Home Is Where Cheap Rent Is

“The loss of employment in the United States and the impossibility of paying rents over a thousand dollars a month has prompted many families to change their residence to Tijuana, where they can pay rents between 400 and 600 dollars,” reports the Tijuana daily El Mexicano.

According to real estate agents, in the past few months there has been an increase in emigrados (Mexican residents with legal permission to work in the U.S.) who have moved to Tijuana in search of a house. By paying cheaper rent, the hope is that they can improve their financial situation. Even though Tijuana rents are high compared to the rest of Mexico, those who have lost their jobs can still afford to rent here with their unemployment insurance, said the report.

Meanwhile, the influx of emigrados is having a negative effect on Tijuana residents, who are also looking for less-expensive places to live during the economic crisis.

“They are trying to change to more economic housing whose rents are fixed between 250 and 300 dollars a month, but emigrados are renting many of these available homes,” according to El Mexicano. Real estate agents told the newspaper that when they show an emigrado a home that rents for 500 or 600 dollars a month, “for an emigrado, that’s cheap because over there on the other side you’re talking about thousands of dollars.”

Because of the effect of emigrados' on the housing market, real estate agents have adopted a new policy to protect themselves from the fluctuating value of the peso (currently about 13 pesos to the dollar): they are fixing prices in dollars instead of pesos in new rental contracts.

Comments

Yeah, well I may have been wrong about this being an elephant graveyard for disaffected Americans. I think it may be more like the place where all the wannabe Hemingways, Steinbecks and Fitzgeralds come to shmeichl each other.

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

A fulano walked into a bar, and pulled up a stool. He sat, and looked straight ahead. The bartender patiently waited for the fulano to say something, but he said nothing, just staring forward.

Finally, the bartender broke the silence.

"Well, can I serve you something?" the bartender finally asked.

"I think not," the fulano said.

And then he vanished.

...back to YouTube, whence he came? :) Nah, that doesn't add the existential flavor you were looking for, gringo, so we'll leave it at that.

Unless, we prefer to add some final, cheerful, eulogistic words from Beckett:

Mr Nolan looked at Mr Case, Mr Case at Mr Nolan, Mr Gorman at Mr Case, Mr Gorman at Mr Nolan, Mr Nolan at Mr Gorman, Mr Case at Mr Gorman, Mr Gorman again at Mr Case, again at Mr Nolan, and then straight before him, at nothing in particular.

:)

Fulano typed: ".....I think it may be more like the place where all the wannabe Hemingways, Steinbecks and Fitzgeralds come to shmeichl each other."

http://crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/FulanosPage.html

Fulano de Schlemiel?

Epic link, Duhbya. I find it interesting that there are links to nothingness along with trends in homicide rates. Missing, of course, are the links to trends in suicide rates.

I didn't know Guy Debord killed himself. Will have to dig up that copy of Spectacle.

refriedgringo walked into a bar in West Hollywood. He walked up to the first limp-wristed patron sitting at the bar and said, "Can I push your stool in for you?"

Sorry, fulano, and this is the first time I've used this popular exclamation, outside of grading bad essays: FAIL.

If you are not interested in the discourse here, take your intercourse jokes somewhere else.

I'm interested in the course of coarse discourse and intercourse here! A strictly academic interest, you understand.

McPhail: They aren't changing rent from pesos to dollars, most rent has been paid in dollars here for the past TWENTY YEARS. This is NOT A RECENT DEVELOPMENT. The peso used to be far more unstable than it currently is, and for the past twenty-plus years, almost all rent and virtually all land purchases are made in U.S. dollars.

I am confused. Are you stating that non US citizens /non green card holders are entitled to California Unemployment Insurance? Are there limitations to benefits to non US citizens? Are they entitled to federal extensions? I would be interested to know what other government assisted benefits they are entitled to. I understand their permit allows then to work in US, but I would be interested to know how that works for non US residents. Do they pay taxes the same as US citizens/Permanent US residents (green card), do they file US tax returns? Are they entitled to public assistance? Do their childrern get to go to school here? I hear a lot of complaining going on, but I am not knowledgeable enough in the specifics of how the system or process works to form an opinion. Perhaps The Reader can educate it's readers on the facts?

Juliegirl: Only non-citizens with permission to work in the U.S. (green card holders) are entitled for unemployment compensation. There is no way in which to file and gain unemployment checks unless the State of California Employment system has your record of employment. There is no way to gain employment unless you obtain either a green card or a permission to work as a non-resident. Non-residents are not entitled to unemployment benefits, even if they have a permission to work.

Also note: Green card holders are not permitted to live abroad. This is a difficult rule to enforce, however (therefore making it a stupid rule). Green card holders are required to file U.S. tax returns, and are taxed the same as citizens.

Non-resident children are not permitted to attend school in the U.S. Green card holders that are children are permitted (even required under the age of sixteen) to attend school in the U.S. but are not permitted to live abroad. Schools are required to verify residence of green card holders, and do so to the extent they can according to their budgets.

Response to Refried: Well, Mr. Know-It-All in Baja, you are WRONG! I have nearly 20 years living in Baja and have many friends who contracts are in pesos. All you have to do is look at, for example, Craigslist, and you will see several rentals offered in pesos. Besides, your issue is not with me, it's with El Mexicano, which pointed out the ever-increasing trend for rental contracts to be in dollars, not pesos. My suspicion is that your views are shaped by the company you keep. After all, wasn't it you who wrote some time ago about a drinking binge at a downtown watering hole and your drunken sojourn back home? I do not keep such company, happy to say. ALL my friends in Mexico -- and there are scores of them -- wouldn't dream of gong to a downtown bar. You are not an expert on Baja living by any stretch of the imagination. You may, however, be quite well versed in one way that people live in Baja. Shame on you for your broad brush description of life in Baja -- it's much more complicated, sophisticated and layered than your omniscient rantings would have readers believe.

BigBob: Everyone (MEXICANS AND AMERICANS) I know pays RENT AND/OR LAND PAYMENTS IN U.S. DOLLARS! You may think what you wish about my description of living in Baja, and I drink in Centro because the best (read: not full of prostitutes) bars happen to be there. You wouldn't know. You should go to the Dany del Sur sometime, perhaps on a weeknight at around eight o'clock. You would be surprised at the class of the clientele.

I am well-versed at how Mexicans live in Tijuana. You, evidently, seem to wish to see only one side of it, and that side is apparently incorrect.

I own land south of Rosarito. So do a lot of Mexicans and a few Americans. The contracts ARE ALL DRAWN UP TO BE PAID IN U.S. DOLLARS! My rent, in the six places I've lived here? ALL IN U.S. DOLLARS! My Mexican friends that rent? ALL IN U.S. DOLLARS! Some rent in pesos, certainly, but that is the EXCEPTION rather than the rule.

If you've lived in Baja for twenty years, you've learned very little. Perhaps if you went out and enjoyed a beer every once in a while and spoke with local Mexicans (this requires Spanish, Bob, if you've lived here twenty years I assume you speak it), you would learn a thing or two. Shame on you, Bob, for being so uninformed. And if you trust El Mexicano to deliver your daily news, you are going to continue to be misinformed.

And if you don't believe me, I don't mind. Lots of ex-pats think that they have this place wired. Most don't. I count you amongst them, based on your completely incorrect statements here.

In fact, BigBob, I'm really tired of people that live here and pretend to know what is going on, most of you don't even speak Spanish. How you can live here for twenty years and be so ignorant about it is beyond me. The only people that pay pesos to rent, tend to rent in very sub-standard areas. Why do you think that there are money-exchange kiosks so far away from Centro?

My issue now isn't with El Mexicano, it's with you and people like you that think you know how things work here. You don't. You continually get it wrong. I get tired having to set you people straight, you believe only what is on your little tiny circle of ex-pat friends. Broaden your horizons, it will make you less clueless.

In further reply to Mr. Know It All Refried Gringo: I am fluent in Spanish and have been for years. Dandy del Sur is a hell hole located in a very dangerous part of downtown. Surprised you haven't been mugged! As far as the Mexicans to whom I speak every day, they are police officers who patrol my neighborhood, my neighbors, my parish priest, my fellow parishioners, families that invite me to baptisms and birthday parties, the guy that delivers my gas tanks, my fellow coffee drinkers at Starbucks in Plaza Rio, my family doctor and his extended family, business associates with whom I'm involved in the tourism industry, the storekeeper at my neighborhood grocer, the pharmacist who fills my prescriptions at his small pharmacy two blocks away, the venders of tacos, burritos and hot dogs whose carts dot the corners of my neighborhood -- and I could go on and on. I'm guessing that the people you hang with say things like "que onda wey," and "no mames we" and "watchala," or "voy a parquear mi carro." There is a word for folks like that, but in the interest of being fair-minded, I won't call them on it -- all of God's children are deserving of respect, no matter how humble. But your arrogance takes my breath away since you assume your experience of Baja is somehow superior to people like me who have spent many years here and who has a wide spectrum of Mexican friends. One reason I likely don't run into your class of friends is because I do not drink alcohol and have no plans to begin doing so. That, of course, means my social intercourse is with a different class of Mexicans -- not the ones who while away their hours guzzling cervezas while mom and the kids are at home wondering whether there will be food on the table tonight or whether the rent will be paid. The people I know and with whom I associate in Baja have better things to do with their time -- and their hard-earned money -- other than drinking it away at a sleazy bar. And, just to prove my point about rents, here are a couple of current Craigslist postings for you edification: "Se renta depto. pequeno para una o dos personas. Consta de cuarto grande, bano, cocina y patio de servicio con conexiones para lavadora y secadora. Entrada independiente de la calle. Sin estacionamiento dentro. $1,500 PESOS MENSUALES Una renta y deposito para empezar...". and "Se renta departamento en Tijuana B.C A 1600 pesos. Ubicado en Iztaziwatl 12939 una recamara cerca de fabricas, escuela, iglecia, tiendas y transporte." I don't know what you were like before you decided to come to Baja to live, but my guess is that you were one of those insufferable blabber mouths who had an opinion about everything, no matter how ill-informed. Likewise, your view of life in Baja is skewed by the kind of life you choose to live. Broaden your horizons. It might help if you were to go to Mass on occasion or visit the Tijuana Cultural Center for a classical music concert.

Mr. I-go-to-church-and-because-I have-Jesus-then-you-are-wrong:

Crack open today's edition of El Mexicano, and take a look in the ads: 80% of rent money in the rentals section is advertised in U.S. DOLLARS! Care to explain that, Bob?

I think you are one of those expats that learn a little and suddenly become an expert. Sort of like going to church and suddenly anyone who doesn't is a heathen. You're wrong about a lot of things related to Baja. And you can't be taught, you'll never get it. You're very good at insulting people and have a difficult time admitting you're wrong. Priests are like that. You should be a priest.

I don't have a pharmacist (you really should get off of the drugs, Bob), I don't discuss rent with the guy who delivers my gas, and you'll never see me anywhere near a Starbucks (don't you make your own coffee, Bob?). As for the Cecut, I am a regular there. Apparently, you aren't, or perhaps we would have run into each other at an art exhibit or a poetry reading.

Well, except that God isn't involved in those, and since I exersize my right not to go to church (where the extremely poor are taken advantage of here), I'm guessing you weren't present. But since you're all close to God and scripture and all, what was the phrase about throwing stones while living in a glass house?

Also note: It's not "wey", it's "huey" (there is no natural "W" in Spanish, Bob). And no, no one uses such colloquialisms in my broad circle of friends and acquaintances.

Bob, you are the arrogant one. You have decided (wrongly) that rent and land payments are made in pesos, and that is totally wrong. You have also decided to insult me, (quite Christian of you!), rather than to defend your (incorrect) position concerning your statement. And you wonder why I would avoid a church?

Bob, Bob, Bob. I'm a happily married man with three kids here, I take sojourns into Centro to have a few beers and suddenly I have a lifestyle and you and your God disapprove. Bob, even your Jesus drank. Hell, wine is the blood of Christ, right? And there is a lot about me that you presume but don't know. For example, Bob, I have even WORKED here! Imagine that! Let's tally the score:

Me: Married, kids, all Mexican, 17 years, all of us are now completely bilingual.

Bob: Goes to church. Drinks coffee at Starbucks.

Me: Well known in Tijuana (except at churches and Starbucks). Land owner. Wide cross-section of friends.

Bob: Goes to church. Drinks coffee at Starbucks.

WTF, Bob? This isn't even fair! I can't possibly approach your level of arrogance! You, who apparently doesn't write a single word about your life in Baja, have the audacity to criticize me? Buddy, that's world-class arrogance.

"You, my fellow ex-pat, are downright NUTS!"

Aw, Bob. And I was so looking forward to having a beer with you sometime! If you change your mind, send me a message here (a private message), I'll be happy to hook you up with a private weblog I have kept for many years. You'll need to pack a big lunch because there's a lot in there, but you'll learn about how I came here, why, and what keeps me here. Or else your sweet Christian heart can continue to hate me because you think you have me all figured out. Up to you, Bob.

"There is a word for folks like that, but in the interest of being fair-minded, I won't call them on it -- all of God's children are deserving of respect, no matter how humble."

Yep, typical Christian piety and classism. Guess you can't escape it. Another reason to avoid Starbucks--besides the whole corporate waste thing.

I get frustrated at comments like his. I know how it works here, in fact, at one point I came out of my office and Rocio was sitting on the couch and I mentioned to her the very idea that in Tijuana more people might pay rent in pesos than in dollars. Her response: WTF?

Rangel, for example, if he pays rent it might be in pesos. He lives in a remote area, and they probably couldn't rent in dollars. Otherwise, it's in dollars. It's been this way for perhaps 25 years.

I'm certainly not the "Baja expert", but I live amongst the locals, not in some retirement community. In general, I know how things work here. So does Rangel, one reason I like him so much. I hope he wins the blog contest again, very soon.

One more thing, Refried: Your presumption is appalling. I HAVE NO EX-PAT friends in Mexico -- in fact, I avoid them, seems most are drunkards, drug addicts or child molesters. ALL OF MY FRIENDS ARE MEXICANS -- EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. You live in a solipsistic universe, apparently, where the only truth in the world resides in your own disordered head. I choose now to no longer respond to you.

The foregoing is probably the most fascinating exchange I've seen in the Reader in all the years I've read it. Two expats living in TJ slugging it out about who is the most aware of how life goes in that city, and pi**ing on each other. Refried can usually be counted on to come across with an air of detachment. But he sure can't keep his air of detachment in this exchange.

Maybe the protagonists need to have a shoot-out in the middle of (now deserted) Avenida Revolucion at noon some day soon. With sufficient assurances, I might even be willing to cross the border to witness the confrontation. What will it be guys? Daisy air rifles at twenty paces? Wham-O slingshots at ten? Road apples at five? Obscenities at one?

Just when you think the Reader cannot get any better, it does!

Visduh, it's frustrating. There is so much crap incorrectly printed about this place. And then to get someone who says he's lived here twenty years to say that rent is paid mostly (or even half-way) in pesos, that's comepletely incorrect. It's about 80%-20% dollars to pesos here. It's been that way since I've lived here.

I don't want to smack the guy's opinion down, but he started it, and he's wrong, and I'm right. I would turn the other cheek, but, you know, I really don't roll that way.

Juliegirl: I worked at the welfare department in the 80s. At that time, at least, American-born children were entitled to full welfare benefits. I believe it's still that way. When illegals had six kids, welfare was like hitting pay dirt and it kept them coming. The girls told us they'd hop the border just in time to drop their kid at Palomar Hospital, then walk across the street to apply for welfare, before going home.

Once a month, we'd stuff envelopes with welfare checks destined for Tijuana. The only good thing about it was that it was legal for the border patrol to wait for them in the parking lot. That's a goodwayto catch them--there and at the ER.

The Varukers comming to calif/ san diego.. home ..yeah...

I was curious about the title of this story "Home Is Where Cheap Rent Is". Rents in Baja mostly have been in dollars. I have lived in Baja for the past 40 years, and since I remember first my parents and then me, have paid our rents in dollars. The other side of the story is that if you go over to 5 y 10, La Mesa, Los Alamos, El Lago, El Murua, El Guaycura and east of TJ, you might find cheap rents in Pesos, but you can also find rents in Dollars. Mainly because the Dollar is stable "ha". It all depends where you want to live or where you can afford to live. When I was a kid I didn't know what the peso was, and I lived in TJ. It started changing around 1976. And then the peso came. We were so far off the entire Mexican Republic, that I remember the bad ill repute we Tijuanenses had.

Visduh helpfully suggested:

"Maybe the protagonists need to have a shoot-out in the middle of (now deserted) Avenida Revolucion at noon some day soon. With sufficient assurances, I might even be willing to cross the border to witness the confrontation. What will it be guys? Daisy air rifles at twenty paces? Wham-O slingshots at ten? Road apples at five? Obscenities at one?"

Tequila drinking contest.

Guess who my money's on.

:)

willingtolearn: Thank you. The first place I rented was in Guaycura, I think he charged $250.00 per month. After the big flood of '93 we moved to the other side of the river in Infonavit Latinos (near Reforma) and paid $200.00 to $300.00 per month, in a few different places we rented up there. I currently live near Blvd. Diaz Ordaz just west of Los Pinos (near Clinica 27), and we pay $400.00 per month.

I've only met a few people who rent here and pay in pesos. The reason, especially here in la frontera, is mainly because of where we are in relation to the U.S., and as you point out, the relative stability of the U.S. dollar versus the peso.

geekess recreationally tempted:

"Tequila drinking contest.

Guess who my money's on."

My money still's on gringo, even for a Starbucks-off. Or we could enlist Rangel, whose every blog ends COFFEE'S READY, GOTTA GO!!"

Oh, and Visduh: You are still owed a slingshot in the ass for calling me and refried "US haters." :) Or you may choose "obscenities at one" (a.m., that is) :)

One more relevant note to this thread: My son is moving out with a few friends in a couple of weeks, to the really nice area near the twin towers in Aguas Calientes. Five bedrooms, two baths, $700 per month.

Apparently, they don't take pesos there either ;)

Geez, we should move there. A one br/bth is $1000 here, and that's cheap rent!

SD: The core article is correct, except for the part about pesos. Rent is much cheaper here. Electricity? More. Water? More. Gas? A push. Food? Likely more expensive, unless beans and tortillas are a staple for you.

And, crossing the border sucks, entirely and completely.

Otherwise, It's great.

Hmm. How much for water and gas? Some food I can buy across the border, since I have specific dietary needs that include sealife but no land meat, products of which are snuck into unlikely food items.

Unless you can buy good organic produce? We're used to paying more for better stuff, but love beans and tortillas, fresh and dried chiles, salsas, and queso fresco etc. etc.

I imagine there are days the border's easier to cross, and you would know them.

The main issue for me would be how pretty my place is. Spacious balcony? Quiet neighbors--no "Teds"--and maybe somewhere to do a little gardening. Or super high-risey is fine, too. With gym and pool.

It would be so great to save the extra per month, throw it at the credit cards, and finally eliminate credit debt for good..

If a 5 bedroom, 2 bath is $700, how much is a lil' ole 1 or 2 bedroom (if there is such a thing)?

Maybe I need to start working on my Spanish.

I think Refried and Big Bob outta get married....

When I first saw this article, I thought that it was about "cheap rents" on this side of the border. It's a pleasant surprise to read about folks crossing the border to find housing that isn't "priced to gouge," but can be afforded...if you do not mind living outside the U.S. to do it!

However, this whizzing contest I saw in the comments section only serves one purpose: it reminds me that as you are peeing on your rival's leg, you are doing the same to the Reader itself! There's a difference between jalepeno-level give and take, and outright poo-slinging with five-gallon buckets as "entertainment."

Just remember a saying from The Second World War: "Indescretions Breed Repercussions!" I appreciate both Refried and Big Bob trying to make their points, natch.

However, dragging down the conversation to what one would expect on "South Park" isn't chill at all. Leave the poo-flinging to the inhabitants of the ape enclosure at the Wild Animal Park, and just present the info you are trying to get across, OK?

Other than that...cool!

--RKJ

In a War of Wits,my pesos are on refried. ;-D

The principal difference between housing in Tijuana and housing in the US is that in Tijuana they still know what the value of a home is. In the US, the value of a home is to sell, at the highest resale price that can be obtained. This value is poison, as we see the results, which ultimately is going to end private ownership of property, since eventually the prices are going to be so high that only corporations will be able to buy real property. The value of a home (bought or rented) in Tijuana is what it should be, a place to rest, express yourself, have identity with the community, a place to have fiestas for family and friends, a place to live.

I believe that the tradition of renting most places in Tijuana in dollars is starting to bite the owners in the butt. The overwhelming majority of people living in Tijuana do not cross the border to work and there are 3 million of them. They are impacted by the practice of requiring rents paid in dollars the worst. This has caused these inhabitants to seek out places that do charge in pesos, thereby abandoning the dollar rented places to lay fallow for extended periods of time. This on top of the information war that is being conducted by the US press against Tijuana and Mexico, not unlike the info war conducted by William Randolph Hearst against Pancho Villa, for economic reasons. This causes most Americans, who are already stewing in their self inflicted paranoia, not wanting to cross the border to take advantage of the lower rents. So the months and years click by with the properties in dollars remaining vacant.

But this is all a very good thing, in that it keeps the poisonous values north of the border for the most part, leaving the speculators and developers empty handed. When Americans come to Mexico to live, they for the most part live separate from the people in cloistered communities, paying high prices just because they can, driving up property values as has been the case in the US. This makes it difficult for Mexicans to buy or rent properties in their own land. This tendency is mostly in other parts of Baja and mainland Mexico. But it is rude to move to a country and to not be willing to live among the common people as they live. But the term of endearment, "the ugly American" is not without precedent...

There are a few things to learn about Baja if you wish to move here. It isn't for everyone. It isn't like the U.S. at all.

Your neighbors will occasionally be very loud. There is nothing you can do about it. It is perfectly legal to have a block party on Tuesday night. People do this. You learn to live with it.

Starting at seven in the morning and lasting until ten in the evening, people, cars, and trucks will come into your neighborhood and honk or yell or otherwise pitch everything from propane to sweet potatoes. This is either annoying or endearing, depending on your attitude. A man in a police uniform will knock on your door and ask for donations. The Witnesses will want to talk about religion with you. Someone will ask for help in the form of money to bury their recently deceased uncle. You cannot avoid this.

Driving in Tijuana is an adventure. Drivers here are jerks. All of them, even you if you want to drive in Tijuana. The roads are sometimes very bad. Your car will eventually be stolen. This is what happens.

In your first two years here, you will constantly wonder why it doesn't work like it does in the U.S. In your third year here, you will understand why it works the way that it works. If you can get through the first two years, you're going to be fine. Most don't last six months. That is, unless you live in one of those retirement communities in Playas, where all of your neighbors are also retired Americans. Then you have to put up with an entirely different set of problems.

Reasons to live in Tijuana...

No one is trying to save you from yourself by means of legislation.

The greatest public transportation system, cheap, plentiful, 24/7 and opposed to the San Diego Trolley, safe and comfortable.

Therefore, there is no need to own a car.

People, complete strangers, greet each other on the street.

No one is paranoid and perfectly willing to allow you to be yourself.

The culture of Tijuana is the culture of the people, as opposed to the culture of the US, which is corporate culture. Color, strong color is allowed in Tijuana, no combination of color is disallowed. You can paint your home any color your heart desires. You realize that you are no longer in beige hell, everything the color of a dead body.

Life is allowed to flow as it will.

elsabio, I could not have said that better. Salud, my brother.

re: #28: "There's a difference between jalepeno-level give and take, and outright poo-slinging with five-gallon buckets as "entertainment."

"robbiebear" (is that really the name for a grown gentleman, btw?)--you really have no point.

You get to rant at your leisure, but others are not allowed to play out their differences? You might think you are the voice of reason stepping in, but you are just another contributor--you keep that in mind, natch.

re: #30: I am not schooled in matters of currency and exchange; this is very interesting. I have always wondered what the issues are around a sort of informal reliance on one currency, while the official currency is ignored.

and #32: Nice imagery! Where's your blog, elsabio? :)

re: 31: I have strong need for quiet, and will probably remain in my largely-inhabited-by-the-elderly condo situation. However, this does sound more like living in Europe, where I did bemoan the lack of noise police. Though it was funny when the French housewife downstairs would yell out a lusty curse at the offending motorcyclist or bread delivery truck driver. :)

Interesting read. Now you know why the Mexicans say there are only two kinds of Gringos in Mexico: the wanted and the unwanted.

Oh, and refriedgringo, the word is "buey." It means "ox". It is not wey, whey, or huey. The pochos...er chicanos...pronounce it like it starts with a "W" because they are, well....pochos.

Señor Fulano, I stand corrected, at least, historically. All languages change (unfortunately?), especially Mexican-Spanish here in La Frontera. But you are absolutely correct, the term was originally from the ox. Which is interesting, when considering the child-school chant: Andale borracho güey (or, buey, originally!). A drunk is an ox?

Buey to güey to huey to wey? It's unforgivable.

Concerning noise, the need for control is the primary American drug, and it needs to be kicked in order for the US to survive. I have been at parties that have spilled out into the street on a weeknight at 2:30 AM where 20 people, of questionable sobriety, were singing Aca Entre Nos, with Papa Chente being cranked on a car stereo, in a relatively upscale neighborhood. The police never showed up, primarily because they were never summoned. Everyone of the neighbors understood that they would be doing the same exact thing in maybe a month. That is freedom, true freedom, not propaganda freedom. It is freedom among a people who either consciously or unconsciously understand that in order to have freedom, one must give freedom...

why dont you 2 just exchange email addreses and spare us the bitch fits

elsabio posted the link to his(?) blog:

http://sagradatijuana.blogspot.com/

...in which s/he quoted the Tao te Ching:

"Once the whole is divided, the parts need names. There are already enough names. Know when to stop..."

...and then went on to elaborate quite lucidly on the subject.

Here is one of the very first vids I ever saw from my friend UnAsleep:

Glad to make your acquaintance, elsabio.

Don't be a stranger.

elsabio opined: "Concerning noise, the need for control is the primary American drug, and it needs to be kicked in order for the US to survive."

elsabio, it's a bit of a leap from one question about noise levels in a prospective neighborhood to a uniquely American need for general control over environment. I have had lots of ex-pat friends, and they do tend to get a little hyperbolic about the American psyche :)

Will check out your blog :)

"In this verse that is to a nameless civic leader of ancient China, Lao Tsu says "Enough of the naming!" He is exhorted to know when it is time to stop this dividing of the whole by naming. The Tao Te Ching clearly says that control is a road to disaster."

This is an interesting point about naming and power. Notably, in Genesis, naming is the first power given to humans...and what virulent use of this power ensues.

Elsabio: What you call freedom, most people call anarchy. A few others would call it extreme insensitivity and an inability to be considerate of others. A small minority, like me, would simply recognize that you are totally unaware of the basic human condition, and probably have sociopathic tendencies.

El diablo sabe más por viejo que por diablo.

"This is an interesting point about naming and power. Notably, in Genesis, naming is the first power given to humans...and what virulent use of this power ensues."

Exactly, Daniels. I edited out a portion of my comment where I referred to Adam (and Descartes).

Campbell talked about it, Wilber writes about it, and I'm sure it's been covered by countless others as well. To name is to define the boundaries of something, and as I've often observed myself, "To define is to confine." (I do not claim to be well-read enough to know if somebody else said it first or not.)

  1. Cut by thinking.
  2. Circumscribe by naming.

Steps toward a great Fall believed to be history by most, and metaphor by others...

...and utter BS by those who believe in neither of the above. :)

refriedgringo: The word güey is just a deformation of the root word "buey" (from the Latin bovis). Buey, güey, whey, etc. has evolved in common usage. It originally was used in place of the word "idiot". Now it is a little less antagonistic, also meaning, "dude", "man", etc.

"Andale borracho güey", needs to be heard in context. "Andale" is another Mexican word with different meanings. It means, "come on", "right on", "get a move on", "OK", "I hear you", etc. I'd say "Andale borracho güey" means something like "idiot, you're walking like a drunk."

Probably more information than anybody really wanted.

Look, elsabio. Someone thinks that Lao Tze's an anarchist. "Some things never change."

What would he say to that? Maybe...

"If you don't trust the people, they will become untrustworthy."

I'll have to side with elsabio when it comes to the noise. As Señor Fulano points out, this may take me over the edge so far as anarchy is concerned: so I shall admit freely, I am an anarchist. But there is rule in anarchy, in that we are certainly responsible to each other so far as noise goes. But elsabio is right, it is freedom in its purest form. Self-responsibility is freedom's spouse, they are joined at the hip.

In this way, I think that anarchy and freedom are often the same. Those who are not ruled, are ruled by their own actions. Then they are ruled regardless of not having a ruler.

antigeekess listed:

"1. Cut by thinking. 2. Circumscribe by naming."

To that, I add "Circumcise for no reason." :)

Re: the noise issue: My original comment was: "I have strong need for quiet."

I am interested in a discussion about how one can read narratives of national power freakdom into quotidian American presumptions over what constitutes 'noise control,' but just want to state clearly that my need for a quiet place to live is pretty much explained by 1. chronic illness requiring lots and lots of sleep and 2. reading and writing habits requiring lots and lots of quiet. The comment about 'noise control police' was flip, and I realize that tolerance of noise levels can be a culturally sensitive issue.

refried, I think that a belief in the anarchic can be a noble one in a mind such as yours--who would never use it to take advantage of others, but it has to take quite a bit of optimism to hold such ambition for society.

Daniels explained her need for quiet:

"I....just want to state clearly that my need for a quiet place to live is pretty much explained by 1. chronic illness requiring lots and lots of sleep and 2. reading and writing habits requiring lots and lots of quiet."

My reasons for wanting the same thing are the same, but different: 1. chronic laziness requiring lots and lots of sleep and 2. chronic bitchiness requiring lots and lots of quiet.

Unlike you, Daniels, I'm willing to admit I'm a control freak. It's part of my charm. Can't I be a fascist anarchist? Ferris Bueller seemed to think it was possible. (Although generally, Ferris doesn't endorse "isms.")

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO68zwTXFWk

Needless to say, I won't be moving to Mexico, either. :)

AG aphorized:

"...as I've often observed myself, "To define is to confine.""

Not sure who might have said it first, but that'll do nicely. Yes, a well-treated concept, and a fascinating topic. My favorite treatments come from psychoanalysis, because the way we name things in our dreams and in general speech can afford glimpses into how we think, and how symbolic power condenses the way it does, both consciously and unconsciously.

Bueller: "They could be fascist-anarchists. It still wouldn't change the fact that I don't own a car." Hee hee.

Ok, anti- I admit it. I'm a control freak. I'm such a control freak that nothing ever gets done :)

SD: Tijuana has an interesting link to anarchy. Ricardo Flores Magon made quite an impression here:

And AG, Mexico is none the better for your refusal to submit to her charms ;)

"In 1997, an organization of indigenous peoples of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca formed the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magón" (Consejo Indígena Popular de Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magón", or CIPO-RFM), based on the philosophy of Magón.[4]"

Wow! Interesting stuff. Do you have any ties to this group? I bet they celebrate him on Independence Day.

I love the sentence about him reading Marx, and oh yeah--Ibsen :)

I have no ties to Magon, other than I am enthralled that there still exist "Magonistas", most notably in Chiapas, where they would love some sort of autonomy. Political activism is not permitted by non-Mexicans here. It's a small price to pay for being able to enjoy this rich culture, I don't regret a minute of it. And they don't mind if I write! No complaints.

What exactly does "nonpermission" involve? What can and can't you do? Say, a Marx reading group--would the federales bust in and arrest you?

I've never tested the rule. I doubt that a Marxist reading group would qualify me as being some sort of rabble-rouser. I think it's more along the lines of traveling to Chiapas and attempting to champion their causes. We are pretty much free to write what we feel, they (the government) are quite aware of what I type and submit over the internet. I think the line is drawn at personal involvement in politics. And really, I don't blame them a bit. Who am I to interfere with their less-than-perfect but more-that-adequate system?

I'd rather just be a reporter.

A great scholar hears of the Tao and begins diligent practice. A middling scholar hears of the Tao, retains some and loses some. An inferior scholar hears of the Tao and roars with ridicule. Without that laugh, it would not be the Tao. So there are constructive sayings on this. The Way of illumination seems dark. Going forward seems like retreat. The easy way seems hard. True power seems weak. True purity seems tarnished. True clarity seems obscure. The greatest art seems unsophisticated. The greatest love seems indifferent. The greatest wisdom seems childish. The Tao is hidden and nameless. The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment... Tao Te Ching, verse 41

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing that you will hold onto. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you can not achieve... TTC

I believe that the people of Tijuana unconsciously live the Tao. The city of Tijuana reflects the Tao. The US thinks its more or less the crown of creation, the closest to perfection that has been attained. But according to the Tao Te Ching, the greatest perfection seems imperfect.

"The usefulness of what is, depends on what is not"... TTC

Fiamma Montezemolo, an Italian anthropologist, has written:

"Tijuana explains it all the time: 'It is easier to reveal what I am not, than what I am..."

http://www.worldviewcities.org/tijuana/fragmented.html

quote:

"Look, elsabio. Someone thinks that Lao Tze's an anarchist. "Some things never change."

What would he say to that? Maybe...

"If you don't trust the people, they will become untrustworthy."

Anarchy: a state of lawlessness and disorder (usually resulting from a failure of government)

Your body is not lawless. Every cell in your body is in constant communication with every other cell in your body. Take cells from your body and place them at a distance from your body and then subject your body to some stimuli or only the intention to subject it to that stimuli. As long as those cells remain alive that are outside your body, they will respond to the stimuli or the intention to subject yourself to that stimuli, as if they were still in your body. What does that? They are non-locally connected. They are connected to and orchestrated by the non-local intelligence, the quantum field, Lao Tsu, in his words, "for lack of a better name, I call it the Tao".

It is the same that has brought this creation to the present level of complexity. It is the driving force behind evolution. Sure there are plenty of examples of competition in the world. But as the Dalai Lama has pointed out in his book, "The Universe in a Single Atom", there are also examples of cooperation and compassion. Man is at the place where if he does not heed that part of his nature, with intention, he is going to be a recipient of the Darwin Award, en masse.

The answers have been there for a long, long, long time. Lao Tsu wrote the Tao Te Ching 2500 years ago. It is a teaching on government, at type of government that is in cooperation with the "government" that has evolved us to this stage of development. That government is the field of consciousness in which we live and move and have our being. It is a government that causes a school of fish to turn instantaneously on a dime, or a flock of birds to not collide in flight. It is the same government that tells the trillion or so cells in your body to get busy because you are going to start running, without you telling them to.

That is the government that Lao Tsu depended on, so in a very real sense, you could not call him an anarchist. He believed that you do not need rules and laws to be kind and just. In fact, if a society thinks it needs rules and laws, it indicates that society has detached from that field of consciousness, and is on its way out. What are the indications of this? Oh, things like attacking another nation without provocation. Things like rejoicing when you win a war, rather than mourning that you were not able to not go to war. Things like a leader not trusting anyone. Lao Tsu saw that the greatest leader is someone the people hardly know that he is there. One who rules by consciousness, ie Mahatma Gandhi, who held no political office, but defeated the nation that at the end of WW2, Harry Truman believed was the greatest threat to democracy, England.

elsabio, reading your disjointed, in coherent ramblings it appears to me that you amped out on one too many doobies a long time ago. Please change your Username to "elmenso".

If you think elsabio is bad,you should try reading my incoherent yet seemingly intelligent ramblings sometime. I'm all over the stratosphere when I get on a subject. Call it the Aquarian in me... http://www.astrology-online.com/aquarius.htm

Re: elsabio's post #62.

