VOID ( POINT )
VOID ( LINE )
Six thousand years ago humanity witnessed a gigantic stellar explosion in the southern constellation of Vela. It’s luminosity was of such magnitude its brilliance outshone the moon, appearing, depending upon the season, as an awesome light source by night or a smaller second sun by day.
As cosmic gamma rays unleashed by this cataclysm rained down on Earth, subtle genetic mutations would have occurred. The increase in the level of X-ray bombardment would have been sufficient to produce a rise in atmospheric temperature, perhaps enough to cause melting of the polar ice caps and a rising of global sea levels. Moreover it is entirely feasible that portions of the antarctic ice shelf, sliding on a lubricant of rapidly melting water, caused gigantic tidal waves to traverse the southern oceans.
Believable or not the psychological impact of this stellar outburst would have been more than traumatic enough with or without such disturbances; indeed it has been speculated we owe the very birth of civilisation to its occurance. For contemporaneous with this event came bursting forth the first and greatest of the ancient civilisations, the Sumerians, followed in quick succession by similar flowerings in Egypt, India and China. This development being nourished by waves of technological innovation sweeping down from the peoples of the north, none more transcendant than breakthroughs in the science of metallurgy.
“With stunning abruptness there appears in this little Sumerian mud garden – as though the flowers of its tiny cities were suddenly bursting into bloom – the whole cultural syndrome that has since constituted the germinal unit of all the high civilisations of the world. And we cannot attribute this event to any achievement of the mentality of simple peasants. It was actually and clearly the highly conscious creation (this much can be asserted with complete assurance) of the mind and science of a new order of humanity, which had never before appeared in the history of mankind; namely the professional, full-time, initiated, strictly regimented temple priest.”
Joseph Campbell The Masks of God
The Sumerians gave us all the basic building blocks of a social order predicated on the benefits of co-operation between individuals beyond the narrow confines of filial and tribal affiliation. They judged by jury, drafted the first Hippocratic oath, invented currency to encourage the production of surplus and they aspired to the notion of: ‘from each according to their ability and to each according to their need’. Through division of labour and economies of scale their agrarian revolution released humanity from the scourges of subsistence living.
“Indeed, as we contemplate the great Sumerian civilisation, we find that not only are our morals and our sense of justice, our laws and architecture and arts and technology rooted in Sumer, but the Sumerian institutions are as familiar, so close. At heart, it would seem, we are all Sumerians.”
Zecharia Sitchin The Twelfth Planet
For the Sumerians – and one has to understand their city states comprised ten of thousands of free citizens, prior to this the largest known settlement being Catyl Hyak, estimated to have been little more than eight to nine hundred people – the impetus to co-operate in such a grand enterprise was inspired by divine intervention. A messenger had descended from heaven, sent from that new star in the sky. The message: prepare for their arrival and in the process you will elevate yourselves into deities too.
Beside the light from the supernova exploding in Vela …. which incidentally is now the small pulsating radio source Vela X, whose discovery by modern astonomers initially caused world wide speculation of contact with extraterrestials …. the Sumerians record the landing of the Nefilim, the first of whom was named Enki or Ea, the serpent god, mankind’s benefactor and bringer of knowledge. According to the Sumerians he, initially a she, was the first emmisary of an immortal race of beings and had been tasked with aiding humanity in the preparation of a garden fit for gods to walk in. A scout for a fleeing party of extraterrestrials in search of a safe port of call, far enough away from the deadly radiation sweeping out across the galaxy to perhaps settle down and call home?
Enki, according to the Babylonians – reporting with a vested interest to re-write history three to four millennia after the event – is personified as the archetypical Trickster who had clearly overstepped her/his brief. In their mythological canon the twelfth and last of the gods finally arrives, and this god of gods – Enlil – is found to possess a disagreeable and vain temperament. The elder step brother to the more amenable and egalitarian Enki, is so appalled by his brother’s “gift” that “lest they eat also of the tree of life and live forever” decides to bring down the deluge and to restart anew. Not coincidentally the founding of the twelfth Sumerian city co-incides with the historical demise of the Sumerians. As with Cain and Able, Semitic tribes, Babylonians amongst them, swept into the Garden hoping to grab a piece of the action and civilisation died. Nomad killed pastoralist and the command imperative flipped from consensus to enforcement.
The gods trapped in their ziggurats, one to a city, have vanished – clearly they were never there and if they had been, they were clearly never trapped. To sugar the pill of disappointment, the deities are to be venerated as once walking amongst us in a myth of a lost golden age. They did exist and still do and may one day return should we, the unworthy of trust, be trusted again. Meanwhile Kings and Emperors usurp the High Priests, philosophers and scientists as representational deities on Earth and not unexpectedly, the never-ending exponential curve of innovation in the arts and sciences grinds to a halt. The decision-making around division of labour and economies of scale are now handled by a managerial elite and used to control and enslave the power base. Enlil personified they then bemoan the unintended consequences of their actions, even random acts of nature, as the fault and responsibility of their victims. In truth the victim is always the last one to be told.
