*“Civilization and the Travesty of Morals” … Chapter 9 of *Who to Be: Identity, Authenticity, and Crisis* (2020) by Michael Adzema. Free. Downloadable chapter.*
Posted by sillymickel
Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Uncivilized “Civilized” Man
“…in taking away all freedoms and rights from Nature and all its planetmates, eventually the rights of any being were no longer seen as of any concern. What another wished, intended, or wanted became increasingly unseen as a consideration, including, eventually, what a woman might want in terms of her body … and what a man might wish to do with his time … or his life. Power became the basis of morality.”
Civilization became about being controlling, narcissistic, baby-like in having insatiable desires and deeming it fine to satisfy them in any way one wished.
Civilization and the Travesty of Morals:
Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Uncivilized “Civilized” Man
We show our derelict nature, as hemmed in by civilization, in the major epic story emanating out of early history. It displays exactly how we changed in relation to Nature and how we beat our chests — brazen yet pathetic — about our downfall. Furthermore, it demonstrates how humans changed in their relation to planetmates, to their children, to the others in society, and in the way they thought of themselves and what they considered to be good and true ways to be in life. We see here how the more felicitous aims and the more pleasurable “duties” of life became corrupted so as to produce the sour end product of the modern human — someone who could exterminate millions of people as they were fallen leaves, commit to world wars with uncountable dead, ravage and desecrate their very nest the planet Earth, and ensure the death of all life by radiating the planet for a half million years … a radiation that only tardigrades, microscopic animals, and not even cockroaches have any chance of surviving.
Everything, including who to be, who we were, and what were the proper aims of life changed with civilization. It is something we need to understand in order to correct this major fall from grace, this abomination that we became in Nature. This we must do so as to choose something different and to regain our proper role in relation to Nature and the Divine, in alignment with an actual, a real, not unreal, self, and our unique atmadharma, destiny, and mission in life.
Civilization in the Light of the Natural
The historical period this epic tale depicts is notably after that mythologically expressed in Genesis, after Cain and Abel. That story, and the others of Genesis, reflects some prehistoric happenings, occurring over the course of millions of years of evolution. The writer of the narrative in question is now describing, not just our beginnings as farmers and shepherds the way those biblical stories did. At this point we are in cities, we have hierarchy, and we have kings.
The story is The Epic of Gilgamesh. It is said to be the first great literary product, dating back to the time of Babylon. It is astonishing what it contains and how it has never never ever, right up to this day, been seen to be what it is — a depiction of the depraved values and unconsciousness that came about through our supposed “civilization” … perhaps even a hidden critique of civilization and its abominable elites, as we will see. We take that up in this chapter.
It also tells us what became of us in the course of our deeming the world to be non-alive; how we doomed ourselves as well to mortality; how in killing off the alive world we in essence reduced our aliveness. We no longer saw ourselves as the immortal beings we are but reduced our self-perception as well to being mortal beings … pathetic beings relative to who we were.
Nature Versus Civilization
How did this epic show the first point, the travesty of morals? With absolute clarity the story contrasts two humans — one representing civilization, Gilgamesh; the other representing ourselves in Nature, Enkidu.
Now, Gilgamesh is the king, which signifies he is the controlling one and represents the controlling function of the psyche, the Ego. He depicts who we became in becoming more egoistic, more controlling of everything around us, ourselves, other people, and Nature. We became “kings of the jungle,” each of us, dominators of Nature. So Gilgamesh is civilized man.
Enkidu is natural man. He is primal man, for he is said to be “wild.” He lived in the wilderness, actually. Astonishingly, he was discovered through the fact that he, being attuned to and sympathetic of the planetmates still, was on the sly releasing our furry relatives from the traps that the “civilized” humans had been setting for them.
So you see the huge contrast. Now, note also what is said about their behavior. First, there is a conflict between the two setting off a huge fight between them. What starts the brawl is that Gilgamesh is determined to rape this woman and Enkidu blocks his way. You heard that correctly, the “civilized” man is the one who rapes; the “wild” man is the one who protects innocents. Just as he had been protecting the planetmates by, among other things, releasing them from traps, Enkidu was set on protecting other innocent and vulnerable beings … in this instance, women. Here already, we see echoes of modern times in which the sensitive and compassionate are deemed unmanly and termed “bleeding hearts.” Meanwhile, the ruthless and grasping are consecrated as being “real-worldly” and practical, and the power that insensitivity brings to them is admired, even applauded.
Oh, sure, in the context of the story, the non-consensual sex Gilgamesh was after, and partook of heartily in general and on many other occasions, was not labeled “rape.” No, and this is what is so amazing: The rape is considered okay and to be in keeping with morals! Remember what I was saying earlier about the elite determining religious dictates to suit themselves, while christening their desires with the power of divine authority and intent? They say their narcissistic drives are the commandments of the gods. Well, sure enough, the rape was “okay” in the context of the story … not a crime! nope … because it had been … ahem … ordered by the gods. In particular it was the solar god, the patriarchal one, Shamash, who supposedly authorized kingly rape. That is significant, the solar part; keep it in mind, for later.
Civilization’s Overwhelming Onslaught Against Natural Values … and Normal Human Feelings
You see how the easy and natural morality of Nature gets complicated … not to mention confused … once hierarchy and men with desires and power to attain them are brought into the mix? No doubt it takes quite a bit of propaganda and enforcement to so distort entire societies’ views of the obvious … not to mention to get them to dismiss their natural feelings for empathy coming into play during the execution of these “divinely ordained” assaults and wrongs. Certainly, the cries and wishes of the raped woman are to be put out of one’s mind. Which is reminiscent of the way the wishes of indigenous cultures are trampled as the industrial world exploits their land. Or how the weeping of the mothers for their obliterated children in countries bombed for oil and corporate power cannot be heard, let alone heeded.
Yet this kind of suppression of such a powerful natural part of humans … which we call “our humanity,” in fact — which is to be averse to pain, suffering, and the domination and death of innocent others and to wish to prevent these in others out of a unity of feeling with the suffering other — is achieved in civilized culture.
You think, perhaps, this is of no consequence. You think it an obscure point of little effect on people’s lives. I am here to tell you this travesty of feeling come of civilization — with power and authority the wellspring of right and wrong … with might making right and power making privilege — is embedded deeply in civilizational culture. It is at the core of family life and even the modern psychologies sprung of deliberation of its dynamics. Let me give one example
Of the Oedipal Kind
While Freud’s Oedipus complex is not as much a part of the modern dialogue as it once was, it remains largely unchallenged, hence prevailing in the area it seeks to explain. It has long been subject to criticism as being culturally variable; it is said of it that it is a product primarily of civilized cultures, especially Western cultures. Yet as pertains to such cultures, it is not disputed in intellectual circles.
Well, what if I were to tell you that we can now see, in the light of experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, that such a depiction of the family dynamic is a consequence of the patriarchal “ethic” itself. Itself it is a “travesty of morals.” In a way parallel to the way Gilgamesh’s brutality is condoned, lauded even, we to this day have been advancing the idea of Oedipal and Electra conflicts at the heart of the childhood narrative. Freudians claim that a young boy wants to mate with his mother and replace his father; this is the Oedipus complex. Young girls want to mate with their dads and replace their mothers; this is the Electra complex. Both are resolved — it is said, “successfully” — by the child “identifying with the aggressor.” And you would think that depiction — the parent as the “aggressor” — might have given them a clue. For is that any different from the complicity of the oppressed and ruled, during Gilgamesh’s time, in kingly rape?
You don’t see it yet? Okay, to continue.
Well, no, it did not; identification with “the aggressor” fell silently on unillumined minds. For in modern societies and mainstream counseling and psychology it is thought that the successful resolution is had when the child surrenders her and his desires for closeness with the parent of the opposite gender and instead identifies with that parent. Stockholm syndrome, anyone?
But, no. Not understood. For this “resolution” assumes a superficial understanding of the dynamic. When actually this “development” has two distinctly patriarchal components — a pandering and sycophancy regarding authority, along with a condemnation of the weak, vulnerable, and needy. That is to say, this explanation exonerates the parent’s role, and the parent’s behavior, in the drama, and places blame on the child. The child is not seen as innocent; the parent is. Self-congratulate much? Scapegoat much?
