|male rose-breasted grosbeak contemplating feeders|
Photo by J. Harrington
Full disclosure: for some time now I've been working on lowering my expectations as a way to reduce stress and frustrations and increase happiness, but, I've been failing to distinguish between lowered expectations and no expectations. To the extent we avoid judgement of good or bad, right or wrong, we can expect to see things just as they are, you know "it is what it is."
I raise these points today because I've been getting increasingly judgmental and negative about the process and the product being followed and produced by the Minnesota legislature. That doesn't affect what the legislature does, it only affects my [in]digestion and satisfaction with a number of other things in life. I'm convinced we need better ways to do politics and to govern ourselves. The system we have is currently producing too many losers and too few winners. We are, I believe, smart enough to producing many more win-win approaches. National Public Radio has an interesting series that I want to catch up on. the recent episode, "What It's Like To Live In A Small, Rural, Politically Divided Town," caught my eye in particular because the urban-rural divide has been one of the major themes used to explain last November's election results.
Bear with me for a minute on this, please. Know that I am, and have been for a long time, a Star Wars fan. I've recently started to read about Luke's perception that "I only know one truth: It's time for the Jedi to end." I think it may be time for governance in this country, as we've come to practice it, to end. Back to NPR's Our Land series. We are a nation that is powerful, diverse, unequal and increasingly devouring its young and its future. We are in the midst of a revolution where we live. I believe that much of the dissension and turmoil we're going through is because the inevitability of change is opposed by those who fear they will lose what's valuable to them. That's win-lose governance, perhaps brought to us by our own Jedi knights, the Founding Fathers. We need to create conversations to bring their founding ideas into a world they couldn't have envisioned technologically, but inhabited by the same basic humans they were.
[UPDATE: David Schultz has a recent column in MinnPost that helped trigger the preceding.]
By Gary Snyder
One afternoon the last week in AprilShowing Kai how to throw a hatchetOne-half turn and it sticks in a stump.He recalls the hatchet-headWithout a handle, in the shopAnd go gets it, and wants it for his own.A broken-off axe handle behind the doorIs long enough for a hatchet,We cut it to length and take itWith the hatchet headAnd working hatchet, to the wood block.There I begin to shape the old handleWith the hatchet, and the phraseFirst learned from Ezra PoundRings in my ears!"When making an axe handlethe pattern is not far off."And I say this to Kai"Look: We'll shape the handleBy checking the handleOf the axe we cut with—"And he sees. And I hear it again:It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth centuryA.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in thePreface: "In making the handleOf an axeBy cutting wood with an axeThe model is indeed near at hand."My teacher Shih-hsiang ChenTranslated that and taught it years agoAnd I see: Pound was an axe,Chen was an axe, I am an axeAnd my son a handle, soonTo be shaping again, modelAnd tool, craft of culture,How we go on.
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