Sunday, February 12, 2006


Please visit our friend Angevoix, over at Inexpugnable and see the latest news on Mrs. King's funeral. You'll be outraged, if you're not already. Or, at least you should.


You know, I'm really wanting to take a break from all this high-strung political stuff for a while and I will soon. I'd like to wax rhapsodic about the dying days of a mild Winter and the birthing of my 43rd Spring. I'd like not to be so concerned about our nation and the direction we're headed, or the state of the Church. And yet, I am.

And so, to go along with the outrage that I'm sharing from Angevoix's site, I'll also share a neat little uplifting blurb from Thoreau's Walking.

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going à la sainte terre"—to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a sainte-terrer", a saunterer—a holy-lander.

Shall we all go for a saunter?


Dr. Mike Kear said...


Man, I know what you're talking about with the political & religious concerns. I can't seem to help from getting concerned and even angry over some of the things that go on, but all it really does is distance lots of people I love from me.

The O.T. prophets must have felt the same way. They got upset about politics and religion and ended up running off their family and friends and sometimes getting themselves killed.

Oh, well. Getting fried about politics and religion is just part of who I am.

I read Angevoix's piece on Tuesday. Of course it cheeses me off. Even more than the actual actions that were taken, it is the attitudes of people in regards to those actions that really cheeses me. Folks just don't care.

Thanks for the Thoreau. I use Walden or Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire as a relaxing agent on a regular basis.



Eleutheros said...

Dan, Dan, how can I thank you for that! Your blog now goes to the top of my list as the most entertaining.

Oh, I'd already known about the etymology of the word 'saunter' but I had not seen how aptly it applies now of days. So thanks for one more arrow in my quivver of barbs. But much more than that, thanks for the deep, satisfying irony.

What? You don't see the irony? All the posts and blather about people speaking for God and tales of Fantasy Island pilgrimages to down-trodden parts of the world ...

"Oh, non, Monsieur, I am not a bum, I am a holy pilgrim doing the bidding of the Marionnette de Chaussette Himself! I am on my way to the sainte-terre!!"

Dan Trabue said...

Ellie, if I've brought some joy to your day, then I'm satisfied.

Thanks for stopping by, Mike. I'm a fan of Abbey, as well.

the Contrary Goddess said...

'tis a shame that being concerned does not bring people to live in such a way as to lessen the outrages.

Or to remember the self-same outrages of the previous admin.

Dan Trabue said...

Tis a shame, indeed, Miss Goddess. But then, what makes you think folk here aren't trying to make said changes in their lives or that they weren't equally outraged by previous administrations? Or, are you speaking of folk in general?

Son of Lilith said...

I like to saunter. Sauntering is fun. Sauntering with music is better. Sauntering on a spring day on and around the campus of my alma mater, pen and notebook in hand, to go into the sleepy little pizzeria that has the best damn hot wings you've ever tasted and where the beer is always cold...

The corporate world sucks.

Constantine said...

Cool "lesson" on a word derivation.

the Contrary Goddess said...

I think most the folks who pretent at such concerns will die without that oil. You would have nothing to eat and no way to heat your house and no job without oil. Lots of oil.

And mine wouldn't. And I say that is a big difference.

As to previous administrations, I will say that I pay attention to detail over long periods of time. Show me the outrage.

Dave said...

Hey Dan,
Glad you like the sauntering bit as well. When I turned 40 I went to my boss in corporate world and told him I was tired of the job. "I am going to Tibet to walk around for a month, and when I get back I want to do something else". And he went for it. Been happier ever since.

Politics? Never good for the spirit. Walking, or sitting queitly, now thats good for the spirit.


Dan Trabue said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. Welcome to Payne Hollow, Dave - I'd love to hear more about your sojourn in Tibet and since.

You state, "...And mine wouldn't."

And that's a great thing. But have you always lived thus? Or did you take a road to get to where you are?

Some of us are still on that road (or still working to get off that road, perhaps). Be patient with us, sinners that we are.


And what do you wish me to do to "show the outrage"? Repeat to you my conversations about Clinton or Reagan? Show you letters to the editor criticizing their policies? What exactly does that mean?

Marty said...

Getting my feelings out about the political situation in our country, especially the war in Iraq among other things, has been very good for my spirit. Outrage is not a bad thing. It can be a force to cause positive change. Quite frankly, I think there needs to be more outrage. Each person has to decide how they will live. I prefer to stand non-violently against injustice. And that includes outrage.

