jusummerhayes

Cutting down the cultural vine

How far back can you trace your ancestry?

If you're lucky, a few hundred years.

Same.

I might say, so what! It's not as if we've carried much, if anything, of their wisdom into the 21st Century; but perhaps that's a generalisation too far.

Or is it?

How long could we survive absent money?

Or our mobile phone 🤣?

In yesterday's post, I shared with your a few details from James Hillman's book and mentioned the other book that I'm listening to: The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive by Martín Prechtel. The clue, apropos today's little riff, is in Martín's exhortation to keep the cultural seeds alive.

But how can we when we don't know what they are? 

In my case, that would involve a deep dive into the wilds of Devon to try and find the peoples and their traditions that gave birth to my generation — give or take the odd struggle with the Roman Empire. To be honest, save one person who's native to these parts and holds himself out in the indigenous space, I can't think of where I might do my cultural digging.

Do you see the problem?

I do. 

In spades.

Oh sure, I've taken a few of the cultural seeds of my grandparents (mostly) into my life but nothing that you'd call life-sustaining. That's not to say I couldn't teach myself a bushel of new skills but they'd have no cultural backdrop. It's what I think of as the difference between learning (skills) and knowing instinctually where to look for food, medicine and not to be bound to the 24-hour clock, less still a moribund job. 

Perhaps I should accept that these times are past, gone, dead and move on with my life.

I don't think so.

If nothing else, I feel I'll learn more, much more, from my ancestors, however and wherever they turn up, than by having my head in another book, watching another YouTube must have talk or networking (not that any of us are doing that right now).

What do you think?

Is the cultural journey worth the candle?

I'd love to know.

Have a good one — even if it's Monday.

Blessings,

— Ju


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