A Gathering of the Tribe
I want to share with you a gorgeous rendering of my allegory A Gathering of the Tribe in the form of a 9-minute film conceived by Aubrey Marcus, with animation by Aldous Massie and original score by Jon Hopkins. I narrated the piece, though not quite on purpose—it was part of the podcast last spring with Aubrey. Since it was done in a single take, the imperfections are obvious, and I kind of like it that way.
I said “my allegory,” but I really cannot lay claim to it. The story is in some sense obviously true, and how can one make up a true story? I’m just the one whom the story employed as its teller. It is the finale of my 2013 book, The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible. I am planning to write scripts for more short films in the coming year, so stay tuned.
We also are recorded another podcast recently, you can listen here.
I have a lot more essays in the pipeline, along with reviews of RFK Jr.’s book and, for dessert, David Graeber’s posthumous The Dawn of Everything. It will take me a while to do these justice (or, actually, finish reading them). I’ve been doing a lot of podcasts and other online events. I’ll let you know about one of them upcoming in a week or so called The Event. It should be interesting—I’m probably the least controversial person on it. I’m also speaking on New Years Eve at an event near Ithaca NY.
Speaking of controversial, some people have noticed that my posts seem to oscillate between confrontational and conciliatory. I’m not being wishy-washy. Here’s what’s going on. One one hand, we have been careening toward medical/technological totalitarianism at the hands of powerful, unaccountable institutions and the individuals who rise within them. It is absolutely time to speak out, to expose lies and corruption, to resist, and to create alternatives. More and more people are doing just that, and I believe freedom, truth, and justice will prevail as the currently dominant narrative and the regime built on it crumbles. That doesn’t mean to sit back and watch it happen. It is not an inevitability; it is the result of the courage of millions of people, past and to come.
On the other hand, I have a grave concern not about whether “we” will win, but about the manner of the winning. A great fury is building, and the mob is a fickle beast. Never are the guilty the last ones sent to the guillotine. The normal pattern of othering, of vengeance and punishment, and of attributing the evil of a system to evil people will ultimately result in a repeat of history. We can send the overseers of the system to purgatory, we can reform the system itself, but unless we excavate its foundations little will change in the long run. And what are these foundations? They are of story and psyche. To move toward a healed world, we must explore different ways of being human and different answers to the primal questions, Who am I? Who are you? And, Who are we?
That is what my last post on the Human Family was pointing toward. To know each other as family does not mean to look the other way as abuse continues. But justice is not the same as punishment. Humanizing the enemy is not the same as capitulating. and force is not the same as power. I’ve said such things a lot over the last few years. I’m looking forward to writing more short film scripts so I can say them without saying them.