Whereas from the perspective of primal psychology this Oedipal-Electra dynamic is entirely different: The child, innocent, having natural and fundamental needs for love, attention, respect, and so on, wishes to receive them of both parents, including the one of the opposite gender. Meanwhile that parent, aloof, insensitive, and having been deprived and Oedipalized and Electra-lized him- or herself as a child, wants both to push the loving child away as well as sexualize the child, wishing to get a sexually symbolic substitute from their child of what they were deprived growing up. When this is acted out, and it often is, we have incest. To think that it is the child, innocent of such understandings of sexuality and not confusing sex with simple affection — as the parent does — that is the instigator of either the sexual use-abuse or the Oedipal-Electra desire for intimacy is just another aspect of the authoritarian, patriarchal schema we have had thrown upon our perspectives from the time of the birth of civilization.
Rather, the essence of these dynamics of childhood is best explained in the dynamic of the primal scene, which, according to Janov, occurs around the age of four or five … not coincidentally the same time as these Freudian dynamics. To think that a child of four or five is sexually desiring the parent is not only child abuse, it is typical of the way ordinary and innocent love and feelings of closeness are sexualized in civilized and predominantly patriarchal societies, where such ordinary feelings …. as we see Enkidu had … is disparaged and repressed.
What is actually going on in these dynamics is that the child, in the case of the boy, sees the father’s distinctly patriarchal abuse and disrespect of the mother — the mother from whom that child came, who nursed that child, who is in a way large or small bonded with that child. You see, the Oedipus complex, if we want to call it that, arises out of a child’s innocent reaction to the misogyny … to the pervasive misogyny displayed in all kinds of ways, subtle and not so, in the culture. So also in the child’s own father. The child, now, with innocent eyes, sees the disrespect … even if others do not … sees the abuse, and wants to come to the mother’s defense. The abuse is bad enough so that the boy imagines saving the mother from the assaults of the father … exactly the way Enkidu wished to block the way of Gilgamesh from raping the bride!
The son, from this perspective, is trying to protect the mother from a dangerous and violent husband. Then when patriarchal apologists, in the guise of psychoanalysts and mainstream counselors, see this dynamic they impugn the purity of the child’s love in sycophantic and society-sanctioning support of the father — both condoning the father’s brutality of the mother and the boy, as well as projecting onto the boy the father’s twisted feelings, himself jealous of the attention his wife gives his son. In this manner, scapegoating the boy, the father covers up the guilt that would otherwise come of acknowledging his own jealousy.
Of the Electra Kind
On the female side, the girl, naturally bonded with the mother as well, wants also to be loved by the father. Why would not a child, or anyone, want to be loved by both important figures in the young one’s life? Yet here again, the father’s twisted, perverted desires to have his daughter sexually is projected onto the child. “It’s not me! She’s the one who is seducing me!” As common as is this thinking in regard to sexual predators and incestual fathers, you would think that psychological theorists somewhere along the way would have seen through this paternal gambit and stopped blaming the daughter for the parent’s erotic leanings. But they did not…. And that is why I bring this up in this chapter on civilization and the travesty of morals. For the Electa and Oedipal complexes are a common, everyday example of how morality got turned on its head with civilization.
I will get into this again later, when I go in more detail into this area of the identification with the aggressor, a concept alone fertile with insight. But for now, do you see how the patriarchy, like the story of Gilgamesh, sanctions the abuse of others and slanders the intentions of those who would defend those innocents out of empathy and feeling for them? Notice here how the cultures of contemporary and patriarchal societies include the same processes of the family dynamic…. Elites, just like fathers, are to be protected and sanctioned in their brutality, whereas the opposition … rebels and sons … are to be slandered and their intentions distorted so as to discredit them.
Of the Patriarchal Kind
Though such repression and such a campaign of slander and propaganda has always required, and still does, an immense amount of power, military, police and security forces, control of media, clergy, and the professional service class to bring it about. You can see how, from the Oedipus-Electra projections, that would include its mental health professionals. However, this was all done during most of historic time through brute force. By contrast, contemporary societies have gotten ever subtler in the use of propaganda and coercive enforcement of unnatural, but elite-serving, dictums.
For that matter, and equally astounding, is that such propaganda, to this day, is not seen for the ruse it is. In a popular interpretation of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the author, Stephen Mitchell (2004), states that “we are told ‘Enkidu’s face went pale with anger,’ but we aren’t told why he is angry.”3 This he writes concerning Enkidu’s reaction to finding out that Gilgamesh will force himself upon the bride and have his way with her after the wedding ceremony. This is a lot like we see in the Abraham and Isaac story. With Abraham and Isaac, a natural response is to think that it is insane to think that a god would tell a person to kill his child. That is the child noticing the emperor has no clothes. It takes “culture” to tell us that there is something religious going on, something to do with God, in a story about a man having a “spiritual” message to kill someone. Similarly, that someone’s rage at someone else’s intention to rape is questionable, as it is for Mitchell, requires quite a bit of cultural propaganda to be able to think. Again, that innocent child, able to see an emperor with no clothes, sees nothing strange about a man being enraged by another man’s intention to rape a woman. But not this author, Stephen Mitchell. He writes, “This leaves us with the raw emotion of Enkidu’s anger … unexplained and uninterpretable….”
Yet, Enkidu is not confused, at all! Morality, for the natural person such as Enkidu, is simple: What a person or planetmate wants and chooses is important and to be respected. Taking away that right causes suffering and is wrong, especially if one trounces the other’s desires and wishes with one’s own. No confusion at all with a natural morality in mind. Substituting one’s own wants for another’s amounts to domination … making oneself more important than the other. On a societal level, it is called oppression. Regardless, forcing sex on someone, as occurs in the story, is a clear no-no to an unassuming mind, a clear one … such as Enkidu’s.
Furthermore, that author of the Gilgamesh publication for our times offers a rather jolting apologetic for the patriarchy. He reminds that the rape is okay because it was sanctioned by the gods. Correspondingly, he expresses his confusion as to what the to-do about it is. Why is Enkidu enraged, he wonders. “Hasn’t he understood that this is a ritual act sanctioned by the gods?”
Let me stop laughing at that before I continue. Notice both the sanctioning-by-gods part, but also that Mitchell is glossing over the brutality of a rape with the euphemism that it is part of a “ritual.” Which is not part of the story, at all. This is an astounding reflection, however, of the way religion is brought in to sanction the desires of elites and to rule out any nods to common empathy and human feeling.
Okay, in so doing the author impresses his own inability to see the obvious onto his reader. He passes along the confusion about morals that adhere once elites begin inserting their desires into public morality. Mitchell writes, “One thing it [this supposedly “not knowing” of the reason for Enkidu’s rage] means is that we don’t take sides. Yes, Gilgamesh is a tyrant but he is also magnificent. Yes, he mates with the lawful wife, but this apparent sexual predation may be in the divine order of things, and to oppose it is not necessarily virtuous.” And, if he believes that, well, I have some fine and wonderful preemptive wars and soldierly massacres of civilians he can next explain to us … along with the lies and harmful decrees of an American president beholden only to his inner demons for council.
Am I the only one cringing at this author’s twisted words of sycophancy? Not that this man is sycophantic to Gilgamesh, of course, but clearly the author, raised in a patriarchy and schooled in its elitist and traditionally patriarchal, hallowed halls has not a clue of the obvious in the story. The obvious which is that — rules of the elite and the privileges of the elite be damned — a rape is a rape and is a horror, to any innocent and honorable person. Clearly it is that way in the story itself, as we see in Enkidu’s reaction. This is the case however much you might have the law, or the supposed approval of the gods (the ones enlisted in support of the divine order of kings … and that should be a hint), to support it. As you will soon see, I do not believe even the ancient author (or authors) of The Epic of Gilgamesh are as confused … or sycophantically blind … as is this modern-day author.
How can I not simply hear Kellyanne Conway, Spencer Spicer, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders trying to explain Donald Trump’s many inconsistencies and lies in these remarks. Such are the perils of sycophancy. Once one has given over one’s perception of the obvious to patriarchs and authorities, one is left having to spout inane rationalizations … and to struggle to believe them oneself. One might even think that there are “alternative facts” to justify the inane pronouncements and behaviors of “kings” and tyrants … and unjustly installed American presidents.
The “Morality” of Power
This pattern in civilized and demented … devolved … societies of rewriting the obvious about existence to suit their elites is seen many other places. Indeed, as I said we see it in the Abraham and Isaac story. In both cases, the atrocity — the rape or the killing of a child — is rationalized. For the abomination is attributed to a patriarch — in particular, one aligned with a patriarchal god. And readers and interpreters for millennia afterward, therefore and right up to today, fail to notice the obvious wrong and brutality involved. The masses of humanity having been programmed in alignment with patriarchal cultures to deny their feelings, along with their own perceptions and their own obvious interpretations of events, most folks are to this day utterly confused about the meaning of a natural morality that arises out of empathy and feelings.
Morality Explained, Confused
This is so prevalent that I came across it most recently in a meeting a few of us had on the issue of ethics. We were preparing for a panel discussion on ethics in an era of Trumpism, incidentally. This issue came up as to what might be a common ground of morality for all cultures and peoples of the world. In the ensuing discussion, I offered that a common denominator of all beings is a natural morality — in line with ordinary human feelings and empathy — which is that life is good, death is bad; that suffering and pain inflicted on others is bad; that help, kindness, love, and anything positive offered others is good. Simple, right? Christ summed it up, “love your neighbor as yourself.” There could not be a better, more concise expression of the unity with and empathy for other people being the basis of morality than that. Christ is saying, another’s suffering is as much to be avoided as one’s own, another’s happiness is as much to be desired as one’s own.
I also offered, as a corollary for it follows from the first, that this morality could be summed up in the non-directive directive, “You can do anything you want, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.” Well, immediately, the reaction was, “Well, you’re going to have a hell of a lot of people having a problem with that!” Clearly, for most all of us, by this time in history, the idea of good and bad has gotten mixed up with dictums of do’s and don’ts of behavior — handed down and instilled in us from some outside authority or others — which are split from any feelings and in which empathy is irrelevant. Often these pronouncements are attributed to random inclinations of some transcendent god or other.
For example, that recreational drug use, including the kind that is overtly mind-expanding (psychedelic) or wholeness-directing (holotropic) or facing toward God (entheogenic); that any kind of consensual sex, including homosexuality, sodomy, masturbation, consensual non-monogamy; that “swearing” and “profanity” or “taking God’s name in vain”; and so on … many other examples could be given and they vary widely by culture and religion … are in themselves hurtful to anyone is clearly not true. On the other hand, that these are individualistic impulses which are contrary to having a uniformly alike mass of people, easily managed and manipulated to the ends and profits of an elite, is certainly true. The only things such free and uninhibited behavior hurt are the profits of the powerful and the desires of the elite for the populace to be constrained, obedient, unexpressive, and thereby manageable. And this, for their profits, but also as preemptive action against the rising up of the populace, which such expression if not smothered, naturally results in.
Despite this, the masses of folks, throughout civilizational history, have gotten it into their heads that there is a god or some gods somewhere who want us to abide by such kind of inane directives, regardless how little sense they contain or import they have on human happiness. And the masses are willing to kill, torture, and war … i.e., do all kinds of evil things … in allegiance to such nonsensical “commandments” and directed against all others not abiding by them.
Again, just like in Eden and as we will see, in Abraham and Isaac, morality does not have to make sense. It can be random, capricious, nonsensical, even. The Abraham story in particular imposes that misperception: Obey, regardless! It does not have to make sense to one’s own sense of morality, one’s own feelings of right and wrong.
Follow the Money, Follow the Power, Follow the Ego
You can see how convenient having such a populace believing such a thing would be for the purposes of warring on others; but notice also how it works toward the masses obeying in all matters emanating in profit to the elite, or to their ego-aggrandizement (notice how often the truly nonsensical word “glory” is used in patriarchal tomes, including this one regarding Gilgamesh), or to the Controllers’ desire-satisfaction, regardless how perverted. It takes a truly repressed, non-individualistic, unexpressive, and unfree people to satisfy the predilections of the narcissistic elites of all civilized societies.
Yet a closer look reveals that such injunctions trace conveniently upon the predilections of the elites of society, then and now. Just as the patriarchal god Shamash’s permission of rape for the king could not be more self-serving to Gilgamesh. Despite this, the fact that people are hypnotized into believing that morality does not have to make sense, that obedience to nonsensicals is a good thing, shows how successful patriarchy has been in confusing morality for people in general in order to mask their desire to do whatever they want for themselves and to punish whatever they want, however ridiculous, in their subjects.
Conversely, patriarchy’s overwhelming success in deluding folks into adhering to the ridiculous in order to suit the elite’s desires is shown in how the idea that there is a good part of a person, an empathy or feelings, that would naturally, as in a natural morality, stand in the way of harming and causing suffering, is completely eliminated from the imagined possibilities of humans. And this depiction of human nature as inherently vile and deranged, therefore needing reining in, punishment, control, and so on … well, can you see how that plays directly into the hands of the patriarchal elite? For if humans are naturally “wild” and uncontrolled, then do not they require these elites and their self-serving dictums, authorized by their concocted and inherently capricious and not-understandable “gods,” to keep them in line, to “keep the peace,” to provide religion, police, psychiatrists, jails, pharmaceuticals, punishments — however self-serving to the elites, yet in this way justified to an oppressed and mind-controlled populace?
In any case, observing all this, I see how radical and necessary our generational injunction to “question authority” was, and still is, for the righting of our ethical boat. Clearly this contemporary author of the Gilgamesh interpretation did not get that memo.
The Travesty of Morals
Back to the story, Enkidu’s protecting the woman is not an incidental happening, either. We see it is part of a pattern where the values and ethics one would expect … where goodness is equated with life values such as life over death, and less suffering over more suffering, and more respect for other’s rights and feelings over less respect or brutality over other’s rights and feelings, and harmony with one’s environment over aggressive and destructive acts regarding one’s environment … are completely overturned. They get reversed in each and every instance.
Civilization, Elites … Might, and Materialism, Makes Right
Somehow we see the wonders of the rising up of cities — and in these days the miraculous products of material civilization, such as our electronic devices and the other amazing products displayed in our markets — as more civilized than goodness or morality … or the reduction of anyone’s pain and suffering or the limitation of deaths. Regardless what we tell ourselves, we feel that being good at making “things” is more “good,” more moral, than simple things like kindness, respect for lives, or reducing the inevitable suffering of other living beings. Indeed, it is not coincidental that in “civilized” societies, material things — especially that produced by the hands and by their extensions in industry — are deemed “goods.”
Why do you suppose so many in modern times — conservative types — give such a wide berth to the actions of the titans of industry? Those who we deem to be creators of the material world around us we allow all kinds of atrocities — murders, wars, despoliation of the environment. We say it is because they are job creators or “wealth” creators, when neither of those are true. See my Culture War, Class War (2013) on that, specifically.
In fact, all those rationalizations of the super-worthiness of the elite are evidence, merely, of our feelings that they are more powerful than us, they feel threatening to us, and we feel safer being sycophantic regarding them. Hence we will grant rich folks free rein in the moral sphere, along with forgiveness of their horrible crimes, rather than acknowledge the obvious. Notice, as a perfect example of this, how George W. Bush and his cadre of well-to-do war profiteers in modern times were allowed to walk away from their many crimes. Consider how the bulls of Wall Street were actually rewarded with payoffs for their actions that brought so much death and hardship to world citizens at the time of the global economic collapse of 2008. Meanwhile, ordinary folks — especially in America, African-American males — are prosecuted for petty infractions or attacked, even killed, for nothing at all.
For our purposes in this book, simply notice how we in modern civilization, in actual fact, are not much different from the slaves and subjects in ancient Egypt. For we glorify our “pharaohs” as well, and we allow all kinds of cruelties and atrocities of those who are good at making “things” … the bigger the better — skyscrapers, pyramids. Remember, the rich and powerful Donald Trump — sexual predator, liar, racist, cheater of workers, misogynist and user and disrespecter of women, and tax-dodger — was allowed to be installed as a president not long ago. Morality does not apply to the ones we deem so much higher above us in being able to wield power and to make and do things we could not imagine ourselves pulling off.
