The Return of the Myth-Makers

October 19, 1998

The image of an indian-head penny came into Emile's habitually inquiring mind, .... what was it about that image that was so powerful, .... why had this penny become such a collector's item? Simply because of its rarity, or was there something more?

Even before he thought those words, Emile knew there was something more, .... the image of the indian, was proud, pure, conscious and alert, trustworthy, authentic, defiant, strong, enduring, and beyond good-and-evil, .... qualities which seemed to emanate from the traditions, if not the modern actions of the aboriginal peoples, ... qualities which were invoked by the picture of a spear-holding masai warrior framed tall and strong against African grasslands, or from the story of a young australian native, alone in the wilderness, catching and cooking lizards in the survival economy his coming-of-age 'walkabout' was to introduce him to.

The indian head penny, as coinage of the realm, brought together the notion of shareable value, coupled with intangible value, .... it brought feelings of harmony and strength to the gut and heart at the same time as it brought assurances of access to material needs.

On impulse, Emile pulled the bills from his wallet, an american twenty, a canadian twenty and an america one. ... Grim green smiles, that's all he could see. The Queen looked distracted, as if thinking of the Saturday Night Live skit where an actor meant to be her son dressed up as a tampax and spoke of an ultimate mission of being reincarnated as a girl's bicycle seat, ... Andrew Jackson pursed his lips and conveyed, with his demeanor, more than a hint of arrogance, perhaps in reflection of his titanic struggle with Chief Justice John Marshall over Georgia's abusive indian policy, and his court-defying statement after Marshall found in favour of the Cherokees, "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!. And then came good old, impeccably heroic George Washington,.... his eyes, meanwhile, seeming to deliver a kind of two-sided message, as if when he opened his mouth a forked tongue might emerge, as in a Monty Python cartoon clip.

At least, that's what came into Emile's head, as he gazed at the bill, and the thought continued to grow and evolve as to how that duality in George's gaze might 'highlight' in shades of red and white when George was denunciating Indians as "having nothing human except the shape", ... then again, the artist hired by the Mint, may have been trying to capture Washington's 'economic scrutiny' look, and what Emile was seeing was perhaps George's musing on the fact that while 80% of the Federal Budget during his administration was spent on Indian warfare, the economic contribution of African slaves, of which he was well-possessed, had been a continuing economic blessing, and as this point Emile saw George's mouth open, Pythonesque style, to the clink of a cash register, burping out the message "In God we Trust".

Symbology had begun to fascinate Emile, and as he flipped the canadian twenty over, he found that the wordless imagery of Loons in their natural setting induced a somewhat pleasant feeling in him, as if by the careful handling of the note, he was helping to protect his feathered brethren and their domicile, which seemed more immediate and meaningful than "In God We Trust".

Emile was not anti-religious or anti-God, but was aware of the many different notions of 'God', ... an awareness which had been heightened as recently as the night before, as he watched news reports of a young homosexual brutally murdered in the name of one of these God-notions. Emile was more inclined to think of God in the same terms as Heraclitus and Kepler,... in terms of a god indistinguishable from the ordering principles in nature and reflected that Kepler, while a practicing Lutheran, was at the same time of a NeoPlatonist philosophical bent and an admirer of the writings of Proclus (412 - 485 A.D.). Proclus had been poet, philosopher and scientist, and one of the last official teachers of the Platonic Academy in Athens, prior to an edict which forbade the teaching of philosophy by Emperor Justinian in 529.

What was it that Proclus had said which appealed to Kepler? Emile rifled through the piles of notes and books scattered on the floor around him, and which he often navigated with a dexterity suggestive of a sixth sense. He soon found the piece he was looking for and re-freshed his mental imagery by reading it over to himself;

"We affirm Nature to be a certain power implanted in things producing like things out of like. For Nature generates, augments and nourishes all things. Wherefore it has in itself the names of all things. An animal is from Nature; a stone, wood, a tree, and the bodies which you see are from Nature and her maintaining. Nature is the blood of the elements, and the power of mixing which brings to pass the mixtures of the elements in everything in this sublunary world, and has imprinted on them a form agreeable to their species, by which that thing is distinguishable and separated from each other thing. Nor is Nature of any colour, yet a partaker and efficient of all colours: also of no weight, nor quality, but finally the fruitful parent of all qualities and things. What is therefore Nature? God is Nature, and Nature is God: understand it thus: out of God there arises something next to him. Nature is therefore a certain invisible fire, by which Zoroaster taught that all things were begotten, to whom Heraclitus the Ephesian seems to give consent."

Emile wasn't 'big' on any kind of flatspace dogma such as characterized western religions, but he had become very aware of the fact that symbology was a curved-space perturbing force to be respected and reckoned with. And whether it was consciously or unconsciously induced, symbols such as red-, black-, yellow- or white-skin, or homosexual-, male- or female-behavioral-patterns, seemed to draw on space-time latencies, inducing collective patterns of behavior which strongly shaped the containing reality and influenced the environment as a whole. The message, as far as Emile was concerned, was that symbology was something which needed to brought into a surface state of aware understanding so that it could be consciously orchestrated by the collective, instead of unconsciously orchestrating the collective as it seemed to do in the cultural mainstream.

This was the point that Emile was struggling to get onto the same plane, ... or rather 'sphere' with, with his writer's workshop instructress, Maya. Maya suspected that Emile was into the 'analytical' method', when Emile was actually trying to get to a sphere of understanding that was not only beyond the notion of 'taking things apart', but beyond the notion of 'things'.

Emile wanted to understand 'story-telling' at the pre-conceptual level of Vygotsky, at the point there were only patterns of flow and emotion as captured by our senses, .... to intercede in the flow of cognition prior to that point, so well described by Vygotsky, where we run incoming patterns down the conveyor belt of our historical experience, picking up and assembling the concepts which seem to 'fit' different aspects of the incoming pattern, glueing it all together and labelling it, so that the fully conceptualized 'word-ding-an-sich' came off the end of the conveyor belt as a fully-bundled product complete with recipes outlining our associated behavioral response. So, the mysterious patterns which emanated from the indian head on the penny, were fundamentally dependent on spatio-cultural latencies, and these tended to differ over time and place, and be influenced by the cultural 'leadership', viz. for example, General Sheridan's famous coinage of the word-thing 'Indian' via his statement, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."

While Maya objected to disturbing the alchemical mysteries of how stories emerged from and into words, Emile was wanting to delve well below the level of word-things, which were already hopelessly culture-coloured in many cases, and to roll and play in the diversely patterned viscosities and harmonies of pre-conceptual curved space, learning how to sculpt and orchestrate these so that the story could be shaped at the preconceptual level well before it was precipitated into a complex lego-works of word-things.

Now that he had come to terms with curved-space, words were far too unambiguous for Emile, and when they were ambiguous, it was that 'coloured' type of ambiguity which confused communications and 'story-telling' even more. His understanding of modern physics informed him that the space between 'things' was an equal participant in the 'story', a concept that was unthinkable in the West up to and including the time of Kant who had unambiguously proclaimed that there was no comprehensible alternative to the idea of a flatspace formed by three orthogonal planes and populated by independent 'things', asserting that "Euclidian geometry is the inevitable necessity of thought".

Emile wondered how many people in the west had been taught in school, that the flatspace world of 'things' was a rational abstraction, ... an approximation which did not jive with our sensory perceptions, as opposed to curved space-time which was 'in phase' with our perceived reality? Just as our teachers omitted mention of the racism and bigotry of the founding fathers, they seemed to similarly give short shrift to the politically incorrect notion of curved space, perhaps because it undermined the basic premises of western culture, such as the putting into primacy of exclusionary logic, a cornerstone of western rationalism since the time of Parmenides and Aristotle. How many westerners, he wondered, were familiar with the fact that Karl Gauss had suppressed his findings on curved space because Gauss disliked controversy and knew that the curved-space notion would be a severe irritant to the culture-at-large? Since history is filled with the tales of innocents who go where angels fear to tread, the curved space story was continued through Riemann, Gauss's student, who published it in his doctoral thesis, the blow being somewhat softened by the contemporaneous curved space works of several others whose nerdiness had equally obscured, for them, the hazards of such messengership.

Emile knew that it wouldn't have slipped by him if he had been made aware in school of Einstein's comments on Riemann's development of the curved-space framework; .... "Only the genius of Riemann, solitary and uncomprehended, had already won its way to the middle of the last century to a new concept of space, in which space was deprived of its rigidity, ... in which its power to take part in physical events was recognized as possible.", .... neither would he have missed, had he heard it, Max Born's similarly unrestrained praise of Riemann's spherical space, .... "This suggestion of a finite but unbounded space is one of the greatest ideas about the nature of the world which has ever been conceived.".

Gauss was right, shifting from a worldview of unambiguous 'things' in flatspace, to a worldview of innately ambiguous space-time patterns was not something which was going to be easily digested by the western culture, which had built up an entire 'house-of-cards' ensemble of rules, recipes, traditions and outlooks, on the basis of euclidian 'things'. Moreover, the written language of the west, the sole available medium to explain the transcendent curved space world which included, as a subset of itself, euclidian flatspace and 'things', ..... this western thing-oriented language, unlike the aboriginal's language, was innately euclidian, and incapable of directly conveying the curved-space notion that subject, object and environment were mutually interdependent. Sure, one could use the western language by building the patterns one needed in an allegorical, metaphorical or poetic way, but it was a far from trivial exercise to orchestrate such metaphors and allegories so as to incarnate the particular 'story' that one wanted to share, and this non-trivial task was what Emile was trying to understand in greater depth and to develop his 'story-telling' skills in.

Robert McKee, and his book 'Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screen Writing' appeared to be Maya's bible, and yet Emile could find scant mention of the curved-space notions he was most interested in. In fact, many of McKees propositions appeared to stand in direct opposition to the notion of curved space. At one point, Emile thought he had stumbled onto the mother lode when he saw references to the notion of an "Antiplot" a story-telling aspect which acknowledged the presence of a participative surrounding space which interpenetrated and helped shape the foreground storylines and events, but he was ultimately led into a cul-de-sac by McKee's explanation.

Emile impatiently inserted the sheaf of notes he had been referring to back into suitable strata in his carpettop archives, and without getting out of his chair reached out and seized his copy of 'Story', flipping to the folded-over page corner which bookmarked the section on 'Causality versus Coincidence', and began re-reading it; .... "The Archplot stresses how things happen in the world, how a cause creates an effect, how this effect becomes a cause which triggers yet another effect. Classical story design charts the vast interconnectedness of life from the obvious to the inpenetrable, from the intimate to the epic, from individual identity to the international infosphere. It lays bare the network of chain-linked causalities that, when understood, gives life meaning. The Antiplot, on the other hand, often substitutes coincidences for causality, putting emphasis on the random collisions of things in the universe that break the chains of causality and lead to fragmentation, meaninglessness and absurdity."

Emile knew that Maya, and by all accounts, McKee, had writing skills which went far beyond this simplistic and misleading model of reality and writing. Causality was the artifact of euclidian space perspective, and to build on it was to invite incompleteness and dysfunction into whatever emerged. As for the 'Antiplot' complementing the linear 'Archplot' as a containing space constituted by randomness and fragmentation, this typified the Kantian view, where all order was seen to be in the causal paths (or 'chain-linked network') that tracked across the surface of our reality like roads on a highway map. What was being missed in McKee's modelling was the curved space view which informed us that the spaces between the seemingly unambiguous india ink matrix of causal roadways were alive with coherent latencies, that the roads, our euclidian generalizations, could never truly be separated from the space which enveloped them, just as the concept of 'parallel lines' had no place in Riemann's spherical space.

There was much more to it than even this, Emile reflected, ... curved space also told us that 'linear time' was itself an abstract artifact of this notion of driving along causal highways which we westerners deemed were independent of the enveloping space. Linear time was no more than an abstraction which went hand in hand with the causal perspective and these unambiguous road-lines, ... an abstraction emanating from the notion of 'cause' which, as Nietsche had asserted, was a notion which collapsed with the belief in 'purpose'. As soon as one began to think of these causal road-lines as being no more than, for example, the spiral trajectory implicitly traced out by the growth structure of an ammonite, or the black spinal cord of a boiled shrimp, the detached linear view of time dissolved and opened the door to a view of time as an interpenetrating aspect of our individual and collective ontogeny, much as time seems to us in our remembering, as a blend of vintages, rather than as a linear chronology.

Emile knew how unpopular it was to remind people of the innate ambiguities of causal paths and the abstract nature of linear time, and he thought of James Loewen's "The Lies my Teachers Told Me", and Loewen's treatment of the issue of ambient spatio-cultural latencies so often suppressed in the 'stories' we were telling our children about our history, ... as in the popular suppression from school texts of the actual remarks made in Lincoln's and Douglas' famous debates. Loewen reminded us that these debates between Judge Stephen A. Douglas, the leader of the Democratic party when Lincoln was running for President on the Republican ticket, were punctuated with statements by Lincoln such as "I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes", and by Douglas such as "In my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis. It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the white man, to be administrated by white men . . . I am opposed to taking any step that recognizes the Negro man or the Indian as the equal of the white man. I am opposed to giving him a voice in the government."

Emile smiled as he thought of Loewen's teaching device of trying to get today's school children to sing the song which had been a favorite amongst democrats from coast to coast in 1864, and was made available at that time in songbooks printed in the hundreds of thousands, for use at political rallies. This most popular offering was entitled "The New National Anthem: Nigger Doodle Dandy" and was sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy"'

Yankee Doodle is no more,

Sunk his name and station;

Nigger Doodle takes his place,

And favors amalgamation

CHORUS: Nigger Doodle's all the go

Ebony shins and bandy,

'Loyal' people all must bow

To Nigger Doodle dandy.

The white breed is under par

It lacks the rich a-romy,

Give us something black as tar,

Give us 'Old Dahomey.'

Chorus: Nigger Doodle's all the go, ...

Blubber lips are killing sweet,

And kinky heads are splendid;

And oh, it makes such bully feet

To have the heels extended.

Chorus: ....

... Emile knew why Loewen could not get modern day school children to mouth these lyrics, .... it was because of the space-time latencies surrounding the school children which words like 'nigger', 'rich a-romy', 'kinky heads' and 'blubber lips' entwined themselves around, like fishnetting which, when you pulled on it, felt as if you were going to pull something very threatening and undesirable out of the deep dark waters of the past, .... perhaps the self-same latencies which were brewing in 1864 but which had submerged somehow, .... and now, to even accidentally mouth some of these words could arouse the gods of spatial latency and brew up a nasty storm in our shared containing space, as had happened in the case of the amiable sports announcer whose lifelong career was cut short by the telling of a latency-disturbing 'off-color' joke.

Disturbing spatial latencies by the use of culturally-incorrect symbols could have far worse consequences than a free ticket to the ranks of the unemployed, thought Emile, as the televised tribute to that murdered young man attested, an innocent youth who done no more than to briefly fly the symbolry of homosexuality. Here was yet another victim of the rising euclidian literalism which seemed to lurk and fester in the spatial latencies around us, even as we were approaching the 'turning of the corner', .... or the 'restarting of counters' for the so-called 'third millenium'.

Emile was no crusader on rights and wrongs in the world; ... while he supported the maintaining of a safety net of controls to protect civil rights, his felt that living one's life by the flatspace notion of right and wrong was at the source of western social dysfunction. What Emile wanted to do was to 'tell a story' which might allow youth, in particular, to get a better fix on the curved space nature of our reality and how symbolism and myth was helping to shape it whether or not we chose to be aware of it or ignore it. McKee's mapping of causal roads against a background of randomness was about as far away as one could get from depicting such a reality.

