Reality, I argue, is what you make it. I’m glad we all get to play. I’m not the judge of anything. I listen, quietly, for many hours to a reality that has been imagined by others. I am grateful. I practice my craft in this mostly built space consciously enjoying the fruits of their labor. 

       Hot showers, for example. I’m better at what I do because of hot showers. I have worked without them. I would rather not. When I was very young I wanted more than anything to live in the woods. I would not miss the regular weekly bath that I shared with siblings. My Side of the Mountain was the book that made me keenly interested in wilderness survival during my grammar school years. I was a very serious Scout. We showered after gym class, two or three times a week. The government not only provided us food stamps and a no expense spared provided medical exams, hot showers, and a lending library. 

          I don’t think I ever considered what living without a hot shower could be like until I lived without a hot shower. I have never taken them for granted since. I wonder if even twenty percent of the worlds population has daily access to a hot shower? 

         I have never built a shower like the 1970’s version in the tricked out doublewide, or any other. Truly, I shower on the shoulders of the giants of indoor plumbing, every day. Imagine that! 

          My interest early in bio diversity  eventually taught me how to sense and out of the imagined spaces I occupy. In Graduate school we used built verses natural space...or wildernesses to describe environments, but I argue reality is imagined...and not supernatural; Imagined  places are no less natural than places where human impact is not easy to sense. 

           I’m not arguing good or bad. Hot showers are expensive. Grad school seats are too. I don’t take either for granted. I did in grammar school, as an ungrateful child, who was given everything...and had no idea how much all this cost the planet, and other than the children in China who we  were told to be  starving, I thought we had it pretty rough.   I am sure anyone who knew me would say so. But I learned I was wrong, quite quickly, in fact.  

            The best part of the imagined, is that the imagined can be reimagined. The built space can be rebuilt and the future can be reduction of the past, not a repeat. As fast as we can imagine, we can grow beyond, into a reduced version of humanity. Not better or worse...just reduced.

             A reduction is not less, just less volume...but more intense; a humanity that uses its senses before and resources after...deliberative imagining. Really folks, it’s not rocket science, which,  if you think about it, is not that brilliant.  

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Comment by Tom Cordle on January 17, 2019 at 10:48am

"Reality, I argue, is what you make it."

Do you realize that line by itself makes you sound like Karl Rove, to wit – reality is what we say it is?  Just sayin' – obviously, I know you are a different breed of cat altogether. Actually, I operate with a similar view:  Without rationalization, none of us could last a day.

Most Native traditions hold some version of the idea that we live in the midst of other worlds, whether they be unseen spirits or little people hiding in trees or the departed appearing in the shape of a fox or a hawk. Typically, only a shaman can communicate with these Others, though an individual may be blessed with a glimpse of those worlds on a vision quest or in a dream. It is said that before the battle at the Greasy Grass aka Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull had a dream in which he saw the ground littered with the bodies of Bluecoats.

One must decide for oneself whether dreams are only dreams, or if they may also sometimes be visions.

Comment by Tom Cordle on January 17, 2019 at 11:06am

Sounds like we share a similar childhood. We were so backwoods and poor, I didn't even know we were poor, until I started the seventh grade. Hell, we still had an outhouse! One year, I got an orange and some scraps from Grampa Frank's wood-shop for Christmas, and I was delighted. That was my version of Lego's. I turned my wood scraps into all manner of vehicles and buildings

I offer that as proof that "deprivation" can be a good thing, in that it feeds the imagination. What' the old adage: "Necessity is the mother of invention" ... I wonder if children these days, with their talking toys and video games, aren't being deprived, too, in the sense they have no need to develop or use their own imagination. But I suppose that makes me sound like the old fart I am.

Poverty is, of course, a relative thing. Most Americans have no idea how good they have it, compared to much of the rest of the world. Sad to say, some Americans do know from personal experience how bad much of the rest of the world has it, and I suspect more are likely to find out, given the unmitigated and insatiable greed of crapitalists.

Comment by Maui Surfer on January 17, 2019 at 12:04pm

I too lived with an outhouse during the times of year we stayed with my relatives in the "jungle" of East Maui. Lots of Lyme, no Hep C. However, we had hot showers, and the cost was- free. I built my first Solar Panel in 1970. No, it was not photovoltaic electricity, it fed, by natural forces of heat and energy, a hot water heater. For those of you who think Hawaii is all warm beaches trust me the jungle gets cold and the water comes from SNOW at 10,000 feet. It is not naturally warm, and the baths we took in the streams were in water that was definitely not warm. Anyway, using nothing but scrap 2x4, plywood, a small investment in Mylar and some old pipes we were out of Dogpatch and into Beverly Hills, all in the middle of absolutely nowhere, a 45 minute drive to the nearest country store. Ah, but, right in front of the cliffs, no beaches here, you had to jump 30 feet down with your board, then climb up ancient footholds with ropes as our ancestors did, we surfed in that cool ocean more days than not. Shoes? Nah ...

