The Power of Myth

  • Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth

In this beloved 1988 PBS series, mythologist and storyteller Joseph Campbell joins Bill Moyers to explore what enduring myths can tell us about our lives. In each of six episodes –“The Hero’s Adventure,” “The Message of the Myth,” “The First Storytellers,” “Sacrifice and Bliss,” “Love and the Goddess,” and “Masks of Eternity” — Moyers and Campbell focus on a character or theme found in cultural and religious mythologies. Campbell argues that these timeless archetypes continue to have a powerful influence on the choices we make and the ways we live.

Released shortly after Campbell’s death on October 30, 1987, The Power of Myth was one of the most popular TV series in the history of public television, and continues to inspire new audiences.(1988)

The Power Of Myths – Full Series

The power of myth_masks of eternity

The Power Of Myth – Masks of Eternity

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (first published in 1949) is a work of comparative mythology by Joseph Campbell, in which the author discusses his theory of the mythological structure of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world myths.

Since the publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell’s theory has been consciously applied by a wide variety of modern writers and artists. Filmmaker George Lucas acknowledged Campbell’s theory in mythology, and its influence on the Star Wars films.[1]

The Joseph Campbell Foundation and New World Library issued a new edition of The Hero with a Thousand Faces in July 2008 as part of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series of books, audio and video recordings. In 2011, Time placed the book in its list of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since the magazine was founded in 1923.[2]

Campbell explores the theory that mythological narratives frequently share a fundamental structure. The similarities of these myths brought Campbell to write his book in which he details the structure of the monomyth. He calls the motif of the archetypal narrative, “the hero’s adventure”. In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell summarizes the monomyth:

 

 

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.[3]

In laying out the monomyth, Campbell describes a number of stages or steps along this journey. “The hero’s adventure” begins in the ordinary world. He must depart from the ordinary world, when he receives a call to adventure. With the help of a mentor, the hero will cross a guarded threshold, leading him to a supernatural world, where familiar laws and order do not apply. There, the hero will embark on a road of trials, where he is tested along the way. The archetypal hero is sometimes assisted by allies. As the hero faces the ordeal, he encounters the greatest challenge of the journey. Upon rising to the challenge, the hero will receive a reward, or boon. Campbell’s theory of the monomyth continues with the inclusion of a metaphorical death and resurrection. The hero must then decide to return with this boon to the ordinary world. The hero then faces more trials on the road back. Upon the hero’s return, the boon or gift may be used to improve the hero’s ordinary world, in what Campbell calls, the application of the boon.

While many myths do seem to follow the outline of Campbell’s monomyth, there is some variance in the inclusion and sequence of some of the stages. Still, there is an abundance of literature and folklore that follows the motif of the archetypal narrative, paralleling the more general steps of “Departure” (sometimes called Separation), “Initiation”, and “Return”. “Departure” deals with the hero venturing forth on the quest, including the call to adventure. “Initiation” refers to the hero’s adventures that will test him along the way. The last part of the monomyth is the “Return”, which follows the hero’s journey home.[citation needed]

Campbell studied religious, spiritual, mythological and literary classics including the stories of Osiris, Prometheus, the Buddha, Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus. The book cites the similarities of the stories, and references them as he breaks down the structure of the monomyth.

The book includes a discussion of “the hero’s journey” by using the Freudian concepts popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Campbell’s theory incorporates a mixture of Jungian archetypes, unconscious forces, and Arnold van Gennep’s structuring of rites of passage rituals to provide some illumination.[4] “The hero’s journey” continues to influence artists and intellectuals in contemporary arts and culture, suggesting a basic usefulness for Campbell’s insights beyond mid-20th century forms of analysis. he Hero with a Thousand Faces Read here

 

Jung: “The world hangs on a thin thread ….”

The world hangs on a thin thread…

and that is the psyche of the man

 Carl Jung

 

 

Text :

 From  The Rebel in The Soul-  ancient Egytian papyrus

Paintings see here

 

 

 

  • Transcript:

Jung: The world hangs on a thin thread, and that is the psyche of man. Nowadays we are not threatened by elementary catastrophes. There is no such thing [in nature] as an H-bomb; that is all man’s doing. WE are the great danger. The psyche is the great danger. What if something goes wrong with the psyche? You see, and so it is demonstrated to us in our days what the power of the psyche is of man, how important it is to know something about it. But we know nothing about it. Nobody would give credit to the idea that the psychical processes of the ordinary man have any importance whatever. One thinks, “Oh, he has just what he has in his head. He is all from his surroundings, he is taught such and such a thing, believes such and such a thing, and particularly if he is well housed and well fed, then he has no ideas at all.” And that’s the great mistake because he is just that as which he is born, and he is not born as “tabula rasa,” but as a reality.

Paintings From  The Rebel in The Soul-  ancient Egytian papyrus

  • Interviewer: Jung had a vision at the end of his life of a catastrophe. It was a world catastrophe.

Marie-Louise von Franz: I don’t want to speak much about it. One of his daughters took notes and after his death gave it to me, and there is a drawing with a line going up and down, and underneath is “the last 50 years of humanity.” And some remarks about a final catastrophe being ahead. But I have only those notes.

Paintings From  The Rebel in The Soul-  ancient Egytian papyrus

 

  • Interviewer: What is your own feeling about it, the world situation?

von Franz: Well, one’s whole feeling revolts aginst this idea but since I have those notes in a drawer, I don’t allow myself to be too optimistic. I think, well, we have always had wars and enormous catastrophies, and I have no more personal fear much about that. I mean at my age, if you have anyhow soon to go— so or so egocentrically spoken. But the beauty of all the life— to think that the billions and billions and billions of years of evolution to build up the plants and the animals and the whole beauty of nature— and that man would go out of sheer shadow foolishness and destroy it all. I mean that all life might go from the the planet. And we don’t know— on Mars and Venus there is no life; we don’t know if there is any life experiment elsewhere in the galaxies. And we go and destroy this. I think it is so abominable. I try to pray that it may not happen— that a miracle happens.

Paintings From  The Rebel in The Soul-  ancient Egytian papyrus

  • Interviewer: Do you find that young people that you see now are aware of that? That it’s in their consciousness?

von Franz: Yes it’s partly in their unconscious and partly in their consciousness, and I think in a very dangerous way, namely, in a way of giving up and running away into a fantasy world. You know, when you study science fiction, you see there’s always the fantasy of escaping to some other planet and begin anew again, which means give up the battle on this earth, consider it hopeless and give up. I think one shouldn’t give up, because if you think of [Jung’s book] Answer to Job, if man would wrestle with God, if man would tell God that he shouldn’t do it, if we would reflect more. That why reflection comes in. Jung never thought that we might do better than just possibly sneak round the corner with not too big a catastrophe. When I saw him last, he had also a vision while I was with him, but there he said, “I see enormous stretches devastated, enormous stretches of the earth. But, thank God it’s not the whole planet.” I think that if not more people try to reflect and take back their projections and take the opposites within themselves, there will be a total destruction.

Paintings From  The Rebel in The Soul-  ancient Egytian papyrus

“The supreme madness is to see life as it is and not as it should be, … things are only what we want to believe they are ...” Jacques Brel

Read: Personal myths in light of our modern-day “reality”

This comprehensive collection of writings by the epoch-shaping Swiss psychoanalyst was edited by Joseph Campbell, himself the most famous of Jung’s American followers. It comprises Jung’s pioneering studies of the structure of the psyche – including the works that introduced such notions as the collective unconscious, the Shadow, Anima and Animus – as well as inquries into the psychology of spirituality and creativity, and Jung’s influential “On Synchronicity,” a paper whose implications extend from the I Ching to quantum physics. Campbell’s introduction completes this compact volume, placing Jung’s astonishingly wide-ranging oeuvre within the context of his life and times. Read here

  • Jung and Alchemy

Jung’s interest for alchemy starts from two directions. One is the necessity to find a historic parallel to his own discoveries of the unconscious psychic life. The second refers to the series of dreams which have evoked the new research course, on which Jung talks at length in his autobiography: Memories, Dreams and Reflections.

 Picture from Aurora Consurgens“Before I discovered alchemy – writes Jung – I had a series of dreams which dealt with the same theme. Beside my house stood another, that is to say, another wing of annex, which was strange to me. Each tie I would wonder in my dream why I did not know this house, although it had apparently always been there”. This strange part of the house revealed its meaning finally: “The unknown wing of the house was a part of my personality, an aspect of myself…”

This part was unconscious and would reveal itself as an interest for the in-depth study of medieval alchemy.

This study was announced definitively in the dream from the year 1926 when Jung dreams himself being captive in the 17th century. “Not until much later did I realize that it [the dream] referred to alchemy, for that science reached its height in the seventeenth century”.

Alchemy is a symbolic representation of the “individuation process In the serious alchemy, believes Jung, processes arising from individual psyche are described encoded. Peculiar terms that alchemy operates with, such as prima materia, unus mundus, Mercurius, filium philosophorum, lapis and many more are decrypted by Jung through an arduous work of over 10 years.
His develops and parallels are described at length in his book Psychology and Alchemy , an essential piece of work for the ones studying interestedly analytical psychology, the individuation process and the exploration of the unconscious through dream interpretation.

 

“We could resume Jung’s vast experience with alchemy in the next two quotations:

“Grounded in the natural philosophy of the Middle Ages, alchemy formed the bridge on the one hand into the past, to Gnosticism, and on the other into the future, to the modern psychology of the unconscious”.

 “Only after I had familiarized myself with alchemy did I realize that the unconscious is a process, and that the psyche is transformed or developed by the relationship of the ego to the contents of the unconscious”.

More about alchemy, archetypes and dream interpretation may be found in Psychology and Alchemy, the book Jung has dedicated to the analysis of the relationship between alchemical symbolism and the individuation process. Read here

  • Jung, Aquinas, and the Aurora Consurgens: Establishing a Relationship with God

The reunion of a man with God is the subject of a medieval text which aggregates excerpts from the Bible and Arabic alchemical texts that had recently become available in Europe. The Aurora Consurgens personifies God as Wisdom, a spiritual being who not only formed the world in the beginning but is also a guide to men to return to God subsequent to their separation at the Fall.

The union of feminine Wisdom and a man is aligned with pairs of opposites such as spirit and soul, and is also conflated with the union of a man and a woman. While the text is perhaps falsely ascribed to St. Thomas, it is consistent with his ideas so that it may be explicated using his writings on the Trinity, psychology, angels, and Greek philosophy. From there, correspondence is established with C. G. Jung‘s concept of archetypes, and the text is subsequently interpreted from the perspective of analytical psychology.
It is identified how interaction of archetypes associated with the union of a man and a woman provide an explanation for the process of redemption given in the Aurora. A similar process of redemption is identified in other writings from the beginning of the Christian era up to the modern teachings of the Catholic Church. Read more here

Personal myths in light of our modern-day “reality”.

“The supreme madness is to see life as it is and not as it should be, … things are only what we want to believe they are ...” Jacques Brel

Big fish eating small fish

A broadside criticising the exploitation of political power by alluding to the proverb of big fish eating small fish; with an engraving with motives after Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel showing in the centre a table with a large dish of small fish, around the table are sitting five large fish with human arms, dressed in clothes and devouring the small fish, the table scene surrounded by various scenes of larger fish being cut open, revealing smaller fish, in the background small fish hanging on the gallows; with engraved title and text.

  • Light and Dark Personal Mythology in Current Events

These days we ponder what should be the “new myths” in light of our modern-day reality, but upon reflection we can see that many already exist and are playing themselves out on the public stage, in the form of people’s “personal myths” that drive their words and actions. In our Internet age, “personal mythology” is not merely a private matter of each person’s individuation process. The manifestations and consequences of personal myths are often bizarre, tragic, and dangerous to society. We have seen this recently: in the minds of the shooters in the massacres in Charleston and elsewhere, the takeover of Oregon’s Malheur wildlife refuge by an armed self-styled militia, attitudes toward Muslims, the debate over immigration, race relations, and in much of the rhetoric of the current presidential campaign. In order to understand events and control our future, it has become more urgent than ever that we be able to recognize and understand myths when they see them, which is the first step both to controlling their dark side as well as to developing healthier new myths that will inspire individuals and society in a more positive way.

Masquerades played a big role in the carnival festivities and contributed to the reverse practices. Masks frequently evoked animal or even demonic faces and revealed the dark tendencies of being. Indeed, each person used to choose, without even realizing it, a disguise and a mask that best reflected the lower tendencies. Far from hiding his face, the individual put on a mask revealing the darkest face that he tried to hide under different social masks in everyday life.

The mask (from the Latin “persona”) actually concealed the various external and changing appearances of the social character and revealed the real personality of the individual.

Like carnival practices, the Italian theatre of the “comedia dell’arte” gave the actors a mask that hid their face and removed any possibility of expression other than that of the character.

Let us note in passing that the Chinese (Chan) and Japanese (Zen) Buddhist traditions consider that every being has an original face, the face of his or her true being, under the mask of the apparent face. So, the mask can both reveal the dark aspect of the being during the carnival time and hide the luminous aspect in everyday life.

James Ensor is in line with the Flemish painting and Jerome Bosch in particular. Like Jerome Bosch, he did not try to paint men according to their outer appearances, but as they were inside. And there is no better way than the Flanders’ carnival parties to unveil the other side of the picture.

The carnival mask did not only conceal the appearances of the social figure, it also revealed the hidden face of the being carrying it. Each person chose indeed, subconsciously, a mask (From the Latin “persona”) which best reflected his or her true personality. Far from hiding the face of the person, the mask let appear, on the contrary, his or her true face.

The grotesque faces of these masks revealed the desires that animated the being: jealousy, cupidity, concupiscence etc. If these desires were not counterbalanced by opposed tendencies such as love, generosity, non-attachment and so on, they generated anguish: the anguish of losing what one has, anguish to lack, anguish to die etc. Desires are always sources of torment. And at the time of Jerome Bosch, the supreme desire consisted in accessing Paradise and the supreme torment to end in the flames of Hell. Two dangers threatened any being by the end of the Middle Ages: Death and Devil. That theme often came back under the metal point or brush of James Ensor.

Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889

Devil (from the Greek “diabolos”, which means disuniting, splitting, dividing) symbolizes beforehand all our own inner demons. Desires and anguishes often conceal the other tendencies of the being. Othello only saw Desdemona through Iago’s eyes; jealousy masked his love for his wife. The being forgets this side of himself that unites him to the other and maintains his inner unity. He is disintegrated, split up and let people only see a hideous facet of himself because it was deprived of its complement.

The features revealed during the carnival parties are not specific to a particular being, but characteristic of the gathered crowd. James Ensor was always haunted by crowds and insect hordes, which share the same conditioning and know only one destiny, to follow their instincts.

  • Note: Krampus or   Spiritual  “winter”  of  the modern world

In Catholicism, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. His saints day falls in early December, which helped strengthen his association with the Yuletide season. Many European cultures not only welcomed the kindly man as a figure of generosity and benevolence to reward the good, but they also feared his menacing counterparts who punished the bad. Parts of Germany and Austria dread the beastly Krampus, while other Germanic regions have Belsnickle and Knecht Ruprecht, black-bearded men who carry switches to beat children. France has Hans Trapp and Père Fouettard. (Some of these helpers, such as Zwarte Piet in The Netherlands have attracted recent controversy.)

Krampus’s name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, and is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. The legendary beast also shares characteristics with other scary, demonic creatures in Greek mythology, including satyrs and fauns.

The legend is part of a centuries-old Christmas tradition in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin in early December. Krampus was created as a counterpart to kindly St. Nicholas, who rewarded children with sweets. Krampus, in contrast, would swat “wicked” children, stuff them in a sack, and take them away to his lair.

According to folklore, Krampus purportedly shows up in towns the night of December 5, known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. The next day, December 6, is Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day, when children look outside their door to see if the shoe or boot they’d left out the night before contains either presents (a reward for good behavior) or a rod (bad behavior). (

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • In The Bear, the Harlot, the Magician and the King Lloyd D. Graham explains the source of Carnaval and the period of change  from winter to Spring.

The “ insurrection “of january 6th 2021 in USA Capitol  is an expression of the deep rooted origins of the folklores of Carnaval and Krampus,

6 january is the feast of Epiphany

HERE FOLLOWETH THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD AND OF THE THREE KINGS from Golden Legends

On this day we are making King cakes . They come with cardboard “crowns” to be worn by whoever gets the slice with the token and becomes monarch of the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bear, the Harlot, the Magician and the King  by Lloyd D. Graham
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the seduction of the wild man Enkidu by Shamhat the
harlot symbolically causes his death as an unreflective animal and his rebirth as a
human – an Eden-like fall into self-awareness. Created as a match for king
Gilgamesh of Uruk, Enkidu goes on to become the king’s beloved friend. In
European folk traditions, the Wild Man is interchangeable with the bear, and
parallels can be drawn between Enkidu and the Candlemas Bear associated with
Carnival. Since Enkidu symbolises our pre-human nature, one can perceive a
figurative truth to the pan-European folk belief that people are descended from bears.
Thematic overlaps exist between some Gilgamesh narratives and European folk-tales
about a Wild Man whose father was a bear (the Bear’s Son / Jean de l’Ours motif) or
about twin boys, one of whom was raised in the wild by a female bear (Valentine and
Orson). Perhaps surprisingly, the roots of Santa Claus lie in the Wild Man. So too do
the origins of Merlin, the wizard of medieval Arthurian romance. Merlin has
elements in common with Enkidu, while King Arthur can be seen as a metaphorical
“Bear’s son.” Over time, the status of the Wild Man has changed from a wholly
inhuman monster to a “noble savage” who today might even be cast as a salvific ecowarrior.  Read here


The Wild Man or the Masquerade of Orson and Valentine – Brueghel

Read more here

Message from The Heart Of The World – ‘Don’t Say They Didn’t Tell Us’!

  • Voices from the Sacred Mountains

The Arhuaco indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, are known for their century-long track record of environmental protection, but their cultural survival and conservation of this sacred mountain’s ecosystems are at risk.

