by David Eide 

The Values That Emerge  

Well, I know I don't have an empire to defend. I have only worlds to know and experience. It is the beginning of renewal. A 30 year cycle that started in '68 is now finished. A new era awaits.

Idle Musings of the Hypothetical Citizen

Without a doubt he had gone through a values crisis at some point. The crisis established truth on one side and power on the other. And it wasn't simply political and economic power but the increase power for humans to do things due to technology. Technology, new experience, new perception all went toward dissolving the value structure that he had inherited.

The womb of old ties can heal.

Among his concerns was, certainly, that strange beast called "culture." He viewed that simply as the individual sensibility and what it took in and what it gave out. In the manifold approaches to the idea the only one that made sense was the esthetic one. The ideological one tried to make culture into a victim and/or victimizer; its main organizing principle being guilt. The purely intellectual or technocratic view of culture relied too heavily on the machine model and saw things, like the ideologist, in terms of power. The only trustworthy approach to culture was experience and the ability to reflect on experience in forms of profound meditation. In that sense, being able to capture the object of meditation and allowing that object to play throughout the sensibility of the person. Therefore, the exchange of information, form, experience, play, wonderment, and everything else associated with a well-made object.

"We are surrounded by a reality that eludes us. What is our mere thought in relation to what we walk around? Perhaps we point and describe something; is there a useful act in that gesture? We want to make sure that we are not made mute by things. If we are mute by the presence of things something has been destroyed in us that will not return. Our experience gives us hints about what is significant to our time and the people who live with us."

He had come up with some ersatz categories he found useful:

  • Reflection on Conditions: This is a legitimate attitude to have but the world may fully reject ones reflections.
  • Creation of Ideas: This occurs when nature is ready for it.
  • Analysis of Conditions: This occurs when the mind wants to influence opinion or policy or clarify some aspect in the collective realm for the sake of progress.

* * * * * * * *

Was he still a young man? He felt he was but it was hard to know in an age that distorted every fiber in existence. What dominated that period of time had been the quest for eternity, for objectivity, for personality in different stages of development. He was surrounded, at all times, by modern culture. It's images burned into him, its events and personalities danced around him, its smoke and noise were omnipresent, its liveness always embodied by others who crossed his path, its machines always evolving and making him feel awkward and nearly out of place. He was always aware of the demands that the modern world put on him as well as its delights. It is the time that has seen the crack in the great universe and can never, now, look away. It is the time that is aware that gravity is a condition on mind and body that we can escape. It is the time that holds in its hands several absurd propositions. There was nothing, then, to indicate where they were exactly. "We, who are many, discover where we are and report as best we can. Many electrons pass through us to create a semblance of reality. Only we can wake ourselves from the delusion."

A certain reversal of polarities had to take place, without question. The reversal of every idea he supported as a citizen had to be contradicted. When this painful cycle played itself out fully then he was free to address the few propositions worth addressing.

"The anti-government fever of the day will free things up for awhile." It posed a central question. "How can you keep a federal system like this together?"

"Yes, I go to the local council meeting but am I, ultimately, a happy and productive person?"

© 2004 David Eide. All rights reserved.

David Eide

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