The Idea of Open-Source Politics and Crowd-Sourcing Leadership


PeopleOverProfitFlickruserAericans4FinancialReform-150x150

http://www.mediaroots.org/open-source-politics-an-inquiry-into-the-crowdsourcing-of-leadership/

The hallowed halls of a once respected US government are now filled with the hollow promises of an impotent governing class. In a political landscape riddled with indecision, political pageantry and growing despotism, the people are hungry for a leadership that represents them. Instead, we are faced with a corporatocracy – one hellbent on the consolidation of wealth and power rather than the proliferation of freedom and justice.

Believe it or not, there was a time when representative government worked on behalf of its people, but those days have long succumbed to the political distortions of misguided leadership. Thus, the age old questions remain: If it is possible to revitalize the self-governing power potential of the ‘We the People’, then what might be a viable alternative or how might we augment the current system to provide the proper infrastructure for a change of guard? Perhaps by looking to the revolutionary ideas of the internet and the co-creative force of its users and developers we can begin to find answers to those difficult questions.

One of the groundbreaking ideas that the internet has provided is that of open-source development, which promotes the universal access to a product’s design as well as redistribution of that design. This developmental model set by programmers and software developers exemplifies the highest order of free trade, and serves to utilize the best ideas for the overall benefit of the system. If we are to apply a similar model as the framework for government, we begin to see parallels between open-source programming and the ideas put forth by America’s founding fathers.

Unfortunately, the fundamental ideology of the US political system has been absent from view for quite some time. The growing disconnect between the people and their representatives has led to a lag in public representation, thus resulting in a severe lack of people’s interests and ideas being properly expressed by US legislation and leadership.

A recent example of this contrast is illustrated in the debate over the legalization of marijuana, where an overwhelming public support for legalization has not been echoed by the government, nor the legislation regarding the issue. However, the ‘War on Drugs’ is only one of many examples which illustrates the delay we are experiencing in our current democratic process.

In a world where efficiency and speed are essential to human progress, it’s unfortunate that our legislative powers have become cumbersome and inefficient. However, the internet’s crowd-sourcing concept could provide us with the possibility to facilitate some level of autonomy, where the average individual has the ability to exercise their right to self-representation.

The idea of crowd-sourcing was first referenced by Jeff Howe of Wired magazine, and can be best understood as the purposeful re-appropriation of resources for achieving a particular goal by an indeterminate group of individuals.  Much like open-source programming which relies upon a multitude of contributors, so too does crowd-sourcing rely upon the involvement and contributions of the collective.

There are many examples of crowd-sourcing being used throughout the internet today.  Chemists have crowd-sourced protein folding techniques, YouTube has done so with entertainment, Facebook with different language versions of it’s site, while politicians and artists alike have crowd-sourced funding for their campaigns and projects. If this is a successful tool for science, entertainment and finance, could it also be possible to crowd-source political leadership?

Endless possibilities could present themselves once we focus the “spare processing power of millions of human brains” towards the evolution of political representation. For example, a truly participatory system could unfold which no longer relies upon single individuals to represent the will of many, but instead allows all people to become micro-leaders in a process of collective representation. Although this idea may seem farfetched, it’s not far from the framework that helped to build this country’s political system.

The founding fathers believed that public office should be held by its citizens, to act as contributors as well as beneficiaries in a collective effort to provide society with a fair and just governing body. As we continue to evolve socially and intellectually, it’s the hope that our leadership would incorporate the enlightened ideas of the past as well as those that propel us into the future. If they don’t, ‘We the People’ can and will find ways to represent ourselves through active participation in the political process.

As more and more people wake up to the corruption of the current system and the lack of political reflection on a federal level, passive acceptance of oligarchical rule will end, soon to be replaced by an active contribution in the political progress of this country, and ultimately, the world.

Written by Justin Blush for Media Roots

You can Follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

Justin writes for Media Roots News with Abby Martin and you can read more of his content at mediaroots.org

You can also follow the Wax Blog by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

Advertisements

The Wax Weekly


The Wax Weekly  is back in the mix monkeys! Get the week’s dose of news and inspiration. A new blog post will be on its way later today but while you wait get informed and be inspired!

 

-Future Soldier by Michio Kaku

-The Fighter’s Peace with Rickson Gracie

-Jason Silva and the Extended Mind Thesis

-Bill Hicks spits wisdom

-Why Pot makes you feel good

& More…

 

Hope everyone has great Friday!

