By Ted Seth Jacobs, Artist-Painter
Mes Illusions, La Maison-Musée de l’Artiste
Les Cerqueux sous Passavant, France
could be anywhere. On planet Earth deep underground, beneath mountains in the
The overarching universal unifying principle of Erehwyna is the respect for human life. Human life is considered sacred. In the ethic of Erehwyna it absolutely cannot be deliberately destroyed under any circumstances. No religious belief, ideology or political cause is as valuable as a single human life. On Erehwyna it is unthinkable, considered insane, to kill another human because he or she thinks differently from you. It is pointed out that after all, any belief is in fact only a collection of words invented by people. Of course, this is a belief too, but no one has ever been killed because of it. It is blatantly obvious to them that any belief or ideology that condones the destruction of life in its name is not worthy of serious consideration. To Erehwynans, at this still early stage of the Twenty-first Century, earthly humans seem at a very primitive stage of development, barely out of the cavemen era. In fact, they don’t think Earth’s cave people could have been as violent as they are pictured, or the human race wouldn’t have survived.
The idea of a world society based on competition is absurd to the inhabitants of Erehwyna. Reduced to its logical result, competition leaves only one person standing -- the one best at killing. Even an economic attitude of competition engenders a belligerent stance. To any Erehwynan it is supremely obvious that cooperation is beneficial to everybody.
Similarly, they don’t understand the will to power. Their maxim is: “Anyone who seeks power is psychologically unfit to wield it.” Power seekers are characterized as mentally defective, and are hospitalized.
The respect for human life was established many thousands of years past by the philosophers of Erehwyna. They taught that if you kill another human being you are effectively negating the value of human life, including your own. It could be said that you are metaphorically killing yourself.
One of those ancient sages was very pragmatic. He said that it made evident sense that we should act to make ourselves feel good. For example, even if life had no meaning or purpose, if you kill someone, you are instantly transforming an amazing and unfathomably complicated creation into a piece of garbage. Rotting meat. It seems safe to assume that you will enjoy life more if you think of yourself as that wondrous work of creation rather than as walking garbage.
His morality was very simple. If you think your action will make you feel bad about yourself, don’t do it. He wrote that no one likes to be in the company of someone who is depressed, angry, vicious, crabby. There is one person we are obliged to live with all the time, ourselves. Ergo, better make yourself someone you are happy to be around. Likewise, if you know you will feel bad about doing something, better not to do it.
Another of these old ones pointed out that any conception of God was necessarily an idea in a human mind. Otherwise put, a projection of ourselves. Therefore it could be useful to realize that when we worship whatever god, we are effectively worshipping ourselves. There is not especially anything wrong with that, if it improves our life, as long as it doesn’t lead us into confusion.
Even if we say the mind of God is unknowable, we are presuming to know something about it, we are reducing it to human parameters. If we qualify it as unknowable, that is what we think it is. The philosopher wrote that if it is unknowable, how can we know anything about it? If the mind of God is unknowable, we must allow the possibility that God enjoys human suffering. You may say that is unthinkable, but if you can’t know the mind of God anything is possible. It was also written that it is entirely possible that we can ask questions that the human mind is not equipped to answer. They said that regressive questions end in mystery. What came before that? If that is an end, a limit, what surrounds it? The consensus of the ancient wisdom was that it was impossible to know anything with absolute certainty.
They posited that for example, what we assume to be our everyday reality could possibly be only a projection of our own minds, like a movie we are constantly creating, without realizing it. Similar to the old Chinese question: “Am I a man dreaming of being a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming of being a man?”
Their sociologists found that we all make each other. That is to say that how we act toward, or even think about another person, elicits reactions in that being. We all influence each other. If you treat another civilly, you are more likely to be treated with respect. If you approach a person aggressively, you are very likely to stimulate an aggressive reaction. If we humans continue to slaughter one another we are likely to produce angrier and successively more aggressive generations. It’s a grim prospect. It alarms the Erehwynans, as we shall see.
