Montréal, September 28, 1999
This essay is dedicated to 'she who brings light', ... in celebration of the harmonies which she cultivates, ... and to the 'young ones', who similarly bring the light of openness and honesty, so naturally, into our shared surroundings.
Last night, after a couple of ABC's (Aguardente Bagaceira's) triggered their usual fluourescent 'streaming cut' in my brain, ... it occurred to me that I should write this birthday essay on the theme of darkness and light, ... offering a point of interest from my experience, ... whatever came first to mind, ... in a number of different aspects of life. I pulled out my pen and piece of paper, and jotted down a list of topics right there and then, ... and shall be more or less faithful to that spontaneous process in my follow-through. Here goes, ...
Light: ... the Leitmotif of this Birthday Essay
Permeating all of my essays is the notion of 'enfolded opposites', ... of the 'yin/yang' aspect of nature, ... an understanding our culture seems to have traded away for the narrow notion of 'mutual exclusion', ... of seeing things as being either 'light' OR 'dark'. This is not the kind of 'light' I am talking about, ... the 'light' I am intending is 'mutually inclusive' light, ... like sunlight which includes a rainbow of colours which play and tune together to produce all shades and tones from white to black. Light that is white and black at the same time.
Mutual exclusion, ... thinking in 'black' OR 'white' terms, is what logic and rational inquiry is built upon, a very useful tool, ... but when taken to the extreme, ... when put into an unnatural primacy over 'mutual inclusion' in perceiving and inquiring into our reality, ... is clearly a source of much dysfunction in our society.
We have been taught that space and matter are mutually exclusive opposites, as well, ... that space is void and all we need to worry about is material things. This again, ... is not 'how the world works'. Historically, there has been a deep fear associated with the thought that 'space' can be in a primacy over 'matter', ... that the 'shape of space' influences the outcome of real physical phenomena, ... and we continue to resist this notion even though it has been proposed by many, .... Kepler, Heraclitus, Bruno, Faraday, Einstein, .... This notion was seen as 'occult' in the time of Kepler and September 28th, in the year 1621, was the day when Katherina Kepler, ... Johann's mother, who had been 'unter Hexenverdacht' (suspected of witchcraft) since 1615, was finally, after strenuous efforts by her son, found not guilty and released from prison.
This dread and terror of the thought of the intangible influencing the tangible is peculiar to the western culture, ... with its 2500 years of almost deification of the closed solidness and certainty of rationality, ... where things are seen as unambiguous and 'under control'. In the east, and amongst aboriginals, there is no such obsession with reducing life to the mechanical and predictable, ... and the mysterious is accepted and revered, ... the notion that we are 'contained' by, and our fortunes 'pulled into being' by the sky or by the full-emptiness in which we are immersed.
Modern physics is in agreement with the east and the aboriginals, ... it tells us that space, ... the 'shape' of space or 'field', ... is in a primacy over matter. As Kepler noted, ... the simultaneous harmony of the planets comes from the containing space, ... and cannot be 'caused' by actions of the parts. Faraday noted the same, ... that the spatial coherency induced by electromagnetic fields was in the primacy over the material-causal dynamics of the parts.
Newton's principia didn't refute this notion, ...and neither does mainstream science today, ... it simply 'bypasses' it and ignores it. We've never really brought this skeleton out into the full light of day, and that's what troubling us. We don't take out our fears on each other by 'burning at the stake' any more, ... instead, these fears are recast into our dread of 'mental illness' and non-conforming behaviors, ... and we invest much energy into suppressing such departures from our clockworks reality, ... making liberal use of the mutually exclusive labels of 'good' and 'bad' along the pathway to suppression and repression.
Light, then, ... the kind we need to shine into the shadowy closets of the west, ... is not the abstract opposite of 'dark', .... but is of the natural, 'sunlight' variety, .. the mutually INCLUSIVE kind which sees the material-causal dynamic, ...the tangible 'goings on', ... as being INCLUDED within a physically participating 'space' whose 'shape' is the configuration of opportunity and constraint, ... the pre-given, ... within which the causal dynamic transpires. .
So, the game of 'life', seen in this 'light', ... is firstly about 'space-time-shape', ... an appreciation of how the diversity in which we are immersed comes into confluence and about how we can 'coresonate' and 'coevolve' with our containing environment. In the manner of the good pool player, ... 'shape' must be regarded as the prime consideration and shot-making, a lesser, secondary thing. Our culture, having never faced up to this dysfunctional inversion of putting material constituents into an unnatural primacy over their own container, ...continues to inform us that 'shot-making', ... the 'mechanics' of the rational, logical way, ... is all she wrote, ... a flawed conceptual underpinning which effects all aspects of our lives, as these further notes will indicate.
