Friday, December 25, 2015

The Day of Spirit Guides

On a grey day, everything was bleak
Three spirit guides came down to me
Bearing good news of kindness and love
Forgiveness, compassion, and gifts from above

The first was an Angel gliding from on high
Who said “I'm your guardian: I see when you cry
Not that I can fly and catch bullets for you
But I can give you strength to see you through
The harms of this world are just passing things
You'll be laughing again where Glory rings”

I didn't know at first what to say
A spirit guide? Sent on this day?
But my trust in Heaven boiled up
And I managed to say what was coiled up
“When you can do nothing you just laugh or cry
The powerful don't need to and maybe that's why
God has no sense of humor at all
No that's not true he likes pratfalls
For every person it'll come to pass
God will knock you right on your ass
And as your spirit goes up like smoke
He'll say 'what's the matter, can't take a a joke?
Come on now, you know that I love you
And if you don't smile there's a place I will shove you'
My people have been joking for 2000 years
And still it's not enough to take on our fears”

The angel smiled sorrowfully and said
As a halo of glory gathered round its head
“It's not for you to question what we disburse
Remember that things could always be worse!”
But before any more I saw in the angel's place
A Buddha with a compassionate face

Who said “You are right to reject future things
Cultivate non-attachment to what the world brings
Everything is change: everything will fall
But everything really is nothing at all
Right thought, right action, right concentration
Those will bring Nirvana's liberation”

The enlightened words filled me with rage
I said “All I love is made from a cage
of skandhas, the five trash heaps,
Things block the paths, things I have to keep
Since clearing those 5 paths I missed
I'll curl those paths into a fist
Punch you in the face that's no face
Curse the name you had before you had a place
The slap of one hand's gonna scatter the sand
The sand of our deeds goes up in the breeze
When it's gone you know what's left?
The stain of personality is what's kept
Like a poem with the words rubbed out
Style is the crud that can't be scrubbed out
I can't be mindful that nothing's left
And still have a voice to take another breath”

The Buddha smiled, full of inner peace
And said “Your suffering some day will cease
Although my teachings you cannot now credit
Incarnations may pass but eventually you'll get it”
Before I could reply he faded for good
And a Muse appeared where the Buddha stood

She said “You're right to reject non-attachment
You grow as you are: it's too late for detachment
The way I can help is to make you inspired
To serve as a witness to what has transpired
There may be no address to send up the prayer
But the land still needs its land surveyors”

Before this spirit guide I hung my head
Three guides! There'd be no other one instead
“This might be so”, I said, tired
“If the way that I was inspired
Was to understanding, and perhaps a path

That I could look on and not laugh
When I see poets I see a hive
Of insects, gnawing and alive
Who no one is attending to
And so we can only chew
Turning a pile of meaningless paper
Into a place we can live in till later
A glorious poet may well be inspired
But for a termite that's not what's desired
Rechewing trash is not witnessing
But hurried building with no one listening

The last of the spirit guides smiled
And said maybe she'd stay for a while
The angel and buddha were there too
Where would they go? They were stuck all life through
And so we started to joke and laugh
I'll have to tell my children about these paths

A spirit guide's an idea in your head
But now that these words you have read
If you remember, then along for the ride
A version of me can be your spirit guide
Telling you you're completely fucked!
Kicking your other spirit guides in the nuts
If it would help or even if it wouldn't
Bringing up the things you shouldn't
Showing you just what is in your command
If you can't smash the state, you can still smash your hand!
Laughing along till existence is through
With however existence has to deal with you

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Climate endgame

The Paris Agreement is going to have all sorts of pessimistic things said about it, many of them justified. We're probably going to spend the rest of our lives making the goals of it become realized as actual facts. But I don't see any likely way in which this isn't the climate endgame. The world system has substantially agreed that we're going to transition away from carbon. We also have the technology to do it. My best guess is that by 2050 it will be mostly done. This is very good news.

In various arguments among people on the left, many people were of the opinion that the neoliberal world system couldn't do this (and many will presumably continue to hold this opinion, the example of the Montreal Protocol implementation notwithstanding). I think that this was always a misdiagnosis of which class holds power and how that power is used. The managerial-bureaucratic neoliberals who are essentially in power everywhere are not James Bond villains who want to destroy the world so that they can rule a small fragment of it, or simple lackeys who are unable to go against any component of existing brick-and-mortar wealthy interests when the rest of their class has a rational interest in self-preservation. They already rule the system, and their continued rule is perfectly compatible with conversion over to clean energy, which they will continue to control the major infrastructure for. The apparent helplessness that they evince when confronting problems whose resolution would not be to the benefit of the 1% does not have to operate here, because nothing about fixing the climate problem -- which is the most important of our time and really does have to be fixed -- changes the mechanics of their control.