Archive for symbol

Symbols, Part 8: Serpents

Posted in All, Health, Humor, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2010 by marushiadark

“If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes.” ~ Ross Perot.

That sentiment may be practical advice, but it serves to illustrate how serpents get a pretty bad rep, both in ancient and modern society.

A number of stories depict snakes as villainous, conniving, and evil.  Medusa and Grendel’s Mother are classic examples.  Indiana Jones can face down Nazis Occultists but is afraid of snakes.  Interpretations of passages from Genesis and Revelation equated the serpent with Satan.  We refer to liars as “snakes” and to fake remedies as “snake oil.”  And a cursory glance on Google will reveal a number of quotes about snakes (like the one above) in which the general advice is to kill them right away.

It would seem that most people throughout the ages don’t like snakes, nor do they take the time to educate themselves about snakes.

There is practical reason to be cautious of snakes, since a number of species are, in fact, poisonous.  But by and large, they are not something to fear.  Most of the top ten deadliest snakes are located in Australia, and then others such as the boa constrictor or the anaconda do not appear commonly in most people’s lives.  Snakes, like most animals, operate based on survival instinct.  They eat when they are hungry and attack when they feel threatened.  If you leave them be, even the deadly ones, you’ve nothing to worry about.  Snakes are deserving of our adoration and respect, like every other creature.

“I’m fascinated by the concept of snake-handling.  When you read about the Pentecostal snake-handlers, what strikes you most is their commitment.” ~ Lucinda Williams

The Pentecostal tradition of snake-handling comes from an interpretation of the ending of Mark 16.  The idea of snake-handling, in a Christian perspective, is most likely because of the association of snakes with Satan, and that to wield power over snakes is to overcome the power of the devil.

An interesting idea, except that it is believed by a number of scholars that the end of Mark 16 is, in fact, a later addition to the Gospel to make it more like The Gospel of Luke.

Still, the Pentecostals are not the first group to practice snake-handling.  Many people keep snakes as pets and we are all familiar with the late Steve Irwin and his famous handling of snakes and other deadly creatures.  Such traditions of snake handling go back many thousands of years, in fact.

“Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ ” ~ Genesis 3:4

Genesis 3:1 is the first appearance of the serpent in the Bible.  Here, it is depicted as “more cunning than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made.”  The word “cunning,” typically has a derogatory connotation associated with deceit.  However, it can also mean clever, skillful, sharp, or shrewd.  So the serpent was the most intelligent creature God had made up until that point.  Depending on which interpretation you choose to follow, this may or may not include man and angels.  Lucifer was allegedly the most intelligent being in existence next to God, but he was not a “beast of the field.”  Man also was not a “beast of the field,” but the serpent may have been smarter than man, since it convinced Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.

Either way, the serpent is very intelligent, but is it malicious?  Some people blame the serpent for costing us paradise.  Certainly the God of the Old Testament does, since he punishes the serpent by removing its limbs and making it subservient to man.

Others see the serpent as a savior, bestowing on mankind the gifts of knowledge and reason.  If anything, the Tree of Knowledge helped to enable our free will by making us more aware of our reality.  And although Adam and Eve did ultimately get cast out of Eden, it could be said that the serpent never really lied.  God said Adam and Eve would surely die if they ate the fruit.  But the fruit isn’t what killed them, and God still had a chance to change his mind if he wanted to.  So one could say it was God’s decision to cut them off from the Tree of Life that ultimately killed them.

Some people believe that the human race is either descended from, or is the creation of, serpent-like alien beings, equated with the Annunaki of Mesopotamian mythology.  Many of the Biblical stories derive from earlier Sumerian and Babylonian myths, of which the Annunaki are a part.  Certainly the “sons of god” from Genesis and the numerous references to “we” and “us” suggests a pantheon of beings, not just one alone, and the behavior of God in the Old Testament suggests he came to earth quite frequently.  Either way, if there is any truth to the serpent alien story, are they benevolent or malevolent?  Who’s to say?

In Jewish mythology, Lilith – the first wife of Adam – was created at the same time as Adam.  She is often depicted carrying a serpent or sometimes equated with the serpent of Genesis.  Lilith is viewed as different things by different people.

