Wednesday, November 30, 2016

the earth path

A crucial part of the Earth Path involves waking up to the presence of living nature in your own life.Many people in the modern industrial world go through life with their bodies surrounded by a cocoon of technology and their minds flooded with perpetual chatter from the media. Living and working in climate-controlled buildings,with artificial lighting to see by,commercial music to hear,synthetic scents to smell, chemically flavored foods to taste, and a completely manufactured environment to touch, it’s no wonder so many modern people are deluded into thinking of nature as an unnecessary luxury, and fail to notice that their glittering artificial world depends, moment by moment,on vast inputs of materials and energy wrenched from their places in the cycles of the living Earth. Psychologists have shown that many kinds of mental illness have a central factor in common.Despite the stereotype,mentally ill people don’t lose the ability to think clearly; psychotic delusions are often masterpieces of internally consistent deductive logic. The trouble comes because this elegant reasoning loses touch with anything outside itself.Deductions become delusions when they stop being tested against the way the world actually works. In the modern world,we face the same problem on a global scale. The artificial environment in which so many people spend all their time is entirely shaped by human minds, obeying rules unrelated to the way things work in the natural world.This distorts our thinking about countless issues. Since plumbing and garbage services take our waste out of sight,we lose track of the fact that waste never just “goes away”—it always ends up somewhere.Since money controls the flow of goods and services within our manufactured world, we lose track of the fact that all the money in the world won’t let us violate the laws of nature. It’s not going too far to say that we live inside a delusion turned real, a hallucinatory fantasy world frozen into material form. Yet the way out of the hallucination is as close as nature.

- from The Druidry Handbook, by John Michael Greer

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tumultuous Finale (Do You Remember the Falling)

Do you remember the falling?
Did you drift down like an Autumn leaf,
Or did you crash like a stone?
The unknown -  chiseled idol, disbelief.

Do remember the calling?
It hearkened to you when you craved.
A soft whisper became a scream,
You then dreamed - and rode the midnight wave

Do you remember the crawling,
When the sun exploded in the valley?
It reached in every crevice and pit.
Light 'n dark split - a Tumultuous Finale.

I remember the falling.
Scars left by the singe of tears.
Surreal hopes fell to the earth,
To the dirt - seeds of hope to rear.

I remember the calling.
I tried to escape it for so long.
Its shadow loomed over each step,
In each breath - I sang a defiant song.

I remember the crawling.
The winsome despair in that dust.
Resurrected in realization;
Continuation -  the divine wind gusts.

Let us face the appalling -
Together our spirits can dispel the wrath.
Let the flame of Love feast upon the dark;
Disembark - the crystal sea; stars make clear
our path.

by SRC

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Sundry Beacon

I stare into the night,
I see -
Billions of souls in flight;
A sea, the stars - a storm.

I meditate on a light,
I bleed  -
Uncongealed, the inner sight.
A seed, a dream - born.

Somewhere amidst illumination.
In a prism of flames, a guiding torch.
I followed a firefly of grace and comport.
Awakening, scorched by provocation,
An unparalleled force.
I become a sundry beacon, that sets alight the course.

Under the gazing sun
I read
The unwanted signs we shun,
Yet need, we cry - torn.

Amidst the herd we run,
So blind,
Or arrogant - undone.
The time? it flees - stillborn.

The giving of dead ground, lost destination.
A prison of games, that puts limits on all things.
A false idea as old as queens and kings.
Dictated reality, a blight of imagination.
Past 'n present form not a ring,
But a streak of  fuel - ignite, racing, exploding - beginning.
by SRC

Monday, July 25, 2016

Metaphysical Anarchism and Transendental-Deism: pt 1 Transendental-Deism

  Who plays the music of the spheres? How is the universe, though apparently in complete disorder, able to sustain a fragile globe such as our own?
   How have men become gods? We claim daily to have figured out the riddle of existence yet inevitably it seems we only open more doors, with more questions that lead us into an endless maze of equations and theories. How can we look into the night sky, in all of its ominous beauty and think that it is all an accident of chance? For me; I cannot.
   Just in the same manner I can't look at all that separates even the most intelligent and creative creature from humankind and think that there wasn't something, somewhere, somehow, that set a chasm in reality of an immeasurable distance between us and the animal kingdom. Sure I've heard "read this, read that" I have, and all of their theories sound nearly as incredible and unlikely as the idea of a First Thing or a Prime Mover in the Aristotelian sense.
   Now is the time that the questions that can't be answered pour in like a sheet of sarcastic and biased rain, as well as insinuations of anti-intelligentsia, as well as sublime and overt insults.
    If not by accident then how? If a first thing, then who? Far wiser and intelligent people have spent their entire lives trying to rent that concealing curtain of mystery. To me the hows, whys, and whos are really secondary and truly unanswerable in accordance to the flag bearer of truth known as science, that ever supposedly just, albeit at times, cold discerner of reality. Unfortunately for the acolytes of science a handful of truths evade their well meaning sight, for behind the supernaturally dictated veils the keys to these unknowns hide.
   Personally, for who else can I speak of with any authority, I'm just one soul, a single cosmonaut adrift in the temporal world trying to snatch tidbits of truth from the jaws of eternal doubt. I have burned much wax and chased many a rampant thought through the night as I grappled with schools of  mystery.
       Among these are traditional and nontraditional Protestantism and Catholicism as well as everything in, around or between. I've embraced both Theravada and Chan schools of Buddhism. I've remained both fascinated and baffled by the Taoist. I've studied both Shite and Sunni Islam and found I preferred the Sufis. Lastly, I've studied Jainism and Hinduism though, I readily admit, these would be the schools of thought that I am least versed. I have correlated this with a comprehensive understanding of 2500 years of human history, tempering all of it with the voice of reason from the  ancient Greek and Chinese philosophies, the medieval scholastic as well as a less then perfect study of the major thinkers from the Renaissance, Enlightenment and up into and through the 20th century.
  All of this I have digested and tried to formulate into a method of thought and communion that I have named Transcendental Deism.

