As Best We Can
We have created some serious delusions - inherent to words themselves - that need to be exposed and perhaps even dispelled - before we proceed forth.
The first is the delusion that the higher the class the better the life. This couldn’t be further from the truth (whatever that is). The delusion is based in the idea that money or materialism buys happiness (whatever that is). Materialism can certainly make material happy, i.e. Money can definitely make Body happy.
However we as People (if you still participate in that illusion) are also made up of Mind and Heart (the emergent feature of the interaction between Body & Mind) as well as Body (a rough metaphor for the unnamable Reality). If Mind is unhappy then Heart is unhappy - which will eventually make Body unhappy. No matter how happy the Body is as a result of material pleasures - this won’t take the place of Being in Peace and Harmony with One’s Self. In fact many times the Body Pleasures are an inadequate substitute for the Bliss of Being.
Anyway these ruling class Viking warriors had to die in battle to have a fulfilled life. What kind of a life is that? Supposing you were the artistic peaceful kind, who liked talking with birds, perhaps you didn’t want to die in battle - maybe you had gotten attached to your children - maybe you had even grown fond of your wife. And then the battle call comes - ala Ulysses or Odysseus. You pretend that you are mad to avoid war. They test you by threatening your family - maybe even your children.
Your Mothir: “Your Fathir and his Fathir and his Fathir’s Fathir all died in battle - Even your brothers. This is the family tradition. You can’t let us down. For the good of the family name, you must die in battle too.”
Reluctant Warrior: “You really want me, your one surviving son, to die in battle too?”
Mothir, breaking down sobbing: “Of course not, I love you dearly. But what will the neighbors think? You were born to rule and die in battle. How will you ever get to Valhalla, if you die of old age.”
Reluctant: “Mom. I’ve been thinking.”
Mothir: “Oh, not that again. You know how that always gets you in trouble. I thought you had sworn off thinking.”
Reluctant: “I can’t help myself. I think I’m a problem thinker. I think I might be a think-oholic.”
Mothir: “A good war will cure you of all that thinking.”
Reluctant: “That’s what I’m afraid of. I’m thinking that these stories they tell us are just propaganda to get us to go to war.”
Mothir: “Thinking too much again. You think you’re smarter than our cultural traditions? They have been around since time began - when Night began following Day around the Sky. Heimdahl, the father of all the warrior rulers, of which you are one, said they are supposed to go to war and stain the ground red with the blood of our enemies.”
Reluctant: “But I’d rather stay here with my family and protect them from harm.”
Mothir: “You have no choice son. You were born a Warrior and Warriors must die in battle to go to Valhalla.”
Reluctant: “Maybe I can just stab myself in the side with a sword when I get older and my teeth fall out. That way I can trick the gods.”
Mothir: “I’m not convinced that Odin would really be tricked by that. After all he is at all the Battles and he would’ve noticed if you weren’t there.”
Reluctant: “Why wasn’t I born a freeman or even a thrall. Then I could just stay here in my beloved homeland with my wife and family.”
Mothir: “But we are the highest class. We are better looking, smarter, and stronger than the other classes. We were born to rule and conquer.”
Reluctant: “And where has it gotten us? A bunch of wealthy widows - lonely with their money but without their husbands.”
Mothir: “Fathir used to get drunk all the time and then beat me. Especially after he came home from battles. At first he would be loving, but then he would start drinking, and then he would inevitably become abusive. I was almost happy when he died.”
Reluctant: “Mothir!? This is what I mean. All these insane wars and senseless battles are killing our men or turning them psychotic.”
Mothir: “Insane wars and senseless battles? If you didn’t know, smarty pants - who thinks entirely too much of his own thoughts - these military expeditions …”
Reluctant: “Just excuses to plunder and victimize peaceful agricultural communities.”
Mothir: “If you’ll let me finish … these military expeditions are to increase the power and glory of our great Empire.”
Reluctant: “You recite the propaganda beautifully. Our leaders would be proud of you.”
Reluctant: “Of what good is the power and glory of our great Empire to me? My most precious assets are right here by my side. Why would I want to risk my life in battle to increase what I already have, when I already have enough. In fact I have more than I need - more than enough. In fact all I really need is the love of my family - and their health and happiness. Then I am content.”
Mothir: “But what about our neighbors? Our family tradition? Are you going to break our centuries long family tradition?”
Reluctant: “Who cares about the neighbors - about our family tradition - if I die on the rough seas or in battle in a foreign country - slaughtering innocent women and children? It is horrible I tell you. I’ve been there. You’ve only heard about it. You just reap the rewards of our atrocities. Well, I’m not going to participate anymore.”
