Mephistopheles, Black Prince, Light-Bearer, and Morning Star: The Black Sheep of Christian Fundamentalism

Mephistopheles, Child of Christian Civilization

Part I: Dis-association Gets a Name

By George S. Svokos

Copyright August 2015

The modern trope and symbol for the sinister archpriest likely requires some analysis to give it meaning in three dimensions, and to put this being into some kind of social context related to the present spirit of the times. At first, this may seem like an impossible task, given the media’s proliferation in everyday life. When therefore, is the individual not inundated with a glut of images in print, social media, television, satellite, cable stations, etc., that can even be accessed on one’s personal cell phone, tablet or other electronic devices? The human mind has the capacity to recognize and concentrate on far fewer stimuli than are now overwhelming the senses. The result is that much information simply is not processed. To focus on the seemingly oblivious, requires the intuitive process of picking up the thread and following Ariadne’s trail. It might appear obvious who the “bad guys” are, but does the thinking individual notice patterns both in space and time? Are these patterns that connect, therefore, both synchronic and diachronic in similar and disparate loci? Although the entire corpus of this thought experiment is outside the purview of the current exercise, we can, in fact, focus on a few outstanding examples to illuminate the subject matter herein. If the thinking person is “looking” for the ends of Ariadne’s thread to collect, and eventually to follow them, where or what is the starting point?

Hunting the sinister archpriest in a manner that considers space and time is both a thought provoking endeavour and at the same time evokes a sense of vulnerability: if I do hunt this creature down, what will be the effect on the unconscious processes of the psyche? In other words, can the fact-finder, the observer, the journalist of the mind contact an energy being across the liminal space of the mind-scape? The answer is yes, though such contact must be made of an awareness of not one, but two realities; the mundane world that we (our ego) see every day in wakefulness and the “other” world we visit when the dream ego journeys to the realm of sleep awareness. For the average individual with any true sense of spirituality, the logical place to visit the two planes of existence is through a powerful meditative experience. The seeker may not even be consciously aware that this is happening; though a practiced individual will exhibit greater awareness and acceptance of what they “see” and experience. Such interior knowledge was named “Gnosis” in the ancient world and encompassed both non-Christian and Christian themes. As long as what was Caesar’s was “rendered” unto him, the public were free to worship as they pleased. It is through the later Roman Church that we begin to see the symbol of the sinister archpriest arise. How often did the congregation look at the floor in supplication to God only to see the black hem of the clergy’s robes? The cassock, then, during the late Dark Ages became an external stimulus of fear in the faithful and by association, the men who wore them. It has also become a sinister internal symbol for the archaeologist of the mind. Should the faithful be kept in line through fear and ignorance, or with the added threat of the inquisitor’s tool kit lurking in the unconscious? If fear is internalized over a long stretch of time, it sends the human “fight or flight” response awry. The vague mind plague of the fluid evil cleric then begins to coalesce into a more recognizable figure in both realities.

The nexus of the two has been an icon of popular culture for more than two centuries (a coincidence with the rise of the Industrial Age? Dis, “the Dark Lord” as opposed to his “light-bearing” twin, Lucifer prior to 1807?) Though we have the creature scurrying about before 1808, it was not until Goethe’s Faust that made it truly manifest and memorable. It also provided, in a rather subtle way, the answer to the “splitting” (disassociation) of the opposites in the tangible and intangible worlds as Faust gradually acquired Mephistopheles’ personality characteristics and vice versa along with their quasi-cassock-like garments. By the end of the book, the two characters could have been twin brothers. Though, to think this through critically, the hyper-rationality of the Age of Reason was also partially responsible for cleaving the two realities. Britain certainly picked this up through diffusion and Bram Stoker realized, to a large extent, the beast in tangible form. The extra foulness of the creature was twisted by late Victorian attitudes about sexuality culminating in what anthropologist Robin Fox calls the “incest” element of the relationship between the hoary creature and the youthful Mina Harker. A quarter of a century later (notably after World War I,) the creature again arises in Germany with the unauthorized release of F.W. Murnau’s now cult classic movie “Nosferatu” in 1922. A critical question here is: why on earth (or in hell) is the unholy creature wearing the priest’s black cassock or something very much akin to it? And why was Germany still clinging to this trope/symbol after the war, when a catharsis of soul should have manifested? The dream psychologists, Gnostics, medicine men, and doctors of society state that when an issue remains unresolved in the psyche, the “symptoms” persist. Germany’s issues after the war and the subsequent failed Weimar Republic must have remained unresolved despite the mass psychosis the war had provoked. (An outstanding treatment or “diagnosis” of the general German psyche at this time and the Nazi period has been described by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung in three seminal essays within Volume 10 Civilization in Transition of his Collected Works: Wotan (1936 ,) After the Catastrophe (1945,) and The Fight with the Shadow (1946.) Carl Jung describes the shadow as a “complex.”

A complex is an energetic force within the psyche that is constellated by external stimuli yet it remains hidden from the subject; in other words, the individual is unaware of its activation. This unawareness lies in the complexes’ location: partially buried in the personal unconscious. The experience of the shadow is essentially unpleasant because it carries with it undesirable feeling tones, images, memories, and other stimuli with which the ego does not want to associate or integrate. These devices can be both consciously and unconsciously suppressed and repressed; in either circumstance, the greater the forcible denial, the stronger the negative energy grows. This can lead to neuroses and more serious emotional personality problems. However, there is “gold in the coal” to be found by bringing shadow contents to consciousness: where ego is the center of consciousness and with careful operational control use the newly aware material within the field of consciousness with the ego’s guidance. The center of the unconscious or “Self” is an autonomous entity experienced through dreams, symbols, and images. The individual may attempt to pick up Ariadne’s thread here through the symbol of the sinister archpriest and his black cassock. “Black” here can, in itself cause fear because of its association with the unconscious and the “creatures of the night” hidden behind the veil.

The above mentioned act of ego/shadow integration which made Mephistopheles and Faust more balanced personalities is the key to depowering the shadow; not further suppression and repression of those characteristics deemed undesirable by ego and society. These suppression and repressions, especially in the spiritual life of the individual go far back in time to the early years of Roman codification of Christianity after Constantine made it the state religion. Prior to the 4th century AD, Christianity was a heterogeneous religion with much spirituality from both the West and the East and largely concentrated in the great Egyptian port city of Alexandria and its magnificent library: what treasures were lost to Roman rapacity some 2,000 years ago and the suppression of “heretical” texts over the next few centuries? Fortunately, for the individual trying to locate a native spirituality in heterogeneous Christianity, prescient monks in the 4th century AD from an Egyptian monastery near Mount Sinai buried their texts in the nearby mountains where they remained largely undisturbed until 1945. Today, we have the marvellous collection known as the Nag Hammadi Library. The vengeful Roman authorities stated that the faithful caught with these “non-canonical” texts would be executed, and this Gnostic literature proceeded further and further East to escape persecution until we see reflections of it in Byzantine alchemy, Greek Orthodox Hesychasm (revealed only to skete monks and not the general laity,) and later modern Sufism. The church fathers had gone from religious leaders to religious police as the later Inquisition so graphically inscribed itself on history. Even today, do “the faithful” attend mass and acknowledge the church bureaucracy as all powerful and to be feared, or is it their comforting companion through life? The list of “rules” promulgated by the religious bureaucracy likely provides the answer. To paraphrase Jung: “large collectives (like bureaucracies and the elite “one-percenters”) have the mentality of large, stupid, and dangerous animals.” The rationale for this statement is clear: individuality is lost in the masses. The masses themselves seem to have a negative connotation of their own reflection because of epithets such as “the hoi polloi,” “the herd mentality,” and “the rabble” which they apply liberally and with relish to themselves.

The place of the individual in small band foraging societies is the most equitable; with spirituality located in the individuals themselves (the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the Australian Aborigines come to mind here.) In other words, spirituality in human beings was originally an internal and individual experience; and to the amazing credit of the Gnostics, they found it again in the morass and miasma of civilization about two millennia ago: The Gospel of Philip states “those who say they will (physically) die first and then rise are in error. If they do not receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.” The “resurrection” here means the reconciliation of the opposites, the spiritual first step to integrating consciousness with the unconscious (the “ego-Self axis.”) The canonical Gospel of Luke also acknowledges that “the kingdom of heaven is within you.” Therefore, the “resurrection” or “reconciliation of the opposites” is exactly that: a reintegration of the internally split psyche pummelled by civilization’s aberrations which small band foragers never had to go through. A careful anthropological analysis of hunter-gatherer ecology and spirituality would go a long way to redress the understanding of this imbalance. (The author of this essay attempted to do just that with his Master’s thesis only to be suppressed and censured by the black-robed authoritarian plutocrats of his “higher” learning institutions. In general, the secular clergy of the universities and museums have replaced the religious centers of learning during “the dark ages” where the clerics controlled and dispersed their brand of knowledge to a gullible public. “Dark” here means intentional ignorance: “knowledge is power,” to be kept by “advisors” and “mentors” even from some or most of the talented members of their own student body.)

Let us pick up the thread leading to reintegration of consciousness with genetic memory (what behavioral biologists call “the human ethogram:” the sum total of the human behavioral repertoire as encoded in the brain by human evolution) with a short field guide from antiquity to the present. This author, through trial and error (in other words, an autodidact,) followed Ariadne’s thread by reading the following short and annotated book list: Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels; Stuart Holroyd, The Elements of Gnosticism; The Nag Hammadi Library; Jung and Gnosticism; Jung and Shamanism; Robert Hopcke, A Guided Tour of the Collected Works of C.G. Jung; The Collected Works of C.G Jung; various shamanic journals; and numerous books and readings in Jungian theory and practice, and hunter-gatherer lifeways. This short list, by no means exhaustive, was then expanded upon for further or more in-depth readings in particular subject matter areas. A question one might ask is how to prepare the student or reader of this material in a structured manner that can be assimilated and used for critical thought later? The old school clerics (and modern “advisors”) must be laughing at the difficulties this endeavour must present to the average lay person/student. Their hope, one would presume, would be to shut the critical thinking process down completely and to either eliminate perceived competition or to put “faith” back on its ignorant pedestal. What is faith but the acceptance of the unknown devoid of any proof? It is certainly an easy way out for the conflicted psyche which prefers not to consider the alternatives.

This conflict, however remotely perceived it is, does seem to nag at the back of the mind of the critical thinker; but how do we know it persists to the point where the seeker wants different answers? Following (picking up Ariadne’s thread) a neurosis to its root, or a projection, or unpleasant dream symbols can all lead to recognition of “the splitting of the opposites.” The “opposites” here can be ego and shadow, consciousness and the unconscious, or anima/animus within a living human being. The anima (of the male) and animus (of the female) are archetypes symbolically representing the opposite sexual characteristics of the individual who is aware of this energetic phenomenon. Much like the shadow, they can be projected onto others and can hold both negative and positive charges. A man who recognizes “his type” in various women is becoming consciously aware that these are his feminine characteristics projected onto the opposite sex. This might explain the rather over-used cliché “it’s like I’ve known her all my life” yet all these women remain strangers to him. The same projective phenomena are present in the “fairer sex” as well.

A word on archetypes and then we shall move on to their actual recognition under certain circumstances: an archetype is a universal primordial image, archaic pattern, or behaviour which cannot be cognized except by its appearance as an external “symbol” to the perceiver or in dreams. The archetype itself remains hidden in the collective unconscious (ethogram or genetic memory.) Ethologist (behavioral biologist) Niko Tinbergen would use the term “innate releasing mechanism” to describe the archetype in his seminal book, The Study of Instinct. This is important to consider because different disciplines are essentially stating the same facts in their own words. These “converging lines of evidence” solidify the theories behind them.

The first step in the realignment of the ego-Self axis is identification of the shadow. In practice, this is not a particularly difficult exercise other than it is an on-going process to integrate these personal characteristics into the conscious life of the seeker. The shadow is both a complex residing in one’s personal unconscious and an archetype which remains fully hidden except for its symbolic symptomatology. The energetic quality of the shadow should immediately alert the seeker that this complex has been constellated (activated.) “Constellation” is probably a better word for this action because it implies forces being drawn to a vectored location. In this case, we refer to images, thoughts, feelings, memories, etc., all associated with this movement. As an example, perhaps our shadow has been constellated by some type of authority figure (high-ranking clergy, a politician, a corporate mogul,) making statements that seem sanctimonious and fatuous coming out of their mouths. This “irritation” (activation of emotion) stings one into thinking about what qualities have just been revealed about the seeker, not the speaker. These qualities have lain dormant or have been suppressed by the seeker (unconsciously or not) and are activated by a stranger who happens to have “pressed one of your buttons.” The cue here is not to remain in blind ignorance and anger but to realize these qualities are the seeker’s own and must be brought forth from “the darkness” into the light of consciousness. When the seeker owns his or her shadow qualities they enhance their sphere of awareness and at the same time release the bottled up energy (anger in this case) for more useful purposes. This is one tiny step to what certain religious texts call “enlightenment” (not the insipid pseudo-intellectualisms being taught about doing good deeds.) The fact that a mirror has been placed in the seeker’s face can make them “better” (i.e., less neurotic) especially when it comes to something as personal as spiritual beliefs or other deeply held convictions about the environment.

