<< Contact me Acknowledgements >>

Work to be Done

I'd like to outline here what needs to be done to complete the work started on this website. Consider this a prospectus to attract interested researchers, interested collaborators, interested organizations or foundations, interested community partners.

First, I want to jump to the widest circle possible: every two weeks a language dies, when its last remaining speaker passes. Of the estimated 7000 languages now spoken on earth, half are projected to disappear by the end of the century. Interested linguists, ecologists, geneticists, anthropologists could be said to be part of a "Biocultural Diversity" movement (a coin termed by the founder of Terralingua), recognizing that human languages and traditions reflect unique, irreplaceable knowledge, in the way distinct biological species and individuals carry unique, irreplacaeble information in their DNA. Many now recognize that the causes threatening both biological and cultural diversity are often the same, destructions of habitats & ways of life.

But I don't feel enough has been done in this field regarding the arts, which to my mind also carry unique, irreplaceable knowledge. The arts carry the heritage of times and places, the lilt of an identity of a people. The arts carry a people's means of coping with reality, of dealing with the tremendous strain produced by the enormous information-processing flow of the brain. The Arts, as recreation, as learning, as hobby, or as passion, are the grease that allow all of the other gears to flow smoothly, processing our dreams, distracting us, keeping us awake, allowing our imagination to run, catharsizing our emotions, allowing us to face the difficult, big things in life, like death, love, heartbreak, parenthood, all the while keeping our daily activities of breadwinning, and the information flow that guides it, intact. Play is what shapes children in their earliest age, play is how they begin to acquire the rudiments of all their later knowledge, play, and the endless repetition of that play, is art, music, dancing, counting, running, speaking, joking, narrating. The arts provide a structure for all the rest of our knowledge.

And the arts engender empathy, says Jeff Leitner, a very interesting guy from Insight Labs. Empathy can bridge hate, misunderstanding, cultural gaps. The world we live in is tremendously diverse--perhaps I feel it particularly living and working at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, NY--and that diversity often first leads to tensions arising from misunderstandings, or competition over the same scarce resources, leading to killings, race riots, or simmering anger or resentment, etc. Bringing people together could be aided by a byproduct of that very diversity: the tremendously diverse artistic and cultural products of peoples from all over the world, any of which have the power to humanize "the other," and bring people together. The mutual admiration of each other's cultures could fuel inter-group harmony and cooperative work toward self-empowerment among minority groups, seemingly powerless individually, who in aggregate could help raise each others' status.

So much for vision, here's the nitty gritty:

<< Contact me Acknowledgements >>