The laws of thought in so-called “modern society” come from the Civilizations of Fire which are 2,500 years old. Now, it is perhaps time that these were replaced with other thoughts which would help us restore balance.
The civilizations of Fire are mainly located north of the Tropic of Cancer in some of the coldest regions of the planet. These lands were completely frozen during the last Ice Age. As the glaciers melted, their ancestors began to occupy them again. Here they found lands without a history, whose vibrant imprint was formed by thousands of years under ice. It provided them with virgin territory, on which they could establish a new society without ties to the past. Because of the cold, those who did venture to live in these lands began to express the element of Fire through their enterprising character and constant dynamism as well as through their desire to modify their surroundings, perceived as hostile. They also gained the ability to make medium-term predictions so that winter would not take them by surprise. This led to the concept of laziness to be expressed not as a lack of activity, but as uncontrolled activity to avoid confronting the most important matters.
Cultures and civilizations in which the element of Fire prevails tend to interpret God as an individual entity, often relating it to the sun and its symbolically yearly death during the longest night or the winter solstice. Having died, he remains in this state for three days, to then be reborn on the morning of the 25 of December, when our planet turns once again towards the equator. They call their God Sire or Father, as he is seen as male, offering paternal love and authority. He is their commander, thus he directs and governs them. This means that their spirituality is constantly bound up with politics. Their God is also related to light as opposed to darkness. They see themselves as under the influence of this light and others to be in darkness. Although their God is omnipresent, he is never seen to be anything but good; thus, evil is reflected in the divinity of others.
The tendency for spirituality and politics to be seen as inseparable has led to the existential search for one’s connection with the Whole becoming an act of faith and a means of dominance. This is how the search was transformed into religion: organized spirituality had the aim of uniting a group of people so that they were able to carry out a joint venture. As the original aim of their religion, finding the meaning of life, began to be forgotten, a new pathway of knowledge became necessary, which they called Science. Rather than complementing each other, Science and Religion were developed in opposition to each other, creating a conflict which still exists to this day.
Those that pursued Science tried, at the outset, to keep it free from dogma. Dogma is a belief that is considered certain and so cannot be put in doubt by debate. They also sought to keep Science separate from politics and to keep it away from market forces. They didn’t want Science to go the same way as religion: based on leaps of faith and becoming a way of wielding power. But Science has gradually become more and more dogmatic, influenced by politics and increasingly bound up with the God of Commerce.
At their outset neither Commerce nor Science were Gods, but, since their religious God had been denied, people began to worship them. As it was their tendency to believe in one guiding principle and one governing principle only, Science became the guiding principle and Economics the governing one. This led to Science affirming the existence of an ‘initial uniqueness’, a unique principle which everything comes from and relates to. Meanwhile, Commerce was believed to be ruled by an ‘invisible hand’ which could control everything and could even magically transform greed into goodness. From the combination of both of these gods, Technology has been generated, which is the God that rules now.
It is clear that faith in Science does not differ much from the faith in religion of previous times. As the origin of religion was unique and homogenous, this uniqueness has become indefinable : impossible to describe in words, or to be understood by the intellect. The intellect needs at least two principles to define the relationship between the two of them, its states of equilibrium and how to achieve them and its states of disequilibrium and how to avoid them.
In the God of Commerce two principles were also identified: supply and demand. Later, the ideal model of balance was created and called perfect competition, where when many compete, everyone is forced to sell at a lower price. Certain entities, inspired by their religious organisations, were given personalities, but their intention was no longer to maximize communication but to maximize financial profit. The problem lies in that the maximization of profit is not achieved by perfect competition but by the monopoly and vertical integration of markets. This is why these organizations are constantly growing larger and destroying each other, as well as destroying the natural environment and the legacy of our children.
As they only had one major principle, laws of thought were needed for this indefinable concept to be rationalised. In this way, their beliefs could be transformed into truths that did not need to be proven. The laws of thought used by Fire civilizations come from Aristotle.
Ten dogmatic proposals
Given these three laws of thought, the following step was to identify ten proposals which would help give them credence until they were believed to be true, elevating them to the position of dogmatic knowledge. The ten beliefs are
1. Time is linear, with a beginning and an end. This creates the illusion of ‘constant progress’, as well as the fear of death and the end of the world, which we always perceive to be around the corner.
