I saw a social media meme today of Einstein riding away on a bicycle from a nuclear bomb, smiling, with the caption: “If mice could make mouse traps, they wouldn’t.”
But that’s an oversimplification. The very earth energies that make the rest of nature insecure need not rule the mind of man. That’s his inheritance as the paragon of the animals.
In the mythic lore, we find the eagle on the seal of the United States.
Joe Cocker sang:
“Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world below
Up where the clear winds blow.”
There is the sense of aspiration associated with the symbol of the eagle. Big vision and big perspective and majestic capacity.
Then, there is the raven and the raven is about the flight out of hell. In the myth of Noah, it is the raven that can find dry land, as it can eat carrion and the dove cannot. So it can live on dead fish until it finds earth.
Icarus crashed in his quest for the sun.
In a sense, the flight of the eagle and the flight of the raven, psychospiritually, they are two sides of the same coin. For one must see that it is only in the healing of the shadow nature, and the sustenance drawn from the black winged persistence of dining on our most valuable lessons, that we can make it to the foundations of ourselves. Our authentic selves. Then, we are suited to the Eagle’s ascent. Otherwise not.
Ravens tend to live at high altitudes, but in the myths they are symbols of decent into the uncharted aspects of our natures. And the healing potential therein.
Planck and Einstein’s work lead to the nuclear bomb. And the man in charge of producing the first nuclear bomb, Oppenheimer, when it dropped, he quoted the Bhagavad Gita. “I have become death, destroyer of worlds.”
That’s the eagle without the raven. When technology is not married to a deeper integrity you have a monster on your hands.
The Icarus myth is the post Promethean myth. Prometheus kicks off Western civilization when he steals fire and that’s a universal myth. To the Greeks, fire was the symbol of technology.
But then will the capacity that technology gifts one sustain you or destroy you? That was the central meditation of Ruskin and Gandhi.
And the answer to that question, well it comes down to the advantage of advanced science but it is not inseparable from morality also, and this symbolism of the raven and the eagle.
If we are all about upness and hot air (switch on the news – many old suspicions repeated), we lack the grounded substance that has the tenancity to grow when oppressed, to find the hidden angles of a deeper symmetry, and when we balance the two, the flight of the eagle, in the spirit of man, it is not, or it need not be, as was Icarus’s plight, burned by reckless avoidance of the shadow nature.
© Copyright 2021 Nathan Curry