In response to Enlil’s expropriation of the coming deluge as ‘his’ punishment for the crime of freedom, Enki is bound by oath on “pain of death” not to tell humanity of their impending doom, but nevertheless sends mysterious instructions to his protege Ziusudra. Advising him to construct a large, sealed, submersible ark. Not exactly breaking his word but good as, and of course as events unfold the subterfuge inevitably reveals itself. Fortunately, unlike Enlil, Enki is no fool, he has forward thinking and can think ahead. On witnessing the extent of nature’s wrath it only then occurs to Enlil that this is a catastrophe for them too; ‘calamity upon calamity what are they to do?’. Enki’s reward for saving the gene pool from annihilation is to have the sentence of death commuted and is banished to the underworld, and I guess we know the rest.
The myths of betrayal by both humanity and the gods, of destruction and the fall, of smashed tablets and all the rest, these elements of the narrative only come after the Sumerians demise, not before.
But what do we know of the Sumerian world view? Their existance was only confirmed in the 1930’s. Decipherment of their writings is more inferred than proven. We’ve barely begun to index let alone interpret their huge depository of records. One city appeared to have been devoted entirely to the recording and storage of data, where we’ve uncovered tens of thousands of cylinder seals. Unfortunately when their civilisation was finally put to the sword their language and people vanish from history. The effect was to precipitate a thousand year dark age before the local peoples dared resuscitate a taste for monumental civilisations. Greek culture and their penchant for city states reopened the Sumerian agenda. But even they only claimed to be blowing on dying embers. Not until the so-called Renaissance Age, again built on and sustained by “free” city states, does the curve of innovation resume it’s climb, over taking and surpassing the Sumerian project.
We know that we are dealing with a race of sophisticates who operated a form of anarchistic theocracy. They believed mortality to be cyclical, we return to live out multiple lives. In consequence it made sense to view life as never-ending and if all goes to plan, ever-improving. Their nobility however, the rich and successful were denied temporal power. Nevertheless they served a useful function. In play acting the life ideally lived by all, and to square the circle of morality the nobility were ritualistically killed off by the priesthood in accordance with certain pre-ordained astrological configurations. The nobilities reward in the after-life being the retained riches and influence of a transcendent, eternal life in the company of Gods.
The prime function of the Sumerian social structure was to lift humanity up by its bootstraps. The priesthood organised the logistics of building cities as servants not masters of the people. Their reward lay in the ziggurat or holy mountain at the heart of the surrounding metropolis, on whose summit, on completion of the initiation rites, they would come face to face with the gods. The completion of each new node in the network heralding the induction of yet one more deity to team Sumer. Free to fly between summits, the top tier being walled yet roofless, these heavenly encounters with deities mediated and seeped into the social psyche. The priests were our umbilical cord to divinity, reflecting back our godhood and showing the way forward.
Sumerian culture had no need for coercion and control. Through the utilisation of scalar economics, a quantum leap in productivity had been affected, releasing a reservoir of surplus time for leisure, engaging in philosophical debate and pursuing scientific enquiry. Humanity had truly entered a garden of delights. The semi-nomadic, itinerant peoples could sink roots and become established. Whether the top tier of the temple linking heaven to earth truly contained a living diety is to miss the point of the trick. For the initiate the deity was no more than a personalised metaphor for the project going on down below.
And the dramatic success of the project sucked in the semi-nomadic semitic tribes out of Asia, who are gradually assimilated whilst inadvertently corrupting the core enterprise. It took a millenium for the veneer of authority to impose itself upon the social structure in defiance rather than allegiance to consensual politics. Disgruntled Tribal Patriarchs elevate themselves over and above the priesthood. Authority assumes the force of arms as temporal power shatters the ties of social cohesion. The division of labour, once liberating , becomes a lever for compliance enforceable until death. Reward and punishment enter the social dynamic. The only innovations now discoverable are the raising of standing armies and the use of slavery. Little wonder then that when the last of the urban centres is built, supposedly fit for Enlil himself, he goes into a rage. It has been built on temporal rather than theological grounds, he is spoken off in the past tense and the consequence of the fraud takes on catastrophic proportions.
In the original Sumerian world view the temporal and spiritual realms are co-joined, inseparable and are as one in a state of mutual dependence. The Sumerian belief system viewed birth as a differentiation and life as the race before death to reveal the underlying connectivity. The mundane experience of separate existences being rendered illusory through the action of creativity or ritual marriage, whereby consciousness is able to subjugate material reality to its own ends rather than be subjected to the constraints of merely surviving.
