03.13.17 | Evolutionary Dialogues
“How did it happen that, when the dregs of the world had collected in western Europe, when Goth and Frank and Norman and Lombard had mingled with the rot of old Rome to form a patchwork of hybrid races, all of them notable for ferocity, hatred, stupidity, craftiness, lust, and brutality — how did it happen that, from all of this, there should come the Gregorian chant, monasteries and cathedrals, the poems of Prudentius, . . . . St. Augustine’s City of God . . . ?”
How did it happen that, when the American trajectory nosedived into self-doubt, paranoia, and internecine political warfare — how did it happen that, from all this, there should come . . . . ?
Let’s widen the lens with Roger Briggs, co-facilitator at our next discussion. Roger is all about the long view. After all, he literally wrote the book on what transpired between the Big Bang and the dawn of civilization. Roger is not the sort to get lost in the weeds.
And weeds are aplenty as we embrace The Human Condition — not from (just) the national perspective but from that of the universe as a whole. It’s time to shed the constraints associated with linearly extracting the past 5,000 years having at its core a consciousness centered around a material world for us to manipulate and exploit.
No longer. Nagasaki was a wake-up call. A collapsing ecosystem, a crisis in democracy, and income disparity all should serve to keep us awake. A new consciousness is struggling to be born. If this generation does not serve as midwife, it’s our duty to help prepare the next. The child is the father of man.
Please join us in a seven-part series addressing the evolutionary dialogue. The current thought is to weave the series into our monthly gathering, one session every fourth Member Monday. The first session (3/13) is focused on what we missed in our Member Monday (2/3) discussion i.e. the limitations arising out of seeing evolution as simply a Darwinian biological phenomenon.
The series would then encompass a much wider view of evolution i.e. that of the cosmos, culture, and consciousness itself. Prepare to be open, curious and hopeful as Roger will invoke the genius of Jean Gebser as he addresses the trajectory of humanity through the evolutionary lens. There will be much participant interaction throughout the series as Roger looks to the sessions as a source of important feedback for an upcoming book, a follow-on to his wonderful published work, Journey To Civilization.
Future Member Monday Topic Candidates (feel free to comment/suggest):
The Fourth Turning: This 1997 book that has recently been cited extensively for the proposition that history moves in very predictable cycles, thereby acting to explain history and to anticipate the future;
Why We Believe Obvious Untruths: A recent NYT article focused on how so many people believe things that are demonstrably false; co-authored by Steven Sloman, a cognitive scientist and professor of marketing at C.U. whom we'd invite to attend;
The Willie Lynch Letter: The Making of a Slave: A speech delivered by Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712; probably the most disturbing piece of work you will ever come across yet as compelling for the same reason; this session would be co-facilitated by Duncan Horst;
The Reichstag Warning: History as a cautionary tale; the 2/27/33 burning of the German Parliamentary building made use of a supposed threat of terrorism against Germany from an imaginary conspiracy the basis for the ensuing Nazi party; we'd explore how quickly a modern republic could be transformed into an authoritarian regime;
Kludgeocracy In America: will teach you, in six readable pages, more about what besets government (agencies) than all the civics classes, political speeches or, indeed, even a close reading of the Constitution ever could.
Grace Paley, The Saint of Seeing: This would invite us to a possible first expansion into the world of fiction and a focus on the way the stylists can remind us of the dazzle in the world.