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Thread: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

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    Forum owner Ishtar's Avatar
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    Default Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Guys, sorry I'm not around v. much but can only sit at the computer for a very short amount of time. Due to perennial back problems, am having to spend most of my time lying flat on the sofa. If it runs true to form, I should be fine again in a few days time.

    In the meanwhile, just saw this and couldn't resist posting it. It makes a lot of sense to me, but then I'm bound to agree with stuff that dovetails in with my own theories. I'm not sure how much science he has to back it all up, but see what you think, anyway...



    In this groundbreaking book, Leonard Shlain, author of the bestselling Art & Physics, proposes that the process of learning alphabetic literacy rewired the human brain, with profound consequences for culture. Making remarkable connections across a wide range of subjects including brain function, anthropology, history, and religion, Shlain argues that literacy reinforced the brain's linear, abstract, predominantly masculine left hemisphere at the expense of the holistic, iconic feminine right one. This shift upset the balance between men and women initiating the disappearance of goddesses, the abhorrence of images, and, in literacy's early stages, the decline of women's political status. Patriarchy and misogyny followed.

    Shlain contrasts the feminine right-brained oral teachings of Socrates, Buddha, and Jesus with the masculine creeds that evolved when their spoken words were committed to writing. The first book written in an alphabet was the Old Testament and its most important passage was the Ten Commandments. The first two reject of any goddess influence and ban any form of representative art.

    The love of Mary, Chivalry, and courtly love arose during the illiterate Dark Ages and plummeted after the invention of the printing press in the Renaissance. The Protestant attack on holy images and Mary followed, as did ferocious religious wars and neurotic witch-hunts. The benefits of literacy are obvious; this gripping narrative explores its dark side, tallying previously unrecognized costs.

    Shlain goes on to describe the colossal shift he calls the Iconic Revolution, that began in the 19th century. The invention of photography and the discovery of electromagnetism combined to bring us film, television, computers, and graphic advertising; all of which are based on images. Shlain foresees that increasing reliance on right brain pattern recognition instead of left brain linear sequence will move culture toward equilibrium between the two hemispheres, between masculine and feminine, between word and image. A provocative, disturbing, yet inspiring read, this book is filled with startling historical anecdotes and compelling ideas. It is a paradigm shattering work that will transform your view of history and mind.
    From here
    Ishtar's Gate ~ Inter-disciplinary, inter-dimensional, deep research into the knowledge of our earliest ancestors.







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    Forum Resident War Arrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Not sure what to make of that. Anything which even sniffs at ludicrous bollocks about how everything bad that ever happened is down to men being male just makes me want to go out and oppress someone whilst listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    However, I think the point about written words rewiring the brain (as I believe does language itself) is very well made. From what I've understood of the usual subjects I always go on about, there seems to be a strong case to suggest that the advent of writing has often been the point at which religious systems cease to be progressive and investigative and become dogma which lends itself with unfortunate ease to political ends. Given that the change here essentially stems from the means by which information is stored and transmitted, I see no reason why the same process should not apply to the human brain.

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    Forum Elder mamashakyhand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Ish sorry to see you are incapacitated with the back troubles again...get well soon.

    Interesting theories, but would have to read the book I suppose to see where he is coming from. As is usual it's all in the translation. Did the feminine evolve into the masculine through being written down? Looks interesting though, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ishtar
    Shlain contrasts the feminine right-brained oral teachings of Socrates, Buddha, and Jesus with the masculine creeds that evolved when their spoken words were committed to writing. The first book written in an alphabet was the Old Testament and its most important passage was the Ten Commandments. The first two reject of any goddess influence and ban any form of representative art.
    Cass
    Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast ~ you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. ~Doris Lessing~

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    Forum Elder tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Thanks for the interesting post, Ish.
    Your post, War Arrow, made me laugh out loud
    So an obvious question is: If writing rewired us into abandoning "the Goddess" ~~ what have we been doing lately to re-wire our selves back that direction?
    "A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?" --Albert Einstein and Me

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    Forum Elder stephjn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    You might also want to take a look at Marshall McLuhan's work and Julian Jaynes' book "The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of Bicameral Mind".

    Re Jaynes' book, from Wikipedia,:
    ...he argued that ancient peoples were not conscious (i.e. could not introspect). Instead, Jaynes claimed that ancient people acted by means of automatic, nonconscious habit. When habit did not suffice and stress rose at the moment of a decision, behavior was directed by auditory verbal hallucinations, which were heard as the voice of a chieftain or god and immediately obeyed. Jaynes argued that the change from this mode of thinking (which he called the bicameral mind) to consciousness (construed as self-identification of interior mental states) occurred over a period of centuries about three thousand years ago and was based on the development of special types of linguistic cognition and the emergence of writing as an alternative means of social control.
    Re McLuhan, from an essay by Michael Purdy,:
    In Explorations In Communication, Marshall McLuhan and Edmund Carpenter associate oral culture with hearing and literate culture with the visual field of experience. "In our society, however, to be real, a thing must be visible, and preferably constant. We trust the eye, not the ear" (65). The ear doesn't need any solid object for our attention, it operates equally well in light or dark and senses no solid boundaries. The eye depends on light for its orientation and is, by the very nature of its fixation on objects, directed. We can hear from any orientation, we can only see what is present before us. So with the work of Marshall McLuhan we have the preliterate and the literate, the oral and the visual, two different experiences of sensory balance. Marshall McLuhan would initially seem to be saying we are presently in a visual/literate culture. We have been in a visual/literate culture, literacy having come to full flower in the eighteenth century. But we have in the last century entered an age of electricity and electronics where Marshall McLuhan says the medium is the message—or the massage.
    This is a more complex relationship among the senses, or at least a different balance. As Marshall McLuhan says in his film "The Medium is the Message," we are reentering the tribal world, but this time with our eyes wide open.

