Friday, December 30, 2005

draft - The Thee Celestial Ones - intro.

It's okay to be a man. - Journals, Kurt Cobain

There is a Japanese wood cut of a famous 16
th century Zen Buddhist monk, viewing a rooster fight with rapt fascination, and if you have ever seen these animals go at it naturally in the woods or in the barn yard when they hit adolescence and fight to establish dominance, you can see the hypnotic effect. They still raise and fight these birds in the hills of Tennessee where it crosses into the mountains to Virginia and North Carolina, far from the gaze of those who would disapprove. We raised our kids in those parts.

I first saw roosters fight when our day-old chicks arrived at the post office from the mail order house 20 years ago. They arrived peeping in the box, one day old. We ordered a dozen Rhode Island Reds, docile egg layers, but received cocks by accident occasionally and once a game bird. They can be as tame as cats, allowing the children to pick them up and pet them like kittens.

Any rooster will fight if there is more than one and there are females around. Sometimes they will crow in a masculine way to express dominance over the other males, and if the cock’s crow is fierce enough, the other roosters won’t even bother to fight, but will simply submit to dominant rooster.

After that, the submissive ones never crow, unless something happens to the dominant rooster, like he is killed by a hawk. Then the strongest of the submissive roosters will take on the dominant rooster characteristics.

Once my dominant rooster, a Speckled Hamburg, proud and hyper-alert, white with black spots and reddish tints the color of autumn leaves – one of the most exquisitely beautiful animals I’d ever seen - had his crown and almost the entire back of his neck torn off by a coyote that had ravaged through the barn just before dawn. I knew by the extent of his injuries that he couldn’t possibly survive, but he strutted through the yard with his usual cockiness until noon with no sign of weakness, even looking for a fight, then found a quiet place under a piece of sheet rock to wait quietly for his death.

My friend Barr, who once lived as a Zen monk in Japan, died like that.

The submissive roosters even take on the behavior of the females sometimes, and try to sit on the eggs, like a broody hen. But usually they fight, and sometimes to the death. They circle one another slowly, intently staring, eye to eye, each ready to pounce, their cowls extended for the event in a perfect circle sticking straight out around their necks.

Then after a tense silence they pounce simultaneously, feathers flying and wings out, lifting them up off the ground, and flail at each other with their claws. It is usually over in a minute when one male establishes dominance over the other.

The focused, concentrated fight and the intense stillness that precedes it brings Zen to mind, as it was practiced by ancient Japanese Samurai swordsman. Zen monk D.T. Suzuki, writing not about roosters but about the silence of God says, “This sort of silence pervades all things Oriental. Woe unto those who take it for decadence and death, for they will be overwhelmed by an overwhelming outburst of activity out of the eternal silence.” It is the same silence and intensity which precedes a cock fight.

The swordsman class of ancient Japan exclusively chose Zen as its discipline, and the short, violent clash that follows the slow dance of the Samurai explains why: it is the most masculine of behavior in a spiritual discipline that is masculine to the core.

The Samurai tradition of Zen creates in the mind of the swordsman an ability to give up his fear of death and to face every battle thinking he will die. Only when he faces battle, like the rooster, unafraid and unthinking of his own death, will the swordsman find the ability to live with simplicity and clarity.

Samurai culture presents an exaggerated picture of the masculine force and presents in high relief the fear that most inhibits a man after he has left the womb and left his mother, the fear of death.

It is the fear of death that prevents him from finding fullness. And it is this fear that leads him to avoid risk, and to go instead to the middle ground, to middle management and to the middle class. To be, as we said in those parts of the South where we raised our kids, neither man nor master, but mid’lin.

The end of the millennium has brought Middle Man to the high water mark. Here in the Age of Information the binary matrix offers alternatives to the sword and the path to manhood of the Samurai. Archetypally, the prevalent dangerous myth in the computer culture most resembles the maze designed by the shaman Daedelus to hide the whereabouts of the Beast, so to ease the mind of King Minos. The maze creates an “alternative consciousness” for the King. So too middle man’s defector, the computer geek – and computer geek cults are almost exclusively defaulted male or man/boy types like the Lost Boys – projects his consciousness onto the computer screen and slays imaginable beasts, but none to match the bull within himself which is the one that is calling. The bull is the man calling the boy forth and if he is denied or circumvented the boy will not enter manhood.

There is no alternative. In the end, the computer man/boy lost in Daedelus’s maze is left behind when the age passes. To the defaulted man/boy of Computer World, information is not power, it is a distracting dance of light, distracting him from the fear that Lord Krishna instructs him to resist: the fear that prevents him from becoming himself. Better to go mad and die on the river like Mr. Kurtz.

At a college I worked at a few years ago an imaginative doctor at the teaching hospital observed over the years a difference in the reaction of his male and female patients before they went under the knife.

A man, he noticed, even for a trivial operation, often asked the doctor if he was going to die before he went under the anesthesia. The doctor began to take notes and tally these questions and he found that over 50% of the male population who entered surgery with him wanted to know if they were going to die. The number of occasions when the female population under similar circumstances asked that question? Zero.

I can well picture computer man/boy, his life extended behind a screen, being afraid to get out of there to face his death. But can you imagine Anwar Sadat who instinctively raised himself bolt-upright when he saw the gun man coming at him, and unflinchingly stood at attention to take the bullet in the chest? Can you imaging Walter Reuther, facing the federal agents and their armed goons about to fire on the Detroit factory workers, standing high on a wall in plain sight, pulling off his shirt and baring his chest, telling the thugs to fire the first shots here?

In the movie Gladiator, there is throughout the conspicuous use of the salute, “strength and honor” among the Roman soldiers and the gladiators, terms which recall both the Third Reich and the honor code of the officer class of the Confederates in the Civil War. With artistry by the director, Ridley Scott, and the masterful craftsmanship of actor Crowe, these human strains of personality are retrieved as if from a dark cave where no one should go, and retrieved for the general culture as virtues utterly needed by any human society, and particularly by the boy about to become a man in that society. These virtues are needed for the man or boy to pass successfully to the fullness of his adulthood, whether he aspires to be priest, pirate or panderer. Strength and honor, in an exaggerated and explosive masculine episode brought on the destruction of Europe. But without strength and honor there is no manhood, there is no balance, there is no dharma.

And it is not a guy thing, it is a cultural thing - a yang thing. When Hayley Wickenheiser led the Canadian woman’s hockey team to gold victory in the 2002 winter Olympics, head coach Daniele Sauvageau gathered the team around her after the victory for a final word on the virtues that would carry the women and their families through the difficult times in their lives. She said three words: Responsibility, Determination and Courage.

These are the Three Celestial Visitors.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

draft - The Three Celestial Ones

There is a Taoist myth of the Three Celestial Ones, the Celestial Worthy of Primordial Being, the Celestial Worthy of Numinous Treasure and the Celestial Worthy of the Way and Its Power, three male deities who are said to live beyond the Big Dipper. They descend to earth during periods of cultural transition and appear as passerbys, accompanying a human who will have a spiritual task to perform here in the world. They accompany action, transition, movement of the masculine principle (yang). Archetypally, these would be the Three Visitors who appeared to Abraham, the Three Magi, Yeats’ three gnarly Irish with the unicorn in his volume The Gift of the Magi, young Baggins and his three Hobbit travel companions in the Old Forest, the Three Spirits who visit Scrooge in Dickens’ great story of Awakening (the second of whom is certainly the Green Man), the Buddha and the Three Messengers, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three and on the pop-culture scale, the three Men in Black of sci-fi folk lore of the 1950s, now a pop movie hit, and the three Lone Gunmen, who advise agent Fox Mulder of The X Files in his quest for the Truth. The Chosen One frequently returns as one of the Three Celestial Ones: Jesus appears with two almost identical white-robed male figures on identical thrones as the Trinity in a 15th-century French Book of Hours, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob become the Three Jolly Fishermen. Three Men in a Boat (like the shrewd advisors who fly across the stage in The Magic Flute) shows the Three Celestial Ones in one of their favorite containers. A boat is a gynecological shape, a gateway to the sea, the psychic or feminine field, as the Three Celestial Ones rise out of the unconscious. (Boats - Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria - are invariably named after women.)

