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..:: The Word ::..


Alan Schneider


             “In the Beginning was The Word. And The Word was with God, and The Word was God.”  What does this cryptic expression in the Bible mean for the modern mind and consciousness in the period of Kali Yuga? What relevancy does it have for us as we struggle along with our limited human understanding of cosmic events?

            As a Communication scholar at (and later graduate from) Arizona State University, I studied messages, their content, structure, execution, modes of transmission, and impact on both the source and recipient. There are many axioms of communication theory, but a few of the primary ones run as follows:


            One cannot avoid communication. The simple act of appearing in public conveys volumes of information, particularly to a trained observer. Beyond this, the mind is constantly internally communicative; one cannot avoid the ongoing internal psychological dialog and its influence on perception.  

           The consequences of communication are unrepeatable and irreversible. Once something is expressed, the impact on the recipients is more or less final. Furthermore, communication opportunities never recur in the same context; one must act with immediacy or lose the option.

            The context of a message is as meaningful as the content. The communication environment in which the message occurs is a part of the message itself, beyond its literal information coefficient.


              Specifically referring to the third item above, we must place the passage quoted at the beginning of this essay in some kind of total historical context to begin to understand its message. No one is really sure when or where the information contained in the Torah (the first five Books of the Old Testament, constituting the Hebrew Bible) literally originated, particularly regarding “The Word”.  One can suppose that this perception of consciousness must have considerably predated any written rendition – the common practice of antiquity being verbal transmission long before written records evolved. We are in all likelihood considering a verbally spoken “word” as the word referred to in the passage, although this “word” may have later been written down in some symbolic form as writing emerged in human history.  What kind of verbal expression might this have been? How did it come to occur in speech, or mental perception?

             “In the Beginning was The Word.”  Taking this first portion of the message under consideration, the context is the beginning, but of what? In view of the distinct probability that the consciousness of the relatively un-evolved human beings who became classified as Neanderthal Man perhaps one hundred thousand years ago, and as Cro-Magnon Man perhaps fifty thousand years after that, was very literal in its interpretive capability, we can suppose that “beginning” meant the literal emergence of all perception from the pre-existing animal state, represented by Australopithecus.  We are referring to the simultaneous dawn of language, culture, and communication as consciousness emerged from its instinctual background into initial self-perception – my perception of me existing in an environment – the first differentiation of self and environment.  As far as communication scholars have been able to determine, human speech, social behavior, and personal transmission of messages all emerged more or less coincidently in prehistory.  

            At some point in the evolution of consciousness, the animal grunting of our primate forbearers must have acquired meaning and consistency as brain size and complexity reached the critical threshold required to sustain self-awareness. This is the nature of the “Word” referred to in the message – a symbol of the first appearance of organized speech in consciousness – all of the first “words” spoken by our ancestors were “The Word”.  How was this “Word with God”? We are confronting a question of great subtlety here, because we must address the matter of what the first conception of “God” was like for human beings freshly emergent from the animal state. 

            The oldest intentional records produced by humanity are cave paintings from the first shelters of our ancestors.  These portrayals include pictorial descriptions of hunting practices, conflicts with other clans, and primitive spiritual totems. Although the depictions of predators occur in some evidently spiritual totem contexts, far and away the most common representations are of bulls and cows. One of the oldest Hindu spiritual constructs is of The Wish-Fulfilling Cow as one of Krishna’s expressions. Nandi the Bull is Shiva’s mount in Hindu tradition as well. In the pre-Aryan Indus Culture, the oldest pictorial record shows the apparent worship of a bull-like, horned creature on a fragment of (presumably) pottery. Certainly, bovine creatures were plentiful in prehistoric times, shown as objects of the hunt, and of worship.  

            The tendency in those times seems to have been to perceive more or less exclusively by association. One literally became what one ate, behaved like, and otherwise emulated, and not merely in literal terms, but in perceptual terms as well. All things taken into consideration, the bull, or ox, perhaps, was probably among the largest and fiercest creatures hunted (and presumably eaten) in those days, and more importantly, was an image in the primitive mind of potency in terms of literal power and prowess, as well as reproductive capability. So the bull in particular emerged as an initial image of “God” – the source of power and potency – in the primitive mind. It is quite probable that cattle were eventually domesticated at about the same time in prehistory as horses and dogs were, making cows valuable as sources of milk, calves, and hides for clothing and shelter. 

            In this context, “God” means the Source, Expression, and Manifestation of  Creation.  When we say “The Word was with God”, we are saying that the ability to speak and comprehend language coincides with the source, expression, and manifestation of all things perceived in the world.  To human beings in those first times, the ability to perceive and communicate was tantamount to, and directly linked to, the Expression of God as the Essence of potency – making the ability to share information the supreme example of all potency, and so it has remained ever since. Without symbolic communication, human evolution would never have taken place, and culture and civilization as we know it would be non-existent. Somehow, the mating behavior of bovine species must have represented “potent sharing” on a universal level to our ancestors, and became equated with the emergent speech they practiced – “The Word was with God”. 

            “And The Word was God”.  This final portion of the message bears special consideration, because it fully expands the implication of communication behavior into the spiritual realm of the Supreme Consciousness of the Logos. 

            The first human beings must have lived in a condition of only partial self-differentiation. Their perception was still heavily influenced by instinct, and instinctual drive states. In such a state of awareness, all processes must have assumed archetypal significance – fully symbolic, and at the same time literal. The first elements of consciousness must have all been spiritually valenced to some extent, and vaguely defined by the proto-speech of the time. And if we can refer to some element of the environment, however primitively, and share this referral with another individual, we have acquired initial conceptual power over it, and this first power, this first potency, can then be built upon until more extended power and control is achieved. It is a very short, and logical, step from “with God” to “was God” in consideration of this argument.  To humans of that period, the ability to share information was literally the essence of potency, and was God as that essence. 

            And what of people today? Is The Word still our God? This author firmly believes so. In fact, today, more than ever, The Word is God, as the Information Age becomes the ultimate expression of potency in the emergent World Culture. 

            The Word has become highly differentiated in the Information Age, ranging in expression from the spoken and written Holy Name of God, at one end of the spectrum of meaning, to the binary code of 1’s and 0’s at the other, and expressed at all levels in between, including all the languages of the Earth, and the genetic “codes” that are the basis of all life. Our understanding of meaning and interaction has become extensive at this stage of evolution, far, far removed from the primordial understanding of Neanderthal Man, and our influence over environmental events has expanded comparably.  

            We stand at the verge of a sweeping restructuring of consciousness today as never before. Never have so many people attained such a heightened understanding of the deepest meanings of life, combined with the capability to express those meanings so powerfully and potently. Yet, there is a contest of spiritual valences throughout the world now, under the influence of Kali Yuga. 

             The incoming Golden Age (Satya Yuga) of expanded awareness will require the transition in consciousness of all who persist in adhering to the egoistic mindset of unenlightened self interest and wonton personal advantage seeking at the expense of others to a much more altruistic posture. We must challenge the ego in its dogged belief that sensory materialism is the only appropriate standard of living. Kali is standing ready with Her sword raised, awaiting Shiva’s Word to begin her onslaught against the world ego, an assault that can neither be stopped nor resisted, nor should it be. The world today is sick and dying of alienation, apathy, cruelty, and materialism, and cannot go on as it is. Yes, the Word is still with God, and very soon now we all may have the opportunity to hear It spoken – as Kali’s war cry.  And even if this development is inevitable and unavoidable, we must nonetheless stand for the clearest doctrines of Love and Light evident in the world – doctrines that advise tempering callous judgments with wisdom and compassion – as long, and for as long, as we stand at all.  

            I was recently asked by a spiritual devotee how the Last Days of  Kali Yuga would unfold, and what we must do to survive them.  I believe that the key to our survival in the coming period of Trial and Darkness lies in developing the capacities for for intuitive perception and action, year by year, month by month, week by week, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. If we can learn to listen intuitively to God’s Word sensed in the Heart (and occasionally in the Gut!) as the first priority of life at all times, and relegate the ego’s chatter to a secondary role in consciousness, this will be the key. No matter how compelling the illusion of Maya may be, the Truth is the Word, and that Word is still with God, and always will be.


                                                                                  - With Love, Alan -

                                                                         (CR2007, Alan Schneider)


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