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    Forum Elder kbs2244's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    'Shlain contrasts the feminine right-brained oral teachings of Socrates, Buddha, and Jesus with the masculine creeds that evolved when their spoken words were committed to writing.'

    So, in spite of the originators being male, the teachings were 'feminine?'
    And until the followers started depending on written documents it stayed that way?

    Rather than being a physical change in brain structure, I would argue for the pretty well accepted male/female, reasoning vs. feelings, differences.
    This would lead to a more male organization, due to reading being a more 'reason' based practice, than chanting or singing.

    However, there seems to be a pretty good history of male singers and chanters.
    But they have been shuffled off to the realm of entertainment, not 'serious' stuff.

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    Forum Elder Ashashane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Hold on a second now.
    Let's all understand that this is NOT a boy/girl thing, but a masculine/feminine thing. Head and heart if you prefer.
    Last time I checked, I had both. We all have both.
    What the blurb seems to be saying, is that we focus on the head, and the reason is because with language and written word, we have blocked off the "words" of the heart.
    It's an interesting concept.

    Ishtar, healing light to you...

    Ashashane

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    Forum Elder kbs2244's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Other than age, is there a difference between 'a boy/girl thing, but a masculine/feminine thing?'

    'Head and heart if you prefer.'
    I would expect that you to have both, as do I.

    I also expect that, on occasion, you and I do not trust things I have been told because it doesn't 'seem right.'

    When that happens, in my case and my sons, it is because 'it doesn't make sense.'
    In the case of my wife and daughter it is because 'it doesn't feel right.'

    Neither one is better than the other.
    Just different.

    But that said,
    I have feelings that sometimes over rule my reason.
    And I have seen that the females in my life some times have reasons that over rule their emotions.

    But the basic rule proves true more often than not.

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    Forum Elder Ashashane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    I understand what you are trying to say, I think.
    If you wish to generalise between the sexes, go ahead, but when someone is speaking of masculine and femanine aspects of the brain they are speaking of two different ways of perceiving the same thing.

    A very basic example would be a lion.
    The masculine perception is the fact of it being a big cat that lives in Africa.
    The feminine perception is more symbolic in that it represents courage and strength.

    Both are accepted perceptions, yet they are quite different.

    Most people use their masculine brain to make a decision, no matter what sex they are, simply because we are not trained or schooled to listen to anything else.

    It's an interesting idea that part of the reason for this masculine thinking is because our brains have actually been wired away from image and metaphor through the written language, which is symbols to begin with.

    Ashashane

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    Forum Elder stephjn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    One of his other books, Sex, Time and Power, also looks pretty interesting:
    Long ago, due to the narrowness of her bipedal pelvis and the increasing size of her infants' heads, the human female began to experience high childbirth death rates, precipitating a crisis for the species. Natural selection adapted her to this unique environmental stress by drastically reconfiguring her hormonal reproductive cycle. Her estrus disappeared and menses mysteriously entrained with the periodicity of the moon. Women formulated the concept of a month, which in turn allowed them to make the connection between sex and pregnancy. Upon learning the majestic secret of time these ancestral females then gained the power to refuse sex when they were ovulating. Men were forced to confront women who possessed a mind of their own.

    Women taught men about time and the men used this knowledge to become the planet's most fearsome predator. Unfortunately, they also discovered that they were mortal. Men, then invented religions to soften the certainty of death. Subsequently, they belatedly grasped the function of sex. The possibility of achieving a kind of immortality through heirs drove men to construct patriarchal cultures whose purpose was to control women's reproductive choices.
    http://www.sextimepower.com/

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    Forum Elder Cognito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    ...he argued that ancient peoples were not conscious (i.e. could not introspect). Instead, Jaynes claimed that ancient people acted by means of automatic, nonconscious habit.
    I respectfully disagree, believing that ancient peoples were just as conscious and could introspect just as we do today.

    Jaynes argued that the change from this mode of thinking (which he called the bicameral mind) to consciousness (construed as self-identification of interior mental states) occurred over a period of centuries about three thousand years ago and was based on the development of special types of linguistic cognition and the emergence of writing as an alternative means of social control.
    But what are the "special types of linguistic cognition"? The emergence of writing only affected a small percentage of the ancient world as very few were literate. Estimates for literate societies such as Greece or Rome do not exceed 5-10% of the population in the best of times
    The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with.

