About QiQiiKhu

Exoteric and Esoteric Meanings
QiQiiKhu is intended to encode a certain view or understanding of the world which includes some things overtly stated but other possibilities merely implied or inferred by subtle patterns in pronunciation and in the arrangement or possible rearrangement of glyphs.

A Little History
Back in the 1990's, when I was in the habit of browsing library shelves for books on hieroglyphics and other ancient writing systems, I remember feeling sad to learn how the original ancient Sumerian language, which revealed simple, gracefully drawn, natural looking pictographs, had evolved into cuneiform, perhaps the world's first pre-alphabetic script. I've long felt it to have been a devolution rather than an evolution, since cuneiform initiated the world's first rigid hierarchical economic/political system.

The original pictograms, once easily understood by all, had gradually devolved to become a code system understood only by the scribes, the wealthy, and of course, the rulers. During the multi-generational transition from pictogram to code, little hierarchy existed since all generations retained varying degrees of memory of the original pictographic origins and meanings of the writings, but over time, after the full devolution of ancient Sumerian into a code, and after the death of a few more generations beyond that, the roots of the code script were sufficiently buried in the past so that secrets could be securely kept by those who knew the code. They were also in a position to carefully control who learns the code.

A Theory
I believe after studying the designs of ziggurats, that they were not temples to gods. They were of very practical use for filtering and organizing hierarchical access to the levels of power in city administrations. Entire cities of humans were able to organize according to the same principle expressed in a pack of dogs, baboons, and other animals, but not based only on snarling, growling, and violence, but also intellectual prowess with codes, glyphs, and knowledge. And don't forget charisma! Those who knew the code were able to develop and share extensive and detailed plans for all of society. And those plans for society didn't need to be agreeable (or fair) to those illiterate in the use of the code because the code protected the developing hierarchy's information. And the ziggurats themselves protected the hierarchy itself. Each higher level of a ziggurat would house a higher level of the administration until you get to the temple, the bed chamber of the king/god. Low level officials would only get access to the courtyard around the ziggurat.

The ziggurat (and temple?) of Ur-Nammu

If you look over some ziggurat diagrams, you will see that some levels provide only a narrow access gate which filters (and slows down) access to the level just above, and each gate forms a guard tower with parupets from which to attack the stairway below in case anyone tries to storm that gate. Visiting dignitaries and other officials were free and safe to enjoy outdoor conversation on the larger flat balconies for pleasure and for city administration purposes. Furthurmore, with the guards segregated into the towers, officials could discuss sensitive city business without the guards overhearing. In a very real sense, the ziggurat was not merely a symbol of the hierarchical government, it was the hierarchy itself. Remember, this is very likely the first time on earth that a handful of individuals successfully organized and ruled a larger group of individuals, whose job it was to organize and rule even larger groups of individuals, whose job it was to organize and rule other groups of individuals, etc... etc... all the way down to the pawns who must be organized and trained so they don't think like individuals.

The highest secrets of the city/state were surely stored on clay tablets in the upper levels of the ziggurats. As were the bed chambers of those top rulers who needed to sleep safely at night in the midst of a pack of potential human wolves, since every level (class) of the hierarchy knew (at least unconsciously) that the level above them had more wealth, power, and priviledge. No wonder these types of governments needed servant classes of eunuchs. Being devoid of the usual male desires and ambitions, eunuchs were less likely to effectively covet and capture the women, wealth, and privilege surrounding them as they serve their masters, or to take their masters' lives.

Only the bottom level of the hierarchy (common soldiers, slaves, and peasants) outside the city gates and far cut off from ziggurat access would need to be fully duped into believing this arangement was a divine plan, and hence believe a god dwelled in a temple at the top of the ziggurat. I don't doubt that towards the decline of this system of urban governments that some of the guys who got that penthouse suite actually believed themelves gods. But while this system was still functioning very successfully, those who had access to the courtyard around the ziggurat and the ziggurat itself (where converstions occurred between advisors to the top prince himself, his cabinet ministers, administrators, and captains of the military) must of necessity have had completely thorough "down-to-earth" understanding of how this code/ziggurat/city system filtered access to increasing levels of government knowledge as an individual ascended the steps of the hierarchy/ziggurat.

