Tag Archives: Spiritual Economics

Ten Years After

NYC-Ten-Years-After

Photos © James and Karla Murray

In a few weeks I’ll be visiting some of my old neighborhoods in New York City. It’s been a while since my last visit and I expect to feel discombobulated by its unfamiliarity. Like a time-displaced Captain America bounding into a future-ized Times Square, I’ll recognize all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces and reconcile myself to the fact that they look all wrong.

But it’s not just a case of sullen nostalgia because my old haunts don’t look they way they used to; it’s a case of disenchantment because now my old haunts look just like everyplace else. When I was born, no other city in America looked like New York City. Now, New York City looks a lot like everyplace else. People from Des Moines can have dinner in New York at the same restaurant they go to in… Des Moines! C’mon: really? You’re in the Big Apple and you want to eat at Applebee’s?

Every day everyplace looks a little more like everyplace else: the same corporate brands, the same architectural design, the same urban planning, the same kind of commoditized experience, sanitized and made safe for mass consumption. You used to be able to escape from the malaise of the suburbs by moving into The City. Now, the only real difference is that you won’t need a car (but you will need a trust fund). Continue reading

The Yoga of Cow Protection

I spent last weekend in rural West Virginia. Although my main reason for going was to participate in the annual 24-Hour kirtan organized by my friends at Mantralogy, a trip to the New Vrindaban community always gives me a chance to visit our cow, Dwadasi. Of course, Dwadasi’s not really our cow: we adopted her, which just means that we pay for her annual expenses. She’s 14 years old, about twice the age that most cows live since cows are routinely slaughtered as soon as they are no longer producing milk, and therefore a profit, for the farmers that own them.

Old as she is, Dwadasi is hardly the eldest of the herd: the real old-timers are enjoying a happy retirement in what’s called the “Geriatric Barn”. Dwadasi and many other cows and bulls are lovingly cared for by a wonderful family through their amazing organization, the International Society for Cow Protection (ISCOWP). Continue reading