Saturday, December 09, 2006


I live by the sea, and many times in my life I've lived below its level; but rergardless of where I find myself, even if it be for years, I am a mountain man of mountain people, a barely covered savage, a mountain ranging pagan at the core of my soul. In my heart of hearts I still live in the Rockies, the Appalachians, the Grampian mountains. The atavism of my existence is clansman Highlander, layland Riever, sea-going Berzerker, but always in my blood is the mountain air and the sight of afar. Today and for most of my life all of it is clouded by atheism. My own are wild, and the depths of theology shouldn't be any concern to us. We aren't just pagans, we are killer pagans. And in the West of our Modernity many of us have turned to commerce, leaving ourselves empty and disillusioned. When my especially distant relative said "Thank God war is so terrible for otherwise we should love it too much," he turned his face to me and I saw him snicker.

I live in a phantasy life of commerce and good behaviour. I smile and make some money, pay the rent and go to the opera, and then I flee into the wilderness to meet my own in combat of various terrible kinds. Oh ho! I got some big, deep scars! But the worst wound ever I suffered is the death of my gods. I have some reckoning of Modernity and normal living with people who think rationally and who are decent and ordinary folks. My gods embarrass me. I hate them for it, and I abandon them. For making me do that I hate them even more. So I'm an atheist.

I'm not an atheist because I'm a dedicated logician, a devoted rationalist, a man dogmatically committed to Reason; I'm an atheist because I don't have the imagination to see beyond the tableau of my indifferent gods in the endless empty skies. My god is the highest of the dead, ruler of fighting men, mount-born, flame-haired, blue-bellied smashers and rippers exultant. My god is the god of fighting men who fought their way to bloody death to exist alone in the endless empty skies forever. I live a quiet life in the suburbs, work at a slight business of buying antiques to sell at a profit. I am a boring man. My god is indifferent. I can't even believe in him and his own. I close my mind's eye and gaze into the endless empty skies, and I don't even hear mockery from the depths. There is nothing. There is only unechoed Atheism.

I run my fingers over the finest silk and make my offers, my banter, my gambits, and all the while I am attuned to the shrill pitch of the Highland pipes and the rush of the surging river through the glen as my feet fly across the heather to charge in the heights of joy, the singing claymore arcing, targe banging, the crack of bones and the shrieks of pain filling the cloudy skies like rain. "Well, sir, I could take two at the price you offer, but that would be the death of me as a trader. Let's have more tea."

I drag my sorry self from the slumbers of night to face the dreary dawn of another dull day, and I battle the forces of self-interested traders like myself. They, like me, look into the depths of the endless empty skies and long for knives and edges and man-to-man meeting of the mind in blood and abandon. We see in each other the smiles of dead dogs on the roadside. It's hard sometimes to believe I do such things for a living.

I was Cypriot, Ion Allogenes; I was Dutch, Jan Eycks; I was Manx, Yn Greeley. Wherever I am it's not where I'm from, a placeless man. My name is a joke each time. I am a foreigner, Mr. X, gee really. I scoff at the laws of Man's made motions and go where I will as I can. I stare stupidly at the laws of restriction, and I come and go. The gods are indifferent, and the joke appears to be on me. I shrug. There is no higher law than motion.

Then, in my wandering way, my atheism has encountered faith. I have traded in numerous idols of the marketplace over the long years, and I have encountered faith at a bargain many times. Believing it to be of little or no value, I passed it by. Then, in my wandering way, I stumbled, near on a year ago, into the caesura that is phaitheism. I wake up trembling in a sweat. My faith in the indifference of my gods in the endless empty skies is shaken. I waken to words in the darkness. I'm nervous. My former certainty in my own banality crumbles and leaves me stumbling unbalanced, desperate to clutch at the gods who do not notice and would not care.

I sit with men of Faith and my small heart is pounded. I do not know. In my atheism I resemble my former loving self the way ashes resemble a fire. My love is the dust of ashes. I trade this for that and that for more for something else. And I wander. I wander why I do not know. I sit with Men of Faith. I stay.

