Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holidays and Real Groups

Holidays are the very embodiment of habit and so to help his students see freshly Jan Cox mainly ignored the normal holidays --- he would say when he was finished talking, is anybody going to be around the 25th, and if enough were, we would meet and get to listen to him talk on Christmas day.

Enough folks meant a certain critical mass that was necessary or else he was wasting his time talking. He knew his own worth and would not speak if there were too few people present, but I do not recall that happening on a normal meeting night. Maybe once, in decades of talking. Sometimes we met 5 nights a week.

And a party on Saturday night. Beer was the drink of choice for most. It meant of course being less conscious, and he reminded us of this sometimes. The beer drinking is an example of the reality of 'no rules.' The enjoinment was to struggle constantly to be aware, to extend that moment when you are able to remember both your internal and the external environment. Yet the bonds of community which encouraged the struggle were helped by partying together. Even if the drinking meant lowering your potential to be aware. And he knew the reality that folks were perfect. Hmm -- can't seem to phrase that so it is not ordinary cant. So skip that last point, perhaps I will come back to it.

The group of people Jan gathered around himself were he said sometimes, the equivalent together of an awakened man. The group was not, could not, be an ordinary social group, that would be mechanical and the opposite of our aims. One way he insured that the group was not ordinary was the composition --- staying in the group meant being around people who were not your type. This does not happen in an ordinary social group---those are formed with some communality among the types of people composing the group. I like to think of the Friends sitcom to explain this better: In real life an anthropologist and a afternoon tv actor would not be best buddies. This would only happen in tv land, and in a real work group. Remember the women on that show-- actually they could have really been friends, despite the differences which fed the comedic purpose. That says something about women though. It does not invalidate my point.

And the mechanicalness of holidays does not diminish the warm feelings I have for people who have already been reading my words.

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