To catch you up, I want to clarify certain terms that I have been using terms in previous weeks and will continue to use in my writing but with short definitions on the side. Most are obviously not familiar with these terms so I will include links here and short definitions in later posts. All of these subjects are of interest, but obviously, I will put my own spin on it all and travel part time to teach others in residence and work and learn in the process.
Cob is a form of earth building (http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/cob-building-basics-zm0z13onzrob.aspx) made of clay, sand, straw. The most common variety of Cob to most in the United States may be the Pueblo housing in New Mexico and the Missions in California made of adobe bricks. Cob does not consist of single brick, however. It is a wholly designed lump that can be very insulated if enough straw is used. Cob ovens are something I would love to learn to build and use in the near future to determine how to create one to bake artisan sourdough bread. A pizza-enthusiast friend of mine may even be interested in the viability of cob-oven pizza baking. Permaculture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture) is small-scale, ecological, organic agriculture used by individuals and small farms to use the land ecologically (with few large tools that uproot the earth in destruction as with large-scale factory farms. If all of us are to survive and thrive, creating a future for the future, this is vitally necessary.
Monday began with another raccoon caught overnight in the Haven’s trap near the chicken coop. At the time, I considered how this may be part of a raccoon family doing what raccoons do to survive. At the same time, there are the lives of the chickens to be considered as well as the consideration of the Haven’s owners who are raising chickens for egg consumption and chicken meat. I am still challenged by all of these feelings, but I am certain that if I start a farm with my family or if I join an intentional community, I will be more interested in contributing to the welfare of the community if that community is more vegetarian and more mindful of animal humanity. To be fair, yes, I know and understand that plants have feelings and they feel and suffer pain. I also realize that mushrooms scientifically are part animal as well as part plant. But at the moment, I have not mastered the extraction of nutrients from the air. I need food to live and to thrive. Vegan is the food I choose to eat to minimize the suffering that already exists in abundance in the world. I am here to learn, to teach, and to alleviate as much of that suffering as possible.
Later in the week, I discussed the concept of clipping roosters’ wings. It’s something I have heard of and may even have discussed with my Nonno, my Italian grandfather many years ago, but this was a good refreshers. Roosters can sometimes get out of their pens by “flying” up to reach a higher roost. They don’t necessarily fly, but they use the air under their wings to push themselves up and coast. Given that roosters need their wings as well as clawed feet to fight off any predators, clipping their wings is a challenging decision. Some farmers clip both wings and some just clip both. With one or both clipped, it can make the rooster both defenseless and safe. But leaving the wings intact, can also lead to a rooster’s escape and susceptible to a predator outside the pen. Like the dilemmas I face daily as a vegan on the farm, Paul has equal challenges to balance his and his farm’s best interests.
This was a challenging week on the farm, given the extreme cold and especially my views on animals, animal rights, and my vegan diet. Monday arrived and Paul, one of the farm’s owners, knowing my vegan lifestyle (I obviously had to make him aware of this before I signed on to the internship that we both agreed upon), announced the day’s first activity: the slaughter and cleaning of a few roosters. I was asked as a polite courtesy if I wanted to participate, but they all understood when I declined. Friday began at the Haven down the street from Full Life where I stay, and it was announced that a rather large raccoon, who was stealing and killing the chickens because that’s one of the things that raccoons do, had been caught in the trap.
The intellectual and emotional processing I had to perform ata the beginning and end of this week still continues. When I literally had to walk around the animal cleaning station, it had me thinking seriously on the next intentional community I move to. I have been looking through www.ic.org, the intentional community database, for vegan and vegetarian communities, because I do not think it would be physically or emotionally healthy for me to commune and live with animal eaters for any extended length of time. There was a time in the past that I believed I could handle it well. That time has past. At the moment, there is an element of necessity to stay where I am. In spite of these challenges, or because of them, I am learning more than I can possibly include in these reflective diaries.
