The Baron accelerated smoothly and lifted from the continent with a touch of grace. On the turn, I steadied momentarily to the south, called in my departure heading, and continued around to the northeast. The southern end of Goose Bay was clear, but the coastal areas were blanketed by a morning overcast. The cloud topped at 10,000 feet and extended well out to sea. By the time I leveled at 15,000, put on my oxygen mask, and reduced power for long-range cruise, it had closed in below. The Baron flew into a bichromatic world: above, a deep blue sky sustaining the sun; below, rolling white cloud tops. I settled into the aircraft and responded to its way of flying. It spoke to my body, to my balancing ears, to my eyes, and I felt the air rushing over its surfaces as if its skin were my own. Like a bird, I delighted in the sensual sky and loved the mysterious into which I flew, where air rushed space and magnetic contortions emblazoned the embrace.
My mind darted about its airy playland, and my body fell into the habit patterns of guiding the aircraft without me. Flying, like driving, is an assemblage of learned routines best handled subconsciously; simultaneously rather than sequentially. A routine is learned when it can be performed automatically, but a lingering ego likes to pretend that it is in control and substitutes a series of memories about how to do something for the uninhibited doing of it. It demands to know what is going on before it acts, and so, merely by thinking at the wrong time, misses the moment. For me, flying had become a nearly instinctual response to recurring, complex patterns. Thinking obscured the pattern, so I aborted thoughts and trusted the vast dynamism of the universe who constructed my every environment.
©David Anirman 2008 excerpt from "Sky Cloud Mountain"
PATHWAYS OF LIGHTLAND
This book is about the gods and the ways in which they allow us to approach them. The focus is Ancient Egypt for nowhere else were the gods so completely in evidence, so clear of feature, and so abundantly active. They dominated the mental world of the Egyptians even as the sun and river dominated their physical world; indeed, the sun and Nile - Ra and Osiris - were themselves deified, so every aspect of Egyptian culture was controlled and enlivened by spiritual forces. So powerful were these forces that when the gods departed they left behind a civilization which stood virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Embedded in this period is a historical symphony in three movements, called the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. These were separated by periods of dissolution and ended in confusion, but at their prime were the splendor of earth and since their demise their ruins have been among its greatest marvels. Historians consider them one of our species' major accomplishments, but to the Egyptians themselves the three kingdoms were but encores to the celestial music that had earlier been played.
Everything in Egypt was focused backward, to a time in the past, to the time of the gods. Like all traditional cultures, Egypt was firmly rooted in those remote ages where gods actually trod the earth, interacting with human beings. In modern scholarship, every one of these traditions has been consigned, not to history, but to myth. The preoccupation of our ancestors with the gods, however, was not a psychological misperception on their part. The problem is rather our failure to understand them and the spiritual nature of the universe they confronted. The early Egyptians remembered their gods as humanlike beings who came from the stars, but unlike our more immediate ancestors of historical times - the later Egyptians, Greeks and Romans - we no longer believe them. Instead we tune up our most sophisticated sciences and listen to the electromagnetic universe, hoping to hear extraterrestrial beings speak for the first time.
A difficulty in studying Egypt is that its epochs of grandeur were remote even to the classical Greek writers who incorporated much of the Egyptian wisdom and passed it on as their own. The stories they told of Egypt were often strange, for during very ancient times different ideas dominated human consciousness and what we take to be myths were then realities. Earliest Egypt is so distant from us that many of the words we use to describe it have been passed on to us by intermediaries: Egypt - Nile - pyramid - pharaoh - obelisk; together these conjure up the essence of that civilization, yet none are Egyptian words nor were they ever used by dynastic Egyptians to signify what they mean to us. Even the names by which we know the people and places of Egypt are mostly Greek. Cheops and Chephren, Heliopolis and Elephantine are far more familiar than Khufu and Khafre, Annu and Abu. We see through a cracked lens the Greeks have given us, but it is often a good lens for the ancient Greeks stood in awe of the far more ancient Egyptians.
The study of ancient Egypt begins with an understanding of cosmic fundamentals explained by the theological systems current at the time. These systems present the universe as a diversification of consciousness rather than an accumulation of forces. The Creative Demiurge, Atum, was a synthesis of the four elemental aspects of nature. He was the sole, solitary One whose children, Shu and Tefnut, were the essence of duality. These three formed the first, brilliantly conscious trinity of the Ennead and from them proceeded the heavens, earth, and all creatures thereon. The entire universe was a divine lineage. the earth was the male god, Geb, eternally reaching to embrace his consort Nut, the heavens. The union, however, was stymied; the two pushed apart by their father Shu who stood on the recumbent Geb and held Nut arched above. The incarnated gods were children of Nut and Geb, star travelers who crossed the heavens through the void of Shu which is Lightland.
