Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Creative Stream

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi - The World - To be tightly attached to the world signifies immaturity; as long as you're an embryo, blood-drinking is your business. III, 1293-7]

There are two distinct streams of human life on the earth. One is the visible external stream of life - a system of organization in which we are governed by a combination of suggestion, coercion and the skillful manipulation of desire and cognitive error. Sadly, because it is the dominant scheme of human affairs, most of us are obliged to participate in this system of organization.

One can say that this stream is causal. Factors that existed in the past are producing results experienced in the present and which promise to be carried forward into the future. With the advent of mass communication technologies in the 20th century, cultural hegemons have been empowered to further distribute, amplify, and enforce important features of their system of organization. Theirs has rapidly become a global standard operating system influencing if not outright governing the affairs of all of humanity.

The great majority of humanity is content to live in the visible external stream of hegemonic life. Only a few people are even searching for another stream - driven by a feeling that we are only half alive and perhaps not even that. Despite the manifold communication tools at our ready disposal - many of us are stuck in dreadful isolation and have begun to despair of genuine and meaningful interpersonal communion. Even the way most folks come together in person under present circumstances, there is a tendency to front and to confine oneself to trivial and external exchanges - or formal and ritual exchanges. Oftentimes, we depart one another's company even lonelier and less fulfilled than before we'd come together.

Last week I wrote at Spence's joint about an experience I had the friday before Christmas. This experience confirmed for me the ready existence and availability of a second stream of human life present and available in the lives of everyday people, if only you are motivated to seek and choose this alternative for yourself.

It was my privilege to meet an elder who founded just such a creative stream in Kansas City.
anyway, in the afternoon, they had a christmas party where I met the brother who originally founded the consultancy. we talked for a while and he described to me the apprenticeship model he implemented beginning in the late 1950’s to make 4-6 young Black engineers. (this brother was the first Black engineering graduate from the University of Nebraska - if I remember correctly)

In the room were three generations of civil and mechanical engineers who were all brought up and brought together by this one old cat - simply because he could. The continuity of working for the work had produced this large thriving extended “family” as it were of folks who in turn, “work for the work”.
The alternative picture of reality given by the activity of these people comprises a potential second stream of human life on the earth. I believe that communities of such people have formed over the years for mutual support and collaboration. Exactly such a formation occurred decades earlier during the 20th century. Many other people have seen this picture at different times and places. Since they couldn't directly communicate the picture to the majority of others, they all contributed to creating a situation where it could be communicated and transmitted across generations within the community.

These people used their understanding of the situation to make adjustments and create work oriented cultures that study and practice the arts. While humanity became increasingly enmeshed in the causal stream which thanks to technology and applied psychology has grown to planetary hurricane strength during the 20th century, such small communities and cultures of competency provided sanctuary in the encompassing storm. Each time the stream has broken out previously, it has centered its activities around the arts. Each time, it has been co-opted and assimilated by the hegemon. I have concluded that by themselves, the arts are insufficient to the cause of nucleating a persistent, autonomous, and self-sustaining alternative to dopamine hegemony.

Exploration of the hegemonic governance space has been primary to me for as long as I've been online. As I see it, traditional governance is about the establishment and maintenance of control and distribution barriers. Riffing on McKenna, race in America is a social construct with a definite history and governance application. I find numerous striking parallels between that history and application, the challenge of computational governance, and, the emerging challenge of genomic governance;

One of the perennial hallmarks of Black cultural genius in America is our knack for surmounting control and distribution barriers. Personally, I've never encountered a control or distribution barrier that couldn't be hacked...., it's precisely because of this fact that I place primary emphasis on science and technology as the object of any creative collaborations with which I'm involved.