Erehwynans have bizarre conceptions about language. In millennia past their linguists found that every new acquired word in a person’s vocabulary was embedded in a situational context. That is to say, from the emergence from the womb -- and perhaps even before -- whenever we heard a word we were aware that something was happening in our immediate surround. Something was going on. Further, it was assumed that we had some kind of emotional reaction to that event. They believe that the individual’s unique emotional reaction gave a sort of coloration to the sense of the meaning of the word in question. There was a subconscious linkage. Presumably, as no two people are exactly alike, no two situations are, and each person’s reaction to any situation will be to some degree different. Putting all this together, it was concluded that every word had a different meaning to each person.
They wrote that it was a question of the scale of observation. If one looked at any word very broadly, in a general sense, it could be said that it had a universally recognizable meaning. However, if one, so to speak, looked at the word under an electron microscope, the universal meaning would shatter into millions of individual emotionally colored interpretations. The conclusion was that words in fact had no true universal meaning. Examined with minute attention, we were all just making animal noises at one another.
The philosophers went even further. They contended that there was no real correspondence between a word and the object it represented. In their convoluted thinking our experience was one form of perception which was essentially wordless, sensorial and conscious. The word we could use to describe it was, so to speak, temporally tacked on after the fact, and in itself another form of our experience totally unlike and actually disconnected from the experience it was putatively describing. Direct experience, they contend, is one sort of world, and the word belongs to a different linguistic world. Two completely different worlds. They say that people of other cultures are very drowsy, unnoticing. Well, what they really think is that we are asleep on our feet.
has it that that at some original time humans didn’t use language, and could
intuit telepathically the feelings of others. They enjoyed a direct means of
communication. As the invention of language progressed this ability atrophied,
and we are said to have slowly lost much of our telepathic abilities. I have
read that some indigenous people of Africa and
They also contend that there is a time lapse between seeing or thinking of an object and then connecting it with a word. This lapse is so infinitesimal that it passes unnoticed. The Erehwynans do not believe that the eyes, for example, see with a word attached to the image, both image and word manifesting simultaneously. This, according to their curious way of seeing things, also means that from one instant to the next, we are actually not exactly the same person. They seem obsessed with splitting philosophical hairs, but that is how they are. Consequently, everything is in a constant state of flux, and words tend to immobilize change, as if boxing in what is ephemeral. They will tell you that language is a convenience, that it gives people a rough idea of what is thought and felt, a sort of tangential experience. This is considered a two-edged sword, since it may facilitate human interactions, but can often by its illusory nature, cause grave dissensions. Words then can stimulate loving empathetic feelings, as well as deadly antagonisms.
socio-economic system is even more peculiar. Its origins are lost in the mists
of time, and reputed to have been old when the pyramids rose on the sands of
It is considered socially unacceptable to accumulate. This is enforced by moral suasion rather than law. It just isn’t done. There is no opprobrium attached to having just enough to live reasonably pleasantly, but anything seen to be beyond that limit will condemn the accumulator to absolute social ostracism. No one will be seen talking to such a person. The outcast will be imprisoned for a life sentence of solitude. The policy is so ingrained that no one even thinks about it or envisions anything different.
This came about in some remote period when the elder wise ones deemed that it was beneath the inherent nobility of the human being to be obliged to spend a life scrabbling around for subsistence, like a chicken scratching in the dirt for worms. The wise ones could also see no point in accumulating a lot of things. What for, to what purpose? Was that what the human was made for? Life, after all, was considered as a sacred gift. Theirs was a profoundly humanistic culture. They noted that material things had no capacity to feel for you, talk to you. You could sit in a chair, but it couldn’t console you or give you affection, or discuss anything with you, share its feelings, compare and exchange experiences. People who dedicated their lives and energies to accumulating things were considered mentally deficient, insane.
