers.

Of course Adorno also reminds us that we need sometimes play the fool and speak that though we’ve got hold of it. We’ve got to do this to move it along. Thinkers knows that we can never really know, but to develop ideas and actions we must go forward as if we can.

If Seven Stories Press is going to claim the continuance of tradition to which Marcuse belonged, I think it fair that we discuss the tradition and Marcuse.

First in this Chapter, Jensen critiques our sense of self as unsustainable. But when he writes that how we perceive our self is how we act, he steps outside the tradition of critical theory, or critical social theory. The problem of self perception is already part of the discussion. Critical theorists are aware of the invisibility of ideology. We may not necessarily perceive ourselves as we act in the world. And that includes us.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading Marcuse in a graduate class you’ll get what I’m saying, maybe not. Jensen writes that in our culture “We are also trained to lack imagination.” And I agree. Marcuse writes about the moronization of the population. (site) But in grad school, the students read that as other people, somehow they’ve managed to dodge this moronization. Grad students perceive themselves as bright, as having made the right choices, and as having been chosen. But it seems Jensen also seems to see himself as having skipped those lack of imagination training sessions.

Jensen, like you and me, is necessarily of the social he criticizes. He is clearly a mutilated individual who lacks imagination. Marcuse writes about this in the conclusion of One-Dimensional Man.

The mutilated individuals (mutilated also in their faculty of imagination) would organize and destroy even more than they are now permitted to do. Such release would be the unmitigated horror – not the catastrophe of culture, but the free sweep of its most repressive tendencies. Rational is the imagination which can become the a priori of the reconstruction and redirection, of the productive apparatus toward a pacified existence, a life without fear. And this can never be the imagination of those who are possessed by the images of domination and, death.

To liberate the imagination so that it can be given all its means of expression presupposes the repression of much that is now free and that perpetuates a repressive society. And such reversal is not a matter of psychology or ethics but of politics, in the sense in which this term has here been used; throughout: the practice in which the basic societal institutions are developed, defined, sustained, and changed. It is the practice of individuals, no matter how organized they may be. Thus the question once again must be faced: how can the administered individuals – who have made their mutilation into their own liberties and satisfactions, and thus reproduce it on an enlarged scale – liberate themselves from themselves as well as from their masters? How is it even thinkable that the vicious circle be broken?

Jensen has the facts. He is motivated by a material reality, but his response lacks imagination. As a product of a destructive culture, Jensen’s imagination leads him to the destruction of civilization. The fruit as they say doesn’t fall far from the tree. Marcuse proposes a “practice in which the basic societal institutions are developed, defined, sustained, and changed.”

Jensen writes:

It would be a mistake to think this culture clearcuts only forests. It clearcuts our psyche as well. It would be a mistake to think it dams only rivers. We ourselves are dammed (and damned)by it as well. It would be a mistake to think it creates dead zones only in the ocean. It creates dead zones in our hearts and minds. It would be a mistake to think it fragments only our habitat. We, too, are fragmented, split off, shredded, rent, torn.

But for some reason Jensen doesn’t perceive this lack of imagination, clearcut psyche, damnation, dead zones, and shredding of himself. Because after all of his analysis, and after we do some analyzing on our own, he writes, “we can proceed to tear something else apart.” The torn becomes the tearer. the bent becomes the bender

Imaginary Life Journey (September 13, 1923)

First a childhood, limitless and without
renunciation or goals. O unselfconscious joy.
Then suddenly terror, barriers, schools, drudgery,
and collapse into temptation and loss.

Defiance. The one bent becomes the bender,
and thrusts upon others that which it suffered.
Loved, feared, rescuer, fighter, winner
and conqueror, blow by blow.

And then alone in cold, light, open space,
yet still deep within the mature erected form,
a gasping for the clear air of the first one, the old one…

Then God leaps out from behind his hiding place.

 

Update http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/how-derrick-jensens-deep-green-resistance-supports-transphobia/

book marks

January 21, 2011

I’m interested in considering these two links together.

A blog post on Redefining Relationships does an interesting job of “radicalizing” monogamy. And this video on Pacifying MLK‘s message exposes a flip side of a very similar phenomenon.

 

Writing in 2011

January 1, 2011

This year I’m going to more focus my writing. This past summer I started a broad strokes and this year my plan is to fill them in. This will be a year of writing in progress.

