Bird Droppings August 30, 2010
Please think about tomorrow
I was sitting in my class room when one of my students asked would I sell an ear phone for a cell phone for twenty dollars. I responded probably not but I told them and directed them to the local Wal-Mart where they could buy one for four dollars. The immediate reaction among my students was over whelming why I wouldn’t sell it for twenty dollars. I was being stupid. I thought back a few days to a pickup in front of me and living in a semi rural county there are quite a few and as it goes many are adorned with a bumper sticker or two. This one concerned me. It read “Nuke their ass and take their gas”.
It has been several years since in a graduate school class we are reading about the cruelties of history in Ronald Takaki’s, A different Mirror: a multicultural view of history. It is not just about history it is about a malignant aspect of who we are. It is the schizophrenic side of humanity that power and greed perpetrated and nurtured in how we live our lives. I left printing in 1998 and just before I left a woman who had worked for me for several years told me why she took off a certain day every month. For nearly twenty seven years she had been doing the monthly mailing for the KKK news paper. Printed in Monroe Ga. and delivered to a Decatur Chiropractor for mailing. Takaki mentions in detail the massacre at Wounded Knee so many years ago. I first saw the photo of Chief Big Foot at Wounded Knee frozen in the snow in a western book series put out by Time Life. That was thirty years ago or so. Many of the accounts were well documented and movies made about events and happenings.
The movie, Thunder heart, staring Val Kilmer addresses the massacre at Wounded Knee and the psychological dilemma as a young FBI agents attempts to block out his Native American heritage. More recently when September 11, 2001 came about and a good friend whose sons are half Arab she hurried to school to pick them up because she feared repercussions from others. Her ex husband had been a Lebanese liberation fighter in his teens and now was a Ga. Tech graduate and electrical engineer. But there were repercussions and fights in our school whites and Arabs. I have listened to white construction workers who were unemployed because according to them Mexicans work too hard this is what they say. How it is anyone can work too hard and it is a bad thing.
Reading Takaki isn’t about history it is about who we are and why we choose to do what we do. It isn’t about misplaced morality or politics although so many times it is politicians who make the final decision. I have not been to Stillwater Oklahoma in several years. When I go I drive out to the Native American burial grounds along a quiet stretch of stream totally enclosed with cottonwoods and a meadow going up a hill to the north. Among the many markers most of which are only numbers is a pyramid of river rocks. THE GREAT apache leader Geronimo is buried here. A cement eagle adorns the rocks. The gold covered eagle placed by the tribe has been stolen many years ago. Beside Geronimo are markers, each bearing names of relatives such as son of Geronimo, great niece of Geronimo and so forth all drawing reference to the most feared name in the southwest for many years. As an old man Geronimo asked President Teddy Roosevelt if he could go to the White Mountains to die, the request was refused and he died at Fort Sill Oklahoma.
It is about us now and how we respond so that one hundred years from now we are not the subject matter of another Ronald Takaki Jr. writing about how the people of the United States did this or that. Down through time solutions have been presented. Within various religions numerous times alternatives to the greed and power seeking are within the basis of that religion. Always mankind will bastardize and turn away if not execute the messenger. Native Americans through the ghost dance and Wavoca’s visions claimed the messiah was coming to redeem the Indians but the army saw an uprising. Today end-times authors have made a killing in money and sales pushing the end of al times. How do we pay homage to our ancestors misdeeds and such and how do we go forward in a manner to not replicate what has happened before.
“Seek the unseen in life. Celebrate the ordinary. Serve the weak rather than currying the favor of the powerful. Find a way to direct your life towards God. And live for the seventh generation rather than for yourself. Most of all follow the invitation of the Lakota chief, Sitting Bull, ‘Come, let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can create for our children.’ It would be nice if the people walking the halls of power in your fair city would keep this simple injunction uppermost in their minds.” Kent Nerburn
It has been several years since I first heard or read the name of Kent Nerburn. Many days ago this was his monthly message from his website. This passage was the last statement of an interview posted this month and reflects much of Nerburn’s thinking. My son told me he heard a news item that struck him as interesting, the most stolen down loaded movie of all time is, “The passion of Christ” by Mel Gibson, an interesting paradox. As I sat thinking about this earlier, this is the paradox of our society; we promote morality in rhetoric yet in reality, literally walk away from it. Our politics follow suit. We profess this deep faith and belief and yet do everything in contrary to that faith we profess. Truly what we do today is about our children and their children we present an idea and show another.
“Create your future from your future not your past.” Werner Erhard
“The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.” Source unknown
As I was thinking, so often we are forced to think about now, our processes and living necessitate thoughts and actions to this plan of existence – we spend so much of our time dealing with the pressures of the current realm of thought – bills, politics, entertainment, news, advertising, education, all the trappings of our lives –
“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.” Ancient Indian Proverb
It seems often I return to this quote from a bygone time. We borrow from our children. It has been many days since I was involved in two meetings dealing with students/children trying to decide their fate in life. Both children have severe issues that have not miraculously appeared but have been noticed from early childhood. For many years both these students had been served and in the course of their education learned to really not care.
In working with behavior there is a simple concept ABC which I have alluded to before. That refers to Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence. In any given behavior each aspect is there. In order to change a desired behavior you change the consequence and or the antecedent. Only as I worked to write a token economy for one fellow to help him function, did I see how we manipulate life. So many aspects of our daily existence are altered and manipulated through media and advertising. Politics is much like Skinner, you want a desired effect and using behavior we throw out the right information or wrong information, which ever is needed. It could be raise gas prices and we need to destroy a wilderness. Argue taxes is always a good one, or how about talk about sexuality with each word we get the desired effect and never once think about your children’s grand children. It is all about today. As I sit thinking, watching billionaires get more billionaired I wonder are we going to start building tombs like the pharaohs did and store our wealth with us for later consumption. Maybe we should have learned from the ancients all the bread and cheese set aside for the afterlife, back then, didn’t get eaten, it molded. You know too much now and trying to store for the future, is it about raising mold. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.