Mothir: “Such a selfish son. Only thinking about his own good – not the good of the community or the good of the family.”
Reluctant: “The good of the community is something abstract and mental, created primarily by the mind as a way of organizing information. It has no reality except in the mind.”
Mothir: “My son is selfish and crazy.”
Reluctant: “Yes, selfish for myself and the future of humans on this planet. This senseless warfare has got to stop. It is going to destroy the planet for human habitation. I want to set a good example for my sons - so that they can begin a new race of peaceful men - devoted to family rather than power and greed. Yes, crazy because I hope that this one example can change the history of the planet from the self destructive course it’s on.”
Mothir: “They’re calling you a coward.”
Reluctant: “Me, a coward when they are going mindlessly off to a war that other men have created to plunder towns and kill other people who are just trying to coexist peacefully. These are the cowards - those who are afraid to stand up for peace against militarism. They have been so indoctrinated that they can’t make a move on their own, but must respond to the dictates of leaders and ancestors - whom they’ve never known.”
Mothir: “But these foreigners are the lower classes with inferior blood and a bad religion.”
Reluctant: “In the last raid I killed a mother and child, who could have easily been my wife and child. There is no difference. We are both people.”
Mothir: “These primitive people need to be civilized. Their enslavement will be to their long-term advantage. They will eventually be able to convert and belong to the world community.”
Reluctant: “Murder and slavery is good? I can’t believe my Mothir is saying these words. The infection is deep.”
Mothir: “But we’ve brought them a higher technology to improve their lives - raise their standard of living.”
Reluctant: “The only technology we’ve brought is military for suppression. We’ve given the local rulers the military means to suppress their own people - to sell them into slavery. I’ve been there Mothir. All we’ve brought is misery and suffering.”
Mothir: “But what about progress?”
Reluctant: “Progress is just an illusion hoisted upon us by the military elite to justify their senseless bloodshed and war upon defenseless people.”
Mothir: “You’re turning your back on all of our warrior class values. I’m so ashamed.”
Reluctant: “I renounce all the implicit beliefs that I have been saddled with since birth - which lead me to sacrifice my life, my family, my friends and my internal peace - to further the military values of our culture based upon the delusional quest for power. No more plundering the properties of other cultures, raping their women, slaughtering their children - directly or indirectly, by enslaving the men who are responsible for their support. It’s over. I refuse to participate anymore.”
It’s evident that the highest class is not necessarily the best class to be in. The words themselves create the wrong impression - the ‘highest’ caste implies the best caste, while the lowest implies the worst caste. The words themselves create the bias. An artificial standard has been created to differentiate the castes with words. Then these words reverse their role as servant and take over becoming the leader - inadvertently - by the power of persuasion - first the describe, then they attribute value and relative worth. The words higher and lower by themselves tend to imply better or worse, while in fact they are neutral. Lower expenses are better. Higher death counts in battle are worse.
Therefore unless words are used to negate themselves they take over the conversation - leading to all sorts of mistaken conclusions. To counteract the innate connection of better with higher when connected with classes, we will reiterate that while the higher classes had more material wealth that they didn’t necessarily have a better life, especially when the standard for a better life relates to having a happy home life. The ruling classes then and now many times have a very unhappy home life. For the Vikings the sudden death of a father in his prime dying in battle would not be considered a positive family circumstance. Similarly the neglected children of the wealthy, famous, and powerful upper classes - with all their myriad psychological problems - would not be considered a healthy family environment by most psychological standards.
Therefore the upper, higher classes, while possessing more material wealth and power, don’t necessarily have a better life when talking about a healthy family life. Further being wealthy or powerful doesn’t necessarily bring more freedom, if that is the standard. The Viking ruling classes had no choice but to die in battle to be fulfilled and go to heaven where they could battle some more. There is very little real freedom of movement in this class. Similarly to those addicted to power. Once the power game is chosen there are few choices because the pressures from peers are so great. There is little time for family, art, music, or personal cultivation because of the demands of the job. Traveling constantly with security people to protect you and your money from harm. Where’s the freedom in constantly traveling with strangers and worrying for your loved ones lives? Are these your protectors or your jailers?
Friendship is another common element of happiness that suffers in the quest for power. Because of the inherently imbalanced state of power, there is a tendency to be in a state of battle all the time rather than cooperation. The state of battle and warfare for power is not that conducive for friendship. While it is a great incentive for building alliances for protection, these are based around mutual fear rather respect and admiration.
Again because of the unbalanced nature of positions of power, it takes a lot of energy to maintain. Because all this energy is being used to maintain an external illusion, there is not enough energy left for any inner cultivation. Lost in illusion, when will they wake up from their nightmare?