Right on. All very lucid and articulate commentary on the TTC.

There is, however, the inherent linguistic problem. If you say the body has "laws," or that a school of fish has a "government," I understand what you're saying, and it's not inaccurate. But it irks my brain that those very notions/labels/terms by necessity indicate a separation between ruler and subject that doesn't exist, which is the whole point.

It's unavoidable, which is why we can't really talk about the Tao. Lao Tze told us that in the beginning, though.

Whaddya gonna do?

As for implementing Taoistic political theory into practice, well, I think there's bascially one thing - and one thing only -that makes it pretty much impossible in the modern world. That thing is the notion of ownership of property.

It's been covered to death, of course. Most aptly and entertainingly demonstrated in this film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66pTPWg_wUw

elsabio continued to confound some by posting:

"A great scholar hears of the Tao and begins diligent practice. A middling scholar hears of the Tao, retains some and loses some. An inferior scholar hears of the Tao and roars with ridicule."

Well, the problem of adequate translation has always been a major issue with the Tao te Ching. As my professor observed, "They're ALL sty, it's just a matter of degree of their stiness."

I don't speak/read any form of Chinese, but recall attempting to translate a couple of verses once, using an online translation dictionary. What I got was VERY different from any other translation I had viewed. And mine made more non/sense, to me at least. :)

Here, I squirm at the use of the word "scholar." Assuming that it's really talking about "scholars" -- Without looking (and I don't recall the work that well), I'd expect the next line to be something along the lines of, "All three are the Tao, but none will know It" -- because scholarship concerning the Tao is ultimately useless.

"If you realize that all things change, there is nothing that you will hold onto. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you can not achieve... TTC"

"Live like you were dying." -- Tim McGraw :)

"I believe that the people of Tijuana unconsciously live the Tao."

Isn't that the only way to do it? ;)

If you interpret things like, "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao" or "They that know, do not talk. They that talk, do not know", in the way many people attempt to interpret it, then the words themselves are Lao Tsu violating his own teaching...

What he is speaking of, is what quantum physicists say about it. That the quantum field probably will never be investigated, for to attempt to do so causes the probabilities to collapse and form reality. But there is still a lot that can be said about the nameless Tao, since we are surrounded by the named Tao...

It is true, there is a problem trying to translate things from the oldest extant manuscripts of the oldest written language that continues in use. There are Chinese characters in the Tao Te Ching that are no longer in use in the modern language. I mean if I say: "Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing", that sounds pretty strange and that is only like 400 year old English. So even to some one whose mother tongue is some dialect of Chinese, the Tao Te Ching is going to sound pretty strange to them...

There are like 14,000 translations of the Tao Te Ching. Those translations will pick up the ideology and agendas of the translator. You have Christian missionaries translating it and you have Aleister Crowley aka "the world's most evil person" doing translations. But that both the missionary and Crowley are attempting to translate it, along with thousands of others, tells me there is something there, something that makes it worth you wasting precious time on. And so far the document has not been a waste of time. It is interesting how much flac I receive and how much people go out of their way to try to get me to discount its importance to study...

But it isn't the Tao that is important (or perhaps better put, the importance of the Tao is unimportant), it is the progression of its "te", manifested in humanity. Zen, for example. The ability to not know, or the lessons of a koan: It isn't an answer to a paradox, it is pondering a koan and arriving at the proper question to the question.

"If a tree fell in the forest and no one was there to hear it fall, would it make a sound?"

Properly considered, one correct conclusion would be this: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

In that respect, I can certainly see how elsabio relates Tijuana as a land of people unconsciously living the Tao. It is a place of unanswerable paradox where people ponder the koan only to realize that only another koan could possibly provide wisdom or enlightenment.

I am not going to try to discount your study, elsabio, because it really doesn't matter what text you choose. You will read your own story, ultimately, as we tend to inscribe more than read. Think of the multiplicity of the word "figure." :)

So I will say that personally, to avoid this kind of error of comfort, I choose to read texts as though I'm swimming through a stream--never stopping to feel comfort of the known--except when I compulsively reread or rethink something, like Emily Dickinson or Freud. You can say that I am not escaping your fate, and perhaps that my way of reading is even more prone to unconscious inscription through myself, but then I could throw at you the idea that we are only reflections of culture, and there is no "me" persay anyway. :)

Basically, what I'm saying is that everything you think you're finding in the Tao is found in many places--you could find all of this in the writing of one physicist, or in the works of Borges. Just choose your document(s). You're a thoughtful person making connections, though, and you appear to be reading some decent scholarly articles, too. Good deal :)

Fixed: that's "per se." Sorry, wrote fast. :)

On second thought, my post makes it seem as though the goal to lose one's "self" is self-evident (do not pardon the pun--it's useful :). However, my knowledge of the Tao would make of me an "inferior" to "middling" scholar, as you comment, elsabio. When I say you can't escape yourself, I also refer to that concatenation of socio-cultural reflection that makes up who we 'are' as individuals--(and it is always so f'ing funny when people think they are SUCH individuals, or have traveled SO far to escape some unlikely beginning).

I'm going to shut up until I finish that article on Tijuana.

You can not know it (the Tao), but you can be it, at ease in your own life. Discovering how things have always been, brings one into harmony with the Way... Tao Te Ching, verse 14

The Tao is the treasure house, the true nature, the secret source of everything. It is the treasure of the good man and the refuge of the bad. If a person seems wicked, do not cast him away. Awaken him with your words, elevate him with your deeds, repay his injury with your kindness. Do not cast him away, cast away his wickedness. Thus when a new leader is chosen, do not offer to help him with your wealth or your expertise. Help him to meditate on the principle, offer instead to teach him about the Tao. Why did the ancients make so much of the principle? Is it not because it is the source of what is good and the remedy for all evil? It is the most noble thing in the world... Tao Te Ching, verse 62

The thing about quantum mechanics, it has brought us full circle to the place that the universe is primarily seen as a mystery, again. But we can become conscious of the mystery, as such. We can be the mystery, embracing the wisdom of uncertainty. The possibility of an "enfolded" universe causes us to not view the "out there" with the mundane eye. But to view the mystery of the universe as being in yourself is not to turn it all into a pinche video game. It does however, bring us to the point of taking responsibility for the events in our life. The challenges that would have defeated us in the past, now stand only to reveal the miraculous...

One thing that I appreciate about Tijuana is the freedom to express freely your faith. There is no better example of this, than the taxi driver who crosses himself with the money you have just given him or crosses himself as we drive past a cathedral or church. It is a private thing, this expression of faith, but so much so that no one is leaning on you to conduct your practice in secret. Nor when the taxi driver does that, there is no sense that he is evangelizing or trying to give the appearance of piety. He is just being who he is, and what you think about him and his practices is none of his business...

"There are like 14,000 translations of the Tao Te Ching. Those translations will pick up the ideology and agendas of the translator."

While I appreciate your grasp of the universal, elsabio, does this realization ever lead you to study of particulars? Would you be interested in discussing anything you've picked up in your comparison of translations?

Elsabio: "When Americans come to Mexico to live, they for the most part live separate from the people in cloistered communities, paying high prices just because they can, driving up property values as has been the case in the US. This makes it difficult for Mexicans to buy or rent properties in their own land. This tendency is mostly in other parts of Baja and mainland Mexico. But it is rude to move to a country and to not be willing to live among the common people as they live. But the term of endearment, "the ugly American" is not without precedent..." It's ironic, because as you refer to the "ugly American" I'm struck with the thought that you sound like the the American who complains about Mexicans coming to America, taking jobs and driving down wages, not learning to speak english, staying within the culture they're familiar with, not, as you say "living among the common people as they live". But that can't be right since we're all racists and "ugly Americans" right? You wouldn't be doing the same thing would you?

rickeysays:

I'm not say the same thing. Being a person who the last 20 years lived in the Artist Loft District of Downtown Los Angeles, I was never once approached by an undocumented Mexican and asked for spare change. But it did become boring to be asked by able bodied citizens of the US, who have a legal right to work, don't have to look over their shoulders to see if La Migra was coming, that these citizens were constantly asking for change. Mexicans in the US illegally are trabajadores, who didn't leave their hometowns and families to beg.

Mexico, historically, has been open to immigrants. In example, the Moravian immigrants who came to Northern Mexico, bringing polka, which now is perhaps one of the styles most identified as being Mexican, known as Norteño, from which also was derived Banda. So folks who come to Mexico who want to truly participate in the culture are welcome.

What I'm saying is that when Americans come with no intention of participating in the Mexican experiment, it is indeed a form of imperialism, transplanting culture into a walled community, where maybe the cleaning lady is a local. That causes greater poverty not only of the Mexicans, but also of the Americans, who are not understanding that they are in the midst of a much richer culture, a culture that is truly of the people and not corporate culture. So the Americans remain culturally bereft. The Americans role, for the most part in Mexico, is similar to that of the British in India, that of being above la gente sencilla.

An article by Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz:

http://pdbhoa.org/node/242

I will agree with everything you've said, elsabio, save this:

"...a much richer culture, a culture that is truly of the people and not corporate culture. So the Americans remain culturally bereft."

