When Jeanne and I lived in Jamaica, back in ’79, our dear and modest spear-fisherman friend, Baba, introduced us to his favorite brew: fish head soup. He explained, quite simply, that in observing fish on his many voyages into the ocean he noticed that it was always the head that led. To him it was common sense to nourish oneself from the most intelligent part of the fish. Though I was never able to actually eat the brains and eyes myself, I never forgot his simple wisdom.
Elmer Green suggests that humankind is the neocortex of the Earth, the brain, now responsible for leadership of the planet. It all began with the awakening of consciousness and the power to choose, outside Eden’s garden. Since then, humankind has, with both delight and greed, manipulated the matter of Gaia, the fruit of the Earth, in both wondrous and bizarre ways. As the brain of this planet, our leadership is still in its infancy, less intelligent than the advanced wisdom of the lowly fish that does not defy the laws of nature to its own peril.
Humanity, in its inflation, dissociated from its true responsibility to lead the planet in a healthy way, floats in greed and self-righteousness while the planet suffers great imbalance. If humanity is the cortex then the rest of the planet is the limbic system, nature in its most primitive, which is clearly unleashing its own instinctive offensive in an effort to reeducate its cortex as to the needs of the whole interdependent planet.
The utter pervasiveness of rampant sexual abuse throughout the planet in its most sacred institutions—family, government and spiritual houses—is, at its core, flagrant evidence of humanity’s disowned instinctive nature, a rabid wolf preying upon the innocent. Humanity, which has collectively disowned its animal nature, is subject to the ravages of that animal, who, abandoned in the darkness without guidance and care, becomes the Minotaur in the labyrinth of the human subconscious that psychopathically consumes its visitors.
Sexual instinct is not the culprit; it’s the diseased human psyche that views itself a superior mental being, without any recognition of its fundamental animal self, that is the culprit. The disowned animal self, left in the darkness without acknowledgement, connection, and guidance, is indeed a ferocious, predatory creature.
We see another sign of the reaction of disregarded nature in ISIS, the current threat to civilization in the Middle East. Isis, in another context, is actually the Egyptian Goddess of Rebirth and a powerful symbol of empowered femininity. Such an archetypal goddess of nature has now unleashed her fury in a storm of violence to decapitate modern civilization. Gaia herself is unleashing earthquakes, volcanoes, and devastating environmental changes that are delivering severe blows to humankind’s mental disregard of her needs.
We are indeed in the midst of major transition. Meanwhile, humankind is challenged to make an evolutionary leap beyond greed to interdependence, wherein lies its only hope of survival. When I ask the I Ching how best to transit through this turbulent time of transformation, I am given hexagram #15: Modesty.
In Modesty, the mountain finds itself beneath the Earth. The mountain, at its summit, is the place of the spirit’s facsimile ruler on earth, the ego, whose job it is to dispense blessings downward; that is, to bring spirit into the body. The Earth is the lowest spiritual place, hence to position the mountain beneath the earth is an extreme image of modesty or humility.
To be modest, the ego must be utterly humble, abandon its greedy or separatist alienated causes and serve the true needs of the body, of humanity, and Gaia at large. “It is the law of heaven to make fullness empty and to make full what is modest…” states the I Ching.
As Gaia, Isis, disowned instincts, and talking heads tear apart that which has governed, a truly modest ego dedicated to compassionately serving the true needs of the full self, and the world, will be filled with all it needs, with abundance, to distribute as truly needed in our rapidly evolving world.
The storms now upon us will tear down that which clings to its fullness and make full that which is empty. Modesty is the ticket to life in our radically transforming world. It is both the individual and world ego corrective.
May we become the modest cortex that, in its emptiness, is filled with the golden light of enlightenment that ushers in our reformed world. And may we not have to eat fish heads to get there!
In all modesty,