In our modern, alert times, imagination, if it is considered at all, is considered to be a matter for leisure, play, the arts or is a suspiciously watched activity within research organizations.
This was not so for almost all of human history. For the larger portion of human history, images from imagination gave us meaning, truth, and clarity in a sometimes undeciferable world.
In Part 1 of this essay, I spoke about the prevailing mythology of modern times as that of the warrior culture, glorifying war, expressed as either a conflagration of weapons or as a purely internal struggle, but which is some form of a fight between good and evil.
I think that this is no mistake. We have been mired in a morality play for a few thousand years now, in my opinion. Are we good or bad entities?Do we add value to the universe or are we a scourge that badly needs re-education, reform, and a cosmically directed culling of the herd?
Somewhere, I imagine, as a species we internalized a significant trauma. Somewhere something so horrific was done to the planet and its life forms that the self-aware had little choice but to realign with a new paradigm that jettisoned earlier non-competitive forms of value and meaning.
That or our ancestors thought that they did something so horrific that they could visualize escape from its guilt only by adopting the mythology of struggle against evil.
In any event, in a distant, though still recalled, process, mythologies of fertility, magic, natural alignment, and collectivism were suppressed, even obliterated. Born were individualism, militancy, hyper-alertness, expansionism, a kind of twitchy dissatisfaction with ourselves as a species, and each other as individuals.
This is all written into our sacred texts quite explicitly.
Interesting. I would say that it looks like a massive case of post traumatic stress disorder.
But what is more interesting to me is looking at the relative poverty of our remaining ability to create meaning. Humans used to find great value in their personal relationships to the life-forms of nature. Vitalism animated everything, giving us a way to relate meaningfully to everything.
Once vital essence was removed from nature and representations of nature(idols), we lost the ability to relate positively to it. Once value was relegated to things beyond Earth, things of the Earth (dust) were considered only for their ability to serve our physical needs and comfort.
It is debatable whether we gained a higher moral stature by this. In fact, it appears that we became more willful, less compassionate, and much less sensitive to life force in general, through this change in attitude.
We lost our companions, but also did not find we could include each other in our immediate family. We instead had become obsessed with control, of ourselves, each other, and the natural world.
So look at this reality: we are stuck in a paradigm (good vs evil), looking backward, hoping for atonement. Think this is too dark?
We're definitely steeped in the culture of struggle, avoiding our deepest selves, afraid of truth. Our prophets have told us repeatedly that our eternal survival depends on love, starting with loving one another, but we somehow do not seem to be able to relate to this. It is like the thought keeps bouncing off our collective consciousness.
What can we do about this? Can we relearn how to create rich myths about the mysteries of our lives? Can we even imagine celebrating the bountifulness of our existence? Or are we stuck, world without end, in some tired paradigm of struggle with survival?
Can you imagine peace? Can you touch the source of your being, celebrate the bounty and purpose of your life?
Instead of our almost reflex urge toward comparison, which instantly depletes meaning, changing the subject from intrinsic value to struggle between relative values, can we pause, and appreciate the largely unknown nature of our physical existence?
In our modern, alert times, have we lost the ability to relate to the heart of energy and life?