The Boy Who Ate the Wrong Part of the Crocodile

Chris Cuomo said on Valentine’s Day: “The opposite of love is not hate—the opposite of love is indifference.” When someone plainly sees an injustice or wrong occurring and does nothing about it, this person is choosing to let the fabric of our shared reality rip and become ruin. Cuomo made a direct link to the role indifference played in the rise of the three brutal Dictators of World War II. After the chaos of WWI and global economic depression, great numbers of people were left without means of meeting their basic needs. Many looked to strong men with bold visions who said things like: “I can fix this! I, and I alone, can make our country great again!” These strong men possessed an uncanny magnetism that attracted people to them—people being crushed by their circumstances. These men were of course Adolf Hitler of Germany, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. 

At the beginning of WWII, the United States refused to enter it, fed up after the extraordinary loss of life, resources, and money poured into Europe during the first Great War. This combined with the Great Depression left Americans sunk deep inside a well of isolationist thinking. Many believed Europe needed to work out its own problems, which they felt were rooted in ancient tribal differences and racists tendencies played out over centuries. This thinking prevented Roosevelt from sending U.S. ships to help Churchill get his army out of Dunkirk where they were penned in by Hitler’s army, which was sweeping across Europe in a frightening and virtually unstoppable power grab. I believe Roosevelt sent some airplanes, but they had to be pushed over the Canadian border, not driven or flown, so they could take off from Canada allowing Roosevelt to claim he was not helping Britain, Canada was. Churchill was left in an impossible position for he did not have enough naval ships to evacuate his men. Without a British army, Hitler would invade the island nation forcing Churchill to surrender. Imagine the world if this had happened. Fortunately, Churchill prevailed by using every private water vessel available to cross the English Channel to get his men out.

After Pearl Harbor, America could no longer remain uninvolved in the second Great War now erupting just as brutally in the Far East. To help change public opinion and prepare men for battle, the United States government commissioned a series of movies to explain and justify involvement in yet another war. One of these movies was Prelude to War made by Frank Capra depicting the Nazi propaganda machine and disinformation being put out by the 3 dictatorial regimes. Inspired by Leni Riefenstahl‘s Germany propaganda film Triumph of the Will, Capra sought to create a movie that would counter hers, but to do so, he knew he needed a powerful idea. From Wikipedia:

Capra made his primary focus the creation of “one basic, powerful idea” that would spread and evolve into other related ideas. Capra considered one important idea that had always been in his thoughts: ‘I thought of the Bible. There was one sentence in it that always gave me goose pimples’:Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”[3]

As a result, his goal became to “let the enemy prove to our soldiers the enormity of his cause—and the justness of ours”. He would compile enemy speeches, films, newsreels, newspaper articles, with a list of the enemy’s hostile actions. He presented his ideas to other officers now assigned to help him: ‘I told them of my hunch: Use the enemy’s own films to expose their enslaving ends. Let our boys hear the Nazis and the Japs shout their own claims of master-race crud—and our fighting men will know why they are in uniform.’[3]

Weeks later, after major efforts and disappointments, Capra located hard-to-reach archives within government facilities, and by avoiding normal channels was able to gain access: Peterson and I walked away on air. We had found the great cache of enemy films—and it was ours![3]

If interested in these historical strands of fate and destiny, watch Capra’s Prelude to War and the Darkest Hour (an interpretation of Churchill and Dunkirk). After watching or reading about this time, I believe it is possible to grasp just how precarious human time and attention was during this moment as strong men worked day and night to divert and misdirect human attention to obscure their evil deeds. It is a timeless story repeated over and over in the human world. However, Now, here we stand again, this time closer to the edge than ever before, and yet so many people seem blissfully unaware, or worst, indifferent to the danger. 

Or, perhaps it is not an edge at all. 

Perhaps we face a collision of two different consolidations of human consciousness. What if every moment of our lives and every other human being’s life leaves a trace upon the warp and woof of space and time? What if these traces create a substrate from which our shared conscious reality rises and is expressed? One of the most fundamental expressions of this consciousness is through relationships (i.e., family, friends, community, country, world). Sometimes these relationships are strong, balanced and healthy, and they put good into the world. Sometimes these relationships are broken and unhealthy, and they pour bad into the world. These bonds and the traces they leave behind are immeasurably subtle and elusive for they are of an emotional-psychic-spiritual nature, thus escape our eyes, and even our minds, but not our hearts.

What if these traces of consciousness, this subtle energy, bump into each other and form bonds just like electrons and protons do in the visible universe? What if these bonds glob together and create landscapes, even planets or consolidated bodies of consciousness? Of course, these places would be invisible to the eye for they are spaces created from psychological-emotional-spiritual expressions or memories of our collective co-existence as human beings up to this point in time. There would be beautiful and safe places in this realm as well as dangerous ones. There would be ancient places charted long ago by our ancestors but Now forgotten. And, there would-be dried-up places, submerged places, verdant places, and crowded places. One would need to learn how to navigate these terrains just as one learns how to navigate the physical world, and these places would create the bedrock for our collective conscious co-existence. In short, they form the fertile invisible ground from which new conscious life sprouts and is expressed through time. 

Now consider two different consolidations of conscious terrain have formed over the expanse of human conscious co-existence and share the same orbit around the sun of humanity’s awaken consciousness—just as Earth shared the same orbit around our sun with Theia , which is believed to have been a Mars-sized planet orbiting the sun in the same Goldie Locks trajectory as Earth. Scientist believe Theia struck Earth about 4.5 billion years ago in a collision so massive it knocked Earth off its axis, sending it spinning so fast that one day was completed in 5 hours. The colossal amount of debris thrown into space created our moon, which eventually slowed Earth’s spin from 5-hours to 24 hours and created Earth’s tides once water returned. As life emerged, Earth’s crooked axis was transformed into our seasons, and from this destruction and chaos, a new equilibrium rose—one where life could thrive.

Further imagine the destruction and tragic loss of human life that happened 100 years ago and again 75 years ago were near misses of this other consolidation of human consciousness—merely pass-byes, not collisions, but nevertheless capable of generating tremendous gravitational forces within both consolidations of consciousness, which would widen and deepen natural riffs existing within these spheres of consciousness. This fracturing would prevent either sphere from seeing or taking necessary action to avoid a collision with the other. The question becomes can we absorb a direct impact, heal from it, and return to a new dynamic balance—one that supports  life—all life. 

