Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Here Be Monsters

It was one of those days, a truly halcyon day of days when the universe overflowed with milk and honey. I was hiking in the verdant gently rolling hills off the coast of central California and from where I stood I could see the golden hills and valleys tumbling down to the great blue pacific ocean sparkling like diamonds in the ephemeral morning sunlight. All around me the tall golden grasses of summer waved in the offshore breeze forming patterns of dark and light mimicking the waves of the pacific far off in the hazy distance. Above me the sky resembled a huge blue china bowl inverted and unblemished. I was engulfed in a profound silence and a peace of mind that is known only to those who seize the day to explore the beauty of the natural world unaccompanied and unencumbered by one’s fellow humanity. I was entranced by the beauty and silence that held me in its bosom taking deep breaths of the cool clear air that welled up from the pacific when falling out of the sky descended the sound of the cry of a Red tail hawk, so wild, so savage and defiant that it sent chills up and down my spine. It was as if the hawk was announcing to the world the loneliness of the lone hunter of the winds. Secure in its supremacy, unafraid and at home in its world of land, air and sea. Humanity could have much to learn from the Red tail hawk. It is at moments like that when I can understand how ancient man filled the world about him with spirits, saw animals as spirits, because the universe is truly a magical place.

Modern man, unfortunately, is another story entirely. Today though most people would enjoy pursuing their lives in peace and security we are continually at war. It is a war of avarice and greed, fear and hate, manipulation and deception. For instead of living our lives the way we would choose we are the victims of terrorists. No not the terrorists we read about or hear about in the news, these are a different breed of terrorist altogether. They greet us with smiling manicured faces, eternally cajoling and complimenting us on what wise and wonderful beings we surly must be but beneath that smiling façade lays the mind and soul of monsters. For it is a truly monstrous thing to attack, murder, rend and shred our fellow humans out of a fear that is most horrible indeed because it is a fear that has been manufactured for us by our national leaders.

Upon ancient maps before the world was fully explored map makers of old would write “Here be monsters” to fill in the parts of the globe that were unknown and unmapped. Perhaps subconsciously they were thinking about national leaders, truly unexplored territory. Down through the misty paths of history leaders have instilled fear into the unwitting populace driving them to brutalities and heinous crimes that make us shudder with disgust when we read about them yet these crimes are committed by people just like us, the dupes of our mighty leaders. The fear they generate comes in many names, terrorists, communists, nihilists, and what have you. But the aim is always the same, the aim is to rout the public with fear allowing the dogs of war to spill out of their cages and wreak havoc upon the world.

Noam Chomsky has written this excellent article that explains it much better than I.

“Complex historical events always have many causes. One crucial factor
in this case was skillful manipulation of fear. The “ordinary folk”
were driven to fear of a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy to take over the
world, placing the very survival of the people of Germany at risk.
Extreme measures were therefore necessary, in “self-defense.” Revered
intellectuals went far beyond. As the Nazi storm clouds settled over
the country in 1935,Martin Heidegger depicted Germany as the “most
endangered” nation in the world, gripped in the “great pincers” of an
onslaught against civilization itself, led in its crudest form by Russia
and America.”