Artwork and sustainable agriculture are the two threads of my professional life. They mingle fruitfully beneath the surface as I sift through remaining evidence of ancient worlds, trying to sense how people of lost cultures met basic survival needs and also how they responded to the very human hunger for beauty, meaning, and story.
In revisiting the remnants with empathy and wonder, scavenging for resonant clues and forks in the road that we didn’t take, some subtle but significant things continually resurface. For one, various ancient Greek writers (males, e.g., Plato, Strabo, Euripides) noted that it is “the women” who keep things sacred and maintain spiritually oriented rituals; that without the impetus of women, men would not bother to honor the sacred in everyday life, carrying on without much concern beyond themselves.
Humans may very well need ritual for survival. I’d suggest that we are happy, our societies are healthy, and our ecosystems are not overtaxed when we devote our copious attention and creativity to making simple and elaborate rituals around our daily tasks and special events, privately and in community — rather than mining and hoarding vast piles of wealth.
In other words, life feels good, and is more secure, when we are creating much of the meaning and beauty we crave with our imaginations and little else. Following are some of the ways my visually-oriented brain has contemplated that idea.
First published in Feminism And Religion 18 Oct 2019 https://feminismandreligion.com/2019/10/18/wealth-in-imagination-by-laurie-goodhart/