The two most prevalent interpretations are that she is either a woman who got a bad deal for being the first feminist, or a demonic seductress.  Quite an extreme, wouldn’t you say?

Lilith also appears in Babylonian mythology and is often equated with the owl, another creature related to wisdom.  The owl can see in the dark, meaning it has secret knowledge of things that the sun does not reveal.  The owl is also a nocturnal predator.  So again, are we to trust the creature or not?

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.”  ~ Matthew 10:16-17.

Martin Luther King was a minister before he became a civil rights leader.  In one of his sermons, he talks extensively about what Jesus meant by the above passage.  In his view, to be “wise as serpents” is a good thing and means to be tough of mind.  To think things through, to be logical, and self-determinant and to not just accept what so-called authorities tell us, but to instead think for ourselves and be our own judges, our own authorities.  Then, to be “harmless as doves,” is to be soft-hearted, compassionate, and kind.  To see our brothers as ourselves and to bring freedom to all.

The serpent ties these ideas together in another religious leader, Moses.

In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground.  It turns into a snake and Moses is very afraid.  But after working with God, he later uses this same power against the Egyptian priests to liberate his people from the tyrannical pharaoh.

Moses is not the only religious figure to be linked to a staff and snake, however.  In Greek mythology, Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing, and the son of Apollo (the sun god).  Asclepius is also associated with the 13th sign of the Zodiac: Ophiuchus, the symbol for which is a snake coiled around a rod.  This is the proper symbol for healing, as can be seen on the Emergency Medical Service’s Star of Life, the EMS being an organization that saves many lives.  Interestingly, the symbol chosen by medical institutions is the caduceus, which is a symbol of Hermes, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, gamblers, thieves, and liars.  That should tell you a lot, right there.

Also, I mentioned before that alternative remedies are often referred to as “snake oil.”  I wonder what would happen if it were one day discovered that snake oil actually cures cancer.  Think about that for a while.

All in all, snakes are complex creatures.  Perhaps the real truth is that snakes have two sides to them, like all of us: a dark side and a light side.  One side cold and calculating, the other bright and helpful.  One side seductive and deadly, the other side sensual and enlightening.

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Eye of the Beholder

Posted in All, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by marushiadark

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” ~ John Keats, poet.

I was sitting on my back porch today and I happened to look up at the clouds in a particular moment and noticed that they were exceptionally beautiful.  In my mind, I found myself saying how only God could make such a thing as that.

Now, I’m not what you would call a religious person, but just sitting there staring at the clouds was both deeply touching and deeply rewarding for me.  For a brief moment, I felt at one with everything around me.

I think the idea that only God could make something so beautiful is quite true.  After all, what mortal man, with all of his technology or artistic skill could make something as beautiful as a bona-fide sunset?  Certainly no one thus far.

There have been times where I’ve looked out upon nature and it all seemed almost artificial to me.  For instance, sometimes I’ll notice a slight curvature to the sky, as though I was under a giant dome.  Other times, when I’m high above the ground (especially in an airplane), I’ll look out and the world will appear more like a diorama than actual life.  Sometimes I’ll walk through the park and remember that the landscape there was arranged by man – ordered, tamed, unnatural, almost clinical, even.

And yet there are always those times where I look upon nature and feel the presence of God and life in everything around me that fills me with peace and joy and love.

“Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” ~ David Hume, philosopher

Many people of lesser mind use the argument of beauty as proof of God’s existence without truly understanding what they’re talking about.  Almost immediately after I made my remark about the clouds today, my mind took a dualistic position.  I reasoned that God didn’t have any effect on the clouds.  That it was just water in the atmosphere collecting to form a random pattern.  If there was any beauty involved, it was all in my own mind and not something objective outside myself.

I contemplated this argument for a minute and then realized that it was also true.  There wasn’t anything outside myself that made it particularly beautiful.  Beauty was an internal conception, something only a human mind could conceive of.  But that just goes to further prove that God had a hand in making what I saw.  For if God is in all of us, which he is, and if God is the observer looking out through our minds and bodies, and if our perceptions create a sense of beauty in the mind in reaction to some external stimulus; then through a transitive line of reasoning, it stands that God created the beautiful scene that I observed.

