Twisted Knickers and All of That Stuff

It appears as though the question concerning religion is getting everyone’s “knickers in a twist.” Perhaps we should gingerly explore this hysterical hypersensitivity over religion and the religious sentiment.  What is the religious aspiration in the modern world?  To consider this, we must answer a prior question: What are these religions to which I am referring? Islam, Christianity, and Judaism for sure, but most lists of world religions today would include Buddhism and Hinduism as well. In most academic settings today, these are the ideologies and theologies that the prophets, priests, evangelists, the princely class and professors focus on. Of course, it is debatable if Buddhism is a religion at all.  Many of its followers suggest it is not.  After all the Buddha was not a deity.  Hinduism, of course, maintains the concept of a supreme spiritual force within the concept of Brahma, the creator.  But, there is an entire pantheon of deities to which practitioners of Hinduism (including the Hare Krishna) pay homage: Vishnu – the preserver; Shiva or Kali – the destroyer, and their various incarnations or offspring, including Krishna – the ninth incarnation of Vishnu.  Now, what is the function of these religions in society today and in one’s personal life: some might suggest that they provide moral compass, a sense of individual worth, social cohesion, existential meaning, salvation, atonement, release, and if we get real mystical…spiritual awakening.

The goal, then, of these diverse faiths seems to remain constant: escape, transcendence, absorption in the absolute, deliverance from this ‘body of death’, extinguishing of the finite self, communion with some infinite reality, entrance into the ‘kingdom of God’.  In short, the world religions focus upon going above and beyond the material world – they seek the suprasensual, as the mystic or the gnostic might say.  They seek denial of, and movement away from ,the body; away from this gross material realm, away from the senses. They are ideologies that look up to the sky for direction, not down to the earth for a sense of place. Hence, I would call them sky-god religions.  You may disagree with my nomenclature… but so be it.

I too fall victim sometimes to such fantasies, particularly in extremely turbulent weather at 40,000 feet.  I suppose it is because I have learned to look up and look out, to live for a future that is ever receding, fearing my own death, my finitude, rather than focusing on the moment that is present to me and in which I am present. It has to do with the entire conceptual baggage of growth, unidirectional progress, development, and fulfillment – the pilgrim on the path, the hero on the quest.  I suppose it is a function of generations of indoctrination, of our ever-growing dependence upon a larger superpower – the king, the overlord, the government, the manager – without which we cannot easily survive in this world we have constructed and in which we have become psychologically and economically trapped.

Our myths of transcendence – represented not only by the world religions, by also by modern technology and politics – are stories told to us in order to help make sense of life’s mysteries and its ultimate possibilities.  But, what mysteries?  What possibilities?  These terms are themselves promotional tools of social and individual control. When the innate capacity for self-regulation – gained through natural processes of individuation and psychological maturation – has been lost due to institutionally erected constraints, you then need other, externally imposed, means to control the individual and the body politic in the ensuing cacophony and complexity.  If we live life believing that our ‘purpose’ is to achieve some future, yet unrealized, state of affairs, with almost no capacity to achieve it on our own, then we can be manipulated on the quest.  Once we step onto the grand chessboard, we become pawns of these systems of control.  We become subject to the various institutional players that were designed to ‘help’ us along the road.  We then begin objectifying our own existence, and measuring our success against artificially erected, yet specific, external milestones – spiritual, moral, economic, and political, or otherwise.

Did we live a good life according to the social and religious mores of our culture? Were we good parents, congenial colleagues, conscientious citizens, obedient followers of the faith; were we righteous individuals?  I am not suggesting that we should act without any sense of right or wrong, but that sense must be borne of the concrete realities of our common humanity and our place in nature, our general relations with a living habitat, which includes other animate and animated beings, as well as other human beings.  Unfortunately, our sense of that concreteness and our situatedness has been bulldozed-over, obstructed by the instruments of institutional hierarchies to which we have become accustomed.  We no longer recognize our place or our posture, or even the ground upon which we walk.  Why?  Primarily because we no longer are walking!  Instant wireless communication across the globe with the touch of a handheld keypad, or the flash of a bomb dropping from remote drones like a computer game with the flick of a finger… such are instances representing the loss of the concrete that has become our shared legacy; we have lost our experience of the flesh, of ambulation, of wandering, of exploring, of being lost, and finding our way back home.  Indeed, we have lost of our home; we are homeless.  That is why we needed, and were given, a department of “homeland” security.  Enough said.

We have lost our sense of the earth, of our own fleshy embodiment.  Ungrounded, we no longer look down; instead we look up, trying to soar like a spirit, high above the messy clutter of our own facticity. We yearn for transcendence, progress, going beyond, success, victory, accomplishment.  The sky-god religions are part-and-parcel of this quest for perfection, of the desire to go beyond, to go “where no man has gone before,” to cling to, what Jurgen Moltmann’ has called, “hope against hope.”  These could be the words of the newly appointed dictator, as he pulls his sword from its scabbard. It is here that the modern religious, scientific, and political quests join hands.  Not cooperation and commingling, not intertwining and embodiment, but rather, control, management, objectification, disembodiment, and subjugation; these are the planks in the platform of our brave new world.  We are sheep being led to the slaughter.  And while science, the great manipulator of matter and energy, has become the chosen instrument of our destruction, religion and politics together operate the levers and switches.  The entire deal, of course, is being financed by capital!  Long live the capitalists, the religionists, the scientists, and the politicians.

Just look at the headlines folks: can you see any light between the players on the left or the right, the east or the west, the pols or the zealots, the religionists or the militarists?

Netanyahu to press for Iran ‘red line’ in U.N. speech

Regime sends text message to Syrian rebels: ‘Game over’

Mexico catches Zetas drug capo ‘El Taliban’

Paul Ryan says Obama’s policies ‘project weakness’

Secy Clinton drops hint that Al Qaeda was behind Libya attack

141 Responses to Twisted Knickers and All of That Stuff

  1. Ivy Mike says:

    We no longer recognize our place or our posture, or even the ground upon which we walk.

    Indeed! Sandy, that has happened to me quite literally.

    We once flew a crazy 15-stop 6-day trip back when I was living the glamorous life everybody stupidly envied. A few nights into it, I got up in the middle of the night to piss in the hotel room’s bathroom and walked right into the hard, sharp corner of a wall that I met unexpectedly in the dark. (It split my forehead, and it was bleeding. It’s gonna be rather embarrassing to explain a knot on my forehead the next day! Quick, run down the hall to get ice out of the machine! Locked myself out of my room! Lucky I had my underwear on!)

    When the alarm went off in the morning, I looked out the window. No Eiffel Tower or Sears Tower or CN Tower or other distinguishing hints. It looks exactly like the last 4 cities I was in. Close the drapes. I looked in the drawer beside the bed for a phone book. Just a Gideon’s Bible. So I dialed “O” and asked the front desk what city I’m in.

    We took off from that particular concrete wasteland with an Applebee’s and Marriott Courtyard separated by 6 lanes of road rage traffic and parking lagoons, flying at Mach .825 (82.5% of the speed of sound). One of the busy-ness-bodies queried the cockpit and asked which town that was was off the left wing.

    Neither pilot knew right at that moment which State of the Union over which we were flying, much less what town that was, which the ethereal world of Enroute High Altitude sectionals, IFR waypoints, and FMS programming could care less about. So how can we can figure out what state we’re in? Let’s see, bring up the closest 10 airports on the radar, that town must be where the KHRX airport overlayed on the radar shows, look it up in the AC-U-KWIK, that’s Hereford. We’re over Texas.

