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Cultural evolution
The Front Porch piece "Deep Time or Out of Time" [April 16] put a smile on my face. Not because I whole-heartedly agree with it or am satisfied with the state of the world, but because The Independent Weekly dedicated a good 650 words to issue of evolution.

Dominican Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis believes the human race is regressing. But she thinks we can slow down the "race toward extinction" by beginning to "seek satisfaction at a level of the soul."

I don't doubt we're harming the earth at every turn but a cursory glance of history proves we are not regressing. The earth's ultimate survival can be protected.

Aside from that, however, I believe the good sister hit the spiritual nail on the material head.

Physical evolution is over. Intellectual evolution is in full swing. Our spiritual and dare I say mystical potentialities are relatively untapped, save those few souls of certitude who believe inspiration is no fluke.

The human consciousness is not fully evolved. The concept of world peace was reserved for sages and seers 100 years ago. Now, it's at the forefront of all our minds and hearts. We're evolving and learning, though more slowly than most of us desire. I believe Sister MacGillis is describing the next step; transforming selfishness into selflessness. Toward this end, I suggest we take a look at the difference between temporal and eternal truths of the world's religions. Void of pride and vain imaginings, we'll find they are one just like the human race.

Our society is like an individual in some regards.

We've evolved through childhood, into adolescence and now take our abode in the city of knowledge (college). We're 21 years old. The last few years have come quick on the scale of time. What we do with this knowledge is up to us. We have free will. As long as we chose to use it selfishly, a cultural malaise will veil the true spirit of progress. The pain will not end. If we chose to search our souls to see what we can bring to the table, then I doubt we'll be disappointed in the long run.
Mark Derewicz
Chapel Hill

Your NPR station
Your recent merger frightened me. I thought that the independent, alternative newspaper voice in the area was gone. Your 20th anniversary issue makes a sunny day sunnier. I am reading more of this issue than any in recent months. The articles are excellent and the format is informative.

My pause came at Dave Lippman's Front Porch assessment of WUNC ["National Pentagon Radio on WUNC?" April 16]. I was an early contributor to NPR-WFMT Chicago in the 1970s. My initial and continuing pledges were for "two endangered species, classical and jazz music."

According to the recent movement (or lack of) in much of NPR, and local programming, one-half of that passion, classical music, has been extinguished. Not so among large numbers of young people who find excitement and joy in Bach, Mozart, Bernstein, Marsalis--Juilliard graduates and versed in "paper music," as Bobby McFerrin calls the classical music he conducts. I was once a "20-something." I had no problem enjoying music, blues to chamber, "high and low" culture. I retain that breadth, as do my adult children and granddaughter.

I hope you have a few mature staffers who do not think the world began the day they discovered it.

I no longer listen to WUNC because of its echo of the party-line. I need a mental and emotional shift after Morning Edition, not more talk. As a social scientist, I am dismayed that one technique, demographics, from one discipline, sociology, is the sole determinant for programming to the public. Why "ape" the prevailing mass "pop" culture? NPR was fought for and formed so as to give thoughtful citizens, the minority, a place aside from the known and routine. Less screaming, but the same perspective, is no alternative nor respite. Knowing and enjoying something that is not mass or "target" marketing focus is not elitist. Are not those who are less than the conglomerate, but leaders and custodians of the totality of culture entitled to a tiny corner in the universe? Just as Independent Weekly is not the hoi polloi, how many drones are in the hive?

Thank you for an excellent issue. I hope to be able to continue to enjoy political and social insights from Independent Weekly, as I now watch World LinkTV, read The Nation and peruse Internet sites such as Common Dreams, a radio program that would add a sorely ignored point of view is New Dimensions, a program of interviews with an expanse of philosophical, spiritual, artistic and political voices. The Sunday food program on WUNC doesn't feed the mind and soul. I seriously miss Chicago.
Gwendoline Y. Fortune


The following Indy Pick was inadvertently left out of last week's Best of the Triangle issue:

Best Wine Selection

Fowler's Gourmet in Durham doesn't have the largest selection in the Triangle, but it does have the best. How do we know? When the wine guys have sampled most of the wines and can tell you a little something about each one, we get tres impressed. Plus, they go outta their way to get stuff no one else carries. Prices are reasonable and they're also very amenable to opening a bottle for you (provided you pay for it) and loaning you some stemware if you want to enjoy it on their back porch.

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