Politics, Protests and the People: An Evolution of Political Influence


Taksim Square Protest

The recent events of NSA spying, the scandal of IRS targeting, Obama’s drone wars and the Taksim Square protests in Turkey have only helped to further illuminate the growing rift between the global political system and it’s People. We the people of the world have become a caged bird squawking at our freedom through the bars of our conditioning.  The People’s hopes have been hung out to dry, becoming tattered and torn in the winds of a so-called “change”. In the ashes of our disappointment, a renovated “hope” will once again rise to be sold in its place. Continuing the conversation and further sustaining our controller’s financial and political pursuits for another 4 to 8 years. Faced with this disappointment there are still many conditioned citizens, fiends of a fraudulent Freedom, which continue to be doped up and addicted to an illusion of social progress, awaiting their next fix of political heroes and heroines.  And while many will likely rush out to the polls next election to get a fix of gender equality, as female hopefuls like Hillary Clinton and others make their way to the main stage, there is fortunately a growing number of individuals that have begun to recognize the political pageantry and posturing put forth by our so-called leaders of the free world.  How long will we allow these pushers of pre-packaged progress to hold sway over our ideas and beliefs?

This culture of corruption in the world has climbed to new heights and has begun breaking down the controls and conditioning that have captured the hearts of the people for far too long.  The credibility of our controllers has become laughable and the people are beginning to look to their leaders with disdain and disbelief, rather than with pride and praise.  Everyday we come ever closer to the realization that no one can represent us, in the same way that we can represent ourselves. A new evolution in human consciousness is upon us and we look to new ways to break old molds.  Information will be our saving grace in our pursuit for true democracy, in this political landscape which hinges upon the deceptive practices of its contributors.

As the democratization of information continues to revolutionize the cultural constructs of yesterdays past, we stand on the cusp of a new epoch in the intellectual development of the human species and thankfully 2 Billion plus people around the world are now apart of a global conversation.  A conversation which informs, entertains, and documents the story of the people.  The technological manifestations of our intellect are changing the ways with which we interact with each other and the world.  American engineer and Intel entrepreneur Peter Diamandis has explained that new technologies will soon democratize production globally, leading to a new paradigm of abundance. In this same thread we are seeing a democratization of political power and influence as well, which is leading to an abundance of information and innovation. The death of history lies on the horizon as the global village begins to document their own story, narrating their own past, present and future, free from the hands of a dominant class.

While this normalization of power proliferates, it continues to present new and unexpected challenges for the political paradigm of our global society. We as a collective are beginning to realize the true nature of our influence and are beginning to exercise that influence as a path to political, social and economic change. Modern finance is evolving as we attempt to free it from the bondage of banking institutions and government controls with the advent of new money technologies like that of Bitcoin.The internet is developing new voices which have never before been heard, that now echo across the airwaves and inhabit the brainwaves of street rats and fat cats alike.

Change is in the chatter, so let us join the conversation and evolve. Our growing collective is manifesting new realities by the minute which we then reinvent, refine and re-define for the global community.  This global conversation is projecting new ideologies everyday into the ether of the internet for each of us to consume, transform, and re-innovate for further reproduction.  We are living on the cusp of an intellectual infinite where every person on the earth will have the ability to access information, incorporate innovations, and proliferate their own progress into the human story being laid out in front of us all. We are here to bear witness to a great revolution in the human spirit where a change of guard awaits us, in a future of self-representation and self-expression. So let us create our place in the hallways of history, by speaking the Truth, fighting for Freedom and collectively developing a reality which reflects the true nature of our ideals.  Tune out of the Tyranny, turn onto the Truth and drop out of a system that has nothing to do with who you are.  Stand for yourself and for those around you, and let us change the world.

Just. B.

You can follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

Follow the blog via email below for more Inspiration and Information!

The Growing Hive and the Death of Hierarchy


faceless

In a world where opinion has begun to dominate the airwaves, the pursuit of Truth, for many,  has become an exercise in idealism.  A seemingly endless sea of talking heads and expert analysis has transformed the duality of true and false into a plurality of opinionated talking points.  To all points of view, there is a leveling of importance that is unfolding in this new paradigm.  Media, Politics and the populace are succumbing to the growing force of this new reality and each of us, is being devalued in the inflation of ideas. Words of leaders, no longer hailed in reverence, and conversely, the masses of under-privileged race to meet their counterparts in a power struggle the  world has never experienced.  In a court once held only by a privileged few, now stands both commoner and king, face to face, speaking with each other within a crowd of shifting beliefs.  A hum of ideas that is paralyzing real thought and stifling the voices of virtue and value.

Yes, it is true, for the first time in history, every person has a chance to voice their ideas and be heard, but as the normalization of power occurs we are faced with a new problem.  Who is telling the Truth? How much of what is being said is spin?  Is there anyone within the crowd whose opinions outweigh the others?  In our search for Truth we find ourselves drowning in a restless current of information that consumes more than it creates.  In this budding world of absolute equality the individual must surrender their individuality to the collective as this normalization of power ensues.  All become equally important and simultaneously equally nonessential in the process.  We all, must inhabit both realms in this new system, significant because the world has deemed it so, and insignificant because the voice of one becomes just another hum in the hive.