     Transcendental-deism in itself is a phrase that always leaves perplexed looks on peoples face, being as it's a created phrase which could have a legion of meanings it's quite understandable. So what do I mean by Transcendental Deism? First of all we will start with what it isn't, then from there we will work our way back to what it is. From here on, for the most part, we will refer to it as TD.
   TD is not a self-standing set of dos and don'ts. It is not a set of rituals with functionaries. It is not a rigid set of formalities that the adherents must drag around like a ball and chain. Nor is it a group rules and regulations set in stone that stand ready to cut the cord of a poised bladed pendulum that's ever suspended over the person. TD doesn't necessarily have a place where the believers gather, have a set of scriptures nor does it, for the most part, seek acolytes. Though in each and everyone of the just mention cases can have a place in ones belief system if that is what it takes for the individual to enter communion between their spirit  and the great unknown that spans the universe. Each person must find their path on this unending road, through all of the twist and turns of doctrine, self-styled messiahs and the extraneous pursuit of weighty theologies.
  So what is TD?  TD is a quest, a journey, a companion to an intrepid wayfarer who wants to apply eternal reason to an illusion called reality: this reality, whether it is illusory or not, we still must play within a set of empirical rules as we sift through the concrete and often misguided precepts set down by our fellow humans as we try to define the material world.
   Through TD we take what we have been taught by our elders, filter it through both our natural reason and that which material and ecclesiastic philosophers teach, then, compare it to what other traditions teach, finally bringing it back around into our own lives and applying it in real life situations. Through this method, learning is applied to reality in a scientific way in which our experimental facility is the world. By this technique truth can find its way through the various realities we are shown; both external man-made falsehoods and our own internally induced disillusions.
   As always the question of morals and laws come up. Too often times I hear that moral are subjective and that morality is only something that is put upon us by the powers that be which, of course, has been shown through many ages to be true. The same is often said of good and evil. That good and evil are just a creation of culture and singularly play the  role of watchdog in controlling ideas to keep the ruled in a supine position. Again, without doubt this is true in many cases but I must ask you to pause for a moment and consider this; what subjectivity can be used when observing the destruction of the weak by the strong? What subjectivity can stand stoically by as the vulnerable are abused by those who hold power in whatever way. I contend that they cannot! One can rattle off a litany of examples that destroy this argument of subjective reality but I believe the point is sufficiently made.
    There is a flexibility to TD that takes the beliefs of what Arnold Toynbee called "the higher religions"and maximizes the key factors that drive our temporal existence. I am specifically leaving out particularities of the differing concepts and ideas that speak of creation, ritual, man-made law, the end of existence and finally; the afterlife. I'm leaving these items out so TD can focuses directly on what I believe to be considerably more important topics. These being the nature of the Creator or First Thing and most importantly, our interaction with our fellow travelers.
  The first topic, though much further from us in relation, as the the empirical is to the ephemeral, so distant and transcendental to us that we can barely speak of it, let alone truly know the nature of this First Thing. The writings of a myriad revelations reveal nothing in the concrete yet they prolifically revel in a multitude of the abstract and poetic. From what we can glean we know that the Prime Mover is gentle in its ominousness, kind in its ferociousness and is as beautiful as it is terrifying. In other words it is complete and whole in its relationship to all things in the illusory word of its divine construction. Its goodness and longing to create and sustain gives us the very life we breath.
    If the First Thing encompasses all that is then where does evil spring from? This is truly a complex question that i will dwell on at a later time. In this current essay I will touch on only a few thoughts.
     I do sincerely believe that their are polarizing forces at work in the cosmos. One has created all that is and is the source of all that lives and produces sentient and non-sentient energy and life. The other force exist only to corrupt, spoil and steal away the light from the universe. Is it a once subordinate being, a fallen angel if you will? Is it an anti-god that stands on even footing, battling in a constant struggle where neither force wins yet, for whatever reason, they shall fight until eternity implodes? Or is this other force the expunged and imperfect substance that once was part of the First Thing cast out of the main host like waste or pollutants leave the body. The truth is I don't know. I can only tell you that it exist and that we must battle it if we hope to become one with the First Thing. Again, I hope to address this more fully at a later time.
   The second area of supreme importance to our examination of TD is our relationships with each other. Virtually all of the faiths of world speak of treating your fellow persons as you would want to be treated. At this same time they also speak of how we are to treat those who, for whatever reason, are less fortunate than ourselves. We should cleanse ourselves of the most dangerous of anti-virtues, these being primarily greed, dominance and the well-spring for both of these - pride. If we can keep theses "demons" at bay the virtues that help us grow and flourish will sprout without hindrance inside of us and spread from person to person until we each achieve personal revelation, culminating in an enlightened, leaderless and egalitarian world.
  I also believe that our path to this destination is easiest reached by the belief system one is already brought up in. Why go searching far for what is actually near? I know many systems claim that there is no truth outside of their path, but I find this hard to believe in fact it sounds rather ridiculous. How would a creating entity of divine energies deprive eternity to a soul simply because they were brought up and lived on the other side of the world that was ignorant to the "one true way". So yes, you can say I believe that the final goal of the belief systems lead to the same place but, as I said, I believe it is easier and perhaps even proper for you to follow the path of your ancestors. Of course I readily admit that I may be wrong in this point but in the workings of my mind this sounds more than reasonable.

     In the beginning of what we can mentally conceive, an entity of divine energy dispensed of its own elements to create matter and energy.  To the beings of sentience it gave eternal moral reason. Eternal moral reason is what has created all that is good in humankind for without it, as we see more and more each day, we are reduced to little more than ravenous beast looking out only for our own directly related interests and grinding in the dirt all that isn't. This very same Eternal Reason that cries out inside the mind and spirit of us is the very same force that holds the universe together. This energy, this soul stuff, fills the spaces between molecules and keeps reality from discontinuing.
   This great mystery of the First Things is an enigma to humankind. Is it just a figment of the imagination. Is it a tool used by the the powers that be or, just maybe, is it a truth that lies behind what we see and consider to be reality? Apparently there is only one way to be sure of all of this and I'm not quiet ready to cross that threshold.
  Until then let us love one another like sisters and brothers and acknowledge without fear or shame that we are tiny in the grand scheme of things yet in our fragility there are greater forces at work and they can provide a shelter in the cosmic storms or drive us into an abyss.
by Steve Cebula

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Eternity Blinks

The eye of eternity,
What if it decides to blinks?
Will we forget who we are?
And be lost in the exploding supernova star?

On the edge, ever on the brink,
Going blank if Eternity Blinks.
Rifts in space, dark matter scared.
An anomaly that leaves reality in shards.
Traverse time and space on waves distinct.
Hence all that is dreamt becomes extinct

A mother is born to a child, the child grows to adulthood and becomes a mother.
Who meets another, who makes a bond; this time a father is born to a child.
Wrestling with wild fate, two children meet, a fleet encounter; the earth smiles, seeds planted.
The sapling sways, through storm and drought it grows; it reaches fruition, then suddenly - silence

The eye of eternity,
We give it a cute coy wink.
False piety cries to the stars,
Failing to notice how insignificant we are.

If you dare then stop and think,
What's the result if Eternity Blinks?
Temporal children of the vanguard,
Sullen and still is the once loud dialectical bard.
Close-minded control, we've been hoodwinked.
We forgot all the threads are interlinked.

We each create a false reality to survive being subjected to an artificial existence.
We feign resistance, then settle down into a cliche that we proclaim is unique,
We once searched, now we seek, with questions but the answers already lay within us.
Eternity Blinks, it must, don't fear, when stars burnout, it will warm us in a bright embrace.

The eye of eternity,
Swirling consciousness methinks.
A similar construct we are.
Of the same stuff as the planets, nebulas and stars.

A universe in each thought we think.
We sup of the void as Eternity Blinks.
We dance with angels whilst demons guard,
The gates of psychosis with egotistic disregard.
Cause, matter, in oblivion they sink,
In eternal form, cosmic rays we drink.
by SRC

Sunday, June 19, 2016


On distant planets in synchronicity,
In solidarity
Posited perfectly in a natural chaos

 Unadulterated animus, an anarchy
A sublime symmetry
The only hierarchy, the rapturous eons

There is a hope that's both near and far
Circling inner space and distant stars
So close, right there, it's within our grasp
Revelations abound and hearts aghast
Burden, weight, bludgeoning truth the blow
Earth turns, stars fall, the rushing river flows

Lonely forsaken rock, a cold universe
Reality in reverse
Love and hate they inverse, juxtaposed, consistently

Unmitigated flight, ever caught in conflict
Without harbor, Soul-drift
In tumultuous fits - are the sea, sky and space

The future is both a beacon and scar
Within it rest yesterday's avatar
A thought, a moment, an eternity
Sudden, fleet, instantaneously
A light so bright, now surprisingly dim
Creatures shudder at a creators whim - the end
                          by Steve Cebula       

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What Is the Cost of life?

What is the cost to live?
To swim in that bold exuberance everyday.
To live each moment with an unrelenting zeal.
What is the price of fire?

So much this dream has to give.
Running barefoot through the laughing flowers of May,
To live each hour with a joy that borders surreal.
The breath of life never tires.

So accustomed to the sounds and smells of this life,
Comforted in the predictability of happiness
We think these days last, the present tense as it is.
Years storm pass, to form brigades of sadness

But alas a pipe is heard,
Through a blighted valley, its tune is a payment due.
The things we've loved now slip from our eyes like tears.
In its place an emptiness.

There is no thought nor word,
That can bring solace, nor return what we once knew.
Our debt to life - finality, the loss of what is dear.
This is price of closeness - this is price of living.
                                                     by Steve Cebula

Sunday, May 1, 2016

connecting to the "i am"

Real. Everything is so real right now. I am experiencing moments in such full rounded emotion. Letting myself feel is the best decision I ever made. I tear up everyday. Because everyday is new. Beautiful, hard, painful, enchanting, new. Every moment has a new experience, new feeling to feel and I want to feel them. I am so excited for life. Life is now and now is me. All my reality is me. My truth, my moments, my thoughts. I am. I truly feel like I am tapping into a pool, a circle of existence in unison with all. The earth is here with me and I want to drag everyone I meet in too. This pool is the essence of existing and I am taking part. I am living now. Fully. Alive. The glory of God is man fully alive, I see it. I am in my full glory when I am fully alive. Wholly me. Truly feeling. 

The physical world feels like a clever, beautiful collaboration of icebergs. Everyone is taking, acting, feeling, being on such a small scale. It brings me true pain to see people operating solely in the physical. Oblivious to the mountains that lie beneath their actions. There is so much more. I am crying as I write this. Existence is so real. So true. So raw. So infathomably beautiful. There is so much life to take part in. I want it all. I want to be. And I am. 

- johanna b, april 12, 2016

The Grinder and the Fire-Pit

There is no freedom in what's displaced,
In exchange for this dangerous ride.
The cages we forged for generations.
The chains ever tighter as the years weep.

In soliloquy the fiery tongues talk.
Precariously you toe the cat-walk.
The flames tickle the tips of your vague hopes.
Melting inside cherry red plastic vaults.

The routine beckons, obedience, on time.
Your conditioned like a soldier day by day.
You prepare for your daily reassembling.
Becoming a number in the chain link.

The gears cry out for the unseen pieces.
Resist as you might, a pet on a leash.
Engine whines, you smell the sickening smoke.
Finally, surrender, you embrace the beast.

Look at your neighbors just humming go along.
They sing in unison with with your loved ones.
A conniving conveyor, deaf to whats ahead.
Mesmerized blinders filtering in smiles.

The machines of capital we feed with souls.
The Grinder and Fire-pit demand their toll.
Upon billows 'n plumes toiling spirits float.
Lost to anonymity the sad clouds roll.
                     by Steve Cebula, May Day 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Fist of the Dove

How do the meek stand against all the gold and guns?
How does the olive branch resist the evil flames?
Histories are replete - with the sound of marching feet
The cool shade of peace, cast by the immortal Dove's name 
We are the Fist of the Dove 
The warriors of the lamb
We the Dove's burning fist 
A crown of thorns I am 
The benevolent legion
That becomes a golden ram
Both fire and steel will fall
Before a roaring lamb

Why do we take the horrid road matching force with might?
We've lost faith in the piercing light that we once embraced
Does faith and strength retreat - darker the fears we meet?
A richer victory comes when destruction is displaced
Protecting power with law 
Vultures harangue the Dove
We bow to one statute
Our truth is Eternal Love
Woe the entourage of death
We fear not your iron glove
For this foe cannot conceive
The bright fist of the Dove

Violence will sow violence and blood will reap only blood
Power brings a whole plethora of ritual insecurities
Thus the cycle will repeat - Until mankind is obsolete
The revolution dies, polluted by impurities
The fallen have shown the way
Gentle is the Dove's fist
It's directed without hate
Faithful, it will seldom miss
We are the Fist of the Dove
Hear how they jeer and hiss
Closed minds, hearts and spirits
The required nails in my wrist
                                                           Dedicated to the heroes of non-violent resistance
                                                                                         by Steve Cebula

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why are the Great Called Great?

     by Steven R Cebula
  Jon Sugden in his definitive biography of the Shawnee chief and freedom fighter Tecumseh asked, rather imposingly I might add, a question  upon his reader. This question has often swirled around my mind when I read of the fanciful tales of conquerors of the past who have filled the pages of history with corpses. Paraphrasingly, he asked why are the carriers of naked aggression against their fellow man held up in such esteem, whilst those who have battled for a cause of justice are buried in the sands of history; especially when they are on the losing side of events? That old maxim rings ever true that the winner writes history, or perhaps in our age, the side with the more skilled spiders, who spin webs of propaganda and illusion.

   Tecumseh lived a life that by its very nature thrived upon violence. Born into a world of conflict he lived most of his life in the Ohio river valley during a time of great change and duress. As a young teen he witnessed the American revolution a conflict in which at the beginning, the Shawnee held split allegiances yet as time went on most of them ended up siding with the British. As a young warrior he and the Shawnee took up the tomahawk against the settlers of the newly forged American nation and Anthony Wayne's American Legion, fighting side by side with the Delaware and the Miami Native Americans tribes in the conflict for the Old Northwest Territory. Defeated, the native alliance had to sue for peace in a shameful one sided affair dictated by the US government. Before long, Tecumseh, who had now gathered a large and faithful following could no longer sit idly by as the Americans broke their agreements time and time again. He set up his own town, Prophetstown just west  of the Greenville treaty line in Indiana, gathering warriors from as far north as Wisconsin and as far south as Georgia. This hodgepodge of native warriors were held together souly by his will and that became dreadfully apparent in 1811. While Tecumseh was away, Prophetstown was attacked by the forces of future president William Henry Harrison. Defeated, this motley band melted away and thus securing (or at least they thought) the far western flank of the young United States. This was critical because the Americans themselves were poised to strike at Great Britain's Canada in what would be called the War of 1812.
   Returning home heartbroken and disgusted at the ruin that became of his dream, he immediately threw himself into the war effort of the British. He gathered the remnants of his warriors and swore allegiance to the King of England, leading the Native contingent of the army which was made up of natives, Canadian militia and a handful of British regulars. After several brilliant victories, the British commander Issac Brock died of sickness leaving the incompetent Henry Procter in charge. After the American naval captain Perry defeated the British on Lake Erie, the coalition was forced to retreat, eventually retreating into Canada to Moraviantown on the river Thames, where Tecumseh would give up the Ghost in a hopeless, lopsided battle in which he was stuck holding the rear flank as the British commander retreated. Procter would eventually be court marshaled after the war for "deficiency in energy in judgement."
   There is no need here to list the many depravities inflicted upon the native Americans in the genocide of their race. These things are well known yet somehow due to our programming we are always able to compartmentalize these events as "way back then" or "it was for a greater good" which, anyone with a critical mind can easily see that it is all relevant in the here and now and will remain so to those who are able to escape the box in which they were taught to think.
   Tecumseh fought this oppression with every fiber of his existence for no other reason than to find justice for his people. And yes his hands were covered in blood, literally, due to the nature of warfare at the time. It also wouldn't surprise me if there was "Innocent" blood on his hands at one time or another. But I ask is there a cause more worthy of fighting for than that of the existence of your people? Spilling blood is a great atrocity of mankind, one of our original sins if you will, but can you find a more just reason to take a life than to defend your hearth and kin?
   Take a moment and browse through almost any list of great men from times past. I assure you that a majority of those men, especially before the 20th century were warlords and or generals of one kind or another, whose claim to fame was conquest. In this list of names we see the likes of Alexander, Hannibal, Ceasar, Charlemagne, William, Henry and Napoleon just to name a few. If you examine the careers of these men, you see either raw aggression being carried out, or a flimsy pretense for starting a war of conquest. Without a doubt there are some men of war who have stood on the side of justice and repelled invasions or perhaps made a continent safe for posterity; these are not whom we are examining, instead this essay is to ask why these often times victorious aggressors are legends, while those on the opposite side are relegated to the footnotes of history.