I’ll start by filling in the the first broad stroke – A radical theory puts the locus of control in your hands. Looking over the broad strokes the numbers aren’t really that distinct and some of the later numbers explain the earlier ones. But this is all an exercise in writing so I’ll go forward with the plan and see where it takes me.

I start from the basis that that we need change. This change is guided by a radical theory. Like the famous quote from Walden, (“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.”) theory dictates. And like Marx’s eleventh thesis, (“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”) the point of theory (praxis) is change.

What’s necessary for revolutionary practice is control. Where does the locus of control reside? Before I simply answer that I want to note that there are many traps that critical thinkers fall into, and not just traps, but grooves. You’ve probably met many critical thinkers who’ve fallen into the dismissive groove, rolling along dismissing all others as quaint. And there’s the conspiracy theory trap. For many in this groove or trap, the issue is a complete loss of control. When we conceptualize the world as a thing, we lose control. The world as an object is totalizing. Yes Marx says that the point is to change the world, but his conception of the world is not totalizing, the world is not an object, but an ensemble of relationships. These relationships are social, and practical, you are one of the points in the ensemble of social relationships that make the world, which has no existence except as a mental construction (concept). The world, the system, god, these concepts have no material, they are not objects, cannot be levered. If we lose control, if the locus of control resides outside, we lose agency, the ability to change our relationships.

The conspiracy theorists are not completely insane. We are living in a policed social. Our relationship to knowledge is not open and free. Capitalist controls resources. Governments control education and health care in a tight relationship with a militarized capitalist complex. And dissent is criminalized. But despite this, the locus of control resides in us. We are free to create social relations as we desire. Yes, social relations are policed, but no police state is total, compliance is still voluntary.

We have control of our own actions in all of our relationships. It is in this place where we have the control to make changes in the ensemble of human relationships we call the world where radical theory can be practiced.

Another set of links that I could write about later…

November 11, 2010

The soft war against women presents a set of facts with a conspiracy theory like analysis.

Erica Jong on the Madness of motherhood is very different presentation of another conspracy-like social ill. note:

Here’s a defence of capitalism. An excellent example of the cynical reason that undermines the possibility of thinking our ways through toward social change.

When we realize that the human condition is a capitalist construction, and our selves are conditioned in this complex, we can recognize cynical self-defence as a defence of the military-capitalist complex. (See number 10)

The solution to her inability to raise a child on her own was to pay a nanny. you said it, schizo, she, I’m not exactly sure what she’s doing, but she throws up all these examples of communal child rearing to oppose attachment parenting practices, which might be cool, if she was advocating and educating toward these, i’d agree, better child-rearing practices, but she isn’t. She’s simply saying that attachment parenting is too hard, and that paying a nanny is easier. Hard to argue with a statement like that.

“Do the best you can. There are no rules.” If you take this to mean that in any given situation you ask “what’s the best thing to do here?”, give it some thought and then you try to do that best thing, try to achieve the best, even if you’ve got to break a few rules. That’s fucking awesome if it’s meant that way. But at the end of this article it means nothing to do with the best. The way it reads in this article, is like, “Do whatever is easiest for you. Nothing matters”

What both these articles have in common is niether takes a deep look into what change could be made for the better.

The essence of conspiracy beliefs lies in attempts to delineate and explain evil,’ whose ‘locus lies outside the true community’.[xi]

“…in both cases heroic, rogue individuals are set up against truly collective conspiracies, framing the impotence of the individual to affect real structural change or reform without making any attempt to posit a possible alternative, reformist – let alone revolutionary – subject.” [link]

Moving House

October 16, 2010

When I give the time since I last did something, like say, it’s been a little over a month since my last blog post, I often find myself back in the confessional of my youth. I note this, only as a note. It has nothing to do with what follows, and what follows (as yet unwritten) I can say with some certainty will be a collection of loosely related notes.

Since the first of this month I’ve been without a home internet connection. And in the weeks prior to the first of this month I was packing up everything for our second major move this year. I want to note the nostalgia that comes over in the packing stage, and it may be that with three children, and being a collector, and living with a collector, a better word might be keeper, we’re definitely keepers of cards, letters, diaries, photos, ribbons, teeth, hair, drawings, paintings, toys, lunch pails, books, magazines and a being a keeper means having an interest in the things being kept. So packing is a slow process as all those interesting things are examined as they are moved into boxes. The experience is overwhelming, at least for a writer imagining the possibility of typing out the experience all at once.

