The Day George Floyd Died

Thanks for sharing this, @johnnydavis54. In your remarks about magical thinking and, as a self-identified storyteller, advocating for the storyteller’s art, you mention the “stories that change other stories”—beyond their deconstruction into energy.

@bonnittaroy responds with a kind of story about a transrational form of magical thinking that she calls ‘Magícke Realité’ (sp?). She talks about a quadrant-like matrix bounded by truth and reality on one axis and specificity and unspecifiableness on the other. A meta-theory, she said, is true but not real. A story is real but not true. I didn’t fully understand this and I am sure it is much more nuanced than her quick sketch in response to your point. But I thought it was an interesting exchange.

I believe we can weave truth from reality—or unreality—which we call ‘non-fiction’ and ‘fiction’ respectively. Yet we also have the capacity to conjure reality (or unreality) from truth (or untruth). However, we are limited in reality by the bounds of physics (which are not necessarily fixed, except in our apparent universe) and in unreality by the rules of language (which are bendable in the multiverse), particularly the language of the imagination.

Or is this just a gobbldygook I’m making up? Truth or unreality? It seems to me the end of one story is always the beginning of a new one. There’s magic at work and in play. Fire follows water as sure as earth is paved over and we starve for clean air, and with gratitude I take a deep breath.

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Thanks, Marco, and I don’t fully understand this either. Our exchange is perhaps a placeholder for another kind of exchange that Bonnie says we have no vocabulary for. I believe the way we hold magical thinking may have huge impacts on our evolution/ devolution.

I share a Caucasian reader’s critical remark about the choice I made in the story we just published.

" I found “Maricon” both moving and riveting. I am requesting that you reconsider using the N word in the second chapter. Using it didn’t seem to carry weight in the narrative and is problematic coming from the Euro-American voice.I feel awkward addressing this,"

As the editor of the piece, Marco, I wonder what your felt sense is about this reader’s objection?

This is how I responded. You may notice that I am drawing upon the conversation I had with Bonnie blended with my own sense of of the fluid nature of reality/truth.

" I gave a great deal of thought to that and I am very sensitive to the use of the N word and have never used it in any of my discourse. I was born in Alabama and raised in Texas ( as is the narrator of my story) and the use of the N word in those social worlds is the norm. It is not always used as a form of insult, it is often applied to white persons. Faggot and maricon are also used playfully or with hostility depending upon who is using it. As Pedro and the narrator are having a fight and the tensions are high I let the narrator experiment with that word. He is not a liberal nor does he have any idea of what political correctness is. It is 1979. I hoped to show how the narrator is shaped and changed by language and culture in a complex pluralistic environment.

Once, when I first arrived in New York, I was having a friendly chat with a an Asian-American person my own age. I used the word ‘Chinaman’ in a casual way and he, politely, asked me," Did you know that Chinaman is a racial slur?"

I said that I didn’t and promptly apologized. The guy sensed that I was not maliciously intended but ignorant. I have never used the word again.

In the same way, I think Pedro corrects his young lover’s behavior, as both of them, are overwhelmed by the ambiguity of a cultural clash. As a writer I prefer to be painfully honest. I am constantly having to deal with what is true but not real and what is real but not true. Maricon is a coming of age narrative in a world that actually no longer exists."

I present these two exchanges, with Bonnie and my reader, to highlight some of the quickly shifting narratives in motion that seem to be cancelling each other, amplifying each other, labeling and dismissing each other. We are in a great battlefield of narratives and metaphors and I tremble with excitement and dread. We need to be mindful of the story we use to tell our stories.

Once, at a gay pride march, decades ago, I saw black men, with raised fists, carry a banner with a simple but ironic equation-

NIGGER=FAGGOT

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John, it is a good and fair question. My felt sense is that the reader’s objection is OK, and understandable, but that your refusal to comply with the request is also OK, and understandable (and, I hope, forgivable if harm is experienced or perceived), based upon your own stated reasons.

As an editor, my job is to help authors tell their stories and reveal their worlds with authenticity, which includes dimensions of both freedom (to think, experiment, and take risks) as well as responsibility (for the consequences of their words). These dimensions of freedom and responsibility naturally extend to our editorial collective, since we are giving the author a platform and the attention that comes with it.

Obviously, the meaning of the N-word (like every unit of language) is highly context sensitive, in terms of the speaker, the speaker’s intention, the narrative or set of values the word may be supporting or contributing to, and of course the hearer, who interprets all of the above, mostly implicitly. The method of art is to productively reconfigure the lines between cognition and perception, in order to provoke new alignments.

I heard a Zoom panel discussion recently where a black-identified African-American participant was asked for his observations about how white-identified people talk about race. He expressed appreciation for the growing effort, but also some dismay at the limitations imposed by the tendency of white participants to “police” each other’s language to the point that nobody in the dialogue feels comfortable enough to communicate authentically, for fear of offending or implying offense, even when members of the group who are supposed to take offense are actually mature and emotionally stable enough to handle it.

