Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Questioning Scientific Materialism

I've been pulling ideas from my journals lately. This one is about what I consider to be the prevailing orthodoxy of our time.

February 21, 2008

There is a religious orthodoxy that is currently in power and as with other orthodoxies it intends to stay in power by controlling the way we think and believe. I call it Scientific Materialism.

Actually I believe it doesn’t follow its own rules about being objectively scientific. It has many core beliefs that are just that, beliefs. This orthodoxy has a powerful priestly class as well. They intend to stay in power.

They are against any kind of thinking that does not fall within their world view, although the elements of this world view were instigated by the fathers of this church, many of which would now be condemned by these people just as Jesus would likely be crucified all over again by the priestly class of the church that uses his name. Scientific Materialism has followed the path of all institutionalized religions. The inspired and creative geniuses who laid the foundation of this faith would probably be the first condemned in an inquisition.

All religions reach a place in which form and tradition becomes more important than the acquisition of new levels of knowledge. Although there are amazing developments in many scientific fields, the conceptual blue print must fall within the accepted beliefs and practices of the religion. Einstein said, "you cannot solve a problem within the system of the problem." This is the problem with Scientific Materialism and the basis of the decline of every other system. Although a system may be very complex and have a powerful effect within the area of its mentality, it is limited by that same mentality. That mentality may have been revolutionary and empowering at the point of its discovery but then it too becomes a system with limitations and taboos.

Science freed itself and the world of manipulation by fear of the unknown and those who promised to carry a higher truth. The irony is that Scientific Materialism is defended with the same tone of fear and close mindedness that is encountered in religious fundamentalism. Unfortunately universities are often the places where the faith is defended, rather than where consciousness is expanded beyond it’s present boundaries.

Another paradox is that for all the proclaimed need for objectivity in the pursuit of knowledge, it is emotion and loyalty to an ideal that prevails. The reactive fear provoked by any concept that lies outside the orthodox box has the same flavor as any other fundamentalist reaction. I suppose this kind of irrational, fear based reaction is an inevitable shadow side of those who elevate objectivity and pure reason to the highest level. It has a shadow side because it isn’t whole. The emotional loyalty and sense of control are under cover.

The fact that we are operating within the limits of our five senses and a physical brain inevitably makes it impossible to know all there is to know about the universe or even universes. It is amazing how far knowledge can go and yet we are always the part attempting to swallow the whole, and there is an absurdity in trying get our minds around their own source. And so there is always mystery and mystery, and mystery.

My Sacred Place, Or Is It?

Today I was browsing through an old journal. The issue is still alive. I felt pulled toward Sedona, Arizona because it felt right to make an energy path between Sedona and Taos. In truth is seems to have worked, at least on a personal level. Standing Deer and I have met some wonderful people in Cottonwood and Sedona and in the process have also refreshed our relationship with Taos. We have renewed old contacts and met new people here in Taos. I believe it is due to the principle of change. Whenever you change something in your life, everything in your life will be affected.

Here is the entry I'm referring to:

December 8, 2008

I’m aware of the change occurring over the years here in Taos. I feel out of the loop. I no longer know people who are interesting to me and that I feel on a compatico path with. The people who used to show up at my friend's inn may be around somewhere but I have no way of finding them. Then there were the people who dropped by the shop where I workeed intuitively guided to find someone such as Joe J. or Standing Deer, and I could direct them to our friend's Inn. There they would probably have a synchronistic spiritual experience.

Then there were the visitors from other countries such as England, Switzerland, Germany, and even Egypt. We almost took the magic for granted. But it stopped. Even the Taos Inn is bereft of interesting people lately. Very few local people go there anymore unless they just want to drink and listen to music. The coffee shops are no longer places to congregate and share. What happened to cause this draught? We are now covered over by skiers, tourists and real estate agents. The shops no longer have the local flavor. It is an environment that is taking on more of the homogeneous nature of modern cities. The essence is hidden. No one local goes to the plaza anymore unless they work there. I remember high schoolers hanging out there after school, and going to the coffee shops and even Michael’s Kitchen.

Some people didn’t like the teenagers to be there and thought it would scare off the tourists, but when you think about it, that’s what happened all over town. Now it isn’t so interesting for tourists. They don’t come here just to see each other. The Taos Inn is no longer the living room of Taos, although it still bills itself that way. There was probably a time when Taos peaked in its essence. That time was probably before my time but evidence of it was still easy to find.

