Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

24 February 2012

The Historical Beast


Change – we’re in it –


It is interesting to me how this blog, and my relationship with it, has changed.  It began as a performance, a persona who is probably closer to who I was, am, or will be,  than any face I could ever offer the world in my physical body.  And indeed, it is still that.  In my current life, I have a name, a face, a physical being that probably does not look like the woman you imagine could write these words.  I struggle, in essence, because the being inside of me is not the face my body presents to the world.  (I suspect that is true of most of us right now, and it is our challenge, on this earth, to come to terms with the contradictions between what we appear to be and what we really are.) 

I am, in essence, a very old soul who is troubled about the state of the world we live in.  I see us going through monumental change, and yet not acknowledging how profound that change is, and how important it is for humans to accept their role within it. 


We are historical beasts, we humans.  I would argue that is one of the things that makes us different from every other animal on the Animal Planet.  My cats, for instance, are not historical, though they each have a history.  They, however, are oblivious to that; they live in the Now.  Right now, all my cats know is that I am not with them.  

I am traveling right now.

Traveling and thinking.  Asking very hard questions, and contemplating their answers, and the hardest question I like to think about is the nature of the change we, as a race, are currently going through –

I have long felt that we are in a paradigmatic shift, and right now, I am participating in a conference where that language is being very readily used.  It is a conference on education, on the changes needed in education to make it a viable industry for our children to participate in.  And our children are not us, in the most dramatic of ways.

Those of us who made their earthly entrance in the late 1950's, early 1960's, can be labeled in any number of ways: in the United States, we are the end of the Baby Boomers, the end of an age of prosperity that was born out of a victorious war. We were born at the peak of a wave that felt our culture is fundamentally right and good, and we were born right before that wave crested and broke against the rocky shoals of the 1960’s.  We were one of the last ages to trust our parents and others in positions of authority. 

We were one of the last ages to be nursed on Great Books, to be led to believe in the Rightness of the Book, and to love Great Authors.  Our age produced an abundance of English majors, because being an English major allowed us to analyze the by-products of Great Human Minds.  Yet we were also the age that was influenced by the questioning of our immediate predecessors, those who asked why all our Great Books were written only by White Men, thus causing a reassignment of Authority to Women and “Minorities.” 

We were also the first age to be raised solely on television. 




We were a cusp age in that regard, because we have lived our lives in a world where we appreciated and understood the values of the last few centuries, and yet we are the first age that can say that there was never a time in our memory when television did not exist: one might say, we were the first Human Age raised and influenced by a virtual, visual imitation of ourselves.

I hope, dear friends, you can follow this logic, because that’s what it is: logic.  This entry is the painful burden of an unencumbered human mind unraveling the cues that the world provides.  My mind is still an Enlightenment Mind, a Mind that believes that Humans can and do know without technological assistance, and that knowledge can come to us through rigorous study, careful examination of the artifacts of the world around, creative risk, and a good sprinkling of intuition. 

An Enlightenment Mind is profoundly grounded in the Written, Published Text – the Linear  Book, and in language that has been produced for that media.  That’s right: books are a Media, and for a few hundred years, they were the most radical media for disseminating knowledge and provoking creativity.



But the Age of the Book is over. 
Books are now antiquity, and
text
laces through space in a delicate filigree of complexity.

My words,
The words of this blog,
Are part of an increasing cacophony of other words,
A multilingual, unilingual digital embrace which,
Combined
Embodies the workings of the Human Mind.

And we, we lucky Historical Humans alive today
Have been born to witness the rapid transition
From the Age of the Book to
The Age of the Cyborg.


Our children, the current children
Who sit so complacently in our classrooms,
Repugnant
Indulgent
illiterate
Have been born into a New Literacy,
Just as we
Were.
The children of today are “digital natives” and
As such
They are wired to think digitally –
Digital literacy is not Textual literacy
Though Textual literacy is a part of the Digital.

But the Digital Text is not solid –
It practices a New Linearity
                         It is fleeting and acknowledges
The rapidity
With which
It can and will be challenged,
And the children
- if they can survive the education system we still have, an education system that was made to serve the Enlightenment Mind -
Major in Psychology
Because the most provocative fiction they can read
Is the working of Human Mind itself,
And the altered worlds it is capable of producing
At any given moment.

Living through a Major Turning Point in Human History,
Which is what we are doing right now,
Is not without trauma.  It is, in essence,
A Birth,
And in our case right now,
Because of the role our own Technology is playing in it,
It is a New Birth into a Different
Physical Form –
The form of the Cyborg,
And any given Cyborg has an absolutely different relationship with the collective human mind (ie: this internet) than we have had with our own minds for
Centuries.
Indeed, the Cyborg accepts unequivocally
Its own participation
In the collectivity;
It relies
On this wealth
Of Knowledge Production and Reproduction
And laughs fondly,
With warm sentimentality,
Over the antiquity of the notion
Of Originality.


Nothing is Original on this earth, in this realm of reproduction and imitation.  From the moment when the Creative Force (aka God) sought to reproduce an entity in His Own Likeness, we (aka: the likeness) have been doomed to Not Be Original.  And now we have finally figured that out, and accepted it, and at some time, perhaps in the not to distant future, we will come to terms with the fact that once we stop trying to be Original, Once we stop trying to be Authentic and Right and True, we will actually Be
That.



But as I was saying, that will be the future,
Perhaps tomorrow,
Or this evening
When that will happen,
But right now we are Trapped in a Moment of Historical Change,
And we will be that Moment’s By Products.

Our delicate all-to-animal human entities will indeed die
In time
And we will be replaced by a generation that will recognize
That time is inconsequential because
The body is inconsequential
And yet,
The body is sweet –

Perhaps the Human Animal will live on through stubbornness (stubbornness is one of our more endearing qualities).  There will be some of us who will refuse to participate in the Rise of the Cyborg, sort of like Apes refused to participate in the Rise of Man, and we will live and toil on this earthly domain,
Sweetly,
Admiring its beauty,
Nurturing it lovingly,
Accepting our mortality
As a fact of life,
And that too
Will be beautiful –
The sustenance of that type of animal life,
of the Human Beast life,
if the Cyborg allows it,
Will be Eden
All over again.

3 comments:

laurak@forestwalkart said...

wow. your traveling is REALLY making you think!

i wonder if your cats are thinking just as hard...

hopefully they're doing some book reading, and not just sitting around chatting on the computer.

be safe!

Makropoulos said...

Thanks Laura! I'll be posting some more pics of my travels here in the next day or so --

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That first photo says it all!