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Posts Tagged ‘gathering’

I went into the realm of the intelligentsia the other day, that place of devotion to the mind. While my visit took place in the physical realm, a given place and time, it was also a journey into that head space that i know all too well. It was a journey i had looked forward to, to a place i felt cast out of, and i place i thought i had unwillingly left behind. But it was a room filled with mirrors, my reflection all around. Although i felt disconnected and critical of what was there, like i did not belong, and i also saw myself reflected in so many of the mirrors. Upon reflection i did see, that part of what i was rejecting was me, and i also saw the reasons why i had to move beyond. And the answers, subject to change, were not those that i expected to find.

The physical place was an office loft just down the street from Pioneer Square. The purpose – a “house party” for an evolutionary worldview seminar from Enlightenment Next magazine. It sounded ideal, a place to gather in the study of consciousness. I arrived just at 8am, or 11 eastern time, when the conference was to begin. A thin woman in preppy dress let me into the building and i took the elevator upstairs and walked down the hall into the office loft where the party was about to begin. Comfortable blue cushioned stacking chairs were set out in three rows in front of the projection screen, and a couch stood on each side. I walked in and looked around, was barely greeted and sat down. The people, a mix of men and women, were neither young nor old, but seemed all unto their individual selves, notepads out and staring at the screen. The tone was understated, the men all had short hair, the women wore little if any makeup, and all wore sensible expensive shoes. And i recognized my face in theirs. One woman played on her laptop, i thought to get the image on the screen, she seemed frustrated, and so I offered that my link was in my email. We have the audio, she offered up, i’m just looking for the interactive page. I was surprised to learn that this was an audio rather than a telecast.

The conference had just begun, so i listened in to the introductions that seemed to go on and on. It was weird staring at a screen listening to disembodied voices chatter on. I told myself if was like talk radio – CBC or NPR – talk shows which i miss – but then as the day progressed, i felt more and more something amiss. The introductions and the first talk were long, and despite all the words often nothing was really said. It had been a while since i had been around the chattering class, and while the term escaped me for a while, i understood why it applied. It took forever to get to a point, if one was ever made.

Instead the speech was full of repetition of the buzz words – evolutionary, post-modern, leading-edge, to dialogue, transcend, cosmic, consciousness, shared cultural values, complexity, irony and more- and at least two adjectives or adverbs proceeded every noun or verb. But it is the vocabulary and jargon of the class, the syntax or i forget the word, that defines who is on the inside and who is out. And i remembered how this academic vocabulary often bothered me for they formed the walls of the ivory tower and helped create a disconnected insular world – a world that called me but that also left me feeling separate from all the was around – for we would study and pontificate but really never join in or truly understand. It is a world apart though enmeshed in the whole.

And as the dialogues went on, responses from the audience began to fill the screen – twittered or tweeted or otherwise chatted in, and a globe with flags showing where people were listening from appeared on the bottom of the screen. Perhaps i am no longer of the post-modern world which they seek to grow, for i wished to focus and listen and not multi-task shifting my attention from the voices to the written words and the images that filled the screens. At the end of each segment a few phone calls would come in, and a conversation would occur, but within the room people did not chat or otherwise connect. Photos would occasionally pop up of the house parties around the globe and they appeared very much the same. But to me all felt so disembodied and disconnected, despite the apparent interaction, cut off. Or is it just me who is disconnected from this world – or am i. For in the realm of the intelligentsia interaction occurs more with ideas and knowledge rather than with people per se.

But is this what interaction and connection has become about in the post modern age, and maybe they are correct and i have fallen behind the times – for there is more connection that before, and it is i who feels so cut off. I sit in hostels and many city centers and all are in front of their laptops, something that i have recently joined in and people do not really connect with the others in the room, but spent their times on facebook and more, connecting so much beyond what i do. And they twitter and chat on the cell phones, connect to the world through technology. And it is just me who stands outside again, not connected in this way.

And many of the ideas, while not revolutionary were certainly worth pondering, but i felt it was mainly coming for the head. Is that what consciousness is all about?. But i look at myself and i see how i lead my life in that way too, and maybe what i see is more a reflection of me, than just what is going on. Or did i join with my peers, who are similar, gathering in this realm. For some are connected personally. One man was desperate for human connection, kept pushing for a time and place to meet, the answers he was given were evasive, never really coming to a point. The people who are here want to join in something larger than themselves, for what would be the point in coming here, if not for that. But i left alone and as isolated as when i arrived.

It is critical and i became a judge, judging others as myself. Few looked alive, with tight-drawn faces, sensible shoes (the uniform that i just bought) and clothes, which for women have the correct amount of flare, the intellectuals where life is lived in the head, more khakis – reptilian people. Short hair, but not too short, on the men. And maybe that is what turned me off, but i recognized myself in many of their faces. But the smooth voices and philosophical language helped place me on the outside. And i realize that is what i have always been an outsider who has wanted to climb in – or have i. am i one who they know will rock the boat, criticize and poke holes in the new paradigm. For i always said i wanted a sociology outside the academic walls, but also of the walls of the cultural class. But at the same time i know i feel the pain of not being let in those very walls that i wish to knock down, for it is not necessarily the inside that i wish to eliminate, but the walls themselves that divide us all, and that separate me. The talk of the complexity, but i feel they complicate all with the nuances of speech, but then i too get impatient with simplistic answers.