The point is that morals become a surreal travesty with civilization, and we see that represented in that Enkidu, the “wild” man, steps in to block the “civilized” man from attacking a woman. What of Gilgamesh and his intentions? Well, he deems it his right to rape any woman in his kingdom that he wishes. See in that how much civilization became about being controlling and being narcissistic and baby-like in having insatiable desires and deeming it fine to satisfy them in any way one wishes, irrespective of their effects on anyone else. Uh, Trump reference again, perhaps? Remember, as he himself put it, he’s a celebrity so he can get away with anything … and all manner of “pussy grabbing” and the like is within his purview, without consequence.
Beyond that, Gilgamesh considers it his right to dominate and control his male “subjects,” removing from them their free will, as well. Yes, he is described as oppressing his “subjects,” along with raping at will, the women. After all, he is king, isn’t that his prerogative? You see how odd it is in all these millennia that it never occurred to anyone to question the “civility” of that? At least in relation to Enkidu’s “wildness” in setting planetmates free from traps? What does that say about us? About the human blinders, the blinders of civilization, that block our awareness of the obvious?
Not to mention, what it says about which stratum of societies determines what ideas will be promulgated therein; what will be professed, by scholars; who will be appointed to teach at institutions of higher learning; or whose books, up till only a few decades ago with the digital revolution, will see the light of day.
Civilization and the Rape of Nature and the Divine
In any case, raping women and oppressing his “subjects” as he goes, Gilgamesh adds additional crimes. He shows how our diminished awareness as humans separated from Nature gets acted out on Nature … and even the Divine!
Gilgamesh proceeds to a forest, the Cedar Forest, and he cuts down all its sacred wood. He kills, also, the “monster” protecting this arboreal stand from abuse, as easily as modern corporations roll over and kill off indigenous cultures also trying to save their environments. Throughout history this has happened, by the way. Regardless, we see how this attack on the Cedar Forest and its guardian is an aggression and controlling of the sacred Flora Kingdom.
Subsequently, Gilgamesh kills, also, the Bull of Heaven, which is clearly symbolic of taking the life and soul of the Fauna Kingdom. Significantly, it is a bull. After all, cattle — cows and the like — were among the first designs of humans for “domestication” and control. Notice also that it is “of heaven.” Indeed, in one of the more legitimate instances in the story of divine intent, the bull was sent from on high as punishment to Gilgamesh for his crime against Nature.
Furthermore, this killing of the Bull of Heaven indicates how we descended into patriarchal religion, from Earth religions … how we suppressed matriarchal, goddess, “lunar” religions in favor of “sky” or “solar” religions, patriarchal ones, when we “advanced” to increasing dependence on farming and “civilization” in the creation of urban centers and its increasing separation from Nature.
In any case, Gilgamesh takes the Bull of Heaven and kills it. In taking the lives of the forest and that of heaven, we see here a humanity, specifically a “man”kind, a civilized patriarchy, at war with both Earth and heaven … with both Nature and the Divine.
Civilization, its Seductions and Regrets
Gilgamesh enlists Enkidu’s help, by the way. You see how this is symbolic of how our “civilized” self, our unreal self, took over and suppressed the values of our natural self, our real self? Indeed, that is exactly what the epic portrays. It says that a harlot seduces Enkidu and then entices him into drinking alcohol and eating bread. Notice here how becoming civilized is being equated with the eating of food produced, not by Nature, but by farming. By grain … the bread.
It is also associated with another product of grains, beer, which significantly is intoxicating. So, the ecstatic ceremonies of the “wild” folks — the gatherer-hunters, in actual history — which often employed hallucinogenic and specifically entheogenic (entheogen means “toward God”) plants and substances, get supplanted by “recreational” pastimes in which are used drugs that do not open one to God but instead cover up the conscience that is in forever alarm at what civilized humanity does. Opiates that conceal the atrocities of the higher ups, along with one’s own, are desired by all concerned in a civilized, demented, degenerate, elite-controlled society, of course.
In fact, the story reveals that Enkidu, the first “wild” man seduced into civilization, has a burning conscience, causing him regret. He bemoans everything that has been wrought of his “descent” into civilization.
The Gods Do Not Approve
For one thing, remember that Enkidu was saving his fellow planetmates from their traps. Subsequently, the “gods” enlist Enkidu to “rein in” Gilgamesh. Notice that here in this epic, almost despite itself, it is giving note that the Divine does not approve of the behavior emanating from humans as a result of their “civilization.”
In fact nowhere did the “gods” in ancient times approve of our descents; whether it was the crimes of Prometheus, Adam and Eve, Cain, or Gilgamesh. It took more modern times, Christianity, and Western culture to begin having a God approving of our lives as abominations in Nature.
We see the epitome of that today where fundamentalist religion in the West — especially as depicted by Tea-Party-type folks in America — is equated with Western civilization and its materialism more than anything at all transcendent or sacred. Capitalism has become equated with Divinity in America in modern times. You can hear that equation in any religious pronouncements from Republicans today. It is civilization, and especially its modern material consumer-obsessed form, that is considered holy. And nationalism, which defends, with all manner of military methods, that material culture, is deemed as sacred, or more so, than God. Look for yourself at the worship around the American flag. Notice for yourself how in churches the American flag will be displayed upon the altars along with all the religious iconography.
Back to the Gilgamesh story, it is the wild man Enkidu who is moral. And whereas we presume civilization to have higher morality than humans in the wild, as does the epic on the face of it, it cannot help but reveal that the gods don’t think this at all! For Enkidu represents a “natural morality,” one that emanates from all humans at their base — before the priests and “theologies” come in to muck it up. A natural morality which is that what is good is what is related to life, not death; and is what is related to less suffering, not more suffering. And it is this “natural conscience” of humans, represented by Enkidu, that the gods seek to enlist to rein in “civilized” man, Gilgamesh.
Notice how at odds that is with the story, which has Gilgamesh, according to the laws and rules of “man,” with the right to rape women and oppress men. Gilgamesh in raping women did not do “wrong” according to the morality of the day. Indeed, in the epic, it is said that the gods have given Gilgamesh this lurid “right,” which all patriarchal religions have done — undergirding the power and privilege of the elites everywhere, as long as there have been hierarchical societies. Consider how in taking away all freedoms and rights from Nature and all its planetmates, eventually the rights of any being, even human, were no longer seen as of any concern. What another wished, intended, or wanted became increasingly invisible as a consideration, including, eventually, what a woman might want in terms of her body … and what a man might wish to do with his time … or his life. Power became the basis of morality. But the gods — and they knew Enkidu, the natural man, would feel the same — did not see it that way. The gods did not see morality according to “man’s” rules, regardless what men would claim regarding them.
We see this in Genesis where Yahweh, the God of the Jews, prefers the offering of Abel, the sheepherder, and not Cain, the farmer. Remember, as herders we still retained a bond with planetmates; we conscribed their wanderings, but we also cared for them. We killed them eventually, but we also allowed them to grow to full maturity. We did not allow them to roam freely, yet they were able to roam.
Whereas the farmer has no such connection or bond with the planetmates. The farmer exhibits a greater separation from Nature and the Divine and a more extreme objectification of the alive Universe around him, including its planetmates. He shows this in the way he enlists the efforts of planetmates toward the tilling of the soil; the way a farmer holds a cow in place, imprisons it, in order to steal from it daily its milk meant for its offspring. In the way the farmer does the same imprisoning of fowl for the purpose of daily removing their offspring to be eaten by humans. So the farmer, to do that, cannot have the same kind of sensitivities toward planetmates as herders; and earth-tillers must necessarily suppress their natural feelings — their “natural” morality — just like we did earlier in order to allow our ability to murder planetmates — in other words, to hunt.
The point here is that — despite the literature of man basically being construed in ways so as to bolster the elite and to orchestrate the “civilized” members of society along the lines of the powerful — our literary creations cannot but help reveal the Divine displeasure at said “civilization” and separation from Nature. The Unapproved and Hidden Freudian-slips out into the world through the doorway of the storytellers’ creative fervor.
