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Blue Profile
By Odilon Redon, 1893

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Current Comment
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by Anne Baring
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Stepping-fire

The Loss of the World Soul and its Return
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by Anne Baring

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Stepping-fire Stepping into the Fire - Ion's Review March 2002 - by Christopher Bache.
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Primacy

The Struggle for Primacy and Dominance and the Roots of War -  by Anne Baring

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Budapest

War: A Crime Against Humanity
A Declaration of The Club of Budapest

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Muslim From Dr. Zaki Badawi -
Principal of the Muslim College, London
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Kucinich Peace and Nuclear Disarmament: A Call to Action - by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
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Rabbi-Lerner America: Redeemer or Destroyer of the Higher Dream? by Anne Baring
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Rabbi-Lerner

Ending Nuclear Evil: by Desmond Tutu



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COMMENT

©Anne Baring

November 17th, 2013
This entry is focused on three issues: Fukushima, the danger to the whole planet from nuclear reactors and the 2053 nuclear explosions which took place between 1945 and 1998:
USA 1032
USSR 715
France 210
GB 45
other nations 53

http://memolition.com/2013/10/16/time-lapse-map-of-every-nuclear-explosion-ever-on-earth/

 

Fukushima and Nuclear Reactors

Are people aware of the danger to all forms of life if Fukushima reactor #4 should collapse or if one of the 1,535 rods should break as it is being removed? And are they sufficiently aware of the danger to all planetary life from the radioactive waste accumulating in some 450 nuclear reactors worldwide and the 2053 nuclear explosions that have taken place without our knowledge and consent?

Charles Perrow, world authority on industrial accidents, Author of ‘Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies’, and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Yale University, has warned that if the operation being undertaken this month on Unit 4 at Fukushima goes wrong it could be a threat to all of humanity for thousands of years. Perrow writes:

‘... Much more serious is the danger that the spent fuel rod pool at the top of the nuclear plant number four will collapse in a storm or an earthquake, or in a failed attempt to carefully remove each of the 1,535 rods and safely transport them to the common storage pool 50 meters away. Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable. The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo. Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years. ...’

Source: Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (via Huffington Post)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-perrow/fukushima-forever_b_3941589.html

other quotes:

Award-winning scientist Professor David Suzuki says that reactor 4 is so badly damaged that – if there’s another earthquake of 7 or above – the building could come down. And the probability of another earthquake of 7 or above in the next 3 years is over 95%.

independent consultants Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt said recently in their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013: “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date.”

A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.

Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”

According to Christina Consolo, an award-winning biomedical photographer and host of Nuked Radio, Reactor 4 has remained in such bad shape that even a very small earthquake could quickly level the building, sending the toxic fuel from more than 1,500 unused fuel rods into the environment. And with Reactor 4 still filled with the highest levels of radioactive MOX and other fuels, the consequences of this potential collapse could be far worse than anything that has happened thus far as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

"Sitting at the top of Reactor 4, in a pool that is cracked, leaking, and precarious even without an earthquake, are 1,565 fuel rods (give or take a few), some of them 'fresh fuel' that was ready to go into the reactor on the morning of March 11 when the earthquake and tsunami hit," writes Consolo. "If they are MOX fuel, containing six percent plutonium, one fuel rod has the potential to kill 2.89 billion people."

The jet stream, and a highly dynamic portion of our atmosphere called the troposphere, have been swirling around massive amounts of radioactive particles and settling them out, mostly in rain, over the entire northern hemisphere, especially the west coast of North America, from Alaska down to Baja and even further.

Iodine, cesium, strontium, plutonium, uranium, and a host of other fission products have been coming directly from Japan to the west coast. Reports have come in of contaminated drinking water, milk, fruit, vegetables, seaweed and fish in the Pacific Ocean. Animals may also have been affected.

Further information below on the Fukushima situation and the danger of nuclear reactors in general is drawn from the research of the Australian paediatrician, Dr. Helen Caldicott in her book "Nuclear Power is not the Answer" and from her recent talks in 2013.

Dr. Helen Caldicott, President of the Physicians for Social Responsibility and President of the Helen Caldicott Foundation for a Nuclear-free Planet: www.helencaldicottfoundation.org

Title of one talk by Dr. Caldicott 2013: The Medical Implications of Fukushima Nuclear Power and Nuclear Proliferation
Another talk on 7/11/13 during which she answered many questions put to her by members of the public.


“The World is in an intensive care unit.”

“Hope for the Earth lies not with leaders
but in your own heart and soul
If YOU decide to save the Earth
it will be saved
each person can be as powerful
as the most powerful person who ever lived
and that is YOU...
if you love this planet.”

Chernobyl
see book: Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment (New York Academy of Sciences Publication) gives the true picture of the fall-out from the explosion there.
as a result of the Chernobyl catastrophe, 40% of the European landmass is radioactive with elements of strontium 90 (bone cancer and leukemia) and plutonium (lymphoma). It will remain radioactive for 100’s and even 1000’s of years.The Soviet Union did not supply its population with iodine tablets and the result was many thyroid cancers, particularly in children in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. There were over a million excess deaths in the period 1986 (date of explosion) to 2004. Poland did supply its population and did not have an increase in thyroid cancers as a result of this protective act.

WHO and the IAEA have not investigated the extent of the radiation in food and genetic defects in the aftermath of Chernobyl.

The same effects on the health of the population will happen in Japan as a result of Fukushima.

Fukushima
see also statements by David Suzuki and YouTube video by Arnie Gunderson about the inadequacies of Tepco. In the view of many experts and commentators, the Japanese government and Tepco should be bringing in the best experts from all over the world to help deal with this crisis.

The Fukushima disaster threatens all life on the planet. Reactor #4 is still listing and there is no way of containing it. Half of the Japanese landmass has been contaminated, affecting rice and tea crops as well as people's health. 10% of Japan was contaminated with the immediate fall-out from it and parts of Tokyo are still radioactive. 100 radioactive elements have been found inside buildings, in the streets, in food. The consequences of this radiation contamination will last for many thousands of years. The Japanese government has been encouraging farmers in the Fukushima area to grow food: wheat, vegetables, rice. In Dr. Caldicott’s view, this is criminal. Caesium 134 and 137 and strontium 90 are three of the most dangerous elements. In her view it would be advisable for Tokyo citizens to move south. There could be 3 million dead of radiation effects in Japan within 25 years.

When the tsunami hit the reactors, all electric power that was used to cool the reactors was cut off. 3 of the 6 reactors melted down. There were 4 hydrogen explosions and a huge amount of radiation was released – 3x more than Chernobyl. Seattle on the west coast of the US got a large dose of this radiation. There could still be a hydrogen explosion in the three remaining reactors.

The 6 nuclear reactors were built on river beds in an area that was an earthquake fault zone. Water coming down from the mountains flows into the river beds and under the reactors. There is no way of stopping it. It bathes the radioactive cores of the reactors and flows out from here into the ocean. There is no way that this flow of water can be stopped. A large amount of this radioactive water is still flowing into the Pacific (400 tons a day), contaminating the fish and also the birds who feed on the fish and ultimately humans.

1000 tanks holding radioactive water are connected to each other by inadequate piping, some of it plastic. If another earthquake hits, all this radioactive water will be released in addition to the water already flowing through the cores of the reactors.

The #3 and#4 reactors could not withstand another earthquake of intensity 7 or higher. The #4 building has been distorted and the rods could already be broken because the boxes containing them have been damaged. There are many fragments of debris on top of the boxes and on the floor below them. There is a risk that a rod could break and release radiation or two rods could touch each other causing a fission reaction.

A professor of evolutionary biology from the University of South Carolina called Timothy Mousseau has (at great personal risk) investigated the aftermath of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island as well as the Fukushima disaster and has found (in the latter) that since it happened in March 2011 birds have smaller brains than normal. They are decreasing in numbers and are showing mutations and cataracts. Some are sterile. Insects are deformed. What happens to birds and animals happens to humans as well. Damaged genes are passed down the generations leading to an increase of diseases like cancer and congenital deformities. In his findings there is evidence of more damage around Fukushima than Chernobyl.

Nuclear Reactors and Nuclear Power : “This technology is evil because it kills people.” She asks: “How dare we damage the process of evolution.”
(see her book: Nuclear Power is Not the Answer) see also www.helencaldicottfoundation.org

  • CFC gases are produced in the process of uranium enrichment.
  • Their continued use is destroying the building blocks of life in humans, animals and plants. Nuclear Energy is the most dangerous way of making electricity. Governments support it because it gives them access to plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons. Australia sells uranium to other countries (Japan among others for use in their reactors). There is no safe dose of radiation. 200 completely new elements are created in the process of nuclear fission. All are toxic.
  • The running of nuclear reactors contributes a huge amount to global warming. While in operation they release radiation gases which ultimately impact our health and cause deleterious mutations which affect plants and animals as well as humans. Nuclear reactors are carcinogenic factories.  We are increasing the amount of background radiation wherever these reactors are operating.
  • Nuclear reactors only last about 40 years. After that they may fracture, crack and are very expensive to decommission and dismantle, not to mention the problem of disposing of the waste.

Nuclear Waste

  • The main problem about nuclear reactors is the amount of radioactive waste they generate which constitutes the greatest danger for the planet. There is as yet no way of safely disposing of the nuclear waste elements.
  • The inability to contain or dispose of it will ultimately affect all animate life.
  • Radioactive waste contains over 100 dangerous elements. It can leak into the water supplies of the earth, getting into the food chain and increasing in concentration over time, leaving a lethal legacy to our descendents and all animate life: epidemics of cancer, congenital deformities (see Chernobyl effects) , damaging the DNA and building blocks of life.
  • The US has 70,000 tons of it coming from 104 reactors. Japan also has a large amount from its former 53 reactors.
  • Instructions regarding nuclear waste say that it must be isolated for a million years but this is obviously impossible. No container can last that length of time. There could be earthquakes, soil movement on land or under the oceans, leading to leakage from the stored waste.

In answer to a question on thorium reactors, she said that these are equally dangerous because thorium is not fissionable and has to be mixed with uranium 235 in order to create fission. See writing on this by physicists www.helencaldicottfoundation.org

Nuclear reactors are bomb factories – Dr. Caldicott calls for all of them to be shut down
“If you love your children and grandchildren, shut them down.”
There are 440 reactors worldwide. The US has 104

  • Each produces 250 kilos of plutonium a year. Plutonium lasts for a quarter of a million years.
    Only 5-10 lbs are needed to make a bomb
    The more reactors there are, the greater the risk of them being used in war.

Renewable energy
If they really focused on it by 2030 the US and also India could have all the electric power they need from renewable energy sources: see www.carbonfreenuclearfree
Solar power – solar panels on every roof
wind power
tidal power
conservation efforts
biomass

Dr. Caldicott says this nuclear technology is evil because it destroys life. She advises the closing of all nuclear reactors, following the example of Germany. She also advises against continuing to use coal power and the new technology of fracking.

October 2013

Indigenous Council Statement October 2013
 website www.indigenousaction.org

This statement reflects the wisdom of the Spiritual People of the Earth, of North and South America, working in unity to restore peace, harmony and balance for our collective future and for all living beings. This statement is written in black and white with a foreign language that is not our own and does not convey the full depth of our concerns.


The Creator created the People of the Earth into the Land at the beginning of
Creation and gave us a way of life. This way of life has been passed down
generation-to-generation since the beginning. We have not honored this way of
life through our own actions and we must live these original instructions in order to restore universal balance and harmony. We are a part of Creation;
thus, if we break the Laws of Creation, we destroy ourselves.

We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited. We speak on behalf of all Creation today, to communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far, placing us in the state of survival. We warned that one day you would not be able to control what you have created. That day is here. Not heeding warnings from both Nature and the People of the Earth keeps us on the path of self destruction. This self destructive path has led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Gulf oil spill, tar sands devastation, pipeline failures, impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and the destruction of ground water through hydraulic fracking, just to name a few. In addition, these activities and development continue to cause the deterioration and destruction of sacred places and sacred waters that are vital for Life.

Powerful technologies are out of control and are threatening the future of all life
The Fukushima nuclear crisis alone is a threat to the future of humanity. Yet, our concern goes far beyond this single threat. Our concern is with the cumulative and compounding devastation that is being wrought by the actions of human beings around the world. It is the combination of resource extraction, genetically modified organisms, moral failures, pollution, introduction of invasive species and much much more that are threatening the future of life on Earth. The compounding of bad decisions and their corresponding actions are extremely short-sighted. They do not consider the future generations and they do not respect or honor the Creator’s Natural Law. We strongly urge for the governmental authorities to respond with an open invitation to work and consult with us to solve the world’s problems, without war. We must stop waging war against Mother Earth, and ourselves.

We acknowledge that all of these devastating actions originated in human beings who are living without regard for the Earth as the source of life. They have strayed from the Original Instructions by casting aside the Creator’s Natural Law. It is now critical for humanity to acknowledge that we have created a path to self destruction. We must restore the Original Instructions in our lives to halt this devastation.

The sanctity of the Original Instructions has been violated. As a result, the Spiritual People of the Earth were called ceremonially to come together at the home of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle. These Spiritual Leaders and those that carry great responsibility for their people from both North and South America came together with the sacred fire for four days at the end of September 2013 to fulfill their sacred responsibilities. During this time it was revealed that the spirit of destruction gained its strength by our spiritually disconnected actions. We are all responsible in varying degrees for calling forth this spirit of destruction, thus we are all bound to begin restoring what we have damaged by helping one another recover our sacred responsibility to the Earth. We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, offer our spiritual insight, wisdom and vision to the global community to help guide the actions needed to overcome the current threats to all life.

We only have to look at our own bodies to recognize the sacred purpose of water on Mother Earth. We respect and honor our spiritual relationship with the lifeblood of Mother Earth. One does not sell or contaminate their mother’s blood. These capitalistic actions must stop and we must recover our sacred relationship with the Spirit of Water.

The People of the Earth understand that the Fukushima nuclear crisis continues to threaten the future of all life. We understand the full implications of this crisis even with the suppression of information and the filtering of truth by the corporate owned media and Nation States. We strongly urge the media, corporations and Nation States to acknowledge and convey the true facts that threaten us, so that the international community may work together to resolve this crisis, based on the foundation of Truth.

We urge the international community, government of Japan and TEPCO to unify efforts to stabilize and re-mediate the nuclear threat posed at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. To ensure that the Japanese government and TEPCO are supported with qualified personnel and information, we urge the inclusion of today’s nuclear experts from around the world to collaborate, advise and provide technical assistance to prevent further radioactive contamination or worse, a nuclear explosion that may have apocalyptic consequences.

The foundation for peace will be strengthened by restoring the Original Instructions in ourselves.

Prophecies have been shared and sacred instructions were given. We, the People of the Earth, were instructed that the original wisdom must be shared again when imbalance and disharmony are upon Mother Earth. In 1994 the sacred white buffalo, the giver of the sacred pipe, returned to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people bringing forth the sacred message that the winds of change are here. Since that time many more messengers in the form of white animals have come, telling us to wake up my children. It is time. So listen for the sacred instruction.

All Life is sacred. We come into Life as sacred beings. When we abuse the
sacredness of Life we affect all Creation

We urge all Nations and human beings around the world to work with us, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, to restore the Original Instructions and uphold the Creator’s Natural Law as a foundation for all decision making, from this point forward. Our collective future as human beings is in our hands, we must address the Fukushima nuclear crisis and all actions that may violate the Creator’s Natural Law. We have reached the crossroads of life and the end of our existence. We will avert this potentially catastrophic nuclear disaster by coming together with good minds and prayer as a global community of all faiths.

We are the People of the Earth united under the Creator’s Law with a sacred covenant to protect and a responsibility to extend Life for all future generations. We are expressing deep concern for our shared future and urge everyone to awaken spiritually. We must work in unity to help Mother Earth heal so that she can bring back balance and harmony for all her children.

Representatives of the Council
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe
Spiritual Leader
The Great Sioux Nation

Bobby C. Billie
Clan Leader and Spiritual Leader
Council of the Original Miccosukee
Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples

Faith Spotted Eagle, Tunkan Inajin Win
Brave Heart Society Grandmother/Headswoman & Ihanktonwan Treaty Council
Ihanktonwan Dakota from the Oceti Sakowin
7 Council Fires

- ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES TO FOLLOW -

April 4th, 2013 (from Jean Shinoda Bolen)
The elimination and prevention of  all forms of violence  to end violence against women and girls” was passed by the 57th Commission of the Status of Women. (March 15, 2013) It was a significant victory for women that was condemned by the Muslim Brotherhood (see below).  Last year the “unholy alliance” (the Vatican, Iran, Syria, Russia) lobbying against women’s equality succeeded, and for the first time in recent history (or ever?), no document resulted. This was a basis for opposing a 5th World Conference on Women (5WCW) by some who feared that the Beijing Platform for Action would be undone.

This particular CSW involved many more ambassadors than those from the 45 member-states on the CSW.    Ambassadors or Representatives from 131 other member states were in attendance, observing and lobbying and in the end the document passed by consensus on the last day.  This means that 176 of the 193 member states were present during the passage of a strong Agreed Conclusion, which also bodes well.


Statement by the Muslim Brotherhood

The 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), taking place from March 4 to 15 at UN headquarters, seeks to ratify a declaration euphemistically entitled ‘End Violence against Women’.

That title, however, is misleading and deceptive. The document includes articles that contradict established principles of Islam, undermine Islamic ethics and destroy the family, the basic building block of society, according to the Egyptian Constitution.

This declaration, if ratified, would lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies.

A closer look at these articles reveals what decadence awaits our world, if we sign this document:

1. Granting girls full sexual freedom, as well as the freedom to decide their own gender and the gender of their partners (ie, choose to have normal or homo- sexual relationships), while raising the age of marriage.

2. Providing contraceptives for adolescent girls and training them to use those, while legalizing abortion to get rid of unwanted pregnancies, in the name of sexual and reproductive rights.

3. Granting equal rights to adulterous wives and illegitimate sons resulting from adulterous relationships.

4. Granting equal rights to homosexuals, and providing protection and respect for prostitutes.

5. Giving wives full rights to file legal complaints against husbands accusing them of rape or sexual harassment, obliging competent authorities to deal husbands punishments similar to those prescribed for raping or sexually harassing a stranger.

6. Equal inheritance (between men and women).

7. Replacing guardianship with partnership, and full sharing of roles within the family between men and women such as: spending, child care and home chores.

8. Full equality in marriage legislation such as: allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, and abolition of polygamy, dowry, men taking charge of family spending, etc.

9. Removing the authority of divorce from husbands and placing it in the hands of judges, and sharing all property after divorce.

10. Cancelling the need for a husband’s consent in matters like: travel, work, or use of contraception.

These are destructive tools meant to undermine the family as an important institution; they would subvert the entire society, and drag it to pre-Islamic ignorance.

The Muslim Brotherhood urges the leaders of Muslim countries and their UN representatives to reject and condemn this document, and to call upon this organization to rise to the high morals and principles of family relations prescribed by Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood also calls on Al-Azhar (the highest seat of learning for Muslims) to take the lead, condemn this declaration, and state clearly the Islamic viewpoint with regard to all details of this document.

Further, we urge all Islamic groups and associations to take a decisive stand on this document and similar declarations.

In conclusion, we call on women's organizations to commit to their religion and morals of their communities and the foundations of good social life and not be deceived with misleading calls to decadent modernization and paths of subversive immorality.

God Almighty says: "God wants to forgive you, but those who follow whims and desires want you to deviate far away from the Path). {Quran 4 : 27}

The Muslim Brotherhood
Cairo: March 13, 2013


January 5th, 2013 - the social backwardness of India
I haven't written anything for ages as nothing has really touched me deeply enough to put pen to paper. But the horrific rape and murder in Delhi of the young medical student has broken my silence. I hope the outrage it has evoked in the women of India may be enough to initiate the beginning of change in its appalling record of abuse of women. Where are we to look for the origins of this misogyny? To Indian scriptures and the belief that woman is the greatest impediment to the spiritual life? To the beliefs and social customs handed down to men in tribal communities over many generations? England once held this attitude to women and it took the Suffragettes to break down centuries of social custom and religious beliefs which were rooted in the Myth of the Fall in the Book of Genesis and Eve's role in it. The phrase "Eve-teasing" apparently widely used to defend the abuse and rape of women would seem to suggest familiarity with this story. What use is religion if it fails to teach men to honour and respect women?

The fact that men charged with rape sit in Parliament in India, and that there is such contempt for women revealed in the inability or unwillingness of government, police and the law to protect them, suggests that there is something deeply wrong in the Indian attitude to women. Women are still often in purdah, confined to the home, regarded as little more than servants of their husbands and families. Female infanticide is rife (12% are estimated to be killed at birth), as is bride-burning connected with dowries. One woman in the mass of protesters a couple of days ago asked a most relevant question: "How do you change the human mind"? How do you change millennia of social habits, tribal customs, deeply inculcated religious beliefs about the role and position of women? Only the women of India have the power to answer this question by taking action to change the Indian mind and wake up its supine politicians (some of them female), system of justice and police. Jack Holland writes in his book Misogyny which traces the roots of the fear and hatred of women:

The hatred of women affects us in ways that no other hatred does because it strikes at our innermost selves. It is located where the private and public worlds intersect. The history of that hatred may dwell on its public consequences, but at the same time it allows us to speculate on why, at the personal level, man’s complex relationship to woman has permitted misogyny to thrive. Ultimately, such speculation should allow us to see how equality between the sexes will eventually be able to banish misogyny and put an end to the world’s oldest prejudice.

While the men who perpetrated such a crime deserve death, we may also ask, how is it possible for India to spend billions on the purchase of arms, on nuclear weapons and other armaments and to do virtually nothing to change the appalling poverty and ignorance that blights the lives of millions of Indians, lives such as the miserable and hopeless existence eked out in the slums of Delhi by these unfortunate men. Rage against women can spring from hopelessness and despair as well as ignorance and lead to acts such as these. Women are the most defenseless citizens in any society and it is therefore easy to vent one's anger against them, particularly when no moral disapproval condemns such behaviour.

One of the worst aspects of this despicable crime is the fact that the woman and the man she was with, having been flung from the bus, were left lying naked in the road with no-one coming to help them. Neither the passers-by nor the police who delayed taking them to hospital because of arguing about whose jurisdiction they fell under, had any sense of urgency about getting them there. The woman was bleeding from her wounds; the man too injured to get up and ask for help. What kind of society encourages and accepts this behaviour?

