My Predestined Date With Shamanism

My Predestined Date with Shamanism

I was lucky enough to score an extra ticket to a modern shamanism class in Los Angeles. What I knew of shamanism prior to the intro course was limited at best and while I like to be spontaneous, I also like to be prepared. I tried to research the event itself but also knew that the lower expectations that I had, the better. Luckily, there wasn’t much information on the event, so I was going rogue. My friend Julie and I talked the night before to discuss our plan of attack and the car situation so that when we walked in wearing yoga pants and leggings compared to everyone else’s Levi’s and boots, we would at least be partner pariahs. And that’s exactly what happened.

Quickly disposing of our corporate Starbucks coffee cups in fear of being judged by hemp-loving, incense-burning, damn-the-Man hippies, we walked into the Manhattan Beach Marriott. The room was markedly less Marriott than anticipated: an ambiance that consisted of a 30-chair circle and a maraca rattling, rain stick thrusting, and indigenous Amazonian drum pounding ditty awaited us.

In the car, Julie joked that it was going to be one of those, “I see your light, and I appreciate you” workshops and it seemed to be the case. For a hot second I thought I’d be a real jackass and use this as an excuse to practice my comedic repertoire on the cheap. I’d play the straight man and ask the shaman questions as if he were a World of Warcraft expert: Do you throw lightning bolts? Can you see into the world of spirits and communicate with creatures invisible to eyes of mere mortals? When did you discover this other realm? On Draenor, now shattered Outland, the orcs were shamanistic; on Azeroth, trolls and tauren were shamanistic. Though shamanism on Azeroth flourished and still continues to, shamanism on Draenor was all but extinct by the time of the great crossing of the Horde into Azeroth via the Dark Portal. Your thoughts, sir?

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I Say The Right Things, But Act The Wrong Way

Hard To Explain by the Strokes off of Is This It?

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The Beautiful Banality Of Tunisian Politics

The Article: The Beauty of Tunisia’s New Political Banality by Hussein Ibish in Now Lebanon.

The Text: I’ve been appearing on television talk shows for more than 12 years and I’ve never found them to be an emotional experience, until last Sunday, that is.

During a routine program on Al-Hurra reviewing recent events in Tunisia, I was suddenly overwhelmed by an astonishing realization: For the first time in my life, I was having a conversation about politics in an Arab state that was entirely normal, modern and healthy.

For the first half-hour or so, I found myself in the middle of an argument with Al-Nahda MP Abd al-Lateeh al-Makki and another representative of his party on one side, and Democratic National Movement MP Tawfic Ayashi on the other. Naturally, they were quarreling about the new 26-clause temporary constitution passed by the Constitutional Assembly that now serves as the parliament.

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The Cannibalism Of The One Percent

The Article: The View From The 1 Percent by Tom Ehrich in the Washington Post.

The Text: Now that the financial industry and major corporations have successfully lobbied Congress to make more people poor and to keep them that way, they are discovering the downside of unbridled greed: people are too broke to buy their products.

Heavy discounts were necessary to stimulate sales on Black Friday — a stimulus that lost steam as the big shopping weekend proceeded. Now further discounts will be required. That bodes ill for retailers, as well as for their suppliers.

It’s one thing to own Congress, but it’s something else when consumers refuse to buy. They’re staying home, maybe shopping online; they’re not investing, not saving, not selling their houses, not feeling confident about their own jobs.

In a freer free-market economy, competitors would emerge to resolve these problems. But corporate giants do everything possible to stifle competition. Consider Verizon’s bid to buy $3.6 billion of unused wireless spectrum to prevent anyone else from having it.

Thus we see the demise of modern capitalism, brought down not by socialists or fringe elements, but by the capitalists themselves.

Their self-defeating behavior — like that of any addict — has led them into the delusional belief that they can have it all. They can kill prosperity, stifle competition, rig capital creation into an insider game, undermine countervailing forces — and yet somehow the great market will continue to shower wealth on them.

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