  • Message from The Heart Of The World! (Corazón Del Mundo) Shortfilm

  • From the Heart of the World: The Elder Brothers’ Warning – Kogi Message to Humanity:

  • Aluna

In the second documentary, the Kogis have re-emerged, realising that the importance of their warning had not been grasped.[5] As well as warning Younger Brother they have decided to share their secret sciences in the belief that sharing these sciences will share their burden of changing the world for the bette

Aluna means “conscience “. Enter the last theocratic chiefdom in America, hidden for centuries on a mountain in Colombia. The Kogi have made this amazing documentary to help us understand how to avoid the destruction of the world that they are trying to protect, and of ourselves.

If you watch this video and feel inspired by the Kogi and their message, please know that they have NO interest in people coming to visit them and their sacred lands. This includes visiting La Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City), which for the Kogi was never “lost”. Rather, it was purposefully hidden, because it is an incredibly sacred site that even many Kogi are not sanctioned to visit… and certainly not tourists.

The Kogi have gone to GREAT lengths, for the past 500+ years to keep their sacred lands free from the energy and unconscious spiritual issues of outsiders. This is something the average “Westerner” might have a hard time understanding. But all we need to understand is that the Kogi DON’T want people visiting their lands, and whether we understand the spiritual reasons for this, or not, is unimportant. Being in their territories uninvited is like walking into a complete stranger’s house, uninvited, and walking through the rooms of that house as if it were your own. It is rude and inappropriate. Please take this to HEART and KNOW what it means to violate their wish to NOT have outsiders in their sacred lands.

If you feel—and KNOW within your heart—that you have a genuine calling (not just idle curiosity) to support the Kogi in some way, my only recommendation is that you take a serious and sincere interest in recovering your attention from the great many distractions—most especially “spiritual” distractions—and doing what it takes to come into greater consciousness of who you are as Spirit, where you are from as Spirit, and precisely why you are here, as Spirit. This is hard and, at times, painstaking work. Most importantly, know that the message of the Kogi is a practical one. That we day-by-day apply ourselves to the deep work of resolving our issues, misconceptions, projections, negative tendencies, etc. And that we do EVERYTHING within our power to stop living a lie (the Modern world) which is quite obviously destructive and out of alignment with LIFE. In simple terms, they are making it clear that the Western world must drastically change its ways, less we go through drastic changes. If you’re reading this, that likely includes you. The Kogi are not simply something interesting for our entertainment or idle curiosity. They do NOT wish to be idolised, for that only marginalises the deep importance of their message, which is, in reality, the Mother’s message.

  • The ancients guardians of the earth

“The Younger Brother is damaging the world. He is on the path to destruction. He must understand and change his ways, or the world will die,” Luis Guillermo Izquierdo lamented as he walked beside me, his cheeks swollen with a wad of coca leaves that he slowly masticated.

Ritual flute music drifted through the forest from some unseen source as Izquierdo – a mamo, or enlightened spiritual leader, of Colombia’s Arhuaco indigenous people – led me to the sacred natural pool Pozo de Yaya for a ritual cleansing. He removed his sandals, lowered himself onto a rock and sat cross-legged beside a fast-running stream. Izquierdo bade me remove my shoes and step into the water. Then he handed me a piece of thread representing the umbilical cord tethering me to Mother Earth, and in a warbling falsetto told me to pour my thoughts into the thread.

The Younger Brother is damaging the world – he must understand and change his ways, or the world will die

Hair as thick and whorled as a flokati rug flooded over Izquierdo’s shoulders from beneath a woven white conical hat, worn in reverence to the snow-capped peaks of the sacred Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. He was dressed in thick, snow-white trousers and a matching serape (shawl) of maguey fibre, tied by a belt at the waist. He reminded me of a Star Wars Jedi ­– a wise member of the noble protective order capable by mental training of tapping into the metaphysical ‘Force’ in search of peaceful and righteous solutions. The metaphor seemed appropriate.

“We want the Younger Brothers to know more about our culture. In that way we can stop him destroying the world,” said Izquierdo, referring to the modern world beyond the mountains.

Along with the Kogi and Wiwa, or Malayo, the Arhuaco are descended from the ancient and advanced Tairona civilisation (Credit: Christopher P Baker)

The Arhuaco are (with the neighbouring Kogi and Wiwa, or Malayo) one of three peoples whose ancestors were connected to the ancient and advanced Tairona civilisation. Brutally subjugated by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century, the survivors retreated into the pyramidal Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta that explode upwards from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Their homeland – the world’s highest coastal mountain range – comprises every distinct climatic ecosystem in Colombia, from coastal wetlands and equatorial rainforest to alpine tundra and glacial peaks. Declared by Unesco in 1979 as a Biosphere Reserve of Man and Humanity, the mountain range was named as the most irreplaceable ecosystem on Earth by Science journal in 2013.

The three communities, who still total about 90,000, according to non-profit organisation Cultural Survival) call themselves the ‘Elder Brothers’ and are ruled by mamos, who maintain an ancient cosmovision (a conscious, cognitive interpretation of the world) based on a worship and custodianship of Mother Nature.

The mamos believe themselves uniquely possessed of a mystical wisdom. Izquierdo, like fellow mamos, spent his entire youth in intense spiritual training. Chosen by divination and sequestered for 18 years from birth to adulthood within dark confines near the summit of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, they’re inculturated in their societal values until they master a cosmic consciousness that they believe permits them to commune with the planet directly. “They learn to work as hidden-spirit midwives to all life, keeping it in balance,” explained Alan Ereira, a documentary filmmaker and founder of the Tairona Heritage Trust.

After the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century, the Tairona retreated to Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains (Credit: Christopher P Baker)

“The thoughts of our ancestors are embedded in every rock and other element in which humans have contact,” said Izquierdo, who holds to Arhuaco belief that we exist in a conscious universe where all material things have life and awareness. It’s unfathomable to them that ‘modern man’ does not believe the Earth consciously experiences the harm we inflict on it.

“They cannot understand why it is that we do what we do to the Earth,” said Wade Davis, an anthropologist and former National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who spent many years studying and living among the Arhuaco.

Surrounded by almost impassable jungle (and in recent decades caught in the crossfire between the Colombian Army, Farc guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries), this ‘lost’ indigenous people lived for five centuries in almost complete isolation and obscurity, steadfastly guarding their territory against outside intrusion. Despite this isolation, their consciousness and cosmovision charges them with the responsibility of maintaining the harmony of nature and the universe on behalf of all mankind.

The thoughts of our ancestors are embedded in every rock and other element in which humans have contact

Three decades ago, the indigenous people of the Sierra realised that the sacred Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta snow caps ­– for them, the literal heart of the world – were melting. The páramos (high-altitude savanna) were drying up. Amphibians and butterflies were disappearing. In 1987, concerned that climate change was impacting the cosmos, they established the Organización Indígena Gonawindúa Tayrona to represent the mamos at a governmental level.

The Kogi were the most traditional and withdrawn group, and according to Ereira, they were fearful that their work of taking care of the world would be disrupted and damaged by contact. But in 1990, their mamos decided that, without drastic change, all would be lost, so they persuaded their people that they had to go public, and they invited Ereira to film From the Heart of the World: The Elder Brothers’ Warning.

But their aching exhortation of ecological disharmony and potential disaster fell on deaf ears. Two decades later, they called Ereira back to make a sequel: Aluna. “They had to do better, driven by fear of what they see will happen next,” Ereira said.

As the world accelerates towards calamity, the Sierra peoples’ self-awareness as wards for the Earth’s ecological welfare has taken on a sense of urgency.

The Arhuaco maintain an ancient cosmovision based on a worship and custodianship of Mother Nature (Credit: Christopher P Baker)

While in Bogotá researching a National Geographic guidebook to Colombia, I was introduced to Arhuaco political representative (and future Senate candidate) Danilo Villafañe Torres. Known as ‘El Canciller’ (the Chancellor) and ‘Gran Hermano’ (Big Brother), Villafañe inherited the mantle of tribal leader at age 23 from his father, Adalberto, who was killed in 1996 by drug traffickers for opposing illegal coca plantations on Arhuaco land. Villafañe invited me to visit the ‘heart of the world’ in the care of Izquierdo.

“Brother Christopher is here to share our message with the Younger Brothers,” Izquierdo said to the border guard. He dipped his hand into a beautifully hand-woven zijew (shoulder bag) and withdrew a handful of coca leaves. The guard did the same. They exchanged leaves as a symbol of sharing and goodwill.

We were attempting to enter the Resguardo Arhuaco. Occupying a vast tract of land on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the community’s autonomous territory was granted legal recognition by the Colombian government in 1983. (The Kogi occupy their own resguardo on the northern slopes; the Wiwa, to the south-east.)

The sullen guard scrutinised me with disdain.

Izquierdo – known by the honorific Mamo Menjavi – spoke again, more authoritatively. I heard the words ‘National Geographic’. At that, the custodian smiled, and the massive gates swung open, creaking on their rusting hinges.

The Arhuaco are one of the last uncorrupted indigenous civilisations to survive culturally intact since the time of the Aztecs and Incas (Credit: Christopher P Baker)

The ravine-slashed, boulder-strewn drive up the mountain from the village of Pueblo Bello would have challenged a goat. Few vehicles ever make this journey into the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. I felt honoured. Permission for bunachis (outsiders) to visit Nabusimake, the ‘capital’ of the Arhuaco resguardo, is rarely given. To be allowed entry to Nabusimake’s sacred walled inner sanctum is almost unheard of. ‘The entrance of non-indigenous is prohibited’ reads a sign above the thatch-topped entrance gate. For the lucky few who make it inside, photography is forbidden.

But the mamos held council the evening of my arrival and granted me permission to enter. The next day, I clambered up a narrow ladder beside the gate to photograph the hallowed hamlet, nestled in a small pine-scented plateau cusped by a mountain meniscus.

Huddled together against a rough mud-and-stone wall, three teenage girls giggled nervously, unsure whether to pose or flee. Younger children scattered. Women withdrew at my approach. The men – aloof, expressionless and haughtily proud – avoided eye contact, impervious to my presence as I walked a cobblestone thread between worlds. They eased past, mysterious as ghosts. Several wore cowboy hats and other sartorial accoutrements that set off their white Arhuaco attire.

Izquierdo smiled serenely. By contrast, he seemed pleased by my presence.

 

Permission for outsiders to visit Nabusimake, the ‘capital’ of the Arhuaco resguardo, is rarely given (Credit: Credit: Christopher P Baker)

Permission for outsiders to visit Nabusimake, the ‘capital’ of the Arhuaco resguardo, is rarely given (Credit: Christopher P Baker)

Indefatigable and inspired, the self-assured mamo is at the forefront of a third wave of Arhuaco initiatives that represent a huge leap beyond the unheeded warnings from their mountain refuge. Izquierdo champions opening up the resguardo for ethno-tourism and autonomous economic empowerment, such as the sale of Arhuaco crafts to the Younger Brothers.

Since 1995, various Arhuaco communities have organised themselves into cooperatives to produce and sell export-quality organic coffee. But as climate change pushes coffee production to cooler, higher mountain slopes, they’re now working to supplement coffee earnings with those from selling cacao. And as spiritual leader for Puerto Bello (the gateway village at the base of the mountains), Izquierdo has promoted the cultivation of sugarcane locally to produce panela (unrefined, organic raw brown sugar) for export.

“The idea is also to let the world know more about our culture,” Izquierdo said. “We want to carry the message that it is not simply to cultivate, but to cultivate with conscience,” he added, referring to organic farming, without harmful pesticides and other inputs, in harmony with Mother Nature.

The Sierra peoples’ self-awareness as wards for the Earth’s ecological welfare has taken on a sense of urgency (Credit: Christopher P Baker)

By integrating into the cash economy, the Arhuaco are gaining cultural recognition while deriving income to buy back, parcel by parcel, ancestral territory owned by Younger Brothers, Izquierdo explained. The ultimate goal is for the Arhuaco to control more than 190,000 hectares (almost half a million acres), reconstituting ancestral territories like a rombacabeza (jigsaw puzzle), piece by piece.

I watched, fascinated, as Izquierdo moistened a wooden stick with saliva and dipped it into a poporo (a gourd filled with lime from powdered seashells), a carry-over from pre-Columbian civilisation. Izquierdo extracted some lime, wiped it on a wad of coca leaves to enhance the coca’s stimulating effect, and stuffed the wad in his mouth.

The thick limescale, the hard residue that builds by incremental degree with each wipe around the rim of the gourd, is a living library of every thought underlying every stroke of the stick. For the Arhuaco, an individual’s every thought or dream is literally recorded by the metaphorical action of poporeando (dipping into the poporo). “We write our thoughts with it. It’s a record of a man’s entire life,” Izquierdo said.

Several members of the Arhuaco community champion opening the resguardo for ethno-tourism and autonomous economic empowerment (Credit: Christopher P Baker)

Equally, every knot in their intricately crafted zijews and clothing represents a thought or memory. I watched men perched on low wooden stools weaving cloth on ancient looms, deep in concentration as their deft fingers wove together the material world with that of spirit.

The idea is also to let the world know more about our culture

Every aspect of Arhuaco life is permeated with the symbolism of weaving. “Their central metaphor is a loom,” Davis said. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the very spindle from which the all-knowing Mother’s thread unwinds, turning possibility into reality, dreams and memory. The power of embedded thought is the very weft to the warp of their cosmovision.

Suddenly the meaning of the maguey thread that Izquierdo had handed me became clear. My experience with the Arhuaco was indelibly printed in that metaphorical umbilical cord. A cord uniting the past and present, the spiritual and material worlds, and my understanding – my thoughts, dreams and memory – of the Arhuaco’s cosmovision to be shared with the world.

  • Don’t Say They Didn’t Tell Us’

MESSAGE FROM THE BIG BROTHERS (03/27/2020)

We, the Mamos from the Heart of the World, that is also the Heart of the Universe, from our Sacred House. the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, greet all our younger brothers and sisters of all the races of the world, the great brotherhood, all masters, the lightworkers, all of those who are on the path to change consciousness, to those who are awakening to a new consciousness and also to all those who are still asleep. We invite you to reflect on what is obvious, what everyone is talking about, the message that crowns us all as a single unit, in a single pain, in a single suffering, as a single humanity that suffers, cries that it is broken and that has to rise empowered, different, freed from incomprehensible egos, from values that did not help, and from powers that left us weak and tired of carrying them and that did not help when we needed them most. The Mother spoke, life shouted it in our faces, nature revealed it, the unintentional fires screamed it as a Truth.

But we did not hear them, because we were busy with grandiose work for ourselves, because they did not touch us directly, because we were busy building a better tomorrow without knowing for whom or for what. Today, we cannot say that we were caught off guard, that we were not warned, that it was a surprise. Don’t say they didn’t tell us. We, the Mamos who have learned for hundreds of generations and lineages to take time to develop communication with the higher and lower dimensions, who lived for 18 years of our present life learning to silence our minds, to desensitize our biological bodies and our senses, to extinguish our egos, to put our minds to sleep so that they do not judge, do not sentence, do not condemn. In those years and until the end of our existence we continue to learn to be Mamos, by sharpening the senses of the higher being and training ourselves to perceive, with the senses of the soul and the heart, the whisper of the divinity carried by the wind, the breeze, the waters, the clouds, the mountains, the animals, the forests, the very small like the bacteria, the visible and invisible beings, as the guardians of our Sacred Sites. We have learned that they speak with the innocent laughter of children, in the old wisdom of the one who is already leaving, with the color of the clouds, in the melting of the Chundwas (snow peaks), in the birds that stopped flying, in the volcanoes that woke up perplexed and began to roar until they made Mother Earth tremble.

We the Mamos read it, understood it, witnessed it when the slow and accurate walk of the father sun changed, hugging Mother Earth until she was burned, and when the lunar cycles no longer aligned to direct life, the planting time and the harvest. Younger brothers and sisters, the things that may seem insignificant to you have an enormous meaning for us, the Mamos. In every natural event, in every manifestation the Mamos see a messenger and a message, a guardian, a teacher, a counselor, who offer us the opportunity to hear, to dialogue with them, with Mother Nature and with Mother Earth.Thus, we learn the power to lead without insisting that others follow us. We call those viruses, bacteria, those who do good things for us or who plague us, or alter our time and space, our Elder Brothers. Today, one single tiny entity is producing a huge disturbance forcing all of us to make a stop on our sacred pathway of life.

For us, the Mamos, when Mother Earth had her first dawn everything was manifested from the spirit, in Ánugwe. Then, everything was manifested in Ti’naÁnugwe is the immaterial force of existence, the intangible and greater “Law Force” that governs and controls everything that exists in nature and in the cosmos. Ti’na is the force in the material way, visible and manifested from Ánugwe. Thus, all kingdoms, animals, plants, waters, rocks, and everything that exists are manifested in Ti’na. They came first, ahead of us, in Ánugwe,where they manifested as the supreme force of life, of creation, and thus they had tocontinue in Ti’na. We were the last to arrive in Ánugwe and Ti’na. We arrived yesterday, and although we have not yet been able to understand what we came for, or why we were the last, nor what would be our sacred mission, or why did we come to be with the elder brothers, we became their executioners and as cannibals we began to consume and destroy many of them. We have altered the order established by the Most Sacred Law of the Universe, the Law of Origin, which is the Law of Order, of life and of respect for the inner being We have not learned to put ourselves at the height of Mother Earth, nor of Nature. As capricious children blinded by the power of reason, we begin to change everything, destroying, annihilating everything in our path.

We were so powerful that in a blink of an eye we overheated the planet, thawed the poles, causing many brothers of flora and fauna to disappear. We polluted the breeze and the air. Very few have acted with a consciousness of transformation wanting to change the system. That chaos is what today governs us. Until now, we were playing with fire. We put ourselves off balance. And then, a virus, the smallest of the elementals, the most insignificant creature before the eyes of the younger brothers forced us to stop the pursuit of the race, without knowing after what we were running. That virus became a great teacher, an authentic messenger.

From our communication sites with the portals from the different dimensions, we, the Mamos, perceive that this teacher is fed by fear, vibrates with it and is empowered by the fear that he perceives in all of us who feel terrified of losing what we have, what we built or planned to build. As humanity we have been crowned with the vibration of fear. From the Sacred sites the Guardians send us courage and we Mamos add to this courage a good dose of solidarity, unconditional love and self-confidence in ourselves to spread it to others as an effective shield against fear.

We, the Mamos, speak with Mother Earth, we speak with life and with beings from all kingdoms. From our sacred offices we ask for forgiveness, first for ourselves, our neighbors, the breeze, the water, the animals and the plants. We heal them, we balance them, because by healing and balancing our Elder Brothers, we heal and balance ourselves, because everything is integrated into the whole by interacting with each other and with ourselves. Only when we achieve the new balance will the New Humanity be empowered by solidarity, giving way to the New Earth, promoted, honored, respected and loved. Then, not only will pure air be possible, not only will healthy animals be possible, will plants be possible, but each element, each being will be fulfilling its mission, without being destroyed, violated, by what is called development, civilization, modernity and which we, the Mamos, call unconsciousness.

Our Sacred Mother Earth will be protected when we as humanity make the resolution to do things respecting and revering all life. For us, the Mamos, this is an invitation to change and transform ourselves without aggression, with love and kindness. It is something that you talk about the transformation or mutations that modern viruses are doing. The Mamos see this as an approaching reality that we can reach with the greatest humility that will assist us with the absolute truth of being able to apologize to ourselves and to all brothers and our elder brothers, to have a change in attitude, a transformation of consciousness and habits of thinking before this sacred planet, before this sacred mother and before our sacred elder brothers.

We have demonstrated how powerful we are to change, to transform. Let’s use the same power to mutate our consciousness adding a strong dosage of love, compassion, respect and reverence for life without rejecting with pride or arrogance the elder brothers of nature, because they were here ahead of us. Mother Earth, the Guardians of our Sacred Sites, the Mamos of the Chundwas are calling all of us, mobilizing Mamos and younger brothers and sisters to work together bringing that change in humanity and in the world. May power, light and love be with all of us to make that transformation during this time of change.

Duni.

Mamo Dwawiku Izquierdo, Mamo Arhuaco from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

Compiled and translated by Amanda Bernal-Carlo, President, The Great Balance

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  • Aluna: A Message to Little Brother

by charles eisentein https://charleseisenstein.org/essays/aluna-a-message-to-little-brother/

A black line, a network of hidden connections, links all the sacred places on earth. If that line should be broken, calamities will ensue, and this beautiful world shall perish. Destroying a forest here, draining a swamp there might have dire consequences across the globe. The Kogi shamans cannot perform their work of maintaining the balance of nature much longer in the face of our depredations.

How are we to interpret this warning coming from the Kogi people of the Sierra Madre in Colombia, delivered through their latest film, Aluna?

Contemporary Western viewers may respond to the film with resistance and skepticism. The old guard will undoubtedly reproduce the violence of well-worn colonial discourses, dismissing the Kogi’s message as primitive magico-religious thinking. For the ethnically sensitive, such a crude dismissal is passé. Today we have more sophisticated ways to deafen ourselves to what the Kogi are telling us.

The first we might call “ontological imperialism.” It would be to say, “Yes, the Kogi are onto something after all. The black line is a metaphor for ecological interconnectedness. Their talk of the voice of water is code for the hydrological cycle. They are keen observers of nature and have articulated scientific truths in their own cultural language.” That sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? It gives them credit for being astute observers of nature. However, this view takes for granted that basal reality is that of scientific materialism, thereby disallowing the conceptual categories and causal understandings of the Kogi. It says that fundamentally, we understand the nature of reality better than they do.

If their message were merely, “We must take better care of nature,” then the above understanding would be sufficient. But the Kogi are inviting us into a much deeper change than that. Do we understand the nature of reality better than they do? It once seemed so, but today the fruits of our supposed understanding—social and ecological crisis—gnaw at our surety.

A second and related way that Western viewers may resist the Kogi’s message is through what Edward Said called “Orientalism”—the distortion (romanticizing, demonizing, exaggerating, reducing) of another culture to conform it to a comfortable and self-serving narrative. An Orientalist response to Aluna would seek to turn the Kogi into a kind of cultural or spiritual fetish object, subsuming them into our own cultural mythology, perhaps by making them into an academic subject and stuffing their beliefs and way of life into various ethnographic categories. In that way we make them safe, we make them ours. It is just another kind of imperialism.

We might do the same by inserting their messages into a comfortable silo called “indigenous wisdom,” elevating the Kogi to superhuman status and, in the process, dehumanizing them as well. It is not true respect to worship an image—the reverse image of our own shadow—that we project onto another culture. Real respect seeks to understand someone on their own terms.

I am happy to say that Aluna avoids both traps (of imperialism and Orientalism). What makes this film remarkable is that fundamentally it is not a documentary. I have always been a little uncomfortable with documentaries about other cultures, even those that avoid the overtly patronizing tone of “look at those happy natives,” because they of necessity objectify their subjects, turning them into the material of a (video) “document.” By documenting others, we incorporate them into our world, into a safe educational or entertainment or inspirational frame, and into the “society of the spectacle.” But this film is not a documentary.

Reversing Colonialism

Who is the filmmaker here? Ordinarily one would say it was Alan Ereira, a former BBC producer who produced it. But that’s not what he says, and that’s not what the Kogi say either. According to them, the Kogi noticed the accelerating degradation of the planet and contacted the outside world to deliver a message that we must stop the destruction. They did so first in the early 1990s with the BBC documentary From the Heart of the World, after which they again withdrew from contact.

Obviously, we didn’t heed their message. “We must not have spoken it clearly enough,” they concluded, and so they sought out Ereira again to make a sequel. Fittingly, this is not a masterly production in conventional terms. Ereira appears to be in a little over his head, guileless, uncertain, and humble. These qualities are palpable throughout and contribute to one’s confidence that the Kogi and their message have not been conveniently packaged for commercialization or ecospiritual objectification. It is a raw and honest film.

The cynical observer, practiced with the tools of post-colonial analysis, might think that the assertion that “the Kogi have requested this film be made in order to convey their message” is a mere cinematic trope, or a way to preempt charges of exoticism, Orientalism, and cultural appropriation. However, that analysis is itself a kind of colonialism, based as it is on the patronizing assumption that the Kogi must be the helpless pawns of the filmmaker. It discounts the Kogi’s own explicit assertion that they have called the filmmaker back in order to transmit an important message to “little brother” (the industrialized world).

Dare we take the Kogi at face value? Dare we hold them in full agency as authors not only of this film, but of a message sent to us on their initiative? To do so reverses the power relations implicit in even the most post-colonially sensitive ethnography, in which the distinction between the ethnographic subject and the ethnographer is usually preserved in some form (and institutionalized when, with all due disclaimers, it appears in academic publications). Anthropologists don’t normally grant ethnographic populations agency as the originators of messages to academia.

The Kogi are not interested in being studied. They have not allowed anthropologists to live among them. They have not let their civilization become an object within ours. They, in fact, have been studying us—and with increasing alarm. “We have warned little brother,” they tell us, “and little brother has not listened.”

The Gift of Humility

In one telling scene, the Kogi mama (shaman) Shibulata visits an astronomical observatory in England. The astronomer is struck by the fact that Shibulata evinces no desire to learn from Western science, no curiosity about the telescope. He shows him photographs of galaxies invisible to the naked eye. The mama is not impressed. He is here to teach us, not to learn from us. Perhaps he recognizes the telescope as another manifestation of the same desire to conquer nature that has destroyed the forests and rivers and mangrove swamps near his home. He also displays an uncanny power, picking out from a large photograph the single star in it among multitudinous galaxies and other objects. Naming it, he says, “That star is not visible to our eyes.”

In this film, the colonial gaze is turned back on the colonizers—sternly, imploringly, and with very great love. The Kogi tell us, “You mutilate the world because you don’t remember the Great Mother. If you don’t stop, the world will die.” Please believe us, they say. You must stop doing this. “Do you think we say these words for the sake of talking? We are speaking the truth.”

Why hasn’t “little brother” listened? It has been over twenty years since the Kogi first spoke their message to the modern world. I think perhaps we have not listened because we have not yet inhabited the humility that this film embodies. We continue to try to somehow box, contain, and reduce the Kogi and their message so that it can rest comfortably in our existing Story of the World. The Kogi themselves say that thought is the scaffolding of matter; that without thought, nothing could exist. The official Aluna website describes the Kogi’s view thusly: “We are not just plundering the world, we are dumbing it down, destroying both the physical structure and the thought underpinning existence.” The conceptual reduction of the Kogi, and indigenous groups generally, to academic subjects, museum specimens, New Age fetish-objects, exploitable labor, or tourist spectacles is part of this dumbing down.

Thankfully, the requisite humility to truly hear the Kogi is fast upon us, born of—what else?—humiliation. As our dominant cultural mythology falls apart, we face repeated humiliation in the failure of our cherished systems of technology, politics, law, medicine, education, and more. Only with increasingly strenuous and willful ignorance can we deny that the grand project of “civilization” has failed. We see now that what we do to nature we do to ourselves; that its conquest brings our death. The utopian mirage of the technologist and the social engineer recedes ever further into the distance.

The breakdown of our categories and narratives, the breakdown of our Story of the World, gives us the gift of humility. That is the only thing that can open us to receive the teachings of the Kogi and other indigenous people—to truly receive them, and not merely insert them into some comfortable silo called “indigenous wisdom,” as if they were a museum piece or a spiritual acquisition.

I am not suggesting that we adopt, part and parcel, the entire Kogi cosmology. We need not imitate their shamanic practices or learn to listen to bubbles in the water. What we must do is embrace the core understanding that motivates the attempt to listen to water in the first place: the understanding that nature is alive and intelligent, bearing certain qualities of a self that Western thought has arrogated to human beings alone. We must make it no longer an Other; we must grant to nature the same agency that this film humbly grants to the Kogi. Then we will find our own ways of listening.

What Does Nature Want?

The modern mind does not easily comprehend the idea of the intelligence of nature except through anthropomorphizing or deifying it—another attempt at conquest. That would impose upon nature the same neocolonial attitude that this film does not impose upon the Kogi, and it is contrary to their message. Living much closer to nature than we in industrialized society, the Kogi can be under no illusion that nature is always nice, fair, and pleasant. From a dualistic mindset, the putative “intelligence of nature” looks like a capricious, evil intelligence. If you or I were in charge, we’d do better, wouldn’t we? We wouldn’t arrange for 999 tadpoles out of a thousand never to achieve froghood. We wouldn’t write so much suffering and death into nature. We would improve on nature. Such is the conceit of civilization as we know it.

To the extent we participate in modern society, “you and I” have been in charge. Look at what has happened to the world. Maybe it is time for younger brother—to see through different eyes.

Granting subjectivity and agency to nature and everything in it does not mean to grant human subjectivity andhuman agency, making them into storybook versions of us. It means asking, “What does the land want? What does the river want? What does the planet want?”—questions that seem crazy from the perspective of nature-as-thing.

The Kogi are not talking about a non-material, supernatural spirit to infuse consciousness into otherwise dead matter. For the Kogi, matter is not a container for thought; matter is thought made manifest, the thought of the Mother. Their beliefs are not actually supernatural, not in the sense of abstracting spirit (and all that goes with it like sacredness, consciousness, etc.) out from matter. To do so denies the inherent beingness of nature just as much as standard scientific materialism does.

Materialism, however, isn’t what it used to be. Science is evolving, recognizing that nature is composed of interdependent systems within systems within systems, just as a human body is; that soil mycorrhizal networks are as complex as brain tissue; that water can carry information and structure; that the earth and even the sun maintain homeostatic balance just as a body does. We are learning that order, complexity, and organization are fundamental properties of matter, mediated through physical processes that we recognize—and perhaps by others we do not. The excluded spirit is coming back to matter, not from without but from within.

So the question, “What does nature want?” does not depend for its coherency on anything supernatural, an external intelligence. The “wanting” is an organic process, an entelechy born of relationship, a movement toward an unfolding wholeness.

A Non-Utilitarian Argument Against Ecocide

In that understanding, we can no longer cut down forests and drain swamps, dam rivers and fragment ecosystems with roads, dig pit mines and drill gas wells with impunity. The Kogi say, to do so damages the whole body of nature, just as if you cut off a person’s limb or removed an organ. The well-being of all depends on the well-being of each. We cannot cut down one forest here and plant another there, assuring ourselves through the calculus of net carbon dioxide that we have done no damage. How do we know that we have not removed an organ? How do we know we have not destroyed what the Kogi call an esuana—a key node on the black thread scaffolding the natural world? How do we know we have not destroyed a sacred tree, what the Kogi call “the father of the species,” upon which the whole species depends?

Until we can know it, we’d best refrain from committing further ecocide on any scale. Each intact estuary, river, forest, and wetlands that remains to us, we must treat as sacred, while restoring whatever we can. The Kogi say we are close to the dying of the world.

As the film makes clear, science is beginning to recognize what the Kogi have always known. An invisible web of causality does indeed connect every place on Earth. Building a road that cuts off the natural water flow at a key site might initiate a cascade of changes—more evaporation, salinization, vegetation die-off, flooding, drought—that have far-reaching effects. We must understand that as exemplfying a general principle of interconnectedness; furthermore, we must see the aliveness and intelligence of the world. As the Kogi say in the film, “If you knew she could feel, you would stop.”

Otherwise, we are left only with the logic of instrumental utilitarianism as reason to protect nature—save the rainforest because of its value to us. But that mindset is part of the problem. We need more love, not more self-interest. We know it is wrong to exploit another person for our own gain, because another person is a full subject with her own feelings, desires, pain, and joy. If we knew that nature too were a full subject, we would stop ravaging her as well.

Aluna brings this knowing a little closer. Only by hardening our hearts can we view the film’s images of filled-in swamps and bare, scarred mountains, and disbelieve that something is feeling very great pain. Only by the colonialistic dismissal of an entire culture’s cosmology and ways of knowing, can we uphold our own dying mythology of nature as an insensate source of materials and repository of wastes. The sober indignation of the Kogi defies easy dismissal. It is not hard to believe that they—the largest intact civilization that has remained separate from global industrialized society—are indeed “Elder Brother.” It is not hard to believe their warning. To act on it, though, might require the same courage, patience, and wisdom the film reveals in the Kogi.

Free yourselves from mental slavery part 1

  • Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery: The origin and meaning behind Bob Marley’s Redemption song.

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”

“Redemption Song” by Bob Marley

Those words are widely associated with the lyrics in “Redemption Song” by Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley:

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.

The Work That Has Been Done, Marcus Garvey, October 31, 1937, Sydney Nova Scotia

Few know those sentences and thereby the song’s true meaning. Those words can be traced to Marcus Garvey. In fact though Garvey’s movement was disparaged as being a “Back to Africa” movement, Garvey and his supporters refer to it as a movement for “African Redemption,” which has a reference in the song’s title. The earliest known reference to the concept of “African Redemption” can be found in a letter written by Benjamin Lundy on May 28th, 1833. The letter was addressed to the Annual Convention of Free People of Color Convention due to meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lundy’s words to that effect are as follows:

A new era has opened upon the world! The “dark age” of African oppression is drawing to its close; and the happy “millennium” of African redemption is near at hand! Let the inhabitants of that ill-fated continent rejoice, and her children wherever scattered, sing praises to the Most High, on the “banks of deliverance.”

In Garvey’s only work that can be considered an actual book “The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey” Volume 1 is “Dedicated to the true and loyal members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the cause of African redemption.”

Thereby it can be claimed Bob Marley paraphrased Marcus Garvey’s speech “The Work That Has Been Done” for not only that key lyric, but the song’s title as well. The speech is presented in its entirety below.

Marcus Garvey with quote on emancipation from mental slavery, the next stage of human development.

Emancipation from mental slavery

Scientists said once that the Negro was the missing link, but now they realize that the Negro is the oldest man in creation. He is so old that he is black, and everything darkens by age, therefore he could not be the missing link. Something must be missing from his link. That the Negro is old and that accounts for his colour there is a lot behind it. Because once upon a time we were a great people. We built the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When history is written in truth you will find that the first civilization was projected from the Nile on the Congo Basin. In the earliest dawn of civilization you found the Negro in Benin, in Timbuktoo, in Alexandria. Anthropologists will tell you that the Pharoahs were black men. When they dug up the mummy of Tutankamen and saw he was a black man they would not tell you the truth. Civilization went across the north to Europe to India, to China, all the way down and proved that the black man had circumnavigated the world. The North American Indian, the Australian Aboriginal, the Aztecs of South America were all people who became what they were through the contact of Africans who had travelled across the continents when they were carrying their civilization, just as how the great white man is travelling around the world to-day and planting the evidence of his race, but before modern history was written and produced in the different continents there were different shades of colour, each had their original civilization. Like all great people we fell. The present civilization is not the only one that existed, but before this we had Roman civilization, Greek Civilization, Persian civilization, Babylonian civilization, and even medieval Egyptian civilization, but the Negro civilization anti-dated that.

The African went down with his blundering civilization, the Persian, the Greek, the Roman all went down and we do not know how long this civilization will stand with its Mussolinis and its Hitlers. Civilization is a cycle. It changes. I should like to see black and white get on so well toghether that the black man will remember how kind he was. It is the only way we are going to get along because man is man for that.

The white man is no missing link, nor the black man, nor the yellow man either. Surely no animal could achieve what Marconi did, what Edison did, what the great engineers did, what the great scientists did. Surely no man could do what the Japanese are doing, no missing link could do what Carver is doing at Tuskegee. He is the greatest chemist to-day, who can bring out of one product so many chemicals.

No monkey could do what the brown bomber did to the Welshman. If man will let a monkey beat him then he is lower than a monkey. We are men whether we are white, yellow or black, because we have one origin. We came from the same place and we are going back to the same place. The Negro went to sleep for a long while, resting from his labours, but he slept too long, so everybody stole a march on him and therefore he is the only man without a country; and so the U.N.I.A. seeks to restore the Negro to his own vine and fig tree. Economically, for his own interest, the white man will not like it, but deep down in his heart he will say that the Negro is right.

I would like to see Canada for the Canadians, England for the English, America for the Americans and in the same way I want to see Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad, so that when we are sick and tired and weary we may lay our heads in the lap of our mother and ask her to comfort us, bless us before we die. Every people should have a flag, a land of their own, and the U.N.I.A. points you to achieve something. A large number of you were and are members and I bring you the greetings of those in the other parts of the world.

