May 1, 2000
I doubt if I could be either reasonable or rational on the subject. I may have finally managed a kind of distancing from the symbology as well as visceral shreddings of Vietnam and even realized a kind of peace recognizing my utter naivete in the face of what seems to govern the thinking and practices of those occupying or striving to occupy the catbird seats of power.
Both wisdom and compassion remain elusive, just beyond grasp-- but, at least, now available. I have a degree of empathy with the drowned voices screaming noiselessly following every convolution named "war." I understand thoroughly that a tree falling in a forest is unheard by those not present. I can avoid attempts to provide that experience for those incapable of having that experience.
Revisiting Vietnam is a powerful and painful thought, provoking the monsters of convoluted complexity The horrors of that monstrous mess lurk still and I was never there in physical sense only in a distributed and derived sense -- which is hard to explain beyond identifying a role in weapons effectiveness analysis.
What sobers me today is that the barbaric excesses which thoroughly revolted my naive self have been so vastly exceeded on a constantly escalating and accelerating scale. What has been learned by the authorities, shall we say, is that obfuscation is an essential component of war -- which any good philosopher, Chinese or otherwise, would acknowledge.
So, I quietly applaud the demonstrators taking on the global economic forces which, other than minor military horrors in places like Colombia, Peru, et al, provide the current battlefields offering experiences in tear gas, mace, pepper spray, batons, riot gear and other toys so joyfully wielded by the sons (and now daughters) of those from the Vietnam era.
Bob Dylan is no longer wailing "When will they ever learn." All the "theys" constantly prove that learning alternatives is not a part of the human condition in terms of oppressing others. Learning, if any, seems concentrated in exceeding yesterday's excesses with ever increasing barbarity, more rampant greed and blatant willingness to let the thems of the world eat tomorrow's cake.
And, on the brighter side, there may be beacons available for those who choose no longer to carry boulders up pyramids. That choice need not be a mass-focused selection of alternatives or even a shouted one.
Quietly and calmly, find your own spots to roost, Shut off the clamors, drop the glamours and be a beacon. Maybe some others will make similar choices and networks may expand. There remains no need for revolutions, fighting on their terms (usually a loosing game dissipating energies, funds and focus) only a choice not to play those games any longer. For which, see (among others) the works of Daniel Quinn.
There is, after all, only one way not to play a game, which is not to play. Put simply, attempting to solve problems using the tools, techniques and thoughts which create them is silly. Seeing all that as silly is quite different from seeing them as evil or wrong, etc. Focus on self and locality, finding a place you choose as a basis for the changes felt needed.
Find and use local resources worked by local people locally primarily for local use in ways which foster community and generate economic surpluses for local reinvestment. Expand the local farmers' markets into emporia. Actions which, made effective, are the ultimate statement countering globalization.
Sounds like the formulas long used by indigenous peoples throughout the planet. Seems, however, that nothing more outrages the patriarchs, globalists and militarists and tempts them to loose the dogs of war with ever increasing subtleties of horror within ever greater management of information.
Stay under the radar, therefore.
And, then, there is always the prospect of Dubya to recall echoes of Dylan wailing.
Onward. . . .
Vietnam: A Retrospective
Introduction - by Gilles d'Aymery
Prism And Touchstone - by Rick Rozoff
The Road to Wisdom - by Aleksandra Priestfield
Through the Eyes of a Child - by Jan Baughman
The Trauma of Coming Home - by Doug Baughman
Reflections on the War in Vietnam - by Mac Lawrence
Making Sense out of Senselessness - by Eileen Rinde
An Uneasy Peace - by Margaret Wyles
Myths and Reality - by Antony Black
Conclusion - by Gilles d'Aymery