MYTH*ING LINKS
An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

Common Themes, East & West:


Wars, Weapons, and Lies:
The Dehumanizing Impulse


Advance and Destroy
By Daniel Bek
(Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds)

Author's Introduction:
(5-6 February 2001, Midnight)

War:  In the Christian tradition, angels fight devils.  In the Hindu tradition, gods (devas, "shining ones") fight their older siblings, demons (ashuras).  In ancient Greece, Olympian gods fight their older siblings, the Titans.  In the Navajo tradition, the War Twins fight monsters with sacred weapons won from their reluctant father, the Sun, who is also father to the monsters.  In the Celtic tradition, the newcomer Tuatha De Danaan fight the older Fomorians.  In ancient Egypt, Sun-god Ra and all his followers, fight the evil serpent, Apopis, and emerge victorious every dawn.  In Mesopotamia, Marduk and his companions slaughter old Tiamat, the she-dragoness and mother of them all.  In medieval Europe, knights fight fearsome dragons.
War is always an "us" versus "them."  Thus all the conflicted dualities emerge and are turned into explosive issues by the spin-doctors and PR people on both sides: good/evil, light/dark, human/beast, farmer/herder, city/city, country/country, Christian/Christian, Christian/Jew, Christian/Moor, Jew/Jew, Jew/Moslem, Moslem/Moslem, Moslem/infidel, white/black, red, yellow, and brown, rich/poor, educated/uneducated, aristocracy/commoner, North/South, East/West, land-owner/tenant, employer/slave, macho/homo, strong/weak, young/old, and so it goes, and goes and goes, unstoppable.  Both sides seek power and at least one side will kill to get it and justify the slaughter in the name of god, polis, fatherland, motherland, or "higher good."

We forget that the deeper issue isn't the abstract one of choosing peace over war, or cooperation over dominance.  Important as those choices are, a much more profound one involves the choice between creativity in the service of life, or creativity in the service of death.  Freud framed this choice in terms of Eros and Death -- in other words, will we succumb to a deep-seated death wish in which all is frozen and nothing ever changes, or will we choose the more difficult, subtle, mercurial, always changing, juicy, creative drive Freud called Eros?

.....Weapons: Arthur's magic sword is Excalibur.  Siegfried's is Balmung.  Roland's is Durendal.  Indra has his jarjara.  Zeus hurls lightning bolts.  Thor, a hammer.  Yahweh smites with plagues.  (See Weapons of Mythology & Folklore for more on Celtic & Teutonic data.) Other deities and heroes use trickery, magic lances, swords, knives, tridents, throwing-nets, daggers, clubs, and a bizarre assortment of other-worldly, lethal gear that makes them invisible, gives them great speed, or protects them from wounds.  We glamorize such weapons, hallow them, worship them, romanticize them, collect them in museums, make movies about them, and give them innocent names like "Little Boy" as we drop them over Hiroshima.
Lies:  The "other," which is to say, the "enemy," is always evil, demonic, inhuman, wicked, and guilty of unspeakable perversions, usually involving women and children.  "We," on the other hand, are always noble, proud, brave, blessed by our God(s), true, honorable, patriotic, straight-shooting, and protective of our women and children.  More lies: (1) it's possible to fight a war that will end all other wars;  (2) humans are inherently violent, Homo Necans, Man the Killer -- not Homo Ludens, Man the Playful, the "ludic."

....Conclusions: Mythology is full of wars and magic weapons -- they make for great epics, movies, and exciting storytelling (for example, see this interview with the director and screenwriter of the marvelous Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon).  They can be toxic, yes, and they desensitize us, but we could live with that if we could only keep them confined to the realm of imagination.  Too rigid a censorship, after all, has its own dangers.  Unfortunately, we let the wars and magic weapons swarm out into the real world, and such elements do not belong in the real world.  They simply don't translate well.  They solve nothing.  They only breed more wars and worse weapons.  People die.  Horror spreads.  No one's hands are clean.  War and violence are addictive, but because we're in culture-wide denial, we pretend that they're inevitable, a fact of life, programmed into our genes.  Violence continues to damage us -- worse, it damages our humanity.

