Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cosmic Apocalypse Now

The Amazon 'burning season'.

In a previous posting in this blog is an image of cosmic evolution, in which sentient conscious observers (in the figure it is Charles Darwin) form an interactive sigma limit of complexity on the cosmic equator, mid-way through the life of the universe, as fundamental in nature as the alpha of the cosmic origin and and the omega of its eventual demise.

This picture implies that conscious life, although seemingly an insignificant fragile phenomenon on a small planet in a peripheral solar system in a physical universe dominated by violent forces of creation and destruction, from the big-bang to black-holes, is the supreme inheritor in interactive consummation of the cosmological processes which gave rise to the universe in the first place.

Life has existed on Earth for over a third of the universe's existence
(click image for blowup).

If we look more specifically at planet Earth over cosmological time scales, we find that life has existed for most of Earth's history and that it is a phenomenon spanning cosmic time-scales. All the more significant that we come to terms with the fact that the emergence of humanity culminating in our cultural explosion and a major ecocrisis for planet Earth is a unique catastrophe liable to face any habitable planet as a pivotal point of transition in its emergence from biological diversity into planetary consciousness.

Religious Apocalypse and Archetypal Unveiling

Our understanding of apocalypse is an 'unveiling' - the covers being thrown off reality. The apocalyptic epoch emerged out of the idea of God acting in history and was championed by the Zoroastrian concept of a cosmic renovation at the end of time in which the forces of darkness and ignorance would be purged and the forces of light of Ahura Mazda would prevail. This then became absorbed by Jewish apocalyptists and by the time of Jesus had become a major motif combining the political tumult in Israel with the idea of the Day of Judgment, a final reckoning in which the sinners would be damned and the righteous saved, leading to the Essene apocalypses and Jesus claiming in the synoptic gospels to be a messiah who would return on the right hand of Power to establish the Kingdom of God.

Subsequently, writers, from John of Revelation to Muhammad, have penned fire and brimstone descriptions of a cosmological tumult, which in the case of Revelation involves a triage of all living beings, as the stars fall out of the 'flat earth' sky amid the bitter waters of Wormwood and scenes rife with the fall of Rome combined with mythical visions of the demiurge of God on a white horse, the woman standing on the moon, the seven headed beast and the great whore of Babylon.

Eden Chagall

But there is a deeper current woven into this matrix running back to Eden and before the to the African rift valley and human emergence itself. The Fall from Eden is a fall from a paradise of natural harmony. In a deep sense, it is a portrayal etched in the collective consciousness of our loss of relationship with nature, apparently precipitated by a falling out of trust between woman and man. The Garden of Eden, (and with it older variants, such as the Sumerian Hullupu Tree and the Temptations Seal), is thus an outstanding archetype of our retreat from intimacy with nature and our sense of falling out with the natural world and between the sexes as the tumults of urbanization, patriarchal dominance and warfare came to wrack human life.

Sumerian 'Temptation Seal' shows motifs of the serpent,
woman and man, and the tree of life.

Of course religious traditionalists see the Fall from Eden in terms of a betrayal of God in which Adam, as man, is seduced by Eve, as woman, into deviating from God's design, in eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which the woman though to be life-giving wisdom, rather than divisive knowledge. Note that this feminine Wisdom cries our from everlasting as the primal consort of God in the Proverbs. The forbidden fruit brings us back again to the Tree of Life hidden since the foundation of the world, which reappears at the End of Days in both Jewish and Christian apocalypses confirming the intimate relationship of nature to our ultimate destiny.

Both Revelation's and Enoch's End of Days
involves the return of the Tree of Life

As religious and social thinking moved from the agrarian ideas of natural cycles of regeneration to the strategic notion of a society, or of God, acting in history, so the religious imagination closed in on the End of Days as a final hard landing of our dysphoria with both God and nature, embodied in the dire tumult of an Armageddon-style violent apocalyptic unveiling. This is reflected firstly in Zoroastrian then Jewish and particularly Essene eschatologies, then taken up by John the Baptist, and after him Jesus, and much later, in the shadow of the Jewish tradition, by Muhammad.

The Pope as Apocalyptic Anti-Christ

Affairs of the time of Jesus were certainly apocalyptic in this tumultuous sense. The Roman siege of Jerusalem was said to have ultimately killed over a million people or perhaps one in fifty of the people alive on the planet at the time. The Sea of Galilee ran red with the blood of the Zealots and the Jews were scattered over the face of the Earth in the Roman diaspora. It is easy to see how devout religious believers in the decades leading up to this crisis conceived of it in terms of a cosmic catastrophe, in the way writers like Zechariah described, and why these conflicts still rumble on in the wild visions of the book of Revelation.

However the Fall is a deeper collective awareness of future shock, running all the way back to our emergence out of Africa and the accelerating changes we have experienced, as we made the transition from a gatherer-hunter way of life, in which women and men had complementary roles in maintaining survival and fertility, intimately intertwined with nature, into burgeoning urban societies, in which military coalitions, and the ensuing patriarchal dominance, gave rise both to prescriptive religions reinforcing male reproductive imperatives over women, and increasing competition and violence in war and the rumours of war between competing cultures and empires.

Dürer Apocalypse: The Stars falling out of the Sky

Central to the Eden myth is a sexual falling out, which, rather than declaring woman is the fallible sex which distracted man from his relationship with God, attests to a cultural transition to patriarchal dominance overthrowing the complementary sexual relationships of the gatherer-hunter life, in which women provided the majority of the diet, and retained a degree of strategic autonomy over their lives. In turn, the strategic paradox of our highly asymmetric human reproductive investments promoted super-intelligence and our explosive cultural emergence. Thus it is the rise of patriarchal dominance and imposition of the male reproductive imperative that has led to the Fall, and all its tumults, from the destruction of nature, to population explosion, genocide and war.

Fra Angelico Day of Judgment:
Verdant paradise versus scorched-earth hell.

The term apocalypse means 'unveiling' and its meaning naturally applies to a sexual marriage, so that we need to come to terms with the fact that to resolve the falling out of the Fall, we need to unveil the reunion between woman and man in terms of mutuality and complementarity rather than domination. Kabbalistic accounts of the End of Days contain precisely such a sexual motif in the sparks of the Shekhinah, the feminine face of divinity, which retreated from concord in the Fall and later through all the follies of mankind, returns as shattered 'sparks' coming together to redeem the epoch of paradise in reunion in matrimonial concord.

These motifs are etched in archetypes in the human stream of consciousness, as successive generations have tried to come to terms with an ever-accelerating future shock, amid the tumults of war and the rise and fall of empires, famine, exile and diaspora. Along with the archetypes of the Mother Goddess and the heroic messianic Lord the archetypal fall from paradise represents a valid imprint on the collective stream of consciousness summing up our cultural explosion and head-long change into a planetary crisis which has become also, in physical terms, a cosmic apocalypse of planet Earth.

Smokeball Earth: clear skies (left) are replaced by a smoke-hazed planet
during a bad Amazonian burning season (centre).

Cosmic Planetary Apocalypse

We who stand in this generation can see that a cosmic apocalypse is upon us, which dwarfs even these historical times, in an irreversible transformation which is throwing the covers off reality and changing the face of the planet in a way which never can be repeated unless humanity destroys itself in the process, rendering our species extinct.

Not only have we opened the flood gates of knowledge, reaching towards the ultimate understanding of cosmogenesis, unveiling the forces of nature and the ultimate origin and destiny of the universe, but we have discovered the details of evolution, organismic and molecular biochemistry, unraveled the genetic code, and at the turn of the millennium decoded the entire human genome.

As long as Earth lives into the millennia and millions of years to come in future, this explosion of knowledge and the ensuing global impact of a single species remains a unique transition, happening only once in the four billion year history of the planet.

On the dark side, we have crossed a series of perilous bridges leading to genocide and mass extinction. We have discovered ultimate weapons of nuclear mass annihilation, invested in a forty times planetary overkill in a knife edge strategy of mutually assured destruction. Added to the arsenal are biological weapons of potentially uncontainable pestilence.

More directly, through a combination of unrestrained venture capital exploitation and an attitude of dominion over nature, we are causing increasingly catastrophic impacts on the whole planet's biosphere and climate, spanning wide scale habitat destruction felling the great forests, over fishing the oceans, distorting the atmosphere through increased carbon dioxide, and other contaminants damaging the ozone layer. The result of this is a rapid phase of global warming, which is increasingly likely to melt major portions of the polar ice caps and could cause a rise of the ocean by 1.6 m this century,a s well as disrupting the majority of habitats of living species. These impacts are causing a mass extinction of the diversity of life which has taken tens of millions of years to recover from the last great extinction of the dinosaurs.

All in all then, it is clear that this transition is both one which is tumultuous and accompanied by a genocide of life, paralleled only on scales of tens to hundreds of millions of years, and which, if we survive it, will constitute a unique transition from biological evolution to planetary consciousness, which can happen only once in the planet's four billion year history, if we don't destroy our selves in the process, leaving an opportunity for a 'second coming' of planetary consciousness by another species later, although even this is debatable if we trash the planet in becoming extinct. This is thus a cosmic apocalypse and one we should rightly comprehend and address in such terms.

Rape of the Planet and Genetic Holocaust

Rape of the planet has become something we take for granted. It has become a central figure of speech and an assumption about the existential condition, as if such actions are an implicit part of human nature. But the very metaphor indicates that patriarchal sexual prerogatives are driving human impact. Rape is, by its nature sexual, and intimately connected with male violence. It is brought into an altogether unseemly conjunction with our deep cultural emphasis on the Earth as ‘mother’, becoming at once an original sin of mankind - the rape of Mother Earth.

Patriarchy and Population Boom and Bust

Historically the human population grew only very slowly from about 2.5 million at the beginnings of urbanization to some 50 million around the time of the black plague of the middle ages. It is only with the industrial, scientific and medical revolution and the colonial expansion of Western powers, that the world population has climbed to dizzy heights. During the 20th century, the world's population increased almost fourfold, from 1.6 to 6 billion. Until very recently there were fears that in the next century, world population would explode to some 12 billion people, leaving little room for wilderness areas to preserve wildlife and putting extreme pressure on food production, water and non-renewable resources.

At a time when there has been a manifest need to curtail runaway population growth, the leaders of the world’s great patriarchal religions have, almost without exception been ordering their populations to continue to multiply making frontal attacks on any effective form of contraception and family planning. The leaders of both the Christian and Islamic world share an agenda of male reproductive right and a calculated determination to multiply the faithful by advocating unrestrained fertility even in the face of the manifest damage such policies have caused.

The attitude of world leaders has also been irresponsible and self-serving. While leaders of major western powers push for ever greater gross national products, honing their economies as if there was never an end to increasing production, 9/10ths of the world population sinks further into poverty, losing educational, resourcing and livelihood opportunities.

Fortunately 2002 figures showed a drop in fertility. Current trends suggest a population in 2050 around 9.2-9.3 billion (UN, Population Research Bureau BBC 18 Aug 2004). To everyone’s surprise in 2002 a very significant drop was detected in the fertility rates of a broad spread of diverse countries spanning the developed and developing world comprising half the world’s population and with little in common between their governments and social attitudes.

