New Beginnings

In honor of the return of Spring, I’m discovering a new lease on life — newfound energy, newfound inspiration, and newfound hope that I’ll be able to apply that energy effectively in pursuit of that inspiration. Right now, the big move at the Co-op is changing a lot for me… it’s changing a lot for so many people, really. But once the dust around that has settled a bit, there will be a whole lot going on in other areas of my life too. More to share on that soon… but first, I’m off to bed.

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V for Vendetta

I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot for people who haven’t seen the movie, but I do want to discuss a few aspects of the story. So if you haven’t seen it yet, you may want to read this entry later.

"V for Vendetta" is set in a near-future alternate reality where England is ruled by a fascist regime. A masked man, codenamed V, engages in a series of creative and often violent actions to resist the reign of fascism and inspire the masses to pursue their own freedom.

One of the things that I like about this movie is that the main character, known only as "V", is a very complex individual. Over the course of the movie, we discover that he was tortured and experimented upon, leading to his rebellion against the fascist regime and underground struggle to overthrow them. At times, he is very charming, creative, intelligent, and endearing. Ultimately, these qualities allow him to inspire a massive rebellion against the powers that be.

And yet… he’s also a truly dark figure. He extracts a brutal revenge from some of the party members who participated in the program that lead to his torture. He engages in several acts of property destruction that — while being very focused in nature — probably involve the injury and death of "innocent bystanders." He even subjects the other main character — a young woman who he stumbles upon being attacked by fascists in an alley — to an extensive program of mind games and torture. She’s ultimately grateful to him for revealing to her the horror of the fascist regime, and the hope of a free society… but still, the fact that he kidnaps and tortures someone who basically sympathized with him simply to break her societal conditioning makes him a very dark character indeed.

So, he’s at best a dark, tragic hero. But even his dark side isn’t simplistic… one of the party members who participated in his torture shows deep remorse, and he is receptive to her apology. His heart is filled with bitterness and hatred, but he ultimately feels inspired to love by the female lead, even though he thought he could never love again. His secret plan to use a combination of explosives and misdirection to create chaos is in some ways very villainous… but he announces the general goal of this plan publicly, and its motivations arise out of a very pure and noble critique of fascist media and government.

Due to the highly political nature of this film, there are several moments of "didactic speechifying" that some viewers may reject outright. Some people think that dialog which includes direct commentary of a political nature has no place in a work of fine art, whether theatrical or otherwise. I can certainly see their point… but since these moments of "speechiness" emerge quite naturally in the context of a very well-done narrative filled with great symbolism, metaphor, deep characterization, refined plot development, and high art, I feel that it’s very appropriate, and that we can excuse the creators for being a bit ‘didactic’ at one or two points in the movie.

It’s also very fascinating how important the relationship is between the themese of this film and the themes of political life in the US and the world today. From what I’ve heard, the graphic novel that inspired this movie was apparently drawing its themes of authoritarianism from the Thatcher administration. But as I watched the story unfold, I felt as though they were talking about current events.

Here’s a good, though somewhat crude, analogy: take this movie, replace England with America, and replace the deadly plague incidents that triggered the rise of the movie’s fascist regime with the all-too-real events of 9/11 and their role in promoting fascism in the US.

When V gave his speech about how the people of the nation were basically reasonable people, and they had let their fear be used to manipulate them in the presence of a great national crisis, I felt as though they were speaking directly to the people of the U.S. about 9/11, the War on Terror, etc. Of course, some of this is simply due to the fact that fascism has a certain pattern to it wherever it occurs… but some of it may very well have been a conscious intention to create an analogy between the two.

My only regret is that as usual, this approach to revolutionary insurrection is very violent in nature. It relies on creating a negative rebellion rather than the "constructive program" of revolutionary community-building. Of course, I suppose a movie about exploding buildings and masked vigilantes sells more tickets than a movie about community gardens… but still, I hope that eventually, we may find a way to communicate the idea of a proactive rather than reactive revolution to the masses and encourage greater dialog on non-violent change of institutions and consciousness.

In any case, I found this movie to be very thought-provoking, fascinating, and thoroughly entertaining. I’ve already got themes of fascism and freedom on my mind as I begin a series of articles on the subject. Watching a movie like this has only helped me to explore these themes further. I look forward to discussing this movie — and its underlying exploration of fascism and freedom — with as many people as I can.

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Banning Spam Monkeys

Due to the slow but steady stream of spam in our forums, I’ve decided to start banning certain IP addresses.

To make a long story short, an IP address is basically a number assigned to every computer connected to the Internet. By looking at the IP address of spammers, I can block them from using that same connection to spam us again.

Of course, some spammers are crafty and can get around IP address bans. But so far, the spammers hitting our site don’t seem terribly crafty — and the IP addresses I’ve banned so far shouldn’t affect our legitimate users.

Anyway, if you have any technical difficulties posting to this site, let me know. I’m happy to see the rising participation in this site and would like to strike a balance between staying as inclusive as possible and discouraging spam… 🙂

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Contrast

Let me start out by saying that sometimes, contrast is good.

