- ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY SYMBOLS AND SIGNS
- PRECEPTS AND ENVIRONMENT BY JOHN DAIDO LOORI, JOINING ESPIRITUALITY AND ENVIRONMENT
- OUR SHORTSIGTHED WORLDVIEW, CULTURE SHAPE MADNESS, ANCIENT COSMOLOGY, DAVID FIDELER ON PHYTAGORAS
- ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE KILLING OF ANIMALS, IDEAL KOSHER PRACTICES, DIVERSE RELIGIOUS VIEWS, AND ATHEISTS ON VEGETARIANISM
- SCIENCE AND TELEOLOGY, MIND AND COSMOS THOMAS NAGEL’S CHALLENGE TO SCIENTIST, AND ARETE
- THE TRAP OF THE SELF, OR THE LIMITATIONS OF EXISTENCE, EPICTETUS SUBJECTIVE FREEDOM
- A PLANET IN CRISIS, TIME TO GROW UP AND SAVE MOTHER EARTH
- LONELINESS, THE DEATH OF MEANING, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECTIVE, THE LIVING DEATH
- A BRAVE NEW WORLD, THE ANONYMUS PHENOMEN, A CHALLENGE TO THE STATUS QUO
- IGJUGARJUK, ON SUFFERING AND TRANSFORMATION, ALCHEMY, THE EMERALD TABLE, AND OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNION
- MATHEMATICS THE HIDDEN ROOT OF THE PLATONIC ARCHETYPES, A STORY OF EROS AND THE LOVE OF ABSTRACTS IDEALS
- GREED AND IMPUNITY THE LAW OF THE LAND, GOVERNMENT, AND FREE MARKET ECONOMY IDOLS WITH CLAY FEET, A FUTURE OF UNCERTAINTY
Love all of God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand.
Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light! Love the animals.
Love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will
soon perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it,
you will begin to comprehend it better every day.
And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all
Love the animals. God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy
Do not trouble their joy, do not harass them, do not deprive them
of their happiness do not work against God’s intent.
Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin,
and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it,
and leave the traces of your foulness after you ??
alas, it is true of almost everyone of us!
Precepts and Environment
Dharma Discourse by Abbot John Daido Loori, M.R.O.
Imagine, if you will, a universe in which all things have a mutual identity. They all have a codependent origination: when one thing arises, all things arise simultaneously. And everything has a mutual causality: what happens to one thing happens to the entire universe. Imagine a universe that is a self-creating, self-maintaining, and self-defining organism – a universe in which all the parts and the totality are a single entity, all of the pieces and the whole thing at once, one thing. This description of reality is not a holistic hypothesis or an all-encompassing idealistic dream. It is your life and my life. The life of the mountain and the life of the river. The life of a blade of grass, a spider web, the Brooklyn Bridge. These things are not related to each other. They’re not part of the same thing. They’re not similar. Rather, they are identical to each other in every respect. But the way we live our lives is as if that were not so. We live our lives in a way that separates the pieces, alienates and hurts.
The Buddhist Precepts are a teaching on how to live our lives in harmony with the facts described above. When we look at the Precepts, we normally think of them in terms of people. Indeed, most of the moral and ethical teachings of the great religions address relationships among people. But these Precepts do not exclusively pertain to the human realm. They are talking about the whole universe and we need to see them from that perspective if we are to benefit from what they have to offer, and begin healing the rift between ourselves and the universe.
First among the sixteen Precepts are the Three Treasures. We take refuge in the Three Treasures – the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Understood from three different perspectives, the Three Treasures present different virtues. The first perspective is called the One-Bodied Three Treasures. The second is called the Realized Three Treasures, and the third is called the Maintained Three Treasures.
From the perspective of the One-Bodied Three Treasures, anuttara-samyaksambodhi, supreme enlightenment, is the Buddha Treasure. Being pure, genuine, apart from the dust is the Dharma Treasure. The reason it is apart from the dust is that it is the dust. That is what the virtue of purity is about. There is nothing outside of it. The merits of harmony are the Sangha Treasure. Together, these are the One-Bodied Three Treasures. To realize and actualize Bodhi or enlightenment is the Buddha Treasure of the Realized Three Treasures. The realization of Buddha is the Dharma Treasure, and to penetrate into the Buddhadharma is the Sangha Treasure. These are the Realized Three Treasures. Among the Maintained Three Treasures, their manifestation in the world, guiding the heavens and guiding people, sometimes appearing in vast emptiness, sometimes appearing in dust, is the Buddha Treasure. Sometimes revolving sutras and sometimes revolving the oceanic storehouse, guiding inanimate things and guiding animate things, is the Dharma Treasure. And freed from all suffering and liberated from the house of the Three Worlds is called the Sangha Treasure. This is what we take refuge in. These Three Treasures are the universe itself. They are the totality of the environment and oneself.
Next are the Three Pure Precepts. The first of the Three Pure Precepts is not creating evil. This is based on the assumption that there is an inherent purity and goodness in the universe. Actually, there is neither goodness nor badness, neither good nor evil. These polarities don’t exist until we create them. This precept is saying that not creating evil is the abiding place of all Buddhas, the source of all Buddhas. The second of the Three Pure Precepts is practicing good. Not to create evil means not to get involved in any activity that is going to give rise to evil. Although from the absolute perspective, there is neither good nor evil, every activity is going to create some consequence in the world of phenomena. The minute there is action, either good or evil comes up. So, do not let evil come up, but rather practice good. This is the Dharma of samyaksambodhi, the way of all beings. The third of the Three Pure Precepts is actualizing good for others. This is to transcend the profane and go beyond the holy, to liberate oneself and others. The Three Pure Precepts are a definition of harmony in an inherently perfect universe, a universe that is totally interpenetrated, codependent, and mutually arising. But the question is, how do we accomplish that perfection?
The Ten Grave Precepts point that out. Looking at the Ten Grave Precepts in terms of how we relate to our environment is a step in the direction of appreciating the continuous, subtle and vital role we play in the well-being of this planet – a beginning of taking responsibility for the whole catastrophe.
The First Grave Precept is affirm life – do not kill. What does it mean to kill the environment? It’s the worst kind of killing. We are decimating many species. There is no way that these life forms can ever return to the earth. The vacuum their absence creates cannot be filled in any other way, and such a vacuum affects everything else in the ecosystem, no matter how infinitesimally small it is. We are losing species by the thousands every year – the last of their kind on the face of this great Earth. And because someone in South America is doing it, that doesn’t mean we’re not responsible. We’re as responsible as if we are the one who clubs an infant seal or burns a hectare of tropical forest. It is as if we were squeezing the life out of ourselves. Killing the lakes with acid rain. Dumping chemicals into the rivers so that they cannot support any life. Polluting our skies so our children choke on the air they breath. Life is non killing. The seed of the Buddha grows continuously. Maintain the wisdom life of Buddha and do not kill life.
The Second Grave Precept is be giving – do not steal. Do not steal means not to rape the Earth. To take away from the insentient is stealing. The mountain suffers when you clear-cut it. Clear cutting is stealing the habitat of the animals that live on the mountain. When we over-cut, streams become congested with the sediments that wash off the mountain slopes. This is stealing the life of the fish that live in the river, of the birds that come to feed on the fish, of the mammals that come to feed on the birds. Be giving, do not steal. The mind and externals are just thus, the gate of liberation is open.
The Third Grave Precept is honor the body – do not misuse sexuality. Honor the body of Nature. When we begin to interfere with the natural order of things, when we begin to engineer the genetics of viruses and bacteria, plants and animals, we throw the whole ecological balance off. Our technological meddling affects the totality of the universe and there are karmic consequences to that. The three wheels: body, mind and mouth; greed, anger and ignorance are pure and clean. Nothing is desired. Go the same way as the Buddha, do not misuse sexuality.
The Fourth Grave Precept is manifest truth – do not lie. One of the very common kinds of lying that is popular these days is called green-washing. Green-washing is like whitewashing – it pretends to be ecologically sound and politically correct. You hear Monsanto Chemical Company tell us how wonderful they are and how sensitive they are to the environment. Exxon tells us the same thing. The plastic manufacturers tell us the same thing. Part of what they are saying is true. You couldn’t have a special pump for failing hearts without plastic. You couldn’t have an oxygen tent without plastic. Sure, fine, thank you. But stop making plastic cups and plates that are not biodegradable and are filling up the dumps. Another kind of lying is the lying that we do to ourselves about our own actions. We go off into the woods, and rather than take the pains to haul out the non-biodegradable stuff that we haul in, we hide it. We sink the beer cans, bury the cellophane wrappings under a root. We know we have done it, but we act as though it didn’t happen. Gain the essence and realize the truth. Manifest it and do not lie.
The Fifth Grave Precept is proceed clearly – do not cloud the mind. Do not cloud the mind with greed, do not cloud the mind with denial. It is greed that is one of the major underlying causes of pollution. We can solve all the problems. We have all the resources to do it. We can deal with our garbage, we can deal with world hunger, we can deal with the pollution that comes out of the smokestacks. We have the technology to do it, but it is going to cost a lot of money, which means that there will be less profit. I f there is less profit, people will have to make do with a little bit less, and our greed won’t let us do that. Proceed clearly, do not cloud the mind with greed.
The Sixth Grave Precept is see the perfection – do not speak of others errors and faults. For years we have manicured nature because in our opinion nature didn’t know how to do things. That manicuring continues right here, on the shores of our river. We have concluded that the river is wrong. It erodes the banks and floods the lowlands. It needs to be controlled. So, we take all the curves out of it, line the banks with stone, and turn it into a pipeline. This effectively removes all the protective space that the water birds use to reproduce in, and the places where the fish go to find shelter when the water rises. Then the first time there is a spring storm the ducks’ eggs and the fish wash downstream into the Ashokan Reservoir and the river is left barren. Or we think there are too many deer, so we perform controlled genocide. Or the wolves kill all the livestock, so we kill the wolves. Every time we get rid of one of species we create an incomprehensible impact and traumatize the whole environment. The scenario changes and we come up with another solution. We call this process wildlife management. What is this notion of wildlife management? See the perfection, do not speak of nature’s errors and faults.
The Seventh Grave Precept is realize self and other as one – do not elevate the self and put down others. Do not elevate the self and put down nature. We hold a human-centered notion of the nature of the universe and the nature of the environment. We believe God put us in charge, and we live out that belief. The Bible confirms that for us. We live as though the universe were spinning around us with man at the center of the whole picture. We are convinced that the multitude of things are there to serve us, and so we take without any sense of giving. That is elevating the self and putting down nature. In this universe, where everything is interpenetrated, codependent and mutually arising, nothing stands out above anything else. We are inextricably linked and nobody is in charge. The universe is self-maintaining. Buddhas and ancestors realize the absolute emptiness and realize the great earth. When the great body is manifested there is neither inside or outside. When the Dharma body is manifested there is not even a single square inch of earth on which to stand. It swallows it. Realize self and other as one. Do not elevate the self and put down nature.
The Eighth Grave Precept is give generously – do not be withholding. We should understand that giving and receiving are one. If we really need something from nature, we should vow to return something to nature. We are dependent on nature, no question about it. But there is a difference between recognizing dependency and entering it consciously and gratefully, and being greedy. Native Americans lived amidst the plenty of nature for thousands of years. They fed on the buffalo when they needed that type of sustenance. We nearly brought that species to extinction in two short decades. It wasn’t for food. Tens of thousands of carcasses rotted while we took the skins. It is the same with our relationship to elephants, seals, alligators, and countless others. Our killing has nothing to do with survival. It has nothing to do with need. It has to do with greed. Give generously, do not be withholding.
The Ninth Grave Precept is actualize harmony – do not be angry. Assertive, pointed action can be free of anger. We can fence the deer out of our garden and prevent them from eating our vegetables without hating the deer. Also, by simply being patient and observing the natural cycles we can avoid unnecessary headaches and emotional outbreaks. Usually we will discover that the things we think get in the way are really not in the way. When the gypsy moths descended in swarms one year and ate all the leaves off the trees so that in the middle of June the mountain looked like it was late fall, the local community got hysterical. We made an all-out attack. Planes came daily and sprayed the slopes with chemicals. People put tar on the bases of trees to trap the caterpillars. The gypsy moths simply climbed up, got stuck in the tar and piled up so others could crawl across the backs of the dead ones and went up the trees to do what they needed to do. Amidst all of these disasters, with the leaves gone and the shrubbery out of the shade, the mountain laurel bloomed like it had never bloomed before. I had no idea we had so much mountain laurel on this mountain. However, the gypsy moths definitely damaged the trees. The weak trees died. By the time July came around, there were new leaves on the trees, and the mountain was green again. But the anger and the hate we felt during those spring months was debilitating and amazing. The air was filled with it.
In another incident, the fellow who owned the house that is now the monastery abbacy had beavers on his property. They were eating up his trees so he decided to exterminate them. A neighbor told him that they were protected, so he called the DEC. The rangers trapped and removed the animals. When we moved into the house, however, a pair of beavers showed up and immediately started taking down the trees again. In fact, they chomped down a beautiful weeping willow that my students presented to me as a gift. I was supposed to sit under it in my old age, but now it was stuck in a beaver dam, blocking up the stream. With the stream dammed, the water rose and the pond filled with fish. With the abundance of fish, ducks arrived. That brought in the fox and the osprey. Suddenly the whole environment came alive because of those two beavers. Of course, they didn’t stay too long because we didn’t have that much wood, so after two seasons they moved on. Nobody was taking care of the dam. The water leaked out and the pond disappeared. It will be like that until the trees grow back and the next pair of beavers arrive. If we can just keep our fingers out of it and let things unfold, nature knows how to maintain itself. It creates itself and defines itself, as does the universe. And, by the way, the weeping willow came back, sprouted again right from the stump. It leans over the pond watching me go through my cycles these days.
The Tenth Grave Precept is experience the intimacy of things – do not defile the Three Treasures. To defile is to separate. The Three Treasures is this body and the body of the universe, and when we separate ourselves from ourselves, and from the universe, we defile the Three Treasures.
To practice the Precepts is to be in harmony with your life and the universe. To practice the Precepts means to be conscious of what they are about – not just on the surface, but on many levels, plummeting the depths of the Precepts. It means being deeply honest with yourself. When you become aware you have drifted away from the Precepts just acknowledge that fact. That acknowledgment means to take responsibility for your life; taking responsibility plays a key role in our practice. If you don’t practice taking responsibility you are not practicing. It is as simple as that. There is nobody checking when you are doing zazen whether you’re letting go of your thoughts or sticking with them. It has to do with your own honesty and integrity. Only you know what you are doing with your mind. It is the same with the Precepts. Only you know when you have actually violated a precept. And only you can be at one with that violation, can atone. To be at one with it means to take responsibility. To take responsibility means to acknowledge yourself as the master of your life. To take responsibility empowers you to do something about whatever it is that’s hindering you. As long as we blame, as long as we avoid or deny, we are removed from the realm of possibility and power to do something about our lives. We become totally dependent upon the ups and downs that we create around us. There is no reason that we should be subjected to anything when we have the power to see that we create and we destroy all things. To acknowledge that simple fact is to take possession of the Precepts. It is to make the Precepts your own. It is to give life to the Buddha, this great earth, and the universe itself.
Who’ll tell me my secret,
The ages have kept?
I awaited the seer
While they slumbered and slept…
“The fate of the man-child;
The meaning of man;
Known fruit of the unknown;
Out of sleeping a waking,
Out of waking a sleep;
Life death overtaking;
Deep underneath deep?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The hubris of our contemporary civilization is the belief that never in the world has existed a time better than our own, of course the only reason we can uphold such a statement it’s by our ignorance, and the shortsightedness of our weltanschauung (encompassing World view a philosophy or view of life; the worldview of an individual or group.) who is happy for the simple conveniences of life, like automated anything, and everything like a calculus machine that can do complicated arithmetic’s meanwhile we conveniently forget how to add or multiply, or the fact that more and more people it’s dependent on ready meals, that you pop on the microwave, and little by little forget, or never learn how to cook a good meal from scratch, thousand of examples come to my mind, but it will be useless to enumerate them, too much time consuming, and after all what we seek it’s saving time, shorten the instant we will receive gratification to the satisfaction of our desires, with the minimum of effort, and cost on our consuming part of the bargain, ignoring conveniently the labor, of others, and the real cost that entitles, not only in money, but in the destruction of our environment, the suffering of many other people on third World countries, were labor it’s so cheap that it’s more convenient to freeze fish caught by Scottish fishermen in the North Atlantic, send it in a boat to China, clean, and fillet it there paying very little for it, freeze it back, and send it back to Europe for consumption, saving on wages, that produce unemployment in Scotland, plus pollution all around the World, If that is progress, well I hate to be the bearer of bad news to you, but if I don’t it will defeat the purpose of you knowing the truth, about what is very important to be aware, since our future depends on it, sorry if I spoil your diner!
We posses a lot more than we did in the past, but we are not happy and never have enough, we eat more than we ever did yet we suffer of all kind of degenerative ailments, and overweight because of it, we travel at will only limited by your funds, and time available, you can be in Beijing in 11 hours and 45 minutes if you are in Venice Italy, something that would astonish Marco Polo and his father, and uncle who reached it after 3 and a half years!Not to talk you can be connected in seconds trough telephone or a computer.
Despite the numerous advantages you can cite, and they are many, we ignore what we have lost, and in my opinion weights on our future a lot more of what we have gained, which it is basically more comfort, and goods at the expense of ruining our environment, our health (based on our actual physical wellbeing, like being fit and in shape, not in our ability to fill a diabetic prescription that would keep you alive).
Gary Greenberg’s on Joel and Ian Gold on Suspicious minds how Culture Shapes madness
We not have lost our physical health, but our mental health here we have some excerpts that appeared in the NY Times.
“Joel Gold first observed the Truman Show delusion — in which people believe they are the involuntary subjects of a reality television show whose producers are scripting the vicissitudes of their lives — on Halloween night 2003 at Bellevue Hospital, where he was the chief attending psychiatrist. “Suspicious Minds,” which he wrote with his brother, Ian, an associate professor of philosophy and psychology at McGill University, is an attempt to use this delusion, which has been observed by many clinicians, to pose questions that have gone out of fashion in psychiatry over the last half-century: Why does a mentally ill person have the delusions he or she has? And, following the lead of the medical historian Roy Porter, who once wrote that “every age gets the lunatics it deserves,” what can we learn about ourselves and our times from examining the content of madness?
The Golds’ answer is a dual broadside: against a psychiatric profession that has become infatuated with neuroscience as part of its longstanding attempt to establish itself as “real medicine,” and against a culture that has become too networked for its own good. Current psychiatric practice is to treat delusions as the random noise generated by a malfunctioning (and mindless) brain — a strategy that would be more convincing if doctors had a better idea of how the brain produced madness and how to cure it. According to the Golds, ignoring the content of delusions like T.S.D. can only make mentally ill people feel more misunderstood, even as it distracts the rest of us from the true significance of the delusion: that we live in a society that has put us all under surveillance. T.S.D. sufferers may be paranoid, but that does not mean they are wrong to think the whole world is watching.
Having replaced, or at least augmented, neurobiological accounts of the mind with evolutionary and cognitive accounts, the Golds set the stage for considering what biological psychiatry has elided in its rush to reduce mental illness to brain dysfunction: the environment as a causal factor in mental breakdown. They note that the psychiatric disorders in which delusions play a role are more common in cities than in rural areas, which indicates that the more relationships one has to negotiate, the more likely the navigational apparatus is to break down. And, they point out, Internet-enabled cameras and cellphones, not to mention National Security Agency snooping, have turned the entire world into a single, if virtual, city and “a bizarre delusion about being watched into a sober worry.” Mass culture has become a “Panopticon of the 21st century”; we have achieved through technology what Jeremy Bentham’s infamous prison design tried to achieve by architecture — an arrangement in which inmates must always assume they are being watched. People with T.S.D. are those who, for whatever reason, are uniquely sensitive to the resulting loss of privacy. They are, in other words, the canaries in the data mines of the surveillance society.”
The Wisdom of The Ancients
But above all our loss our capacity to be one with our environment, and wise on the ways of Nature, most of us I dare to say we are not even aware we live artificial lives sustained by our technology, lives, that soon would come to an end if our society would suddenly collapse due to many factors, like wars, famine, or other natural disasters we have no control, ironically our indigenous communities around the world have a better chance of survival than we supposedly educated, and cultured individuals, for them things can get a little harsher than usual, but they are well equipped to deal with such contingencies. What passes as a wise man of today, are not wise at all, most them know a lot, but of very little, and ignore lot, gone it’s the ideal of a Renaissance man who would encompass all knowledge, an impossible thing today, but I will be happy with men/women with wisdom. In our search to dig in the structure of matter we have lost our ability to look at the heavens. And what I mean by that it’s just not only the physical facts of traveling outside of the city lights and look at the heavens like an astronomer, but to the fact we have lost our Myths, with first Christianity who persecuted the pagans, but also the Enlightenment, and modernism who discarded Spirit, ancient Religions wrongly named Mythology now days, possessed a holistic view of the World and the Universe, were all the aspects related to Nature and Man were integrated in to their World View and were capable to see the whole picture rather than just the details, as our shortsighted World View does now, were the sciences and the arts belong to the specialist, not to the common individual, and even our so called specialist, with few exceptions, are incapable of linking Music with Architecture, or Mathematics with any of the seven arts, or Astronomy with psychology, or agriculture, or religion, I could go on, and on giving examples of this sort of links between the sciences, the arts, the crafts, medicine, metallurgy, gemology, and many other obscure branches of knowledge the ancient cultivated since for them no phenomena was outside of their Cosmological World View, and everything was related by analogy, the base of Theurgy.
Theurgy (from Greek θεουργία) describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving Henosis, (Mystical Oneness, Unity) and perfecting oneself.
We have been diminish by our success, we live a life fragmented, disconnected, and most of the time devoid of meaning, and purposeless, yet in fear, and anxiety, searching for whims, and momentary pleasures to drown our sorrows, and existential voids chasing childish empty, and illusory dreams, mostly too crass, and materialistic in nature to bring real joy, peace and fulfillment to our subjective self, that the ancients used to call soul.
Ancient men were connected to the cycles of heaven by watching the stars, unlike today were we do rarely rise our heads to the night sky to be fill with awe, wonder, knowledge, and wisdom…
David Fideler on Pythagoras Cosmovision
The universe is a kosmos, because it is perfect and “adorned” with infinite beauty and
In a living cosmovision, the world is luminous and transparent. It radiates a divine beauty in which we are embedded. In the modern world, however, a great confusion has arisen about beauty. We see it as subjective, “in the eye of the beholder,” or as culture-specific, rather than seeing it as an objective quality of nature. Under the spell of materialism and the quest for efficiency, the world grows increasingly heavy and opaque. We are surrounded by the beauty of nature on every side, but fail to see it. And when we have become anesthetized to the beauty of the world, the world itself becomes exploitable—just “a natural resource” for human consumption. If we could come out of our protective, closed-down cocoons and once again see the world with unclouded vision and appreciation, we would treat it with reverence and realize that beauty reveals a deep and essential aspect of the cosmic pattern. While our human tastes are certainly in some ways individual and culture-specific, beauty itself is rooted in the deep structure of the world.
By destroying the beauty of nature in the name of economic growth, we are destroying our most vital link with the depths of the cosmic pattern. In terms of our evolutionary heritage we emerged from the beautiful, organic harmonies of the world fabric, but when we no longer have direct access to the organic harmonies of living nature something of our own nature is lost or forgotten. As the biologist Gregory Bateson pointed out, the aesthetic unity of nature reveals an ultimate unifying pattern far deeper than the findings of quantitative science can describe. He also wrote that the lost sense of this aesthetic unity—the common possession Beauty, Desire, and the Soul of the World of all traditional peoples—is one of the most serious failings of the modern world.
By entering into a deep experience of nature’s beauty, we are able to experience directly the vital patterns and organic harmonies that connect flowers, starfish, and galaxies, and our own human lives with the greater tapestry of the living universe. As Goethe wrote,“The beautiful is a manifestation of secret laws of Nature, which, but for this appearance, had been forever concealed from us.”
Ultimately, the beauty that we can perceive directly at all levels of existence and scale reveals the whole of nature to be an organically interconnected and comprehensive unity.
The Greek word kosmos cannot be translated in to a single English word,but refers to an equal presence of order and beauty. When the Greek philosopher Pythagoras first called the universe a kosmos, he did so because it is a living embodiment of nature’s order, beauty, and harmony.
The fact that the physical world embodies beauty and harmony can be demonstrated in many ways, but rational proof is only required when we have forgotten our own connection with the underlying fabric of life. When we can view the exquisite grandeur of a forest, mountain range, or the form of a distant galaxy with a clear and untroubled heart, the beauty and harmony of the universe becomes immediately obvious—not through argument, but through direct perception. As William Blake wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
In this sense, the perception of the world’s deep, intrinsic beauty and harmony was the starting point of ancient science and philosophy. In the vision of the ancient philosophers, the universe itself was seen as an embodiment of beauty, which is itself a manifestation of value.
Hence Pythagoras (570–496 b.c.) called the universe cosmos— a “beautiful order” — and explained that the world-structure arises from harmony or the “fitting together” of different elements through proportional relationships.
We can see the patterns of harmony reflected in the structure of galaxies, trees, snowflakes,the deeply elegant forms of living creatures,and the proportions of the human body. In the harmonic structure of the living universe, all the individual parts fit together to make up the greater whole.
For Pythagoras there could be no separation between science and religion or between the worlds of fact and value. The cosmos reflects a universal order, which is a fact, but is also an embodiment of beauty,which is a manifestation of value. Fact and value are not opposed,but two interrelated aspects of the same pattern, because it is from nature’s organic order that the beauty of the world arises. The cosmos is a living unity in which all things are related through kinship, harmony, proportion, and sympathy. Referring to the teachings of the Pythagoreans, Plato wrote that “the wise men say that one community embraces heaven and earth and gods and men and friendship and order and temperance and righteousness, and for this reason they call this whole a cosmos, my friend, for it is not without order nor yet is there excess.”
Or, in the words of another ancient writer, “there is a certain community uniting us not only with each other and with the gods but even with the brute creation. There is in fact one breath pervading the whole cosmos like soul, and uniting us with them.”
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE KILLING OF ANIMALS, IDEAL KOSHER PRACTICES, DIVERSE RELIGIOUS VIEWS, AND ATHEISTS ON VEGETARIANISM
“The blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.”
The Torah gives precise details on how animals are to be sacrificed
and slaughtered (shechita). According to Rabbis Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz
and Abraham Isaac Kook the complexity of these laws were intended to
discourage the consumption of meat. Kashrut may also be designed to remind
Jews of the magnitude of the task undertaken in killing a living being.
Peter Singer Ethical considerations for Vegetarianism
“The case for vegetarianism is at its strongest when we see it as a moral protest against our use of animals as mere things, to be exploited for our convenience in whatever way makes them most cheaply available to us. Only the tiniest fraction of the tens of billions of farm animals slaughtered for food each year—the figure for the United States alone is nine billion—were treated during their lives in ways that respected their interests. Questions about the wrongness of killing in itself are not relevant to the moral issue of eating meat or eggs from factory-farmed animals, as most people in developed countries do. Even when animals are roaming freely over large areas, as sheep and cattle do in Australia, operations like hot-iron branding, castration, and dehorning are carried out without any regard for the animals’ capacity to suffer. The same is true of handling and transport prior to slaughter. In the light of these facts, the issue to focus on is not whether there are some circumstances in which it could be right to eat meat, but on what we can do to avoid contributing to this immense amount of animal suffering.
The answer is to boycott all meat and eggs produced by large-scale commercial methods of animal production, and encourage others to do the same. Consideration for the interests of animals alone is enough justification for this response, but the case is further strengthened by the environmental problems that the meat industry causes. Although Mr. Justice Bell found that the allegations directed at McDonald’s regarding its contribution to the destruction of rain forests were not true, the meat industry as a whole can take little comfort from that, because Bell accepted evidence that cattle-ranching, particularly in Brazil, had contributed to the clearing of vast areas of rain forest. The problem for David Morris and Helen Steel was that they did not convince the judge that the meat used by McDonald’s came from these regions. So the meat industry as a whole remains culpable for the loss of rain forest and for all the con sequences of that, from global warming to the deaths of indigenous people fighting to defend their way of life.
Environmentalists are increasingly recognizing that the choice of what we eat is an environmental issue. Animals raised in sheds or on feedlots eat grains or soybeans, and they use most of the food value of these products simply in order to maintain basic functions and develop unpalatable parts of the body like bones and skin. To convert eight or nine kilos of grain protein into a single kilo of animal protein wastes land, energy, and water. On a crowded planet with a growing human population, that is a luxury that we are becoming increasingly unable to afford.
Intensive animal production is a heavy user of fossil fuels and a major source of pollution of both air and water. It releases large quantities of methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We are risking unpredictable changes to the climate of our planet—which means, ultimately, the lives of billions of people, not to mention the extinction of untold thousands of species of plants and animals unable to cope with changing conditions—for the sake of more hamburgers. A diet heavy in animal products, catered to by intensive animal production, is a disaster for animals, the environment, and the health of those who eat it.”
Kosher Laws and Vegetarianism
Jewish vegetarianism is the belief that following a vegetarian diet is implied in the Torah While it is neither required nor prohibited for Jews to eat meat, a number of medieval scholars of Judaism, such as Joseph Albo and Isaac Arama, regard vegetarianism as a moral ideal, not just out of a concern for animal welfare but also the slaughterer. Jewish vegetarians also cite health and environmental reasons for adopting a plant-based diet.
The Jewish Dietary Laws recognze that shehitah (ritual slaughter) and kashrut (the dietary laws) represent the fundamental principle that while the eating of meat is permitted, “, ..we must learn,” in Dresner’s words, “to have reverence for the life we take. ” Pinchas Peli puts it this way:
Accordingly, the laws of kashrut come to teach us that a Jew should prefer a vegetarian meaL. If however one cannot control a craving for meat, it should be kosher meat, which would serve as a reminder that the animal being eaten is a creature of God, that the death of such a creature cannot be taken lightly, that hunting for sport is forbidden, that we cannot treat any living thing callously, and that we are responsible for what happens to other
beings (human or animal) even if we did not personally come into contact with them.
