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robertogreco : abandonment   8

A World Without People - The Atlantic
"For a number of reasons, natural and human, people have evacuated or otherwise abandoned many places around the world—large and small, old and new. Gathering images of deserted areas into a single photo essay, one can get a sense of what the world might look like if humans were to suddenly vanish from the planet. Collected here are recent scenes from abandoned construction projects, industrial disaster zones, blighted urban neighborhoods, towns where residents left to escape violence or natural disasters, derelict Olympic venues, ghost towns, and more."
landscape  photography  apocalypse  worldwithoutus  multispecies  riodejaneiro  brasil  brazil  us  nola  neworleans  alabama  germany  belarus  italy  italia  abandonment  china  bankok  thailand  decay  shengshan  athens  greece  lackawanna  pennsylvania  tianjin  russia  cyprus  nicosia  indonesia  maine  syria  namibia  drc  fukushima  congo  philippines  havana  cuba  vallejo  paris  libya  wales  england 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Good Thief by Ian Caldwell | On Being
"I lasted two or three months on my college team before the lesson took full root: I was not the one. I stayed on the varsity squad just long enough to attend one particular team meeting, overseen by the head coach in one of the training rooms by the pool, that turned out to be a proselytizing session by a campus Christian group, Athletes in Action. At the end of it, we were asked to sign up for Bible study. We freshmen, in the spirit of compliance, agreed.

I had arrived at Princeton a confident atheist. Now, twice a week, I was visited by a former college wrestler named Brian, who came to my dorm room with Bible in hand to discuss scripture in an Evangelical framework, teasing the sense from passages in Paul and then recommending books by C.S. Lewis that would help me understand the general thrust. All of this was odious in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on. To be mistaken for a person who would commit so deeply to something so dubious, on the basis of conversations so superficial, seemed patronizing, except that it was obviously the honest mistake of someone who happened to be such a person himself. Out of fellowship and charity, Brian was offering to me what had meant so much to him. He was capable of looking at me and seeing a younger version of himself.

This was my first taste of the loss. My demotion from student-athlete to mere student came with a great sense of abandonment. So many years, so much struggle and sacrifice: How could it now be invisible? What I had done in the swimming pool, year after year, was surely one of the most important testaments I had written about myself, and, even if it had ended, it remained a guidepost to more invisible, more abiding qualities in me. I felt angry and afraid that a fellow athlete — who must have understood what it meant to be relentless and striving, never satisfied, intent on the hard way — could think I would be persuaded by a hasty reading of a few haphazard Bible verses. I felt compelled to show him his mistake."



"It was my wife who decided the time had come for swimming lessons. The class at the rec center was for parents to stand in the shallow end and raise and lower their infants into the water. This was silly, but I agreed. In parenting a baby, as in training for a distance race, the sets and intervals are really just illusions. They create a tolerable reality out of what is really a long, undifferentiated test of will. Swimming classes are not for the drowning child. They are for the drowning parent."



"Matthew and Luke are believed to have been written around the same time, and both by the same process: weaving together the earlier Gospel of Mark with a second document that recorded Jesus’s teachings. Considering this, the differences between them seemed stark. Matthew had placed so much stress on comparing Jesus to Moses; Luke placed very little. Luke’s audience must have been Gentile, since, in addition to this lack of emphasis on Moses, Luke simplifies or has to explain his “Jewish” material, as if his readers are not familiar with it. Perhaps for this same reason, Matthew’s bitterness and frustration — the gall of abandonment felt by a Jewish Christian toward fellow Jews who refused Jesus — is much harder to find in Luke.

Instead, Luke radiates love. His theme, more than that of any other gospel, is the innate goodness of people, a subject he is able to find everywhere. Eleven of Jesus’s parables exist in no other gospel but Luke, including two of the most famous: the Good Samaritan, about the unexpected mercy of our presumed enemies; and the Prodigal Son, about a wayward young man who returns home in shame, having wasted his inheritance, only to find that his father’s love and forgiveness are bottomless. This optimism and generosity are pervasive in Luke. It is hard not to feel that, in this author, Jesus has found the ideal messenger, a man able to see past misfortunes in order to keep heartfelt faith in a radical, transformative love.

