ratitor’s corner
3 February 2015

Full Moon, 6:09 pm (EST)
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rat haus reality: celebrating 20 years wide
Keep the Balance

It’s been more than 10 years since writing one of these. Today rat haus reality is traversing its twentieth revolution around Father Sun. As I begin to write this, snow is falling in pre-dawn light, world still and soft and slumbering in Winter’s sleep.

A feeling of deep gratitude fills heart and mind, seeing more of the infinite mystery Life contains and expresses through all our relations. Last month I drank in a recording of the spoken word that re-aligned and extended my perception of reality in the way I had been more attentive to prior to the new millenium.

A year can be defined as the time it takes for Mother Earth to go around Father Sun. Launched in September, 1995, this ratitor’s corner begins a celebration of rat haus reality’s twentieth year. At its center is a 15 March 2001 transcript of John Trudell’s expression of “What It Means To Be A Human Being” that has been broadcast on Maria Gilardin’s exemplary radio program, Time of Useful Consciousness.

I am always searching for a more accurate and holistic understanding of the way things are, and, by extension, the way the past has resulted in this moment. When I hear something that resonates it expands and deepens the meaning and understanding of what is.

This transcript has been crafted with the vital and essential help of rebecca lord. rebecca is the co-founder of rat haus reality. To a significant degree, it is because of her life path and relations that ratical encompasses the range of intelligence and wisdom contained within.

John Trudell’s speaking and thinking covers a magnificent, wide dimension of ground. There is a wealth of understanding and insight to explore and consider about what he expresses. I will synchronize with this for a long time.

An essential point to keep in mind is that this expression comes from the oral tradition. The written word is different. The spoken word transmits awareness and understanding in a more comprehensive and integrated form. While the transcript is there, the most thorough way of taking this in is to listen. (Links to the two half-hour recordings comprising the event are included near the top of that page.)

Further, the way John Trudell speaks is compelling. The modulation and intonation of his voice—the way what he says is combined with how he says it—I find deeply fascinating and engaging. Hearing how his thoughts develop and progress and the way he works through what he wants to communicate weaves a rich, multi-dimensional tapestry of meaning and intelligence.

Some of what is said amplifies and expands prior awareness: about responsibility and how we choose, in every moment, to interpret what we perceive in precisely the way we choose to interpret it. Much more of what is expressed deepens further appreciation and fuller understanding of what it means to be a human being. A primary focal point is the following:

... because ... we come from where we come from, every one of us is the descendant of a tribe. Every person in this room is a descendant of a tribe at some point in our ancestral evolution. Common, collective, genetic memory that’s in there, you know, that’s encoded, like I say, in the DNA.

And for every individual, encoded in our individual DNA, alright?, is the experience of our lineage from the very beginning. Whose whole perceptional reality was what I was just saying: all things have being, we’re made up of the Earth – all my relations, pray to spirits. See, and they didn’t pray to man or human form. The closest they came to it was they prayed to spirits that were called ancestors.

Alright? And because they were praying to those ancestors for help and guidance, they understood that we were borrowing today from the past and the future. We’re borrowing it from both places.

So they had this understanding of reality. So they knew that to keep the balance was the purpose. That was the purpose. The reason for being was to keep the balance.

So this was like, you know, what I will call a spiritual perception of reality. And so because of the spiritual perception of reality they understood that life was about responsibility. It wasn’t about the abstraction of freedom – it was about responsibility. That life was about responsibility.

There is a vital need to activate remembering that we are borrowing today from the past as well as the future. So much forgetting makes possible the incoherent, life-destroying processes and activities that beset the world. This started a long time ago. John Trudell expresses his understanding of how, within the techno-logic perceptional reality, one of the civilizing processes is to erase memories; memory of who we are and what we are, memory of identity and self-reality.

In her introduction to the 15 March 2001 recording, Maria Gilardin recounts a little about the speaker.

John Trudell is a poet, musician, and an advocate for Native American rights. He did not set out to be a writer. His poetic gift developed out of the remarkable, sometimes horrifying circumstances of his life.

