A Personal and Global Mythology of 911
Hey folks, here’s another of my earlier Project Avalon Forum articles.
* * *
Back in the early 80’s I had the opportunity to interview my great grandmother about what life was like for her at various intervals in history. She was born in 1896 and died just over 100 years later in 1996. It was an incredible experience to hear first hand what the depression was like, what the rabbit plagues of the 30’s were like, about how my great grandfather got his licence (apparently he was number 4 in Australia), about what travelling across the country was like when they were still clearing parts of the bush, about world war 1 and 2 and Vietnam, what it was like to support the war effort as a 20 something and a 40 something year old woman, about the hippies and how people responded to the soldiers who came back from Vietnam, about the growth of Sydney, about Don Bradman and the day he got a duck his last game, what it was like raising 3 kids during the war, what it was like when she used to travel in a buggy and how she crashed the first time her hubby let her drive (she never drove again) and so on. Nan was an endless stream of stories and I spent so much time just listening to her. Whenever I looked at her soft frail body, I found it hard to believe she had experienced so much. And yet now, here I am in my mid forties and I have this same sense of being witness to history that others will never know.
911 is one such event in human history.
Everyone here has some experience of 911. 911 or 119 or more accurately 129 (as we would have called it here in Oz) has made an indelible mark on human history and all of us have a living memory of some kind, of what it was like to experience 911.
911 has had a personal impact on us all – no matter how small or how large. And 911 has had an impact on how we perceive our shared human history. Since that day, generations are being born who will have no living memory of the event and what they learn of it will come to them second hand. We are in a way, in a privileged position in that we will be able so speak of such events to those who were not alive and to those who come looking for answers.
As perceived time moves on, we can see that 911 is developing it’s own mythology or mythologies. Every individual has their own way of integration 911 into their personal history and their own development as a human being and no single individual has the same sense of 911 as any one else. 911 has had a profound impact on the individual and collective psyche and our sense of what it means to be safe and secure. Many people have experienced a kind of deep seated grief when confronted with the images of 911 and the possibility that despite all of our apparent progress, the world is not a safe place. And as time goes on and we learn more about 911 and think more about what happened, we will find new interpretations and meanings in the events of 911. Just as many people continue to revisit world war 1 and 2, many people will continue to revisit 911, searching for understanding and meaning and reliving the feeling of 911. For some people 911 became a catalyst to bring them closer to their loved ones and to help them refocus their lives on what is really important. For some people 911 remains the turning point of their lives. Most of us at a distance were touched in some way by the profound and tragic loss of life and the ongoing suffering. But our experience of 911 is but a shadow, compared to those who were touched personally by the events of 911. But whether we were at a distance or close by, this was an event that reached out to us and continues to reach out to us, like no other event before or since. Through 911 we feel our common humanity. 911 has struck a chord in all of our human hearts – whether we choose to acknowledge what we feel, depends ultimately on whether we sense that we are connected or separate.
Beyond the personal experience of 911, a global mythology or set of mythologies is developing around 911 that presents us with a unique opportunity to see who we are as human beings. There are those who from day 1 and those who from later periods of time, have come to feel that 911 was an inside job. And within this there are many competing arguments for how and when the whole thing was orchestrated . Personally I think the explosives were built into the original structure of the twin towers and the hijackers were Islamic extremists who had been given a gentle passage to commit their acts of defiance. Beyond this I have little interest in the subject. For some, this act was another in an ongoing sequence of events which has helped to keep alive the lower arms of The Architecture (in particular the war machine and the millions of ordinary and elite folks that it sustains) and which will ultimately provide leeway and progression towards the weaponization of space. 911 has also provided a catalyst for many people to supposedly wake up – a concept I find highly amusing. Wake up is a relative term. 911 has at least woken many people up to the fact that the human world does not function as they have been led to believe. The 911 mythologies have also created opportunities for millions of people to ask “What is democracy ?”, “How are we to live ?”, “What is the role of government in human life ?” and “How can we live together ?”. There are also those who believe that 911 was solely an act of Islamic terrorists and for many of these folks, 911 has helped to solidify their bigotry and justifies the expansion of the American Empire and the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and equal numbers of men, women and children in Moslem countries. For many of these people, 911 justifies their hatred of any one who is different. Then there are others for whom 911 fulfils the prophecy of Revelations and marks the beginning of the return of Jesus. Many conservative Christians around the world, see 911 as the turning point in the war against Islam, just as many conservative Moslem’s see 911 as a turning point in the war against the Infidels. For many, 911 has strengthened the polarities that have always existed between religious groups – particularly Islam and Christianity. 911 now justifies whatever is required to cleanse the Earth of non believers. In time, future historians may mark 911 as the beginning of the New Crusades or The Great Religious Wars, in which humanity flung itself into another global conflict based purely on different interpretations of that famous 3 letter word : GOD.
