Let me take you on a little journey of thought exploring some hitherto unconsidered aspects of our common cultural evolution.
Whether we are talking about the King James Bible, The Catcher in the Rye, On the Origin of Species, or Wikipedia, we can recognize that writing things down is an important means of preserving human knowledge and wisdom, and that both writing and reading are invaluable human activities.
Author Carl Sagan made a compelling case for the importance of the written word in his own book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, calling it “the great invention”:
At its most basic, taking an integral approach simply means that people can see things from different perspectives, and that often no one way of seeing something is the “right” or only way.
I've always considered “Fruitcakes” to be Jimmy Buffet's masterwork. The musical backing is infectious, swaying and danceable, and the background vocals add depth. The words are cleverly crafted, and perfectly suited to Buffett's conversational, wisecracking delivery.
It may seem odd to advance a belief in imperfection as a key idea to be embraced, but there are several reasons for its importance. First, as Voltaire wisely said, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”
I was thinking recently about my own upbringing in Annapolis, Maryland, back in the sixties, and it occurred to me that there were several aspects of my experience there and then that I took for granted, but that are no longer very common today.
My own parents had divorced when I was nine, and my brother and I were living with our Mom. She was working, and we didn't lack for any of the necessities, but we were definitely on the low side of the middle class.
This is a rather amazing song by The Kinks, first released in 1968.
I loved this song from the moment I first heard it, but my appreciation for it has only grown over the years.
I suffered a crisis of faith a few years ago: a crisis of faith in my atheism.
I first heard this song as the title track on the monumental 1972 album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which they recorded with a number of country music greats who were still alive at the time.
Let's talk a bit about cultural evolution to find out why this idea is so important.