    Two hours later, we landed in another goddam concrete wasteland with an Applebee’s and Marriott Courtyard separated by 6 lanes of road rage traffic and parking lagoons.

    As if it matters what city or or state or even country you’re in these days. Maybe we can solve our problem of finding a satisfactory destination by going even faster!

    • Disaffected says:

      If I was gonna call someone a “prophet” or a “savior,” Krishnamurti would definitely be the guy. A “great world teacher,” who upon ascending the throne, promptly refuses it and dissolves the organization of disciples who are all to ready and willing to follow him. Then patiently explains to them all exactly why he’s doing it, so that only the most obtuse could possibly not get the message. So instead of using the obsolete terms prophet or savior, perhaps a better term is merely “model of enlightenment,” or something along those lines. One who “gets it” in other words.

      By the way, after reviewing all the sundry and assorted Jesus myths, I believe that’s what Jesus was like as well, if he even existed as a single person at all. Many feel that the Jesus myth was based on a composite of several historical personages at the very least, and even all of those were likely highly embellished. One thing’s for sure, with all of the politics surrounding events at the time and up to centuries after his death, the myth of Jesus of Nazareth can only be viewed as exactly that – a MYTH.

      And it’s in that light that I recommend most of Christian (nut-bag) friends view it. A myth that’s highly allegorical (as myths are by definition), that evidently helps you cope with your day to day affairs. Viewed in that light, I can understand – although disagree with the need for – religious belief. Taken any further than that(!), and religion is in my view purely destructive.

  2. Rene says:

    ‘… can you see any light between the players on the left or the right, the east or the west, the pols or the zealots, the religionists or the militarists?’

    Successful criminals and cowardly politicians

    Question 1:
    BELOVED OSHO,

    HOW COME YOU SPEAK ABOUT POLITICAL LEADERS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN THE
    SAME TONE – IS THERE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM?

    http://oshosearch.net/Convert/Articles_Osho/From_Darkness_to_Light/Osho-From-Darkness-to-Light-00000005.html

  3. Rene says:

    From Darkness to Light

    New Order – Ceremony

  4. leavergirl says:

    But you know that I was criticizing your slamming people because of their beliefs rather than their actual (real world, here and now, cough cough) behaviors, right?

    “When the innate capacity for self-regulation – gained through natural processes of individuation and psychological maturation – has been lost due to institutionally erected constraints, you then need other, externally imposed, means to control the individual and the body politic in the ensuing cacophony and complexity. If we live life believing that our ‘purpose’ is to achieve some future, yet unrealized, state of affairs, with almost no capacity to achieve it on our own, then we can be manipulated on the quest.”

    Exactly. I tend to think that the axial age religions were invented as a way to counter the brutalities and insanities of that age, and then fell prey to the brutal/insane anyway. There are still hints of revolutionary advice we would do well to heed… once in a while, people do.

    Another thought… the secular peddlers of progress fall into that pit you so well describe, too.

  5. kulturcritic says:

    I realize, Vera. And your point was heard clearly. I just had more to say on the underlying values that help shape much of the behaviors we see all around us in the modern world. And, this piece also agrees with you on your final thought. That was my point of religion, science and politics sleeping in the same cradle. sandy

  6. Disaffected says:

    Whoo boy, I’m sittin’ this one out this week. I think my feelings on religion have been spelled out pretty clearly already. Although I will say that whoever gets credit for the quote “…opiate of the masses” pretty well nailed it right there. It’s like any other form of insanity. If a little bit of it helps you cope personally, I suppose it can’t hurt. But anything beyond that and you get what we have today: highly organized and manipulated mass insanity.

  7. Brutus says:

    Religion, in the broadest sense, has a long history across many different peoples of being myriad things, all of which may be accurate since they’re merely a human construct. But as a result, it’s easy to overthink what religion is to most people today. There are just as many who simply go with the flow and accept without examination or understanding received notions of religion as there are those gather expertise on the subject but then, often as not, turn religious teachings to their own venal purposes. In my experience, those with true religious spirit are quite few. Indeed, the modern world makes such a sensibility nearly impossible.

    What we now have instead in the mainstream religions, and here I’m thinking mostly of Christianity, is religion conceived of two purposes: soothing reward and bludgeon. For the first, we can thank the Coca-Cola Company, whose marketing of Santa Claus in the early 20th century is the first religious association children form and never lose: god (or his emissary) as a bringer of gifts. The material orientation has grown ever more omnipresent, though it has plenty of antecedents. Extrapolation to an eternal reward goes hand-in-hand. The second has outbreaks throughout history, where religion functions as the rallying point for punishment, revenge, control of the masses, and glory wars. Catholicism (with its penance) and Islam (with its jihad) are quintessential examples that flare and smolder.

    I rather like your ideas about escape from or loss of fleshy embodiment, and that may be occurring on a somatic level, but I doubt this interpretation is recognizable to most who consider themselves religious. You’re undoubtedly correct about our being psychologically and economically trapped within these intertwined institutions we’ve created and evolved over time.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Brutus – I don’t think the commercial tie-in to Coke was the clincher on rewards in Xity. The promise of salvation and eternal life in the kingdom was robust for millennia before that Ad hit the airwaves.

  8. Malthus says:

    “Our myths of transcendence,” That paragraph including “purpose,” is brilliant Sandy. While I was reading your post today I kept wondering about the older religions. Celtic, Greek, Viking, and Roman. I’m sure they evolved probably because the older religions did not seek the control our modern religious seek. Really well done.

  9. Greg Knepp says:

    Early on the sky-god belief was adopted by neolithic nomads as well as by civilized peoples, and thus was not the exclusive property of highly complex and regimented societies. The nomadic tribesman were probably staunchly hierarchal as well, and used myths and basic theologies to keep communities (with their attendant pecking orders) intact, and to lend meaning and narrative to a world that, for sentient beings anyway, must have seemed to lack such qualities.

    The only thing that has changed over the ages is scale. If you don’t like hierarchy and can’t come to terms with religion, then you’ll have little use for humanity.

    • Brutus says:

      Greg Knepp sez: The only thing that has changed over the ages is scale.

      Pshaw. Lots more that scale has changed. As with discussions of population demographics, that might be the biggest or most controlling change, but it’s hardly the only one. Quantity vs. quality.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Greg – there is evidence that hierarchy and sky-god worship may have existed among semi-nomadic neolithic pastoralists. They were in fact some of the earliest of a specific kind of agriculturalist, those involved with animal husbandry – the domestication and raising of livestock. Such practices of domestication (plant or animal) are the first stages of civilization, hierarchically organized villages and cities. It is not surprising that the sky-god concept begins to take flight with the birth of such practices of accumulation (food stores/livestock) and the need for protecting what they are hoarding. On the question of the mythology and theology of the late neolithic pastoralist, I am not sure your statement has much ground to stand on; but you like to debate… so give it your best shot. Actually, I do quite well with humanity, Greg, but I have little use for hierarchy or religion; you, on the other hand, seem to have a chip on your shoulder. It is as if you are desperate to prove something; but, what do I know?

      • Malthus says:

        I think that is true Sandy. Apparantly the neolithic bands did not care for heirarchy at all. Also Besides the planing of food storage the building of homes had much to do with the evolution of villages and cities. Since then it has been a struggle and a “purpose,” to make them as permante as possible.

