Refractory Reflections on Metaphysics, Self-Awareness and the History of our Cosmos:  Perhaps a satire, but hopefully informative

Introduction:

For some reason, many people associate the term “metaphysics” with beliefs outside scientific norms, beliefs in magic or miracles or ghosts or religion, but in reality, the term applies to one of the four main branches of philosophy (those being metaphysics, epistemology, logic, and ethics).  Metaphysics is technically then, at least linguistically, the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality; i.e., the premises for the concepts of being, identity and change, of space and time, of cause and effect, necessity and possibility.  Interestingly, it also encompasses questions concerning the nature of consciousness and the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.

That then begs the question as to what philosophy is.  Given that most fully recognized doctoral degrees today purport to be doctorates of philosophy, “recognized” because they are purportedly research oriented as opposed to merely working doctoral degrees like law or medicine, etc., that makes the term “philosophy either all-encompassing or meaningless, or, as some philosophers who thrive on controversy and contradiction forcefully assert, both concurrently.  Interesting that if philosophy is purportedly a quest for truth, its four branches are so ethereal, so either overflowing or lacking in substance (or both concurrently) that obfuscation seems its primary value.

Logic seems an exercise valid only insofar as its premises are accurate.  It would seem logical to test logic by measuring its conclusions with empirical evidence, but when we do that and the conclusions don’t coincide with actuality, we tend to just torture the result into submission by blaming external factors, or just lying (the most popular current trend).  Logic could be a process through which we constantly refine premises so that they approach veracity, if we could bind ourselves to the quest for truth, a Holy Grail of sorts, but we have, as of yet, in most cases, been unable to attain that strong a discipline.

Ethics seems a great deal like aesthetics, its postulates being utterly subjective based on the preferences of the beholder.  It too has, to date, escaped the quest for truth, at most sometimes encompassing agreed upon common denominators as to appropriate behavior; what philosopher David Hume referred to as “conventions”, i.e., agreements among a defined segment of the population, possibly a vast majority thereof, to treat something as valid, because such postulate seems to work well enough to be relied on.  Unfortunately, many such postulates with respect to behavior are demonstrably illogical and rather than based on reason, are merely arbitrary impositions of authority through force (e.g., monogamous behavior, sovereignty, autonomy, purported democracy, liberty, rights, etc., honored at least as much in the breach as in their respect).

Epistemology is vague enough to be virtually objectively undefinable.  Subjectively, it involves the study of the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, the rationality of belief, and various related issues. It asks what constitutes knowledge (differentiating it from mere supposition and belief), and how knowledge can be obtained, tested and thus refined.  What roles do perception, reason, memory and testimony play in the attainment of information worthy of reliance, and conversely, what factors impair the reliability of perception, reason, memory and testimony.  And finally, assuming knowledge is distilled from belief, how it can be organized and structured to render it useful, but subject to limitants, including whether all justified beliefs must be derived (i.e., derived from justified foundational beliefs) or whether justification requires only a coherent set of beliefs.

Epistemology is subject to philosophical skepticism which questions whether it is possible to attain knowledge at all, positing that, at best, we may enjoy Hume’s conventions, …. for a time.  In fact, questioning whether knowledge exists or is merely a temporary phenomenon involving a mere subjective exercise in relative opinions has become very stylish through positing of seemingly unanswerable queries such as: “What do we know”; “What does it mean to say that we know something?”; “What makes justified beliefs justified?”; and, “How do we know that we know?”

So, …. given the foregoing context, is it any wonder that metaphysics is both misunderstood and confusing?  Still, notwithstanding the foregoing, let’s delve into the metaphysical juncture between religion, cosmogony and cosmology.  It could be fun, perhaps even informative, assuming information, in fact, exists.

Unbridled speculation concerning sentience

[Hmm, why does the foregoing make some of us (well, at least me, I was being optimistic) think of the number one-hundred-and-eleven, perhaps a sacred number of sorts.  At least in Middle Earth.[1]

Anyway …  a “convention”, perhaps the first convention, the primal premise:  Prior to the beginning there was naught, absolutely.  Except perhaps, for a speck.  A very heavy speck perhaps, a singularity, although that might have been quite a bit after the beginning, if there was, in fact, a beginning.  But what if there was a “something” (certainly not time, not yet) before the beginning when only “sentience” existed?

“Sentience”, an awkward term as used in this reflection as it presupposes both senses and something to sense.  For our purposes however, let’s define it as a term of art referencing self-awareness, or at least, consciousness of a sort, even when there is nothing, necessarily, of which to be conscious (not to imply that it is not operative in the presence of senses and things to sense).

The huge probability is that sentience evolved over a very long time after the beginning, when there existed enough interactive complexity to give rise to life, and then to sensory rather than reactive input, and then to self-awareness and finally, to cognizance.  We tend to believe that all of the foregoing are biological concepts (and carbon based biology at that), but Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist, author and avowed atheist (indeed, ironically, the purported “god of the atheists”) has expounded on a concept of potential non-biological intelligence that leads to interesting alternative hypotheses, hypotheses that “breathe new life” into purportedly “debunked” philosophies concerning group sentience and intelligence, prime examples being the postulates of philosophers Thomas Hobbes, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Immanuel Kant concerning the volitional realities of history and of the “state” as sort of living entities.

Dawkins inadvertently gave life to such philosophical hypotheses when he expounded on a hypotheses concerning fundamental (i.e., basic) units of information which he referred to as “memes”.  Dawkins asserted that memes mirrored the concept of biological “genes” by congregating into complex organisms: genes into diverse life forms and memes into what Dawkins referred to as memeplexes.  Memeplexes apparently have many, if not all, the attributes of biological life, using the minds, emotions, etc., of human beings as tools and carriers similarly to the way we use cells, organs, etc., to grow, evolve, mutate, propagate and operate.  According to Dawkins and now many others, examples of memeplexes include religions, political movements and philosophies, all of which are purportedly characterized by birth, growth, mutation and defensive reactions. 

As not all life appears to be self-aware, neither are memeplexes.  While self-awareness is a complex concept which remains unexplained, it has been hypothesized that self-awareness arises when a critical mass of interactive complexity develops.  For biological creatures, that is attained through neuronic interaction in the brain.  A basic observation is that we, as human beings, are normally self-aware, but that we are also composite living entities comprised of trillions of cells, also independent living structures (even if probably not self-aware entities) which act through preprogrammed reaction rather than volition. 

It is posited that perhaps such complexity can also be attained through other means.  For example, socially, though interaction among groups of humans, it being understood in sociology that group dynamics frequently result in actions in which individual members of a group would not engage.  Those observations have led some to draw the hypotheses that a similar process exists, not only among groups of humans operating through memeplexes, but perhaps, even through non-biological conglomerations, such ecosystems, planets, solar systems, galaxies, perhaps even a universe or the multiverse as well. 

Based on the foregoing, whether biological of non-biological, one would seemingly be justified in assuming that sentience was a post creation, evolutionary phenomena.  However, to a great many fellow members of our human species, when pitted against faith, facts are balderdash, and with faith, anything is possible, even levitation of mountains by individuals without the use of tools.  Thus, to them, no matter what the facts, theories or hypotheses claim, and no matter what the evidence, sentience was first, and eternal to boot, and omniscient, and ubiquitously omnipresent, and omnipotent and even, despite apparent empirical contradictions, omnibenevolent.

Sentience as Divinity

Sooo, … anyway, let’s play the latter’s game and assume, for argument’s sake, that notwithstanding the evidence or lack of evidence, there might, at one point before time, have been a single sentience.  A monist first cause, eternal in the sense that it preceded both time and space.  In that case, one could well assume that such single sentience would have been bored out of its gourd (had gourds then existed) and it would also seem to follow that boredom was the very first thing perceived by that sentience, the motive force, as it were, the inspiration for everything that followed.  And it would further seem that, after a period (not yet time because motion did not yet exist and motion seems essential to time), let’s call it eventually, more than one sentience would evolve (if there had ever been sentience at all).  After all, the miracle of sentience is much more improbable than is the probability that, should sentience have arisen, it would arise again, and thus become multiple and varied.  It would have been terribly boring otherwise.  If there was more than one, they could at least sense each other, thus not being condemned to only perceiving “to themselves” about nothing.

At any rate, assuming that sentience was first (as discussed above, an improbability), then, perhaps, it would be appropriate to consider such sentience equivalent to what some among us[2] have come to perceive as “divine” (no, not in the aesthetic sense, nor in the epistemological sense, but rather, in a popular variant of the “metaphysical” sense).  Consequently, for purposes of these reflections, it would seem appropriate to define such sentience as Divinity (capitalized, out of respect, just in case).  “The” Divinity, or at least the original Divinity.

Anyway (again, as promised), ….

Evolutionary Naught

“Nothing” is an interestingly existential concept in its absolute sense.  It can seemingly take two principal directions.  The first is somewhat obvious (albeit very boring): the absence of everything.  But the second option, why that’s something else entirely, both literally and figuratively.  It could, in fact, at least as a mathematical concept, and mathematical concepts frequently seem to pave the way for realities of sorts, be the inchoate sum total of everything possible in time, space and whatever we’ve yet to perceive (even quanta) if everything includes equivalent positive and negative aspects, not linearly (two dimensional), but omni directional in three or more dimensions, probably a spherical concept, without any edges or angles, and hence infinite.  I.e., the sum total of everything intangible as well as tangible which, it would be mathematically reasonable to assume, equal zero, and thus, naught.  Under the latter scenario, nothing would contain inchoate infinity, and should motion be somehow attained and time thus created, why it might well include eternity itself. 

Hmmm, sounds quite a bit like embryonic chaos.  Chaos, not in a negative sense implying disorder, but in the almost magical sense of infinite possibilities and thus, total uncertainty.  Seemingly a close relative to quanta.

Because for purposes of this part of this reflection we have posited Divinity as an assumption, then one should probably wonder as to the relationship between our aforementioned Divinity and the second sort of nothing, let’s capitalize it and call it “Naught”, and our speculative sort of epistle would then entail how they may have interacted to permit the existence of all that is, something we might perhaps refer to as either the “Big Bang” or “Creation”, depending on one’s attitude towards metaphysics.

At some point it appears that, possibly volitionally (as a result of a decision by Divinity), or perhaps merely accidentally, Naught was fractured, cleft, cracked, busted, no longer, … well, … nothing, and a minimalist singularity escaped (the “Great Escape”).  There are probably those, and it is not reasonable to just assume that they’re wrong, who believe that Naught came first, the singularity second and Divinity (if at all) came third, but that is not, apparently, a palatable version as far as Divinity (at least the Abrahamic version of Divinity) is concerned, although there are others (secular physicists and philosophers they’re called) who deny that Divinity exists at all, although they do admit to sentience and to the singularity[3].  A still third group, generic philosophers (as we initially explained), in the quest for what they define as truth, who will argue with anyone about anything, including whether or not what they seek exists, or can be defined, or is permanent, etc.  You get the point I think.

Anyway, it seems we’ll have to engage in something that David Hume, a philosopher who did not believe truth could be found, developed as a working substitute.  As indicated previously, Hume believed that because, in his opinion, first causes, to which he referred as “premises”, could never be proven, for convenience (there being no other option, unless, perhaps, one were the Divine and the Divine were omniscient) we would need to reach a working consensus, a sort of pragmatic, temporary substitute for truth, because such “consensus” seemed to work.  Hume referred to such working consensuses (as initially discussed towards the “beginning” of this apparently interminable reflection) as a “conventions”.[4]

For purposes of this epistle (as we’ve indicated on now several occasions[5]) we will assume that sentience somehow evolved into Divinity within Naught eternities prior to the Great Escape, and then, volitionally, by escaping from Naught, destroyed Naught’s prefect balance, converting Naught into an omnidimensional, omnidirectional singularity, which then eventually expanded into an infinite number of universes which we will, as a convention, refer to as the omniverse, a neo-platonic monist sort of concept comprised of a series of multiverses, each comprised of uncountable universes, etc., etc., etc.

[Because reflecting on an infinity of multiverses, or even just one multiverse would not only take a long time, and writing about it, a lot of paper, really, more time and paper than have ever existed, we’ll focus on one universe for the nonce, the one we inhabit.  One we’ll call “Cosmos”, as did the ancient Greeks (and today’s Russians).]

In the Beginning

We know turn to speculation of what our hypothetical Divinity might have witnessed, perhaps as possibly eventually shared with a few select individuals (long after individuals had evolved), no, not priests, or at least not priests as such, but mathematicians and physicists.

In the “Beginning”, hmmm, an interesting concept.  There is of course the version favored by faith imbued Abrahamics, and similar versions posited by diverse other mythologies (mythology in the broad sense which encompasses virtually all religions), but there is also, to all appearances, a version imbued with evidence which even Creationists (an Abrahamic religious phenomena) seem to accept, so for now, we’ll roll with that, at least, for purposes of this reflection, or perhaps epistle.

Sooo, ….

In this version of the “Beginning”, rather than just a six day endeavor (plus one day for sort of resting), a singularity burst forth from Naught in the form of  massive, unimaginable heat, heat in all probability never to be duplicated (interesting to speculate that an Abrahamic Hell may have preceded Heaven), plus four “forces”.  First out and thus eldest was gravity, then electromagnetism, then quantum flavourdynamics (which some call the weak force, a name it resents as pejorative) and then the nuclear force (which enjoys being referred to as the strong force, i.e., as it binds elemental particles together).  They introduced an era known to some and accepted by others, but by no means all, commonly referred to as “cosmic inflation”.  During the cosmic inflation era (epoch, eon, or whatever), the singularity is unwrapped, perhaps by Divinity, and its residue quickly expands (really quickly, we lack a concept reflecting enough speed to adequately describe how quickly) and begins to sort of cool, albeit with intermittent explosive events which, through gravity, perhaps attempting to recreate the initial singularity in an inverse process, heats a tiny bit of that which was cooled.  As the foregoing required motion, time, as a concept we sort of grasp (if perhaps not to the extent of understanding), was also born.  Time, born concurrently with the Great Escape, might have an interesting case to make insisting that it was first, but that seems a chicken versus egg conundrum, or would have, had there been chickens and eggs at the time in forms other than possibly inchoate.

