Truly Powerful People (338)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Bear and I were talking recently about our admiration for the Bread and Puppet Theatre. I’ve actually seen very little of their work in my life but it is their philosophy that has me applauding. Go to their site and read their Cheap Art Philosophy. Anyone can participate. You don’t need a lot of money, production values, or the expensive paintbrush. The art is in you. Use what’s in the room. It’s not about the technology. It’s about you and your relationship to your world. “Art is food…” says the good people at Bread and Puppet Theatre. Art is not technology; art might use technology. It is all too easy for us to confuse the two in our gadget heavy times. The art comes from within you; the technology is a tool.

Eric Weiner recently wrote a book called Man Seeks God. He chronicles his pursuit of the divine. He visited many faith traditions, from Sufism to Buddhism, Wicca to Shamanism to the Tao. He spent several days in a Franciscan friary; the brothers operated a homeless shelter in New York City. After a few days in the friary, a place with no electric gadgets, no television, cell phones, computers, he took a break from austerity and caught the train into Manhattan. He writes, “Everyone is twitchy,…, their minds are elsewhere. No doubt these hipsters…would think the friars hopelessly out of touch with the ‘real world.’ Yet I wonder: Who are the ones out of touch? The friars, unlike the denizens of Soho, are fully present. They know how to linger. They know how to look someone in the eye without silently calculating their social score.”

This is not a rant against technology. I am as in love with my computer and smartphone as the next person. Easy is good. Instant communication is like a time-sponge. The sword has two edges. At moments like this Lora quotes Sophocles to me: “Nothing vast enters the world of mortals without a curse.” The technological pace of change in our lives is vast. As Marshall McLuhan said, technology doesn’t just impact us, it changes us. Eric Weiner’s question is a great one: what does it mean to be in touch?

There is not a single answer to his question but it does make me cheer for the Bread and Puppet folks and the impulse that drives them. It seems the skill necessary in our times is the ability to discern between substance and glitter, news and opinion, art and propaganda.

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