22 March 2024

Lost Post: Postcard Collective Winter 2019 series, "Practice Makes...."

 The following four posts are a compilation of my submissions to the Postcard Collective Winter exchange of 2019. For whatever reason, my cards were not included in the final Archive. I have submitted to the upcoming 2024 Winter exchange. In doing so, I have unearthed and revisited my previous submissions

The theme was "Practice makes..."

I went ahead with my usual practice of following the nonlinear suggestions of fate and coincidence. I found two books in the dumpster at the park where I am a ranger. You may recall that up to that point, "the 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season in California history. It was also the largest on record at the time, now third after the 2020 and 2021 California wildfire seasons."

I do not recall the titles of the books. One was a large format photo book of the arctic and antarctic that had been given as a gift to a parting antarctic researcher by their fellows. The second was a semi-utopian compilation from the seventies of thoughts on the Anthropocene and its place in the larger natural world with a kind of Buckminster Fuller/Carl Sagan vibe despairing ecological hopefulness

With global ecology and mankind's filthy hands in its bushel of slow murders, I cut and glued some 30 or so collage postcards, with the perspective subheading of "At The Far Edges"

How does that comport with "Practice Makes..."?
Well, the implication is "...perfect" which is a generalization that broadly accepts it's own platitudinous broad stroke, but as applied to the human project is farcical.

Read together as a lyric conversation between a human representative and a collating machine of some technological innovation, we have compassion for this monster species driven toward a progressive destruction by its own naturally driven adaptations. Perhaps there is a chance of positive mutation on a second round. After all, practice makes perfect.

None of the words are my own, all are collage

Lost Post: Postcard Collective Winter 2019 series, "Practice Makes...."


To Whom It May Concern
Dear pen pal: I am fine, how are you?
The wether hear is good,
but I have not herd from you in sometime...

This gray spirit yearns in desire to follow knowledge like a sinking star, beyond the utmost bound of human thought...The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks; the long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep moans round with many voices. Come in friends, 'tis not too late to seek a newer world...

Symbolic language is a language in which inner experiences, feelings and thoughts are expressed as if they were sensory experiences, events in the outer world. It is a language which has a different logic from the conventional one we speak in the daytime, a logic in which not time and space are the ruling categories, but intensity and association. It is the one universal language the human race has ever developed, the same for all cultures and throughout history.
Yet this language has been forgotten by modern man. Not when he is asleep, but when he is awake.
Most of our dreams have one characteristic in common: they do not follow the laws of logic that govern our waking thought, The categories of time and space are neglected. People who are dead, we see alive; events which we watch in t he present, occurred many years ago. We dream of two events as occurring simultaneously when in reality they could not possibly occur at the same time. We pay just a little attention to the laws of space...despite all these strange qualities, our dreams are real to us while we are. dreaming; as real as any experiences we have in our waking life. There is no "as if" in dreams.
The dream is present, real experience. So much, in fact that it suggests two questions:


What is reality?
How do we know what we dream is unreal and what we experience in waking life is real?

I dreamt last night
that I was a butterfly
and now I don not know
weather I am a man who
dreamt he was a butterfly
or a butterfly who dreams
that now he is a man

When we first start up this path
[and its been a long and arduous one]
we were looking for something.
We didn't find it. The seemingly simple question was --
are there technological solutions to some of the social, moral, political,
and philosophical problems of our time?

Nobody yet knows the languages inherent in the new technological culture"
We are all technological idiots in terms of the new situations
Our most impressive words and thoughts betray us by referring to he previously existent
not the present

Turned out it was not a simple question

Once upon a time there evolved upon this planet an organism that was ill suited for survival. It could not run fast enough to escape enemies; if caught, its teeth and claws were too small for protection. It was too big to hide behind a leaf and too weak to burrow deeply into the ground. To survive, it took refuge in a cave

    1. Pervasive fear, anxiety, and persistent feelings of insecurity
    2. Obsession with the accumulation of things or the symbols of things
    3. Fear of losing any portion of what has already been accumulated, even though it served no life-               supporting purpose
    4. Hostility against any living being that threatened to diminish the accumulation because this meant        the reduction of security.
    5. Deep feelings of depression following each "success" was not permanent; in a changing world,             could be reversed into defeat. And so there followed a greater effort to achieve "real" success -- a           compulsive and destructive behavior pattern that reinforced itself because every success was                     reality a failure

In the obsessive compulsive mechanism, the overriding purpose of the behavior is to attempt to achieve some security and certainty for the person who feels threatened and insecure in an uncertain world....
I see the obsessive maneuver as an adaptive technique to protect the person from exposure to any thoughts or feelings that will endanger his physical or psychological existence...

