Category: Mythic Quest
Last Updated: May 2011
And so is the Golden City blackened
With each step you take in my Hall.
Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting.
You have brought Sin to Heaven
And doom upon all the world.
- Threnodies 8:13
(Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare)
If we take the view that many of our species' problems
are compounded, if not caused, by the excessive misuse of 'language'
then it would follow that at some point in the history of the human race
- specifically before the invention of abstract verbal labels -
this problem would not have existed:
and that the mind-set of the Mystic and the Genius
would have been 'normal'
- the experience of everyone.
We might wonder if some of the earlier myths and legends
communicated some kind of understanding or awareness of this
verbalising process seen as it was occuring -
appearing perhaps as either a 'fall from grace'
or an attempt to recreate that 'golden age.'
This page is a short collection of some of the more intriguing.
I do this mainly out of interest and as an occasional source of inspiration -
at the risk of blowing my chances at being the next Von Däniken and
selling loads of books for mega-$$$, I should say that
none of this actually proves anything.
Okay so the original Hebrew of the Old Testament is open to interpretation. So?
We can speculate, but we'll never know for sure the precise nuances of
what the original writers were trying to convey.
The same goes for all of these notes.
Places of sparkling brightness and opulence,
bigger, brighter, more vibrant and more intense
in colour, taste and aroma.... Such are the descriptions of
these mysterious and magical otherwordly locations.
At one point in time, this 'Fairyland'
was seen as being almost coterminous with mundane, normal
reality. Anyone could venture into Fairyland
by accident - it might always be 'just around the next corner' -
and some individuals like Bards and Prophets were
believed to be able to move into the 'Otherworld' at will
But as time passed the link between 'our world' and this other
grew increasingly tenuous, now relying on a handful of doorways
which open once in a blue moon. The inhabitants of Fairyland
were also affected -
growing physically more diminuitive through the ages.
It's a good bet that our idea of 'Fairyland' is all that's left
of very old memories of how Humanity saw the world before the
abstract-verbal reality-tunnel took hold -
and that the Sidhe / Alvar inhabitants of these realms were
actually the last outposts of Humans that were resisting this
new reality tunnel.
Maybe it's not so much that they disliked iron as
intensely disliked iron age humanity.
Many of the descriptions of these Otherworlds are
recognisably similar to what happens to the quality of perception
after extended mindfulness practice, and the book Creative Intelligence
discusses the non-verbal / creative inspiration link thoroughly.
Presumably both the
distancing of the Otherworld and the 'shrinking' of its inhabitants
would have directly mirrored the increasing verbalisation of our culture.
In the Beginning was the Word, and apparently this 'Word'
created the Universe.
One of the Ancient Egyptian 'creation myths' associated with Atum has the
Universe being created using a 'sexual' metaphor - which might make more
sense but it's a rarity.
Ra 'creates the Universe' by naming the different parts
and Thoth, inventor of the Written Word, is also sometimes referred
to as a Universe Creator.
In light of what we now know, about the effect of excessive
pro-verbal conditioning on perception,
we might ask which Universe?
Because words have indeed 'created a universe' - the intellectual / verbal /
cultural / daydreaming universe that people become conditioned to inhabit.
Throughout Europe there are huge numbers of big blocks of rock
placed on their end into the ground by the indigenous peoples. They have been
variously dated back to about 3,000 to 2,000 BCE.
So far there is no concensus regarding any actual 'purpose' behind these objects
beyond 'having some kind of ritual significance.'
Sure, many of them do appear to be nicely lined up to allow the
monitoring of solar cycles,
but you don't need 60 tons of rock just to know when the Summer Equinox
will be due.
So what are they all about?
One thing I can tell you is that if someone asked me to
create a cheap, low-tech way of keeping people
'anchored' in the here and now
then I would get a load of big rocks, drop them into the ground
and get people to use them to practise their 'tactile mindfulness'.
It would be interesting to find out if the earliest Standing Stones
were only put up in flatland areas - i.e. places with no nearby
natural (e.g. cliffs) or anything which could act as
metaphors for stability (e.g. mountains, even large trees)
- unfortunately these sites are notoriously difficult to date.
