Pamphleteering: Feeling Like a Pagan in a Monotheist Society
Ok, now I’ve had ‘some pamphleteering experience’ in this small community and it this engaging (and non-engaging) did give me some ‘new feelings’ and also insights why, in spite of people railing against the dysfunction of our social ‘system’, we don’t seem able to change.
I set up my placards in the centre of the small open to the weather plaza in the ‘Driftwood’, which is the centre of this small island community (Pender Island, B.C.) The placards were 17 “ x 22 “ posters that I had printed out and spliced together (4 – 8 ½ x 11 sheets) and my pamphlets were below the placards along with a clearly visible ‘please take one’ note. I sat on a bench slightly to the side so that people who were interested could come, have a look, and pick up a pamphlet without having to engage.
The placards could have been better but there were a least clearly visible in a portion of the small plaza that people pretty much had to walk past if they were shopping in the Driftwood (there is a gas station, a small supermarket, a pharmacy, a bookstore, a post-office, a restaurant and a few other shops there). The posters were large size versions of the following;
There was not much ‘engagement’. Friends that came by were interested in what ‘I was up to’ and happily took a pamphlet when I personally offered it, but not one person (there were not that many anyway) took a pamphlet on their own (the pamphlet was nicely done; a 4 ¼ “ x 5 ½ “ booklet with the front and back covers in colour), perhaps too nicely done as people were surprised that ‘it was my doing’ rather than some corporation-funded initiative or etc.
Here’s the feeling that came to me; it was as if people were expressing ‘religious tolerance’ to me, … as if my pamphlet were an ‘Awake!’ magazine and I was a believer in some religion such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In reflecting on this, I could see where this feeling was coming from and the ‘religious’ aspects clinked into place; i.e. I was feeling like a pagan in a monotheist community.
Since these words ‘pagan’ and ‘monotheist’ are open to many different thoughts; i.e. ‘pagan’ can be defined as “An adherent of a religion other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.”, I shall clarify what I mean when using them.
Pagan: – A believer in the occult; i.e. that the source of the world dynamic including the dynamic figure/s ‘comes out of the woodwork’ (the flow of nature) rather than from the hand of a single point source or ‘Creator’. This equates to a belief that ‘nature is alive’ and is the dynamic ground from which all ‘dynamic figures’ derive, whether man chooses to break them up into two categories, EITHER ‘organic’ (living) OR ‘inorganic’ (dead, without life). If one sees Nature as a ‘flow’ (interdependent spatial-relational unfolding) then it impossible (inconsistent) to impute ‘living’ to local parts and ‘lifelessness’ to the rest.
Monotheist: – A believer that each living thing is a ‘local’, ‘independently existing’ thing animated by an interior process called ‘life’, the source of which is a mystery that we ‘deal with’ by simply ‘believing’ that the source lies there within, and it is either due to ‘God’ putting it there, or to mysterious process kicked off by a strange event (lightning striking a mud-puddle?) in the geological history of the earth, an earth whose ‘original state’ was alleged to be absolutely without life or ‘inorganic’. That is, the key belief bundled into monotheism is that there ‘REALLY EXISTS’ local sources of absolute original creativity such as we hold responsible for infusing ‘life’ into a local collection of ‘dynamic figures’ which would allegedly, otherwise, be ‘inorganic matter’ and the belief is, further, that when the ‘spark of life’ leaves the physical matter, that which remains is simply that, ‘lifeless’ physical matter.
(N.B. compare that with the ‘Pagan’ view of Nature as ‘flow’ or ‘dynamic ground’ in which ‘dynamic figures’ are continually gathering and regathering; i.e. where ‘life’ is the property of Nature, rather than the property of a certain category of dynamic figures we impose our definitions and labels on.)
In regard to the choice of how I understand the world, I prefer to give my natural experience precedence over ‘common belief’, and so my understanding of ‘what is reality’ is not swayed by the fact that that the popular preference of western science and western society is to buy into this superstitious belief (monotheism). But, more than that, my view is that this superstitious belief (monotheism), when it is ‘confused for reality’ rather than being understood as over-simplification born of convenience for linguistic communications is the source of the rising dysfunction in our society.
