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❱❱ Is a reliance on private property the best way to structure society?

How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change

On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause. I saw an elderly black woman being interviewed today in tears because the only grocery store in her neighborhood had been trashed. If history is any guide, that store may take years to come back. So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.

Barack Obama on Medium

In Defense of Looting

The mystifying ideological claim that looting is violent and non-political is one that has been carefully produced by the ruling class because it is precisely the violent maintenance of property which is both the basis and end of their power. Looting is extremely dangerous to the rich (and most white people) because it reveals, with an immediacy that has to be moralized away, that the idea of private property is just that: an idea, a tenuous and contingent structure of consent, backed up by the lethal force of the state. When rioters take territory and loot, they are revealing precisely how, in a space without cops, property relations can be destroyed and things can be had for free.

Vicky Osterweil in The Nation

❱❱ The Pioneers Of Post-Truth: Rashomon, 70 Years On

As the film moves beyond the framing device into the trial itself, the sequence of events is explained, in turn, by the notorious bandit Tajōmaru, the samurai's wife, and the deceased samurai (as channelled by a croaky court-appointed medium). It's confirmed early on by Tajōmaru himself that he killed the samurai and raped the samurai's wife, but each person's rendition hinges on wildly differing interpersonal dynamics and tone. Less an inquisition into murder or sexual assault than a bureaucratic facade, each retelling is a performance built on appeals to existing prejudices.

Blaise Radley for The Quietus…

❱❱ Art-House America Campaign

Criterion Collection and Janus films start a GoFundme campaign to assist art-house theaters that are struggling to hold on…

More than 150 independent movie theaters across the United States have temporarily closed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Art-House America Campaign aims to provide financial relief to struggling independent cinemas across the country so they can pay staff and their essential bills and survive until it is safe to reopen their doors
Funds are intended to support essential payments during closure. Essential payments include those for payroll, insurance, rent, non deferrable loans, utilities, fundraising, and mortgages. Funds cannot be used for equipment purchases, future programming, or executive compensation. Donations will go into a general fund and then be distributed to theaters; donors cannot designate funds for a specific theater's relief.

Donate now

❱❱ Plot Economics

Global narrative collapse events tend to have a very surreal glued-to-screens quality surrounding them. That’s how you know everybody has lost the plot: everybody is tracking the rawest information they have access to, rather than the narrative that most efficiently sustains their reality.
In terms of some new vocabulary I’m developing, temporality (your constructed sense of subjective time) collapses to what I call the log level. As in, you’re down to monitoring the equivalent of computer event logs; the tick-tock stream of raw events being recorded, prior to being evaluated and filtered for significance.

Venkatesh Rao on agency and narrative collapse…

❱❱ How not to freak out

It’s not as if times of fear and despair are anything new. People have fought wars, struggled to survive, faced injustice, experienced loss, dealt with violence and greed, and been caught up in historical movements beyond their control pretty much forever.

Life has never been that easy.

In Buddhist practice, you learn never to shy away from facing the pain of the human condition. At the same time, you also learn not to shy away from the beauty and value of life in all its forms.

By clearly seeing the extremes of experience, you learn to scout a middle way.

If you find all the bad news overwhelming, Buddhist teacher Judy Lief has some meditations to help…

Early in 2016 Twitter was awash with folks talking about resistance. Primarily in reference to the recently sworn in president - A man who was going to be in office four long years.

I asked people I knew there "Where did you first learn resilience?"

There was no response.

“Adversity is a fact of life. Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise.” —Psychology Today

It wasn't surprising. The circles represented by my Twitter followers were largely comprised of folks that have been upper middle class for their entire lives. In a handful of cases, they'd even moved into full on wealth.

In that world, resilience is largely hypothetical.

Not that they haven't faced very real struggles. Both internal and external. But resilience is not required to come back from those difficulties. There is a contextual momentum that can carry one through. Repeatedly.

Take that missed opportunity for growth and mix it with privilege. Resilience becomes less a concept and more a metaphor for "spending money". Think of post-crash gold bar dreams, Post-Trump safe room fantasies, and even more extreme schemes.

Retreating into privilege can only ever work temporarily (at best). There is always something lurking around the corner to pop your bubble. Largely because the same factors that enable retreat feed what lurks.

Creating a toilet paper shortage out of fear of a toilet paper shortage is not resilience.

Neither is another video game console.

Or fearing your neighbors.

Or binge watching television.

Or refreshing Twitter.

It is liberating to drop the fantasy of there being a more perfect world, somehow, somewhere, and instead accept that we need to engage with the world as it is.

Buddhism offers a sustainable way to reduce the anxieties of events we have no direct connection with or control over. It's the way I'm personally most familiar with. There are others.

There's no better time to break these ouroborsian habits. Use that anxious energy to explore and practice.

You may find the essay from Judy Lief inspiring. In your explorations you may find something else that can't be so easily summed up in an "ism".

It doesn't matter what you choose.

All that matter's is that the actions proscribed meet a simple test: Are they wide eyed and open hearted?

❱❱ An Aspirational Vision of Life After Fossil Fuels

What will life be like after peak oil, in an age of major climate shifts? Hollywood movies often depict it as a bleak, dystopian world where each day is a struggle to survive after every system we depend on has been stripped away.
[W]hat if, instead, a post-peak-oil lifestyle was something we aspired to? It’s a radical idea that involves reimagining existing societal structures and what constitutes progress.

Building sustainable communities is the antidote to fear of a changing climate.