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign.

The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind, because man is related to man under all circumstances for good or for ill. If man is not able to protect himself from the other man he should use his mind to good advantage.

The fool will always carry the heavy burden. The fool will always be crushed without a tear from God or man because God Almight never made a fool.

God is all wise. When God Almight made man in His own image and likeness, it wasn’t the physical, it was the mind that was like God. Every man represents God in his unitary intelligence.

When man abuses that intelligence he lowers himself. God has given you intelligence to take care of you. He hasn’t repeated Himself yet. God was so thoughtful of man and his progeny that he made a variety of things so as to pander to the taste of the Adams that would come after the first.

When God made you He made you the masters of the world, not serfs and slaves, but your mind must be developed intelligently. It is your mind that rules the body. You cannot go further than that mind to seek truth and to know truth and to re-act to truth.

That is the only way you will be able to protect your group. The white man is still doing research work with his mind. It has taken him to the bowels of the earth to extract what nature placed there for him. On that same intelligence he has gone into Heaven. What you see in Sydney, in Nova Scotia is only the fringe of the white man’s intelligence. Everything that you see that is methodical is the product of the white man’s mind. He visualizes nations and kingdoms and he has them. There is nothing spiritual around his materialism.

They are all objective things realized, dreamt and thought out. Sydney is only what men have visualized to a greater extent. The British Empire was the visualization of men like Raleigh, and Drake, who seeing things of value, attached them to the mother country. If places are not well protected then men take them and add them to their Empires.

The U.N.I.A. is dreaming of a day when the Negro will possess himself of a homeland, when he will build for himself. The man who cannot build for himself is not only a poor fish in the sea, but ultimately will be a dead fish, plodding for himself.

Nobody wants to die except the fool, because life is a worth-while thing. It is only people who are together can survive now-a-days. It is only by organising that we can get anywhere, as the Mayor told you. We are looking for the redemption and the freedom of our homeland. (We hope, sir, to invite you to Sydney, in Africa, because there we shall have different things than you have in Canada.)

Our obsession is like that of the Jews. They are working for Palestine. We are working for Africa, like the Irishman, he is working for Ireland, and the Canadian is working for a grand and noble Canada. We are helping to send on the great force of power of Canadian industry when the Canadians will realize that they too can help us to do some good as we have been helping them to do some good. We have been helping to build and up to now we are not dead, we have not fallen. The Negro has the power of resistance. He can do the job. I feel sure, as you have done in the past, you will continue in the future, whether I come here or not. Remember the primary purpose that has brought me here — goodwill, co-operation, unity from the rest of your fellows in the United States, Africa and the West Indies. We have celebrated the happiness, the glory of our Organization’s accomplishments. We have had our ups and downs and failures, but that was only a drop in the bucket. If the Mayor were to tell you of the failures of his race, you would wonder at their patience. When the Liberals fail they go out of office and let the Conservatives go in, and the Government goes on. If you Negroes have a penny bank and it fails, you swear that you will never put another penny in it again. You should kick out the first dishonest man and put in an honest one. That is why you will have to it swim to Barbados, Trinidad and Demerara. You know how many times the Canadian Pacific failed until they now have their wonderful system? The only way you can be happy is to lay the foundation in one generation for the succeeding generation. If you do not build ships for the next generation you will always be walking.

Take the white race, sometimes you see an old man president of the bank, knowing well that their grandchildren are coming after them and they are storing up for their generations to come after. Our disposition is to eat everything and let the boy work for his. We cannot treat our children as our fathers treated us, so do not eat up everything you get, for God’s sake. Remember that the boy who is coming up is to carry on until God comes. Do not be here as serfs and slaves because God never made you anything else but men.

Whatever that has happened to the man it is his own mind that puts him there. He has abused the force of power of that mind. Men can create the environment to suit himself. When you do not use your intelligence you fall and will be submerged. It is because we do not live up to the state of our intelligence why we suffer so much.

Before I close, I want to appeal to you to use your intelligence to work out the real things of life. You have to apply that intelligence to the management of your own individual and collective racial affairs. Every race has to lok after its own affairs. You have formulated no legal or moral claim. That is why people are taking away Africa today, just how Mussolini took away Ethiopia because he thought the Ethiopians had no use for it. One man used his intelligence and knocked out while the other tried to pray.

The time you waste in levity, in non-essentials, if you use it properly you will be able to guarantee to your posterity a condition better than you inherited from your forefathers. The U.N.I.A. is carrying throughout the world the message of goodwill. The message is going on. It has reached you. It will go to others, so that we may have one outlook, one purpose in life. I do hope the friendship will continue, sir, economically, politically and that you will never have cause to believe that we are not what we seem. (Cheers.)

The Chairman, Rev. Ford: Speaking on behalf of the peoples of this community permit me to say that hey have enjoyed this message of goodwill immensely. Please take back for us the message that we, in Cape Breton, shall stretch out the curtains of our habitation with this in view — one God, one aim, one destiny. I have spent over six years in college learning the various ologies, but to-night you have taught me one ology and that is Negro ology. The hon. Marcus Garvey told you to-night that the man who doesn’t love his people cannot love his God. This is an epoch-making event. Let us bind ourselves together, not only when he is here, but when he is gone, so that we may be lifted up with wings as he goes.

  • I can’t Breathe” is the expression of the Crisis of the modern world.

I can’t breathe is  sure the slogan associated with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. The phrase is derived from the words of Eric Garner and George Floyd, two African-American men who died of asphyxiation during their arrests in 2014 and 2020, respectively, as a result of excessive force by primarily white police officers. The phrase is used in protest against police brutality in the United States.

But this protest, this Cry show us the real problem of the Modern man:

Modern man is a human without Soul, without the “Living Breath”.

The protest is the expression of  his deep spiritual Crisis in the times of deep ignorance.. Read more here

Free yourselves from mental slavery – part 2

“The crisis in sense, meaning, and identity doesn’t just push people into cults and conspiracy theories, it also makes mainstream belief systems more cult-like.”

      • From QAnon’s Dark Mirror, Hope

By Charles Eisenstein

A dark mirror shows features one would rather not see. You gaze at the repulsive visage in the picture frame, the caricature of everything despicable, only to realize with dawning horror that you are looking not at a portrait but at a mirror.

The political defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 election is a crossroads for the quasi-political movement grouped loosely around the QAnon conspiracy myth and, more broadly, around Trump himself. Because the man and the movement were a dark mirror for the whole of society, it is also a crossroads for society.

For those unfamiliar with it, the QAnon movement started early in the Trump administration when a mysterious person, calling himself Q and claiming to be an administration insider, began posting cryptic messages on internet message boards, particularly 8Chan. These consisted of hints and promises that Donald Trump was executing a masterly plan to vanquish his enemies, uproot the Deep State, and restore America to greatness. Their mantra, by which followers (call QAnons) kept the faith, was “Trust the plan.” However bad it looked for Trump, victory was just around the corner.

At the present writing (late November, 2020) it would seem that the QAnons would have no choice but to abandon the faith. Not so. In various corners of the right wing alternative media, one may still read desperate theories about how Trump’s apparent defeat is a ploy to set up his master stroke. Even after he is deposed, even if he goes to prison, the myth will only change shape, since it is merely an outcropping of a much larger, long-established mythos, driven by repressed social and psychological forces. The same holds for Trumpism generally. It is thus important to gaze into this dark mirror and see what has been hidden; otherwise we will face one of two grim possibilities, each worse than the other. (1) In a few years a new and more formidable demagogue will arise to channel the repressed forces toward a fascist coup. (2) A neoliberal corporatocracy, costumed in the garb of progressive values, will consolidate its already well-developed powers of surveillance, censorship, and control to establish a techno-totalitarian state that will attempt to repress those forces forever.

I would like to offer another alternative that becomes possible when we look into the mirror and meet the aforementioned repressed forces at their source. Healing, rather than victory, is its formative ideal. I call it the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

A Comforting Mythology

It is understandable why so many people have celebrated the defeat of Trump, a man who presided over the deliberate separation of immigrant children from their parents, who needlessly provoked Russia and China, who gave free pass to some of the worst of American’s racist tendencies, who green-lighted new levels of environmental destruction, who pushed regime-change operations in Venezuela and Bolivia, and so on. Yet it is also true that the incoming Biden administration is rife with Wall Street insiders, neocon war hawks, intelligence agency officials, prison-industrial complex cheerleaders, and representatives of Big Pharma, Big Data, and pretty much Big Everything. Neither Joe Biden nor the Democratic Party has been a particularly effective champion of racial equity, environmental protection, economic fairness, or world peace for a very long time. Biden himself cavorted with overt racists in his early career, was a key architect of mass incarceration, has been a consistent supporter of America’s foreign wars, and has done numerous favors for Wall Street. An unpleasant surprise awaits anyone who thinks that much will improve now that the bad guys are out and the good guys are in.

It would be convenient if the problem with America were Donald Trump, bad people who worked with him, and ignoramuses and dupes who supported him. If so, we could breathe a sigh of relief that with the election a victory over evil has been won.

Ironically, the ideology of QAnon is an exaggerated version of this same basic thoughtform. It says that a group of diabolical people are responsible for the evil in the world, and that if they could be expunged, the world could be healed. In QAnon’s mythology, the locus of evil is the Deep State, an elite cabal interpenetrating government, corporations, banks, and other elite institutions, and the champion of Good is Donald Trump who, with superhuman subtlety, foresight, and skill, wages a 4D chess struggle against them.

The QAnon mythology offers three degrees of comfort. First, at a time of social and economic breakdown, it assuages the discomfort of uncertainty by making the world understandable. Second, it absolves its followers of complicity in the problem (in contrast to blaming reigning systems, which implicate pretty much everyone to some extent and admits no ready solution). Third, it offers a hero, a savior, a Good Father who will set things aright, and upon whom one might project one’s own unfulfilled expression of greatness.

It is so tempting to personify good and evil, to locate each in the person of whomever appears most conspicuously in the dramas offered for our consumption. One side holds Donald Trump in exactly the same way that the other holds George Soros and Bill Gates. Personifying evil offers the comfort of knowing at least in principle how to solve the world’s problems. There is someone to destroy, to expunge, to defeat, to cancel, or to silence. Problem solved. The standard Hollywood movie script is also the script for war and also, it seems, the script for a lot of today’s political discourse.

I have been counseled to issue a public denunciation of QAnon, to which I reply that I am not in the business of denouncing anyone. In clarifying who is friend and who is foe, denunciation reduces the target to the status of enemy. I won’t take sides in the culture war, not because I think both sides are equal or that all viewpoints are equally true, but because (1) I believe that the blind spots both sides share are more significant, and more dangerous, than their disagreements, and (2) Beneath the conflict is a hidden unity that will emerge when all parties humbly try to understand the other.

QAnon has done considerable damage to people’s lives and to the body politic in the context of Trumpian neofascism and persistent systemic racism. Yet to reduce it and its followers entirely to those terms is to commit the same error – and derive much the same comfort – that QAnon itself does in its reduction of a complex situation to a drama of good versus evil. In doing that we sacrifice real understanding in favor of a narrative that divides the world into good guys and bad guys.

Daniel Schmactenberger puts it well when he says, “If you feel a combination of outraged, scared, emotional, and very certain with a strong enemy hypothesis, you have been captured by somebody’s narrative warfare, and you think it’s your own thinking.” Visit the enemy territory, he counsels, and see what the world looks like from there.

Who among their critics asks, “What hidden truth seeks expression in the QAnon phenomenon? What truth rides upon its myths?” In an essay last spring, I catalogued some truths that ride the New World Order conspiracy myth (of which QAnon is a variant); for example, that an inhuman power rules the world; that those we call leaders are its puppets; that established authority has betrayed our trust. In it I wrote:

The conspiracy myth embodies the realization of a profound disconnect between the public postures of our leaders and their true motivations and plans. It bespeaks a political culture that is opaque to the ordinary citizen, a world of secrecy, image, PR, spin, optics, talking points, perception management, narrative management, and information warfare. No wonder people suspect that there is another reality operating behind the curtains.

That QAnon is rife with Islamophobia, racism, and other flavors of bigotry does not erase the validity of these basic intuitions. It does, though, illustrate the tragic nature of the QAnon phenomenon, which diverts an authentic populist revolt onto vain dreams and ready divisions. This is also, in part, the tragedy of Donald Trump. Much of what I will say about QAnon applies to Trumpism in general.

The simplifying explanation for why so many people voted for Donald Trump is that he gives vent to their covert racism, hate, and fear. Certainly, the United States is home to many inveterate racists, and racism to this day exerts a baleful influence on American society. However, the caricature of the racist Trump voter resentful of his declining status relative to people of color and hoping to uphold his dominance and privilege against progressive social trends leaves out a lot. It does not explain why millions of Obama voters voted for Trump in 2016 and presumably 2020. It does not explain why Trump won a greater percentage of minority votes than any Republican candidate since 1960, while his support among white men declined from 2016 to 2020. Invoking racism to explain away the Trump phenomenon prevents us from looking at an anti-establishment sentiment so intense that 74 million people would vote for a man who so often gives the appearance of being coarse, boastful, ignorant, phony, vain, corrupt, and incompetent.

If we continue to leave out all these things, I fear that sooner or later we will be confronted with an aspiring fascist who is younger, smoother, more charismatic, and more competent than Donald Trump. If we don’t accurately understand and address the root cause of Trumpism, that is what will happen in 2024. If Trump could almost win in 2020, imagine what such a man or woman could accomplish if the repressed forces that elevated Trump intensify.

Addictions and Cults

Hungry for what? Obviously something much more nourishing than what Q’s stories provided. That is why QAnon and the mythology from which it draws is so addictive (anything can be addictive that temporarily quells the pain of an unmet need without actually meeting it). Thus, QAnons went down the proverbial rabbit hole, eagerly awaiting their next fix of a Q post, shedding friends, alienating family, losing sleep, squandering countless unproductive hours to get one hit after another of indignation, feelings of superiority, assurance that they are right, and the above-mentioned comfort. Friends and family speak of losing loved ones to QAnon just as they speak of losing them to an addiction or a cult.

QAnon indeed displays many features of a cult. It draws people into an alternate reality, estranges them from friends and family, and exploits their need to belong. It attaches them to an in-group of believers, membership in which is completely dependent on what one says and believes (rather than acceptance for who one is). However, to understand QAnon and cults in general as parasites on the social body risks ignoring the conditions that invite those parasites in to begin with. Do we want merely to suppress the current outbreak? What will it take to heal the social body on a deeper level?

Cults prey upon the vulnerable. What makes someone vulnerable? First, a disintegration of a belief system that told a person who she is, how the world works, and what is real. Second, an unmet need to belong. The perfect candidate for cult recruitment is someone whose world has fallen apart, leaving them lonely and confused. It isn’t weak and stupid people who fall into cults. Anyone who holds a sanctimonious attitude toward QAnons and “conspiracy theorists” is deluding themselves.

I say this to remedy any sense of superiority one might obtain from reading my description of the false comforts of the QAnon mythology. Does it feel good to diagnose others’ spiritual pathologies? If so, it could be because we ourselves suffer a version of the same hunger we see in the dark mirror of QAnon. But really, who among us today has not suffered a breakdown in meaning or an unmet need to belong?

Today, a majority of society are prime candidates for cult recruitment. Our societal meaning-generating stories are in disarray. Fifty years ago, a broad mainstream of Western society believed in the march of progress. The world was getting better year by year and generation by generation. Soon, technological progress, liberal democracy, free market capitalism, and the social sciences would eliminate the age-old scourges of humankind: poverty, oppression, disease, crime, and hunger. Within that story, we knew who we were and how to make sense of the world. Life made sense within a linear narrative of progress that told us where we came from and where we were going.

The mythology of progress, of which the United States of America was the foremost paragon, told us life was supposed to get better with each generation. Instead, the opposite has happened. The mythology of progress told us of an age of plenty, yet today we have extreme income inequality and persistent or growing poverty in the West. It told us we would be healthier with each passing generation; again, the opposite has happened, as chronic diseases now afflict all age groups at unprecedented levels. It told us that the onward march of reason and rule of law would bring an end to war, crime, and tyranny, but levels of hate and violence have not dropped in the 21st century. It told us of an age of leisure, yet the workweek and vacation time has stagnated since the mid-20th century. It promised us happiness, yet today rates of divorce, depression, suicide, and addiction rise with each passing year.

Adding to all of this an undeniable ecological crisis, it is hard now to fully embrace the mythology of progress as a source of meaning and identity. With its failure to deliver on its promises, the wellspring of meaning for modern society now runs dry.

The resulting crisis in sense, meaning, and identity doesn’t just push people into cults and conspiracy theories, it also makes mainstream belief systems more cult-like. To some degree, major news outlets and social media provide exactly what the QAnon addiction did (indignation, feelings of superiority, assurance that they are right…) They also tend to “draw people into an alternate reality, estrange them from friends and family, and exploit their need to belong.” How many family gatherings are ruined, how many family members are no longer on speaking terms, having dissociated into separate realities?

Indulge me for a moment in a little rhetorical exaggeration. In the United States, two dominant cults apply the tools of information warfare to vie for public loyalty: (1) the Democratic Party, New York Times, MSNBC, NPR, CNN cult, and (2) the Republican Party, Fox News, Breitbart cult. Each offers its followers the same comforts as Q: they offer a narrative that makes sense of the world in the midst of change; they offer a diagnosis of social problems that exculpates themselves, and they offer people to cheer for, champions for the cause of victory over evil. They also offer a sense of belonging. Have you ever felt a sense of homecoming when you tune into your favorite pundit or website?

