Don’t you love lying in bed listening to the rain? However, since we had thunderstorms all night, I am beginning the week in a sleep-deprived state. It is also hot. Hot rain seemed strange to me when I arrived here, but now I know it well.
We had the Jack Mitchell jazz band in church yesterday, playing Hoagy Carmichael and “When the Saints Come Marching In.” The anthem was Tommy Dorsey’s “Precious Lord.” There were art projects by the children, and homemade pecan pie. It was a farewell to our dear pastor, and there was a lot of laughing and crying going on.
I’m still knitting the prayer shawl (the prayer shawl ministry gave the pastor a special one for a going-away gift) and cutting the quilt. I defrosted the refrigerator, made grass-stain-scented bubblebath, and traded new-animal stories with #1 daughter, who has gotten a Corgi. This would be a good morning to stay at home, listening to the rain and reading, and indeed the kids are having a very hard time getting out of bed.
In Beyond Civilization, Quinn has done a recap of New World civilizations, pointing out the very interesting fact that it is customary to start such descriptions in the active voice — they did this, they did that — and to finish them in the passive voice — the civilizations were destroyed, the cities were abandoned. Quinn claims that the same folks who did the building of these civilizations did the destruction as well, choosing to give up art and mathematics (his examples) and especially the dread agriculture, and melt back into the jungle. In reading Ishmael, I had said that Quinn might well have chosen fiction as his medium because that allows you to do without references and proof, but he doesn’t bother with references or proof here either. He does cite Richard Dawkins, a favorite author of mine, but only as the source of the term “meme.” Otherwise, he continues to throw out unsupported assertions and then base his arguments upon them.
The point of his history lesson is to say that people have, in the past, made the choice to abandon civilization, and we could do the same. He then moves on to his concept of neo-tribalism. A tribe, he says, is a group of equals working together to make a living. I work, by this definition, in a tribe — and indeed he agrees that small business often start out as tribes. Then they become, according to Quinn, a civilization, with low-level workers toiling to build a pyramid for Bill Gates as their predecessors did for the pharoahs.
An interesting concept. If our store is an example of neo-tribalism (or his example, circus people), however, his concurrent them of anti-agriculturalism makes no sense whatever. We do indeed band together to make a living, but we are all down at the farmers’ market every week supporting local agriculture.
I guess I’m still waiting for this to make sense.