THE EXPANSION OF LIGHT AND THE INFLUENCE
OF DARKNESS: THE ‘CARTOON CONTROVERSY’
Why did the incident around the cartoons drawn of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper happen? Why did an image that was likely to be a direct affront to the Muslim world get published with an apology that followed later on in the face of the agitation and violence that stemmed from its publication? Why are there riots of Muslims in many Islamic countries around the world? To answer these questions, we need to understand the relationship between the spiritual currents of light and darkness as they are presently operating on the world stage, and the effect of each.
Just as there is a vibration of love and unity associated with expanding light that is currently entering the earth’s atmosphere, so, too, is there an opposition to this movement by currents of energy that seek to influence consciousness in the opposite direction, creating greater separation, disunity, fear, and hostility in order to suppress the expansion of light. Though the forces of light are ultimately stronger, at the present time we see the conflict between the two being played out on the world stage.
When the force and motivation of darkness is in the ascendant, we see more frequent actions of violence occurring and hear support for principles and policies that involve threat from one nation to another, or threat toward the people of a nation. When the force and motivation of light is in the ascendant, we see the actions of cooperation and conciliation operating which move individuals and governments in the direction of creating peace and harmony in concert with an increased concern for the welfare of all.
Regarding the ‘cartoon incident’ that has been not only the source of controversy but of widespread violence within many countries, the drawings initially appeared in the centre right Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in September, 2005, and were reprinted in January and February of this year in a number of European countries. These drawings included a depiction of Muhammad with a bomb inside or under his turban. Within Jyllands-Posten, the drawings accompanied a key article on self-censorship and freedom of speech and were intended as satirical illustrations commissioned by the cultural editor of this newspaper in response to the difficulty encountered by Danish writer Kare Bluitgen in finding artists to illustrate his children's book about Muhammad. This restriction was due to the fear of violent attacks by extremist Muslims… Jyllands-Posten maintains that the drawings were an exercise in free speech.
Following the publication of the twelve cartoons and their printing in newspapers throughout Europe, and following the widespread riots within a number of Muslim countries, Jyllands-Posten published an apology for having offended many people in the Muslim world but did not retract their right (as of a recent CNN interview) to publish the cartoons in question as part of freedom of the press and of free speech in general.
“Denmark's largest selling broadsheet newspaper last night issued an apology to the "honourable citizens of the Muslim world" after publishing a series of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked protests across the Middle East. In a lengthy statement, the editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten admitted that the 12 cartoons…had caused "serious misunderstandings". Carsten Juste said: "The 12 cartoons ... were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims, for which we apologise."
The Guardian, Jan. 31, 2006
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The process by which darkness takes over the consciousness of people is not obvious; it can be very subtle. It poses in the guise of motivating action for a just or righteous cause, for example, the cause of ‘freedom of the press’ or ‘free speech’, while, in fact, its true purpose is to motivate action for an unjust and destructive cause, for example, that of creating increased agitation between the West and the Muslim world. This ‘secret agenda’ of darkness is one of the main tools it uses in order to confound people whose intentions may be innocent in their origin, into not knowing how it is operating or that it is operating. In the case of the cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, the ‘innnocent’ portrayal of the prophet with a missile on his head may have seemed entirely justified based on the desire to uphold and defend freedoms that are precious. Yet such an illustration could only come about following a diminishing of the internal sensibility of respect for the sacred within the culture that gave rise to this depiction, and consequently within those who took part in the editorial project.
The ‘secularization of consciousness’ that can lead to the desecration of what is sacred without much thought and without much expectation that it is morally problematic, is an already entrenched part of much of European and Western culture. It creates an inner permission to ridicule, satirize, mock, or defame that which is holy because the sensibility of what holiness is or what it means is no longer felt by many as real. Within the media, religion, and especially the devotional aspect of religion, is felt simply to be another subject for editorial review, one among many, not holding a special place within the life of the conscience, the life of the heart, the life of the soul. This perspective leads easily to the possibility for not perceiving in full measure, and for not caring about in full measure, the sense of violation that such cartoons of Muhammad would later generate within the Muslim world.
Given this predisposition within consciousness involving the disconnection from the sacred in its deeply meaningful sense, it is easy for darkness as a current to further its own ends and do its intended work.. For example, there could only be a cartoon such as the one of Muhammad with a bomb beneath his turban if what is deemed sacred, which is the stature and sanctity of the founder of a religion, is considered to have little or no value. This does not just pertain to Islam, of course, but to the attitude of reverence toward certain figures, places, or objects within any religion. The prevailing disconnection from the heart as well as from the spirit allows consciousness to lose the intimate experience of reverence, and at the same time to not consider what is felt to be of ultimate value to others. Were this disconnect not present, the desire not to trespass, violate, or desecrate would be paramount in consciousness. In the presence of the energy of darkness, this intuitive knowing and valuing recedes into the background and the justification given is that defending ‘freedom’ (in this case ‘freedom of the press’) is more important than anything else. The quality of this motivation, because it is separated from the whole, becomes infiltrated by the energy of darkness, for the light will always simultaneously consider actions in terms of the motivation of love and the expression of compassion for the brotherhood of man, not only for one's own purposes.
