Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shine On You Crazy Carbon 2

I really like this title. ;-)

July 29 on The Colbert Report there was an interview with Eric Roston about his book "The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat":

His statements at first are pretty sensible, but since I haven't read the book or much about it I don't know if he moves towards the silliness of the "climate crisis" and all that garbage. But the video is pretty funny.

Well, there are some passages from another book (first published 1990) that I've read while doing some of my shamanic studies. The passages are from the part of the book that examines the Earth element, also associated with the direction West (the four directions and the elements are very central to shamanic thinking). I kind of hate to copy whole, long passages, but here they are anyway, with some of my own notes inserted:

The characteristics of Elemental Earth are solidity, inertia and stability. It is motion at rest. Elemental Earth is elemental 'substance' coming into form and shape and becoming tangible and recognisible - coming 'down to earth.' Matter is that which appears to be. It is important to bear in mind that matter is an appearance, and it is this that makes Elemental Earth perhaps the least understood of the elemental substances.

Okay, maybe those statements aren't exactly scientifically sophisticated, but it seems they are basically correct. Though I'm only going on my own intuitive understanding which is probably pretty oversimplified. "Motion at rest" is a paradox, but it will be better explained in later quotations.

On a practical level, we spend much of our time being concerned with the acquisition of physical, tangible things, but at the same time we dislike the restrictions and limitations that the material puts on us. The West is the place of the material, of appearances, of the world of form, of physical manifestation and of learning to cope with it.

You cannot develop your spiritual awareness by rejecting the material or turning your back on it. The physical and material is all part of Creation, not a secretion to be got rid of in some mistaken quest for 'spirituality', not something to be flushed away as something 'not nice.' Don't allow yourself to be misled by a sense of false spirituality. You are here in the material world of form, and part of the reason for your being here is to learn how to control the material through the use of natural laws and cosmic forces and principles [emphasis mine]. Spiritual work is of little value unless it can be 'earthed.'

I think this points to the root of so many of the delusions and false religions that flourish today. On one hand, there are some who insist and require that we abandon all of our material possessions, and any desire for them, in order to feel spiritually clean. But how is rejecting that from which we are made supposed to be a good thing? I don't understand that line of thinking, and it seems to be synonymous with the vilification of carbon.

On the other hand, sure, we should have balance and not be too materialistic at the detriment of our well-being, but to say that one must 'transcend the physical' in order to become fully alive or whatever is kind of crazy. Personally, I'm not in too much of a hurry to transcend this physical existence because it's too short already. That transcendence will come when I die, and I hope that will be a very long time from now. Please, God, allow me as many carbon emissions as possible for at least 3 or 4 more decades. ;-)

And it is one of those basic laws of nature that we, as part of this world, will and should affect it, "to control the material through the use of natural laws and cosmic forces and principles." That is our very nature, and to deny it is insanity.

Do you not think that it gave pleasure to the Cosmic Intelligence to bring the physical world of form into manifestation? Go out into the countryside or into a park or woodland and look around you at the beauty of the natural Earth. Even though man has shaped most of it by farming, does it not give you a thrill of pleasure to absorb its magnificence? We are not intended to reject the material in preference for some nebulous spiritual alternative, but to appreciate the physical and at the same time to look for the reality behind it. Both in equal partnership.

Whether or not you accept the possibility of some Cosmic Intelligence, the earth truly is a wondrous, beautiful, and pleasurable thing. I know first hand that there are still very many 'pristine' places where man hasn't really altered nature so much, and yes, they are amazing. But we also should acknowledge the beauty and majesty of many of man's creations and alterations of the earth. We get the same kind of pleasure from creating and experiencing material, physical things as that other Creator does. And the results of our works are not always, or even usually, destructive as so many of the false prophets tell us today. We are all a part of this shimmering carbon-based appearance of matter, and I say 'shimmering' because it implies changing, which is absolutely natural and expected.

Physical objects only look and feel solid because their atoms are spinning at fantastic speeds. As in a movie, people and vehicles appear to move but what we are seeing is a succession of static pictures being projected at such a speed that there appears to be movement, but the appearance is, in fact, an illusion. An atom is mostly space. If it were possible to expand a single atom to the size of a sports stadium like Wembley in West London, England, or the Giants stadium in New Jersey, USA, its centre or nucleus would be the size of a pea in a referee's whistle. If this were placed in the centre spot, the electrons would be whirling around it at the tops of the grandstands.

All matter is as roomy as the universe appears to be, and atom particles are like the stars and planets moving about in a continual pattern. If we could travel far enough away in outer space and look back at the universe it too would appear solid.

Kenneth Meadows, The Medicine Way, pages 119-120

Again, the scientific veracity of those statements might be naive and simplistic, but it seems to be close enough. And recall that these quotes are from a book first published in 1990 by a non-scientist. The paradox of "matter at rest" basically means that what we see as matter is like a snapshot of a very complex, busy scene. And using my imagination I can see that from the right perspective the universe might really look like a solid object, perhaps a black marble, or even a black hole which might appear as a solid object sometimes too.

Anyway, I appreciate the intuitive wisdom of the shamanic ideas, but it's all too common for people who try to be "spiritual" to develop a very imbalanced view of the world, themselves, and life. I wish that more people would open their eyes to the physical realities instead of taking one idea or concept and making it the paramount concern. Like the weather. The "climate crisis" is a fraud based on some guys who try to tell everyone that our very breathing is helping to "imbalance" the planet's climate. I'm not certain how this trend has evolved, but I suspect that it is some convergence of the religious ideas that humanity is "fallen" and that the Earth should be worshipped. Neither of these ideas is really valid and their offspring, the manmade "climate crisis," is retarded too.

To be sure I'm not misunderstood I want to explicitly say that I am not discounting spirituality and religion. They are important aspects of life. I am only expressing that there must be more acknowledgement and celebration of mankind's physical existence in this physical world, instead of the self-hatred and false charge that we are destroying our world. There is as much imbalance in those who refuse to acknowledge spiritual issues and concerns, but it seems that refusing to appreciate the real physical aspects of existence is even less morally justified.

Just as Meadows said above, the Earth element is the most misunderstood, and this misunderstanding is a key psycho-social reason for the rise of the anti-carbon movement. I don't know if Mr. Roston is just another acolyte trying to convince people that they are somehow responsible for every bad weather that happens, butit's obvious that too many people have it wrong and have placed man at either too high or too low a position in nature instead of placing us precisely on the earth.

And just so I can add the "sermonette" label ;-) I'll close with a scripture:

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue* it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 1:27-31

*means the same as "learn how to control the material through the use of natural laws and cosmic forces and principles"

I'm sorry if this post is disjointed and incomplete because of the many interruptions I've had throughout writing it. Sometimes it's hard to maintain a line of thought with too many breaks. ;-)

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