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marcus itoga
05 April 2008 @ 05:19 pm



 
 
marcus itoga
28 March 2008 @ 05:29 pm








A PORTRAIT OF THE AMERICAN POLLYANNA


AND A CASE AGAINST HOPE





An Essay & Paintings by Marcus Itoga
 
 
marcus itoga
26 March 2008 @ 05:34 pm



INTRODUCTION
Personal Journey: The Papaya Factor


Thirteen years ago I gave up my car and I've been television free for sixteen years. In twenty years I've flown one international, five and a half domestic round trips and have taken two cab rides. I have been buying organic for eleven years and composting in my garden for twenty years. I've lived the past six years without a hot water heater and a dryer. I've never owned a cell phone and my pet project is to produce no recycling or waste by buying as much unpackaged bulk as possible and growing as much as I can in my garden.

My ecological awareness began after I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2000. Though I was born in Honolulu, I had not lived there as an adult. Initially I was informed that many papaya' were genetically engineered due to a damaging pest. The Pollyanna in me instantly dismissed this information. Though I understood the facts, I realized how my mind preferred negating the truth rather than accepting it. I ate papayas in abundance. It took a few years for the information to sink in and for me to understand the consequences for the consumer and the environment. Because of its' isolation, Hawaii is one of the main genetic engineering and experimental hubs. Monsanto is at home in Hawaii, a company that grew directly out of the Pentagon, their first product being 'Agent Orange'. Now they engineer crops to withstand their herbicides. This was the beginning of my ecological awakening and a conscious departure from my own voluntary optimistic blindness.

Most endemic species in Hawaii are extinct or teetering on the brink. The housing booms leveled pristine jungles and forests, the few that the sugar industry didn't massacre. Local fishermen complain about unprecedented and dwindling numbers of fish in the sea. Invasive species, run-off, dead zones and declining ocean life are commonplace. Recycling is at the beginning stages and there is little by way of public transportation. Hawaii, per capita, has the highest abuse of meth amphetamine (a 2011 study found Hawaii's meth use in the workplace at 410 percent greater than the national average), domestic violence, alcoholism, teen pregnancy and incest in the country. Owning a car was an absolute necessity and I could not wait to leave this 'automobilized' island life for the wonderfully walkable city of San Francisco. I waded through an ocean of cars, inhaled everybody elses exhaust, while I was the one seen as the obstacle. So, just recently having moved back to Hilo Hawaii, I started a fruit and vegetable garden to be as self-sufficient as possible. But, unfortunately, my ecological foot print skyrocketed as soon as I moved back here, since much is flown and shipped in from the mainland.

Had someone seven years ago come to me and said my driving was atrocious and polluting and that I must hate the world for owning a car, I would have thought them to be some psychotic greenpeace freak, making an issue out of anything to displace their anger, or at most, agree empathetically, then drive off carelessly. I know the dependence and laziness acquired with car ownership. I viewed public transportation as something vulgar, for those too young, old, crazy or poor to own a car. It's much more empowering to have a few tons of steel at your fingertips than wait at a bus stop. Our transportation needs are an accepted way to dominate the surface of earth and burning fuel is an expression of our discontent, disrespect and desecration of everything.
 
 
marcus itoga
25 March 2008 @ 04:20 pm





A PORTRAIT OF POLLY

Pollyanna is defined in the dictionary as "a person regarded as being foolishly or blindly optimistic." Her motto is: "Don't worry, be happy", "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade", "Accentuate the positive", "Ignorance is bliss", "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything", etc...

Pollyanna is male, female, rich, poor, old, young, black, white, straight or gay. Polly gets her optimism through religion, beauty, procreation, science of convenience and advertising, which in turn fuel her with hope and cloud certain dismal aspects of reality, which render those problems unsolvable. This is how optimism, usually seen as a helpful emotion, becomes a form of denial, because it make you think things are better than they are.

