Friday, April 12, 2013

Life is with people

Like a dance for which the music and the choreography have never been written down, a great part of any human culture is lost to humanity when the group which has carried it, devotedly, in every word and gesture, is dispersed, or destroyed…..” Thus wrote Margaret Mead of the culture of my heritage in Life is with people: The Culture of the Shtetl.

The shtetl, commonly understood to be a small Jewish town or village formerly found in Eastern Europe was carried by the elders of my grandparents’ generation in every cell of their being, in everything I ever knew of them.  Barely able to speak a word of English, my grandparents, in the memories of my childhood, represent these Eastern European roots though only in America did I ever know them.
Their’s was a way of life I recall as having texture, richness, tradition and people; lots and lots of people. This was a way of life they passed on to us, the generation of my parents and myself, simply by being present with us as we grew and developed.

This is a way of life that is, of course, hard to replicate in this day and age of constant long distance travel, the mobile phone and the internet. Who can imagine people pausing long enough to simply be present with one another in this fast- paced world of today?
Honoring the cultural heritages
of the past.
To be born into and raised into this Observant Jewish family was to know life in a tribal sense. Consequently I grew up not knowing how to view life in any other way; life is with people. And people are tribal.

Wikipedia defines a tribe, historically, as a social group or society, organized largely on the basis of kinship. Today, belonging to, let alone readily finding nearby kin or like-minded “others,” who are similar, culturally or socially, and organized like a tribe – or a well-functioning community -- is almost impossible. Yet to the very core of my being it is this way of life that is most resonant for me.
So how I can be anything but hopeful and joyous as our New Horizons’ Possible Society In Motion Show now begins to smooth out its wrinkles, intentionally growing in the direction of the tiniest hint of community; albeit with few dimensions, very little texture and only a sniff of regularity, let alone tradition.

Still, Margaret Mead, also said,
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, that is the only thing that ever has.”
I rest my case.

in this time of massive cultural upheaval I am, personally, a tribal being yearning for a known something better, intent on consciously traveling with others on this journey through life.
I hope you will want to join me/us on this adventure. It is so much richer as a share experience  than traveling solo.  Life is with people and I/we want to travel with you.

How big and beautiful can we be with unity?

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