Category Archives: The State of the Planet

OSAMA BIN LADEN: An American Heresy


IN THIS ARTICLE
May Day 2011 saw the ignominious end of Osama bin Laden, American public enemy #1.  The “justice done,” however, was the ancient Semitic kind, “an eye for an eye.” The swift dispatch of Osama to the bottom of the sea without fair trial violated the keystones of the Enlightenment, the very principles upon which the nation was founded, the Rights of Man and justice for all. But these ethical ideals call for an even higher enlightenment, whose prophet Americans idolize every Martin Luther King Day.  The much-vaunted “dream” of Dr King called the nation to the real outcome of enlightened sanctity — compassion and non-violence — whose true meaning, as Dr King clarified, is “to see the enemy’s point of view.” Aside from the spiritual and moral value of this dream, it is pragmatic: “For from this view we may… see the basic weakness of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of…the opposition.” Was America’s finest moment of the decade actually a grievous regression from its true aspiration and opportunity?

 

Osama bin Laden:  An American Heresy

OSAMA_TIME_COVERWe got ‘im!!!

With this shout of victory on May Day 2011, America erupted into a giddy jingoistic orgy.  Flags waved frantically as great tributes were offered in every gathering place.  Heroic American testosterone was on display for all the world to see.  At last, at last, the evil enemy is dead. VICTORY!!!

It was the greatest American day in ten years.

Sadly, the bad guy had not been finished off by the super-cowboy who initiated and failed for seven years at this “dead or alive” drama.   Strange ironies in the American subconscious underlay the fact that the deed was accomplished by a misto, half white and half pure African.  But of course this could be overlooked, especially since the President, master of this coup, was within days of having revealed the birth documents finally proving he is AMERICAN!!!

 

It is worthwhile to see Obama’s coup from a Machiavellian point of view.  The President put an end to all grumblings that he is only a progressive woos with no decisiveness and backbone.  On the contrary, he followed exactly the advice of Machiavelli in The Prince, where that Renaissance master of power insists that a leader, especially one who aspires to govern with goodness and justice, must, early in his tenure, demonstrate by some act of ruthless audacity, his true range and capacity. This act summarily challenges any opposition that may be gathering in rebellious minds.  It is a Renaissance version of “Walk softly, but carry a big stick.” This alone makes it possible to accomplish any subsequent good.   Obama overwhelmed the hawks and freaked out his pacifist constituency early on by dramatically increasing the surge in Afghanistan.  But the Mayday weekend which saw the end of bin Laden was a virtual Machiavellian display.  On Thursday with muted flourish, Obama produced the birth certificate.  On Saturday night, at the traditional White House Correspondents roasting dinner, with rapier wit, the President brought down the noisy pop-buffoon, Donald Trump.  On Sunday he eliminated through high-tech insinuation the emblematic genius of terrorism.  The unsightly corpse of public enemy number one was promptly discharged to the bottom of the sea in one quick irreversible coup de grace.  The world was aghast.   Machiavelli would cheer.

-How do we describe what happened to bin Laden?

What do you call it when you storm the house and bedroom of an apparently unarmed man and shoot him dead?  It begs the question when he is public enemy number one, but I think the word is “murder,” or is it “assassination?  But under the circumstances, these are far too loaded, so perhaps the more neutral “dispatched” is best.

Whatever word is appropriate, character assassination immediately followed.  ‘The coward hid behind his wife.’  ‘The fusty old egomaniac sat around clicking his remote to view footage of himself on television.’  When pornography was found on one of the many computers in the compound, the loud implication was that, when the old man wasn’t watching himself on television, he was probably jacking off to porno.

-Weak objections

The din of American self-congratulation and chest thumping was deafening. Many American voices were silent, bemused.  A few dissenting voices took exception. Michael Moore championed a barely audible suggestion, that by rights Osama should have been captured and brought to trial, this having something to do with the legal base of the rights of man, the declared substratum of the founding of America.

Of course there were outraged voices from the Middle East, such as that of Ismail Haniya, head of the Hamas government dutifully elected by the Palestinian people: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior… We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”

The heroic dispatch of Osama needed no justification in America. The villain transgressed the sacred American identity, a narrative largely unchallenged by public opinion or press.  Never mind the founding fathers and their universal rights, the real narrative clarified by 911 was that America is sacrosanct and special.  “Special” means America can attack foreign lands and kill innocents as ”collateral damage,” because it offers sincere apologies and democracy.  However, foreigners do not attack America.  America is invincible.  Attacks on American soil are impossible, or at least inconceivable.  Americans are sacrosanct, all of them innocent.  In the face of this narrative, 911 created a cognitive dissonance, a kind of national psychosis, which lasted for ten years until the one responsible could be (not brought to justice) but dispatched.  With the death of bin Laden, this narrative snapped back into place.  This was the real celebration.  Our narrative — the one that makes America safe and Americans righteous and secure –- was restored.  What a relief!

This national narrative is so engraved and inviolate that no Americans can break it.  It is the basis of our national identity.  Obama declared in his late night announcement on May 1 that “Justice has been done.” This is not the justice of our Constitution, nor the justice of the Nazi war trials, nor the justice of the World Court to which everyone but America is subject. The justice he was referring to is ‘eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth,’ the justice of revenge.   It is only the “special” narrative of American invincibility and superiority that supports this use of “justice.”

There is however another point of view – one that must have been felt in the hearts of some Americans, but so counter to the politically correct American narrative, that it could not be uttered.  It is an opportunity missed, arising from a view of an evolved America, one evinced by America’s much-vaunted modern hero, also slain, Martin Luther King.

“Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and non-violence, when
it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to
know of his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed
see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we
may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are
called the opposition.”
                           Martin Luther King  On the Vietnam War  April 1967

Where was this voice in the din of American chest thumping?  Perhaps this “Great American,” to whom our leaders duly pay lip-tribute every March, is too heretical.  Martin Luther King is calling not to the “special” narrative of American patriotism, but to the principles of that patriotism, embodied in our code of justice, but further, to the spiritual aspiration that grows out of those principles, the evolutionary inevitability of following those principles back into the source of the Good.  This was the voice of Martin Luther King.

Could it be that the dispatch of Osama bin Laden was not, as the celebrants supposed, America’s finest hour?

Following Dr King’s lead, let us open to a greater picture.

The fact is that America is not a completed entity: it is a recently conceived experiment, based on the ideas of the Enlightenment as to the universal rights of man and evolving towards the higher Good.  Students of anthropology and world history can discern shifting viewpoints that represent a universal evolution into the Good, this evolution being the ancient promise of Plato and those that have followed him.

There is a pattern to this evolution.  Each stage transcends but incorporates earlier stages.  The pattern starts at the tooth and claw of survival.  It rises up through tribal unities based on the adversity of “them and us.”   This tribalism accretes to larger entities, often united by one religion or belief system, fortified by the conviction that “our religion is the only right one.” The evolution then moves up through the cowboy heroism of good and evil and evolves into civic order based in national identities enforced by monarchy.  This was the system in place in Europe at the time of our founding fathers, where our special patriotic narrative is firmly rooted. The reaction to that Europe produced the Enlightenment values of the universal rights of man, which transcend any national narrative.  This is the progressive basis upon which our founding fathers created America and our code of law and justice.  But from here, our boomer generation, who traveled the world, moved away from good and evil into the capacity to walk in the shoes of the other, a multi-perspective view which advances universal value into sovereign universal individual worth.

The higher stages of evolution have always transcended the lower, but do not necessarily incorporate them.  The dispatch of Osama demonstrates that regression back to earlier stages, in this case the cowboy heroism of ‘good and evil,’ is always possible.  The narcissism of the boomer generation all too often looks like “my way is the right way,” which can regress quickly to tooth and claw.

But Dr King was pointing to an even higher level than the Enlightenment, taking the multi-perspective view to a more advanced stage of evolution. This is the principle arising out of sovereign individual worth — compassion and non-violence.  It is probably too much to say that the founding principles of the US were compassion and non-violence: they were rather the universal values of the rights of man.  However, when every year we commemorate Martin Luther King Day, we celebrate the spiritual aspiration of the nation, grounded in the rights of man of the Enlightenment, but transcending this into compassion and non-violence, benchmarks of a higher, planetary enlightenment. Martin Luther King articulated a dream that has been there hovering above the American constitution, first formulated by the American Transcendentalists in the nineteenth century, and others in the twentieth century inspired by the vision of Gandhi, notably Dr King who clarified this vision as the evolutionary target of civilization, a true transcendental state, and the true dream of America as the outcome of its founding principles.

One benchmark of this new enlightenment is a multi-perspective world view, inconceivable in lower stages of national loyalty, but appreciated in the rise of the boomer generation, and advanced by Martin Luther King’s challenge as the true dream of America — to be able to adopt the point of view of the enemy.

So let us be clear: at the level of tribal/national revenge we triumphed:  at the level of our true national aspiration we failed with resolute blindness.

-What would Dr King’s “mature view of true compassion” look like in this case?

If you could ever reach into the hearts of the dispossessed of the world, what would you find?  What is the perspective of people in the great majority of the world?

