Posts Tagged ‘mikhail bakhtin’

How Socrate changed the Cycle of Western Civilization

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

SocrateMany people Project their Knowledge of the Now to History. They Think that People Thought the same Thoughts many years ago.

To understand the Spirit of The Time we have to understand the Historical Context People lived in. One way of doing this is to look at a shared foundation and study the Historical Variations on the Central Theme.

This idea corresponds with the Insights of Micheal Bahktin. He called the central theme The Chronotope, “The place where the knots of narrative are tied”. I used his theory to have a look at the Cultural Cycle of History.

I combined the theory of Bahktin with the Economic Cycle Theory of Kondratiev. To my big surprise Kondratiev and Bahktin use a different periodicity (50, 250 years) of the Cycle but the stages of the Cycle were the same.

What surprised me more what that the periodicities of the Cycles where related by the factor Five. When you know the basic periodicity the only thing you have to do is multiply or divide by five and the same pattern, the Basic Fractal of History, emerges. The Five or the Pentagram shows itself in every culture on Earth. When we transform this structure in three dimensions it shows itself as a Spiral or a Moebius Ring.

A beautiful example of a projection of the Now on History was a visit to the Cave of Lascaux in France. An anthropologist was explaining to us what we were seeing.

The Cave contained many Spiraling Abstract Paintings. She told us that the Cave was used for rituals and the many pictures we saw had a symbolic meaning. I did not believe that because the theory of symbolism was “invented” by de Saussure (1857-1913).

The people that lived in the Cave had no idea of Symbolisms and Symbols. They just painted what they “saw” in the Outside World and the Inside World. If I place myself in their Context I cannot Imagine they were Thinking a lot. I feel they were Experiencing Nature in all his states of Wonder and Terror. Imagine what a beautifull Sky they were experiencing every Night and you will understand why the Sky Father was the major Force they felt.

The people that lived at the time of the Cave of Lascaux always situated their Holy Places at the crossings of important Ley Lines. These Ley Lines represent the Spiraling Knots of the Electro Magnetic Field of the Earth (the Earth Grid) .

Highly sensitive people can still feel the PowerPlaces and it is not strange to assume that the sensitive people at that time (“the Sjamans”) could do the same. Just like the Current Sjamans they could travel Space/Time by performing Rituals (Spinning, Chanting the Sacred Tones), Lucid Dreaming or by eating Sacred psychoactive plants like the Peyote and the Amanita Muscaria (the Soma).

Symbolism was a theme of the Spirit of the Time of a stage in the development of the Kondratiev Wave that operated between 1890 and 1940. It was the time of Standardization (Control, Plan).

The stage before this stage (1850-1890) was related to Energy (Ego, Self, Desire, Fire). It was the time when the Steel Mills were created, the research in Chemistry started and Alexander Noble invented Dynamite. I was able to map every phase of the Kondratiev Cycle to the Cycle of Bahktin.

The 5 phases of the Kondratiev Cycle (5×50 =250 years) could be summarized at a higher level, the Industrial Revolution. I found out that the Industrial Revolution was a Social Movement. A Social Movement is always preceded by a Spiritual Movement, the Renaissance.

I started to map the Cycle again with a periodicty of 250 years. The time-interval between 1450 and 1700 is called Renaissance. It is the stage of the Spirit and Ideas. The model fitted.

I went back 5×250 years (200-450). In this time Christianity was created by the Roman Emperor Constantine I. He used the widespread Cult of Mithras to introduce Christianity in the Roman Empire. Again we are in the stage of the Spirit. The Model fitted.

I jumped to a higher level of the Cycle (The Cycle of Civilizations) and travelled further back in time. I arrived at the time of the Cave of Lascaux. At that time many caves contained “abstract pictures”. The pictures look like Spiraling Spirals.

Later the spirals where placed in a Medicine Wheel and connected to Animals (Eagle, Bull). The same animals appear in the Medieval Cathedrals but now they are related to the Apostles. Even the medicine wheel (a labyrinth) can be found there.

If you walk this wheel in the Cathedral it will point you to all the important stories that are told. Just like the Medicine Wheel the Cathedrals (build by the (Free) Masons) where an educational tool to tell about the Spiral of Life. Suddenly I saw the big picture.