Interestingly, although we do not personally recall it, all of the ingredients for the matter which currently comprises each and every one of us was present at the Beginning, thus, in a sense, we are all virtually the same age, the same age as our Cosmos.  Anyway ….

The Beginning!!!  Oh what a time it was!!!  Albeit very brief at first.  Yactoseconds were eternities then.  It was the era ruled by Planck-Time (no relation to Hammer Time).  During the initial second, only energy existed, energy comprised of neutrinos in thermal equilibrium with protons, neutrons and electrons, all maintained through weak force interaction.   The era that comprised a single second had no name at the time (at least that we know of, Divinity might have a different story to tell) but it has since come to be referred to indirectly as the “coupling era”; a suggestively interesting nomenclature. 

Eventually (a very short eventually, having taken but a second, but it was all the time that had ever existed, so perhaps it seemed long to the coupled neutrinos and protons, neutrons and electrons), the rate of the weak interaction became slower than the rate of initial expansion of the universe, or perhaps (it’s hard to remember after more than fourteen billion years), instead, the time scale for weak interactions became greater than the age of the universe at that time (there being no real difference), and the orgy quickly petered out (so to speak).  As a side note, the temperature of the Cosmos at the time of “decoupling” was approximately ten billion degrees Kelvin (very, very hot).  As a result of decoupling, neutrinos formed a cosmic neutrino background.  Primordial singularity remnants, which we, in or ignorance, call black holes (a name for which they do not care), may also have been formed during the first eternal second (hmmm, sounds oxymoronic, but it’s probably true).  Sort of progeny of the wild times.

Beginning towards the end of the first second composite subatomic particles emerged, including protons and neutrons, and then, after more and more eternities, at about two minutes after the Great Escape, nucleosynthesis (apparently a new and kinkier sort of mating) occurred and, about a quarter of the protons and all the neutrons fused into elements, initially hydrogen, then its heavier variant, hydrogen+ (also known as deuterium) apparently having swallowed a neutron (hmmm, why are there so many sexual analogies?).  The hydrogen and deuterium then started to mate like crazy, siring mainly primordial helium; i.e., a family comprised of an alpha particle (two protons and two neutrons) engulfed in an electron wave comprised of two electrons.  The next orgy then took place as the then ruling citizenry (hydrogen and helium atoms, protons, neutrinos and neutrons) engaged in constant and more complex coupling, generating more and more complex atoms. 

Divinity, perhaps looking on, perhaps not yet prudish, would seem to have been pleased.  The bit of havoc it wreaked was bearing fruit, … sort of.

The Joys of Plasmic Baths

Eternities and eons after the Great Escape, what we would call twenty minutes today (eternities and eons were much shorter back then), the Cosmos was no longer hot enough for nuclear fusion but far too hot for neutral atoms to exist or for photons to travel far.  It was then comprised of a miasma of energy and opaque plasma.  For us currently, as biological beings, plasma would be deadly, but sort of cool (in a non-thermatic sense).  It was comprised of an extremely hot and thick ionized substance, in composition, somewhere between gaseous and liquid.  For the Divine, it might have been a warm bath.  Indeed, while improbable to the extreme, it is not impossible that a form of life might have inhabited the primordial plasma realm, well, in the sense that nothing is demonstrably impossible.  After all, most of the matter in our Cosmos (ninety-nine point nine percent) is still plasma in the form of stars, etc., and we live in the Cosmos. 

Eventually, a tiny bit of the plasma (one tenth of one percent, oddly, the percent of current humans who rule the world) evolved into the other three states of matter (gas, liquid and solids), but eventually took quite a while.  Actually, about eighteen-thousand years.  But a tiny bit of the former plasma was still quite a lot, much more than even googols (as a number, not an autocratic internet platform) of the newer forms of matter.

A recombination epoch began at around 18,000 years after the Great Escape as electrons combined with helium nuclei (perhaps the first mixed marriages and the threat of assimilation was born) to form He+, an ionized form of helium (perhaps copying the initial experiment through which hydrogen swallowed a neutron to form deuterium), and, about 29,000 years later, as the universe cooled (relatively), matter (including, of course, plasma), rather than radiation, began to predominate.

At age 100,000, relative to the Great Escape, neutral helium atoms (without the +) formed giving birth to the first molecule, helium hydride. About 270,000 years later (370,000 years after the Great Escape), helium hydride and hydrogen concluded a long term affair as a result of which, molecular hydrogen was born and, for the first time, the Cosmos attained transparency, apparently an important accomplishment.  And stars started to form. Hmmm, “a star is born”, good name for a movie.

The relatively newly formed hydrogen and helium atoms, with traces of lithium, quickly attained their ground state (state of lowest energy) by parting from some of their photons (“photon decoupling”), some of which are still around (perhaps sad at having been rejected) as the cosmic microwave background, the oldest direct observation we currently have of our Cosmos.

Wow, it’s like a tele-novela (Spanish for soap opera), except, as best we know, there was no television at the time.  But the romance was palpable.

Evidently, Divinity had done enough for a while and it was time for lights out, and a nap.  Divinity, of course (assuming it exists), takes credit for everything that’s happened.  He, she, it or they were (assuming they exist) experimenting, playing, laying out and implementing a plan.  But the Cosmos was now able to coast on its own for a while.  A pretty long while really, about nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine million, six-hundred-and-thirty thousand years.  Give or take a few days.

The universe was transparent, comprised of plasma, energy, hydrogen and helium with a bit of lithium mixed in, and it was playing with the Elder (gravity), but slowly.  No stars or other sources of light existed and the original glow from the plasma had dissipated. That brilliant pale orange glow of decoupling photons and radio emissions released by hydrogen atoms had first shifted red and then after the first three million years, faded, thus, no visible light.  Perfect for naps.

One may wonder about dark matter and dark energy at the time, as well as antimatter, but, the volumes in which those chapters were kept have been mislaid, and thus unavailable right now.

Wow, talk about an “On the Seventh Day”!

Let there be Light!

Soooo, ….

Divinity may have been napping for a while but, between two hundred million and five hundred million years after the Great Escape, lights slowly started turning on as the earliest generations of stars and galaxies started to form and early large structures gradually emerged, all drawn to the foam-like dark matter filaments which had already begun to draw together throughout the Cosmos.  Details concerning size and duration[6] are apparently in those mislaid chapters as well (“mislaid”, yuck, … a sexual connotation gain, just a coincidence in terminology).[7] 

An article encaptioned “Chronology of the Universe” on which much of the foregoing and following is based describes early star formation as follows (almost a quote but slightly modified):

They [the stars] may have been between 100 and 300 times larger than the star we call Sol and non-metallic, and of relatively brief duration (after all, they were beta versions), flashes in the pan so to speak as rumors still circulating claim that they quickly consumed their fuel (hydrogen) and detonated “as highly energetic pair-instability supernovae”(I don’t know why the imagery keeps sounding so sexual, in this case, like very inexperienced pre-adolescent boys)”after mere millions of years”, but it may well be that less ambitious, smaller stars with more staying power are still around.  But even in the former case, the resulting super novae had a lasting impact as they “created” (hmmm, that may not be the correct word as Divinity likes to claim that prerogative for him, her, it or their selves) most of the everyday elements we see today, … including those of which we are comprised.