Top left: Historical population trends. Centre: Falling fertility rates in 2000. Top right: Falling predictions 2002 may see the world population peak at about 8 billion by 2050 although many predictions still anticipate 10 billion. Increasing use of contraception (lower left) and improved female education (lower right) both correlate with falling fertility rates and reduced population pressure.

There are some notable exceptions. Conservative Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan still have some of the highest birth rates on the planet.

By any standard of ecological biodiversity conservation, all these population figures are vastly too high to preserve existing ecosystems. More than a third of the planet’s land surface including its most productive land is now commandeered for human monoculture.

World frontier (virgin) forests as they originally stood and as they stand in 2000. There are additional areas of secondary growth and other regeneration , but these tend to have predominant weedy species and not the climax diversity of virgin forest and jungle (World Resources Institute).

Mass-extinction of Biological and Genetic Diversity

Nowhere are the disastrous effects of the patriarchal view of dominion over nature and winner-take-all exploitation of resources more clearly expressed than in the destruction of Earth's major ecosystems, the felling of our great forests, and the mass extinction of the living species of the planet with its consequent loss of genetic diversity, which could haunt us for millions or tens of millions of years.

The Earth is entering the sixth great mass extinction recorded over evolutionary time (Leaky and Lewin). All previous mass extinctions of biodiversity were precipitated by huge astronomical disasters. The dinosaurs were wiped out by one or more asteroids which plunged the Earth into a ‘nuclear’ winter after causing global flash fires burning up much of the natural cover, setting off volcanic activity in its wake opposite in India, followed by a dark cool period and then sudden global warming, leaving oxygen levels semi-permanently reduced by a third. But this is just a blip on the map of biodiversity compared with the Permian extinction in which 90% of living species became extinct, amid what is believed to have been an even greater impact which first caused the oceans to recede by perhaps a third and then rise again in an oceanic flood. Such extinctions always been caused by massive interventions, cometary or asteroid impacts, supernovae, massive volcanic intrusion or solar flares.

What is absolutely unique about the sixth extinction is that it is not being caused by any such disruption, but simply by the explosive exploitation by a single species who ought to know better and that it is completely unnecessary and deleterious for this species’ own survival. It is estimated that over 25% of living species will become extinct in the next 25 years unless radical world-wide efforts are made for collective conservation on a genetic, species and ecosystem-wide basis. Long term prediction by the end of the century could see more than half the living species disappear.

Decline in species populations reflects a world rate 100 to 1000 times greater than normal and predicted to rise to 10,000. 90% of large predatory ocean fish are already gone from overfishing. Loss of biodiversity will result directly in human poverty and hunger. (See http://www.maweb.org/en/index.aspx 2005).

This mass extinction is being caused by a host of factors, but habitat destruction and the islandization of the great tropical forests and their diversity hotspots into unsustainable fragments, which cannot sustain species diversity are pivotal and systematic overfishing of the oceans to exhaustion. Logging, poaching, release of exotic species and pollution all play a serious part, as well as burgeoning threat of precipitate climatic change.

Paradise Lost? History and Projected Future of Life’s Diversity

No matter how grandiose our technological pretensions, humanity depends on living species as foods, medicines and the key to our commercial products to survive. Yet at the same time as we are mindlessly tearing down the remaining biodiversity hotspots, having only characterized about a tenth of the living species, or the medicinal or life-enhancing properties they may contain, we are also busy reducing the genetic diversity of the species we do depend on. The use of monoclonal hybrids, on a world-wide monocultural scale, genetically modified varieties, genetic cloning and the choice of varieties which have no hope of surviving in the wild are reducing the innate viability of the species on which we depend and hence our own viability to a vanishing equation. Our food production and distribution systems are becoming ever more dependent on high technology, while the naturally viable ‘heritage’ seeds from which we derive our commercial varieties are given no viable habitat, are stored in gene banks where a power failure could render much of our genetic heritage ‘dead-in-the-water’ overnight and the patenting of wild varieties by large agrochemical companies such as Monsanto ( who recently tried to buy the rights on virtually all wild Chinese soya varieties at the same time as marketing round-up ready soya) thus taking these very species out of the human orbit altogether.

The innate robustness of the biosphere which brought us here is being reduced to a fragile human technical fantasy. When the triple-witching hour of natural catastrophe arrives, we could be a defenseless blip on an ever more precipitous and accelerating boom and bust chart. Given the unremitting exploitation of nature and the consequent instabilities to human survival, the human species may become extinct (Leakey and Lewin R403). This is clearly an issue of patriarchal short-term, winner-take-all, boom-and-bust exploitation of the Earth with no long-term nurturing strategy to compensate. It raises huge questions about the role of Western democracies and corporate capitalism as entrenched institutions of patriarchal power and exemplifies the way sexual dominion can lead to an irrational and wholly damaging situation which escapes our civilized control.

Trends in global warming as of 2000 from the Cambrian to the present.

Climatic Chaos and Human Hubris

As shown in the above chart, during its history, the Earth has seen major shifts in temperature, often accompanied by changes in the level of carbon dioxide or CO2. These have generally been accompanied by major changes of an astronomical nature, such as changes in solar brightness, or volcanic changes to the carbon dioxide content, and major evolutionary changes in the biota such as the advent of photosynthetic cyanobacteria in the ocean and land plants.

The Gaia hypothesis proposes that the biota and other geological cycles are involved in a form of homeostasis which helps to maintain Earth’s environment in a stable atmospheric state, however there are also clear examples of processes which can instead bifurcate and flip into a new stability pattern locking us into a runaway warming. Venus for example has a runaway greenhouse effect which has driven the surface temperature to 400 oC. Carbon dioxide which is an almost universal output of our carbon-based economy is the major chemical contributor to atmospheric global warming.

There are already signs of major disruptions to both the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets which seem to be accelerating. Changes in global temperature may also be linked to a more chaotic climate with more frequent costly and damaging storms and changes in the North Atlantic conveyor which powers the Gulf Stream and keeps the north from extreme winters. However by far the most serious effect is the potential destruction of genetic and species diversity. The above map shows the regions of the planet which would remain stable to several current predictions of global warming. Most areas are expected to go through such climatic shock that neither the plants nor animals endemic to the areas will find themselves in a viable climatic habitat. The pace of global warming is so rapid that there is no time for plant species to spread by seeding and whole ecosystems are predicted to die out. Global warming is thus one of the potentially most major contributors to mass extinction.

Life zones remaining stable in four different global warming models.

Per capita emission of CO2 in metric tons per person per year. Green coastal areas are threatened by rising oceans. Sample figures: Qatar 16.9, USA 5.2, UK 2.63, China 0.42, India 0.21 illustrating the excessive emissions by developed nations. The US produced 23% of world emissions. Over 80% of Brazil's emission came from forest burning. Sumatran peat fires contributed as much CO2 as Western Europe (King redrawn from 1996 data).
This is a clear case of the principal world superpower acting as a rogue nation in the interests of competitive exploitation of economic advantage over the rest.

Predicted state of the Amazon by 2020
New Scientist 15 Oct 2005 35-39.

In addition to significant indications of melting in Antarctica and at the North Pole, there is also evidence that because of massive influxes of melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland that the North Atlantic conveyor, which carries energy equivalent to a million power stations, is failing because of the distruption of circulation caused by the mass of cold fresh water dumped into the Arctic. This is likely to cause severe winters in Northern Europe despite an overall warming and significantly increase ocean levels. The average sea level is predicted to rise by up to 1.63 m by 2100. This would be caused by the thermal expansion of the upper layers of the ocean as they warm and from melting glaciers. The most dramatic such change, the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which would lead to a catastrophic rise in sea level of 6 meters, is now considered unlikely during the 21st century.

Mutually Assured Destruction

By far the most direct and troubling manifestation of the nightmare of unbridled patriarchal dominance is the endless gravitation towards a paranoid scenario of final conflict in a highly patriarchal Armageddon type apocalypse between the forces of light and dark epitomized by the ‘evil empire’ be it Hitler, Soviet Communism, Islamic fundamentalism or Saddam Hussein and his illusory weapons of mass destruction, or the President of the United States claiming if you are not with us you are against us.

We also need to be mindful that it was the allies who developed nuclear weapons as a final solution, to counter Hitler’s ‘holocaust’, sparked by the scientific genius of Jews whose relatives had been incarcerated or killed in the Nazi death camps, and that the first detonation at ‘truth or consequences’ took place in the name of the Christian Trinity. Oppenheimer even cited Bohr's vision of ‘complementarity’- that although the Bomb might be the greatest disaster to have befallen humankind, it may well be a great blessing, ‘a turning point in history’.”

Left: The Trinity bomb. Right: The Trinity test at 300 ms. Hiroshima: Humanity gains the ultimate powers of mass extinction of life. A transition to the prospect of mutually assured destruction in patriarchal combat.

Michael Ortiz Hill (R315) describes the godly patriarchal ‘climate’ as follows:

“It is impossible to ignore or to diminish the religious element that turns up again and again in the accounts of the Trinity blast. ... It was named by Oppenheimer, invoking by way of John Donne the mystery of the martyred and resurrected God: ‘As West and East In all flat maps - and I am one - are one. So death doth touch the Resurrection.’ ‘That still doesn't make a Trinity,’ Oppenheimer confessed - and then speculated that perhaps he was influenced by a better known poem, one of Donne's Holy Sonnets, beginning, ‘Batter my heart, three person’d God; for you As yet but knocke, breathe, shine and seek to mend; That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow mee, and bend Your force to breake, blowe, burn and make me new’. After Trinity, Thomas Farrel wrote: ‘The effects could well be described as unprecedented, magnificent, beautiful, stupendous and terrifying.... The lighting beggared description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue. It lighted every peak, crevasse and ridge of the nearby range with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described but must be seen to be imagined.’ ... Other observers were more explicitly religious in speaking of the event. ...It is striking that, following Oppenheimer's lead of naming the site of the first nuclear test “Trinity,” Weisskopf and Laurence - both Jews - saw in the Bomb the glory of Christ. ... William Laurence wrote that it was like being ‘privileged to witness the Birth of the World-to-be present at the moment of Creation when the Lord said: ‘Let there be light’. He compared the experience to witnessing the second coming of Christ. ... Ferenc Szasz notes, “Others whispered, more in reverence than otherwise: ‘Jesus Christ’. Another striking theme that repeats again and again ... is birth and paternity. William Laurence called the rumblings of the Trinity explosion the ‘first cry of a newborn world’. ... Teller sent a telegram to Los Alamos saying simply, ‘It's a boy’. ... one notices a vivid absence of the feminine amidst all this imagery of birthing.”

Debate continues about the wisdom of unleashing the world’s first nuclear war on Japan and the fallout that has continued since. It is clear that actually carrying out such an act is the clearest provocation possible to the Soviet Union for its own defence to immediately embark on a program of nuclear weapons, leading directly to the nuclear Cold War and the build-up of enough nuclear weapons to lay waste to the planet 40 times over.

