All posts from Adam Balivet

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The San Francisco Diggers and the Garbage

The original Diggers first appeared during the 17th-century English Civil War, a time of great social and political instability. In 1649, Gerrard Winstanley, “moved by supernatural illuminations,” organized the Diggers. Winstanley and company also took some influence from Acts 4:32: “The group of believers was one in mind and heart. No one said that any […]

October 11th

Jodorowsky’s Quest for the Mythical City of Tar Alejandro Jodorowsky, the filmmaker/mime/writer/Tarot expert/etc., has made a spiritual journey of his entire body of work. This applies to both the body in its entirety and each of its individual parts. In the book Anarchy and Alchemy, Ben Cobb uses this quest as an underpinning for his discussion of each of Jodorowsky’s films, citing […]

October 4th

Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove

In an essay that I’ve mentioned once or twice before, “Fourier! – Or, the Utopian Poetics,” Peter Lamborn Wilson situates Fourier, the utopian visionary, in the Taoist tradition, specifically, “the Taoist emphasis on spontaneity, work-as-play, wealth, health, longevity, sexual ‘alchemy,’ complex cuisine, and even sensual pleasure.” Here, he uses an important footnote: “Taoism is not […]

September 27th

Anton Chekhov’s Use of Nature

Anton Chekhov, like other great Russian writers of the 19th century, creates a marvelous balance between the intrigue and excitement of city life and the contemplative beauty of living in the country. Chekhov’s descriptions of the natural world, especially, stand out in a body of work that is often understated, open-ended, and non-judgmental. They stand out precisely […]

September 20th

History of the People Through Nature

In a previous post on Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium, I discussed the theme of pursuing a better future. I’d like to return to it to voice my concern with the book’s focus on leaders to define history. Should we let individuals tell our story, or the people? Cohn writes the history of millennial […]

September 12th

Can Art Be More Perfect Than Nature Itself?

I read Hans-Georg Moeller’s Daoism Explained a few years ago, and for me, a relative novice in the study of that religion-philosophy, the book did a pretty good job of delivering on the promise of its title . . . at least as good a job as one can expect from the explaining of an […]

August 26th

The Possibilities and Dangers of Pursuing a Better Future

Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium provides a detailed look at millennial groups in the Middle Ages. He variously uses the terms eschatology, chiliasm, and heresy to describe the binding beliefs of each of these groups, mostly based on literal readings of the Book of Revelations. In general, they believed that following a period […]

August 12th

Nature as a Culture, as a Journey

Prior to “The Temporary Autonomous Zone,” Hakim Bey wrote a number of “Communiques of the Association for Ontological Anarchy,” which led up to both the TAZ essay and the idea itself. Although each one is unique and stands alone, sometimes the crossover produces interesting results. In “Post-Anarchism Anarchy,” a March 1987 edition of the Communiques […]

July 31st