The Voice of Script: Replication and Paraphrase.
A 1983 commentary on Receptive to Fire
by Professor Emeritus of Sociology
Elwin H. "Ed" Powell (1925-2001),
State University of New York, Buffalo

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Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Epilogue

A. We Made Ourselves Through Mind:
From Idle Curiosity to Passionate Inquiry.

(Prehistory, circa 5,000,000 to 12,000 B.C.)

Part 1: Prehistory By 'reading' nature and developing an ever more ingenious 'script' the primates prevailed, man emerged. To read is to guess, foretell, estimate.# By scanning the environment and 'decoding' signs of coming danger we learned to live successfully in trees, "past all need to kill" (Receptive to Fire, Stanza 1, Line 10). And because tree-life was full of existential challenge, the brain grew – a 30-pound monkey has a brain as large as a 78-ton dinosaur.

With the big brain came "remembrance mixed with power to forget (Fire 1, 13). Unlike the dinosaur, we moved beyond instinct, concocted a new script for survival. A script is simply a plan of action. Around five million years (myr) ago we left the trees . . . perhaps driven out, maybe drawn out, "mesmerized into pursuit of distant tones" (Fire 2, 7). The brain has its own hunger, a thirst for new data to process. Human evolution is propelled by both a push and a pull.

Ground life called for now solidarity; not the trees but one another was our main protection.# Thus emerged the primate band, itself a kind of social mind: Each member sends and receives information to and from all others and the group responds to threat as a single collective unit. One of All, All for One! Altruism is a survival mechanism: It is the unwritten script of the primate family.#

Australopithicus AfricanusAround 4 myr the family bifurcated: The ape-script stabilized, the man-script evolved. The first known man-ape, Australopithicus Africanus, had a cranial capacity of just over 400 cubic centimeters (cc) – roughly the equivalent of a chimpanzee. The ape-apes we will call Alphas; the man-apes the Omegas. The Alphas were happy, well-adjusted forest vegetarians. The Omegas were misfits and derelicts who "went to the dogs," became scavengers. The Omegas ingratiated themselves with jackals and hyenas and got cut it on the food-take, learned food sharing, became meat-eaters and eventually hunters. "By constant association with and observation of large carnivore tactics," says Simpson, "true hunting strategies emerged…"#

With this new script came explosive growth of mind and brain. The typical Alpha Ape lives in a territory of 15 to 20 square miles, while a wolf-pack covers 500 to 1500 square miles as did our Alpha Ape. Activity stimulates brain growth – the principle applies even to rats.# As scavenger-hunter the Omega brain enlarged over 4 myr to 1000-2000 cc. The chimps are still at 400 cc.#

Hunting, says Laughlin, puts "motion and direction into the diagram of man's morphology … places a premium on inventiveness and problem solving … and imposes a real penalty for failure."# The hunting complex consists of four behavioral components – programming the child; scanning for information; stalking and pursuit of game; immobilization and retrieval of the game. The hunter becomes a 'scientist', a seeker after knowledge. The vegetarian Alpha Ape can often get by with idle curiosity; the Omegas acquired a passionate need to know.

Out of hunting came the fundamentals of science (1) precise observation, and (2) propositional language, i.e.: theorizing. The hunter 'reads' the action of the prey from perception of the tracks – "If track . . . then deer" – an hypothesis derived from a general theory of the script of the deer; knowledge gleaned from observation and passed down over generations. "In trailing you we find a mountain pass," reads a line from (Fire 7, 2). We observed animals, learned from them. Not by conquest but assimilation did our knowledge grow. As we moved out of temperate zones 700,000 years ago, the males were the scouts and trail makers, thus became the leaders of groups on the move from camp to camp. Only as a hunting society was the higher latitudes accessible to us, says Carl Sauer.#

From following the herds came new social knowledge, sympathetic insight. If life with the carnivores made us ferocious (Robert Ardrey's killer-ape thesis), life with the hoofed animals gave us compassion, imparted patience, even wisdom to the human species:

High bounding doe, astounding sleek-black doe,
In trailing you we find a mountain pass
…………………………….
Here we may stop. Come, friends, let's join hands
For healing, gathering; resist Fear's roar.
Discovery sparks a vow, our deepest will:
We'll find our way back past the hunt and kill.
                                        (Fire 7, 1-2, 11-14)

Man identifies with the deer, incorporates the deer script into his own repertoire of response. In our earliest burial sites (70,000 B.C.), deer antlers were interred with the deceased, and our earliest necklaces and pendants (50,000 B.C.) were made of reindeer teeth.# There is a Paleolithic cave-drawing of a man with stag antlers; perhaps by assimilating into animal-hood, man was becoming a god in his own imagination. When Alexander the Great had himself declared a god, he put on stag antlers to symbolize this divinity.# By putting on the antlers of a stag, man was learning to behave as if he were a deer, learning propositional language. Learning if-ness.

Mind begins in imitation: we copy the action of the other and then re-do it as if it were our own; first we replicate, then we paraphrase. Man becomes the deer, absorbs the deer script and acts it out in dance and ceremony, paraphrasing it in his gesture. So, too, do we assimilate the character of our human ancestors by taking over the role of the other (George Mead's phrase) into our own consciousness. Thus we learn to speak the words of others as if they were our own: Saying is Always Resaying. Such is the paradigm of every intellectual activity from deer-herding to poetry-writing.

In Receptive to Fire, B Wardlaw replicates whole libraries of information and tells a story of civilization in 116 sonnets, a paraphrase without parallel in our time. Here is history as song. Jasperson says the human race learned to sing before we learned to talk, and poetry precedes prose as written communication.#

Speech developed as a means of giving voice to the script we are writing with our lives, came as a means of 'naratizing' the inner world of image and emotion. As our mental capacities expanded through the hunting-herding experience, information accumulated which required organization as knowledge. And as Tanner and Zihlman write:

"As hominids became more and more enchanted and troubled by dream images, a need for symbols to define and order meaning emerged. Such symbols could be used to communicate not only remembrances of dreams but to share memories of what was seen or done during the day with others after returning to camp. … As speech developed, perhaps it was less essential for teaching motor skills associated with food gathering … than for constructing beliefs and rituals to deal with death, for telling stories and relating dreams, musing about the past, and proposing tomorrow's activities."#

Speech developed as an aid to story telling. The story stored information. Note the linguistic connections. To store means to lay-away, accumulate . . . to place or leave in a location (as a warehouse, library or computer memory) for preservation or later use. The word story initially meant history, an account of incidents or events . . . a legend (Webster's Intercollegiate, 1974, p. 1147).

