Home > Uncategorized > Storytellers of the world unite! you have nothing to lose but the postmodern world’s turmoil!

Storytellers of the world unite! you have nothing to lose but the postmodern world’s turmoil!

Continuing the journey I began in my last post, in which I search for more harmonious ways of expression and communication in today’s disharmonious environment, I recently encountered the experience of having many human encounters, all interesting and distinctly unique, occur in the crowded time-period of a single weekend. These encounters led me to think about more up-to-date forms of the modern human cooperative conduct and the directions in which we should try and advance it.

“Being Home”

I recently had the opportunity of spending a long weekend in London. The visit took place on occasion of a family-related event and the decision to go was spontaneous, unplanned and was pretty much taken at the last moment. The main reason to go was Joel Shepson’s Bar-Mitzva celebration. The event constituted both a ceremony at the reformist synagogue, and a party at the evening of the following day. The people attending these meets were united by a familial-communal-cultural-national bond. Despite the fact that in their daily lives these people are geographically apart from each other, some within the same country and others in separate ones, from the moment you’re recognized as related a special human intimacy is generated around more-or-less similar cultural codes. In his impressive speech in the synagogue, Joel said the following things:

“……We are not given just a set of instructions about how to live our life. Jewish teaching tells us to do some good in society and make a real difference by making the world a better place. How we behave is perhaps more of an emotional matter. Whereas, changing society, even remotely, requires a more rational approach. ”

In such cultural surroundings you’re “home” without having to actually clarify what you really understand or what you actually mean, and without having to delve, of course, into a practical-operative discussion as to how your intentions may be realized…

“We are nothing, let us be all
This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race”

| June 1871 Eugène Pottier

We didn’t have much time left for touring, and chose to spend whatever time we had wandering the wonderful park of Hampstead Heath on a cold and grayish Sunday, ending the walk at the Highgate cemetery, in the Victorian-Gothic atmosphere of the surrounding woods – in front of Karl Marx’s grave.

“Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains”..

A global all-encompassing theory, which broke through the boundaries of countries, continents, nations and people, and brought radical change to the lives of billions, with an ideology that enjoys a “comeback” attention these days of “free market” crisis. More graves around Marx’s represent the universal human encounter: a leader of South Africa’s communist party, an Iraqi communist, a revolutionary British writer, an anti-racism activist from the Caribbean islands. I ponder the astounding physical-material influence certain thoughts thought by certain person has had over the years, and the dialectic metamorphoses of any profound idea, whichever it may be.

“Is religion the only opium of the people? It appears so is… shopping”

source: http://neftriplecrunch.wordpress.com/2008/11/

London is an extremely eclectic city, summoning intensive experiences of encounters with the different “other”. Walking the part of Oxford street, from Bond Street underground station to Primark and indoors inside it on a Friday afternoon, was like an accelerated journey through all the world’s nationalities and cultures in existence. Everyone were mixed up together. A powerful global gathering. Standing in line to buy stuff, there are no political arguments, no philosophical or inter-religious disagreements and no struggles over power or prestige. All are united by the desire to buy branded products. Pay, pack and leave contented.

From:   http://www.footballnation.info/

After years of watching sports on television, I felt a mixture of desire and duty to be present at a Premier-league football match. The selected event was a match between Totenham and Eston-Villa at White Hart Lane stadium (capable of entertaining around 36,000 viewers). I’m a soccer fan. In recent years, as mentioned, mostly via watching it on TV. My appreciation of this sport is probably the result of my playing it at school with my friends as a boy, and from finding its rhythm to be simulative of the rhythm of life itself. Indeed… I too, as I’ve heard others tell, used to imagine, moments before falling asleep,  scoring a critical goal. 22 Players, crammed up on a field which at times seems endless, with the players losing themselves within it, and a times unbelievably crowded and filled with collisions. Sometimes the game is fascinating and eventful, and sometimes its downright boooooooring. The air was already charged with tremendous energy as the masses started pouring into the stadium, like when preparing for a battle. The policemen, cavalry, police cars and ambulances all contributed to the “eve of the war” feeling. Since no goals were scored (I thought the game was mediocre), the main experience fixed in my mind was the crowd’s roar (not being used to such masses I experienced it as downright terrifying), which at certain moments perfectly and coordinately united a public of such different and diverse backgrounds. And at the moment the final whistle was heard – the masses dispersed with amazing speed, each fan relishing his victory or licking the wounds of defeat, and disappeared in the dark streets, busses and trains.

