Friday, June 04, 2010

WHY WE NEED SIN CITIES


I GENERATED A MISSION FOR MYSELF: Go to Dodge City Kansas--grip the town firmly--and not let go till it tells me something I don't know.


Special places---if you let them have their way with you---enrich--in unpredictable ways. (Custer battlefield, Trinity site, Sedona AZ, Mt Shasta Ca, Chichenitza Mexico)


Dodge City, Kansas---formost sin city of its day. I'll go there and stay till it "speaks to me". Does the flavor of it's wicked past still linger? (I once went to the most famous brothel in America--Mustang Ranch, Nv and let a beautiful prostitute have her way with me----and Oh yes!--that flavor lingers mentally) So off I go to Dodge City---learning from the internet some of the basics of the drama: Texas cattle driven north by cowboys to the Kansas railhead to supply protein for hungry easterners. What I didn't know was that the Kansas Legislature inadvertantly created this sin city by drawing a quarentine line (feared Texas tick fever) West of Witchita----which funneled the trail drives to Dodge City---CONCENTRATING in one spot--thousands of raucus, entertainment hungry cowboys, with money to spend AND --- dark-side entrepeneurs ready to provide it.
I love to drive across the prairie===was told that the horizon is 14 miles away. Hundreds of these dot the prairie---made a promise to myself to go get the windmill story soon.
A stunner! A real stunner! Someone out in the middle of nowhere posts this sign--boldly declaring to the world-- and all their neighbors-- their conviction on this hot subject. I feel chicken by comparison---hesitating to put the EVOLVE fish-with-feet symbol on my trailer---fearful that some crazy creationist will smash my window or something. I'll know I'm really brave when I stop hedging and tell the world I am an atheist.
Fire of a different sort sweeping across the grasslands. Watched a guy in a truck drive across the field leaving this blazing trail behind.
Got here late Sunday evening--will settle somewhere convenient and start my inquiry in the morning.
Settled into this out of the way lot for the night. Do you wonder why I would camp in such a place? TO SAVE $20--or more. Every month I do this I'm $600 dollars ahead---and really, I enjoy the privacy boondocking affords. ( As I settle into a place such as this, I prepare a plausible "story" to explain my presence here--- should anyone ask. They rarely do-- but it flexes my imagination to concoct one. If I think the asker can handle the truth--I go with that. If my readers have not surmised yet--I tell you now that mine is the ethics of CONSEQUENCIALISM.

(Perhaps I'll elaborate sometimes)
Monday morning and I'm ready for Wyatt Earp and his famous buntline special pistol. Seems to be whirling into action.
His history in a nutshell . Placques like this are scattered around town.
The Kodger King and Matt Dillon---the City's Marshall of fiction. I asked about the actor James

Arness and was told that he still lives==is in his nineties.
Boot Hill --tourist trap--I parked here--while I walked the town asking it to tell me something I didn't know.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: We WANT the excitements of sin-cities ---- they occupy and amuse us. (some of us)
We NEED sin cities as ETHICAL PATHFINDERS --testing the boundaries of what is acceptable---trailblazing new frontiers----often normalizing what was previously scandalous. They help society feel its way forward, ethically----bare bosom dancers in Vegas for example---and legalized prostitution also. Now and again they lead into dangerous and destructive directions---opium dens and gay sex bath houses in San Francisco. So we (our politicans) outlaw them. Slowly society feels its way forward---ever weaving a FABRIC OF AGREEMENT.
RANDY RANTS: Only religious people pretend to know absolutely, what is right and wrong. They EXTRAPOLATE their ethics from "HOLY BOOKS" and try their damnest to impose them on all of us. Their efforts are a cruel and bloodstained story.
RELIGION INHIBITS ETHICAL EVOLUTION----time and again we must DRAG the religious into society's advancing ethics---our new fabric of agreement-(e.g. evolution--Slavery--women's rights--civil rights--gay rights--children's rights, abortion rights)
CONCLUSION: At the psychological level we are children till we have tasted forbidden fruit. A lifetime in Eden would be intolerably boring.
Even Christians sometimes say that Adams fall was ultimately a "fall forward."