Remember this one important concept, ...which ties together all the above discussion of yin/yang, mutual inclusion etc., and that is that you must never forget that you are immersed in 'context'. Wherever you are, the particular situation you are in affords you a spectrum of opportunities and constraints, ... this is the 'shape' of the space-time you are immersed in. This 'shape' is not the same in Ethiopia as it is in Dallas, nor is it the same for your brother as it is for you,... but this enveloping context has an overriding effect on what you can do. And here's where the good pool player and poor pool player part ways. The poor pool player will take 'shape' for granted and focus directly on 'making shots', ... while the good pool player will be continually conscious of the confluence of opportunity and constraint he is immersed in, and will put the orchestration of this enveloping context into the primacy, ... thus, he will let his shot-making be determined FIRST OF ALL, by the enveloping context in such a way that the enveloping context benefits as well as his personal goals, which are advanced by 'making the shots'.
This awareness of, and maintaining coresonance with, one's surrounding context as one 'works', and allowing this whole system to determine one's shot-making is what constitutes an 'ecological approach'. The mechanical approach detaches from enveloping context, and jumps disjointedly to executing the results of rational inquiry.
To sum up this 'pre-luminary', ... our culture is still 'spooked' by the notion that our reality emerges out of an inclusionary confluence of diverse activities which envelope us, ... in which we are immersed. It is spooked by the thought that we cannot 'control' this overriding confluence, this set of pre-conditions to our material reality which we sit within, as we experience the 'what's out there', .... and because it is spooked, it wants to forget about this immersed, confluential positioning which our life is operating out of, ... to become forgetful by focusing intensively on the 'what's out there' and what we can do to control and influence it.
This avoidance of even thinking about the precariousness of our situation, at the confluence of countless interfering processes, ... by focusing exclusively on what 'we are doing', ... and on 'what things do', ... has us come to view 'life' in terms of causal, mechanical process, stripped of their immersing context, ... has us forget about the context which necessarily domiciles and shapes all such processes, ... our life included, ... endowing them with opportunity and constraint in a form and shape unique to their particular situating within the contextual confluence.
This 'forgetting' would have us see life solely in the voyeur terms of what we look out upon, ...just as the poor pool player sees the game in terms of the opportunity to 'make shots', ... never stopping to think, ... that these 'shot-making' opportunities are emerging from, and immersed within a complexly evolving configuration. Instead, we need to remember to suspend our focus on 'what's out there', ... and imagine ourselves as within our immersed situation, and so allow ourselves to 'tune in' to the evolutionary flow of opportunity and constraint we are participants within, ... the ever-morphing relativistic sphere we are operating out of, ... to influence it by coresonating with it, ... like the good pool player who sees the game firstly in terms of an evolutionary contextual confluence, the 'configuration', whose secondary fallout or byproduct are the emergent shot-making opportunities, ... and who focuses his management effort on the confluencing so that shot-making becomes the natural offspring of confluence management, ... rather than focusing his management effort directly on shot-making, ... remaining blind to and forgetful of the confluence from which the shot-making opportunities emerge, and as a result, ... getting 'out of joint' with the evolutionary flow in which he is an immersed constituent-participant.
The confluential view (interference view in quantum duality terms) contains the shot-making view as a subsidiary case, however, by starting off from a shot-making view of reality, one precludes the confluential view. This is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, and it is Kepler's principle also, .. and Heraclitus', ... that the 'simultaneous unity and plurality' CONTAINS the 'sequential unity and reality', ... as the special case where the curvature (shape) of space-time (i.e. the self-referentiality) goes to zero and space flattens out into a rectangular non self-referential ensemble of 'things' and void.
The western propensity for 'poor pool playing', which translates into the 'crisis of perception' in our society, cited by Capra, Jantsch and others, ... will be visible in all of the following 'off-the-top-of-the-head' commentaries which follow. In all cases, ... the suggestion is not that there is no utility in the material causal approach, ... that would be absurd, ... the suggestion is instead, ... that assuming that materialism is 'the way the world works', ... putting 'material cause' in a primacy over 'space-time-shape' is a source of deep dysfunction.
The notion of a 'problem' is innately synthetic, ... it is an artifact of thinking in euclidian flatspace (thing-and-void) terms. The alternative to visualizing difficulty in terms of 'problems' is to 'let go' of the past and move forward, ... 'don't look back' as Bob Dylan says, ... 'she's got everything she needs, ... she's an artist, she don't look back'. Watch the video on Dylan in London, entitled 'Don't Look Back', ... it's inspirational and speaks to 'being who you are', ... not accepting the notions of others as to 'what's right' or whether something is 'a problem'. If you or someone else has infused some dissonance into things, ... move forward in such a way as to restore harmony, ... don't dwell on the dissonance and 'reify it', ... because by doing that, you are infusing yet more dissonance into life. 'Jamming' is 'never having to say the word 'problem''.
Progress is another delusionary artifact of western euclidian abstraction. Think about it, ... progress gives the notion of moving along a line from worse to better, right? But if worse and better are enfolded in each other, how can we draw a line between them? What's more, we've got a zillion dimensions to look at, at the same time, ... health, happiness, family, prosperity, environment, ... how can this be mapped along a single line from worse to better? Do we take a bundle of things like colour television sets per capita, ... to measure progress? The quality of life is 'implicit', ... it is not a line item, ... implicit understanding is something you know by experiencing it, ... it is not something that you can explicitly articulate or inventory.
Beware of people who put notions such as 'progress' in a primacy over personal experiencing of quality, ... in justifying their management or political policies.
Alcohol and Drugs:
They have their good effects and they have their bad, ... its the yin/yang thing again. Sure they are dangerous, ... so is life, ... you can die from it. My point is not to underplay the dangers, ... but to remark on our cultural habitude of going to binary extremes in dealing with issues of alcohol and drugs,.... and in the process, amplifying what dysfunction is already in place.
Here's what Dr. Stanton Peele says in an interview on this topic, ... and I'm with him;
Dr. Peele --"In the case of alcohol (as with drugs) the issue seems not to be actually to improve the situation, or the health of Americans, but to endorse the proper ideology. When we consider that most Americans would be healthier if they drank more, rather than less, but that this is impossible to state out loud, we see that public health officials don't really want to improve health or prolong life. They want to say the right things! Actually, this process is more true than not in nearly every policy area. It is only in a case where the bottom line is life and health that it seems so noticeable and irrational."
[Stanton Peele is a leading figure in the field of alcoholism and addiction. He is the author of, among other works, "Love and Addiction," "The Meaning of Addiction," "Diseasing of America," and "The Truth About Addiction and Recovery." Dr. Peele has received the Mark Keller Award from the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies and a the Drug Policy Foundation. (http://peele.sas.nl)]
Management by Control Hierarchy:
We don't need control hierarchies, ... in fact they are a major source of dysfunction in our society.
Natural systems of management, as occur in ecologies, involve levels and hierarchies, .. but they don't involve 'control hierarchies', ... in fact they couldn't possibly work with control hierarchies (a mechanical concept). Ecologies involve simultaneous harmonies of 'whole-and-part'. In exceptional, high performance teams, .. things work in the same way as in ecologies, .... that is, ... each person, whether a specialist or not, has a visualization of the whole activity and is empowered to act so as to amplify the harmony of his part with the whole, ... to amplify his 'part-and-whole' coresonance. He can't get into this mode if he is given narrow bounds to work within, and his own timetable and schedules out of the context of 'phase-coupling' with others.
Now, you might say, ... all very well, ... but in large scale organization, it is not possible for a person to comprehend the whole thing and the part as well. Well nature itself is an ecological organization and the mother of all scales of organization, ... so the workability of the system is well established. As Henri Laborit has pointed out in his notions of biological structure, ... the system scales up by means of sphere-within-sphere nesting. The team of molecules is in a whole and part harmony with the cell and the team of cells is in whole and part harmony with the organ, and the team of organs, is in whole and part harmony with the organism and the team of organisms is in whole and part harmony with the community and the team of ... etc. One doesn't have to span the knowledge of the quark and the cosmos, ... one instead has to sustain a whole and part harmony within their sphere of activities.
There is no fundamental barrier to prevent us from successfully shifting to an ecological style of management. What currently impedes us is the leadership ethic. Here's how Taiaiake Alfred ('Peace, Power, RIghteousness: an indigenous manifesto) describes (paraphrased) the current leadership versus what's needed, ... and my experience is in strong agreement with his;
In the 'control hierarchy', the 'guiding principles' of leadership which you can expect to run into are;
--- jealously guard your reputation and status.
--- constantly analyze resources and the opportunity structure.
--- make others aware of their dependence on you; and
--- create a web of relationships to support your power.
What is seen in 'ecological management' situations, such as in high performance teams, ... are leadership principles more akin to the following counsel which is given to newly appointed chiefs in the Kaienerokawa (Iroquois nations);
--- 'develop skin seven spans thick, which means that your mind will be strong and it will not let pass through a pointed object meant to puncture you while you work'
--- 'protect your family and nation*, ...'
---'be even-handed with all of the people, ...'
--- 'think of others before thinking of yourself, ...'
[*the notion of 'nation' here is a nation of people, not a piece of jealously protected, sovereign turf.]
One might add to the list, what is already implied, ... 'be who you are', ... leaders do not run for election. So, rather than cultivating a leadership which uses power of position to override natural harmonies in the community, ... it is important to cultivate instead, ... a leadership which is in natural harmony with the community, ... whole-and-part coherency can then come through respect rather than control.
Nature and Evolution:
Nature, to me, is not something 'out there' for us, ... we are nature, ... we are immersed constituents of nature who participate in the shaping of the future with all other constituents. The universe is alive and 'life' is not something which suddenly 'hatched' out of some chemical soup struck by lightening, ... 'life IS nature' and the more complex forms of life, such as man, animals and plants, ... represent informational structures of more enfolded complexity than the inorganic constituents of nature. But it is nature itself which is 'alive' and thus the native north american reverence for all of life's forms, earth air, fire, water is a natural reverence, ... as one can 'feel' in the poetic thought of the Lakota on the nobility of a rock; "... unmoved ... from time without end ... you rest ... in the midst of the paths ... in the midst of the winds ... you rest ... covered with the droppings of birds ... grass growing from your feet ... your head decked with the down of birds ... you rest ... in the midst of the winds ... you wait ... Aged one."
This view of nature is not a 'religious belief' which someone indoctrinated me in, ... and it is not an arbitrary belief which I decided I would 'believe in'. It is the geometrical-experiential theory which emerges from everything I know, ... all my experiences and knowledge of physics, and my imagined thought experiments, ... all. brought into connection in my mind. It is my 'implicit understanding' of 'the way the world works', ... bootstrapped from my own experience. I believe it is the same implicit understanding of life as was 'bootstrapped' by Darwin, ... and radically UNLIKE the reality which is imposed over the top of Darwin's work by his reductionist interpreters.
What you hear around you every day can't help but influence you. The 'medium is the message' as McLuhan and Innes said. There is only so much opportunity space, as those who are shut out of it are so acutely aware. The same is true in the domain of information as in art, ... when the canvas of silence is filled with brushstrokes, ... that's it, ... if the wise words are not visible, ... that's it, ... they are effectly precluded from being shared. Sharing is an artform, ... as the aboriginal traditions recognize.
It's my experience that the media itself is a truth blocker, ... by filling up informing opportunity space with the 'wrong stuff' and therefore indirectly suppressing truth. Who reports on people like Stanton Peele?, ... who reports on the politically incorrect types I webnet with? The media channels are channels of political correctness. It is politically correct to report on violence, ... in Iraq, in Kosovo, in high school massacres, but it is not politically correct to suggest that such violence emerges as interference effects from our 'shaping' of opportunity and constraint in such a way that we monopolize it for ourselves (we who are members of the adult dominator society). We have to go looking for Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, ... we don't allow spooky talk, ... of the primacy of space-time-shape over material cause, ... as they deal in.
Henri Laborit speaks very clearly to why we do not hear, in the news, or in dinner time conversation, about the modern concepts of 'whole-and-part' harmony, ... of 'space-time over matter';
"But they [the 'new grills' or 'paradigms'] are generally approached in a parcelled out (partitioned and wrapped up into neat parcels or packets) manner, for only the specialist has impact on opinion. He is worthy of belief for his exposee presents itself forcefully, in a simplified form, that of his discipline. Syntheses [whole-over-part] are more complex to expose, demanding on the part of the reader, even when they have been simplified, a major attentive effort, a spectrum of more extended understandings. Their dissemination, as a consequence, proves to be more difficult. Their conclusions are also profoundly different.
And then especially when a synthesis is not easily integrated into known cultural schemas, when it doesn't reinforce an already existing current opinion, a political ideology or a social idealogy currently in vogue, it has little chance of finding an immediate echo. It is unable to be taken seriously. The person who expresses it is not seen to demonstrate a humanism of real worth, ... this humanism which doesn't disturb anything, which calls out to the great forerunners, of the 'culture' in place, that is to say to the suite of prejudices and common linkages of a society and an epoch."
This 'humanism which doesn't disturb anything', ... this 'politically correct' humanism and the entrenched desire for concise and explicit statements, .... statements which are unlike the ambiguity and webbed harmony of ecologies and life, ... are truth blockers.
The Celtic Way:
If you have not been to Ireland, you must go, and you must go to the pubs and listen to the music and go to the west country, ... to Kerry and Clare, as well as Dublin. What you will still find is a traditional culture, ... though rapidly disappearing in the face of western style 'economic success', ... where poetry, humour, music and mystery are in a primacy over the rational and mechanical. This is a place where there is recognition of the 'shape of space-time' being in a primacy over material-causal dynamics, ... as the following excerpt from "The Celtic Tradition" by Caitlin Mathhews, makes clear;
"Myth and magic are generally conceived to be false and misleading doctrines in our society, things wrought of fantasy or of evil. As we have seen in this book, the primal Celtic world, like all native traditions, derives from both myth and magic its life and continuance. Myth describes the patterns and ordering of the world, while magic governs the regulation of daily life in conformity with this primal order. How we came to lose this insight is the history and cause of our present misfortunes, of our fractured and fragmented existence which is out of harmony with the natural laws. For the gods are nothing but the forces of those laws in manifest form, and the magic of the aos dana is their gift and means of communication between themselves and humankind."
Friends and Relatives:
Friends, seen through our voyeur perception, are convenient and comforting resources. If we are not careful, ...we can think of friends in euclidian 'on' and 'off' terms, ... like 'she was my friend'. The euclidian on/off switch goes hand in hand with linear time, ... since once one splits apart the space-time continuum when one 'makes things' which are fixed and defined in a time-independent fashion, and one must then add time back in. So if your school teacher said to you, ... draw me a line which goes from your birth to the present, and draw in the names of the friends which you had at different times of your life, ... no-one would blink an eye, right? But this 'timeline' linear view of life conflicts with our feelings. Is it not true that friends are with us forever?, ... like our parents are, even if they are no longer physically 'here', or even alive?
