Friday, January 21, 2011

THE SLABS--AN AMERICAN PHENOMENON--PART 4 DRAMA

DRAMA IS THE INTERPLAY OF FORCES----- DRAMA--- AND NOT LOVE--- IS WHAT THE UNIVERSE IS ABOUT. Ancient Hindus were the first to intuit this---weaving it into their religion--making it the cornerstone of their philosophy. (The Bagavad Gita) In summary, their notion is this: Unchanging ETERNITY---(spirit)---yearning to escape its tedium---yearning for SURPRISE---(changedevelopmentcomplexityevolutiondestructionrenewalfeeling) DESCENDS into timeenergymatter---for the sheer JOY of the adventure. ONLY THE HINDUS---consequently----have a sensible answer to the question: why is there evil in the world? They say: TO THICKEN THE PLOT!!

I LOVE DRAMA----swim in it as artfully as I can---stir it up often---I'm famous in my tribe for stirring drama at the campfire---making enemies and admirers---and I relish both. If I am late to a campfire I will often be summoned to "get things going."

THUS I LOVE THE SLABS---come look with me at the kaleidoscopic drama unfolding here.
SALVATION MOUNTAIN---a speck of religious art--in a vast desert. The fruit of a simple, obsessed mind and determined will---about 15 years of daily work---Here is SPECTACLE --- created in an unspectacular setting. The drama ?-----A powerful will lifting a weak mind to glory. Shopenhauer and Nietzsche are vindicated---WILL IS more fundamental than reason!!
And here's colorful evidence.
Now I will pick up some loose ends of my story----The 5 experiments my tribe chose to run----during our visit. What you are seeing is a moment from our SPOOKY WALK SING SING-----a bunch of bold, brazen singers meandering into the dark scary bushes and backlands of the Slabs on a moonless night to SERENADE the mavericks in their holes and dens. Bagpipe Bob accompanied us with the Unforgetable whine of his instrument. To say they were stunned is understatement----Rousing from their beds and campfires---shaking their dusty heads in disbelief---lighting our group with flashlights---THEN SUDDENLY "getting it" their hearts swelled up and they joined us in song and cheered mightily when we finished. Bob---loving drama perhaps as much as I do---finished each stop playing an irresistable irish jig---then we all danced---and some of the denizens too---what great fun---and DRAMA--late night singing and jigging in the Spooky Zone.
This is one terrific guy---You've seen him in full dress on a previous blog entry. A much loved member of our tribe.
A WIKI--TREE DECORATION. We all went to our rigs and came back with something to decorate our "tree". (creosote bush). Our 3 other experiments included: A STAR WHEEL--- On a chilly night we all lay in a big wheel formation--bundled up and on tarps---and watched the heavens together--for a long time. (a soothing, healing, bonding experience) Another experiment was to begin each assembly with a joke told by a different member each time.
The 5th experiment was to dip into the minds of some Slab characters in Q&A sessions I was able to arrange. You'll see!
Another dramatic loose end to wrap up. Remember the guy in the previous entry buying a goat and having it killed and skinned? Here's what he wanted the skin for. He wanted a deep sounding drum. Was still stretching and tying when I came back to check on his progress. What struck me was his stiff pose. I'm sure it means something but can't put my finger on it. Anyway, the cruel unfeeling slaughter of a harmless goat reminded me of witnessing my first and only bullfight. I asked a nearby Mexican if the cruelty troubled him. He "explained" with the enthusiastic confidence only religious people have---"Oh no! This is not cruelty! You see---"ANIMALS DON'T HAVE SOULS".
Can you see this plane? It's the Osprey----the multi- billion dollar--vertical take off and landing--troop carrier of such controversy. Testing continues over the Slabs and nearby gunnery range.
Better than a helicopter because it flies much faster--when its props are turned forward---like this..
And back to slab drama---Two giant abandoned water tanks (17 ft high--100 ft in diameter) luring artists to express themselves. Dragons, Dinosaurs Teriodactles etc ----dramatic enough by themselves---The drama here is INVITING SURFACES linking up with artistic minds.
The second tank---its invitational space filled to overflowing with sexual explicitness. I know the artist---and these drawings are faithful renderings of what's in his head. So sexually saturated are these walls that I announced to my group that the interior of the tank had become a SENSUAL VORTEX and that all who enter would be dynamically reborn erotically----women would be revirginized and men re vigorized. And so we arranged to enter the tank and conduct a ritual. Here's the full story as recorded by my ex in her excellent blog:
http://lifeontheopenroad.blogspot.com/2008/12/you-want-to-go-where-and-do-what.html
The joiners---those preferring to cluster camp with others make up about half the Slab population and occupy about half the available land-----and oddly enough---the cluster of clusters are clustered together---three clubs within a stone's throw of each other. The big time drama of this club was that it's members recently split over the issue of rules versus no rules---order versus anarchy. The no rules people won and most "order" people left. Chaos quickly reigned as petty disputes with no "system" to resolve them spiraled into vengence and violence.

I interviewed an "order" refugee who was enjoying the drama of anarchist getting what they wished for. She bided her time---confident that order would return.
One of 5 clustered trailers composing the LOW (loners on Wheels) compound. I don't have the picts to do justice to this group---by far the largest---most stable of the clustered folks. They have a decades long history--an evolved constitution--traditions---and an impressive infrastructure of kitchen, meeting /eating area, theater room, library, card room, dance area, etc. These are older folks, happy to be in a group of their peers. Their drama, surprisingly, is their success. Having solved survival and "belonging" issues they seem bored to me---lacking challenge---lacking charismatic, "make things happen" personalities. Super secure people often resort to petty bickering for a sense of aliveness.
That sign says "TRAVEL'N PALS. Its drama is that it originated in protest to the LOW's ironclad policy of no couple-ism. So those wishing to enjoy couple-hood migrated just across the street and began a new tribe.
Occupying the "individuals" half of the slabs are about 50 characters like Container Charley--whom you've met before. They find groups oppressive--so they define a territory--take possession and do their thing. Charley is building a museum. Other individuals sell things (solar mike---solar panels)----start a church---read and write---build something--or stay drunk.
One of Charlie's displays.
Another of Charlie's exhibits--not the lady--that's my Ex--the bus--quarter buried---has an interesting story---not unlike--Ken Kesey's merry pranksters trip---the traveling group at odyssey's end---wanted a dramatic resting place for it---- So they quarter-buried it here.
Side view of the Stage Door--A makeshift, homemade Nightclub created by a Slabber. I've been here when 50 or more denizens and visitors were entertained by would-be country stars. The cast off couches and chairs were sometimes coopted by local dogs. Great Drama!
Front view. Keep in mind that the two stages--nightclubs--this and the RANGE are not profit driven enterprises--but a wish to create DRAMA----"Happening".
Here is the drama of lost love---about 50 animals are buried here---most with tender messages posted. One bears a professional tombstone.
Profit motive here---the seller designed and sells these t-shirts for $15. The shirt says: THE LAST FREE PLACE-- SLABS--- SURVIVOR.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: The overall drama of the slabs is to camp and live without paying rent while enjoying the proximity of others---- To beat the capitalistic system---to occupy and claim land without paying for it. A sub-drama is to preserve privacy and individualism while still enjoying connection with others. Those who choose to cluster "enjoy" the additional drama of "making it" with a group. Those who choose to lead their group "enjoy" the drama of leadership.
Ultimately, everyone's DRAMA is to keep NOTHINGNESS at bay---to push it away--in any of a thousand ways.




















































































7 comments:

Wayne (Wirs) said...

Had to laugh again, my friend. I see your opening lines today are "diametrically opposed" to mine today:

Yours: "DRAMA--- AND NOT LOVE--- IS WHAT THE UNIVERSE IS ABOUT."

Mine: "Why All You Are Is Love"

Funny how great minds think in opposites! (and in synch) :)

Rustedgranny said...

Love is Drama!

Dixxe said...

So much to see there! Amazing how eccentric people can become if left to their own devices...and who says animals or people have souls? No one knows the truth of that...but IF there is such a thing as a soul animals got one way bigger than humans-
;o)

Randy said...

Ah Wayne---perhaps destiny has crossed our paths with something in mind. I always enjoy your blog and super picts. Your philosophy is very clear---erode away ego and wake up to LIVING. We differ in where we should seek personal guidance---you and most of the religious world HOPES that God somehow sends messages to us. I think we are on our own and that it may well be the way the creator designed things. Life's drama loses much of its punch (drama) if God merely seeks obedience. I think (if he exists at all) He wants CREATIVE RESPONSIVENESS. (a vastly more interesting challenge)I think the most courageous life is to live as though there is no divine intervention---to live as though God doesn't exist.

NIP said...

Randy, for someone who usually takes the time to talk to the kind of people the rest of the world would prefer to think don't exist, I agree -- this is beneath you.

Your posts about the slabs make you look like just another one of the fratboys and thrill seekers who go there to stare at the freak show, then get all butthurt when they don't get the welcome they think they deserve.

john patrick said...

Thanks, Randy. Very interesting place...

Anonymous said...

Why the rudeness toward Randy? He is exploring and reporting on things many of us can't do. I could care less if it's above him or below him. Who cares? And who are you [NIP] to decide what others want to read about?

Thanks, Randy. Look forward to the next entry...

Jack