Cosmos Café [2/5] - TANSTAAFL or There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

The only thing her opponents care about is the bottom line, they are clueless-and we should never deny the power of boycotts. I do feel there is a tension between her and the Oligarchs and with the Ultra-Realist Pelosi, who sold out her ecological dreams long ago. Pelosi is a tough and can stand up to a bully but she is often stiff and out of touch. And the Oligarchs will be dying off soon, thank God. The 1% is looking more lunatic each day. The New Green Deal, a bill that AOC is sponsoring is hugely ambitious, as reported in NY Times today. Such outrageous optimism could only come from a candidate who took no Corporate contributions. Ecological changes are popular, especially with the young. She is shining a light on the manufactured politics of the current regime, and she has a skill I have rarely seen in one so young. Like a great performer, she has a warm heart and a cool head. This is a winning combination and the old guard don’t know how to fit her into their scheme. Others who came before her, who did not succeed, may have set the stage for generational shift. She may be offering something too late, but who knows? Americans like performers and she has a lot of talent! She knows how to create a bind for her opponents. And she has a future, which you can’t say for Trump or Pelosi.

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I certainly can’t argue with that while using public facilities in this country today. :wink:

This is the thing to remember. Whatever happens, it is good to know that those who will be inheriting the political and ecological mess we’ve made will be calling the shots in the decades to come. My sons and their friends are among those who don’t always let on that they are watching, but they are watching. The oldest refers to most political speeches now as “filler”. (LOL) [I referred to his preference for the direct in my chess essay.] He is the keenest of us all on recycling.

Good counter-observation to my ‘celebrity of the month’ fear! Of course time will tell - but if she knows her real audience is not the old guards of today then hers is a pretty far-sighted “cluelessness”…

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Oh I dont think she is clueless at all but the Oligarchs are a dud. What I like about her is that she has a vision. She is looking towards her unborn children’s future and she isn’t faking it. You can tell she means what she says. That is not what I get from any of the cynical villains on the stage with her. That your children are watching is a good sign. My age group was formed by Vietnam and Nixon. Every generation gets a big mess to take care of. We muddle on through the best way we can. That your kids are watching and paying attention, I am sure, has something to do with their Dad.

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One of my earliest school memories (2nd grade?) was a big hallway poster that said “PEACE” celebrating the end of the Vietnam War. Nixon’s name came up a lot in the adult conversations around me, but of course they went over my head. My little bubble of toys and books was fairly quiet; the Iran hostage crisis was the biggest “event” I can think of, and that wasn’t exactly an age-group forming thing (as traumatic an ordeal as it must have been for the victims). I often wonder if my proclivity for the taciturn stems from having missed the Summer of Love and maturing before 9/11.
IIRC, there is a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” The times are interesting again, that’s for sure. Perhaps it is just as well that each generation gets fresh eyes for old problems never before experienced.

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I agree. We each of us are brought into a world of wonder and weirdness. I wish life would get easier but in my experience that has not been the case. As I get older I find myself ever more entangled in events that seemed remote to me when I was young. And each generation has a style and a flare for picking up where the previous generation left off.

May every child and adult have a little bubble of toys and books!

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Bump
This was interesting:

Ed lists this book above; I am circling back to this author through Davor’s operational chains and “Axial Age” societies/worldviews in crisis and transition…

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This looks like a promising study group idea. I have yet to read Debt, though it has been on my shelf for years. Mixing it up with Axial Age and operational chains sounds very interesting. It may be worth reviewing the Davor videos again. Maybe you are getting closer to building an argument, TJ?

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I read (enough to get the gist of) Graeber’s “Bullshit Jobs” recently. Debt: the first 5000 years has been on my list for a long time too. Thanks for bumping this, TJ!

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Graeber is a sound and worthwhile read. At the same time, I’d like to make a plug for Margaret Atwood’s Payback (also listed above) as it takes the whole notion of debt beyond the mere financial, which has, I think, significant implications for how we need to be dealing with this notion moving toward the future. A documentary was made of her book, but I only found the trailer on YouTube.