Instead of participating as I mentioned earlier, I was asked to clear brush and remove fencing and fence posts from a section of back fencing that was formally used as a chicken grazing tail. Weeds seem to run rampant here in spite of everything. It’s rich soil, it’s been raining and snowing and there hasn’t been time to think about controlling weeds and wild plants that need to be tamed when there is so much that needs to be done otherwise.
Given my interest in permaculture, I have asked and expressed curiosity in sustainable methods to minimize the growth of rampant weeds and plants that act as weeds (though I am reluctant to refer to weeds as such at all, given the medicinal herbal value of everything). There are ways that incorporate walkways around plants and plant beds as well as cover crops that work in combination with the walkways that slow down the appearance of weeds. The day ended with the digging of trunk-sized postholes for a grape trellis. Given that it is still winter here and everyone is anticipating spring, much of what I do is out of practical necessity in preparation of the spring that will arrive soon.
Wednesday arrived; it’s been frozen for a day already. The air seems almost frozen, the rain is frozen, and there are icicles on trees and ground everywhere. It’s a winter wonderland but working on the farm, it’s painfully cold. Frozen. I use Buddhist principles as much as possible to create the reality that separates and joins my spirit from this temporary feeling of discomfort. I need to practice more. Midway through the morning, I was offered the opportunity to leave without guilt. I stayed. The Wwoofer stays, the owners stay, because this is life lived daily.
There is no excuse for me to leave so I don’t, but after dealing with wet gloved hands shoving branches into a wood chipper, I ask for the opportunity to do something else. The wood chipper is interesting because it creates woodchips used as mulch in the plant beds. Collecting brush and wood for the wood chipper to clear the farm of brush and clear more land for planting beds for raspberries is obviously more environmentally practical than buying wood chips and throwing away excess debris. It is also cheaper when every resource is needed to be as efficient as possible. While there has been practical discussion of what plants and vegetables, tubers, and other plants are necessary for a working farm, there is also a practical consideration of favorites as well, which are spread throughout fro grown seeds (plums, pears, persimmon), and plant cuttings (brown turkey figs and wine berry).
Friday at Full Life was finally relatively warmer. It is my hope that the groundhog will see his shadow soon. At this point, I am contemplating a final or semifinal place to settle down and grow food and travelling to teach. I don’t want to be near any manner of cold weather any more than I have to. I am also considering the practicalities of starting my own farm with a family or moving to an intentional community where each person’s strengths are utilized to benefit all and increase the quality of life of each member. I continued clearing more composted trees from the recently cleared brush near the pond across from the storage shed and dug a two foot wide path to control more weed growth with a cement brick terrace. Another plant bed was created on the side of the terrace for the raspberries ready for transplant after I left later in the afternoon. Wwoofer Paul continued to install the bricks as well as create the plant bed and readied the area for the transplanting of the raspberries.
Every job is necessary and every body is needed as I am discovering. When you are unable to perform one task there is always another that you can do.
This week at Full Life Farm began with cut logs already mounted to the concrete floor posts. The work continues before and after I arrive. It’s a working farm. While there are not enough hours in the day, and I would like to be present more often, I realize that life happens, and I have other commitments. I have learned and I continue to learn. The learning happens in it’s own time.
This structure is being built to protect newly cut logs and timber from damaging elements, mostly the rains that occasionally happen in this part of Georgia. It’s not an overly “permanent” structure, but it is something that is built to last a while. It is obviously and certainly not like a finished building that would take time to erect, to live in. It is more like an open garage. It is essentially an open storage wood shed.
When you’re homesteading, which I hope to do one day soon, materials must be used, reused, repurposed as needed, and even donated if possible. If you look into the right corners and ask, there is always someone who has a piece of equipment or material lying around that they no longer need. This is all about creativity and when necessity is paramount to thrive (also known as necessity is the mother of invention), everything is all about creativity and efficiency. Learning for me, is by any means necessary, and the farm is patient, willing to teach, and answer my inquisitive, curious questions.