Trudell grew up on and around the Santee Sioux reservation near Omaha, Nebraska. In 1969 he participated in the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz. From 1973 to 1979, he served as national chairman of A.I.M., the American Indian Movement. The government response to A.I.M. was swift Trudell said, “They waged war against us. They hunted us down. They killed, jailed, destroyed us, by any means necessary.”

In 1979 that war took a terrible personal toll on John Trudell. On February 11, he led a march to the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. Approximately 12 hours later, in the early morning hours, a fire “of suspicious origin” burned down Trudell’s home on the Shoshone Paiute reservation in Nevada, killing his wife Tina, their three children, and Tina’s mother. Devastated by the loss of his family, Trudell withdrew from the world; “writing words” became his way “to keep some sanity” and continue to survive.

Included in his spoken word is poetry (some of which is published in the 2008 book, Lines from a Mined Mind) expressing understanding that includes how we perceive what each us experiences as reality; that reality is based upon our perception of reality. Further, “how we see what we see” is based on the way we choose to interpret what we see and experience.

In the reality
Of many realities
How we see what we see
Affects the quality
Of our reality

We are children of Earth and Sky
DNA descendant now ancestor
Human being physical spirit
Bone flesh blood as spirit
Metal mineral water as spirit

We are in time and space
But we’re from beyond time and space
The past is part of the present
The future is part of the present
Life and being are interwoven

We are the DNA of Earth, Moon, Planets, Stars
We are related to the universal
Creator created creation
Spirit and intelligence with clarity
Being and human as power

We are a part of the memories of evolution
These memories carry knowledge
These memories carry our identity
Beneath race, gender, class, age
Beneath citizen, business, state, religion
We are human beings
And these memories
Are trying to remind us
Human beings, human beings
It’s time to rise up
Remember who we are

There is a song recording of this poem called “These Memories.” Remembering how we are part of the memories of evolution re-roots our awareness of our origins and place in uni verse. Letting this understanding sink in, go deep, can liberate a wealth of postive, Life -respecting and -serving energy.

Last fall I started thinking about how, going back 10,000 years, every human being today is descended from indigenous forebearers. This is equivalent to about 3,000 human generations. Today many human beings have forgotten what our collective ancestry signifies. Remembering who we are, and especially who our ancestors were and the fact that we are their descendants, can serve to reconnect our steps on the journey with what preceded us and what that means.

It is useful to review what the word meaning means. David Bohm was a physicist who made many contributions to science and philosophy. In a seminar on dialogue and the nature of thought he explores the three meanings of the word meaning.

[M]eaning is not just abstract. You see, behind the abstraction is something concrete—the concrete reality of the very thought process itself—or more generally, of the overall mind process. And underlying this is meaning. In an elementary case it is thought which has a certain meaning, words which have a certain meaning; but there may be more subtle meanings....

The meaning of your life is what would hold it together. If it lacks that meaning, then you feel it is falling apart. If society lacks a common meaning, or the culture lacks it, it won’t hold.

Culture is the shared meaning. And meaning includes not only significance, but also value and purpose. According to the dictionary, these are the three meanings of the word ‘meaning’. I am saying that common significance, value and purpose will hold the society together. If society does not share those, it is incoherent and it goes apart. And now we have a lot of subgroups in our society which don’t share meanings, and so it actually starts to fall apart....

[M]eaning is not a thing. You can’t point to the meaning. It is very subtle....

If we want to say what the meaning itself is—the concrete reality of the meaning—we can’t get hold of it. But we can experience it in various forms—like the significance, the value, and the purpose. If we share meanings, then we will have a common purpose and a common value, which certainly will help hold us together. We have to go more deeply into what that means....

There is not a fundamental difference [to the meaning of the three definitions of meaning]. They are really different aspects of the same thing. ‘Significance’ has the word ‘sign’ in it, indicating that it sort of points to something: ‘What is the significance of what we are talking about? What is the significance of what we are doing?’ That is one idea of meaning.

Value is something which is part of it. If something is very significant, you may sense it as having a high value. The word ‘value’ has a root which is interesting—the same root as ‘valor’ and ‘valiant’. It means ‘strong’. You might suppose that in early times, when people sensed something of high value they didn’t have a word for it, although it moved them strongly. Later they found a word for it and said it has high value. And then later the word itself may convey that.

