Those last two posts are wildly speculative -- rash, maybe even unreasonable, but it was only after sleeping on the idea for several nights, I decided to just go for it,
When these ideas first occurred to me, it was at a time when I was living among classical academics as a faculty wife at the University of California, Berkeley. Our home was an informal gathering place for many of the "great minds" at a time following the Sixties conscious-raising period; after the assassinations of Dr. King, the Kennedys, Malcolm X, the resistance to the de-segregation of the public schools, and the birth of the Human Potential Movement with Werner Earhardt and EST, Fritz Perls and Charlotte Selvers at Esalan -- the new "Valhalla." We were a part of all of it.
It was in that setting that I was introduced to Tarthang Tulku, Rinpoche, and Tibetan Buddhism. To long mind-altering weekends in retreats at Padma Ling or Odiyon, the beautiful Monastery high above the Russian River in Sonoma County. To the cutting edge of the explorations of the physicists who were exploring the interface between eastern religious thought and the western sciences. And, no, I didn't practice Buddhism, though Bill was a serious student of both, and of Tibetan Buddhism, specifically.
It was into that melange of exciting change that I was dropped unceremoniously through my somewhat hasty and impulsive marriage to Dr. William Soskin.
It was a heady time of redefinition. We were all so open to change, and so vulnerable to possible mis-steps. Fortunately, the experience was mostly at a time of exciting positive growth.
Leni Riefenstahl's amazing photo book had arrived as a Christmas gift that year at a time when I was still in the throes of personal redefinition. I was redefining myself as a black person in an almost totally white world; no small task. Re-definining myself out of Suburbia, the Black community, and into University life. Testing my ability to move out of my racial identity and into my "universal" self.
The Village of Kau was instrumental in achieving that transformation. However, these images deepened my racial identity, markedly, and helped me to develop a greater understanding of where the human differences lie, and a better sense of when I was operating from "inside the circle" and when I was not. And the awakening of an ability to demand acceptance not despite those differences, but because of them.
Left Brain/Right Brain theories were commonplace as a subject of conversation in my new world where boundaries were being crushed against the walls of the New Age. I was a witness to psychedelic experimentation and the fast-approaching Information Age would be upon us soon. Those big brains who were peopling my world at that time were busily creating the "New Age."
Those last two posts have been lying dormant in my brain for decades. It was raised during that time of redefinition -- when I was having to 'splain and justify my existence in this new world of the Academy when there were no academic underpinnings to support me there. I'd never attended college, though surely was an avid reader over a lifetime. I'd arrived at the halfway point of my life with curiosity ablaze!
It was this Right Brain orientation that explained (to me, at least) the vast differences between Eastern and Western development. The Lamas, refugees from the Chinese takeover of Tibet were moving in and out of our lives on a regular basis, and contact between our home and Katmandu was a common occurrence. To those Lamas, mental telepathy was an ordinary usable tool. To the western scientists the practice was still a mere unprovable but tantalizing theory.
Those fascinating brain theories explained some major differences in the social development of African Americans who had been forced to live under slavery for nearly 300 years while completely out of context of what would be "natural." Maybe it would take another 300 years to regain the threads upon which black life was based.
I was relatively silent in the eighties at a time when I was surrounded by those big brains, and too unsure to express such revolutionary thoughts aloud (except to Bill, who humored me).
Then I watched Panther and the work of Ryan Coogler, and it all came rushing back.
Found myself dreaming of what might have been ... of all of the potential greatness snuffed out by poverty and injustice; by need and brutality, by deprivation and denial; by expropriation and exploitation ... .
Went to my living room book shelves a few days ago, to dig out the Riefenstahl book, and in thumbing through those extraordinary photos, began to cry! All of it came rushing back, Bill, those brunches in our Berkeley home at the top of Grizzly Peak Boulevard where the original thinkers who were pushing us into a future rife with opiates and imagination (and, no, I never succumbed to drug use or Tibetan Buddhism) -- and the excitement of those times descended with a dizzying force.
Spent most of the day on Sunday re-living those fantasies, and reveling in the headiness of it -- headiness that I'd not allowed myself in those years; the headiness of daring to speculate and let the intellectuals prove me wrong.
I'll just put it out there.
... out there for others to argue against or build upon.
Prove me wrong, if you can, but know that as I approach my 97th birthday, I intend to only speak (and write) in declarative sentences! Go on, give it your best shot ...
Maybe this is one way in which new pathways into inquiry are discovered.
There was this crazy man who insisted that the earth was not flat ... remember?
Post a Comment