Archive for the ‘Society of the 5th Cave’ Tag

Invoking the Mystery, Revisited   Leave a comment

Sunrise On The trail (1 of 1) art III blogInvoking the Mystery By Giving Of One’s Time — Computer Painting by kenne

 (The following was first posted September 26, 2009 on this blog. In the process of writing about my dear friend, Linda Ricketts, who passed away recent, I was doing a tab search on this blog when this posting was among those identified. Much has happen in the intervening years that make the premise of “Invoking the Mystery” even more important and timely, especially with Supreme Court’s deeply flawed 2010 decision in Citizens United.)

The book club to which I belong, “The Society of the 5th Cave,” is made up of members, all-be-it old educated professionals, males who pride themselves in being specialists in many areas, but with age accepting reality of being skilled in few. Mostly politically right of center seeking to help me see the light, convinced that those with opposing views are also conducting their own act of ministry.  Wrong, oh truthsayers! Although I may debate a position, I don’t want everyone to agree with me, I just want each person to think. That’s way lifeincsquare-thumb-500x501-20151I selected Life Inc. How The World Became A Corporation And How To Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff for September reading. (Click here to see Rushkoff on Colbert Nation.) It is a book that can help people better understand the many of today’s economic and financial issues, which Rushkoff feels are not a problem of reality or nature, but a problem of design. Are corporations evil? No! Neither are the people who work within their controlling environments. There is a convincing case to be made for redesigning a poorly designed invention of our culture by identifying non-market ways of developing gift-exchange institutions.

mcd_us_high_9_25We humanize the corporation, so much so that for many who may take a road-trip vacation, tend to seek out a McDonald’s in which to eat, rather than going to a local establish. If this is your comfort level, then you don’t want to be traveling between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley. This is where, according to Stephen Von Worley on the Weather Sealed blog, you will be hurtin’ is you suffer a Big Mac Attack.

Most of us are products of the corporate mentally and lifestyle. I have worked hard to get to an age where I’ve collected enough assets to make money by having money.  Even though recognizing that my live and my fortune is controlled and manipulated by our corporate state, I’m now working hard becoming part of the gift economy – doing something for nothing and stop behaving like corporations who “… express charitable and community impulses from afar.” A gift economy is a society where the exchange of goods and services are given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards.

“By donating to charities in the same manner as our corporate equivalents, we succumb to the proxy system that dissocializes in the first place.”  Instead, we can start reclaiming what has been lost, by accepting that small is the new big and that through a highly networked world we can begin making local impacts that it spreads. Rushkoff gives many examples of local sustainable efforts that effectively trickle up in profound ways. The more we network doing something for nothing, the more one voluntary act encourages another. The act of giving is a social phenomenon that should be a fundamental life skill. As Walt Whitman wrote in Carol of Words:  “The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him – it cannot fail.”

Rushkroff’s belief that commerce has been separated from the people who are doing the stuff Gift_us_newand his reference to the gift economy brought to mind Lewis Hyde’s wonderful book, The Gift – Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. Written over twenty-seven years ago, his insight and guidance is even more apropos given today’s economic and financial challenges. Here is how Hyde summarizes The Gift:

“The main assumption of the book is that certain spheres of life, which we care about, are not well organized by the marketplace. That includes artistic practice, which is what the book is mostly about, but also pure science, spiritual life, healing and teaching….This book is about the alternative economy of artistic practice. For most artists, the actual working life of art does not fit well into a market economy, and this book explains why and builds out on the alternative, which is to imagine the commerce of art to be well described by gift exchange.”

In his chapter titled “The Labor of Gratitude,” Hyde uses the folk tale, “The Shoemaker and the Elves,” a tale of a gifted person, as a model of the labor of gratitude. In the tale, the shoemaker makes his first pair of shoes in order to dress the elves, which is the last act in his labor of gratitude. When Hyde speaks of labor, he is referring to human endeavor such as “writing a poem, raising a child, developing a new calculus, resolving a neurosis, invention in all forms,” as distinguished from “work,” that we do by the hour. Labor has it’s own schedule. Things are accomplished, but often we as if wasn’t us who did them. This is always a bit mysterious. It is the mystery Federico Garcia Lorca was referring to when he wrote at the bottom of one of his drawings he did in Buenos Aires, “Only mystery enables us to live.” Invoking the mystery is to invoke the duende.

If we value the mystery and the categories of human enterprise that invoke the mystery, such as family life, spiritual life, public service, pure science and artistic practice, none of which operates well in the corporate market place, then it is necessary that we find non-corporate ways to organize and support them.

kenne

Archive Photos Of A Society Of The 5th Cave Meeting   1 comment

A Society of the 5th Cave Book Club Meeting In The North Montgomery County Woods (April 10, 2005)– Images by kenne
(Click on any image to see slideshow.)

Books are the carriers of civilization.
Without books, history is silent,
literature dumb, science crippled,
thought and speculation at a standstill.

— Barbara Tuchman 

The Society Of The 5th Cave Book Club Meeting — We Are The Cave Men   Leave a comment

 

It has been over two years since I last  attended a Society of the 5th Cave book club meeting, which change during our recent visit to the Houston area. After the celebration of  Mother’s life in The Woodlands, I headed north to Conroe, Texas to attend the August meeting of the Cave..