As Giordano Bruno said; ‘The majority does not have a monopoly on truth’. Of course, Bruno was burnt at the stake (1600) shortly after making that statement.
Poincaré touched on this issue in ‘Science and Hypothesis’ by pointing out that we can’t REALISTICALLY attribute the source of behaviour to a local object; i.e. we can’t say ‘the earth rotates’ or ‘the hurricane is growing stronger’ because such propositions require us to invoke the notion of ‘absolute space’. The earth and the hurricane are essentially ‘non-local’ in both their ‘being’ and in their dynamics; i.e. they are ‘dynamic figures’ that gather within the dynamic ground of space. Their behaviour is not ‘theirs’ in the sense that they are imputed ‘local objects’ with ‘locally originating behaviours’. This is a convenient but over-simplistic way of describing them (thanks to our imposing an absolute space reference frame to notionally ‘split them out’ of the flow they are inclusions in.).
It is ‘common belief’ that facilitates this deceptive practice. Using common belief, we can draw some imaginary boundary lines that purportedly point out the local existence of a ‘sovereign state’ that we further notionally equip with ‘its own locally originating behaviour’ so that we can then say, as we did with the earth and the hurricane, ‘The US is growing stronger’ and ‘the US is acting as a global policeman’.
BUT, that is not REAL; i.e. the US, … or any other sovereign state, is not a REAL THING, and it does not have ‘its own locally originating behaviour’. Like words in a language, their reality derives from common belief. As the old joke goes, an Englishman holds up a six inch long four-pronged piece of metal that people all over the world use to pick up food and put it in their mouth, and he says; “In France, they call this ‘une fourchette’, … in Germany, they call it ‘ein gabel’, … and in England, we call it ‘a fork’, which is of course what it REALLY is.”
More ‘real’ than any notional LOCAL OBJECT/ORGANISM, is the dynamic ground that these dynamic figures are included in.
Historians of law, have studied this phenomenon, of how common belief can give rise to the notion of a ‘local sovereign state’, notionally equipped with its own locally originating behaviour, and they conclude that the belief in a ‘local, independent sovereign state’ is essentially ‘monotheism’; e.g. the following extract from an article by Peter D’Errico (professor of law emeritus at University of Massachusetts) at http://www.umass.edu/legal/derrico/nowyouseeit.html
“[T]hat the ultimate moving force which inspires and controls political action is a spiritual force – a common conviction that makes for righteousness, a common conscience …. (Ahmad, Ilyas. Sovereignty: Islamic and Modern. Karachi and Hyderabad: The Allies Book Corporation, 1965) This suggestion is startling because we are used to the western notion of separation of church and state. Western discussion can speak of common will,” but gets nervous with the thought that this phrase only acquires meaning in spiritual terms. As we have seen, however, western political thinking itself is grounded in theological concepts of “Christian nationalism.” The notion of “absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original” is a definition of the Judeo- Christian-Islamic God. This “God died around the time of Machiavelli…. Sovereignty was … His earthly replacement.” (Walker, R. B. J. and Mendlovitz, Saul H. “Interrogating State Sovereignty.”
How can a ‘sovereign state’ be said to ‘produce things’ when a ‘sovereign state’ is not even a real entity? If Ralph has enough military might, he can create the sovereign state called ‘the Kingdom of Ralph’ and, using physical force, ‘make believers’ out of those who would not respect Ralph and his followers’ ‘declaration of independence’. The creatures of the forests and oceans, the winds, the waters, the thermal flows etc. … all those dynamics that are of Nature, … will never pay heed to such declarations of local existence and of locally originating behaviour,… declarations which constitute ‘monotheism’, and which, taken together, afford us a ‘monotheist view of reality’ in terms of local objects, notionally with ‘their own local agency’ that interact in a notional absolute reference-framing space.
It gets curiouser and curiouser when people take this monotheist personification even further and formulate propositions like; ‘our country has been insulted’ and we must avenge this insult, .. or, … our ‘country ranks higher than any other in the production of goods and services’, or ‘our country is the most powerful country in the world’.
Such statements which rest dependently on the notions of ‘local existence’ and ‘local agency’ are ‘IDEALISATIONS’ that CANNOT, WITHOUT CREATING INCOHERENCE AND DYSFUNCTION, be confused for ‘REALITY’.
So, after reflecting on what it felt like sitting there in the middle of the Driftwood, with my placards and my pamphlets, it felt like I was being given ‘religious tolerance’; e.g. ‘Ted seems like not a bad chap, but he has such strange beliefs’,… the same sort of treatment that I would give to Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to my door with ‘Awake’ or ‘Watchtower’ magazines; i.e. I receive them politely and I am interested more in ‘them’ and ‘how they come by their views and how they support them’ than I am ‘touched’ by their views themselves. I am also happy that their behaviours are currently ‘harmony cultivating’ but I am also ‘tuned’ to the fact that their morals and ethics derive from ‘belief in God’ (monotheism) and thus on interpretations of ‘what God intends us to do’ which in some monotheist belief systems (such as the belief in sovereignty), frequently leads to war that is based on ‘morals and ethics and justice’ that derive strictly from the ‘common beliefs’ of a local crony collective.
My own ‘understanding’ is that nature is always tending to moderation, the crest of waves seek to infill the valleys, and the valleys open up to make space to receive the crests, and regions of space rich in thermal energy strive to distribute their riches to those regions of space that are thermal energy impoverished. All humans seem equipped with this same ‘ethic’ of cultivating balance, though Western humans have been particularly ‘bitten’ by this notion of Darwinism, wherein we impute to ‘nature’ the notion of ‘competition’ and ‘survival of the fittest’; i.e. we impute this NOT REALLY TO NATURE, but to the dynamic figures that we have imputed to have ‘local existence’ and ‘local agency’, an ‘idealisation’ which equates directly to ‘monotheism’; i.e. the imputing of an absolute local source of creative power to the imputedly ‘locally existing’ object/organism/state etc.
This ‘belief’ in the ‘local agency’ of dynamic figures gives rise to what Hunter S. Thompson calls ‘a nation of celebrity-worshipping, flag-suckers’, and I know what he means, and when I use this phrase with friends, they too believe it captures something that has gone awry in our society. In terms of the definitions above, it is this embedded ‘monotheism’ that has us ‘confusing idealisation for reality’, as when we impute ‘local agency’ to dynamic figures rather than acknowledge that the dynamic ground is the source of the agency of the dynamic figures and the source of the dynamic figures themselves.
So, my ‘pamphleteering’ experience (though only one day old so far) is underscoring for me, the ‘religious dimensions’ of what is going on here.
In my view;
- The hurricane is the result of turbulence in the atmosphere, not the cause of it.
- The joker/comedian is the result of laughter in the audience, not the cause of it.
- The careless cigarette smoker is the result of conflagration, not the cause of it.
- The Taliban is the result of turbulence in the region, not the cause of it.
- The criminal is the result of imbalance in society, not the cause of it.
- The celebrity-politician is the result of follower excitation, not the cause of it.
Why do we always impute ‘CAUSE’ to the ‘local agency’ of ‘local objects’?
This belief that local agents are the ‘cause’ of ‘results’ equates to ‘monotheism’. The ‘monotheist recipe’ is as follows;
Define and name-label a ‘dynamic figure’. Then, as John Stuart Mill says, ‘Every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the local existence of the object defined.’ This equates to imposing an absolute space frame over the dynamic figure so that the shape and behaviour of the dynamic figure no longer seems to depend upon the dynamic ground it is included in, but instead appears to be coming from the dynamic figure itself. This, as in the above discussion of ‘sovereignty’, amounts to ‘putting a God’ inside of the dynamic figure, and thus denying that the creative source lies in the ‘dynamic ground’.
