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Aug 31, 1994 12:08 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

There is a Laguna/Acoma story that "white men" were created by an
evil magician in a contest of such magicians to see who could
create the most heinous deed.  This is the spell the most wicked
of the magicians told:

Caves across the ocean
in caves of dark hills
white skin people
like the belly of a fish
covered with hair.

Then they grow away from the earth
then they grow away from the sun
then they grow away from the plants and animals.
They see no life
When they look
they see only objects.
The world is a dead thing for them
the trees and rivers are not alive.
The deer and bear are objects
They see no life.
They fear
They fear the world
They destroy what they fear.
They fear themselves.

The Wind will blow them across the ocean
thousands of them in giant boats
swarming like larva
out of a crushed ant hill.

They will carry objects
which can shoot death
faster than the eye can see.

They will fill the things they fear
all the animals
the people will starve.

They will poison the water
they will spin the water away
and there will be drought
the people will starve.

They will fear what they find
They will fear the people
They kill what they fear.

Entire villages will be wiped out
They will slaughter whole tribes.

Corpses for us
Blood for us
Killing killing killing killing.
And those they do not kill
will die anyway
at the destruction they see
at the loss
at the loss of the children
the loss will destroy the rest.

Stolen rivers and mountains
the stolen land will eat their hearts
and jerk their mouths from the Mother,
The people will starve.

They will bring terrible diseases
the people have never known.
Entire tribes will die out
covered with festered sores
shitting blood
vomiting blood.
Corpses for our work

Set in motion now
set in motion by our witchery
set in motion
to work for us.

They will take this world from ocean to ocean
they will turn on each other
they will destroy each other
Up here
in these hills
they will find the rocks,
rocks with veins of green yellow and black.
They will lay the final pattern with these rocks
they will lay it across the world
and explode everything.

Set in motion now
set in motion
To destroy
To kill
Objects to work for us
objects to act for us
Performing the witchery
for suffering
for torment
for the stillborn
the deformed
the sterile
the dead

set into motion now
set into motion.

     So the other witches said
"Okay you win; you take the prize,
but what you said just now-
it isn't so funny
It doesn't sound so good.
We are doing okay without it
we can get along without that kind of thing.
Take it back.
Call that story back."

     But the witch just shook its head
at the others in their stinking animal skins, fur
and feathers.
It's already turned loose.
It's already coming.
It can't be called back.

(Retold by Leslie Marmon Silko, in ~Storyteller.~)


A> I think that Gautama Buddha's statement: "The ignorance is the
> worst sin." Can be understood as a ethical advice.  What is the
> opposite of ignorance? Knowledge and understanding. I interpret
> it so, that if people would know and understand what are the
> consequences of their deeds, they would not commit a bad ones.
> I believe, that a true morality is based on such things, as
> understanding.

     Yes, right on!  That is why it is important for people to
learn to think about their ethical system, and examine one's
values that are behind them.
     The reason why Buddhism is so highly spoken of in the
Mahatma Letters is because it is basically an ethical religion.
The concern of the core Buddhists teachings is not salvation, but
to teach good people to take responsibility for themselves and to
live more ethical lives.

A> The normal way of ethics is, that we are given a certain set
> of rules but not explanation why it is essential to be moral.
> Nowaday's people won't take such advice seriously, and they are
> right.

     Those are ethical precepts.  Typically people use them or
ignore them according to what suits their convenience.  This
behavior is called "situational ethics."  For instance, "though
stealing is wrong, it is OK for me to steal from this company
because they underpay me anyway.  So they really owe it to me."
Or, it is OK to cheat on her, because what she doesn't know won't
hurt her."  etc.
     The real practice of ethics is not the mindless following of
rules, or of the rationalizing of them to get what one wants.  It
is learning to reason at a level where one balances the issues of
self-responsibility with one's responsibility to others.
Kohlberg's research suggests that most people don't know how to
do that yet.  They are more inclined to either go by rules
(legalistic), or by what they can get away with (situational
ethics).  Fortunately, however, ethical thinking can be learned.


     I like your philosophical connection of ethics to karma.  In
a sense, it is karma that creates ethical standards that become
encoded in laws.

ET>     The search for ethics is the same as the search for
> knowledge. One set of rules of conduct seems no better than
> the rest, until one has come in touch with one's inner Rule
> Maker, and starts to see the right and wrong in everything in
> a fresh, original way, through direct insight rather than the
> recollection of rules imposed from without. This Rule Maker is
> Buddhi, and its active participation in life brings a new type
> of consciousness to the moment-to-moment situation, as we give
> it our complete emotional, mental, and *moral* attention.

     Yes!  Kohlberg calls this "post conventional" thinking.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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