There is no reason the whole world, and ask any sailor, shouldn't have been using this method, and we still do, in fact I installed it on our kids local gym so they could have hot showers too, and this was decades ago, except that the truly evil energy companies did everything they could to stall this innovation, and still do when they can.

Now we have Solar Tiles thanks to the controversial Elon Musk. Things are a'changing, fast.

Comment by Robert B. James on January 17, 2019 at 5:58pm

Thanks for reading and commenting! 

Brother Tom:  Practice makes perfect. Good enough is not Quality. Good enough is a rationalization. Each attempt is a try, a spin, a turn, an at bat, run through...etc. 

Reality is now...the center of everything. We make it.  We all get to play, and then of course, we don’t.  The next note is yours to make or miss. The one after that too. Call it Jazz, or good enough...or just keep playing; that’s not up to me or  that evil nazi Rove. 

I regret being forced to listen and not play. That was how we were trained. I was trained to kill and gut, fast. Then I was trained to shuck fast and clean. I could do both and listen at the same time. My life depended on it. There was no playing. We were not being raised to play. We were being raised to take care of business all day and sleep at night after having killed a lot of living things. 

If we had a choice...hell, we would have been playing. But we did ok listening. Just not what we would have chose. My father could play, but we never saw him. He was making Marines not musicians...this was the Cold War, and the President had been executed on his watch. Good enough? How does one rationalize that? Home was brutal after that, and not  easy before. 

Still, like you, it was all we knew, and we had no idea what the adults were managing between their ears. We were being prepared to survive and then run what was left to run, should we live long enough. No one told us anything but what was expected of us that very moment, should we be foolish enough to be seen at all. 

Karl Rove never knew we existed, and never would have seen or heard any of us, ever. We don’t exist on paper, only in the nightmares of  the Karl Roves of this world. I have at, almost sixty two, 20 15 vision.  

And yes, fascists do impose their version of reality on those whom they can, by any means necessary. But there will always be others who have a different vision of the battle space and built space. It only takes one, not even a few to take out a Rove or army of Roves. Practice makes perfect. 

Comment by Robert B. James on January 17, 2019 at 6:22pm

On Poverty: I’ve been a lot of things but never without options. I’ve seen poverty up close. I’ve seen courage too, generosity...and a lot of really good in this world. You are spot on when you posit that kids who are hooked on electronic junk are deprived, perhaps doomed to be led by a Rove operated drone, because of it. 

Comment by Robert B. James on January 17, 2019 at 6:24pm

Maui : man, that sounds cool. Fricken Tarzan shit!

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 18, 2019 at 5:43am

I'd rather a forced march refresher course gone forward & on & on something to do with the Rhyme or Rime of the Ancient cool to have a name like Coleridge. Though I read your Reduction within 20 minutes of presentation, thought I'd learn a tad about who I am and how I think I think prior to comment. So I attempted to learn what rhyme schemes define 'suffix correlations'. Such as Karenia and Catalina. Schenectady and tranquility. Nothing assured at this typing...perhaps on an applicable note, please allow an astonishing empirical find: ULTRAHYDROPHOBICITY! Certain good feeling learning as the coffee percolates...TV shouts out a warning: blizzard 12 hours (softly) 'come on baby light my fire...'
You know RBJ: pitchforks and aardvarks!
humble observer of larks
water's warm
I see no sharks

Comment by Robert B. James on January 18, 2019 at 7:01am


     I was a physicist before finishing my one and only HS. The powers that be determined me best suited for brick laying. My lack of interest in all things of culture except for  Jim Morrison’s poetry and skirts, not in that order, predetermined my decent into the underworld of commerce in the decades before the ascent of the homelanders. Bearing water...leaking fluids, floating on a sea of gravy...dipping a paddle into the soup pot, it’s not snowing here!  Lilting, or not...Louie Miller is MAC Heath. 

Comment by Tom Cordle on January 18, 2019 at 7:56am

JPH    Thanks to you, I learned a new word today:  ULTRAHYDROPHOBIC ... in other words, very, very water-repellent

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 18, 2019 at 7:58am

gifted wonderlust
the big cozy tracks of thin
rabbits, hidden days

delicate wind air
reflecting crystalline drifts
pale shadow sunlight

talkin bout that Black-haired beauty...ooh La La...! And fast forward: Bill Maher and Michael Moore! Yeah that's the ticket!


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