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A DANCE TO A DIFFERENT DRUMMER

By the mid-to-late 1930s jazz had become the defining music of the generation, the generation that was then coming into its teens. Jazz seemed to unleash forces and energies like rock 'n roll did twenty years later. Like rock 'n roll, too, jazz possessed a definite physicality; it released pent-up emotions; it was pure pleasure; it was a form of escape and it was entertainment. As jazz emerged so, too, did Baha'i Administration. In 1937 Baha'i Administration had developed from a small number of groups to possess and enjoy a national consciousness. This development led to a systematic teaching program entitled the Seven Year Plan.

Between Benny Goodman becoming that generation's icon of popular music by playing at Times Square to a packed house of teenagers in the Paramount Theatre in March of 1937 and his band's contest with Chick Webb's band at the Savoy Ballroom in May of 1937, this Seven Year Plan began. -Ron Price with thanks to "Episode Five: Jazz: Pure Pleasure," ABC TV, 9:30-10:30 pm, 27/10/2001.

It exploded, completely unknown,

overnight, or so it seemed to the

generation who began that Plan in

'37. In reality, it had been slowly

developing in theory and form for

nearly a century.....if you go back

to that magic year of 1844 when

the first message went across that

telegraph wire with" What hath God

wrought?"...and He had wrought....

Jazz was becoming popular

the way we would have liked

to be popular, but our Plan

was a slow-release model,

an experimental disposition,

a dance to a different drummer,

with the light, lyrical, exquisite

touch of an Eddy Wilson, often

sad, slow pace of a Billy Holliday

or a Glen Miller popular romantic-

swing, yes, those were swing times.

Men and women working together,

composing on-the-spot, everyone

in harmony, moving toward elegance

and joy: that was one way of defining

what our aim was too in those early

Baha'i Groups and Assemblies beginning

in those first-days-of-form, days of, that

Administrative vision when we started our

dreaming, dreaming, dreaming, yes, yes.(1)

(1) When Duke Ellington was asked what he was doing when he was playing jazz on the piano, he said "I'm dreaming."

Ron Price

Updated for artfreaks.com

On: 3/12/

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Interesting post, jazz was a revolutionary movement that obviously took a long time to resonate with the mainstream. This speaks volume to the nature of human beings and thought. Very few human beings are open to new ideas that conflict with their deep core of beliefs. Even to this day people have a hard time accepting and comprehending Einstein's theory of relativity. The good thing is that new generation always come in to lay a new foundation in thought.

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Belated apologies for taking 8 months to respond, Slightly art-freakish! So true: "Very few human beings are open to new ideas that conflict with their deep core of beliefs." Eventually, though, as the sociologist Max Weber theorized in his sociology of religion, a secular ethic becomes spiritualized and a new world religion becomes dominant.-Ron Price, Tasmania

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Max Weber observes that both for sociology and for history the object of cognition is subjective meaning. This subjective meaning is both the basis for and the complex of action. The point here is not that "anything goes," but rather that "everything is contingent"; not that there are no rules, but that the rules that do exist are decidedly "historically and culturally situated."

REENCHANTMENT

The great sociologist, some say the greatest, Max Weber, wrote about the reenchantment of the world. The phrase has come to be used in many contexts by sociologists and philosophers, scholars and social scientist specialists in various disciplines. This writer, this poet, sees the reenchantment of the world as having its beginnings with the Enlightenment and the birth of Shaykh Ahmad in the middle of the 18th century. By that time all the traditional religions were well into the winter of their lives, although there were many cold and sunny, bright and often windy days to come. From my perspective or at least one way of expressing this perspective, this reenchantment has been underway for over 250 years.

Reenchantment has a host of forms: industrialism, capitalism, socialism, liberalism, conservatism, democracy, communism, science and romanticism to choose but nine of its many manifestations. The core and centre of this reenchantment is to be found in the Baha’i Faith, although this will not be evident for some time. The process is similar to the way Christianity became the core of the reenchantment of the Greek and Roman world.

The very nature of matter, new models of scientific knowledge, explosions in knowledge, in material goods and in population are all part of this reenchantment. To even begin to write about the transformation that has occurred in the last two and a half centuries when this reenchantment has been taking place would require a book.-Ron Price with thanks to Kate Rigby, Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism, University of Virginia Press, London, 2004, p.17.

They all got a slice of the action,

all got a piece of the cake,

as the essential revolution

proceded quietly, obscurely,

largely unnoticed, in the hearts

of millions who dropped out

of a socio-political world they

long ago found meaningless.

Some of the routines have gone on;

some of the laws have been obeyed,

but the roots of faith have been severed,

unbeknownst, seductively, insinuated

by revolutionary, spiritual, forces

that are entirely out of human control.

And here I am in this place in early adulthood

amidst diverse living things and natural forms,

beneath the sky, light’s alternations and rhythms

of the seasons, in community worldwide now,

open to the advent of the divine and beckoning

the messengers of the godhead’s reenchantment.1

1 Kate Rigby, op.cit., p.84.

Ron Price

January 16th 2006

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Just a final note:

-----------------------

ROUTINIZATION OF CHARISMA

The Romans all loved or hated Augustus didn't they? The same with kings and queens: there was a personality factor, something extraordinary, personal, often something divine. These authority figures elicited responses of awe, deference and devotion. They range from frenzy-creating preachers to quiet, meditating sages. An inherent instability was part of their authority, their charisma. -Ron Price with thanks to Douglas Barnes, "Charisma and Religious Leadership", Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1978, 17(1), 1-18.

We had our prophetic revelation,

our charisma, our unified world view,

our consciously integrated,

meaningful attitude to life1,

our perceived extra-ordinariness,

our doctrine, mission, constructed

beyond-the-human, a gift of grace,

of history, of God, otherness,

revolutionary and then, then:

routinized, depersonalized,

adhering not to persons,

but to institutions, authority,1

central order-relating events,

a legitimating force, the function

of the need for order in what we

could call: charismatic community

with its collective excitement,

transforming the inherently so

precarious into a superhuman

facticity that seems eternal,

free of disenchantment---one.

1 In the Baha’i Faith authority is invested in institutions and power, a much more subtle and indefineable entity, is to be found in individuals. This power could be expressed in host of ways. It could be seen as energy. Man provides the energy and God provides the guidance.

Ron Price

7 November 1997

1 Max Weber, some aspects of charisma.

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Apologies for those who found the above somewhat obscure. Poetry is often this way, especially when one is dealing with complex problems, especially when one is, as this thread indicates, dancing to a different drummer.-Ron Price, Australia

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On 9/8/2011 at 2:30 PM, RonPrice said:

Belated apologies for taking 8 months to respond, Slightly art-freakish! So true: "Very few human beings are open to new ideas that conflict with their deep core of beliefs." Eventually, though, as the sociologist Max Weber theorized in his sociology of religion, a secular ethic becomes spiritualized and a new world religion becomes dominant.-Ron Price, Tasmania

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Please feel free to take eight years to respond - as long as you come back to artfreak.com some day. We miss you!

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