After writing these strange thoughts, a friend posted one of Rumi’s timeless poems. I believe Rumi felt the possibility of such other realities existing beyond our visible one. Born September 30, 1207, he says so beautifully:

“I have abolished duality from myself.

I have seen the two worlds as One!

One I seek, One I know,

One I see, and One I call.”

~ By RUMI

Returning back to Western Civilization’s definition of reality, Cuomo went onto connect what happened 75 years ago to what Republicans are doing now by protecting a person proving himself to be a pathological liar and holding the most powerful office in the country. Barely two weeks later, Michael Cohen arrived on Capitol Hill to testify before Congress where the gentle Republican men and women came at him hard, employing virtually the same tactic, which was to call him a liar, attack his integrity, and suggest he is simply seeking to profit by his lies. Many gave passionate 5-minute speeches to their base using emotion like super weapons to inflame them (e.g., “I told my wife don’t listen to this, please don’t listen and she said to me don’t worry honey, I won’t listen.”)—all to protect a man shown to have made 6,420 false or misleading claims since he took office (Washington Post, 11/2/18). Of course they were angry, Cohen was no longer lying to protect their man—the President. Many wouldn’t even let Cohen answer their questions saying things like: “This is my time. Don’t interrupt me!” Halfway through his testimony, Cohen admonishes Congress for by now even the gentle Democratic men and women are using their time not to question Cohen but to make counter statements to combat the highly charged mini emotional speeches made by the other side. The result was a shredding of any truth to be found and trampling on the remnants. One of the most profound statements Cohen made was that what people surrounding Trump are doing Now is what he did for him for 10 years, and they will end up where he is Now. He also said when Trump took office he became the very worst version of himself (I’ll get back to this). Don Lemon added later that people protect their own,which is tribal behavior (e.g., BBC interview of U.S. 2020 voters 3/7/19, “Do I vote for character? No, I don’t vote for character… character doesn’t put money in my pocket.).

This idea of social reality as tribal is critical to understand and get underneath in order to grapple with the realities facing us Now. Tribal co-existence is one of the most natural states for human beings to exist. Throughout human civilization, tribes have been the building blocks for how to live together. Tribes protect and nurture their members, and when threatened, fiercely defend them. With the rise and dominance of Western Civilization, the physical embodiment of many tribes around the world has been greatly diminished—which is a tremendous loss of the magnificent diversity and vibrancy of human civilizations as it has evolved on Earth. A question to consider Now is this (Western Civilization) the most stable consolidation of human co-existence we can create? Are there perhaps other more stable and life sustaining consolidations of human conscious co-existence that are more balanced and capable of recognizing and nurturing the realities of inner and outer space. 

Despite the dwindling number of so many of the world’s native tribes, tribal ways of thinking have not disappeared. Indeed, with the rise of social media, they are resurging in ways never previously imagined possible. And, why wouldn’t this be so for humans have always found tremendous comfort in groups of other liked minded humans. Tribes, as previously stated, protect and sustain their members from harsh realities of life, and this is true of virtual tribes as it is for real tribes. In essence, they create an external model of reality that reflects and protects the internal world experienced by most of its members. They also serve as effective mechanisms to teach young members about beliefs, traditions, rituals, and knowledge deemed essential for survival in an uncertain world. A tribe is not inherently good or bad—be it ancient or modern—rather it is as good as the human beings making it up and their thinking. However, if a tribe becomes off balanced, its members tend to become off balanced too.  

Veering sharply from present to past, I want to contrast current political tribalism with the challenges faced by a real, living tribe. I’ve selected two stories from the book my friend M. sent me to help me cope with my father’s death, child of the jungle, which is about the Fayu tribe in New Guinea. This tribe was facing a serious crisis after having become deeply knocked off balanced by vicious revenge killings. These imbalances permeated into every aspect of their lives, including how they treated their own members and families. As this more aggressive and cruel side of the Fayu’s collective psychic-spiritual landscape grew bigger, it submerged their more loving and nurturing side. Failing to recognize their lopsidedness, they became locked in a tangled web of cruelty. 

I am very aware how Western colonization often took place first through missionary work; however, through this story, I have come to understand it is how this work is done that makes the critical difference. In this real-life story, the father felt deeply called to be with the Fayu people, and he did so with a compassionate heart. He did not enforce his way of doing things, nor impose his beliefs, but rather sought to learn their language, engage in conversation, and demonstrate through his own life kinder, gentler ways of being and living together. This was not a one-way street either for he and his family learned from the Fayu people as well. In fact, the family’s very existence in the jungle was only possible because of the Fayu’s help and knowledge, which they shared freely and frequently to help the family live and survive in the jungle—a place of daily wonders and danger. Most importantly, it was only by the invitation of one of the chiefs who expressed how tired he was by all the killings that the family came to live with the Fayu.

Two key moments that vividly demonstrate to me just how far off balanced the Fayu had become are as follows:

Painting By Donna Alena Hrabcakova

Chapter: Nakire — The Woman and the arrow

“It happened while I was playing outside. Several women were heading into the jungle. The husband of one of the women called her back, but she did not immediately respond. When she finally did step out of the trees, he took his bow, notched an arrow, and shot her in the breast.

The Fayu are excellent marksmen. The husband knew exactly how much pressure to exert on the bowstring so that the arrow would wound but not kill his wife. The woman collapsed, groaning, onto the ground. I felt sick. I wanted to scream, to run away, to kill that man. Everyone could see that this woman was pregnant.

Mama heard the cries and came running out of the house. When she saw the scene, she lost it. I have never seen Mama roar as she did on that day. Mama ran over to the woman, extracted the arrow, and helped her to the house. The man was standing there, laughing at our reaction. I threw him a look of contempt as I followed Mama and the woman into our house. Papa was also very upset, but when he confronted the Fayu about it, they just laughed at him as well.

Today it is different. Over the years, the Fayu watched the relationship between my parents, and what they saw – their respect and love for each other – began to change the way they treated their own wives. It was a new concept for the Fayu that a man and a woman could work together, be happy at it and be able to incorporate humor into their relationship. With my parents, they could see how important love was and the argument didn’t have to be settled by arrows or death.”

Painting By Donna Alena Hrabcakova

Chapter: My Brother Ohri — Boy who ate the wrong part of the crocodile

“But this time our concern was justified. When I saw Ohri step out of the brush, I shouted for Mama and hurried to him. He collapsed to the ground, weak and with a high fever. I wanted to help him up but didn’t know where I could touch him. His entire chest was a huge, infected wound covered by a thick layer of green-grey fungus. The Fayu had shot him with an arrow and left him for dead in the middle of the jungle.

Mama came running and helped Ohri into our house, Papa asked the Fayu what had happened and was told that Ohri had eaten a forbidden piece of a crocodile. This was his punishment. They completely ignored him and acted as though he didn’t exist anymore.

I started to cry when I saw his pain-streaked face. He smelled like rotting meat. The wound was obviously gangrenous. I sat next to him and held his hand. Mama brought bandages and medication and rolled Ohir on to this side. She mixed potassium permanganate with water and poured it over his chest. An inch-thick fungal growth slowly loosened itself and fell off him onto the leaves we had placed underneath him.

Ohir was in great pain. His entire chest was an open wound filled with maggots. Mama cut a bedsheet into large strips, covered them in antibiotic cream, and bound his torso with them. She changed the bandages every day. Papa took the leaves and dressings out behind the house and burned them.”

Ohir would survive his ordeal, and he would be accepted back into his tribe. The author does not tell us if the Fayu changed their ways after this event, but you see love and compassion demonstrated by the family as the Fayu watched, and most importantly, paid attention. The author does say later: “Words alone are empty. You have to live out what you hold to be true. The Fayu needed to decide for themselves whether they wanted to change, for true change comes only from the heart.” Thus, it was the compassionate, tender, and loving side of the Fayu people re-emerging simply by watching and paying attention to how these strange, white people did things differently. This simple act empowered the Fayu to remember the submerged parts still existed inside of them (like an energy being activated through the mere act of observation). The change was slow, one person at a time, one choice at a time, but little by little they began to bring this side of themselves back into their shared psycho-social-spiritual conscious sphere. Thus, this is how a gentle transformation occurred. 

When we strive to become the best version of ourselves, we pay attention to our inner life as well as our outer life. We learn how to channel our most destructive human emotions and nature in less destructive ways. We help others learn how to do this too. This is love.  Love is simply paying attention to ourselves and helping each other do this too. It is doing what we can with what we have to make the world a little bit better. It is helping each other heal wounds (those inside of us or inflicted on us by outside forces or fate) for we are all human beings making a wondrous and perilous journey to become more conscious, and hopefully kinder and more loving beings as well, but this is a personal choice. The journey begins by looking inside and seeing and validating our inner truth and reality. This can feel risky and even dangerous because most of us are taught that our inner realities are nothing more than crazy mutterings, insane ramblings, or unhinged thoughts. Correcting this imbalance in our collective vision (i.e., verifying and validating the truth of each person’s inner reality in balance with every other person alive) may be the only way to move forward together. This can only happen by paying attention to what is happening inside and helping each other do the same—one person at a time. It’s not too late to change our shared reality. As long as we have life, we have choice, and until our dying day, we leave traces upon the warp and woof of space and time. 

* * *

One More Story about the Cost of Indifference: In this story, the price of indifference is human life. 48 Hours In Syria is a powerful story told by Kassem Eid about spending two years living in a city under siege. It began after he and his neighbors took part in the protests during the Arab Spring in 2011, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad began to punish towns like Kassem’s. His forces bombed them, surrounded them, and starved them. That’s when Kassem decided to fight back.  

The Dalai Lama Talks About How to Tackle the Indifferent Mind: How to Train Our Mind: His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains how to train the mind to tackle destructive emotions during his meeting with a group from India at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 11, 2019.

Stories About Weaving Strong (Even Destructive) Emotions into Making Legal DecisionsRadioLab: Null and Void – These stories tell about jury nullification with a particular passionate interview and story beginning at 40 minutes into the show. 

Stories About the Vortex of Conspiracy Theorists: Beware the Jabberwock: Stories from the upside-down world where conspiracy theorists dwell – These are stories about Lenny Pozner whose son, Noah, was killed at Sandy Hook. In the years after Noah’s death, Lenny and his family were harassed by people who believed the shooting at Sandy Hook never happened–that it was all a conspiracy. Until one day, Lenny decided to fight back.

1A: Male Masculinity in the 21stCentury: How to Raise Boys –  How do we teach men how to acknowledge that “I feel pain, I feel fear?” This is an in-depth discussion about the messages and confusing narratives that swirl around men and boys today and how it shapes their understanding of what it means to be a man and how they should act.

One Way a Different Consolidation of Consciousness Might Split Off from the Whole and Grow:  Conflict and strong emotions have always been hard for humans to navigate, especially in groups—be it a group of 3 or a country of millions—but navigating them together may be our only evolutionary option. Some groups favor acting on strong emotions and openly engaging in conflict (tic for tac approach), but this can escalate or lock a conflict into a static pattern. Some groups prefer ignoring conflict and strong emotions, pretending it’s business as usual, while the intense emotional energy is submerged into the unconscious realms where it tends to grow and morph out of sight of conscious awareness, typically transforming into something much worst (to play the unconsciousness game, see the animation-graphic above).

Unconscious Forces Rising — by Bébé

Some groups don’t believe they have any responsibility to guide the emotional energy of its members at all, rather believing this is the job of family and friends to soothe disaffected individuals. But we’ve seen this play out with middle income and middle of the country Americans, many who are white and feel the systems that once supported and elevated them left them behind. They face uncertain futures where they cannot care for themselves and their families. They feel pain and fear that can surge very strongly at times and need to be sorted and channelled. But with broken systems, their voices go unheard, and so they do talk to their friends and family, and they are angry too. The result is a splitting from the whole and formation of a consolidation of individuals who weld enough will and power to elect Donald Trump.

Whenever a whole is divided and becomes polarized due to lack of effective strategies to channel strong emotions that can flow from time to time within groups, the polarized sides can begin to fracture, allowing even more powerful, destructive potentials (forces) to fill the cracks. Repairs might be attempted on both sides (i.e., the stained glass), but without dealing with the originating causes of the fracture, these repairs are often too little, too late, and too weak to hold the whole, causing everything to break apart—a story as old as time. See The Divine Dodo — In Maidjan (The Corruption) for the story for which the gif below was created to tell.

Repairing the Cracks: Venus Rising — by Bébé

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Wake Up, Wake Up

The featured image of this post came to me in a dream two years ago, and just several days after the company I worked for laid me off 12 days before Christmas. I had worked hard for this company for six years, yet despite knowing who they would lay off more than a month in advance, they did not provide advance warning to allow me or the others to prepare. Quite the opposite, I remember the Human Resources guy calling me early in November to tell me I had 28 days of vacation. He told me he so rarely gets to share good news like this, so this was why he was calling me—to share this wonderful news! Little did I know this jolly news was soon to become my life raft for the company was in trouble. It had lost a huge government contract and was having a hard time reckoning with the reality of needing to sacrifice some of its employees for the good of the rest chosen to remain onboard the corporate ship (or perhaps it should be the corporate submarine). Of the small group of employees who were selected to be deep sixth (i.e., a nautical expression that acquired its idiomatic definition because something thrown overboard at or greater than this depth would be difficult, if not impossible, to recover), I was the only writer. Also, I was the writer who had been there for the longest consecutive years and one of the highest compensated writers at that time. Adding insult to injury, the year before my husband endured a similar sacrifice, though the motive in his case was to raid the pot of money sustaining his small department.

It took 7 months to find new job after my corporate Christmas gift, and the job I found paid far less and demonstrated extreme bouts of incompetence. Then, came a moment (a year later) when incompetence met competence toe to toe. In this short amount of time, I had written grants that brought in more than $500,000 dollars, but this little company was not honoring our compensation agreement, so I was calling them to task on this issue. After my father suffered a massive heart attacked and died 9 days later, the little company took that moment to fire me. None of this matters except in our human world people need jobs to live in houses, to buy food, to support their children, and to do whatever other things they must do to care for self and family.

As a younger worker, these cruel culling practices go mostly unnoticed. But, it happens, and it happens for many reasons—greedy corporate executives gamble and lose the companies money and everyone loses their job; higher paid older workers are pushed out years before they are ready to retire; a weak boss fires an employee perceived as a threat; jealous peers gain up to get an employee fired or laid off simply because they are demonstrating more competence than they are; and the list of reasons why workers are culled from the workforce goes on…often good employees are culled at the peak of their adult financial responsibilities (e.g., aging parents, children in college). It is humiliating to end up here, thus many workers who end up in this situation don’t talk about what happened to them and their families. However, once you join this club of culled workers, you begin to understand this is happening everywhere and at every level (blue collar workers to Ph.Ds.). Pretty much anywhere Western economic systems have been embraced, these cruel culling practices are employed. It is probably happening right now to someone you know, and it is not normal.

Just 100 years ago, at the beginning of the RISE of the mega corporation, it was different. In an interview about his new book Zucked, Roger McNamee expresses that back then employees were more highly valued than they are today. He said corporations invested in their workers, the communities where their employees lived, along with watching out for the interests of their stakeholders. Certainly, corporations were not angels back then with many guilty of significant human infringements (e.g., employing children, paying extremely low wages, making workers work excessively long hours and work weeks). However, it seems there was more resilience and balance in our system 100 years ago that allowed workers to RISE and demand better pay, more humane working conditions, and living wages within humane working hours. Many corporations learned (or listened) and amended their ways and/or new laws were enacted (e.g., 40-hour work week, child labor laws passed), resulting in a little bit of a balance between worker and employer to be restored.

Go back another 100 years to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when most people still worked on farms or in cottage industries—the baker, the shoemaker, and the dress maker. Every town had a baker, a shoemaker, and a dress maker, and cities could support many individuals working in the same area to provide for the needs of the community. These individuals had self-agency, not that this made their lives easier or protect them from cultural biases or discrimination, but they were independent, not owned by a mega corporation or franchise.

Go back even further and sure life gets even harder, but individuals who could creatively problem solve were highly valued. Small tribes in these ancient times were faced with many challenges that threaten their survival and creativity meant the tribe had a better chance at surviving, especially during tough times. When we talk about tribalism today, we often only think of the savage side of tribal communities, failing to see the nurturing and protective side these small group of people enjoyed and thrived within.

It was during my second experience of being culled from the workforce that I came across an unusual musical group called Heilung. I could not understand what they were saying, but it was the only music that made sense to me during this time, so I listened to every song I could find over and over. Several of their songs made their way into The Divine Dodo series appearing as musical guides to help the poor Dodo escape the vacuous void he had become trapped inside. In a post to my small bubble of Facebook friends, I said: “It is not a modern musical group—let me just say this upfront—it is ancient and for most people it will not appeal to you in the least. But what they are doing is so important to modern man for Western ways have become fractured (i.e., mostly the male consciousness), and this is making the world very sick today. This group’s chants go to a very deep place in the human consciousness that reaches states people today might say is awake.” I did research on them and found some of their chants come from the Merseburg Incantations, which are some of the oldest known pieces of Old German literature dating back to the 9th or 10th century (maybe even 2nd to 5th century—this is still being debated).

Heilung describes its work as amplified history from early medieval northern Europe and not to be mistaken for a modern political or religious statement of any kind. They post with many of their songs: “Remember that we all are brothers… All people, beasts, tree and stone and wind… We all descend from the one great being… That was always there Before people lived and named it… Before the first seed sprouted.”

The song I wish to highlight for this post is Krigsgaldr. If you click on the embedded link, you will go to a video Heilung made to dramatize this song. They sing it completely in the ancient dialectic, so you will not understand it, but the emotions are clearly transmitted through their voices. What strikes me is the dynamic balance between the woman’s voice in contrast with the guttural, harsh Rune Reader’s voice as well as the warriors. It is absolutely beautiful. This masterful reimagining of our ancestors demonstrates they probably understood the power and ways of the human psyche and soul better than we do today.