Man was telling stories before he learned to speak. Objects were used to store information, memories. The object trouvé – a special gem, feather, a piece of coral – communicates in some way beyond the usual, and as Paul Shepard says:

"When such objects are incorporated into a human construction, such as a necklace, chain … an arrangement of pieces of driftwood, or the drawings of the eyes of an owl on a head-shaped rock, their significance is raised to a new level, as though the finder had completed the fragment of a sentence. … Objects trouvé, which uniquely relate man to nature, are worn, traded, scrutinized, imitated, and treasured. Neanderthal man apparently collected such objects. Australian aborigines keep a collection of such stones for religious purposes. … They stand in a special relation to human sensory and perceptual systems, intermediate between human productions and the given world of natural objects. They anticipate human productions, not just as products but art forms. Therefore the object trouvé is a substitute (or natural) work of art … linking the given and the created."#

The object trouvé is a memory aid, a memento: It is used to replicate the past, to recall significant events. Out of the process comes the sentence, the completed thought. Speaking is the act of making sentences, not simply uttering sounds. Man learned to think by manipulating objects – and then reflecting on his actions. In building an object trouvé man is writing – the process requires editing: what to keep, what to discard. He is arranging objects which have meaning to him, and that meaning is derived from the response of others in his community, his social network.

Full speech, vocal speech, came only with the ripening of our contemplative nature; when we could abstract ourselves from immediate and threatening pressure and reflect on the meaning of existence. It came, not in the heat of day but in the cool of evening. It must have come in a place like Arzen of Receptive to Fire:

This new place, Arzen, fits us well. Peace stays.
We learn – through sitting quietly, patiently,
Aroused by breezes – of more tranquil ways
While feeling bamboo's striking unity
And lying with tame beasts upon their land,
The seed of beasts we once had killed to eat.
Alert from day to day, we understand
The needs of seeding grain; we set rows neat.
Cool waters in our creeks run sweet and clear;
Ripe fruit and nuts drop, spreading year by year.
                                        (Fire 8, 5-140)

However, this paradise of Receptive to Fire is temporary. Soon it is threatened by hungry ones from the hills. The people and the new invaders join hands, make friends. Neurod, the leader, thinks killing them is best. Neurod foments strife in order to solidify people behind his own rule. Neurod, the would-be god-king, is the voice of authority. In earlier times, simpler days of the Alpha Ape, the oligarch is never questioned: What the leader commands, the troop does. But in the course of human evolution a Self emerges and the authority of society weakens. Much human history henceforth pivots around the question, whom to obey – the inner voice of reason and conscience, or the outer voice of power and coercion:

Entranced, one moment, by the face, my face
(Yet yours) aglimmer in a pond of ice,
An image, clear dimensions fit to trace
Our journey. Birth's bright morn to death's night splice!
Transparent, candid ice . . . turn . . . Crash! The gift
Of rare serenity is split, thick ice
Now torn by lightning, image torn and rift.
I'm set adrift . . . such cowardly retreats entice!
But Neurod shrieks, "He speaks! God speaks!" and they,
Panicked, listen gladly, watching madly,
Dumb with fear, our people dropping, stay,
Then broken, pray – "Please!" – following sadly.
      Wait. What is there in the ice and thunder?
      Neurod leads while, stunned, I stare and wonder.
                                                   (Fire 5, 11-14)

Neurod of course thinks he knows the one true script – there is a pattern we must follow and those who refuse will bring us to ruin. Repeat your ways: replicate the past. To re-do the known is always soothing – such is the principle of ritual. In good times we put up with Neurod, let him rant and rave. But our nonchalance he cannot abide: He organizes a hunt, provokes fear – a deep unconscious script dictates we turn to the father in times of fear. Most people comply.

Then comes the ice, "equalizing all." (Fire 15, 1) The last thrust of the Ice Age was around 20,000 B.C. The Mediterranean became a virtual arctic, with average temperatures of –10º Fahrenheit for nine months of the year. "Once more we fought and killed and grubbed to eat" (Fire 15, 2). But we survived . . . and retained the skills learned in these millions of years of evolutionary experience. By 10,000 B.C. we were writing new and different scripts . . .

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B. Derivation of New Script:
The Voice of Early Civilization.

(Circa 14,000 to 4,000 B.C.)

Part 1: Prehistory The human script has been in process of formation for 5 myr – but Bartow would say 15 myr. The script is partially genetic, partially cultural. Basic dictates of directives of the script – a kind of grammar, if you will – may be inborn: Bartow postulates a system of 'protonorms' present even in our arboreal ancestor Ramapithecus at 15 myr. These protonorms direct the child to look to the mother and the dominant male for orientation; the protonorms create the 'attention structure' out of which consciousness evolves. The attention structure gives cohesion to the primate community: Unless we were pre-programmed to read the gestures of each other and derive therefrom the appropriate meaning, the band would fall apart.

Gesture 'bespeaks' script. Mammals learn to read the 'script of the other' – the mouse understands the motions and motives of the cat, and even the tame house-cat carries in its genes rudiments of the skill of mouse-hunting. Animal life goes on in a "conversation of gestures" – to use George Mead's phrase.

For man the vocal gesture – speech – takes on pre-eminence in the last 40,000 years. Gesture, transmuted into sound became voice, the main integrator of the human community. Those who mastered the strategy of verbal command rose to the top of the dominance hierarchy: Not the physically strongest but the best speaker became the leader. And best meant getting others to obey, to hear. "To hear is a kind of obedience," says Julian Jaynes; "the word obey comes from the Latin obedire, which is a composite of ob + audire, to hear facing someone." How then does the leader insure obedience? By convincing others he speaks with the voice of god:

Neurod plots, "When I keep secrets, weaklings keep Me warm if they believe that I can see Those things to which they're blind. I will look deep Into their fear for 'Truths' they feel they need . . . There is a pattern we must follow. Hear! All who refuse bring us destruction. Heed! Repeat past ways; from God's path do not veer."
                                                                                                     (Fire 6, 6-12)

The brain is already working overtime – hallucinating, hearing voices: It only remains for Neurod to step in and define the meaning of the message.