Anyway the upper classes, while directing the course of historical development because of their psychotic obsession with power, didn’t necessarily have a better life when measured against the common standards of family life, freedom, deep friendships and inner cultivation.
To beat a dead horse, the lower classes, while definitely in a worse shape materially, could easily have a more balanced family life, more freedom of movement, better friendships, and a greater opportunity for self-cultivation and inner growth. This would be related to the need to cooperate to survive. The lower classes would have a greater tendency to rely upon each other for support. This would encourage friendship based upon mutual assistance rather than alliances based upon fear. Further because all the material advantages have been stripped away, there is a greater incentive to cultivate the inner garden, where the true riches lie.
While it would be nice to say that the lower classes had a better life and the higher classes had a worse life in terms of the common values mentioned disassociated from the material advantages implied in the distinction between the classes, the reality is a mixed bag. Only someone who resides in an idealized fantasyland believes that the poor are happy while the rich are unhappy.
The reality is that true bliss is accessible to all and is not associated with material success or class or caste. True Bliss resides in just Being, which is immediately accessible to all. Unfortunately the supposed demands of life draw us into the fantasy worlds of the future and the past. Lost in the dream, we make stupid decisions based upon the waking nightmare. Waking up - self-realization - enlightenment is only the deep understanding that the moment extended into the past and future is everything. Easier said than done. But this is the quest. And it’s a lot easier to get lost in the make-believe world - spending vast quantities of energy attempting to prop up a non-existent reality - when you are winning.
So far we have seen that the Vikings or Norsemen conquered Europe at the end of first millennium. They became the military overlords of the indigenous agri-culture. The Warrior conquered the Farmer. This was a classic Bronze Age political structure. The Farmer becomes the servant, serf, or slave of the military aristocracy, the Warrior.
The Warrior culture, which became the royalty of Europe, was tolerant of local customs. While most immediately converted to Christianity, the religion of the culture, to more easily control their territories, they retained their warrior values.
These are revealed in the Norse mythology. They include a love of battle, with an inherent disdain for the arts of peace. This love of battle is founded in the test of courage at facing death fearlessly. We made a case for the fact that it takes more courage to face old age gracefully, than to die in battle in the prime of youth.
Also included in the Norse mythology is the self-destruction of these warrior gods. Their battles become more intense until they destroy themselves at the end of the world, when Fenrir, the giant wolf, kills Odin, the head god. After this a new world is born with a more peaceful race of humans. The Norse instinctively realized the limitations of their worldview. They could see that these endless battles had to eventually lead to the self-destruction of their culture.
Applying this mythology to our modern culture, we see that the constant battling of nations is leading to our own self-destruction. All the wars strengthen Fenrir, the Wolf, who symbolizes the results of our rapacious appetite – always consuming more. As we waste our limited natural resources killing ourselves, eco-disasters become inevitable.
Perhaps the most damaging of their warrior values was the belief that the warrior was born to rule and conquer. He was not born to protect and assist. He was born to lead a great host of followers into battle, to stain the ground red with the blood of his enemies. There is nothing about happiness and peace. There is nothing about art and culture. There is nothing about producing something of value for the culture. Instead the Viking mythology is obsessed with conquering, war and domination. Unfortunately our Western leaders still have the same mind set. While wealthy beyond imagining, they plot to conquer and rule the world so that they can have even more.
Another feature of the warrior mythology that they brought along with them was their tripartite social structure. This meant that not only were they meant to rule and conquer, but that they were also inherently, genetically more intelligent, and good looking than the other classes, who were meant to serve them. This led to the extreme class structure of Europe, their Christian caste system, with their aristocracy, merchants, and peasantry.
Further it led to the notion of slavery. The military aristocracy was superior and born to rule, while the underclass was inferior and born to serve. The idea of Us and Them gave the rulers of Europe the license to enslave and dominate the lower classes of their society. And second of all it gave the Europeans the right to enslave the indigenous cultures wherever they might find them. Hence the European leaders felt justified when they enslaved the Africans, the indigenous peoples of the Americas, plus the Indians and the Chinese of Asia, not to mention countless others cultures sprinkled on every continent of the planet. In case you hadn’t guessed, this is not part of the message of Jesus.
While words create some useful metaphors, these metaphors are frequently taken for Reality. It is important to use words to deconstruct the illusions they create. This is one of their most important functions - to uncover the implicit belief structures that dominate our behavior - bringing them to the light of consciousness. This is the purpose of this work - to uncover the Fairy Tales that exist beneath Consciousness, which inadvertently motivate our Actions.
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