Every step in the Cycle was nothing but a new way to show the “same thing” again and again. The spiralling spiral came back all the time but on a different level.

What happened around 550 BC?

At that time an Innovation in Religion came into the World. This innovation can be summarized by the famous statement of Socrate Know Thyself. The same statement can be found in the Gospel of Thomas and is also the central theme of the teachings of the Buddha. The Gospel of Thomas is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a Gnostic Library of the Essenes, dated 50 BC.

Jesus said: Whoever knows the All but fails to know himself lacks everything . . . But the Kingdom is within you and it is without you. If you will know yourselves, then you will be known and you will know that you are the sons of the Living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty and you are poverty“.

Boeddha became an Inspiration in the East. Socrate and Jezus were killed. From that time on an enormous amount of people were killed in the West when they wanted to Know Themselves, find the Whole in their Inner World.

They could not experience the Roman Religion through A System. Know Thyself was a huge threat to the Rulers of Western Civilization. Constantine simply took over Christianity to preserve the power and made it into a Roman System. A system of Laws to Obey. He practiced the old Roman trick of Divide and Conquer to save his Empire.

Between 1450 and 1700, the Renaissance, the tides started to turn. It took another 250 years (1950) before the people in Europe started to find their own Identity again. We are now in the Stage of Individuality of the Cycle and are slowly entering the state of Empathy. It shows itself in the many attempts to create Networks (Communities). The Internet is one of the major Western technological inventions to support this.

The Cycles of East and West (and North and South) are coming together. The Eastern Cultures embrace Western Culture and the Western Culture embraces Eastern Culture. We can create Harmony by a fuse of everything the Human Race has Learnt when a new cycle started around 550 BC.

The Cycle of The Earth is almost at The Breaking Point. According to many environmental scientists we will soon experience a very fast Reorganization on the Level of Earth. The long term cycle of Earth is restoring itself.

Not only Earth will restore itself. The original Spirituality of the civilization of MU, will be restored. An ancient Bhuddist prophesy speaks of the darkest hour of the Dark Age, when the rivers of materialism burst their banks, and plague, famine, greed and warefare beset desperate people everywhere.

That Dark Age will soon end and the new Golden Age will appear. Many living buddhas are now here to bring the precious healing Dharma to anyone ready to receive it.

The Wordwide Carnival: A Short Introduction into the World of Mikhail Bakhtin

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

The work of Bakhtin was disclosed to me by Will McWhinney. He used Bahktin in one of the many versions of his never published book Grammars of Engagement.

The discovery of Bahktin started with a book about Bahktin by Saul Morson & Caryl Emerson. Later I also read many other books and articles like “The dialogical imagination”, “Towards a philosophy of the act”, “Discourse in the Novel”, “Rabelais and His World”, “Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics” and “Speech Genres and Other Late Essays”.

Bahktin invented the term Chronotope, “The place where the knots of narrative are tied” or “the intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature“.

A Chronotope is a Topological Concept

knotSpace (Place) and Time (the narrative) are connected by a Knot. A knot is a complicated twist in a rope. The twist is needed when you want to close a system in itself. The simplest topological structure that visualizes twisted space/time is the Moebius Ring.

The Chronotope is the Centre out of which every narrative that we are able to tell is enfolding and unfolding. It produces narratives and absorbs narratives. Bahktin places Folk-Lore, Myth, the Language of the People, in the Centre.

Every narrative contains a twist, a moment where the expansion of the beginning turns to the contraction of the end. It is the moment where the narrative is balanced. The reader holds his breath. It is also the moment where the narrative is aware of itself. It observes the whole.

Sometimes the twist is in the end. You know “who done it”. Sometimes the narrative starts with the twist. There are even narratives without a twist. You know all the time what will happen.

Scientists don’t realize that a scientific article is also a narrative. They use citation to prove they are telling a true story. Funny enough scientific citation has created the Internet. A hypertext is nothing but a citation-structure.

Old narratives produce new narratives. This is always accomplished by Citation. “The word in language is half someone else’s. It becomes “one’s own” only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language. . . but rather it exists in other people’s mouths, in other people’s contexts, serving other people’s intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one’s own“”. The cursive sentence between brackets is a citation of Bahktin.

New narratives also oppose old narratives. They are Dialogic. “The entire life of language, in any area of its use . . . is permeated with dialogic relationships“.

