Monday, October 31, 2011

Denver Daze

Occupy Colorado Springs is and has been a relatively staid affair. Our biggest marches have drawn maybe 200 participants, and the street corner has been generally host to small crowds and mostly friendly or indifferent passers by. Visits from police have been just that--visits, rather than assaults, even when the HOT Team came to arrest me early in the morning on 18 October, and the intrepid Camping Jack on two more recent occasions. We had to take steps to force them to make my arrest. Many of the core participants at Acacia Park have never been involved in any sort of political processes at all, let alone public protestations. So when several of our number traveled to Denver last Saturday to join a boisterous crowd of around 3,000 souls emotions were high, mixed, and complex.

There can be no denying the nervous air among one van load during the trip to Civic Center Park, directly in front of the State Capitol building, on the western side. Shana expressed open fear, bless her heart, and i suspect she wasn't the only of our number of like mind. Fear was generally dispelled by the excitement of the much larger Denver crowd, though, and as we marched around downtown under clear blue unseasonably warm Colorado skies, past the Mint, the Federal Reserve Building, down the 16th St. Mall where city employees took an unscheduled break to let us pass and bewildered shoppers either stared aghast or waved and grinned in support, up 17th St. past all the towering bank centers, and finally mounting the steps at the Capitol Building in defiance of specific instruction from city and police. Throughout the march, spirits were exuberant as cooperative bullhorn operators traded various, sometimes conflicting perspectives while our horde danced and prated along the sidewalks and streets, and we arrived at the Capitol in high, expectant spirits.

There had been quite a lot of friendly cops along for the march, but shortly after our arrival at the Capitol the armored legion showed up and began tactical operations to expel the somewhat rowdy crowd from its perch. I was there with my 15 year old son, so we pulled back from the danger zone when the announcement was made waving off the "unarrestable." Adin and i observed the obscure scuffling, complete with clouds of gas, from the Park as we waited for the valiant crew of absurdly comical  drag queens "manning" the field kitchen to finish the "pimp-ass risotto" we later had for lunch, flavored by tear gas. The cops cleared the Capitol steps and formed a double-lined phalanx at the eastern face of the Park, at the street edge of the sidewalk directly across from the kitchen and the hastily erected camps. The kitchen crew struggled to put a specifically verboten makeshift canopy over their operation, so the police could be sure and find them.

The police blocked Broadway for several blocks and pushed protesters off the street into the Park and stayed in a threatening stance  for some 6 hours or so, waiting for the appointed hour of 7:00p when they razed the camps, apparently according to specific orders. The clearing of the street was punctuated by violence , at least some of which was beyond the pale. Photographer and protest participant Andrew Cleres was ruthlessly shot down from his tree-stand while obviously not a threat. Frankie Roper of our OCS group was transported to a local hospital after taking a "non-lethal" round to the chest, though he was not arrested and refused treatment so he could rush back to the proceedings. Cops pulled back to the street after their initial assault  and held a line for several hours while listening to protesters preaching various words ranging between, "We love you; you are US," to "Fuck off and die, Pigs!" while awaiting word to move on the camps, which they did at the appointed hour, throwing tents, food, and kitchen equipment into a city trash truck.

The police surrounded the empty camping areas afterward, and maintained their line at the street for some time, continuing to endure some very angry expressions by riled protesters. Around 8:00p they abruptly and rather anticlimactically just left, allowing protesters to claim a victory, of sorts.

Though my observations to follow may well clash somewhat with some attitudes expressed during much subsequent conversation, much of what i witnessed at as close a range as could be was very encouraging indeed. Protesters were extraordinarily courageous in the face of a volatile situation. At odds with some other observers, i suggest cops exercised pretty fair restraint. Frankie and Andrew were both rather overworked in the incidents linked above. Frankie's foot had been rolled over by the motorcycle he then knocked to the ground when the cops jumped him, and police had no way to know that when they got him. He was not arrested. Throughout the day, during which there were only 20 arrests reported, i witnessed numerous instances of very angry protesters attempting to engage police violently. These incidents were mostly handled by the crowd by its moving in to separate the overwrought from the line of cops, and the few moments where things escalated to actual physical levels were marked by a lack of brutality by police, and an apparently strong reluctance to arrest anyone. And again, after executing announced plans to raze the camps the cops simply left the scene.

Among the most exceptionally poignant vignettes of the day was the scene at the kitchen between the clearing of the Capitol steps and its ultimate destruction. The queer high antics persisted in good humor through the entirety of the very tense day, and the line of grateful hungry continued steadily within shoulder-brushing distance of the armored squads; life, joy, and loving community on display under duress. Many protesters repeated the suggestion to police that they are fully welcome to lay down armor and join us for a sandwich and a bowl of soup, and some cops actually did so, braving the incredulous stares of their fellows before rejoining the line. All day, though more so during the march while still in a conversational mood, police expressed support for us protesters, and reluctance to be antagonistic on their own. When they returned at the close of Park hours in much smaller numbers to match the dwindling of our own, remaining protesters knew to clear to the sidewalk  and no further incidents took place. By then, new supplies had been delivered by random donors, and a new kitchen was already turning out coffee and chili dogs from an adjusted position at the park's edge.

There remain aroused spirits from many of the variously positioned players in this conflict of Ideas. Many U.S. armed forces veterans are very angry indeed at police seen as traitorous after the incident with Scott Olsen in Oakland, (don't forget to continue to hold Scott in your prayers, if you do that sort of thing); however I, for one, am encouraged by the dramatic differences between what i saw in Denver Saturday and the stuff from my childhood where police would just wade through crowds swinging nightsticks with brutal efficiency at whomever was within range. Further encouragement came from the shift in mood the following day when much of the tension between holders of opposing opinion among our OCS core appeared to simply diffuse on its own in the face of the sheer size and intensity of the action in D-town.

My take: I am immensely proud of all the Occupiers that participated, (including perhaps most especially my son Adin, who chose to stay right up in the thick of things with us all day long), and steadfastly protected those of our own motivated beyond restraint from overstepping propriety. We are ALL one. The human race makes up a group of 100%, even if some of us need to catch up with the notion. We have a long way to go, but we're learning. This thing will continue to be lumpy and chaotic, but we're getting there. Because we have to, no matter what.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Interlude 2

Off to Acacia Park for the night, then Denver in the morning. Occupy! is fully international. We'll need to come to terms with that in our own countries, cities, minds, and act accordingly, cooperatively,  if we are to truly build a thing of beauty without a ridiculous cataclysm. Continue to embrace Humanity in everyone! Cops and soldiers, bankers and beggars--all of us are just working the Gameboard as seems best to us at the time. Pull back. Breathe. Shine the Light! The Game's over. Learn to Dance!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupying an Empty House

My friend Maureen gets frustrated with me because i keep slinging all this outlandish stuff at her, and as one might expect, she has a hard time getting it sometimes, and an even harder time imagining that any of it might be true or practical. I keep telling her that money is over, she keeps telling me that people use money for good things. I start hanging around Occupy Wall St. and its attendant movement and she feels alienated because she lives largely from Stock Exchange investments. Maureen is not the only one with this issue; a man appeared at our GA in CSpgs last week deeply troubled by the fact that we "haters" were trying to  force his grandma to eat cat food because as he noted, "Wall Street", that is, the package of various stock offerings available there, is owned diffusely by grandmas and retirees, penny-pinchers and wheeler-dealers all over the world. My friend and this guy are both put off by the extremely jarring nature of the realizations at hand that have precipitated huge crowds of traffic-clotting protesters into the streets. (Actually that stranger stayed for the GA and came around, while Maureen has an injury preventing her attendance, so this is kinda for her, as well as everyone else).