But lest we congratulate ourselves that, in comparison with our society, India is mired in the dark ages, it is salutary to remember that rape and domestic violence still blight the lives of thousands of women in the West, that serial rapes took place in the UK in Rotherham and elsewhere under the eyes of the police and the social services and no-one lifted a finger to rescue the abused girls from their abusers.

For the roots of misogyny in patriarchal cultures, see Chapter 8 in The Dream of the Cosmos on the main page of my website or buy the book which was published May 2013 and is now available from Amazon and major book stores.

May 13th, 2012
I have been alarmed to learn that the 4th reactor at Fukushima is in a parlous state. A recent visit in April by an American Senator, Ron Wyden, drew attention to this in a letter he wrote to the chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Hilary Clinton.

Report Sunday April 22nd, 2012 – Oregonian Editorial Board

Senator Ron Wyden’s daylong field trip from Tokyo to the zone of Japan's nuclear devastation is worth at least a week in the telling. Wyden walked through the ruined Fukushima Dai-ichi complex and saw what few from the West have seen: another bomb waiting to go off.

The senator is not typically alarmist. But his field notes, followed by letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Energy secretary Steven Chu, signal alarm. They paint a picture of extreme nuclear vulnerability, especially in Reactor No. 4, inactive at the time of the quake and tsunami but wrecked by explosion. The reactor now warehouses Fukushima's hottest inventory of radioactive fuel rods in a seismically jittery part of the world.

Wyden completed his tour by asking Japan, with written urgings for help from Clinton and Chu, to sharply speed up a cleanup expected to take 10 more years. His fear is that another big seismic event will trigger another disaster before the cleanup is completed -- exposing Oregon and the West Coast to potentially lethal risk.

The letter offers a disturbing glimpse into what is really going on across the Pacific Ocean that the mainstream media is apparently ignoring. While referencing the fact that all four of the affected reactors are still "badly damaged," Sen. Wyden seems to hint in his letter that Reactor 4, which has reportedly been on the verge of collapse for many months now, could be nearing catastrophic implosion.

"The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting," wrote Sen. Wyden in his letter, dated April 16, 2012. "The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”

Sen. Wyden is also asking U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory Jaczko to assess how much additional assistance their agencies might be willing to provide to help Japan, and the entire world, avoid a nuclear catastrophe of Biblical proportions.

Facts and quotations below taken from Max Keiser on Facebook: http://www.maxkeiseronfacebook.com:80/fukushima-is-falling-apart.html

According to Christina Consolo, an award-winning biomedical photographer and host of Nuked Radio, Reactor 4 has remained in such bad shape that even a very small earthquake could quickly level the building, sending the toxic fuel from more than 1,500 unused fuel rods into the environment. And with Reactor 4 still filled with the highest levels of radioactive MOX and other fuels, the consequences of this potential collapse could be far worse than anything that has happened thus far as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

"Sitting at the top of Reactor 4, in a pool that is cracked, leaking, and precarious even without an earthquake, are 1,565 fuel rods (give or take a few), some of them 'fresh fuel' that was ready to go into the reactor on the morning of March 11 when the earthquake and tsunami hit," writes Consolo. "If they are MOX fuel, containing six percent plutonium, one fuel rod has the potential to kill 2.89 billion people."

There have been four recent earthquakes on April 25th 2012 in the Fukushima area, ranging from magnitude 2.2 up to magnitude 5.5.

Thirteen months have passed since the Fukushima reactors exploded. But what is so ironic about this is that we have been in this heap of trouble since March 17th, 2011 to be exact, when the plume of radioactive materials began bombarding the west coast of California. And Oregon. And Washington. And British Columbia. And later Maine, Europe, and everywhere in between. Independent researchers, nuke experts, and scientists, from oceanography to entomology and everywhere in between, having been trying to sound the alarm ever since.

The scientists most upset are those who have studied the effects of radiation on health. And they say that we are in big trouble.

The most preliminary reports of soil contamination are starting to come in from the USGS, who has seemed reluctant to share this information. Los Angeles, California, Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, so far have the highest radioactive particle contamination out of the entire US.

That being said, every single city tested across the country showed contamination from Fukushima. What is even more alarming, however, about the numbers coming in, is that they are from samples taken April 5th, of last year.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has only recently confirmed that there were three meltdowns, and they have been ongoing, unabated, for thirteen months, and no effort has been made to contain them.

Technology has to be developed/invented to deal with the melted out corium under the reactors. Until then, they will keep doing what they have been doing.

TEPCO just keeps dumping water on them, after which they let it pour into the ocean, and steam up through the ground, every second of every day. The jet stream, and a highly dynamic portion of our atmosphere called the troposphere, have been swirling around massive amounts of radioactive particles and settling them out, mostly in rain, over the entire northern hemisphere, especially the west coast of North America, from Alaska down to Baja and even further.

Iodine, cesium, strontium, plutonium, uranium, and a host of other fission products have been coming directly from Japan to the west coast for thirteen months. Reports have begun to come in of contaminated drinking water, milk, fruit, vegetables, seaweed and fish in the Pacific Ocean. Animals may also have been affected. The kelp from Corona del Mar contained 40,000,000 bcq/kg of radioactive iodine, as reported in Scientific American several weeks ago.

Quite apart from this contamination to food and water that has been happening over the past thirteen months, the biggest problem is that the Reactor #4 building is on the verge of collapsing. Seismicity standards rate the building at a zero, meaning even a small earthquake could send it into a heap of rubble. And sitting at the top of the building, in a pool that is cracked, leaking, and precarious even without an earthquake, are 1565 fuel rods (give or take a few), some of them “fresh fuel” that was ready to go into the reactor on the morning of March 11th when the earthquake and tsunami hit.

If they are MOX fuel, containing 6% plutonium, one fuel rod has the potential to kill 2.89 billion people. If this pool collapses, as Senator Wyden is now saying too, we would face a mass extinction event from the release of radiation in those rods.

“The overall problem we face is that nearly all of the spent fuel at the Dai-Ichi site is in vulnerable pools in a high risk/consequence earthquake zone. The urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity around NE Japan in which 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 - 5.7 have occurred off the NE coast of Honshu last week in the 4 days between 4/14/12 and 4/17/12. This has been the norm since the first quake and tsunami hit the site on March 11th of last year. Larger quakes are expected closer to the power plant.”

March 10th, 2012
America claims to be a democracy and a protector of human rights. What then can we think of how it has treated Chris Tappin, a sixty-five year old retired man, whom it has suddenly arrested in the UK, extradited to America and incarcerated in solitary confinement in a prison for hardened criminals, without trial, without bail, without giving him a chance to tell his story of how he came to be implicated in an alleged shipment of missile batteries from Texas to Iran years ago. I have only contempt for a regime which claims to lead the world in democracy and human rights and I have contempt for the government of my own country which is so weak in defence of those same rights that it cannot lift a finger to help one of its own citizens. The prosecution maintains that he was a dangerous international arms dealer who could not be allowed bail since he might flee to Mexico if his wife died (presumably of shock and grief) and he had nothing left to live for. The ludicrous degree of paranoid projections in this tragic story beggars belief. I can only hope that both governments come to their senses and work towards the release of an obviously innocent man. His outraged wife is doing everything she can to help him. (Chris Tappin has since been released on bail but is not allowed to leave the country).

February 26th, 2012
Marie Colvin, the outstanding reporter of the Sunday Times, has been killed by a shell in Homs. What a tragedy! What a waste of a brilliant woman's life. When I look around at the incredible suffering human beings inflict on each other, at the abyssmal cruelty they still exhibit, at the ruthless drive for power and control by the leaders of autocratic regimes from Syria and Iran to Russia, at the lethal rivalry between the Shia and Sunni groups of Muslims - continuing after some 1300 years, at the stupidity of the European leaders who thought and still apparently think that they can force countries into the straitjacket of the European Monetary Union, no matter what effect this has on their economies, I wonder what on earth could break this pattern that continues to prevail after centuries and millennia of the same. Maybe a massive cull of the world population, maybe a series of devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, maybe the arrival of an inter-planetary delegation to call the world to order. Even in this country, all men can do is to argue endlessly about what should be done instead of getting things done. Too many men having too much power to manipulate life, all thinking they know best, all ridiculously impotent to get anything done at all. The failure of border controls is just one example of this.

September 8th, 2011

Paul Rogers – article Open Democracy website site 8/9/11
Looking back over the ten years since 9/11, Paul Rogers, whose first article appeared on the Open Democracy website soon after 9/11, gives these responses in answer to three questions:

What has been the biggest single impact of 9/11 on the public and political world?

The diversion of security thinking into a fatally flawed “war on terror” and the sidelining of far more important human-security ssues - not least poverty, malnutrition and disease. In addition, it has meant the loss of an entire decade in beginning to react seriously to climate change. The combination of an economically-divided and environmentally constrained world is the core issue for the coming decade and the response to 9/11 has meant that we have lost precious time in facing up to this.

There has been so much loss. Have there been any winners from 9/11?

The main winner has been the military-industrial complex, especially in the United States, where substantial increases in the defence budget have brought in numerous examples of highly profitable new lines of destruction. Private-security contracting has also expanded massively, with many new contracts being available, and not just in Iraq and Afghanistan. The “terrorism industry” has extended its reach, in the process soaking up think-tankers and academics who were heading for difficult times after the ending of the cold war. For all these people and companies, 9/11 came not a moment too soon.

Did the events that day change you in any way you care to mention?

No real change as I’d been part of a small group of analysts who, sadly, had seen something like this coming for some years. Looking back over ten years, though, the most daunting consequences have been the human costs, with at least 225,000 people killed, twice that number seriously injured and well over 7 million refugees. That we failed to argue loudly enough against the war on terror, as its consequences were already becoming clear, is something for which we still bear responsibility. We did not try hard enough.

May 18th, 2011
Because I am deeply concerned about the acceleration of weapons production and arms sales, I am putting the following information, supplied by a friend, onto this section of my website. If we want to see the Face of Evil, this is it.

The US Defense Department is working on a new long-range "penetrating" bomber, which will be designed to fly with or without a pilot on board, carry nuclear weapons, and cost about $550 million per plane on average, according to a new 30-year Pentagon plan for aviation procurement.

See: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/18/us-airforce-bomber-idUSTRE74H03R20110518

and the following letter from the same friend to Dr. Vince Cable:

House of Commons, 18.5.11
London SW1A 0AA

Dear Dr Cable,

I list below a series of facts with respect to the Arms Trade and the granting of export licenses. I would suggest that each of these facts requires an explanation and I am writing to ask if you could please provide a specific explanation for each of the 1 to 10 facts listed below.

Many thanks for your assistance in this matter.

The British Government’s Assistance for the Arms Trade
Some unexplained facts

1. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute identified 15 countries as locations of major armed conflict in 2008 (16 in 2009).

The UK government has authorised the sale of arms to 11 of them.
(12 in 2009)

2. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s most recent Human Rights Annual Report identified 21 “major countries of human rights concern”.
(26 countries identified in new report published in March 2011)

The UK government approved arms export licences to 10 of them
- including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia and Israel.

3. In a Democracy Index produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Saudi Arabia was ranked as almost the worst of authoritarian regimes.
It was number 161 out of the 167 countries listed.

The British government authorised the sale of more arms to Saudi Arabia than any other state.

4. Saudi Arabia is considered almost the worst authoritarian regime in the world.

Yet the British government has 210 people working, within government, full-time on behalf of the arms manufacturing companies and the Saudi Arabian government. These people are working to support arms contracts with the Saudi Arabian government.

5. In the Democracy Index Libya was listed as one of the worst countries in the world, only two places above Saudi Arabia.

Yet we have only just stopped authorising the sale of arms to Libya.

6. Other buyers of UK arms in the Democracy Index list of authoritarian regimes include Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Nigeria and Turkmenistan.

We have authorised the sale of arms to all these states.

7. On Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index Libya is listed as one of the 50 most corrupt regimes on the planet.

In Sept,. 2009 a Libyan delegation was invited to the biggest UK arms fair.
UKTI-DSO exhibited at the Libyan Aviation Exhibition the following month.

8. One of the world’s most authoritarian regime is Algeria.

The government has granted export licences to Algeria

9. The British government, through UKTI-DSO, is supporting and supervising the sale of weapons to a total of 52 countries.

How is this justified?

10. 56% of UKTI’s industry-specific staff, work on behalf of the arms manufacturers. The other 44% work for all the other export industries put together.

How is this justified?
11. The government says by promoting the arms industry it is just creating jobs.

Only 0.2 % of the UK workforce is engaged in the arms industry.

12. The government says it is justified in engaging this 56% of civil servants (see item 10 above) because they are promoting exports.

But only a mere 1.5% of UK exports are arms.

13. The UK government works for other arms companies and not just the British ones.
Seven of its ‘Key Accounts’ are with foreign companies including the US (Lockhead Martin and General Dynamics, France (Thales) and Intaly (Finmeccanica)

How is spending UK taxpayers money in this way justified?

July 21st, 2010
The Times today has condemned Iran's maintenance of death by stoning in the strongest possible terms — condemning it as an example of pitiless absolutism. I wonder how many more centuries it will take before women are freed from the terrible yoke of men's fear of their sexuality and all the dreadful social customs and punishments which have been meted out to women ever since Hammurabi's Code. As long as there are autocratic Islamic regimes like the one in Iran, Islam will fall under the same shadow as Christianity once did and still does, if one includes the recent decree of the Catholic Church about the ordination of women priests. Can one conceive of a female Ayatollah? There are now many women Rabbis to the great enhancement of Judaism, but the other two religions still resist this acceptance of women and therefore diminish their message of compassion. It occurs to me that in relation to its treatment of women Iran today is like Europe was at the height of the witch trials when no woman could dare to be her true self for fear of being denounced, tortured and burnt at the stake. Stoning a woman to death is the equivalent of burning at the stake - a horrific and terrifying death.

July 16th, 2010
I haven't posted anything here for a long time but the latest decree of the Catholic Church - that elevates the ordination of women to one of the most serious crimes in Canon Law - putting it on the same level as child abuse in the eyes of the Church - takes the biscuit. That anyone ordaning a woman to the priesthood should be excommunicated at the hands of the Office that was formerly the source of the Inquisition is truly incredible.

How is it possible that something so grossly offensive to women could have passed into Canon Law? How is it possible in this day and age when women have begun to grow into their true potential against the original virulent opposition of Church and State, for the Catholic Church, organised entirely by celibate males, to take such a ludicrous position?

I would call on women everywhere to protest in the strongest possible terms against it. If I were a Catholic woman, I would withdraw from that Church and treat it with the contempt that it deserves.

To say that the apostolic succession was male from the beginning and must remain male is to ignore the evidence that the much maligned Mary Magdalene was perhaps the closest to Christ and was certainly one of His Apostles. To believe that 'God' would want things to continue as they have done for centuries, marginalising women and barring them from expressing their great gifts of compassion and empathy in the service of the sacred, is to assume that the Catholic Church has privileged access to God's ear - an inflated and preposterously arrogant position.

December 4th, 2009
The Chilcot Inquiry is revealing the voice of the Civil Service mandarins and the Chief of Staff in 2003, Admiral Lord Boyce. These have not spoken in public before about the situation prior to the declaration of war in March of that year and the invasion of Iraq. It is fascinating to hear and read their very careful and, in my view, devastatingly critical comments on that time. General Sir Michael Rose who was one of the most outspoken critics of the war from the very beginning has written an article in the Daily Mail on the 28th November, saying that Blair should stand trial and even be charged for war crimes. He said that the Chilcot Inquiry falls scandalously short of apportioning blame and "holding to account those who led us into this unnecessary, unwinnable and costly war in Iraq."

November 27th, 2009
I have just read this entry under the Open Democracy webwite:
The US administration has rejected a global treaty banning the use of landmines. The US state department announced the decision on Tuesday, adding that a policy review had found the US could not meet its ‘national defence needs’ without landmines. The decision comes a week before a review conference in Colombia on the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty, credited with the reduction of landmine casualties around the world. The treaty bans the use, stockpiling, production or transfer of antipersonnel mines. It has been endorsed by 156 countries, but these do not include the United States, Russia, China and India.

I feel such sadness for the loss of young lives on both sides in Afghanistan and such distress that militarism is still so powerfully imprinted on the male psyche and on governments who continue in the same tracks as those of the past. I am appalled to discover that the UK is one of the world's biggest spenders on military equipment as well as in the sale of arms to other countries. From 2007-8 it spent £2.4 billion on military research and development while it spend £4.5 million on health and almost nothing in comparison on renewable energy. It is also planning to spend at least £20 billion if not double that amount on a new nuclear weapons system - which undermines the new international initiative for global nuclear disarmament. A change of government will not bring about a change of thinking. I wonder what will.

August 16th, 2009
I learnt something fascinating from the Proms last night when Harry Christophers and the Sixteen were performing some of Handel's work. Apparently, from a very early age, Handel was drawn to music but his father was determined that he should become a lawyer and banished all musical instruments from the house. Luckily for us and probably for him, Handel's father died when he was twelve and Handel took off like a rocket, having access to music through the local church. The sheer joyous exhuberance of his work as well as its sparkling beauty shines through every note. I wonder what the influence of his mother was. Nothing is mentioned about her. The Proms have certainly contributed to lifting the whole level of musical appreciation in this country. The Albert Hall is packed every night with ecstatic listeners. Here is one aspect of culture that is still true to the word and still vibrantly alive, thank God.

July 22nd, 2009
I hope as many people as possible read this statement by Jimmy Carter (President of the United States from 1977 to 1981), printed in the Observer newspaper on July 15th, 2009.

Losing my religion for equality

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

July 18th, 2009
Paul Rogers, writing on the Open Democracy website, sums up the situation with regard to Afghanistan with brilliant clarity, www.opendemocracy.net/article/afghanistan-s-lost-decade

"The close of an era

The United States and its Nato allies are now mired in Afghanistan, with little idea of how to achieve their aims. Their predicament goes far beyond the immediate circumstances of a particular summer of violence.
Indeed, it is best compared with events of the 1940s and 1950s. In 1947, Indian independence and partition marked the beginning of the end of several centuries of the colonial era; this was followed by the humiliation of the French military at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954 and the British (and French) fiasco at Suez in November 1956 - only two of many more prolonged setbacks. Yet these colonial powers were then unable fully to recognise that the imperial age was ending (see "Afghanistan's Vietnam portent", 17 April 2008).
The world is now in a similar period. It is, put bluntly, no longer possible for western states to occupy countries in the middle east and southwest Asia. It is a lesson that should have been learnt by 2001: but the terrible impact of 9/11, coupled with a throwback regime in the White House - aided by its appallingly misguided British ally - meant that it was not. Eight years on, the consequences are being suffered by young British and American soldiers and (it is too often forgotten) by many thousands of Afghans.
Perhaps the lesson can now, at last, be learned. Barack Obama may be the figure to acknowledge the real nature of an epic historical shift. If he does, then his presidency may in just this one respect prove notable. If he cannot, there is a real chance that it could end in bitter failure."

July 7th, 2009
It is extremely encouraging for the future of Iran that the Ayatollahs of Qom have come out with a condemnation of the election results. I only hope they have the authority to challenge the power of Ayatollah Khamenei and the President with the unpronounceable name and make their position untenable.

It is also encouraging that Obama seems to have got off on the right foot with Russia in his meeting to discuss the reduction of nuclear weapons. As Russia now has 2800 and America roughly 2300, they have a long way to go but this may be a start.

I read in the Sunday Times of the extraordinary courage of a woman called Malalai Joya in Afghanistan, aged only 31, who is speaking out against the crimes of the warlords who have been returned to the Afghan Parliament. Becoming a member of the Parliament, she many times spoke out against them because, as she says, they were among the worst abusers of human rights that her country had ever known. She was astonished that no-one in that gathering seemed to mind the presence of Abdul Rab al-Rasul Sayyaf, the man who had invited Osama Bin Laden to Afghanistan and trained Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Her public criticism of them aroused a furore. The first time she spoke, the chairman cut off her microphone and the warlords advanced threateningly on her. She reported to Karzai the rapes, abductions and murder these men had carried but he, too weak or indifferent to take action against them, has allowed these crimes to continue. Her microphone has repeatedly been cut off when she has attempted to speak. She is now under the constant threat of death and has to move from house to house every night. Meanwhile the crimes against women and girls continue, particularly on teachers and their girl students. Malalai has now been suspended from Parliament but continues to draw attention to the plight of women in this horrifically scarred country and to the appalling injustice that prevails there. Her book "Raising My Voice" will be published next week by Random House.

June 20th, 2009
The situation in Iran is unbearably tense. I feel for the parents whose children were murdered by the guards and for the students brutally beaten up in the university. The only hope is for the council of Ayatollahs to remove Ayatollah Khamenei from power and it seems that this may be taking place behind the public facade. Today is the Summer Solstice. Maybe some shift at a deeper level will affect events on the surface. Meanwhile, the best defiance and defence is for silent protest in the streets of Teheran to continue as before. Yet, from the Ayatollah's threatening speech yesterday, this will be fraught with danger for the protesters. Were it not for the Internet, we would know nothing of what is taking place. It is a huge advance. The sight of thousands of men thrusting their arms in the air and giving the cry of allegiance to God reminds me of nothing so much as the huge crowds which saluted Hitler. How distorted the whole concept of spirituality - to which the Ayatollah alluded in his speech - has become.

June 14th, 2008
The "Old King" of alchemy still hangs on to power, both in Iran and in this country. The outcome of the election in Iran has been a tremendous disappointment, not only for those within Iran who were longing for change. Undoubtedly it has been rigged and the same old patriarchal group is still in control. The one hope is that half the population of Iran is under 25 and it will be impossible to continue with the oppressive regime for very long. Millions of women will be furiously angry that they are still living in a prison state. As with Ceascescu in Romania, the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and the repressive rule of the Shah, the people will eventually overthrow the old order. It is only a question of time although once again and tragically, many will lose their lives or be arrested and imprisoned. I wonder whether the world will ever be able to be rid of the kind of men who want absolute power and who tell the people that they are guided by God. Unfortunately, as someone writing in the Times today points out, the increasing oil revenues as the price of oil goes up enable such tyrants to stay in power. What will happen though, when oil reserves begin to decline?

