Granola Shotgun again. Read this.
Then read this post at Granola Shotgun, a blog well worth following.
So here’s my Reno epiphany. Almost every place in America has the same basic qualities. If you’re in Rockford, Illinois or Columbus, Georgia or Denton, Texas or Missoula, Montana the same buffet of potential options are on offer – give or take a few regional variations. There’s a medical center, a half assed downtown, some kind of college, an interstate to a bigger city not too far away, and maybe a second or third tier airport. The future of America is all about salvaging what we already have piecemeal over the next century.
My young friend is back in the suburbs of Hartford, Connecticut now. It’s not that different from Reno. My retired friends are back home in a remote suburb of Los Angeles where they will be staying for the duration. Their town is nearly identical to Reno, minus the casinos. This is where almost everyone lives: the good enough landscape of moderate means. It may not be Paris, but it gets the job done. We need to stop pretending there’s some perfect place out there and get comfortable with where we are. Your town isn’t a dress rehearsal. This is it folks.
Wonderful essay on Niels Bohr’s thoughts on science and religion from Brain Pickings.
“The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won’t get us very far.”
But if I did they would include some of these.
Primarily by bloggers and other less influential types. I wonder when it might take hold, and whether it will ever occur to the conservative intellectual “right” to acknowledge that identity politics, with all of its potential for oppression, has kernels of truth in that it acknowledges that tribalism exists. Even as it exhibits the problematic tendencies of tribalism.
..” the problem is that large numbers of people on both ends of the political spectrum are so convinced that they are correct and that failings to see their correctness are moral failings, that we have lost much of our ability to communicate from one end of the spectrum to the other. ”
A sandy, rocky creek bed in high desert.
Early winter, the day is cool, dry, sunny
The creek is almost gone, left behind
is a small run of water,
more than a trickle, but not much
Finding its way among the rocks
lush with water plants, testifying to the months that this tiny
movement of water has survived a dry, dry season.
Following the water, I have a need to find
a stick. A walking stick. A swinging, whacking stick. A stick
to satisfy the little boy in me.
There is one. Right sized and sturdy.
Covered in rough bark giving a firm grip, it will do.
Now equipped I continue walking, whacking bushes
and scribing lines in the sand and golfing small rocks,
As sticks are meant to do.
Then, around a small bend, at the base of a cut bank
the water ends. Running free then it stops in a sandy, rocky basin.
It must sink into the ground here. There is no other outlet.
Does it feed an underground lake?
Or join an invisible river racing beneath us to who
I contemplate this briefly, then, finding no lesson,
continue my walk along the now totally
dry creek bed. A bed that is wide and wild and rushing after a rain
in the desert. But now is quiet and empty. A canvas of rock and sand.
I drag my stick along as I walk.
My stick is a quill that traces my path.
It makes a furrow on the sand and skips along the tops of the rocks.
An erratic record of my path. Of my life in this short walk. Of my life.
I turn and look at where I walked. There are some marks scattered here and there,
but mostly nothing.
I walked there, but the rocks don’t tell.
I leave the stream bed, still dragging my stick and reach a broad, dry sandy expanse.
My stick could leave a long straight furrow here, but why?
It would be boring, I think.
I drop my stick and continue over the broad expanse of sameness.
Not sure what lies after, my walk is done.
See here for discussion of how this affects our universities in the West.
I just found this old post from Slate Star Codex wherein he discusses tribalism. In the post he uses the term “conservation of tribalism” as a question about why humans tend to gravitate towards a tribe. A partial answer is the need for identity and community that we humans have. Some of the questions raised in my mind include – Is identity politics, therefore, necessarily bad? Where do people go to find community if the old modes break down? (eg, organized religion, patriotism) Are we creating more micro tribes by challenging the larger community affiliations we have? (Nationhood or Western Civilization, for example) What are the relative powers of race, ethnicity, culture, ideology/religion, etc to create a tribal identity? Are different tribes necessarily in conflict if they organize around different issues? Can one be seriously multi-tribal?
No answers for now, but I hope to think about these things.