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The Trickster in Equilibrium

Pre-Columbian Concept Translated to Modern

By Ronald Thomas West

© Copyright 2019

Unpublished draft manuscript. This work may be reproduced for educational & research purposes. For profit & mass paper media redistribution prohibited.

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“This idea that everything in the universe is alive, and that the universe itself is alive, is knowledge as useful as anything that Western science has discovered or hypothesized. When understood and made operative by serious and sensitive individuals, it is as reliable a means of making predictions as anything suggested by mathematical formulas or projected by computer programs. There are, however, substantial differences in the manner in which predictions are made. Because the universe is alive, there is a choice for all things and the future is always indeterminate.

“Consequently, predictions are based on the knowledge of the “character” of an entity. Statements about how an entity will behave have almost the same probabilities as the educated speculations made at the subatomic level in physics.

“Here the Indian knowledge has an edge over the Western scientific knowledge. A truly wise and gifted individual can appear to “cause” things to happen because that person can participate in the emerging event in a way that rarely occurs in Western science. Thus it is that people are said to have “powers,” which is another way of saying that their understanding of natural process and their ability to enter into events are highly developed and sophisticated.” -Vine Deloria Jr, Spirit and Reason

What is critically missing from Vine Deloria’s otherwise incomparably excellent intellectual grasp of contrasting systems of thought, and resultant reporting, is the role ‘individuation’ (separation, actually) plays in the Western psyche. When Deloria goes on to claim a strong individual identity is required to access the old indigenous knowledge, he entirely misses this phenomenal difference of individuation versus integration:

“The [Native American philosophy of a] living universe requires mutual respect among its members, and this suggests that a strong sense of individual identity and self is a dominant characteristic of the world as we know it”

This is a serious error. In the pre-Columbian (pre-Western educated) indigenous psyche, there is no split or creation of an individual awareness separate from the actual consciousness of the surrounding environment, consistent with Quantum theorist Bernard d’Espagnant’s observation opposed to Plato:

“The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment”

It is this single misapprehension of Western individuation of the psyche or psychological process (separation, actually) that prevents the modern mentality achieving the otherwise astute observation of Deloria concerning the ancient ability:

“A truly wise and gifted individual can appear to “cause” things to happen because that person can participate in the emerging event in a way that rarely occurs in Western science. Thus it is that people are said to have “powers,” which is another way of saying that their understanding of natural process and their ability to enter into events are highly developed and sophisticated”

In fact it should be mentioned here this ability is a much sought after knowledge by the several intelligence agencies that have sunk many millions of dollars into entirely futile efforts.

Deloria’s mistake is perfectly understandable as he had been educated in the Western system and it’s [his pre-law degree] theological seminary, his psyche, however opposed to attitudes of science, nevertheless had been shaped to a serious degree of Western; reflected in his seduction by Plato’s “Moral Universe” sans grasp of the deep problems with Plato’s “objectivity.”

Native survival habits, for instance the hunt and more, could easily misconstrued as ‘objective’ in a Western sense but this is actually something else. Follows are some illustrations:

The ancient native concept translated as ‘shadow’ is the ‘dynamic’ portal from which you are observed by the world of ‘spirit’ (nature’s omnipresent awareness or consciousness), in a case where self-recognition is not ego-based but environmentally substantiated within a greater context; where all surroundings are social. How you could experience this from this side (in non-individuated sense, as part of process), example given, where there is a wild plum tree in full blossom alive with honey bees; you don’t see or differentiate the bees or parts of the tree (blossoms) separately but rather first instinct understands the tree as alive with the sound of the bees, all as integrated single organism. This is information delivered via the ‘portal.’

You also instinctively know this is a shifting phenomenon of process that is constantly in motion and you are in a place of moving process. In other words, your shadow is a shifting or mutating awareness attending oneself or one’s presence, constantly feeding one information. How you would know you are seen from the ‘other side’ (in same non-individuated sense or as integrated to process), example given, let’s say you are hunting and as a hunter you understand it is what will be offered to you is what you are allowed to take; also it is spring and you shouldn’t take the doe carrying a young one. The mule deer herd senses your presence and begins to move away but a large doe stands still and offers herself. You take her because you understand she has offered herself; and discover she is barren. This is knowing both; how to read and how to write. It is a form of literacy, sans pen & paper. The doe knew the herd’s best outcome was giving herself up, you read that, and taking her, you wrote the best outcome for all concerned; your people are fed and the mule deer community kept it’s future in a higher state than if you’d taken any of the other deer.

Then, stepping up a level, let’s say because you are of the old indigenous mental construction and you know how to pray through the trees, while traveling, you come to a Y in the road. To now, you only know there is a way through the forest you are traversing, but you have no map and no detailed instruction. Because you know how to pray through the trees, the environment (which is sentient, intelligent, and social) recognizes, respects, and anticipates your thought when you send it out – “which way” – and a large bird of prey drops out of a tree and flies down right fork in the road, your questions are responsibly answered along this and other lines, with 100% accuracy, throughout the trip. This is because indigenous mentality can repeat this read of the environment with fluency and confidence, whether it is a bird calls in the precise moment, or noticing a feature resembling a face in a rock outcropping (psychosis to the Platonic mentality), even a puff of breeze moving leaves on an otherwise still day and more, all matched to a passive (receptive) thought process open to understanding the environment speaks to you. Western thought, on the other hand, is stuck in ‘objective’ interpretations; it is ‘illiterate’ and cannot read this environment.

How is it this ‘portal’ of understanding translates as your shadow?