May 26th, 2009
Three events have horrified me this week: the revelation of the despicable abuse of children in religious institutions in Ireland over the last 60 years, the suffering of the trapped civilians on the beach and the concentration camps of Sri Lanka, and the detonation of a massive nuclear bomb (as large as that used on Nagasaki) by North Korea.

The first horrifies me because I know this abuse has gone on for centuries and I know the root of it is sexual repression in the Catholic priesthood and the venting of their repressed instincts in the cruelty and sexual abuse meted out to the helpless children in their care. Apologies and financial reparation will do nothing to change this behaviour or help people to understand that the atrocious sadism uncovered by the report have their root in a distorted sense of spirituality which denies expression to the natural instincts of the body. they punish the helpless young for what they have crucified in themselves.

The second horrifies me because the blatant cruelty and contempt exhibited by governments towards helpless civilians goes on as before. The Human Rights Council set up in the UN to deal with these abuses is apparently paralysed by the ability of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and even Israel, to ward off any investigation into the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government in its fight with the Tamil Tigers. Enough has been seen and heard of these atrocities to know that they took place and that more will follow unless aid agencies are allowed in to help and to provide further witness. It is now thought that 20,000 people were massacred by the Sri Lankan (not the Tamil tiger) forces (Times report and article May 29th, 2009). Children have been separated from their parents, husbands from their wives, all in the name of screening out Tamil terrorists who are thought to be hiding among the civilians in the camps. All this is an outrage. One day I hope there will be an organisation removed from the political reach of governments acting through the UN who will call to account those governments and military leaders who have committed these acts of barbarism. I think women should have more more say in this kind of issue. At the moment they have none yet they are half of humanity.

The third event horrifies me not because of the threat it offers to other countries but because of the utter lack of awareness that the existence and testing of all these bombs by whatever country are an outrageous assault on the fragile biosphere of the Earth as well as on the life and health of future generations. The shock waves of the blast were felt in South Korea, Japan and as far as Shanghai. It doesn't seem to have occured to any of the countries which have developed these bombs that they are evil and their proposed use is evil, no matter what protection they offer. In North Korea we are faced with the psychotic shadow of the events we set in motion when we developed the original atom bomb and dropped it on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I would not be surprised if this subterranean blast - picked up on the other side of the Pacific - doesn't set off a series of earthquakes. The pollution - both spiritual and physical - engendered by it will endure for decades, centuries, millennia? who knows and who cares?

May 11th, 2009
In yesterday's Sunday Telegraph, there was an extract from Chris Woodward's new book (The Desolation of Learning: Is this the Education Our Children Deserve?) commenting on the dishonesty of the government in saying that it is improving education and giving parents more choice when, in fact, the opposite is the case. He sounds such a true and honest man, deeply concerned at what he sees as the increasing dumbing down and trivialisation of education and lamenting that the education that he had in a Grammar School which widened his understanding and his knowledge,and gave him the opportunity of developing his gifts, is no longer available to children from a poor background. I have watched the deterioration of education in this country over the past 50 years and see only a narrowing of possibilities for the children of this country, a kind of wasteland imposed on their soul by men and women who had a poor education themselves and therefore have not the vision to create a better one for the young people of today. It is particularly the arts that are missing - music, poetry, acting, painting and above all, access to the great creators of the past, Shakespeare, the English poets. The kind of education they receive does not develop the mind or the soul. It leaves them at the mercy of governments who regard the masses as no more than units of consumption and production.

May 5th, 2009
with regard to Mothers' Day this coming Sunday, and the low regard in which mothers generally are held, I received this message today from the Peace Company and put it up here because I think it applies to many countries that could help mothers more than they do, in particular the UK: www.ThePeaceCompany.com

If we truly wish to demonstrate our regard for Motherhood, and our goal is to support mothers every day not just on Mother's Day, we must do more than offer cards and gifts, as important as that is. We must also offer mothers our daily encouragement and practical assistance, and we must support public policies that make children and mothers a priority in our nation and in our world.

Despite our compassion and prosperity, the status of mothers and children in the United States is tragic.

A full 25% of U.S. families with children less than six years old live in poverty.

Nine million children are without healthcare coverage and millions more are under-insured.

Fourteen million children are unsupervised after school every day. At least 40,000 of these are kindergartners due to a lack of affordable after-school programs.

In a Harvard study of over 170 countries, the U.S. was one of only four nations without any form of paid leave for new mothers. (The others were Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea.)

Women without children make 90 cents to a man’s dollar, but mothers make just 73 cents, and single mothers make even less -- about 60 cents to a man’s dollar.

Mothers are 79% less likely to be hired than equally qualified non-mothers.

Of the twenty most competitive economies in the world, the U.S. is the only one that does not require employers to provide paid sick days.

These statistics are eye-opening and dismal, and call for rigorous transpartisan deliberation and immediate action. Regardless of our political position, we must all make a stand for our nations' mothers.

"All mothers are working mothers."

We also affirm and applaud the millions of stay-at-home moms. Their commitment is a noble one, and we give our encouragement and full support to these mothers as well. We recognize, however, that three quarters of American mothers are now in the labor force. With seventy-five percent of our moms at work, it's time our attitudes, policies and workplaces match the dynamics of today's American family. Morally this is the right thing to do. It also makes common sense. To have a healthy economy we must also have healthy families, and each of us plays a critical role.

It is time for America to wake up and meet the needs of mothers and families in our country. Non-Partisan groups like MomsRising.org and others are working to educate and mobilize the public to bring about this change. We invite you to join in support of this effort. (*statistics and info above found at www.momsrising.org).

(Other information and resources related to supporting mothers is available via the National Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Coalition and United Nations Population Fund)

January 14th, 2009
I fear that Israel's war on Gaza will have terrible repurcussions, re-igniting the whole Muslim world in the way George Bush's invasion of Iraq did. However much Israel has been provoked to retaliate by the constant rockets directed by Hamas at her cities, no-one can contemplate the suffering and helplessness of the Palestinian civilians - particularly the women and children - without horror. It is hardly surprising that Osama bin Laden is calling for a Jihad. This area of the world is continuously thrown back to the Babylonian era when the phrase "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" was first incorporated into Hammurabi's Code.

November 5th, 2008
This is one of the most memorable days of my lifetime as indeed it is in the lifetime of tens of millions of Americans, whether black or white and more billions all over the world. But for the black population of America it has been a dream come true at last after enduring so much suffering, contempt, cruelty and rejection. A deep wound may at last begin to heal. The tears of Jesse Jackson bear witness to this. The outcome of this election has been absolutely thrilling and deeply moving. The whole world has become involved almost in the way that the whole world watched the first journey of the astronauts to the moon. The whole world will have taken note of what democracy in action means when 130 million people wait in line for hours to register their vote. The devoted work of millions of people who helped Obama throughout the last two years and particularly during the last few months has born wonderful fruit.

As someone who is three-quarters American and who was brought up there between 1939 and 45, I have always felt a deep link with America but until now have not really been interested in its politics. I deplored the presidency of George W. Bush and the ruthless and deficient values that have prevailed throughout his time and long before it. Now, suddenly, with the election of Barack Obama, there is a real hope of change. At the end of an article I wrote over a year ago called America: Redeemer or Destroyer of the Higher Dream, I wrote these paragraphs:

"During the last fifty years or so, it seems as if we have been placed in an alchemical retort, forced to live through the fire of transformation, for the most part, unconsciously. The deaths, suffering and destitution of millions of people created by wars and savage oppression, by the sale of arms, by corporate greed and corruption and the ruthless despoiling and exploitation of the earth call for a new kind of spirituality grounded in service to the earth and all its species.
        The new myth, the new story coming into being through the triple influence of quantum physics, depth psychology and the ecological movement suggests that we are participants in a great cosmic web of life, each one of us indissolubly connected with all others through that invisible field. It is the most insidious of illusions to think that we can achieve a position of dominance in relation to nature, life or each other. In our essence, we are one, belonging to the same earth, breathing the same air. The belief that nations can continue to act as autonomous units, developing the power to destroy life on a colossal scale without their demonic inventions returning to them in the form of an enemy armed with precisely the weapons they have developed for their own protection, is not only an illusion but a pathology—a madness.        
        Alchemy speaks of the Great Work. What might this be? We are embedded in the world of spirit. Our physical bodies are composed of cosmic elements that come from the stars. We are the living vehicle of spirit but we don't know this. Spirit depends on us in this dimension to rescue it from the imprisoned or buried state to which, in our ignorance, we have consigned it. This work may be compared to the excavation of a precious treasure, bringing to conscious awareness the realisation that the rejected feminine elements of spirit—nature, matter and the body—participate in the unity and sacredness of all cosmic life. Alchemy describes an arduous process of attunement to this realisation—arduous because it is so difficult to dismantle millennia-old habits of belief and behaviour.
        Alchemy gives us the image of an old king who has to die in order that his son may rule in his stead. These words accompany one of the beautiful illustrations to the sixteenth century alchemical manuscript, Splendor Solis:

                The King's son lies in the depths of the sea as though dead. But he lives and calls from
                the deep: “Whosoever will free me from the waters and lead me to dry land, him will I
                prosper with everlasting riches.

        Today, the fate of our species, perhaps even the fate of the earth, hangs in the balance. Will the American people choose to free the young king and the values he personifies from the waters of the deep or will they continue to live in thrall to the values of the old king—the power-seeking values and obsessive need for supremacy and control which engender so much evil and suffering? Could the soul of America that has given sanctuary to so many different people and races find the insight and courage to make an evolutionary leap, uniting the world in a transformation of consciousness that could draw humanity away from the brink of catastrophe—perhaps even redeeming "the unread vision in the higher dream?" (T.S. Eliot)
        
It seems to me that Obama has the possibility of uniting the polarised elements of our time and transcending in his person the old national, religious and racial identities: White and black, masculine and feminine, light and dark, Christian and Muslim, us and them. His parentage, part white, part black, part Christian (through his mother and grandparents), part Muslim (through his Muslim father and his schooling in Indonesia) brings together the polarised religions of the last 1000 years which have led to the conflicts of the present time as well as bridging the deep divide in the American soul. Will he be strong enough to stand up to the tyranny of the "old king" and bring through the values, long relegated to the unconscious, which are heralded by the figure of the "young king"? or will those old power-driven, militaristic values prevail? It is a David and Goliath situation and a positive outcome to this challenge is by no means assured.

October 31st, 2008
The poet and novelist, Ben Okri, has written a brilliant article in The Times yesterday (October 30th) saying that the huge financial success of the last few years had hidden the moral bankruptcy of our civilisation and that we must rediscover our lost values or perish. I was amazed to read such an article in the Times because I thought that, like the BBC, it had lost sight of those values. I am reproducing almost all of it here as I want to keep a record of what he said as well as share it with others who may not read the Times. He has written an equally interesting article on the American election in the Times of November 1st.

"The crisis affecting our economy is a crisis of our civilisation. The values that we hold dear are the very same that got us to this point. The meltdown in the economy is a harsh metaphor of the meltdown of some of our value systems. For decades poets and artists have been crying in the wilderness about the wasteland, the debacle, the apocalypse. But apparent economic triumph has deafened us to these warnings. Now it is necessary to look at this crisis as a symptom of things gone wrong in our culture.

Individualism has been raise almost to a religion, appearance made more important than substance. Success justifies greed, and greed justifies indifference to fellow human beings. We thought that our actions affected only our own sphere but the way that appalling decisions made in America have set off a domino effect makes it necessary to bring new ideas to the forefront of our civilisation. The most important is that we are more connected than we suspected. A visible and invisible mesh links economies and cultures around the globe to the great military and economic centres.

The only hope lies in a fundamental re-examination of the values that we have lived by in the past 30 years. It wouldn't do just to improve the banking system - we need to redesign the whole edifice.

There ought to be great cries in the land, great anger. But there is a strange silence. Why? Because we are all implicated. We have drifted to this dark unacceptable place together. We took the success of our economy as proof of the rightness of its underlying philosophy. We are now at a crossroad. Our future depends not on whether we get through this but on how deeply and truthfully we examine its causes....What we need now more than ever is a vision beyond the event, a vision of renewal.

As one looks over the landscape of contemporary events, one thing becomes very striking. The people to whom we have delegated decision-making in economic matters cannot be unaware of the consequences. Those whose decisions have led to the economic collapse reveal to us how profoundly lacking in vision they were. This is not surprising. These were never people of vision. They are capable of making decisions in the economic sphere, but how these decisions relate to the wider world was never part of their mental make-up. This is a great flaw of our world.

To whom do we turn for guidance in our modern world? Teachers have had their scope limited by the prevailing fashions of education. Artists have become more appreciated for scandal than for important revelations about our lives. Writers are entertainers, provocateurs or, if truly serious - more or less ignored. The Church speaks with a broken voice. Politicians are more guided by polls than by vision. We have disembowelled our oracles. Anybody who claims to have something to say is immediately suspect.

So now that we have taken a blowtorch to the idea of sages, guides, bards, holy fools, seers, what is left in our cultural landscape? Scientific rationality has proved inadequate to the unpredictabilities of the times...This is where we step out into a new space. What is most missing in the landscape of our times is the sustaining power of myths that we can live by.

If we need a new vision for our times, what might it be? A vision that arises from necessity or one that orientates us towards a new future? I favour the latter. It is too late to react only from necessity. One of our much neglected qualities is our creative ability to reshape our world. Our planet is under threat. We need a new one-planet thinking.

We must bring back into society a deeper sense of the purpose of living. The unhappiness in so many lives ought to tell us that success alone is not enough. Material success has brought us to a strange spiritual and moral bankruptcy.

If we look at alcoholism rates, suicide rates and our sensation addiction, we must conclude that this banishment of higher things from the garden has not been a success. The more the society has succeeded, the more its heart has failed.

Everywhere parents are puzzled as to what to do with their children. Everywhere the children are puzzled as to what to do with themselves. The question everywhere is, you get your success and then what?

We need a new social consciousness. The poor and the hungry need to be the focus of our economic and social responsibility.

Every society has a legend about a treasure that is lost. The message of the Fisher King is as true now as ever. Find the grail that was lost. Find the values that were so crucial to the birth of our civilisation, but were lost in the intoxication of its triumphs.

We can enter a new future only by reconnecting what is best in us, and adapting it to our times. Education ought to be more global; we need to restore the pre-eminence of character over show, and wisdom over cleverness. We need to be more a people of the world.

All great cultures renew themselves by accepting the challenges of their times, and like the biblical David, forge their vision and courage in the secret laboratory of the wild, wrestling with their demons, and perfecting their character. We must transform ourselves or perish."

 

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THE LOSS OF THE WORLD SOUL AND ITS RETURN
©Anne Baring December 2005

Rose Window of the Virgin
Chartres Cathedral

You could not discover the boundaries of the soul, even if you travelled by every path in order to do so, so deep a measure does it have.    Heraclitus

My heart is longing for a lost knowledge, slipped down out of the minds of men...

from the poem Black Marigolds, Chaura-panchasika, Sanscrit poem, 1st century AD


Once upon a time, in a past so distant that we have no memory of it, the invisible and visible dimensions of life were imagined and instinctively experienced as a sacred unity. In the great civilisations of the Bronze Age (c.3000 bce), particularly those of Egypt, India and China, the whole cosmos was envisioned as a living being and the manifest world was seen as an epiphany or showing forth of an unseen source which breathed it into being, animating and sustaining it: the air itself was experienced as the invisible presence of that world - an “awesome mystery joining the human and extrahuman worlds.” (1) Just as the stars emerged each night from the darkness of the night sky, so the visible universe was born from the dark mystery of the invisible. Everything - plants, trees, animals and birds as well as moon, sun and stars - was infused with divinity because each and all were part of a living, breathing web of life.
         Long before the definition of a world soul came into being as this living web of life, there existed an image of it. Egypt has bequeathed to us one of the clearest images of it. Two goddesses were of particular significance for an understanding of the origins of the later concept of a World Soul: Hathor - often interchangeable with Isis - and Nut. Hathor was Egypt’s oldest goddess, imagined as the nurturing Mother of the universe and as the creative impulse flowing from the cosmic immensity of her being. More specifically, Hathor was imagined as the Milky Way, whose milk nourished all life, yet she was immanent within the forms of life, immanent in the statues that stood in her temples and in the beautiful blue lotus that was daily laid at her feet.(2) As Divine Mother, she received the souls of the dead at the entrance to her sacred mountain, situated behind the temple built in her honour at Deir-el-Bahri.
         When the Egyptians looked up at the night sky, they saw the goddess Nut whose vast cosmic body contained all the stars. The sun-god Ra vanished into her body on its nightly descent into the underworld and was reborn from her at the dawn of a new day. Nut’s image was painted on the inside of coffin lids and sometimes on the base as well, as if to enfold the soul entrusted to her care in her cosmic embrace. There is a moving inscription to her on a fragment of stone in the Louvre:

O my mother Nut, stretch your wings over me;
Let me become like the imperishable stars,
like the indefatigable stars.
O Great Being who is in the world of the Dead,
At whose feet is Eternity, in whose hand is the Always,
O Great Divine Beloved Soul who is in the mysterious abyss, come to me.

