Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blog 29 Midsummer New Year of Johns Eve 2012
A Wild Apple Tree in Bloom by the Roadside

If we accept the possibility that early humans were more or less exclusively forest dwellers, and that the forest environment is ipso facto guarantor of democracy, it is likely that at first self-sacrifice was a matter of mated birds, mother and father, vis a vis their nest, eggs, and nestlings. We can see this self-sacrificial pattern in small birds, who in mid-summer dash out of the bushes on the side of the road in front of our cars and attempt to divert our attention from the road (and of course their nests in the bushes or grass nearby) to themselves.
As early humans gradually emerged from the forest (whether due to changing climate or human deforestation activity), they increasingly came in contact with other members of homo erectus , which probably increased their self-sacrificial instincts, inadvertently activating intense defensive violence. Because violence is open ended (unless a tribal elder steps in or otherwise interferes in the conflict), it often results in death. In former times, if the conflict was provoked by premeditated aggression and resulted in the death of the unsuspecting victim, reaction could provoke the engagement of all members of the opposing groups. Therefore, it was not unusual for the elders of both tribes to come together, and in order to lessen the damage of a no-holds barred fight, each side chose one male representative to fight it out among themselves only. This solution is very much behind the David and Goliath story . However, beware of illustrations in which David is portrayed holding the head of Goliath . This is obviously a step too far, and the losing side is unlikely to accept David’s skill as a sling thrower and retreat. The renewed fight can well take the lives of many thousands.
In any event, the effort to harness the defensive instinct (of birds and humans), was not only to lessen the number of dead, but hopefully to also consolidate and increase the membership of the group, because conflicts may arise not only among strangers, but among intimates, such as between brothers (Abel and Cain) or parents and children.
Therefore (given human intelligence), the self-sacrificial instinct was not left to the instincts alone, but came to be manipulated by the elders and shamans and priests. What they did, to deduce from no shortage of stories and myths, was to choose the purest form of self-sacrifice, which is death by one’s own will. Of course, self-sacrifice through death is not always the only way to give self-sacrifice. In the following story, the sacrifice is of but one’s finger and a dog.
If the fairytale told through the link continues to  involve a form of self-immolation-mutilation, our time offers a way out of it through the technology of cloning. If we read the fairytale of “Goldenlocks” with care and attention, we will note that prince Goldenlocks merges with the poor shepherd boy who bites off his finger to gain for himself the prince’s clothes. In short, as a result of his self-sacrifice the shepherd becomes a clone of the prince, who (with his life saved) soon becomes the apprentice of a gardener, a job that prepares him to become the ruler of a kingdom.
With human cloning just around our scientific corner and with death still such a difficult event to contemplate and do, cloning permits King Goldenlocks to clone himself into prince Goldenlocks II. When the King reaches the age of a pensioner, he decides to clone himself into his successor. Because in the kingdom of New Jerusalem, the obligatory age of death is eighty-one years (9 x 9 representing a beaker near full, whereas 9 x 10 is a beaker spilling over), the retired King has about ten or so years left to educate his successor by his own self. The education process includes, of course, learning how to write and keep a diary.
This blogger hopes that the reader has noted the close relationship between the fairytale of Prince Goldenlocks with that of King Oedipus Rex another of my series of  blogsays.
This is how in nine generations the self-sacrificial Goldilocks became one of the wisest men on Earth. Also, if not yet immortal, this is as close to it as we are ever going to get.
Blog 28 Midsummer New Year of Johns Eve 2012
At the Heart of a Tree.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Ojars Ozolins (b. 1936) and discuss with him the importance of Johns Days. Ozolins lives with his wife, a retired librarian, near in Kauguri pagasts, near Valmiera. Ozolins interests center on the early days of the Balts, especially from the time of  the stone age. He is author of “Krīvu lāsts” (The Curse of the Krihvs). A review of the work and some insightful comments by Juris Shlesers is available at .
I asked Ozolins to comment on the meaning of Johns and ‘Jāņu bērni’ (Children of Johns) and received the following response (my translation; all text abbreviations are my edits):
“The present meaning of Johns Children has a history all its own. The arch-Indo word for child was ‘bahls’ (bāls-singular) and ‘Bahlji’ (bāliņi-plural).’ The word was in existence also among the ancestors of the Balts, re proto-Indo-Europeans, and can still be found in Kauguru pagasts, Latvija, as the name of a household, re Bahlji (Bāļi); also a nearby railroad station called ‘Bahle’ (Bāle)’ In the early part of the 20th century, one could hear a Johns song:
Līhgo, Johns, lihgo balji,/ Lihgo, lihgo;/ All who await John,/ Lihgo!”
Ozolins comments: “One may conclude from this song, that the ritual of awaiting Johns reflected the fact that the participants were in the process of dividing (splitting) into several factions: the direct descendants of arch-Balts; those who with the arrival of Christianity were given the name Johns; and those who were neither Johns nor bahli, but were awaiting the figure of John reflected among the figures seen in the stars.”
Ozolins devotes eleven pages to the Johns Day ritual in his book “The Curse of the Krihvs” (227-238). Here we discover that Ozolins identifies the figure of John with the constellation of Taurus, the bull (possibly as a fertility figure), who later was suffused with the constellation of Orion, because both figures are adjacent to each other . In this context, John represents the son of God, and, in thist sense, represents the primordial father figure [Cadmus , for example] of a people or nation.
Accoding to Ozolins, the word “Jānīša” (Yahnihsha-a posessive) consists of two words: Yan + ihsha, meaning man or lord (yan) augmented by a suffix “ihsha”, meaning primordial.
Yanihsha brings to mind the Hindu word Ganesha, also consisting of two parts (Gan/ Yan) + esha (ihsha). The Festival of Ganesha Chaturthi in India occurs on the sixth lunar month according to the Hindu calendar and the time of the celebration may vary from year to year, usually in the month of August or September.
The reader will note that Ozolins and my ideas of Johns diverge on a number of issues, which does not necessarily mean that we are in a fundamental disagreement. I surely concur that “The mythical and real became united in the cult of Johns and included the primordial fathers—Johns—of all peoples….” (p. 236) I also suspect that if Ojars Ozolins had access to a personal computer [a removal of taxes on this tool in Latvia would greatly facilitate the distribution of information], a tool that I use extensively, some of his deductions would change, not to say that ours would likely merge.
One point on which we diverge is my insistence on the importance of self-sacrifice in the formation and maintenance of community. (Admittedly, I have not read Ozolins entire work.) To quote from the Preface—to “Violent Origins”, a must read book—written by Robert Hammerton-Kelly: “The essence of religion was [formerly] the Sacred, together with its modes of Manifestation and the forms of human Response to it. Ritual was interesting mainly as a symbolic expression of and ‘participation’ in the Sacred, ritual sacrifice was mainly an embarrassment….”
However, at a time when ‘ritual’ has become identical with violence and war, it is time to forget about misplaced embarrassment. At this time, it is no longer sacrifice (self-sacrifice), but the exercise of war and violence that is the embarrassment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blog 27 Midsummer New Year of Johns Eve 2012

The Saw Cross as a Marker for a Axed Tree

One of the intellectually and morally most important questions facing Latvians is why is it that a people whose total number is less than two million cannot create a goal oriented society and nation among themselves?
I realize that to aim for and get a goal takes determination and long practice. So, let me replace the word ‘goal’ with ‘vision’. Why are Latvians so visionless? Why is it so difficult for Latvians to see ahead?
Another no less important question facing Latvians is why the Latvian Saeima is so supportive of inequality and uncritical of pro neo-liberalism? After all, as emphasized in most of the previous blogs, Latvian geographic history is based on people living in the forest, who, when they emerged from there, become farmers. The typical Latvian farm house in the not so distant past was located in the middle of a squre of trees, evidence that once upon a time the farmhouse started as a ‘sokle’ a clearing in the forest.
While Latvian history records the presence of boyars, large land holders, the boyars were soon replaced by Germanic barons. Both boyars and barons were the equivalent of oligarchs in a landscape populated by small farm households.
A third question belongs to this same cluster of questions, i.e., why is the Latvian information media mute as to the above two questions? Why does the arm of the Latvian government lie so heavily on the shoulders of the Latvian media as the following article contends:
In so far as the above questions are rhetorical, they all arise from the central question asked in my previous blogs and is the central theme of this blogesay—Why is self-sacrifice among those who belong to the Latvian government lacking, but is so incessantly demanded by the government of the Latvian people?
