Thursday, January 23, 2003
BALINESE DANCERS NOTECARD
Theater and dance is an integral part of Balinese culture. Balinese dances are famous all over the world and the Balinese themselves take them very seriously. Birthdays, weddings, and temples festivals are all occasions for dramatic performances and dance is inextricably linked with Balinese religion.
Issue #1328 - Thursday, January 23, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
There is a need for a summary, culture by culture, of the special insights which are perceived as characteristic of the mental framework or attitude of each such culture, namely the way people are empowered to think and organize their environment. What are the uniquely valuable insights or modes of thought that that culture has to contribute to humanity - and especially as a resource with which to respond in new ways to the world problematique ? What characterizes the special wisdom or "genius" of the culture?
Solutions, or at least more fruitful approaches, to many of humanity's problems may well emerge from modes of thinking already practiced by inadequately appreciated cultures.
it is ... appropriate to distinguish the following four varieties of conceptual insight, each calling for a somewhat different approach. A major criteria in selecting such insights would be their relevance to social change and to sustainable socio-cultural development.
(a) General insights from the culture or language. Examples, some well-known and frequently cited, are:
- those explicitly valued in the collaboration of English or French-speaking (for example) experts at an international conference (according to the special needs of the conference in clarifying or presenting complex questions).
- the facility of certain languages (e.g. Navajo, Hopi) for understanding subtle concepts in fundamental physics.
- the value of the Aymara language (spoken by some Andean peasants) as an ideal bridging language for simultaneous machine translation between major modern languages, because it is so logical, pure in syntax and compact, in addition to offering special facilities for reasoning about uncertainty (in a way that European languages cannot).
- the special insights into cycles emerging from Chinese culture that make it possible to relate to ecological cycles and as a result to be more sensitive to agricultural innovation and management involving recycling
(b) Insights from scientific and artistic disciplines. The notion of "culture" and "language" can be usefully extended to include the "language" (langage in French) or mind-set characteristic of well-defined disciplines in the sciences (e.g. economics, biology, physics, mathematics, etc) or the arts (e.g. poetry, music, painting, etc.). Such an approach was attempted by the UIA in the 1976 version of the Encyclopedia (1) with the encouragement of the Secretary of the Commonwealth Science Council. The focus in this case is on the unique perspective offered in terms of any specific relevance to social change and development.
(c) Insights from spiritual disciplines. Given the important place allocated to spiritual disciplines in many non-Western cultures, the scope of the project might also be extended to include those spiritual disciplines deliberately used to reorganize perception of the social or natural environment and the relationship of the practitioner to it (e.g. zazen meditation, practice of sakina, raja yoga, aikido, zikr, via negativa).
(d) Insights implicit in collective behaviour in different cultures. Those with experience of development at the interface between Western and non-Western cultures, report many remarkable situations in which, because of their particular belief system, communities have developed unique patterns of behaviour which ensure the sustainability of their development in ways not normally foreseen by foreign experts.
- some coastal village cultures in Papua New Guinea ritualize their relationship to fish which are revered as ancestors. A balanced ecological relationship to fish is thus achieved through ritual, because of ritual limitations on over-fishing.
- a nomadic group in India, the Nandi Wallahs, has assumed responsibility for raising and training bullocks for the village communities through which they pass. They speak to the animals using an unusually specialized language of commands through which the bullocks are controlled.
- the Indo-Tibetan culture gives rise to sacred groves ("deorai") usually associated with a spring or water source. Even though the surrounding countryside may be totally denuded of vegetation (e.g. around Cherrapundy in the Meghalayan wet desert), the grove remains intact as a place of refuge in case of disaster.
More controversially, there is also a need, in each of the above cases, for insights into any special disadvantages of particular modes of thought. An example is the effort to identify the special obstacles to social or conceptual change associated with a "linear thinking" style.
