I hope that one of our conversations will focus on community--what we think it is; if it exists in the US today and if so, where; do we need it; hunger for it. I am wondering whether it can be brought into existence via the computer and discussion forums like this.
What degree of intimacy is needed in a community? And what's love got to do with it? And what is its economic shape? I've often thought that having a shared ritual like Proprioceptive Writing was a crucial element. I know that when people write together proprioceptively (and then read their Writes) one feels a kind of intimacy that is rather amazing, given how little has gone on. All you've done is write and read and listen. That listening element is pretty crucial, that's for sure. (One philosopher defined thinking as reverential listening.)
If community is a state of being shared or held in common (Oxford D) then what do proprioceptive writers share? if it's a willingness to read and write and listen, then isn't the community established?
I have always thought, because of my tendency to spend much of my time alone, that I'm not communal, that I lack "community spirit." I'm wondering if the spin generally put on "community" that requires a certain kind of involvement may be rather narrow, and makes it difficult for some of us to find our communal selves. Then there's the great need for communion with myself...which now seems to be begging for priority, but is that ignoring/can I justify this given what all is going on around me?
Can we speak of community just because, say, for a day people did PW together and then vanished from each others' lives? Even if they all said they felt they were in a community when they were together? I mean, can we talk about community without their being some shared economic values? Guess the question is what one means by community.
A second thought Joan's message evoked has to do with the role of the artist in revolutionary times--and the fucntion or role of art maybe in general but for sure at those historical moments when great winds of change are in the air--are the air. And even if one is not an artist, do we have any obligation to do our earthly part in the name of social justice or simply justice? Some wonderings on a cold January day.
Toby's thoughts evoke for me the question, what IS my earthly part? Also, how to think about justice? I wonder which justice, according to whose rule or law or ethic? I feel nervous around the word "justice." My own violations of it? but what is IT? What if there is no justice, and life really isn't designed to be fair? Or if we're all the designers, nothing but my own personal ethic....it's pretty scary....slows me down.
Interesting that ethic comes from the Greek word meaning character, and to think about the various meanings of the word character, how they have something to do with each other. Joan
Joan's thoughts reminded me that once upon a time I read Plato's Republic and, looking in my Francis MacDonald Cornford edition of The Republic of Plato I found titles like: "Some Current Views of Justice," "Justice as Honesty in Word and Deed," "Justice as Helping Friends and Harming Enemies," "Justice as the Interest of the Stronger, "
Which is only to say, we humans have been wondering and thinking about justice for ages. Somewhere, recently, I read that the entire Jewish Bible is about justice on earth and about working to achieve social justice. And what do I, do we, mean by social justice? Can there be a just society where one percent of the population owns 30% of that society's weath?
And can we act justly if we conclude that life is without meaning, fully arbitrary--absurd we used to say? . . . And the beat goes on.
I certainly want art, including my art, to be a contribution to...humanity, humanity's well-being, spritual evolution.... Is that too broad a target? Although in practice it isn't so broad, because those of us who are serious but not world-famous blockbusters tend to appeal to a self-selecting, relatively small group.
I used to think, being inclined to being solitary, that art-making was a good choice: I could send the work out into the world and stay hidden myself. (I have two actor brothers who have to put themselves physically on display to do what they do--terrifying.) That doesn't seem to work very well. At least, actual human contact does seem to make a difference.
Via Michal's "Human contact does seem to make a difference": the PWCenter's first 5-Day retreat will be held in Maine, August 1-5. Keep your eye out and open for further information--and pass the word along. Thanks.