In our example then, is it “good” to destroy the natural environment of small band hunter-gatherer societies to provide resources for the insatiable needs of the civilized masses? Moreover, is it acceptable if a “modern” religious leader execrates the “primitive” medicine man or shaman of the tribe for voicing his animistic concerns over the environment? The conflict of religious thought stretches back into deep time when the agricultural oppression religions gained their ascendancy over small band forager societies perhaps some 5,000 years ago. The suppression and repression of their spiritual systems really is not that far removed from our own. If the alleged great religions of the world can oppress those closer to their environments (as well as each other,) what about intra-religious oppression? If one goes to confession and tells their priest the individual committed adultery with a person of a different religion while reading Tarot cards to tell the future, would they fear excommunication, or just a “slap on the wrist?” If excommunicated, how much time will one spend worrying about their immortal soul being punished in hell? And for our purposes, who or what is the avatar of punishment?

The seemingly obvious and rather mundane answer is what all “religions of the book” cling to: The victim strayed from God and is now being punished by a combination of His absence and the Devil’s presence. If the average lay seeker thinks a bit more critically about this causation, he or she may find it wanting as a profound rationale. Would not this creature of punishment have the characteristics of a shadow being rather than some nebulous moral ideation? Although many options exist to treat this subject, the author will confine himself to a few outstanding examples of the evil cleric or sinister archpriest. Going back to the Spanish Inquisition is a good start, though this and a considerable amount of history would have to be reviewed and is outside the scope of this essay. Let us begin then, as described above, in the early1800s with Mephistopheles. Although dressed for the most part like a dandy of the period, his black cassock sits metaphorically in the closet. The very word “devil” seems to frighten or disgust some people away from such literature and the overly academic intelligentsia who do engage him as a literary construct fail to see the Gnostic Faust-Mephistopheles (F-M) dyadic monad. Faust and Mephistopheles are just as connected as Jekyll and Hyde even though they appear to be separate characters. As mentioned above, the F-M construct begins to incorporate characteristics of each other until finally a unified being emerges; or what might be termed the integration of the shadow with ego consciousness; one step in the reconciliation of the opposites, the repair of the split or dissociative psyche reaching upwards for the next heaven.

In this particular case, the fact of the matter is that Mephistopheles does not carry the fear load as some more modern evil clerics do (more on this below, and the reader may find a sneaking but secret admiration for the fellow.) Here we can look to popular culture as well as literature for these icons or symbols of “true evil” to manifest. What is “true evil” anyway? A trip to church is not likely to provide an adequate answer to the lay person (some major religions continue to withhold information; to keep the laity “in the dark” because today, much like the dark ages, knowledge is power and the bureaucrats want nothing more than to conserve their power.)  Although this author is not a “Marxist” (Marx incorrectly based his thought processes on the now discredited 19th century conclusions of anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan,) there is a nugget of gold in Marxist thought: organized religion is most certainly the opiate of the people. By people, here he means the agro-industrialist civilizations. By opiate, he means what is discussed above relative to discarding critical thought for the easy answers. “True evil” in the critical thinker’s sense, is defined as “the production and maintenance of human suffering,” not the nebulous moral ideations of the mainstream churches and their intellectually crippled cousins: the Fundamentalists. One mistranslated word from the Bible, and the Fundamentalists are up and running: the ancient Greek word kakia written in the Bible referred to the suffering of people in the commonplaces of their everyday lives, not in any supernatural and supercilious sense.

(A brief excursus: it is amazing how pop culture can pick up on a social issue so accurately, succinctly, and cogently when the government, intelligentsia, big business/corporations, the banking system, and everyone else who should be noticing, (excepting a few sharp anthropologists) get it all wrong. Included here are the lyrics from the British heavy metal band Motorhead and their song Get Back in Line which was released only a few years ago on their appropriately titled album The World is Yours:

We live on borrowed time, hope turned to dust,
nothing is forgiven, we fight for every crust.
The way we are is not the way we used to be, my friend,
All things come to he who waits, the waiting never ends.

We are the chosen few; We are the frozen crew,
We don’t know what we do, just wasting time.
We don’t know when to quit, we don’t have room to spit,
But we’ll get over it, get back in line.

Stuck here ten thousand years, don’t know how to act,
Everything forgotten, especially the facts.
The way we live is running scared, I don’t like it much,
All things come to he who waits, but these days most things suck.

We are the chosen ones, we don’t know right from wrong.
We don’t know what’s going on, don’t know enough to care.
We are the dogs of war; don’t even know what for.
But we obey the law, get back in line.

We are trapped in luxury, starving on parole,
No one told us who to love, we have sold our souls.
Why do we vote for faceless dogs? We always take the bait.
All things come to he who waits, but all things come too late.

We are the sacrifice, and we don’t like advice, we always pay the price,
Pearls before swine.
Now we are only slaves, already in our graves, and if you think that Jesus
saves, get back in line.
If you think that Jesus saves, get back in line.

(End of excursus.)

Next: Part II

Nosferatu is Risen

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Mephistopheles & Nosferatu: Children of Western Civilization & Christian Fundamentalism

Mephistopheles, Child of Christian Civilization

Part II: Nosferatu is Risen

By George S. Svokos

Copyright August 2015

Our next iconic avatar would naturally arrive on the scene near the end of 19th century as Dracula, however, the 1922 cult classic silent film Nosferatu made in breach of the Dracula copyright actually serves our heuristic purposes better. Although the stories are essentially the same, with the underlying incest theme discussed by anthropologist Robin Fox in The Tribal Imagination, the evil cleric finally looks like a sinister archpriest. The symbolic development or growth in its imago change has gone from dandy, to grandiose filthy blood sucking (energy draining) old man, to filthy old energy draining high cleric. Interesting to think about, but the real question is how did we get a symbol evolving from the mischievous dandy (of the early Industrial Age) to the malevolently filthy cleric (of the Post World War I) period? The answer is power, an enormous investment of unconscious power from the collective psyche. As noted earlier in this article, when an energetic phenomenon is continually suppressed, repressed, ignored, etc., it does not go away but gets buried deeper in the personal unconscious and extracts power from the archetype lying hidden with the collective unconscious from its primordial images and evolved archaic patterns. Since this is an evolutionary structure in an ancient part of the brain, the more one presses back against it, the greater the power the complex accrues, until it bursts forth in a symbolic image that cannot be ignored and usually carries a heavy fear load (thanks to the limbic system’s amygdala and neurotransmitters.) It surely is not a coincidence that Nosferatu appears a mere four years after the Great War when the Weimar Republic was struggling under the chains of the Versailles Treaty. Where were the Protestant Churches at this crucial time? The fact that they were at least partly impotent was revealed by the rapid rise of the Nazi Party and its occultism. The church, though it should have known better (as Carl Jung lamented) did not provide the necessary succor to the suffering population; but the Nazi’s clever rhetoric rapidly infected a public consumed by their own shadow (See Jung’s essays Wotan, After the Catastrophe, and The Fight with the Shadow in his volume on Civilization in Transition.) The Nazi’s, in addition to apparently soothing Germany’s wounded shadow, also offered “order.”

The symbol for order was emblazoned on everything Germany owned from rise of the Nazi party through to the end of the second war in 1945: the ancient (non-German) symbol of the swastika. Anyone paying attention would have seen this albeit disordered quaternio as a cry for help, not an invitation to seriously treat with a preposterously puppet-like lunatic or to further punish a spiritually depleted people. (This must remain an unanswered historical question: if Hitler and the Nazi’s had been marginalized early on, would they have been around to start another world conflagration?) Once again, the correct reading of the language of symbols may have averted “the catastrophe.” At one point, far in the mists of time, humans and their brains communicated via symbol-pictures, not writing. Symbols have been appearing in dreams as another language the prehistoric mind understood; even as most modern minds do not. If you doubt this author, then take a trip to France or Spain and look at the cave paintings at Cosquer, Lauscaux, and Altamira. Who among today’s talented individuals actually understand fully what the ancients are trying to communicate to “the reader?”

The question to ask now seems to be how do the shadow, anima/animus, and Self symbols relate to each other? The Self has not been addressed in this essay until this point; that is because it is farthest away from consciousness and “regulates” in a non-conscious way, the human collective unconscious (ethology’s “ethogram” or biology’s “genetic memory.”) The Self, as an archetype, will only present itself in symbolic form such as the other archetypes described herein. The symbols are myriad, but a constant in its appearance is the quaternio. This may be a simple cross, a quadratus circuli, a variation of the number four or four + 1, the nexus of four rivers, an ouroboric symbol of infinity, a diamond pattern with the bases of the diamonds touching and with an apex at the top and bottom, or some variation of this theme (doubtless there are more.) The key here is to look for “four,” ouroboric (complete circle,) and other symbols that represent completion or wholeness. The archetype, like all others, has negative and positive polarities: picking up Ariadne’s thread, we must follow it to the Self through archetypal symbols starting with the shadow, probably in some negative aspect. The lattice-form plexus constituting the Self will be described later in this essay.

Before digressing further, let us examine where we left off with our unpleasant “friend” Nosferatu. Did this shadow symbol lead to anything constructive in 1920s Germany? Was it even recognized as something other than “entertainment” or pop culture of the time (a representative of the era’s Zeitgeist?) The answer is an unequivocal no: because of the illiteracy of the intelligentsia in reading a non-written symbolic language made of “pictures” and not words. Instead it all collapsed in psychopathy and demagoguery. If the reader sneaks a peak at what pop culture in the United States was producing at the time, we get a massive red flag with Sinclair Lewis’ 1926 novel Elmer Gantry. Gantry is not only a crook, but he masks himself under the cloak of a Fundamentalist Christian. Some 60 years or more after this warning, American Christianity fell into the miasmic phantasmagoria elucidated by Sinclair Lewis with the unbridled disasters Jimmy Swaggert, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell (“the Moral Majority:” really?) and others brought to television screens across the United States in the latter part of the century. A careful reading of archaeologist William Dever’s superb “Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?” might have alleviated some of the miserable ignorance surrounding the subject: with archaeology the primary research tool to verify Biblical claims. Most conservatives (fundamentalists) are afraid to even question its factuality. In the 21st century, we can look forward to an increase in this chaos with Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, John Corapi, and a plethora of others willing to take funds out of people’s pockets who can’t really afford it, with their Fundamentalist Christian “empires” threatening to take over the United States government altogether. Their extremist (and frankly ludicrous) views on evolution, the age of the Earth, climate change, and the environment should send the critical thinker heading for the Judean hills, Masada, and the Wailing Wall.

For those Westerners seeking an Eastern path, no other lesson in the abuse of human rights, life, limb, and property is necessary other than the patently fake “geshe” Michael Roach who somehow reached the level of guru after “graduating from Princeton University, making $250 million in the diamond industry” and preached wealth management, sex with monastic partners, and barely escaped conspiracy to commit murder charges when a close acolyte was found dead in the Colorado country side near his compound. Roach’s “widow” now runs her own Buddhist enterprise after leaving her lover dead in that cave. The natural reaction to these “religious” (read “demagogue” and “thieving”) leaders would logically be incredulity. But the evidence is contrary to this and one only needs to turn the television on to “The 700 Club,” Osteen’s mega-church services, or “Father Corapi’s” pretence at being the wise and holy Pope-like cleric delivering the Vatican’s edicts (etc., and ad nauseum) to see the sheer numbers of people put their blinders on. The Gospel of Thomas’ superb rebuttal to this “mass psychosis” (there is a close parallel here with the German psyche of the 1930s as described by Jung in Wotan, After the Catastrophe, and The Fight with the Shadow) is found in Verse 34 which states that “if a blind person leads a blind person, they will both fall into a hole.” The lead donkey (whether pastor or geshe) with the blinders on leads his herd to the watering hole expecting their “drink” and then they all get ambushed by ravenous crocodiles waiting at the water’s edge. All of these pastor-guru-leader (“Fuhrer”) types are or were powerful shadow figures in the suggestible and weak minds of the masses; making these unfortunates vulnerable to the quackery of the demagogue (a “doctor” of the mind?) Some 2,000 years ago, would “the faithful” follow the demagogue’s orders to jump into a coliseum full of lions? Throw in the demagogues and quacks first and see which of the “faithful” willingly follow. A developed ego, critical thinking, and the ability to read the symbols (humanity’s most ancient language was visually pictorial – again, see the rock art in Southern Europe, Australia, and Africa tens of thousands of years old.) In Daniel Quinn’s splendid novel Ishmael about a seeker, the protagonist does find a mentor, though this genuine and venerable fountain of wisdom turns out to be a telepathic gorilla. Perhaps the Fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, quasi-Buddhists and other weak-minded followers need to take a trip to the zoo, or a museum, or a library, or even the theater downtown to help them clear the miasmic phantasmagoria swirling in front of their faces.