I have what I consider to be a very empowering, very deep, very real vision for the betterment of humanity. This vision outlines a general path through which humanity can choose to actualize its deepest potential for "individuated communion."

In its most visible outward form, "individuated communion" would be embodied by a society in which each invidual is completely free to achieve their own personal success and happiness, while also choosing to cooperate freely and completely with those around them who are choosing to do the same. Since we do not currently live in this state of personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal reality, the path from here to their involves a profound "revolution." This revolution is a turning of the tables, so to speak, in which all blocks to our potential are overturned, replaced by the rise of greater actualization of our deepest desirel to live together in a free and cooperative society.

On a personal level, we would each be far more free and happy in such a revolutionary society than most of us are currently. In fact, it’s hard for most of us to even imagine what this revolutionary new life would be like. On a social-economic level, we would as individuals and communities be profoundly more prosperous and more ready and willing to share economic and social resources in a way that benefits one and all. On a political level, there would be no more kings or aristocrats or rulers of any sort. Instead, we would make all public decisions through direct and democratic/cooperative decision-making shared among free individuals. On an ecological level, we would observe the flow of energy in the world that surrounds us and choose to work WITH this flow of energy rather than against it. We would design a whole new infrastructure in which our flourishing as a species leads to GREATER biodiversity and ecological integrity rather than the destruction and havoc that our "resource extraction" currently creates.

So, this is my general vision for humanity and the planet. Really, I don’t even consider it "my" vision because I’m simply trying to articulate potentials and trends in the development/evolution of humanity that exist independent of my perception of them. This vision is very positive, very empowering, and very in line with the intent and tone of the "Red Pill" series here on my website that was mentioned recently in the Forums.

But is this empowering vision all that there is to who I am and what I experience in life?

Nope. Not by a long shot.

First of all, I also have a vision of other possible choices that humanity can make. The momentum of the evolution of consciousness is leading us in a direction of greater freedom and cooperation, both as individuals and as a species. But we can still choose to twist this evolution into ever-greater levels of authoritarian control and ecological destruction. That path will ultimately destroy us because it resists the flow of our natural evolution as a species and as a planet… but we can choose it, and some of us are choosing it as we speak. If enough people follow that choice, very unpleasant things will continue to happen and continue to get worse. And my ability to perceive this destructive path of humanity brings me a great deal of grief, frustration, confusion, and sorrow.

Second, in addition to the above vision of a dystopic reality, I am more than just a vision, whether that vision be utopian or dystopian. I strive to embody certain principles and philosophies — but ultimately, I am so much more than any principle, any philosophy, any idea. I am a human being — a creature of flesh and blood, breath and life, body and emotion and mind and heart and spirit, with my own thoughts, emotions, sensations, and aspirations that mostly just relate to my personal path rather than this larger vision I strive to articulate.

On some level, I suppose it would be very convenient if all of my flesh, all of my emotions, all of my thoughts, and all of my dreams existed in perfect harmony with my vision for a better world. But I haven’t met a human yet who exists in such a state of perfect harmony with their broader vision for humanity. Hell, I’ve only met a small number of humans who even HAVE some sort of deep vision for humanity… 🙂

So, yeah… some of the tone and content of my blog runs in sharp contrast to the clear, positive, empowering, revolutionary vision that I choose to broadcast publicly at every available opportunity. But that’s because my blog is a chronicle of my personal life and development, not an impersonal essay about my visions for humanity. And besides… I feel it’s very important to be fully honest about who I am and what I feel. This is important both because honesty is the best policy in general and because people can identify more with someone who is REAL.

People have a tendency to see me as this UNREAL person. They listen to my ideas, and they get excited or inspired (or enraged) by them… but then many of them say to themselves, either consciously or unconsciously:

"Well, that’s Treesong… he’s some sort of ‘different’ person who does all of these revolutionary things. That’s just who he is, and he’s different than the rest of us. It’s great that he does them, but I could never do that."

And to me, that seems like a rather silly attitude. It’s more common than I care to admit… and in fact, it’s somewhat embarrassing. Yes, I have this broader vision… but as an individual, I’m really not as "revolutionary" as I’d like to be. I’ve met people who do infinitely more than I do to serve the sorts of transformation that I seek. As a real, living, breathing human being, I can never fully live up to an archetype or stereotype — and even in the moments when I do, it’s very disempowering both to me and to those around me to say that I’ve embodied this archetype simply because I’m some sort of "special person."

I mean, I do have much more self-esteem and self-confidence than I used to. I’m happy that other people seem to listen to and appreciate some of my ideas on social and ecological issues. And it’s also very heartwarming to see and feel the respect that many people have for me. Some of what I do, and some of who I am, does at times seem "extraordinary" in the sense that not many other people I meet are doing it.

But when people start acting like I’m some sort of space alien with special powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men… that just seems silly to me.

It’s mostly my fault, actually… I do have an affinity for superheroes, and I’ve had a tendency in the past to project the most positive and vision-related aspects of myself to the world. I’ve done this because people already get enough negativity in their lives, and I don’t want to add my own depression and despair to the mix. A consistent focus on our most positive potentials as individuals and as members of humanity can be very inspiring — and since I can really tap into that sense of empowerment on a good day, I share that as much as possible with those around me.

