Category Archives: Human Interests

Life and Love

Why?

I wake up in the morning. Stirring under the covers, I turn my head and look out my bedroom window. There I see the cottonwood tree rustling in the morning breeze. It welcomes me to a new day—and my life.

But what is my life? Why am I here? And why am I conscious of that fact? These questions can seem unanswerable, even suggestive of underlying, unsolvable mysteries.

All religions help us with these questions. They show us how to deal with the mysteries of our lives; how to relate to what is intrinsically undefinable; and how to live in the womb of that mystery. We call the most basic mystery of all, God. Our relation to God we call worship, which is a sublime form of love. Embraced in the warmth of that relation, we feel grateful, reborn, and inspired to live worthy of experiencing that mystery. Our rebirth gives meaning to our individual lives and motivates us to share our experience of love with others. The wellspring of that rebirth is our relation to the unknowable source of our very being. And its motivating power is love.

It is only when we strip our lives down to this basic relation—to love—that we begin to realize what we share with all humans—what makes us fundamentally human. The essence of human adaptability amidst countless species’ extinctions and planetary cataclysms is the will not just to survive, but to preserve that basic relation both for our fellow human beings and for our posterity. We want to preserve what makes us human and, thereby, to preserve our families, our communities, our culture, and our civilizations.

The one obstacle to the preservation of our common humanity is the individual who fails to discover the motivating force of love. That force is only an inborn potential in individuals whose exposure to human love is limited or non-existent. But compassion, empathy, and expressions of human warmth can rekindle love’s power in others. Gratitude, for example, is not just a response to love, but can be a renewing power that also triggers love towards others. Think of the gratitude of an orphan adopted into a loving family, or of a wounded soldier rescued under fire by a comrade, or of tragedies’ victims nursed back to health and safety by caretakers. Though we nurture our humanity in home and communities, we can also regenerate it in life changing events.

Our nation faces many divisive forces, both within and without. For us to form a “more perfect union,” we must dedicate ourselves not only to the values expressed in our Constitution but to the motivating power of love. Today, we see an outpouring of that love in Las Vegas, as well as in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. First responders, caregivers, charitable donors, and victims came together not only by sharing their anguish and pain but also their compassion and empathy. They shared the power of love.

In this moment, our nation can enliven our common humanity and the motivating force behind the human values formalized in our democracy. “Justice and liberty for all” is both our pledge of allegiance and an expression of our love for one another. It is a vow to preserve our community and our nation. We must resist those power seekers who value their personal status over the nation’s well-being. They lack empathy and seek justice and liberty for the few rather than “for all.” If we are going to preserve the many expressions of our founding principles in our institutions and norms of behavior, then we must rededicate ourselves to each other and the principled basis of our national union. We must love and respect each other.

Somewhere in Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” I remember reading his prognosis that Americans were better than their leaders. Unfortunately, I can no longer find the context nor verify the accuracy of my memory. Nevertheless, I cannot attribute this prognosis to myself, but can only agree with it. If we are to preserve our union, we, as individual citizens, must constantly renew what binds us together. Our leaders may at times fall to those human vices born of ego, power and money. But, in our democracy, it is the citizen who holds the ultimate power. We renew that power every day when we express the mutual respect and love we share for each other and for our democratic institutions. Many have shown the way. But real change starts with each and every individual. America, then, depends on all of us.

Why not?

Being Present to Nature’s Summons

Brown tipped reeds gently wave in the pond
Blackbirds silently fly in retreat
Winds mildly gusting from the Artic north
Leaves softly trembling in the Fall:
Seasons pass through their rebirth cycles
But not the old man at the edge of the pond

Winter’s blasts in wind and rain
Will purge the earth it replenishes
As naked trees stand firm on guard
Waiting the sun’s undoubted return
Burrowing roots to nurture new life
But not the old man at the door of death

Spring will warm the slumbering roots
Burst the seeds that were scattered in Winter
Nurture fresh fledglings in far flung beds
As they’re born from the womb of earth
To service nature’s quest for rebirth
But not the old man whose future is barren

Red winged blackbirds nest
Filling the pond with song
Heralding the reeds green shoots
Welcoming Summer’s awakening
But not the old man’s reckoning
Of days left without renewal.

