Once again I will remind that it is advisable to have first read the previous two posts (“The House of Stone and Light” and “The Balance of an Idea: Mandala and Pyramid“) before diving into this one, as some concepts presented here probably won’t be understandable without reference to concepts presented earlier.
I want here (with this post and following posts) to continue with the theme begun in the last brief essay on The House of Stone and Light, and to begin to address, in particular, some of the issues I raised in my summary comment about Martin Page’s song and the significance of this house of stone and light. As a mandala form it is a symbolic representation of what Jean Gebser would call a “structure of consciousness” — perhaps even the shape of minds to come. There is something quite “Blakean” about Mr. Page’s song; which is to say, prophetic.
In the last few days there have been a couple of articles published purporting to expose the official Russian propaganda campaign (and the “information war” more generally) around the secession or annexation (take your pick) of Crimea. The first that I’m aware of appeared in The Guardian yesterday (17 March, Monday) by Alan Yuhas entitled “Russian propaganda over Crimea and the Ukraine: how does it work?“. Then this morning the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) published another by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, “‘Just like the West.’ Russia defends its propaganda war over Ukraine“. It appears to owe a good deal to Yuhas’ Guardian article.
As exposés they aren’t very insightful, really. But neither are they particularly flawed as far as they go. The issue I have with these articles is the way that “information war” (or “disinformation war”) is framed — a frame constructed by limited and limiting assumptions of what constitutes “propaganda”.
“Mental health services stretched as increasing number of self-harming teens seek help” was the headline in a number of Canadian newspapers today, including The Toronto Star. Medical and mental health staff are frankly perplexed by the sudden surge in those between the ages of 12 and 18 seeking help for self-harm behaviours. “In 2012-13, it [is] reported that 2,900 children and teens under 18 sought help — up 64 per cent since 2009-10….” It’s a safe bet that many, many more have not sought help, making this something of an epidemic.
The suggestion that here we might be facing our “canaries in a coal mine”, and that this is just further evidence of societal breakdown and civilisational decadence, can be overworked. But there may also be something to that.
It was a toss-up, yesterday, whether I would post something on the Ukraine issue or on the meaning of iniquity. Church doctrine speaks of the mysterium iniquitatis, which is usually translated as “the mystery of evil” or “the mystery of iniquity”, which is itself a bit of a mystery.
I opted for postponing writing something on the meaning of iniquity or “evil” because of the timeliness of the Ukraine issue and of what it reveals about our becoming trapped in our 0wn histories. Becoming trapped in and by our own histories is, in fact, the very thing Jesus taught against, as the meaning of death and resurrection, or of “dying to oneself daily”. Jesus taught the secret of dying at the right time as the secret of true freedom. This makes all the difference whether one is the master of time or its slave. The followers of Jesus were awestruck by him because he was the master of time, and not its servant. For that reason, he stood out and apart as the “lord of time”. And without that insight into the meaning of the life of Jesus, you can’t understand why it is said in Revelation of times to come that “time shall be no more” as being the ultimate destiny of mankind and the goal of a Christian life.
And it is that very thing, oddly enough, that Jean Gebser addresses as a new era of “time-freedom” in his book The Ever-Present Origin.
Until now, I’ve avoided the precipitous “rush to judgement” over the Ukraine crisis that is an all-too common tendency of the punditry and commentariat in the mass media, who, in the main, seem to have no sense of historical consciousness nor awareness of the ironies of their own, all-too narrow perspectives and “points of view”. “Say something, anything” is the predictable formula for what is dismissively (and appropriately) referred to as “churnalism”. There is a product to get out, after all. The always sober-minded Simon Tisdall of The Guardian, in a good article republished on the CNN website (surprisingly!) summed it up: “It’s difficult to say what is more astonishing: the double standards exhibited by the White House, or the apparent total lack of self-awareness of U.S. officials.”
One might add to that, of much of public opinion in the West, too, including the “churnalists”.