Since we have turned the clock forward more than half a century, what do we find of Nosferatu? Long “dead and buried” perhaps by a watershed change in Zeitgeist? Have the intelligentsia learned any lessons and another case of “never again” and not in the United States? Pop culture, once more, is again providing warning signs. What fascinates this author is how Nosferatu slumbered in his German coffin for 50 plus years before reappearing in almost identical form as Mr. Barlow in Stephen King’s brilliant and scary novel of a small New England American town and its “visitor.” Nosferatu’s metaphorical “grandson” has finally arrived in the here and now of our own lifetimes? (Nosferatu/Mr. Barlow did indeed “emigrate” to the United States.) To remind the reader: when a symbol reappears at a given time, it means that whatever psyche’s previous issue was, it has not been resolved. What has not been resolved?

Mr. Barlow conveniently arrives in the late 1970s, when even the Muslim Fundamentalists were running amok in the American Embassy. Here in America we can add the televangelist du jour. A small tsunami is growing like it did in the Roman Empire some 1,700 years ago. Emperor Constantine’s greatest error in judgement may have been the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity in the early 4th century A.D. Less than 150 years later Rome was plundered and under “barbarian” control after its erstwhile Christian tenants were slaughtered or evicted to the Byzantine half of the empire to the east. This author makes no claims about “history repeating itself,” however it is certainly a truism that civilizations rise and fall. One might be tempted to state that Mr. Barlow’s “reappearance” is still in the past, even if only the recent past. Perhaps all has been resolved now that the late 20th century has moved into the technologically super-advanced 21st century and the anticipation of the future techno-utopia lies just over the horizon. Sadly, this is not the case, and the penury of the American spirit persists (much like the German a century ago) even as the accumulation of technical knowledge is increasing at phenomenal rates.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s two of the most iconic malevolent high clerics (now in their trademark leather black cassocks appeared in print and on stage. Nosferatu’s power-packing black cleric’s cassock has gone from cloth to leather: more details that indicate the new leather cassock is an increase in power. The reader may be thinking “so what,” cow-skin, but the clue is reptilian, not bovine: more on this later.) Perhaps not as well known, but certainly memorable is author and screenwriter Clive Barker’s hell-priest or “Pinhead” as the public calls him, for the railroad spikes hammered into the grill pattern incised on his scalp that appeared in the movie Hellraiser.  Only a couple of years later, the ever popular Star Trek turned the quintessential hero of the Next Generation series into the quintessential villain of probably franchise history: the anti-hero Locutus of Borg. The great diplomat and strategic thinker Captain Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise has been “infected” by and become the mouthpiece (“interlocutor”) between the larger Borg collective and the “individual” human idealized by the Federation Council. The Borg are attempting to communicate for once, instead of merely assimilating the Federation because their “resistance” does not seem to be “futile.” Horror of horrors, Locutus, even with his semi-autonomous mind only lightly tethered to the Borg collective is not the being in charge at all. There is another being just outside his peripheral vision. It would seem, like a bee, or wasp, or ant collective that it is the queen who rules from the top. Even the singular Locutus is but a high ranking worker bee. No-one wants to be turned into an automaton subject to the collective (here we go again: recall our musings with Jungian thought on large collectives mentioned above.) If Locutus is a frightening opponent on his own, then the dyad of Locutus and the queen (superbly played by Alice Krige) pose a lethal threat to Earth and the human race, their intended target for “assimilation.”

This is a trenchant metaphor for the “assimilation” of gullible minds to demagoguery, especially of the religious kind, and for potential technological intrusions into the human brain and body advocated by some futurists for a more evolved type of person. In other words, humans will soon be able to manipulate their own evolution through nanotechnology and genetic tinkering. If the audience fears the threat of “assimilation” by the Borg, why is the general populace (the viewing public) obliviously happy to the new and improved humans promised by cumulative technological change; about to forever change the basic organism created by millions of years of natural selection? Whether through Fundamentalist religious demagoguery or some future hyper-technology, “assimilation” is not the answer, as popular culture causes the viewing public to recoil in terror at the prospect of unnatural selection. Organic evolutionary selective pressures over the millennia have produced many “eusocial” species (species that evolved to live in communities) as brilliant sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson describes in his aptly named book, The Social Conquest of Earth. Wilson is clearly referring to the Darwinian calculus that led to the natural selection and evolution of these societies; from ants and wasps all the way to humans.

In recent years, the malevolent high cleric remains with us to remind us that the individual’s internal work with the psyche’s shadow (not a large collective that submerges personality characteristics) is to draw out those characteristics before they explode on the world stage as another human calamity. Interestingly pop culture’s Tarot deck features the Devil (shadow) not as a nebulous and morally evil being but is described as “self-imposed bondage” in the same way a Rorschach test or shadow recognition does. Therefore it is the individual’s job to recognize shadow energies and release them in a positive way. Popular culture today relative to our sinister archpriest lives on in the form of “Viktor the Elder” from the fairly new Underworld film series and the formidable “Pinhead” in Clive Barker’s latest Hellraiser instalment: The Scarlet Gospels. Viktor reminds and invites us to embrace our instinctual nature by “embracing” the wolf; The Gospel of Thomas refers to this in a similar simile in Verse 7 by stating “lucky is the lion the human will eat, so the lion becomes human.” However, the ferocious “Pinhead” subliminally asks us to defuse the demonic affect of a powerfully constructed shadow complex by analysing the “fours,” (quaternios) not embracing or consuming our animal/instinctual natures. The ubiquitous and continuous “reverse” religious imagery of the malevolent cleric continues to disquiet people even as it fascinates them. This may be more about morbid curiosity or titillation rather than any real desire to be tormented further by the spiritually bankrupt who through their power, influence, and money can affect the minds of the masses. That fascination, however, may be the end of Ariadne’s thread the individual should be struggling to reel in for the process of the reconciliation of the opposites to begin. The Unholy Hierophants are awaiting the presence and attention of the seeker of psyche’s internal mysteries.

It is worth mentioning here that in the 1990s and 2000s, the Star Trek franchise introduced a host of characters who can be used as “splinter” personalities that make up the whole quaternio. Important characters include the negative young alter-ego of Captain Picard (Shinzon) and his Viceroy who exist in a symbiotic relationship in which Shinzon relies on his second in command to provide telepathic support. This is another example of the dyadic monad played out in popular culture. Shinzon’s desire for Picard’s blood (literally) is the theme of the story as the ailing younger man seeks the DNA of his “older” brother from which he was cloned. Picard’s telepath, the lovely Deanna Troi plays counterpart to all the negative influences surrounding them. This can be compared to the Trinity (all male) plus one female (Mary Magdalene) to make up the Holy quaternio, rather than just the Trinity alone, positive as it is. The Viceroy is a fascinating character, though he does not have the central role in the Star Trek movie Nemesis. The Viceroy was, by race, a “Reman” in the Star Trek series. They lived on the twin planet of Remus, orbiting the main planet Romulus and were considered vampire-like slaves laboring in Romulan mining operations. The Remans lived on the “dark” side of their planet, and the producers of the movie wanted them “to have a Nosferatu-like feeling without making them vampires.” The script for Nemesis describes the Remans as having a disturbing resemblance to the original Nosferatu, “Count Orlok.”

In fact, Count Orlok actually served as inspiration for the Reman make-up design. Thus, if we map the diachronic appearance of the Nosferatu/Barlow/Viceroy creature, it steadily reappears over an 80-year period (1922-2002) gathering more energy as the decades move forward right into the 21st century; except now, there is a whole space-faring race of them inhabiting their own planet! The insertion of the Viceroy into the quaternio, dyadically coupled to Shinzon and opposite stoically “good” Captain Picard, still creates an immensely negatively charged, if lopsided, “evil” shadow quaternio. Let the reader ponder Verse 5 of the The Gospel of Thomas relative to the above: “know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden will be revealed to you.” What does all this “reveal” to the critical thinker of the 21st century? The malevolent high cleric is about to literally explode on the scene and infest the universe as the unholy virus the likes of which has never been seen before.

Next: Part III

Symbols of Transformation

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Ereshkigal, Dis, & Lucifer: Children of Western Civilization & Fundamentalist Christianity

Mephistopheles, Child of Christian Civilization

Part III: Symbols of Transformation

By George S. Svokos

Copyright August 2015

The Self or Anthropos quaternio symbolically represents what we cannot, in fact, see. Carl Jung’s Aion, Volume 9 of his Collected Works brilliantly describes the Self and shadow archetypes as quaternios. Archetypes only become visible through their symbols, not themselves as such. Anthropos is a reflection of the “higher Adam” (Self, or the center of the unconscious) and occupies the upper apex of the diamond shaped quaternio which is joined at its base by a mirror image of itself.  Thus, the diamond appears to be two pyramids attached at their bases with an apex point and a basal point. The basal apex symbolizes “lower Adam,” or the ego. The four vectors leading to the corners symbolize positive and negative axis of male and female energy beings. The Anthropos quaternio in its complete form consists of four (the symbol of wholeness or completion) pyramidal quaternios with Anthropos at the top and the non-organic elements on the lowest. The shadow quaternio lies second below Anthropos while the two lower quaternios will not be treated in any detail here. The entire Anthropos quaternio has an open quaternio superstructure holding it together. For the purposes of this article, only the top two of the four quaternios will be discussed to illustrate the position of the Unholy Hierophant’s location on this lattice-work of vectors and points. With this crystalline structure in mind, we can also locate the positive and negative masculine and feminine elements that accompany the negative high cleric.

As an example, we can “place” the cleric (as Locutus) in the position of the vertex diagonally opposed from Shinzon just above the apex to the bottom. The vectors intersecting at the other vertices will hold Shinzon’s Viceroy and the Borg queen. This is a profoundly negatively charged complex because all four symbols are opposing the positive poles. The reader can imagine then that a person with such a complex would be domineering, patronising, angry, sanctimonious, prone to outbursts, and given to unpleasant behaviors. A Holy quaternio would have significantly less negative energy because of the “good” beings at the vertices, however, all negative energy cannot be disposed of as the goal of this inner work is to balance or reconcile the opposites. In this way Mary Magdalene helps by adding the positive feminine element to this version of the shadow quaternio. The Nag Hammadi Library’s Gospel of Mary aids our understanding here in Chapter 4 Verse 23: “for the nature of matter (the quaternio) is resolved into the roots of its own nature (the archetypes and the collective unconscious) alone.” Then, the Saviour is mentioned for having loved Mary the most of the apostles, thus strengthening her positive energetic contribution.

In an interesting “converging line of evidence,” we have anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss producing his own quaternio that he calls “the totemic operator” and is again based on multiple quaternios and a lattice-form plexus within his singular book The Savage Mind that constructs a self-identity from totems rather than archetypes. The totems and archetypes are both, however, grounded in the expression of symbols. Clive Barker completes the trilogy with his “Leviathan Configuration” in the film Hellraiser II, a quaternio which returns to its position of completion or perfection and closes the gates of hell. This “trilogy” is what science considers a pattern, rather than the twin, which could be a coincidence, or a unitary phenomenon which may simply be an accidental occurrence.

The second example mentioned here is of a more positive shadow quaternio with a much reduced affect/fear load right from the start. Placing Nosferatu/Mr. Barlow in a negative vertex across from Mina Harker also introduces the feminine into the equation while providing a positive charge. The other two vertices comprising Jonathan Harker and Professor Van Helsing cast more positive energy out of the shadow quaternio and actively oppose the “dark” forces of the evil clerics. However, the negative power of the complex can still be great if the basal apex (serpent or reptile) is constellated. The shadow will always hold negative energy, the key is to balance them out and integrate what the seeker can into consciousness. This is clearly an on-going project.

The problematic aspects of the shadow are where the hue of the Unholy Hierophant becomes the dark green or black reptilian lying at the basal apex (a “lower” or more primitive life form) of the shadow quaternio; as the reptile beast (Father Saurotherium) or king reptile (Father Reptiliax) is unleashed with a massive fear loading at the dream ego. This can only be the amygdala flooding the dreaming brain with neurotransmitters. Sinister crypt churches, cells of various sorts, hell feelings, and lizard-like noises accompany a sentient and evil red fog with an awareness of the creature’s imminent attack to bite or “consume” the already anxiety-riddled ego: “Dis” as ego cannibal. Jung borrowed Pierre Janet’s term “abaissement du niveau mental” to describe this weakening, indeed complete “consumption” of the ego due to unconscious drainage of its energy by the “Great Mother” or collective unconscious. This is presciently and brilliantly depicted in hieroglyphs by the ancient Egyptian goddess Ammut waiting to snap up the “soul” (ego) of the afflicted person like a dog waiting for a treat. Heaven really should help the individual whose birth mother is an actual Ammut.