This situation dramatically reduced the viability of the human race to one small accidental error, amid the continuing strategic jockeying for the capacity for a unilateral first strike, in which a variety of circumstances, including unusual cloud cover and miscommunicated weather rocket launches several times nearly caused and accidental nuclear mobilization. This philosophy of MAD mutually-assured destruction became a psychic and social deadlock that overshadowed much of the 20th century, leaving many people uncertain whether to have offspring because of root uncertainty they would have livable lives to lead.

Left; Ground zero from satellite during the fire. Centre: Chernobyl radioactive.
Right: The global extent of the radioactive contamination cloud.

It was only with the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl, fifty times as polluting as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, its name “bitter grass” echoing the resonances of the Biblical ‘Wormwood’ and its bitter waters (Kravchanka 1990), that the spell of this gaze of fatal nuclear attraction was shattered and people on both sides of the dissolving ‘Iron Curtain’ realized that things had gone too far. We however need to continue to be mindful that, despite a closer dialogue with Russia, we are still in a state of 15 times overkill and that the nuclear threat is becoming ever more subtle and complex as the impossible ‘war on terror’ itself a contradiction terms, motivates smaller groups to mount a counter-cultural act of asymmetric warfare.

Genetic and Reproductive Apocalypse

At the same time our own natural human viability is being compromised by runaway biotechnology including IVF, routine Caesarians, the drive for often cosmetic germ-line engineering and male-driven eugenics, including artificial wombs, and ambitions for cloning, from religious and utopian movements and their leaders. All it would take is a small astronomical mishap to bring on a mass extinction of humanity from a complete failure of the food distribution system. Even a small asteroid impact on a brittle culture in a damaged biosphere, dependent on computer planning, highly technologized food-distribution to urban centres dependent on agro-tech, and foodstuffs, made using genetically engineered agricultural species which have no natural viability, with a human population propped up by extreme medical technologies, could cause almost certain demise of humanity, from the very brittleness of the society we have generated, to natural disruption.

Fluorescent mouse pups genetically engineered with jellyfish gene.
GE iridescent fish are now becoming a fish collector's dream.

While these technologies, used for the right purposes, have great potential to do good, it is natural diversity upon which we depend to survive and diversity we should foster. Without a clear ethical consensus from society at large to protect genetic diversity, the gene technology industry stands to burst the bubble of living diversity while playing scientific and financial ‘he-man’. We urgently need to heal these wounds to our viability through an appreciation for the sustainable evolutionary endowment we possess as a species.

Mouse growing a human ear for transplantation
illustrates an 'unnatural' application of biological technology.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Shin-Tao of Apocalypse

The Woman of Babylon on the beast with seven heads in the Apocalypse: Dürer

Views of the messiah as apocalyptic saviour are diverse and confused. They are dominated by Jesus as a 'Dionysian Essene' mingling both Essene final apocalypsis and the fertility rites of Dhushara of Nabatea in a mission of miraculous dread. The pagan fantasy of the second coming, or parousia, of Christ, eclipses this hyperbole in the form of a demiurge riding a white horse in the sky, waving the sword-tongue of apocalypse, while the populations sway in fear, and the 144,000 elect rise to heaven, while the rest are cursed to hell.

Another more fertile and lushous view of the messiah is that of Solomon, the king of the first temple and a period of Hebrew unity and royal splendour, despite the fact that he had 300 wives and countless concubines, and loved both the Pharaoh's daughter and the Queen of Sheba and let his wives worship their strange gods and goddesses, as well as dabbling himself in the occult arts and knowing the plants from the hyssop to the cedar. The Song of Songs as Holy of Holies attests to the power of the messiah as sacred fertility king in complementary relationship with the Shulamite bride.

I have tried to show you another persona of the messiah as a person, who helps throw the covers off reality in evolutionary time in a scientific and sexual unveiling, healing the apocalyptic desecration of planet Earth, and restoring the complementarity between woman and man, thus sustaining the diversity of life throughout our generations. I have tried to show you that this is both a natural and a conscious intentional process, with shamanic dimensions, requiring an understanding of the cosmological, evolutionary, sexual, social and sentient roots of our existence. The messiah is one who shows us that we are incarnations of the cosmic source and here together to redeem the universe, in love, through the preservation of the evolutionary Tree of Life, and the protection of the diversity of conscious life on the planet. This is itself the one great apocalypsis of planet Earth, culminating from the evolutionary emergence of life and then humanity and culture and our patriarchal Fall from Eden, through accelerating future shock, to the rape of the planet and nuclear mutually assured destruction - a unique crisis of transformation, which every intelligent planet must face, hopefully no more than once, in its conscious awakening.

There have of course been many other messiahs, from Bar Cochbah to Shabbati Zevi, and many other heroes and religious and political revolutionaries, from Moses and Buddha, through Jesus and Muhammad to the Raj Nishs, Jim Jones's, Che Guevaras and Bin Ladens of the present day, all of whom have postured as leaders of world movements of one kind or another, with results whose dangers of jihad, utopian crisis and the dilemma of the apocalyptic following, are well-described in fictional allegories, such as Muad Dib's plight in Frank Herbert's 'Dune'.

A vital counterpoint to this full-frontal idea of messiah as heroic leader is the lesson of Lao Tsu, the 'old master', who walked with the birds, and who, as the story goes, set forth to leave civilization for the wilderness, but was fortuitously imprisoned by a guard at the Great Wall, until he produced a work of posterity - now known as the Tao te Ching. It is also said that the guard left with him, and that he also taught the Gautama and that Confucius parried with him to his horrific nemesis.

Although Lao Tsu's heritage is more subtle than the hero-worshipping religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, and the guru worshipping aspects of Vedanta it is as enduring and pervasive as any of these, and far closer to nature, also reflecting more closely the root complementation of female and male principles, generally lost on its patriarchal cousins. The Tao of the 'Tao te Ching' is unseen, but not transcendent, being the root of all things. It's 'way' of the valley leads to a return to the natural condition and even to the primordial state. It is this primordial state that I manifest as an incarnation of the cosmic source, compassionate of the mortal coil, and the mass extinction of living diversity by human kind.

Taoist sages have led an example of anonymous existence in wu wei - the enlightenment of the Tao drifting freely is a state of mind experienced more easily by the unknown - a 'hermit' living in the midst of society rather than a leader posturing in the full glare of the Machiavellian affairs of state and distorting the enticements of popularity and power.

After leaving Jerusalem, where I performed the millennial rights of passage from the apocalyptic age to the reflowering of the Tree of Life in the reunion of woman and man, I traveled to India and Nepal to pay my respects to the dark Goddess Kali as a persona of liberation of the feminine, just as Jesus quoted the Queen of Sheba would bear witness to his own messiahship, as she did for Solomon, having himself been anointed to his doom by a woman of decidedly ambiguous reputation, rather than a 'kosher' high priest.

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here (Luke 11:31).

Subsequently to my messianic march from the Ascension site on the Mount of Olives, via the Gates of Mercy, to the Wailing Wall, I vowed to go the way of Lao Tsu, and have remained at the antipodes, punctuated only by trips to Asia in which we have explored the worlds of sexual paradox and its expression in Eastern paths, from those of Indian Tantra, through Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism, to Zen and Shinto during our last journey this year to Japan.

The Japan trip brought this paradox of concealment back home in a rather neat and simple way. Through the shrines and temples we visited and the energetic festivals we attended it became rapidly apparent that, despite its rather xenophobic reputation outside Japan as an exclusive national religion, Shinto is an aboriginal neighbourhood tradition nurturing the positive life force, complementing of the negative mind-centered renunciation amid mortal ego-suffering and moral exhortations of Buddhism.
  1. Video of Kasuga festival, Kyoto
  2. Video of Otsu Matsuri, Otsu
  3. Video of Hikayama Matsuri, Kakunodate
  4. Video of Kishimojo Shrine, Ikebukuro, Tokyo
'Shin-Tao', which translates as the Tao of the Gods, also expresses the sexual paradox, in its many fertility Goddesses and only partially concealed sexual rites, and expresses the Samurai code of honour without moral imperative - an amoral spirituality of the evolutionary survival of life.

Tamamo-no Mae

While we were in Kyoto, we went to Otsu matsuri, where chimakis - good luck charms made of woven rice straw were scattered to the crowds, along with some small good luck scarves. We ended up bringing a couple of chimakis and a scarf with an enigmatic fox with nine tails scuffing up dirt in the face of the onlookers. This proved to be the kitsune or fox with nine tails whose story originates with Tamamo-no-Mae (玉藻前) a beautiful peerless female courtesan, whose real identity was claimed to be a nine-tailed fox out to seduce and kill the emperor when he mysteriously fell ill and she abruptly disappeared. The fox kitsune was killed, variously by a great warrior, or a Buddhist monk, and turned into the stone of death sesshoseki-zan - a volcanic boulder spouting underworld gasses, that killed anyone that touched it. The same night, we came coincidentally upon the animé series of Naruto, the ninja kid who is also an incarnation of the fox with nine tails, which has also become a potent symbol of supernatural power. The more tails a kitsune has — they may have as many as nine — the older, wiser, and more powerful it is.

The ninja form a subterranean counter current to the samurai, whose code of honour means they cannot take on subversive deceptive activities without losing face, so ninja were often mercenaries hired by feudal Lords as mercenaries to be the underground complement of the samurai defenses operating subversively behind enemy lines, as well as being a secret society of protectors of local villages. Thus ninja gains the underground metaphor of stealth, in the etymology dating back to the 8th century. Ninja consists of the on'yomi or original Chinese reading of the first and last kanji of shinobi-no-mono (忍の者) - "to steal away" and—by extension—"to forbear," - another term being oniwaban (お庭番 "one in the garden"). Mono (者, likewise pronounced sha or ja) means "person." The nin of ninjutsu is the same as that in ninja, whereas jutsu (術) means skill or art, so ninjutsu means "the skill of going unperceived" or "the art of stealth"; hence, ninja and shinobi-no-mono (as well as shinobi) may be translated as "one skilled in the art of stealth." Similarly, the pre-war word ninjutsu-zukai means "one who uses the art of remaining unperceived."

The 'skill' of the ninja is thus the skill of effecting change by stealth. The way of the ninja is a Dionysian version of transformation, counterposed to the forthright approaches of the samurai and the kingly messiah, which Jesus whipped up in Galilee, and Muhammad exploited in Medina and Mecca.

The critical point is that Lao Tsu's way is both as effective ultimately in creating a sustainable heritage, is far superior at avoiding entrapment, and is closer to nature, just as the covert streams of natural shamanism have been for millennia. To coexist at the antipodes is both a practical exercise of participatory authorship and a shamanistic vigil watching the mass extinction of life and the follies of world leaders, political, economic and religious intent on agendas of winner take all greed, religious utopian ascendancy by force of violence, and the lethal gambits of utopian apocalyptic endgames; at the same time, through one's astute compassionate gaze, seeking the healing in the unfolding of a reasonable way out to a soft landing for humanity and the biosphere which sustains us that emerges from the consciousness of humanity in response to its own crisis.

In the same way as Lao Tsu, I am leaving sufficient traces of the unravelling - postcards form the edge of existence - in the form of blogs, books, videos, and songs which form a kind of koan - a puzzle spread across the noosphere of the web, which those who have the insight and resourcefulness to chart, can discover to be it's own unique teaching into the nature of incarnation in the likeness of the cosmic source redeeming reality by participating in its conscious evolution.

Jesus did finally adopt the covert exit, vanishing mysteriously after being taken away early from the crucifixion, so that we still don't know what happened with the women afterwards and whether he died, or may even have survived, as some researchers, such as Hugh Schonfield and Robert Graves have suggested, after carefully staging his Dionysian demise.

Despite falling for the apocalyptic 'Kingdom', which caused him to claim futilely that some before him would not pass away before he returned on the right hand of Power,

Jesus said unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power (Mark 9:1).

Jesus understood this mission of 'stealth', which itself is both theft and personal concealment, both in his astute sayings in the Gospel of Thomas,

It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the all. From me did the all come forth, and unto me did the all extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will I find me there (Thomas 77).

and in the metaphor of his coming as a thief in the night:

And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not (Luke 12:39).

Christians haven't realized three essential paradoxes in their bondage:

Firstly the messianic tradition is a living one, regenerated not by pagan demiurges, who we worship on crucifixes, or swear by as a feudal Lord and saviour, but real human beings responding to changing crises, by invoking a paradigm of long-term future goodness, to refertilize the living generations.

Secondly the church is only a steward until the next messiah appears who will not be a Christian, nor will they fulfill the Christian messianic expectation, because they will burst the bubble of perception, to invoke a new paradigm, as this is precisely the act that makes them a messiah. The paradigm of the Tree of Life is the successor of the messianic apocalypse ensuing from the Fall, and here the whole heroic edifice crumbles.

The third and final key is that the thief will not be stealing up on us to frighten us in the day of judgment, but is, on the contrary, as I speak, stealing away, to avoid the very trap of apocalyptic dysfunctional catastrophe the heroic leadership paradigm inexorably gravitates into, taking the unwary with it into the black hole of religious bondage and violence.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Prophesying NY and the Iran Israel Apocalypse

In July 2001 a friend I met in Jerusalem came to visit me to take the sacramental vigils with his partner, who is an Arab Israeli. We took the sacraments in a peninsula overlooking the islands of the gulf and later in the crater of a volcano.

After they left, I began to sing a radical song, The Song of the Biosphere, which somehow came out of our vigils together, turning the tables of Jihad from Holy religious War, which I abhor, to the rape of the planet and George Bush's refusal to act as a good steward, in terms of global warming and its impact on biodiversity. It is also produced as a YouTube video Jihad Song of the Biosphere.

You tell us tales of Hollywood,
of Star-wars and the common good
you told us global warming was a litany of lies
factory chimneys were the prize
you claim all living creatures are your intellectual property
you fail to ratify every treaty which doesn't give you more
have I heard this all before?
when it comes to the final struggle, jihad of the biosphere
there's only one true rogue nation, the great American shaitan
big brother, you are Uncle Sam.

At the same time it was the Gnostic awakening, in the midst of genocide, in the persona of an Icarus calling us to cross the Styx, but the words had instantaneously come true in manifest physical terms in the planes passing through the trembling towers, reflected also in the mentality of the act of violent martyrdom:

can we touch the sky?
can we fly so high
we'll pass right to the other side
and never fall in flames?
will we ever be the same again?

we'll become the living soul
the primal source the shining goal
the beginning and the end of life
the happiness and the pain
can we bear it all again?

The song was produced the same month and I posted an e-mail of the lyrics on 20th July 2001 where it still lies.

On 9-11, I sat watching live BBC coverage, when the two planes, one by one, flew into the trembling towers. Suddenly the words were becoming real, line by line, as the second 747 passed ‘right to the other side of the tower’, only to hideously ‘fall in flames’ piloted by Islamic martyrs believing they were becoming ‘living souls’ meeting the face of al-Llah. Individual lines began popping out of the TV set as the night wore on - the photographer’s “nothing will ever be the same again” as he looked up to see the plane hit directly above and Giuliani’s ”this will be more than we can bear”.

‘nothing will never be the same’ and ‘more than we can bear’

It was as if I had mythopoetically declared Holy War and it had come to pass through another agency, in a way I had never intended. The aftermath became an echo of other verses, the wreckage-filled smouldering canyons of downtown Manhattan, in words unknowingly addressed to Bin Laden:

if you take them away,
how can we find what we came for?
what can you say,
when it's all our future lives that you play for?
walking in the twilight,
down in the valley of shadows
when will you comprehend
the damage you have wrought ... in your indiscretion?
can we undo the death trance you have set in motion?

And the recovery process ...

will you discover
the fabric of love that ignites us?
can we embrace
the ocean of life that unites us?
all our lives long
this journey has been our destination
if we get this one wrong
will there be any chance for restoration?

Nevertheless the song was not a declaration of jihad, but rather the final struggle of biodiversity facing impending mass extinction which I had quite correctly drawn attention to in terms of the failure of the Bush administration to take a position of good guardianship of the biosphere in the name of capital gain, intellectual property rights, and the oil economy.

Having pronounced the jihad song of the biosphere and found it come to pass through another agency led to me singing the Song of Sakina, lamenting the repression of women under the Taleban and in Islam, as a penance for the whole concept of jihad as unholy violence and sharia applied to women. Again this was produced as the Sakina Lament YouTube video.

Sakina Lament

Oh al-Llah, did the prophet blaspheme you?
Why have they taken your name in oppression?
Are Ninety-nine names of a god of destruction
the merciful, compassionate All?

New York, New York, why did your sky fall?
Osama bin Laden is this inspiration
to bring a destruction, not on the guilty
but family, children and all?

Did you not understand that for life to abide
the love flower to blossom, the life tree to flourish
we all need healing, to feed all the hungry,
and not flaming genocide?

We know that the capital machine is corruption,
that the winners take all and the losers are trodden on.,
that this is not a true way of compassion,
not wholly civilized.

We know green pastures are crumbling to desert,
the waters of life and the tree are neglected,
that justice is blind in the power of the dollar,
as the towers of investment grow higher.

We know we can all become a great Satan,
embracing violence, instead of compassion,
when we think we are right, have God on our side
and set out to rule the whole world.

Do you
imagine that imposing Shariat
would make the world naturally compassionate?
Why can't you see that imposing on anyone
is contrary to divine law?

behead the Jews of Medina
when all that they did was to argue and bicker?
How can you claim Jerusalem is Holy
when the daughters of Sarah are defiled?

When the
peace of Sakina spoke at Hudaybiyah
she uttered to heal - to make the world holy
she sang as Shekhinah - from the canvas of Sarah
so we could at last become whole.

why did you then murder Sarah
on the first fateful day that you came into Mecca?
Why did you not heed the song of Sakina
the singers tongues cut from their mouths?

Oh Islam,
why crucify al Hallaj
just for declaring the truth - "ana al Haqq"?
Why can't you see there is no final prophet
in a living regenerating world?

Why did you make all your women wear burqah
just to
conceal the prophets many lovers?
Why is a woman
only half of the value
of man, possession or

Why can't you trust men to set eyes on women?
Why can't you allow all mothers and daughters
to make their own minds up quite freely
in the
unveiling the Quran prophesied?

Why was it
stated by al Bukhari
that the prophet Muhammad at one time lamented
that the world would never become complete
till the women of Daws wiggled free?

Why did you
curse al-Llah's triple daughters,
al-Uzza, Manat and and al-Lat first and foremost
from times long ago in the deserts of Sinai
the divine and wisdom, together forever?

Why did you
have to leave for Medina,
Why did Khadja expire from her hunger?
Why did you think that the angel Gabriel
would speak to you with
Satan's forked tongue?

Why did you put a death curse on freedom
why can't each person choose what they believe in?
Why threaten every believer with death
if they also love Mary, or Elizabeth?

Why do you not drink the
waters of Hagar
out of whose spring sprung the palm trees together,
why do you not feel the
pain of Aisha?
and the love of Fatimah?

When is the time come to light up the candles
of peace in Sakina of plenty together
so that all the world's paths can finally gather
whole in the gentleness of peace?

The time has now come for the flight of the dove
to bring back the olive, to unchain the grove,
to throw all the gates of mercy wide open
so that the world can be one.

The time has now come for us all to replenish
and cherish the Earth's generations forever
in the warmth of the heart that can never be broken
in the light of the love that is life.

My last evening’s sacramental vision gravitated towards the nuclear apocalypse of Iran and Israel. Isn’t it on everybody’s mind? But I’m worried that this is a case of fatal attraction, as a moth to the candle flame. The US doesn’t want another Iraq, so even GWB can’t yet bring himself to bomb Iran, but the Israeli’s consider they may have to, because Iran has sworn to wipe Israel (or the Zionist Satan) off the face of the map (Earth), so the US is potentially passing Israel a poisoned chalice through the dilemma of its own making in Iraq.

Even pragmatic Rafsanjani said in 2001:

'the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything.' On the other hand, if Israel responded with its own nuclear weapons, it 'will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.'

Now this is all tied up with the end-of-days. Iran’s current president Ahmadinejad made reference to the Mahdi in his first speech to the U.N., and both he and members of his group saw him bathed in a ‘green light of protection’:

"Oh mighty lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace."

As we also know he has denied the holocaust, said Europe or America should make a homeland for the Jews if they caused this 'crime', and said in so many words that Israel should be wiped off the map, claimed the Zionist state is a rotten tree, whose branches will fall, and declared that the countdown button to its destruction has been pressed.

The appearance of the Mahdi is intimately associated with the ‘second coming’. Jesus is supposed to reappear as a living man who becomes a Muslim convert at the Mahdi’s behest and leads the Christians to worship alongside the Mahdi in Mecca, thus giving Islam its final domination over the world in the end of days.

The Hebrew concept of the mashiach is also a human male whose illumination gives rise to an epoch of long-term future goodness. Jesus pushed the messianic persona into the apocalyptic dimension, of end-of-days conflict and has been turned into a Melkarth. We know Jesus will never return on a cloud in the living biophysical universe, so the Christian hope of a non-human messiah is doomed. However the Mahdi could emerge, because, in the Islamic tradition he is a human. Ahmadinejad considers himself the herald of this man. Moqtada Sadr called his own following the Mehdi Army. It’s only a matter of time before a charismatic ayatollah assumes the mantle.

It’s not just the nuclear issue in Iran that is at stake, but giving the world back its fecundity and fertility in relationship to paradise. Islam is the youngest and most adolescent of the paths of the book. It poses a significant risk of oppression and domination, not just to women, but to the world, because it has not evolved beyond the confines of its own sixth century tribal origins and clings to a monolithic idea of Quran, Sharia and Islamic state in diving the world between the domains of submission (Islam) and war, Dar al-Harb, in violation of the peace principle of Sakina or the Shekhinah - the feminine face of divinity - which Muhammad referred to in brokering the peace treaty of Hudaybiyah which was subsequently abrogated when he chose to march on Mecca.

American capitalist domination, aggression and nuclear trigger-happiness is also a very major threat to the planet, which is partly attributable to the Christian apocalyptic mentality and preparedness to invoke ultimate ascendance or a ‘rapture’ in one form or another, combined with an attitude of dominion over nature, common to the desert faiths. This end-game also needs to be tamed and healed, although it probably means the nemesis, or even demise, of Christianity as we know it.