Artists, and not only great but also good and competent artists, know instinctively about archetypes and psychic manifestations. A friend of mine, Joe King, who painted portraits of the wealthy and influencial in North Carolina, once did a portrait of a well-known philanthropist from a tobacco family, and in the background he painted a sail boat alone in the distance out at sea with a dark sky, as the gentleman in the portrait enjoyed sailing. The day he finished the painting he discovered, as he prepared to ship it, that the man had just died. A ship or a boat at sea is a folkoric symbol of death as well as birth. It was the only painting King ever did with a boat sailing alone in the distance like that. This is a relationship between parallel events that C.G. Jung called synchronicity, and artists are most conductive to this native intuition.

The Three Celestial Ones precede Lao Tsu and recede into Chinese Taoism up to 5,000 years. Lore has it that like their sisters, the Three Women, each has an second face; a dark nature, which contains the unexpressed characteristics of their life force. And so there are really six. Twelve, counting the Three Celestial Ones and the Three Women together with their Dark Sides, composing the dozen signs of the zodiac, six yin and six yang. The double is usually hard to find and it sometimes takes a Wizard. But in the last five hundred years with the rise of the West, the three agents of the ascending masculine principle (yang - what Vermonter Scott Nearing called the Power Principle), Newton, Darwin and Freud, have been prominent and their doubles are easy to spot.

The West began its outward extension with Columbus and it continues like a reflex today. By 1492, the ideal of the inner life brought by Jesus to Constantine’s church and brought to high pitch at the Hagia Sophia and in the West perhaps, in the mandala paintings and music of Abbess Hildegard von Bingen, was entirely abandoned. Columbus's outward journey represented the new world and the new religion of action. Action followed as the anthem guiding the orthodox religious direction of subsequent champions from John Calvin to John Wesley: You are what you make, and you will be measured in the hereafter by what you build in the outside world including who you bring into your fold and how many.

The period of the exclusive reign of the Power Principal is entrance and resolve of the High Renaissance, the period described by Jacques Barzun in his book From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life. Three pivotal figures accompany this rise and the ascent of power. They are Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Charles Darwin (1809-1892) and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).

In the Star Wars series, director George Lucas uses the two faces as a theme throughout. Jedi Master Mace Windu ruminated, after the sith had been dispatched in The Phantom Empire, that they always come in twos. (As does the Princess.) The question was, which was the good guy and which the bad guy? (Likewise, many cartoons since, like Pokemon and Shaman King, and many computer games are influenced by the East and have incorporated Zen themes and psychological patterns. Currently, in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, for example, the Warrior has dual nature, light and dark, as everyone has dual nature.)

So it is with Newton, Darwin and Freud. Each had a double who had a similar philosophy who plagued the life of the other and was rejected by the other. Newton’s double was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who developed a theory of calculus independent of, but simultaneously with Newton, Darwin’s was Alfred Russel Wallace, who developed a theory of natural selection independent of but simultaneously with Darwin, and Freud’s was C.J. Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who, after working with Freud, broke with him to found his own school of depth psychology, analytic psychology.

The views of Newton, Darwin and Freud reigned unfettered in the West, then by the 1960s, serious challenges were brought favoring the opposite champions. One book in particular lucidly runs parrallel to the traditional view of the Renaissance, like Jacque Barzun's. Carolyn Merchant's 1980 book, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution.

Merchant writes that the world we lost in the rise of the Power Principle was the organic world. From the obscure origins of our species, she said, human beings have lived in daily, immediate, organic relation with the natural order for their sustenance. In 1500, the daily interaction with nature was still structured for most Europeans, as it was for other peoples, by close-knit, cooperative, organic communities. Nature is female, writes Merchant, and as Western culture became increasingly mechanized in the 1600s, the female earth and virgin earth spirit were subdued by the machine.

“The female earth was central to the organic cosmology that was undermined by the Scientific Revolution and the rise of a market-oriented culture in early modern Europe. The ecology movement has reawakened interest in the values and concepts associated historically with the premodern organic world. The ecology model and its associated ethics make possible a fresh and critical interpretation of the rise of modern science in the crucial period when our cosmos ceased to be viewed as an organism and became instead a machine,” she writes.

The critical turning point, she argues, came with Newton and Leibniz, who “. . . saw their mechanics, their philosophies, and their own beliefs about God and nature as deeply divergent from each other.”

Newton could not entertain the pantheistic assumption that God was immanent in matter, she writes, together with its associated radical intellectual and social implications. He argued against this position in Opticks (1706): “And yet we are not to consider the world as the body of God, or the several parts thereof, as the parts of God.” “God was neither a living animal-writ-large,” she writes, “nor the soul of the world.” Additionally, she argues, the laws of Newton’s mechanical “system of the world” predicting the ordered motions of both terrestrial and celestial bodies served as a cosmological exemplar for political and economic order in English society.

This contrasted with Leibniz’s view, which saw the world of substance as organic. Every being in the universe, from living animals down to the simple monad, was alive or composed of living parts.

Leibniz’s dynamic vitalism was in direct opposition to that of Newton and the mechanists and the “death of nature,” says Merchant.

“Leibniz stressed the idea of a life and perception permeating all things,” she writes. “The main distinction between his philosophy and that of the mechanists lay in the idea that substance was life, not dead matter. He criticized the ‘advocates of the new philosophy’ for ‘maintain[ing] the inertness and deadness of things.’ As he had once written to Jansenist theologian Antoine Arnauld (1612-1694): ‘All matter must be full of animated, or at least living, substances.’”

Newton himself had reservations about the mechanistic theory and in unpublished manuscripts wrote about the “vegetable spirit” and the earth resembling a “. . . great animal or rather inanimate vegetable.” However, she writes, a study of culture extending from the seventeenth century to the present day shows mechanical models of the self, society, and the cosmos. Thus the human body and the human psyche are treated as reactive, conditionable entities, and the human brain as a computer.

“During the three centuries in which the mechanical world view became the philosophical ideology of Western culture, industrialization coupled with the exploitation of natural resources began to fundamentally alter the character and quality of human life. Through popular scientific education, through commonsense empirical philosophy and natural religion, and through the spread of scientific, rationalizing tendencies to manufacturing, government bureaucracies, and medical and legal systems, the mechanical science, method, and philosophy created in the seventeenth century have gradually become institutionalized as a form of life in the Western world,” she states.

It is interesting and maybe useful to note that the European left his rich inner life, a life, writes Merchant in which, “The earth was alive and considered to be a beneficent, receptive, nurturing female,” with Columbus for the acquisition of the culture of an outer life: goods, action, worlds to conquer and convert, and that Columbus began this adventure on a journey to the East, to the Spice Islands in particular. But this world, recently described by anthropologists and filmmakers Lawrence and Lorne Blair as among the richest places on earth; is not so rich in material goods as it is in spiritual goods.

The Blair brothers describe the Spice Islands and surrounding Indonesia as a wonder world of magicians, shamans and dream interpreters, one that still exists but is quickly losing ground to globalism.

Like Newton’s twin, Darwin’s is nearly forgotten, but any half-learned individual at the turn of the century knew of Alfred Russel Wallace*, and many credited him with the discoveries that made Darwin famous. He has been retrieved recently in a PBS television series and accompanying book called the Ring of Fire: Exploring the Last Remote Places of the World, in which the Blair brothers follow the path of Wallace on his wandering travels throughout Indonesia and into the Spice Islands, following the path he took to his original theory of evolutionary theory.

Like the relationships between Newton and Leibnitz and between Freud and Jung, that between Wallace and Darwin was fraught with hostility, although, “… it is now quite certain that Darwin,” writes Lawrence Blair, “would have been quite unable to write it (the evolutionary theory) without his essential contribution.” The results of this contention, he says, “ … has profoundly affected the subsequent tenor of both science and the humanities.”

It was Wallace’s paper that came first, says Blair, which forced publication of Darwin’s theory, although Wallace’s contribution was considerably more enlightened.

“’Survival of the strongest,’ for instance, and its tooth-and-claw ethic which became associated with Social Darwinism, is not at all what Wallace had meant by ‘survival of the fittest,’ where fitness was defined by him as a far subtler and more complex weave of forces than mere pugnacious self-interest. A further major difference was in the two men’s attitudes towards tribal peoples – whom Wallace recognized as fascinating equals, rather than as ‘a lower order of the human race’, which was Darwin’s perhaps unwitting contribution to 20th century racism,” writes Blair.

