Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Books · Astrologer‘s Antidote
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Astrologer‘s Antidote

Robert Downes - July 7th, 2005
A
re you a wee bit paranoid about the state of the world? Cynical about the motivations of your fellow man? Do you fear that people are basically small-minded, violence-prone savages and that civilization is on the slide over an abyss of environmental and social destruction?
Relax, Rob Brezsny, the weekly columnist of Free Will Astrology, is prepared to put your mind at ease with his new book, “Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia.” In fact, he claims that “the whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings,” and has 296 pages to prove it.

In short, the same attributes you’re likely to find in his weekly column, with the densely sinuous prose to match.
Published by Frog, Ltd. of Berkeley, California in paperback at $19, “Pronoia” is a new age workbook filled with ideas for generating optimism. Topics such as “Drowning in Love,” “The Universe is Made of Stories,” “Subvert Colonialism” and “I Have a Dream” offer fresh ways of looking at life from visionary thinkers such as Ursula Le Guin, Isaac Newton, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Salvador Dali, Martin Luther King, Buddha, Jesus and hundreds of others. It’s sort of a “Chicken Soup for the Holistic Soul.”
Not that Brezsny would invite that comparison. In fact, he disparages the reference early on: “I invite you to share with us the interesting good news you come across in your travels,” he writes. “Not sentimental tales of generic hope; not ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul;” not life imitating the faux Hollywood art of contrived happy endings; but rather crafty, enigmatic, lyrical eruptions of the sublime...”
Whatever, perhaps a “Whole Earth Catalog of Hope” would be a more fitting comparison. Brezsny pokes gentle fun at modern fears, illuminating the bright side of life with a passionate cry for optimism.
His “Hype-ocalypse” quiz, for instance, invites readers to “Rank your favorite doomsday scenarios in order of preference.” The 31 choices include “wealthy philanthropists give everyone in the world $100,000, causing mass insanity,” “stupidity becomes popular” and a “revolt of super-intelligent machines” along with popular concerns such as the earth being struck by an asteroid or the destruction of the ozone layer. After awhile, it sinks in that it’s pointless to worry about things beyond our control.

INTERACTIVE
Brezsny has written an interactive book that can be enjoyed in any order. “Commune with the book as if it were made of music as well as writing,” he suggests in the instructions which kick off the text. “Let the recurring melodic and rhythmic themes guide your passage.”
He also invites readers to consider themselves “coauthors,” reading along with pencil in hand to fill in the margins with thoughts and drawings. “Jot down the five things you most want to accomplish in the next 20 years,” he suggests. “Name the people you’d like to see naked. Write the first two sentences of your 500-page autobiography.”
The book is a sort of almanac of Brezsny’s interests in everything from poetry and mythology to philosophy and political thought. Opening “Pronoia” at random to pages 114-115, for instance, we find thoughts on the divide between good and evil by Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn; the symbolism behind the journey of the underworld goddess, Hecate; an appeal to push past Jesus’s injunction to love they neighbor by embracing his dark, difficult side as well; and the meaning of our personality’s “shadow” as expressed by psychologist Carl Jung. And that’s just for starters. If you
 
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