[gha] World Citizen of Culture

  • From: Wadlowz@xxxxxxx
  • To: gha@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2013 11:26:28 -0400 (EDT)



Foundations for the New Humanism
_Rene Wadlow_ (http://globalsolutions.org/users/rwadlow)  | October 12th,  
Topics: _WFI_ (http://globalsolutions.org/blog/WFI)  

_Courtesy of  Gala.fr_ 

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed the Decade 2013-2022 as  
the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures building on the  
efforts of the UNESCO General Conference which had called for “the 
development  of a universal global consciousness” based on dialogue and 
in a  climate of trust and mutual understanding” and for a “new humanism 
for the  twenty-first century.” Thus, we look at the creative efforts of 
individuals who  built bridges of understanding over the divides of cultures, 
social classes and  ethnicity to create a foundation for the New Humanism. 
Maurice Béjart: World Citizen of Culture 
In a world where there is both appreciation and fear of the mixing of  
cultural traditions, Maurice Béjart was always a champion of blending cultural  
influences.  He was a world citizen of culture and an inspiration to all  
who work for a universal culture.  His death on 22 November 2007 was a  loss; 
but he serves as a forerunner of what needs to be done so that beauty will  
overcome the walls of separation.  One of the Béjart’s most impressive  
dance sequences was Jérusalem, Cité de la Paix in which he stressed the need 
 reconciliation and mutual cultural enrichment. 
Béjart followed in the spirit of his father, Gaston Berger (1896-1960),  
philosopher, administrator of university education, and one of the first to  
start multi-disciplinary studies of the future.  Gaston Berger was born in  
Saint-Louis de Sénégal, with a French mother and a Sénégalese father. 
Sénégal,  and especially Leopold Sedar Sengore pointed with pride to Gaston 
as a  “native son” — and the second university after Dakar was built in 
Saint-Louis  and carries the name of Gaston Berger.  Berger became a professor 
of  philosophy at the University of Aix-Marseille and was interested in 
seeking the  basic structures of mystical thought, with study on the thought of 
Henri Bergson  and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, both of whom were concerned 
with the basic  energies which drive humanity forward. Berger was also 
interested in the role of  memory as that which holds the group together, 
that it is memory which  allows us “to be able to hope together, to fear 
together, to love together, and  to work together.” 
In 1953, Gaston Berger was named director general of higher education in  
France with the task of renewal of the university system following the Second 
 World War years.  Thus, when Maurice-Jean Berger, born in 1927, was to  
start on his own path, the name Berger was already well known in intellectual  
and administrative circles.  Maurice changed his name to Béjart, which  
sounds somewhat similar, but is the name of the wife of Molière. Molière 
remains  the symbol of the combination of theatre-dance-music. Maurice Béjart 
trained  at the Opera de Paris and then with the well known choreographer 
Roland  Petit.  Béjart’s talent was primarily as a choreographer, a creator of 
new  forms blending dance-music-action. He was willing to take well-known 
music such  as the Bolero of Maurice Ravel or The Rite of Spring and The 
Firebird of  Stravinsky and develop new dance forms for them. However, he was 
also interested  in working with composers of experimental music such as 
Pierre Schaeffer. 
Béjart also continued his father’s interest in mystical thought, less to 
find  the basic structures of mystic thought like his father but rather as an  
inspiration.  He developed a particular interest in the Sufi traditions of  
Persia and Central Asia.  The Sufis have often combined  
thought-music-motion as a way to higher enlightenment.  The teaching and  
movements of G.I. 
Gurdjieff are largely based on Central Asian Sufi techniques  even if 
Gurdjieff did not stress their Islamic character. Although Gurdjieff  died in 
October 1948, he was known as an inspiration for combining mystical  thought, 
music and motion in the artistic milieu of Béjart.  The French  composer of 
modern experimental music, Pierre Schaeffer, with whom Béjart worked  closely, 
was a follow of Gurdjieff.  Schaeffer also worked closely with  Pierre Henry 
for Symphonie pour un homme seul and La Messe pour le Temps  Présent, for 
which Béjart programed the dance. Pierre Henry was interested in  the Tibetan 
school of Buddhism, so much of Béjart’s milieu had spiritual  interests 
turned toward Asia. 
It was Béjart’s experience in Persia where he was called by the Shah of 
Iran  to create dances for the Persepolis celebration in 1971 that really 
opened the  door to Sufi thought, a path he continued to follow. Béjart also 
followed his  father’s interest in education and created dance schools both in 
Bruxelles and  later Lausanne.  While there is not a “Béjart style” that 
others follow  closely, he stressed an openness to the cultures of the world 
and felt that  dance could be an enrichment for all social classes.  He often 
attracted  large audiences to his dance performances, and people from 
different milieus  were moved by his dances. Béjart represents a conscious 
to break down  walls between artistic forms by combining music, dance, and 
emotion and the  walls between cultures. An inspiration for world citizens to 
Rene Wadlow is the president 


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