The Book of Eli / Community (of course!)

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SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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The Book of Eli / Community (of course!)

Hey gang --

I was supposed to be on vacation right now, but yesterday my wife suddenly developed vertigo ("Hey sweetie, if you didn't want to go away, you just had to say so!") and we couldn't fly.  So, faced with an unexpected free day, I decided to get outta the house and play Movie Roulette:  yah, just head to the nearest cineplex at whatever time and sign up to see the next showing of whatever movie wouldn't simply just make me break out in hives.  (Funny thing -- more often than not, I enjoy the films I see using this method.  Considering how st00pid most cineplexy-type films are, you'd think I'd have given up this practice long ago, but...so far, so good.)  

The movie that presented itself today was "The Book of Eli" -- a film which, upon seeing the ads and reading the reviews, made me think scornful thoughts.  But as it turns out, I'm glad I saw it.

Without describing the film in detail, I can say it's ultimately about the value of faith when everything else in the world has Hit The Fan.  The movie singles out a particular sort of faith, but suffice it to say that it's allegorical enough that one could simply take the faith in question to stand for whatever Thing You Hold True And Sacred -- or, to put it another way, whatever ideal[s] or thing[s] for which you'd sacrifice your life (if any -- methinks too many people in this world have nothing for which they'd give their life...which is one of the root issues IMO).  

How does one bear up under the most heinous imaginable conditions?  How does one persevere when there is no hope to be seen?  How does one keep despair and cynicism at bay when there's no sign of relief on the horizon?  

How do we -- who see so much that those around us do not see -- maintain our sanity and ability to act constructively when it seems as if so much of what is...is circling the drain?

I must state overtly I'm not fishing for faith statements from folks here.  As we all know (if we've been around for any time at all on CM.com [or have read the Ground Rules]) this is not the place to discuss our particulars.  

The purpose of this post is twofold:  

1.  If anybody's thinking about seeing this film -- as long as some quite ugly post-Fan activities doesn't frost your broccoli, I'd recommend it.  (The film's narrative includes just the sort of Mutant Biker Zombie activities you might imagine in a dark dream -- it does not, however, revel in it or rub your face in gore.  The [serious] violence is not stinted but is also not fetishized.)  But watching it this afternoon was an excellent exercise for me in terms of clarifying "What in my life would motivate me the way that Eli is motivated?"  (my answer re this below)

2.  I'd be happy to see folks put forward their thoughts about What Gets Them Through when -- as I said above -- so much of what we cherish is devalued and perhaps heading down the drain.  PLEASE -- as I noted -- if you're going to discuss this point, do it not from a place of This Is What I Believe, but rather, Becase I Believe, I Am Able to [fill in the blank].  In other words, it's not what you believe, but how what you believe helps.  IMO it's the folks who believe in something other than their own narrow self interests who are going to be the shapers of the world to come.  (IMO, the MBZs will devour themselves before too long [the movie also makes this point]).

So, what's my article of faith?  

Life -- as currently constituted in these here Yoonited States -- has come to crown the individual.  I gots mine, yadda yadda.  The so-called free market mantra of selfish behavior creates the collective good.  The "you can have it all" thang.  

It's all flipped upside down, IMO.  

IMO, in times to come those that organize around a MeMeMe or pure Darwinian Survival of the Fittest/Devil Take the Hindmost ethos -- while they may prosper in the short term (and isn't that one of the sicknesses of our system as currently constituted -- the Almighty Short Term Gain?), but ultimately they'll fall.  IMO, while any group that intends to prosper must act in a Darwinian fashion (they have to be ready to work, they have to be smart, they have to be ready to compete, they should be competent in [email protected]$$ness), but they also must -- at the local level -- be committed to sacrifice, and be committed to taking care of each other.  Oh man, the Joneses need a new roof.  (Let's build them a new roof.)  Egads, the Smithses' root cellar got mildew (let's give them some of our harvest [and build 'em a better root cellar]).  Dangit, the Jacksons' PV array got crushed by a falling tree in that ice storm (we'll charge batteries offa our array [or generator] and gift them some juice until they fix their array).  The examples go on and on.  As does the commitment, as does my faith in the idea that Mutual Cooperation [down to bleeding together if need be] Is The Way Through.

If anyone here has seen the film "Sweet Land" you know what I mean.  If you haven't seen this film, it's more or less the story of my mother's parents (albeit in Iowa instead Minnesota).  I highly recommend it. 

I was a callow early-20-something when my mother's parents had their 50th wedding anniversary.  They were Iowa farmers (Cedar Rapids area) and had been since the Great Depression.  They worked pre-dawn to past-dusk 6-1/2 days a week for over a decade before they knew they weren't going to lose the farm (WW II basically created a "we'll buy every last kernel of corn you can raise" sitch, and assured their success) -- as farms all around them went bust.  On the occasion of the 50th anniv, it was made clear to the grandchildren they we oughta be there.  I put myself into debt to be there because that's the way it is -- family is family.  (Of course, if I hadn't spent heaps o'cash in the nightlife in NYC I wouldn't have needed to put it on the credit card...but that's a whole 'nother novel and I must say to this point in my life I don't really regret it.)