In my lecture on symbols, I talked about how symbols only have those meanings we apply to them.  Without that, they’re just a collection of random lines and shapes.  But it’s the creative and associate processes that take place in our minds that make these symbol something else.

What is a cloud but a randomization of water molecules in the air?  If we see shapes in the clouds, we are taking that raw material and creating something out of it.  It’s no different than an artisan taking a lump of clay and molding it into a shape conceived of in his mind, except that we’re not touching the vapor with our hands.  We’re crafting it solely (soul-ly) within ourselves.

“No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Beauty is something that has been analyzed for millenia.  The dictionary defines beauty as “the quality of a person or thing that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction, whether arising from the senses, meaning, pattern, spirit, or other.”

In layman’s terms, beauty is everything that you expect a thing to be.  If you see a beautiful sunset, it has every quality that you, personally, think a sunset ought to have.  It fully meets your expectations of a textbook sunset.  Likewise, a beautiful man or woman has all the qualities you are looking for.  If their personality matches your unique expectations, then that person has inner beauty as well.

Because each person has their own mind with their own thoughts, tastes, and preferences, their perception of what is beautiful and what isn’t will be inherently different from that of everyone else; unless said individual has been influenced by social trends and molded to think a certain way.  Remember, societies have minds too on a different level of consciousness.

Even putrid, disgusting, and malevolent things can be beautiful in their own right.  Ugly dolls , for instance.  Or pugs.  Many people adore pugs specifically for their ugliness.  Similarly, a crime that is said to be a “work of art,” such as a murder, has everything you’d expect from the perfect crime.

In traveling down I-95, going through Elizabeth, New Jersey, there is a certain chemical plant along the side of the road that spews steam and, quite possibly, pollutants into the air.  Yet at night, it is a sight to behold with all its lights.  It almost reminds me of that scene from The Matrix Revolutions where Neo is blind and yet everything he sees is made of light.  Even though he’s in the most hellish place on earth, he can’t help but be in amazed at the beauty all around him when viewed from a higher perspective.  Whenever I pass by that plant, I can’t help but gaze in awe myself and wonder how something so bad for the environment could, at the same time, be so beautiful.  Only something from within, the divine spark, could create that.

The ability to see beauty or ugliness around us depends upon what level of consciousness our mind is in at the time we observe a given event.  If we are on the dualistic level of lower consciousness, separated from God, we will see nothing but horror and strife.  Conversely, if we are resonating with love and oneness on a higher level of consciousness, then we will see beauty in all things.

The phenomena around us are simply random, neutral events.  What changes is our perception of them and the order and beauty and meaning we bring to them.  We’re the ones applying bias one way or the other, depending on the lenses we choose to see the world through.  We are the creators, creating our own universes.

Symbols, Part 6: The Solar Cross

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by marushiadark

“The best thing about the sun … it never tells me I’m unworthy.” ~ George Carlin

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, the time of year when the day is the same length as the night, and I can’t think of any more appropriate time of year (except maybe Christmas) to talk about the Solar Cross.  The solar cross is one of the oldest, most ubiquitous, and most universally recognized religious symbols in human history.  You’ve probably seen it all over the place without even recognizing it.  Simply stated, it is a circle with two lines through it that intersect in the center.

The Greek Cross, the Celtic Cross, the Latin Cross, the Swastika, the Chi Rho, the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the Egyptian Ankh, and a host of other symbols all derive from it.  It is also found in Central AmericaMesopotamia, North America, and many of other places.

In short, the solar cross is the symbol in most of the world’s religions.

Among other things, it is symbolic of the four directions, the four elements, the four root races, the four stages of life, the four humours, the four seasons, and so forth.  But perhaps most importantly, most commonly, and as its name suggests, it is a symbol of the sun.