The misery of the sufferer probably should not be underestimated when the “Terrible Mother’s” agent is invested with the power of the collective unconscious: the redoubtable “Pinhead” cleric lurking at the gates of hell in his reptile-skinned cassock: “through me the road to the city of desolation…lay down all hope, you that go in by me.” Dante is only one of many sufferers who will “abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Sentient, evil, and “other” in the shadow quaternio, “Pinhead’s infernal petitions are quite specific: “your suffering will be legendary, even in hell!” “No tears please, for it is a waste of good suffering,” and “I will tear your soul apart!” As stated in Moby Dick by the vexed Captain Ahab: is the White Whale principal (an evil sentience of his own) or is he agent (God’s tool?) It is no wonder then that dream sequences will have a saurotherium (sentient, malevolent, other, “cannibal-eater” of the young traumatized ego, dis-integrator, splitter of the mother-infant bond and nascent ego-Self axis, the crocodilian reptile-beast,) threatening a little boy’s dream ego by stating “come here so that I may kill you,” and the little boy refuses in a fearful and unsure act of self-preservation, prompting the saurotherium to a further blast of negative affect: “then I will crush you.” “Pinhead,” the tyrannical cenobite of the Great Mother, states the matter simply and with terror: “just come here and die child while you still have the option of doing it quickly.” Father Reptiliax/Mother Ereshkigal can also come in the form of a petrifying triad recently named by palaeontologists after a track bed in Canada, revealing “a terror of tyrannosaurs:” familial pack hunters; the mother leading a sub-adult and a juvenile (the tyrant lizard king is perhaps, more appropriately “Tyrannosaurus Regina,” the tyrant lizard queen) as these also attempt to “consume” the ego.

This may be one of the most fearsome appearances of the agent of the negative Terrible Mother archetype and may even be the rare appearance of the Great Mother as principal (the Dark Side of the Self.) If this is true, then the fear-loading fueled by the archetype must be colossal: the empirical evidence of a massive neurotransmitter release from the amygdala may be the proof here of a devastating episode of dissociation in the psyche; the vivisected ouroboros momentarily shattering at the seams blasted apart with thunder and lightning (the reverse of ego-Self individuation.) These inner experiences would certainly be remembered by the sufferer and even become part of their iconography much like the Sumerian Goddess of the Underworld Ereshkigal and the “Devourer of Souls” goddess Ammut did for the Egyptians and their religious texts. It would seem then, that the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian religions still had elements or at least vestiges of these encounters with the unconscious; the “living” aspect of spirituality rather than the dead of the later reified organized faith/belief systems.

A more recent interpretation by Donald Kalsched in his excellent new book Trauma and the Soul provides another window into this hell crypt or monastery: “within the Jungian tradition many practitioners have also encountered “Dis” (see also John Flaxman) and found a place for him within their theoretical orientation. Jung himself would probably have seen Dis (the “Dark Lord” versus opposite twin “Lucifer” the light-bearer) as personifying that disintegrative effect of what he called the autonomous fragmentary systems that appear from the collective layer of the unconscious, possessing the ego in mental disturbances: they are fragmentary psychic systems that either appear spontaneously in ecstatic states and evoke powerful impressions and effects, or else, in mental disturbances, become fixed in the form of delusions and hallucinations and consequently destroy the unity of the personality. In Jung’s later authorship, he explored the figure of Dis (“disassociation”) as the Dark Side of the Self. Thus, the suffering child’s fragmented psyche, in its immature undifferentiated ouroboric state, may split or dissociate under the pressure of the “male” Dis or the “female” Ereshkigal’s violent attacks by their respective archetypal symbol-creatures, the sentient, tyrannical, and malevolent ego-cannibal reptile beast. The sufferer’s incessant punishment is to wander the chambers of the hell crypt, with no direction or hope of escape, and try to avoid Dis’ or Ereshkigal’s ego-cannibal reptile attacks. Such are psyche’s “autonomous fragmentary systems” (a Riccian-style memory palace) that appear from the collective layer (ethogram or genetic memory) of the unconscious possessing the ego in mental disturbances from fragmentary psychic systems.”

The symbol of “Dis,” The Dark Lord, has been well documented, but what of his “light-bearing” brother “Lucifer?” In his role of “the Morning Star” he has the ability, with due diligence, to be “redeemed” by re-establishing the ego-Self axis (very rare, but possible) and leading a few other “saved” Luciferians out of psyche’s autonomous fragmentary system (Ricci’s perverted memory palace) back to through the Ogdoad (eight heavens) to join his other brother Hesperus (“the Evening Star”) in the Empyrean as “Paradise is Regained.”

Where is this analysis taking us then? An ancient Polynesian proverb states that “a child behaves like those who reared him” (the sins of the parents.)  How do we know who knows how to produce children that are consistently well adjusted and confident?

Jared Diamond’s brilliant books Guns, Germs, and Steel, and The World Until Yesterday provide outstanding entrees into the subject. Using his field experience and not ad hominem absurdities, he records for us the lifeways of a small band aboriginal society in their natural environment in New Guinea. His findings include that the so-called wild children are more intelligent than westernized children and much better adjusted with no need of complicated psychological analyses of their psyches and symbols. In contrast, “domesticated” or “civilized” children show decreases in cranial capacity, actually a phenomenon that began with the Neolithic Age some 10,000 years ago probably as a response to the decrease in protein intake and increase in grains and other protein-poor edible products. Farming increased the amount of non-animal food in the diet and a much decreased need for hunting since the megafaunal extinctions occurred at about the same time as the beginning of the Neolithic transition to food production from food collection. Therefore, two of the prime reasons for brain expansion (overall use and intelligence?) hunting and protein consumption, the key reasons that paleoanthropologists give for brain expansion, disappeared after nearly two million consecutive years. Now, most children belong to the “tame” or “civilized” or “domesticated” mega collectives of human society (remember Jung’s statements about large collectives mentioned earlier.) Moreover, studies done on domesticated pigs (the medical profession notes diagnostic similarities in bodily function of humans and pigs) indicate smaller sizes relative to their respective wild cousins, including cranial capacity (same is true of dogs relative to wolves) and the retro-molar gap in the mandible. This has become such a problem for modern humans that many people have their “wisdom teeth” removed. Dentists like to say it is because there “isn’t enough room” in the jaw and the third molars become “impacted.”

Small band societies seem to have few of civilization’s diseases as biologist Desmond Morris has explained in his superb book The Human Zoo (the best definition for the concept of “civilization.”) Unfortunately, while the human zoo is alive, well, and expanding, small band societies are an endangered species; but they are who everyone is under the skin. To let small band societies go extinct would be our last chance to remind us where we came from, where we should be going, and how we should be going about doing it. This is true particularly in Africa, Greenland, Northern Scandinavia, South America, Southeast Asia, Siberia, Alaska, and Australia who have vulnerable indigenous populations.

The future is not the traumatized western child, but the well-adjusted small band society child as Jared Diamond (and many distinguished anthropologists have noted in the literature: see E. Evans-Pritchard, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Marshall Sahlins, Irven DeVore, Richard Lee, Piers Vitebsky, Colin Turnbull, etc.) The west should be looking to indigenous populations for societal answers just as western medicine is looking for its cures in the rainforests. Thus, the western child, deprived of its connection to the environment and natural surroundings has its development “interrupted” as Donald Kalsched has described in his books The Inner World of Trauma and Trauma and the Soul. These “interruptions” are disruptions of the mother-infant bond/ego-Self axis and the trauma that is their sequelae produce what ethopsychiatrist John Bowlby calls “attachment, separation, and loss” and ultimately leads to the demonic anger of Asmodeus. Does any of this ring a bell? The bell that is faintly chiming now is coming from the crypt hell church/monastery (collective unconscious) where the appalling cenobitic archpriest “Pinhead” is arising from his cell to join with his three shadow quaternio companions. When he states that it is “time to play,” he is referring to the suffering psyche which he intends to violently “tear apart” as the terrible agent of the Great Mother or dark side of the Self destroying and devouring her children. (A “bad external father” can become a disassociating inner object as he plays the role of sinister archpriest and considers his innocent little boy “a loser” and acts accordingly.) Call her the Hindu “Kali,” the Egyptian “Ammut,” the Sumerian “Ereshkigal,” or just “mom,” and the result is the same: the child’s fragmented disassociating psyche will eventually grow up to reside in most of the adult population of the human zoo; which it will then duly transfer one day to the full-time residence of zoo cells labelled the Federal Penitentiary or Psychiatric Asylum.

As Kalsched states in his Trauma and the Soul, “such a shattering dissociation of the childhood psyche would be an unimaginable catastrophe,” irrespective if the birth mother was the sole source of kakia or if the birth father contributed his own kakia to the child’s developing inner world. It is worth remembering here that the child’s brain is not a static entity but a developing organism in its own right. Shatter the childhood psyche and the resulting “traumatic dissociation in the child leaves an inner world of objects” like the hell priest garbed in his reptilian leather skin cassock and “places” like the hell church itself. Is this the model modern children should be following, or should they be following Jared Diamond, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, John Bowlby, and anthropologist Robin Fox’s tribal (small band) “default system of human nature, and hence of human society:” a society that has spent millions of years evolving in its environment of evolutionary adaptation?

A “twin-tracked” way forward into the distant future can be planned for with currently existing regulations regulations, with the preservation of existing small band hunter-gatherer societies, and the creation of tethered mini-domesticated societies. Action can be taken immediately to set these plans in motion for the foraging societies. This is probably critical because they are the most vulnerable in the modern agro-industrial world. The second track may take some time to work out the details, but following anthropologist Robin Fox’s (and other like-minded individuals) “thought experiments” could result in small scale social tinkering which would keep these new mini-societies connected to each other and to the foragers without encroaching on each other. They would be networked, however, to be within reach of each other to assist in times of environmental distress. A successful model can perhaps be deduced from ice-age Gravettian culture.

Next: Part IV

Civilization in Transition

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Mephistopheles, Nosferatu, Ereshkigal, & Lucifer: Children of Western Civilization & Fundamentalist Christianity

Mephistopheles, Child of Christian Civilization

Part IV: Civilization in Transition

By George S. Svokos

Copyright August 2015

The news media recently reported that the Mashco Piro Indians in the Peruvian Amazon have been pushed out of their environment of evolutionary adaptation that they have occupied for at least 600 years because of commercial concerns and natural resource extraction (same old story.) An added complication here is that the Mashco Piro are the last uncontacted tribe in this area of South America. In the interests of holy preservation, why cannot these people just be left to themselves? They are, or were, a self-sufficient hunter-gatherer society that required no “assistance” from the developed world. It would seem, they will fall victim to the inexorable Manufacture of Evil as anthropologist Lionel Tiger wrote in his superb book; and with it, another small piece of humanity’s heart is ripped out for the sake of wealth and comfort for the allegedly “civilized.” At this point, the human heart is in shreds already (along with its soul: “we will tear your soul apart,” the hell-priest cenobite states) as the numbers of uncontacted tribes continues to shrink. This does not even include indigenes who have had contact with the agro-industrial world but continue to maintain a mostly tribal lifestyle.

This author has provided a solution to protecting both self-sufficient native peoples and uncontacted tribes. The following is taken from a previous essay published by Dissident Voice on the subject but remains relevant and can be expanded to include hunter-gatherers anywhere in the world; the entire article can be found at: http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/09/traditional-forager-culture-assimilation-and-the-cash-economy-in-northern-siberia/

“In the 1990s, Russian anthropologist Olga Murashko introduced the “Concept of an International Ethno-ecological Refuge” as part of the Seventh Conference on Hunter-Gatherer Studies convened in Moscow. This concept was designed to encompass the preservation of indigenous peoples’ traditional societies and the larger territory and complete biome within which they exist. Unlike the North American native reservations or national park system, the international ethno-ecological refuge would not merely resettle indigenous peoples in undesirable locations not of their own choosing or solely serve as habitat protection for the enjoyment of visitors. It would, instead, be a “total package” for the conservation and preservation of the complete northern Siberian forager-herder nomadic territory, all its natural resources (to be accessed only by the natives,) and overall habitat, its flora and fauna, and the unmolested practice of traditional culture and life-ways of the indigenous peoples that anthropologist Piers Vitebsky has documented so well. The state and international community would have custodial responsibility for the well-being and proper management of the ethno-ecological refuge and all its constituent parts. Outside intervention or interference would be kept to a minimum to allow the complete self-determination, self-sufficiency, and self-preservation of the indigenous peoples within the preserve. The preserve territory would be outlined by the indigenous peoples to encompass all habitats and ranges for their nomadic lifestyles to remain unimpeded by outside interference, whether it be economic development, socio-cultural reconstruction, park-land creation, resettlement efforts of traditional territories, resource extraction, the use of trade-routes, or the destruction of faunas.

The instrument for the effective realization of the refuges is the International Convention of Independent Countries on Indigenous Peoples (Convention 169.) The wherewithal to implement Convention 169 on the state, regional, and local levels is within the purview of the 26 signatories to the declaration. Whether or not they act on this or similar legislation will directly affect the future of indigenous peoples and their cultural survival as independent entities. Ethno-ecological refuges should be, in effect, microcosms of humanity’s environment of evolutionary adaptation in and around habitat mosaics. In the case of the Siberian North, this would include the essential tundra, taiga, and river valley “edge environments.”