Marty said...

I should have said that demands outrage.

Eleutheros said...

Marty:"Outrage is not a bad thing. It can be a force to cause positive change. Quite frankly, I think there needs to be more outrage."

Oh, indeed there does need to be. And I wait patiently and in vain for it to happen. Unfortunately instead of outrage causing positive change, it seems to be serving in place of a change of any type and it leads me to view what I've seen so far as "Fairweather Outrage".

Are we really outraged over the war? I think it's a fair question. I've already opined that anyone reaching for the thermostat or turning the key in the ignition to drive a mile indeed isn't outraged at all. Our oil use is nothing less than the strings that pull administration's marionettes.

To paraphrase God in is querry to Jonah when Nivevah was spared, "Doest thou well to be outraged?" Can I get a Jonah-like response to that with a "Yeah, Lord, even unto death!"

That is, I keep looking for the postive action that the outrage is supposed to cause. A vow, perhaps, to only use the amount of oil (directly or indirectly) available on the average to the world at large. Now that would be outrage.

But maybe farther than this. If we were truly outraged about the war, would we not encourage our relatives and friends involved in it to refuse orders, go the brig, and spend five years in prison? Peaceful, non-violent, and powerful. And if adopted by only 10% or 5% of our military, it would quickly end the war.

Otherwise I can't help but suspect that most of the sermons and protests are indeed just 'fairweather outrage'.

A person mentioned here and there in blogs touching on self-sufficiency is Scott Nearing. He was wealthy and married wealth (not just Helen, but his first wife too). Out of outrage about the social inequity and injustice he took to showing up at his family's formal dinner table in work pants and flannel shirt eating only simply foods from a wooden bowl and chopsticks. It cost him plenty but it led to marvelous things.

What I seem to be observing is the rich still sitting down lavishly dressed to lavish fare and expressing polite dinner consversation 'outrage'. Still waiting to see folks show up with the wooden bowl and chopsticks.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Roads, or more accurately, paths, even little used paths, are not littered with obstacles like excuses.

Or as my mother said, can't never could.

Dan Trabue said...

So, CG, you've always been on the right road? Never had to change directions?

Again, I'll ask for patience for those of us who are trying to find the right road and haven't arrived at your location just yet.

Hamel said...

Thoreau's my man, hence my blog's address. That said, speaking of walking, I've got on my shelf of personal reading (which is dwarfed by my shelves of reading I should do for my students' classes in the name of being a more informed teacher) Rousseau's "Reveries of the Solitary Walker."

the Contrary Goddess said...

Truth to Power, Dan, Truth to Power. Or is that just when you agree with it, when "truth" doesn't make you uncomfortable?

As for patience, I've learned so much from your patience with Bush, not to mention your patience with drivers while on your bicycle.

I'm a social worker who GOT BETTER Dan -- you know well I've changed over the years. As Maya Angelou says, when I knew better, I did better. You've got another excuse here, don't you? What were some of the excuses given to the prophets?

Dan Trabue said...

Back a few years ago, I kept thinking I ought to quit using a car for my personal transport and start bicycling instead. I thought about it a good bit, but never did it.

Then I chatted with a friend, Jackie, who was a cyclist commuter. He did not - does not - use cars at all (except for the occasional long distance trip).

Jackie encouraged me kindly to give up the personal auto in my time and way. He was not critical, he did not belittle me for not taking the same steps he did. Just offered expertise and advice.

And now I am a cyclist commuter, too.

I am of the opinion that people have to take the road that they best know how to take. Can we offer opinion, encouragement, thoughts? Sure.

But turning folk off with a self-righteous attitude seems not to work that well generally speaking. It is an attitude I try to watch out for (and probably fail at too often).

It seems to be an ongoing challenge being prophetic and compassionate at the same time. You think?

Marty said...

I think Contrary Goddess has aptly named herself.

Thanks for your attitude Dan. You are an encourager. And btw, I walk to work...on occasion. I used to walk all the time, but now I have a car. But!!.. I buy my gas at Citgo!

Dan Trabue said...

The thing is, I don't disagree with Miss Goddess. I appreciate her wisdom and her way of life and plan on moving towards something approximating it one day.

