Becoming Monstrous with Three Black Shamans



Says who?

That plausible claim can be found under the heading Trauma, Ritual and the Promise of the Monstrous on the Science & Nonduality website.  It is part of an advertising blurb for an intriguing, upcoming, black-led metamodernish travelling social event. 

Put aside the highly implausible notion that there is such a thing as a “science & nonduality website," and zero in on the title's cryptic implication that the monstrous can be promising.  A haunting intimation that seems to hold the core principle around which this curiously mobile event is constellated. 

Teratogens are the forces that create monsters.  A cool word, certainly, but we do not want to become monsters.  Our world is already teeming with danger, depravity & deviation.  Why would we want more of that? 

Solid point. Unless we must somehow become monstrous in order to heal?

The benevolent ambiguity of monsterhood will be on display as three prominent neo-shamans -- calling themselves simply Three Black Men -- travel the Earth as a village-of-three to explore postactivism, integrative healing, deep ethnicity & the transformative potential of the shadowy, uncanny and intolerable.  They begin in North America on June 24-25 and then proceed to Brazil in September and Ghana in December.  (In-person and livestream tickets here).

This is a deeply shamanic wisdom that comes from the interstitial hinterlands of the global village via these activists, philosophers & cultural therapists.  They are invoking a magical liminality in the peripheral and adjacent spaces of our civilization's strategic attempts at personal and social growth.  Such edge spaces are enticing but also contain much that will vex and perplex us. 

What they call the Otherwise must be dared. 

If you cannot feel uncanny, torn, estranged, shameful and inhuman then there are ranges of healing and empowerment that are barred to you.  And the advocates of such healings must be a bit witchy.  They are seeking the hidden poetics of the necessary new logic and trying to disclose social justice in a manner that has the strangeness of artistic inversion.

Who exactly are these three black men?

Bayo Akomolafe -- Executive Director and Chief Curator for the Emergence Network -- is one of the favorite languagers of the extended liminal network.  His transdisciplinary style is wild, futuristic and traditional.  A mysteriously confident voice that plays across territories of the magical and scientific, the joyous and catastrophic.

Orland Bishop from ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation and the Global Oneness Project.  Check out his discussion with Charles Eisenstein on Social Breakdown and Initiation from Kosmos Journal.

Resmaa Manakem is author of Monsters in Love and pioneer of Somatic Abolitionism -- a movement promoting embodied anti-racism.  He bring the insights of a trauma healer to the social dimension in a way that challenges us to explore the uncomfortable sensations that anchor our distorted cultural expectations.  And also challenges our assumption that these problems can be solved purely at the level of social policy or modified linguistic norms. 

Expect these events to be lively, profound, inspiring, strangely beautiful and heartbreaking.   


Check out Bayo's recent poetic probing of the anthropocentric bias in the popular discourse around machine intelligence in Can AI Have Wisdom?

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emerge is convening a field of metamodern praxis