If something is significant it may have a high value. And if it has a high value, you may have or you may develop a strong purpose or intention to get it, or sustain it, or something. Things that do not have high value will not generate any very strong purpose. You would say, “It’s not interesting. It doesn’t mean much to me.”

“It means a lot to me” means it has high value. And “I mean to do it” is the same as to say, “It’s my purpose.” You can see that the word ‘meaning’ has those three meanings. And I don’t think it is an accident; I think they are very deeply related.

In these 19-plus revolutions around Father Sun, I’ve found tremendous meaning building the different sections of rat haus reality that reflect various phases along the journey. From the work with Dr. John Gofman & Egan O’Connor, to studying with Mary Lou Williams, its contents represent aspects of existence and history that have engaged my attention, curiosity, and focus for a long time.

There is a tremendous amount of incoherent energy—both in thought and physical activity—being actively expressed and expended in our world. Suspending for a moment, the rationalizations and justifications for how “we” needed to complete creating the first atomic bomb—even after it was confirmed that Hitler would not succeed in making one (listen to Parts One and Two of “From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima,” by Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, speaking at the Nuke Free Now Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 4 Aug 2012)—a prime example is the energy employed to build nuclear power plants and weapons that express, by the radiation they generate, a death wish for all life on Earth.

In a 2011 interview, John Trudell describes his understanding about energy:

Everything is about energy. Everything that ever goes on in this dimension of reality that we are in is about energy. This whole idea of the great programming, I think that this has got to do with the planetary industrial ruling class. The programming has got to do with how they channel our energy, the energy of being, being human, to feed their technological needs. The programming takes place in how we’re civilized, educated, to see reality. Programming is about how to get our energy.

And from Heather Rae’s 2005 documentary, “Trudell,” (borrow from a library, watch on youtube, buy from an independent bookstore, and do not cooperate with amazon) insight is expressed concerning the great lie about this techno-logic perceptional reality.

[starting at 04:28]
The great lie is that it is civilization. It’s not civilized. ... It has been literally the most blood-thirsty, brutalizing, system ever imposed upon this planet. That is not civilization. That’s the great lie; is that it represents civilization. That’s the great lie. Or if it does represent civilization, and it’s truly what civilization is, then the great lie is that civilization is good for us.

Along with erasing memory, John Trudell explains how a primary purpose of the industrial profit machine that is spreading itself over the planet—along with mining the minerals of the Earth—is mining the energy of the human being. In order to countervail this mining process each of us can choose and consciously decide to activate and employ our intelligence that was given to us by our Creator and use it as intelligently and coherently as we can, as often as we can.

... life is a gift. Our intelligence is the gift that makes this life possible for us. Our intelligence is a very sacred power. It is power, our creative imaginations. Human beings, being spirit, being energy, the human carries the being in a physical sense and in an energy sense the being carries the human. The human part of us has intelligence.

Through our intelligence, this is how we create our reality. The reality of being is created through our intelligence as we take physical form. The power of our intelligence, because of this mining process I’m talking about, mining the energy of the human being, it’s through intelligence that the human being is programmed to perceive reality. So the energy of being is generated and manifested in how we perceive reality with our intelligence.

The power of our intelligence is creative, it’s a creative energy. It’s how we create. Have you ever had the experience of feeling powerless? And while you’re feeling powerless how bad can you make yourself feel, with your fears, your doubts, and your insecurities? And then how does this affect the people in your community? So, see, the irony there is that obviously if people can do that they have power. The worse you make yourself feel, the more power you have.

This is what power is really about, the energy that we generate through our intelligence. The majority of the people in this society feel powerless. Their lives are dominated by their fears, their doubts, their insecurities, and they splash it all over on the people around them. If that creative intelligence was used more coherently and clearly then we could generate a different kind of energy, energy of clarity and coherence, and that would affect the people we interact with.

Each individual human being is given intelligence to participate in this life with. Before we go around blaming we should take responsibility individually, which helps it to happen collectively. We should take responsibility to respect our intelligence, to think as clearly and coherently as we can. And this will start to change the energy shift because being free is about responsibility.