Around 10,000 B.C. the first human settlements – villages, towns – appear, quite possibly the creation of women, of what Elizabeth Gould Davis in The First Sex calls a 'gynocracy'. As the last of the Paleolithic hunters followed the big game into the oblivion of the northern wilderness, the women, left behind, cultivated the arts of civilization – weaving, pottery making, the domestication of animals, the planting and harvesting of crops – such is the thesis of Davis' remarkable work. Ongoing excavations at Catal Huyut in Anatolia (modern Turkey) are tending to confirm that in the earliest cities there was a balance of power between women and men; that Mother Goddesses were ascendant; and that peace prevailed – without benefit of walls. By 6,000 to 5,000 B.C. gynocratic culture had spread across Europe and to Malta and Crete, indicating the development of seafaring technology.

Who are these people who settled Europe and the Mediterranean basin in the Neolithic (8,000 to 4,000 B.C.)? Deviants, they seem to be the ones who have given up the hunter-script and moved into a new life-style:

We've traced our farms and mines to outcasts fled
Who feared change, parting, and the unknown sea
Less than the captive horde sick Neurod bled.
The sea repels, attracts. A yielding tree
Has roots. But this emancipated, deep,
Seductive cradle-rock – who dared to think
Of crossing it? (Where did the dolphins sleep
That night they first crawled back?) We dare! Seas shrink.
                                                                                          (Fire 17, 1-8)

Sailors are reaching the land-locked tribes:

…Mark well, you honest scribes,
The gains we share; blow, breath from soft moist lips.
We learn of love, secure within our isle,
And capture with our paint both tears and smile.
                                                                                            (Fire 17, 10-14)

And there is activity stirring in Northern Africa, around Egypt:

Sail back, sail back. Far roaming bands had burst
From arid hopelessness and found thirst solved
Along the Nile….
                                                                                            (Fire 18, 1-3)

Villages grow and cluster along the Nile – here is the beginning of the transition from clan to state. People do not live in scattered huts but gather together behind solid walls of the village, over which flies the ensign of the clan. People work the river and fields by day, return to the village where they have defense and mutual aid, presided over by a council, an oligarchy of influential elders. These villagers are the people who built interminable networks of irrigation canals, banked the river, drove out the wild animals, built the flint and ceramic industries, learned to cast copper and gold. "To this prodigious labour we may assign a period of at least 1,500 years (before 3,500 B.C.)," write Moret and Davy. In addition, they say:

"The result of these centuries of discipline is civilization visible for the first time on earth. By the end of the fourth millennium in Egypt writing was assuming definite shape with combined phonetic and ideographic signs, thus increasing a hundred-fold the resources of the old picture writing. Thenceforth memories of events could be preserved in other ways than by oral tradition; acquired experience was handed down; history and political tradition were created."

The Neolithic was a time of building: It seems to have spread from the north of Europe to the south. Strange megaliths went up in England at Stonehenge and Avebury. Often the building seems to have been an end in itself: Stonehenge they worked on for 1,500 years – perhaps the building provided employment for males who were once absorbed by the hunting role. And the pyramids and ziggurats . . . were they built by slaves, by true-believers serving god, or simply by people hanging out together, enjoying each others' company? The assembly circle at Avebury could accommodate 250,000 people, presumably come together to pay homage to the Mother Goddess: a kind of early Be-In, a pre-historic Woodstock.

A collective enthusiasm may have inspired the building but very soon it was taken over by the god-kings:

Harsh pressing of stiff stylus points in clay, Hopes marked, fears masked . . .
As gods to mountains seize, The superstitious climb their ziggurats and pray. Death-cheating trance extends our memories But widens, too, a new
king's power. …
                                                                             (Fire 21, 1-5)

The building was done by the people, the product was seized by the state: Control passes into the hands of an elite and "boys are forced to crack [their] neighbor's vault" and "bow unquestioning to Law." (Fire 21, 10-11)

Free order, once from stubborn Chaos won,
Falls to Authority, peace-work undone.
                                                                               (Fire 21, 13-14)

What then to do? The system is now too vast to overthrow. But this new state where "priests hold sway" (Fire 22, 14) is no place for a free man. The only option is to split: go to the hills, or to another city.

Hurabo – a recurring script throughout Receptive to Fire – joins a band of resistants in the mountains, returns to a tribal life:

"With goats I'll climb; I'll have no walled-up town. Possessing nothing, nothing drags me down."                                                                                         
                                                                                                             (Fire 23, 13-14)

Farther north is Bahdawils, Siberian shamaness, voice of primordial culture:

"We are a pure, inexhaustible spring; Our tribes have spread, and still spread, with the tide. Once, flowing out from their primordial ring, The keenest jungle progeny did ride A wave of search, and, trusting, found this place Where cross the fecund plains we procreate"
                                                                                 (Fire 24, 5-10)

Following their herds, tribes even cross an Aleutian ice-bridge and "are whirled into a land of dreams" (Fire 27, 7) – the unpeopled continents of North and South America. The script of Bahdawils flows southward into Persia where it is absorbed and reformulated by Zoroaster. Two words compress the wisdom of Bahdawils: "Compassion learn . . ." (Fire 26, 12)

But in the south the spirit of Neurod soars, "a voracious bird of prey" (Fire 28, 9). Hammurabi has swept through the mountains, conquered all, erected walls and well-meaning laws. Still he can never erase the soul-stain of conquest: "What peaceful day can ever make war right?" (Fire 29, 14)

Early kingdoms – Sumer, Elam, Akkad – were absorbed by Babylon, which itself dissolved in the extraordinary tumult of the 2nd millennium B.C. Religion as the "hallucinated voice of god" – the bicameral voice Julian Jaynes calls it – was the main cohesive force of these pre-literate civilizations. A shared god-script enabled bands to cohere into tribes, tribes into city-states. People assembled in the city for sacred ceremony. The nucleus of the city was the shrine which became a temple; in houses, a separate room was set aside for the family god. A priest told the people what god said, and the message was always the same: Follow the script. But in the upheaval of the time the voice of god was scrambled, the gods gave contradictory instructions. In the Paleolithic hunting society, god was a co-equal with man; but in the city, god moved toward omnipotence as man shrank toward impotence, subservience, and obedience. The totemic religion of the clan gave way to the 'humanized' religion of the state, presided over by a god-king.