Born of the stars in the cauldron of the sun
Sprung from earth’s dust both alive and aware
Humans are each moment beware
Of passing into eternity
While contemplating the mystery
Of being present to nature’s summons.

_____________________________________
AJD 9/19/2017

My Sock Drawer

My mother suffered the first signs of my initial problem with life. I can still remember the look of exasperation on her face when she surveyed the pile of socks and clothes her six-year-old son scattered over his bed. My problem, you see, began with my sock drawer, and metastasized from there. In fact, it encompassed a large part of my early years.

Like any first-generation Italian, my mother was matriarchal in the sense of being protective, nurturing, and almost smothering in her love. Caring for and worrying about me was her obsession. I was always well fed, clothed, cleaned, and “turned-out.” She even folded my freshly washed clothes and stacked them neatly in my drawers. But I rebelled. I wanted to impose my own order. And my sock drawer best illustrated the problem. My preferred stacking order demanded a rearrangement: separate stacks for patterned and solid colors; then a further distributive organization by color. In fact, putting things in order carried over into many areas of my childhood, including the furniture in my room, my pets, and the food on my plate. Apparently, I was taking my mother’s well-ordered household to a whole new level—a well ordered sock drawer became indicative of the well-ordered life I sought and presumed.

A well-ordered child, however, must pass through many crucibles of change. In elementary school, I encountered bullies and the chaotic competitiveness of team sports. For me, fitting into a juvenile social structure was like forcing a square peg in a round hole, somewhat awkwardly shaving the edges off my predisposition for orderliness, As I grew older, girls were especially adept at scrambling my emotional equilibrium. They did not follow my self-conceived precepts for order in relationships. I was learning that I could not impose my concept of order on others and that relationships require change in myself. How does one grow up without opening oneself to others, without connecting?

My increasingly less well-ordered childhood faced new challenges in secondary school and college. My studies were serious, well-intentioned, and disproportionately religious in nature. Perhaps the first shock came from classes in scriptural exegesis from Greek and Latin texts. I was aghast to discover that translations and transcriptions of these sacred writings were modified to account for various orthodox and heretical belief systems. This discovery was unsettling to my concept of order and trust in a religious belief system. If sacred texts fall prey to organized chicanery, is anything sacred?

As I grew older and wiser, I found solace in philosophy, history, and literature. The diversity of thought and experience presented in these studies was both overwhelming and exhilarating. But the more I delved into the basis for this diversity, I became increasingly aware of the fundamental disagreements we humans harbor over almost everything. For example, what proofs are there for the existence of a god? Is the replacement of theocracy with natural law a stable foundation for government? Is evolution solely explained by natural selection? Is there a human soul apart from the body? The answers to these and many other questions were diverse and often contradictory. They shook the underpinnings of my thoughts and elicited a yet more disturbing question. How can one rely on accepted truth?

Perhaps a bit wiser and much more cynical, I turned to science and began a career in technology. Surely, the scientific method would ground my understanding of reality. Besides, the technology that flowed from science would provide me the opportunity to make a difference in the real world. But then my queries into quantum physics and chaos theory jolted me out of my nascent comfort zone. Just as Newton’s concept of gravitational attraction between bodies gave way to Einstein’s gravitational field, quanta and fractals opened the door to many unanswered questions—perhaps even as bedeviling as the existence of God and His role in creation. Remember how “I AM that I AM” begged the question of the nature of God and existence itself. Well, the question of whether an electron/proton is a particle or a quantum of pure energy is just as unsettling and mysterious. Modern physics suddenly became metaphysics, questioning the very nature of being itself. Consequently, how can we say we really know what we know?

