Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his life and work, is one model for how “spiritual nomadism” might root itself in sedentary societies. He is like a tight-rope walker balancing between two poles of consciousness.
One pole holds to the Paradoxical mode of consciousness. This is the Paleolithic hunter-gatherer experience of a “mature ambiguity that grounds itself in immediate world presence.”
The other pole holds to the Sacred Authority Complex (SAC) mode of consciousness. This is the Neolithic agricultural experience of an obsession with certainty that finds meaning in non-immediate world views.
Both Nomadic cultures and Ludwig Wittgenstein balance between the two poles.
Words play an enormous role in nearly everyone’s life. Therefore, the effective use of words through the act of writing and the act of speaking becomes a vital skill to perfect over the course of one’s life.
“Our civilization is unable to do what individuals cannot say” writes John Ralston Saul at the outset of his book A Doubter’s Companion:
“And individuals are unable to say what they cannot think. Even thought can only advance as fast the unknown can be stated through conscious organized language”
So the issue of gradually perfecting one’s use of language is not simply an issue for writers (or aspiring writers), but is one that impacts anyone who relies upon language for communication.
“Public education does not serve a public” Neil Postman writes in his book The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School , “It creates one.”
And the one it creates, at least in the United States, is one bound by “false gods.” These tiny deities often go unnoticed but that doesn’t mean their effects are unnoticeable.
As the subtitle suggests, purpose is what Postman’s book is all about.