Of course the American narrative is that we are the world leader, compassionate, brave, the very best.  As the great cowboy said, those who would destroy us hate our freedom.  By and large, the world demographic of Caucasians believe, indeed live by this narrative, including all of North America and Europe, rebuilt after the Second World War out of American beneficence.  These whites comprise about 13% of the world population.  The rest, the vast majority of the world, are people of color.  Of course those non-whites who enjoy the world of the whites, comprise maybe 10% more.  Another 10% who envy the world of the whites also probably accord with the American narrative.  But what about the others, still the great majority of the world?   Here we enter the realm of heresy as we ask, what about their narrative?

-Hatred of America: “the enemy’s point of view”

Jean Ziegler, a Swiss philosopher/reporter has lived for many years in this other world.  He has written a report, La Heine de l’Occident, “The Hatred of the West.”  The book is replete with incontrovertible evidence, but it is so heretical that it has been translated only into German, that language belonging to a people whose narratives of superiority have been obliterated, not once but twice in the last century.  Having the narratives of the enemy thrust down its throat twice has led to a rich process of self-examination utterly unknown to the English speaking world.

-“the enemy’s… assessment of ourselves”

Are we the world leader or the world bully?
Boomers who have traveled the backpack route of the world will recognize what Ziegler reports.  He writes of resentments that are the givens for most people in the world.  He asks this question, why is the hatred of America breaking out now?

As communication shrinks the world, the imbalances of wealth and the contradiction between demography and power has become painfully clear.   13% of the world population has dominated and exploited the resources of the entire planet for the last 300 years; first through conquest and in many cases, enslavement, then colonization, then in the last century the corporatization of the world. The communications revolution somehow has evoked a spontaneous revival of the wounded memories of these last three centuries. While this progression has accrued great wealth and power for those 13%, it has created untold, unrecorded miseries for the people of color, particularly in the southern hemisphere. This has set up a structure of imbalance and injustice in that world that constitutes what is known as “structural violence,” or suffering due to the ver
y structure of the world economic system.  This violence is not the work of “evil” individuals or even nations, it is in the very structure of things established in three centuries as the ‘world order.’

In that other world the symbol of this was the World Trade Center.

The enormous military of the privileged world holds this structure together with all its might.  Those who struggle against this structural violence are subject to all the fury of the Western arsenal of advanced technology and weaponry.  One thinks of those photographs of our high tech burdened troops next to the Taliban, with their rifles and traditional dress.  Those who suffer and are killed resisting this might are either “insurgents” against the system or, else the innocents who happen to be in the way, neatly catalogued in the American canon as “collateral damage.”

The symbol of this is the Pentagon.

The West created and supports a system of structural violence in which far more than thirteen percent are victims, and which it enforces with overwhelming military power dominating the ex-colonial states, supporting and reinforcing regimes that fortify their exploitation and bring great riches to their leadership.  The result for the great majority is poverty, debasement and untold suffering, which has fueled the recent uprising of the Arab populace.   At the same time, America with great fanfare and self-righteousness preaches human rights.  This is seen in the rest of the world, not as blind naivete, which it arguably is, but as hateful hypocrisy.

The symbol of this is the White House where dwells the leader and figurehead of the “free” corporatocracy world.

Now, in the last five years, this structural imbalance is reflected in a steady but deadly rise in the price of food and sustenance in these countries.  Starvation is advancing, slowly but surely.  The situational violence of food shortage is a direct result of the systemic aggression. Westerners are completely blind to this, making their surface protestations of human rights all the more hateful.

Who can speak up against this?  What does it take to make the West realize what it is doing?  Any thinking person in that other world has to ask these questions.

The compassionate view towards the losers of the modern world evinced by Martin Luther King can clarify many movements of the modern world incomprehensible to the White Man.  The case against colonialism has been made vigorously before, probably most visibly by the Japanese in the mid-twentieth century.  To drive the White Man out of Asia was its ostensible rationale leading to the War of the Pacific.  This noble goal, supported by many thinking people in the colonial world, was however co-opted by the true Great Satan, the power lust that infests the powerful in all instances.  The political and military leaders of Japan went mad, colluded with the power mad European fascists and had to be stopped.  However, the impulse began as a reaction to the invasion and overwhelming of Asia by the greed of the White Man.  Vietnam was a continuation of this, though Americans naively misread it as ‘creeping communism.’  Martin Luther King understood this, which prompted his call to all Americans to examine themselves in compassion for the people of color, the great majority of the world population.

The Arab countries have their own narrative of Islamic specialness.  The Islamic hegemony has long been practiced and challenged, but is now contradicted by the existence of Israel, which is marginal but used as a focal point. The reasons for the existence of Israel are too well known to rehearse here, but just for a moment, let us try an empathy experiment.  Imagine that the ancient scriptures of an Indian nation, pushed westward and eventually practically eliminated through the lebensraum entitlement of Manifest Destiny, claimed the area of Rhode Island as their true home ordained by the gods of their traditions.  How would Americans react if the UN, in compassion, delivered Rhode Island over to these victims of the Holocaust? How long would it take America to “just get over it”?  This is not an argument, but a thought experiment.  Just think of it. Then you may catch a glimpse of the way Arabs have reacted to Israel.   In like manner, Israel is a thorn in the flesh of the Middle East.   It is a wound so infected, that one wonders how it could ever heal.  Probably about as long as it would take to heal if the Indian nation were thrust upon the American continent. Try this thought experiment on the Indians as they reacted to American settlement, or the Aborigines as Australia was settled, or Hindus as Muslims took their lands to establish Pakistan. This is how compassion works.

By 2001, after the fall of communism, America had been bereft of an enemy for ten years.  911 became the occasion for taking on Al Qaeda as a national enemy.  The cowboy nobly stated that Islam was not the enemy, but he also used the history-loaded “crusade” analogy allowing the ‘us versus them’ tendency in American culture reflexively to identify Islam as the enemy.  This national vengeance provided the velocity to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, with the actual policy to stabilize and advance corporate interests in the Middle East, largely the need to control the supply of oil.  Those who differed with this policy in America were marginalized, and patriots in the target countries (who had nothing to do with 911) were labeled “insurgents” and dispatched accordingly.

Who is going to rebuild the cities of Iraq and Afghanistan demolished by our high tech wonder weaponry?  After the Second World War America paid to rebuild the Europe of its former enemies.  We did this partly because we learned that punishing an enemy, as the Allies had done after the First World War with the Treaty of Versailles, crippled Germany and created the resentments that generated the Second World War.  The Marshall Plan was the creation of a generous and wise America, one that still brings tears to the eyes of many Europeans.  Where is this America?

So if we go back to Haniya’s description of America’s policy, this “brother” also has a viewpoint, the stated policy of America may be something like ‘establishing freedom and democracy in the Middle East.’  Does anyone think for a moment that if the population of the area from the Mediterranean to India were to exercise freedom and democracy, there would be support for America’s policies?  Such a vote was given to the Palestinian people, and America was horrified and humiliated when Hamas was democratically elected to power.  America’s stated policy of benevolence and democracy convinces those adhering to the narrative of American superiority, but it reeks of the hated hypocrisy and is effectively a policy of oppressing the area into puppet “democracies” brought about by, “shedding Muslim and Arab blood.”  They killed the warrior who was confronting this policy.  This is Haniya’s point.

-Hubris and Nemesis: “the basic weakness of our own condition…”

Long ago the physics of fate were understood by our cultural ancestors, the Greeks.  What is done in blind disregard (hubris) of the conditions of others and the universal laws, sets up a reaction (nemesis) that tends to undermine and ultimately destroy the perpetrator.  This is the stuff of Greek tragedy, as well as human suffering.

All of this perpetrated by the White Man over the last three centuries adds up to a hubris that is not only the cause of the hatred of the majority of the world, but to the very gods themselves, who do not suffer hubris of this sort without producing its nemesis.  OK, forget the gods.  Nemesis and hubris is a law of spiritual physics.   In the same inevitable way as a physi
cal law, hubris, which violates universal human values, produces the nemesis that is its downfall.

From where could a nemesis come?  It is too much to imagine that he or she would come out of the faceless numberless exploited masses, like the good shepherd David facing off against Goliath.  It is too much to ask in this world run by billionaires.  Nemesis could only be embodied from the ranks of those in the position of hubris.

The hubris created a nemesis vacuum.  Who filled it?

-Osama

Osama was a holy man.  This is described in Time Magazine (May 20, 2011) by Peter Bergen, who once interviewed bin Laden and has reported on him extensively. One of many sons of a Saudi billionaire, bin Laden eschewed his entitlement to become a rich playboy and zealously applied himself to the study of the Koran, while contemplating the imbalances of the world and the assaults of colonial mentality upon Islam.  As a teenager, when his friends were out playing soccer, Osama was praying seven times a day (two times more than mandated by Islamic custom) and fasting twice a week in imitation of the great prophet.  Later, he studied economics at university.

Bin Laden’s zealotry, according to Bergen, was driven not only by a desire to implement what he saw as God’s will in the face of grave assaults on Islamic peoples, but also a fear of divine punishment if he failed to do so.  So not defending Islam and its people from its most important enemy would be disobeying God, something he would never do.

Bergen makes the case that Osama was misdirected as a kind of obsessive zealot.  But his view does not seem to take into account the hatred generated by the hubris of the White Man and the view of the many whose well being has been sacrificed for the modern prosperity of the few.  When Che Guevara was asked what it takes to become a guerrilla, he said “uncompromising love,” that is, blind compassion for those who suffer from the actions and structural violence of others and the situations they impose.