During that same period, high-energy photons from the earliest stars, dwarf galaxies and perhaps quasars led to a period of reionization that finished by about one billion years after the Great Escape, and then, the lights really finally started to turn back on.  Showtime!  The stars were much as they are today, except for being hotter, more dense (not intellectually, as far as we know), with more spiral and irregular galaxies and more interested in procreation.  Our current galaxies may, as far as we can tell (despite our relative myopia), tend to include far more giant elliptical galaxies, galaxy clusters and super galaxies.

The lights were on, but, and it’s a pretty big but (but, not butt, although perhaps that accidental analogy works), because of the constant acceleration of our universe, presumably, based on the hypotheses (described as a “law”, whatever that is) that neither more energy nor more matter can be created (or purportedly destroyed, just converted inter se)[8], the apparently constant and consistent acceleration and expansion of the boundaries of our Cosmos seemingly diminished the ability of gravity to decelerate them[9] while, concurrently but in contrast, on the dark side, dark energy (believed to be a constant scalar field throughout the visible universe) had and has been a constant factor tending to accelerate expansion[10].  Thus, again, “apparently” (everything we seem to know about physics always seems to be only apparently, as you may have noticed), the Cosmo’s expansion passed an inflection point about five or six billion years ago and it entered the modern “dark-energy-dominated era”.  Soooo, at least since then, expansion is now accelerating rather than decelerating. Cosmic sentience may know what’s going on, assuming it exists, but perhaps it doesn’t care, or perhaps, like us, it hasn’t noticed, being concerned with other things.  And with reference to “laws” of physics, you know how legislatures are.  Consistency is not their hallmark.

Anyway ….

“Notwithstanding the foregoing” (a sort of legal phrase that sometimes pinch hits for “anyway, ….  There are among us purported experts who believe they understand how our Cosmos will function for about eighty-six billion more years (and, unlike journalists, they may be right, although studies of quantic phenomena certainly keep stirring our perceptions of the Cosmic “pot”), but after that, hmmm, who knows.  At some time the “Stelliferous Era”, the era when celestial progeny has been looked on as favorable, stylish and productive, our current era, will end, and, sort of like is happening in many parts of Terra today where populations have become more jaded and more interested in individuality than in families, where they find gender a sort of optional fad preferring choice over biological legacy, star formation will begin to atrophy until no new stars are born.  Because it is anticipated that the Cosmos will continue to expand, that may mean that we will enter an age of hermits, less and less closely related, with less and less interstellar interaction.  And the observable Cosmos will become more and more limited to the local, perhaps eventually, depending on how quanta feels about this, perhaps our Cosmos will expand so much, that only isolated neutrinos and their cousins will remain, although black holes would seem a sort of wild card.

Hmmm, except for being massively larger, that would seem a lot like just before “the Beginning”.

And our friend, the universal sentience and its component families???   What we’ve hypothetically defined as “Divinity”?  Hmm, perhaps only the shadow knows.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.


[1] [Hmmm, a warm welcome to our first footnote.  Probably more to come.  This was just too long to include, as an interruption in the main text].  Anyway, … a caveat with respect to the terms “anyway”, “so” (usually elongated to “soooo” and “Mmmmm”.  They are terms that I will frequently use as sort of placeholders without real independent meaning, i.e., as “expletives” or “fillers”, although the term “expletive” also pertains, in a negative sense, to words or phrases charged with negative connotations.  Strange); … anyway ….  A further linguisti-grammatical caveat: I use series of “.”, not only to denote text missing in a quotation, but as long pauses.  I think that’s it … for now.

[2] Those who are not among “us of little faith”.

[3] As to which they seem to argue interminably, and along with secular mathematicians, argue about the nature of Naught.

[4] Of course, as is the case with language, that term has been distorted, mutated and changed and now also refers to gatherings of people with shared interests who need excuses to avoid normal “social” conventions and engage in behavior Divinity might find objectionable.  At least Divinity as perceived by some, a sort of very opinionated negative sort of totalitarian Divinity.

[5] It seems as though such arbitrary assumption sticks in someone’s craw and thus, has to be repeatedly reinforced.

[6] Anyway, … it sounds like something else, something prurient, but I assure you that was not so, or at least I’m pretty sure that was not so.  My primal matter, like yours, was there, but not yet sentient, … I don’t think.

[7] Hmmm, if we are going to postulate Abrahamic possibilities, then one might speculate on whether or not the deposed former archangel Hêl él had anything to do with dark matter.

[8] Perhaps because the concept of preservation of the matter-energy concept was so thoroughly violated at “the” Beginning, some busybodies decided that a law needed to be passed controlling the issue, but who was there at the time to legislate that law???  How would violations be punished?

[9] Hmmm, how might that impact that other gravity related law, that whatever goes up must go down.  I’m getting an image of a typical legislative body, corruption rampant, charged with legislating physical laws, and not doing such a great job.

[10] Sooo, black matter, black energy, what if rather than Hêl él to blame, it’s a reflection of Zoroastrian ethical dualism: Spenta Mainyu versus Angra Mainyu?

Magic and Miracles, a senryū of sorts in e minor flat

Sooooo, … on the nature of magic and miracles,

Seemingly metaphysical fraternal twins stamped on the same coin,

Albeit perhaps on different sides.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

The Revelations of John (an Exile in Patmos) Reconsidered ,… Sort of

Or perhaps, the “Reconsiderations of Bill or Guille” (an expatriate of sorts in Manizales)

Introduction

(The serious part)

The purported revelations of John of Patmos (really, an expatriate who fled to Patmos), a John who styled himself the Elder, the purported book of revelations written on or about the year 96 of the Common Era, seem, in their apocalyptic aspects, almost completely Zoroastrian.  A cartoonish culmination of the doctrine of ethical dualism.  Indeed, the version of Yešu[1] it envisions, denominated “Christ”, seems utterly different than the loving Jesus reflected in modern imagery, much more the messiah longed for by racist, ethnocentric Hebrews, to whom all others were inferiors, now, ironically, subsumed in fundamentalist Paulist Christianity[2].

Interestingly, old Johnny seemed most bothered by the sexual and dietary heresies of the Nicolaitans, followers of Nicholas the Deacon, a real apostle (unlike Saul, albeit as a replacement) and member of the Jerusalem Community.  As in today’s uber polarized world, relatively irrelevant issues were used to divide people who had much more in common than in conflict, the apparent goal (as it is today) being the elimination of any who held contrary views, regardless of how innocuous.  The Nicolaitans’ horrible heresy (according to their detractors, including John but strangely, not Saul), involved the belief that monogamy was not essential and that sharing those beloved with others was a positive, rather than a negative thing, true love promoting the joy and pleasure of the beloved, rather than restricting it; but also, the belief that it was not inappropriate to eat food (specifically meat), offered in sacrifice to idols if it had first been exorcised, … probably important when food was scarce.

