Sunday, November 23, 2014


"Silence can mean violence"
-De la Rocha

Freedumb: Silence and Complacency

        America is not the land of the free that it could be. On the contrary, it is the land of the free labor. In this country, and many others, there are three human states of being which are currently controlled, exploited and nullified by either private corporations, government, and or religious institutions. The three exploited states of being are as follows:


        Many peoples of the world experience social inclusion or exclusion based on their physical appearance. Consider the cultural emphasis put upon women to present themselves in a "socially acceptable way",  or how a dark skinned man may consider using fairness cream or even bleach so that he appears lighter. People act in this way out of necessity. Conformity is presented to individuals as a way of being accepted and included in the circle of societal capital/power. Bank loans, job offerings and educational opportunities are often denied to individuals based solely upon aspects of their physicality; ethnicity, fashion, residency etc. From the moment a human is born into modern society, they are immediately subjected to many forms of systemic oppression.


        People of America, and many other countries, are being forced to conform to a competitive, imperialistic, consumerist lifestyle which leads many down the path of endless debt, materialism, bankruptcy and/or poverty. People are told that they have the right to pursue happiness, yet they are constantly being bombarded by images and ideas of grandiosity, comfort and ease, only to be restricted or excluded from these experiences. The free-market economy is rigged. One might say that the "american dream" is that with enough hard work and persistence, anyone can be successful. However, it is obvious that ethnicity, gender, age, physique, and cultural traits are major factors contributing to the social inclusion and exclusion of success.

        Also, within our capitalist modernity, success is rarely gauged by someone's feelings of contentment, joy and happiness; instead our modern society focuses on achievements and assets one has acquired as a way of measuring success. What have you done, and what do you have to show for it? Feelings are seemingly secondary within this modern capitalist system. The commercials and billboards we see throughout our lives may appear to be selling items, experiences, and ideas, but in actuality, what most of these marketeers are doing is manipulating their audience's emotions in an attempt to convince them that happiness will come from buying what is being sold. Whether it's a fancy car, a luxurious getaway, pornography, or even a cheeseburger, ultimately what is being sold is unnecessary until the buyer is stimulated emotionally by some kind of carefully placed imagery and or sound. Do we as modern people even know what we really want and need, independent of some commercially influenced entity?

     Free will is defined as the ability to act at one's own discretion; in other words, to do as you wish. Philosophers and religious people have long discussed the free will of humans in relation to the search for knowledge, enlightenment, salvation etc. however, when the physical and emotional states of being within humans are so rigidly restricted and manipulated, as we have observed, then it is almost impossible for the true will of the individual to be expressed. Because personal and communal happiness have taken a backseat to personal achievement and asset acquisition, people are unable to identity with their true intention and realize their personal dreams. Conformity robs us of our individual aspirations. 

    Imagine freedom as a spectrum ranging from completely enslaved to absolutely free. Choose your own imagery or ideology with which to understand the power structure of our society. Maybe you choose to put a white heterosexual capitalist Christian man on one end, and a black homosexual communist Muslim woman on the other. I would like to emphasize the vast variety of  characteristics between these two (arbitrarily selected) extremes. Imagine further that there are many societal pressures and incentives to move along the freedom spectrum, by conforming to a particular way of being (religion/political alignment) in the hopes of receiving resources, accolades and other perks in this life and the great beyond. However, conformity can most certainly be a kind of false power that robs the individual of their free will. Ex: If you're hungry the church will feed you, and not just your belly, oh no, they want to be involved with your soul as well. 


         Freedom is one thing that is unquestioned in American culture; speaking about whether or not we are truly free is to call into question what it means to be an American. Well, what does it mean to be an American? This country is known for the extinction and enslavement of people, not to mention the continuous escapades of Imperialism worldwide. I for one don't have much interest in national interest, as it seems to be completely manipulated by the military industrial complex and other corporate commercial entities.