As far back as any remembered traditions or historical records reach, money didn’t exist, as is still the case. The total production of goods and necessities is placed in emporia, everything is without cost, and everyone takes whatever they wish. The work force is completely voluntary. Liberated from the necessities that constrain us, and aware that their efforts contribute to their own well-being, there is never any shortage of volunteers. On average they work about four hours per week. With a life free of the stresses and anxieties attendant on a materialist consumerist culture, they consider it an honor to pitch in and help. As a race they have had many thousands of years head start on our own, and the major part of what we would consider work is done through their advanced technologies. Many of these are implanted or grown inside the body, and it appears that Erehwynans can materialize their intentions! Well, as the saying goes, our own ancestors two hundred years past would look on our present technologic abilities as magic.
Can you imagine what our life would be like if we had no material worries? In effect, the Erehwyna life style has liberated an incredible Renaissance of creative and intellectual energies, and with such an immense dose of freedom and ease it is practically impossible for them to feel resentful or frustrated. There is a simple answer to the question of how they could have achieved such a state. In what they call their “Archaic Period” they had as many recurrent wars as we produce today. The archaic period gradually came to a close when their technology reached a very high level, far beyond what we have today. That gave them two options. Either utterly obliterate themselves, or change radically.
The basic problem, I was told, was that the evolution of the human component, our characteristics, had not developed with the same rapidity as our scientific and technologic abilities. Our emotional nature was maturing at a very very slow pace, almost imperceptibly.
It was deduced that our nervous system could not cope with the power in our emotions. We were unbalanced. In a word, crazy, all of us, by our very nature. Our emotions were a threatening problem. Their civilization, I was told, had reached the critical stage at which humanity finds itself today. In tandem with this unbalanced condition, their scientists had harnessed the limitless energy in the vibrational character of matter itself. As is usually the case with such advances, it was a double edged sword. As an energy source, its scope was as vast as our imagination. If it were weaponized it could destroy all life with a single shot. It was the first time in the history of the planet that such a conjunction became possible. We had achieved critical mass.
Researchers came finally to the conclusion that all our decisions and resultant actions were unconsciously controlled, in the ultimate analysis, by our emotions. We were, in effect, living puppets moved unaware by the strings of our emotions. Emotions came in all flavors, and it quickly became obvious that in relation to our survival factor they could be divided into what were called positive and negative emotions. The positive promoted our survival and growth, the negative our annihilation. Something had to be done, quickly.
No one ever suggested removing all the emotions. No one wanted a population of robots. The neuroscientists began an intensive research to pinpoint the locations of the negative emotions, if indeed they could be physically localized. This eventually was found to be the case. The dangerous situation of the time, what was felt to be a tipping point, was thoroughly explained to the population. After experimentation with orally ingested drugs and injections, it was finally discovered that controlled radiations could be focused on nano-sized points in the brain which could effectively render those negative emotional centers inactive. Everyone agreed that this would be a desirable improvement and willingly submitted to the treatment. One immediately visible effect was that most of what is considered government became superfluous. There was nothing left in people requiring control. Rather than governing bodies, all that was needed were administrations to keep public functions running smoothly, and most of them were in any case long since directed by Artificial Intelligence and robotics.
Their transportation system was radically different from ours. They reasoned that in cases where thousands of people were going to the same destination it was preferable to park the vehicles on moving belts. At the approach to towns and cities the belts would slow to allow vehicles to access exit roads. At some point cars were designed to drive themselves, but later they could be mentally controlled by a driver. Curiously, their wheels were spherical, which allowed a car to turn on its own axis, or park moving sideways.
