Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Eye of God and the A.I.G. Bonuses

Iz ow sum peepl cyaan si wat clock a straik?

Choosing at random: the bee colonies are breaking down and (so?) the food supplies are dwindling; the polar ice is melting; the permafrost is damaged beyond mending; the weather has turned wild and unpredictable, so we have impossibly powerful hurricanes and tornadoes creating unprecedented devastation; the jet streams from aircraft and sundry other carbon exhalations have over-heated the atmosphere; and, to top it all, the world economy has been plunged into ruin by a very small group of enormously greedy people, so that individuals have lost their spouses, families, homes, jobs, businesses, savings, indeed, their lives, in some cases. Meanwhile, the folks at AIG are proceeding as if it’s business as usual, paying out, and accepting, large bonuses, and that from public monies?

To repeat: how is it that some people can’t see [or hear] what [hour the] clock is striking, can’t wake up and smell the excrement, can’t grasp that we are inter Scylla Charibdysque, or, in English, between the Devil and the deep blue sea? (We are way, way out of rock and hard place territory, here! The high frights of myth and the base horrors of slavery can probably, however, serve our purposes.)

There have been some pictures, recently circulating on the internet, of God’s Eye. Go here: http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_eye_of_god.htm
According to Urban Legends, the photo, or composite of photos, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, actually depicts the so-called Helix Nebula. Astronomers describe the Nebula as "a trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases." At its center is a dying star that has ejected masses of dust and gas to form tentacle-like filaments stretching toward an outer rim composed of the same material. Our own sun may look like this in several billion years. (It matters not to me that it’s a blue eye. The colour may well change in due course. It’s just a pretty amazing image floating out there.)

Also, interestingly enough, in a book called The World’s Eye (University of Kentucky Press, 1982), Albert Potts informs us that the Huichol Indians in a remote spot in the southern Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico have for centuries been making sikuli or eyes, ritual objects made of thread. It was believed that the eyes of the gods looked out through the middle of the woven ‘cross’ of an eye. You make sikuli by winding a web of ever expanding threads around two crossed sticks. The objects express a prayer that the eye of god or the gods would rest, benignly, one supposes, upon the supplicant. Anthropologist Carl Lumholz encountered these artifacts on a visit between 1895 and 1898. In time, the sikuli, as ojo de dios, spread throughout Latin America and into North America and the Caribbean. The Aymara in Bolivia and the Hopi and Dineh (Navajo) in North America, among others, now share the tradition. Craftspeople create elaborate ojos de dios. Kids make them in art class. I can remember making ojos de dios myself, ages ago.

Potts tells us, though, that the sikuli phenomenon is not limited to Latin America; rather, it is a worldwide one. Anthropologists elsewhere know the eye as a thread cross or Fadenkreuz. There are also variations known as Fadenstern or thread stars. And they have been around for a long time. There is evidence that they existed in Latin America before A.D. 500; eyes of a similar rhomboid shape appear on pottery in Troy and the Middle East thousands of years before Christ.

So what do the ojo de dios, the Fadenkreuz and the God’s Eye image as depicted in the Hubble polyglot photo have to do with big bonuses being paid out by AIG to already super rich people? Probably nothing at all. Or maybe, just maybe, in the spirit of re-associating sensibilities, or, as Lauryn Hill put it, because “everything is everything,” if primitive peoples have known for millennia that the Eye of God is watching them, wouldn’t you think that these super-technocrats who rule in the cyberage ought to have got the message?

As everybody and him granny have a way to say, “God is not bedridden and him not asleep.” (Note: ojos de dios do not depict closed eyes.)

Iz jus dat fe Im taim langa dan roup.


Jdid said...

some people live in their own world so out of focus with the rest of us that them eyes look too blurry to them to see properly.
Those AIG people have no shame, no scruples and apparently no sense but alas nuff people in this world like that. every man jack for himself and too bad for the rest of y'all, taxpayers funds or not.

Rethabile said...

Melting ice caps, unforgiving hurricanes and cyclones, a shot ozone layer, the last kicks of a dying forest (the world's lungs), the encroaching desert, AIDS on the loose (Hi, Benedict!), this economic crisis, the poverty of those who have no right being po' -- and I don't think that's all that is wrong with us...

Yet, as you say, a bunch of rich folks, who have a lot to do with all or most of the above, find it appropriate to open champagne and hand each other bonus envelopes.

I have no words to describe how that makes me feel. But I certainly pray that "God is not bedridden and him not asleep."

FSJL said...

The larger problem is that when things go well we tend not to see the accumulation of little issues that are going to come together and smite us when things go badly. Right now, things are starting, just starting, to go very badly. If, for example, you read the piece in April's issue of Vanity Fair on Iceland (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/04/iceland200904), you'll get a good idea of what happens when a small country (and Iceland, though it's not a tiny little island, has a population that's about that of Barbados and Nevis combined) decides to play in the big leagues. An has no clue what it's doing, even though it has a highly-educated, highly-literate population.

If you look at my blogspot (http://stanmorehill.blogspot.com) you'll note John Maxwell's continuing alarm at the ways in which Jamaican governments over the years -- PNP and JLP alike -- have stripped the country bare in pursuit of short-term gain, without a single thought for the tiny piece of earth on which the 2.7 million Jamaicans who live on the island inhabit (not to mention all the other species of life that combine to make the island beautiful, or, in a growing number of cases, used to combine -- I wonder if there are any peadoves left, for example).

"Eye of God" or no "Eye of God" -- and Frazer makes a persuasive argument in The Golden Bough that the phrase means the sun -- we have a responsibility to each other and to all life on this little ball of rock and water. We are supposed to keep it.

clarabella said...

Hi jdid! How you do? Seems like a long time! Yessir. You are quite right. Maybe is TV bring dem up, so dem no have no shame! Is tink dem tink say dem can just gwaan so, and it nah go ave no consequence? Me no tink a so it go, for time longer dan rope, as Miss Lou would say when she was here. Enjoy de warming weather and tanks for stoppin by. 1Love

clarabella said...
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clarabella said...

Hi Rethabile: How are you? Glad to have you stop in. You sum it up really well. Between ostensibly honest folks like these (after all, the bonuses were in their contracts!) and tiefin men like the one named Madoff, the world is in a tailspin, and recovery seems like a tiny ever-diminishing spot on the horizon. Sometimes I think this kind of selfishness must be the function of a very special kind of higher-order ignorance!!! As for God not being asleep, I have no choice but to believe both that he exists and that he’s wide awake. To not do so would elicit from me behaviours that I daren't contemplate. Be glad for spring, which is already perhaps in your part of the world? Take good care.

clarabella said...

Fragano: I do read John Maxwell, and often on stanmore hill, which is one of the links on this blog. I also read Diana Mac and hear from efigs. I know a bit about the Iceland trouble too, something of concern to their relatives in Manitoba who are hoping to help do something about it. As for us not noticing the accumulation of little things going badly when things are going well, I must ask, when things are going well for whom? And you don't believe that I believe that big blue eye is God's, do you? Other than insofar as everything is his/hers? I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments on the environment. As ever, thanks for stopping by and be well!

FSJL said...

I'm not going to argue with Sir James Frazer, Pam. Nor with the Incas. For that matter, I wouldn't want to pick an argument with Huitzilopochtli!