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Out of Eden—Agrarian Revolution … Return to Eden—Primal Renaissance: The Earliest Yuppies, 25,000 Years Ago, Cast Us Out of the Garden. We Are Returning … Now

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Primal Renaissance: Our Greatest Hope May Be the Flourishing of Culture as We Reintegrate Long-Lost Knowledge and Worldview, Formerly Ridiculed as “Primitive”

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Falls from Grace, Epilogue: Are We Entering a Primal Renaissance?

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We live in exciting times.  Information hams it up before us at every turn.  This unparalleled info-glut brings fascination, paralysis, agony, insight, change, renewal, and inspiration.  In some ways it looks like a renaissance — take the incredible proliferation of technology, for example . . . the mind-boggling advances in computers.  But a renaissance of the “primitive,” the “uncivilized” . . . a primal renaissance?  How can that possibly be?

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Paleolithic Consciousness … Out of Eden

For weeks I had been working on several articles, my ardor suspending me above the landscape of a natural consciousness, a hunter-gatherer one.  Called “paleolithic consciousness” by one contemporary theorist, this mindstyle is reputed to exist among our hunter-gatherer progenitors and among some current “primal cultures.”  It is characterized by greater attunement with body and nature, greater relaxation and well-beingness, more loving child-caring, greater sensory and aesthetic appreciation, more expanded psychic openness, fuller emotional and relational capacity, and greater “with-it-ness” (Witness) with reality in general.

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The Earliest Yuppies and The Agrarian Revolution

I was also focusing on how our civilization came to lose that primal expansiveness of soul — a la “ejection from the Garden of Eden.”  An increasing mistrust of nature — and an inexplicable rebellion against an eternally old “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy — led to attempts to control Nature, and consequently body as well.  The supposed big “advance” of these earliest yuppies was the domestication of plants and animals.  In history, this first major “upwardly mobile” turning is known as the “agrarian revolution,” and it occurred variously between 10 and 30 thousand years ago.

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Renaissance

All of a piece it came to me that what was going on now, in Western culture, was exactly parallel to what had occurred during the Renaissance of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  At that time, you may recall, the Catholic Church’s intellectual hegemony was loosening, which allowed ancient Roman and Greek texts preserved in the monasteries to be released into the collective culture.  There, our formerly repressed and forgotten “classical” heritage combined and cross-fertilized with views prevailing at that time to create the incredible flowering of culture and human potential that the word renaissance now conveys.

The View from the Doorstep of Nuclear and Ecological Annihilation

It occurred to me that night how we, in the consciousness and ecology movements, are becoming ever more aware, once again, in diverse and various ways, of the vast legacy of feeling, perception, human fulfillment, and spiritual awareness and viewpoint that current “child-rearing” practices cause us “normally” to leave behind.  Similarly we come to realize how much our species lost in coming into its much-vaunted “civilization” in its evolutionary history.  The view from the doorstep of nuclear and ecological annihilation allows such perspectives. 

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Yet, through our different ways of healing ourselves, and to extents greater and lesser, we retrieve that lost and repressed legacy.

Multiculturalism

And we are, happily, not alone in that retrieval.  Increasingly it appears that our age is characterized, on a global scale, by an unprecedented multiculturalism wrought of technological advances in telecommunications and transportation.  Consequently, we are pushed to enjoying an ever growing awareness of the legacies of primal cultures, both current and historical.

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Xenophobia Dissolving and “Ego”-Eroding Information

At the same time and not coincidentally we observe our own religious, scientific, and Western-cultural hegemonies collapsing under that same weight of contrary and both xenophobia- and “ego”-eroding information.  Moreover, this collapse is aided by momentous and far-reaching occurrences as diverse as our mistaken engagements in third-world countries — our misadventures in Iraq and Vietnam, for example; the technological crisis of credibility wrought of the global ecological crisis; and the discoveries of the new physics with their concurrent death-blow to the pretensions of common-sense materialism.

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Re-Integration of the Primitive and Primal … Return to Eden

It became clear to me that just as centuries ago we came out from under the thumb of a brand of cultural repression that scapegoated and repressed former cultures — specifically, the Greek and the Roman legacies, calling them “pagan” — we were now coming out from under the thumb of a cultural repression and consequent scapegoating of even longer duration — one extending back ten to thirty-thousand years!  Along with this we were seeing not only the limitations and inadequacies of the Western civilization and technology which so many had sacrificed for, and killed for; we were seeing also the re-integration of long-lost knowledge and worldview — which formerly had been obscured and hidden beneath such pejoratives as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.”

Shamans, Vision Quests, Sweat Lodges, and Drums

Some of us were learning this only too well, as it seemed necessary to search out the earliest or least “civilized” cultures possible for the only pertinent tips we could find on sane and healthy child-caring techniques. 

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But the rest of our culture is catching on too, and in a big way!  Shamanistic practices, rites of passage, and indigenous rituals are enjoying great popularity.  Workshops on everything from vision quests, fire-walking, and Native American sweat lodges . . . to nature treks, drumming, and “sacred arrow” ceremonies have begun popping up.  And currently we are even recognizing our Western patriarchal culture’s evil hand in the extermination of society upon society of indigenous peoples; we are re-writing the history books on the legacy of Columbus even as we passed the five-hundredth anniversary of his landing in America.

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A Flourishing of Culture?

What’s more, in a manner analogous to the cross-fertilization of ideas that led to the medieval Renaissance, our culture is expanding and becoming richer through the inclusion of these alternate perspectives.  Those of us on the healing edge are uniquely able to sense the potential of this inclusion as we experience the effects that this kind of appreciation of the feeling, the affectionate, the intuitive, the natural, the body, and the senses has had upon our individual lives.  Why would we not think that this kind of cross-fertilization of repressed heritage would lead to a flourishing of our culture in the same way that it is has led to a blossoming in our lives?

The Brightest Light on Our Cultural Horizon

Indeed, many of us do feel that a “primal renaissance” is occurring on our planet.  Furthermore, many of us believe that this occurrence may be, in truth, the brightest hope on what otherwise can appear globally to be a rather bleak social and cultural horizon.

So let us not lose this opportunity to midwife the emergence of this primal renaissance, and, germinal as it may appear at this time, to nurture it to its fullest flowering.  We cannot change the past, of course.  But our efforts will work — one small measure at least — for righting the many wrongs of those who have come before us toward those earlier primal societies, and the deeply felt ideas and cultural ways they held dear.

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Continue with Book 10 Primal Return: The Prodigal Awakening

Return to Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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Continue with Book 10 Primal Return: The Prodigal Awakening

Return to Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sillymickel

friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

To purchase a signed copy of any of Michael’s books, email the author at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.
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Rebirthing Rituals, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and the Value of Popular Culture in Awakening: The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight … Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere There Is Hope and What Did You Expect Awakening to Look Like? Look Hard Enough, You Just Might See the Seeds of Light Amidst the Darkness Surrounding.

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Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

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Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight: Societal Self-Analysis, an Internet Reformation, and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace

Societal Self-Analysis

Culture War Replaced Cold War

We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.

This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.

Talk Show Soul-Searching

For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.

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We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.

Sitcom Socialization

To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. father-knows-bestYet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.

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This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.

A Modern “Priesthood”

This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.

Keeping the People Down

Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.

Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.

Therapy for the Masses

At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.