Wallace believed that natural selection’s checks and balances were not the only forces in evolutionary play but also saw spirit or mind playing through matter. As with Newton, however, it was not so much the scientific community but the general cultural understanding or misunderstanding at large which chose Darwin and exiled Wallace.

Recently, a new translation of the I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of oracle, was translated by Kerson Huang, a distinguished theoretical physicist at MIT, and his wife Rosemary. It contains an essay in which Huangs point out that Leibnitz did not consider his discovery of calculus to be a new idea, because he had received a copy of the I Ching from a Jesuit friend in China just as he was making his historic discovery, and he wrote about it in the introduction to his work. Calculus, Leibnitz wrote, was basically the same as the I Ching. In his first full discourse on binary integers, published in 1703, write the Huangs, Leibniz acknowledged their origin in “the ancient Chinese diagrams of Fohy (Fuxi).” It was Leibniz’s belief that God revealed the truth to Fuxi three thousand years before his time.

But the world has moved away from the rigidly mechanistic world view of the 19th century, they write, and physics is no longer able to get away with drastic idealizations because it deals with simple measuring instruments, such as scales that read between 1 and 10.

“Everything not in the domain clearly marked out by physics is beyond its grasp, and this is the domain in which the I Ching and other nonscientific endeavors operate. The domain is vast, including such diverse phenomena as the stock market, classical music, and love,” they write. “In fact, it covers all situations and phenomena in which the ‘measuring device’ is a person.”

Not only in calculus and physics have these comparisons been made. In 1974, molecular biologist Harvey Baily observed that the mathematical structure of the DNA molecule is strictly analogous to the structure of the In ching. See John F. Yan's DNA and the I Ching: The Tao of Life.

In each of these three thinkers, Newton, Darwin and Freud, left behind was the temptation of the East. Leibnitz drew his comparison directly to the Oriental occult and the I Ching. Jung rejected Freud’s sexual theory and drew much of his inspiration from the mandala philosophy of wholeness that pervades Eastern thinking and is pronounced in Tibetan Buddhism. And Wallace's picture of natural evolution, which was imbued by mind and spirit, resembles the Hindu story of evolution.

At the end of his life Newton is said to have been preoccupied by numerical sequences in the Bible, perhaps defensively. But by our own century, the determinism of Newton would yield to quantum mechanics, which resembles the philosophies of the East. Physicist Neils Bohr would enter a classroom and illustrate the principle of quantum physics by drawing the yin/yang symbol on the board, expressing the balanced universe of masculine and feminine. While Einstein, in his last years refused to accept it, insisting on the single force theory. But if Bohr’s theory recalled the Eastern view, Einstein’s single-force view recalled Yahweh, the one true god of the Old Testament and the Prince of Egypt.

The point has been made by many that the public misunderstanding of scientific principles, particularly those of Newton and the mechanists, was unfortunate, and Newton’s official journal has actually apologized for mischief done. But from the archetypal view, that is the point. In terms of which direction the culture will take it makes no difference what the scientist understands; presumably he understands his work. What is important is how the principles are misunderstood by the public, for that will determine how they will be applied in the future. The public misunderstanding is guided from the Collective Unconscious. Thus it is on the Power Principle that we have sallied forth these five hundred years.

But that began to change radically in the academic world in 1962 with the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn. Kuhn shifted the culture at its base. And largely by a popular misunderstanding or no understanding at all of his book. Kuhn gave the academic and professional management world common usage of the word paradigm, and the world was ready for this word and its application – as in, change the paradigm or subvert the dominant paradigm – by the late 1980s and the early 1990s.

In fact, Kuhn changed the dominant paradigm within academic and management culture, but probably more by accident than intention. And if the world was ready for change in the 17th century if not before, it is ready for change again. And, again, it isn’t really important how the scientist or the science historian understands Kuhn’s work. What is important is how the general public misunderstands his work.

And the conventional understanding of Kuhn’s book to those in the professional and academic arenas can fit on a 3 x 5 card: it is that scientific revolutions come and go like religious revivals, build to an arc, then disappear, gone with the wind, like the Anasazi or Tree Druids.

This brought an Awakening, especially to the post-war generation; a feeling that the world was not fixed in one place and could move on now to other things. Prior to that we seemed impermeable to change. The “ . . . single vision of Newton’s sleep,” may have been dark, flat and static, but it had to be accepted because it was the truth. Science was, as the Cigarette-Smoking Man said, the people’s religion.

Now the paradigm h
ad shifted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Particles and Waves - Countries divide into binary chakra orientations & so does the individual & so does the family & so does the world

This is essentially, an edited out section of the last episode on the Six Grandfathers and American history.

Current research shows that on the day of birth a baby boy will look at a mobile hanging above his bead. A baby girl will look at a face. The one is a techomatrix orientation and inate fascination with technicality (head), the other empathy (heart). Head and heart are biological divisions and they are binary yang and yin orientations in
the world. All societies divide between head and heart. Paris (above, Ile de la Cite and Left and Right Banks with Notre Dame's Rose Glass superimposed on the Ile de la Cite) gives a perfect example: the bankers and burgers live on the Right Bank of the river Seine (in red) and the artists, writers, hippies and mystics live on the Left Bank (in blue). The two halves are divided by a river connected by the Pont Neuf and held together by a perfect jewel: The Notre Dame Cathedral with its rose glass on the Ile de la Cite. Europe likewise divided between Roman (head) and Greek (heart) in Imperial, Christian and Cold War spheres, but unfortunately has no Ile de la Cite to unify and absorb its opposites today in a mandala.

A distinct binary relationship can be seen extending across Asia as well from India to Japan. Vedic (yin) Asia has its source in India but extends to areas that were once Vedic and are now Buddhist, like Thailand and its neighbors. The Vedic influence is palatable in Thailand and Laos. With Taoist (yang) Asia, China, Korea and Japan (Japanese zen owes itself to Taoism and is an extension to Taoism: See Suzuki’s Introduction to Zen), a binary relationship can be seen. The Vedic/yin regions feature yoga and graceful dancing, while the Taoist/yang regions express themselves in cerebral discussions (or non-discussion discussions as in Japanese Zen) marshal arts, stick fighting and in the farthest corner, Samurai swordsmanship, none of which are prominent in the Vedic areas. Tibet has influences of both; archetypal deities that resemble the Hindu pantheon, and the Taoism’s tai chi (yin/yang symbol) sits in the center of the Tibetan flag. Tibet, which calls the center of consciousness the Jewel Heart is in itself the Jewel Heart of the extended mandala of the East. The destruction of Tibet as a sacred center and its occupation by communist China will likely upset and destroy the ancient, balanced symmetries between China and India and those within the entire Asian continent.

The Asian regions developed these relationships over thousands of years, but the entire region will lose its internal yin/yang features as East and West adjoin in our times and a new global relationship develops a new Jewel Heart between East and West, founding a new benign mandala vortex around the Chicago/Toronto area thereabouts. This is a new world picture which has been moving to this one point since the beginning of civilization. It is the Aquarian mandala.

There is a well-known analysis in psychiatric lore about "Henry’s dreams" (picture here from Man and His Symbols, edited by C.G. Jung), which refers to a long series of archetypal dreams that brought a psychiatric patient of C.G. Jung associate Jolande Jacobi to face deep and irrational powers within himself. During analysis, Henry drew a picture with a blue field on the right with a Madonna-like woman standing in it and a red field on the left with a wolf-like black monster in it. The picture suggests that the forces within Henry are dangerously incompatible, but in the center of the picture is a mandala-like flower which links the opposite sides.

This personal dream of Henry's classically illustrates the situation described in the illustration above on the banks of the Seine in Paris, the left bank (artists and writers), the yin side, and the right side (bankers and business people), the yang side, united by the cathedral on the Ile de Cite. Further investigation reveals that this is the same pattern on the flag of France; a left field blue and a right field red, connected by a white field, meant to suggest the lilies of the field.

Many flags, particularly in mature countries, have this same balance; the blue sometimes green and the red sometimes orange, and with a flower or an icon of some type in the center holding them together. (The icon stashed up in the corner and with only one color suggests a transitional phase or a country out of balance.)