Science is ‘complicit’ in this ‘monotheism’ since it, for ease and convenience (Poincaré), imputes ‘local existence’ and ‘local agency’ to ‘dynamic figures’. But this was originally done to better ‘model’ dynamic phenomena and ‘models’ are ‘idealizations’ that need not be ‘confused for reality’.
That is, ‘monotheism’ is perpetuated and supported in ‘science’ and in ‘rational thinking’. Nature is not ‘rational’. Whether are talking about avalanches or people, what prevails is the combination of ‘memory’ and ‘energy threshold’ so that what happens in the present depends on what happened in the distant past and not just what happened in the immediate past, as is the implicit definition of ‘rational’ thinking. Behaviour in the present derives in large part from the remote past. The woman that shoots her husband for his infidelity forgave him three times or more in the past but finally reached her limit the fourth time around. Nature is generally like this, energy builds up in space and then some small effect triggers its release. This is general; i.e. the dynamic figure is the result of turbulence in the dynamic ground rather than the cause of it.
Western man NEVER LIKE THIS UNCERTAINTY. When he walked through the avalanche zones where massive piles of boulders signalled to the traveller that he had better keep moving and limit his time there; i.e. that there was no way of predicting where, when and how big the releases of energy would unfold, … he felt the fear of mysterious and unknown that he was included in.
Meanwhile, the Bible re-renders this sourcing of dynamics, from ‘tensions in space’ (energy-of-place) to a ‘notional local source’, just as science did (for ease and convenience), although science, with relativity and quantum theory, put the source back into the spring-loaded energy of space as agrees with our experience; i.e. the ‘quaking of the earth’ is the ‘result’ of unrest in the earth (the building of tensions) rather than the ‘source’, intrinsically blurring the ‘location’ of the source. The Bible says;
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
This idealisation of ‘someone kind, a ‘local individual’, being in control’ removes the blur of where these dynamics coming out of the woodwork (out of the interdependent cosmic ‘dynamic ground’ continuum), originate. The impression in the Bible phrase is that of shepherding where the sheep are tended to by the shepherd so that no harm befalls them. This selects out the masculine notion of energy (kinetic energy) and attributes all dynamic results to this masculine source.
In the pagan belief, there is both masculine energy (God) and feminine energy (Goddess), and in physics, one can relate this directly to ‘energy’ as well; i.e.
“Two expressions for energy occur in the mathematical description, each of which changes, although the sum does not vary. It is thus possible to introduce mathematically and rigorously the concepts of potential energy, depending on position, and kinetic energy, depending on velocity. The introduction of the two names is, of course, arbitrary and justified only by convenience. The sum of the two quantities remains unchanged, and is called a constant of motion. The total energy, kinetic plus potential, is like a substance.” — Einstein, Infeld, ‘The Evolution of Physics’;
So, for example, when I watch, as I did the other night, Peter Mansbridge interview Bill Gates, … I was amazed at the way Mansbridge fawned over Gates and seemed generally ‘under the spell’ of Gates, using such phrases such as ‘You have clearly changed the world’, seemingly putting himself (Mansbridge, the journalist) into the camp of the ‘celebrity-worshipping flag-suckers’).
Gates did not CAUSE the change in the world, the change in the world cause him (he was the result of a changing world, not the cause of it.
In nonlinear economic theory there is the concept of ‘lock-in’ (Brian Arthur, Santa Fe Institute); e.g;
- First comes the ‘tension’ of ‘opposites’. People would like to get from A to B. Perhaps A and B are two cities that are far apart. Inventors try to reconcile the tension of the opposites by inventing mechanisms for transportation, rails and roads, fossil fuel driven vehicles and electricity driven vehicles. The first solution that gets going and has a revenue stream to gradually build infrastructure with. All kinds of infrastructure improvements and activities ‘piggy-back’ on the first solution, and are captive because of the particularities of design of the first solution. If the system they are piggy-backing makes a change and demands money from them for it, the piggy-backers will have no choice but to pay, because the costs to switch over to, and piggy-back on a ‘second solution’ are far more.