    A ziggurat would have contained:
  • Accounting records describing where the wealth earned on the backs of slaves really went.
  • Writings describing and discussing the reasons for the designs of fortresses and whole cities.
  • Locations of hidden passageways.
  • Descriptions of what really goes on in places off limits to common people.
  • Records of those held in prisons and why they are held.
  • Accurate records of military actions and plans.
  • Records of high level deliberations regarding needs and justifications for military actions.
  • Records of different sets of moralities and laws for each of the higher classes of the hierarchy which indeed had to have been kept secret to minimize resentments in the larger populations who often had to eke out a living with few perks and pleasures.
  • Secure lodging for top level officials.

As I wrote this article, every single time I typed the word hierarchy, I misspelled it "hierachy". Towards the end of the article it became darned iritating! So, resolving to type that word slowly to get it right, I realised how it sounded when pronounced as misspelled: High Iraqi. How ironic since this article discusses the functioning of the high parts of city governments of ancient Iraq.

The Ziggurat of Marduk
The ziggurat of Marduk may well have been the literal Tower of Babel. History and Myth can be illuminating when studied side by side, but keeping them separate is no easy task when dealing with mere mortals, such as we are. Myth says God confused the languages out of some fear of what man might achieve on that course he was charting in the BABYLON of those days. History/archeology suggests the tigris/euphrates river changed its course leaving some of the ziggurat/city systems without a water supply needed for large cities. Either way, the first and perhaps purest, most cruel of hierarchical world empires collapsed in those days. Could it be that the (Edenic) Rivers which had supplied the clay medium which likely distorted the original Sumerian pictographs into the appearance of wedges and lines, leading to the devolution into cuneiform/code, grew sick of trying to wash clean the human condition there, and took a turn for the better?

Perhaps by an accident of history the world's first alphabet was stillborn. Cuneiform was very far from a true phonetic alphabet which could open the minds of the masses. Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets would lead to better results in future ages, and incredible bursts of technological progress, but still the West is occasionally plagued by falls into tyranny and empire, sometimes dark ages as if to give up on very large human groupings in favor of village life. Perhaps, as Hillary said, it takes a village. One thing we have learned, when empires or nations bring a heavy hand to village life, the human heart and hearth departs.

While expressing the views above, I had to ignore many interpretations and points of view, and no doubt tons of history. It should be said that peasants and no doubt even those labeled as slaves had benefits under this system as well. Protection from foreign invaders and assistance during times of famine would certainly be significant perks.

Progression of god Images through Time
We could argue endlessly about the world's great scriptures:
Are they divinely inspired?
Which scriptures are the best?
Are they mere fantasies from humanity's early childhood?
Does God exist?

But can we agree that they provide important insight into the inner workings of the minds of ancient peoples, and very likely also provide clues to universal patterns within the modern human psyche and to the fundamental forces underlying events in our world? Whether or not gods or spiritual things truly exist, there have indeed been great movements down through history, both within us and all around us, movements of something we could describe as intelligent energy. Each Great Age of Humanity had its Zeitgeist. Something guides the hand of history, call it what we may. So believers and atheists should be able to agree that whether or not gods exist, certainly "God Images" do, and they profoundly chart the course of civilizations. This section will discuss the effects of these changing God Images on the evolution of human civilization without regard to what may or may not lie beyond the images.

Let's start by telling a story. Suppose, before any forms of writing, even before simple cave painting, humans lived and organized themselves only in small families and villages, and experienced the natural world with rich spiritual feelings but without any spiritual ideas whatsoever, or any other kinds of ideas for that matter. They would have lived in a world of direct experience, with only the beginnings of memory and imagination. So humans did not yet have God Images, but they seemed to lack nothing. They were nourished by the Tree of Life.