This interactive understanding is an awareness that moves with you, coordinated with your thought process in receptive mode, except in case where you’ve been knocked out of alignment with your ‘portal’, in which case it can be said you’ve ‘lost your shadow’, a serious and even life threatening circumstance; with your loss of ability to ‘read’ surrounding environment. This ‘portal’ that follows (or precedes or surrounds) oneself is a critical component of essence or being in context of survival.

If you cannot ‘read’, you cannot take what is offered, as you cannot take what you cannot see and you’ve become out-of-sync. As well, because your surrounding environment is sentient and aware, you may easily become the environment’s ‘offering’ for lack of this ability to read; this loss of yourself is recognized by the greater social awareness (consciousness in your natural surroundings.) In this case, you easily become the surprised kill. This last is akin to the wolf identifying and taking the weak of the herd. They ‘know’ because they have ‘shadow’ or portal of understanding as well. When the environment, which is sentient, aware and social, knows you are out-of-sync, it’s only a matter of time and you will be taken.

This is not a “Moral Universe” in any sense of Western. It is unforgiving and this unforgiving core principle is understood in the indigenous instruction “You have to correct your mistakes.” From a Western, moral standpoint, it would have been construed to be inhumane; for instance one wonders how Deloria and the “Moral Universe” would have handled the philosophical dilemma that would arise from the Amskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet) oral history where a small band leader was caught in circumstance of having to conceal his group from a much larger, hostile party. There was a restless infant. To prevent the child’s cries giving up their location, the chief took the infant and smothered it with his hand over face; acting responsibly without hesitation, there was no fear, guilt or shame in the act – only the mistake of having been caught in a group endangering circumstance. This is not a ‘right versus wrong’ mindset, rather it is a ‘what works versus what does not work’ mentality. There is no moral judgement involved. Is that to say the band chief didn’t feel remorse? No, he probably, when privacy allowed, grieved from the belly with howls the Western people not only do not experience, but flee from when it might (the rare occasion) be encountered.

How this system of awareness came to be related to early ‘frontier’ photography and the concept of ‘shadow stealing’ is actually quite simple; this was era entire native nations had been knocked out of alignment with their natural social environment (interactive nature.) With the Europeans came a severe damage to this world of perception, with severe disease related losses, ecological damage and the disappearing of wildlife, together with attending psychological impact, almost nothing worked as it had.

The static ‘capture’ of image (photography) easily fit the concept of lost shadow, as it must have looked as one would imagine nature were to perceive the self, where previous to western culture, one might only behold in reflective water. However reflection in the water did not threaten; because it did not seize and keep the image. In a world without concept of coincidence, it could not be construed as anything other than, with the whites’ arrival, and the near simultaneous loss of the interactive ‘literacy’ of living integrated to nature, portrait photography came to represent the ultimate theft of this unique awareness.

This contrast between cultures is not nearly so accommodating as that of Deloria, and recalls a satire of growing up like a football thrown from end zone to end zone between the cruelties of a hardcore Puritan stepfather in greater Los Angeles (with beatings and attending psychological cruelty analogous to the boarding schools) and that of a very native Montana environment of Indians but mostly mixed bloods, West of the Blackfeet reservation, a community that has since ceased to exist as it had been:

“Napi Mephisto inherited his surname from the Jesuits who knew his ancestor, did not like him, and assigned this shaman’s denigrating sobriquet to his progeny in perpetuity: when called upon by the government to create an official membership enrollment list as the several conquered tribes were reorganized into legal entities.

“The Mephisto line then fell to the policy foisted upon Indians by the government that a minimum ¼ of his tribes established bloodline would be required to have membership and lacking that, the Mephistos were native blood of several tribes without ¼ blood of any, this native family was persistently persecuted or harassed and jailed by the Indian Police, for being Indians without membership on the reservation.

“Banished by Native America, they settled in an area adjacent to, but off of the reservation. Now persistently persecuted for fact of being Indian off the reservation, they were still frequently arrested and jailed despite the fact there WAS no reservation that would take in the Mephistos.

“Fate further assimilated each subsequent generation into the White blood surrounding them, and finally the Mephisto line had settled down to become what at least appeared to be White

“With this ancestral history behind him, Napi Mephisto grew up Indian, nonetheless. How could this happen? Habit.

“Napi, as his father and forefathers before him, was raised to be open to the mysteries of the natural world and it’s manifestations, to be sensitive, aware of the manifold possibilities of seeing the world, to be free and unhampered in one’s thinking, to be generous and kind in regard to others, to let everything have it’s own voice.

“In effect, a perfect absurdity to the Whiteman. To Napi, accordingly, as well as to the many other now invisible Indians grown up in the surrounding forest with near identical backgrounds, this surrounding world of Whites, which actually seemed to believe he was one of them, was actually beheld as absurd in turn.

“Rather than open to the mysteries of the natural world surrounding them, these real Whites beat the shit of the environment, just like they beat their kids, desensitizing them, beat them for freethinking, were selfish as hell in regards to their children by banishing them from their presence to do ‘adult’ things and constantly made promises that were broken almost as quickly as stated, and by god as for the everything having it’s own voice thing, these people would cut off your head if you lifted it up to speak as quick as they were to smack a child’s fingers with a ruler.

