Hurled into the Dark
My manuscript for “The Bone Chalice”, or at least one version of it since it began as my Div School master’s thesis in 1982, has been posted to Academia.com where I’m told it’s being read. Academia makes its money by charging membership to see who reads it and where they are, but I don’t really care about specifics and am not nursing a career, so I don’t pay them anything. Others, esp young scholars, probably should. They are more motivated and worldwide than the Humanities network. (H- preface, like H-Amerindian) Book publishers should note that I’m getting more readers from Academia than from Amazon.
Two forces now: one is that the ideas about sensory thinking and basics like liminal time and space, have become common among many people. The other is the scary impact of more recent research: the illimitable vastness of time and space, the actual mechanisms of the cell, the shared horizontal web of DNA, the shared deaths of climate change, the intractable nature of political nations. As the solstice approaches (Dec. 21) we are doing studies of the Sun with a small theoretically heat-compensated satellite circling ever closer. That is, as the darkness comes, the danger of knowledge increases.
So I’ve ended “The Bone Chalice” because it is too close to the perversion of the “brain in a bucket” thought of the past, augmented by computers to believe that thinking is everything. I meant to suggest the fire of thought contained in the cup of the skull, but that’s outdated. it’s just another strategy for compliance to goals defined by someone else, someone guarded against the protests of the general population. Now I go to feeling and what I feel is the dark.
The dark is not as much of a problem of what one realizes when the dark pulls back, revealing who one really is, what the world really does, and the basic fact that this universe feels nothing, responds to everything, gives “hominins” no privilege which is demonstrated by how many versions have come and gone without leaving more than their bones and a little of their creations.
We are narcissists, all of us, no exceptions. Yet self-care is one of our worst dangers, leading us into blindness and numbness. Our families are not as nurturing as those of chimps, and yet we can’t settle on a new alternative and maybe we shouldn’t. Some families are killers. I’m not talking about hired assassins but about narcissists who can’t even extend their circles to the children who come out of their flesh. And they actively seek to kill the children of others.
The answer to famine is not some laboratory where fake meat is invented. The answer is people who are close enough to the earth to make food from plants and animals. The first to die of hunger will be the city dwellers, but they will come marauding the rural. The records of this happening again and again are ten thousand years old. War, displaced people, desperation, are as old as agriculture. Once fishing was a dependable alternative but not anymore.
The internet and satellites give us a whole new world, but it is very fragile and depends upon the harvest of energy. Our power grid could be ended in a flash by a solar outburst, a hacking teenager, a powerburst of mammoth proportions, by the breakdown of the polar jet stream, a hostile rival, or corporate fear of starting overwhelming insurance claims from fires started by unmaintained powerlines.
Because the lives of humans are short, but not as short as those of dogs, we ignore the big shifts that have previously wiped life away from the face of the planet. We don’t let people know or like anything that is different, stigmatizing and starving them, entangling them in preying behavior so we can justify killing them. Amazingly, the victims of stigma who learn to help each other can create alternative civilizations, like those that have grown up around deafness or HIV, so that eventually they become powerful enough to force what they need out of the main culture. Two capacities save humans: the tendency to group for a common reason and the tendency to be different, to resist all groups, so that there is always a survivor.
Probably the hardest part of investigating the “dark” is going into the subconscious because it contains the accumulated history of all previous creatures from fish to reptiles to mammals to primates. Our jealousy, hatred, sociopathy, territoriality, and a lot of other destructive wiring is in all of us. Realizing that is so dangerous that one needs a guide, a supporter, someone to prevent us from choosing death long enough to figure out our lives. In my experience, most therapists are not strong or responsible enough to do this. Some are. Their strength doesn’t come from learning but from facing human struggle.
I’m keeping a random list of random importance or relevance as ideas occur. As follows so far:
- Suffering: why do we? It’s not all physical but sometimes mental and emotional. Nausea is a torture strategy. So is grief.
- Mystery: not only do we not know stuff, but we know that there is stuff we can’t even grasp or imagine, stuff we can’t know we don’t know. Knowing it exists is not to realize what it means anyway.
- Blood soaked earth: the image of the blood of the victim is renewed by every murder mystery. We can find traces of battles that are noted in the Bible, valleys with no blood you can see, but plenty of bone. Blood is an excellent manure. It is also a powerful laxative. Blood cells have no DNA.
- Dark wash of sleep: Without sleep our brains are overwhelmed by hallucination. When we sleep the brain cells pull in their edges and plasma fluid washes among them like the canals of Venice taking away the unwanted. Not all dark is bad.
- Evil: The universe is not capable of morality. It is indifferent. Evil is in our response but we project it onto other sources.
- Violence: Using force to compel some end is a slippery subject. The taboo on using violence can cause violence or BE a kind of violence, failing to act.
- Death: One of small legal entities that allows physician-administered death has had so many requests that they think of withdrawing the provision. They’d rather see people die in plain sight on the sidewalk, or in the view of monitoring cameras during confinement.
- Truth: One could say this is the death of the self-image.
- Deception/performance: At what point does theatre become a lie? Or does it tell us what is truly true?