In this version of the same song, the Rune Reader sings his part in English: Krigsgaldr with English portion sung by Rune Reader.  It is clear the tribe has been brutally attacked—their women and children killed. The Rune Reader says that they wish to live in peace, but the attackers only understand the language of war. Therefore, the tribe is invoking a ritual to plunge themselves into an unconscious state to protect what they love. Heilung can only reimagine how they might have done this, but what they have reimagined and perform for us is incredible, powerful, and terrifying for you realize how monstrous we can become when we descend into this place that is inside us all—a place that is capable of annihilation. I remember a documentary I saw some time ago that told how Hitler was fascinated by the ways of Germany’s tribal ancestors and wanted to bring them back. But he only wanted one side of them, and this is inherently lopsided like the Black Magician and White Magician from my post Is Collective Transformation Possible? Our ancestors’ held deep wisdom about the ways of the unconsciousness and the depths to which the human soul can fall. Thus, our ancestors performed elaborate rites and rituals to guide themselves through such journeys, especially the downward ones.

This is a similar understanding and ritual to what I write about in the post What Do I Do with the Mad Inside Me? In this post, I write about the elaborate war ritual that conflicting clans within the Fayu tribe engaged before the first arrows were released—a ritual that probably evolved over centuries. It was their way of channeling the Mad Inside them. It is very important to note that I am in no way glamorizing the ways of ancient tribes or saying our modern world needs to return to this state of being. In fact, several chapters later in the book child of the jungle, the author talks about the cycle of death that spun out of control between the warring clans of the Fayu tribe. In chapter 14, she describes how the Fayu did not understand the mechanism of disease or natural death, and therefore they attributed symptoms of disease and death to spiritual or magical causes. She says, “If a member of my family or clan died of disease, it would be my duty to determine who cursed that person. Then, I would be forced to avenge my relative. For example, an Iyarike would have an argument with a Tigre. A short while later, the Iyarike might die a natural death (e.g., from malaria). The immediate assumption would be that the Tigre must have cursed the person who died in retaliation for the argument they had. The Iyarike would then be obligated to kill the first available (i.e., most vulnerable) Tigre.” The Iyarike and Tigre were two clans of the four clans making up the Fayu tribe. The author recounts how this cycle of murder and revenge spun further and further out of control, resulting in the Fayu’s population dwindling from thousands down to several hundred. She says, “their culture had developed a singular focus on revenge without mercy or tender affection.”

We are all susceptible to psychic imbalances—ancient or modern. And, clearly having too little understanding for our outside reality (e.g., not understanding disease or natural death) hinders our development as a human being (and a species), but so too does having too little understanding of our inner reality; this also hinders our development. I do not wish to digress too far down this path for the focus of this post is our current economic reality. However, I would like to draw your attention to another of my older posts entitled The Collective Unconscious and the Oversoul. In this post, I quote Carl Jung who says: “The unconscious no sooner touches us than we are it–-we become unconscious of ourselves. That is the age-old danger, instinctively known and feared by primitive man, who himself stands so very close to this pleroma. His consciousness is still uncertain, wobbling on its feet. It is still childish, having just emerged from the primal waters. A wave of the unconscious may easily roll over it, and then he forgets who he was and does thing that are strange to him. Hence primitives are afraid of uncontrolled emotions, because consciousness breaks down under them and gives way to possession. All man’s strivings have therefore been directed towards the consolidation of consciousness. This was the purpose of rite and dogma; they were dams and walls to keep back the dangers of the unconscious, the ‘perils of the soul.’ Primitive rites consist accordingly in the exorcizing of spirits, the lifting of spells, the averting of the evil omen, propitiation, purification, and the production by sympathetic magic of helpful occurrences.”

In Heilung’s song, the tribe is choosing to descend, but they are attempting to guide (and perhaps control a little bit) their collective descent through an elaborate ritual that is balanced by deep love (i.e., the woman’s voice, their priestess). Today, we have forgotten this, and we do so at our own peril. Around the world, we see the effects of this forgetting for there are many warning signs. But getting back to the role of corporations, I would like to circle back to Roger McNamee and his book Zucked. In the interview I heard, he told Joshua Johnstone (the host of 1A) that what we have today is not capitalism as it existed 100 years ago, but rather a mutated and more predatory form of it. He expressed in this interview how corporations used to hold themselves accountable to their employees, their community, and their stakeholders (as I have mentioned), but now, they value only the stakeholder… the bottom line… profit. Comparing what he says with my personal experiences, it is my belief that when the stakeholders and profit becomes the highest value a corporation measures all its decisions against, they become capable of sacrificing the well-being of the human beings who work for them (or the human beings they say they are here to serve), often in the cruelest ways. Worst of all, this behavior is tolerated by many companies and indeed by us all. Perhaps this tolerance fits within our ideas about survival of the fittest for surely we want the strongest and fittest corporations to survive to protect us, but we have ended up with predators! Thus, this belief is as lopsided, and anything lopsided is going to spin out of control sooner or later.

McNamee is writing about Facebook because he mentored Mark Zuckerberg in its early days, and he is a stakeholder. When he began to see the lopsided nature of their business model and vision, he sounded the alarm. But by then, Facebook was too far in and committed to their model and vision. McNamee says this vision is shared by many modern companies and corporations not just Facebook (so this is a much bigger problem on our hands). In another interview he gave with The Guardian, McNamee talks about two important aspects of the NEW modern business model that has emerged. These are the questions he was asked, followed by his answers:

  1. When did you first realize that things had taken a turn for the worse: McNamee answers: “I met Tristan Harris, a design ethicist from Google, who talked about what he called “brain hacking”, a term that he invented to describe the persuasive technologies used by internet platforms that enable them to develop habits in the minds of the people who use the products. Those habits evolve into addictions, and that situation makes [users] vulnerable to manipulation. Like a stroke of lightning, it made me see what it was that had potentially influenced the election in the U.S. and had potentially influenced Brexit.”
  2. You said Brexit was a wake-up call. Why was that? Wake-up Call: McNamee answers: “It never occurred to me that there would be an asymmetry in the way that advertising works. That in order to command attention, you want to appeal to what [Tristan Harris] calls “the lizard brain”, the things that provoke outrage and fear. Things that essentially create a perception of reward. Those things, when you put them into advertising, can really be bad for democracy. Suddenly a neutral centrist idea gets very little traction on Facebook, where really extreme, emotionally charged ideas are viral. There’s evidence that in the US, the messages of the Trump campaign got 17 times the effective reach per dollar spent as Clinton’s messages, and that’s just a staggering advantage.”

