Dangerous Compassions

collapse, what the self is, microfarming

Isn’t it weird how I find myself doing stuff I’m not sure why.  I joined a facebook group, can’t recall how–wasn’t sure what it was really about.  Turns out this academic wrote a paper–all these people believe climate change will lead to widescale social collapse.  So the whole premise is–it’s going to happen, definitely, so what do we do?

There’s an emotional component–grief and pain.  Then the part where most people aren’t facing it, or thinking the collapse can be staved off, so all the people in this group are feeling alone in some special knowledge.  Then there’s what to do about it–how to move forward.

It’s good they’re facing reality.  I agree–collapse already started.  It seems obvious.  I don’t have the same process because I never really believed the government would protect me or a lovely future was promised. 

I remember as a little girl, hearing news about a bad earthquake in Mexico–people were buried in ruble.  Emergency workers and regular people were searching for their relatives or just to save anyone.  I heard their anguished comments on the radio.

So I was eight years old or whatever, knowing that at any moment there could be a huge earthquake and I could be buried alive, and if I was lucky, people might come looking for me, trapped under bits of building, dying.  Or maybe no one would, and it could be a couple days waiting to die.

Also, there was nuclear threat, ideas of war.  Also, there was AIDS, so I thought about widescale death through illness.  My dreams are full of dystopias, the government rounding people up and putting us into camps, not knowing the rules, people being picked off, or gas chambers.  I don’t remember when those dreams started, but it’s been most of my life.

Anyway, you know how personality cults can be.  The particular academic who wrote the paper is deified.  It could have been me or you, a zinester anywhere, a blogger.  But no–it’s a white guy who uses big words.  He’s in another country.

I was on this web conference yesterday.  Two of us were in the US–everyone else was on other continents.  I can’t believe it was free.  An intellectual therapist was guiding us in using archetypes to face difficult truths.  It was fun to imagine myself as archetypes and see I have strengths I usually don’t realize.

I also learned that I tend to spend most of my life in one mode–I’m living in my emotions.  I can think ok–I pop into a more analytical mode, or other modes sometimes too, but emotions are where I live almost all the time.  Doing the workshop’s main exercise about trying to embody these four different archetypes, I realized there’s a lot in me that I usually don’t use.

I’m thinking of all the benefits of meditation–one I don’t hear people talk about much is that just being without the thoughts gives you a break from who you usually are.  Sitting there, silent and still, not thinking–I get a rest from Laura-Mariehood and it’s like I’m no one for a while.  Well, I’m still me–maybe more me than usual.  But without the regular behaviors and impulses and patterns.  What a relief.

Earlier I was talking to Ming about who I am.  On the bipolar cocktail, sedated, was that me?  How about now, more emotional and needing different things, more reactive? 

Some people say “It’s not him–it’s the illness.”  So maybe the schizoaffective disorder isn’t me–maybe it’s a disease I can blame or hope will go away, and then the real me is under there somewhere, and will suddenly emerge?

If I drink oatstraw tea and slow down, I still feel like myself, just slower and not anxious.  Is not anxious when I would have otherwise been anxious still me? 

What is me?  Is there a me at all?  Authenticity is kind of a joke, I tend to think–if a culture’s authentic food comes from all over the place and India has only had harmoniums for 150 years, everyone’s sharing from everywhere, and it’s a modern world of everything mixed up.

Whatever me is–who knows.  I’m probably me right now.  Who else would I be.  I told Ming something about–I am whoever I am in that moment.  He said he loves me.

I’ve been thinking about the revolution since I was a teenager, and it’s a similar concept to collapse that these intellectuals are facing now.  I was a kid who looked pretty normal I think, but inside, I was a punk rock anarchist. 

“Civilization is collapsing–let’s give it a push!” has been in my mind since I was 16, and before that without those exact words.  I was making zines since I was 13, and “Bomb the mall” was in there.

Not sure I’ll keep hanging out in cyberspace with these intellectuals who have cute accents and just recently realized everything’s going to crap.  Who knows–life is weird.  I could meet up with one and we go start a permaculture farm in Costa Rica, where Ming and I live the rest of our days as tropical farmers of rare delicacies.  Or I could never speak to anyone again, from that group, and forget this time ever happened.

I was telling Ming how I want to garden–I love everything about it.  The self-sufficiency, the organicness, the freshness of the delicious foods, being close the nature, nurturing plants, learning about plants, spending time with plants.  I love everything about gardening except for actually gardening.  I was laughing.

He said, “What about growing chia greens?  What’s that?”

I said, “It’s fun.  It’s easy.  It’s no big deal, on the kitchen counter.”

He said, “It starts with a g.”

I said, “You think that counts as gardening?  Well, ok.  You’re nice!” 

Then I was telling him this whole fantasy how I’m a microfarmer wearing microoveralls with a piece of microhay sticking out of my mouth.

He said I could put a micorscarecrow in there.  I said it would be easy to get a little toy and stick it on a toothpick.  There are no microcrows, but there could be fruit flies.

That reminds me of a joke I read recently. 

My chia seeds are growing a lot.  They have little leaves now and are green.  So cute.

Here’s the joke.  The original I read was anti-liberal, anti-big government.  This version is slightly different, but I love it for the end.


A shepherd is in a remote pasture when a BMW comes toward him. The driver, a young man in an expensive suit, leans out the window and asks,”If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one of them?” 

The shepherd looks at the man, then answers, “Sure.” 

The visitor parks his car, whips out his iphone, calls up a GPS, looks at satellite photos… opens a spreadsheet, sends an email, receives a response.  Prints out a 150 page report on his miniprinter, turns to the shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1,587 sheep.”

“That is correct,” says the shepherd.  He watches the young man select an animal and put it in his car.

Then the shepherd asks: “If I can tell you what your business is, will you give me my sheep back?” 

“Ok,” answers the young man. 

“Clearly, you are a consultant,” says the shepherd. 

“That’s correct!” says the visitor. “But how did you know?” 

“Easy,” says the shepherd.  “You showed up here, although nobody wanted you to.  You got paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you know nothing about my business.  Now give me my dog back.”

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

One reply on “collapse, what the self is, microfarming”

It does all seem to be going to hell in a handbasket, but I have had some consolation from reading history where messing things up seems to be standard practice.

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