As with any addiction, there's no simple solution.  Nurturing creativity and compassion in our populations, however, especially among our young, would be an important step.  Jungian analyst Marie-Louise von Franz writes:

...demonism and creativity are psychologically very close to each other.  Nothing in the human psyche is more destructive than unrealized, unconscious creative impulses....[W]hen it is a question of a mass psychosis, nothing but new, creative, 'redemptive' archetypal conceptions, brought up from the depths, can stop the development toward a catastrophe.
                            [Projection & Re-collection in Jungian Psychology:106]
Again, will we consciously use our creativity in the service of fuller lives, or in the service of developing more technology for widespread, agonizing deaths?  Every addict faces a similar life and death choice.  Couldn't someone develop an innovative Alcoholics Anonymous-style "12 Step Program" for the many nations addicted to violence?  Buddhist meditation might also help such nations, especially the daily practice of sending out the vibration of loving-kindness to all species on earth.  Just accepting violence and war as addictive would significantly shift our values toward a greater respect for common sense and tolerance.  We need to do something, each in our way.  As the UNESCO charter states:
Since Wars Begin
In the Minds of Men,
It is in the Minds of Men
That we Have to Erect
The Ramparts of Peace.
So, out of my own complicated thoughts and emotions on this topic, I begin this page, a companion page to my last new page, launched on Christmas Day 2000, Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse.  As von Franz makes clear, when our immense human creativity is thwarted, we feel dehumanized, we start dehumanizing others in revenge, and soon the cycle of "demonic," rabid violence erupts anew.  Then we truly get Wars, Weapons, and Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse.

There isn't much about mythology and folklore, per se, in the links below.  (FYI: the only such link I have found so far is Professor D.L. Ashliman's translation of two tales in which animal wars resemble human wars: The War between the Village Animals and the Forest Animals, folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 104.)   Nevertheless, those who are trying either to truthfully report the full behind-the-scenes stories, or to find alternate ways of handling conflict, are at the forefront in the creation of new myths, less toxic and bloody myths, myths that remind us of how wondrous and fragile we and all creation are.  Whether they know it consciously or not, they are Mythmakers and Storyweavers in the grand web of life.......


"The Semele Complex"

Semele burned to ash after seeing Zeus in his full splendor --
Zeus is rescuing the fetus of Dionysus from his dying mother.
[I've colorized this for dramatic effect.]
From the Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive
http://www.headlinemuse.com/Culture/semele.htm
[Added 16 February 2001]: After I finished my "War, Weapons, & Lies" page several days ago, I came across this Headline Muse essay, "The Semele Complex: Some Implications for Addiction to Armed Aggression," a brilliant "missing piece" by Adrian Strong that explores what it is that, for many, makes war and violence so thrilling, so "sublime."  He situates the problem within the myth of Semele, the mother of Dionysus.  How he unravels the many threads is utterly engrossing.  I have been mulling over the implications ever since, especially those involving the Middle East.  Here are several brief excerpts to give you a sense of Strong's trajectory -- and to lure you into reading the entire essay:
...Is there a link between the experience of the sublime and the psychic longings of those who are somehow involved in fostering or prolonging war, as for example in the Middle East?....

...[T]here is something in Semele herself which, as part of her love for divine power (Zeus), is willing, even eager, to be blown apart. We might say that she demands experience of the sublime which is inherently self-destructive when made literal....

...While it is nigh impossible to change peoples' beliefs about God, is it possible to wean people away from the self-destructive aspect of the sublime by re-awakening their capacity for earthly beauty? As Campbell has indicated, the sublime can also be seen as an aspect of art, and beauty is its sister aspect. God is also to be experienced in the beautiful shining through a work of art, or through the eyes of another....