The contrast between Matthew and Luke hits hardest at the end, where Matthew’s love of Jesus, and anger at Jesus’s death, leads him to those words seemingly bereft of redemption or forgiveness: “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Matthew does not even change the devastating final words of Jesus on the cross, as reported by the Gospel of Mark: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Rather, it is Luke who changes them. And it is in Luke’s improbable version of the crucifixion that I see Jesus most vividly: as the hero of mercy and embodiment of love; as the man intent on seeing the goodness in us even when we give him no reason.

I see, also, Luke himself: his own mercy and love, his capacity to overlook the horror Matthew could not. As Jesus dies on the cross, crucified with two thieves, Luke adds a final story found in no other gospel:
“Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.’ The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, ‘Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus replied to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'”

Today I have three sons. The oldest are nine and seven. They are competitive swimmers.

At one of their practices, I recently discovered a group of adults training in the adjacent lane. So I bought a new suit and joined them. For the first time in two decades, I have a practice group.

These days I swim side by side with my boys, separated only by a lane rope. When the old feeling returns, that the pool is infinite and the lap endless, I peer through the murk of the next lane and I wait for a glimpse of them.

How hard they work for every yard. How desperately they want air but force themselves not to breathe. Every once in a while, they catch me watching. And when they do, they try to keep up. Their arms spin faster, their kicks start to beat the water white. Unconsciously, as if they have inherited this instinct, they veer over toward the lane rope between us. They draft off me.

The final words of Jesus on the cross, according to the Gospel of Luke, are: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” I push forward. Stroke on stroke, I try to part the water."
iancaldwell  swimming  srg  edg  education  bible  hypoxictraining  parenting  2017  abandonment  atheism 
april 2017 by robertogreco
bell hooks: Buddhism, the Beats and Loving Blackness - The New York Times
"G.Y.: Absolutely. You’ve talked about how theory can function as a place of healing. Can you say more about that?

b.h.: I always start with children. Most children are amazing critical thinkers before we silence them. I think that theory is essentially a way to make sense of the world; as a gifted child growing up in a dysfunctional family where giftedness was not appreciated, what held me above water was the idea of thinking through, “Why are Mom and Dad the way they are?” And those are questions that are at the heart of critical thinking. And that’s why I think critical thinking and theory can be such a source of healing. It moves us forward. And, of course, I don’t know about other thinkers and writers, but I have the good fortune every day of my life to have somebody contacting me, either on the streets or by mail, telling me about how my work has changed their life, how it has enabled them to go forward. And what greater gift to be had as a thinker-theorist, than that?"



"G.Y.: Is there a connection between teaching as a space of healing and your understanding of love?

b.h.: Well, I believe whole-heartedly that the only way out of domination is love, and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love, and that includes teaching. I don’t do a lot of teaching these days. I am semi-retired. Because, like any act of love, it takes a lot of your energy."



"G.Y.: You’ve conceptualized love as the opposite of estrangement. Can you say something about that?

b.h.: When we engage love as action, you can’t act without connecting. I often think of that phrase, only connect. In terms of white supremacy right now for instance, the police stopped me a few weeks ago here in Berea, because I was doing something wrong. I initially felt fear, and I was thinking about the fact that in all of my 60-some years of my life in this country, I have never felt afraid of policemen before, but I feel afraid now. He was just total sweetness. And yet I thought, what a horrible change in our society that that level of estrangement has taken place that was not there before.

I know that the essential experience of black men and women has always been different, but from the time I was a girl to now, I never thought the police were my enemy. Yet, what black woman witnessing the incredible abuse of Sandra Bland can’t shake in her boots if she’s being stopped by the police? When I was watching that video, I was amazed the police didn’t shoot her on the spot! White supremacist white people are crazy.

I used to talk about patriarchy as a mental illness of disordered desire, but white supremacy is equally a serious and profound mental illness, and it leads people to do completely and utterly insane things. I think one of the things that is going on in our society is the normalization of mental illness, and the normalization of white supremacy, and the evocation and the spreading of this is part of that mental illness. So remember that we are a culture in crisis. Our crisis is as much a spiritual crisis as it is a political crisis, and that’s why Martin Luther King, Jr. was so profoundly prescient in describing how the work of love would be necessary to have a transformative impact.

