By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III). Axis of Logic
Editor’s Introduction: Many of us have grown accustomed to expect brief, straight-forward and fast-paced news and commentary on the internet. Typical social and political commentary becomes repetitive and even what once was “radical” or “revolutionary” becomes hackneyed and cliché. This essay by Mankh is refreshing, as he asks us to downshift and walk for a time on a different path with him. He reframes familiar issues like the environment, the “war on terror”, capitalism, greed, gender, the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in ways that help us view them differently.
- Les Blough, Editor
Author's note: In April of 2010, the Peoples World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth inspired me to write a poem, "On Behalf of Those Who Speak Different Languages." The poem was posted on this site; what follows is an essay with the same title.
There are beings who speak different languages. Nowadays with technology you can translate and learn many world languages in a flash. Yet . . . what about the Earth, the Waters, the Air and Winds, the Fire, the Trees Plants and Flowers, the Rocks, the Fish, Birds, Four-Leggeds and Insects . . . One must look for other ways to interpret the various behaviors and communications.
As well, “we” can talk to and otherwise communicate with “them.” Another reality to remember is that the four chief elements intermingle, for examples, dust (earth) can be swept up by wind, and there is fog, mist, hail, and so on.
MESSAGE THERAPY - SPIRIT SPEAKS
This is where the other languages come in. Guidance might come from any of the above mentioned, from a dream, through symbols, visions, something someone says, divination, meditation, and so on. Tuning in to this kind of guidance is an organic, intuitive, in-the-moment, holistic method of getting answers, confirmation, and making decisions. And sometimes common sense, logic, or thinking it through is what’s needed.
Guidance might also come from the TV! I have received specific and clear messages (to something I had been pondering) from an actor’s lines and from images in TV shows. Street signs, billboards, roadway or mailbox numbers, etc. might provide an answer, as well. Spirit speaks through whatever form deemed necessary to get the message across. Are you listening, looking . . . ?
Sure, a massage feels good and can be healing, yet what about message therapy. How often have you wondered what someone meant by what he/she said, or why you saw a certain something at a certain time of day? It can take work but those subtle messages CAN be interpreted via totems, symbols, divination, good ol’ insight and intuition, determining someone’s psychological motivation, and dreams (sometimes people act or appear one way on the physical plane and quite differently on the dream or psychic plane).
MAINSTREAM IS ANYTHING BUT
Society uses a barrage of messages so as to compare you, distract you, get to you be a certain way. The mainstream’s trick is to have you thinking the mainstream is normal. Mainstream, however, has created a vast array of problems, some of which are being remedied -- for example, people using canvas bags, and cutting up six-pack plastic-rings before disposing, so seabirds don’t get caught.
When it comes to healing the world, some people aim to make certain awarenesses mainstream because they think that will reach the most people and solve the issue. Fast foods’ recent adoption of salads, and the like, is an example of putting mainstream to good use. But relying on mainstream to adapt typically runs the risk of corrupting the solution and becoming, uh, mainstream. Rather than trying to bring solutions into the mainstream, my sense is that deeper solutions come from stepping away from the mainstream . . . and onto one’s particular path or stream.
This is typically the at first scary, sometimes lonely, then exciting part. Rather than thinking ‘this is ok’ because so-and-so wears it, or I saw this on TV so ‘this must be good,’ one must find confirmation from another source. Which brings us once again to the importance of messages.
Along with messages, this paradigm shift typically has a role model, archetype, lineage, tradition, or system that serves as a guide. One must ultimately ‘do the real work’ one’s self, but some form of community or support network certainly helps.
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell outlines the globally archetypal pathway of the Hero’s Adventure. Some sections that highlight the journey are: The Call, Departure, Initiation, Return, Master of the Two Worlds.
In her book, Legacy of Luna, Julia Butterfly Hill describes how she felt “the call” and acted upon it. She “departed” from society by climbing the 200-foot Redwood tree named Luna . . . who “initiated” her, and after 738 days she “returned.” Thanks to modern technology this eco-heroine could be a "master of the two worlds” while living in the tree -- she did interviews via cell-phone! When Julia climbed down from Luna in December of 1999, she really “returned,” continuing the work of the Circle of Life Foundation. She also co-wrote One Makes the Difference: inspiring actions that change our world.
Perhaps the archetypal Adventure can also be as ‘simple’ as a parent who forsakes pursuing personal interests, instead holding down a steady, uneventful job for many years, so as to help clothe, shelter, and provide opportunities for a child. Even though the parent could be said to be working in the mainstream, in some way the parent “departs” from personal freedoms so as to help the child “return” to the world with greater opportunities.
The Buddha-to-be, sitting in meditation under the Boddhi tree and refusing to move until he attained enlightenment.
Christ advising: go into your room and shut the door, in order to pray.
