Thursday, November 19, 2009

Large Latte, Writers Block, and Non-violence

I'm still sick. This morning I woke up unable to speak at all and completely exhausted. My new apartment has television and I totally stayed up until 130am watching Mona Lisa Smile and The Simpsons. It was terrible!

I didn't cry at Mona Lisa Smile so I know that I am getting better. I'm a very weepy person. I cry at everything. Contrary to popular campaigner beliefs I think it makes me a good campaigner . . . or at least one day I will be a good campaigner and I think that I cry easily adds to it. I'm very sensitive to others situations. And I'll stand by those words you machismo forest dudes! I recently read an article that said tears from emotion has a 24% higher concentration of protein in them. I probably get it from my dad, he's the weepy artist lots of red wine type.

I've been thinking about the title of my last post and I would really like to explore that theme a little more. I'm not going to do it here though. I need to run off to the office in a moment. I like the idea of exploring the creative tactics of the chemical industry and how they have transformed and adapted to their opposition. The chemical industry has been on a rampage, creatively speaking, for the past year or so. I totally picture them having brainstorms while playing video games in order to channel Google or twitter staff meetings. Though I don't think those thugs could relax long enough to play video games, they probably check their bank accounts while they come up with new ways to divide communities and convince moms that a little BPA is good for the soul. I'm really interested in how the same tools are used by two completely different groups of people. Its like your brain has a moment "do I use twitter for good or for evil today"?

I wonder if I write a little about that it will help my own creativity block.

I recently picked up this new book called Non-violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky. It's a really interesting book about the history of the term and action of non-violence. Here is a little:

"The first clue, lesson number one from human history on the subject of nonviolence, is that there is no word for it. The concept has been praised by every major religion. Throughout history there have been practitioners of nonviolence. Yet, while every major language has a word for violence, there is no word to express the idea of nonviolence except that it is not another idea, it is not violence. In Sanskrit, the word for violence is himsa, harm, and the negation of himsa, just as nonviolence is the negation of violence is ahimsa - not doing harm. But if ahimsa is "not doing harm", what is it doing?"


"Active practitioners of nonviolence are always seen as a threat, a direct menace, to the state. The state maintains the right to kill as its exclusive and jealously guarded privilege. Nothing makes this more clear than capital punishment, which argues that killing is wrong and so the state must kill killers. Mozi understood that the state's desire to kill had to do with power. He wrote: "Like unto these, too, are state officers and princes who make war on other countries - because they love their own country but not the other countries, and so seek to profit their own country at the expense of others."


"The early Christians are the earliest known group that renounced warfare in all its forms and rejected all its institutions. This small and original group was devoted to antimilitarism, another concept, like nonviolence, that has no positive word. This antimilitarism was never expressed by Jesus, who in fact, did not much address the issue of warfare, though he did denounce the violent overthrow of the Romans. Warmongering Christian fundamentalists have always clung to the absence of a specific stand on warfare, ignoring the obvious, which is that the wholesale instutionalized slaughter of fellow human beings is clearly a violation of the precise and literal teachings of Jesus. In the days of the great Western debate on slavery, slave owners used a similar argument - that Jesus had not said anything about slavery. But obviously the buying and selling of human beings would not constitute treating others as you would have them treat you."

I'm really interested in reading a paper or book on nonviolence and the history of Christianity. If you know of anything, please send it along. One thing that I do not particularly agree with of my fellow activists (not all) is the need to get rid of religion all together. I'm not headed to church every Sunday, but I did go to Catholic school and come from a religious Southern family and I do find comfort in attending Mass or reading parts of the bible every now and again. Religion is important, I don't necessarily believe in a god, but I do believe that faith is extremely powerful for people and has real consequences on world events that you just can't say, its all bad, all the time. I think that is just as narrow minded as Christian fundamentalism. I think some of the most powerful activists are nuns. Those idiot privilege white kids at the G20 and IMF meetings would learn a thing if they just shut the fuck up and listened to some nuns once in a while.

Well . . . I'm almost finished with my morning latte. I should be off. This whole working with people on the West Coast and a 9 hour time difference is getting interesting. At least it allows me to have flexible hours. Not going to be in the office at 9am if I have to work until 11pm. When your childhood hero (Lois Gibbs) tells you to create some sense of balance in your life, because the movement needs you, you fucking listen. So I enjoy my lattes and reading in the morning before I rush in to save the world for toxic chemical exposure . . . at least by organizing one event around greener electronics.


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