The American Pollyanna knows she is the most polluting human on this planet, but she doesn't like being reminded of that. She'll be your cheerleader if you'll be hers. She knows she's an ecological detriment, and that's why she needs so much validation. She wants others to mirror her pretentious and contaminating lifestyle, for in that reflection she finds acceptance and solace. She wants desperately to be applauded and will become venomous if criticized. She longs to know that her life, her children, her God and her pollution are all worthwhile. She has no interest in knowing how bad things really are, because she's not willing to give up an ounce of convenience, not a drop of gasoline, not an aspect of her 'American dream' and 'lifestyle'.

Because of this 'Pollyanna mentality', scholars and scientists censor their findings and sugar-coat their results, politicians are expected to believe in God, histories are altered, biographies edited, wars waged, atrocities accepted, scapegoats established, sciences negated, lies honored and natural occurrences are mysticized. Demons, witches and devils are created to accept suffering or explain horrors. Pollution records are incomplete or suppressed, the government silences and intimidates bringers of negative information, keeps them from being published and regulations of fatal industrial chemicals are relaxed.

But Polly is brain washed, conditioned and ignorant only to a certain point, because most herding is self induced, done with an almost conscious need to fit in, to be accepted by others, to be part of a larger group. The more average and generic she becomes, the more acceptance she will find and be able to see herself in others. Following the herd is relaxing and doesn't take much thought or reflection. It's easier to adhere to the most common denominator, to be observant of others and comply. There is safety in numbers and a comfort to be in a crowd. Like a school of fish, Polly will change direction with the rest, in concurrent unison, through fashion, ethics, morality and an insatiable urge to consume. In return she will feel the safety of the crowd and thinking won't be obligatory, just follow the herd, whether burning witches or fossil fuel, following affords the least effort and resistance. Pollyanna is a defense mechanism, not a virtue; she is hypocrisy, not a merit of decency.

Pollyanna's overt concerns are in regards to herself and her immediate family - not the community, species or planet. She says she's ecologically concerned and aware, but she's too self-absorbed to care. She might buy organic, but not for the sustainability of the planet, but for her family to live healthier and longer. She didn't quit smoking because the tobacco industry is contaminating and criminal, but because it's better for her health. She's ego driven, self-serving and would never give up her car for the sustainability of the planet, because it was never about the planet to begin with. Pollyanna is not the way you look or smile, it's the way in which you view the world and humanity and how much delusion you utilized to make sense of suffering. How much false hope you harbor depends on how much waste and pollution you produce and how much of the damage are you willing to pass on to the next generation.
 
 
marcus itoga
22 March 2008 @ 07:12 pm



POLLY & ART


When the American Pollyanna thinks art, she thinks craft. Craft relies heavily on technique and avoids personal and intimate expression. Craft aims not to antagonize, prefers to match the couch and shuns critique, skepticism or introspection. It is occupational therapy like basket weaving, meant to relax and lull you into a false sense of hope (blind optimism), order, symmetry and manageability. The pinnacle of craft is perfection, which is perceived as beauty, which actively denies the true turmoil of humanity. Therefore beauty will never alter the true nature of our ills, it only minimizes them.

As a painter focused on the darker side of human nature, the same attitudes prevail: "Lighten up, you're so dark, focus more on joy, spread hope and good feelings. Paint nice things." I get a strong sense of being herded from others to be prettier, more commercial, less confrontational, challenging, angry and to appear like everything else-generic, sellable and infiltrated by Polly's sensibility for kitsch and her incessant need for hope and inspiration.

Many artist mystify their work saying that it is a spiritual connection or God's gift that leads them to create. I believe much of art comes from the subconscious, something takes over that is not ones daily consciousness, but unfortunately the subconscious is not very well explored and studied, we seem to want to give responsibility to a mystical higher power.

Much 'art' is done more out of a desperate need for attention rather than a longing to communicate. Most artists seem to utilize their efforts not to say anything. As if being specific or personal is indecent.
 
 
 
marcus itoga
21 March 2008 @ 10:41 am



POLLY & HOPE

All of us are taught from the beginning to unquestionably admire and worship the notion of hope. It seems the one emotion that elicits the most respect. I'm going on my own, never having read or heard anything against hope. These are my own thoughts and words on the subject.

Hope is not like being pregnant, it's not 100% or not at all. Hope comes in various degrees. Hope is a mild form of 'faith'. Faith is an extreme form of hope. Hope wishes for a good outcome, while faith is convinced of a good outcome. Hope, can have a tranquilizing effect, which can delay changes necessary and thereby worsen a situation.

Hope can make you feel more relaxed and connected, can get you out of bed faster, can help cure illnesses, ease one's shortcomings, losses or addictions, cause remission in cancer and other diseases. But this very healing emotion can also be detrimental when putting nuclear garbage, actively toxic for 30,000 years, in barrels which only last 150 years, then dump it into the depths of the ocean 'hoping' it will all be well. This is when positive expectation turns fatal. How can Pollyanna spew tons of hazardous poisons onto the planet every second of every day and still, hope for the best?

There are different types of hope. I make the distinction between macro- and micro- hope. Micro-hope is a contained local personal hope, for growth and well-being for myself, my lover and my friends, or the hope that I can make wise choices, that I won't get hit by a car or that I can distance myself from conditioning forces, past or present. Macro-hope is thinking that, all in all, everything will turn out alright. It's a broader spectrum of positive expectancy that implies all is well that ends well, a sort of "happily ever after" Do I think I'm making a dent in regards to pollution? No, I don't. Not driving or flying doesn't really alter things, except knowing for myself that I am not a condoning factor to these crimes against nature.

Optimism can create false expectation and reliance which in turn induces complacency. Hope can delegate responsibility by creating a we-don't-really-have-to worry kind of thinking. People get hope from their children, by the thought that the next generation of politicians and scientists, will solve all the ills humans have caused so far. If we teach our children to love and respect all creatures of the earth but also teach them that burning lots of gasoline is the only way to get around, it indoctrinates them into double standard thinking and hypocrisy. Leaving this mess for the next generation by 'hoping' is not only negligent, but vindictive!

Hope is a natural yet infantile defense mechanism to endure abuse and negativity. Optimism is what a child uses to survive adversity. By 'hoping' a child, without the ability to change its' situation, can endure the cruelest circumstances. Hope combats actual, natural and justifiable feelings such as: depression, lack of trust, rage, grief, etc... But all these feelings become stifled and repressed by the 'use' of hope and optimism. As life confronts us with more disappointments, the use of hope increases our denial.

Hope is a flotation device and the delusion that the bad stuff will not injure and traumatize us, or leave its' ugly mark on us. Hope keeps a battered person in an abusive relationship. Hope keeps the fossil fuel engine nicely tuned and running, the atom bomb waiting to to its' job, and the hundreds of thousands of chemicals interacting against our health and genetic information. But worst of all, hope has numbed our last rightful outrage against the elimination of our human birthrights, like clean air and water, a diverse ecosystem, or sustainability. Hope are the rose-tinted glasses we put on in order to make life more livable and manageable, even when it's actually not.

If you are not optimistic about a given situation, a 'negative' feeling might lead you to seek change. That's why I gave up my car. To 'hope' is to do nothing. Hope alone can solve very little. There is no honor in keeping faith, when all it means is to tolerate and embrace human indignation, atrocities and contamination. Real solutions are the result of perceiving the actual problems. Honesty, not hypocrisy, can save us. Optimism got us into this mess, so pessimism may get us out. Take 'hope' out of the situation and you have a real beginning.
 
