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Steps on the Long and Winding Road

July 31st, the date of my last post, seems so very long ago. I’m not sure how I got to my present state from John Michael Greer’s posts that I mentioned in my last post, but here goes the journey as I recall it. Perhaps Greer mentioned the potlach ceremony of the Pacific Northwest Coast Indians, perhaps he didn’t. Somehow, I was motivated to buy Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, by Barbara Ehrenreich. That proved to be a most fascinating read, because her thesis is that all societies are hierarchical and that “hierarchy is antagonistic to the festive and ecstatic tradition.” The last chapter of her book was published, prior to its release, in the on-line magazine In These Times. While I don’t completely agree with Erhenreich, she is definitely on the right track, I think. Lots to chew on.

From Ehrenreich, I moved on to David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous, which I bought some years ago but never got around to reading. Abram’s thesis is that the invention of the alphabet by the ancient Hebrews and the subsequent modification of it by the ancient Greeks, who included the letters for vowels in their alphabet, led to the destruction of the oral cultures that had served humans so well for hundreds of thousands of years. This invention, which took hundreds of years to spread and become wide-spread, destroyed the storytelling oral culture’s way of relating to nature. The alphabet led to increasingly abstract ways of viewing nature and can be seen as the meaning of the story of Adam and Eve’s eviction from the Garden of Eden. More fascinating ideas to chew upon.

Now, I’m reading Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, which is about gift economies and their relationship to artists and the art that they create.

I’m completely and utterly disenchanted with the political system in this country and want nothing more to do with its lies and corruption. I have nothing but contempt for both Obama and Romney and all of their hangers-on. They are servants of Wall Street and will do nothing to solve the enormous problems that are facing us. My hope lies with personal initiatives at the local level. I see no White Knights on the horizon coming to rescue us from our predicament. The sooner we realize that our future is in our hands and that the political class is our enemy, the better off we all will be. Permaculturalists, anarchists, resiliency and transition people, and those who are working to promote the gift economy are where my hope lies – it does not lie in legislative bodies.

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