BY JAN HAAG
IN A JUDEO-CHRISTIAN-ISLAMIC WORLD
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,
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
Plus the Incas and the Aztecs;
Machu Pichu --
how far West can you get?
But then, again, what is he going to call
"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
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
like the puller of a slingshot, darting swift
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
of Capitalism and "Democracy"?
What an astonishing concept! --
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,
Would one really rather worship
the World Trade Towers than Angkor
bow down to twin phallic symbols of technology
rather than pranam to a whole universe
of Goddesses and Gods, animals
adventures and stories, giant heads of the Khmer,
small details of the
Would one rather wander Elephanta, Ellora, Ajanta,
or Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chattanooga?
And, typically enough,
even the University of Washington's Microsoft Word,
never been asked to spell
Teotihuacan, Chichen-Itza, Machu
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,
World History has little to do with Western History --
brief, violent after-shock of some 500 years.
Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Interstellar Space, 7-5-97
Point of View, 7-5-97
BY JAN HAAG