In spite of the freezing winter weather that shut down many areas in North Georgia for half of the week, work continued on the farm to prepare for the coming spring. Monday was spent preparing plant beds for winter planting (and a spring and summer harvest). Plant beds were cleared of rocks and built up to decrease erosion and increase water conservation and watering efficiency. Paths were dug for walkways to reach inside plant beds. Paul explained that the wideness of the walkways would help in the control of weeds through constant foot traffic. However, a much wider walkway that would increase yield and profit would also increase the need for a tractor and the cost to maintain that tractor. At the field end, Jerusalem artichokes or other root foods will be planted to decrease weed growth from growing in from unfurrowed ground beyond the plant beds. The method used at Full Life farm efficiently decreases weeds, increases the quality of life. This is similar to the methods employed in efficient use of already enriched soil described in One Straw Revolution that I have discussed with a few friends but have not had a chance to yet read.
I began my internship at the Full Life Farm in Carrollton, GA three weeks ago with a tour of the farm and what the owners (Paul and Tara) wanted to accomplish in the winter, preparing for house-building before spring arrived. I received an overview of the chickens and goats and the proper procedures to feed each if the other interns were unable to attend to the feedings and care while the owners were away on a winter vacation.
They returned earlier this week and settled in. My first day is today, and the day begins bitingly cold, what I usually refer to as “New York cold.” It is indeed that cold, near 6 or 9 degrees Fahrenheit, with or without a wind chill. I walked from the farm where I am staying a half-mile away, leaving mid morning dressed in work clothes but not nearly enough to prevent my fingers and toes from growing colder and colder. The walk to the farm felt like I had stepped back in time. There was no sound but for people working on adjacent farms and dogs barking to let the world know they were protecting goats, chickens and other farm animals.
Buddhism is about everything, and it is about nothing. The readings cover varied and various aspects of Buddhism that I have read in the past, and these also delve more deeply. Dewit ‘s “inner flourishing,” Suzuki’s “wisdom and knowledge,” Karr’s stages of “awareness, ” Salzburg’s “loveliness,” Rahula’s personal realization of “Truth, ”Hanh’s “open”-ness, and Wallace’s “directed attention” are not independent, but they are divisions of one purpose or they seem to be divisions of one subject.
There are three stages of significance, rather than three themes in these readings. These stages may be divided into further stages along a path of evolutionary and revolutionary growth, but as everything is connected, these are all connected. At the beginning of this journey into Buddhist psychology, what is needed is an acceptance of true openness, to accept viewpoints and ideas that are different and unfamiliar.
“Open-mindedness, which is the fruit of mindfulness, forms the basis for the disciplines of insight.” (De Wit 2001: 17) This allows the inner flourishing, that glow that some can see in others, but seldom in themselves, to occur, to discover what appears naturally. Further, Hanh reveals, “ A teacher cannot give you truth. The truth is already in you. You only need to open yourself . . . .” (Hanh 1998: 12). This supports Suzuki’s revelation that knowledge is the equivalent of book learning but not experience, that true wisdom is the realization that one knows nothing. One who stays open with an “original mind” is an “empty mind and a ready mind” (Suzuki 1970: 21). Karr elaborates this open-ness as awareness of listening, contemplating and meditating upon peace and insight into what is self and phenomenal reality (Karr 2007: 10-12).
“The spirit of metta is unconditional: open and unobstructed.” “Metta is the ability to embrace all parts of ourselves, as well as all parts of the world.” (Salzburg 2004: 19, 23). It is love of everything, the bad and the good in everything and everyone, even ourselves. The open-ness of unconditional love is a power that can uproot negativity within each of us. Wallace emphasizes the open-ness of “your awareness to the entire field of sensations throughout the body, especially those related to respiration.” (Wallace 2006: 19). This open-ness and lovingkindness, the evolutionary love of one’s and the world’s humanity, are one. One cannot exist without the other. But how does one accept the love and open-ness of humanity with the evil that exists in the world, evil that exists to either deliberately or apathetically exists to harm humanity, whether it is sexism, racism, or holocaust of one form or another? This is a question that deserves discussion.