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    Forum Elder stephjn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cognito
    I respectfully disagree, believing that ancient peoples were just as conscious and could introspect just as we do today.
    I tend to agree with you Cognito. If there was a fundamental difference in consciousness between pre-literate people and ourselves, how would it be possible for us to bridge the gap in understanding? I not only believe that we can understand them but also that we have much to learn from them. But that learning has to be predicated on the notion that we have at least enough in common to be able to understand their culture and belief systems. Jaynes' work seems to assume that this is an impossibility. I realize that it's a challenge to unlock the minds of ancient people but great strides have already been made by studying the artifacts that they left behind, including cave paintings, etc., by studying the pre-literate cultures that continue to exist today and by revivifying ancient traditions like shamanism. The work of people like Wade-Davis and Mike Williams with indigenous peoples in many different parts of the world demonstrates that such communication is not only possible but desperately needed. They have so much to teach us.

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    Forum Elder kbs2244's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Ashashane,
    I think we are trying to say the same thing.
    Just differently.
    I may be a gender thing.

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    Forum Elder Ashashane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    I think it's a KBS/Ashashane thing.

    Ashashane

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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    I have a hard time trying to understand Jaynes idea of the bicameral mind. This discussion has given me at least a slight light into what the concept means. I wonder tho if you don't have a language it is all instinct then how are the thoughts processed. I can see that stress in this time causes new and different reactions to the stress stimuli, but, how is there any retention of the information you are getting from the your mind if you are not putting the thoughts into words of some kind, just pictures in your minds eye. Not even speaking of sharing just your own mind. An auditory hallucination? still very hard idea to grasp. annieo11

    P.S. Ish, I hope you are back on your feet soon. Take good care of yourself. xxoo

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    Forum owner Ishtar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Dear annieo11, and everyone else who've sent me such kind messages and healing.

    Thank you!!

    I am getting there, slowly. I had a very deep, intensive massage today which is probably one of those kill or cure things. At the moment, I feel like I've been killed, but I think, seriously, that's it's all part of the healing process. I get this back trouble from time to time because my sacro-iliac joint has been acting as a shock absorber and it's got the point where it can't take any more shock and awe! I think I will be better and back on here soon, but for just today, at least, I need to rest it.

    Anyway, I just wanted to come on in response to this of annie's.

    "....but, how is there any retention of the information you are getting from the your mind if you are not putting the thoughts into words of some kind, just pictures in your minds eye. Not even speaking of sharing just your own mind..."

    I just had this very experience.

    When I phoned up this therapist that I went to today, he started to give me instructions to get to where he lived. All my pens and notebook were upstairs and I was downstairs. So Instead of writing down his instructions, I visualised them in my mind's eye and just followed the journey he gave as if I was walking it. Then when I left to go to my appointment today, I just followed the picture in my head. I didn't even remember the name of his road or the number of his house. He told that his house was at the right hand end of a T junction and it had Tibetan prayer flags outside, so I'd already 'seen' it in my mental journey and recognised it easily.

    This is just one example of how we can remember in pictures, just as well as we remember in words. Getting to places successfully must have been a high priority for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. There is also the saying that 'a picture speaks a thousand words', which I have found to be true when communicating with the spirits who, possibly for this very reason, prefer to use metaphor or picture language over words 99.9 per cent of the time.

    I also describe in my book, Lord of the Dance, how I sent a mind picture to Sai Baba ~ it was actually a 'still' from a dream I'd had previously ~ with a question mark expression on my face. He got it immediately and sent me a picture back in reply, while nodding and grinning as if to say 'yes'. This was my first experience of telepathy, and I developed that skill further while with Sai Baba.
    Ishtar's Gate ~ Inter-disciplinary, inter-dimensional, deep research into the knowledge of our earliest ancestors.







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    Forum Elder cropredy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Ishtar,
    If You require additional energy to heal, May You know that mine is sent to You freely.
    May Your self repairing biological body recieve these additional energies sent to You freely from moi.
    And I have just ran my hands over the screen.
    All is one.
    cropredy

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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Thank you, cropredy. That's very kind and I'm sure I will benefit from it.

    I can't stay on the computer any more today, but hopefully tomorrow will be better!

    Namaste.
    Ishtar's Gate ~ Inter-disciplinary, inter-dimensional, deep research into the knowledge of our earliest ancestors.







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    Forum Elder cropredy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ishtar
    Thank you, cropredy. That's very kind and I'm sure I will benefit from it.

    I can't stay on the computer any more today, but hopefully tomorrow will be better!

    Namaste.
    Perhaps thats the problem????
    What are You doing upon the computer???
    The mind boggles.
    cropredy

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    Forum Elder cropredy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did the alphabet destroy the goddess?

    I actually know whats going on,
    http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm? ... e=s3i82819
    They are scared, the goddess is coming back, which is a bit of a pain in the back to the males, hence You are experiencing it for them.
    cropredyx

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