    Out of the aforementioned names, let us examine the actions of several of them in chronological order. Alexander the Great, King of Macedon and Greater Greece inherited is father's kingdom while in his early twenties, He also inherited his father's desire to conquer the Persian Empire. Indeed the Empire to the East was the greatest and most splendid on that side of the world since the decline of Egypt. A natural hatred was embedded in the hearts of the Greeks towards the Persians due to several conflicts that stretched back well over a hundred years. This anger was channeled along with a pan-Greek propaganda machine to stir up support in Macedonian controlled Greece.
  On the other side of the board was Darius the Third, who gave little serious consideration towards Alexanders massing his army on his border; what could 40,000 Greeks do to an empire of millions?
Darius was soon proven wrong. After the defeat of his armies he came out personally to do battle with Alexander. Suffering several defeats he fled before Alexander, hoping to reorganize again but was slayed by some of his retinue who had hoped for a reward from the young king. Their reward was the end of a sword, for Alexander thought it dishonorable the low-handed way in which Darius was murdered.
    If the history books are true, then yes Alexander was an incredible leader. Not only was he a military genius who was usually vastly out-numbered by his opponents but was also a benevolent ruler who treated the conquered quite humanely. On top of that he was  a learned student of the philosophies and sciences, a true renaissance man of antiquity. But before we start to get caught up romanticizing the Lion of Macedon because of his unique combination of attributes, let us not forget that he invaded the Empire like a truculent child driven by the lust of greed and ambition. Let us not forget the blood-soaked fields that were left in his wake, the widowed and the fatherless who had to beg for bread while he was out on his glory reaping escapade. And what of Darius, was he not the injured party, suffering injustice at the hands of Alexander? Why can't we hold up his name as a hero who expended every resource in his empire to save it? Darius has often been looked at as a fumbling idiot but if the research is done without bias, you will see that he was simply outmatched in the art of war. Alexander's professional army was tenfold more organized and accustomed to working as a cohesive unit, as opposed to the Persians who resembled a feudal levy. The victors wrote this history as was the norm and they had little virtue left to share with an oriental despot.
   Hannibal Barca was born into the military caste of the Carthaginian realm. His father Hamilcar had carried the shame of suffering defeat to the Romans and the loss of Sicily in the first Punic War. Legend has it that as a child Hannibal swore on the alter of the Phoenician god Baal to wreak vengeance upon the people of Rome. In 210 BC He left Carthage with an army nearly 90,000 strong, gathering more warriors from the Iberians than the Celts as made his famous trek from Africa to Italy; crossing the alps on the way. Arriving in Italy with half the number he set out with, he won several decisive battles against the Romans, culminating in the battle of Canne where it is reported that his army, consisting of 40,000 souls, left 80,000 Romans dead on the field; effectively wiping out a generation of Roman citizens.
  At this point, one would think that it was all but over for the Romans, but for reasons still unknown Hannibal did not attack Rome, instead he made himself the defacto king of Southern Italy. Enter Fabio and Scipio later to be known as Africanus. Fabio was determined not to meet Hannibal in the field , instead he chose to out maneuver him with delaying tactics that would become proverbial. As the years passed, Hannibal seem to be content, ruling his kingdom in the Boot of Italy. About this time a young man who had worked his way through the ranks by the name of Scipio, brought forth the idea of taking the war away from Hannibal. In a massive flanking maneuver he started to take Carthaginian strongholds in Spain, eventually working his way into Africa. The oligarchy of Carthage had seen enough, they ordered Hannibal back to Africa to take out this threat to the home land! Of course Hannibal the faithful servant accommodated their wishes though its unclear how Hannibal actually departed the peninsula.
     Events would play out bringing it all to a head at the battle of Zama; a battle that Hannibal should have won. Scipio was determined not to make the mistakes of his successors and entered with a plan in which all variables were accounted for and won a decisive victory over the legendary Carthaginian. Subsequently, Carthage sued for peace, claiming they would hand over Hannibal as part of the treaty but he managed to slip through their grasp only to spend the rest of his days either fleeing or hiring himself out to the Hellenistic kingdoms to battle the Roman onslaught against history.
   It would stand to reason that Scipio, now called Africanus, would be the man to go down in history as the greater of the two. But if you ask many a man who Hannibal was they all know; if you say the name Pubuls Cornial Scipio Africanus you receive a blank look from them. It wasn't until the 20th century that the Englishman Lyndell Hart, famed strategist and writer, had given Scipio the credit he deserved in his seminal work "Greater Than Napoleon".
  How is it possible that the man who defeated the greatest generalissimo of his age is nigh forgotten not only by the common student but is also passed over but briefly in the history books? Of course in his time he was considered the savior of Rome but 2000 years later, he is but a whisper in the rustling pages.
    Most everyone is familiar with the name Julius Caesar and of how he won the three way civil war to become the first Emperor of Rome or, if you will, destroyed the Republic and replaced it with a dictatorship. Many also know, due to his own chronicle "The War in Gaul" of how he took his army beyond the edge of the known world, driving a gladis in the heart of the Celtic world. His greatest foe in all of this was the Gaelic King Vertagortex. Vertagortex had organized the Gaelic warlords to face the Romans but, unfortunately for them, they were only able to slow the juggernaut brought on by Caesar. Retreating with his army to the walled city of Alysee, Vertagortex waited for another 50,000 warriors to relive the siege and catch the Romans between the two armies. Out numbered two to one, Caesar consequently dug a line of staggered duel trenches to meet the two prong threat, defeating both armies and starving the city into submission.
   On paper this is without a doubt one the greatest victories ever. But one must consider though, that Caesar's men were well disciplined and battle tested legionaries with state of the art equipment, facing an enemy that were poorly armed and had the organization far worse than a militia call-up. The numbers really become irrelevant; think of shotguns versus assault rifles. What is more important to us is why was Caesar so deep into modern France in the first place? Was he there to secure the border of the Republic? I think not. He was there for little more than to secure a reputation in Rome and among the armies so he could ultimately be the most powerful man in the Republic. He saw that the senate was becoming a relic of the past, providing a future for someone with a glorious and powerful reputation to rule the teetering Republic.
   It's true that the Gauls were hardly the pacifistic type but to Caesar, they were little more than a testing ground for the grand struggle that was to come. And what of Vertagortex? Is this savage king a name held up with great utterance in the front of the classroom? Certainly not, why he rarely gets the credit he deserves for organizing the tribes which in that age was no mean task. No, sadly he was but another causality ground beneath the boot of those who have a love affair with the violently victorious.
