Saturday, January 7, 2017

the power of myth:how mythology shapes human conciousness

the myth a certain culture believes creates the consciousness which that culture possesses. before digging deeper, i think its always good to have definitions for  terms that have a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. when i use the word 'myth', what i am referring to is a particular set of stories that a culture believes about themselves,  the world around them, and a higher power (which can be anything, from zeus to science). when i use the word consciousness, i mean a certain mind-set, or world view that a certain culture possesses.

a great example of how the mythology of a culture determines that culture's consciousness can be  seen in the european conquest of the americas starting in the late 1400's. those who came to america from europe had a certain mythology that they believed, a mythology taken from the hebrew bible, but  interpreted and manipulated to serve the interest of the elite. just as in the days of old, god commanded the hebrews to rid all heathens of the promised land, so Europeans believed it was their duty to rid the promised land (the americas) of all godless heathens (the indigenous), and establish it as an inheritance for the people of god (europeans).1


the mythology of the European Christians who came to the new world was a mythology of conquest, violence, and separation. they believed that they were god's chosen people, and that all others were a plague to the world. many of the early settlers who came to what is now the united states were also calvinist. they believed that people were either saved, which manifested as material wealth and success, or damned to an eternity in hell, which was manifested as poverty. this meant that the wealthy Europeans, who were obviously saved by god had the right to rid the earth of all who were unclean. with this mythology held by a majority of the first settlers in what is now the united states of  america, it becomes clear why they carried out one of the largest genocides in history, successively wiping out entire civilizations. 

this mythology is not unique to the conquest of the americas, however. it is the mythology of the old-world. this mythology has its roots in the very beginning of civilization, and throughout the ages, its been the same myth with different details. all empires, from ancient sumeria and egypt, to modern day world empires such as russia and the united states adhere to the same old-world mythology of conquest, violence, and power.

the mythology a culture believes shapes the consciousness of that culture.

but what if there was a different mythology, a mythology for the new world? what if we could leave behind the myth of conquest and capitalism and adopt a mythology of union, love, and interdependence? this mythology has existed before, and it can exist again. in fact, many  indigenous nations in what is now the united states of america, and throughout the world had (and still have) such a mythology. instead of trying to conquor other nations, they lived peacefully with each other. when times of conflict arose, rather than going to war, they tried to negociate peacefully. instead of raping earth for all she had, they transformed the landscape into a giant garden, making there source of food an intimate part of the eco-system. the mythology that many indigenous nations of america (and other indigenous peoples around the world) possessed was one of union with nature, inter-dependence, unity, and respect for all life. this mythology, we will call the new-world mythology, because it is the mythology this world needs if we are to create a better world. we need a new mythology if we are to survive in the world to come. we need a new mythology if we are to heal our consciousness, and heal this planet.

we need a more beautiful mythology, a more beautiful way of understanding god, ourselves, and the world around us.

according to the old-world mythology, god is a lot like an abusive partner. if you don't follow him, he'll make sure that your life is a living hell. he's unpredictable, violent, emotionally unstable, and generally a really bad role model. the god of the old-world mythology must die. the god of conquest, hate, separation, and power cannot have a part in the new world. however, the god of the new-world mythology is a god of love, unity, and peace. the god of this new world doesn't care if one is gay, straight, or trans-gender. this god celebrates different cultures, while at the same time, embracing all life as sacred and equal. this is the god of love.

in the old-world mythology, human beings are seen as merely a means to create money and gain power. humans are only as valuble as the service they provide, and nature is seen as a way to make money. in this old-world mythology, sacredness belongs to the almighty dollar, and respect is given only to those who possess a certain amount of materialistic goods. one is considered important only if they have a job, lots of money, and a good reputation. success is measured by how much paper you have in your wallet. but the new-world mythology is completely anithitical to this old way of thinking. in the new-world mythology, all beings are sacred simply because they exist. all life is wonderful, beautiful, and worthy of respect.

the old-world mythology teaches us that land is only valuable if it is of use for the human. mountains, forest, oceans, and all life that dwells in them are not sacred. they are not equal to us. they are only valuable if they can be somehow turned into a means to create power and wealth. the natural world is our enemy, so we create concrete boxes to shelter us from the violent, unforgiving world of trees and oceans and mountains. but this way of thinking must go. in the new-world mythology, the outside world is a gift. its sacred and beautiful. the danger of nature is seen as an invitation to adventure and exploration. there is no separation between us, and the world around us. all is one, and all must exist together in peace and love.

we are living in a great age, and a very important and exciting time in human history. the old-world and new-world mythologies are clashing together, and humanity may be in the midst of one of the greatest shifts in consciousness since the dawn of civilization. in a world of such extreme violence and separation, it is crucial for humans to change not only what we do, but how we think. we must wake up and realize the inter-contentedness of all beings.

the mythology we believe shapes our consciousness, and our consciousness in turn shapes the world around us. are we to continue down the path of destruction and separation, fuled by a mythology that has long since expired? or are we to create a new world, a more beautiful world than the one we see now? the choice is ours.


" We are going to inherit the earth. There is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie may blast and burn its own world before it finally leaves the stage of history. We Are not afraid of ruins. We who ploughed the prairies and built the cities can build again, only better next time. We carry a new world, here in our hearts. That world is growing this minute."
----Durruti


sources

1. an indigenous people's history of the united states, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

2. a people's history of the united states, by howard zinn

** by using the terms 'old world' and 'new world' mythology, i am trying to paint a picture of the current culture we have now, and a different culture we can collectively create, not any specific religions** 













Sunday, October 23, 2016

the mythology of a better world

the mythology a certain culture believes creates the consciousness which that culture possesses. before digging deeper, i think its always good to have definitions for terms that not everybody are familiar with, or in this case, terms that have a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. when i use the word 'mythology', what i am referring to is a particular set of stories that a culture believes about themselves,  the world around them, and a higher power (which can be anything, from zeus to science). when i use the word consciousness, i mean a certain mind-set, or world view that a certain culture possesses.

a great example of how the mythology of a culture determines that culture's consciousness can be  seen in the european conquest of the americas starting in the late 1400's. those who came to america from europe had a certain mythology that they believed, a mythology taken from the hebrew bible, but changed  interpreted and manipulated to serve the interest of the elite. just as in the days of old, god commanded the hebrews to rid all heathens of the promised land, so Europeans believed it was their duty to rid the promised land (the americas) of all godless heathens (the indigenous), and establish it as an inheritance for the people of god (europeans).1


the mythology of the European Christians who came to the new world was a mythology of conquest, violence, and separation. they believed that they were god's chosen people, and that all others were a plague to the world. many of the early settlers who came to what is now the united states were also calvinist. they believed that people were either saved, which manifested as material wealth and success, or damned to an eternity in hell, which was manifested as poverty. this meant that the wealthy Europeans, who were obviously saved by god had the right to rid the earth of all who were unclean. with this mythology held by a majority of the first settlers in what is now the united states of  america, it becomes clear why they carried out one of the largest genocides in history, successively wiping out entire civilizations. 

this mythology is not unique to the conquest of the americas, however. it is the mythology of the old-world. this mythology has its roots in the very beginning of civilization, and throughout the ages, its been the same myth with different details. all empires, from ancient sumeria and egypt, to modern day world empires such as russia and the united states adhere to the same old-world mythology of conquest, violence, and power.

the mythology a culture believes shapes the consciousness of that culture.

but what if there was a different mythology, a mythology for the new world? what if we could leave behind the myth of conquest and capitalism and adopt a mythology of union, love, and interdependence? this mythology has existed before, and it can exist again. in fact, many  indigenous nations in what is now the united states of america, and throughout the world had (and still have) such a mythology. instead of trying to conquor other nations, they lived peacefully with each other. when times of conflict arose, rather than going to war, they tried to negociate peacefully. instead of raping earth for all she had, they transformed the landscape into a giant garden, making there source of food an intimate part of the eco-system. the mythology that many indigenous nations of america (and other indigenous peoples around the world) possessed was one of union with nature, inter-dependence, unity, and respect for all life. this mythology, we will call the new-world mythology, because it is the mythology this world needs if we are to create a better world. we need a new mythology if we are to survive in the world to come. we need a new mythology if we are to heal our consciousness, and heal this planet.

we need a more beautiful mythology, a more beautiful way of understanding god, ourselves, and the world around us.

according to the old-world mythology, god is a lot like an abusive partner. if you don't follow him, he'll make sure that your life is a living hell. he's unpredictable, violent, emotionally unstable, and generally a really bad role model. the god of the old-world mythology must die. the god of conquest, hate, separation, and power cannot have a part in the new world. however, the god of the new-world mythology is a god of love, unity, and peace. the god of this new world doesn't care if one is gay, straight, or trans-gender. this god celebrates different cultures, while at the same time, embracing all life as sacred and equal. this is the god of love.