It was nice visiting with Cave members as we discussed this month’s reading, “Destiny of the Republic” by Candice Millard. Of course, as usual the book only served to generate discussion on many issues only somewhat related to the book.

kenne

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Kitty Davis — Reconstructing Old Moments   Leave a comment

Ken & Kitty Davis

December 31, 2009, a time of reviewing the past and of new resolutions. For me, this is a process that includes retrieving and assembling photos that help reconstruct memories. However, this labor of love took on a different meaning after learning late in the day that Kitty Davis had lost her battle with cancer that morning. Two days later, Joy and I attended a memorial service for Kitty at the First Presbyterian Church in Conroe. The church was packed with friends and family exchanging personal memories with the collective memory of a community that had grown in the love and caring friendship of this very special person.

Words can resurrect the past, serving to memorialize, but it is photographs that allow us to prompt the elusive feelings that contribute to our being able to develop an awareness of how the past relates to our memories in the present.

It was through the reading club, “The Society of the 5th Cave,” that I met Ken Davis, Kitty’s husband for life. The friendships developed in the 5th Cave created social occasions, which provided an opportunity to take some of the photographs in this posting.

In addition to the 5th Cave connection, there was the Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) at Montgomery College connection. Having been involved in creating this organization, I was able to witness Kitty living out one of her passions, yoga. On two occasions, January 2004 and 2005, I photographed the yoga sessions conducted by John Friend, founder of Anusra Yoga, and son of community leader and charter member of ALL, Ann Friend. I knew Kitty was in some of my photos, which I now share so they may invoke in you, as they do in me, this line from one of my favorite songs, Stardust: “Love is the stardust of yesterday, the music of the years gone by.”

Stardust Memories

The past is not for replay
But for the stardust of yesterdays

Yesterdays, a time, a place
Gently massaging forgotten dreams

Dreams giving clues to
Our stardust memories

Memories fading for now
Only reborn to our imagination

Imagination directing the soul to
Reconstruct old moments

Moments experiencing rapture
In the joy of our love

Love is the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years to come

May these words and images gently sprinkle down on our collective stardust memories of Kitty.

kenne
(Photo Set)

Society of the 5th Cave Discusses “Europe Central”   Leave a comment

In July of 1997, Cave member Dave Parsons selected Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow as our book for the monthly meeting of our reading club of the non-discriminating bourgeoise. Since that time Dave’s selection has held the record as the most difficult read for members. A benchmark not surpassed, some argue, till Dick Rohfritch’s selection of William T. Vollmann’s Europe Central. If the bar has not been raised, Europe Central at least equals Gravity’s Rainbow in excellence and difficulty.

Although only one of our members (George Boyle) finished the book, this didn’t lessen the brevity of the discussion. Each of us had completed enough of the book to appreciate Vollmann’s writing on moral extremism and our valuing the opportunity to learn about the good side of bad helping us better understand reality and what is the essence of moral behavior.

We are human beings we are always questioning our own moral calculus as does Dave in his poem “Sounding:”

“last gasp and every mourning parent’s gnashing, “No!”
Standing in the center of this simple kitchen, for the first time
in over forty years of my sloping for light — I am certain

Truman was wrong . . . we were wrong.”

kenne

(Images by kenne)

Social Media Can Help Your Organiization, Group, Club   Leave a comment

medusa1

Medusa, by Caravaggio

To Twitt or Not Twitt, That is The Question

Everyday I ask people to become “friends,” “follow-me,” etc, resulting in, “Why?”

One of the groups I belong to is a book club, The Society of The 5th Cave, and now we are Twittering — well, some of us are. Since we are mostly older generation guys, it’s not easy to Twitt just because one of us puts 5thCave on Twitter.

Today I received another one of those “Why?” questions. What following is my response:

Good question. Here are some reasons why you need Twitter:

1.    Easily link with people sharing common interests i.e., reading, book clubs, etc.
2.    Quickly share club information and history.
3.    Have interactive dialog on books selections.
4.    Others can follow the 5thCave and learn about our reading list and reviews.
5.    The social media group provides an element of trust because of our knowledge of one another.
6.    Provide avenues for choosing to link (follow) other like minded people.
7.    The are many other reasons for using Twitter, i.e.:
•    Identify potential clients, news sources, leads, etc
•    Find a job
•    Build brand awareness
•    Make money
•    To get news and information
•    Drive viewers to blog or website

. . .but may not apply to 5thCave.

To be a part of the Twitter 5thCave, one needs to register on Twitter.com and start following 5thCave.

Twitter is just one of many social media sites that allow people to network, which is fundamental to being human, but make use of technology to network.

The real negative of Twitter is you will need to check your site, which will contain postings on 5thCave if you are following 5thCave. What shows up on your site are the posting of those you are following — so the choices are all yours.

Hope this is helpful.

I would like to hear your comments on why you use social media.

kenne

100 Notable Books of 2008 — NY Times   Leave a comment

28maslin_190BOOK GIVING

For more years than I can recall, I have given books to family members as if it were a form of contrition for all the books I wish I had read – call it a form of “book credit.”  This year will be no exception, however, I have learned that this annual selection process may have more benefit to the giver than the receiver.  Although I read more books than ever before, I still can’t read everything I would like, so I supplement this deficiency by reading reviews and discussions on the Internet.

Tops on my weekly list of Internet reading is the NY Times Sunday Book Review and this time of year includes “100 Notable Books of 2008.” As with most years, I have not yet read any on the list, but one year into the 2007 list, I can acknowledge having read some on it, thanks in large part to being a member of the “Society of the 5th Cave.” This group of the “non-discriminating bourgeoisie” ensures my reading some books I would not normally read, especially those in the fiction category.

kenne

((Image by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)

Posted November 28, 2008 by kenneturner in Family, Friends, Information

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