Language, especially a well crafted or better yet, directly downloaded from up on high (Sanskrit is a perfect language. Perfect grammar and perfect in-tone-ation. Each syllable is called a Beej Akshara or seed syllable. Beej means seed and Akshara means that which cannot be sub-divided… beautiful), can be so richly evocative, a single word con-veying so much.
Related to the train of thought above, I had a particular favourite during my time in the US and on KPFA, Berkeley (Resistance Radio)… Caroline Casey. More like Leonine Casey if you saw her (here) and she always introduced herself as “Your weaver of Con-text”. That is a true teller of tales, eh? A weaver of con-text. Without con-text, we are adrift.
And a weaver no less.
Weaving, the lost art. My partner went for a hiking expedition in cold places and I gave her a Knit something (hard to describe), made by one of the masters of the dying art of weaving.
Why is weaving so important? And yes, of course, the Industrial Revolution destroyed weaving first. Do you see the crazy coherence of that?
The warp and the woof, the thread run through ancient wooden looms, ancient patterns, in the weaver’s DNA, the fabric of the place was the fabric of society and culture. But the Spinning Jenny changed all that. As machines took over a greater and greater portion of the process of making fabric, human touch/involvement/history/culture went away.
And today. Chemically sprayed cotton, probably genetically modified to boot, elastomers from the oil industry, elastics, plastics, nylon, rayon…all coming together in patterns made on computers that can imagine anything and brought to life by highly programmable machines that can cut and stitch anything.
Hooray for mass production. Really, hoooooray!
From an earlier Blog Post of mine, Machine Strong, Human Weak:
Same can be said for the use of our minds. Time was a weaver could keep a complex pattern in their head as the bobbin flew fast and furious and human input kept the design true and correct.
Fast forward to today, computer designs, Computer controlled weaving system’s manufacture, humans fold, pack and ship.
But run your hands through an old, careworn piece of fabric someday. I’d suggest the keffiyeh, worn with intention, or a shawl, generations old, or that silk sari, grandma’s great grandma wore it for her wedding, right?
Indeed, we lost the thread when we lost the art of weaving. We lost the thread, we lost the pattern.
We could not see anymore.
We just became on-lookers.
Imagine the fall, from seers to lookers.
Gandhi’s potent rallying cry around the Charkha was no accident. No wonder then that mis-guiders have worked the industry of fashion onto such a madness inducing life-style, yes? Powerful stuff, fabric is.
The fabric of life, the fabric of society, the thread of a story, the tapestry of existance… everywhere.
And so we come to Sutra-dhaar. The Sanskrit/hindi word for a teller of tales. A troubadour. A story-teller.
But the word translates to Sutra (Thread) Dhaar (wearer/holder).
I feel like a sutradhaar.
I have before me a Charkha, an assortment of life-experiences, hard-won Quansers (A Quanser is the evolved form of an answer, in that it is a better question. You would do well to stay away from people who give you answers and hang on to the ones that show you a way to ask a better question), a fertile imagination, good memory, a certain aesthetic…. but where’s the pattern? In my DNA, I cannot find even a faint hint of that central well-spring, from whence patterns evolve.
And yet, my ancestors of 4 generations ago were venerated for their incredible feat of memorizing (by rote and deep, analytical, philosophical, dialectical understanding) 4 very large books of Sanskrit Hymns, the Vedas. Thousands of fine pages of hymn after hymn.
In four generation, that skill is gone. Unwound. I’m sure it co-incided with the first time a Brahmin wore a trouser! 😉 Actually that’s probably true.
Worth pondering, this business of fabric and the fabric of life, eh? Machine made fabric clad machines is what we are becoming. I’m looking forward to reverting to the old, suitably/homeopathic-ally dosed with the essence of the good of this current time (for there is surely some good, only thing is, like in the process of making Ghee (Clarified Butter, the essence of essences), the mix stays murky till the very end and in one electrifying, binary moment, clarifies. I’ve done it many times (many many times) and never failed to wonder at that moment).
Good things are like that. They’ll appear in a flash, when the pot has been boiled enough.
Think birth. Maximum chaos results in new life.
I feel it’s almost time…..
Be well and eat some Ghee if you can.