 
marcus itoga
19 March 2008 @ 10:22 am



POLLY, GOD & ATHEISM


Two thousand years ago most of us practiced polytheistic idolatry. Today Christianity is the dominant world religion with 2.1 billion believers, trailed by Islams' 1.3 billion members and 14.5 million follow Judaism. The American Pollyanna gets much hope from religion; about 95% of Americans are spiritually inclined (76.5% are of Christian persuasion). From the top 50 countries of the world with the highest proportion of atheists (Zuckerman, 2005), the USA ranks way down at number 43, bar below Britain, Israel, Spain, Italy Armenia, and Singapore. In a Poll taken by the University of Minnesota's Sociology Department in 2006, atheists ranked "below several minority groups, including immigrants, gays and lesbians, conservative Christians, Jews or Muslims as least likely to share the American vision of society...those who aren't religious fall outside of the range of tolerance, atheists are associated with moral and social disorder." In 1987 President Bush Sr. said "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots."

Population of atheists in the US is very sketchy at best. The numbers vary anywhere between 0.4% to 9%. The expectation that you adhere yourself to a spiritual belief system is so strong and atheism so shamed, that either you won't consider atheism, or at least, won't admit it if you are. A 2006 study found from 32 countries, the US ranked second after Turkey, as the highest belief in intelligent design.

'God' is printed of every US currency, on every penny, nickel, dime and quarter. This country is continually professing to be a nation 'under God'. The Western calendar begins with the life of Jesus. The separation of church and state is a great concept but in actuality, spirituality is pushed here so vigorously that it looses the notion of choice. You have your choice of an array of various religions and spiritual beliefs and practices, and no matter how absurd or fantastic, you are expected to choose one. Twelve step groups believe that the belief in God can cure most ills. The gay community would say that the homophobic churches ruined my natural inclination for spirituality.

Polly's intense need to identify with her peer will not prompt her to question the conditioning forces and expectations around her, nor to systematically scan her environment for absurdities, scrutinize mass appeal or stray too far from parental and social values. She prefers faith to fact, for in that faith she will not have to change or alter her ways. Her faith allows her to resume as usual, allows the continuation of ever increasing consuming habits and escalating pollution. To question the direction modern humans have taken is almost blasphemy, because to question our evolution is to question God's 'divine and righteous intent'.

Most religions came from the time of history when humans believed earth to be flat and the center of the universe, inhabited by actual monsters, sea creatures, goblins, demons, fairies, and ghost, with no knowledge of tectonic plates, volcanoes, viruses, bacteria or psychology. Religion was a primitive and inaccurate comfort, psychology, ancient science, moral guidance a reason for the unexplainable or to artificially inject purpose and meaning into life.

Our culture seems rational, logical and scientific, yet we embrace fabrications, fraudulence, superstitions, UFO sightings/abductions, psychics, channelings, healers, crystals, reincarnation, crop circles, intelligent design, soul, heaven, devil, angels urban legends, myths and pseudo sciences.

Alice Miller, in her book, 'The Truth Will Set You Free' shows the correlation between God (the abusive father) forbidding Adam and Eve (the children) to eat from the tree of knowledge (denial of truth). Eve breaking free of denial by eating the apple caused their father to disown them. Miller writes, "...I simply refuse to see obedience as a virtue, curiosity as a sin and ignorance of good and evil as an ideal state." This religious parable has also been utilized to uphold bias against women.

In the First Testament, Genesis 1:13, came the 'spiritualized' concept of human ownership of the world. "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." This is part of the blueprint of our modern ruination, the permission for humans to blatantly disregard the environment and slowly exterminate any species they so desire.

There are seemingly thousands of religions to which millions of books have been written, but there aren't thousands of forms of atheism, just one. It simply maintains that there is no God, nothing more, nothing less. Carl Sagan in "The Demon-Haunted World" contests that if we hold our spirituality and superstitions to the ridged skeptical treatment of science, using logic, multiple hypothesis, systematic testing of theories, controlled experiments, comparative reasoning, compiling statistics, quantifying and explaining data and using the chain of argument or Occam's Razor rule to prove certain outcomes and applications, then our culture would not be full of untruths, assumptions and 'baloney'.

