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#2491 - Monday, June 5, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee

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  • Gloria Lee
    #2491 - Monday, June 5, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee The Nondual Highlights Archive and Search Engine: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm The only reason a great
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      #2491 - Monday, June 5, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee
       
      The Nondual Highlights

      Archive and Search Engine:
      http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm
        
       
       
       

      The only reason a great many American families don’ t own an

      elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for

      a dollar down and easy weekly payments.

      Mad magazine

       

       
      A Brief Digression Into
      Nothing

      In his book The Globalization of Nothing, sociologist George
      Ritzer argues that we live in a world increasingly shaped by
      "nothing," which he defines as "centrally conceived and controlled
      social forms that are comparatively devoid of distinctive
      substantive content." In other words,"nothing" is anything
      without a personality and life of its own -- a demented mirror
      image of the Zen concept of nothing, which is just as real and
      present as something. In Zen we turn nothing into something;
      in modern, corporate American life, we turn something into
      nothing.
      Ritzer describes four types of nothing: nonthings, nonpeople,
      nonservices, and nonplaces. Nonthings are Old Navy
      T-shirts, Arizona-brand bluejeans, and Nike athletic shoes.
      They are exactly the same no matter what mall you buy them
      in, in a red state or a blue, and you always pay the same price.
      (From a corporate perspective, that is about all there is to say
      about the red-blue difference.) Nonpeople are counter workers
      at Burger King, or telemarketers who call at dinnertime.
      These are real people who become nonpeople when they enact
      scripted encounters with customers (or potential customers),
      who in turn become nonpeople by participating in the script.
      Corporations created these nonpeople when they created
      the nonjobs they occupy. ATMs and websites are examples
      of nonservices. And finally there are nonplaces, best represented
      by shopping malls and Las Vegas casinos. Of them we
      can say, as Gertrude Stein said of her hometown of Oakland,
      California, "There's no there there." (No offense to Oakland,
      which is no more or less a nonplace than any other contemporary
      city.)
      Imagine a hypothetical casino built on the Wind River
      Reservation in Wyoming. This casino, if built, would have a
      real presence: It would be a building. It would sit atop dry sage
      grasslands at the foot of the Wind River Mountains, on land
      saturated with the history of the Arapaho and Shoshones, and
      later the bloody arrival of the Europeans and their drive to
      eradicate the native people. The ghosts of 60 million buffaloes
      paw at this earth, making the dust rise. In distant boarding
      schools, chalk dust hovers in the air above the desks where Indian
      children sit mute, forbidden to speak their own languages.
      Scraps of paper -- torn-up treaties or lost food-stamp coupons
      -- blow in the wind. A white rancher who owns a chunk of the
      reservation drives by the casino in a late-model pickup. In the
      distance a dust devil blows across the sun-dance site, where
      native men honor forces larger than themselves by swinging
      on the ends of tethers hooked into their chests until the hooks
      pull out, taking small chunks of flesh with them.
      Then there's the casino itself, which would be like any
      other casino in Las Vegas or Reno or Monte Carlo. Even if the
      cocktail waitresses were tribal members dressed in beaded
      moccasins with their hair braided into shining black strands,
      it would not be Indian. When casino workers punch out, do
      they return to being real people? Do we all live a portion of
      our lives as real people and another portion as nonpeople? Do
      we spend more time as nonpeople in 2006 than our ancestors
      did in 1906 or 1806?
      In our private lives, we spend relatively little time as nonpeople.
      Yet, even in private, I know what it means to have a
      scripted encounter with another person. I've caught myself
      playing a part -- saying and doing only what my institutional
      role allows.
      The nonthing is distant and abstract. It shies away from
      human feeling and connection. We live in a world where we
      are made into nonpeople so we can be manipulated by the advocates
      of global uniformity. In this nonworld we are apt to
      end up with our heads bowed in a church whose appearance
      is eerily similar to that of a corporate headquarters or a state
      prison. These are the universal features of the society in which
      we live, equally common in red and blue states.
      When I first started working with my father-in-law on his
      windmills, I'd often bring the wrong part for a repair, or forget
      an essential tool. We'd end up having to go back to the barn,
      or even into town, to get what we needed. My father-in-law, a
      lifelong Republican, would come with me, both because there
      was little work he could do on the mills alone and because he
      liked to talk. I loved listening to him tell the history of the ranch
      and the early Basque settlers in northern Wyoming. One day
      when we had to go to town, my father-in-law did something I'd
      seen him do many times before, though I'd never said anything
      about it: he parked his pickup and got out, leaving the doors
      unlocked, the windows down, and the keys in the ignition. This
      time I spoke up. "Don't you want to take the keys?" I asked.
      "No. What if somebody has an emergency and needs to
      get to the hospital or something? This way, they can take the
      pickup if they need to." I have thought many times of his answer:
      What if somebody needed the pickup? This way, they could use it
      in an emergency.
      The last car I bought was a Volkswagen Beetle with a
      diesel engine. For the first few months I had it, the battery
      kept going dead. The local mechanics couldn't find anything
      wrong and recharged the battery a number of times, but it kept
      dying. Finally I went back to the dealer, 165 miles away, where
      I learned that when you turn the car off, you have to lock it or
      the electrical system will keep running and the battery will
      go dead. No amount of explanation by the congenial VW service
      representatives could make me understand why it was to
      my advantage to have to lock my car whenever I got out of it.
      Every time I go to the garage to get something out of the car
      or put something in it, I forget to bring the keys, and back to
      the house I go. What kind of society won't allow the owner of
      a car to decide whether or not to lock it?
      (end of excerpt)
       
      to read more of this excerpt from beginning:
       
       

       
      Wildness and silence disappeared from the countryside, sweetness
      fell from the air, not because anyone wished them to vanish
      or fall but because throughways had to floor the meadows with
      cement to carry the automobiles which advancing technology
      produced. . . . Tropical beaches turned into high-priced slums
      where thousand-room hotels elbowed each other for glimpses
      of once-famous surf not because those who loved the beaches
      wanted them there but because enormous jets could bring a
      million tourists every year — and therefore did.
      --Archibald MacLeish
       

      It’s a popular fact that 90 percent of the brain is not used and,
      like most popular facts, it is wrong. . . . It is used. One of its
      functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary, to turn
      the unusual into the usual. Otherwise, human beings, faced
      with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around
      wearing a stupid grin, saying, “Wow,” a lot. Part of the brain
      exists to stop this from happening. It is very efficient, and can
      make people experience boredom in the middle of marvels.
      --Terry Pratchett


       
      When seeing a new place, I often think: I am going to come back
      here later — when I am rich, or when I have more time, or when
      I have a purpose, or when I am with someone I love — and do this
      right.
      But it is a self-deception. More often than not, my feet lead
      me somewhere new rather than somewhere I have already been.
      And as I sat at that window watching the train bore through
      the heart of China, I had a different, more probable thought: I’d
      better remember what this place looks like. I will never be back.
      --Brad Newsham
       

       
      Perhaps the most radical thing we can do is to stay home, so we
      can learn the names of the plants and animals around us; so that
      we can begin to know what tradition we’re part of.
      --Terry Tempest Williams
       


      Will you ever bring a better gift for the world than the breathing
      respect that you carry wherever you go right now?
      --William Stafford
       


      We still do not know one-thousandth of one percent of what
      nature has revealed to us.
      --Albert Einstein
       

       
       
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