Daily Archives: March 13, 2019
hese streets are now well walked.
I know their spotted concrete patches,
Lightning cracks, tufts of wayward sprouting weeds,
Broken trees with jagged boughs, blackboned fingers
Shielding curtained windowed walls,
Corridors of cheesebox houses neatly laid
On squares of grass deployed like plastic rug.
Nets of sparrows fling across the open spaces.
A mower chews and spits a useless crop.
Preferable to inner city honeycomb,
But eaten by the same tessellation.
How does one escape this labyrinth?
The string is broken, the crumbs are all consumed.
I spiral inwards to the beast.
Robert Muller, whose birth anniversary we mark on 11 March, devoted his life to the ideals of the United Nations, working both within the organization in which he became Assistant Secretary-General and in his talks and activities with many associations and conferences. As he wrote, his guideline was the pledge which all U.N. Secretariat members must sign when joining: “ I, Robert Muller, solemnly swear to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience the functions entrusted to me as an international civil servant of the United Nations, to discharge these functions and to regulate my conduct with the interests of the United Nations only in view, and not to seek or accept instructions in regard to the performance of my duties from any government or other authority external to the organization.”
Muller joined the United Nations in 1948 with a doctorate in economics. Most of his U.N. work was related to socio-economic development in the States born with the end of Western European colonialism. As he wrote, “The human adventure on earth is taking world-wide proportions. We must be bracing ourselves for the staggering problems that lie ahead, and it is fortunate that we possess world-wide instruments at the precise moment of history and evolution when the human species enters its global age. Humanity is equipping itself slowly but surely with collective analytical tools, world-wide warning systems, and a network of feedbacks and monitoring. In other words – a kind of brain and nervous system… The United Nations has become a kind of incipient brain for the human species as a whole. It has taken stock of our planetary home and of our species, so that now we have a good inventory of our present as well as valuable appraisals of our potential futures… If something begins to go wrong on the global level, the United Nations can give a warning.”.
Robert Muller was particularly active in the preparation and follow up of a series of stocktaking U.N. conferences held especially in the 1970s:
1) World Conference on the Environment – Stockholm – 1972
2) World Food Conference – Rome -1974
3) World Conference on Population – Bucharest -1974
4) World Conference on Women – Mexico City – 1975
5) World Conference on Employment and Basic Needs – Geneva -1976
6) World Conference on Human Settlements – Vancouver – 1976
7) World Water Conference – Mar del Blata -1977
8) World Conference on Desertification – Nairobi – 1977
9) World Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries – Buenos Aires – 1978
10) World Conference on Land Reform – Rome – 1979
11) World Conference on Science and Technology – Vienna -1979
The 1970 Decade ended with the International Year of the Child. The Decade had also seen from 1974 to 1981 the World Conference on the Law of the Sea.
For more HERE!
There is a stone tower. The tower sits upon a cliff facing toward the constant sea. The musical ebb and flow of ocean water resounds through the tower chambers.
The tower is home to a holy man. Bent with age and solitude, the elder lives out his days in prayer and study. His longing is to know the perfection of all things.
As evening approaches, the holy man ascends the stairwell. He takes his place at the tower’s highest seaward window. Here he stands in silence, watching the cosmic splendor of the setting sun.
There is a river. Along the river banks grow rows of apple trees. When the trees reach fullness in the fruiting season, heavy branches hang low over the banks. Abundances of apples reflect on the currents of the river waters.
This is the river that only a season before swirled apple blossoms. River nymphs swim in these waters. Their silken hair flows out to length of their slender bodies, as they playfully flirt with fishermen and tease curious school children.
Twice a day, in the long heat of summer, a breeze blows the fragrance of apples along the river corridor—full length to the constant sea; there to mingle with salty tidal spray breaking rhythmically against mossy rocks far below the cliff of the old stone tower.
A path emerging from the forest follows the river’s course. Magnificent horses pass daily along this way carrying their riders back and forth—the vigorous pride of handsome youths.
These elements are all of one piece, adding to the grace of the Land of River Apples.
There is a beautiful maiden in this place. Guardedly it is rumored she is descended from kings and queens. That is a secret but seldom spoken aloud. The beauty’s ancestry cannot be guessed from her condition. The hidden princess lives humbly as a shepherdess, tenderly tending to yearlings and spring lambs.