         Presided over by the Great Mother, this era was characterised by a consciousness which participated in the deepest imaginative sense with the life of the cosmos and the life of the earth. It would be a mistake to identify this kind of consciousness with the social organisation of matriarchy. It was, rather, a totally different way of perceiving and relating to life than the one we have now. Today we look back on our "superstitious" past with some contempt, not realising that our present consciousness has grown out of a far more ancient and instinctive way of knowing which could be described as lunar because the moon rather than the sun was of supreme importance in that distant time. It is possible that the image of a world or cosmic soul arose out of lunar mythology because the moon was our earliest teacher and the inspiration of some of the greatest myths of the ancient world: the Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris, the Sumerian myth of the Descent of Inanna, the Orphic and Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece, and the later Christian myth all carry the same lunar theme of death, regeneration and transformation. (3)
         What did the moon teach us? The emergence of the crescent moon from the three days of darkness that preceded it gave us the image of the visible world emerging from an invisible one, the time-bound world from an eternal one. The moon nourished the creative imagination, teaching us to observe and to wonder, helping us to make connections between what was above in the heavens and what was below on earth – a theme that is carried through much later into Hermetic philosophy, Kabbalah and Alchemy.
         For hundreds of generations people watched the circumpolar movement of the stars and the changing yet stable course of the luminous moon. They observed the connection between the cyclical rhythm of the four phases of the moon’s life and the rhythm of growth, maturation, death and regeneration in the life of the crops. They experienced the phases of their own lives – youth, maturity, old age and death as woven into the rhythm of that greater life. The constant return of the crescent moon after the three days of darkness laid the foundation for trust in the survival of the soul and the renewal of life after apparent death and may have been the original inspiration of the belief in reincarnation. From this lunar pattern constantly speaking to the mythic imagination, birth and death became a rite of passage for the soul as it journeyed between the visible and invisible dimensions of life, a journey that was symbolised by the path through a labyrinth. The ancestors were not lost to the living but were close by, available to counsel and guide. There was, therefore, no final demarcation line between life and death.
         The constant rhythm of the moon waxing and waning held both light and darkness in relation to each other - held them in balance - because the totality of the moon’s cycle embraced both light and dark phases and therefore symbolically included both life and death. Light and darkness were not polarised as they were later to become in a solar culture, but were phases of the total cycle, so that there was always an image of a unifying whole which included both polarities.
         Over countless thousands of years, shamanic rituals and myths kept alive the sense of connection between this world and another world whose symbol, initially, may have been the dark phase of the moon. Poets, artists, philosophers and musicians received their inspiration from the invisible dimension that Henri Corbin, the great scholar of Sufism, named the mundus imaginalis (imaginal world), carefully drawing the distinction between the imaginal and the imaginary. (4) The words spoken, the music heard, the dreams and visions seen, came not from 'inside' us, but from the cosmos, from goddesses and gods, from daemonic beings and the spirits of animals. The original role of the philosopher was a shamanic one - to journey to the Otherworld or Underworld and bring back what was seen and heard to help the human community harmonise its life with the sacred life of the cosmos.
         Fairy tales like the Sleeping Beauty may be the residual fragments of that forgotten participatory experience where forests were inhabited by creatures who would help or hinder us: where spirits of tree and mountain, stream and sacred spring could speak to us; where bears or frogs might be princes in disguise and shamans living in the deep forest might offer us wise counsel, or birds bring us messages and warn us of dangers. "Whoever denies the daemons, wrote Plutarch in a later time, "breaks the chain that links the gods to men." There are countless tales which describe how the hero or heroine who responds to this guidance wins the reward of the treasure and the royal marriage.
         Rituals like those of the Orphic and Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece strengthened the sense of participation in an unseen reality and gave initiates an experience of the immortality of the soul. People spoke with goddesses and gods in dream and vision. Birds were recognised as messengers of the invisible, very possibly because people dreamed about them in this role or even heard them as a voice inside themselves, speaking to them. Intuitive sensibility and the shamanic ability to communicate with the spirits of plants taught people to gather, grind or distil certain herbs and plants for healing illness. Rites of incubation and healing were practised in many sanctuaries. Dreams and visions were of great importance in the diagnosis and healing of disease. Music was used to invoke the presence of a world that was the foundation of this world and as real as this one; everything was connected, everything was sacred. The shaman-healers who guided these cultures were trained to enter a state of utter stillness and to listen and observe what they heard and saw in an altered state of consciousness. This lunar culture was primarily feminine in character - receptive to the presence of the eternal.
          If we listen to the Pre-Socratic Greeks of the sixth century bce, we find that they carry forward the legacy of this lunar consciousness and cannot be understood except in relation to it: the words of Heraclitus, suggesting that the Soul is of unfathomable depth, retain the essence of that ancient perception. Thales of Miletus speaks of the “All” as being alive and full of daemons who are the agents of the one Soul-substance. Anaximenes says that humanity and nature are fundamentally inseparable because both participate in the same underlying “substance” which he calls Soul. (5) Pythagoras, after he was exiled to Crotona having spent forty years with the astronomer-priests of Egypt and Babylon, defines the mathematical laws which embody the divine intelligence of the cosmos. A few decades later, Parmenides, living at Velia, in southern Italy, describes his shamanic journey into the Underworld of the Goddess who takes his right hand in hers, telling him to transmit her teaching to the world of mortals.(6)
         This, therefore, is the foundation upon which the concept of a World Soul developed. Plato (429-347 bce) was the first to name it as such in his Timaeus. Was it from the participatory experience of an earlier age that he drew his concept of the Soul of the World – psyche tou kosmou? He speaks of a great golden chain of being connecting the deepest level of reality with its physical manifestation where every particle of life is a revelation of creative spirit, but there is in his work a distancing of the sensory world from the world of spiritual or archetypal forms. There is a fading of the feeling of participation in an ensouled world, a disjunction between rational mind and sensory experience, an objective definition of Soul rather than the experience of it so characteristic of the earlier time. Plotinus (204-70 ce), who was steeped in Platonic thought, developed further the concept of a Universal Soul that he called All-Soul or Soul of the All (anima-mundi) but in his philosophy as well as in Plato’s there is the idea that this material world is the lowest level in the hierarchy of divine emanation. (7) Implicit in this immensely influential definition of reality, is the idea that nature is “lower” than spirit, body “lower” than mind and that animals and plants are “lower” in the scale of being than humans. What cultural influence or personal trauma could have led Plato to despise the body and to write in his Phaedrus “Pure was the light and pure were we from the pollution of the walking sepulchre which we call a body, to which we are bound like an oyster to its shell.”
         Aristotle (384-322 bce) took this distinction further, defining matter as something inanimate - separate and distinct from spirit and soul – leading eventually to the modern idea that matter is “dead”. While Plato and Plotinus had a strong influence on the development of Christian doctrine, the mainstream teaching of Western philosophy and science followed Aristotle. His philosophy draws a clear demarcation line between an ancient way of knowing and a new way whose emphasis is on the rational human mind distancing itself from what it is observing rather than participating in its life. The increasing separation between these two ways of knowing was henceforth profoundly to influence the development of the philosophy, religion and science of the West. However, the sense of being within an ensouled cosmos lasted until the end of the Middle Ages when the School of Chartres, perhaps influenced by the brilliant Islamic scholars and architects of Moorish Spain, initiated the building of the great cathedrals of France. It found new expression in fifteenth century Florence when Marsilio Ficino translated Plato and recovered the texts of the Hermetic tradition and it survived in Kabbalah and Alchemy. However, the older vision faded rapidly with the Reformation and the scientific revolution which succeeded it. What was lost was an imaginal, participatory and visionary way of knowing, grounded in shamanic experience and rituals which connected earth and cosmos. Yet, in the late eighteenth century, the poet and artist Blake would write “Everything That Lives Is Holy.”
          Having described a lunar culture where people lived within a sacred cosmos, we may ask what wider cultural influences led to the demise of the World Soul? Why did D.H. Lawrence despairingly write, “We have lost the cosmos”? (8) To answer that question we have to look back some 4000 years. From about 2000 bce, we begin to see developing a new phase in the evolution of human consciousness – a phase whose focus is the sun rather than the moon. As this process develops, solar mythology begins to displace lunar mythology: linear time begins to replace lunar cyclical time, and a linear, literal and objective way of thinking slowly replaces the older imaginal and participatory way of knowing. Concurrently, the human psyche draws away from nature and as it does so, the predominant image of spirit changes from Great Mother to Great Father. The greater the withdrawal from nature, the more transcendent and disengaged from nature becomes the image of deity: divine immanence is lost. The mind is focussed beyond nature on the realm of intellectual ideas. Philosophy becomes discourse on these ideas rather than relationship with an invisible reality.
          A second major influence was the impact of literacy on our way of thinking. The written word replaced the oral tradition that had carried the wisdom and insights as well as the values of the older culture. David Abram has shown in his book, The Spell of the Sensuous, how the new emphasis on the written word contributed to the loss of the older participatory consciousness: “Only as the written text began to speak would the voices of the forest, and of the river, begin to fade. And only then would language loosen its ancient association with the invisible breath, the spirit sever itself from the wind, the psyche dissociate itself from the environing air.” (9)
          Perhaps because literacy distanced us from nature, creation in the Judeo-Christian tradition was now believed to arise from the word of the transcendent Father, no longer from the womb of the Mother. This is a crucially important distinction because the unity of life was again broken: invisible spirit no longer animated and inhabited nature. The earth was slowly desacralised. Religious belief replaced shamanic experience. Ancient shamanic ways of connection were forbidden. With this shift in archetypal imagery, everything formerly associated with the feminine archetype (the Great Mother) was downgraded in relation to the masculine one (the Great Father). The lunar way of knowing was subjugated to the solar way and, under the influence of solar mythology, first nature, then cosmos, were de-souled.
          As the sun became the new focus of consciousness, the cultural hero was no longer the lunar shaman who ventured into the darkness, assimilating its mysteries and returning from it with the treasure of wisdom, but rather the solar hero, often a king, warrior or outstanding individual, who was celebrated as the one who conquers and overcomes darkness. The emphasis was now on ascent to the light and repudiation of whatever was identified with darkness. Iron Age mythology (from c. 2000 bce) celebrated a great contest between a hero-god and a dragon or monster of the underworld (see the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Greek myth of Apollo killing the she-dragon at Delphi). The emphasis was no longer on relationship with the invisible world but on the light conquering the darkness. The theme of conquest and victory became the dominating ethos of the hero myths of the Iron Age and so it is even today in our modern hero myth and the battle against “the axis of evil”. In this solar phase, good and evil, light and dark, life and death are drawn as opposites inimical to each other and become increasingly polarised. George W. Bush’s words “Those who are not with us are against us” are a modern re-statement of solar mythology.
          For over 4000 years, under the influence of this mythology, war and conquest were glorified as the noblest activity for man; victory and the spoils of war the coveted treasure to be won in battle, courage in battle the supreme virtue in the warrior. Wherever today we find the tendency to omnipotence and grandiose ambitions of empire and world domination, whether religious or secular, we can discern the influence of solar mythology and the inflation of leaders who unconsciously identify themselves with the archetypal role of the solar god or hero.
          Solar mythology reflects an immense change in human consciousness, the formulation of an entirely new perception of life, one where, as technology advances, nature becomes something to be conquered, controlled and manipulated by man - to human advantage. It had a dramatic influence on Greek, Hebrew, Persian and Christian cultures. The imagery of opposition and conflict between light and darkness, good and evil pervades the Old Testament and other mythologies. As people moved to cities and cities became states, and as more and more men were conscripted into armies which obeyed a warrior leader, the cosmic battle was increasingly projected into the world: a fascination with conquest and dominance possessed the psyche and led to the creation of vast empires (Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman). It is as if the heroic human ego, identified with the solar hero, had to seek out new territories to conquer, had to embody the myth in a literal sense. The terminology of conquest and dominance still influences our own modern culture with its focus on the conquest of nature, of space, of our enemies. It is as if we have been conditioned by this powerful mythology to think only in oppositional terms – victory or defeat rather than in terms of relationship, dialogue and reconciliation.
          Solar mythology is, above all, the story of the heroic individual. In the West, it has been the driving inspiration behind the Promethean quest for freedom, justice, knowledge and power. A major theme of solar myth is escape from the bondage of the body and ascent to the light and, by association, release from the bondage of mortality and ascent to spiritual enlightenment. In the West, we find it first in Plato in his metaphor of the cave. It carries with it the human longing to go beyond all constraints and limitations, to reach higher, progress further, discover more. It is overwhelmingly male because the male psyche has been the dominant influence over some 4000 years and it is the achievements and discoveries of exceptional men which have inspired other men. A strong sense of autonomous individuality, the ability to reflect on our actions and to direct the will towards specific goals, can be acknowledged as the supreme achievement of the male psyche during this solar era. However, the voice of women who were denied access to education, the priesthood and the healing profession was silenced.
          The influence of solar mythology gradually created a fissure between spirit and nature, mind and body which has defined our way of thinking and influenced the way we behave. During this solar phase, the male psyche unconsciously aligned itself with the supremacy of transcendent spirit and mind over nature, woman and body and came to relate the former to the image of light and order and the latter to the image of darkness and chaos. Woman was named as an inferior creation. Woman and body began to be seen as a danger, a threat, a temptation to man.(10) The major religions of the solar era carry this polarisation within their teaching, wherever this was associated with the ascetic subjugation of the body, the mistrust of sexuality and the oppression and persecution of women. Because nature and instinct became something dangerous and threatening to the supremacy of the rational mind, much effort was expended in eradicating all vestiges of goddess-worship, and of animism or belief in “spirits”. Further to the east, in China, Confucianism replaced the older Taoist vision of an ensouled nature. The sages of India, with certain exceptions, turned away from the body and sensory experience and held the phenomenal world to be an illusion. A recent statement by a Professor at the University of Science, Malaysia, illustrates this belief: "In the Hindu religion the body is nothing. God is supreme." (Dr. K. Ramanathan, The Times, February 1st, 2007)
          All this had the effect of disconnecting us from nature and denying us access through the mythic imagination to that mysterious and all-embracing dimension of Soul. As the ego and rational mind grew stronger and more powerfully controlling, so, increasingly, did we lose the ability to relate instinctively and imaginatively to earth and cosmos. The Judeo-Christian myth of the Fall describes this process of estrangement and loss and, in the story of the Expulsion from the Garden, discloses a total reversal of the way of knowing which had guided older cultures. (11)
          The shamanic way of knowing survived in Kabbalah and Sufism as well as in certain gnostic sects, the Hermetic Tradition and Alchemy but for many centuries these had to remain hidden for fear of persecution. In the gnostic Gospel of Thomas (c. 70 ce), the old shamanic vision shines through the words of Jesus: “Cleave a piece of wood, I am there; lift up the stone and you will find Me there.” (logion 77)
          With the psychological insight which has become available to us over the last hundred years, particularly through the depth psychology of C.G. Jung, we can understand that this solar phase of our evolution reflects a radical dissociation within the human psyche between the growing strength of the ego (the hero) and the older and greatly feared power of instinct (the dragon). (12) As this dissociation gathers momentum, so the feeling of containment within a cosmic entity and the sense of relationship with an invisible dimension of reality fades and with it, the participatory consciousness of an earlier time. The legacy of the Platonic and Aristotelian emphasis on reason and the rational mind, together with the solar emphasis on ascent to spirit and light and the deep suspicion of sexuality and sensual experience, hastened the demise of the lunar way of knowing.
          The danger of this solar phase is that the human mind, breaking away from its instinctive ground and its relationship with nature and cosmos, begins to assimilate a god-like power to itself, seeing itself engaged in a great struggle to attain mastery of nature. The priceless evolutionary achievement of the solar era and its masculine culture was the forging of a strong ego out of the matrix of instinct and the creation of the conscious, rational mind. But, tragically, this was won at the expense of repressing and denying whatever came to be perceived as threatening to it. The inner conflict between the two aspects of the psyche was projected into the world as the drive for power and control over others, whether in the religious or political field.
          The influence of solar mythology was to divide life into two halves: spirit and nature, light and dark, good and evil, mind and body, subject and object. These oppositions became fixed in our consciousness as an actual belief system. The solar myth is carried in all ideologies, whether religious or secular, which strive to reach the light and split off the darkness. It entered not only into the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam but into our behaviour towards the “dark” and so-called primitive races or anyone different from ourselves. As time went on religions took on the mantle of solar mythology in a struggle for supremacy and are tragically engaged in it to this day. The split between Catholic and Protestant in Christianity and between Shia and Sunni in Islam may be traced to the polarising influence of this mythology. Finally, it is reflected in the secular totalitarian ideologies which ravaged the last century because these separated the heroic race or “chosen” social group from those they demonised as inferior or expendable. These ideologies justified the elimination of racial or class enemies just as Christianity and Islam had justified the elimination of heretics and apostates. (Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake in 1600 because he refused to deny that God was present in nature).
          From this long historical process, it is possible to see that the belief system of scientific materialism which has so powerfully influenced modern secular culture may be understood as the end-result of the long-standing dissociation between spirit and nature, mind and matter but, above all, the sundering within us of thinking and feeling, rational mind and instinctive soul – the conscious and unconscious aspects of our nature. It has concluded that the universe is indifferent to us, that we are the products of impersonal forces operating on inanimate matter. Atoms are not living elements of divinity but lifeless particles, floating randomly in an inanimate universe. We are the outcome of genetic, social and environmental conditioning. Consciousness is an epi-phenomenon of the physical brain. There is no such “thing” as soul. When we die, that is the end of us.
          This belief system - and it is important to remember that it is a belief system - reflects a situation where we have become so estranged from nature that we believe that we have the right to exploit it for our own material advantage – even the right to control space in order to protect ourselves from attack by our enemies. Although we may profess a belief in God, nothing is sacred save our own survival or the survival of our group and our religion.
          To sum up: over the four millennia that solar mythology became the dominant influence on world culture, we have achieved an extraordinary advance in scientific and technological skills and their application to improving the conditions of human life on this planet and a phenomenal expansion of the ability to express ourselves as individuals in myriad different fields of endeavour. But at the same time, we have suffered a catastrophic loss of soul, a loss of the ancient instinctive awareness of the sacred interweaving of all aspects of life, a loss of the sense of participation in the life of nature and the invisible dimension of the cosmos, a loss of instinct and imagination.
          So we come to the present day where, in a secular culture, the rational mind has established itself as the supreme value, master of all it surveys, recognising no power, no dimension of reality beyond itself. It has lost its connection to soul, not only soul in the individual sense but Soul as a cosmic matrix or field in whose life we participate. In its hubristic stance, the rational mind has become disconnected from the deeper instinctive ground out of which it has evolved which, ultimately, is the life of the cosmos. Cut off from its roots, it stands like a tyrant over and against nature, over and against the earth, over against whatever it defines as threatening to its supremacy. This leaves the human heart lonely and afraid and the neglected territory of the soul a barren wasteland. The rage and despair of denied inner needs confront us in the world as the enemies who seek to destroy us and whom we seek to destroy. We struggle to contain the effects of a dysfunctional way of thinking – believing that ever greater power and control will enable us to eradicate the evils we bring into being.
         Yet, beneath the surface of our culture, the ancient concept of Soul is returning. The challenge of the immense problems now facing humanity is urging us to change our current understanding of reality and jettison the mechanistic paradigm we have inherited from the secular beliefs which control our culture. A deep human instinct is attempting to restore balance and wholeness in us by articulating values which are rooted in a different way of knowing. The environmental movement and the challenge of climate change is focussing our attention on our relationship with the planet and restoring sacredness to the earth. Compassion is growing for those suffering from poverty, hunger, disease and the obscene effects of war. Shamanic methods of healing are being recovered. A new worldview or image of reality is struggling to be born. We are beginning to understand that we are poisoning the earth, the seas and our own immune system with toxic chemicals and pesticides, and inviting our destruction as a species through our predatory behaviour. Many individuals are awakening to awareness that we and the phenomenal world that we call nature are woven into a cosmic tapestry whose threads connect us not only with each other at the deepest level but with many dimensions of reality and multitudes of beings inhabiting those dimensions. Beyond the present limits of our sight an immense field of consciousness interacts with our own, asking to be recognised by us, embraced by us. What is emerging at the cutting edge of science is a grand unified theory of quantum, cosmos, life and consciousness where physics is reunited with metaphysics. (13) As this deep soul-impulse gathers momentum, the “marriage” of the emerging lunar values with the ruling solar ones is changing our perception of reality. To heal the fissure in our psyche, we need to recover the ancient participatory experience in a modern context without losing the priceless evolutionary attainment of a strong and focused ego. We would then be able to evolve further towards a deeply experienced and more conscious relationship with the earth and the cosmos, outgrowing the one-eyed consciousness that currently governs our actions. In the words of D.H. Lawrence, “The great range of responses that have fallen dead in us have to come to life again. It has taken two thousand years to kill them. Who knows how long it will take to bring them to life” (14)

©Anne Baring

Odilon Redon

1. David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, p. 250, Vintage Books, New York 1996
2. for poems to Hathor and Nut see Andrew Harvey and Anne Baring, The Divine Feminine, Conari Press 1996
3. See Jules Cashford, The Moon: Myth and Image, Cassell Illustrated, London 2003
4. the phrase used by Henri Corbin in his writings on Ibn Arabi and Suhrawardi.
5. Gertrude Levy, The Gate of Horn, pp. 301-3, Faber & Faber, London 1958
6. Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom; see also his Reality, Golden Sufi Press, California
7. Plotinus, The Enneads, transl. Stephen MacKenna, Faber and Faber, London, 1956 and 1969
8. D.H. Lawrence, Apocalypse and Other Writings, Cambridge University Press, 1931, p. 78
9. David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, p. 254
10. the concept of the inferiority of woman is found in Plato’s Timaeus as well as the Book of Genesis.
11. See Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image, Viking1991 and Penguin Books, London and New York, 1993 (chapter 13: Eve, The Mother of All Living)
12. C.G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self (Collected Works Vol.10) and Man and His Symbols, Aldus Books, London, 1964
13. see Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos by Ervin Laszlo, Inner Traditions, Vermont, 2006 and Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, Viking, New York, 2006
14. Apocalypse, p. 78

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PEACE AND NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT: A CALL TO ACTION

by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, 20th March, 2002

". . . Come my friends,
'tis not too late to seek
a newer world," . . .
 
                                                     Alfred Lord Tennyson

If you believe that humanity has a higher destiny, if you believe we are all ultimately perfectable, if you believe we can evolve, and become better than we are; if you believe we can overcome the nihilistic scourge of war and someday fulfil the dream of peace and harmony on earth, let us begin the conversation today. Let us exchange our ideas. Let us plan together, act together and create peace together. This is a call for common sense, for peaceful, non-violent citizen action to protect our precious world from widening war and from stumbling into a nuclear catastrophe.
     The climate for conflict has intensified, with the struggle between Pakistan and India, the China-Taiwan tug of war, and the increased bloodshed between Israel and the Palestinians. United States' troop deployments in the Philippines, Yemen, Georgia, Columbia and Indonesia create new possibilities for expanded war. An invasion of Iraq is planned. The recent disclosure that Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Libya are considered by the United States as possible targets for nuclear attack catalyses potential conflicts everywhere.
     These crucial political decisions promoting increased military actions, plus a new nuclear first-use policy, are occurring without the consent of the American people, without public debate, without public hearings, without public votes. The President is taking Congress's approval of responding to the Sept. 11 terrorists as a license to flirt with nuclear war.
     "Politics ought to stay out of fighting a war," the President has been quoted as saying on March 13th 2002. Yet Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution explicitly requires that Congress take responsibility when it comes to declaring war. This President is very popular, according to the polls. But polls are not a substitute for democratic process. Attributing a negative connotation here to politics or dismissing constitutionally mandated congressional oversight belies reality:
     Spending $400 billion a year for defence is a political decision. Committing troops abroad is a political decision. War is a political decision. When men and women die on the battlefield that is the result of a political decision. The use of nuclear weapons, which can end the lives of millions, is a profound political decision. In a monarchy there need be no political decisions. In a democracy, all decisions are political, in that they derive from the consent of the governed.
     In a democracy, budgetary military and national objectives must be subordinate to the political process. Before we celebrate an imperial presidency, let it be said that the lack of free and open political process, the lack of free and open political debate, and the lack of free and open political dissent can be fatal in a democracy.
     We have reached a moment in our country's history where it is urgent that people everywhere speak out as president of his or her own life, to protect the peace of the nation and world within and without. We should speak out and caution leaders who generate fear through talk of the endless war or the final conflict. We should appeal to our leaders to consider their own bellicose thoughts, words and deeds are reshaping consciousness and can have an adverse effect on our nation. Because when one person thinks: fight! he or she finds a fight. One faction thinks: war! and starts a war. One nation thinks: nuclear! and approaches the abyss. And what of one nation which thinks peace, and seeks peace?
     Neither individuals nor nations exist in a vacuum, which is why we have a serious responsibility for each other in this world. It is also urgent that we find those places of war in our own lives, and begin healing the world through healing ourselves. Each of us is a citizen of a common planet, bound to a common destiny. So connected are we, that each of us has the power to be the eyes of the world, the voice of the world, the conscience of the world, or the end of the world. And as each one of us chooses, so becomes the world.
     Each of us is architect of this world. Our thoughts, the concepts. Our words, the designs. Our deeds, the bricks and mortar of our daily lives. Which is why we should always take care to regard the power of our thoughts and words, and the commands they send into action through time and space.
     Some of our leaders have been thinking and talking about nuclear war. There has been much news about a planning document which describes how and when America might wage nuclear war. The Nuclear Posture Review (January 9th 2002) released to the media by the government:
1. Assumes that the United States has the right to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.
2. Equates nuclear weapons with conventional weapons.
3. Attempts to minimize the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.
4. Promotes nuclear response to a chemical or biological attack.
     Some dismiss this review as routine government planning. But it becomes ominous when taken in the context of a war on terrorism which keeps expanding its boundaries, rhetorically and literally.
     The President equates the "war on terrorism" with World War II. He expresses a desire to have the nuclear option "on the table." He unilaterally withdraws from the ABM treaty. He seeks $8.9 billion to fund deployment of a missile shield. He institutes, without congressional knowledge, a shadow government in a bunker outside our nation's Capitol. He tries to pass off as arms reduction, the storage of, instead of the elimination of, nuclear weapons.
     The splitting of the atom for destructive purposes admits a split consciousness, the compartmentalized thinking of Us vs. Them, the dichotomised thinking, which spawns polarity and leads to war. The proposed use of nuclear weapons pollutes the psyche with the arrogance of infinite power. It creates delusions of domination of matter and space. It is dehumanising through its calculations of mass casualties. We must overcome doom thinkers and sayers who invite a world descending, disintegrating into a nuclear disaster. With a world at risk, we must find the bombs in our own lives and disarm them. We must listen to that quiet inner voice which counsels that the survival of all is achieved through the unity of all.
     The same powerful humanity expressed by any one of us expresses itself through each of us. We must overcome our fear of each other, by seeking out the humanity within each of us. The human heart contains every possibility of race, creed, language, religion, and politics. We are one in our commonalities. Must we always fear our differences? We can overcome our fears by not feeding our fears with more war and nuclear confrontations. We must ask our leaders to unify us in courage.
     We need to create a new, clear vision of a world as one. A new, clear vision of people working out their differences peacefully. A new, clear vision with the teaching of nonviolence, nonviolent intervention, and mediation. A new, clear vision where people can live in harmony within their families, their communities and within themselves. A new clear vision of peaceful coexistence in a world of tolerance.
     At this moment of peril we must move from the paralysis of fear. This is a call to action: to replace expanded war with expanded peace. This is a call for action to place the very survival of this planet on the agenda of all people, everywhere. As citizens of a common planet, we have an obligation to ourselves and our posterity. We must demand that our nation and all nations put down the nuclear sword. We must demand that our nation and all nations:
Abide by the principles of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Stop the development of new nuclear weapons.
Take all nuclear weapons systems off alert.
Persist towards total, worldwide elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Our nation must:
Revive the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty.
Sign and enforce the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Abandon plans to build a so-called missile shield.
Prohibit the introduction of weapons into outer space.