The writing is lucid, accessible, and profoundly meaningful as the author weaves between the Honda Indy 2000 motor race on Australia's Gold Coast, to the myth of Semele, to a conversation he had years ago with an Israeli pilot "who flew sorties into Lebanon in a Mirage fighter-bomber."  I'm so impressed with this essay that I'm giving it my page's opening section.  It's an exceptional piece of work -- don't miss it.

Exposing the Lies


(Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds)

  http://emperors-clothes.com
This is the "Emperor's New Clothes: Piercing a Fog of Lies."  It includes ten long pages of links to reports at direct odds with what the Western media is telling us about Serbia, depleted uranium weapons, Iraq, and much more.  It's a fascinating, intriguing, troubling site that may take a lot of your time if you really start exploring.  It's available in English, Italian, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, and Serbo-Croatian.
http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/carr/carr.html
From the countless links on the "Emperor's New Clothes," this one's title intrigued -- and alarmed -- me.  It's a lengthy background essay on Yugoslavia presented at a 1995 symposium on the Balkan War by T.W. Carr, associate publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs Publications in London.  The title says much: "German and US Involvement in the Balkans: A Careful Coincidence of National Policies?"
http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/arbuth/port.htm
This is another site from the "Emperor's New Clothes," a chilling, sickening, heartbreaking report on "DU" (depleted uranium).  I don't want to believe that anyone in the West could be so insane, so coldblooded, so cobble-brained, so inhuman as to even consider such a use of radioactivity, let alone really use it.  But I lived through Vietnam and napalm, Agent Orange, the Gulf War Syndrome, and I, like many of us, am no longer naive.  Our leaders incubated the idea for using DU, they're using it, people are dying.  May we now find ways to stop it.
http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/chuss/haarp2.htm
Again from "Emperor's New Clothes" is this disturbing 26 November 2000 paper, "Washington's New World Order Weapons Have The Ability To Trigger Climate Change," by Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics at Canada's University of Ottawa:
...the World's climate can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated "non-lethal weapons." Both the Americans and the Russians have developed capabilities to manipulate the World's climate.

In the US, the technology is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Aural Research Program (HAARP) as part of the ("Star Wars") Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI). Recent scientific evidence suggests that HAARP is fully operational and has the ability of potentially triggering floods, droughts, hurricanes and earthquakes. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction. Potentially, it constitutes an instrument of conquest capable of selectively destabilising agricultural and ecological systems of entire regions.

While there is no evidence that this deadly technology has been used, surely the United Nations should be addressing the issue of "environmental warfare" alongside the debate on the climatic impacts of greenhouse gases...

According to Dr. Rosalie Bertell [in 1996], HAARP is part of a integrated weapons' system, which has potentially devastating environmental consequences:
"...It would be rash not to associate HAARP with the space laboratory construction which is separately being planned by the United States. HAARP is an integral part of a long history of space research and development of a deliberate military nature. The military implications of combining these projects is alarming. ... The ability of the HAARP / Spacelab/ rocket combination to deliver very large amount of energy, comparable to a nuclear bomb, anywhere on earth via laser and particle beams, are frightening. The project is likely to be "sold" to the public as a space shield against incoming weapons, or, for the more gullible, a device for repairing the ozone layer." (10) [Emphasis in color is mine.]

http://www.iacenter.org/
This is the International Action Center founded by Ramsey Clark, a former US Attorney General.  Like the "Emperor's New Clothes," it offers a huge array of reports on Yugoslavia, Iraq, depleted uranium, Central America, protests against the current Bush, and much more.  This is another site where you could spend a great deal of time.
http://www.fas.org/man/index.html
[Added 2/11/01]:  One of my new war page's first visitors sent me this FAS link and commented that it's commonly believed "that knowledge of one's weapons provides a deterrent to war.  To that end, the Federation of American Scientists [FAS] maintains a website describing every weapon in the US arsenal plus extracts of briefing papers on recent military actions."  He went on to add: "I think FAS has it wrong.  I haven't seen any real steps towards peace.  So far, all I've seen is further development of weapons that bring us one step closer to oblivion."

He's absolutely and depressingly correct.  If we have only intellectual knowledge of these weapons, we're stranded in what Carl Jung called the "thinking function."  We need to go to the adjacent functions and really grok the situation from those POV's.  Otherwise, we stay stuck and the situation only escalates.

If I may digress for a moment -- according to Jung, there are four functions, or psychological types.  My little chart assumes that the primary function is thinking, but the same principles apply to each of the other three functions, although they'll manifest differently:
                   THINKING
                                |
       Sensate______|_____Intuitive
                                |
                                |
         Feeling (i.e., Valuing or "ethic-ing")

I'm over-simplifying here (and leaving out introverted and extroverted variables) but the basic idea is that one's strongest ability, or function, also has access to its two adjacent functions.   Thus, if a person (or a country -- most Western nations fall into this category) functions predominately as a thinking type, one also has access to the adjacent sensate and intuitive realms (bright green on my chart).

The function directly opposite, however, is one's blind spot (dull red on my chart) -- that's where both magic and "evil" will enter one's world because it's where one is most vulnerable.  That means that thinking types have great difficulty in applying ethics -- it's their blind spot.  In order to give a semblance of ethical behavior, they'll automatically default to sentimentality and platitudes.  In other words, they'll mouth patriotic and/or religious statements with great conviction ("God bless America!"; "Deutschland über alles!") and use these as substitutes for an authentic ethical stance.  They don't usually know they're doing this, of course:  they think they're being completely ethical.  That's the problem.

[For an excellent book on how all this works, I highly recommend Knowing Woman by Irene Claremont de Castillejo, a Jungian analyst who studied with Emma Jung and Toni Wolff.  None of the four functions made any sense to me until I read de Castillejo's remarkable book many years ago.  Don't be fooled by her title -- it's really about humanity, not just women.  It was newly released in paperback by Shambhala in 1997. ]
To get back to FAS and its excellent reports on weaponry and its uses: if such knowledge stays at the level of intellect, we're lost.  What's needed is real work in activating the adjacent functions -- and that requires an exercise of somatic and intuitive imagination.  Scientists, especially, might explore this but so might the rest of us.

Again, I'm over-simplifying but, for example, suppose I'm a thinking-type scientist and I know that the poison gas I'm working on works best in a moisture-rich environment, where it changes to hydrochloric acid and eats its way through everything in its path.  Lungs, of course, are a moisture-rich environment -- and lungs are what will breathe in that gas, which will become hydrochloric acid.  Such a death will be horrific.  I could dismiss such thoughts and keep on working -- which, in fact, is exactly what French scientists did in WWI when they developed phosgene gas (see Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Simon & Schuster, 1986; pp.93-95).

But if I know a little about Carl Jung and I want to take this further, I'll then move to my somatic (or body) imagination and imagine, or pretend, that I'm the person breathing in that gas.  I'll ask myself what's happening in my lungs when I do that.  I'll try to feel it physically, gut-level, and not in my brain alone.  I'll then add my intuitive imagination and ask myself how I react to that, what does my intuition tell me about this process going on in my lungs -- i.e., is it good for me or not?  At that point, since my lungs, intuition, and probably every cell in my body will be reacting in sheer horror, I hope I'll stop working on that gas and destroy my data.

 If I'm so blocked and detached that I honestly can't feel the reaction of my own lungs and intuition, then I'll imagine that someone I love is breathing in that gas.  Again, my intellect will provide all the data that my two adjunct functions need and again I'll destroy my data. Not to exercise such imagination is part of what Hannah Arendt called "the banality of evil" -- i.e., just doing one's job without ever connecting the dots, and then going home to a cosy glass of wine with one's mate.

What should be noted in these two scenarios is that I haven't gone near the ethical dimension -- if I'm a thinking type, I can't go there yet because it's my blind spot.  I've only enlisted the aid of my two adjunct functions, one dealing with what my body knows, the other consulting my intuition, or inner wisdom.  Regardless, I wind up acting ethically, but I get there indirectly by using those two adjuncts.