Note: The Battle about Money (1570): Money and Excrement

The Psychology of Capital and the Marketplace in Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s `Dulle Griet’

The Antwerp stock exchange, the Bourse, controlled the wealth of Europe, and in mid-century it was at the height of a boom. This boom was founded on new forms of credit, necessary to finance the high risks of sea-trading. The shift to credit allowed merchants to defer and interweave the consequences of their ventures, and citizens became used to the psychology of gambling on future profits. Like modern trading-floors, the Bourse was no sober club. Incidents of violence were not unknown and the building it-self (new in 1531) was plagued by vandalism and graffiti. It was a centre for gossip and scandal of all kinds. Read more here…

The unprecedented, and somewhat enigmatic, iconography of this image derives from the fertile imagination of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who executed the original drawing after which this was engraved. Strongboxes, piggy banks, money bags, barrels of coins, and treasure chests—most of them heavily armed with swords, knives, and lances—attack each other in a ferocious display of chaotic, all-out warfare. The Dutch verses inscribed in the lower margin inform us that “It’s all for money and goods, this fighting and quarreling.” According to the Latin portion of the inscription, the banner with the “savage grappling hook” in the right background exemplifies greed, the vice at the root of all this trouble. The image seems to suggest that humanity’s lust for money is responsible for armed conflict.  The concerns for the dangers of acquisitiveness and avarice expressed here had deep resonance in Antwerp, the bustling mercantile capital of Northern Europe where Bruegel was active for most of his career. Though inscribed “P. Bruegel” in the lower right corner, the engraving was probably not published until several years after the artist’s death in 1569.

Cults, armies, and police states depend on the control of information. As warring parties weaponize facts, we learn to discount all sources of information. We wonder what agenda lies behind a given “fact.” Knowing that narrative warriors select, distort, or invent facts, the canny citizen tends to ask “Who said it?” before asking “What did they say?” and then to disbelieve what they said if it serves a disagreeable party or purpose. In such circumstances, how is any conversation possible?

The routine mendacity of politicians over the last few decades has desolated the civic commons, once a rich domain of broad agreements about what is real, what is important, and what is legitimate. We can’t blame only the politicians of course. From corporate PR campaigns to intelligence agency psy-ops, from internet censorship to government secret programs, we are awash in lies, deception, secrets, half-truths, spin, fraud, and manipulation. No wonder we are so prone to believe in conspiracies. Their building blocks are everywhere.

Here is the dark mirror. The rise in conspiracy theories reflects a power establishment shrouded in lies and secrets, which viciously persecutes anyone who, like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, pulls aside the veil.

   Note:To See Yourself within It: Bruegel’s Festival of Fools

Although fairly subtle, the composition of the Festival of Fools stages a
procession similar to a wagon play. (Wagon plays were processional dramas that took place during Ommegangen (devotional processions) in the 1550s and 1560s. Rhetoricians conceived of wagon plays as didactic episodes that could morally
edify and educate their audience. The plays utilized overt metaphors and personifications to create allegorical productions that focused on collective civic identity.

This crisis in communication and sense-making has been long in the making. The attempt to bend truth to serve other ends has harmed the soul of language, diverting the creative power of word toward the maintenance of illusions. Consequently, our society as a whole is helpless to change its course. That would require agreement, the building blocks of which have turned to sand. I have watched this paralysis intensify for 20 years now. In 2007 I wrote an essay called The Ubiquitous Matrix of Lies, in which I said, “As we acclimate to a ubiquitous matrix of lies, words mean less and less to us, and we don’t believe anything any more. As well we shouldn’t! We are facing a crisis of language that underlies and mirrors all the other converging crises of the modern age.”

Our main engines of knowledge production – science, journalism, and the arts – once enjoyed robust, near-universal social legitimacy. Now each cult gleans through the stubble of the knowledge commons for grains of still-agreed upon fact to add to its army’s granary. The warring parties swiftly requisition any new crops the independent scientist, journalist, or philosopher might sow. If they resist, their crop is burned to the ground. Thus it is that the best journalists today are all independent or contribute to marginal publications: Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Diana Johnstone, Seymour Hersch…. They defy both cults’ narrative (Right and Left) and therefore, because they disabuse us of the caricature taped over the mirror, give us a chance to see some dark truths.

When Hate Hijacks Anger

The crisis in meaning has direct economic causes. It is hard to believe in the social project when one is economically insecure, politically disenfranchised, stripped of dignity, and cut off from participation in society as a full member. This has long been the condition of African-American and other brown people in America, along with women and those who deviated from social norms. Today, the same economic forces that required their oppression and profited from it have turned toward the white middle class. The Machine that once depended on white racism to maintain a brown underclass now devours its own, chewing up vasts swaths of middle America and spitting the gristle and bones onto the trash heap of disenfranchised irrelevancy.

Note: Big fish eating small fish:A broadside criticising the exploitation of political power by alluding to the proverb of big fish eating small fish; with an engraving with motives after Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel showing in the centre a table with a large dish of small fish, around the table are sitting five large fish with human arms, dressed in clothes and devouring the small fish, the table scene surrounded by various scenes of larger fish being cut open, revealing smaller fish, in the background small fish hanging on the gallows; with engraved title and text.

Do I hear the reader protest at my drawing an equivalency between oppressed minorities, who have only external circumstances to blame for their poverty and despair, and the mostly white QAnons who, despite having so much more privilege, wallow in their white fragility, blaming everyone but themselves for their dead end lives, their involuntary celibacy, and their video game addictions? This kind of sanctimonious assessment, which is common in left-leaning social media comment threads, mirrors exactly standard racist canards about lazy, irresponsible black people who blame the system and refuse to take personal responsibility. Both refuse to look at the conditions that generate the choices they condemn.

The relevant question here is not who has suffered more, who is the biggest victim, who is the most oppressed and therefore the most deserving of compassion. The question is rather, What are the conditions that gave rise to Trumpism, and how do we change those? We must ask this question, unless our strategy is to be endless war against those we deem irremediably evil.

Watching an interview with the extremely penitent founder of 8chan (QAnon’s main forum), Frederick Brennan, I was moved by his description of typical 8chan users, particularly the “Incels” and those who’ve swallowed the “black pill.” The former term refers to men who are involuntarily celibate; the latter refers to nihilism. These by no means define the entire QAnon movement, but they offer a window to some of the social traumas driving it.

Displaying varying degrees of misogyny, the Incels draw a lot of condemnation. They are denounced for believing themselves “entitled to sex,” and reviled for displacing blame for their own failings onto women. We can denounce them and fight them online, call them out and cancel them, but can we see them as human? Can we see their frustrated yearning to love a woman, to raise a family, to contribute meaningfully to life? Frustrated desire naturally turns to violence, directed at others or oneself or both.

Again I hear a protest, “Fine for you as a straight white male to call for compassion for these perpetrators and their avatar, the perpetrator-in-chief Donald Trump, but what about compassion for the victims? They need it even more.” To that I say: as a matter of sheer practicality, it is precisely compassion for the victims that requires compassion for the perpetrators. Compassion enables us to quell the violence at its source. Compassion isn’t the same as giving someone a free pass or allowing them to continue harming others. Compassion is the understanding of another being’s inner and outer condition. With this understanding, one can effectively change the conditions that generate harm. It is precisely the same logic that leftists use when talking about crime. Instead of waging an endless war on criminals, let’s look at the conditions that breed crime. What makes someone a drug dealer, a robber, a gang member? What conditions of trauma and poverty? Following the trail of these questions, one may arrive at root-level responses.

Whether we are talking about the inner city youth growing up in extreme trauma and deprivation, or the white Incel living in his parents’ basement with only his despair, his student debt, and his video games for company, we must be careful not to impute helplessness onto these victims of circumstance. There is no circumstance too oppressive for the human being to transcend. There is a place for messages like “Stop being a victim. Take ownership of your life. Stop asking for charity.” Crucially though, these messages will be useless, counterproductive even, if they come from a place of superiority or disgust. It cannot be, for example, the privileged white person telling the ghetto dweller to get his act together. Such messages have to come from a full appreciation of the anguish and misery of the oppressed condition, and a genuine vision of the greatness of those in it. Yes, greatness. It is hypocritical and pointless to call someone to greatness without believing in their greatness. And this belief cannot be a mere spiritual ideology. For these reasons, usually it is only other black people who can effectively exhort African-Americans to take responsibility for raising themselves up, and it is usually other men who can do the same for the Incels. I know people who say their lives were saved from addiction and despair by this kind of “tough love.” We just have to keep in mind both words of that phrase: the love as well as the toughness. If you secretly despise those you are trying to help with your tough love, you will hinder not help. To transcend one’s conditions requires courage. It is a lot easier to be brave when someone knows you are brave.

One of my favorite quotes, by Viktor Frankl, will help illustrate these points: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” One can feel truth ringing through these words. Yet obviously, their application would not be to visit a concentration camp, quote it to the prisoners, and then walk away. The right application is to one’s own circumstances. The words ring the bell of bravery; having acted from it, one may then ring it for others who may be in similar circumstances.

Let’s be clear that compassion is not the absence of anger. I am not asking the abused or the oppressed not to be angry. Quite the contrary – anger is a sacred force. It arises in response to confinement, violation, or threat (to oneself or in witness to another). It is key to social change, because it supplies the energy and courage to break free of familiar holding patterns.

Note: Tulip mania

Tulip mania(Dutch: tulpenmanie) was a period during the Dutch Golden Age when contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionable tulip reached extraordinarily high levels, and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637.[2] It is generally considered to have been the first recorded speculative bubble (or asset bubble) in history.[3] In many ways, the tulip mania was more of a hitherto unknown socio-economic phenomenon than a significant economic crisis. It had no critical influence on the prosperity of the Dutch Republic, which was the world’s leading economic and financial power in the 17th century, with the highest per capita income in the world from about 1600 to 1720.[4][5][6] The term “tulip mania” is now often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble when asset prices deviate from intrinsic values.

Hate is the result of a narrative hijacking anger and channeling it onto convenient enemies. Hate preserves the status quo. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.”

Once anger becomes hate, one no longer has an accurate understanding of the situation. Hate interposes a projection in front of an adversary, making them appear both more terrible and more contemptible than they actually are. Therefore, hate is an obstacle to victory in a fight. To win, one must be in reality, accurately understanding the opponent. With that understanding, the fight may no longer be necessary – another response may present itself.

Or not. Sometimes forceful intervention is necessary to prevent harm. Sometimes the abused, the persecuted, the oppressed need to fight back, go to court, run away, or enforce a boundary. Sometimes they need allies in doing that. Sometimes abusers need to be physically restrained so that they do no further harm. But when it comes from hate rather than anger, the goal of force undergoes a subtle shift. It becomes no longer to stop harm, but to inflict harm – to avenge, to punish, to dominate – in the name of stopping harm. To quote Dr. King once again, “Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.” Please meditate on these words. It looks to me like such a cancer is spreading in America, with precisely the effects on its national “personality” that King predicted.

In the end, the formula for “saving the world” cannot be victory in an epic battle of Good versus Evil. (That in fact is QAnon’s formula.) Since the two sides appear, from the close election, to be nearly equal, if it comes to war then Good, in order to overcome Evil, must become better at war than Evil – better at violence, better at manipulation, better at propaganda, better at deception. In other words, it must cease to be Good. How many times have we seen this play out in history, when the people’s liberation movement becomes the new tyranny?

`hij wil altijd het onderste uit de kan halen‘ (he always wants to get the most out of it)

Already it is happening. In my youth it was the conservatives who were the main instigators of censorship, burning Beatles albums, removing evolution from science textbooks, suppressing sexuality in literature. They were also the main manufacturers of consent, manipulating the media to maintain a state of constant war. Now it is the “left” who has most enthusiastically taken up the weapons of information warfare, with its deplatforming campaigns, cancel culture, and suppression of dissent. I put “left” in quotation marks because the actual left was the first victim of the new censorship, which began with the demotion of socialist and anti-war websites in Google search and social media. Facebook and Google still suppress this type of website by giving weight in their algorithms to “authoritative sources”; that is, the voice of the authorities. Now the ranks of the censored expand to include alternative medicine sites, vaccine skeptics, critics of 5G technology, and dissenters from Covid-19 public health policy.

Bry Moneybag Flatterers-

Surely, some of those censored are purveying false information; just as surely, not all of it is false. True or false, the suppressed viewpoints have one thing in common – they clash with the narratives and interests of established corporate and political powers. Properly speaking, opposition to those powers defines the left, not the right. It is as if we are approaching a political pole reversal. As with reversal of earth’s magnetic poles, considerable chaos precedes such a realignment. It hasn’t happened yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years the Republican Party becomes the party of the poor and working class, while the Democratic Party becomes the chief representative of the elites, Wall Street, large corporations, and the military-industrial complex. Judging by Joe Biden’s cabinet picks, this process is well underway. That would be a welcome change from the situation of the past 30 years, in which both parties give lip service to the people while serving the interests of the corporate-financial-military elite.

Note: In The Bear, the Harlot, the Magician and the King Lloyd D. Graham explains the source of Carnaval and the period of change  from winter to Spring.

The “ insurrection “of january 6th 2021 in USA Capitol  is an expression of the deep rooted origins of the folklores Carnaval and Krampus,

6 january is the feast of Epiphany

HERE FOLLOWETH THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD AND OF THE THREE KINGS from Golden Legends

On this day we are making King cakes . They come with cardboard “crowns” to be worn by whoever gets the slice with the token and becomes monarch of the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bear, the Harlot, the Magician and the King  by Lloyd D. Graham
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the seduction of the wild man Enkidu by Shamhat the
harlot symbolically causes his death as an unreflective animal and his rebirth as a
human – an Eden-like fall into self-awareness. Created as a match for king
Gilgamesh of Uruk, Enkidu goes on to become the king’s beloved friend. In
European folk traditions, the Wild Man is interchangeable with the bear, and
parallels can be drawn between Enkidu and the Candlemas Bear associated with
Carnival. Since Enkidu symbolises our pre-human nature, one can perceive a
figurative truth to the pan-European folk belief that people are descended from bears.
Thematic overlaps exist between some Gilgamesh narratives and European folk-tales
about a Wild Man whose father was a bear (the Bear’s Son / Jean de l’Ours motif) or
about twin boys, one of whom was raised in the wild by a female bear (Valentine and
Orson). Perhaps surprisingly, the roots of Santa Claus lie in the Wild Man. So too do
the origins of Merlin, the wizard of medieval Arthurian romance. Merlin has
elements in common with Enkidu, while King Arthur can be seen as a metaphorical
“Bear’s son.” Over time, the status of the Wild Man has changed from a wholly
inhuman monster to a “noble savage” who today might even be cast as a salvific ecowarrior.  Read here


The Wild Man or the Masquerade of Orson and Valentine – Brueghel

Redeeming the Black Pill

Earlier I used the term the “Black Pill.” Nihilism, of course, is no mere philosophical position, but the intellectual window-dressing on a psychological state of despair. In fact, this despair is always latent in modern society, because (1) Its reigning reductionism renders the universe into a meaningless scribble of atoms and void; (2) Its reigning theory of life tells us we are here to survive and reproduce; (3) Its reigning economics directs our creative energies toward unfulfilling work and mindless consumption, and (4) Its dominant social patterns cut us off from nature, community, place, and the experience of belonging. For a while, rapid increases in wealth and dazzling technical achievements kept the despair at bay. But it was there all long, a gnawing void at the heart of the ideology of progress. It was there all along, an inner poverty mirroring the destitution progress had wreaked upon other cultures and non-human beings. It was there all along, our own shadow that followed us as we raced toward a Utopia ever just at the horizon. Now as the glamour of progress dissolves, as our exhaustion mounts, and as we face the sobering realization that the horizon grows no closer no matter how fast we run, despair overtakes us at last.

Nihilism is a natural response to the shoddy and tired myths offered to us as sources of meaning. How many of us have had experiences directly contradicting what our main epistemic authority (science) tells us is possible? How many of us sequester narrative-busting data points in a separate mental compartment, living more or less in official reality but unable to wholeheartedly believe in it?

One reason that cults and conspiracy theories are so compelling is that they gather threads snipped away from official reality and weave them into another fabric. Some of those threads may have been snipped because they are simply untrue, and have no place in anyone’s reality. Others may have been snipped because they clash with the color scheme of the main fabric; that is, they disturb reigning institutions and paradigms. These are the threads we must weave into any tapestry of meaning that could be a satisfying successor to today’s dominant political narratives.

What I am saying is that some of the claims that weave through the conspiracy narrative merit attention. The delusional nature of the narrative does not invalidate all of its threads, and we should not dismiss everything conspiracy theorists say just because they said it – especially when our information gatekeepers malign and suppress genuine dissent as conspiracy theories, disinformation, and Russian propaganda.

Starting in 2017, the US government issued a series of disclosures of numerous UFO sightings by trained military observers, sometimes accompanied by video. Basically, it confirmed a theory that it and the mainstream media had for decades vigorously ridiculed as the province of cranks, crackpots, and conspiracy theorists. This revelation joins numerous other publicly acknowledged government and corporate conspiracies: COINTELPRO, Operation Paperclip, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Iran-Contra, the CIA’s running of drugs into American inner cities, the FBI’s sabotage of civil rights groups, and many more. Despite this record, the media and government pretend all this is in the past and they are not today deceiving the public in service to their own power. Come on, people. Can we exercise a bit of skepticism when it comes to the narratives of established power?

The Alchemist; alchemist working at stove at left, robed figure reading instructions from manual at r; a fool with bellows and the alchemist’s wife with an empty purse in centre; in right background, alchemist and his wife taking their three children to the hospital, identified with inscription over the door. The scene – a message of timeless value – illustrates man´s folly chasing after the illusion of transforming worthless objects into gold with such vigour that he ruins his family. Dressed in shreds, he places a coin into a bowl while a scoundrel stirs the fire at his side. He remains unmoved by his wife who opens her empty purse, his children in their desperation hide in an empty wardrobe. A scholar sitting on a bench writes his report in a manuscript whose outcome is seen in the background as a painting within a painting where the family is being led to the poor house.

When the meaning offered us excludes obvious facts, direct experience, and our hearts’ recognition of truth, no wonder so many of us lapse into nihilism, thinking that life and the universe itself is meaningless. That nihilism and the latent despair that drives it was QAnon’s spawning ground. The same ground spawns mindless consumerism, technology fetishism, the hypnotic myth of progress, and the spectacular psuedo-dramas of politics, sports, and entertainment. These are the spawn and also the ground, comprised within what Guy Debord named “The Society of the Spectacle.” Any edifice of meaning collapses around the hollow core of its fundamental inauthenticity.