The counter-proposal is that time is spiral, with the immediate future seen as similar to the distant past. For example, in the Andean civilization, in which the element Earth predominates rather than Fire, the past is considered to be ahead of the future. This is not so through nostalgia as a way of returning to the past, which happens more frequently in cultures and civilizations in which the predominant element is Water. This is so for us to aknowledge that the immediate future repeats patterns from the distant past. Watching and remembering this past helps us know what the future will bring.
2. Space is external, discontinuous and without substance. It creates the illusion of ‘objectivity’, of an external reality to ourselves, which we can observe without affecting it in any way.
The counterproposal is the perception of space as internal, continuous and with substance.
Internal means that space does not contain us but that we can contain it. It therefore loses any claim to objectivity. Quantum physics is beginning to understand space in such a way. An example of this is the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat. However, the classic interpretation continues to be that the perception of space is external to the observer.
Continuity implies an interconnection between everything, so that nothing exists in isolation from anything else. Quantum physics is also beginning to understand space in this way. An example of this is Cooper’s experiment, in which two electrons are bound together so that changes in one cause immediate changes in the other, independently of the distance between them. Therefore, there is something that connects them which has an immediate effect.
Substance implies that space is a subtle expression of matter rather than of emptiness. Quantum physics is beginning to understand space in this way too. For example, in 1921, when Einstein was asked to explain his theory of relativity in one sentence, he replied: “Before my theory of relativity was common knowledge, most people thought that if all objects in the universe were removed, time and space would remain the same. But according to my theory, if we removed all matter from the universe, we would take both time and space with us” [The New York Times, April 4th 1921 p.5. Cited by: Illy, József “Albert meets America:how journalists treated genius during Einstein’s 1921 travels” 2006 JHU Press pg.43]
The Far East and first settlers have both always perceived space as internal, continuous and with substance. In Eastern civilizations is the element Air which predominates and in the first settlers cultures is the element Earth, both static elements compared to Water and Fire which are dynamic.
3. The essence of something can be abstracted. This leads to the reduction of everything into patterns, which are then taken as reality
The counterproposal would be a language that described nature by observing and understanding it instead of by abstracting it. This is how the languages of the original inhabitants have developed. They tend to have different words for each variation, for example, fifty words to talk about different types of leaves. Western languages tend towards abstraction, with few nouns to talk about the natural world (e.g. leaf). Description is made by means of adjectives that are applicable to everything, whether they are naturally occurring eg (a big leaf), man-made (a big car), emotional (a great love), or dimensional (high altitude) and so on.
4. Anything intangible is an illusion. This creates the illusion that only the things we can see are real and the invisible, or what we do not see, is imaginary, even if others see them.
The counterproposal is not to make a distinction between illusion and reality, as reality is subjective, as seen by the observer. Thus dreams become as real as the reality of people who are awake. This is how it was seen by the original settlers. For that reason, their languages do not tend to have adjectives to describe things as unreal, imaginary, fictitious or illusory as everything is considered real.
5. Everything is mechanical and quantifiable. This leads to an interpretation of the universe as a huge machine, whose parts can be manipulated and whose results can be measured.
The counter-proposal would be to see everything as conscious, from the smallest particle to the whole universe. This is how it was seen by the original settlers. However, science still analyses everything as if it were machines and looks for consciousness only in a specific part of the brain. When a scientist proposes, for example, that our planet is a conscious being, it must be called a hypothesis, as, for example, the Gaia hypothesis.
6. Homogeneity arises from union. This leads us to consider heterogeneity as a source of conflict, causing cultural inbreeding arising from the rejection of anything different.
The counter-proposal would be the recognition that union is only possible where there is complementarity. This requires diversity, since similarity can never be complementary. This is how the original settlers saw union, as resulting from differences not similarities.
7. Duality can be separated. This leads us to the belief that we are free of darkness. We project it onto others and fight against it in them so that we are not required to recognize it in ourselves. In this way, we also perceive duality as something that can be separated, instead of realising that there can be two sides to the same coin.
The counterproposal is to realize that duality cannot be separated. The original settlers knew this; thus, their languages do not separate the adjective ‘bad’ from that of ‘good’ nor do they treat space as separate from time.
In the field of psychology, writers such as the Swiss Carl Jung have assisted us in being able to recognize the shadow it in ourselves rather than projecting it to others. This is the only way to transcend.
In Science, there is an emerging understanding of other dualities that were seen as separate before, such as time – space, matter – energy and conscious movement- forced movement.
8. Nature is hierarchical. This leads to an anthropocentric view of reality, in which we, as human beings, are above all other living creatures in the hierarchy, and some human beings are ranked above others.
The counterproposal is to perceive nature as a network of interrelations and we are being part of it. We cannot survive if we are separated from it and even less so if we place ourselves above it. This is the perception of the original settlers which science is now beginning to understand, for example, in the theory of chaos. However, there is still a long way to go. We will know this understanding has been fully reached when, in this apparent chaos, order can be detected.
9. Evolution is competition. This creates a society ruled by a never-ending struggle for the survival of the fittest, denying the collaboration and symbiosis which predominate in the natural world.
The counter-proposal is to see evolution, not as the consequence of struggle, but of collaboration and symbiosis. A struggle is perhaps evident at the beginning, but not for one to win and another to lose, but for the winner to pass on their genes. This initial fight takes place so that both can harmonize their forces, and learn to collaborate, thus allowing evolution. This is how it was seen by the original settlers.
10. Maximisation is good. This belief prevents us from following the example of nature which is to optimise. It, encourages maximisation which is a source of imbalance and dissatisfaction. Examples of this are profit maximisation, economic growth and the value of consumption.
The counterproposal would be to optimize, that is to say, to be happy to reach satisfactory levels of everything instead of trying to maximize one thing and neglecting the rest. Nature not only maximizes but it also optimizes, as ancestral cultures do, because they know it is the only way to maintain our environmental equilibrium.
Two Equal Principles
The present state of imbalance stems from the belief in this unique principle of creation, arising from three laws of thought, which have led to believing in the ten above mentioned proposals as irrefutable truths. In order to restore the balance, we need to consider that everything starts with at least two principles. Equilibrium can only be achieved when two or more forces coexist, all of equal intensity and importance; not when we believe that there is only one. When there are two, we can’t perceive one to be good and the other evil, or one true and the other false, or that one comes from the other.
Once we have understood that to reach a state of equilibrium at least two principles are required, we must focus, not on the study of their essences, but on the relationship between the two. If we focus on the study of their essences, they will be analysed in isolation from each other. However, we need to focus on possible relationships between these two principles so that the inherent logic of these relationships can constitute a new set of laws of thought. This would mean that we avoid transforming these beliefs into truths. We would thus avoid making these so-called truths the basis on which we establish our knowledge.
This counterproposal of two creative principles is not new. There are a number of dualist philosophical claims which support these ideas. The difference here is that the two proposed principles have identical importance, without one being true and the other false, or one good and the other evil, or one emanating from the other. It is not a question here of the Christian dualism of good and evil, or the Cathar dualism of the virtuous spiritual world and the evil material world. Nor is it the Samkhyan philosophy of India, with Purusha (Spirit) and Prakriti (the fundamental essence from which everything emanates) or Tantric dualism, with Shiva (conscience) from which Shakti (energy) comes from and returns to. The concept here is of two principles which are joined together at the same level, similar to yin and yang from Taoist philosophy. The only difference is that the focus is not on the study of these principles but on how the relationship is defined between them.
For example, those that assign attributes to the two Taoist principles, rather than focusing on the relationships between them, equate the feminine with dark, negative qualities, as signs of yin. However they fail to realise that each attribute is expressing a different relationship between the two. Yin is feminine when its relationship with Yang is complementary. It is dark when they are both opposing each other. It is negative when they are expressed as dualities.
Perhaps the closest to this proposed philosophy is the worldview that comes from ancient cultures of the planet, with their World Above and World Below meeting to form the Intermediate World of the here and now. This is a vision which is shared by the cultures and civilisations in which the element Earth is dominant. It is also the view that ancient civilizations held, such as the Sumerians. These civilisations believed in two principles, which after initial opposition were able to be united and thus create all matter.
These are philosophies that seek to understand the interplay between the two principles, rather than to endow them with a core essence, which is merely symbolic. For this reason, the two principles will not be named. But I will identify the possible interactions between them, as the choreographic movements of the dance between them. This is so, so that we don’t forget that it is our relationship with the ‘other’ what truly gives us our essence. This is how the Whole can be expressed from a series of relationships. To understand this, a study of all these relationships is required, rather than trying to interpret all matter from one essence.
