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Judith Butler’s “The Psychic Life of Power” is very strange. “Theory” is a funny, fractured way of looking at life. The idea must be “think your way through to a completely unexpected view of what’s going on.” As Foucault, Derrida, etc did. It looks like this is going on, everyone always thought so, took it completely for granted, everyone agrees, but it’s not this at all, it never actually was, it’s that. (Though in reality it might actually be this and that, and a million other things). And I’ve noticed this too – for example, that the oppressor is actually more oppressed by the oppressive relationship than the oppressed, who, in Butler’s terms (following Hegel) becomes the actual body of the oppressor, while the oppressor gives up a body, loses a body.

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K. called last night. It was our wedding anniversary where she is, in the Solomon Islands, though not yet here (but now, August 6, it is. It is also Hiroshima Day).

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On the road almost the whole of July traveling round the country with my new book (I ought to say “our new book” since it feels like it was written in collaboration with Everyday Zen practitioners, whose insights and questions constitute my practice and understanding these days; in fact the book is dedicated to them, to you).

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Went over in the morning yesterday early, to be there when the crematorium guys arrived to take away Michael’s body, which had not yet begun to smell bad. They were very skillful and quiet and respectful, as we were all silent, weeping, hugging one another. They used a gurney with retractable wheels. It can be cranked up very high, to easily slide the body off the hospital bed (after it’s covered with plastic sheets, all carefully wrapped), which is at the same level. Then wheeled out, and the gurney slides right onto a special ramp for it in the hearse, you crank down the front wheels so the gurney slots in, then fold down the back wheels to slide it all the way in securely. So there’s no lifting, no bending, no transferring of the body at all. Big black shiny car driving slowly away, very sad. Having the body there, though lifeless, was yet comforting; now just absence.

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There’s a series of ads on the radio – one of the sponsors for the Giants’ games. Young guy is driving and thinks to stop at a convenience store (the sponsor). He reports his interior monologue as he’s deciding whether or not to stop – it has to do with, comically, “what does he really want, who is he really, what is he is thinking, what is thinking, who is thinking etc etc” and the joke is that he has such profound thoughts in relation to simply stopping at the store for a bag of chips and a coke. The ads are not all that great but the concept is profound...

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Finished finally Kenner’s “Pound Era.” Last line: “thought is a labyrinth.” It got very beautiful at the end, a quiet Pound, saying almost nothing, showing up occasionally here and there in public, age 85 (1970) white hair flying, denizen of a lost world of his own imagination. How he’d, in returning to live all those years in Rapallo, coming back to rural Europe in 1958, after he was released finally from St. E’s as incurable, in essence removed himself from the actual currents of the contemporary world, living in a romanticized past. Sad and beautiful.

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Yesterday during the evening meal a whale kept leaping up out of the water not too far out at sea. Hurling its tail violently into the air (a distinctly forked tail, not sure what kind of whale, it didn’t seem very large but hard to tell at the distance), over and over again, maybe a dozen or more times, mostly thrashing the surface of the water, but a few times sinking gracefully back in, without disturbance. Then a pause, then going through the same thing again. Lasted a while. I’ve never seen such a thing. There were some murmurs among us at the tables, but mostly everyone watched in silence. Then in the evening, doing my exercise walk up and down the beach, the sunset: huge, outlandishly, unnaturally huge, bright red sun, a perfect dish against the blue green horizon, slowly sinking...

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Major Douglas on “social credit” and why Pound was so interested in it, and was therefore a confirmed anti-Semite: International bankers (ie. Jews) were the ruination of the world, of all culture. Douglas’ radical system was right up Pound’s alley: why should these bankers decide who gets money and therefore who does what in society – that people must do only what the bankers will profit from, not quirky, daring, culturally valuable things, but things that are safe, and have maximum resale value. Instead of this, governments should be the bankers, loaning money on the basis of and for the furtherance of “social credit,” which is the natural wealth all members of a society (not just the bankers, who happen to have amassed “capital”) automatically possess by virtue of their association, the abundance of the earth they inhabit, and the cultural heritage they nourish.

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… So many events, presentations, retreats, comings and goings in the last week or so really I can hardly remember them. I’d need to check the calendar to determine where I’ve been, what I’ve been talking about, to whom.

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… emptiness teachings of Ashta hard for people to appreciate. It’s pleasant to think of emptiness (sunyatta) as interconnection. Then emptiness means we belong to everything, which is a comfort. But emptiness as void, as illusion, as nothing’srealinthewaywethinkitis is less comforting – or so it seems. Why not take delight in disappearing? “Gone” is only a disaster in terms of our being here – as we believe. So there is no “gone.” Just as there is no “emptiness.” Emptiness and goneness are just projections of our fear. And to really and truly disappear may be quite delightful.

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