      • Ivy Mike says:

        Indeed, pastoralists are heavily into skygod religions, even more so than agriculturalists, as this study shows.

      • Greg Knepp says:

        I’ll give Brutus his due; there certainly have been a good many changes beyond just scale. But the human condition – the basic format of our species, if you will – remains much the same. With all our techno-science and advanced social engineering we are still organized hierarchically, and remain sad sniveling creatures intimidated by the power of the unknown – aka ‘The fear of God’.

        Hans Hass wrote that any characteristic that manifests in much the same manner across all cultures, however diverse such cultures may be in other aspects, must be thought of as based in human instinct.

        Certainly it is easier to trace the roots of hierarchy than of religion, as many, if not most, social species exhibit this form of organization. Coordination of hunting, defense and food gathering requires leadership. And task specialization, even in the most primitive orders, would imply class stratification – for example: one good medicine woman might be worth three spear throwers in a tribal economy. The physically strong and intellectually keen would out-rank the weak. They would reproduce more also. This is simple Natural Selection. And tribes with this type of structure would out-perform their less-organized competitors. This is why the noble savage, living in simple harmony with his fellows and his environment, has been an elusive myth. Only the Kalahari Bushmen come close to this model. Alas, the New Guinea aboriginals, the American Indians, and even the vaulted Samoans have, in the end, proven to be sons-of-bitches just like the rest of us.

        The origin and nature of religion is a bit more complex, but just as inseparable from the human animal as hierarchy. I’ll save it for another time. Suffice it to say, Sandy, that I don’t have a chip on my shoulder – at least I don’t think I do – but I do find religion bashing a little too easy, to common. I believe religion to be incredibly rich territory on a number of levels and I intend to explore it as fully as I can.

        • leavergirl says:

          There is a fair amount of general agreement that human prehistory is mostly the history of egalitarian tribes. That’s how you survive during the ice ages… the tribes where “leaders” could snatch essential supplies did not do so well.

          That changed when the Holocene arrived in some places, but until recently, there were still a great many egalitarian or transegalitarian (big man) tribes in existence. There are still a few even now, not just the Bushmen.

          There is nothing natural about hierarchies… every species has its own way.

          And it looks like even the earliest civilizations were not hierarchical societies (e.g. Catal Huyuk).

          • Greg Knepp says:

            Your work seems very thoughtful and informed, Leavergirl. However, I am in stark disagreement with you (and various experts) regarding the supposed egalitarian nature of the Catal Hoyuk society – at least as evidenced by the construction of its city.

            We know that the residents of CH had organized religion involving bulls, birds and breasts, among other things, and that this implies a priestly class of some sort. If we can infer the existence of such a class, why then did CH lack temples and other large buildings? Two reasons come to mind: (1) the absence of an urban model (or precedent) and (2) a total lack of the engineering skills and materials knowledge necessary for the construction of large buildings with interior spaces. [For obvious reasons the zigurats and pyramids of a later age – though massive projects – didn’t present the architectural challenges created by interior-spaces buildings. Even the Temple of Karnak was mostly columns. As an interior-space structure it was cramped and awkward. Its sibling to the east, the Temple of Jerusalem, was a lovely structure and quite serviceable. But, at ninety feet by thirty feet it was tiny compared to the standards later set by the Greeks and Romans. Even so, the CH culture, coming thousands of years earlier was in no position to attempt such structures.]

            The rowhouses of Baltimore illustrate my point: Built starting in the 1700s and continuing thru the beginning of the automobile age, their abutted configuration and uniform size (at least within a row) saved space, protected side walls from the elements, reduced fuel consumption, conserved construction materials, enhanced structural stability and encouraged a sense of community. Such, I feel certain, was the case in Catal Hoyuk. Of course the residents of CH had not developed a concept of ‘streets’ so the rowhouses spread in every direction. This sort of construction mode worked well for small dwellings. However, because these structures were essentially made of mud, dimensional and structural stability would have presented real problems for any structures exceeding a certain size threshold. So even if the inhabitants of CH had developed a concept of ‘temple’ (which they may have – certain rooms within the city were a little larger than the others and a few had odd decorations of perhaps a ceremonial nature…not conclusive, but interesting) the construction of any large interior-space buildings would have been impossible, given the very real technical and material constraints of this nascent city.

            Sorry, evidence of the existence of the Workers Socialist Republic of Catal Hoyuk is simply a whim – a wish that things were different in an ideal past… one that somehow may be recovered as the evil industrial age fades. I fear that nothing of the kind was, nor will
            be.

            • Ivy Mike says:

              Don’t forget, the Marxist “Workers Socialist” ideology comes straight from the Bible.

              “And distribution was made to every one, according as he had need.” ~Acts 4:35

              • Greg Knepp says:

                You’re right on, Mike – Peter was a Pinko. There is, however, no evidence that his commune was realized. And the fact that he was executed in a rather brutal manner (I’ll spare the details) indicates that his ideas were not well received at the time. What is ironic is that he was posthumously named the first pope.

            • leavergirl says:

              Greg, it would be useful if you cited someone who agrees with that. I have looked extensively, and the reason it is (so far) assumed that hierarchy did not exist in CH to any appreciable degree were these: no elite buildings found (not just public buildings, but more quality, with more goods, etc); both men and women were equally well fed; all the people tested for bone health were more or less equally hard working (i.e. nobody tested as being exempted from all that hard work); grave goods were minor, and most of them went to children.

              If you want to see hierarchy at CH, please give positive evidence. And explain away the evidence given. 🙂

              I did come across an anthropologist who did think they were ranked, but he went off the old research, before all the massive amounts of new data came in over the last 20 years.

          • Ivy Mike says:

            All civilizations are, by definition, hierarchical. (Social stratification or class structure is one of the five primary characteristics of civilization.) However, the earlier civilizations like Catal Huyuk, were admittedly less hierarchical than later civilizations.

            Egalitarianism Hierarchy is a continuum, and even egalitarian societies have traces of hierarchy, usually based on age and sex. And hierarchy—Lording-It-Over-Others—can intensify greatly, just like civilization can greatly intensify the destructive power of war. A cannonball of the War of 1812 seems almost quaintly peaceful compared to a “blockbuster bomb” of WWII, and even a scad of those devices seems tranquil compared to a single B41 nuclear weapon containing 2.5 times the combined power of all the conventional explosives used in WWII.

        • Ivy Mike says:

          Greg says: “Certainly it is easier to trace the roots of hierarchy…Coordination of hunting, defense and food gathering requires leadership.”

          Hunter gatherers live a life “autonomous and sovereign” as both Service (1974) and Boehm (2001) document in exactly the same two words. Band and tribal people are generally egalitarian, the opposite of hierarchical.

          The move towards hierarchy began with the advent of society ignored human “neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates.” (Dunbar’s Number)

          Chiefdoms (proto-States) with “Big Men” (or “emergent elite”) and competitive feasting began the first human hierarchical society, and hierarchy has intensified into State society (agricultural civilization.)

          Don’t forget, New Guinea is one of the places in the world where agriculture started, and where the term “Big Men” by anthropologists to describe the beginnings of hierarchy.

          And as far as the term Noble Savage goes, Jason Godesky writes: “The term ‘Noble Savage,’ as we have it today, was a straw man concocted by white supremacists in order to take over the British Ethnological Society” in his essay May 2007 essay The Savages are Truly Noble.”

        • kulturcritic says:

          The entire complex of human, as opposed to primate, organization was based upon “sharing.” This, of necessity, militated against the basic reality of hierarchy and status. Egalitarian relations were, by and large, how these original human tribes survived. Sharing and hierarchy are essential at odd with one another. See Morton Fried, The Evolution of Political Society, among others.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      • Greg says: “The nomadic tribesman were probably staunchly hierarchical as well…”

      Tribes are decidedly not hierarchical, according to anthropological studies. Band and tribal sociopolitical typology is egalitarian, that is, Nobody-Lording-It-Over-Others. Chiefdoms (proto-states) become hierarchical, that is, Some-Lording-It-Over-Others, and then State society (agricultural civilization) is extremely hierarchical.

      As Elman R. Service writes in his Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution, “Historically, people in non-state societies [bands and tribes] are relatively autonomous and sovereign. They generate their own subsistence with little or no assistance from outside sources. They bow to no external political leaders. Nor are they routinely exploited by outsiders.”

      Another anthropologist to write the exact same terminology—autonomous and sovereign—to describe tribal life is Christopher Boehm in his Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior.

      Even if a tribal village has an apparent “head” to observers from our State society (civilization), empirical observation as recorded in anthropological textbooks shows that “The position of village head is achieved and comes with very limited authority. He cannot force or coerce people to do things.”

      • Greg says: “The only thing that has changed over the ages is scale.”

      Scale (size) of human society is directly involved with the creation of hierarchy (despotic society.).

      Tribes and Bands, in social sizes under Dunbar’s Number, are egalitarian, that is, Nobody-Lording-It-Over others. Chiefdoms (also known as proto-States), increasing in size beyond Dunbar’s Number, are the beginnings of hierarchical society, that is, some Lording-It-Over others. And in the mass society of State society (agricultural civilization), the hierarchy is firmly established. There’s always a Boss around, Lording-It-Over others.

      • Greg says: If you don’t like hierarchy and can’t come to terms with religion, then you’ll have little use for humanity.

      Humans evolved egalitarian, and it shows in our very bodies. Primates who are hierarchical show more sexual dimorphism and even sexual dichromatism, such as red ass baboons. Humans show very much less sexual dimorphism, and zero sexual dichromatism.

      And now you know why bosses have to wear power ties; they’re faking artificial dichromatism over their underlings to maintain the hierarchy.

      So rather, if you like hierarchy, you have little use for natural humans, and probably imagine you have the right to take anything from such savages, i.e., dwellers of the silva or forest.

      “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land … any white person who brought the element of civilization [hierarchical State society] had the right to take over this continent.” ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

  10. Nichole says:

    Hiya, Sandy,

    What a very nice essay. I’ve missed the last few weeks. This one was a good one to return for.

    Perhaps there’s a simpler kernel to the puzzles you, Greg, Brutus and Mike are mulling over. Perhaps the problems weren’t those of civilization at all, well, at least not those Gimbutus studied in the Balkans or, perhaps in the Mehrgarh beginnings of Harappa. A bit more difficult to tell than some have thought.

    It seems to me that the one constant in econo-politico-religious totalitarianism is the patriarchal hub around which all the worlds turn. I think we’d do best by comparing the hyper-vigilant, paranoid, controlling, hierarchical, mystikal-metaphysical-rather-than-physical-aethereal-deathwish-centered systems of control to the ascension of ridiculous notions like gods being able to create (spiritually and physically) without wombs or ovaries.

    The core ideas are perversions and unnatural in the most literal senses. They make no rational, physical sense at all. Unless, of course, one uses the logic that the prehistoric Tertullian is likely to have used to justfy his ascension over the priestesses oh Mother-Gaia: the ideas are so ridiculous that they must be true.

    Feel free, y’all to argue otherwise, but what shards remain appear to point toward the core problem being masculinism.

    • leavergirl says:

      🙂
      Maculinism is but one part of a larger problem, that of domination. IMO, of course.

      • Nichole says:

        😉
        Problems have a habit of growing over time. IMO, the core is masculinism. Domination is the fruit developed from that core.

        • Ivy Mike says:

          Yep! As any “Dominionist” Xian will tell you, their serial butch-boy Hay-Zeus will “rule with a rod of iron!” and force “every knee to bow!”

          But if you want to turn the tables—Thanksgiving is coming up soon with your Baptist uncle trying to weasel in a word about getting you saved this time—on this prevalent religio-political BDSM fantasy of Authoritarian submissives, just remind them using their own Buy-Bull that it is them who will be “unveiled” as a “Bride of Christ,” so ya better bring some lube, eh!?! Especially if bigus dickus Hay-Zeus finds you as “useful” as the pederastic Paul found his slave-boy-toy Onesimus whom he “loved in the flesh.”

          That’ll make’em keep their religion in their pants. Or get disinvited from Christmas. Or want to kill you, so be careful those religulous hairless Hominidae Primates. 😉

        • leavergirl says:

          You have a point. Even the egalitarian tribes were not necessarily egalitarian inside the family. Anthropologists end up stressing that a lot.

          • kulturcritic says:

            Vera, Please describe for me the composition of the egalitarian tribal “family.”

            • leavergirl says:

              Hah. You caught me out. My opinion is that family (and kin networks) is the invention of the neolithic. Property protection and all that.

              However, the historical egalitarian tribes, well, both Hayden and Boehm stress that their theories do not apply to the relationship between the sexes. For example, there were huts where a man, woman and children shared a hearth, but the women hung out with women during the day, and men with men. Then there were the peoples who did not have shared family housing at all but had womens houses and mens houses and even older childrens houses. I have not studied this much. What say you?

        • Question says:

          Look at it this way genderless minds are also psychopaths.

      • Nichole Webbering says:

        😀

        Actually, after giving this some more thought I decided to say what I was thinking rather than how I made my thinking less offensive. My thought is that the problem was the susceptibility of someone, or a group of them, who are the only people on the planet who have ever suffered from the Freudian penis-envy.

        I have this picture in my mind that won’t leave. Two ancient males standing in close proximity to one another while they each took a whiz. Ouch! I’d imagine that the smaller of the two began the whole sky-god, anti-shamanic/animist fetishes that we continue to struggle against today. 🙂

    • Ivy Mike says:

      Yep, Men are patriarchal Rulers, supported by a patriarchal God. It’s House-Bondage (submitting to a Hus-Band) for domesticated females, House-Bondagery (submitting to Hus-Bandry for other domesticated animals) and death to the rest of the wild-erness who won’t submit.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Then, how in the fuck do we explain Hilary Clinton????????? LOL

        • Ivy Mike says:

          Or Ann Coultergeist…its Chicks with Dicks! LOL!

          The testosterone-domination “patriarchal” drive is as natural as the creative destruction powers of a black hole that made our blood red.

          But there has to be a balance. When a black hole “scales up” to swallow a whole galaxy, well, its kind of like when the testosterone-domination drive “scales up” to desolate the whole of Mother Earth.

          Human society has lost that means of keeping the male-testosterone-domination drive in check, where the weaker combine forces to prevent the strong from Lording-It-Over.

          Just a little bit needs fucked, not everything in sight.

        • Greg Knepp says:

          Easy, hierarchy is not necessarily paternalistic. Nor is it a one-way street. There is a social contract involved; “Lead well or we will vote you out of office, banish you to the hinterlands, assassinate you and your offspring, etc..”. Natural selection will favor skilled leaders over brutes and favor tribes with able leaders over unruly mobs.

          One last point: we don’t know what came first – the chicken or the egg (actually it was the egg, but I digress). But we do know that fully modern humans preceded civilization, and that civilized social organization would quite naturally comply with motivations based in human instinct. There are certainly exceptions to the rule – isolated societies able to function, for a time, in a relatively egalitarian manner, and there have always been lone-wolf individuals who refuse to comply with any authority. [so compelling are these types that a good many of our fictional heroes are based on them: Ekidnu, Samson, Shane, et.al.]

          But if we want to know how humankind behaves, we must look at the mainstream. Desmond Morris was quite clear on this point. Man’s ‘natural state’ is the one he inhabits, and his natural behavior is the one he exhibits.

          • leavergirl says:

            You seem confused. Egalitarians had leaders (and a “contract”). The difference is that their leaders were ad hoc and specific to a particular area of expertise, they were watched and quickly unseated if power went to their heads, it was the person, not the office — when the leadership powers faded in one person, another rose to fill a need, and the leaders were careful not to lord it over the others but lead by wisdom and particular skill.

            Leaders who got out of hand were easily dealt with.

            Imagine, Greg, a band of 40 — about the average in the ice age. Someone tries to boss other people in the small band. People use ridicule and other corrections, but this person is teflon, and pushes ahead with his agenda, trying to amass power. One day, he will go out hunting by himself, and oops, he’ll turn up dead.

            • Ivy Mike says:

              Agreed, and good synopsis of anthropological data.

              I think with Greg we’re dealing with the huge segment of the population, especially Right Wing Authoritarian Republican/Libertarian/Owner-class who love to hate the naturally-evolved egalitarianism of homo sapiens. While they profess to love liberty, in reality they want to Lord-It-Over others. Yeah, even the self-styled LoLbertarian types, such as this horrific example:

              “We libertarians do not oppose hierarchy or command or authority…” ~Stephan Kinsella

              The more psychopathic of the owner class (or wannabees) even fantasize of poor parents being put into slavery and having their bodies sadistically “whipped” as a laissez faire market solution to health care access for children.

            • Greg Knepp says:

              I see no major disagreements here. Good leaders will recognize the need to fellowship with their followers. They will reward productive behavior, and maintain an awareness that the good of the tribe will ensure a secure leadership position, no matter how that position was attained. When times get tough, such a leader may have to resort to force in dealing with both internal and external threats. Some form of consent from the ruled is always desirable, but by no means universal. My definitions for hierarchy and egalitarian come from the dictionary. This seems conventional. Most societies probably have contained elements of both. What I don’t see is evidence of a major shift from one mode to another based on the material differences between hunter-gatherer, nomadic herding, and agricultural (civilized) societies.

              • kulturcritic says:

                You don’t see much of anything… as far as I can tell. You don’t even stop to reflect upon the self-righteous arrogance of your tone. That is what I have to say! And I really don’t care what you think. sandy

              • Ivy Mike says:

                Greg says: “What I don’t see is evidence of a major shift from one mode [egalitarian] to another [hierarchy]…”

                Rather, you’re studiously ignoring the evidence:
                Elman R. Service (1975), Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution.h New York: Norton.
                Christopher Boehm. (2001) Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

          • kulturcritic says:

            Greg – Why don’t you describe for me “man’s natural state” to clear up my confusion? And while you are in the arena, do the same for mankind’s “natural behavior.” Calling something a “social contract” in a pre-civilized environment would appear to me to be ethnocentric thinking; but that is just my first impression. You also beg the question of “leadership,” assuming your readers will simply go along for the ride. The authority of tribal elders is not concomitant with the enforced power of the state apparatus. There is a qualitative difference. And the story of Gilgamesh was not a tribute to Enkidu, the wild outsider; it was the story of disequilibrium civilization, of its origin, its deep structure, and its legacy. This was the first piece of literature in the history of Western civilization. And let us not forget the harlot in the story who acts for the city of Erech against nature, seducing Enkidu into civilization…

            • Greg Knepp says:

              I like your take on Gilgamesh. I agree fully. I’ll also add the symbolic importance of the destruction of the Cedar forests. The author/authors went head-long into civilization with eyes wide open. Great stuff! as my daughter might say, ‘ancient literature is the bomb!’

              I’m puzzled by the ‘ethnocentric’ comment. I’m a white guy in America influenced by the conventions of Western Civilization. What’s the big deal?

          • Ivy Mike says:

            Egalitarian simply means nobody Lording-It-Over others, an “autonomous and sovereign” lifeway (Service 1974, Boehm 1999), or as Thomas Jefferson put it, “all men are created [egalitarian].”

            And please don’t misuse the word natural. By your equivocation, nuclear weapons and rape and clear-cutting are all “natural.”

            Ran Prieur writes about “natural” the following in his essay “Seven Lies of Civilization:”

            Lie #3. Everything is natural. Happily most people recognize this as a silly pseudo-philosophical distraction, but I want to knock it down anyway. The argument rests on a semantic distortion, a redefinition of “natural” to include absolutely everything, because I say so. Civilization is natural because humans are animals, toxic waste is natural because it’s derived from stuff that comes from the Earth, bla bla bla.

            Real people do not use the word “natural” in this way. Maybe it’s “natural” if I take this club and bash your head in, but you would prefer that I didn’t, so you define words like “murder” to express and defend this preference. In the same way, people define “natural” to express and defend their preference for living trees over plastic trees, meadows over parking lots, rivers of drinkable water over rivers of dioxin. This is what “natural” really means, and if we don’t want to die of cancer and turn the Earth into a poisoned desert, we have a responsibility to linguistically separate the natural from the unnatural and choose the natural many times a day.

            If you want a tight definition, natural means in symbiosis with nature, and nature means the totality of symbiotic life on Earth, and symbiotic means related in ways that are mutually beneficial and beneficial to the whole, where wider benefit takes precedence. Defining “beneficial” pushes the limits of our impoverished language, but I’m going to say generating autonomous and diverse aliveness. And if you don’t know what aliveness means, look harder.

            • Greg Knepp says:

              Good god, Mike, gimme a fuckin’ break! (see, you’ve reduced me to foul language. I hope your happy!) I know what ‘natural’ means. It is the way things normally occur unless unusual events intervene causing extraordinary stress . A creature may exhibit behavior so atypical under extreme conditions that such behavior may be considered ‘unnatural’ in the context of said creature’s typical catalog of behaviors. Then there is supernatural – that which is purported to occur or exist outside of the constraints of physical law. Everything else in natural. Yes, it is as natural for a group of men to build an atom bomb as it is for a group of beavers to build a dam. Both are creatures that survive by intentionally manipulating their environments. Only more so in humankind. Sad but true. I believe the definitions you’ve come up with are politically correct, though.

              • Ivy Mike says:

                Greg says: “Yes, it is as natural for a group of men to build an atom bomb as it is for a group of beavers to build a dam.”

                No it’s not; your equivocation has reduced to foul language to defend Lie #3 of Civilization.

                Greg says: “A creature may exhibit behavior so atypical under extreme conditions that such behavior may be considered ‘unnatural’…”

                You describe hierarchical (Lord-It-Over-people) agricultural (Lord-It-Over-nature) city-Statism (civilization) to a tee, which has existed for less than 1% of human society and is driving the human species and most others to near-term extinction.

                • Greg Knepp says:

                  I won’t be answering replies. The host is getting pissed and i’d rather not be a nuisance.

