Tuesday, July 19, 2016

NO ORDINARY CONVERSATION--SHAPING A CULTURE

GROUPS ARE A BLESSING AND A CURSE.  HOW TO GET THE BLESSING AND AVOID THE CURSE IS THE CHALLENGE BEFORE US--OUR BAND OF BOONDOCKERS.
Pictured below is one tiny (but important) aspect of the challenge: Group conversation.

Here we are, with some guest,  in the cool mountain air of Leadville, Co, (elevation 10,000 ft)
This is no ordinary conversation, however, this is more like a salon conversation. (read more if you're curious)  Basically salons are focused, intelligent conversations  for pleasure and information exchange,where one person talks at a time and addresses the whole group.

Our group has "organically" evolved into a mobile salon. I remember this session in particular as fun and hilarious:  We discussed periods in our life when we were a Jerk---and how we escaped jerkdom.
Here is another organically evolved tradition of our group:  A SOAPBOX.  Whenever one of us feels very strongly about a point--we provide this stool for them to express themselves as forcefully as they choose.  Here, Kathy is making an impassioned defense of Mexican culture,

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  HOW WONDERFUL IS ENLIGHTENED CONVERSATION.  How different from idle chatter and contentious bickering.  I am delighted with the quality of our people and our interactions. I picture our conversations as a tumble of ideas----and like rocks in a tumbler polishing each other. 
I have no grandiose notions---but I remind my readers that one focused discussion group--organized by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia (he called it his Junto) generated ideas and actions that gave America it's first fire department, street lights, lending library and the University of Pennsylvania.

EVOLVING A CULTURE:  A culture is a shared pattern of behavious and interactions.  Our intention is to "organically" evolve our culture--Just feel our way along--discussing issues as they arise. We sharply distinguish "traditions" from rules--the latter imposed--the former invented by consenus. Here are a few current traditions and some I hope are on the horizon:

We define ourselves as a mobile band of boondockers--No designated leaders--. 

Have separate rigs and money and usually travel separately---assembling at an agreed upon place.

Use electronic connectedness--phones--text--facebook--emails.

Membership by invitation

Respect privacy--rarely knock--prefer texting.

Encourage members to leave and reconnect at will.

Purpose: to enjoy and enrich our lives.

On the horizon--not yet fleshed out--is a proceedure for dealing with any tensions that might arise and an exit proceedure.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

TWO FARMERS----WHICH WAY TO THE FUTURE OF FOOD?


Meet "Little Charles" --A really smart and modern farmer in Northern Louisiana.

He farms 5000 acres of corn and soy beans.

With the aid of this super duper, electronically responsive, self driving equipment

and his strapling, equally bright son on the left. (the lady is my sister--the guy in red won the lottery 20 years ago and just amuses himself)


Now meet Tom Dixon--a retired contractor, who got "seized with the miracle of things growing."

and bought this 3 acre farm south of Santa Fe, New Mexico and started a COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE project. Dozens of his neighbors pay $25 for a share of the vegetables grown here.  Each receives a heaping basket  every two weeks. The surplus is taken to a farmers market and sold.
One interesting feature is that people are given the option to work for their share of food or be paid to work.  He hires teenagers at a fair wage.


That's my longtime friend Bushrod leading me to the tomato greenhouse.  I was complaining that I'd not tasted a delicious tomato since Mexico.  Just at that moment a hand reached me a tomato from inside the doorway.  I ate!  It was delicious.  Tom then introduced himself and explained that these were a very special hybrid species from Monsanto and each seed cost about 30 cents.

We walked the 3 acres, marveling at the variety being grown.  There were 2 ladies pulling carrots.
Notice the drip irrigation system. Water is precious here and treated with respect.

I turned to the south and was "smitten" by this magnificent tree.  Something akin to love and wonder swelled up in me.  I hope you've had a similar experience.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Bushrod is so enamored of this tiny farm, the taste and quality of the organic vegetables it produces, the intelligent use of water, the non use of pesticides or fertilizers, (uses composts)  using garden debris for chicken fodder, eggs as a by-product, Farmers market sales of the surplus etc---that he gave me a $100 to tell you about it.  He suggested that I contrast the high productivity of this tiny farm with that of my Nephew's 5000 acres--providing little or no direct food for people---except indirectly as meat.  He believes that America and the world needs to reassess how much meat we eat and what it costs the environment to produce it.

Tom Dixon and his three acre farm are an inspiration and could turn out to be a model for the future if  the environment begins to rebel against our excesses.  We all may be compelled to resurrect our "victory gardens".  I come away convinced that a small garden can feed a family.