In fact, in reading the epic one can justly consider the writer or writers might actually have been trying to express their own disapproval and complaint about such a status quo, however in the only way one could at such a time, with patriarchs everywhere in power and controlling everything, including any literary productions. Such a literary product might have been reproduced, promulgated, and eventually come to light, only because its criticism — clear as a bell to any with the sensitivity and sanity to see it — is so overlaid and hidden with the usual glorification of power and the powerful, which it also provides.
Perhaps even the author’s original writing was edited by the powers-that-be of the time prior to its inscription in stone — much as any of our media-produced books today must bow to the prevailing academic and political gods in order to see the light of day. Perhaps it was infused with all this glorification of kingship and the right and behavior of kings by the elite themselves, much as one might, as Donald Trump did recently, edit another’s tweet so as to make it fit with his prejudices and desires. Regardless, hidden inside a shell of the required sycophancy is why this pearl of insight and complaint into the injustices of early hierarchies was allowed to survive. Just as the spiritual aspects of alchemy, during the Middle Ages, are said to have been covered up in scientific metaphor to hide them from the light of an otherwise direly disapproving Catholic hegemony, so also we might see here during the time of ancient Mesopotamia such a ruse to safeguard the writer.
All that understood, next in this part let us look more closely at some of what amounts to the mythology around the primal scene and the Oedipal conflict. Naturally, we start with the ancient story of Oedipus.
— this is an excerpt from *Who to Be: Identity, Authenticity, & Crisis* by Michael Adzema. It has just been released for publication as of March, 20th, 2020. Click to order print or digital copies and go to Michael Adzema’s Author’s Page at Amazon for other books, info, and updates.
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The Eighteenth Descent — Culture: The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
Posted by sillymickel
The Eighteenth Descent — Culture:
The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
— which is Chapter 26 of *Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man* by Michael Adzema
The Eighteenth Descent — Culture:
The Matrix — “Wrong-Gettedness” and the A-mazing Cultural Maze … Strutting and Fretting, Signifying Nothing
“Such a fury we unleash, so as to create the smoke and mirrors of distraction and to keep us from the otherwise insidious trickling knowing of our horrifying creations and the gnawing abyss of dissatisfaction and unknowing inside us.”
The expulsion from Paradise that came with sedentary ways demanded increasingly complex, however vapid, entrancements — ritual and mores — of culture as compensation, however empty, for the loss.
In becoming increasingly dominating, sycophantic, and emotionless, we created an emptiness within. To compensate, we created outside us in our social environment a maze-like, fantastical panorama — likened most recently to a matrix.
In this chapter I disclose the horror we do not want to know about ourselves and our beliefs.
Wrong-Gettedness … Culture
So the advantage to the survival of the individual newborn — however rooted, as it was, in the twisted motivations of the adults tending to them — of learning to be obsequious, inauthentically pleasing, and repressive of one’s needs and expression became also the backbone of what humans call culture. For the lack of direct inner knowledge — the lack of connection to instinct, for example — that characterizes humans and was increasingly selected for with the predominance of controlling-conforming-appealing-nonexpression traits in humans, led to the ever-expanding overcomplexity of the obvious simplicity of existence. Humankind grew ever more fanciful and unnecessary traits, needs, desires, behaviors, wants, obsessions, compulsions, beliefs, visions, and thoughts — all subsumed under Ego — out of this separation from natural ways, this split from Nature, this estrangement from the Divine, this “expulsion from Paradise.”
On the societal level, the cumulative result, or manifestation, of all individual egos — with all their infinite, however twisted, complexity — is what we term culture. Culture is the human substitute for the instinct we would otherwise have, just as Ego is the substitute for Self — Self meaning identity with Divinity. Being a separation from Divinity and Nature, culture is a separation from Truth as well. The Unapproved and Hidden — the Truth of humans not contained in any culture and whose essence is revealed in this book — is Truth that we do not know … cannot and will not know. Culture is what we erect in its stead: It is the overt representation of wrong-gettedness.
Is Culture Untrue?
“Is culture all untrue?” you are thinking. Well, no. It is true in a limited way. It is true in the same way the world is known to be flat. That is, within certain limitations it has its truth and hence its usefulness. Yet it is set in a context that is not true … not at all. And that context skews the results of all the contents of culture, making them of dubious worth.
At this point you should have a pretty clear understanding of what I mean by that, as I have given many examples. For instance, that life is hard and a struggle is true for virtually all civilized folk of all time. Yet it is given a different light when it is known that it does not have to be, is not in Nature, and was not even for us for most — in fact, for ninety-nine percent — of our existence as a species. That life is a struggle is not true in the larger context of what is possible and natural for humans and what is true for virtually all life of all times, except for humans in the few thousand years of civilization.
Language Helps and Hinders
Similarly, language is an aid in communication, yes. But from the larger perspective of the Unapproved and Hidden, it is a flawed substitute, a symbolic and roundabout way, of conveying messages: Not only does it confuse and obscure as much as it reveals and conveys, but the psychic, direct transmission of information that is its alternate in Nature is far easier and far more accurate.
Not only the mind-sharing of Nature is superior, but human mental confusion keeps us from another of our planetmates’ advantages. For planetmates do not need language for they know more clearly what is going on without it being needed to be communicated. They can pick up instantly from the body language, the scent, and the facial and muscular expressions of others, together with the positioning of every element in any scene, more than could ever be communicated, by one to another, in language about what is going on in that scene.
For one thing planetmates can deduce far more accurately what is going on, since it is not being skewed or spun through the personality or agendas of any other. Added to this, they have far more information being conveyed to their senses, other than what could come from language. We can see this in the way canines are able to discern many thousands of times — up to a million times! some researchers report — more information from scent. Still, that is only one sense of many used by planetmates. We say animals can “smell fear.” That is a trite example of the fact that planetmates are sensing far more of what is going on than humans are and they cannot be dissembled to … unlike humans with their language abilities who are so easily able to be fooled. So what would need to be communicated if it is already known? And known more accurately than one would get it as once removed, communicated to one through another?
Thus, human language is an aid in communication in the smaller context of human relationships and in that of being able to be written down and “stored” for use at a later time and to be disseminated to others, sometimes many others, without direct contact. However it is perhaps not an advantage, more likely it is a hindrance, in relation to the one-on-one communication that is possible otherwise for beings on Earth.
Culture Substitutes Itself for Natural Morality
Another instance: Remember I was saying, using the example of Abraham and Isaac, how if we had not been convinced otherwise by our pedagogy we would naturally see an example in that story of a murder being espoused by a supposed “god” and a sacrifice that would not be one for Abraham, predominantly, but for Isaac, who would lose his life? A grade-schooler hearing this story for the first time does not see in this any kind of interaction with a Divine being, rather one of murdering impulses within a person in a way that later the term psychotic could be applied. That is, until culture comes along to “teach” the child otherwise.
Like planetmates, children have a natural morality — where suffering, pain, and death are bad, and pleasure, freedom, and happiness are good — until forced to think otherwise … until “enculturated.” For, within the domains of culture, no one questions Abraham’s behavior as being holy or righteous; nor the interaction with the “supernatural” as being anything but with a “god.” However, in the larger context of feeling — the natural morality built upon innate empathy, love, and caring — which any planetmate or child would apply here, it is viewed as nothing less than insanity.
Similar things could be said for our understandings of love, our conceptualization of God, our feelings about extending kindness, and what it means to be a good person: All are what we think them to be, but only within a particular context. Beyond that, they are seen to be false, twisted, and corrupted.
The “Good” Person
Let us take one of those and using it as an example make it clearer what I mean. Let us look at what, in the context of culture, we proclaim to be a good person: The “good” people of our cultures put a lot of effort into doing the “right” actions and thinking the “right” thoughts. They engage in endless hours of religious nodding, bowing, and mumbling — what we call ritual and prayer — to “please” these Phantom gods of ours. Very few people would not attribute qualities of “holiness,” goodness, and even saintliness to such people. But are they good?
“Good” people will also work, uncomplainingly, at the tasks assigned to them by controlling others, whether that be higher ups in the society — the Large Accumulators, the Controllers — or in the family, where that role is taken by husband and father in his dealings with his “good” housewife and his “good” and obedient children. Very few people would consider such compliant people to be other than the “salt of the earth,” good housewives, well-behaved boys and girls, “hard-working, god-fearing, real” Americans … Germans … (insert your nationality here).