"If we've been bamboozled long enough,' Sagan writes, 'we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in knowing the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken."

Furthermore, 'Thou shall not kill" may not only pertain to other humans, but also to other species. Most people who believe in God, also believe that they will be rewarded with heaven, eternal life, enlightenment, etc... Yet we could all be sent to Hell due to gross violations of basic laws of stewardship.
 
 
marcus itoga
18 March 2008 @ 09:09 am



POLLY & PSYCHOLOGY


Smiling is Pollyanna's cheap and quick method of simulating mental health. Because her happiness is not sincere, she is easily defensive, in need and support of a multi trillion dollar defense budget and 222 million privately owned guns. If someone sees that as insane, idiotic and rage based, Polly will detest and label that person, as a terrorist, anti-social, demonic or demented. Truth is her greatest enemy, for in that truth could lie hidden the terminal downfall of her painfully affected and contrived facade of hope, contentment and well being.

Pollyanna doesn't like to talk politics or religion. Differences could ignite arguments and break bonds of sameness and familiarity. Psychology is a topic she stays away from because she has no idea how the human psyche works. We understand the mechanics of a car better than we do our own mind.

The most actively funded branch of psychology out there is manipulative psychology used by government, military and advertising branches. This psychology is not based on mental health but controlling the masses by exploiting fears or motivating certain feelings, desire or angers; from eating a burger or buying a car, to going to war or question the validity of global warming. We'll go at a problem politically, socially, commercially, economically, historically, genetically, astrologically, spiritually, morally or even environmentally, but we will not touch psychology.

Most psychologists accept the importance that the first few weeks and months of life have on our emotions and physical well being. Yet we act as if what shaped us as children isn't who we really are now as adults. As if, after we grow up, childhood psychology doesn't pertain to an adult anymore. At that point we'd rather have genetics responsible for everything. Yet we call childhood the 'formative years' because we all know that's when we are formed.

Freud did discover the subconscious and several defense mechanisms, but from her book 'Banished Knowledge' Alice Miller describes Freud's retraction of some of his original theories: "The opinions most hotly defended are NOT correct yet conform to our child rearing system. The dogmatic of these false claims protects the abused individual from a painful awakening. The same function is also fulfilled by the Freudian theories of infantile sexuality, the Oedipus complex and the death instinct. Freud originally discovered...that all his patients, both female and male, had been abused children...After reporting his discovery in psychiatric circles, he found himself completely shunned because none of his fellow psychiatrists were prepared to share the finding with him. Freud could not bear this isolation for long. A few months later, in 1897, he described his patients' reports on sexual abuse as sheer fantasies attributable to their instinctual wishes. Humanity's briefly disturbed sleep could now be resumed."

Corporal punishment and humiliation of children seems, at first glance, to create more obedient children, though in the long run these children as adults will be more aggressive and destructive or paralyzed and fearful. Alice Miller writes: "If we deny the wounds inflicted on us, we will inflict those same wounds on the next generation. Unless we make a decision in favor of knowledge...blows children receive will prevent them from achieving adulthood." Which means the denial of abuse creates a repetition of that abuse, in some form.

Miller contends: "Every criminal was humiliated, neglected or abused in childhood, but few of them can admit it" In the absence of a 'validating witness' - dictators, tyrants and serial killers are created. "The process of healing require both the confrontation with childhood traumas and the uncovering of the numerous defense mechanisms that have been erected to protect the child from unbearable pain and distress." So, history repeats and repeats itself, dictator after dictator, war after war, injury after injury, generation after generation which Miller calls the 'repetition compulsion'. As such, pollution is like domestic violence or incest, it does not go away by itself, it is repeated, unless consciously accepted, dealt with and then abolished.
 
 
marcus itoga
17 March 2008 @ 12:24 pm



POLLY & CIVILIZATION


Civilization started as soon as we settled down. The agricultural revolution also know as 'agricultural monarchy' triggered wars for land. That has persisted to this very day and hunger has never been effectively managed in any way. Civilization is a product of fear, famine, catastrophe, and disease and, in so far, is the outcome of trauma, which is why it has always been saturated with domination, superstition, hierarchy, monarchy, tyranny, torture, armies and war. These empires we've created are not honorable and noble accomplishments, but a defensive/offensive fearful response to life and its catastrophes.