This is a simple but continuous process that utilizes knowledge and wisdom. In Rahula, the Buddha explains enlightenment, “’The eye was born, knowledge was born, wisdom was born, . . . . .’ It is always seeing through knowledge or wisdom (nana-dassana), and not believing through faith. (Rahula 1974: 9). Elsewhere, the Buddha uses a simile where “his teaching is compared to a raft for crossing over, and not for getting hold of and carrying on one’s back.” (Rahula 1974: 11). Each of us uses a different vehicle to get across in a spiritually evolutionary practice that is entirely individual, but once they have reached the other side, attachment to that vehicle is no longer needed. Everything and everyone is connected. While each of these authors see things as each of us see things in our own ways, our ideas are connected, helping each of us process and proceed to our own enlightenment.
De Wit, H. (March 2001). The Case for Contemplative Psychology. Shambhala Sun. Retrieved from http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2388
Suzuki, S. (1970). Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Prologue). Retrieved from http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/zenmind.pdf
Karr, A. (2007). Chapters One and Two in Contemplating Reality: A Practitioner’s Guide to the View in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Shambhala Publications.
Salzberg, S. (2004). Chapters One and Two in Lovingkindness: The revolutionary art of happiness. Shambhala Publications.
Rahula, W. (1974). What the Buddha taught. New York: Grove Press. Thich Nhat Hanh. The heart of the Buddha’s teaching. (1999). New York: Broadway Books.
Thich Nhat Hanh. (1988). The heart of understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.
Wallace, B. A. (2006). The attention revolution: Unlocking the power of the focused mind (1st ed.). Boston: Wisdom Publications.
(Once again, I freely admit this isn’t perfect, but from the earlier Goffman Paper to this, I see some marked improvements. I would also like your constructive feedback when you have a chance to read it. This paper is slightly similar to the Research Proposal but there are minor but significant changes to this one when you have a chance to read and skim.)
It may not be necessary to research the sexism embedded in the English language because it is overt and omnipresent to the people who are aware of and affected by it the most. However, a grand examination or even a small study in a quiet corner of the language to determine sexism’s extent and affect would be extensive and vast, due to the limitless language of male domination employed and reflected in the conquering of foreign lands and peoples of the “New World,” much like the Romans in the old world before. Inherent within our verbs, nouns, and grammar is the nationalism, capitalism, and cultural values that devalue women and people of color and dominate the usage that is taught to foreign nationals learning English for the first time (Piercey 2009: 111). Frankly, if each of us notice enough of the English language and work to change it within our speck of the Universe, the English that all of us use will evolve over time. It won’t eliminate sexism completely, but evolutionary change will happen.
Obviously, sexism may be apparent in media texts such as television programming, advertising, and movies, but the sexism within those texts employs sexist language that is embedded within our language that was discussed briefly earlier in the semester during one of many discussions of media sexism. The origin and effects of specific propaganda can be overt or subtle and embedded so deep in the language that it becomes difficult to recognize and challenging to change. Intentional propaganda is that which is practiced and performed by media companies with a deliberate agenda to promote or sell ideas or products utilizing language or socially constructed visual symbols that are already present and used instinctually and subconsciously. Sexist propaganda is that language, by common usage, that places women in an inferior or subservient role to men rather than the role of an equal. Sometimes this language can be blatant, and sometimes it can be subtle, commonly overt and socially accepted (Chew & Kelley-Chew 2007: 644). However, to counter the effects of sexist language that all of us are subject to daily, gender-neutral language will be employed throughout this paper rather than the sexist language that will be used as illustrations within directly quoted examples. Specifically, instead of using he as a “neutral” gendered term, s/he or one will be used, and instead of him, herm may be used. They may also be used to signify a singular or plural pronoun.
(Once again, I freely admit this isn’t perfect, but from the earlier Goffman Paper to this, I see some marked improvements. I would also like your constructive feedback when you have a chance to read this since I would like to make this a real study that perhaps my followers could participate in at some future date.)
