“No one knows precisely how identities are forged, but it is safe to say that identities are not invented: an identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.” – James Baldwin (from “No Name in the Street“)
“Any honest examination of the national life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom with which we began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country a hard look at himself, for the greatest achievements must begin somewhere, and they always begin with the person. If we are not capable of this examination, we may yet become one of the most distinguished and monumental failures in the history of nations.” – James Baldwin (from “Nobody Knows My Name“)
Another one! To all the women we have ever loved – to each of them according to their unlimited, boundlessly variegated needs, to each of them according to our ever so restricted, insufficient, hopelessly inadequate capacities. That is why true love is such a painful passion (even for poet – warrior – scholars). – Michael R Kratker
Culture Is Not Your Friend – Terence McKenna
What civilization is, is 6 billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each other’s shoulders and kicking each other’s teeth in. It’s not a pleasant situation.
And yet, you can stand back and look at this planet and see that we have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the scientific know-how, the love and the community to produce a kind of human paradise. But we are led by the least among us – the least intelligent, the least noble, the least visionary. We are led by the least among us and we do not fight back against the dehumanizing values that are handed down as control icons.
This is something, culture is not your friend. Culture is for other people’s convenience and the convenience of various institutions, churches, companies, tax collection schemes, what have you. It is not your friend. It insults you. It disempowers you. It uses and abuses you. None of us are well treated by culture.
Yet we glorify the creative potential of the individual, the rights of the individual. We understand the felt-presence of experience is what is most important. But the culture is a perversion. It fetishizes objects, creates consumer mania, it preaches endless forms of false happiness, endless forms of false understanding in the form of squirrelly religions and silly cults. It invites people to diminish themselves and dehumanize themselves by behaving like machines – meme processors of memes passed down from Madison Avenue and Hollywood…
Interview: Muhammad Ali on Becoming President of the USA
“I was reading a piece that Norman Mailer wrote about you very recently where it described you as the second most prominent American after Nixon. You might dispute that (laugh) but would YOU like to be president?”
“No… No Sir… Too Dangerous” [Audience Laughs] Like… In other words, Here’s a ship… People are dancing on the ship. A lot of money’s on the ship. A lot of food’s on the ship and I cannot integrate on the ship. I cannot eat quality on the ship. I’m just in the galley working and I never could get up to see the captain of the ship. Now… All of the sudden, the man tells me, “Say… Come on down, Ali, out of the galley. I want you to come up here and… Here, have something to drink. What do you want?” And giving me number one spot… From the galley to the Number One spot… I say, this ship must be sinking [Audience Laughs] (Sarcastically) Why is he so nice to me now?? What moved him to call me up here?”
A deckhand is born and never made. Therefore I am a deckhand. The Pyrate must be an accomplished deckhand or end up as a mediocre, a mediocre Seadog.