NOVEMBER, 2004

 

 

 

Mythic Prelude:

Our Baby

As the moment is critical, we jump right in to here now the news. This month's UFC goes out early, as last month's did, so that it can help spread word about global meditations and actions of spiritual alignment before, and aimed at, the American election on Nov. 2.

As you know from the October UFC, the Full Moon of Oct. 27 - 28, with its lunar eclipse at the moment of a Grand Quintile, is extremely propitious for spiritual gatherings. And Sunday Oct. 31 will culminate a series of five consecutive global meditations coordinated by the Earth Rainbow Network, each anchored around a specific Meditation Focus that is circulated a few days before the 30-minute meditation on Sunday. And Nov. 1, traditionally the feast of All Hallows, is likely to be prayer vigil unlike anything we have ever seen, asking divine wisdom and guidance in the choice Americans make, and everyone else watches.

If you read a lot of e-mail material about the coming US presidential election, then you may have already seen a certain quote from 1778, about the perils of democracy, that has been circulating over the web more fervidly with each passing week. In the view of many readers, the words capture today's American situation with perfect precision. As cited by Sean Bonner and cast through cyberspace by Kevin Hughes' wonderful KevsNews, among others, the passage from Alexander Tyler's The Fall of the Athenian Republic goes like this:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, and from dependency back to bondage."

Amazingly perceptive and stunning words, right? How come we've never seen them until now? Why aren't they carved in Washington marblement somewhere near Jefferson's axiom about eternal vigilance being the price of liberty? Why wasn't an American mind as brilliant and penetrating as Alexander Tyler among the founding fathers of the republic? Could he be related to John Alexander Tyler, the 10th president of the United States?

The reason why we haven't heard of "Alexander Tyler" is that he didn't exist. He may in fact even be a recent fabrication. According to several researchers who have written about "Tyler," he is probably Alexander Fraser Tytler, better known as Lord Woodhouselee (1747 - 1813), the Scottish jurist, linguist, scientist and author who was one of the most acclaimed Renaissance men of his time, a master of so many fields of learning that he was named a "conjunct professor of universal history in the college of Edinburgh," according to Electric Scotland.

A longer version of this quote, in an investigative report by Mike Powell on the Urban Legends site, is stylistically suspect in its repetitiousness -- as concision is the essence of 18th-century style -- and in such modern American usages as "up until", and "due to" used to mean because of, a much later coinage of American advertising language, as in coughs due to colds. But then the briefer quote we started with is suspect too, as 18th-century English writers did not use "over," any more than they would have used "due to," to express causation. They would have written that democracy collapses because of or as a result of or from loose fiscal policy, not over it. Both quotes appear either to have been composed much later than 1778, or to have been altered with more modern idioms as they've been cited over the last 226 years.

The purpose of this little text explication -- and there are other jarring notes in the quote -- is not to analyze the style of Alexander Tytler, or whoever wrote these words, though it is gratifying to see that finally, after all these years, the author's Ph. D. in 18th-century English literature (Columbia, 1974) finds at last a practical application. It's never too late, folks!

Rather, the point of this brief word study is to emphasize that there are different versions of the quote because no one can find the page on which Tytler, or whoever, published these words. Mike Powell notes that the Library of Congress has no record of The Fall of the Athenian Republic, or any similar title by Tytler, and speculates that the quote may be from Tytler's Universal History or Elements of General History, which do exist. Repeated online searches of the quote's key words, by Powell and others, have not struck haggis yet. What will finally settle the Tytler question, it seems, is that someone will go to the University of Edinburgh library, comb through Tytler's works, and find the quote.

Or not. It may well turn out, most intriguingly and bafflingly, that what could be history's most succinct and eloquent theory on the fragility of democracy is not from 1778, but 1978, or later. Why would anyone who can see with such clarity and write with such force choose to attribute these words to another -- and a misspelled other at that -- instead of publishing such an incandescent insight as his or her own?

Perhaps the author couldn't break into print. Anyone who's ever tried to gain a name as a political columnist knows that this field may be the hardest to crack, and political opinion pieces are among the toughest cargo to move from mind into money, especially in the blinding hatestorm of today's American political discourse. For all we know, "Alexander Tyler" was made up by one of those people -- the author knew some in Hawaii -- who fear they are not famous enough to gain a hearing for what they want to say in their own voices, so they attempt to gain attention by claiming to channel Benjamin Franklin. Or perhaps the quotesmith is a lover of American liberty who wants to sound an alarm, and knows it has a better chance of being heard if it seems to come from one of the revolutionary patriots of 1778.

It is probably a good indication of our intellectual puff and posture at this moment, as the dawn of the Aquarian Age seems increasingly reflected in our fascination with surface and style over substance, that a lot more space has been devoted on the web -- and in a thousand words here -- to the source and motive of the "Tyler" quote than to its uncanny rightness in nailing the process of folly that has undone all the long-lasting republics in our history, and now seems to grease the slide toward dictatorship for the American republic as well.

The election prediction in last month's UFC holds: that the astrology of Nov. 2 does not indicate a radical departure from the status quo, or any earth-shaking change or upheaval. This may mean that Bush, all protection and blessing to him, will be re-elected. It may also mean that Kerry will win, but will be so stymied by his own native caution, and Republican majorities in both Congress and the Supreme Court, that he, and all protection and blessing to him too, may prove to be the Jimmy Carter of the new millennium. Kerry may well be borne into office on a wave of loathing for the regime he replaces, but be too detached from the grit and grab of the soil to trade hogs or horses well. He may be undermined in the end by the infinitely shrewd and slimy tricks of the billionaire elite -- Terminator and all, they'll be back! in 2008 -- and by his own inability to trust his people, and draw on their strength.

