I wrote this morning for the Rajanaka Sky Group on Facebook because there is some politics and real world stuff in here. But I'm posting it here too because I talk about how I miss you and hope to see you on Zoom or even at Rajanaka Camp this July? Reprise, voodoo chile slight return.
A Review: If This is Winter, Does it Still Snow?
The December Sky in 2021
I hope you're enjoying some lovely holiday time with family, safely. As safely as possible in these times. "These times" looks like they are going to go on awhile. Maybe a long while. I hope you are laughing and doing things you like with people you love. I miss seeing you in person. With all my heart.
I don't miss the travel but I bet you can understand that. I did about 20 years on the road, sometimes three weekends a month. We get to meet now quite regularly on Zoom. I will keep that up till my last breath. I will not forsake our community in all of it's virtual glories. Come when you can. Please? I realize that it's not the same. We all have Zoom Fatigue but that's far better than Covid.
For me, I am happier going out into "the world" as little as is humanly possible. I'm not advocating or even suggesting that you share these feelings or views. Much of this is our situation and yours is likely quite different.
You may like the world more than I do. You almost certainly live in a more civilized place. We have the beauty of countryside and the blessings of volatile weather, which I actually like a lot. The Storm rages here, literally. I came for the job but I'm staying for the weather. For real.
You've likely noticed that I have stopped commenting on the news as a daily enterprise. I've quit The Bulwark subscription, don't watch any of the talking heads (we lost the TV in the fire and have not replaced it), and I have deleted all my podcast subscriptions to the very smart, dedicated people who comment so wisely.
Those pundits have made it their job and I admire that. I think they are no less right than ever. I think it doesn't much matter that they are right. My own punditry need not contribute.
I couldn't be "Lawrence O'Donnell" or, you know, anyone who has to report daily on our collective malaise. I don't envy Heather Cox Richardson, though I admit that she is the only one I still read daily. Sometimes I skip. I'm busy with work that does not demand these particular engagements. I appreciate no less their due diligence and intelligence and goodness.
As I've said, I've reached the point where I can longer entertain that my own commenting does much good. Certainly, I don't feel particularly less well-informed but I'm also not less stressed or upset by what's happening. I read the news and feel, you know, as horrible as usual about it. But not about you. You I love and wish every good thing.
One need only read in cursory ways to get to the same kinds of internal responses. Did you see the piece in The Times this morning about Enid, Oklahoma? Need we say more? I think we all know where we stand. I think we know who we are. I think those matters are beyond persuasion.
Rajanaka Storm/Sky was devised as a place to share dignified rage. I still maintain that we can decide who we want to be with each other. I am obviously raging, right here, now.
I still vest my trust and friendship in you. I have not "given up". Instead I nowadays feel the boundaries are actually easier to keep. Pandemic has made me lonely for you and for civilization but those are literally remote from our experience out here.
I simply no longer want to talk with Republicans. Any of them. I wouldn't care if they are my family or my neighbors. Truth is, I want as little to do with them as human beings as possible. I hope that they will not take up arms or use them to enforce their views. I'd bet plenty are "nice people" so long we talk about nothing important.
We can do things, like get a coffee or transact groceries without saying or doing anything more important than the honest exchange. But I don't particularly care to talk to people wrapt in conspiracies, bad information, unvetted "facts", religious beliefs, or politics that strike me as undemocratic, unjust, and so contrary to my own that we have virtually nothing in common but that we are the same human species.
I will also say something more...unkind? I don't actually care any longer what happens to them though I confess to some resentment that they are making the world a lot less safe and much more unpleasant, that they are costing the rest of us a fortune by wasting resources and destroying what little chance we have of planetary survival. They are a lost cause to me. I see no reason to think otherwise.
So I do my best to keep boundaries and in these pandemic times simply don't go out of the driveway if I don't have to. I miss culture. I miss civilization. But I don't live in an interesting city and work keeps me largely at home. I think this a blessing beyond all privilege.
I am truly sorry if you have to venture into the world to make your living. I have to go to the University physically of course but that is a mere inconvenience in comparison to what you undoubtedly must endure.
I miss you and I miss India so much that it aches in my bones. I miss a lovely night out and a day with art or a night with music. But there's really no where to go 'round here that we want to go. We'd have to leave the dog and we're happier with her than any encounter save one with you. You would make it worth the trip. That's why I am inviting you here for Camp. More later about that.
We have actually planned a trip "outside"---you could call it a vacation though I honesty have no idea what that means. If it goes off properly it will surely be a good thing. I mean, we all need to get out some.
But if we didn't go, I think Suz and I wouldn't care much: we'd just as soon stay home with the pup. She would make art. I would still be the professor. We're privileged and we know it. People who must work in the world are in danger of, well, a lot of other people whose behaviors are, well, let's be honest: contemptible.
But the country? I think that matter is simpler to address. We are divided and there is little prospect for better. I see no future with them. I am not a cynic though I do think "faith" is among the least helpful of all human projections.
This is a very foolish thing to say among most yogis---and most folks?---who somehow still revere the faithful. I prefer to trust those whom I regard worth trusting but not to have faith. We can discuss the difference if it interests you. I try to imagine what it would take to do better in my own life in everyday matters and to do those things with some consistency. Take care and do good things when you can, right?
I do fear for the kinds of ignorance that define the body politic because of what they "believe." Belief is no road to fact and truth, unlike fact, is the province only of philosophers.
Philosophers are apt to express preference as truth but that's likely because there is nothing better than a well expressed preference when it comes to truth. Facts we need to share. When we don't share the facts we have no reason to think democracy will survive.
Truths are personal or when we are less solipsistic, collective ways of living. I like philosophy, I've made a living with it though sometimes I prefer only the merely anodyne world of facts.
Facts can get in the way of the truths you prefer. That makes me use the facts---as best we can discern---to determine truths that help me (and others?) to get along. So I'm claiming no truth that applies to you too, only suggesting ways to live with what we experience.
My rage has not abated just because the insurrecion failed last time or because we're in the hurricane's eye before the next election. But I do find that if I read only the headlines and a few selected articles, I get enough to know what's surely coming
I don't think there will need to be an insurrection next time---power will be merely seized "legally"---and the majority aka those who voted for Democrats will merely capitulate. I think we are watching the slow-walk end of democracy in America.
My own town council went the way of Enid, OK years ago. My neighbors fly their Confederate flags and Trump banners proudly. I stay here at the end of our long driveway wishing I were Canadian by birth but not longing to be the ex-pat. That strikes me as too complicated and anyways I was born to run. I prefer to sit with you whenever that's possible.
Below is the link to The NYT piece. I actually read the whole thing. I advise caution. It's too obvious what will be said.
But for today I'm going to back to the Mahabharata to translate and record an audio book of that we'll be reading together. Wanna come? I'm still taking time to learn Japanese furiously, for fun. It's hard and if you find Japanese easy, you're way smarter than I (though that would not be hard.) I'm also woorking on learning more about Sycthian archeologies and the PIE artifacts of the Steppes. This venture into comparative mythologies is a huge task---so many languages, so much history and geography to cover.
I may yet rearrange the disorder of literally dozens of boxes (really they are now huge plastic bins) of notebooks filled translations and comments). The task of 2022 is to put them in "order." I will undoubtedly leave a huge mess inasmuch as I will leave these boxes of notes and books but I promise to make it all easy to throw out. I really really hope to see you on Zoom soon.
We mean to have a live Summer Camp in July in Bristol. I mean to go to India in 2022. Wanna come? Those things will happen if at all possible. And like I said, Zoom will be my way to meet with you mostly (Camp! Camp!) until Yama comes a'callin'. That link, right: