Terence McKenna – Culture is NOT our friend

So about Ahmadinejad…

If I could think of one word by which I could express all the thoughts and feelings about Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University… I would probably not speak it, since I’d be too busy explaining people the meaning of life.

It’s just a bit overwhelming really… Let’s just take some of the things we’ve seen in the last 2 days or so.

– “Evil has landed“, very coloured headlines from US media, simply indicating how ‘balanced’ US media is;
– The awfully unprofessional and disrespectful introduction given by the Dean;
– Ahmadinejad reversing the terrorist issue, which I must say was a good point, but a half truth;
– Ahmadinejad actually making good points, such as calling for a referendum and explaining why Iran opposes the US (he did not deny that the Iran was aiding “terrorists” (defined by the US, NATO & a group of UN countries));
– The opportunity of hearing the opinion and views of a majority of the people in the Middle East when it comes to international affairs, and the way American and a lot of other international media simply refused to listen to this opinion;
– The threat of cutting public funding to Columbia University for letting this man speak.. I have nothing to say about this;

It just shows how caught up and fueled we are by propaganda and double-standards. The following is from an article of the Columbia Journalist: “Ahmadinejad made a mockery of the freedom of expression,” said Ari Gardner, a 22-year old student. “He took every single accusation against Iran and lodged it against the U.S. and the western world.”

Of course, dipshit. Has Iran attacked the U.S. before? No. Has the U.S. attacked Iran before? Yes. They have a very different view about current affairs than we do. By turning this around, he points it out, but by being so caught up in this whole “War on Terror” (what happened to “ism”?) you refuse to see the point. Actually, the “war on terror” is a perfect example of Orwellian psychology. Doesn’t war cause terror? Isn’t terror part of war? How can you fight against fighting?

The U.S. is the biggest defender of democracy and freedom, yet in the country itself, laws like the Patriot Act or other terrorism-related laws are breaking down freedom bit by bit from all sides possible. And democracy… Don’t start. The UN should have stepped in during the previous elections, because some strange things were going down. Exactly the type of things the international community sends UN observers to developing countries or former dictatorships for. U.S. democracy is run by money, friends and networks. The U.S. democracy is no better than Iran’s and I’m sure that if they could, these self-righteous, conservative, let’s-use-Jesus-as-an-excuse Republicans would love to execute homosexuals. I bet they envy Ahmadinejad.

So now I’m probably ‘abusing’ or ‘making a mockery’ out of freedom of speech, because I speak my mind freely, which is not what some people want. It seems like freedom of speech is only extended to those that have the least necessity for it. If there was no freedom of speech, they would be the only ones speaking.

It’s time for a change. Not through violence, but through courage and non-violence. Just look at the Burmese monks. Civil disobedience. Just stop taking the crap, just refuse. Don’t fight.

Holy shit, two police officers just came into my office… No idea what they were saying, it was in Bulgarian.. Something about “preventive” and “computers”. Maybe reading 1984 spooked me, but damn that’s scary when you’re typing a post like this. Wooh! Adrenaline rush, haha. I don’t know where I was going with the post, but I guess this is a good ending.

Babel

small_su_logo.pngWe are all familiar with the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. As I was walking the street, I suddenly realized that the interpretation of the metaphor, as it has been explained to me, is still too simplistic. For the people who are not very familiar with the story, I’ll give a short recap. The purpose of this recap is also to help you understand my thoughts, because I’m not very sure I know the Babel story perfectly.

So basically, once upon a time in the old world, all people speak the same language. This makes it easy to cooperate. So they decide to build a tower into the skies and go have a cup of tea with God. After a while (they get pretty high, I guess) God decides he prefers the dead to the living and will have none of these people in his kingdom. So what does he do? He magically makes people speak in different languages (that’s right, languages haven’t evolved over thousands of years either, God made them). So now, these people can’t cooperate anymore and they abandon the tower and spread throughout the world. That’s the story.

I believe this is a spiritual warning. We must not try to ‘be’ with God through material pursuit. This is exactly what we are doing; we’re creating a new Babel. The biggest group of people who speak English live in… China. We’re all adapting to the Latin alphabet and the English language and are cooperating to redesign the world to make it fit our needs. For me, the metaphor of ‘God’ means the sum of everything, all life, nature, matter, energy, ecologies et cetera. So we use our intelligence and capacities to act out of harmony with ‘God’ which I interpret as the all-encompassing ecology. The more we act out of harmony, the harder it will strike back. Maybe next time ‘God’ won’t divide us, but destroy us. The warning is there in the story of the Tower of Babel.

So how do we avoid this destruction? Simple. Get down from the fucking tower and let’s stop acting like Gods. Some people say that we can rape this planet, because “God created man in his own image”, unlike animals or other life. So we get to make the decisions about other life, like God does. Well, let’s turn this one around now and get more philosophical. I hate antitheism, because I dislike angry, arrogant atheists, they are just as bad as any other fundamentalists – because that’s what they are; fundamentalist atheists. However, I believe that “man created God in his own image”, because we have very limited minds, we cannot understand infinity. We don’t know what it’s like to be more intelligent than we are, because you’d have to be more intelligent to understand this in the first place. So God’s depicted as human, because that’s what WE are. We think we are gods, because we depict God as a man.

Let’s make a list of the elements I know from the story of the Tower of Babel and compare them to current society.

Babel

Modern day society

One language

Moving towards one language (English / Chinese)

The Tower

Our quest to create our own world

Splitting up in different languages

Ecological disaster, scarcity, famine, war (sorry)

Motivators: greed, vanity, dissatisfaction with what we are given.

Greed, vanity, dissatisfaction with what we are given.

Mass cooperation

Globalism


I bet there’s a lot more. I think I’ll read the story, because biblical stories or fairy tales are good vehicles for philosophy. Have a look at the work of Daniel Quinn for instance, he writes stories to educate about ecology.

The art depicting this story always shows that they got pretty far with building the tower, so either God is slow and didn’t understand what was going on until they got pretty close, or he’s a sadist. Or maybe God’s not a man… Maybe God is the force of the universe, or the force of nature to be more context-specific. If we pollute, there is no immediate repercussion. However, the more we pollute and the more ‘advanced’ (in our eyes) we become, the harder nature will strike back in the future. I think this is what the tower symbolizes. It shows what happens if we live in disharmony with all that around us, because of vain and greedy mindlessness.

I don’t propose to tear this tower down right now. That would be crazy. We have a long way down first, so let’s start walking. Downstairs we can live in peace, together, in one united world.

Check out all the other religious traditions with the same metaphor.