Monday, May 05, 2008

The Future?

"On the surface, race has been and is still being put forth as an overriding issue that needs to be addressed as a prerequisite for social change. In fact, although it seems to loom as a large problem, race as an issue is again a symptom of capitalism. Of course, on a paltry level and among the relatively powerless, race does play a part in social structure (the racist cop, the bigoted landlord, etc.), pitting segments of the population against each other. But revolutionary change requires class analysis that drives appropriate actions and eliminates race as a mitigating factor." - Jonathan Jackson Jr.

“What then can give rise to a true spirit of peace on earth? Not commandments and not practical experience. Like all human progress, the love of peace must come from knowledge. All living knowledge as opposed to academic knowledge can have but one object. The knowledge may be seen and formulated by thousands in a thousand different ways, but it must always embody one truth. It is the knowledge of the living substance in us, in each of us, in you and me, of the secret magic, the secret godliness that each of us bears within him. It is the knowledge that, starting from this innermost point, we can at all times transcend all pairs of opposites, transforming white into black, evil into good, night into day. The Indians call it ‘Atman,’ the Chinese ‘Tao’; Christians call it ‘grace.’ Where that supreme knowledge is present (as in Jesus, Buddha, Plato, or Lao-tzu), a threshold is crossed beyond which miracles begin. There war and enmity cease. We can read of it in the New Testament and in the discourses of Gautama. Anyone who is so inclined can laugh at it and call it ‘introverted rubbish,’ but to one who has experience it his enemy becomes a brother, death becomes birth, disgrace honor, calamity good fortune. Each thing on earth discloses itself twofold, as ‘of this world’ and ‘not of this world.’ But ‘this world’ means what is ‘outside us.’ Everything that is outside us can become enemy, danger, fear and death. The light dawns with the experience that this entire ‘outward’ world is not only an object of our perception but at the same time the creation of our soul, with the transformation of all outward into inward things, of the world into the self.”
- Herman Hesse, Summer 1918

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5/15/2008

    I struggle each semester with getting students to see what you are saying through Hesse and Jackson here. It is very difficult to show how, not only race, but how gender, sexual orientation, and religion are socially constructed categories that often impede ones gaining of class consciousness. After spending the first part of the semester in my diversity class reading through the “objective” social science concerning race, class, gender, and sexuality, I start to introduce the “objective” look at religious diversity. I am then able to use this sanctioned subject within academia to segue into a much more subjective discussion on spiritual diversity where I have them read about Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu etc. This discussion leads up to the week on intellectual diversity where I am able to release the product of my own “introverted rubbish” upon them.

    The only secret magic I have within comes out when I edit or MC what I call “head-cracking” week mid semester. This week I bring in fragments of information and present them in a way to confuse the hell out of them. On Tuesday I start with ten minutes of the “heavens gate travel tape” where Marshall Applewhite looks down at them from the big screen and tells them he is the Son of God, and they have already missed the boat. I then put in an episode of the Simpson’s, “Lisa the Skeptic” from season nine. I then show about 7 minutes of William Burroughs and Jurgen Ploog talking about the “WORD” as virus, time travel, and his cut-up and fold-in method. I run up and switch the DVD, putting in and showing the first 20 minutes of the Weather Underground. I then have them go home and read an excerpt from the book of Isaiah, part of Black Elk Speaks, the hand written intro to Richard Bach’s “illusions”, and an interview where Richard Metzger asks Grant Morrison about everything from his graphic novel “the invisibles” to his ideas about alien abduction, drugs, magik, Tim Leary, Elvis, McDonalds, Aleister Crowley and advertising icons. The next class period I have them seriously think about prophesy and then to compare Isaiah to Black Elk, to Grant Morrison. After this week, it is not hard for me to talk about the social construction of anything (including capitalism) and all other class discussions improve 100%. Students feel freed up from the worrying about saying something “odd”.

    I’m not sure if this would work at a University, but this method works great for white working class students at a community college.