I wondered why the Erehwynan civilization didn’t appear to have any influence on our own, why were they “in hiding?’ Early on they realized that their development had split off in a different direction from ours. Especially due to our violent nature and lack of respect for human life, they judged their culture and conceptions could never be amalgamated into our ways of life. Their minds too seemed to work in different ways, and, as was indicated earlier, they considered that as a race our branch of humanity was essentially insane and dangerous. I was told that our brains functioned differently, that we were unable to understand or connect with theirs. Their only recourse was to settle elsewhere, in hidden locations, and leave us to our own destructive devices. Since they were physically indistinguishable from us, they could station Erehwynans around the world among us as observers.
I was at my preferred outdoor café table one summer day when a woman asked if she might sit with me since all the other places were taken. I was never told why, but apparently I was selected by this “observer” to learn about her people and disseminate knowledge of their civilization to us ordinary earthlings. In fact, we are approaching the same critical self-destructive phase as they had undergone so long ago. I was told that technology has an ineluctable evolution of its own, and unless we modified our explosive emotional natures we would engender a catastrophe. Our competitive ethos, consumerism, violence, were all increasing exponentially by convergence, cumulatively reinforcing their negative effects and sending us into a dizzyingly rapid downward spiral. Normally Erehwynans prefer to go their own way, pursue their idyllic existence in hiding, but they feared that our madness could impinge on their own way of life for those who chose to remain on Planet Earth.
Even though I am ludicrously, abysmally ignorant in matters of science and technology, I can’t help but feel intuitively that we are awkwardly stumbling and bumbling toward what the Erehwynans mastered eons ago. For instance, something about bending light rays -- whatever that means -- to make invisibility cloaks, and its opposite, doing something else to create the illusion of real objects that aren’t there. Witnesses that have had rare glimpses of the Erehwynans report seeing exactly this sort of stuff. It feels as if Erehwyna is our future, waiting for us to arrive.
As you might expect, my interlocutor explained that even their approach to sex is different. Since they eliminated those negative emotions, there is no aggressivity in sexual relations. No drive to possess, to humiliate, to dominate, conquer, to use. I would call their sex “fusional.” It is more a desire to become one with their partner. A sort of losing and finding one’s self, giving one’s self up. I was informed that Erehwynans are very passionately interested in meditational practices and accessing other planes of reality -- or what we would call reality. For the adepts, it is claimed they attain extraordinary levels of euphoria, which were described to me as feeling akin to shattering our commonplace sense of individuality and merging with something cosmic. They say that this produces a transcendent joy, for which the sexual orgasm is a sort of preparation, if you like, a training ground. The impression I had was that without that earthly conditioning the spiritual ecstasy might blow a fuse in our brains. My table mate told me that a large part of their practice consisted in shutting down the constant chattering going on in the mind. She said that if we can shut it off, other knowledge spontaneously dawns in the mind. That sounded very fascinating, and I asked how they did it. She said that he couldn’t speak about those things, and that even if she could, if I hadn’t experienced it I couldn’t understand what she would tell me, and if I had there would be no need for her to explain it. That was a bit of a tease, but I wondered if there was a link to their concepts of the limitations of verbal expression.
This was all very strange. Things I had never thought about. Very bizarre ideas. I never read that kind of stuff, but it was as if a science-fiction fantasy novel had come to life. The thought flitted through my mind that I might simply be talking to some kind of lunatic. I asked if I might call her by a name, and he said it was Anya. At least that didn’t sound like a sci-fi name.
I was interested to hear whether there were the arts on Erehwyna, and if so what forms did they take? She said that indeed art in all its forms was a very important element in their lives. Anya then remarked that there were two important factors involved in the production of art. The first was to keep in mind that any and all art was a precise reflection of the nature of its creator, the artist. It could be nothing else. It was a mirror of the artist’s total being, the nature of the person, an extension of all the artist had thought, felt and experienced, distilled into a form, a work of art.
Secondly, with the exception of literary arts, the messages expressed through painting, music and dance were not transmitted by words. This was important, Anya said, because what the art contained -- essentially the nature of the artist -- was instantly apprehended through the visual process and assimilated into our being. I had never quite thought about art that way. As soon as we see these arts, she said, they become part of us. Of course, any form of literary expression passes through the eyes too, but tends to afford us the opportunity of questioning the expressed concepts. There is usually a moment of “Yes, but, no, maybe,” even if subconsciously. That is to say that the passage of the message from artist to spectator is not quite as swift and smooth.
