I am less interested in picking up where we left off. I want to do something slightly different.
As I recall, the project seemed to stall because of the overwhelming presence of the deficient mental in the essays, bogging down the inquiry. I found Bellah’s book, which we didn’t read, by far the most integral presentation. Even without being an historian I could follow his superb survey with ease. The essays presented by this panel of scholars, which we struggled with, seems stuck in Ivory Tower rhetoric. This may be a harsh assessment, but I am mindful of why we got stuck. Does someone remember something different?
And what do we know now that we didn’t know then and what differences does knowing that make?
My preference would be for renewing a Second Axial Age, in our turbulent digitized times, as the political upheavals in our fragile social worlds, continue to crash and burn. We, who are in the trenches, rather than in the academy, may want to find a forum that can point to the relevance factor.
I posted previously a performance by a contemporary poet who works with American Indian motifs and rhythms. Below is a different clip by the same poet. In my view, what was happening during the New Age of the 70’s and 80’s, rode upon a wave of cultural anthropology. Conducted forward by a poet, investigating the sacred of pre-literate people, reminds me of many of the themes we have tried to develop in our self enrichment programs. Meta-poetry meets meta-history, which seems to epitomize what a Second Axial Age would be like. An unlimited, imaginative, Neo-shamanic revival, as all of the hungry ghosts and enslaved populations, can be felt, tuned into, invited to sit with us.
Has anyone got other examples? Perhaps we could take on a more activist, show and tell, or show and sing kind of stance? Can we balance reading papers by arm chair critics with excellent performances by practitioners from the field?
I am open to the field of all possibility. What is the best use of our limited time together? I am trying to release my drive for closure, which may be an aspect of the old print culture, which is crumbling. I am giving attention to an open closure, a new way of thinking-feeling-becoming. It don’t mean a thing if it aint got that swing.
How do systems of knowledge evolve? It seems to me that all of us here, whether we know it or not, are acting and mutating, as a new, long anticipated, cognitive structure emerges. We are fractal meta-patterns operating at different scalar levels. With music, poetry, movement, reading, we learn how to think at a distance. Does our task, and the big game that we are collectively after, have a size or a shape?