The Final Empire Volume II Part 2: Living on the Earth
Chapter 15: THE LIFE OF THE TRIBE
Flow, balance and cycle had been the basis of human experience for eons, until the present civilization arose. For several million years, humans were primarily nomadic gatherer/hunters, flowing with the seasons and the game. When the fruits ripened in the valleys, they went there. When the berries ripened in the mountains, they gathered them. Generally, they maintained a somewhat fixed migration route within their territories which followed the seasons of the food sources. Even on the islands in oceans, foods changed according to the seasonal shifts of ocean currents and the different species of life each brought. Experience of reality flowed with the cycles of the seasons. Social life flowed in cycle also. Social rituals were timed with cycles of star movement, seasons, birth and death, and fluctuations in food abundance. People saw the cycle of birth, maturity, marriage, old age and dissolution of each individual but also saw that the integrity of the tribe and the body of knowledge of the tribe endured over time, as the individual people flowed through it. The purpose here is not to look at all of the interesting variants of human culture around the earth but to observe the general and basic pattern which allowed humans to survive over such a long period of time, and then to investigate what suddenly happened that put people in the extreme situation in which they are now. There were and still are habits and practices of Natural culture people that are offensive to animal rights activists, to liberal intellectuals, to religious conservatives and many others of present day empire culture. This often leads people to reject wholesale any useful knowledge aboriginal cultures offer. So that these statements are clear, it is necessary to clarify that resuming forager/hunter culture intact is not necessarily being advocated. The immediate problem is the apocalypse of civilization. This has come about because the culture is out of balance. The first task is to learn how humans can endure on earth. The effort is to look at examples of our ancestors who had a sustainable culture so that ideas may gained of how we can create a new culture of balance. Cannibals and headhunters lived in balance with the earth, this is what the focus is, not necessarily their dietary habits. With the same respect, because empire has produced such monstrous suffering on the earth, this does not mean that throughout the course of civilization, methods, artifacts, understandings, and practices have not been created that are of great value, now and in the future. None of this should distract from our basic search which is first, to understand how to live in balance. This is the test to which any plan or method must be submitted. First it must be asked- does this add or detract from ecological balance?
Living in Harmony
Prior to their absorption by empire culture, an unimaginably rich variety of human Natural cultures circled the earth, each reflecting in its unique cultural consciousness the complexity and magic of life on Earth. The Natural cultures and divisions were cultivated over eons of time. Primal, or Natural peoples -those who exist in harmony and stability with the cycles of the Natural life- generally experience a deep subconscious sense of psychic security that is based in the Natural abundance of the earth ecologies. Rarely do they experience scarcity. Food is all around them.
Primal societies tend to be egalitarian, non-coercive, and non-hierarchical. The tribal culture of the human family did not have jails and police. In tribal society there was generally some form of consensus government operating, some kind of common agreement before actions are taken. In many tribes no action is taken unless everyone agrees. A tribe is a group of cooperating people, any one of whom could, ultimately, go off alone and still survive. Yet the culture of the tribe holds them together.
The food and shelter needs of Natural people are simple and the tools that they need are few. Rather, the wealth of tribal cultures is non-material. The human relationships are rich, the relationships with the surrounding living things are complex, and the learned culture including the oral literature is vast.
The Tukano: A Primal Adaptation
Anthropologists studying the remaining primal cultures of the earth have discovered numerous tribal cosmologies and world-views. In the mid-1960's, anthropologist Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Columbia, studied an intact tribe in Amazonia who call themselves Wirá -"wind", or, Wirá- pora -"sons of the wind." They are part of a larger, linguistically-related group known as the Tukano, which probably numbers no more than a few thousand people. This tribe is an excellent cultural group to examine because the pattern of social and ecological balance is so explicit in the culture, rather than implicit as many other Natural cultural systems are. Reichel-Dolmatoff has had the alertness to see the ecological implications of Tukano culture. Prior to the present ecological crisis anthropologists tended not to recognize such concerns.
The Wirá/Tukano live in the northwest part of the Amazonian rainforest in Colombia, near the border of Brazil. The Wirá territory borders the Rio Vaupés on the north and east, which is also the Brazilian/Colombian border in that locality.
The Tukano homeland is a diversified ecosystem which includes hilly uplands, some grassy savanna with sparsely scattered trees, and some tropical forest in its lower elevations. The Wirá live in large communal shelters called malocas, each of which houses an extended family made up of four to eight nuclear families. These shelters are widely scattered over the tribal lands. Part of the group subsistence is from horticulture that is practiced in small clearings. Manioc in its numerous strains is the most important staple. Plantain, banana, yams, pineapple, chili peppers and maize is grown, although maize is of minor importance in this area. Cotton and tobacco are also grown. Reichel-Dolmatoff lists thirteen edible fruits which the Tukano gather from the area. They also gather a large number of wild foods, medicines and materials from the ecosystem.
The Tukano hunt mostly small animals and birds and take an occasional deer, peccary and tapir as well. The environment of the Tukano is just on the edge of the deep Amazon forest and Reichel-Dolmatoff states that the edible species are not as abundant or diverse as in the deep forest but foraging is certainly important. The Tukano fish the plentiful rivers of their homeland; symbols related to fishing play an important part in their culture. The Tukanos' deep knowledge of the life of their homeland indicates that they have been in this location for a very long time. Every feature of the landscape is alive with symbolic meaning for the Tukano, passed down to them from their ancestors. The Tukano area is sparsely populated but they are bordered on all sides by other tribes. Reichel-Dolmatoff does not mention any conflicts between the Tukano and neighboring tribes.
The Tukano believe that the creative force of the universe, the Sun-Father, continually creates a limited number of plant and animal beings. His energy causes plants to grow and bear fruit, and animals to grow and to bear young. His masculine power continually energizes and gives form to a feminine world. His energy illumines and creates on both biological and spiritual levels. The energy of the universe is limited, as determined by the creativity of the Sun-Father. This energy flows in a circuit through all beings, between people, animals and plants, between tribal society and Nature.1
The Tukano perceive their universe as a giant flow system whose ability to produce energy is directly related to the amount of energy that it receives. They believe that an important way that humans can energize the system is to conserve, or repress, sexual energy. The "conserved" sexual energy returns directly to the total energy available to the whole of existence, enhancing its vitality. Human health and well-being, attained by controlling the consumption of food, also creates an energy input to the system. The energy of human well-being influences the stars, the weather, and other components of the system which are neither plants or animals but spirit forms. A fundamental tenet of Tukano cultural instruction is that human beings should never disturb the equilibrium of the finite flow system, but should return whatever energy they remove from the system as soon as possible. For example, when an animal is killed or when a crop is harvested the energy of the local fauna and flora is thought to be diminished; however, as soon as the game or fruit are eaten by humans, the energy is conserved, because the consumers of the food thus acquire the reproductive life force that previously belonged to the animal or plant.2
The matter of ecological, social and personal balance is a major focus of the culture. Reichel-Dolmatoff writes:
"This cosmological model of a system which constantly requires rebalancing in the form of inputs of energy retrieved by individual effort, constitutes a religious proposition which is ultimately connected with the social and economic organization of the group. In this way, the general balance of energy flow becomes a religious objective in which native ecological concepts play a dominant organizational role. To understand the structure and functioning of the ecosystem becomes therefore a vital task to the Tukano. It follows that the Indian's ethnobiological knowledge of the Natural environment is not casual and is not something he assimilates through gradually increasing familiarity and repeated sense experience; it is a structured, disciplined knowledge which is based upon a long tradition of enquiry and which is acquired of necessity as part of his intellectual equipment for biological and cultural survival."3
In the Tukano view, the goal of life and of the human activities and attitudes is to assure the biological and cultural continuity of Tukano society. "This goal can only be achieved by a system of strict reciprocity in all relationships that man establishes in the biosphere, be they in the framework of his own society or with the animals."4
They believe that Tukano society will prosper only if all other life forms are able to prosper and to manifest according to the needs of each species.Three important practices help to maintain balance within Tukano society, and between the Tukano and their environment. These are: population control, control of the exploitation of the Natural environment and the control of human aggression.
Population control is maintained by oral, herbal contraceptives, long nursing periods, abstinence, and by abandonment of the aged and infirm. Because food and sex are so closely related in ecological symbolism, control of conception is quite well regulated. The Tukano are fully aware of the balances between their population and the carrying capacity of the land area that they occupy.