Meanwhile, Jan's story of 'local currency' and the 'survival economy' was the stuff that 'myths' were made of, and Emile was energized to develop a deeper understanding of myth, to be able to express the natural primacy of the powerful latencies of space-time over the 'causal roads'of euclidian perception in a 'story-telling' mode. Like Loewen, Emile was sensitized to how certain latency-disturbing symbolic words or patterns violated the unwritten rules of the culture and enured the wrath of the euclidian establishment. Even as the culture struggled in a rising sea of complexity, it persisted in its desire to leave undisturbed, the latencies of curved space-time, and as a result, these latencies had become pregnant with potencies which were shaping our culture and human welfare ever more intensively in ways that confused and confounded, particularly since the dissonance-inducing symbols remained 'unmentionable'

Emile had already found that non-mainstream youth were more receptive to non-euclidian thinking and had little problem, where trust was established, in sharing notions of spatial latency and how the strength of curved-space self-referentiality can be strongly emergent in bluntly stated sexual geometries such as; "The cock that I am swallowing in my cunt is the me that is swallowing it" or "The cunt that I am filling with my cock is the me that is filling it"; ... statements wherein the container 'is' the contained, a 'two-and-the-one' geometry which brings all parts into unity through not-so-hidden harmonic attunement. Emile used such symbolic examples with care as he knew that establishment adults tended to hold up crucifixes and garlands of garlic at the public mention of such geometries, and he often reflected on how R.D. Laing had so aptly summed up this aberrant flatspace-fear-of-curved-space aspect of western culture, in the opening in his book of 'Knots';

"They are playing a game. They are playing at not

playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I

shall break the rules of the game and they will punish me.

I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game."

With this ironically self-referential gem, Laing had both demonstrated that the culture operates on the basis of curved-space self-referentiality and yet denies it.

Emile once again smiled in thinking that, least the sexual expression of curved-space geometries gets a 'rise' out of people while the more subtle poetry of folks like Rilke, passes many by, speaking only to those who already 'get it'. Emile had hesitated before using a quote from Rilke in his web page which said; "The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed from all false feeling and aversion, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will come together as human beings." He had hesitated because the thought came into his mind that people might miss the geometrical 'two-and-the-one' message,... of the unity and connectedness which transcends opposition by building on it, not by doing away with it, ... of the intimacy of one-ness which can come from two people walking the path of sexuality rather than pursuing it as a destination, .... a curved-space notion which permeated the buddhist tantric traditions and the kama sutra. Instead, Emile had mused, the reader might well think that Rilke and Emile were on a 'sex is dirty' campaign.

Emile opened up his wallet and returned the cooling greenbacks to their warm leather home. He thought of how powerful the image of a Masai warrior on a local currency bill could be, ... referencing the currency not only to material goods, services, milligrams of gold or dozens of doughnuts or whatever, ... but to what the warrior symbolically stood for; ... to the proud, pure, conscious and alert, trustworthy, authentic, defiant, strong, enduring, beyond good-and-evil, ..... qualities which, like living ivy, could entwine the symbolic imagery with the latencies of curved space, inducing swirls and vortices to play upon emotions and induce like behaviors in producer, consumer and marketplace.

As far as Emile was concerned, enough was enough; ... the time seemed ripe for the 2500 years of unnatural and self-inflicted soul-poisoning punishment, brought on by a western cultural insistence on euclidian flatspace roles, scripts and story-lines, to be brought to an end. It was time to topple cartesian literality from its unambiguous pedestal and to resurrect man's aboriginal awareness of curved-space latencies as embodied in the space-time harmony of myth, .... and maybe, just maybe, local currencies would have chance to catalyse such renaissance, bringing us back into an embrace of the 'survival economy' formerly known as 'life'.

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