Let us start off with the question about ‘vision’. As the following shows, visualizing the future today has been reduced to ‘visual analytics’ . This is all about data streaming out of a given system, but it has little to do with human beings, who are never central.
However, what Latvia needs is, let us be frank, a Copernicus—an individual or team of individuals who can bypass the analytical and political jungles, both; and see that the future is not flat, but in every sense very different from the present given system.
This takes lots of imagination and redundancy, because imagination needs to be assimilated before it can turn itself into a projection. Take for example my insistence that the future has more to do with the horse than space travel. For me the horse is not horsepower in the sense of how much work an engine may do, but how well a gelding may draw my wagon. [When I was very young, I had my hair cut by a barber, who saved hair to make horse collars.] I see the horse draw, at best, a plow with two knives, not ten or more as my neighbor’s tractor does now. In the former world (as well as the one to come), the countryside has many people, whereas the latter has seasonal foreign workers.
In my projection of the future, I see less inequality, whereas visual analytics sees, more than likely, cheaper labor and greater disparity in individual income. Indeed, in a reforested environment, my projection enables one to visualize a society with more democracy, whereas great income disparity is just a hair’s breadth from a picture that shows a clerk bowing to the baron .
When visualization cannot get past visual analytics, one may be sure that democracy for all is blocked by a democracy for relatively few, which is the very definition of a ‘parliamentary’  democracy. Moreover, a democracy for a relatively few will attempt to block democracy by attempting to control the information media and down talk populism , because the public at large knows in its animal gut that it is being lied to.
Indeed, this ‘lie’ is at the root of the Latvian tragedy and mystery: why there were so few Latvians who overtly resisted the Bolsheviks , when the Soviet army arrived in Latvia and let the country’s leadership be decapitated , so to speak.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blog 26 Midsummer New Year of Johns Eve 2012
Lilacs, Leaves, and Sky.
The most difficult of issue in our times is to imagine a return of self-sacrifice as a social practice.
How is this to be accomplished after two hundred years of confidently irresponsible action by those who (following the Arab scientists, the medieval alchemists, Bacon, Paracelsus, Descartes, Leibniz) believed that “…man had reached the point at which he could be confident of his progressive ability to control nature”? (--Clarence Glacken, Preface to “Traces….”) Are we not at the point at which most everyone recognizes the disaster brought by overconfidence, as Peter Bruegel the Elder did when painting (16th c.) the Fall of Icarus?  
A realistic interpretation of Icarus’ fate is the sight of his leg (port and stern of the sailing ship) sticking out of the water. It is evidence beyond doubt that he is drowning and can no longer be rescued.
Icarus father , Daedalus (were he able to predict the consequences of his son’s overconfidence), would have had no other choice than to warn his son by not offering advice not to fly too close to the sun, but by self-sacrificing himself. Only by giving his life as evidence of the seriousness of his word as to the consequences, could Daedalus perhaps have avoided his son growing up overconfident and careless.
The situation of humankind vis a viss the planet Earth runs a close, yet even worse parallel to the fate of Icarus. If Icarus were to fall today, Bruegel would have him fall into the plastic vortex in the middle of the Pacific Ocean .
In spite of the dire circumstances of our planet, is self-sacrifice an extreme counteraction? At other times and other places, I have called self-sacrifice a ‘not-violent’ act (see Esos’s Chronicles). Unfortunately, Judaism and Western Christianity has for a thousand years been preaching otherwise. Christianity’s first example of ‘suicide’ is by way of projecting it as the deserved fate of a traitor, Judas , the other example is the refusal of Western religions to offer suicides a burial place in the churchyard.
The harsh opinion cast by many religions on ‘suicide’, has prevented our ‘civilization’ from contemplating the role of self-sacrifice as a serious tool by humankind in assuring a stable, egalitarian, and nature respecting society.
In spite of the censure, there are many examples when society has welcomed self-sacrificial acts by individuals as occasions for a given society’s awakening and rebirth. This generally occurs when some student, protesting oppression, commits “suicide”, as for example, the death of Romas Kalanta  in Lithuania under Soviet rule. However, when Ādolfs Buķis did the same (1993) in post-Soviet Latvia to protest Latvian government corruption and allegedly named a several persons who believed to be guilty, he was called mentally unstable, and the promised police investigation never occurred.
Needless to say, ‘suicide’ is today closely linked to ‘terrorists’, because in the presence of a repressive attitude, it is impossible to engage in discussing the subject, whether in theological circles, let alone in the public media. Suicide is also used by governments in ‘false flag’ operations , because it enables these to further repress self-sacrifice by calling it a terrorist operation.
There is no doubt, that as long as ‘suicide’—be it out of the individual’s desire to self-sacrifice him- or herself or because of hate against whoever the individual may believe to be his or society’s enemy—the taking of innocent lives is an act contra the interests of self sacrifice. Indeed, if there were not evidence from the long ago that self-sacrifice also acts as a community creating and maintaining event, the evidence for it today would be wholly negative.
Thus, for self-sacrifice to return as a socially accepted practice, it will require the event to occur not as an event with political ends, but as an event arising out of the unconscious.
This, indeed, has begun to happen, if we take into consideration military and civilian ‘suicides’ (see blog 25), which cannot exclude the possibility of being the result of an over-virtualized man-made society or, for that matter, the intervention of the Will of God to release humankind from a man-made prison.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blog 25 Midsummer New Year of Johns Eve 2012
A Young Oak Tree
The reader of my blogs is be familiar with my insistence that Latvians are not of a peasant extraction, but are a forest people deprived of forests by their own and foreign born robber barons. Quite often the people react with a certain amount of incredulity. Hmm, what about the book “Straumeni” by Edvarts Virza ?
True enough. When I was not yet ten years old, I had managed to read the book and was hugely enthusiastic about it. With similar enthusiasm coming from my school teachers at Ergli elementary school, there was a period, when I wrote my essays (“domu raksti”) in Virzaesque sentences: they were long with words as if falling out of a basket known as cornucopia. I usually received the highest mark, a 5. I was too young to know that Virza was describing the Latvian countryside of the 1880s, because it seemed to be the same in 1942.
Since I was earning my keep at my aunt’s farm as a cow herd, and the brook Naruzhina was but a stone’s throw from the grazing fields, I was in the middle of romantic peasant countryside. Every time I turned a stone in the brook, there was almost always a surprised crayfish under it. Some were the almost the size of a one-pound lobster, well, make it half a pound. If I was not quick about it, the crustacean would make a dash for the root covered shore line and try hide in a hole among roots there.  The brook ran through a “grava”, about twenty meters (yards) deep and a hundred to two hundred meters wide forest covered ancient ravine—sometimes through a pine forest, sometimes through hazel brush, and when I followed it far enough, it ended  at an old fashioned dam with an old fashioned waterwheel made of wood, but no longer turning.
Seventy years ago, one hardly ever saw an automobile in Latvia, except at harvest time when the old steam locomotive  came chugging up the country road, and a couple of horses pulled the cultivator behind it. The automobile came along with WW2, even though my father was well enough off to own a Chrysler that leaked enough gasoline to make me carsick almost every time it took me on a visit to grandfather’s home in Kurzeme (Kurland).
My obsession with Latvian forests came when I started reading books about old Europe and the relationship between nature and culture (re: “Landscame & Memory” by Simon Schama and “Traces on the Rhodian Shore” by Clarence Glacken), and how, for example, it took three months to get from France to Poland or beyond, and that the Baltic shoreline or travel by boat was actually the only way to get around Old Europe. It was then that remembrances of earlier unnoted country scenes returned to mind. The same old ravine that Naruzhina flowed through had spruce trees with trunks the size of an arm chair. Of course, the loss of tree cover was not only a Latvian problem. When some ten years ago, I went to visit Esslingen, Germany, the town and displaced persons camp that I spent nearly three post-war years in, had lost all of the forests that had covered the southern shore of the Neckar River Valley. A Mercedes Benz car factory had replaced the old camp site and the forests (granted, not large) where I ran my first 4 km marathon, and in an effort to get my “historian” badge as a Boy Scout, searched the surround for ruins left from Roman times.