Many towns, cities and countries are thus divided, very often like New York into artsy (hippies, poets) “downtowns” and business-like “uptowns” (Madison Avenue). And the beautiful city of Washington, D.C. serves as a center-most mandala for North and South prior to the Civil War. And the Mississippi River divides the world today with Chicago at top and New Orleans at bottom uniting the U.S. east and west and all of the Eastern world and the Western world into one world. So far, like Europe, it has no mandala. But maybe it will one day. At center is the Lakes Region, which forms a water star - maybe a world mandala in the new center of the world will feature the Sea Serpent in the Great Lakes known to First People as the Manitou - the Primary Spirit of the Earth.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Six Grandfathers; 4th part of The Three Celestial Ones, thereabouts

When God created the world he divided it into two teams," Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The archetypes occur in places where no one is looking. It is again like the Yeats’ tale of the fairies playing in the bog – they disappear when the priest arrives. Same when the critics, fashion-makers, learned opinion-makes arrive. Invariably they create an orthodoxy and leave the living spirit a calsified statue.

In his most influential essay Heaven and Hell, published together with The Doors of Perception Aldous, Huxley talked of the influence of art which no art critic considered to be art. In the period when the institutional critics were agog over fur-lined coffee cups and chocolate machines which didn’t make chocolate, Huxley was discussing the folk art of the chalice used in the Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass, for example, considered irrelevant to the cultural priests and police of the day (and long since and before). The gods hide in low places. It is the way of all things. The face of God never reveals itself direct, always behind a screen, a curtain or a smoky mist. It can never be called by its name direct.

The Three Celestial Ones, as suggested, have dual faces, light and dark, as do the Three Sisters, and the totality form the full six female, then the six male – the 12 faces of the zodiac. Salvador Dali, who said, “I don’t know what my dreams mean but I think they mean something,” expressed it correctly – the artist, the folk-tale teller, the dreamer dreams in this language, not of precision, logic and language, but of association and intuition. The official artist or poet laureate may do so too perhaps, but not up in these mountains. They are as scripted as politicians and Pentagon officials. Invariably if the culture is going through an “idealist” phase, its priests which assign Noble Prize and Pushcart Awards to those which amend their package and will deny Tolstoy as being “too nihilist.” Seventy years later when the Priests are in a nihilisic phase, the idealist will be scorned. The artist sees from the center, the crtic from the edge. The successful critic is an extravert and amends the edge and consolidates opinion, forming groups. But bonding forms orthodoxy. A true artist or writer should have no colleagues. Not even any friends, as their expectations will always be either to the positive or the negative, wherever the culture is going, and the artist has to go alone. But that is not to be alienated, the neurasthenic and nihilistic outsider - the cliche of suburban culture, but the consumate insider who seeks and finds, the center.

It is better usually to look to the artist no one listens to as a serious artist. Stan Lee or Fran Striker, who wrote the scripts for The Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger starts with six coffins – spirits from the Land of the Dead, to send forth a champion on a new and idealistic journey. Dali’s vision here was formed in the Unconscious as a "partial Hallucination" and an "Apparition" of “six Lenins” – six skulls on a grand piano, again from the Land of the Dead – and Black Elk’s vision was of the “six grandfathers” – spirits again; sacred spirits which pervaded the consciousness of the Earth at the beginning of a new age.

The American condition as well came at its start essentially with six men who would fix its destiny for 400 years and until today and tomorrow. The Six are what made us organically a North/South country, filled with North/South contention and conflict.

Tensions today in the American political condition between the so-called Red states and Blue states are in a four-hundred year pattern. Perhaps this is an end game. In the next hundred years as economy and strength shifts to Asia, particularly China, the American Southwest and California will more fully interact with Asia and become more influential The ground will shift again and we will become an East/West country in an East/West world. Likely we will remain so for a long time. Washington, D.C. was the perfect center – a benign vortex between two contentious forces – in the North/South condition, but as East/West develops we will likely find a new center – possibly around Indiana, where Indianapolis already resembles a star-shaped world Mandela, or Ohio thereabout. Then there will be new Grandfathers.

Until now, however, there are six men who made our country what it is, three on each side (or team, as Vonnegut has it). They are Hamilton, Washington and Adams, on the one side, and Jefferson, Madison and Monroe on the other. The Northerners brought from England and Europe Enlightenment strategies – a way of the head - the way of seeing the world as a matrix of Ideas; a left-brain and language and logic-based matrix in which everything has a square spot to fit in. The Southerners brought forth spirit and heart-based energies – a pastoralist vision driven by agriculture and country lif, and saw the cosmic package more likely to be and more akin to a river than Yankee crate, cubicle or a skyscraper. On the Northern team was John Adams and Alexander Hamilton. Washington joined up with them shortly after the Revolution, casting the fate of America with Hamilton’s perspective. Thomas Jefferson and his colleague James Madison, and their acolyte, James Monroe, consolidated the Southern point of view. These are America's Six Grandfathers. Inevitably these two forces would come into conflict. Jeffersonexpected a northern invasion as early as 1897. But it was not until 1861 that they sent forth their two champions, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.

This difference in outlook and these contentions can only be fully understood by understanding the chakras. Knowledge of the chakras will also explain why people act differently in different cultures and in the same culture. It is important to understand the chakras because they explain a lot that has been ongoing in the culture and a lot that is just beginning now. The low chakra of the gonads thereabouts brging in primal energy rich in sexuality and empowering emotions, like Elvis did, from which the world begins again.

Most of my antecedents have come from Ireland relatively recently. The Irish lived in the heart chakra, while the northern European and the Calvinists in New England moved on to the head some 500 years ago. It was strong with us because my mother’s parents had come over together and formed an enclave among other Irish with similar habits and customs. That is why it was so hard to leave my mother and start school. Although it was a Catholic school, it was 1950, and the secular theme of reason dominated. The Catholic schools were paralyzed in conflict between the head chakra and the heart chakra.

There is a picture of Jesus that is such a bad work of art that it has probably contributed to anti-Catholic sentiment over the ages, not because of content but because of kitsch. The picture is of Jesus holding his outer gown open around his chest and his heart is revealed beneath it. It is on fire and there is a crown of thorns circling it. Terrible though the art may be, it perfectly illustrates the heart chakra. (Magic: The Gathering cards have better pictures illustrating this, as Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism do.)

Zen Buddhism is very easy to understand by one who lives in the heart: it says the head is a trickster. It says the world of reason creates a material world, an artifact house, an illusion of language and logic. God is love and God lives in the heart. This is the center of the world.

Growing up in the fifties as Irish near Boston eventually brought a conflict between heart chakra – well reinforced by repeating until it was known “by heart” we used to say – of the Magnificat and the other prayers to the Blessed Virgin – and the practical secular world. The Magnificat, from Luke 1:46-55, is the Virgin’s joyous prayer in response to the Angel Gabriel’s annunciation to her that she will become the mother of the Son of God. We Catholics were technically at war with those who lived by the head, and their compulsive materialism was stressed throughout the whole program in the Catholic school. But their agents were not unfriendly and didn’t seem particularly hostile to us. If anything, they were indifferent.

Dave Garoway and Garry Moore, these, the first pioneers of live, daytime television, I think were the first Protestants ever to enter our house. After TV they couldn’t be kept out of our living room and anyway they appeared quite harmless.

These were the agents who would bring you in. Bring in your parents, bring in the whole household and especially the kids. Eventually, the glow of the heart chakra when the Irish women would chant the rosary in a circle around a statue of the Blessed Mother would lose its serene luster compared to the entertaining prat falls and low theatre of Phineas T. Bluster and Princess Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. And as we got older, it became increasingly clear to us boys that these outsiders, the People of the Head, were a lot better at doing things and making things and figuring things out than we Irish of the Rosary.

In the North, I was among the last to leave the heart chakra because of the recent arrival of my grand parents from Ireland, but when I did, in early adolescence, there was very little conflict. It was, as a priest in Boston once said, like taking off an old coat and that was the end of it.

In the South, people both black and white, still live in the heart. That is changing now because people are heading South now from the North.

There is something in nature that drives the head away from the heart and destines them to despise one another. In his perceptive book, Southerners and Other Americans, Forrest McDonald tries to account for the differences between Northerner and Southerner, but he feels he failed in that quest.