The issue with the money that's causing problems is closely associated with the Global nature of Occupy! and because of that, its fragmented nature. Both issues are rendered all the more discordant to many by their perceived urgency among occupiers. We want things to change right  now, not after the next bullshit election cycle, but rather before we all die when the food chain collapses. Many within the movement at hand will object to what i posit here, but there really is no way around it in my own mind, so i have no choice but to put it out there. The FED, the IMF, World Bank, Bank of England, Royal Dutch, Al Rajhi, etc, etc, and their intertwined financial/military/industrial destruction machine already exist as a very solid Global beast with utterly uncontrollable and ravenous hungers. We humans are equally as Global, and Occupy! is the same. The destructive elements in this conflict as well as the creative are out of the hands of nationalistic players, and our old notions of money and its production will not save us in time. Once again, if it were gonna, it woulda.

I've put this educational chart up before, and if you have no motivation to look any further then i hope you'll just go get another beer and stay out of the way. The World as we know it is a disaster, and we made it so. Don't give me that crap about global warming is caused by dinosaur farts. We've dumped more toxic shit into the ecosystem in the last century than can be said to have even existed, anywhere. If Humanity can't affect the world, like one hears on Rush or some of those other insane programs, where are all the American Bison? Passenger Pigeons? Pennsylvanians drinking tap water? Live, healthy corals? Why are so many of us completely, stubbornly ignorant of these obvious and urgent facts. It's the Fear, of course, and it's actually propagated deliberately by some, who fail in turn to recognize that they are trapped by it themselves. We'll move on to the business of the Fear another time.

Plenty of accusations fly around about who caused the money crisis, the environmental crisis, and any other crisis at hand. It really doesn't matter, and even though some players have obviously been behaving recklessly, some in succession with conspiratorial characters of some pedigree, we absolutely must give up the hatred and sort out solutions, if we want to live. There are a few links at the bottom to articles, (and one video--don't like 'em myself),  on financial and economic collapse. There are plenty more. The point is to assure you all that our monetary system, the means we've "developed" through haphazard mutual throat-slitting for trade and interaction among ourselves, is fucked. We can't fix it. The "money" we've been passing around isn't reflective of anything real. The "price" we pay for things has utterly nothing to do with their intrinsic worth or their scarcity in the world. This is our collective fault, not simply the fault of a couple Rothschilds, St. Clairs,  and Morgans. We all scrabbled to keep up appearances and grubbed around to buy stupid shit we never needed, or even used. The numbers involved down at the FED are so unrealistic they're meaningless, and trade imbalances and the like merely amount to spiffy terms for describing exported slavery, a kraken which is quickly coming home to roost for Westerners intent on prolonging the petro-economy for the sake of the god damn Fear. There is no money. Its value has been pilfered away by milquetoast pirates one Stewie Griffin party at a time.

The ends of the Dollar and the Euro represent terrific opportunity. Not for making more money, you dumb-ass! That's the thinking that's got us in this state in the first place. Some reasoned arguments exist that attempt to exonerate the financiers held up by many Occupiers as responsible for this mess. It really doesn't matter. The people playing this game, which are all of us, have all been working at competition together ever since we began to establish societies. We didn't know any better at the time. Now it's apparent that the approach we've been taking isn't working. If you are trapped in a mindset that insists on claiming a bigger slice of pie, or plaintively keens of the potential virtue of money if only it flows through the right hands, i'm sorry for you. Because when this all really hits the fan, you will be completely lost. We own nothing, except stuff that's really not worth much, if you figure it in money. At some future point it may be necessary to argue these points at a higher level, because financiers are fond of  obfuscation and bullshit in the literature, and hate to admit to themselves or anyone else how evilly they've been behaving, but soon enough the thing will collapse beyond the need to parse words.

So follow. The Earth is in the balance, because of the natural behavior of human beings when set loose to compete. Humans also have an innate drive to form societies and cooperate. The mechanisms of the old competitive game are worn, and the game is pretty much decided. We've already abandoned borders within the confines of the Game, only keeping nationalisms and "racial" distinctions in place when convenient to some other aspect of the Game, like the continued propagation of slavery, or the demonization of controllers of certain resources. Pull back and look a little. It's 100% game players causing all the wars in the world, all the food shortages, all the misery. Do we really give a shit what color or religion a thirsty guy in the desert may be? Am i really worried about Iraqi invaders pouring over the horizon? Please! Even if all the current unrest and destabilization isn't manipulated by people who thought George Orwell was writing textbooks, none of this is necessary. We don't need petroleum, (look it up yourself fer cryin' out loud). We don't need to hate a bunch of desert nomads just because our shitheads set them up in business as a part of a grand scam. We don't need to compete.

Cooperative living is so much easier and less troublesome you naysayers will be feeling really silly before this is over. It's OK, though. It's not so easy to see, at least for now. If it takes too long to avoid the pain you'll see soon enough. Come see us then. What we have isn't worth money but i am rich, rich rich! And this Manse won't collapse, with or without money. Stay with us....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Illegal Artistry

Illegal Artistry

Mark Delano posed some questions in that forum the other day that were deep enough to require some thought before answering. Here's that conversation:

MD: I'm curious as to why, exactly, you feel that you are entitled to stay in a public park at all?

Steve Bass: [Link to Legalismo here, assuming Mark could follow further links if motivated].
 not quite a starting place, but linked to that

MD: Lol, I read the post earlier, as well as the article in the Independent in which you are referred to as unemployed, which begs the question: what makes you feel that you are entitled to enjoy the "right" of pursuing your happiness -- that is, living in Acacia park -- without having to contribute monetarily to the upkeep of that public facility.. Furthermore, why is it that you believe that, in the interest of effecting a change in a law which you disagree with, the best course of action is to choose to voluntarily break said law, rather than getting involved in the legal process and effecting a change in the typical fashion? After all, all that really accomplishes is an additional waste of taxpayer-funded services, in this case law enforcement.

SB: these are excellent questions, which i hope you'll be so kind as to allow me time to answer, which i'll be required to take anyhow

MD: Of course...I would prefer that over a hasty response anyways. I likely wont be able to get back to you until tomorrow, so please don't feel rushed.

SB: right on....

SB: I'll reiterate again before i take this on that these are profoundly excellent questions that i think every Occupier, observer, and citizen of any country ought to contemplate deeply before entering the fray--maybe even before leaving the house this morning.

