Religion is a symbolization of tradition that is passed down from generation to generations. They’re all symbolic whether it’s a form of ritual, belief in the super natural, manner in behaviorism, or words and text of God. In the religion sections of Israel, Positivists were those who believed in practical science over traditional religion. This contradicts the essence of the book, “I Am An Impure Thinker” by Eugene Rosenstock-Huessy. In his book, Rosenstock-Huessy talks about the fallacy of emphasizing physic and metaphysic as the sole base of reasoning and human existence.
He defined physics and metaphysics as the study of things in a manner that has already passed or died. He also defined that human life is vibrant and complex which exist in the present. Therefore, Rosenstock-Huessy felt that life is more about interchanging stages in life rather than something that is simply comprehensible by physics and metaphysics. In the remainder of this essay, I will explain Rosenstock-Huessy’s views in comparison to that of the Indian’s Winnebago tradition. In the first chapter of his book, Rosenstock-Huessy explains the essence of human existence in human society.
He emphasized that humans are a part of society and should interact with other in order to prevent from going insane. His quote is “A man so completely self-centered that he is constantly behaving as the sovereign Ego, runs insane. Real man enjoys the privilege of occasionally sacrificing personality to passion” (6). This is the passage that I believe best describes Rosenstock-Huessy’s view of the world. If a person is a positivist, he will see life in a dull manner of reason through metaphysics.
This is impure and contrary to Rosenstock-Huessy’s point of view. Passion is a sense of desire that exist in real men, and in order to quench that desire, one must compromise his personal belief and socialize with other whom may not share the same point of view. Without passion, life could get pretty dull. And if life is dull, then he or she will eventually run insane. I personally liked this passage because it reminded me of how I used to be. As a science major, I used to believe the world and everything in it was a matter of math and science.
In the chapter “The Twelve Tones Of The Spirit”, Rosenstock-Huessy talks about the three sections of life categorized from: childhood, adulthood, and the age of elder. He also talked about the life of a spirit. He compares the difference and similarities between the two entities. He emphasized that in life, birth precedes death and vice versa for a spiritual life. In mortal life, it is divided into twelve sections. Sections 12-9 are categorized under youth and childhood such as: obey, read learn, and sing at all times as your hour has not yet come.
Adulthood is categorized with doubt and withholds, analyze and synthesize, speak up and insist, and wait and persevere from section 8-5 respectively. The last category emphasized on teaching by elder’s appropriate timing. The author clearly explained the significant and importance of a child is to listen, obey, and understand. Where as, the elders with all their wisdom and experience should teach, train, and guide if they are to leave an everlasting legacy. This is done through the use of speech. As for adulthood, Rosenstock-Huessy explains adulthood as an age of being impatient.
As an adult, a person is usually fighting for his or her position and point of view. And the usual and best method of doing so is to speak out and be heard. This is how Rosenstock-Huessy uses speech to show the essence behind a productive and happy life from birth through our dying days. In the Winnebago tradition, the cosmogonic myth and symbolization are the tears of God”. It was the god “Earhtmaker” that had shed those tears. Earthmaker awoke from consciousness and sobered with tears when he saw that earth was lifeless. Those tears eventually formed the rivers of life on Earth.
Without the rivers, life for all animals would perish. Therefore, the tears of Earthmaker were the essence of life and the central spiritual symbolism of the Winnebago tradition. Winnebago’s passage of Road of Life and Death explains the sequence from life to death and back to rebirth. The passage first describes the experience by traveling along a road full of obstacles. The traveler eventually reaches a hill with many people in front of him. The traveler will then eat, climb and continue on with the journey until he has less people in front of him.
The traveler finally reaches the end of life and plunges into new life by rebirth. This is the process and experience that is reenacted or portrayed when the medicine rite members are grieving with tears. The members are grieving for a loss while at the same time shedding tears to give new life by spiritual means. In “living speech”, religious experience is expressed in sequence from childhood through old age. The child is led and guided by the elders through speech. The child and elder are mere metaphors of representations.
For instance, a 19 year old who is a scout leader may also teach and guide if qualified. The theme is to listen and learn in order to live a full happy and spiritual life. The “tears of God” explains the connection between life, death, spiritual, and rebirth. All of life is reincarnated after death into another by rebirth. Both of these passages are similar when explaining the path followed for a happy life. Death is not an end, but rather an entrance into another form of existence such as rebirth or a life as a spirit.
In contrast, speech rather than the tears of grief was used to permeate the legacy of one’s life. Rosenstock-Huessy’s view of the life cycle is divided into three categories. Beginning from childhood to adulthood and ending with old age. He emphasized about the importance of living a happy life by giving back to the youths. If a person is to be happy in his dying days, he must do so by building up a life of righteousness and reflecting those experiences back to the younger generations. This is also applied to the spiritual life once that person leaves this world.
This is similar to the life cycle of the medicine rite because the tears of grief are a symbolic representation of a new life after a death. The ritual and medicine rite members are in replacement of speech used by Rosenstock-Huessy. Being a member of the medicine right represents wisdom and the right to teach and guide like that of an elder expressed in the “living speech”. The main difference is in the tools used to inculcate its idea and tradition. Despite the methods used, both ideas are used to enhance life.
They try to set a standard to guide and explain the importance in the sequences of life. Both ideas emphasized the obedience and struggles of life at beginning and during adulthood. The purpose is show the significance of striving and earning the reward of authority to teach and reflect as an elder or a medicine rite member. If one is not disciplined, he or she may never gain the authority and right to command. From both ideas, I learned the importance of listening and following all my elders. My elders are probably a preview to my old age.
Therefore, by listening to my elders is like foreseeing my future and prophecy. I believe Rosenstock-Huessy had the right concepts when sectioning the characteristics under adulthood and childhood. I often find myself impatient and fighting for my rightful place. I definitely see the benefits from learning from all elders. They have a lot of knowledge that are useful and may benefit those who are willing to listen. I now see the significance of aging as a theme for upper division general education.