8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I enjoy reading about your travels, and as a former Kansan, point out a couple of things you might be interested in after you pass through Dodge.

The sign you posted looks like it might be one (of many!) on the outskirts of Mullinville. If not, you may want to travel south and east of Dodge on highway 400. As you come up to Mullinville, on the north side of the highway, is a spectacular array of signage and kinetic sculpture from a very opinionated codger. I once tried to stop and visit (because I agreed with many of his views), but he just growled at me and told me to buzz off. (I was pleased.) There was almost a full mile section filled with his sculptures last time I was there. It's worth a look.

While there is a sturdiness to the flat plains of western Kansas, the Flint Hills and the Verdigris River Valley in the east end of the State are filled with sensuous rolling hills. A much softer side to the harsh landscape of the west.

And be sure to enjoy the sunsets. One of the only things I truly miss now that I've moved away.

Wayne (Wirs) said...

Excellent post Randy. Confession is good for the Soul (not that you believe in a Soul(?)). :)

One of the things that has helped me past the "my way is better than their way" attitude is realizing that evolution requires problems, disagreement, and conflict. If things were perfect, why would we evolve and grow? From the Tao Te Ching: "Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness."

Atheist? Having met you (though maybe this is only projection on my part), I suspect that you aren't comfortable with that classification because of your love of Nature, Art, and Poetry. How could a hard-core atheist explain why there is such an attraction to such useless and senseless things? What is poetry or art but an expression of the inexpressible Divine/Beloved/Life Force within all things?

I'll get off my stump now. Thanks for the post.

Wayne (Wirs) said...

PS: On the evolution of consciousness/society (which seems to be the thesis of your post), you may be interested in the work of Spiral Dynamics (well summed up here).

Randy said...

Thanks Anonymous for your attention and for the suggestion on the kinetic artwork outside Mullinville. I went there and will probably show some of the old guy's work in my next blog. I'm curious why you say you were pleased when he told you to buzz off. My emotional makeup is distressingly fragile about rejections--I would have been stung for hours. Tell me how you mentally process such incidents so that they (seemingly) roll off your back.

Dixxe's Doodles said...

Ahh Dear Randy...you are stepping on ground Ive alreayd visited in more ways than one...at one time in my confusion of what its all about I proclaimed there is NO GOD...I was wrong...there are Gods all over the place!!! Dont let the walking brainwashed cloud your perception of the joy of having a spiritual life- (energy can neither be created or destroyed it is infinite...it is what we are made of-ie: spirit=energy)it does not revolve or evolve around a singular devine being, it evolves and revolves around the devinity found in each of us!!
May as well Go forward in PEACE and dont stress out about what He or She believes- rejoice in your own enlightenment and allow others the same---going against the grain gives one splinters usually in the rear--
Live in the now dont frett the future and dont waste time looking back-go forward with your OWN belief system neatly tucked in the recesses of your mind.
I agree 100% if you proclaim your ideas on your van it probably will be vandalized & trashed...in order to take something away you must fill it with something else to keep balance!!
NOW back to KANSAS..I saw side by side last week as I traversed the heartland along the I-70 heading East --billboards, EACH procaliminmg a belief system....some procaliming life begins at conception and one read "NO GOD- NO PEACE, KNOW GOD- KNOW PEACE"..the very next billboard said "XXX ADULT SUPERSTORE this EXIT-TOYS TOYS TOYS"...so there is plenty of everything to go around plenty of sin, plenty of religion, plenty judgements being made.
I prefer to live my life in a way that brings me the MOST happiness- to the extint that I am allowed by the boundaries of the LAW and what is important to me...
I dont like guns, I stand up for animal rights, I dont eat meat, and I dont agree with American Agriculture, I lean more Socialist, and away from Capialist...BUT when you bring these issues up you can almost see the throngs of people ready to discount you and your belief system...the voices of the many will outshout the few...
there are so many hills to die on these days..lol
NOW wanna hear something that I usually dont speak out in the open too often?
A theory that has always fascinated me (not saying this is in STONE my belief..but it has some credibility) and when I try to converse about it I get lots of eyebrows lifted and arched-- to me-- wth its no farther fetched than main stream belief/stories when comparing stories like Apples to Apples-
--it's the Alien visitors theory. Aliens came to the Earth to mine resources, they bred with the early human population that were here in order to have a class of slaves to do the hard work of mining. These alien creatures were described according to ancient books as the "fallen angels cast out of heaven"--they reportedly had relations with humans on Earth (Gensis 6:4 I dont about you but If I lived 2000 yrs ago & saw a craft coming out of the sky...I might think they were angels if I had been told such creatures existed)Nephilim
(http://www.nephilim.nl)
was the result of that union- they are written about in the book of Enoch with was left out of the BIBLE... Maybe these "fallen angels" were the creators of the landing strips, the Nazca lines, in Peru, they may have insturcted and engineered the pyramids, they may have taken the ancent Anastazi with them (they disappeared without a trace)..so many theories and yet we will never know the Exact cause and effect of anything-
WHAT is wonderful is that we all can exchange the many theories out there and be open to explore the endless possibilites only when we keep an open mind.
Safe Travels apology for the long comment!

