Friday, July 21, 2017

Why I Bitch.

A fair amount of people in the area where I currently call home seemingly have had a difficult time understanding my motivations.  "You're a tough nut to crack, Ludi", is a comment I heard recently. The normal things that motivate people are not of much interest to me...mainly because I view physical life as a mere mote...a blip in the continuum of consciousness...but an important blip if one feels that what one does here impacts their greater development..as I do.

My primary drive as an artist has been to bring the dark to light. Exposing the things that people generally labor to deny or avoid. It's my calling. I'm sort of like a diagnostician of civilization and it's behaviors. The doctor is the one who gets to tell the unhappy patient that they have a tumor, the purpose being that it gives the patient the ability to do something about it, if something is to be done. People are generally not filled with gratitude towards the doctor when they get that news...quite the opposite, in fact: they tend to blame the messenger.

A lot of my friends in most places where I've lived (and most of my online friends)“get” that about me. In the Driftless, an area where a lot of the culture is geared towards new age positive thinking, I can be a bitter pill for some to swallow. People don't want to hear (for example) that systemic flaws in our individual and collective behavior (that can only be rectified by a difficult amount of constant vigilance and raw honesty) are causing our own destruction as a species (and the entire planet, by extension). That tends to be a bit of a buzzkill.

My calling has made a lightning rod of me at times, which has been sad-making...but “to thine own self be true”...it's just who I am. It's who I was coming out of the womb, coupled with a serious influence from the Buddhism I steeped myself in in my teens. It has doomed me to being out of step with the greater world and a dissonant voice in the choir...when I make my voice loud enough to actually be heard...which is not often.  I'm not that impressive.  Perhaps I should have been taller.

For me, awareness is the goal, far over happiness or comfort. Consciousness becoming more conscious...THAT to me, is God.  THAT is my motivator.  

For me, the “good” (for lack of a better term) is that which develops and expands our consciousness, and that is of the down side of life just as much as the up side. The totality of the human condition, the human experience (and beyond), is what I try to encompass with my tiny little brain. The “bad” is that which does the opposite: it diminishes awareness, stunts it, stultifies it. It gives people the pill to cure all that ails them...at the cost of a deeper understanding of themselves and the universe they live in. That is why I find people like Trump so deeply troubling: he is a purveyor and result of a slovenly, slug-like unconsciousness...a force that exists to add to the general dulling of the psyche that has been our trajectory for the past few decades. It is against this that I fight so desperately at times.

So my criticism and complaining often has a higher purpose attached to it...it's not always motivated by my personal discontents (though being a petty little human being, sometimes it actually is). When I complain about something so relatively minor an issue as where I see the arts headed in the little area I live in, for example, I'm not just motivated as an artist who has found no place to be a voice here, it's also because I see a stunting occurring, most of which has been brought about with the very best of intentions.

My ultimate dream is of a world where humans have transcended their self-imposed limits and are in a constant immaterial expansion mode...dedicated to growing emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Given that we are probably in hospice-mode as a species, I gravely doubt that we will get to that beautiful place I've dreamed about and longed for all my life...but I still fight for it all the same.

In the end, for me it is the only fight worth fighting.  It's why I bitch.

Hope that clears a few things up.




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Direct Link to my NoiseTrade Page

Nice to see that people are downloading the albums!

This is the direct link to them:


#freemusic #freealbums #freemp3s

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Job Hunting in The Great Unraveling

I've started looking for a regular job again...there are things I want in this world that require money, so I figured it's time to start earning some again. I started this last Monday. The results have been surprising: only a handful of resumes sent out, but two interviews set already and a third strongly possible.

I wasn't ALWAYS a weirdo living as a semi-hermit in the woods...I do have a resume...an extensive one with lots of grown up stuff on it (though it's a bit job-hoppy...I've not always made the best choices)...but I'm surprised at the positive response. Now I just have to figure if I want my life to massively change or if I want to keep doing what I'm doing. My life is pretty easy right now and given both the curves my body has been sending me and the state of the world economically, politically and environmentally, should I spend what could be the last few years of my life working my ass off to fund a future I may not have or just keep fucking around as I have been? A larger city would give me greater opportunities on all levels: socially, musically, maybe even (gasp) romantically...but it'll cost me and take me away from my beautiful woods. Otherwise, I can live as I am by working a couple shifts a week doing something menial...and that may be the way to go...I can smell more flowers that way...and I like flowers.

Anyway...those are my own private musings and my own problem to solve...the thing that keeps occurring to me is a conversation with one of my best friends last week. He works as the HR guy at a company in Chicago. I asked him "hey...how many people out of 10 that you hear from for positions there would you say are in the barely-able-to-function-as-a-regular-adult range?"

I figured he'd say 1 or 2...maybe 3.

Nope...7. Ouch.

I've also heard that the REAL unemployment numbers are a LOT higher than reported (redefining who is unemployed can do that...neat little government accounting trick)...but one of the quandaries for employers is that there are VERY few competent adults with a developed skill set to fill many of the open positions out there.

I've been out of the loop for a bit in terms of the white-collar world...has it really gotten THAT bad out there? Is it THAT hard to find people who function at a professional level? Most other aspects of our culture seem to have tanked, so it wouldn't surprise me if this is so...so is it?

I'd be curious to get feedback on this one...

Saturday, May 6, 2017

It's all free, duuuuuuude!

I've decided to just give away my current albums as digital downloads for free. The reasons for this are listed below:

1- No one buys physical albums anymore...not really...maybe at a gig or such, but for the most part people stream it or steal it. Recorded output is now almost just promo for live shows...so I'm going to stop swimming upstream on this one. It's FAR more important to me to have people actually listen to the stuff than to make a tiny pittance off of it. For the most part, if you press a CD now you can count on selling MAYBE a few hundred of them unless you're on a tour and there is a buzz about you...otherwise your friends and family will be the ones that buy them and the rest end up in boxes or on spindles. It's all downloading or streaming now...and usually people don't pay much for that either.