To what extent are individuals influenced by the language of sexist propaganda embedded in media advertising and programming perpetuated by small in-group conversations that reinforce sexist media texts? And how aware are individuals of their use of sexist language that perpetuate themes and ideas from sexist media propaganda? The implications of this question lie in the definition of propaganda as much as in the definition of sexist language.
Propaganda is the use of communication to achieve behavior and attitude changes amongst one group of people by another individual or group. Intentional propaganda is that which is practiced and performed by media companies with a deliberate agenda to promote ideas or products utilizing sexist media texts already present in our language or visual symbols that are used instinctually.
History in the Western Hemisphere, especially the United States is filled with example after example of the upper classes, the rich and wealthy, engaging in social reform of the poor and the lower classes. But those rich and wealthy, who thought they knew better, passed judgment on those so-called poor and lower classes, and judged them based on their own high society morals. Very little progressive social reform occurred under those circumstances, except for the limited viewpoints of those impressing their morals on others. Beyond my rant of the legislative and social morality of the present and past, it is indeed refreshing that there are other countries and individuals that are interested in actually helping rather than moralizing to a populace.
The founder of Childline, Jeroo Billimoria, actively engages in participatory action research (PAR) or action-based community development (ABCD) or a combination of the two to improve the lives of homeless children in India. This is something I have never seen done in the United States and certainly not in a project of this grand scale. Each time I see an example of humanity and progress such as this, it gives me ideas and hope for the future and how I can actively help people help themselves. Billimoria actively trains, teaches, and employs the children that she has saved and she treats them with humanity and respect. They have grown up and they help others. When I was younger, I dreamed and tried to create a self-propelled paddleboat. This is an example of a well-oiled paddleboat that helps itself by helping others who, in turn, stay to continue helping. This is what I want to do on some level in some way. The whole history of Childline is one where trial and error are valued in order to evolve and improve the assistance to the homeless children of India. Rather than give up when faced with what appeared to be failure, Billimoria learned from her mistakes and worked to improve the manner in which Childline responded and the manner in which it interacted with other agencies.
While on one level the entire continuum of experiencing body suspension immediately incorporates IndividualEvolution.org’s (IE) heart, head, and hand, the wholeness of it also profoundly and radically transcends individual evolution and becomes an individual revolution, as I like to call it. It incorporates IE’s scientific method of inquiry, reaches beyond its body, mind, and spirit, and grasps through centuries to an ancient universal personal quest. Such exploration can only happen with subsequent suspensions and their reflections. This is infinitely more about exploring spirituality, exploring zones of safety and personal comfort, and transforming personal space. It is also about eclipsing the logic of the mundane. It is about, what Baba Ram Dass aptly manifested not so long ago: being here now.
When I decide to actively approach a challenge, it isn’t analyzed as much as it is pondered as a spiritual challenge to enhance practice and even emotional fitness, rather than a physical one. This same mindset was tapped into when I decided to overcome my fear of public speaking and join a college speech team, when I decided to learn tango dancing, and even when I decided to pursue masters and doctorate degrees. That same font of spiritual power was consulted when I decided to body suspend several months ago and when I actually suspended a few weekends ago at Skindicate’s DisgraceGiving in Atlanta. I plan to access that spiritual energy often because it needs replenishment often to increase its ability to transcend the mundane obstacles that I am faced with daily.
McKnight & Kretzmann’s Mapping Community Capacity address an issue that I have puzzled over for many years: How can the government create an incentive to better one’s life circumstances without creating and perpetuating an environment of unhealthy need and dependence that engenders mere existence and probably hopelessness, to create producers rather than service clients? Unfortunately, I have observed friends living on public assistance who don’t realize they have skills and creativity to contribute to their community, and I have seen politicians that are not interested in addressing this problem where one group votes to cut benefits and the other group votes to increase benefits. Neither is interested in the disenfranchised and how to help them. The disenfranchised are merely pawns for votes or non-votes. I don’t see hope in the perpetuation of such inequities.
