Love Letters to the Universe #12: The East (or) The Ghost in the Machine

27 Feb

Dear Universe,

If you were willing to take my hand, sweet universe, perhaps we could undertake a little stroll through the different types of hairless monkeys that inhabit this blue-green planet. Let us start in the east. Just as countless sages have prescribed walking to face the rising sun, walking toward it in salutation, so we will walk this way and discuss the Experts.

The east has always been associated with the domain of the mind, of thought, of airy logic. It is no wonder that here we should find the Experts. In the tarot the suit of swords hails from the east. The sword is the thing in which we carve out our existence. We cut away with our reason until we have mastery and understanding. Our brain is very much a blade which will often, if used too liberally, cut away all that is deemed unnecessary by logic and function.

It is also the realm of the Ego. And here also, we are reminded that those who live by the sword, must surely die by it as well. Our brain tells us that we have dominion over what we can conceptualize and judge. The question then arises: are we masters of our brains, or do we give over our sovereign power to it? I am reminded of Michael Moorcock’s cosmic champion, Elric, who becomes a slave to the Black Blade that he bears. How many cautionary tales have been told about the mad scientists of the hairless monkey persuasion that because of hubris unlocked pandora’s box? Mary Shelley, woke once from a dream to warn us of this.

In the east, too often, we are led to believe that the end justifies the means. Our brains seek order and rationale. Why shouldn’t it? With these things we have cured diseases, built great empires and eliminated many fallacies. Here we have those dominated by the functions of thought and judgement.

We live in a mechanical universe, and from this clockwork factory have sprung machines that stop and ponder the complexities around them. They seek to simplify and arrange. The happiness they experience is solely dependent on their attitude which motivates such action. Such can be said of any hairless monkey, but the Experts are those who either a) fight a Sisyphean battle against their very complex natures and a universe which they refuse to accept for all it’s dirty and faulty chaos, or b) strive to humbly understand the workings of a vastly complicated mechanism, and try to pay homage to that complexity through their works and discoveries.

There is a ghost in the machine. Those that deny it are bound to battle with themselves and you, my elegantly and unashamedly dichotomous universe. We are made in the image of you, are but reflections of your own desires; hence we are as split and ironic as all else we see and study. The heart struggles against the brain and what it knows. The male in us is attracted and fearful of the female that lives in each of us.

Every male hairless monkey has a female aspect, an anima, if you will, which contrasts, compliments, and co-exists with the animus. So, every female has a correlating male aspect, as well. It is the relationship created by the friction of these two which creates the electrical effect called personality.

The Experts of the east are no different; although their adherence to logic and order often find them least capable of recognizing, much less compromising, these internal differences. An expert needs definition in order to classify. He or she refuses, sometimes, to even accept the existence of that which eludes definition.

Such beings often appear as young. They desire simple answers as they have little patience for life without definition, or the experience necessary to fully accept complexity. They tend toward materialism in their philosophy, unless their formative education included an acceptable explanation which the expert would cling to with dogmatic attention, as long as another theory does not cast light on any faults in the previous world view’s logic.

The ethereal and psychic does not come into the eastern sphere. Instead, the experts are those with mastery of patterns. They savor facts, and for them the truth and fact become synonymous.

Often, sadly, the Robot or Empress will look around at the world, and failing to identify the purpose or nature of you, my lovely, they also have a hard time identifying the basic aspects of their own nature. This can lead to ongoing confusion over their own motivations or those of others. They may assume that their way of thinking is the only acceptable and rational way, and that all others suffer from some malfunction of persona. Hence, a Robot or Empress may only see draconian medical intervention for any type of emotional or psychological dysfunction.

Mechanically adept and coordinated, the expert, in his or her most glorified aspect, those of the east are essential liberators of humanity. Their discoveries and machinations may free all of us to better seek the truth, destroy want, and find peace. However, if the expert is to become a true robot (or slave) to cold logic, then, ironically they and their creations will enslave humanity in a very bleak and soullessly mechanized existence.

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the titular character agonizes over his past and how he allowed his mental hubris to strive for eternal life only to bring death to the world in a new and horrifying form.

Of course, the east is a place for future’s promise. Those that hail from the land of rosy-tipped fingered dawn are those who can manifest that promise, as long as they understand that the wisest action is to control the self, and that order and peace must first be manifested from within.

I give my promise to you, universe, that I will write more, and tell you about all of the wonderful types of robots and empresses out there. It is my hope that if they should recognize themselves, they would be all the more fit to manifest that peace and bring in that shining promise of tomorrow.

Love,

Trav

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