After I managed to get back onto both of my feet, she returned to Arizona with Anne Mercer, GDF's chief consultant trainer. One heck of a gratifying reunion, it was, in early July, affording opportunity for Arconauts to become better informed about the protocols for when a service animal and its human come to visit or to stay.
"Ignore the dog" was the message. Not easy when the dog is as charming, smart and fuzzy white as the one assigned to me, right?
But I was reminded of the many patient folk I met during my stay in the rehab hospital, a goodly number of whom had gotten there by means of car-related injuries. Although I was the only one in that bunch whose mishap had involved a non-moving vehicle, reflecting on Guide Poodle's terror when she saw me tumble and heard me scream brought to mind an article that Dmitri Roussoupolos sent me two decades ago, when I'd come within micro-seconds of losing my life in an encounter with a car in mid-winter Montreal. Thinking about how much of Guide Poodle's training has dealt with the minutiae of traveling in cars and other internal combustion vehicles got me searching for Dmitri's article. After I found it in my files, I posted it on CritDesign's Green Energy blog <http://www.critdesign.info/green-energy-blog/how-we-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-car> but I'm still wondering how it is that no social rights or ecological advocacy group has yet been able to mount a successful challenge to the ways in which we've come to accept the god-awful, terrible violence that's perpetrated through our dependence upon the automobile.
It's been over half a century since Paolo Soleri began actively questioning the automobile's ubiquitous, seemingly omnipotent omnipresence but even back then, cars were practically taken for granted. Challenging the consequences of our dependence upon them and their iconic power was considered so ultra-radical that Soleri was by more than a few people dismissed as an unrealistic "Utopian" visionary. I find that odd since the only truly Utopian vision is that humans can continue to plunder the resources of planet Earth without deleterious consequences for its planetary ecosystems.
It is obviously no easy matter to shed our collective car dependency. Even at Arcosanti, use of a car is virtually inescapable on a day-to-day basis. Visitors brave the unpaved road between Cordes Junction and a Visitor Parking lot located behind the Lab Building leading to the Vaults (a structure intended originally to serve as Arcosanti's point of entry) and, as rule, both residents and guests expect they'll have to drive somewhere, frequently and/or regularly. Some, in fact, habitually commute between the "here" and "there" of one place and another, which I find amazing and ironic, to say the least.
For Arconauts to be thus dependent upon cars is curious but I recognize that it takes a lot of determination to overcome a monster handicap. Which makes me wonder if the handicap is due to a technological glitch - or a spiritual impasse?
Here's what a Warrior Code from medieval Japan says:
I have no parents; I make the heavens and the earth my parents.
I have no home; I make hara my home.
I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means; I make docility my means.
I have no magic power; I make personality my magic power.
I have neither life nor death; I make the art of regulating my breathing my life and death.
I have no body; I make stoicism my body.
I have no eyes; I make the flash of lightening my eyes.
I have no ears; I make sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs; I make promptitude my limbs.
I have no laws; I make self-protection my laws.
I have no strategy; I make 'sakkatsu jizai' (free to kill and free to restore life) my strategy.
I have no designs; I make 'kisan' (taking opportunity by the forelock ) my designs.
I have no miracles; I make righteous laws my miracles.
I have no principles; I make 'rinkiohen' (adaptability to all circumstances) my principles.
I have no tactic; I make 'kyojitsu' (emptiness and fullness) my tactics.
I have no talent; I make 'toi skumyo' (ready wit) my talent.
I have no friends; I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemy; I make incautiousness my enemy.
I have no armor; I make 'jin-gi' (benevolence and righteousness) my armor.
I have no castle; I make 'fudoshin' (immovable mind) my castle.
I have no sword; I make 'mushin' (absence of mind) my sword.
Arcosanti may not be medieval Japan but even in XXIst-century America, to fully engage in challenging the dominance of cars and embrace the idea of a car-free society, might we not do well to emulate the virtues of Bushido?
Although the material culture and physical landscape of the variety of experiential education opportunities that are afforded by Arcosanti continue to witness individual participants enjoying personal growth as well as vocational exploration; although the era of social media's expansion is apparently increasing the ease of communication for many people, the wired world's plucky new version of intimacy does not actually come with any sort of guarantee of its integrity.
I was intrigued, therefore, to come across a paper University of British Columbia Professor Wayne Ross has recently posted on <academia.edu> about class as an aspect of social stratification. That is, he asserts, rarely discussed. He makes a good point. Even in the mini-culture of residential Arcosanti, there is class stratification that has been largely glossed. It's hard to foresee what will ensue when/if that stratification is challenged, .