I have a small irritation about social media, particularly Facebook and some blogs. Whenever I “like” or make a comment on a post, I get inundated with notifications and emails about other people commenting on the same post. That I commented on a post doesn’t imply that I’m interested in anyone else’s commentary on it because I’m probably not. I said what I wanted to say about it and I’m done with it. I don’t really give a rat’s ass whether or not anybody agrees with me. I’m not seeking affirmation, my personal worth and self-image are not dependent upon anyone’s approval. If I’m interested in the discussion I’ll follow it at my leisure.
What I’m reading
I finished reading The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England by Carol F. Karlsen. I found it interesting and quite informative. Although these witch trails occurred over 300 years ago, I see similarities in the way the conservative movement’s attempts to regulate women’s heath care and reproductive rights. In America we have nearly a 400 year history of fearing independent women and and in the current regime that fear is as prevalent as it was in the 17th century.
Our society still holds centuries old assumptions about women’s place in society and how they ought to behave. We also have a deeply embedded tendency in our society to hold women to hold women ultimately responsible for violence committed against them. That tendency and those assumptions still grip us as much today as they did in 17th century New England. However, that paradigm seems to be in its death throes and the longstanding patriarchy is desperately trying to hold on to them as women continue to voice their discontent and dissatisfaction. I say good riddance to it.
I’m now reading Lucid Dreaming by Charlie Morley. I’ve had an interest in the subject and I want to learn more about it. I’m finding that it’s not as easy as I’d thought it would be. Maybe I’ve perceiving it as more difficult than it is or I just need more practice and open my mind to it.
What I’ve been listening to
This week I listened an episode of Star Talk Radio, called Let’s Make America Smart Again. The discussion talked about what draws scientific talent to a university or a country for that matter. It’s not necessarily about the money but rather the quality and intelligence of the colleagues and post graduate students they work with. By cutting funding to public universities and dumbing them down, we do our nation a great disservice. We can make America great by shoring up its educational institutions, particularly in public education and by making Americans smart.
We become great by attracting greatness and being in the company of greatness. We cannot create greatness on our own. We are not great because we declared ourselves to be great but because the world perceives us a great.
What I’ve been watching
Though it’s in the ‘chick-flick’ genre, I recently watched the first season of Anne with an E on NetFlix. It started with my granddaughter wanting to watch it and I kind of got hooked.
Quotes I’ve been pondering
“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” ~ Aung San Suu Kyi
“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” ~ Aung San Suu Kyi
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today is National Nude Day and this week is Nude Recreation Week. I don’t have any particular plans for these occasions. I really don’t need a special day or week, just a place and an opportunity. Here are a few related quotes:
“Nudism is about comfort, freedom, friendship, and acceptance. Nudism is a way of life and a belief that the nude human body is not inherently sexual or obscene. We only have one body and one life to live. We should learn to accept ourselves and others as they are and for who they are.” ~ Anna Smith
“Don’t be so serious. Don’t make nudism a religion. It is a thing of joy. Try to get some joy into your own system! Let it overflow, so that it may spread among your friends!” ~ Julian Strange (1934)
“Why should we think nudity is such a revolting thing in a land where there is so much violence and corruption and racism and hatred? Nudity seems like a welcome relief from all the bullshit in life.” ~ Anthony Kiedis
What I’ve been watching
The latest incarnation of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix is pretty good. I’d always been partial to the orginal, feeling that later incarnations were quite up to the mark. But this new series is every bit as good as the original, maybe better. There seems to be no shortage of cheesy B movies to torture us and those on the Satellite of Love but their commentary makes them bearable.
Technology I’m dealing with
I’d already gone through my MojoNude blog in its entirety, restoring images, updating links, and occasionally editing entries. Over the weekend I began the process on the For What It’s Worth blog which will take much longer because I’ve had this blog going in some form long before MojoNude. It also has entries imported from my Live Journal so there are duplicate entries from that. Until recently, I posted to it more frequently than I did to MojoNude.
In one of my tech email subscriptions I found an article about alternate DNS services to what’s provided by default by one’s ISP. I overrode the default DNS addresses provided by my IPS on my gateway router and put in the addresses for DNS.Watch. I chose that one because they don’t log DNS requests and they claim to have optimized their service for speed. I’ll try it out for a while and see how it goes. So far, it seems to be working well. I was glad to see that once I’d made the change on the router, all of my computers and devices picked up the change right away instead of waiting for a reboot or the next DHCP request.
Projects I’m working on
It’s spring so there are plenty of outdoor projects to be done. My mower died over the weekend after several years of faithful service. I’m certain that repairing it would cost just as much as replacing it but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll make a trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot today or tomorrow and get one. (I bought a cheap power mower from Home Depot because I already owed them less.)