First I should clarify what may amount to a few misconceptions wrought largely by the media of late. As has been reported I am living with dear friends who find my comfort to be a valuable thing and have extended their hospitality freely, absent any solicitation on my end. J. Adrian Stanley of the CS Independent has referred to me as a "technically homeless...couch[-]surf[er]," which is true, though only by certain technical legal definitions, which are generally designed to either skirt or address issues involving benefits of some sort.  I am "technically" employed as the sole proprietor of the Paint Squad, a remodeling company that has been defunct for practical purposes since the media began trumpeting a new Great Depression, and the guy i had been working with abandoned the project. For the record, i collect no unemployment, disability, food stamps, or any other money or benefits of any kind from the government. Plainly stated, i have no monetary income. This is not meant to offer ethical assessment of my situation nor to elicit sympathy or whatever, but is merely offered to add perspective to my positions, and to rectify factual errors that have made it into the mix. Bear in mind i was camping at Acacia Park not out of necessity, but to effect the specific outcome that you may observe to have been effected. Note that although hundreds of campers are now down along Fountain Creek in violation of the same ordinance, they are not at Acacia Park kicking the bee's nest with me--they have different and rather more imminent needs than i.

I believe i adequately responded to Mark's first question by directing him to the appropriate pages here at hipgnosis. The second is a continuation of the first, with the addenda about "contributing monetarily." A response must necessarily involve the natures of money, property and its use, and our interaction amongst ourselves as human beings. The third involves political processes and movements, civil disobedience, and my own spiritual foundation. I hope those statements enlightens the reader on the length of this post, and Mark in particular on the reason for the time taken for its development. 

Some questions in answer to a question: Who owns public land? What does it mean to "own" it? Whence the resources to maintain the land, and what does that mean? We Americans have never adequately addressed these matters, and our ethical foundation for holding this conversation will remain forever spongy until we do. All land ownership in the United States harks back to the arbitrary decrees of that series of monarchies our predecessors here acknowledged to be so corrupt that a bloody war was necessary to shed the influence thereof. Land was simply declared by powerful people to be "owned" by favored sycophants, regardless of the opinions of the contemporary inhabitants. The Founders adopted the same attitudes governing property as had been utilized by their enemies. Every piece of property in the country now, public or private, is viewed through the lens of this fact. Its "ownership" is determined by arbitrary acts of murder and fiat. It's understandable that this is the case--effecting such jarring and massive shifts in foundational thinking is never blithely easy, though it does appear simple once accomplished.

Having had an ear to the ground for some time on matters such as we are discussing , i am alert to numerous suggestion that "we" give land back to the "Indians." This idea is as flawed as the other, and the thinking of indigenous peoples advocating it has been corrupted by our Western philosophical bias. The only genuine option uncorrupted by avarice and murder is to revert to a state of ignorance of ownership where the land is concerned. The elaboration of this notion constitutes a genuine system of political economy and i will carry it no further here, (but will link below). This is put in the mix to allow the reader to investigate further, and to establish that the following points are argued from an academic point of view rendered at least partially moot by the actual philosophical basis for the actions in question.

Be alert, Mark, that i have not been a societal parasite. I have worked and paid taxes since the age of 12, in spite of strenuous effort to limit the absurd, onerous, and unethical share the Government has taken through any nefarious means available. Maintenance at Acacia Park is paid out of city sales tax, unless i'm mistaken, which i certainly paid when i bought the sleeping bag i slept in there, the bicycle i rode to the park, the tobacco i smoked while there. Additionally, though i have not camped there in a week or so, one might readily visit the Park and ascertain that it is in a far cleaner state than before Occupiers carved out a space there, the rest rooms were locked coincident to their arrival, and the only maintenance in evidence is a guy that comes around in the morning to collect the bags of trash the Occupiers have gathered from around the whole park, and the sprinklers which still douse the tree lawns where people are camping even though watering season is so obviously over that infrastructure damage is imminent. Regardless, and without additional verbosity, the land in question is public, and we Occupiers clean up after ourselves requiring less maintenance, not more, of the City. Opposition to the notion that smaller contributions in tax payments ought to equal diminished rights to enjoy publicly held assets with which we are endowed at birth is quite close to the heart of the Occupiers' battles, whether individual Occupiers have become aware of the idea yet or not. We all pay for it, both monetarily and in karmic debt, or by whatever system of spiritual balance you may care to invoke. Any Rockefeller is welcome to pop a tent next to mine.

Your final point, that is, why civil disobedience rather than ordinary action is yet another that might be expanded at length. In the interest of getting this up i'll restrain myself from that in hopes that you will recognize that i am not attempting to be glib or brusque with you here, Mark, but merely brief. Additional commentary on all these points is both available and forthcoming. Simply enough--civil disobedience, and in fact in my mind and those of many, many others, full-blown political and ideological restructuring is necessary because no approach within the confines of less strenuous discourse has worked thus far, and people all over the planet have had quite enough bullshit. If you imagine to yourself that this business of mine, or the business of Occupy in general is about camping in Acacia Park, or the stupid camping ordinance enacted but not enforced by the City of Colorado Springs then you have badly missed some very important news. I suggest you follow the links below. Visit the Occupiers, both here and in many other cities around the whole wide World right now.

This'll do. Ask more questions! Read these links:

I'm not angry, but, hmmm...

Henry George developed a system addressing this stuff. I can't say his system is complete, and in fact, i am personally convinced our problem as humans must be addressed spiritually. That's a topic for another moment, and it does not detract from George's thesis:

This strikes me as so obvious that it could be seen as a jab, and almost feels that way, but it's still the place to go for primary discourse on civil disobedience:

This is obviously unnecessary, but i'll point out once more that the reader will find an abundance of words of my own that bounce around all these topics and more. It's all the same conversation:

PPCC Philo Club page:

Some other discussion and reporting establishing basis:

There's no end. Keep looking.

Friday, October 21, 2011



This is a direct copy of the email i sent earlier today and then copied and pasted some before it dawned on me it would be much easier and more effective to post it here. Collins is a law professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His referenced comment appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette on 18 Oct, after my arrest but before the paper got the news to rectify a time-frame misconception i tossed around earlier. The version of that story linked below is dated 17 Oct, but the paper version came out the following morning. 

I remain without legal representation and will accept any offer to confer, but no tapdancers to take the case. I'm not so stupid as to imagine i can learn the Byzantine procedure of Our shameful legal system before the 8th of November well enough to get the point across if i represent myself, but neither will i accept representation from someone who will not take my approach. 

Professor Collins:

I am the guy arrested for camping in Colorado Springs.

Although the perfectly certain fact has yet to sink in amongst many of my cohorts here in Colorado Springs, i am well aware that the point you made for the CSpgs Gazette the other day is entirely true. No-camping ordinances are by no means unconstitutional. This fact highlights the argument against the amendment of that original document by many of our founders fearful that the enumeration of some rights would expose others to attack. Current events managed to plop a soapbox and peculiarly focused bullhorn directly in my lap. I intend to plead not guilty on grounds that no-camping laws violate the pre-constitutional right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and that this case is exemplar of the general and drastic erosion of human rights in the U.S., and across the entire globe. I am not particularly concerned as to the outcome of the case, but extraordinarily pleased at the opportunity to publicly state a few sentiments i believe by observation to be both common and woefully unarticulated.

