I want to quickly acknowledge the indebtedness of the previous post to Václav Havel’s The Power of the Powerless (1978). This is the most important read, for me, since the election. While the United States under the Trump administration is far from being a “post-totalitarian state” as defined by Havel, his conception of the state leads him to a general description of the dynamics of cultural oppression that is widely applicable. His broad but precise notion of “living within the truth” is crucially inspiring. This ties to my above discussion of cultural institutions. To draw things down to earth for a moment, I can provide a few examples of “living within the truth” that have been important to me in recent months. (1) Keeping a good clean house. (2) Being friendly with my neighbors. (3) Utilizing the public library. (4) Making peace with that previously dreaded entity, the University Music Department. (5) Having people over for dinner.
Our problems are many and complex, but I’m increasingly convinced that many of the solutions involve cooking and bikes. Until then, music might help too.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts