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Re: Low Self Esteem and Looping

   This is a response to Rick's reflections on self esteem ,attention 
and creativity from my friend Steven Rosenthal,who invents instruments and 
tunings,does large  (150' diameter)interactive musical sculptures,and was, 
with Darrell DeVore ,a founding member of the original Future Primitive 
Ensemble in the early 70s.

"  I agree with the premise, but I think I have drawn different 
I'll start with the introductory line of my bio: "The emerging global 
culture is an outgrowth of a more global use of the mind..."
I have encountered pretty much all the behaviors mentioned below and, 
looking at them on the surface, think the same things; "these kids (under 
about 35) can't concentrate, they're unfocused, under educated, 
disinterested, etc. But then I have to wonder, maybe they are prepared, or 
preparing, for a very different world. In the latter part of the 20th 
century we witnessed the dissolution and gradual reforming of many of our 
core definitions. It seemed to me in the late 80's early 90's that 
relativism neutralized many  denotations, critical theory, radical 
certain schools of psychology, and other approaches elevated connotation 
above concrete definition. Since then denotations have seemed to come back 
into focus albeit transformed to accommodate, I believe, the reality of 
holistic quantum world over the more linear Newtonian/Cartesian paradigm.
Back to the point; we are living in a world where the notion of too much 
information isn't an apathetic complaint, it's a reality. I was raised in 
time where a basic educational premise was that it was possible to learn 
everything there was to know about something. This is simply not true 
anymore, furthermore, we are continually finding that much of what we do 
"know" is fundamentally flawed. I find in many young people a sort of 
naiveté coupled with a deep cynicism. Given the fact that they had baby 
boomers for parents, grew up with a remote control in their hands, in a 
world where sex could kill you, and bombarded with 100 years of recorded 
media  (which is an environment totally alien to that which most 
art forms evolved in); their attitude and inability or disinterest in 
methodical linear processes kind of makes sense. Turn-tableism makes 
club scenes in which music that is not the focus but an element of a 
multimedia social banquet makes sense, as does rap in which only 
phrases pop out of a blur of words.
So, before we make pronouncements such as "there is a lack of creativity" 
have to check our definitions in the contemporary context. I'm not talking 
about relativism, I'm talking about how to describe a world (view) that is 
in the middle of profound transition. Whereas in traditional cultures, 
change occasionally occurred against a backdrop of continuity, the only 
continuity we may look for now is in the rate of change. The Balinese 
example cited below is a good example. I had the good fortune to live and 
work on Bali in 1995 for about 7 weeks. I found that the statement below 
"…the vastly creative Balinese culture don't even have words for Art in 
their vocabulary, simply because everyone in (sic) the artist goes home 
after work and does something creative." is both true and false by 
definitions of "art" and "creativity". I spent time with carvers, 
and dancers both young and old (mostly male), and found little interest in 
doing something new or inventive. I got the feeling that left to their own 
devices, they would much prefer to paint or dance scenes from the Ramayana 
in the traditional ways. I learned that many, if not most, of what we see 
contemporary Balinese arts and crafts were originally designed or 
by Westerners looking for products for export. Its my understanding that 
even the Kachak, or Monkey Chant, was originally created by a Westerner in 
the 20th century. In America novelty and innovation are highly valued, 
perhaps the current youth culture is so awash in it that they take it for 
granted. Also, in general, I would disagree that there is any shortage of 
creativity in America today. But much of it is directed towards commercial 
ends; follow the money.
It is common for Westerners to visit non-western societies and come away 
with the impression that the locals are lazy and apathetic, largely 
of their lack of "yankee hustle" or misunderstood behavior. Perhaps 
youth have already changed so much that we misread their behavior.
Is it lack of self esteem or a profoundly different sense of self (and the 
world)? "