My own hewed stone and crushed men, raised up monuments and laid down the living. I dance naked in the moonlight in the Ring of Brodgar. We are fighting men, and damn the gods who do not care. We fight them too. I raise my fist to shake at the endless empty skies, and in place of my blood- crusted sword I find my hand grasps the cheap silver of shillings. I haughtily stomp on the stone a weak man would use as a pillow; and I run my fingers over fine silk and dream of the glory of a few pounds more or less. My mountain heart could break like the stones of Avebury.

I see the jackals of grief all around us; and I see Men of Faith with faith stripped bare to the bones. I sit in Faith and stare stupidly. Min' yon kin: bloody men of Faith, they set sail and left us and me alone to stare into the endless empty skies of atheism, our backs to the cold stone draining the warmth of life from us. I growl and threateningly wave my fist tightly grasping shillings. I am over-powered by quiet men. I am humiliated.

I kick at the caphrophagic dogs of grant-fueled pity; and I am driven hard to my knees by the sight of Faith. What path is clear through the blood-fed heath? I would go there if I could along that path. The pipes, they call, and I must go, my blood rushing, my eyes filled with hot tears of joy at the thought of battle. I look at my foes arrayed, and I rush up to the mountain heights of my soul. It's then my god turns and laughs, banging his hilt on the targe, the blood echoes across the endless empty skies, and the dead howl and stomp and rejoice in us who will join them, we who are fighting men. Underneath our contempt for ourselves we are fighting men, just down from the hills, awkward in our suits. I hear the pipes and feel the hair on my neck bristle. My shoulders roll and my arms rise up and I rejoice in the coming blood rush.

In my wanderings the God of Job has beheld me. I stomp my foot. I pound my sheild. I holler at the endless empty skies. Job suffers, and I can do nothing for him. My gods laugh at me. I laugh too. Job in his desert suffers, and my gods laugh because I see that my mountain manners bring me to stand by Job as he writhes. The crazed mountain war-blood brings me to stand by faith and fight for it as it is in itself. I'm not Job! My gods are laughing, they stomp their feet, they pound their hilts upon their targes, we all howl.

I live beneath contempt. Give me one stotinki, more manats. I make a few bucks here and there. My life is so unbelievably banal I can't even imagine that I was once a warrior of the mountains. It is only hidden. My own gods do not care. I see Job. If I refuse to see my gods, they do not care. Job's God beheld me, and so too will my own again.

My companions sit by the fire and whisper words of faith. The beauty of the battle is on us. In that I have faith.

Friday, December 08, 2006

That is so Muslim

We survived yet another of our weekly Thursday evening Blue Revolution meetings at Vancouver's central library. This evening, as we chatted and waited for new attendees to join us, Charles pointed across the atrium to a woman being beaten by a group of men. He said: "That is so Muslim."

And sure enough, as the evening wore on, Truepeers stopped us and nodded toward a group on men beheading a fellow whose hands were tied behind his back. John said: "That is so Muslim."

I am usually oblivious to my surroundings, but when I noticed a group of old women mutilating a young girl I found myself saying to the folks at our tables: "That is so Muslim."

After our meeting broke up at 11:30 I decided to pay a visit to our friend Jane, who didn't answer her door because she was being gang-raped. Well, I huffed, "That is so Muslim."

I toddled off home past a gang of young men burning cars along the street, throwing rocks at the police, and gang-raping more women. I heard a passer-by say: "That is so Muslim."

I think Charles has started something that is now out of control. Every time something typically Muslim comes up, such as those events above, I hear people saying: "That is so Muslim."

Pretending none of these things happen? "That is so French."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Birds and insects make things, nests mostly, but little beyond that; and animals seldom make anything at all, except beavers who block up waterways with debris to make dams. As builders, animals are mostly slackers. And until roughly 5,000 years ago people weren't much better than the average felt-lined beaver or scarlet pismire or scissor-tailed fly-catcher. Hunter/gatherer people didn't do a lot of construction, didn't make much. They made stone tools and temporary shelters, and they did make pictograms and petroglyphs. It's the latter that separates men from termites, I think. In terms of zero to one hunter/gatherer Man is significant. Beyond that, not much.

