I don't exactly know how which internal artistic hat switches on or off or back on. I have been wearing my poetry hat the last couple of days (and my cartoon hat as well). On my drive up to Riverside from San Diego, I started thinking about several "holes" in my internal library of poetry. Where have I left off?
(1) A "Creeping Development" poem, dealing with encroachment, more so in urban sprawl. Blog 429 is as far as I have gotten. I have some voice recordings for a song (back in Fall of 2007).
(2) An official "Biologically Incorrect" poem, as to which I have made a few voice recording attempts, but they have been buried and presently inaccessible. Perhaps because I was never satisfied with the lyrics what I created. They ended up being pop-rap songs, for sure. Besides, the "Biologically Incorrect" Principle already embodies the never-ending-blogging-story-of-Victoria's-existentialesque-whatevernesses. So, to encapsulate the Biologically Incorrect into a single poem would be somewhat difficult. Okay, one second, let me try. Biologically Incorrect is pun off of "politically incorrect," and basically after my mind has been "biologically calibrated" to the lifestyles of other organisms and their environments, suddenly the absurdity of human behavior and human society's started to shine through my overly associative, comparative, creative mind... and frighteningly... very clearly. For example, I think I can relate better to squirrels than most other humans (hence the White Stripes song). So, basically the goal is to figure out the meaning of human existence by flipping the notion of "being human" upside-down and inside-out through biological and geological comparatives, which allows us once again to RE-EVALUATE what it means to be human. Or, in other words, re-inspecting human behavior from an alien's eyes, or a squirrel's, or a tree's, or some parasite, doesn't matter. In short, Biologically Incorrect is the internal re-inspection of human behavior relative to the environment through the lens of the natural sciences (or other organisms or non-human systems). So, in essence, if we want to effectively address "environmental problems," I think humans as a collective need a serious inner pep talk to re-figure out what it means to be a human, and a responsible citizen of this planet Earth.
Or, we can go back to the blog summary blurb itself: "Exploring the discrepancy or mismatch between biological reality and the reality created by human society." Oh. Simple as that. I already have my elevator pitch. I forgot. The quarter system unfortunately places my mind in short-term memory mode.
Okay, so the hardest part is STARTING a poem.... So here's four lines, a START: at least it' something. I need to get something out. Get my juices chugging along! Pathetic start, but whatever.
This human society’s
Can we re-route our tragedies
Through realms of introspect?
Okay, four lines! I'm doing GREAT! Ya sure. Whenever I talk doom-and-gloom, I don't want to sound PREACHY, so I transform statements into QUESTIONS and let people think whatever they desire.
(3) A third poem that has been lingering for a long time in my brain is called "Intellectual Luxury." I vividly remember designing this poem/song when I was off the 101 freeway near by that "fake island" created by Arco? or some oil company (where the freeway becomes a two-laned road). I was driving toward UC Santa Barbara on a cloudy, overcast day in February in which I was just about to apply to Bren for graduate school. Tough, very lonely times, I tell ya. I also remember creating a VERY CATCHY TUNE and it drives me crazy that I can't find it. I additionally remember calling my father, telling him about the poem, and he thought that the idea that held the poem together was excellent. Now it's a matter of finding it and further elaborating this half-xss poem ditty my mind played with on my ride up to Riverside from San Diego so I could sit in Mike Davis' landscapes and writing course.
Blurb for Picasaweb: To go along with my poem... "Biologically Incorrect" T-Shirt/ Logo / Design ::: Establishing a Level of Consistency. After the evening / night of October 30, 2009 (my first encounter with the Green Hornet Production), I went on a "spree" of graphic design (besides this whole poetry mind-frame I'm in). After creating a series of designs, I have come to realize how I am attracted to certain combinations of "buttons" on Photoshop... which is of course rendering a consistency of design (the consistency is not just in my own hand-writing!). Here is the assemblage of buttons: (1) first I use my hand, sharpie, and paper to write/draw my idea (2) I scan it in using my portable Canon Lide 100 scanner (3) the image is cleaned up specks, ship-shaped for proportions, contrasted, "cleaned up" essentially (4) then I tend to gravitate toward these buttons (a) Liquify, for space-filling adjustments (b) Median Basic (c) Gaussian Blur (d) Gaussian Blur Inversion, has a light snowy look (e) Posterize / Poster Edges (f) Plastic Wrap (g) Paint Daubs (sometimes, if I want to thin down the thickness of lettering) (h) Outlines (under Stylize). One thing I do say, with the creation of "layering" in Photoshop, I think all artist's lives are MUCH, MUCH EASIER. Even the construction of art has become a cakewalk! Sigh.
Jules gave me some preliminary critiques: my "Ls" look like "Fs," but overall people should know how "Ls" look like in cursive.... I was a little intimidated by Jules' critique because I was in the process of MAKING these designs. In short you don't critique someone's artwork when in the process of making it, simply because the artist is in a state of "open heart surgery," especially the artist's emotions. Let the artist do the best possible piece and then have it critiqued... and THEN... back to the drawing board!
The PDF for the preliminary Intellectual Luxury poem/chant can be found here: http://sites.google.com/site/stokastika2/intellectualluxuryPOEMCHANT.pdf.
