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Soma & Civilization

What Was the Human For?

with Zhenevere Sophia Dao

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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 the "Earth" chapter of her book, NEO-ROMANTICSIM: Post-Daoist Feminist Philosophical Theory.


Post-Daoist Feminist Philosophical Theory & Mythosomatic Movement

Foundations Class
(Saturday mornings 9—10:30am MDT)

The 5 Mythosomatic Dances: "SENTOS"

(6 Wednesday evenings 5:30pm—6:45pm MDT)

Beauty, Fragility & Sensation
Six-week series begins May 20th

Neo-Romantic explorations and questions on why we are woundable; on the fragility of goodness; on the nature of beauty, the need for beauty, and the disappearance of beauty; on the ethical call of beauty; on the bravery of sensitivity; on “infocolonization” and the tenderness of the human mind; on the instrument of the body; on "shatterment" and the Post-Daoist concept of the "Jingqi Bridge"; on empathy and pain; on Artificial Intelligence and the eclipse of the human; on the culture of distraction and social cruelty; on the response to evil; on the prayer of attention, etc.

Foundations Class
Saturday Mornings, 9am—10:30am MDT USA

6 consecutive Saturday mornings, beginning Saturday, May 20th


The Saturday morning Foundations Class covers both Post-Daoist philosophy and the Mythosomatic Dance of the thematic—roughly 75% lecture and 25% movement. The six-week class series will be taught in a progressional manner. Though the class is always open to newcomers, the content will build from one class to the next. The Mythosomatic Dance for the BEAUTY, FRAGILITY & SENSATION thematic is "Sentos."

Individual Class


    The 5 Mythosomatic Dances


Wednesday Evenings, 5:30pm—6:45pm MDT USA

5 consecutive Wednesday evenings, beginning Wednesday, May 24th


"The 5 Mythosomatic Dances" class focuses on one of the 5 Mythosomatic Dances. The current dance, associated with the current thematic of the SOMA & CIVILIZATION program, BEAUTY, FRAGILITY & SENSATION, is "SENTOS." The Mythosomatic Dances collapse the distinction between emotion and awareness, prayer and art, body and nature. This class is taught in a progressional fashion, with each class building on the former. Though enrollment is open to any student, this is a Deep Study class designed for those students participating in the FOUNDATIONS Class on Saturdays who are particularly dedicated to the embodiment of the Mythosomatic Dances.

Individual Class


Soma & Civilization  2023 Timeline

1. [Finished] Origin and Essence – Mythosomatic Dance: ACREATION

2. [Finished] Power and Emotion – Mythosomatic Dance: EMPATHOS

3. [Current]; begins May 20th - Beauty, Fragility & Sensation – Mythomomatic Dance: SENTOS

4. July 15th—August 20th: Eros and Transformation; J

5. September 9th—October 15th: Paradox & Mysticism

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