The medicine people of the tribe, called payé regulate human impact on the environment and act to control social aggression. Illness is considered by the Tukano to be caused by personal, cultural and/or ecological imbalances. Such imbalances might include overhunting, waste of resources, or meddling with certain types of sexual energy discharge. The shaman, in dealing with individual illnesses, is concerned with individual behavior, and with cultural practices. An important function of the shaman is to communicate with the Spirit Beings who watch over the animals and the world of plants. As the shamans carry out their duties, they function as ecological guides. Whether the subject is encouraging cooperation or controlling aggression, the hunting of game, planting of fields or considering whether to move the village periodically to preserve the ecology, the shaman, through divinatory means, decides the issue.
Using mind-expanding vegetable substances to aid in communication with the Spirit Beings and with the deep consciousness of individuals or species of plants or animals, the shamans work to balance supra-individual social and ecological structures that have been disturbed by the sick person or by the tribe. The Tukano concept of the flow of life energy, appears generally to correspond to the prana of the Hindus, the chi of the Chinese acupuncturist, Wilhelm Reich's orgone energy, or the kurunba life essence of the Australian aborigines. To divine the flow of the life energy, the shaman goes into a divinatory trance:
"To the shaman it is therefore of the essence to diagnose correctly the causes of the illness, to identify the exact quality of the inadequate relationship (to be adultery, overhunting, or any other over-indulgence or waste), and then to redress the balance by communicating with the spirits and by establishing reconciliatory contacts with the game animals. To mention just one example of how a diagnosis is established: a man who has killed too many animals of a certain species will appear in the shaman's dream or trance states in the shape of that animal and the image will be accompanied by a certain luminosity, a certain degree of light. It is quite remarkable that differences in high or low light intensity are recognised to be very important in the flow of solar energy, as understood by the Tukano, and that shamans will mention in their spells and incantations up to seven shades of 'yellow light' that energize the biosphere."5
The Tukano observation of the Natural world has aided them in maintaining a culture of sustainability and equilibrium. They exhibit very little interest in acquiring the type of new knowledge which would aid them in exploiting their environment for short-term gain, or in obtaining more food or supplies than they actually need. "But," writes Reichel-Dolmatoff:
"There is always a great deal of interest in accumulating more factual knowledge about biological reality and, above all, about knowing what the physical world requires from man. This knowledge, the Indians believe, is essential for survival because man must bring himself into conformity with nature if he wants to exist as part of nature's unity, and must fit his demands to nature's availabilities.
"Animal behavior is of greatest interest to the Indians because it often constitutes a model for what is possible in terms of successful adaptation.... The Indians have a detailed knowledge of such aspects as seasonal variation and microdistributions of the animal and plant species of their habitat. They have a good understanding of ecological communities, of the behavior of social insects, of bird flocks, the organization of fish runs, and other forms of collective behavior. Such phenomena as parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism and other relationships between co-occurring species have been well observed by them and are pointed out as possible methods of adaptation."6
The Tukano, like many native cultures in the western hemisphere, believe that the world is running down, deteriorating since its time of initiation. To assist the universe in re-creating itself and in maintaining its vitality, the Tukano regularly participate in ritual ceremonies where past, present and future generations are joined together. These rituals, in which plant and animal spirits are also believed to participate, appear to reinforce the motivation of each Tukano tribe member to walk in balance on the Earth.
Today, the Tukano world of perpetual balance is evaporating. Shell Oil company is exploring and drilling in the area. The land and rivers are becoming poisoned by oil and by the toxic chemicals used in the drilling process. Settlers from other parts of Columbia are being encouraged by the Columbian government to settle in the region, in order to relieve the population pressures within other areas of the country and to secure the remote border against possible Brazilian expansionism. The settlers and the oil workers continually assault and kill the Tukano, and push them off their lands. The Tukano/Wira' have also been assailed by missionaries, particularly by priests of the Monfortian Congregation of Dutch Catholics, the Catholic Order of San Xavier. Recently the (protestant) New Tribes Mission and the (protestant) Summer Institute of Linguistics have moved in. Their base of operations is the "Bible Belt" of the southern U.S. They focus on destroying tribal culture. By destroying tribal communalism and other elements which they describe as "primitivism," they hope to lead the natives into "the free enterprise economy."7
Peace With the Earth
It is important that we look at the emotional content of culture. We live in a culture of muted desperation. We are inculcated with a grasping nature because of the competitive basis of the culture and because of the arranged scarcity. In contrast, the emotional tenor of many forager/hunter cultures was distinctly peaceful and emotionally positive. A small, blonde woman named Florinda Donner, for example, went to live recently with the Yanomami tribe of the Amazon. She met an elderly woman at a trading post who agreed to guide her through the rainforest to the tribe's location. In her book Shabono she details her pleasant time with that tribe. In this case as well as many others, we see the inversion of the images we have been conditioned with. Here a lone woman joins a "savage" tribe and stays a lengthy period without receiving a scratch. Had she simply walked through the seamier parts of any large "civilized" city her safety could not be nearly as secure.
Part of the emotional security of our Natural culture was no doubt due to its holism. Rather than live in a narrow, "mentalized" social world, in that culture people lived in the universe, so to speak. The earth, the sky, the stars were the context of their life and they accepted and identified with them all. Natural culture teaches that we are an integral part of all life. Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala (Sioux), who shares in a line of inheritance unbroken since the Pleistocene and beyond, states this viewpoint. He speaks of a "threefold peace" which he says, is the only true peace:
"The first peace, which was the most important, is that which comes with the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its Powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real Peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men."
This cultural understanding that we are children of the universe is extremely important. With the realization and acceptance of this fact comes maturity and responsibility to oneself and to the cosmos. One heritage of early culture is consideration for other life forms. The Apaches of the Southwestern U.S. would not kill animals at water holes because it was unfair, since all beings need water. When the !Kung San (Bushmen) of the Kalahari find a clutch of ostrich eggs, they take only part of them out of respect for the ostrich. Examples like these are numerous in reports about Natural culture people. The sharing, the cooperativeness, the wisdom and understanding- the concern for that which is outside of self- are attributes of self governing human maturity. In 1977, the traditional elders of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, the Hau de no sau nee, issued a statement appealing to the United Nations for help in maintaining their identity in the face of the continued destruction of their culture by U.S. and Canadian society. In the statement, later published under the title, The Hau de no sau nee Address to the Western World, they describe their past prior to the invasion of empire culture. The former abundance of their lives is evident. Many points of correspondence with Tukano thought emerge from the Hau de no sau nee statement as well. Clearly, reverence for life and cooperation among tribal members were seen to assure continued abundance:
"We were a people of a great forest. That forest was a source of great wealth. It was a place in which was to be found huge hardwoods and an almost unimaginable abundance and variety of nuts, berries, roots, and herbs. In addition to these, the rivers teamed with fish and the forest and its meadows abounded with game. It was, in fact, a kind of Utopia, a place where no one went hungry, a place where the people were happy and healthy.
"Our traditions were such that we were careful not to allow our populations to rise to numbers that would overtax the other forms of life. We practiced strict forms of conservation. Our culture is based on a principle that directs us to constantly think about the welfare of seven generations into the future. To this end, our people took only as many animals as were needed to meet our needs. Not until the arrival of the colonists did the wholesale slaughter of animals occur.
"We feel that many people will be confused when we say that ours is a Way of Life, and that our economy cannot be separated from the many aspects of our culture. Our economy is unlike that of Western peoples. We believe that all things in the world were created by what the English language forces us to call 'Spiritual Beings,' including one that we call the Great Creator. All things in this world belong to the Creator and the spirits of the world. We also believe that we are required to honor these beings, in respect of the gift of life.
"In accordance with our ways, we are required to hold many kinds of feasts and ceremonies which can best be described as 'give-aways.' It is said that among our people, our leaders, those whom the Anglo people insist on calling 'chiefs,' are the poorest among us. By the laws of our culture, our leaders are both political and spiritual leaders. They are leaders of many ceremonies which require the distribution of great wealth. As spiritual/political leaders, they provide a kind of economic conduit. To become a political leader, a person is required to be a spiritual leader, and to become a spiritual leader a person must be extraordinarily generous in terms of material goods.
"Our basic economic unit is the family. The means of distribution, aside from simple trade, consists of a kind of spiritual tradition manifested in the functions of the religious/civil leaders in a highly complex religious, governmental, and social structure.
"The Hau de no sau nee have no concept of private property. This concept would be a contradiction to a people who believe that the Earth belongs to the Creator. Property is an idea by which people can be excluded from having access to lands, or other means of producing a livelihood. That idea would destroy our culture, which requires that every individual live in service to the Spiritual Ways and the People. That idea (property) would produce slavery. The acceptance of the idea of property would produce leaders whose functions would favor excluding people from access to property, and they would cease to perform their functions as leaders of our societies and distributors of goods.
"Before the colonists came, we had no consciousness about a concept of commodities. Everything, even the things we make, belong to the Creators of Life and are to be returned ceremonially, and in reality, to the owners. Our people live a simple life, one unencumbered by the need of endless material commodities. The fact that their needs are few means that all the peoples' needs are easily met. It is also true that our means of distribution is an eminently fair process, one in which all of the people share in all of the material wealth all of the time.
"Our Domestic Mode of Production has a number of definitions which are culturally specific. Our peoples' economy requires a community of people and is not intended to define an economy based on the self-sufficient nuclear family. Some modern economists estimate that in most parts of the world, the isolated nuclear family cannot produce enough to survive in a Domestic Mode of Production.
Ours was a wealthy society. No one suffered from want. All had the right to food, clothing, and shelter. All shared in the bounty of the spiritual ceremonies and the Natural World. No one stood in any material relationship of power over anyone else. No one could deny anyone access to the things they needed. All in all, before the colonists came, ours was a beautiful and rewarding Way of Life."8
When Europeans first arrived on this continent, Hau de no sau nee territory covered the land from Vermont to Ohio and from Quebec to Tennessee. There were hundreds of Indian camps throughout this region. This culture functioned under a constitution called the "Great Law of Peace." The Hau de no sau nee Address to the Western World, describes this body of law as, "a law which recognized that vertical hierarchy creates conflicts...They dedicated the superbly complex organization of their society to function to prevent the rise internally of hierarchy."9
This governing form was the inspiration for the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances, found in the United States constitution, concepts which have now spread throughout the world. The Address states that, "It is the oldest functioning document in the world which has contained a recognition of the freedoms the Western democracies recently claim as their own: the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rights of women to participate in government."10 The "checks and balances" constitution of the United States has the express purpose of controlling centralized authority. The ideas for the structure of it were taken from the Iroquois Confederacy of the northeast U.S. The Six Nations Confederacy as it is also called is made up of the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga and Tuscarora tribes. Originally there were five tribes in the confederation and their symbol was the eagle with five arrows wrapped in hide in its claws. This is the symbol that appears on back of the U.S. one dollar bill, where the eagle has 13 arrows wrapped, denoting the original colonies. At the time the U.S. constitution was promulgated it was seen by the world as a tremendous advance in "civilization" because relatively speaking it limited the power of the emperor/elite and provided representation of the people in a structure of parliamentary democracy. Though "civilization" has not arrived at the purity of democracy or the culture of the Six Nations and their "Great Law of Peace," the constitution of the Six Nations exemplifies the Natural culture tradition of control of hierarchy as worked out by these tribes. The "Great Law of Peace" also reflected gender balance that empire culture has not yet attained. Within the structure of the Six Nations were womens' councils that were an equal part of considerations. In addition to this, Clan Mothers were very powerful and in many cases held advisory powers with respect to council decisions that were close to what parliamentarians would consider a veto.11
Non-Hierarchal Self-Government of Natural Societies
The enterprise of the cells reaches a high level of organization and coordination of energies- power. This communal power appears to function with common agreement of the cells and without central command, as far as their own functioning. In tribal society there is generally consensus government, some kind of common agreement before actions are taken. This seems obvious on the face of it when there is a group of cooperating people, any one of whom could, ultimately, go off alone and still survive. In the imperial inversion, control is paramount. The control begins with the feeding base, e.g., agriculture or herding. One does not gather what is there, one controls the system of fertility extortion. In the same way, the hierarchy of social power controls the productive power of the human masses and their food supply with physical coercion- some kind of militarized force with the ultimate power to kill.
Mark Twain is reported to have said, "Tell me where you get your corn pone and I'll tell you what your opinions are." This is reasonable in civilized society but in forager society, most of the people except the very young and the aged can feed themselves by their own efforts- they ate what they found. When the culture of stasis broke out, the sedentary society was located in one place and social hierarchies determined the allocation of land and they determined who was to eat, what they ate and how much, because of the elite control of the mass. In Natural human culture with emphasis on relationship and cooperation, there is the ability to satisfy human needs (food-shelter-love). Power is latent in the ability of the tribe to cooperate and work together for its continuance. Power is also latent in the respect for elders' knowledge and wisdom. The youth do not know because they do not have experience. The elders do know, they have lived through the experiences. In the hunt, in foraging, in personal relationships, the youth respect and listen to the elders because that is how they have always learned since infancy. Wisdom is an extremely important factor in Natural human culture. Wisdom leads to authority. But, even though there is authority and respect there is no centralized power or coercion. Power in the tribe lies with each person; it is not centralized. It is not the power of the one to compel the many. It is the power created by the many working together. The French anthropologist, Pierre Clastres has explored this question of "political structure" in Natural human society. What he has determined is that tribal society in the Americas, where he studied, are arranged so as to prevent centralized power from arising just as the Hau de no sau nee state. In the South American native societies which he examines, there is a titular chief, one who speaks for the tribe.
When the imperial mind encountered the Natural culture it immediately concluded that chiefs equalled emperors. Not so, says Clastres. Chiefs were the way that Natural culture prevented the formation of centralized power, the way that they controlled hierarchy. By setting up the chief as the leader and then preventing the chief from having dictatorial power, Natural culture protected itself and protected the freedom of everyone involved from the extortion of dictatorial, centralized power. Clastres says:
"Given their political organization, most Indian societies of America are distinguished by their sense of democracy and taste for equality. The first explorers of Brazil and the ethnographers who came after often emphasized the fact that the most notable characteristic of the Indian chief consists of his almost complete lack of authority; among these people the political function appears barely differentiated. Though it is scattered and inadequate, the documentation we have lends support to that vivid impression of democracy common to all those who studied American societies.... It is the lack of social stratification and the authority of power that should be stressed as the distinguishing features of the political organization of the majority of Indian societies. Some of them, such as the Ona and the Yahgan of Tierra del Fuego, do not even possess the institution of chieftainship; and it is said of the Jivaro that their language has no term for the chief.
To a mind shaped by cultures in which political power is endowed with real might, the distinctive rule of the American chieftainship is asserted in paradoxical fashion. Just what is this power that is deprived of its own exercise? What is it that defines the chief, since he lacks authority? And one might soon be tempted, yielding to the temptation of a more or less conscious evolutionism, to conclude that political power in these societies is epiphenomenal, that their archaism prevents them from creating a genuine political form. However, to solve the problem in this fashion compels one to frame it again in a different way: from where does this institution without "substance" derive its strength to endure? For what needs to be understood is the bizarre persistence of a 'power' that is practically powerless, of a chieftainship without authority, of a function operating in a void.12
In a text written in 1948, R. Lowie, analyzing the distinctive features of the type of chief alluded to above, labeled by him titular chief, isolates three essential traits of the Indian leader. These traits recur throughout the two Americas, making it possible to grasp them as the necessary conditions of power in those areas:
(1.) The chief is a 'peacemaker': he is the group's moderating agency, a fact borne out by the frequent division of power into civil and military.
(2.) He must be generous with his possessions, and cannot allow himself, without betraying his office, to reject the incessant demands of those under his 'administration.'
(3.) Only a good orator can become chief13
This pattern of triple qualification indispensable to the holder of the political office is, in all probability, equally valid for both North and South American societies. First of all, it is truly remarkable that the features of the chieftainship stand in strong contrast to one another in time of war and in time of peace. While often the leadership of the group is assumed by two different individuals. Among the Cubeo, for instance, or among the tribes of the Orinoco, there exists a civil power and a military power. During military expeditions the war chief commands a substantial amount of power- at times absolute- over the group of warriors. But once peace is restored the war chief loses all his power. The model of coercive power is adopted, therefore, only in exceptional circumstances when the group faces an external threat. But the conjunction of power and coercion ends as soon as the group returns to its normal internal life. ...Normal civil power, based on the consensus omnium and not on constraint, is thus profoundly peaceful and its function is 'pacification': the chief is responsible for maintaining peace and harmony in the group. He must appease quarrels and settle disputes- not by employing force he does not possess and which would not be acknowledged in any case, but by relying solely on the strength of his prestige, his fairness, and his verbal ability. More than a judge who passes sentence, he is an arbiter who seeks to reconcile. The chief can do nothing to prevent a dispute from turning into a feud if he fails to effect a reconciliation of the contending parties. That plainly reveals the disjunction between power and coercion.
"The second characteristic of the Indian chieftainship- generosity- appears to be more than a duty: it is a bondage. Ethnologists have observed that among the most varied peoples of South America this obligation to give, to which the chief is bound, is experienced by the Indians as a kind of right to subject him to a continuous looting. And if the unfortunate leader tries to check this flight of gifts, he is immediately shorn of all prestige and power."14
Clastres makes another interesting observation of the dynamic of sharing and its highly regarded value in Natural society. He observes that when polygamy occurs, it is usually confined to the Chief and sometimes also the principal leaders, who by the cultural definition, share the most. The women, who are the real, and recognized, productive strength of the group, produce much of the material which the leaders give out. Thus, in a sense the group places a number of powerful, productive women in place with the chief and receives gifts from the Whole institution of chieftainship.
"Besides this extraordinary penchant for the chief's possessions, the Indians place a high value on his words: talent as a speaker is both a condition and instrument of political power. There are many tribes in which every day, either at dawn or sunset, the chief must gratify the people of his group with an edifying discourse. Every day the Pilaga, Sherente, and Tupinamba chiefs exhort their people to abide by tradition. It is not an accident that the gist of their discourse is closely connected to their function as 'peacemaker.' No doubt the chief is sometimes a voice preaching in the wilderness: the Toba of the Chaco or the Trumai of the upper Xingu often ignore the discourse of their leader, who thus speaks in an atmosphere of general indifference. But this should not hide from us the Indian's love of the spoken word: a Chiriguano explained the accession of a woman to the office of chief by saying: 'Her father taught her the art of speaking.' "15
"Humble in scope, the chief's functions are controlled nonetheless by public opinion. A planner of the group's economic and ceremonial activities, the leader possesses no decision-making power; he is never certain that his 'orders' will be carried out. This permanent fragility of a power unceasingly contested imparts its tonality to the exercise of the office: the power of the chief depends on the good will of the group. It thus becomes easy to understand the direct interest the chief has in maintaining peace: the outbreak of a crisis that would destroy internal harmony calls for the intervention of power, but simultaneously gives rise to that intention to contest which the chief has not the means to overcome."16
As Clastres indicates, there are occasions when the chief cannot successfully mediate disputes among the group. When this happens, anthropologists indicate, tribal groups generally solve this by fission. The group splits apart. There is no battle for the centralized power, because there is no centralized power.
These observations apply to the basic patterns of Natural human culture. There are of course permutations of the patterns of Natural human culture, but we are making observations of the basic outlines of the bulk of Natural human family and not the permutations such as for example the "Kings" of some African groups, the Andean Inca society or, for example, some societies in which castes and rampant human slavery have broken out.
The Essene Community: An Example of an Integrative Womb
Becoming personally integrated and balanced with the earth and cosmos does not necessarily mean duplicating forager /hunters, though they present immediate and sound examples. The point is to live in balance in an integrated way, on all levels. The culture of the Essenes provides an example that shows that the individual can become integrated and that human culture can be created that is in balance with the life of the earth. The point is that in the Essene culture balance is fundamental for the person and the cultural group. The fundamental requirement for the Essene or the Tukano culture to be perpetually viable on the earth, is that it exist in balance. The Essenes, until they were destroyed by the Roman Empire, created this accomplishment from around 300 B.C. to 100 A.D. The Essenes were not a tribe or an ethnic group. They were monastic communities that existed in Egypt and the Mid-East. The Essenes were mostly Jews who lived apart and did not participate in the mainstream culture other than deriving some of their philosophy from ancient Jewish teachings. They lived in the desert, but usually near bodies of water, such as small lakes or streams. They gained their food through unique forms of desert agriculture.
We know of the Essenes from the writings of Josephus Flavius, a contemporary Jewish historian and political figure in the Roman government, from Philo, the Alexandrian philosopher and writer, and the writings of Plinius the Elder, the Roman Naturalist. We also know of the Essenes from references in the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in Qumran near the Dead Sea. Some of these scrolls contain copies of early books of the Christian bible which contain references to the Essenes, but which in later centuries were excised by the Church.
A contemporary scholar and linguist who has provided much information about the Essenes is Edmond Bordeaux Székely. There are three groups of Essene documents that he was able to translate from the original Aramaic language. One of these sets was held by the Royal House of Hapsburg in Austria, another was held in the library of the Vatican and the other set were the Dead Sea Scrolls, written in Aramaic. It is unknown how the Vatican obtained its Essene documents which are stored there along with many other unique "art" treasures. The Hapsburg texts are thought to have been brought out of Central Asia in the Tenth Century by Nestorian priests who were fleeing persecution.
The Essenes were accomplished horticulturalists and arboculturalists. Székely says that each one of them carried a small trowel with which to do gardening and to scoop up any organic material in the area for the compost. Healing had great emphasis in Essene communities and members often would travel into villages to do healings. As a spiritual community, the Essenes maintained an orderly day that was structured toward raising consciousness. They lived a simple, regular life, close to the earth with their gardens and orchards.
The information that Edmond Bordeaux Székely provides indicates that the culture of the monastic communities was directed toward centering and balancing the individual and community. The Essenes maintained a daily focus on cosmic, terrestrial and personal integration. The Essenes believed that they and everything in the cosmos existed in a pattern of energies which they consciously sought to integrate with. Székely says that, "They had the deep wisdom to understand that these forces were sources of energy, knowledge and harmony by which man can transform his organism into a more and more sensitive instrument to receive and consciously utilize the forces. The characteristics of each one of the different forces was very clear to them and they knew what the force meant in each individual's life and how it should be utilized."17 Because of the work of Székely and others we know the form of the Essene practices but unfortunately there is no full written record of the esoteric teachings that amplified and gave substance to that form. We do know, according to Shékely's work, that the framework of these different forces was set out in a series of seven morning and evening meditations, which also included noontime "peace" meditations. Székely says that there were three immediate objectives in this practice. "The first is to make man conscious of the activities of the different forces and forms of energy which surround him and perpetually flow toward him from nature and the cosmos. The second is to make him aware of the organs and centers within his being which can receive these currents of energy. The third is to establish a connection between the organs and centers and their corresponding forces so as to absorb, control and utilize each current."18
The morning communions were concerned with the visible terrestrial realm of energies. The series of daily contemplations were food, topsoil, trees, beauty, sunrise, blood-rivers-water, and breath. Each of these meditations focused on a broad concept. For example the Thursday morning meditation was called the Angel of water and the concept was the liquidity of blood, rivers and so forth. The force involved is that of circulation which exists throughout the cosmos. It was the thinking of the Essenes that the day would begin with the seed thoughts and contemplations which then would be with them until evening as they dealt with the material world. At mid-day the Essenes focused on peace contemplations. The evening meditations were devoted to more ethereal concepts. The evening communions of the Essenes prepared the individual to utilize a different dimension of consciousness. As Székely says, modern life with its tension and lack of peacefulness results in the sleep state and dreaming being primarily a time to emotionally "detoxify" from the events in the waking state. The Essenes on the other hand lived isolated in very peaceful conditions and they used the sleep state as a constructive and creative faculty. Székely says, "The Essenes knew that these last thoughts influenced the subconscious mind throughout the night, and that the evening communions therefore put the subconscious into contact with the storehouse of superior cosmic forces. They knew that sleep can thus become a source of deepest knowledge."19
The evening communions were devoted to forces of the invisible realms that had correspondence with the terrestrial force that had been the subject of the morning communion. The subjects of the evening communions were the eternal life, creative work, peace, power, love, wisdom and the creative universal spirit. The Essenes, until they were destroyed by the Roman Empire, created this accomplishment of balanced community and won the admiration of the early historians mentioned. Josephus and the other historians referred to them variously as, " 'A race by themselves, more remarkable than any other in the world,'" "'the oldest of the initiates, receiving their teaching from Central Asia,'" and "'teaching perpetuated through an immense space of ages.' "20
Integrating Ourselves and the New Culture
Love holds the world together. In our Natural state we are at one with the world. We are at one with our social environment, the clan and we are at one with ourselves. It is the flow of love- positive energy, that holds this together. This is the condition that we will create in our new culture. This is the condition that our children are entitled to as their birthright on the earth. This is the baseline condition that all humans are entitled to as they begin to create their own personal lives.