                  But I will conclude by stating that species extinction is nothing new and well within the natural order. A rogue asteroid, a rogue species (us) – these things happen. We are powerless to change our nature. I’ll paraphrase Henry Gondorff in the film ‘The Sting’ as he talkes about a rival crime lord: “He sealed his fate fifteen years ago when he decided to be somebody.” Those clever, little monkey bastards that left the jungle to conquer the savanah some seven million years ago also decided to be somebody. They succeeded . The rest is written in time: past, present and future.

                  • Ivy Mike says:

                    Enjoy being an apologist for communism, fascism, genocide, agent orange, environmental destruction, DDT being found in all women’s breast milk, poisoning babies, and rape. Hey, it’s all natural,” Greg told me so.

                    • leavergirl says:

                      Well, Greg, I have never known Sandy to persecute anyone who pushed a contrary view. It seems to me that you are ducking, because all you got going is, “this is how I see it, and damn the evidence.” Your argument re Catal Huyuk selected one piece out of context, refuted it in your head, and assumed that’s good enough. People here have pointed you to resources, you have not backed your views by references. There are plenty of sources of the last 20 years discussing the evidence for egalitarian societies… the field has really taken off, though there were dissenting voices from the 60s on.

                      If you are ever interested enough to have examined the evidence, I would be happy to discuss it with you in the future. I will not proceed further simply on the basis of your stated claim, and your desire for that claim to be true.

        • Disaffected says:

          Have you seen her in the shower yet? Is there proof that she’s actually still a she? Inquiring minds want to know damn it! I think she and Billy Boy might have had mutual sex-reversals after Monica-Gate. Just sayin’.

  11. Nichole says:

    Hmmmm. The wonder of Greg Knepp, has an idea and’s unwilling or unable to defend it. At the same time is more than capable of laying the responsibility for Greg language use on Mike. That seems rather egalitarian for one who appears to support the “big man” notion of leadership and leaves with the scent of totalitarian-dominionist-supportive ideology trailing from his arguments while using that “whatever I want it to mean” meme “political correctness” to answer as a rebuttal.

    Surely there is more there there. Let’s imagine for the nonce that Oetzi, the man found in the Alps in a glacier, was a “big man.” There’s more than a bit of evidence that he was hunted down and slain while on an individual hunt. Oops, perhaps the Big Man wasn’t big enough. They generally aren’t, in spite of the way English-speaking universities tend to teach history.

    What sorts of big changes have been wrought single-handedly by “big men?” Good luck naming some of them. Instead one imagines that the “big man” most often succumbs to the fate of Enkidu. He falls victim to his own lusts and instinctual energies and leaves nothing behind except a history.

    Same with Caesar, Cromwell, Tamurlaine. Although the latter did cause others to build the marvelous Blue Mosque. The notion was the conqueror’s, the production was a group effort – as are the truly lasting civilized works.

    Community is the core of family, clan, sept, vlllage, town, city, nation, state and civilization. Big Men are ephemera.

    • Disaffected says:

      By the way, “community” is not the sole province of the female sex. Perhaps you’re projecting here just a wee bit?

      • Nichole says:

        I was unaware that I’d said it (community) is the sole province of females, DA. I certainly don’t believe it is. However, I do not find that patriarchy is much conducive to community, at least not to sustainable communities. Steady states and the institutions of patriarchy seem inimical to each other.

        OTOH, men and women are perfectly capable of building viable, sustaining, sustainable communities, provided we retain the abilities to make such communities any longer.

        “Big Men” are indeed ephemera; but “Big Men” are nowhere close to being all men. And there are more than a smattering of “Big Men” who are female, DA. 😉

  12. leavergirl says:

    Nice point. Nothing like blaming others for your own behavior to show your true colors, no?

    I just met a big man. High energy, domineering, a visionary, keeps things moving, attracts people to his project, can’t get enough attention… gets people to work hard, gets things done, at a price. I can see the allure. I can also see the underbelly…

    • Disaffected says:

      OK, I get it, and can totally see you and Nichole’s points. But, let’s not turn this into some sort of anti-male rage forum here, OK?

      • Nichole says:

        I generally appreciate your insights, DA. But, as I read your comments to Vera and I, I am not finding us pushing anti-male rage. Anti-patriarchal and anti-dominion domination, why yes. I do see us both pushing that.

        I only see you pushing anti-male rage, friend. I see you may have experienced that before when two or more of us, females, engage in debates like this.

        Perhaps projection is indeed the rub. *hug*

        • leavergirl says:

          The only rage that’s been goin’ on is anti-Jaysus rage. But we already covered that. 😉

          Yup. Big men can be women. The term does not refer to gender. But I am glad you got pulled back in after all, DA. Yey!

        • Disaffected says:

          Perhaps. I’m definitely not “standing on the mount” just yet. But I stand by my comments. And I definitely see a lot of female/anti-male rage in the world today, which I’m at a loss to account for. Quite frankly, I see it just the opposite. Oh well, we’ll chalk it up to natural projection, which we’re all susceptible to, for now.

  13. Disaffected says:

    One more and I’ve got all of the ‘Recent Comments.’ What the hell!

    • leavergirl says:

      Here is another one of those stuffy definitions. Just in case you might be interested.

      “A Big Man refers to a highly influential individual in a tribe… Such person may not have formal tribal or other authority (through for instance material possessions, or inheritance of rights), but can maintain recognition through skilled persuasion and wisdom. The big man has a large group of followers, both from his clan and from other clans. He provides his followers with protection and economic assistance, in return receiving support which he uses to increase his status.”

      • Greg Knepp says:

        Leavergirl, I’d like to respond to this comment as well as an earlier one. I’m sorry to be late on the uptake. With respect to Catal Hoyuk, evidence of hierarchy is not necessary, as some form of leadership and social organization (even ad-hoc) may be assumed. What is needed is evidence to the contrary.

        What appears to be the absence of the trappings and regalia of leadership may simply reflect comparative restraints of material resources, which would tend to democratize the distribution of same. A dearth of cultural precedents may also be at work. Chimps and gorillas need no visible symbols of authority. Quite the contrary, it is only when the hierarchy of a given society fails to serve its purpose that the leadership establishment supernovas into an ostentatious (and insipid) display of power. Consider the French aristocracy prior to the revolution, the pomp and ceremony of Nazi Germany, or the deification of Roman kings even as the empire rotted.

        Even in the modern world, it may be difficult to spot material differences between strata. For example, in the America of the early 1950s virtually all people dressed alike; men wore fedoras, jackets and ties, white shirts and polished leather shoos; women wore dresses or skirts and tops, and funny hats. These uniforms were universal. Automobiles were identical as well. There were no substantial differences, in look or build, between a Chevy and a Buick, despite the much higher price tag of the later. A cursory examination by an anthropologist from space would lead him to the conclusion that America was a
        fully egalitarian state.

        Be he’d be mistaken. You see, differences in status were communicated by subtleties – a hood ornament here, a chrome-tipped fin there. Costly but fine differences in fit and fabric would differentiate the executive sport jacket from one pulled off the rack at
        Penny’s. Post war glut allowed for the appearance of the democratization of wealth. None of this would be apparent to the outsider. But, back then, everyone knew the score. And America of the 1950s – ostensibly content and uniform – was very much a hierarchy. The same, I believe, was true for Catal Hoyuk.