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.” ~ Sitting Bull

The documentary film Zeitgeist, created by a man known only as Peter Joseph, is arguably the most popular viral video on the internet.  The first part of the video is based on the life’s work of researchers such as Jordan Maxwell and Acharya S.  It outlines very plainly the history and usage of the Solar Cross in various religions and cultures throughout the world.  Without wishing to completely rehash Zetigeist, the basic story is as follows:

The ancients believed the sun was the light of the world and the savior of mankind.  Every night, the sun would set into the underworld and rise again each morning to conquer the forces of darkness and “evil.”  At certain points throughout the year, it would undergo particular behaviors from the perspective of the earth, and these are the basis of many ancient myths.

For instance, on December 21, the Winter Solstice, the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky and the day is shortest while night is longest.  For the next three days, it would appear to not move at all before rising one degree higher in the sky on December 25.  To the ancients, this motion symbolized the death and rebirth of the sun and it is why Christ and many other religious figures have their date of birth on December 25.  The death and resurrection of the sun was not celebrated, however, until the Spring Equinox when the days began to become longer than the nights and light officially conquered the darkness.  The feast of Easter derives from the Feast of Ostara, the goddess of dawn, who was symbolized by rabbits and eggs.

Throughout the calendar year, the sun would pass through the twelve constellations of the Zodiac.  In Christianity, these are symbolized by the twelve apostles.  Da Vinci’s Last Supper depicts not only the twelve signs, but also Christ centered on the cross as the sun.  The number twelve appears throughout the bible for similar reasons, all being a reference to the zodiac.  The twelve apostles, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve prophets, the twelve kings, etc.  The twelve gods of Olympus, the twelve titans, and the twelve labors of Hercules are examples of the same, as used in Greco-Roman mythologies.

In the book of Revelation, chapter 4, verse 7, there is mention of several beings with the heads of a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man.  These are the symbols of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio (which was symbolized by an eagle before it was a scorpion), and Aquarius, respectively.  This imagery can also be found in occultism, such as on the Wheel of Fortune card in the tarot deck.

There is no shortage of parallels that can be drawn between the myths of majors religions, especially Christianity, and the motions of the sun as it travels through the heavens.  The Solar Cross, i.e. the Cross of the Zodiac, is a shorthand representation of this concept, which is really just an ancient pagan spiritual symbol.

Some of the earliest constructions of mankind reflect a worship of the sun.  For instance, it has recently been demonstrated by archeologists that the monoliths at Stonehenge were used as a solar shrine to mark the Winter Solstice and there is a sister site some miles away that marks the Summer Solstice as well.  The Egyptians, Mayans, and Aztecs are all well known for their worship of the sun also.  I could go on and on about this, but this is just an introduction.  The point is that, the more you begin to research into comparative religions and history, the more you begin to find sun worship everywhere.

Though its most common use is as a religious symbol, the Solar Cross is also used in a number of corporate logos as well.  Most notable are BWM, Alfa-Romeo, and Bayer.

Also keep in mind that there are many derivatives of the Solar Cross, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article.  For instance, the equal-armed cross is used prolifically in medicine, and in the logos of Chevrolet and the Red Cross.  The cross is used in national flags, such as the flag of Switzerland and many others.

The Cross of Lorraine, aka the double cross (play on words, much?), is used in the logos for BloodRayne, Holiday Inn, Nabisco, and Exxon-Mobile.  It’s also the symbol of the ruling party in V for Vendetta, with Chancellor Sutler being the dictator of a British police state.  The parallels between that and Nazi Germany, headed by Chancellor Adolf Hitler; or the Empire from Star Wars, headed by Chancellor Palpatine, should raise a number of alarming questions in your mind about just what sorts of people are using these symbols against us and why.

Symbols, Part 4: The All-Seeing Eye

Posted in All, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by marushiadark

“He who experiences the unity of life sees his own self in all beings, and all beings in his own self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.” ~ Buddha

Besides the pyramid, there is probably no better-known symbol amongst conspiracy theorists and their opponents than the all-seeing eye.  Among its names include the Eye of Ra, the Eye of Horus, the Wadjet, the Eye of God, the Eye of Providence, the Eye of the World, and many others.  It is seen prevalently in Egyptian and Buddhist art and, perhaps most notably, on the back of the one dollar bill.

