cultural myths and misery

John Cropper j.cropper at
Thu Dec 13 22:18:56 EST 2001

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----- Original Message -----
From: "John Schinnerer" <eco_living at>
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at>
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 4:20
Subject: Re: cultural myths and misery

> Aloha,
> > You appear to use this for each of your posts
> > without fail, so I'm curious, do you use it as
> > anything more than a cursory greeting? How does
> > it translate?
> I use it as a salutation.  I spent about four liminal, learning,
> deep-work-starting years of my life on Hawai'i Island, where I now have
> a bit of land where I spend part of the year (hopefully...).  I like
> the sound of the language, the rhythm and pattern of it, the
> chicken-skin-raising power of it in the voice of a master chanter, and
> would like to learn to speak considerably more of it someday than the
> handful of words I currently know.
> I like 'aloha' as a salutation because it carries many meanings (hello,
> goodby, regards, until we meet again, compassion, affection, love) -
> Hawaiian is a highly context-sensitive and metaphorical language (at
> least that's how Western linguists describe it) - and because it links
> me with Hawai'i, a place that I have experienced and continue to
> experience significant heartfelt relatings with, despite seemingly
> overwhelming 'problems in paradise' and the fact that I am a caucasian
> of Northern European descent with no apparent genealogical affinity to
> the Islands whatsoever.
> ............
> > I would say that philosophy in general deals with
> > matters that cannot be addresses in a
> > quantitative or empirical fashion. As I posted in
> > a previous thread, it deals with questions like,
> >
> > * Why is there something rather than nothing?
> > * What is the point of life?
> > * What is the good life?
> > * What is beauty?
> >
> > Even if not answerable in any ultimate sense,
> > they do have practical value--far from mere head
> > games, they deal with the big questions upon
> > which probably everyone dwells for longer or
> > shorter periods at some point in their life, and
> > which can inform some major life choices.
> And I ask - "Who chose these questions?  Who has taught me (us, you)
> that they are 'big'?  What are the implicits in these questions and
> what are consequences of those implicits?  What if these are the
> 'wrong' questions?  What others might I ask?"
> Perhaps there *is* nothing, rather than something.  How would we know?
> Quantum physicists are reaching 'explanations' already reached by
> ancient 'philosophies'.
> Perhaps "life" has no "point," and does not need one imposed on it;
> perhaps it even "works" better that way.
> Bill Moyers (in the taped conversation series he did with Joseph
> Campbell) asks Campbell what he sees the collective mythologies of the
> world's cultures telling us in answer to the so-called timeless
> question of "the meaning of life."
> Campbell replies that he thinks what is important and worthwhile is not
> "the meaning of life" but rather "the experience of living."
> This was, and still is, one of the most profound insights I've received
> in my life thus far.
> What if all life is the good life?
> What if beauty just is?
> So when I refer to 'head games,' I mean living in the past or future or
> somewhere other than here and now, present moment.  I don't see it as
> 'bad' or 'wrong', I just see it as a choice that I am less inclined to
> make than I used to be.
> =====
> John Schinnerer, MA
> --------------------
> - Eco-Living -
> Cultural & Ecological Designing
> Food - Shelter - Community
> john at
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