Why We All Enjoy Autoerotic Self-Asphyxiation. ~ Joshua Scott Onysko

Via on Jul 26, 2010

Revisiting the Declaration of Independence.

It’s the 3rd of July 2010, and I’m sitting in a 120-year-old cabin on an 80 thousand acre ranch that was the homestead of a young man named John Bell. The location: Big Piney, Wyoming. The ranch is now owned by my good friend’s family, the Boturs. I’ve been coming here every year for 13 years. It’s hard to be on this ranch and not think about the struggles of early settlers of the western United States—harsh winters, scorching summers—and the question, What gives us the strength to make such drastic changes in our lives? Is it survival? Is it truly the pursuit of happiness? Is it for a better life for our children and future generations?

The founding fathers of this great nation drew up a document called the Declaration of Independence 234 years ago. It was signed by 56 delegates to the continental congress. Like most holidays, the original meaning of the 4th of July has been lost, reduced down to just another three day weekend featuring the over-consumption of alcohol, grilling processed, antibiotic-poisoned meats and shooting off pyrotechnics that—oddly enough, like most things we buy—are brought to us by the nimble hands of underage and under-paid children in China.

Here’s a refresher on the original ideals of America’s founding fathers: The Declaration of Independence was created because the majority of the people residing in the 13 colonies that existed at that time felt oppressed by the proposed terms of the British parliament, and thus believed that through self governance they could truly uphold their unalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They also threw in this clause that “all men are created equal”—crazy talk.

Flash forward eight generations (yes, it’s only been eight generations since we signed this document). Where are we now?

These days we have things like the SB 1070 Bill that was signed by Arizona governor Jan Brewer—and while thousands of people peacefully protested a few miles away, she stated the following: “This bill represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix.” And then we have Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado, stating the following at a recent immigration overpopulation conference in Washington, DC: “First, to destroy America, turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures.” Really? Maybe you never heard of India, the European Union, China, oh, and wait, the United States of America—maybe you have forgotten where you came from, because I sure as hell don’t want this small-mindedness pointing us to where we should be going.

Bring us now to the redneck (yes name calling—sometimes you just have to) whom I just talked to in a bar, who told me that “The Mexicans are stealing all the jobs.” I quickly pointed out that his shirt, jeans, “western” belt, belt buckle, shoes, hat, glass that was spilling beer now made from imported hops and, most likely, his underwear were all made in China. I told him, “No sir, we are stealing all of our jobs.” He looked confused, but to me he looked that way before we talked.

What do all of these things have in common? I believe they all stem from our misunderstanding of the true meaning of life, liberty and happiness. We have been led astray from these earned pleasures in life mainly because as humans, once we have something we tend to think that we own it.

A good example of this misunderstanding can be found in the framed picture of Chief Sealth (Seattle) hanging from my cabin wall, followed by this letter as a reply to President Franklin Pierce in December of 1854, upon the United States Government’s offer to buy two million acres of Native American land in the Pacific Northwest.

The Great Chief in Washington sends words that he wishes to buy our land. The Great Chief also sends us words of friendship and good will. This is kind of him, since we know he has little need of our friendship in return. But we will consider your offer.

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man. So, when the Great Chief of Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us…

This we know: All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the son of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. But we will consider your offer to go to the reservation you have for my people. We will live apart, and in peace.

One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think that you own Him as you wish to own our land: but you cannot. He is the God of man; and his compassion is equal for the red man and the white. The earth is precious to Him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wire.

Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival. So we will consider your offer to buy the land. If we agree, it will be to secure the reservation you have promised. There, perhaps, we may live out our brief days as we wish. When the last red man has vanished from the earth, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, these shores and forests will still hold the spirits of my people. For they love this earth as a new borne loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell our land, love it as we’ve loved it. Care for it as we’ve cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And preserve it for your children, and love it… as God loves us all.

One thing we know. Our God is the same God. This earth is precious to Him. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see… ~ Chief Sealth

In 1931 James Truslow Adams expressed the notion of “The American Dream” for the first time. It was this concept that citizens of every rank should feel that they can achieve a “better, richer, and happier life.” This is a very nice sentiment, but what have we taken from this notion? Our actions to achieve what we have thought to be the ultimate life have left us in a place where we have to spill blood in foreign lands to feed our needs, destroy forests to package our luxuries, leave our oceans tainted just to feed our need for faster, bigger, better. Is this the better life? Are we truly happy, and if so should we be looking closely at the costs that our “happiness” will have on future generations? Will our children, by necessity, have the wisdom to see our faults, and will they have the means to correct them? Are we working towards creating the tools they will need to heal this broken dream or are we leaving them a world that is too riddled with greed and destruction to care for the future?

If we had the bird’s eye view of all that is going on on this earth, we would mostly likely be confused as to why we do not see the fault in our actions. But from here, in front of our plasma screens and SUV dashboards, we are blinded by our lack of ownership of the reactions to our actions. We simply pass blame to the left, to the right and to the middle. We all do it, and when we are in a cycle of continuously pointing the finger elsewhere we never find the time to examine ourselves.

Life is a marriage between our outer and inner selves. We will only ever get out of it what we put into it. When something is wrong try not to look out, look in. True understanding will always come from the shortening of the distance between the heart and the mind, and all of us have both… though sometimes I wonder. But not today. Today I’ll just give you this thought in progress.

Joshua Onysko resides in Boulder and in airport lounges, is the founder and CEO of Pangea Organics, keeps bees, cooks, and quite possibly has the largest finger puppet collection in the U.S.

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11 Responses to “Why We All Enjoy Autoerotic Self-Asphyxiation. ~ Joshua Scott Onysko”

  1. Beth says:

    Keep in mind that "all men are created equal" was written by an author (Thomas Jefferson) who owned slaves and a full 94 years before the Constitution was amended to state that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." (It would take until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's to enforce this throughout the country.) So it would indeed seem that our esteemed founding fathers meant that all WHITE (European immigrant) men are created equal. Women, of course, didn't have the right to vote until 1920.

  2. Candice Garrett Candice says:

    love love love love love. Beginning to end and the middle too.

  3. Adam says:

    I love that speech too. Unfortunately, Chief Seattle (Sealth) never gave it. :(

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/seattle.asp

  4. joshua says:

    nice catch Adam….interesting….but just so you know, I def wrote the rest :)

  5. whollyafool says:

    whoever wrote this speech, the line "the end of living and the beginning of survival" still breaks my heart.

  6. Aron says:

    A bit long and preachy but some fine points.
    What the hell is the title for though? I enjoy Auto Erotic Asphyxiation as much as the next person but I don't see the connection.

  7. Loved this article and had never heard of this letter from Chief Sealth.

    As for the title, I think that part of it is for the "click"….just my humble opinion.

  8. joshua says:

    partly for the click, but it is really a comparison to the pleasure we are deriving from living the way we do even if we are choking ourselves doing it…..and of course, if we choke a bit much…..

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  10. Hi Verena. So fare i can see, Sickafoose has answered your question. I don’t see any sense.

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