But why is it there and what is the purpose of this symbol?  To understand that, we must understand a bit about the history of the symbol.

“The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ancient Egyptians worshiped the sun as a god.  To them, the sun was the giver of life, the creator, the one who revealed the truth, and the protector and savior of humanity.  In their art and literature, the sun was portrayed as the falcon, Horus, among others.  The right and left eyes of Horus were said to be reminiscent of the sun and moon.  In many other cultures as well, the sun and moon play a central role in mythology.  For instance, the Mesoamerican tale of the Hero Twins in the Popol Vuh is an allegory of these astral bodies, as are many Greco-Roman myths.  This is hardly surprising, given how important the sun and moon are to the systems of the natural world.

As we know, the circumpunct is a symbol of the sun.  The all-seeing eye is also a symbol of the sun.  Its different iterations derive from either the eye of the falcon (Horus), the circumpunct, and / or the vesica piscis.  Being a symbol of the sun, it represents many of the same things: power, divinity, wisdom, life, creation, enlightenment, goodness, etc.

The all-seeing eye is also symbolic of the Ajna Chakra (also called the third-eye chakra).  This is a point in the energy level of the body that sits roughly in the middle of your forehead and corresponds to the pineal gland of the endocrine system.  The Ajna is said to be the source of intuition and is what makes us aware of our connection to all things in the universe, as though we were a single root in a very big tree.

The all-seeing eye is a symbol of God, the almighty creator, and his ability to see and know all.  Unfortunately, like a great many symbols, the all-seeing eye has been hijacked for its ability to affect the psyche.

“Every messenger of Allah did warn his nation about the trials of the Dajjal … He will claim to be God and try to create doubts in your minds.  Have a firm belief, the one-eyed creature cannot be your Lord … He will claim to come with the gifts of paradise and arsenal of hell.” ~ Mohammad

Many people are familiar with the idea of the Antichrist.  Despite the fact that it’s never mentioned in Revelation, they often associate it with those events and believe that he rise of the Antichrist will precede the end of the world.

In Islam, there is a similar concept, known as the Dajjal, or great deceiver.  According to Mohammad, the Dajjal can easily be recognized by its one eye.  More specifically, its right eye (the moon, feminine, yin, compassion, submission) will be blinded and its left eye (the sun, masculine, yang, power, dominance) will be bulging.  This suggests a great deal of suffering and control that is not balanced or offset by anything.  In Revelation, we know that the Antichrist will bring war and famine and disease.  In Islam, the Dajjal will emerge in a time of falsehood, usury, corruption, and oppression to bring about more of the same.  The documentary Shadows in Motion explains a great deal about the history of the Dajjal, along with its true form.

It is important to note that, in both religions, the offending party is not just a single man or woman, but is in fact anyone who goes against truth, justice, love, and goodness.  To do harm to humanity is to serve the Dajjal, while to help your fellow man is to be on the side of goodness and light. In our modern world, the all-seeing eye has become a symbol of the forces that would seek to corrupt and destroy us for the pleasure and power of a few.

But the Antichrist / Dajjal isn’t just one, or even a few, specific people.  It’s not the President, the government, America, or money.  It is a cancer of society and the mind, and the idea that causes such persons and organizations to become corrupt and evil.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the all-seeing eye has become the banner of that idea.

The eye is most famously associated with the Illuminati – a name that has come to embody the collective forces of evil.  In Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, the shape of the oval is really meant to be the all-seeing eye.  It also appears in movies such as National Treasure and Tomb Raider.  Some other examples of its use are on the dollar bill, in Freemasonry, and logos of media groups like CBS, Lucas Arts, AOL, Time Warner Cable, and Nickelodeon.  It’s also used in Toyota, Lada, Big Brother, Information Awareness, the MI5 logo, Illuminati Online, Sagem, Endemol, and many others.  Frequently, it is used in companies responsible for the dissemination or safe-guarding of information, since the all-seeing eye is also the eye of truth that sees everything.  Those that don’t want you to know the truth can be identified, in part, by their one eye.

