More Deep Writings...The Crux of Being
Revealing the Paradigm Shift that is Hidden
Within the Self, Society and Nature...for Tomorrow's Learning and Humanity's Becoming.
By Ron O. Cook
Therefore, this "crux of existence" is the reevaluation of how we learn, feel, think and grow within the arena of mind(s) in motion on a plane of existence that at times seems like a dream... but is much more for the seeker of knowledge and the truth of reality. It is that inexplicable condition of constant learning that leads us through what we discern as...being alive. The Crux of being is pointed at the human process of "becoming" whatever we are capable of attaining. This work is dedicated to the amplification of all our known sensory abilities and the more mysterious, intuitional realms that continue to be unused by most of us and furthermore is untaught to the present generation drifting in rampant retrograde.
The curx of being is a verbal extension of localized consciousness that pushes into the continuum of a larger reality - one we must be prepared to somatically experience, mentally grasp, spiritually embrace and then...seriously and universally join. We must do this because we can through the coalescence of the collective mentality.
The begonia plant...a point from
which wisdom springs.
E arly fall in Texas... the morning sky was bright pink and gold -- the air I breathed was crisp as I stumbled downstairs for my morning ritual of coffee and meditation. It had become my habit to sit and stare in deep contemplation upon the world's condition with my empathic-solutions usually tainted more heavily by the power of caffeine. My sacred place of thought was the white sectional in our living room arranged in a U shape around a glass-topped coffee table (with plant), in front of the limestone fireplace which rose two stories. The angular-windowed wall was to the right facing the rising sun. That old flaming orb always seemed to flood my visual field with the most wondrous and colorful light-show...a natural boon to musing via liquid stimuli. As a "flatlander," West Texan, I was "natural-born" to the mysterious ways of sunrises and powerful sunsets. Yet, on this particular morning even the most beautiful sunrise could not hold my attention. It was the sight of the begonia plant's dilapidated state that caused the painful lump in my throat.
A chill, almost chagrin, swept over me as I viewed the once beautiful little plant, which was a love-gift to my wife some seven years earlier. It was now in an altered condition of progressive dissolution -- a total state of collapse and disarray. My "coffee table companion" looked as if it were dying or worse...dead.
I was in awe of my own lack of perception and care, knowing how sturdy it was -- I had missed its change. Thinking of it caused me to remember when I had taken pictures of the six inch "baby" plant with my wife holding it; and how it had grown with our marriage to more-than engulf the confines of the four foot square coffee table. This plant had never, mind you, been abused by anyone. It was very properly nurtured by my wife, who always kept everything in a near-perfect, if not totally perfect state; and I of course, would periodically drip a little watery sustenance as I breezed by. I hoped that my preoccupying coffee-habit had not caused its unfortunate condition.
The plant had always been such a resilient little bugger, weathering some three environs and two major moves as it traveled with its transient owners. Why, it had practically grown up on its own, with slight help from myself. What could have caused its unfortunate demise?
Where bright pink, clover-like flowers nestled in verdant velvety leaves, once greeted any happy guest, destruction now presented its ugly image. It was now a system in a downhill plunge toward entropy...with little energy to sustain the gargantuan edifice that it had now attained. Almost as if "greed" had driven it, the begonia was spread all over the surface of the coffee table, extending even a few inches beyond in all directions, dangling in the void. Toward its core, it once had grown foot-tall branches that shot upwards in skyscraper-like fashion with each positioning for light and space in order to perpetuate trophic existence. Its density-of-growth pattern was crowded to the point that a small "Mayan" figurine, about seven inches in height, was totally lost...unseen by the physical eye but known to the all seeing presence.
As the complexification process was evident above the ground, so it was even more apparent in the compressed state of the root structure below. The begonia had consumed most of its food base replacing its space with tiny roots and in the remaining spaces the plant had filled them with microscopic roothairs. The sight of it reminded me of a population of ants crawling in convolutional frenzy through another population of smaller ants...all writhing in chaos. The total plant had exploded with unbridled growth and had finally reached the point of tremendous stress and disparity between its ability to survive (feed itself) and the very finite, depleted environment in which it was implanted (food source).
Unless outside forces could act upon this disparity-ratio (life to energy source)...the begonia was a goner and "change" was surely in its future. It would either die, or transform from its very essence -- and the last part of its conversion was dependant upon another technology of a different and more complex form...me.
Today, almost 20 years after the punctuated event, the begonia hangs on my back porch. It is merely a shadow of its former self, not as healthy, not as pretty, and much, much smaller...one more example of my many "gnarly" attempts to create the ultimate plant system. But the events of that morning combined serendipitously with a continuum of connectivity to other causes and effects that drew me down to the anvil of hard, creative contemplation on the very "why" of my existence and that of the universe. So the begonia became a catalyst to the alchemy of a new journey...one that has manifest itself in the form of this trek from verbal mentality into and through spiritual exploration beyond traditional boundaries.
M ental catharsis comes via movement into new, more complex realms requiring empathic and dynamic understanding. Old icons fall as new truths dawn upon reason that is birthed on the fly. Thought's roots issue from incorporeality and sustains its reality through will within the somatic/mental/spiritual experience of what we discern, through varying degrees of consciousness, as life. The thoughts I derived from the stimulus (shock) generated by the sight of the dying begonia plant acted as the ultimate catalyst to move my mind toward new levels of cogitation. My mind felt less burdened... cleansed...and ready to focus intently. I was compelled to express this new vision of what was once and always enigmatic. From this eventful day and forward my understanding of absolutes began to dissolve.
Experiencing Thoughts on the Fly
The near-equilibrium (entropic-dying) state of the begonia plant spurred my thinking into a metaphorical analysis, comparing the begonia to society, culture, civilization, universe, and to myself. At every neuronic firing, I began to expand upon burgeoning thought...when from nowhere another thought swept in and concurrently phased with my other concentrations..."this must be how little children feel when the excitement of learning is still a challenge...still a wonder. This is how we should teach all our prodigies." as I sank deeper into contemplation.
Thoughts were firing into the totality of my mind's "position cursor" or the mental reference reader...the controller of focused evaluation. Where were they coming from? They seemed to flow in from an exterior energy field or my deepest subconsciousness, but I must admit, I had not previously thought (top-of-the-mindedly) upon some of the incoming information. My mind began to emulate the texture of a swirling Van Gogh painting full of starry impact. The info came symbolically, in thought-wads that unfolded...and presented impetus toward decipherment; each wave mapping out new vistas for deeper thought at another time; each one becoming a "creativity pit" waiting for me to fall within its privy. All of this was happening and there was nothing other than coffee in my cup of "West-Texas black." What was amplifying my ability to jump to light speed would only become apparent after the journey.
Gazing intently upon the "soiless simi-green" image before me, I caught a glint from the little Mayan ceramic which was totally immersed in the begonia jungle. I was feeling archaeological. My mind immediately flexed to the "Classic Mayan Fall"... and then I received the blinding impact of the real message! In front of me were the mental symbols and added stimulus necessary to examine the "fatal structure of mankind." I had been presented a "double-edged revelation" capable of cutting to the bone...no, the very marrow of reality and exposing some of its story through creative iconical evaluation.
The experience was allegorical...the begonia's systemic fall coinciding and amplifying upon a classic case of man's great problem/s of failed civilizations and failure in himself. Synchronicity (a matrix of coincidence that seems to have higher purpose and connectedness) had made itself readily apparent. The "phosphors" of my mind had been irradiated and were energized, now if I could only drag the propensity of manifest, visceral matter (my body) to my computerized workbench for a little bit of wordsmithing.
A Mayan Reinforcement
A few years earlier than the begonia debacle, I had the deserved pleasure of dragging my body up half of the 365 steps of "The Lofty House of Cuculcan," also known as the Castle (pyramid) of old Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. At this phenomenal archaeological site, (first touched by Edward Thompson and later excavated by S.G. Morley and the Carnegie Institution) I came to realize the smallness of my own self-realization and narrowness of my thinking. Here were the remains of the workings of "Stone Age Man"... granted it was on the more high-tech end of the scale, and everything was made of...stone; yet, the engineering mystique had not dawned on me before. As I began to truly focus on the matter, I realized that this great collection of masonry was representative of only the minutest tip of the proverbial iceberg, when viewed cosmically (deeply).
