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Most ancient Greek scholars came to Egypt to study in Alexandria. Pythagoras, for instance spent 22 years there. One of the most secret, and sacred sciences they studied was Ancient Harmonics. This involves the harmonic interaction of everything in the universe through resonance. It teaches the laws of Harmonics as the way of creation, and manifests them in Music, mathematics and other sciences. These are all ways of expressing the laws of creation in our sensory world. The Jesuit monks later preserved this science, using it in herbal medicine and water detection.

We now turn from a specific centring in the Middle East, via Islam specifically, to the more general "emergence", that is renewal, of ancient harmonics, which take us back, as it were, to the future of mankind, building on the Egyptian Goddess Ma'at in the process.

Indeed the sustainability revolution, for Britain's Prince Charles (2), a student of many primal cultures as well as those ancient and modern (as articulated in his recent book on Harmony) involves rediscovering the principles that produce the active state of balance which is just as vital to the health of the natural world as it is for human society. When people, in that context, he says, talk of things like an "environmental crisis" or a "financial crisis", what they are actually describing are the consequences of a much deeper problem which comes down to what Prince Charles calls a "crisis of perception". It is the way we see the world, for him, which is ultimately at fault.

If we simply concentrate on fixing the outward problems without paying attention to this central, inner problem, then the deeper problem remains, and we will carry on casting in the wilderness for the right path without a proper sense of where we took the wrong turning. All of the solutions Prince Charles suggests depend for their success on looking at the world in a different way. It is not strictly a new way, and that is why it is important to travel back in time to see the world as did the "primary peoples" of the world, as well as the "ancients", but it is a way of seeing things that stands very much at odds with what has become today's only reasonable way of looking at the world.

Ibrahim Karim, Back to the Future for Mankind (1)



The Prince then, and his UK-based environmental colleagues Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly, having argued that the reason we have ended up in today's mess, and why we continue to dig ourselves deeper into it, is because of the "modern" way we perceive things, proceed to take us back in time, as indeed one of us, Louis Herman has already done (see Chapter 16), to reveal a less well-known aspect of the way ancient civilizations viewed their place in the world. This is not to suggest that we should be blind to the fact that ancient societies and their civilizations were, by our modern standards, cruel and inhuman, and ravaged by all sorts of plagues and diseases that modern science has either eradicated or found cures for; that life was short, both in primary and ancient societies, and health-care non-existent. Nevertheless, by looking at their deeply rooted perception of the world and their place in it, expressed so eloquently in their art and the symbolism embedded in their sacred literature, it is possible to see how, as a mechanistic and secular view of the world grew from the 17th century onwards, the seeds that sprouted at the time produced the legacy of our current and increasingly destructive view of the world. What Prince Charles wants to show is just how fundamentally at odds with reality our modern view has become compared with one that sustained the world for thousands of years. It is why we are travelling along the wrong road. To find the right one we need to turn from nature to culture, and most especially to the wisdom of our "primary peoples", and thereafter of the ancients.


Against ever-increasing odds, the "primal" people of the world, as Louis Herman has already intimated, whether in Southern Africa or Papua New Guinea or Native America, in Borneo or Brazil, live in harmony with the Earth. Wherever Prince Charles has had the privilege of meeting them, no matter where they are in the world, he says, they all talk of the importance of their relationship with the living Earth, and almost always in exactly in the same terms. Specifically, as such, they have the ability to "read" the world, including how it is entirely dependent upon their relationship with the Earth. It is contained within their folklore and transmitted from generation to generation, in many cases in the form of stories. There are many references, for example, to the medicinal properties of berries and plants, as well as lessons in social responsibility and manners of behaviour.

If this had to be boiled down to one simple definition of the philosophy of so many of the world's primal cultures, Prince Charles would say "they know the world that knows them". As such they are very conscious of the web of interconnectedness; that the Earth depends for its health and survival upon a complex interchange of mutual relationships, all of which are controlled by cycles of repeated patterns. All that they know, all that they dream of in their imagination, all that they say, comes from the Earth, for which they therefore have a profound reverence. In that philosophical and spiritual context, the essence of life is considered to be mysterious, benign, sustaining, seeking expression through its “actualization" of the material world. Once upon a time this rooted approach was not just active in remote indigenous communities. Western civilization was equally rich in instructive myths, and in the teachings of our spiritual texts, but we do not seem to notice it any more. We now turn from the primary peoples of the world, and their indigenous belief systems, to the ancient world, most specifically to Ancient Egypt.

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