I got a truckload of mulch from the city’s yard waste facility yesterday and applied it to the flower beds in front of the house. I dug out a few inches along the bricks and filled that in with mulch to make mowing along the beds a little easier. I did the same thing around the garden boxes in back. I had plenty of mulch left over so I decided to cover the grass inside the fence around the garden. I’ll get another load next week and finish it off then take whatever remains to the kids’ house for their flower beds.
Quotes I’m pondering
“The bible should be reverently and ceremoniously burned every Easter. It is a dangerous book. We need it no longer for the spirit is with us.” – Alan Watts
“You must realize that you are now only a heap of conventions, habits, what society has made of you. Once all these have left you, you realize that they were defenses and aggressions accumulated solely to maintain the ego.” – Jean Klein
“You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.” – The Doctor
“I would say that the idea America has a crumbling morality, that we have some kind of morality that’s standing, is built on repressive patriarchal conceptions of sex and sexuality. So if that’s crumbling, then let it crumble.” – Kirin Gupta
What I’m reading
I’m still perusing England: A History by R.J. White. It doesn’t read like a history book. As I’m reading it, I seem to get a bit of a feel for the temperaments and and the sensibilities of the English people during the times discussed. It’s also refreshing to have a perspective that’s not American. I believe that Americans, in general, have a uniquely biased view of history, not only their own, but world history as a whole. This bias carries over into our economic and political thinking. We have this idea that, as a nation, we are invincible, we are always right, our way is the best, and the lessons of history do not apply to us. We are a most delusional nation and our collective inability to see past the delusion will likely be our downfall.
Blogs I’ve been reading
I’ve been a regular reader of Robert G. Longpré’s blog, Naturist Lens for many years. I enjoy his insights that blend naturism with Jungian psychology.
What’s in my bag
When I go out for more than an hour or so, I often bring with me a messenger bag containing items I might possibly need. In the main pocket I’ll have a notebook for jotting down things that pop into my head. It also contains my Kindle and my copy of The Teaching of Buddha. I’ll often add a bottle of water and something with which to flavor it, especially if the water has minerals added to enhance its flavor.
Another pocket has chargers for my iPhone and my Kindle as well as a supplemental battery. Somewhere in the gag will be a couple of pens and post-it pads. And, like any experience intergalactic hitchhiker, I’ll have my towel handy.
Quotes I’m pondering
“Why do I get so much out of being skyclad? It is a question I constantly ask myself. The best answer that I find is the fact that it is then that I find myself able to “Breathe” freely. Clothing restricts and contains. Somehow, it is my psychological state that feels restricted and contained more so than my physical self. I wonder what it is for others?” – Robert G. Longpré
“It’s as simple as that. We are afraid of stepping out of the shadows – psychologically afraid.” – Robert G. Longpré
“It seems I want more naturism in my life, not less.” – Robert G. Longpré
That last quote echoes what I’ve been feeling lately even as I flip-flop about whether I should join the local naturist group. Are my reasons against as valid as I tell myself? What it all comes down to is that I want a life that’s simpler, less restrictive, and allows me more real freedom.
Happy 274th birthday to Thomas Jefferson. I’m sure it would sadden you, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison and the other founding fathers to see what the nation you founded has become. The people have become complacent and have elected ignorant fools to represent and govern them. Not only have the people ignored your warnings, they have embraced those very things you warned them against. In their ignorance, they believe that the erasure of the principles and the vision this country was founded upon will somehow make this country great. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ignorance and fear that dominates our politics and our culture will be our downfall, the end of our experiment with democracy, and will likely usher in a new age of tyranny and despotism. If you thought King George was bad, King Donald and his court will be much worse.
What I’m reading
I finished reading The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Mark Morris. The book was a good historical account of the events leading up to and following William the Conqueror’s invasion of England to take the crown promised him by his cousin, Edward the Confessor. For me it was of historical and genealogical interest. I’m a fan of English history and William the Conqueror is quite likely my 29th great-grandfather.
Next, I read The Tower of London by Alison Weir. The book was a bit shorter than expected given the Tower’s nearly 950 year history. It seemed to be an overview of the Tower’s history, leaving me yearning to learn more about many of the events that took place within its walls.
I’m currently reading Co-ed Naked Philosophy by Will Forest. I’d been hearing about this work of naturist fiction for a number of years and decided to read it. It’s apparently based on actual events and deals with a group of college professors and students who disrobe for a philosophy class. It also deals with the characters’ experiences with public nudity at an unofficial nude beach, streaking on campus, and other situations. Throughout the story the author echoes many of my own ideas about naturism, body acceptance, and nudity.
Concepts and ideas I’m toying with
Nudity as our natural state. After all, we come into this world naked so it’s our default state. Clothing is something we add to the default so it’s an aberration. All clothing is manufacture, it’s not natural. Therefore, wearing clothing is not natural, though we’ve been been conditioned to believe that it is. Wearing clothes may have become normal but that doesn’t make it natural.