While the tensions come first, where people would like to get from A to B in some sense or other, someone is going to be ‘the chosen one’ (the chosen solution source). The tensions in Germany and Europe ‘came first’ and the German people wanted to get from A to B and Hitler became the ‘lock-in’ solution ‘source’. Hitler was the result of unrest (tensions) in the dynamic ground rather than the cause of them. The same is true for Bill Gates. It is the ‘monotheist’ way of thinking that MENTALLY STEALS the sourcing from the tensions in the dynamic ground and attributes the sourcing to the ‘dynamic figure’. In the fluid-dynamic view of modern physics, the dynamic figures are included in the dynamic ground (there is just one dynamic with two aspects, the two aspects are imputed by the observer, they do not come from the dynamic itself). Thus the world dynamic includes the arsonist and the forest. The arsonist is impotent until the forest become tinder dry (until there are tensions in the energy-of-place so that a small trigger can lead to a huge and violent release of the energy in the tensioned situation).
Instead of giving credit to the ‘dynamic ground’ for the huge transformation that results, the ‘monotheist’ mode of understanding MIS-attributes the power to the ‘dynamic figure’ and that is how we become ‘celebrity-worshipping, flag-suckers’. That is, the ‘dynamic figure’ is included in the ‘dynamic ground’ in the manner that a hurricane (dynamic figure) is included in the flow of the atmosphere (dynamic ground). To split the dynamic figure out of the dynamic ground, as is a ‘simplification’ of ‘convenience’ and to animate it as if it were a ‘local object/organism/state/system with its own local agency, where we really do confuse this idealisation for reality, is equivalent to ‘monotheist belief’.
So, insofar as people no longer remark on such things, and accept the proposition that ‘Bill Gates is a powerful person who has transformed the world’, … which to me is a nonsense proposition, because I know lots of poor but muscular folks who could easily ‘over-power’ Bill Gates, unless he brought an army along with him to make believers out of us, in the manner that sovereigntist colonizers do. That is, we are not talking about any ‘personal power’ of Bill Gates the local individual. We are talking about the power of money. If Bill Gates propositioned 1000 young married couples, offering ten million dollars to those couples that would agree to Bill’s sleeping with the pretty young wife, how many would agree? Or better, how many would not agree, since that number (in our modern, sex is not a big deal society) would likely be a lot smaller.
And what if Bill orchestrated this in a massive hall in Nuremberg, Germany where huge banner-pictures of ‘Chairman Gates’ were hanging and the drama was intense, with intense music and drums and all of the power of Microsoft ‘strutting its stuff’, and where Bill would give a speech and announce all of the ‘prizes’ that would come to those who went along with him, and where those in the audience (primed by actors and actresses pretending to be average couples so as to ‘give permission’ to the rest) would signal their willingness by the wives climbing onto the stage and stripping naked, while Bill continued to play on the crowds emotions to encourage the rest as the digital metre rose through 50% on its way towards the 100% target.
This ‘power to change the world’ derives from the tensions in the dynamic ground (the desire to get from A to B; e.g. to get transportation from the state of ‘having-not’ to the state of ‘having-plenty’.). If there is no tension in the dynamic ground, the ‘proposition’ will fall flat. If the forest is wet, the arsonist’s tossing of the cigarette will fall flat, if there is no tension in the audience to trigger the quick release of, the comedian’s joke will fall flat.
‘Monotheist thinking’ STEALS the sourcing of dynamics from the ‘dynamic ground’ and attributes the source to the ‘dynamic figure’.
Now, it may be comforting to think of God as the Shepherd who is caring for us as we walk through the avalanche zone, but it might be wise to pass through zone quickly since our experience informs us that the tensions in the dynamic ground are invisible and the timing, location and magnitude cannot be predicted, but the longer we are in the danger zone, the more likely we are to being carried away in an avalanche.