And I caught a glimpse of the wonder of growing things that inspired this artist-of-the-earth.

I do not mean to disparage my nephew's farm.  Until the Tom Dixons' of the world persuade us to catch the grow-your-own spirit---my nephew and his kind are feeding the world--and we would starve without them.

One final thing--Tom did not seem to fear genetically modified food.  And if he doesn't--neither will I.








Monday, June 27, 2016

SOMETHING GRAND AND DEAR IS HAPPENING HERE

THE SPEARPOINT OF A LIFESTYLE REVOLUTION--Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Summer 2016
About a hundred of us

In a wide variety of vehicles

Came from far and near (one flew in from Equador)


To assemble here in the forest near Flagstaff, Arizona--At the invitation of this man--Bob Wells--writer and philosopher of http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/


to attend a RUBBER TRAMP RENDEZVOUS.

Our group the 1st BAND OF BOONDOCKERS was well represented.  Kathy makes friends with a bird.
AND THE BIG GUNS--CAME ALSO--meet Rachel Bujalski--a professional photographer--researching alternative lifestyles--see some of her work here in the National Geographic.

She was everywhere---shooting--learning.


Meet Ellis--professional Magician--the best I've ever seen.  He makes a very good living as a Busker.

I trust you will remember Laurie--co-founder with me of the Quest for Community Caravan  and featured in the movie: WITHOUT BOUNDS,  See it here.
Also my colleague CB--co founder of the 1st Band of Boondockers---here entertaining us with a hilarious joke.

One day a group of us went exploring in the nearby Lava River cave.


RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Yes I think these people are the beginners of a quiet revolution:  mostly against RENT, MORTGAGE, HOME OWNERSHIP, FIXIDITY, EXCESSIVE CONSUMERISM, DRUDGERY AND FOR FREEDOM, FRUGALITY, MOBILITY, SIMPLICITY, SELF EXPRESSION AND CONNECTION.
An estimated million of us are currently on the road.  I believe that most of us live this lifestyle to win for ourselves the opportunity to know ourselves and give our gift. (All anyone ever wanted to do was contribute)








Saturday, June 11, 2016

VISIT TO A CITY OF THE FUTURE

COME WITH ME TO THE WORKSHOP OF A GENIUS. This man's Ideas will influence the development of world culture, ecology, architecture, philosophy and YOU.

                                                            Meet Paolo Solari




He envisioned and inspired this:  The world's first ARCOLOGY
located halfway between Phownix and Flagstaff, Arizona.
We decide to go see the place.  Kathy dresses brightly in one of her many flashy gowns.

CB takes a load of us from the 1st BAND OF BOONDOCKERS.

We have dinner in their cafeteria.
Look at their exhibits--watch a film--then make an amazing discovery.


Here's one of our own: Eva.  Years ago she modeled for Paolo and there she is in a book of his drawings.  She has a titilating  story to tell about that session.  Will add it at the end of this post.
Kathy, Barb and Jo (to remember the moment)

RANDY SUMMARIZES PAOLO'S PHILOSOPHY.
1. Civilization began when humanity began to live close together behind defensive city walls.
    Density increases contact, communication, exchange of ideas, skills, products and invention.
2. A great evil of our age is URBAN SPRAWL. It is wasteful of resources--separates us--ruins the natural environment, creates an insulating CAR CULTURE.
3. We can save our environment by living densly again in beautiful, connection-stimulating ARCOLOGIES (architecture/ecology). Think Beehive cities of about 5000 people.
Here's a fair article from the NY Times about the current state of the experiment.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I support Paolo's philosophy that connection can be enriching.  It is a central point in our BAND OF BOONDOCKERS, a mobile community even less damaging to the environment and more stimulative of connection than Arcosanti. I don't think he gave enough thought to the PATTERN OF THAT ASSOCIATION---a crucial detail we hope to remedy. I am preparing a post comparing the patterns of association in various Indian Tribes and the dramatic differences they make.

EVA'S TITILATING STORY:  While visiting Arcosanti some years ago--Solari was in residence and doing charcoal drawings of (beautiful) women.  A posted notice asked for models.  Eva volunteered and sat for him. (nude)  In mid session he asked her in his charming Italian accent:  May I "keese your neeple?  She said no!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

BAND OF BOONDOCKERS--PART 3 WHEN HEROES CONNECT


 HEROES (in Joseph Campbell's writings--and here) are people  who respond to the urge to wander into the unknown--muster the will to overcome difficulties--learn from their experiences and share what they learn with others.

