Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Silas: Going to Haiti
Me: dude no way, ive been searching for orginazations to go, who you going with? im jealous man you get to help.
Silas: with a group from old church. theyre redcross or habitat for humanity?
Me: sweet man for how long?
Silas: Friday for a month
Me: dude i wish i could go, is there anything i can do to help?
Silas: Save money to go
Me: are there not a lot of people going?
Silas: yeah biggest need is 7 people to care enough to go
Me: (cant remember, something about the complacency of americans and the apathetic attitude some of america's churches)
Silas: Almost cant blame the people. this world made life all about number one. gotta bust tradition.
Me: (i say something in agreement)
Silas: yeah it's bad
(silas called me day before he got on plane, couldn't talk much since i was about to go into archaeology class)
19 Days Later....february 17th
Me: bro youre going to be released!! Yeehaw! you got to tell me how hardcore a haitian jail is dude!
Silas: haha hey man. yeah ive got some good stories. see you soon.
Me: SILAS! no kidding dude. call me when you get a chance! check your facebook wall dude! im coming home this weekend if you guys come back. so crazy dude so crazy.
february 18th 12:00-12:39 am idaho time....
Silas called. we had a good talk. turns out, cannibalism and "card games" are quite common in a haitian jail.
and i quote silas " its never too early to start haitian jail cell jokes"
so let the jokes begin...
good to have you back buddy.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Albert Einstein
Monday, February 8, 2010
not slow-core but slow shoes,
and not shoe-gazin' but hazy daydreamin'.
today was postponed but i was not alone,
and the lonely guitars screamed, but,
it was not screamo,
the vibrations commanded the rocks to sing out in his name,
but the pedals pushed out a post-rock praise and revealed a silent shame.
Today was the same as yesterday was tomorrow,
cause the melody will never change,
for it is a spiritual magic marker,
a permanent press, an inhalant imprint on the solvent soul,
an irreversible aspiration of brain cells disappearin'
from the consensual.
From the normal heart beat beat beat level of consciousness,
every beat beat beat is an essential part to human existence.
the sole of our bare tribal muddy feet will try to tap it out,
it will go and go and go and go until you've
Painted your Face with Fruity Flesh and Feather Paste
and joined the natives dancing ritual.
it will stomp and clap, scat and rap, it will mumble and hum,
it will become,
an overtone song, a throat chanting mantra,
it will never be done.
Because everyday is all that was which is,
a shaman's journey through a DMT accessed dimensional bliss.
a wave of sound, trough to crest, that reconnects every tribesman and tribeswoman,
to the whole,
we all share the same soul.
lost in our physical food, our material jail cell,
our minds are robbed of bail, and our bodies accept what society sells,
our malnourished bodies accept that hell.
We are not transcendent beings, no,
we have forgotten,
we accept only what we think we can control,
but this is not reality,
we have forgotten,
that we are all musical.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
if you pray, if you meditate, if you wish on stars, or if you just think. do it for haiti. silas and his dad and others are there. read this article of what they have been accused of.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
We are all humans and have lost what it means to be human. To give all we have, after we have met our needs to survive, to others. “To live simply so others may simply live” as Mahatma Gandhi once said. But as I write this, after returning from the Tunnel of Oppression (a cultural event used to raise awareness of different types of oppression around the world) with a few friends, we retreat to our comforts. We lose ourselves in the football game on TV, in all the salt and sugar that our nation has to offer, and in the jokes made so casually about the oppression we just witnessed.
But why is it so easy for us to dismiss such unfortunate real life oppression? We are a thriving people with all we need to survive, to succeed, to entertain ourselves, and much more. So why are there so many organizations in the world that are out there to help slaves, orphans, the starving, the uneducated, and shoeless children, yet not as much effort to help these people in need from the thriving people of rich nations? It was with this question that I set out to find answers in the culture I am apart of, a mixed society of different cultural backgrounds and students that make up a college campus.
But before I take you on a description that is not tantamount to the real life experience, let me tell you that participants had to sign an emotional waiver. This emotional waiver was no joke, and they make sure you don’t get the wrong impression starting with the first line, “The tunnel of Oppression is designed to give participants a very direct and emotionally impacting learning experience around issues of diversity, differences, oppression, and discrimination.” The waiver tells its reader that the experience is serious; it is designed to evoke emotions and make you uncomfortable. They make it a goal for one to walk away with something implanted in their consciousness.
Consider this your warning (straight out of the emotional waiver itself): “ If you are concerned that you will be strongly negatively impacted by participation, please leave now before the program gets underway.” And with that warning let me introduce you to my observation about human oppression in our somewhat dormant culture, this is my walk through The Tunnel of Oppression:
“I am not a FUCKING pair of tits!” The make-up masked woman announces behind her leopard-skinned dress that kisses her slender hourglass shape. She marches around the crowd of people that join me in the tunnel, stabbing her high heals into the floor she spins around and spits out her argument in anger and frustration; yet she is not too aggressive because of the limitations of her short dress that restrain her from being fully flexible. Accompanied by some black fishnet stockings that cut into her legs like her words cut into our ears she preaches, “Is this what you think of me? Of women? As objects used to sell products, objects for your pleasure?” She jabs a finger at a collage of scantily clad women, each in a different but just as revealing scene; one is conveniently packaged like raw chicken wings with a sale-price stamped on the plastic covering that tightly binds her down. “Is this how you feel? Do you feel like you’re being treated as an object?!” Her Spanish accent is thick as she asks a member of the audience, and the woman responds modestly, “Yes.” “Well I am not! I am not something EXOTIC! I am a human being!” she says as she sarcastically shakes her hips teasing the audience and then quietly transforms into a statue on display, like the statue of Aphrodite de Melos.