G.Y.: And of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t find an important place in your work for rage, as in your book “Killing Rage”?

b.h.: Oh, absolutely. The first time that I got to be with Thich Nhat Hanh, I had just been longing to meet him. I was like, I’m going to meet this incredibly holy man. On the day that I was going to him, every step of the way I felt that I was encountering some kind of racism or sexism. When I got to him, the first thing out of my mouth was, “I am so angry!” And he, of course, Mr. Calm himself, Mr. Peace, said, “Well, you know, hold on to your anger, and use it as compost for your garden.” And I thought, “Yes, yes, I can do that!” I tell that story to people all the time. I was telling him about the struggles I was having with my male partner at the time and he said, “It is O.K. to say I want to kill you, but then you need to step back from that, and remember what brought you to this person in the first place.” And I think that if we think of anger as compost, we think of it as energy that can be recycled in the direction of our good. It is an empowering force. If we don’t think about it that way, it becomes a debilitating and destructive force.

G.Y.: Since you mentioned Sandra Bland, and there are so many other cases that we can mention, how can we use the trauma that black people are experiencing, or reconfigure that trauma into compost? How can black people do that? What does that look like therapeutically, or collectively?

b.h.: We have to be willing to be truthful. And to be truthful, we have to say, the problem that black people face, the trauma of white supremacy in our lives, is not limited to police brutality. That’s just one aspect. I often say that the issue for young black males is the street. If you only have the streets, you encounter violence on all sides: black on black violence, the violence of addiction, and the violence of police brutality. So the question is why at this stage of our history, with so many wealthy black people, and so many gifted black people, how do we provide a place other than the streets for black males? And it is so gendered, because the street, in an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, is male, especially when it is dark. There is so much feeling of being lost that it is beyond the trauma of racism. It is the trauma of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, because poverty has become infinitely more violent than it ever was when I was a girl. You lived next door to very poor black people, but who had very joyful lives. That’s not the poverty of today.

G.Y.: How is the poverty of today different?

b.h.: Let’s face it, one of the things white people gave us when they gave us integration was full access to the tormenting reality of desire, and the expectation of constant consumption. So part of the difference of poverty today is this sort of world of fantasy — fantasizing that you’ll win the lottery, fantasizing that money will come. I always cling to Lorraine Hansberry’s mama saying in “A in Raisin in the Sun,” “Since when did money become life?” I think that with the poverty of my growing up that I lived with and among, we were always made to feel like money is not what life is all about. That’s the total difference for everyone living right now, because most people in our culture believe money is everything. That is the big tie, the connecting tie to black, white, Hispanic, native people, Asian people — the greed and the materialism that we all invest in and share.

G.Y.: When you make that claim, I can see some readers saying that bell is pathologizing black spaces.

b.h.: As I said, we have normalized mental illness in this society. So it’s not the pathologizing of black spaces; it’s saying that the majority of cultural spaces in our society are infused with pathology. That’s why it’s so hard to get out of it, because it has become the culture that is being fed to us every day. None of us can escape it unless we do so by conscious living and conscious loving, and that’s become harder for everybody. I don’t have a problem stating the fact that trauma creates wounds, and most of our wounds are not healed as African-Americans. We’re not really different in that way from all the others who are wounded. Let’s face it — wounded white people frequently can cover up their wounds, because they have greater access to material power.

I find it fascinating that every day you go to the supermarket, and you look at the people, and you look at us, and you look at all of this media that is parading the sorrows and the mental illnesses of the white rich in our society. And it’s like everybody just skips over that. Nobody would raise the question, “why don’t we pathologize the rich?” We actually believe that they suffer mental illness, and that they deserve healing. The issue for us as black people is that very few people feel that we deserve healing. Which is why we have very few systems that promote healing in our lives. The primary system that ever promoted healing in black people is the church, and we see what is going on in most churches today. They’ve become an extension of that material greed.

G.Y.: As you shared being stopped by police, I thought of your book “Black Looks: Race and Representation,” where you describe whiteness as a site of terror. Has that changed for you?

b.h.: I don’t think that has changed for most black people. That particular essay, “Representations of Whiteness in the Black Imagination,” talks about whiteness, the black imagination, and how many of us live in fear of whiteness. And I emphasize the story about the policeman because for many of us that fear of whiteness has intensified. I think that white people, for the most part, never think about black people wanting to be in black only spaces, because we do not feel safe.