Probably the godless, the outcast, the deviant had the best chance of survival. Jaynes mentions that a whole island civilization sank in an earthquake with the power 350 times greater than the hydrogen bomb:

Warring planets, stand-still sun, a crumbling
Of creation, Neurod's empire not exempt.
Never again forget: Uncertainty
Is King. Eternally our bed's unkempt.
                                                                                   (Fire 32, 4-7)

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C. Exploring Alternative Script:
     Emergence of Consciousness in Greece and India.
     (Circa 1,250 B.C. to 24 A.D.)

Part Three, Receptive to FireWhen a word is written down it takes on a new and different voice: Consciousness grows out of the effort to imagine the sound of silent marks.

"Into human history around 3,000 B.C.", writes Julian Jaynes, "comes a curious and very remarkable practice. It is the transmutation of speech into little marks on stone or clay or papyrus (or pages) so that speech can be seen rather than just heard, and seen by anybody, not just those within earshot at the time."

Writing brings sociality into solitude, nurtures the inner freedom of subjectivity. Our word liberty derives from the Latin for book: libre. With writing, commands give way to queries . . . and it begins in Greece where the gods come down from Olympus and man becomes the measure of all things. Now comes the "bright Homeric dawn" (Fire 33, 1):

"We've cleared much land and driven back the beast
That on us preyed; our crops have taken root."
Can we hold and widely share our gain
Then solve the pressing puzzles that remain?
                                                                           (Fire 34, 11-14)

Here is new delight in the wonders of existence:

Zarathustra, laughing with all who seek.
(He laughed newborn within his mother's hands!)
                                                                              (Fire 35, 3-4)

Here is psychedelic luxuriation in contradiction:

We are the sparks his dancing feet kick up;
We burn and twirl across the shining rocks.
The morn of Bahdawils has filled our cup;
Now high-noon's secret this our song unlocks:
"Our life is flaming water, liquid fire;
For us the deepest caverns are no trap.
We fill them, rushing on in our desire
To join rich midnights to the rising sap.
Earth's crucible supports our spiral spin.
Yes, Birth! (And Death . . .) Embrace this unique chance
While yielding air enfolds the sun within
Its arms, and we are yours, Immortal Dance."
       The far horizon's brightest red prevails
       'Round Zarathustra's dark'ning yellow trails.
                                                                         (Fire 36, 1-14)

Here is sensual pleasure in contemplated script:

"Howl, freezing winds! And mountain trees: Defy!
Bending when and where you must, you're tireless
In your reach for the fleeing sun. No cry
For mercy, yours, nor flight from loneliness;
Atop the world the lightning strikes and, struck,
You split and grow, indomitable still.
                                                                                                    (Fire 37, 1-6)

Thus with Zarathustra out of Persia:

They open for us, meadows toward the sea
Below, the sea by mountain rivers fed. …
[Where] riddle-solving Greeks unfurl their sails.
                                                                           (Fire 40, 5-6 & 14)

Meanwhile, Siddhartha, also a spiritual descendant of Bahdawils, plays out the inner script of subjectivity, of the awareness of awareness (Jaynes' definition). The natural world is illusion – and the creation of our craving. Forsake desire and discover joy. "To give is all" (Fire 38, 6):

Shift, breathe, let go, turn in and see revealed
Eternal images of all wounds healed."
                                                                           (Fire 38, 13-14)

Siddhartha comes out of Vedantic India. For 1,000 years the Vedas had been kept alive as "oral script," committed to memory and chanted by the priesthood:

From India ancient Vedas reach us, songs
Of forms emerging from the formless …
                                                                           (Fire 47, 2-3)

Holy men could recite – replicate – 'books' of Vedic scripture verbatim, and quite naturally resisted the idea of translating their sacred lore into written form where the uninitiated could gain access to it. As the Vedas were transcribed on paper, religion began to leave the temples and permeate the streets.

So, too, with the Iliad and Odyssey in Greece which once were "devoutly chanted to vast audiences … by bards or aoidoi." In the Iliad man is an executive carrying out the commands of the god: "Not I was the cause of this act, but Zeus" – hence Jaynes' notion of the bicameral mind: One chamber, mere receiver of instructions from the deity, sends the message to the other chamber for execution. The events of the Iliad take place around 1,250 B.C.; those of the Odyssey some 250 years later: Homer is not a single person but one of the aoidoi – perhaps the first to publish (around 1,000 B.C.). But by the time of the Odyssey the self – the "I" – has emerged as actor. And it is at this time that writing is becoming widespread in the ancient world. Over 2,600 years ago, Greek soldiers on expedition in Egypt left written accounts of their lives carved in cliffs. Ramsey says that these show a much higher level of literacy and of civilization than anything left by the Christian crusaders 1,700 years later. [Paper had been in full use in Egypt by the 4th millennium – says Ramsey – and according to Herodotus was in ordinary use in Greece by the 5th century B.C.] Ancient writing, however, was not produced for private and isolated consumption, like the modern novel; rather it provided text around which dialogue grew: the written word was a thing to be talked about.

And above all it was talk- dialogue, argumentation – which was the glory of Greece. The Greeks seem to have 'talked it over' then decided to resist the massive totalitarian army of Xerxes: a mere handful of rational men held off the Persian hordes at Thermopylae. The Greek city-states united for defensive war, and afterwards came a great fluorescence of creativity. People – merchants, farmers, artisans – are seeking a way to rule themselves.

The Greek consciousness, nurtured on Homeric tales of individual heroism, sustained by dialogue and drama, embodies the full contradiction of human existence: enslaving freedom, chaotic order, satiated longing. Always, "Men's dreams are of the uncollected prize, the sought." (Fire 53, 5-6)

Aeschylus would soar among mighty cliffs,
A wisp of smoke that gentlest hands may touch:
"Down I would hurl myself, free fall . . ." He lifts
Us skyward even as he writes of such.
                                                                      (Fire 53, 9-12)

Why then did Greece go under? Greek Reason – Logic – Logos – was undone by the long Peloponnesian Wars. The Greeks lost capacity for sensible debate and calm deliberation. "The meaning of words had no longer the same relation to things," wrote Thucydides in 426 B.C. "The lover of violence was always trusted and his opponent suspected. … Revenge was dearer than self-preservation." War between cities, within cities . . . state war, class war.