The party was held at some hall in Cedar Rapids, and I got there late (and under-dressed).  The line of people there to pay their respects and bestow their felicitations (on my [remember, I was a callow youth, right?] boring old Iowa farmer grandparents [sure, I loved them, but]) came out the door of the hall, and wrapped around the side of the building.  I knew I could go straight in and hug Grandpa & Grandma (and all my aunts/uncles/cuzzins) but my astonishment took me by the hand and led me to follow the line around the corner of the building... where to my further perplexment I saw the line went all the way down the block and around *that* corner.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I nearly circumnavigated that block and by the time I got to the end of the line (I remember this clearly) I was rubbing my hand up and down the back of my head in that way that means -- in the universal nonverbal human language -- "Egad" or "Holy [email protected]!" or "Whoaa."

In the little ol'town of Cedar Rapids (I mean -- really -- how many people does Iowa really have?), enough people had turned out to pay their respect to my grandparents that they'd circled the block.  Why?

Decades of public service.  In the actual service of the public.  PTA, School board, board of the local farmer's bank, boy scouts, girls scouts, 4-H, church elders/deacons, and so forth.  Innumerable potluck dinners in service of this or that cause or in honor of this or that member of the community.  All the non-paid jobs that create a robust, self-sustaining, and *accountable* society.  

Young idiot that I was, I only then began to understand what the big deal about community was.  A thing bigger than 1.  Something that endures.  Something that isn't corrupted or determined by outside mores (whether it's super-lib SF peeps doing their thing despite Middle America's disapproval or Middle America doing their thing despite the Coasties thinking it's backwards or old-fashioned).  It really hit me:  if you're going to build anything, you have to take care of the people around you, so they can take care of you.  For the long haul.  You do it because it's righteous.  And you do it because you were fortunate and just as easily could've been you on the other end.  And you've drawn them in, over the years, and since you're the visionary they've just helped out however they can.  They kept the faith, and you've honored it on your end.  

Something like that, I'd happily die for.  Five decades of a cohesive and benign group effort in which we're all individuals striving towards our various ends and goals, and yet at the same time there's enough common vision that what I do helps you out (or at least helps to hold space for what you're doing -- and vice versa).  And because we sweat together, pass the months and years together, and share this and that community activity (again -- from school boards to potlucks to church stuff to [in my particular case] the crunchy granola NYC expat barefoot dance parties that I deejay), we know and trust and value each other -- beyond money -- and we do what we do for each other because that's How We Make It Through.  

Yeah, sure -- all these things of which I speak are under attack or have withered in the last coupla generations.  But that makes me think (glass 2/3s full kinda guy that I am) that [i] they're ripe for renewal, and [ii] fighting the good fight doesn't mean you're going to be victorious...it just means we can all hold our head high for as long as we have on this swiftly-traveling orb.  

For those of you that have managed to bear with me thus far, I salute you.  And I'll bring it to a close with a coupla quotes from one of my favorite plays/movies -- Cyrano de Bergerac.

"It's useless?  I know / A man doesn't fight to win. / It's better when the fight is in vain."

You don't fight because you know you'll win.  You fight because it's what you believe. 

And if it seems hopeless, I hope I remember Cyrano's thought when he faced 100-to-1 odds:

"100-to-1?  I know. I outnumber them, but I shall go gently with them at first."

Thanks for reading.

Magnify!  -- Sager 

JAG's picture
JAG
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Re: The Book of Eli / Community (of course!)

Awesome!

You made my day Sager.

Thanks for sharing the story and providing some much needed inspiration!

All the best...Jeff

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Posts: 2236
Re: The Book of Eli / Community (of course!)

Glad ya dug it, JAG!

 

(now, to take the wife to PT for the vertigo thang)...

JAG's picture
JAG
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Verigo
SagerXX wrote:

(now, to take the wife to PT for the vertigo thang)...

Sager,

In the spirit of our DIY community, I can give you my professional 2 cents regarding the vertigo thang: (from my wife's website, www.painwhisperer.com)

The most likely cause is trigger points in the strenocliedomastoid muscle group, specifically the clavicular branch trigger points.

The Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) is a muscle group that is found on each side of the neck. This muscle group has two divisions or parts, the sternal division and the clavicular division. Both divisions contract to flex the head forward or to the side, as well as to help rotate the head to each side. 
      The sternal division attaches at the base of the skull behind the ear, and runs downward wrapping around the neck and attaching to the breast bone. Trigger points in this part of the SCM muscle refer pain to the top of the head, temple, above and around the eye socket, and to the back of the head. Additionally, these trigger points may produce other symptoms such as sore throat, dry cough, and eye redness and tearing. 
      The clavicular division also attaches behind the ear, but wraps downward around the neck to attach to the collar bone instead of the breast bone. Trigger points in this division refer pain to the forehead, to the ear (and behind it), and sometimes to the molar teeth. These trigger points may also be responsible for bouts of dizziness or vertigo, as the SCM muscle is involved with orientating the head in space, which provides feedback for the sensory information derived from the "balance receptors" in the inner ear. 
       Unlike Trapezius trigger points, SCM trigger points do not refer pain or stiffness to the neck. The pain from SCM trigger points is almost always severe, and is typically misdiagnosed as migraine or cluster headaches.