    People have the ability to see beyond nationalism, to see beyond capitalism...all the "isms" for that matter! Political boundaries, ancient religious feuds and deeply ingrained hierarchical systems are all (like everything else) subject to change. You are the Seeds of Fire which will bring about this change. The tide is turning, The times, they are a'changin'! We are the Peoples of the Planet. We are Earthlings. May all beings realize peace and inner happiness.

Love love love,
Nathan King

Do you feel free? 
Please comment here, FB or by email. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Binary Bashing

"Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic, 'cause that aint' gonna stop it." 

Binary Bashing
           Sex is a complex concept within the human experience, or at least, that is the way in which sex has been presented to the masses in our modern society. It is a taboo subject, yet references to sex are plentiful in advertisements and other media; it is a necessary aspect of human life, though religions throughout time have instigated an assertive domination of sexuality. Now, people are often confused, ashamed and even frightened by the idea of having a sexual experience.
            Furthermore, modern society exhibits complications such as gender roles, otherwise known as gender scripts. This is the idea that the guy must "get" the girl; Wooing must occur from the man, and thereby the woman is the wooed. With these being the governing dynamics of our sexual interactions in society, it is easy to see how rape culture has the opportunity to thrive. Consider how men are often encouraged to be the "doers" in society; whether its playing football, running a company, or flying a jet. Women, in turn, receive a primary cultural emphasis of "being" beautiful, and only then are they encouraged  to perform an act such as cheer leading,  being a secretary, or working as a flight attendant. 
             What's the social script? The confident assertive man asks the beauftiful woman out on a date, the man is then expected to be the first to make the move for physical intimacy. With this script, the woman is by default submissive, and the man dominant. Add alcohol and a party environment to this script, and one can easily see how flirting can turn to rape. By no means am I justifying the horrendous acts of males in such a scenario, I do, however, wish to emphasize the importance of eradicating a system which produces such ideologies. "Boys will be boys" "Bros before Hoes" "Our father who art in heaven", there is strong reason to believe that men are encouraged to see their manliness and a sense of brotherhood as being far more significant than any relationship with a female or a sense of sisterhood. Similarly, women are encouraged to see their relationship with a man as being their ultimate achievement; Marriage, house-keeping and child rearing are thereby the supposed fruits of her achievement.
             So where does this come from? Yes, our parents did teach us much about these gender roles by example, and of course the education and religious institutions have muddied the water ever further. But the core of this issue lies deeper than the Abrahamic patriarchal religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism), or any other kind of archetypes that our parents may have presented to us as children. In truth, these experiences are what we make them; the Abrahamic religions do not have to keep their patriarchal roots, and individuals have the ability to choose their own way of being based on their own set of beliefs and personal ideologies. These social scripts and gender roles are all simply ideas, and like a radio station that one no longer wishes to listen to, one may simply tune them out by no longer contributing to these ideologies. We can each bring about social change within ourselves in our own way, at our own pace. We have this ability, as we are each unique free thinking individuals. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Modern Slavery

"'s a crime."

Modern Slavery

      Today, in math class, I learned how to calculate interest. The instructor presented two formulas  Simple Interest and Accumulated Interest. The titles, however, I think are a bit vague and misleading. So I will rename them as the Usury Formula and the Exploitation Equation.

       Imagine that a friend comes to you, and asks you for help. They need food to feed their family.You may choose to simply share with them, and hope that whatever you can give is enough to satisfy their needs. Or you may use their needs as an opportunity for your own personal gain. To do this, a duration must be determined within which the lender must be compensated in full, and then a rate of increase is applied to the initial borrowed amount.

           Translation: "Yeah buddy I'll help you out, here is a bag of potatoes. Now I will expect from you ten bags of potatoes within the next ten months!" Hopefully the hungry friend has other options and doesn't have to be used in such a way. There is, however, an even less desirable option than being used, and that is being exploited. Imagine this, "Yeah buddy, here are three bags of potatoes. Now I will expect ten bags of potatoes at the end of the year, and thirteen the next year, and sixteen the next year, and then  nineteen the next year! This is casually considered the "cost of borrowing" otherwise known as accumulated (annual) interest.

