Sunday, May 14, 2006

So, whatcha want?

Coming off of the end of the comments section from the post three doors down, sage suggests this might be best as a separate thread.

The question was, roughly: as a political activist and/or idealist, what are you fighting *for*? (as opposed to, what are you fighting against).

Call this a thought experiment. And I'm gonna wait for a few other answers before I put my own.

I realize this is looking like the dreaded meme, but--well, hey, I've never actually tried to make anyone do one of these. Prefer answers here, don't have to pass it on to other blogs.


1. What was your favorite story (fairy tale, folktale, bedtime story, what have you) as a child?

2. If you were telling your own life as a story, what would be "happily ever after" for you personally at this point?

3. Name something that makes you deliriously happy.

4. Something you couldn't live without.

5. Something that never fails to soothe you or calm you down.

6. Something or someone ("someone" can apply to the last three questions as well) that turns you on, sexually.

7. You walk out your door tomorrow and utopia has been achieved. What does the world look like? How (very roughly) are people living and maintaining this world? Assuming there are no more political battles to be fought, and that you, personally, have all your material and health needs met, how do you spend your days?

on edit: one to grow on, which may or may not have anything to do with the rest of it, but I'm curious.

bonus: What's your metaphysical/cosmological worldview (including, but not limited to, religion)? How does it differ (or not) from what you were raised with?


Jean said...

Meme? What meme? My new av is going to be a ghostbusters sign over a picture of Dawkins.

1. Hansel and Gretel
2. Got the cabin in Montana, The Boy is doing well as a productive citizen, and I have forgotten what a cell phone is. THE END
3. The SO
4. Stereo/radio/music generator
5. Long drive alone
6. Good hair
7. "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..." As long as I have ears to hear and nobody steps on my glasses. I truly cannot imagine Utopia. See the old parable about the frog and the scorpion.

Bonus: I have a vague belief in a sum greater than its parts. I believe in something like karma, no matter how much the idea anoys people. I think I basically keep the spirit of the more liberal aspects of my Catholic upbringing, even though all my talk of a thing like karma would surely bug the shit out of them, because it's nothing like do unto others or the greatest commandment or anything like that, right?

belledame222 said...

All right, dammit. but I am expecting more from the lot of you after the weekend.

(and thank you, Jean, for getting the ball rolling)

1. The entire Oz series, pretty much. always liked "Twelve Dancing Princesses," among the shorter tales.

2. Thriving personal practice and a simultaneous career as a published author: nonfiction, fiction, and perhaps even a re-entry into theatre. A big(ger) extended family of lovers and friends (and cats). Enough alone time/autonomy to keep my sanity. A charming cottage by the sea, probably somewhere on the West Coast, preferably near enough to SF or Seattle to keep me from severe city withdrawal. A sense that I've done significant work that can be picked up and expanded on after I'm gone, and a world that's secure enough in which that's gonna be possible. Coming to terms with death before I die, and a meaningful passage out of this mortal coil.

3. Finding a really good beat and dancing to it.

4. A sense of humor. Books.

5. A purring cat.

6. Femmes who kick ass. Tall women with hourglass figures and lush curves. The occasional pretty boy (or boi). "Directing" (probably a more accurate term for "topping" in my case--it's erotic theatre, is what it is)

7. I imagine something roughly along the lines of Maslow's hierarchy of needs--wherein everyone has all the "deficiency needs" met.'s_hierarchy_of_needs

In other words, there *is* enough to go around.

After that it becomes all about the "self-actualization." So I'd be concentrating even more on--well, what I want to concentrate on right now: how the human mind works, the Mystery. I guess assuming there wasn't so much need to be healing old hurts (hey, this is a fantasy), I'd be probably delving more deeply into esoteric practices--altered states of consciousness, other realms. Preparation for the Big Transition. And I'd spend a lot of time dancing, and reading, and having sex, and cooking and eating wonderful food and sharing it with loved ones, and making beauty in my own way. Maybe I'd finally learn to garden.

bonus: I grew up as a third-generation secular humanist--culturally Jewish, no real religion on either side of the family, a general suspicion and/or disdain for all things smacking of "superstition" or "the irrational." Right now I'm following a Wiccan path, but it's one that encourages a lot of flexibility of actual belief--it tends to be more about practice and ethics. It is hard to sum up in a few words. someday I'll post more about where I'm at with all 'a that, I expect.

okay: your turn, y'all! I mean it!

belledame222 said...

oh, and: travel, somewhere in there. lately I've been much more of a homebody than I used to be, but seeing much more of the world would definitely be part of the agenda.

Dwayne M. said...

Alright then, I'll have a go.