Yes, we have given in to corporate culture, and if your media diet were nothing but advertising ploys, you'd think that's all we have or value. But while we need to say more about that phenomenon, this is still the kind of homogenized statement you deplore. Of course, the US is also complex of various cultures and social expression, and it is worth exploring. Remember your Tao, and don't give in to the either/or...there is also room for the endless "and..." :)

SDaniels:

The object of the game with the Tao Te Ching is to withdraw from identification with the realm of the particulars or as Lao Tsu called it, the realm of the 10,000 things. That identification be with the nameless part of the Tao, that in a sense, since that is where we are all going anyway in the event commonly known as death, that we have the option to go there without dying. We can inhabit the mystery that gives birth to all that exists. That it can flow through us, when identification with the ego is abandoned, for identification with the higher self, which is non-local in nature. The ego is a projection and only a tool, the ego being the thoughts and feelings. The ego thinks, "I am this body and I will die", the higher self understands that it is eternal and nothing can destroy it.

This shift in consciousness causes not only you to change, but also causes reality to change, dramatically. It is in this consciousness that one becomes aware that there is no us/them duality, as well as a legion of other dualities one can think of. One ceases to see things as, for instance, good and evil. Those around you are seen as doing the best they can on their level of consciousness, not as good or bad. Yes, they may be doing things that are destructive to others, but it is understood that they are doing things destructive to themselves also. You understand that they will indeed learn, eventually. What will they learn? Not to identify with their ego, to identify with their higher self, which never ever worries or is in fear, but always in peace, joy, and love.

A quantum physicist will tell you, that "the material world" is something like 99.999% empty space. Therefore the idea that reality is a solid environment is an illusion. Stephen Hawking said in his book, A Brief History of Time, that the only difference between what we would call energy and that we would call matter is that all particles of matter are energy particles that have a characteristic known as "double spin", which concept when explained smacks of the mystical. So the idea that there is a duality of spirit/matter is an illusion. There is no upper story and lower story, universal and particulars, it is all one.

SDaniels:

America is, like Mother England, of low consciousness. This is typified by out of control fear, bootstrapped by the American press. I am not concerned so much about America, since according to the Tao Te Ching, it is about to cease to exist. I would like to help Mexico not be sucked down as the American ship of state sinks. When I say that Mexico or more specifically Tijuana do the things of the Tao unconsciously, it is my dharma to facilitate their doing those things with awareness, with consciousness.

The city motto of Tijuana is: Aqui Empieza La Patria (Here Begins the Fatherland). I take that seriously. All cultures have strengths and weaknesses. Show me a man who doesn't believe so and I will show you a racist. The main weakness of America is that it believes that it should be able to live high on the hog on the rest of the world's dime. To take more than its share of natural resources. I will refrain from a rant on how corporations like Monsanto are trying to control the world by controlling food with GMO's. That is just one example from the myriad I could talk about. Mexico's future depends on Tijuana taking its city motto as its responsibility, to protect and identify with its rich culture before the corporate culture is full blown throughout the land. I place that responsibility at the feet of the artists of Tijuana, who seem to be more about looking north for inspiration than to its rich roots to the south...

"I place that responsibility at the feet of the artists of Tijuana, who seem to be more about looking north for inspiration than to its rich roots to the south..."

Elsabio, Mexico's roots are indeed as much north of the border than south of it. Artists have no responsibility to look inward any more than they have responsibility to look outward. What artists do is to reflect society. Society, here, is divided by the big metal fence, yet what was once Mexico now belongs to the United States of America. There is very much a duality here.

But that culture, the initial modern civilization that settled north of the border, is certainly Mexican, simply shaped by other influences now. Tijuana, likewise, is shaped by all of Mexico, immigrants from every state in La Republica are here, present, and accounted for. Chilangolandia may never change, but Tijuana has no choice. She is the sum of her parts, and her parts certainly include what lies beyond the northern border.

"The object of the game with the Tao Te Ching is to withdraw from identification with the realm of the particulars..."

"It is in this consciousness that one becomes aware that there is no us/them duality..."

I stand corrected on the issue of the particular in your philosophy. Yes, I'm familiar with Hawking--and others--who write on physics for the layman, and I am also aware that many contemporary spiritualists use layman's physics--in particular, quantum theory, though other theories are out there--to support their views of some immaterial plane of existence.

In this, you are not much different from the Huna folk, who use ancient Hawaiian texts and oral history to claim that we can achieve material wealth through the destruction of dangerous dualistic thinking--but not really.

Here's the problem I have with this kind of theory, elsabio. While it is a wonderful goal to bring us all into some kind of consciousness as you describe (or lack thereof, since the Tao is not happy with the working tool that is the ego), you cannot do without dualisms, any more than you can do without your ego as a thinking tool, with which you will also continue filter emotion.

In your statement above as well as others, you fall prey to the very kind of us/them thinking to which every proponent of any major religion or organized spiritual thought falls prey--namely, the nonconclusion of "when will THEY learn?" (I by no means exclude or bracket off myself from this--I'm a major offender in this realm). At the same time you propose this kind of expansive, universal thinking and acceptance, you are bothered by the smallness and pettiness of others' thinking about Mexican culture and life in Tijuana. How do you resolve this contradiction of self/other? And in the larger sense, how do you renounce the tools you need to espouse a more inclusive cultural awareness, without falling into such fallacious conclusions as, for example, "Mexican heritage is richer than American heritage?"

SDaniels:

American heritage has for the most part been forgotten. This is no more made plain than of the abandoning by the Bush Administration of philosophy of state by the likes of Abraham Lincoln, who said that no leader should ever be authorized to invade another nation purely on the speculation that the other nation will attack. If Lincoln has acted as Bush did, Fort Sumter would not have been the stress provoking situation it was for Lincoln, causing him to pass out at times. But it was important for Lincoln to maintain the high moral ground, to fulfill his inaugural promise to not be the aggressor. That we are talking here today is the direct result of John Kennedy taking such a stressful situation on his shoulders and not going with his counsel's advice to invade Cuba. Earth would still be glowing...

So that is just one example for the many that America now has little in common with its heritage...

The Tao Te Ching names something between an office and a calling, which is my handle, El Sabio, in English "The Sage". Theoretically, anyone can be a Sage, but few choose to be so. Am I qualified? Let's just say that you tend to hit what you aim at. Concerning duality, the Tao Te Ching says of the Sage:

"Under Heaven, all can see beauty as beauty, only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good, only because there is evil. Being and non-being produce each other. The difficult is born in the easy. Long is defined by short, the high by the low. Before and after go along with each other. So the Sage lives openly with apparent duality and paradoxical unity. The Sage can live without effort and teach without words, nurturing things without possessing them. He works, but not for rewards, he competes, but not for results. When the work is done, it is forgotten, that is why it lasts forever"... Tao Te Ching, verse 2

I refer to myself as a quantum mechanic. I am not limited to the abilities of my body, or my mind. My strength and abilities come from my connection to source. Its not so much from what I do, but what I do not do, intentionally don't do...

"The Sage does not attempt anything very big and thus achieves greatness"... Tao Te Ching

Gandhi, who was a Sage, used seemingly stupid little things to defeat the British. Make his own cloth, collect his own salt. My simple weapon is color and bumper stickers with positive memes...

"So the Sage lives openly with apparent duality and paradoxical unity."

So easy to say, isn't it? And so hard to do.

elsabio, why invoke Mother England, that important but rather worn example of the duplicity of imperialistic culture, and then leap between Lincoln and Bush? Does quantum physics sanction this random historical leaping, or are you just regurgitating the tenets of an undergraduate student's education in cultural studies? I certainly appreciate it more than the average right-wing extremist's bull, but you've got to represent your views better than this, dude.

"My simple weapon is color and bumper stickers with positive memes..."

Very poetic, but frankly, I don't know what to do with stuff like the earth still "glowing," either, or the fact that you refer to yourself as "The Sage," which sniffs of a hubris of the same deluded kind as your garden variety Christian drone. I have to say, I did enjoy the conversation until it got a bit loopy :)

elsabio continued: "If you interpret things like, "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao" or "They that know, do not talk. They that talk, do not know", in the way many people attempt to interpret it, then the words themselves are Lao Tsu violating his own teaching..."

Exactly. As Whitman wrote:

"Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes."

It's inevitable.

"What he is speaking of, is what quantum physicists say about it. That the quantum field probably will never be investigated, for to attempt to do so causes the probabilities to collapse and form reality..."

But elsabio, it's the same thing. Trying to discuss the Tao is 'just' like trying to observe quantum reality. Joseph Campbell said this, but I believe he was paraphrasing someone else (Schopenhauer, maybe?):

“The best things cannot be told, the second best are misunderstood. After that comes civilized conversation..."

I don't really see how it's possible to get around the undeniable fact that the use of language itself is limiting to a subject that is, by Its very nature, limitless. All study of the Tao will be always be pitifully inadequate. It couldn't possibly be anything else. Language is a tool of dissection, here. It's the same principle illustrated in my friend UnAsleep's video, "The Living Deer."