If we linger and still make it through safely, is it because God was looking out for us?
All I am trying to do, with this question, is to bring out how it is possible, psychologically, to shift the sourcing of dynamics from tensions in the flow of the dynamic ground, to a notional ‘masculine’ dynamic figure source, as in the monotheist view that permeates western science and the western world view.
If we assume that God is looking out for us, but we do get carried away by the avalanche, then we can say that ‘God works in mysterious ways’, and that while He may take us unexpectedly, He works in mysterious ways, and there is an answer to why this happened, an answer which is not presently available to us mere mortals.
Nevertheless, the belief that God is looking out for us can give enormous ‘power’. How this comes about is illustrated in the following story of St. Francis who wanted to ‘go on crusade’ to end the crusader wars and bring about peace ;
“During this time, Francis stayed with the Christian army, and then crossed over to the Moslem lines. Once outside the Christian lines, he was seized by Moslem soldiers. Francis told the soldiers that he wanted to preach Christ to the Sultan, who allowed him into the camp.
When brought to the Sultan, Francis said, “I am sent by the Most High God, to show you and your people the way of salvation by announcing to you the truths of the Gospel.” And when Saint Francis preached, the Sultan felt himself very much drawn to Francis and to the power of his words. So much so, that he invited Francis to stay with him.
“Willingly,” Francis replied, “if you and your people will be converted to Christ.”
Francis then proposed his famous challenge. He said:
“If you yet waver between Christ and Mohammed, order a fire kindled and I will go into it with your priests that you may see which is the true Faith”
The Sultan was not willing to permit this trial by fire, so Francis requested permission to leave. And the Sultan gave orders that Francis be conducted back to his camp with courtesy. “
No doubt, Francis had such faith in God and many religious men and women have gone bravely to their death as a result of having such faith.
Aboriginals and pagans can stand tall and erect, act morally and ethically, feeling that they are ‘one-with-all’ and that God is Nature, Nature, God.
Monotheists can stand tall and erect, act morally and ethically, feeing that God is their Shepherd.
The difference makes itself known, as a prime example, in the monotheist notion of the ‘sovereign state’ where the ‘shepherding’ must derive from the interior of the ‘sovereign state’ since it has been declared to be an ‘independent state’. People are asked to bear arms and give their lives as necessary, to sustain belief in the existence of the sovereign state, since ‘belief’ is the only basis for the notional ‘local existence’ of the sovereign state. Nature certainly does not respect its imaginary line boundaries that are essential to the notion of a ‘sovereign state’. The following are, again, the views of law historians;
“State sovereignty “is a ‘religion’ and a faith.” (Lombardi, Mark Owen. “Third-World Problem- Solving and the ‘Religion’ of Sovereignty: Trends and Prospects.” Mark E. Denham and Mark Owen Lombardi, ed’s. Perspectives on Third-World Sovereignty. Macmillan Press, Ltd., 1996). The skillfully drawn borders that cartographers have provided for us are … spiritual and philosophical abstractions representative of a form of quasibelief. They are … not detached maps of reality as proponents would have us believe. These geographies reflect an ardent desire to make (or impose) sovereignty a physical reality as natural as the mountains, rivers and lakes…. ‘[Id.]
If one believes in the sovereign state as if this were a ‘greater reality’ than one’s belief in Nature, then one will ‘do or die’ for the state; i.e. one will regard the state as the guiding shepherd whose rod and staff gives comfort. This common belief is a powerful thing, which brings armies together and gives them unusual courage, to give their lives bravely to sustain a belief in the state (the perpetuating of common belief in the ‘abstraction’ that is known as ‘the sovereign state’ is the grounding on which it stands or falls).