It might also be useful to 'cross-index' these sites with the rise
of 'specialisations' in society that may have been increasingly
Farming, hunting and foraging all require intensive visual/physical
attention which would help people stay 'in the now', whereas people
in other professions might need a little more help.
The Old Babylonian Creation Myth also makes for an interesting
metaphor for the ascendancy of the verbal-intellectual part of
the mind, as a race of 'new gods' anger the 'older gods' with their
incessant clamour, in much the same way as the subconscious might
resent the endless
chattering monologue that passes for
'normal' consciousness nowadays.
The old gods, lead by Tiamat, decide to wipe out the newcomers,
but from the 'new gods' comes a champion, Marduk, who
single-handedly defeats everything the older gods can throw at him.
The battle culminates with Marduk chopping up Tiamat into
various bits from which he 'creates the Universe'. The
holistic 'experience' of subconscious perception has been destroyed,
replaced by a collection of
individual elements that have been 'recognised' and 'understood',
illustrating the perceptual habits of the verbal-intellectual
What would it take to achieve a reconciliation between
Marduk and Tiamat? What form would this reconciliation take,
and how radically could it improve our thinking and perception?
I guess you probably know the story:
some peeps decide to build a Tower that will reach up to Heaven but
the local super-deity takes umbrage at this attempt at
mega-engineering and makes everyone speak different languages.
Nobody can understand each other any more so the Tower is
Intriguingly, limitations in our ability to understand
some of the original Hebrew means that this
is just one possible version of the story.
'language' in the story is inexplicably described as being both
singular (one language) and plural (many languages) at the same time -
not 'one language, then many languages' but one and many.
Now if you've been studying and practising the material in the
Language and Communication
article then maybe you've already noticed that whilst
people might be communicating using the same language,
sometimes the disastrous misunderstandings make
it seem like they're using different languages.
The language is singular, but also suddenly plural as well -
the same and also different.
Additionally, if this 'Tower' was a reference to the
Ziggurats then quite possibly
the purpose of the Tower was not to climb up to Heaven but as a
platform to transform the Earth by drawing down some form of Heavenly
essence / inspiration.
Maybe the 'Tower of Babel' story is about the collapse
of a Babylonian version of a Gateway to a stellar Fairyland.
(There is also a possibility that 'Babel' translates as
'Gate of God'...)
The actual concept of non-verbally identifying / modelling the
'quintessence' of the Heavens has been lost as the human race becomes
increasingly enamoured by the verbal-intellectual reality-tunnel.
The StarGate is gone, with only misunderstandings and confusion in its place.
One slightly concerning question that this raises is
how come a supposedly benevolent super-deity wants to sabotage
our attempts to evolve and develop ourselves?
Some of the early 'Gnostic' groups had the idea that the Bible was actually
referring to two different super-deities.
The New Testament tells us about the 'Good' deity
but the Old Testament mainly documents the mis-adventures of some kind of
'deity of illusion / entrapment'...
Just in case that wasn't controversial enough they then
claimed that the Roman Catholic Church worshipped the 'bad' deity...
Now if only a Renaissance artist had encoded all this into a
painting we could write a bestseller.
The King was considered to be an Earthly incarnation of some
Divine Power watching over the Realm of Humans.
At face value this sounds the same as the concepts
of self-identification / modelling and many of the other
thought-experiments involving belief / self-fulfilling prophecy
that we are familiar with...
So the Ancient Egyptians did appear to be engaged in an
attempt to harness 'the power of belief' to create divinely-inspired rulers.
Was this deliberate? Accidental? Or just a thinly-veiled excuse
for a dictatorship? We will (probably) never know for sure.
Also of interest is that the Ancient Egyptians may have been aware
of some of the problems inherent in language
as all their words for any 'abstract concepts' are clearly labelled to
differentiate them from words about 'day to day' objects.
In other words, the Ancient Egyptians seem to have recognised
and dealt with 'nominalizations' several thousand years before
Western Civilization even noticed them.
Whether this was purely an accidental side-effect of their writing style
or a result of actual insight into psycho-linguistics, who knows.