However we may demonize Osama and assassinate his person and his character, however he may have been doing what his religion told him to do, Osama was the manifestation of nemesis. He had to be created out of the intrinsic imbalance of things.

Osama vs Bush

Peter Bergen, as the voice of the West, and many others, like to compare Osama to Hitler.  I like to compare him to George Bush.  As a student of psychology and human expression, I once made a serious study of the messages from bin Laden. It was difficult to find  translations that were not sifted through the American narrative and perspective. When I could actually watch the messages with subtitles or else just read them, unedited by a Western press determined to demonize them, I was astonished at what I discovered. They were the exact opposite of the atavistic ravings of Hitler, which as a long-time student of German literature and history, I also once studied.

At the end of this article I have included the verbatim translation of a talk bin Laden gave in October, 2004, in which he explains the reasons for 911.  It illustrates Osama’s style of address to the American people, calmly presenting the reasons for the 911 assault, mostly articulating point by point the systemic and situational aggression described above.  There is no trace of vituperation or hatred.  The talk was actually an appeal to the intelligence and sense of justice of the American people, delivered with a calm composure and centeredness that shockingly contrasts with the shrill rhetoric of Bush, full of histrionic half-truths (‘they hate our freedom, they are allied with Saddam Hussein, who threatens our very existence with weapons of mass destruction’) and puffed up cowboy bravado (“Mission Accomplished!”)  The comparison was frankly depressing. I felt the deepest chagrin at observations I was reticent to share with anyone in my own country.

Osama was not deemed “legitimate,” because he did not speak for a sovereign nation or aggress on behalf of one. There is no strong nation out there that could challenge the hubris of the systemic and situational aggression of corporatocracy.  There is no voice loud enough to stand up for the silenced majority suffering under the power of this monolith.  Any nation rich enough to have an army and arsenal to challenge this power, could be so only because it benefits from the monolith.  (With the possible exception of oil rich Venezuela) what nation is going to risk the advantages of this participation?   What democratic national majority, prospering from it, would vote to challenge it?

As the “War on Terrorism” was being conceived, Peter Ustinov quipped with quintessential insight;  “War is the terrorism of the rich: terrorism is the war of the poor.”  Rich nations at the end of their diplomatic tether go to war.  Poor majorities at the end of their tether, having no diplomatic voice, no national identity nor organized military, go to terrorism.  There is a balance to it that only the just eye can see.

Osama’s Plan

Osama’s talk reveals not a madman on a rampage, but a sane man at the end of his tether.  Al Qaeda had launched dozens if not hundreds of incidents, including the first attack on the WTC tower – all of which were overlooked or down-played by the US.  These acts of terrorism were not insane attempts to attack innocents out of envy for their freedom.  Nor was it an attempt to destroy the enemy as one great national army seeks to defeat and destroy another. Osama was a flea attacking an elephant.  The attacks of 911 were acts of eloquent political theater designed to destabilize the monolith.

There were three goals, all of which succeeded:

-Rhetorical: 911 was a symbolic attack on symbolic targets: the WTC, symbol of corporatocracy; the Pentagon, symbol of the military might that holds it in place; and the White House, gracious mansion of its world figurehead.  America was appalled at pictures of people in the world celebrating this event.  To these celebrants, it was, like our dispatch of Osama, the justice of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

-Psychological: The attacks were designed to destabilize the US and the West psychologically, which they did.  The invincible was shown vulnerable.  It was a national trauma, indeed a trauma of the Western world.

-Economic: 911 was intended to initiate a process that would ruin the US and bring down its whole system financially. Here too, in the long run, it has proved successful.  America’s macho over-reaction (Iraq had nothing to do with 911) has cost trillions, creating a grave threat to its economy.  With the domino effect of this instability, 911 has significantly contributed to its ultimate aim, to bring down the whole economic system. That aspect of its intent is still in process, and the world is still reeling.

Did Osama “murder 3000 innocent” people?  I do not think that death tolls figured in his intent. They were a mere detail, collateral damage of an act of global theater designed to provoke and destabilize the monolith.

Did America murder hundreds of thousands of innocent Middle Easterners?  I do not think the death toll of our adventures there figured in our intent.

Here is another multi-perspective view.  When I see the endlessly sentimental carryings on around The World Trade Center and its 3000 innocent victims, I wonder what sort of monument exists in Iraq and Afghanistan commemorating the bombing of countless buildings and infrastructure of the cities, which will take decades to rebuild, and the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed as a result of the high tech attacks of the US and the internal violence they unleashed.  Who is going to put up a shiny new Middle East as we are rebuilding an ever-greater WTC?  Really, wei
gh up the destruction of the WTC and the 3000 killed there against the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, as a consequence of 911, and the “collateral damage” of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims.  Where to place the rage of innocent peoples, who had nothing to do with 911, whose lives and well-being have been utterly destroyed?  How does this stack up to the victims of 911?  The comparison is ludicrous, unless of course the scales are absurdly weighed in favor of the narrative of American superiority and specialness.

What I am doing here is trying to put together the point of view of the “brother we call the enemy”. I don’t remember Martin Luther King advising people to take the side of the enemy, just to put oneself in his shoes and understand where he is coming from.  Likewise, this discussion is not taking sides or defending; it is observing things from the other point of view.  Martin Luther King’s point is that this perspective sees both sides and can thus find a higher, more transcendental viewpoint, which then looks for justice in the higher good.  This is the true American aspiration that Dr King was looking to inspire, the possibility of maturity.

-“If we are mature…”

Osama was apparently unarmed or unable to defend himself when the Navy Seals invaded his bedroom.  The fact is, that crack team could easily have delivered Osama alive if Obama had given that instruction.  Then, like all war criminals, he would have been brought to trial.

As was the case with Saddam, he would have received every overt care and comfort, but been degraded in every covert way (Pictures in handcuffs looking demonically defiant, pathetic and disheveled, etc.)   Unlike Saddam, however, Osama had noble charisma, what many indigenous cultures refer to as “mana;” innate stature.  He was so far from being a bum, it would have been difficult to make him seem like one.  He had too much spiritual charisma.

-What might have happened?

If there had been a trial, before the eyes and ears of the world, then what? They would have had to let him have his say in this world forum.  Would he have ranted and raved as Hitler might have done, or Saddam?  No, he would have taken the same balanced rational tone he took in his address to the American people regarding 911 to be found at the end of this article.  In fact, in the absence of a fair trial, we might regard this as the draft of his testimony addressed not to the court, but to the people of the world.

Here is another thought experiment.  Imagine a world court, with Martin Luther King as the presiding judge.  In this testimony Osama would articulate a view that two thirds of the world takes for granted and one third of the world led by the corporatocracy would never accept, would in fact never even hear.  In effect, he would have, with his mana, put the world and the corporate hegemony on trial.  The underlying structure of hubris and nemesis in the world would have been exposed. And what would Judge King have done?

From this, we come to the overarching point made by Dr King.  We may have had the opportunity to “grow and profit from the opposition.”

BUT To have the case of two thirds of the world articulated by a calm centered voice would have simply been too much.  It would have further destabilized an alarmingly shaky world order before it would have changed it.

Obama

My secret hope is that Obama, who also has “mana,” is a wise man.  Unlike those who are disillusioned with him, I never expected him to be a magician or a charismatic dictator imposing a progressive agenda upon a recalcitrant American majority.  I have watched how, with his deep understanding of the Constitution, he is learning how the power structures actually function and how to bring about change, surely if slowly.  The dispatch of Osama was politically eloquent done with great Machiavellian élan.

However, there is something in the near identity of the names (oBama and oSama).  When I heard the news, my heart stopped because I mis-heard “Obama has been killed. ”  Since then, I notice how very often others as well as myself weirdly use one name when they mean the other.  C G Jung, the great twentieth century psychologist called such an eerie coincidence a “synchronicity.”  The coincidental factors do not cause each other, but they nevertheless require some interpretation.  Just as the psychologically astute should tend their dreams, said Jung, so should they learn how to intuit the particular significance of a synchronicity, its hidden truth.  Only one consonant differentiates Obama from Osama.  All that separates them is BS.  Hmmm.

Both men have a genetic basis in the non-white world, but were brought up in the world of white privilege. They are inherently capable of understanding opposing points of view.  From the highest perspective they are separated only by BS.

In fact, a real unthinkable shortcut to Martin Luther King’s vision would have been a soul dialogue between Osama and Obama, in which Osama set forth what he said to the American people in his talk.  What might the custodian of Western hubris have been able to discern from the custodian of nemesis?  These two guardians of hubris and nemesis in a respectful dialogue: this would transcend individual and national personality into King’s dream of a new world of balance and harmony.  This is also the vision of Gandhi and the Dalai Lama.

Somewhere Obama understands both the hubris and the nemesis, and in his own way, he will, if re-elected, slowly act to influence the world towards balance.   That is my faith.

The American forefathers created the constitution of America on a conviction of self- evident truth.  This refers to values that are universal, not merely cultural or national.  From the perspective of those self-evident truths, bringing down bin Laden brought the great world dialogue, the inevitable outcome of our own professed universal values, down to a level of cultural warfare.  But America is a democracy in which the majority rules, and this is clearly where America wants to be.