And Sycophancy, Thought Control, Obedience, and Self-Control
However, from what I have been telling you, it should be clear that the deferential and obedient of us, in the context I am presenting, can be seen as fearful sycophants who are confusing childhood admonitions — backed by terrorizing threats — to “be good little boys and girls and behave” with adult nobility and spirituality. Yet one might ask, what is wrong with that? Are they not “good little male and female adults”?
Well, yes and no. Here is where something is true within a certain limited area, within a narrow context, but is not true when viewed against the totality of Truth. For these people will seek to wrestle with their very thoughts so they will not have “bad” ones. They will repress any urges to complain, in adherence to a cultural value system that embodies obedience and control.
We say that their control of themselves — inside and out — their discipline, their conformity make them wholesome, “holy,” or “good citizens.” But, for starters, how can a person have only good thoughts and not bad ones? In actuality, we have no control over our thoughts at all. We have only some control over our actions; we can act or not act upon our thoughts. Hence anyone telling us they have control over their thoughts is really saying they are liars — to themselves, as well as the rest of the world — about what goes on inside them.
One cannot unthink a thought. What happens is, some thought occurs to us, which we, according to the morals instilled in us, deem “not good.” It has happened, the thought; one cannot unthink it. But these sorts of people will then have a fearfulness, however un-acknowledged and blocked from their awareness, that arises in them directly after that thought. That fearfulness comes from those forces I have been describing: It is a fear about pleasing more powerful others, and it has its roots in childhood, going all the way back to infancy, and even before. It is a fear of being punished or deprived of things for what one simply is … in this case, just having a thought that arises unintended — “naturally.” And one cannot help having this fear of the Other. It might even be said such fear is “natural” for humans, considering what all we have become as a result of our hellish womb experiences, traumatic births, and deprived infancies.
On Sewage and Flowers
So we have a random but natural “bad” thought and an unfortunate but natural fear arising in us. But what does this “holy” and “good” person do? This holy person tries to force the mind to go onto another thought that is not a “bad” one. It is like the first thought, using an analogy, would be “sewage.” The next thought would be “oh, no!” The next thought, the concocted or replacement thought, would then be “flowers.” But here is where the lie is. For the person keeps telling themselves they are thinking “flowers,” however they are lying about the fact that they are really thinking “flowers not sewage,” “flowers not sewage,” “flowers not sewage,” over and over again, trying to push the first thought out of their mind, and along with all that having a feeling of fear and trepidation.
Clearly, this upstanding citizen, this self-sacrificing mensch, this “good” father, this “good” mother, this “holy” thinker, this “positive thinker,” is really not whole or positive at all. This person is a fearful sycophant, acting fearfully out of early experiences which they will never, ever remember, spending so much time thinking, “I will not think sewage, I will think flowers,” that they will never, ever find out what the thought after “sewage” might have been, if they had not fought it so much. And, yes, on its own, it just might have actually been “flowers.” And I can tell you, sooner or later it would have been … and sooner than comes of fighting it.
This person is a narcissist, therefore, caught up in a focus only on themselves and how they might be coming across to others; is a sycophant trying to please imaginary others by conforming their behavior to them; and is a liar, not telling the truth about their experience inside of themselves to either themselves or anyone else. In the next chapter on soul murder, we will look at how this can even extend into sociopathy.
Oh, you think good people and sociopaths are on the opposite ends of a continuum? You have probably also been confused as to how sociopathic killers — the Ted Bundys, Jeffrey Dahmers, John Wayne Gacys, and their ilk — can come across as such well-behaved and “nice” citizens. You probably are not either seeing how some politicians and CEOs are getting their power by seeming to be so upstanding but are at the same time working behind the scenes to take all they can at anyone’s expense and regardless who or how many die of it. More in the next chapter.
For now, the saddest part of all this is that this person, in holding back “sewage,” becomes full of “sewage” … all the while she or he is thinking they smell like and are full of “flowers.” The people around them know they are full of sewage. But those others, being often sycophantic also, are busy telling themselves the swill they see is really flowers.
Here we have an example of how wrong-getted we are able to become and how it spreads. We can see how culture aids and reinforces our wrong-gettedness and separation from the Truth of us. By this I mean that cultural values — concurrent with civilization and not with nomadic and presedentary ones — have become construed along lines to honor and reward the sycophantic, inauthentic, lying, and manipulative; and to punish the noble, authentic, the honest, and the guileless.
“Good People” Games … “Good” Actions and Hypocrisy
However, not just thoughts are controlled by “good” people. The same is true for such a person’s “holy” and “upstanding” acts. Such a person might put out their hand to another, but on some level they are thinking, “I will be nice to you, so that I do not hit you.” Yes, these people are what we call hypocrites.
You might be thinking, they are holy and good people and are not having the thought, “I want to hit you.” Still, this is what happens when the “sewage” gets backed up. A stored-up reservoir of unapproved thoughts ever pushes for release by any means, for attention from consciousness at all costs, even if they have to come out in a distorted form — an impulse/thought to hit another. On the macro scale, this is what we as a species have done in creating and then acting out the Unapproved and Hidden, which belongs to us, collectively. This end result — the Unapproved and Hidden — is the product of the billions of unallowed thoughts, lies, and denials of all the “good” people of our culture.
The example of the hateful urge to hit, rather than lovingly help, is only a crude example, of course. It does have roots deep in our unconscious, though, and extending back thousands of years. We put out our hand to shake another’s, for example. What this is really saying is, “My hand is not a fist. I will not hit you.” “My hand is open to you — in giving and receiving mode, sharing mode — and not in a competitive or aggressive mode.” “In putting out my hand I will connect with you, and not use it to fight you.” Lastly, and most recently, “My hand does not contain a weapon.” Now, why, unless a part of us knows that deep inside we would as soon hit another as anything else, would we go through all this social ritual of hand-shaking and its variants? All of its variants say similar things.
On another note, why, unless a part of us knows deep inside that we are as likely to be attacked by Other as friended by it, do we feel such relief upon the offering of said gestures? This goes to the inherent defensiveness of “normal” and “good” people that other “good” people know they had better appease by offering their hand … for reasons not much different than a primate would offer its behind to an aggressor.
By the way, that unusual defensiveness of humans arises from those early human experiences of feeling attacked by Other through the traumas prenatally and perinatally, which are then reinforced in infancy, childhood, then again in cultural rites of passage. Note that this human defensiveness is unusual in its occurrence, happening much more frequently than in planetmates. For it arises in all social situations, all, even one-on-one interactions and not just in situations of actual potential aggression, as in primates.
In any case, it is that in real life those deeper messages of wanting to hit and fearing one will be hit are inaccessible to us. What we might be aware of that goes on in us — but rarely are — is less obviously hostile. It is more subtle, is most often unconscious, and becomes increasingly more unconscious over time, in the course of one’s life … hence more likely to direct our actions in spite of us. The “negative” thought — “I want to hit you” — might arise in the form of irritation, repulsion, or dislike … or a simmering anger. We can actually feel that, but we will rarely admit those feelings occur in us … forcing ourselves, instead, to “think flowers,” again. You know what I mean.
Meanwhile, the negative thought or feeling, “you are going to attack (are attacking) me!” is not felt either. Rather, it comes out elsewhere, too. It is channeled unconsciously into all kinds of behaviors of introversion as well as defensive communications and passive-aggressive behaviors. Essentially, folks retreat from others and society, holed up in themselves; and/or they get revenge sneakily — without their even being aware they are doing it; and/or they react to all kinds of things said to them, even communications that are quite matter-of-fact or innocuous and perhaps not even pertaining to, let alone directed at them, with responses that are variations of “Well, that doesn’t apply to me! I’ll tell you a thing or two. How dare you say that! Let me explain how you’re wrong. And I’m smart! (You’re not.)” And the like. Check out the tweets of Donald Trump, and you’ll have clarity and even better examples of this.