I will not belabor these interviews for I think it is best for anyone who is interested in this subject to listen and read them for yourself and come to your own conclusions. I can only make my own conclusions based on my experience.

I will venture to say I believe we have been lulled into an unconscious sleep by the economic systems we have created to keep us safe. These systems have spawned giant corporations who have become increasingly lopsided in their vision, and they are gobbling up power, perhaps even unconscious of their unquenchable appetite. But, they crave it deeply—this power—and they will not let it go easily…not without deep conscious work. The corporations of today tell us that their behavior is completely normal (i.e., culling older workers, mass layoffs, putting stakeholders of big companies at the center of all business decisions). They tell us it has always been this way, but this is a lie. This type of behavior cuts us off from our shared humanity. It dehumanizes us by pitting us against each other and locking us into intense competition for who gets to stay on board the corporate ship (or rather the corporate submarine).

In this lopsided primal state, we are capable of tremendous cruelty for the sake of survival. But it is really corporate survival, isn’t it, and corporate survival is very different from human survival. Now, our collective human consciousness seems to be sinking faster and going deeper than ever before. One striking consequence of this rapid sinking of our collective consciousness is climate change that looks like it is accelerating faster and becoming much more destructive than we previously thought possible.

Thus, I have come to realize all of this is contained within the image I drew more than 2 years ago…that of reptilian instincts. Given my recent trauma, I animated this image to show an awakening—the eyes of which are distinctly human and clearly feminine—perhaps this is our lost or forgotten balance?

Wake up… Wake up — Art by Bébé – Cover for Sapience, which  is a story about climate change and consciousness. It is a story about wakening up in a world ravaged by climate change and ruled by corporations. It depicts human systems of governance and economics that work to submerge individual human creativity, innovation, and dignity. Such systems emerge from a deeply unconscious place within the human psyche that is more aligned with our most primal instincts to survive at the cost of all others who might threaten limited resources or that activates a burning desire to have the land or valuables this primal, unconscious psyche desires

I will add one final insight about this image that comes from a BBC report I heard on October 25, 2018. In this report, they said a mother’s voice works better than a fire alarm to wake children up. Thus, by adding a human voice to smoke detectors, we could save lives— children’s lives.

What if we are these slumbering children who have been lulled into a prolong and extended state of unconsciousness by the system(s) we believe to be designed to sustain us. Rather they are putting us to sleep and keeping us asleep. We need to wake up and make the hard choices required to mitigate the direst effects of climate change for these choices require scarifies. But really, the biggest sacrifices need to be made by corporations, and they really don’t want to change—I’ve heard Trump say these very words often (just replace they with I). Without dramatic changes Now, the climate effects we are witnessing Now (e.g., 1,000-year floods occurring one after the other, huge and deadly wildfires, prolonged droughts, polar ice caps melting, species and habitat destruction) will only get worst in this century. It is happening Now, to someone you know.

We need to hear our mother’s voice. She is trying to wake us up. She has been trying for many years, but we are deep sleepers

Abiogenesis, Carbon Based Lifeforms

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The Sea Within Us

Note: This is a reposting from a former post on my old site Sapience207 with an update of what happened next after first posting this piece.

I woke up this morning clinging to a fragment of a dream where I was sitting quietly listening to a lesson being given by someone I could not see, but who was saying, “The sea is within…within every human being.” I knew this to mean the Sea of Unconsciousness—the vast, uncharted water churning below the surface of normal consciousness filled with hidden feelings, thoughts, and ideas—things that have been buried or have never risen to the light of consciousness. To most normal men and women who go about their daily lives following expected norms and traditions, if such hidden content suddenly became conscious, it would seem strange, even alien. But, there is so much that lies hidden underneath the thin surface of reality that “normal” human consciousness uses to navigate life. Humanity after all has only been on Earth for but a brief moment of time when compared to Earth’s geologic history or to the cosmological origins of the universe. Compared to these measures, humans are but blips in time. But still, even in this blip of time, humans have come to dominate pretty much all life on our planet, even while grasping only a fragment of the whole of consciousness existing within each of us and all around us—like water.

Recently, it has felt to me as if I am a survivor of some great disaster on this sea, and I am surviving only by clinging to a little bit of wreckage scattered on the surface of this endless Sea of Unconsciousness.

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Shipwreck survivor on the Sea of Unconsciousness — Original Artwork by Bébé

This feeling is due to circumstances beyond my control and is probably the reason for the dream, which I interpret as an ongoing effort to understand and make sense of these extreme circumstances. Something else that resonated recently in my sense-making mission is the Coen Brothers’ movie A Serious Man (2009). Yes, I know I’m late in getting around to watching this movie, but sometimes I think we see things when we are supposed to see them and when we need them. And, so I needed it now, and I really related to poor Larry Gopnick who is the main character and a person who has been living by all the rules and beliefs he was taught to follow until he encounters a string of strange reversals and even spooky circumstances that flip his reality upside down. What befalls Larry is so disconcerting and destabilizing it threatens to undo everything he has ever worked to achieve. In addition, he is poorly equipped to deal with or understand his circumstances. So, he seeks help from the Rabbis at his synagog, but each encounter leaves him more bewildered and baffled than before.

For a good read and analysis on this movie, go to: This Ruthless World; specifically, to the March 23, 2012 post: What Does this Movie Mean? “A Serious Man” (2009). However, I would like to highlight several spectacular observations this blogger makes about this movie. Number one, she says the movie is a commentary on the idea that we are taughtto just accept things as they are in life and sail through it without looking for answers; however, this same attitude is what costs Larry his marriage, his family, and his home. She further points out that the viewer might first assume the moral of the story is: “If you don’t tend to that garden, someone else will;” however, the moral really goes much deeper, sinking down into the idea that “the ‘wisdom’ of unthinking, indifferent existence is absolutely wrong and spiritually destructive.” And, this is so important!

