Sunday, October 9, 2011

Anyone Up for a Sweeter Song

Against the cacophony of Occupy Wall Street, Chancellor Merkel’s call to recapitalize German banks, and the growing chorus of those wailing about the coming Depression, I just wanted to remind us that there is a different narrative. When one realizes that the scarcity that has defined 150 years of industrial economies is simply an illusion created by those who seek some vestige of control, the path to an alternative space is readily discerned. For this week’s blog post, I turn to two alternative paths. First, a path that has been shared by my dear friend, collaborator and colleague, Palma Vizzoni. In this attached piece, she takes Integral Accounting and weaves it into a tapestry of West African narratives forming a beautiful view of what’s possible if we change our optics.

And second, as a reminder, I’ve included a piece from antiquity to remind us of the cost of drowning out the Sweeter Song and those who seek to offer it into a universe of frantic fear.

METMORHOSES BOOK 11, Translated by Brookes More

While with his songs, Orpheus, the bard of Thrace, allured the trees, the savage animals, and even the insensate rocks, to follow him; Ciconian matrons, with their raving breasts concealed in skins of forest animals, from the summit of a hill observed him there, attuning love songs to a sounding harp. One of those women, as her tangled hair was tossed upon the light breeze shouted, “See! Here is the poet who has scorned our love!”

Then hurled her spear at the melodious mouth of great Apollo's bard: but the spear's point, trailing in flight a garland of fresh leaves, made but a harmless bruise and wounded not. The weapon of another was a stone, which in the very air was overpowered by the true harmony of his voice and lyre, and so disabled lay before his feet, as asking pardon for that vain attempt. The madness of such warfare then increased. All moderation is entirely lost, and a wild Fury overcomes the right.—although their weapons would have lost all force, subjected to the power of Orpheus' harp, the clamorous discord of their boxwood pipes, the blaring of their horns, their tambourines and clapping hands and Bacchanalian yells, with hideous discords drowned his voice and harp.

At last the stones that heard his song no more fell crimson with the Thracian poet's blood. Before his life was taken, the maenads turned their threatening hands upon the many birds, which still were charmed by Orpheus as he sang, the serpents, and the company of beasts—fabulous audience of that worshiped bard. And then they turned on him their blood-stained hands: and flocked together swiftly, as wild birds, which, by some chance, may see the bird of night beneath the sun. And as the savage dogs rush on the doomed stag, loosed some bright fore-noon, on blood-sand of the amphitheatre; they rushed against the bard, with swift hurled theirs which, adorned with emerald leaves had not till then been used for cruelty.

And some threw clods, and others branches torn from trees; and others threw flint stones at him, and, that no lack of weapons might restrain their savage fury then, not far from there by chance they found some oxen which turned up the soil with ploughshares, and in fields nearby were strong-armed peasants, who with eager sweat worked for the harvest as they dug hard fields; and all those peasants, when they saw the troop of frantic women, ran away and left their implements of labor strown upon deserted fields—harrows and heavy rakes and their long spades after the savage mob had seized upon those implements, and torn to pieces oxen armed with threatening horns, they hastened to destroy the harmless bard, devoted Orpheus; and with impious hate, murdered him, while his out-stretched hands implored their mercy—the first and only time his voice had no persuasion. O great Jupiter! Through those same lips which had controlled the rocks and which had overcome ferocious beasts, his life breathed forth, departed in the air.

While his loved harp was floating down the stream, it mourned for him beyond my power to tell.

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Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave