The Songlines: Bruce Chatwin
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In a way, the Songline acted as an inventory of resources of value to the Ancestors. An Ancestor was "forever naming the contents of his territory." Chatwin contemplates on the human race, reflecting on where we came from and where we're headed. Can you summarize his thinking? What are your thoughts? It may be impossible because of the restrictions on which people are allowed to hold which knowledge (which tribe, which age group, male or female), and how this information is allowed to be shared between tribes. [I use the term “tribe” because Chatwin does. There are many words used to describe different Aboriginal groups, but each has a different emphasis on who belongs to it. And there are even more language groups.]
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If they obtain a Voice, should there be any conditions on its exercise? Should whites have to listen to their message? Should we have to agree with it? (Do you only have freedom of speech, if we agree with what you say?) Today, however, Chatwin’s fictions seem more transparent. We may not be too surprised to discover the journeys with nomads for which he “quit his job,” and which John Lanchester admired, were brief interludes in a period more accurately described as Chatwin getting married and becoming an undergraduate at Edinburgh University. And the passages, suffused with symbolic and literary resonances, that once seemed most impressive, no longer seem the most satisfying. His personality, his learning, his myths, and even his prose, are less hypnotizing. And yet he remains a great writer, of deep and enduring importance.Norris, Ray; Priscilla Norris; Cilla Norris (2009), Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy, Emu Dreaming, Bibcode: 2009edia.book.....N, ISBN 978-0-9806570-0-5 Songlines are often passed down in families, passing on important knowledge and cultural values.  Neighbouring groups are connected because the song cycles criss-cross all over the continent. All Aboriginal groups traditionally share beliefs in the ancestors and related laws; people from different groups interacted with each other based on their obligations along the songlines. 
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin | Goodreads
Leggere Chatwin è una delle esperienze più piacevoli e meno faticose che possano accadere a un lettore, anche il meno scaltrito, il più pigro, il meno letterato. Le sue narrazioni, soprattutto i suoi aneddoti fulminanti, sono come haiku giapponesi: piccoli e perfetti. Scolpisce un personaggio con pochi tratti, come un ritrattista dotato solo di foglio e matita.Phenomenal! But what will happen if the knowledge isn’t passed on? If there’s nobody left to sing the country, will the land die?
Chatwin | Rory Stewart | The New York Review of Walking with Chatwin | Rory Stewart | The New York Review of
The idea of songlines is fascinating, that by learning a song you are learning a map that might be enough to show you the way half way across a continent. People who don't live in Australia think it is a smaller place than it actually is - it is actually as big as the USA without Alaska. That you could learn a song and that would be enough to guide you across such a distance seems utterly remarkable to me.
What are "songlines" and how do they function in the aboriginal culture? How does Chatwin broaden the concept of songlines as a metaphor for all of us? By countering with even better stories. What was it like to revisit some of these places so long after he’d been there, particularly Patagonia and Australia?