Anne Smith :: Blog for November 2013


Hi, Everybody!

Hope this blog finds you all well and stepping lightly in the light! I know it's hard to do this, when the days are getting shorter, and we leave work to go home in the dark. Think of Light as a state of being; being illuminated, or "enlightened", if that helps you any! And speaking of enlightenment…

I've been immersed in the writings of Leonard Shlain (1937-2009)a best-selling author and eminent San Francisco surgeon. Admired among artists, scientists, philosophers, anthropologists and educators, Shlain authored three best-selling books: Art & Physics, The Alphabet vs.The Goddess, and Sex, Time, and Power. His fourth book, Leonardo's Brain, is in the process of being edited for publication by Viking Press. Having read Art & Physics, I'm presently partway through The Alphabet vs. The Goddess, (The Conflict Between Word and Image). Shlain contends that the rise of alphabetic literacy-the process of reading and writing-fundamentally reconfigured the human brain, resulting in left-brain dominance and a linear, masculine perspective, suppressing feminine/right-brain functions, which in turn brought about profound changes in history, religion and gender relations. He skillfully weaves connections between several disciplines-anthropology, brain science, myth, and religion, to present this fascinating theory. Needless to say, I'm a fan.

I have always been occupied with the concept of words, knowledge, language, and how things are either lost (or found) in translations. The title track of my last CD, Separated by Words, alludes to the idea that ideologies, words, dogma, can escalate to the point of war, and obscure the fact that we are all one species. Words are powerful and potentially dangerous. To quote Emily Dickinson, "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day."

I like to think of words as living entities, seeds that can be sown to grow beautiful, life-sustaining gardens. Or seeds that can plant thorns of doubt, fear, and confusion. About 4 months ago, I happened upon this sign here in the neighborhood, while riding my bike. At first I had a rather superficial reaction: (snicker)."Wow. Who knew? The Garden of Eden is right-damned-here in the Republic of South Florida!" (snicker, snicker), "wait 'til I tell all my friends and fellow Democrats in New York". As I read chapter12:Adam/Eve from Shlain's Goddess vs.Alphabet, I had to revisit this sign and dig into the fact that I had noticed it for a reason. There is a message in it for me. And maybe for you, if my words are adequate enough to be understood.

What if there is no external or shared "Garden of Eden" (Paradise)? What if the Garden of Eden is an interior level of development and existence within each one of us, where we grow and cultivate our own Tree of Knowledge? Where each piece of fruit contains our individual truth and wisdom? To trespass in someone else's garden and eat their fruit would be tantamount to consuming another's experience, or ideology, perhaps even before it was mature or ripe enough to be shared.

If we must live with this language of ours, this linear, limited way of expressing our truth, let us sow our words carefully and with good intention. Let us be discerning about the language we use to fertilize our own ground and our children's gardens. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be used and influenced by words. Words are only words. It's the intention that brings them to life and gives them meaning.

GirlB wishes all of you a Beautiful, Blessed and Bountiful Thanksgiving celebration!

Until Next Time-xoxoAnnie

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