In response to the prospect of this overall high noon, which we all want to avoid in favour of an apocalypse which is the unveiling of a bridal reunion, I have sung the Mahdi Refrain and produced it as a YouTube video Apocalypse Iran Israel. The lyrics use the words of Iran's Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad, Israel's Peres and my own response to this utopian apocalyptic dilemma, set to news footage of the corresponding international and news events.

The Mahdi Refrain

This said Ayatollah Rafsanjani
'the use of even one nuclear bomb
inside Israel will destroy everything.'
On the other hand, if Israel responded
with its own nuclear weapons,
it 'will only harm the Islamic world.
It is thus not at all irrational
to contemplate such an eventuality.'
This said president Amadinejad
"Oh mighty lord, I pray to you
to hasten the emergence of your last repository,
that perfect and pure human being,
the promised one that will fill this world with justice
the promised one that will fill the world with peace,"

My main mission is to "pave the path
for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi,
may Allah hasten his reappearance."
On the last day I was speaking, one of our group told me
"When you said 'in the name of Allah,'
I saw a light coming and surrounding you
and protecting you to the end."
"he saw a green light come from around me,
and I was placed inside this aura,"
"I felt myself the atmosphere changing,
The UN were looking as if a hand was holding them,
and they had just opened their eyes
Halleleuyah Alhamdulillah!"
All praise belongs to al-Llah,

"The establishment of the Zionist regime
was a move by the world oppressor
against the Islamic world,"
"There is no doubt that the new wave [of attacks]
will wipe off this stigma from the face of the world."
As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
"Anybody who recognizes Israel
will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury,"
"They have created a myth in the name of the Holocaust
and consider it to be above God,
above religion and the prophets."
“The near future will be in the hands of Islam”,
"The Zionist regime is a dying tree,
and soon its branches will be broken down."

"We believe that Iran is trying to buy time …
so it can develop a nuclear bomb,"
"Iran is a clear and present danger."
A nightmare for the international community
This is "tantamount to a crime against humanity".
"Iran presents a danger to everyone"
and it can also be wiped off the map."
"The combination of fanatical ideology,
a warped sense of reality and nuclear weapons
is a combination that no one can accept,"
"Ahmadinejad represents Satan, not God,"
"History knew how to denounce madmen
those who wave their sword and acted this way
ended their careers accordingly,"

If they have a little bit of a brain,
they would not commit such a mistake,"
Iran is a powerful country."
"If you committed this big crime,
then give a part of your own land in Europe,
the United States, Canada or Alaska to them,
so that the Jews can establish their country,"
"If your civilization consists of aggression,
making oppressed people homeless,
suffocating the voices of justice
we say that we hate your hollow civilization,"
“History has shown that when Muslims become powerful,
they do not use their power to the detriment of others,
but use it in the service of peace and tranquility”

Islam has four times as many young men of fighting age
as the aging populations of the decadent crumbling West
the Imam's return will coincide with an apocalyptic battle
between the forces of evil and righteousness.
If the infidel loses its nuclear advantage,
it could be worn down in a war of attrition
at the end of which surrender to Islam
would appear the least bad of options.
And that could be a signal for the Imam to appear.
"If Jesus were present in the world today,
who would be facing him and who would be following him?"
God willing, Jesus would return to the world
along with Islam's holy prophet, Imam Mahdi,
and wipe away every tinge of oppression,
pain and agony from the face of the world,"

They say the Mahdi will teach Jesus to pray in Mecca
They claim the Mahdi will take Jesus to the Ka’aba,
"I emphatically declare today's world, more than ever,
longs for just and righteous folk with love for all humanity;
and above all longs for the perfect human being
the real true savior who has been promised to all peoples
who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood
across the planet, far and wide"
"Oh, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures
and you have ordained their guidance and salvation.
Bestow upon a humanity that thirsts for justice,
the perfect human being promised to all by you,
and make us among his followers
and among those who strive for his return and his cause."

"The arrogant superpowers and the Zionist regime
invested all their efforts but their pride has been trampled
"With God's help now, the countdown button
for the destruction of the Zionist regime
has been pushed by the hands of the children
of Lebanon and Palestine, ...
By God's will, we will witness
the destruction of this regime in the near future".
"This is a fake regime ... it won't be able to survive.
those who created it can take it away themselves.
They should not let things reach the point of explosion
If an explosion occurs across international boundaries
It will also burn all those who created [Israel]
over the past sixty years".

A statement repeated three times is never an accident
"They want to wipe out Israel ... Now when it comes to destruction,
Iran too can be destroyed
[but] I don't suggest to say an eye for an eye,"

"Israel would defend itself under any condition
but Iran is a danger to the world, not just to us."
"Under the UN Charter, all members have undertaken
to refrain from the threat or use of force
against the territorial integrity
or political independence of any state."
"We can prevent all of this threat,
without resorting to weapons of mass destruction
if there will be unity," But If the crucial moment comes
and they are incapable ...then they endanger their existence

If you want me to come and pray with you at the Ka’aba
Then first renounce the archaic tribal law of Sharia
Invite every one of us to come in the name of our own religion
And terminate the scorched Earth theology of submission.
There will never be harmony until we can live in freedom
From domination and violence, in the name of utopian vision.
Cease the atrocities of martyrdom and the slaughter of the innocents
And live your days in merciful and compassionate coexistence
The apocalypse is the unveiling of matrimonial reunion
in which men forsake their violence and learn to live with women.
Stop the the death fatwas, and stoning women for adultery
and trust them in their sovereignty and love them in their liberty
For this is the way the generations of Earth will survive in splendour
And bring to men the ecstasy that paradise hungers after.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sexual Paradox and Patrarchal Dominion

From the introduction to Christine's and my comprehensive work:
Sexual Paradox: Complementarity, Reproductive Conflict and Human Emergence

Sex and Paradox: Founding Aspects of a Complementary Reality

For all the trappings of civilized society, and our attempts to restrain and civilize it, sex remains forever the chaotic vital force, eclipsing our hearts and capturing our minds, winging on the airwaves in the throbbing beat of rock and roll, ensnaring all, in love's enticements and torments, from our founding creation myths, to our greatest dramatic performances. Its mountains of spice span the great divide between divine comedy and stark tragedy. It is sine qua non our universal, mortal, yet fertile condition, celebrated in the seclusion of bedrooms and boudoirs, in the back seats of drive-ins, in thatched huts, behind bushes, in the wilds of nature, and even under the lurid neon of red-light districts.

Although the sexual quest is seemingly a simple act of fertilization in a reproductive dance shared by even the simplest organisms, its consequences for our lives and culture are profound and inescapable. The term 'falling in love' epitomizes the devastating way the psychic power of sexual love lays subterranean claim to our hearts and minds, to our very sense of being, and to our life directions, in the twists of fate our relationships entwine us into. Lubricious sex is the animal force of 'defilement' that religion and conventional morality seek to tame, sometimes through dire punishments, from stoning to infibulation. It is both the ultimate transgression and our liberating fulfillment. Just as sex divides us, so it unites us in our moments of 'splendour in the grass', being both the source of mortality and our vital quest to the ultimate mysteries of existence, with promise of endless regeneration.

This work is not just about sex (p 105), orgasm (p 135), or sacred love (p 395), but the ultimate cosmic paradox, which is itself a sexual paradox. Just as sexuality is at the foundation of our continued biological existence, so sexual paradox is at the foundation of our existential condition. This emphasis on sexuality at the very root of cosmology might seem a contradiction in terms. Sexual reproduction (p 111) is a recent development in the evolution of higher organisms (p 100), themselves ephemeral and fragile in a universe of annihilating energies, whose origin is far more ancient and mysterious (p 63). Yet it is not just biological reproductive sexuality we are describing here, but cosmic complementarity. The cosmic condition manifests, from its source, as an implicitly sexual paradox - between subjective experience and objective reality, wave and particle, chaos and order, each dependent on the other for their existence, in a way which makes the 'other' both the ultimate genesis and nemesis of each, in the dance out of which climax diversity (p 104) emerges.

A paradox is "a statement, doctrine or expression seemingly absurd or contrary to common notions or to what would naturally be believed, but in fact really true". Thus paradox may be counter-intuitive, but is yet a root truth which remains integral to our condition. By contrast with paradox, a contradiction is to specifically 'speak against'. The contradiction often implied by paradox is implicitly sexually co-antagonistic in that it arises from a logical division between two conditions, true and false, each of which denies the other. But paradox can come in more subtle forms than contradiction. For example the wave and particle aspects of the quantum are not contrary, so much as interdependent. A quantum can manifest only as a wave, or a particle, but not both at the same time. However any attempt to mount a description based on one aspect implicitly involves the other.

Division is itself implicitly or potentially sexual, as expressed in the occurrence of sexuality among all 'dividing' life forms, from bacteria (p 106) to higher animals (p 107). Such 'sexual' division is not necessarily into two dyadic classes alone, even with reproductive sexuality. It may include many classes (p 112). In Eden we see it in Eve's cleaving from an 'androgynous' Adam and their ensuing 'concupiscence'.

It may even be simply the primal distinction from the unified 'background' in which the undivided whole - the uncarved block (p 410), or tohu vohu (p 81), as primordial feminine (L. primus- 'first' -ordiri 'begin a web') is partitioned by masculine 'distinction', in the primaeval division (L. primus- 'first' -aevum 'age') of existence, or manifestation. The very act of distinction leads to an endless regress into a plethora of sub-division. By contrast, the undivided whole remains a totipotent matrix for new form, possessing attributes of chaotic entanglement in so far as it resists, or complements, the intrusion of discriminating order:

I am a tree whose leaves are trees
you are the endless colours of the night
you forever dissolve me, I slice through you
endlessly dividing your eddies of eddies (King).

The core idea of sexual paradox is an extension of complexity theory to deal with the paradox that arises when a division occurs into two domains of order that can neither resolve their outcomes fully by cooperation, nor by conflict. Complexity theory suggests they will achieve optimal complexity in a state of instability in strategic paradox between the two regimes. This is a different form of complexity theory from 'edge of chaos' ideas but is very well established in evolutionary game theory and is manifest both in the prisoners' dilemma game matrix (p 13) and the cusp catastrophe (p 14), when neither conflict nor cooperation can be resolved determinately - hence the paradox.

We have two key ways of diverting ourselves from the depths of sexual paradox. On the one hand we cling to an identification with a monadic cosmic 'self', or godhead - an all-encompassing singular identity, providing sanctuary from the uncertainty of the abyss, in a fatherly or motherly creator deity. At another extreme, we seek to dispel all such myths, in a purely physical description of ourselves, as biological machines in a material world, where selfishness and expedience are as real and enticing as any notions of ethics, or altruism. However, mind and body cannot be so easily separated. Our actual relationship with the universe, and with existential reality, is a paradox of complementarity, which is sexual in its very essence.

We can see manifestations of sexual paradox in all the ultimate complementarities. At the core is the dyad of subjectively conscious mind and an objectively physical organism, sometimes projected into dualities of body and soul, earth and heaven, nature and the divine. From the point of view of objective science, only our brain states are verifiable phenomena, and our subjective experience seems to be merely an internal model of reality constructed by our chemical brains. But our conscious experience is the only direct veridical 'data' we have access to. All our knowledge of the physical world comes via our subjective experience, so it appears to have an existential status complementary to the physical universe. This dilemma is also a key to our capacity to take responsibility for our actions, rather than passing them on to a creator deity or a selfish gene. It is this principle of autonomous choice on which law and personal accountability are founded. Despite the ephemeral nature of mind, the root complementation between subjective experience and objective reality implies that our consciousness is also, in some sense, a founding cosmic aspect.

The patriarchal paradigm perceives conscious mind (p 138) as 'indivisible'- above mere particulate matter, which it assigns to an inferior feminine world of mortal 'slime', typified by the menstrual taboo, Maya or illusion (p 386), Eve's earthly sin (p 298), and Wisdom of Proverbs (p 296) - diminished to mere real-world common sense by comparison with the higher realms - in a frank sex reversal between 'particulate' sperm and an 'engulfing' egg.

Fundamental to the quantum world of physics we have wave-particle complementarity, which is also the source of quantum uncertainty (p 64). In the dynamical world we have the complementation of order and chaos (p 81), whose mutual interaction has recently been discovered to be key to generating climax complexity (p 89). This is reflected again in thermodynamics, where the equilibrium condition we associate with the inexorable growth of entropy, or disorder, to a maximum does not have to occur in open thermodynamic systems, which exchange energy or material with their environment.

Only then do we come to the conventional evolutionary manifestations of biological sexuality and engendering, with which we are familiar, in our conventional notions of sex as reproduction, and its symmetry-breaking into masculine and feminine genders (p 111). With the advent of the symmetry-breaking into egg and sperm, we see again a shadow of wave and particle aspects in a huge enveloping ovum and it's lightning membranous wave of excitation, selecting one from a multiple, essentially particulate collection of DNA-bearing sperm.

Historical and Cultural Visions of Sexual Complementarity

One of the most well-known historical manifestations of this dyadic point of view comes from the Tantric cosmic origin (p 386). Unlike the monadic patriarchal notion of a beneficent Vishnu dreaming the universe as a lotus emerging from his navel, the Tantric origin begins in intimate conjugal embrace between two complementary manifestations, Shiva as eternal, subjective, cosmic consciousness, and Shakti, the dynamic feminine force, which motivates the universe, and all material phenomena, in time. Although in a Brahmanic patriarchal twist, she is sometimes depicted, like Eve out of the rib of Adam (p 297), as a mere projection of the male cosmic Self (p 393), Shakti's origins lie in the untamed powers of the black planter goddess Kali, creatrix and destructress of time, whose roots, are far more ancient, lying at the source of the pre-Vedic Indus valley civilizations, whose images also spawn Shiva in yogic posture, as Lord of the Animals, (p 391) a gatherer-hunter name he still bears at Pashupatinath, among the burning ghats of Katmandu.

The Tantric origin begins in a state of deep coital fusion - an annihilating ecstasy of cosmic union (p 391). Then, as the complements step back from this conjugal communion, subjective mind becomes distinct from and complementary to the objective phenomena of the physical universe. Mind becomes aware of itself, freeing Shiva from passive inertness, and Shakti dances the dance of maya or illusion, in which the unity embracing self and world becomes endlessly divided and multiplied into the full complexity of all natural manifestations and we each become fragmented into separate conscious selves. This is portrayed as a love dance, spawning and eventually destroying the worlds. Once again the patriarchal will to order attempts to assert dominance in the form of mind being finer than the gross nature of matter, but the message is clear - climax diversity and the magical complexity of the sentient universe arises from sexual paradox between two cosmic aspects acting in complementary relationship, to evoke the dance of life's abundance.

The Chinese philosophy of the Tao, or 'way' of nature (p 406) brings to the surface other aspects of this fundamental cosmic sexual paradox, perceiving all natural phenomena as arising from the mutual interaction of two cosmic principles, yin, a receptive dark, fecund, principle identified as feminine and yang a shining, active creative principle identified as masculine. Each also contains the germ of the 'other'. Again here however there is an ancient deference to the feminine as the mother, matrix of time, beyond being and non-being, source of all natural diversity in the uncarved block. The Tao teaches that the universe is a product of impersonal forces and that the role of humanity is to keep the balance in nature. It is in the sexual relationship and its consequences that we engage in a participatory process of taking responsibility for the future of life, having already assumed the capacity for annihilation. Taoistic thought invokes continual transformation and change and decries any attempt to hierarchically organize or analyze into ordered categories, as flawed in this cosmology of flowing interdependence (p 407). Pivotal to Taoist philosophy is the notion of chaos as a primal progenitor of natural form and diversity, manifest in vibration, in eddies, in streaming clouds, the gnarled shapes of trees and fungi and the forms of naturally eroded objects. It notes that chance, life and consciousness are three common manifestations of the Tao, identifying uncertainty, life and consciousness as a fundamental part of the creative process. Central here is the idea that in transformation nothing repeats itself, despite the immense totality of this transformation being itself an invariant. In the I Ching oracle (p 411), the yin-yang division is multiplied into 256 x 256 archetypal transformations, representing the diversity of existential conditions.

Such dyadic creation myths span many cultures, from Sumeria, to the 'Elohistic origin of Genesis 1, male and female in 'Our' likeness. In the Maori creation, (p1). We can see these ultimate complementarities in the source Judeo-Christian tradition in the creation out of chaos, or tohu vohu, 'without form or void' like the 'nothingness' of Io. We again have the idea of god in the plural as 'Elohim, with humanity female and male in their likeness, implying both a feminine and masculine presence, confirmed in the exhortations of Hochmah, or Wisdom, in the proverbs:

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

This motif continues in the complementarity between the unity of the tree of life standing in the centre of Eden (p 297) and the binary division of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, whose two realities together would make us even 'as god' - forming a complementarity between coherent synthesis and analytical knowledge, whose supremacy in dominion has led inexorably to our Fall from paradise. A complementation as fundamental as the binary division between a pregnant, vaginal, encircling 0 and a discriminating, divisive, penile 1.

Complementarity in the Physical Universe

These ancient philosophies converge on a modern scientific description of the universe and nature which manifests aspects of both in a new cosmology which is itself falling more deeply into sexual paradox than ever before.

Quantum reality (p 63) is founded on wave-particle complementarity - the fact that all quanta display both wave and particle aspects in a way which results in a sexual paradox - that we cannot measure both these properties at the same time. This complementarity is central to the distinction between the quantum and classical world. Every quantum manifests either as a wave or as a particle at a given time but never both at once. We experience the colour of light, interference patterns, lasers and holograms from its wave properties, but depend likewise on its particle properties both to generate light and to perceive it or capture it on film or tape and to exist in a molecular world. Any description in terms of either wave or particle aspect comes with an implicit use of the complementary aspect in the process, so neither can be fully eliminated in the physical description.

The uncertainty intrinsic to all quantum phenomena (p 64) is a direct consequence of the indeterminacy of the particle within the extensive wave function which determines only probabilities. Wave-particle complementarity is succeeded by an almost endless procession of ensuing dyadic sexual complementarities. Space and time have complementary roles along with energy and momentum. All quanta are divided again into two complementary types. The integer-spin bosons (p 75), such as photons, constitute all forms of radiation and mediate the forces of nature such as gravity, electromagnetism and the nuclear forces. Complementing the, fermions, such as electrons and protons, with half-integer spin, can co-exist in one wave function only as opposed pairs and thus constitute incompressible matter. In some theories, such as supersymmetry, there is one boson for each type of fermion, although they appear quite different in the everyday world. We also have a binary division between the emitter and absorber of any exchanged particle and between the virtual and real particles (p 69)that mediate forces and radiation. We finally have a complementarity between the advanced and retarded solutions of special relativity travelling in forward and backward directions in time. Many other manifestations of sexual paradox and complementarity occur in quantum entanglement and cosmic symmetry-breaking, like a chain of entwined scarves pulled endlessly out of a magicians top hat. These probabilities are woven into deeper forms of sexual paradox involving real and virtual particles and the paradoxes of time and space associated with quantum entanglement (p 70) and the match-making handshaking between emitters and absorbers in the transactional interpretation (p 73).

In the realm of dynamics the complementation of chaos and order is also critical (p 81). Chaos is found to be essential to the genesis of new order and to contain within it complex fractal structures (p 83) rather than simple randomness. Virtually all complex systems in nature either occur at the edge of chaos (p 89), or as a result of transitions in and out between chaos and order. In thermodynamics, we have noted that in open systems which exchange energy or material with their environment, the equilibrium condition we associate with the growth of entropy, or disorder, to a maximum does not have to occur. The most outstanding example of this is the growth of complexity of the biosphere as an open thermodynamic system far from equilibrium, whose entropy is decreasing and comlexity increasing (except in periods of mass extinction as in the present human 'intervention') through the photosynthetic fixing of incident solar radiation to induce chemical reactions.

We now understand that the universe, and with it time and space, appear to have had a common 'origin' in the 'big bang' some twelve billion years ago (p 63). Many aspects of this origin display sexual paradox at work. In the inflationary model (p 75), the universe appears to have emerged from its own wave function as a quantum fluctuation. Trapped in an artificial low energy false vacuum, the universe expanded exponentially until a profound symmetry-breaking occurred, resulting in the twisted asymmetric laws of nature we experience today. Symmetry-breaking is a complex 'engendering' process which is implicitly sexual in that it gives rise to fundamental polarities like the north and south poles of a magnet. Once symmetry-breaking took place, gravity became attractive and the complex interactional process which gave rise to galaxies, stars and planets began. Throughout this process, overlapping motifs of wave-particle complementarity and interaction between chaotic processes and ordered periodicities have molded the shape of cosmic evolution to the planetary context in which we find life.

The establishment of life leads to a second type of interactive process, at 'the edge of chaos' in which selection and mutation give rise to endless transformations of new living form. Like the individual particles and wave amplitudes of the quantum realm, evolution is also a partly ordered process moulded by natural or sexual selection and partly an intermittent seemingly random idiosyncratic mutational process. Single mutations function like single particles in a way reflecting quantum uncertainty, while selection operates similarly to the superposition of many particles in a single wave, reinforcing many mutations along consistent avenues. Evolution is thus a phenomenon which is not fully classical and displays quantum paradoxes in action. This is reflected in the contrast between dynamical developments like the camera eye, which results from a continuous invagination and idiosyncratic molecular structures produced only by one or a few species.

Fidelity and Deceit in Sexual Evolution

Evolution also depends on sexuality very extensively to generate the genetic variety through the vast opportunities for structured mixing and selection resulting from genetic crossing over's almost unlimited capacity to generate new combinations of viable genome (p 108). Ultimately it is this aspect of sexuality which has made multicellular organisms possible. In this process reproductive sexuality became central to the evolution of higher organisms. While certain organisms can defer reproductive sexuality for a while, sexual genetic exchange of various types is ubiquitous to organisms, from simple bacteria to humans. We find, beginning with a viral form of pan-sexual promiscuity between bacteria (p 106), a new form of complementary sexuality emerged, making an almost endless variety of viable recombinations possible. This began firstly with identical sex cells called isogametes then becoming engendered into a large egg and multiple sperm competing to fertilize it (p 111), representing in molecular terms a subtle expression of the complementary between a single wave-manifesting membranous egg and multiple particulate packets of DNA.

All multi-celled animals depend on this engendered symmetry-broken complementation to be able to evolve the complexity we see across the metazoan realm, and in the development of higher plants as well, but it has come at a cost through a tortuous arms race (p 113). The sperm, and with it all males, have inherited a sneaky smaller investment in reproduction than the egg and with it the massive out-front 'honest' investments female animals and particularly mammals make, in gestation, lactation and child-rearing (p 116). Consequently virtually all males down to the human line have inherited a reproductive strategy of sewing wild oats by many partners, while females have been choosy about whose genes will impregnate their valuable and scarce eggs, thus retaining their own reproductive rights to covert betrayal in the amatory race of love. The extremes of sexual polarization occur in mammals, where the female has inherited the hugely significant investments of internal gestation of live young, lactation, and early child care, leaving the males more than in any other group, to seek sexual favours as their prime reproductive investment (p 27). Humans in many ways have carried this polarization to it utmost limit (p 188).

This leads us to a unique paradoxical game of fidelity and deceit, which is sometimes referred to as the 'prisoners' dilemma' (p 13), in which each participant is 'tempted' into mutual betrayal because the payoffs of deceit are great enough to make the win-win of mutual cooperation a mere consolation prize, leading to the nemesis of mutual defection. However, in the prisoners' dilemma game, fidelity and betrayal remain founding co-contributors to the complexity arising from the mutual paradox, leading to transgression of orthodox morality in a liberation, in which the outlawed aspects of affair and intrigue are as essential to our evolutionary survival as primal chaos tohu vohu is to the 'order' of creation. This makes a paradoxical tale for the morality of sexual commitment, for fidelity and deceit are forever two faces of the one sexual paradox. While fidelity is the 'desired condition', to maintain genetic selection, reproductive choice and hence covert 'deceit', remains essential, inescapable, and central to successful evolution (p 18), with men sewing wild oats and women covertly engaging strange affairs - all in a ground swell of public declarations of at least temporary monogamy (p 180). The prisoners' dilemma in its varied two and many person forms spans a variety of situations rearing their heads in the evolutionary process, the diversity of genetic and ecosystemic life, and in human society. Crowning this foray, we have biological sexuality as we know it, and the paradox of sexual selection, with its extensions into gender and its diverse and contradictory manifestations in human society and culture. Although the genetic process and with it the reproductive strategies of each sex in a given species are partially independent and even in conflict, neither sex can escape the double-bind of mortality in the immortal dance of reproduction.

In the Red Queen hypothesis (p 24), all sexual species are in an irresolvable arms race with their parasites, and each sex with the other, in a permanent state of prisoners' dilemma running while standing still to out adapt and hence survive one another. It is this which has generated the diversity of our immune systems and tissue recognition histocompatibility proteins. Sex has evolved to be not only a quintessential expression of the prisoners' dilemma in genetics, but permeating our very molecular architecture, our reproductive immortality and all our displays of culture, society and politics both revered and tabooed.

This dyadic sexual relation extends to other more complex forms of the prisoners' dilemma in ecosystemic relationships (p 15), to climax diversity and to all evolutionarily stable strategies of inescapable coexistence in survival in the biosphere. It also extends to many ways in which this delicate paradoxical relationship breaks down, in 'tragedy of the commons' (p 16), rape of the planet (p 432), the boom and bust (p 433)so characteristic of unmediated male reproductive investment, and many other forms of dominion and oppression.

All's Fair in Love and War

Despite male pretensions to charismatic 'sexual conquest' of the female, mesmerized by the turgid charms of an all too unpredictable member, and the hopefully not too premature heights of thrusting climax, a careful look at female orgasm leads to some very stark and dangerous conclusions - that despite some women having a tamer, or equivocal experience in our male-dominated culture, women's sexual energies are, to quote Mary Sherfey: "insatiable even in the face of the highest degree of sexual satiation". Energies that ride wild over the most hopeful pretensions to 'conquest' any male can assume. A woman's endowment of clitoral, G-spot, and uterine orgasms (p 135), amid a propensity for multiple, repeated, or continual climax, all in a context of beguiling sexual privacy (p 173) amid almost permanent sexual receptiveness, ever-so-inscrutably coloured by subtle hormonal shifts at ovulation towards sexual adventure, launch female eros into a sustained stratospheric territory, which no man alone can lay claim to, nor be sure of sustaining, in his 'own right'.

In our primate relatives, including bonobos (p 166) and chimps (p 163), female sexual incitement, particularly during estrus, (which ironically means 'gadfly') is at peak time of fertility, a play for the best male genes available, and to either side of the peak, a more general all-comers insurance that as many males as possible will be inveigled into the 'paternity net' and will thus be encouraged to support, rather than injure or kill, the ensuing offspring. No male can thus be sure he is not 'the father of the child' and will be drawn into protecting more offspring than his own and refraining from eliminating small competitors, as males are want to do, as harbingers of hunting and death as opposed to gathering, birth and life. On the side, out of sight of others, there are also covert matings with an undisclosed partner 'on safari'. A degree of 'infidelity' is also essential to optimize a female's mating with a male with complementary histocompatibility and thus superior disease resistance. Ape females also solicit sex when they are not ovulating, for socially 'manipulative' reasons, which run from such maternity insurance to heterosexual, or lesbian erotic 'love' - social bonding, easing competition, even at the sight of food.

In one short sentence - female sexual ecstasy serves to strategically reduce paternity certainty (p 181), just as male ejaculation serves to increase it, consistent with sexual paradox.

The advent of pair-bonding in humans has overlaid a more 'partnered' theme to this open sport, with the female's almost perpetual sexual receptiveness, enticingly curvaceous form, concealed ovulation, sexual privacy and hormonal 'incitement' during ovulation - otherwise known as 'female reproductive inscrutability' - only adding to the intrigue. Our most central and basic social mental faculties are consequently to do with detecting cheating and betrayal, with sex at the emotional centre of the cyclone. Biologists are frank that 'monogamy' as they use the term is not equatable with genetic or sexual fidelity, but social bonding, for increased reproductive gain and that females in monogamous species also do 'time on the side' with the best studs they can find, as genetic testing has confirmed human females do to a similar degree. Seventy percent of married women over 35 admit to marital infidelity in the US, confirming that this astute and inscrutable pattern continues. Hence all the archaic manifestations of male jealousy and violence, which even in socially monogamous prairie voles, with all their oxytocin and vasopressin bonding, still cause males to become aggressive and suspicious of other males the moment they have sexually 'bonded' with a female.

Given that small, exclusive female territories, amid female reproductive competition (p 31), rather than all-embracing sisterly love is the best indicator of mammalian and primate monogamy, rather than paternal parental resourcing as in birds, we have an interesting paradox. Female espousal of monogamy thus looks as much the 'two-faced' resourcing gambit, albeit for genuine reproductive investment, as is men claiming 'their' women as patrilineal 'property' in our human version of mate guarding, while also sewing wild oats far and wide. The only situations where we find what we might call loosely egalitarian female coalitions are in the decidedly bisexual bonobo, where females make love passionately together in hoka-hoka (p 166) and spend seven times as much time together as with males, and in baboons and monkeys a single matriline's kin altruistic affinities.

The clitoris is no dependable organ of biological fertility, like the penis, but a fickle discriminator of male attention - an intimate diviner of genuine indicators of fitness (p 181). The impetuous nature of female orgasm, inaccessible as an enclosed garden one minute, and an overflowing chalice the next, does not serve well the monotonous security of monogamous pair-bonding, but the intrigue, thrill and the novelty of the chase - the young buck, fine as an apple tree in the orchard, seduced by 'fatal attraction', amid our all too brief fallings in love.

Mortal Fear and Violent Oppression

Given this perilous heritage, it is no wonder the patriarchy fears female sexuality like primal chaos, and attempts to anathematize it, to cauterize it, to cut it out, by circumcision (p 371), subincision (p 260) and infibulation (p 372), or to bottle it up in chastity belts, or hide it, by sequestering and veiling (p 290), in burkas and chadors (p 363), in closed rooms with high windows, and every form of control and repression, from stoning (p 357), to drowning (p 280), to burning alive (p 380) and throwing acid in the face of the beloved, or in modern more 'sexually liberated' times at least to tame it into a milder subservient domesticity, exciting, but not too much so, along with some nubile pornographic appeal on the side.

All our creation myths and religious imperatives are disguised attempts by diverse peoples to mark out the boundaries of sexual transgression between women and men, rather than merely the innocent creation and ordering of the universe they pretend. The deities and players, from Yahweh condemning Eve's lubricity (p 298) and thus decreeing her husband 'shall rule over her'; through the incestuous enticement of the Sun by Venus (p 251), highlighting the intoxicating nature of female sexuality at the root of sexual antagonism among the Amazon's 'fierce people' (p 251); to the excoriating Dogon primal conflict of sexual energies between the one God and Mother Earth (p 228), resulting in female circumcision (p 371), are all projections of central male sexual and reproductive anxieties, and stratagems of male control over female sexuality.

A quick look at the few existing matrilocal, quasi-matrilineal societies such as the Canela (p 258) attests precisely to this theme. Here, women are expected to share their sexual favours as widely as possible, just as chimps and bonobos do, until they become pregnant and settle into the matriarchal network of motherhood and the familial ties of child rearing. Marriage is only a token in partnership to ensure paternal care of any infant a woman gives birth to. The role of the father is secondary to the mother's maternal uncles, and males are expected to show no jealousy over their 'wives' affairs. Men are expected to be 'forbearing' and women abide no conventions of emotional control.

This is a close parallel to the beena marriage of the Old Testament (p 277), which Jacob rejected in leaving Laban's fold with Rachel and Leah. Conflicts over such sexual motifs are reflected in Lilith's mythical refusal to lie under Adam, rising up to the wild heavens in her own ecstasy (p 299); the whoring ways of the Queen of Heaven (p 303); the fertility rites, on every high hill and under every green tree; and the strange woman of Proverbs, her lips dripping with honey comb, but her ways going right down to Sheol (p 299).

At the opposite extreme, the polygynous, patrilocal, patrilineal Dogon summarily chop the clitorises off their women folk (p 227) so they, won't be led to stray into surreptitious affairs by their all-to-precocious genitals, confine them all to menstrual huts in full view of the men's houses (p 226), so that the men folk in the village can readily observe just who is going to be ready to be fertilized by their reproductive 'owners' and when they can best achieve it, threatening them with cosmological calamity if they break the rule.

Similarly, throughout the central arenas of our cultural emergence (Lerner), from Sumeria and Egypt, through Babylon (p 284), Assyria (p 289), Greece (p 290), Rome, Israel, Vedantic India (p 374), Islamic Arabia (p 350) and Confucian China (p 294), a consistent theme of patriarchal dominion amid confinement of women and fear and repression of their sexual nature, the abduction and capture of women (p 283) and their exploitation as slave concubines (p 284), their assignment to marriages, nunneries and brothels, along with male rights of exclusive patriliny (p 285), primogeniture, and paterfamilias (p 294) often in the name of patriarchal religions, has led to a distorted, violent and unstable cultural paradigm.