“In this off the reservation White world, it was the kids who were the Indians. And the amazing thing was the Whites not realizing what the kids know. Because the kids fear the adults, they conceal their world from the adults. That is exactly why the Shaman learned to conceal his world from the Christian. Aversion to these peoples violence” -A Native Mephistopheles, from Napi Mephisto by Ronald Thomas West

A follow-on, short satirical observation, would be this modified excerpt, from an obscene essay the reader is spared of any reference to:

“Truly honky folk, real White people, that behave in all sorts of self- repressed ways and repress their own kids because of their staunch Puritan belief in H.L. Menecken’s maximum that ‘proper’ Puritans must preoccupy themselves with the horrifying thought “Someone, somewhere, might be happy”, for inexplicable reasons, are compelled to maintain some pretense of civility. So they learned to follow Jesus command to ‘love’ by ‘loving’ to hate. Because of the ‘love’ factor in ‘loving’ to hate themselves, their kids and their fellow man, making ‘love’ is as often a rape as not, ‘loving’ their brothers and sisters is ‘loving’ to tell other people how to live their lives, and ‘loving’ security is to create an insecure society so they can ‘love’ the idea of a police state”

Lampoons in the immediate, preceding light, could never be applied to the ancient native world; where hypocrisy and lies were practically unknown.

In the 1930s, noted linguist Benjamin Whorf postulated language shapes reality (and that Natives know a reality the westerners cannot see), following his learning and subsequent study of Hopi Language. His work on this observed a different concept of time and ultimately led to his (argued over by academics ever since) conclusion there is a distinct similarity in Hopi language to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Hence Whorf’s theory or variant of ‘linguistic relativity’ came into being.

Following Whorf’s pioneering (and much disputed) work, noted ‘action anthropologist’ Karl Schlesier, observed in his book ‘The Wolves of Heaven’ (on Cheyenne shamanism) the resemblance of Cheyenne world view to famed Einstein associate and theoretical physicist David Boehm’s theories.

Relevant to this, Native American languages are relatively ‘noun free’ languages, where everything is described in terms of process, and process is a moving thing, hence the Native differing concept of ‘time.’ The present is never static, it is always perceived as moving and you are moving with it. Past and future, both, have a present tense. Our world is perceived as a living clock of sorts, the clock is time in motion and we all are part and parcel of this clock. So, it is easy to see how the western mentality is not equipped to fathom native thought and its attending abilities and how enforced western educations in Cartesian based or Platonic philosophies and concepts of time would destroy the abilities of the present native generations through the deprivation of their language and its attending intelligence. Simply put, western education, from a native based perception of reality, dumbs people down, severely.

How is the ancient native mind shaped? From infancy, the child is included in nearly everything. An infant sleeps with their parents until they wean themselves, that could be to age three or four, even five. A baby that does not wish to be held, must not be held. A toddler is distracted and enticed away from hazards rather than shouted at. Behavior is explained through example set, never demanded. The children are NEVER lied to. Teaching the child is primarily via example setting highest ethical bar for oneself. The same respect accorded the child is accorded all living things, to include trees and even stones. The is no ‘adult’ world versus a child’s world.

The result of this upbringing is the child learning to ‘see’ the world they live in, the ‘living clock’, as a state of self-integrated/ongoing process. The ‘product’ of this process is people who cannot be told what to do (external to their cultural context) except that they should decide for themselves what is in their best interest (seek the intelligent solution, most often represented in returning to the indigenous community.)

Enforced Western education, of course, kills this process, and development in the ancient native mentality is arrested. However in case of allowed this road free of the constraints of western culture and education, the ‘sight’ only grows, for the entirety of one’s life. Cartesian/Platonic shaped mentalities can never fully know this, or that is to say ‘science’ and mentalities trained in western thought. The Cartesian/Platonic disciplined mentality is ‘masculinized’ out of the ability to ‘see’ from infancy. And though it may be possible for the western mentality to intellectually grasp this, it would be nearly impossible, for the males particularly, to overcome how their minds have been shaped and actually ‘know’ these phenomena, except they were able to authentically reject everything they have learned, a highly unlikely prospect, and begin from scratch.

Ready to throw away that PhD, as well everything you’ve learned since in the womb, and begin all over again at age 30-50? They can’t do it. Even were there necessarily qualified native teachers remaining who would agree to share their knowledge, this is something a properly trained ‘seer’ should NEVER do for any Western exposé of their knowledge, because it would take them out of alignment and consequently out the window would go their gift of sight. Why? Simply recall d’Espagnat stating human consciousness cannot be arbitrarily separated from environment, which is what Cartesian-Platonic shaped Western science sets out to do.

When contrasted to the ‘living clock’ Native understanding of reality, the Native could be said to be allergic to the western concept of reality, which is almost certainly why the gifted native cosmologist, Leon Secatero, became ill and died, following his immersion in Western culture. Leon had tried to bring related ideas from Native Quantum reality across, to among others, Seed Open University, in that organization’s attempts to ‘feminize’ the masculine western reality, but the fact remains the result is not Native reality, but instead a ‘feminized’ western masculine reality. There cannot be any honest integration of the western duality to the ‘living clock’, because the androgynous nature of intention in the living nature aspect we are all meant to be integrated to, cannot know separation from the self. This requirement of Cartesian/Platonic philosophy shapes the western culture’s mentalities which only know intention as manipulations exterior to the integrated to nature experience. Nature hates you and you will die.

A short manner of restating all of this preceding is, if “the kingdom of heaven is within”, and “you must be like the little children” to get there, a Western culture subsequently shaped by the worship of a sadistic political murder of those very ideas, any “moral universe” notwithstanding, can never know the experience.

But because the native world entertains paradox, and had been based in subtle principles of matriarchy with incorporated androgynous thought, an experiment was devised, based in native principles, to test an emerging thesis the Western women might be able to make the bridge out of objectivity. Here is how the experiment was employed to determine this.

When you walk in nature, allow your thoughts to be free, to roam where they will with no concentration to control. A little bit like daydream but no specified subject. If it happens there is a bird calls at that very moment a point is made, seen or discovered in your wandering thoughts, a sort of conclusion, this bird has just spoken to you (in the mind, not only the ear.)

The birds are the messengers, who can pass understanding of events to you (among other things), to know if a thought is correct.

