Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Voices Least Heard

The voices least heard are the ones most essential to cultural understanding.
--Mary Watkins

One of the tenets of depth psychology is that cultural growth and transformation come from the margins of society. Think of the French Impressionists and their Salon des Refus├ęs, or of the way black slave music transformed into jazz that moves the world, or the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s or the peace marches of the '70s. Today, we again are witnessing uprisings of ordinary, everyday people against repression all over the world, including in our own country.

In Commune of Women, it is Pearl, the ancient bag lady, who is most prepared to survive under difficult circumstances and whose wisdom sustains the others. It can be instructive and useful to listen to the voices of the marginalized, possibly even life saving. When the center of society is paralyzed in a rictus of outmoded ideas and criminal practices (think Washington D. C.) draw hope from the margins, where the frothy and explosive cultural cell division of new growth is brewing. Turn away from the ludicrous spectacle of an old order going smash, and focus your eyes on who and what in your area and your world is really accomplishing the changes you would like to see. Go there. Join that. Then you, too, will be part of the transformation.

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