As the airplane neared Stuttgart, and I looked to see the once so familiar landscape of the Neckar, I was amazed how—in spite of the vineyards still on the sunny side of the river—overbuilt it had become.
My interest in forests has a lot to do with seeing how the urban environment and Information Technology (IT) saturated environment of our day is unable to maintain democracy , and how propaganda-cream filled democracy had become.
To return to Virza ; of the quotes at the link, the one that strikes me particularly relevant is the following:  “Mūsu mazais skaits mums jāatvieto ar lielām īpašībām.” Translated: We need to make use of our small numbers by becoming exceptionally unique.
So, Question: What is unique about Latvians? Answer: Nothing really, but for the curiosity of Midsummer New Year and Johns Days, which for all the banality of Latvia’s politicians and desperate poverty of Latvia’s citizens, remains a day, when Latvians seem not to mind being called Jāņu bērni (Children of Johns).
The Sanscrit word for young, ‘jauns’ in Latvian, is yuvan. Thus, my educated guess is that Children of Johns may translate as born again children, born again on the Eve of Johns.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blog 24 Midsummer New Year of Johns Eve 2012
The Eye of a Sawn Off Limb.
Will the “miracles” of the secular age never cease? Yesterday (June 24, 2012), browsing the Internet, I came across the following item:
Washington—Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday promised a new focus on suicide prevention by military leaders, not just to benefit troops and veterans, but also the country as a whole.
The article appeared in the Stars and Stripes. Quoth the Stars and Stripes on behalf of the Defense Secretary:
“’My long term goal is for the Department of Defense to be a game-changing innovator in this field,’” he said during remarks at an annual interagency suicide prevention conference. ’Just as we helped foster the jet age, the space age and the Internet, I want us to break new ground in understanding the human mind.” Panetta:
What I find remarkable about Panetta’s comments is his presumption that having mentioned three earlier “miracles” by the Department of Defense  (the “we” of the Defense Secretary), he is about to “break new ground” in understanding the human mind” as a fourth “miracle”.
It is no doubt a coincidence that in a series of blogs in which I try to explain the rise of Western Christianity by way of Christianity having been usurped by a Western coup d’etad, just as I am about to close the series, there appears one from the West, who will engineer an “understanding [of] the human mind.” No lesser man, than the Pope of American Defense Leon Panetta, is prepared, through profound meditation, to gain an “understanding of the human mind.”
I could not have been presented with a more perfect example of American Christian hubris. I bet no American Christian will take a note of it, because it is such a habit of this—as some say—“Christian nation” to collaborate with secular princes, oligarchs, corporate CEOs, ministers of state, state secretaries, et al.
As the article notes, the suicide rate among American military service men and woman is increasing. Altogether some 10.3 million Americans last year are said to have tried it. The authorities are baffled why such suicides should also be increasing among the military, who have never participated directly in bloody military combat.
To give the Defence Secretary a helping hand, I would, first, suggest that he check out whether the suicide rate in a modern army does not have something to do with urban naiveté propagated by doctrinaire imaging presented and made universal by corporate  advertising, and whether the virtual nature of life in a city built of concrete, glass, and plaster board when nthed  by the sterility of barracks life is not, by itself, an intolerable form of death.
Secondly, Panetta ought to check out whether what he calls ‘suicide’ may not have something to do with self-sacrifice—as difficult as it may be for him to imagine this. What I have in mind is that ever since the repression of Eastern Christianity and petrification of self=sacrifice into sacrifice and suicide, a military ‘suicide’ is denied the right to imagine his-her death in terms of self-sacrifice. After all, how is one to justify suicide as an act of protest against the Terminator of terrorism?
Nevertheless, such a justification may be imagined. It results from having a President who can name anyone a terrorist, and all military men and women unavoidably become the executors of the Terminator’s Will.
Let me presume that the President of Latvia decides to  call me a ‘terrorist’ and the military is asked to remove my presence from Latvia. Are the military then not the executors of a President’s will, and thereby take on the role of legitimized sacrificers sent to get me?
Which makes me wonder, whether the individual or team of individuals who receive the order to execute me are not actually priests of Templo Mayor (re Pentagon-NATO) , but must remain unaware of the Lacanian role  assigned them by NATO psychologists?
