(image by Arlene Goldbard)
This the first half of the transcript of the podcast recording of this interview, to be found here.
R.K.: And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM
My guest tonight is Arlene Goldbard. She is a writer, speaker, social activist and consultant who works for justice, compassion, and honor in every sphere from interpersonal to the transnational. Her books include Crossroads: Reflections on the Politics of Culture, New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development, Community, Culture and Globalization, and her novels, Clarity and The Wave. It was her new book, The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future that inspired me to invite her to be a guest on this show. Welcome to the show.
A.G.: Thank you so much Rob. I'm delighted to be here.
R.K.: So, your book, The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future, it talks about some basic ideas. You start off saying: "throughout my life when I asked myself where I've felt most whole and present, most connected, the answers are infused with a multidimensional force of art." So what do you mean "connected" and what do you mean by Culture of Possibility in the title of your book?
A.G.: Well culture of course, let me start with that one. It has a lot of meaning, a big one which is kind of everything that's not nature in the world that we human beings occupy. So culture is, are languages, are systems of belief, the built environment and the things that we create under the rubric of art.
But I'm often also using it as, in a slightly narrower sense, as the matrix for the emergence of a really liveable, sustainable future, civil society. The way we understand each other, and talk with each other, the ways we share who we really are in the space we make for multiple modes of expression to emerge into the public sphere, and be appreciated by people who may not have contacted them before.
So I talk about art a lot and I'm sure we will talk about it in this interview as well. Culture has double meanings. In terms of feeling of "connected", feeling most alive would be another way to say it. Having a flow experience, people say sometimes. But most people I've met, not everybody, asking them a question about music is going to evoke a moment that really brings that meaning powerfully home. I don't know about you but when you were a kid, a teenager, did you have those moments where you lay in your bed listening to one song over and over again?
R.K.: Yeah and I have a particular memory when I was sixteen driving my first car of pounding along to the sounds of Sunshine of Your Love by Cream.
A.G.: There you go, okay.
R.K.: Very vivid memory of that.
A.G.: I can see the album cover with the pink and green psychedelic paisley thing on it.
A.G.: In my mind right now. So that's an example, you were engaged in activity, you were driving, driving was also an expression of your entry into adulthood, right? And power and potency of this big machine that you were operating and that music, that particular piece of music is really encompassing of all four dimensions of the human subject because you feel it in your body, pounding, you used that physical word, but also it's a very wall of sound kind of recording and so you really feel it occupy this space that is you, somehow.
And then it activates a lot of emotions,, it's full of yearning, that's the main sort of emotional coloration of that song. Is yearning and desire actually fulfilled somehow and it's full of ideas because the music of that period, that psychedelic music really made a lot of literary allusions and references to other realities, and when all those things are combined so that they're all activated, you're receiving on all channels at once, you could say you had what people might call a spiritual experience of really feeling connected. And that's what I mean by it.