This interpretation of vegetarianism as an ideal is a well-established view in Jewish tradition.The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 59b) as well as many commentators, including Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, and Cassuto, make note of the fact that the permission to eat meat after th3 flood (Genesis 9:3) is a distinct departure from the original vegetarian diet which was intended for all creatures, including man and woman (Genesis 1 :29-30).Nachmanides, Cassuto, and others share the view, which is elaborated upon by Rav Kook, that the permission to eat meat was granted as a concession to human weakness and imperfection. And interpreters of Jewish practice from Maimonides, in the Guide of the Perplexed,9 to Dresner (The Jewish Dietary Laws) recognize that shehitah (ritual slaughter) and kashrut (the dietary laws) represent the fundamental principle that while the eating of meat is permitted, “, ..we must learn,” in Dresner’s words, “to have reverence for the life we take. “
A Dialogue Between a Jewish Vegetarian Activist and a Rabbi
Rabbi: I would be happy to discuss this with you. But, I hope that you are aware that Judaism does permit the eating of meat. Some scholars feel that it is obligatory to eat meat on Shabbat and holidays.
JVA: Yes, I recognize that Judaism permits people to eat meat. Jewish vegetarians do not argue that Jews must be vegetarians. We recognize that people have a choice, but we feel that this choice should consider basic Jewish teachings and how animal-based diets and modern intensive livestock agriculture impinge on these teachings. For example, we should recognize the current and increasing tension between the permission to consume animals for human benefit and the extremely cruel treatment they now receive in preparation for such consumption on factory farms, which have become more prevalent in response to population increase and efficiency and cost concerns. With regard to eating meat on Shabbat and holidays, according to the Talmud (T. B. Pesachim 109a), since the destruction of the Temple, Jews are not required to eat meat in order to rejoice on sacred occasions. This view is reinforced in the works Reshit Chochmah and Kerem Shlomo and Rabbi Chizkiah Medini’s Sdei Chemed, which cites many classical sources on the subject. Several Israeli chief rabbis, including Shlomo Goren, late Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, and Shear Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Haifa, have been or are vegetarians. Also, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom is a vegetarian, as is Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland.
Rabbi: we also should recognize that there is much in the Torah and the Talmud about which animals are kosher and about the proper way to slaughter animals. So eating meat is certainly not foreign to Judaism.
VJA: Yes, that is certainly true. But, there is also much in the Torah and our other sacred writings that point to vegetarianism as the ideal Jewish diet. For example, as the Torah verse below indicates, God’s initial intention was that people be vegetarians.
And God said: “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit — to you it shall be for food.” Genesis 1:29
The foremost Jewish Torah commentator, Rashi, states the following about God’s first dietary plan: “God did not permit Adam and his wife to kill a creature to eat its flesh. Only every green herb were they to all eat together.” Most Torah commentators, including Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra, Maimonides, Nachmanides, and Rabbi Joseph Albo, agree with Rashi.
In addition, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook, first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel and a major Jewish 20th century writer and philosopher, believed that the messianic period would also be vegetarian. He based this on Isaiah’s powerful prophecy that “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, … the lion shall eat straw like the ox…. and no one shall hurt nor destroy in all of God’s holy mountain… (Isaiah 11:6-9). Hence the two idea times in Jewish thought – the Garden of Eden and the messianic period – are vegetarian.
Almost every religion has a group(s) who follow a vegetarian diet, I will not go on detail, otherwise this post would be a book.
Vegetarianism is strongly linked with a number of religions that originated in ancient India (Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism). In Jainism, vegetarianism is mandatory for everyone; in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, it is advocated by some influential scriptures and religious authorities. Comparatively, in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and in Sikhism, vegetarianism is not promoted by mainstream authorities, although in all these faiths there are small groups actively promoting vegetarianism on religious grounds.
Hindu scriptures belong or refer to the Vedic period which lasted till about 500 BCE according to the chronological division by modern historians. In the historical Vedic religion, the predecessor of Hinduism, meat eating was not banned in principle, but was restricted by specific rules. Several highly authoritative scriptures bar violence against domestic animals except in the case of ritual sacrifice. This view is clearly expressed in the Mahabharata (3.199.11-12; 13.115; 13.116.26; 13.148.17), the Bhagavata Purana (11.5.13-14), and the Chandogya Upanishad (8.15.1). For instance, many Hindus point to the Mahabharata’s maxim that “Nonviolence is the highest duty and the highest teaching,” as advocating a vegetarian diet. It is also reflected in the Manu Smriti (5.27-44), a particularly renowned traditional Hindu law book (Dharmaśāstra). These texts strongly condemn the slaughter of animals and meat eating.
The Mahabharata (12.260; 13.115-116; 14.28) and the Manu Smriti (5.27-55) contain lengthy discussions about the legitimacy of ritual slaughter and subsequent consumption of the meat. In the Mahabharata both meat eaters and vegetarians present various arguments to substantiate their viewpoints. Apart from the debates about domestic animals, there is also a long discourse by a hunter in defence of hunting and meat eating. These texts show that both ritual slaughter and hunting were challenged by advocates of universal non-violence and their acceptability was doubtful and a matter of dispute
Essential scriptural evidence
“What need there be said of those innocent and healthy creatures endued with love of life, when they are sought to be slain by sinful wretches subsisting by slaughter? For this reason, O monarch, know that the discarding of meat is the highest refuge of religion, of heaven, and of happiness. Abstention from injury is the highest religion. It is, again, the highest penance. It is also the highest truths from which all duty proceeds. Flesh cannot be had from grass or wood or stone. Unless a living creature is slain, it cannot be had. Hence is the fault in eating flesh… That man who abstains from meat, is never put in fear, O king, by any creature. All creatures seek his protection. He never causes any anxiety in others, and himself has never to become anxious. If there were nobody who ate flesh there would then be nobody to kill living creatures. The man who kills living creatures kill them for the sake of the person who eats flesh. If flesh were regarded as inedible, there would then be no slaughter of living creatures. It is for the sake of the eater that the slaughter of living creatures goes on in the world. Since, O thou of great splendor, the period of life is shortened of persons who slaughter living creatures or cause them to be slaughtered, it is clear that the person who wishes his own good should give up meat entirely… The purchaser of flesh performs himsa[violence] by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does himsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it—all of these are to be considered meat-eaters.” (Mahabharata 13.115)
“Those sinful persons who are ignorant of actual religious principles, yet consider themselves to be completely pious, without compunction commit violence against innocent animals who are fully trusting in them. In their next lives, such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world.” (Bhagavata Purana 11.5.14)
“A person fully aware of religious principles should never offer anything like meat, eggs or fish in the Sraddha ceremony, and even if one is a Kshatriya (warrior), he himself should not eat such things.” (Bhagavata Purana 7.15.7)
And last but not the least Atheist and vegetarianism excerpts:
“I became atheist in 2003. It wasn’t until a saw a video of factory farms and slaughterhouses that I stopped eating animal flesh in 2004, and made the logical step to go vegan in 2005.
Even though I was never very religious growing up (I went to a Catholic church on Christmas and Easter with my mom and sister while my dad stayed home), I think atheism helped me see that it was wrong to eat, wear, and otherwise exploit animals. As an atheist, it was easy for me to reject the supernatural belief in a species hierarchy and instead view the human species as merely one animal among many in the animal kingdom.
I see atheism and veganism as separate, but I definitely think a move to atheism across human society will help free minds of speciesism and affect a shift towards veganism.”
“My regard for animals does not derive from my regard towards any god or religion, or the lack thereof. My compassion and passion for things in life derives from the simple fact that I am not an asshole and that even though I don’t believe in heaven after I die, I still strive to be the most foremost person that I can be.
I became a vegan before I realized I was a free-thinker. Vegans and atheists believe in a lot of different things, but wow, how we believe is so much the same! We are both non-conformist. We go against what society has deemed “social norm,” and what they see is correct or acceptable. Vegans and atheists need hard facts. We don’t believe in things because someone tells us to. We need hard proof of new ideas presented to us. And even then, we are going to need some more convincing. Vegans and atheists also share strange ‘askews’ in the picture society has painted us to be. Just as all Atheists aren’t goth, dark depressed people, neither are vegans all granola-eating hippies living in the woods in yurts.
Vegans and atheists tend to have louder voices in the crowd. We have to have bigger voices to let our smaller message to the world to be heard. Every day we are further pushing the boundaries of the First Amendment, and it’s exciting.”
“At some point growing up, I recognized that the stories and rituals surrounding the supernatural being that I was taught to worship as a Jew simply felt unnatural and contrived. I have been critically questioning religion in general ever since.
How does this relate to veganism? I think it’s obvious.
For the majority of my life I had no idea that the food I ate had any backstory whatsoever. I simply never thought about it. Just as religious parents feed stories and scripture to their children, my parents fed me animal products for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was simply the norm in my culture, just like believing in a supernatural being. When I met my wife, she showed me that in fact the food I was consuming did not appear magically, but actually came from somewhere. She showed me the truth about factory farming and I discovered that I was literally paying corporations to cause enormous amounts of suffering to billions of my nonhuman fellow earthlings.
I self-reflected. I chose to apply the most basic definition of morality to my life, and have since been committed to a vegan lifestyle. Simply put, without god or religion defining right from wrong, all I needed were facts to commit to the lowest possible bar of morality – not contributing to torture.”
“There are countless ways both atheism and living vegan inform each other and there are important parallels with both for me too.
The first is that one can live a perfectly happy, healthy, fulfilling life without eating animals or without ever believing in a supernatural being who listens to one’s prayers and cares who we might sleep with.
The second parallel is that neither veganism nor atheism is part of a belief system. To live vegan or as an atheist, no dogma whatsoever can be embraced. Rather, both veganism and atheism are rejections of irrational, sometimes very dangerous and harmful belief systems themselves. In this context religion and speciesism are nearly identical twins. There’s nothing about living vegan one has to believe in to realize it’s wrong to kill someone for the mere taste of his or her flesh. There’s nothing an atheist has to believe in to go through their normal day without including Allah in their thoughts.
The third parallel really shows how being an atheist and living vegan are two peas in the same pod. This can be noticed in our daily interactions where we seem able to criticize a person’s belief on any subject we want, except…two. We can’t criticize someone’s personal beliefs about God, or their complicity in exploiting or killing non-human animals for pleasure. Which, of course, includes eating them. The fact is that it remains absolutely taboo in nearly every area of society to question someone’s religious faith or to criticize their omnivorous behavior. Those who do are accused of being self-righteous, insensitive, rude, or un-American. Both of these subjects remain completely off-limits for criticism, and this has terrible consequences.”
Imagine not being able to distinguish the real cause,
from that without which the cause would not be able to act,
as a cause. It is what the majority appear to do,
like people groping in the dark; they call it a cause,
thus giving it a name that does not belong to it.
That is why one man surrounds the earth with a vortex to make the
heavens keep it in place, another makes the air support it like a wide lid.
As for their capacity of being in the best place they could be at this
very time, this they do not look for, nor do they believe it to have
any divine force, but they believe that they will some time discover a
stronger and more immortal Atlas to hold everything together more,
and they do not believe that the truly good and ‘binding’ binds
and holds them together.
—Plato, Phaedo 99
The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos (root: τελε-, “end, purpose”) and -λογία, logia, “a branch of learning”. The term was coined in 1728 by the German philosopher Christian von Wolff in his work Philosophia rationalis, sive logica.
A teleology is any philosophical account that holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that — analogous to purposes found in human actions — nature inherently tends toward definite ends.
Teleology was explored by Plato and Aristotle, by Saint Anselm during the 11th century AD, in the late 18th century by Immanuel Kant as a regulative principle in his Critique of Judgment and by Carl Jung. It was fundamental to the speculative philosophy of Hegel.
A thing, process, or action is teleological when it is for the sake of an end, i.e., a telos or final cause. In general, it may be said that there are two types of final causes, which may be called intrinsic finality and extrinsic finality.
A thing or action has an extrinsic finality when it is for the sake of something external to itself. In a way, people exhibit extrinsic finality when they seek the happiness of a child. If the external thing had not existed that action would not display finality.
A thing or action has an intrinsic finality when it is for none other than its own sake. For example, one might try to be happy simply for the sake of being happy, and not for the sake of anything outside of that.
In modern science, explanations that rely on teleology are avoided, either because they are unnecessary or because whether they are true or false is thought to be beyond the ability of human perception and understanding to judge.But using teleology as an explanatory style, in particular within evolutionary biology, is still controversial.
Thomas Nagel Challenge to Science
The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.
Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such.
Nagel’s skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.
In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.
Of course there is many critics of Thomas Nagel’s thesis here is one John Dupre:
“So here is the first problem. Reductionism can be understood as a metaphysical thesis, typically based on an argument that if there is only material stuff in the world (no spooky stuff), then the properties of stuff must ultimately explain everything. This is a controversial thesis, much debated by philosophers. But what the last 50 years of work in the philosophy of science has established is that this kind of reductionism has little relevance to science. Even if it turned out that most scientists believed something like this (which I find incredible) this would be a psychological oddity, not a deep insight about science. A more sensible materialism goes no further than the rejection of spooky stuff: whatever kinds of stuff there may turn out to be and whatever they turn out to do, they are, as long as this turning out is empirically grounded, ipso facto not spooky. Such a materialism is quite untouched by Nagel’s arguments.”
My response to Mr. Dupre will be not to try to paste up the fact that many scientist are ignorant of their own metaphysical stands as Material reductionist even if he find it incredible! Why? Because in their arrogance they have embraced scientism as a religious dogma without considering a valid argument for the subjective from a philosophical stand, you can’t blame philosophers for thinking clearly and recognize the value of consciousness and the subjective, regardless if many scientist reduced it to a mere chemical reaction, and the words yourself describe it to dismiss it as:
”a psychological oddity”! What argument will make many scientist understand they are trapped in an ideological position?
Thomas Nagel is asking them to get off from their high horse and bring the goodies, if they can find them!
Now I am aware of Mr. Dupre is a philosopher himself and of his fight against material reductionism:
Dupré advocates a pluralistic model of science as opposed to the common notion of reductionism. Physical Reductionism suggests that all science may be reduced to physical explanations due to causal or mereological links that obtain between the objects studied in the higher sciences the objects studied by physics. For example, a physical reductionist would see psychological facts as (in principle) reducible to neurological facts, which is in turn are reducible to biological facts. Biology could then be explained in terms of chemistry, and chemistry could then be explained in terms of physical explanation. While reductionism of this sort is a common position among scientists and philosophers, Dupré suggests that such reduction is not possible as the world has an inherently pluralistic structure.
And if he criticize Nagel, he ends his critic in a lukewarm embrace, why be so inhibited by what may scientist think?
Can’t philosophers have the right to criticize scientist, if they see them steer from the right course, would Socrates should be in fear to criticize it’s fellow Athenians?
From Nonlife to Life
By Michael Chorost
“The idea of natural teleology would be bolstered if scientists could create life from scratch, using conditions that could have existed on the early earth. Addy Pross, a chemist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, says that while it wouldn’t prove that life had, in fact, emerged in just that way, it would suggest that natural laws make its emergence either likely or inevitable. Such a scientific breakthrough would also allow a philosophical breakthrough, emboldening the search for natural laws mandating the ascent of life and mind.
In fact, scientists have been trying to create life in a test tube ever since the classic Miller-Urey experiment, in 1952, in which sparking a sealed bulb of chemicals yielded fistfuls of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Life from nonlife is a tough problem, but Pross sounds a note of optimism in an e-mail: “Being in the thick of this problem I can say that after decades of confusion the new area of chemistry—systems chemistry—is now making significant progress.”
Robert Hazen, a mineralogist and biogeologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, believes that he sees the outlines of the solution: “The real killer experiment will be to develop some kind of flow-through reactor where you keep the whole cycle going, and you actually increase the concentration of all of those components just by providing CO2 and water and hydrogen. If you can do that, it’s a solved problem.”
However, that would not be the end of the intelligent-design argument. ID theorists could ask, reasonably enough, “Where do the natural laws come from?”
The answer is far from clear. Cosmologists have long known that if the universe’s laws were even slightly different, it would not have been possible to form molecules, let alone life. For example, the nuclear strong force has a value of .007. Were it .006, the universe would be entirely hydrogen, and were it .008 the universe would have no hydrogen at all.
Similarly, it’s probably going to be easy to show that such hypothetical life-creating forces as autocatalysis, zero-force evolutionary laws, and dynamic kinetic stability could not exist in universes even slightly different from our own.
The simplest solution is to invoke the strong anthropic principle, according to which infinitely many universes exist, and we live in one that randomly got its constants and laws set just right for us. If you listen to cosmologists like Brian Greene, of Columbia University, you’ll hear that this argument is close to becoming settled physics. We can’t actually see these other universes, Greene concedes, but the math makes other predictions that we can confirm.
Few people find this a truly satisfying answer. It’s not settled physics, say some. It’s an explanation that doesn’t explain, say others.
Regardless, the actual creation of life from nonlife would make it possible to produce a more scientifically grounded version of Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos. Such a book would be able to argue, from actual evidence, that there are physical laws that push the universe through profound phase changes from nonlife to life, from instinct to intellect. A Mind and Cosmos II would be an epoch-making book: the Origin of Species of the 21st century.”
My views on the teleological argument
Mr. Nagel profess to be an atheist, I will not argue about it, but it seems to me he challenge scientist to come to with the discovery of teleological laws, knowing beforehand, it will be the equivalent of producing something out of nothing, since in my particular view Teleology is just another name for a factor that religions call God, the Divine, the One with No Name, etc. To try to invent another name for it, makes no sense, and it’s high time for scientist to figure out that by themselves, without philosophers, or religious persons to call attention to this fact.
My Conclusion and a word: Arete
For many years many scientist have run roughshod believing to be the panacea to every problem and that time would bring the answer to every incognita, and bring solutions to each one of them, some in their arrogance have declared philosophy to be a closed book, and one not long ago declared Philosophy is death.
My answer what a bunch of hot air!
We are so far from solving the mysteries of life, in fact we believe to discover the solution to a problem to be confronted, by many more new incognitos, and subsequent problems, we can figure out the solution for the common cold, or the cure of many maladies that plagues us not only in the medical field, but in many other areas, like our environment and the fragile ecological balance, that our new discovered technology a product of science discoveries had brought, and I am not blaming science but our own human shortsighted understanding of the limitations we are subject to, same limitations that sprung more from the nature of our character as human beings, prone to weakness, and lack of virtues, that are subjective in nature, but that bring fruit in to the objective, what we call mistakes, shortsightedness, selfishness, greed, and every other malady of human character who make others suffer for our foibles, and flaws as human beings.
And here is my point we can’t dismiss the subjectivity from our own nature, and that ancient Greek aphorism”know thyself” Which exist for a good reason, it’s at the root of our own Western philosophy, the Greeks named it Arete.
Areté is explicitly linked with human knowledge, where the expressions “virtue is knowledge” and “Areté is knowledge” are used interchangeably. The highest human potential is knowledge and all other human abilities are derived from this central capacity. If Areté is knowledge and study, the highest human knowledge is knowledge about knowledge itself; in this light, the theoretical study of human knowledge, which Aristotle called “contemplation,” is the highest human ability and happiness.
And no amount of technological gadgets, or scientific discoveries, will ever replace the fact that the supreme achievement of Mam will not be immortality (a dubious proposition, since the law of entropy, and the sure death of the Universe) or many other future scientific breakthroughs, and discoveries, on the outward material sphere, will not surpass the achievement of wisdom, and the acquisition of virtue within, the subjective self.
“If life was a dream, then dying must be the moment when you woke up.
It was so simple it must be true. You died, the dream was over, you woke up.
That’s what people meant when they talked about going to heaven.
It was like waking up.”
We wake up on the morning after living in a fluid Universe of flowing images we call dreams, and believe we have come back in to ourselves, when it’s the other way around, we abandon the Self in order to descend to our material existence. It’s true those fluid images can be vague and confusing on waking up, but that is due to our lack of preparedness, or the contamination our spiritually polluted consciousness impede a more luminous dreaming were reality, is more impressive than our so call reality.
Which of those who have lived a full life, has not have a dream were a reality beyond our material existence, and the idea we make of ourselves from our daily experience, has not at least wonder at the marvelous luminosity of a lucid dream?
A reality that surpass so call reality, our our wakeful state, and that it is not perceived by our physical senses, but by our inner senses corresponding to a realm beyond matter, but to our subjective self!
A realm that it’s consider nothing but our neurons misfiring and doing the wrong chemical connections..!
To which my response would be: What a glorious misfiring!
THE LIMITATIONS OF FREEDOM
Freedom it’s a word of many different things to many people, it’s arguable what really the meaning of freedom would be in a world were limitation is the rule rather than the exception.
Since we are born we are given many limitations, as for example we didn’t choose to be born, that was someone else choice, we didn’t choose either our parents, neither the color of our eyes, or our skin, our sex, health, none of the physical characteristics, that were determined by genetics and not us, how tall, or how short, curly hair versus straight hair, blond versus black, big mouth, small nose, freckles, smooth skin, great legs, short legs, our handsome features, and good looks, as to what it’s perceived as ugly looks.
We can’t choose either how rich, or poor our parents are gone be, neither were they live, and you along, or what church they attend, so not freedom to choose another religion who may suit you best, at least until you become a lot older, neither the type of meals your mom, or dad cooks for you, and your diet will be dictated by them until you can get your own meals, or your clothes at an early age, for all you know you will be wearing your elder siblings handouts, until you can purchase your own. And talking about siblings you can’t choose them either, even if you hate them, as well as any other member of the family, like grumpy grandpa, or sweet, or nasty grandma. Or the type of education you would receive, at least in the early stage of your life, education that will be formative, and that in great way would affect the outcome of who you will be.
In a way conditions of life are given to us, we may try to change them later, with various degrees of success, recently read a story of black man who is gay and in love with another black man who never corresponded his love by the mere fact of being heterosexual, and in love with diverse white women, during their long friendship, and his resentment of it, described painfully by him, his story reminded me of how we can make of our life misery, wanting the almost impossible to happen.
Our so named freedom it’s limited by who we are in the physical, and by whatever chance throw at us in the many other dimension of our life.
Epictetus Ancient Greek: Ἐπίκτητος; AD c. 55 – 135) was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia present day Pamukkale, Turkey, and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses.
Philosophy, Epictetus taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.
The name his parents gave him is unknown; the word epíktetos (ἐπίκτητος) in Greek simply means “acquired.” He spent his youth as a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, a wealthy freedman and secretary to Nero.
Early in life, Epictetus acquired a passion for philosophy, and with the permission of his wealthy owner, he studied Stoic philosophy under Musonius Rufus, which allowed him to rise in respectability as he grew more educated. He somehow became crippled, with Origen stating that his leg was deliberately broken by his master, and Simplicius stating that he had been lame from childhood.
Epictetus obtained his freedom sometime after Nero’s death in 68 AD, and began to teach philosophy in Rome. About 93 AD Emperor Domitian banished all philosophers from the city, and Epictetus fled to Nicopolis in Epirus, Greece, where he founded a philosophical school.
His most famous pupil, Arrian, studied under him when a young man (c. 108 AD) and claimed to have written the famous Discourses from his lecture notes, though some argue they should be considered an original composition by Arrian, comparable to the Socratic literature.[Arrian describes Epictetus as being a powerful speaker who could “induce his listener to feel just what Epictetus wanted him to feel.” Many eminent figures sought conversations with him, and the Emperor Hadrian was friendly with him and may have listened to him speak at his school in Nicopolis.
He lived a life of great simplicity, with few possessions and lived alone for a long time,but in his old age he adopted a friend’s child who would otherwise have been left to die, and raised him with the aid of a woman. Epictetus was never married. He died sometime around 135 AD. After his death, his lamp was purchased by an admirer for 3,000 drachmae.
Epictetus maintains that the foundation of all philosophy is self-knowledge, that is, the conviction of our ignorance and gullibility ought to be the first subject of our study. Logic provides valid reasoning and certainty in judgment, but it is subordinate to practical needs. The first and most necessary part of philosophy concerns the application of doctrine, for example, that people should not lie; the second concerns reasons, e.g. why people should not lie; while the third, lastly, examines and establishes the reasons.This is the logical part, which finds reasons, shows what is a reason, and that a given reason is a right one.This last part is necessary, but only on account of the second, which again is rendered necessary by the first.
Both the Discourses and the Enchiridion begin by distinguishing between those things in our power (prohairetic things) and those things not in our power (aprohairetic things). That alone is in our power, which is our own work; and in this class are our opinions, impulses, desires, and aversions. What, on the contrary, is not in our power, are our bodies, possessions, glory, and power. Any delusion on this point leads to the greatest errors, misfortunes, and troubles, and to the slavery of the soul.
We have no power over external things, and the good that ought to be the object of our earnest pursuit, is to be found only within ourselves. The determination between what is good and what is not good is made by the capacity for choice (prohairesis). Prohairesis allows us to act, and gives us the kind of freedom that only rational animals have. It is determined by our reason, which of all our faculties sees and tests itself and everything else. It is the right use of the impressions (phantasia) that bombard the mind that is in our power:
Practice then from the start to say to every harsh impression, “You are an impression, and not at all the thing you appear to be.” Then examine it and test it by these rules you have, and firstly, and chiefly, by this: whether the impression has to do with the things that are up to us, or those that are not; and if it has to do with the things that are not up to us, be ready to reply, “It is nothing to me.”
We will not be troubled at any loss, but will say to ourselves on such an occasion: “I have lost nothing that belongs to me; it was not something of mine that was torn from me, but something that was not in my power has left me.” Nothing beyond the use of our opinion is properly ours. Every possession rests on opinion. What is to cry and to weep? An opinion. What is misfortune, or a quarrel, or a complaint? All these things are opinions; opinions founded on the delusion that what is not subject to our own choice can be either good or evil, which it cannot. By rejecting these opinions, and seeking good and evil in the power of choice alone, we may confidently achieve peace of mind in every condition of life.
Reason alone is good, and the irrational is evil, and the irrational is intolerable to the rational.The good person should labor chiefly on their own reason; to perfect this is in our power. To repel evil opinions by the good is the noble contest in which humans should engage; it is not an easy task, but it promises true freedom, peace of mind (ataraxia), and a divine command over the emotions (apatheia). We should especially be on our guard against the opinion of pleasure because of its apparent sweetness and charms.The first object of philosophy, therefore, is to purify the mind.
How many of contemporary men even think of such things, like working on our subjective, rather than strive wildly on the objective, for no purpose, but for ephemeral material gain, or to inflate our egos?
Remember the old Socratic advise: The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being. Real freedom it’s within, we got to live in the prison of the self, but remember we are here just for a little while, and we can always relied on our subjective self rather that on our always changing material circumstances.
“Nowadays man finds himself to be a technical giant and an ethical child.”
Humanity, in essence, is in a race between potency and awareness.
The outcome will determine the quality of our species’
journey and will leave an indelible mark,
for better or worse, on the planet we inhabit.
A few years ago, I proposed that we are experiencing
“puberty on the scale of a planet.”
Global trends echo that awkward, sometimes damaging,
transition from teenage-style ebullience
To the more measured norms of adulthood.
And just as a teenager resists calls from elders to grow up, societies
– only naturally – have been initially resistant to scientists’
warnings of irreversible damage to the planet’s biological patrimony,
risks attending unabated climate change and long-distance
impacts of consumptive resource appetites.
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga
We live in a time of constant crisis, the problem with this is like when you live in a big city in America or any other place on Earth, on my long commute to work twice, the daily back and forth from home to work, and back, I am stop by traffic sirens at least three or fourth times, sometimes more, to the point you become immune to the thought that in the whining and pesky ambulance there may be a person dying… I know the bus driver pull to the side of the road fulfilling his side of the bargain, his/hers civil duty, but this not stop of becoming a nuisance too often repeated until you become immune to the thought there is someone who need instant medical attention his life in danger, this is an analogy to the repeated but now old news, and most likely, every time we skip the article were a new evidence for Global warming, contamination of soils, or fresh water resources, depletion of natural resources, the dying of species, etc.
Just to illustrate the degree of biodiversity loss we’re facing, let’s take you through one scientific analysis:
The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.
These experts calculate that between 0.01 and 0.1% of all species will become extinct each year.
If the low estimate of the number of species out there is true – i.e. that there are around 2 million different species on our planet** - then that means between 200 and 2,000 extinctions occur every year.
But if the upper estimate of species numbers is true – that there are 100 million different species co-existing with us on our planet – then between 10,000 and 100,000 species are becoming extinct each year
That could be then between 27.3 to a whooping 274 species eliminated of the face of the Earth daily! The figures are staggering one way or worst the other one!
Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species – ours – appears to be almost wholly responsible.
This is often referred to as the 6th extinction crisis, after the 5 known extinction waves in geological history.
So without arguing about who’s right or wrong.
Or what the exact numbers are.
There can be little debate that there is, in fact, a very serious biodiversity crisis.
TIME TO GROW UP
We live a crisis that fundamentally encompass every sphere, or dimension of Man; Physically, too many, economically, too much, with big inequalities, educationally, too little, politically, a joke, our governments not only do nothing, they are big part of the problem, spiritually, totally bankrupt. I will not add more dimensions since we are lacking in almost everything, but it’s easy to see the thread to our maladies, form ancient times through religion we have been told that Man it’s the Vice-regent of God on Earth, well I know some people would argue this point, but it’s of no doubt our responsibility in this crisis, we want it or not, we are now responsible of what it’s happening in this crisis, so it’s time to grow up, and act as responsible adults, period.
This entitle us to each one of us to act responsibly and fulfill our duties as managers if you dislike the term Vice-regent and start facing up responsibility in our daily living, or our own survival as a specie will be in doubt.
This means to live with no waste, less growth (sorry for those who believe we have to live with more, we no longer can afford to deplete the finite natural resources like water, food, and biodiversity to make your pockets bigger at the expense of a degradation, and ultimately endangerment of life on Earth) The party it’s over time to clean up the mess and look for a way to solve the crisis, one thing it’s certain our way of life has to be different.