For this reason the Erehwynans consider it very important what kind of person is creating the art. For example, our painting style called Expressionism often is a visual scream of extreme anger. The painter that concentrates on an overemphasis of picky detail doubtless has an obsessive nature. Terrestrial art is capable of expressing the most sublime positive minds as well as the most egregiously negative. Since we disposed of those negative emotions, she said, our art cannot contain them.
Architecture too has an enormous influence on the human psyche. Like a painting in its frame, we live within our architectural surround. It is blatantly obvious to us, said Anya, that your architecture is deliberately designed to dehumanize your society, to diminish the sense of the importance of your own human life. Its very scale reduces you proportionately to the size of a bug crawling along its baseboards. Of course, she continued, we understand that your enormous towering buildings are concomitant with your economic systems, but surely a style more attuned to the bodily forms of its human inhabitants could have been invented. The flat angular inorganic shapes of your buildings give a sense of having no place in them where the shapes of the body will comfortably fit. Your architecture is all straightnesses, and the human body all curves. The materials too are absolutely inhospitable to human flesh. Glass-hard flat smooth surfaces that one can only painfully collide with. The exteriors too repel any approach. Enormous sheets of black glass, designed to isolate and imprison those unlucky enough to work inside. Unmodulated, unadorned forbidding blackness.
ecclesiastical architecture too is incomprehensible to us. All the prophets who
founded your religions preached in the wilderness, the deserts, under the trees
Erehwynan analysts predict that your religions are on a slow slide to extinction. Their judgment is that present day people are not mentally equipped to believe the messages of your religions. They have become too conditioned to the profit and loss thinking of accountants. The materialist drive is incommensurate with the religious ethos of thousands of years past. If the objective of those beliefs was to foster brotherly love, humility, peace on earth and altruism, they have so far not done their jobs, they are failed systems.
believe the function of music is to reinforce the tranquility of the mind. It
seems to them that much of our music is designed to do the opposite, to excite
us. The form of such compositions builds to a crashing climax, before tapering
off to a lesser one at the finish. The Erehwynans
find it highly irritating, and the expression of disturbed poorly balanced
minds. As they have observed, as soon as these rhythms enter us they resonate
and entrain with our receptive cells, and even release into our systems bodily
fluids of a harmful nature. Their music is more reminiscent of gently rising
and falling tides, murmuring undulations
and zephyrous winds, but no stormy seas or hurricanes. It is similar to
the classic music of
Their pictorial art doesn’t require paints and brushes. They can project an imagined image either onto a surface such as a wall, or even into another’s mind. This is done through minute mechanical devices implanted in the body. Anya was reluctant to describe these in any detail, because she said non-Erehwynan humans today would likely use the technology for destructive ends.
Certain of their people seemed especially gifted at imagining the images to be projected, in fact, just like our own artists, and are highly admired and respected. The walls in a home could even be treated to ‘develop’ and preserve images projected on their surfaces.
Their pictorial art and dance had in common that the designs they made in space led the eyes along specific paths. Both created shapes and forms the eyes unconsciously followed. These movements affected our feelings. So to speak, the art led the heart. Anya wished to emphasize to me that although the negative emotions had been excised from her people, that in no way prevented each person from having a distinct character, with special tastes and preferences, abilities and mentalities. Each was definitely an individual. For each person, their philosophers said, they distinguished two forms of knowledge. These were designated as Intellectual and Experiential.