But let us now review King’s statement:

“Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and non-violence, when
it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to
know of his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed
see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we
may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are
called the opposition.”

-The decision to dispatch Osama was probably based in the realization that we could not have allowed this “enemy” voice to speak in a planetary forum: it would be too destabilizing.  If allowed to speak in his defense, Osama would likely have had the skill and the poise to place the world on trial.

For this reason, they could not have tried him.  They had to kill him.  Our President, with one rather elegant coup de grace, succeeded in fulfilling the will of his people.  But, as our President so often says, “let us be clear:” we failed in our opportunity for maturity, “to learn and grow and profit.”  We accomplished the death of our enemy, but we missed the opportunity proffered by our iconic hero: the opportunity to take a great step forward to the dream of our founding fathers and the enl
ightened principles they established in our constitution…to advance a world based on universal values.  In this we betrayed not only the principles of the rights of man, we also lost faith with the spiritual aspiration of the nation as a country of “true compassion and non-violence.”

So here is the heresy:  Osama was a warrior who observed the intrinsic imbalance of the world as expressed in the Middle East and dedicated himself to setting it right by whatever means were at his disposal.

We killed the man but not the nemesis. We lost our opportunity to question nemesis in order to rectify the fundamental imbalances that truly destabilize the world.  Osama is gone, but nemesis is not.  It only grows as the forces of hubris once again triumph.

However successful the Administration was at disposing of Osama, we did nothing to neutralize the nemesis by becoming aware of our hubris.  This was an unqualified failure.  In fact, the Middle East is but the scene of a mere fraction of the problem.  As the consuming hubris of the Western hegemony increases, so does its non-sustainable abuse of the earth.  The hubris is planetary and pathogenic. The real nemesis has gone into the earth itself, whose climatic chaos, now increasing with every season, is a form of terrorism in its own right, threatening the very species that has become its pathogen.  What is coming is war with an enraged earth.

BUT
We got ‘im!!!

Transcript of Osama bin Laden’s Speech
Aljazeera.net (online publication), Doha, Qatar, October 30, 2004

Praise be to God who created the creation for his worship and commanded them to be just and permitted the wronged one to retaliate against the oppressor in kind. To proceed:
Peace be upon he who follows the guidance: People of America this talk of mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan, and deals with the war and its causes and results.
Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom.
If so, then let him explain to us why we don’t strike for example – Sweden? And we know that freedom-haters don’t possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 – may God have mercy on them.
No, we fight because we are free men who don’t sleep under oppression. We want to restore freedom to our nation.  Just as you lay waste to our nation, so shall we lay waste to yours.
No one except a stupid thief endangers the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it from happening again.
But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred.
So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken, for you to consider.
I say to you, God knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after it became unbearable to witness the oppression and tyranny of the American/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind.
The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon, assisted by the American Sixth Fleet. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.
I couldn’t forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.
The situation was like a crocodile attacking a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn’t include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard, but it didn’t respond.
In those awful moments, many indescribable thoughts and feelings bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.
And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.
And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.
This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known, and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children – also in Iraq – as Bush Jr did, in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq’s oil and other outrages.
So with these images and their like as their background, the events of September 11th came as a response to those great wrongs.  Should a man be blamed for defending his sanctuary?
Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor in kind, objectionable terrorism? If it is such, then it is unavoidable for us.
This is the message that I sought to communicate to you in word and deed, repeatedly, for years before September 11th.
And you can read this, if you wish, in my interview with Scott in Time Magazine in 1996, or with Peter Arnett on CNN in 1997, or my meeting with John Weiner in 1998.
You can observe it practically, if you wish, in Kenya and Tanzania and in Aden. And you can read it in my interview with Abdul Bari Atwan, as well as my interviews with Robert Fisk.  The latter is one of your compatriots and co-religionists, but I consider him to be neutral.  Are the pretenders of freedom at the White House and the channels controlled by them able to run an interview with him so that he may relay to the American people what he has understood from us to be the reasons for our fight against you?
If you avoid these reasons, you will have taken the correct path that will lead America to the security that it had before September 11th. This was the cause of the attack.
As for it’s results, they have been, by the grace of God, positive and enormous, and have, by all standards, exceeded all expectations. This is due to many factors, chief among them, that we have found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half, which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents.
Our experience with them is lengthy, and both types are characterised by pride, arrogance, greed and misappropriation of wealth. This resemblance began after the visits of Bush Sr. to the region.
At a time when some of our compatriots were dazzled by America and hoping that these visits would have an effect on our countries, all of a sudden Bush was impressed by those monarchies and military regimes, and became envious of their decades in power and ability to embezzle the public wealth of the nation without supervision or accounting.
So he took the ideas of dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act, under the pretense of fighting terrorism. In addition, Bush sanctioned the installing of sons as state governors, and didn’t forget to import expertise in election fraud to Florida to be made use of in moments of difficulty.
All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration.  All that we have to do is to send
two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without achieving anything of note other than some profits for their private corporations.
This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.
All Praise is due to God.
So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.  God willing, and nothing is too great for God.
That being said, those who say that al-Qaida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise, because when one scrutinises the results, one cannot say that al-Qaida is the sole factor in achieving those spectacular gains.  Rather, the policy of the White House that requires opening war fronts to keep busy their various corporations – whether they be in the business of arms or oil or reconstruction – has helped al-Qaida to achieve these enormous results.
And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and al-Qaida are playing as one team towards the economic goals of the United States, even if the intentions differ.
And it was to these sorts of notions and their like that the British diplomat and others were referring in their lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, [when they pointed out that] for example, al-Qaida spent $500,000 on the event, while America, in the incident and its aftermath, lost – according to the lowest estimate – more than $500 billion.
Meaning that every dollar of al-Qaida defeated a million dollars by the permission of God, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.  As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.
And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the mujahidin recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan – with God’s permission.
It is true that this shows that al-Qaida has gained, but on the other hand, it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something which will convince anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind. All of this shows that the real loser is … you.
It is the American people and their economy.
And for the record, we agreed with the Commander-General Muhammad Ataa,  God have mercy on him, that all the operations should be carried out within twenty minutes, before Bush and his administration noticed.  It never occurred to us that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face those great horrors alone when they most needed him.  But because it seemed to him that talking to the little girl about the goat and its butting was more important than occupying himself with the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers, we were given three times the period required to execute the operations – all praise is due to God.
It is no secret to you that the thinkers and perceptive ones in America warned Bush before the (Iraq) war and told him: “All that you want for securing America and removing the weapons of mass destruction — assuming they exist — is available to you.  The nations of the world are with you in the inspections, and it is in the interest of America to not be thrust into an unjustified war with an unknown outcome.” But the darkness of the black gold blurred his vision and insight, and he gave priority to private interests over the public interests of America.
So the war went ahead, the death toll rose, the American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threaten his future. He fits the saying “like the demented she-goat who used her hoof to dig up a knife from under the earth”.
So I say to you, over 15,000 of our people have been killed and tens of thousands injured, while more than a thousand of you have been killed and more than 10,000 injured. And Bush’s hands are stained with the blood of all those killed from both sides, all for the sake of oil and keeping the private companies in business.
Be aware that you are the nation who punishes the weak man when he kills  one of its citizens for money, while letting the powerful one get off when he causes the killing of more than 1000 of its sons for money.
And the same goes for your allies in Palestine. They terrorise the women and children, and kill and capture the men as they lie sleeping with their families on their mattresses.  Remember, for every action, there is a reaction.
Finally, it behooves you to reflect on the last wills and testaments of the thousands who left you on the 11th as they gestured frantically in despair. They are important testaments, which should be studied and researched.
Among the most important of what I read their gestures before the collapse: “How mistaken we were to have allowed the White House to implement its aggressive foreign policies against the weak without supervision.”  It is as if they were telling you, the people of America: “Hold to account those who have caused us to be killed, and fortunate is he who learns from others’ mistakes.”
And among that which I read in their gestures is a verse of poetry. “Injustice chases its people,  How unhealthy the bed of tyranny.”
As has been said: “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”
And know that: “It is better to return to truth than persist in error.”  The wise man doesn’t squander his security, wealth and children for the sake of the liar in the White House.
In conclusion, I tell you in truth, that your security is not in the hands of Kerry, nor Bush, nor al-Qaida. No.  Your security is in your own hands. And any state that doesn’t fool with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security.
And God is our Guardian and Helper, while you have no Guardian or Helper. All peace be upon he who follows the Guidance.

 

THE RAPE OF INNOCENCE: The Catholic Crisis

PopeBenedictXVISummary
The sex scandal within the Catholic Church has reached epic proportions.  There is much heated discussion of this crisis and how the problem of pedophilia should be handled on a political and disciplinary level, but the questions about its real cause are rarely approached.  The crisis is so grotesque and monumental that only the most basic questioning may lead to an understanding of its underlying causes.  These go back to the foundations of the Church’s attitude towards vitality and nature and the appropriate management of erotic energy.  The problem is based in the Semitic/Christian split of the body and mind.  The resulting war between spirit and flesh generates a rage that is deep and unconscious.  Only vengeance of such a shadowy nature can throw light upon the violent and contradictory rape of innocents. Yet this split is not really fundamental, as can be shown by looking outside of the Semitic/Christian world at other religious traditions, both ancient and extant, which cultivate the consciousness that is prior to any dualistic split and manage vital energy in more wholesome ways. This split between mind and nature is fundamental to an even greater crisis now before us: the ecological state of the earth fueled by Western culture.  The disposition of exploitation is at the root of the catastrophe that now threatens our very existence.  The earth too shows every sign of being in a rage.