Carl Jung believes this is important too, which is probably why I am obsessed with his writings since previously I posted about the Archetype of Meaningand the Archetype of Life. However, Jung says much more about both archetypes, especially in relation to sense-making and meaning, including the following:

“It always seems to us as if meaning—compared with life—were the younger event, because we assume, with some justification, that we assign it of ourselves, and because we believe, equally rightly no doubt, that the great world can get along without being interpreted.

But how do we assign meaning?  From what source, in the last analysis, do we derive meaning?

This is a fantastic question that is worthy of every human being’s time and attention; however, it can be difficult work, especially when one is forced to do it due to circumstances that decimate one’s prior beliefs and systems of thinking—like Larry. I use the word decimate deliberately for when we are growing up, we are taught certain beliefs and ways of thinking in accordance with our culture and society (or tribe). These things are supposed to help us make sense of the world and give us a vehicle by which to navigate life’s ups and downs. However, systems of thinking and beliefs are much more like diverse and different wild animals that have been tamed by culture and society to help people survive living together over time. Thus, if one’s conscious landscape is decimated due to a great calamity that kills off a large number of the wild animals (i.e., systems of thinking and beliefs), then it becomes necessary to regenerate the land (i.e., conscious ground), and then to find and tame new ways of thinking and beliefs in order to go forward again. Loneliness ensues, especially for a person who has been thrust unexpectedly into this process, because family, friends, and larger community who have not been crushed by the same circumstances often remain quite happy to go on living in the same systems of thinking and beliefs that defined one’s previously shared reality.

Jung answers his own question of where meaning is derived, and thus how it is gained, in the following way:

“The forms we use for assigning meaning are historical categories that reach back into the mists of time—a fact we do not take sufficiently into account. Interpretations make use of certain linguistic matrices that are themselves derived from primordial images.”

Lets stop for one second to consider the word primordial. Jung uses this word a lot as he advances his theories of consciousness and the unconsciousness. However, I suspect it may create some confusion, so here’s a basic definition of primordial:

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Chaos was, according to Greek mythology, the origin of everything, and the first thing that ever existed. It was the primordial void, the source out of which everything was created, including the universe and the gods. The first primordial deities that emerged out of Chaos were Gaea (earth), Tartarus (underworld) and Eros (love), while later Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night) also popped out. According to Hesiod, Chaos was also a place, much like Tartarus and the Heavens. — Image & Text from Pinterest saved by Karen Nash that comes from: https://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Chaos/chaos.html[/caption]
  • Existing at or from the beginning of time; primeval — “the primordial oceans”
  • (especially of a state or quality) basic and fundamental — “the primordial needs of the masses”
  • Biological:(of a cell, part, or tissue) in the earliest stage of development.are

To Jung, primordial means all of these things in relation to the origins of consciousness. He believes consciousness existed at the beginning of time and that it is a basic and fundamental state that all living beings are immersed. He also believes there are developmental stages of consciousness that can be traced back through time much like a human embryo transitions through key evolutionary stages before becoming a fetus that will become a human being. Thus, primordial images are structures in consciousness stretching back to the beginning of time. They form the blocking blocks of thoughts and our psychic nature. Thus, primordial images are crucial in helping a person make sense of their world and to find meaning and purpose, especially after a great calamity shatters one’s previous beliefs and ways of thinking.

Now, back to Jung who continues saying:

“Interpretations make use of certain linguistic matrices that are themselves derived from primordial images. From whatever side we approach this question, everywhere we find ourselves confronted with the history of language, with images and motifs that lead straight back to the primitive wonder-world.

Take, for instance, the word “idea.” It goes back to the concept of Plato, and the eternal ideas are primordial images [and thus] stored up (in a supracelestial place) as eternal, transcendent forms [Note: this sounds very much like where the ideas for gods and goddess emerged from the Sea of Unconsciousness]. The eye of the seer perceives them as “imagines et lares,” or as images in dreams and revelatory visions [like my dream].

Or let us take the concept of energy, which is an interpretation of physical events. In earlier times it was the secret fire of the alchemists, or phlogiston, or the heat-force inherent in matter, like the “primal warmth” of the Stoics [i.e., a member of the ancient philosophical school of Stoicism and a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining], or the Heraclitean (ever-living fire), which borders on the primitive notion of an all-pervading vital force, a power of growth and magic healing that is generally called mana.”

I think it is important to take another moment to consider just who the heck Heraclitus was; so, from Wikipedia:

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Heraclitus by Johannes Moreelse. The image depicts him as “the weeping philosopher” wringing his hands over the world — Wikipedia

Heraclitus of Ephesuswas a pre-SocraticGreek philosopher, and a native of the city of Ephesus,[2] then part of the Persian Empire. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the apparently riddled[3] and allegedly paradoxical[4] nature of his philosophy and his stress upon the heedless unconsciousness of humankind,[5] he was called “The Obscure” and the “Weeping Philosopher”.

Heraclitus was famous for his insistence on ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe, as stated in the famous saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice”[6] (see panta rheibelow). This is commonly considered to be one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of becoming, and has been contrasted with Parmenides statement that “what-is is” as one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of being. As such, Parmenides and Heraclitus are commonly considered to be two of the founders of ontology. Scholars have generally believed that either Parmenides was responding to Heraclitus, or Heraclitus to Parmenides, though opinion on who was responding to whom changed over the course of the 20th century.[7] Heraclitus’ position was complemented by his stark commitment to a unity of opposites in the world, stating that “the path up and down are one and the same”. Through these doctrines Heraclitus characterized all existing entities by pairs of contrary properties, whereby no entity may ever occupy a single state at a single time. This, along with his cryptic utterance that “all entities come to be in accordance with this Logos” (literally, “word”, “reason”, or “account”) has been the subject of numerous interpretations.