     We are in a climate where people expect debate within our two party system to produce policy alternatives. However both major political parties have fallen short. People who ask "Where is the Democratic Party?" and expect to hear debate may be disappointed.
     When peace is not on the agenda of our political parties or our governments then it must be the work and the duty of each citizen of the world. This is the time to organize for peace. This is the time for new thinking. This is the time to conceive of peace as not simply being the absence of violence, but the active presence of the capacity for a higher evolution of human awareness. This is the time to conceive of peace as respect, trust, and integrity. This is the time to tap the infinite capabilities of humanity to transform consciousness which compels violence at a personal, group, national or international level. This is the time to develop a new compassion for others and ourselves. It is necessary that we do so, for at this moment our world is being challenged by war and premonitions of nuclear annihilation.      When terrorists threaten our security, we must enforce the law and bring terrorists to justice within our system of constitutional justice, without undermining the very civil liberties which permits our democracy to breathe. Our own instinct for life, which inspires our breath and informs our pulse, excites our capacity to reason. Which is why we must pay attention when we sense a threat to survival. It is why we must speak out now to protect this nation, all nations, and the entire planet and challenge those who believe that war is inevitable. That is why we must speak out now to protect this planet and:

Challenge those who believe in a nuclear right.
Challenge those who would build new nuclear weapons.
Challenge those who seek nuclear re-armament.
Challenge those who seek nuclear escalation.
Challenge those who would make of any nation a nuclear target.
Challenge those who would threaten to use nuclear weapons against civilian populations.
Challenge those who would break nuclear treaties.
Challenge those who think and think about nuclear weapons, to think about peace.
     It is practical to work for peace. I speak of peace and diplomacy not just for the sake of peace itself. But, for practical reasons, we must work for peace as a means of achieving permanent security. It is similarly practical to work for total nuclear disarmament, particularly when nuclear arms do not even come close to addressing the real security problems which confront our nation, witness the events of September 11, 2001. It is practical to work to make war archaic.
     We can make war archaic. Sceptics may dismiss the possibility that a nation which spends $400 billion a year for military purposes can somehow convert swords into ploughshares. Yet the very founding and the history of this country demonstrates the creative possibilities of America. We are a nation which is known for realizing impossible dreams. If we have the courage to claim peace, with the passion, the emotion and the integrity with which we have claimed independence, freedom and equality, we can become that nation which makes non-violence an organizing principle in our society, and in doing so change the world.
     That is the purpose of HR 2459 (Congressional Bill). It is a bill to create a Department of Peace. HR2459 seeks to make non-violence an organizing principle in our society. It envisions new structures to help create peace in our homes, in our families, in our schools, in our neighbourhoods, in our cities, and in our nation. It aspires to create conditions for peace within and to create conditions for peace within and worldwide. It considers the conditions which cause people to become the terrorists of the future; issues of poverty, scarcity and exploitation. It is practical to make outer space safe from weapons, so that humanity can continue to pursue a destiny among the stars. HR 3616 seeks to ban weapons in space, to keep the stars a place of dreams, of new possibilities, of transcendence.
     We can achieve this practical vision of peace, if we are ready to work for it. People worldwide need to be meet with likeminded people, about peace and nuclear disarmament, now. People worldwide need to gather in peace, now. People worldwide need to march and to pray for peace, now. People worldwide need to be connecting with each other on the web, for peace, now. We are in a new era of electronic democracy, where the world wide web, numerous web sites and bulletin boards enable new organizations, exercising freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, to spring into being instantly.
     The spiritoffreedom.com is such a web site. It is dedicated to becoming an electronic forum for peace, for sustainability, for renewal and for revitalization. It is a forum which strives for the restoration of a sense of community through the empowerment of self, through commitment of self to the lives of others, to the life of the community, to the life of the nation, to the life of the world.
     Where war making is profoundly uncreative in its destruction, peacemaking can be deeply creative. We need to communicate with each other the ways in which we work in our communities to make this a more peaceful world. We can share our thoughts and discuss ways in which we have brought or will bring them into action. Now is the time to think, speak, write, organize and take action to create peace as a social imperative, as an economic imperative, and as a political imperative.
     Now is the time to think, speak, write, organize, march, rally, hold vigils and take other nonviolent action to create peace in our cities, in our nation and in the world. We can share our thoughts and discuss ways in which we have brought or will bring them into action.
     This is the work of the human family, of people all over the world demanding that governments and non-governmental actors alike put down their nuclear weapons. This is the work of the human family, responding in this moment of crisis to protect our nation, this planet and all life within it. We can achieve both nuclear disarmament and peace, As we understand that all people of the world are interconnected, we can achieve both nuclear disarmament and peace. We can accomplish this through upholding an holistic vision where the claims of all living beings to the right of survival are recognized. We can achieve both nuclear disarmament and peace through being a living testament to a Human Rights Covenant where each person on this planet is entitled to a life where he or she may consciously evolve in mind, body and spirit.
     Nuclear disarmament and peace are the signposts toward the uplit path of an even brighter human condition wherein we can through our conscious efforts evolve and re-establish the context of our existence from peril to peace, from revolution to evolution. Think peace. Speak peace. Act peace. Peace.
I welcome your email responses to info@thespiritoffreedom.com or kucinich@aol.com

This speech was given in the House of Representatives on 20th March, 2002 and is reproduced here with Dennis Kucinich's permission. He received the support of 43 fellow Congressmen for his Bill proposing the creation of a US Department of State.
I am indebted to Positive News where I first saw the speech reproduced.

www.positivenews.org.uk

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Stepping ino the Fire

by Christopher Bache - Ions Review March 2002

Months have passed since the events of September 11 held us transfixed, when we watched in disbelief as the World Trade Centre collapsed, killing thousands. Whatever our political affiliation, religious beliefs or social position, our collective destiny changed that Tuesday morning. Events of this magnitude summon us to look deeply into the world we are creating.

A World Under Pressure
I believe that the horrendous attack of September 11 is a symptom of a world under increasing pressure. As a symptom it gives us information about some of these forces, such as the rise of extremist ideologies and the politics of exclusion. But in order to understand what is taking place at a deeper level, we need to understand the severe pressures that are being placed on the human family by the combination of technological, sociological, economic, and social trends generated by the Industrial Era . We need to take stock of the evolutionary fire that humanity is entering as we confront both the unsustainability of our civilization in its present form and the terrible economic disparities that plague the human family in a world becoming increasingly transparent to itself in the mirror of global telecommunications.

The list of global problems humanity is facing is long and well-known: overpopulation, accelerating climate change, massive extinctions, air that is increasingly unfit to breathe and water unfit to drink, exhausted soil and less of it to farm, quickly depleting stocks of non-renewable resources, vast disparities between those who have everything and those who have nothing, and so on. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude and complexity of these challenges. Some readers, tired of being confronted with problems they don't know how to solve, turn aside whenever they see this list coming. And yet, as painful as it is, I believe we need to open to the full implications of the reality facing us.

Each time I have studied these global trends over the past ten years, I have found that the facts seep deeper into my heart and summon forth a stronger resolve, as though I had not been paying full attention before. It is a potent practice to meditate on these statistics until we can see the human faces contained in the numbers. I think that soberly confronting the ecological and social facts of our troubled planet is a prerequisite for those committed to creating a global wisdom society. It is not where we want to stop, but it is where we must start. 1

A World Giving Birth
When we study these facts, our world appears to be falling apart, but from another perspective it can be seen to be giving birth. In order to recognize the deep structure of the forces that are converging on humanity, we need to look at the larger trajectory that is carrying us toward a decisive turning point in our history: The belief that a new consciousness is being birthed on the planet is the most important assertion of this essay, for everything pivots around this conviction…

Birth is a critical moment in life's regenerative cycle, and therefore it is a powerful image with rich implications. Birth is hard work. Coming after months of gestation, labour takes many women to the limit of what they think they can endure. Is it likely that the birth of a new consciousness on the planet will be less challenging? For my part, it seems unrealistic to think that it would be otherwise. The terrorist attack of September 11, the escalating spiral of violence in the Middle East, and the hole in our ozone layer all suggest that the past will not release its grip on us without a struggle.

I think this is one of the reasons why September 11 hit us so hard emotionally. The events of that day were terrible in themselves, but underneath the trauma of the massive loss of life and the aching fear of vulnerability, I think we all felt something shift at a profound level. It is as though our collective water broke on that day, and we shifted from the work of gestation to delivery.

The birth of a new human consciousness will not be completed in one movement. There will surely be other compression cycles in the years ahead as labour intensifies. In the pause between contractions, things can almost seem to be returning to normal, but the magnitude of the problems we are facing will prevent this from happening until we have finally solved them. Once labour begins, life as we have known it comes to a stop. Things cannot continue as before. Priorities change, events speed up, our focus shifts to the awesome work at hand, and there is no turning back until this work is complete Do many of us not feel intuitively that we have entered a different time?

The Dark Night of Our Collective Soul
If the transition that humanity is making can be meaningfully described as a birth process, I think it can also be described as a dark night of the soul. The phrase comes from the sixteenth-century Catholic mystic, St John of the Cross, and refers to an extended period of acute purification that a spiritual practitioner undergoes immediately before making the final transition to deep spiritual awakening. While the metaphor of birth emphasizes the new life that is emerging, the metaphor of the dark night emphasizes the release of old ways of thinking, feeling and acting that precedes this birth. It emphasizes purification, the act of letting go of what no longer serves. The most common image in the mystical literature for this purification processes is fire.

The dark night of the soul is a stage reached only after many lesser trials have been navigated. It represents a process of surrender so complete that it is often experienced as a death. What is dying is everything in us that keeps us small and our identification with that smallness. It is the death of our sense of ourselves as just a physical being, separate from everything and everyone around us, followed by the birth of a more encompassing sense of self that embraces a larger totality.

In my book Dark Night, Early Dawn, I suggest that we can use the experiences of great mystics to model the collective transformation that humanity as a whole is presently undergoing…Viewed from this perspective, the labour that humanity has entered could be described as a dark night of our collective soul. In order for the expected "great awakening" to take place, I believe that there must first take place a "great purification" of our collective soul, a vast opening of our collective heart. We will have to surrender those beliefs, policies, institutions, and practices that divide us and keep us small, and put new, inclusive beliefs and practices in their place. We will have to exchange a narrow definition of our self-interest for an enlarged sense of collective mission.

If we step back and apply a slightly larger historical lens, we can see that this process of purification has already been underway for several centuries in the many liberation movements that have been transforming our planet - the movement to end slavery, to establish democratic government, to re-empower women, to end the exploitation of children as instruments of labour, to end racism and species-ism, and soon. Taken as a whole, the portrait that emerges is of a humanity that is sloughing off its past as quickly as possible in order to make room for something dramatically new to enter history.

Nature Will Support Us
Evolution is punctuated by many crises that have resulted in stunning breakthroughs that could not have been predicted before the crisis. Indeed, nature seems to do some of her finest work when systems move into crisis. In his book, Macroshift, Ervin Laszlo argues that the emerging global crisis is driving humanity beyond its normal operating equilibrium into a non-equilibrium state. This unstable but highly creative situation can trigger the sudden emergence of new, adaptive evolutionary forms in our midst - new social ideals, new values and insights, new kinds of sensitivity and states of awareness. As we engage the considerable challenges confronting us, therefore, I think we can count on receiving nature's support, and this support will likely manifest in ways we cannot now predict.

Everywhere it turns, science is finding evidence of an extraordinary intelligence embedded in nature and its unfolding. From the very small to the very large, from quarks to galaxies, our universe appears to be saturated with a dynamic, living intelligence whose scope we are just beginning to fathom. This being so, I think that we can trust the intelligence behind the transformative process that is emerging in history as well, however challenging it may be in the short term. We can have what I call "strong trust" - a rationally grounded, experientially rooted conviction - that the birth of this new consciousness on the planet will succeed, that the fire will be truly transformative.

As we let go of our past and surrender what is not working in our world, I think we can expect to receive nature's endorsement. We can expect to encounter synergistic opportunities that will not materialize as long as we are clinging to old patterns. This is a lesson that emerges from the experience of people who embrace deep therapeutic change in their lives. Heroic effort is often met by grace. Grace in this sense is the wild response of life to life. The more conscious we become, the more aware and engaged, the more we may expect life to respond to us. If we are implicated in each other's lives as we have reason to suspect, every step we take toward crafting true solutions to the problems the human family is facing may unleash unanticipated opportunities inside the web of life. In history as in our personal lives, holding onto the past will only prolong and intensify our suffering, while opening to change can suddenly catapult us into a world of new possibilities.

The Sensitivity of the System is Increasing
If we apply the insights of systems theory, chaos theory, and morphic-field theory to the evolutionary process we are engaged in, several remarkable conclusions seem to follow. The first is that the species as a whole is actually sensitive to our individual choices. This means that humanity's Collective Consciousness is aware of us, that it senses what each one of us is doing, and it registers our actions in some cognitive way. Second, its sensitivity is increasing as the system moves into unstable, non-equilibrium conditions. This means that as the historical crisis we are engaging builds, the influence of the individual is growing larger.

In a linear view of history, we may feel overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the historical forces aligned against positive, adaptive change. The past is so deeply entrenched in our national budgets and priorities, we may feel hopeless to effect meaningful change. What can one person do to change the outcome of a crisis that has been building for so many centuries? But in a non-linear view of history as supported by chaos theory, the more intense the crisis, the more influence each of us can have on the outcome. The more our collective attention is aroused as we approach the impending bifurcation point in history, the more free floating energy there is in the system available to be catalysed into new forms. This does not guarantee that this energy will be catalysed in a progressive direction. What it does mean is that in the highly charged conditions we are entering, the actions of each one of us becomes critically important to achieving a positive outcome for the whole.

If we individually commit ourselves to finding and embodying the solutions that the world desperately needs today, both the technological and political solutions and the inner solutions of the heart, our actions will reach out and connect with the hidden initiatives that others are taking. Connections that are latent within the system will spring into being. We do not have to be able to see at the outset how our seemingly private decisions will impact the systems we are part of or how they will make a difference but we can trust that they will. When we act with resolve, life responds to life, and the grace of synchronicity and synergistic collaboration can emerge.

Because the process of systems-change reflects the laws of non-linear dynamics, not linear dynamics, our collective transformation may take place much faster than we might think. Under the pressure of extreme circumstances, complex systems can change with lightning quickness. We saw this happen around September 11 when entrenched cultural patterns shifted overnight. New Yorker's attitudes toward their police and fire-fighters changed dramatically in one day. As a nation we are now asking hard questions that we were not asking just months before, and attending more carefully to the international implications of our national policies.

Lastly, September 11 reminded us that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary deeds. When forced by circumstances to make hard choices, something inside us is triggered and we become capable of taking actions we would not have previously thought possible. On that Tuesday morning, we watched people making instantaneous choices requiring great courage, daring, and generosity. Their actions reminded us that we are much better than we tend to think we are, and better than we usually allow ourselves to be. Every time one of us acts with this kind of courage and clarity for the collective good, the transformation of humanity gains momentum.

Christopher Bache.

1. For those who want to see cogent summaries of the facts I am referring to, I recommend the following books: Beyond the Limits by Donella Meadows; Promise Ahead by Duane Elgin; The Choice or Macroshift by Ervin Laszlo; and Eco-Economy by Lester Brown

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The Struggle For Primacy and Dominance
and The Roots Of War

copyright©Anne Baring

Henri Rousseau - La Guerre

What is that sound high in the air
Murmur of maternal lamentation...
Who are those hooded hordes swarming

Over endless plains, stumblin in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only...     T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

As science and technology have advanced, so has proficiency in killing. As the hope for a better world has grown, so has mass murder.                John Gray, Straw Dogs

...This state of unconscious possession will continue undeterred until we become scared of our "god-almightiness." C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, p. 461

Once upon a time, the feeling for the sacredness of life and relationship with the Cosmos was a deep instinct, shared by the whole of humanity. Then, almost imperceptibly, it was lost. For centuries, a tremendous problem has been troubling the waters of the soul. It is this: in a civilisation which is patriarchal in organization and outlook, which has been structured for millennia by a male image of God presiding over religions and institutions created entirely by men, and by a polarising mythology which glorifies power, conquest and the mastery of nature, how can the long-silenced voice of the Feminine, the voice of the Soul be heard? How can we begin to recognise once again the sacredness of the Earth, the sacredness of the Cosmos and the role we might play in a great cosmic drama if we were once again able to bring ourselves into a harmonious relationship with them? How, in the midst of the slaughter of men, women and children can we recognise and honour the sacredness of the body? Centuries of conflict between nations, religions and ethnic groups have brought us to the present time when we must find a way of transcending this archaic pattern of behaviour or risk destroying ourselves as a species. Will we choose to imitate the patterns of the past, or can we embrace the truly immense transformation of consciousness we will need to make if we wish to forge a different future for coming generations?

 

As we watch the ongoing collective psychosis in Syria destroying ever more lives and the unbearable suffering of women, children and the aged trying to stay alive in the freezing cold of winter in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, and the starving citizens of Syria waiting for food and medicine we may wonder why we still believe it is acceptable to slaughter and starve others for control of territory. And for what: for the miserable triumph of one tribal group over another, one tribal belief system over another?

Now we see a new dangerous new ideology rising in the Middle East, murdering helpless people as well as any Shia Muslims it can lay hands on with the utmost barbarism, offering them the choice between converting to their brand of Islam or being decapitated. It is drawing thousands of young men who want to belong to a new Islamic Caliphate stretching from Northern Iraq and Syria round to the coast of Africa as far as Tunisia, no doubt including Jordan and Lebanon. They believe or say they believe that their atrocities are welcomed by Allah. They are not afraid of dying because they believe they will be welcomed in "heaven". How has Islam fallen so low that the love of power has possessed these young men to the point where they appear to be insane. Have they been indoctrinated from childhood by parents and imams or are they just some of a number of unemployed young men with too much testosterone?

Because this is a conflict between Muslims, I am reminded of the words of the late Dr. Zaki Badawi, formerly Chief Imam of the London Mosque and principal of Muslim College, London. This is an extract from an article by him published in The Times, 19/9/2001, shortly after the atrocity of the destruction of the Twin Towers.

"In his farewell sermon the Prophet Muhammad, addressing the thousands of pilgrims at the foot of the Mount of Mercy, said: "God has made inviolable for you each other's blood and each other's property until you meet your Lord."
-----He was reminding them of the Koranic decree that to destroy the life of one individual amounts to destroying the entire human race. (Sura 5, verse 32). The Koran emphasises that those who disturb the peace of society and spread fear and disorder deserve the severest punishment that can be imposed (Sura 5, verse 33).
-----The Koran is replete with many such statements aimed at rescuing humanity from the abyss of tribalism, racism and tribal hatred. Islam enjoins us to have a vision of humanity as a single tribe, each one of its members to be accorded worth and dignity. The unity of the human race so central to Islamic perception is a reflection of the creed that there is no God but the One God.
        The world at large, including the Muslim world, is in danger of sinking deeper into tribalism with all the savagery which we witness in so many parts of the globe. The modern world, having downgraded spiritual values and put in their place materialism and hedonistic interests, is creating a culture without clear and reasonably stable rules of conduct. Individuals as well as societies have their inner peace troubled and have thus given way to aggression against the other."


For over four thousand years war has been glorified as the noblest activity for man, victory and the spoils of war the coveted treasure to be won in battle, courage in the face of death the supreme virtue. Yet now, this archaic ethos is being called into question by many individuals who are saying that, because of its devastating effect on the fabric of civilisation, war can no longer be an option for us. We have to find another way to settle our disputes. Weapons that were unimaginable a hundred years ago can now obliterate the lives of millions of helpless civilians and devastate vast areas of the earth's surface, effectively sending survivors back to the Stone Age. Before we had weapons of mass destruction which can wreak obscene suffering with a single bomb and contaminate the earth for generations, the drive for supremacy between tribal groups and nations was thought not to matter too much, although it has caused untold anguish in the past. But now it threatens our very survival as a species.

Weapons, aggression, defence and war have traditionally been and still are the concern of men. Women have not, until the end of the last century, participated as combatants in war. They have suffered unspeakably, have lost their own lives and the lives of husbands, fathers and sons in war and have had to endure the largely undocumented rape of themselves and their daughters, but in the past their voice has been inaudible. Yet it is as much woman's concern as man's if violence continues to escalate, until, with the immense power of our weapons and our spiritual immaturity, we risk destroying not only civilisation, but even our own species and the possibility of viable life on this planet. Many women are now speaking up, adding their voice to those of men who can see that war leads nowhere and who are appalled by the irresponsible behaviour of politicians who lead their countries into it – politicians whose immaturity and ignorance of the deeper issues involved leaves them ill-prepared to assume such an awesome responsibility. Nothing illustrates this better than the compulsion to embark on the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The conflicts in the world today, the plan to eliminate the "axis of evil", the escalating tension between America and Iran, North and South Korea, Pakistan and India, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the horrific suffering in Syria and parts of Africa throw into relief the age-old patterns of rivalry between clans, tribes and nations. How could we gain a deeper understanding of these patterns which inflict so much suffering on humanity? How could we break the pattern of addiction to weaponry and war?

The Patriarchal Legacy
I think that most people with a knowledge of history would agree that the political and religious structure of society over the last five thousand years of recorded history has been the creation of men. One of the principle roots of war is the archaic pattern of rivalry between men, or the struggle for primacy and dominance between individual men and groups of men. This deeply unconscious atavistic drive lies at the heart of politics, government and commerce in modern society and manifests in all manner of rivalries and conflicts between individuals, nations and religions. Co-operation between men is the foundation stone of civilisation but enmity between them, as we can so vividly see today, can destroy it. Too often, politicians are the unwitting tools of this unconscious drive for power.