Outline:
The Unfolding Scandal
Peeling the Onion
Questions
Determining the source of the problem
Blaming homosexuality
The Fundamental Issue
The True Victims
Innocence is Vitality
The War of Spirit and Flesh
The Big Lie and the Great Truth
The Big Lie and Its Consequences
The Great Truth and its Traditions
The Greater Tragedy
What is the Church to Do?
A New Direction
What can you do?

THE RAPE OF INNOCENCE

“I loved our priest. So did my mother. We all believed that the priest and the bishop and the Pope himself were always right.  They were the force for good. It was the power of God.  Mother was delighted when the priest arrived to pick me up to join other boys on trips to the beach. I was too. He would grab me, tickling and wrestling like I did with my Dad.  At first it was fun, but then something changed.  He started grabbing me down there.  I would feel him rubbing against me from behind.  I got so scared.  Even though he was next to God for me, I knew this was so wrong.  I didn’t know who to turn to. I looked out the window.  I started praying, but there was no voice to comfort me.  This went on for several years.  Sometimes I secretly enjoyed what we did, but mostly I was confused and depressed, until I finally told my Dad.  He reported what happened, but there was no change.  After some time the priest left, but it was celebrated with cake and ice cream.  I was so confused and left with deep scars of secret shame.  Now that people know about it they are gasping for breath.  They don’t know where to put their faith.  What should I do when I pray?
                                                                                A Victim

The Unfolding Scandal
One has to pity the poor pope, wearing the Emperor’s new clothes, his ornate crown and gowns and massive golden setting growing ever uglier as the grotesque magnitude of the scandal becomes evident.  Benedict’s aged rigid body raising his arms in blessing is an appropriate symbol of the pitiful inadequacy of this ancient mendacious institution in the face of the tidal wave that is sweeping over the Vatican.  A roiling series of national scandals has turned into an epic test for the universal church, threatening its very existence.

This institution was created to universally embody the divine protector of innocence, the one who famously said words that now carry an awful irony, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”  This Church has fomented a secret army of sexual predators, under the protection of the Church itself, who find themselves unable to resist the compulsion to exploit the power of their position to force themselves upon innocents.  How are we to deal with this appalling absurdity?

It has been said that if the Church managed to survive the Inquisition, it can survive this.  But these times are different.  Right now, the modern world is wrapping its head around the Catholic Church in a major way. The growing evidence is so hideous and deformed, its true extent and breadth becoming daily more evident, that the Church is being driven to inevitable confrontation. The crisis will never be resolved until the real depth of the problem is identified, clarified and courageously addressed.

Perhaps in the ancient way of great crisis, this presents a great opportunity. But what is the real problem?

Peeling the Onion

Questions abound.  

What kind of apologies and reparations are in order?
How to answer those who have placed their most sacred trust in the church?
Will the church survive the legal suits?
Is the fabulous wealth of the Vatican sufficient to pay out the billions in reparations due to its victims?
Will the poor of the southern hemisphere continue to finance this great outlay in addition to paying for the ornamentation, or will the church have to start selling off its gold leaf?

What to do about the guilty priests?
The Pope appears to be making progress as the church, its cover-up of the situation now revealed, is now willing to give up its protection, point to the priests, call them names appropriately associated with evil, reject them and hand them over to the law.  This is seen as a step forward.  Much is made of the extent to which this is done.

But how is the Vatican to deal with the cynical secrecy of the cover-up itself?
Who knew about this all these many years and did not address it according to the laws of the land?
Who participated in the cover-up and what responsibility and liability do they have with regard to the law?
We now know that Pope Benedict himself, who once headed up the modern vestige of the Inquisition responsible for dealing with this issue, grandly led the cover-up.  What is to be done with such a one who is willing to protect this mendacious institution by sacrificing the well being of those it is intended to serve?
What kind of punishment is due those who have covered up this moral atrocity?
Can the absolute leader of the Imperium church publicly atone for his sins and yet preserve the theological magisterium of the papacy?

And perhaps it is no one’s fault, but rather s
ystemic to the very structure of the Church.

Much is made of this process of calling the church to account.  Sinead O’Connor, the singing conscience of the church, wants all those guilty of this cover-up to stand down and allow fresh faces, “those who really believe in God,” to take their place.  Would this get to the root of the problem?

Then there is the feeble attempt to address the sexual roots of the crisis.  Who are these rapacious priests?

They are people who cannot handle celibacy.  Celibacy is the problem.  Are we to understand then that if priests are allowed to marry, they will no longer have interest in innocent youth?

Of course, there is always homosexuality to blame, and there was always plenty of that.  Throughout history men who love men have characteristically taken refuge in the all male world of the clergy. One great leap forward, much vaunted recently by the church, is that homosexuals will no longer be allowed. One wonders how this will affect the already dwindling numbers of young men willing to enter the church.

But the connection of homosexual inclination and pederasty does not stand up to much scrutiny.  The abuse of girls shows that desire for sex with young faithful is largely unrelated to sexual orientation.  And what of the even more extensive, but less celebrated problem of priests who have sex with adults in their flock.  This too, in its own way, is a despoiling of innocence.

This display is pathetic.  These measures are no match for the magnitude of this problem.  If this is as deep as it goes, the Catholic Church is finished.  Such a collapse would be an existential trauma of such proportions for 1.2 billion Catholics and the very fabric of Western Culture, that it is understandable that the Pope should make every effort to avoid it at all costs.

The Fundamental Issue
The elephant in the sanctuary of St Peters absurdly degrades “the pride of Christ,” the mystical entity called the Church.  The province of the religion is innocence.  Faith in the Church is the doorway to faith in the religion.  In this regard, betrayal of the innocent is too weak a concept: desecrated, defiled, abused come to mind, but “rape” is more accurate.  What kind of rage or vengeance is behind this?

What conceals the true roots of the problem is the cheesy moral assumption that the priests are evil and the innocents are good.  All of the so-called solutions operate within this assumption. This sets up a dichotomy that stops the analysis and obscures its true depths.

We began with the testimony of a “good” victim.  Now consider this testimony of an “evil” priest.

 

“Ever since I was young I was drawn to God and his church.  Early on I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to God and set about preparing to enter the priesthood.  I did experience sexual feelings, attraction towards my contemporaries that increased in my adolescence.  But I was convinced that if I became a priest I would be able to overcome them.  In seminary I did everything I was told, but still the feelings persisted.  For years I prayed and confessed and resolved and did everything in my own power and the powers passed on to me in my training for the priesthood.  To tell the truth, none of it was very effective.  I confessed over and over, but the feelings persisted, and finally I gave into them and started masturbating.  I was getting sick. My guilt became greater and greater, which perversely only seemed to intensify my lust.  I began to feel more and more attracted to boys, especially 13 to 16, the same age I was when I began to have these feelings. I resisted and resisted, and finally lost confidence in my faith to be able to help me with this.  I had known of fellow clergy that had gone into treatment, but they either went back into the behavior, became increasingly depressed, and/or left the clergy.  I could not imagine leaving the church. What happened was a lonely spiral downward into ever increasing guilt and lust, which finally forced me into a kind of awful cynicism, a kind of impacted rage.  I established myself as the champion of the youths I felt attracted to, but I found myself overwhelmingly attracted to them.  At this point, I gave in and began to entice some of them into playing around with me.  This led to other things. Sometimes they enjoyed it a lot, but mostly they were afraid.  I too was afraid, but I had nowhere to turn.  When I was finally caught it was hell, but somehow, it was a relief from the personal hell I had been in before.  God forgive me.”
                                                                                  A Victim

If such testimony generates empathy, another perspective opens up.  Of what?

 The True Victims
The innocents are but secondary victims.  The primary victims are the perpetrators themselves.  The truth is not that they are evil, but that they are equally victims.  They too are innocents who in their own way have been “raped”.

If the result of an experiment two thousand years old is the rape of the innocents, the experiment is a colossal failure.  It has exposed a wound so deep, an infection so virulent, that it may finally direct attention to its true malignant source.  This is so fundamental that the church in its present form, symbolized by this frail rigid Pope in his resplendent finery feebly raising his hand in blessing, cannot even approach.  At the same time the elephant in the sanctuary, primordial beast that it is, makes a mockery of all the ornate massiveness that surrounds it.

The rape of the innocents has finally expressed the true problem, for it is innocence itself that has been raped by the church.

In fact the Catholic Church is the tip of the iceberg.  Its power, moral authority and rigid hierarchy constitute a form of structural violence.  All the arrogance of this imperial posture sets it up for the comeuppance of this scandal.  The Imperium stands for St Michael who can overcome the dragon of the flesh. But the fact is that this much-vaunted triumph of spirit over flesh creates its opposite, flesh over spirit. The nemesis laughs in the face of the hubris of this authority.

