I was speaking with a British historian friend the other night about the American drive to individual freedom and autonomy, the transcendentalist ideal that separates us from many other cultures. It goes without saying that this trait of ours is not without drawbacks. We are impelled to sacrifice the collective, the group culture, our connection to our homes, our elders, our geographical and personal ancestry.
Art and music give us transcendent experience. As Americans it is perhaps our tragic flaw that we insist on conceptually placing this experience outside of ourselves. Perhaps unnecessarily, we take the Promethean weight solely upon our own shoulders. It would be better to share it.
It's actually easy to cast aside what you've known in search of new and deeper experience. Taking that new knowledge home with you, sharing it with the others in your life, letting it transform your daily existence from within without destroying anything without -- this is the part that takes courage.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts