The Alphabet Versus The Goddess

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The Alphabet Versus The Goddess The Conflict Between Word and ImageI found this book whilst looking for stuff about Hecate & it is fascinating…Has anyone of you read it?

“…In this groundbreaking book, Leonard Shlain, author of the bestselling Art & Physics, proposes that the process of learning alphabetic literacy rewired the human brain, with profound consequences for culture. Making remarkable connections across a wide range of subjects including brain function, anthropology, history, and religion, Shlain argues that literacy reinforced the brain’s linear, abstract, predominantly masculine left hemisphere at the expense of the holistic, iconic feminine right one. This shift upset the balance between men and women initiating the disappearance of goddesses, the abhorrence of images, and, in literacy’s early stages, the decline of women’s political status. Patriarchy and misogyny followed….

Shlain contrasts the feminine right-brained oral teachings of Socrates, Buddha, and Jesus with the masculine creeds that evolved when their spoken words were committed to writing. The first book written in an alphabet was the Old Testament and its most important passage was the Ten Commandments. The first two reject of any goddess influence and ban any form of representative art. 

“…The love of Mary, Chivalry, and courtly love arose during the illiterate Dark Ages and plummeted after the invention of the printing press in the Renaissance. The Protestant attack on holy images and Mary followed, as did ferocious religious wars and neurotic witch-hunts. The benefits of literacy are obvious; this gripping narrative explores its dark side, tallying previously unrecognized costs….”

 

 

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Cynthia ParkerSweetpeawilliamHathors Hornsxox rockstar libran publicist xox Recent comment authors
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Cynthia Parker
Cynthia Parker

Lots of interesting comments. And now mine. We all had “participation mystique” – being at one with everything – clairvoyance clairaudience clairsentience etc. Evolutionary-wise these capacities had to die out so we could get all left- brained and separated from our true spiritual dimensions. As women and children and indigenous people particularly carried these gifts they were often killed and hunted down to hasten the process. What process? The one needed to enable us to develop freedom – the freedom to choose to make the journey to reconnect with our spiritual dimensions again and overcome being puppets of the spiritual… Read more »

william
william

“The planets are letters” – forget where that saying comes from, had an experience of it once tho’… (the number degrees of planet positions ‘spelling out’ an answer for me,…. pretty unbelievable Anthroposophists say each country has it’s own angel which accounts for language differences… They always say Sanskrit is the holiest language. Language indeed fascinating… each letter probably a symbol in itself, like chinese calligraphy “an animal with words is an angel in the making..” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLeq09Ox05E (I have got to stop kidding around so much and being such an a-hole on this site and contribute more solidly from now… Read more »

Sweetpea
Sweetpea

Teacher said that Sanskrit the oldest language also. Then Hebrew. According to him…He was/is an expert on Sanskrit but that is his teaching not mine (in case anyone wants to yell at me…) “(I have got to stop kidding around so much and being such an a-hole on this site and contribute more solidly from now on…. (guilt)” LOL…It’s contagious William. I’m nuts here half the time but it is SO FUN… Funist (is funist a word btw?), blog in town, er, the northern hem, er, the world, er, the galaxy…. But yes, please share your wisdom. I’m all ears… Read more »

Hathors Horns
Hathors Horns

Fantastic book. Was reading it before I relocated overseas and my mum found it at her house and has been obsessed with it. I especially liked the section where it differentiated between the “abstract” (Goddess) and the “fundamental” (God) schools of thought around the world, eg. Taoism vs Confucianism, Sufism vs Islam, The Gnostic Gospels vs the Actual Gospels etc. Interestingly, I believe it was Adam who given the job of naming things in the Garden, while Lilith was given the power to make things grow…. (source contentious). Perhaps there’s something in that? 😉

william
william

all this divine feminine business,

heard one teacher say, If you haven’t encountered Her darkness

then you haven’t met Her, not really….

Venus, heard goes back pre-olympian really…. Venus goes back—
we have been lied to …. She goes waaaayyyyy back

in the wayback machine…

Ishtar and that…. seems faces of divine feminine are many…

Why so many if there is just one? sometimes dark, sometimes not….

someone should clarify for purposes of neatness…

taurean alchemist
taurean alchemist

Yep, I’ve read it, and his other one Sex, Time & Power… very interesting – worth reading Mystic…

pegasus
pegasus

A very deep thought inducing thread.
As i was checking the Bible on those 2 commandaments, my Virgo friend
born in JuJu country Louisiana & his a 7th day Adventist Minister as well,
telephoned, so i asked her the meaning of images & idols.
Gave me the statues in Catholic churches as examples of idols. Oops!

Aqua snail male
Aqua snail male

Wowee that’s a choice reading list coming out of just one topic thread:

Man and His Symbols edited by C.G. Jung.

The Dinner Party, Judy Chicago, ISBN 0-14-024437-9

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

I’ll seek out these before resorting to the latest Dan Brown departure lounge time-waster.

postmodscorp
postmodscorp

Lol – I just wrote them all down as well with the intent of busily wandering over to my library website and ordering them!
Still want to read the latest Dan Brown tho…..

Sweetpea
Sweetpea

I really feel that the power mongers (and there were women in on it too) were/are just pissed off because they ultimately could NOT get the power they wanted and so of course how DO you get the power. By FORCE, by trying to force it out of people and hoping to find it through domination.

Sweetpea
Sweetpea

“Shlain argues that literacy reinforced the brain’s linear, abstract, predominantly masculine left hemisphere at the expense of the holistic, iconic feminine right one.” Literacy may have reinforced the left side of the brain and the need to communicate through reading and writing only because individuals became more ignorant and needed a way to communicate…..Possibly ~as~ individuals became more ignorant by the ego’s propensity to over focus and divide up creation. In ancient, ancient times all were telepathic. Understanding was transmitted through pictures and because all were clarivoyant, things could not be hidden. Eventually, to protect the earth, certain knowledges had… Read more »

constance
constance

This is my Aries (triple Aries) Moon Virgo daughter’s fave book on sociology I believe. I an Aqua have not read it because I am more left brained probably, eh?

william
william

how could they tell if the witches were neurotic or not?

and why did they just go after the neurotic ones?

Elena
Elena

Guttenberg Galaxy. mistake-o.

Elena
Elena

His book is a total rip-off from Marshal McLuhans “Guttenbareg Galaxy” but with an added New Agey flair mish-mash. Shame on him.

Spirit
Spirit

Goddess is a shortened form of God-essence.

starstrokes
starstrokes

I don’t know whether Hecate or Lillith or even Circe is reinforcing my thinking, but I am becoming increasingly suss of books by men with snappy titles & not really delivering..
I’ve got a quote up on my wall from Buddha-
“Believe nothing,
no matter where you read it
or who has said it,
unless it agrees with your own reason
& your own common sense”

davidl
davidl

Sorry SS, thats just sexist…and people need to realise that as soon as they stop identifying with their sex, sexual orientation, religion…and start being just plain humans we might get somewhere.

starstrokes
starstrokes

I’m sorry davidl, I’m speaking directly of my own reading experience & nothing more. I am simply much better at picking good reads with female authors, than male. Some of the most incredible books I have read are from male authors- does that vindicate me? (somehow I think not?!)
I don’t think we can escape the intrinsic nature of our sexes, its how we experience our balance of feminine/masculine that is in question.
Plain humans? hardly! lol x

pegasus
pegasus

He says the first 2 commandaments negate Art.
Here they are coz just looked them up;
Thou shalt have no other god’s before me.
Thou shalt not make thee ANY graven image OR likness of ANYTHING that
is in Heaven above, or that IS in the Earth beneath, or that IS
in the waters beneath the earth. That’s Draconian.
It was 2000 years ago for a small group in the desert wandering round in circles
for too long.

(caps in copy of bible)
Back to Babylon.

davidl
davidl

Do not make an image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above…”

This prohibits the construction or fashioning of “idols” in the likeness of created things (beasts, fish, birds, people) and worshipping them.

It didn’t mean not to have images of animals etc.

Spirit
Spirit

my interpretation is that the commandment is to have no “image ” of what is ‘formless’ by nature…….( the unmanifest God has no material form )….only when the energy is transcduced into Goddess does it take on material form…..the Goddess is the God essence flowing into form….all material creations.

davidl
davidl

beautiful x

Risby
Risby

Yup, read it in 2001 and thoroughly enjoyed it. He does make some interesting correlations and it makes you think about gender power balances over time. A good thematic history

Whether his thesis is viable or not, I’ve no idea, I’ve not read and criticism of it.

To further explore the idea of visual information versus written information you might also be interested in: “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neil Postman

little fish
little fish

If we are talking symbols, a quiet read of The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell is a good start. we studied it at uni in philosophy.

pegasus
pegasus

Yes, i borrowed it from The Theosophical Society Library. I saw it & called it ‘The Alphabet AND the Goddess,whereupon, the 80 year old lady librarian, corrected me severely & said ‘VERSUS, Dear, Versus’. Kalilil Gibran said ‘read a woman’s mouth, instead of her words’. Could be where ‘read my lips, comes from. Truly cannot remember it,the book, but thought a woman wrote it. Did not have a huge impact, not at all, cept to know how different things would have tuned out without letters. What’s it say about symbols? Telepathy is probably the way to go eventually, or do… Read more »

Über Virgo
Über Virgo

Um, that’s nice poetic idea and everything, but isn’t it a bit far fetched to suggest patriarchy and misogyny ‘followed’ alphabetic literacy? It doesn’t add up. To suggest misogyny came from neurological rewiring brought on by reading the alphabet denies its true source, patriarchal political power mongering. Patriarchal elites denied women and the poor literacy to keep them in their place, for the same reasons goddess worship was denigrated. In other words, alphabetic literacy has been used as a weapon against the feminine but it’s not the origin of patriarchal power mongering just as literacy elitism is a symptom but… Read more »

pegasus
pegasus

Uber, compassion think Quan Yin & forgiveness.
I work with men, i need to Kwan Yin constantly to deal.
It’s a problem. It’s not their fault.
God created man, then the Goddess thought She could do better, and created Woman:)

Über Virgo
Über Virgo

I agree pegs, men aren’t the problem. Misogyny and patriarchal abuses of power are. Men are certainly disadvantaged by it too and it’s not above certain women to exploit it as well. My rant is about this author and his trivializing (apologies to Hekate) of misogyny as originating from a bit of linguistic hocus pocus. ‘Shlain contrasts the feminine right-brained oral teachings of Socrates, Buddha, and Jesus with the masculine creeds that evolved when their spoken words were committed to writing.’ They didn’t transform into masculine creeds because of some hypnotic power of the alphabet, but because literate men in… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yes I agree UV…book does sound very interesting, but a bit way off way in several aspects…and to suggest “the love of Mary, courtly love..” as a means to illustrate the rise of the feminine etc arose during the illiterate Middle Ages and its’ disappearance with the arrival of the Renaissance and printing press is taking things a bit far – after all, it’s also believed it was the monks in the Middle Ages who, transcribing the Testaments, took out the references to reincarnation/eternal life etc and Mary as Jesus’ right hand (in particular deciding the Gospels of St Thomas… Read more »

something fishy
something fishy

This book looks interesting – will read it once exams are over.

For a big dose of high quality literature with regard to image and its relevance to being human, read ‘Man and His Symbols’ edited by C.G. Jung. First time I read it I had mind-blowing dreams each night…

pegasus
pegasus

Fishy, that one was a study book of mine for 2 years whilst on retreat in Belgium.
High Impact, oui?

Symbols = Art = Communication.

something fishy
something fishy

mais oui, very high impact pegasus…the interesting thing is that people are distanced (these days) from the unconscious understanding of symbols so reading a book like this can help people to have a conscious understanding of symbols and therefore of their own dreams (and other messages from the unconscious, such as works of art).

i’d be interested to know what were you studying?

starstrokes
starstrokes

This is one of my serious faves- as an artist, I’ve been saved by this book 1000 times & its a real bible of inspiration…good luck exams sfishy…

virgo cat
virgo cat

No, but have been meaning to FOR EVER!

fluid feline
fluid feline

Interesting … I think that rejection of the right-brained intuitive feminine is the root of most of modern Western problems today. Through language our brains are wired to problem solve, rather than listen to our bodies – our emotions and sensations (anxiety, fear, pain, anger, joy, guilt etc) are messengers we need to listen to, observe, sometimes act and sometimes just be with for a while and often that will include some discomfort. The multibillion dollar happiness industry (and the advertising industry) relies on it. Here just buy this label, drink this, pop this pill, get breast implants, blah blah… Read more »

aquaphobe
aquaphobe

agree. i’d even add that technology is making us doubt our intuition. and its put out there as logic v magic. our senses as being some foreign/mumbo jumbo/time waster. how many times have we ignored our instinct in favour of ‘common sense’ only to find we should have gone with the former?

