Pan and the modern world

There is a thing called character and it would seem that we are born with it. The character is something that continues to develops through the actions that are learnt from parents, friends, and peers. The path of the strong is to take control of this process and escape the limitations placed upon the development of character by society. To remake oneself can be one of the greatest and most pleasurable tasks in life. An artist of artists molding a persona as if it were mud or clay. For most of history only kings had access to the self-consciousness necessary to make these kinds of changes. Gradually the task of self-creation has pervaded many layers of society and now most have been given this responsibility of consciousness. Where we take the ability of self-creation is up to everyone individually and in this paper, I lay out what I feel captures an essential part of what humanity must become and in so doing give the individual an additional tool for the creation of the self.

The Greek god Pan was born of the union between the trickster god Hermes and a wood nymph. At seeing the half man, half goat creator his mother fled back into the forest out of fear. Pan was then brought to Mount Olympus where the gods were delighted by his outrageous form and charming laughter. Pan lords over the mountains, the woodland forests, the gently-flowing streams, and the open pastures of the countryside and in this way, stands in opposition to developed society. His paradoxical nature of being a fierce hunter along with a gifted musician and nimble dancer add to his charm and seductive power.

One of the few gods to die, his death is associated in time with the death and rebirth of Christ. In this sense the death of Pan implies the rejoicing of the greater light of Christianity and the mourning of the passing and separation from societies of more primal instincts. Ultimately Pan became associated with the image of Satan with his semi-bestial appearance, unabashed sexuality, and profound relationship to the world of nature and animal instinctually. Representing a fear of a primal way of life, Pan was demonized and a connection with the grace of nature was forgotten.

The natural world is something of great power that man has feared and fought throughout existence. Today it seems that we have almost won the war for total domination over the environment but in so doing we have lost the way. Focused intently on victory it seems that we have overlooked many of the consequences and now find ourselves naked once again in spite of our garments and articles of clothing.

To revel again in Dionysian ecstasy at the coming of spring. To re-learn the inborn sensitivity to ecosystem that surrounds us. Now is time for the rebirth of Pan and a reunion of the old values in rustic innocence and our most deeply felt passions in the natural world. We need Pan now more than ever. To some this will look like the coming of the Anti-Christ and great societal challenges await his rebirth, but the magic of Pan is that he does not walk where society has set its roads. His way is near the outskirts in the trees and rivers where no set paths have yet been laid. To create from the spirit of dance something alluring with such strength as to sway the foundations of the modern mechanical way of life. What he urges is for us to fully reawaken to the animate qualities of the natural world, thereby reestablishing our relatedness to both nature and our instinctual soul. Pan is far from dead for he keeps on being reborn in all kinds of strange ways.

A skibum in the purest sense of the word

Mover to the mountain 4 weeks ago, and have been able to get on the generosity of mountain people high and low. First it was finding the first couch to sleep on, then it was finding gear, now it’s about all the simple things that each person has to offer. You see, most people have gifts inside spring wrapped just waiting for someone to come along and unwrap them. Is it not the giver who owes thanks because the receiver revived? Today most people are too caught up in their own ways to understand people around them and figure out what kind of gifts can be shared. Most people find it to be a release to finally find a person who is will to accept their sincerity as a person. Really, it’s all about talking to other people to find out what their stories are and where they come from and maintaining that focus on that person even after your basic needs have been filled. It’s about the art of seduction.

Mountain rules are different from anywhere else. We have an entire team of pothead lifties and enough snow to make pot stations all over the mountain. It’s not as if we don’t care about the rules, its more that the rules don’t apply to us. Just the other day, during our start of the day meeting, it reeked of weed. The guy that’s in charge of the lifties made a special appearance and gave a speech where he did not tell us not to smoke, rather he told us not to get caught. One of the greatest speeches I have heard in my life.

The mountain is in Utah and with that comes many people who live a life by the book. No drugs, no sex, and no fun. Just kidding on that last part. On the contrary they can be lots of fun as well as easy to deal with. I have already gotten myself into many a religious conversation in which we try and persuade each other of something neither of us is going to believe in (this has been one of my favorite pastimes for a while now).