I remain unbacked by any legal practitioner and i'd love your input, discussion, advice, council, suggestions, or connection, in any "and/or" configuration that suits your fancy.

Warmest Regards,

Steve Bass

"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." --Oscar Wilde

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Report From the Right Front

Report From the Right Front

I will be the first to point out, right now here in this forum, that I have a Texas-sized ego. I think I'm a reasonably smart guy, and not unlike any writer, that I have some things to say that are so danged important that I'm gonna say them. I'll also point out that some others in the conversation, possibly including you, gentle reader, have the same handicap. The entire discussion ought to be undertaken with a salt shaker within easy reach 'cause everything anyone has to say ought to be taken with a liberal helping.

This post is an attempt to unravel a bit of a Gordian knot that has tied itself around the politics of "Occupy" movements around the world, and particularly here in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A., without hacking at it with f-bombs directed at the many possessors of equally large egos as mine, while openly acknowledging strong disagreements between some  of us. Believe me, this is a difficult bit of unraveling and though I mean to avoid ad hominem attacks, I'll not promise to eschew strong language. It's also a bit of a news update, straight from the horse's ass, so to speak. Sorry if it runs long or gets complicated; it's a big hairy knot.

I am the guy that picked up the first no-camping ordinance violation in the city of Colorado Springs. I did this while participating in protests falling under the ill-defined aegis of a group called "Occupy Colorado Springs," in solidarity with another ill-defined group called "Occupy Wall Street," and other Occupiers all over the world. In case it's unclear: there's no such thing as Occupy Colorado Springs, (OCS). What happened is a few guys, boldly named at the top of the eponymous Facebook page like John Hancock at the bottom of that one famous page, finally got bent enough out of shape to do something about it so they set up a page, and a small camp down at Bijou and Tejon--Acacia Park. They were behind the Wall Street guys and liking what they were about, I came behind them.

There is no club membership, no charter, no bylaws, no nothing to define the Colorado Springs group that might in any way be construed to suggest the thing we are doing at Acacia Park is anything other than a gathering of a bunch of fully leaderless sovereign individuals that happen to share a common distaste at the state of human affairs extant in the world today. Anyone who has known me for any length of time, or has read any of the pages preceding this post will know that this is nothing new for me. I was and remain ecstatic at the development of public expression, both here and globally. I am a free actor in the business of protesting in general, and that involving the city's no-camping ordinance in particular. I act as a sovereign, as a member of OCS whatever that means, as a citizen of the U.S.A., as a citizen of the World--a member of the human race, possessor of certain unalienable rights, whether those derive from God or not.

I decided to deliberately violate the city ordinance because I believe it exemplifies an aspect of the overall erosion of human rights here and across the globe that has precipitated such widespread uproar. I believe it directly attacks individuals' right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that it is both superfluous and fully unnecessary. It's just a mean-spirited dig at the weakest among us, a tactic akin to schoolyard bullying, which I maintain is motivated by the same spirit that allows the holders of power at the Federal Reserve and other powerful international and national bodies to gleefully grind the majority of the world's citizenry to dust for no more than sport. I meant all along from well before the advent of any Occupations to have this conversation at a level previously unattainable to me, and now we will--that is, I and whomever cares to jump in during the proceedings. I control only my own actions and expressions.

There are some protesters at Acacia Park that have strenuously objected to my camping as I did. They are pleased to maintain the fine relationship with the CSPD and with the Mayor's office that has developed, and happy to have avoided the head-bashing, tear-gassing removals that have troubled some other Occupy outposts. Fearing a narrowing of focus from the general Occupy platforms, they asked me, and truly in some instances pleaded with me to abandon my course. Some attempted to tell me. They are happy to compromise, capitulate, appease, to utilize terms previously utilized by those members opposed to my individual action. I am not. I promise, I love every one of the crazy fools involved with the action at our little street corner whether we agree on this matter or not. I'll mention this one more time: I am just one dude. Anyone that agrees with me here is also behaving of his or her own accord.

Our Mayor Bach is an asshole. I promised to avoid ad hominem here, and I'll point out that this is not an attack but an observation, and only my opinion. Publicly, falsely, and slanderously maligning the very civilized protesters of OCS for urinating on sidewalks while simultaneously locking park rest rooms which had previously been available to all manner of dope-shooting freaks, and possibly authorizing the operation of park sprinkler systems to douse protesters in below freezing temperatures are asshole moves. In my opinion. Mayor Bach is in error, but he's only acting as seems best to him in each moment, now also capitulating, and allowing protesters a right to their freedom of speech. Ahem.

We already have a freedom to speak in our country. My violation of the camping ordinance addresses a deeper, more fundamental set of freedoms mentioned so briefly in Mr. Jefferson's Declaration, and to be found in all the keening of literature throughout all of history--blowin' in the wind, one might say. This is not a narrowing of focus, but rather a telescopic lens by which I hope we can examine questions of such grand scale and difficulty that centuries after a bunch of homeless guys floated across the Atlantic to Plymouth, we still haven't grasped them. Failing to address the camping ordinance presenting itself so conveniently will flippantly sidestep the most essential key to all of this whole set of global protesting. We've all seen protesters on the street corner a million times. We've always compromised. It's never worked.

Anecdotally speaking, it appears the major objection raised by detractors of the Occupy movement is that there has been no firm expression of goals, manifestos, or demands. It seems to me that this is the natural outcome of the complexity of the problems at hand. Although there are certainly individuals involved in skulduggery at, say, the FED, my view is that we face the necessity to alter a fundamental flaw in our very basis for human interaction. I'll leave you to read my thoughts on that elsewhere in this blog, if you desire, both previous to this post and to come. Right now the Occupy movement is just an acknowledgement of discomfort with the extraordinarily stubborn status quo across all political and national lines, and a frame-work within which discussion may take place. Planning and legal definitions will have to wait for some 7 billion Occupiers to chime in. The difficulty of hashing out the minor disagreements among players here in Colorado Springs may be an indication of how much work is involved with the big picture. Be patient. Unless you like the status quo. Most of us don't.

For anyone out of the loop, including friends across the U.S. and abroad, here's a bit of fact: I was arrested 18 October, around 2am MST for deliberately violating a city no-camping ordinance. The arrest was executed by my friends, the extra-fine members of the "HOT" team of the CSPD, as we had previously discussed, (those guys are just as much in jeopardy from "Wall Street" as any of us; they are our recalcitrant brothers). I was simply driven, sans violence of any kind, or even cuffs or hard feelings, to the Gold Hills police station. We did a little paperwork and the fellas drove me to a friend's place where I claimed a bit of much-needed rest. The HOT team and I were completely cooperative with one another, and remain so. They did their jobs, I did mine. I had to wrestle with the question until some family matters came up, but I will not be camping under that no-camping sign again until at least my court date, 8 Nov at 1:30p MST. I can not, nor will I attempt to speak to the actions of any other sovereign actors who may follow my example, other than to toss out my opinion should it seem germane to me.