The focus is on the creative impetus, for we are creators of our world now and in the future. But with the primacy on creation there is a dismissal or disrespect of those who serve, reflected in this ideology and in our society as a whole. For the talk is of leaders, creators, but those who do the daily work left by the wayside. And in our society the great divide, those who serve downward wages, and the reciprocity of roles diminished – the cooks and clerks and cleaners and drivers of the world, those who silently work to look after those who create. And it is not just monetary but in attitude. I have felt it as I slipped on down (see look how I phrase it) the belief that is felt that the “others” do not know and in doing so there is a creation of the others. And some of it is related to the feminist revolution, the movement away from being a caretaker to a creator, and not realizing there are many who still do, and the relations are now distant, no longer intimate. And is not serving a giving of the heart?

It was out here, back in 2001, that I felt the divide, and the view that there were coming to be two types of people. was it greater here, or that I had left my comfort zone? The citified thin people well dressed in new cars, and those who lived in run down bungalows and trailers around, in sweats and jeans, and larger form, not seeing then the energy stagnating within – for the roles were lost, not only monetarily, but a role of fitting into society. Or is it a lack of respect for all i see, by those with power and money?

But the areas that belong to the cultural are often beacons of light, they are not just the new condo lands, soulless, like belltown, soma, yaletown and more, but also homes and gardens and food and events. And as I discovered yesterday, are pretty too. but not just the post-modern role, for have been like this for different incarnations – maybe not just monetary, but those who are allowed to create. Is this just my own bias, for there also live there many who serve, but who serve from above and not below.

And it seems ironic that I experience this here in Seattle which has seen the waves and the fallout of the shifts – from transport and a port and shipping and a gold rush town to Boeing and aerospace, to the computer revolution, green and rise of the cultural creative class. As they say in the spiral of development many sectors exist simultaneously, but in the evolutionary paradigm, with the idea of levels they are at the top, the pinnacle of what is to be achieved.

And the gaps i see in Seattle help show what the best ideas can do if they are merely from the head. And maybe this is the mirror i saw, overdeveloped in the head and less in the heart – the knowing what is right, but without always the feeling. The reserve and the constraint i sense in this environment a result of this, not feeling too hard or much – yes, shut down the darker side, but is merely repressed and that repression shuts out the light as well. The control, the clippyness as all brews beneath the surface, out of touch and knowing it, could it be the grand waking up. But without love and the heart there is little to be achieved, and i wonder if this was what was missing here – some discussion but more as a sidebar.

And with the discussion of evolution and stage of development, with hierarchy where one stands above, the cultural creatives, post-modern beings on top, i could not but help if what they wanted to create was the post modern version of the Leninist vanguard of the proletariat, a revolution to serve all but with intellectuals at the leading edge. Or is it a movement, possibly unconscious, for those who thrive to maintain their leading place. In a world where many feel lost, is this not intellectuals carving out a role, a break from tradition, but a continuation of the same. The talk was for evolutionaries the leaders of the new post-modern enlightenment. And does not the vision of a leading edge create the us and them that a unified consciousness transcends – for we all are part of a whole.

Evolution is defined as a developmental process, a transition of the view of the world as static and unchanging to one that is in process. But I wonder who they argue against; I know the enlightenment thought that ruled for so many years, but in many ways was just the blink of an eye in human history. what is new is not the idea or change, for instance Buddhism says that all is temporary, but what is still new is the idea of direction, and one that as humans that we can control – but can we control it?.

But the evolution of today is that which lay within, and not just without. The issue is when he talks about the shared cultural values, the perspective of all becoming more complex, and the new impetus and technology that allow us all to share. While that is true, but the emphasis on sophistication, self-aware being and levels of development leaves out and behind the greatest energy of love.

they talk of the leading edge as what began in the 1960s for those with privilege, wealth, education and freedom and the focus on the individual, the big me. and is not this paradigm shift a message to those of us who caught in the dialogue that the isolated me is but a myth, and so many never went here, but is it a stage of development, or is it a sidebar in humanity. the me generation removed the shackles but is now feeling lost not knowing the next step. But the impetus is to keep on moving, though still really not knowing how or where. But you can’t go back, and that is true, but how much can you pick up of what was thrown away. So the next steps are but a continuation of the path you have set yourself on. In the traditional world view you knew who you were and what your purpose was here on earth, but as we broke off the shackles that were destroyed and not so many are wandering lost.

and am I just a prime example of the post modern dilemma – of someone who got lost along the way, and are not my movements not just indicative of the times, and some will argue a time I chose to be born into. And that is what they define – the post modern individual. The opening of the interior landscape but when is it just narcissistic self obsession? And how to we move beyond to truly connect?

There is a focus on expanding knowledge, but what is defined as knowledge is according to the existing paradigm – it is the history according to one particular class, but given that all is intertwined many live it, but there are many other knowledges that exist outside, maybe not accepted by the intellectuals whose roles as they see it is to guide.

many worldviews exist in the same culture, in the same locale, and thus within us too. the traditional, empire, modern and post-modern all exist simultaneously and are interconnected. But when we speak of levels of development and talking to their needs, yes need to acknowledge all, but is it to lead people to the next stage, or to integrate and value what is there, not as behind or in the past, for in doing so are we that different after all. I look like a lot of the people, people who rule from the heads instead of the hearts, the intellectuals of the world, and that is why this focus on consciousness is as so. And I wanted to write that it is stripping the spirituality away, but is that it? And are those I judge like myself, trying to move away from the intellect, growing slowly with a heart consciousness, and I believe some are. Or was my trip there to show the limits in the intellectual focus I desired and had.

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