in the old-world mythology, human beings are seen as merely a means to create money and gain power. humans are only as valuble as the service they provide, and nature is seen as a way to make money. in this old-world mythology, sacredness belongs to the almighty dollar, and respect is given only to those who possess a certain amount of materialistic goods. one is considered important only if they have a job, lots of money, and a good reputation. success is measured by how much paper you have in your wallet. but the new-world mythology is completely anithitical to this old way of thinking. in the new-world mythology, all beings are sacred simply because they exist. all life is wonderful, beautiful, and worthy of respect.

the old-world mythology teaches us that land is only valuable if it is of use for the human. mountains, forest, oceans, and all life that dwells in them are not sacred. they are not equal to us. they are only valuable if they can be somehow turned into a means to create power and wealth. the natural world is our enemy, so we create concrete boxes to shelter us from the violent, unforgiving world of trees and oceans and mountains. but this way of thinking must go. in the new-world mythology, the outside world is a gift. its sacred and beautiful. the danger of nature is seen as an invitation to adventure and exploration. there is no separation between us, and the world around us. all is one, and all must exist together in peace and love.

we are living in a great age, and a very important and exciting time in human history. the old-world and new-world mythologies are clashing together, and humanity may be in the midst of one of the greatest shifts in consciousness since the dawn of civilization. in a world of such extreme violence and separation, it is crucial for humans to change not only what we do, but how we think. we must wake up and realize the inter-connectedness of all beings.

the mythology we believe shapes our consciousness, and our consciousness in turn shapes the world around us. are we to continue down the path of destruction and separation, fuled by a mythology that has long since expired? or are we to create a new world, a more beautiful world than the one we see now? the choice is ours.

" We are going to inherit the earth. There is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie may blast and burn its own world before it finally leaves the stage of history. We Are not afraid of ruins. We who ploughed the prairies and built the cities can build again, only better next time. We carry a new world, here in our hearts. That world is growing this minute."
----Durruti




sources
1. an indigenous people's history of the united states, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

2. a people's history of the united states, by howard zinn

** by using the terms 'old world' and 'new world' mythology, i am trying to paint a picture of the current culture we have now, and a different culture we can collectively create, not any specific religions** 














Tuesday, February 9, 2016

instincts and the human condition

for the 3 billion year (give or take a few years) history of life on planet earth, two forces have shaped the evolution of all creatures that have ever lived, from single-celled organisms, to hairless apes. these forces are reproduction, and survivability. the purpose of every living creature that has ever lived on earth is to stay alive long enough to reproduce, and for many of the more complex species of life, to make sure one's offspring has a decent shot at life, so that they too can reproduce. look at any living creature on earth, and you will see that everything they do, and everything their bodies are capable of are to serve these two forces. a lion is strong and powerful, not just for show, but so that she may hunt the food that gives her life. the drive to stay alive is strong, and as nature shows us, is a force that can drive the evolution of many extraordinary animals.

humans are fundamentally no different than the rest of the animal kingdom. humans, just like all other animals are evolved for two things: to survive, and reproduce. and at first glance, with a human population of 7 billion and growing, it seems like we have done just that. just as the plants colonized the land a billion years ago, humans have managed to colonize nearly every corner of the earth.

but what is it exactly that drives the seemingly harmful behaviors seen in humanity, such as large scale wars, genocides, and the general destruction of the environment in which humans live? some say that greed, lust, and selfishness are are the forces behind humanity's destructive behavior,but i believe that these behaviors come from a misunderstanding and even an outright denial of our natural human instincts. i believe that humans have lost touch with our natural animal instincts, that we pretend we are above all other animals and therefore, immune to the forces that drive all biological life.

the biggest difference between humans and other animals is our intelligence. as far as we know now, besides whales, great apes, and elephants, humans are one of the most complex animals that have ever existed. our intelligence is our greatest gift, but also the catalyst for our greatest downfalls. in our great intelligence, we have forgotten our other, more primal instincts. we have been fooled to believe that because of our intelligence, we are somehow separate from other animals. but we are not. until we realize that we are subject to our instincts, we will never fully understand why we do what we do.

a great example of this is large scale war. war, i believe, is an example of what happens when we deny instincts in favor of intelligence. humans, just like other animals have a territorial instinct. its normal, and it served us well as a way to keep  us alive in a hostile, dangerous past. but when we don't acknowledge the reason we have these instincts, we can do pretty destructive things, such as go to war. many animals have skirmishes over whose territory is whose, and many animals fight to the death to expand or protect their territory. this is instinct, and for many animals, its needed for survival. and on a large scale, these are what human wars are. wars are fought to either control more land, or protect one's own land from being controlled. the root of this comes down to instinct. but when we use our intelligence while denying our animal instincts, terrible things can happen.

