Monday, March 31, 2014


Every day by direction and indirection I’m made to feel like a traitor to a class I never thought I belonged to, an enemy of the people. (N.b., I'm a fairly abstracted guy.)  I sense this in relations with friends, with acquaintances and appurtenances (N.b., everyone is an appurtenance, potentially, of someone else; that's just the way things are), across and through personal encounters, in social media interactions, as voices overheard on the street and in my head.  

Joining the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) many years ago following a long period of fascination and thrall, I sought intellectual and spiritual bedrock and genuine connection. Instead, ultimately, I found placards inscribed with scorning, dating slogans, common sense supplanted by common nonsense, ignorance, rather than innocence, disqualifying experience and nullifying compassion, and copious  amounts of self-regard reflected back in funhouse mirrors.  It’s sad and reminds me of Musical Chairs. Nobody wants to be caught short-paid or embarrassed in the final reckoning.

I have always loved Jefferson Airplane’s song Crown of Creation, especially the silly but evocative lyrics:

“Life is change/How it differs from the rocks/I’ve seen their ways too often for my liking”


“In loyalty to their kind/They cannot tolerate our minds/In loyalty to our kind/We cannot tolerate their obstruction.” 

The Airplane could really deliver.  I need to buy a new copy of Bless Its Pointed Little Head asap.


Sunday, March 30, 2014


Photography is capable of recording most of the emotional and action expressions of an individual, although not necessarily in the sense of the nineteenth-century investigators of human behavior.  In their accounts of expressive behavior, such pioneers as Wundt and Darwin used sketches and still photographs to illustrate body posture, gesture and facial expression, but failed altogether to take into account such considerations as those of social context and the role and position of the human observer.  It is well to keep in mind that any kind of observation of behavior – with the exception of behavior observed through one-way screens – occurs in two-person or group situations.  The very fact of being observed changes, through feedback, the actions and emotions of the observed individual; actions formerly intended for self-consumption then become a statement to others.

Juergen Ruesch and Weldon Kees, Nonverbal Communication, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1956