Extensive studies have shown the profound effect of experiences in early childhood that carry down through the generational lines. Children who have been beaten will beat their own children. Children who have been sexually abused will be sexually abusive. The manner in which children are dealt with will condition them for the balance of their lives. This in itself is enough reason for us to establish a healing community. In a larger context, it is the lack of love and comforting atmosphere that ingrains the fear and separation that is the motor of civilization.
In our own lives it is our fear and defensiveness that we must deal with in pursuing our own wholeness, our integration. We have been conditioned into separation and contraction. Wilhelm Reich's image of the expansive phase of the body, reaching out to the world, is appropriate. It is this condition that we need move toward. Our cultural upbringing teaches us to emphasize the intellect at the expense of our emotional body. In universities across civilization, the pressure is such that students jump from the windows of the dormitories when their intellectual achievement does not meet the standards that are set up for them. Our conditioning is such that when confronted by stress, the intellect churns but the atrophied emotional body cannot respond. We are unable to respond in a holistic way because we are conditioned into fear and separation. We have learned to perceive the world and other people as a source of threat.
This conditioning is not immutable. We can cause this conditioning to evaporate by focusing the conscious mind upon it. This must be done with the concentration and vigor of the whole being. The subconscious mind holds the whole of our experience. In the familiar story of the person in a hypnotic trance state, they can remember an experience that occurred many years before and they can recall the ticking of a clock, the smells, the emotional response of that moment. Our actual conscious awareness is profound but it is filtered through the surface conscious mind which sorts out and holds in surface consciousness only that which the surface consciousness defines as important. It is in our subconscious mind, the less than fully conscious realm of mind, where the basic assumptions about our existence are held. These assumptions and conclusions of the subconscious are the groundwork of our present lives.
There are two ways in which this "posture" toward life is created. The first is simply repetition. This is the same thing as acculturation. In the field of hypnosis this is done in light trance and the suggestion is given over and over. (A trance is simply a concentrated state of attention such as one adopts when watching television or sitting in a classroom). In a classroom there is the conscious flow of events, the teacher teaches and the children respond, but there is also the emotional context that the mind perceives. That is, the competition between the students. Each is eager to receive the exclusive rewards by getting their hand up first, by having the right answer. This sets the framework of the mind to readily accept suggestions from the teacher. The suggestion in this case is the content of teaching, which is accepted uncritically The suggestion is also the social context in which this occurs. This goes on day after day, for years. It is not any particular interaction that sets the tone for the subconscious mind, it is the emotional experience of the constant competitive, separative environment that conditions the subconscious mind. This repetition conditions the mind to view the world as an environment containing competitive threats. This in turn limits our ability to be open, loving and trusting adults. Birth trauma, family conditions, television images, school experiences, all serve to establish our basic subconscious grounding.
In the field of hypnosis there is also a second way to suggest assumptions about reality to the subconscious mind. This is done in deep trance. A deep trance is a highly concentrated state of attention. In this state the intellectual body and the emotional body are functioning in a unity and the yes/no critical faculty of surface consciousness is not functioning. In this state the being is not fragmented consciously but is completely in deep consciousness. This is the state in which early childhood trauma causes the subconscious mind to have deeply set assumptions about reality.
The birth experience is the first and most fundamental experience that we integrate into our being. Negative and self limiting suggestions as well as the positive and bonding suggestions can be easily accepted by the subconscious mind at this early point. As Arthur Janov began to work with people who had experienced birth trauma he developed a therapy that involves conscious recall of the trauma. To recall the trauma and understand it as an adult in another, more benign context, changes the subconscious mind's understanding of the event and helps dissolve the blockage of positive emotional energy and enhances the feeling of well-being. This is the key element in dealing with subconscious assumptions. They must be brought up to consciousness, relived and the effect eliminated by present understanding. In Janov's therapy, patients recall the primal event of birth. The following is an example of a primal experience of one of Janov's patients:
"I had lost the fight at birth and felt totally defeated. Life was against me. I felt I had no control over what was happening to me. During this Primal I felt like I was being jostled about by different people. I was very scared. I'm not sure what the feelings were all about, since there were no scenes or images in my mind. But I would hazard to guess it was the doctor and nurses handling me after birth. "I felt so alone. I cried for help. Where is someone to see how much I hurt? I even felt angry that they could be so stupid to see my crying and screaming and just let me go on doing it. I just wanted someone to hold me gently and let me calm down. Then I felt I didn't want anyone to touch me if it was going to be rough."21
It is this type of "reliving" of primal events that allows the person to resolve a contraction that may have prevented the person from having emotionally rich relationships with other people for a lifetime. The subconscious mind accepts deep suggestions throughout life but particulary it accepts suggestions in youth, before the personality is thoroughly armored and in a defensive posture. The accepting of a suggestion by the subconscious mind requires a highly emotional state, a state brought on by accident, punishment, fear or other emotional trauma. This is the sudden acceptance of deep suggestion as opposed to conditioning by repetition.
The subconscious assumptions not only configure one's view of reality but actively guide the daily life. If one has accepted a self limiting suggestion such, "You're no good, you'll never amount to anything," during a spanking, for example, the subconscious mind will ensure that the suggestion will be carried out. People that constantly repeat self-limiting suggestions such as, "I never could do that," "I was never any good at that," "I'll never be able to learn that," "No one likes me," are repeating and reinforcing subconscious suggestions which the subconscious mind will endeavor to carry out in their daily lives.
With considerable effort these self-limiting assumptions and contractions can be eliminated, but first we need to gain an image for ourselves as being centered on the earth, centered in cosmic reality. That we are organic beings, living in community with other organic beings on the surface of the planet earth is not always clear to individuals in civilization. We need personal experience of this, personal images of this reality. If we go to a wilderness area or the most undisturbed Natural area that we can find, we will be immersed in, and receive stimulus from the Natural life. This is the place where we can become grounded. We may not become immediately integrated with the Natural life the first time, but we will be with the proper images, sights, smells, Natural sounds and feelings.
In a Natural area we can concentrate or meditate on our roots and origin in life. We can consciously open ourselves to any possible communication from that life. We go there with intent. Our intent is to use that time to focus on the reality of our being. We understand that we are organic beings just as the birds and the trees and that this is our home and is where we belong. This is our corporeal identity. We begin to identify with the Natural life. Given the present chaos in society and the many diversions, it may not be easy to get to a quiet, undamaged Natural area often, but it is essential. It is essential to have that experience and to gather those images into memory. This is the grounding, the realization- not just intellectually held -that one is a Natural organism, on the surface of the earth, itself which is flying through space among other large bodies such as sun, moon, planets and stars. Healing from the injury of alienation is not dependent on the cleverness of the technique but on the deep-seated intent of the person. This is because the ideas and feelings that were produced from the original conditioning influences are also deep-seated. The imprints from the original conditionings are stamped into the subconscious mind as general understandings and postures of feeling. The subconscious mind is in the realm of the vegetative mind that operates the body, keeping the body in a state of homeostasis. The intellectual mind might change itself every day but the subconscious mind receives the constant repetition of ideas and other conditioning stimuluses- over a life-time. It is this mind that develops the basic emotional posture of the being.
The experience of empire culture is to live in an abstracted manner. If one goes to the industrial medicine establishment for medical care one is dealt with on the chemical level by molecular biologists. This has no effect on peoples' life problems or their emotional health. We live at the level of our feelings. How we feel about ourselves, how we feel about the world is the state of our health. It is at this key level of the subconscious mind that the first healing must be brought about.
The direction of healing is toward healthy and Natural energy flows for the inhibited and contracted organism. In the mid-twentieth century a large body of healing knowledge has arisen which seeks to unlock the flow of vital energies.
Acupuncture, acupressure massage, shiatsu, Janov's primal therapy, hypnosis, rebirthing, Reichian massage, reflexology and many others deal with blockages of energy flows. Mental blocks, emotional blockages and physical blockages of energy are involved. This field of medicine is now called Alternative Medicine in the United States. Many of the modalities can be learned easily through workshops and seminars given in most major cities. A vast literature is also now available at many bookstores. One of these typical modalities, for example, Reichian massage, deals with both mental blocks and their location as mild cramps and zones of tension in the musculature. Reichian work has its roots in Freudian analysis and it uses this mental-analytical technique but also heavily relies on massage to help loosen and eliminate the actual body armor- areas in the body where tension is held. When the mental and physical blocks are released a phenomena occurs that the Reichian therapists call "streamings." These streamings are spasms of energy releases of the body accompanied by shuddering and definite emotional release.