And still deeper even than war is the master-slave script. "By enemies within are we undone" (Fire 61, 14). The best and brightest of the Greeks seem not to comprehend the lethal poison of hypocrisy: preaching freedom, the Greeks live off slavery. They cannot hear Euripides' impassioned plea:

By 'owning' slaves, men live in guilt and fear
For slavery puts us all in chains.
                                                                           (Fire 57, 4-5)

Even Plato:

Would over-simplify, paternally,
Lead, lull the gentle toward presumed right,
You obfuscate our long-sought clarity.
                                                        (Fire 59, 6-8)

Losing touch with the primitive reality of equality, the Greeks forgot how to "take the role of the other":

"What is most difficult?" "To know thyself."
"Ah, yes. And easiest?" "To give advice."
                                                        (Fire 49, 5-6)

Gradually the Greek world slides into ruin. And the exhaustion of the Peloponnesian Wars, Philip of Macedon steps in, brings order and Alexander, the world conqueror who is self-conquered. At the Indus, Alexander is stopped by Siddhartha who asks him to explain himself. "All unjust rulers I will strike with fear!" Alexander says. Siddhartha asks, "Who strikes and who is struck?" This Alexander cannot answer and he comes apart, while Siddhartha is left serene:

… The great whales sail content
And sing blue harmony of sea and sky.
In tree and sky the apes swing indolent
And free; they swing and feel no need to fly.
                                                           (Fire 64, 5-8)

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D. Logos Unhinged:
     Out of Roman Ruins, the Christian Script.

     (Circa 24 to 500 A.D.)

Part 4, Receptive to FireBy the year 24 A.D. – the year of the execution of Titus Curtisius – Force (not Reason, not Logos) rules the ancient world.

… War's roar
Was constant as Rome won the highest ground.
                                                           (Fire 68, 8-9)

The people had no voice in the political community – the popular assemblies were wiped out during the class-war, the 'revolution' which brought Augustus to power. "The individual has become a unit unto himself," writes Karl Kautsky, "and no longer possessed the feeling that his activity would endure in the state." But gods were plentiful, and even manufactured by the Roman Senate which declared Augustus and most of his successors to be divine. "To be the son of God was a portion of a redeemer," Kautsky notes, "whether he was a Caesar or a street preacher." Today, the interesting questions are not theological but sociological: Why did the street preachers win?

Generous indifference to the gods of others was a Roman virtue. Only years later does Marcus Aurelius ask who are these men called Christians . . . and this Jesus Christ:

He was a man, for all that we could tell.
He sought, through tenderness, to overcome
Our jealous, vengeful priesthoods: those who yell
For crucifixion of the bothersome.
"Love ye one another." Plain, his words burned….
                                             (Fire 67, 1-5)

Yes Christianity catches hold and lives while Rome withers, dies. Why?

Greed is the enemy, Aurelius;
Enduring Greed, the sick, perverted child
Of Pain and Fear. …
                                                            (Fire 69, 1-3)

And the root of the pain and fear? Is it not isolation, aloneness? Money, possessions can give a kind of influence over events, a voice in an ersatz community . . . hence the greed.

But, as an answer to the pain and fear, early Christians provided a real community. What Christ himself may have been, or said, no one can know – none of the Gospels were written earlier than 63 A.D. However, a functioning network of congregations existed before their scripts were written. And thus the words of Jesus were selected, or invented, to sustain their Church. In this sense, not Peter's rock but Paul's pen becomes the foundation: Christianity is built on the letter, the epistle.

Congregations grew out of the Word. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). This Greek word Logos stems from a root meaning to gather, to say. Sometimes translated as reason, sometimes as speech, Logos is both script and voice. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). Jesus said, "Whenever two or three of you are gathered together in my name I am with you" (Matthew 18:20). Such is the meaning of the Incarnate Word. Terribly simple therefore terribly difficult. The script imparted vitality to small clusters of people who lived together in urban communes; the day began with chants and prayers at 5 a.m. (often held in catacombs, literally underground), ended with a common evening meal. We are members-one-in-another, said Paul. "All that believed were together, and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, as any had need" (Acts 2:44-45). Here then is the answer to greed, for those with courage.

These congregations, these communes, were networks united into a larger network of the Church. The network originally acted as a magnet drawing in the derelict and alienated – Christianity spread among the rabble – and those who had grown sick of Caesar. "The Roman State never attempted to educate people, only to feed and amuse them," says Ramsay, pointing out that by learning to govern themselves, to "maintain their own union through their own exertions," people were learning self-reliance. To achieve this end, Christians seized upon two great facts of the Roman world: traveling and letter-writing. "The letter [was] developed into an ideal and spiritual instrument."

By means of letters, congregations expressed their mutual affection and sympathy, asking and giving counsel to each other. A collective document, the letter circulated through the congregation, was read publicly and privately, debated, discussed. On his travels Paul sent his letters ahead of him to do their work before his arrival. The letter was a spiritual position paper, written, re-written countless times in response to needs and demands of the network. Recent research on the Gnostics rather suggests that many congregations wrote their own gospels – there were perhaps dozens or even scores of gospels purporting to be the word of Jesus, a kind of anarchy the later Church found anathema. But the early Church had to listen to each congregation, and the Christian epistle spoke to not for the membership. And, says Ramsay, the Church epistle was "informed and inspired with the intense personal affection which the writers felt for every individual of the thousand whom they addressed. The letter [unlike the epistle] was devoid of artificiality, spoke from the heart to the heart . . . in fact shows that the heart of man is wide enough and deep enough to entertain the same love for thousands as for one." For documentation of the thesis, read again the 13th chapter of the first book of Paul's letters to the Corinthians.

Letters kept alive the Christians' congregations' interest in each other, prevented excessive concentration on purely local matters and the immediate surroundings, bound all provincial churches into a Universal Church. "The Christian letters," again quoting Ramsay, "contained the saving power of the Church, and in its epistolary correspondence flowed its life blood." Early bishops derived their power and position as representatives of the congregations –and were the writers and the keepers of epistles, hence the word Episcopal, from the Latin for bishop.

Thus Christianity by the time of Titus Curtisius is already growing as a counterculture within the fraying fabric of Roman society. Under Roman law the Church could have enjoyed the same religious freedom as the Jews and other sects. "Why the early Church did not fight for the same privileges is one of the legal mysteries of Christianity," says Musurillo, "and the consequences were to endure for many centuries. … The good Christian had been told to expect persecution, and in fact welcomed it as a test of his loyalty to the crucified Savior." Thus the Christians are on their way to becoming martyrs but there are countless heroes among the masses whom history later forgot. Spartacus led a slave revolt in 73 B.C.: He put together an army of 120,000; all but 6,000 were crucified along the Appian Sway, their bodies strung out for 60 miles as a deterrent to other rebellions. Still in 24 A.D. there was at least one person fomenting rebellion among the slaves. This man, "a certain Titus Curtisius," Tacitus calls him, began by holding secret meetings in mountain towns and then he "published leaflets, openly calling on the country people from the remote hill pastures, and their half-savage slaves, to rise up and strike a blow for freedom." The rebellion was utterly shattered by Roman troops, and Titus, a former soldier of the Praetorian Guard, along with other of the ring leaders, was returned to Rome for public execution.