 The year 1066 is a year that sticks in the heads of most who are born into the native English speaking world. This year marks the final successful invasion of England and would solidly determine both the linguistic and cultural destiny of Great Britain. The architect of this invasion was one William known as the Bastard (since changed to Conqueror, who wants to be founded by a bastard?) who invaded England on a bloated claim of  kingship. Most know the place-name of Hastings and even the name of the doomed and short reigned king Harold Godswine, but how many know the battle of Stamford Bridge and the infamous name of Harold Hardrada warlord King of Norway?
   Upon the death of Edward the Confessor, the great land-holders of Anglo-Saxon England convened and chose Harold to be their king. Though Edward's wishes were never fully known due to the fact that he had fallen into a coma, his election was felt to be as legitimate as it possibly could be. Of course in a time such as this there were always disenfranchised landowners who felt they were on the short end of things. One of these nobles sought help from the notorious Norwegian King Harold Hardrada, an adventurous viking warlord who was always looking for the fame of the  battle-song. Godswine, hearing of the ships arriving to the north, gathered his army and moved quickly, meeting the Norwegian and his rebellious allies.  After a viscous battle the Anglo-Saxon army was victorious, chasing Hardrada all the way back to his boats in a glorious defense of their homeland. But lo and behold, there was to be no rest for the newly garlanded king, for no sooner had he watched Hardrada flee he received word that the Normans fleet was amassing and would arriving straightaway.
   Less than two weeks after Stamford Bridge, the Anglo-Saxon shield-wall was arrayed in brave order against the the flower of Norman Calvary, who were unknowingly symbolizing the future of European warfare, where as Herald's army represented the past. Though outclassed by cutting edge technologies the Anglo-Saxon army held out for nine long hours, Harold's ranks were falling to the Normans, surely the embattled king saw his fate was mired where he stood. As the battle entered its final phase his position was closed in on and he perished to the clang of sword and shield.
   Within that hour the battle was over. The din of the birthing pangs of the England that we know echoed through the land and down the the distant dark tunnel to us in the present. This William once know sardonically as The Bastard; this warlord, little more than an enfiefed and wealthy brigand would see his name rewritten in the history books in the most ennobling way; as the Conqueror.  And what of Harold? Though it could not be said that Harold was a most righteous man, he was the rightfully coronated king of the realm. His trial of fighting two invading armies within the period of a week is often overlooked as a formality in the text, when in truth he had just defeated one of the most dangerous men of his times, then he had turned to face the most advanced weapons of his age who were packing more firepower bar none since Hannibal's elephants. Woe the wages of defeat are denigration and anonymity of valor, for when they identified the dead king's body, he was found with his sword in his hand surrounded by his liege men and his faithful brother. A forgotten yet noble demise.
    The list could go on and on, for every one of these alleged great men there is a foil who was fighting for a more noble cause. Charlemagne had Widukin, Henry had the Dauphin Louis and Napoleon had Wellington or Blucher (dependent upon whose history you read), yet the names of those who defended escape us and fall victim to time and selective remembrance, while the aggressors roll off  our tongues like sweet lullabies. This should be a fact that brings any conscientious person to a position of asking the very same question that I began this essay with. Why are the Great called Great? It is without a doubt that these men dared great undertaking and in most cases overcame unlikely odds, but rarely was it executed for the betterment of mankind. For the most part we see that these adventures were done for little more than personal glory. It is also true that many of these characters we spoke of today were men of artistic taste and in some cases actually set a renaissance and or a rebirth in culture. But we must ask; was it worth the price of watering the earth with blood? It is easy to look back with the hind site of a historian and say yes, the problem is that we have no other point of reference. We will never know what the Persians could have ultimately gave the western world, nor can we imagine an England based upon the books of Alfred instead of the swords of William, and we certianly can't imagine a Europe based upon Carthaginian Semetic culture instead a Latin and Greek Indo-European one!
   Ultimately as we try to answer the original interrogatives we must ask ourselves the difficult question, why we call these aggressors heroes? Is it, if you believe in such things, do to man's fallen or evil nature? Are we a mad beast in a Darwinian dystopia, where the strong will eat the weak? Is this the price of evolution? Is it a longing to fill our empty souls with romanticized stories of death and killing to make up for absence of ones own "greatness"; never satisfied with our own existence we must cling to this violent charade? Perhaps it is something far more diabolical and indigenous to the earthly realm. Perhaps these insipid tails of violence, painted in heroic pastels are but a method of conditioning us, preparing us for a life serving a vague notion of nationalism. A notion which places us at odds against those across any given border, perpetuating a fabricated myth of us versus them in which killing and taking from this other is a sense of duty.
    I fully understand the significance of the shifting structures brought on by these warlords of history but why are these acts of violence not condemned as we read them. Instead of reading Caesar's War in Gual or Einhards Charlamagne why don't our school children read Ang Su Kye Freedom from Fear or Martin Luther King Jr's Stride Towards Freedom? Instead of putting warlords on the pedestal of power such as Hannibal or Alexander, why not hold up those who have stood for peaceful resolutions like Havel or Gandhi? At the very least the personages of peace should be put on equal footing with those of warlike temper. Sadly these of the latter will always be given a secondary standing due to them not taking the easy way out; for the conditioned mind violence require far less mental effort than peace. In the formative years of a youthful mind shouldn't we be putting young people into the world that seek peace over violence? Perhaps part of this so called education is to drown those coming into there own self-realization, casting them into a society of hateful wickedness. Perhaps the systems of the world recognize the power of the dove and the olive branch, fearing that if we start a movement, a process that doesn't include violence, we will make too much sense to the the rest of the world; causing the subliminal and overt overlords of this world to loose their grip on the soul of humanity.
   Collectively and as individuals we each have to make choices for ourselves and for those that are in our care; either the young or the feeble. Shall we continue to go about this, business as usual and let the media, education systems and popular culture dictate to our children what it means to be a great human being. In my own life I raised two children, teaching them to critique the things that they are taught, and yet for convenience sake, to play the game within the parameters of the rules. Same with my friends and family, always stopping just short of getting on their nerves, yet always planting the questioning seeds of doubt. For if I plant it perhaps another will add water, and if chance and fate intervene another will come and nurture the growing thought and in the end liberate a mind that once had a stony shell.