In any case, such things in people are examples of the kinds of hidden hostility and aggression, and defensiveness, that are buried within “good” people and covered up assiduously by all kinds of cultural means. While you think this is far-fetched, perhaps, think honestly about and explain to me how our kind, at the hands of all our “good” people, have been able to participate in lynch mobs; the rounding up of Jews for genocide at the time of Nazi Germany; the piling up of Jews like firewood to be burned during medieval times with its pogroms; or during The Burning Times, the torture and immolating at the stake of women who had some “free” thoughts — in other words, not controlled and then lied about thoughts, as the “good” people setting fire to them have and do. This unacknowledged and hidden hostility explains all the horrific, yet otherwise unexplainable, actions of “normal” humans including bigotry and racism, child battering and sexual abuse, anti-immigration sentiments, genocides, police brutality and murder of people of color, wife-beating, and … (insert your “favorite” human abomination here).
So now, are these “holy” and wholesome people, these “good citizens” and “patriots” and “salt of the earth” — who are properly fearful and sycophantic, on the inside as well as the outside — really “good” and “wholly”?
For the more they tell themselves they think and feel one thing while actually thinking and feeling something else the more split down the middle they become. Till after a while, they have no clue who they are. They are liars to themselves and to all the world.
Self-Defeating Beliefs and Defenses
They cannot even become good people over time. Their disease, at all costs, fights against its cure. Indeed, it is like cancer, in that way. For to become a good person, one would have to know where one is being or has been a bad person and then change that. Such a person, however, is ever fighting to convince themselves they are full of “flowers,” so how can they possibly do anything about the “sewage” that is actually in them?
Of such “good” people, the religious of them say that such thoughts about where they are being “bad” in their seemingly “good” actions and thoughts are instances of “doubt” and “lack of faith.” So, rather than inform and do service towards becoming a greater “good,” these inconvenient thoughts are done battle with as being demons, devils, and even the product of a Satan. So, no, in battling ceaselessly against the “bad” within themselves, they cannot actually become good. For they truly do not understand the nature of their bad enough to change it. Battling it, they keep it ever at a distance, giving it a status of devil, demon, Satan, and never acknowledging that these are simply — mostly innocuous and often innocent — parts of oneself that have been made “bad” by culture, then later, oneself.
What has been said about the effort to control thoughts — “positive thinking” — can be applied analogously to the many ritualistic behaviors “good” people engage in — secular as well as religious. A part of them knows they have sewage within themselves, so they are led to ever “purify” themselves … and the world by extension.
Yes, they will participate in repetitive confessionals; sacrifices of themselves and others; ritual purifications; self-flagellation; self-destructive behaviors to unconsciously punish themselves; obsessive-compulsive grooming and bathing, maybe even hand-washing; obsessive neatness of person and surroundings; perfectness of dress, outfit, adornment, and perfume; obsessive cleaning of their homes and cars; the persnickety grooming of their lawns, intensive control of all the things and of the nature on their grounds, including the shaping of any foliage there; and the obsessive organizing and cataloging of their items and the recording of their actions and intentions, i.e., obsessive planning. Nothing of their lives can be out of their control lest they be reminded of their “inner sewage” or it be revealed to others. They will be mortified if a spot, a stain, or dirt appears on their clothing, unconsciously feeling they have been “found out.”
“Cleaning Up the Streets”
But yes, they will also see the world through this veil of “sewage” and so direct their efforts in ways to remove the “impurities” of others. Indeed, think again about those atrocities of humans, mentioned above, and you will see that almost always the people perpetrating the acts have rationalized to themselves their actions by claiming they are “cleaning up” or helping to “purify,” or “save,” the world.
If you think this only happened in previous times — Nazi Germany, The Burning Times in the Middle Ages, the times of slavery in America and elsewhere — consider how all of the “good” humans throughout the world today support the efforts to “clean up the streets,” to “keep out the riff raff,” and to “keep out the unwashed” without ever, in any instance, considering the people affected and how their efforts might be burdening and in some cases ending the lives of those poor souls — those ones simply more unlucky than oneself. These efforts are not far removed in quality — if not in quantity — from those of former times to maintain “purity” in the ranks, to suppress “heresy,” to “crack down” on some group or other of society, or to “eliminate” the “undesirables”; and even in current times, the term ethnic cleansing expresses it and demonstrates its ongoingness. Need I mention Donald Trump, his bigoted proposals, and the surprisingly large number of Americans subscribing to them? Probably not. Yet keep in mind from many quarters these sorts of citizens are deemed the “good people” of contemporary society.
Denial Activities — How “Good” People Keep Realization from Happening
Yet these good citizens — as deemed by our cultures — also spend a great amount of time involved with activities of denial: They might spend hours sitting quietly at meaningless church ceremonies … telling themselves it is really “flowers” they are seeing — you catching my drift? Or they might work themselves to death in a job.
They might fill up their time with chores around the house which are for the most part unnecessary and insignificant. Or they might immerse themselves in empty but culturally approved and applaudable activities such as repeating to themselves and others truly insignificant sports statistics; keeping up with the details of current fashion or the latest minutiae of celebrity lore; filling their minds and communications with the intricacies of auto mechanics, vehicle specifics and terminology; or showing they know what is new in financial and corporate trivia. These are all ways they can prove to themselves that they are okay and “regular” people — not the way they thought of themselves in infancy — and that others like and approve of them, not the way they felt others thought about them in infancy.
Whether they are trying to assure themselves they are “a regular guy,” “salt of the earth,” a loving and self-sacrificing mom, a “hard worker,” a patriot, good citizen, or “god-fearing” person, it is all the same: They are trying to beat back that nagging feeling that they are full of “sewage” and trying to keep others from knowing that about them. These cultural activities are the way we lie, essentially.
Pathos and “Civility”
“Good” people are to be pitied for the degree of fear and sycophancy within them; that is true. It is sad how much life they have wasted striving to abide by the unjust dictates of a culture geared to higher ups, only. Yet they are hardly to be thought of as examples of integrity, wholesomeness, wholeness, or saintliness. They only appear that way for being so afraid to be otherwise and for imposing an amount of control upon themselves equal to that fear.
Certainly, whatever wrong they do is not “obvious” wrong, most of the time. They distinguish themselves from out-and-out “bad” people, like criminals. Though, the line between the two is most often blurred and many actions are in fact criminal. They get away with them, however, occurring as they do within the context of an appearance of outward “civility,” which they take great pains to maintain. So compared to criminals, are they “good”? Or are they just better, slicker, in hiding or covering up their “bad”?
Indeed, these good and holy adults are actually pathetic — trying to be “good little boys and girls” in obedience to invisible others. They are narcissistic, being unable, like Abraham, to see the others around them and their needs, and only seeing their own “needs” … their sycophantic, fearful ones. They are liars and hypocrites; and they are anything but wholly or having integrity, they are split and deceptive.
“Good, God-fearing, Law-Abiding, Hard-Working”
Thus, within the definitions of culture, such folks are considered good people. That “good” is often followed by “law-abiding, God-fearing, hard-working” (people). However, along the measure of real Truth, this is only true in relation to other, more obvious, “bad” people. Hence, being a good person often just means being the best possible sycophant. We would be “good little boys and girls” and behave and do whatever we are told (whether it is actually good or bad), as adults, rather than be noble and authentic, and have integrity; real, empathetic love; true giving (without thought of reward); and be truly good adults.
Such “good” people of culture and society have been the good Nazis, in the past. They are the good soldiers mowing down villagers. Which is another great example of how “culture” operates to skew reality so as to cause you to do things you would not do if you were seeing reality directly, not through it. As well, they are the good citizens of society, imposing the most severe penalties upon all who stray over any lines, no matter how inconsequential, simply because people with wealth, and thus power, have drawn those lines. These are our, so-called, “good” people in our societies.
So culture proclaims, and it lies.
What Is Culture?
What is culture, then? Culture is the external manifestation of multitudes of egos; it is the accumulation of their actions. Culture substitutes for the “instinct” — the natural in us we have lost. In inserting itself into all aspects of our lives it pushes away the possibility we will ever feel that instinct arising in us, or find our body and mind becoming whole, natural, healed. Culture provides the opiate for the dis-ease of humanness, as well as it covers up the dis-ease and precludes any cure.
