Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Here, You Have Watches. There, We Have Time

No Better Place to Meet Yourself
by Moussa Ag Assarid

Moussa Ag Assarid (MAA): I don’t know my age. I was born in the Sahara desert, with no papers. I was born in a nomadic camp of Touaregs, between Timbuktu and Gao, in the north of Mali. […]

J: What do they do for a living?
MAA: We shepherd camels, goats, sheep, cows and donkeys in a kingdom of infinite and of silence…

J: Is the desert really so silent?
(MAA): If you are on your own in that silence you hear your heart beat. There is no better place to meet yourself.

J: What memories do you have of your childhood in the desert?
MAA: I wake up with the Sun. The goats of my father are there. They give us milk and meat, and we take them were there is water and grass. My great-grandfather did it, and my grandfather, and my father, and me. There was nothing else in the world than that, and I was very happy!

J: Really? It doesn’t sound very exciting.
MAA: It is. At the age of seven you can go alone away from the camp, and for this you are taught the important things—to smell the air, to listen, to see carefully, to orient with the Sun and the stars…and to be guided by the camel if you get lost. He will take you where there is water.

J: To know that is valuable, no doubt.
MAA: Everything is simple and profound there. There are very few things, and each one has enormous value.

J: So that world and this one are very different.
MAA: There, every little thing gives happiness. Every touch is valuable. We feel great joy just by touching each other, being together. There, nobody dreams of becoming, because everybody already is.

J: What shocked you most on your first trip to Europe?
MAA: I saw people running in the airport. In the desert you only run if a sandstorm is approaching! It scared me, of course.

J: They were going after their baggage, ha ha.
MAA: Yes, that was it. […]

J: What do you dislike the most here?
MAA: Many people here have everything, and it is still not enough for them. They complain. In [the modern world] many people complain all the time! They chain themselves to a bank; many people are anxious to have things, to have possessions. People are in a rush. In the desert there are no traffic jams, and do you know why? Because there nobody is interested in getting ahead of other people!

J: Tell me about a moment of deep happiness for you in the desert.
MAA: It happens every day, two hours before sunset. The heat decreases, there is still no cold air, and men and animals slowly return to the camp, and their profiles are painted against a sky that is pink, blue, red, yellow, green.

J: That sounds fascinating.
MAA: It’s a magical moment… We all get into the tents and we boil tea. Sitting in silence we listen to the sound of the boiling water… We all are immersed in calmness: with the heartbeats tuned to the rhythm of the boiling water, potta potta potta…

J: How peaceful.
MAA: Yes…here you have watches; there, we have time.


About the Author: Moussa Ag Assarid is the oldest of thirteen children in a nomadic Touareg family. Born in northern Mali in 1975, he moved to France in 1999 to study Management at the University of Montpellier. The above is excerpted from an interview with VĂ­ctor Amela.


  1. This is so amazing. I notice that it's never about people; only about animals and nature. People fit in as indistinguishable parts of the whole. People "go along with the program," but it's not their program.

    It's different with us. Nature and artifacts merge. Artifacts for us are all too trenchant parts of the whole. Trenchant. That word spoke to me just now and ordered me to look up its meaning. This last year in particular, "instructions" have been popping into head. Just now, I planned to stand up and finish the quinoa still in the pot, and unspoken (thought) words popped into my head: "Sit down." So I sat down and ate it. :-)

    1. Artleads, talking about instructions popping into your head, you might enjoy reading "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield. Or listen to it here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx-dWsD3UPg

  2. Words asking to be looked up:

    Jejune: 1. Not interesting or satisfying (I thought it meant just the opposite) 2. Not mature; childish

    Thought Experiment:

    A conscious person cannot call "himself" white. "White" is an invented tool for oppression. And "black" is an invented tool for victimization. It seems that a conscious "historically white" person, wishing to resist white racism, would identify with "historically black" people, who are the bulwark of resistance against white racism. It is possibly reasonable (or necessary) for them to switch their identity to black instead of white. But by its historical nature, and while it is endemic in society, racial identity can't be shrugged off at will. A white resister must then be *secretly* black, and a traitor to their "race," a black wolf in white sheep's clothing. A white resister also does not have the same rights and privileges of the melanin enhanced of African heritage (having bountiful others of a historical nature). Their role is to continually undermine and subvert white racism by opening doors that are closed to blacks, and making black presence at the table something normal. And more in that vein...