Anonymous said...

Does the tasting of forbidden fruit with neither the thunder nor the lightening strike begins the journey? If there is no external guide how will we know where next to place our footsteps? What do we do when the world is too big and we crave solid ground? Is our only refuge to see and be seen? If so, then can even an atheist can literally be “Christ is the world?”

I enjoyed our chance encounter in the land of departure to OZ, discovering the ultimate example of “barn”ness, and the discovery of cactus on a roof. I am surprised by how much I am enjoying going back through your blogs… Thanks.

If you get a chance I would appreciate it if you can forward your pictures of my son and I that you snapped. If you are willing, I would also prize the pictures of you that you had me snap.

The tasting of forbidden fruit does lead to some painful consequences in that it becomes ever more difficult to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Auntie Em said...

Anonymous (former Kansan) here again.

On an earlier visit through Mullinville, I saw the old guy berate someone for interupting his work. Granted they probably deserved it because they were from out of state and wanting to engage the guy in a verbal debate over a sculpture about Janet Reno.

The next visit, I spent about 20 minutes outside his fence, observing a particular sculpture and trying to figure out how he got it to do what it did. When he came out close to the fence, I asked if he would ever consider having an apprentice, to which I recieved the growl and buzz off comment. I guess I was pleased that he didn't give me the dressing down I'd seen before.

I told my uncle (who lived in the same county) this. He said that if I had hung around longer, I might have been invited in and given a detailed explanation of the mechanics of the sculpture. It seems he just ignores most people.

Apparently not too many of the locals care for his artistic expressions or share his political views. But it is just so refreshing to see someone willing to speak their mind in such a creative fashion.

Randy said...

To Jacob: Thanks for your insightful comment--You certainly ask the right question. "What do we do when we crave certainty? What most people do is swallow some comforting religion and try to muddle through life temporizing the difficult situations when the doctrines suggest wildly inappropriate responses --like Catholics who really should use effective birth control but fear to. What I do is live with the uncertainty--appreciate the wonder of the world and my own life. I trust science for my cosmology (origins) as incomplete as it admittedly is---I speculate for my metaphysics--appreciating the clever guesses that are out there and tweak myself a personal view. For my ethics--I obey the laws I think are reasonable and resist the others--carefully.
I enjoyed our encounter also--send me a personal e-mail (randythepoet@yahoo.com) and I will send the shots you request. My computer died 2 days ago and I may have some difficulty transferring my photos so give me a little time.