All my current companions are heroes in this sense.  All have courageously left the safe and familiar--engineered a comfortable mobility---dared to roll into the unknown---opened up their senses to new experiences.

AND ONE MORE THING:  THEY HAVE CONNECTED-- FOR A TIME-- WITH OTHER HEROES.

The advantages of doing this are obvious and not so obvious:
We are a comforting presence to one another.
We exchange useful information for our journey.
We inspire one another to deeper adventures.
We reap the energy bonuses of collective efforts.
We enhance our sense of ourselves as we are reflected in our interactions.
We polish our social effectiveness.

My vision of our connection is similar to the story of the Knights of the Round Table.  Worthy people gather for all the reasons listed above and eventually formulate a QUEST for themselves.  Then off they go in ones or twos or more to do the deed they have imagined.

AND THEN THEY RETURN TO US---for all the reasons listed above. We are the family of their affection and support---the springboard of their quests.

A GRAND PLAN---RIGHT?  AAhh but everyone knows that that grand plan came crashing down at last--for reasons all too human: love, sex, power, greed-etc.

TO KEEP OUR GOOD THING GOING---TO AVOID THE ROUND TABLE DISASTER--I OFFER THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS AND INSIGHTS. (I have been involved in 4 such visionary enterprises covering 20 plus years. Here's what I've learned:)

1. Humans in close association have 7 primary challenges: PRIVACY, POWER, PERFORMANCE, PROPERTY, PEACEMAKING, PERSONNEL, PURPOSE.
2 These challenges can be approached in two distinct ways:
   A. Moral solutions--try to  "ENGINEER PEOPLE" (persuade" "compel" them to behave harmoniously.
   B. Technical solutions---ENGINEER SITUATIONS so that it is nearly impossible to "do wrong."
       (example: people speeding in the trailer park where children play:  Moral approach: Post a sign           urging a safe speed.  Technical approach: install a speedbump.)
       Believe it or not--most all the challenges mentioned lend themselves to technical solutions---and        thus it is possible to  eliminate  all those vast, wasteful misunderstandings and  rancor and make-wrongs of the moral approach. ( Detailing the how of this is grist for another post)
With squabbles  based on these 7 issues whisked away, people are free to SYNERGIZE and BLOOM.
   
 IMAGINE A CULTURE OF SYNERGY AND BLOOM.
     Imagine the Beatles in their best years---synergetic--creativity in bloom.
     Imagine paying no rent.
     Imagine a life in pleasant weather.
     Imagine a band of talented people to hear your ideas.
     Imagine a spirit of YES--people willing to play your games.
     Imagine a set of friends with no desire to own you, control you, use you.  Who watch you come          and go with equal joy.

THAT IS MY VISION FOR THE BAND OF BOONDOCKERS!



Thursday, June 02, 2016

BAND OF BOONDOCKERS---part 2 guest editorial

I'M PLEASED TO SHARE A RECENT EMAIL FROM MY COLLEAGUE AND FELLOW BOONDOCKER
CB Genrich 
May 31 at 6:49 PM

I’m very enthusiastic at the prospect of forming a tiny mobile society - a band of boondockers. My vision is that our band is very similar to what anthropologists refer to as a band society. Selections (for brevity and relevance) from the Wikipedia article “Band (Anthropology)”:

[In anthropology, bands are the tiniest societies, consisting typically of 5-80 people • Until at least 40,000 years ago, probably all humans lived in bands, and most still did as recently as 11,000 years ago • Bands have no permanent single base of residence • There are no formal institutions, such as laws, police, and treaties, to resolve conflicts within and between bands • Organization is often described as "egalitarian" in the sense that there is no formalized social stratification into upper and lower classes, no formalized or hereditary leadership • ”leadership" should be thought of as informal and acquired through qualities such as personality, strength, intelligence • The band is the political, economic, and social organization that we inherited from our millions of years of evolutionary history.]


This is pretty fundamental human stuff and I believe we can benefit from returning to these roots. It's odd to think of those bands as boondockers. Yet they as we had no permanent residence and lived on the land in a way I think modern boondockers can really relate to.

The Wikipedia article also says "In effect, a band is an extended family or several related extended families." Clearly the band I'm interested in forming will not consist of an extended family in the same sense. I take liberty in the caveat "In effect".

Because it will be the family-like character that will distinguish our band from the many other groups of boondockers or RV'ers who, on the surface, appear to function similarly. Our band will emphasize lasting relationships and we will have near familial familiarity with each other. I should know the names of your children and grand children and recognize them in photographs. This character makes our band more meaningful.