Intellectual knowledge consisted of learned concepts or descriptions, couched in words. We have already been told what Erehwynans consider the limitations and vagaries of linguistic expression. Verbal constructions are images or representations of an experience, after the fact, and stand as symbols for experience, in the same way that a photograph or a painting suggests something seen, but is certainly not the actual object. Anya told me they think of these visual forms as a kind of codification, standing in the place of experience. The photo is a translation of light reflections on a piece of paper. A painting is a collection of colored patches of paint that establish relationships on a flat plane. For a realist the relationships between all these patches are as coherent as those that are seen in the visual field, and as similar in tone as paint can suggest. Again, it is a visual code. Their mentally projected pictures are no different in this respect.
Experiential knowledge, as the name suggests, is made of movements in the consciousness, direct sensations and perceptions. To put it simply, when we see a photograph, what is on its paper, the printed information is intellectual, but the act of seeing it is experiential. I suppose we earthlings would call it first and second hand knowledge. Erehwynans will tell you that it is impossible to know what something feels like, to really understand it viscerally, unless it is experienced. For example, we cannot know what it feels like for a person in constant pain. Of course, we have all felt pain, and can extrapolate from that direct experience, but that will still be an intellectual description of the actual state. We can imagine, but not actually feel what it is like. Another unfortunate person in the same condition will understand it experientially.
In the same way, Anya mentioned, it is really impossible for us to understand experientially scales vastly beyond the size of our own bodies. She did qualify that by saying that mystics can escape the limitations of bodily apprehensions and achieve identification, or union with the cosmos. For the rest of us, we cannot comprehend experientially a number such as a million light years distant. Or for that matter even scales within our own bodies, such as trillions of cells, billions of neurons and synapses. The words are easy enough to understand, but our comprehension ends there.
I was further told that Erehwynans believe that our human consciousness is a binary system, of inseparable twinned functions, which they characterize as the Masculine and Feminine. They say in fact that all that exists partakes of this duality. Night and day, positive and negative charge, hot and cold, male and female, high and low, and so on. Life, they believe, is initiated by the spark from the interactions between opposites. The masculine aspect of consciousness they think of as active and projective, the feminine as passive and reflective.
The masculine mind then, thinks, creates, reacts, reasons, registers our feelings, remembers, and so on. It could be called active, or volitional.
What does the feminine mind do according to their philosophy? In one sense, nothing. It doesn’t “do.” It reflects. Like a mirror. It is receptive, passive. All that goes on in the active mind is reflected in the passive. The passive does not comment, judge, or react, it only absorbs, reflects. It does not reflect upon, only reflects in the sense of a mirror. It shows us exactly what everything is. That is to say, unqualified by any verbal conceptions or descriptions. The Erehwynans say it shows the Masculine mind the “Is-ness” of everything. I don’t pretend I understand these concepts perfectly clearly. I have an inkling, but not a sure grasp.
Perhaps I should interject here that after the first meeting with Anya I was quite intrigued, and for all the subsequent discussions I recorded everything. Consequently, you may be assured that what I write is the verbatim transcription of what I have been told.
The two functions of the mind interact. As the feminine reflects, part of the masculine’s activities is to register those reflections, along with the myriad data it is absorbing -- it is conscious of the content of the reflections. They constitute another of its experiences. This interaction is crucially important over time for human development. They claim that it produces a profoundly optimistic philosophy.
As it was explained, the active mind is full of desires, opinions about its experiences, and reactions to them. It also reacts to the perceived reflections from the passive mind, which is showing it the same experience without any opinions attached. This interaction produces a process in the masculine function described as an action, for example, in a human like myself, like this: I see an expensive watch in a window. It’s a beauty. Subconsciously I feel it would make me seem important, more attractive too. I would really love to own one. I work to earn enough to finally afford it, and buy it. My masculine mind, so to speak, learns from the feminine that it is a thing, neither beautiful nor ugly, not part of me, and it only makes me more important if I think so.
In short, I am told that everything I experience involves a learning process. The feminine mind is constantly telling the masculine, “You thought it was this, but in fact it is not that.” The feminine is removing from the experiences all the qualifications the masculine has unconsciously invented and pasted on them. The totality of our experience is a learning process. Everything teaches us exactly what it is.
