Ken and Other Roots

When we know (ken) something, we can name it. In my experience, though, sometimes we misname things we think we know, like in Victorian cartography's fanciful, domineering names.
When I think I understand my native culture; my adolescent cultures; the culture where I live now, I am often seeing my own vision of "inroads into humanity". If one looks hard enough into any culture, one can see all kinds of tenets and traditions: mystics regarded with awe or suspicion; poseurs - even if they are African, seeking Picasso's fictive Africa; liars and saints, corruption and charity.
It is possible to be more of a Romantic than an anthropologist. I, for one, relate to Rilke's pilgrimage to Russia with Andreas-Salome, how the Russia they found was scorned by some natives... How Rilke later saw icons in things, including Rodin's sculptures. It was a way of looking he found, as much as a place. It is possible that 'certain ways of looking' are revered more in some places than in others. Sandburg criticised American culture when it preferred poetry with footnotes to his poems of folk wisdom. Goethe and the brothers Grimm critiqued cerebral German poetry and sought out that same folk. I seek that folk. But the folk exist everywhere, anonymous until heard.
We, the folk, are not static. And unless tradition has been torched like in the attempt by the Futurists, it probably exists somewhere, making gradual, if camouflaging, adjustments to the ever-changing part of life subsumed by history.
Hybrids emerge. Culture is slippery. What isn't so slippery - but still enigmatic, are the universal aspects of humanity. These can be invisible: connected not to what we do, but how we are doing it: Out of love? To destroy? Or do we proceed with awe, respect?
I would guess that what is "folk" - the building blocks of a society - can be rediscovered, if it is lost, through in-listening. The fact that there are proverbs that exist across cultures could be proof of a common sense. Which calls to mind Rodin's primeval Cathedral, with the coming together of two right hands; shelter emerging out of nothing. Reminiscent of Sandburg's Arches, "unbreakable arches" - the love among men, the covenant of God. The in-listening says: if there is to be birth, the pain of labour, there must be a good reason. Also, we are all in this together. This is simple to know, but so often misnamed - except by folk who say: "A worry shared is a worry halved."
Dualities (like different cultures, or the contradictions in a personality) can remain themselves and still be brought into creative, critical harmony. To stuff oneself - or anything made by humans - into one single box is to be lost; unknown; unable. But our knowledge is supposed to set us, and our dog and chicken, free!*

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