There is also a short clip of her talking about understanding debt through literature:

Her text came highly recommended by Yanis Varouvakis.

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I am reading a thousand books at the moment and so is there a way to focus on a chapter? Is there a pdf somewhere? Or could someone volunteer to do a presentation/summary? There are tons of videos from Graeber and I welcome a cross fertilization between a novelist/critic and an anthropologist of such stature as these two. I just wonder out loud how to handle all of this complexity in a Cafe? I know we are good improvisors, but I want to sample some appetizers at the cafe and have a sip of tea rather than eat too fast a really big portion of something and spend the rest of the day feeling bloated. How can we chunk down and chunk slow when there is so much food on the table, a metaphysical smorgosboord? And have we finished with the Flip? I have yet to learn how to moderate my own intake while staying connected in asynchronicity communiques. I am hoping we are integrating and putting to use some of these ideas we are inundated with. The Davor and Bateson events have been disappointing for me personally as so few people showed up or dropped out have or have left any comments. And these are exhausting events to try to put together, hours of hard, unpaid labor. It would be worth it if was put to use in some meaningful way. That is what I would like to figure out how ( rather than why) this can happen. I am all too aware of different levels, lines and quadrants, and biases. There is becoming for me, a loss of momentum not a gain by too much, too soon. I am wondering if we are as a group learning anything? I dont know how to do this yet. Feedback, please. Is this a creative breakthrough about to happen or a nervous breakdown? I want to learn how to work with the intensities of our collective learning experiments and unleashed imaginative capacity, and consolidate recent gains, rather than get swept away by another enthusiasm and people not show up. It is sometimes very intense and sometimes like watching paint dry. A Buddhist teacher once said that Americans when they say they are too busy are actually just being lazy.Thanks for listening to my rant! I think I have had too much coffee.

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I share a video that Michael shared with me that offers us some useful ways of working together. We need to learn how to spot each other. Thanks for the brilliant metaphor, Michael! When doing the Flip be careful that we don’t land on our heads!

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The Metaphor is a functional way to bring the Need of Attention to the Entangled In-Forming of each others Expressive Natures,no certainty of expertise.

a-between2

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You read. I read. They read. Why are any of us reading anything at all? I can only speak for myself, but I read to learn about and understand the world in which I live and the life I must live. At most of our Cafés, I get an opportunity to apply that learning and understanding and have it enriched by others who are pursuing other paths. I have never felt that we’re all on the same Path, but a part of our journeys are certainly being shared because we share with one another.

The Café is an ever-shifting ensemble. Whether planned or spontaneous, whatever “topic” ends up on the table, my personal challenge is to see how I can benefit from the exchange in terms of what I’m pursuing and whenever possible to contribute from that understanding to the topic at hand. When we have a focused reading or the like, I try to incorporate that into what I’m concerned with otherwise. But that’s just how I try to deal with complexity.

The variety of topics that characterize the Café can lead to more structured, deeper explorations … the various projects you have done, John, such as the Generations sessions, or even some of the authors who were mentioned at some point in the Café but dealt with in specific reading groups are examples of this. Not all of us can – or want to – participate in all of them. (And, let’s face it, I managed to read Aurobindo (eventually, a bit behind schedule) and the Batesons, but there was no way I could manage and additional 1-2 hour video and discussion forums, as these are in addition to whatever else I am pursuing (at a slower and more irregular pace than I would like) and my real life which at times makes very high demands on my time. (I’ve been on the road for 10 days now and there’s no clear end in sight.) And, should some of us decide to do something Axial-Agey, that will in addition to not in place of anything else on my plate. I’m the first to admit that my energy is not unlimited. (For most of my working life I either had a second job or was doing degree work, or for more than a few of those years both, in addition to my family commitments, but I was much younger then, I’m older than that now.)

