What is the Rainsnow Project?
The Rainsnow Project was a sociopolitical-cultural project meant to act upon some of the premises and directions established in THE MESSAGE OF RAINSNOW. Ultimately, its goal was to create a network of people working in conjunction to humanize our civilization and lay the cultural basis for a more progressive political future for the US and the world.
One of the underlying ideas of the project was that human beings and their culture (their mindset, customs, expectations, etc.) are the base from which genuine and deep social transformations must come; the idea that we can seriously change our society by political means alone, without first cultivating a people which is ready for and able to bear that change, is deeply flawed. Although, as members of a democratic society, we should always participate in elections, we should realize that our representatives will only reflect who we are, and only be able to carry out, on our behalf, what we will let them carry out. The system we have created to work for us will not outdo us, nor will it save us so long as we remain unsaveable – frightened, weak, egotistic, frustrated, enraged, helpless, prejudiced, numbed, blind, and gullible… We must save ourselves. To do that, we must transform ourselves into individuals who are informed, aware, brave, compassionate, far-seeing, disciplined, and cooperative, and from that inner advance, we must exude a new world.
How do we transform ourselves in a world whose culture acts to keep us as we are: only partially-developed beings whose shortcomings perpetuate a system which benefits some at the expense of others, and which serves the cravings of the present to the detriment of the future? We do so by forming sustainable new-culture institutions within the existing society, in order to foster, encourage, nurture and support the growth of the ‘new human being’ upon whose shoulders the new world is to be built. These institutions are to act as bulwarks against the tides of conformity, mainstream-conditioning, and persecution which tend to overcome and wash away the attempts of isolated individuals to break free. (The RS Project was, in this way, at complete odds with the underlying premise of the ‘60s generation’ classic, THE GREENING OF AMERICA, which held that a bunch of people ‘doing their own thing’ without organization or coordination could completely revolutionize a society.)
One of the key points of the Rainsnow Project was to attempt to alloy utopianism with realism, so that the transformative process would not be illusory or impossible, but wholly practical; and also to endow the process with a sense of history, depth perception and self-awareness, so that it would not act on a superficial plane but instead penetrate deep to the psychological core of the human experience. The process was to draw upon fertile sources from the past, ranging from the Native American tribe, to the Granger Movement, to the 1960s counterculture (divested of its excesses), to the modern intentional community, to anthropological and mythological sources of ritual, release and personal growth, in order to form cultural-development communities – ‘communities’, as in networks of associating and interacting people capable of creating new values and practices while existing in the shadow of the old ones. From these enduring and sustainable islands of human change, the genesis of the new man would be spread, gradually bringing larger and larger portions of our self-destructive political and economic systems under his sway, and within range of his healing.
This having been said, it can be stated that in the 10 years since its conception, the Rainsnow Project did not get past the stage of explication and preliminary networking. The reasons for this are clear. The project was too tied in to the complicated and controversial milieu of the MESSAGE OF RAINSNOW, which was, in its turn, too tied in to the complicated and controversial milieu of the JOURNEY OF RAINSNOW. This was all the fault of the author of the books and the project, who did not, until now, see the necessity of distancing the project from its original spiritual cocoon and treating it as an independent and self-sufficient enterprise. Nor did he accept the fact that for a project such as this to get rolling, concrete action on a small scale would be far more productive than sweeping ideological constructions. At a certain stage, effort in the physical world matters far more than thought…
Now, 10 years after the unveiling of the project, I remain committed to its basic out-of-the-box concepts as an approach to social change.
However, it is my intention to reconstitute the project in a new way; to give it a new shape and new emphases; to disconnect it from THE MESSAGE OF RAINSNOW, while drawing upon many of the valuable ideas presented in THE MESSAGE OF RAINSNOW; to dismantle the unwieldy aspect of the project and put the dissembled parts back together in more effective combination.
I fully expect to start the project up within the next couple of years, beginning with bite-sized pieces – the first of these most likely to be some sort of artists’ cooperative committed to the promotion of social justice, expanding human awareness, and soul-sensitization through the power of creativity. Art has always played an important part in shaping the consciousness and conscience of our societies, from Macbeth and Antigone, to the murals of Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. By means of reality hurled back at us from the realms of the imagination, we are inserted into environments that test us, challenge us, inspire us, and ultimately raise us… This, plus the fact that I understand the creative element of our human existence better than any other, makes it the natural starting point for the eventual rebirth of the Rainsnow Project, which will almost surely bear another name in its coming incarnation…
Until then, let us stay hard at work at the task of becoming better human beings. Let us meet each other in the fields of change even before we have made up our minds to change a single thing except ourselves!
- J Rainsnow, 2012
Rainsnow Project Contents