For over fifty years the concentration on the development of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons – first and foremost by the United States and the Soviet Union, but also by the United Kingdom, France, Israel, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and now, possibly, Iran – has brought into being the very situation that is most feared: the ability of a nation, group or individual to destroy life on an apocalyptic scale. The threat posed to Israel by Iran developing a nuclear weapon has led to the situation where Israel may pre-empt an attack by using her nuclear weapons to destroy the Iranian installations. America also threatens to attack Iran's nuclear installations by whatever weapons she chooses to use. Reports in May 2011 indicate that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is growing at a rate that will make it the fourth-largest within a decade, behind only the United States, Russia and China. The rhetoric of war put out by North Korea's young and inexperienced leader Kim Jong-un, threatens to draw China and Japan, as well as South Korea and America into conflict. The primary goal of the nuclear state leaders is to enhance their power and status on the world stage. What could wake up national leaders to the realisation that their first responsibility is to the planetary organism, not to the status of their individual nations? War is a habit. It is high time it was relinquished, outgrown.

What is truly alarming is that a single individual who has access to the technology of destruction now has the power to destroy the lives of millions because he believes that the use of these weapons in a pre-emptive strike against a designated enemy is justified or, more dangerously, because he sees himself as the agent of God in eliminating evil from the world and instituting a new order. What is even more alarming is that leaders still cannot see that the actual development and proposed use of these weapons is a moral obscenity, something that corrupts us in our very soul.

The conviction that it is justifiable to murder others in defence of one's own group or territory (with God co-opted to serve that group) has evolved out of the belief systems and the defensive tribal habits that we have inherited from the past. The efforts of the greatest spiritual teachers have attempted to free us from our enslavement to these primordial habits. But their fundamental message – that life is sacred and, at the deepest level, one and indivisible – has consistently been ignored. From their perspective, inventing demonic weapons and using them to destroy the lives of millions in order to maintain or extend our power, even to save our own lives, would be inconceivable. Believing that the sacrifice of a single life is pleasing to God would be unimaginable. In colluding with governments in the development of the deadly weaponry of modern war, in not collectively raising their voice against it, the priesthoods of the world's religions have betrayed their spiritual teaching about the sanctity of life. One of the few exceptions to this betrayal would seem to be Tibetan Buddhism. The fact that India has developed the nuclear bomb suggests that she, like the Christian West, has turned her back on her great spiritual heritage. The demands of a nation's perceived survival needs can easily override its spiritual integrity.

The scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was hailed as a hero and garlanded with flowers after Pakistan exploded its first nuclear bomb. Perhaps his intention in selling the designs and technology for producing enriched uranium to Iran, Libya and North Korea was to equip Islamic nations and America's most feared enemy with the power to stand on equal terms with America and also, perhaps, with Israel. The details of the plans and actual materials for implementing them that he supplied to Libya for building WMD have only recently emerged into the public domain (Sunday Times, 25/6/06). However, whether seeking power for himself or for Islamic states, he has contributed immeasurably to the dangerous escalation of nuclear power. Who thinks in terms of the future welfare of humanity or the integrity of the planetary biosphere when personal greed or these tribal power struggles are paramount?

The Web of Life
Opportunely, as if to help us to change our perspective on war, the discoveries related to quantum physics suggest that the belief that we can achieve a position of dominance in relation to nature, life or each other is, ultimately, an illusion: each of us is an expression of a vast sea or field of consciousness — invisible, and as yet barely recognised by us. We are all connected to each other through our participation in a great living web of life. It would seem that we are, literally, "our brother's keeper". The belief that nation states can continue indefinitely to act as if they were autonomous units, competing with each other to acquire the power to destroy life on a colossal scale is not only the most insidious of illusions but an unacknowledged pathology. In destroying others, or even imagining and rehearsing the destruction of others through the invention and development of ever more terrible weapons, we are, in effect inviting our own destruction and injuring all humanity, not to speak of the planet. In seeking reconciliation and the well being of others, even in the midst of conflict and however great the provocation to retaliate, we are contributing to our own well being and ensuring that of future generations. Each individual who holds this perspective assists in the process of humanity as a whole awakening to and embodying these different values. As Jung observed, "The world today hangs by a thin thread, and that thread is the psyche of man". (1)

The need for psychological insight
One major problem is how to bring these insights, which invite a different way of responding to events, to the attention of governments. The principal duty of government is to provide for the defence of the people and the territory was elected to govern and protect. In a democracy, no government could relinquish this duty without the agreement of the people. The only possibility of change has, therefore, to come from people putting pressure on governments through whatever democratic means are available to them. The worldwide demonstrations against the war in Iraq and against the oppression of the Burmese people by the military Junta (October 2007) are examples of the growing power of individuals coming together to influence and challenge their governments as well as oppressive regimes. The sense of outrage at the killing of helpless civilians in war, the bombing of their homes and destruction of their livelihoods, has also contributed to a growing movement to persuade governments and world leaders to choose a different path. The latest example of the suffering of helpless civilians is the horrifying behaviour of government forces in Syria against a civilian population. The paramount issue today is not the battle between the forces of good and evil but the urgent need for us to develop greater awareness of the evil we name as good because it serves our desire for power and supremacy in the interests of dominance and survival.

A major problem in relation to the recognition of the need for change is that the overarching ethos of modern secular culture is one of power and dominance. At the root of this ethos is the influence of a very powerful solar mythology which polarises light and darkness, good and evil, "us" and "them". It is very difficult to see how deeply we are in thrall to this mythology of supremacy and conquest. We can see it most clearly reflected in the manipulative relationships between the Great Powers (demonstrated, for example, in the deliberations of the Security Coucil of the UN) but we can also observe it in the fact that many scientists and technologists work for the military, in the drive for supremacy in space, in the huge proportion of national revenue that is devoted to the military in the United States, China, Russia, India and Pakistan as well as in the ruthless commercial drive to conquer and control new markets for the advantage of a particular nation or corporate institution. It is the language used in these different areas that reveals the underlying and largely unconscious addiction to power and dominance. The ethos of conquest and dominance is also reflected in the attitude of modern science towards nature and matter, which it regards as something insensate, inferior to and separate from ourselves that we are entitled to manipulate and exploit for our benefit alone.

If you extrapolate this pattern to nations, then you have governments and the political leaders of nations locked into the pattern of competing with each other for dominance instead of co-operating with each other to serve the true needs of their people and the needs of the planet as a whole. For example, at present, 16 states either possess, are developing or are attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. 20 states possess, are attempting to acquire or are preparing a system capable of using biological weapons. 26 states are in a similar position with regard to chemical weapons. All these states and others to follow, are competing with each other in a race to equip themselves with the latest technology of mass destruction. They are eager to "join the club" of the primal nation states who have acquired it. They resent the implicit claim of the United States and the "primal" world powers to decide who should and who should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. We can see this most clearly now in Iran's defiant stance against America. Iran sounds like nothing so much as a younger brother who wants the same toys or privileges as the older ones. That many people identify with a strong leader is reflected in this comment by a young mother in North Korea: "America has the bomb, the British have the bomb and the Chinese have the bomb. Now we have one and we are a strong powerful nation. Thanks to our leader, Kim Jong 11, we have become strong." (report Daily Telegraph, 1/11/06)

The latest race is to make robotic war planes (drones) and there are now at least 42 states manufacturing these. An American general recently (April 2011) blamed a robot for having malfunctioned and killed 300 civilians in Afghanistan. The atrocity was, according to the general, totally outside the responsibility of the people operating the robot or anybody in the American armed forces. It was down to the robot which had not obeyed its instructions. The Americans are now well advanced with the production of a new long range bomber which can carry nuclear weapons and does not need a pilot. This is likely to be the start of a new nuclear arms race.

There are a growing number of individuals who feel a sense of despair at the inability of leaders to move beyond a fixation in this archaic pattern to an awareness of a wider responsibility to all peoples and all species of life on the planet. They see the military branch of governments focused on the belief that only a greater armory of weapons and a more deadly technology can ensure national security (as with Trident in the UK). They see them addicted to the compulsion to follow the old paths of defence and aggression, limited to a pattern of action and reaction that can only perpetuate violence, terror and suffering - all in the name of survival, freedom and even democracy. They observe the sense of excitement in the media at the prospect of war. They see colossal sums of money (over a trillion dollars annually) expended by governments worldwide on weapons and the military while basic human needs such as health, education and even survival are neglected. They see the escalating sale of arms to states whose governments have a track-record of using them to inflict civilian casualties in those Arab nations which are governed by autocratic rulers. The tens of millions of homeless refugees created by ongoing conflicts are condemned to live in ghettos, laying the seeds of future poverty, disease and terrorism. The long-term effects of depleted uranium, cluster bombs and phosphorus bombs on the armed forces and the civilian population of the countries where these weapons are used are now well documented yet still, shockingly, their manufacture, sale and use continues.

The Fukushima reactor disaster has concentrated minds. Germany has taken the decision to get rid of its nuclear reactors. Now (The Times 7/10/11) we learn that the nuclear power station built by Iran at Bushehr on the Gulf coast is inherently unsafe and could cause a tragic disaster for humankind, according to an Iranian whistle-blower. His document claims that the reactor was built (starting in 1975) by second-class engineers who cobbled together German and Russian teachnologies from different eras and that it has been built in one of the world's most seismically active areas. It could not withstand a major earthquake and has no serious training programme for staff or a contingency plan for accidents. A nuclear catastrophe here would contaminate all the adjoining Arab States and the region that produces nearly a quarter of the world's oil production. Apart from this danger, the fourth reactor at Fukushima is still (2013) in a dangerous state of near-collapse, vulnerable to the impact of an earthquake.

The predator/ prey pattern of behaviour embedded in the limbic brain
Where does the propensity, the willingness to kill come from? The drive to conquer, to embark on pre-emptive wars, to develop ever more lethal weapons, to manipulate the balance of power through the sale of arms, to seek revenge, to extend the range of control over others is immensely powerful because it is embedded in instinctive patterns of response to any threat to personal and group survival. Even older and deeper then these, it is rooted in the primordial pattern of predator and prey manifested in animal behaviour – a behavioural pattern which we carry in the oldest part of our total brain system, the limbic brain. The male, being physically stronger and programmed to focus on the hunt has, for millennia, acted as protector of the group and the territory marked out as belonging to the group. But, at the same time, he has acted as predator towards any group perceived as a threat. That group or individual becomes, perforce, his legitimate prey.

It is not generally understood that the instinctive reflexes of the reptilian and mammalian brain which together form the limbic brain system can easily take over the more recently developed neo-cortical levels of the brain. These unconscious survival and territorial instincts may control us in any situation which arouses fear. Once they are activated, these instincts can drive us to actions that our rational mind, in another context, would deplore. Then, if the situation demands it, politicians who have never experienced the horror of war will call for the sacrifice of young men and those young men, their warrior instincts aroused, will courageously and patriotically respond to the call of their leader/s to offer their lives in service of their country. They will sacrifice other men and, if necessary, women and children, in order to protect the territory or interests of the group. For millennia, young men have been conditioned to obey orders instinctively without necessarily questioning the morality of what they are doing. These instinctive drives are also intrinsic to the training of the armed forces in any nation-state: the training to achieve victory at all costs. Superimposed on this primordial behaviour pattern, there is the fear of losing face, of backing down from confrontation, of being shamed and humiliated in the eyes of other men and there is also the sense of honour involved in securing victory rather than the dishonour of defeat. The "primal" male in any given group is watched obsessively by other males for any sign of weakness or incompetence, any flaw which might reveal him to be an undesirable leader in time of war. Any such weakness or flaw is vigorously exposed and attacked, for the strength of the leader is identified with the survival of the group. The "mass", when roused to survival mode by its leader/s, will insist on a belligerent response to attack. Goering was well aware of this when he cynically observed: "All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country". (2)

Projecting the shadow and demonising the enemy
In any conflict, an essential aspect of mobilising collective opinion to justify the regression to predatory or pathological behaviour is the demonising of the enemy and the presentation of the conflict as a simplistic one between victory and defeat, good and evil, right and wrong, thereby effectively polarising two groups or nations in a struggle for dominance. "Those who are not with us are against us". (George W. Bush 2003) It is precisely in these situations that we risk falling under the polarising spell of solar mythology. When we succumb to it, there is little attention given to the catastrophic effects of war on the civilian population of either side. It is assessed objectively as "collateral damage". If our side is to win, the other must be defeated. If our cause is identified with good, the other must be evil and is therefore deserving of the punishment of defeat or annihilation however great the sacrifice - ours and theirs. There is no third way, no in-between state. Barbaric acts are justified on both sides as a necessary means to the end of victory. It does not matter how many civilian lives are sacrificed. Television news reports and documentaries conceal the true horror of war so that viewers will not be upset. Few governments mention or mourn the loss of life on the enemy side, only those lost on "our" side. In four thousand years little has changed. In a situation of conflict where survival instincts are aroused, the leader of a nation or primal male is expected to don the garb of the warrior and win the battle for supremacy. Hence, George W. Bush’s words: "I will settle for nothing less than complete victory". (30/11/05, US Naval Academy, Annapolis) The leaders of Israel, Hezbollah and Iran will express exactly the same sentiment. Like stags locking antlers, there is deadlock until one or the other backs off or is defeated.
     
The danger of such a situation is that these age-old instinctive responses may allow no room for dialogue with the enemy, nor for respecting his reasons for engaging in conflict, nor for recognising the "shadow" aspect of our own motives and actions which, at its most basic and unconscious, is the instinct to eliminate a threat to our survival coming from a rival individual or group. Negative projections will fly back and forth as the enemy is increasingly demonised. The death or elimination of the other ensures our own survival. The fear and hatred intrinsic to current conflicts activates memories of older conflicts. When atrocities are committed on both sides, the reflexive impulse to avenge them makes it almost impossible to contain the primal instincts that are aroused. People or ethnic groups who have suffered greatly in the past will be more sensitive to threat and more ready to defend themselves against it. Anyone who speaks in favour of mediation, dialogue and reconciliation may be regarded as a traitor to the group or nation and may be shamed, vilified, imprisoned or executed. We may remember how, in the First World War, deserters were shot, their name disgraced. We may also recall the 18 year imprisonment and subsequent hounding of the Israeli scientist, Mordecai Vanunu, who disclosed Israel's development of the nuclear bomb—a typical response of a nation that feels under threat.

Religious beliefs may intensify a conflict because the god the group worships is unconsciously identified with the territory to be defended. The loss of the territory implies abandonment by the god, which is unthinkable. The god supplies the overwhelming imperative against doubt and reflection. Beliefs which support the idea of divine reward for martyrdom and the sacrifice of enemy life are manipulated to serve the instinct for group survival.

National leaders driven by an unconscious complex
In the context of the individual, particularly national leaders, archaic drives may be activated by unconscious complexes that compel certain men to seek absolute power in the first place: power to establish an invincible position of dominance in relation to other groups or individuals perceived as threatening to the supremacy of their own position or nation. Equally, a leader may take his people into war because of an unconscious desire to play the role of the warrior-hero, worshipped by millions as the "saviour" of his people. He may fall into a huge inflation, a grandiose state that the Greek tragedians called hubris, seeing himself as the agent of God's will in eliminating an enemy and projecting all evil onto his opponent. He will be utterly unconscious of his shadow: denying or dismissing the evil and suffering he brings into being by the decision to embark on the path of war. In George W. Bush and the late Osama Bin laden we have two prime examples of this pathology. The belligerant leader of North Korea is the latest example of it (2013).

Unconscious complexes and survival instincts may be activated by a charismatic leader in a whole people who are roused to avenge a past wrong, or a long-standing historical persecution or humiliation. A people which has suffered greatly in the past will be more sensitive to threat and more ready to defend itself to the death against it (Israel). In addition, leaders carry the projections and expectations of millions of other such individuals. Because we have lived in identification with the group for so many millennia, and because we have so little understanding of how the collective psyche works, it is extraordinarily difficult for an individual, whether leader or member of a nation, to stand against the immense power of these archaic drives, not to be swept away by the emotion that can spread like a forest fire through the dry tinder of a particular national or religious group and can manifest, as the tension mounts, in the pathology of a mass psychosis. Then, millions of individuals willingly, even eagerly, embrace the barbarity of war and will acclaim a leader whose declared aim is the defeat or annihilation of the enemy. Killing is then exalted into a virtue, even a religious duty, as we can see from the tragic situation in Iraq which developed after the invasion.

As long as we remain unconscious of the deeper motivations that control our behaviour, there will be people who are prepared to murder others to achieve their ends: ends which we are taught and may believe to be noble, heroic, and supported by the god we worship. We will be attracted to fight for causes which polarise a situation into a conflict between good and evil and demonise an enemy. None of us is exempt from the possibility of falling into this collective habit of demonising. Each of us needs to be continually vigilant lest its compulsive power, coming from the unconscious roots of the psyche, takes us over. In projecting evil onto the other, we effectively get rid of our own guilt, our own contribution to the situation of conflict and the past history which has led to the present conflict. On the one hand we may speak of our longing for peace; on the other we may unconsciously subvert the possibility of achieving it.

The Way Forward
Only by bringing these deeply buried instincts into our conscious awareness can we hope to attain a transcendent perspective that could eventually lift us out of the tragic compulsion to repeat the patterns of the past. At the present time, this transcendent perspective is carried by organisations such as the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and by governments and individuals intervening to mediate between disaffected parties. But these may have a hidden agenda and political constraints of their own and therefore may not always act impartially and effectively. (the paralysis of the Security Council in relation to the situation in Syria is a recent example of this).There are a few million individuals, including many women, who are thinking transnationally, in terms of the well being of all peoples and the life-system of the entire planet. But with rare exceptions leaders, political and religious, are still unconsciously in thrall to the old pattern of the struggle for the supremacy of a particular national, religious or ethnic group. The hope for the future lies with those few individuals who have the courage to lift us out of this morass, to speak up against the whole ethos of war, to develop existing methods of conflict resolution and to hold politicians to account for embarking irresponsibly on a course of action which can only lead to further conflict and even a breakdown of the social order and the collapse of civilisation.

When the survival instincts which lie at the root of this ancient pathology are recognised and the unconscious control they exercise over us is acknowledged and addressed, we will find a way to relinquish our addiction to war and the suffering it engenders. It is possible that the recognition of the threat to the survival of our species offered by climate change could break the spell of our bondage to the predator/prey pattern of behaviour. There will be an end to this pattern when a different calibre of leader comes forward, a leader capable of articulating values which draw the highest potential response rather than the atavistic one from the people he represents, who can help them to contain their anger and desire for revenge and can offer a transcendent planetary perspective on the issues involved that would serve the needs, acknowledge the wounds and allay the fears of both peoples rather than polarising them in ever more desperate conflict. Such statesmen or women will emerge as we relinquish the illusion that our own security as a nation or even the world's security can be bought at the price of the sacrifice of the lives of others, as we recognise that such a belief, although still tenaciously held by many, must ultimately become obsolete. As Jung observed, "Everything now depends on man: immense power of destruction is given into his hand and the question is whether he can resist the will to use it, and can temper his will with the spirit of love and wisdom." (3)

1. Conversations with Carl Jung (based on four filmed interviews), Richard Evans, Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1964
2. G.M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, New York: Signet, 1961, 255-6
3. C.G. Jung, Answer to Job, p. 459

The Indian film director Anand Patwardhani has made a remarkable film ‘War and Peace’ (now also a DVD) about the nuclear rivalry between Pakistan and India and the danger of nuclear war between them.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2006 issue of the Network Review, the journal of the Scientific and Medical Network and is updated at intervals, most recently in March 2013

©Anne Baring


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WAR: A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

A Declaration of The Club of Budapest
February 20th, 2003

The time has come for the world community to recognize that war, rather than an instrument for the elimination of terrorists and aggressors, is a crime against humanity. It is itself an act of aggression that threatens human life, and the environment on which human life vitally depends.

No other species kills massively its own kind: war is a uniquely human phenomenon. Such killing was never justified, but it had a marginal warrant at a time when war was waged among neighboring groups for the acquisition of territory with natural and human resources and could be limited to the territories and the warriors of the protagonists. At a time when resources are not limited to defined territories and hostilities cannot be contained, war is neither politically nor economically justified. Given that modern warfare kills innocent civilians, inflicts serious damage on the life-supporting environment, and may escalate to a global conflagration, waging war needs to be declared a crime against humanity. No nation-state should have the legitimate right to wage war against any other nation-state.

The stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction is not a warrant for waging war. Weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional are a threat to human life and habitat by whoever possesses them. They are not tolerable in the hands of any state, whether it is large or small, rich or poor, and headed by a dictator or by an elected politician. Such weapons need to be eliminated from the arsenals of every state, a task that is not the self-declared prerogative of any government but the responsibility of the global community of all peoples and states. There will be no lasting peace on earth until all weapons of mass destruction are destroyed, their production and stockpiling proscribed, and strategies calling for their use replaced by strategies of dialogue, negociation and, if necessary, internationally agreed economic and political sanctions.

Attempting to eliminate weapons of mass destruction with weapons of mass destruction is to fight violence with violence on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, a policy that can end up making everyone blind and toothless. Aggressors and terrorists must be stopped, but war is not the way to stop them.

signed by members of the Club of Budapest.
Contact: Ervin Laszlo: laszlo@etrurianet.it
Peter Spiegel: club-of-budapest@online.de

A WISE RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE
15th september, 2001

The 11th of September suicide attacks on New York's World Trade Center and Washington's Pentagon was an offense against all of human life and every civilization. We condemn this act of terrorism and call to ethical and peace-loving people the world over to join together to put an end to terrorism and violence in all its forms. There is no solution to the world's problems by killing innocent people and destroying their workplaces and habitations.
      If we are to succeed in eradicating violence and terrorism from the world, we must act wisely. Violence and terrorism will not be vanquished by retaliation on the principle of eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. The ultimate roots of violence lie deeper than the fanatic commitment of terrorists and the religious claims of fundamentalists. Killing one group of terrorists will not solve the problem: as long as the roots are there, others will grow in their place.
      The terror that surfaces in today's world is a symptom of longstanding and deep-seated frustrations, resentment, and perceived injustice. We of the Club of Budapest are committed to search for the causes of these hate- and violence provoking factors and to suggest peaceful and effective ways they can be overcome. Until and unless the root causes are eliminated there will not be peace in the world, only an uncertain interlude between acts of terrorism and larger-scale hostilities. When people are frustrated, harbor hate and the desire for revenge, they cannot relate to each other in a spirit of peace and cooperation. Whether the cause is the wounded ego of a person or the wounded self-respect of a people, and whether it is the wish for personal revenge or a holy war for the defense of a faith, the result is violence, death, and catastrophe. Attaining peace in people's heart is a precondition of attaining peace in the world.
      The Club of Budapest maintains that the wise response to violence and terrorism is to help people to be at peace with themselves and their fellow humans near and far. Promoting solidarity and cooperation in the shared cause of fairness and justice is the only feasible path to lasting peace on Earth.