Dialogues are converging (Socratic dialogue), diverging and conflicting (Menippian Dialogue) or one sided (the Magisterial Monologue). “Thus at any given moment of its historical existence, language is heteroglot from top to bottom: it represents the co-existence of socio-ideological contradictions between the present and the past, between differing epochs of the past, between different socio-ideological groups in the present, between tendencies, schools, circles and so forth

The Centre generates new narratives all the time. They are a mix of the old and the new. The centre is the Centrifugal Force and this force is powered by Contradiction.

Roller_CoasterThe Institutions, the Ruling Power, are constantly trying to standardize (the Centripetal force). They formulate rules and try to transform the dialogue into a monologue.

The centripetal and the centrifugal force create a huge tension. This tension moves the Wheel of Creation. The wheel always moves through the stages of Order and Chaos. In the middle of the Tornado of Creation is the Centre, the Chronotope. In the centre you will always find rest and inspiration.

The monologue (the magisterial dialogue) is the dialogue of the Magister, the scientist, the manager, the judge, the physician and the teacher. They use science, the law, books or other Magisters to enforce their power. By formulating rules they try to destroy the creative centre (the context).

A context is potentially unfinalized; a code must be finalized. A code is only a technical means of transmitting information; it does not have cognitive, creative significance. Code is deliberately killed context“.

At this moment the Centripetal force is implemented in the Search Engine. Narratives are found by typing codes. This makes it very difficult to find a context. Companies like Google are manipulating the coding. They are paid by the Centripetal Force of the Commercial Companies.

The centrifugal force is never at rest. It always generates new alternatives. The creation of new literature is not bounded by rules. Every time a new structure is defined the Centre starts to play with the rules and generates a new combination. The Centre is not only combining rules it even invents new rules. The Centre is the inventor of new Games to Play.

Producing literature is a process of spiralling out. It follows a cycle but at a certain point in time a new Centre appears and the Cycle starts a new process of Folk-lore. The new centre is always connected to the old Centre. New myths and new fairy tales are created that are a representation of the Spirit of the Time.

Every cycle is governed by a Clock. The periodicity of the Clocks is determinated by the number five. It runs at a frequency of 1250, 250, 50, 10 or 2 years. There are frequencies that are moving faster (the Atom) and much slower (the Universe).

I will tell the Tale of Bahktin on the level of the Cycle of Culture (1250 years, 250 years per stage).

HunsBetween 450 and 700 the Roman Empire is destroyed by the Huns. It is the time of the Great Deportations. People out of Asia move to the West. They are the ancestors of the Ostrogotes, the Visigotes, the Franks, the Gauls, the Germans and the Celts. 1250 years later they are integrated in what we now call Europe. Between 700 and 2000 the Europeans explore and conquer the World.

Around 1200 the new powers have created many Kingdoms and have organized the Crusades to conquer the Holy Land. To show their power they build the Cathedrals. The Cathedrals are the instrument of the Education of the Masses. The old folk-lore is transformed to the new of the Christian Faith. The old-folklore is not destroyed. Many symbols and important events are preserved. They are cited. The transition of the Sun in Winter is transformed in Christmas. The new apostles are connected to the old animals of the old Wheel of Fortune.

Tristan IsoldeBetween 1200 and 1450 the Chronotope of the Greek Romance (Tristan and Isolde, Arthur and The Grail) appears. It is the Chronotope of Being and Destiny. “There are a lot of suddenly’s”. Everything happens. The actor in this Chronotope is without identity. He is tested by destiny. When he has passed the test he is not changed. There is no time and space. Time (“adventure-time”) is reversible. The actors are public figures and space is public space. In the narratives we are able to see and hear everything.

We are in the Middle Ages. In the outside world destiny is also playing its evil game. Western Civilization is almost destroyed by the plague, feminine and wars between the Kingdoms. Even the Christian Empire of Rome is divided by a schism (Byzantium). At the end only a few Kingdoms survive. These Kings become Emperors. They represent God on Earth.

copernicusThis (1450-1700) is the time of the Chronotope of the Adventure. It is the Chronotope of Becoming. The identity of the actor is transforming. He is responsible for his own actions. Life is full of turning points (twists). The actor wants to take control of the outside world. Space becomes “private space”.