In both Islam and Christianity, it is believed that the Dajjal or Antichrist will be defeated with the return of Christ.  Just as the enemy is not one man, so too is the Christ not one man, but an idea.  The word “Christ” comes from Greek and means “the anointed one.”  It is not a name, but a title.  Anyone who is “baptized in fire” that is, open to and aware of the Spirit, i.e. their connection with God as a part of him, is anointed and thus is Christ.  So, in all practical terms, to defeat the forces of evil, you must become aware of who you are and stop subjugating yourself to the institutions that use these symbols and ideas against you.  You have your own all-seeing eye in the back of your head.  Start using it.

Symbols, Part 1: Introduction

Posted in All, Economics, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by marushiadark

“I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” ~ George Carlin

Chances are, the first things we think of when we think of symbols are logos and religious emblems.  All major corporations have their own specific form of branding with an enigmatic logo to identify them to the public.  Religions use symbols like crosses, stars, wheels, the sun, the earth, and a whole host of others as representations of their specific beliefs.  But these aren’t the only symbols.

A symbol is anything that stands for something else.  Every letter and number is a symbol and the words they comprise are just oral or written symbols for ideas.  A kiss can be a tactile symbol of love or betrayal, depending on its context.  Your own body is just a symbol for who you are, just like your signature or your avatar on a forum.  People (or more specifically their actions) can be symbols for specific ideals or modes of thought.  Certain buildings, banners, and flags are also symbols for the same.  Money can be a symbol of status and power or of greed and corruption, and its lack can be a symbol of either suffering or enlightenment.

Really anything can be a symbol, and symbols can be symbols of other symbols, even.  We are undoubtedly creators and users of symbols, all of us.  In fact, we are the only creatures on the planet that use them, and we use them for pretty much everything.

“Most people are unwilling to seek and create their own interpretations of these symbols.  Instead, they blindly submit to preconceived definitions and connotations given by sources unknown.  Because of this, many things have been predetermined in our understanding of life without our knowledge.” ~ The Esoteric Agenda

If I were to say the word “swastika” to you, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind?  Probably a Nazi banner or something else to do with Nazis or Nazism, right?  What if I said “red, white, and blue”?  Probably the American flag, if you’re an American, or something about patriotism and government if you’re from a nation whose flag is red, white, and blue, such as England, America, France, Australia, and many others (most of them use the same colors).  If I said “cross,” your first thought would probably be a Latin cross, with or without the image of Jesus’ body hanging from it.

That right there is proof that we are fixated on symbols that have predetermined definitions and connotations, and that we allow others to dictate for us what to think.  The swastika has its origins thousands of years before the Nazis ever existed, and it was largely a symbol of peace and power.  The cross has its origins thousands of years before Christianity ever arose.  And “red, white, and blue,” are just colors – frequencies of light waves.

Symbols have no meaning except what we give them, so why are our interpretations of these symbols so specific and so limited?  The only reason our thoughts would be so restricted is through deliberate social conditioning.  Symbols and their meanings are not something genetic, but rather they are learned and culturally specific.

Does that mean that everyone whose first thought when I said “swastika” was “Nazi” is a mind-slave?  No, not really.  It does if those are the only things you thought about, but those with more knowledge and awareness will not be limited to just one interpretation of such symbols.

To illustrate the difference, one of my teachers used the example of “gum” as a symbol.  A ditsy, bubble-gum chewing, Valley Girl cheerleader with no awareness or knowledge at all might only think of chewing gum; but someone else might think of chewing gum and think of other things, like a gum tree, gum arabic, or even gummy substances.  The point is that a person who’s not a mind-slave is in full control of their mind and is actively using it to make mental connections to as many things as possible, developing a neurological web instead of a linear, one-to-one association between symbol and idea.

