Analysis: Ten steps to a new vision
*Ten steps to a new vision* expresses a vision of a mass dialog that addresses "Where are we going as a people, and what is my part in it?" *Ten steps* is targeted at a more general audience than is *Four men in a room*. At the same time, *Ten steps* retains language and themes specific to the author's outlook, and is a sort of self- and subculture-satire.
- What is the vision? (an attempt at expressing it)1
- Is the vision effectively expressed for the given audience?. 2
- Conclusion. 3
What is the vision? (an attempt at expressing it)
The vision behind this expression is of a dialog that makes the question "Where are we going as a people and what is your part in it?" answerable by the person on the street. This vision can be seen as a sub-vision or entry-level version of the vision expressed in Four men in a room.
On another level, the vision is of the maturing of a subculture's ethos from flailing, reactionary, and angry to focused and deliberate, yet ever-questioning and ever-growing.
The vision expression
Ten steps came out when, tired of writing an analysis of Four men, and of the arcaneness of that script, I sat down and tried for something immediately engaging, humorous, accessible, and quick to read. I adopted a stance similar to those magazine articles offering "Six tips for great sex" and the like, playing off something I read somewhere that having numbers in the title makes books easier to sell. In the back of my mind, I remembered Po Bronson's recommendation that aspiring writers read John Gardner's Art of fiction, and felt the sense of the crazy thing I'd create once I'd mastered the formulas of forward lean etcetera (An Ecotopia of my own?). It was fun and subversive-feeling to choose a number and make up ten things to say.
The vision expression opens with the suggestion that visionlessness is modern phenomenon. The ready answers earlier humans would have I assume are like: "My people are my tribe." "Our vision is our religion." and they really don't know anything else. It is an oversimplification for rhetorical effect. Previously it was only the very rich and well-off who got to wander around aimlessly. Another oversimplification. We are most likely to hear about the rich and well-educated: those who write or who attract the attention of writers.
Paragraph 2, line 1 (P2.1) is right out of one of Joseph Campbell's speeches in Myths to live by. I use his ideas not because I've thought them out carefully and agree, but because they exposed me to an alternate viewpoint that I sense it is powerful to be able to adopt. He could be interpreted as socially conservative, emphasizing individual, not social change. To do so is to ignore one of his sayings, "Follow your bliss." Here is one of his quotes on roles: "Live as though your role is what is significant about you. Individualism is fine if the individual realizes that the grandeur of hir being is that of representing something." (p. 202 of The Hero's Journey)
The rest of P2 expands on this theme. Both Campbell and the ProEvo book emphasize the value of the elite. An elite which I, and others like me, may have been ignoring. Once I began looking for the great thinkers and artists (e.g., Goethe; those anthologized in Norton Anthology of English Literature v.2, and Norton Anthology of Poetry), I found that my attitudes and questions have been felt and addressed by these elite--even the issue of feeling disconnected with nature. Some of these "elite" were not well-known at the time they lived. William Blake for example. Byron, during his life was more renowned than Wordsworth as a poet, but now, their fortunes are reversed.
P3 pokes fun at the whole new age / cultural creatives / consciousness evolution concept.
Skipping to Step 1: For people who are not me, this is in
fact the least easy step. Not knowing what they were doing, many encumber
themselves. The game for them is over before they even got to play, and often
they produce children who will start with more of a handicap than those who chose to be born to more enlightened parents.
Step 2: Hammering on the elite idea... Deal with it, get used to it, start to see your world that way. But then, where did those books come from? That revelation is right out of Progoff. If all the religious books in the world were destroyed, they would come again from the same source they came from before.
Step 5: This particular approach was Campbell-inspired: "When Jesus said,
I and the Father are one, he was
crucified for blasphemy." p. 95 Myths to live by. Others to look to are John Stuart Mill
and Thomas Carlyle, and any among any elite in any
culture, even in Christian theology. Also: "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17.20-21). William Blake epitomizes christianity,
yet, I believe, would sit quite high on Ken Wilber's (Beck and Cowan's) scale
of development. Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, is another one to look to.
Jumping to the Seven Steps: I was unclear what to do here, and the structure, and the previous emphasis on poking fun at myself and my kind led me to suggest you have a good vision if others think your expression of your vision is good. Indeed that is what this whole vision research project is about (persuading the sheep to help you realize your vision)! What sets the greatest visions apart is that they require the sheep to be sheep no longer, but rather an integration of sheep and of Blakean Tyger or Devil, and of all the preceding aspects of development (following Wilber).
Is the vision effectively expressed for the given audience?
It remains reasonably interesting for me to read. Some of the vocabulary and formulations are perhaps too rarified for a general audience, however. The general audience is not who the article is purportedly targeted to, although. However, while it makes fun of people like me--the intended audience--I did write it with some consideration of what the Christians, the Encumbered, and those happily filling prefabricated social roles might think. Being the author it is difficult to evaluate the piece's effect on others.
We've looked at the vision behind Ten steps to a new vision, and the manner of its expression in this case. It is a good first step to writing something for a more popular audience that might inspire them to develop a vision, which might inspire them to spend more time with the silence, which might inspire them to...
experimenting with gender-neutral pronouns. For more information,
http://www.aetherlumina.com/gnp/. I'm using hir, pronounced her,
and sie, pronounced see.
 John Stuart Mill: If you don't have the Norton Anthology of English Literature v. 2 (2000), here are some links to Chapter 5: A Crisis in my Mental History. One Stage Onward.:
- On Jesusi. I wish I could read the Korean(?). If that site is down:
- On Bartleby.com (Lots of ads)
- On John-Mill.com (some bad characters)
 "To understand Carlyle's role as historian, biographer, and social critic, it is essential to understand his attitude toward religion. Like many Victorians, Carlyle underwent a crisis of religious belief. By the time he was twenty-three, he had been shorn of his faith in Christianity. At this stage, as Carlyle observed with dismay, many people seemed content to simply stop. A Utilitarian such as James Mill or some of his commonsensical professors at the University of Edinburgh regarded society and the universe itself as machines. To such thinkers the machines might sometimes seem very complex, but they were not mysterious, for machines are subject to humankind's control and understanding through reason and observation. To Carlyle, and to many others, life without a sense of the divine was a meaningless nightmare. In the first part of The Everlasting No, a chapter of Sartor Resartus, he gives a memorable picture of the horrors of such a soulless world that drove him in 1822 to thoughts of suicide. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment had left him not in light but in darkness."Norton Anthology of English Literature v. 2 (2000) p. 1068