We see our time before civilization as an insignificant, stagnant and unevolved period of our humanity. Our past as nomadic hunters and gatherers is seen as an animal-like embarrassment, therefore not worthy of consideration, inspection or respect. Yet what we had back then, what we lack now, is a balanced and sustainable way of living with nature, not against it. We managed to survive successfully for millions of years, yet our 'great' civilization of only a few thousand years has the eminent potential of destroying most life on this planet. I don't call that 'civil' or civilized'.

It was only through the science of paleontology and carbon dating that we realized that humanity was much, much older than our civilizations, and each decade had us realizing that we were even older than previously thought. We now know that modern Man has lived on this planet for more than 180,000 years and evolved over many millions of years. We went from thinking we were only a few thousand years old to realizing we are a few million years old, almost overnight. Yet most historians only retrace history as far as the Egyptians, which gives the false impression that humans and civilization came about at the same time.

After thousands of years of religion, philosophy, science and medicine we still can't deal with fundamental natural phenomena such as aging, dying and death. Thoughts of reincarnation, enlightenment or heaven might take the sting out of death, but it still doesn't help us on a primal level. These notions certainly don't enable us to live sustainably or preserve a supportive, beautiful but fragile environment. We're not supposed to question the direction humanity is taking; we're expected to grab the oars and plummet into the mainstream, lead by those who came before us.

Einstein was quoted saying: "We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
He also said: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe."
 
 
marcus itoga
16 March 2008 @ 02:55 pm




POLLY & POLITICS


I always wondered how the Third Reich came to be; how seemingly intelligent people can commit genocide and the most heinous medical experiments and think they are the perfect race to rule the world. But seeing how the American public can be seduced, divided, intimidated, and taken hostage, through rigged elections, monumental lies, misinformation, a common enemy, illegal wars, concentration camps, torture, genocide, civil rights elimination, patriotism, nationalism, militarism, master race ideology, government controlled media, merging of corporation and government, unchecked corruption, complete secrecy, and fraudulent sciences, shows how fascism can easily take hold of an entire nation, whether it's a wilting little country in Europe or a powerhouse like America. By observing the Bush/Cheney regime, I now understand how the Nazis came to such power so quickly.

The American Constitutions' "pursuit of happiness" is a Pollyanna concept. Yet in the same breath claims the right to bear arms. Polly is compliant to and accepting of Uncle Sam because you can't have the world's strongest army without having obedient brainwashed citizens willing to jump without question.

With a world record breaking 2.3 million Americans in prison, that's 1 in a 100. America has the highest number and the sharpest increase of incarcerations in the world. This over $40 billion private industry, is about intimidation, prohibition and punishment and is void of rehabilitation, because that would be counter productive to business growth.

People are not influenced by their governments. Politics is only a reflection of the people. Governments are as honest, defensive, stupid, totalitarian, prejudice, fair, religious and corrupt as its citizens. Besides, there can be no separation between church and state as long as only 'believers' are voted into office. Whether here in America or a muslim country, atheist are not voted into the upper crust of the government. Until an atheist becomes president, there is no separation of church and state here in the U.S. The politics of a country reflect the constellation of the nuclear family, specifically its' child rearing practices. The manner in which parents view their children is the way governments view their citizens. Few families, if any, are democracies, for most of us grow up in dictatorial family systems. The ability to endure or even admire a tyrant, like an abusive father figure, is forged in our childhood. Any given governmental structure, therefore, reflects the collective consciousness.



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