Lucas Weismann

Meditations – A reminder

When I am traveling and cannot get to the wilds and the quiet places, I must remember to cultivate the quiet place within myself.  To find the space and center in myself so that I can find peace and clarity, even when surrounded by the din and clamor of the city.

To find grounding in the bustle so that I’m able to think, and write and be.

Rare moment with an honest politician.

Restrained by his guards, I looked upon the man who I’d once counted a friend.  He wound toward me like a serpent, or a villain in a pantomime.  Jesus, I can’t believe there are people who really do this, I thought.  Hasn’t he read the evil overlord list?

“It occurs to me that the reason that you individualists will never win is your inability to organize other people.  You assume that people will act in their interest or even know what is in their best interest.  In reality, people aren’t that sure. They’re so focused on whatever they’re told to pay attention to that they are thankful to have a strong hand to guide them.  They follow their shepherd right into the abattoir.

How else could we get people to give us their time, money, allegiance?  How else could we get elected again and again, even admitting our corruption and willingness to exchange “principles” for favors.  Long-term good for short-term gain.  Because they don’t care and even if they did, the average person is too stupid to do anything about it and too powerless to stop us.

So, what are you going to do, hero?  I know your kind.  You are opposed to violence and profess the value of reason?  Well guess what?  I am neither opposed to violence, nor am I amenable to reason.  I profit far too much from the current system to wish to return to your fabled more principled time.

And don’t think that this is something that I say because of the party I belong to.  The left uses radicalism, the right uses religion.  Hell, we even us the same sentences with only the basic terms switched.  We have a pope using science to gain followers for his mystical beliefs and scientists watering their discoveries with the language of religion.

You think that just because you follow the law you have nothing to fear?  That we will leave you alone?  Of course not.  Not while the fires of reason burn in your mind.  Not while you have a spine to stand erect.  Do you know who the last hominid species was who elevated the individual?  Homo Neanderthalis.  You know what happened to them, I trust?

We killed and fucked them out of existence.  Except of course a few throwbacks like yourself every few generations.  It’s too bad, if you were just a bit less principled, you could’ve been a shepherd.  Instead, we will destroy you, claiming all the while you were a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

And please, for the sake of any past feelings of conviviality we may have shared, please don’t ask me why I sting you.  If you can excuse the mixing of imagery.  I sting you because, it is in my nature.”

A test.

I’ve been tested.  Immediately.  I’ve been up for 22.5 hours now, and drove across the midwest from Stillwater, Minnesota to Westminster, Colorado.  I enjoyed the ride (except for the part where I was in a construction zone I could’ve bypassed and had to go to the bathroom).

The whole way, I listened to Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and resolved to attempt classical stoicism for my dealings with people.

Upon reaching my house in Denver, I parked the truck and trailer in front of the crotchety old woman’s house across the street, ferried my things from the truck to the house and unlocked the door.

The smell that reached my nose was hard to place at first.  Then it hit me.  I mean it really hit me.  Waves of garlic, stale sweat, unwashed dog and cumin wafted in.  Then I detected a hint of marijuana.  None of these things are smells that a sleep-deprived Luke wants to run into after being away from home for a year.

I had been expecting someone there.  My dad mentioned that he had a scuba friend who would help out and wondered if I minded if she and a girlfriend stayed there.  I said of course not.

When I arrived, I found there was a tiny mowgli-aged girl child sleeping on the couch.

No problem!  I’ll just go downstairs to my nice bed, with the clean sheets.

Nearing the door, I heard a dog growling and then it hit me.  For the first time, I could totally empathize with Papa Bear.

“Somebody’s been smoking pot in my kitchen.”

“Somebody’s been stenching up my house.”

“Somebody’s been sleeping in my bed!  And there they are?!?”

So far, the count is not two women.  It’s a woman, her boyfriend, their daughter (I hope), their dog, and possibly the other woman.

I reclaimed the futon mattress from the top of my bed and a pillow and hunkered down in a free room.

I’m not sure if it’s the delirium talking, but I’m pretty sure I’ve decided to find this funny.  Though, I’m a bit worried that protocol might demand I eat them all up.

PS.  I even found cold porridge left out on the table in the kitchen.

An Open Letter.

Dear Non-religious people,

Realize that religious people accept certain sources as credible above all reason. Literally. Therefore, if engaging with them, please seek to understand their point of view and be educated, using their own religious material to prove your point.

Otherwise, they’ll just use “but my holy book says…” and you’re nowhere.