When we are taught to value only material things, ... taught that all else is void, ... one is forced to cling to the material possession of things, believing that if it is no longer materially in your possession, ... it has no value. But isn't a friend or relative more of a unique qualitative pattern, ... a way of being? And while that in itself is intangible, doesn't that pattern participate in real physical processes and change them in a unique way? And doesn't that pattern, coming from our friend, when we think about it, ... change how we feel and how we act in a tangible way? Apparently, there is more to friends and relatives than material properties and behaviors, ... there is this virtual qualitative aspect which we can keep with us, ...which changes us and causes us to tangibly change the world around us. Why should we not celebrate this intangible 'spirit' of friend and relative more than we do, ... why should we not 'let go' of our insistence on putting material embrace in the primacy over virtual embrace? Isn't virtual embrace of more value, ... and isn't it age-resistant as well? Aren't these 'space-time shapes' in the primacy over the material dynamics?
There is no doubt in my mind that the establishment mode of education has little to do with 'helping you become what you are meant to become', ... and instead is oriented to conditioning you to become the slave of commerce and financial interests. My own experience agrees with that of Laing, Neill, and Jules Henry, the latter who said;
"The function of education has never been to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them; and to the end that the mind and spirit of his children should never escape, Homo Sapiens [particularly the white western variety] has employed praise, ridicule, admonition, accusation, mutilation, and even torture to chain them to the culture pattern. " (Jules Henry, quoted in Teaching Is..., by Merrill Harmin and Tom Gregory.)
".. in order to study the culture of schooling, one needs not to look at what is taught, but more importantly, at what is not taught." (Jules Henry, 'Cross-Cultural Outline of Education' (1960)
Once again, we come up against the elusive yet active role of 'shaped space', ... where the politically sculpted omissions have a definite impact on tangible physical behaviors. Meanwhile, ... our system of justice is grounded in 'material cause', ... and one cannot prosecute a group of people for 'shaping space' and using it to manipulate.
As another educator observes;
"... by not generally teaching uncomfortable subjects such as genocide, and by not encouraging the sharing of emotions, schooling colludes in the depersonalization of self and of knowledge. Schooling reinforces the denial of our common vulnerabilities, and the rejection of the notion that emotion is closely tied to learning and knowing. By indirectly doing this, schools do not allow students to share in each other's humanity. Instead, communication among them and between teacher and students, is based on depersonalized barriers, and on competition and external achievement. "
... If students are not reinforced to share in each others' feelings can they really share in each other's thoughts? When they express their thoughts in class, do they really listen to each other or is it part of the schooling game? Do they just say and write what the teacher wants to hear? Is their motivation to learn and think only external?, ... to get good grades and degrees?
But the 'shaping of space' so as to dumb-down the students, isn't the only way to shape space, ... and if we agreed that what tangibly happens, is primarily influenced by 'the shape of space', ... then we could get out of interminable and futile discussions which look to 'tangible cause' for answers to 'problems'. Tangible cause is a secondary symptom, ... the primary sourcing of dysfunction is the 'shaping of space', and the western rationalist-materialist way is not the only way;
"Asians, traditionally, place decision-making responsibility not on the individual but on the group. Since harmony and trust are pervasive values in interaction, obedience and the delegation of individual responsibility may not be seen as an issue.
The Western ... ethos stresses that the individual can make a difference. He can by his own effort resolve any problem that confronts him. The opposite is expressed by a Chinese student in her journal: "The Chinese people believe that wisdom is pulled together by the people, thus we have the proverb: Three shoe menders are wiser than one scholar."
Clearly, when the western child is taught that 'he can resolve any problem that confronts him, ... he is taught to ignore the interplay of his actions with the confluence of activity he is immersed in and 'coming from', ... the pre-givens of the shape of the space-time container he is positioned within and operating out of, .... while the eastern child is [or used to be] taught that what he can or cannot do is pre-determined in an essential way by his positioning within the containing environment, ...and by the shape of that environment in terms of opportunity and constraints relative to him, ... his 'reciprocal disposition'.
Home schooling, ... visits to the country, to natural settings, as the Irish feel are so essential, are, from my current perspective, ... the only way to go in education, ... to do everything necessary to give the child the 'space' to cry out;
"I am Ongwehonweh, I am Annishnawbek
I am who I am, you are who you are
Call out my name and my spirit will answer
I am Ongwehonweh, be who you are"
Whether or not we see it as myth, ... there is myth woven into our culture and our lives. In the west, myth seems to have gone out of favor and therefore it has gone 'underground' and become hard to deal with, ... in the same manner as the overt persecution of witches has gone underground and re-emerges in the dread-based institutionalizing of the 'mentally ill' and the drugging of those with non-conforming behavior, ... even children, ... with chemical lobotomizers such as Ritalin.
