Definition of Mastery LO28179

From: Ray Evans Harrell (
Date: 04/08/02

Replying to LO28160 --

Dear At,

As to the Trickster, in our traditions God is a Trickster (or has a
Trickster phase with a shadow manifestation in such animals as Coyote,
Raccoon and Rabbit). The "End" of the Master Trickster is to stimulate
learning within the human student without stealing free will. We actually
have the sentence "I won't steal that learning from you," meaning that you
have to do the learning for yourself if it is to have meaning. I asked
because I know that in certain parts of Africa there are "trickster"
animals (rabbit for example that came here and became "one" with the
Cherokee Briar Rabbit stories) and I was giving you an opportunity to
share. That is "good manners" in my tradition but in other traditions is
considered manipulative. I only asked because you are "from" Africa and
have shown a certain amount of knowledge about such things. I would have
never done the same to a European American, Middle Easterner, or European
for the simple reason that they consider "directness" polite.

I think it was the biologist Lemarck who said that "God would never have
been a proper Englishman if he was a Trickster". I seem to remember the
quote from Stephen Jay Gould and always took it to mean an attitude about
communicative styles rather than a serious theological or even scientific

You make interesting points about language and the history of language
which I am grateful for you sharing. The American Benjamin Lee Whorf
pointed out that our imagination is shaped by our language or better
still, "limited" by the shapes of our language. For you, "Mastery"
becomes a part of Magic because it is in your language for it to be so.
For me, it is also the mix of languages that made me name my Opera company
"The Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble, Inc."

MAGIC meaning the mix of the two realities you describe. The holistic mix
of sacred and profane that creates an alternate universe (theater) where
people can be entertained, learn and be healed. The CIRCLE is the "circle
of attention" where the whole can be perceived by the audience in its
entirety. Chamber Opera versus Grand Opera where much of the audience
cannot perceive everything in the theatrical universe for reasons of
spectacle and economies of scale. OPERA means a multi-media work that
uses all of the Arts as its elements with vocal music as its central fire.
REPERTORY meaning that it is available more than once for people to enjoy,
grow from and be healed by their culture. ENSEMBLE meaning a learning
organization that grows from team production of the Artistic Product and
thus stimulates a higher quality from the audience. The acronym MCORE is
the code for those five realities encircling the sacred fire of music and

As I said last night in my post. Mastery = zero complexity = virtuosity


Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble, Inc.
Producer the Ned Rorem 2003 International Festival.


"Ray Evans Harrell" <>

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