Sociologist John Shelton Reed may be leading the way in this, as he points out that the North is different from the South just because we are herre and they are there. Reed, a professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, asks his students to list the qualities of Northerners and the qualities of Southerners in his class, and he finds that his Southern students, whatever they list for the South, will generally list the opposite for the North. If the South is polite, the North is nasty and boorish. If the North is cheap and penny-pinching, the South is generous and kind. If the South is pious and devout, the North is a bunch of heathen horse worshipers. Before our federalist birth as colonial Baptist and Quaker split with Congregationalist, and Beacon Hill’s white-glove Unitarian scorned the earthy tent revivalist, we were destined to be divided.

Grady McWhiney’s Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South, finds many opposites between Northern and Southern parts. These are estrangements between the heart and the head. Forest McDonald writes in the preface to McWhiney’s book that fundamental and lasting divisions between Southerners and Northerners, “began in colonial America when immigrants from the Celtic regions of the British Isles – Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall – and from the English uplands managed to implant their traditional customs to the Old South.”

By contrast, Massachusetts and Boston were settled by urban English, Calvinists and Protestants who brought with their entourage a lasting Calvinist ethic, from which would evolve the Yankee work ethic. In a word, New England was an extension of the cultural transformation England and northern Europe was going through, while the South’s culture was ultimately formed not so much by British planter society, but by ordinary folks, described by Frank L. Owsley in Plain Folks of the South. Real plain folk – chiefly farmers and herders – shaped the Old South. Like Yeats’ peasants, communicating with the spirits in the bog, these folks had little involvement with the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason. They still lived in the heart and off the earth.

From here, the North, particularly New York, would grow federalism and an extension of the reason principal, the high chakra of the head, into a universal business ethic, and it would grow in power against the ethic of the South, which preferred to be left alone.

Divisions of head and heart are differences between a left-brained techno-matrix orientation in the world (yang) and an empathetic (yin) orientation in the world. In the Southern manifesto by the “reconstructed but unregenerate” literary renegades of Vanderbilt University known as the Fugitives, this was summed up as a distinction in the phrase, “Agrarian versus Industrial.” Furthermore, W. J. Cash, in his landmark study would write that it t’was ever thus, and the Southern fight against the Yankee in the Civil War was simply an outbreak of an inner conflict that continued into the next century by other means.

The Southern mind, wrote Cash in The Mind of the South in 1941, was a defense against, “The Yankee Mind, the Modern Mind and the Negro Mind.” He might better have called it the Southern heart.

C.G. Jung wrote in 1927 after a visit to the American South that virtually all American music and religion in the South found its chief inspiration in African-American influence. He also compared the participation mystique of Americato the African village culture and saw the African-American influence pervading every aspect of American culture. These sentiments would be echoed 50 years later by John Hope Franklin and other Southern scholars. These African influences, like those of the country Scots and English influences advanced and fulfilled the heart orientation of the South, fixing it in opposition to the left-of-brain New Yorker.

And still it continues. Historian Dan Carter writes in his book, The Politics of Rage, a biography of George Wallace, that the entire Wallace rise and fall was a reaction to the new initiatives of the culture of the 1960s, of the Freedom Riders in the South, the integration decision of Brown vs. the Board of Education, the hippies and so on. “. . . as the civil rights movement expanded in the 1960s to inspire the women’s rights movement, the antiwar movement, and the politics of sexual liberation, George Wallace adroitly broadened his message,” writes Carter. “Journalists might greet this growing counterculture with curiosity, even approval. But Wallace knew – instinctively, intuitively – that tens of millions Americans despised the civil rights agitators, the antiwar demonstrators, the sexual exhibitionists as symbols of a fundamental decline in the traditional cultural compass of God, family, and country.”

Wallace invoked images of a nation in crisis, writes Carter, a country in which thugs roamed the streets with impunity, antiwar demonstrators embraced the hated Communist Vietcong, and brazen youth flaunted their taste for “dirty” books and movies. “And while America disintegrated, cowardly politicians, bureaucrats, and distant federal judges capitulated to these loathsome forces."

And furthermore, in the summer of 1974, after Wallace made a much-heralded visit to the Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty Road Baptist Church, home of the burgeoning “Moral Majority” movement led by the Reverend Jerry Falwell, the Wallace bid would evolve into what has come to be known as the Religious Right and the church-based political movement which has today sent its champion to the Presidency.

From first days to the present, there it is: Pat Robertson, the NRA, the “culture wars,” the teaching of Creationism, the whole nine yards – it’s all about the Beatles and the hippies. But even the new influence find their way to the South when they were heart-based. I once spoke to a Southern anthropologist who was hired to teach the FBI "non-confrontational" strategies of disarming radical confrontations, like those which occurred at Waco and Ruby Ridge. These strategies were bsaed on Eastern thinking, but he said it was quite easy from Southern police and military to understand them strategically as they come from the same heart-based orientation as the Hindu. In fact, the three major Hindu influences of the Sixties despised by Robertson and Falwell all found their homes in the South. The Khrishna's, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Woodstock guru Swami Satchidanda all establishing teaching and retreat centers in the mountains of West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia. Satchidanda was given land for a retreat in Connecticut and he sold it and moved his retreat to Virginia However, the more cerebral Buddhist influences in the seme period established permanent bases in Woodstock, Vermont and Barnet, Vermont and in Woodstock, New York.

David McCullough’s recent biography of John Adams nicely brings American and French revolutionary history down to two phrases: Thomas Jefferson’s expression selected for the Constitution, “ . . . born free and equal,” – a view from the heart - in opposition to that which John Adams preferred, “ . . . born equally free and independent,” – clear, objective and legalistic; the judgment of the head. Here at the very birth of federalism a life-long alienation arises between the “binary” founding fathers Adams and Jefferson, Northerner and Southerner (who died within hours of each other on the Fourth of July, 50 years after the signing of the Constitution). Both strong idealists, but idealists of the head and of the heart. The first major threat of secession came during the Adams Presidency and the Alien and Sedition Acts. Jeffferson considered these repressive laws to be in opposition to the spirit of the free state and he and Madison wrote secession resolutions for Virginia and Kentucky. The second major threat of secession came from New England during the War of 1812 when Jefferson and the Southerners were in charge.

Jefferson is a great study of heart-based truth; usually the view of the artist more than the politician. It is no surprise that he was a great architect. Jefferson listens to his heart first and his head second – his nature is to choose his heart and deny his head as temptation. Adams, the Calvinist, listens to his head first and his heart second – his nature is to choose his head and deny his heart. Both have two contending opinions within them, one weak and one strong – both men are right and both are wrong in opposite balance.

The North/South contention in American life has been organically oppositional from the beginning in 1607, but the key moment of change came only when George Washington firmed his alliance with Northerners Hamilton and Adams who favored Jay’s Treaty, which firmed a new alliance with England only 18 years after the Revolution. The Virginians, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were shocked, and preferred the Revolutionary alliance with France and the traditional Revolutionary identity. When Washington cast his lot with the Northerners, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe began to consolidate the South’s position in opposition to them. Jefferson expected invasion by the Northern states as early as 1897. Perhaps it was only the great national status of the Founders, respect for Jefferson in particular, which prevented it. It was not until they were all dead, by which time the North had built into an enormous economic and world power and was experiencing great growth in manpower from Ireland and Europe to work in factories, that they began to take action. It was not until William Lloyd Garrison, of Boston Clipper Ship class and his father a sailing master, published Liberator, in 1831, that the simmering conflict opened to overt and hostile relationships, which backed by the industrial class of the North, would inevitably be decided in favor of the North. Jefferson had died only five years before, in 1826.

In his 1930’s essay, The Irrepressible Conflict, Frank Lawrence Owsley has the regional conflict evolving between New Yorker Alexander Hamilton’s vision and the Southern pastoralist Jefferson’s: “Their social systems were hostile; their political philosophies growing out of their economic and social systems were as impossible to reconcile as it is to cause two particles of matter to occupy the same space at the same time; and their philosophies of life, growing out of the whole situation in each section, were as two elements in deadly combat. What was food for the one was poison for the other.”

In the beginning, wrote Owsley, two men defined fundamental principles of the political philosophy of the two societies, Alexander Hamilton for the North and Jefferson for the South. "The one was extreme centralization, the other was extreme decentralization; the one was nationalistic and the other provincial; the first was called Federalism, the other State Rights."