The beginnings of agriculture turned man into a beast who had to make things other than temporary shelters and stone tools. Agriculture, in a real sense, pushed man to become a genuine maker, even a poiete, the Greek word meaning a maker, a poet. Yes, Language Man and Pictogram man and Religion Man is a far remove from ants and birds, but it's agriculture that begins the long and perhaps unending move toward greatness. Without the clear sequential narrative of something like the Epic of Gilgamesh or the Iliad Man is not really much more than a biological curiousity adrift in the darkness of space. It's real making of the mind as something universal and both private and public that makes Man something great, and that is poetry.

To know of and speak of Gilgamesh and to pass on Gilgamesh to others is a step into reality unlike that of anything else in our known universe. To make, to poetize, is to create privacy and publicity, that which no other creature can do, and that Man didn't do well till he became the Maker himself. "He" is not me, my privacy being not him, my publicity being something akin and shared. To organise this Other narrative to share with others, that is poetry, making. It comes from Ur.

When every man owns his own plot, as it were, he is himself in his own mind and in the eyes of others who can see themselves as atomic in their own minds' eyes. When publicity is possible it is so because it is comprised of privacies. The conduit is poetry. Religion is a binding; and poetry, the base of religion, is a made thing of individuals that binds. When that religious binding is ossified and policed and atrophied, as it is in the poligion of Islam and the ideologies of the 18th century that so badly inform us today, then man is no longer a maker but is a thing of the hive, a flock peice, higher than a predatory beast in the wild but not the thing of greatness that man is meant to be. The rote-driven slave makes nothing at all. when the one poem, the great narrative is frozen in tradition and fear of change and growth, then the life of the mind of man is wrecked and Man is diminished and made worthless, a mere parody of the poet he could be. Man is then a farm animal.

The Poetry of Man is rightly the moral of the story, writes Dag. To make the metaphor of the Moral as universal as math, surpassing Numbers, that is some great thing. No one can do so or think so if ones privacy is trapped in a publicity of rote and misoneism. It is the fulfillment of man to create the path to the paths of the moral. That makes us, and anythikng short of it, any obstruction of that search for the universal metaphor of the Moral, is a crime against Humans forever.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan

Join us this evening at the library. We'll talk about many things; VPL, atrium, 7-9:00 pm in front of Blenz.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A lake without shorelines is a swamp. A man without manners and morals is feral. A society without normal rules of acceptable behaviour, without civil, commercial, and criminal laws, without penalties for infractions, is a snakepit.

Conflating liberal interpretation of the acceptable with personal freedom, with personal liberty and the right of personal pursuit of happiness is to confuse privacy with anarchy. Where everything goes, everything goes. A permissive society is not a liberty-providing society: it is a crime zone.

Since reading some years ago a book by Neil Postman on child education I frequently have a dream in which Oprah is interviewing mothers about their wayward kids. Says one mother, defensively and aggressively: "I didn't raise my kid to be no orthodontist." She speaks just after another lady says: "I didn't raise my kid to be no gang-banger."

If this weren't my dream I'd think I was making it up to put down a point, that a mother must indeed actively raise her child from an early age to be specifically an orthodontist; that such a career choice for a six year old is not natural but is part of a pre-planned life for ones child; and that no one can convincingly claim that a child just drifted haphazardly into orthodontia as a career. Yes, I conclude that the lying bitch in my dream is trying to fool me while I'm asleep. The mother who claims she didn't raise her kid to be no gang-banger is more honest. Likely she did not raise her kid to be feral. Very likely she didn't raise her kid to be anything at all, hence by default he is a gang-banger.