As the collective gains power and influence, hierarchy hangs in the gallows, and it is not just the people and those in power choking from the grip of the rope, but also our hierarchy of powerful ideas that are dying at the hands of a faceless crowd.  Truth, Equality, Individuality, Privacy, Justice and Freedom, all are reduced to the hum,  and all are becoming mere memories of a fading Enlightenment. For so long we have hailed these ideals as the pinnacle of human thought and progress, but now they are being sacrificed for the sake of a hive.  Fortunately, when humans are faced with a changing paradigm such as this, or their framework becomes the object of deconstruction, then there is a fight that begins,  a fight for the ideals and beliefs that we hold to be true.

This battle has already begun and although what we battle for has never really changed, the battlefield on the other hand changes by the instant.  The ground under our feet calls out for blood, and it is our choice as to whose blood will be shed in the battle for ideology.  We can either lay down our arms and surrender our beliefs to the sword or fight for our beliefs against the growing confusion of the collective unconscious. We must stand and raise our minds up to the fight for Freedom and Justice.  Let our beliefs not be subdued by the hum of the hive and let us embrace the importance of our individuality in the battle for our minds.

Stand up and Stand out.

Just. B.

You can follow the blog via email as well as follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

The Temple and the Sacred Geometry of the Human Condition


God the Geometer

From the moment that humans came into the understanding of their own mortality as well as the realization of how little we understood about our surroundings, our origins, and ultimately our destination, we have continually tried to explain the world around us and the meaning of our existence. For centuries the pinnacle of human purpose has been, to construct a better understanding of the mystery which surrounds us. With each successive generation we build another level onto the foundation of our ancestor’s beliefs, ideas, concepts, social constructs, as well as material constructs. As Isaac Newton said “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” It is through this tradition of knowledge and understanding that the world’s religions find their origin. The first undisputed human burial dates to Neanderthal man around 100,000 years ago marking the first time we had abstract thought at least that we know of. It is this abstract thinking which paved the way for religion, science, math, astronomy, architecture and artistic expression.

Architecture, artistic expression and religion are a few of the first examples of human transcendence into complex social structures. The first human architecture began with the need for shelter but later blossomed into the construction of human sacred space in memoriam of the dead, and later for the purpose of reflecting on existence, the heavens, and ultimately a divine reality, this marked the beginning of man’s religious experience. Initially mankind’s architectural capabilities were only as good as it’s comprehension of the elements within it’s surroundings. Fortunately, mankind soon would begin to grasp more complicated and abstract concepts such as math and the sciences, and incorporate his mastery of these new practices into his sacred space which became the cornerstone of human society. Through math and science we were able to create a reflection of the magnificent order that we noticed within the universe.

Leonardo da Vinci - Vitruvian Man

Within mankind’s plethora of sacred space which seems to encompass the whole of human existence, there are many architectural themes which have transcended the many faiths of the world, as well as the centuries. The most prominent of these architectural themes are the square and the circle also known as the quadrature. These two shapes have served as the centerpiece of not only sacred space but also some of the world’s greatest traditions. It is said that all of the people of the planet are to have originated in the same place, so it would only make sense that many of our beliefs would share the same origins as well. In each of the world’s religious traditions we are given a handful of concepts, symbols and signs. If we take a closer look at these symbols and signs we may find that the many different beliefs and spiritual concepts around the world share a possible common origin. These symbols are embedded within the scriptures, art, and architecture of the world’s spiritual traditions and once understood can be recognized within the framework of man’s religious expression.

Freemason

Freemason (Photo credit: 10 Ninjas Steve)

The earth’s most sublime sacred space was designed and built by the world’s most brilliant contributors and amongst these people we find some of the greatest architects and stone masons ever to grace our path. While masonry is the material expression of the art form, freemasonry serves as it’s more abstract and spiritual counterpart. The symbol for freemasonry is the compass and square two tools which are necessary for any great architect and geometer. The compass is on top while the square is on the bottom “as above so below.” The compass is the symbol for the circle which symbolizes perfection and the divine aspect of reality, while the square is the reflection of that divine perfection. A circle is 360 degrees while the square consists of four 90 degree angles which add up to 360 degrees. Within the divine nature, circles are everywhere but the square is of human creation and serves as the building block of human understanding, as well as of the world’s sacred space. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” Man’s building block “the square” serves as the reflection for the universe’s building block ‘the circle.” This is a deep understanding within the human consciousness and is projected within our architecture. The “compass and the square” is only one symbol which has many meanings and interpretations but it helps us to more easily recognize the interconnectedness of mankind and the divine reality, and it is my belief that the designers of the world’s sacred space had a deeper understanding of this symbolism and incorporated it into their designs as a way of telling a deeper truth.