There is an idea here. Once I’m settled in this new place, and I’m guessing that might be another couple weeks, I’d like to occasionally go through the collections, and write about something that inspires. That may not have come across earlier, but the overwhelming I was talking about was in part inspiration to write, just too much inspiration all at once.

There sure are a lot of reasons working against writing regularly. If it’s not too much inspiration, it’s too little, and inspiration hasn’t even been the biggest issue behind my low word count.  This post is pointless, and really, the only writing I ever do is a kind of incoherent rambling, but I’m more often than not blocked by a desire to get it right and then put it out, of course I never get it right. I think I’ve managed to overcome that block, we’ll see.

So much has changed over the past year, not just changing buildings. When Jimi Hendrix asks, “Have you ever been experienced?” I’d today answer that I have. I am definitely experienced, after a lifetime of sheltered experience, I’ve been in some pretty hairy spots, but until this past year, I’ve never had pure experience. I’ve been telling people that I’m enlightened. That I’m the motherfucking buddha. And I’m not kidding. I have been experienced.

I have seen The Trotsky, which is worth seeing. The scene where Leon’s being interviewed by the ex-Prime Minister’s son, and his lawyer/lover pulls the plug on the interview as he’s about to reveal that he is in fact the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky is relevant here. It’s crazy to claim enlightenment (or reincarnation) or any other form of mysticism. Eckhart Tolle suffered a psychotic break and sold millions of copies of the book that puts his psychosis right out there, but he’s still crazy. I can’t yet articulate the enlightenment other than through jokes. I am not really the Buddha, not even the motherfucking buddha, but I have definitely been experienced, lived a series of epiphanies, become enlightened.

I started writing up Siddhartha a few years back but never finished. I should give it another try, with all this enlightenment talk. There was also something about fatherhood I wanted to write up but never got around to it.

And finally I’ve come to terms with work for hire. This is part of my enlightenment and best left for future articulation. I’ve had an issue with maintaining my personal integrity in work for hire. As a person, I have no interest in manipulating others. If you are not interested in something, it ends there for me. I can not sell anything. Wouldn’t win your vote. I let the worst happen before giving up my own, even hypothetical, autonomy. Your autonomy I will not mess with. It’s not morality or an ethic, of course I will develop it into an ethic, for now it’s more on a level of personal comfort. So while I was a full-time stay-at-home parent, I was expecting to go back into teaching when the time came. But now as a part-time stay-at-home parent looking for part-time work-for-hire the thought of teaching is repulsive, at least in the regular classroom with kids who don’t really want to be there.

I’ve found something I like to do and will start writing about it as soon as I’m settled. The content will fit seemlessly here, but I’ll also be posting it on a work-based blog. There might be some editing. We’ll see. Always a work in progress…

Water off a duck’s back

August 31, 2010

The rains have started falling here in Vancouver. It’s the kind of rain that brings with it a feeling it won’t end any time soon. My two youngest children are at a neighbour’s house playing inside with their kids, and two neighbourhood kids are here inside playing with my oldest. We’re all inside today.

We took advantage of the weather and cleaned the aquarium, after a month or so of neglect. This summer has been a whirlwind of daily activity. It’s a local motto “If the sun is shining, we go outside.” or “the tv is off” there are local variants to the motto, but the point is, sunshine is a precious resource not to be squandered.  Greenie, however, seems to enjoy her overgrown space. Greenie is a five year old Green Terror. She lives alone. Here’s another lesson picked up quite spontaneously by a five year old, “If you don’t want to be lonely, don’t eat your friends.” That sort of sums up the long and sordid tale of our aquarium’s inhabitants.

Greenie, originally uploaded by Rodger Levesque.

And now I’m taking advantage of the weather to catch up on some writing. I tend to plan to write more than I ever in fact write. I even write about what I plan to write instead of actually writing, but those who write know planning is the easy part, actual writing is hard and takes time. Writers love rainy climates. Tom Robbins writes an ode to the writerly Northwestern climate in his Ducks Flying Backwards. If you live on the wet coast and write, you should read this.

I’ve been meaning for months to write up Alternatives to Growth. The praise for the book is on its website, and inside the book’s front cover, so I don’t need to add to that. What I’d like to do right now is situate it in a discussion of the Left about the Left. I say “like to” because I don’t think I’m quite capable of doing that sufficiently, but I have a vague idea, and we’ll find out soon enough just how inarticulable it is.