To give the reader insight in what is happening the Observer is introduced. He is a voyeur, a prostitute, a rambler, a rover, a tramp, a spy, a servant or an animal. The observer is not influencing the story at all. He is just watching. Objectivity is also introduced in space (court).

In the outside world we are in the Time of Renaissance (the Era of Discovery). It is the time of new inventions in Science (Copernicus), Art (Leonard Da Vinci) and Religion (Reformation, Luther, Calvin). The Bible is translated in the language of the people. It is also the time of the Great Explorations (Columbus) of the world outside the West. Western Culture starts his quest to control Nature and eventually the World.

munchThe next Chronotope is the Biography (1700-1950), the praise of a public figure who has accomplished something in life. We are moving from the outside world to the inside world of the actor.

Inner space is closed. “This offers a new relationship to one’s own self, one’s own particular “I”- with no witnesses, without any concessions to the voice of a “third person“.

Outside events affect the inner world. The actor is not showing this. In the outside world the actor is judged by his actions and not by his inner space (his essence). “The essence of man is realized not by his condition but by his activity“.

To give the reader a view on the inner space the outsider is introduced. His outside actions are governed by a distorted inner space. The outsider (the fool, the eccentric) acts as a reference.

The actor is a pretender. He is constantly in doubt, grumbling, cynical and sarcastic. He is also passive. He is watching from a distance. Everything is Relative (Bahktin was a fan of Einstein). The only time when the actor is able to show himself is at the carnival. During this short period he is allowed to choose his own mask.

This the time of the Industrial Revolution. It is the era of mechanization. It starts with the invention of the Mill and the Factory. It ends with the mechanized Consumer watching Television.

star warsStarting in 1950 we are again in the phase of Folk-lore. Western Civilization is moving to a new Centre, Earth.

New myths and legends will be created. They have to be based on all the tales, myths and legends that are available on Earth. Some of them will be a citation. Others will be an opposition.

All kinds of dialogues will take and have to take place. We will experience many conflicts (Mennipian Dialogue). We will also have to listen and ask questions to understand the other cultures (Socratic Dialogue). We have to stop our Western Magisterial Monologue.

In the beginning it will be a Heteroglossia (a many voicedness), a very complicated Knot we have to untie. When we have found the tread we will be able to weave a new web of narratives that will start the phase of the Greek Romance again.

Between now and 2100 “We must make the new by our own effort”.“We have to face problems of reality and human potential, problems of freedom and necessity, and the problem of creative initiative“. We have to become persons “who emerge along with the world and reflect the historical emergence of the world itself”.

In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding — in time, in space, in culture. . . . Our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space and because they are others

We have to write our own Novel. “There is no causality in novels, no genesis, no explanations based on the past, on the influences of the environment or of upbringing and so forth. Every act a character commits is in the present, and in this sense is not predetermined”.

We have to act without hesitation and leave history behind. There is no experience we can reuse. The future is unfinalized (open).

The Magisters are not able to tell us what to do. They are out of tricks. We have to put off our own masks and take responsibility for what we are doing. “There is no alibi for being”. We have to stop pretending and use citations of others to prove we are right.

carnival of fools

We are now part of the Worldwide Carnival of Fools. Choose your mask out of the many masks that are available all over the world. Listen to the stories of other cultures and be surprised about the beauty and the experience they are containing. Give the Fools and the Eccentrics, the Outsiders, a chance to help you.


It will be fun.

I want to close with a citation of Paul Feyerabend (Killing Time (1995)): “People, intellectuals especially, seem unable to be content with a little more freedom, a little more happiness, a little more light. Perceiving a small advantage, they seize it, circumscribe it, nail it down, and in this way prepare a New Age of ignorance, darkness and slavery. It is rather surprising that there are still people who want to help others for personal reasons, because they are kindhearted and because they have not been intimidated by principles. It is even more surprising that some of the people can work in institutions despite the greed, the incompetence, the power struggles that seem to surround the noblest cause.”

Do you want to know more about Feyerabend read The Act of Creation: About Fusion and Con-fusion


About the Cathedrals

About the Fool in African Myths

About Fools, Pyramids and Bubbles

Why Fools always Lose

About Very Long Cycles

About the Cycle of Culture