Our leaders in government can’t be drive by greed and following outdated economical models, the goals of economy policies need to be rewritten, in accordance with the new scientific ecological conservationism efforts in mind, forget the idea of running government as a business model, it’s not working, and is responsible of the crisis. Conservation, and wise management of resources should trump greed, and a right to destroy in order to profit.
Economics of small scale, and strategic planning to reduce our impact on nature based on wise and sound measures of production with little or no waste, of non renewable resources should be implemented. As for the efficacy of producing wealth, this should be of no concern or at least secondary, immediate action to reduce population in the form of regulation of birth control world wide should be adopted as soon as possible.
Education should be an effort worldwide, revision, and elimination of outdated forms of education needs to be eliminated as our current models in our centers of education, teaching ecological conservation, and sustainable economical models rather than the old let’s rip mother Earth apart in order to make a buck need to be discarded totally. The selling of our natural resources by our governments in the form of concessions to companies and capital to despoil nature should not exist, or only be lightly penalized for despoiling Earth, but criminalized heavily to deter perpetrators, waste regulations of any kind strictly enforced.
I know all this may seem radical, and too much for conservative minds to take, but in fact I believe that only will take a few years for more, and bigger catastrophes to make clear this state of affairs can’t continue, imagine this; having to abandon the city you love, and your property, just because either there is no water to sustain life, or there is too much of it and you are underwater!
“We have become victims of our own art.
We touch people on the outsides of their bodies,
and they us, but we cannot get to their insides
and cannot reveal our insides to them.
This is one of the great tragedies of our interiority-it
is utterly personal and unrevealable.”
Solitary confinement is among the worst punishments human beings inflict on one another. Social isolation has profound negative effects on health, from reduced lifespan in the fruit fly, Drosophilamelanogaster, to decreased anti-inflammatory responses and survival rates in mice following induced stroke (Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2009). Feelings of loneliness might have evolved as a signal to human beings that their social connections are in need of repair (Cacioppo & Patrick, 2008). University students, particularly in their first year, are especially susceptible to feelings of loneliness (Cutrona, 1982
Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connectedness or communality with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental or emotional factors.
Research has shown that loneliness is widely prevalent throughout society among people in marriages, relationships, families and successful careers. It has been a long explored theme in the literature of human beings since classical antiquity. Loneliness has also been described as social pain — a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate him/her to seek social connections.
The existentialist school of thought views loneliness as the essence of being human. Each human being comes into the world alone, travels through life as a separate person, and ultimately dies alone. Coping with this, accepting it, and learning how to direct our own lives with some degree of grace and satisfaction is the human condition.
Some philosophers, such as Sartre, believe in an epistemic loneliness in which loneliness is a fundamental part of the human condition because of the paradox between the desire of man’s/person’s consciousness to have meaning in life conflicting with the isolation and nothingness of the universe. Conversely, other existentialist thinkers argue that human beings might be said to actively engage each other and the universe as they communicate and create, and loneliness is merely the feeling of being cut off from this process.
The Death of meaning
We have reach a historical moment in time were through our values, and beliefs we have reached a end to meaning. The current era has seen radical changes in both formal and popular conceptions of human nature. The knowledge disclosed by modern science has effectively rewritten the relationship of humankind to the natural world. Advances in medicine and technology have freed humans from significant limitations and ailments of previous eras, and philosophy particularly following the linguistic turn, has altered how the relationships people have with themselves and each other are conceived. Questions about the meaning of life have also seen radical changes, from attempts to reevaluate human existence in biological and scientific terms as in pragmatism and logical positivism to efforts to meta-theorize about meaning-making as a personal, individual-driven activity (existentialism, secular humanism).
These various movements often lead to the notion that language ‘constitutes’ reality, a position contrary to intuition and to most of the Western tradition of philosophy. The traditional view (what Derrida called the ‘metaphysical’ core of Western thought) saw words as functioning like labels attached to concepts. According to this view, there is something like ‘the real chair’, which exists in some external reality and corresponds roughly with a concept in human thought, chair, to which the linguistic word “chair” refers. However, the founder of structuralism, Ferdinand de Saussure, held that definitions of concepts cannot exist independently from a linguistic system defined by difference, or, to put it differently, that a concept of something cannot exist without being named. Thus differences between meanings structure our perception; there is no real chair except insofar as we are manipulating symbolic systems. We would not even be able to recognize a chair as a chair without simultaneously recognizing that a chair is not everything else – in other words a chair is defined as being a specific collection of characteristics which are themselves defined in certain ways, and so on, and all of this within the symbolic system of language. Thus, everything we think of as reality is really a convention of naming and characterizing, a convention which is itself called language. Indeed, anything outside of language is by definition inconceivable (having no name and no meaning) and therefore cannot intrude upon or enter into human reality, at least not without immediately being seized and articulated by language. Of course there are those who oppose this view.
Scientific Realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world, as it is, independent of what we might take it to be. Within philosophy of science, it is often framed as an answer to the question “how is the success of science to be explained?” The debate over what the success of science involves centers primarily on the status of unobservable entities apparently talked about by scientific theories. Generally, those who are scientific realists assert that one can make reliable claims about unobservable (viz., that they have the same ontological status) as observables. Analytical philosophers generally have a commitment to scientific realism, in the sense of regarding the scientific method as a reliable guide to the nature of reality. The main alternative to scientific realism is instrumentalism.
My Views on the Matter
We are suffering a crisis of values we dethroned God and kicked him out of our lives embracing materialism, and when Thomas Reid said:
“If there are certain principles, as I think there are, which the constitution of our nature leads us to believe, and which we are under a necessity to take for granted in the common concerns of life, without being able to give a reason for them–these are what we call the principles of common sense; and what is manifestly contrary to them, is what we call absurd.”
We have taken the path of supposed common sense to the bitter end, where there is no longer meaning to life, and existence, is just is, and you got to take it and swallow it even if it choke you to death with the lack of meaning!
We can’t pretend to go on living without meaning ignoring totally that we are subjective beings even before we realize we have legs to walk, hands to grasp, and eyes to see. Giving no reason for existence kills the spirit, and killing the spirit we kill ourselves of what it’s more precious; an inner life that bring peace, and joy to our subjective being.
Denying spirit it’s denying our souls, denying our souls it’s to be participants of a dehumanizing society were the bottom line it’s not consciousness. but a philistine society were money and selfishness is the rule not the exception, by the simple fact of a life lived with a lack of meaning, where there is nothing sacred, and therefore everything it’s for sale, we exchange our wellbeing and future generation’s as well for some instant gratification, be this monetary like the selling of our ecosystems, weather, you can buy anything if you have the money and willingness like individuals, corporations, and governments, and countries if this will increase your wealth!
By no means I advocate a religious complaisant, and complicit bigotry who with a vision of a sure Apocalypses they cross their arms and do nothing waiting for this to happen, but for a real activism of moral value, this is what Paul named to live in the flesh:
For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
The business of living it’s not n easy one, but I believe as a human being, even if subjectively alone, we are burdened with consciousness, and therefore with moral choices, and responsibility, do not be of those who docilely participate in the senseless destruction, and corruption of the world by being a passive conformist, or permissive with a who gives a damn attitude of: If it does not affect me personally, why should I care? The world it’s what we want to make out of it, so do not be a zombie, take action, stop being an obedient follower, and consumer of all that junk they sell you, materially and morally, this may be a product that will damage our environment, our health, or our an idea like mindless entertainment that keep you distracted of what really it is important, and would corrupt our souls, and make out of us part of the living dead.
I do not believe, I know that our current cultish obsession, with vampires, zombies, apocalyptic scenarios, in our novels, media, and cinema it’s part of our subjective, and subliminal spirit warning us of what we are becoming as a society in general, so be one of the awaken ones, rather than a living death.
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire,
but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen.
To shame it. To mock it.
With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness,
our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness
– and our ability to tell our own stories.
Stories that are different from the ones
we’re being brainwashed to believe.
The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse
to buy what they are selling
– their ideas, their version of history, their wars,
their weapons, their notion of inevitability.
Remember this: We be many and they be few.
They need us more than we need them.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
― Arundhati Roy, War Talk
From some time now, I am sure you have run in the net with the guys with the Guy Fawkes mask is a stylized depiction of Guy Fawkes, the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605. The use of a mask on an effigy has long roots as part of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.
A stylized portrayal of a face with an over-sized smile and red cheeks, a wide mustache upturned at both ends, and a thin vertical pointed beard, designed by illustrator David Lloyd, came to represent broader protest after it was used as a major plot element in V for Vendetta, published in 1982, and its 2006 film adaptation. After appearing in Internet forums, the mask became a well-known symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous, the Occupy movement, and other anti-government and anti-establishment protests around the world.
Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people’s rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to SHARE with one another. The RIAA and the MPAA feign to aid the artists and their cause; yet they do no such thing. In their eyes is not hope, only dollar signs. Anonymous will not stand this any longer.
Since the release in 2006 of the film V for Vendetta, the use of stylized “Guy Fawkes” masks, with mustache and pointed beard, has become widespread internationally among groups protesting against politicians, banks and financial institutions. The masks both conceal the identity and protect the face of individuals and demonstrate their commitment to a shared cause.
David Lloyd, V for Vendetta illustrator and co-creator, is quoted as saying:
“The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way. My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolize that they stand for individualism – V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system. We knew that V was going to be an escapee from a concentration camp where he had been subjected to medical experiments but then I had the idea that in his craziness he would decide to adopt the persona and mission of Guy Fawkes – our great historical revolutionary.”
Ironically someone is making money selling this mask:
According to Time in 2011, the protesters’ adoption of the mask had led to it becoming the top-selling item on Amazon.com, selling hundreds of thousands a year. Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world, is paid a fee with the sale of each official mask, as it owns the rights to the image.
As to what all this will amount? We do not now, but it’s a symptom things are not working, and that there is people who is aware of what’s going on, and are fighting back against the system one way or another.
A TIME OF CHANGE IS UPON US
I am not sure what form exactly this phenomenon will take, neither I can predict at what time it would come to a full expression, or the place were it will explode, as an example to follow, but one thing is sure, its, coming!
Change it’s inevitable, if I do not believe in a progressive sense of History for the good, I do believe in an evolution of ideas, and a discarding of old values, and ossified structures that limit the individual, and society at large as a consequence of events we like to call historical in lack of a better name since what we name History it’s nothing but a selective look at events from a particular point of view, past events always can have a different interpretation based on our own interest, that it’s mostly based in conflict, science, and technology, with some sociology, and anthropology throw as scholastic disciplines of interest only to the specialist of diverse branches of knowledge, like art, music, food, or any conceivable thing, like the history of weaving, ceramics, agriculture, or metallurgy, you name it, and you can have History of X.
If you have been following my blog you will know that I believe as a whole we are fed up with the current paradigm of frenetic consumerism, and a society based in material values, who keep us locked in working situations for the most of us not of our choice, but as a matter of survival, when conditions could be a lot better for most of us with some basic changes in our outlook on life, and what we desire for our well being, not only from a material point of view, that no doubt it’s necessary, but not at the price we have been paying for it. There is another dimension to Man and that it’s the subjective, spiritual, moral, or humanistic side of it, for too long people has been forced in to a slave mentality where the individual it’s lost to forces not of his choice but imposed on him by the rule of governments who do not have his best interest on mind, but the interest of the few who profit in these state of affairs.
Same governments who in the guise of defending democratic values are lackeys to plutocracy, and socialism for corporations and the rich, and enablers of ecological mayhem for the world, wars, famine, and all sort of crimes against the common man, if not by crimes of design, by crimes of ideology, or omission.
And an end of this state of affairs is urgent, period.
IGJUGARJUK, ON SUFFERING AND TRANSFORMATION, ALCHEMY, THE EMERALD TABLE, AND OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNION
” True wisdom,
is only to be found
far away from people,
out in the great solitude. “
Knud Rasmussen quoting on Inuit shaman Igjugarjuk
“When I was to be a shaman, I chose suffering through the two things that are more dangerous to us humans, suffering through hunger and suffering through cold. First I hungered five days and was then allowed to drink a mouthful of warm water, the old one say that only if the water is warm will Pinga and Hila will notice the novice and help him. Thereafter I went hungry another fifteen days, and again I was given another mouthful of warm water. After that I hungered fro ten days, and then could begin to eat…
Later, when I had become quite myself again, I understood that I had become the shaman of my village, and it did happen that my neighbors or people from a long distance away called me to heal a sick person, or to inspect a course if they were going to travel. When this happened, the people of my village were called together and I told them what I had been asked to do. Then I left tent or snow house and went out into solitude: ahiarmut, away from the dwellings of man…
If anything difficult had to be found out, my solitude had to extend over three days and two nights, or three nights and two days. In all that time I had to wander about without rest, and only sit down once in a while on a stone or a snow drift. When I had been out long and had become tired, I could almost doze and dream what I had come out to find and about which I had been thinking all the time. Every morning, however, I could come home and report on what I had so far found, but as soon as I had spoken I had to return again, out into the open, out to places where I could be quite alone…
These days of ‘seeking for knowledge’ are very tiring, for one must walk all the time, no matter how the weather is like and only rest in short snatches. I am usually quite done up, tired not only in body but also in head, when I have found what I sought.
We shamans in the interior have no special spirit language; and believe the real angatkut do not need it. On my travels sometimes I have been present at a séance among the saltwater-dwellers, for instance among the coast people of Utkuhigjalik . These angatkut never seemed trustworthy to me. It always appeared to met this saltwater angatkut attached more weight to tricks that would astonish the audience, when they jumped about the floor and do tricks, nor does he seek by the aid of darkness, by putting out the lamps, to make the minds of his neighbors uneasy. For myself, I do not think I know much, but I do not think that wisdom or knowledge about things that are hidden can be sought in that manner. True wisdom is only to be found far away from people, out in the great solitude, and it is not found in play but only through suffering. Solitude and suffering open the human mind, and therefore a shaman must seek his wisdom there.”
Suffering is the key word of the Spiritual work, it is a birth labor, a shedding of the skin, a furnace were the Soul it is transformed in to a luminous being, a crucifixion were the ego is put to die, not an easy work, now days with so many people searching for Spirit and in consequence the many self anointed spiritual guides of all kinds of nature, it is easy to believe the Spiritual path it is an easy, and joyful ride, full of magical, and extraordinary experiences, yes there are many of those, but not without been brought by a lot of work, suffering, and the taming of ego.
Suffering it’s necessary for the soul in order to detach of the objective, and realize the subjective, it’s the shedding of the skin so to speak of the serpent, so it can grow, the pain of birth that brings a new being, along with happiness and joy. It’s the realization that we are here to be a shining mirror of Spirit, and it’s necessary for us to be better polishing ourselves, and realize that even if we are made of flesh, and bones, this is not our final destination, but the place were we are tested, thrown in to the river bed as rough rocks rubbing off the sharp corners, pebbles tossed in fast flowing waters become beautiful to be transformed in to polished pebbles by the continuous rush of the water.
Life, and living itself is the furnace of the alchemist where base metals are transformed in to gold, by the relentless heat, and the long time it requires for this elements to transform, which it is a lifetime pursue, and the the explanation as to the title of my blog KONE KRUSOS KRONOS
KONE= The furnace
KRUSOS= The Gold
KRONOS= The Time
The Emerald Tablet
Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing
And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
& thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
So was the world created.
From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.
Devour by a Bear
The selection and initiation process of the Inuit Angakoq is slightly different from that of the Noaidi, although it does follow the same traditional patterns of spiritual death, rebirth, and contact of spirits for aid. Unlike many Noaidi, who are typically selected by a personal spiritual calling, the older Angakoq selects the new pupil as a young child. These are usually children that have either already demonstrated unusual dreams/visions or seem especially gifted for the position. As demonstrated earlier with the reference to attacks by tuurngait, the initiation process of the Angakoq is a bit more inclined towards the aspect of spiritual death and metaphorical dismemberment than the initiatory sequence of the Sámi Noaidi. “The anagkok teaches him to isolate himself in a lonely place—beside an old grave, by a lake—and there to rub two stones together while waiting for a significant event. ‘Then the bear of the lake or the inland glacier will come out, he will devour all your flesh and make you a skeleton, and you will die. But you will recover your flesh, you will awaken, and your clothes will come rushing to you’” (Eliade 2004). In other stories, the Angakoq is ripped apart or slowly drowned at the bottom of the sea. “The ecstatic experience of dismemberment of the body followed by renewal of the organs is also known to the Eskimo. They speak of an animal (bear, walrus, etc.) that wounds the candidate, tears him to pieces or devours him…” (Eliade 2004). Then, he is reborn into his old body with a new sight. It is often described as light pulsating through the shaman’s body and interweaving through the eyes to create new vision.
The idea is to die to the body to be reborn in the Spirit, a symbolic image that it’s recurrent in all myths, and Religions; Jonas in the belly of a whale, Crist crucified, the Dionysus myth the bacchants Cultic rites associated with worship of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus (or Bacchus in Roman mythology), were allegedly characterized by maniacal dancing to the sound of loud music and crashing cymbals, in which the revellers, called Bacchantes, whirled, screamed, became drunk and incited one another to greater and greater ecstasy. The goal was to achieve a state of enthusiasm in which the celebrants’ souls were temporarily freed from their earthly bodies and were able to commune with Bacchus/Dionysus and gain a glimpse of and a preparation for what they would someday experience in eternity. The rite climaxed in a performance of frenzied feats of strength and madness, such as uprooting trees, tearing a bull (the symbol of Dionysus) apart with their bare hands, an act called sparagmos, and eating its flesh raw, an act called omophagia. This latter rite was a sacrament akin to communion in which the participants assumed the strength and character of the god by symbolically eating the raw flesh and drinking the blood of his symbolic incarnation. Having symbolically eaten his body and drunk his blood, the celebrants became possessed by Dionysus. Is this not communion analogous to the celebration of mass and the sharing of the body of Christ?
GREED AND IMPUNITY THE LAW OF THE LAND, GOVERNMENT, AND FREE MARKET ECONOMY IDOLS WITH CLAY FEET, A FUTURE OF UNCERTAINTY
29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.
30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.
32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
Greed and Impunity
The decay of our society as we speak it’s terrifying, you may think its business as usual, I agree that it is, I do not believe time past were better, however the difference is in the scale, and scope of it, never before so much was at a stake, as it is now, we seem to be at the edge of a precipice were our fall it is almost inevitable and we will be sucked up by an enormous sink hole, a hole made by ourselves, and our greedy capitalistic entrepreneurs, abetted, and shoved down our throats by our elected politicians that myopically and greedy are selling our future for any chump change they can get in to their pockets, it’s a crisis of values of Babylon’s proportions were and end like in the style of Sodom and Gomorrah is foreseeable, brought not by Angels, but Ecological disasters, floods, draughts, global warming, contamination, financial ruin, famine, sickness, crime, anarchy, and all the evils you can think about brought by a World society falling apart at the seams by selfishness and the law of the jungle brought by greed, and impunity.
in September 22, 2013 in the New York Times, Opinion there is an article by William D. Cohan titled: Was This Whistle-Blower Muzzled?
Here are some extracts of it, you can find the whole article on line.
Mr. Bowen, who was featured in a piercing “60 Minutes” segment in December 2011, had discovered that for years before the crisis, Citigroup, like many other Wall Street firms, had been purchasing tens of billions of dollars’ worth of risky home mortgages and then packaging and selling them as investments. “When I started screaming,” he told me, “I was just trying to do my job. Silly me.” At wits’ end, on Nov. 3, 2007, Mr. Bowen sent an e-mail to a small group of Citigroup executives, including Robert E. Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and former Treasury secretary who was then chairman of the bank’s executive committee (and who received $126 million during his decade at Citigroup). “The reason for this urgent e-mail concerns breakdowns of internal controls and resulting significant but possibly unrecognized financial losses existing within our organization,” Mr. Bowen wrote.
Mr. Bowen told me that the following Tuesday, a Citigroup lawyer told him of his e-mail: We’re taking it seriously. Don’t call us. We’ll call you. He sent more e-mails to the lawyer, but heard nothing. “I mean, silence,” he said. (Months later, the two men did talk about Mr. Bowen’s e-mail to Mr. Rubin.)
Mr. Bowen, who is now 66 and teaches accounting at the University of Texas, Dallas, was fired in January 2009. (After signing a separation and confidentiality agreement, he received a severance package of less than $1 million.) And Citigroup went on to receive a $45 billion bailout from the taxpayers, plus guarantees on nearly $300 billion of securities, some of which were most likely crammed with the very low-quality mortgages Mr. Bowen had warned about.
America became inured to the sight of one extremely wealthy former Goldman Sachs senior partner turned Treasury secretary (Mr. Rubin) asking another (Mr. Paulson) for a favor. But what Mr. Bowen believes happened to him after Citigroup fired him still has the power to shock anyone who cares about accountability and justice. He feels he was muzzled; others involved are adamant that he was not.
In 2008, after his note to Mr. Rubin and after his responsibilities were vastly reduced at Citigroup, but before he was fired, Mr. Bowen decided to become a whistle-blower. That April, he filed a complaint, under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration claiming he had been retaliated against after writing his e-mail to Mr. Rubin. (The complaint was settled as part of his separation agreement with Citigroup.) Then, in July, Mr. Bowen went to the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I testified before the S.E.C.,” he told an audience in Texas earlier this year. “I told them what had happened.” He gave the S.E.C. more than 1,000 pages of documents. “Mr. Bowen, we are going to pursue this,” the agency told him. He never heard back. “Not only did they bury my testimony, they locked it up,” he said in his speech. (The S.E.C. has denied my numerous requests under the Freedom of Information Act for access to Mr. Bowen’s file, even though he has given his permission, claiming that the material was “confidential” and included Citigroup “trade secrets.” On Sept. 11, the S.E.C. denied my administrative appeal of its decision.)
Of course, it’s the old story on Wall Street: One man’s aggressive lobbying is another man’s undue influence. Mr. Kardell believes that “there’s no question that Richard was censored.”
Mr. Bowen told me that, despite the denials from Mr. Karp and Mr. Bondi, he continues to believe he was censored and bullied into changing his testimony. The experience has shaken his faith in the country’s institutions.
“It was devastating,” he said. “It truly was. From my standpoint, the corruption extends to the highest levels of government. I feel absolutely, completely violated. Every principle that I grew up with, and even when I did a brief stint in the R.O.T.C. and the Air Force, it’s just completely violated.”
He plans to keep talking about what happened to him. “By God, I’ve got to leave this country better off than the way I found it.”
Just as the world was beginning to take in the almost unimaginable devastation wrought by typhoon Haiyan, a young Filipino diplomat, Naderev Sano, was getting ready to lead his country’s negotiations in the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. Yeb, as he is known, is a scientist and head of his country’s national climate commission and had flown out of Manila just hours before the vastness of Haiyan had become apparent.
By Monday morning, Sano knew that the Philippines had been struck by possibly the strongest storm ever measured, killing many thousands of people and making millions homeless. He took the floor and, in some trepidation in front of the delegates of 190 countries, gave an extraordinary, passionate speech in which he clearly linked super typhoon Haiyan to manmade climate change and urged the world to wake up to the reality of what he said was happening from Latin America to south east Asia and the US. He lambasted the rich countries, and dared climate change deniers to go to his country to see for themselves what was happening.
When he sat down, sobbing, he was given a standing ovation.
This was not just diplomatic theatricals or righteous grandstanding by a developing-country diplomat about the snail-like speed of the climate talks, which have dragged on for years and are not likely to conclude until 2015. What few people in Warsaw knew until Sano had nearly finished his speech was that even as he was addressing the UN, his brother was digging people out of the rubble of the ruined city of Tacloban and he and his family still did not know the fate of other relatives.
Normally stone-hearted diplomats broke down, and Sano, who calls himself a “revolutionary” and a “philosopher” on Twitter [@yebsano], said later he would go on hunger strike for the whole of the two-week meeting. In the last 24 hours he has been joined by 30 activists.
When it comes to connecting the dots between climate change, extreme weather and health, the lines are clear. The earth is saying something with record heat, drought, storms and fire. Scientists are telling us this is what global warming looks like.It’s time to listen – and take action. There’s plenty we can do. Carbon pollution is the main reason our planet is getting hotter, increasing the chances of weather disasters, drought and flood and hurting our health. There are solutions. For starters, we can cut carbon pollution by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and increasing our use of clean, renewable energy. And we can implement policies that help us prepare for flooding, drought, storms and other consequences of climate change. But first, we need national leadership that will stop ignoring what the earth and scientists are telling us about climate change, and instead start ignoring those who continue to deny it is happening.
“If the movie had ended in Hollywood fashion, the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 would have marked the culmination of the global fight to slow a changing climate. The world’s nations had gathered in the December gloom of the Danish capital for what a leading climate economist, Sir Nicholas Stern of Britain, called the “most important gathering since the Second World War, given what is at stake.” As Danish energy minister Connie Hedegaard, who presided over the conference, declared at the time: “This is our chance. If we miss it, it could take years before we get a new and better one. If ever.”
In the event, of course, we missed it. Copenhagen failed spectacularly. Neither China nor the United States, which between them are responsible for 40 percent of global carbon emissions, was prepared to offer dramatic concessions, and so the conference drifted aimlessly for two weeks until world leaders jetted in for the final day. Amid considerable chaos, President Obama took the lead in drafting a face-saving “Copenhagen Accord” that fooled very few. Its purely voluntary agreements committed no one to anything, and even if countries signaled their intentions to cut carbon emissions, there was no enforcement mechanism. “Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight,” an angry Greenpeace official declared, “with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport.” Headline writers were equally brutal: COPENHAGEN: THE MUNICH OF OUR TIMES? asked one. “ (Rolling Stones By Bill McKibben)
Government VS Free Market Economy
Government clotted with the bureaucracy and ossification that have piled up over two centuries of the industrial age, government today is among the forces in society most resistant to change, it doesn’t adapt and innovate in order to work successfully, government seems to grow more bloated and ineffective as its leaders claim they are making it leaner and meaner.
Meanwhile, in the private sector, the forces of free-market competition who provided society’s most powerful spur for change and innovation in the last half of the Twenty Century, and that supposedly would make Government obsolete, proved themselves to be a an idol with clay feet. In contrast to Washington’s dismal performance in recent decades, not to mention the sorry history of the former socialist states which somehow managed throughout their 70-year history to remain wholly incapable of providing so much as a decent kitchen appliance to their citizens, the free market in contrast has shown itself to be the most effective force in society for creating new wealth and the infamous 1% spreading that wealth unequally thin among the rest of the population, who is growing dissatisfied with both Government, and the shameless Wall street speculators, bankers, insurance companies and financial mavericks who selfishly bought Government to change the rules of the game in their dream of maximizing profits, at the expense of Nature, and society at large who suffer Ecological disasters, lack of proper services, healthcare, social services, education, jobs, and proper wages, have turned many citizen in to cynics, impotent to see and end to so much corruption, and a lack of empathy to resolve the common problems who affect the most to the less privileged masses of individuals who join not the new market forces, but the homeless and the disfranchised, who wander in droves around our cities as an spectacle of shame, and hopelessness of a better future.
A Brave New World
So what is the future? I do not want to be an alarmist, but I am neither an optimist about the situation we face in a world obvious too big, and complex to be able to predict a future, but I am certain that if the change that it’s coming soon, it will be not so much about the exploitations of resources, or the creation of more wealth, with better infrastructures, and a more just and inclusive distribution of goods and services, maybe this no doubt can be better, but I foresee more a switch in a radical change in goals, aspirations and objectives in our way we live, see and understand ourselves within our environment, and Nature, the dream of the winner takes all, the maverick in pursuit of money success, luxury, and the fine things in life will have to change and become a dream of downsizing to live in an ecological balance with Mother Earth, were wealth would not mean how much you can own for yourself, but as to adapt ourselves to live better with less, an to loose interest in amazing money for the sake of it, but to exchange it for peace of mind, and community interaction, abandoning the idea of consumerism to create an economy, but of embracing quality craftsmanship of goods made not by fabrics, but by individuals, for local consumption, simpler lifestyles rather than expensive ones, recycling of everything, sewing buttons, mending clothes, like our grandmothers did, the abandonment of plastic, chemicals, and synthetic materials in favor of natural ones, the abandonment of big cities in favor of small rural, organic self sustain communities, the total renunciation of the car as an individual mode of transportation in favor of community transportation, the demise of the big chain markets for the farmer markets, the elimination of the big agribusiness complex, pharmaceutical complex, oil complex, and any other enterprise that require the automated, and the mass produced goods, along with the factories, that need a large pool of people concentrated in small areas we call now days cities.
I could go on and on, but with this you get the idea, downsize and go green, I am sure a lot of you will smile, and dismiss this as naïve, utopian, impossible, etc. However one thing I can tell you, if we don’t, there will be no future for mankind, the model that we live right now, it is no longer sustainable and its condemn to fail, and fall apart as it is clear to see it happening as we speak, how long we will be able to go on like this, I ignore it but it may not take long, unless we reestablish harmony between Man and Nature.
MY VIEWS ON RELIGION, ATHEISM, BUDDHISM AND OTHER MANIFESTATIONS OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT, HOUSTON SMITH A LIFE ON RELIGION
It is very good to be born in a church,
but it is very bad to die in a church.
It may come as a surprise to my readers, my particular views on this issues, Religion, Atheism, and Buddhism, and other manifestations of the human spirit, I do not expect for my readers to share my views, after all they are mine! And more than mine, it is my experience through years of practice, study, and life acquired knowledge, distilled in to wisdom, or my lack of it, that can be communicated, but not shared in equal degree, because after all as incarnated sentient beings in this realm that we give various names: The World, Mankind, Life, or even negate as Maya (Illusion) it really come to our own solipsistic nature that we experience the world not through somebody else perceptions, but our own, rendering each experience unique, and limited to our corporeal person, subject to our particular set of circumstances, as our sex, family, language, nation, occupation, historical period we live in, socio-cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds, that define us, including the Religion, or lack off, in to what we are born in, or choose to change it later, as it may be the case.