The hunger for the real that gnaws at the Spectacle’s subjects cannot be met from within the Spectacle itself. Online experiences may assuage the nihilism and despair, but they cannot fully meet it. Only direct, sensory, multi-dimensional relationship can. Ultimately this, and not intellect, is the source of meaning.

The Poor Kitchen; a group of gaunt men gather around a table at left and reach for a pot of mussels, while behind them a fat man attempts to escape the grasp of a thin man through the door at the back of the room; other thin men at fireplace at right and softening dried fish at right foreground; in centre a thin woman feeds a child while another child upturns an empty pot over his head;

The Rich Kitchen. several large men sit around a table laden with meats and pies; behind them to the left several pots of food and a pig roast over a large fire; in the foreground a rotund woman nurses a pudgy baby and two children eat bread soaked in milk from a full trough; in the background a large man shoos a thin man with a bagpipe from the door; reversed copy within a double trait carré

The Black Pill is the distillation of cultural despair. It spreads from one dispossessed person to another, leaching its poison into the body politic. The frustrated desire of the Incels morphs easily into racial hatred and sexual violence. The nihilism of the Black Pills finds relief in grandiose fascist stories of past and future greatness.

Elck (Everyman). A bearded, near-sighted man searches with a lantern through barrels, baskets and sacks in the centre foreground; the same figure appears again in the left foreground in a barrel, twice in the right middleground, and in the left middleground where he is engaged in a match of tug-of-war with another man; various sacks and parcels are inscribed with owners’ marks; dice and cards are strewn in foreground

The situation is closely analogous, as Chris Hedges describes it, to 1930s Germany, where just as today “…the spiritually and politically alienated, those cast aside by the society, [were] prime recruits for a politics centered around violence, cultural hatreds and personal resentments.” Their rage, he observes, then as now, was directed in particular at the liberal political intellectuals who had abdicated their proper role within capitalism, which is to soften its rough edges, mitigate its worst tendencies, and wrest a fair share of its wealth for the working class. American liberals performed that role admirably from the 1930s through the 1960s and even into the 1980s, before, as Hedges puts it, they “retreated into the universities to preach the moral absolutism of identity politics and multiculturalism while turning their backs on the economic warfare being waged on the working class and the unrelenting assault on civil liberties.” In the 1990s the Democratic Party (like Labour in the UK and various social democratic parties in Europe) began to romance Wall Street and the transnational corporations. They consummated their marriage in the Obama era and bore a child called totalitarian corporatism, which vies with its rival, Trumpian neofascism, for our future.

The closeness of the election shows that these two futures hang in near perfect balance. Is there a third option? There is, but it depends on building bridges across the most forbidding fault lines of our fragmenting social landscape.

The Incels, Black Pills, and QAnons show us in magnified form the dispossession of a vast swath of middle America (dispossessed of hope, meaning, and belonging, and increasingly economically dispossessed as well). They join the traditionally dispossessed racial and ethnic minorities, but not, tragically, as their allies. Instead they turn their rage on each other, leaving little energy to resist the continued plunder of the commons. The two main cults each offer their followers a proxy target – a caricature of the other side – for their rage.

In light of this tacit collusion, one wonders if both are not two arms of the same monster.

The Tide of our Times

For any of this to change, we must be willing to see past the caricatures. Caricatures are not without truth, but they tend to exaggerate what is superficial and unflattering while ignoring what is beautiful and subtle. Social media, as described in Netflix’s documentary The Social Dilemma, tends to do the same, chiefly by herding users into reality-proof echo chambers and keeping them on-platform by hijacking their limbic systems. They are part of the apparatus that channels popular rage – a precious resource – into populist hate. QAnons and Black Lives Matter protesters actually have a lot in common, starting with a profound alienation from mainstream politics and loss of faith in the system, but having been maneuvered into false opposition they cancel each other out. That is why compassion – seeing the human beneath the judgments, categories, and projections – is the only way out of the social dilemma.

Compassion is the tide of our times. Perhaps that is why increasingly furious attempts to sow hatred are required to maintain the psychic conditions for a control-based society. It takes more and more propaganda to keep us divided. A person in the online community I host described her stint going door to door in Iowa as an Andrew Yang campaign worker. Her strongest impression was of an intense desire among these common folks for unity, an end to the strife. Maybe we are closer to social healing than online behavior, with its vitriol and venom, would indicate. Hate is usually louder than love – in society and within ourselves. What will happen if we listen to the quieter voices?

Underneath the distorted and betrayed hopes of the QAnons lies the authentic hope that had to be there in order to be betrayed and distorted in the first place. It is the same hope that came out with Obama’s election: change, a new beginning. It is the same hope that Trump invoked: Make America great again. Today the same perennial hopefulness rises again among Biden voters.

How can the same hope animate forces that seem diametrically opposed? It is because the distorting lens of us-them thinking diffracts it into two, making us think that change will come through defeat of the enemy presented us. Dehumanization is a primary weapon of war (making the enemy despicable), just as it is the template of racism, sexism, and the reduction of all that is sacred. It is precisely the opposite of what is needed if we are ever to pull together.

For cliches about solidarity, unity, coherence, and reconciliation to become real, we have to look into the dark mirror of all we judge. We have to learn to draw meaning from a new story that isn’t about triumph over the Other. We have to put down the lenses of judgment and ideology, to see with new eyes the people and information our stories had banished. That is how we will forge an unstoppable populism. Let the unlearning begin.

Note:Pieter Bruegel the Elder Drawings and Prints

see friends man has known this for many years”

One of the greatest Netherlandish artists, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525/30-1569) is best known today for his paintings of peasant life. Yet it was above all through his exceptional graphic work that he achieved widespread fame during the sixteenth century. His drawings and the prints made after his designs, while based on traditional sources, are innovative and independent, and they are wide ranging in their subject matter. Read here

 

Free yourselves of mental slavery – part 3

The scenario is bleak: Consumerism and materialism dominate all aspects of social life. Older people look with alarm at the crumbling of civic and religious institutions. Young people view the future with a sense of foreboding. Politicians appear self-interested, religious leaders hypocritical, business people ever more corrupt. Violence is escalating at home and abroad, with no ready solution in sight. Alienation and disorientation are pervasive.

Whatever similarities we may find in our contemporary predicament, the society I’m describing is 14th-century Germany. As in 21st-century America or the world, many people of the time, feeling battered by the world around them, sought spiritual wisdom and a more profound connection to the divine. In the early 1300s, this meant that a large number of practicing Christians, laypeople and clerics alike, were searching for a more direct and satisfying experience of God’s presence than what they found in familiar institutional practices.

The potential chaos embodied in these grassroots, subjective movements alarmed some Church leaders. From his seat in Avignon, Pope John XXII, while mostly concerned with matters of state, sought to rein in both the “radical” Franciscans, who preached the importance of apostolic poverty, and the women known as beguines, who formed what we would today call intentional religious communities — groups of spiritually likeminded laypeople, rather than members of a formal religious order, who lived and prayed together.

  • Meister Eckhart, a Mystic for Our Time

In the midst of this tumult, many Christian seekers in the Rhineland of what is today western Germany found life-altering wisdom in the preaching of a Dominican friar, Eckhart von Hochheim, better known as Meister (“Master”) Eckhart. An acclaimed scholar trained at the University of Paris, Meister Eckhart sought to bring the fruits of his many years of theological and philosophical study and contemplation to lay audiences — an unusual aspiration among priest-scholars, who typically considered such matters beyond the comprehension of average people.

Even more revolutionary was Eckhart’s message. Unlike most preachers of the day, who focused on sin and eternal punishment, he described a process he called “the divine birth,” in which true believers could experience God directly within them.

The key lay in letting go of all worldly things, all desires and preconceptions — even one’s image of God himself: “The more completely you are able to draw in your powers to a unity and forget all those things and their images which you have absorbed, and the further you can get from creatures and their images, the nearer you are to this [divine birth] and the readier to receive it.

Then, he said — “in the midst of silence” — God would come within the soul.

Meister Eckhart’s way to “know” God directly was shaped by two central insights, the products of many years of study and contemplation. The first was that the seeker must “unknow” everything he or she thinks about God. Human language and images are essentially metaphorical, comparing things to one another. But God is completely other.

Obviously he is not an old man with a flowing white beard (or even a “he”), but he is also not a being in the sense that we normally mean. It is more accurate, according to Eckhart, to say that God is Being itself, since all existence derives from him.

We should learn not to give God any name . . . for God is above names and ineffable.” In fact, Eckhart warns, “if you think of anything he might be, he is not that.” This deconstruction of images of God, in which we come closer to knowing the ineffable divine by negative attributions — God does not exist in time or space, for instance — than by positive attributions, is known as negative theology, a tradition dating back to St. Augustine.

God’s “unknowability” in word and image was a hard concession for a professional scholar who had invested himself in coming to know God through a rigorous probing of Scripture and Catholic tradition. But the more that Eckhart had tried to approach God rationally, the more frustrated he had become. Instead he came upon a second key insight: One could “know” God through direct experience. Later scholars would call such an approach “mystical,” but a more accurate and less loaded term for what Eckhart meant would be “intuitive”: Rather than trying to know God from the outside, through our senses and intellect, we should try to know him from the inside, from that divine presence already within each of us.

Eckhart called this presence “the divine spark.” He preached that, through a contemplative process of self-emptying, or “letting-go-ness,” the seeker will directly encounter the God within. Only with the death of the old and false self, in theological terms, could the new and true self be born.

The concept traces to St. Paul, who directed Christians to “put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

In Eckhart’s interpretation, the resulting “divine birth” represented no mere metaphor but a direct encounter of the individual soul with the divine. The best news was that God was eager to fully embrace the seeker: “You need not seek him here or there,” he wrote. “He is no further than the door of your heart; there he stands patiently awaiting whoever is ready to open up and let him in. No need to call him from afar: He can hardly wait for you to open up. He longs for you a thousand times more than you long for him.”

Eckhart’s message both excited and unnerved the Christians of his day. Although he never denigrated the external forms of piety around him — he was an active priest — his focus on the internal, on contemplation, was highly unusual, even unsettling to many lay listeners. The Church they knew preached that each person’s salvation depended on the performance of good works and acts of contrition, yet these were absent from Eckhart’s teaching. The Church they knew revolved around the veneration of saints and the celebration of sacraments, yet these played no apparent role in the internal self-transcendence Eckhart described. The Church they knew esteemed monks, nuns and other contemplatives as closer to God than the layperson, yet Eckhart preached that direct experience of God was accessible to any true seeker, regardless of social or religious status.

It is a testament to the truly “catholic”(καθολικός (katholikos), meaning “universal” meaning “all embrasing)  nature of medieval Christianity that what Eckhart called  “a wayless way” to divine union — and subsequent commentators would call apophatic or imageless mysticism — coexisted peacefully with Eucharistic devotions, pilgrimages and penitential self-flagellation. Not until late in his life did Eckhart become caught up in an inquisitorial procedure, based largely on local politics, that culminated in several of his statements being condemned in a papal bull as “evil-sounding.” After eliminating these more controversial statements, his disciples Johannes Tauler and Blessed Heinrich Suso continued to attract followers after the master’s death in the late 1320s. Still, after several decades the master himself faded into obscurity.

Fast forward seven centuries and the medieval Dominican friar has emerged as something of a modern spiritual celebrity. Millions of Roman Catholics and other Christians now claim Meister Eckhart as one of their own, not to mention many Zen Buddhists, Sufi Muslims, Advaita Vedanta Hindus, Jewish Cabalists and a variety of other seekers who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” In the United States, interest in Eckhart owes much to the popularity of his namesake, Eckhart (born Ulrich) Tolle, a spiritual teacher and author whose beliefs weave together the medieval master’s teachings with an eclectic blend of contemporary Eastern and New Age concepts. Thanks in part to the massively influential endorsement of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Oprah’s Book Club, the modern Eckhart’s books have together been translated into more than 30 languages and sold some 10 million copies worldwide.

What is it that all these people see in the words of this sage from a distant era? The most common denominator appears to be an attraction to Eckhart’s revolutionary method of direct access to God (or, for some, to ultimate reality) — a profoundly subjective approach that is at once intuitive and pragmatic, philosophical yet non-rational, and above all, universally accessible. Many modern Christian authors, such as the Franciscan priest Richard Rohr — who calls Eckhart a “mystic’s mystic” — view his teachings as part of a long Christian contemplative tradition.

Despite that noble pedigree, Meister Eckhart was late to gain notice among modern Christians. His attractiveness to many contemporary Catholics ironically owes much to the post-Vatican II Church’s intensified engagement with other world religions. The Council’s 1965 declaration Nostra aetate (“In Our Time”) is best known for its repudiation of Catholicism’s long tradition of anti-Semitic statements, but it also represented the Church’s first genuine outreach to Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and other non-Christian religious traditions. By a vote of 2,221 to 88, the Council affirmed that the Holy Spirit can indeed be at work in these faiths as well, although obviously not to the same degree as in Christ’s ordained Church.

Already by that time, several Catholic thinkers had begun to explore affinities with non-Christian religions, particularly those of Asia. One of the most famous of those spiritual explorers, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, engaged extensively with Zen Buddhist teachings before discovering a strikingly similar approach already present within his own tradition: Meister Eckhart. Merton agreed with his frequent correspondent, the Japanese scholar D. T. Suzuki, who called Eckhart “the one Zen thinker of the West.”

At the same time that medieval Japanese monks were formulating the core of Zen teaching, Eckhart drew deeply on centuries of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and pagan thought to develop a remarkably similar approach to experience of the divine. “Letting-go-ness” lines up with the Zen “no-mind” (wuxin) as well as the Taoist “no action” (wu wei). Buddhists also appreciate the master’s distinction between the constructed individual identity of each person — what we would call the ego and Eckhart calls the “false self” — and the common nature we all share, the authentic self, which the master identified as divine.

Like his Zen counterparts, Eckhart was wary of God-talk, which he thought more often obscured than revealed the divine, and he aspired to a unity with the ultimate. He called this a “second” or “divine” birth, which is in many ways similar to the Buddhist notion of satori, or enlightenment. The resulting “Christ nature” that he described, echoing St. Paul in Galatians 2:20 (“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”) looks remarkably similar to the internal “Buddha nature” of the Mahayana tradition.

At the same time, Eckhart’s embrace of meditation anticipates by seven centuries its popularity, along with the practice of “mindfulness,” among people of faith as well as among the ever-growing number of New Age seekers, agnostics and avowed atheists and others who list their religious affiliation as “none.”

Obviously many important differences remain between the Catholic Eckhart and other faith traditions, most notably on the role and identity of Christ. But the significant convergences have attracted increasing attention since the 1960s. In that sense, Eckhart, whom Merton called “my life-raft,” has brought the contemplative tradition to non-Catholics while deepening the modern Church’s ecumenical dialogue with other spiritual traditions.

Note: Meister Eckhart’s Sermons

Meister Eckhart’s Sermons contains some of his short sermons.The sermons themselves are in relatively plain English. In them, Eckhart flirts with some controversial topics. He describes the soul as “laying hold” of God in a mystical manner, so that there is “no distinction” between God and the soul. Indeed, some of his more radical teachings were eventually condemned by a papal council as heretical. But Eckhart does illustrate a way to synthesize one’s religious belief with one’s philosophy. Interesting and demanding, Meister Eckhart’s Sermons will challenge a person’s conception of God and religion. Read here

Of course, not all Catholics would view the similarity of Eckhart’s teachings to Zen Buddhist practices as a recommendation. While more ecumenical Catholic writers such as the priests Aelred Graham, OSB, Robert E. Kennedy, S.J., and Richard Rohr celebrate the affinity, other more conservative thinkers, such as James Hitchcock, have remained cautious about a full embrace of the medieval friar (particularly given Eckhart’s sermons on the Godhead, in which detractors detect hints of pantheism).

“Mysticism” also remains a suspicious concept for many modern people, given its popular association with visions and other supernatural experiences. But Meister Eckhart never claimed any special powers or called himself a mystic — or anything other than a Catholic preacher of the gospel. If he was a mystic, he was a profoundly anti-obscurant, egalitarian and down-to-earth one, rooted in centuries of Catholic contemplative tradition. In that sense he may be the perfect mystic for our own troubled times.

Here THE COMPLETE MYSTICAL WORKS OF MEISTER ECKHART 

 

Persian sufi miniatures : Angels submission to Adam ( In front Satan refusing)

  • Interreligious Dialogue: Ibn ‘Arabi and Meister Eckhart

Finding a Single Essence for Religions

As the last major world religion, Islam has continually compared itself with other religions and, more than any other, it seeks opportunities for dialogue and addresses in particular the followers of other Abrahamic religions, i.e. the people of the Scripture. As the basis for this dialogue, Islam refers to the same thing that we consider to be the essence of religion. And that essence has to do with faith, belief and content and not with the act and the form:

Say: O people of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah and that we shall ascribe no partner to Him, and that none of us shall take others for Lords beside Allah. (The Holy Quran, 3:64)

And argue not with the people of the Scripture unless it be in [a way] that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Q. 29:46)

The one idea that religions have in common, and on the basis of which they can enter into dialogue, is “God” – and a belief in Him, which lies at the heart of the religion, and is behind all the apparently different forms of Divine Law. As Jelaluddin Rumi suggests, it is this very essence which is hidden behind the apparent world.

This single essence not only paves the way for dialogue but satisfies the contemporary human as well. It is this very essence which permeates human nature and is at the root of the human soul. It can be reached through Friendship (wilaya), which is personified in Christianity as Jesus Christ, and it occupies an important place in Islamic mysticism. Consequently, in the dialogue between religions, we should start from the perspective of religious mysticism. For, according to some scholars, “of all kinds of human thought, mysticism is almost always and everywhere the same. And this is why others have also regarded mysticism as a solution to today’s problems, claiming: “Never before in history was it more urgent for all of us to learn the language of the mystics than in our time, when division threatens to destroy us. The mystics of every tradition speak a language that unites. Equally it is claimed that: “Mysticism is the same in all ages and in all places; timeless and independent of history it has always been identical. East and West and other differences vanish here… For one and the same experience speaks here, only by chance in varying dialects East is west and West is east.