To learn to accomplish this in practical reality would be difficult for many within the modern mindset. Men, particularly, would experience difficulty with this exercise in ‘female intelligence.’ The reason is, Plato’s objectivity welded to Judeo-Christian cultural shaping, resultant mental strictures and taboo on the exercise of a feminine understanding of reality in Western Civilization (which has taken over the world.) In order for there to be a ‘rise’ of civilization, people had to come under the control of male dominated intelligence or a vertical ‘hierarchy.’

Mosaic law is one example, where there is prohibition of sorcerers and necromancers, a crude demonizing of female intelligence to preserve the male hierarchy. Examples related to this sort of control would be (about equally) Saudi Arabia executing women as witches and western science panning any understanding of female intelligence that cannot be achieved via the academically incestuous, constricted logic of empirical method; both science and religion are firmly rooted in a cultural system that fears and condemns or persecutes anything which threatens the ascendancy of male thought (and hence male hierarchy.) Civilization and ‘civilized man’ are both determined this understanding of the female ‘nature’ is not to be acknowledged in coherent form because it is a threat to male dominance. In the greater male hierarchy’s endeavor to suppress the feminine, the gynophobic Plato and the God of Abraham are peers, little different to the misogyny of Confucius, which serves this same purpose.

So, to understand the birds is tricky, it is important not to fool oneself, with how this works. The most common mistake (in the modern mentality) is when the bird makes its call, this can evoke another thought instantly from the self (not the bird) and you miss what the bird said, the thought the bird has brought has already been pushed aside by your thought and the real information is missed. This mistake is consequence of male oriented culture shaping the modern mind. Simply put, the alien (to original native thought process) ego (individuated psyche) won’t shut up and will be in your way, insistently pushing aside this intelligent sight.

The result of this experiment, over several years of walks in the forest, was men simply never could get it. But nearly half the women did, particularly those women with less male shaped mentalities, women less educated in the ‘hard’ sciences and least indoctrinated in religion, had better outcomes in overcoming the modern mentality obstructions, and attained some practical grasp and understanding of this natural phenomena, some in a matter of a few hours. This indicates the women who advance in the Western world’s hierarchy aren’t really women but something else. The MOSSAD trained woman who lobbied to go on one of these walks was so strictured in her thinking, it made no sense to take her (not because of her connection to MOSSAD, rather the typical intelligence agency intensive training in LYING is an absolute obstacle that could not be surmounted.)

Another mistake is to expect you can discover something you wish to know with this. This is a mistake because it is not about what we think is important to know, but rather what nature (the spirit) thinks is important for us to know. This is again, a western culture’s male ego issue, unknown in the native past and is why the point is made to NOT control the direction of thinking, for the process to fluently, dependably work.

A person who can master the birds can go on to master the techniques mentioned earlier, the caveat being, overcoming the false ego-voice is of paramount importance; because individuation (separation, the cause of the ego-voice) is a lie in and of itself. It follows, Deloria’s presumption Western science can be somewhat rehabilitated or moved towards a correct direction is a misapprehension of the reality, especially when referencing the oxymoron of Native Studies in the Western university format. In this regard, it should be pointed out that a western concept of…

“Separation-individuation is a fundamental organizing principle of human growth that has implications for adaptive functioning across the lifespan. In its most general sense individuation refers to a process “by which a person becomes increasingly differentiated from a past or present relational context” (Karpel, 1976, p. 66) -from Separation-Individuation, Daniel K. Lapsley and Paul Stey, University of Notre Dame

…perfectly describes the modern collateral damage to the ancient indigenous relationship with omnipresent spirit (integration to the greater aware state or consciousness embodied in nature.)

It cannot hurt to recall here, the modern ego construct or individuated mentality, considered normal in western culture, is a mental construct which had been diagnosed and treated as a psychological disorder in the ancient Plains culture. Contemporary Indians who most suffer from the modern mentality are least aware they suffer a diseased mentality and this is an ultimate irony because it is those Indians who most loudly strut the proposed idea they are ‘traditional’ are those who suffer the disorder.

This brings us to Deloria’s struggle with a concept (one hates to say non-comprehension) of the trickster. After having correctly dispensed with any ‘Promethean’ (Western) interpretations of the Native American trickster, Deloria struggles to understand the tricksters role in tool making, creation stories and finally settles more comfortably into the humor element:

[This] “category of Trickster functions is that of the Trickster himself—the worldly being of uncertain origin who lives by his wits and who is often embarrassed. This version is one with which I am more familiar as the Sioux Iktomi stories deal quite heavily with the Spider who seeks shortcuts and almost always becomes the butt of laughter, human, plant, and animal. I suggest that this aspect of Trickster tales is designed to demonstrate the inevitability of cosmic law and teach humility and other virtues by showing the consequences of attempting to be what one is not supposed to be”

Here, Deloria has ‘objectified’ the trickster or separated a principle of maintaining equilibrium into categories. His “I suggest” is a tacit admission he really does not know but given his wide authority attained in the (native, particularly) academic world, he should have disclaimed with ‘I don’t know.’

The (sometimes trickster) Blackfoot Napi is many things. Napi is a teacher, Blackfoot ancestor and much more. Napi is like Jesus or a holy man. Napi is the devil, Napi is the first real human being, Napi is a friend, a fool & the trickster- Old Man Coyote. Napi is all of the possibilities embodied in any Blackfoot MALE. But what is essential to understanding Napi in a macro-cosmic sense is equilibrium. Herein is a thread that ties all together; Napi the creator is at the birth of a new world out of whatever world preceded this one, following on Napi’s voyage (the so-called ‘raft’ story representing prototype Blackfeet arrival in the Americas by sea.) The Napi who taught the people to make stone knives represents meeting and merging with another group when settling into new territory and associated technology transfer. What lumps these ‘metadata’ Napi stories into a greater context of equilibrium inclusive of Napi the fool, is the order of priorities. Napi in the creation story is acknowledging relationships or contextualizing the equilibrium necessary to the cosmos.