"But that both the missionary and Crowley are attempting to translate it, along with thousands of others, tells me there is something there, something that makes it worth you wasting precious time on. And so far the document has not been a waste of time. It is interesting how much flac I receive and how much people go out of their way to try to get me to discount its importance to study..."

Oh, it's definitely not a "waste of time." I'd say it may be the greatest, most comprehensive philosophical treatise ever written. Also the most elegantly concise. But I'd also say it's more important to living than it is to discursive study and intellectual analysis.

Aaaand, that's all I have time for.

Interesting thread, though. :)

Hey AG, thanks for bringing up the issue of language, and again, how we are confined (happily, for me) within its boundaries. Exactly why--perhaps--it is best as you say, to live one's spiritual principles rather than command or preach them.

The fact is that since it took in 1962, eleven hours for a message to get to either Washington DC or Havana from Moscow, Khrushchev had pre-authorized the commander of his troops (which we didn't know were there) that if Kennedy invaded Cuba to just start launching missiles at the US. Its a foregone conclusion that it would have snowballed from there. Being 57, I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis. My mom was coming apart emotionally since my dad was on a business trip. We were literally one decision away from the end of man on earth...

That you have trouble with someone having a sense of purpose, I can understand. One cultural weakness of America is that everyone is watching the country go down the drain and the most they can do is believe that one man that they support in an election is going to turn things around. But as the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been saying, with not a word from the American press, Obama is continuing the Bush policy on warrantless wiretaps and data mining. But as someone from Mother England once said, "Here comes the new boss, just like the old boss"...

Hey elsabio, I don't have trouble with anyone having a sense of purpose, and sorry if I seem harsh. I do have many many issues with organized spirituality, and the brain drain and sense of self-righteousness that appears to accompany it (e.g. ref. "Bigbob" above") We do agree on many issues, and I'd like to hear more about your growing up during the Cold War (the first part :)

There is no organization, its just me...

My seeking to bring the unconscious to conscious centers around emphasizing the true value of Tijuana, not as economic giant or anything, but as a center of freedom. Tijuana was built on the money of Americans fleeing the American kind of freedom, people trying to save you from yourself. The bumper stickers being affirmations to cause people to become aware of the freedom they have and give to their neighbors. Not to get them to do anything they don't already do, just be conscious of it. Thereby making it harder to remove...

I hear what you're saying, elsabio. But can you see how your rhetoric reaffirms a monolithic US entity, against which you then construct your view of Tijuana? Don't get me wrong. I think it is important to do this, and applaud your efforts, but it also seems important to admit it is necessary; that working with the binary oppositions you employ are inescapable. Your rhetoric will be much clearer for it.

If Elsabio falls in the forest, does he make a sound?

Only if he can successfully clap with one hand ;)

...while mentally negating the existence of such dualisms as up/down :)

Side to side is probably preferable from a universalist's point of view.

AG is going to kick our butts in the morning :)

AG kicks our butts every day, SD. In many more ways than the obvious one ;)

The difficult is born in the easy. Everything is easy, remember that...

I am ignoring knowledge that I am ignoring knowledge, that I may cease to ignore knowledge...

My cousin teaches fourth grade, and Office Depot gave him an "Easy button." Big red button students can come up and slap as they give their answer.

The Tao Te Ching is a means of hacking reality by use of paradox...

and they may be reminded of the great back-to-school deals Office Depot has on pens, pencils, notebooks, and backpacks, as they affirm the easy in the easy, and the difficult in the easy.

"The Tao Te Ching is a means of hacking reality by use of paradox..."

Close. The Tao is a means of hacking a paradox by means of reality. I though I pointed that out a few responses back...

"though" is "thought". My keyboard loves to slip keystrokes for some reason.

it's thought, though, and..

either way seems fine, as we enjoy the beauty of endless chiasms:

hacking a paradox by means of a reality, hacking a reality by means of a paradox, realizing that the paradoxes are creeping up with a hatchet, and yet you are creeping up to them with a hatchet...:

and realizing that my pillow, non-paradoxically, calls my name...

"Please, lay down, you're done for the night..."

The greatest advice of all. I am hoping in many ways to become more enlightened tomorrow. At least, it had better happen tomorrow because Thursday I have to cross again (assumming no one shoots anyone at the border...).

Sweet dreams, refried-and-pillow, for you are one :)

I think I found paydirt here. I found the place where all the disaffected Americans who never amounted to anything in their lives and never achieved any measure of success and who blame it all on the US come to commiserate and masturbate each other.

"I think I found paydirt here. I found the place where all the disaffected Americans who never amounted to anything in their lives and never achieved any measure of success and who blame it all on the US come to commiserate and masturbate each other."

Interesting comment coming from someone with no name (for those challenged in the area of Spanish, "fulano" is, literally, a nobody). As for me, in you, I think I found a celf-centered jerk with too much time on his hands. If you think you've found paydirt, then my advice is to dig. Once you get so far down, I'll still be around to shovel the crap you dig up back onto the hole you'll eventually bury yourself in.

And you will, your type always does.

Hey fulano, why don't you take all of your displaced and disaffected anger and create your very own blog here:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/create/

Let's see how many readers you can gather up to commiserate with your limited personality and views.

Wow, SDaniels. I can hardly believe it. You have 1008 posts here in just under 7 months. You obviously are a very busy person and have many, many important things to accomplish in your life...not.

And refried has over 800 posts in just under a year. Is this place like the mystical elephant graveyard where all the misfits come to die?

Yep, and I have lots of excuses, too. Any more questions, fulano? Working on that blog, son?

Fulano, if that's the best you can come up with, then certainly you can find something else to occupy your time. Your obsession over my life's accomplishments are touching, yet disturbing in so many ways.

c'mon refried. He can count, and he came up with that nifty "mystical elephant graveyard" phrase. I can't wait to read his blog!

Don't hold your breath very long for Fulano's blog to become a reality. Apparently, he's more concerned about our lack of ambition ;)

Right. Well, what can I say except, here are my thousanth-and-something-th posts for the day, and for your pleasure, fulano. Comments? Questions? ;)

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2009/sep/23/letters/#comments

elsabio wrote:

"The bumper stickers being affirmations to cause people to become aware of the freedom they have and give to their neighbors. Not to get them to do anything they don't already do, just be conscious of it. Thereby making it harder to remove..."

Mah very favorite:

http://www.zazzle.com/pd/realviewpopup?url=http%3A%2F%2Frlv.zcache.com%2Fisapi%2Fdesignall.dll%3Faction%3Drealview%26pdt%3Dbumpersticker%26pending%3Dfalse%26pid%3D128654598614813497%26rvtype%3Dproduct%26view%3Dfront%26max_dim%3D770%26bg%3D0xffffff%26square_it%3Dtrue%26draw_relative_size%3Dtrue%26style%3Dstandard_bumpersticker%26drawareaboundingbox%3Dfalse%26drawsafearea%3Dfalse&dim=770

Although, for purposes of this thread, this one's a bit better:

http://bumperbanner.com/taxonomy/term/132

:)

Daniels speculated: "Side to side is probably preferable from a universalist's point of view.

AG is going to kick our butts in the morning :)"

Good news on a couple of fronts: 1. I was far too busy to administer any butt-kickings this morning. 2. I'm not smart enough to be offended anyway, so there was never any real danger.

;)

elsabio observed:

"The difficult is born in the easy."

And the easy is born in the difficult.

Practice makes perfect, and such.

:)

elsabio's diary entry for the day was:

"I am ignoring knowledge that I am ignoring knowledge, that I may cease to ignore knowledge..."

Good move! No use paying attention to that fact that one is ignorant. It just stresses a guy out.

Then you're ignorant AND stressed.

Bummer.

:(

Rickysed:

"If Elsabio falls in the forest, does he make a sound?"

And if there is no Daniels to hear him, did he still do it wrong(ly)?

:)

Oh noes. AG, you're in rare form tonight ;)

elsabio thought: "The Tao Te Ching is a means of hacking reality by use of paradox..."

And refried corrected: "Close. The Tao is a means of hacking a paradox by means of reality..."

Some most excellent jujitsu, grasshoppasans.

I see your reality and raise you an infinite number more.

Times two.

:)

"I think I found paydirt here. I found the place where all the disaffected Americans who never amounted to anything in their lives and never achieved any measure of success and who blame it all on the US come to commiserate and masturbate each other."

Welcome, Brother. Here ya go:

http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/Articles/5134952/253383_Full.jpg

I'm gonna pinch that, AG! Grassahoppasans is inspired!

Lola Falana mis-sed:

"Is this place like the mystical elephant graveyard where all the misfits come to die?"

I think you mean "mythical" elephant graveyard. Although there are mystical elephants. Here's one now:

http://thaierawan.com.au/images/a01_erawan_elephant.jpeg

refried noted:

"Oh noes. AG, you're in rare form tonight ;)"

Nah. It's the same one as usual. Still a chubby blonde.

I was going to be one of these tonight:

http://media.photobucket.com/image/mythical%20creatures/hillaryk/chupacabra.jpg

But then I decided, "Meh, why bother?"