I don’t think coffee shops are full of local artist and artist wannabes as they once were. There are business people and tourists mostly. Taos was very poor when I first arrived. There were no Land Rovers, Mercedes or hot sports cars. If there was a Lincoln or Cadillac it was probably from Texas. Taosenos drove beat up pick-ups and old cars. Many of them walked. There was no bus service here and not even in Santa Fe. However, for a long time it was possible to get the Denver Post every Sunday, and Indian Country Today could be found all over town. Taos was left, counter-culture but not truly hippie at that time. The hippies were getting old and they were more low-keyed. They had settled into Taosness so that they blended in with the Spanish and Indians. Yes there were many spiritual seekers and most people had a mystical bent but the yuppie flavor of well off Buddhism hadn’t yet arrived. That was more likely to be found in Boulder. Taos spirituality was earthier. People usually wore cowboy boots rather than Birkenstocks. It wasn’t unusual to see someone dressed like a mountain man, a fur trapper, or cowboy, and bootcuffs and concho belts were everyday attire.

At the time it suited me perfectly, or so I thought. Now I'm wondering if I'm just going through a natural change and don't see this place I've loved so long through the same lens.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Here are some insights I recently had about my personal experience of prayer:

Prayer is not about telling God what you want, or asking God how to solve a problem. Prayer is about aligning yourself with the direction and process of Creation. When we pray effectively we are allowing ourselves to be guided into a state of mind that is receptive to what is beyond our imagining and conditioning.

Whether you relate to God as a supernatural all knowing being, the unseen and unknown force of creation, or a mythic figure of human hope, you are still attempting to put yourself within the energy field of creation and renewal when you pray.

Examine carefully the personal relationship you have with your concept of the creator or generator of all that is. Are you still carrying baggage from long ago that inhibits you from aligning with a more inclusive power? Do you believe that God is a crutch for cowards afraid to face the realities of the lonely dilemma and intellectual challenges as humans? It doesn’t matter. It works just as well to tell the unknown all that you don’t believe in as well as what you do believe. Perhaps you were raised with a cozy, very personal God who has become too small to deal with the complexities of the planetary and interplanetary condition. I have found prayer to be as much an adventure into the unknown as it is a cry for help with situations beyond our control.

Remember that emotion drives all human decisions and actions even though it is sometimes disguised. Our motives and processes are driven by emotion, so it is emotion that we use in prayer. It is not desperate emotion or fear driven emotion necessarily that is effective in prayer, however, but the emotion driving commitment and courage. It is the willingness to take a chance and move into an unknown state.

Meditation differs from prayer. Some folks believe that meditation is superior to prayer because it attempts to align us with the processes of higher consciousness and is not driven (hopefully) by egoistic motives and often prayer is. But I believe prayer puts what we learn in meditation and reflection into practical application in our lives. It gives us the opportunity to become co-creators of the reality we must live in. However, there is ultimately a crossover between meditation and prayer that is fuzzy and best left that way.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Beginning

This is my first post. I've been considering a blog for several weeks. While I've been journaling since I was 18 I have never made any writing public.

First I'll talk about the name I'm using for this blog: White Deer Song. For the past 18 years I have lived in Taos, New Mexico, and when I began painting again after a gap of 20 plus years, I often painted white deer. I had no idea at the time why I did this, but it was a strong compulsion. In fact my paintings seemed as if they were not coming from the same person who had painted before. The themes, colors and style were completely new and also a surprise. It was almost as if someone else had taken over my imagination and my hands. I have a deep interest in Native American cultures and all indigenous cultures and realized that white animals in species that are normally not white is the sign of a special spiritual quality conveyed by this animal. The reasons for the visit by these white deer is gradually unfolding.

When I was three years old, my family lived in Vallejo California. I remember two of our neighbors coming back from a hunting trip with two Whitetail Bucks. Along with several other local children I approached with curiosity about these two animals laying on the ground. As I approached the hair stood up on the back of my neck and a huge emotion coursed through my body. It was too large and intense for my small child's body to contain and I had to draw back. But I was so fascinated with the sight of these animals and their strange power that I kept trying to approach. Finally I ran away. The feeling was so intense that I felt that I would explode if I didn't get away. I was aware even at that time that the emotion that drove me away was not fear but something much deeper.

My family moved back to Denver, Colorado when I was three and a half. For several years, I was not able to enter a building where deer or elk heads were mounted. Although I was an obedient child in most ways, I had an absolute prohibition against entering such a place and no one could make me do so. I would have resisted with every power I had. My parents who were normally intolerant of my childhood whims and reactions respected this taboo until I eventually grew out of it.

Looking back, I suspect that I didn't so much grow out of the taboo as learn to repress it in order to avoid the social problems that went with it. In those days, Denver was still a cow town and there were lots of hunters who displayed trophies on their walls. A number of them were family members.

If I had been raised in an indigenous culture I'm sure that my people would have recognized that I had some spiritual connection with deer medicine. But we were desensitized to all such signs as much as possible. Although I never fit into the culture (if this is what it was) I was born into there is no doubt that it seriously interfered with all of my natural sensitivities, relationships and powers. I am still working on recovering what was lost and probably will for the rest of my stay in this incarnation.

I will be adding to this subject in the future.