Culture is also the amalgamation of all that one has been told is real and true over against what one can see, discern, or would be obvious otherwise. Here’s a good way to see it. You know that in reading this book it has come up against practically everything you believed to be true. Yet if you are honest, you know this makes much more sense, and it probably even corresponds to what you sensed to be true, but could not let yourself believe, let alone assert to others … could not “say out loud.”
It’s simple, culture is that whole, that composite of all that has been put inside you for you to use in your understanding of all outside you, which is in complete contrast to what you are learning in this book or would see on your own without those inserted prejudices. That’s a good way to see it, right at hand. And that is why you have felt so uncomfortable hearing so much of this.
Essentially culture, like I said earlier, is the matrix. For it is all the ways we have been taught to see and interpret things, over against what we would on our own. And remember why and how there is such a disparity. Not only have we been separated from authentic apprehension of reality, but we have been encouraged and reinforced in that by outside interests with intentions to have us see and interpret things along ends to suit themselves … i.e., the wealthy, the elite.
Here is an example of that. Culture tells us the wealthy are wealth creators. If we saw clearly we would see that they are wealth takers, actually. It would be obvious to us, sans “culture,” that it is the small operator who is more motivated to maximize her or his investment and thus create jobs, and “wealth,” not someone who has so much that each dollar created is not seen as another addition in one’s efforts to be wealthy but simply one, along with so many others, which can sit there, for all one cares, and does not need to be reinvested. Culture, also, is what tells Trump supporters that a billionaire like him can be on the side of the “little guy,” and take on “the establishment,” and right the injustices set up by a society favoring the rich. Astonishing, eh? This power of culture?
It is that planetmates do not have culture, by the way, that is another reason they do not need language so much. For what is conveyed through language is filtered through the intentions and agendas of others, the composite of which is slanted, then, away from seeing reality as it is. With no culture, planetmates do not need language as much for they are not seeing reality so unclearly that they would need the communication of language to interpret it.
Furthermore why would any planetmate want the confusion of others’ interpretations about what one is able to see clearly? When that is offered to us humans, we say it is “bullshit,” you see. Yet if we do not see it as nonsense, it still contributes only to our endless confusion about reality and who we are. Theologies relentlessly have engaged in the actions that have caused folks such confusion about their feelings and perceptions, being as how they concoct interpretations that are only consonant within realities that are imaginary, often having psychotic roots. Similarly, endless reams of philosophy have emanated from this pattern of folks — and religions, and culture — telling other folks that what they are seeing and experiencing is other than what it obviously is.
Outside the Matrix –> The Unapproved and Hidden
By contrast to culture is The Unapproved and Hidden, which is the truth of reality outside the matrix. It is the way reality is seen with culture — all that accumulated product of slanted intentions and skewed agendas of others — removed. It is what is left when looking at all those same realities without such agendas or motives of others. Or oneself, for that matter — this is where the pre- and perinatal and infancy pain contributes its part, by the way, in skewing our interpretations and distorting our realities. Planetmates, remember, do not have that, either, further adding to their clarity about the reality they perceive.
So, yes, again, this book is an opening on The Unapproved and Hidden. I understand you do not know how lacking in agenda I am, how I get nothing for doing this, how I am not influenced by anyone higher up, or any of that; though I am unusual in being in a position in which that is all true. You do not know how my deepest rooted yet most accessible motivations are caring and love for others, concern and heartache over the unnecessary and self-imposed suffering I see; and with all that an irrepressible desire to step in, where no one else is doing it and so it is direly needed, and to do and say what only I, of all who I know, can say and do … and only that. You do not know that my only reward, now or expected, is the feeling of knowing I have helped, done the part that only I could do, and the hope it helps relieve someone’s suffering or misery now, in the future, or after I am dead. And that’s all.
You do not know all that about me, but at least notice this: That in contrast to this, to all I am writing, you can discern in what you have been by culture indoctrinated to believe quite a bit of agenda, self-serving beliefs, and “convenient” truths. If you want you can easily see that quality in all those commonly held assumptions — the superiority of man over other planetmates being the deepest but only one of them — that my writing in this book addresses and comes up against, conflicts with. If you cannot discern my lack of guile, at least notice the agendas of those who concocted and orchestrated your beliefs and your actions that came of them. Take at least that, for certain, from your own apprehensions and interpretations of your direct experience here.
Strutting and Fretting
In sum, the Divine is Ultimate Truth. Whereas, culture is the societal embodiment of the separation from the Divine. Hence, culture contains some pretty a-mazing untruths and empty rituals. They are amazing because they are fantastical — colorful psychotic fabrications, if you will. They are a-mazing also because they are manifestations of our confused and twisted consciousness and bring us ever back to the maze — in an endless trudge through labyrinthine passages of a journey that is ultimately futile, guaranteed for failure — which is our life.
Culture Is a Weed Without Roots, the Fury We Create to Block Out Our Emptiness
You see, our gradual changes from natural life involved two things, basically: A growing ability to survive biologically, physically at whatever cost to our happiness, along with a separation from our natural inclinations and felt Divine guidance. And our ever-widening separation from the Divine meant a constant hole in the felt meaning of our existence.
Lacking roots in Nature or the Divine, we were like a weed without roots, growing madly above ground, reaching out vainly in all directions for sustenance because of the lack of direct connection to our deeper truth. This expanding outward desperately in all directions creates our culture — which is the artificial substitute and the dim empty reflection of existence.
Culture — our “matrix” — is the “much ado about nothing” and the “strutting and fretting upon the stages of life” and “sound and fury signifying nothing” of which Shakespeare wrote. Culture is a magnification of our overcomplexity of the obvious simplicity of existence, and it is the overblown array of our defenses to keep at bay our realization, our “enlightenment.” Culture brings meaning to our lives, but it is a false one. It provides us motives, and it supports and sustains our efforts; but they are vain and empty goals and futile and meaningless rituals, only.
So, after the fall into sedentary-agrarian ways which multiplied the branches of culture a-mazingly, providing the opiate for our feelings of loss and the substitute for more natural ways, more of our newborns would live. As I have said, they would be given economic value — as a commodity — within that trance life or matrix we have erected. Our children would be allowed to live, but what was distributed among them was this watered-down offering, of a life drained of meaning and “juice” but mostly lacking the “colors” or “flavors” of experience we enjoyed as humans in Nature and containing instead the apprehension of the outlines of living not the immersion in its profound and lush plenitude.
This tendency for our lives to be bleached of real appreciation yet multiplied maniacally grew steadily over time coinciding with the aforementioned rise in the predominance of the traits of controlling, conforming, sycophantic and desperate striving to please and to be appealing, and nonexpression of needs become repression of personality and cobbling of ability to participate in existence’s Divine creative stream. We built increasingly a false matrix in which to dwell, substituting it for the richness of experience of our Edenal existences.
Ignorance of the Divine Makes for Some Pretty A-Mazing Untruths and Empty Rituals
All in all, driven by this inner abyss of unknowing, our outer behavior expanded in spurious and fanciful activity and productions of all kind. With time, our vapid nature would spin out unnecessary personality traits, hollow and unsatisfiable needs, fetid desires, furious but vain behaviors, insubstantial wants, blind obsessions, uncontrollable compulsions, fantastical beliefs, painfully burning visions, and tortured thoughts … of all kinds and all of it magnified, then multiplied, then repressed and fought, then struggled with … and all this in grandiose dramas that are further multiplied, exaggerated, over-dramatized, and so on round again.
Such an overcomplication of life’s simple existence and beingness we create to keep from knowing the horror of us. Such a fury we unleash, so as to create the smoke and mirrors of distraction and to keep us from the otherwise insidious trickling knowing of our horrifying creations and the gnawing abyss of dissatisfaction and unknowing inside us.
In all of these, we journeyed ever further from our roots in Nature and the Divine and made Edenal existence the most distant memory and the most certain component of everyone’s Unapproved and Hidden.
Inevitably, all these ways came back to oneself. As we faded from natural and felt existence and — driven by pain, fear, and the resulting controlling mania — succumbed to ever more entrancing substitutes, we ourselves faded from existence, in a sense. This increasingly ghostly existence amounted to soul murder, then. It is to it, we now turn.
— of *Prodigal Human: The Descents of Man* by Michael Adzema, now available in print and e-book formats.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell
— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….
*Dance of the Seven Veils I* (2017).
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