Evolutionary ecologist Clive Finlayson has stated that “edge environments or habitat mosaics” are the loci of the human “innovators” who have survived local extinction events in the past and have preserved both themselves and their adaptive cultural skills for future generations. In today’s world, these traditional innovative peoples need the preservation efforts and advocacy of outside agencies to survive on a shrinking planet of nation-states and environmental degradation. Ethno-ecological preservation of edge environments would thus serve as human and ecological “life-boats” in the stormy seas of cumulative technological change and the future uncertainties it represents. It is incumbent on all responsible individuals to comprehend the big picture; and ensure the physical and cultural survival of humanity here on Earth in real terms by implementing pre-existing international regulatory vehicles rather than placing faith in, and waiting for, some nebulous future technological utopia that may or may not come to pass. It may be more heuristically and tangibly useful to consider what anthropologist Robin Fox terms the “paleotopia” of the ethno-ecological refuge when exploring “the search for society” and implementing its potential for realization.”

The model presented herein can be constructed to fit any foraging or hunter-gatherer society; it only takes the willpower to do so. One of anthropology’s greatest contributions to world cohesion and environmental protection is the preservation of small band societies and especially uncontacted tribes, few as they are, around the world. This will be humanity’s legacy to itself in the uncertain millennia to come. Let the experiment with civilization continue; but also let the tried and true small band society survive next to it, and then let the future bring what it may. The arrogant, pretentious, and patronising gibberish coming from the futurists and techno-utopians need to understand what brilliant anthropologist Marshall Sahlins wrote some 50 years ago in his seminal Original Affluent Society paper for the Man the Hunter symposium: “In this relation of hunters to worldly goods there is a neat and important point. From the internal perspective of the economy, it seems wrong to say that wants are “restricted,” desires “restrained,” or even that the notion of wealth is “limited.” Such phrasings imply in advance an Economic Man and a struggle of the hunter against his own worst nature, which is finally then subdued by a cultural vow of poverty. The words imply the renunciation of an acquisitiveness that in reality was never developed, a suppression of desires that were never broached. Economic Man is a bourgeois construction – as Marcel Mauss said, “not behind us, but before, like the moral man.” It is not that hunters and gatherers have curbed their materialistic “impulses;” they simply never made an institution of them. “Moreover, if it is a great blessing to be free from a great evil, our “savages” are happy; for the two tyrants who provide hell and torture for many of our Europeans, do not reign in their great forests, I mean ambition and avarice…as they are contented with mere living, not one of them gives himself to the Devil to acquire wealth.” The italics are mine here, because as long ago as the Man the Hunter conference was, the basic problems facing hunter-gatherer societies are still recognized today. Yet, the hunter-gatherer lifeway has continued uninterrupted since the dawn of humanity, while the dawn of civilization has brought many interruptions and left its ruins strewn all over the globe during its 5,000 year or so life cycle.

Thus we come to the main theme of this essay: what is humanity’s intention for its origins relative to its potential legacy? Will the First World Nations cling to their wealth and power and “acquisitiveness” while the Second and Third World try to catch up at any cost? For that is what they are doing because just as the middle classes have been feeling the economic pinch of slipping backwards financially, so the Second and Third Worlds see themselves slipping; not realizing, probably, they will never reach First World status. Their rising populations too, are, in fact, one of the time bombs (author Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb) they will also have to deal with. However, at the same time, they degrade the earth and disenfranchise the indigenous populations who “stand in the way of progress.” Amazonian rainforests are not the only one’s suffering: Indonesia is destroying theirs at a frenetic pace; and of the Old Growth Redwood Forests in California? Perhaps some three percent remain minus their indigenes. The same is happening in South America and Southeast Asia, to provide a few examples. Hunter-gatherers will eventually run out of space, and when a species loses its habitat, most people know that means extinction. (Perhaps the developing countries should be more careful lest they really turn the indigenes into cannibals. Dr. Francis Pechischer already, in the early 1970s, wrote An End to Starvation? about feeding the starving with untainted human medical waste. Sound strange? Read the article in Dissident Voice: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/04/past-as-prologue-the-archetypal-hannibal-lecter/

Generally speaking, the optimist-futurists think that the coming techno-utopia on the horizon will provide all the answers to humankind’s survival. But is that really so? Perhaps, as added insurance, even the sanctimonious one percenters and their large collectives can leave a few of Olga Murashko’s International Ethno-ecological Refuges on the shrinking planet just for the sake of it, even as a tax write-off should they help their respective governments create the refugia. Do we want the peace of mind of knowing that our children’s children and beyond will have a fighting chance in some distant future without having to conceive of, worry about, think about, or dream about the black cassocked sinister archpriest inhabiting the highways and byways of our mental and physical landscapes? If ontogeny (development of the individual) really recapitulates phylogeny (development of the species,) then, there may come a day when our distant descendants only know that their combined outer and matching inner worlds are metaphorically speaking a “Garden of Eden,” a “Happy Hunting Ground,” or an “Elysium,” the completion or perfection from which humanity emerged and to which people will return upon the “reconciliation of the opposites” and the reconstitution of the primordial Paleotopia.

The serendipitous secreting and later recovery of the Nag Hammadi Library points the way: this ancient wisdom bequeathed to future generations can assure that critically thinking individuals can use science (see above) and spiritual guidance to find humanity’s way home. The Greek Orthodox Pachomian monastery had the foresight to bury and hide the codices containing the library after Saint Anthanasius condemned on pain of death the use of “non-canonical” books in his AD 367 edict. An interesting and opposite diachronic convergence occurs where the father of cenobitic monasticism, St. Pachomius meets the cenobite from hell (the black cassocked hell-priest “Pinhead”) in a contest for human psyches. Today, synchronically, individuals have to choose, consciously, or unconsciously, which of the cenobites (“His Eminence”) to genuflect before.

The Pachomian monks pointed the way more than 1,700 years ago: “Wisdom, let us attend. Look upon me, you who reflect upon me, and you hearers, hear me. You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves. And do not banish me from your sight. Do not be ignorant of me. For I am the first and the last (an ouroboros: completion or perfection of the psyche.) I am the wisdom of the Greeks and the knowledge of the barbarians. I am the one whom you have pursued and I am the one you have seized. And come forward to me, you who know me and you who know my members, and establish the great ones among the small first creatures. Come forward to childhood and do not despise it because it is small and it is little. And do not turn away greatnesses in some parts from the smallnesses, for the smallnesses are known from the greatnesses. Hear me, you hearers and learn of my words, you who know me.” The monks here were reading, in a metaphoric and poetic style about the opening of the unconscious to scrutiny and taking the first steps to reconnecting the ego-Self axis. The passages above are from a treatise called The Thunder, Perfect Mind where, once again, we become aware that a seeker is pursuing what Jung called “completion” or “perfection.” (Anthropos, heal thyself.) It is a diachronic example of a current, synchronic “malaise of the 20th century.”  Carl Jung may have been more properly correct to restate this conclusion as the “malaise of civilization’s last 5,000 years.” For the few civilized exemplars escaping Purgatory with the “light-bearer” that are able to attain this “ouroboric individuation” (linkage of ego-Self axis) the future is bright. For the hunter-gatherer, who knows nothing of these things, better to not destroy the linkage between the conscious mind and genetic memory so they don’t have to recover it at all, and do not even have to know what a “split” dissociative psyche is (in other words, they need no myth of Paradise Lost or Ariadne and the labyrinth.) History is littered with the wreckage of indigenous societies that have tried (notably Native Americans, Australians, and Siberians) to “repair” themselves. Better not to be broken, so “fixing” is not required. This applies, by definition, to The Human Zoo. A combination of small band society ethno-ecological refugia as defined by Russian anthropologist Olga Murashko for the few pristine hunter-gatherers left and a few “enlightened” small civilized social groupings networked with them may be the key to humanity’s survival in the distant and unpredictable future.

Few material wants and needs combined with eschewing the dependence on agriculture may also be the way forward. Marshall Sahlins states that “hunter-gatherers consume less energy per capita per year than any other group of human beings. Yet when you come to examine it, the original affluent society was none other than the hunter’s – in which all the people’s material wants were easily satisfied. To accept that hunters are affluent is therefore to recognise that the present human condition of man slaving to bridge the gap between his unlimited wants and his insufficient means is a tragedy of modern times.” Recall here the shadow quaternio featuring the Reman “slaves” as Nosferatu, the black cassocked sinister cleric residing and hidden deep in the human psyche. Sahlins “tragedy of modern times” is the symbol that does not go away, as discussed above and as we saw with the 80-year run of the black cassocked cleric in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries (synonyms for the cleric/creature/saurotherium/Ammut can be traced back 3,200 years to Bronze Age Mycenaean Greece, and in reality probably began at the dawn of civilization some 2,000 years before that as the Sumerian Ereshkigal symbolized with “the black sun.” See Stanton Marlan’ excellent study entitled The Black Sun.) Sahlins, some half-century ago stated that “the world’s most primitive people have few possessions, but they are not poor. Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods, nor is it a relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status. As such, it is an invention of civilization. It has grown with civilization, at once an invidious distinction between classes and more importantly as a tributary relation that can render agrarian peasants more susceptible to natural catastrophes than any winter camp of Alaskan Eskimo.” The present author has also written about what would happen when the next glacial event overtook the Earth. This is not a matter of speculation.

The “Ice Ages” began at the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch some 2.5 million years ago and had a formative effect on the development of that “special” genus Homo that includes our own species. The present Holocene Epoch warming trend is over 10,000 years old at present. The last time such a trend came and went was between 130-120,000 years ago and also ended after 10,000 years. Some present glaciologists are predicting the end of the Holocene in less than 1,500 years based on ice core evidence. What will be the “end” result for civilization when the next ice age is in full swing? Marshall Sahlins and I both (on separate occasions) have written on the projected results: once more the experiment with civilization will be challenged in the extreme as the glacial conditions annihilate the agricultural base. Is it possible to imagine millions of people dying from a sustained natural environmental change? We could review those that brought down the Mayan, Angkorean, and Natufian civilizations, but that would be beyond the scope of this essay. Interestingly, Sahlins chose the Eskimos as his “test” subjects whereas I chose the Nenets to see it through the next cold epoch. As evolutionary ecologist Clive Finlayson has stated, the small band societies living in edge environments or habitat mosaics are the most innovative and adaptable and likely to survive. Should the one-percenters, other bureaucratic regimes, and world governments become interested in Olga Murashko’s ethno-ecological refugia, at least some of the smart money would be on Greenland’s Eskimos and the Nenets of Siberia! Other potentially successful areas include Southeast Asia, South America, and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The key here, for survival, would be small group society living combined with contacts over wide areas through traditional tribal networks and exchanges similar to Early European Modern Human (“Cro-Magnon”) lifeways some 25,000 years ago in similar environmental conditions.

As this author has also shown above, in agreement with Marshall Sahlins’ and Clive Finlayson’s conclusions, and in line with anthropologists Olga Murashko’s and Robin Fox’s ideas on social tinkering (see also Fox’s The Search for Society: Quest for a Biosocial Science and Morality,) the most likely scenario for long time survival of the species is not the anticipated overly sanguine mega techno-utopia (technology can be lost as history has shown) promised by the futurists, but with small band societies described by Robin Fox (for the few enlightened civilized) and the ethno-ecological refugia for the hunter-gatherers. Paleotopia may not be perfect, as Robin Fox suggests, but it is our environment of evolutionary adaptation: the models shown herein being two ways of assuring the future of humanity that have realistic foundations grounded in millennia of natural selection, a science of the mind, and the natural sciences.

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Whither Canaan? Abel Slays Brother Cain

Predator

Copyright George S. Svokos

September 2014

            The polished skull shone brightly in the early summer sunshine: the farmer’s skull. The hunter admired his handiwork, taking great pride and care preparing the skull for preservation in his band’s “trophy” case. The random assortment of post-cranial bones, he could care less about, and were discarded with the rest of the food detritus in the midden outside his tent. But, in the far recesses of their sacred cave, the hunting rituals continued as they had for millennia. Subtly altered, but essentially the same rituals that “The Old Ones” had practiced. The chieftain of this particular hunting and gathering band was after a different kind of “big game:” a kind that the other hunter-gatherers tended to shun. Thus, this “lone wolf” predator chieftain would preside over the rituals, with his shaman performing the actual ceremony for hunting success. And successful he was, leading his veteran hunters against the ever burgeoning farming community. The polished skulls of the farmers and their families were reverently placed in their niches carved out of the softer rock in the cave’s interior. All game, especially the more dangerous types, were respected and treated accordingly. The hearth at the ceremonial center contained the shattered bones of the farmer’s cadavers which had been systematically disarticulated, defleshed, cooked, and consumed according the rituals handed down to them by “Lone Wolf’s revered grandfather, the greatest hunter of humans his band had ever seen. He had been the chieftain who refused parley with the farming community. His son, “Lone Wolf’s” father, had continued the tradition. Now it was his turn to lead the hunter-gatherers of his organic extended kinship group.

