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REBELS WITH A CAUSE

THE ARTISTS OF NEW REALITIES


Terrance McKenna said: “Culture is not your friend.” This is an odd quote to start an article for a magazine dedicated to the unfolding of our evolving culture. But if we are going to explore culture’s significance, we must see its light and dark side. What the late, great, altered statesman McKenna meant, was that while our cultural orientation liberates us to know the world, it also enslaves us into thinking that its worldview is the only one possible. In general, to lack acculturation would be to be deficient in the physical and social skills needed to survive in our community. We throw those who are not properly acculturated into mental institutions or jails. To work and play in our world we must become what has been called ‘normal’ as full fledged creatures of our cultural milieu.

This breeds an unnatural resistance to change and forces an artificial arrogance for the status quo. Unfortunately while normalcy maybe the successful adaptation for social structures, it stagnates the ongoing evolution of the human race and systems that stagnant tend to break down. It is only with dynamic fluctuations that organisms stay alive and evolve into ever more complex forms. It seems we are programmed for creativity, the neurobiologist John Z. Young wrote in the 1950s that “the continuity of life of the whole race can only be preserved if individuals continue to contribute new awareness of the world that can be passes onto others.”


The major point here is that it is our creative force at the core of every human being compels us to free our habitual tendencies towards convention. As a keen observer of the cultural edge, Marshall McLuhan felt that only “the poet, the artist, the sleuth” can throw off the chains of culture and thereby “sharpen our perceptions. By their very nature these people “tend to be anti social; rarely ‘well-adjusted’ and cannot go along with currents and trends.”



Historically the idea of artist as rebel/hero stems from the insights of Charles Baudelaire who realized, in the mid 19th century, that the conditions of the emerging urban environment were making humans a markedly different race of beings, with different awareness and sensitivities. Baudelaire demanded that artists seize the role of commentator and uplift society by using their skills to reflect the social concerns of their times. In this way the artists became initiators of extra sensorial awareness, which are readily suppressed in the followers of societal dictates. McLuhan felt that it was the artist’s responsibility to “report” new ways of feeling “long before the average man suspects that anything has changed.”

In a sense genius happens when the artist, the poet, the musician are not satisfied with the known and use their intuition as instruments for probing the unknown. Cognitive literary critic Ellen Spolsky says: “the arts are engines not reflections of culture. The most successful of them have the potential to bring audiences to new understanding.” The writer Marcel Proust is quoted as saying: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in see king new lands, but in having new eyes.”


Hence art becomes the articulation of the inarticulate. By learning to see more, we transform ourselves. Spolsky makes the point by saying: “the ability of exceptional members of a social group to be inventive and to produce changed interpretations when the world outside became newly threatened was crucial for the survival of the species.” It has always been that our greatest creators: DaVinci, Shakespeare, Newton, Picasso, Dali, Fellini, Einstein have broadened our experience and given our collective humanity a more comprehensive view of reality.


What La Luchi Magazine is doing is helping us undergo a similar shift in human values. It is bringing awareness to the fact that we indeed are becoming a different race of humans; hyper-sensitivity to global concerns, mixed with a high degree of collective awareness and compassion for each other.


Conclusion:
We are now at an epoch of great change. It is time for the artist, the creator, the musician, the scientist, the filmmaker, to come forward; never to be satisfied with the cultural standards. We are here to constantly re-pattern and create new structures out of the existing forms. Our movement is forever onward baffling society’s ideals with the cosmos that dances through us again and again with creation. It is the calling of every adventurer of spirit to follow the evolutionary impulses of the creative imagination, and allow it to flow through them in ways they know and don’t know; to unfold, in every moment, new realities.

By Alan Steinfeld.
Visit Alan.

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