I am a deeply religious person but do not have a Religion, I am not a Christian, even if I was born and baptized as Catholic, never care too much about the apostolic side of it, that either is missionary in nature, or to ratify hierarchical authority, do not care, or wish to convert people to my beliefs, and if believe there are Hierarchical values in Spirituality, I do not like Religion as an institution, I see Christ more as an example to follow, than a personal savior, I am neither a Jew, if most interested in Kabbalah, I am disqualified by being a Goyim , nor a Muslim since I had never embraced totally the five pillars of Islam I do my daily prayers but not always in a ritualistic way, plus I don’t think I will ever become a Haji, this doesn’t mean I am an Atheist, or even if I respect and admire Buddhism. And at one point in my life, my inclinations was to embrace Buddhism, never did, serious Buddhism it is monastic in nature, and I do not see it as a way for me, or for most part of Mankind as a matter of fact, and no, categorically I am not an Agnostic, I find the term rather lukewarm, From Agnostic to Atheist there is really little difference if you consider it is just a subjective idea of admitting belief, or disbelief, with little relevance one way or another one, to my knowledge there is not such a thing, as Agnostic activism, like there is some Atheist who are in a crusade to propagate their lack of faith, they believe man will be free if unshackled of belief on a higher power, a rather mystifying belief on itself, since freedom it is such a subjective, and relative word…
However if I respect their right of disbelief on a personal God, or an Immanent God, what I find odd , it is many of the limitations such position entails, it was not until I started to understand how diversely different a concept of God vary from individual to individual, Religion, to Religion, and from sect to sect that realized how complex a subject it is, and how little explored by many who declare himself an atheist on the face of their particular choice, rather than conclusions after a lifetime of study, and experience on the matter, instead than a choice he took after he read the last bestseller book from Richard Dawkins, a popular writer of atheist books, whose lingua franca is arguably the Scientific method of a biologist! With little relation to the study of Ontology, Philosophy, or Theology, and many other branches of knowledge besides biological determinism, and Darwinism.
The late Ronald Dworkin did an essay entitled: Religion without God, Mr. Dworkin a Constitutional lawyer and anti-positivist, no doubt fed up with the idea that the dominion of science, should be applied in to such a subjective Sociological field as Law, but very possible an atheist on the principle of denying a personal God argued for a defending an atheism, that sound now days more like a “Cosmic Force” “Awe of Nature” or some other Euphemism for God, cited Einstein, a favorite undisputed darling of scientific oriented, or not, but of a large section of mankind, believers, or unbelievers alike, whose words are the final verdict of truth, Dworkin quoted Einstein:
“To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.”
What do you know? Einstein if alive would be classified as; Spiritual but not Religious, quite a big umbrella for many whose beliefs could be as different as night from day! With that thought in mind, my point is the diversity of personal unbelief can be as baffling, complex, supercilious, or idiotic, as that of many believers. Dilettantism on almost anything seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
Yes, also I know the History of intolerance by religious authorities, wars, genocide, murder, torture, abuse, and so many other crimes.
However I like to point out there not seem to be a cessation, or decrease of this crimes just because people has abandoned belief. Political, social, economical, racial, family, and so many other issues, seem to be the source of continued unabated violence, and crimes regardless of belief, or unbelief.
The Root of anger and Violence
Maybe it has to do more with how we react to issues, our virtue, wisdom, or lack of it, and not our belief, or unbelief that is responsible for our bad behavior? What I mean we can believe whatever we may wish to believe but it is the capacity of self restrain, against anger, violence, greed, opposed by the virtues of compassion, love, tolerance, and wisdom of the individual, groups, societies, nations, that will determine their actions, in other words Moral Virtue sorely lacking in most of the leaders of mankind, and people in general around the world at the present moment, otherwise the world wouldn’t be in such a mess, doesn’t it?
Perpetrators of violence exist at all levels of society, and hardly any particular individual is free from it, consciously, or unconsciously we are all perpetrators of violence, male or female. I will not go in to a full study of the causes of anger, fear, and human weakness that are responsible for it. But we can point out, to countless of historical examples from Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot to Attila, Tamerlane, Genghis-Khan. Suffice is to say that religion, or lack of it has little to do with it, more to do with the family structure, and the values, and pressures broth in to such families by an unjust society:
“The violence inflicted by human adults on themselves, each other and the Earth is an outcome of the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence inflicted on them as children.”
Robert J, Burrows
At the time, in the moment, violence makes emotional sense to the perpetrator because it feels “right.” It also feels “free” because social restraints are suspended. And it feels satisfying to let angry impulse rule, anger the most common justification for violence. Why is that?The awareness of anger is usually identified by such thoughts as, “this is wrong,” “this isn’t what I like or want,” “this isn’t fair,” “this shouldn’t be going on,” “This must be stopped.” So the function of anger is to patrol a person’s wellbeing, identify possible violations, and energize some expressive, protective, corrective, or aggressive action in response, regardless of how misguided may be.
Mankind seems to be historically every moment at a crossroads of sorts, driven by our foibles, and weakness, rather than by our wisdom, or good judgment were the future, and our human survival, and that of the world seems to be in question, a estrange and mysterious state of our Human condition…
SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS
Spiritual but not Religious it is a common expression used now day to denote you believe there is such a thing as Spirit, but you do not conform to the norm of following a established religion, unfortunately the term now days it is so common, that the phrase is used world-wide, but is most prominent in the United States where one study reports that as many as 33% of people identify as spiritual but not religious. On the other side it means little to too many, and I will be the first to admit the bad connotations associated with this term, many serious religious observers claim people who embrace this rubric, are people who lack to avoid commitment, and the sacrifice that making a difference in embracing a religion imply, they say:
“Do you like feeling good without having to act on your feeling? Boosting your self-esteem no matter your competence or behavior? Then I’ve got the religious program for you, Spiritual but not Religious!”
“The thing is, SBNR folks, you may know more about what we’re supposed to be doing than we do. I mean, church — if it’s done right — involves inconveniences like missing brunch with friends on Sunday morning, money that could be spent elsewhere given away, old people calling you by the wrong name and occasionally boring sermons.
Being transformed and transforming the world together takes commitment and hard work. It’s a messy engagement that sometimes hurts. It’s caring and sticking around, changing systems and continuously inviting a world in desperate need to witness communities of transformation and prophetic witness
It’s a fair question to ask why you would add that kind of inconvenience to your life if you didn’t have to.”
My response is of course they do not understand how fed up we are with dogmas, ossified institutions who are a waste of time, who follow the letter, but the Spirit flew away millennia ago, hierarchical, authoritarian figures who tell us what to do, how to think, and what to say, when most of the time they do not follow their own rules, and not only that, they claim to be the voice of God, and go on committing on their sheep flock serious abuse crimes too well known to bother to talk much about it, from the historical Inquisition Auto da Fe, to contemporary now unfortunately common sexual abuse, to monetary exploitation of the believers by leaders, gurus, and all kind of spiritual scoundrels ready to make a buck out of the innocent.
NO SMOKING ALLOWED
But above all, that barking at the wrong tree talk, blaming the SBNR for being wishy-washy, the key factor, that most organized religions are missing in their discourse against the SBNR it is not the disappointment of people with religious institutions, or the implied flakiness, selfishness sunset watching, and lack of seriousness of SBNR, but the lack of direct Spiritual experience that is absent in their own Religious Institutions, or pseudo spiritual communities, and that are unable to provide, because simply put; They do not have it!
That is on my view the real culprit why people do not flock in to their churches, temples, synagogues, etc..After all there is religious groups that thrive, when others fail, I used to joke with a friend, when years ago we explored different Spiritual groups on the fringes, who promised an esoteric knowledge of sorts, I remembered a comment the painter Edgar Degas made when visiting the House museum of Gustave Moreau a French symbolist painter, when a friend pull out a cigarette to smoke meanwhile he walked through the house, Degas, said something of the sort: “No smoking allowed here, after all we are in the house of a very sick man.” A harsh criticism from the painter, no doubt on Moreau’s art, but visiting ourselves the temples, or saloons of many of this religious, or quasi religious museums of time past, mockingly I would use the same phrase, or if the group or church were vital, and thriving with plenty of people, I would said admiringly: “You could have a few fat, big cigars here, nobody will die!”
However it is true that if serious about your spirituality you will better be an exceptional individual, who apply itself to a Spiritual practice, rather than remain a spiritual dilettante for life, a common case now days, regardless of claims of high spirituality when the only spiritual exercise you do is having a vague idea of a supreme deity, or pagan deities, as a reaction against an unfortunately association between old religions, and patriarchal Monotheism, ignoring Oneness of Being as the essence of it, not the tribal patriarchal context it come from. Or what is very fashionable now days naively become a Buddhist, just because it suit your ideas that Buddhism it is not a religion, a statement that it is half true, to a point, but since most of it is organized as any other religious institution, with it’s rituals, scriptures, chants, temples, rules, and hierarchical, and monastic dogma, and where abuse it is not unheard for those in the know. To our eyes perhaps, a new dish exciting like an exotic, fragrant, and foreign plate, but old, agonizing, and decrepit on it’s place of origin, and no less unappetizing than our Judeo-Christian fare, after all fossilized as well.
Since the Renaissance it has been fashionable to revive ancient beliefs, there was a religious and moral, or, as usually expressed, an irreligious side to the classical revival in Italy which cannot be passed wholly unnoticed. In the first place, the study of the pagan poets and philosophers produced the exact result predicted by a certain party in the Church. It proved hurtful to religious faith. Men became pagans in their feelings and in their way of thinking, not that Christian in Europe ever abandoned paganism entirely, merely adapted it, like making the pagan gods, in to saints. Italian scholars and Italian society almost ceased to be Christian in any true sense of the word. And although Europe remained Christian the Pagan gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece jostled with the patron saints of Christianity on public monument, and classical philosophy began to change the way people thought about ethics and morality.
I kind of smile when contemporary church leaders complaint at the decline of believers, abandoning the church, in fact the Protestant Reformation, was an effort to bring back the old Spirit of Christianity in what was considered a decadent, immoral, church with obsolete doctrines, rituals, leadership and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, through the centuries since then the germ keep propagating, bringing more enlightenment, humanism, atheism, and rationalism, with the subsequent backlash of more offshoots of more radical Christian fundamentalist, until even those movements loose impetus and embrace modernity, to the point of Nietzsche famous declaration: “God is dead.”
What it seems to be missing it is the understanding that the Christian church in general can’t survive postmodernity if a new Spiritually a live current doesn’t come to revitalize it, not only in the logical, and conceptual side of it, were all the efforts seems to be made, forgetting the most vital, and essential part of it, which it is not the rational part, but the non rational, and emotional side of it, as the Theologian Karl Rahner expressed it:
“The Christian of the future will be a Mystic or not exist at all.”
Shamanism, Paganism, and a host of Oriental religions and practices, like Vedanta, Yoga, Taoism, Sufis, Gnosticism, not to talk of the revival esoteric traditions like Theosophy, Kabbalah, Hermetic,and now New Pagans like Druids, Wicca appear to hold high court for a few years, then to loose their initial impetus to settle down as a small communities, who struggle to survive, and prosper on the fringe of the mainstream religions.
What this groups intent, it is to offer an alternative to the decadent, but still dominant mainstream religions, some with more luck than others, some falling in to what is no different, than a novelty with the lifetime of a short summer that goes in to an early cold Autumn. Some of this groups start with a charismatic leader, or guru, who is able to inspire people to spiritual action, and religious fervor for a while, just to disappoint them after some scandal, or other. Others if better, as soon as the charismatic leader pass away they fall on the hand of uninspiring leaders, who institutionalize the teaching, and set shrines to the memory to the personality of the individual in question, and soon forget the essence of the message to become death letter, worried with the prosaic practicality of supporting a church, and the memory of the death leader. Many times a struggle for power ensues between the disciples of such leaders, and many followers leave disappointed, usually schism promptly follows, and two, or many other splints of the original group take place, and attack each other from a distance claiming legitimacy over the others.
It seem Human social interaction with our eternal companion, our egos it is at the base of conflict and lack of ecumenical understanding between nations, societies, groups, religious institutions or not. All this is antithesis to Spiritual pursuits, and here is when we come to the dilemma of involving ourselves with a particular religion, or spiritual fringe group, and get bogged down in our search for true Spirit, since not only we have to deal with our inner struggle, weakness, and temptations as limited, and imperfect individuals, but add to our misery the weight of a spiritually death congregation.
The Spirit bloweth where it listeth
The great explorer of Religion an acquaintance of mine, Houston Smith, of who I read some of his books, and listen to his talks when in town, and if too briefly engaged in conversations with. Interviewed about the subject said:
Loudon: I would think that Thomas Merton’s experience might bear out the legitimacy of this gradual independence within an ongoing dialectic between freedom and form.
Smith: It is a dialectic. The Zen tradition, as we know, has many stipulations like “When you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha!” or “Tear up the Sutras! Such teachings have their place, but we tend to overgeneralize them, divorcing them from the contexts for which they were intended. Too early in the game, we appropriate to ourselves the right to take the liberties they counsel.
Loudon: Might there be a special temptation for Westerners, with the emphasis on freedom and individuality, to avoid the early stages of
initiation into a teaching?
Smith: Yes. And there is a sizeable streak of counterdependence in our culture. “Don’t tell me what to do!” The Fritz Perls attitude toward life.
Loudon: And if you say that at the start, you may never get off the ground.
Loudon: Does following a religious way, a path of faith, necessarily involve spiritual disciplines of some sort?
Smith: Yes. Again, we must recognize that “the spirit bloweth where it listeth,” so there may be one in a million who may be the exception.
But overwhelmingly the need is for wisdom and method both; all the traditions so teach. As the saying goes, we need to walk on both
feet: right views and right practice.
Loudon: How can a person understand a religious tradition that he or she does not practice?
Smith: Very imperfectly. There are those who see the promised land, get some intimation of what lies there, but for some quirk within them
just do not take the steps to cross over into it. But the rule in religious matters is that understanding proceeds through living what
one is trying to understand.
Loudon: So it is only by living a tradition that one comes to understand it and gains thereby the resources to understand other traditions?
Smith: That’s true. Noam Chomsky once said that there is a very real sense in which to understand fully how one language functions is to
understand how they all function. The situation with religious traditions is comparable.
Loudon: Is the advanced, scholarly study of the particular traditions a necessary or vital part of the interplay between knowledge and practice?
Smith: One has to ask, “Necessary for what?” You see, I believe that Black Elk [Lakota Sioux medicine man] or an Australian aborigine living the Dreamtime that Eliade talks about had everything“ necessary unto salvation,” as the saying goes. Scholarly equipment would be irrelevant to the depth and quality of their awareness. When it comes to religious living, the kind of information that appears in scholarly journals is quite expendable. Even so, the mind is a part of the human complement, and one can become interested in comparative religions as one can in other things. Lunching with a
colleague, Bertrand Russell listened attentively to his report of a discovery in brain functions that he had made, and then commented quietly “It’s nice to know things.” That holds for religions too. I am constantly grateful for such historians of religion. As you may know, I chanced myself to stumble on one remarkable fact in this area: the capacity of certain specially trained lamas to sing multiple tones simultaneously. Was that discovery important?
Probably not. It was a grace, you might say; a grace, moreover, from which one can learn something beneﬁcial.
Loudon: So it’s not necessary, but such study can be enriching.
Smith: It can also be distracting, because if one isn’t careful one’s attention can get sidetracked into merely collecting information. In
which case living, organic wholes get pulverized and become like dry sand.
Loudon: Regarding the interrelationship of religious traditions, what about the individual traditions’ claims of exclusivity and preeminence?
Smith: It’s totally understandable, because that to which one gives one’s life one must think is ultimate. Otherwise, it doesn’t deserve ultimate allegiance. If one gives one’s life to Christ, exoterically conceived, then it’s almost as though one wouldn’t be wholly committed to Christ unless that Christ were absolute above all other exoterically nameable deities.
Loudon: Otherwise you’d always be on the threshold of commitment and never committing yourself actually.
Smith: That’s why Schuon says that for the exoteric the preeminent, privileged status of one tradition is not only inevitable, but appropriate. Now, such people are going to have problems, because we live in a world where people are aware of other traditions. And how God’s mercy is to be reconciled with his apparent favoritism for one
tradition will probably be a lifelong koan for those people. But whatever one says, this is no problem for the esoteric, because the esoteric core is common to them all.
(From the book The way things are Conversations with Houston Smith)
“The only real treasure is in your head.
Memories are better than diamonds
and nobody can steal them from you”
Most of us, specially those who can claim we had a happy childhood we hold our memories of youth dearly, specially as we grow old the past come to our minds often, and sometimes with great detail, at least of certain things we cared about, or paid enough attention, since memory is selective, my relatives, and friends seem to remember things that I can’t recollect, and likewise I remember things they may have a vague idea, or not at all.
The Great Neurologist Oliver Sacks says about our fleeting memories:
“There is, it seems, no mechanism in the mind or the brain for ensuring the truth, or at least the veridical character, of our recollections. We have no direct access to historical truth, and what we feel or assert to be true depends as much on our imagination as our senses. There is no way by which the events of the world can be directly transmitted or recorded in our brains; they are experienced and constructed in a highly subjective way, which is different in every individual to begin with, and differently reinterpreted or re-experienced whenever they are recollected. (The neuroscientist Gerald M. Edelman often speaks of perceiving as “creating,” and remembering as “recreating” or “re-categorizing.”) Frequently, our only truth is narrative truth, the stories we tell each other, and ourselves—the stories we continually re-categorize and refine. Such subjectivity is built into the very nature of memory, and follows from its basis and mechanisms in the human brain. The wonder is that aberrations of a gross sort are relatively rare, and that, for the most part, our memories are relatively solid and reliable.
We, as human beings, are landed with memory systems that have fallibilities, frailties, and imperfections—but also great flexibility and creativity. Confusion over sources or indifference to them can be a paradoxical strength: if we could tag the sources of all our knowledge, we would be overwhelmed with often irrelevant information.
Indifference to source allows us to assimilate what we read, what we are told, what others say and think and write and paint, as intensely and richly as if they were primary experiences. It allows us to see and hear with other eyes and ears, to enter into other minds, to assimilate the art and science and religion of the whole culture, to enter into and contribute to the common mind, the general commonwealth of knowledge. This sort of sharing and participation, this communion, would not be possible if all our knowledge, our memories, were tagged and identified, seen as private, exclusively ours. Memory is dialogic and arises not only from direct experience but from the intercourse of many minds.”
One of my personal experience with the treachery of memory, came in the form of two decorated with relief figures clay pots for plants my Grandmother had inside at the house, as a child the figures fascinated me, and I remembered pretty well, or so I thought, the fact that I even dream about them in a couple of occasion, in my memory they had a dark green color as background for the reliefs figures, and that I last saw when my Grandmother was alive, sometimes I dreamed of the house and the mentioned pots, thirty years later visiting my family by chance I saw those same pots visiting the office of my brother in-law, my carnal brother who work with my in-law looking at my surprised face, told me he brought them there. The shock of seeing them at the entrance of the office, two hundred miles from their original place, when their lost was almost certain, accompanied by the fact the color of the pots wasn’t green, but a dark blue!
Our memories can seem true, but in reality are a sinuous, intricate path, with a historic shaky reality, that didn’t exist but in our minds, a road and foggy path, that may lead to a land of no where…
The Method of Loci
The ancients aware of this fact devised a method to exercise the mind to be able to recollect things in an accurate way, the Method of Loci.
The Method of Loci (plural of Latin locus for place or location), also called the memory palace, is a mnemonic device introduced in ancient Roman and Greek rhetorical treatises (in the anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium, Cicero’s De Oratore, and Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria). The items to be remembered in this mnemonic system are mentally associated with specific physical locations. It relies on memorized spatial relationships to establish, order and recollect memorial content. The term is most often found in specialized works on psychology, neurobiology and memory, though it was used in the same general way at least as early as the first half of the nineteenth century in works on rhetoric, logic and philosophy.
In this technique the subject memorizes the layout of some building, or the arrangement of shops on a street, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember a set of items the subject literally ‘walks’ through these loci and commits an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any distinguishing feature of that locus. Retrieval of items is achieved by ‘walking’ through the loci, allowing the latter to activate the desired items. The efficacy of this technique has been well established (Ross and Lawrence 1968, Crovitz 1969, 1971, Briggs, Hawkins and Crovitz 1970, Lea 1975), as is the minimal interference seen with its use.
However my interest it is not the recovery of memories for practical reasons, or historical truth, but as to the realization, that our memories, are a device from our Alter ego, to guide us to a specific end, where memories, and dreams melt in to what becomes our Loci of Imagination a very useful tool to advance our understanding of ourselves, and our development as Spiritual beings.
There are the three dimensions that we are all aware of, but there is the fourth dimension, which is also a spatial dimension, but we don’t perceive it as that, we perceive the distances of the fourth dimension as the passage of time. If time is just a perception with no reality inherent, but to our vision of existence, as limited, and perishable, we experience time as a continuum passing through, but if we change our view in to a four-dimensional solid in which time is not passing, where every moment that ever existed or will exist is suspended, forever unchanging, from within this immense solid of space-time. Then the passing of time is an illusion that is only apparent to us as we move through this huge solid along what we perceive as reality.
If time is an illusion, then all movement and change are also illusions. So the only thing that gives us the illusion of movement and change and events and time is the fact that our consciousness is moving through this thing called existence, If you imagine it as a film, a movie encased in existence, each of those individual small moments are a part of a large frame, If they each represent a moment, that only is changed by our inability to recognize our consciousness is moving along . Individual moments are not going anywhere, but as the light, or focus of our consciousness passes across them, it provides the illusion of movement, this produces an idea of a past, who has never really passed, it just exist somewhere else.
But as we saw before, this reality of the past if it ever existed, has been transformed in to the new reality of our memory, and de facto transformed in to our new reality, as untrustworthy this may seem, this process allows to bend time, and have a rich malleable repository of experience an Akashic record. In theosophy and anthroposophy, the akashic records (from akasha, the Sanskrit word for ‘sky’ ‘space’ or ‘aether’) are a compendium of mystical knowledge supposedly encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the astral plane. A library, or file cabinet of Universal knowledge, rising in the mist of our consciousness, when we are ready to dip on it, for Spiritual progress.
Our personal Heaven
This bring us back to our personal reality, our individual sack of memories, given to us by the Ontological fact of existence, existence that allow us a myriad of memories, different but analogous to some one else, our own private Universe of consciousness.
I remember as a child the long trips to reach the towns were my to Grandmothers lived, like a pair of opposites, they were antithetical in geographical location, one living north of us, the other south, a contrast on environment and weather as well, desert like in the north, humid, tropical, dense jungle forest like in the south, those conditions now days I realize were excellent for creating a rich environment for my web of dreams, providing numerous symbolic archetypes to my future dreams.
Relatively recently a tree in the property of my maternal Grandmother become a sort of secret Axis Mundi of my Imagination, now in my Grandmother house were numerous trees, and at the time during my childhood never saw anything remarkable in this particular tree, neither remember hearing anything about it, however from time to time I will dream about this tree. A few years ago a little before my mother died I had a powerful dream were my mother signaled the tree, and indicated she wanted to put her ashes under the Nacapule tree. Immediately asked for a leave of absence at work, and went to visit her, she was living with my sister at the time, and as soon as my sister could talk in private to me she let me know, what already I knew by the dream, my mother was living her last days. Without revealing my dream, I just mentioned I was aware of the situation, later talking to my mother, I asked her about the tree of course without telling her the dream, to my surprise the tree had a very interesting story; my Grandfather a man who died eight years before I was even born, brought the tree from his old town and planted it like some sort of connecting symbol between his new home and the old one, and the tree was his special care, and worry, suffering the harsh desert heat, and even strafing by airplane in 1929.
When grandmother died in 1973 the house was sold, and the new owner destroyed the house to the ground , and cut all the many trees of the property, and beautiful garden, except for the Nacapule tree, and two palm trees, to my further surprise Mother produced an old piece of paper with a poem about the house and the tree made by an aunt of mine, her sister when they sold the house, poem that I translated and posted in this blog on May, 2010.
On many of my dreams the tree, and the town of my Grandparents had been a recurrent dream of mine, one theme that appeared frequently was the desire to take young spiritual friends of mine to that particular place, but in my dreams always was frustrated in this endeavor, they will excuse themselves for one reason, or another, or I would be by alone myself in this Archetype Geographical paradise, to the point I was a little bit sad to the fact it seemed I will never be able to show them what it is Sacred ground for me. Finally one day I had a dream, that at the old house were many Nacapule trees, all over the yard, and in each one a friend of mine resided, I interpreted the dream to mean, that this particular tree it is my personal Archetype axis mundi symbol but that each individual has his own according to their own life circumstances, regardless of how estrange, particular, or mundane this relations may be, a few days later a friend of mine told me something he considered strange about another common friend of us, he told me confidently:
“I spent a whole day with X and all we did was going around this lackluster neighborhood (the place is known as very unhip, and drab place to live among people who is familiar with this place, and of course do not live there.) and he showed me his old house, his old school, his grocery shop, etc. It was weird, the place is so uncool, what possible he could see in it?”
I understood that we all have a heavenly place in our memories, and has nothing to do with it’s beauty, or his lack of it, this place come to us from time, to time, but in our dreams this place is special, and much more beautiful, that it is in our wake up reality, after all this place it is unique since it belongs to our hearts…
URBAN AND ECOLOGICAL DECAY, THE EROSION OF DEMOCRACY, CAPITALISM THE GOD THAT FAILED, AND WHAT IS THE SOLUTION FOR A BETTER WORLD
“The government failed us.
The market failed us.
Harvard, Yale, and the
University of Chicago
doesn’t belong to us.
they forgot us.
We need to solve
The end of dream
Who that lived during that day on November 9, 1989, and the following days could forget the exhilaration of seeing that symbol of hate, separation, cold war, and suffering, a wall fall, signaling the death of an era, and the beginning of hope in a new future.
But actually things have not turned as rosy as people hoped to be, Lane Wallace from the Atlantic tell us:
“The dream in its ideal form didn’t last long, of course. The revolution was wrought by factions, burdened by bureaucracy and characterized more by brutality than any cooperative utopia from almost its first bloody days. But when I left Vienna, I discovered that the taxi driver taking me to the airport was a recent émigré from Berlin. East Berlin. I asked him about how reunification was going, and he told me about some of the same problems I’d heard before: East Germans being second-class citizens, economic resentment on the part of the West Germans who had to pay to upgrade East Germany, and the like. But then, he said:
“You know, everyone sees it as the West helping the East. But it could have been done better. We could have helped them, too. But nobody wanted what we had to offer.”
Intrigued, I asked him to explain. There was a long pause. Then he answered:
“For all the problems of the system, in East Germany, it wasn’t all about consumerism. It wasn’t how much you could buy, how much ahead of your neighbor you could get. We really did have more of a sense of helping each other out. Community really mattered more to us than things.”
Who better to see the difference than those people behind the iron curtain, who now face consumerism, naked capitalism, and the rat race to survive in a world were you are on your own, and get nothing but stabs on the back by the people who suppose to uphold our Government, and our private institutions like our banks who gambled and lost with our money?
Who, or what will bridge this gap in our political, and economical system, now wide open?
Richard Heinberg, director of the Post Carbon Institute, begins his book, The End of Growth, as follows: “The central assertion of this book is both simple and startling: Economic growth as we have known it is over and done with.” He then presents over 300 pages of various kinds of supportive evidence backing up this conclusion. The book was published in 2011, the evidence in support of this conclusion seems stronger than ever.
The reason are complex, and many, but simply put unlimited growth, and unlimited consuming, in a finite, and ecological frail world, this cannot be sustained. In the past we liked to tell ourselves that continual progress in science and technology will keep paying off by creating the new energy sources and the improved technology that we need to maintain ourselves and solve our problems, especially when we take care to grow in a smart way with sensible restraints. It is obvious this is not possible, the Achilles heel of expanding economies is the necessity for them to grow producing goods, and consumerism, this has brought an ecological nightmare at our doors, that we can no longer ignore, but our governments married to capital, refuse to yield to reality, the fact is we do not trust our government any more, and even less when there is not a system in place to make sure people in power behave ethically, and think first on the well being of others, rather than the benefit for their pockets, and bottom lines, that by the way they seem to be insatiable.
Few economists in the day of Adam Smith or Marx, with the notable exception of Malthus, could foresee a day that there would be any important limits to economic expansion that could not be overcome by human ingenuity and continually improving technology. If there were such limits, it was presumed that these were local limits that could be dealt with rather easily. If natural resources such as metal mines were exhausted in one area, one could always move to a fresh area, and use the advantages of continually improving technology to keep production expanding, ad infinitum.
In reality it is found that technology tends to harvest the low hanging fruit in terms of available resources first and then moves on. While there was an abundance of cheap energy available, this exhaustion of resources and a simultaneous increase in unwelcome consequences could be concealed for a time. In the USA, there has been a well-funded, right-wing corporate disinformation campaign to lead the public to deny that burning fossil fuel is changing the climate for the worse. Now people are beginning to realize the unhappy truth.
Are we facing a doomsday future?
The Optimistic View
Theoretically, there is enough acreage already planted to keep the planet fed forever, because 10 billion humans is roughly where the United Nations predicts that the world population will plateau in 2060. But success depends on portion control; in the late 1980s,Brown University’s World Hunger Program calculated that the world then could sustain 5.5 billion vegetarians, 3.7 billion South Americans or 2.8 billion North Americans, who ate more animal protein than South Americans.
Even if fertility rates rose again, many agronomists think the world could easily support 20 billion to 30 billion people.
Anyone who has ever flown across the United States can see how that’s possible: there’s a lot of empty land down there. The world’s entire population, with 1,000 square feet of living space each, could fit into Texas. Pile people atop each other like Manhattanites, and they get even more elbow room.
Water? When it hits $150 a barrel, it will be worth building pipes from the melting polar icecaps, or desalinating the sea as the Saudis do.
The same potential is even more obvious flying around the globe. The slums of Mumbai are vast; but so are the empty arable spaces of Rajasthan. Africa, a huge continent with a mere 944 million people on it, looks practically empty from above. South of the Sahara, the land is rich; south of the Zambezi, the climate is temperate. But it is farmed mostly by people using hoes.
If food became as pricey as oil, we would plow Africa, fish-farm the oceans and build hydroponic skyscraper vegetable gardens. But they see the underlying problem in terms more Marxian than Malthusian: the rich grab too much of everything, including biomass.
Possibility does not imply Feasibility
Vegetarians are minority as right now maybe not even 6% of the population today, and that would be a very optimistic, more likely a 2% or 3% at most, besides it ignores that the production of meat it is a well established machinery, that provide ample profits for those who control it, not likely to be abandoned just because suddenly everybody got conscious and decided it was morally unjustifiable, a waste of resources, like water, grain, and arable land, on top a great source of methane, and the pollution of our water, air, and land, contributing to global warming, just like people do not abandon alcohol, sugar, tobacco, coffee, tea, oil, carbon, and many other consumer products, that are not good for our health, but that produce wealth for some, and satisfaction for many.
As for the world population fitting in to Texas, I am sure the nice folks of Texas would be very happy to pack up the rest of the world in their back yards, as no doubt the cosmopolitan, and always nice to all, Manhattan people, would have no qualm to pile more people up! And for that matter any other people around the Globe, will be reluctant to be the safe haven for millions of ecological refuges, now think on billions! it is unrealistic to expect borders, and governments of many nations to melt away, and disappear when asked to sacrifice themselves in order to make room for those who lost their ecological resources, and now bent in taking over theirs as well!
If there is vast unpopulated areas of the glove are for good reasons, they lack water, or the weather is extreme like in the Artic, not fit for living and not capable of sustaining population, ecologist cringe at the idea of robbing Peter to pay Paul, which it is basically what happens, when we shift resources, like water for irrigation to desert areas, or destroy forest to cultivate the land, basically we are borrowing with a high interest, that would be very unlikely we will be able to repay, destroying ecological habitat that it is not renewable, and irreplaceable, for short time gain.
Technological innovation, so far if smart, had proven no solution to ecological mayhem, if anything they have been the cause of most of the problems, and to the challenges we face today, there is no easy solution, or shortcuts to fix our problems, but to acquire the wisdom to live in Harmony with our environment, regardless of the loss of revenue this may inflict on our consumer slash, and burn make a quick profit economy of today, pay with high interest tomorrow based economy society, the time of blind exploitation need to be over, and done, for the survival not only of our own, but for life on Earth, and the only solution, is a more wiser, and conscious Mankind who by force of survival will manage our resources better.
The God that failed
Democracy: The God That Failed is a 2001 book by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, containing a series of thirteen essays on the subject of democracy. The book “examines modern democracies in the light of various evident failures” which, in Hoppe’s view, include rising unemployment rates, expanding public debt, and insolvent social security systems. He attributes democracy’s failures to pressure groups seeking increased government expenditures, regulations and taxation and a lack of counter-measures to them. He discusses as solutions secession, “shifting of control over the nationalized wealth from a larger, central government to a smaller, regional one” and “complete freedom of contract, occupation, trade and migration introduced”. It concludes that democracy is the primary cause of the de-civilization sweeping the world since World War I, and that it must be delegitimized.
Hoppe characterizes democracy as “publicly owned government,” which he compares to monarchy “privately owned government” to conclude that the latter is preferable; however, Hoppe aims to show that both monarchy and democracy are deficient systems compared to his preferred structure to advance civilization—what he calls the natural order, a system free of both taxation and coercive monopoly in which jurisdictions freely compete for adherents. In his Introduction to the book, he lists other names used elsewhere to refer to the same thing, including “ordered anarchy,” “private property anarchism,” “anarcho-capitalism,” “auto government,” “private law society,” and “pure capitalism.”
The title of the work is an allusion to The God That Failed, a 1949 work in which six authors who were former communist (or former communist sympathizer) describe their experience of and disillusion with communism.
A change is Needed
On my view the models based on the wrong values we pursue today are at the root of our problems, the accumulation of wealth it is not a bad thing in itself, but has been corrupted almost totally, almost to the exclusion of any other considerations, and it has been an individualistic quest, with the exclusion of others, were the disparity lays naked in front of us for all to see. Our governments have become accomplices in this ruthless enterprise, corporations, had hijacked the agenda, and made their policy to make our goals, and structure society according to their benefit regardless of the cost, as long it is not their cost.
This state of affairs need to be over, we need to move to a total new way to make society work, it is my thought that we have been shepherded in to compliance by our apathy, and reluctance to get involved in to the political process, after all busy with a full day at work, and the burden of making ends meet, bills to pay, children to care for, and educate, who has time, or energy to confront and battle the status quo?
Sure we have an ecological, and environmental problem in our hands, but the origin of it is like Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica told at the Rio Summit:
“Today, man does not govern the forces he has unleashed, but rather, it is these forces that govern man; and life. Because we do not come into this planet simply to develop, just like that, indiscriminately. We come into this planet to be happy. Because life is short and it slips away from us. And no material belonging is worth as much as life, and this is fundamental.But if life is going to slip through my fingers, working and over-working in order to be able to consume more, and the consumer society is the engine-because ultimately, if consumption is paralyzed, the economy stops, and if you stop economy, the ghost of stagnation appears for each one of us, but it is this hyper-consumption that is harming the planet. And this hyper-consumption needs to be generated, making things that have a short useful life, in order to sell a lot. Thus, a light bulb cannot last longer than 1000 hours. But there are light bulbs that last 100,000 hours! But these cannot be manufactured, because the problem is the market, because we have to work and we have to sustain a civilization of “use and discard”, and so, we are trapped in a vicious cycle. These are problems of a political nature, which are showing us that it’s time to start fighting for a different culture.
I’m not talking about returning to the days of the caveman, or erecting a “monument to backwardness.” But we cannot continue like this, indefinitely, being ruled by the market, on the contrary, we have to rule over the market.
This is why I say, in my humble way of thinking, that the problem we are facing is political. The old thinkers. Epicurus, Seneca and even the Aymara put it this way, a poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more.” This is a cultural issue.
So I salute the efforts and agreements being made. And I will adhere to them, as a ruler. I know some things I’m saying are not easy to digest. But we must realize that the water crisis and the aggression to the environment is not the cause. The cause is the model of civilization that we have created. And the thing we have to re-examine is our way of life.”
Mujica, 77, former guerilla who spent more that 14 years in prison, two at the bottom of a well, gives 90% of his salary to charity, refused to live in Presidential Palace and continues to stay at his little farm, guarded by a three legged dog, excuse to say that if our presidents, and government officials would live that way, then we may have a chance of a better future.
On that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth,
and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.
Genesis 7. 11
On Archetypes Myth, and Dreams Analogy
“The archetypes to be discovered and assimilated are precisely those that have inspired, throughout the annals of human culture, the basic images of ritual, mythology, and vision. These “Eternal Ones of the Dream” are not to be confused with the personally modified symbolic figures that appear in nightmare and madness to the still tormented individual.
Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamic of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions sown are directly valid for all mankind.”
I pretty much agree with Joseph Campbell statement, although I go further reasoning that there is no difference between the individual, and mankind, yes cultural patterns may be different but the essence of the Archetype remains the same regardless of the changing circumstances of the dreamer, or the details of the dream. The whole point of it is the analogy that points to the solution of the dreamers problem, it serves a s a guide, or sketch map, that would help the psyche, or soul of the individual in question to solve the existential riddle. A sort of finding our Soul, or Heart revelation of a Spiritual nature, that would bring us to an Eden like place after facing turmoil, ugliness, suffering, constriction, and all kind of troubles that afflict our spirits at certain times in our life.
Campbell, then goes to describe the dream of a woman:
“I was walking alone around the upper end of a large city, through shimmy, muddy streets lined with hard little houses,” writes a modern woman, describing a dream that she has had. “I did not know where I was, but liked the exploring. I choseone street which was terribly muddy and led across what must have been an open sewer. I followed along between rows of shanties and then discovered a little river flowing between me and some high, firm ground where there was a paved street. This was a nice, perfectly clear river, flowing over grass. I could see the grass moving under the water. There was no way to cross, so I went to a little house and asked for a boat. A man there said of course he could help me cross. He brought out a small wooden box which he put on the edge of the river and I saw at once that with this box I could easily jump across. I knew all danger was over and I wanted to reward the man richly.
In thinking of this dream I have a distinct feeling that I did not have to go where I was at all but could have chosen a comfortable walk along paved streets. I had gone to the squalid and muddy district because I preferred adventure, and, having begun, I had to go on… . When I think of how persistently I kept going straight ahead in the dream, it seems as though I must have known there was something fine ahead, like that lovely, grassy river and the secure, high, paved road beyond. Thinking of it in those terms, it is like a determination to be born—or rather to be born again—in a sort of spiritual sense. Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the highroad to the soul’s destination.”
My Analogous Dream
Personally, when as Dante’s open lines to “Inferno”from his magnificent Divine Comedy:
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,ché la diritta via era smarrita.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!
Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
I have found myself in that place many years ago at the Midway upon the journey of my life at 42 years of age, by my unconsciousness, bad judgment, and ignorance found myself facing the dark forest of middle age, it was not a nice place having lost almost everything, materially, emotionally, and not in a very good shape spiritually speaking, I was in a hole, a dark situation in every sense you can imagine, no money, a work I hated, lost love, few friends of not much help, and no sense of where to go, or what to do in order to extricate myself of that situation, I was very depressed, and very much in pain, to the point were my heart hurt so badly it was almost a physical feeling on my chest. Regardless I was determined to ride the storm, and face the consequences of my actions face on, I was willing to take the bull by the horns and die if this was necessary, and above all I kept quite about the whole thing, and pretended in front of my few friends everything was fine, despite my sense of hopelessness, and despair. But something was clear, I wouldn’t take the lower road, and turn bitter towards the person that hurt me the most, and I wouldn’t blame anybody for my situation. But I was dying from the inside.
Ironically at one point my dally life a drudgery, my dreams turned in to incredible visions of beauty, paradisiacal in nature, when waking up, to my dark reality my thought was that I was about to die, and somewhat disconcerted about the whole thing couldn’t figure out what was going on.
The night before my climatic spiritual experience, I dreamt that I was traveling to my father’s town, but we were stop by a block on the road by police, a river was flooded, and had took the bridge down, a line of cars, were being turned back, and I was advised to so as well, curious I parked the car, and went to the river shore to look at the disaster, the river was rough cresting with waves and a hard current, in my youth I had witnessed several floods of this nature, and I thought myself full of confidence, “I bet I can cross it!” Somehow I produced a painted canvas, and used it as a surf-board, I defied the current of the flooded river, and safely reached the other shore, and proceeded with ease to my father’s town with no further trouble.
Ibn Arabi on Moses
The analogies are many, and vary in many different stories, from Noah building an Ark, Moses is left in a basket amid the reeds and bulrushes along the Nile, to latter part the waters of the Red Sea, on the flight from Egypt. Ibn Arabi wrote in is Fusus al-Hikam:
“As for the wisdom of Musa being put into the ark and then cast into the river, the ark (tâbût) is his human nature (nâsût). The river is what he received of knowledge through his body by what the power of discernment and the sensory imaginative faculties accorded him. Only by the existence of this elemental body does the human self have these faculties or their like. When the self comes to this body and is commanded to freely dispose of it and manage it, Allah gives it these faculties as instruments by which it obtains what Allah wills that it obtain in the management of this ark which contains the sakina of the Lord. Musa was cast into the river in order to receive various knowledge by these faculties. Thus Allah taught him that the spirit which manages him is the ruler. He is only managed by it. It gives him the command of these faculties of phenomenal being which are in this nâsût that is designated by the ark in the field of indications and wisdoms.
The form of casting Musa into the ark and then casting the ark into the river is outwardly a form of destruction. Inwardly, it was his rescue from being killed. He was brought to life as the self is brought to life by knowledge from the death of ignorance as Allah says, “Is someone who was dead (i.e. by ignorance) and whom We brought to life (with knowledge) and supplied with a light by which to walk among the people (which is guidance) the same as someone who is in utter darkness (in being astray) unable to emerge from it (i.e. will never be guided)?” In itself the matter has no end at which it stops.”
The solution to the Soul riddles are based in our willingness to face the dangers face on, and give ourselves to the mercy of God, the keyword is trust on a higher wisdom than ours, the life of Moses exemplify the Myth of the hero who overcame trials, tribulations, and great peril, armed with courage, oblivious to his mortality, but trusting in faith.
Cracking the constructs of the ego, and be able to let go of the unnecessary things that keep us slaves in a foreign land, like the story of Israel in Egypt, a great analogy for the soul enslaved to a material existence without a sight of it’s promised land who flows with the symbolic spiritual milk and honey for the soul, a return to the paradise lost, that Moses exemplify abandoning the life of a prince of Egypt for the uncertainty of persecution, the escape to the perils of the desert where he s offered water and shelter by the daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian the archetype Abraham encounter as well as Melchizedek.
The Story of Musa and Al-Khidr
On the Qur’an Musa (Moses) meets Khidr. Musa got up to deliver a speech before the Children of Israel and he was asked, “Who is the most learned person among the people” Musa replied, “I am.” Allah rebuked him because he did not refer the knowledge to Allah. So Allah revealed to him: “At the junction of the two seas there is a servant of Ours who is more learned than you.” Musa asked, “O my Lord, how can I meet him” Allah said, “Take a fish and put it in a vessel and then set out, and where you lose the fish, you will find him” So Musa took a fish, put it in a vessel and set out, along with his boy-servant Yusha` bin Nun, peace be upon him, till they reached a rock (on which) they both lay down their heads and slept. The fish moved vigorously in the vessel and got out of it and fell into the sea and there it took its way through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel. Allah stopped the flow of water on both sides of the way created by the fish, and so that way was like a tunnel. When Musa got up, his companion forgot to tell him about the fish, and so they carried on their journey during the rest of the day and the whole night. The next morning Musa said to his boy-servant, (“Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey.
Musa did not get tired till he had passed the place that Allah had ordered him to look for. His boy-servant then said to him, (“Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way.”) There was a tunnel for the fish and Musa and his boy-servant were amazed. Musa said, (“That is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their footsteps.”) So they went back retracing their steps until they reached the rock. There they found a man covered with a garment. Musa greeted him. Al-Khidr said, “Is there such a greeting in your land” Musa said, “I am Musa.” He said, “Are you the Musa of the Children of Israel” Musa said, “Yes,” and added, “I have come to you so that you may teach me something of that knowledge which you have been taught.” Al-Khidr said, (“You will not be able to have patience with me.) O Musa! I have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon me but you do not know it; and you too, have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon you, but I do not know it.”
The rest of the story is well known, however what I want to point out is the importance of the meeting place, that is primordial to our point. They need more detailed information about the exact location, because the area described as “At the junction of the two seas ” is quite large. Without this detailed knowledge, they might have trouble finding this person. This is where one of the reasons for the fish’s escape becomes apparent: It is a sign, because the fish pinpoints the exact location for this meeting.
He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through Q. 55. 19,20
The junction of the two seas is a barzak is something that separates two other things while never going to one side, a line like the one that separates light from shadow, an unknown, from a known, an existent from a non existent, consciousness from dream, a gate, a passage in to an Imaginal world, where coincidentia oppositorum.The meeting place of opposite things can take place. A gap like a tunnel the kind like the one the fish fall through and was the signal to the place where this spiritual meeting should take place, an entrance in to a numinous state of consciousness were truth it is revealed to the individual going through this barrier. The Symplegades (Greek: Συμπληγάδες, Sumplēgades) or Clashing Rocks, also known as the Cyanean Rocks, were, according to Greek mythology, a pair of rocks at the Bosphorus that clashed together randomly. A common myth through the world in different cultures, were the individual, or the shaman, look for revelation of spiritual nature, as to the quandaries he may be facing.
Gilgamesh, the Waters of Death and the Sacred Reed
The Sumerian Hero Gilgamesh a legendary king, who set forth to attain the watercress of immortality, the plant “Never Grow Old.”After he had passed safely the lions that guard the foothills and the scorpion men who watch the heaven-supporting mountains, he came, amidst the mountains, to a paradise garden of flowers, fruits, and precious stones.
This numinous place once the gate is trespassed if bearing a familiarity to a geographical place of our own we realize is the archetype of such location, in it rivers of clear waters, and sceneries of heavenly beauty, were even the light, and colors are more vivid give the dream a psychedelic like experience, were colors, and moods are so closely related that we can say we can taste them, or experience them as bliss, and joy.
Gilgamesh pressing on, he arrived at the sea that surrounds the world. In a cave beside the waters dwelt a manifestation of the Goddess Ishtar, Siduri-Sabitu, and this woman, closely veiled, closed the gates against him. But when he told her his tale, she admitted him to her presence and advised him not to pursue his quest, but to learn and be content with the mortal joys of life: Gilgamesh, why dost thou run about this way?
The life that thou art seeking, thou wilt never find.
When the gods created man,
they put death upon mankind,
and held life in their own hands.
Fill thy belly, Gilgamesh;
day and night enjoy thyself;
prepare each day some pleasant occasion
Day and night be frolicsome and gay;
let thy clothes be handsome,
thy head shampooed, thy body bathed.
Regard the little one who takes thy hand.
Let thy wife be happy against thy bosom.
Gilgamesh of course pay no attention to the Goddess and our hero with the ferryman Ursanapi convey him across the waters of death. It was a voyage of one and one-half months. The passenger was warned not to touch the waters. once reaching Utnapishtim a Noah archetype who instructed him in how to obtain the reed of immortality “Gilgamesh, something secret I will disclose to thee,and give thee thine instruction: That plant is like a brier in the field;its thorn, like that of the rose, will pierce thy hand. Bat if thy hand attain to that plant, thou wilt return to thy native land.The plant was growing at the bottom of the cosmic sea. Ursanapi ferried the hero out again into the waters. Gilgamesh tied stones to his feet and plunged.
Down he rushed, beyond every bound of endurance, while the ferryman remained in the boat. And when the diver had reached the bottom of the bottomless sea, he plucked the plant, though it mutilated his hand, cut off the stones, and made again for the surface. When he broke the surface and the ferryman had hauled him back into the boat, he announced in triumph: Ursanapi, this plant is the one . . .By which Man may attain to full vigor. I will bring it back to Erech of the sheep-pens. . . . Its name is: “In his age, Man becomes young again. ” I will eat of it and return to the condition of my youth.
Gilgamesh didn’t enjoy the fruit of his labors, meanwhile he slept a serpent took hold of the sacred reed and ate it.
The River Acheron, or Styx
The myth is archetypical some years before reading this story, but after my dream of flooding I dreamt I was in a paradise like shore, with beautiful forest around me the place was of unimaginable beauty, as I walked delighted I run in to this wide river, it’s waters looked fresh and clear, intrigued by the other side decided to take my clothes off and swim across, the water was very clear, and nice to swim in to, after some time I reached the other shore with no problems, as I got in to a place somewhat different than the other shore, there were fewer trees, and some people come to my encounter, and asked me where I come from I told them I swim the river from the other shore, their face changed immediately and said to me: “That’s impossible, no one can cross that river and be alive!” I thought estrange their claim, and I said “Well I just did.” As I stand there naked more people began to congregate and tell each other: “He just cross from the other shore!” Feeling somehow aware of my nakedness I said, “Well I will have to go back, I left my clothes there.” Immediately everybody exclaimed: “No, no, you can’t do that, you will die if you do that!” Finding the whole thing ridiculous, and sure of myself, at the same time I considered important to get back in to my clothes, without further delay I jumped back in to the river and start to swim back listening to a clamor of voices telling me to come back to the shore, as swam deeper in to the river, the river seemed the same, but then a multitude of death animals, and human corpses floated down the river alongside me, my only thought was that they were not there on my first swim, after avoiding the corpses, finally reached the other shore, were I found my clothes and put them on, and that was the end of the dream.
It didn’t take me long to figure to figure the meaning of the dream, I had been at the threshold of Life and Death, a sort of crossing the river Acheron, or Styx, at first my thought was there was no difference between one shore and the other, returning to my clothes seem obvious enough to consider I returned for my body, however the more I think about it, the more convinced it was the other way around, the first shore was amazingly beautiful, heavenly and there was no people on it at all, the fact the waters were crystal clear, and unpolluted by carcasses, besides why the dead should fear death? And why the trial should be in the return? And not in the first crossing, I still ponder?
Entering the Waters of Wisdom
Besides this dream many dreams I had of bathing in clear waters, or crossing familiar places were there is crystal clear waters, when in reality there are non, and the strange fascination I had since a child of bathing in rivers of clear waters, that later impulse me in to pursue snorkeling, and diving in my younger days, of course at the time couldn’t figure out the symbolic analogy between the two.
However the important thing about it is the knowledge we receive out of this experience, is a knowledge that is transmitted in a richly symbolic way, sort of the equivalent of bathing on the waters of wisdom, and thus acquiring wisdom by the fact we bathed on it’s Sacred waters, like the many familiar myths of yore, like the fountain of youth, or like Achilles by been submerged on the river Styx, now I do not want to confuse the reader, in to believe this can be easily obtained, the Hero has to successfully pass the trials and tribulations of the path, were these are many. Like Musa’s journey, Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that Huqub means a year in the dialect of ﴿the tribe of﴾ Qays,” then he narrated that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, “Huqub means eighty years.” Mujahid said, “Seventy years.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that it means a lifetime. Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said likewise.
Regardless, entering the waters of wisdom it is possible, if we are ready.
EDUCATION, A CRISIS OF VALUES, VIRTUE A RETURN TO ARCADIA, OR HOW TO GET OUT OF THE QUAGMIRE OF MATERIALISM
And if I say that the greatest good of a man
is daily to converse about virtue,
and all that concerning which you hear me
examining myself and others, and that
the life which is unexamined is not worth living.
Plato in Socrates Apology.
After finishing reading a brilliant article, one of many that I frequently encounter randomly in prestigious magazines of diverse content, I ponder at the cleverness of certain individuals to make light of what really is going on, versus the abysmal state of education in our Nation, and the masses of uneducated fellow Americans, and not only those who barely accomplished a High-School education, but of those who having attended higher education remain at best mediocre, and at worst unable to tell the difference between objective news that inform without bias, and what I mean by bias is the slant that our general corporate media infuse the news, as to reflect an uniformity of consensus with the explicit purpose to subdue peoples minds in to conformity with agendas designed to control minds and behaviors, in to submission to particular interests not necessarily in the benefit of the general population, actually against their own well being, the same who support and blabber back the same slant in the news they docilely are fed, with disastrous end results to our lives, keeping society at the mercy of unscrupulous individuals whose only concern is to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest, who sheepishly follow lead never questioning where they are lead, and what price we all will have to pay for their folly.
So who, or what are the reasons for this sad state of affairs?
Obviously the reasons are many, Historical, political, social, etc. We can’t in this post make an exhausting analysis of every reason, we will concentrate on the education factor.
There has been a long decline in education towards the abandonment of a classical education, to the utilitarian, and philistine approach for “practicality” and the teaching of a professional education, were basically the skills to make a living are emphasized over the teaching of critical thinking like that provided by classical education.
The curricula and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus Capella, and systematized during the Renaissance by Petrus Ramus. Capella’s original goal was to provide a systematic, memorable framework to teach all human knowledge. The term “classical education” has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, the definition of a classical education embraced study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages. In the 20th and 21st centuries it is used to refer to a broad-based study of the liberal arts and sciences, as opposed to a practical or pre-professional program. The University of Pennsylvania seal (1894) depicted the trivium as a stack of books providing the foundation for a quadrivium of mathematics, natural philosophy (empirical science), astronomy, and theology.
The Eschaton of Belief
We have reach the Eschaton (end of days) of our beliefs, what I mean it is a sort of end of the beliefs that propelled us as a civilization, particularly what we call Western civilization, some call this a Post-Modern state of affairs, the end of belief in progress, Industrialism, corporatism, commercialism, scientism, institutionalism, Socialism, Capitalism, and so many other words ending on ism!
Nietzsche famous proclamation: “God is death.” Now also old, and passé can be analogized by the thought that our Western Ideals are death… Our ideals only have carried us to a death end of history, we are jaded, and cynicism are embraced almost by all, eternally lied by our politicians, misguided by our Religious leaders, robed, and impoverished by those who supposed to protect our money, our bankers, the media pimps for selling us products we do not need, and sold to those who wish to keep us obedient, peaceful and blind consumers of goods and iniquity, our scientist a clog of our materialistic, pragmatic, and utilitarian end on itself (profit) technology who inundates our world with an infinitude of junk, weapons, oblivious of environmental destruction, we feel like prey to the wolves who profit from our economical, and moral dispossession, a sad, and apparently death end with no solution in sight but our destruction, it is not a miracle than we wake day, after day feeling anxious, impotent, afraid and insecure?
How education can extricate out of this quagmire, when the very institutions of higher education is part of the problem?
Suzy Lee Weiss a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh.:
“Like me, millions of high-school seniors with sour grapes are asking themselves this week how they failed to get into the colleges of their dreams. It’s simple: For years, they—we—were lied to.
Colleges tell you, “Just be yourself.” That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.
What could I have done differently over the past years?
For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. “Diversity!” I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.
I also probably should have started a fake charity. Providing veterinary services for homeless people’s pets. Collecting donations for the underprivileged chimpanzees of the Congo. Raising awareness for Chapped-Lips-in-the-Winter Syndrome. Fun-runs, dance-a-thons, bake sales—as long as you’re using someone else’s misfortunes to try to propel yourself into the Ivy League, you’re golden.
Having a tiger mom helps, too. As the youngest of four daughters, I noticed long ago that my parents gave up on parenting me. It has been great in certain ways: Instead of “Be home by 11,” it’s “Don’t wake us up when you come through the door, we’re trying to sleep.” But my parents also left me with a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate. I’ve never sat down at a piano, never plucked a violin. Karate lasted about a week and the swim team didn’t last past the first lap. Why couldn’t Amy Chua have adopted me as one of her cubs?
Then there was summer camp. I should’ve done what I knew was best—go to Africa, scoop up some suffering child, take a few pictures, and write my essays about how spending that afternoon with Kinto changed my life. Because everyone knows that if you don’t have anything difficult going on in your own life, you should just hop on a plane so you’re able to talk about what other people have to deal with.
Or at least hop to an internship. Get a precocious-sounding title to put on your resume. “Assistant Director of Mail Services.” “Chairwoman of Coffee Logistics.” I could have been a gopher in the office of someone I was related to. Work experience!
To those kids who by age 14 got their doctorate, cured a disease, or discovered a guilt-free brownie recipe: My parents make me watch your “60 Minutes” segments, and they’ve clipped your newspaper articles for me to read before bed. You make us mere mortals look bad. (Also, I am desperately jealous and willing to pay a lot to learn your secrets.)
To those claiming that I am bitter—you bet I am! An underachieving selfish teenager making excuses for her own failures? That too! To those of you disgusted by this, shocked that I take for granted the wonderful gifts I have been afforded, I sayshhhh—”The Real Housewives” is on.”
Education as a Business
You may smile, be indignant, or blame Suzy, and their parents, but the fact is higher education has become a business to make money out of the students, caring little what happen after! Here an excerpt from Charles M. Blow A Dangerous ‘New Normal’ in College Debt, The New York Times, March 9, 2013:
“The student loan debt crisis has become a drag on the economy. Younger Americans who are saddled with bankrupting payments — or credit ratings damaged by delinquency — are in no position to buy homes, save for retirement or start businesses.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released a study showing just why many young people are being strangled by student loans. It found that 43 percent of 25-year-olds had student debt in 2012, an increase from 27 percent in 2004.
Unemployment and the collapse of household income in the recession only made the borrowing problem worse.
According to the new study, student debt almost tripled between 2004 and 2012, and is approaching $1 trillion, while the percentage of borrowers who were more than 90 days delinquent had risen to 17 percent, from 10 percent in 2004. In addition, student loan debt was the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession, and it is now the second largest after mortgage debt.”
Numb To Bullshit
Here an excerpt from the middle finger project, by Ash:
We’re numb to bullshit.
We eat bullshit for lunch.
We smear it all over our faces and then dutifully smile for society’s camera.
Yet, even though it surrounds us and we’re practically choking on the stuff, we somehow still manage to swallow and look the other way.
We’ve convinced ourselves that surrendering to bullshit is necessary in order to get ahead (the ever popular default goal–also bullshit), and we prance around in bullshit all day because we’re too chicken to do anything about it.
Bullshit runs our lives.
Almost. Every. Waking. Minute. Of. It.
And we let it.
Bullshit is the politics that drive decision-making processes instead of what’s best for our citizens, consumers, elderly and children.
Bullshit are the values that we’ve been spoon fed since day one, encouraging us to idolize all that is superficial, and shove the rest under the rug. We get high off of purchasing big ticket items, and as soon as the high comes, it goes, leaving us with nothing more than the angst to do it again. We’re akin to nation of crack addicts, always looking for our next high…except ours comes in the form of consumerism.We disregard the value of people. Of relationships. Of human beings and authentic, genuine interactions. These things are all of secondary importance, because we’re taught that we’re only as good as the car we drive. (By the way, if you really want to see someone fighting against the consumerist movement, check out my friend Everett. You’ll be amazed & will want to throw your TV off the roof, as he says.)
Bullshit are the federal agencies, such as the USDA, who have marketed themselves nicely as a watchdog agency looking out for our safety, but in fact, the USDA is nothing more than another big business.
Bullshit is the way we can justify engaging in war over oil, yet sit back and do virtually nothing about.
What it comes down to, in the end, is the mighty dollar. We’re so desperate for it, that all bets are off when it comes to ethics. And I find that unacceptable.
But most of us will continue to ignore the bullshit; we’ll just keep climbing to the top of it, and then maybe eventually hope that some suit and tie corporate manager will let us have a slice of the pie someday. And then it’ll be even easier to swallow & turn our heads, once we’re making the big bucks.
Because after all, isn’t that all that matters these days?
A CRISIS OF VALUES, AND THE WAY OUT OF THE QUAGMIRE
The fact is that contemporary education is totally off the mark, it is because instead of educate our young, on Ideals, and higher aspirations, education has become a tool for our money obsess society in order to produce tangible value, in the form of material gains, with the feeble excuse of “progress, and well being” to make every individual a cog of the machinery, and a mammon worshiper, forgetting totally the Galilee advice: ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE’ Mathew 4:4 And this not a Religious statement the kind it is trying you to go and joint a particular church or cult, we know you probably are too cynic for that, I just want to point out the root of the problem is a crisis of values, we can’t expect to teach practical, utilitarian and money oriented goals in to our young, to the exclusion of anything else and expect a generation of people of virtue when we teach greed, selfishness, and crass materialism devoid of spiritual values!