Fish bubbled:

"I'm gonna pinch that, AG! Grassahoppasans is inspired!"

I like to make up new words. :)

"Yesterday's neologisms, like yesterday's jargon, are often today's essential vocabulary." – Academic Instincts, 2001

"In psychiatry, the term neologism is used to describe the use of words that only have meaning to the person who uses them, independent of their common meaning. This is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder (indicative of a psychotic mental illness, such as schizophrenia) in adults.[1]

People with autism also may create neologisms.[2]

Use of neologisms may also be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury.[3]"

-- Wikipeedia.

Here, we cook those in a very tasty guajillo sauce. Tacos, for breakfast, even ;)

Chef refried advised:

"Here, we cook those in a very tasty guajillo sauce. Tacos, for breakfast, even ;)"

Heehee. I'll bet ya do. Got a recipe for this?

http://www.neurotranscendence.com/wp-content/uploads/fruitbat.JPG

You betcha ;)

Take fifteen dried guajillo chilies and cook them, slowly, for a few hours. Add a cut-up onion, some salt, and a couple of minced tooths of garlic. Throw it all in a blender and strain.

Add the chupacabra or bat (or whatever meat you happen to have on hand) to a pot, along with the salsa, and add four cups of water. Cook for three hours on very low heat.

Fall in love.

Serve with tortillas (hot, fresh), and lime slices, along with some chopped cilantro.

MMMMmmmmm!!!

Being from Texas, I'm a-hopin' it works with aramadillies, too!

Hon, it'll work with anything! One man's roadkill is another man's dinner ;)

"Hon, it'll work with anything! One man's roadkill is another man's dinner ;)"

Yup. It might not be terribly surprising that when you type in "road kill," you come up with some of the weirdest videos on YouTube, with which I will leave you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AELBcX... (Roadkill portion of the program over at 1:18)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEziTM4i1I8

'Nite. :)

I am hungry for some word salad, with guajillo sauce.

Refried, Bob, take it easy both of you. Both of you know SOMETHING about Mexico. Neither of you knows EVERYTHING. When you get right down to it, you're both foreigners still learning a new culture. Yes, even after 20 years.

How unseemly to listen to (or read) two talented, interesting gentlemen yap at each other about who's the more authentic expat American living in Mexico. Grow up. "He started it," you say. I hear that every day... from my five- and six-year-old sons

As for rents, some are in pesos, some dollars. So the hell what? Is it worth this ad hominem slugfest?

As for Catholicism, Bob you're giving it a bad name with your unwelcoming pissiness. And Refried, your anti-Catholicism is giving you a bad name. If you love Mexico and Mexicans, you ought to refrain from slandering a faith held dear by 88% (last I heard) of the population.

I'd enjoy a beer at Dandy with you Refried, or a coffee with you, Bob, any time.

Altius, I appreciate your words.

My point wasn't to get into it with Bob, simply to correct an error. I write a lot of stuff in here, too, and I've been corrected a couple of times. I try not to take it personally.

I'm not anti-Catholic, not even anti-religion, none of it bothers me except when it's tossed in my face. I've attended weddings, baptisms, communions (my own children's even!), my wife is catholic, we were married by a catholic priest.

I'm a little touchy when it comes to what's written about Baja, I just want it to be accurate. That includes my own stuff, so if I write something that's incorrect, I'll own it and fix it if I can. I did check on the rent thing, with the local Tijuanenses, a pretty good cross-section of people that live here in Tijuana proper. 70-80% in dollars. Now, out in the boonies, it slants towards more pesos than dollars, but the boonies are sort of not so much suited for people used to living in decent places.

Anyway, thanks, Altius, you're a good person and one day I hope to share that beer with you.

refried and bob: you two guys are awesome; no, that's an understatement. Seriously, this is the best dialogue on the books. Now for the suggestions: tequila summit and invite El Grande B. Obama -- he has experience in these matters. Bob doesn't drink, so he gets a free Starbucks. Re the dollar/Peso disagreement: I have seen several rental and property ads which prefer the dollar. Some come right and specify dollar. Before I thank everyone for reading my contribution, to bob,refried and others,there has been talk/consideration from those on high to merge the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar and peso; maybe results in the Euro. Also, there was the thought to merge the three economies. Info came out of one of the "think tanks"; read it about a year ago.

Daniels-if you have never seen "The Onion Movie", I highly recommend it. It is jsut hilarious.

It is being shown about one time a month on the G4 cable chanel;

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0392878/

As a longtime Onion fan (dunno why some people don't find it funny anymore--used to get the paper in NYC, now have to read it online), I was a little disappointed in the movie--just that some of the vignettes were lame. Most of them were pretty funny, though. Which were your faves, SurfP?

I have three t-shirt from the Onion store with popular past headlines:

"Are your cats old enough to hear about Jesus?"

"Kitten thinks of nothing but murder all day"

and the very timely:

"Jesus is my health insurance."

Bought one for my little hipster cuz, and will buy one for another cuz's two-year old that reads:

"I appreciate the muppets on a much deeper level than you"

:)

Daniels, I CANNOT believe you did not find "The Onion Movie" funny as hell. I die laughing everytime I see it.

Too many funny skits to name just one, but being a male the Melissa Cherry scenes were the bomb.....the black bank robber skit also had me rolling on the floor.........hey did you see this one (I just received it on Facebook);

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/shell_executives_accuse_oil

"Voser even called into question the otter's mental stability, citing the sea pup's early attempts to drink the highly contaminated water around him as an example of just how far the publicity-hungry mammal was willing to go to make the Shell Oil Company look like "the bad guy.""

That's a good one. Sea pup! I wish I could write for the Onion.

I did laugh quite a bit at places. Melissa Cherry was pretty funny, especially trying to explain away that song "Take Me From Behind" as being about a surprise--you know, like someone sneaking up to scare you, or surprise you for your birthday. Loved the vid of her with the stuffed animals :)

Now if I might address the question of whether rents here are payable in pesos or dollars in a manner less polemical than BigBob's...

From a historical perspective, dollars have been more common here in Tijuana than have been pesos. Before Baja California achieved statehood it was often impossible for the pesos to make it here from the capital so dollars were used perforce simply so that the city might have some form of currency. (Even today a lot of our supplies come from north of the border, for example, our natural gas and many of our vegetables.)

The peso became a centrally controlled currency in the 1960s. This means the president decided how much the peso would be worth from one day to the next. Every new president would cover the previous president's retirement package by devaluing the peso ... most of Mexico didn't notice, but those on the border and those in international finance would take a beating. The World Bank and the IMF were not amused.

Landlords in Tijuana who rented in pesos got screwed hard with each devaluation. They took refuge in the dollar, whose value varied imperceptibly. This was viewed by the government as an attempt to sidestep the controlled currency, so it got written into the Commercial Code that all rents for land in Mexico must be charged in pesos otherwise the lease would be null and void.

Salinas de Gortari floated the peso, good Keynesian that he is, and the requirement of renting in pesos subsequently was taken out of the Commercial Code. But habits die hard: many people still believe that rents in dollars are illegal.

Nowadays landlords can charge their rents in pesos or dollars ... I know some who accept both ... but the lease contract still needs to be written in Spanish if the courts are to enforce it. As a general rule, the closer the property is to the border, the more likely the rent will be quoted in dollars; if the owner lives north of the border, dollars are an almost certainty. But there are still many, many places to live here in Tijuana that are renting in pesos -- you can see those in the classifieds of El Mexicano and La Frontera.

Thank you for that post, realtijuana.

156 I generally agree with your comment, and certainly agree with your timeline, and won't knitpick the details except for one. While Salinas was certainly taught in a Keynesian environment, and might have subscribed to the Keynesian philosophy of macroeconomics, the peso was allowed to float in the Zedillo administration, it was part of what Salinas called "The December Mistake". Zedillo graduated from Yale, which would have certainly taught the Keynesian philosophy of economics, but Keynes was an adamant supporter of fixed currency rates. Hayek believed that exchange rates of currency should float, it is a free-market concept in that exchange rates naturally seek their levels.

Looking back on how brilliantly, in my opinion, Zedillo handled the economic crises, it has always given me a reason to chuckle at the thought that a Yale man utilized a Hayekian core belief as an aid.

You are correct, don Refrito, our so-called neoliberales are not Keynesians at all. They just want us to believe they are. They are no more neoliberal than their opposite numbers in D.C.* are neoconservatives -- they are all just cryptofascists.

But this business with Friedrich von Hayek? There is no point in making a distinction between Harvard and Yale. Both universities have working against the success of universal suffrage. In Mexico the presidents have been alternating between Harvard and Yale ever since Salinas de Gortari (but none before!) and we have suffered the consequences ever since. Keynesianism is their brand and Lord Keynes is too dead to disown them. If we must give them a true name, I would suggest calling them Croesians because King Croesus was the first to begin clipping his coins (that is, to cause inflation).

I thought I'd never say this, but I sure miss Miguel Alemán. Late at night we can afford to indulge in such philosophy.

(*) they have the same political goals and they use the same marketing wizards, such as Dick Morris

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