   Occasionally the tides of history do work out in favor of those who battle on the side of justice; though most often posthumously. This is illustrated by the players involved in the life of Tecumseh. In the 20th century the great warchief has been transformed in to an epitome of valor; albeit in a doomed fashion. This Panther of the Night Sky has found his way into the lore as a hero to three modern nations. In the USA, a defender of the indigenous and a warrior against a federal government overstepping its legal reach. In Canada he is seen a s a national hero, defending dear Canada from the aggression of the yanks. Finally in England he is made out to be an exemplar of a loyal colonial ally. The war-chief had to pay lipservice to the king being an ever prudent and realistic man, knew that the English sovereign was his only ally against the Americans. What he actually felt about the English we will never know. As for the American side the drama, the only player whose name escaped the 19th century to be widely known was that of William Henry Harrison, who years later after his victory at Prophetstown was elected to the presidency of the United States. His claim to fame was that of being the shortest term in office due to taking the oath of office in a freezing downpour which left him ill and bedridden. His foolhardy pretense of manliness left him dead within several weeks.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Control as Violence

     by Steven R Cebula
     Ever since the age when humankind began building cities, control and oligarchy have raised their ugly and disdainful heads. Movement, commerce and even dreams began to be drawn through these conglomerates of power and control. The epoch changing event of the city-state could not exist without control of the populace. The two most important factors in this were control of the food supply, which required large scale agriculture due to the newly formed concentration of people and of course the tip of the blade.
         Up to this point in prehistory humans had existed in a semi-nomadic state, relying on hunting/gathering as well as mobile flocks of animals and seasonal small scale subsistence farming to exist. Living in groups of extended family and at times in small multi-family packs, these early humans looked to their elders or to the greatest hunters as natural leaders. This was seriously witnessed and recorded, although through a Eurocentric view, from the 18th century on through to the 20th. With the advent of the city-state there were new dynamics at play and whenever that is the case there are those who seek to gain profit and power from the masses. It's not hard to imagine one of these hunters or elders suddenly infected with the ideals of a demagogue, for forms of control surely existed when we were still little more than cognitive animals with a pack mentality. A slight push was all that was required to unleash the obsession of a power crazed madman.
    Ideals of control apparently emerge from the darker side of our nature. From the very beginning as early humans up to this day we use a measure of control over our offspring, though I like to think that this is out of nurturing instincts rather than power-play. The same must be said for rearing livestock, though ultimately destined for the palate, the shepherd needed to care for his wards with diligence and compassion for cruelly treated animals don't grow fat in traditional animal husbandry. Regardless of your stance on meat consumption, one must remember that this was not the age of the supermarket and vegan health food store. In times past humans did not have the luxury of being finicky when it came to their dinner.
     Many would envision that the first form of control as violence would stem from one group of men wanting to control another group of men's cave, or something along these lines. I suggest that the first form of control driven violence starts closer to home in the domestic situation. The problem first arrives when the male desires to control the female, female resists said control and man, in his brutish and primitive state can only find one answer to controlling the situation; violence!
     From this starting point humankind finds it easier and more convenient to use control through violence rather than compromise or allowing others to live without dominion. We begin to feel the need to control everything. Walls are placed around the cities to control who comes and goes, calling to mind the Spartans claim that walls are meant to keep the people in and not to protect those within. Henceforth the land becomes controlled by warlords who take the name of kings and begin to draw imaginary illogical lines across the earth, caging tongues and cultures that are different from their own, claiming a right of conquest they control these abstractions called borders. Men and weapons are placed upon them, tension mounts; more control is needed, more treasure, blood and labor is demanded of those under control. All of this, oftentimes under the pretense of protection from danger, this ignoble class of disillusioned men; the warlords liege men, now call themselves land-holding nobles. Hand and hand with this comes control of the mind, superstitions and tradition, cowing the governed into psychological submission, generation after generation blindly and ignorantly under the heel of a "leader". From time unmemorable, men have been told that God is with them as they entered the fray, did any of them wonder why the Creator would support their side and not that of the enemies; so deep is deception sown.
   As time erodes the fallacies of empire, they wither and are split in fractions of what they once were. Pockets of chaos and pockets of freedom in turn thrive then disintegrate. Eventually a new warlord gathers his retainers about him and they start the cycle anew. A piece of ground is taken and controlled, a flag pierced into the soft bosom of the earth. The dark gift of violence is control's reward. A fief grows into an Earldom, then into a Kingdom of another name, all along the people at the bottom, the true victims of control as violence, are the ones who suffer. The King declares his realm needs more land, he needs more control. He and his inner circle find reasons to hate the other across the border. Do they speak another tongue? Are they another religion? Regardless of truths his advisers will find a reason in a bed of lies to justify a war: simply to satisfy a lust for control. As this happens, the old truism is once again revealed and nodding heads agree "In wartime the greatest sufferers are the civilians". Separated by these fictitious barriers, humankind shivers in fear and trembles in hate toward the "other". From the highest mountain to the lowest cellar the deadly ideology of nationalism is birthed from an abyss.