I hope we can all have this conversation in a civilized manner. I hope the whole world shows up at the courthouse that day. I hope all my friends known and unknown that can't make it will pray, or chant, or beam love on fairy wings--whatever their fancy. I'm gonna need it. I think we all need it, that day and every other.

City code:
Previous entries specific to homelessness and the ordinance:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To Be or To Be Somewhere Else

To Be or To Be Somewhere Else

This pre-ticket bit was originally published as a comment to a Colorado Springs Independent piece from 12 October of 2011 linked below. It refers to video of a meeting some of us had with the city. The links are still good, (28 July 2014).

Re: “Occupy Colorado Springs hits legal wall

An attempt to address a few issues presented here in as brief a fashion possible:

  Regardless of the opinions of any observer or participant in any protests currently under way here or across the country, police are likely to follow the direction of their superiors, apart from unauthorized behavior on the part of mavericks or rogues.

Jason points out that the Bill of Rights "trumps" city ordinances and statutes, and if that is not true then I am personally inclined to object strenuously and if necessary physically, in the sense that I will camp "illegally" with the occupiers during the course of the current protestations.

A point is advanced during the meeting that separates homeless campers from active political occupiers. As a matter of personal opinion, though there are some real differences in context, the camping ordinance is bad law as yet untested in courts. However, having been involved with the free food biz in Colorado Springs for decades I am confident in stating that many homeless campers are in their position by choice, having opted out of a political system found onerous. I see no legitimate difference between this lifestyle of protest and the pointed expressions of protest embraced by Occupy Colorado Springs. Other homeless campers are thus because of uncontrolled habits, some of which fall under the label of "diseased" behavior by authoritative bodies in the U.S. or because of circumstances external to their control. There are only two varieties of property in the entirety of the U.S.--public or private. If the continuously burgeoning population of homeless campers is barred from sleeping on public property, and have no means by which to acquire access to private property, they have no option at all. Others are then required by default to put them up, thus far manifest here in conditions both unsanitary and unsavory as demonstrable by the bed-bug ridden Express Inn or the Aztec Motel, or else the Salvation Army--court ordered church. Otherwise, our only other option is to incarcerate them. I maintain that an unmentioned and "unalienable" right of all human beings is simply to be, wherever that being may take place.

Jason points out the tenuous Constitutional position of the camping ordinances in a reasonably clear manner. The position of the police is clear and understandable, though I believe they are mistaken about the issues with city statutes; they will do as directed by others. Some of us affiliated with with the Occupiers, including I, believe arrest followed by courtroom examination of these and other questions may be seen as a good thing, and would result in the elimination of obviously untenable, ill-conceived statutes that are currently being enforced only in the most visible and problematic cases anyway.

This describes some of the entanglement of the only somewhat separate matters of Occupiers in Colorado Springs, and campers in Colorado Springs. Without more than this brief mention, it also demonstrates the erosion of liberty in this country that precipitates the protests in the first place.

Finally, to nip a little at Bryce's bait, his "dismissive" attitude is unnecessary and dishonorable. I would personally love to see the unconstitutional camping ordinances put to the test in court. The U.S. Constitution is NOT an especially arcane piece of work, in spite of generations of lawyers' efforts to make it seem so. Here's a copy for you to examine: . Have one of these, too:

As an individual, merely affiliated with the fine and diverse members of Occupy Colorado Springs, I can speak only for my own motivation and opinion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cajun Squirrels and Field Peas

Cajun Squirrels and Field Peas

One more time, for the Community Kitchen Cookbook. This is something like the coon-asses I planted trees with for a season used to do over a propane cooking ring. They used a couple dozen squirrels and fed us all at once. Man, that was some good times. If you want it coon-ass authentic, serve with plenty of cheap beer. Don't get too drunk and kick the pot over.

Squirrel with Black-Eyed Peas
Four medium-size squirrels, drawn, skinned, and cleaned
1/2 lb Black-eyed peas
3 md Onions
2 sm Carrots
1/2 pk Frozen sweet peas
1/4 lb Smoked link sausage
Bacon fat or lard

Little dab of oregano and marjoram
Salt and pepper
1 c Chicken broth

For the slow cooker: serves two
Put the squirrels into salted water and hold overnight in the refrigerator; the next day, rinse and pat dry.
Bring 4-6 cups of water to vigorous boil in a large saucepan, then add the black-eyed peas to it. Boil furiously for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and cover; hold 15 minutes and drain. Quarter the squirrels, and dredge with flour. Sauté in a skillet in hot bacon fat or lard until golden brown, then drain on a paper towel and place in a crock-pot. Saute the garlic til golden before adding onion. Chop the onions coarsely, and sauté in bacon fat and pan drippings until translucent, and add to the pot. Cut the carrots into 3/4" lengths, and the sausage into 1/8" disks, then add them along with the frozen peas and the cooked black-eyed peas. Salt and pepper to taste and stir gently; add the chicken broth and cook in the crock-pot for 8 hours on low setting, or until the meat is almost falling off the bones. For a different flavor, you can substitute lentils or navy beans for the black-eyed peas.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Today's Tom Sawyer

Today's Tom Sawyer

It's 4am here and this occurred to me strongly enough just now to have me say it just now.

For Vic, Ken and the rest of my Christian friends, as well as Michele, Kathryn, and others who get twitchy when I bring up the Bible.

I had breakfast with my friend Vic a little while ago and we had some of this conversation--I mean this conversation. The one we've been having if you've read any of this stuff around here, or if you've been to see me at my Facebook, or on the sidewalk or whatever. Vic is a Christian, and about as solid a practitioner as I've ever met. He "works" as a prayer director for one of the internationally influential untaxed Christian pseudo-businesses one might easily enough find scattered around town here in Colorado Springs. Years ago I lived in Lindale, Texas and I used to say Lindale was the buckle of the Bible Belt. Now that some of the big organizations down in Lindale have disappeared due to fraud and embezzlement and the like and some of the people I knew down in East Texas have moved to this very town, I sometimes say America's waistline has risen with age and the buckle has found a home in Colorado Springs.

Anyhow, Vic is an affable guy and a good friend and we had a good time over our platesful of arterial lubrication such as we Americans like to do at breakfast. He said he had read some here on these e-pages--I aaalmost cringed because of a certain propensity of mine. Then I remembered one of the axiomatic rules I've taught my kids since they started picking up English: "There's no such thing as a bad word, only bad timing."

It's time for this.

Vic said he found some of the thoughts he'd come across here, "interesting," and mused that I had a bone to pick with "organized religion," which is true, but hasn't really come up at hipgnosis just yet, I don't think. I cringed a bit at having utilized terms like "motherfuckah" while discussing a Bible tidbit known as the Beatitudes from a longer passage known as the Sermon on the Mount. It's one of those axiomatic sets of rules for lots of Christians, and for many who've never set foot in a Christian edifice as well. One finds the passage, (from the book of Matthew, chapter 5, in the Bible, if you're interested), hanging on wooden plaques and the like in people's living rooms and over their toilets and chapel entrances all over the world, and I suppose in every tongue still in print. I felt a familiar twinge of embarrassment at the time, that I get now and then from carry on so strongly about such grand subject matter knowing well that I'm no saint myself. So I brushed my way by that one at the time, and we went on with breakfast, and with other portions of the Conversation. That's why this is for Vic at the top of the page, not 'cause I mean to point him out as a prime exemplar or anything.

