Language of life documents a journey of discovery: from ancient languages to systems theory, from cosmology to ethics, and from “fixing” to “discovering” solutions to world problems.
One of my basic beliefs is that the Judaism that is presented and practiced in modern Western culture has lost touch with our cosmology—our relationship to creation, the Earth, and essence of life. Instead of living from our Genesis story, our Exodus story prevails in our thoughts, prayers, and psyche. Since childhood I’ve rejected the Exodus story, and as often as not struggle with our Creation stories—both B’reishit, the seven days of creation, and Adam and Eve. So, when I read Carlos Suares’ The Cipher of Genesis: The Original Code of the Qabala as Applied to the Scriptures, I was particularly intrigued with his last nine letter-numbers being Cosmological, and assumed that therefore these letter-numbers should drive Genesis. I chose The Binding of Isaac to test my assumption, and wasn’t in the least disappointed. For me the story, right from Abraham’s revelation prior to his journey with Isaac, its title Aiquidat, and key words imbedded in the story, are all about revelation and the tests to discern whether the Jewish ‘DNA’ would be born.
The more I utilized the language, the clearer its patterns became. Every letter-number radiates life where the Cosmological life-forces appear to create Archetypal life-processes that are the ‘fertile soil’ for the Existential life we experience in every moment. Every utterance of every letter-number exudes life, and Peoples who spoke the ancient Hebrew or speak similar languages are connected with life in the most appreciative and responsible ways. The organic nature of the language leads to the possibility that our Existential actions influence the Cosmological.
Every bit as—or even more—important to my work are the nine columns in Suares’ 3x9 matrix. Each of the columns appears to be a gift of life to which all life forms are endowed. They are the life-processes that distinguish living systems from mechanical systems, and it is Living Systems Theory that underlies sustainability.
Since Western thought is dominated by a mechanical understanding of the world, most of us don’t have an intuitive feel for living systems. This is why I felt it imperative to develop a Living Systems Curriculum, and Suares’ 9 columns map beautifully into the five (5) living system attributes my design team developed when we taught Living Systems to our cohort in the Antioch University Whole Systems Design program. The book, Language of Life, explains this curriculum as well as the “Archetypes for Sustainability” from which students better understand their desired role in addressing sustainability, as well as the paradigm shifts our culture must make.
In my quest to understand how Indigenous Peoples educate their children, it became clear that both their culture and education process are grounded in sacred ecology, and that sacred ecology defines what Don Beck in his Spiral Dynamic work calls a "higher meme" than is lived in Western cultures. What this means is that there is a higher consciousness and more complete body of ethics—ethics like, who we are for the Earth and for future generations. The consciousness is grounded in being primarily relational rather than hierarchical, and this includes the relationship with the Creator that results in a deep appreciation for life.
From this the book articulates a hopeful path to sustainability in which it is key that we in the Western world listen and learn from the Indigenous elders who speak their message of balance, harmony and reciprocity with the Earth.
Just over a year before publishing Language of Life, Ruth Miller presented her work comparing modern religious and spiritual writings with ancient texts to the Interfaith Council of Greater Portland. As we were leaving, I suggested that perhaps there was another book waiting to be written, based on a book by Carlo Suares, The Cipher of Genesis: The Original Code of the Qabala as Applied to the Scriptures, and how it informs us about both the ancient texts and our current crisis of living unsustainably. We made a date for lunch where I shared my current understanding of Suares’ work and its connection to my work in living systems, as well as how integral both the language and systemic understanding are to re-achieving a sustainable planet. Ruth immediately found parallels in languages like Sanskrit and the cultures that speak such languages. Then Ruth brilliantly outlined the book, who would write what, and a development schedule that included publishing in less than a year. Ruth is also Managing Editor at Portal Center Press, and many of her books can be found at -- http://www.portalcenterpress.com/catalogue/culture-and-consciousness.
In a subsequent conversation, we agreed on the importance of stories, and I asked my story telling colleague, Ms. Batya Podos if she would work with us. When I told her the opening story in the book of Arun Gandhi asking his grandfather to explain peace, and how the whole story is told when the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, is understood through Suares’ Cosmological, Archetypal and Existential letter-numbers, she was hooked. Batya has added incredible value to the book with her rich stories of Creation, and the missed opportunity to regain Jewish wisdom when wandering in the desert.
Throughout the book, Ruth has provided a context, sharing her knowledge of cultures who can impart their wisdom, hold sacred all life, are deeply appreciative of life’s gifts, mysteries and beauty, and have developed a systemic understanding of relationship and mutuality with all there is.