The unqualified belief in ‘sovereignty’, otherwise known as ‘nationalism’ is ‘monotheist’ in its essence’, and it thus steals the sourcing of dynamics from the common ground of nature that recognizes none of these ‘imaginary boundary lines’ of the 195 ‘local’ and ‘independent’ sovereign states, and re-renders it as the ‘causal agency’ that resides in the interior of the ‘sovereign state’. This is pure illusion, if the people of the world would tomorrow were to decide to abandon all of these imaginary line boundaries, the people of the world would not disappear nor would the world dynamic need to ‘skip a beat’ (though it would surely begin to transform); i.e. the notions of the local existence and local agency of the individual sovereign states could disappear overnight (if that was the will of the people around the globe) and we could then acknowledge that we are all included in a common dynamic ground and that that dynamic ground takes natural precedence over the dynamic figures that gather with in the common dynamic ground (such as sovereign states), dynamic figures that are the result of the global dynamic rather than the cause of it.
Well, that’s a long ramble that comes from my attempt to flesh out my feelings on ‘pamphleteering’; i.e. by the word definitions I am using as specified above, we all have the makings of ‘pagans’ and ‘monotheists’ in us. Monotheism is essentially the same as ‘nationalism’ or ‘flag-worship’ while ‘paganism’ is essentially the belief that the sourcing of the world dynamic derives from the ‘occult’, the invisible tensions in the common dynamic ground we all share inclusion in.
For ‘pagans’, strength derives from the acknowledging that ‘all is one’, that we are all brothers who are included in a common unfolding continuum. When one believes that one is included in the ‘all-one’, there is no absolute split between ‘self’ and ‘other’ (storm-cells are united by their inclusion in a common dynamic ground [flow]) and therefore it makes no sense to think of the common ‘dynamic ground’ that one shares inclusion in, in terms of a fearful voyage through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’.
Lao Tsu put this ‘pagan valley’ into a very different perspective;
“The spirit of the valley never dies.
This is called the mysterious woman.
The gateway of the mysterious woman
Is called the root of heaven and earth
Dimly visible, it seems as it if were there,
Yet use will never drain it. (VI)
‘Know the male
But keep the role of the female
And be ravine to the Empire
Then the constant virtue will not desert you
And you will again return to being a babe.”
(Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching XXVIII)
On the other hand, the psychological strength of the ‘monotheist’ derives from acknowledging that the power of the sovereign state is ‘shepherding’ us, guiding us so that whether we are at home or abroad, the central authority of the sovereign state (and its embassies abroad), give us the sense of belonging and the sense that someone is looking out for us. The perpetuating of the common belief based sovereign state is something, as has been only too often demonstrated, that people are willing to give their lives for. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
“As we have seen, however, western political thinking itself is grounded in theological concepts of “Christian nationalism.” The notion of “absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original” is a definition of the Judeo- Christian-Islamic God. This “God died around the time of Machiavelli…. Sovereignty was … His earthly replacement.” (Walker, R. B. J. and Mendlovitz, Saul H. “Interrogating State Sovereignty.”
Over the span of my lifetime, nationalism has been on the rise in Canada. The quest for a ‘local identity’ that shifts people away from the notion of being ‘one with all’ (without identity in the monotheist sense) by strengthening belief in the local independent existence of the ‘sovereign state’ of Canada (unlike the US, Canada never fought an ‘identity’-infusing revolutionary war, and it has been an amalgam of indigenous people and immigrants whose primary interest was making a new life for themselves and their families in these rich natural dynamic ground of northern North America). ‘Playing hockey and drinking beer’ are two of the common characteristics of Canadians that are being seized on to help promote the building of a ‘separate and distinct identity’, and ‘identity’ that runs from coast to coast to coast and starts curiously enough, from the imaginary-bounding line between the Canadian and US sovereign states. As many people have noticed, however, a common situating in dynamic ground (a common geographical setting may be a more real identifier based on the relationship of people with one another and the habitat. It has thus been suggested that the nation of Cascadia should be formed on that basis, uniting the people from northern California and up through and including Oregon, Washington, British Columbia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascadia_%28independence_movement%29 )
Monotheism, which has been identified as the belief system that gives grounding to the notional ‘sovereign state’ and which interposes itself in precedence over sense of inclusion in the ‘all-one’ of nature in the ‘pagan’ belief, is the prevailing religion that ‘comes bundled in with ‘sovereigntism’. It is a religion that understands ‘dynamics’ in terms that imputes ‘local causal agency’ to ‘dynamic figures’ and give a ‘back seat role’ to ‘dynamic ground’, while ‘paganism’ does the inverse, and the inverse is in agreement with ‘modern physics’, which has ‘restored’ the energy-loaded dynamic ground of space into a natural primacy over ‘dynamic figures’.
