The Connections Never End

John Wilson interviewed Simon McBurney on BBC Radio 4’s “This Cultural Life and I only caught it by chance this morning. Glad I did.

[McBurney – privileged life, archaeologist father, born and raised in Cambridge, boarding school, family holidays in Jersey, Eng Lit at Cambridge, the Footlights, Parisian introduction to a creative life in the theatre … and the rest is history.]

Same age as myself give or take a few months and shared a few touch points that pricked my ears up. Sailing round Portland into Weymouth – always an impressive piece of geography to experience close-up – and being part of Rock Against Racism at Victoria Park, Hackney, Sunday April 30th 1978 – the whole goodwill march, chaotic afternoon festival and the bonus evening gig at the Roundhouse oft noted as the best musical day of my life, amidst the whole formative experience.

But the real reason I’m moved to blog is his experience with one of the Xingu tribes in Amazonian South America. Consciousness of identity shared with their forest environment beyond, not even, any self inside their heads. “It’s more complicated“, to use the vernacular for real complexity. That and the archaeological / architectural perspective of time upwards, the new evolved / supervening on the lower older layers, just like our brains and emergence in any complex system. More strings to the West Meets East bow, with “East” being more generally non-Euro/US/Western.

That “Self” being the one invented by the Humboldts and the Jena set in Andrea Wulf’s account of “The Magnificent Rebels” in Prussian Germany from 1749 to 1806 when Napoleon rolled through, with William Godwin’s influence in cultivating it’s wider adoption in the “West” not acknowledged.

This Cultural Life was followed by Ep9 of an audio abridgement of “The Stalin Affair” by Giles Milton. The importance of the (tacit / implicit / “naughty”) interpersonal communications and relationships between Churchill and Stalin amidst the explicit agreements recorded. And despite Churchill’s long stay in Moscow working intimately with Stalin, the latter’s insistence that the final formal meeting between all three – Churchill, FDR and Stalin – be as far East as possible Europewise, in Yalta.

This riff on West<>East world-view connections is itself connected to yesterday’s diary entry, well the connections never end, as I say 🙂

Received this morning Mike Jackson’s (2003) “Systems Thinking – Creative Holism (for Managers)” in which, in response to that previous post, Mike pointed out he had in fact quoted Pirsig in his work, the epigraph to Ch15 of said book, explaining his holistic subtitle:

“This is the source of the trouble. Persons tend to think and feel exclusively in one mode or the other and in doing so tend to misunderstand and underestimate what the other mode is about …. To reject that part of the Buddha that attends to the analysis of motorcycles is to miss the Buddha entirely.” Pirsig (1974)

2003 incidentally is exactly the year I pointed-out Dave Snowden drawing on a Pirsig quote. What goes around comes around.

[Andrea Wulf was the first of the Annual Mike Jackson lecturer’s at Hull Uni … sadly no recording exists.]

Onwards and upward (as time would have it).


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