Drafted on behalf of the Club of Budapest (see www.club-of-budapest.org)
by Ervin Laszlo
15 September 2001

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A NON-VIOLENT RESPONSE TO TERRORISM

Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence Magazine.
November/December 2001

I was in New York. I was staying only two miles from the world Trade Centre. I saw with my own eyes the second plane hitting the south tower of the World Trade Centre, the fireball, the buildings collapsing and that horrible mushroom of black smoke and dust. Standing on 7th Avenue, watching it all, I was horrified. Using innocent people to destroy innocent people is criminal to a degree that simply cannot be articulated. Cries of "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God" went out. Yet, I also knew that in the midst of the horror, grace and wisdom must prevail.
      The lives of the great Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. show us, from East and West, examples of what nonviolence can accomplish. But these are only examples: The full power of nonviolence has yet to be explored. Faced with this crisis, we can begin to discover the full richness of that potential. The power of armies and the might of the atom bomb have been found wanting. A razor blade used with deep hatred has left nuclear weapons impotent.
      Violence has been used throughout human history and still, it does not bring us worthy results. If the American people could only choose a nonviolent response, their action would be seen throughout the world not as weakness, but as the deepest and most purposeful moral strength.
      The destruction of the World Trade Centre is the tip of an iceberg, the visible demonstration of a terrible hatred and fear in the world against the wealthy, powerful and rich countries, epitomized by the United States of America. In Seattle, in Genoa, in the bombing of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, we have seen how the frustration of the weak and dispossessed manifests itself in violent protest. If we do not take the path of nonviolence, there will be other terrorist attacks. This fact is utterly predictable. Violence begets violence. We must unearth the roots of terrorism and commit ourselves to resolving the causes of such hatred.
      Governments must provide for the security and defence of their citizens. But parallel with that protection, we must create a new international culture of peace. Peace is the ultimate security, greater than that provided by any government or any armed entity. We spend so much money on our armed forces and weapons. If half of those resources could be devoted to resolving conflicts peacefully, then we might see some good coming out of this tragic act.
      Violence must be overcome with nonviolence; love must overcome hatred. A terrible fire now inflames the heart and soul of America. But when such a fire rages, we must quench it with the cooling waters of compassion. Only in this way can we create a lasting testament; that the sacrifice of so many will not go in vain but will be used to lead people into a new flowering of peace and nonviolence. This is statesmanship, this is true leadership.
      America was unable to resolve the situation in Vietnam through war, but only by negotiation. Peace was brought to Northern Ireland also by talking. Therefore, let there be a conference of all aggrieved parties under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva, where Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, Hizbullah, Hamas, Taliban and other organizations forced into pursuing the path of terrorism can come face-to-face with the governments of the USA, Israel, and other nations of the world. Parallel to the efforts against terrorism, let us try to remove the causes of terrorism. As Tony Blair once said, "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime."
      If we can resolve conflict in Vietnam and Northern Ireland through negotiation, we should be able to do so in the Middle East and elsewhere. So, let us establish a new Commission for Conflict Resolution under the umbrella of the UN. Perhaps Mikhail Gorbachev could be invited to be the head of such a Commission: well-funded and well-resourced, working towards peaceful solutions to all the outstanding causes of terrorism. Such a Commission should have total impartiality and moral authority so that it can command the respect of all parties, in order for justice, compromise and compassion to be promoted throughout the world. This is constructive leadership.

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From the late Dr. Zaki Badawi,
Principal of the Muslim College, London
and former Chief Imam of the London Mosque.

                                           (Published in The Times, September 19th, 2001)

I have retained this article in place because I think it is important that people should have an idea of another kind of Islam than that which seeks absolute power for itself. Yet Islam has been stained from the beginning by violence and the murder of the Prophet's son-in-law - so intent were his murderers on seizing the mantle of power for their own faction.

The atrocity of September 11th is a violation of Islamic law and ethics. Neither the people who were killed or injured, nor the properties that were destroyed, qualified as legitimate targets in any system of law, especially Islamic law.
      As the accusing finger is pointed at a group of so-called Muslim fundamentalists, it might be assumed that Islam fosters violence.There are those who are convinced that Islam and the West are fundamentally irreconcilable. This is naïve. Islam and Christianity (the main element of Western culture) spring from the same Abrahamic roots, and both adopted the Hellenistic heritage. Their ethical principles are not in conflict. Past and even present conflicts between them originate in territorial ambitions or over the acquisition of resources.
-----In his farewell sermon the Prophet Muhammad, addressing the thousands of pilgrims at the foot of the Mount of Mercy, said: "God has made inviolable for you each other's blood and each other's property until you meet your Lord."
-----He was reminding them of the Koranic decree that to destroy the life of one individual amounts to destroying the entire human race. (Sura 5, verse 32). The Koran emphasises that those who disturb the peace of society and spread fear and disorder deserve the severest punishment that can be imposed (Sura 5, verse 33).
----- According to the Prophet, the miscreant should not be granted refuge by anyone. This was a challenge to the tribal tradition of according protection to its erring members as a matter of solidarity and honour. The Prophet instructed that the rule of law is above the custom of the tribe. Islam strove to free society from tribalism with its narrow vision and skewed morality. It abolished collective criminalisation and with it collective punishment. The Koran says: "Whatever wrong any human being commits rests upon himself alone and no bearer of burdens shall bear another's burdens. (Sura 6, verse 146).
----- Taking revenge on the innocent as sanctioned by tribalism is abhorrent to Islam as it is abhorrent to ethical principle. Only the miscreant shall suffer the consequences of his misdeeds. Islam goes even further in the search for peace by calling on the victims of aggression to realise that the taking of revenge can itself become as evil as the act of aggression. "Hence whoever pardons and makes peace will be rewarded by God" (Sura 42, verse 40).
----- The Koran is replete with many such statements aimed at rescuing humanity from the abyss of tribalism, racism and tribal hatred. Islam enjoins us to have a vision of humanity as a single tribe, each one of its members to be accorded worth and dignity. The unity of the human race so central to Islamic perception is a reflection of the creed that there is no God but the One God.
        The world at large, including the Muslim world, is in danger of sinking deeper into tribalism with all the savagery which we witness in so many parts of the globe. The modern world, having downgraded spiritual values and put in their place materialism and hedonistic interests, is creating a culture without clear and reasonably stable rules of conduct. Individuals as well as societies have their inner peace troubled and have thus given way to aggression against the other.
----- No society is immune from violence. The worst type of which is that which dons the garb of religion. The invocation of religion often aims at giving respectability to despicable objectives. There may be a good reason to employ violence to eradicate the perpetrators of atrocities, but it is prudent to look deeper into the prevalence of brutality to discover the source of its seed and the environment which gives it nourishment. It is erroneous to fix our gaze on so-called religious fanaticism. True, we cannot dismiss its effect totally, but it may prove to be a minor player in the multiplicity of economic, political and social factors.
----- The spectre of "The Clash of Civilisations"…should be erased from our minds…We stand together to stamp out terror, establish peace, justice and dignity for every human being.

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America: Redeemer or Destroyer of the Higher Dream?

©Anne Baring 2007

The election of Barack Obama on the 4th November 2008 was an extraordinary and incredible moment in the history of America and, indeed of the whole world. It can be taken as a benchmark in the evolution of consciousness. But it remains to be seen whether, as President, Obama will be strong enough to achieve even some of the aims he set out during his candidacy and whether he will be able to restrain the immense power of the military/industrial complex that constitutes such a threat to humanity.

As a further addendum to this article, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei (Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency) said in an interview with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Chicago): "In total, one out of three Iraqis has had his or her life pulverised because of a war that never, in my view, should have been fought in the first place." (report in The Times, London, September 3rd, 2009).

 

                              Redeem the time
                              Redeem the unread vision in the higher dream.

 -- T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday IV


Could America make a quantum evolutionary leap – a leap that could redeem the unread vision in the higher dream – the dream that the human species might reach a more mature, wise and enlightened level of consciousness?
        The soul of America is a rich and vibrant one, a soul characterized by immense energy, pride and trust in itself. It also carries a strong heroic element reflected in the deep and genuine devotion that many citizens feel toward their country, including the young men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for her. In America, there is a kindness, a basic openness and a warm and generous response to others. Also living in America, are some of the most creative and innovative people in the world whose awareness of the urgent need for a spiritual and political metamorphosis offers a hopeful perspective on the crisis of our times.
        So many streams from different and older cultures have created the range and complexity of the American soul. It has been formed by the original inhabitants of this vast land whose soul was empathically linked to the magnificent and sacred landscape: the forests, lakes, mountains and limitless great plains. Then came the first settlers who, often ruthlessly, displaced and decimated these people, desecrating their sacred spaces: the English, French, Dutch and later German and Scandinavian settlers. Later came the slaves of the southern states forcibly abducted from Africa; the Irish fleeing starvation; Jewish refugees from Russian pogroms and the Nazi regime in Central Europe; Spaniards, Italians, Puerto Ricans, Greeks, and Chinese. More recently, Mexicans, Asians, Poles, Russians, and refugees from the Middle East are flooding into the country – all seeking a better life and, for many, refuge from persecution. The American soul is therefore an extraordinary blend of elements drawn from every continent superimposed on a primordial native soul – altogether a microcosm of the world soul.
        Perhaps this is why the world has looked to America in hope and in trust as well as in admiration for the achievement of melding so many disparate elements into the United States - a democratic union of states that could agree to recognize the authority of one government. And why it is that Americans, having thrown off their subservience to a despotic government in the eighteenth century and fled many persecuting regimes since then, should have a deep sense of loyalty to the Constitution that was drawn up to protect their rights.
        America is the richest, most powerful nation on the planet. Therefore the ethos she lives by and the values that guide her are of great significance for other nations. It has come as a shock to many Americans to discover that their government, while claiming to be acting beneficently for America and the world is, in fact, acting as destroyer of the very ideals and values it professes to serve. To many people outside America, it appears as if the American soul has succumbed to the spell of certain beliefs that endanger both itself and the world. What are these beliefs?

· The belief in technological and industrial progress – regardless of the threat of global warming or harm to the planet
· The belief that America has the right to control the world by the exertion of military and corporate power
· The belief that what is good for America is good for the world
· The belief that God is on America’s side
· The belief that America must be victorious in war
· The belief that the “war on terror” gives America the right to initiate pre-emptive, preventive or punitive wars and to use nuclear weapons if she so chooses
· The belief that America is above international law and need not be bound by the United Nations, the Geneva Convention or the International Criminal Court


Solar Mythology and the Struggle between Light and Darkness

        These contemporary beliefs carry the imprint of an archaic solar mythology that first appears in Bronze Age Egypt and Mesopotamia around 2000 BC and speaks of a cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, portrayed as a battle between a god or hero and a great dragon, serpent or monster. (1) This battle becomes the major theme of the hero myths of the later Iron Age, whether reflected in the Old Testament, the Greek hero myths or the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. So enduring is its influence that it appears in modern guise in the contemporary struggle against the “Axis of Evil”. The American soul is deeply influenced and driven by this solar mythology.
        The word “myth” is generally used to describe something false, unreal. But myth in the Jungian sense can reflect an archetype that structures a whole evolutionary epoch, remaining active for millennia. Viewed from a long perspective of some four thousand years, solar mythology has inspired humanity’s Promethean quest for freedom, justice and power; its passionate quest for knowledge; its longing to transcend all limitations and alleviate the blind suffering and ignorance of the human condition.
        Tracing the long trajectory of solar mythology, we can read the story of the heroic human ego striving to differentiate itself from the matrix of nature, to develop a sense of self and attempt to master and control that from which it had emerged. The drama of the solar quest for light and enlightenment is the drama of the ego’s quest for consciousness and the fear of falling back into the darkness of unconsciousness. The darkness had to be conquered for the light to prevail.
        The integration of polarities is not a theme intrinsic to solar myth. Its primary theme is empowerment, ascent, achievement, conquest. It has helped the gifted or heroic individual to differentiate himself from the tribal group, bestowing many benefits on humanity. It has inspired the American dream of rising through one’s own efforts to the heights of achievement in myriad fields of endeavor. But it has also encouraged the belief that humanity itself is the solar hero, standing above all other species and having the right to exploit the resources of the planet for its own exclusive benefit, leaving other species defenseless against the onslaught of its perceived rights and needs.
        There is still another aspect to this mythology, one that is focused on the goal of territorial conquest. It has implicitly sanctified an ethos that strives for victory at no matter what cost in human lives and even now glorifies war and admires the warrior leader – the power of one man or one nation to lead, dominate and control others. This archaic model of tribal dominance and conquest has inflicted untold suffering on humanity and now threatens our very survival as a species.
        Unaware that our whole way of thinking has been formed by this mythology, America and, indeed, the greater part of the modern world, have fallen into the state of psychic inflation that the Greek tragedians called hubris – a state that was already clearly apparent in their time since they repeatedly drew attention to it. Like the Greeks, we ignore at our peril the message of Sophocles in his great play Oedipus Rex where Tiresias says to Oedipus: “You have your sight, but do not see what evils are about you.”
        Nowhere is solar mythology more active and this hubris more apparent and more dangerous than in the sphere of politics and religion. And no-one was more aware of the dangers of this state of inflation than Jung when he wrote: “We are threatened with universal genocide if we cannot work out the way of salvation by a symbolic death.”(2) On the eve of the outbreak of the First World War, as he recounts in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung had a vivid dream:

I was with an unknown, brown-skinned man…in a lonely, rocky mountain landscape. It was before dawn; the eastern sky was already bright, and the stars fading. Then I heard Siegfried's horn sounding over the mountains and I knew that we had to kill him…On a chariot made of the bones of the dead he drove at a furious speed down the precipitous slopes. When he turned a corner, we shot at him, and he plunged down, struck dead… Filled with disgust and remorse for having destroyed something so great and beautiful, I turned to flee, impelled by the fear that the murder might be discovered. But a tremendous downfall of rain began, and I knew that it would wipe out all traces of the dead. (3)

         Reflecting on the dream, Jung understood that it pointed to a problem that was being played out in the world. He realized that he had to sacrifice his identification with the solar hero and the inflated attitude that seeks power over others. He understood that when an individual or a nation does not become aware of both the light and the dark, conscious and unconscious aspects of his/its behavior, the unconscious power-drive of the shadow may be projected onto an opponent and a crusade embarked on to eliminate an enemy. Hence the world is torn into opposing ideologies; hence walls, psychic and material, are built to separate enemies.
        The solar era reflects an immense evolutionary change in human consciousness, the formulation of an entirely new perception of life that contrasts with an older lunar phase where humanity instinctively participated in an ensouled nature and attuned itself to the great rhythms of the earth and the cosmos. In that era the moon rather than the sun was the focus of consciousness. (4) With the rise and diffusion of solar mythology, coinciding with the advent of literacy, this sense of mythic participation gradually fades. Nature becomes something to be controlled and manipulated by human ingenuity, to human advantage. (5) Earth, once alive with spirit, is desouled. Body is disconnected from mind and mind from soul. The Biblical myth of the Fall describes this process of estrangement, separation and loss—a stark reversal of the participatory way of knowing that characterised older, pre-literate lunar cultures.
        Solar mythology had a profound influence on Middle-Eastern as well as European culture, impregnating Persian, Greek, Judaic, Roman, Christian and Islamic cultures. As the solar age developed, the cosmic battle between the forces of light and darkness was increasingly projected into the world. A fascination with conquest gripped the imagination, leading to the creation of vast empires conquered by warrior-hero leaders, of whom Alexander the Great is one example, Darius another. It was as if the human ego, identified with the archetype of the solar hero or god, had to embody the myth in a literal sense.
        The polarizing emphasis of solar mythology gradually created a fissure between spirit and nature, mind and body, which defined religious beliefs, cultural attitudes and social customs. During this solar phase, the male psyche aligned itself with the supremacy of spirit and mind over nature, woman and body, identifying man with the image of light and order and woman with the image of darkness and chaos. Woman, closer to nature than man, was named an inferior or secondary creation: nature, woman and the body had to be subject to the will of man. (6) The unconscious identification of woman with instinct and nature was the origin of the negative projections onto her that were incorporated into the social attitudes and customs—fused with religious beliefs—that endure to this day.
        With the psychological insight that has become available to us over the last hundred years, particularly through the insights of Jung, we can understand that during the solar phase of our evolution a radical dissociation developed within the human soul between the growing strength of the ego, the light-bearing hero, and the older and greatly feared power of the unconscious instinct—imaged as the dragon that was identified with darkness and the power of nature. Mythologies, as well as religious beliefs and cultural habits of behavior were built on the foundation of this dissociation.
        The supreme achievement of the solar era was the emergence of a strong autonomous sense of self (ego) from the matrix of instinct and the development of the conscious, reflective, rational mind. But this had a high price: Firstly, the inflation of the ego as it drew away from its instinctive ground and began to assimilate a god-like power to itself. Secondly, the subjugation and repression of the instinctual, the non-rational and the feminine which, identified with each other, were perceived as threatening to the hegemony of the masculine ego.
        The unconscious conflict generated by this inner situation has, for millennia, been projected into the world as the drive for power, dominance and control—whether in the religious, political or economic sphere. Simultaneously, the need for the re-union of the dissociated elements of the soul has been deflected into the drive to impose unity on the world by the force of conquering armies and ideologies, whether religious or secular.
        The atavistic behavioral pattern of predator killing prey, already deeply embedded in tribal rivalries and magnified by the polarizing effect of solar mythology, was incorporated into religious beliefs. This encouraged the persecution of people of a different faith and the evangelizing, conquering tendencies of Christianity and Islam as well as the struggle for supremacy between them. The “enemy” was identified with darkness and evil. The murder of heretics and apostates was sanctioned as something approved of by God. The idea that a particular belief system offered a superior path to salvation which excluded and demonized those following a different path was taught as part of a religious tradition, indoctrinating generations of children with this pernicious idea.
        In the political domain, solar mythology ratified persecutory behavior towards the “dark” and so-called “inferior” or “primitive” (more instinctual) races that fell victim to the race for empire of the European nations. It was also the primary influence on the secular totalitarian ideologies which ravaged the world in the last century because these ideologies separated the heroic race or “chosen” social group from those designated as sub-human and expendable. Wherever the word “purification” or “perfection” is mentioned, we hear the call to eliminate the “impure” or “imperfect”. The same tendency to splitting and demonizing is reflected in the attitude of the fundamentalist Islamists to the kaffir (kufr) or non-believer (infidel); an attitude also found in evangelical Christianity where the long anticipated “Rapture” will ensure the salvation of the “chosen” group of Christians while the rest perish.
        The problem for America and for all humanity seems to be that the civilizing influence of religion that emphasizes relationship, service and compassion yields to the polarizing effects of solar mythology whenever unconscious survival instincts are aroused by leaders who name an enemy as "evil." Then, God may be co-opted by either side to support those who identify themselves with "good."
        Closely affiliated with solar mythology is the myth of the redeemer, the solar hero. George W. Bush has assumed for himself a messianic role in delivering America and the world from the “Axis of Evil." Whether consciously or unconsciously, he identified himself with Christ when he said, “Those who are not with us are against us,” echoing the words, “He that is not with me is against me.” (Matth 12:30)
        From one side of the solar divide, Osama bin Laden was named as evil; from the other he was hailed by his Wahhabi followers as the Mahdi, the long-awaited savior of Islam. (7) The aim of both solar heroes is the establishment of a global empire and the redemption of the world from evil. They and the millions who follow them, believing they are doing God’s will, have, from a Jungian perspective, succumbed to an archetypal inflation, identifying themselves, their nation and their religion with the light aspect of the Self and projecting the dark aspect onto their enemy. These possessed leaders believe that God Himself supports them since they are fighting His cosmic battle of good against evil. An archaic mythology extending through centuries of warfare has conditioned us to think only in oppositional terms—victory or defeat. Hence George W. Bush’s words: “I will settle for nothing less than complete victory.” Since, generally speaking, we are not aware of the dangers and the symptoms of an archetypal inflation in leaders and in those who blindly follow them, we have to suffer the consequences of it as its effects unfold.

The God-Image of the Solar Era

         One of the most problematic legacies of the solar era is the monotheistic God-image shared by the three Abrahamic religions—a paternal image that portrays God as transcendent to and separate from creation, thereby splitting nature from spirit. This belief effectively desacralized the phenomenal world and opened the way to its exploitation. It led to the fear and repression of the Feminine and prevented the emergence of a balanced culture which gave equal value to each archetypal principle. The developing ego “grew up” in the shadow of an image of deity that was utterly different from that of the earlier lunar phase where the image of the Great Mother embraced cosmos and nature and all life on earth. This ancient and inclusive concept of spirit survived in Celtic Christianity until the seventh century AD and is still reflected in the words of an Irish philosopher called John Scotus Eriugena (810-77) who lived at the French court in the ninth century:

We should not understand God and creation as two different things, but as one and the same. For creation subsists in God, and God is created in creation in a remarkable and ineffable way, manifesting Himself and, though invisible, making Himself visible, and though incomprehensible, making Himself comprehensible, and although hidden, revealing Himself, and, though unknown, making himself known; though lacking form and species, endowing Himself with form and species; though superessential, making Himself essential...though creating everything, making Himself created in everything. (8)
     

        Jung put this crucially important understanding into two sentences: “It was only quite late that we realized (or rather, are beginning to realize), that God is Reality itself and therefore last but not least man. This realization is a millennial process.”(9)
        From the split between creator and creation in the image of deity has come the current scientific attitude that regards matter as inanimate object split off from observing subject and the resources of the planet as there for our sole benefit. From the belief in a monotheistic God comes the conviction that there can only be one supreme truth, whether offered by a religion, a scientific theory or a political ideology. Until the schism between spirit and nature is healed, the world will continue to be fractured into competing “truths” that deluded and inflated individuals will attempt to impose on others.
        The belief that this material dimension, (including matter and the body), is not co-inherent with spirit, participating in the dimension of spirit, and therefore sacred, led to these being regarded as inferior to and separate from spirit; something, in the Christian tradition that is flawed, sinful, fallen. How then could all human life, all human experience, be valued as something precious and sacred, an expression and vehicle of spirit? How could the life of the earth and all its species be respected? How could people realise that we and all creation may exist within the cosmic being of God or, as Jung put it, within the great unifying field of the unus mundus?