This is the vision of Lord Krishna holding two eggs. It is represented in the Upanishads as a story of two birds perched on the branch of a pippala tree. It is the Dance of All Creation.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Swami Satchidananda, Robert E. Lee and the Sacred Heart of Jesus

This essay and the last (Turning East) are parts four and five at the end of the Three Celestial Ones, a chapter in Notes from the Land of the Dead (to come next week) about the archetype of three males which appear in times of motivation and change in a culture. In the United States, the North/South contention has extended 400 years. The pivotal moment of change was the Jay Treaty of 1795 when the Virginian, George Washington, permanently cast his lot with New Yorker Alexander Hamilton and John Adams of Massachusetts. Thomas Jefferson bonded solidly in opposition with James Madison and Monroe. From then until now the Hamiltonian point of view has been the domonant perspective, running in opposition to the Jeffersonian perspective. More later. (See my political blog, Quigley: Culture, Politics, Sheep for some discussion.) To perceive this there has to be a greater reach than the Hegelian 3 x 5 card: thesis vs. antithesis = synthesis. Which usually comes out two men swordfighting and leaves Andromeda lost in the ozone. Most in the academy today see themself as the "antithesis" and thus will contribute, but they are as time-bound as the Pentagon. He is never selected, but Shopenhouer is still on the menu and so is Oswald Spenglar, and they offer a cosmology analogous to that one in which we live and anyone who can understan biology should be able to understand it. Christmas shopping now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rebbe's Farewell - Steven Spielberg's Final Vision - in progress, ending of The Three Celestial Ones, chap. from Notes from The Land of The Dead

. . . I went out searching . . . looking for one good man . . . a spirit who would not bend or break who would sit at his father's right hand . . . Johnny Cash/U2

William Butler Yeats, Irish poet and essential guide for much of this here leading perspective, once claimed that he didn’t like the poetry which most of his readers liked. You can see why occationally. Sometimes he appears to really spells it out lest the C student miss the drift, but the spirit fades with the explanation. It is interesting and I believe it would make him good in certain translations, particularly into Japanese, as there is a singular Zen, iconic quality to Yeats' poetry. Reading D.T. Zuzuki's Zen and Japanese Culture, Yeats poetry comes to mind and would seem a perfect fit. I think John Millington Synge would as well. (I'd love to see a Kabuki or Noh theatre version of Riders to the Sea. The Japanese would understand. The Americans do not.) Perhaps because Yeats brings from the mecurial river and carries to the rational perspective and Zen in Japan, as Dr. Suzuki illumates it in his classic text on the cultural influence and Buddhism, does the same. Yeats' prose sings more freely and even his second-hand stories of Ireland, dictated to Lady Gregory, have a kind of folk-loric flair. A particularly iconic poem in this regard is his most famous, The Second Coming, which has the famous line, Slouching toward Bethlehem - fire borrowed perhaps more than any other, very often without giving the muse credit. In the millenialist fever between 1994 and 2005, perhaps no other line was more universally nicked.

Much of the poem is actually a simple astrological diagram about the Age of Pisces coming to a close and the Age of Aquarius beginning. The Piscean Age began with the birth of Jesus, and the Christ is visualized in the poem as a hawk flying upward and forming a circle, but flying so high and for so long that the spiral begins to give way and loses its integrity. As with Europe’s failing Christendom, “the center no longer holds.” Nothing really is left to the imagination here. It is all spelled out. The poem follows to the end in darkness, anticipating a new messiah for a new age, but a messiah and an age without Europe's traditional wise rabbinical guide of Solomon and his Spirit Son, the Christ; the Light out of Egypt. Instead, is a Rough Beast, which some considered to be Stalin and others Hitler, rising out of Europe and leading the Aquarian age into Darkness.

Yeats had other thoughts on the matter although most of his life’s work is recalled in that single page. His short story "Gift of the Magi" in the volume Mythologies, presents a better Aquarian messiah - a Unicorn born to a prostitute in a Paris slum. His Rough Beast poem, incidently, was written in 1920, the same year as the German movie, The Golem, directed by Paul Wegener was presented (to the left). As he was an outgoing member of the continental avante garde, it is a film he well might have seen. But like the great historian Oswald Spengler of his creative era, he really didn’t see the Euro world as dying and he didn’t really believe in death. The Rough Beast poem represents the flip side/the dark side of his inner life, but in an increasingly nihilistic age, it became the favorite of the common culture. In truth, Yeats saw the world entering metamorphosis, with light turning to dark and dark revealing light.

His book Mythologies outlines some of his experiences in the occult. He appears to have gone as deeply into the Unconscious as a European could without sustaining lasting psychosis in his day.

Yeats’ life personifies the shift in sensibilities between the Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius. Reared in the tradition of Ireland’s Church of England and the European mystic/poet quest who when looking inward would characteristically seek out a rabbi in a cave, he turned East instead. He joined the Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society of London and looked to Tibetan Buddhism and the Orient for inner wisdom.

From then to now, pilgrims have continued to Turn East, trekking across the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas. But increasingly, the East has come to us and saved us the journey.

This shift in sensibility can be seen simply as a shift of the pilgrims’ gaze: Looking East instead of to Egypt, and replacing the Wise Guide of rabbi with that of Monk.

As folk lore sometimes reveals the archetype at work and tells the story of the inner life of a people, this shift in sensibility begins with the ancient Prague folk tale of the Rabbi and the Golem. I expect Yeats knew the tale. Any researcher interested in the occult would find it. It has deep significance for Europe to follow, and for the West. I see it as quite possibly a model for Yeats’ poem, The Second Coming.

The story of the Golem is prelude to the Frankenstein story and other more recent conjurings, but its origin goes back to 16th century Prague. Rabbi Loeb was a wise and well-respected rebbe and he created a Golem to help the people in his village with their work and to defend them against anti-Semitic attacks. But the Golem got out of his control and ran amok. Today in Prague, local legend has it that the Golem haunts the city.

From the view of an Outsider (Extrovert - on the outside of the vision) – a European Christian – looking to an Insider (Introvert - from the inside of the vision) – a European Rabbi – for inner guidance, this story has great significance. The Rabbi is conjurer, and the rabbinical culture which conjured the Son - the Christ - at the beginning of the age, has lost its sacred abilities at the end of the age. The Inner Life of Christianity approaches a close in Europe as the Renaissance becons. The Inner Life of the European Christian is over as Jesus scorns the Mother (Mother Earth) and rises strong, muscular and masculine to the Sky in Michaelangel's famous painting in the Sistene Chapel. What the Rabbi conjures now is dangerous and out of control. Yeats’ twenty centuries by the rocking cradle (the Baby Jesus, the Deathless Child - twenty centuries equals a Platonic Month, an astrological age) have passed and the Aquarian is coming (the Second Christ); but a rough beast, which Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.

Here is the new messiah, the body of a lion and the head of a man (which has Aion, the lion-headed man and a symbol of the new Christ in reverse), an out-of-control brute. The rabbi has lost his power and the Christian age grows dim, the centre cannot hold and anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Yeats wrote the poem in 1920, but the Golem has seen many incarnations since. Tolkien’s Rings stories have the Golem to be sent away and the Hobbits to stand on their own two furry feet and look again to their own Original Myths. Indeed, the Golem in these tales as well suggests Rabbi Loeb's creation as he is the traditional Bearer of the Ring – the wisdom of God perhaps, just as the European rabbi was the bearer of the Light out of Egypt to Europe - which has proved to be too much for a small in-between and becoming species to bear. Other tales as well, the Bartimaeus book, The Golem's Eye, for example, likewise seeks to find the Prague Golem and put out his singular eye. All these tales imply abandoning the traditional wisdom of the rabbi – his Creation is passing, his Sacred Child a hydra-headed beast like that described in Revelations. In their way these are end-game myths for the European Christian and particularly the English Christian.

Comic books and movies provide us today and post-war with na├»ve art. Artists and writers in pop culture create freely – there are no teachers or critics available, no awards given to inhibit creativity. In the 30s, 40s and 50s in particular, no one was watching. And watching changes the product conjured. Stan Lee's comic masterpiece The X Men today is able to gather the greatest of actors because of the innocence and clarity of Lee’s original story telling. The X Men brings in an Aquarian vision, expressing mutation of consciousness, and a new people on the earth, with varied psychic and psychological gifts. But notice Lee’s terrific shadow production as well – kind of a down market version of The X MenThe Fantastic 4.