The ‘global warming debate’ is bringing these unspoken religious preferences in our society ‘to the fore’, since the notion of greenhouse gases driving global warming is underlain by this inverted view which steals the sourcing of dynamics from the common dynamic ground of space and imputes the sourcing to be coming from ‘dynamic figures’ such as ‘the rise in greenhouse gases’.
Rising temperature implies ‘rising kinetic energy’ (rising force of the ‘dynamic figure’) while ‘melting ice’ implies tensions (kinetic energy-energy-of-place) in the dynamic ground. That is, ‘melting ice’, rather than being the result of ‘rising temperatures’, is manifesting the release of energy-of-place that has accrued in the ‘dynamic ground’. The latter is the Russian view (could this be from the weakening of ‘monotheism’ in Russia?), which makes more sense to me, based on the alternative framing choices (monotheist and pagan).
In any case, I realise that my pamphleteering is very much tied up in religious beliefs. I have ‘religious tolerance’ for those who Hunter S. Thompson refers to as ‘celebrity-worshipping flag-suckers’; i.e. those whose world view is strongly shaped by ‘monotheism’, but I am definitely not, myself, of that ‘belief system’ which, in my view, confuses ‘idealism’ for ‘reality’. My experience informs me that the source of dynamics derives from the common dynamic ground that we are included in. This puts me amongst the ‘pagans’, the Buddhists, Taoists, and Aboriginal traditionalists who draw their strength from the feeling of being ‘one with all’ rather than from the ‘staff and rod’ of a guiding Shepherd (the central authority of the monotheist sovereign state).
And, that is why (I am just realizing) that my pamphleteering makes me feel like the representative of a non-mainstream religion; e.g. a pagan in a monotheist society, where one is given freedom to express one’s views as a matter of ‘religious tolerance’ but where many people, having become sufficiently ‘comfortable’ with sovereign state shepherding, are unlikely to acknowledge, even, that their views on dynamics in general are being shaped by a religious ‘framing’ preference.
Global warming is a case where the populace is framing their observations of global dynamics in terms that put ‘causal agency’ first, ‘dynamic ground second’, supporting the notion that;
“God said to them, … Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” — Genesis 1:28
As far as my experience informs me, a human being, like the hurricane, is a ‘dynamic figure’ that is the result of turbulence in the ‘dynamic ground’ rather than the cause of it. To invert this and thus to consider that the ‘dynamic figure’ is the ‘cause’ that shapes the ‘dynamic ground’ is to confuse idealisation for reality.
Hence I cannot ‘buy in’ to ‘greenhouse gas driven global warming’, for the same reason that many Russian (and other) scientists cannot; i.e. the notion is a tail-wagging the dog’ notion that rests on the assumption that the earth system is a local system with its own local agency (its dynamic is shaped by internal causal agencies).
This, in effect, makes me a ‘heretic’ in the original sense of the word; I am a pagan in a monotheist society.
Lastly, all these labels don’t refer to ‘hard-wired’ categories since people have within them the capacity to invert or re-invert the priority of ‘dynamic figure’ and ‘dynamic ground’. The person who is asked by his ‘sovereign authority’ to join the military and walk through the valley of death, possibly giving up his life for a ‘cause’ that he doesn’t believe in, … is perfectly able to give up the benefits of the comfort of thy rod and thy staff and head north (into the bush) to ‘re-embrace the nature that bore him’, common ‘dynamic ground’ that he would rather have ‘animating his dynamic figure’ than the central authority of the sovereign state.
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