Examples of western myth 'gone underground' include the dominator myth of Heracles, ... the win/lose myth which has the same 'all or nothing' geometry as euclidian space. It goes like this;
"Heracles was the greatest of the Greek heroes, and was the only hero to achieve godhood. He was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the great-grandson of Perseus. While he had several wives, he was no friend of women and was often in conflict with them. He began life by crushing a pair of serpents with his bare hands while still in the crib. (The snake or serpent is one of the symbols of the Goddess, and artistic depictions of Heracles holding a snake in each hand call to mind the goddess figurines found at the palace of Knossos in Crete.) In a fit of madness, he killed his wife and children. He was a member of the brotherhood of heroes that made up the Argonauts, the crew of the ship Argo. As the archetypal hero, he seems an appropriate mythical figure to give his name to the destructive misogynous drives in males which generate such activities as rape and multicide, and exclude women from the various brotherhoods, whether military, scholastic, or religious." http://www.flair.law.ubc.ca/jcsmith/logos/psyche/nfsoch10.html#80A
If that myth has too disturbing a resonance with our western ethic of win/lose competition, ... we can look at another, the myth of Oedipus; in Greek mythology, Oedipus, the king of Thebes, killed his father and married his mother without knowing either of them were his parents. When the truth of their relationship came to light, the mother hanged herself. According to Homer, after his mother's suicide, Oedipus continued to rule Thebes until his death. Later on, the Oedipus story as recounted in Sophocles's Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Coloneus differed from Homer's account in emphasis and detail. One of the most significant differences was that, in Sophocles's version, when the truth becomes known, Oedipus blinds himself and goes into exile, haunted by an overwhelming sense of unredeemed guilt.
There is common theme in these two western myths, ... which seem to have won out over the more yin/yang geometry myths of the west such as that of Eros and Psyche, ... concerning the manner in which behavior is modulated by them;
As Youquin Wang says; "The message of the western story of Oedipus is a negative injunction: Do not do what Oedipus did! Do not commit parricide or incest! The message of these Chinese stories [about family 'relations'], on the other hand, is a positive one: Follow the examples of the filial sons! Be a filial son to your parents!" ... "The positive exemplar, when effective, inspires its audience, thus controlling primitive desires. Similarly, the negative example serves as a warning, thus repressing these impulses. "
To me, there is plenty of evidence to support Ernest Becker's contention that there is a crisis of heroism in our society, ... and Joseph Campbell's that myth is essential for the sustaining of healthy culture. The Heraclyean myth of hero as dominator is not inspiring, ... and the myth of Oedipus, ... that matter, the son of space-time, ... can rise up and best his own mother, is plunging us deeper and deeper into dysfunction.
Youth seems to be starving for, ... but being deprived by society of,... the Celtic myth of Camelot, ... where the community and individual are seen firstly in terms of their space-time configuration and only secondly in terms of their material properties;" ...No head, no foot. Everyone equal. Even the King. ... In serving each other we become free. ... That is the very heart of Camelot. Not these stones, timber, towers, palaces, burn them all! and Camelot lives on because it lives in us. It is a belief that we hold in our hearts."
The inverted geometries in our underground myths of Heracles and Oedipus, .. of material cause over space-time-shape, ... are apparent, ...not only in the content of the myth, but also in the control oriented message by which the still-alive-but-underground myth seeks to condition behavior.
Music IS the shaping of space-time, ... it IS the virtual geometry of whole-and-part in a primacy over the material dynamics. Music is not the mechanical product of a material process, it is a simultaneous unity and plurality, ... like iron filings floating in space and 'turned on' by an immersing field, ... showing off a dazzling whole-and-part coherency like a school of minnows in the sea. Just as in the game of pool, ... the shape of the configuration is the essential and primary phenomenon, and the mechanics of playing instruments are a secondary aspect. Like the impressionist painter, ... the musician is 'coming from' the whole, ... he wants to paint the whole, ...and the 'part' is seen by inference. He does not seek to 'fabricate music 'bottom-up' by assembling tones and rhythms', ... the music comes implicitly into his head first, ... and then he tries to throw some 'parts', ... some notes together, ... in such a way as to give a rendering to the implicit whole-and-part 'space-time-shape' which is in his mind.
As Rumi says;
It's the old rule that drunks have to argue
and get into fights.
The lover is just as bad. He falls in a hole.
But down in that hole he finds something shining,
worth more than any amount of money or power.
Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street
I took it as a sign to start singing,
falling up into the bowl of sky.
The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere,
Nothing else to do
Here's the new rule: break the wineglass,
and fall towards the glassblower's breath.
* * *
Music is not the causal result of playing instruments, it is muse's breath which pulls the notes, ... the arms, the fingers, the mouths, tongues and lungs of the musicians, into the Zen circle, ... the space which must be filled.
Sex and Intimacy:
There is an old joke which goes; 'Do you know the difference between education and training?', ... and when the respondent says 'No', ... comes the retort, ... 'Then you don't mind whether or not your child receives sex education or sex training?"
Now, one could try the same thing with 'Intimacy" and it would work rather differently, ... this is the point of my essay, "Valentines: The Polarities of Resonance", and the point of David Schnarch, the psychologist who I quote in the essay.