This symbolic reality permeates the architecture of much of the world’s sacred space and religions. This symbolic truth is the world religion, which is wrapped in religious dogma from the many faiths of the world. We humans serve as the looking glass of the reality with which we perceive, and although these perceptions can number in the millions there is a single truth which can be recognized through all of the millions of perceptions. Whether it is the conscious effort of the creators of sacred space or if it is a natural progression of truth which we only play a role in creating, the theme still exists. In order for us to be able to see this theme we must take a look at some of the world’s well known religions and their expression of sacred space. For us to clearly recognize the sacred theme of the architects we will begin to look at the three monotheistic faiths and their sacred space as well as a few of the eastern religious traditions.

 

DamascusRomanArch

DamascusRomanArch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Judaism and Christianity have borrowed most of their architectural designs from that of the Romans. The ancient Romans of course are the originators of the roman arch. The Roman arch is a classic example of the circle square mystery that has been previously described. The circle once again is placed on top of the square. This is an example of the dome of the sky which rests upon the firmament of the earth. The Roman arch is of course a magnificent architectural design and is designed as such to be strong architecturally as well as symbolically. This is a design that has been incorporated into many Judaic synagogues as well as Christian churches the world over. Judaism unfortunately has sustained many attacks upon many of the temples and synagogues which it has created leaving the world lacking in terms of historical Judaic sacred space. Fortunately modern times have afforded the Jews a relative sense of peace which has allowed Judaic sacred space to spread.

The largest Synagogue in Germany was built in 1903 and was designed by Johann Hoeniger in Berlin and is known as the Rykestrasse Synagogue. The architectural style is Romanesque and of course incorporates a spectacular Roman arch in the apse which houses a series of smaller arches around the Bema. The most significant of roman arches within sacred space tend to be centered around the most sacred of places within. Of course in the case of the Jewish synagogue the Bema is the place which houses the Torah.

Synagoge Rykestraße

Synagoge Rykestraße (Photo credit: Mesq)

Another beautiful synagogue which has the arch which is as grandiose as that of Rykestrasse is that of the Synagogue de la Victoire in Paris,France. Once again, situated in the apse, is the most sacred of places within the synagogue.

Inside the Great Synagogue of Paris (Rue de la...

Inside the Great Synagogue of Paris (Rue de la Victoire) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As well as incorporating the Roman arch both of these beautiful synagogues also have integrated a gothic architectural style rose window. These rose windows are another example of the perfection represented within the symbolism of the circle. The rose window is a design which has been lifted from Christian sacred space and has been recycled in Jewish architectural designs as well. If we are to look at Jewish architectural designs prior to the advent of the Romanesque style which we see today, we are left with only the written record of the Bible to rely upon, which consists of two particular sacred structures. These of course are the “Tabernacle in the wilderness” and the “Temple of Solomon.” Although neither one of these have within them the mystery of the circle and square they are worth noting because of their importance within the Jewish faith. Both of these sacred places are more significant in the sense that they symbolize the impermanence of the Hebrew lifestyle at the beginning. This is important because it helps to once again illustrate how humans sometimes knowingly and unknowingly incorporate their culture into their architecture.

 

 

 

 

Christianity of course grew out of the Jewish faith and shares many of the same beliefs as well as architectural designs in its sacred space. Christianity of course has a long and admirable tradition of exquisite sacred architecture. From the original early Christian churches to the Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, Byzantine, and clear into the renaissance we see a religious tradition which has helped to shape the minds and beliefs of a large portion of the modern world. Once again to clearly understand how the symbolism of the circle and square tie into the Christian belief system we must take another look at a few examples. The idea of Christ is that he is God born as a man which is the amalgamation of the human aspect and the divine aspect of reality. This is once again symbolized with a square enclosed by a circle and vice versa. The circle is also a common theme within Christ iconography which can be found within the walls of the Byzantine and eastern orthodox style churches. Christ is usually depicted with a glowing gold orb around his head which is the symbol of the divine light as well as the rising sun (son) which illuminates the world for all to see.

05563_christ_sinai_wiki_466x900

God the Geometer

Another important Christian symbol is that of the fish which has specific meaning within the Christian faith which I will not explain here. But as a side note it is interesting that when a geometer is to construct a perfect square he uses a compass which is ordinarily used to construct a circle. In this particular practice the geometer creates a set of points which he uses as the pivot points for two arcs which intersect and it is at this intersection which he creates a perpendicular. This process is repeated until all four corners of the square are designated by the arcs (for a video detailing this process go to the web link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BSIUx89dgg). These two arcs look extremely close to the design of the Christian fish. This concept of course is only a theory of mine which is not grounded in any evidence. But it is my belief that many of the symbols which we see within the religious traditions of the world are also tied to the secrets of these geometers and architects.

