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RUSSELL FARNEN’S REVIEW OF George E. Lowe’s BIRDING & MYSTICISM- VOLUME #1

BIRDING & MYSTICISM: ENLIGHTENMENT THROUGH BIRD WATCHING (TWO VOLS.) XLIBRIS, 2009, $24.99, by GEORGE E. LOWE

 

Introduction to Volume #1

George E. Lowe has been writing for a living all his life: as teacher at all levels of education, as a student in college and graduate school, as a Foreign Service Officer [Paris], US Naval Intelligence Officer [Hawaii/Japan/Pentagon] and Civil Service Bureaucrat in OE/Dept. of Education as a speech writer during the Reagan Years [for Secretary of Education, Ted Bell].

Along the way, Lowe had the occasion to write numerous books on a variety of topics including: the prevention of thermonuclear war through “simple/true” deterrence and transparency while preventing a right-wing Christian takeover of the major seats of power in all three branches of government and the across the broad perils which the Bush-Cheney administrations created when it raped and pillaged the economy, the environment, the courts, the UNO and other opposition NGO”s, as well as threatening world peace itself by imposing its brand of permanent war in politics, the Middle East[Western Asia] and Central Asia, the war on terror, international and US-Russian relations and on every other conceivable facet of un-democratic governance known to the mind of man.

The major books Lowe has produced over the years include: TheAgeofDeterrence[1964], ItCanHappenHere: AFascistChristianAmerica, [2000] 2 vols, TruthSeeking: TravelsaTimeofTerror/WarsandReligiousFundamentalists[2006] and now BirdingandMysticism: EnlightenmentThroughBirdWatching, [2009 ] two vols.[With a work in progress- Yet Still the Bulbul Sings: My Stalking of the Anti-Christ’s, Their False Nuclear Prophets, Nuclear Gladiators and Spirit Warriors— 1 Oct. 1952--21 Dec. 2012](20100] He also published numerous government reports, journal articles, position papers , commentaries on military policy/ strategy, nuclear weapons, education and the environment. However, by far his greatest achievement concerns philosophical issues, birding, competing strategic nuclear doctrines, mystical religions and spiritual insights in Nature via birding. He also instructs us on how to become inspired and initiated in the “mystery of mysteries’’ in Nature on INTENSIVE BIRD [IBW] WALKS guided by a BIRD SPIRIT PERSON TEACHER} [BSPT]—who skilfully combines the modern empirical scientist with the ancient shaman to identify and find--and yes, communicate with, the Bird Nation. Thus experiencing and creating, by crossing the two species--The Avian with Homo sapiens, mystical moments/sparks on the way to the “dawning” of bird consciousness eventually leading to the way of cosmic consciousness. He is helped along his path-way by a series of Synchronicities or “meaningful coincidences”.

He shows us how to avoid the dreaded “Curse of the Bird Nation” which Lowe placed, during a trip to Dublin, on what he calls the environmental Vandals and ecological Huns of the Bush administrations. Lowe also describes the bellicose foreign/military policies of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld distinguished by programs of death/defiance/defeatism and decadence which they spread—broadly speaking, at home and abroad.

 

BirdingandMysticism is a two volume, 1225 page work which is broadly expansive in scope and universally inclusive in its coverage of both familiar and exotic subjects. Birding, for example is a widely practiced pastime[hobby]. Lowe goes into the details of bird-watching, bird lists, bird consciousness, a birding epiphany and birding observations, bird guides and bird inspired teaching— in fact the entire birding sub-culture . Additionally, Lowe discusses the detailed behavior of North American birds along with other esoteric subjects such as the following: Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, the cosmic Christ, cosmic wisdom, cosmic consciousness, creationism, Eastern religions and finding one’s own religion, religious fundamentalism, global warming, I Ching, Taoism[Lao Tse], memes, New Apostolic Reformation, Nirvana, nuclear weapons, Sarah Palin evolution , revelations and the Book of Revelation, The Tao of Physics, William James, Richard Bucke’s CosmicConsciousness , the Tao of Psychology, Zen and Haiku. This is truly a remarkable sample of topics discussed in Vols. #1/ #2 of Birding & Mysticism .

 

If we examine Volume #1 we see many of the same topics—but shorter discussions, with the addition of others such as: Amazonia, Anti-Christ’s, Martin Buber, the Bulbul [a Japanese/Asian] bird, G.W. Bush, Dance of Shiva, Eye of Shiva, Dick Cheney, Charles Darwin, Evolution/Galapagos, St. Francis, Carl Jung, Hal Lindsey, Mathew Fox’s “New Living Cosmology”, sacred birding rituals and whooping cranes. Surely these examples of the breadth and depth of George Lowe’s new book prove the point of his “A” to” Z”/Alpha to Omega interests and voracious literary appetites. Lowe’s integration in one book of nuclear counterforce targeting and deterrence theory along with—or contrasting it with the philosophy and practice of birding and with religious/spiritual mysticism, over and against power politics in the 20 th/21 st centuries is a remarkable tour de force. Seldom will the most omnivorous reader come across/upon a book that can integrate these diverse topics in terms of a personal life history or autobiography.

Lowe demonstrates his passion for an active life of travel, public service, teaching, work, scholarship, birding, research and writing. These products also prove the worth of keeping a personal journal on a daily basis since in the meagre publishing world of 2010 even a well versed commoner can become king of letters if one has the time, talent and interest in doing so.

