Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Homer is my Father, and Christ is my Mother

Homer was and continues to be the single most predominant solute in the remembering blood of the Western Ethos. His epic poems, the Iliad and Odyssey, reside deep in the cultural DNA of our collective consciousness. He was the first architect to codify the original and still current paradigm of Citizen Virtue and he set the fundamental template of all that would follow in Greek and Roman traditions. We are the descendant diaspora of this tradition. It was not until Christ, that any of these virtues, values/ ethics were challenged in a populist way.
Christ not only posed threats to the Sanhedrin and to Rome, but to an entire 800 year Homeric legacy. He and his new populist gospel of compassion was a very dangerous counter current to both Jewish and Roman hegemony. We Westerners are the progeny of these two parents. We are still torn between the Homeric definition of the Virtuous Citizen of the State and the universal disciple of Christian compassion.

The Christian revolution attempted to reverse the effects of the Homeric tradition, and we are still in this "epoch" struggle to define what is the "nature human". We are far closer to Rome and Greece and to the original City States than we are to our far more enlightened becoming. The Christian/Homeric struggle is still being played out and it will not be until there is a universal legal end to all wars between nations that the Christian revolution finally prevails in the international body politic. It is not about the dogmas of religion at all. It is about fundamental underlying human morality and ethics that are part of the Evolutionary Imperative that constantly strives for species survival. Religion and its various dogmas are just the superficial structure upon which these underlying morals play out through religious institutions and their relationships w/ political structures..

Who knows when the ultimate milestone of Christian ethics of universal peace becomes a global ordering principle, but if we survive the nuclear weapons age, we will eventually reach this milestone where humans will solve their conflicts w/out having to kill one another and a legitimate "New Age" will have finally arrived. This new age will be established by enacting international laws outlawing wars between nation states of any kind.. This eventual modern age will incorporate the morality/ethics and codes of behavior as is told by countless saints and seers and spiritual icons of all cultures through time. The reason I go back to Homer, in the West anyway, is because there is no further back to go, as far as a cohesive written record- The East, Middle East and Far East is a whole different matter.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fortuitous Bedfellows

What condemns modern conglomerate corporate capitalism more than its increasing disproportionate distribution of wealth and callous disregard for environmental degradation,is its systematic recruitment and indoctrination of people who ideologically believe that popular injustice and predation is not only good for capitalism and good for themselves, but good for all. I only wish that Gordon Gekko had married Ayn Rand, and their offspring was a Mule- thus ending that line ;)
Earth As "The Open Boat"

Like Steven Crane's classic "The Open Boat" the crew of 3 lost at sea in their little open boat realize they are at the mercy of a cruel and indifferent Mother Ocean w/ all her forces that would vanquish them.

This case now however, in a bitter irony, is that we are the cruel and indifferent and ignorant supposed "paragon of animals" slowly, insidiously, indifferently and ironically raping and pillaging and exploiting this earth beyond its capacity not only to sustain us but to sustain itself....

Let us only hope that if this "in house mass consumption Armageddon" finaly vanquishes the species one day- and if we never learn to "see ourselves," that there will be some primeval forest somewhere hence in 10,000 years who will whisper in glad graces and babbling brooks that the paragon of animlas is gone but the earth, still wounded in recovery, survives....

....... follow up from a fbook dialogue....

... I think we are at a crucial turning point. I think that the initial promise of the internal combustion engine and the exponential leap it propelled in the last 125 years of the Industrial Revolution, has run its course and now the returns more threaten precipitous catastrophe than promote progress.
This, along w/ the splitting of the atom, for all its good, are the 2 most looming technological specters that threaten us.

The problem is one of ratio as I see it. The means of production and the weapons we have to protect these means, are many, many magnitudes larger than the rate of our intellectual, and more importantly,spiritual development. The species, especially the developed superpowers, by and large, are still informed and still designed along the templates of earliest city states.

Until we molt to a new global model, a new definition of planetary citizenship, a new spiritual identity that recognizes the family of man precariously balanced in the web of the earth rather than all these artificial divisions of religion, language, political boundaries, race, cultural and technological advance, etc., we will continue to live by the ancestral ethics of Troy, Greece, Rome, The Christian , and Islamic Empires;and if we continue to operate under these ethics, we will devolve our way collectively "back to the stone age" and more likely a self immolated extinction.

I'm giving us about a century and a half, though. I think we have a little more time to "see" and to prepare. I think it will take a monumental catastrophe, either a nuclear weapon used again, and /or both a biblical climate event that will spawn new viral pandemics killing billions of people. After this, sheer survival modes will force the severely impacted developed world to work together for comprehensive renewable and clean, green means of production.The internal combustion engine will not use fossil fuels any more. This new form of renewable and clean power may in turn seed a new global "consciousness" that will finally dismantle the ethics, morality and religions of the original city states once and for all. We then will truly be on the road to "Modernity."

