Knitting, Bees & Social Dimensions of The Economy of Meaning

Sat, Feb 26, 2011

Commentary, Theory

There are a group of women who gather weekly to knit at the local bookstore I hangout.  I had not thought much about this until recently NPR did an article on the resurgence of knitting. Funny thing was that I was also actively involved in another community, the Bee Guardians, which, though engaged in an entirely different community initiative, struck me as essentially doing the same thing: creating meaning in a social setting.

Now there are many other social activities: book clubs, wine tasting, and golfing to mention a few, but knitting and bee guardianship, have an entirely different dimension, for these two activities not only have a social dimension, but also are both creative and involved in social action.

Let me explain.  It’s easiest to see this first with the Bee Guardian movement.  It aims to “energize a worldwide network of bee caring individuals who will work … to sustain healthy bee populations,” and its taken this action because it believes as pollinators Bees are crucial to the survival of the entire biosphere.  Individuals in this organization don’t just pass on information, they also keep bees, meet together to plan social action, and fight environmental abuses.

But something more also happens as a result: individuals get connected through the bees to every flowering plant and every sap producing tree in a vast area extending for miles from their bee hive, a connection both informational and intuitive, in other words a connection engaging both the conscious and the subconscious.  And then through this connection, they connect to other bee guardians at a level surpassing ordinary group activities.  All of this is meaning creation at its most profound serving to expand consciousness (look for future article on Nature Mysticism that goes into this in detail).

The same applies for knitting.  First and foremost, many knitters consider knitting as a form of meditation or yoga, where you have to stay centered on the activity.  But another aspect of knitting is community knitting, dating back thousands of years and binding those in the knitting circle together.  And then comes the social action part of knitting, where thousands of knitters knit for premature babies, cancer patients, soldiers at the front, and homeless people.  Some knitters see this as sending a bit of themselves to the people who they are donating their knitting, forming a very personal bond.  There is “joyfulness, camaraderie, sharing, and happiness not found anywhere else,” according to some and there are knitting retreats where people from all over the country get together for knitting.  And some think of knitting as holding their life together, almost an archetypal metaphor for the mediation of physical existence.

In my article The Economy of Meaning, I talked about how the result of building meaning is personal growth, or more accurately, the growth of our consciousness, and the mediation of our physical existence (refer to the article on mediation of physical existence).  So as we see from the examples of Bee Guardianship, when individuals are engaged in creative centering activities, the same results occur now at a larger community based or social level, in an activity that is creating a new social-wide consciousness that transcends any single individual, yet includes each and every one of us.

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One Response to “Knitting, Bees & Social Dimensions of The Economy of Meaning”

  1. David Says:

    As a Beekeeper who is very interested in consciousness and healing and taking on bee-guardianship.also, I’ve tried a number of things to help the plight of the bees. We keep our bees using organic methods, and 2 years ago I tried applying ideas from Masuru Emoto’s work with water- putting labels of love,health,etc on my hives. The ones with the labels fared better than the ones without it. Also, at a more global level there are things that can be done using various forms of energy work: EFT surrogate tapping for the bees/humanity/ etc., sending them positive intentions – check out Fountain Intl.

    Anyhow… Enjoyed your article.


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