I have lots of Christian friends, and I often claim that very appellation amongst them, (though not so often amongst the "Romans"); some of them may now  think of me as shooting my own foot as I continue. I also have friends that are occultist dope fiends. They'll find this bit rather more amusing, I expect, but I'll implicate myself with them too, when I get a round tuit. This is not about organized religion--it's personal, you see, and directed at people I know, among others  including myself where it applies, by which I mean, "where it applies." Not, "where it applies unless it's uncomfortable to apply it there like Mercurochrome or something."

Christians are full of shit as a defining point--the idea of Christian full-of-shitness is all over the New Testament. Many if not most of them have not the merest clue about their own doctrine and those that do spend hours and hours at intricately complex and totally reducible discussions about irreducible complexity and such while ignoring the business of Love so central to their own foundations. (Recall my comments about pseudo-statements now, if you will). One of the so-called Ten Commandments reads, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain," in that poetic old Frank Bacon English I love so much, (Exodus 20:7, if you give a damn). I'm not gonna dig out a Hebrew lexicon to make this point, and some translations say "misuse" or something instead of " vain". Whatever. You Christians quit tapdancing and think about this.

Just about any Christian will get at least a little uncomfortable if you say, "God damn it." There are injunctions in the doctrine warning them away from curses, as well as oaths, unpiloted tongues, and "coarse language". They don't so often know the difference and figure this sort of thing for "taking the LORD's name in vain." Think about this: When a woman marries a man in most contemporary societies, she takes his name, (though this is no longer so mandatory as it had been given the slow and incremental abandonment of the notion of women as property in vogue these days). If a woman, say, marries some patriarchal Dude and then goes to work for some pimp on the side, she's taken Dude's name in vain. So when Christians do their little equivocation around points in their own bedrock supposedly established by Gawd Himself and endorsed by His Only Begotten where they've not-quite-deliberately, (that's a dance move called an "NQD" in the studios, BTW), failed even to drill for pylons, they join the Golden Calf Party and according to their own lore will be consumed in the fires as they fall through the very fissure in that bedrock I describe here now.

This is the same sort of thing going on when a guy zips up his fly after reading about turning the other cheek and steps out to shoot his quota of Afghans for the day. Or votes a "hawk" into office at his 8-year-old's school assembly room. Or works up a smokin' hot head of steam about the crackhead that broke into his garage to feed a real live demon that lives in any crackhead's pocket and gets real hungry and cranky, (snicker), when its belly is empty. And practicing the sort of bullshit Christianity that allows for this sort of Gene Kelly move is like sailing down the mighty Mississip' on a flat Tom Sawyer raft made of the concrete that you ought to have been using to build your foundation instead. You're already at the bottom of the river and the Water of Life is flowing right by your drowned bones.

I'll be danged...the Sun is coming up over a fine Colorado Sunday morning and I've just come to wrapping up a genuine sermon, complete with brimstone. Who'da thunk it?

Pay attention Christian: The World doesn't hate you because you bring Jesus up all the time. It hates you because you sully a beautiful thing. It hates you because you're an abject hypocrite, the worst variety of an asshole! And they can smell it, even if they can't articulate the thought. And none of this is wrong; the fact that it's coarse is a separate matter. I may have blown my disguise for's OK, I'm still pretty clear with my own notion of where I stand, and this is for you at least as much as it's for my own amusement. To paraphrase Gandhi, "I'd be a Christian if it weren't for the God-damn Christians." That nor any of the above has nothing at all to do with whether I'm actually a Christian or not, nor does it have to do with "religion", organized or otherwise. It's about that personal relationship you guys keep talking about. It's dysfunctional, Yo, and it's up to you to straighten yours out while I worry about my own.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Freight Hopper Squirrel/Chicken Soup

Freight Hopper Squirrel/Chicken Soup
From David Bass & Rebecca Porter
Squirrel chicken soup--I'm going to try attaching it, let's see how that goes--this is what David described to me. It's how he used to cook the squirrels he shot when we lived in the beautiful mountains of western NC in our run down shack.

Squirrel-chicken soup

Bones and skin from one de-boned chicken (use the meat for something else)
3 squirrels, skin removed
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic (or more, to taste)
1 green pepper
Enough water to cover the chicken scraps and squirrels
Black pepper to taste
Italian seasoning to taste
Optional—egg noodles or brown rice

Put the chicken scraps and squirrels in a large soup pot and cover with water.  Cook until squirrel meat is falling off the bones.  Remove from heat.  Take out chicken bones & squirrels; remove usable meat; set aside.  Strain the liquid in the soup pot, remove the bones & stuff you don’t want to eat, and put the liquid back in the pot.

Chop all the veggies.  Put them in the soup pot with the squirrel-chicken stock.  Cook them on medium low heat until they are all cooked.  Add the meat back in to the pot.  Season with black pepper & Italian seasoning.  Add noodles or rice if you like those things in soup.   Also good with buttered toast.

Thanks ever so kindly, y'all.

Have a little plug:

Thursday, October 6, 2011



When I was a young hoodlum, I plagiarized a bit of prose poetry with something like this at its core in order to make myself look cool. As an officially legal adult I've lost interest in how things look and have taken up a pursuit of how things Are. This is my take on the piece that my younger self recognized as valuable. That unknown poet, whose name is long lost to the mists of my long lost mind may well recognize a few of  his or her words here. No harm intended, kind sir or ms. All the cells that may have stolen your work wholesale are long dead. I hope you like what my momentarily current self has done with the memory....

When I woke up this morning I pulled back the cover and in so doing scattered skin cells like chaff from wheat onto the floor.
I drank a bunch of hot-ass coffee and scalded my tongue--maybe the caffeine killed a few hundred thousand brain cells. Who knows?
I rode my bike to a demonstration, undoubtedly reaping a harvest of sorrow amongst the muscle cells in my anguished protesting protester's legs.
When I arrived and put the rest of my body to protesting I  met a friend and we hugged causing the deaths of multitudes of fleshly villagers in each of our respective bodies.
As the day progresses into evening I'll meet others maybe loved ones maybe new acquaintances and we will joyfully kill one another's cells ending their brief unnoticed lives ignominiously.
If it should fall out that we fuck--Genocide!
How is it that these most tender of acts expressing our humanity are so violent in their collatery? Does it matter? Are those cells not reborn in a new generation a new regeneration? Hark! I am born again yes born again.
I am born and born and born requiring the Universe to bear me. It's the points on a line--I am born again at each indivisible moment. Infinite. There are no two points between which there are not infinite dimensionless points. I've been born again more times than there are numbers for as I wrote this.
You've committed murder in your own head while you read it. Surely this bit has killed some of your brains off too.
The beauty of it all is Infinite. Eternal. Undying.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Q and A to “Dead or Alive”

Q and A to “Dead or Alive”

Steve Bass ; Darrell Dooyema
1 April 2009
            Your query: “Missing some info?”
            Discussion: I figure this pertains to the underlined, “leap of faith” of mine (p.1), and this is absolutely so. According to current thinking in the field of “Information Theory,” information is an infinite resource, so of course it is impossible for us to incorporate all possible information into consideration of any topic, let alone one that addresses the infinite at its core. The book, Zeno’sParadox flirts with this notion; I hope you have fun reading it.