All the panelists seem to agree that these conversations can be awkward, but that we can get beyond the awkwardness through authentic dialogue that allows for taking risks and even making mistakes, but also holds all the participants and the larger context (gently but firmly) with a lot of mindfulness and compassion. My feeling is that your use of the N-word, John, in “Maricón,” occurred in the context of a compassionate portrayal of a time and place and the people who lived there, for the purpose of making that aesthetic communication more real and more true.

My sense is that a simplistic rule applied globally to the noosphere stating that in the case of certain words, only particularly-identified people may use them, and all use by non-such-identified people is forbidden, without considering the various contextual dimensions in play and coming to a case-specific, nuanced judgment, may mean well, but will probably cause more problems than it solves. I prefer to give artists the benefit of the doubt. I hope that the peer-review process we are currently developing in Metapsychosis will bring more transparency and illumination to how these editorial decisions are made in the future.

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Reality and Truth sometimes agree and a terrible Beauty is born. We broke the law and we changed the law. Imagination triumphs. Magical thinking works! A conservative court sides with LGBT people. I lived to see this day, we sing the Body Electric. Now many of us can rest in peace.

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Appreciate so much the thoughtfulness of what you say here. All of it. And just because it’s “up” for me, I am glad you are using “white identified” to differentiate between those who may appear white and those who hold onto “white” as a badge of honor…or as an actual entity! “White” is allowed to remained undefined, as though “we” all know and agree what is meant. What if, as I do, one believes there are no races of any kind, that the entire notion was invented for political/economic and expedient reasons…it’s not enough to come out on top, but the reasons for coming out on top need to be firmly established in the inferiority of those who do NOT and must not come out “on top”. The top of every mountain is the narrowest place, with room for only a very few: therefore we (white-identified culture) must make up stories to explain why “we” deserve to be there and the “others” don’t.
If you look into the actual (sometimes hidden) beliefs of those considered heroes in America, you will too often find a belief in the superiority of “anglo-saxon” “nordic”, etc, etc heritage. Ie, “whiteness”. How does “whiteness” die a long overdue death? When enough people who appear to be “white” and do therefore receive “white” benefits, give it all up, and refuse to accept the notion of race itself. And along with that, the idea of “national identity”. We are every one of us simply humans sharing a single beleagured planet with billions of other beings, all our relations.

Forgive my soapbox, I’m fired up this morning! :slight_smile:

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There is a Grassroots Growth infecting the System of Business as Usual,I am not Giddy about this because it comes with a new way of Engaging Our Body,Mind & Soul;in fact it’s a Task of SoulMaking which Enlivens the Body & Mind to Make Contact with the World Soul Afresh!

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Hi Maia, sorry it’s taken me a while to reply to this. It is a big topic and easy to f up, but here goes. I am basically with you on the above; on the other hand, we all have natural ethnic, tribal, familial and many other identifiable relations, including genetic and spiritual lineages, which all converge in who we uniquely are—which in the best case scenario is dynamic and evolving, yet rooted, connected, and integral to our larger Self.

I don’t particularly feel or identify as “white,” but I am not really brown or black either. I have been thinking I may take to calling myself “olive” since there is Mediterranean in my background, as well as central American / indigenous. The green veins that pop through my skin give me the slight hue of avocado, perhaps. I am giving thought to writing a manifesto for olive people. We just want to love everybody, and for everybody to get along. Peace, love, and salad for all!

One says “Black lives matter” in order to say “All lives matter,” “Your life matters,” “My life matters,” “Our lives matter.” Most arguments about colors, labels, and naming are really childish and crude, if understandable, because the history (and reality) is so traumatic and cruel. Yet this is what the powers-that-be would have us do: bicker, when we could be becoming more powerful in ourselves and through our interrelations.

It seems obvious to me the only real viable and desirable future is radically multicultural, diverse, hybrid, and wild—yet held together by some universal glue that everyone has access to and feels, though it is invisible. And there will be nothing wrong with, nor any special privilege attached to, identifying or being identified as white or black or any other color (or non-color, really) that a soul in a conscious body wants to manifest as.

This should be easy as pie—a cakewalk, folks—kindergarten level stuff in the Cosmic evolution. It is weird that such simple ideas are so hard in historical practice.