  3. Loved "the Celestine Prophecy" all about different types of energy exchange. Especially the energy in old growth forests.

    'Conversations with God" by Neil Walsch is along the same lines of gentle talk in mind.

    Nervous talking on the radio last night with Guy. He kindly sent me an e-mail afterward saying it was his best show ever. Other nice things too - along the lines of courage & "painful" honesty.

    I hope my Christmas "Confession" was worth it. clearing my conscious. I did a lot of good down in Costa Rica. In 2013 I highly advocated the constructive LAND USE of turning Hanford into a nuclear history site. Live and learn from that huge secret project that caused such horror in Hiroshima.

    In case anyone here cares to listen on NBL:
    For the past 14 years, Mark Austin has worked in several capacities for the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security since its inception. His past 2 years have been with the National Nuclear Security Consequence management team.

    The NNSA Office of Nuclear Nonproliferation works closely with a wide range of international intelligence agencies, the U.S. national laboratories, and the private sector to safeguard, and/or dispose of dangerous nuclear and radiological material. Analyst also track the proliferation of related WMD technologies that threaten Nuclear power systems.

    Mark's father is a former Congressman. Pentagon planning for the potential impacts of abrupt climate change include technologies and methods that are as unimaginable now as the Manhattan project was before the creation of the first atomic bomb. On the brink of extinction, evolution may take a sudden leap on this shifting planet.

    The Pope's speech last night reminding us not to take this Christmas for granted. For many with the threat of growing wars it may be their last.

    1. Great show, Mark! Very enlightening. Good to listen to you for the first time!

    2. I tend to skip a lot of the small print where shows are announced. How can I find the one with Mark?


      Thanks so much for the link to the Celestine Prophesy. I'm glued to it!

    3. Glad to hear you're enjoying "The Celestine Prophecy". I'd say it's one of the best books I've come across that bridge the gap between spirituality and daily life.

    4. Much, much applause for u young man. You are one of the good humans.
      I knew Guy would approve with gusto. Great job. Nice to know your mom was a nuclear activist. Shocked to learn that in 1961, it was fun to watch the mushroom clouds but, then, no one could have guessed what the government ("We are the asteroid.")was up to. Mo later.


    5. Artleads:

      To hear the 'Mark" show:


  4. Satish and Shep,

    Thanks for the link to Mark's show.


    I know you say you were nervous (and why shouldn't you be?), but you have a kind of noble assurance. WAY above anything I could muster. And the professionalism, knowledge, integrity all come shining through.

    1. Hi, I'm at a Christmas Eve party and just got shown how the radio show is on all sorts of sites. Now people are handing me their i-phones with all these facebook posts. Trying to type to everyone: Please do not be too alarmed. Bioweapons not that likely to be used, but more so than Nuclear war. The Sept meeting in D.C. with Pope & Xi Jingping is a part of the Pope's Christmas warning message...but it is always wise for us to remember it might be the last one. Live well and safe wishes to all.

      I've got to write Satish a private letter. In a way he helped inspire me to dig into it from questions he asked this past summer. Beautiful drawing on your card Art. I LOVE it. Thanks

    2. Mark,

      I agree that bio-weapons are the way to go. If I was a ruler, that's my choice. Get rid of the superfluous slaves. Only need so many to live a life of luxury. Bring on the Soylent Green!

      BTW, I'm a fan of Francis the Pope. I believe he had an extreme conversion to the liberation theology side some time ago. Just an opinion from an atheist.

  5. Interesting insight, Artleads, and I agree. The thing that disturbs me most about mainstream culture is its overwhelming worship (and I mean that in its true definition) of humanity, or at least the idea of humans as the ultimate creation. The people within this culture cannot get over a conceptual hierarchy where some human is or has the answer to everything, is the reason for everything, the cause of everything, and the master of everything. And if they are not yet the master, they will be in a magical future when technology or consciousness or radiation-eating bacteria evolve sufficiently for humans to have all the answers to our self-created problems (destruction). Right.

