Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Peace, Love, and F... Off!

revolution in society must begin with the inner psychological transformation of the individual.

If I am greedy, envious, violent, merely having an ideal of non-violence, of non-greed, is of little value.
J. Krishnamurti

Here's me, saying peace, love, and...you get the rest, somewhere around 1986, in a dorm hallway at Boston University...a professed pacifist, actively opposed to apartheid in South Africa, Duarte's bombing in El Salvador, the Contra death squads in Nicaragua, destruction of the world’s rain forests, and, in general, sincerely dedicated to working for peace, justice, equality, and looooove between my brothers and my sisters aaaaaaall over this laaaaaaaand...


...as well as intent on making sure nobody fucked with me like they did in high school...much as I seemed doomed to be an outsider...and hated the insiders, anyway...but honed my verbal skills to where I could shred anybody who pissed me off...or even irritated me...finding solace in casual acts of vandalism that cost everybody on my dorm floor their deposits...if any of you are reading this, that was a joke...but doing it all in a way that was socially respectable...because it was clever and funny...that’s one difference between college and grade school...in grade school there’s no need for subtlety...kids act out their issues by calling other kids faggots or shoving them into lockers...in college, you’ve gotta be clever...though, in the end, it amounts to the same thing...the same endless and endlessly hurtful and pointless battle.....

You can’t close the door when the walls cave in.
Robert Hunter

After a while, I left there...dropped out...went to San Francisco to follow the Grateful Dead, then wandered around Europe, then came home to work for Greenpeace in Philly, had a couple minor run-ins with the law before ending up back in school in Olympia, Washington...at Evergreen, those who were weird in other places were pretty much the norm, and those who were weird there would most likely have been committed anywhere else...actually, I suspect some of my friends eventually were...since you can’t stay in college forever.....

I’d rather stay here, with all the madmen
than perish with the sad men roaming free....

David Bowie

Here’s the thing about the Pacific Northwest in the late ‘80’s...just barely pre-both grunge and Microsoft...while, in much of the country, the conservative inquisition of the ‘80’s seemed to finish what the punk reformation started in stomping out any idealistic vestiges of the ‘60’s still smoking behind the bushes...(yeah, I’m mixing historical metaphors all over the place, but it’s fun)...and such efforts got no end of immoral support from ‘60’s idealists themselves whose concern for peace ended with their draft eligibility, who voted for the ex-governor who’d shot at them in People’s Park when they realized he’d be good for their stock portfolios...from Santa Cruz to Seattle, those organic roots sank deep...counterculture becoming conventional in its own ways...paranoia striking deep before growing comfortable and old...as even my old friends from Dead tour became what I affectionately came to term granola fascists...full of love and compassion for all living things...except for other people who didn’t live and think exactly as they did...strangely reminiscent of the Christian fundamentalists I grew up around...and, no doubt, that some of them grew up around, as well...rebelling until they became exactly what they were trying to escape...if with better taste in music, and, certainly, cooler attitudes about partying and sex...but at least you can drink a Pepsi with the fundie crowd without subjecting yourself to “constructive criticism”....

Free your mind, and your ass will follow.
George Clinton

Many, it seems, in the process of trying to free their minds, do little more than create colorful new cages...which isn’t to say that freeing your mind isn’t worthwhile...or that changing society isn’t necessary...in fact, we're probably in the biggest trouble ever if both don't happen on the largest of scales awfully soon...but it may be a lot more complicated than we think....

19 comments:

RBV said...

I agree with the fact that people that attempt to free their minds tend to create new cages. I feel the most important aspect to freeing one's mind that people overlook is that you have to suspend your judgment of others to really consider yourself free-minded.

Also, I feel like the first step to free-mindedness ironically involves the admission that one is not at all free. As all therapists must do, figure out and accept your own baggage, bigotry, and egotism before you proselytize the world.

RBV said...

BTW...I wish I could've known you during the time of the photo...and I'll admit, it's mainly because of the hair and the beard :)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I'm not sure the mind is capable of freedom - do we live in cages of society because that's the way we need to be to survive?

It's like - i could never have been a Punk: i wouldn't have survived two streets without being deeply embarrassed that people were staring, so i think it requires a certain attitude that you can't hold onto forever (and maybe you shouldn't try), but maybe by refusing to watch football just coz everyone around me wanted to know which damn team i supported i was making my own statement in my own way? Who knows.

oceanic mirages said...

yes you r right, in the process of freeing our mind we become slaves...
b/w thanx for the visit on my blog.

