2. Biography of a Synthesis
Are we willing to contemplate on the role hierarchy plays in our lives? In the latter part of The Question we found out how this keystone question showed up and it’s early impact. But how did a synthesis sprout out of it?
Etymology of the word hierarchy and thinking about it was in my background and more specifically it’s notion of command and obedience and that’ll be covered in other essay(s). However etymology of the word contemplate was new to me, even though I had made attempts to meditate. It’s origin is from Latin word templum, “a place for observation”. But when I saw temple in contemplate the first thing I thought of was sacred place. And the question began to change a little, unfold: Are we willing to enter a sacred space and hold the notion of hierarchy?
Other related questions showed up: How do we define sacred space? What is it? If templum is a place of observation what are we seeking to observe? What kind of lense are we using to observe?
The original question feels like a sacred gift. Receiving a matryoshka doll set in a box wrapped in paper comes to mind as metaphor in reference to receiving the original question. First is the surprise: Oh nice, a gift! Then it’s time to see what’s in it. Unwrapping first, then opening the box and seeing the doll. Very nice yet not knowing there is another doll inside. After a while realizing there is crack in the mid section of the doll. Oh, what a concept! We expect a gift inside a box wrapped with gift paper but if you have never heard or matryoshka dolls then discovering there is another doll in the first doll is not only an added gift but an aha moment, how clever. Then there is more. Another one inside the one you just discovered. And so on.
There were similar aha moments with The Question. and finally the time came to write about it. As the question grew on me, theories were popping up like popcorn and I thought for sure a grand discovery was on the horizon. Finally a light bulb went on that made everything I had been thinking and writing about dissolved into the mystic realm. As if my intellectual pursuit of past three decades was pointless. I left the keyboard and all for a while.
I need to say up front that the journey was a full circle for at the end I was back where I started but changed. The best way to describe what happened are these three words by Kabir; “Wordless is everything”. Or as Joe Campbell put it; “No tongue can soil it.” And one of the ways Rumi put it is: “Tongue is a veil covering the view of our soul’s origin” این زبان پرده است بر درگاه جان It’s been said that the answer or solution comes in an insight rather than pure intellectual pursue. The solution comes in a form of an inner knowledge that illuminates one’s consciousness in a passing moment, in an instant.
During this intellectual pursue and soul searching it even crossed my mind that “I” am close to finding the wormhole to global salvation. Hah! Not the case. But it shows, I hope, that I’ve been desperately wanting a better world to live in. 45 years ago as a kid I saw other kids TV who were so malnourished that their skelton was showing and most likely would die of it. And we still have that problem in our world.
Rather than stepping into the pool from the shallow side let me dive right into the deeper end even though I don’t know how deep it is. I wonder if the philosophy of social ecology has been yearning for this question and to ingest it into its frame of reference! The question is worth a consideration by individuals associated with social ecology because social ecology’s ever evolving philosophy, it’s developmental evolutionary process and its constant drive to enter dialectical mode of thinking was partly responsible for this question to reveal itself:
-Are you willing to enter sacred space?
-An individual associated with social ecology may ask for my definition of sacred space.
-My response: Are you willing to explore what sacred space is in your own terms?
-To which uou (she or he) might say: Not only am I willing, I have been to sacred space.
-And to which I’ll ask for a description or the story of that experience.
-uOu may tell me that it’s an inner sacred experience. “It’s my inner secret.”
-Genuine gratitude is my response.
We (humans in general) have shared our personal sacred stories in private tribal settings all over the planet for millenniums and because of it communities and tribes were held together. Shaman on a House Call is a short story which draws a picture in support of this theorem.