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Friday, January 10, 2014

All Roads Lead to Rome

Anything I study "to the end" leads back to this idea of the competing worlds of freedom and control.

In Christopher Alexander's books on architecture he talks about the different world systems of A and B. He describes almost exactly what I describe when I talk about job-parenting and relationship-parenting only he is talking about building! He could be using the words job-building and relationship-building or a-world-of-control-inspiring architecture and a-world-of-freedom-inspiring architecture.

The other day I was in Venice and some dancing street performers drew a crowd. It occurred to me that if I had studied the history and social purposes of dance I would have again found the same story. This could be why I have always been drawn to folk dancing, the dancing of a community celebrating life, dancing that everyone does together, that everyone of all ages can do, that is done for the pure enjoyment of it. Folk dancing evolved into the competitive ballroom dancing of 100-years-ago, alienating many and creating a hierarchy of skill and talent among the rest. Today it's even crazier but at least everyone knows what it is: it's a battle. Today the hippest dancing is literally a competition, a dance battle, the search for the very very best. When one stands there one is not stuck with a feeling of "celebration" as one is struck when partaking in the folk dancing of a summer festival, one is stuck by feelings of aggression, power, anger... and ugliness. Or maybe that is just to me. These feelings that I feel watching this type of dancing are not beautiful to me.

Everything about the world we live in has been created by the children of control-parenting. I wonder what the children of Galt's Gulch would create, children who were intrinsically motivated and moved to do things for the joy of doing them. I don't idealize the past and I don't want to go back there. I look forward to seeing the art expressed by a new culture of people who know freedom and believe in their right to love life.

I am rereading one of my favorite books on this subject right now, The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand. This may be my very favorite work of hers. In this book she explains why we like the art we like, the purpose of art and why we are instantly drawn or repulsed by certain things. It's a short, dense book and I highly recommend it!

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