I have started to embrace my inner roguishness and have begun the seduction of someone who is already in a relationship. I figure that most people already expect me to pull something amoral like that and now that I am actively engaged in it makes everything seem smoother and fit nicer. Could cause a firestorm with me taking on all the old time lifties that have each other backs on the mountain. This would be a fight that I could not win, although I might be able to make off with the treasure before anyone is aware. I should say that I find it nice to have a challenge for a seduction. It’s exciting this way.

Friday night currently and I thought that I had a party lined up, but now I can’t find the address and I saved the contact under the wrong number and will have to wait until I see him on the mountain in order to get his info for a second time. I almost gave up on the night and resigned myself to studying something that could prove to be super valuable in terms of learning but not what I am looking for out of a Friday night. We will still see where the night will bring.

Every night for me is a challenge to find a place to sleep. Over the past week, I have been able to bounce from house to house. What has been really awesome has been learning everyone’s inner lives. They take me into their home and share with me their lifestyle. If I had a house to go to every night I would leave before things even got interesting. I would gladly pay for my currently lifestyle if only there were some way to make things dependable. Instead, when I have nowhere to go I wander the city, moving from coffee shop to coffee shop hoping that something might work itself out. I really do love my lifestyle and hope to be persuasive to anyone reading that has got the skill and the balls to pack up and move in somewhat of the same direction. I have told you it’s rough, in the future I will focus on the reward.

 

Towering above mountain, cast in shadow, eyes red

The demon named weakness calls you out of your bed

He says choose quickly, the fate of many rests in your small hands

To fight now and to forever or to lay down under my command

 

So soft and so sweet do his words lay into your mind

As if there is truth in relaxation. To sleep is divine

So tempting and sweet does deep darkness seem to be

Here we are shackled, in sleep we are free

 

Once we were stardust and to that we are bound

Any purpose beyond the wave is something I have not yet found

So easy it would be, to let go of the fight

Surrender to the pleasantness and become one with the light

 

But something inside you that will not let go

You try to control it but still it says no

This force it controls you and it says no time for rest

Bigger and better and you bang on your chest

 

Screaming at the demon we know only through fear

Screaming I will fight on and on hind legs you rear

You charge strain ahead ignoring the pain

You charge straight ahead with eyes set aflame

 

Now troubled our demon who cannot understand

He thinks that what drives you can be under his command

But you and I know better how this story will be told

The demon is you and the lesson: be bold

 

Shelter

It’s amazing living our here in Utah. I am shocked that I have been given the opportunity to ride the mountain all winter long. Still, I am baffled that humans find it enjoyable to ride down snow as fast as they can. When I think about it, snowboarding doesn’t make any sense. When I do it, snowboarding doesn’t need to make sense. A fairy tale without strife or challenge has no appeal to a man like myself and in this dystopian world that I traverse there are many obstacles. On one hand, I live with a privileged class of people who have enough money to put most of their time to snowboarding. On the other hand, I am out of money and don’t have a regular place to sleep and have been couch surfing for over two weeks now. This story is about sleeping in a shelter.

I started my night with dinner and a girl that I met online. In my mind I felt a desire to sleep at her house but I would not betray my real intentions. I was a gentleman and we had a good time. I didn’t need to ask to be able to tell that she was not the type to let someone sleep over after a first date and so I left graciously with a kiss. Making it back to my city of Ogden I wandered, looked up hotel prices, and eventually called the shelter. The pastor in charge of the shelter told me to stop by for some space in the dormitory. When I arrived, most people were already asleep. They gave me a sleeping bag and made some space for myself in the center of the room with the rest of the homeless. It was difficult getting to sleep because there was a younger man who would moan loudly. When I got a glimpse of him it looked like he was drooling on the floor. Eventually someone asked if he was sick and took him to a different room. Only then did I fall asleep.

I was awake before anyone else and eventually the pastor came in to get everyone up. Like a disturbed rooster, he called out loudly “wake up time” and then left. It was easy for me to pack up all my stuff and be out of the dormitory quickly. I was about to leave when the pastor asked if anyone would volunteer to shovel the sidewalks, and so I shoveled. By the time I was done they were serving breakfast and so I sat and ate with all of the people I had slept with the night before; there were about 40 of us. We were served a bowl of watery oatmeal and donuts but by the time I got to the donut part of the line they were all gone. I sat inconspicuously and ate my oatmeal trying not to draw attention to myself. Eventually people filled in to the seats besides me to eat their breakfast. Conversation revolved mostly around the poor quality of the food and how the place was mismanaged. After I was done with my meal I thanked the pastor for the food and the warm place to sleep. I tried to make eye contact with him but he seemed unfazed and simply nodded his approval. It was as if everyone in that building had been infected with a disease that made them numb to the world around them. As I was left I was scoffed at by a member of the church for not staying for service, but I had had enough and I was out the door.