This incited me to ask about their spiritual researches. Anya told me she could talk about the concept of meditation, but not about the mechanics of it, of how to practice it. That was not something to discuss over coffee. She said during almost our entire time our minds are focused on all that is going on in them, both on what is considered inside and outside it. People seldom focus on the power that activates all these movements of the mind. We look at an apple. What is it that allows the mind to function, to see and have thoughts and reactions related to the apple? What is the life force itself? Meditation is essentially designed to give us direct experience, experiential knowledge.
think all earthly cultures have written about a universal life force, the underlying
energy by which all exists. The Greeks called it Pneuma, the Hindus Brahm or
Prana, the Hebrews Shekinah, the Chinese Ch’i, the Japanese Ki. It has been
written of the original inhabitants of
They say we have deceived ourselves about … the sense of self. Here is what Anya told me. First, that physically our bodies are constantly changing, from moment to moment (assuming there are moments, she mentioned. A subject for another discussion.) Everything else in our world is likewise in a state of flux. Over the long haul, even rocks. Birth, growth, life and death are continuous changes in our states of being. Similarly, the contents of our consciousness is a constant changing flux. Since in life our mind seems to be linked with our body, with its state of constant change, can the mind remain unchanged, static? In fact, she said, that any experience we can have is unique, happening for the first time in the history of existence. According to her, as you read this word, it is for the first time it has happened, as will be the next word, or the next time you read the supposedly same word. OK, so far I can follow this line of reasoning. Anya continued, as the river of changing thought flows in our minds, one of its recurrent notions is that it is me that is thinking and experiencing all this. Perhaps it is a subconscious assumption (This is still Anya talking, not me.) All right, she continued, if it is an assumption, then where and what is this I? Since everything is in that state of change, if there is such a thing as an I, it too must perforce be constantly changing. Therefore, she concluded with a touch of triumphant conviction, there can be no fixed permanent entity such as an I.
The I is no more than an idea. Because it is so recurrent, we are fooled into thinking it is some kind of permanent entity. We assume that it is an I entity that is thinking, where in fact an I is just a thought, like the innumerable other thoughts passing in the mind. It occurs so often that we think it is the I doing the thinking, but the I is only another product of the mind. To the extent that we can experience this idea, our consciousness will become more universalized, more connected to the endless sea of consciousness.
Anya drew this comparison: Imagine an ocean of waves. Now imagine that the waves and ocean can both think. Each wave will think, I am an individual, unlike any other of the waves around me. The ocean will think, all these waves are a part of me, I exist in the form of waves. In Anya’s terms, I think I can understand this intellectually, but I don’t yet have the sense of knowing it experientially.
According to Anya, her people say that most of the problems and anxieties of people like you and me stem from our mistaken notion of a permanent unchanging I. Insofar as we seek a reassuring permanence in anything, we are doomed to deception and disappointment. I have the impression that from birth we require stability. Very young infants feel most secure with routine. They want to hear the same story over and over, to eat at fixed times, to not see disruption and separations in their home life. In the light of what Anya says, it does seem contradictory for a constantly changing person to have a deep-seated hunger for stability, changelessness. Yes, that would surely generate problems. Still, I can’t help but feel that I am me.
Anya then launched into an evaluation of our civilization that deeply shocked me. Judge for yourself, this is a literal transcription of what she said; To us, your culture is marked by a terrible ferocity. Driven by the negative emotions that you have never gotten rid of, everything you do, all your history, is incomprehensibly ferocious. Your ethos is aggressive, competitive, with overbearing agrandissement. It stains everything you do blood red. Your economics, politics, sex, even your sports. There is always the drive to conquer, to control. We don’t understand it. What do you need to conquer? Why? There is a ferocity in the way you hold to your opinions. Of course, in your unforgivable colonial history. Conquest by stealth, dishonesty, and brutality. We see a ferocity in the way your masses are brainwashed into a self satisfied consumerism. The ferocity with which you are convinced of your own opinions, religions and ideologies is astonishing. What are they? All only a bundle of words! Passing clouds in the sky of your minds, as I’ve said. And yet, you will kill somebody whose clouds are different. Kill them! Because of a cloud! How can you call yourselves human? The root of it all is your blind insane belief in a permanent changeless I. You now have only one option-change or disappear.
