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Putting Text and Meaning to the Guerrilla Decontextualization test (pt. 2 of 2)

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“If the society suffers a loss of soul, a loss of daimonic inspiration, of angel and genius, then before starting off in search of them, why not ask what might be driving them away?” –James Hillman, The Soul’s Code

The Text and Meaning Series that has been running since August 2013 has focused on influential books, essays, documents, and orations of the past to explore and discuss their significance today. In a very real sense the series has been an extended exercise in reclaiming universal values lost to earlier forms of guerrilla decontextualization.

Such values have included: taking stands against apparent injustice, the achievement of self-empowerment through education and personal faith, and endeavoring to develop individual character based on a sense of individual integrity. To date, there have been six articles published in the Text and Meaning Series:

1. Text and Meaning in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech
2. Text and Meaning in Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
3. Text and Meaning in Langston Hughes’ “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”
4. Text and Meaning in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus
5. Text and Meaning in Robert Frost’s “Dedication for John F. Kennedy”
6. Text and Meaning in the Life of Nelson Mandela

The series is not a stroll through nostalgia. It serves as one important tool for extracting important lost lessons of history, in the form of awareness-raising observations, from the intentional or unintentional sabotage executed through guerrilla decontextualization.

Among the articles scheduled for posting in 2014 is an exposition on the poetry and art of a human rights activist whose life was nearly destroyed by a controversial court ruling that almost placed him in prison for a quarter of a century. Another is slated to examine a landmark anniversary in America’s ongoing struggle to define, defend, and exercise democracy.

To Be or Not To Be Aware

One disconcerting goal of guerrilla decontextualization has always been the disempowerment of an individual or organization. A primary method for accomplishing the desired disempowerment has generally been a deliberate distortion of truth. The individual might have been a noted woman doctor struggling to improve women’s healthcare options but somehow portrayed as an “anti-traditionalist” attempting to destroy “the family as we know it.” Or an organization such as the Black Panther Party, attempting to feed, educate, and protect children in its communities when no one else was doing so, is depicted as a gang of gun-wielding thugs threatening to overthrow the U.S. government.

To be or not to be aware of why one believes what one does is a matter of individual choice that can have devastating, or rewarding, collective consequences. Anyone checking out the various commentaries around the Internet on guerrilla decontextualization will have some idea of how the machinations of corporate-controlled media can steer your attention down one path when it might just be better served traveling another.

Many people can rightfully claim, as much as anyone can rightfully claim anything, that much of their lives have been spent stumbling through a cloud of cluelessness. At some point, a flash of sustained clarity reveals the difference between what someone would have you believe is true, and what you know from the depths of your own heart to the peaks of your soul to be true. What happens after that is up to you.

by Aberjhani
author of The River of Winged Dreams
and co-author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance

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