At breakfast, I remember thinking of Nietzsche’s slave morality and resentment. The people in that room were filled with a victim mentality, cynicism, and sheer laziness more so that I have ever seen before. They hated the food that they had just been given for free. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around what these people must have gone through to get to such point in life. Most of them were over the age of 40 and I had no idea how they would be able to continue in spite of so much misery. Even the pastor, through his mission for god, had been infected with the disease. The economy of emotions had not been generous to these people and I did not feel that I could do much good by sticking around.

There are always sparks of light in any place. The old man I shoved with did a warm up jig that we all thought was pretty funny and there was a younger boy who helped serve the food who seemed more innocent than his age. I do not know where I will sleep tonight and I may head back to the shelter if I do not find something by a decent time. It would be a time to raise a shield to the negative energy as I traverse through dim and dingy places on my way to something higher. As for today I will put it out of my mind with ease as head to the mountain to hang out with my more privileged friends. The mountain is something I am thankful for as it makes all my time spent in these places worth it. All for that next run down the slopes.

The Life of a Lifty

There isn’t much to being a lifty. You have to groom the loading and unloading zones where customers enter and exit the lift, which is done with a small snow rake that helps push the snow around in order to get things even and level for everybody. If someone falls off the lift or is having trouble getting on, then it’s the lefties job to stop or slow the lift for smooth operations. The one other thing that lifties are responsible for is closing and opening of the lift. So, what I am really trying to say is that it is one of the easiest jobs anyone other than a computer is responsible for. It’s the part that is not in the job description that really makes the kicker.

Today I got about 5 runs down the mountain while I was working. These runs take me deep into the powder country where I dodge trees as I make my way down some of the sickest stuff I have ever hit. Powder language new to me and I am working on learning how to speak in this strange dialect so that I can resend it to my readers through the interwebs. (stay tuned here for more!)

I have notices that there is a progression of moods that happen throughout the day. In the morning I am usually better than your average groggy mofo who just woke up and is ready to get bent by the slightest challenge that comes at him in the morning hours. I am more the guy that is rocking out to his ipod on the bus in the morning just trying to trick my brain into waking up. It’s the late morning/early afternoon part of the day that really grinds my gears. It feels like there is nothing worthwhile going, and no way to make things interesting. At this part of the day I am forcing myself to talk to people with manors that take true grit to get off the tongue. I am also taking runs down the groomed trails just wasting my time. It was when afternoon hit that things really started to get ramped up.

I had a desire to hit Lefties Canyon today which is a bit of a hike from the top of the lift I operate. After I got my boots strapped in and cut left of the groomed trails it becomes a time of weaving through trees in fresh powder deep enough make you lean back less you get caught up to your waste in white, sticky, wet, snow. There was a moment where I was sliding along, not going fast, just seeing how long my glide would last before I would have to start pushing by foot. I took a slow moment to realize how little effort I had to spend in order to move. I hardly even need to try and stay standing up. It was at this moment that I noticed all the trees rolling by and the wind blowing through the forest. It was so much peace that I had to laugh. Astonished with the bliss that I had found I took my time carving through the canyon and from that moment on my day/life got much better.

Now I write from a coffee shop. I have made far less money than I could have if I decided to work at a job that makes money. Instead I trade cash for the feeling that is had after hanging out on a mountain all day. We could try and put a price on this feeling and short term it wouldn’t be all that valuable. It’s after this feeling gets embedded into the soul and when the feeling is not something of a passing moment but a way of life. I am new to this lifty business but if I were to put a price on the embedding of that feeling I would then have to shoot myself for defiling such a serine moment with something as tragic and boring as economics. Instead I will remain hopelessly star struck and completely in awe of the little bit of heaven that I have found and will continue working on making it a permanent part of my life.