We spoke with Robert O. Leaver about the nature of eagles, resisting subtraction, being skyborne, resisting interference in carnage and enacting change within a closed system.
Confidentiality is the default, but if someone’s actions are going to hurt themselves or others, I have no qualms about getting vocal.
Which multiple of 10 do you most relate to? Why?
Robert O. Leaver
I’m not a number. Damn it, I’m a man! I will not be subtracted! Not even to a mannish boy.
Are you good at compartmentalizing everything that’s happening in American politics and the world scale? Do you ever feel a tad suspicious of those who seem utterly unaffected by our global chaos?
I feel that people who are unaffected by global chaos are living a life of privilege. And while that sounds somewhat judgmental, I myself am in that category. Not that I am unaffected, but I have a home, daily access to drinkable water, etc. But I also feel that the number of us unaffected by global chaos will be in rapid decline over the coming years. This will be due to effects of climate change, as well as the ever-deepening marriage of politics and corporate interests.
When is it appropriate to “tell on” someone for an infraction? When is it not? Is the former “police behavior” or simply being a responsible human being? Or does it involve some degree of a false high ground?
I see this through the lens of a therapist, though I am not one. Confidentiality is the default, but if someone’s actions are going to hurt themselves or others, I have no qualms about getting vocal. The challenge is that this goes in the face of years of people-pleasing, but that’s a liability as well that can keep me from an honest relationship with myself and others around me.
Have you ever imagined yourself being airborne?
The problem is that no matter how high you go, that’s how far you have to fall. Though I did just see an article about someone who cured their depression by skydiving.
I could have stepped in and helped put an end to this twisted piece of man-animal theater, but in the face of such poetry I am rendered helpless and all I stand for disappears.
Please describe the last time you stretched your own morals or made a concession against one of your core values. Why was it worth infringing on the boundaries of what make you “you”? Would you do it again?
I have always struggled with boundaries. And morals. And values. I like to think I have them but how do I know for sure? Good people seem to love me. Is that proof? Years can go by in the modern world and we are never really tested. I regularly forget who I am and what I stand for. But then a situation presents itself, and for a moment, all is clear.
The other day, I watched a blind man down on 23rd Street in New York City. He was on his hands and knees with a plastic bag covering one hand, feeling around on the sidewalk, trying to find the shit his seeing eye dog had just taken. The dog, his constant companion and guide, would not help him find the shit. The dog just sat there and watched the man struggle and curse, searching for the shit. I could have stepped in and helped put an end to this twisted piece of man animal theater, but in the face of such poetry I am rendered helpless and all I stand for disappears.
Please tell me about eagles.
There are apparently 60 species of eagles. Their heads and beaks are heavy. When laying eggs, there are usually two of them. Female chicks are dominant, and will often kill and eat their weaker male siblings. The eagle parents do not interfere in this carnage. A bald eagle is reported to have flown away with a 15-pound mule deer fawn. They do not make good pets.
What do you think about the value of protesting? Is there innate value in joining a crowd of demonstrators as just one person? Does a journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step, so to speak, in this situation?
Protests are useful as a show of unification and solidarity, but ultimately, I have found myself feeling a sense of futility on the heels of protests I have been involved with. I have not seen real change occur from a protest, though I don’t think that complacency is a better tactic. Current politics are so entrenched in their own miasma that I fear that no political change can happen within the confines of the closed system. If we ever actually had a democracy, the present oligarchy kicked it out of bed some years ago.
Is there any historical period you wish never happened? Why?
Last weekend was kind of difficult.
Finally, please describe the nearest wooden object in your proximity without telling me what it is. Explain it to me in a dimensional, literal sense of what it is.
Near me now is an object carved from old growth hickory wood. It is in the shape of an above-average circumcised human penis. It has been carefully sanded smooth and treated with various biodynamic oils and a thin coating of organic shellac.
Curated by: Morgan Enos
Conducted by: Email
Published: May 29, 2018
Total questions: 9
Word count: 810
Reading time: Three minutes
action, airborne, boundary, chaos, climate change, companion, complacency, concession, confidentiality, curse, default, democracy, depression, dominance, drinkable, eagle, egg, entrenchment, fawn, guide, helpless, honesty, infringement, liability, miasma, moral, mule deer, oligarchy, parents, poetry, qualm, render, Robert O. Leaver, sibling, struggle, subtraction, theater, therapy, This Wilderness, unification, value, vocal, water, weekend
About the curator
Morgan Enos is a songwriter and journalist originally from California. His curatorial work for North of the Internet aims to strike a deeper place in his conversation subjects — the dreamy subtext to the linear everyday. Morgan also frequently writes power pop records as Other Houses about joy, outer space, frustration, chess and spiritual light. He resides in New York, where he continues to creatively fire on all cylinders.
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