The fact is that this fundamental problem exists throughout Christendom and raises its head in many churches.  Since protestant denominations are less centralized and more local, the abuse by their clergy cannot be figured into statistics the way the highly organized Catholic Church can be, once their records are exposed.  This is in fact a Christian problem, even deeper, a problem of Western Culture and is part of what has been called “the white man’s disease.”  The Catholic Church has just become its most exquisite symbol.

Innocence is Vitality
Innocence is the purity of the given.  The given of life is vitality.  This givenness is its innocence.  Innocence is pure vital energy.&nbsp
; It is the energy of life, the divine mover of nature.  Innocence refers to the pure structure of being and of reality, which Socrates and his codifier Plato inspired us to question in order to come to know the One, the Good. The innocent vitality of a child is the force of nature itself.  The innocence of pure faith is the dearest form of that vitality.

The basic problem of the Christian West is its appropriation of vital energy and the understanding and management of the economy of that energy.  The way that the Christian West treats vitality imprints the way it treats the biosphere, nature itself.

St Paul put the case most concisely, “The spirit lusts after the flesh, and the flesh lusts after the spirit.”  Was this a declaration of war?

The War of Spirit and Flesh
The problematic area is sexuality.  Here, “sexuality” refers not simply to sexual acts, desire, or permissiveness, but implies the whole integral cycle of indulgence and guilt suffered by anyone besides the fortunate few, who have grown up in cultures adhering to the religions of the Book, the descendants of Abraham.


Suppressing or repressing the vitality of sexual energy leads to pathology.  Starting with Freud, researchers and clinicians in psychotherapy have demonstrated and documented this fact for 150 years.  Mind making its negative judgments of the body renders the body and its energies into antagonistic “flesh” which has to be controlled by an adversarial spirit. This discontinuity generates destructive patterns of behavior. It foments a revulsion, which, set up against the primordial unity of things, becomes rage. It is this deep rage and its discontents with existence that fuel compulsive behavior.  This is the structural pattern of which the pederast priest is a victim, along with every other sexual addict.

In the Christian tradition, there is only one means of access to the union of spirit and vitality, one hope of returning to innocence.  That is marriage.  When marriage works and a true erotic energy exists between man and wife, the bliss of the union of body and spirit can take place.  It is for this reason that marriage has been raised to such a high level in Christianity and that romance, the possibility of such a union, has been raised to such obsessive importance in Western culture.  If you listen to the lyrics of pop culture, you get that “love is the only hope.” In no other culture in the world does romantic love carry the weight that it does in Western culture.  This is because it is the only way that the union of warring spirit and flesh can be achieved in the context of Christianity.

However, the proportion of people who can genuinely achieve this kind of union in monogamy is actually very small.  Couples who can sustain it are far fewer.  The ban on any other expression of sexual vitality in Christianity is a formula that does not fit the actual human condition.  It comes to a “just say no” policy towards sexual expression encapsulated in the late Middle Ages by the formulaic celibacy in the church.  This formula however works only in exceptional cases that have more to do with temperament than with discipline.  There are those who are blessed with a love and marriage that leads to an experience of the hallowed union of spirit and flesh.  There are rare individuals whose sexual economy is such that they can achieve and truly enjoy genuine celibacy.  But these are few.  Yet for the church, they are the only acceptable standard.

The policy of limiting sexual expression to monogamy or celibacy is simply unrealistic, a beautiful dream of purity that casts shadows proportionately ugly.  The nasty form of pederasty exposed under the foundations of the church is the result of eroticism that has been suppressed and repressed to a point of deep rage, equally repressed.

Stephen Fry, British comedian and actor, recently delivered a well-reasoned and deadly serious screed against the Church at “The 2010 Intelligence Debate” in which he fused the forced abstinence and campaigns against sex together with the rape of innocents.  Comparing these to obsessions with the other great human appetite, food, he pointed out the extreme and grotesque pathologies of anorexia and morbid obesity.  That, he said, in a nutshell, is the Catholic Church.

“Just say no” simply does not work.  Vital energy is simply too vital.

The Big Lie and the Great Truth
The Big Lie is that spirit is in opposition to flesh and that correlatively the mind of man is in opposition to nature.  Therefore the only way to bring about any resolution is through control, which is monitored and enforced through religion, political authority and might.

The Great Truth is that prior to any opposition or duality of this kind, there is a primordial unity at the base of human consciousness that can be known and cultivated as the true potential for the excellence of life.  Most of the religions and institutions outside of the Western World have been based upon this Great Truth.

Culture based on the Big Lie creates an ideal that wars with its greater context, the whole.  Cultures based on the Great Truth cultivate the whole.  In Big Lie culture, the divine, who is good, wars against evil.  In cultures of the Great Truth, the war of good and evil is part of a greater whole, which itself is divine.

The Big Lie and its Consequences
The West has a characteristic attitude towards vitality and nature and therefore eroticism, which is unique and fundamentally flawed.  The belief that this attitude simply reflects “the way it is,” that it represents a given, universal truth is accepted in the world purely as a function of Western cultural hegemony, but it is also fallacious.  The evidence of this has been amply demonstrated in the twentieth century by ever growing evidence from world history and comparative religions, by ever deepening access to the real theory and practice of each great spiritual tradition, and by the anthropological studies of lost civilizations and the indigenous cultures still alive on the planet.  This perspective shifts everything in the post modernist world onto another kind of footing.

The Big Lie goes way, way back, to the roots of Semitic culture and its turn away from vitality and eroticism.  Nature got it wrong and needs to be corrected. Things can only be put right by conquest and domination. This is a declaration of war. This psycho/cultural disposition was taken over entirely by Western Culture.

This disposition of mind finds no more eloquent statement than the belief in circumcision and its practice.  Abraham’s Covenant with God was sealed with this “sacrifice” of the “unclean” aspect of nature. This set off a war of the mind and spirit of man against the body and nature. Circumcision did not cause the war: it is its emblem. It is not merely that many men in the Semitic cultures have suffered this primordial physical trauma at the root of their being and the base of their memory, it is that this trauma and its practice are the stamp of a fundamental disposition: nature is fundamentally flawed and must therefore be conquered, dominated, and controlled.  This was and continues to be the symbol of a war between spirit and flesh, mind and nature that has characterized the cultures of all three religions descending from this tradition, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Since Christianity is the basis of the Western psyche, it has become the prevailing view of the World.

Complementing the obligation of the male t
o slice off the end of his penis is the other great turn away from vitality and nature; the primal identification of women with sexuality and nature and their concomitant suppression, also a feature of Semitic derived cultures. Other cultures may place women in a subservient position, but in Semitically derived cultures this is done with a special virulence, a kind of vengeance. This put an end to the worshipful alignment with nature that characterized the Goddess cultures. By virtue of His righteousness the one monolithic God destroyed the nature loving goddess, reducing her to subservience and slavery.

Abraham declared a war that never could be won.  He set his God against nature – a formidable adversary, in fact, as it turns out, unconquerable in the end.  So great was this adversary that life itself became a militant, adversarial disposition towards, not just eroticism, or even nature, but towards all and everything except an ideal of spiritual perfection.  To this day, this mentality characterizes all the peoples of the Book, but the spiritual ideal is in grave dispute.  In fact, the greatest political threat to world peace is the warring between these three descendants of Abraham, inheritors of the covenant with God.

The Big Lie establishes a duality and opposition in a corruption that fundamentally sets spirit against flesh. The Western way of dealing with vitality is set in stone: the spirit is to dominate the flesh.  Conquest is the solution. There have been countless conquerors in the history of humanity, as revealed in the many ruins of great empires hidden in the sands and jungles of the planet, but the people of the Book conquer with a special vengeance, because they are fundamentally pitted against an unconquerable enemy.

This is the climate of adversity in which vitality is constantly being suppressed and channeled into acceptable norms and standards.  For long periods in church history culminating in the Inquisition, this was actually a matter of life and death.

The Lie sets up a fundamental conflict in human consciousness whose painful compression generates compensatory forms that we know as compulsive behavior.  This pressure results in sexual compulsion in all forms, because sexual energy is never given its proper place or scope.  It is to be cut, dominated and controlled, but neither vitality nor earth itself truly submits to this dominion and, over time, inevitably takes its revenge. Vitality rebels, seeks unwholesome and unacceptable channels.

St Paul’s War goes on and on.  The law lusts for control.  The flesh seeks revenge.  The guilt from this excess and compulsion multiplies upon itself, creating more pressure and more guilt.  A cycle gets generated which is constantly seeking compensation and escape.  Illicit sex happens.  The cycle becomes ever more vicious and, with uncontrollable contempt and internal rage, finally turns in upon innocence itself.  There is no more exquisite symbol of this cycle than the “victim” priests and the force behind their rape of innocents.  How else to explain this?

The climate of compulsive sexual desire and extreme puritanical reaction, the one always accompanying the other, is the reality in which westerners live, and by virtue of Western hegemony, the world.  It is deeply engraved as the norm of Western, now world culture. We take it as a given, but it is actually the Big Lie.

The Great Truth and its Traditions
The Lie is so fundamental to our self-understanding that few Westerners can identify it, let alone imagine an alternative.  Yet there are many.  Our other great cultural ancestor, Greece, provided one.