In my last book, “Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice,” I really wanted to raise and problematize the question: Where do we feel safe as black people? I definitely return to the home as a place of spiritual possibility, home as a holy place.

I bought my current house from a conservative white male capitalist who lives across the street from me, and I’m so happy in my little home. I tell people, when I open the doors of my house it’s like these arms come out, and they’re just embracing me. I think that is part of our radical resistance to the culture of domination. I know that I’m not who he imagined in this little house. He imagined a nice white family with two kids, and I think on some level it was very hard for … [more]
bellhooks  2015  georgeyancy  buddhism  christianity  spirituality  religion  race  class  patriarchy  racism  classism  mentalillness  money  greed  mentalhealth  society  capitalism  consumerism  materialism  domination  power  gender  feminism  idenity  listening  love  humor  martinlutherkingjr  cornelwest  allies  influence  homes  intellectualism  theory  practice  criticalthinking  pedagogy  writing  children  unschooling  deschooling  teaching  howweteach  oedagogy  solitude  workinginpublic  publicintellectuals  narcissism  healing  malcolmx  blackness  whitesupremacy  abandonment  betrayal  anger  masculinity  markmcleodbethune  resistance  safety  whiteness  terror  wealth  imperialism  inequality  pathology  poverty  truth  truthfulness  sandrabland  thichnhathanh  activism  estrangement  everyday  humanism  humanization  humility  grace  change  changemaking  transformation  canon  empowerment  composting  desire  lotteries  lorrainehansberry  araisininthesun  culture  trauma  sorrow  leadership  psychology  self-determination  slow  small  beatpoets  jackkerouac  garysnyder  beatpoetry  ethics 
december 2015 by robertogreco
There’s hidden beauty in abandoned World Of Warcraft cities · Special Topics In Gameology · The A.V. Club
"With yet another expansion in the works, there’s no doubt that the boom and bust cycle of WOW’s cities and wilds will continue. Players will move on to new places for new quests and leave behind the spaces where millions have spent countless hours. Those empty expanses will remain intact, pristine despite their abandonment. That perfect preservation makes these ghost towns all the more eerie, but in the silence is a chance to see the quiet beauty that was there all along."
worldofwarcraft  videogames  abandonment  gaming  games  virtualspaces  2014  samanthanelson  emptiness 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Alabama's Homeboys - Los Angeles Times
"For three years, L.A.'s Homeboy Industries...has sent a few of its members on an extraordinary pilgrimage to work with impoverished kids in Alabama Village, Prichard, Ala. Tucked away in the southwest corner of the state, the small community is rural, largely segregated, oppressed by violence and ignored by the surrounding community. Its young people have come to know their enclave as "Death Valley." The povery of the children of Alabama Village is shocking --- even to the Homeboys, who come from the tough inner-city streets of Los Angeles. But there is also much the Homeboys recognize: drug dealers, shootings, dead-end choices and the desperate situation of youth facing no way out. It is in these children 2,000 miles away that the visitors from L.A. find their calling."
homeboyindustries  activism  alabama  urban  latimes  abandonment  atlanta  gangs  journalism  documentary  multimedia  photography  video  poverty 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Ruins of the Present | Beyond The Beyond
"*We’ve long had a term of art for old buildings that are ruined...“ruins.” *However, we lack a term of art for “ruins” that are actually buildings never completed. Sometimes they’re completed buildings that are never sold...start falling over before they were ever inhabited...*Another version is the abandoned, incomplete high-rise...In Brazil a skeleton framework of this kind is called a “squelette.” *Occasionally squatters move into “squelettes” & bring in some breeze-block, corrugated tin and plastic hoses, transforming squelettes into high-rise favelas. This doesn’t work very well because it’s tough to manage the utilities, especially the water...*It bothers me to use clumsy circumlocutions like “unfinished ruins” or “partially built, yet abandoned structures” or “stillborn highrises” for a phenomenon that is so common and so obvious to billions of urban people, so henceforth I am going to call them “squelettes.” They don’t have to be Brazilian, French, or 80 stories tall, either."
brucesterling  neologisms  language  ruins  squellettes  culture  architecture  crisis  abandoned  abandonment  decay  squatting  unfinished  cutshort  structures  buildings  wabi-sabi 
june 2009 by robertogreco

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