The 4 are not completely fantastic. Their story presents the classic mythical Quaternity – the four-cornered vision of the godhead which occurs archetypally in all cultures in the world (see Sir James G. Fraser's work) – Father, Son Holy Ghost and Mary/Psyche. And here it occurs with us in the world as well. But there are issues with this god-head. The Father figure is made of rubber and has problems making decisions (because he is afraid of Psyche . . . in another Quaternity movie, Spielberg's Jaws, the Chief is also afraid of Psyche, presented as she is most commonly presented in dreams, as the Ocean - the fear is manifest as vagina dentata, a Death Mother archetype; the Shark, a man-eating toothy vagina). Psyche seems intact and so is fire-boy - presumably the Holy Ghost - although he has a little trouble controlling his powers. The real problem is the Thing. In the classic Quaternity, the Thing is supposed to the Son (in Pisces, the Christ). His name is Ben ("The Son" in Hebrew) and he has been replaced in Prague by Rabbi Loeb with Golem. And here he is a Golem. Lee, the Artist-in-Innocence, see’s with the Child’s Eye and sees ourself as we are now, as we truly are. (In contrast, the current Narnia movie is a Quaternity in which the Psyche [Witch] is sick and the Spirit is completely absent. Only Son [Lion] and Father [Santa?] have positive relevance. As its author is an apologist for old Britannia, perhaps this is an appropriate vision of Empire at its end, in the hands of the Death Mother. I see it as a Shadow production of the great genious work of author's co-worker and true visionary, Tolkien. Shadow, as in Tolkien/Lewis, Beatles/Rolling Stones, Emerson/Thoreau, Emily Bronte/Charlotte Bronte, Christianity/Islam, Capitalism/Communism . . . Seinfeld, on the other hand is a virtually perfect piece of folk lore and a perfect Quaternity, Jerry being God/Father; suggesting New York City was not a bad place to be when the show was aired. J.J. Abrams' Lost has a hidden Quaternity as well, beautiful and complex, and awakening anew a full spectrum of sacred mysteries for the third millenium. Frasier is a Quarternity as well & it is way interesting that there were West Coast and East Coast Quarternities going on with different cultural characteristics simultaneously in the naive culture [Frasier and Seinfeld] at the turn of the millenium- the Frasier character having moved from Boston. My thoguth to the NYTs at the earthquake in Seattle . . . "Those disasters are birth pains." - Kurt Cobain the Monkey God.)

Although Yeats’ famous poem was written long ago, byy all means, our rebbes still guided us, and the Three Celestial Ones who would awaken and orient the energies in the waning century of Pisces would all be three rebbes - Freud, Marx and Einstein. Post-war we are better off perhaps, and in my lifetime, the three rebbes who have created our world have had far more comprehensive visions. Indeed they were masterful Dreamworkers, and created the movie studio DreamWorks; Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. David Geffen was there when Joni Mitchell arrived on the scene, and when John Lennon was shot and he was everywhere in between. But the great rebbe from this group was Steven Spielberg.

It was Spielberg (photo by Genaro Molina / LAT) who brought us out of the earth and out of the Vistorian Age and up into the skies in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and to find friends there in the Universe in E.T., psychologically one of the most important turning points in human history some depth psychologists claim. And it is he who has brought us back to earth.

Last week this most influencial art and culture enterprise of the 20th century folded. The great rebbe and the most influential artist of our time, Steven Spielberg, has conjured his last vision, the movie Munich, which opens to the public on December 23.

No doubt he will work again, but Spielberg has made his last movie for DreamWorks. It is the end of an era, and it is an era which arched millennia and Platonic months.

Most interesting to our times is that Spielberg has a Twin, George Lucas, his early partner. But Spielberg is the wise rebbe, Lucas the Tibetan Monk. Star Wars, Lucas' Quaternity, produced and amended by Spielberg, was whole and intact, but its roots were in the East - in Zen, in Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism and in the tradition of the master film work of Akira Kurosawa. Together, Lucas and Spielberg have conjured the new millennium.

Today, Lucas actually does sign on to the Campaign for Tibet to help occasionally on special projects. His early Star Wars films are textbook Taoism, with parts like the lightsword fighting with blindfolds taken directly from the classic text, Zen and the Art of Archery by the German philosophy professor teaching in Japan, Eugen Herrigel. The Star Wars myth, based originally on Kurosawa's 1958 film, Hidden Fortress, has brought us to the East far more effectively than Yeats, Madame Blavatsky or even The Beatles. Lucas has also hosted the PBS series The Power of Myth at his Skywalker Ranch in California, with Bill Moyers interviewing mythologist Joseph Campbell. Nothing has more effectively and without egregious error turned Hollywood's gaze East and explained Eastern principle to the masses who view pop culture.

Spielberg has taken a different tact. As Lucas was didactic guru, Spielberg was both conjurer and citizen. He has been both rebbe and good citizen, bringing to the public works like Shindler's List to enlighten the public to the horrors of the Holocaust and The Color Purple, which, without his assistance, would have remained a small and special interest prose work. Because of Speilberg, it is intrinsically part of the fabric of American cultural life.

No doubt he has noticed that he has created his own Golem as well. Novelist and commentator Curtis White has written that with all good intentions to create a popular story to honor the sacrifice and nobility in warfare of the common men who served their country in World War II in Saving Private Ryan, what has evolved unexpectedly is an American culture of militarism, with a new generation striving for heroism to be like “the greatest generation” in a war of unintended consequences. A war poised now to engulf the entire Middle East in a pan-Islamic popular front which could threaten the very existence of Israel.

Spielberg's final DreamWorks projects, a remake of War of the Worlds, which was, in my opinion, his best film ever, and Munich were released within months of each other. Munich has drawn controversy. As Rachel Abrahmson writes in an interview with Spielberg in the LA Times,"The film examines one of the pivotal moments in modern terrorism — the killing of 11 Israeli team members by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics — and then focuses on the secret hit squad assembled by the Israeli government to track down the perpetrators and assassinate them. It's a 30-year-old story that resonates today, and the thought of wading into the virulent Middle East animosities, with all of their moral conundrums, has daunted most American artists — even those who don't come with the pulpit and responsibility, which clearly weighs on him, of being not only Hollywood's most famous director but its most public Jew. He's the one who made the Oscar-winning "Schindler's List," about the Holocaust, and devoted all of his earnings from the film to his Shoah Foundation, which has been collecting the oral histories of Holocaust survivors."

It is significant that Spielberg's final DreamWorks project is about Isreal.

"[The film's] a discussion — it's like the Talmud is a series of discussions. It's just like Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abraham bargained with God about 'how can you punish the righteous with the wicked?' The film is a series of structured arguments between the members of the Mossad teams that reflects different points of view and allows you to choose the one that more easily fits how you see the conflict. And maybe even better can maybe change your mind about how you felt about this," he told Abramowitz.

Questions, he points out, are an inherent part of the Jewish faith: "My whole life as a Jew has been a series of arguments; we're always arguing and discussing. The movie is certainly told from the Israeli point of view. But it is told with a great deal of empathy. I just wanted to put empathy in every direction, because the situation is not cut and dried. I was not interested in telling that kind of a tale of vengeance and I didn't want this to be a morality play, the way that 'Private Ryan' is a morality play."

He has been accused by his critics, some of them engineers and propagandists - fellow travellers and extremists of the neo-cons and Christian Zionist movement - as being ambivalent in a situation one should not be ambivalent about.

"The simple truth is sometimes we have to choose from bad options," Spielberg told Abramson. And sometimes there are unintended results." Answering aggression with aggression "creates a vicious cycle of violence with no real end in sight."

The LA Times did a survey of public opinion, mostly Israeli and Arab, of those who attended screenings when the movie opened. Robin Harrington, a talent agent said, "The message is 'You can't fight violence with violence' - that we have to find another way. If that's controversial, we're in trouble."

It can't be missed that Spielberg pleased neither Jew nor Arab with Munich. And for a final word in his final day at the last gala opening of a career which like no other life and career has shaped value, mores and opinions in an American-dominated world since the 1970s, the director calls forth a new rebbe.

The phrase about answering agression with agression creating a vicious cycle of violence, is pure Tolstoy. In his writing on peace and non-violence, Tolstoy took as the central meaning and purpose of the Christ's life and work the phrase, "do not return violence with violence." All of Tolstoyan philosophy is built on this phrase and this interpretation of the New Testament. It was this which he passed on to Ghandi in correspondence when Ghandi said he could not find non-violent strategy in the Hindu texts (although these sentiments are clearly phrased in Buddhism, which are Hindu texts). this phrase is the core sensibility of the non-violence movement from Tolstoy, to Ghandi, to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Peace Movement of the in 60s. Tolstoy pointed out in his journals that this is an inherently American vision, designed by him but through the study of the American Transcendentalists, particularly Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Yankee anti-slavery firebrand preacher Theodore Parker.