        Leadership is carried in the demeanor and gesture of the leader – a dour glance, a broad smile, a consenting nod, a furrowed brow, a display of resolve in the face of adversity. In the hands of a master such behavioral tools can move multitudes. This is how humanity works. The very fact that the lowly dog has evolved to appropriately respond to the smallest gestures in humans, and in the very same manner that humans respond, is
        ample evidence of the primal nature of such gestures. (one might conclude that the survival of dogs rests in there ability to allow every man to be a leader – think about it.)

        • leavergirl says:

          Read up, open your mind to the recent evidence, and then we’ll talk. I have nothing further to say, Greg.

          • Greg Knepp says:

            No, I’m not closed minded – at least I’m not aware of being so – and I have read plenty about Catal Hoyuk. I will also grant you that there was likely no standing military (the idea of attacking a town had probably never ocurred to anyone – I’m a big believer in cultural inertia) and I see no evidence of a constabulary. There were weapons, but the residents were big on hunting.

            But there was organized farming and planned irrigation. The use of natural resources appears to have been regulated (wood, clay, stones etc..) and use of the nearby marshes was restricted…at least we may infer such. All of these resources lasted much longer than anyone might suspect had a free-for-all society prevailed. Specialization of labor, which they had, also implies class stratification. There were larger rooms which were decorated that may have served their organized religion (still, I take it, of an unspecified nature) or may have been used for civic purposes, or perhaps both.

            I can’t give you anything conclusive, and I doubt that there were kings and queens as we know them. Perhaps not even a mayor. One can speculate that clan leaders may have met to hammer-out policy. This would seem reasonable. But one thing seems clear: you don’t run an operation as large as Catal Hoyuk for fifteen-hundred years (or thereabouts) without leadership and organization, however that may manifest itself.

            Good god, Leavergirl, it just hit me! It occurs to me that you’re a Jaynsian. Of course, it all makes sense now. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it would explain a lot in terms of your thinking. It all fits in with the Axial Age change of consciousness thing. I don’t know why I didn’t see it. Christ, I’m an idiot after all. Well…I must tell you that I adore the work of Julian Jaynes. It’s delicious reading and I gobbled it up as a young man. I just believe that he happened to be wrong. I’m not the lone crumudgeon in this. As you probably know, his hypothesis, wonderful as it was, has failed to gain traction.

            • leavergirl says:

              Never heard of him.

              • Greg Knepp says:

                Julian Jaynes was a psychologist who came up with this marvelous hypothesis dubbed ‘Bicameralism’. It was quite popular in the mid-seventies as it dovetailed nicely with a culture hooked on self-induced psychosis via the recreational use of hallucinogenic drugs.You’ll see the connection as soon as you read Jayne’s work – which you must. It’s great stuff! It also tends to give support to Axial Age thinking – something I’m sure your familiar with.

                OK then, get back to me as soon as you’ve completed your research. Ta!

                • Brutus says:

                  Jaynes is probably a foundational figure in the field of historical consciousness much like Freud is with psychology. Those who came after refined his work to a great extent, and some of it has since been invalidated. Iain McGilchrist has a 4-pp. discussion of Jaynes’ thesis (in The Master and His Emissary) and believes Jaynes had it precisely backwards, that we used to think with a more unified brain but now are overwhelmed by the left hemisphere rather than the reverse.

                  http://www.julianjaynes.org/index.html

                • Nichole says:

                  *sigh*

                  Have to hand it to ya, Greg. You’re one of the more obvious mansplainers I’ve run across over the past couple of years. Akin, perhaps, to Todd Akin?

                • Ivy Mike says:

                  How about you get back with me when you’ve completed your research, eh? Or do you wish to remain persistently obtuse as a creationist?

                  Boehm, Christopher. (1999) Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

                    • Greg Knepp says:

                      I’m neither a creationist nor a male chauvinist. My comments are as sincere, thoughtful and well stated as I can manage. They are also based in a lifetime of study (though I am not a professional in the field). If my views don’t always comply with those of the majority
                      of this site’s contributors, then, hopefully, they will at least lend some breadth and texture to the discourse. We might do better to ease up on the personal attacks.

                    • kulturcritic says:

                      We have lots of breadth and texture. What we need is for people to leave their self-righteousness at the door.

  14. Ivy Mike says:

    God Will Fuck You Up | John R. Butler

  15. derekthered says:

    “Never send a human to do a machine’s job.” – Agent Smith, The Matrix
    talk about twisted knickers! and oh yes, the “sources”! down here in the hood? they would tell you source this, m/f! lots of little big men around here. and don’t discount the girl gangs, they will definitely do you over, so to speak.
    look, sure small bands of people scratching for survival were forced to cooperate, that’s a no-brainer, but is not ascribing superior virtues to our neolithic for-bearers just another version of the noble savage meme? the very same meme that reduced said “savages” to dependent status?
    now before you start pegging me as some god awful backwoods cretin, i offer some laurens van der post for your consideration.
    “. . . Obedience to one’s greater awareness, and living it out accordingly to the rhythm of the law of time implicit in it, was the only way. Unlived awareness was another characteristic evil of our time, so full of thinkers who did not do and doers who did not think. Lack of awareness and disobedience to such awareness as there was meant that modern man was increasingly a partial, provisional version instead of a whole, committed version of himself. That was where tyranny, oppression, prejudice and intolerance began. Tyranny was partial being; a part of the whole of man masquerading as his full self and suppressing the rest. All started within before it manifested itself without and tyranny began within partial concepts of ourselves and our role in life. Hence the imperative of obedience, obedience to our greatest awareness and the call always to heighten it still.”
    is that what you are talking about? good luck with that. why are we cut off from the earth? because it is all owned, because you can’t squat, it is all a closed set, there is no frontier. this is something to remember when speaking of the past, there was lots of room, always another valley to explore.
    i know there are hundreds of millions of people still enslaved in these belief systems, but that’s not what worries me, oh no……….
    “Our myths of transcendence – represented not only by the world religions, by also by modern technology and politics – are stories told to us in order to help make sense of life’s mysteries and its ultimate possibilities. But, what mysteries? What possibilities?”
    this is what worries me, that these religions are used to keep the masses in thrall while highly educated men and women in white coats are busy as little bees altering the very human genome, lab rats gone wild. let us not forget that our old friend XNA lurks off stage right.
    if the species has gone on a power trip, where does it end?
    i believe it ends in a closed system where the individual is a threat, as in THX 1138, you had better just take your pill, be happy, work harder, produce more, buy more.
    the objectification of nature has led us to objectify ourselves, human dignity of any sort is gone by the wayside, we are infinitely malleable test subjects, our lives reduced to a “circulation of events”, not to worry though, we have the false zen to fall back upon, it’s all good, 100% natural, from the valley of the ho-ho-ho, green giant.

    http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/LvdP/quotations.html

    • Ivy Mike says:

      Thank you for the Sir Laurens Jan van der Post quotes; I just bought a couple of his books after reading his “We have. We’ve exchanged having for being” at your link.

      And you nail the present human condition when you write: “why are we cut off from the earth? because it is all owned, because you can’t squat, it is all a closed set, there is no frontier.” Excellent observation.

      The only way to connect to the earth these days is to either be a little boy skipping school to go walking in the fields and woods, or after majority age, to whore out a high value skillset for a short time, earn enough ownership power tokens to buy acreage, and then “dropout” go “back to the land.”