I don't want to take the family analogy too far though. I'm not likely to put you in my will for example. Perhaps a better analogy would be the neighborhood-like character of the band; a mobile neighborhood of good friends.

Who's in the band will determine the quality of the band and we should be very cautious in this. I want to be in a great band made up of wonderful people who fit together well. It's not utopian. It's practical. Let me say it again: Who's in the band will determine the quality of the band. Wonderful people who fit together well can get along, make allowances, communicate, cooperate. We all know people who aren't wonderful as well as wonderful people who don't fit together well. Who's in the band will determine the quality of the band. The rest will work itself out organically.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A REAL LIVE "LUCIFER" PAYS US A VISIT

BRACE YOURSELF SWEET PEOPLE---WHAT I'M ABOUT TO SHOW YOU IS A REAL PERSON.  HE CAME DOWN TO ARIZONA-- AND LIVED WITH US FOR A FEW DAYS.

Here is a portrait of him in the 15th century

Here's our happy and unsuspecting family:  A BAND OF BOONDOCKERS:   (a travel family of friends) shown here at a pizza joint in Sedona.

BAM!!!!---Out of Nowhere this personality came into our lives--as a couchsurfing guest. That's him on the right giving lessons to CB.  His knowledge of technology and music was amazing, (is this the first time his image has been photographed?)

He went down to the river with us but would not go into the water. (was this our first clue? is fire afraid of water?)

Instead he stayed on the shore--posing here with Kathy.
He sat down and actually let me interview him---was open and reasonable--likable--even introspective.

Joined us in our regular Sundown Ceremony (we gather to appreciate sunset)
That's him--second from the left.

Our first physical clue to the  true identity of our mysterious guest was  after sunset when he suddenly got up --addressed some unseen entity---and began to dance.

OOOOOH  sweet people--You shoudda seen it.  Magnificent is too mild a word.  We all watched with open mouths and stunned minds.

But he had only begun!!  Dancing barefeet in the desert-- he whirled with the grace  of a ballerina--  the energy of a tasmanian devil.  I wondered if he was actually touching the ground.  
In the history of mankind, how many humans have ever seen Lucifer dance?
Feel free to copy this photo and show it to your children.


AND THEN---AND THEN!! HE SUITED UP-- in a fashionable jet black tailored  suit that accented his eeriely splendid body--
and astonished the whole campground by walking around playing devil tunes to our neighbors. 

SUDDENLY, HE KNELT---and played a tender love song that had this couple weeping and holding on to each other.

AAAh but friends he was just warming up for an evening  performance.  He had us take him to the local dance hot spot.  When he entered the room, a hush fell across the crowd and all eyes turned to him.  He did not know a soul in the room--(or perhaps he knew everyone) but seemingly assumed that everyone knew him.  And the band  made way for him as he simply walked on stage and began to play.  I could swear I saw sparks from his fingers as he touched the bow. He fiddled like a mad man-- blew us all away--(punch up the song: The devil went down to Georgia and you will get some sense of his style) The band  was as stunned as we were---tried to join in and jam with him.  
AND THEN HE BEGAN TO DANCE--- ALL AROUND THE STAGE AS HE PLAYED.  Imagine a fiddling leprechan dancing--it was like that--heart rousing--feel good--jig inducing music.
AND THEN HE BEGAN TO SING-- He grasp the mike with the confidence of a Sinatra and sang a song no one had ever heard.

AND THEN HE WAS OFF STAGE -LAID HIS FIDDLE DOWN -AND BEGAN DANCING WITH THE LADIES.  One of them told me this morning that dancing with him was at first like training a wild stallion--stomping and whirling---AND THEN IT WAS SUDDENLY WONDERFUL--his gyrations had awakened the mortal lady's powers of seductive dance--he instantly GOT IT---LET OUT A MOAN--and joined her in a beautiful, sexy synchronicity.  
Later, his dance with Kathy had people shouting out--GET A ROOM.

He slept that night in the back of CB's truck.  (it serves as a cozy bedroom for our couchsurfing guest)
Next day, a beautiful lady came and whisked him away.  

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  OH DEAR READERS--THIS MAN WAS SCARY--The most intense personality I've ever experienced.  He was exhilerating also---brilliant--super confident--unashamed--joyful. He slept 12 hours at a stretch.
People with this kind of charisma start religions--and wars.

Before he left, he gave me his card--said he dresses this way for formal occasions