What I enjoy most – and I have stated this repeatedly – about the Cafés is that they are a chance for me to “decompress”, sift and sort through what I’m doing and thinking otherwise, and get inspired or redirected by the contributions of others, and that generally happens whether we have an open- or closed frame discussion. To you, that may be akin to barroom chat, but to me it’s somewhat therapeutic. That’s just how I engage them. Others’ mileage may vary.

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I get the image, Ed, of sift and sort…going through the remains of a great library that burned down…and finding scraps of scrolls and and shards of pottery…a few pages of a book in an unknown language…a bit of cloth…an arrowhead…a figurine…a broken bottle…a thigh bone…a vacuum cleaner…a cracked smart phone that can receive no signal…

and out this rubbish we try to put something together that sort of makes sense…about where we were, where we are…we put the odds and ends into separate heaps…create some categories…a snatch of a story…and we are in no hurry… the collapse has occurred…and we are trying to figure out what that explosion was all about…and the flows of feeling and thought that comes about as we sniff the air for some new scent that has been sprayed by overhead drones…as we listen to the pounding of hammers and and the buzzing of saws as new dwellings are being assembled in the distance… out of the odds and ends of past generations…coming through us in memories and in dreams…and in the scrap paper that gathers around our feet…an exotic looking weed we hold in the palm of our hands…and the words of a song we sang when we were children…and the voice of my mother when we was proud of me…and the screams of my father…

And as the technology giveth, so the technology taketh away…Blessed be the name of Technology…

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And I’ll note that even when there is a sense of urgency in the times, there is still something right and valuable about “chunking down and chunking slow”. I totally agree with you both. To be honest I am not even trying to keep up with everything “growing on” around here! I’m just glad that it is and will contribute as able while wishing everyone fun and learning on chosen respective paths - which yet have all kinds of interesting intersections, don’t they?

For instance, I only mentioned Debt… at this time because Chapter 9 is on the Axial Age. I too will have to get to the rest later. To wit:

There is a madness to my madness. LOL I am actually focused on preparing for an upcoming talk on the Axial Age :wink: (and what I think it may suggest for “second order cultures” in general) :wink: :wink: Throwing things out there on the way is a kind of book-marking/seeding for later discussions/reports.

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This upcoming talk sounds interesting. Please keeps us informed. I imagine that there is plenty of creative madness to share! And if you need anyone to spot you, let us know.

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ROFLMAO.
That’s rich. We need a new word for ‘sobering and hilarious at the same time commentary’…

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Good to know, because you’re it! LOL (The discussion is still supposed to center on the Bellah/Joas book…)

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This is great, TJ. We can always arrange a dress rehearsal for you. The technology is here to make this happen.

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As the omnivore keeping an eye on the shelf life of what I consume, David Graeber has been one of the saner, more influential voices encountered this year and last and has helped shape my perspective on the political and economic. I have yet to come across a statement from him that does not make sense!

I consumed Graeber’s YouTube selections and recommend any of them; Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology is short and provocative; I read most of Debt; memorized the menu offered in Bullshit Jobs . . . I would say that you can grasp most of his material from watching his YouTube videos over reading all of his books, but much would be missed (of course). Debt does not have one chapter that you can pluck out. I wouldn’t recommend BS Jobs but can say that he started a small movement of those in middle management positions/other meaningless jobs to rethink their stance in the world and seek more meaningful work. And, as stated in Fragments (and now a core “principle” in my life), Graeber’s “project” could be summed up as one that "sets out to begin creating the institutions of a new society “within the shell of the old,” to expose, subvert, and undermine structures of domination but always, while doing so, proceeding in a democratic fashion, a manner which itself demonstrates those structures are unnecessary. " (he is describing the project of anarchism, but I think it can be taken out of context!).

I realize we have already (likely) moved on beyond exploring Graeber in any further depth than a few posts here, just a few cents tossed in . . .I have stated frequently that I wish we can make the highest use of our consumed materials but I think our applications are the best we can do with what we have on our spinning plates.

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