Then came some traumas or disturbances, sometimes limited to isolated villages, sometimes extending to vast regions of the earth. Localized drought, violent weather, volcanos, or fire from lightning could traumatize the natives, but if these events were infrequent, the innocent psyche would likely return to equilibrium. But what if the traumas were more frequent or more severe, perhaps an ice age or major volcanic eruption at a time when the innocent psyches were still recovering from past smaller traumas. And what if, as is the case today, traumatized humans would go briefly quiet (introspective) and then come out of it rejoining life around them, when the disturbed feelings resolve themselves. But if trauma follows trauma without an adequate break, the beginning of a larger introspective space within the human psyche could provide a means of escape rather than just a brief healing respite. As these traumatized humans spend more and more of their time in this new inner space, they begin to entertain themselves with the swirls of stuff that seems to flit about weightlessly in their minds. But not yet knowing they "have a mind", or "what a mind is", they perceive it as another world. And they begin to populate that new world.

From Marduk to Jesus
In the theory above regarding the practical governmental purposes of ziggurats in ancient Iraq, the peasants and slaves would have been very impressed indeed by the massive monolithic presence of a ziggurat in the center of a city, and being denied access to its secret high places, would have only imagination and rumor to inform them of what dwells there. And it would certainly be in the interests of the rulers to encourage the spread of rumors that a powerful, invincible Being dwells there. Who would dare start an insurrection against such a Being?

Marduk was one such imagined god. He ruled a hierarchy which probably granted little upward mobility, or individual rights for the masses. But this system allowed for rather complex cities to be organised around common principles. Marduk was one of humankind's first God Images. The Image was greater than the man. Mesopotamian civilization rose and fell, but the God Image would morph to rule future ages.

Egyptian Pharoahs ruled very hierarchical civilizations, but there seems to have been less of a bunker mentality (judging from the architectures) on the part of rulers. There are stories of men like Joseph in the Bible, a slave from a foreign land living in Egypt, gaining the approval of the Pharoah, achieving high government office and much power. Talk about upward mobility! This was just an exception to the general rule: "Be content with your station in life, it will not change", but it did seem to represent at least some softening of rigid hierarchical rule.

Fast forward to Greek and Roman civilization and you have myriads of gods and goddesses with differing temperaments and stations in the hierarchy. It's as if divinity was granted, or at least related to many levels of society. No longer was the god just one mysterious, powerful being at the top of a ziggurat. The gods had understandable human passions and flaws. But they were still very powerful and distant, and often seemed to act with disregard for humans.

Then along came Jesus. He rejected established authority, preached to the downtrodden, sinners and slaves. The meek would inherit the earth if his vision were to be fulfilled. But he was killed to stop a potential insurrection. Then Jesus became a God Image, a very democratizing image, since he denied salvation to the rich and powerful, favoring the poor and powerless. Only the meek could inherit the kingdom of heaven which was spread out on the earth, not up in the sky on mount Olympus or secreted away in a palace or ziggurat.

As each civilization rose and fell from age to age, it seems humanity was refining its God Images, and propagating them down the levels of society, a hint of beginning democratization. Jesus seemed to take this a step furthur, favoring only those at the bottom of hierarchies.

The Trees of Life and Knowledge
There is surely no shortage of interpretations of the Genesis story. Far be it from me to stay out of the fray.

Whether you are a believer in Genesis as the absolute, inspired word of God or view such writings as childish mythology, nevertheless it is significant ancient liturature and thus, you can still wonder if the terms Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge could refer to something or some process fundamental to how our lives unfold.

Suppose the two trees in Eden represent two complimentary (and often conflicting) ways of storing, displaying, and processing information, one deeply hierarchical, the other ranging from mildly hierarchical to non-hierarchical. What if both trees could be used complimentarily within an individual's thinking and feeling nevous system, or alternatively, individuals could divide into separate camps with one camp devoting themselves to the hierarchical system, the other camp remaining exclusively loyal to the non-hierarchical system, one camp processing information in the form of letters, the other camp processing imagery. One camp would then have a strong bias toward analysis and abstraction, the other toward synthesis and harmony. A Tree of Words and a Tree of Imagery.

The Tree of Imagery (Life) would include information from the other senses as well, hearing, smell, taste and touch. This tree would be about receiving and processing information which comes directly to the individual from one's own senses, information which is not fragmented into parts like a puzzle which needs assembly. The experience of this tree's raw unprocessed information as well as the processed results which arise from a person's or group's psyche would be concrete and immediate like a painting or a piece of music. This tree could result in a deeply integrated view and experience of life. Societies based on this tree would be of the "unwalled village type" having no concept of the need to prepare a defense against hostile invaders, all of life to them, is "One".