Kerry will likely win, and in more than just the squeaker forecast both by the honest polls like John Zogby's, and by crooked ones that are kept neck-and-neck because dishonest pollsters either want to make right wing causes look more popular than they really are, or because cliffhangers sell more papers and commercial minutes than laughers do. Bush may be exhausted. He is in his second Saturn return. This means that Saturn has now gone twice round the zodiac and returned to his position in Bush's natal chart, so that Bush, unlike his opponent, is likely to be a man of split intention now. Half of him wants to keep going with what he believes God wants him to do, and the other half, like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, wants the cup to pass from him.

Does the comparison of George Bush to Jesus make you uneasy, even indignant? Get used to it, because it's time for those who make claims to spiritual insight -- including this author -- to notice that there may be far more to this man than any of us can see. For all we know, he may have been the perfect choice, in some divine casting call too mysterious for any of us to fathom, for the role of the pied piper who awakens the best energies of his people by leading them into catastrophe, thereby forcing them to change their ways in order to save their country and their planet.

We know how human beings are, no matter how kind and upbeat we may be. We will not change as long as we believe that life generally goes well. We can get hints, pinches, kicks, even slaps and fractures, about how we had better start making some changes unless we want to suffer. But to evade one change, we invent a hundred excuses and denials. Religious missions trawl for souls in the pits and puddles, where people go when they don't respond to the shocks that Gurdjieff said we need to jolt ourselves out of mechanical routine and into awareness, and then jolt ourselves again to keep from slipping back. We will not change unless and until we're confronted with the stark choice of do something different, or die.

This is why the 2008 election is really the more important one, because by then the problems the US has created for itself, or denies it has, or simply will not make the effort to solve, will become more urgent. Even many of those who are most passionate about wanting to boot the current regime back to the Pecos have not yet begun to see, much less to accept, the changes of thought and intention that must be made if the double calamity of losing both economic health and constitutional liberty is to be averted. When John Edwards, who as a veteran trial lawyer was clever enough to beat a hundred corporate thieves and polluters, exclaims that "the war on terror is absolutely winnable," it is not probable that he, and millions who are like-minded with him, are ready to understand that there will be no victory over terror. There will not even be a truce with it as long as the US continues to seek and hold military and economic domination over other countries, and will not see the misery and despair it imposes on billions of lives across our planet. For the year's most eloquent insights on this, see "Do Turkeys Enjoy Thanksgiving?", the brilliant speech by Arundhati Roy at last January's World Social Forum in Bombay.

Those who speak and write about the likely events of the near future are now in the delicate position of wanting to emphasize the wonderful Aquarian outcomes that spiritually aligned people can bring about, while we continue to skirt, for at least a little longer, the coming changes that will compel us to wake up. Much as so many of us wish that the transformation could come about through the alignment of loving intention alone, there can be no doubt that for many Americans, self-created suffering that comes over the next few years will bring more changes than love and mercy will, until we create together the moment of liberation.

Are Americans condemned by "human nature" and "laws of history" to play out the fatal process of tyranny as "Alexander Tyler" saw it? Is the country already in or past the phase of apathy? Obviously it is, when in the last two national elections some 100 million eligible voters, about half the electorate, stayed home. While we naturally hesitate to slur the intelligence of such people -- when you call someone a fool, you will soon be back in school -- it is worth remembering that our word idiot comes from a Greek word that literally means an indifferent, uninvolved man who takes no part in public life. Is it likely that liberty and vitality will continue long in a country where each responsible citizen must carry an irresponsible idiot on his or her back?

Is America even in the dependency phase? Certainly, though the material dependency of public entitlement programs for the very rich as well as the poor, pork barrel projects that benefit special and even foreign interests, and an unstable house of cards economy, are not the main issue. When 46 million prescriptions for Prozac were written in the US during the first six months of 2004, and tens of millions of Americans cannot get by without their daily fix of rage on the radio and hate on TV, and a Newsweek poll opines that 93% of the people in America believe in Satan -- likely the only time that 93% of Americans have ever agreed on anything -- it is worth asking whether addictions to chemical comfort, violent emotions and religious fantasy are far more dangerous than any dependency on public money.

Are Americans doomed, then, to fall "back to bondage?" The percentage play says yes. Every constitutional republic in history has decayed into a dictatorship sooner or later. As Abraham Lincoln put it, there's no arguing with the arithmetic.

Or is there? What if the years between now and 2012 are offered to us by time and our own holy destiny as an opportunity to join together in creating something new? If the Aquarian scenarios of Morphic Resonance and Maya Cosmogenesis are valid, then it must be considered now that the constitutional freedom of the United States, and the spiritual liberation of the Earth, are inextricably related, and one will not happen without the other. It is possible that for all people who wish to bring about a new, collective awakening of sacred consciousness, the United States is not our scourge, our obstacle or our nightmare. It is our baby, our challenge and our mission, the hand we dealt ourselves before we came here. We may have no choice but to love the country and its people, and forgive them for they know not what they do, if we are all to ascend into freedom.

Nikita Khrushchev, in urging Soviet industrial workers to be more productive, said that even America must be surpassed. The intellectual wing of the Aquarian movement -- the author's own unruly indignation included and emphasized -- lapses easily into the judgment that even America must be enlightened. But there is no even in the dynamics of the heart. Unconditional love does not reckon degrees of deserving. It plays the scene full out, and seeks first to purify itself.

Let us vote, then. Let us love, let us deliver a healthy child, no matter how loud. There is only God, and there is only love. Keep Holding That Frequency.

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 Copyright 2004 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.