After much practice and work, according to Jung, one eventually begins to integrate that blind-spot function.  This process of individuation and union-of-opposites usually starts around midlife and finally leads to a fresh sense of wonder and renewal.  As that 4th function begins to open up, the little chart would start looking something like this:
                   THINKING
                                |
       Sensate______|_____Intuitive
                                |
                                |
         Feeling (i.e., Valuing or "ethic-ing")

So, with apologies for the digression, I provide the FAS site.  It's a good one, a chilling one.  Just please don't let what you read on that, or on any of these other sites, get stranded in the intellect alone.


Addicting Children to Violence

Behind the Iron Door
By T. Smirnova
(Courtesy of Tradestone International)
Author's Note:
Not many people know that the Nazis sponsored the distribution of the Grimms' fairy tales to all German schoolchildren.  It was a time of nationalistic fervor and the Nazis considered the Grimms "quintessentially German" and "worthy standard-bearers for Germany at war" (see Ruth B. Bottigheimer, "The Publishing History of Grimms' Tales: Reception at the Cash Register," in The Reception of Grimms' Fairy Tales, ed. Donald Haase; Wayne State University Press, 1993:91-94).

Even less well known is the fact that immediately after the war, from 1945-1949, British and US occupying forces stripped the Grimms' books from all of Germany's schools and libraries and shipped them to libraries elsewhere.  This was done because the Allies felt that those tales had desensitized the German public and thus bore a grave responsibility for Nazi horrors (see Bottigheimer, op.cit.).

With so many other pressing matters, it still amazes me to think of occupying forces being detailed to go out and confiscate fairy tales!  I can't imagine that the field of military history has anything else even remotely resembling that.  It indicates the immense power given, rightly or wrongly, to the influence of often violent stories upon a general populace, especially in the formative years of its young....

http://www.paxchristiusa.org//pages/125.htm
When we have wars, it's our youth who fight them.  We steal their innocence and teach them violence from a very young age.  From a great many choices on the Pax Christi site (see below), this one caught my eye: "US Culture Fosters Message that Violence is Child's Play."   It is an eloquent, hard hitting essay spawned by the Columbine massacre:
 ...What happens to our children's souls and psyches, we must ask, when they wrap their hands around toy guns attached to video games and "kill" in order to win? Violence becomes child's play, and our children become desensitized to the tragic consequences of violence.
     World leaders reinforce the concept that "violence wins." In his comments to the people of Littleton, President Clinton stressed the importance of teaching children to resolve conflicts without violence and anger. However, this message came from the same president who authorized U.S. participation in NATO bombardments of Serbia and prior bombings of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Sudan. Violence is a standard component of U.S. foreign policy....
http://www.cnn.com/2000/fyi/teachers.tools/10/19/ask.expert.trampiets5/
Still on the subject of children and youthful violence, "Does violent media cause children to become violent?" is a brief but well done October 2000 CNN report by Fran Trampiets of the University of Dayton.
http://www.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/children/07/26/children.violence.ap/
"Health Groups directly link media to child violence" is the title of another CNN report from July 2000:
...in one of the most definitive statements yet on violence in American culture, four national health associations link the violence in television, music, video games and movies to increasing violence among children.

"Its effects are measurable and long-lasting," the four groups say in a statement.  "Moreover, prolonged viewing of media violence can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life."

The joint statement by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry was to be the centerpiece of a public health summit Wednesday on entertainment violence....

The site includes excellent links to related CNN stories.
http://altreligion.miningco.com/religion/altreligion/library/weekly/aa042299.htm
For still more on youthful violence, check out "Why Blaming Gothic and Occult and Satanic Lifestyles is Not the Answer to School Violence..."  This is a thought-provoking essay from about.com's Alternate Religions guide, Tammy Todd:
...The media, and modern society in general, loves to blame horrible acts on fringe movements, such as Goths, Satanists and Pagans.  Very few like to address the more realistic causes of school shootings: alienation, ridicule and anger.  "I think it's a red herring," says  Dr. Fred Mathews, an expert on youth violence at Central Toronto Youth Services.  "The fact that they were goths, that's inconsequential to me"....

