success in the rain

the second truck had a feasable weight limit and much more room. everything made its way in no problem and this time i captured the strays. the warehouse in seattle is beautiful; the possibilities abundant and new inspiration (my friend, ben pederson)…well, it’s all there. my younger sister, katie, is coming up to live and breathe in the long shadow of mt. rainier and we have designs on a couple of pieces of furniture, to say the least. some plans in the works for upholstery. in the mean time i am working dilligently (starting tomorrow) on the steel cabinetry that will be installed on a kitchen/bath remodel i’m running in SE portland. there will certainly be photos, posted in the “construction” section of the website, coming later in the month. the cabinet package is use of mostly salvaged mild steel that i clean up and patina with copper sulphate, applied with propane, steel wool, lint free cotton and spirits. several years ago i read a book called “on the advantages and disadvantages of art for life.” that title tipped something in my mind at the time, but i didn’t take the TIME to ponder what it was. i realized several weeks ago, after poring through all my books (most of which i haven’t looked at whatsoever for the past four years), that it was a takeoff on nietzsche’s book, “on the advantages and disadvantaged of history for life.” i find it advantageous to quote the first paragraph of his preface here, as it somehow direcly relates to the theme of my (our) lives right now: “”Moreover I hate everything which merely instructs me without increasing or directly quickening my activity.’ These are Goethe’s words with which, as with a boldly expressed ‘ceterum censeo,’ we may begin our consideration of the worth and worthlessness of history. Our aim will be to show why instruction which fails to quicken activity, why knowledge which enfeebles activity, why history as a costly intellectual excess and luxury must, in the spirit of Goethe’s words, be seriously hated; for we still lack what is most necessary, and superfluous excess is the enemy of the necessary. Certianly we need history. But our need for history is quite different from that of the spoiled idler in the garden of knowledge, even if he in his refinement looks down on our rude and graceless requirements and avoiding of life and action, or even to whitewash a selfish life and cowardly, bad acts. Only so far as history serves life will we serve it: but there is a degree of doing history and an estimation of it which brings with it a withering and degenerating of life: a phenomenon which is now as necessary as it may be painful to bring to consciousness through some remarkable symptoms of our age.” i’ll try to make some confusing remarks about this. the “age” of which he speaks seems to be even more developed (perhaps in both negative AND positive aspects) and those who estimate rather than do, continue to degrade the very thing they estimate. in the example of history, it is history itself (necessary for life, but not so in intellectual excess). it is interesting to replace the concept of art with that of history here… which is an idea purveyed in that book i mentioned earlier and not an idea i am bringing up as mine and original. because art often responds to itself and develops through time and within practitioners… but where art interacts with estimators, critics, dealers, and those of that second tier ilk, it begins to react to an economy, to a market, and loses the life that originally inspired it. these pure ideas are what make me appreciate communism… or its more realistic neighbor: socialism. in a social climate, there is art: often shared with the public, or brought to bear in public realms. the artist does his art, smokes victory cigarettes and drinks victory vodka. just kidding. perhaps i’m speaking of a socialism with a tiny bit LESS government interference. the artist does his art. he cares about little else. he eats, makes love to his wife, feeds his kids, has coffee with his neighbors from time to time, etc. he doesn’t care for instance about money. society has money and gives it to him so that he has only to worry about his art. there is the baker. the clothing maker. the journeyman laborer. there is also the lawyer and the doctor. and the financial analyst. they are each trained by society to care about their field. interests in other fields are cuiriosities and luxuries of knowledge, indulgences, things spoken about over coffee in the morning before returning to work. this is a system which cherishes the work, rather than the retirement. (today i was thinking about those late night television shows that feature someone who has somehow learned the art of getting rich and he’s on there telling viewers to buy his video or book about how to be SUCCESSFUL and to follow the pattern that he himself came up with and how with five years of simple application everyone will be rich…. well, doesn’t that sound horrible. what if everyone becomes “rich?” then there isn’t “rich” anymore. doesn’t anyone love what they do any more. i know, i’m exaggerating. but i was thinking that there should be the same show, except the rich guy is just someone who has found what he loves. for instance, he is a fly fisherman and loves it so much, he makes it his job; so he teaches other people and guides, etc. so on the show, the man who’s found what he loves, encourages others to find what they LOVE, if you can’t figure out what you love, find someone who has and go work for him for a while and figure out what it makes him feel like.) this way we can re-establish community; there is no longer the degenerative gentrifying of community based on spurious desires like getting rich. (getting rich seems to be good only if it’s an EFFECT of doing what you love.) so if we return to the idea of history (i hope it becomes clear in consequent entries why history and art are related conceptually)… a true moment, where presence is imminent, may become part of history precisely because of this imminence of the now… the moment is so powerful that it merits being recorded. episodes of this nature strengthen the creative aspect of history and it future as an inspiring force for others… WHEREAS, if just anything gets recorded because of mere speculation abou the past or future, etc. this very moment, the moment of speculation, of weakened conjecture about humanity and its state of affairs, leads away from the creative aspect of history. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS DOING. (i meant to say that in a subtle way.) that kind of weak administration, motivated by fear, and under the assumption that just about ANYTHING can become a part of history, thinks that “history repeats itself.” so they become scared because we’re like rome or something. other bad things happened in “history,” therefore they’re bound to happen again, soon. no, there is no such rhyme to history. that’s not why it’s there (to speak ignorantly about it… i mean, i’m only in the second chapter of the book), rather, it is the unfolding of a tale. no one reading a story wants to read the same thing over and over again within the same narrative. what nonsense. that is actually the very meaning of the word history: to inquire. to ask of the great series of moments that they tell their STORY. this interpretation makes the concept imply something more like a continuum or flow of moments… rather than a frightened progression away from spiritual presence. that’s enough for tonight. i hate to confuse people, but this whole business is bewildering.

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