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koyaanisqatsi

a state of life that calls for another way of living


I think our whole society tries to stabilize itself by starting out to destroy sensitivity to incoherence starting with very young children. If people could see the vast incoherence that is going on in society they would be disturbed and they would feel the need to do something. If you're not sensitive to it you don't feel disturned and you don't feel you need to do anything.
        I remember an instance, a daughter was telling her mother, "this school is terrible, the teacher is terrible, very inconsistent, doing all sorts of crazy things," and so on. Finally the mother was saying, "You'd better stop this--in this house the teacher is always right." Now she understood that the teacher was wrong obviously, but the message was, it was no use. Even the message may have been right in some sense, but still it illustrates that the predicament is that in order to avoid this sort of trouble, starting with very young children, we are trained to become insensitive to incoherence. If there is incoherence in our own behavior, we thereby also become insensitive to it.

--David Bohm, seminar on Thought and Dialogue in Ojai, November 4, 1989


Language manifests the same irreconcilable paradoxes evident everywhere in life. It can be both limiting -- since the word is not the thing -- and expansive -- where articulating something of the essence of a quality or state of being is concerned. With respect to the latter, the Hopi noun, koyaanisqatsi, is just such a word. The Hopi's cosmology perceives this to be the Fourth World. There were seven worlds created at the beginning. The first three were each destroyed in turn because the humans inhabiting them had diverged too far from their original sacred path of connectedness with and love and respect for all life on Mother Earth. Their prophecies describe the possibility of such a destruction of the Fourth World (in forms such as uranium mining, the existence of powerlines, and the atomic bomb):

If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster.

Near the Day of Purification, there will be cobwebs
spun back and forth in the sky.

A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky,
which could burn the land and boil the oceans.


However, as Oren Lyons of the Onondaga has pointed out, it is the choice of each generation whether or not the prophecies of life's disintegration and dissolution will actually fully manifest in that generation's time. It is not a "done deal" where fears -- as well as desires -- of apocalyptic visions are concerned.

There is no question that this time we are living in is a state of life that calls for another way of living. What is in question is can we adequately summon and engage our infinite powers of response ability to transform the way we think and relate to ourselves, all our relations, and the world as a whole with sufficient energy to change the world, thus re-committing ourselves to the original contract with life each of us is here to fulfill?

rat haus reality is deeply interested in exploring the implications and challenges posed by this question. Ideas and facts covering a wide gamut of the symbolic as well as literal landscape of our age, this time of koyaanisqatsi, are gathered, organized, and presented here. The guiding sense of purpose and the hope is that our single, collective, frail, and wondrous human family may find this "publication library" to be a benefit, however minute, to seeing the fact of our selves and our world that much more clearly and free from the self-limiting distortions we are subjected to and that we choose, consciously as well as unconsciously, to subject ourselves to. Such distortion emanates from the world without to some degree, but first-and-foremost its source is the world within, a world every bit as infinite and vast as that seen when one beholds the cosmos on clear nights, away from urban light sources.

Self-deception is the primary source of distortion impeding our perceptions of facts concerning our selves, life, and this world in which we exist within our human overcoats. Self-deception is the hottest thing going on the planet. We change the world when we are able to actually glimpse this distortion operating on our own perceptions, influencing the choices we are making while at the same time thinking that we do not see, nor experience, such influence. The primary psychic "blind spot" here is the general nature of our own processes of thought.

In A Brief Introduction to the Work of Krishnamurti, David Bohm writes,

. . . we went on to consider the general disorder and confusion that pervades the consciousness of mankind. It is here that I encountered what I feel to be Krishnamurti's major discovery. What he was seriously proposing is that all this disorder, which is the root cause of such widespread sorrow and misery, and which prevents human beings from properly working together, has its root in the fact that we are ignorant of the general nature of our own processes of thought. Or to put it differently it may be said that we do not see what is actually happening, when we are engaged in the activity of thinking.

Outward manifestations of this inner distortion are available in seemingly endless profusion. While the assault on all life from 50-plus years of playing with the Poison Fire has been a constant focus here in The Health Costs of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation subtree, recent inclusion of Terminator Unleashed, Patenting Life -- Patenting Death provides a view of an alternative form of biological koyaanisqatsi every bit as significant as it is lethal.

Both forms of the above inappropriate exercises of human intelligence have their source of continuation inextricably embedded within the creation of the artificial "life form", "born" in 1886 when 9 human males concluded that, "legally", a private corporation was a "natural person", protected under the US Constitution by the 14th Amendment. Implicit in such thought is an underlying assumption of the "natural" fact and validity of ownership and property.

But such life- limiting and stagnanting assumptions are increasingly being re-explored and considered anew in this time of ours, as well as being consistently challenged by alternative approaches to living in a material world such as that practiced by the Six Nations in the northeast of Turtle Island, the oldest living participatory democracy on Earth. There is so much to learn from such examples of living alternatives as well as expansive perceptions presented by our fellow human beings:

There are so many sources that can expand our perceptions of what we experience, how we think, and how we respond to what life presents us with. The copy of Dialogue - A proposal by David Bohm, Donald Factor and Peter Garrett offers a richly liberating process for communicating and "thinking together" as a way to diminish the insensitivity to incoherence described by David Bohm at the top of this message. As time permits, other sources within ratical will be pointed to from here to suggest ways to respond, with all our limitlessness to this state of life that calls for another way of living.


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