Added in September 2010, the prologue begins with a look at modern physics, emphasizing the points that processes are more important than results, that contradiction is something we always have to work through, and that the way to navigate uncertainty is to fearlessly engage in the process.
Dedication and Apology
I explain my motivation for writing this book.
PART I: Movements About The Northern Hemisphere
1. Strange Coincidences:
My journey begins when I read a story by Kurt Vonnegut titled, Protocols of the Leaders of Tralfamadore, then happen upon the document that this is a satire of, the Protocols of the Leaders of Zion, and I document other strange coincidences.
In an attempt to explain these coincidences without resorting to spiritual paths, astrological scripts, or pseudo-science, I look at Carl Jung's theory of Synchronicity.
My husband, Jamie, and I travel to Zürich, where I am inspired by Switzerland's long history of entrusting the people to decide their own fate; and I note the role of the Swiss in WWII.
- The Shock Doctrine: Then, I include a segment about an interview I see with Naomi Klein, about her book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, where I note the connection between her thesis and my observations about democratic principles.
In Switzerland again, I become inspired on many levels. Back in Florida, I learn that Jung had lived in Zürich.
- Well, Excuse Me, Milton Friedman: In this essay, I explain how I learned about Milton Friedman purely by accident and describe his “free market ideology” as Fascism.
4. On The Road:
Jamie and I hit the road, first running down to Fr. Lauderdale, then north to Asheville, N.C., where I confront the Biltmore mansion and the terms “robber barons” vs. “captains of industry,” in the context of how the wrongs of history must be remembered in order to better understand the present. Then we head westward.
- Nouveau-Nomadism: This description of an alternative lifestyle is included in this chapter.
We pass by the birthplace of Woody Guthrie.
- On Sadness: In this essay, I talk about the Trail of Tears, the loss of the Bison, and the Dust Bowl.
Then I write about folk festivals, the fighting spirit with which individuals must stand up for democratic principles, how anger comes from sadness, how traditions have both beautiful and ugly parts.
- Tragedy and Irony: I point out layers of bigotry and hypocrisy that blanket this nation's history, arriving at rant about Ayn Rand's twisted morality.
I talk about humans being irrational.
- Who Is Howard Zinn?: Reflections on having seen the documentary, Howard Zinn: You Can‟t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, which leads to my thoughts on Marketing and The Pursuit Of Happiness.
Next, I run down a list of what a guy Tom Delay is and describe some of the scenery of Texas.
7. New Mexico:
I detail how landscapes, climates, and human histories converge to generate the unique energies of places. We drive back roads over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, into the Santa Fe region, then head past Los Alamos National Laboratory.
- Power Requires Wisdom: This is an essay about the wisdom of knowing the limits of our control.
We go on to visit Bandelier National Monument, where I ponder the significance of the atomic bomb lab's location nearby, in light of the Ancestral Pueblo lore about the unintended consequences of power without wisdom, and I introduce my fabulous Mexican dog, Kutzie.
I talk about the nomadic tribes and their sad encounter with Capitalism; we travel through Durango, birthplace of our other fabulous dog, Ursa, over the passes to Ouray, the supposed inspiration for Ayn Rand's capitalist paradise, Galt's Gulch.
- Chief Ouray: Here, I marvel at how Ms. Rand heard the voices of Capitalism over the voices of Nature, and I discuss how monetary, social, religious systems have nothing to do with Nature.
We then pass through our favorite mountain cowboy town.
We celebrate solitude in the back country, and I talk about how Property does not equal Happiness.
- Studs Speaks: This essay is based on an interview with Studs Turkel.
We go on to Moab and encounter the spirit of Edward Abbey, where I express the Passion associated with that place.
10. Heading Back East:
While heading toward Cortez, CO, I recall the incident of the fugitives who escaped from the massive federal dragnet after gunning down a cop.
- Militias To Mercenaries: I wonder about the militants who hate the government so much, also mentioning the book, The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, by Naomi Wolf.
We go via the San Luis Valley and South Park to Denver to visit family, and memories of my suburban upbringing surge forth.
- Accountability: This essay explores George Lakoff’s Father Figure Framework as well as Speaking Truth to Power in connection to taking responsibility.
At the end of the chapter, we leave Kutzie with my sister and zip back to Florida.
