Cliff Crego's blog, whitebark—
Notes scratched into a stonepine snag, open to the light, clear air . . .

November 2011
« Oct   Dec »
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:52 pm

The movements of intelligence in Nature resonate
together like the circular waves of water droplets
merging on the surface of quiet water.

Shake one, and they all shake. Leave one out,
and another steps in to take its place. This is why
machines like computers, which are based at
present not so much on the all-at-once of the
resonance of natural intelligence, but rather on long,
complicated, necessarily explicit strings of logical
thought, so easily break. And they do this, as we
all know, in frequently highly disturbing and
unpredictable ways. Their connections must indeed
be ‘hard-wired,’ so to speak, one at a time. Given the
present need for this surface absolute precision, and
therefore the lack of the greatly more flexible
relational movements of resonance, computers,
computer networks, and the software upon which
they depend, are all prone to go haywire with even
the slightest low-level error.

Remarkably, if one were forced to tune the complex
weave of interconnected sounds and rhythms of
an orchestra in this way, one would
not make it past the first bar.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 4:32 am


When I have what I need
to share what I love.


A world without light or
sound is thinkable,

but not a world


The sound of disappearing glaciers
is not the sound of raging torrents,
or of thundering cascades.

It is the faint murmuring sound
of a thousand rivulets and rills
flowing ceaselessly, day and night,
day and night. with each turn of the Earth:—

a thousand more.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 3:57 am

In the Arts, technique without creativity
is like making love without real passion.

The outer movements may look exactly
the same, but we always sense that some
central essential something is somehow
utterly absent.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:08 pm


Once natural limits are clearly seen, there
is unlimited potential.

If limits are not clearly seen, then failure
and collapse are not only possible; they are
both necessary and inevitable.


We are only truly together with others
insofar as we are challenged by the same
set of primary problems.


Around the next bend of a river, there’s
always the ever-present possibility of disaster.
The only certainty you have is the far greater
misfortune of quitting before you find out.


Just as going on a trek requires that you step
out of your front door before you lock it shut,
dialogue requires a kind of radical non-attachment
to ideas. This is a kind of willingness to, without
hesitation, empty one’s rucksack full of cultural
assumptions into the evening fire. Everything goes.
There must be no holding back. A fire thus fed will
generate more than enough light to see the
circle of shared smiles as it comes alive with
the possibility of shared sudden insight.


We shape the world and the world shapes us.

In the slaughter houses of old, herds of sheep
were sometimes led to their fate unwittingly by
following a solitary goat with a bell. The sheep will
follow the goat to their end without complaint,
without resistance.

Looked at from a distance, we like to puff
out with self-pride, thinking to ourselves,
“How could they be so stupid?”


The Earth provides for more than enough
for all our wants and needs, but not for all
our wars and waste.


comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:44 am

The way of force and outward mechanical power

runs in a straight line.

For it, the way of water and the meadow meander

is just a waste of time.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 8:16 am

We shape the world and the world shapes us.

If we see in the distance a bright, sunny hilltop
of free, clean, infinitely renewable solar energy
that seems so close we could almost touch it,
it takes a lot of bad habits and years of intense
conditioning to convince ourselves that we have
to remain stuck in the dark and cold, narrow and
dreary, valley bottom of filthy, ever-more expensive,
fossil fuel. Yet this is what the Petrochemical Worldview
has done to us, whispering in our ears over and over
again, a thousand times a day, persuading us that
their self-caused Dark Age of scarcity, resource wars,
and climate chaos is now irreversibly upon us—which
is really our own fault because of our insatiable hunger
for the fuel they provide us—and that we just better
get used to it.

And we believe them.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 9:49 am

We shape the world and the world shapes us.

Conclusionary rhetoric shoots first, and asks
questions later, arguing backwards from conclusions—
or desired states—from often opportunistic,
disingenuous, evidence.

Conclusionary rhetoric, once exposed, can easily
be understood for what it is:—a kind of industrial
strength and scale, or ‘prefab’ method of both
setting out to simply get what we want, and
systematically taking aim at all those who stand
in the way.

At the same the time, conclusionary rhetoric
seriously corrupts serious discourse.

Logic and science—and it could be said, the
very essence of democracy, as well—do not,
however, work by arguing backwards from
conclusions. Here, we instead aim for truth. If
a way of looking, or thinking, or a theory can
be demonstrated to be false, we give it up.
This way of looking does not begin with
conclusions, but rather with real problems, with
real troubling facts in need of explanation, with
real contradictions.

And that makes all the difference.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:07 am

We shape the world and the world shapes us.

The classic von Neumann model of a central
processor, now seen as a major bottleneck in
high-speed information flow, surrounded by
its computational assets of data and memory,
shares many of the same limitations of the
traditional large orchestra, with its central, rather
rigid, military-like conductor. In contrast,
distributing processors by nesting them in
clusters of data sets, and then linking these
together in dynamic, flexible, task specific ways,
is very much more like the more egalitarian
structure of a string quartet or small
performance ensemble.

This potentially parallels the crucial difference
between control, on the one hand, by intellect,
and limit, on the other, by intelligence.

It also parallels, interestingly, the difference
between the centralized generation of energy
characteristic of fossil fuels, and that of the
inherently decentralized nature of renewables.

This is all, it seems to me, very exciting.

[sketch…more later….]

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 11:50 am

We shape the world and the world shapes us.