            Query: “How does the idea of God, or a necessary being, ‘jump out of the system?’ Is there anything intrinsically illogical or self-contradictory about the idea?”
            Discussion: This is two questions:
            A) The system is that of cause and effect. It is entirely Newtonian/Euclidian in nature, (Deterministic), and it constitutes, I think, the sum of experience for at least the vast majority of humans. Some mystics claim more advanced experience, but they have and acknowledge difficulty expressing it coherently, (Paul the Apostle, for example), and some advanced physicists seem capable of demonstrating some truly bizarre effects mathematically and experimentally, but they, too, generally acknowledge their own limitations in mentally grasping the phenomenon. The system itself, and the experience of humans, allow for no First Cause--what caused the First Cause, or the Necessary Being? This is a “jumping out of the system.” Gödel shows how this works out mathematically, applied generally to any such system and his complete theory, titled, On Formally Undecidable Propositions, is available translated online. I believe I included a link in my cited works, but the theory is largely described in 8 or so full pages of high math. It’s over my head, I’m afraid. The rational/linguistic essence of it is simple enough, though, and acknowledged by writers from Kant to Manly Hall. While the First Cause/Necessary Being solution is elegant and simple, even Billy of Ockham recognized that the simplest solution is only the most statistically likely. “Jumps” in other directions are possible, such as that demonstrated by experiments showing the super-freak phenomenon of “backward causation,” -- effects that precede cause along the “arrow of time,” (this was particularly vexing to Prigogine, a physicist cited in my little discussion), or the notion that all experience is illusory, many supporters of which assert that we create the whole business ourselves. This is also addressed by both assorted mystics, as well as physics. Einstein stated that though he believed the Quantum Field equations contained some deficiency, all our concepts of here/there/past/present/future are strictly illusory. Since his death, many of the postulates of quantum theory he found the most unacceptable due to the radical structure of reality they suggest have, in fact, (whatever that means), been demonstrated experimentally.
            B) No, there is nothing illogical or contradictory to these ideas, unless one suggests a non-sequitur, which they may well represent, I suppose. However, they can be neither demonstrated nor disputed, so far as I can tell, because yes, we are missing information. We will always be missing information-- the system is bound to be incomplete in its compass of All-There-Is.

            Query, (so to speak): “What do you think best accounts for this information?...[C]larify...your point....[C]ompare the opposition’s point...[emphasis in original].”
            Discussion: This was associated with my assertion that the evidence at hand “points in [a Theistic] direction." I suppose that the lack of a conclusive statement on this may constitute a failing on my part, but I don’t believe the question is entirely settled. I do believe quite strongly that I addressed some key opposition points, both from Theists and Atheists. Though evidence suggests strongly that Russell’s questions about the Universe can be answered in the affirmative, the nature of the Principle I sought to define remains ambiguous. I could have made this clearer only by stating it explicitly, as such. The thing is, I rather prefer to allow some ambiguity for the sake of the fact that ambiguity pervades the entire discussion. I realize the problem with this in an academic, and perhaps a philosophical context, but what can I say; I remain comfortable with its presence, and I rather like to foist it on my conversational partners....

            I’m afraid I had no idea that we were meant to personalize this--such a thing is quite unusual, in my experience. What I believe is this:
Ÿ  Reason and Science can get us close.
Ÿ  Mystical experience gets us closer still.
Ÿ  Then we should admit that we’re completely wrong.
Ÿ  A leap of faith is necessary for us all--existentially mandatory and unavoidable.
“God is essentially in all things....The existence of all created things is His existence. Thou dost not see, in this world or the next, anything besides God.”--Ibn alArabi, (Sufi)


“The Universe is queerer than we imagine. In fact, the Universe is queerer than we can imagine.” --John B. S. Haldane

            P.S. Sorry about the weird centered indentation at the end. Don’t know how that got there.

Dead or Alive

Plenty long for the format here,  though abbreviated by a deadline at the time. Not nearly a complete discussion. I owe you all this, though, as well as the continuation. Wait for it.... 

