Monday, July 15, 2013

Medievalism Plus High Tech

I am currently in a minivan heading east on route 80 through Nebraska, en route to the Pennsic War, the Society for Creative Anachronism’s biggest annual event. In a few days I will be in a medieval pavilion I built, sleeping on a rope bed I built (based on an early medieval ivory carving). I will be there for most of two weeks, along with, by the end, something over ten thousand other medieval recreationists.

For most of the trip, which takes about five days each way not counting time spent visiting with friends and relatives along our route, the car is a floating hotspot, courtesy of Verizon; my cell phone functions as a wi-fi router with as many as three laptops (mine, my son’s, and my daughter’s—my wife does most of the driving) connected to it. Occasionally, most often in Nevada, we lose the connection, and for much of the trip it is only 3G, so slower than what we are used to at home via cable, but still fast enough for most purposes short of playing World of Warcraft.

My main activities at Pennsic are teaching classes—thirteen by my current count, including a few repetitions—and running a bardic circle, an attempt to create the illusion of a group of medieval people sitting around a campfire entertaining each other with poems, songs and stories. In order for the bardic circle to work, other people have to know it is there—and it helps if they also know what is or is not expected of participants. I have just posted the relevant information to the relevant groups on Google Plus and Facebook.

It’s a wonderful world.


Anonymous said...

As a fan of evolutionary psychology, I think it's quite important that we occasionally "recalibrate" by living a more basic kind of existence. There are, as it were, locks in our nature, which sometimes require keys from external nature, otherwise we are subtly dissatisfied and grumpy. A good deal of the perennial nature of left wing thought comes from this subtle dissatisfaction and the yearning for a life more intimate, and more in harmony with nature.

I've always loved Arthur C. Clarke's image of a future in which we live a more or less tribal existence as human animals, but are able at will to connect to and utilize the highest of high tech at will. The lifestyle we evolved in would keep our animal nature happy and humming along; and meanwhile our curiosity and thirst for knowledge can be satisfied in parallel, with no conceivable end.

Elsa said...

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. Just unpacked most of our gear. Thank you for your generous teaching and for welcoming all to your bardic circles! :D