2- I am more focused on other ways of making a living.

3- “IT” is here. All the things I tried to warn people about via my songs over the past almost-four decades are happening now and there is nothing that can be done about it and there is no “getting though” it: if the eventual economic collapse and/or potential global war does not get you, the collapsing climate and death of the biosphere will. Game over, man. So the sociopolitical/environmental elements of my work are now a moot point and now it's just a question of whether or not you enjoy listening to it. My music isn't for everyone, so only small percentage do.

4- I'm old and irrelevant and my time has passed and, while I'm still going to make music because I enjoy making music, I am (as ever) not going to be jumping on any stylistic bandwagon or be part of any fleeting hipster trend. I am what I am and I do what I do...so I am fated to obscurity. Fine...I will live until I die no matter WHAT happens in life. I've done what I could with what I've had. I think the work is worthy, even if it is out of step with whatever the current fashions are, were, or will be.

5- I have always felt that those things we create (including our art), exist and have meaning well beyond the realm of the physical...so for me it's important to share my work as I think it makes a difference on a “spiritual” level. Songs meant to raise awareness and get one to think also raise consciousness/vibrations...and I believe that that matters.

So I'm now going to use NOISETRADE to host my now-free albums. Download away. “Tip” me on there or contribute to my GOFUNDME if you like the stuff and have a conscience about such things (most people do not anymore).

(In order to download them, you will be asked to provide your e-mail address and prove that you are not a bot.  I assure you that I will not sell your information to any phishers or spammers...unless I get a REALLY good price for it.  A boy's gotta make a living...)

Will I be making any more albums?  Mmmmm...maybe.  I may just do one-off songs from here on out, as it seems that the era of the album has passed and it's a LOT of work, frankly.  We'll see.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Screw the Presidency...we need a Council of Elders!

Imagine being the head of a foreign power right now. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine this. Good. Imagine that you have a set of long standing trade and defense agreements with a country that has a political structure that can change course every four...and sometimes even two...years. Imagine that that country has shown an ability to veer from one sociopolitical extreme to another, depending on the whims of a largely uneducated and misinformed electorate who votes not for who is the most qualified and the most learned, but the most publicized and the most colorful.

How do you feel about this? Secure? Settled? Confident about your future?

Do you feel, perhaps, that your incredibly powerful strategic partner is one who is mercurial at best and is not to be depended on when push comes to shove? Does their recent propensity to elect brain dead demagogues leave you feeling like you should maybe find ways of distancing yourself from this wobbly partner in favor of partners who are more to be relied upon? Like China? Or Russia? Whatever your feelings about who they are and what they do, they are, at the very least, more consistent than your current partner...especially the newly-elected figurehead of your current partner (who seems to change his trajectory more than some people change their socks).

What to do...what to do...

In case you haven't noticed, presidential politics (and well...MOST politics on any level anymore) is not based upon a notion of Meritocracy...a notion that the most qualified, competent, and able are the ones who should direct the ship of state...it's basically a popularity contest...and a contest, increasingly, where the most obnoxiously noisy tend to be the ones that get center stage...and in some cases they even get to have their tiny fingers in reach of that special shiny red button that could vaporize half the planet in less time than it takes to bake a frozen pot pie in the oven.

It occurred to me a little while after the election that there HAS to be a better mode of governance...though I couldn't think of one offhand...until I started looking backwards instead of forwards.

So I thought of an idealized tribal model...one where you actually had people who displayed core competencies and experience and had many years and miles behind them at the helm. Call me crazy, but it seem like more a model of stability than anything we have now.

It seems that if you had, say, twelve people who...regardless of race/sex/creed/color/economic background/gender preference...were the acknowledged leaders in their various fields...who had displayed an unambiguous track record of actual success (not Trump's fake and/or subsidized success), a willingness to lead selflessly, and the ability to work in a wholeheartedly collaborative way for the good of the whole, and appoint them for life, giving them a reasonable monthly stipend and all the basics (to keep them focused on their mission and not on having to clean leaves out of their gutters or whatever), but NOT giving them the ability to use their position to unduly influence various individuals and events in their favor, that you MIGHT have the rude beginnings of a form of government that would actually SERVE the people...unlike what we have now.

Each member would be routinely evaluated on their performance by both their fellow elders, the aforementioned experts in their fields, and the populace in general to ascertain if the job they were doing was serving the greatest good. They would also be “screened” for any sort of past or current improprieties that would compromise said performance...and obviously screening for cronyism and nepotism as well. If they were found to be wanting, they would be deposed and replaced by the next in line...and if they were not found wanting, they could potentially be in their position until they fell over dead of old age. If it were done right, the things about our system that seem to attract nothing but various grades of sociopath could be eliminated and people like Donald Trump could go back to hosting insipid reality shows...or, more appropriately, fishing for used syringes at the bottom of a dumpster behind a poorly-run free clinic in a bad neighborhood.

And this would not just be the model to replace our current national travesty, but one that could be used all the way down to the town level (which is kind of the way it is in many parts...except for the screening for competence and nepotism and cronyism bit...those things could use some work...on all levels...everywhere).

I'm grasping at straws and ignoring vast swathes of human nature by playing with this idea and it's completely futile and I don't even know why I'm bothering to write this...but the national debacle has been dancing around in my mind a lot lately and I feel the need to muse on my way down the huge existential toilet that has become our immediate future.

You may say that I'm a dreamer...