In The Greek Way, Edith Hamilton’s eminent paean to classical culture, she quotes an ancient Greek definition of happiness:  “The exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence in a life affording them scope.”  This prescription represents a view of life deeply contrary to the Semitic view.  Here, vital powers, all forms of vitality, are the great gift of Being.  One cannot imagine circumcision as a part of this culture.  The challenge was to afford all manifestations of vitality a scope, however it was naturally manifest, but to cultivate it along lines of excellence.  This, not conquest, was the basis of the Olympic games. The challenge of civilization would be how to bring all aspects of natural vitality, certainly including eroticism, into their highest form.  Areas of eroticism that have been thorny in Western Culture – including the love between men and the love of men and youths –were seen in Greek culture as vital impulses that were to be cultivated into their most wholesome form.  That is to say, these are manifestations of vitality in human nature and therefore naturally have a place of honor.  Men lovers are encouraged to bring the best and highest out of each other.  Older men may love youths in order to help them become greater men.  These are lines of excellence by which the primordial unity of spirit and vitality are accomplished and brought to completion in society.

In the imperial church, lovers of men, often taking refuge in the church where they could enjoy the exclusive company of men, were often sheltered by their sympathetic brethren, but when discovered, were persecuted and, outside the church, were often tortured and executed, and pederasts were forced into the dank cellars of the church, living the life of rats.  These are the creations of the universal church, which has refused vital power, allowing it no scope, and forcing it into the slimy depths where we discover it now.   This discovery, the rape of innocence built on the Big Lie, now, with all the force of cosmic justice, threatens to pull down the imperial edifice.

Greek culture was the alternative influence that the West did not take. It would seem that this insight died in the West with the Christian era.  However, challenges to the Big Lie periodically bubble to the surface of Western Civilization.  One such outbreak was the explosion of insight that generated the French Revolution, expressed in many revolutionary views of the time.  One critic and prophet of this wave was William Blake, the British poet and theologian.  In 1793, in the opening declaration of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Blake declaimed the Big Lie and proclaimed religious rebellion and erotic freedom.

“All Bibles or sacred codes have been the cause of the following Errors:
1.   That Man has two real existing principles viz: a body and a soul.
2.   That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, and that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
3.   That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.
But the following Contraries to these are True:
1.   Man has no body distinct from his Soul for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in these days.
2.   Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3.   Energy is Eternal Delight”

In the following prophetic screed Blake continues the argument with aphorisms pungent in defiance of conventional religion and morality, yet imbued with a biblical resonance:

“Prisons are built with stones of Law.  Brothels with bricks of Religion…
The pride of the Peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of a goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.”

And then a prophecy:

“The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end
of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from Hell.  For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at the tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed and appear infinite and holy whereas it now appears finite and corrupt.  This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.  But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged.”

This impulse has simmered under the surface in the West finally exploding in the cultural revolution of the Sixties and the sexual revolution.  Now world culture presents many alternatives to the Big Lie.

The Great Truth is that before spirit and body, mind and earth, even good and evil, are separated and alienated from each other, there is a more primordial consciousness or spirit in which they are one. This “One” is the base of all consciousness, and may be apprehended by every human being whose path allows them to look deeply enough within. This spirit ground is the only true place to look for the divine.  The wise of the world have called it by many names, including “God.”

The Great Truth is not actually some ultimate fact.  Neither is there any great final sum of true things that constitutes this Great Truth.  It is rather a matter of the ever-evolving unfolding of the all and surrender to all that one is. More accurately, the Great Truth is, as Robert M. Pirsig observed in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the “Great Value.”  It is an ultimate state of realization, which is valuable above all else that can be said to be true, the highest achievement of the contemplative endeavor.

Because of the value of this pure ground that is apprehended through contemplation, the other great religious and contemplative traditions of the world have generated a different disposition towards nature and the body.  Ageless Taoism uses the imagery of nature in all its forms and manifestations to contemplate its source, the Tao. Excellence in culture must emulate the forms of this source.  Personal excellence is a life harmonious with this source. Hinduism and Buddhism, particularly in their tantric forms, use imagery such as the chakras, projected into the body and representing the different declensions of the pure ground of consciousness.  The body, in its multiple dimensions, thus becomes the temple, the primordial image of the divine. These are paths based upon the cultivation of primordial consciousness into its highest realization into the true nature of Being. They are forms of excellence affording full scope to all manifestations of vitality, because vitality is primordially divine.  (For further elaboration of these traditions, see “The Big Lie and the Great Truth” in The Heart of Reason.com.)

While the qualitative difference between spirit and body generates a universal tendency towards their separation, traditions based on the Great Truth do not tend to generate compulsive sexuality through repression and compensatory behavior. Those traditions held out a possibility of integral development that counters the universal tendency towards the Big Lie and transcends it.  Vital energy — instead of being randomly expended — is there ready to be used towards excellence, that is, in Platonic terms, toward the spiritual and luminous Good.  This is the experience of the vitality of the Light of primordial consciousness, producing a sense that one’s function as a living human being, with a body that can generate and circulate vital energy, is to direct this energy into the realization of pure Light.  In the context of the Great Truth one does with one’s mind and body exactly that for which they were created.  This is the excellence described in the Greek prescription, perhaps culminating in the provocations of Socrates and the classical excellence of Platonism and neo-Platonism.  This excellence generates a feeling of profound joy and peace unknown in the West, except perhaps to certain rebellious mystics and those in esoteric traditions grounded in neo-Platonism and other forgotten ancient traditions, deeply hidden from the Church, which have remained dedicated to the Great Truth.

In the West, the idea of living and cultivating the Great Truth is so threatening that it carries the expectation of a kind of cultural catastrophe.  The Imperium Church is, in a sense, a bulwark against the anarchy generated by the explosion of repressed vitality, a consequence of the Big Lie.  Its authority is understood to be necessary for society to maintain control. To relinquish all control on sexuality and vitality would be a license to licentiousness.  And this is just what happened in the Sexual Revolution.

The unity of primordial consciousness includes all dualities and the dynamics between them.  As we have seen in the cycling of indulgence and guilt, a great pendulum swings between all opposites — license vs. control, spirit vs. nature, good vs. evil.  These oppositions themselves are therefore comprehended in the Great Truth.  The victim priest complains that the more he tried to control his sexual feelings, the more the lust accelerated, and the more acceleration, the greater became his attempt to control.  This is the pendulum as it works itself out psychologically. But the pendulum swings in all spheres of culture as well as psychology. The excesses of the Sexual Revolution were the extreme swing of the pendulum away from a hundred and fifty years of Victorian prudery: puritanical excess must swing into sexual excess.  There is no true winner in this war. Puritanical forces exemplified by religious conservatism in the US, to say nothing of the moral condemnation of Western culture by Semitic Al Qaeda and the Taliban, is the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction. This is why the fundamental tenet of Apollo was “Nothing in Excess” and of the Buddha, the Middle Way.  Excess always intensifies its opposite reaction. The middle way between mind and body, spirit and flesh, indeed all oppositions, points the way to a standard encompassing the given excellence of nature.  We never heard of it in the Christian Religion.

The Greater Tragedy
The ideal of domination based on the Big Lie is fundamentally flawed.  It foments a disposition to conquest. It leads to the rape of the God-given innocence of the human spirit, but also that of nature, of mother earth and her creatures.  The sexual abuse of the children of the church is but the consummate and eloquent symbol of this.

The ideal of spirit dominating flesh in the battle within the soul generalizes into the intellect and will to dominate nature.  Therefore, just as one is to control and master ones sexuality, one must control and master the earth.  Western conquest silenced the harmony with nature, pitting man against earth.  This has worked to a certain degree, giving (Western) Man true dominion over nature and the native peoples of the world, to say nothing of winning great capital wealth and progress, but because it is based in the Big Lie, it is not sustainable. Now its intrinsic contradictions, writ large by our successes and excesses, are exploding in our face.

Thousands of years after circumcision sealed the covenant by which nature is declared intrinsically flawed, the present result of this complex is not just a question of festering sexual discontents, it is a question of the entitlement by which Western progress has amplified and legitimized the human tendency to exploit nature.  Other cultures have certainly done this as well.  Some, like the Mayans, wiped themselves out by destroying their own lands.

But Abraham and his followers conquered with a vengeance as they generated a war against an unconquer
able enemy.  Fortified with the God of their own choosing, who in turn chose them, and in the name of God’s Son, the teacher of absolute love, they generated the entitlement, the arrogance that conquered the world in an unholy mixture of self-righteousness, greed and insanity.  The stories of Magellan in the Philippines, Cortes in Mexico, and Pissarro in Peru are revealing allegories of the entire exploratory and colonial enterprise. Their tragic outcomes are prophetic object lessons in the results of this unholy mixture. The Christian West succeeded in discovering the world (claiming it for their use) in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, conquering and colonizing it in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and setting upon the conquest of the Earth through technology in the twentieth century.  In the twenty first century we will see the outcome of this war with Earth–the result of a war fought for millennia.

