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September/October, 1999

 

READINGS

Ray Bradbury's little book THE HALLOWEEN TREE is pure cosmic poetry! For example, these lines:

"The newspapers, bordered in black, blew away in white funerals on the wind." (p.147)

"Shadows climbed walls like old films rerun in ancient theatres." (p. 170)

"...the sun was reborn. Spring arrived with golden horns." (p. 61)

 

THE DEMYSTIFICATION OF RELIGION

In THE ESSENTIAL ALAN WATTS there is an essay on "How to Become a Genuine Fake." With tongue in cheek, he explains the process involved in passing one's self off as an important Guru or Master. J. Krishnamurti of India saw through this kind of sham as he was being encouraged and groomed to present himself as a special "chosen one," and he renounced the entire idea, teaching instead that we are to find the truth within ourselves. Many, including Jesus, urged a similar way. but we remain hungry for messiahs, authorities "out there" who will take the burden of our own responsibility upon themselves and tell us what to think and do. such a stance leads only to pious rigidity and fanatical bigotry. Far better to evolve like a seed, shedding the useless husk of a dead ideology and perpetually becoming a new creation.

--Bill Joyner

A.K. Coomaraswamy:
"We are proud of our museums where we display a way of living that we have made impossible."

 

Bring us back to the future
where we can sense our being
through love of the spider,
the bird song,
the wren's egg.

These monsters we left
were not love, nor hate,
they were something we ate.

They were Us in another dimension
Which we regret, wholly,
implacably,
irresponsibly
to the end. Amen

--Pamela Heggli

 

 

The New York Times Magazine
September 12, 1999

Historians of the future will wonder how a people possessed of such a deep faith in the power of drugs also found themselves fighting a war against certain other drugs with not-dissimilar powers. the media are filled with gauzy pharmaceutical ads promising not just relief from pain but also pleasure and even fulfillment; at the same time, Madison Avenue is working equally hard to demonize other substances on behalf of a "drug-free America." the more we spend on our worship of the good drugs ($20 billion on psychoactive prescription drugs last year), the more we spend warring against the evil ones (&17 billion the same year). We hate drugs. We love drugs. Or could it be that we hate the fact that we love drugs?

"Good" Drugs Versus "Bad" Drugs
by Michael Pollan 27

"the others"

The Medium is the Massage coordinated by Jerome Agel
Marshall McLuhan Bantam Books New York * London * Toronto
Quentin Fiore

 

The shock of recognition! In an electric information environment, minority groups can no longer be contained -- ignored. Too many people know too much about each other. Our new environment compels commitment and participation. We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other.

Laotze:

Thirty spokes are made one by holes in a hub,
By vacancies joining them for a wheel's use;
The use of clay in molding pitchers
Comes from the hollow of its absence;
Doors, windows, in a house,
Are used for their emptiness;
Thus we are helped by what is not,
To use what is.

 

Sylvia Edmonds - card

 

The Movie-Go-Round

I must say a word about these few movies I've checked out lately on video, if only because it took so long to see them:

Beloved. What a crock! And to think it involved two of the world's very best talents, Jonathan Demme and Oprah Winfrey. Suffice it to say that all of the impossible absurdities that might result from translating myth into literal, visual form are fully realized in Beloved.

Beyond Rangoon is well worth seeing, both in terms of its personal and global references to turmoil, upheaval, commitment and recovery. It's an adventure in physical and spiritual survival.


Wild Things. This was my guilty pleasure, but the "pulp fiction" time warps made me crazy, so confusing! It's kind of like the people who made the movie were trying to out-clever themselves. I wouldn't want to ever check it out again, although I love the memory of Neve Campbell sailing that big boat!

Rushmore is audacious from beginning to end. Always awesome, even when it seems to be grossly unrealistic. It is about obsession and megalomania on the part of an extremely ambitious, unstoppable prep school student. Rushmore also features Bill Murray at his sardonic best!

Smoke, with Harvey Keitel and William Hurt, is a priceless treasure of tenderness, devoid of sentimentality. I couldn't overstate my recommendation of it. And don't miss the tunes by Tom Waites and Jerry Garcia during the closing credits.


Scenes From A Marriage, Ingmar Bergman's masterwork on marital communication, with dear Liv Ullman -- you wouldn't expect to be able to remain interested in just two people trying to talk to each other at various points in their marriage, but in fact it is absorbing throughout. Of course, you have to pay attention, listen carefully, and follow Corita's one-time advice: "When looking at a film, don't blink." But do take breaks as needed. That's the beauty of video viewing, that you can do so.

--Bill Joyner

About "Religious" Art

While viewing the quite amazing movie Jesus of Montreal lately, I was remembering some other films with specifically religious themes. My favorites among such would include Simon of the Desert, Marjoe, Leap of Faith, The Mission, Brother Sun Sister Moon and, of course, the short but exquisite Parable.

Corita Kent, when she was a nun, used to sneak into "forbidden" films with another sister, sit in the back row and slip out before they ended. Perhaps this is what caused her comment later on that "any film about life is a religious motion picture." She became very convinced that the distinction between "religious art" and art in general was bogus and unnecessary. Even the separation of art from ordinary life struck her as being wrong-headed. She loved to quote the Balinese saying that "We have no art, we do everything as well as we can."

Co-producer Mickey Myers directed me to the source of the excellent PBS video film Primary Colors; The Story of Corita, as given below. I heartily recommend it!

--Bill Joyner

PRIMARY COLORS
Narrated by Eva Marie Saint. Primary Colors tells the story of artist Corita Kent, political activist, creator of the LOVE postage stamp and The Boston Gas Company rainbow; and a nun who left the convent at the age of fifty to find God -- and herself.
60 min. color
Direct Cinema Limited
P.O. Box 1003
Santa Monica, CA 90410
Phone (800) 525-0000 - (310) 636-8200 - (M-F 8-6 PST)

Nicholas
Nicholas Charts - A Proud Supporter of The Seed Catalog

Set a steady course toward the real true you, be exactly who you are -- no one else! 
And be not diminished by the presence or the absence of any other.

--Bill Joyner

 

The Seed Catalog
William T. Joyner, Editor
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