In the case of Christian architecture we once again see the continuation of the Roman arch but in addition to that we see many other symbolic architectural designs which follow our theme. In later Christian architecture we see the proliferation of the Greek cross and Latin cross floor plans. The Greek cross is an equal armed cross while the Latin cross resembles more the cross of the crucifixion. The cross is a powerful symbol and along with being an important Christian symbol it has had many meanings throughout time. It has often been tied to the four cardinal directions as well as holding importance within the Druidic traditions of Britain and Gaul. “Both the Cross and the Serpent were sacred to the Druids, who made the former by cutting off all the branches of an oak tree and fastening one of them to the main trunk in the form of a letter T. This oaken cross became symbolic of their superior deity (Manly P. Hall 47).” At the head of this Latin cross in the case of Christian architecture is the apse of the Church which once again serves as the holiest place within the Cathedral or Church. In the case of the Cathedral it houses not only the Bema where the rights of communion are held but it also seats the Cathedra or the throne of the Bishop. The apse itself is shaped like a semi circle which I believe is another representation of the golden orb or sun which surrounds the head of Christ. It is no wonder that this part of the Church is normally placed in the direction of the East, the place of the rising sun (son). In many cases this apse has not only a semi circular floor plan but is also enshrined by a dome or another roman arch, “as above so below.”

apse pic Cathedr_floorplan_new

Once again we see this concept of the reflection here on earth of the divine reality in the heavens. One of the more magnificent examples of this is the apse within the “Basilica of St. John Lateran” which houses the seat of the Bishop of Rome or the throne of the Pope. At the zenith of the semi circular dome of this apse is a painting of the Godhead Christ with a giant golden orb about his head. Almost all of the Gothic style Cathedrals in Europe are structured on the Latin cross design with this semi circular apse. Just as the symbolic meaning of the gothic style stained glass enshrined Cathedrals is of the womb so I believe the semicircular domed apse in sacred space architecture is a representation of the womb or “original cave” where the essence of humanity and divine reality sprung forth.

English: Basilica of St. John Lateran - apse I...

English: Basilica of St. John Lateran – apse Italiano: Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano – l’abside Polski: Bazylika św. Jana na Lateranie – apsyda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Basilica of St. John Lateran”

Another reoccurring theme is the use of the rose window, a circular window in the wall of the Gothic style church which is made out of stained glass and resembles the shape of the petals of a rose. This window is also referred to as the wheel window as well and is usually encased by a square frame. This squaring of the circular wheel window can be seen in the rose window of the “Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg” which at one point in history was the world’s tallest church. On the Western face of the Strasbourg Cathedral in France sits the rose window above the door of the church. One of the most beautifully intricate examples of the rose window is at Sainte Chapelle in Paris which depicts images of the apocalypse within its tracery. The rose window is said to have found its origins in the oculus of ancient Roman architecture which was a round porthole at the top of a dome. This porthole somewhat is representational of an eye which is where it gets its name. The intricate stained glass of the rose window looks much like the geometrical paintings found in eastern Mandalas which we will take a look at later. Christian architecture is a rich and beautiful tradition which has pulled many of its architectural designs from ancient Rome as well as getting many of its symbolic themes from its neighbors and its own belief system and mythology.

Rose window in Strasbourg Cathedral

Rose window in Strasbourg Cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rose window of Strasbourg external Rose Window of Strasbourg internal

Rose window - Upper Chapel - Sainte Chapelle ,...

Rose window – Upper Chapel – Sainte Chapelle , Paris, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rose Window of Sainte Chapelle

Islam is the last of the great Abrahamic traditions which has contributed much to the architecture of sacred space, mathematics and science. Some might even argue that the architecture found in Muslim sacred space is more impressive than that of many of the Christian churches. Where Christianity has dedicated much of its church designs to religious iconography and paintings, Islam has focused its energy on the intricacies of architectural design and geometry. Although many of the beliefs differ between that of Islam and its predecessors a good majority of the beliefs within the three have similarities. These similarities of course can be seen within the many architectural traditions within Islam. In order for us to achieve a clear understanding of Islam’s architectural forms and their similarities to Christianity and Judaism we must take a look at a some of the common architectural themes as well as Islam’s two holiest examples of sacred space; “The Dome of the Rock” and the “Kaaba.” In the process we may find the square and the circle resurfacing as a trait once again of the world’s sacred space.

First let us take a look at the overall floor plan of the Masjid and how it mirrors much of what we have already seen in Christianity and Judaism. There are four major forms of Masjid within Islam.

English: Stone columns - Hypostyle hall of the...