1. What was your favorite story (fairy tale, folktale, bedtime story, what have you) as a child?

Someone, I honestly can't recall who, introduced me to Norse mythology. Once I met Thor - impetuous, powerful yet still vulnerable, scourge of giants, foe of the dread Fenris Wolf - I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Sadly, an element wielding god armed with an indestructible and cosmically powered hammer wasn't a career choice. So I settled for consultant.

2. If you were telling your own life as a story, what would be "happily ever after" for you personally at this point?

Making the best use of whatever talents and abilities I have; not only in the usual way (e.g. 'at last! that big promotion! My hard work and talent rewarded') but in a more, dare I write it, 'holistic' sense.

Perhaps what I'm stumbling towards is that Buddhist term (or at least, the standard English translation) 'mindfulness'. Yes. Achieving greater mindfulness, leading, as gravitation leads to orbital patterns, to an all around better me. And a better me would be of better use to others.

3. Name something that makes you deliriously happy.

Two things. They seem unrelated at first glance but look ye at the little lower layer and the base appears...A truly new (at least to me) idea. And...being unselfconsciously silly with children.

4. Something you couldn't live without.

Soy milk. No, wait, orgasms. No, hold on, soy milk. Wait.

5. Something that never fails to soothe you or calm you down.

MY wife softly breathing on my neck.

6. Something or someone ("someone" can apply to the last three questions as well) that turns you on, sexually.

Just the other day my wife and I were in a women's clothing shop. She was trying on spring frocks (are Americans allowed to write "frocks" without coming off as PBS jackanapes? Do 21st century Brits actually use this word?). She came out of a dressing room wearing a simple little something that flattered her marvellous form. I thought, "goddamn. Even after all this time I still feel like a kid about to lick his first ice cream cone whenever I see her."

This is a good thing.

7. You walk out your door tomorrow and utopia has been achieved. What does the world look like? How (very roughly) are people living and maintaining this world? Assuming there are no more political battles to be fought, and that you, personally, have all your material and health needs met, how do you spend your days?

Here's a scenario that has always appealed...

In Larry Niven's "Ringworld", human civilization has achieved social and technological sublimity. Of course, people still die but usually only after living very long and pleasant lives. Ethnic and so-called 'racial' identities, disastrously contentious matters in the past, have become playthings. Using on-the-spot genetic manipulation people can appear however they want - as a fashion option - and routinely go from seeming classically African or Asian or European or some combination thereof from day to day and week to week. The Earth is a party planet of chilled out folk.

In such a world, the question of how to spend one's days becomes pressing for many. Louis Wu, the novel's protagonist, calms his restlessness by setting off, from time to time, in a "single ship" ( a one person spacecraft) in some direction. Just to see what happens. Needless to say, we're not at the "single ship" point in our development but I think some analog of that style of solo questing would attract me.

bonus: What's your metaphysical/cosmological worldview (including, but not limited to, religion)? How does it differ (or not) from what you were raised with?

I was raised in the (Protestant/evangelical) American Christian tradition.

However, my own view is that the universe is vast and cool and unsympathetic. The Mars rovers relayed stunning images of the red planet's harsh surface. The Huygens lander revealed the methane rich sand seas of Saturn's moon Titan.

When we see the images our far flung robots sent to us, I think we're looking at the Earth's distant future.

In the short term - the next several thousand years - we and our descendants have a responsibility to maturely manage our impact on the Earth's balance. But, in the long run, entropy will win and things will get very quiet on Earth.

Alon Levy said...

I hope you don't mind I copied this to my blog...

It's hard to explain exactly what I'm fighting for, since I'm too much of a generalist to say something like "gender equality." I think the best way to characterize my liberalism is as a philosophy that stresses the importance of equal rights and equality of opportunity but not of results. Unlike libertarians, who prefer to focus on negative liberties, I think that the government can and should enforce equal rights in a variety of ways, including equal pay laws, public education, anti-trust laws, and a social safety net. But still, my underlying view is very individualistic, and ultimately what I want is a society that makes it easier for the individual to thrive, regardless of what his/her socioeconomic background is.

1. I honestly don't remember. I don't think I had any favorite, mostly because fairytales and folktales have disgusted me since I was very little.

2. It's 2020, my mathematical career is going well, my political and social novels have been successful, and I've just finished helping secure equal rights for one group (say, American atheists).

3. The thought that this August I'll finally leave my parents, go to New York, and start grad school.

4. Books and net connection - I'm not sure which I'd pick if I had to just pick one.

5. Right now, it's the thought that things will get better this fall. Obviously this answer will be very different in four months.

6. Well, I'd rather not reveal all of my deviations in public, so I'll go with the idea that in a few months I'll meet someone who I can love again and who'll love me.