That Titus Curtisius could leaflet in the mountain country off the Adriatic suggests a widespread literacy in ancient society. A mood of rebellion – even a desire for revolution – permeated the late days of Rome but the rebels could never find a uniting script. There was a pervasive disaffiliation from the dominant state and a return to an older Tribal way of life:

I am Hurabo, true to Bahdawils.
Repulsed by Neurod, risking the abyss,
We've rediscovered mountain-childhood thrills
While on the move; sloughed off paralysis.
                                                           (Fire 72, 9-12)

And by the 5th century A.D.:

Strong, rebellious heirs of Spartacus
Stride free, but hungry. Infertility
Saps energies from sinking Rome.
                                                           (Fire 75, 9-11)

The Egyptian deserts, from the earliest days, were places where criminals and tax-delinquents hid from authorities: "The native Egyptian," says Musurillo, "knew the desert and its ways so well that no Roman legionary could find him." From 270 A.D. onward we hear of "men and women going off to the Egypt desert for purely ascetic reasons … although communities of ascetics had existed in cities before that time. … Eventually, the ascetics grouped around one great leader … and, later, rules were drawn up," monasteries established.

Along frontiers of the Empire in the north, people went native. "Caves along the Rhone valley, unoccupied since the Stone Age," writes MacMullen, "received in the mid-third century a population of fugitives some of whom never sought out their homes again. … In the fourth century we meet with monks made over, or abbots reclaimed and elected, from a life of brigandage, and the leaders [of several fierce bands] eventually received veneration as saints."

"I long to shatter and I long to heal."
                                                           (Fire 77, 11)

With all other institutions crumbling:

A monastery looms before my eyes:
Stone walls which bear stark signs of many storms.
A weathered door cracks, opens to what lies
Within: a circle, shadows, fire-lit forms.
         Here dancers celebrate with Bahdawils
         Whose sea-chant ─ breaking waves on rocks ─ fulfills:
                                                            (Fire 79, 9-14)

Here will be preserved memories of Greece . . . that mighty catalyst. Here monks will even copy manuscripts they can no longer read. Here will be the healing journey on the inward turn:

My mind is racing to avoid itself;
A swarm of high emotions makes demands.
But intimations dawn of one true self.
Can I now trust myself on shifting sands?
I learn the chant; my tension bends and cracks.
I breathe, breathe free; my stress is letting go.
Obsessive worries lose their grip, relax;
I feel my ever-moving stillness flow.
The monastery door is closing, see,
To sounds of clapping and of opening tombs
While fear dissolves, turns to serenity:
The calm of mothers' breasts and of their wombs.
         Auummmm mani padme. Peace, our breath, our One.
         Secluded flowers growing toward the sun.
                                                            (Fire 81, 1-14)

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E.   Script Rewritten:
       History as Transfiguration.

       (Circa 1,000 to 2,000 A.D.)

Part 5, Receptive to FireWritten symbols store information outside the brain, detach memory from protoplasm, and open the prospects for cultural transfiguration. Oral cultures remember only what they need to know for replication within their ecological niche; the script gets frozen into custom. But written script increases the chances of both evolution and extinction. Out of the silent script of mathematics came modern science – and nuclear weapons, with a technological dynamic which compels us to do what we can do, not what we should do. Weapons pile up – neutron bombs, MX missiles – while computers prepare to catapult us into outer-space, as a new generation of warriors seek the high ground. Now we follow machines as once we followed herds. Western man is a mere 3,000 years old; Neanderthalers lasted 100,000 years: Will we be so lucky?

"Winter mystery; dark form locked in ice… (Fire 82, 1) – so seem the years between 500 and 1,000 A.D. in Europe. Intellectually, the written record is almost blank except for that strange revival of Greek and Platonism in Irish monasteries, where Erigena worked out new implications of the meaning of the word, apparently to the consternation of some of his students: they stabbed out his eyes. Europe population dwindled from 40 million to 10 million between 200 and 900 A.D.; Rome, itself a city of a million in the 2nd century, has scarcely 20,000 by the 10th century. A theocratic form of government had replaced the municipal regime of antiquity. There were times when, as Pirenne says, "the populace was governed by its bishop and no longer asked to have the least share in that government…" While the town of the Dark Ages had a very small resident population, it was a center of assembly, and a place of escape from marauding barbarians. Constant ravishment by the Teutons led to the construction of castles or burgs. In the 9th century Europe reached her lowest economic ebb, and a state of near complete political chaos. Then in the 10th century there is "a return of peace … a recrudescence of activity so marked that it could pass for the victorious and joyful awakening of a society long oppressed by a nightmare of anguish. There is a burst of energy . . . of optimism. The Church, revivified by the Clunisian reform, undertook to purify herself. … A mystic enthusiasm of which she was the inspiration animated her congregations … launched the Crusades …" but also the urban revival and Cathedral building of the 11th and 12th centuries. There was a demographic revolution – Europe's population would triple between 1,000 and 1,300. "Europe colonized herself, thanks to the increase of population." But behind the demographic revolution was a cultural revolution – the Cluniac movement which spear-headed the agricultural revival of Europe. Land lain fallow for centuries was reclaimed and cultivated. The monks had the organizational skills – the skills of writing script, of record-keeping – needed to turn the wilderness of Europe into a garden. By special dispensation Cluny monasteries were freed from control by the local bishops and made answerable only to the Papacy. "Cluny became a super-abbey," says Rosenstock-Hussey. "For the first time in history space was conquered by the legal personality of a corporation." And for better or worse this corporation brought law and order to Western Europe in the 11th century. As an agency of pacification, Cluny by moral suasion compelled the barons to swear to uphold the "Peace of God." The Barons were made to promise not to invade churches or lay violent hands on clerics and monks. The oath read:

"I will not confiscate goods nor force the owner to repurchase them from me. … I will not whip peasants to make them surrender their means of life. From the kalends of May to All Saints, I will not seize horse or mare or fowl from the fields. …I will not make war from noon on Friday to prime on Monday."

