Polyphony on the Web of Life LO22726

Fri, 24 Sep 1999 06:52:44 EDT

Dear Learners,

'This we know
the earth does not belong to man;
man belongs to the earth. This we know.
All things are connected, like the blood
which unites one family. All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth befalls
the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely
a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.'

Chief Seattle.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure and privilege to work with a young
man called Sam, who was eminent in his field of climatology and computer
science. His father was a farmer, Sam walked with a limp and spoke
hesitantly about all things.

I asked him about clouds and he told me how it is that rain comes from
different kinds of clouds and that there is no beginning and end, no cause
and effect. It is all without number. I asked him if he would like to
discover the 'polyphony of clouds' but we learned so well we parted before
that was possible. I asked him what happens-" if you lose your eminence in
your field of clouds?" and he said, 'I would like to work at 'turning'
wood.' And I thought that is almost as good as watching clouds growing in
the sky! There is always it seems to me the seed of the poet in the
scientist and the seed of a scientist in the poet. And why should it not
be like that?

What is this thing 'polyphony' for me, and possibly you then?

It is a bit like the sky that is a field for growing clouds. There is no
number that needs fit the sky, the 'ground' of growing for clouds. They
accumulate and merge, many becoming one, interpenetrating each other.

When we form ideas or thoughts or sense impressions there is the notion
that they occur one at a time in some orderly way, and indeed conscious
thinking is quite like this. But unconscious thought is more like cloud
formation. Many can appear at once and conjoin and condense and fall and
rise again in new shape and guise. My thought question is this-

Might we be able to construct and maintain field of learning in which we
subject ourselves to the possibilities inherent in multiplicity of
appropriations and expropriations? That is to say, might me be able to
immerse ourselves in a shared field of information and sensation that is
in itself 'polyphonic', multiple meanings layered up and down.

This might make us into a community of learning, both within and without
ourselves. A sort of renaissance (meaning rebirth) personality who is
multifaceted in his or her appropriation of knowledge and feelings in his
expropriation of it.

So, in each day one might seek to subject oneself to a multiplicity of
experiencing; a martial art as 'yielding', and that 'yielding' immediately
transposed into an 'action' of 'making' an 'image'' and that 'image' is
immediately reformed into a 'sound' that is itself made into a 'movement'
that is subjected to another 'force' that in changing itself becomes just
another opportunity to 'emergent' growth and transition; a move away from
the succession of 'frozen moments' to the challenges that require the
'frozen answers' of logic, of yes or to k(no)w, perhaps the contingent
'maybe' is a more 'fertile ground' for some personal development.

'Yes and no' together in a new 'symboline' and integrative language.

A 'possibility' field.

A 'growing culture' for 'becoming' and 'being'- together.
Best wishes.

Andrew Campbell.

'The more times we change the more perfect we become.'
Cardinal Newman.



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