You can release these SCM trigger points by the following method:

The SCM muscle usually develops trigger points secondarily to existing trigger points in the Trapezius muscle group:

 The Trapezius is the large, diamond shaped muscle group that forms the base of the neck and upper back region. It has attachment points at the base of the skull, along the spine, on the shoulder blade, and on the collar bone. When this muscle contracts it typically moves the shoulder blade, but it also plays a part in moving the neck and head. Trigger points in this muscle refer pain to the back and side of the neck, to the temple region, behind the ear or back of the head, to the shoulder joint, and in the upper back region. Trigger points in this muscle develop for a number of reasons, including poor posture, emotional stress, whiplash injuries, falls, and sleeping positions (or sleeping under a ceiling fan). Additionally, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and dehydration (like the dehydration associated with a hangover) may activate trigger points in this muscle.

....and you can release this trigger point with the following technique:

Hope this helps...PM me if you have any questions.

Best...Jeff

 

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Full Moon
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Re: The Book of Eli / Community (of course!)

 Sager ,  Thanks  for the movie review and validation that we think we are in the best place ever  ... small ,Midwest town ,USA .    

    Yes there are some cut backs to what the school  offers but the community will be there to cover these needs .   The older folks go into  the school  for an hour afterwards and help any child with  math or reading .   There are many in the churches to teach skills like sewing and knitting .  Older gentlemen that would be happy to teach welding and plumbing .     Even at the nursing home   the folks will teach the kids checkers or chess .  Of course it comes back to the parents encouraging the kids to take advantage  or they would be happy to sit in front of the TV all evening .  I notice the schools are geared to train the kids to work for someone else in factories or  do desk jobs . Then  we wonder why everyone ends up with such health problems .

 You talk about  the attendance at  your  grandparent anniversary....   just  ask how many jello salads show up at their funeral .

 Over and over we have see the communities work together to get things done .

 It is hard for us to see many advantage to living in the cities , especially since shopping does not give us any jolly's ,   there must be a reason  so many like it .  I did try to be content with every  city ,state, and country we lived in ... We choose to do the best for where we are, and  our circumstances  do not control  us .   In our small communities  things just seem more manageable. We know how to get together and solve our problems  although we have less resources to pool together to do big things  we are happy with simpler needs and wants .

 Full Moon

  Oh please,***, strengthen me to raise children who will be able to dwell in  the gates of our community  and to  bring  integrity,  truth, and justice to our land again. Amen."

  I

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Re: Vertigo
JAG wrote:

Sager,

In the spirit of our DIY community, I can give you my professional 2 cents regarding the vertigo thang: (from my wife's website, www.painwhisperer.com)

The most likely cause is trigger points in the strenocliedomastoid muscle group, specifically the clavicular branch trigger points.

Dude -- I meant to post this sooner, but THANK YOU!  The wife (who is a LMT herself) is perusing this and we'll see what she makes of it.  

My fingertips stand ready to hit trigger points as needed.  [smile]

Thanks again, man!

Viva -- Sager

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ao
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Posts: 2220
Re: The Book of Eli / Community (of course!)

Sager,

Loved the story about your grandparents.  They sound like the salt-of-the-earth types who made this country great.  I couldn't agree with you more about community and cooperation.

With regards to the vertigo issue, Jeff's suggestion is certainly worth a try.  However, while primary myofascial dysfunction can and does exist, I find it's just as often upper cervical joint dysfunction causing reflexogenic myofascial irritation in the sternomastoid muscles (Travell uses the old term "sternocleidomastoid" but newer anatomical nomenclature uses "sternomastoid") and the upper trapezius.  That's why the two trigger points are commonly associated.  When you manipulate a restricted facet joint at C2-3 for example and the trigger points clear immediately and the vertigo disappears, you know it's the joint dysfunction that caused the problem and the trigger points are secondary.  Travell didn't know how to manipulate well so she never learned that connection directly.  She was most effective treating the problems where the trigger points were primary but not when they were secondary.  Plus, for your wife's reference, if you treat them myofascially, it's always a good idea to treat both sides to achieve balance.  Travell was a stickler about that and rightfully so.

Also, there are a whole host of other causes of vertigo.  An orthopaedic manual PT is a good choice. http://jmmtonline.com/documents/v14n3/SchenkV14N3.pdf

There're also psychological causes of vertigo.  It's not uncommon that when an individual is facing a situation that is something they don't want to do or that is psychologically disorienting, they will develop vertigo/dizziness/dysequilibrium.  I've seen it occur repeatedly.  Any reason your wife didn't want to go on vacation?

 

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Re: The Book of Eli / Community (of course!)

Thanks for the thoughts, ao.  I've passed them along to my wife and she'll do with them what she will.  

It's really nice to have folks offering help.  I'm just hoping she'll be well soon...

Viva -- Sager

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