There seems to be something going on inside us that we do not understand. Some sort of cosmic transcendental forces flowing through us. Continents drift, currents shift, winds blow, snakes slither, hawks glide, the little fish float in silver schools of motions. In most of the inhabited world, most people still walk through their daily roles. We know very little about the morning of life, except that it was where mobility began; we like to think we know a little more about the afternoon. In that glade, with the late sun illunminating a dance of a creature half beast, half god, we dimly see, as in an x-ray, the mobility that is his heritage. We should be thankful we do not see the evening as clearly

Lost Post: Postcard Collective Winter 2019 series, "Practice Makes...."


good morning starshine
6CO2 + 6H2O=C6H12O6 + 6O2

you've seen a strawberry
    that's had a struggle; yet
    was, where the fragments met,
a hedgehog or a star-
    fish for the multitude
    of seeds. What better food
than apples-seeds -- the fruit
    within the fruit -- locked in
    like counter-curved twin

Some people have normal everyday recurring nightmares like drowning in a tidal wave or being pursued by apes and sex fiends or wandering naked through a meeting of the local PTA. My recurring nightmare is crueler. I dream I have been sentenced to drive forever along the Connecticut turnpike. All exits have been sealed in concrete and I am doomed for an uncertain term to feed at the eight Holiday Houses between Stamford and Madison till at last I perish of sensory insult.

land of bright water
The little pieces of land on which he stands crumbles beneath his feet,
his forests dwindling, technological man turns once again to gaze upon his ancient home --
the vast and prolific tableland of the se

AND PASS AND TURN AGAIN -- Although, because it is so mechanistic, the analogy of  the internal work of a clock is inexact to describe the system by which living things maintain themselves, it may serve our purpose here. Think of solar radiation as being the force that winds the mainspring. With negligible exceptions, it is the only source of energy that living things have. The energy accumulated by the earth as it turns is distributed throughout the system. At each transaction there is an unavoidable loss of energy in the form of heat. Within the primary system, there is no such thing as an inessential wheel; each absorbs energy. When one wheel fails, the rest of the system stops. Within this, man is no more important than any other wheel

every little movement

While every thing and event contributes to this cosmic noise, each admits an identifying message and also a highly selective receptivity for only a selection of these multiple messages, while indifferent, or insensitive to others.
Through evolution, each organism has developed a concern for those messages which are essential to its living function and survival as  species, while ignoring what is not biologically relevant nor useful. Accordingly, in any geographical area, many different species; bacteria in the soil, worms, insects, fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and the array of mammals, carry on their life careers, selectively recieving and responding to signals that are of concern to each species, while unaware of the many other messages that are being concurrently transmitted

Extractive industries clustered around sources of raw materials concentrations of minerals, stands of forests, or in the center of grasslands ans in the agrarian belts of the middlewest. The result of which was to increase the number of pollutants in each ecological area.

There can only be disaster arising from
unawareness of the causalities and effects inherent
in our technologies

When all these inputs, these economic zones are pieced together, they form a monster that no one foresaw, no one wanted, but which is now galloping through our environment. The I Ching says "No Blame"
Having constructed this monster out of old beliefs lying about the place, let us consider whether we can distinguish between real problems and imagined ones. A real problem is one in which we do not now have a solution
The "population problem" is, by this definition, not a real one in that we know how to solve it, and that in any event, whether we do much of anything, it will solve itself

They did this even when they no longer had any need for them; the symbols were the surrogates for the rocks piled in the cave against the coming of the night
Think of this system as being reinforced over and over through hundreds of thousands of generations and thousands of years, through social approval, ritualization and acculturation. That there was something basically wrong with this way of life may be exemplified by the fact that those who refused to subscribe to the accumulation and storage of things became the founders of the world's great religions

I find man utterly of what his wealth is or his fundamental capacity is.
He says time and again "We can't afford it."
For instance, we are saying now that we can't afford to do anything about pollution, but after the costs of not doing anything about have multiplied many fold beyond what it would cost to correct now, we will spend many fold what it would cost to correct it now

Throughout all of this, nature was the "enemy". The purpose of life of this strange creature we have described was to "conquer" nature, "tame" the wilderness, "make war" on pests and vermin, "control" the rivers.
Life was a battles against the elements, only the "fittest" survived. Whole species of other life forms, plants, insects, reptiles, fish, amphibians, birds and mammals were exterminated, most usually because they represented a "threat" against the accumulation of things.
Sometimes for sport

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!
Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
Your high engender'd battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul! 


Lost Post: Postcard Collective Winter 2019 series, "Practice Makes...."


And God said, let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing....
So God created man in his own image...male and female he created them...and God said unto them
"Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it..." And the Lord God planted a garden eastward of Eden and there he put the man he had created.