Mark` said...

I always have to think of the Talking Heads Song, "Once in a Lifetime", especially the line, "Well, how did I get here?"

Melinda said...

I was a punk rocker during the 1980's-and I went as full throttle in that directions as one could possibly go. One of the great appeals of punk rock (to me) was that it DID cast off the idealism of the 1960's (and 70's--which were more or less the garbage of the 60's in the end).

Punk rock WAS freeing--you could let go of all your anger, rage, and laughingly give the finger and not only be accepted by your peers--but you were revered as well!

I really enjoyed this post!

Melinda

Annie said...

This is a great post, I am just a wee bit ahead of you in age and I lived through the 80's in San Francisco. Thanks for your comment on my blog, for what it is worth from what I read here I think you are a good writer, go for it!

Lana Gramlich said...

I so hear this post! It speaks to my experience totally. I agree completely.

Caroline said...

Thanks for stopping by! The photso is classic with an excellent "chuckle" factor! Very much enjoy your blog!

Kano said...

A thought provoking post and enough of it is "over my head" to keep me busy for awhile trying to let it seep in. Just the kind of stuff I like! -I'm a northwesterner and can relate to what you said about our folk. I'm afraid I too ended up locking myself in a cage by judging the world and everybody in it that doesn't agree with me. Then I realized everybody's on their own trip and their trip is not mine. Several books I have been reading over the past couple years have reinforced the notion of benefits of being non-judgemental. ie. "A Course in Miracles", "The Shack", and "The Four Agreements". -Great blog, keep it up!

timethief said...

Your post reflects some of my own experience. Thanks for sharing it.

Christine Vyrnon said...

Krishnamurti quote was a great way to get and keep my attention.

"as even my old friends from Dead tour became what I affectionately came to term granola fascists...full of love and compassion for all living things...except for other people who didn’t live and think exactly as they did..."

This is the irony of surface level open-minded-ness. It's too easy to think one's accepting and loving of everyone else while keeping a dirty little mccarthy type list of all the things or ppl who aren't acceptable... meanwhile living in denial that such a list exists.

But that's the beauty of this post... exposing, honestly, the messiness of learning and relearning what it means to be Open? non-attached observation of the self is a good place to start.

Grumpus said...

I also enjoy a Pepsi sometimes without having it slapped out of my hand. I'm scared of some of my lefty friends!! They can be much more intimidating than the right wingy ones!!

Personally my moral scruples are like a crazy quilt of 'right' and 'left' stances (for lack of a more convenient signifier I use these divisive terms!!). I've seen what happens when you try and fly with one wing!! I find it amusing when someone thinks they have me nailed or when they fill in the dots on what else I must "stand" for based on one item I mention...mostly, the fact they are compelled to try and 'pin someone down' is sort of stressful/comical in itself. My aim is to continue to try and resist this compulsion.

'Endless and hurtful battles' is right!!! And everything is eligible fodder...

Gypsy at Heart said...

We always think we're something we really aren't.

The older we grow, the more we become exactly what we futilely fought not to become.

In old age, we wear resignation and conformity like we do that old ratty shirt or pant we just can't throw away because it is the most comfortable item of clothing we own.

And you know what? that's okay. There is always a new generation to carry forward (or backwards) the standard of change, disenfranchisement and disgust of the status quo.

Even so, it is a lost battle from the start. The only thing that is different for everyone is the moment at which arrive to this inevitable conclusion.

Ed T. said...

Very fascinating article, thanks for sharing your story. I also have some pictures of myself very bearded and with dreadlocks even, lol! I didn't follow the Dead, but I followed Phish in the 90's. I love the "granola fascists" term! That is so right on and true. 'Peace, love, and happiness but only in our little clique here', that is so the attitude of a lot of "granola fascists" as you say.

yellowdog granny said...

portland was more fun in the 60's..trust me.

Lisa said...

Peace,Love, and F**K off??

My catchphrase is always Peace, Love, and Rainbows. So close, yet so not close. :)

drinking water filter said...

he he hairs are pretty cool.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Love the hair dude.

You look like the kind of person I was afraid of when I was in school, lol. But then again, I was afraid of everything ... which I regret. Fear is the worst kind of cage.

I admire people like you who act out, live out ... it's admirable.