The very things which were forbidden give a glimpse of the chaos of the time. The European nobility began as a gangster class, a warrior class. A few centuries later urban populations were imposing on their kings a similar oath. A charter signed by the French king, Robert, states: "I shall rob no oxen nor other animals. … I shall not burn the mills, nor rob the flour. … I shall offer no protection to thieves."

The monks of Cluny created the framework of trans-local order wherein agriculture could resume. In Receptive to Fire this reviving life is symbolized by Semeuse:

Is there reality within my trance?
Across receptive fields Semeuse swings high,
Her seeds in flight throughout her work and dance,
Life-bearing arc of arm against the sky.
                                                           (Fire 85, 1-4)

Here is a society in thaw: vagabondage increases; troubadours, those hippies of the 12th century, wander from town to town. To satisfy its own imperial ambition, the papacy had insisted that serfs be permitted by their masters to go on the Crusades to the Holy Land, and this active pilgrimage emancipated them, delivered the people from their spatial fixity. The Papal Court, says Rosenstock-Hussey, "broke through the forms of personal allegiance between every bishop, every abbot, every Christian and the Pope. … The Roman Church became the mother of every Catholic individual. The vision was not generally conceived before 1,100. It was the content of a revolution." Again, for better or for worse . . .

As the Papacy moved to maximize its own power, it activated opposition to itself, stirred a sleeping population into resistance as well as adventure. The monks who made the Papal revolution are beginning to leave the monasteries, to head for the streets where they will form new orders of street preachers like the Dominicans and Franciscans. And the assertion of the rights of Mother Church – just how motherly will an all-male, 'celibate' priesthood be? – will stir new doubts, new conflict:

The vision fades in morning shades. Where once
Ice formed – inflexible – clean water flows
And doubt, companion to exuberance.
Monastic grace expands, explodes, and knows
Libidinal passion for the world,
For conflict, creeds and freed minds clashing, fire
To test endurance…
                                                           (Fire 86, 1-7)

A joyous time of contest and approaching doom. The courts of chivalric love are soon overruled by "crusading hordes [who] kill all – 'Lest one foul heretic escape!'" (Fire 91-11). A new predator is closing in with "the body of a beast, but, cruel, his face is all-too-human: sly, voracious, mauled by greed" (Fire 93, 6-8). Then comes Black Death – "this killer scales our highest walls" (Fire 95, 9) and the religious wars of the 14th century where:

…sick men kill from fear,
Still needing to control the herd, The Word
("Our God is One!" "No, Three!")
                                                           (Fire 95, 6-8)

Fleeing this patriarchal Christian killing, the poet looks to the Mother Goddesses of the countryside . . . the witches. This older script – erotic, hallucinogenic – reaches back to the Neolithic millennia before Greco-Roman-Christo culture sled over the top of Europe. Christianity was an urban religion and until the Papal Revolution of the 12th century had been content to leave the countryside alone. Eileen Power tells how the peasant muttered charms and incantations over the fields and cattle, and the Church wisely did not interfere with the practice – it simply taught the peasant to pray to the Virgin Mary instead of Mother Earth. But the more the Church extends its power, the more it activates a latent 'eroticism' of the culture – there is beginning to be a rediscovery of womanhood. It can be seen in the portraiture of European art: the sexless Madonna of the 13th century gives way to the voluptuous woman of the Renaissance. Hence the love scene with Semeuse:

A rising sun on young green leaves, and blue,
Both sea and sky, crack through our long sleep. Land.
Your hand! I waken to the warmth of you,
The sweetness of your body on the sand,
Semeuse. To move, to breathe with you at last,
Expanding, stretching, free in your embrace . . .
"Receive, Sweet Love, our tremor and this blast
Of soothing passion, nature's healing grace
And hints of future joys we both will know."
Arousing ocean breeze. Firm touch, moist heat,
Volcanic surge that melted primal snow,
Ah! Ah, Semeuse. With you I am complete.
          The ecstasy of rise and fall: all this
          Surpassing simple as we yield to bliss.
                                                                             (Fire 98, 1-14)

Here is the new script from an older time, threatening to undo the asceticism of the church. Threatening the promise of the Church. Church power derived from a pathological dread of life: Escape from this wretched vale of tears awaited the loyal in the world to come. But Bahdawils and Wanshee are symbols of an older nature-cult; here is the folk wisdom of the American Indian and the European witches. The word is derived from wicke, meaning wise-one. There were both female and male witches, and Wanshee, the sage, could come from either side of the Atlantic. Wanshee is rather like Castaneda's Don Juan:

"Reflecting light from Bahdawils, we give
Her life. Across the mountains and the sea
Have travelers come to me and said, 'To live,
Wanshee, I yearn. Give me the power to be.'
Recall the dance of Zarathustra. More:
Siddhartha's stillness dance. Recall the peace
Hurabo's people knew; Arzen restore.
Thrive, living long before the ice, then cease.
Become the sun, the moistened land, the plow,
The out-flung hand of bold Semeuse, her cheeks
Flushed, blood-rushed, seeds in flight, and be here now.
Inhale. You are the power your courage seeks.
            Just ride the wind, ride down the running stream.
            Relax. You are a dream within a dream."
                                                       (Fire 100, 1-14)

Thrive . . . then cease: Here is the substrate of a vigorous Sensate culture . . . a biologic mysticism, a script of life sufficient unto itself.

By the 16th century, the Church, crumbling, needed new enemies, heretics to burn. It sought out the witches – lineal descendants of Bahdawils – and of the Mother Goddess – and burned a million of them at the stake in the course of 150 years. Soon the burning spread to the intellectuals of the Renaissance who had by now absorbed not only Greco learning and Aristotelian logic but Arabic mathematics, the compound out of which modern science would be made. From the time of Copernicus (1473-1543) to Newton (1642-1723) a totally new conception of the physical universe would come into being. And like all truths it was bought by the blood of martyrs. Giordano Bruno, after eight years of prison can still say, "I doubt all absolutes. I doubt your way." (Fire 104, 10) To save his soul the Church burns his body – surely this will act as a deterrent to heresy. Instead the Church is swallowed by the fire, the Ideational Order of the Middle Ages is over, and the new Sensate is dawning:

The aristocracy of Church and State
Would be the center of the universe.
But Galileo, risking Bruno's fate,
Must speak a truth he sees; withstand the curse.
For he conceives the universe a sphere
Whose center point is everywhere, unbound,
Evolving free. What are the views they fear?
And music! Nature's harmonies resound
From Montaigne's tower to Shakespeare's London stage
To mark the progress of heroic lives.
"And readiness is all." It seems an age
Of reason and of reckoning arrives.
           Deep in his own eyes, Rembrandt finds our scope.
           His face, our face: he reconciles our hope.
                                                                             (Fire 105, 1-14)

Here then is Sensate culture in its vigorous, healthy youth; here in the program which has guided the evolution of Western thought from the 17th to the 20th century whereupon it collapsed in full decay, with Galileo's progeny making bombs for Neurod:

Our dark form that was frozen must return;
Released, the power can either heal or burn.
                                                                  (Fire 112, 13-14)

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F. Epilogue:
Our Generative Doubt.