When a corporation, religion, or government body creates a symbol, there is next to no leeway in what they want you to think with regards to that symbol.  Corporations want you to associate their company and their product with it.  They pay millions of dollars to develop logos that will hit deep psychological nerves in your subconscious and create nuerological links between those symbols and the desire for certain products.  Religions demand your focus and devotion to their symbols, which only serves to distract you from truly experiencing life the way it was meant to be lived.  This is why God made it a sin to worship such images.  And governments want your loyalty and your obedience and to keep you distracted with these symbols of pride and patriotism while they carry out large-scale violations against our rights, most-notably war.  In the pledge of allegiance, we’re told to pay homage to the flag and that burning a flag is illegal in many places, even though the flag is just a piece of cloth to which we add our own meaning.

Such symbols are most prolifically portrayed through the media, Hollywood, and through advertisements.  Many of them are variations of the same bastardizations of more spiritually enlightening icons: the sun, the moon, the all-seeing eye, the pentagram, the hexagram, the double-square, the cross, the pyramid, the torch, the eagle, the yin-yang, vesica piscis, skull and crossbones, and so on.  These symbols are not inherently good or bad, but are only good or bad in so far as the meanings and purposes we assign to them.  Look around sometime and see just how prolific these symbols really are.

Who Are You Really?

Posted in All, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by marushiadark

“You may be wondering who I am, or why I say this.  Sit down and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard.” ~ Prince of Persia

At this point, you may be wondering who I am.  Who the hell am I to be telling anyone anything?  What authority do I have?  Why call myself something evil-sounding like Marushia Dark?  Why name my blog something scary-sounding like “The Darkness Files”?  Why did I chose to begin my very first post with a quote by a nihilistic villain from a movie that many people dislike in comparison to its predecessor.

No doubt, you have a lot of questions about me and my intentions, but unless you know who you are first, you can never know me, let alone my intentions or behaviors.

Maybe some of you are even sitting there judging me right now for my arrogance (which is only in your mind, by the way), but how much do you actually know about me?  Next to nothing, really … unless you happen to know me in real life.  And even then, that’s probably not even the whole story.

“They look like me, but none of them are me.” ~ I, Robot

Just from what you’ve read so far, what can you really tell about me?  Am I male or female?  Am I black or am I white?  Am I Hispanic or Native American?  Am I straight or am I gay?  Could I be bisexual or asexual?  Am I even a human being?  Could I possibly be an alien or a computer program?  Could I be an angel or a demon?  Am I a good person or a bad person?  Am I wealthy or poor?  What color is my hair?  What color are my eyes?  What kind of car do I drive?  What foods do I eat? What country do I hail from?  Am I an Arab?  A Jew?  A Christian?  A Muslim?  A Buddhist?  Am I a dog-lover or a cat-lover?  What kind of clothes do I wear?

You can’t tell any of that stuff, can you?  All you see is my avatar – a symbol that represents me – be it a name or a picture or even my physical body.  But you don’t see or know the real me, do you?

For all you can tell, I could be the very sort of person that you love or the very sort of person that you hate.  Throughout this blog, you’ll continue to catch glimpses of my beliefs and my behaviors, my likes and my dislikes, but none of them are me.  They’re just things that describe me, but they don’t necessarily define me.  Only I can define me.

“I don’t see color.  People tell me I’m white and I believe them.” ~ Stephen Colbert

Do you know who you are?  I mean, do you really know?  Do you know all the ins and outs of what makes you you and not somebody else?  Did you come to conclude this yourself or is it something that someone else told you and you simply accepted it without questioning it first to see if it was really true?

You might say you are this, that, or the other thing.  You might say you’re a fireman or a nurse or a father or middle class or American, but these are all titles – things that describe you, but none of them are you.  Most of them were given to you by somebody else, including the name your parents gave you at birth.  Most people have never even stopped to ask themselves, “Am I Steve?  Am I Helen?  I don’t think that name suits me very much.  I like Jim or Denise better.  It has a better resonance with who I really am.”  Who says Jim can’t be a girl’s name or Denise a boy’s name, anyway?