Man’s war against himself. Actually, this idea germinated with the previous concept. If nudity is our natural state then it seems reasonable to assume that being nude is, at some level, a primal part of our nature that has been culturally suppressed over many millenia. When we look at the history of the world, we see that civilization has generally been a conflict with Nature. As civilization has advanced, we’ve escalated the war on Nature and separated ourselves more from it. But we are a part of nature so the more we try to separate ourselves from it, the more we separate ourselves from our own nature and our humanity. At some point the war against Nature escalated to include humanity and ourselves among the enemy, making us the enemy we seek to destroy. Ultimately, we are the war’s casualties. I’m certain the mankind will fight the war until we bring about our own extinction and Nature will prevail as it always does.
Parties I’ve attended
I first learned about Dayton Warm Breezes (DWB) back in October but it was only this last Saturday that I attended on of their events, a house party at a member’s home. Other than everyone being naked, it wasn’t any different than any other house party. A masseuse was available to give massages and the host had a hot tub all warmed up but I didn’t partake of either. It was the first time I’d participated in social nudity in quite a while (having been exclusively a home nudist for the past few years) and I realized that I had, indeed, missed to social aspects. I still enjoy my nude solitude but there needs to be a balance. There’s another house party coming up soon and I’m planning to attend and formally join the club.
Games I’m playing
Words With Friends. I’ve been playing this Scrabble-based game on my mobile phone for a couple weeks now and it constantly reminds me how much my vocabulary, which I had believed to be above average, have slipped over the years. My 14-year-old granddaughter trounces me. But she’s never shown me any mercy in games.
Quotes I’m pondering
“Dangerous does not mean exciting or bold. It means likely to cause great harm. The most dangerous idea is the only dangerous idea: The idea that ideas can be dangerous.” ~ Daniel Gilbert
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. That’s our problem.” ~ Howard Zinn, Failure to Quit
These quotes have particular relevance as the extremist conservatives who have infested our government at the highest levels work to destroy every great accomplishment our nation has made in the last century. Ironically, they’re doing it under the battle cry of “Make America Great”. If anything, these people are destroying America’s greatness.
We are all soldiers in a war that has endured for countless millenia and we are the enemy that we seek to destroy. We are the combatants, the prisoners, and the casualties. We are at war with Nature and by implication we are also at war with Humanity since Humanity is a part of Nature. And if we are at war with Humanity then we are also at war with ourselves as we are part of Humanity. We are at war with ourselves, our humanity, and our nature.
All peoples have confrontations with Nature but people who have learned to live in harmony with Nature rather than confront it, have also learned to live with their own humanity and their own nature. We refer to these people as primitive, aboriginal, indigenous, backwards, and uncivilized.
Civilized people, on the other hand, see Nature as something which must be conquered, tamed, and made to do our will. Civilized people see themselves as striving to gain mastery of Nature and as apart from it. By denying Nature, we deny our own nature and seek to suppress it. Civilization is is essentially the denial and suppression of Nature. Because civilized peoples see themselves as separate from Nature, they feel they are superior to it. This notion extends to other peoples whom we deem as less civilized than we are. We see them as inferior and separate from us. Anyone or anything we deem to be inferior must be controlled, suppressed, or destroyed. Thus, we declare war on them.
War is about power and control over people, territory, and ideas. So are civilization, religion, commerce, and politics.
From the Book of Genesis:
23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 The God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for for food’; and it was so.
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Genesis 1:23 -31 (Updated New American Standard Bible)
Genesis is the root of the three major Western religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These verses justify our war on Nature, Humanity, and Ourselves as a Holy crusade. According to this scripture God told us to subdue the Earth and rule over everything that lives upon it. But to subdue the Earth and rule over it, we must separate ourselves from nature and see everyone and everything as separate form ourselves. We also see ourselves as separate from our God.
But we are not separate from nature or humanity. Nor are we separate from God. And we are certainly not separate from ourselves or our nature.
Religion can be an instrument of war and throughout history has often been used as such. Religions are often instituted among men as a means to establish power over others and to acquire wealth, territory, and resources. Isn’t that also the purpose of war? Religion is often used in the war against ourselves. Religions demand obedience and use guilt and shame to force us into submission and conformance.
According to Genesis, God provided us with everything we needed for life but left it up to us to sustain it. If we look back on our progress in the great war with Nature, it should be obvious that Nature is victorious in the end. We are fighting a war we cannot win. It seems that the Holy mandate of Genesis 1:26 has doomed mankind to bring about its own extinction. When our time on Earth has passed, the earth that God created for our benefit will once again flourish, at least until the Sun dies out or the Earth is struck by a gigantic meteor.