    It's very disturbing. I'm with Shep, and in my old age I am devoted to my dogs, more and more all the time. I love them totally. I have two large males at this time, and both of them are beautiful animals. My big berner-mix weighs about 95 lbs, and my pitsky weighs about 75 lbs, but he's got more power per ounce than most dogs, and he is a whirlwind of muscle, strength and agility that are wasted on me in many ways. He would make a great SAR dog. The other one is so lazy, half the time he serves as a yard ornament; you'd think he was a statue placed on the deck to make the place look homey.

    1. Well, maybe saying the hubris is the most disturbing thing about the culture is hyperbole. It's the destructiveness that ultimately comes from the hubris that is most disturbing, because it's shared. But the hubris is disturbing, too.

    2. "The other one is so lazy, half the time he serves as a yard ornament; you'd think he was a statue placed on the deck to make the place look homey."

      This makes me laugh every time I read it. You are really funny!

  6. here in the far north at the winter solstice, I feel like I have timelessness. The solstices both feel very timeless for me, especially now that I am retired and live alone. It is dark almost all the time, all but about 4.5 hours a day, and unless I am trying to purchase something, it doesn't matter when I do anything. I eat and sleep and work and play and take walks any time I want, no matter what time it is, because it's all just night time now.

    In the summer, it is even truer, because while we have some few hours of daylight now, at the summer solstice there is no true dark or night. I love this time of year for that amazing feeling of being outside of time altogether.

    1. Dreamlike and beautiful. Would be good in a book. Surreal.

  7. SHEP - I thought Robin DATTA was mean to you about the recycle button instructions. I hope you understand I should have specifically said ROBIN not you about being helpful to others. I feel like I will never say anything quite clear enough again.

    As I explained in detail I have birth defects (along with many other children born out west, from the 1960s Nevada Proving Grounds above ground atomic tests.)

    I am as stupid as it gets compared to Steven Hawking, yet Steven Hawking does manage to communicate with technological assistance.

    ANYONE can write memos to the Secretary of State(at the NNSA documents are prepared with help from an entire group) We also have entire division in the gvt that is paid to work against our Non-proliferation unit. The NRC supports both sides. Plenty of infighting between building more plants - vs - decommissioning.

    I specifically said the entire team (not just myself)meet with the Chief Justices. 2002 I was lowest on totem pole, but it was interesting to be included. I try to listen.

    The more recent case where corporations were ruled to be equal to "persons" is an on going danger. The 2002 "S" biotech corp ruling continues to turn into new laws assisting genetic splicing. This will result in further impacts on the Earth, unless you care to help take some action against them.

    I NEVER said "does installations at nuclear power plants" I have written extensively (and probably badly explaining my handicaps) about reviewing safety measures, contracts, team analysis of waste transport. Robin, Yes, removal of nuclear waste is demeaning janitor work. So is picking up litter on public beaches.

    SHEP - Robin Datta is a bully to handicapped people & poor workers. ROBIN What do you do to physically get out and help? Do you assist with forms of protest against much worse actions than my not proof-reading correctly??

    and works with DARPA and neuroscientists at the Max Planck Institute (I sit quietly for hours doing COMPUTER CODING. CONTRACT WORK from the funding we provided to them from DARPA & NIH. Reading and SLOWLY scanning codes actually takes less effort than trying to write a perfectly composed comment!) ho ho ho

    Obviously, I missed my errors because I was too dependent upon 14 years of staff reviews & assistance. Try to put yourself in the mind set and environment of any Washington D.C. worker to see how we are controlled and taught to write in their systems language.

    GLOUCON X, ETYEREPETERE are mean critics. Rather than explain myself it is time to question you for not even listening to exactly what was said. Better off not to speak coherently than be destructive. Since both of you are such amazingly talented persons can't you even imagine for one day what it is like to be a hearing impared D.C. worker? Can either of you provide anything helpful rather than pick on handicapped people for not meeting your highest levels of excellence?

