online: 22 january 2006
modified: 21, 22 january 2006

20 january 2006 elements of culture

15:39 the British Museum looking at prehistoric Chinese sculptures and ritual utensils (eg ceremonial vessels such as dings or tings), and some of the captions seen here this afternoon:

from the introductory caption to ancient China:

...China's rulers have always sought a single, strong, unified state administered by an educated elite. The bonds of society have been held in place by language, codes of law, custom and ceremony, as well as by the wide distribution of the products of the arts and manufacturing.

from the introductory caption to the 'Living and dying' exhibit:

...people's reliance on relationships - with each other, the animal world, spirits and the earth - to maintain well-being. people approach dangers that threaten them, and respond to sickness and trouble when they happen. These different approaches arise from the diverse ways people understand the world. this point i recall the works of Sigmund Freud and ask myself if psychoanalysis is a disguised new element or version of the ancient art of culture-making and (or as) collective government? (disguised as objective science)

...from the caption to a three-dimensional mandala, or miniature temple:

a mandala is a model of the universe based on a circle in a square ! it that the understanding and navigation of culture in the broadest sense (as throughout the I Ching!?) can be through both geometry and nature - e.g. there are trigrams or hexagrams for mountain, abyss, lake, wind, etc. and statements re square, circle, etc...?!) and this is not realist but abstract - and also natural ...or even artifactual... as are the hexagrams for the Well and the Ting (the ritual vessel i was looking at above)

and is not the invention of psychoanalysis a comparable means (or instrument?) to understand and to unify the post theocratic world - in which godlike or demonic powers are distributed to everyone...(like it or not - but remember that to the ancient Greeks 'demonic' meant not evil but human: halfway beween heaven and earth, or divine and mortal...)?

science also?

(as i write these (overlapping) scraps of thought i feel i could be assembling elements of a new and complete (or at least extended) world-picture that is becoming visible about us, and of...

21 january 2006:
as i re-read these thoughts and quotations (and reshape them on the computer) i feel i am touching on some central yet all-pervasive elements of culture, religion, government (in their pre- and post- industrial forms) some of them denying the existence or validity of others yet all comprising the elements of some wider viewspace (beyond viewpoint)... even dialectical materialism, language theory, structuralism, constructivism, critical theory, deconstruction, etc, ...and of course philosophy and the direct and so-called everyday thought. ... (even design theory!)...

...they must all be parts of the whole (mistaken or otherwise) for the observing and thinking and speaking and writing of all this - by you or i or anyone, now or in the past or future (themselves questionable elements of time, itself questionable, as is space)... all these are surely parts of the unperceivable (but inferable?) whole... simply because they are thoughts uttered or enacted by people, ourselves... we being the most obvious yet baffling (and indeed strange) elements of 'everything'.... such as we may not know it yet, or even ever... the connected whole of all this (is ourselves!) - so nevertheless we can advance!

22 january:
...and does this have to be intentional, and imposed, or can it be adaptive, systemically given, or spontaneous?... (something of both, i now suspect).

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