Finding Other Ways


Finding New Ways of Solving Conflicts
(Courtesy of Tradestone International)

http://www.amnestyusa.org/stoptorture/fast
This is Amnesty International's page on stopping torture worldwide.  If you sign up, as I did last year, you'll be sent e-mail alerts about people recently imprisoned and being subjected to torture.  Click on a link in the e-mail and you'll go to an already written letter (you can edit it to make it more personal) to the appropriate officials.  With another click, you join thousands of others worldwide who are deluging those officials and letting them know that we know what they're up to and that we're watching them.  In many cases, this gets fast action.  I get an e-mailed "alert" once every week or two, depending upon need.  I always send out a response that same day.  What I like is that within a few days Amnesty then informs us how things have turned out for those we've tried to help.

I highly recommend going to this site and signing up -- it takes very little time and has a huge impact.

http://www.paxchristiusa.org//
This is the website for Pax Christi USA, a Catholic organization working for non-violence:
...Pax Christi USA rejects war, preparations for war, and every form of violence and domination. It advocates primacy of conscience, economic and social justice, and respect for creation....
There is a rich collection of links to Pax Christi's views on a wide range of issues....also to their suggested solutions.
http://www.wagingpeace.org/home.html
This is the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, "waging peace in the nuclear age":
      We believe that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing each other, and that we can find ways to bring an end to warfare. W e are also committed to the abolition of all nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

      We believe that peace is more than the absence of war. It is a dynamic process that requires the active involvement of people like you and me. We call this active participation, "Waging Peace." You can wage peace by learning, by educating others, and by taking action.

      There is much to be done in Waging Peace. You'll find ideas for action throughout our web site....

David Paladin on Openness to Ever-changing Realities
[Added 25 February 2001]: This wise little page from Navajo shamanic artist, David Paladin, begins with a search for the causes of divisiveness among religions.  His conclusions are relevant to my own page because so many wars erupt out of that divisive religious turmoil (his page is also listed on my Spring Equinox and Common Themes' Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse pages).  Paladin looks at what it is that stops us from greater openness to one another as well as to the realm of mystery and creativity -- among other things, it's when we become too rigid and frozen in our religious myths.
http://www.levity.com/mavericks/gimbut.htm
Finally, we have to ask if we've always had wars?  For the most part, this is what we've been taught in the West.  The work of archaeomythologist, Marija Gimbutas, while controversial, nevertheless points toward a time when large-scale war was unknown in what she calls "Old Europe."  The above link takes you to a fascinating and thought-provoking  interview with Gimbutas from 3 October 1992.  Here's a portion of what she says on the warrior mentality of the invading Indo-Europeans:
Marija: The symbolic systems [of Old Europe and invaders from the steppes] are very different. All this reflects the social structure. The Indo-European social structure is patriarchal, patrilineal and the psyche is warrior. Every God is also a warrior. The three main Indo-European Gods are the God of the Shining Sky, the God of the Underworld and the Thunder God. The female goddesses are just brides, wives or maidens without any power, without any creativity. They're just there, they're beauties, they're Venuses, like the dawn or sun maiden....
It goes without saying that the reemergence of an awareness of the power and intelligence of indigenous and non-Indo-European goddesses plays a significant role in the lives of many speaking out against war and violence today.  These strong images of the creative feminine archetype, allied with the caring male archetype known as the Green Man, provide models for both genders of cooperation and common sense.

Although I personally am largely convinced by Gimbutas' evidence, whether or not her "Old Europe" lived by the ethical values she describes is, in the long run, far less important than the fact that today, we must transform our own world into such a society or face catastrophe.  In other words, what may or may not have been the reality back then, needs to be made the reality today.  If "Old Europe" couldn't manage it, we nevertheless have to....and surely the immensity of our creative imaginations can succeed in this if we can only face the urgency of making it so.  (For more on our role today, see below on Gwynne Dyer.)

