BY JAN HAAG

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + ESSAYS + MUSIC + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART





IN A JUDEO-CHRISTIAN-ISLAMIC WORLD

5-4-00





My name is Devayani.

I'm a Hindu-Buddhu, living in a Judeo-Christian-Islamic world.
I go to Vikramaditya's class --
"Non-Western Architecture," he calls it,
a misnomer to be sure,
unless you understand "Architecture" as

creation of the world!
And "Islam" is about as Western as it gets
-- if Christianity (Judeo-Christian-Islamic thought) is "Western."
Plus the Incas and the Aztecs;
Teotihuacan, Chichen-Itza, Machu Pichu --

how far West can you get?
But then, again, what is he going to call it?
"Most-of-the-Rest-of-the-World Architecture 101"?
Come with him on a swift El Nino of the world's religions,
an introduction to "world thought,"

all but untaught
any place else on earth.

I sit there at 66 trying to imagine myself into the
mind-set of the young creatures hearing all this
for the first time. He stretches their minds
like the puller of a slingshot, darting swift stones
into stilled waters.

There is silence. Often, a nonplused hush.
What is the man asking?
What is he saying? Do I hear aright --
that there are more things in Heaven and Earth
than are dreamt of in the U.S.A.'s sanctum sanctorums

of Capitalism and "Democracy"?
What an astonishing concept! --
to consider the world as a world: one,
indivisible, diverse, all parts influencing the whole;
to acknowledge histories older than ours,

wiser, more beautiful than ours, more
astonishing, mystical, magical, mysterious.

Would one really rather worship
the World Trade Towers than Angkor Wat,
bow down to twin phallic symbols of technology
and greed rather than pranam to a whole universe
of Goddesses and Gods, animals and flowers,

adventures and stories, giant heads of the Khmer,
small details of the Ocean's Churning?
Would one rather wander Elephanta, Ellora, Ajanta,
or Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chattanooga?
And, typically enough,

even the University of Washington's Microsoft Word,
apparently, has never been asked to spell
Teotihuacan, Chichen-Itza, Machu Pichu,
Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta,
But then again -- credit where credit is due --

it doesn't spell Chattanooga either.
The World Wide Web is smarter

-- like Vikram, a Chandrigarian-American-Hindu --

its education has been accomplished by the world,
India, America and the axial, structural universes between them:
East, West, North, South,
World History has little to do with Western History --
a brief, violent after-shock of some 500 years.








Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu




THE DEVAYANI POEMS

Feeding Frenzy

India

Interstellar Space, 7-5-97

Micro Paleontology

Nothing

Point of View, 7-5-97

Roots

Ryoanji

Silence

Solstice, 12-21-97

Steady Drizzle

Two Tomatoes






BY JAN HAAG


POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context