English: Stone columns – Hypostyle hall of the Mosque of Córdoba (Mezquita), Spain Deutsch: Säulensaal der Moschee von Córdoba (Mezquita), Spanien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first style is the Hypostyle Mosques which have many roman style columns creating an arcade set to the backdrop of a large courtyard. Many of the floor plans for mosques are designed with climate in mind since many of them are set in the extreme temperatures of the desert. With a religious culture which spends up to five times a day in the mosque it is important to keep the comfortability of the visitors in mind. The next design of mosque is the Sehan style which dedicates its design to the courtyard that is a part of the former hypostyle design. From there it evolved into the Iwan style masjid which is reminiscent of the Greek cross floor plan of the Eastern Orthodox Church but in the case of the Mosque has the courtyard once again as the centerpiece of the sacred space. Finally we see the spread of the domical mosque which incorporates a series of domes into the overall design of the mosque which has the feel of Byzantine architecture.

mihrab

All of the following designs of mosque and the prayers within the mosque are focused on the mihrab or sacred niche which is situated on the Qibla wall in the direction of Mecca. The mihrab is usually marked by an arched doorway which is another representation of the man and God connection. This of course has many similarities to the apse found within Christian and Judaic sacred space. This is another example of the sacred niche, cave, womb, etc. which tends to be the focus of worship in these religions. Just as in Christian and Judaic architectural style, Islam has what is called a Minbar which is where the Imam leads the prayer this design is of course akin to the Bema. Originally the Mihrab was the throne room in a palace which also reminds us of the Cathedral in the Christian tradition. In the mythology which surrounds Mohammed the leader of the Islamic faith he is said to have received his revelations while meditating in a cave in and around Mecca. This concept of a cave being the source of divine revelation is a reoccurring theme within many of the world’s religions and mythology. Zarathustra is said to have descended out of the cave of a mountain, Plato tells a story called the “Allegory of the Cave” which has many implications into the world’s religion’s as well as contemporary man’s so called sacred space the “man-cave” where modern man looks at so called reality upon the cave wall. The cave is like the womb of the earth which man is born anew. Only within the darkness can you clearly receive the light, many Native American tribes used light deprivation as a way to have shamanic experiences. This idea of the cave, I believe is being shown to us in the apse of Christian architecture and the Islamic mihrab which is the focus of man’s worship. Just as the mihrab and apse is a microcosm of the macrocosm of the church or mosque. So is the church or mosque the microcosm of the mythical cave of these mythologies. We must go within ourselves to better understand the world outside and this is the idea of the church, mosque, or temple, it is a place for introspection and reflection.

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock (Photo credit: myheartinpalestineII)

Dome of the Rock

If we take a look at the floor plan and design of the “Dome of the Rock,” which is a holy site for not only Muslims but Christians and Jews as well, we see that it is a dome which is centered on an octagonal building situated around a rock which is said to be the place of Mohammed’s ascension into heaven as well as the place where Abraham almost sacrificed his son. The octagon is another popular design in religious architecture and can be designed by overlaying two perfect squares in a criss cross pattern, another interesting feature of the octagon is that you can place a circle around the perimeter of the octagon and the circle will touch each point of every angle. The octagon itself is a symbol of regeneration and renewal and in Christian churches it usually marks the place where baptism is held. If we are to look at the Islamic faith it is believed that Mohammed brought to the world the renewal of the ancient religious texts of Christianity and Judaism, because as Muslims, they believe these texts had been tainted by the hands of men throughout time. Of course the dome situated in the center of the building we have talked about previously and it is my belief that the symbolism is still the same within Islamic architecture. Outside of the basic structure of this masjid the exterior is covered in beautiful multicolored tile as well as inlayed marble which is said to be the precious remains of Solomon’s Temple. The Dome of the Rock is one of the more beautiful contributions of man and it is unfortunate that it is the source of so many modern social problems.

Kaaba quadrature

Kaaba at Mecca (quadrature of worshippers surrounding the cube)

The Kaaba in Mecca is the holy center of the Islamic faith, and is the focal point of all Muslim prayers. While the architecture found in Islam can be some of the most impressive in the world, the Kaaba on the other hand has a much more humble design. It is a cube shaped structure which is visited by millions of Muslims everyday. Within the Kaaba is held another rock which has been kissed and touched by millions of Muslims throughout history. The cube is said to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael and is a place for Hajj (pilgrimage) for all Muslims. The cube of course is the square which we have focused much of our attention, what is interesting about this particular religious site is that the people serve as the symbol of the circle as they circumambulate the building seven times. As well, there is a sacred space between the cube and a wall shaped like an arch on the northern side where no Muslim is permitted to pass through during the procession. Once again we are able to see this ongoing theme throughout the sacred space of the world. While these are the most important examples of Islamic architecture and the symbolism hidden within there are many other examples within Islamic sacred space.

The Sanchi stupa in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh bui...

The Sanchi stupa in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh built by Emperor Ashoka the Great in the third century BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally if we take a glance at a few examples of the sacred space of the eastern religious traditions we see that the squaring of the circle is not isolated to the Abrahamic traditions. In the Buddhist tradition most of the sacred space is a structure known as a Stupa. The Buddhist Stupa is literally a mound of earth in the shape of a circle which is surrounded by a square building. The Stupa is an ancient form of the Mandala which has its roots in the Hindu faith. The Mandala is a geometric design with ornately painted scenes embedded within the squared circle and it is sometimes used as the focus of meditation. “In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts, as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. (Wikipedia).” The Stupa is said to symbolize the enlightenment of the Buddha in the Buddhist tradition. It seems to be a common theme to erect a sacred building to remember the enlightenment or divine revelation of man.mandala

masjid e shah Chartres

The Mandala, the Masjid e Shah interior dome, and the Rose window of the Cathedral in Chartres France.