These examples are akin to the Zen saying: Don’t just do something, sit there! One of my story-guides is the Zen pathway of 10 Bulls or Oxen by Kakuan, which can be found in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki), or online.
Or, as a Navaho man I met once told me: “If you bring all your sacred items to the center of the earth, you will be blessed.”
As Lao Tzu and the Tao (Thou) or Watercourse Way teach: streams flow into rivers which all flow into the Sea.
THE SOURCE and RESOURCES
Disrupting the holistic flow and divvying up the ‘stuff’ leads to trouble. From a Buddhist perspective it is not simply the stuff that gets in the way, but also the attachment to the stuff.
The psychology of greedy, fear-based capitalism, along with the view that the material world is God (instead of the holistic awareness that Spirit is also in the material), has given many people an excuse for losing touch with WHERE we get items and WHO they are from. Many people call items, such as desks or coffee-makers, “things” — but this is amnesiatic.
Each “thing” comes from a Living Being (except perhaps in the case of labratorily chemicalized plastics, genetically modified foods, and the like). A lovely grained wood desk is from a living tree! The shiny metal of the car’s exterior is from a rock/mineral, which came from a mountain! And on and on. How often do you truly give thanks? How often do you find out if the item was made in a respectable and sustainable fashion? (Remember all the elements and other beings mentioned before?) A good question to ask is: am I/are we benevolently, cooperatively, and thriftily earning a living, obtaining stuff?
Of the history I have read (especially about the forced relocation and genocide of the American Indian peoples), the one motivation that stands out as the casus belli is Resources. Those who try to dominate the world and the economy inevitably try to do so by controlling the ‘stuff’ (divide and conquer), but whoever tries to do so has lost touch with The SOURCE. Resource is “to source again” and those who control the resources love to play God (gas price gouging and deliberate economy squeezes affecting minorities and the poorer classes, for examples).
Those who are grateful for what The SOURCE gives them, while also realizing that Resources come from The SOURCE, are, in my humble opinion, a lot further along on the evolutionary path of consciousness.
Being a RESOURCE for others means having some connection with The SOURCE. The root of the word source is from Latin surgere to spring up or forth, rise up. This says to me that The SOURCE is not a static ‘thing,’ rather a continually self-generating living being.
THE MERCHANTS OF VENEER
“The “War on Terror” was “made up.” The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’.” - Gore Vidal
While trillions of dollars have gone into the so-called war on terror (really a war OF terror, (as all wars are)), the real struggle has to do with resources. So who knows how best to caretake those resources? And who just happens to live on the Lands where most of those resources are? Indigenous, aboriginal, and tribal peoples, also called First Peoples. Now perhaps you better understand the global dilemma and the motivation for the mistreatment of these Peoples and the land they caretake. Mistreatment has not been limited to these Peoples, yet as far as resources — it is the crux.
Some examples: Peabody Coal (affecting Navaho and Hopi), Keystone pipeline (affecting the Ponca in Oklahoma), “cancer alley” along the Mississippi River (Louisiana), surface or strip mining, the rainforest and other deforestation, palm oil, tar sands, Caspian Sea and pipelines, dams in various countries, etc. Unfortunately a long list, and sadly, much or most if not all of it, deliberate!
In these times of economic crisis, it is odd that some parks get closed. Think about it-- the land was once wide-open wilderness; the Natives/Indians were displaced and parks created to preserve natural habitats, but when money is tight, even those habitats are ‘closed.’ What are the legislators afraid of? Wilderness and whatever is deemed wild and wildlife! Why else would they try to discredit ancient healing techniques that often utilize various plants and herbs that grow wild? Why else would religiosity make a point to call various sexual practices, such as prostitution and homosexuality, immoral?
Advertising is one of the weapons of mass 'distraction.' Ads fuel magazines and internet websites. The money spent on TV ads is astounding. Some magazines print articles by people who have also bought ads, hmmmm . . . This system is typically rigged. Veneers amnesiatically distract from deeper purposes; spirituality is about remembering who you are, what you’re here to do, and where you’re headed.
UNITED STATES of AMERICA / EMPIRE
“My prediction in the book . . . The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What?, is that it cannot last longer than 'til about 2020 . . . And that could lead to the blossoming of the US.” - Johan Galtung interview from Democracy Now! June 7, 2010
The USA is henceforth in this text sometimes referred to as USE (United States of Empire), an appropriate acronym because much of the history and current troubles that the people of the USA are dealing with are due to the fact that various policies USE people and resources to advance a dominatrix agenda. Outsourcing is an example of USA people being dis-used by a Global Corporate Empire.
According to Chalmers Johnson, the USE has at least 725 military bases throughout the world. The purpose of such military-indutsrial-complexity seems like . . . oil and control! Or, to coin a new word: controil.
