Bearers of Light, Masters of Death: a poetical summary of the ancient philosophy of industry and civilization

What is the light that lights the lights?  What is the power which turns on our machines, which hums through our power lines?  What is it which we call energy in this modern landscape, where does it come from?

Fire.  Wood.  The life of the tree, its energy, the sunlight which gave it strength released in flame.  The tree’s life is sunlight, wood is grown by sunlight, fire is sunlight.  The earth, the earth is the ashes of the wood.  The seasons are the cycles of the earth, the seasons are the growth rings of the wood.  The breath of the wind are its leaves, the air that gives life to the smallest mouse and the greatest buffalo.  The rains are its sap reaching skyward.  The flowers, fruits, and seeds are promises that life goes on, that the seasons go on, that the heavens and earth endure forever.  The flame is sunlight.

They say that man invented fire, but fire was always there.  Man simply unlocked the key to fire, and ever since the obsession with mastering the forces of nature has driven the conquest of the earth.  This urge is considered holy, sacrosanct, and innate.  It is called our intelligence, our destiny, our responsibility and our right.  To control.  To carry the flame.

“Lucifer” means “Light Bearer.”  He tempted Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge.  That got us kicked out of paradise.  Prometheus stole fire from the gods.  He was a thief.  He came bearing light to humanity, and was punished by having his liver eaten eternally by birds of prey.

The liver of the earth.  That’s what the Navajo call the coal which the Peabody Corporation is mining from their land.  The liver cleanses, removes toxins, makes pure.  Coal bears light, powers cities, drives the machine of industry.  It is stolen from the earth.  It is our destiny, they say.  Our responsibility.  The earth is our mother.  We are the earth.  They eat their own liver.  They carry the light.

The rivers are dammed.  The dams make light.  The salmon are gone, their spirit is locked behind the dam.  Their spirit makes light, engineers hold the key.  The rivers, the rain, is the blood of our ancestors.  The blood of our ancestors shines upon dirty, lonely webs of streets, where the cold stone refuses flowers, and nothing grows, but the light shines forth.

The forests are cut.  Their flames make light.  The salmon are gone, the cedars are fewer, the bluejays and foxes and mountain lions are scarce and hungry.  There is a famine.  The forests are light.

The atom is split.  From its cosmic destruction, shines light.  The power is poison, it disfigures our children, it promises war, it gives us cancer.  The incorruptible essence of our universe is demolished, and forth comes light.

The stars are hidden behind a cloud of sickly light.  The city exhales a glow that lights the way forward, to a land where nothing is free, where there is no escape from fences or highways, and yet a dandelion.

The lightning is gone.  When is the last time a storm has rolled across this desert bearing tremendous flashes of light?  The city remains, leeching light from all around, like a stone thunderstorm, a graveyard of stars.  But there is no life, the rivers are dammed, and nothing is renewed.  The forests are cut, and nothing grows.  To what end does this light shine?  To the end of a gun, to the end of a quiet hall, to the end of a dirty street, to the end of a prison.  We are the masters.

Lucifer, the light bearer.  Prometheus, the light bearer.  Industry, military, science, the bearers of light.  The light they bear is death.  Death of the rivers, death of the forests, death of the earth.  And yet they call it knowledge.  They call it destiny.

The earth is full of energy.  The sun is full of life.  The trees make the air good to breathe, the plants share their life with all living things.  The ancient ones are here, beneath us.  Remember.  The seeds are here beneath us.  Remember.  They are the light.  Prometheus was a theif.  What lasts forever is truth.  What is stolen for power is knowledge.  The tree of life.  The tree of knowledge.  Some have never left Eden.  The light is eternal.  It is love and life.  The thieves will perish.  Their time is coming.  They cannot break the circle.

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One thought on “Bearers of Light, Masters of Death: a poetical summary of the ancient philosophy of industry and civilization

  1. The thought and philosophy of life I love it (I’ m against destruction of the world) but the mixed with the that killed the thought, you can put it in another forum I am ok. With that.

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