These diverse sources confirm our worst fears: The sex wars are the foundation of our entire human social and cultural edifice. What do we do about this? Exert some such form of social control? This is exactly what the patriarchs have done to women, violently to the occlusion of feminine nature, and the detriment of human nature, and our future viability, resulting in multiple, repeated and continual warfare, genocide, apocalypse, mutually-assured nuclear (p 440), chemical and biological destruction, overpopulation (p 433), the rape of the Earth (p 432) and the entire diversity of life (p 436), climatic crisis (p 438), and boom and bust economies with no long-term stability of future (p 442), all in the spermatogenic (p 432), venture-risk, winner-take-all, competitive paradigm of the patriarchal imperative.

Unravelling the Gordian Knot

This condition of real or repressed sexual conflict is neither inevitable, nor is it a fatal flaw in the human species. The complexity of human culture appears to have emerged from the creative amatory race sexual selection induces in a state of sexual paradox. Some of our founding genetic and cultural archetypes in the Bushmen and Pygmy Forest Peoples, such as the !Kung (p 197), Sandawe (p 208), Biaka (p 214) and Mbuti (p 209) exist in a state much closer to sexual paradox and egalitarian cooperation between the sexes than most more highly evolved societies. Our gatherer-hunter origins are a manifestation of an interdependency, despite differing sexual strategies, that coincides with the deepest in female and male nature, in the resourcing of life's continuity in motherhood, and the death culling performed by the all-too-mortal male hunter-warrior.

Those anthropologists, sociologists and cultural feminists who assert the human psyche is a 'blank slate' (p 38) which has left behind its biological origins need to take into account these deleterious consequences of the patriarchal cultural adventure, when cultural prerogatives are imposed in denial, or even in affirmation, of our sexual sociobiology, particularly when applied to the role of mothering, so critical for human survival (p 32). Our genetic nature is not deterministic and remains adaptive to both individual emotional and intellectual responses and to social and cultural forces. However society and culture prosper and ultimately survive only in constructive relationship with our biological nature, not in spite of it, or imposed upon it. Rather than psychological pathology, fear of the power of female life-giving (p 266), testosterone poisoning (p 152), or the consequences of a fundamentally violent species (p 44), the rise of patriarchy appears to be a natural product of primate sociobiology, and the gatherer-hunter division of labour, driven into male dominance by inter-group conflict by male coalitions (p 43), the need for intra-group moral cohesiveness in response, the resulting social stress and uncertainty of resources (p 231), paternity uncertainty, and the rise of urban classes and property in development of large-scale agriculture (p 264).

Sexual complementarity cannot be unraveled overnight and may even be integral to the cosmic design. As we have noted, subjective mind and physical reality present as inextricable complements as do wave and particle. The relationship between our two sexes is as polarized as the primally-broken symmetry of the universe, let alone that between a single enveloping ovum, ripe with cytoplasmic fecundity, and the myriads of particulate sperm that compete to fertilize it, only to be capriciously chosen by the shock 'neurological' awakening of the egg's cortical reaction (p 114). Lack of an understanding of the depth of this relationship between the sexes is the root ignorance that has caused war and genocide and could bring our utopian pretensions in the genetic age crashing down, if we fail to recognize our ancient and immortal reproductive quest in sexuality and depend only on cultural fantasies and technological fixes.

IVF techniques (p 416), which already include direct injection of immature sperm nuclei incapable of fertilization into the egg (p 420), conserve deleterious mutations perpetuating and amplifying infertility in the human population. Sperm counts have been falling (p 421), partly as a result of the feminization of nature from industrial estrogen contamination (p 422), putting further pressure on this technology. Experiments are under way to see if a human embryo can be engineered from two sperm nuclei and an enucleate egg (p 422), or from two egg nuclei to satisfy the cultural desire of homosexuals of both sexes to have offspring who are children of both partners (p 424). These techniques could render sexual fertility obsolete. Massive over use of Caesarian delivery (p 416) also has the potential to make natural birth inviable by removing natural selection at a principal point of difficulty in human evolution. Contraceptive techniques, while essential to control a burgeoning population and provide sexual freedom of choice, particularly for women, have divorced our sexuality from the reproductive quest, cutting sexuality off from its biological motivation in fertility. Consequently extreme cultural imbalances are developing in the reproduction rate. While paternity testing and the sexing of unborn infants provides valuable information to and about parents, it is both exposing our innate sexual strategies, and potentially exacerbating existing trends to cull offspring of one sex or another for cultural or personal reasons.

At the same time there are pressures to engineer the germ line (p 427) to remove genes for deleterious conditions, or undesirable characteristics, with neither a clear idea of the evolutionary implications nor the ethical implications. Proposals are afoot to begin across the board IVF combined with genetic testing as an avenue of choice for all births to screen for and avoid a variety of genetic defects (p 418). In such a brave new world scenario we know neither how interactive this process may be not what grotesque directions runaway cultural and sentimental interference in our genetic identity could become. Both sickle cell and cystic fibrosis which many would love to eliminate confer disease resistance in heterozygous form against malaria and typhoid respectively two major world killers. The consequence of these changes for sexuality and our reproductive future are profound and can't be properly understood and debated while, despite our apparent sophistication, we remain naively in a state of cultural and personal denial about our sexual and sociobiological roots. We risk circumcising - lobotomizing, the very paradox of nature at the root of maleness and femaleness and life itself, and with it our evolutionary sustainability as a species.

Our two natures carry, hidden within their diversity, not only our sex wars, but the imprints of ancient genetic wars of attrition, including cytoplasmic incompatibility between isogametes, which first consumed the cytoplasm of one sex to form the sperm, causing the male to become the 'sneaky' low-investment sex and which carry with them all the tangled history of life between. A history of mutual genetic pot-shots that have molded our X and Y-chromosomes and sometimes attack one sex or another with infertility or death, in a mutual and perilously unstable arms race of sexually-antagonistic coevolution. A genetic struggle between male genes which would force the female to invest all her reproductive energy immediately in his offspring, which is expressed in the invasiveness of the placenta itself, and the female's resistance to this is also indelibly marked in our genome in genetic imprinting, in a precarious 'balance' between opposing male and female forces, which may also govern the development of our emotional and intellectual brains, and can cause pathological conditions, or fetal abnormalities, when either opposing influence is disrupted.

The gender polarization of internally fertilizing, gestating, lactating mammals, where the sexual relationship and parental investment is as one-sided as it can be has been taken to an even more radical extreme in the full-blown 'travail' and voluptuous pregnancy of the human female, her pendulous sequelae in lactation, and her unique dilemmas of maternal care amid ambivalence at such a huge investment in time, effort and resources in the face of fluctuating support. This is a matter women have solved, both in partnership with males, and in allo-parenting with older daughters, post-menopausal grandmothers, female friends and others, in cooperative familial and tribal networks. We thus cannot expect to reduce this tangled tale to a convenient androgynous erotic simplicity, devoid of reproductive meaning. The only viable answer is to accept and reflower the paradox of sexuality for what it is - the sweetest and most devastating prisoners' dilemma of immortality, fertilized between mortal sexual beings, where we will always, like the Red Queen, be running while standing almost still, treading water while putting the very best of our creative potential into a seemingly unwinnable race of culture, art, good music, and the music of love and lust. A race not 'against the opposite sex', but in every way 'with the complementary one'.

Males need to learn to accept the rewards that come from flying like a moth into the flame of female sexual desire, revering the tokens of menarche as sacred, and as good husbands, resting content if some four out of every five offspring sired by our 'ever so faithful' partner are our own progeny, accepting in love those that may not be, while sewing the wild oats we can, as the male sex has striven to do since time immemorial, just as serial monogamy has indeed become a form of 'moderate' polygyny in the US, due to differences in remarriarge and subsequent fertility rates between divorced, or separated men and women.

Until we bring our two natures together, life, and human society, even the biosphere, raped and exploited, will remain forever in the valley of the shadow of death, that great shadowy vagina that swallowed Maui when the fantail cried out, which all men fear, but which is also the source of life renewed. Our two orgasms, one 'a mere shot in the dark', and the other 'the perfect wave', contain an oracle - the unveiling, the key, the coda, the tattoo and taboo, the nemesis and genesis, the song of songs, the belonging and the longing, and the future destiny of our immortally entwined human sexes. The emergence of cultural complexity appears to be a result of human evolution in a condition of reproductive sexual paradox in which neither sex has had the upper hand, driven by sexual selection and displays of cultural prowess as genuine indicators of fitness. This selection involved both sexes in mutual mate choice but predominantly through the female reproductive choice common to many species despite attempts by males to preempt this through male competition and domination.

Ultimately we come back to the conscious mind and to the balance between the analytical thought often prized by men and 'feminine' intuition - between empathy and analysis and the paradoxes of how 'eureka' can emerge from the neurodynamic chaos of an unsolved problem. We are thus brought back to square one, coming now from the 'feminine' side of physical nature, looking at consciousness as an 'internal model of reality' made by the brain - potentially a mere illusion of matter, thus counterbalancing the mind-sky emphasis on primal cosmic mind of and the philosophy of the primacy of 'self' and 'soul' and again right into the abyss of cosmic sexual paradox. Here the problem lies, waiting for our apocalyptic unveiling to reveal all, no longer as through a glass darkly, but face to face - in the 'naked awareness' of sexual paradox itself. Thus we come to the present context and find ourselves as sentient conscious beings inhabiting a biological genetic organism, with a sappy biochemical brain, whose electrochemical excitations evoke the most puzzling unsolved mystery of modern science, that of subjective conscious experience and the enigma of free-will. Although materialistic views of science have endeavoured to finesse consciousness away as an epiphenomenon and free-will as an illusion, the development of consciousness research attests to the fact that subjective consciousness remains a founding phenomenon lying qualitatively outside the confines of objective description. Although mind states can be correlated with brain states they are qualitatively so different that we are brought full circle to the question "Is subjective consciousness a complementary manifestation to all objective phenomena, as fundamental as the cosmic origin itself?

Although human culture appears to have flowered through runaway aspects of sexual paradox in human evolutionary origins among gatherer-hunter clans, a male reaction has subsequently occurred from the earliest foundings of Jericho and Sumeria with the growth of militarized urban societies, through the great civilization of the East and West to the present day against sexual paradox, and its implicit paternity uncertainty. Patriarchal human cultures have endeavoured since to assert paradigms of order over these primal contradictions. A continuing trend throughout our cultural history has been for the climax diversity of sexual paradox to become undermined, or made degenerate, by patterns of male sexual domination, which lead to breakdown of the complexity and verdant instability, into ordered patterns of control, and often of repression, violence, and genocide which lead to planetary rape and exploitation and compromise the living genesis and emergence in complexity sexual paradox evokes. We shall thus explore, along with sexual paradox itself, all the many ways in which its breakdown leads to double jeopardy and how sexual paradox is a koan and oracle for our social transformation to a sustainable society.

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