With the end of the Younger Dryas interglacial “cold snap,” the Neolithic Revolution had rapidly accelerated and expanded to essentially replace the primal environment of evolutionary adaptation and the hunter-gatherer way of life. Farming, the resulting overpopulation, and shrinking hunting territories now led a few of the hunting and gathering bands going “rogue” in the estimation of the settled, semi-civilized farming communities. The farmers had their share of friction, but they did not consider themselves prizes to be taken and consumed by voracious hunters who acted more like wild animals. The farmers had real work to do and considered the hunters as anachronistic and generally a nuisance to their more “civilized” way of life. “Lone Wolf” and his band, on the other hand, still heard the “call of the wild” and refused to become a domesticated animal like the cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs the farmers tended. The farmers were themselves domesticated, a lifeway that “Lone Wolf” despised as unnatural. He wondered who the “rogues” really were: his band of hunter-gatherers living in their primordial environment of evolutionary adaptation; or the new farmers who squabbled over their plots of land which had formerly been prime hunting territory. Well, in his mind, it was still prime hunting territory, even with the loss of the megafauna, the sudden increase in population the warming conditions of the Holocene brought, and the loss of habitat to this new way of life. Now the “big game” had switched from extinct wild megafauna to domesticated “long pig.” “Lone Wolf” could smell his prey…and their fear. Hemingway famously stated that “there is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.” Perhaps Hemingway should have added “the eating of man,” too. That was now the only way “Lone Wolf” would have it. His predatory hunter-gatherers reverted to a much more ancient and satisfactory way of life: that of humanity’s environment of evolutionary adaptation. The predator hunter chieftain had not forgotten The Old Ones and their primeval, natural, and normal way of life spanning back through the ages. “Lone Wolf” was respected, and even feared by the other hunter-gatherer chieftains who generally gave him a wide berth. They had acquiesced to the farmer’s new way of life, even though they did not espouse it. These other hunter-gatherers recognized a certain kind of new power the farmers exuded and therefore remained in their remote woodlands, which was unsuited to farming and continued their hunting and gathering ways even as their ancestors did. However, they paid their respects to the new farming way of life by trading, interacting, and “co-existing” with the farmers. And by not “trespassing” on “their land.” Not so “Lone Wolf” and his hunters. They preyed on the farmers who were seen as the “eighth domesticate” and a new kind of big game. The megafauna may have disappeared, but there was a new “big game” afoot. The farmers may now have domesticated the three wheats and grains and the four animal species they husbanded, but in the process also domesticated themselves. They were no longer “wild” and natural men. True, they could be dangerous, but they were no longer predators like “Lone Wolf’s” hunters. Farmers had acquired the social characteristics of the hunted. “Power” was something that he and his hunting and gathering band wielded, not the farmers. These domesticated humans had a high opinion of themselves, including their notions of who “controlled” the land. It was all about power…and the humiliation these “long pigs” would suffer for their indiscretions, ritual power to be taken within.

“Lone Wolf” gathered his seven other warriors in his tent to discuss the details of the next “hunt” against the farmers. The shaman had already predicted success, but the predator chieftain liked to plan and coordinate his hunts all the same. The farmers could defend themselves, and like any other dangerous big game, he wanted to make sure that he did not accidentally lose one of his seasoned warriors to them. He would set an ambush from the edge of a forest glade which was nearest to one of the farming “long-houses.” They would use their powerful bows for the most part, though some of his older hunters still preferred the spear-thrower and deadly darts they were accustomed to hunting with. The “long pigs” would be taken by surprise and easily overwhelmed. This tactic had worked on previous hunts and “Lone Wolf” did not see any reason to change a successful strategy. The eight predators collected their weapons and prepared to trek the short distance from their river-edged woodland territory to the big game preserve – the nearby farming communities. They left at dawn, since they knew the farmers started their tilling of the soil and animal husbandry chores early. Stealthily, they approached their unsuspecting prey and took up their hunting positions. The prey “items” were under observation by the hunters, yet had no idea they were being stalked. The “nuclear family” of farmers went about their business as usual. The predators were silent, invisible, and inexorable. They sprang their trap with the precision born of a primordial hunter, no different than a leopard pouncing upon its hapless prey; deadly arrows and razor-sharp darts hissed through the air. One of the younger farmers thought he heard something in the woods and turned around. Within seconds, it was all over; “Lone Wolf” would savor the victory, the trophies, and the ensuing ritual meal. Amen.

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Return to the Stone Age: A Short Story in Honor of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Return to the Stone Age

By George S. Svokos

Copyright September 2014

The young corporate executive smiled wolfishly in his mahogany paneled and sumptuously appointed office. It was a dog eat dog world, and he would be doing the eating, he thought to himself as he puffed contentedly on his quite illegal Cuban cigar, and leaned back in his all camel-leather chair. Illegal? Laws were for the “common” people, the masses, the hoi-polloi, the lower castes of society. Which, to him, meant most of humanity: they were after all, little more than talking animals to him (or “dogs” to be “eaten.”) Such thoughts as legality rarely troubled him. He was the young heir to a massive corporation – the deceptively simply named “Time Travel Corporation” or TTC. His father had started a travel agency some fifty years before. Now the agency was a multi-billion dollar consortium. The corporate executive was wondering when that doddering old fool of a father of his would finally croak. He poured himself another expensive French brandy and continued his ruminations about his father. It was he, not his father who had turned this little “mom and pop” style travel agency into a mighty consortium. What did the old fool know about modern technology? Especially the new and highly experimental (but promising) “Chronology Dilation Device” that his engineers were perfecting in secret. Ever since string theory had connected general relativity with quantum mechanics, the corporate executive, even as boy harbored thoughts of time travel. Screw the world, now he had eleven dimensions in which to travel. What if he could go back in time to say 1928 just before the stock market crash and bought out all the stocks that would eventually rebound after the war? He’d be a trillionaire, not just a billionaire. There were enough of those in the world already. And after all, what was life all about besides the money – mountains of it as far as the eye could see. He dreamed of shitting on a 24-carat solid gold toilet bowl that wiped his ass for him. Why, the Federal Reserve banks would have to print new currency just to feed his bank accounts. Especially those numbered Swiss accounts the Government knew nothing about. Why let the Feds get their grubby hands on HIS money. Yes, that’s right, the young executive thought of TTC as his, not his father’s. After all, his father barely graduated high school, while he had sailed through Wharton’s business school. Why should he be his father’s errand boy? Although he had been appointed a “senior vice-president” after his graduation a few years before, he was little more than a salaried peon in his father’s company, just like the other peons who worked for him. Just this thought alone was enough to send the young executive into a blind rage. Thus, it was time for another Cuban and a brandy. “Work” was for losers. And “his” company had plenty of those to spare. He spent his time more fruitfully thinking about which expensive car he would add to his collection: a big plush touring sedan, or another sports car? And which of his many women would he take on his first test drive? Would he wear some comfortable French made sports clothes, or one of his $10,000 custom-made Italian suits? And how can he forget his alligator skin shoes? Three grand for those babies! Such thoughts preoccupied him all morning. He had told his slave of a secretary to hold all calls today, as he had “important” business to attend to and did not want to be disturbed. Hmmm, would he take his private jet to the French Riviera this weekend? Alas no, his engineers had told him that the Chronology Dilation Device would soon be ready for its maiden voyage. He wasn’t going to miss that for the world. Not that he was a big fan of the asshole academics, museum geek specialists, and anal-retentive engineers. But he tolerated them for the sake of the project. HIS project. For it sprang only from his fertile mind. What did they know of the future, of runaway cumulative technological change? A wild swing of the pendulum, indeed. And within the next few days, the “Time Machine” as it was affectionately dubbed, would be ready for its first trials.

The senior engineer stood before the vast array that was the master control panel for the time machine. He understood most of it (but pretended to know all) though the time calibration unit seemed to be a bit of a problem. No worries he thought, as everyone else thought he was the “expert” in the ways of this complicated device. It was well hidden from most of the rest of the company, and the consortium as a whole, which was the way the corporate executive had planned it from the beginning. This sealed off chamber in the bowels of the main building was unknown outside the corporate executive’s and a few of the scientific personnel’s ken. No need to let the “little people” of the consortium (like his fool of a father) know what was going on. The trials were to begin today and the President’s own son (the corporate executive) would be there for the “launching” ceremony. Giving final instructions to a junior engineer, the senior engineer completed the “pre-flight” checks in preparation for the first full scale trial run. Other engineers were present to make sure the process of operation went smoothly and by the book. The academics and museum specialists hovered nearby like vultures, waiting for the “chrono-naut” to make his appearance and to be debriefed by them. They wanted to make sure the very first time-traveler, or “chrono-naut,” obtained the correct “specimens” for their universities and museums. This would be a historic occasion to claim artifacts from their original context, complete with the chrono-naut’s log to fill in any blanks should the objects obtained be strange in nature. After all, the chrono-naut would either be going to the future, or the past. The physics equations indicated that it was possible only to move in future-time, however, knowing their fearless President’s only son, they expected to have to calibrate the time machine to make the more difficult maneuver into the past. Although the son’s intentions were not completely known by his staff (he didn’t deign to defer to his “juniors,”) they suspected he both wanted to go to the future and collect technologies there to bring back and “invent” and also to go back to the past and make massive profits for the “present.” The senior engineer didn’t particularly care for the young man, but he paid well, and that’s what really counted. Feeling some relief from the pressure of being on schedule, the portly, balding senior engineer was engaging in one of his favorite pastimes: lunch. His one hour of freedom from the tyranny of the bureaucracy. And he certainly savored it. He was in the middle of a “super-sized” special from Taco Bell/KFC. Wow, he thought, three bean burritos, three soft tacos, AND two fried chicken strips in the Colonel’s original recipe. Of course, there were was the obligatory cole-slaw, two buns, and a large order of mashies (with gravy on top) and a super-sized Dr. Pepper to wash it all down with. Why, the senior engineer thought, go traveling hither and thither when nirvana was only two blocks away and a super-sized meal could be had for only ten bucks! Well, that would be his “little secret” even as the President’s son had his own. Just as the senior engineer was dribbling hot sauce and beans down his face and shirt, the corporate executive himself strode in the door. The senior engineer just smiled and waved him in. Well, the stuffed shirt had finally made his grand entrance. Meanwhile, the corporate executive thought to himself: what is this fat old goat doing stuffing himself like a pig again? Didn’t he have work to do? It was nearly time to launch the time machine. But he kept his cool as the academics and museum specialists descended on him. It was time to spring the big surprise on everyone now: that he, the President’s only son, would be the very first chrono-naut; and not only that, but he would travel to the past first, despite the warnings from the physicists about traveling backwards in time. The “science team” of engineers, physicists, academics, and museum specialists all were astounded at this pronouncement as the corporate executive had no experience in these matters. It was pure hubris to be the “first chrono-naut” and everyone, including the President’s son knew that. But he didn’t care what his underlings thought; he would be first, and as immensely famous as the first astronauts on the moon on their triumphant return. He would be a national hero (and a damned rich one at that.) The physicists cautiously tried to warn the President’s son about his travel plans, but the young man just tut-tutted them into a wary silence. By way of the very first trial run, the corporate executive had decided to heed the warnings of the science team – but only to a degree. He was well aware of the past-time traveling conundrum. So, the plan was relatively simple: just go back in time some 33 years to when his parents had their “first date.” The thought amused him. Imagine his old man’s and old lady’s surprise when he hit them with the details of their own first date. Perhaps he would play the role of the waiter serving them their drinks. Or maybe he’d just be a “patron” of the restaurant sitting at the table nearby. Whatever he chose to do, he couldn’t wait to get back and embarrass his parents. He informed the science team of his plans for the short trip into the past (but not its purpose,) and despite the visual warnings of disapproval he was getting from them (for they dared not contradict him in the open a second time,) they hesitatingly followed his orders. The senior engineer could barely hide his contempt for the President’s son, acting in his lord-of-the-manor ways. He hoped the young man hadn’t seen the brief sneer on his face before he turned to the time calibration unit on the master control panel. Why had the corporate executive decided on a dangerous maiden voyage only 33 years into the past? Why not go back in time and meet Einstein, or da Vinci, or Caesar, or Alexander the Great? Besides, what had this “little trip” have to do with making boku money? The senior engineer guessed some ulterior, personal motive. Whatever. His job wasn’t to question, but to obey. The smooth and gentle humming of the Chronology Dilation Device began to fill the small and secret chamber where it was hidden from prying eyes. The senior engineer made the correlations and adjustments to the time calibration unit for the 33 year jump into the past. The unit was functioning perfectly, just as the senior engineer expected, after all, it was his “baby.” He had pride in his work too, even if he had to swallow it in the presence of the President’s darling only son. The corporate executive, for his part, had decided to travel “light” since he could not take his porters with him. The science team advised him on what to bring, to do and not to do (couldn’t risk changing the past, etc.,) and what to wear – for safety and also to blend in with styles of 33 years ago. With fashion changing every few years, the corporate executive decided to wear his favorite Italian made custom suit with his alligator skin shoes. That never went out of style. As for the so-called “safety precautions,” that was pure rubbish. Everyone watched in astonishment as the event horizon flashed before their eyes. Without hesitation, the brash young corporate executive stepped through…