But knowledge is power, right? In fact, for us humans, it can become a mental aphrodisiac. It enables us to construct a world in our minds. And that mental construct can become the relative order we not only perceive but even project onto the external world. With assumed certainty, we name and classify the elements of that world. They and their relationships to each other become the fabric of our self-perceived truth. Some of those elements, however, bedevil our understanding so we identify them as mysteries. Science tries to unravel these mysteries by unmasking how they came to be. The unsolved mysteries become the impetus for analysis, theory, and experiment. If belief in the scientific method is absolute, then all mysteries will be resolved in time. But that faith cannot justify with absolute certainty everything science unravels and makes more explicit. Within the near future, our scientific understanding of time, space, and the nature of reality will likely evolve, perhaps akin to the revolution bequeathed us by the theories of relativity and quantum physics. Major scientific discoveries often serve as steppingstones to future discoveries. We should believe in and support scientific progress. But why would we accept every scientific fact as a definitive end state in our knowledge or as the final explanation of our world’s deeper mysteries?

Religious faith addresses life’s mysteries differently, sometimes even calling them sacred. Making something “sacred” is one way of categorizing a mystery and is essential to the creation of myths and the various forms of ritualistic sacrifice found in every religion. The Latin root of the word “sacrifice” literally means “to make sacred”—specifically, sacer, “holy” or “sacred” and facere, “to make.” (Oddly, sacer can also mean “curse,” which embraces a different type of religion or cult.) Regardless of the religion, the sacred usually refers to a mystery we can never truly comprehend, though myths give them meaning. Myths are stories that transcend formal logic. They account for the order we wistfully imagine through our miniscule eyelet into a vast universe. As such, they can verify whatever we perceive as stable and true in that universe and become that special reservoir of knowledge generally termed a belief system. But they still represent the incomprehensible. And, of course, the ultimate mystery many of our mythic stories identify as God or gods. The word “god” is not a sign representative of something in our universe, but a symbol, as Carl Jung defined it, of the wholly transcendent.

But that ultimate mystery is not beyond our reach. It is just beyond our understanding. The Hebrew “Yahweh” (“I AM that I AM”) was not a word the early Jews could speak. Its syntax is in the first person, i.e., the God person. So, Yahweh told Moses (Ex. 3:15) to tell his people that “he is has sent you.” The word for “he is,” comes from the Hebrew root haya which literally means “to be.” The ultimate mystery, then, is existence or simply being itself! That which is beyond our understanding but underlies all that is and all that we know is the most commonplace and intimate experience of our daily lives, our very existence. It is the primal element that both forms our individual lives and connects us to all we encounter. As such, it defines the very boundaries of order. Outside those boundaries, we have no guarantee of control. Nevertheless, it promises unlimited knowledge, unwavering truth, and a sacred enchantment within the scope of our individual lives. Even though we can become consciously oblivious to its constant presence, we can never deny that we feel its presence. Our individual existence is all there is, until it isn’t. The meaning of life is no more than being conscious of the feeling or experience of living within the context of our personal existence. That experience must become the touchstone of our lives. For the moment in which we become fully aware and participate in existence is when we touch Divinity within ourselves. As William Blake wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite.”

Today, I still maintain a well-ordered living space. Old habits are as comfortable as a well-worn sweater. But my sock drawer is not as well organized as that six-year old’s drawer once was. It no longer defines me. My life is not so closed; my relationships, not so anxious or judgmental; my thoughts, not so definitive or arrogant; my religion, not so orthodox. The experience of living is all. I am now like a flea riding high and fully exposed on the back of an elephant. At any moment, I may be brushed, blown, or washed away. But, by God, what a fantastic ride!

The World We Live In

Egocentrism is a term generally used as a pejorative. But, every human is born into a world that exists only within the self. A baby reaches out to touch a parent’s face and discovers another. His/her existence for the next several years involves many such discoveries. At some point, normally before pre-school, the outside world that seems to revolve around the infant reveals the most intimate and important experience of all: he/she is not only separate, but a subject or conscious agent in this world. Unfortunately, this revelation does not prepare that infant to deal with this outside world. For the next several years, the child will explore his/her ability to interact, to change, to build or destroy the things in this world. More significantly, he/she will learn to connect and communicate with parents, other children, and adults, mostly patterning behavior learned from the home environment. As the child grows into adolescence and adulthood, knowledge of both the physical and social world expands. But, at every point in human development, perception of the outside world is relative. In fact, that perception gradually becomes an ever-expanding network that exists only in the individual, not in the world that exists outside of the veil of his/her perception. It is only when we discover our personal isolation that we begin to understand our limitations and the only path to maturity.