But ultimately, if I do nothing but resonate with the FUTURE — with a potential of humanity that is deeply embedded in every cell of our body, but that may not become outwardly visible for quite some time yet — then I’m simply embodying a hidden sense of disempowerment, and passing on the same to anyone who listens to me. When I do this, I’m placing all of my power in the future — and little or none of it in the present.

So, I’ve decided to be REAL… as REAL as I know how to be. I’m being more REAL in my blog… and more REAL in my life in general. Why? Because I’ve decided that I LOVE REALITY, and won’t hold back from embracing today’s reality any longer. 🙂 I will flood my reality with love and attention and praise, even if some aspects of it are dark and depressing. And I’m going to embody and share all of who I am, even when it’s not pretty or not entirely in line with my overall vision for the betterment of humanity.

Sometimes, this involves the same empowering revolutionary schtick that everyone is used to. "Wow… I see this great potential for humanity to live in free cooperation with our fellow human beings and the ecological world!" Deep down, this really is what I feel, and really is what guides pretty much my entire life.

But other times, being real involves a very dark and forlorn attitude. "Wow… there are a bunch of people on this planet who live in almost complete disconnection from their own humanity, the humanity of others, and the inherent value of the ecological world that we call home. This disconnect leads them to dominate others, and destroy ecological integrity, and generally make a mess of the world. And sometimes, this leave me feeling very angry, or very scared, or very bitter, or very cold, or very lonely, even though none of these are terribly empowering feelings."

The "treesong" that most people know best at this point is a warm, gentle wind blowing through summer trees. This wind is cool enough to be refreshing when it falls upon the sweat of a summer day, but warm enough to keep us feeling active, inspired, and happy to be surrounded by the lush green abundance that is found at the peak of the Earth’s fertility. The warm green, rainbow colors, and white hues that characterize the cover of Revolution of One are very much the embodiment of this sort of treesong.

But there are many treesongs — and many Treesongs. There are many winds, and many trees for them to blow through. And since we don’t live in a world of perpetual summer, this wind of mine is not always as warm or gentle as I would like it to be.

Anyone who really knows me knows that there’s a part of my spirit that sings a different song. It’s a cold, dry, winter wind howling through the branches of barren trees. It remembers the touch of a million warm, soft, green leaves that sing in response to the wind in the summertime. And so, the wind scours the frozen landscape, searching for this lost host of earth angels. But the only echo of their memory that remains lies in the hard, sharp, twisted bark of a leafless wood. And so the wind howls in memory of the fallen leaves, and howls to declare that one day, the trees will bud again and the leaves of life will return.

This side of me is as real and powerful as the side of me that is filled with sunshine and rainbows. Sure… sometimes it’s at odds with the energy of empowerment and positivity that I strive to share with others. But then again… it’s also in harmony with the alienation and despair that many of my closest friends and loved ones feel. And it’s the source of the dark humor that many of the people who know me find hilarious and at times even empowering. For a while, I tried to connect only with the summertime… with the vision for a world in which all is green, all is warm, all is happy, all is hopeful. But ultimately, I realized that something was missing from my life, and that I felt a great disconnect from the people and planet that I was supposedly trying to serve. And so, I embraced my sad, frustrated, angry, unhappy, despairing side.

Sometimes, this mournful side of my self really does run at cross purposes to my upbeat vision. Sometimes, it leads to counter-productive and counter-revolutionary behavior. But hey… that’s who I am, at least at this point in my journey. Hopefully it will help people to realize that I’m really not so ‘different’ after all. Hopefully it will help people to realize that if they feel the same despair that I do, they can also feel the same inspiration that I do, even if that’s not what they feel currently. If they feel the same frustration and uncertainty that I do, then they have felt the same basic love that I feel, and they can learn to feel the other side of it — the inspiration and life of action and revolution that I experience on a good day. And really, to be honest, I hope that once more and more people come to realize just how beautiful and powerful they really are, my occassional feats of community involvement will be all but forgotten in the presence of their dramatically more cohesive and successful achievements.

So, hopefully, the moments of disempowerment and despair that I share in this blog will help to inspire others to accept and embrace that part of themselves, and thus get started on the path of reclaiming their personal power, and discovering their ability to take that deeply mournful love and transform it into deeply joyous love that is the inspiration for positive revolutionary action. But hey… even if that’s not what people take out of the more disempowering moments of my blog… those moments are a part of who I am, and I’ve decided to share that with the world regardless of whether or not anyone else finds it particularly empowering.

Anyway, thank you to everyone for the ongoing discussion in the Forums of this site… 🙂 I find it heartwarming and inspiring to see people talking amongst themselves and thus breathing more life into this site than I as an individual can do alone. The question about the contrast between my "I have a dream" blog entry and my "Red Pill" pages was a very good and thought-provoking question… so are many of the others, too, but this is just the one that I happened to stumble upon this morning. I look forward to the discussions that we will surely share in the future.

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My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois. I write novels, short stories, and poetry, mostly about the climate.

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