E. Recent insight identifying exercise: a concrete example
The spirit of this proposal is appropriately reflected in a book, published in 1988, by Howard Rheingold under the title They Have a Word for It (subtitled: A lighthearted lexicon of untranslatable words and phrases). He comments on 170 concepts in 40 familiar and obscure languages "to discover genuinely useful (rather than simply odd) words that can open up new ways of understanding and experiencing life". His bibliography of sources includes 100 items. Some examples included are:
- wabi (Japanese): a flawed detail that creates an elegant whole
- sabi (Japanese): beautiful patina
- aware (Japanese): the feelingsd engendered by ephemeral beauty
- shibui (Japanese): beauty of aging
- shih (Chinese): an insightful, elegant kind of knowledge
- rasa (Sanskrit): the mood or sentiment that is evoked by a work of art
- hózh'q (Navajo): the beauty of life, as seen and created by a person
- ostranenie (Russian): art as defamiliarization; making familiar perceptions seem strange
- ygen (Japanese): an awareness of the universe that trigers feelings too deep and mysterious for words
- kolleh (Yiddish): a beautiful bride
- potlach (Haida): the ceremonial act of gaining social respect by giving away wealth
- kula (Trobriand Islands): sacred, endless process of gift giving
- Korinthenkacker (German): a person overly concerned with trivi!al details
- Radfahrer (German): one who flatters superiors and browbeats subordinates
- nemawashi (Japanese): informal feeling-out and consensus gathering
- plunderbund (Dutch): group of alliance of financial or poltical interests that exploits the public
- fucha (Polish): using company time and resources for your own ends
- sabsung (Thai): to slake an emotional or spiritual thirst to be revitalized
- yoin (Japanese): experiential reverberations that continue to move you long after the intiail external stimulas has ceased
- ta (Chinese): to understand things and thus take them lightly
- Weltschmerz (German): a gloomy, romanticized, world-weary sadness, experienced most often by privileged youth
- conmoción (Spanish): emotion held in common by a group or gathering
- maya (Sanskrit): the mistaken belief that a symbol is the same as the reality that it represents
- nadi (Balinese): to temporarily inhabit another dimension
- hart ducha (Polish): self-mastery in the face of internal and external forces
- Scaddenfreude (German): joy that one feels as a result of some one ele's misfortune
- istiqâra (Arabic): a request for spiritual or practical assistance in the form of a dream
- waq'f (Arabic): property given to God
- bonga (Santali): spirit of a place that must be dealt with
- land nám (Icelandic): the sdanctification of new land by mythologizing it
- won (Korean): unwillingness to let go of an illusion
- baraka (Arabic): a git of spiritual energy that can be used for mundane purposes
The book invites readers to send further suggestions to: Untranslatable Worlds, Jeremy P Tarcher Inc, 9110 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90069, USA.
I have spent thirty-five years of my life seeking the maturity of
a warrior. I have gone to places that defy description, seeking that
sensation of being seasoned by the onslaughts of the unknown. I went
unobtrusively, unannounced, and I came back in the same fashion. The
works of warriors are silent and solitary, and when warriors go, or
come back, they do it so inconspicuously that nobody is the wiser.
To seek a warrior's maturity in any other fashion would be
ostentatious, and therefore, inadmissible.
Commentary on Tales of Power
THE WHEEL OF TIME
The well-ness of simplicity
can never be drained,
as life breathes in,..the night,..
arise from breath,
creating what they may,
but beneath all made complexities,
Fanimutation: Safe when used as directed
heh heh heh...
PS: Be sure your sound is turned on
Help stamp out, eliminate, and abolish redundancy.
EkAntha dEsath thirundhAsai yindRiveLi
pOgAdhu vendru porigaLai - yEkamA
yanthami lAnmAvai yanniyamil pundhiyanAych
chindhikka vENdun theri. 38.
"(1) Abiding in a solitary spot, without desire,
(2) not going outside, levelling the senses,
(3) becoming the 'otherless' wise one,
(4) must think of the Endless Self as 'the One'." know (thus). 38.
of Sri Bhagawan's Tamil Atma Bodha verse 38
Yours in Sri Bhagawan
from the I Am list