While Hindu architecture does not necessarily derive its designs from the square and circle archetypes that we have discussed thus far it is necessary to note that there is a feature within Hindu sacred space which has a correlation to a point discussed earlier. The GarbhaGriha is the most sacred of places within the Hindu temple and is the resting place of the yoni and lingam which are the symbols of the female and male generative aspects of the universe. The square has also been interpreted as the male aspect of the universe while the circle is the female and the two overlaid upon each other is a symbol of the generative aspect of the universe as well. It is also interesting to note that the meaning of GarbhaGriha is womb chamber which correlates back to the notion of the mihrab, apse, and sacred space as a whole being a symbol of the womb as we have touched on previously.

yoni and lingham in Garbhagriha

yoni and lingham in Garbhagriha

It is clear that the world’s religious traditions have been the centerpiece of human self discovery and contemplation. The sacred space found within the faiths of the world are a sort of blossoming flower which continues to open up in a million different ways. There are many differences which we may be able to find amongst the religions of man but on the other hand it is clear that there are many similarities between each and every one of us. No matter what faith you hail from, there is an underlying story which is told time and time again. The notion of birth, life, death, and rebirth is a familiar story which we see in nature everyday with the sun as it travels through the sky. The seasons as well serve as a symbol of renewal every year. Just as the story of Jesus reminds us of Mithras and Heracles before him, the story still tells us the divine reality which is all around us. Whether it is the Divine reality or the mundane we cross over between the two worlds during this life into the next. The symbols with which we adorn our temples only tell a deeper human story which we take part in during this life and the next. Architecture, mathematics, religion and science are some of man’s greatest discoveries which we have dedicated a lot of our time to helping us explain the mystery of the universe and the meaning of our existence. The squaring of the circle is man’s attempt to try and wrap his brain around the mystery of the divine reality with which we are entwined. It is through our explanations and our artistic expression where we see some of the world’s most beautiful structures and this is what I believe is the true nature of sacred space.
Just. B.

 

You can Follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

Also follow the blog via email by clicking the link at the bottom of the page!

 

The Wax Weekly


The Wax Weekly is up! Drone Strikes on Americans, Anonymous and the Singularity, Computer code written in the Cosmos and it looks like we may be living in a simulation and the Obama administration decides to no longer tell the American Public about future Drone Killings. Get Informed and Be Inspired!

The Search for Self and the Art of Becoming


if2207_gotchange_th_1

Photo Credit: Imaginary Foundation

The human condition is a volatile and unforgiving endeavor and for most of us we find ourselves swept into the undulating waves of change.  It is Change which is the only constant for many of us, as we watch the scene, plot and characters of our story evolve in front of our eyes.  We ride upon the violent waters of our life in hopes of climbing the rising tide, but the storm riddled waters remind us of our  mortality and for many this reality can be paralyzing.  The passing scenes and fruitless dreams become the story that we manufacture; it is our attempt to breathe meaning into the dusty corners of our hallways, these meaningless stretches of our existence, soon brought to life with the aid of human imagination.  Our stories become larger with each telling and we become the story that we have woven with our words.  Our memories are no longer remnants of factual evidence but rather become chimeric contrivances of the imagination.  Memory becomes the unintentional lie with which we fabricate our life story.  So what is our Truth? Can we know the truth of our life in memories and dreams?  Can we believe the dreams of a future unwritten and do the memories of an evolving past give us any indication as to the nature of our true self?  This cannot be who we are but rather who we wish to be, these stories assist us in constructing an illusion of self.  Who we are has nothing to do with our past, that is only who we were and can never be again, as the moment has already passed.  Who we are, is what is happening right now.  So who are you?  Are you the person you wish to be? If you must answer by telling the past or dreaming a future, then you have yet to become.  We are all in the act of becoming and who we are has to do with the choices we make.  Become the greatness that you seek and dream only when you sleep, as the present is passing and if left unattended shall become the story at your wake.  Ride the rising tide of your life and pay no attention to the deep waters of despair and dread.  Have the courage to stand, when asked to sit, speak when all are quiet, act as if your life depended on it, because the truth is, it does depend on it.  Every action lays the foundation of your self and it requires only action for you true story to be told.  Let the works of your life create the story that you seek and don’t give in to the resistance, because destiny is not for the weak.

Just. B.

You can follow @Justin_Blush on twitter,

or follow the blog via email by filling out the form below!