To know this living cosmos requires a unique relationship to environment, commonly misconceived as a relationship solely to the land. It’s actually much bigger than this. To have some beginning idea of this cosmos, one must surrender any thought of ‘I’ and ‘me’ because ‘you’ cannot exist in this cosmos as an individual entity. Without the cosmos, you don’t exist. Within the cosmos, you cannot exist as an individual. This is because all of the cosmos is integrated, or restated, the original indigenous tradition demonstrates an aware, seeing, sentient, greater being or ‘cosmos’ and requires this cosmos permission to accept those who would inhabit it; to accomplish this integration had little to with exploiting environment and everything to do with finding a niche contributing to the cosmos health that must entertain a principle of equilibrium, to sustain.

Where the environment is seen as social and all is demanding equilibrium, permission is required to pursue not only specific activities within this community, but even to exist. Because this environment is seen as socially aware, there is a greater understanding of impacts directly relevant to undertaking responsibility; this is an environment with the ability to identify specific actions and react accordingly. From this aspect is drawn the native value of self-restraint; for not only does any nation hosted within this environment possess no right whatsoever to aggressively exploit, the demand of equilibrium by the environment is invested with the power to expel any nation inimical to its health.

The nation, to incorporate to the environment, must integrate to the intelligence of the cosmos. This integration required merging two kinds of consciousness; female and male. The result had been androgynous thought reflected in the many genders in the language; where these many gender actually reflect the many varying degrees of androgyny in the observed processes of nature from whence the ancient ways of knowledge had been derived. This salient fact is what altogether set the ancient intelligence apart from the modern. Awake time has its’ consistent dream element and sleep time is consistently informed with lucid dreaming. Never was a strict line drawn between, or boundary established, between the two. One reality is as valid as the other. Or, perhaps better said, these were never considered to be distinctly separate reality or experience. This unique (by comparison to the modern) integration is what enabled sight capable of ‘reading’ the language of other creatures, inclusive of trees, even stones. Within this integrated framework exists a ‘greater’ intelligence where time could be perceived in motion; a living clock could be its’ description. A nation’s collective ability to ‘read’ this clock is a utilitarian principle allowing for the nation to function as an organism within the environment hosted within the cosmos. Everything remains attuned within this clock, of which the nation was a functional part (of the clock’s many parts, inclusive of ‘other nations’ such as the elk, antelope and bison.)

In a mechanistic sense, an indigenous nation’s large ceremony (e.g. the so-called Sundance) should be seen as recalibration within this cosmos.

The point of devolved and closely interwoven (consensus) leadership had been to gain as clear a view possible of the cosmos; pertaining to any direction taken within the nation. The maintenance of the cosmos health, and the necessary conforming of the nation to these demands of the cosmos, was primary, all else came after. With many eyes and ears attuned to the environment within the cosmos, what was imperatively sought after, was sustained equilibrium. Prior to the enforced Western education’s ‘split’ of Native American consciousness, these many eyes & ears gave truthful, intelligently informed, consistent and wide view of all the elements necessary to receive direction as determined by the cosmos; stemming from an interactive relationship nature with sight unknown in the modern world. This equilibrium had environmentally sustained for millennia.

This preceding demands an integrated approach that precludes ego in the western sense; it was never about ‘me’ but about sustaining a system of perpetual motion which depended on all; right down to awareness of impact to the single blade of grass and the correct action or ‘lived awareness’ going to the fact all matter making up experience exterior to the self is equally entitled to exist. Necessarily, development of the self is integrated to the whole of it all, precluding any practical separation. It is now, we can speak of the lessons of the trickster as an idiot in relation to equilibrium.

Everyone learned from Napi (his stories) in Blackfoot culture, and the idea behind Napi is to foster what is sane and healthy in men and put strict controls on what is not. It is that simple, the lessons were aimed at maintaining personal equilibrium within a system where all is balanced.

Follows, is an excellent example of a Blackfoot Napi (coyote) story (stolen from the Crees) illustrating the preceding. There were many stories of Napi holding philosophical conversations with his rectum, and this is where typically the Napi stories become really dangerous. It is about a man that does not learn from his mistakes. It is about a man that does not put two and two together concerning the consequences of his actions. It is about a man that does not understand his relationship to essential functions in nature necessary to his survival. It is about a man that does not pay attention or listen. It is about a narcissistic man so full of himself, he lies to himself about others good intentions. It is a story about how not to live your life. Perhaps most of all, it is a warning about recycling old and failed ideas. The name Penucquem in the following story is the proper, formal, Blackfoot word for rectum.

“Napi Eats His Butt.”

“Napi had been to a great feast with his brothers. He returned to his camp very full of food and tired. Napi curled up to sleep by his fire, and you know where a dog’s nose is when he curls up to sleep!

“Spuurrpp! Napi farted and it woke him up, his eyes were watering. Napi said aloud ‘Well, that was really rude’ and curled back to sleep…

“Spuurrpp! Napi’s head popped up again, irritated, Napi shouted at his rectum: ‘Penucquem! If you won’t let me sleep, I am going to teach you a lesson!’ Napi curled up again.

“Spuurrpp! That really did it. Jumping up, Napi grabbed up Tail, out of harms way, and sat on his campfire to get even with Penucquem. “Yii! Yii!” Napi really took off, like only a hurt dog does, and this started him on his travels.