Eleutheros said...

Dan:"I am of the opinion that people have to take the road that they best know how to take....
But turning folk off with a self-righteous attitude seems not to work that well generally speaking."

The thing that confuses so many of your readers, Dan, is just when does this letting people "take the road they best know to take" apply and when doesn't it, and to whom? So the good Rev. Lowery at King's funeral wasn't pronouncing 'truth to power' after all? He was just being self-righteous and turning George Bush off? When does identifying, for example, the cause of the war and speaking it plainly cease to be 'truth to power' and become self righteousness?

Marty:"Thanks for your attitude Dan. You are an encourager."

Oh? Dan encourages the cheering section, true enough. Did I miss his encouragement to Bush, the Bush supporters, and the fundamentalist Christians?

A person who leaves a climate controlled house idling all day to drive in a motor vehicle to a climate contolled office in, say, oh, a church, ... such a person IS the war. Without the oil we are bullying away from people by war and the treat of war, that entire lifestyle would evaporate over night and all the people protesting a war over oil while warming themselves by an oil fire would have to find honest work for themselves.

What I see the CG doing is encouraging people to do that now instead of legislating away their oil and only embracing a right livelihood when they are forced into it.

Encouragement works on people making a honset effort at improvement. It doesn't work on people in denial.

Dan Trabue said...

But what makes you think I am in denial (or is that not directed towards me)?

If CG thinks that the dominant way of life is a threat (as I do) then by all means, we should speak out against it. As I speak out against Bush's policies because they are a threat.

I'm just suggesting when it comes to policies, speak out, denounce away, educate people as to the threats.

But when it comes to individuals, we ought to still speak out, but do so as one fallen human to another.

That's a message for me and for us all, I haven't arrived in this regards. But I do try to speak to policies and lifestyles, not simply blast individuals...

When I'm blasting Bush, don't I usually identify my target as his policies? I'm not one to call Bush a monster or a communist or a fascist or evil (although when one individual is so responsible for and so embodies so many things that are wrong, it is tempting to do so and it's possible I have).

Eleutheros said...

Then, Dan, I'd have to say from the perspective of this remote and snowy mountainside this morning, that I don't see GC's comments as being any more personal than yours (and neither of them very presonal or ad hominem at that). They seem fairly balanced to me. They seem on the order of 'a person who does A needn't be complaining about the necessisary steps to secure what supports A." If the shoe fits .....

Remember in your post on the Rev. Lowery the image of Bush squirming in the background? Mightn't it be what passes for an individual comment is in actuality just some squirming in the background?

The are things individual folk can't do right now, at least it is unreasonable to expect them to do right now. If you declined all food that is the result of blood-tainted oil righ now in a cold Kentucky February, you'd starve. No one would benefit by that. One should wean oneself out of that, but it takes some hardening off.

On the other hand in the culture of idle protest there is a a laude and enthusiasm for things that could not exist without an uninterrupted flow of oil we did not come by honestly. It is a wonderful thing for people's hands to become soft and their girths wide as they plant themselves in offices where they toss about bags of air which have been warmed from oil fires.

The first thing that could be done is to cease to praise and idolize that destructive lifestyle. Second, walk away from such a livelihood. Those are withing the power of everyone.

Dan Trabue said...

I agree and think that many of my visitors here would, too. I'd think that we are past your first step (ceasing to praise the lifestyle) and some are working towards your second (breaking away from destructive livelihoods).

Of course, there is some disagreement amongst the believers here on what constitutes a destructive livelihood.

Still, I'm just saying that I and many of our friends who visit here are in agreement with you and Miss Goddess on the state of our dependence upon oil and "the system" and yet there seems to be hostility for reasons I have a hard time ciphering. Perhaps I'm wrong, there. I'll just assume so unless someone cares to correct me.

the Contrary Goddess said...

consider yourself corrected Dan. No hostility.

Impatience, perhaps. I may have lost my patient amusement here.

We (each and every one of us) do whatever it is we want to do, what we REALLY think is most important, no matter what our words are. To pretend otherwise is destructive.

I encourage people to not feel good about themselves for SAYING something, but for DOING something.

Or not doing something as the case more often is.

The hostility that I see here is to any actual, real, substantive changes. Lip service to a few sacred cows is all that is required.