The alternative is an asset-based community development (ABCD) that assesses the knowledge and experience already present in the community, to help people thrive rather than merely survive, to value the skills that are already present in the community rather than concentrate on what is missing. There is also a more practical reality in this approach: Most urban communities have no hope of attracting major industries or services that would bring local jobs. The old saying regarding making lemonade when all you have are lemons is appropriate here. Use the resources you have and get creative.
Hacker and Roberts open with what for me is a very prescient idea, the idea of victim-blaming in an organization, and indeed in most Western modern societies, rather than looking for solutions and rising to challenges that can teach one to be stronger. Their John Stewart Mill quote speaks to current events in government that always seem to be current no matter the year, the decade, or the century, “A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes–will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.” What have we wrought when each of our mind-sets chain us to ideas of a past and a present that we cannot, nay refuse to (r)evolvolve from? Mind sets are formulated from life experiences, yes, as Hacker and Roberts indicate, but those same life experiences can force an individual to realize that change is necessary when it prohibits growth.
Yes, some mind-sets cannot be changed because people refuse to change but others are ready to change, forcing it, fearing it but welcoming it, or seeking it. Transformational leadership can and will exploit people in within their evolutionary stage to benefit the organization and the individuals involved, understand where each individual is, and what is best for that individual. Hacker and Roberts indicate the above and four additional mind-sets that inhibit growth, individuals concerned with self-image, the self-absorbed, and the detached and emphasize what is needed to jump start each individual’s evolutionary growth. The process reminds me of the positive affirmations that I do each morning before meditation to start my day.
(This is it folks. I may have found the research method of choice to write thesis and dissertation in social psychology and media studies respectively. It’s Participatory Action Research. Everyone teaches and everyone learns, including the study participants. Stay tuned.)
Participatory action and the research that it entails give me hope for the future. Seeing Pray the Devil Back to Hell was enough to remind me that it takes a group of people to create powerful change (political or otherwise), but it only takes one individual to initiate that change that creates a domino effect in others, whether that be intentional personal propaganda or unintentional propaganda, and while I have hope in the future of humanity, I believe that it will take a great deal for people in the United States to realize this simple fact. There are many throughout the world that have already realized this. The women of Liberia give me hope.
Johnson et al’ Naming our reality recalls the torture and murder of a young transgendered woman outside and a few feet away from an upper Manhattan police station that made the rounds of Facebook and Tumblr. This article was written in 2007, and the murder occurred in 2013. Activism has improved awareness of these issues, and affected populations have banded together to realize that they are stronger as collectives than as individuals and that everything is connected, “where life histories and social positions – including gender, race, sexuality, age and culture – are taken into account,” making participatory action research more powerful and effective by drawing upon liberation, black, and feminist psychologies. Still, there is much to be done when the so call safety officers of a city ignore the safety of a person whom they do not consider as a human being.
(And so the saga continues as I wrassle with determining what a proper hypothesis. The below is an indication of how far I have come and ow far I need to go. But I am getting closer.)
- Original Hypothesis: Individuals and small groups are influenced by intentional sexist propaganda embedded in media texts that influence unintentional propaganda in conversational language.
- Alternative Hypothesis 1: Implicit language in media texts will influence the behavior of individuals and small groups.
- Alternative Hypothesis 2: Unintentional propaganda that occurs between individuals and in small groups is influenced by the language of sexism within everyday conversation embedded within media texts. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: Political Propaganda
N.B. This summary is a “follow up” on my reaction to the Implicit Associations Test that I wrote of earlier. I wanted to summarize a journal article that presented a different perspective than mine even though I am still in disagreement with the intention and what I feel is a bias in the tests that I took.
Summary. The implicit associations test, according to the author, is a means to determine what role cultural elements play in the understanding and behavior of individuals, especially since elements of the culture in question exist independently from how they are used or understood by the individual. The question that is asked is what effect that external cultural environment has on the individual. Culture is a major term for this study so it is defined, in short, as the “interaction of shared schematic representations [shared by individuals and groups] and the external world.” (Shepherd: 122). The author studied literature that draws upon the Implicit Associations Test to determine how culture functions and how it fits into current sociological study.