“Napi moved for a long time, he was thinking of how Penucquem had bit him really hard when he had tried to punish him, he didn’t understand how his rectum could do that to him while pushed down on the fire. It was Penucquem that should have cried out and ran away.

“So Napi kept moving and thinking, he was traveling a long time in a big circle…

“Napi walked and thought about it for so long that finally the large scab fell off of his rectum and still walking in a circle, he came across the scab and said “What do you know! Dry Meat!” Napi was getting hungry again about this time and he was happy to have found the dried meat some Indian had lost.

“The Magpies shouted out to him “Napi! Don’t eat that! It fell off of your rectum!” Napi shouted back to the Magpies “You’re not fooling me, you just want this dry meat for yourselves!”

“And then very delicately because there was not much of it, and with a lot of savor because he was hungry, and very deliberately, so the Magpies would envy him while watching, nip by nip, Napi ate his butt.”

A related modern, short, rude, ego-killing rendition, or a joke Indian story contrasting the Western coopted Native American mentality:

“Two Medicine Men, both teachers, visited the big city and took in a service at the cathedral. Returning home, they took their Indian students on a journey of ‘Discovery.’ First, they killed the nicest kid in the group and told the rest it was their fault for being born. But now, if they would eat the nice kid and drink his blood, calling it communion, they would not be held responsible for anything, ever. And this conferred upon them the right to tell other people how to live their lives- what they can and cannot do” –from Penucquem’s Journal

This immediate preceding could be called the ‘Father DeSmet’ perversion, referencing this incredibly ignorant quote:

“They [the Blackfeet] are plunged in coarse superstitions which brutalize their souls, they worship the sun and the moon and offer them sacrifices and propitiation and thanksgiving” -Pierre Jean DeSmet, Society of Jesus (Jesuit)

In fact the ancient Plains Indians didn’t worship the sun and moon but simply acknowledged these celestial bodies place in cosmos via ceremony.

It follows, only ego-centric (individuated, separated) people can kill the collective consciousness of our surroundings, including the awareness embodied in the rock, being blown up for cyanide heap leach gold extraction, that is part and parcel of our own awareness. Each of those dynamite explosions is exploding part of a process of sentient, aware intelligence. Deloria astutely references Red Tomahawk expressing an ages old, functional grasp of something western science is beginning to glimpse but falls short in his understanding of the greater implications:

“The knowledge and use of any or all the powers of the objects on Earth around us, is as liable to lead a man wrong as to lead him right, because it is merely power, with no way of knowing how to use it correctly- except that spirit is with a man’s spirit for the light” -Red Tomahawk, Sioux, from Deloria’s Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths

Deloria, referencing statements similar to Red Tomahawk’s, holds the ancient Indian philosophy has a ‘modern ring’ in relation to advances in Western science but there is really more to it than that. When Red Tomahawk says ‘spirit is with a man’s spirit’ (for the light), he is speaking of collective creation, and ourselves as part & parcel of intelligent expression, integrated to spirit & nature, or one might say integrated to a sentient, omnipresent consciousness. Moreover, Red Tomahawk is discriminating between a sole, intimate knowledge of any single object’s raw power, and an understanding of the larger purpose concerning the nature of that very object, pointing out these are distinct things.

It follows, the pre-Columbian indigenous perception would be, with killing off of our surrounding intelligence, the Earth is, accordingly, becoming severely dumbed down. The analogy would be, with the increasing loss of integration to intelligent expression, our planet is becoming, in a practical sense, a brain damaged spastic. It can’t even coordinate its weather anymore. There is no escaping consequence, we all are a part of all of it.

Then, western perception of this exploitation, or as Red Tomahawk put it “the knowledge and use of any or all the powers of the objects on Earth around us”, to a point of destroying our life-giving environment, or a sentient nature, is ‘progress’ because building civilization in the process enables so-called ‘intelligent’ demonstrations of what ultimately amounts to grandiose acts of ego: “We put men in space.”

Well, you can proceed to destroy the planet by building civilization to a point you can send a shipload of colonists to Mars (to certainly die there) and no doubt this will titillate the collective ego of that very civilization, but how intelligent is it to sacrifice the underlying support mechanism, that is life sustaining nature, in the process? How is it western mentality (and the civilization it rules) cannot grasp this single, simple equation in an applied, practical sense? The individuated ego is, a literally blind, destructive thing.

Whatever might be intelligently salvaged from the upcoming, certain ruin of Western civilization (the ‘rise & fall’ phenomenon), the individuated ego and attending “scientific attitude” can be no part of moving forward.

To begin to grasp Native mentality, westerners, including many (most, actually) of today’s Indians, would have to take a mortal hit to ego, that’s the first step, and accept at the core of one’s being, you are a member of a class that are the most aggressive, dumbest entities to grace this planet with bipedalism since T Rex went extinct 66 or so million years ago, only less intelligent. T Rex didn’t deliberately blow his world up, only western civilization would do that.

The critical thing to look at is, the contrast between one of the great (and perhaps only universal) ‘gods’ (misnomer = small g) of the Native world(s), that is ‘the trickster’, and the construct of the mentality according to western psychology. These are mutually exclusive approach to life; the western way is all about process shaping the ego as an adaptive tool engaging one’s surroundings, the native way had been to pre-empt the emergence of ego in any form, and this had been the role of the trickster, who could quite accurately be described as the ego destroyer; in the several cultures where ego had been diagnosed and treated as an anti-social mental disorder.