You may argue that the study of Ethics is enough, it is many years I took a class on Ethics, and remember very little, but the fact that to my young mind it was boring!
Nevertheless, a sense of idealism, and the pursuing of Virtue was instilled in me by the study of the Humanities, particularly Philosophy, now days a career on Humanities is perceived by most as a waste of your time, and good luck of ever finding a job!
Who said everything should be about money?
One of the greatest myths of our time is that public services including Education can be made more efficient if we run them as businesses. The commercialization of our public services has been a manifest failure, and the response offered by the mainstream parties is that we simply haven’t commercialized them enough. What they fail to understand is that a public service as Education, and a business are inherently different beasts, and asking one to behave as the other is like asking your two year old child to pay for food, and lodging, nonsense!
The primary aim of Education is to educate the people, and can’t put enough emphasis on this, this service of education exists to avoid negative social impacts, creating a future better society and protect the individual, as much as society in general, with a crucial social welfare from the instabilities of capitalism.
The unsustainability of Capitalism going awry
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.
~Mohandas K. Gandhi.
Here in brief a paper showing that greed could be acquired just by studying Economics by:
Wang, Long; Northwestern University
Murnighan, J. Keith; Northwestern University
Greed is a classic topic in human development (Balot, 2001; Robertson, 2001) and it inevitably affects many of our choices and decisions. Although greed is typically viewed as uniformly negative and reprehensible, we propose that people‟s attitudes and opinions about greed are actually subject to change. In particular, studying economics may help legitimize and even beautify greed. Previous research shows that economics education might make people more self-interested because self-interest maximization is central to most economic models (Marwell & Ames, 1981; Frank, et al, 1993). Because greed and maximizing self-interest are sometimes difficult to separate, conceptually or empirically, we propose that studying economics may make people view greed as potentially positive and beneficial. Two complementary studies support our proposition. Study 1 shows that students who are pursuing economics view greed more positively than students who are pursuing other majors and taking other courses. Study 2 indicates that positively priming greed can significantly increase people‟s positive attitudes and opinions about greed.
Greed and Economics Greed is a basic element of human nature (e.g. Plato, Aristotle & Thucydides). Defined as “an excessive desire to get more … a primarily materialistic type of desire” (Balot, 2001: 1), greed is generally viewed as reprehensible (Wang and Murnighan, 2008). Greed stimulates rather than sates, creating a vicious cycle of extravagant, insatiable desire to procure. At the same time, paradoxically, it may have been an essential element in our evolutionary ancestor‟s survival. In addition, the basic logic of capitalistic economics, to maximize one‟s outcomes, makes it difficult to clearly delineate basic self-interest from overindulgent greed. Thus, greed is a two-edged sword: on the one hand, it can help drive economic growth (Hume, 1739/2001; Smith); on the other, it encourages immorality and societal injustice (Plato). Wall Street encourages organizations to maximize their profits: as profits increase, so do stock prices, impressing analysts and leading to more positive recommendations. Although CEO salaries are not directly related to organizational profitability (e.g. Tosi & Gomez-Mejia, 1989), employees‟ returns on their profit-sharing plans are. Thus, in the corporate world, the push for more is pervasive, traditional, and taken-for-granted.
The economics literature takes the same stance: it has long portrayed homo economicus as a rational choice profit maximizer. The assumption of self-interest, which inherently implies the desire to achieve and/or maximize material gains and to minimize losses, is central to most economic models (Frank, et al, 1993). The notion of maximizing gains does not include a stopping mechanism: the accumulation of economic gains need see no end. Instead, rational choice implies unlimited wants and unrelenting greedy action (Schwartz, 1986). A purely economic approach to greed pays little attention to ethical issues, values, or human motivations
(Stigler, 1980; Sen, 1987). Economics encourages greed and the maximization of self-interest, with guile, as long as a person‟s actions fall within the rules of the game (Friedman, 1962). The current study investigates the relationship between economics and greed. We investigate how people view greed, and we study whether students who are pursuing economics view greed differently from students who are pursuing other majors and taking other courses. Though not conclusive, previous research suggests that studying economics might encourage the pursuit of self-interest and inhibit cooperation (Marwell & Ames, 1981; Frank, et al, 1993). Because economic models draw – at best – a fine line between self-interest and greed, we predict that studying economics will lead people to have more positive views of greed and, as a result, might make them more likely to engage in greedy action. Thus, our investigation assesses not only the selection effects of individuals who have chosen to be economics majors but also whether taking more economics courses leads people to view greed as being potentially positive and beneficial and see their own greedy actions as more favorable than others might see them. We conducted two studies to test this proposition; the results indicate that studying economics significantly increased people‟s positive opinions and feelings about greed. This suggests that greed is not only evolutionary inherited, but also socially and educationally espoused.”
Greed is bad after all
Negative Priming: Greed can get out of control. “If you have an unregulated arena, cheaters win,” says Michael Josephson, a radio commentator and president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Marina del Rey, Calif. “But if you have a civil society, which we do, with a series of checks and balances, by all means the honest people can win. … Honesty and integrity is the way to conduct business.” This is echoed by Paul Krugman, a notable economist. “Now, as each day seems to bring a new business scandal, we can see …. a system that lavishly rewards executives for success tempts those executives, who control much of the information available to outsiders, to fabricate the appearance of success. Aggressive accounting, fictitious transactions that inflate sales, whatever it takes.” Ken Lay, Gary Winnick, Chuck Watson, Dennis Kozlowski — we’re not talking about a few bad apples. . Statistics for the last five years show a dramatic divergence between the profits companies reported to investors and other measures of profit growth; this is clear evidence that many, perhaps most, large companies were fudging their numbers. “Now, distrust of corporations threatens our still-tentative economic recovery; it turns out greed is bad, after all.”
Hardly a surprising conclusion, after all Virtue is not only a word, or an idealistic thought, but words like Justice, Goodness, Wisdom, Peace, Truth, are virtues, and are the axis of which every life should be lived, to avert ruin, and catastrophe, not only in our personal lives, but that of society as well. Should not Virtue then be thought, with emphasis at our schools, rather than selfishness, and greed?
The walls of Jericho
This is a moment of true for all citizens of this world, the walls of Jericho are tumbling down, as you read this. For many, it is clear the show it is over the the musicians had put away their instruments and are going out the door, the dance is over! Do not try to cling to the falling wall, you will go down with it, some like the ostrich choose to bury their head in the sand, our surround themselves with trivia, and irrelevance never to face the disquieting thought: This is it, now what?
This thought, once you get to it, demands something of you, it demands a quest for real values, a new evaluation of your life, and the way you live, new ideas and a new you. It may be scary to be one of those a top those walls, jump before is too late.
No matter how hard those on the walls try, the walls are going down, and all the toys, and trinkets you have will not make a difference to fill the void, our crass materialism, consumerism, and zombie like life had soaked our soul to the point of sickness, and alienation, from our inner being, our true Self, who doesn’t need trinkets or toys but the real important things in life, Love, Truth, Justice, Knowledge Peace within, and without, and that is what we need to teach at schools to our children, youth and to all.
“Consider your origin. You were not formed to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge.”
“Beauty is the reflection of reality in the mirror of illusion”
“And there is no more powerful creature in the universe than woman
- for each angel that God has created from the breaths (anfas)
of women is the most powerful of angels.”
DANTE AND ISLAM
Miguel Asín Palacios (1871–1944) was a Spanish scholar of Islamic studies and the Arabic language, and a Roman Catholic priest. He is primarily known for suggesting Muslim sources for ideas and motifs present in Dante’s Divine Comedy, which he discusses in his book La Escatología musulmana en la Divina Comedia (1919). He wrote on medieval Islam, extensively on al-Ghazali (Latin: Algazel). A major book El Islam cristianizado (1931) presents a study of Sufism through the works of Muhyiddin ibn ‘Arabi (Spanish: Mohidín Abenarabe) of Murcia in Andalusia (medieval Al-Andalus). Asín also published other comparative articles regarding certain Islamic influences on Christianity and on mysticism in Spain.
Perhaps Asín Palacios a is best remembered for his 1919 book, La Escatologia Musulmana en la Divina Comedia,which suggests Islamic sources for the memorable context and perspective used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) in his work La Divina Commedia. Specifically, Asín compares the Muslim religious literature surrounding the night journey [al-'Isra wal-Mi'rag] of Muhammad (from Mecca to Jerusalem and thence up with the Prophets through the seven heavens), with Dante’s story describing his spiritual journey in which he meets various inhabitants of the afterlife and records their fate. Accordingly, Asín (I) discusses in detail the above night journey in Muslim literature,(II) compares it to episodes in the inferno, the purgatorio,and the paradiso of La Divina Commedia, (III) investigates Muslim influence on corresponding Christian literature predating the poem, and (IV) conjectures how Dante could have known directly of the Muslim literature in translation. Asín remarks that notwithstanding these Muslim sources, Dante remains a luminous figure and his poem retains its exalted place in world literature.
Asín’s book inspired a wide and energetic reaction, both positive and negative, as well as further research and academic exchanges. Eventually two scholars, an Italian and a Spaniard, independently uncovered an until-then buried Arabic source, the eleventh century Kitab al-Mi’raj [Book of the Ladder (or of the ascent)], which describes Muhammad’s night journey. This work was translated into Spanish as La Escala de Mahoma by a scribe (Abrahim Alfaquim) ofAlfonso X el Sabio in 1264. Information surfaced about another translation into Latin, Liber Scalae Machometi, which has been traced to the Italian milieu of the poet, Dante Alighieri. It appears that Dante’s mentor Brunetto Latini met the Latin translator of the Kitab al-Mi’raj while both were staying at the court of the Spanish king Alfonso X el Sabio in Castilla. Although this missing link was not available to Asín, he had based his work on several similar accounts of Muhammad’s ladder then circulating among the literary or pious Muslims of Al-Andalus.
The Kitab al Miraj (Arabic: كتاب المعراج “Book of the Ascension”) is a Muslim book concerned with Muhammad’s ascension into Heaven (known as the Miraj), following his miraculous one-night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem (the Isra). The book is divided into 7 chapters, and was written in Arabic using the Naskh script.
Kitab al-Miraj is believed to have been written by Abu’l-Qasim ‘Abdalkarîm bin Hawâzin bin ‘Abdalmalik bin Talhah bin Muhammad al-Qushairî al-Nisaburi أبو القاسم عبد الكريم بن هوازن بن عبد الملك بن طلحة بن محمد القشيري (born 376 – died 465 A.H.).
In the second half of the 13th century, the book was translated into Latin (as Liber Scale Machometi) and Spanish, and soon thereafter (in 1264) into Old French. Its Islamic depictions of Hell are believed by some scholars to have been a major influence on Dante’s 14th century masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, including Miguel Asin Palacios, and Enrico Cerulli .
I got no problem finding this associations merely anecdotic, sure reading Kitab al Miraj could had being a source of an idea, that by the force of the Genius, and the Imagination of Dante, united to the Cosmological views of his Age contributed to his magnificent work. But I will like to point out the similitudes of the Mundus Imaginalis shared by Christain and Muslims mystics alike,as defined by Henry Corbin: Na-kojd-Abad, the “land of No-where.”
Many centuries ago, the philosopher Suhrawardi coined the term “Na Koja-Abad” (Nowhere Land) to refer to a mythical, but nevertheless real place, situated in a kind of interworld between the realms of the senses and those of the intellect. Later Shi’ite traditions referred to it as “Hurqalya” and mentioned its two emerald cities (Jabarsa and Jabalqa) capable of being perceived solely by the Creative Imagination. (This is not the “imagination” of fancy or of wish-fulfillment, but the “Imaginatio Vera” of the medieval philosophers: a kind of organic mirror where according to certain Ishraqi philosophers — images from the material world and archetypal forms from the sphere of the intellect are able to come together and react). Hurqalya was believed to be the real theater of life, bubbling up images into the conscious mind in the form of myth and legend.
The Oxford dictionary define it as:
The term was used first by Suhrawardi to define a ‘boundary’ realm that connects the sensory and the abstract intellectual segments of the whole continuum of being, and is the distinguishing component of non-Aristotelian cosmology in Islamic philosophy . It is constructed as the locus of visions, prophecy, and sorcery, and also defines eschatology . This wonderland is described by negating Aristotelian logical principles and laws of physics, and is employed to explain non-standard experiences such as ‘true dreams’ and ‘miraculous powers’. As the individual subject moves away from the center of the sensory segment of the continuum nearing the boundary realm, qualitative change takes place. Material bodies change to imaginalis ones; time changes, no longer confined to measure of linear space; and space is no longer limited by the Euclidean.
LA VITA NUOVA
Dante wanted to collect and publish the lyrics dealing with his love for Beatrice, explaining the autobiographical context of its composition and pointing out the expository structure of each lyric as an aid to careful reading. Though the result is a landmark in the development of emotional autobiography (the most important advance since Saint Augustine’s Confessions in the 5th century), like all medieval literature it is far removed from the modern autobiographical impulse. Instead the they are suffused with the Imagery of the Mundus Imaginalis. However, Dante and his audience were interested in the emotions of courtly love and how they develop, how they are expressed in verse, how they reveal the permanent intellectual truths of the divinely created world and how love can confer blessing on the soul and bring it closer to God
According to Dante, he first met Beatrice when his father took him to the Portinari house for a May Day party. At the time, Beatrice was eight years old, a year younger than Dante. Dante was instantly taken with her and remained so throughout her life even though she married another man, banker Simone dei Bardi, in 1287. Beatrice died three years later in June 1290 at the age of 24. Dante continued to hold an abiding love and respect for the woman after her death, even after he married Gemma Donati in 1285 and had children. After Beatrice’s death, Dante withdrew into intense study and began composing poems dedicated to her memory. The collection of these poems, along with others he had previously written in his journal in awe of Beatrice, became La Vita Nuova.
According to the autobiographic La Vita Nuova, Beatrice and Dante met only twice during their lives. Even less credible is the numerology behind these encounters, marking out Dante’s life in periods of nine years. This amount of time falls in line with Dante’s repeated use of the number three or multiples of, derived from the Holy Trinity. It is more likely that the encounters with Beatrice that Dante writes of are the two that fulfill his poetic vision, and Beatrice, like Petrarch’s Laura, seem to blur the line between an actual love interest and a means employed by the poet in his creations.
Dante in chapter XXIV, of La Vita Nuova “I Felt My Heart Awaken” (“Io mi senti’ svegliar dentro a lo core”, also translated as “I Felt a Loving Spirit Suddenly”), Dante accounts a meeting with Love, who asks the poet to do his best to honour her.
- Io mi senti’ svegliar dentro a lo core
- Un spirito amoroso che dormia:
- E poi vidi venir da lungi Amore
- Allegro sì, che appena il conoscia,
- Dicendo: “Or pensa pur di farmi onore”;
- E ‘n ciascuna parola sua ridia.
- E poco stando meco il mio segnore,
- Guardando in quella parte onde venia,
- Io vidi monna Vanna e monna Bice
- Venire inver lo loco là ‘v’io era,
- L’una appresso de l’altra miriviglia;
- E sì come la mente mi ridice,
- Amor mi disse: “Quell’è Primavera,
- E quell’ha nome Amor, sì mi somiglia.”
- I felt awoken in my heart
- a loving spirit that was sleeping;
- and then I saw Love coming from far away
- so glad, I could just recognize.
- saying “you think you can honor me”,
- and with each word laughing.
- And little being with me my lord,
- watching the way it came from,
- I saw lady Joan and lady Bice
- coming towards the spot I was at,
- one wonder past another wonder.
- And as my mind keeps telling me,
- Love said to me “She is Spring who springs first,
- and that bears the name Love, who resembles me.”
Following their first meeting, Dante was so enthralled by Beatrice that he later wrote in La Vita Nuova: Ecce Deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur mihi (“Behold, a deity stronger than I; who coming, shall rule over me.”) Indeed, Dante frequented parts of Florence, his home city, where he thought he might catch even a glimpse of her. As he did so, he made great efforts to ensure his thoughts of Beatrice remained private, even writing poetry for another lady, so as to use her as a “screen for the truth”.
Dante’s courtly love for Beatrice continued for nine years, before the pair finally met again. This meeting occurred in a street of Florence, which she walked along dressed in white and accompanied by two older women. She turned and greeted him, her salutation filling him with such joy that he retreated to his room to think about her. In doing so, he fell asleep, and had a dream which would become the subject of the first sonnet in La Vita Nuova.
In this dream, a mighty figure appeared before him, and spoke to him. Although he could not make out all the figure said, he managed to hear “Ego dominus tuus“, which means “I am your Lord”. In the figure’s arms was Beatrice, sleeping and covered by a crimson cloth. The figure awoke Beatrice, and made her eat Dante’s burning heart. An English translation of this event, as described in La Vita Nuova, appears below:
This was the last encounter between the pair, since Beatrice died eight years later at the young age of twenty-four in 1290.
The manner in which Dante chose to express his love for Beatrice often agreed with the Middle Ages concept of courtly love. Courtly love was a secret, unrequited and highly respectful form of admiration for another person. Yet it is still not entirely clear what caused Dante to fall in love with Beatrice. Since he knew very little of the real Beatrice, and that he had no great insight to her character, it is perhaps unusual that he did. But he did, and there are clues in his works as to why:
- “She has ineffable courtesy, is my beatitude, the destroyer of all vices and the queen of virtue, salvation.”
Dante saw Beatrice as a savior, one who removed all evil intentions from him. It is perhaps this idea of her being a force for good that he fell in love with, a force which he believed made him a better person. This is certainly viable, since he does not seem concerned with her appearance – at least not in his writings. He only once describes her complexion, and her “emerald” eyes.
Let’s Dante speak and tell us of his sublimation of Eros in to Agape:
“Nine times now, since my birth, the heaven of light had turned almost to the same point in its own gyration, when the glorious Lady of my mind, who was called Beatrice by many who knew not what to call her, first appeared before my eyes. She had already been in this life so long that in its course the starry heaven had moved toward the region of the East one of the twelve parts of a degree; so that at about the beginning of her ninth year she appeared to me, and I near the end of my ninth 2year saw her. She appeared to me clothed in a most noble color, a modest and becoming crimson, and she was girt and adorned in such wise as befitted her very youthful age. At that instant, I say truly that the spirit of life, which dwells in the most secret chamber of the heart, began to tremble with such violence that it appeared fearfully in the least pulses, and, trembling, said these words: Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur mihi [Behold a god stronger than I, who coming shall rule over me].
At that instant the spirit of the soul, which dwells in the high chamber to which all the spirits of the senses carry their perceptions, began to marvel greatly, and, speaking especially to the spirit of the sight, said these words: Apparuit jam beatitudo vestra [Now has appeared your bliss].
At that instant the natural spirit, which dwells in that part where our nourishment is supplied, began to weep, and, weeping, said these words: Heu miser! quia frequenter impeditus ero deinceps [Woe is me, wretched! because often from this time forth shall I be hindered].
I say that from that time forward Love lorded it over my soul, which had been so speedily wedded to him: and he began to exercise over me such control and such lordship, through the power which my imagination gave to him, that it behooved me to do completely all his pleasure. He commanded me oft times that I should seek to see this youthful angel; so that I in my boyhood often went seeking her, and saw her of such noble and praiseworthy deportment, that truly of her might be said that word of the poet Homer, “She seems not the daughter of mortal man, but of God.” And though her image, which stayed constantly with me, gave assurance to Love to hold lordship over me, yet it was of such noble virtue that it never suffered Love to rule me without the faithful counsel of the reason in those matters in which it were useful to hear such counsel. And since to dwell upon the passions and actions of such early youth seems like telling an idle tale, I will leave them, and, passing over many things which might be drawn from the original where these lie hidden, I will come to those words which are written in my memory under larger paragraphs.
When so many days had passed that nine years were exactly complete since the above-described apparition of this most gentle lady, on the last of these days it happened that this admirable lady appeared to me, clothed in purest white, between two gentle ladies who were of greater age; and, 4passing along a street, turned her eyes toward that place where I stood very timidly; and by her ineffable courtesy, which is to-day rewarded in the eternal world, saluted me with such virtue that it seemed to me then that I saw all the bounds of bliss. The hour when her most sweet salutation reached me was precisely the ninth of that day; and since it was the first time that her words came to my ears, I took in such sweetness, that, as it were intoxicated, I turned away from the folk; and, betaking myself to the solitude of my own chamber, I sat myself down to think of this most courteous lady.
And thinking of her, a sweet slumber overcame me, in which a marvelous vision appeared to me; for me thought I saw in my chamber a cloud of the color of fire, within which I discerned a shape of a Lord of aspect fearful to whoso might look upon him; and he seemed to me so joyful within himself that a marvelous thing it was; and in his words he said many things which I understood not, save a few, among which I understood these: Ego Dominus tuus [I am thy Lord]. In his arms me seemed to see a person sleeping, naked, save that she seemed to me to be wrapped lightly in a crimson cloth; whom I, regarding very intently, recognized as the lady of the salutation, who had the day before deigned to salute me. And in one of 5his hands it seemed to me that he held a thing which was all on fire; and it seemed to me that he said to me these words: Vide cortuum [Behold thy heart]. And when he had remained awhile, it seemed to me that he awoke her that slept; and he so far prevailed upon her with his craft as to make her eat that thing which was burning in his hand; and she ate it timidly. After this, it was but a short while before his joy turned into the most bitter lament; and as he wept he gathered up this lady in his arms, and with her it seemed to me that he went away toward heaven. Whereat I felt such great anguish, that my weak slumber could not endure it, but was broken, and I awoke. And straightway I began to reflect, and found that the hour in which this vision had appeared to me had been the fourth of the night; so that, it plainly appears, it was the first hour of the nine last hours of the night.”
THE HIEROS GAMOS
Hieros gamos or Hierogamy (Greek ἱερὸς γάμος, ἱερογαμία “holy marriage”) refers to a sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities. It is the harmonization of opposites.
The notion of hieros gamos does not presuppose actual performance in ritual, but is also used in purely symbolic or mythological context, notably in alchemy and hence in Jungian psychology. The three Monotheistic Religions share in the Hieros Gamos symbolism.
Ralph Austin tell us:
“Here is introduced a theme, curious, but persistent in the three great monotheisms, of the secret consort of the High God.Whether in human or angelic form, who seems to be an essential part of the scheme of creation and salvation and who constantly, especially in mysticism, manifests the deepest desires and dreams of the Godhead. Thus, in Judaism we meet the powerfully feminine Shekinah, Cherubim and Matronit who, according to R. Patai in his very interesting book The Hebrew Goddess, personify and symbolize the maternal and feminine aspects of the divinity. In Christianity, one need only point to the overwhelmingly influential cult of the Virgin Mary with its myriad ramifications in Christian culture. Even Islam, that bastion of patriarchal ascendancy, expresses, albeit enigmatically and cryptically, subtle but pervasive images of the “eternal feminine”, especially in Sufism and Shi’ism, as has been so well elaborated in H. Corbin’s fine work on Ibn Al-’Arabi. Man, we are taught, is created in the image of God, his Creator, so that we may expect to find the hieros gamos, or sacred marriage of heaven reflected in human experience. Of course, men and women relate to each other in many ways, and their mutual and elemental attraction serves many quite ordinary and mundane purposes, not the least of which are the procreation of the species and the proper ordering of society. They also, however, serve as powerful images and archetypes of suprahuman forces and realities, thus opening up to each other visions and insights, mysteries and secrets which greatly transcend the ordinary and every-day concerns and experiences of the mundane world; indeed, by virtue of Man’s special intermediary and linking function in the Divine—human—universe scheme of things, both sexes serve to manifest transforming forces which may, in certain circumstances, as Rumi says, “transfigure the dustbin of this world into a rose garden”, or give flesh and substance to spiritual realities. In all of this we enter, unavoidably, into that area of human experience which is still, even in our own cerebral culture, a sphere of magic and mystery.
IBN ARABI AND LADY NIZAM
Ibn Arabi like Dante, a century earlier produced an ode to Mystical Love, disguised as courtly love when he wrote the Tarjuman al-Ashwaq (The Interpreter of Desires) Later he had to mount an apology to his critics that his poems where erotically profane, explaining the symbolism of his poetry.
His inspiration was Lady Nizam.The way in which such an image and presence serves in such cases to inspire and enrich is very well described by a recent writer on the life and work of Dante, whose own experience of Beatrice is so remarkably close to that of Ibn ‘Arabi. William Anderson writes towards the end of his book, Dante, The Maker.
Through his love of her on Earth he formed an indissoluble union of love with her that transcended the incident of her death. She mirrored to him the Incarnation of Christ, and, in purifying his individual nature as a Christian, he found that the only way to the sight of God was through her as the revelation of his soul… so she, as his illuminated soul represents the search for unity and contains in herself the still causes of history and of creation. Through the love of her his love expands to become the love of God… she is in him the gateway to ecstatic joy. the source both of his inspiration and his salvation, the maker of him as a torch of living flame and his guide towards the peace which his difficult temperament and the sorrows of his bitter political life so long denied him. Through her guidance he achieved a total transformation in his emotional and intellectual being
Here Ibn ‘Arabi is describing his encounter with a very beautiful and spiritual young woman whose physical as well as her spiritual charms affected him greatly. Here we are in the presence of a wonderful human being of flesh and blood whose memory will torment him down through the years.
Ibn Arabi relates his encounters with the sublime Nizam. Of his first meetings with her, the daughter of a Persian scholar of Isphahan. he says:
Now this shaykh had a daughter, a lissome young girl who captivated the gaze of all those who saw her, whose mere presence was the ornament of our gatherings and startled all those who contemplated it to the point of stupefaction. Her name was Nizam (Harmonia) and her surname “Eye of the Sun and of Beauty”. Learned and pious, with an experience of spiritual and mystic life, she personified the venerable antiquity of the entire Holy Land and the candid youth of the great city faithful to the Prophet. Her glance, the grace of her conversation were such an enchantment… If not for the paltry souls who are over ready for scandal and predisposed to malice, I should comment here on the beauties of her body as well as her soul, which was a garden of generosity… And I took her as a model for the inspiration of the poems… although I was unable to express so much as a part of the emotion which my soul experienced and which the company of this young girl awakened in my heart, or of the generous love I felt… since she is the object of my quest and my hope, the Virgin most pure…
“Whatever name I may mention in this work, it is to her I am alluding. Whatever the house whose elegy I sing, is of her house that I am thinking…I never cease to allude to the Divine Inspirations, the spiritual visitations, the correspondence of our world, to the world of the Angelic Intelligences…this is because the the things of the invisible world attract me more than those of actual life, and because this young girl knew perfectly what I was alluding to.”
However, at the Ka’abah in the sanctuary at Mecca, he has a very different sort of meeting with a transfigured and ethereal Nizam, who proves to be a stern initiatrix into the rigors of the divine mysteries. He says:
One night I was performing the ritual circumambulations of the Ka’abah… suddenly a few lines of verse came to my mind. I recited them loudly enough to be heard… No sooner had I recited these verses than I felt on my shoulder the touch of a hand softer than silk. I turned around and found myself in the presence of a young girl, a princess from among the daughters of the Greeks. Never had I seen a woman more beautiful of face, softer of speech, more tender of heart.
This brings us to opening a window from which we can view Ibn ‘Arabî’s perception of female beauty, as far as we are able to tell. We say that the desired woman for whom Ibn ‘Arabî yearns is the woman created in his image. And by looking into his private life, we discover that Nizam bint Makinuddin is the only woman who was capable of becoming to him the “Eve” who came out of the body of “Adam”, and with whom he yearned to unite to achieve his satiation in being. He describes her at the beginning of his Diwan by qualities that serve to confirm what we have mentioned. He says:
[She is] the incomparable one of her era. Her home is the pupil in the eye, and the heart in the chest. She is of long experience-
From the tranlation of Reynold A Nicholson, and others, even mine.
Would I know if she knew what hearts she possessed?
I wish I knew what mountain pass her heart threaded!
It is the heart of my beloved throbbing for me,
or it is dead towards me?
My beloved has her beloved in her heart, but her beloved is in love
with someone else!
Lovers lose the way in love and become entangled!
They,’ i.e. the Divine Ideas , of which the hearts (of gnostics) are passionately enamored, and by which the spirits are distraught, and for whose sake the godly workers perform their works of devotion.
‘What hearts’: he refers to the perfect Muḥammadan heart, because it is not limited by stations , Nevertheless, it is possessed by the Divine Ideas, for they seek it and it seeks them. They cannot know that they possess it, for they belong to its essence, inasmuch as it beholds in them nothing except its own nature.
What mountain-pass they threaded,’ i.e. what gnostic’s heart they entered when they vanished from mine. ‘Mountain-pass’ signifies a ‘station’, which is fixed, in contrast to a ‘state’, which is fleeting.
The Divine Ideas, quâ Ideas, exist only in the existence of the seer; they are ‘dead’ in so far as the seer is nonexistent.
Lovers are perplexed between two opposite things, for the lover wishes to be in accord with the Beloved and also wishes to be united with Him, so that if the Beloved wishes to be separated from the lover, the lover is in a dilemma.
Greeting to Salmá and to those who dwell in the preserve, for it behooves one who loves tenderly like me to give greeting.
And what harm to her if she gave me a greeting in return? But fair women are subject to no authority.
They journeyed when the darkness of night had let down its curtains, and I said to her, ‘Pity a passionate lover, outcast and distraught,
Whom desires eagerly encompass and at whom speeding arrows are aimed wheresoever he bends his course.
She displayed her front-teeth and a levin flashed, and I knew not which of the twain rent the gloom,
And she said, ‘Is it not enough for him that I am in his heart and that he beholds me at every moment? Is it not enough?
‘Salmá’: he alludes to a Solomonic ecstasy , which descended upon him from the station of Solomon in virtue of a prophetic heritage.