      So don’t be pulling any of this “down in da ‘hood” shit on moi; I’m more redneck than thou. In fact, I just got back from the barn, in which I enjoyed the unique eau de parfum of diesel and dust on my John Deere while hanging up on the wall and contemplating the terse wisdom an antique piece of equipment on which the following triplet ode is printed, between big brass grommets:

      HANG THE
      PAIL LOW
      AND LEVEL

      PULL THIS
      SURCINGLE
      FORWARD

      WHEN SHE’S
      MILKED OUT
      TAKE IT OFF

      Don’t get your knickers twisted if you can’t divine the subject this Heartland Haiku addresses. LOL! 🙂

      • derekthered says:

        well, i may be redneck, but i am definitely urban. i’ll see your hank williams jr. and raise you some jj cale.

        watch out for angels with flaming swords.

        • Ivy Mike says:

          Good music!

          If you’re married, go easy on dropping out and going back to the land unless you have a good girl, because I’ve seen 3 fellows fall in love with my place here and follow my example of blow up your T.V. • throw away your paper • go to the country • build you a home • plant a little garden • eat a lot of peaches • Try an find Jesus on your own, but then they end up selling out and moving back to town, because of the city-slickin’ wife who wanted to be all of 3 minutes closer to fucking Walmart.

          Observing such made me consider that the story in the Garden of Eden placing the blame of The Fall* on Eve is damn well true.
          ______
          * Ched Myers (2005). “The Fall.” Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, 634–36. London: Continuum.

          • leavergirl says:

            Good advice, and applies to the gals too. If your guy does not REALLY want to do it, he’ll sabotage it one way or another.

            • Ivy Mike says:

              RE: Sandy: “Did we live a good life according to the social and religious mores of our culture?”

              Did we live a good life according to the social and religious mores of our culture?

              Negative, ghostrider. Ask my immediate family unit and in-laws; we’re all going to hell.

          • javacat says:

            You know, Ivy Mike, I almost ranted at you about blaming women for the world’s ills, then reread and your post was more gentle than I realized.

            I’ve thrown out the TV, read the paper on line, have a little garden, still live in town, and try to reconnect with the energy of the Universe on my own. My husband has suggested the small, energy-efficient house in the woods. Besides the needs of my children right now, I have two other concerns: Living a more self-sustaining lifestyle is hard, physically hard. I don’t think I’ve ever learned how to work hard physically, and certainly not to the level such a change would demand. I worry whether I could do it. And it wouldn’t be WalMart of Starbucks that would draw me back, but isolation would. The lack of social contact is a deep concern. Often, it’s a couple or a family that make such a move, but there’s no community for support or outlets. That change can challenge the strongest relationship.

            I’m guessing many folks who sincerely try such a move don’t always know what they’re getting into, or discover that it’s not what they thought or what they want. I can’t blame people for changing their minds. Some may sabotage the effort, but I bet most just leave. From what I read, even Guy McPherson is mostly on his own, and he speaks honestly and painfully of the isolation and loneliness he feels.

            Now, about that Adam and Eve thing…We all know that male-dominated hierarchies are deathly afraid of women, and strive to control feminine power at all costs. 😉

            • leavergirl says:

              Yeah… the isolation is a problem. That’s why people start ecovillages (or just plain villages, as in other parts of the world).

              And Adam said, whine, whine, she made me do it! Damn buck passer… 😉

              Hey kids, check out my latest:
              http://leavingbabylon.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/tis-the-season-tpinch-your-noses-falalalala-lalalala/

            • Ivy Mike says:

              Well, I was sorta-kinda being naughty and trolling leavergirl, and yet she was so diplomatic of a female that I also have considered Robert Heinlein is onto the right idea about evolution when he wrote:

              “Women seem to have almost unlimited capacity for forgiveness. (Since it is usually a man who needs forgiveness, this must be a racial survival trait.)” [The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, 1985]

              Yes, moving from the plastic fantastic (Leary, 1994) cities to “the country” can indeed be negative, including the “isolation and loneliness” issue McPherson addresses.

              No man is an island. I’ve got a business here in the boondocks and see clients nearly every day. Also, our rural neighborhood has get-togethers at least 15 times a year, veritable feasts. We just hosted several families for a Sunday breakfast where we can gossip. (Gossip is good if people are good…did you hear that the neighbor’s farm sold for $8,000 an acre? And the old man’s orchard might be for sale. Can I borrow your hand planer? [gift-economy])

              The other ugly aspect is that much of the “country” in the “Heartland” is an industo-agricultural Monsanto-CAFO hell.

              Part of the reason I don’t believe in the Christfag God is that I’ve been goat-roped into helping Christfags load hogs into a semi.

              “Let me tell you about [loading hogs].” ~Leon Holden (Blade Runner, 1982)

              • leavergirl says:

                Heh. How could I possibly have bitten yer head off when you started with “blow up your T.V. • throw away your paper • go to the country • build you a home • plant a little garden” and so on. Mellowed me right out, man… I jess didn’t have it in me, nohow. 😀

      • Disaffected says:

        Love that link Mike!

  16. Ivy Mike says:

    Off topic, RE: record-setting September 2012 PIOMAS data

    Yearly minimum sea ice volume for the 2005-2012 period (in km3):
    2005: 9159
    2006: 8993
    2007: 6458
    2008: 7072
    2009: 6893
    2010: 4428
    2011: 4017
    2012: 3263

    I find it singular that a culture whose central theological tenant is Hell has managed to create one on earth.

    What bliss will fill the ransomed souls,
    When they in glory dwell,
    To see the sinner as he rolls,
    In quenchless flames of hell.

    ~Isaac Watts (1674-1748), hymn writer

    The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven.
    ~Jonathan Edwards, “The Eternity of Hell Torments” (sermon), April 1739

    How does that saying go: ”Careful what you wish for?”

    It didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted it to, did it?
    Now you know, this is what it feels like.

    ~Nine Inch Nails, The Wretched

  17. Disaffected says:

    124 responses! HOLY SHIT Sandy, you’ve struck gold here!

  18. Disaffected says:

    Thursday night 7:00 PM MDT more or less here in the good ol’ US of A, and the FIRST Prez 2012 debate is about to commence. What wonders will we hear from the mouths of the two prospective Puppets in Chief? Will there be an even semi-serious debate on anything of any actual “substance,” or will this be just another beauty pageant for Ken and… look honey… there’s a “multi-racial” guy on the stage as well.. oh wait, THAT’S THE FUCKING PREZ!?! Because inquiring minds want to know. Err… actually, this just in. ACTUALLY, THEY DON’T!

    • kulturcritic says:

      OK – I agree….. LOW BROW : – (

      • Disaffected says:

        I guess the press is declaring Romney “the winner,” whatever in the hell that means. I just saw him as the least conflicted liar of the two. Obama had the hang dog look of one who’s gone to the well once too often and now realizes that everyone knows and knows that he knows he’s full of shit, while Romney had the wild-eyed enthusiasm of a little puppy – one who’s ready, willing, and able to shit all over the nice new carpet if we’ll only give him the opportunity. In the words of the immortal Costanza, “It’s not really a lie if you believe it.” So in that sense der Mittster’s not really lying at all, he’s merely constructed an alternative universe and is now inviting us all to come live in it with him. Sure hope it works out better than Obama’s “hopey changey” bullshit. I’m not optimistic.

  19. Brutus says:

    I finally got around to blogging about Julian Jaynes here. It’s a complicated issue to distill into a blog post, so let me disclaim completeness and closure.

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