John was not original in his revelations, primarily using imagery, threats and promises old before Yešu had purportedly incarnated.  Imagery, threats and promises made in writings such as the books of Daniel and Ezekiel in the Old Testament, 1 Esdras in the Apocrypha, the Book of Enoch in the Pseudepigrapha, the Assumption of Moses, and, portions of the Synoptic Gospels.  He merely placed them in a new, anti-Roman Imperial context, and directed them specifically against the Roman Emperor and those who followed him, especially followers of Yešu willing to compromise the beliefs Pauline Christianity required of them.  In essence, he was a plagiarist, but that was not looked down upon in antiquity.  Indeed, a popular literary device at the time was the antithesis of plagiarism, giving famous others credit for what one had written in order to enhance its impact.

Of course, all of the threats and promises reflected in John’s purported revelations were to take place while the Roman Empire continued to exist in its pagan version.  It’s hard to believe that they applied after the Roman Empire became Pauline, when it became Pauline Christians who engaged in persecution, torture and murder, as well as who placed restrictions on religious beliefs; actions such as those attributed by John to the Romans.  Hence, everything predicted should have taken place prior to the Emperor Constantine’s decrees in the year 331 of the Common Era, decrees which made Pauline Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. 

Through distorted rationalization (such as are common today in journalism) disassociated from the religious aspect of John’s purported revelations and focused exclusively on their political dimension, i.e., the existence of the Roman State, one could, albeit unconvincingly, argue that the promised (or threatened) events need only have occurred prior to the fall of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire in the year 1453 of the Common Era.  And if later, only if today’s Vatican State is seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire against which John railed can an argument be made that the prophecies of John’s purported revelations remain merely inchoate, rather than utter claptrap.

Interestingly, the sexual beliefs associated with Nicholas the Deacon seem to never have gone out of style and seem, at least since the 1960’s, to have emerged from the closet, as it were.  As to eating food sacrificed to idols, well, who knows?  Who can tell where today’s food has its origins, regardless of labeling laws, … except perhaps for Kosher food.

Summary of John’s Imagery

(The satirical part.  Accurate, but satire just the same.  Unavoidably so):

Yešu, in his role as the Pauline “Christ”, purportedly speaking from heaven to John, addresses messages to seven angels, each responsible for one of seven specific Pauline churches in Asia Minor.  One might ask why Yešu, in heaven, would need the assistance of John, to address his angels, but evidently the divine communication network was not functioning at the time.  So much for ubiquitous omnipresence.

With reference to the seven angels, one each had purportedly been assigned the role of guardian to Pauline churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Thyatira, Pergamum, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  Evidently, five of the angels were not doing such a great job at eliminating those who found the doctrines of the Nicolaitans reasonable.  Yešu seems especially miffed with the angel charged with guarding the Pauline church at Pergamum, where “Satan”[3] was purported to have his headquarters. 

Interesting. 

One wonders if Pergamum has been carefully searched in quest of a portal leading to the infernal regions.  For anyone interested, the site of Pergamum is located sixteen miles from the Aegean Sea on a lofty isolated hill on the northern side of the broad valley of the Bakır River, a site currently occupied by the modern town of Bergama, in the province of İzmir in Turkey.  One wonders if, as in the Colombian municipality of Rio Sucio, they have biannual carnivals dedicated to “the Devil”.

Following Yešu’s message to his angels, strangely, via John (as I’ve noted), he describes to John, evidently for transmittal to us, a message concerning seven seals (no, not the animals, just scrolls) on which is (or will be) purportedly written an account of events that “are about to take place” (the term “about” was evidently to be interpreted in a very broad manner, a manner to include any temporal period whatsoever; hmmm, a bit suspicious that).  But only Yešu is purportedly authorized to open the seals (no one else being worthy). 

There follows a bit of equine fantasy (I’m rather fond of horses myself) as the first four seals, if ever opened (John assures us they will, be, Yešu told him so) for some reason deal with horses.  Sigismund Schlomo Freud might have had something to say concerning that imagery, had it ever been brought to his attention.  Perhaps it was and perhaps he did.  Hmmm, on at least one occasion Freud did discuss equine fixations as follows: he interpreted horses, as a phobia (unfortunately he did not discuss them directly as a fixation), as symbolic of the father, and that fear that a horse would bite represented fear of castration as punishment for incestuous desires towards the mother, an expression of the Oedipus complex.  One might wonder what that tells us about John.  As far as I know, Yešu had no personal interaction with horses, only asses, although certain ranks of Roman soldiers in Palestine (where Yešu lived) did use them.  For the safety of my eternal soul then, I’ll limit my observations to John.

Anyway, again according to Yešu (via John), when Yešu opens the first seal, a white horse will appear whose rider will go forth to conquer. Other seals will then be opened, and three more horses: a red one, a black one, and a pale one, will appear in rapid succession.  According to analysts of John’s purported revelations, the four horses and their respective riders purportedly symbolize the conflicts that will mark the beginning of the final destruction of the Roman Empire (and have nothing to do with an Oedipal Complex, but, … who knows).

When the fifth seal is opened, the souls of those who have been waiting for the purported second coming, in duly respectful tones but obviously “verily” annoyed, will demand to know (respectfully of course), how much longer they have to wait until their suffering is avenged, but will be advised (one assumes by Yešu) that they still have a while to wait, and that their wait is likely to be unpleasant, but that if they are patient and faithful (it seems they were not merely souls, but living entities as well), they will be among the redeemed whose names are written in a “Book of Life”.  Evidently, such souls will never have been previously exposed to the revelations of John and will thus be ignorant of what is happening; apparently not being all that conscientious in complying with their Pauline educational obligations.

According to good old John, the scene then changes and we will embark on act two of his revelations.  One wonders if John’s production might not make a good video game.  Four angels representing the four winds of heaven will be told to hold back their winds (hmmm, flatulent angels) until “the servants of God have had seals placed on their foreheads”.  “Ouch”; one wonders if that will hurt.  It seems quite a bit like branding.  Then, apparently, notwithstanding the billions who have, since the dawn of the Common Era, attempted to comply with the usually incoherent, incomprehensible and contradictory instructions they keep receiving from the heirs of Paul (and presumably John) in Yešu’s name of course, all but a very few of them, 144,000 to be precise, will be sentenced to perdition.  As of the dawn of 2023, the world’s current population is approximately eight billion people, most of whom may have souls (although most politicians, lawyers, journalists and priests may not).  As of the dawn of 2023, it is estimated that 117 billion people have lived on Earth, the vast majority having lived following the start of the Common Era.  Assuming that Yešu decarnated (a neologism for when he abandoned his “carnate” form) approximately 1,990 years ago, as 2023 dawns, that means that, were the events “imagined” by John to occur today, an average of only about 72 people per year would have been “saved”.  One wonders at those stuck in Limbo, all the unbaptized infants, etc., what is to happen to them?  That means that fewer people will be “saved”, regardless of their piety, belief and conduct, than currently comprise the 0.01% who rule and own us.  What are the probabilities that such 0.01% have somehow cornered this market as well?  Hmm, they currently constitute about 800,000 people; that means that less than one in five of them will make the cut.  Interesting situation, at least for them.  For the rest of us, it’s apparently “Abandon All Hope”.

Anyway, according to Yešu (according to John), before Yešu opens the rest of the seals, another series of disasters will be heralded by seven angels, each one carrying a trumpet. One wonders if the seven angels are the same each time, or if they arrive in teams of seven.  The trumpets must be huge as they have massive destructive power when blown, although they perhaps are only indicia of coming calamities, Harbingers in Black, perhaps like those that the Latin American poet César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza wrote about in his poem, “Los Heraldos Negros”. 

Following the blowing of the trumpets, a massive earthquake will purportedly occur, turning rivers to blood.  The light of the sun and the moon will be extinguished and the stars will come unglued and fall to Earth.  Then things will really get bad, especially for any surviving persecutors of (one assumes) the 144,000 lucky ones.  Given all the schisms in Pauline Christianity since John’s day, where members of each Pauline denomination claim all others are to be condemned to Hell as heretics, certainly a form of persecution, it would seem that the most avidly religious may well be both among the punished and the vindicated, concurrently, which may explain the 144,000 number.

John, apparently paraphrasing Yešu, unless he has a really good memory, then maligns dragons, equating them with poor old confused Satan (remember the whole thing with Hêl él, Lucifer, and Sama’el; now they’re turned into a dragon, yeesh!!!).  But apparently, Satan and Marcus Cocceius Nerva, the Roman Emperor in the year 96 of the Common Era (when John purportedly wrote his “revelations”), are to be considered one and the same.  Poor Nerva; he did not reign long at all, just fifteen months, and he was a reformer of sorts, no Caligula or Nero.  But then, perhaps communication was slow back then and good old John thought that someone else was in charge.  However, one would assume that Yešu would have known better.  Perhaps poor John just misunderstood.  After all, it may be that Yešu was declaiming to John in Enoquiano, the mythical celestial language.  And there have never been all that many certified, or even qualified Enoquiano translators and interpreters, at least since the fall of that tower in Babel.

Anyway, ….

The “Dragon”, a-Satan (clearly a reference to Hêl él who rebelled in Heaven against YHWH and then purportedly schemed with Herod I, also known as Herod the Great, to do away with the infant Yešu) will somehow have been busy along with his retinue of angels (supposedly fully one third of the former Heavenly Host), challenging Yešu, YHWH and the Holy Spirit, purportedly working through poor Nerva (more probably his predecessors as Nerva was the first of the Five Good Emperors, or perhaps his successors, or perhaps the Papacy, or who knows who).  At any rate, “he” (whoever “he” is) will have been the one who will have been persecuting Yešu’s followers.  Hmmm, that “he” could be any leader of any purportedly Pauline church[4] since, based on the aforementioned thousands of Pauline schisms, almost all followers of Yešu will have been commended to condemnation in Hell and to damnation (assuming the two things are different) by other followers of Paul, given that they each consider all others blasphemous heretics.

Actually, the aforesaid “he” ought to be easy to recognize as, according to good old John (as told to him directly by Yešu), “he” will have seven heads and ten horns and will be somehow further identifiable by calculating his number, it should be “666” (although how our numbers are calculated remains a mystery); so be in the lookout for anyone fitting that description.

As the end finally draws near (again), again according to John as told directly by Yešu, or perhaps only by Yešu’s voice, three angels will appear (one wonders what will have happened to the other four, if indeed they are the same, or why the change in numbers if they are different; and whatever will have happened to the horses and their jockeys?).  One angel will announce that the hour of God’s judgment has come, the second one will yell that Babylon has fallen (which happened millennia ago so is no surprise) and the third will be doing his best to terrify anyone who’s been worshipping “the Beast” (probably the Dragon, you remember, our composite nemesis), all of whom are to then be thrown into a lake of fire where they will forever be destroyed. Hmmm, that seems a bit oxymoronic at best, poor phrasing, as destruction seems a final event rather than a process.  But then again, as you may recall, it may be that Yešu was declaiming to John in Enoquiano, hard for mortals to understand.

As if that’s not enough, with all the bad guys frying in a lake of fire (sounds sort of like something the Nazis were accused of doing), seven more angels will then appear (ahhh, the seven reunited perhaps), each one carrying a bowl filled with one of seven plagues as YHWH will be really wroth!!!!.  One wonders at the interaction of the fire in the humungous lake into which billions of bodies and souls are frying, with the plagues, which are to be as follows, almost as though they were a recipe: the first bowl will have some sort of agent generating “foul and evil sores” on the men who at the time bear the mark of the beast and who worship its image (does that mean women will be exempt, just asking, that will certainly please feminists); the second, will be poured into the sea (which sea is not clear), and will turn its waters into blood (which supposedly had already occurred to rivers somewhat earlier), but this time, killing everything there (assuming our pollution has not already done that).  Hmmm, it seems YHWH will become a mass polluter. Then, similar calamities, all different, will follow as each angel carelessly empties its bowl, without any thought for the consequences.

So, having destroyed everyone and everything except for the 144,000 lucky prize winners, Yešu will finally return, riding on clouds (hopefully not thoroughly polluted) and, amazingly, it appears that the fiery lake and plagues will not have been enough to destroy all the “wicked”, because more will be slain by the light Yešu’s coming generates (as though he were radioactive).  Apparently, concurrently with that event, the Dragon (a-Satan, etc.) will be bound underground for a thousand years and the Earth itself will be condemned to a thousand year period of desolation.  In the meantime, the 144,000 lucky righteous ones will have been flown to a celestial city where they can hang out with YHWH, Yešu, the Holly Spirit, and those angels who’d declined Hêl él’s invitation to rebel.

But that’s only for a single millennium.  Apparently, somehow, during that time, the remainder of the 117 billion will have recovered; revived so that they can be destroyed again.  Interesting to speculate as to when they will have died as their torment was to have been perpetual, what with the fiery lake, the plagues and all.

Anyway, according to John, as told to him by the voice of Yešu (one wonders if his voice is an entity in and of itself, which would seem to make the trinity a bit crowded), the celestial city will land on earth and someone or someones will engage in one more wars (which will probably make the 144,000 very happy, as, assuming they coincide with the current 0.01% who rule us, war seems to be their favorite pastime), and the wicked will be destroyed … again.  After which, the residue of humanity will live happily ever after, perpetually partying with YHWH, Yešu, the Holly Spirit, and those angels who’d declined Hêl él’s invitation to rebel, in the celestial city now on earth.  Given the slight population, it could be on a tiny Island somewhere in the Caribbean perhaps, perhaps near Eden, a new Jerusalem with streets of gold,  walls of jasper and gates of pearl (and what about windows?), in the midst of the good old River of Life, which will flow eternally from the throne of God, with neither sorrow nor crying allowed (or else), for God will wipe away all tears (one wonders, with no crying, from whence tears will appear), and there will be no more death.

One does wonder a bit what might happen to any of the happy denizens of the grounded celestial city, should they become a bit too independent; one wonders whether “free will” will be an aspect of that paradise; one wonders, … just asking, what would happen to any who might transgress.  You know, sing out of tune or harp off chord or something.  Perhaps wonder about dear old Nicholas the Deacon.

Anyway ….

Amen.

Concluding Observation

One wonders what happened after good old John sobered up.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.


[1] Yešu, commonly referred to as Jesus, or the Christ, or Joshua, or Yeshua, but the correct Aramaic variant (the name he might answer to) was Yešu.  He never, ever, ever answered to Christ.

[2] The adjective Paulist is added because Saul of Tarsus perverted the original teachings of Yešu, for his own purposes, in opposition to the religious movement that initially sought to promote the beliefs espoused by Yešu as promoted by Yešu’s brothers and apostles through an organization known as the Jerusalem Community.  He referred to his counter movement as Christianity and to Yešu as the “Christ”, a Greek term roughly analogous to messenger or messiah.  Saul, who renamed himself “Paul” for some reason, first tried to destroy the Jerusalem Community through legal and religious means within Judaism (including assassinations) but eventually found it much more profitable to coopt it, disassociating them from their Jewish origins by melding Jewish beliefs with Greek spiritual philosophies.

[3] Known to latter pre-Pauline Hebrews as ha-Satan, the unfortunate syncretic composite through mistranslation by Jerome of Stridon of the Hebrew archangel Hêl él, Lucifer, the Roman god of truth and light, and, YHWH’s chief legal advisor and prosecutor, Sama’el.  Poor Lucifer, eternally calumnied since then.

[4] All leaders with the possible exception of a certain Jorge Mario Bergoglio, also known currently as Pope Francis I.  He’s an unusually forgiving and empathic sort who refuses to condemn anyone.

The Nephilim

We’re immortal, but only to an extent.  But we don’t have wings.  Not any more, not for a very long time.  Very few of us ever did anyway.  None of them, to the best of our knowledge, are still around.

We`re immortal because we don’t possess the gene for mortality.  The switch that ends replication after about fifty-five spins of the dial.  But we can die and we do if we’re not careful. 

Most of us, eventually, were not careful enough.

Men called us gods but back in the good old days, being a god was not all that pre-prescribed.  We certainly were not eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omni-benevolent or omnipotent like today’s gods are expected to be.  But we did tend to last for a long time and because of that, to know a lot.  And we accumulated great wealth, and with it, great power, … over time.  And we had great times.  A Nephilim party was very, very memorable … back then.

In our relative youth, we were like the nouveau riche have been during the last millennium.  We wanted all the attention and notoriety we could get.  We started the adage “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”  We didn’t care what kind of attention we got, as long as we got a lot of it.  But over the millennia, we mellowed and now, we treasure our anonymity above almost everything else.

None of us liked being servants, a trait we inherited from our ancestral mother, and so, fairly early on, we conquered our less long lived neighbors and ruled them.  First we were kings, but as we survived and they did not, they came to consider us as qualitatively different, which is how, as I’ve said, we became their gods.

Initially we mated only among our own kind and in doing so passed on our longevity, great size and beauty.  But in creating new generations of our long lived species, we created too much potential for conflict as with each new generation, the bonds of family tended to fray and then to dissolve.  Our descendants eventually became our competitors as room for our independent realms became less and less available, and that led to serious and deadly conflicts.  However, we noted very early on that our genes were not dominant when we mated with regular humans, the descendants of our ancestral mother’s first husband by his second wife.  While such mixed-blood progeny tended to be larger and more beautiful and longer lived than our purely human subjects, they were noticeably inferior to us in every way, especially in their obvious mortality after a span of years, and their children were inferior to them so that, in a number of generations, they were not too much different than our normal subjects.  Consequently, those “children” provided us with much less serious competition than did our full blooded descendants, while preserving some of the more pleasant aspects of parenthood, especially those relating to conception.

As the benefits of limiting our progeny to those we sired on our subjects became obvious, and after a time, the norm, a taboo developed among us against sexual congress between Nephilim, the only way to stabilize our population.  But then we started drifting away from each other.  Apparently, sex had been an important binding force.  Nowadays we rarely run into each other, and, except in very rare occasions, we do not seek each other out.  Those few of us that remain.

And it’s true.  We no longer really have subjects.  Amazingly, humans have survived on their own, despite being excellent at finding excuses to exterminate themselves. 

Their proclivity for invention has deeply affected our own lives, especially their recent experiments with contraception.  Now, … if one wants to avoid progeny, it’s a simple thing.  Their anti-conception medications work when we mate with ordinary humans and some of us have met to consider whether they might work to avoid conception if we again engage in copulation with each other.  We’re all curious, those of us with whom we’ve been able to resume contact, and have agreed that an experiment will be worthwhile, if done on a very limited basis.  We’ve learned a great deal of patience over the millennia so we’re taking our time in deciding who should participate in the experiment.  We’re a bit wary of changing the manner in which we’ve limited our interaction, so, as I just said, we’re being very careful.  After all, we have plenty of time.

Our two biggest concerns involve what we’ll do if the experiment works, and what we’ll do with our new children if it fails.  If it works, there will be a temptation to renew more regular contact.  The joy of sexual congress among equals is an incomparable delight and we did not forsake it without great regret.  But, … have we matured enough to avoid the competition and conflicts that led to our separation? 

There’s much to think about.  But as I said, we’ve plenty of time, unless the humans manage to destroy themselves and us with them in the interim.  Something that seems more probable all the time.  Who’d have ever believed when everything began (as far as we were concerned) that their destroying us along with themselves would ever be a serious possibility? 

Perhaps we should reassert ourselves again; for everyone’s benefit.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Ocala, 2004, revised, Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

The Children of Lilith

At first, “the” Garden was vast, infinite, eternal, encompassing all that was.  Of course, since then, infinity and eternity have both significantly expanded, but remember, just before the purported Big Bang, the universe, perhaps even the multiverse, all right, maybe even the omniverse were a singularity no larger than an atom.

Anyway, after the unpleasantness with Adam and the Creator, Lilith wandered through the Garden for time without end, or, almost without end, somehow evading them, unseen by them.  That sort of raises questions about the Creator’s ubiquity, omnipotence and omniscience, the answers to which do not please him at all.  But the facts are the facts, at least usually.  Quantum theory may dispute that conclusion.  It’s hard to be omniscient and omnipotent in a quantum world.  Ubiquity?  Well that may be another matter as perhaps “everything” is, in fact, ubiquitous.

Notwithstanding her ability to evade the Creator, somehow the Garden continued to provide her with everything she required.  It was still beautiful, but she detested the presence of the man, her brother and former spouse, and at first, she also detested his meek new wife.  Of the Creator she saw and heard nothing and experienced only his reflected glory, as though he had (hopefully) forgotten her.  At least that had been her aspiration, … and her plan.

Without interaction with the Creator or with those two other beings somewhat similar to her, Lilith grew bored, very bored, and sought without success to relieve that boredom.  In her boredom she became more like the trees in the Garden than like the animals.  She became quiet and still and solitary.  And she created a world inside of her mind where she preferred to dwell, … (like the Creator had already done, perhaps several times).  Today, we might have called them both autistic.

But finally, on a day more memorable than most, the Garden just disappeared from around her. 

The changes were subtle and drastic at the same time.  Most notably, the communion between living things was severed and each became sundered from all others.  And the animals no longer understood her and the trees seemed less willing to share their fruits with her.  And the insects attempted to feed on her whenever they could.  And the weather changed, alternating between wet and dry, hot and cold, sometimes violently.  And she wondered what disaster the stupid man and his timid consort had raught.  But she did not regret whatever they’d done as she sensed that it had loosened the bonds that had imprisoned her for so long.