As my “unlearning” through the tunnel continued, I encountered more saddening oppression. During the second scene, the intense anger and language had become too much for a father and his two boys who left promptly through the next available door, and probably for the better, because the rest of the Tunnel only offered scenes of rape, exploitation, violence, and racial slurs. And if those scenes weren’t disturbing enough and didn’t put us into a state of self-reflection and emotional withdrawal, we exited the tunnel of oppression in a mock line of illegal immigrants and marched our way to the after experience discussion to retrieve these personal emotion for review.
The discussion was just as uncomfortable as the walk through the tunnel. Four guys and an older adult man sat around a table with a pretty female volunteer and talked about what made us uncomfortable. It seems a good symbol or theme for this event, or even most humanitarian events, is “discomfort”, making sure the public gets a taste of what it is like to be at unease, to be stressed, and maybe feel what it would be like to not be average anymore. For example, after the tunnel we discussed our emotions with a wide-eyed woman with long eyelashes. These beautiful eyes were counterattacking the experience of just being yelled at for treating woman as objects, and made us feel the discomfort at the table, therefore not wanting to address it added more stress to what we just witnessed in the tunnel.
As the uncomfortable discussion pressed on, one question stuck out to me, “If you could name the Tunnel of Oppression what would it be?” With a still and quiet atmosphere, I disturbed the silence with an answer, “The Tunnel of Humility”. A tunnel that is full of new truths that our comfortable society is ignorant to, and going through this tunnel exposes us to a new reality where there is more to the world than ourselves; it brings us down to a level where we have to embrace the fact that we don’t know everything, that we are spoiled, and that we have so much to be grateful for and so much to give. A father and his two sons were victim to this, the tunnel contained too much of this reality for his kids.
After analyzing my own experience through the tunnel, I turned to a fellow college student for his thoughts on The Tunnel. In this interview with college freshman Jon Gilkerson, I set out to find if this event was a good way of educating and getting people to want to be more involved in charities. When asked about what he was expecting and what was reality Jon said, “I was just expecting, I don’t know, didn’t think it was going to affect me, no big deal. But after going through it, I was semi-disturbed.” He stated that the Tunnel’s message to him was that “all of us are racist and bad people” that it was “like rubbing the puppy’s nose in the urine” and only made him feel bad about himself, not necessarily inspired him to want to go out and change the world. But he did agree that educating the public the right way should get more people to be involved in fighting oppression.
Jon’s answers and input on the event’s effectiveness was intriguing. A reaction that saw Americans are to blame for the oppression around the world turned the participant’s compassion off. Jon felt more angry with the people for blaming him, the tunnel didn’t install compassion and make him want to act out and help these people. And maybe that is why the majority of society is disconnected and lack involvement in helping the oppressed.
To try and make sense of this and society’s mindset I created a survey that asked people questions of their values, religion, and where they invest their money. First I compared the religion of the results to how they spend extra money. Of the 15 that answered this question, 14 were Catholic, Christian, or Mormon. But when asked how they spend money 10 would save, waste it, and buy things for themselves; three would fix something around the house, buy food and necessities; and one doesn’t have extra money. The correlation I made from these results is that most Christian people spend extra money on themselves, but this isn’t a good assumption since the results for how religious each person was, was all over the rating system of 1-10.
But overall the value that these participants held high was faith, so one can assume a person practices and defends their concept of faith. And this is where a bible verse comes to mind, James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (New International Version.) So how Christian is our nation? If the majority of these college students hold values of Christ then they should be addressing the world issues and doing all they could to help the underprivileged of the globe. It’s a contradiction that can be seen in our secular churches that invest more money in programs for Christians, and forget about our orphans.
To get another view on the relationship between nonprofit organizations and society I contacted a friend of mine, Silas Thompson, who started a small nonprofit group called Economy of Mercy. What the organization does is various jobs and fundraisers, they collect and send money to different people groups and needs around the world. When I asked him “what do you think the average person is willing to give to any given charity?” He replied the “average person will probably give a fraction of any extra money, and very little of there time. But average isn’t a good measurement, because there are those who will give everything, canceled by those who will give nothing.” He also stated “I think we need to get out of our slump of comfort and satisfaction with the way things are in our day to day, and experience what it is that the rest of the world, apart from our ‘glorious’ America, is.”
“Our slump of comfort and satisfaction.” We are a material world, a 100-calorie nation. A nation where everything we want is easily accessible to us, and we don’t have any incentive to reach out beyond thoughts of ourselves, our weight, and our happiness. We watch our own back with the diets and trends the nation offers. We are bombarded with the expectation of our individualistic society’s “American Dream”. Commercials of charities face us everyday, Feed the Children, Toms Shoes, and Call and Response, we expect to get something if we give something, comfort and satisfaction.
It may be that the people who I see at these events, who are dressed stylishly, care about these oppressions, or perhaps they are participating just to be socially active, like an accessory to their wardrobe. Because if we really do care about these injustices, why then do we follow the event with a discussion at Starbucks, whose coffee is 30% harvested by slaves, or casually spend money shopping for vintage clothes the day before? If we really do care about these oppressions we would give all our assets to the needy. Compassion would cease to be a product for the American public to purchase when convenient for them to do so, and start to be an action and a desire to help others.