It’s become almost a New Age cliche to ask the question: “Who am I?”  But it’s a very important question.  How quick we are to identify with things that merely describe us and how we forget who we really are.  Who we are and why we’re here sets the stage for everything we do in life.  Or rather, who we think we are and why we think we’re here is what actually sets that stage.  If we think of ourselves as a slave, we act in a slave-like mentality.  If we think of ourselves as a free man, then we act that way as well.  If we think of ourselves as poor, or rich, or healthy, or sickly, or whatever, then we tailor our actions and behaviors and attitudes towards that particular identity.  How we think of ourselves determines what actions we will take, what clothes we will wear (if any), what foods we will eat, what vehicle we will use, how we’ll wear our hair, who are friends will be, what beliefs we hold, and so forth.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King

Often times, we construct evaluations based on the titles that we use to describe ourselves.  We judge certain groups of people as good or bad based on an adjective, rather than an action, and this has caused a great many problems for our world.  How many times have you heard about one group of people killing a different group of people over some sort of generalization?

Perhaps the idea has special meaning to you.  Maybe you’re thinking of the relationship between white man and Native Americans.  Maybe you’re thinking of the Crusades or the conflict in the Middle East.  Maybe you’re thinking of modern examples of racial profiling or the division between the wealthy elite and the working poor.  Chances are, we can all think of an example.  Maybe you’re even guilty of doing it yourself?

Now stop and ask yourself, what is the real difference between these people?  Why do you hate them so much?  Is it because they did something to hurt someone else, or is it because of some title or description given to them?  Does that title reflect the full extent of who they are?  Probably not.

Consider how, in the recent history of America, it was popular to be racist against Irishmen and Germans.  Nowadays, I bet most people couldn’t even tell the difference.  They’d probably just see white guy, white guy, white guy.  And how many of us use the term “African American” for dark-skinned Puerto Ricans or black people in Europe, when the terms have nothing to do with them?  How great it would be to get to the point where we just start seeing human beings.  Or better still, to not even need to rely on physical descriptions to define who a person is.

Our society places great emphasis on diversity: we must acknowledge and call attention to the differences between us.  But I think that is a mistake.  Rather than calling attention to our differences, we should call attention to our similarities and those things that make us the same.  Appreciate and respect the differences that exist, certainly, but don’t dote on them, because life is much more than just one or two adjectives.

“Who are you really?” ~ Atreyu, to G’mork

Fortunately or unfortunately, I cannot tell you who you are.  Only you can know that.  You’ve known yourself your whole life; certainly longer, and in more detail, than I or anyone else could ever know you for.  For some of you, that may be twenty years.  For some of you, fifty.  For some, even longer than that.  If you don’t know who you are, then how can you know who anyone else is?

One way that I’ve learned to help figure out who I am is by keeping a personal journal and writing in it almost everyday.  It’s useful for solving whatever problems I may be having and I can say whatever I want in it without fear of repercussions because I’m the only one who ever has to know what I wrote.  A journal won’t judge you.  A journal won’t lie to you.  A journal is like a mirror, reflecting your true self.  If you lie to yourself, if you hide something from yourself, then your journal will reflect that right back at you.  If some part of your character is ugly, it will reflect that.  If some part of your character is beautiful, it will reflect that too.  Your journal is like your very own magic mirror gate from The Never Ending Story.  Whoever, whatever you are, if you write it down, you’ll be able to tell exactly what you really look like on the inside.

Just as with a regular mirror, if you work on yourself, your reflection will reflect that.  If you’re growing fatter or slimmer, taller or shorter, the mirror will show you what’s really going on.  In the same way, if you work on your own self-improvement, then your journal should reflect the change as well.

Another good way of figuring out who you are is through triangulating the relationships you have with other people and the ways in which they interact with you.  One or two people’s opinions might not matter, but if it comes from a lot of people that care about you and whom you trust to know you well, then chances are, it’s more accurate.  Unlike a journal, sometimes people lie or exaggerate the truth and we aren’t always so forthcoming with other people out of fear they might not understand us completely, but unlike a journal, you can establish an emotional connection with people to determine whether or not you like the sort of person that’s being reflected and how that person affects and influences those around you.

The eyes are the windows to the soul.  Just as you can’t see your own eyes without a mirror, so to do you require a mirror to see what your own soul looks like.  Like that Michael Jackson song, “Man in the Mirror,” says, we each need to take a good hard look at who we are in our own mirrors before we can begin to understand or improve ourselves and those around us.