Having someone to blame turns into a convenience. If we’re not taking responsibility to use our intelligence clearly and coherently we’re not in a position to be blaming anybody for anything. We’re not fulfilling our end of the deal. We use it as a convenience to have someone to blame so that we don’t have to respect our own intelligence. And if we don’t respect our intelligence we don’t respect ourselves. And if we don’t respect our intelligence and we don’t respect ourselves then obviously we don’t really respect the Creator. But it’s not because we don’t want to, it’s because we don’t know how to. And the reason we don’t know how to is because we’re not using our intelligence clearly and coherently.

Recognizing the intelligence we have been given by our Creator and using it as clearly and coherently as we possibly can is the antidote to the entire techno-logic perceptional reality that is based upon death. The eventual, inevitable outcome of such reality is oblivion and annihilation. It is our responsibility as human beings to see and acknowledge this and then act upon this understanding.

Because this thing about life and death – you know, this techno-logic reality has been around for 3 or 4,000 years – I don’t know however long it’s been around, you know. But its whole reality is based upon death so therefore, at some point it must die. Our whole objective as human beings is to stay alive. Do you get it? I mean really alive. Not surviving and existing, I’m talking about alive. Connected to life and living. See, we have to outlast it because we can’t outfight it because its violence and its aggressive mindset, alright?, is beyond parallel.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s powerful. That just means that it’s violent and it’s aggressive and it’s without parallel and you better be damned careful of it. But that’s what that means, about power – our relationship to clarity and coherency and the use of our intelligence is our relationship to power and we can outthink it. Simple math. Simple math. It’s a mathematical thing.

In the authoritarian state system only x-amount of people are given permission to think. Okay? So at some point, theoretically, we will out- surround them. If we will just do what is necessary to get there.

Your descendants and my descendants depend upon us, alright?, to keep the reality of the living alive. And we are going to influence the outcome, no matter what we do. So [what] I’m talking about is, well let’s take some responsibility, alright?, and let’s influence it in a more clear and coherent way. Outthink them. Trust ourselves and our ability to think. And each and every one of us was given just as much intelligence as we need. It’s not a contest.

Such seeing and understanding is of supreme value and significance. It reawakens memory of who we truly are and what we are here for. In the world we find ourselves living in there is virtually no sense of vital, life-affirming purpose being proffered by the techno-logic mindset reality. Certain periods in the past altered the perceptional reality we find ourselves in today.

... we know there was an inquisition. And this inquisition went on for 4 or 500 years in Europe. The purpose of the inquisition was to alter the perceptional reality of the descendants of the tribes of Europe. To make them believe and see reality the way the church wanted them to believe and see reality.

The church called it – they waged a war for possession – for possession, this is important – they waged a war for the possession of the souls of the godless heathens. And to be a godless heathen you just didn’t believe in god. It wasn’t a part of your reality. Or another way [of] becoming a godless heathen was to question the authority of the church to do this.

See now, again, I’m not making this up. You know, this did transpire. These things did happen. And they killed as many people as they could – I guarantee it – in order to get the other ones to submit. So they killed as efficiently as they could with the technology they had at their disposal at that time, alright? And because they created a rationalization as to why to do it, so it just became as efficient as they could do.

And at some point, the descendants of the tribes of Europe no longer knew what it meant to be a human being. They just didn’t know – they didn’t want to know. So the descendants of the tribes of Europe, in the end, had to love what they feared which was there to possess them. See, and I think it messed up love in a lot of ways, you know that they haven’t unsorted yet.

The perceptional change that occurred through events such as the inquisition caused a primary break and division to occur in how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to nature and the world that gives us life and meaning. The result has been that we have become divorced and separated from the genuine source of Life’s value and purpose. It is possible to restore the connection to all our relations and to once again ride the balance that was the original basis of being and participation in the circle of Life.

I’ve never been able to envision gods or goddesses. I can’t imagine the Creator in a human form.... And I think our road, our path to trouble started when we started to do it that way.... but I don’t go with god because I know that’s a limited perceptional reality. See, they forced it on us. But the trouble came see, when, when we decided that the Creator entity had a human form. See because then, that, that rationalized and justified mistreating the rest of the natural world.

