“When there is disharmony in affairs, that means that there is something unknown. When there is collusion but not solidarity, there is covert alliance but covert alienation. When there is disharmony in affairs sages do not make plans for them. Thus, when there is intimacy in spite of distance, that means there is hidden virtue.” -The Master of Demon Valley, Classic text of the Zongheng Xue school of Chinese philosophy, circa 500BC
Earlier I went to rec and, as always, I carry some type of supremely powerful anti-indoctrination weapon. Today I went to the rec cage with a collection of Eastern classics on strategy, council and the acquisition and exercise of power. I’ve found that in this environment people are much more likely to listen to you if you talk about such things as The Art of War, The Way Of the Zen Warrior, Ways Of Warriors, Codes of Kings, Bushido Warrior Codes and such things as opposed to say Ghandi, M.L.K., Yoga or perhaps strictly sociopolitics.
I had a bunch of passages marked and a list of topics of discussion. I held council with a few dudes while working out. I don’t care how disturbed my mindset is I never have and never will let it affect what I do around here on a daily basis, what people would call “activism.” I don’t give a damn, it’s just not going to happen. I wonder how many people out there in the activist community, in the social justice struggle, live this way? I don’t write about or mention 80% of the things I do around here. I would feel a bit silly doing so and plus I have no desire for accolades or praise. A few of my friends always tell me I need to write about such things but the prospect of doing so seems rather embarrassing and ridiculous to me. Perhaps I’ll try, however.
A thought just occurred to me: When I talk about something like discussing a book while working out as I described above, I think this may sound quite strange to people in the Freeworld. For one, I always feel very mechanical when I write something that isn’t going to someone I know; I feel as if I write in a very bland, machine-like manner that severely lacks the personal expressive quality that is conveyed in letters I write to actual people I know. Also, this place is so very insane, just absolutely, fundamentally twistedly Orwellian that I’ve found it impossible to properly describe how things are around here. Plus, the way I interact with people is…How do I describe it? I’ve never been one to have mundane, trite, banal conversations. All human interaction should have purpose. Life is to be Lived. The future is to be grasped. I generally speak in a dialectical manner and naturally use the language of metaphor and symbolism. I’ve been told I’m a very eccentric individual and hell, I don’t know and whatever-the-hell, let me try to describe what I mentioned above.
So, I was out in the dayroom rec cage, which is just a larger cage than our cells, which directly face the dayrooms. I holler at a few dudes I’m cool with while stretching:
Me: What’s going on?
Person I:Just listening to the radio.
Me: Yeah, I thought I heard some wretched corporate propaganda that is viciously assaulting and corrupting the youth of America coming out of your cell.
Person I: Hell’nah! I had KPFT on and they were talking about what’s going on in the middle east.
[This person is pretty politically conscious so we had a short discussion on current middle east sociopolitics.]
Me: (To Person II) What’s up? You ready to catch this workout and chop it up on this hard-ass book I have out here? It’s on a warrior vibe (I flip open the book to a marked passage and read) “The way of the warrior means familiarity with both the cultural and martial arts. In ancient China the single word ‘Shi’ or ‘Knight’ mean both scholar and warrior. The training of this class of men was considered to be one of the most important tasks of the culture.” This is some real serious stuff right here.
Person II: Sounds interesting but, man I can’t work out at all. That hernia I told you about awhile back has gotten much, much worse.
Then, I talked with the guy for a while about how to strategically resolve the extreme medical neglect that the medical staff around here is quite fond of. I talked about various policies, forms, paperwork, grievance procedures and legal procedure around lawsuits; who to talk to, how to talk to them, who to have his supporters talk to and how to have his supporters talk to them. After this, I started working out and discussing the passages marked in the book. Probably sounds strange…Picture this: I hit a set of push-ups, an intense set, leap up and reply to what the guy I’m talking to has just said concerning the topic of our discussion. And, as always, I relate everything to our current situation and its relation to our larger collective Existence.
I also talked with another guy about some crazy drama going on with some of the overseas anti-DP groups. Dudes around here have all these “girlfriends” and “wives” and engage in all sorts of labyrinthine drama the likes of which Jerry Springer would stand before in confused disbelief, as if before him loomed some great drama beast whose intricate make-up has rendered him speechless. I’ve never engaged in any of that wretchedness and I see it as absolutely undermining the Struggle. The guy I talked to has a girlfriend who is with one of these groups and we discussed some productive ways to weave through the wretchedness and advance the cause of Abolition.
Now I’m back in my cell and Ah(!) Stravinsky’s Firebird is about to come on. Some good music to finish my workout to…The evil ogre Katschei appears. Strength training! Weight bag curls…The tempo picks up and I have a Firebird to catch! Running in place…Ah-ha, my most beautiful Firebird, I’ve caught you. What is that you say? You offer me the gift of a magical feather for your release? What do you take me for, a marauding hoodlum?! I merely was transfixed by the illuminating brilliance of your flaming beauty my dear Firebird, and I had to admire it up close. You are, of course, free to go, but thank you. I certainly appreciate your gift, indeed your beauty is certainly a gift bestowed upon the earth from the Mystic Heavens. Shaolin Qi Gong “Joining the Heavens and the Earth” exercise…
(This music is nice, Stravinsky wrote some pretty good music.) What is that I see? A bunch of hot maidens in a garden grove reading poetry, doing Yoga, holding dialectic on socio-politics, strategizing on how to bring about social change, painting, playing sitars, violins and cellos, playing with golden apples? Gotta make sure the 6-pack abs stay rocked up. Crunches and Ab twists!…O.K., O.k., I know the original story only mentions the maidens in the garden playing with apples, but what the hell is that? Perhaps they were listening to Britney Spears and gossiping about celebrity news and the latest must-have fashion trends also? (My apologies to Comrade Igor, but I added a bit of personal fantastical flourish to the idea of enticing women.)
Thus, I venture into the garden and chill with the maidens for a while and follow them back to the palace of the great demon-ogre Katschei. Dah-Dah!The Infernal Dance Of King Katschei ensues and … I’m caught. Well, I guess I’m not the Billy Bad-Ass I thought I was—more curls and some jujitsu!… “To Stone!” You say Katschei? Solidarity call to the Firebird! And the Firebird arrives and charms Katschei and his nefarious demonic minions into a friendly dance…Dancing Shiva Asana, more Jujitsu…And Katschei and crew fall asleep and I’m freed and go and find the hidden casket where the ogre King’s demonic soul is kept and…I destroy it—swift sets of 1-2-3 punches…
Katschei and his ghoulish companions disappear, his captives who he turned to stone become human again, and the evil of the Kingdom is gone! Now, I form a life long bond of Love and Solidarity with a Princess who was Katschei’s captive and we help form a Peoples’ Coalition to transform the toppled autocracy into a true participatory democracy! Yes, in the original story the hero of the tale, Ivan, just marries the princess and they rule the Kingdom happily ever after. But this is indeed my workout session while listening to Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird so I’ve felt free to remix the story a bit. Whew, that was an excellent training session. Now for some nice cool down Yoga…very nice. Now on to some important legal organizing work—time to move my scimitar, my battle-ax, my pen in a different direction and hope to create more harmony in the fight. I’m engaged in, despite being distanced and confined in this twisted infernal Hell.
From the Spirit of
Mastering the Art Of Life
In a Valley Of Sorrows