Egocentrism is the albatross that warns us of the storm on the horizon. It tells us that we are not safe at sea, unless we attempt to steer free of the storm. Development of an ego, in psychological terms, is an escape from the id. But it can be its own prison. In fact, we can never escape our personal perspective, but we can expand it to include other perspectives. This expansion is the pivotal experience of surviving in a world that exists with or without any one of us. It is keyed by a personal decision to be open to what the world and others can teach us. But that openness is not a matter of rote learning or of acquiring control over people and things in the service of personal status and ego. Egocentrism may be a birthright, but it need not be a life sentence.

My wife is an elementary school teacher. When I relate to her my blog topics, she often sees them in the context of her children. What she recognizes is my humble attempt to describe a petulant resistance to facts and verifiable evidence—in effect, an inability to deal with the world outside of one’s personal, limited perspective. For example, the first step in conflict resolution is the attempt to understand an opposing perspective. A child who misbehaves in the classroom often has an unresolved grievance. Discovering the nature of that grievance is usually the first step in correcting the misbehavior. On a world stage, consider Vladimir Putin’s grievance with the West. Is his reaction to NATO’s ever closer deployment at Russia’s border different in kind from John Kennedy’s reaction to Soviet missiles in Cuba? The tactical nuclear weapons presently deployed in Eastern Europe are comparable to the destructive power of their less sophisticated predecessors positioned in Cuba fifty-five years ago. Granted it may not be possible to dissuade Putin, but the first step in de-escalating this current adversarial contest is an attempt to demilitarize both sides of the Eastern European border. Major breakthroughs in world diplomacy have almost always resulted from a recognition of another’s perspective. Certainly, the American led Iran Nuclear Deal is an example. For those few of us who read the agreement, the long list of appendix items reveals to what extent both parties went to recognize each other’s concerns and needs.

Closer to home, another example of egocentrism is what I will term “political validation.” The Republicans have fallen into the trap of validating their previous political promise of repealing Obamacare without considering whether it is the right thing to do. Yesterday, our President called a meeting of Senate Republicans to encourage them to repeal Obamacare now and develop its replacement over the next two years. He promised as much to his electorate. Apparently, he wants to validate an ill-conceived political promise. Meanwhile, many who voted for him reportedly (if you believe the polls) say they still support him. Considering that many of them will lose their healthcare, they unhappily demonstrate how political validation of their vote can take precedence over what is right – even at their personal detriment. It is usually considered heroic to put one’s personal welfare at risk for a cause greater than oneself. In this instance, it seems personal risk serves only personal pride. Such is the price of political validation. It’s like the child who refuses to recognize that recalcitrant behavior earns expulsion from the class. That child would rather be punished than change behavior.

My personal world is as limited and egocentric as anybody’s. But whatever I have learned and whatever maturity I have gained derive solely from my reflections on the borders of my own perception. At those borders rest the barriers to connection with others and the outside world. Every time I crossed one of my barriers, I learned something—both about another perspective and about myself. It is that connection that builds relationships, begins to overlay differences with empathy, and creates communities. It also allows us to share a common understanding of the world. Without these relationships and common understanding, we would find ourselves isolated and insecure. Our only solace might be a feeble attempt to project our personal perspective on everything and everyone. In effect, we would either expect others to share our childlike fantasy or, if circumstances permitted, compel them to accept it. Who amongst us would choose to live so?

I choose to live in the real world. And I wish the same for you, my readers.

“. . . and they two shall be one flesh.”