Alright? I mean, sexism and racism came out of this perceptional change because once the Earth – you know under the new god thing, see, the Earth was no longer the Mother. The Earth was the property of this new god. And all god’s children ... their job and objective was to subdue the Earth for this god.

So in order to achieve that objective they had to create sexism. See, sexism has got to do with how we live with the Earth. And racism, because now that the Earth was property, you know and all spiritual value was away, was away from the Earth, you know. Real spiritual value was now a religious perceptional thing, and, right, so it wasn’t all encompassing, it wasn’t just a part of the reality anymore.

... Now whoever it is we pray to, right?, whoever it is we pray to, however we pray, whatever, however we do that, alright?, I think that we have an obligation and a responsibility and it’s about respect. If we respect our Creator, then we should use our intelligence as intelligently as we can as often as we can. And that means with clarity and coherence. That means to activate and respect our intelligence and activate the thinking process so that it’s going the way we want it to be because that’s why it was given to us.

Our intelligence – as the human being part of all of this reality that’s going on, we were given intelligence, this is what was there to help us through the evolutionary reality – to ride the balance, so to speak, of the evolution with our intelligence. It’s our medicine, it’s our protection, it’s our self-defense.

In his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Carl Jung articulated his understanding about how we are composed of our ancestral components and whether they find an elementary gratification in our lives, or whether they are repelled.

Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The “newness” in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components. Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no proper place in what is new, in things that have just come into being. That is to say, our ancestral components are only partly at home in such things. We are very far from having finished completely with the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend. Nevertheless, we have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots. Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the “discontents” of civilization and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up. We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is canceled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.

Reforms by advances, that is, by new methods or gadgets, are of course impressive at first, but in the long run they are dubious and in any case dearly paid for. They by no means increase the contentment or happiness of people on the whole. Mostly, they are deceptive sweetenings of existence, like speedier communications which unpleasantly accelerate the tempo of life and leave us with less time than ever before. Omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est—all haste is of the devil, as the old masters used to say.

Reforms by retrogressions, on the other hand, are as a rule less expensive and in addition more lasting, for they return to the simpler, tried and tested ways of the past and make the sparsest use of newspapers, radio, television, and all supposedly timesaving innovations.

In this book I have devoted considerable space to my subjective view of the world, which, however, is not a product of rational thinking. It is rather a vision such as will come to one who undertakes, deliberately, with half-closed eyes and somewhat closed ears, to see and hear the form and voice of being. If our impressions are too distinct, we are held to the hour and minute of the present and have no way of knowing how our ancestral psyches listen to and understand the present—in other words, how our unconscious is responding to it. Thus we remain ignorant of whether our ancestral components find an elementary gratification in our lives, or whether they are repelled. Inner peace and contentment depend in large measure upon whether or not the historical family which is inherent in the individual can be harmonized with the ephemeral conditions of the present. (pp.235-237)

The roots of our historical family are grounded in the life-giving perception of reality that is synchronized and wholly integrated with nature. The reason for being is to keep the balance. We have the ability—the response ability—to re-align ourselves with this purpose if we so choose to walk this path. It is for each of us to decide how we will direct our course. John Trudell submits that responsibility is the liberator’s word, “because then we are taking direct action with our intelligence.” To honor and serve Life’s needs contains and expresses profound significance, value, and purpose.

In this revolution around Father Sun there will be further explorations into such concerns as:

  • indigenous people’s struggles, on behalf of Life and all our relations, to retain their land and way of life,
  • the blinding primacy of our epoch’s theology of progress and the necessity to see through it, and
  • industrial mind’s prime directive: profit and selfishness.

For the Earth, the children, and all that follow us here, I feel gratitude and appreciation to you for taking the time to read and ponder what John Trudell gives voice to and the implications of what he shares.

Imagine running out of imagine
Mistaking authority for power
Weaving lifes free spirit
Into patterns of control
—John Trudell, “Iktomi,”
    Lines from a Mined Mind, p.259