Monday, November 12, 2007

Liminality

We are imprisoned within a system of logic, language, and values. Normalcy in this system is defined as the uncritical acceptance of this condition. To the extent that people think about the system at all, they think of it as a shared consensus, as a consensus reality. This consensus reality is the means by which we communicate and agree upon the way things are, and the way they must be. Because of normalized tacit agreement and complicity in its maintenance, consensus reality is the ultimate secret society. It is so secret that the overwhelming majority of its members are unaware of its existence.

So far as it is a functioning model, such a consensus is valid. Insofar as it is not a functioning model, and is, as in the present case, on the verge of breakdown, then such a consensus is, by definition, invalid. It therefore becomes the right and responsibility of every thinking member of consensus reality to cancel his membership, and to option a new, higher, or broader concept of “reality”.

Ostracization having been the normative Black experience of American consensus reality, we have long been free of many of its systemic constraints, free enough to at least question and eschew complicity in its continuing maintenance. However, questioning and criticism is insufficient to the cause of implementing and sustaining an alternative. What and where are the tools by which one might meaningfully engage the challenge of engineering an alternative cognitive and cultural reality?