I was reading two articles about John Mackey (citations below), CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc. and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Lululemon. Both are brands that appeal to a middle class idea of consumerist virtue, with each individual buying his or her way into a healthy, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable lifestyle of their own choosing. Both corporations are stock market superstars run by Ayn Rand happy executives. Both have developed a feel-good, team slash cult work corporate culture.

Whole Foods and Lululemon brought to you by... objectivism?

I find it more than a little amusing how people can be unhappy to learn that their shopping runs to LULU and WFM are supporting companies run by people who don’t subscribe to liberal, middle class, lefty values. (Recently, Lululemon’s Ayn Rand bags shocked a good number of customers and earlier, Mackey published an article in the Wall St Journal against public health care, causing a major backlash.) I mean, were people truly surprized? Did they think that these companies’ stocks had a meteoric rise because their execs were… what? Not really, really, really into capitalism and the free market?

Capitalism takes on many forms and what impresses me most about it, is its uncanny ability to appropriate any ideology, even those that seem anti-capitalist. There is something so efficient and flexible about this system when it comes to human psychology, how it has consistently demonstrated the ability to leech out all of the threat from something powerful, turn it on a dime and sell it at a markup two weeks later. The mistake is to think capitalism is about this human value or that human value. Wherever there is demand, and there will always be demand, capitalism will always be ready to sweep in to make a buck or two. Or trillions.


Every now and then, during meditation, I’ll cry. They aren’t tears of distress, nor of purely parasympathetic arousal (I’ve got supported bridge pose for that!). They represent the meeting of two trains of inquiry I’ve had for awhile regarding ethical behaviour.

A Rwandan genocide survivor at the Gisozi memorial in Kigali looks at pictures of victims of the genocide, in which 800,000 people died. Picture: Reuters

The first train of thought extended from a discussion regarding non-harm and mass consumerism in which the collective conclusion was the inability to avoid harm and focusing on minimizing it. Despite my dissatisfaction at this conclusion, I could not think of another way to approach living in a system of logic that devalues human life and life in general by replacing that value with the exchange value of capitalism. So, my rationality failing me, I relegated this problem to my unconscious to crunch on.


If you just want to read about Virgo, skip this intro.

This was one of the O.div’s more popular posts, and it received a fair number of comments. I never however, got around to posting “Part Two” before the blog died. It was going to be a longer post (as if this one wasn’t long enough!) about N. American Trickster cycles, which I completely did not understand when I first read them.

I now view the Trickster cycles as psychological documents of the process of becoming human. They are not simply “symbolic” but also magical, in that I believe they are recounting human psychological/existential development made manifest in reality which is to say, they are far more complex than just symbols of Jungian dynamics or what have you. (After living with people who thought “magically” and who also had their own Trickster cycle, I have come to believe that the fabric and material of reality are not nearly as constant and simple as I was educated to think…)

If you would like to read about the Trickster cycle, I highly recommend Paul Radin’s book, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology. I also think these cycles are very well worth reading in conjunction with existential psychologists or existential philosophers who had a great deal of psychological insight. In this regard, I would recommend Rollo May, Viktor Frankl, and Martin Heidegger.

Anyways, the whole point of Part Two was to expound on this notion of becoming human and to relate this process to the idea that Mercury is both in its dignity and exaltation in Virgo. The title I had cooking sounded something like “Virgo Part Two: From Trickster to Magus.” Oh, and my room these days is usually neat as a pin… (You’ll understand that last sentence after reading the post.)

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Original Title: Virgo Part One: From Subservient Secretary to Ritual Priestess
Original Post Date: March 18, 2006 @ 3:22pm

I’ve been meaning to write a post about Virgo for awhile. But before I proceed, I must add the disclaimer that this post is simply a collection of my thoughts and my own analysis of the sign and is not based upon any traditional astrological teachings.

Susan Seddon-Boulet

Oh maligned Virgo, you’re possibly the most boring sign of the zodiac. By now we all know the old sun sign drill: she’s overly critical, prudish, frigid, anal-retentive, borderline OCD. At best, the sign is characterized by a highly efficient, analytical worker drone with superior attention to detail. At worst, she’s a rigid, aseptic, unfeeling perfectionist more suited to life in the Borg collective than with humanity.


This post described the reason for the O.div’s continued existence, but I will also comment here on its subsequent discontinuation. The O.div was a project that began to honour the Greek god, Dionysos. Over the years, that purpose became more contrived. I have since come to see that everything I did for god in the past was very childish and in a way, rather perverse, although it was undeniably real. The old ways of experiencing the gods have run their course. As such, I now have great difficulty in relating to the O.div’s old posts and the attitude in which they were written, even if I still agree with what I wrote. Of what happens now, I feel no desire to speak of. However, I will quote one of my favourite Christian mystics, San Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross) who wrote:

In order to arrive at that which thou knowest not,
Thou must go by a way that thou knowest not.

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Original Title: the odivinorum lives again
Original Post Date: August 27, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

on this day of our full lunar eclipse.

After over a month of being inaccessible, the dns has finally been renewed. In its period of digital convalescence, the odivinorum was suddenly forced to grapple with the stark reality of its finitude: Why does this blog exist, does it really matter, etc. On its 2nd year anniversary on this domain name (over 3 years if you count ye olde livejournal days), the Odiv had a classic existential crisis. And I have to admit, the possibility of losing all this writing didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might. Because I still have all the important thoughts I’ve shared here in my head and I could write it all out again, although not verbatim; details rarely concern my Sagittarius-heavy, Mercury-weak chart.

So why continue blogging? Because maybe these words might spark ideas in someone else’s head, or maybe they could help illuminate more obscure arenas of discourse, but above all that, I like to think of the Odiv as something less cerebral, like a siren, or an alarm call. Sounds deliberately created to arouse, annoy, and awaken, forming a constant 24 hour fixture in the aural landscapes of the modern metropolis. A modified excerpt of an email I sent to a dear friend yesterday:

Modernity, it seems to me, is a society in a constant state of crisis… which is really profoundly tragic in a way b/c ppl rarely thrive on uncertainty and the unknown… What an ontological nightmare we have on our hands, and yet, what unprecedented existential opportunities… Modernity’s song is the endless wail of the alarm call, of the siren. At least, I wish it could be. A song that pierces the dreamlike, unconscious grooves and rhythms of everyday life, a song that warns us of danger or that signals the occurance of an accident, of damage, of trauma. But most of all, it is sometimes a song that promises hope for anonymous aid, aid that rushes towards a scene of an equally anonymous violence. That the state will temporarily suspend its drive for meaningless productivity and efficiency, that even the machine itself must bow down, must make space for emergency aid, is something that excites me.

Henri LeFebvre spoke of the desire to reinstate the Festival into “everyday life”, but the Festival at its heart is a violent, Dionysian celebration, and modern culture is founded upon the denial of Dionysus and the desacrilization of matter. To reconstruct the Festival today is inauthentic. But the screaming ambulance, the bellowing firetruck, these vehicles in a state of emergency, represent one of the only kinds of genuine recognitions of the material world created by the state, one of the few, true moments of disruption and humanity in modernity.

So. Let my posts be like alarm calls…