The future of the family farm will be based,
in part, on two new interpretations of two familiar
words. The idea of family will no longer be solely
based on, or limited to, outmoded and overly rigid
concepts of marriage and gender relationships, but
rather networks of friendship and shared intention.
And the idea of farming itself will depart radically
from the current trend towards bigger and bigger
monocultures worked unsustainably in every single
regard by fewer and fewer people. Instead, the new
idea of farming will ground itself in the much more
general concept of harvesting energy, whether in
the form of vegetable or animal produce, or the
whole generative spectrum of renewables, but also
energy in the more subtle sense of dialogue, meaning,
community, learning and education, and, ultimately,
the arts, sciences, and spiritual creativity.

All of this will be made possible by the two necessarily
parallel revolutions of Digital and New Energy technologies.
These, in turn, both emerge naturally out of what is
primarily an inward revolution of consciousness, one
which begins with the simple yet enormously powerful
insight that the way of violent force, and it concomitants
of power and control, are everywhere self-destructing
before our eyes, bringing in extraordinarily sharp relief
the clear necessity of the alternative path of nonviolence.
Nonviolence is now the sine qua non of right relationship,
with oneself, with each other, and with the Earth. Which
country will be the first to step forward, and demonstrate
that these principles may both be stimulated and
protected by new limits set by a revised and greatly
simplified constitutional governance and rule of law?

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:28 am

(1) The Human species is the only member of Earth’s
creatura that has taken away the individual’s essential
right to a place to be, right tp a minimal niche or space
where the individual may flourish, and the necessaries
of existence may be responsibly found and harvested;

(2) In a way, it might be said that governments interfere
where the should not, and don’t where they should.
They tell us whom we should and should not love,
whom we should and should not marry. Every
enlightened world culture—past and present—has
embraced the whole wide spectrum of human Eros
and Sexuality and relationship. But now, we have the
added ethical imperative of protecting the rights of a
minority against the tyranny of a very vocal, but
mistaken, majority. Worldwide, constitutions should
be ammended—just as they were to end slavery of
any kind—to prohibit the gross, immoral, and destructive,
discrimination against, and suppression of, an individual’s
sexual preference. The human family should be defined
anew, not by any absolute notion of gender and gender
roles, but rather by the clear and unambiguous freedom
to define love and right relationship in the manner
of one’s choice.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:24 am

What does the new “Social Graph” of the old
“Culture of Me” look like? Is it simply a bigger,
and more compulsive, ‘Me,’ with more hits,
more clicks, and more friends, to be sure,
but still in essence the same isolated little
node sitting behind a computer, still fragmented
from the life and suffering and beauty of the Earth,
still just barely aware of the inward forces
driving it to get ever-more quickly,
yet more and more of the same?

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 8:50 am

Victor Schauberger, the great Water Wizard of
the Alps, noticed already more than 100 years ago
that it was getting increasingly difficult to find
Spruce trees—the signature tree species of the range—
of sufficient stature and quality to harvest for the wood
of violins. Indeed, you will not find a Norwegian Spruce
in North America, where they are widely planted as
ornamental trees, without all the symptoms of illness—
thin, misshaped crowns, too few years of needles on the
branches, and the tell-tale adventitious ‘hanging
branches’ which shouldn’t be there, as if the tree
were gasping for air.

So we live in paradoxical times. On the one hand,
there has never been such a surfeit of technical
virtuosity and talent. Young violinists of extraordinary
ability, equipped with their Paganini and Tchaikovsky,
compete fiercely with each other in competitions
around the globe. And yet, I wonder how many would
recognize the tree which gives birth to their sound?
Or how many, like Victor Schauberger, would be
concerned about a tree’s plight?

We live verily in the Dark Age of the Literal Man.
Outward appearance and Matter rule, both in the Arts
and Sciences. And yet, we literally mine—that is,
extract the ore, putting nothing back—the great works
of our historical past, and contribute almost
nothing to build a really creative tradition:—New
works. new types of ensembles, new forms of
concert ritual, new ways of teaching the young, new and
better ways of using our own physical bodies in performance,
and most especially, a new and more true relationship
between Nature and Culture generally.

No. Instead we merely repeat. So the Muse,
the spirit, the life of the sound, looks down on us,
and is silent. And we think we need more of some
outward thing, more money, more subsidy, to fill the
concert halls again. How petty. It is our hearts that
are bankrupt.

And so we chose to remain in the Alice-in-wonderland
reality of the plush concert hall, while outside, the
real world pounds at the door.

Fiddle-top Spruce, a fine name, I think. I would
encourage any young person to summon courage,
and quit the lie that is contemporary performance
practice. Walk the land. Listen to the wind. Watch the
flowing waters. Strap your five-and-dime fiddle to your
back. Play your Bach Chaconne and Biber Passacaglia—
the heart and soul of a mountain tree’s repertoire—
under the stars of moonless nights to the kindred beings
you meet, as you find your own way.

Then the sound that you make may project further,
may resonate with something much deeper, than just

Go to page w/ photo & poem:

comments (0)
ECO SATYAGRAHA? tweet no. 1728
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:06 am

ECO SATYAGRAHA Fight only corporations
& government in court. Have no enemies,
only students. Walk. Talk. Demonstrate
truth w/ each step.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 2:43 am

It takes 20 kilos of milk to make 1 of
butter or cheese, 40 liters of sap to
make 1 of maple syrup, but how many
years must we boil down over the fires
of passion for but a single poem?

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 5:10 pm

asked the Squirrel, “Can Computers think?”
And the Squirrel said, “Sure. Just as
airplanes can fly!”

comments (0)