I’m a lay-writer,meaning not part of the academic left, not an expert/master, so the left I will be writing of may be neither the common nor the academic concept of left.  There’s nothing more common than newspaper columnists, so when I came across Rick Salutin’s article on the Left, I suffered that motion sickness so often caused by immaterial logic. In this article, Salutin holds a concept of the left, he looks in two places, doesn’t see his concept of the left and in newspaper writer style concludes in his opening that the left doesn’t exist; equating the left with a phantom limb.

For Salutin the Left is manifest in a political party and plays its role of difference within the hierarchy.

More marginal parties, like the old Reform or the old CCF-NDP, play a different role: they float innovative ideas like populist democracy or socialism. But a narrow focus on power means a shrinking focus on those ideas. Why notions like democracy or socialism, which have (or had) lots of general appeal, fare so poorly in an electoral context is a mystery I’ll leave for a more contemplative time.

The left is a historical concept for Salutin. It would be too simple to dismiss Salutin as a relic, because upon a deeper reading this little article totally blows my mind. Someone once said that we see things as we are. You can follow that line to a conclusion that to know the world you must know yourself. This line is often corrupted by new age spiritualists who fixate on knowing your true self, and then discounted as new age spiritualism by more realistic thinkers who fixate on objective reality. Salutin’s writing shows this type of error. He holds an idea of a real left. When he looks in the world for this reality he can’t perceive it.

There’s an old anarchist line that the problem with scientists is that there are too few of them. Salutin could benefit from a more scientific method in his writing. This article is exemplary. It’s incredibly short, but contains a whole world of conceptual confusion. Salutin is literally writing down things he can’t see. The concept he’s looking for is blocking his vision, but his senses are in working order.

If you’re a genuine left commentator like Yves Engler (Who? you say) with four good books to your credit, you probably financed your magnum opus on Canadian foreign policy by working nights at a Montreal hotel and only rarely sneak onto those left-wing channels.

Here Salutin reveals a “genuine left commentator” but because this writer is rarely published in the mainstream, and because right wing confusionists complain of the left wing mainstream, Salutin concluded that there is no left wing media, and this is generalized into no left, even though he can clearly see Yves Engler.

He introduces us to one of the left and then asks:

where is the phantom Canadian left? Who is it? Is it?

Then he goes on to say that “there’s lots of left activity but not much definition.” I’m not exactly sure how to read this. There is “left activity” but no left? Whose definition is at issue here?

The old centrepiece of socialism is either missing or under heavy, tentative reconstruction. (I’d put my money on an anarchist version.) Unions, once the left’s backbone, are in serious decline precisely when most working people need a way to resist the power of an increasingly compact corporate sector. It’s unclear whether labour can rejig itself to meet that need. There’s lots of disparate activism to support foreign “struggles” (Haiti, Free Gaza) along with environmentalism, save public health care, etc. But in mainstream party politics, or in the mainstream media — Poof! Now you see them, now you don’t.

He again tells of left actions but that they’re not mainstream, or even acknowledged by the mainstream he can’t see a left. What’s amazing is that the mainstream media’s trick of denying dissent any logic or rationale, and sometimes the very existence of dissent, this form of magic, this slight of mind has confused Salutin to the point that he can’t even see what he’s written down.

It’s within this confusion that I will be discussing, another genuine left commentator, Conrad Schmidt’s work. (at some point in the future).

Broad strokes toward a theory of living radically and well

June 17, 2010

1. A radical theory puts the locus of control in your hands.

2. A theory of living well demands a unit of thought measured in years of action.

3. The complexity of this theory is in multiplied simple statements.

4. Lifeworld has been colonized by system.

5. There is no system.

6. “Soylent Green is people!” Dystopian literary visions and Self-help literary  re-visions can not be ignored.

7. Living well is not a solution. How and why to act is always in deliberation.

8. Do not separate everyday life from an abstract social in which a future justice is imagined.

9. What’s necessary is a way of thinking about the sphere that allows change.

10. The self needs to be understood as a concept formed through an external and internal process of socialization. (myth shattering thought is self-destructive)

11. The development of human faculties is crucial.

Ending the War on Sharing

February 17, 2009

Richard Stallman spoke on the issue of community and copyright law. After Kate Milberry asked if the practice of software development and sharing he’d been talking about can be applied in the wider world. Stallman replied that his whole talk has been about that very question. Stallman refused to make the links between his issue and larger liberatory movements. He is pushing one issue. There are other issues, but he will leave those to the interested parties.