‘In the preserve,’ i.e. an unattainable station, viz. prophecy, whereof the gate was closed by Muḥammad, the last of the prophets. Solomon’s experience of this Divine wisdom (###) in so far as he was a prophet is different from his experience of it in so far as he was a saint, and we share it with him only in the latter case, since our experience of it is derived from the saintship which is the greatest circle
God does nothing of necessity: whatever comes to us from Him is by His favour. The author indicates this Divine Solomonic apparition (nukta) by the term ‘marble statues’ (i.e. women fair as marble statues). He means that she does not answer by speech, for if she did so her speech would be other than her essence, whereas her essence is single, so that her advent is identical with her speech and with her visible presence and with her hearing; and in this respect all the Divine Realities and Attributes resemble her.
They journeyed,’ etc.: the ascension of the prophets always took place during the night, because night is the time of mystery and concealment.
The darkness of night,’ i.e. the veil of the Unseen let down the curtains of gross corporeal existence, which is the night of this animal organism, throwing a shroud over the spiritual subtleties and noble sciences which it enshrines. These, however, are not to be reached except by journeying through bodily actions and sensual thoughts, and whilst a man is thus occupied the Divine wisdom goes away from his heart, so that on his return he finds her gone and follows her with his aspiration.
Speeding arrows’: he describes this celestial form as shooting his heart, wherever it turns, with the arrows of her glances, as God said, ‘Wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah‘ (Kor. ii, 109).
She displayed her front-teeth,’ etc., i.e. this lover found his whole being illuminated, for ‘God is the light of the heavens and the earth‘ (Kor. xxiv, 35), and the Prophet also said in his prayer, ‘O God, put a light into my ear and into my eye,’ and after mentioning the different members of his body he concluded, ‘and make the whole of me one light,’ viz. by the manifestation of Thy essence. Such a manifestation is compared to a flash of lightning on account of its not continuing. The author says that he did not know whether his being was illuminated by the manifestation proceeding from this Divine wisdom, which smiled upon him, or by a simultaneous manifestation of the Divine Essence.
She said,’ etc., i.e. let him not seek me from without and let it satisfy him that I have descended into his heart, so that he beholds me in his essence and through his essence at every moment.
And for last his most famous, and commented Divan :
O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.
Curro Piñana from his album De lo Humano a lo Divino (From the Human Realm to the Divine) He sings Ibn Arabi’s Poetry, here he interprets the above divan.
GAIA, PANPSYCHISM, NEW MATERIALISM, THE RIGHTS OF NATURE, A NEW ECOLOGY FOR MANKIND, NEOPAGANISM, AND OLD RELIGIONS ON CONTEMPORARY ISSUES.
“Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world
[i.e. the entire universe, both visible and invisible]!
Because I, the All-Creating Sovereign, have created you,
you are My children and equal to Me.
Because you are not second to Me, I am present in you …
Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world,
if I were not, you would be non-existent. …
Because all things do not exist outside of Me,
I firmly declare that I am all – the All-Creating One.”
I kind of smile, at looking at contemporary, urgent political, and ecological issues, taking resource at what just some years ago, most of Mankind sneered as a discarded Old Mythology, or at best ancient dead Religions!
In philosophy, panpsychism is the view that all matter has a mental aspect, or, alternatively, all objects have a unified center of experience or point of view.Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, Gustav Theodor Fechner, Friedrich Paulsen, Ernst Haeckel, Charles Strong, and partially William James are considered panpsychists.
Panpsychism is related to the more holistic view that the whole Universe is an organism that possesses a mind (see pandeism, pantheism, panentheism and cosmic consciousness). It is claimed to be distinct from animism or hylozoism, which hold that all things have a soul or are alive, respectively. Gustav Theodor Fechner claimed in “Nanna” and “Zend-Avesta” that the Earth is a living organism whose parts are the people, the animals and the plants.
Many Neopagans worship Gaia. Beliefs regarding Gaia vary, ranging from the belief that Gaia is the Earth to the belief that she is the spiritual embodiment of the earth, or the Goddess of the Earth.
Gaia (pron.: /ˈɡeɪ.ə/ or /ˈɡaɪ.ə/; from Ancient Greek Γαῖα, a poetical form of Gē Γῆ, “land” or “earth”; also Gaea, or Ge) was the goddess or personification of Earth in ancient Greek religion, one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods, the Titans and the Giants were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea). Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.
The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth.
The hypothesis was formulated by the scientist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. While early versions of the hypothesis were criticized for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection, later refinements have resulted in ideas highlighted by the Gaia Hypothesis being used in disciplines such as geophysiology, Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology, and climate science. In 2006, the Geological Society of London awarded Lovelock the Wollaston Medal largely for his work on the Gaia theory.
Gaia theory, which views the biosphere as a self-regulating system, that maintains homeostasis in relation to many vital chemical and physical variables, is sometimes interpreted as panpsychism, because some think that any goal-directed behavior qualifies as mental. However, the goal-directed behavior of the biosphere, as explained by the Gaia theory, is an emergent function of organised, living matter, not a quality of any matter. Thus Gaia theory is more properly associated with emergentism than panpsychism.
So-called naive panpsychism, as opposed to philosophical panpsychism, is sometimes used to refer to the idea of inanimate objects as sentient and/or intentional. This is similar to animism. The attitude of labeling this philosophy “naive” could be considered a vestigial Eurocentric belief in the inaccuracy or unimportance of non-Western world views. It could be considered to be a colonial artifact utilized as a tool of domination to discredit the philosophical contributions of the colonized. In addition, it downplays the possible role that indigenous philosophies may have played in the formation of panpsychist ideas in the Western world.
Panpsychism, as a view that the universe has “universal consciousness”, is shared by some forms of religious thought: theosophy, pantheism, cosmotheism and panentheism. The hundredth monkey effect exemplifies the threshold for this applied cosmic consciousness. The Tiantai Buddhist answer is that “when one attains it, all attain it.”
Panpsychism also plays a part in Hindu, Buddhist, Dzogchen and Shinto mysticism, and for that matter in most if not all Animistic Native Religions, and Mother Goddess Cults, like Pachamama, in the Andes, Rhea, for the Greeks, Durga, or Kali for the Hindus, Nerthus, for the Germanics, Dea Matrona, for the Gauls, Ninhursag for the Sumerians, Tuuwaqatsi for the Hopi, Nut, or Isis for the ancient Egyptians, etc. It will be hard to find a place on Earth were the ancient goddess has not being worship.
To many specialist this may strike as oversimplification, syncretism, or whatever they may choose to name it, however in an age of rapid, and expanding communications, and the phenomenon we call Globalization, it is impossible now for people around the world not to see the same phenomena expressed under a different guise all over the Earth, by those old, native cultures who perennially have lived close to the land, and that colonization, and modernity has not alter the close connection to their roots, in a world hybridized by the seed of our Western disconnected ways, our lack of awareness, on many Ecological issues, something as simple as were food come from, not from our sterile well provided markets, packaged in attractive colored containers for us to buy, actually the packages seem to create more garbage volume than the product itself!
In my view Panpsychism it is a way for the reductionist, mechano-materialist to reconnect with an emergent ecological consciousness, for so long time sleep in our Western culture without give in totally to a Theistic world view of the world, fine, and dandy, if you are too proud to apologizing for your past mistakes it is beyond you, if backtracking to a Theistic view it is too much to bear, after you unshackled yourself of the heavy yoke of God, ignoring that there is more to God than the Paternalistic Judeo-Christian, chauvinistic male centered views, associated with the word God, or sin…uhh, scary!
Anyway welcome to fight for your hard won new ecological panpsychic awareness! Now let’s look what those poor, ignorant, undeveloped third world people are doing down South!
Rights of Nature
President Evo Morales of Bolivia, Morales has declared himself Bolivia’s first Aymara president. this may not be true by blood only, since other presidents had some native blood in them, however Evo Morales is the first president of Bolivia who grew as an Indigenous individual, and that by class, and socioeconomic factors belong to the real native people of Bolivia, and do not serve the Criollo’s policies, subservient to an Eurocentric colonial model of economics, and racism, were for centuries the native people has been marginalized from education, and economic opportunities a sort of an apartheid not institutionalized by laws, like in South Africa, but enforced by custom, and racist behavior from the classes in power. Together with Rafael Correa president of Ecuador in 2010 issued a declaration of Rights of Nature. (See my post on this blog of June 2011, PACHAMAMA; MOTHER EARTH, GODDESSES,THE STRUGGLE OF INDIGENOUS CULTURES, AND THE MESSAGE OF THE MAMA KOGUIS TO YOUNGER BROTHER.)
By comparison native cultures, unlike us a supposedly more advanced culture we lag behind on defense of Ecological issues, muddled in a morass of rampant commercialism, corporatism united to a corrupt government, and media who it’s married to a exploitative plutocracy who despoils Mother Earth at will, and export our Eurocentric views, and way of life to the poor, and practically defenseless Native Cultures, with our implicit consent, since we do not even object to be labeled “consumers” and passively accept to go out and shop for whatever they advertise to sale us .
In contrast Indigenous cultures still are close to the land and know were food come from, and because their dependence, it is immediate to the source were food come from, and their survival depends on it, their ecological awareness usually it is not clouded by our modern commercialism, and lack of connection to Mother Earth. Many governments in third World countries follow the same obsolete, and harmful policies that big money dictates, and despite their “Independence” from a colonial past, they are still subjects of our Imperial economic policies, and they lack the power to be truly independent, and not subjects to the whims, and caprice, dictated by our corporate plutocrats, and “free market”capitalism, so individuals, and small communities, have to organize and fight for their Indigenous rights to have access to their own land, water, and many other resources, that manly foreign capitalist ventures, came to their lands to exploit, despoil, and marginalize this people even more, ignoring their rights to life, clean soil, clean water, and free access to it, in their blind pursuit of wealth, they trample on the natural rights of this poor people who have lived with their ancient ways close to the land, Mother Earth who give sustenance to all of us.
Because of the principle of separation of church and state, the U.S. government does not formally maintain a list of recognized religions. Both the U.S. and Canada register religious groups as tax-exempt organizations and grant clergy the right to conduct marriage ceremonies.
However, many European federal governments have ecclesiastical affairs ministries which do formally recognize religions. The governments of: Iceland in 1973, Norway in 1996 and 1999, and Denmark in 2003 have officially recognized Neopagan religions which worship Viking Gods such as Odin and Thor.
The Romantic movement of the 18th century led to the re-discovery of Old Gaelic and Old Norse literature and poetry. Neo-druidism can be taken to have its origins as early as 1717 with the foundation of The Druid Order. The 19th century saw a surge of interest in Germanic paganism with the Viking revival in Victorian Britain and Scandinavia. In Germany the Völkisch movement was in full swing. These pagan currents coincided with Romanticist interest in folklore and occultism, the widespread emergence of pagan themes in popular literature, and the rise of nationalism.
During this resurgence in the United Kingdom, Neo-druidism and various Western occult groups emerged, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis, who attempted to syncretize “exotic” elements like Egyptian cosmology and Kabbalah into their belief systems, although not necessarily for purely religious purposes. Influenced by the anthropologist Sir James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough, several prominent writers and artists were involved in these organizations, including William Butler Yeats, Maud Gonne, Arthur Edward Waite, and Aleister Crowley. Along with these early occult organizations, there were other social phenomena such as the interest in mediumship, magic, and other supernatural beliefs which was at an all time high in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Another important influence during this period was the Romantic aesthetic movement, which venerated the natural world and frequently made reference to the deities of antiquity. The Romantic poets, essayists, artists and authors who employed these themes in their work were later associated with socially progressive attitudes towards sexuality, feminism, pacifism and similar issues.
It is the belief of modern Pagans that the religious beliefs of pre-Christian Europe “possess continuing value for us in our own time, even after centuries of suppression and neglect.” Strmiska asserted that contemporary Paganism could be viewed as a part of the “much larger phenomenon” of efforts to revive “traditional, indigenous, or native religions” that were occurring across the globe.
Contemporary Paganism, Modern Paganism, or Neopaganism,
Is an umbrella term referring to a variety of contemporary religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe. Although they do share commonalities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse and no single set of beliefs, practices, or texts are shared by them all.
Contemporary Paganism has been characterized as “a synthesis of historical inspiration and present-day creativity”, in this manner drawing influences from pre-Christian, folkloric and ethnographic sources in order to fashion new religious movements. The extent to which contemporary Pagans use these sources differs; many follow a spirituality which they accept is entirely modern, whilst others attempt to reconstruct or revive indigenous, ethnic religions as found in historical and folkloric sources as accurately as possible.
Most modern pagan religions celebrate the cycles and seasons of nature through a festival calendar that honors these changes. The timing of festivals, and the rites celebrated, may vary from climate to climate, and will also vary, sometimes widely depending upon which particular pagan religion the adherent subscribes to.
Some pagans also draw inspiration from modern traditions, including Christianity, Buddhism and others, creating syncretism like “Christian Witchcraft” or “Buddheo-Paganism”. Since many pagan beliefs do not require exclusivity, some pagans practice other faiths in parallel.
Eclectic pagans take an non dogmatic religious stance, and therefore potentially see no one as having authority to deem a source “apocryphal”. Contemporary paganism has therefore been prone to fakelore, especially in recent years as information and misinformation alike have been spread on the Internet and in print media. A number of Wiccan, pagan and even some “Traditionalist” or “Tribalist” groups have a history of “Grandmother Stories” Typically involving initiation by a Grandmother, Grandfather, or other elderly relative who is said to have instructed them in the secret, millennia-old traditions of their ancestors. As this “secret wisdom” can almost always be traced to recent sources, tellers of these stories have often later admitted they made them up.
A number of Wiccan, Neopagan and even some “Traditionalist” or “Tribalist” groups have a history of spurious “Grandmother Stories” usually involving initiation by a Grandmother, Grandfather, or other elderly (and conveniently dead) relative who is said to have instructed them in the secret, millennia-old traditions of their ancestors. As this “secret wisdom” has almost always been traced to recent sources, or been quite obviously concocted even more recently, most proponents of these stories have eventually admitted they made them up. These “origin myths” are sometimes also referred to as “The Myth of the Wicca.” In these cases, rather than a case of folklorists from outside the community calling the Wiccan stories “fakelore”, phrases such as “Grandmother Stories” and “The Myth of the Wicca” have become synonyms and shorthand for a specific type of fakelore found within the communities in question.
Some claims of continuity between contemporary paganism and older forms of paganism have been shown to be spurious, or outright false, as in the case of Iolo Morganwg’s Druid’s Prayer. Wiccan beliefs of an ancient monotheistic Goddess were inspired by Marija Gimbutas’s description of Neolithic Europe. The factual historical validity of her theories has been disputed by many scholars, including historian Ronald Hutton.
While most pagans draw from old religious traditions, they also adapt them. The mythologies of the ancient traditions are not generally considered to be literally factual by pagans, in the sense that the Bible and other Abrahamic texts are often thought of by their followers. Eclectic pagans in particular are resistant to the concept of scripture or excessive structure, considering personal freedom to be one of the primary goals of their spirituality. In contrast, some Reconstructionist movements, like those who practice Theodism, take a stricter religious approach, and only recognize certain historical texts and sources as being relevant to their belief system, intentionally focusing on one culture to the exclusion of others, and having a general disdain for the eclectic mentality.
In all honesty most Western Neopaganism are fringe groups not taken very seriously by most, and easy to criticize by serious scholars like The English academic Graham Harvey noted that Pagans “rarely indulge in theology.” And I will add a magnet for people wanting to fulfill personal fantasies, or break the mold that our current society impose on us as acceptable behavior, and traditional thinking, Neopaganism is a way to liberate the individual from the prevalent Materialism, and Judeo-Christian mental, and psychological moral straightjackets, the downside of it is that in many cases some individuals embrace Neopaganism as a license for a “anything goes” type of behavior, inspired no doubt, by an oversimplification of historical accounts, and Hollywood portrayal of Arthurian legends.
The Earth Connection
Contemporary paganism emerged as part of the counter-culture, New Age and Hippie movements in the 1960s to 1970s. Reconstructionism rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. The majority of pagans are not committed to a single defined tradition, but understand paganism as encompassing a wide range of non-institutionalized spirituality, as promoted by the Church of All Worlds, the Feri Tradition and other movements. Notably, Wicca in the United States since the 1970s has largely moved away from its Gardnerian roots and diversified into eclectic variants.
Paganism generally emphasizes the sanctity of the Earth and Nature. Pagans often feel a duty to protect the Earth through activism, and support causes such as rainforest protection, organic farming, permaculture, animal rights and so on. Some pagans are influenced by Animist traditions of the indigenous Native Americans and Africans and other indigenous or shamanic traditions.
Eco-paganism and Eco-magic, which are off-shoots of direct action environmental groups, have a strong emphasis on fairy imagery and a belief in the possibility of intercession by the fae (fairies, pixies, gnomes, elves, and other spirits of nature and the Otherworlds).
Some Unitarian Universalists are eclectic pagans. Unitarian Universalists look for spiritual inspiration in a wide variety of religious beliefs. The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, or CUUPs, encourages their member chapters to “use practices familiar to members who attend for worship services but not to follow only one tradition of paganism.“
In my view this fringe groups are part of a new global consciousness who is trying to correct the disconnection, and ecological blindness brought by industrialism an economic and social system based on the development of large-scale industries and marked by the production of large quantities of inexpensive manufactured goods and the concentration of employment in urban factories, the abandonment of our agrarian past in favor of an urban culture that cuts our connection with Pachamama, our Mother Earth, and that Native, and aboriginal cultures still embrace, preserve, and respect. This inevitable point for a break from our blindness, and the path in to ecological unsustainable living, and a re-encounter of the eternal values that promote sustainability based in our wise, and respectful use of Nature, a recognition that historically the Western dominant culture went astray with Industrialism, and the values of modernism, that calls for our humility to recognize our failure, and a return to embrace Mother Earth as the sustainer of life, and a return to Her, embracing the ancient values that sustain, and preserve Her.
“We lay veils upon their hearts lest they understand it…”
Many years ago in my youth when I meet my Spiritual Teacher, I heard someone ask him what were his favorite movies, to my surprise he said:
“I love those movies, about Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba, The thief of Bagdad, and that type of movies.”
I was floored, an avid movie fan at the time I couldn’t figure out a man of his Spiritual realization would care for such cheese B movies made on the fifties, and sixties, with second rate actors like Steve Reeves, and other perhaps more memorable, like Douglas Fairbanks earlier and many others, since Hollywood love for the exotic, an adventures has been a cash cow, and every so many years they bring to the screen the tales of the Arabian Nights in a new form, with little, or any artistic relevance, .
At another occasion I heard him express the same opinion, fortunately someone asked him why he loved such movies, his answer made me realize he didn’t care too much for the artistic side of the movies as for the stories themselves, without giving too much explanations he said:
“The spiritual symbolism of those stories is great, like the seven gates, the seven voyages, the magic carpets, lamps, the Genies. etc. And the trials of the soul has to go through in order to find the treasure.”
It was until many years later that I read The Arabian Nights, and I had to agree with my Teacher.
Brief Official History
One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: كتاب ألف ليلة وليلةKitāb alf laylah wa-laylah) is a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English language edition (1706), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment.
The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators and scholars across West, Central, South Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hazār Afsān (Persian: هزار افسان, lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.
What is common throughout all the editions of the Nights is the initial frame story of the ruler Shahryār (from Persian: شهريار, meaning “king” or “sovereign”) and his wife Scheherazade (from Persian: شهرزاد, possibly meaning “of noble lineage”) and the framing device incorporated throughout the tales themselves. The stories proceed from this original tale; some are framed within other tales, while others begin and end of their own accord. Some editions contain only a few hundred nights, while others include 1,001 or more.
Some of the stories of The Nights, particularly “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp”, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor”, while almost certainly genuine Middle Eastern folk tales, were not part of The Nights in Arabic versions, but were added into the collection by Antoine Galland and other European translators. The innovative and rich poetry and poetic speeches, chants, songs, lamentations, hymns, beseeching, praising, pleading, riddles and annotations provided by Scheherazade or her story characters are unique to the Arabic version of the book. Some are as short as one line, while others go for tens of lines.
The tales vary widely: they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and various forms of erotica. Numerous stories depict Jinns, Ghouls, Apes, sorcerers, magicians, and legendary places, which are often intermingled with real people and geography, not always rationally; common protagonists include the historical Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, his Grand Vizier, Jafar al-Barmaki, and his alleged court poet Abu Nuwas, despite the fact that these figures lived some 200 years after the fall of the Sassanid Empire in which the frame tale of Scheherazade is set. Sometimes a character in Scheherazade’s tale will begin telling other characters a story of his own, and that story may have another one told within it, resulting in a richly layered narrative texture.
The history of the Nights is extremely complex and modern scholars have made many attempts to untangle the story of how the collection as it currently exists came about. Robert Irwin summarizes their findings: “In the 1880s and 1890s a lot of work was done on the Nights by the scholar Zotenberg and others, in the course of which a consensus view of the history of the text emerged. Most scholars agreed that the Nights was a composite work and that the earliest tales in it came from India and Persia. At some time, probably in the early 8th century, these tales were translated into Arabic under the title Alf Layla, or ‘The Thousand Nights’. This collection then formed the basis of The Thousand and One Nights. The original core of stories was quite small. Then, in Iraq in the ninth or tenth century, this original core had Arab stories added to it – among them some tales about the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. Also, perhaps from the tenth century onwards, previously independent sagas and story cycles were added to the compilation. Then, from the thirteenth century onwards, a further layer of stories was added in Syria and Egypt, many of these showing a preoccupation with sex, magic or low life. In the early modern period yet more stories were added to the Egyptian collections so as to swell the bulk of the text sufficiently to bring its length up to the full 1,001 nights of storytelling promised by the book’s title.”
The Mystical aspect of some of the Tales
What western writers and Scholars had put little effort to study, or to show, is the Mystical aspect of some of the tales like Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, The Seven Voyages of Sinbad, and other tales, of the Arabian Nights, not surprising since early in the History of the Western discovery of Oriental texts, and their translation in to Western languages, specially coming from Islamic countries, there was an emphasis to demystify them, and rendered naked from their true link to Islam, making them profane stories with no connection to their roots in Islam, denying their Mystical origin, and castrating them from their true Symbolic meaning, and the facto making them in a Historical context, children’s stories, material for movie adventures, or at best medieval Oriental legends, of little interest for the contemporary reader! When they posses a rich vein of Mystic knowledge, that goes beyond a moral tale. A few Western readers had glimpsed beyond the common Western trite characterization, and the materialistic, unimaginative, or biased mind of scholars.
The Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini observed:
“Every tale in The Thousand and One Nights begins with an ‘appearance of destiny’ which manifests itself through an anomaly, and one anomaly always generates another. So a chain of anomalies is set up. And the more logical, tightly knit, essential this chain is, the more beautiful the tale. By ‘beautiful’ I mean vital, absorbing and exhilarating. The chain of anomalies always tends to lead back to normality. The end of every tale in The One Thousand and One Nights consists of a ‘disappearance’ of destiny, which sinks back to the somnolence of daily life … The protagonist of the stories is in fact destiny itself.”
Foreshadowing is the self-fulfilling prophecy, which dates back to the story of Krishna in ancient Sanskrit literature. A variation of this device is the self-fulfilling dream, which dates back to medieval Arabic literature. Several tales in the One Thousand and One Nights use this device to foreshadow what is going to happen, as a special form of literary prolepsis. A notable example is “The Ruined Man who Became Rich Again through a Dream”, in which a man is told in his dream to leave his native city of Baghdad and travel to Cairo, where he will discover the whereabouts of some hidden treasure. The man travels there and experiences misfortune, ending up in jail, where he tells his dream to a police officer. The officer mocks the idea of foreboding dreams and tells the protagonist that he himself had a dream about a house with a courtyard and fountain in Baghdad where treasure is buried under the fountain. The man recognizes the place as his own house and, after he is released from jail, he returns home and digs up the treasure. In other words, the foreboding dream not only predicted the future, but the dream was the cause of its prediction coming true. To the aware individual it will be useless to explain the rich Spiritual meaning of this story, to those thick of understanding, is easy to point out that there is no need to look for richness outside of us,True richness lays at the heart of our Being, not outside of us.
Story of the Blind Baba-Abdalla, and Ali Baba
The owner of eighty camels runs in to a dervish, who offer him a treasure for his help, but greed consumed his heart, and ended in misfortune. Here I show the always secret place that is full of precious jewels of all kind and plenty of gold.
“I did what I was bid, and rejoined the dervish, whom I found trying to kindle a fire out of some dry wood. As soon as it was alight, he threw on it a handful of perfumes, and pronounced a few words that I did not understand, and immediately a thick column of smoke rose high into the air. He separated the smoke into two columns, and then I saw a rock, which stood like a pillar between the two mountains, slowly open, and a splendid palace appear within.
But, Commander of the Faithful, the love of gold had taken such possession of my heart, that I could not even stop to examine the riches, but fell upon the first pile of gold within my reach and began to heap it into a sack that I had brought with me.
The dervish likewise set to work, but I soon noticed that he confined himself to collecting precious stones, and I felt I should be wise to follow his example. At length the camels were loaded with as much as they could carry, and nothing remained but to seal up the treasure, and go our ways.
Before, however, this was done, the dervish went up to a great golden vase, beautifully chased, and took from it a small wooden box, which he hid in the bosom of his dress, merely saying that it contained a special kind of ointment. Then he once more kindled the fire, threw on the perfume, and murmured the unknown spell, and the rock closed, and stood whole as before.”
Of course because his bottomless greed and not listening to the warnings, he ended blind not only morally but physically.
“Miserable dervish!” I shrieked, “so it is true after all! Into what a bottomless pit has my lust after gold plunged me. Ah, now that my eyes are closed they are really opened. I know that all my sufferings are caused by myself alone! But, good brother, you, who are so kind and charitable, and know the secrets of such vast learning, have you nothing that will give me back my sight?
“Unhappy man,” replied the dervish, “it is not my fault that this has befallen you, but it is a just chastisement. The blindness of your heart has wrought the blindness of your body. Yes, I have secrets; that you have seen in the short time that we have known each other. But I have none that will give you back your sight. You have proved yourself unworthy of the riches that were given you. Now they have passed into my hands, whence they will flow into the hands of others less greedy and ungrateful than you.”
Is this a Spiritual lesson, or what? The usual elements in the story that are so common to the many other stories in the 1001 Arabian Nights, like Ali Baba and the Forty thieves, it is this Secrets Caves, Underground Vaults, Hidden Palaces where it can only by access by special secret words like:
“Open Sesame” (Arabic إفتح يا سمسم iftaḥ ya simsim ‘open, O sesame’) is a magical phrase in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in One Thousand and One Nights. It opens the mouth of a cave in which forty thieves have hidden a treasure; “Hemasas Nepo” was the original phrase to re-seal the cave, but in recent stories, it was “Close Sesame.“
This secret caves, rich hidden palaces,or enclosures, were inexhaustible wealth abounds, are allegories for the Human Heart, but like in Ali baba’s tale forty thieves jealously guarded the cave, ready to kill any intruder, just like the passions of an impure heart are ready to commit mayhem, and guide the person to an unfortunate end. Only those possessing a pure and kind heart can have access.
Surah Yasin 9. And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they cannot see.
Thus according to the Holy Qur’an, the hearts are:
• Alive (to guidance)
• Dead (absence of Tawheed)
• Hard (obstinate in disbelief)
• Soft (in remembrance of Allah)
• Pure (free of materialism, empty for Allah)
• Impure (polytheism, disbelief)
• Diseased (un-Godly)
• Sealed (will not receive Truth)
• Pious (God conscious)
• Veiled (from guidance)
• Open (to truth)
• Blossom (become enlightened)
• United (with the believers)
• One heart in each person (it contains either Allah or the world)
Ali Baba’s brother whose heart was veiled, and deceased with greed and forgetfulness, is caught in the cave by the forty thieves.
Ali Baba brings the body of his death brother home, where he entrusts Morgiana, a clever slave-girl in Cassim’s household, with the task of making others believe that Cassim has died a natural death. First, Morgiana purchases medicines from an apothecary, telling him that Cassim is gravely ill. Then, she finds an old Tailor known as Baba Mustafa whom she pays, blindfolds, and leads to Cassim’s house. There, overnight, the Tailor stitches the pieces of Cassim’s body back together, so that no one will be suspicious. Ali Baba and his family are able to give Cassim a proper burial without anyone asking awkward questions.
Morgiana keep fooling the thieves with clever ruses so they could not get a hold of Ali Baba, and she finally dispatch the forty thieves, and later the chief of the thieves, that with cunning had found his way in to Ali Baba’s house, and planed to kill him, now why a simple slave girl would take the stage, and be the protagonist of the story, rather than Ali Baba?
The slave girl represent Ali Baba’s soul that is totally at his service, and rejecting the vices that afflict the heart and passions represented by the thieves she triumph over them, and it is rewarded in the end and brought in to the family.
On the necessity of self-control, the Glorious Qur’an says:
وَ أَمَّا مَنْ خافَ مَقامَ رَبِّهِ وَ نَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوى فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوى
And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lordand forbids his own soul from its whims and caprices then surely Paradise is the abode. (79:40 & 41)
يا داوُدُ إِنَّا جَعَلْناكَ خَليفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَ لا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوى فَيُضِلَّكَ عَنْ سَبيلِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ الَّذينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَنْ سَبيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذابٌ شَديدٌ بِما نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسابِ
O David! …do not follow the whims of your own soul for they will lead you astray from God’s path. (38:26)
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَداءَ لِلَّهِ وَ لَوْ عَلى أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوالِدَيْنِ وَ الْأَقْرَبينَ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقيراً فَاللَّهُ أَوْلى بِهِما فَلا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوى أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا وَ إِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كانَ بِما تَعْمَلُونَ خَبيراً
O you who have faith! Be maintainers of justice and witnesses for the sake of God, even if it should be against yourselves or [your] parents and near relatives, and whether it be [someone] rich or poor, for God has a greater right over them. So do not follow [your] desires, lest you should be unfair, and if you distort [the testimony] or disregard [it], God is indeed well aware of what you do. (4:135)
وَ الشَّمْسِ وَ ضُحاها وَ الْقَمَرِ إِذا تَلاها وَ النَّهارِ إِذا جَلاَّها وَ اللَّيْلِ إِذا يَغْشاها وَ السَّماءِ وَ ما بَناها وَ الْأَرْضِ وَ ما طَحاها وَ نَفْسٍ وَ ما سَوَّاها فَأَلْهَمَها فُجُورَها وَ تَقْواها قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاها وَ قَدْ خابَ مَنْ دَسَّاها
I swear by the sun and its brilliance and the moon when it follows the sun and the day when it makes manifest the sun (and her beauty) and the night when it covers the sun and the heaven and Him who made it and the earth and Him who extended it and the soul and Him who made it perfect, then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it. He will indeed be successful who purifies it and he will indeed fail whoever pollutes and corrupts it. (91:1-10)
Purification of the soul is a prerequisite for closeness to God. Indeed, the whole point of morality and spirituality is to purify one’s soul. It is only then that the soul starts shining, receiving and reflecting utmost radiation and light from God. If we want to meet God, Who is the Most Pure, then we need to achieve purity. It is impossible to be polluted and then try to go towards God.