I don't think it is impossible to be a citizen/rabbi. They live on different sides of the river. But I find it moving that Spielberg ends a career of such vast world influence on this note.

Ambivalence is the clear public lesson in War of the Worlds as well. The movie starts with Tom Cruise, who plays the protagonist, driving a derrick high in the sky above New York City, a machine virtually identical to those - the Tripods - which the Alien invaders will drive shortly after in the movie. There is something then of the Golem in both the father (Tom Cruise) and in the Alien Tripods. E. T. was an Aquarian vision. As the Light came "out of Egypt" in the passing era, it comes now to us from the Universe. As film critic Stanley Kaufman implied in his early review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind these are sacred events; events in the history of faith. In E.T. we come to share the Light of the Universe. In War of the Worlds we share the Darkness as well.

The tension between the forces of the East and the traditional Western wisdom has been palatable for the last 20 years or so. But I saw the moment of transition directly in the year 2000, with Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a runaway favorite at the Oscars.

Lucas – and the 30-year Star Wars project – is prelude to the millennium. Crouching Tiger is the millennium to which we have been sailing since Columbus headed out to the Spice Islands.

Like Spielberg, Lee does both creative popular movies and more serious dramas. But Spielberg's what might be called "citizen" films - Color Purple, Shinldler's List - always at least intent to improve the quality of American life and world culture. With Lee, I'm not so sure. I'm not so sure he will prove to be as good a citizen as Spielberg has tried to be. Lee's "serious dramas" are loved by critics, but any artist with the abilities of Spielberg and Lee can well anticipate and engineer critical responce, particularly those in the most influencial newspapers in New York and Los Angeles, where the criticism is as predictable as sleet in winter. But Lee's 1997 film The Ice Storm seems undergraduate work designed to increase his status among critics - faux Bergman - a Bergman movie without the Bergman - without the lost quest for God; without the helplessness of a post-war Swede seeking authenticity in a cold climate and a broken world; without the individual playwright's genious - a knock off. In this movie and those like it, one is never sure whether the film maker unveils hypocracy and dual standards . . . the Lonely Crowd, prejudice and class strife, alienation a la Antoniani, husbands screwing their secretaries, tectonic cultural shifting as in Bertolucci's Before the Revolution, or a cronic "emo" condition, as my kids put it (emo has reached saturation point with teens: " . . . if I had opposable thumbs I'd cut myself!" is the current dark humor of unbridled youth) . . . so as to improve the human condition, or celebrates instead the curruption of the American condition and rather eggs it on. In the end, some of these movies are doppelgangers - the autonomous shadow face of power which merely takes its life force in opposing power. There is never a trace of this with Spielberg. But Lee's Taiwanese movies are different. His great film, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman finds healing and wholeness in an environment broken by fate. And Chrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon goes to the core of Eastern mythic sensibilities; a masterpiece of Taoist passion and yielding power. Perhaps it is that in making Chinese movies Lee experiences his Positive Face, and in making American movies he experiences its Dark Face. Time will tell: Bergman, Antoniani and Bertolucci are on a worthy path. Their movies can be looked at over a lifetime as one coherent artistic passage. Spielberg as well follows and creates a distinctly American vision and his life is our life. But imitators yield to time and become as charicatured in rerelease as World Extreme Cagefighting.

It is significant that the big "Christmas Movie" this year is Memoirs of a Geisha, based on a novel written by an American man which followed in the popular interest in Buddhism ten years back when Brad Pitt starred in the film adaptation of Heinrich Harrer's excellent and illuminating journey book, Seven Years in Tibet, and Buddhism became a pop cultural fashion. There is little of the East in the Geisha book, except of those parts of the East which resemble the West, and much of Old Japan does - which makes it easy to digest and understand because we already know it. But it is significant for this century which we are moving into that we in the West begin now on a massive pop culture scale to look to the East for beauty and wisdom with such significant productions.

Spielberg was originally scheduled to direct Geisha, but the production was plagued by difficulties and delays.

"It's an incredibly delicate story. I can't just say 'OK, that's the next hamburger I need to make.' I have to get my head around it first," he said back in 2001. Then after several years of development he pulled out altogether as director, although he is still listed as a co-producer.

When he opted out, he chose instead to direct A.I. A.I. is a movie about a high-tech mechanical boy adapted from the Pinnochio story. What is interesting about this is that Pinnochio is an Old World adaptation of the Golem myth, and so A.I. is a contemporary adaptation of Golem. It is interesting because when Spielberg took us to space he found the true child, the Deathless Child, in E.T., but on return to earth we find the false child, and substitute instead a kindler, gentler hi-tech Golem. But kind though it may be and tamed, it is still not the True Child. The story is about the creation of a Son which is not a real son, but a son which takes on a life of its own. This is a common dream story, quite often occurring in men like the dreamer who recently shared his dream for my interest. He was a man in late middle age (Spielberg's age, my age) and had lost his work and family. He dreamed that he was carving a god out of a tree with a chain saw. This is the Pinnochio/Golem dream archetype. He has no ego to return him as he did to drive him ourward. He must find a guide. This dream occurs late in a man's life, when he must return to himself, and to the Unknown and the Unconscious from whence he came. But in a culture and in an age which has not yet found its lasting traditions, he finds no god, no hero, or rabbi to lead him Inward. He finds no child to Lead Him to the Peaceable Kingdom. The Self - the sacred center of Psyche - is silent, and the dreamer is left at wits end, lost and alone. Spielberg's AI movie reflects this. The Silence of God is as palitable as in Bergman's Winter Light. The ocean which was filled with psychic danger in Jaws is now empty of all psychic contents; the Psyche sends no salvation. The end of a zodiac era is also suggested when the boy is sent to silently stare at an underwater statue of the Blue Fairy for two thousand years, only to see it crumble before he is relieved of his task by aliens. In the end, neither Mother nor Child, which represent the full motif of the passing zodiac age of Pisces, are real - one is robot, one a clone - but they both die anyway. In the last scene I was reminded of the final chapter of Andre Malraux's Man's Fate where the two revolutionaries share a cynide capsure.

This dream of carving a god out of wood or making one artificially in some other way, occurs in movies and pop culture when the culture attempts to return to itself. In Jaws, Spielberg's vagina dentata dream about an incipient fear lurking in the Psyche just beneath the surface was not necessarily a dream about his own personal life. It was certainly a dream about our collective life in 1975. It was an American dream and a world dream. And Spielberg's dream today is our dream as well.

That Spielberg would make such a selection as this critical juncture in history is significant. Turning from the East, he sought within to find a guru but the guru he sought was silent. Perhaps the Tolstoy suggestion in Munich will open the new path for him and be a new Awakening. We should hope so because Spielberg is probably one of the five most important people in the world since the Eisenhower age. His role to us has been more cultural shaman than rabbi. And as a tribesman in Africa once said to C.G. Jung, what the shaman dreams is most important to the village. Likewise, in the Global Village. In very real terms, our fate lies in his dream world and in his understanding himself and his work. He is our shaman. He dreams on our behalf. It is his job to find the True Child and to bring us to him. As it was with the Three Magi, pointing under the star in Bethleham to the Piscean at the beginning of another age, so it has been the responsibility of Geffen, Katzenberg and Spielberg to guide us today, and to find for us the True Child again. Our fate and our salvation lie in the successful accomplishment of this task.

When I was in an enlisted man in military service in Thailand in 1967 and 1968, few Westerners coming to the East for the first time seemed to thrive and Awaken as if from a slumber. But I did. Typically, Americans missed home. Maybe still, most Westerners when they come to the East will find an edge that they can't cross into and turn back. I think that is true. And maybe, as the East continues to come to us now, it will always be like that and we will retreat. And it will only be for introverts.

Spielberg's final film Munich was filmed in Isreal and his closest confidants and long-time creative assistants are often Israeli. When Ang Lee and his crew rushed up onto the stage on Academy Awards night to receive their many Oscars for Crouching Tiger, I couldn't help but notice that all of our new rebbes will now be Asian.