“In 2009, according to the Pentagon's Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), the military spent $3.8 billion for 31.3 million barrels -- around 1.3 billion gallons -- of oil consumed at posts, camps, and bases overseas.
“As an institution, the Pentagon runs on oil. Its jet fighters, bombers, tanks, Humvees, and other vehicles burn 75% of the fuel used by the Department of Defense. For example, B-52 bombers consume 47,000 gallons per mission, and when an F-16 fighter kicks in its afterburners, it burns through $300 worth of fuel a minute.”
- Nick Turse, “How Taxpayers Are Subsidizing
BP’s Disaster Through the Pentagon”
That said, and though there has been much abuse and oppression, the USA has welcomed many people from many lands, providing liberties to those who were mistreated in their home countries. While the USA is also considered by some to provide some kind of example of the destiny of mankind, the USE needs to come to terms with its horrendous track record of human rights abuses.
Gore Vidal says that the USA experienced a “coup” after September 11, 2001 and is actually being run by a small elitist group.
Some of the positives and solutions in progress nowadays are: Detroit Social Forum, urban farming, food pantries, food coops, resurgence of local farming, yoga centers, healing centers, artist-activists, poetry communities, intentional communities . . .
With countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela at the helm, Latin America seems the most promising for role modeling democratic principles that allow people to be uplifted from the harsh conditions that have too often been imposed on them by the Global Corporate Empire.
An interesting book, The Untied States of America (yes, that’s Untied, not United, and subtitled Polarization, Fracturing, and Our Future), by Jean Enriquez, explores possibilities, such as states seceding (Vermont leans that way). Recently in the news, the Texas school-system voted to minimize references to Thomas Jefferson and slavery in its schoolbooks, and Arizona has also caused an uproar with its anti-immigration law. All signs of untying.
As I wrote in my book impeach the monsters: New Dawn, “Some people work for change within the complex-system, some confront The Monsters directly, some seek to overthrow the system, some ignore The Monsters (as much as possible). . . . Some are monastic, some are
activists, some a bit of both. “
While many point a finger, and rightly so, at the male-dominated world of missiles and other phallic distortions, it is important to realize that in many cases the female has gone along for the ride. For example, a male may run a greedy corporation, but oftentimes it is the ‘sexy’ female who shills via advertisements. In society too, the females are generally the ones pampered, while the males are left to do the dirty work. Though this is partially stereotyping, it is important to realize that many people buy into the stereotypes!
Overall, I feel that the age of the male-dominated society has run its belligerent and sad course, and that the intuitive/feminine energy is one of the keys to the well-being of the Earth and all its inhabitants. Many American Indian (and worldwide) cultures are matrilineal, with the women having much say when it comes to important decision-making. It is important to encourage a greater connection with intuitive/feminine energies so as to heal the planet, as well as align much of the male population that has been warped by machismo. This machismo is due, in part, to educational systems that thrive on competition, religiosity that thrives on breeding, and governments that thrive on the business of war.
TURTLE ISLAND and The FIFTH WORLD
While I am grateful to live in the USA with the many liberties it provides, I do not wish to associate with the USE, and so, I call myself a Turtle Islander.
Being a Turtle Islander helps me stay centered and in touch with global roots, the mythological, and reminds me how we are all connected.
Turtle Island is a name for the North American continent, as well as the Earth, in numerous American Indian and worldwide mythologies. We are all riding on the back of the turtle who carries the Earth on its back.
According to Harriet Starleaf Gumbs, the Shinnecock ancestors called Long Island, Sea-Wan-Hak-Hee, meaning “Shell Heaven.” Because I prefer to identify with the ancient roots of where I live, I call myself a Turtle Islander living on Sea-wan-hak-hee. And by telling people so, I help educate them to some real history. Where do you live?
Fifth World refers to a term from Hopi and Navaho (Diné) prophecies, myths, and the tales told by the Elders from generation to generation, mostly (until recently,) only by word-of-mouth. Also, Fifth World from the Toltec; and from the Aztec’s, Fifth Sun, and their Solar deity, Tonatiuh, “he who goes forth shining.” Minus the sacrificial rituals of the Aztec culture, an interesting connection. There is also an Aztec Sixth Sun of Flowers. Fifth World is a consciousness that anyone can tune-in to.
In early 2010, after a rainstorm when some trees had fallen over, I asked in prayer: why did some trees fall and some didn’t. The answer I got was “roots.” To my understanding and experience, each of us has ancestry roots (this lifetime), and ‘other’ place roots (past lifetimes). Thus, each has an innate ability to know how to live wisely.
We can each learn from others too. While I might not be able to become a Lakota, for example, I can still learn from that culture and tradition, one of many that knows how to live respectably and sustainably with the Earth.
And that brings us full circle to . . .
EARTH WATER AIR-WIND FIRE ET AL
“We’re here to demand a new economic paradigm that does not sacrifice our way of life nor our fundamental human rights to access clean air, clean drinking water and clean earth.”
