Monday, October 17, 2016

Three Rules (of Changing a Culture)

I finished an amazing book about the culture that Donald Trump is representing, and frankly exploiting, a few weeks ago: ``Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,'' by Arlie Russell Hochschild [link: https://www.amazon.com/Strangers-Their-Own-Land-Mourning/dp/1620972255] The most fascinating thing was that the author, a liberal professor from Berkeley, has been able to listen deeply to a group of tea party members from Louisiana and narrate their deep story. Not surprisingly, that deep story is closely related to the ``American dream''!

Another related book that I am reading now is ``Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,'' by J. D. Vance [link: https://www.amazon.com/Hillbilly-Elegy-Memoir-Family-Culture/dp/0062300547] Here is an excerpt:
``It's not like parents and teachers never mentioned hard work. Not do they walk around loudly proclaiming that they expect their children to turn out poorly. These attitudes lurk below the surface, less in what people say than in how they act.'' p. 57, HillBilly Elegy
What is culture? A framework, a deep structure of shared meaning that motivates people within in. The common subconscious of a group.

How can one guide and change a culture? Is it at all possible?

``There is a difference between posture that is based on an abstract ideal and posture that is responsive to circumstance, that arises out of context.

Lordosis of the spine is naturally regulated by the stabilizer muscles of the trunk---that is, until certain forms of thought get involved. When we think about abdominal muscles and about stabilizing our lordosis, we control our posture consciously and create fixation. Even thinking about our abdomen is likely to activate the superficial belly wall. These muscles pull the chest down and, when habitually contracted, lead to weakening of the deeper system that supports us in dynamic movement. Coupled with belly wall tightening is buttock tightening and pelvic floor tightening.'' --p.106, How Life Moves

Dealing with a culture is as dangerous and potentially futile as trying to correct subconscious. I think there are three elements in effective work with either: Simplicity (of words and instructions), practice (repetition and patience), and meaning (purpose and motivation).

The puzzle is that everything starts with a word:

``In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.'' John 1:1

For this young man, "The Word" is "yo-yo":

https://aeon.co/videos/how-the-yo-yo-put-a-troubled-young-man-on-the-path-of-playful-salvation


THROW from Early Light Media on Vimeo.

Freedom, Religion

A couple of days ago I read a discussion between some friends regarding religion, worship, freedom, and slavery. In Farsi and Arabic, the t...