Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Influences and Teachers

ISLAND has a set of institutional values, which serve to focus our mission beyond the desires or values of any single given person. You can find them on our website here.

One of these values is empiricism: While we maintain great respect for those who have gone before us, we will make decisions based on experience, experiments, and our unique situation. We find what works, at this time, in this place, for these people.

Scanning my favorite blogs this morning, I came upon this quote from Bob Dylan on the Hollywood Animation Archive Project Blog.

"It's only natural to pattern yourself after someone. If I wanted to be a painter, I might think about trying to be like Van Gogh, or if I was an actor, act like Laurence Olivier. If I was an architect, there's Frank Gehry. But you can't just copy somebody. If you like someone's work, the important thing is to be exposed to everything that person has been exposed to. Anyone who wants to be a songwriter should listen to as much folk music as they can, study the form and structure of stuff that has been around for 100 years. I go back to Stephen Foster."
-Bob Dylan

The work of ISLAND is not to posture ourselves as experts. This is not Arcosanti, or CalEarth, or even one of those permaculture institutes with a roster of impressive and energetic world-traveling instructors (which is not to say that these places aren't excellent resources and well worth your earnest inquiry).

The work of ISLAND is to expose our members and students to a wide variety of influences and writings, and to give them the chance to shape their own larger experience. Conversation, practice and reflection. Rinse. Repeat.

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