Going to that thought, try solving this next problem or even grasping the magnitude of the proposed thesis:

A: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato” -Alfred North Whitehead

+

B: ”The [Plato’s] doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment” -theoretical physicist Bernard d’Espagnat

=

C: “nouns or millennia destructive process ‘objectifying’ language, projecting individual identity onto pieces of one’s surroundings, or dis-integrating environment; a result of the isolated projection of self or (ego) individuation by Western humanity exclusive of integration to a sentient, aware surrounding, where all environment had been/should be, social” -Ronald Thomas West

3 October 2019

Chief

Exiled

Dreamt up at an out of doors café in Sant Feliu de Guixols

*

Napi. Just who is this guy? Napi is many things. Napi is a teacher, an archetype, our Blackfoot ancestor and much more. Napi is a god, he is like Jesus or a holy man. Napi is the devil, Napi is the first real human being, Napi is a fool, a friend, and the trickster- Old Man Coyote. Essentially Napi is all the possibilities embodied in any Blackfoot MALE

Everyone learns from Napi (his stories) in Blackfoot culture, and the idea behind Napi is to foster what is sane and healthy in men and put strict controls on what is not. Because men are men, there are the men’s Napi stories which are supposed to always be cleaned up in the presence of women (sorry.) Culturally speaking, some of the men’s Napi stories simply should never be told in the women’s presence at all

Did the women have the prurient Napi stories? Men were never admited (NEVER) to the women’s secret societies, so we (men) supposedly must accept at face value the idea the women only knew the cleaned up versions of Napi stories. But because I am Napi (a Blackfoot male) onetime I tricked one of the old ladies into an admission of sorts, that is I made a reference to Napi’s butt

When one of my elder woman teachers was present, I had an opportunity to identify myself in the Blackfoot language.. and instead of using my proper Blackfoot name Pee-ma-na-kwan (man with a rope), I identified myself as Penucquem (Puh-nuck-qwee-um) or that is to say I identified myself as Napi’s rectum with the proper/formal expression

That drew a belly laugh from the old lady, the spontaneous and deep sort of laugh burst out that would make a man think she had heard the dirty stories the men tell (but only behind the women’s backs.)

In actuality I cannot know, it may be she simply believed I am an asshole, that interpretation works just as well. And as she was my elder teacher, I had to stop there, because she subsequently gave a look of spine shivering evil, as though daring me to die for having breeched her dignity and caused her involuntary laugh. It is safe to say I never broached the subject with her again. She was what would be known in the old matriarchal times as a Ni-na-wa-ki, or a woman that was the highest form of Blackfoot chief. You do NOT cross these women

I will come back to Napi, and how he ate his own ass for lunch, but first I think I need to explain Indian humor is more typically healthy, and give folk here in the outside world some idea of how it works

Native humor is all about keeping things honest, in a fun and entertaining way, and consequently, this humor is often self-deprecating in a gentle or harmless way, that is laughing at having made a fool of oneself, or jokes can be created with a little license describing another’s encounter with life’s many surprises. Spontaneous jokes are appreciated, a quick, creative wit is a prized possession in the personality. The taciturn Indian is a face presented to the outside world only, within the community life is filled with fun and liveliness in most conversation.

*

A Honky Snow Cone

I was at a pow-wow in the southwest where people did not readily know me as an Indian.. looking like ZZ Tops. I was watching the dancers, there was a Rastafarian dreadlocks White guy doing what appeared to be a stoned southern style war dance, overly exaggerated and out of time and I was amazed at the Indians straight faces as this guy made an incredible spectacle of himself. I could not help but laugh, it was that ridiculous

I was thirsty, it was hot, I walked to a concessions stand to see the possibilities with this fresh memory of someone that made me feel pretty stupid about my original race. The Native ladies ceased their conversation, normal when a White comes into earshot, I noticed that and realized they would not know I was Indian. As I approached the stand, I did not have a joke in mind about my Whiteman appearance but being Indian, it had to pop out

The only refreshments on sale were all sugar laced poisons, generic colas and other pop, and I did not want any of that. I ordered what I figured was least sugar poisonous, a snowcone. The (quite pretty, actually) young woman dutifully scooped the crushed ice into the paper cone and then turned to face me and asked “Which color?” (sugar syrup, red, blue, green or yellow)

I asked “Can I have it just as it is?”

She seemed surprised “No color?”

I replied with the perfect musical reservation inflection: “We could just call it a honky snow-cone.”

She looked down at the cone of pure white ice she was holding for me with a dumbfounded expression and the other girls broke out in involuntary laughter but quickly recovered their straight faces and gave this what looked like a Whiteman with perfect Native expression a suspicious look (wondering for a brief moment what had happened, is it safe?) but I had got them

She broke out in a gentle and wry, but friendly smile as she handed me the little cone of ice and took my money.. as I said quietly “I am diabetic” and she replied while now smiling in a truly sweet way and with genuinely friendly voice, also quietly, “Thank you.”

That “Thank you” stated more than the outsider would ever imagine. Indians don’t typically say thank you except in sincere heartfelt circumstance. It was ‘Thank you for being genuine’ and ‘I recognize now you are Indian’, and it was ‘Thank you for the joke and bringing a great laugh into our day.’

*

Who Framed Melvin Bunny?

Because men are men (yes, in Native America as well) and because the culture is breaking down and becoming western, the humor is becoming ever more dangerous, as it must, to serve keeping the culture honest

So, to another real life Indian story. I hate to do this to my old friend Melvin Running Rabbit (his Indian nickname is Melvin Bunny) but here is how it is in Indian country today. It is a story about accountability

Melvin (if he is still alive) is a really good guy but he had a blind spot. He never looked at the possible consequences of those times he occasionally ran with the wrong crowd when he liked to go out of town to indulge in a really good Indian drinking binge, and those can be pretty stupendous events. I had checked it out for myself on a couple of occasions, any damn thing can happen, it is crazy to drink with Indians or, better said, when Indians drink, crazy things happen, like waking up from passed out with only one braid, the other having been cut off. Melvin was destined to a bigger joke. The Indian joke that backfired, but as the Indian world is not logical, neither are the consequences.

Melvin had, with several other Indians, drunk himself into the oblivion that seems required at these often extraordinary events, in a motel room in Great Falls, Montana, in the 1990s. There was a popular animated video out at the time: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”

As it happens, there was one late arrival to this drinking binge who did not pass out to the typically near comatose condition and he was feeling a bit hard, or hard up. So he pulled the pants off of a passed out woman, used her like an ultra-conservative Republican on viagra would use a plastic blow-up doll for sex and then he had an idea for a joke. He pulled the passed out Melvin’s pants down and dragged him on top of the passed out woman he had just squirted full of his stuff, and left. That was a bad joke, but it gets better

If he had not done that second part of his criminal act, but rather had pulled the woman’s pants back up instead, he likely would have gotten away with the rape, because every Indian woman that attends these binges knows the risk, it has happened many a time and is often the joke story of the modern Indian drunks. She likely would have been disgusted with herself, having discovering what had happened to her, taken responsibility for being there and let go of it. End of story

But as fate would have it, along comes a family member looking for her and stumbles on the passed out old guy, Melvin, lying on top of the much younger woman, both with pants down. He called the cops and Melvin went to jail and was charged with rape

Melvin professed his innocence at his arraignment, the Indian humor telegraph was working hard on the story, supposedly in his cell Melvin was given a Viagra pill, a playboy magazine and a paper cup, to get his DNA and the subsequent big story on the Indian humor telegraph was:

“Who Framed Melvin Bunny?”

*

Napi Eats His Butt

I close this essay with a story of the proverbial trickster, our Napi. There were many stories of Napi holding philosophical conversations with his rectum, and this is where typically the Napi stories become really dangerous.  If you can understand this story, then you will have a good idea of how to see where human nature has gone wrong in the Whiteman. Because this is the Indian story of the Evangelical Whiteman, the Whitemen we have met in Andrew Jackson and George Bush. It is about the Whiteman that rules America today. It is about corporate America and nacissism in the extreme. It is about narcissistic men like Barack Obama. It is about a man that does not learn from his mistakes. It is about a man that does not put two and two together concerning the consequences of his actions. It is about a man that does not understand his relationship to essential functions in nature necessary to his survival. It is about a man that does not pay attention or listen. It is about a narcissistic man so full of himself, he lies to himself about others good intentions. It is a story about how not to live your life. And perhaps most of all, it is a story about recycling old and failed ideas. The name of this story is “Napi Eats His Butt.” The story is told by Napi’s asshole, Penucquem, and it goes like this:

Napi had been to a great feast with his brothers. He returned to his camp very full of food and tired. Napi curled up to sleep by his fire, and you know where a dog’s nose is when he curls up to sleep!

Spuurrpp! Napi farted and it woke him up, his eyes were watering. Napi said aloud ‘Well, that was really rude’ and curled back to sleep…

Spuurrpp! Napi’s head popped up again, irritated, Napi shouted at his rectum: ‘Penucquem! If you won’t let me sleep, I am going to teach you a lesson!’ Napi curled up again.

Spuurrpp! That really did it. Jumping up, Napi grabbed up Tail, out of harms way, and sat on his campfire to get even with Penucquem. “Yii! Yii!” Napi really took off, like only a hurt dog does, and this started him on his travels.

Napi moved for a long time, he was thinking of how Penucquem had bit him really hard when he had tried to punish him, he didn’t understand how his asshole could do that to him while pushed down on the fire. It was Penucquem that should have cried out and ran away.

So Napi kept moving and thinking, he was traveling a long time in a big circle…

Napi walked and thought about it for so long that finally the large scab fell off of his rectum and still walking in a circle, he came across the scab and said “What do you know! Dry Meat!” Napi was getting hungry again about this time and he was happy to have found the dried meat some Indian had lost.

The Magpies shouted out to him “Napi! Don’t eat that! It fell off of your rectum!” Napi shouted back to the Magpies “You’re not fooling me, you just want this dry meat for yourselves!”

And then very delicately because there was not much of it, and with a lot of savor because he was hungry, and very deliberately, so the Magpies would envy him while watching, nip by nip, Napi ate his butt.

“Hun Neow Wah Nee Moo Oosss” (This is what your ass has to say)

The best part of the story about Napi eating his butt is, it was just such a good story I couldn’t help myself, I stole it from the Crees. I stole it from Wee-say-kay-cha (the Cree trickster) and gave it to our Napi. It’s a Blackfoot story now-

 *

“Two Medicine Men, both teachers, visited the big city and took in a service at the cathedral. Returning home, they took their Indian students on a journey of ‘Discovery.’

“First, they killed the nicest kid in the group and told the rest it was their fault for being born. But now, if they would eat the nice kid and drink his blood, calling it communion, they would not be held responsible for anything, ever.

“And this conferred upon them the right to tell other people how to live their lives- what they can and cannot do”  –Penucquem’s Journal

Related:

Life in Indian Country

Collected stories, folklore and anecdotes concerning my many years life with Blackfeet Indians and traversing Native American territories

*

A former Special Forces Sergeant of Operations and Intelligence, Ronald Thomas West is a retired paralegal/investigator (living in exile) whose work focus had been anti-corruption and human rights. Ronald is published in International Law as a layman (The Mueller-Wilson Report, co-authored with Dr Mark D Cole) and has been adjunct professor of American Constitutional Law at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany (for English credit, summer semester 2008.) Ronald’s formal educational background is primarily social psychology. His therapeutic device is satire, uh and yeah, he grew up with and spent most his life in close association with Indians…

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