As Schnarch observes, ... the sixties were celebrated for the sexual liberation which ensued, ... and all kinds of sex therapy and 'training' followed this liberation. As he says, ... in this new open environment, we approached an understanding of sex in the same manner we approached the cracking of the atom. You can indeed 'train' for sex, to make bigger, better, more numerous orgasms, ... but these physiological dynamics do not necessarily go 'hand-in-hand' with intimacy. One cannot 'train' for intimacy, ...and intimacy can come without physical sex or orgasms, ... as it does within blood relationships and close friendships.
The focus on 'better sex', which seems to abound in the media, ..is the analogue to 'better shot-making' in pool, ... it puts the focus on the secondary and by so doing, blinds one to the primary.
But if you are a follower of Buddhist tantric tradition, you might agree with the Zen master Sengai, one of whose poems says;
Falling in love is dangerous
For passion is the source of illusion;
Yet being in love gives life flavor,
And passions themselves
Can bring one to enlightenment.
... and/or to the inscription on one of his paintings, of a couple in sexual intercourse which says;
This is the original form of interpenetration with the cosmos
A Buddhist practice to harmonize the two roots,
Naked, climb the opposite peak
And achieve non-dual union.
The harmony of space and its constituent matter, ... the harmony of 'hole-and-part' is a fundamental theme, ... it is this container-content-coresonance in a virtual sense which governs the quality of individual and community experience, ... and it is this container-content-coevolution which is evolution itself.
The former and the latter are enfolded in each other, ... the coresonance of evolutionary purpose providing the inductive evolutionary force which pulls the coevolving, containing whole into its own future. The geometry is as Laing says, in his (presumably LSD catalyzed) 'Bird of Paradise', .... 'the future that I am reaching out to grasp is the me that is reaching out to grasp it'
This geometry is not something that can be 'manufactured'. Few people are achieving a state of intimacy, according to Schnarch, because of their 'shot-making' focus, ... a focus which fits so well into our materialist cultural ethic.
According to the scholars of the aramaic language used by Jesus and his fellows and followers, ... it too was based on the primacy of space-time-shape over material dynamics, ... though translation of Jesus' words via Greek, re-grounded them in 'bottom-up' materialism.
Thus, the following, from the Gospel according to Thomas;
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter [the Kingdom]."
Which has been compared by religious scholars to Odes of Solomon 34:4,5--'The likeness of what is below, is that which is above--for everything is above; what is below is nothing but the delusion of those who are without knowledge.' ('understanding' is used in place of 'knowledge' in some versions).
... You may and will draw your own conclusions, ... but having seen the re-translations from Syrian aramaic of the Lord's prayer and other citations which come out decidedly more 'container-over-content' or 'curved-space-time' oriented than the euclidian forms which we are accustomed to seeing from the Greek-to-English path, ..there is plenty of indication to think that Jesus, like the Buddhists, ... like the Celts, ... like the aboriginals, ... was thinking in terms of the primacy of space-time-shape over material cause,.... which recasts the materialism of the west, as we know it today, into "the delusion of those who are without knowledge"
The following excerpt from the essay "Culture and Geometry: Burying the Hatchet" explores the relationship between an aramaic (as used by Jesus) interpretation of the writings of that era, with aboriginal religious themes as also articulated in english;
That is, non-euclidian languages, such as celtic, aramaic and native american involve the use of substantives whose boundaries are blurry with respect to the action-space they are immersed in. Put another way, non-euclidian languages are not characterized by 'hard' boundaries between 'ends' and 'means'; i.e. the strong warrior is seen not only in terms of a 'thing' but also as a potency in the space he is occupying or as an influence in the space he historically occupied. Again, this notion of seeing things in historical or 'ontogenetic' terms comes into play; ... a geometry which characterizes non-euclidian, self-referential forms.
Scholars of the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus note that it is in the non-euclidian [our term] mold of the Celts etc. and much of the self-referential meaning has been laundered out through translations from the greek (euclidian) into english (euclidian). Neil Douglas-Klotz  points out (as mentioned earlier) that aramaic, unlike english, did not use the 'immiscible' approach of english, squeezing all materiality into closed form nouns and leaving an empty 'playing field' with which to give linear causal descriptions of noun-precipated action. Instead, aramaic blurred the boundaries between a 'thing' and its spatial presence. As Douglas-Klotz puts it, "Unlike Greek, Aramaic does not draw sharp lines between means and ends, or between an inner quality and an outer action. Both are always present. When Jesus refers to the 'kingdom of heaven', this kingdom is always both 'within' and 'among' us. Likewise, 'neighbor' is both inside and outside, as is the 'self' that we are to love to the same degree as our 'neighbor'. Unlike [euclidian] Greek, [non-euclidian] Aramaic presents a fluid and holistic view of the cosmos. The arbitrary borders found in Greek between 'mind', 'body', and 'spirit' fall away."
The geometry so-described, in terms of physics, is one of interplay between the latent potential energy of space and the materiality induced by spatial latencies, a geometry reminiscent of non-euclidian space, self-referentiality, general relativity theory, yin-yang etc. This notion of space allows for the geometric notion of divinity (as held by Kepler and Heraclitus etc.); i.e. a divinity (or 'heaven') which is the fundamental ontogenetic flow of the living cosmos.