11. String Theory:
I learn about String Theory, and wonder if thoughts might exist as closed loops of vibrating energy strings.
- Possibilities: Here, I talk about Herbie Hancock's documentary on the making of his album, Possibilities, and about his association of Jazz music with the Human Spirit.
12. Heading North To Go South:
I hear Daniel Goleman on NPR talking about mental wi-fi while driving to West Virginia. We leave Ursa with our friend, get to JFK airport, and head off to Tahiti.
PART II: Movements About French Polynesia
We arrive to Tahiti, explore, it begins to rain, I read about Jack London, which leads me down the path of romance.
- Romancing Romanticism: Romanticism is in the air, but it corrupts our view of reality.
We emerge from our room, enjoy the spectacular scenery, and I become inspired to write the outline for the short story:
- The Man On The Tram: A Short Story.
I describe our adventures while staying at a camp ground on this fantastically green island, including visiting ancient ruins, discovering ginger liqueur, some of the people we meet, the full moon rising.
- Change?: The 2006 midterm elections occur in the States, and I discuss the consequences of those elections over one year later. I also discuss the Bertolucci movie, 1900, about Italian Fascism, pointing out disturbing similarities with the mortgage crisis as well as with New Orleans.
Here we stay at a hostel, make friends, visit a museum a few times, experience the sacred blue-eyed eels, and I end up diverging into memories of travels to Costa Rica
- Here And There: This essay lays out more of my thoughts about energies of places.
Switzerland enters the discussion, along with what one might be proud of their country about, we observe French military maneuvers, move down the beach to get naked, Synchronicity strikes again, and we depart the islands.
PART III: Movements About Australia
16. Learning Aussie Speak:
We arrive in Sydney, learn to speak Aussie, and explore. My essay,
- Cuckoo Clocks, Condottieri, And Character: This is an essay about Orson Welles' famous “cuckoo clock speech” and how he was mistaken about the Swiss having invented the cuckoo clock, the role of the House of the Borgia, the nature of power struggles in Europe, and the motivation for great art.
17. In Darwin’s Footsteps:
We travel into the mountains to Katoomba and experience the ancientness of the land.
18. Cultured In Sydney:
We go back to Sydney to take in several cultural events along with some craziness at the youth hostel.
The Indian-Pacific Train takes us from Sydney to Perth on a four day odyssey, where we meet people from all over the world, see the moon hanging upside-down, and I become one very discombobulated traveler.
- Space-Time: This is the result of three days of “squishing the x-axis, stretching the y-axis, squelching the z-axis, erasing the line of Time altogether,” and trying to stand still on a moving train.
20. The Oz of Oz:
Arrived in Perth, we socialize with people from the train, explore the city, see the Indian Ocean for the first time, and then head down to a flat in Fremantle, where “Surfer Boy” from the train, who reminds me of the anti-hero, Dean Moriarty, and “Friend of Surfer Boy” pay us a visit.
21. Southwest Corner:
Stumbling upon the Daniel Goleman book I had heard about leads me to discover an amazing essay titled, No Fixed Address: Nomads and the Fate of the Planet, by Robyn Davidson, that speaks to me, especially her beautiful description of the Aboriginal Dreaming. A road trip then takes us along the southern coast to the town of Esperance, where we experience more craziness in the youth hostel, visit pristine beaches, and back at the hostel again, a drunken Jamie announces that a black man could very well become the next president of the United States. We drive west to where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, then back to Fremantle for a quiet Christmas.
22. Dream Time:
Here, I tie together the myriad ideas that are sparking off in my head, ignited by the nomad essay and an article about neuroscience.
- Origins of Ideas: Here, I acknowledge that many of the ideas I have been expressing had originated from this brainstorm, write about offering new paradigms to replace the old paradigms, discuss Zoroastrianism, and recognize that humans are always drawn to Conflict.
23. New Year:
How we end up being the most Mexican people at our Mexican New Year’s Celebration and begin New Year’s Day with a shriek.
- From Ferlinghetti To The Beat-Les: Here, I recount an interview with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, write about romanticizing, critique Mr. Ferlinghetti about his view of Jazz music, and explore more about drama and conflict and scripts and the need for new patterns.