- Clayton Thomas-Muller, a 34-year-old Cree activist, and
campaigner organizer of the Indigenous Environmental
Network’s, Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
in response to Alberta’s oil sands patch
Tiokasin Ghosthorse, of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation and host of First Voices Indigenous Radio, says: "Land, Air and Water . . . it's Nature's LAW. First Voices Indigenous Radio brings to you the basics of how not to violate the LAW." He also says that, learning to live with the LAW is something Indigenous Peoples know how to do so as to live peacefully WITH Mother Earth rather than on, which is a form of domination.
We as a species need to reach out to the First Peoples -- the Indigenous, Aboriginal and Tribal -- so as better to tune in to real Earth-wisdom.
In December 2004, many animals survived by going to higher ground, and
“The Moken indigenous people (or 'sea gypsies') of Thailand, and Native inhabitants of India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands managed to anticipate the tsunami danger. Their knowledge of wind, tides, and the animals, which had been passed down from generation to generation, prepared them to deal with the natural disaster.”
- Fabio Y. Lee Perez
Technology wasn’t needed to help them, but it can be used wisely to change the way we access energy, as well as help avoid disasters.
“According to the prophecy of the eagle and condor, we are at the beginning of the "Fifth Pachakuti," a time when the condor will rise again and will once again fly together wing to wing in the same sky as the eagle and the world will come into balance.”
- Barry Fraser
The Achuar People’s prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle suggests that there will be a blending of intellect and technology, along with heartfelt indigenous Earth-wisdom.
- Paul Budnik from Confessions of an
Economic Hit Man (page 209)
by John Perkins
Nicola Tesla, who lived from 1856 to 1943, had come up with a way for people to get free energy!
“He ripped up a Westinghouse contract that would have made him the world's first billionaire, in part because of the implications it would have on his future vision of free power, and in part because it would run Westinghouse out of business, and Tesla had no desire to deal with the creditors.”
Beginning in the mid-1930s, oil, car, tire, and car companies conspired (the Great American streetcar scandal) to ‘drive’ mass transit out of business and manufacture a dependency on their products (enter suburbia). This serves as a heads-up as to what obstacles may need to be faced if we are to make transportation, and other areas, an important part of sustainable energy.
About a year ago, I was talking to a worker at Home Depot and I learned that if there were higher government subsidies for solar equipping houses the cost to homeowners would be lower, thus making solar energy more easily afforable. But once again, some of the big coprorations and governments don’t want that to happen . . . unless they can make a buck off of it. Same deal with the automobile industry. MAYBE the BP/TransOcean/Halliburton/Minerals Management Service/Oil Addicted Culture Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster will become a turning point.
I don’t know much about the details but sustainable energy Resources such as wind turbines, solar panels, solar cooking ovens, geothermal, communal water irrigation, electric cars, and mass transit, along with a revolution of consciousness and infrastructure, seems to be a pathway toward balancing the energies of the Earth.
The following is from “Indian Prophecies” by Lee Brown, Cherokee. Excerpts from a talk at the 1986 Continental Indigenous Council.
“And so He [Great Spirit] gave each of us a responsibility, and we call that the Guardianship. To the East, the Indian people, the red people, He gave the Guardianship of the Earth . . .
“To the South He gave the yellow race of people the Guardianship of the Wind. They were to learn about the sky and breathing and how to take that within ourselves for spiritual advancement . . .
“To the West He gave the black race of people the Guardianship of the Water. They were to learn the teachings of the water, which is the chief of the elements, being the most humble and the most powerful..
“To the North He gave the white race of people the Guardianship of the Fire. If you look at the center of many of the things they do, you will find the fire. They say a light bulb is the white man's fire. If you look at the center of a car you will find a spark. If you look at the center of the airplane and the train you will find the fire. The fire consumes, and also moves. This is why it was the white sisters and brothers who began to move upon the face of the earth and reunite us as a human family . . .”
Four of the Archangels of Kaballah’s Tree of Life are connected with the Four Elements: Auriel - Earth, Gabriel - Water, Raphael - Air, and Mikael (Michael) - Fire.
Many Asian Peoples honor Five Elements: Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth. The interplay of these is deeply connected with the healing arts, such as acupuncture, and they integrate with the balancing and well-being of a person’s tastes, organs, moods, adjustments to the seasons, and more.
Whatever the system or method, the principles and need for respect are the same.
Cedar waxwings, a kind of bird, are known for lining up on a branch and passing berries or fruit clusters down the line. Now that's the kind of behavior our species could benefit from!
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is a writer, small press publisher, and Turtle Islander. He is a frequent guest poet and essayist on Axis of Logic. Visit his literary website.
READ MORE OF MANKH'S POEMS AND ESSAYS ON AXIS OF LOGIC