    The primary reason for  Nationalism is that of control. It is true that it can have a unifying effect on the populace in times of extreme distress but most often times, even under these rare occasions, the system of nationalism or systems linked to it have caused the stress that the people are undergoing. In times past the "nation" was formed by a cultural or a linguistic group, with fluid borders and loosely governed. With the rise of nationalism and its ultimate form, the modern nation state, we still see the unnatural patterns of conquer, contain and control; but now we see it to the nth degree. We start to see standing armies internal, security forces and secret police in one form or another, each selectively put in place to maintain the sanctity of the halls of power.
   As humankind continues to grow intellectually, literacy is no longer the sole gift of the upper classes and there scribes. The dissemination of views with the printing press is also a weapon of thought unleashed upon the world. No longer are the oppressors and the conquerors the only ones who write histories: it now belongs to all. These two events caused great misery to the lords of land and capital. With this new paradigm, those who wish to control had to form new ideas to wage this battle.
    There comes a time when the direct route becomes too arduous a task, with very slim hopes of succeeding especially when people start to think for themselves. New methods of deception and division have been adapted to support the iron fist of controlled domination. One of the greatest of these adaptations I believe, is when you allow someone or a group of individuals the ability to choose; much like the method of electing our leaders in the United States. The representatives who are put forward by the two ruling parties are in fact two sides of the same coin. Sure they each have their standard rigmarole on one side or the other, conveniently putting themselves in an alleged diametrically opposed position with virtually no wiggle room for compromise. This conveniently brings division and as you know a house divided always falls.Two hundred years in the future historians will look back over the past forty years or so and determine that these two parties actually had more commonality than differences. This illusion of choice is a most deadly device of control.
    Another new method or rather a newly rediscovered method is largess. In the past, this was only shared between noble types as equals and to ensure loyalty to his retinue. Now in the age of mass-production and cheap labor from overseas, the populace is made to feel content and happy being vested with multiple goods that a mere hundred years ago only the rich could have afforded. The government, in collusion with the capitalistic hierarchy have pacified a large portion of the population of the first world. Even those just above the poverty line, known as the working poor, are granted access to these inexpensive goods, nearly guaranteeing their direct support of the current system. This technique of neo-largess goes even further when it begins to give handouts instead of a hand-up to the most unfortunate of our society, again bribing the population. In this situation, the people start to depend upon the powers that be. Soon they are some of the most ardent supporters of our puppeteers. Even the wildest beast knows not to bite the hand that feeds.    
      All does not need to be lost though. There will come a moment in time; a threshold, a place on a great empty plain that is the future, laying out two roads before us. We, humankind as a species, will have to make the most important step that we have since we first put on the yoke of subjucation; this weight that makes us stoop to the ground, returning to all fours like the beast. Will we continue to bear this burden, this lease, this illusion of freedom that has led us into bondage. This state of subjugation, this illuminated cage in which the few control a few more who pass the load unto us. Thousands of bitter years and the greedy beast is still not satisfied! Or will we, humanity, stand together and reject these chains, this control, this violence that is so subversive and silent that we barely even know it exists?  

Sunday, February 14, 2016


This just in! Empirical Dissent has just learned that presidential hopeful Donald Trump has made plans to jump-start the dreaded Street Judge program, also known as the Janus Directive.
   Formerly used exclusively in Mega-City, the Street Judge program will give officers the right to play judge, jury and executioner on the spot; forgoing any citizens Constitutional rights!
Stay tuned for more details.

The Divine Still

Once we ran through the wildest wet woods
And meandered across the mountain side
Once we drank from a life giving stream
We thanked earth and sky for the day and night

Lo, the heavens are smokey, sadden grey
The land alight with a horrendous flame
The ocean, it thirsts to drink from the sun
Appalled - the moon hides her face from the shame

Once we were happy with the wind's embrace
The sand beneath our feet was a comfort
Once we had wisdom, to give as we received
Once in communion with the stars and the caves

Mankind fell when we chose our own way
Status and symbol, we longed to attain
The future now, we can no longer run
An unpayable debt, our personal gain

Once we were free from a frightful kings fist
Invisible lines to separate man kind
We weren't weighed down by philosophies
Our pondered ideal? Nature's grace

Balance, harmony - we must find a way
Restless passion - be still we must tame
Artifice and nature must become one
Lest a barren rock be all that remain
Steven R. Cebula