Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Koyaanisqatsi…..from the Hopi language

I wanted to name the blog Koyaanisqatsi, but decided that appropriating a word from the Hopi might simply be another instance of taking from Native Americans that has been typical of the white European way of behaving.

The word itself is rich in meaning…..according to Wikipedia one Hopi language dictionary defines it as: “"life of moral corruption and turmoil (re life of group), life out of balance". It is the opposite of suyanisqatsi "life of harmony"”.

Life out of balance succinctly summarizes my take on the majority of the culture of the United States and most of the hierarchal, free reign capitalistic societies on the planet.  Many (not all) of the Indigenous cultures of the world seem to embody  ways of living much more conducive to sustainable and life satisfying existence than do “modern” cultures.

It actually wouldn’t take much to do better than any society that appears to have as its greatest measure of success that of being most effective at satisfying greed.

I plan to use this blog as a repository of information and thoughts about society, politics, education and whatever else might occur to me.

By the way, there is an excellent film, documentary sort of, called Koyaanisqatsi, that is scored by Phillip Glass which does an excellent job of visually and aurally capturing some of the spirit of what is meant by the notion of Life out of Balance.


Bea Elliott said...

I know what you mean about Indigenous cultures. Their philosophy grounded in less is better and take less so others may have more... Very simple. But totally against the economic system which operated on greed. It's one of the "deadly sins" for a reason... If we don't get our species in order soon - The planet (and politics) won't be able to handle us much longer. Just like we will run out of printed money and iou's... We'll also run out of resources to consume. It just doesn't look good.

On Glass: I like his score from The Hours, Notes on a Scandal and The Truman Show... Now I'll have to see Koyaanisquati just for the music! Thanks for the recommendation.

veganelder said...

I will be interested in your reaction to the film, now about 28 years old. The disheartening part is that we have done nothing but accelerate the pace of desecration and degradation.

Patty said...

This is a good blog with an important message. Thank you

veganelder said...

Thanks for your comment Patty, I have been lagging in my posting but expect to get up to speed soon. Thanks for reading.

Laloofah said...

I look forward to more posts here too when you have the time. I can't believe Koyaanisqatsi is that old already! And in those almost three-decades, I think it's safe to say that although it seems more individuals are awakening all the time, our culture's rapacious devouring and destruction has only accelerated and spread to other societies, and is heading in the absolute wrong direction since the midterms. I sure agree with Bea's comment.

I really enjoyed Baraka, too - in fact we bought the DVD. It's another beautiful, mesmerizing and contemplative film with a very spiritual element to it, and parts of it remind me a lot of Koyaaniqatsi. Intriguingly, there is a scene of assembly-line workers "candling" chicken eggs and separating the males from the females. (Vegans probably know all too well the fate of each group. I've watched the film with non-vegans and they have no idea what's really going on in that scene till I tell them).

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Laloofah. Hard to believe, a decade here...a decade there...pretty soon you're talking about some real time. :-)

The direction of the country (the whole world maybe) has...for the most part...pretty decisively turned the way the corporate interests want. How long that will last I don't know but as long as "conspicuous consumption" remains a core or aspired to value...the rest of it is only window dressing.

Political parties tend to only be distinguishable only by whether they are awful or absolutely atrocious when the conspicuous consumption goal is revered by all.

I will have to give Baraka a look, thanks for the tip.