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If I understand you, I agree with all you’ve written.
I was not meaning to say there are no colors! Or cultures! I love colors and cultures, and the “inbetweens” too, it’s dividing the human family into species-like “races” I don’t go along with and never answer such questions on forms, etc. I was meaning there are no separate branches of humanity. We can be any colors/cultures and combinations, and still be one human race, one family.
I am such a mongrel, with some Native American and some African, some Irish/Welsh and some German/English… and I grew up surrounded by strong prejudice against brown skin. (Still true here) In America, being “white” and having white skin are not the same thing. Maybe we could say “White”? over-dentifying not only with the apparent paleness of skin, but with certain assumptions, supposed noble culture-aspects that go along with it.
Here are your words that say what I maybe didn’t say as well as was trying to :" seems obvious to me the only real viable and desirable future is radically multicultural, diverse, hybrid, and wild—yet held together by some universal glue that everyone has access to and feels, though it is invisible. "
If we ever reach the point where Identifying as White does not mean “better than” the other multiple shades, then yes there will certainly be no problem in enjoyment of that “shade” among all the others! :slight_smile:

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I gotcha. That’s what I understood, too. “Race” is essentially a pseudoscience and collective superstition, whereas ethnicity and culture are rather real and meaningful categories. It does also seem there is such as thing as “Black” culture (which encompasses everything from the blues, jazz, and hip-up, to styles of southern cooking—or are these rather “African-American,” and at what point does the Africanness fade?), whereas I am not sure the same could be said about “White” culture; it is a total melange. Likewise, I do believe we can identify Italian, British, German, US-of-American, or various other national or ethnic cultures which are describable and legit. Whiteness, on the other hand, presents more as a red herring.

Usually, these days, when I hear the “white” applied to human beings, it is in a derogatory, accusatory sense. “White” is the color that is associated with a cruel, stupid, and unjust ideology of racial supremacy (e.g., Nazism). White is the enemy of progress. All beautiful (e.g., “white goddess” archetype) connotations of lucid clarity and radiating lovingkindness are lost. Again, this understandable, based on how white-identifying people have behaved over the last 500–2500 years or so, and how these very connotations were deployed to abet the structures resulting from and rewarding that behavior. But in the long run, it is an association I hope we grow out of.

I would wish for mountains to be mountains, rivers to be rivers, and colors to be colors again.

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Elijah’s last words-

I’m an introvert and I’m different!!!

We need to create a subtle infrastructure that can handle the demonic energies that are re-embodied in the police force. MLK declared that he had a dream ( not a plan) and he started a wave that overlaps with Aurobindo, along with James Baldwin, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X, a subtle world alliance that has cut a deep groove in the collective. Are we ready for this? Many of us will never give up…

You may not identify with being white but that doesn’t mean you are free of responsibility for the white body supremacy operating in this evil conspiracy. Traumatic histories are re-arising, demands for justice, gut wrenching, heart breaking, justice! justice!justice! justice! justice!

This is not a time to spiritual by pass. We must, in my view, anchor ourselves in the deepest energetic rapport with the saints of the past and face this ugly, dissonant, incoherent, monster that is coming at us-

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You’re absolutely right about this. There is a big difference between guilt and responsibility; yet these distinctions are complicated by complicity, apathy, ignorance, benefit, distraction, suffering, stress, hunger, and all the other conditions of the flesh we are subject to. I had only heard Elijah’s name and didn’t know his story. I am horrified.

A friend sent me this yesterday, but I had other concerns at the moment and didn’t have a context for it until now. This feels spiritual to me, but not bypassing.

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And when we are horrified what do we want to have happen?

I want to co-create a subtle infrastructure, an infrastructure that can create waves of protection for those who are in the struggle, not attempting to rise above it in an apolitical, systems view. That his murder is captured by the digital and broadcast globally has huge impacts on the virtual/subtle. We need to register the horror so that we can touch the phase space that is re-configuring our body electric.

I agree. Consciousness is a property of spirit entering dense matter. The music is building the subtle infrastructure into the individual layers of our biotic systems. We can’t off load our horror or our compassion onto computers. We must touch the extremes of joy and sorrow.

Farewell, dear Elijah, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. We are with you always.

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“(One) may not identify with being white but that doesn’t mean you are free of responsibility for the white body supremacy operating in this evil conspiracy.” Precisely! I sure hope it didn’t sound like I was saying anything even close to that?
And, indeed, "no spiritual (or any other kinds of) bypasses, but rather speaking up and acting on behalf of Justice in its rainbow of colors and forms.

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Thank you for this beautiful tribute. Yes, spiritual but no bypass…

In a smaller way, a few friends and I (over the phone) felt the need for a ceremonial honoring: with guitara dn drumming, we chanted out names from a list of 123 unarmed African-Americans killed by wrongful violence in America.

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Thank you, Maia, for sharing this. The ritual you describe shapes our shared, subtle realities. We need ritual spaces that allow us to grieve and re-center as we can then better re-organize, march, demonstrate, write, read, re-think. We can re-organize our social boundaries at a higher frequency. As many of us are reaching a threshold, it only takes a few strokes of a butterfly’s wings to bring on a hurricane.

