I am intrigued by the sense that culture itself has a wild edge. As Claude Levi-Strauss remarked years ago, the arts are the wilderness areas of the imagination surviving, like national parks, in the midst of civilized minds.

This is a quote, tweeted by a Gary Snyder Quotes Account, from the book The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder, published in 1990.

Wilderness of nature and wilderness of culture. Wilderness outside and wilderness inside. I believe we need both to flourish. Some people are uncomfortable with wilderness of nature or of culture, but they also reap the rewards of it. One example of that is the amount of medicine found in the wild corners of the shrinking Amazon forest. In terms of music think of how much bass playing was changed by the wild Jaco Pastorius or guitar playing by Jimi Hendrix. When they first exploded onto the scene there may have been many who didn’t like it, but now there is hardly a bassist or guitarist who was not influenced by them.

I think this dovetails nicely with my old Spinning circles image of culture.

In the fringe is where everything exciting happens, never in the center. Cultures are like spinning circles. In the center they don’t move very much, that’s where the traditionalists live, the conservatives. Towards the rim is where the action is, that’s where the artists hang out. Life is a little more out of balance there sometimes and the spinning can make you dizzy there. What is most exciting is that many of the culture circles overlap and if you can stay in a spot where several things overlap you can find new clouds of ideas. Ideas are not bound to any individual, there are bound to a time. Many people in that spot will come up with similar ideas. Sometimes this cloud of ideas forms a new circle and the center of it hardens and becomes a new tradition. The longer it can remain liquid the more alive it will remain. Life is change.

Rant #5


the mind open with the inner ear « neo bohemia
Poetry is not something you can order up – the beginnings of poems come unbidden and then one goes to work on them, always keeping a huge space of mind open around it. The trick is to listen with the inner ear. This is maybe the most rewarding sort of artistic work, but it would be greedy to expect to be able to do it all the time.
– Gary Snyder

The same is true for music!

And check out this interesting post. Any correlation to the divorce-rate? What about the genetic health of children? Any correlation to genetic problems?

We are getting rid of ownership, substituting use. Beginning with ideas. Which ones can we take? Which ones can we take?

from John Cage’s 1965 (((!!!))) diary, included in his book A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings

Must re-read that book, which I bought 27 years ago! (The reason I picked it up today will become apparent soon.)

A little more about the album Under the Rose:

The four of us came up with the song titles in my kitchen. One of my suggestions was Under the Rose. It is a Sufi expression. As I understand it, Sufi masters usually taught out of their home. Most traditional Sufi masters held down jobs, often masonry, since they did not ask for alms or taught for money. The only sign that would give away that a Sufi master lived in a particular house was that a rose would be fastened above the entrance. Apparently Sufis did not proselytize. If someone was looking for them, they could be found.
01 Under the RoseUnder the Rose webpage

Barrett came up with the title Spirit of Saladin. I had heard the name, but didn’t know much about him. Here is Saladin on wikipedia:

His chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, especially in the accounts of the siege of Kerak in Moab, and despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders he won the respect of many of them, including Richard the Lionheart; rather than becoming a hated figure in Europe, he became a celebrated example of the principles of chivalry, a rare distinction for a non-Christian.

10 Spirit of SaladinUnder the Rose webpage

The webpage for the album: http://ottmarliebert.com/rose should become available on or around September 15th – nothing there now. I hope at that time you will help me spread the word about the album. It is very easy to embed the music anywhere using the SoundCloud widget. Just go to the album, or click on any of the individual track and then click on Share and this comes up:

You can customize the player, I used red for the ones I embedded above, and there are shortcuts for many sites.

Once our webpage is up next week you are free to embed the music on your weblogs (((totally easy!))) and email the links to your heart’s content – and please link to the special ottmarliebert.com/rose page. Only a week to go.

Saturday Burrito

Friday afternoon I took a walk. Sat down in front of a cafe with a coffee and read a couple of pages…
I am reading Gary Snyder’s book Back on the Fire: Essays on my iPhone (on the free Kindle application) and bookmarked this:

The moon shines on the river
The wind blows through the pines –
who is this long beautiful evening for?

– from the Cheng Dao Ke

Isn’t that wonderful? And here is another passage that struck me. I am quoting Gary Snyder who quotes Gregory Bateson

I would then suggest: as climax forest is to biome, and fungus is to the recycling of energy, so “enlightened mind” is to daily ego mind, and art to the recycling of neglected inner potential. When we deepen ourselves, looking within, understanding ourselves, we come closer to being like a mature ecosystem. Turning away from grazing on the “immediate biomass” of perception, sensation, and thrill…

What I like about ebook reading is that I have always have the books with me, on my phone. Books by Gary Snyder or Ken Wilber or Basho need to be ingested in small bites and well-chewed before they are swallowed. I remember when I first read one of Ken’s books in 1999 I would read a page or two and then put the book down and contemplate what he had written.

The above Gregory Bateson quote reminds me of something Stephen Batchelor said:

Buddhahood is simply the optimum mode of being that can be reached within human existence.

I quoted that from memory and it might not be word for word correct.

It seems to me that, just as every clump of small trees can eventually become a mature forest, humans can reach an optimum way of being, (((whether that’s colored atheist, buddhist, christian, moslem, pagan etc.))) given enought time. With the destruction of our ecosystem the race is on for humans to mature a tad faster, but as a species we handle pressure pretty well. In fact, we don’t seem to do anything until the last minute, until the water heating in the pot becomes so unbearably that we have to jump. :-)

Check this out – the water in that pot is getting hotter!

Played guitar for a couple of hours last night. Sometimes I notice that making music aligns all of the molecules in the universe. Things feel different afterwards. Rahim calls it settling the soul.

It takes an hour just to really warm up the hands and the last half hour of two hours is really fun. And in case you are wondering whether that means that the first half of a concert is a just the warm-up, no that is not the case because we play a lot during the day. Stevo and I find rooms to play guitar in and Jon walks around with his bass plugged into his in-ear monitors and plays a lot. And we always have a soundcheck that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. I’d say on tour we each play an average of 3-4 hours very day. Sometimes more.

I was wondering about starting shows with Silence: No More Longing again. I hope the audience has not grown tired of hearing that song. I find that it perfectly tunes me, the guitar, the room and the air in it, and of course the audience. Afterwards I feel ready to make Music, no, actually that happens at some point during the piece… I enjoy playing it and I really enjoy when I start the tremolo and Jon steps up and plays a solo. Silence is a nice way to introduce the band to the audience, the music to the room, the audience to each other and so on.

Saturday Morning. Early. Santa Fe Baking Company. Breakfast burrito – no bacon, and coffee. You know what I mean, Stevo! Did I mention that a friend introduced me to an elderly woman once, who he said invented (((and he meant that literally))) the breakfast burrito a couple of decades ago. For as much sense as a breakfast burrito makes, it wasn’t always so.

Old school fixie riding!