Storm clouds break over the land. With tempest pours in a horde of dark lords, spreading terror and tyranny. Forest dryads and wild creatures alike flee from marauding armies; farmers watch their crops failing in the fields. Specters haunt rustic villages and dreadful screams disrupt the quiet of night. People are made homeless; many become hopeless, and people go hungry.
Daily bands ride out from the stronghold of the dark lords, searching for the hidden princess. To capture and bring her back alive, to be wed to their chief. Or to return her dead, a blood sacrifice to their warlike idol.
Each night, his eyes heavy while a fire burns in his head, the holy man studies the stars. Each dawn he peruses venerable scrolls. Sacred among the parchments is the Scroll of Prophecy. Here the elder, using a crooked finger to trace the carefully inscribed words, reads in hushed voice, “When powers of Earth rise to surface in living forms and warriors of the sun descend, our secret princess will be returned to her ancestral throne. In her love-reign peace and light will prevail. People will once more live in happiness. Liberty will be restored to the Land of River Apples.”
Check David Sparenberg’s NEW BOOK
THE GREEN TROUBADOUR A Source Book of Performance Ecosophy
is online now and you can download for FREE HERE!
David Sparenberg has also 2 more Books in the Ovi Bookshelves,
“Life in the Age of Extinctions volume 2 – Threshold”
Download for FREE HERE!
The big change in the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies is that you now have to pay tuition fees. Part of the Kyung Hee University system, the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies (GIP) is a graduate school in rural South Korea, near Seoul, which focuses on Peace Studies, with majors mainly revolving around international relations, security and military studies.
The concept of the GIP is the fall semester goes from the end of August to the end of December and the Spring semester goes from the end of February to the end of June. All classes are taught in English, professors are mainly elderly Korean professors. During weekdays during the semester, you wake up at 6:45 AM to the sound of music playing (dorm life is provided for free) and you go to a meditation hall. Someone gets designated honor of the day and has to give a speech. You then go to the gym to exercise and run a few laps, before you move to the dormitory and are assigned a cleaning section. You then wash your hands (or take a shower) and move to the cafeteria for breakfast. You then either have free time, or have to take classes. You can take up to four classes a semester.
For the rest I will speak from general and personal experience. I attended GIP between Spring 2006 and Fall 2007, and things have changed a little bit. Back in the day there were around 35 students at any given moment, around 10 of whom were non-Koreans. Today there are a little more than a dozen students, and I believe only one is non-Korean. Nationalities were diverse, mostly people from Central Asia (Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan) and East Asia (Japan, China, Taiwan) along with a few Europeans (Germans and Belgians) and South Americans (Brazil and Chile) and of course quite a few Americans and Canadians.
Students tended to be around 30 years old (the new wave seems to be a lot younger) with ages going from 37 to 21. Most foreign students had colorful backgrounds and had lived in several countries before coming to Korea; most did their studies in Europe or the United States. Korean students tended to be from the elite SKY universities (Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University) and few Koreans had lived abroad, although many had done a semester or two abroad. Korean students went anywhere from the Gangnam bourgeoisie to students who came from remote rural areas.
GIP being located in a remote rural village called Jinjeop-eup, near the city of Namyangju, there used to be only one bus that started at 6 AM and ended around 7 or 8 PM. That meant either paying hard cash for a taxi or being driven to the nearest city for parties, if you need to visit the doctor at night, or for emergencies. Back then there was a grocery store that opened until around 11 PM, but I believe there must be a 24 hour grocery store today. Last time I visited in 2012, there were buildings being built near the area, and a couple of busses that ran until 10 PM.
For more HERE!
I used to think that mystery
Hung somewhere out among the stars
Like silver bells and mirror balls
On the celestial Christmas tree.
But understanding changed my views.
To know how much you know reveals
That what is known is not too much,
And this is not too happy news.
So mystery crept here from night.
It rolled like mist up from the dusk
To blur and smear the sharp and clear,
Enticing with a subtle fright.
It did not hold out in the stars
But moved in close at breakfast time
To stare across the coffee pot
With one foot here and one on Mars.
Here its one-toothed finger points
To objects, thoughts, things solid, bright.
Sharp edges fuzz, ideas fall flat.
Frozen, I sit, world out of joint.
Yellow Eyes surveys my house
Where I have lived quite rigidly.
He turned construction into cheese
Transforming God to Mickey Mouse.
Now I play cards with Yellow Eyes.
The coffee pot has gone quite cold.
I sometimes, even, win a hand
To his chagrin and my surprise.