——

Dear religious people,

non-religious people don’t see your holy books and divine inspiration, so just like when witnessing to someone of a different faith, find common ground that doesn’t rely on “First you must believe in my religion.”

Otherwise, they will rightly point out that your evidence doesn’t make sense, because they’re not agreed-upon premises and so- don’t fit into a productive discussion.

—-

Dear everyone

If you want to make progress in a discussion, you must first understand the person whom you are trying to persuade of your point of view. Otherwise, you don’t have a good starting point and will end up frustrated.

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. These techniques are ESPECIALLY important when discussing the BIG issues that matter to you.

Sincerely,

One slightly weird dude, who’s been thinking too much lately.

Guidelines For Living – Names

The seed of  this piece came from my reaction to a piece from Salon.com called “Why I Hate White Belly Dancers”.  It was a passionate article and I found a lot of it to be problematic (that’s PC code for I disagreed or found it offensive right?).  One of the things I couldn’t help but agree with was the practice of renaming yourself something that “sounds” like it’s from another culture.  From there my mind wandered to George Carlin’s pieces about guys with goofy names, then to a buzz feed article about athletes with unfortunate names.
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RE: Henry Rollins and Anger

One of my favorite current thinkers is former frontman for the band Black Flagg. He’s humble, he’s enlightened and he’s angry. He has a fury that drives him to get up on stage and be big and bombastic in front of crowds night after night.

He finds ways of saying things that make me question what I think I know, connects with the inner bullied-kid in me and hits my anti-authoritarian streak hard. In many ways, he’s like a less-bitter more down-to-earth George Carlin.

And I get it. I am able to channel anger through him that I can’t seem to access on my own.

That’s what I’m having a hard time with. My own lack of anger.

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RE: Having conversations about feminISM, socialISM, capitalISM, conservatISM, racISM, sexISM and etc…

Recently on a Facebook group I sometimes read, someone asked a question about people feeling fatigue talking about race-, sex-, femin- and may other isms that they are passionate about.  Specifically how to approach people about a topic you’re passionate about, but might be tiring or a turn-off for them.

This was my reply:

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I, Hipster

544150_10151455892317949_1460172853_nI’m writing this post on a three year-old MacBook Pro while waiting for the water in my friend’s electric tea kettle to finish boiling so we can have some Organic Fair-Trade Rooiboos tea.  We’ve just finished a 15km bike ride to and from her anti-squat flat in Utrect, Netherlands (It’s like Amsterdam, but smaller, less tourists and feels like city where people live) to get coffee at the StayOkay café at the StayOkay youth hostel run by Hostelling International (It’s so obscure that until today it didn’t even have one review on Yelp!) on 20 year-old 3-speed bikes to get a cup of good coffee and get into “the only think like nature you can get around here.”

It’s then that I realize, I might have become a hipster. (truth be told, I considered myself a hipster in college, when that meant something like rockabilly with the bowling shirts, dickies pants and two-toned shoes – back then we called the modern day hipsters either “Bohemian”, “Art Students” or “Homeless People”, I guess I’m saying I was a hipster before it was cool? Or is it back when it was cool?)

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Being a Good Conversationalist on the Dance Floor

A Student’s Question

1234563_10151804089575376_1567122219_nThrowing this in an email because Facebook will manage to lose it. I don’t know if it’s a class thought, a “help me sort this out for myself by talking about it” thought or something to look at in a lesson but…I’m hoping maybe you can at least help me stop making my brain spin every time I think about it.

So, when I was watching you and Ruby dance, the topic of matching your lead vs being given space to stylize came about, and Ruby commented that the less her lead gives, the more she matches/less flashy her movements are because she has little to respond to from her lead.

Is there ever a point in a class to address that sort of topic? Especially as follows are developing their own styles, we definitely get conflicting messages about styling vs matching. Plenty of times we hear “match your lead” and then in solo classes “move with the music” but at least with a number of MN leads, there’s an assumption that if they place a follow in open position, she is not supposed to match the lead except in pulse.

Personally I agree with Ruby that, sure I can make stuff up and solo, but I’d like to have something to react to from my lead. As dancers, I think we get a lot of “match your partner” and then also “leads, listen to your follow/let her do her own thing” (as far as I can figure out, those aren’t the same thing) and it gets super confusing and frustrating when you think one thing will happen when you place a follow in open and that thing you want, but didn’t explicitly lead, doesn’t happen.

I suppose the gist of this is: how does a lead successfully communicate that he wants a follow to do her own thing, and how does a follow explain, short of having a conversation prior to dancing, that maybe she wants or needs her lead to give her feedback?
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