Solar Myth and the American Soul:
Imperialism and the Need for an Enemy

        Much of the world now looks askance at America, resentful of her power, mistrustful of her aims. And many Americans, sensitive to this climate, ask “Why do they hate us so much”? This question could be the catalyst that opens the door to a change of consciousness. When a nation intent on attaining global hegemony, identifies with the archetype of the solar hero, it will need to find an enemy on which to fix darkness and evil. The existence of this enemy will justify its transformation into an imperial power and the accumulation of a huge arsenal of weapons to pre-empt any future attack. Yet, the more inflated and hubristic it becomes, the more likely is it that it will draw nemesis upon itself, whether by attack from without or collapse from within.
        After 9/11 the world held its breath. Would America be able to resist the instinct to retaliate? Could she enter into dialogue with the Islamic world? Could light shine in such darkness? But the moment passed and the window of opportunity closed...
        It may be that the invasion of Iraq has done the world a great service by awakening people everywhere to the peril of allowing two leaders—George W. Bush and Tony Blair—to embark on a war that, far from spreading democracy in Iraq and adjacent countries, has destabilized them and antagonized the entire Muslim world.
        “Operation Shock and Awe” focused only on the success of the invasion. The reconstruction of Baghdad was planned and handled with crass ineptness. (10) Nor was any value assigned to the unquantifiable laceration of the human heart that the invasion would engender for the traumatised veterans of the war, the parents who have lost sons and daughters, and the terrified people of Iraq, four million of whom have fled their homes, many of them now stateless and destitute.
        During a talk given by the Dalai Lama in London in 2004, a question was asked about the advisability of the invasion of Iraq. The Dalai Lama simply replied, “Very bad karma; very bad karma.” In the bloodbath of sectarian violence that Baghdad has become, in the tens of thousands of civilian lives lost, in the legacy of terror, lawlessness, misery and fratricidal strife the war has engendered, we can now see what he foresaw.       

        American imperialism had its roots in the late nineteenth century at the time of the Spanish-American war when the Treaty of Paris of 1898 transferred the Spanish territories of Guam and Puerto Rico to American sovereignty as well as the entire Philippine archipelago of islands. As part of the treaty Cuba agreed to America maintaining a naval base at Guantánamo Bay. The idea that America had a God-given mission to bring democracy to the world was first promulgated by Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) who saw himself as chosen by God to initiate this mission. “More than any other figure, he provided the intellectual foundations for an interventionist foreign policy, expressed in humanitarian and democratic rhetoric.”(11)
        At the end of the Second World War America was the "primal male”—the only nation that had the atom bomb. She felt secure in her ability to confront all enemies. But her sense of pre-eminence was soon challenged by the Soviet Empire which exploded its own atom bomb in 1949. Immediately, Truman took the decision to develop a more powerful bomb, yielding to Teller’s insistence that only the hydrogen bomb—a thousand times more powerful than the atom bomb—could protect America from an attack by the Soviet Union. Opposing Teller, Oppenheimer argued that the bomb, far from protecting America, would escalate the race for power among nations and lead to a catastrophic denouement. Regretting what he had engendered as “father of the bomb”, he saw it as a truly demonic weapon: “an evil thing; a weapon of terror and aggression; a weapon for aggressors.” Like Sakharov, who was ordered to develop the hydrogen bomb by Stalin, he recoiled from the horror that scientists had unleashed on the world.
        In 1952 Teller’s hydrogen bomb was exploded in the Pacific, in a three-mile wide fireball that vaporized the island beneath it. In 1953 the Soviets exploded their first hydrogen bomb and two years later, another. Thus, powered by an unconscious addiction to solar mythology, the race was on to see who could “win” the nuclear race by building the greatest armoury of weapons. Soon Great Britain, China and France had the bomb; then Israel secretly developed it. India and Pakistan were to follow. World peace was now thought to be secured by the policy of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (“MAD”).
        As tension escalated in the Middle East, and America established many new bases on land that Muslims held sacred, Islamic nations were outraged by the West’s political interference in “their” territory. Inevitably they sought to acquire the bomb. They found their hero in the Pakistani nuclear scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who sold the plans for a nuclear reactor to Libya and Iran (as well as North Korea). America was drawn into the struggle to control the demonic weapon she had launched on the world. Einstein’s prescient comment was ignored: “The unleashing of the power of the atom bomb has changed everything except our mode of thinking, and thus we head toward unparalleled catastrophes.”(12)
        Few governments acknowledged the enormity of what they were willing to inflict on a helpless civilian population in order to secure the survival of their particular nation. Each nuclear state was prepared to annihilate millions of innocent people and to pollute the earth for generations in an exchange of nuclear missiles. For the decades of the Cold War the tension between competing empires and ideologies powered the escalation of military technology and, as this developed on each side, it was extended, in the Star Wars program, to the race for control in space as well as on earth.(13) Arguing that the bomb would act as a deterrent, those promoting the arms race did not acknowledge that in an exchange of nuclear missiles, there would, as Jonathan Schell comments in his book, The Fate of the Earth, be no victor and no vanquished: both would be extinguished along with hundreds of millions of helpless civilians.

                The question now before the human species is whether life or death will prevail on the
                earth…No generation before ours has held the life and death of its species in its
                hands…In our present-day world, in the councils where the decisions are made, there
                is no one to speak for man and for the earth, although both are threatened with
                annihilation. (14)

        America now claims the right to make a pre-emptive nuclear strike and is adding to her nuclear arsenal which already comprises over five thousand multiple-megaton warheads and ten thousand nuclear warheads. (15) All this is enough to destroy the planet several times over. The existence of such a huge arsenal of weapons invites their use and encourages other nations to “join the club” of the nuclear nations.
Only a species completely dissociated from nature could collude in such madness. America leads this madness because she seeks world supremacy in order to control the resources vital to her economy - specifically oil. It is as if the violent assault on the elements of matter—itself the end-result of four thousand years of solar mythology—has split the human soul even further. Another symptom of madness is the fact that Christian fundamentalists welcome the prospect of a nuclear Armageddon, believing that it will hasten the “Rapture” and the Second Coming of Christ.
        Between 1950 and 2006, staggering sums were spent on armaments and defense. (16) The proposed budget for 2008 is six hundred and forty five billion dollars—nearly a hundred billion more than in 2007 and equal to the total sum spent on defense by all other nations put together. An additional hundred billion is demanded from Congress this year to finance the “surge” in Iraq.
        While the financial demands of the military-industrial complex were growing, the plight of the poorest section of the American people was ignored. America is a nation of over three hundred million people. Thirty-seven million now live in poverty. Close to sixty million are just above the poverty line. In a nation of immense wealth that proclaims freedom and justice for all, millions suffer from poverty, crime, drug addiction, lack of education, affordable housing and medical care. They cannot live the American Dream. A UNICEF report in February 2007 showed the United States and the United Kingdom at the bottom of the list of the developed nations in the care and well-being of their children. The American soul appears to be split between a fundamentalist evangelical Christianity unaware of its power-driven shadow, and an equally power-driven Darwinian ethos that is addicted to consumption, winning and supremacy. Depraved movies and videos—classified as “entertainment”—glorify male violence and imprint children’s developing consciousness with images of sadism and torture.
        During these fifty years foreign policy became increasingly secretive and the need for security began to erode the constitutional rights of the American people. Illegal operations (including enforced regime change and extraordinary rendition) were carried out abroad and kept secret. The network of naval and military bases established before and during the Second World War was expanded to number between seven and eight hundred in every continent except Antarctica. After 9/11 the prisoners incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay were denied the rights of prisoners of war established by the Geneva Convention.
        From this imperial perspective the Iraq War can be viewed as part of a long-term strategy of increasing American power in the Middle East. Why else would America be building the largest embassy in the world in a protected enclave of Baghdad, supplied with electricity and water when, four years after the invasion, its citizens are barely supplied with either? On the one hand America proclaims noble aims; on the other she subverts the possibility of achieving them.
        If members of the administration of George W. Bush had known the dangers of triggering a mass psychosis in the Muslim world by the decision to invade Iraq, would they have been so certain that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would bring them victory, control of the oil in the Middle East, and a new regime in Baghdad that was compliant with their political aims?
        Had they known anything about the dangers of aligning themselves with “good” and projecting their militarist shadow onto Al Qaeda, would they have formulated that phrase, the “axis of evil”? They could have heeded Nietzsche’s warning: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.”(17)
        From these facts it appears that successive administrations have, for the past fifty years, been intent on establishing a world empire—ostensibly with the aim of defending American interests and maintaining security for the world. The rise of militarism has drastically eroded civil liberties and is leading the country to bankruptcy. It has contributed to a dangerous increase in the power of the executive branch of government and the further transfer of power from Congress to the Pentagon which appears to have become the virtual formulator and controller of foreign policy and expenditure. In psychological terms, it is as if the administration, in collusion with the military, has been acting like an autonomous complex that most Americans have no awareness of and over which, as the ability of Congress to check the power of the executive has weakened, they have no means of control. Fortunately, there are signs that Congress is seeking to regain the powers that the President and the Pentagon have appropriated. But the accusation that anyone who opposes the demands of the administration is unpatriotic may be used as a tool to sabotage this initiative.
        The splitting and polarizing effects of solar mythology can help us to understand the situation in which America now finds herself and, with America, the world. Terrorism is not the only enemy. The real enemy is unconsciousness of the fact that the world is held hostage to an archaic mythology that carries a very dark shadow. Ever more dangerous conflicts will come into being until we develop insight into how we are in thrall to its archetypal power.
        Millions of Americans take pride in the fact that their nation is the most powerful one on earth; millions believe that God has entrusted them with a mission to spread democracy and the Christian faith. How many are aware that America has, over the course of the last century, built up a world empire with totalitarian characteristics and that this is the reason why she is both hated and feared? America is still a democracy; she still supposedly has a free press. With access to the facts there is a chance that the American people may be able to dismantle the military Colossus that now casts its paranoid shadow over the world, inviting a paranoid response.
         John Quincy Adams warned America in 1821 that if she sought to become the dictatress of the world, she would no longer be ruler of her own spirit. America cannot be both a democracy and an imperial power. If Americans could challenge their government’s imperial aims and dissociate themselves from them the impact on the world would be incalculable. It would involve acknowledging the evil America has engendered in the ruthless pursuit of her corporate and commercial interests, her belief in “progress” and the furtherance of her political aims and religious beliefs.
        Yet, it is important to remember that beneath the events of our time is the four-millennia-old history of solar mythology which exacerbated the wound caused by the dissociation of human consciousness from the deeper, instinctive matrix of the soul and the split in the God-image between creator and creation. This history reflects an unconscious process whereby we lost our connection to earth and cosmos and became estranged from our deepest instincts, with the result that we are now possessed and driven by them—possibly to our own extinction. The predatory industrial culture we have created, although beneficial to ourselves in some respects, stands like a tyrant over and against nature, over and against the earth and whatever threatens our supremacy and our needs as a species. There is an abysmal ignorance that the earth is primary and our survival is dependent on the well-being of the earth’s related systems.
        In the Epilogue of his book, The Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas points to a process of awakening that is helping us to recover the ancient participatory way of knowing that was lost during the solar era. This is calling, ever more urgently, for its restoration at a new level that the English philosopher Owen Barfield (1898-1987) called “Final Participation”. (18)

                As Jung prophesied, an epochal shift is taking place in the contemporary psyche, a
                reconciliation between the two great polarities, a union of opposites: a sacred marriage
                between the long-dominant but now alienated masculine and the long-suppressed but
                now ascending feminine...We seem to be witnessing, suffering, the birth labour of a
                new reality, a new form of human existence, a “child” that would be the fruit of this
                great archetypal marriage. (19)

        This epochal shift invites the mammoth task of recognizing and redeeming the unconscious shadow of the solar era and reuniting the dissociated masculine and feminine aspects of our soul. Jung’s insight into the nature of the shadow is one of his supreme gifts to our culture. But, as he wryly commented, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”(20) Making the darkness conscious involves the sacrifice of the inflated ego that would continue in the same tracks of belief and behavior as before, ignorant of the deeper archetypal forces that control it from the shadow. Again, he wrote:

                This is an exceedingly dangerous time and we are confronted with a problem which has
                never been known in the conscious history of man. You cannot compare it with the early
                times of Christianity, because that movement did not come from the blood, but came
                from above, a light that shone forth. This is not a light but a darkness, the powers of
                darkness are coming up. (21)

        Leaders carry and unconsciously act out the collective shadow. Millions collude with their projections because they look to a leader for security when survival instincts are aroused. Government propaganda compounds both the fear and the illusion of safety. To withdraw these projections and see clearly what the shadow is doing depotentiates it, freeing us from being possessed by it. We have enough consciousness now to make this choice, to shed light on our own darkness. This involves dissociating ourselves as individuals from collective beliefs that, far from eliminating evil, cause evil to proliferate. In Jung’s words:

                The immunity of the nation depends entirely upon the existence of a leading minority
                immune to the evil and capable of combating the powerful suggestive effect of
                seemingly possible wish-fulfilments. If the leader is not absolutely immune, he will
                inevitably fall a victim to his own will-to-power. (22)

                                        Alchemy: The Young King and the New Consciousness

         During the last fifty years or so, it seems as if we have been placed in an alchemical retort, forced to live through the fire of transformation, for the most part, unconsciously. The deaths, suffering and destitution of millions of people created by wars and savage oppression, by the sale of arms, by corporate greed and corruption and the ruthless despoiling and exploitation of the earth call for a new kind of spirituality grounded in service to the earth and all its species.
        The new myth coming into being through the triple influence of quantum physics, depth psychology and the ecological movement suggests that we are participants in a great cosmic web of life, each one of us indissolubly connected with all others through that invisible field. It is the most insidious of illusions to think that we can achieve a position of dominance in relation to nature, life or each other. In our essence, we are one. The belief that nations can continue to act as autonomous units, developing the power to destroy life on a colossal scale without their demonic inventions returning to them in the form of an enemy armed with precisely the weapons they have developed for their own protection, is not only an illusion but a pathology—a madness.
        Now we are threatened with annihilation by weapons that may fall into the hands of individuals who will spare no effort to encompass the destruction of a hated enemy. Yet these enemies whom we hope to eliminate in the “war on terror” may be a manifestation of the split-off elements of the totality that are asking for recognition and integration. Evil will continue to confront us until we become conscious of the evil we unwittingly bring into being through our rape of the elements of matter and our wanton abuse and desecration of the earth. Paradoxically, evil may serve wholeness because it is driving us to integrate our unconscious shadow or face extinction.
        Alchemy speaks of the Great Work. What might this be? We are embedded in the world of spirit. Our physical bodies are composed of cosmic elements that come from the stars. We are the living vehicle of spirit but we don't know this. Spirit depends on us in this dimension to rescue it from the imprisoned or buried state to which, in our ignorance, we have consigned it. This work may be compared to the excavation of a precious treasure, bringing to conscious awareness the realization that the rejected feminine elements of spirit—nature, matter and the body—participate in the unity and sacredness of all cosmic life. Alchemy describes an arduous process of attunement to this realization—arduous because it is so difficult to dismantle millennia-old habits of belief and behaviour.
        Alchemy gives us the image of an old king who has to die in order that his son may rule in his stead. These words accompany one of the beautiful illustrations to the sixteenth century alchemical manuscript, Splendor Solis:

                The King's son lies in the depths of the sea as though dead. But he lives and calls from
                the deep: “Whosoever will free me from the waters and lead me to dry land, him will I
                prosper with everlasting riches.” (illustration seven)

        Today, the fate of our species, perhaps even the fate of the earth, hangs in the balance. Will the American people choose to free the young king and the values he personifies from the waters of the deep or will they continue to live in thrall to the values of the old king—the power-seeking values and obsessive need for control which engender so much evil and suffering? Could the soul of America that has given sanctuary to so many different people and races find the insight and courage to make an evolutionary leap, uniting the world in a transformation of consciousness that could draw humanity away from the brink of catastrophe—perhaps even redeeming the unread vision in the higher dream?
        The last words may be left to America’s greatest sage, Thomas Berry:

                The time for action is passing. The devastation increases. The time is limited. The
                Great Work remains to be done. This is not a situation that can be remedied by trivial
                or painless means. A largeness of vision and a supreme dedication are needed. (23)

Notes:
1. See the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish. In Egypt, the myth of the Night Journey of the Sun.
2. C.G. Jung, Collected Works 18, par.1661.
3. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, (London: Collins and Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963), 173-4.
4. Jules Cashford, The Moon: Myth and Image, (London: Cassell, 2003).
5. David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, (New York: Vintage Books, 1996).
6. Plato’s Timaeus and Genesis 1.
7. Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda’s Road to 9/11, (London and New York: Penguin Books Ltd., 2006).
8. Periphyseon: de Divisione Naturae, (Montreal: 1987, translated by I.P. Sheldon-Williams, revised by John O’Meara), 167. The same concept is found in Kabbalah.
9. C.G. Jung Collected Works 11, par. 631.
10. Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, (New York: Knopf, 2006) passim.
11. Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic (New York: Henry Holt & Company LLC, 2004), 48.
12. Albert Einstein, The Expanded Quotable Einstein, collected and edited by Alice Calaprice, (Princeton: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Princeton University Press, 2000), 184.
13. The US Administration is currently in negotiation with European and other governments to set up anti-ballistic missile stations, much against the will of the people of these nations.
14. Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth, (London: Pan books Ltd., 1982), 113, 116 & 188.
15. Chalmers Johnson, 64.
16. ibid, 56.
17. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 146.
18. Owen Barfield, Saving the Appearances, Second Edition, (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1988), 133, 186.
19. Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1991), 443, 444. See also Cosmos and Psyche (New York: Viking, 2006).
20. C. G. Jung, Collected Works 13, par. 335. 21. C.G. Jung, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Vol 1, 500.
22. C. G. Jung, Collected Works 18, par. 1400.
23. Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts, (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2006)

This article has been published in the Fall edition of Spring Journal, USA, 2007, entitled Politics and the American Soul. It may not be reprinted without obtaining permission from the editor.

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Desmond Tutu
Ending Nuclear Evil

Sunday 3 July 2011 Cape Town
Eliminating nuclear weapons is the democratic wish of the world’s people. Yet no nuclear-armed country currently appears to be preparing for a future without these terrifying devices. In fact, all are squandering billions of dollars on modernization of their nuclear forces, making a mockery of United Nations disarmament pledges. If we allow this madness to continue, the eventual use of these instruments of terror seems all but inevitable.

The nuclear power crisis at Japan’s Fukushima power plant has served as a dreadful reminder that events thought unlikely can and do happen. It has taken a tragedy of great proportions to prompt some leaders to act to avoid similar calamities at nuclear reactors elsewhere in the world. But it must not take another Hiroshima or Nagasaki – or an even greater disaster – before they finally wake up and recognize the urgent necessity of nuclear disarmament.

This week, the foreign ministers of five nuclear-armed countries – the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China – will meet in Paris to discuss progress in implementing the nuclear-disarmament commitments that they made at last year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference. It will be a test of their resolve to transform the vision of a future free of nuclear arms into reality.

If they are serious about preventing the spread of these monstrous weapons – and averting their use – they will work energetically and expeditiously to eliminate them completely. One standard must apply to all countries: zero. Nuclear arms are wicked, regardless of who possesses them. The unspeakable human suffering that they inflict is the same whatever flag they may bear. So long as these weapons exist, the threat of their use – either by accident or through an act of sheer madness – will remain.

We must not tolerate a system of nuclear apartheid, in which it is considered legitimate for some states to possess nuclear arms but patently unacceptable for others to seek to acquire them. Such a double standard is no basis for peace and security in the world. The NPT is not a license for the five original nuclear powers to cling to these weapons indefinitely. The International Court of Justice has affirmed that they are legally obliged to negotiate in good faith for the complete elimination of their nuclear forces.

The New START agreement between the US and Russia, while a step in the right direction, will only skim the surface off the former Cold War foes’ bloated nuclear arsenals – which account for 95% of the global total. Furthermore, these and other countries’ modernization activities cannot be reconciled with their professed support for a world free of nuclear weapons.

It is deeply troubling that the US has allocated $185 billion to augment its nuclear stockpile over the next decade, on top of the ordinary annual nuclear-weapons budget of more than $50 billion. Just as unsettling is the Pentagon’s push for the development of nuclear-armed drones – H-bombs deliverable by remote control.

Russia, too, has unveiled a massive nuclear-weapons modernization plan, which includes the deployment of various new delivery systems. British politicians, meanwhile, are seeking to renew their navy’s aging fleet of Trident submarines – at an estimated cost of £76 billion ($121 billion). In doing so, they are passing up an historic opportunity to take the lead on nuclear disarmament.

Every dollar invested in bolstering a country’s nuclear arsenal is a diversion of resources from its schools, hospitals, and other social services, and a theft from the millions around the globe who go hungry or are denied access to basic medicines. Instead of investing in weapons of mass annihilation, governments must allocate resources towards meeting human needs.

The only obstacle we face in abolishing nuclear weapons is a lack of political will, which can – and must – be overcome. Two-thirds of UN member states have called for a nuclear-weapons convention similar to existing treaties banning other categories of particularly inhumane and indiscriminate weapons, from biological and chemical arms to anti-personnel land mines and cluster munitions. Such a treaty is feasible and must be urgently pursued.

It is true that nuclear weapons cannot be uninvented, but that does not mean that nuclear disarmament is an impossible dream. My own country, South Africa, gave up its nuclear arsenal in the 1990’s, realizing it was better off without these weapons. Around the same time, the newly independent states of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine voluntarily relinquished their nuclear arms, and then joined the NPT. Other countries have abandoned nuclear-weapons programs, recognizing that nothing good could possibly come from them. Global stockpiles have dropped from 68,000 warheads at the height of the Cold War to 20,000 today.

In time, every government will come to accept the basic inhumanity of threatening to obliterate entire cities with nuclear weapons. They will work to achieve a world in which such weapons are no more – where the rule of law, not the rule of force, reigns supreme, and cooperation is seen as the best guarantor of international peace. But such a world will be possible only if people everywhere rise up and challenge the nuclear madness.


Desmond Tutu is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and supporter of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (www.icanw.org).
Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.
www.project-syndicate.org

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