Ego, Evil, Empire, and the Israeli-Iranian brink: Thoughts turn strange as war nears
“The strong do what they will, the weak do as they must.” - Thucydides, c. 405 BCE, viewing Greek wars.
I teach a history course entitled “Chosen Peoples”: ancient Israelites, pagans and Christians are the topic. With synchronistic wonder, a crisis has come upon us in the Middle East involving Iran/Persia and Israel/Judah.
Canada is not a bit player in this drama. True to his vocation, Prime Minister Harper is taking a lead role as a champion of Western civilization and good friend to the Israeli state. He has been rewarded by being named a Great Statesman by Zionist opinion.
I have not been writing about world politics in a concrete way in recent columns, but I never lose sight of this fact--that all my abstract fascination with consciousness, spirit, God, evil, and human historical development, can be focused to see into politics.
I quote my column of a month ago:
…But politics in our culture has lost any intimate connection with spirituality. Politicians are dismally average materialists. Spirituality, not materiality, will be the quality that brings humanity through the crises ahead. Consciousness must become reacquainted with spirit in political culture. Then we can talk meaningfully about evil, but not before.
Is the deliberate misinformation about Iran, fed to the public in the rich world especially in the USA and now in Canada also, an evil strategy? Yes, evil in intent and in aim. It is a plan by men who have motives for war that are not motives the public will support. So the makers of opinion set themselves to convince followers that Iran is evil.
I quote another of my columns:
… Who can justly be called an enemy? Not Harper, Obama, Romney, Blair, Bush, or Netanyahu, to name some who arouse fierce rage and fear. I am convinced it tells more of value to call such leaders shadows, not substance. What casts the shade?
The shadow behind politics is materialist-minded humans; the male humans who have power over other people, resources, and systems. Their egos endure through this era of transforming consciousness. Evil is here: ego demanding enslavement of many to the will of its Self. Rulers want their power over the material world to continue. They will fight to the death – ours, if they can – to keep it.
In pre-history, it was different. In history as it is written, we cannot find that other world.
In the mind of pre-literate humans, the ego was not something developed into the centre of a personal being; ego was not supported by mental conviction that an interior self was as real as the body. The long development of the sense of Self-identity normal for us today began thousands of years ago. Interior life was originally a tiny part of mind and humans did not perceive thoughts as “belonging” to them. There was no natural “out there” and “in here”, no Self and World. That needed an evolution of cultural mind.
When people had experience of mystery and wonder, human consciousness perceived non-material phenomena behind events. Ideal forms, Archtypes, thoughts, gods, words, angels – all these and others were explanations that served. Were they less real?
A person’s authority over others came from outside, not from “their own” intelligence, talent, bodily force, or character. Power had community obligation. A ruler might sacrifice self to god for the people, for fertility, for peace. We think that is superstition. We think we control our world with our sciences and technology. But do we control this religion called science?
Masters over human community did not exist when consciousness was primal. But we observe animals have alpha-male leaders; our earliest records of human activity begin with leaders, a Gilgamesh, a Noah, an Abraham or a Moses. “Patriarchy” – read, male supremacy over matter and idea -- has re-written prehistory to make it seem leaders have been part of us for all times. It’s untrue. Written history is product of that mind. Writing is a mind-altering landmark in our evolution of consciousness, as language was before. What happened to humanity when historical writing began? Linearity and logic, rationalism and patriarchy, all are ingredients of the new mind that emerged in ancient Near Asia [Egypt, Anatolia, Canaan, Sumeria, Persia]. War and empire rage.
Men do not domineer in defiance of human masses. The masses follow, and even push, them. Again I cite my earlier column when I referred to 5,125 years of imperial male-ego leadership. Since recorded history, big men make war; little men follow. I posit a male instinct for following a “lord;” note our language has no synonym for a female lord.
The power of a mind-set, a world-view, a consensus-consciousness, can seem quite insuperable: it makes some thoughts unthinkable. It is practically unthinkable for us that humanity is not ascending, progressing, advancing. It is anathema to our normalcy, to say that humans once had powers of intelligence and spirit that have been lost. It is an outrage against wisdom to say that material reality has not always been the same then as now, and that things once possible when materiality was weaker are now impossible.
There are esoteric traditions of thought and spiritual teaching that assert all the above heresies are true. They are esoteric now because exoteric normal thought declares humanity is now at the highest stage of its powers as proven by human mastery over material with Western science. The old gods, spirits, and other immaterial beings of stories barely surviving from prehistory, we now confidently label fictions, lies, pathology, fantasy. Humanity has moved through stages of mind; ours is highest.
Consciousness of beings such as the Bible records – “sons of god” or “satans” or “angels” or “asherahs” – were hallucinations of primitive men, assert materialist historians. The gods of the pagans were delusions in their “bicameral minds” according to J. Jaynes in a notorious book “The Origin of Consciousness” (1976). His thesis is not substantiated nor respected.
Believers in the Abrahamic faiths of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims, who are strong among us in the West and uphold the uniqueness of their revealed religions, have made cases that their ancestors were not deluded but “inspired.” God spoke to them -- even walked with them. But these men’s minds knew nothing of non-patriarchal norms.
Prophets (nabi) revealed novel advanced ideas for all humanity: Moshe (Moses) taught a Law (torah) unlike any culture had hitherto invented; Joshua (Jesus) taught interiority of the kingdom (malkhuta) of God, i.e., the sovereignty of our soul and its free will; Mohammed taught harmonious community (umma) in prescribed submission (islam) to the One.
Monotheism, we keep hearing, is better than polytheism. Where’s the proof?
Do we control scientists and politicians more than we ever controlled priests and kings?
Today, Israel, claiming its pedigree from Abraham and Moses, and Iran, with a past no less ancient and distinguished in its pre- and post-Mohammed phases, are at daggers drawn. Behind Israel the monopoly superpower of the USA looms. The materialism of the present consciousness of humanity is different only in degree, not in quality, from the materialism of Kings of Israel, Greece, and Persia, whose egos believed in the power of their God (YHWH-Elohim, Zeus-Ammon, Ahura-Mazda) to defeat the other nations’ gods.
The rulers of Israel and Iran compete for material power in 2012, not for spiritual ends. Our collective spiritual lives will all suffer with the dying and the maimed there. The only victor in this is the mind-set of materiality. War sinks us ever deeper into that pit.
I am minded to agree with Mark Booth who writes [in The Secret History of the World] about this year 2012 and the esoteric tradition; he notes how very many oracles, psychics and religious thinkers including Mayans have pointed to this time for the manifestation of a dark being. He calls it the “Spirit of Materialism,” others use alternate names. (e.g. Steiner’s Ahriman, Revelation’s Beast). If the lands of ancient Canaan-Chaldea are the site of a war that drives suffering humanity deeper into crisis, it will seem eerily apt. That is where so much of our historic descent began.
Charles Jeanes is a Nelson-based writer. His most recent column can be found here.