All religions tell stories that help us make sense of life and experience it more fully. Many of these stories seem to cross faith boundaries and reflect universal themes. Certain scholars study the thematic correlations in these stories and can identify the common myths found in nearly all religions. Psychologists of a certain persuasion have also noted how these shared themes correspond to the central architypes that inhabit our subconscious and often surface in our waking lives. Today I was thinking about the relevance of one of these religious stories to our modern era. Nearly everybody is aware of the Old Testament* Genesis story, even if they have never read it. In Chapter 1, verse 27, “And God made man, according to the image of God he made him. Male and female, he made them.” In Chapter 2, verse22, “And God formed the rib which he took from Adam into a woman and brought her to Adam.” What these passages tell us is that both men and women were created in the image of God and, as Adam quickly recognizes, Eve “now is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh (Ch.2, v.23).” But why, in the next verse do we find this conclusion, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cling to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh (Ch.2, v.24)?” The last part of this verse resonates with me because it helps me understand one of the central issues of our time.

Allow me to state the obvious: every human being is born of woman. Not only do we all have mothers, but they are by nature the foundation of the family. We men, of course, have an important role as fathers, but we do not carry little human beings in our bodies or nurse them at the breast. Moreover, through all human history, women have nurtured the family unit as the bedrock of society. And men, of course, have helped build and protect that foundation for both family and society. Obviously, both men and women are genetically and actively integral to human families. But the nurturing role of mothers initially defines and informs the role of parents. That nurturing requires compassion, self-sacrifice, and tireless safeguarding of familial relationships. It is difficult for anyone of us to develop the empathy required to build relationships outside of the family without the experience of a loving and supportive family structure and, more specifically, without a loving mother. Most parents intuitively recognize their mutual interdependence in raising their children. Their own relationship to each other is the model their children will have in uniting the male-female attributes of their own psyche and, as parents, in raising their own family. And families, as many have stated, are the foundation of communities and of the larger societal structures derived from them. It is easy to see this connection between family and society when travelling to other countries. Germans, for example, are raised in culturally different settings than the French—as would be the case across most national borders. Despite these cultural differences, there is something about family life that does not change. The major operating principle in every normal family is the influence of the male-female archetypes, their interrelationship, and union. Why is that union so important?

If you will bear with me, I am going to stretch the story of Paradise into a less common reading. Perhaps the “fall” occurred because Adam and Eve had not yet consummated their relationship. As innocents walking naked in the Garden of Eve, they were ill-equipped to deal with evil and therefore easily duped by the serpent into tasting the forbidden fruit. Afterwards, they became aware of their nakedness and of their potential to disobey God or commit an evil deed. Knowledge of their sexual differences is the precursor for God’s admonition that the “two shall be one flesh.” But beyond their physical union, men and women need each other. To put the matter more bluntly, it has always been our ability to screw things up that requires us to conjoin the male and female principles. We simply function better as a unit. That potential union is not only inferred in gender differences, but it is also latent in varying degrees within every individual psyche. Each of us are male-female, though one or the other architype is usually dominant. But Genesis reminds us why it is necessary that the “two shall be one flesh.”

My thesis here is not new. Somewhere in one of Joseph Campbell’s many books I remember reading how primitive communities were built around these male and female archetypes. The men were tribal warrior-protectors while the women were family nurturer-preservers. Both were needed to create and protect the community. Although we cannot know the daily interworking of these primitive societies, their rituals tell us something about the balance they strived to maintain between the male and female roles. When a young woman came of age for child bearing, the women convened to celebrate the occurrence. Since the men had no natural “coming of age” phenomenon, they invented initiation ceremonies to graduate boys into manhood and their hunter-warrior-protector role in the community. Like the girls’ transition into womanhood, the boys experienced no little anxiety and even some blood loss during these rites of passage rituals. But these ceremonies served to preserve the sexual balance of power in the tribe and in its communal relations. Even my cursory reading of the native American nations revealed the same dedication to this balance and to the communities served by it. When the Indian nations warred against each other, however, victory often accompanied the destruction of this balance. The vanquished men were humiliated (scalped) and killed, while their women were humiliated (raped) and most often stolen. These Indians apparently believed that they must destroy the power of men, but exploit and control for personal use the power of women. Much of our human history of war and conquest reflects the same belief. Even today we can witness how women may be exploited and, in effect, subjugated to male dominance.

We can identify vestiges of these primitive times in syndicated sex slavery rings or campus rapes or victims of domestic battery and in the heinous attacks and subjection of women by groups like Boko Haram, Al Shabab, and Daesh. In our most “enlightened” or liberated societies, women are often perceived in secondary or supportive roles, where their actual contributions are suppressed or not recognized. Certainly, it is true that women occupy a more prominent role in our American society than in the past. There are women CEOs and elected officials at every level of government. But America has not yet fully restored gender balance. More eloquent and informed voices than my own have spoken to this subject. Given the limitations of this blog, let me just summarize a few relevant examples: women still receive less money for the same job as their male counterparts; women are a majority of our population but represent much less than half of our elected representatives (e.g., 20 of our 100 U. S. Senators are women); women remain disproportionately absent in our written history; and they occupy a largely stereotyped presence in our media where we emphasize their sexuality and appearance over their other feminine attributes or competence. But whatever your feelings about the suppression of women, the real problem is with the suppression of the female archetype in men. Men who love women learn to identify with their own femininity in terms of their empathy for others and their role in building communal relations. Those men do not feel superior to women; nor do they want to suppress them.

The strongman or bully, by contrast, is really the incomplete man, insecure in his ability to relate by any means other than by authority or his power over others. We have seen this male ego throughout history and in our own time. They are either dictators and power mongers or wannabe strongmen. Too often they may also be our fathers, brothers, uncles, or friends. They may rail against other men who appear weak or gay for displaying emotion or empathy. They likely relate to women as sex objects and treat their wives as accouterments to their success or power. Since we no longer have a “rite of passage” for men, perhaps the only way to restore the male-female balance is through reflection and an honest reevaluation of our social relations. The word “restoration” carries a special significance here.

Over a thousand years ago, humankind experienced a restoration. When the Moors were driven out of Europe, they left behind a trove of art, literature, science and mathematics that they had assimilated from Greek civilization. The restoration of this legacy to Europe spurred the West’s emergence from the millennium of the so-called Dark Ages. It gave birth to the Renaissance and, subsequently, the Age of Enlightenment. I believe we are in the process of another restoration, one that may be five millennia in the making. The restoration now upon us is that of the female archetype, the myth of the Goddess, our earth mother. For nearly four millennia before recorded history, it was the Goddess that inspired men and women to nurture their families, to honor the fertility of the earth, and to respect women and nature as the native source of energy and all life. The advent of the male dominated nomadic tribes into Europe, beginning in 3500 B.C., gradually eradicated the Goddess culture with the brutal suppression and genocide of its tribal adherents. Since that culture left no written history, scholars have endeavored to reconstruct it from the artifacts and sculpted sacred objects left behind. ** We now have a clearer understanding of our unwritten pre-history and of that part of our nature we have too often ignored. It is likely that the story of the fall in Genesis is a written reminder of an oral tradition from that earlier period of the Goddess. Embedded in that myth is a lesson about human nature. That “they two shall be one flesh” is a simple statement of fact: we are, each one of us, meant to be male-female. We cannot survive without this union. We need both the warrior and the mother to protect and nurture our kind. We simply cannot create a peaceful and compassionate world order without first restoring this male-female union in each of us.

In retrospect, I want to say something about the so-called “battle of the sexes.” Not so many years ago, the media billed a tennis match between an aging male tennis player and a female tennis star—that is, Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King—as the epitome of this battle. Women, it was believed at the time, were challenging male supremacy. And, from an extreme male perspective, they needed to be shown their place. More recently, we witnessed an election between a grandmother who had a well-documented career in public service and a man who boasted of his business acumen, wealth, and personal superiority. Much was made of each other’s competency and trustworthiness. Donald Trump claimed Hillary Clinton was “crooked” and weak, using her feminine wiles to hide personal misconduct and physical frailty. In response, Hillary Clinton characterized Donald Trump as emotionally unstable, a bully, and a misogynist. Of course, their contest had many points of contention. But underlying their campaigns was the undeniable issue of a woman’s fitness to hold the highest office in the land. Could she hold her own on the political stage and in the world diplomatic arena? Although she won the popular vote, she lost most of the States. Their campaigns, among its many points of contention, was an anachronistic reprisal of the “battle of the sexes.”

