Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Whit Blauvelt

    September 7, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    Hey Zachary, Glad you enjoyed The Dawn. On “equality,” they make the fascinating contrast between the Native Americans of what’s now California, and those of the what’s now the Northwest and British Columbia. The first were strongly egalitarian, the second hierarchical and slave holding. The first developed wonderful pottery and basket weaving traditions, the second the potlatch (conspicuously generous parties), and wonderfully crafted wooden boats and totem poles and more. These two adjacent cultures each defined themselves as being not what the other was. The Dawn presents this a recurrent theme of adjacent cultures. In the U.S. now we see something like this in the contrast between the relatively egalitarian ideals of New England and the Northeast, and the hierarchical neofascism ascendant in the former slave-holding states, and Florida and Texas adjacent to them.

    In any case, The Dawn shows that there have been egalitarian societies as far back as there have been hierarchical ones — and that there is no one path of historical progress mandating that we go from hunter-gatherers to pastoralists to pyramid builders to charioteers to … wherever our societies are today and tomorrow. A truer understanding of the human past shows the scope of possible human futures to be broad, and ours to determine through our vast creative capabilities.

    We’ve far too limited a grasp of the grandness of the prospects of human cultures. And, as Iain shows, we’ve far too limited a grasp of the grandness of ourselves. We’ve reduced ourselves to cogs in a machine-like rationalized reality. We need to recover our dreaming, and bring forth a more beautiful, resonant human world from those dreams.