On considering the nature of this meeting place or “plane of juncture” the Sumerians “represent “Earth and Heaven, the goddess and the god, as appearing to be two, but in meaning are one. For, as we know from an ancient Sumerian myth, Heaven (An) and the Earth (Ki) were in the beginning a single undivided mountain (An-Ki), of which the lower part, the Earth, was female, and the upper, Heaven, male. But the two were seperated (as Adam into Adam and Eve) by their son Enlil (in the Bible by their ‘creator’, Yahweh), whereupon the world of temporality appeared (as it did when Eve ate the apple). The ritual marriage and connubium was to be understood as a reconstruction of the primal undifferentiated state, both in meditation (psychological aspect) for the refreshment of the soul, and in act (magical aspect) for the fertilisation and renovation of nature …. whereby it was also to be recognised that there is a plane or mode of being where that primal state is ever present, though to the mind and eye of day all seems to be otherwise.”
Joseph Campbell The Masks of God
We have all seen a rainbow but few experience the phenomena as a sensation purely of the mind and not outside of it. Yet rainbows aren’t solely external phenomena, they rely upon a subject to be witness, each seeing a marginally different rainbow from the next, each in accordance with their location in the spatial relationship of eye, light and raindrops. The viewpoint is linear and directional and the vision planar. Each is only viewing a portion of the greater spacial rainbow. If only a rainbow could be viewed from all positions available.
The experience of separation between the sense of self and objective reality is based on a failure to see the relativity between voluntary and involuntary behaviour. Thus the reliance in many self-improvement programmes on techniques involving breathing exercises. Once mind is brought to bear on autonomous, non-conscious behaviour an ironic loss of spontaneity occurs. The nagging question of ‘free will’ or ‘determinism’ captured by clinical psychologists, or that of fate versus destiny in the roll of a dice, resides at the heart of the human condition. For most people consciousness is equated with ‘being’ in a self-reflective state. In truth it is surely that state of ‘non-being’ when we are seemingly oblivious of our sense of consciousness, lost to ourselves, that is by far the more real?
“We feel that our actions are voluntary when they follow a decision, and involuntary when they happen without decision. But if decision itself were voluntary, every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide – an infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. Oddly enough, if we had to decide to decide, we would not be free to decide. We are free to decide because decision ‘happens’. We just decide without having the faintest understanding of how we do it. In fact, it is neither voluntary nor involuntary.
“Ridding oneself of the subjective distinction between ‘me’ and ‘my experience’ – through seeing that my idea of myself is not myself – is to discover the actual relationship between myself and the ‘outside’ world. The individual, on the one hand, and the world, on the other, are simply the abstract limits or terms of a concrete reality, which is ‘between’ them, as the concrete coin is ‘between’ the abstract, Euclidean surfaces of its two sides. Similarly, the reality of all ‘inseparable opposites’ – life and death, good and evil, pleasure and pain, gain and loss – is that ‘between’ for which we have no words.”
Alan Watts The Way of Zen
The Sumerian’s use of Gods and Goddesses was a metaphor, not to be taken literally. From the undifferentiated state of consciousness Ea/Enki and Enlil were taught to be the one, as are Adam and Eve and the Trees of life and Knowledge, each binary couplet a reverberation of the one universal theme. As Hermes Trismagistes, the contemporary of Pythagoras, put it: ‘As above so below’. At the top of this hierarchy they placed An-Ki, the mystical mountain, whose personification was always portrayed, simply, as an empty throne. As with the precepts of Taoism,
“the state of the ultimate bull, that is to say, is invisible; black, pitch black.”
Joseph Campbell The Masks of God
To reiterate: From a ‘0’ we infer the existence of a ‘1’. From these two we discerned a polarity of opposites ‘between’ positive and negative states of consciousness, and from there infer the need for balance, a neutral interface that brings the two back together again as a unified dynamic, one embracing both positive and negative aspects. The binary structure or tree, is a triangle with an apex of no fixed description, neither ‘0’ nor ‘1’. The two binary states of ‘0’ and ‘1’ residing midway down the two descending sides of the pyramid. Above this level resides the unknowable terrain of godhood, the unconsciously divine. Below, arranged in ever diminishing tiers, each placed half way down to the base, halving the distance but doubling the points, ‘4’, ‘8’, ’16’ and so on to infinity. At the lowest level, ‘ground zero’, a place never reached, the points are so numerous as to transcend the concept of a point, an infinity of points in any given length reaching out to a line of infinite length yet still of infinitesimal, non-existant thickness.