Monday, April 5, 2010

Dale Pendell - Dionysian Anarchism and other essays

Poet, author, teacher, consultant, and computer scientist - Dale Pendell  has some interesting ideas to share that appear to have a very pagan flavor to them.  This is not to say that Covenant of the Goddess or this blog endorses everything he has to say.   However, his thoughtful and challenging presentations are I believe worth a look. We can start with the detailed web site where he presents his ideas.  After that I will link to and quote from one of his many essays. But, let's begin by allowing Dale's web site to tell you more about him.

"Poet Dale Pendell is the author of the award-winning Pharmako trilogy, a literary history of psychoactive plants. His poetry is widely anthologized, most recently in The Wisdom Book of American Buddhist Poetry. Combining the teachings of poet Gary Snyder, Zen teacher Robert Aitken, and philosopher Norman O. Brown, Dale seeks his answers in “wild mind.” He was the founding editor of Kuksu: Journal of Backcountry Writing, a co-founder of the Primitive Arts Institute, and has led workshops at the Naropa Institute and the Omega Institute. In addition to writing, Dale has been a consultant for herbal product development, botanical surveys, and a computer scientist. His most recent books are Walking with Nobby: Conversations with Norman O. Brown; The Language of Bird: Notes on Chance and Divination; and The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse, a novel."

Green Flames: Thoughts on Burning Man, the Green Man, and Dionysian Anarchism

..."Thomas Hobbes said that people were rapacious beasts, who would start killing and eating each other if it weren’t for an armed police force. Our mainstream culture seems desperate to maintain this viewpoint. During Hurricane Katrina, while the self-organizing cooperative efforts of thousands and tens of thousands of citizens to help each other went largely unreported, a scene of looting was replayed over and over. The clear message is “see, people can’t be trusted. We need the police.” In fact, police (or private security goons) broke up, and even fired on, the emerging cooperatives.

So who is on the other side? Many, actually. First off, we have the evidence of anthropology and human prehistory, which is overwhelmingly cooperative. We have the core teachings of deep mystical traditions.

Jean Jacques Rousseau offered that much of the sickness, the antisocial, and criminal behavior in society was not the result of our intrinsic natures, but of the society itself. Many are quick to dismiss Rousseau with a put-down—“ahh, the Noble Savage.” Rousseau never talked about any noble savage. The term was invented by a mid-nineteenth century pro-slavery American anthropologist, and has been an astoundingly effective little lie to cut off discussion on this topic.

Dionysian anarchism sides with the mystics and with anthropology. It sides with the way that people carry on their affairs most of the time: that is, cooperatively, and generally with a sense of good will. It sides with the spirit of DIY: do-it-yourself. Dionysian anarchists stress that means and ends have to be in accord, and if we can just stop things from getting worse, society will spontaneously realign itself towards freedom. That is our nature. As long as we have free horizons, as long as we are headed towards freedom and not away from it, we can relax a little with a long term view." ... (Cont.)...