The point here is not to get into religious debate, simply to observe that different space-time assumptions; i.e. euclidian and/or non-euclidian assumptions, can be 'built in' to the language base, and that this can have a significant impact on how we perceive and inquire into the reality around us. This takes us back to Wittgenstein's suggestion that we can be 'captive' of words or 'bewitched' by language. Certainly, Douglas-Klotz' interpretation of aramaic suggests that speakers of aramaic in the time of Jesus might have 'imaged' his words in a 'divinity in nature' context.
There are many more citings of how the nature of language gives rise to different 'psychology', such as with regard to native american poems and their 'circle of life' themes. The following poem was in this case attributed to Dayton Edwards, however, by its 'geometrical signature', it could have as easily come from a Celtic as a Native American source;
The Circle Again: Birth and Death
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glimpse in the snow;
I am the gentle autumn rain;
I am the sunripe golden grain.
And when you wake in the morning, hush.
I am the swift uplifting rush
of circling birds and circling flight;
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
One can find variants of this poem, whose 'divinity in nature' theme predates our euclidian space oriented western philosophy, in Christian, as well as Celtic and Native eulogies around the globe. Apparently it is geometry of choice to 'die by' if not to 'live by'.
The impact of space-time assumptions built into language emerges in the case of 'treaty negotiation. The following comments  are excerpted from Chief Roy Whitney's preface to 'The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7' (This 1877 treaty, involved the First Nations of the Alberta region; i.e the Bloods, the Peigan, the Siksika (Blackfoot), the Stoney, and the Tsuu T'ina (Sarcee), and the Canadian government. The book captures the passed-down impressions of tribal elders as to Treaty 7's intent.
* * *
"This volume thus represents a collective effort rather than one that can be attributed to only a few individuals. It is a remarkable achievement for five nations representing three distinct language groups to produce such a book.
However, we recognize that there may be problems with what we have produced. For example, meanings may not be accurately conveyed where there are no Blackfoot, Nakota, and Tsuu T'ina (Dene) words that correspond to English words or concepts - or the reverse. More generally, First Nations peoples have expressed the belief that our languages represent a significantly different world view from that of the newcomers, one that cannot be glibly translated without an understanding of the context and environment in which the languages were created. "Verb-centred" Native languages and "noun-centred" European languages arose out of radically different contexts and environments. As Sakej Youngblood-Henderson has recently pointed out in an article, these fundamentally different languages are not compatible with simple translation.
* * *
The First Nations agreed to share the land with Canadian newcomers in return for the Crown's promises, which entailed annuity payments, education, medical care, ammunition, assistance in farming and ranching, and assurance that we would be free to continue to hunt as we always had. All of the First Nations elders said that their people did not give up the land; in fact concepts such as "surrender" and "cede" had been untranslatable to them. What is clear from the elders' testimony is that our people would allow newcomers to farm and to use the topsoil of the land. Our elders from each of the nations were adamant that there was no discussion of surrendering the land.
* * *
Just as a modern day Christian reading the aramaic words of Jesus translated through greek into english may 'image' them very differently than a contemporary of Jesus' whose native language was aramaic (due to the differing inbuilt space-time assumptions), the First Nations Chief, discussing treaty 7 with a Christian negotiator, through interpretors, is unlikely to converge on the same imagery. In fact, given the nature of the different space-time assumptions incorporated in the respective languages, it would be far more likely for the First Nations Chief and the negotiator to converge on a common imagery, if the negotiator was fluent in the aramaic of two thousand years ago.
The main observation in this discussion of non-euclidian language is that those languages which have not converted their language base to euclidian concepts are far better equipped, in philosophical or systems inquiry mode (which demands high levels of self-consistency) to deal with complex natural phenomena. Euclidian geometry influenced languages, such as english, while internally self-consistent in a rational sense, cannot easily capture and convey the self-referential patterns inherent in complex natural systems such as collaborative human structures.
Hopefully, ... this essay may have shone a little light on a complex subject. From where I sit, comments aren't necessary as the data would seem to speak for themselves.
Have a happy birthday, ... and don't forget to think about poor Katherina and how delighted she must have been on this day, ... September 28, ... back in 1621.
* * *
 Johann Keplers Mutter Katharina unter Hexenverdacht.
Der Astronom und Astrologe Johann Kepler mußte beträchtliche finanzielle Mittel und viel Zeit aufwenden, um seine Mutter, Katharina Kepler, vom Vorwurf der Hexerei zu befreien. Im Jahre 1615 wird sie in Leonberg erstmals beschuldigt, am 28. September 1621 erst folgt die endgültige Freilassung. Eine ungewöhnlich lange Prozeßdauer und ein ungewöhnliches Urteil. Sehr wahrscheinlich wäre sie, ohne das energische Auftreten ihres Sohnes und dessen Einfluß als Mathematiker und Astronom seiner Kaiserlichen Majestät, noch 1615/16 als Hexe verbrannt worden.
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