Upon examination of the magnitude of the site and its workmanship, coupled with the knowledge that empiric scientific minds had worked hard to present what I saw and was reading while I walked -- I realized I wanted more from these enigmatic Ancient Americans. Their minds intrigued me, and I wanted to go beyond the typical five-sensory, numerically infested jargon that I had come into contact with, at every turn of the "page-of-record" portrayed by the signs at each monument on the site.
Who were the sublime people of these ancient ruins, whose structures now served as an intellectual "Disneyland" to the hot and thirsty tourists from Cancun's beaches? It was evident that their minds dwelled much more intensely on the spiritual realm than the shorts-clad, brightly dressed, ever yakking foreigners of that day.
These "Maya" must have tried to understand the character and scope of transitional being and to me it was apparent that they were awed by that concept. The very pyramid that I stood upon was an ascension device, what some would call a transitional object (TO), used to get from here to there, mentally, spiritually and perhaps literally. That they thought upon the process of "otherness" (beyond reality) was in evidence everywhere.
Built level upon level (onion-like), El Castillio was a permanent benchmark measuring the passage of time with every tick of the sun's progress, marked by undulating shadows on the pyramid's inclined sides. Information gleaned from the Toltec/Mayan monument's built-in calendrics aided in the establishment of every important spiritual event practiced by the culture. Like white light in the electromagnetic spectrum, the Castle was symbolic of only a tiny slice of the total enlightenment that was present within the metro site of Chichen Itza, or for that matter, the entirety of the mystic Mayan lands.
The enigmatic Mayan culture/s evolved in the areas of what are now parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. They and their relatives (Olmec?) had been around since before 1000 B.C. In Their classical period 250-900 A.D. they had reached a florescence which included a highly sophisticated knowledge of language, mathematics, engineering, architecture, agriculture, astronomy/astrology, government, marketing/commerce and metaphysical dynamics (religion) which seemed to serve as the catalyst for their very being. By the time the Spanish arrived most of the classic Mayan civilization had been gone almost 600 years.
Their mathematics, based on three symbols...a dot, dash and a shell-like form (for zero) are not unlike our binary system (zeros and ones) which we use for computer work. Interesting...how long did it take our culture to get to that sophistication? (See Boolean algebra-1854 and Claude Shannon, MIT- 1936.) With their mathematics they astronomically derived a calendar which refers to dates as precise as August 13th, 3114 B.C. and has pinpointed solar eclipses that took place millions of years ago. The Mayan calendars, there where three coinciding methods, calculated a year at 365.2420, whereas our present calculation is 365.2422.
Another point reinforcing their advanced state...the Mayans were the only ancient American civilization with a recorded history of their own; although, new evidence suggests that earlier cultures such as the Olmeca and perhaps others (La Mojarra Stela 1) could have been the precursors to the Mayan system of writing. At any rate, the Mayans broadcast on their classic and traditional stone billboards the loudest messages of all Mesoamerican cultures. They recorded on lithic monuments, pottery, papers, and skins, the grand events of their abstruse culture. Though their hieroglyphs remain to be totally deciphered, we may soon have the benefit of viewing an advanced civilization built upon "primary technology" taken to the fullest understanding of nature's provisions. In other words the Mayans went about as far as they could go within a category of earth and stone technology. Their knowledge of Nature surely surpassed ours.
Even today in our "mastermindedness", exemplified in the form of the much publicized Biosphere II project, an experiment to better understand ecological - food and waste processes, including global and scientific processes that will give us a better comprehension of agriculture, and take us to the colonization of space...even in view of the above, the Mayan Culture has much to teach us about living and surviving in a world of environmental and social complexity which is approaching a saturation or compression state.