The emergence of consciousness is the heart of matter
Evolution has been compared to a labyrinth of blind alleys and there is nothing very strange or improbable in the assumption that man's native equipment , though superior to that of of any other living species, nevertheless contains some built-in error or deficiency which predisposes him to self-destruction.
It was not formed in ourselves, It comes from far away.... It reaches us after creating everything on the way.

The dynamo's motion, form, and soft purr of sound awed him, in whatever age... He could not make out the machine's meaning, or dimly making it out, the meaning frightened him. It seemed to leave out all the values that heretofore made human life worth living. 

...I mete and dole unequal laws unto a savage race, that hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. I cannot rest from travels...I am part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch wherethro' gleams the untraveled world who's margin fades forever and forever when I move...

Bathed in the radiance of a beneficent star, a pebble,
a drop of water, and a blade of grass are
the magic ingredients who's constant
interaction is the foundation of that
"dilute gelatinous film" we call biosphere.
There are all the tools we have; to destroy
or abuse them, to interrupt their
function is to destroy ourselves. Not all
the decisions of corporate board members,
not all the legislation passed by our
politicians, not all the money is all the
banks in the world, not all the power
stored in our military arsenals can change this
fact. Yet we act as if they could and continue
to consider that the laws of man have priority
over the laws of nature and that wealth is more
precious than life. One reason we do
this is that we tend to think of a pebble,
a drop, or a blade of grass as "things"
when, in reality, they are phases in a
process that moves as waves of
energy though space and time.
We are, at best, poor voyagers
upon this tide.

A living body is not a fixed thing. It is a flowing event, like a flame or a whirlpool: the shape alone is static, for the substance of a stream is of energy going in at one ends and out the other. We are particular and temporary wiggles in a stream that enters in the form of light, heat, air, water, wine, bread, fruit, beef stroganoff, caviar, pate de foie gras. It goes out as gas and excrement -- and also semen, babies, pleasure and pain.

Lost Post: Postcard Collective Winter 2019 series, "Practice Makes...."


I read you loud and clear.
Roger? Roger? Roger?

...to communicate with someone is to effect some form of change in their store of experiences. This change may affect their level of perception, their way of seeing things, their information bank and even their pattern of behavior

There comes a time in the course of human events when it becomes self evident we have armor in our chinks, but the voices cannot get through. Somehow, there is always a commercial on, and our voices crying in the technological wilderness are gone with the wind. Something there is that does not like a wall. Let's join hands and see if we can find another world.


So. We shiver, lonely in the cold winter of a technological culture, standing on the runway with a dollar in our hand, while at the same time the warmth is within mind's reach. But may the mind not be a way to breach the wall? Think of what delights may be on the other side!
Come along?

We all, in one way or another, send our little messages out into the world.
We say, "Help me, I'm lonely"
"Take me, I'm available."
"Leave me alone, I'm depressed."
And rarely do we send our messages consciously. We act out our state of being with nonverbal body language. We lift one eyebrow in disbelief. We rub our noses in puzzlement. We clasp our arms to isolate or to protect ourselves. We shrug shoulders for indifference, wink one eye for intimacy, tap our fingers for impatience, slap our forehead for forgetfulness.

Lest we be too critical of ourselves, let us remember that this poorly endowed creature no other behavior would have insured its survival for hundreds of thousands of years. The rude stones \finally proliferated into the tools of the industrial revolution; it became quite possible for man to produce every material he deeded, and even most of the things he could want (an important distinction). The ages of scarcity had passed. But the old, compulsive reactions continued.

The limits of our language mean the limits of our world. A new world is the beginning of a new language. A new language is the seed of a new world.

But he was but part of a whole.
He shared the planet with billions of other beings whose species history had still not been figured out. He could not know on what adventure they were embarked; he could only accompany the trek as far as he could go. This was a thing to fear. The same life force each individual represented had lives in a thousand guises, again and again; in crystals, in limestone shells and scales and feathers and fur.
He had -- and has -- only one responsibility. That is to keep the system going . And this, unfortunately, is exactly what he is doing. He is destroying the only habitat he has and he can plead 'survival' as an excuse.
We can now reconstruct the past to see how we managed to be stranded on this rapidly shrinking island.

If we knew what went wrong, there may still be time to do something about it -- the contamination of the air, the water, the entire surface of the globe he brought about.
The pulse of sirens, distant trains,
the throbbing echo of some unseen horn,
muted conversations that forward of
journeys, passing strangers, doom or
joy; all the portent once
revealed by gypsies as they
read the whisper in your hand.
It seemed a time when one by one
the stars were blinking out --
and men at last had time
to doubt whatever anxious
passion made them
build a thing from
which they had to run.

You heard, but all the same
you turned away....

I can't hear you.