Sense & Sensibility Lectures
Online with Zhenevere Sophia Dao
from March 2024—July, 2024 (with a possible extension)
Occurring on the Second Saturday of each month
1:30pm—3:30pm Mountain Time, USA
(Please Scroll Down to Register)
For the first half of 2024 (until August) I am focusing on the writing of a book on Post-Daoism and Neo-Romanticism, which terms encompass my cultural and philosophical perspectives. Beginning in August, I will be teaching in-person SOMA & CIVILIZATION workshops in New Mexico and overseas, accompanied by vocalist Willa Roberts. Information about those in-person workshops will be forthcoming as soon as dates & locations are established.
Sense & Sensibility Lectures
First Lecture: Saturday, March 9th
Introduction to the Series
1:30pm—3:30pm MST USA
In this introductory lecture, I will attempt to offer the scope of what's to come in this series. I will try to draw meaningful (if introductory) connections between imagination, consumerism, social media, capitalism, technology, Artificial Intelligence, hate speech, beauty, sensuality, cancel culture, binary political rages, nihilism, conformity, and the challenges to radicalism, resistance, and activism that our cultural obsession with identity and achievement engender.
We'll begin each lecture with a centering and imaginative meditation; sometimes that will be sitting; sometimes that will consist of simple, Mythosomatic forms.
ON THE NATURE OF EARTH
In the soil of the flesh of the human body, in the rivers of the blood, in the storms of the psyche, in the pounding hooves of the heart, the human shares mysteries with the Earth. These mysteries are forms of Magic. Magic makes meaning, but inscrutably, irrationally. Magic is the natural action of the incalculable human heart. Earth’s magic takes forms: sacrifice; the Immensity of the Other; listening; above all, Sympathy. We belong to life ultimately only through Sympathy. When I say Belonging, I do not mean the comfort of familiarity. I mean nearly the opposite. I mean that the need to feel what is not ourselves is the very substance of ourselves. And this substance of ourselves, which is substantiated in the need to feel Others, is our relaxation on the Earth. This is the opposite of indifference, the opposite of bigotry. The Other is there before us—their body, their breath, their eyes. They are the encounter with what is real. We know them because we have become ourselves in the alarming attention of their eyes. And so we make Others in the alarming attention of our eyes. That is the history of human existence. There is of course another history—the history of non-existence; of ceasing to exist; of ending; the history of the human destroying the human; the history of the human destroying all living things. But Sympathy is the only viable history. All the other impulses are clots of fear that amount to suicide. Our suicide is plain now, at the end of human history. History is ending because the human is clotted with fear. But the least encounter with the Other gifts us existence again. Their body, their breath, their eyes—their pain, their wish, their prayers, their sadness, their wound, their abjection, their loneliness, their joy. Their life, we know, is our life. All of their being pours itself fourth through the porous shield of our expression. And because we are them, we cannot bear that we are not them. We want to make room in ourselves for their whole being. We try. But we cannot. We cannot wholly become the Other. The constituents of our lives are different. We cannot utterly mutualize all human circumstance within our single selves. And this knowledge is too painful to bear. But in order to bear it, we undergo a kind of magic: we transform. We expand past the limitations of our skin, past our thought, and past our mind. We create new sense, new thought, new mind. We include until we break, and then we reform again, like water expanding around a stone. The stone is our ego. The water is our being. The Other makes our being flow around the suicide of the stone.
~Zhenevere Sophia Dao
Excerpt from SENSIBILITY