          This is how banks make money, by using the needs of people to produce a profit. It doesn't have to be this way, the idea of a big safe-house where people may choose to keep their money seems reasonable, it's the interest which is unnecessary; the idea that if one gives they must in addition ensure gain. Where did all of this malicious profiteering come from? Perhaps interest is a relic from ancient times, a bit of medieval methodology menacingly making its way into our minds. What do some of the most hip and popular religions of our era tell us about interest and usury?

           For what its worth, Islam is quite explicit about this issue. Riba, the Arabic word for usury, is considered haraam (sinful/prohibited) in Muslim culture. Here is a quote from the Qu'ran.

 "O those who believe do not eat up Riba, doubled and redoubled."

Surah Aal' e Imran Verse 130

Christianity and Judaism, however, seem to leave a bit of wiggle room on the matter. For the most part the Bible seems to take a firm stance on not accepting or charging interest:

Exodus 22:25 If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a money lender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.
Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

There's a few examples where it seems like interest might be expected and maybe even philanthropic,

Proverbs 28:8 Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.
Matthew 25:27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have recieved what was my own with interest. (in the context of a master speaking to a servant)

The Torah, which is supposedly included in the old testament of the Bible, states that "neshek" the Hebrew word for usury (literal translation meaning 'bite') is among the worst of sins. However, several sources have indicated that Jewish people are only restricted from charging interest on other loans made to other Jewish people. When having a transaction with goyim (non-Jews), interest charge is supposedly permissable (depending on the source this is either frowned upon or considered mandatory) To be clear, I do not wish to cast any of the aforementioned religious institutions in a positive or negative light (they do that among themselves without my help). I only wish to better comprehend their essence and intention regarding society and such.

My intention  is not to spout more of the same elitist theory which often accompanies such remarks about the modern banking system. I reject much of this "1%" theory for it stresses an interdependence between the elite and the "average person", in which the elite rely on the people for labor, and the people rely on the elite for a job. I believe this binary is too generalized and confuses the matter, and in addition, this seemingly interdependent behavior is an illusion. The people don't need the elite. If there was no absurdly imbalanced social system people would simply work for themselves, and the elite would begin to feel calluses on their dainty pampered hands. 

 Until then, I plan to go with the flow. No need to cut against the grain. Banksters aren't evil people, they have just bought into an idea and allowed it to consume them (at an exponentially increasing rate over the next three years. Restrictions may apply, offers may vary). The truth is that there is no body to blame. It is too easy to say that systemic exploitation is the product of some rich fat cats in a distant sky scraper. Capitalist modernity is an idea, which most people seem to be perpetuating by way of their unquestioning compliance, and although ideas are bulletproof, they are not thought proof. We can think for change.

Love love love

Nathan King


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Ideas are bulletproof"

 Here is a list of changes that I have observed in my own actions and thoughts since returning to the United States:

1. I don't have to drive everywhere. - Walking is an incredible resource; fuel-less transportation that benefits physical health, and may improve one's mood as well their wisdom. Public transportation is also much more efficient than hauling a massive hunk of metal and fabric just to move my body and a few items.
2. Early mornings are becoming more enjoyable than late nights. - Clarity and peace can be found in the wee small hours of the morning, and one can use this time to prepare the mind to be clear and peaceful throughout the day.

3. (DIY) Learning of do-it-yourself options brings me great joy. - Growing our own food/medicine, collecting rainwater, and learning about the nutritional and medicinal values of wild plants in the area alleviates much social dependency, and introduces (little by little) a fulfilling and inspiring sense of self reliance and responsibility.

4. I would rather trade goods/resources than spend money - Many things have functioned as currency throughout history. Imagine giving your neighbor a bag of potatoes that you grew in your garden, and in exchange, they provide some mechanical service of which they specialize.. See how the value in this scenario is readily apparent? It is not veiled behind a "federal reserve note" which represents value/debt figuratively.

