Sunflowervillager's Blog

Growing into community

Answers February 25, 2010

Filed under: anthropology,geography,Ikeda,redetermination,risk — Saera @ 1:14 am

Wow, this makes me feel like I’m getting in rhythm, especially given yesterdays’ events.

“Let’s continue to meet,
converse and establish
heart-to-heart bonds with
as many people as possible.
Our efforts to expand dialogue
is a struggle to spread trust and
friendship in society.”
– Daisaku Ikeda.

Similarly, I opened up the March-April Living Buddhism this morning and Sensei’s writing heard my soul’s cry!


Demeter’s Salon September 8, 2009

Filed under: Demeter,Ikeda,Lennon,salon — Saera @ 7:45 am

Awake at 3:45 because my thoughts refuse to kick around my head any longer. They have waken me in their demand for release, not wholly formed and about to become a mess of tangents and potentialities. So a free-write ramble begins. I was talking with Tom off and on throughout work yesterday, little mini exchanges of ideas and inspirations and hopes and desires for food and barter and conversation and camaraderie and the old combinations of things that make genuinely inspired life. One of the things that stuck with me was that I was telling Tom about how I’ve been thinking lately about how I want to do something wider… not just getting together people to talk about the village…. but cool people who do are doing all sorts of stuff getting together and exchanging ideas and knowledge and inspiration, etc. He told me to look up “salon”. I told him I knew what it meant, and that is pretty close. I admit that I was a little snarky. But I kept thinking about it. Voltaire and the “Enlightenment”, and Lady-0h what’s her name… gonna look it up when this ramble is done. Woke up thinking about what the spirit of such a gathering might be in this age. And I thought of Demeter. I connect with the associations ascribed to this ancient goddess: the waiting of winter, the longing for ones distant, the creative joy and verdant growth she releases in spring, the associations with harvest and grain and plenty. So I thought of Demeter as a symbolic centerpiece of a salon. Who would she draw? Farmers, craftspeople are the immediate leaps, and vital ones to any significant gathering associated with earth. But the “traditional” author of the salon, the rebels and world-shifters must be there too…. the international peace makers and feminists and the radical professors. I don’t know if this is just a gathering in my head or if this is something that could take place. At any rate, I think it expresses a desire I have, something I want to learn how to do and I’m not quite sure of: foster the organic development of a social community of people with various visions and fields who strongly desire to change the world. Create a supportive atmosphere where people connect their visions together in a way that is strong enough for them to take meaningful action to begin making it a reality. On Sunday I was watching video footage of Dr. Ikeda, and he quoted John Lennon: “a dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream you dream together is reality”, or something like that. Can someone give me the exact line? Anyway, that hit home quite a bit…. right now sometimes I feel like I am dreaming alone, despite that there *are* people who have similar dreams. So how do I make the leap from dreaming alone to dreaming together in a way that we change the reality?

The beginning of the school year stirs up things for me. I have been thinking more again about some of the terminology I learned last school year that helps me clarify just what it is I am striving to work for. I keep coming back to “structural violence” as the central theme of what I so strongly desire to overcome. Structural violence is what we live with every day that makes so many people throughout the world feel chained…. it has nothing to do with living in the United States or not. This has to do with living in a world which is increasingly regulated, over-populated, defined, and economically stratified. This has to do with all the thousand excuses that are used to lock people into place and tie them into invented dependencies on corporations and government and powerful people far away. The only way to fight such things is for people to decide to do something else, and then use their inherent freedom… the sort Socrates and Thoreau and MLK and Josei Toda expressed while imprisioned. The attitude that what we do is not dependent on what external forces do to us, but the destiny we create for ourselves.

I need to study harder. This is a karmic regret of mine that feels more apparent at the beginning of fall, but is always there a little. If I care so much, I cannot wait for what I learn in classrooms and the few things my teachers are able to assign there. I must constantly seek from those who have the spirit of changing society. Time to get close to MLK, Gandhi, Daisaku Ikeda. Time to get acquainted with Audre Lord and Wendell Berry. Time to look at Da Vinci again, and Helen Keller. Time to finally get cozy with Thomas Jefferson. I’m sure I will start and get distracted by school or whatever as I go, but that is alright, I keep coming back to the same themes and role models.

If you are reading this, you are probably already in the salon that lives in my head. Thank you for attending.


Fall Semester September 6, 2009

Filed under: anthropology,geography,Ikeda,school,SGI — Saera @ 9:14 pm

I’m starting classes on Tuesday. This fall I’m taking Quantitative Methods in Geography, Portuguese I, Visual Anthropology, and Economic Geography. I’ve been wanting to take Economic Geography ever since I found about it and the professor, Julie Graham. Economic Geography studies how economic systems work and impact people in different geographic locations. It also examines capitalism, class, local and alternative economies. The language used to describe these things resonates with me strongly, and I believe it will help me describe my ideals as I work for sustainable and subsidiaristic community. I’m also very excited about taking Portuguese. So much is linked to Brazil and the Amazon, including indigenous rights, sustainability, and the divide between the economic “north” and “south”. For me, there are also religious links, since the Soka Gakkai International has been greatly strengthened by the response of the people of Brazil to Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, the President of the Soka Gakkai International. In fact, very recently, Dr. Ikeda was presented with a doctorate by Rohdonia University of Brazil in recognition of his scholastic and active contributions to world peace. I am also looking forward to expanding my understanding of Anthropology, as it has already begun to prove its relevance to my goals.