books, Buddhism, culture, Henry Miller, history, Joseph Campbell, Krishnamurti, Life, philosophy, poetry, psychology, religion, Satori, spirituality, The New Age, The Shaman, yoga, Zen
What better way to spend a few moment’s time on a rainy day out in Vancouver than writing a few words?
These are strange days indeed, although for a great part of the world which lives in poverty and daily uncertainty not entirely uncommon. Just us in the first world living in our cushion of wealth, health, and complacency experience this as upsetting turmoil. Our world seems to threaten collapse, or upheaval at the very least. Anxieties mount and our privileged sense of selves appears threatened.
Oh well, every challenge presents an opportunity, every test an opening for growth.
Listening to the final chapters of Alan Watts’ In My Own Way, tracing his journey from small country parsonage somewhere in England to the epicentre of the Consciousness Awareness movement that gathered steam through the fifties and then exploded into the mainstream from numerous locals centring around central and Southern California.
So many names I’ve spent time reading intrude themselves into the narrative. Names like Krishnamurti and DT Suzuki, Henry Miller, Joseph Campbell, Timothy Leary and a handful of Beats and American poets to mention only a few. All seminal figures in the grand flowering that took place through that momentous decade and beyond.
However, to me it seems like that tremendous wave of expansion that occurred has now receded, slid back from the shore of our increasingly grim and matter of fact world of today, leaving only a few little rivulets of diluted memes. The energy released created the Classic music so many aging dullards listen to in an effort to recapture a modicum of that bygone magic. But even the musicians themselves understand that those type of moments cannot be sustained forever or recaptured. I write that and the lyrics of an Eagles song, The Boys of Summer, come to mind. It goes something like “….saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, a voice inside my head said don’t look back, you can never go back.”
Another book I’m listening to at the moment is David Attenborough’s Life on Earth. In my writings and videos I rarely if ever talk of such things as biology, evolution, Richard Leakey, Desmond Morris, and Mr. Attenborough, although if truth were known they lie at the very core of what I’m trying to say. Just about everybody I read concerns themselves with the impenetrable reaches of the mind and psyche, rational or otherwise, few if any truly make the connection back to the underlying biological world from which it blossomed forth. Watts does the same thing, always referring to thought and ideas but never linking thought and idea back through the channel of biology to the plant and animal kingdoms from which we sprang. As do virtually every man of wisdom, every sage and mystic I’m aware of. That, to me, is where the Eastern and Western ways of orienting ourselves to the world at large are converging. That is what we uniquely Western folk have to give to humankind for its next Great Leap Forward.
So I’ll leave off with that modest notion, the next Great Leap Forward!
Trucking might be slowing down. I sit out here in Vancouver with a trailer half full of apples no one seems to want to unload after the hoarding and food-chain binge-ordering of the last couple weeks. And ironically, if I manage to get them offloaded later today I’ll drive to Kelowna to pick up tomorrow morning, what else, but a load of apples bound for Alberta!
Bring on the uncertainty!
What’s that Tarot card about the revolving wheel of fate?
Mame Cotter said:
I love your Elie Faure quotes. What an amazing writer. Henry Miller read and admired him too. I came across him when I watched a scene from a Jean Luc Godard film where the actor reads from a book of his. What he said about art just blew me away!
Early on my journey I discovered Miller and through his Tropic of Cancer was introduced to a couple of names that have stuck with me for thirty years, one was Oswald Spengler and the other was Elie Faure. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the latter’s four volume History of Art series in a used bookshop in my native city of Montreal. Later I also found copies of his The Spirit of the Forms and The Dance Over Fire and Water, both beautifully poetic titles. There is a reverence and acceptance of Life in his and indeed all the books which have left deep and abiding impressions upon me, and which I attempt to share with others in my Cafe blogs and videos. Cheers Mame and all the best.