Cultivate and Create the Dreams You Anticipate


 

Dream Goes On

Dream Goes On (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome to the end, what has all the fuss been about? The end is not loud, just a silent truth in the back.  It looks the same as it always has, just a life and a dream.  A dream sometimes neglected in hopes of something better to be gained.  “The best come to those who wait” they say.   But a lifetime of wait, leaves only regret at the wake.  Welcome to the end of the World, there is no way out, just a silent empty room and a choice.   A choice we will all have to face.  A choice to hide eyes from indecency and inaction, or  take responsibility for the life we have manufactured.  It is time we open our eyes and acknowledge the truth, that we only have one chance, to do it right in this life.  Do something great and all your dreams may come true, but hide from yourself and all it has been is a ruse.  If it is the end of the world that you anticipate, then it is true, all good things do come to those who will wait.  But there is something much richer if you are willing to act, a dream manifested that has forever impact.  We all can make a difference upon the world if we choose but it requires some action, so don’t sit around and think but stand up and just do.  We cannot continue waiting around for the change we anticipate, but instead must become change and create something great.  Change your mind, change your life and subsequently you will change the world.  Out of the ashes of the old, the new world will arise.   It is a world that inspires others to rise and remove their disguise.   Test the boundaries of  belief and walk outside the lines of your cultural confines.  Deconstruct all the lies that have been given to you and manifest your own understanding of what it is you must do.  Stop with all the answers and start questioning everything, because the truth is, none of us really know anything. Let go of your silly assumptions about the nature of reality, embrace your ignorance and let go of the insanity.   While you ride on this rock around the light of a million nuclear explosions, take a moment to bask in the rays of pure astonishment.   Cultivate a new consciousness, free from lies and deceit, become the center of your Universe and take a moment to breathe.  You are the Truth and all things emerge from pure action and although it is important to reflect, the true beauty is in the act.  So get out and change the world everyday, this is the real truth of our existence, this is our playground so get out and play.

 

Just. B.

 

You can follow @Justin_Blush on twitter!

You can also follow the blog via email by clicking the link at the bottom of this page!

Commerce and the Cannibalism of Modern Conquest


united states currency seal - IMG_7366_web

united states currency seal – IMG_7366_web (Photo credit: kevindean)

We have become cannibals and the catalyst is commerce, just like the fruits of  the conquest of Columbus we adorn our bodies with jewels pulled from the Earth with blood stained hands.  The spoils of our conquest come to us in the form of gadgets and gifts, the sacrifice of human life laid upon the alter of consumerism.  Much like the communion of Christians we too, the consumers of the Earth, consume of the body and blood of those sacrificed, which lay before us as pre-packaged and high priced goods.  We give offerings of our labor in the form of currency in return for the spoils of unseen atrocities.  We in the first world, enjoy consuming those luxuries which have been brought to us by the lives of those in the neighboring third world.   We even go as far as to presumptuously relabel them as developing nations, because to assume some sort of rank troubles our hearts and we rather see them as having a chance of reaching our first world status instead of being condemned to poverty.  But the Truth is much darker than that, because as we consume the products of their lives and labor, so too, do we consume their futures and dreams. We assume here in the west that since we have overcome one form of slavery, that there is not another waiting there in its place to tempt our hearts.  Unfortunately, our story has not changed much over the course of time, only the scene and it’s characters.

Just as in the times that precede our own, rare goods and new technologies lie at the helm of our modern conquest.  While we enjoy our diamonds, iphones and androids we forget or choose to be ignorant of the fact that those goods come to us upon the backs of human lives.  Diamonds, one of our many spoils, are brought to us by royals and dynasties who employ the most unsavory of characters to force poor and downtrodden souls to slave at the cost of their lives in some cases, in order for us to adorn our bodies with the shine of their hard labor.  Iphones and Androids like many of the toys of our time rely upon battery power that needs certain minerals, these minerals just so happen to come to us from poor countries and warzones the world over, including Afghanistan which is near and dear to our hearts here in the United States.  How much of U.S. wars are a product of corporate conquest for cheaper prices of new technologies?  We have become cannibals consuming the lives and dreams of the weak to further empower our own lives and dreams via rare goods and new technologies.

If we are to change the world, it will be to work towards a future that does not depend upon slavery and the greed of capitalistic conquest.  If we are to overcome barbarism and truly become civilized creatures then we must lay to waste our hunger for more no matter the cost and consequence.  We must work towards a future that is selfless and mindful of all involved, instead of being selfish and mindless consumers, that rather not be involved.  The future is ours to shape but it is up to each of us to choose a path which protects as much as it produces.  We must change the future of human history by being mindful of the people and practices we support and not merely succumbing to greed and selfish gain.  We are the future, and those generations that follow us depend upon us to make a future that is greater than our own.    So make a future you can be proud of and make choices that shine brighter than the spoils of modern conquest.  Change the world…

Just. B.

You can follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

Follow the blog via email by clicking the link at the bottom of the page