Vancouver is this weekend host to a conference discussing the work (and its ongoing extension) of one of the most important intellectuals of our time - his importance for our increasingly decentralized age partly reflected in the fact that his non-charismatic work is not as well known as certain lesser intellectuals who cling to the public showmanship and sacrificial theatre of old. Eric Gans is a prophet for our age when each of us should aspire to be a little leader in our own little neck of the woods. Gans' work, Generative Anthropology, provides us a deeper understanding of what all humans minimally share, an understanding of how culture or language first emerged, in a memorable event, and is since re-presented or generated through history on scenes, or in events, of shared consciousness.
In a global village where cultural and cognitive differences among individuals and populations remain significant, a firmer grasp of those aspects of human nature or culture that we all share helps provide us intellectual and spiritual tools to meet all comers, face to face, and hopefully to engage them in useful exchange, or, if need be, better to confront our enemies, whatever our neck of the woods.
Now is not the time to try more seriously to summarize the work of Eric Gans (though following the links above will get you started). But if you're in Vancouver and you are interested in real thinking, you'd be a fool not to make time on Saturday to see Eric Gans himself present his discipline of Generative Anthropology to the public, in Room 527 of the Vancouver School of Theology, University of British Columbia, 1:30-3:30. (Directions and link to map here) The lecture is titled "Generative Anthropology: A New Way of Thinking". Another public lecture being given as part of the Generative Anthropology Thinking Event is by another great scholar, Eugene Webb of the University of Washington, on Friday afternoon, 1:30-2:45, also in Room 527 of the Vancouver School of Theology. Prof. Webb will speak on "Stepping Back: Religious Faith and the Differentiation of Consciousness".
Covenant Zone blog is also organizing a chat, Friday evening, with a great student of Generative Anthropology, Adam Katz, whom we have often linked at this blog; anyone interested in attending should send me an email by early Friday morning (email@example.com) for details. Sorry for the late notice.