When one considers what the Earth is taking on just in the form of increasing population, to rediscover how one ancient civilization coped with feeding and maintaining a high-ordered community, would be of great value to our survival in today's complex society. According to Linda Schele and David Freidel in their book, A Forest of Kings , the Mayans did just that for over a thousand years (200 B.C. to A.D.900) with a population of millions (4 -11 million?) crammed into a collection of some fifty plus city-states that occupied about 100,000 square miles. Population density in the lowlands could have ranged from 300 to 400 persons per square mile in A.D. 800. This currently compares with 68 persons per square mile figures for the U.S. The Mayans accomplished this unbelievable feat through what must have been on or above par with what we are now trying to attain with the research of Biosphere II and other ecological projects.
One has but to look at the massive public structures that inundate the Mayan lands, with its metro and suburban areas supporting populations as large as 500,000 persons (Tikal area - 50,000 metro), to realize what's really involved here. Most of the once urban sites and almost all of the suburban sites are still left unexplored and unexcavated (90%?) by today's archaeologists and anthropologists. They sit, still hidden under jungle growth and the decayed remains of the conquistador's attempts to cover up the magnificence of their engineering and subsequently their agricultural prowess (raised fields, canal systems, and arboreal succession).
Though the present day Mesoamerican farmer slashes, burns and then plants his land, the ancient Maya had to be much more sophisticated to support such large populations. New satellite photos show evidence of raised-platforms and canal remains all over the ancient lands. Theirs was to farm within the harmony of nature, considering every element impacting the condition of a growing situation. In their view, growing could take place on the hillside or in the swamp...all predicaments were met through evaluation of what plants would work with others in a mutualism of ecological design perhaps not addressed since the Garden of Eden.
The Mayans were much more sophisticated than most archaeologist or anthropologist have indicated when they stress the wars between the cities or the rituals of blood sacrifice by the leader/kings or priesthood. The Mayan culture also was preoccupied with science, art, government, marketing, philosophy, letters and health. According to Mexican physician Xavier Lozoya, the Mayans were also involved in the scientific evaluation of medicinal applications to curing what ailed them. Omni magazine (August, 1991) indicated his research has shown that the 1500 different plants the Mayans used for herbal prescriptions, were even more effective than their modern medical counterparts. As research goes on into the use of ancient concoctions, will we soon discover that the source of this knowledge of the past was achieved as ours is today...through the scientific process of evaluation and research? Lozoya has shown that the Mayans bested today's medicines for diarrhea and athletes foot. What other secrets still lay hidden in the jungles of the Maya?
A civilization so endowed and imbued with great structure and fine aesthetic touch cannot reach such high levels of advancement unless it is well fed...spiritually and physically. To those ends the Maya must have known something that we are still searching out...evidence...our Biosphere II project and our increasing amoral and criminal aberrations. Not to say that the Maya were perfect -- some would point to the bloody sacrificial hype of a "bad press" first leveraged by the greed of the Spanish conquerors of Aztec Mexico, as additional cause to kill off the native Americans who were in the way of their goals and gold. Many believe that it was a respect and fear of the Mayan religion that kept the moral populous in line for hundreds of years -- until the last days, when violence became the norm rather than the exception. Had the Maya civilization still been around in their classical mode, the Spanish might have never conquered Mexico.
While their culture was structured in a power that controlled civilized functions via sacrifice of some sort to their complex gods, their people prospered in peace. The great city-states exploded via a commerce that many of today's marketers would easily recognize as genius. Disagreements were most likely settled on the ball courts and if that didn't work, there was always bloodletting by the self-sacrificing leader. It was done in front of all the people to show their love for their deities and their brave dedication to their people. Would that we had leaders of that ilk today. Ceremonial war might have also garnered a warrior-king who if captured would serve the king of another city, and perhaps would eventually sacrifice himself to regain his being via the ball court or the pyramid of godly ascension.
Recognition must have been at the depths of their reason--recognition by their gods. The fear of this religious ceremonialism, kept most of the commoners in line. They feared the law of consequences and stayed away from the tops of those pyramids and the responsibilities that went with anyone who dared to step into the arena of leadership. Warriors however, were always admired for their fearlessness. If they were fearless, the people must have felt protected for a while.
