Sunday, November 19, 2006

Note: With the turning of events in the last two weeks; Dem House & Senate & Jim Webb in particular as the avatar of the new paradigm . . . the fall of Rumsfeld and the complete capitulation of the Bush admin RE Iraq, we have reached the classic 60-year turning. I highly recommend William Strauss and Neil Howe’s book, The Fourth Turning, and furthermore Spengler and Arnold Toynbee, to anyone interested in diagnosis. I however, have promised wife & family & self that I would go to field and sheep now in preparation of the next season. But would like to pass on a few notes on Sunday morning.

Baker’s Council of Elders: I was there at the beginning of the idea of Council of Elders. Four bright and wonderful students at Wake Forest University came up with the idea during the killings in Rwanda and Bosnia, in hope of finding a solution to the problem by inviting world leaders from all fields to discuss the matter in a public forum. They coined the term Council of Elders, taking it from the Native American. Among the “Elders” the students invited the Dalai Lama, Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Spielberg, Maya Angelou, Michael Gorbachev and a dozen or so others I cannot recall. The student event failed, but the idea caught on with The Gorbachev Institute which held a similar event called “The State of the World” that same year. They continued with the phrase Council of Elders, and the Gorbachev initiative caught on at the UN which continued it for years thereafter. Shortly before his death, George Kennan, the great ambassador, took up the idea of Council of Elders and proposed that it become a permanent part of the American system of governance.

Now, for the first time, as far as I can see, Secretary Baker (here with Lee Hamilton) has done just that. His Iraq panel is indeed a Council of Elders, exactly what the students had in mind I would guess when they envisioned an Elder in the Indian tradition – wise beyond one’s own work, respected by all, non-divisive, non- partisan; committed to the peaceful flow of time through the generations. Some are famous, some are not. All are respected. Four Dems, four Repubs. Eight is the magic number here. For those viewers of Lost; it is the BaGua; the universe is eight; three Yang, three Yin, and to each with a Celestial Offspring of the opposite. The anticipated wait for the Baker’s Panel illustrates its original authority. It comes from nature. It is a Higher Force than Senate or the Supreme Court and one cannot advance to it by strategy. It is the ineffable force of wisdom in the Universe. I hope the Baker Panel becomes a permanent informal part of the American condition; like the Jedi Council, changing its players over the ages but giving balance and flow to the dangerous vicissitudes of change – if gives the country link to conditions past and conditions ahead. John Parker, now director of Good Work in North Carolina, was the leader of the student group which came up with the idea of Council of Elders in the beginning.

The Three Ones – As suggest in Spengler, Toynbee and in The Fourth Turning, groups form organic patterns. Is often described, as it was by Senator Allen these past weeks, that there is a season for all things, as per Ecclesiastes. “The pendulum swings . . .” etc. In the crisis in Iraq, primarily a crisis in American authority first, and the tragic disaster which sprang from it evolved from it, three individuals arose in direct response to the crisis: Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Arnold Schwarzenegger (This is analogous to the three gods in Hinduism; the god of Creation (Vishnu), the god of Destruction (Shiva) and the god between them which binds them together (Brahma) – the binary code is an approximation of this; there are positive numbers (Creation) and there are negative numbers (Destruction) and the number which holds them together: 0 (Zen). The Three Celestial Ones, as the Yang deities are known in Taoism are hidden in every change. Howard Dean looks back but too far, too fast - a desire to run away perhaps; Arnold looks forward but too far, too fast - a desire to get big perahps. General Clark is Zen (0), uniting the two: He will be the Tao stone of the ascending Democrats; the new force which will rise in the Fourth Turning as the fourth post-war generation Awakens. We see it now still in college and high school, as Harvard and Princeton graduates volunteer for the military (as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s son has and Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt's son). Here in New Hampshire my sons play with their high school band at Veterans Day events. In past years it has been all WW II veterans, dwindling with age. They even enlisted the cub scouts to march behind them last year because no other veterans did. This year there are four newly minted Marines who graduated with my son from high school two years ago, marching at the front of the parade. This is the Fourth Turning.

The Millennium is here. TV shows like Lost and Heros bring a dramatic change to the culture and leave behind European nihilism (still flourishing like potted plants at the universities). Heroes seems derived from the X Men, the X Men from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Can be best understood by Jung’s study of the archetypes (“ . . . what used to be called gods,” he said in his introductory essay in his essay, UFOs: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky.) We are not all equal. We are not in the sky anymore either. We have returning to earth. “By returning and rest we shall be saved . . .” – from the old, contraband, Book of Common Prayer. This is the fourth generation as well.