If we do not begin soon to "see" ourselves from some transcendent vantage point ( like the original astronauts may have seen our fragile blue dot from the surface of the moon) then our relatively recent emergence as homo sapiens- paragon of animals- will have ended all too soon along the arc of our becoming....

contd... The people of Easter Island did not know, could not transcend, could not "see" from above, that they were destroying their entire way of life, and eventually their very existence, by consuming, generation after generation, all the rich forests they had on the island when their ancestors first came.

They did not realize, until the end was upon them, what they had done. This microcosm has played out many times in small niche web economies throughout history. Now, the entire ecosphere, THE ENTIRE EARTH Is the MICRO-COSMIC analogy to Easter Island.

We, on the other hand, as the ancients we still are in so many ways, have the "rune of knowledge" and thus the terrible burden of responsibility. Having this knowledge, we are just now beginning to "see." our task.

Question remains: Will we turn our heads away from this terrible burden of knowledge(the horror) , or, instead, make for the road of real modernity? Will we swear oaths and actions to ourselves and our continuing enlightenment, or continue to make ourselves supplicants and invoke the abrahamic divinities for deliverance once again as we have practiced since the advent of Agriculture and the first City States.

I trust there is a prodigal notion sprung now however; a notion forced by the survival imperative and moving in the global zeitgeist that will impel a move towards true modernity.
This is my prayer anyway....
Adams and Jefferson Reconciled
And the common tyranny they might both find today: Corporate Values

After their long and bitter silence, once dear friends and former presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, began a 13 year correspondence that ended on July 4’th 1826, when both men died- within hours of each other- exactly 50 years to the day after they and their fellow conspirators signed a declaration beginning the great modern experiment that would refine and perfect what had not been tried since the best days of the Roman Republic. They knew then that the letters they wrote to each other in confidence would one day be left to posterity. And so they knowingly bequeathed these letters and wrote them well. And we read them today as a testament to their sharply divergent political philosophies during the precarious early years that threatened to tear it all asunder. It survived. It endured. And now we, the descendants of this founding experiment still wrestle with their inheritance- and what has come of it in its still early years just over 2 centuries hence- and to where it is destined. Both men feared tyranny above all else though the tyrants they fought came from different quarters on their political compass. So, on this day, I wonder if both men could stir from their slumber to survey just how far the horizon has stretched since July 4’th 1826, what tyrants they might see now, and if they might find the solidarity of apprehension that eluded them then …..
What follows is an edited version of a fb conversation I had with some patriots who hail from Martha’ s Vineyard.

……….Interesting discussion on the eve of Independence. ……. The experiment continues , however, but I do not think the slide we’re in is irrevocable, or that our demise is foregone. Not just yet, anyway. I think what Adams and Jefferson envisioned reached its pinnacle about 50 years ago where most of the descendants of the original founding principle shared the bounty across a strong middle class.

After that, the slide began. It began with the excesses of a runaway capitalism which has created a plutocracy of the very few who have managed to concentrate much of the wealth into fewer and fewer hands and who now threaten to buy the founders “democratic patent"' out right- to keep the name recognition, but actually morph into a permanent totalitarian plutocracy. A virtual hostile takeover is upon the "experiment;" a takeover that is packaged in a benign way where WE , the buyers, the consumers, are the animate "prizes" of the super-rich. WE are the “flesh cogs” , the " blue light consumer widgets " on aisle 7. And as long as WE continue to allow ourselves be shelved there, WE continue to "discount" ourselves. I think, I hope, that it is beginning to be seen by more and more of “we the governed” and that we see that big $ and big corporate are the new guerrilla warriors dressed in suits and seen on reality TV shows like Celebrity Apprentice" and other sordid schlock. They use democracy and hyper free enterprise, but do not believe in it once they achieve hyper success.

Thing is, I think and hope there are righting mechanisms still there in the constitution, but it will take a radical movement, a "radical reclamation- a radical conservatism" that sees what is happening and works to conserve and preserve what Adams saw at the outset as the best of all promise for the Republic.
The enemies are not from w/out any more- they are from within, and, tragically, they are championed and exalted on TV shows like the above stated, and media hyped as the super mensches to be emulated. It's a trickle down add campaign that seeps like lead into the blood zeitgeist of the governed.
When the “governed” begin to see Guys like Don Trump, Larry Ellison and the Koch brothers- and their ilk, as no longer our revered heroes, but as the agents of our undoing, and as the real enemies within, then hope will spring anew , and another kind of bell, one not heard for awhile, will once again toll on Lexington Common sounding sweetly in the ears of Adams and Jefferson.