xox rockstar libran publicist xox
xox rockstar libran publicist xox

aquaphobe – thanks for Le Turd’s new moniker!!! xox

aquaphobe
aquaphobe

LOL 😉

pegasus
pegasus

Right On Feline, you give good words, MM gives good thoughts.
We are wired for sound.
First there was…..followed by…..what is that again?
First there was the word & the word was made god or made god?
Hebrew (Aramaic) & Sanscrit are sacred languages.
Master the sounds & it is supposed to be a direct link to The Higher/Universe/Whatevs.

Throat Chakra is communication AND creativity. That resonates:)

Aqua snail male
Aqua snail male

OOPS also I meant to drop in the words ‘Gutenburg’ and ‘printing press’ there when speaking of a culture of literature only half a century old….

Aqua snail male
Aqua snail male

Well snail or not I’m among the first to comment in this thread. A fascinating topic. Just on the weekend I went to a Brisbane Festival lecture presented by film maker Peter Greenaway. Yes, he of the racy films which arts-scene satirists loves to send up. Anyway, his lecture topic was ostensibly about Rembrandt’s ‘Nightwatch’, instead he rabbitted on for 2 1/4 hours about visual literacy. Greenaway argues cinema has not fulfilled its potential because it is still welded to the narrative, the bookshop and the print bestseller list (yes, I know but what about Jerry Bruckheimer, Adam Sandler, Will… Read more »

xox rockstar libran publicist xox
xox rockstar libran publicist xox

ASM – last year I saw Greenaway’s projection onto DaVinci’s Last Supper in Milan. breath taking.

there’s a great interview with him on ABC arts – that ppl can download should they wanna know more re his POV…..

I reckon he’s right – image be king/queen vs text c/ technology!!
His projection series are breath taking.

thanks for your insightful comment!

Über Virgo
Über Virgo

Greenaway is a provocateur and he loves to inhabit that periphery where cinema meets art, but most of his films are either unwatchable or borderline unwatchable. I admire him for stirring things up and loved ‘The Cook The Thief etc’, and truly the best cinema, Bergman, Fellini et al, is primarily image focussed, however, you can go to art galleries to see images, and a lot of people do, but a hell of a lot more go to the cinema, and people, including me not only love compelling stories, but want those as well–with or without images. Greenaway’s statement that… Read more »

pegasus
pegasus

Way back in 85, i drew an alien goddess manga type of woman’s face. Hand painted with windsor & newton heavily applied watercoulours with #00-3 sablebrushes. With gold & silver ink throuout. Did it freehand as it had many straight angled lines, tidied with a ruler prior painting. When displayed told it was a Manadala as it could be turned upside down & sideways. That aspect was unplanned………pppffft 30 years ago! Well, she has been imprinted in my psyche. With my new Pixma MP630, shall scan it & put it as my gravatar. This may take 6 months as the… Read more »

xox rockstar libran publicist xox
xox rockstar libran publicist xox

hey Pegs – scan it pleeeeeeease!! you had me at “Hand painted with windsor & newton heavily applied watercoulours with #00-3 sable brushes….” – really!! segue – tonight – at prev reffed serious Art Foundation ‘do’ – had to hand in homework, a collage destined for a widely distrbuted industry tome. upon handing over I quizzed their motive re including a marketing/biz person to collage “what inspires you, fave colour, ideal chair, your interp of light blah blah” per template. well YAY – not only am I the only NON creative contributor (tho I studied interior architecture, my practice is… Read more »

pegasus
pegasus

No it’s been predicted by some musicians.
Have been seeing some brill collages around displayed in windows of local shops.
Divine.
Art Baby Art.

xox rockstar libran publicist xox
xox rockstar libran publicist xox

Pegs heard today French Duo AIR – ditched their producers & built their own ANALOGUE studio – & new album be analogue……out next week!

pegasus
pegasus

AquaMale, thank you for that information. Fascinating.

postmodscorp
postmodscorp

Well fancy that. I think I’ll have to hunt that book up. Interesting that its been written by a man….

taurean alchemist
taurean alchemist

aw, just read that Leonard Shlain died in May this year… loved his books.

Mystic Medusa
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