24. Across The Continent:
I discover a note in an old diary about Kurt Vonnegut and strange coincidences; We hop a plane to Adelaide, then a bus to Naracorte, visit with some real Aussies, ride another bus to Melbourne, then fly to Tasmania.
25. About Tasmania:
I describe our Tasmanian adventure, the highlight of which is our visit to the midden site of Preminghana.
- Emergent Patterns: In this essay, I consider the idea that patterns might be a way of storing information, and that active travel might be a way of using different thinking patterns.
We drive the back roads, visit Hobart, then meander back to Launceston.
26. Southeast Corner:
Back in Melbourne, we can't find a hotel room because of the Australia Open tennis tournament. Then we drive back to the edge of Sydney in a camper van, where I am thrilled to finally see the comet that has eluded me. Then we head on to a campground farther north, where I observe Muslim family dynamics and read Jack Kerouac's novel, Dr. Sax.
- Creative Spiritualism: In this essay, I connect the Dreaming to Kerouac's jazz writing style in that such imaginative thinking can free our minds and bring us spirituality.
27. Back To Sydney:
We return to Sydney to see an incredible flamenco performance.
- Skeletons And Calendars: This essay refers to the Swedish ethnologist who smuggled Aboriginal remains out of Australia and was haunted by them, then talks about the misguided “calendar change peace movement.”
- Making Things Right: I praise the new Australian prime minister for apologizing to the Aborigines.
We then return the van, and stay a couple more days in Sydney, going back to the Museum of Modern Art and enjoying our final days in Australia.
28. The Longest Day:
We leave Australia on Australia Day, flying back to JFK then driving to West Virginia just in time to start celebrating Jamie's birthday.
- The Power Of Music: I applaud Herbie Hancock for winning the Grammy for his latest album, River: The Joni Letters, I talk about jazz patterns, and about how the Beatles defeated Soviet Russian Communism, not Ronald Reagan.
PART IV: Back In North America
29. West Virginia Dreamin’:
Upon our return to the US, I immediately get back to looking at cognition and how the brain works.
- Rethinking Thinking: I explore patterns some more in Thinking, Rethinking, such as stellar constellations as an animated mapping system, how the need to keep track of Time and accounting affects our minds, and how Jazz music is expansive and barely balanced, like the universe.
I do more reading and think about what it is that makes us Human, what differentiates Humanity from Nature, and I decide that the best gift that Humans have to offer the cosmos is To Care.
- Someone Who Cares: This essay is based on a Bill Moyers interview with Sarah Cheyes, who stayed in Afghanistan and started a business in the spirit of helping the people there.
At this time, I am obsessed with the Scooter Libby Trial.
- Duct Tape, Dick: In my essay about West Virginia, I remember Dick Cheney in his secret bunker.
- Waves: Then, I get poetically subliminalized.
32. White Lines On The Freeway:
We hit the road, and I talk about the extra resources used by speeding and rant against Nascar Racing.
- Consequences And Truth: I look at the importance of trying to follow through what the consequences of our actions might be, the Culture Wars, and how Truth is an Asymptote, which all leads me to the abortion issue, and Eliot Spitzer.
33. Synchroncity II:
We settle down in South Georgia, and I discuss the band, the Police, and their song, Synchronicity I.
- Message In A Bottle: The fifth anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2008 brings an opportunity to send a message to any remaining Iraq War apologists.
Here, the timelines of my story and my life come together, engendering reflection and a revisit of Jung’s Synchronicity and the archetypal principle. I conclude that my own idea of the creative principle better follows the line of thinking I have trying to develop, and I identify emergent patterns as major components of the complex processes that define the universe.
- Hadrons On My Mind: I invoke the CERN Large Hadron Collider to state that science also abides by the creative principle, where patterns continually emerge.
35. ...And Now, Back to You, Kurt:
Having begun this book with Kurt Vonnegut, I end with Kurt Vonnegut. I question my own conclusions, and wonder if Mr. Vonnegut ever knew that he was at the center of the workings of the universe.
I add this epilogue when Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 Counts of Impeachment Against President Bush on my birthday.
- It’s About Place: Here, I point out yet another strange coincidence, discuss Homer's Odyssey as a place-mapping narrative in recognition that it is the same as the Aboriginal Dreaming, describe the rich multi- cultural energy of Latin America versus North America, and state my hopes for the future.
- George Carlin: My send-off to George Carlin.