Absolute Truth and Believed Truth

Ibn ‘Arabi and Meister Eckhart’s tolerance for different ideas originated, as mentioned above, from their knowledge of God, for God is too great to be contained in a view that is the product of limited human thought.

Presence of Sovereignty is indifferent
Transcendent from imaginary syllogisms.

According to Ibn ‘Arabi, everyone worships a god who is a product of his own imagination; in other words, he determines what God is in his own beliefs:

God is created in the belief of His bondsmen. For, when a person rationally considers God, he creates what he believes in himself through his consideration. Hence he worships only a god which he has created through his consideration. He has said to it “Be!”, and it has come into existence. That is why God commanded us to worship the God brought by the Messenger and spoken of in the Book. For if you worship this God, you will be worshiping your creator, and you will have fully given worship its due.

Evidently, the God of whom the prophets speak is not more than a single God. Meister Eckhart expresses himself in ways that are in perfect agreement with Ibn ‘Arabi:

A man ought not to have a God who is just a product of his thought, nor should he be satisfied with that, because if the thought vanished, God too would vanish. But one ought to have a God who is present, a God who is far above the notions of man and of all created things.

However, it should be noted that the gods who appear in human ideas and in whom human beings believe, and whom Ibn ‘Arabi calls “believed gods”, are the manifestations of the same One God in various thoughts and constitutions. It is not wrong to believe in such a god: the mistake is committed when this “believed Truth” is regarded as the absolute Truth, and anything else is denied. The perfect mystic is aware of this very point and believes in God in all His manifestations.

The fact that human beings determine who and what God is by their beliefs, and deny other manifestations of God in other beliefs, is the content of hadiths in which it has been said that on the Day of Resurrection, God will appear to His servants and these servants will accept only that form of God which is in harmony with their constitutions, natures and reasons, and they will deny other forms. In Ibn ‘Arabi’s words:

At the Resurrection, the Real (God) will disclose Himself and say, “I am your Lord”. They will see Him, but nevertheless they will deny Him and not acknowledge Him as their Lord, despite the existence of vision because of the lifting of the veil. When He transmutes Himself for them into the mark through which they recognize Him, they will say to Him, “Thou art our Lord”. Yet He is the one in whom they were seeking refuge, and He is the one they confessed to and recognized.

Read more Interreligious Dialogue: Ibn ‘Arabi and Meister Eckhart

The Choice of our Times

  • The Choice for Spiritual Ethics,Virtues and Uprightness in our times

The bivium of Pythagoras, this sign which leaves us free to choose the path of good or the path of evil.

“The letter” Y “represents the symbol of moral life. The question of good and evil arises before the free will of man: two roads open before him: the left, the thick branch of the “Y”, is wide and easy to access, but leads to the chasm from shame, that of the right, the thin branch, is a steep and painful path, but at the summit of which one finds repose in honor and glory. “

The letter “Y”, in antiquity, has often represented a “bivium” (a fork in the road); a point in life where we have to make a vital decision. According to Pythagoras, it represents the paths of virtue and vice.

The letter Y is also symbolic of looking within, Inner contemplation, Meditation and inner wisdom.

 

Text of TERRA PACIS and commentary relating to ideas of the Perennial Philosophy and to paintings by Peter Bruegel and Joachim Patinir .

N.B. The writer has kept the 17th century spelling.

  • The Spiritual Land of Peace of the “Holy Refugees”

It also considers the tradition of religious mysticism in Germany, the Netherlands and Flanders throughout the late Middle Ages that led up to the Reformation and points out that this movement is also an expression of the Perennial Philosophy, citing the works of Meister Eckhart, the Rhineland mystics and the schools that came out of the Devotio Moderna.

The work considers the esoteric, ‘heretical’ school called the Family of Love that claimed among its adherents a number of highly illustrious artists, thinkers and politicians. Such men as Christoffe Plantin, Abraham Ortelius and Justus Lipsius spurned the religious turmoil of the period and rejected Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists alike in favour of an inner mystical state they called the ‘invisible church’. They were close to Bruegel, bought his paintings and, it cannot be doubted, shared his thought.

It brings us to immediate and direct influences on Bruegel. These were free thinking humanists and mystics who occupied the no-man‟s-land between Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists; men like Sebastian Franck, Dirck Volckertz Coornhert and Abraham Ortelius were adherents of the „invisible church‟ where God was understood as „an event in the soul‟ which could be independent of external forms, rites and doctrines.  Many of them, such as Ortelius, Christophe Plantin and perhaps Justus Lipsius belonged to the sect known as the Family of Love whose leader, Hendrik Niclaes, was the author of the mystical allegory Terra Pacis that recounts the journey from the „Land of Ignorance‟ to the „Land of Spiritual Peace‟. Bruegel was closely associated with, if not a full member, of this group.

See : PETER BRUEGEL THE ELDER AND ESOTERIC TRADITION

The Spiritual Land of Peace:

  • Look and behold: there is in the world a very unpeaceable Land and it is the wildernessed land wherein the most part of all uncircumcised, impenitent and ignorant people do dwell and in which is, the first of all needful for the man; to the end that he may come to the Land of Peace and the City of Life and Rest.

The same unpeaceable land hath also a City, the name of which they that dwell therein do not know, but only those who are come out of it, and it is named Ignorance.

The people that dwell therein know not their original or first beginning; also they keep not any Genealogy or Pedigree; neither do they know from whence, or how, they came into the same. And moreover then, that they are altogether blinde, and blinde-born.

The forementioned city, named Ignorance, hath two Gates. The one standeth in the North, or Midnight, through the which men go into the city of darkness or ignorance.

This gate now, that standeth to the North, is very large and great, and hath also a great door, because there is much passage through the same; and it hath likewise his name, according to the nature of the same city.Foreasmuch as that men do come into Ignorance through the same gate, therefore it is named Men Do Not Know How to Do. And the great door, wherethrough the multitude do run is named Unknown Error; and there is else no coming into the City named Ignorance.

The other gate standeth on the one side of the City, towards the East or Spring of the Day, and the same is the Narrow Gate, through the which, men travel out of the city and do enter into the Straight Way which leadeth to Righteousness.

Now when one travelleth out through the same Gate, then doth he immediately espie some Light, and that same reacheth to the Rising of the Sun.

Here the symbolism, taking up the theme of the ‘bread of life’, i.e. spiritual nourishment, employs the images of ‘corn’ and ‘seed’ whose esoteric meaning was discussed earlier and which will be met again in the paintings by Bruegel of the Harvest and the   Ploughman (Fall of Icarus).

The importance of spiritual nourishment – or rather the lack of it – is discussed in the section dealing with the Peasant Wedding Feast (Marriage at Cana) where the lack of wine is shown to correspond, by rhetorical imitation, with famine imagery in the Old Testament where the sense is that of ‘famine for the word of God’.

  • In this land of Ignorance, for the food of men, there groweth neither corn nor grass. The people of this land live in confusion or disorder and are very diligent in their unprofitable work and labor. And although their work be vain or unprofitable yet hath everyone notwithstanding a delightful liking to the same.
  • Forasmuch as they all have such a delight to such unprofitable work, so forget they to prepare the Ground for Corn and Seed to live thereby. And so they live not on the manly food but by their own dung, for they have no other food to live by, for their stomach and nature is accustomed and naturally inclined thereto.
  • They make there diverse sorts of Puppet works for Babies for to bring up the children to vanity. There are made likewise many kinds of Balls, Tut-staves, or Kricket-staves, Rackets and Dice; for the foolish people should waste or spend their time therewith in foolishness.

  • There be made also Playing Tables, Draft-boards, Chess-boards, Cards and Mummery or Masks, for to delight the idle people with such foolish vanity. There are made likewise many Rings, Chains, and Gold and Silver Tablets and etc … all unprofitable and unneedful merchandise.
  • They build there likewise divers houses for common assembly, which they call Gods houses; and there use many manner of foolishness of taken on Services which they call religious or godservices whereby to wave or hold forth something in shew before the ignorant people.

  • In this manner are the vain people bewitched with these things, wherethrough they think or perswade themselves that their godservices, and knowledges, which they themselves do make, or take on in their hypocrisie, that must needs be some holy or singular thing, and so honor the works of their own hands.
  • They make there also many Swords, Halberds, Spears, Bows and Arrows, Ordinance or Guns, Pellets, Gunpouder, Armor or Harness, and Gorgets and etc., for that the tyrannical oppressors, and those that have a pleasure in destroying, should use war and battel, therewithal, one against the other.

The people of this strange land have strange names, according to their nature. As their nature is such are their names written upon them. Whosoever can read the writing let him consider thereon. They are gross letters; whoso hath but a little sight and understanding, he may read them, whose names are there. Highmindedness, Lust of the Eyes, Stoutness, Pride, Covetousness, Lust or Desire to Contrariness, Vanity or Unprofitableness, Unnaturalness, Undecentness, Masterfulness, Mocking, Scorning, Dallying, Adultery or Fornication, Contemning, Lying, Deceiving, Variance, Strife and Contention, Vexing, Self-seeking, Oppression, Indiscreetness, etc.

  • Their dealings or manner of life is also variable; for now they take on something, then they leave somewhat else; now they be thus led, then they be so driven; now they praise this, then they dispraise that. So, to be short, they are always inconstant.
  • Their Religions or godservice is called the Pleasure of Men. Their doctrine and ministration is called Good Thinking. Their King is called the Scum of Ignorance.
  • Whosoever findeth himself in this dark land full of ignorance and desireth to go out of it, and forsake the same, and hath a good liking towards the good land of Rest and Peace; he must go through the other gate that lieth towards the East, that is named Fear of God.
  • But in travelling forward upon the Way for to come to the good land of Peace, so do the perils first make manifest themselves. Therefore must the Traveller keep a diligent watch in the said grace of the Lord; otherwise he becometh hindered and deceived upon the Way. So we will mark out both the perils of seduction, and also the means unto preservation for that no man should err upon the Way, nor be seduced or deceived by any false ends.
  • not very amiable or pleasant (according to the minds of the flesh) to behold, nor yet his sayings and counsels to be obeyed, because that he is contrary to all minds and knowledge of the flesh (notwithstanding, if the traveller have no regard for him, neither daily receive any counsel of him unto obedience, nor yet follow his counsel, then shall he not come to the Rest). And he is named the Law or Ordinance of the Lord.
  • The other wise one cometh before him out of the thoughts of mans good thinking, to draw him away from the Way that directeth to the Land of the Living. And his form is sweet and friendly (according to the minds flesh) to behold, and his sayings and counsels delightful. And he is named the Wisdom of the Flesh.
  • These two wise ones do give the traveller several counsels.
  • The traveller who abjures the Wisdom of the Flesh and who accepts the discipline of the Law or Ordinance of the Lord receives ‘two instruments’: a compass called the Forsaking of Himself for the Good Lifes Sake. The other instrument overcomes temptation and hindrance and it is called Patience or Suffrance.
  • the death and burial of all the lusts and desires of the sinful flesh and all the flesh’s wisdom or good thinking.

Again, this should not be understood literally but seen as the transition from the material to the spiritual, the soul’s liberation from its entanglement in the world.

Now the ‘traveller’, following the counsel of the Law of the Lord, finds himself

  • in an unpathed land where many manner of temptations and deceits do meet with him, and coming into the same there appeareth unto him immediately a star out of the East, named Belief and Hope. This great unpathed land is named Many manner of Wanderings. And there is not one plain paved way.

The names of the Travellers are:

Stricken in Heart, Cumbered in Minde, Wofulness, Sorrowfulness, Anguish, Fear, Dismaidness, Perplexitie, Uncomfortablness, Undelightfulness, Heavy-mindedness, Many Manner of Thoughts, Dead Courage.

This is reminiscent of the group consisting of Jesus’ mother and her entourage in the foreground of Bruegel’s Road to Calvary (1566) in Vienna. There we see the expressing just these emotions while the vast crowd constituting the main descriptive parts of the picture are oblivious and display all the characteristics, described by H. N., of those who live in the Land of Ignorance or, as he says elsewhere, the ‘Land of Abomination and Desolation’. But also the Flight or Refuge to Egypth:

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  • St. Augustine: The Two Cities The City of God, XIV, 1

St. Augustine is remembered for bringing into philosophy from the Judeo-Christian tradition a sense of history and novelty which the Greeks and their philosophers had never had. This comes out particularly as he reflects on the fall of Rome all around him. His philosophical/theological doctrine is couched in terms of the “two cities:” Rome (or the new Babylon), which symbolizes all that is worldly, and Jerusalem (the city of heaven), which symbolizes the Christian community. Our world was created in the beginning, fell away from God, and then was redeemed by Christ; thus Augustine sees the world in which he lives as a mixture of the two cities. But the temporal city of this world will eventually perish, giving way to the eternal city. As he introduces this idea, he draws on Paul’s notion of “original sin” derived from the rebellion of Adam and Eve to explain how the lesser, flawed “city” came into being.

What does he say God’s purpose was in creating all of humanity out of one single original being? Greed (and perhaps price), envy, and power characterize the “second city” (or the second way of life). What are their positive counterparts in the “first city”?


Two loves make two cities

Literal Commentary on Genesis, XI, 15,20

These are the two loves: the first is holy, the second foul; the first is social, the second selfish; the first consults the common welfare for the sake of a celestial society, the second grasps at a selfish control of social affairs for the sake of arrogant domination; the first is submissive to God, the second tries to rival God; the first is quiet, the second restless; the first is peaceful, the second trouble-making; the first prefers truth to the praises of those who are in error, the second is greedy for praise, however it may be obtained; the first is friendly, the second envious; the first desires for its neighbor what it wishes for itself, the second desires to subjugate its neighbor; the first rules its neighbor for the good of its neighbor, the second for its own advantage; and these two loves produce a distinction among the angels: the first love belongs to the good angels, the second to the bad angels; and they also separate the two cities founded among the race of men, under the wonderful and ineffable Providence of God, administering and ordering all things that have been created: the first city is that of the just, the second is that of the wicked. Although they are now, during the course of time, intermingled, they shall be divided at the last judgment; the first, being joined by the good angels under its King, shall attain eternal life; the second, in union with the bad angels under its king, shall be sent into eternal fire. Perhaps, we shall treat, God willing, of these two cities more fully in another place.

Translated by Marcus Dod (1876)


How the Two Cities Differ

We have already stated in the preceding books that God, desiring not only that the human race might be able by their similarity of nature to associate with one another, but also that they might be bound together in harmony and peace by the ties of relationship, was pleased to derive all men from one individual, and created man with such a nature that the members of the race should not have died, had not the two first (of whom the one was created out of nothing, and the other out of him) merited this by their disobedience; for by them so great a sin was committed that by it human nature was altered for the worse, and was transmitted also to their posterity, liable to sin and subject to death. And the kingdom of death so reigned over men, that the deserved penalty of sin would have hurled all headlong even into the second death, of which there is no end, had not the undeserved grace of God saved some therefrom. And thus it has come to pass that, though there are very many and great nations all over the earth, whose rites and customs, speech, arms, and dress, are distinguished by marked differences, yet there are no more than two kinds of human society, which we may justly call two cities, according to the language of our Scriptures. The one consists of those who wish to live after the flesh, the other of those who wish to live after the spirit; and when they severally achieve what they wish, they live in peace, each after its kind.

Translated by Marcus Dods (1876)

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Chap. III.—Of the Ways, and of Vices and Virtues; And of the Rewards of Heaven and the Punishments of Hell.

There are two ways,[1] O Emperor Constantine, by which human life must proceed—the one which leads to heaven, the other which sinks to hell; and these ways poets have introduced in their poems, and philosophers in their disputations. And indeed philosophers have represented the one as belonging to virtues, the other to vices; and they have represented that which belongs to virtues as steep and rugged at the first entrance, in which if any one, having overcome the difficulty, has climbed to the summit, they say that he afterwards has a level path, a bright and pleasant plain, and that he enjoys abundant and delightful fruits of his labours; but that those whom the difficulty of the first approach has deterred, glide and turn aside into the way of vices, which at its first entrance appears to be pleasant and much more beaten, but afterwards, when they have advanced in it a little further, that the appearance of its pleasantness is withdrawn, and that there arises a steep way, now rough with stones, now overspread with thorns, now interrupted by deep waters or violent with torrents, so that they must be in difficulty, hesitate, slip about, and fall. And all these things are brought forward that it may appear that there are very great labours in undertaking virtues, but that when they are gained there are the greatest advantages, and firm and incorruptible pleasures; but that vices ensnare the minds of men with certain natural blandishments, and lead them captivated by the appearance of empty pleasures to bitter griefs and miseries,—an altogether wise discussion, if they knew the forms and limits of the virtues themselves. For they had not learned either what they are, or what reward awaits them from God: but this we will show in these two books.

But these men, because they were ignorant or in doubt that the souls of men are immortal, estimated both virtues and vices by earthly honours or punishments. Therefore all this discussion respecting the two ways[2] has reference to frugality and luxury. For they say that the course of human life resembles the letter Y, because every one of men, when he has reached the threshold of early youth, and has arrived at the place “where the way divides itself into two parts,”[3] is in doubt, and hesitates, and does not know to which side he should rather turn himself. If he shall meet with a guide who may direct him wavering to better things—that is, if he shall learn philosophy or eloquence, or some honourable arts by which he may turn to good conduct,[4] which cannot take place without great labour—they say that he will lead a life of honour and abundance; but if he shall not meet with a teacher of temperance,[5] that he falls into the way on the left hand, which assumes the appearance of the better,—that is, he gives himself up to idleness, sloth, and luxury, which seem pleasant for a time to one who is ignorant of true goods, but that afterwards, having lost all his dignity and property, he will live in all wretchedness and ignominy. Therefore they referred the end of those ways[6] to the body, and to this life which we lead on earth. The poets perhaps did better, who would have it that this twofold way was in the lower regions; but they are deceived in this, that they proposed these ways to the dead. Both therefore spoke with truth, but yet both incorrectly; for the ways themselves ought to have been referred to life, their ends to death. We therefore speak better and more truly, who say that the two ways[7] belong to heaven and hell, because immortality is promised to the righteous, and everlasting punishment is threatened to the unrighteous.