The experience of mass-watching a show, which is ancient in its essence but new in its form, of a powerful coordinated union at a singular moment of people whose daily paces and rhythms are regularly separated, strikes me as a leading and intensifying human direction, to which the flash-mob phenomenon is but a illustrative example. According to Wikipedia, a flash-mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The people in such a group usually don’t know each other, and don’t even talk.

If we swap the negative connotation of the term “mob” with the phrase “a group of people”, then I recognize and acknowledge the advantage of not having to pay the price of conforming to a certain group or framework limiting individuality, in order to express yourself loudly. Instead, the flashmob offers an alternative: just locate collaborators whose paths intersect with your own and make yourself heard. Another event in our trip was a small-scale example of just such a meeting…

“For every turn I have missed

There will be a next one”

On the evening of our arrival I was moved to watch Chen perform (http://www.myspace.com/chenappel) in a pub called “T-birds”. The pub held an open stage night, hosted by Lester Clayton. Four aspiring young singers performed one after the other, mostly with original material, for an audience composed partly of family, partly of friends and partly of strangers who happened to come to the pub that night. None of the performers knew the other three. They simply came, performed and left. It’s a special thing – to listen to your child sing. To meet yourself in someone else. My excitement was due to the notion that beyond the special music and lyrics – something in the energetic frequency of Chen’s singing and playing struck in me a familiar chord, yet in a different manner and a new, fresh way I hadn’t known.

Storytelling – a passport to the 21st century

In another, remarkably pleasant and tasty family gathering, Annette Zera – a relative of mine – heard about my interest in storytelling and introduced me to “The Moth”, a New-York based non-profit storytelling institute, where people gather and tell each other stories.

The following is a quote from the website:

“The success of The Moth is one example of

the phenomenon of storytelling that is gaining momentum

nationwide. In The Moth’s case, these narrative

sessions are fast becoming an institution.”

– The New York Times

One man’s nectar is another man’s poison

During the visit a certain article from The Guardian (4/2) caught my eye: Tim Hanni’s finds, backed by a collaborative research carried out by the Culinary Institute of America and Yale University, show that the taste of wine is by no means absolute, but is very much dependent on genetics and learnt behavior. And thus – heaven’s forbid: “One man’s nectar is another man’s poison”.

Wine tasting is another area of expertise I admire, mostly for the human ability to define a taste that to me is simply more, or less tasty, as a tasteful richness of ripe plum and blackberry, tannic, tastes of apricot, fruity, mineral and fresh, or buttery-yellow. And lo – it too experiences a revolution. No more, no less. The writer ends the article saying:

Hanni faces an uphill struggle to convince the industry that its most cherished beliefs are wrong. But there is something underniably invigorating in his ideas: he gives consumers the faith and nerve to trust their own senses of taste and smell. If this profoundly modern, compellingly individualist approach becomes mainstream, it could consistue a fundamental change in the way we drink wine. “If we just accept this simple idea,” he says, “we’ll understand each other, and wine, better.” And, perhaps, enjoy it even more.

I feel that we’re becoming more and more different from one another, because we’ve lived to see a time that enables more freedom of choice and personal expression. The rhythm of life in our “flat” world generates many more encounters with the strange and the different, and our natural initial reaction is withdrawal and friction. There’s discomfort, fear and risk in difference, compared to what’s familiar and known. Therefore, we arrive at the existentially-inevitable human encounter encased in an armor of labels and opinions: familial allegiance, cultural, national and organizational belonging, etc. Under this overlay – everything swarms and bustles and new forms of collaborations and spontaneous connections begin to appear, bearing greater intensity for short periods of time. I think that in such reality, which dictates finding a balance between spontaneous connection and carefully organized collaboration, weaving together stories can have a moderating, stabilizing effect on our lives and provide us with a strongly required length-of-breath.

What’s my story? What’s yours? When and where should we share our journeys?

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