Somewhere in the middle, there are other people who recognise that 911 is just another set of events that fall within the predictable patterns of human behaviour. Such people see that 911 marks a transition in collective awareness and that for some consciousness grows dimmer and for others consciousness grows brighter. These people might well have predicted something like 911 and can probably see other events on the horizon. They know that humans will never fundamentally change and will for the most part remain ignorant of their true nature and how to cultivate inner and outer peace. For them 911 was an opportunity to study individual and collective behaviour and to offer love and compassion whenever it was required. For such people 911 may well be a precursor event to many more significant events – as humans continue to act through ignorance and believe in separation. The folks in the middle don’t believe in the idea of collective progress and acknowledge that heaven and hell exist here, now, in any place on Earth. 911 is just another feast of human stupidity, that need not have happened. They see that it was not the first such feast and it will not be the last.
So, as I see it, there is this ongoing development of personal and global mythology (mythologies) around 911 that will shape humans in a myriad of ways for the next century at least and maybe even longer. Just as now we are taught about the civil war and read diaries written by mothers and soldiers who lived through it (Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days in America is perhaps the finest I know), our descendants will watch personal videos about the people jumping out of the twin towers and be taught the history of 911 from a multitude of perspectives. They’ll dig up archives of forums like this one and read blogs written on the day and since and search for the truth that best fits. They’ll debate what was real and what was not and sometimes they might even fight over the “truth”. They will wonder about what the world was like before 911 and how we let it get to that point. They will shrug their shoulders in disgust at how we let it happen and how we responded and some of them might even feel sorry for us and how we lived in a world that was ruled by lies and deception.
And one day some of these myths will become legend. By that time it will not matter what was true and what was not. Humans need legends because for most human beings, any time is better than now. If we are truly fortunate, one day in our distant future, 911 will be forgotten and we will have moved on to a place where history is unimportant.
But that day is a long way from now and what we have is a human world in which 911 did happen and in which 911 continues to cast it’s ripples outwards – affecting the entire human species in the most subtle and profound ways.
On September 11th, 2011, I was at home on my little farm in outback Victoria, Australia. I had a day off from Uni (where I was back doing my 3rd degree). I had just woken up and was about to watch the Teletubbies with my 2 year old son, when I discovered that the same thing was on all the TV channels. At first I thought that America had gone to war with Afghanistan and then I realised that America was under attack. I called my beloved and the 3 of us sat watching TV. But in the first hour things began to become very personal. My beloved had seen the dead since she was 4 years old and later her psychic skills l had been used by a specific government to do covert work – which included tracking down ET’s, killing some and saving others. I was no stranger to dead people in our house or strange things happening around us. For years, it had felt like she was a magnet to them – like a light at a cross roads. And as the morning began to roll on our room filled with dead people. At first there were 3 – a young black man, a middle aged white man and a young white woman. The white man was wearing a pilots uniform. All of them looked like they had been wounded. I went up to the pilot and touched his face. His head rolled back and Rachel freaked out. I gently rolled his head back in place. He looked at me – unmoving like he had been stunned. The 3 of them continued to watch the television with us – seemingly mesmerised by the events they were seeing. And then slowly the room began to fill with more dead people. Most of them looked in a very bad way. Even my son saw some of them. As the day moved on, we alternated between watching TV, watching the dead, talking to them and having breaks outside. By late afternoon Rachel was exhausted. She had spent much of her time, telling them that they were dead and that they needed to move on. Everyone who came into the room, stood silently watching our tiny television – as if they were discovering for the first time what had happened to them. Sometimes others who were dead came to help them. At one point later in the day, a very distinguished man who had not been amongst them – entered the lounge room,. He began speaking with Rachel and then after about 15 minutes she turned to me and told me it was Abraham Lincoln. I was shocked by what she told me.
I wrote the following little story the day after. At that stage there was speculation that some 5,000-7,000 people had been killed. Later the numbers came down but at that point no one really knew how many had died or where it would end. My story of what actually happened to Flight 93 is not nearly as romantic as the one people would prefer to believe.
What we experienced that day and what Rachel was told, have become part of my own personal 911 mythology. I can’t prove it to anyone else but I can tell you it was real enough for me. I wonder what personal mythologies have developed for you ???
America almost has it’s new ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER as it’s own physical testament to the mythology of 911 and the memory of all those who died. One wonders how the dead feel about it and what myths it will begin to create about the human experience of 911 ?