For Darrell Dooyema
21 February 2009

 Bertrand Russell suggested these questions as among those imminent in philosophy, and reserved them particularly to philosophy, claiming that if they were ever answered conclusively they would be claimed by empirical science and cease to be approachable by philosophy: “Has the universe any unity of plan or purpose, or is it a fortuitous concourse of atoms? Is consciousness a permanent part of the universe, giving hope of indefinite growth in wisdom, or is it a transitory accident on a small planet on which life must ultimately become impossible” (par. 5)? Many of Russell’s readers will immediately notice the proximity of these to similar questions about the existence of God. Surprise! Great thinkers have grappled with these fundamentals since before humans gained the ability to convey their arguments to us across time and still we bicker over them, rarely if ever to the satisfaction of anyone unwilling to make a leap from a logical dead end to what they view as a conclusion based on mere convenience, or one might say, a leap of faith.
            The primary argument for or against the existence of God is known as the “Cosmological” argument and shows up in variations such as Kant’s “First Cause”, Leibnitz’ “Argument From Contingency,” described by Coplestone in his debate with Russell, and goes something like this:
1. The universe began to exist.
2. Everything which begins to exist has a cause
3. Therefore the universe had a cause.
All of these say the same thing, in essence, that since we are unable to account for the infinite, or for the existence of any objects lacking a cause then we are forced to acknowledge some self-existent being, or thing, that serves as a “causeless” cause . Copleson puts it rather poetically while citing Leibnitz during his scuffle with Russell, maintaining that, “in order to explain existence, we must come to a being which contains within itself the reason for its own existence, that is to say, which cannot not exist.” (par.16).
            This line of thought is fine so far as it goes, but all too often we seem tempted to apply our prejudices to the nature of the undetermined Cause we come to at its conclusion. Plenty of theologians, including Copleston use this argument as proof of God, but the reasoning does not warrant this conclusion, even if it presents an intriguing bit of direction. It may be that “God” cannot be defined by reason. In fact the business of a First Cause seems an attempt to create distance between the thinker and a closed system that is reason itself, and an insoluble problem. This, in turn, brings to mind Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, and discussion given by Hofstadter where he suggests we humans possess a capacity to mentally “jump out of the system” when we find ourselves faced with an obviously self-defeating question that nonetheless we intuit as brushing up against truth. But as a matter of logic, this is cheating, really, and even if we allow it and admit a first Cause, or a Causal Principle, we haven’t by any means begun to describe it, and to label it “God” is not at all warranted.
            So if we find ourselves unable to prove God in this manner, what about some sort of undefined organizational principle, and if we allow for such a principle, can we go so far as to label it “Conscious,” as he asks? Well now, this is another matter and we are left to address the question of an organizing principle in the universe, at least a slightly simpler conundrum.
First, allow that by this we mean an undefined cause that girds an underlying impetus toward organization in whatever exists. This prevents us from being derailed by questions about what is real, questions of dualism versus monism, the existence of any sort of god or gods, “multiverses”. The question is only whether or not something tending toward complexity and organization rather than chaos and dissolution is apparent in the structure and processes of the universe, the definition of which we have allowed to remain rather loose. Note that to posit the existence and functioning of such a principle, whether this involves a conscious intervention or is merely an artifact of the way things are, would necessarily bring argument from physicists attached to the Second Law of Thermodynamics all the way to the level of sixth grade science classes.
            Handily enough, we can turn to Science to point us toward an answer to the matter, and over the past thirty years or so some startling developments have occurred, causing at least some in the scientific community to begin to sidle up to these foundational questions that have been eschewed by their peers since the Enlightenment gave birth to Modernism. Since 1824, when the Second Law was formulated (Erlichson, par. 6), scientists have avoided the rather glaring problem that living biological organisms ignore the Law with impunity. Both live specimens and the fossil record demonstrate the very impetus toward greater complexity one would expect if directed by our postulated organizing principle. In fact, organizations of cells, organisms, and even societies, rather than dispersing, persistently form ever more complicated structures and arrangements.
            Now, this brings us to a secondary question. “Life” is defined as, “The property or quality manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, response to stimulation, and reproduction, by which living organisms are distinguished from dead organisms or from inanimate matter...” (Morris 754). Without delving too deeply into the history and technical aspects of the matter, the problem is that there are all sorts of non-biological systems and objects, such as crystals for example, that display all these properties. Manifold systems throughout nature do, in fact, and are referred to as “self-organizing,” often achieving a level of order that seems quite magical to the average observer (Prigogine and Stengers 72). Furthermore,  some objects we would certainly think of as “live,” such as dormant seeds, display none of these properties for many years, yet can produce viable plants or other forms we think of as obviously live. In fact, cosmologists, chemists, physicists and others have described innumerable systems suiting this definition just fine, most of which we would not commonly view as “alive.” That is to say the same sorts of processes occur in things that are living and things, including our cosmological universe, which we generally imagine to be non-living.
            The mechanics involved in these associated systems can be extraordinarily complex, concentric, and overlapping, or very simple. The core features remain identical, though, with their feedback loops and  processed data and remain the same in all coherent systems from galaxies and molecules, to bacterium and human beings, and even systems which contain information only and no matter at all, such as computer programs and imaginary stories. When the coherency of the information falls apart, or dissipates, one might say as a nod to Carnot’s Second Law, we cease to recognize the structure as systemic. It takes very little information to establish a recognizable system. For example, if we say 2+2=4, we immediately recognize something coherent. If we say 2-17=12 the coherency disappears. If we substitute minor balancing variables to feed back to one another, making a slightly more complex system, such as x=x2+c, we can create a beautiful structure such as in this case is found in “fractal” artwork (Kelley 3). This is akin to phenomena of all sorts, from weather patterns, to crystal formation, a bacterium foraging for nutrients, or children learning to add, as well as any noumena we might imagine. It is fully pervasive.
            Because of this difficulty in finding a distinction between life and non-life Feinberg and Shapiro suggest that we should abandon our attempts to define life based on what parts make up an “organism,” and readjust our definition to one based on the amount of order and information contained in the arrangement of those parts, with attention to the likelihood of the arrangement occurring by chance (131). Discussing the self-organizing nature of the universe, Prigogine, who won a Nobel for his work on this field of inquiry, and not a Theist, by the way, stated that, “We no longer conceive of nature as a passive object. I can't stress enough that it is an active object in our lives,” that is, matter is not inert. It is alive and active (Tucker, par. 20).
We are forced to acknowledge that due to a lack of space, and perhaps equally because of our own limited capacity to grasp some of the technical aspects of the discussion, a deference to authority has necessarily taken place here. But this is not entirely a trap. Prigogene was a highly distinguished chemist and physicist. Collaborators Feinberg and Shapiro have distinguished themselves in the fields of physics and biology respectively. Between them are several thousand pages describing rigorous thought and experimental evidence. We could, if so motivated, study physics and chemistry or other fields and pursue the evidence ourselves. Further, these three are merely representative of a fairly large minority school of thought in scientific circles, among whom a rather common feature is having reached their jarring conclusions pertinent to Russell’s queries with great reluctance—hostile witnesses, one might say. For the most part, these scientists did not approach the material from a religious or philosophical angle, but discovered this difficulty in defining life as an outcome of studying nature as its own end. So if we trust that there is generally no bias from these learned figures toward the mystical-sounding determinations they render, there is no particular reason to assume that we would have better luck at separating objects or phenomena into the categories at hand.
            So given that we have found systems throughout nature that follow the principles of organization, in that the likelihood of having fallen together by chance approaches nil, and we find additionally that we cannot distinguish these organized phenomena from anything else we define as living by any substantive means, then we have discovered at minimum a pair of simple philosophical identities. The universe must be not only imbued with an organizational principle, but it must also--an incredible postulate--be alive. But what of our musings about God?
All of this, as noted above, smacks of Theism. One may notice similarities to the “Watchmaker” argument of the Intelligent Design camp. It is tempting to suggest that this organized, organizing, living thing we have made the universe out to be represents the flesh of God. But, alas, we haven’t even begun to wonder whether this life principle as we might call it possesses any sort of individuality or consciousness, let alone to approach the question of just what we mean by “God,” or where the heck God or the universe derives from. We have found no “Necessary Being” or “First Cause,” and certainly no reason to label any such object “Allah,“ or “Jesus,“ “Ahuramazda,” “Sophia,“ or for that matter, something like “Joe Smith.” Nothing whatsoever in this argument supports any Theistic conclusion at all, even if it may point in that direction somewhat. To make that stretch from here will require an altogether new argument. Or we could “jump out of the system.”

Works Cited
Copleston, Father F. C, and Russell, Bertrand. A Debate on the Argument from Contingency. Ed. Chrucky, Andrew. Blackboard, 21 February 2009
Erlichson, Herman. Sadi Carnot, ‘Founder of the Second Law of Thermodynamics’. European Journal of Physics 20 (1999): 183-192. 21 February 2009

Feinberg, Gerald, and Shapiro, Robert. Life Beyond Earth. New York, New York: William Morrow, 1980.
Hofstadter, Douglas. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. 1979. New York, New York: Random House, 1980.
Kelley, Alice. Fractal Cosmos: The Art of Alice Kelley 2009 Calendar. Amber Lotus Publishing, 2009.
Morris, William, ed. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. New York, New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., 1973.
Prigogine, Ilya, and Stengers, Isabelle. The End of Certainty:Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Physics.New York, New York: Free Press, 1999.
Russell, Bertrand. The Value of Philosophy.  Problems of Philosophy, 1912. Ed. Andrew Chrucky. Oxford University Press: 1959. Blackboard, 21 February 2009
Tucker, Robert B.Ilya Prigogine: Wizard of Time, part 2 Omni Magazine, May 1983. 21 February 2009