The sun was red as blood. It loomed through the haze of a warm summer morning, climbing slowly up behind the mountain. It was nothing unusual or never seen before, but this time it looked somehow allegorical. Like a bloody stamp on the sky above the city.
People didn’t notice. Quiet and sleepy, driving with the early morning bus; the lucky ones who still had somewhere to go. There is no crowd. There are no more factories working and there are no sirens to mark the beginning at 6 and the end at 2. You couldn’t breathe from the crammed bodies before. These remains of the past, were only a heavy reminder of the deadness and downfall.
It is obvious which social class they do belong to. Exhausted, rough men, workers at various business owners, who drain their strength like leeches – no matter of the weather; security guards in uniform, who are carrying their head in a danger for a miserable salary while their bosses resting in their villas and on the yachts; women with dark patches around their eyes, cashiers in supermarkets or maids, torn between heartless tycoons and family, without Sundays and holidays, with broken spirits and with a frozen professional smile; a nurse, a bit more sophisticated than the rest of this everyday society.
And school kids.
A strange generation, lost in the madness of this imposed time, hopeless and inserted too early into the millstone that relentlessly grinds everything. Α generation without ideals, the worshipers of false values and wrong people. The youth, who think that drinking at the on weekend is the heights of entertainment. If you are not at the place where cheap folk music blares, then you’re “out”. Their socialising boils down to competing who will get a better selfie or who will insult somebody on social-media. Their communication is reduced to typing and …emoji. They dream of pushing into the “golden youth”, a social layer which their own fathers deleted long ago all the right values with their greed, their corruption and their imposing money as their deity. Why the effort and the education when you can live better as a thief or a rascal… Dirty money buys happiness and erases the boundaries of morality. Honest work creates numbers.
Humans became numbers. The sacrificial sheep.
And the numbers end up as unemployed. As part of statistics. The part of the stagnant swamp that spreads around, swallowing hopeless and numb sheep. The swamp has become commonplace, where you walk –your head down, disempowered and humiliated. Fear killed attitudes and pride. The fear of hungry mouths and of the old parents you care. You just bend to the ground and crawl through the mud searching for discarded crumbs.
Where have all the ideals gone? Where have all the dreams gone? Where has the human being gone?
If ever existed…
Or was he always just a number, a tiny grain of sand in the desert, lost in the crowd, with occasional take-offs, trying to break away from planned destiny and ending even deeper in the dust?
She was sitting, staring at the redness in the sky, dissecting her own wasted life. All the dreams and aspirations have disappeared a long time ago. They were not even expected to succeed. Her fate was determined by birth in a small traditional environment. When you are in such an environment, born as a woman, you cannot nag, you just bend your head to the demands of the others. You cannot have your own wishes. If you rebel, punishment follows. And you don’t want scars on your face. You don’t realise that the scars that remain on your soul are much deeper.
Growing up was a painful experience, with deep-set fear in her head. The fear which paralyses and keeps in the same place, in a cage with a myriad of enforced rules. She wanted to escape. She wanted a life without grids.
The chains in her head were stronger.
She turned into a plant that breathes, works, eats and sleeps, and now her fate inflicts the final blow.
The last morning, marked by the bloody stamp on the east; the last journey and she’ll become a statistical number. The only thing that still makes her feel that her life has a higher purpose far from those imposed by birth, will be gone. One seat on the bus will stay empty and probably no one will notice.
The door of the only place, where she could laugh and enjoy the company of others like her, who were able to turn their own misery into black humour, will close today. Collective suicide. That’s how they self-sarcastically named themselves, aware of decay, and powerless to change anything. She spent with them more than half of her life. They knew her better than her own family, which didn’t care for her traumas and discontent.
– Why don’t you leave? – They asked her many times.
As if people like her have somewhere to go in this time of hopelessness and non-existent opportunities. After all, she had more years behind her than in front of her, her body was exhausted and her mind was empty. Hope for change was gone, killed by her fear and by the sense of guilt and responsibility to everyone, except to herself. Reconciled with her stagnant life, she walked on the same path.
Even now, when the path is collapsing, opening a gap, which inexorably devours the weak people like her, and while she’s going through the decay of her own life, aware of all mistakes, while her brain screams that she must jump and move away from the deadly abyss, she’s just sitting, numbed, driving toward the end.
The people like her don’t go anywhere. They slowly sink into their swamps, enslaved by their own chains. They remain in the same place, accepting their fate, staring at the light of the bloody stamp that pours slowly over the roofs.