January 20th, 2016 § Comments Off on ….of Rabbits and Hats § permalink
…or shall I say “in defense of crackpottery”?
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Humanity is in a bit of a pinch just now. Need all the help we can get, yes?
It may be that in order to save our sorry asses we humans are going to need to pull a rabbit out of our collective hat any day now. And what if we’ve misplaced our hat? And what if we don’t believe in rabbits?
By the way, I don’t think Rupert Sheldrake is a classic Crackpot, though he intentionally plays the crackpot card often enough. I admire him, and here’s why. Sheldrake is playing Devil’s Advocate, and we need to hear it.
I’ve actually come to a bit of a decision, in part in response to Rupert Sheldrake’s latest book “Science Set Free”. I do not have an academic job. Unlike many people who aspire to understand Natural Philosophy, I have nothing to lose by riding the crackpot wave.
It is arguably my duty to speculate.
If people in my position – at least moderately scientifically informed, and not economically dependent upon being perceived as scientifically orthodox – don’t have the courage and, let us say it, self-deprecating humor to take a chance on looking foolish or gullible, then who will?
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
This week it is my happy duty to be directing actors in a scene from Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal. The scene in question, Scene I from ACT II, is between the rather late middle aged Sir Peter Teazle and his young wife Lady Teazle:
SIR PETER. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I’ll not bear it!
LADY TEAZLE. Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in everything, and what’s more, I will, too. What! though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.
I was listening to an interview of the English novelist John Fowles (The Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Daniel Martin), wherein Fowles is asked about screen adaptations of his novels. Speaking of Harold Pinter, who wrote the screenplay for The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Fowles said that with Pinter he never worried about the course of the adaptation – “It’s like being in a very safe driver’s hands…”
That is precisely how I’ve felt on those few occasions when I have been fortunate enough to have renditions or productions of my work overseen by people who have my complete confidence. I relinquish the driver’s seat, the steering wheel, the accelerator, the brake and the map book. If consulted, I make myself available and as helpful as I can contrive to be – though my impression is that it’s OK for me to take a nap if I am so inclined.
It’s best for me to just cool out and let the work find its way.
“So it’s democracy verses capitalism at this point, friends, and we out on this frontier outpost of the human world are perhaps better positioned than anyone else to see this and to fight this global battle…
So says John Boone, the first man to visit Mars, to a convention of settlers on the summit lip of Olympus Mons sometime in the late 21st century. Democracy verses Capitalism – oh yes…
UPDATE – 1.26.09 – So it’s Monday morning and I’m plowing on further into The Shock Doctrine – approaching the end, even – and on page 418 I come upon this paragraph which totally embodies my deep concern regarding the prospects for the Obama Administration, however skilled and well-intentioned we might be:
Under Bush, the state still has all the trappings of a government – the impressive buildings, presidential press briefings, policy battles – but it no more does the actual work of governing than the employees at Nike’s Beaverton campus stitch running shoes.
Our government is in the hands of the private contractors, and I fear that in many cases their loyalty is not to the United States Constitution.
Every now and then as I write for theWheel I come across some artifact of our ever evolving culture that I just go nuts for. Perhaps it’s something from the past, like my fascination with the Beatles A Day in the Life. Then there was the film Ratatouille, which entertained me so very thoroughly and was clearly head and shoulders above so many other films. I’ve found myself mentioning Julie Taymor’s film Across the Universe more than just once or twice.
Tonight I find myself writing about Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine for probably the third time, and here I haven’t yet even finished the book yet. (Almost – I’m on page 400 something… )
This video is shocking, and not appropriate for children. Be careful.
What is The Shock Doctrine? The Shock Doctrine is a book by Naomi Klein which coins a metaphor – a mapping between barbaric American psychiatric practices in the mid 20th century and the right wing Chicago School economic theories and practices of Milton Friedman and his legions of very well funded disciples.
The essence is that “disaster capitalists” have exploited and sometimes deliberately induced society wide shocks – for instance, using the great tsunami of 2004, the Iraq invasion, the September 11 attacks, and so forth – as opportunities to remake shocked societies in the same way that primitive sadistic psychiatrists tried to use electroshock therapy to erase and remake the personalities of individuals.
This is scary stuff, and it rings true to me.
I’m only on page 63 of Klein’s 558 page book, but I’m knocked out.
“Our culture filters the information we receive and ultimately determines our perception of the world around us. Like a lens, it brings some aspects of the world into sharp focus, while blurring its other aspects. If we change cultures, we change the way in which we perceive the world. We then live in a different world, where different interactions become possible. What is impossible for us remains impossible as long as we live in the cultural world that formed our perceptions. Thus each culture creates its own limitations and its own limitless possibilities.”
Tonight I will simply share the cutest bit of audio that has ever graced my little corner of the Universe. In the first week of June 2002, when my daughter Theodora had just recently turned 3 years old, I was in the early stages of improvising musical settings for Arnold Lobel’s FABLES.
One way to get some work done while caring for a 3-year-old was simply to have Thea sit next to me at the piano, where I would often have my mini disc recorder turned on just in case I came up with something worth remembering.
What she wanted was to see Lobel’s illustration of his FABLE The Pig at the Candy Store. Once I found the correct page we were privileged to see a winged pig flying “joyfully” through an outer space of candy.
Thea had something to say.
Such are the conditions in which this composer worked for years.