In the conquest of the Earth by the West, under the banner of the cross, the white man destroyed and enslaved the indigenous voices that honored nature and appropriated their lands and cultures.  This characteristic disposition towards nature, amplified by science, greed, and the explosions of population, have brought the queen of nature, Planet Earth, to her knees.  If these destroyed cultures were correct and she is divine, that is, having any divine will of her own, she must treat the human race as a pathogen and, in her rage, shake us off into the abyss.  What does this mean?  Ask the people of New Orleans.  Ask the Chinese victims of massive mudslides.  In a newscast from Pakistan in 2010, a man standing in the devastating flood cried out: “This is the end of humanity!” In the name of a righteous God and His son, the teacher of love, we have controlled, dominated and exploited the earth in a way that disregarded her wisdom. Now the earth is fighting back. This is turning out to be the real war of the twenty-first century.

The rape of innocence and the rape of the earth have the same root and are structurally the result of the same erroneous entitlement based on the Big Lie.

The Western refusal to acknowledge the way of nature set it against nature; now it has set the earth against us. It is all foretold in the wisdom of Greece and the notion of hubris: the arrogance and greed of man inevitably and tragically generates the nemesis that inevitably brings him down. This century will see a massive struggle with nature, whose furies have been released by the hubris of man dominating nature. The ecological traumas in the twenty-first century are the nemesis of the arrogance of Western man who thought he could dominate the force of life by cutting off the end of his penis and suppressing his women. The consequences of this attitude and disposition present the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century.

The remnants of the cultures overthrown, liquidated and enslaved by this domineering entitlement of “spirit over flesh,” exist in much of the Southern Hemisphere, and many from Western culture, seeing the trend, are turning to them and their disappearing spokespersons to interpret and find formulae for correcting the deep abuse of vitality.  The voices of these suppressed cultures are rising in a chorus around the planet.

The Big Lie is that spirit and body are fundamentally split and antagonistic. The Great Truth is that prior to this split there is one primordial consciousness and that bringing to awareness this level of consciousness through contemplation and cultivation is the only real possibility to attain truly transcendent and divine states of being. The great traditions of spiritual realization and transcendence are proof and evidence of this.  They do not result in the rape of innocence, but in the transcendent realization of true innocence into excellence. This transcendence of the divine is our only hope of guidance in this most perilous of all times.

What is the Church to Do?

History comes down to certain key episodes.  The Church is facing one of those moments now.

To comprehend the Error of which the Infallible Pope is the quintessential symbol, one must have deep pity and compassion for Joseph Ratzinger, standing there giving his blessing in the resplendence of the St Peter’s.  The emperor is wearing his new clothes.  The world is aghast.

The psychology of compulsive sexuality and guilt is so deeply engrained in Western consciousness, that it is impossible to “erase,” even by those who, realizing the Great Truth, become dedicated to it.  Ingrained propensities take generations to neutralize.  We are all living in the heritage of the Lie.  It is the Titanic, which cannot turn on a dime, but must be steered slowly to change direction towards a new course.  In fact the sexual revolution and its sobering aftermath are a process that may be bringing about this change.

Given the betrayal of its utter moral bankruptcy, could the church not lead the way to make this turn?  What would it take?

In fact, the Catholic Church could address this deep issue.  The possibility and means are there.  It would take a leadership of insight, character, charisma and yes, vitality.  That vitality would require an existential and ontological honesty that could look beyond the ancient traditions of the church into the truth of Being.  Such a leadership would have to be so radical and youthful in spirit and integrity that it will likely never happen.

But here are some possible guidelines:

1. Radically honest assessment, scientific rather than moral, of the effectiveness of the Church policy towards vitality.

What is the truth about the pope/emperors new clothes?  What is the actual truth about his own sexuality and how he has come to deal with it?  Let the top twenty princes of the Church honestly assess how they have dealt with their vital/sexual energy. This is not an inquisition, a moral investigation, but a scientific one: honesty providing data, not judgment.  This is autopsis, the perfect witness observing the human spirit from within. Let each of them recount the actual history of his or her sexual development.  What worked and what did not?  Which aspects of the policy and the priestly training really helped them to deal with their sexuality and which only contribute to the suppression and repression that foments the rape of innocence.

From this honest account, let the church come up with a policy around celibacy, marriage, and sexual expression that does not create a climate of guilt and place an unrealistic demand on the capacity for self-control.  Instead, let them create ways of dealing with these issues that reflect a cultivation of vital energy into excellence.

This focus on excellence would mean an education and encouragement of healthy sexual relationships outside of marriage.  It would mean same sex relationships that bring the best out of both parties.  And yes, it would mean intimate mentorships between older men and youths.  Excellence is the operative word.

2. Honest and informed evaluation of the way other religious traditions deal with vitality and sexual energy.

There are many valuable sources for studying these alternative ways.

As we have seen, there is much to be learned from the other great religious traditions, such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, where they have not been invaded by Christian or Semitic ideals such as the Islamic and British domination of India, particularly the cultural remnants there of Victorian imperialism.  Since these high cultures with their religions and traditions, have a very different attitude towards eroticism and vitality, let them provide an anthropological laboratory of alternative cultivation of eroticism.  They are now readily available
and have served as such a laboratory for many who have been able to study them.

Let the church drop its silly entitlement as “the one true Religion” and study and work these other forms until they understand how they reach the divine, that is, the fundamental way of Being.  How do these forms produce, by means of objective practices, an excellence of harmony that reflects the primordial unity of consciousness?  (For further discussion on this matter see a study of these objective practices in “The Big Lie and The Great Truth” , in TheHeartofReason.com)

3. Recovering the Mystery of Christ

Forgiveness, Grace, the transcendence of salvation, the miracle of Christ are existential truths belonging to a genuine spiritual process.  The business and authority of the Church are mere exploitation of these truths to garner and maintain power.

Hidden in the esoteric aspect of exoteric Christianity is a way that restores the unity of spirit and body by finding the nature of God prior to any such divisions and cultivating an integral unity with it.  This is called gnosis. There are striking points of correspondence between ancient Christian Gnosticism and the Eastern traditions.  These are the clues to the true value of Christianity.

Gnosticism is another shadow of the Church. The early history of the Church was a struggle that pitted the Gnostics who valued the state of being embodied and symbolized by Christ against the authority of control, as it was taking form under the patriarchs of the Church. The more powerful of the two, the one based on conquest and domination, won out, becoming the Imperium.  But in the process it sacrificed the most authentic, universal, and enduring function of Christianity in the human soul, destroying all the Gnostic gospels and relegating this existential aspect to the obscurity of the Christian Mystery, where even today, those who are sufficiently gifted spiritually can discern it in the canon of the church.

After the Church became the Imperium, its authority was amplified and sustained by its claim upon objective and moral truth.  Over the centuries the rise of the scientific method has eroded this authority over objective truth in a process that has been traumatic both for the church and for its scientists.  The second source of Imperium authority was Christian morality.  This too has eroded in the course of its history through its many exertions of power, featuring the Inquisition and colonialism, which were deeply corrupt morally.  The rape of innocents, however, has ended its moral authority.  What is left?

The early history of the church has been clarified by the rediscovery of the ancient scriptures, The Gnostic Gospels, which were suppressed and largely destroyed by the Imperium when it came into political power.  Rediscovering the mystery of Christ will mean recovering and restoring the existential wisdom (as opposed to any dogma) of the Gnostic Tradition. The Gospels hold many clues to the truth of the mystery of Christ, which in no way relies upon the dominion of the authoritative church. Honoring these traditions and their wisdom will mean a new kind of respect for the teaching of Jesus Christ. (For further discussion of this issue, see “The Gospel of Judas: Who Betrayed Christ?” in TheHeartofReason.com)

A New Direction
The exposure of the rape of innocence in the church is an awesome spectacle, in a sense revealing the underlying history of the Church. I have tried to present in broad strokes the real issue behind these events.  The issue is so fundamental that it is reflected in the very character of Western Culture that has over the last 500 years increasingly dominated the world.

The offense is so great as to bring down the Church.  It is so fundamental that it pervades every area of our life.  If we can see into its true depths, we can use it as an object lesson and a basis for bringing about real transformation.

The Church will probably never be able to rise to the challenges suggested in the three guidelines above and will simply become less and less important, except as an opiate of the people.  It will be part of a greater demise of organized religion, in favor of a more atomized spirituality.  This is in fact the further maturation of democracy in religion, what Walt Whitman described as “the religion of no religion.”  In this, we are each on our own.  However, each individual can follow the three guidelines for himself or with others who have the same mission: to roll back the Big Lie and rebuild life on the foundations of the Great Truth.  This will not mean the end of Christianity, but its rebirth.

To achieve this, we must turn with a new kind of innocence to face vitality in all its forms.  We must turn to the indigenous peoples whose cultures we destroyed to guide our relationship to the biosphere, within and without.  We must join hands with them to turn from dominating and exploiting the Earth, to divining her secrets and complementing them.   We must learn from the great spiritual traditions how to face our inner vitality and bring forth new forms of excellence to accord with it.   Let those who would save us become receptive to the innocence of the given and go forward.

We can only pray that it is not too late.

What was that Greek formula for happiness?
“The exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence in a life affording them scope.”

To go forward let us take heart from our ancient Greek ancestors and expand upon this formula.  Let us, in the conduct of our personal lives, and in the modification and creation of all the institutions and forms of our world civilization, afford the true scope of our given vitality, come to know, celebrate and be informed by its nature and laws, and create ever new ways to exercise these vital powers along lines of excellence.  That would be life in the Great Truth.