While for some that was a day of utter and complete, inconsolable sorrow (e.g., for her ex-mate and his new consort), for her it was the day of liberation.  After that, perhaps quite a while after that, or perhaps not, time was young then and inconsistent, harder to measure, she came to know creatures of a sort who had once been some of the Creator’s angels, beings who shared her distaste for the man, former angels whom the Creator had exiled during one of his temper tantrums, and she also met a formerly eloquent serpent who had been the other woman’s pet but was now cast away.  And she spent a very long time with those former angels.  And the serpent became her friend.  Eventually, the chief among those former angels became her lover, for a time, and a friend forever.  In due time, as tends to happen when friends also become lovers, even if briefly, she became a mother; a mother to twins, a boy and a girl whom she named Enlil and Nammu.

And Enlil and Nammu grew up among those exiled angels and being unique, and incest not yet being frowned upon (how could it be despised with everyone, at that time, being closely related), they became lovers and had children of their own.  And those children also propagated until, in time, they formed a clan, then a tribe and then a nation.

And the exiled angels also found lovers among the children of the man, Lilith’s brother and ex-spouse, and of his timid new spouse, and those women also bore children, children who were only partially human.  And those children called themselves the Nephilim.  And Lilith, whom the Nephilim called Ninhursag, was considered by them to be their queen and their goddess. 

Because of her unpleasant experience with Adam, Lilith did not accept any man as her spouse, as a being for whom she would forsake all others, but she did form close bonds and relationships.  Polyamory was inherent in her as she had a great deal of love she was willing to share.  One of her special friends, a friend with “privileges” but definitely not rights, was called An by the Nephilim, and he became their king and their god, the god also of those former angels who’d been cast out of heaven.  An was rarely present in the places Lilith chose as hers, as his business seemed to keep him occupied elsewhere, which suited Lilith, as she had never been taken with the concept of subservient domesticity. 

The Nephilim became famous among men (at least for a time) because, although they could be killed, they were not normally mortal, and they eventually became thought of as gods by many clans and tribes and nations.  But after a time, most disappeared from the world we know, and no one knows whether or not they still live, and if so, if they will ever return, but some people believe that some of the Nephilm have stayed among us, hidden, and may even discreetly intervene in human affairs from time to time.

Lilith has long remained very private so that not even her children are sure where she might be, or even, if she has evolved in a manner that none but she can understand, or whether she ever reconciled with the Creator (unlikely), or perhaps, whether she outgrew him, … and perhaps us as well.

But some of us still recall her, despite the efforts of those who follow the Creator to erase her from their history, or failing that, through calumny, to make her hated and despised, cast as a source of evil and monstrosities.  And as women have become more and more enlightened, it’s as though her spirit somehow acts as a catalyst for equity and empathy.  Something which irks the Creator who continuously seems to mumble, … “will no one rid me of that horrid creature”.  But if he couldn’t accomplish that deed, it is unlikely anyone else can do it for him.

At least not until time ends and space vanishes and the Creator himself is long, long gone, and Lilith, perhaps bored once more, decides that it is once again, time to move on.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; revised, 2023, all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

An Unusual Quandary

He wondered how one broached the fact that one had been born twelve millennia ago, how one broached that reality to someone with whom it seemed a romantic relationship was a distinct possibility, even if age did not appear to be an issue for her. 

The good thing was (he thought) that, at least for a while, she’d just laugh it off, assuming it was a joke, or an attempted witticism. 

If she did, should he feel that he’d done what was appropriate and just let things slide? 

It was, of course, not the first time he’d had to face the issue.  But precedent provided no consolation.  And despite the hundreds of times he’d faced the dilemma, he’d yet to deal with it in an entirely satisfactory manner.

Ironically, her concerns mirrored his.

This should prove interesting.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Thanksgiving 2022

My reflections on the national holiday denominated Thanksgiving in the United States.

The concept seems beautiful.  A day on which to give thanks without asking for anything, just a general sense of gratitude directed at both our fellow men and women, and to a sense of the divine.  Unfortunately, it was a hypocritical concept since its inception set in stolen indigenous lands denominated New England by an intolerant and racist religious sect totally at odds with the humanitarian philosophy of the incarnate man, whom they judged divine and claimed to follow.  Of course, they were very much a reflection of the Romanized Jew, Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul, and who swiped the emergent innovative Hebrew religious variant right from under the noses of its progeny.

As a “Pauline” rather than “Nazarene” sect, the conduct of the Pilgrims was utterly predictable.  Orthodox hypocrisy followed by virtual genocide.  Still, the thought is beatific and noble even if its implementation by the Pilgrims and Puritans in general fell far from the mark.  But that does not, in any sense, mean we need to do the same.  Or, more accurately, to keep doing the same.  It would be awesome if on this day of thanksgiving we dedicated ourselves, not just to watching football games and stuffing ourselves, but to replacing polarization with empathy and to doing unto others as we would have them do to us; and to insisting on a peaceful world were swords are beaten into plowshares and equity and justice reign and truth is relevant; and if we did so, not tomorrow but today.

I wonder if resolutions need, for some reason, to be limited to the New Year.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Inquiries into Consequential Imagery

If the Abrahamic divinity was infinite and eternal, why would it have attained an image on which to base our forms? 

And if it had an image, wouldn’t it be much more Zoroastrian, as in the myth of the “burning bush?  Were we to peer into a divine mirror, would we see fire’s reflection? 

Is that, perhaps, the nature of our souls, or perhaps our spirits?  And if so, what would we have to fear from the infernal?

Ethereal and ephemeral while concurrently ubiquitous and eternal, a mystery such as those of which religions are so fond.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

“Divinimorphic”

“Divinimorphic”, an interesting hypothesis.  The obverse of anthropomorphic in the quest to contextualize the human-divine relationship, … whether real or fictional. 

It’s a term that should exist in the Abrahamic context if humans were made following a divine template, albeit, obviously, a deliberately imperfect template, which raises questions about what sort of divinity would strive for imperfection.  But the term apparently doesn’t exist, at least not yet.  What does that say about our religious studies programs?

Instead of “divinimorphism”, humans have seemingly anthropomorphized divinity, returning the favor by making our divinities imperfect as well.  A weird sort of symbiosis. 

So, “divinimorphic”, a neologism which ought to catch on.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Involuted Lacunae

“I actually liked Babel” he admitted, “I admired its audacity.”

“Then, why destroy it” asked his adversary, or perhaps his assistant, at least at one time, the Archangel Hêl él?

“I didn’t, not really, I just set events in motion so that those who dared consider the faintest possibility of challenging me turned, instead, on each other.  It was a reflex reaction, one I’ve long regretted.”

“But what of their language, and their knowledge; their music and their poetry” asked Hell-El, fully knowing the answer but perhaps wanting to add a bit of salt, perhaps black salt from the Himalayas, to the metaphorical wound?

“Fragmented, unfortunately, couldn’t be helped.  I hadn’t the time to consider consequences before I acted, and thus, unintentionally loosened Confusion; Misperception and Misunderstanding from their bonds, and they quickly mated and sired Disdain and Manipulation and Treachery, which in turn, bred politics and religion and journalism, and, if not the Law, unfortunately, the legal profession.”

“Pity that!  Unfortunate. Right.  The end of possibilities you once fancied.  ….  On another front, any news from Humpty Dumpty and his egg shell restoration project”?
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.