There will be those who doubt thaa vision which dates back even earlier than the last five thousand years is progress. After all, all other philosophies, religions and sciences are less than five thousand years old. Yet this is how we have evolved; we are a combination of what exists now and what has gone before and this is how we reached this point. It is a pattern known as the Fibonacci sequence, which is repeatedly found in nature.
It can be observed in the way branches are distributed on a tree, in the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower, in the way that bees are born and especially in the form of shells. This space-time phenomenon, called Pacha in the Andes, is not linear or circular, but is spiral-shaped. Pacha is projected into the future, combining the past and the present, as it expands like a conch shell. A Conch’s origin is in the World Below. It reaches out to the World Above, to later return to its origins. It was conceived in this way by those who succeeded in truly understanding time-space, such as the Mayas, Toltecs, Zapotecs, Olmecs and Incas.
The first l relationships are opposition and complementarity, providing for the dance known as the pulse of Creation. Together, the two principles become a unity with two essences, without one being true and the other false, nor one good and the other evil, nor that they emanate from one another. In the Nahuatl language of Mexican civilisations this unity is called Ometeotl, an expression to show equality between Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl. It expresses both principles with the magnetism that is in everything: the North Pole and the South Pole, which enables the manifestation of the third relationship: duality. If two can be united as one, they can also be the cause of a third. Thus causality is the fourth of the fundamental relationships. Meanwhile, an octave above this, there are no longer two principles but four, which are united in a fifth. These are the four fundamental elements of nature, in their quintessence; or the four cardinal directions which cross over each other at their centre. Three octaves above this they become sixteen, with sixteen this results in harmonic union; and five octaves above is 64 while seven octaves above is 256. All the octaves define the relationship of correspondence. When all the correspondent levels are in tune, this generates resonance, the 6th relationship. This octaves description establishes a series of connections being transcendence the seven of the fundamental relationships, where everything connects to everything else.
The result is a logic which, instead of limiting, excluding and creating imbalance; expands, integrates and harmonises. A code of reasoning is needed which considers us as links in a network instead of isolated entities. Also, this defines our individual essence in relation to all others rather than as an isolated phenomenon. This would allow us to make an evolutionary leap into something greater, both at an individual and a collective level.
If we were to make an analogy, we could say that the operating system of so-called modern society is equivalent to the DOS (disk operating system) of the first personal computers. It was in use from 1981, but the DOS cannot be operated by multiple users, it cannot multitask, nor is it designed to work as a network. The operating system of our planet’s so-called ancestral cultures however is equivalent to Unix. Unix, despite being twelve years older, can be operated by multiple users, is multitasking and allows networking.
The proposal is to update the operating system of today’s society from DOS to Linux. Although Linux is not Unix, it is inspired by it, but with the addition of an open coding system. This analogy demonstrates that the suggested new logic should not be an exact replica of the basis of ancestral cultures but be inspired by them. It is inspired most of all by the world view held by many of the original peoples of the American continent. However, as it is open source, it also has influences from Arabic and European Alchemy, from Yoga and Tantra, Vedanta and Samkhya, from the Hebrew Kabbalah, medieval troubadours, African Yoruba, Chinese Tao, I-ching, Japanese Godai, Buddhism, Tibetan Bon religion and Western science, because they all have something important to contribute. This is how past and present are united, in order to move together towards the future.
The art of finding ourselves
To explain this logic that will allow us to update our current operating system, I’m writing The Art of Finding Ourselves. It entails a serie of books narrated in the form of a dialogue rather than an essay. Also, by writing it, I am trying to express the balance between heart and mind. I would also like to point out that the illustrations are similar to those you would see in a children’s storybook, because I am seeking to change something we learned when we were very small. So that the knowledge appears more concrete, one of the tools I use to convey it is through sacred bundles which were used in the different ancestral traditions of the American continent.
This is a bundle involves seventeen power stones, called Khuyas of Mastay, as well as a set of alchemical cards. The sixteen Khuyas constitute the horizontal line, with its 64 archetypes and 256 exalted expressions, which together have double power. In contrast, the cards represent the Axis Mundi in a vertical line and are always composed of equal prime numbers. The objective is that at each point of intersection between these connections within the scheme, we can find our inner Inca, also called our Being or Conscience. For this reason the proposed technique is called ‘the Art of Finding Ourselves’.
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