The basic premise of "intellectual luxury" is that there are two forms of wealth: physical wealth and intellectual wealth. For the standards United States, I do not hold much "physical wealth," but for the standards and given the "global dominance hierarchy," I have quite a bit of physical wealth, but a lot of this wealth is by DEFAULT--I was born in the United States and not Africa. Simple as that. Though I do not have physical wealth and ownership of much of anything, I do attempt to attain "mental wealth," or knowledge of how the world works. In a certain way I feel that Earth Scientists are "the most intellectually wealthy" of anyone, simply because they have such an immense comprehension and appreciation of scale. The issue is, in order to gain "mental wealth," one must have several visceral strings of existence stabilized. For example, I have clean air, clean water, good food, a roof over my head, happy roommates, etcetera... basically the bottom rung of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. So, if I have all these needs met, then I may have 12 hours free every single day to think about anything I whatever the hxll please. And so, having my basic needs met and some free time to think is an "intellectual luxury." So... as I am a concerned citizen of planet Earth, I started to think about the environment, more specifically human relationships to the environment, far beyond my own immediate vicinity in space and time. I found out several other academics think the same things as I do in the buffer zone of academia, and I have found most of their esoteric theories to be non-real-world-esoteric-bullshxt-that-have-close-to-any-real-world-applicability. Pathetic. And then these people want to impose their ideas and technologies on other societies and other people, thinking "their lives need to be changed" because we are the "haves" and they are the "have-nots." First of all, I think there is a certain level of arrogance in this type of imposing, imperialist mentality, especially to play the "have" and "have-not" game. As Shannon realized when she went to Africa, many people are struggling to meet basic needs (water, food, shelter) but they are communal, soulful people, full of hope and positive attitudes. These individuals may not have computers or cell phone, but they are able to derive their livelihoods from their immediate surroundings without any intermediary humans. They still live off the land. So, in America, Shannon states that most people who have all their resources are more negative and depressed in their thinking. Once the physical needs are met, then we venture into the realm of "mental disorder." Welcome to America. The concept of choice and having "career choices" is an American construct and is non-existent in Africa and other countries. The question "What do you wanna be when you grow up?" is absurd. What else? Find food and water and have some kids and tend a farm. What else is there to do? HA! The most disturbing aspect of all of this is that this less-technologically-ridden live-off-the-land lifestyle is considered "third world" or the "have-nots" when we are the "haves." If a disaster happened in America, most people would be incapacitated because they are obligate on other people's goods and services whereas in Africa people are more self-resourceful with their immediate resources. People may live longer in America, but what kind of quality of life is this? What's the quote? "It's not about how many years you live, but it's about how you live your years."
So when an academic gripes about "How are we going to get all these people to CARE about the environment?" I think there is a level of hidden arrogance in the question. Everyone cares about the environment; it just matters at what scale. If people don't have their basic needs met, they are focused on their immediate environment; if people get past this stage, they can start thinking and acting at broader scales. So, don't expect people to "care" about what you care about, especially when they don't have the capacity to even survive at a fundamental level (please see "Six Billion Ways to View a Moderate Cube of Space" poem in the CHESS Book of Poetry).
So, in short, "Intellectual Luxury" is about:
(1). the concept of having "extra time to think about things." Welcome to academia! It's all about intellectual luxury! Intellectual entertainment!
(2). people not having the capacity to care about an academic's "sense of the environment" if their basic needs are not met.
(3). despite the physical struggle of having basic needs met, there is a level of soulfulness and positive community in "third world peoples" living off the land as opposed to depression/anxiety and "mental disorders" found in "first world" countries.
(4) why are their constructs of "haves" and "have-nots"? "Wealthy first worlds" (drowning in too many resources) and "impoverished third worlds" (not enough resources) (noble savages, film "The Gods Must Be Crazy"). Why is there such a construct of a POWER GAME? A GLOBAL DOMINANCE HIERARCHY? When ultimately a "first world" and a "third world" simply have ALTERNATIVE WAYS AND MEANS (SCALE/PACE) OF LIVING/EXISTING? WHY IS ONE WAY CONSIDERED GOOD/RIGHT AND ANOTHER WAY CONSIDERED BAD/WRONG (OR BETTER THAN THE OTHER?) WOULD YOU RATHER BE IMPOVERISHED IN RESOURCES OR IMPOVERISHED IN THE SOUL? AMERICANS ARE IMPOVERISHED IN THE SOUL DROWNING IN THEIR RESOURCES THEY NEVER EVEN MADE OR UNDERSTAND WHERE THEY COME FROM. OTHER COUNTRIES MAY STRUGGLE WITH RESOURCES BUT ARE RICH IN THEIR SOULS AND THEIR EXPERIENCES AND THEIR STORIES. HARDSHIPS BRING PROFOUND INTERNAL WEALTH.
(5). why "first world" countries feel so compelled to impose their world views on "third world countries" like, for example, the ARROGANT concept of a "one-laptop-per-child" program (which has its own side effects)? (Look what technology has done to America! Alienation! People interact so much with technology now that hardly anyone does face-to-face connectivity anymore! It's destroying the beauty of direct interaction with others!).
For more information on "Intellectual Luxury," please visit Blogs 418 (an essay on the Devaluation of Reality) and 359 (the Intellectual Luxury of the Environmental Defense Center Party).
Afterthought: I am currently in Goleta and I actually modified "Intellectual Luxury" two or three times when I was on the road. I added a few lines to create more continuity of thinking and experience. I have come to learn that prose and poetry feed off of each other. I was realizing missing elements in the poetic logic through writing prose about the motive for the poem. Anyhow, I should just lay this concept to rest and work on it a little bit later.