Archive for October, 2013

There can be something intensely liberating about referring back to old research notes. They may appear outdated or irrelevant, but they can also remind you of forgotten truths and send your mind racing off in unexpected directions. That’s what happened to me in the course of writing the previous entry, and I wound up expressing opinions that were at odds with much of what I’ve recently said about dominant partnerships.

I’ve been somewhat scornful of dominant partnerships lately, dismissing them as fossilized and untranscendent in comparison with the younger visions — but that wasn’t always the case. When I first recognized the existence of the cycle of visions, it was because the dominant partnerships leaped out at me. It seemed plain that they set the distinctive tone of each era, legitimized its social and religious institutions, and inspired its major cultural achievements.

It took me longer to realize that younger visions were already developing around the margins of the partnership, and even then I focused chiefly on the next one in line, which serves as a focal point for discontent and opposition to the reigning worldview. I regarded the two newest visions as no more than vague, mystical intimations that might inspire the occasional artist or philosopher but had little impact on society as a whole.

Over the last year or two, however, my attitude has undergone a complete reversal. I’ve become fascinated by the birth and growth of the youngest visions, and I’ve come to see them as having a mysterious, subterranean power that inspires the most creative and progressive aspects of society and serves as the engine of cultural evolution and transformation.

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