I like this guy! Now, back to Jung again:

“I will not go on needlessly giving examples. It is sufficient to  know that there is not a single important idea of view that does not possess historical antecedents. Ultimately, they are all founded on primordial archetypal forms whose concreteness dates from a time when consciousness did not think, but only perceived. “Thoughts” were objects of inner perception, not thought at all, but sensed as external phenomena—seen or heard, so to speakThought was essentially revelation, not invented but forced upon us or bringing conviction through its immediacy and actuality. Thinking of this kind precede the primitive ego-consciousness, and the latter is more its object than its subject. But we ourselves have not yet climbed the last peak of consciousness, so we also have a pre-existent thinking, of which we are not aware so long as we are supported by traditional symbols—or, to put it in the language of dreams, so long as the father or the king is not dead.”

I want to draw your attention to Jung’s idea that primitive humans experienced thought very differently than modern humans experience it. He says thought for primitive humans came as visions, disembodied voices, dreams, and probably even disembodied ghosts and phantoms—stuff from our own consciousness, but humans had not yet developed the powers to perceive and grasp that these things were coming from within. This must have been a time in human development when the world was spectacularly magical as well as unimaginably terrifying for demons are just as likely to pop out from the unconscious as well as fairies or benevolent helpers. No wonder our ancestors developed elaborate myths, rituals, and traditions designed to tame such occurrences and give them cohesion, structure, and function so they could understand and maybe control them, and perhaps, most importantly, so certain psychic states do not inadvertently tear to shreds the fragile shared reality that was being created by early human tribes—and thus the vital role of medicine man, medicine woman, shaman emerged—people who could travel into these obscure and shady realms of consciousness and return with wisdom.

Rune Master by Bébé

Jung goes on to give a lively account of how unconscious thought can pave the way for conscious solutions by recounting a dream a young theological student had and his analysis of the dream (pages 33 to 37). I will not go into this dream, only noting it involves the dreamer, a handsome old man dressed entirely in black known who is known as the black magician, a magician dressed entirely in white (you guessed it… the white magician), and an extraordinary event that occurs in a country ruled by an old king who is near his death. In Jung’s analysis, it is important to know the two magicians are two aspects of the Wise Old Man who is the superior master and teacher that is known as the Archetype of the Spirit symbolizing the pre-existent meaning hidden in the chaos of life. He tells us that theologian’s dream reveals the old men are trying to show the dreamer how good and evil function together, and presumably to help answer an unresolved moral conflict within the Christian psyche (p.36). Jung writes:

“Modern man, in experiencing this archetype, comes to know that the most ancient form of thinking is an autonomous activity whose object he is. Hermes Trismegistus or the Thoth of Hermetic literature, Orpheus, the Poimandres (shepherd of men) and his near relation the Poison of Hermes, are formulations of the sam experience. (p.37)”  (Note: Hermes Trismegistus was credited with tens of thousands of highly esteemed writings, which were reputed to be of immense antiquity. Plato‘s Timaeus and Critias state that in the temple of Neithat Saisthere were secret halls containing historical records which had been kept for 9,000 years. — Wikipedia)

If the name ‘Lucifer’ were not prejudicial, it would be a very suitable one for this archetype. But, I have been content to call it the Archetype of the Wise Old Manor Meaning. Like all archetypes it has a positive and a negative aspect, though I don’t want to enter into this here. The reader will find a detailed exposition of the two-facedness of the wise old man in The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales.

The three archetypes so far discussed—the shadow, the anima, and the wise old man—are of a kind that can be directly experienced in personified form [that is we very easily project them onto other human beings or animals or things in nature]. In the foregoing I tried to indicate the general psychological conditions in which such an experience arises. But what I conveyed were only abstract generalizations. One could, or rather should, really give a description of the process the archetypes appear as active personalities in dreams and fantasies. But the process itself involved another class of archetypes that one could call the Archetypes of Transformation.”

Just like the post from This Ruthless World, Jung is advising us to pay attention to the stuff in the shadow and to sink into the place where wisdom whispers for to not do so is at one’s own conscious-spiritual peril. Thus, I think I’ve come full circle from where I started with my dream that said “the sea is within”—the sea I am floating on now as I try to find new conscious structures that might instill new meaning and purpose to what was shattered. But, will it be enough to survive what’s coming next? Just like poor Larry Gopnick in A Serious Man, which begins with him teaching his physics students about Schrodinger’s cat; it ends with this same puzzle—does Larry and his son live or die after the tornado? We don’t know, and we won’t know until we look inside the box. Or perhaps more appropriately, until the box is rebuilt through the process of sense-making and meaning so the journey can continue—thus the process is ever unfolding, so probably it is never done, which is another theme in the movie: bad things happen…that is life!

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From The Coen Brothers, Storytelling, and Fate
A poem by Ethan Coen reveals a key clue to the brothers’ story sensibilities. The tornado at the end of A Serious Man.

Postscript:

I originally posted this blog on my free WordPress site Sapience207 last fall. After posting it and sharing it to my Facebook page, I met Hannelie Sensemaker WorldPainter Venucia who saw this post and the thing I said about it being a piece of sense making in a chaotic time. She asked me to do an interview about my journey as a sense maker so far, and so I did, despite my journey being very heavy, sad, and challenging. Towards the end our interview, I get to hope—to the one thing that still makes sense in my world where every other frame of reference I had developed up until last year was shattered (i.e., the things I was taught about being a good person, a good worker, how the human world works). And, so I am attaching the audio of this interview and the video. Hannelie and I have continued to communicate and are seeing more of how our individual journeys to make sense of a chaotic world merge and blend. We have more creative endeavors planned both individually and together. This website is one, and Hannelie is unveiling the JOY Planet website, which is part of the Embodied Wisdom and Adventure JOY Generation Portal. I believe both web spaces are creative pools where individuals can come and where new ideas might be inspired, grow, and take flight—not just by us, but also the many who are seeking and looking for how to make positive change in a world that seems bent on going in a direction that will not sustain life much longer or human dignity for all. We need everyone Now to tell our best stories possible about ourselves and each other and the world. I believe we can. And as we heal individually and grow, we heal and help Earth heal. Thank you for your time and attention. This is your most precious resource, so much more valuable than money or the physical adornments that are possible to buy with money for only using your time and attention can you come to know the fullness and beauty of your whole self.

Synchronicity (with Bebe Vundermann) — SoundCloud (podcast)
Synchronicity (with Bebe Vundermann) — YouTube
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