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A different kind of history lesson.

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“We built this joint for free.”

It’s mind-boggling how indebted the United States of America is right now. Forget the trillions of dollars in actual, fiscal, monetary debt—the unfunded welfare programs—the hundreds of billions or more in dark military expenditures—the “quantitative easing” and pumping liquidity into Wall Street—forget the trillions in student, housing, medical, and consumer debt—there is a corresponding historical debt that is astronomical: to Black people, to Indigenous peoples, to Immigrants, and let us not forget the land itself, which by many accounts, was essentially Paradise before we cut down the forests, polluted the lakes and rivers, and paved over vast swaths and innumerable strips of the earth.

Yes, the founding fathers were political geniuses, and many an entrepreneur and pioneer and spiritual dissident found freedom of the Imagination here, and we can actually have this conversation; and history, the great Hegelian Spirit, could not help itself from leaping into the abyss of the future in its bid to manifest destiny.

Yet how can such a system and society possibly survive without some form of massive Release…Redemption…Jubilee? And how strange that all of these tectonic social shifts are suddenly happening in part because of the Coronavirus, and how business as usual is shattered. And we are going totally schizo. The national response to the virus is utterly incoherent—what is opening, what is closing, where all the money has gone—what the millions and millions of people suddenly without jobs are supposed to do.

I hope that we don’t stop at names and statues, but get to the bottom of our bottomless debt and face the bankruptcy of American capitalism in all its racist, colonialist, imperialist guises. We might then be able to save the principles that could be universally upheld from the violent, ignorant bathwater that is flushed, returning to eternal cycles. We might be able to restore a sense of equity and common purpose to this association of free souls, rather than living out our days as if indentured servants to some invisible Creditor who makes our lives possible.

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And when we are going totally schizo…is there a relationship between going schizo and the aperspectival learning that Gebser defined as an irruption?

noun-a breaking or bursting in; a violent incursion or invasion.

And what is in a name? *

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

And I can offer another name…

How about the Elijah McClain High School of Beauty and Truth?

I have been to Baton Rouge many times, I remember the harsh chemical smell, the oil pumps along the Gulf Coast, and we passed over the Mississippi River, and went down a gravel road and ate dinner at shack, a creole restaurant, served by black folks, chicken fried steak. Daddy left a big tip, the biggest tip he said those niggers ever saw. I remember it was $ 5.

And then to visit the plantation of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis ( my brother named after him). A well preserved mansion, with a big library and a gallery of grim white men.

And I feel for that southern culture a hatred, a shame and also a strange pride in the beauty of the language of the people, the beauty of the blast made by the good minister from Baton Rouge. May his voice be heard around the globe.

And that is what speech act theory is all about. When you are centered, as the good minister is, and are aligned with truth, a terrible beauty is born.

When you use the language of contempt, which my father was a master of, you create havoc,and unleash the dogs of war, and you will be chased through the swamp. I have been chased through that swamp many times before.

Yesterday, my heart, betwixt the extremes of joy and sorrow, felt like a trapped bird. I stood upon my firescape, in a thunderstorm, stripped down to my underwear, gazed up at the black sky, notice the pigeons whirling over head, going crazy in the fierce wind, felt the crash of the thunder, and enjoyed the rush of the cold water against my bare skin. Then, above the East River I saw a rainbow and reached out my hands, palm upwards.

Rainbow! Rainbow! Rainbow!

I have only seen a rainbow a half dozen times in my life.

And God sent Noah a rainbow sign,
No more flood, the fire next time.

My middle name is Noah. John Noah Davis, Jr. I hated that I shared a name with my father. I never used Junior in any signature I made. It has taken me a life time to figure out that I don’t hate him anymore but I do continue to hate what he stood for. I did not like him and when he died I never shed a tear. He hated himself as much as he hated black people. He was a frightened bully.

But what he stood for must die also. He was a liar and a coward, as are the white men who crushed the beautiful life out of George and Elijah. I refuse to carry forward the white supremacist body that my father demanded that I carry. I will not watch, frozen in white apathy, the ongoing slaughter of the innocents. My Daddy told me that he wished I had never been born that to be a queer. He spit in my face.

Get thee behind me, Satan!

And when Aurobindo, in his subtle body, confronted the Nazi forces, and changed the outcome of that War, does such a subtle body have a size of a shape?

And do the laws of entropy apply to that subtle body?

And how does the subtle infrastructure, that I want to co-evolve, possibly work?

in·fra·struc·ture

/ˈinfrəˌstrək(t)SHər/

[noun: infrastructure ; plural noun: infrastructures

  1. the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.

I agree, Marco, but someone has to do it.

Is anyone catching the rhythm, the vibe? I think this is the first thing we would notice if the subtle, invisible infrastructure was re-embodying through our too, too solid flesh.

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