but just as all animals, humans evolve, and so does the environment. 30,000 years ago, humans lived in a different world. we needed to be aggressive. we needed to protect our land. but in this day in age, is that any longer necessary? is it beneficial for the human species to continue fighting over resources, to the point of being the cause of the largest mass extinction since the dinosaurs? does aggression towards our own species serve humanity's continued existence? with a growing population, changing environment, and greater understanding of our past, its about time that our species understand our need to continue to evolve. the common misunderstanding that humans have somehow transcended evolution is only leading us on the path of extinction. we have not transcended evolution. we are still evolving, changing, and adapting to the world around us.

evolution has given us great intelligence. this intelligence is a gift intended for humans to thrive. we have used our great intelligence without paying homage to our more basic instincts, and the effects have been devastating. when we fail to remember our place in the great circle of life, we threaten the balance that has existed since life first appeared on earth. in this changing world, it is crucial for humans to step into all we were created to be. may we use our intelligence to survive and reproduce, just as life has been doing for billions of years. but may we do so without killing each other, and our planet. may we use our great gift of intelligence to bring balance and harmony to all beings. let us not shame evolution for endowing on us one of the most mesmerizing things the universe has ever seen-the human mind.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

[resistance and the kingdom of god]

if we are to effectively resist oppression and build a better world, we must first understand those whose ideas we are fighting against. we must realize that all men are brothers, and that the idea of an 'enemy' is an illusion. you can kill a man, but 'an idea is bulletproof.'  if we go about fighting those whom we deem to be evil, evil will never stop. no amount of resistance, weapons, or violence can stop an idea.

a quick look at history can show us that ideas are immortal. time and time again, people fight an oppressive regime, only to find themselves hurtled into an equally as oppressive regime, if not one worse once the fighting is over. this can be seen from cuba's communist revolution in the 1960's, to the jewish overthrow of roman occupation in palestine in 66c.e.

in the years following jesus, the jews in roman-occupied palistine became increasingly violent towards not only the romans, but also to the jewish elite, who sided with rome to ensure their continued illusion of dominance over the common folk. many different factions of rebels existed, few of whom actually worked together. surprisingly, the jewish people managed to fight, and overthrow rome, if only for a short period. for about two years after the revolt, the jewish people lived in a roman-free palestine. but rome came back, and in great number. because of a lack of cooperation between rebel groups, betrayal, and a lack of a shift of consciousness, the romans crushed the rebellion for good. the jewish people would have to wait another 2,000 years before being able to return to their land once again.


the story of the jewish revolt shows that although regimes and empires can be overthrown, if there is no change of consciousness accompanied by unity, the destructive ideas that prevailed before will be just as present after the revolution. of course, this is a simplification, as the history of revolution is long and complicated. but history repeats itself, and when we take a step back, we are able to see that unless coupled with a change of consciousness, a change in regimes and empires is largely unsuccessful in creating a community free of injustice.

i believe this is because if we are to implement real, lasting change, we must not fight the people who adhere to ideas that are destroying the world, but we must get to the root of why those people believe in such destructive ideas in the first place. and how do we go about this? i believe the first step is compassion and empathy. i'll use police brutality as an example, since it seems to be an ongoing problem with today's  increasingly militarized police force. to start off, i am in no way trying to tell those who are constantly being oppressed how to fight. i encourage all methods of resistance to oppression. what I am saying however, is that if lasting change is to happen, violence cannot be the only strategy. we must get to the root of what is driving, police for example, to do such oppressive things. so, lets get started. 

why are there so many cases of police brutality? why is it that police are sometimes so aggressive, treating everybody as a potential criminal? why, in the year 2014 alone, the american police force killed over 600 people (a conservative estimate)? i don't believe that police are evil. i think many men and women who become agents of the state do so because they want to make society a better, safer place. so, why is there so much  violence between police and the rest of society? i believe a part of it is how police are trained. agents of the state are trained to enforce the law, not necessarily keep people safe. so, if its against the law to have drugs, the priority changes from protecting citizens to catching whoever has drugs. the ongoing, and destructive 'war on drugs' creates a mentality that everyone who has drugs is a criminal, and therefore must be stopped. this, coupled with the fact that police are attaining more and more military equipment from the previous war in the middle east can easily create a situation where police can be excessively and unnecessarily violent.

