Where, in American culture, is the domain of knowledge that we would identify as morality studied and taught?
During the dark ages nearly all culture became stifled by the Roman Catholic Church. No offence to kind hearted and loving Catholics of today…
Among the fruit forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church were reading, writing, art, literature, science, philosophy, reason, and even ethics. The largest sexual orgies ever recorded in all of history are said to have been at the Vatican in Rome.
All of these cultural entities like literature, theater, social discourse, ethics and even a world view, needed to be rediscovered by those afflicted by these "dark ages".
These were times when it was illegal to write down your thoughts unless first approved by the church. It was illegal to write a piece of music that was not cleared by the church first. If one were to express culture in an untoward way they were persecuted by the threat of death. This was going on in the general populace while the church and clergy were themselves in near utter total decadence and disarray.
The Roman Catholic Church would have kept it this way if it were not for the gypsies. They roved around the countryside bringing new ideas to the people that they had dared not consider before. Much of these new ideas were old ideas preserved by mystics that opposed orthodoxy for various reasons. Because they roved stealthily from village to village, they never staying long enough thus they could not easily be pinpointed and caught. They were fast and had a network of spies in the orthodoxy that were sympathetic and often conspired with them.
Yet it was culture and average people that suffered and became poorer than dirt. There was such poverty that it led to the revolutions that later spread through the various countries of Eastern Europe. The Orthodoxy would have preferred to have left the world without theater and art. They possibly considered theater, sculpture, dance and athletic competitions etc… to be an idle device of the Greeks and preferred to leave it behind in the past with the Greeks. But the gypsies were becoming more welcomed to the cities and small towns than were the clergy when they came to receive penance and offerings for the church. So the church had a “public relations” problem on their hands.
This was when the Catholic “mass” was devised and implemented in the church. It is “as I have been taught” a reenactment of the actual crucifixion of Christ. So technically every “mass” strangely as it may seem, Jesus is re-crucified… So this was something to get up and go and see which provided a kind of cultural resurgence to say the least. It may be considered why the emphasis was placed on the crucifixion of Christ rather than the resurrection of Christ. Where the cross seems a deterrent by fear and intimidation where the resurrections seems to rely on ultimate innate justice.
This new Roman Catholic “mass” held in the various churches across the land enabled the church to keep a firm grip on the urban areas but there were still the many small villages left to garner back under their control. This was when they devised the idea of the “pageant wagon”. The pageant wagon was devised to mimic the gypsy occupation of the small villages that seemed to favor them over the church. The gypsies came with not only with new ideas but they often would bring thievery and intoxicating beverages, herbs and superstition.
As a response to the influence of the gypsies the Catholic Church built these wheeled carriages drawn by horses or men and they would travel from village to village. So we can see where had it not been for the gypsies the world may well have stayed in darkness much longer. So the church caved into its “no theatre” policy.
This church pageant wagon had typically three small stories, one under the main level which represented hell, the main level which was earth, and the roof or third level which represented heaven. The actors could move from story to story. By this means the church were able to teach its main objectives to even the areas beyond the urban dwellings.
By these two competing factors either the gypsies or the church the idea that a common person could learn to act and someday be in the theater became available…
One would be an even greater actor if they could themselves “read” and memorize their lines rather than just being told them.
Also there became the idea of stage, scene and set design and the wagon itself had to be built. Thus craftsmen, painters, sculptors, engineers, even stone masons were possibly employees to repair roads so the wagons could travel to the farthest most outer reaches of the known world.
The dilemma is not in the fact that the world has suddenly been reborn and we are not on the path to reason and true culture, but the dilemma is in what have we selectively decided to leave behind? What are the motives for leaving behind something we once knew collectively?
We have brought back art, we have bought back theatre, dance, literature beyond comprehension, we have now medicine and understanding of biology physics, we can answer down to thousands of digits of the decimal of pi.
Perhaps the only REAL thing “left” in the past was God? Along with God was left a kind of civility and ethical connectedness to creation.
We have had renaissances of “many” fields and disciplines of study but what renaissance is left unrealized? What did the church hide from us that we may have not rediscovered? What was the purpose of us all being made “dumb” and ignorant? What was so secret and dangerous that the world needed to forget how to reason, write and express ourselves freely and creatively? What is so powerful and dangerous about art?
The answer may lie in the concept of “God in culture”… Once God flourishes within the psyche of the general populace then culture will reach maturity. Could the church then become nearly obsolete?
Much of the plastic, disposable culture today is nearly all about self, wealth, outer beauty, and physical materialistic worship. God is often imposed upon culture but it is when culture begins to take a serious look at the empowerment of God “within” every person that the last “renaissance” will be discovered.
We will then have concrete answers, foundational and fundamental truths about who we are and our position in the total portrait of life. The world will transform into pure consciousness.
So the answer to your question as to where do we go to learn what has not been rediscovered is to just have faith that it will be understood one day, just as we take for granted “the wheel” we will all one day share the same idea of liberty and love fused into one new identity of hope.
The worse case is that we may never fully recover what was lost in the dark ages and the lack of unity, hate and evil in the world is evidence of its absence from the minds of those people left empty and “outside of the path of the traveling theatre”.