Epilogue, Receptive to FireThis new god, Plutonium – how did it come to be, how long will it reign?

A god is only as good as its icons. As a physical object the icon calls up shared images which unite people as members of a social community. Tenth century monks pacified Europe with the icon of the cross. Out of faith in the Ideational script, the power of the Church derived. Later corrupted, the Church had undermined itself by the 16th century and in its wake came the Sensate State as the integrating political institution of western civilization. Both Church and State are 'sacred' (i.e., unquestioned) institutions held together by their objects trouvé, their icons. The Church uses the icon as a weapon; the State uses the weapon as an icon.

The Sensate State is grounded in a faith in force; its chief icon is the gun. With rifles the West was won:

"Here Christian soldiers came
With greed to claw and chew a 'New World,' fear
Repeating 'Old World' crimes; again their name
Was Ignorance, insipid, cruel. …"
                                                                 (Fire 111, 5-9)

With guns Euro-Americans conquered the world in the heyday of Sensate culture – 1815-1914 – and then began to devour each other. Pursuing peace through armed might, the Sensate States killed some 200 million people in the 20th century – a larger number than died in the wars of all previous times. And now, armed with nuclear weapons, our leaders – our Neurods – threaten to render our planet uninhabitable.

Aware of this drift toward genocide, Norman Mayer (in 1982) seized an icon of American imperial power, the Washington Monument. Like Hurabo, 'coming out of nowhere,' Norman acted out a script he wrote for himself. He hoped to sound an alarm, to generate dialogue . . . and was shot down by Guardians of the Peace. But he succeeded in raising the fundamental issue of our time: How can we extricate ourselves from the Sensate State?

Norman reached out, spoke truth to power, stirred doubt . . .

Only doubt can save us. This seems the most significant theme in Receptive to Fire: This capacity to doubt makes us human, starts the differentiation of the Omega from the Alpha Ape.

But along the way of evolution the Omegas are always turning into Alphas. Even the Greeks. Even they had their idols and icons. That icon of slave-holding. To have a slave was a status-symbol, often more trouble than it was worth. Still the Greeks clung to slavery, to their master-slave script. "They were caged within the barricades of their own institutional commitments," said Alvin Gouldner. "Like men under a sentence of death, they refused to risk all in a desperate gamble, and waiting for a last reprieve which history never granted, they were dragged down to their fate."

As were, in the mid-19th century, those of the Southern Confederacy. In that case, John Brown changed the course of history by attacking the icons of slavery head-on. He physically freed some slaves and physically seized a piece of ground (in Harper's Ferry) … thus provoking the other side into an action in defense of its icons. Property is an icon Neurod understands. Finally, our South became ridiculous even to itself. Imagine fighting and dying for the right to keep your fellow human beings in chains.

Sorokin's theory of history is predicated on the idea of the natural attrition of icons. In the Ideational order, icons symbolize the non-material, spiritual world: The bones of the saint call up images of this holy world beyond our senses . . . the world of the pure imagination. The icons of the Sensate order call forth images of the sensory world: The photographs of Playboy bunnies are supposed to replicate the real thing. In the Madonna painting (an icon of the Ideational world) the image does not replicate the object but paraphrases it: that is, induces your paraphrasing process, causing you to imagine an ideal relationship. (The best art, perhaps, is a fusion of the 'realistic' Sensate and the symbolic Ideational: Rembrandt's self-portraits are a perfect synthesis of idea and image.)

For a contemporary example of the transition from Sensate back to an Ideational form, hear the Jimi Hendrix rendition of the Star Spangled Banner . . . sounds of a new world. (In World War II a band leader was arrested for swinging the Star Spangled Banner: The sound was supposed to be heard from one and only one way, a Sensate way, where things sound like they are!)

In the 1960 the icons of the Sensate State lost their magic. Faith in force was undermined by a still nameless counter-faith, by doubt. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, having come to doubt the 'official' definition of reality, simply refused to participate in their State's attack on the people of Vietnam.

(Signs of the emergence of an Ideational counter-culture can be seen in the many acts of asceticism of this time. People in both Vietnam and America immolated themselves – Norman Morrison beneath Robert McNamara's window at the Pentagon.)

As the Roman Sensate State was failing, Marcus Aurelius would say:

"Our history, Hurabo, bends to you.
What hand or law could discipline your flow?
You are a force no empire can subdue;
The fates assign me futile tasks, I know. …"
                                                                 (Fire 74, 1-4)

The Roman icons no longer worked; no longer served to unite the people in a social network. Icons, obviously, are social: They have meaning because others impute meaning to them. The clan-emblem is the elemental icon; around it a band of people come together. An icon is the visible manifestation of a script, a story . . . It takes on meaning because it calls up a story which is believed to be true.

The famous Pax Romana was a sham: "They make a desolation and they call it Peace," said Tacitus. This was the 'peace' built on terror . . . from whence the word 'deterrence.'

Is there a peace of doubt? War is made by certainty, blind obedience. But the mind draws on dis-belief, questioning, self-examination.

Receptive to Fire is an exuberant celebration of the will to doubt:

Certainties of outgrown creeds crash, fall,
Crushed by a quantum jump in consciousness…
                                                                 (Fire 113, 5-6)

And merely to utter it is to say that a new script in already forming . . . reaching back to the past . . . to go to the future.

This script contains the spark of Bahdawils . . . is that spark . . . has the power to activate life . . . the life of the mind. The poem is not about fire; it is fire . . .

Ed Powell
Buffalo, NY
January 9, 1983


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