It's my understanding from limited contact with kids and from reading Jacques Barzun, the House of Intellect, that they are wild animals who need to be trained to civility. The greater the training the greater the civility, as a general rule. I have a relative whose parents compromised and now have a son who is an accountant for the mafia. Point proven.

Additionally, having studied Human childhood as deeply as I have in reading Daniel Mannix, Those About to Die, Roman beat masters had to train lions to attack and kill Christians in the arenas. Even wild lions were not naturally inclined to attack helpless people. Even with a great deal of training lions were often reluctant to do so, much to the dismay of the beast masters who were then publicly executed for failure to entertain the crowds. If lions won't attack people without training and encouragement, then it seems that people, even the worst, won't do so without training in ferality. People must learn to act on their innate evil to some extent. There is a natural fear that prevents even the bravest from attacking others until the force of experience shows how easy it is. People have to learn that they can get away with being assholes in public.

"On November 9, 1965, at 5:15 p.m., the biggest electricity failure in U.S history caused a thirteen-hour blackout in the Northeast. Eight hundred thousand people were trapped in New York City subways and elevators for over twelve hours.... Only three deaths were directly related to the power outage...."
Michael Largo, Final Exits. New York: Harper; 2006. p. 54.

1965, a year of terrible racism, sexism, and homophobia. What didn't happen? Is it that niggers, girls, and faggots knew there places in society and stayed out of sight so rednecks didn't attack them on sight in the dark? Fast forward into the "Sixties."

"Another blackout occurred in July 1977, lasting 26 hours, darkening primarily New York City. Tens of thousands poured primarily from the ghettos and went on what Time magazine called an "orgy of looting." Arsonists set 1,837 fires and hurtled bottles and rocks at attending firefighters, injuring eighty and an additional 435 police while attempting to restore order. Two people died from looting and fires...." ibid.

I make the point here that in twelve years people learned they had permission from a liberal society that they had a claim to legitimately attack society to express themselves as oppressed minorities or some damned thing. Is that freedom? Is that liberty?

Fast forward again to France in flames, to yoots burning and looting with impunity. What advantage do they have over their parents who worked for a living in squalid conditions like the parents of immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan whose kids moved uptown? What has permission to be an asshole done for those who burn and loot?

I've written earlier that there is a sentence I call "murder by socialism." Training kids in "feral orthopraxy" is to condemn them to death certainly, if not by their own misadventures, then by the sure reaction of a fed-up populace that will turn out on the darkened streets with torches and pitch-forks yelling, "There's one, let's get him," and he might well be me.

Maybe rational law is a cheat foisted upon the idiot masses by a vast rightwing conspiracy of fundamentalist Christian Republicans with a hidden agenda of socially constructed narratives to trick the masses into obedience while the super rich corporate types rape Mother Nature. I have some serious doubts about that. I could be wrong. But I think I'm right that even the hoodwinked masses have a boiling point at which they might well find themselves pouring next time there's a blackout into the ghettos to themselves burn and loot. The middle classes do not yet feel they have permission to do so, but I think such a time is coming when they will find the courage or the hatred to spring on the helpless and rip and tear like beasts enraged and practiced in killing. The rule of law might well upset some with its restrictions on personal freedoms, but it beats the devil out of mob rule. If, step by step, the middle classes find they have permission to attack the helpless, then the time will come when the mass goes crazy in an orgy of murder. We weren't raised that way but life has a way of teaching us lessons we should not have to learn, that we have permission to contain madness and restore order to our own lives, regardless of the norm of feral orthopraxy.

I foresee a time when middle aged orthodontists say aloud to the average poor bastard shuffling along the sidewalk: "You want your teeth straightened? Well, I'll straighten them for you, you asshole!"

The swamp of today might easily form itself tomorrow into a tornado of reactionary violence. When people give themselves permission to fight against the craziness of liberalism, then there will be a storm of fascism that I do not wish to experience. When we lose the light of Reason then we will see clearly the last flashes of liberalism in the West. Ours will be a new dark age, all of our own making.