I must say, I had never seen Anya so emphatic. It was the first time I heard her sound like us!
Anya had already emphasized the Erehwyna respect, or reverence for human life. She further remarked that any country that allows the institutionalized legalized murder of its citizens through the death penalty, or wars, completely invalidates any pretension to a code of morality. It is considered self-evident that including murder as a state policy implies that human life is worthless. Or put another way, that means that some human lives have worth, but others don’t, and it is the state that decides. This is beyond inadmissible.
Besides, as noted earlier, every execution not only denies the value of the life of the condemned, but by inference, that of the executioners. One presumes that the state or its religions creates moral standards, but when the people see official murder they must conclude that those who direct policy, create moral codes, do not live by them and have no belief in them. The message is that the authorities are duplicitous.
It is disingenuous for those who govern to appear astonished at the amount of crime. What else can they expect, asked Anya.
Erehwynans have no crime. They have neither any motivations nor the necessary emotional requisites. They think our prison systems are brutal and inhumane, especially since our culture encourages and incites criminality by its values. Or lack of. We punish criminals for acting appropriately to the stimuli of their culture. For example, in our large cities the poorest of the poor may live around the corner from the richest of the rich. Those in misery have virtually no real means of access to the benefits enjoyed by the well-off, or even to the necessities, except to grab something by force. It is in fact remarkable that they haven’t risen in their masses to revolt violently against an unjust system. Most often, over time, even those that have, eventually find that the same disparities as before reinstall themselves.
Erehwynans think it would at least be more humane, rather than imprison our criminals in hideous conditions, to at least confine all of them in “Crime Cities.” That is, enclaves where they would be sequestered from the rest of the population, but able to live as does everyone on the “outside.” Such a more humane system would lessen any subliminal distress or guilty feelings in people generated by the knowledge of what they were condemning others to suffer.
As you might say, justice without vengeance. Everybody would benefit.
Erehwynans judge that Earth peoples’ mind altering drug problems are the fruits of rampant materialism. Of course, one major obvious cause is that some are making huge amounts of money from drug addictions. It is additionally argued that if people had something in their lives more rewarding, interesting and exciting, they would not be prone to feel the need to change their reality. The stronger drug is feeling fulfilled by the life one has.
By definition materialism is devoid of human feelings. It can’t give you love, empathy or sympathy, it can’t talk to you, encourage you, cheer you up, or give you anything you can get from a living person, or even from an animal. It only is and only ever will be … things. For this obvious reason materialism has an innate emptiness. Our masculine mind can deploy great energy in order to acquire a material object. The object can focus all our attention and desires, become the prime driving force of our lives. OK, let’s say we acquire it. Perhaps short term, we may feel a sense of satisfaction, even accomplishment, but the feminine mind is showing us exactly what the material object is, a piece of material. Any other qualities or attributes we invent and paste onto it. The reflecting mind demonstrates the “isness” of everything. The Japanese practice of Zen, incidentally, is designed to do the same. Consciousness without qualifications.
Earth people, Anya said, would be well-advised, as long as they are burdened with material desires, to imagine what life will be once they satisfy the desire. In other words, they could form a better perspective by imagining the end before they plunged into the beginning.
To be continued in the upcoming March-April 2012 issue; Anya continues, explaining the Erehwynans’ reactions to our world’s contemporary entertainment, the role of the rich, our concept of time, and our future…
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