Today, we apparently do not have the religion or the laws that keep our society in line as did the Classic Maya. Without some morality and governmental solidity, our society will see our great city-states decay from within as did the Maya in their last days. When the ancient kings and chiefs became greedy for larger possessions, their selfishness turned from ceremonial wars and ball games of religious sport, to full blown war against the very people who sustained the infrastructure of the Mayan society. Tradition, religion and education began to fail to serve as the bonds that held their people together. Adversarial behavior eventually exploded to tear their society apart, as it will ours, unless we go back to an ordered and moral tradition that was once positioned by our founding fathers. The Maya show us that the political-warrior cult (third-party manipulation) will forever eat away society because it is based on survival of the cultist-self over the social-many through violence. Perhaps we should return to some of the more religious ceremonies of ancient America that publicly "took care" of persons desirous of self-destructive behavior. Those of us that are imbued with machismo are the hell-raisers of civilization's destruction. Reason must prevail
In its present form, the old story of life's game is still perpetuated by a Mayan history that is incomplete to say the least. One must also remember that, in comparison, our society may be viewed as savage and immoral (electric chair, lethal injections, drugs and etc.) by tomorrow's "advanced" civilization. Though unusual bloodletting was part of Mayan social and religious life, archaeologists are still at odds as to the true meanings of such ritualistic processes and that these ceremonies had any impact on the Maya's final decline is still unknown.
What was the emphatic punctuation that nudged the delicate balance of the stressed infrastructure of the Maya, that brought on the eventual end of this great yet misunderstood civilization? Archaeological evidence suggests that the Maya did indeed turn against each other in the end. Many sites indicate fortifications were thrown up with stones from once beautiful buildings, to shield groups from attacking marauders. New geological data also indicates that volcanic activity might have been the straw that broke the back of a top-heavy civilization which pushed its resources to the ultimate disparity. If an eruption such as Mount St. Helens, did indeed occur in the 800 -950 A. D. period, as some believe, it might have impacted agriculture and food chains to such a degree that self-destruction was all that could have taken place in those last Mayan days.
By the time Cortes and the Spaniards arrived on Cozumel Island in 1519 the great Mayan classical civilization had ceased to exist some 600 years earlier. For the most part what remained of their grand structures were already engulfed by the creeping vegetation that was once their agricultural support source. In 1697 the last vestiges of anything even close to being a Mayan kingdom, came to a close with the flight of the Itza natives from their homes, routed by the Spanish in one of their final cleanup sweeps. The great written records of the Maya which were kept in book form were all destroyed by the representatives of the Catholic Church (Landa?), except for perhaps 4 surviving folding codices. Most of what we have in written form is inscribed on the stone walls of their once great cities.
Currently, one may find the generational-children of the ancient Maya in fragments scattered throughout their ancient homelands unable to read their ancestors glyphs and speaking vague versions of their old languages. They are represented by broken bands and small villages of persons who still keep traditions of whatever has been passed down to them by word of mouth. Some of their tribe, even today, still harbor rebellious thoughts such as the insurgents in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Could it be that the Maya will once again rise to their old glory? Or, are they as smoke from a last remaining ember still struggling in a rain of modern-day technology and sociology, destined to suffocate in a forest of bureaucracy as in the days of old. Not unlike any previous great civilization, they also experienced self-destruction in the abysmal trough of the cyclic wave. That old grave seems to always prohibit a leap from one crest wave to the top of tomorrow's higher-crested civilization.
Why were the Mayans caught in the proverbial cycle -- that old accommodating endless grave of mankind that always seems to awaken on the scene as a beautiful morning than suddenly turns into a horror filled evening and in finality, the night of death descends to darken all hope? Will this too be our fate?
Examining the Mirror of Being
Begonias and ancient civilizations can mirror the actions of mankind's attempt to overcome the basic fault that lies at the very core of our being. We search for our reflections within the glassy eyes of others in a self-imposed journey to verify our personal existence at each fleeting moment. The quality of that existence is desire for reinforcing an urge to be loved from the outside of ourselves by the other. The terror we constantly move away from is the fear of non-being. reinforced by non-recognition from others who may be worse off than we are. So, deep inside humanness one may find that his/her entire life is truly spent denying the chasm but also seeking at the same instant, the void's answer to the point of all this... the process of existence and being human.
What is the cause... the worth...the benefit, of being in this world? What is the crux of being? The begonia plant, the fall of the Mayan world and my thought process were metaphorical question marks that seemed to animate the gestalt balance of my mind on that day when I decided to search for more meaning than any one person should or could explore. Why did I dare to push into the darkness of the void? The pursuit of such knowledge would take me far, wide, deep, and beyond to a thought realm of unquenchable information gathering. I felt I would discover that the very cause or the reason-for-being, could be found in the act of becoming. Mental amplification might even show me the way to truth, the ultimate field or ground of the essence of existence. But...what was I becoming as a result of this questioning pursuance? I was leaving behind the person I was, never to enjoy the innocence of not-knowing...forever on a journey that would take me far away from my former dimension of reality.
I was also becoming materially poorer. Once a person gets into an intellectual bondage that requires constant feeding of information, one finds that satiation occurs only through frequent visits to a costly bookstore or inadequate library. And that's where I could be found at any free moment; whereupon, I would ravenously search for books of current copyright, books of any intellectual relationship, and books of ancient thought. I spent my time relating the new physics to ancient metaphysics and archaeology to modern sociology. I became a "trendy" futurist totally fluent in the jargon of technology...seeking a "trekie" high in anything that would show me a glimpse of the potential that would soon shout in my face unannounced and wrapped in "nowness" or "nanoness." Every fountainhead of science became a victim of the feeding-frenzy that had come to grip my state of mind. Example: the "electronic" gurus at MIT became my heros as a result of their Media Lab explorations.
Being and becoming encompassed every aspect of existence so I had to compress data into info-chuncks that could be digested by my hungry mind and my increasing passion. All this preponderance of information had to be interconnected and correlated into something that I could focus upon as a crossroad, a benchmark, a cursor...or at least a POD (point-of departure) toward unknown territory.
The great paradigm-quest has become a preoccupation of many searching minds as of late. Some explore religions, science, metaphysics, philosophy or shopping; while others seek themselves in the strategy of governing or financial power. Money drives most of us yet others use knowledge. Scientists point to the edges of the Universe and still wrap themselves in numerical formulas that point to reductionism. "Big Bangs" can be heard around the world as one more seeker thinks that the root of existence has been found only to fail when prior conditions must be considered. Most of society, perhaps 99.9% of us, could care less. Their point-of-departure is manifest in the tip of a needle or a slug off the top of a bottle. Stuff-collecting seems to be the engrossment of most. Life has a way of wearing us almost as clothing...a way of taking us from one instant or event sequence to the next without our being totally aware that we are being worn-out, yea--even eaten by its vibrating grind of unimaginable jaws. Life is indeed the consumer of life.
Vibrant motion, as in movement through and with/in space thus creating the illusion/reality of events, would be my starting point for determining the crux of human beness. It would be the Light created by movement (or the reverse) that would shine on my reasoning. At first I thought of this process as kinematic versus nothingness or challenge to the preclusion of response, then the old "cause and effect" syndrome set in to bring me back to the preoccupation that there was nothing new to be explored...yet I pushed my mind to think on and seek things I had not contemplated before. The process I was involved in was being -- consciously, mentally and corporeally.
If spirit existed, what part did it play in my being? Motion was taking place as my mind flitted from light-pattern to light-pattern. I could almost discern interlacing thoughts in between the primary thought nodules that I perceived as polarizing attractors. In my mind's eye, I was positioning myself within event modules, upon event-systems and within event-sequences...and each increment was being monitored by something (myself--the little man inside?) for as much power and control as I (or it) could get within each event. I was being...I was leveraging the mental environment.. that something exterior to myself that adds up to self-gratification, self actualization...self-knowledge I began to see the categories of myself and something else. There was me...and there was the other... or was there? Was there something outside of all this so-called arrow-of-time (experience sphere) that I would eternally know as the Enigmni -- the ultimate, absolute unknowable, therefore unreachable? I was up against the void, that blackness of the darkest. Was this absence of light really the brightest of all light...yet still unseen by that lens-of-the-mind, the brain of ordinary man? -- the going got rough here.
More to Come...