The four Cro-Magnon hunters watched trepidatiously as the “lightning” appeared out of nowhere, near the ground and on a day without a cloud in the sky. What manner of hunting magic was this? The elder hunter turned to the hunter-shaman with a questioning gaze. He said nothing as he was just as startled as the other hunters. The elder turned back to watch the strange phenomenon. They crouched motionless near the edge of a glade in their downwind ambush position and did not make a sound. The mammoths were not far away now and any injudicious sounds or movement could compromise the hunt. The small mammoth herd was following its traditional migration route through the hunters’ territory, staying close to the river, away from the trees and tall grasses that could hide a lurking predator. A young male was bringing up the rear of the herd. That was their target, as the hunter-shaman had predicted. The hunters waited anxiously, but patiently for the herd to pass near the swamp, where they hoped to mire the young male mammoth. It would be easy to process the meat there, and also to keep any cave hyenas at bay, should they arrive on the scene. It usually did not take much time for the commotion and stink of the hunt to draw these giant hyenas out of their cave refuges. What the hunters saw next astounded and frightened them: a lone male strangely clad figure came stumbling through the lightning flash and promptly fell on his face. Did this figure come from the spirit world? If so, he must be an evil apparition, for his noise (cursing actually) caught the attention of the mammoths which trumpeted their warnings and quickly closed ranks and changed direction. The hunt had been spoiled by this evil spirit, and as dried meat stocks were getting low, this meant the hunting band had a hungry day ahead of them. The women, children, and elders back at the camp would not be pleased either. Thinking of this, the hunters themselves felt an incipient disappointment mixed with irritation at the thought of a failed hunt so carefully orchestrated. Not that the hunters didn’t experience failure before, but this time it was at the hands of a strange specter. Normally patient and circumspect, the hunters were disturbed by the turn of events. The evil spirit was not 20 yards from them, so on the elder’s signal, they prepared their spear-throwers for casting razor-sharp bone-tipped projectile points on their darts. Maybe, the elder thought, they could “kill” this evil spirit which did not belong in their territory, and was causing them more than a bit of trouble. Still in their ambush positions within the perimeter of the glade, the hunters took aim…

The senior engineer farted raucously after enjoying the first half of his “super-sized” lunch from Taco Bell/KFC. One more burrito and two soft tacos to go. It took perhaps several seconds for him to realize the noise and smoke were not due to his self-satisfied gastronomic tour-de-force. Something was wrong with the Chronology Dilation Device, and galvanized into action, he moved quickly (for him) to the time calibration unit; the source of the extra noise and smoke. Fortunately, after the corporate executive had passed through the event horizon, the rest of the science team went to the meeting hall for their discussions. Using the fire extinguisher to clear the smoke and sparks, the senior engineer quickly subdued the ticklish time machine. Well, the time calibration unit had always been a bit twitchy, but he quickly made as if nothing had happened and everything was under control, like the good bureaucrat that he was. One of the asshole academics poked his head in the doorway, but the senior engineer merely assured him that everything was just fine. The academic went back to the conference room to report this to the other team members, who waited on pins and needles for any news. Damn, the senior engineer thought, the reading on the time calibration unit read 33 thousand years, not the originally calibrated 33 years. What the hell had happened? Oh, well, what’s a few thousand years anyway? The corporate executive was getting what he deserved, the snotty fucker. The senior engineer recalibrated the Chronology Dilation Device to bring the precious President’s only son back to the present. No-one would be the wiser. Though he was certain the corporate executive would be angry with him if he didn’t enjoy his time in the past. The senior engineer pondered several excuses as he reached for his “value” meal. He still had half his lunch to savor, salivating at the mere thought of it. The event horizon began to shimmer, brighten, and take form again. See, thought the senior engineer, no worries. He picked up a soft taco and squirted more hot sauce onto his shirt as he took the first bite. Taking the rest of his lunch with him, he neared the event horizon to observe.

The President’s son stumbled on something as he passed through the event horizon and fell flat on his face into some large, semi-soft, wettish pile directly in front of him. Fucking-A he thought to himself, it was a huge (mammoth?) pile of shit. He wiped the crap off his face, but his prized custom made Armani suit and alligator skin shoes were ruined. There were going to be many sorry people back at the office when he returned. He would make them pay handsomely for this humiliation. As he looked down at his soggy, smelly, and formerly expensive clothes, some kind of small ground sloth with her babies eyed the stranger curiously. The corporate executive didn’t really know what he was looking at, though he remembered the day his clever father said he’d earned the moniker “lethargic sloth” as a boy. Well, he’d show his father who the “lethargic” one really was as he kicked one of the babies high into the air and some fair distance away. There was a swift and sudden movement in the grass, as a medium sized saber-toothed cat pounced on the hapless baby from a hidden nearby ambush point. This act of wanton cruelty was not unobserved by the four Cro-Magnon hunters waiting in their own ambush point 20 yards away near the edge of the glade. All four hunters were incensed at this violation of nature, and the elder hunter bade the others to put their weapons at the ready. This evil spirit had to be sent back to whichever netherworld it came from. At the same time, the corporate executive looked for a way back to the event horizon which had disappeared behind him with a loud crack and a flash. He hadn’t walked that far into this seemingly barren landscape (this sure as hell wasn’t the place of his parents first date) and could retrace his steps to about where the event horizon should be. The first person to pay for this insufferable situation would be that fat slimy senior engineer with the shifty eyes. Well, the first thing those shifty eyes would see would be his pink slip. After some moments, the President’s one and only son could see the event horizon beginning to form again about ten feet in front of him. He was going to kick some ass when he walked back through to the facility.

The worldly corporate executive was dead before he hit the ground. Sticking out of his chest were four razor sharp boned-tipped darts which had been propelled by the force of a freight train. The four Cro-Magnon hunters emerged from the glade and stealthily approached their prey, for they were not sure he was dead yet. With their heavier chert-tipped thrusting spears, they stalked right up to the body without it noticing. It didn’t matter anyway, the “evil spirit” was dead, though it certainly bled like a man. Temporarily mesmerized by the scene, it took the hunters just a second or two for their vigilance to detect the opening event horizon nearby. Again the lightening flash and the shimmering gateway – though this time nothing came through. The hunters knew that this strange apparition did not belong in their territory either. Forming a small phalanx, they thrust their spears into the event horizon…and felt something squishy and wriggling, like some kind big harpooned fish.

The senior engineer was still stuffing his face with his last bean burrito before he realized that his intestines were spilling out onto the floor. As he collapsed onto the floor, the shocked grimace remained on his face, as did the remnants of his half-eaten burrito. The laboratory was turning into a bloody mess. A startled technician screamed at the horrifying sight of the senior engineer’s lacerated body and the steaming entrails falling out like some kind of overheated, slimy, and spastic bloody snake. After screaming at the top of her lungs, the science team came running in a panic back to the cell which housed the time machine. Something was dreadfully wrong, as they saw four large and colorfully striated spear points recede back into the event horizon. The junior engineer and his cohorts quickly shut the machine down to prevent…what…from coming through? The corporate executive was on his own now, they could not risk opening the event horizon again given the dangers it presented. With the President’s cherished son missing and the senior engineer a gruesome disemboweled carcass on the lab floor, the science team was at a loss regarding their next move. How to hide this disaster from the President and the Chairman of the Board, and the rest of the Board members? Not many people knew about the Chronology Dilation Device, but how to explain a mutilated corpse and a missing corporate executive? The science team needed a solution; they could not jeopardize their positions, or their prizes for their respective institutions. This mess had to be cleaned up quickly and quietly, and then, this time, a proper expedition sent through the event horizon. The universities and museums would be screaming for the exhibits and artifacts the academics and the museum specialists had promised…

As they withdrew their first spear thrust from the shimmering light, it disappeared even as the bloody chert spear points came back into view. The hunters’ uncanny intuition quickly re-routed their attention back to the mammoth herd. To their surprised pleasure, the mammoth herd was actually heading towards the swamp just as the hunter-shaman had prognosticated in his vision. The Cro-Magnons retrieved their spear throwers and quickly, and quietly re-established a new downwind ambush position. This would yet be a successful hunt thought the hunter-shaman with renewed optimism. Just before the “evil spirit” had “died” he had momentarily seen sad, haunted eyes that mirrored a tortured soul. Where had the shaman seen that before?

 

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The Archetype of Hannibal Lecter

Past as Prologue: The Archetypal Hannibal Lecter

By George S. Svokos

Copyright April 2014

Some 80,000 years ago, an early modern human (EMH) discarded the cracked femur bone of his last meal into the midden (refuse pile) just outside his rock shelter. It joined jawbones, smashed skulls, and other long bones which were pounded “with great force, using stone tools or rocks, apparently to extract the nutritious brain and marrow” states paleoanthropologist Christopher Stringer. The rock shelter had been in regular use for some time, as it was a prime location for both hunting game and for fishing in the nearby Indian Ocean. Protein was thus plentiful, which was well documented in the bones of the animals and fish remains excavated in middens in Africa, Europe, and possibly other locations. What might have seemed strange was that these particular discarded bones from the EMH’s recent meal were human. The cut marks made by the sharp stone tools clearly indicated defleshing and consumption identical to other meat products; especially since the human bones were found in the same midden with the remains of “other” animal bone food debris from known prey species. Thus, it would seem that Homo sapiens practiced cannibalism from very early on in its prehistory. This, of course, is not the only known prehistoric episode of cannibalism among humans. We know it also from a much more recent site in our ancestral homeland a mere 15,000 years ago. It would appear then that this was a long-standing tradition among our human forebears. Early evidence of cannibalism goes back some two million years to the first members of the human family tree (or “bush,”) with regular occurrences coming down the ages 900,000 and, later, 600,000 years ago to our predecessor (ancestral) species Homo heidelbergensis. The Heidelbergs passed this evolved trait down to its two “derived” species, the Neanderthals in Europe and the EMHs of African origin. Cannibalism has been well documented from several sites in our human cousins too, the Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, within the last 100,000 years. This part of our behavioral repertoire was not limited to only one member of our genus Homo, but to most, if not all human species in space and time. It would seem them that since cannibalism prevailed in all human species that it could, perhaps, been seen as an early, natural, and possibly ubiquitous behavior: one might even say a “pristine” behavior. In other words, cannibalism was (and probably still is) “normal” for humans, just as it is in certain other species.

As an early adaptation, it would have formed part of our ethogram, or “the totality of the human behavioral repertoire as encoded in the brain by evolution.” This is our “genetic memory” or the archetypes and the collective unconscious as Carl Gustav Jung would have described these elements of the human mind. Archetypes are the patterns of the pysche’s perception which lie within the substrate of the collective unconscious and can manifest themselves as symbols externally. “So far as contents of the collective unconscious are concerned, we are dealing with archaic or primordial types, that is, the universal images that have existed since the remotest times.” The collective unconscious is “not individual but universal, it has contents and modes of behavior that are more or less the same everywhere and in all individuals.” Humanity’s genetic memory/ethogram/collective unconscious is a circumscribed phenomenon originating and residing within our complete naturally selected behavioral inventory. Archetypes and their primordial images become visible to us symbolically when “constellated” (activated) in the unconscious by external stimuli. Ethologists (behavioural biology) would consider these as “innate releasing mechanisms” (IRMs) within the totality of our behavioural repertoire. It follows then, that humans cannot operate outside this “totality of our behavioural repertoire” because such phenomena cannot exist as separate entities from our evolved archetypal/IRM genetic natures. Our genetic memory/ethogram/collective unconscious is an archaic component and location within the brain.

One or more archetypes or IRMs exist within the human behavioral repertoire which constellate for the purposes of hunting and subsequent consumption of various meat proteins required for both sustenance and brain expansion, which rapidly progressed after two million years ago. Paleoanthropologist Christopher Stringer states that “cannibalism seems to have been a regular enough part of human behavior over the last million years or so for it to be represented in many fossil assemblages, and so it might be considered as normal for early humans, however distasteful (in every sense!) we might find it today.” Human predators were hunting, slaying, and eating human prey as part of their hunting and gathering routine. Such behavior is “certainly part of our evolutionary history” and as such is encoded in the human ethogram. He goes on to state that “there is enough sound evidence…to indicate that butchery and consumption of human flesh has occurred in the very recent human past.” Evolutionary ecologist Clive Finlayson states that it is possible, that different human groups saw each other in different ways, especially at a time when good species or ecotypes lived in relatively close proximity. These perceptions may have led to different groups viewing each other as friends, or as food. That this occurred in the past may be demonstrated not only from the fossil record, but from recent examples (even with only one species extant:) Melanesian aborigines applied the moniker “long pig” to human prey items as late as the 1850s. “Civilized” people are also not exempt from the confines and activation of this element within the human ethogram. In the 21st century: the North Koreans sold and consumed human meat in their markets; in southwestern China it was sold as “ostrich meat” in their markets; and it was sold as “an expensive treat” in a Nigerian hotel. The ubiquity of the patterning of cannibalism in the Paleolithic and beyond means that it was an evolved part of our behavioral repertoire, and as such, remains within the confines of normal human activities. Why then the general “modern” aversion or taboo against humans eating humans?

