The Grateful Dead in concert at Radio City Music Hall, 23 October 1980. Concert audio is available at the Internet Archive as well as YouTube.
Marx and the Alien Left
2 hours ago
Like most of the American Indians, except those of the Southwest puebloes, the tribes of the Northwest Coast were Dionysian. In their religious ceremonies the final thing they strove for was ecstasy. The chief dancer, at least at the high point of his performance, should lose normal control of himself and be rapt into another state of existence. He should froth at the mouth, tremble violently and abnormally, do deeds which would be terrible in a normal state. (158)In her chapter on the Pueblos, which she calls Apollonian, Benedict explains that these contrasting approaches to "the value of human existence" were "named and described by [Frederich] Nietzsche in his studies of Greek tragedy" (79).
The desire of the Dionysian, in personal experience or in ritual, is to press through it toward a certain psychological state, to achieve excess. The closest anaology to the emotions he seeks is drunkenness, and he values the illuminations of frenzy. With [William] Blake, he believes "the path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." The Apollonian distrusts all this, and has often little idea of the nature of such experiences. He finds means to outlaw them from his conscious life. He "knows but one law, measure in the Hellenic sense." He keeps the middle of the road, stays within the known map, does not meddle with disruptive psychological states. (79)This scheme for analyzing the rituals and spiritual practices of American indigenes, and perhaps also their secular practices, might suggest interesting research questions. But it might also get in the way of perception. This scheme may well filter out all observations that undermine the effort to apply an alien theory of existence to cultural study.
Revolutionary Marxism, as with industrial society in other forms, seeks to "rationalize" all people in relation to industry, maximum industry, maximum production. It is a meterialist doctrine which despises the American Indian spiritual tradition, our cultures, our lifeways. Marx himself called us "precapitalists" and "primitive". Precapitalist simply means that, in his view, we would eventually discover capitalism and become capitalists; we have always been economically retarded in Marxist terms. (26)Means argues that Marxism is steeped in European industrial values, and its revolutionary vision is rooted in an understanding of the needs of Europe. For an Oglala Lakota patriot, as Means describes himself, the importation of Marxist revoltionary theory does not offer relief from the destruction of Native lands by American industrial capitalism. Marxism wishes only to change the ownership of the industry, not embrace a more spiritual way of being.
Roland painted a global struggle between Christian right and Muslim wrong as Charlemagne squared off against Baligant, emir of
. Roland’s universal struggle between good and evil contrasts with El Cid’s personalized study of the noble person. What makes the Cid, or anyone, honorable is neither station in life nor religious beliefs but deeds. … In Roland, honor includes religious creed. Some of Roland’s Christian characters may fail the standards expected of honorable men, but all Muslims fail the same standard simply by virtue of their pagan beliefs. … El Cid’s very different outlook is personified in the Muslim Abengalbón, El Cid’s vassal and friend. In a remarkable gesture, the Cid confides his daughters to this Muslim’s care as they journey through Babylon ’s frontier. Abengalbón serves the Cid’s family “for the love he bore to the Campeador.” In the Cid’s world, so profound a bond as love can even bind Muslim to Christian. Spain
Lowney, A Vanished World, 137.
It is gross oversimplification to pluck Barbastro and
Toledofrom the Reconquest’s long history as Exhibit A demonstrating that El Cid offers a more enlightened vision of a multifaith Spainbecause its authors hailed from , whereas Roland reflects the outsider’s harsher viewpoint. A century separates the epics and three centuries the historical events on which they are based; both bear many authorial fingerprints, from chroniclers determined to advance particular religious or political views to entertainers determined only to tell a good story. Spain
Lowney, A Vanished World, 141.
[One cannot] forcibly reorder another community’s lives and affairs, then assume, as Charlemagne did, that it will be possible to separate oneself from the consequences and repercussions. To assume the posture of the outsider is as naïve as to imagine that Muslims, Christians, and Jews can today carve out completely separate futures in a world that will continue to grow smaller with each passing generation.
Lowney, A Vanished World, 142.
Chroniclers credit Tariq with the gutsy gesture of burning his ships on the spot and weaving his soldiers’ resulting dilemma into a stirring oratorical exhortation: “Whither can you fly,—the enemy is in your front, the sea at your back. By Allah! There is no salvation for you but in your courage and perseverance.”
Lowney, A Vanished World, 30.
All I can tell you is I'm still a registered Democrat. I have a liberal twin brother who disagrees with everything I write. And I have a far more liberal older brother who not only disagrees with what I write, but I imagine is really bothered by it. I had two conservative Democratic parents who were in the Populist tradition of farmers, sort of William Jennings Bryan types.
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson, The Naval Institute: Proceedings