7. I'm not sure I can completely answer this question, given that I'm very anti-utopian. But I guess that you can say that I'll consider a society my utopia if it's a Popperian open society, without the entrenched inequalities that plague modern societies or an intrusive government that seeks to control people's lives.

Bonus: I guess everyone here knows this already, but I'm very much a metaphysical naturalist. I didn't exactly grow up with it, but I sure wasn't raised with any religious crap crammed into my head or with any kind of spirituality. Personally I manage very well without any religious or quasi-religious belief (quasi-religious here doesn't mean spiritual, but a worldview that imitates religion, such as communism or fascism).

antiprincess said...

Best story - a slightly "corrected" Cinderella (to reflect an excruciating and luridly graphic step-matricide...issues, I've got issues...)

Personal happy ending - And then she finished college, and they all lived happily ever after.

Producers of delirious happiness - books, and husband who doesn't mind if I read. (I used to have a husband who didn't let me read. that sucked.)

Something I couldn't live without - books, and that man.

something that never fails to soothe - homemade beer.

something that turns me on - wow, that's complicated. I don't know how to answer that.

Utopia - everyone's gone back to their farms and stops having hysterics about the way other people fuck.

antiprincess said...

bonus question - I never went to sunday school or anything. I was not raised in any particular religious tradition. I've had to figure it out for myself, for good or ill.

of course, the jury's still out as to whether or not I've figured anything out.

Sage said...

Hey, it was a busy weekend!

1. I loved Greek and Norse mythology, and the original Grimms fairy tales - all so gruesome! My absolute favourite was the story of Promeseus tied to a rock with his innards eaten all day and growing back all night. I was always drawn to the edges.

2. I wonder if I have a book in me and if I could get it all down and actually have a few people read it. That would be a happy ending. But where to begin?

3. Projects. I love starting a new creation of any kind - a painting, a renovation, a post... And the struggle to finish makes the finishing all the sweeter.

4. A clear mind. I can't think of anything else I couldn't tolerate losing but my own clarity of thought.

5. I'm dramatically calmed by gentle touch. Rub my back and the world disappears.

6. Different things turn me on an different times, but there's one sure thing. Anytime I lie in the sun with the the heat sinking into my body and and the wind gently blowing over me, it turns me on. My guy actually rarely turns me on, but I go to him after some time in the sun! I knew a guy once who's kisses were a turn on, but the rest wasn't so great. Funny that. Usually warm breath on the back of my neck and near my ears works too. I should date a hair dryer!

7. Utopia for me has to do with environmental health of the world and people. Everything would be scaled down and slower moving. People with a gentle compassionate manner would be elected to positions of power. It would start by making corporations pay fair wages worldwide (family wages, so children wouldn't need to work) including health benefits to all, and by making them operate without destruction of the environment. I would spend my days painting, writing, making music, dancing, teaching and playing.

Bonus: I'm an atheist. I was raised Catholic, but I'm better now. I do think all things are interconnected in ways beyond our understanding (like the butterfly effect). For that reason, I think stopping child labour in Central America, is just as important as feeding the homeless in my own city. I was into Wicca for quite a while then ventured into my own ritual cultivation. I think ritual work is powerful stuff. It's more an exercise in personal focus than otherworldly magic per se. I was raised to believe in God, which I don't. But I was also raised to have a profound concern for others and for the world in general, which I do.

Good questions. And here I thought your questions about desire and "What do you want" were all about sex!

belledame222 said...

o, we could do that sometime too.

but I do think it's terribly connected:

Er·os (ĕr'ŏs', îr'-)
Greek Mythology. The god of love, son of Aphrodite.
often eros Creative, often sexual yearning, love, or desire: “The new playful eros means that impulses and modes from other spheres enter the relations between men and women” (Herbert Gold).
Psychiatry. Sexual drive; libido.
The sum of all instincts for self-preservation

EL said...

1. I LOVED Robin Hood.

2. Sad to say, not worrying about money would be top of the list. After that though, something where I had a good deal of time off, while also still knowing I was contributing to society in an important way. Being creative. Being able to live where I want, while also having my family near.

3. going to sleep in a big hotel bed

4. My love, A

5. soap opera tv - The OC, Queer as Folk, and such

6. the feeling of a built muscular back

7. a place where nothing was assumed of anyone, except that they wanted to and were trying to give back in whatever way they could. It wouldn't be a painless life, but pain would be distributed fairly. I would spend my time writing poetry and experiencing art.

bonus: I don't have a metaphysical/cosmological worldview yet.

I was raised Catholic and I cannot shelve that so easily at it seems many people can. Even if I can't say I straight-up "believe" it, it is sort of viscerally and instinctually who I am.

I believe deep-down that there must be some sort of way that things even out and, if there isn't a heaven/hell, I don't know what that looks like, and a sizable part of me thinks its basically just something I have to believe in order to not to take extreme vengeance in life.

I have a strong sense of right and wrong which doesn't really seem to adhere to any doctrine or even concept.

It all sounds so corny, but I am genuinely unsure.

Dan L-K said...

Weeeell, I didn't delurk but yesterday, but here goes:

1. I didn't really get a lot of folktales or bedtime stories as such when I was little, so much as actual books; my favorite was probably The Hobbit, which set a certain number of precedents.

2. In the movie of my life, I'd love to see the credits roll just after my band goes onstage at NEARfest or some similar venue; that, and/or having a book in print, would serve for some value of Good Enough.

3. I'm deliriously happy setting off on a book-buying expedition; playing a really great song; spending a long and probably drunken weekend with people I love; and, increasingly, snuggling with my puppy. Among other things, natch.

4. I'm convinced I couldn't live without something interesting to read. The truth is that I probably could, but no one else could bear to be around me.

5. For whatever reason, being near someone who's sketching gives me a relaxing, tingly buzz. I think whatever energies are generated by that particular act of creation are in very sympathetic resonance to my own.

6. I've had a thing for eyeglasses for literally as long as I can remember, and sometimes even find they make up for a host of shortcomings. La, I am a geek, and shallow.

7. In my utopia, no more than an hour or two a day need be given up for "work," and the rest is available for the pursuit of Art and great conversation. Plus, there's no more fuckwittage.

Extra credit: I was brought up an agnostic in a family of non-practicing Unitarians, which I suppose is all still true. I'm afraid I accumulate metaphysical bits and pieces with mad syncretic abandon, so I've also adopted Buddhism, paganism, chaos magic, and worshipping a god with an elephant head, all coexisting in something like harmony. At the end of the day, I suppose I'm a perky nihilist: Nothing really matters, so you might as well be happy.

Piscean Princess said...

1. (I don't remember any stories other than Green Eggs & Ham.)

2. Intelligent, kind, cute, funny, emotionally mature, spiritually connected, culturally aware, gainfully employed dude has fallen in love w/ me (& me him).

3. Good food

4. Peace

5. a good book

6. the boy I would still be doin' it to on the regular if he didn't act so selfish

7. The world is free of hate and intolerance. People spend their time creating and maintaining a safe environment for every living thing. I think I would spend my day cooking & reading.

Blackamazon said...

1. Scherezade. THE idea of saving lives and creaiting stories and controlling someone jsut with yourself. MAn I was entrallled I mode lk my life after that idea

2. She no longer owes the government,shes in therapy and dealing with her shit and has some idea of what shes good at and is working towards it oh and gshe gets some regularly.

3. People I love

4. PEople I love

5. Solomon Sang- Cassandra Wilson.

6.Ease in skin. Dominant ( not domineering not ttrying to prove something but masculine focreful men kind of get me ). BRight Eye's, soft lips and im running this one long

7. HoNestly I like process more tahn goals . SO my dream world is the moment before utopia how are we makingit we ve reformed our government. We're worky for equity then equality. Collectives are forming but also things ar ebeginning to brighten

I believe in teh great spirit in a weird way . Everything is interconencted. I believe in fiaries ,spirits,astrology,esp,common sense and basic deism. Which i find funny because Catholicism and gnosticism come darn close to what i believe minus the whole men better than women damn the homosexuals to hell thing

Anonymous said...

1. The Lord of the Rings (really).

2. Well, my dream is to become a magazine editor. I'd also like to move to a bigger city, and pursue a countercultural lifestyle with my SO.... and get a black belt in the martial art of my choice.... and have peace of mind.

3. Dancing.

4. Writing.

5. Chi gong pressure point massage. And sharing my SO's coffee.

6. I'd rather not go there.

7. Good grief... utopia. Well, people would have all realized that we're all in this together. So people would be more open and altruistic, & less isolated and afraid. Everyone would learn conflict resolution and communication skills from a young age. There wouldn't be as much of a difference between rich and poor, because status would be less important to people. There would be much less materialism. And people would feel free to express themselves. That's a start....

I'd probably still do writing and martial arts... maybe get a MFA.

In answer to the last question, I've been studying shamanism for about six years.

jacob neruda said...

Hi Friend,
You did really a great job. I found your blog very interesting and very informative. I think your blog is great information source & I like your way of writing and explaining the topics. Keep it up. I'm going to follow your blog.
Kamagra Effervescent