but to attribute the root cause of police brutality to poor training, and militarization would be an oversimplification of the issue. these are factors that may exacerbate the violence, but are in no ways the root cause of it. so, what is the cause of police brutality? to be honest, i'm not sure, but i have some ideas. first off, i believe that  unnecessary violence used by police against citizens stems from a deep anger and emptiness within society. in other words, agents of the state, just like most other people in society are discontent, hurt, and downright angry with the way this world works, and use their power as agents of the state as a means to vent that anger. another possible cause of police brutality may be their own fear of citizens returning violence with violence. out of this fear, agents of the state are constantly becoming more and more violent, as a fear of revolution runs deep within them. the old saying, "those who live by the sword die by the sword" is a truth everyone, including those who live by the sword know. and lets not forget about racism, which has a long, violent, and enduring impact on this nation. with an almost 400 year long history of violent, blatant racism, it makes sense why agents of the state can be so, well, violently and blatantly racist.

there are countless factors that contribute to violence in all aspects of society, from gangs, to the police that try and stop those gangs. But I think trying to understand why can lead to a sense of compassion and empathy, rather than hate and disgust. is the amount of violence used by representatives of the state acceptable? absolutely not. but i believe if we are to be successful in our resistance, compassion and empathy are essential. 

so, if an idea cannot be stopped by violence alone, how can we implement effective change in such a violent society? i believe one way is by presenting other ideas. if we parade the streets screaming, "this world will end, and society will  burn!", not much will happen. if we continue to meet the violence and hatred of those who cause suffering with an equal amount of violence and hatred, not much will change. if we don't like the way that the world is now, its not enough to take down the current system. if that's the focus, a new system equally as oppressive will replace it. lasting change comes with a paradigm shift. we must present the world with new ideas, better ideas than the ones currently held. we must start to build a better world, instead of just trying to take down the current one. violent resistance does have a part to play in ending injustice, and it would be foolish to say that it doesn't. but violence only works if in the context of the bigger picture, the creation of a world in which all beings can live together in peace and harmony.

"create a better world, and resist all that stands in the way." 

even jesus, (who is often times misrepresented as a non-violent pacifist) suggested  the use of violence when he told his disciples before his capture and arrest, "if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."(luke 22:36) but violence is not the ultimate solution, nor is returning hate with hate. although violence can play a part in creating a world free of injustice, its not the means to do so, but simply a tool.

this idea, however, is not new. it was preached 2,000 years ago by a homeless rabbi who was known by his local community as yeshua ben hur. he came on the scene in the midst of one of the most brutal and oppressive empires in history, and preached to a people who had faced oppression for thousands of years. at the time of his arrival, the jewish people were ready for a fight. but yeshua knew that fighting alone could not change the world. instead, he preached of another way of living, which he called the kingdom of God. rather then take down the old empire, he said we ought to manifest another. in this new world, all humans would live together in peace and love. enemies would become friends, and none would be excluded. yeshua knew that if another world, a better world was to come, it had to be all inclusive. in fact, some of the first to enter into this new way of life were prostitutes, 'sinners', violent revolutionaries, and wealthy tax collectors, whom the jewish people viewed as traitors. although this seems like a crazy idea that would never work, history says otherwise. yeshua ended up being crucified by the roman empire on grounds of sedition against rome. his teachings of another kingdom were seen as a direct threat to the current empire, which they were. In fact, his teachings caught on. his idea of another world was so irresistible, thousands ended up taking up the challenge of building that better world, even in the face of horrific persecution. soon after the spread of yeshua's message by his followers, who were mockingly called christians (meaning little christ), rome fell.

even today, people still follow the teachings of yeshua. his teachings are immortal, his ideas bulletproof. i encourage all who are reading this (including myself) to take a good look at the ideas that are running your life. practice compassion and empathy, and actively start to build the world your heart knows is possible. as yeshua said, "the kingdom of god is here." we just need to manifest it.

sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_in_the_United_States
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsRV3y37qcs
'zealot:the life and times of jesus of nazerath' by reza aslan

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

teachings from brother frog

brother frog spoke,

"teachers and students, pay attention. the sacred trinity who formed the cosmos, the earth, and all beings desires for us to be as they are. may we listen to our mother, aeloha, for she created us from herself, and it is her desire for all beings to to become as one."

frog jumped higher up the branches of the tree so he could see all who came to listen.

"brother frog, how do we know the earth? does she have a mouth to utter her sacred teachings, or hands to gently touch her children?" spoke the village elder

"our great mother speaks through the wind and rain, and through the sacred plants which she gave for our hearts and minds to be opened. arms she does not possess, but you can feel her touch through your naked feet upon the ground, and by the gentle wind blowing through your hair. listen, and she shall whisper to your heart. be still, and you shall feel her presence."