(from a week ago) If Jean-Paul Satre had ever been called for jury duty I think that he would have definitely written a play about it. I am sitting in the jury assembly room at the courthouse on California and 26th. We go there at 9:30 and then went through a brief viewing of an orientation video and then before I knew it, it was lunch time. It is now 3:01 and we are assigned here until 4:30. As far as I know – nobody’s panel number has been called – though I nodded off for a brief nap so maybe they called my panel group – I’ll never know.
Jury duty turned out to be just what I needed today. A clear open day where I don’t have access to my usual communications narcotics of cellphone and internet access. And when was the last time I read an entire book in one day?
Karen had talked about Ishmael before and raved and raved about it and she finally got fed up with me talking about reading it and sent me home from San Diego with her copy of it. It is a pretty damned entrancing story. A man responds to a personals ad of a teacher seeking a pupil and he begins his education into the very foundation that our civilization is based on. Most of the book is done in dialectic between the teacher and the pupil but covers the evolution of culture from bacterium to biohazard. I especially liked the reading of the story of Cain and Abel. I’m always so amazed that people can’t see the Bible as a series of folktales – and at the same time understand that just because those events may not have happened literally – that they are not useless and don’t conatin useful knowledge that has survived millenia. I first grasped on to this when I read Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment which looks fairy tales as vessels for knowledge transfer between generations. That the stories we tell about how we got here and where we are and what we do that make us the way we are can shape the entire course of a civilization – and of a planet. I’d like to know how much of the books premises are based in actual anthropological study and research. The re-framing of the book of Genesis is just stunning.
AllConsuming’s record of other people blogging about Ishamel.