A substantial disruption in humanity’s environment of evolutionary adaptation occurred at the end of the Paleolithic era some 10,000 years ago. It is generally known as the “Neolithic Revolution” to describe the rapid rise in intensive food production (farming) rather than food collection (hunting and gathering.) This, in turn, resulted in massive food surpluses, overpopulation, the rise of the city, civilization, and the various socially stratified inequalities inherent in large and impersonal bureaucratic entities. As a result, the mores of the hunter-gatherer gave way to the mores of the newly developing agricultural societies. Instead of allowing the human ethogram to unfold properly in its environment of evolutionary adaptation, overpopulated and confined farming environments and their city concomitants morphed into psychologically oppressed and stunted societies (biologist Desmond Morris calls these large urban centers “the human zoo”) where human nature needed to be controlled and suppressed by newly emergent cultural phenomena, laws, and “religious” rules. The natural mores of the nomadic small band territorial hunter-gatherer were warped into the unnatural mores of static and overcrowded agriculturally based civilizations: consciousness became “out of context” with this new environment and was severed from the collective unconscious. The “ego-Self axis” was disconnected as Carl Gustav Jung would have stated. Cain the farmer may have slain his brother Abel the nomadic pastoralist but the foragers had already been kicked out of the Garden of Eden (our environment of evolutionary adaptation) for alleged “disobedience.” The “knowledge” the family of Adam and Eve paid for was to learn, embrace, and toil the land. Nomadic hunting and gathering lifeways had given way to the drudgery of sedentary agriculture. It was the “genesis” of a settled, city-dwelling, and overpopulated farming society. That was the original sin, not some vague theological notion. The cunning evolved predator had been dulled by 10,000 years of domestication and misuse of its primordial spirituality. Hunting and gathering culture was now considered anachronistic and pre-civilized as if humans left their “wild” natures behind like some great saurian tail. Civilization and its associated religions are in reality returning us to the prey species mentality of our early pre-human ancestors. Eventually, we run into such proscriptions as “thou shalt not kill” and the practice of “nonviolence” against all (to include the current vegan movement:) the mores of today’s so-called “polite societies.” Nearly two million years of human evolution belie these proscriptions: how can a species which evolved to become a hunting and gathering apex predator be nonviolent? Disavowing the human ethogram is both unnatural and an unrealistic proposition.

Biosocial anthropologist Robin Fox states that humans have a “violent imagination” in reference to our genetic memory. How could it be otherwise in a species which evolved as a hunter-gatherer? “Violence” here must be understood in its proper context: it is a means to an end in the environments of evolutionary adaptation of many species, including human, without the moral connotations imposed by religious authorities and other oppressive bureaucratic regimes which operate on an inhumanely large scale. The violence of the small band hunter-gatherer is largely a food procuring survival mechanism. The measure of violence is the primary issue here: the difference is between the small group of hunters who are trying to survive as organic extended kinship groups (20-40 individuals) and the unmitigated violence of overpopulated, stratified, and agriculturally based societies. Perhaps “nature, red in tooth and claw” is a more appropriate point of view as Alfred Lord Tennyson eloquently alluded to the sometimes violent natural world, in contrast to the mass violence of parasitic ideological groups cloaked under the veneer of “civilized” society. It is worth quoting Robin Fox at some length on this point: “We hear a great deal today about the problem of violence, but if man has a problem with violence, it is a problem only because he makes it so. Nature knows no such problems. In nature, violence is commonplace; aggression is commonplace. Both are undoubtedly necessary. The lion knows no problem. The lion knows when to be violent; when to assert itself; when to kill; when to run. For man there is a problem of violence in much the same way as there is a problem with sleeping or eating. There is a problem because man imbues violence with meaning. No animal has a problem about eating. The animal knows what it eats: if it is a hunting animal it kills its prey and devours it; if it is a scavenging animal it follows the killer to its prey and eats its leavings. With man, in the earliest years of his truly human existence, there was also no problem: he ate what it was his destiny to eat (including his fellow humans,) he killed what he knew he should kill; he asserted himself against that which he knew he should overcome. The problem arises not out of the desire to kill, any more than out of the desire to eat. The desire to kill is certainly different from the desire to eat, but it is as real as the desire to eat; as natural as the desire to eat; as unavoidable as the desire to eat. If one considers that the desire to kill is in itself a problem, it is a little like saying that the desire to eat is a problem. In what sense is it a problem? There is no problem for the lion: it is certainly no problem for the theory of natural selection that the lion should desire to kill, in the same way that it should desire to eat. The same is true for man. Only if one wishfully decides that there should be no killing (or eating) does the very existence of the desire to kill become a problem. In and of itself, the desire is neutral. It is a problem only if one chooses to make it so. For many animals killing is reasonable within the framework of their experience and their need to survive. It makes as much sense to say that killing per se is a problem as it does to say the herbivore’s desire to eat grass is a problem because it destroys the grass: it is not a problem for the herbivore, but only for those who can imbue behavior with meaning. The herbivore and the carnivore do not do this: omnivorous man does. And the problem exists because he is the animal that creates problems, not because he is the animal that kills, or eats. Since man evolved as a hunting, omnivorous species, it follows that he will destroy animals, plants, and even other members of his species who threaten him. He is right to do so. All these things are totally natural, totally within a comprehensible scheme of evolution. They are not problems. That man is on occasion both aggressive and violent presents no more of a problem, in a scientific sense, than the violence of the lion: it is the same. Many herbivores, even, can be aggressive and violent, although they kill only rarely. They were mostly created for flight, not fight. But even then, their violence against their predators is natural and explicable.” What, then, can we reasonably say of the omnivorous human hunting animal, Homo sapiens? Clearly, violence is a natural, normal, and evolved behavioral pattern: just like cannibalism is a part of our evolved eating regime. They belong to the human ethogram; and do not exist outside of it as some strange anomaly. Sociobiologist Daniel Freedman reinforces the notion that “we should use the terms evolved or phylogenetically adaptive because it will have the advantage of bringing evolution into the forefront of our thinking where it belongs.” The human ethogram is a homeostatic evolved or phylogenetically adapted system. Thus, there is no problem with the scientifically neutral notions of violence and cannibalism: both are part of humanity’s evolved small scale biosocial morality.

Movie and television series icon Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter has such a grip on the popular imagination that some consider him to be the vilest character ever created for the large and small screens (and four books by author Thomas Harris.) The larger question considered here is why? Is it simply because American audiences are conditioned to morbidity and “senseless” violence? This seems to be a rather facile explanation. The answer is actually rather murky and lies in the shadows: Hannibal has touched on something primordial deep within our evolved mental structures, deep within each and every one of us. The archetype of the apex predator is being constellated in our minds with the evolutionary force of the collective unconscious. Paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall states that “there is plenty of evidence, mostly in the form of fractured bones and carnivore tooth marks, that early hominids (human ancestors and their relatives) were frequently preyed upon; and the indirect evidence of habitat and small body size and anatomy speaks to the same thing. We can thus conclude that early hominids would have had the social characteristics not of hunters, but of prey species. Our ancestors were the hunted, not the hunters; and the belief is that much in our modern behavior reflects this.” Before we rose to the top of the food chain, we were part of the food chain. This primal fear yet remains within us because it is part of our early evolutionary conditioning. Hannibal Lector is frightening because he may want to eat us. The author and the movie/television producers are titillating our natural fear of being eaten by a “predator,” human, or otherwise. The “fight or flight” response (IRM) is being triggered by the unpredictable threat he represents. Hannibal is the cunning primordial human hunter slaying and eating his human prey much like his (and our) Paleolithic ancestors did. However, instead of identifying ourselves with Hannibal’s prey items (domesticated humans or “the good guys,”) we should be reclaiming our birth right and identify ourselves with Hannibal himself and our late Paleolithic predatory heritage (wild humans) as the end game of natural selection. Domestication is the late aberration which has turned most of humanity back into sheep. “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want.” It certainly sounds like the “opiate of the masses” wallowing in their “herd mentality.” If one is content with being a sheep in this flock, it may be better to sleep with one eye open. Hannibal reminds us to be “the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” He may be the “fox in the civilized henhouse,” but he is neither psychotic nor a psychopath; it is a fallacy to consider him the “bad guy.” It is the modern individual’s responsibility to integrate “the shadow” he represents and enhance one’s self-awareness. On the surface, it may appear to be counter-intuitive, however, the resurgent atavism of the Hannibal Lecter archetype should be viewed as a symbol of our true hunter-gatherer nature re-expressing itself in a modern context nearly completely divorced from our environment of evolutionary adaptation.

Modern hunter-gatherers and our ancient ancestors certainly favored “innards” as a dietary staple both in our present and primordial natural environments. They were frequently consumed first, at the kill or butchery site as prized cuts of meat to ensure freshness: “and the gods sent the great eagle every day to eat Prometheus’ regrown liver.” The hunter-gatherer knew this long before the dawn of the Greek pantheon: the “eagles” of the Paleolithic properly ate what it was their destiny to eat. Considered the cheap or throw-away (“offal”) cuts of meat in the more recent past, they have again rebounded to the forefront of haute cuisine. Even today they are considered “offal” although chefs like Australia’s Adrian Richardson are reintroducing them as fine dining as he lavishly prepares these dishes on his entertaining television program Secret Meat Business. This knowledge was not secret to hunter-gatherers in the past or present. The fact that offal was viewed with disdain by those who could who could afford “better” only indicates how far away from animals and our relationship to them as hunter-gatherers they have become. The hunting and gathering lifeway has been a successful adaptation for humans for nearly two million years and will continue to be so. The future of the geologically recent experiment with food production and “civilization” remains to be seen. Food collection successfully conveyed Homo sapiens through the ice ages: we are literally “children of the ice age.” Societies based on food production are at risk of having their “bread baskets” obliterated with an unfavorable turn of the weather lasting hundreds or thousands of years. The Natufian experiment with emergent food production techniques ended with the onset of the Younger Dryas cooling event nearly 13,000 years ago; Mayan civilization collapsed with extended periods of drought over 1,000 years ago; and the Khmer Empire of Southeast Asia began its decline 700 years ago with deforestation and the subsequent ecological effects on its irrigation system. The Natufians, who were not heavily invested in food production returned to hunting and gathering and survived. The aforementioned civilizations did not. Humanity is already far beyond the carrying capacity of the Earth and the continued rise in population will put further strain on the planet’s resources. What happens then when the next glacial cycle returns within the next 1,500 years or so? The warming trend of the Holocene epoch is nearing its conclusion after 10,000 years of relatively stable temperatures. The last inter-glacial period had already ended after its 10,000 year span, thus it seems the next thousand years or so may, in fact, be borrowed time. The solution is plainly visible in the archaeological record and with modern hunter-gatherers. Paleolithic periglacial and modern Arctic hunter-gatherers consumed a far higher percentage of animal proteins in their diets because plant based foods were scarce. “Bread baskets” and “rice bowls” cannot exist in the cooling and arid conditions of glacial cycles. Intensive agriculture and its spawn, civilization, will fail. Band-level hunter-gatherers, much like their prehistoric ancestors, have the best chance of survival in the long term.

Hannibal Lecter, as an avatar of modern and ancient hunter-gatherers, is the exemplar and manifested symbol of the carnivorous properties and lifeways of the natural human being. He is the reminder brought forth from the collective unconscious of our meat eating heritage. It should be noted that all meat products described here are of the freshest variety, irrespective if they are offal or prime cuts. Hunter-gatherers generally eat the healthiest game products. This runs somewhat contrary to the vast array of “mystery meat” products available at grocery stores and chain restaurants today. How many people think twice about picking up that wonderful pot roast on sale this week or a “happy burger” and fries from some favored fast food stop? If someone were to replace these mystery meats with “long pig,” would the average consumer notice? Apparently not, as the examples from North Korea, China, and Nigeria indicate. The arguments relating to the grading of specific cuts of meat, or even if meat should be eaten at all, obscure the basic fact that we are phylogenetically adapted to the consumption and metabolization of meat proteins. It is there, in the genetic memory palace of the mind and in our anatomical structure. When that sanctimonious ignoramus professor trashes another thesis proposal, an obnoxious boss thinks he knows it all, or the ex-significant other gives one grief, who has not considered preparing them as the zenith of a gratifying gastronomic experience? Hannibal states that “it is not a shame to die, but to be wasted.” Hunter-gatherers do not waste food. The future of the human species is predicated on our carnivorous propensities, skills, and abilities. It is all well within our evolved behavioral repertoire: it is natural, normal, and explicable. There is no problem here. It is assurance. Come now gentle reader, let us not mince words: is it not the “thrill of the hunt” and the consumption of our prize that makes us human?

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