But I will explain how these ways either exalt to heaven or thrust down to hell, and I will set forth what these virtues are of which the philosophers were ignorant; then I will show what are their rewards, and also what are vices, and what their punishments. For perhaps some one may expect that I shall speak separately of vices and virtues; whereas, when we discuss the subject of good or evil, that which is contrary may also be understood. For, whether you introduce virtues, vices will spontaneously depart; or if you take away vices, virtues will of their own accord succeed. The nature of good and evil things is so fixed, that they always oppose and drive out one another: and thus it comes to pass that vices cannot be removed without virtues, nor can virtues be introduced without the removal of vices. Therefore we bring forward these ways in a very different manner from that in which the philosophers are accustomed to present them: first of all, because we say that a guide is proposed to each, and in each case an immortal: but that the one is honoured who presides over virtues and good qualities, the other condemned who presides over vices and evils. But they place a guide only on the right side, and that not one only, nor a lasting one; inasmuch as they introduce any teacher of a good art, who may recall men from sloth, and teach them to be temperate. But they do not represent any as entering upon that way except boys and young men; for this reason, that the arts are learned at these ages. We, on the other hand, lead those of each sex, every age and race, into this heavenly path, because God, who is the guide of that way, denies immortality to no human being.[8] The shape also of the ways themselves is not as they supposed. For what need is there of the letter Y in matters which are different and opposed to one another? But the one which is better is turned towards the rising of the sun, the other which is worse towards its setting: since he who follows truth and righteousness, having received the reward of immortality, will enjoy perpetual light; but he who, enticed by that evil guide, shall prefer vices to virtues, falsehood to truth, must be borne to the setting of the sun, and to darkness.[9] I will therefore describe each, and will point out their properties and habits.

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 Paradise : Eternity (out of time)                              Hell: infinite stasis (time frozen)

                Purgatory: Here and Now, in time and space, a dynamic time, dedicated to change and transformation

When Joachim Patinir (d. 1524) painted his vast cosmic panorama Charon , he
situated the decisive moment of choice in a sailing vessel on a great river (the classical Styx) but poised it midway between the realms of Heaven and Hell. The small figure in the boat, dwarfed by the giant ferryman, is a solitary human soul, who already glances nervously over toward the mouthlike dark gateway of Hades, guarded by the triple-headed dog, Cerberus. Even the boat itself inclines slightly in the same direction, the unfavorable sinisterside of the viewer’s right, long familiar from medieval Last Judgment scenes (and more recently in Judgment scenes by Rogier van der Weyden and Dieric Bouts in the south Netherlands) as the side of Hell and damnation.

  • Tabula Cebetis:

The Tablet of Cebes is probably by a pseudonymous author of the 1st or 2nd century. The work professes to be an interpretation of an allegorical picture of a tablet on which the whole of human life with its dangers and temptations was symbolically represented, and which is said to have been dedicated by someone in the temple of Cronus at Athens or Thebes.[5] The author introduces some youths contemplating the tablet, and an old man who steps among them undertakes to explain its meaning.[5] It is intended to show that only the proper development of our mind and the possession of real virtues can make us truly happy.[5] The author develops the Platonic theory of pre-existence, and shows that true education consists not in mere erudition, but rather in the formation of character.[2] Parallels are often drawn between this work and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.[2]

The Tabula has been widely translated both into European languages and into Arabic (the latter version published with the Greek text and Latin translation by Claudius Salmasius in 1640). It has often been printed together with the Enchiridion of Epictetus. Separate editions have been issued by CS Jerram (with introduction and notes, 1878), Karl Praechter (1893), and many others.[2][6]

The Tablet is a dialogue, reporting an encounter and a conversation that took place in
a temple of Cronus. The anonymous narrator tells how he and a group of his friends
(it is never said exactly how many) were strolling in the temple precinct, admiring the
votive offerings displayed there, when they were brought up short by one that they
could not make sense of. It was a painting, but its subject-matter was obscurely
elusive. Figures were distributed singly and in groups about a series of enclosures
(perivboloi) that collectively looked something like a city and something like a
military camp, but not exactly like either. Something intriguing was clearly going on,
but what? As the young men pondered, they were approached by an older man, who
professed himself unsurprised by their bafflement: many of the local population were
equally ignorant. He, however, had had the painting’s significance explained to him
long ago by its dedicator, and was willing to enlighten them too, if they wished. But
they should be aware that the explanation carried an unexpectedly serious risk: their
very happiness in life depended on their ability to understand it. This warning,
predictably, only intensified the young men’s desire to know. So the old man picked
up a staff and, detail by detail, began to unfold what the mysterious painting signified
(1-4).
The place depicted by the whole, he explained, is Life, which is delimited by the
outermost of the enclosures; the smaller enclosures within it designate the various
existential conditions that different choices in life bring about: Hedonistic Indulgence,
Retribution, False Culture, True Culture, and Happiness. The figures to be seen
standing and moving about in and between these locations represent two different
classes of entity. One set stands for individual human beings, making their different
ways through life, via the various staging-posts and to the different destinations
represented by the enclosures. The other, and larger set of (almost exclusively
female) figures stand for the external conditions and inner psychological states in
which these travellers find themselves at different points in their lives. This second
set of female figures comprises both the conditions that give their names to the
enclosures, and others that either cluster with them in or at the entrance to their
respective enclosures, or inhabit the spaces in between. They are named successively
as Opinions, Desires, and Pleasures; Fortune; Indulgence, Profligacy, Insatiability, and Flattery; Retribution, Grief, Sorrow, Lamentation, and Despondency; Repentance; False Culture; Self-mastery and Perseverence; True Culture, Truth and Persuasion; Knowledge, Courage, Justice, Goodness, Moderation, Propriety, Freedom of Spirit, Self-mastery, and Gentleness; and Happiness. The only figures that stand slightly apart from this array are the very first two that the old man’s staff points to, who are to be found at the gate of Life itself: first the Divinity (Daimon), who instructs all humans, on the threshold of birth, what road to walk in life if they hope for Salvation; then Deceit, who the next moment forces them to drink her draught of Error and Ignorance, which effaces Divinity’s commands to a greater or lesser degree, and thus sends them into the world in a state in which they are easy prey for false opinions and deluded ideas of the right path to fulfilment.

As the old exegete unfolds his explanation, he also constructs a narrative – or rather, a
whole series of narratives: a series of abstract, emblematic accounts of lives lived
well or badly, as depicted by the different routes followed by the figures within the
picture. So much is already implicit in a bare list of the female figures encountered
on the way, which even on its own sketches the outline of a recognizible story. The
main focus, in paragraphs 6 to 26, is on the life that achieves ultimate happiness only
after a false start, represented by the individual whose rise to material prosperity (by
the gift of capricious fortune) leads him first into a life of sensual indulgence, thence
into crime, punishment and repentance, and only then, via a brief acquaintance with
conventional culture, to the laborious cultivation of moral virtue and the attainment of happiness. Since, however, each stage through which this traveller passes can be for others a finishing-place in itself, other possible courses in life are also envisaged: the
life that ends with unrepented crime and its consequences (6-10);5 the life that ends in
false (conventional) culture, unaware that there is anything higher to aspire to (13);
and the life that aspires to true virtue, but fails to achieve it, either through faintness
of heart, or through some ineradicable moral flaw (27). Furthermore, when the old
man subsequently turns to explain just what the instructions are that the Divinity
imparts to all humans before birth, and that they then forget under the baleful
influence of Deceit, yet another possible course emerges: that of the individual who,
accepting the goods of fortune in a proper spirit of indifference, spurns the
blandishments of hedonism, and makes instead directly for culture, without the
pernicious detour through dissolution and crime (31-2).

The exegesis of the picture comes to an end at the beginning of paragraph 33. The
remainder of the dialogue is devoted to further discussion of two points which still
puzzled the young interlocutors: the value of conventional education, and the
rationale of the Divinity’s instruction to exploit it without becoming engrossed in it
(33-35, harking back to 12-14); and, secondly, the denial, made briefly in 8 and explicitly reserved for further discussion later, that the gifts of fortune are truly good
(36-43). The dialogue ends with a final exhortation from the old exegete to take his
teaching to heart, and a promise that he will always be ready to offer any more
explanations that this young listeners may require (43)

Read here The Table of Cebes, or, The Picture of Human Life.  Here info On the Tablet of Cebes

Read here old translation:The Greek Pelgrim progress Generally known as the Picture by  Cebes, a disciple of Socrates


Of course, that anxious inclination toward the dark means that the soul figure fails to turn to the dexter side, that of Heaven, opposite, where angels are visible below the trees
and unearthly crystalline structures tower above at the horizon level. Closer inspection of the entire painting shows that the very skies echo this antithetical structure: reading from
left to right, the cloudless blue sky gradually gives way to dark storm clouds above the fire and brimstone of Hell.

For we see divine retribution revealed from heaven and falling upon all the godless wickedness of men. In their wickedness they are stifling the truth. For all that may be known of God by men lies plain before their eyes; indeed God himself has disclosed it to
them. His invisible attributes, that is to say his everlasting power and deity, have been visible, ever since the world began, to the eye of reason, in the things he has made. There is therefore no possible defense for their conduct…. For this reason God has
given them up to the vileness of their own desires, and the consequent degradation of their bodies, because they have bartered away the true God for a false one…. Thus, because they have not seen fit to acknowledge God, he has given them up to
their own depraved reason. This leads them to break all rules of conduct.

-Romans 1:18-28

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

-I Corinthians 13:12

“in Hell there is no time, there is only infinite stasis; in Paradise there is no time, but rather the dynamic over-abundance of eternity; only in Purgatory is there time,because only here is there the possibility of change and growth”.

  • At the the cross road  of Y , Migration is a form of Purgatory

Paul A. Camacho in his paper ” Educating Desire: Conversion and Ascent in Dante’s Purgatorioasks our attention “Why the Purgatorio? As first-time readers discover with surprise in the closing cantos of Dante’s Inferno, Hell is defined primarily by stasis. Where there is motion in Hell, it is only the tormented self-circling of a will that cannot love anything beyond itself. Hell is the place that Dante scholar Peter Hawkins has memorably described as “repetition-compulsion, an endless replay of the sinner’s ‘song of myself.’” It is certainly true, as Dante saw, that conversion requires an underworld itinerary: we can no overcome the drive to get what we mistakenly think will bring us happiness through intellectual understanding or sheerwill-power alone. But to journey throug hHell as Dante would have us do,one must experience one’s sin and failure without getting trapped in it; and this means one must face all the darkness in oneself without becoming entombed by fear, despair, or gawking fascination. This is a heavy task for anyone, let alone for the average undergraduate. By contrast, Purgatory is, in Hawkins’ words, “dynamic, dedicated to change and transformation. It concerns the rebirth of a  self free at last to be interested in other souls and other things .” It is fruitful to dwell in Purgatorio with students because it is in Purgatory that we now reside. I mean this: in Hell there is no time, there is only infinite stasis; in Paradise there is no time, but rather the dynamic over-abundance of eternity; only in Purgatory is there time,because only here is there the possibility of change and growth. If we read the Commedia to learn how to love better here and now, in this world, it is the Purgatorio that will provide the blueprint.”
In Cantos 17 and 18 of the Purgatorio, Dante’s Virgil lays out a theory of sin, freedom, and moral motivation based on a philosophical anthropology of loving-desire. As the commentary tradition has long recognized, because Dante placed Virgil’s discourse on love at the heart of the Commedia, the poet invites his readers to use love as a hermeneutic key to the text as a whole. When we contextualize Virgil’s discourse within the broader intention of the poem—to move its readers from disordered love to an ordered love of ultimate things—then we find in these central cantos not just a key to the structure and movement of the poem ,but also a key to understanding Dante’s pedagogical aim. With his Commedia, Dante invites us to perform the interior transformation which the poem dramatizes in verse and symbol. He does so by awakening in his readers not only a desire for the beauty of his poetic creation, but also a desire for the beauty of the love described therein. In this way, the poem presents a pedagogy of love, in which the reader participates in the very experience of desire and delight enacted in the text. In this article, I offer an analysis of Virgil’s discourse on love in the Purgatorio, arguing for an explicit and necessary connection between loving-desire and true education. I demonstrate that what informs Dante’s pedagogy of love is the notion of love as ascent, a notion we find articulated especially in the Christian Platonism of Augustine. Finally, I conclude by offering a number of figures, passages, and themes from across the Commedia that provide fruitful material for teachers engaged in the task of educating desire. Read more here

  • With the help of Al Khidr, St George, St Christopher and the Holy Refugees

Al Khidr : The Spiritual “greenness”:

Khidr is not an abstract mystical figure, but an archetype of something essential within us.The Green One’ images a natural aspect of our divinity, something so ordinary that we overlook it. To follow the way of Khidr is to awaken to our own natural state of being with God and with life. In this natural state of being we know how to respond to the real need of the moment. Read more

 

 

 

St George and Al kidhr;

At first sight there seems to be little connection between Elijah, George and Khidr, apart from the fact that in the Middle East they are frequently associated with the same place by different religious traditions. Is it then a simple case of overlapping traditions, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, all of whom focus on the Holy Land as part of their own heritage and take Abraham as their forefather?

Certainly there is a view which suggests that Khidr is to Muslims what Elijah is to Jews, in respect of them both acting as initiator to the true believer, and which in itself is testimony to attempts to find common ground between the three traditions. Read more here

Prayer of Intercession to Saint George:

Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, Saint George; favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ, thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit.

Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from the love of Christ. I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me; and let neither distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the end.

 

St Christopher:

With the help of St Christopher we make the Migration, Crossing from the Land of Ignorance to the Spirittual Land of Peace

St. Christopher prayer:

O Glorious St. Christopher you have inherited a beautiful name, Christ-bearer, as a result of the wonderful legend that while carrying people across a raging stream you also carried the Child Jesus. Teach us to be true Christ-bearers to those who do not know Him. Protect all of us that travel both near and far and petition Jesus to be with us always. Amen.

Read more here about the great martyr St Christopher

  • The Refuge: Pilgrimage

To Become a “Refugee” means to make a migration to Sincerity or to the“uprightness” of Love.

 

Brueghel used the personnage of “Dulle Griet’ to express this kind of stubbornness . It shows the intellectual rebellion of our Ego. Progress came with a price. The new world had not yet made a Faustian pact with the Devil to gain its brilliant advances in science, exploration and industry but it had swept away some of the traditional cures for the depression that those achievements brought in tow.

Modern Man with all his “economical grow- energy” knowledge and scientifical research based on rebellion against his Soul, wants to find (without his soul) the solutions to all the problems he created and  is landed in an apocalyptic “theater” prophesying the complete destruction of the world.

 

To take refuge asThe Holy Refugees: “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” by Joachim Patinir: to make the Pelgrimage to become The Twice Born Man

Man as stubbornness of the intellectual rebellion of our Ego  / The Twice Born Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Refuge: Pilgrimage to Reconciliation with his Soul

The Choice:

Man as  Man as stubbornness of the intellectual rebellion of our Ego                                                                                                        The  Twice Born Man

The Refuge: Pilgrimage

The Freedom of  choice of the “Refugee”:

Read more on: Landscape of the soul, as an Image of the Pilgrimage of Life

We are not the first generation to know that we are destroying the world, many communities and civilisations collapsed before us.  But  we could be the last that can do anything about it, not with the vanity of  earthly knowledge and so called democratic solidarity and wisdom here on earth  as this commercial of WWF wants to convince us, but with asking humbly the help of Divine Wisdom so realising in us the image of the man who painfully transcends his material ego: The birth of his soul. It is a test. It’s time to decide! 

  • The Soul That Does not Live in God is not Alive

Spring makes red and white flowers appear on the trees,

But the spring that is the origin of colors is colorless.

Understand what I have said, and give up all talk;

Run to the Origin without color and unite yourself to it.

Annihilate yourself before the One Existence

So that thousands of worlds leap out of you

And your pure existence flames out of itself

And goes on and on birthing different forms.

Of course, none of these forms will last.

Happy is the one who knows this mystery!

Happy is he who gives his life to know this!

He leaves this house for another far more radiant.

You cannot understand this mystery through reason;

The Way to Knowledge winds through suffering and torment.

If you do not feel pain, you do not look for healing.

The soul that does not live in God is not alive.

She seems like a soul, but does not deserve the name:

She has not been made alive by the Beloved.

The soul is given life by the four-elements

Like a lamp that burns through the night:

The light is from oil and wick, it is not eternal.

While the oil exists, the lamp burns, but then goes out.

The one made alive by God will never die.

He lives through God and not through gold or bread.

God is the Light, the Eternal Source of Lights.

The Light is causeless, as is His fiery radiance.

Like gold, God’s value comes from His pure, perfect essence.

Sultan Valad

Geometry of Life

The Geometry of Plants

From Cosmic Core

“Plants are not ‘things’ but ‘energy events’,” Michael Schneider tells us.  “They spiral into existence, resembling whirlpools.”

“The directed, asymmetric, ‘pulsating’ forces manifested in growing living organisms act, or can act, quite differently from the physico-chemical reactions obeying the ‘Principle of Least Action,’ so that the ‘Geometry of Life’ will introduce shapes and volumes not met with in rigorously inorganic systems.”1

“Plants are not objects, and there is no absolute.  They are transient and their form exists within a constant state of flux.  In truth we cannot summarize the design of a plant within a single session of measurement and recording, since even within the space of time between the measuring and the recording enough about the plant may have changed to render the measurement obsolete. Read more here

  • Geometry of Plants – II

 

 

Geometry of Plants – Part 2 –

 

 

 

  • Geometry of Zoology

Geometry of Zoology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Geometry of Human Life

Human A&P – Part 1 – The Geometry of Human Life – Mitosis, Meiosis & Fertilization

 

 

Human A&P – Part 2 – The Geometry of Human Life – Phi & Body Proportions

 

Human A&P – Part 3 – The Geometry of Human Life – More Body Geometry

 

 

 

 

Human A&P – Part 4 – The Geometry of Human Life – The Heart

 

 

 

Human Life – Mind/Body – Part 1 – Cells & Cellular Memory

 

 

Mind/Body Health – Part 2 – Mind-Body Connection

 

 

 

Read more here