The Angel of 911 (the birth of freedom)
Abraham Lincoln suffered more in life than any other American President. He took the Northern States of the Union to a civil war, in which the vast majority of men, who cared nothing for slavery, came home broken in body and soul. And during that great bloody tug of war, he and his wife Mary lost their 11 year old son Willie to Typhoid Fever. Failure and loss plagued him at every corner of his life. But unlike other men, he did not give him self the liberty to grieve or wallow in self pity. He remained a compassionate man, who balanced the his intellect with heart and morality with fortitude. Even when the snarling dogs of war were tearing at his throat. And in the darkness that sometimes consumed him, it must have weighed heavily upon his conscience, the great loss of life that stemmed from his patriarchal responsibilities but none more so than the death of his favourite son, with whom he would often walk the gardens of the White House of an evening and talk about the greatness of god and the depths of human kindness. Yet despite such overwhelming darkness, Abe Lincoln is remembered above all for his gentle disposition and his tranquil smiling face. After which he is undoubtedly remembered for the abolition of slavery and the great Gettysburg Address – 2 minutes of oratory which will endure in the hearts men for an eternity. And even though he was assassinated only a few days after the end of the civil war, Abe Lincoln’s dream of freedom continues to inspire the dreams of martyrs throughout the western world. As a human being he believed that no man of virtue would retreat from fear. He became the first real martyr of the modern American dream and in martyrdom he is free.
The dead must have seen the attack on America coming but how powerless they were to prevent the catastrophe that unfolded.
When United Airlines flight 93 was hijacked early on the morning of September 11, 2001 the dream of American freedom turned to ashes. And Abe Lincoln could hardly sit and watch. The 757 that was headed from Newark to San Francisco was capable of carrying 244 people (including crew) but only 45 were aboard that morning. What none of the living on board flight 93 knew was that none of them were alone, the silent companionship of the dead at their side. But the living know nothing of how the dead intervene in our lives. And so when Thomas Burret Junior phoned his wife from on board flight 93, to tell her what had happened and that some of the men aboard would try to do something to salvage their situation, knowing they might well die, he planted a seed in the mind of the American public that would grow into legend. The same seed of heroism that has long since supplanted itself in the American dream. But despite their best efforts, Thomas Burret Junior and the other men failed to overwhelm their captors and died at the mercy of a gun. Abe Lincoln had great faith in the strength of men but there was little he or anyone else could do to stop the bullets that killed the heroes of flight 93. Fearing the ultimate desecration of all that he had lived for, Abraham Lincoln entered the cockpit of flight 93 and wrestled the controls away from the three men who were determined to crash into the White House. The infidel threw off the shackles of his oppressors and silently buried the talons of America into the heart of tyrants. His victory lay not only in controlling the fate of the plane as it headed towards that symbol of American Greatness but in taking action when few amongst the dead would dare. None of the hijacker’s training or simulated experience in Microsoft Flight Simulator, had prepared them for the wrath of a dead American hero.
No one survived when United Airlines flight 93 crashed into a field in Stony Creek, Pennsylvania. And no one survived when American Airlines Flight’s 11 & 77 and United Airlines flight 175 intercepted their targets. Yet despite the death of 6,000 men, women and children on that black day and the great wounds inflicted upon the body of America, her greatness remains alive in the spirit of hope that has arisen in those who are no longer slumbering.
No one will ever know about the heroic deeds of Abe Lincoln. Who remained a true American patriot, even in death. But having already endured his own death with a bullet in the back of the head, he had little to fear, where many other men dead like he, still feared the mirror of retribution. Payment for a tainted life, a life poorly lived. Abe Lincoln had known the seeds of human heartache all his life. He had lived with his own demons and seen them spawn in the lives of slaves and native Americans, as he watched the fist of conquest squeeze hope from their hearts. But as was his way, he gave hope, when hope was lacking. He knew the violent language of the oppressed and stood in harms way against the shadow of despair. Abe Lincoln’s life was not a life of cardboard cut outs painting shadows on the curtain of life. His life is the life of our species, at war with the demons within, in a struggle for inner peace at the edge of the moral frontier of what is right and what is wrong. In a world where the colours of good and evil, are blurred inside the grey. And Abe Lincoln knew that a man’s real calling in life, sometimes reached out beyond the doorway of life.
After 911, the mythology of modern man remains unchanged. We still need our heroes, we just don’t always know who they are.
Some might say that America got what it deserved. But the blood of innocence can’t be justified by Quid Pro Quo. And even though America is sadly lacking the dual substance of power and compassion, the symbol of her greatness remains enshrined in the statue of a man, who sits boldly at the entrance of a great Temple – the Lincoln Monument. And it is perhaps ironic that above the great Gettysburg Address inscribed on the south wall, there is a mural depicting an angel freeing the slaves. And one wonders, if Lincoln was the angel of 911, who were the slaves.