In other words, the current plague of suicides in the military is a radical form of unconscious or Lacanian protest by X (re: a female praying mantis, see above link, facing you wearing a mask of an Aztec priest) against a government attempting to exploit human kind?.
Are not the young men and women who take their lives while serving their country committing suicide because they are made of such a ‘human mind’ (as assigned them by Panetta) as does not know the difference between suicide and self-sacrifice? Which is why they are not really committing suicide, but self-sacrificing themselves?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blog 23 Midsummer New Year of Johns Eve 2012
The Weaver of the Crown and the Crowned.
The Catholic or universal  lie, both, over history and Christian ideology is clearly notable in George Hayman’s book “The Power of Sacrifice” (see blog 22) as that book’s author attempts to explain the meaning of the “body of Christ” and “living sacrifice”.
The execution and subsequent valorization of Jesus does not find a “pivotal place… in Letters to the Hebrews .” According to Hayman: given the Letter’s understanding: “”…. There was no need for sacrificial repetition, since Jesus’’ death accomplished once and for all the reconciliation between God and humanity that the High Priest had to ritualize each year. One of the underlying assumptions generated by Hebrews is that the sacrificial system of Israel really worked, but that the offering of Jesus has now superceded it.”
All of that may be true if it does not occur to us or if we deliberately overlook the probability that the ‘assumption’ does not originate with early Christians, but with apologists for secularism. For example, the assumption by Paul (1 Cor. 5-7): “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed” (i.e., it needs no repetition) or (Romans ) that Jesus’ death effected an atonement or “expiation by his blood”.
This is to say, Let us do away with all kinds of sacrifice and be as we are; our sins have been forgiven; let us ask for forgiveness after we have done what we have done.
This accurately describes our world today: having taken no care to think forward, there are about five  billion people too many on our planet; the privatization has taken over all corners of Earth and therewith taken “the good news” with it. Even the Pope in Rome is beginning to take note that his forebears gave all his powers away to corporations by way of his predatory spiritual predecessors, most of who were brothers or cousins of secular kings.
No sacrifice and all sins expiated by one man’s blood, symbolically smeared to cover everyone as if to make them responsible, at the same time one man in America presumes to call anyone in the world that he chooses a “terrorist”, and tanks make practice maneuvers on America’s city streets The consequences of Paul’s betrayal of Eastern Christendom on behalf of the Roman elite of the West, and the subsequent campaigns by the Crusaders and the Inquisition is what has got us where we are today. The skeptic may remember that Paul is none other than Saul of Tarsus , who did not have a personal conversion by way of a vision on the road to Dsmascus. Paul’s vision is as much propaganda fabrication as the forced conversion of the Christian East to Roman thinking. The widespread presence of Germans throughout the European East is due to Western Catholic control.
The capture of the East by the West was not only by way of Crusades, but also by way of secret services of the West: the priests of newly established Rome in Italy. Anatoly Fomenko in the 1st volume of “History: Fiction or Science?” argues (p. 356) that Rome was founded in the West about the late 13th and early 14th centuries. He writes: “The foundation of Rome = Constantinople, later called the New Rome, thus became split in two: chronologically and geographically.” According to Fomenko, the renaming of Constantinople as New Rome is due to a yet older Rome, being moved from Alexandria, Egypt to the Bosphorus, not from Italy, where Rome did not exist at that time.
If the readers remember Robert Graves’ opinion (blog 20) that poets used to be  coders and decoders of sacred names, they will be able to guess that there was also an agreement on a code of honor that the decoding of a secret by whoever  enabled the whoever to seize an opponent’s property without a bloody fight. However, as far as Western Christians are concerned, might and violent sacrifice over self-sacrifice continue to make might right. Therefore, the ‘miracle’ or supra-riddle, in place of honesty, had Saul (on his way to Damascus) overpower the incredulous through a miracle. Not unlike his violent persecution of Eastern Christians, Saul’s ‘change of mind’ comes violently, that is, unbelievably. Paradoxically, in Latvia, Johns Day is often called a “mistehriya”, which is described as “fertility, productivity, and light” (Chairwoman Aboltina of the Latvian Saeima), but leaves out “self-sacrifice”. Alas, Latvians are still unable to guess the missing word and have the banks undo them from being sovereign people.