5. Accepting myself as a white man. - This time last year, in India, I was beginning to feel my whiteness, and this ethnic self awareness has only increased sinceI have returned. I see Anglo-Andro-centrism almost everywhere. However, I am finding peace with this new found awareness through research and interaction that I feel brings about positive change.

6. I am a radical. - Einstein (roughly) defined insanity as:  Continuously seeking different results by means of the same operation. I believe that if the people would like to experience social change, our current political system must be re-imagined completely. Replace the corrupt greedy war mongers with dedicated citizens. Replace the corporate fat cat bankster money marketeers with generous merchants looking to serve humanity and the Earth as a whole. Tennesseans, are you surprised that amendment 1 passed? The system is flawed, in my opinion, so I was not very surprised. I reject this system, for it is rooted in exploitation, manipulation and hierarchical social inclusion and exclusion.

My intention is to speak my truth,  I do not wish to influence others. I wish to share ideas with fellow seekers of the truth; people with a strong will to discuss, teach, learn and brainstorm.
The revolution happens right now, here in this moment. No bullets or nastiness required.

It happens in your mind. A consciousness revolution. "We are the 100% Occupy the Infinite" (Kodamanchili)

 I'm not going to ask you to share this post...I am going to ask you to share yourself. Because you are incredible, magnificent, and wondrous, and people are capable of almost anything imaginable. Your talent, your kindness, your intelligence, your voice, your IDEAS are crucial.The Change Train is leaving the station every passing moment, and each one of us is a conductor if we so choose.

We are lovely, and we are remembering this. Happy Autumn/Monsoon season.

Nathan King

Sunday, September 28, 2014

            "Better watch what you say,
        or they'll be calling you a radical,
                   fanatical, criminal"

Returning from India after a ten month residency I am inclined to share my experience, observations and realizations with friends, family, colleagues and other members of the community.

Click here to view my senior project presentation!

Comments are strongly encouraged.

Much love,
Nathan King

Click this to see the promo video for the event, it serves as a good introduction to the presentation.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Have fate without destiny"
-Yuanfen proverb 有緣無份

     At the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in the village of Bir there was an epic gathering of musicians from many different parts of the world, joining with the intention of sharing music, culture and most of all, love. Each morning the sound of the gong would bring the small village to life, and after breakfast all would gather together for the morning song:

Humko mann ki Skakti dena                               (Please give divine strength)
Mann vijay karien                                                  (To overcome mind/self)
Doorson ki jai se phele                                          (Conquer the inner self)
Kud ko jai karien                                      (Before attempting to conquer anything else)

    Then musicians from Bosnia, Iceland, France, Croatia, Iran, Sweden, Denmark, India, Estonia, Belgium, and Norway each would give workshop in which they taught a song from their own country. The afternoons were often spent exploring the nearby monasteries, parading through the village, or practicing and recording music. In the evening? Jams. All night jams. At least that's how it was in the Shimla house where I was staying. Arsalan, Arman, Durgesh, Damir, Nenad, Nithin, Rahul, and myself would jam the night away in our own living room as friends would make surprise appearances throughout the night, each adding new freshness to the jam. Shimla was indeed the party house.
    Ude, Sarood, Nyckelharpa, Santoor, Accordion, Mandolin, Guitars, Bagpipes, Flute, Fiddles, Saxes and a wide range of Percussion joined with voices to produce the orchestra of EthnoIndia. In addition to singing, I played the clarinet. I had originally planned to bring a guitar, though at the last minute I decided I didn't have much to say with that instrument. I informed the EthnoIndia team ahead of time that I am not well versed in the folk music of America, and the best I could contribute would be either the classical music they taught me in school or the rock'n soul in my bones.

    I began to feel a lack of cultural identify and an uncertainty about what to share with the group, as I was the only musician from the U.S. I then met an extraordinary person, Kam Tsz Ying Fioni who happened to share the same feelings. Fioni is from Hong Kong, and has training in Western classical music. Like me, she didn't have much traditional folk music to share with the group. My dear friend Arsalan recommended that we collaborate and maybe present a song to group together. The first songs we came up with happened to be in complimentary keys, so we immediately began working on our AmeriKong Song which was performed, along with the tunes from the other countries, in an intimate concert for the locals on the eve of the Tibetan new year.
  So many people came together to make this experience possible, more than I could possibly list all at once. There was such a genuine feeling of appreciation for one another and it truly felt like a family of artists, sound wizards, healers and helpers. I often speak of the oneness of all things, and I have seen such a great example of this in EthnoIndia; people gathering together to celebrate their differences and honor each other's culture. Beautiful. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to share this time and energy with such incredible people.      

  Recordings will eventually be released of the tunes, as Barry Goldberg and Phillip Horvath worked ceaselessly to capture the sound and essence of the gathering. Also, I'll be writing another post soon about the adventures of Nathan and Fioni in south India!

SO much love,
Nathan Baba <3

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Whatever you are seeking is seeking you"

Tradition and Modernity

          Before coming to India I spent about a year as a volunteer intern at the Folk School of Chattanooga, a non profit organization facilitating musical experiences within the community. Christie Burns, program director at the Folk School, gave me the opportunity to learn, teach and share music with people from many different cultures, both regional and worldwide. Christie and other musicians have shared with me their songs, as well as their experiences. Quite often I would hear of these magical events called Ethno-gatherings, in which musicians from around the world come together for several days of jam sessions, workshops, seminars and performances. Oh how I longed to participate in such an epic musi-cultural exchange.

       Lo and behold,  Christie informed me that India will be hosting their first ever Ethno gathering this month! I submitted my application and eventually received my acceptance letter, although, I soon realized that I did not have the funds necessary to attend. I informed the Ethno coordinators as well as my Folks back home of the scarcity in which I found myself. Without even asking, the Folk School of Chattanooga decided to grant me a scholarship! Thanks to the director Dean and m' ol pal Christie, (as well as the divine heavenly universal everythingness) I will be jammin' at EthnoInida.

Here are some links for those who are interested:

I am about to jump on a train and head to the Himalayas for this mountainous music session! Ill be sure to post pictures, and there will likely be videos and recordings floating around the interweb as well.

Tremendous Love,
Granola Baba

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"The eternal dream is born on the wings of ageless light"

A loony

      A family of monkeys follow me on the way to class, and water buffaloes halt traffic as they casually stroll across the street making their way to the closest pond. The air smells of mint and smoke, and off in the distance I hear the chanting from the Shiva temple mix with the call to prayer from the nearby Masjid. These are a few of the things which have become common, almost to such a degree that I no longer notice them. Almost daily I take long walks by myself, and sometimes I am not sure whether to burst into tears or erupt in laughter. Solitude makes me feel more alive than anything else, while simultaneously giving me the sensation of losing my mind completely.

      Rest assured, all is well. After trekking through the hills of Maharashtra, I settled down in the quaintness of the Konad coast. Many of the villages along the seaside have retained their traditional ways, and they have a genuine charm that is warm and inviting. I found the perfect little beach-side shack in Murud, and woke up to  find a little puppy on my door step. I ended up breaking my pact of staying in a different city each night, as Murud was just too peaceful to part with. The locals encouraged me to try their favorite beverage known a Taadi; a coconut based wine which cleans your digestive system while also giving a natural high. Two for one, yeah!

       Now I return to Hyderabad for another semester What is this academia of which I have spent the last fifteen years subjecting myself? We throw around big ideas, theories and terms with our super sophisticated words, intellectually fondling each other as we write papers and prepare presentations. But what are we doing?! *sigh* Perhaps it's dangerous to think so much. For now Ill just roll with it and see if I can figure it out along the way. I have discovered, however, that I no longer wish to consider myself an artist or a scientist; rather some kind of mixture of the two. Courses for this semester include:

Theories of Power and Opposition
Foundations of Cognitive Science
Politics in the Globalizing World
Biological Anthropology
Hindustani Shatriya Sangeet

      The more I get into music, the more I realize I cannot work exclusively with this medium. My compositions are becoming more like experimental theater, and as far as my overall life aspirations I am more apt to facilitate sound studies as appose to music studies. Anthropology also has it's limitations. Interdisciplinary study seems to be the only way to satisfy my interests as far as the academic world is concerned, and the study of consciousness is one which demands interdisciplinary approaches. Some mixture of philosophy, anthropology, music and cognitive science should yield the concepts I am seeking, once I get over this whole "why am I even in school" thing. RocknRoll!

I hope everybody enjoyed the refreshment of the full moon.
Big lovin hugs to all yall peoples across the globe,

Baba Granjam - Nate King


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

" I wish that I was born a thousand years ago,"

The Rollin' Stone

      People ask me, "Where are you going?" and I respond, "I don't know". The one thing I do know is that I am seeking, just like everyone else, for some truth; something beyond the mundane, mindless, 'going-through-the-motions' kind of life. I have learned to detach myself from the expectation that I will reach this goal of knowing, because to reach it is to stop growing. Just by seeking I am already there, and by being there I am absolutely here!...Okay...allow me to back up a bit.

      After spending time with my mother and sister I set off to Maharashtra as I have a friend (a carnatic flute player) who was willing to let me stay the night in his home. From there I set off to find an ashram in hopes of spending new years eve in meditation. The Rama-Krishna mission in Mumbai turned me away because apparently foreigners must have references? And the Gagangiri ashram in Khopoli seemed suspicious of my appearance and told me this place was reserved for devotees.

     Ironically, I ended up spending new years eve in a church! A very nice young man saw me wandering the streets of Khopoli and invited to a midnight worship service where members of the village shared testimonies and sang family songs that have been passed down through generations ( I ended up playing some guitar).
It was here that I realize I have come full circle; back to Christianity. After experimenting with Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and other practices, my interest is returning to the religion that was thrust upon me as a child.

     Who is this Jesus fellow everybody's so wild about? What is all of this "died for our sins business"? Is this somehow related to the idea that we are all "born with a black heart of sin"? I am extremely skeptical of the Catholic church, and the obvious corruption therein. Would Jesus have really been interested in building a golden city with palaces for the religious leaders? At what point did his message get skewed and turned into some mutilated form of sheep herding. Was there really even one man named Jesus, or is this actually a compilation of several different influential figures.

      I do not claim to know the answers to these questions, but I certainly enjoy asking them. In the bible, Jesus is born...there's a little note about his childhood...and then suddenly he's in his early thirties performing miracles and such. What happened during those missing years? There is a theory that he lived in India;
 practiced spiritually with monks and learned ancient methods of soul realization and enlightenment. Of course, this is controversial, because it takes away from the Euro-centric view of Christianity.

    I am interested in Jesus the teacher, not the martyr. Jesus the man, not the god. His words, not the words of the church and religious leaders. People often talk of the second coming of Christ, and this is commonly
 thought to mean a literal return of Jesus in the flesh. There is, however, another way to interpret this idea of second coming. Imagine instead Christ Consciousness: The state of being that he achieved. Imagine further that this consciousness could be realized within yourself and those around you. Imagine that we could each become our own Shepard, instead of another roaming sheep.

    As of now, I'll keep roaming. There are some ancient Buddhist caves nearby that I hope to visit. After that I'll see which way the earth's magnetism is pulling me and set off to find a place to rest for the night. I wish not to offend anyone, only to stir up interesting conversation and deep contemplation. Please feel free to comment here, on facebook, or in a personal message to me. I love feedback, almost as much as I love my readers.  Let's keep livin' the dream.

Don't stop believin',
Granola Baba