Me, yes, I do require more than that from people I'm in relationship with. People who want to feel good about what they say instead of what they do often view that as contrariness.

the Contrary Goddess said...

ps "compassion" is overrated. I attend the church of the painful truth. I recognize that enlightenment means disillusionment. I know that most people very much prefer the blue pill.

Marty said...

Well this still all goes back to the fact that in order to live like the Contrary Goddess and Eleutheros, ya gotta have LAND. It ain't free. And in the meantime you have to make money somehow in order to buy it, unless you are lucky enough to inherit it. And after you get the land you still gotta make money somehow. There's still a water bill unless you get your water from a stream. And there's electricity, unless you live by lantern or candle.. uh.. but wait.. those cost money too. Ah..and then there's taxes on the land..ya gotta pay those too. Taxes on a house unless you live in a cave. If you got a few head of cattle, then you get a break on the taxes, but..gotta have money to buy the cattle... oh..and money to build a house, and chickens so you can have them eggs, seeds to plant..on and on...And if you've got grasshoppers, oh Lord. So it still all comes down to having money and a LOT of it in order to start your life in the middle of nowhere.

Eleutheros said...

Marty:"Well this still all goes back to the fact that in order to live like ... Eleutheros.."

Yes, to live exactly like I do, you do need land. Not a lot of it. Not 20% of my land is in production and even that, not all of what is in production is near its potential.

But I'd have to suggest that you are indulging in the 'argumentum ad absurdum', that is, unless I lived entirely without money, I'd have no credibitly. Since it takes a little money (and a little oil) to live as I do, it's all the same as someone else who needs a lot of money or uses a lot of oil.

But it's not the same.

Marty:"So it still all comes down to having money and a LOT of it in order to start your life in the middle of nowhere."

I suppose if you haven't lived the subsistence live, you'd have no idea the extent to which this isn't true. You're living somewhere now as an owner, mortager, or renter. My house (1500 sq ft, counting all the nooks and crannies) cost about $12,000 to build. It cost LESS to have a house in the "middle of nowhere". Sure, the cow cost $650 (but came pregnant and we et the 'calf' [at 900lbs]), but people drink milk anyway, and cheese and butter. The cow has long, long since gone into the black.

It only costs a lot to live 'in the middle of nowhere' if you count all the expenses you'd have there and discount all the expenses you pay anyway. On an actual spreadsheet living IMON takes LESS cash, not more.

By the bye, in my way of thinking it isn't I who is the one living in the middle of nowhere. This is definately somewhere.

And also by the bye, people in the country don't pay water bills because they get their water from their own well or cistern, not streams.

But as far as getting the money, the thing that is ill realized is the extent to which money is tied to oil. All oil transactions in te world (at present) are conducted in US dollars. It is the main reason we can afford such a vast army of administrators, coordinators, facilitators, counselors, etc. We (the US) is in a position to dip into the stream of oil revenue like no one else.

Although we cannot do even ordinary business without this oil-tainted money, we greatly lessen the evil it does when our trafficking in money is for something substantial. If in our efforts to relieve hunger we are baking bread instead of administering a food bank, or to relieve housing we are putting on roofs instead of coordinating a housing program, we dry up that stream of oil by that amount.

The socially conscious would leave off shuffling administrative bags of air and put on some work boots or an apron. Our great surfeit of administrative drones floats like so much flotsam on a great oil slick

Marty said...

Eleutheros, I have great respect for the way you have chosen to live your life. I would never suggest you had no credibility. Quite the contrary..(no pun intended)..just that it takes money to live...period. Less for you, more for me. But I still need the monetary capital to begin living like you. That was my point.

Dan Trabue said...

"Dan said:
Perhaps I'm wrong, there. I'll just assume so unless someone cares to correct me.

the Contrary Goddess said...
consider yourself corrected Dan. No hostility. "

A minor correction: I meant "I'll assume that I'm wrong and no hostility was intended" But thanks for the clarification.

Eleutheros said...

Marty, I understand your sentiment. And true enough, no one escapes the necessity for money altogether. The two points I attempted to make are:

1) It doesn't cost any more money to adopt a sustainable type of life than it does to live the status quo.

2) The way we go about getting that money does make a difference.

Marty said...

Thanks Eleutheros. I am still learning. We are conserving as best we can, eating organic, and living below our means. We will inherit land. You've given me a lot to think about for the future.