SELECTED READINGS:

Although there are many fine works out there, I have two special favorites.  First, Simone Weil's long out-of-print pamphlet, The Iliad or the Poem of Force (Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill, 1956 -- available through interlibrary loan).  FYI: I have quotes from her work on my Kosovo-Serbian Invocation's Backgroundpage.

Second, Gwynne Dyer's War (Crown Publishers, 1985, based on the PBS television series -- the link goes to Amazon.com, where you'll find it's out of print, despite great online reviews).  Dyer points out that we humans have always had us versus them categories.  But to survive, the category of us has steadily expanded:

...Over the past fifteen or twenty thousand years we have successively widened this category from the original hunting-and-gathering band of a couple of hundred people to encompass larger and larger groups.  First it was the tribe of some thousands of people bound together by kinship and ritual ties; then the state, where we recognize our shared interests with millions of people whom we don't know and will never meet; and now, finally, the entire human race.

    There was nothing in the least idealistic or sentimental in any of the previous redefinitions.  They occurred because they were useful in advancing people's material interests and ensuring their survival. The same is self-evidently true for this final act of redefinition: we have reached a point where our moral imagination must expand again to embrace the whole of mankind, or else we will perish [263].

     Some generation of mankind was eventually bound to face the task of abolishing war, because civilization was bound to endow us sooner or later with the power to destroy ourselves.  We happen to be that generation, though we did not ask for the honor and do not feel ready for it.  There is nobody wiser who will take the responsibility and solve this problem for us.  We have to do it ourselves [265].

Those who are interested might also wish to try my unpublished 1992 dissertation, The Feminine in Zygote and Syzygy: Gender Studies in Violence, Drama, and the Sacred, available through University Microfilms International at (USA dialing): 1-800-521-0600.


OTHER RELEVANT
MYTHING LINKS PAGES

Eastern Europe:  Invocation for Peace in Kosovo and Serbia

Eastern Europe:  Kosovo-Serbian Invocation's Background

Western Europe:  The Burning Times

Western Europe: Arthurian Themes

Common Themes: Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse

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Menu of Common Themes, East & West:
Animal Guides
Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
Creation Myths I
Creation Myths II
Crones & Sages
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Earth Goddesses & Gods
Floods, Storms, Rainbows, & Other Weather Wonders
Food: Sacrality & Lore
Green Men
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Nature Spirits of the World
Rituals of Puberty
Sacred Theatre, Dance & Ritual
Shamanism
Sky Goddesses & Gods
Star Lore & Astrology
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Time(Calendars, Clocks, Natural Temporal Cycles, Attitudes toward Time, & Millennium Issues)
Trees & Plant Lore
Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
Wars, Weapons, and Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse
Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
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Text and layout copyright © 2001-2002 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.

Page created night of 5-6 February 2001; more work done 6-8 February 2001.
Launched 8 February 2001on the Hebrew feast of Tu B'Shvat, "Birthday of the Trees."
Latest Updates:
11 & 12 February 2001; 16 February 2001; 21 February 2001; 25 February 2001;
10 November 2001 (reloaded as opening image got lost in host-switch)
Memorial Day, 27 May 2002: minor formatting corrections + updated Nedstat.

With special thanks to my dear artist-friend, Sandra Stanton, whose grief over the current world situation catalyzed my own decision to do this page.  I always knew I'd have to do such a page one day, but I'd hoped to postpone it indefinitely.  I spent years writing a 700 page dissertation on war, violence, and sacred theatre -- it's painful to revisit these issues.  But, through Sandra, I knew it had to be done.

Hopefully, it'll touch my readers so that, together, we can still make changes, each in our own small, yet destined, ways.  What we call "evil" might more accurately be described as "damaged" -- damaged by our own vengeance, intolerance, and repression of the "other."  It's time to stop dehumanizing and slaying dragons, by whatever name.


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