The diminishing of the value of the sacred or what is held to be sacred in the eyes and hearts of others is called ‘desecration’. ‘Descecration’ is a direct and explicit demeaning of the supremely important value given to a religious or holy object, word, ritual, or point of view that one values at the center of one’s life. Treating this object, ritual, or point of view as if it were trivial, ridiculous, or unimportant, is what is involved in ‘desecration’. Desecration can have varying degrees of consciousness or unconsciousness, but in either case the energy behind it seeks to diminish the importance and value of what is sacred and filled with light.
What is important to understand is that the liberty that people have to desecrate is different than the liberty people have to speak freely. Both actions involve the choice to express oneself, but one choice involves the freedom to express what is in one’s heart and mind as a perception of reality; the other choice involves the freedom to express the purposes of darkness which are not entirely based on the will of the self, but which add to that will an emphasis that would not be present if the motivations of the heart had not gone into eclipse. The ‘confoundment’ in this instance and in others like it is that the individual committing an action thinks that it emerges from the motivations of the self, when in fact it does not.
It would be as if people entrusted their thought process to the degree of rationality they were capable of when they were heavily under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, or any other force which seriously affects perception through the power of suggestion. To trust one’s perception at such times, even though such perceptions feel like they are coming from the self, would be foolhardy, since when the influence is not present, one comes back to a more sane way of thinking. So, too, is the effect or influence of darkness on the mind. It feels like one’s own perception and motivation that is being expressed, when in fact one is being greatly influenced by something else.
What enables a person to become free of such influences is purity of heart and the wisdom to wait in circumstances in which the impulse to act seems to spring unbidden into consciousness. Also, the willingness and wisdom to consider the effect of one’s behavior in terms of whether or not it expresses love. The moral centering that circulates through the heart as well as the will around the motivation of love, combined with the wisdom to discern what may be influencing thought and feeling at a particular moment, is the most effective way to deal with darkness that influences the mind.
The cartoon depiction of Muhammad, perceived by those who created it as innocuous or satirical, offended a whole population of people for whom the being of Muhammad is sacred and for whom the drawing of a religious image violates a restriction that Islam places around the depiction of sacred figures. No such drawings are allowed within Islam. Therefore, the effect of the creation of such an image can be known in advance and the sensitivity to its violating the central beliefs of others can also be known in advance. Such violation exists on two grounds: that an image was created at all, and that it was created in a disrespectful way.
It is part of the time we are in, a time in which light‘s expansion is being countered by the efforts of darkness to create hostilities and conflict, that this incident occurred at all. As such, it has effectively created a large disturbance within the Muslim world, not only because of the moral significance of the cartoon itself, but because its presence is perceived as symptomatic of a more widespread problem – that of the contempt of the West toward Islam – a perception that many Muslims share. If it were not for this already present sense of perceived contempt, the presence of one single cartoon would not have aroused such a furor. However, because of the degree of contempt and humiliation felt by many in the Muslim world, and because these perceptions are also inflamed and given additional weight by forces of darkness interested in engendering conflict, widespread rioting which led to violence and in some instances to loss of life did occur.
The only way in which a conflict and conflagration of even larger proportions can be prevented from growing out of the ongoing volatile situation in the Middle East, is if those feelings of contempt and derision that may be present in the West, both consciously and unconsciously, were replaced by attitudes of respect for the sacred and different values of a religion and culture which, for the most part, is still unfamiliar to the West. This would, of course, need to be accompanied by the cessation of hostilities on the part of a large group of Islamic militants who would no longer feel that they had cause to take up arms – a cause fueled by perceived need as well as by the incitement of darkness from within.
For the West, there is a need for greater understanding of the Middle East on all levels, but particularly in terms of the role that Islam plays in the daily life and consciousness of people. Within predominantly Christian countries, the adherence to Christian beliefs does not require, for the majority, the same daily devotion and spiritual practice that being Muslim requires, and there has been more of a movement toward the secularization of Christianity. For many Muslims, the devotional aspect of Islam is something that is part of a daily focus which blends into the rhythm of everyday life. It is inseparable from the fabric of one’s deepest sense of identity.
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