    Have either of you ever volunteered in a national Park??? As Babajingo once pointed out, humanity is in a mess because people like me make mistakes...but too many people like you are hurtful. Harm to animals & plants & people = a root cause to all the damage we do to everything.

    1. Mark,

      Datta is a scientific twat. He doesn't know it or he wudn't write it. I knew u were talking about him

      I'm behind u all the way. The points made were so lazy and knee-jerk stupid they were immediately discarded without a thought.

      Go forth young man with much pride and try not to let the bullies get to you.

    2. Mark,

      I completely agree with Shep. As I've said before, your work inside the belly of the beast is the most important work shown thus far by any NBL poster. Kudos to MO for his brave support for you. I share his sentiments (if not his courage) too.

    3. Artleads ~

      thanks, but all courage credit goes 100% straight to Mark. doing that interview took amazing guts.

      Shep, I second Artleads. thank you for backing Mark so strongly.

    4. Mark, the discourse at NBL is so mean and culturally biased that I haven't posted there in months. I've always had very ambivalent feelings about posting at NBL. I appreciate the info, such as that which Tom posts, and of course, your own posts had info that no other site has that I know of, but overall I find most of it too repellant to read because of the personal destructiveness of the individuals involved.

      I was still reading the site pretty regularly several months ago when I realized that I was skipping over 80% of the posts just because I couldn't bear to read the mean and stupid from the individuals there. It started as a limited exercise. I just started skipping the anti-Semitic garbage, and anything that wasn't a list from one tragic example of what addiction and violence can do to sensitive young children. Then, I realized that I was already ignoring anything that came from someone who is likely the first male borderline personality disorder I've encountered and been aware of it, and I had long been ignoring others who buy into the entrenched racism in this country and believe that everything before now was "primitive."

      This past summer I noticed there was barely anything left to look at over there once I ignored everything not worth looking at . . .

      I enjoyed your interview very much, and you are much braver than I am. This mess, too, will pass.

    5. Hi OGF,

      What a relief to hear from you and the others who post kuku! There's just no mercy or kindness over on NBL anymore. I'm sure I skip over the same people you do. Those who spoke up for Mark are now being categorized as the anti-bullying squad of PC militants--a false equivalency that racist use to attack those who oppose their memes: "You're attacking us!" "You're attacking our freedom of expression!" Collectively, it's like a dog chasing its tail. We can't afford to get caught up in it. We need to find a way out. Thank God for Satish, Mark and those of you who post here.

    6. dang it, artleads, you made me look! Wow. That place is toxic.

      I disagree with babajingo - I look for people who can get over needing truth delivered to them in perfect form and are ready to like truth on its own terms, instead of the prevailing, presumed ideally perfect version of how everything *should be,* including punctuation and spelling and grammar and syntax. I'm not interested in interacting with people as if we are all graduate students anymore, and that's just more cultural nonsense. And by the way, it's already a proven failure.

      That particular criticism is really just the usual rejection of Now, and more of the deeply Western behavior of making up a better world in one's own mind. And yeah, it's a culturally accepted better way to do things, but that culture doesn't know anything and they can't figure that out. All the language perfection that we are capable of, and it's a lot, and we're still where we are, aren't we?

      Rationalizations and justifications are total bullshit. People need to stop being destructive right now, and they can't do it, not even with only words, not even just in their minds . . .

      I was purposely insulting beyond my usual and I hope it gave Mark a chuckle. That site brings it out in me for some reason . . . I have more if anyone needs it. Clever insults - your mother and a camel - are so much fun. :O)

  8. Thanks so much to each of you. The shy aspects of me are speachless for now. Back to being the odd kid hiding my funny left hand from the bullys on the playground.

    As always OLD GROWTH FORESTS has such good insights above. Honey, I need my old indian grandma. I'm hiding behind her patchwork skirt like a dog afraid of thunder. Rainbows will return. Then this bouncing puppy man will probably go chew on the wrong bone yet again. Better teach myself to roll over and play dead. Walk myself & yes honestly I still pee on trees. LOVE to all. This little tribe helps more than you know.

  9. So this spoke to me, and I posted it, of all the unlikely places, on NBL. :-)