The Egyptians studied the divine lineage by charting the subtle rhythms of heaven and earth. They knew of solar, lunar, and planetary cycles; of seasons and the shifting hours of day; of star cycles and the meaning of precession. Like us they built instruments to refine their knowledge and explore the precision of the cosmos, but unlike us, they saw science as part of their religion rather than an antagonistic body of empirical knowledge. All things were understandable because they existed in the mind of Atum. He spoke and the universe emanated from his tongue in theogonies of intelligence. The world issued forth as an animate playground for mysterious spiritual forces, called neters, which incarnated in a variety of forms, all of which were gods. It was to them rather than to time or eternity that the Egyptians dedicated their lives.
This is the gist of what the early Egyptians tell us in their sacred writings. They claim the truth expounded in these records were given to them by the gods. If we accept their testimony, we must assume the mythologies also contained in these records are not only beautifully crafted tales from the poetic imagination, but true descriptions of phenomena confronting our ancestors. If this is the case, our history, though no different, would have to be revised, for according to their accounts our ancestors lived in a world enlivened by heavenly creatures and were guided by cosmological realities of which we are unaware. Furthermore, if the conscious nature of the universe and the structure of reality is as they say, it must then be replicated in our current, often experimentally confirmed view. Their must be a fundamental equation between Egyptian religion and modern science, since each is a valid understanding of the same phenomena.
The history of modern man begins with an anthropological fact: about 7500 years ago something turned the human race on. Our species had wandered the earth for a million and a half years and then suddenly altered its mode of being. This did not happen everywhere, but where it did subsequently arose the great civilizations of antiquity. Anthropologists call this awakening the neolithic revolution but do not know what caused it. Having no facts they substitute theory and hypothesize that through some sort of evolutionary legerdemain humanity reached a jumping off point and leaped into history. An alternative explanation is offered by the ancient Egyptians whose propinquity to the source makes them credible witnesses. They said gods reappeared on earth and reestablished civilization. Anthropologists, however, do not believe in gods and have another, convenient set of ideas that explains the data without recourse to something modern scholarship has dis-equipped them to understand. With a nod to Sigmund Freud, they drop the ancient gods into the thick soup of our racial unconscious and declare them to be nothing more than archetypes of the primitive human psyche. The problem with this position is that while it conforms nicely to the prejudices of the 19th century, it is in opposition to the biological knowledge of the 20th. Our ancestors of so brief a time ago were virtually identical to ourselves and any predisposition on their part to view the phenomenal world through the dark glass of their own irrationality would be equally present in us.
In striving to understand one of the great mysteries of human civilization. Egyptologists of the 19th and early 20th centuries established a rigorous and painstaking science. The task was exciting. It attracted coteries of exceptional people who, over the course of a century, uncovered tier upon tier of a phoenix-like civilization and broke the code of a language forgotten by our species for a millennium and a half. With it they rewrote the histories of antiquity with a precision of dating and detail that rendered the works of the classical Greeks into casual gossip. These histories, however, cast Egypt into the mold of 19th century Europe and distorted its essence. The men who wrote them were patronized by kings or institutions firmly entrenched in the hoary traditions of European monarchism. They viewed history in political terms and discounted the spiritual dimensions of Egypt, even while acknowledging the Egyptians themselves subordinated politics to religion. The Egyptians maintained that gods not men rule Egypt, and even the human incarnation, pharaoh, lived in obedience to Ma'at, Goddess of Justice.
Egyptologists ignored this data and concluded that pharaonic civilization began with the military success of certain able men who then used a panoply of social devices to cement their political hegemony. The pharaoh became the prototype of the divine right king; he had his armies, ministers, and courtesans, an established church to support him, and a land permanently unified by a river whose control was a nation-binding project. The picture was an appealing one for Egyptologists, but therein lay their mistake, for in correlating the political and religious forms of ancient Egypt with those of 19th century Europe, a fundamental error was made that thereafter clouded their efforts. The best of them were not unaware of the problem; as scientists, they went to great lengths to insure the objectivity of their work and the conclusions drawn from it, but even they could not escape the prison of what was not known in the 19th century.