The Seven Voyages of Sinbad
While Burton and other Western translators have grouped the Sinbad stories within the tales of Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights, they apparently originated quite independently from that story-cycle and modern translations by Arab scholars often do not include the stories of Sinbador several other of the Arabian Nights that have become familiar to Western audiences. However this is no doubt an Islamic story. The Persian name Sindbad (“Lord of the Sindh River”) hints at a Persian origin. The oldest texts of the cycle are however in Arabic, and no ancient or medieval Persian version has survived. The story as we have it is specifically set during the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate and particularly highlights the reign of Harun al-Rashid. The name Sindbad indicates the name of the Indus River(Sindhu). The Sindhi Sailors, who became famous due to their skills in navigation, geography and languages may very well have inspired the stories of Sindbad the Sailor. Sindh is actually mentioned in the story of the Third Voyage: (“And thence we fared on to the land of Sind, where also we bought and sold”).
Like the 1001 Nights the Sinbad story-cycle has a frame story, which goes as follows: in the days of Haroun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad, a poor porter (one who carries goods for others in the market and throughout the city) pauses to rest on a bench outside the gate of a rich merchant’s house, where he complains to Allah about the injustice of a world which allows the rich to live in ease while he must toil and yet remain poor. The owner of the house hears, and sends for the porter, and it is found they are both named Sinbad. The rich Sinbad tells the poor Sinbad that he became wealthy, “by Fortune and Fate”, in the course of seven wondrous voyages, which he then proceeds to relate.
It is alleged with some justice that the Seven voyages shares a lot in common with the Odyssey of Homer, the Arabs knew well the Greek antiquity, and no doubt borrowed elements of the Odyssey, since it is also a Symbolic tale of the soul to reach home.
Also the nature of the tales, is repetitive, and Chiasmic in nature, sailors made out to sea were they expect to make a larger fortune of the one they spend on making the trip, they go to unknown regions, were sometimes are shipwrecked by storms and end stranded in a foreign land, or Island, were all kind of vicissitudes are met and deal successfully or that would be the end of it and likely Sinbad would die, but instead, he regains all what he lost, and come back home with more.
Michael Murray writes:
“What is gained by exploration? Knowledge: of market-resources, trading-terrain, of conditions, regions and customs. But also an invaluable network of colleagues and contacts. What is gained is trust, honor and esteem. Wealth is only a metaphor for knowledge: worldly wealth, and spiritual wealth mirror each other in the overall tale.
So what happened to change matters? As you can guess, there is a central voyage where all changes – because, yes, the Seven Voyages of Sinbad, are structured in a ring.Each tale has a repeating pattern of shipwreck, loss, or abandonment; and resolution. This last can come from the restitution of goods/fortune from a previous voyage; or earned honors from the present voyage.Each tale ends as it begins with the merchant safely back home and turning once more to an indulgent lifestyle. Each tale employs a change of circumstances in the middle section – each tale is a complete ring in itself. They all add up to the overall ring of the Seven Voyages.
The changeover, in the fourth tale, is very well marked, and prepared for: it is a death experience. Where before, surviving shipwrecks and other catastrophes had been the case, in the fourth tale he is by custom of the land lowered into the grave pit with his dead wife, and a small supply of food, as well as the grave goods. That he survives is due to his total abasement: he must kill all subsequent burial spouses, and steal their food supplies. He escapes his death-experience by following a carrion-eating animal’s tunnel to a bleak shoreline. He has become that animal almost, crawling on all-fours. He brings out bales of grave goods as loot.
The question being asked here is: what survives when all else is taken away, even one’s life? It is the life of the spirit. The Fourth Voyage sees all shipwrecked, and the survivors drift to an island. Strange wild men take them to their king; he treats them extraordinarily well; Sinbad is wary, however, and soon finds that his fellow men are being fed adulterated food. They lose their wits, eventually grow corpulent on the fare, and are then eaten, by the king and company. Sinbad grows thinner and thinner. They take no interest in him, and he escapes. On the other side of this vast island he meets a gentle people, who take him in. He provides goods for them and becomes very wealthy by making saddles for their horses, for they have none. As written earlier, he marries, is honored by their king, then undergoes the ordeal of the grave pit. The ring here centers around the subject of the bestiality of living solely in the physical body. He must die in the body and mind in order to be reborn as someone worthy of his life: the man must ride the body, and not vice versa.”
The Seven Voyages of Sinbad ultimately represent the travels of the Soul through the seven spheres of Spiritual Knowledge.
In Islam Sura Al-Fatiha (Arabic :سورة الفاتحة), (Sūratul-Fātihah, “The Opener”) is the first chapter of the Qur’an. Its seven verses are a prayer for Allah’s guidance, and stress His Lordship and Mercy.
Arabic: 1.1 بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم
1:2 الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
1:3 الرَّحمـنِ الرَّحِيم
1:4 مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّين
1:5 إِيَّاك نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِين
1:6 اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيم
1:7 صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين
Al-Fatiha | 7 verses | The Opening | سورة الفاتحة Sura #1 | Makkah
- Bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
- Al ḥamdu lillāhi rabbi l-ʿālamīn
- Ar raḥmāni r-raḥīm
- Māliki yawmi d-dīn
- Iyyāka naʿbudu wa iyyāka nastaʿīn
- Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭa al-mustaqīm
- Ṣirāṭa al-laḏīna anʿamta ʿalayhim ġayri l-maġḍūbi ʿalayhim walā ḍ-ḍāllīn
Translation: [Quran 1:1].
“In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
All praise and thanks is for to Allah,[The] Creator, Owner, Sustainer of the Worlds.
The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful.
Owner of the Day of Recompense.
You alone do we worship and You alone we seek for help.
Guide us to the Straight Path.
The path of those whom Your blessings are upon, Not of those who You have cursed nor of those who have gone astray.”
Volumes had been wrote about the profound Symbolism of this first Sura.
Ṭawāf (طواف) is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are to circumambulate the Kaaba (most sacred site in Islam) seven times, in a counterclockwise direction. The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to Allah.
The Zamzam Well was revealed to Hagar, the second wife of Abraham and mother of Ismail. According to Islamic tradition, she was desperately seeking water for her infant son, but she could not find any, as Mecca is located in a hot dry valley with few sources of water. Muslim traditions say that Hagar ran seven times back and forth in the scorching heat between the two hills of Safa and Marwah, looking for water. Getting thirstier by the second, Ishmael scraped the land with his feet, where suddenly water sprang out. There are other versions of the story involving God sending his Archangel, Gabriel, who kicked the ground with his heel and the water rose.
Stoning of the Devilor stoning of the jamarāt (Arabic: رمي الجمرات) is part of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Muslim pilgrims fling pebbles at three walls, called jamarāt, in the city of Mina just east of Mecca.
When he [Abraham] left Mina and was brought down to (the defile called) al-Aqaba, the Devil appeared to him at Stone-Heap of the Defile. Gabriel said to him: “Pelt him!” so Abraham threw seven stones at him so that he disappeared from him. Then he appeared to him at the Middle Stone-Heap. Gabriel said to him: “Pelt him!” so he pelted him with seven stones so that he disappeared from him. Then he appeared to him at the Little Stone-Heap. Gabriel said to him: “Pelt him!” so he pelted him with seven stones like the little stones for throwing with a sling. So the Devil withdrew from him.
The Isra and Mi’raj (Arabic:الإسراء والمعراج, al-’Isrā’ wal-Mi‘rāj), are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islamic tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey to the Seven Heavens. This is so rich in Symbology, and Wisdom that this article scope will not do justice to it , and will have to address at another time in the future.
The Sages teach that seven are the attributes of physicality:
Top and bottom (limits height)
Front and back (limits width)
Left and right (limits depth)
The connecting of the other six
The Symbology of the number seven is so extend and so well known it will be necessary to dedicate a book to it, let’s just mention the seven days of the week, the seven colors, the seven notes of the music scale, the seven days of creation, the seven seals of Revelations, the seven seas, the seven Spiritual centers in Man, that the Hindus call Chakras, etc.
Other common theme is the Genie Invocation Spells or Jinn Invocation formulas Djinns. Like in the story Aladdin or, the wonderful Lamp.
Aladdin is an impoverished young ne’er-do-well in a Chinese town, who is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin’s late father Qaseem, convincing Aladdin and his mother of his goodwill by apparently making arrangements to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. The sorcerer’s real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave of wonder. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin finds himself trapped in the cave. Fortunately, Aladdin retains a magic ring lent to him by the sorcerer. When he rubs his hands in despair, he inadvertently rubs the ring, and a jinni, or “genie”, appears, who takes him home to his mother. Aladdin is still carrying the lamp, and when his mother tries to clean it, a second, far more powerful genie appears, who is bound to do the bidding of the person holding the lamp. With the aid of the genie of the lamp, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful and marries Princess Badroulbadour, the Emperor’s daughter. The genie builds Aladdin a wonderful palace – far more magnificent than that of the Emperor himself.
The sorcerer returns and is able to get his hands on the lamp by tricking Aladdin’s wife, who is unaware of the lamp’s importance, by offering to exchange “new lamps for old”. He orders the genie of the lamp to take the palace to his home in the Maghreb. Fortunately, Aladdin retains the magic ring and is able to summon the lesser genie. Although the genie of the ring cannot directly undo any of the magic of the genie of the lamp, he is able to transport Aladdin to Maghreb, and help him recover his wife and the lamp and defeat the sorcerer.
The sorcerer’s more powerful and evil brother tries to destroy Aladdin for killing his brother by disguising himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. Badroulbadour falls for his disguise, and commands the “woman” to stay in her palace in case of any illnesses. Aladdin is warned of this danger by the genie of the lamp and slays the imposter. Everyone lives happily ever after, Aladdin eventually succeeding to his father-in-law’s throne.
Jinns, Genies are also living beings but they are made of fire. Genie or Jinns can be conquered by human beings by special invocations and if the invocation is done properly then after the completion of the Invocation it is possible to conquer the genie of jinns. But they all are one having the same powers and if this power is conquered by any one that person will be a very powerful human being having any type of power to do any thing and every thing. Looking for Genie Invocation spells or formulas for invocation of genies. Jinn invocation is done to conquer jinns. Invocation of jinn is possible by jinn spells or genie spells with talismans or charms. Summoning or invocation of genies, jinns etc requires proper concentration and then invocation of genies (jinns) is possible.
Again a simple tale of a humble orphan boy, and his impoverish mother who rise to power defeating an evil sorcerer, with the help of a Magical ring, and a Magical oil lamp were Genies reside, of course there is not such objects in the literal sense, but the fact is that this treasures are hidden in a secret cave, does not take much to discover the cave as a source of richness and treasures with unlimited possibilities, it is no other than the Heart.
The Heart of the Believer is the House of God
“So the Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Madinah was to pass by a cave. According to the life story of the Prophet , that cave was called the cave of Thawr. It is one day’s distance from Makkah. The Prophet stayed there three days. Why did the Prophet stay in that cave? Why was he unable to continue? The unfolding of the secrets occurred in that cave.
The Prophet was ordered to emigrate from Makkah to Madinah for the purpose of going inside the cave of Thawr where God taught him how to “remember God” (dhikr Allah). It was the first time that the Prophet invoked God in a loud voice. This is a very great Sufi secret indeed.
To emigrate from Makkah to Madinah was very easy for the Prophet. He only had to say, “In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,” and he would have been in Madinah as easily as it had been for him to take sand and throw it at the ignorant people’s eyes preventing them from seeing him as he was leaving his house. Or he could have ridden on his horse or camel and reached Madinah in ten to fifteen days. Why did he go to that cave? The ‘Cave of Silence’ as it has been called? Indeed, it is the ‘Cave of Silent Secrets’. Why was the Prophet ordered by God to go to that cave, which is one day’s travel from Makkah, when he had a distance of fifteen days journeying to go?
When the Prophet went into that cave, a spider and a dove came and made a house over the door in order that no one would know what was inside. This is common knowledge. As for the secret, look to love. When love for someone is pure, God will never forget that person. “
“My earth and my heaven do not encompass me, but the heart of My servant who has faith does encompass me.”
There are 5 lata’ifs (subtle points of spiritual Energy), or Maqams (spiritual stations), on
the human heart. These five stations are, in an ascending order:
Qalb (“External Structure of the Heart”)
Sirr as Sirr (“Secret of the Secret”)
Khafa (“Hidden Akha (“Most Hidden”)
أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ
Alam nashrah laka sadraka
Have We not expanded thee thy breast?
وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْكَ وِزْرَكَ
WawadaAAna AAanka wizraka
And removed from thee thy burden
الَّذِي أَنْقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ
Allathee anqada thahraka
The which did gall thy back?
The Arabian Nights in resume contain many tales where we can find numerous hidden symbols for the Spiritual wayfarer, not just simple tales of adventures fit for children, but a call to those who have eyes to see.
[22:46] Did they not roam the earth, then use their minds to understand, and use their ears to hear? Indeed, the real blindness is not the blindness of the eyes, but the blindness of the hearts inside the chests.
The world itself looks cleaner and so much more beautiful. Maybe we can make it that way—the way God intended it to be—by giving everybody that new perspective from out in space.
- Roger B Chaffee
My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.
- Edgar Mitchell
On the morning of Friday 21, of September there was a exciting buzz in the otherwise matter of fact usual fare in the local news, the Space Shuttle Endeavor would make it’s final trip around different points of California from Edwards air force base in California to LAX in route to it’s final destination at the Museum of Science in Exposition Park in Downtown Los Angeles.
Cynical me, I was not taken by the supposed grandiosity of the Event, of “being witnessing History”, and all that fanfare, self serving promotion to a failed, and very expensive program, paid by us, the taxpayer, and the lost of life of fourteen people, astronauts, and civilians.
As the morning progressed the enthusiasm of the newscaster and people aligned in San Francisco, Sacramento Santa Monica, Griffith Park, LAX, Pasadena, etc. Grew in excitement and all kind of emotional nonsense, of “once in a lifetime experience”, people cried, and said: “I will be able to tell my children I was there that day, I saw the Endeavour flight over my roof!” Cynical me thought: “Maybe I will be able to tell my grandchildren how Grandpa saw how our Government allied to private capital, invested our tax money to enrich the few, meanwhile the homeless were cheering in awe at looking the shuttle flying through their full time home, the streets and the sidewalks!”
As it happens I got a little share of my taxpayer money in the form of entertainment, and mild awe, as the shuttle on piggyback ride on top of a giant Jumbo Jet with great noise and escorted by two jet fighters flew in front of my window who face the Griffith observatory, so low you could see clearly many details if your eye was fast enough to catch it. It was a big production, not unlike a Hollywood movie. Of course our local politicians were there at the airport to cash on the event, and present the shuttle like “our achievement” making us part of it, and therefore proud for it, like if we had any say in the matter, and to reassure us what a great honor was for our city to be the retirement home of the old shuttle, however not an undeserved honor, since we in California and in Los Angeles, contributed a great deal to the space program, and the shuttle in particular, of course nothing was said how much the honor cost us up to the present, or in the future.
Here is an article in The Guardian UK Thursday 21 July 2011, you may find enlightening:
“With Atlantis’s touchdown on Thursday bringing down the final curtain on the space shuttle program, there is much hand-wringing over the end of an era. For the first time in 30 years Nasa has no immediate program for human space travel in place. While many are mourning this loss, the last flight of the space shuttle instead provides an opportunity to rethink space exploration and a time to cut our losses from a failed program that has been a colossal waste of resources, time and creative energy.
The space shuttle failed to live up to its primary goal of providing relatively cheap and efficient human space travel. There is a good reason for this. As the engineers made it clear to the physicist Richard Feynman when he was investigating the cause of the Challenger explosion, human space travel is risky. While Nasa managers had estimated the odds of a shuttle disaster to be microscopic, engineers estimated the loss rate at about 1 in 100 flights, which is close to the actual disaster rate.
Not only has the shuttle program been costly, it has been boring. A generation that grew up with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey had hoped that by the dawn of the new millennium we would be regularly vacationing in space, and routinely sending astronauts to boldly go where no man or woman had gone before.
Instead we were treated to regular images of the shuttle visiting a $100 billion boondoggle orbiting in space closer to Earth than Washington DC is to New York. No one except a billionaire or two has ever vacationed in space, and their “hotel” was a cramped, stuffy and at times smelly white elephant.
Either aboard the shuttle or the International Space Station, astronauts have explicitly demonstrated that what we learn from sending people into space is not much more than how people can survive in space. The lion’s share of costs associated with sending humans into space is devoted, as it should be, to making sure they survive the voyage. No other significant science has been learned by a generation’s worth of round trips in near-earth orbit.
Yes, there have been highlights, such as the Hubble Space Telescope launch and repair missions, which were not only exciting but useful. However, the real question is whether they were necessary to achieve the science goals. The initial HST repair mission was required because of poor engineering on the ground, which may even have resulted from the daunting requirement of creating a device that had to be designed to be deployed from the space shuttle.
And given the $5 billion or so price tag per year associated with the shuttle (leading to cost estimates ranging between $500 millions and $1.3 billions per launch) compared with the total cost of, say $5-7 billions over more than a decade for the James Webb Space Telescope, one wonders – as my colleague Robert Parks has mused – whether it would have cost less and been more efficient to merely send up another Hubble (on an unmanned rocket) instead of sending an expensive crew ship to repair the old one.
Helping construct the International Space Station has been no serious justification for the shuttle program. A largely useless international make-work project that was criticized by every major science organization in the US, all that can be said for its scientific justification is that it now houses a $2 billions particle physics experiment (the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) that managed to avoid serious scientific peer review during its development, otherwise it certainly would not have been recommended for funding.
The real science done by Nasa has not involved humans. We have sent robots to places humans could never have survived and peered into the far depths of the cosmos, back to the early moments of the big bang, with instruments far more capable than our human senses, all for a fraction of what it costs to send a living, breathing person into Earth’s orbit. The first rovers went to Mars for what it would cost to make a movie about sending Bruce Willis to Mars.
But science is not the real goal of human space travel. As I argued over a decade ago to the House Science Committee when Buzz Aldrin and I were asked to testify before their subcommittee on space exploration, we send humans into space for adventure. Astronauts inspire us by their courage and skill, and not least by the fact that they risk death every time they step into a spacecraft.
I personally have no problems with this fact. I believe the future of the human species will eventually be in space, and that we will one day colonize other planets. But we have to be honest about this goal.
I have been on stage with astronauts and watched how they inspire kids to dream big dreams. Indeed, I myself stayed home from school during every Apollo moon mission, and dreamed of one day walking on the moon myself.
Did those missions encourage me to become a scientist, or was I interested in them because of a pre-existing fascination with the cosmos? It is hard to say. But the inspiration associated with tackling problems as immense as those associated with sending humans away from their natural environment into the hostile reaches of space has ultimately produced a host of scientists and engineers who might otherwise have pursued other careers.
If we are going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on human space travel, however, we need to have a rational plan, and one that can excite the imagination of the next generation of would-be scientists and explorers. The space shuttle did not provide such a plan.
As Richard Feynman himself said in his final report on the Challenger disaster: “Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”
Lawrence M Krauss is foundation professor and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, and the author of books including The Physics of Star Trek. His most recent book, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science, was published in March
Unlike Mr. Krauss I do not share his enthusiasm for space exploration, neither I believe the future is in space colonization, when as Mr. Krauss admit, we do not posses even a rational plan for it. I believe our future is here, on Earth, our home, here now, not in a distant pay in the sky dream, we need solutions for our planet, Earth it is not a celestial body made to exploit, and rip off, discarding at our convenience, so we can go and exploit other planets and discard them on the recycle bin once we have enjoyed the usefulness of it like a soda can. Earth is our Mother, and our Home, and will be for our foreseeable future, so let start caring about it, and invest our money on conservation, and environmental ecology, and stop putting escapist dreams in the tender minds of our children, romanticizing space travel, better let’s cultivate in them a love for our Earth, so they can continue to live in it with wisdom and happiness for all, and not only for an elite of corporate oriented profiteers who using science, and technology as tools, at the expense of our taxpayer money, dream to despoil other planets, like they are doing to Earth, so they can accumulate more wealth at our expense, and that of of our Mother Earth, with little benefit for the common man, who unwillingly pays the bill, and receive in exchange a cheap thrill, like watching the shuttle on piggyback parade all over California, at the cost of hundred of billions of dollars, and to add insult to injury the death of 400 trees, in Inglewood and South Los Angeles, to make way for the shuttle in to the museum, ironically trough one of the poorest neighborhoods of Los Angeles… A cynical friend of mine paraphrasing Neil Armstrong said: “A small chump change of money for our government, a giant long 274 years, at 10,000 dollars a day for a man to spend just a single billion!”
SPECIALIZATION, AND GENERALIZATION, A SHORSIGHTED VIEW OF KNOWLEDGE, AND LIFE, THE POLITICS OF WENDELL BERRY
There was a time when the world was a simpler place, or we may like to believe so on this days of tremendous advances on the field of science, of technological progress that would make our early twenty century forefathers heads spin! At the same time the complexity of the issues this progress has brought; overpopulation, ecological devastation, pollution, the over exploitation of our precious limited resources, of a world getting too small for our Human insatiable needs, the unequal distribution of resources and wealth, and the disparity of access to those resources, the creation not of a world government, but a world ruled by plutocrats, in the form of corporations, with no accountability, and in bed with our dysfunctional, and obsolete, now archaic, and sclerotic form of government, who still pretends to be a Democracy, and determined to keep in control the axis of power for personal profit, despite the urgent need of a new approach to our world problems, were disinterested and selfless cooperation should be the rule to oversight, and give a guideline to the solving of this problems without the interference of special interests who thwart Real Progress, and the Common Good.
It seem we the world has been a victim of our general lack of capacity to be virtuous, overcoming our Human nature, and selfish desires in order to allow a just, and wise solutions to the undoubtedly worldwide crisis that as we speak would engulf us before we can come to an organized, and well run program of actions, in order if not to solve totally, at least to ameliorate the damage, our lack of consciousness has brought us to this zero hour crisis for our world. It seem we have become victims of our own so much vaunted progress!
The extremes of specialization on one side, and of generalization, and reductionism on the other side combines to the common adage of : ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ failure of vision on our postmodern age. Our individual actions due to our specialization, lack the depth of understanding of the whole picture, our combined resources of our individual specializations have reached a point were nobody cares about the result of the whole, a sort of cleaver but Dr. Frankenstein creation that will end haunting us for the lack of wisdom, in the end too much specialization is leading to a loss of ethics, and integrity. Generalization on the other hand prevent the large interests to make proper managerial decisions fit to individuals, providing at best one size fit all, specially when the individual well being confronts the interest of the corporation, usually their bottom line, profit.
This not only affects society as a whole, but directly harms and minimize the individual:
“The fact is, however, that this is probably the most unhappy average citizen in the history of the world. He has not the power to provide himself with anything but money, and his money is inflating like a balloon and drifting away, subject to historical circumstance and the power of other people. From morning to night he does not touch anything that he has produced himself, in which he can take pride. For all his leisure and recreation, he feels bad, he looks bad, he is overweight, his health is poor. His air, water, and food are all known to contain poisons. There is a fair chance that he will die of suffocation. He suspects that his love life is not as fulfilling as other people’s. He wishes that he had been born sooner, or later. He does not know why his children are the way they are. He does not understand what they say. He does not care much and does not know why he does not care. He does not know what his wife wants or what he wants. Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make him suspect that he is basically unattractive. He feels that all his possessions are under threat of pillage. He does not know what he would do if he lost his job, if the economy failed, if the utility companies failed, if the police went on strike, if the truckers went on strike, if his wife left him, if his children ran away, if he should be found to be incurably ill. And for these anxieties, of course, he consults certified experts, who in turn consult certified experts about their anxieties.
It is rarely considered that this average citizen is anxious because he ought to be—because he still has some gumption that he has not yet given up in deference to the experts. He ought to be anxious, because he his helpless. That he is dependent upon so many specialists, the beneficiary of so much expert help, can only mean that he is a captive, a potential victim.”
BOOMERS AND STICKERS
“Quoting his former teacher, the late writer Wallace Stegner, Berry said Americans have always tended to fall into two camps: boomers and stickers. “The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property and therefore power,” Berry said. “Stickers on the contrary are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”
Boomer ideals dominate America’s economy and culture now, he said. Almost everything has been reduced to statistics. Like corporate ownership, as compared to individual ownership, big numbers distance us from the consequences of our actions.
“Now the two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth in the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment,” Berry said. “At the same time the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny.”
Even the term economy has lost its original meaning, which had to do with household management and husbandry, he said. Most economists now “never ask, in their professional oblivion, why we are willing to do permanent ecological and cultural damage ‘to strengthen the economy.’”
Corporate industrialism, he said, “has failed to sustain the health and stability of human society. Among its characteristic signs are destroyed communities, neighborhoods, families, small businesses and small farms. It has failed just as conspicuously and more dangerously to conserve the wealth and health of nature.”
Industrialism’s effects are often defended as the “price of progress” or “creative destruction,” Berry noted.
“But land abuse cannot brighten the human prospect,” he said. “There is in fact no distinction between the fate of the land and the fate of the people. When one is abused, the other suffers. The penalties may come quickly to a farmer who destroys perennial cover on a sloping field. They will come sooner or later to a land-destroying civilization such as ours.”
Who is to blame? “We are all implicated,” Berry said. “By economic proxies thoughtlessly given, by thoughtless consumption of goods ignorantly purchased, now we are all boomers.”
How can it be changed? By having more respect for our fellow humans and the land, Berry said. By focusing on long-term sustainability — things like local food, soil conservation and renewable energy. And by rediscovering the importance of affection.
“Knowledge without affection leads us astray every time,” he said. “Affection leads, by way of good work, to authentic hope. … And it is in affection that we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind and conserving economy. … We should, as our culture has warned us over and over again, give our affection to things that are true, just and beautiful. When we give affection to things that are destructive, we are wrong.”
Since Berry began making these arguments in his 1977 book The Unsettling of America, critics have dismissed him as unrealistic, nostalgic, even anachronistic. But more people are listening. Indeed, this seems to be Wendell Berry’s time.
As “local food” and “buy local” movements have sprung up everywhere in recent years, Berry’s books have attracted an international following. His lectures are packed, often by young people.
Can America change before it is too late? It can, Berry told me, if sustainability becomes a bigger part of the public conversation. “The only way to do that,” he said, “is to make as much sense as you possibly can.”
We can clearly see that what is required for a better future, it is a clear consciousness of the individual to be responsible of his actions, and stop to be a brainwash sleeper who obediently consumes whatever is advertised to him, by those who want to profit from this general state of hypnotic behavior the complicit media has impose like a gospel of consumerism!
Here is a clear example of how they sell you what you want to believe you are:
“In the real world, a fast car is no faster than a slow car.
In the real world, what’s inside your Macbook doesn’t matter.
In the real world, you don’t wear a watch so you can tell the time.
In the real world, you don’t buy a product, you buy a story.
Owning a Porsche tells a story about you. It tells people that you’re cultured, that you’re a sucker for details, that you are a great connoisseur of precision and efficiency. Your Macbook Pro tells people that you’re creative, sophisticated, and individualistic. The Patek Phillipe on your wrist tells people that you have aristocratic tastes, and that you’re into authenticity and heritage. The Pink Floyd playing on your car stereo tells people that you’re into the modern classics, that you are refined and sophisticated, and that today’s world is much too crude for your tastes.
Our urge to buy and wear these stories overshadow the utilitarian relationship we once shared with products. Everybody who buys a Porsche knows that its not going to get them to the airport any faster than a blah-colored Toyota Corolla.
They don’t care though, because when they drove off the dealership, they didn’t buy a sports car.
On the contrary, they bought a 600 horsepower twin-turbo storytelling machine.”
DO NOT VOTE AT THE BALLOT, VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET!
We do not need to buy stories, to believe we are what we are not, unless you are a total fool, we do not need to buy what we do not really need, or what is harmful to Mother Earth, or to others. The only way to take control of the current state of the World politics, economics, environment, etc. Is to take control of our own lives, and realize we need to bring the change in to our own sphere of life thinking globally , but acting locally.
“The moral order by which we use machine-derived energy is comparatively simple. Whatever uses this sort of energy works simply as a conduit that carries it beyond use: the energy goes in as “fuel” and comes out as “waste.” This principle sustains a highly simplified economy having only two functions: production and consumption.
The moral order appropriate to the use of biological energy, on the other hand, requires the addition of a third term: production, consumption, and return. It is the principle of return that complicates matters, for it requires responsibility, care, of a different and higher order than that required by production and consumption alone, and it calls for methods and economies of a different kind. In an energy economy appropriate to the use of biological energy, all bodies, plant and animal and human, are joined in a kind of energy community. They are not divided from each other by greedy, “individualistic” efforts to produce and consume large quantities of energy, much less to store large quantities of it. They are indissolubly linked in complex patterns of energy exchange. They die into each other’s life, live unto each other’s death. They do not consume in the sense of using up. They do not produce waste. What they take in they change, but they change it always into a form necessary for its use by a living body of another kind. And this exchange goes on and on, round and round, the Wheel of Life rising out of the soil, descending into it, through the bodies of creatures.
The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrected, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is highest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.