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Missing the New Renaissance?

No Room at the In? (Part #1)


Introduction
Complementary questions
Surviving cycles: Renaissance following Remorse?
Questioning the appropriateness of questions
New Language for a New Renaissance?
Conclusion
References

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Produced on the occasion of a conference of the Scientific and Medical Network
to launch a compilation: A New Renaissance: transforming science, spirit and society (2010)


Introduction

This is a reflection on Renaissance, especially on the New Renaissance, long awaited and on which many hopes have been placed. This can only be a continuing exercise, following a trail of previous efforts (Challenges of Renaissance: suggestive pattern of concerns in the light of the birth metaphor, 2003).

The questions asked here are to do with the ways on which one might engage fruitfully with that event, if only as an exercise of imagination -- which may well be the key to enabling whatever it constitutes as an archetype cherished by many. Imagination may also be vital to exploring the necessary complexity it must embody to be adequate to the challenges of the present time, as previously suggested (Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007).

Framed as a "reflection" however, such an exploration is also an exercise in mirroring and self-reflexivity. It is insufficient to any engagement with its potential significance to approach it either purely objectively or purely subjectively, each having its limitations. It might in fact be an integral characteristic of an emergent New Renaissance that it transcends such a polar modality from which discourse and governance suffer so unfruitfully. There are few disciplines which enable such integrative transcendence. Hence the case for aesthetic playfulness, as previously argued (Enacting Transformative Integral Thinking through Playful Elegance, 2010). However in this mode there is also the archetypal challenge of "stepping into" a reflective mirror (Stepping into, or through, the Mirror: embodying alternative scenario patterns, 2008).

Structured as the following exploration is in terms of questions, there is then a case for initially presenting the challenge to comprehension in terms of an adaptation of the classic poem of Edward Lear (The Akond of Swat). This humorous, "nonsense verse" offers an appropriate counterpoint to the "seriousness" upheld as characteristic of a "New Renaissance". The same poem, adapted otherwise, was used to reframe humorously the desperate trillion dollar quest for the most wanted person on the planet, Osama bin Laden (Engaging with Osama bin Laden in Swat, 2009).

In Quest of the New Renaissance

with apologies to Edward Lear
(1812-1888)
especially for the introduction of an additional "chorus" line, best "shouted",
as recommended for the original chorus line by its author
Who, or why, or which, or what,
Is the New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Is it tall or short, or dark or fair?
Does it sit on a stool or a sofa or a chair,
or SQUAT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Is it wise or foolish, young or old?
Does it drink its soup and its coffee cold,
or HOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it sing or whistle, jabber or talk,
And when riding abroad does it gallop or walk
or TROT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it wear a turban, a fez, or a hat?
Does it sleep on a mattress, a bed, or a mat,
or COT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

When it writes a copy in round-hand size,
Does it cross its T's and finish its I's
with a DOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Can it write a letter concisely clear
Without a speck or a smudge or smear
or BLOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Do its people like him extremely well?
Or do they, whenever they can, rebel,
or PLOT,
At the New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?
If it catches them then, either old or young,
Does it have them chopped in pieces or hung,
or SHOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Do its people prig in the lanes or park?
Or even at times, when days are dark,
GAROTTE,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it study the wants of its own dominion?
Or doesn't it care for public opinion
a JOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

To amuse its mind do its people show him
Pictures, or any one's last new poem,
or WHAT,
For the New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

At night if it suddenly screams and wakes,
Do they bring him only a few small cakes,
or a LOT,
For the New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it live on turnips, tea, or tripe?
Does it like its shawl to be marked with a stripe,
or a DOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it like to lie on its back in a boat
Like the lady who lived in that isle remote,
SHALLOTT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Is it quiet, or always making a fuss?
Is its steward a Swiss or a Swede or Russ,
or a SCOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?
Does it like to sit by the calm blue wave?
Or to sleep and snore in a dark green cave,
or a GROTT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it drink small beer from a silver jug?
Or a bowl? or a glass? or a cup? or a mug?
or a POT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it beat its wife with a gold-topped pipe,
When she let the gooseberries grow too ripe,
or ROT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it wear a white tie when it dines with friends,
And tie it neat in a bow with ends,
or a KNOT.
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it like new cream, and hate mince-pies?
When it looks at the sun does it wink its eyes,
or NOT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Does it teach its subjects to roast and bake?
Does it sail about on an inland lake
in a YACHT,
The New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

Some one, or nobody, knows I wot
Who or which or why or what
Is the New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?
Is the New Renaissance?
Is it Renewal, or it it NOT?

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