Since its inception with the savants of Napoleon, Egyptology, has been an international discipline. At first it was limited to a small but eminently respected portion of the intellectual elites from those few countries who effectively ruled the Old World. These men were thoroughly modern in their day; they founded learned societies, developed methodologies and technologies to probe the scientific boundaries of the times, and filled libraries with their marvelous discoveries. It was a confident and self-satisfied age but it ended decisively with the First World War. Egyptology culminated with it, then settled on a particular understanding of its subject matter which has characterized it ever since. This understanding is essentially Victorian; its advocates were the last men of the Newtonian Age, not the first of the Einsteinian. They were European chauvinists and social Dawinists who were imprisoned by their own brilliance and considered the rest of the world and civilizations of the past to be less well endowed than themselves, an assumption which is physiologically untenable today
Although Egyptology matured into a science, its great proponents were linguists, antiquarians, and biblical scholars who travelled to Egypt and dug up the old ruins. Many of them shared a Christianity still at odds with evolution and accepted the textual analyses of Archbishop Ussher that placed the day of Creation in the year 4004 b.c. Consequently, they were ill equipped to deal with a civilization that traced its royal ancestry back thirty-five thousand years and dealt with the universe, like modern astronomy, in millions of years. This cultural bias was particularly detrimental to the perception of Egyptian religion. Its spiritual and cultural content were discounted as magic or priestly chicanery designed to manipulate a credulous population. This condescending view is incompatible with the truths propounded in the ancient writings. Egyptian religion simultaneously provided the structures for social life and abstract science. It nurtured the intellectual genius and architectural skill that together created a technology of temples which, according to the Pyramid Texts of 2400 b.c., was capable of communicating with distant star worlds. To the Egyptians, heaven was in the heavens and earth part of a galactic network whose maintenance was the primary function of their civilization.
Much of what the early Egyptologists uncovered was inexplicable to the 19th century mind, but when examined in light of our current sciences is quite understandable. The question is whether we may attribute this type of modern understanding to such ancient people: the answer is we must, if we ever hope to appreciate our ancestors. The Greeks who honored the Egyptians by incorporating much of the Egyptian wisdom into their own work, characterized the Egyptians as the most ethical of men. Such people are not accustomed to lying, so we may assume they told the truth when claiming their knowledge was given them by the gods. Since they considered the gods distinctly superior to themselves, it is perhaps not inappropriate to equate their wisdom with our own.
Interpreting the ancient records in accordance with current conceptions of the cosmos presumes our quantum/relativistic world view to be more closely allied with the thinking of the ancients than the Newtonian bias of 19th century humanism. The problem is complex because the Egyptologists who translated and interpreted the old records viewed the universe as a mechanism running much like a clock, while we who read them live in a vast, expanding bubble whose parts are built of immaterial forces connected by flexible parameters. The Egyptians, however, lived in a post-Einsteinian universe where communications with distant star worlds were essentially instantaneous and what we call magic was an operative aspect of their way of life. Their post-relativistic world view was firmly embedded in a larger absolutism which, in its wisdom, allowed them to manipulate the spiritual nature of reality for their own benefit. Thus in mental acumen, we should not consider them behind us, but beyond us.
©David Anirman 1987 excerpted from '"Pathways of Lightland"
This is a book that should not have to be written. The events it describes should not be occurring. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The prison industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy. It is an industry in which convicts are commodities and those who profit are the nation's predators. The media bewail the necessity for the system but gloss over the nature of the commodities and the means by which they are selected and harvested. That the real purpose of the system may be quite different than what the apologists tell us is something they ignore.
The Russian word gulag was transposed into English with the success of Alexander Soizhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago which recounted the horrors of life in the political prisons strung out across the Soviet Union. So a gulag, as we all now know, is a political prison. America doesn't have such places because we're a democracy, have a Bill of Rights laws, and a history of freedom to protect us, and are obviously the nicest folks on the planet...
So much for the rhetoric. The proper response to all of this is incredulity. Our federal and state prisons are interlinked across the country in a web of political control that makes the Soviet model - though perhaps more brutal - a poor comparison. We are not a democracy - but I'll get into that later - the Bill of Rights has been emasculated, our laws manipulated, and our history of freedom proven a myth. I don't know about the rest of the nice people, but the adjective does't work for me. I'm just another cipher - and what follows is but one among millions of stories from the American Gulag.
. . . . . . . .and yet I say that nation fails
whose hallowed mind is framed with jails
©David Anirman 1998 excerpted from "American Gulag"