Since the election, President Trump has been very busy with his efforts to “dismantle the administrative state” and to fire opponents whom he designates as parties of a conspiratorial “deep state.” In the context of this blog, how should we weigh the male-female balance in the successes he claims for his initiatives? Does removal of America from the Paris climate accord display respect for mother earth? Does eliminating pollution provisions from his predecessor’s clean power initiative show any regard for the clean air and water needs of his constituents? Does the elimination of healthcare coverage for (in favor of payable access to) newborn or well-baby care, maternity, birth control, home medical care, drug or opioid addiction, nursery home care, and mental health services show empathy for women, children or the aged? Do not these healthcare changes reestablish the practice of gender bias in premium costs? Do his proposed budget cuts in food stamps, children’s lunches, public schools, medical research, the endowment for the arts, and science show any concern for those who benefit from these government programs? I think his brief time in office is a very bleak example of the male archetype in ascendancy. But his administration is regressive in the extreme and out of tune with the restoration of the female archetype currently underway.

We humans admire strength. We have fought—even killed—to gain power over others or control the world’s resources. But why, at this point in our history, should we not care for the preservation of all life on our planet, including our own posterity? Many of us think that amassing a fortune demonstrates strength of character. But why should we not be willing to share with the less fortunate? Some of us seek fame and status to gain influence and power over others. But why should we not maintain empathy for those who have neither? Being strong and being compassionate are not antithetical attributes, but complementary to our nature. If we support societal norms that denigrate or suppress women, we risk subordinating the female attributes in ourselves. We deny our true nature. And we misinterpret the lesson of Adam and Eve. They and we—male and female—are one flesh. Women need to assert their power. And men need to learn the language of the goddess. Failure to do so remains as one of the central issues of our time.

*These Old Testament quotes are taken from the original English translation of the Greek Septuagint bible by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton in 1851. Why did I use this source? It was the first English translation of the 72 Jewish scholars’ original work as commissioned by Alexander the Great. His intent was to preserve the Hebrew bible which was originally written in Aramaic. In other words, this translation is closer to the source than any subsequent renderings.
**Foremost amongst these scholars was Marija Gimbutas. As Joseph Campbell wrote in the foreword of her book, “The Language of the Goddess,” her “message here is of an actual age of harmony and peace in accord with the creative energies of nature which for a spell of some four thousand prehistoric years anteceded the five thousand of what James Joyce has termed the ‘nightmare’.”

Alive in Time

Riding the wave to shore
Without thought of the beach ahead
Is like falling out of the sky
While the ground is rushing at me
And I stand fixed and alone
In the hectic flux of it all

The curve of gravity
Bends my reality
And elicits the fantasy
That my riding and falling is real
In a multifaceted world
Where only my body resides

But in the zone
I hover above
A body trapped
And in the flow
While enraptured by light
So incandescent

That lost in this light
The moment stops
While all is seen
At the speed of light
As wondrous illusion

My light burns forth
And others respond
In harmony
Each connected
To life, to all
And to each other

Now I can see beyond the light
And the slippery slide of gravity
Into what is not before or after
But always there at the core of life
And witnessed only in a moment of awareness

I am now
A free point
In the continuum
Of time in the grasp
Of eternity and
Of unwarranted love

_________________________________________________
AJD 4/16/17

The Time Traveler

A shooting star, you say,

But no, a meteor scorching earth’s delicate skin

Just a rock haphazardly spewed from space

And out of time

That is, our time

____

A time traveler sent to remind us

The time we know does not exist

Except in our creeping consciousness

As we slip through our brief window

That is time’s dominion over us.
____

AJD 12/17/2016