Some ideas Stallman dropped – Don’t use their terms. Once you take on the terms of the status quo you reproduce dominant meaning. The terms themselves contain meaning that limits our freedoms. We need to develop a language of freedom. The concept of an alternative language.

Fighting the war on sharing. Sharing is anti-capitalist. Sharing is socialist. Sharing removes the price fetish of capitalist imaginary.

Vancouver, BC

(Here’s a liveblog of one of Stallman’s talks in Vancouver: humminbird604)

Another software related presentation: Jim Andrews spoke in the New Media Building. The talk is well blogged here. After hearing Stallman, Andrews was a disappointment. (Here’s my cut and pasted review of the presentation, originally from gmail chat)

me: The presentation wasn’t that interesting, in and of itself, but there were a number of moments when the philosophical deficiencies in the room became the interest.
social foundation of intelligence.

me: the fear of AI
is the fear of an asocial intelligence
the development of a psychopath
Capitalism does a very similar thing, when people say “makes sense”
what they mean sometimes is “it makes financial sense”
which is a bit asocial and as a result psychopathic
me: I asked the guy if the software he was developing was open source
he said it wasn’t for financial reasons
he wanted to be the only one… but if you’d have seen how derivative his software was…
I didn’t push it for fear of confrontation, telling an artist his work is derivative…
them’s fighting words

To the kids of the future…

December 25, 2008

I see this shit all over the internet. Stuff like this has been coming across my inbox for as long as I’ve had one, and I’m old enough to remember this kind of thing being faxed around. Who writes this shit? And why the fuck does it continue to circulate? What kind of zombie would agree with this? It’s the type of thing that anyone with any critical sense automatically ignores, but this type of reactionary thinking, the “get used to it” response to critical awareness, can’t be something that anyone would seriously defend. Would any parent consciously squash their children’s dreams of a better world? And when made aware of the dampening effect their pessimism is having on their children, could anyone passionately defend the destructive effect of their unconscious attitude? Who could proudly proclaim the motto “Accept your lot, do as you are told.”?

I feel the need on this snowy day before The Big Day Off, to suggest some possibilities. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are the suggested possibilities, following the given rules:

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Possibility 1: Life’s not conscious – you be the judge!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Possibility 2: Do what makes you feel good. AND Don’t ever let anyone tell your children they’re not worth it. Esteem your children over and above their own self-esteem, build them up, develop their creative powers. Why don’t we support our children in their imagination? If we can imagine a better world we can create a better world.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Possibility 3: Make your own goals. How do you want to live? Use your imagination.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Possibility 4: If your teacher is tough, tell him to fuck off. QUIT SCHOOL and follow your dreams.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Possibility 5: Find work with friends and people who are passionate about what they are doing. Do the work you want. AND Not all our grandparents called wage-slavery an opportunity. Some fought for shorter work weeks, safer working conditions, and worker control. Those who fought, fought physically. They were beaten by police, jailed, killed for trying to make the world more fair. Why don’t we tell our kids about these grandparents?

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Possibility 6: If you mess up, your parents will be there for you. Mess up, mess around. Finding your way in the world is near impossible if you want to change things. Your parents understand this and will always be there for you.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Possibility 7: If your parents are boring, find some that aren’t. Seriously cool parents will always take on the responsibility of another seriously cool kid. Don’t accept the given. Never accept your lot.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Possibility 8: Who’s making the rules? Who has the right answer? If you can live your out your imagination in your everyday life, who cares what anyone else thinks?

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Possibility 9: There is no time that is not for you. Why use it making someone who isn’t interested in you money? Life is how you and your friends make it.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Possibility 10: Imagine life as a creative possibility, where real life is what you want to do, not what you have to do.

This was a difficult mental exercise. There are many traps to fall into when dealing with the given or established consciousness. The given categories need to be completely rejected, and alternatives need be created in their place. Then the word count needed to convey alternative conceptions far exceeds the pithy clichés needed for conventional reactions. Plus many of the propositions in the rule list are true, but their extension into the acceptance of “real life” makes the truisms into more than true, maybe fixed, and reality is not fixed. How do you unfix dominant ideas? How do you found an alternative on an unfixed reality?

Some of my possibilities are pretty lame, do you have better suggestions?