The Great Work Inverted

Samain                                                                                                Stent Moon

satan“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Wells Griffith, Trump’s international energy and climate advisor, NYT, Dec. 11, 2018

Sacrifice is an interesting word in this quote. It imagines money and safety too important to sacrifice. Griffiths can’t understand what environmental stability means. If he did, he would understand that the real result of his stance is the sacrifice of humanity itself for temporary pleasures.

This sort of logic I’ve heard before, recently, in a Trump report that said since climate change was inevitable reducing car emissions wouldn’t make any difference. So, jettison them. This attitude is not new, of course. It’s been the world’s de facto position toward carbon emissions, plastics, water shortages. Today is more important than tomorrow.

It is a problem with be here now. If we only focus on the now, then Flint’s lead laced water coming tomorrow is somebody else’s issue. If we only focus on the now, then rapid temperature rise and radical climate change is far off, not ours. So wrong.

Anyone with children or grandchildren knows this. The Iroquois looked seven generations ahead. We can’t get past the Dow Jones movement this week.

This is evil. Griffith’s may be banal, as Hannah Arendt thought of Eichmann, but he and his kin seem committed to a permanent solution for our own species. Why? Short term political advantage.

Sad that any human can make these calculations. Angry that we’ve elected an administration that does.

 

Ensouled or Disenchanted or…?

Samain                                                                           Stent Moon

astrology3Astrology is a thicket of wild claims, unjustified certainty, and intriguing utility. Sorta like religion. In my reading so far I’ve found sensible, modest intellectuals who lean on the utility, using this ancient discipline (Mesopotamian in origin.) to promote self-knowledge. I’ve also found, as you might expect, a number of at least charlatanesque figures who are only one step away from the traveling potion wagons of the early frontier. OK, maybe not one step away.

Learning how to read a natal chart is the base line of astrology and I’m working on how to do it for myself. It’s not easy. Many symbols to learn, planets, houses, signs, aspects. Also, for understanding it in a way that makes sense to me, I’m still pursuing the nature of archetypes. That requires a lot of refreshing from my Jungian salad days. Still not sure it will be worth it in the end, but I’m committed to giving it a fair look. I had a similar fascination for a time with psychometrics like the MMPI, the Big Five, Meyers-Briggs, Eneagram, and career choosing tests. Fiddling with the dials of the self, trying to tune in, see inside. All part of the journey of self-discovery. I’ve learned something from each of them, but I found the psychometric approach judgemental in its attempt to sort the normal from the abnormal.

The evolutionary and psychological astrologists have the most potential for utility and explicitly eschew judgement. In the older, predictive style of astrology, still common, there are, for example, malefic and benefic planets, aspects, even charts. Malefic = bad and benefic = good. Mars and Saturn, malefic. Jupiter and Venus, benefic, for example. These two schools see instead psychic forces, archetypal influences that can create, say, energy for transformation in the case of Mars and Saturn. Or, misapplied, the beneficial aspects Jupiter and Venus can impede personal growth.

mmpiIn the later days of my interest in psychometrics there was a similar change from seeing certain personality characteristics as bad or good, especially those characterized as abnormal. Two instances from my own testing. I spiked both the 4 and 5 scales* of the MMPI when tested in the mid-1970’s in seminary. In the original uses of the MMPI these two scales supposedly determined whether you were a psychopath, 4, or a homosexual, 5. The new (then) understanding became: 4 spike = non-conforming, rebellious, angry, creative, family problems, impulsive and 5 spike =  lacks traditional masculine interests. This testing was also done while I was still drinking and some of those 4 scale attributes reinforced my addiction. Though I may have lacked masculine interests (not quite sure what that means), I did have one clear masculine interest. Women.

I suppose you could frame this like Tarnas frames the major problem of our time: an ensouled primal universe and a disenchanted enlightenment universe in conflict, needing, very much needing a synthesis. On my mind all the time these days. Imagining ways through this conflict, ways to reconcile, to use the tension as a creative force for a new metaphysics. Reimagining. Reconstructing. Reenchanting.

 

*Scale 4 (AKA the Psychopathic Deviate Scale) Measures a person’s need for control or their rebellion against control.    Scale 5 (AKA the Femininity/Masculinity Scale) Measures a stereotype of a person and how they compare. For men it would be the Marlboro man, for women it would be June Cleaver or Donna Reed.