As we begin to create new culture we must integrate knowledges and methods into the cultural form that address these problems of blockage of positive energy. In emerging from the disaster of civilization we understand that we have all been injured by the experience of its acculturation. New culture needs to have the qualities of a therapeutic community to assist the adults as they begin moving toward emotional healing and toward the full enjoyment of life. As we begin moving toward health, maturity and reality we will begin taking responsibility for our own lives- cosmically speaking- and responsibility for our home, the earth.
The Security of Children in the Extended Family
In Natural human culture the relational language of family identity, that is, what you call mother, father, uncles and aunts is much more diffuse than in the more atomized relationships of civilization. Often all of the mother's sisters are referred to as "mother." The same situation often obtained with the identification of the father. In a broad sense the young are looked upon as children of the tribe.
The task of raising the children was also a diffuse activity. The grandparents often participated more in raising the children than the biological parents. In some cultures the siblings of the parents had responsibilities in instruction of the children in certain areas, just as the "chief" or sometimes the shaman had responsibilities of orating the cultural traditions.
In this diffuse manner of social relationships direct coercive authority was not emphasized. Children when they engaged in disapproved behavior were usually shunned and then rewarded with affection when they engaged in approved behavior. Nonetheless the social situation of children was of a different quality than in modern industrial society families. Children were looked upon differently, they were valued and they performed valued tasks in the family from the time that they could understand. The children's work was appreciated and the children understood that they had a legitimate and needed place. This is a contrast with the situation of children in industrial society that have no more functional purpose than a pet poodle. It is apparent to the youth of industrial society that they have no functional purpose to their families (other than possibly taking out the trash or mowing the lawn). This childhood tends to reinforce the feeling that life is meaningless. Their real legitimacy is as workers in the production system. When they get a job and generate money, then they become legitimate persons and escape their dependency status.
While the teaching of the young in industrial society is done by the mass institutions of television and school, in Natural culture, ordinarily, much energy is devoted to the teaching of young people. As the young people work alongside the adults they learn all of the voluminous skills needed to transform significant items of the Natural environment into human uses. In these cultures children were taught who they are, what it means to be a human and what the nature of humans is. In the book Seven Arrows, Hyemeyohsts Storm kindly shares with us the type of sophisticated teaching that U.S. northern plains culture contained. In this teaching of the Medicine Wheel, the child learns of the foundation of human action; wisdom, innocence, trust, feelings, introspection, illumination and understanding. The possibilities and problems of wars, hate, love, greed, generosity and loneliness are pointed out.22 In the Native American cultures that emphasize the Medicine Wheel as well as many other Natural cultures, voluminous teaching stories exist. Because of the style of life, the adults and youth are together and there is plenty of time for the transmission of human culture through the teaching stories and other means. These functions in Natural culture help the children learn what to expect in life and to learn the meaning of their personal experiences. In modern society this type of teaching is rarely offered a child.
In recreating human culture we will need to consciously create, in the first generation at least, groups of people who can stay together as "family." In the human past many different types of marriage and family arrangements have been created. Today the bulk of the world's people live in some kind of multiple person, marriage arrangement. Unfortunately, at this time most of these exist in patriarchal societies, none the less, group marriage has been common through human history.
Clans will be created, marriages will occur and group marriage should not be ruled out. Many severe social pathologies manifest in the present shrivelled nuclear family. The problems of control, dominance/submission and emotional dependency occur in the nuclear family. In group marriage these patterns cannot so easily endure. Group marriage causes people to be more mature, faces them with the responsibility for their actions in co-equal association where one person cannot control another and one person usually does not develop addictive emotional dependency on one other person.
Awareness is Power
It is not difficult to understand that the interests of our ancestor, the cell, is the same as the interests of each human child, each human adult, the whole of human society, the whole of the ecosystem, the whole of Gaia and the cosmos. To establish more potentiative relationships and to become more conscious of self and other is the standard. For the life-form to rest in the stable diversity of its organic niche, to potentiate that diversity and for conscious awareness to increase- is to gain power. The awareness of what one is and the context one exists in, increases the chances of enduring and increases Being. If all levels are congruent- cell, micro-organism, fish, plant, animal, human, human society, ecosystem and Gaia- then empowerment takes place. In a cosmic context, humans cannot empower themselves at the expense of the other life that supports them. For humans to truly empower themselves they must also empower Gaia.
How is this to be done? It is to be done by establishing human cultural form such that by its "housekeeping" life activities, potentiates the biological life and by its internal dynamics, potentiates that culture itself and the Being of each individual of that culture. The culture must be created so that this effort is inherent in the cultural awareness and dynamics. This is what basing the culture on the simple principles of life means. If the principles are followed, the potentiation of life will flow from that, just as when the principles of the Inversion are followed, ultimate extinction results.
Conditioning is fundamental to the cosmos. Everything is conditioned by other cycles of energy, just as the metabolism of energy of the Sun conditions the life of the earth. Conditioning in the mental realm functions such that when first presented with an idea (such as the erroneous, imperial idea that power is simply the ability to force others or the world to bend to our desires), it is fresh and new, but by the repeated exposure to the idea it is accepted by the intellectual mind and slips below the level of conscious inspection and becomes part of our subconscious "world view." Once this occurs and that idea slips in with other complementary sets of ideas, then we do not consciously think about it- we simply know that it is right. It is through this lens of complementary ideas that we perceive the world and insist that we are seeing "reality."
When the baby mountain lion is born, its conditioning begins to predominate with conditioning from its elders. The baby mountain lion is conditioned with the facts and reality of its identity- what it is and how a being of its nature behaves, what it eats and how it socializes with other mountain lions. A human baby in Natural culture undergoes a similar conditioning with relationship to its nature and to the Natural world. We cannot escape conditioning- but we can become aware of it. As we nurture the children into their birthright, ideally we are providing them with the knowledge and conditioning of their organic identity. This must be the baseline starting point or otherwise the conflict with the cosmic cycles of energy will not allow them to endure. Conditioning into our organic identity will also create the mental image of the principles of life's behavior which organic culture will also follow. Because New culture will exist in a natural, living environment, this becomes the larger context of conditioning. Natural, non-pathological culture is an organic phenomenon. Humans become what they are conditioned to be, according to the ideas and images of the existing culture. Our healing culture needs be patterned on the true organic identity and to provide the image for further creative group development. It needs to convey the image of what the nature of human is, rather than declensing the possibilities of our lives. This needs to include all of our relations and our faculties and abilities, both physical and psychic. We humans who have conscious choice of our cultural form have the opportunity and ability to creatively potentiate our being. Out of the disintegration and crisis on the earth we may awaken enough now to grasp the opportunity to create the new, to create a culture in which the conditioning is conscious and we are conscious of the choice of conditioning.
Our identity is the cosmos, the same as the cell in the liver is us. We are also an interactive part of the solar being, Gaia, the bioregion, the tribe and we are the person of the physical body. While we are a fraction of the culture of our tribe, we are also individuals.
The simple principles of the behavior of life are our path. If we are in those bounds, whatever we do we will be on the path. We will develop relationship, more energy, more being, more unique individual diversity and so forth as we mimic life's pattern of beauty, ecstacy and complexity. This means that we must be severed from the conditioning of empire and its culture. That is not to say that we must fear it but that we need a firm grip on organic reality and a healthy sense of what conditioning itself is.
Certainly the amplification of our being, as taught to the children will begin with our perceptive faculties, our faculties of awareness. Awareness is power, consciousness is power. Our heightened awareness increases our power to endure and to cooperate with the cosmic project of life. The awareness to adapt efficiently to the life of the earth is power. The degree of awareness, increases that ability, that power.
Each of us have the senses of sight, hearing, touch, emotion and intellect that aid us in perception of objective reality (and our internal subjective reality). Each of these senses has a further refinement that is normally atrophied in civilization and not always emphasized in Natural cultures. With the sense of vision, there occurs clairvoyance. With the sense of hearing there is clairaudience (hearing on spiritual planes). With the sense of touch there is the faculty of clairsenscience (hunches of "feeling" of some reality not perceived by the physical senses). There is also the faculty of mental telepathy. There is the capacity of foreknowledge, knowing a thing that will happen before it occurs. There is the faculty of divination, finding answers to questions through non-intellectual means. Associated with this ability is the capacity that can be called dowsing for want of a better English word. This is an extremely important faculty to develop not only for locating the water veins in the earth and understanding one's place in that way but for dowsing many other earth energies in one's place so one begins to understand the functioning of the body of Gaia as a living being.
As the practice of acupuncture allows the practitioner to assist the beneficial movements of energies in the human body, the activities of the geomancer who dowses and understands the Gaian energy flows of her watershed is very important to the activity of integrating human activities with the life of the earth.
This is part of the womb function of culture. The pattern of culture should emphasize the cultivation of these natural abilities of the human tribe.
Communication is Relationship
We who are the life of the earth are increasing our Being. Our nature as humans allows us to amplify and potentiate what now lies dormant, waiting to unfold. Like the unused capacity of our brains, there are other potential abilities that can be cultivated. The clarity and strength of our communication is one of those. Communication is conscious relationship and also energy relationship. Communication at a telepathic level with the other beings we live with will amplify the experience of life. This is a distinct possibility of future cultural creation. The planetary life has put humans, whales, dolphins and elephants in one similar niche. They have great ability to form images and to communicate them. Because of the fold of the frontal lobes of the brain, we species are particularly suited toward complex communication. The little we know about interspecies communication in Natural culture suggests that communication with other species enjoys a long tradition.
Communication between humans on a verbal level uses the tool of language. Language reflects the focus of attention of the culture. In the language of the Inuit of the far north it is said there are more than thirty descriptive words for snow, its different conditions. In the ancient language of the Greeks there were many descriptive words for love, the various qualities of its manifestation. Language- semantics, carries the culture and becomes a tool of thought. In that respect, as we learn languages we learn the cultural nuances. In creating a new cultural form we need create new language appropriate to that cultural perception.
We find that in English as well as many other languages of civilization there is much confusion. In many cases similar sounds mean different things, different word sounds mean the same thing. Language, as we know it, is indistinct. To add to this we are now coming into the age of double-speak in which elites employ psychological operations and media manipulation teams to confuse and disinform the masses.
An example of the type of linguistic pattern that we need has been discovered by John W. Weilgart. Weilgart who had a thorough background in linguistics, psychology and philosophy experienced a revelation. In this revelation the seed ideas of a new type of human language occurred to him. 'aUI' is the name of this language. It is not the type of language that we are accustomed to. Abstract symbols like letters do not denote or connote abstract meanings. Instead there are a set of thirty-one basic symbols that reflect the basic intuitive realities of our existence. These are such things as space, movement, light, human, life, time, matter, sound, feeling, round, equal, inside, quantity, quality and so forth. Out of these basic categories thoughts are put together intuitively and analogically. The symbols for each of these categories is congruent with their meaning such that 'inside' is a circle with a dot inside of it. Feeling is a heart shaped symbol and active is a lightening shaped symbol. Next, Weilgart created the sounds for each symbol so that the sound is intuitively similar to the meaning such that the sound for inside is a guttural sound coming from deep inside the throat. The way that the thoughts are combined can be shown by the abstract thought-meaning-symbol-sound; anticipation. In aUI this becomes fore-feeling and it uses the heart symbol for feeling with the symbol for before in front of it. Weilgart has also created a sign language in which the arms and upper torso form the symbols. This provides an additional level of congruence of meaning for each symbol.
Dr. Richard S. Hanson, Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages at Harvard University says that:
"In discovering aUI, Prof. Weilgart had discovered something of the nature of language in its primitive state and something essential about human communication at its beginning stages. This 'language of space' is not a concocted language like esperanto. It is a rediscovery of the basic categories of human thought and expression.
To semantic theorists this should be most interesting. By working with basic categories of meaning and a simple set of aural and visual symbols for each, Prof. Weilgart has succeeded in making language definitive rather than merely denotive or conative. Basic categories are communicated through single symbols and new concepts are created by merely combining the basic symbols by way of a simple, intuitive logic. The result is language which has the simplicity of archaic speech plus the sophistication of modern thought."23
There are a number of cultures known to modern anthropology that use several languages within the culture. Among the Apaches of Southern New Mexico there existed a "war language" that was only used in expeditions of war. Among other cultures there are known to have been spiritual languages, used primarily for discourse on spiritual subjects. Certainly with the creation of new culture the need for new language exists. The languages of empire carry all of those definitions of reality within it. If we use a pure language that has no emotional connotations connected with it, we will be greatly aided in creating new social reality.
aUI is so intuitive and simple that Weilgart was able to teach it to many different groups. Individuals of these diverse groups such as military servicemen, children of tribal societies, and U.S. school children were able to begin communicating in the language within a few minutes. Weilgart, among other talents, was a professor of psychology. In this capacity he used this language to facilitate communication with people classed as schizophrenic. These people, who ordinarily experience confusion in communication, were able to improve their communication significantly because of the precision and clarity of the language that they learned after a brief introduction.
The Pleasure of Life
One of the ways that the psychology of empire steals individual power is by conditioning them with the sense of their meaninglessness and inferiority, as well as the fear of pleasure. The example of the Judeo-Christian heritage, the Islamic heritage and the Confucian heritage is of the masses learning that they are unworthy, inadequate and as children in need of discipline by the religious hierarchies and the emperor/elite. Christianity particularly, after the first ten centuries of being controlled by the Roman Empire, conditions the people to believe in their "sin," their inadequacy before the Pope and emperor. Christianity historically has emphasized the benefits of suffering and the sin of pleasure. Sin originally meant "missing the mark," that is, not being with God or the transcendental consciousness. Nonetheless the hierarchy brought it around to mean the inadequacy of the "faithful" in adhering to the dictates of the hierarchy. The basic human needs are food, shelter and love. Love is the wholistic feeling of attraction and is an integrative force. It is a holding together. At the same time on a personal level it is also an expansive giving force. While "man the toolmaker" emphasizes Doing to the detriment of the content of life, we need emphasize the fulfillment of life and its pleasurable quality. Love in all its aspects as a communication of energies need be emphasized. There is no reason in our quest for amplified states of Being that we cannot acculturate the enhancement, technique and knowledge of love to a more sophisticated degree than the culture of militarism has carried the strategies of conflict. We are conditioned with the emotional plague that Wilhelm Reich calls the "pleasure anxiety." Our fearful contraction prevents our liberation. The danger of having nothing to do if we stop making machines is not real. Acculturating ways to enhance our enjoyment of life is a pleasurable task and is a legitimate focus of cultural attention. In 1927, the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski brought out his work, Sex and Repression In Savage Society and in 1929 he brought out The Sexual Life of Savages. These books tended to corroborate Wilhelm Reich's findings. Malinowski had the opportunity to live with a cultural group in the South Seas, on the Trobriand Islands, in a culture of relative sexual freedom. In this culture nakedness and sexual activity were accepted as a natural part of life. Children were allowed complete sexual freedom, and, in fact, huts were established for them within the villages for their games and play. The only taboo was incest and this was vigorously enforced. Malinowski reports that:
"The children initiate each other into the mysteries of sexual life in a directly practical manner at a very early age. A premature amorous existence begins among them long before they are able really to carry out the act of sex. They indulge in plays and pastimes in which they satisfy their curiosity concerning the appearance and function of the organs of generation, and incidentally receive, it would seem, a certain amount of positive pleasure. Genital manipulation and such minor perversions (sic) as oral stimulation of the organs are typical forms of this amusement. Small boys and girls are said to be frequently initiated by their somewhat older companions, who allow them to witness their own amorous dalliance. As they are untrammelled by the authority of their elders and unrestrained by any moral code, except that of specific tribal taboo, there is nothing but their degree of curiosity, of ripeness, and of 'temperament' or sensuality, to determine how much or how little they shall indulge in sexual pastimes.
The attitude of the grown-ups and even of the parents toward such infantile indulgence is either that of complete indifference or that of complacency-they find it natural, and do not see why they should scold or interfere."24
Malinowski found the Trobriand Islanders to be free, democratic-minded, and self-governing without compulsion. He found also a freedom from violence, theft and European types of sexual perversion, i.e., sadism, masochism, rape, prostitution, sexual incompetence and inability to respond sexually because of neurotic complications. This certainly is a radically different image of society compared to the one raised by Barbara Tuchman of the Fourteenth Century European social reality. An anthropological study of people living on the Amphlett Islands nearby provides further dramatic contrast.
This group, who's origins Malinowski did not report, with its patriarchal, authoritarian family structure, displayed all the signs of the European neurotic, such as distrust, anxiety, neurosis, perversion and suicide. It is interesting to see that those tribal peoples who have slid into neuroticism, authoritarian culture, and sexual imbalance in the same pattern as the empire culture, also display the same sorts of personal dysfunctions. Although the bulk of the Pleistocene cultural inheritance favors sexual balance, those tribes who, for whatever reason, have become dominated by one sex exclusively, usually patriarchy, show problems just as does the culture of empire. Love and beauty come not by fighting for it but by surrendering to it. Reich suggests that it is the ability to surrender fully in the arms of a loved one that is the primary condition of receiving the beauty of love. A deep sense of psychic security is necessary in order to accomplish this. Nature puts her template upon the flow of Life. She shows that sharing, non-defensiveness, and cooperation are the pattern of health and sanity on the level of cellular sharing, on the level of sexual sharing-and in the spiritual realm, the road to transformation has always been said to be by the route of surrender to the creative spirit of the Cosmos. To let go. To trust the creative Life to provide. To follow the pattern of nature that is created by a higher intelligence is the path to transformation and to psychic security. It lies in following the natural pattern. The path to psychic security, security while living in motion, in transformation, in the flow of a constantly changing world, is not to react defensively against change in a vain attempt to create a static, secure environment, but to surrender, let go on every level and realize that the power of the cosmic intelligence creates, guides and sustains the world. The direction toward wholeness of self, soil and world is to generalize the sexual love from the genital point to the universe through the stages of transformation of life; cellular, self, others, the planet and the cosmos. Life then becomes wholly responsive.
We are faced with a life without a future in civilization, with fear, cynicism- the programmed helplessness- and the social pattern of isolation tugging at us. We are discouraged from forming human community and creating the future. Nonetheless we have the power to do it. That is simple. The key to the power is overcoming our estrangement from others and from the world. If we can trust each other in community, that is the power. Then it can be done. If the materialist can fly around the sky in a tin can, we can certainly create a culture of increasing beauty, awareness, communication between species, cooperation between species, and communication between humans and the larger forms such as Gaia and the beings that are Gaia's neighbors.
Healthy Culture: Glimpses From the Past
The reports of novelists and travellers often give us more of the flavor of encounters with tribal people than dry academic studies. During the period of European colonization encounters were happening around the globe. Some of these "first encounter" reports carry the amazement of the Europeans who were coming from a life in a culture of tension and negative emotion, when they encountered a radically different culture. The contrast between a healthy culture and an unhealthy culture is clear. Herman Melville provides a view of a culture in which positive feelings are prevalent from his book Typee. The Typee, a tribe on the Marquesa Islands, are now an almost vanished group but they were in full flower when Melville visited. About his experience, he says:
"During my whole stay on the island I never witnessed a single quarrel, nor anything that in the slightest degree approached even to a dispute. The natives appeared to form one household, whose members were bound together by the ties of strong affection. The love of kindred I did not so much perceive, for it seemed blended in the general love; and where all were treated as brothers and sisters, it was hard to tell who were actually related to each other by blood. Let it not be supposed that I have overdrawn this picture, I have not done so."
A few early explorers have provided us with insights into the day to day lives and the emotional tenor of other Natural cultures that existed before the complete expansion of the world empire. Explorer Villialm Stefannson, writing in 1908 had the following report after living 13 months with an Eskimo family:
"With their absolute equality of the sexes and perfect freedom of separation, a permanent union of uncongenial persons is wellnigh inconceivable. But if a couple find each other congenial enough to remain married a year or two, divorce becomes exceedingly improbable, and is much rarer among the middle-aged than among us. People of the age of 25 and over are usually very fond of each other, and the family-when once it becomes settled-appears to be on a higher level of affection and mutual consideration than is common among us. In an Eskimo home I have never heard an unpleasant word between a man and his wife, never seen a child punished, nor an old person treated inconsiderately. Yet the household affairs are carried on in an orderly way, and the good behavior of the children is remarked by practically every traveller.
These charming qualities of the Eskimo home may be largely due to their equable disposition and the general fitness of their character for the communal relations; but it seems reasonable to give a portion of the credit to their remarkable social organization; for they live under conditions for which some of our best men are striving-conditions that with our idealists are even yet merely dreams."25
Obviously, not all tribal cultures have arrived at the level of positive cooperation that this report demonstrates of the Eskimos, but we can be sure on the other side of it that few imperial cultures have.
So that we may fix in our minds the fact that it is possible for humans to live on the planet without jails, nuclear war, ecological ruination, valium, and the one-dimensional artificiality of suburban-shopping center culture, let us look at another report from the same area. This report is from the famous arctic explorer Amundsen. He states:
"During the voyage of the Gjoa, we came into contact with ten different Eskimo tribes in all ... and I must state it as my firm conviction that the Eskimo living absolutely isolated from civilization of any kind are undoubtedly the happiest, healthiest, most honorable and most contented among them. It must therefore be the bounded duty of civilized nations who come into contact with the Eskimo to safeguard them against contaminating influences, and by laws and stringent regulations protect them against the many perils and evils of so-called civilization. Unless this is done they will inevitably be ruined.... My sincerest wish for our friends the Nechilli Eskimo is that Civilization may never reach them."26
1 Akwesasne Notes. vol. 16, #6, Winter 1983. "Cosmology As Ecological Analysis: A View From The Rain Forest." G. Reichel-Dolmatoff. pp. 22-25. (Reprinted from The Ecologist, Cornwall, England)
2 Amazonian Cosmos: The Sexual and Religious Symbolism of the Tukano Indians. Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1971. p.50.
3 Akwesasne Notes, op. cit. p. 22.
4 Reichel-Dolmatoff. Amazonian Cosmos. op. cit. p. 243.
5 Akwesasne Notes. op. cit. p.24.
6 ibid. pp. 22-25.
7 The Indian Peoples of Paraguay: Their Plight and Their Prospects. Special Report. Cultural Survival Publications, 53A Church Street, Cambridge, MA. 02138. $2. (contains information on New Tribes Mission capture of Aché Indians in Paraguay and their incarceration and death in a concentration camp).
Fishers of Men or Founders of Empire? The Wycliffe Bible Translators in Latin America. A U.S. Evangelical Mission in the Third World. Published with Zed Press. December 1982. 344 pp. $12.95. available from Cultural Survival at the above address. (contains references to activities of Summer Institute of Linguistics).
Cultural Survival Quarterly. "Health Care Among the Culina, Western Amazonia." Donald K. Pollock. vol. 12, #1, 1988. p.32. (Contains report of Summer Institute of Linguistics selling medicine to Indians- which works to force them into the money economy and assist the campaign against traditional medicine which they identify with "Satanism.")
8 A Basic Call to Consciousness: The Hau de no sau nee Address to the Western World. Geneva, Switzerland. Autumn, 1977. Akwesasne Notes. Mohawk Nation. via Rooseveltown, New York 13683.
9 ibid. p. iii.
10 ibid. p. 18.
11 The Constitution Of The Five Nations or The Iroquois Book of The Great Law. A.C. Parker. Iroqrafts, pub. R.R. #2, Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada. 1984.
12 Society Against The State. Pierre Clastres. Robert Hurley, trans. Mole Editions, Urizen Books. New York. 1977. p. 20.
13 ibid. p. 21.
14 ibid. p. 22.
15 ibid. p. 23.
16 ibid. p. 28.
17 From Enoch To The Dead Sea Scrolls. Edmond Bordeaux Székely. Academy Books, pub. San Diego,CA. 1975. p. 28.
18 ibid. pp. 29,30.
19 ibid. p. 79.
20 ibid. p. 14.
21 Imprints: The Life Long Effects of the Birth Experience. Arthur Janov. Coward-McCann, Inc. New York. 1983. p. 45.
22 Seven Arrows. Hyemeyohsts Storm. Harper & Row. New York. 1972.
23 Cosmic Elements Of Meaning: Symbols of the Spirit's Life. Dr. John W. Weilgart. Cosmic Communication Co., 100 Elm Court, Decorah, Iowa 52101. preface, p. xvii.
24 The Sexual Life of Savages; In North-Western Melanesia. Bronislaw Malinowski. Halcyon House. New York. 1929. pp. 55,56.
25 Civilization Its Cause and Cure and Other Essays. Edward Carpenter. George Allen & Unwin Ltd. pub. London. 1914. p. 81.
26 ibid. p. 82.
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