The Tree of Words (Knowledge) seems an obvious name for alphabetic writing since alphabets provided a systematic way for organising information into categories for easy retrieval, called alphabetising. Each letter of the alphabet was like a branch on the tree, and each branch could have limitless branches. Can you think of any way of organising images in a systematic way which would be universally accepted by entire civilizations? Google can't even do that! They rely on text which is associated with images for implementing their image search.

We can say with certainty that early humans were processing imagery for millenia before writing began to develop, since imagery was supplied abundantly by nature itself. You could say, early humans organised themselves according to the Tree of Imagery leading to harmonious village life for the most part, with exceptions of course. Nature, and of course other human groups could sometimes be other than kind.

Then came cuneiform and other alphabetic systems of writing, allowing thinking to occur without being tied to concrete physical imagery. The mind became able to wander off to other possibilities, even though the old imagery was still fresh in the human mind for generations. Over many generations, the old imagery would begin to fade from memory leaving the mind free to explore nearly limitless abstractions, as well as to stumble upon new relationships between common images (and thus objects) leading to discoveries and inventions. Since literacy was not universal, human populations became layered with planners and managers occupying the upper layer and workers doing what they have always done, making a living from the opportunities their enironments affort them. This is essentially the pattern that has come down to us today, except of course, the two-layered villages have evolved into extremely complex patterns of hierarchies within hierarchies, with pockets and niches of non-hierarchical life scattered throughout the system and outside the system. Groups living non-hierarchically (clubs, families, and villages) do not fare well anytime a hierarchical system takes a disliking to them. Their only options are submit or die. Hierarchies wield limitless power by comparison because even the smallest member of a hierarchy can call in reinforcements from upper levels. A single security guard in a third world nation can defeat limitless opposition from natives when a corporation wants oil or logging rights, since that guard can call in guards from their corporation, who can call in local police and military forces if needed, who can even call in the US military, which means that ultimately every member of a hierarchy on earth is potetially backed up by nuclear weapons. Clubs, families, and villages thrive only at the pleasure of the dominant hierarchies.

So now it all comes down to our current predicament. We're still trying to balance those two Genesis Trees! Essentially, humans first nourished their minds from the Tree of Imagery (Life), leading to fairly harmonious village life, then imbibed from the Tree of Words (knowledge), becoming very successful and powerful, but also extremely complex and hierarchical. Empires rose and fell. Great achievement alternated with great failure. Many thrived but many suffered greatly.

Each of us spends our waking hours functioning in our little non-hierarchical niches (clubs, families, and villages), frequently contacting little hierarchies and sometimes big ones as we move throughout our communities working, shopping, or just traveling. In our modern world, every little hierarchy is part of a bigger one all the way up to nuclear weapons. But all is not negative, much freedom exists, thanks to something called "Federated Government". The development of federated government allowed for the benefits of hierarchy while attempting to minimize its deficits, such as the heavy-handed treatment of villages by large hierarchical organizations.

New Beginnings for Humanity
The western world, once heavily dominated by the written word because of the printing press, began (with the invention of photography during the 19th century) communicating information with images and with the invention of television in the 20th century, the balance may have tipped in favor of images over words. Wars have been interupted by images circling the globe at the speed of light.

With the advent of the World Wide Web, the balance may have tipped a little back toward the Word, restoring the balance. The Web as a medium integrates images and text so effectively, that perhaps neither Image nor Word will ever be able to become dominant again. With teenagers sending each other millions of text messages daily, it's difficult to know which way the Image/Word balance tips, especially when you consider that all those texting cellphones include cameras! Think about it, a $100 cellphone can send Voice, Image, and Text, every communication medium we have, transmitting from a pocket sized device. Experts are now speculating that the cellphone may have surpassed the personal computer in its transforming effect on society. Even in China, a third of the population is now using cellphones. An electronic revolution is surely underway.

Is alphabetic text, and the consciousness it engenders the Tree of Knowledge?
Is the Tree of Life the part of our nervous system which processes Images, music, and other direct sensory information?

Time will tell, but it now seems that all forms of communication will have an equal share in the mix.