-

As I scan through both volumes of B&M I come upon some interesting and unique terminology. For example there is the INTENSIVE BIRD WALK[IBW]guided by a Bird Spirit Person Teacher[Half scientist and half shaman[BSPT] which I serendipitously once experienced. In fact—the thought of that encounter many years ago[Christmas 2000 in southern FL[Stuart] I now rate as a synchronicity, because the experience was so strange—other worldly. This was an introduction to The Bird Nation and the Birding Sub-Culture by a true, BSPT on an IBW—George’s terms. All Audubon Christmas Bird Counts [CBC] are by definition IBWs and they have been counting birds since 1900.

This happy travail begins around 7 am and ends at dusk—at least seven hours—longer if you want to call/count owls. That historic 2000 Christmas season my bird guru or BSPT was George Lowe, but he did more for me in our day-long expedition around downtown Stuart than helping distinguish two black water birds—the Cormorant and the Anhinga. Much more exciting was watching Sandhill Cranes on a local golf course and hearing them bugle—not Gabriel’s trumpet, but a rattling, rolling bugling—not soon forgotten. As we walked through the scrub pine and fresh water marshes of the Savannah’s Park looking for the endangered Scrub Jay, George pointed out a red-bellied woodpecker and then discussed SAC and counterforce strategic theory and the dangers to Mutual Deterrence of a new Bushite American ABM system—the BMD and RWR introduced his “very own” SDI [Star Wars] in March, 1983—the high-water mark of militaristic Reagan‘s crazies /war lovers).

The point is that these “walks” with an inspired teacher/guru produced unique secular/spiritual experiences, which the “birding event” allowed to happen—in Nature! This is one of the new and seldom discussed side benefits which a truly intensive bird walk can reveal and promote. I can personally vouch for their lingering influence.

Volume #1 of Birding andMysticism presents 26 bird narratives. All are examples of IBWs and follow the related activities of the four seasons from late winter in the Dry Tortugas to spring in Washington, DC and Ohio with summer in Nova Scotia, fall in Cape May and San Rafael, California and back to South Florida for the Christmas Bird Counts. The narratives end with a trip to the Galapagos and a six hour canoe voyage down the Napo in Ecuadorian Amazonia. [www.NWC@aol.com}

 

Part “B” of each of the twenty-six chapters in vol. #1 contains discussions/follow-ups of birding from a religious/spiritual/mystical/rational and personal perspective and as a 21st century coping mechanism.. These subjects taken from the various bird narratives are more fully developed in Vol. #2 of B&M. They provide the mystical core of Vol. #2. Lowe also lists for us on pp. 557ff the religious, spiritual and mystical implications of his IBWS guided by a BSPT, familiar synchronicities, along with the exciting insights of W. H. Hudson’s[ of GreenMansions fame] into the core of Lowe’s IBWs—a little brown bird may well lead us toward cosmic consciousness. Some other insights include the Coming of the Cosmic Christ [religious] and the Advent of Cosmic Wisdom [secular].Many of Lowe’s insights are the results of synchronicities—finding the right books at the right time in a used clothing or thrift store in Nova Scotia when looking in the book bins next to women’s used purses; gifts; or key reference book suddenly surfacing at the top of random book piles; or strategically located on book shelves for Lowe to find and thereby solve a real writing problem. Often these books are the equivalent of a “bolt from the blue”/a flash from the ‘’other side,’’ spreading/showering enlightenment to the psychologically aware, receptive, and ready. Yes, ready and willing to grasp new forms of thinking—some of which make sense rationally/scientifically/and/or spiritually.

Representative authors/books that inspired these visions/insights/memes are: W.H.Hudson/Richard Bucke/William James, et. al... They are helpful in rediscovering one’s childhood’s delight with nature and ‘’the greenness of Earth”, in Mathew Fox’s call for a “new living cosmology” and the case for an ‘’open mind’’ regarding such matters as “Why do birds sing? Do they vary their songs so as not to get bored with their own songs? [Professor Charles Hartshorne’s thesis] Do they sing because they like to? To warn other males away? To attract the ladies? Or all of the above?

 

TWO OF THE SIX APPENDICIES OF VOLUME #2 are devoted to various aspects of the Bird Nation’s rich & varied Sub-Culture.

Appendix 5 provides us with two case studies of south Florida intensive bird walks. During the Christmas bird count of 2007, George Lowe served as the equivalent of the leader/guide (complete with Haiku, synchronicities, and I Ching, with a bald eagle sighting and a caracara found among the circling turkey vultures to boot. George’s younger brother, Bob (now deceased) went along this time as a neophyte student of birding. By the end of the walk and the CBC he admitted to being a three quarters committed birder and ready to go at it again. Such is the practical power of an IBW!

At this point– the author sets up for the first time some guidelines for IBW’s: 1. “When on an IBW-bird! No religious discussions/limited national politics . . .no sports stuff, please 2. Lots of “bird talk’/back ground information(books) and ID tips/field marks 3. Local conservation issues/pressing environmental/ecological topics are okay to chat about. 4. Cover the territory and spend all the time birding. The fruits of the 2008 IBW (including another bald eagle sighting in downtown Stuart, Fl ),and other sightings noted, more bird observations, good and bad identifications, IBW highlights, and conclusions about religious, spiritual, and mystical matters stemming from each CBC, including some more ‘’Haiku”:

A gray sprite flits

And another fly dies

(on watching the blue-gray gnatcatcher feed)

 

Screeching, fluttering

Overhead an Osprey

Dangles a silver fish

(on hearing/seeing two osprey flying over our pool)

Finally, in Appendix 6 we see an account by his former Fox Lake, Ill. 8 th grade student/birder, Dennis Brezina’s successful campaign to bring the Audubon Christmas Bird Count to the White House grounds on Dec. 23, 1969. And at the very end of vol. #2 is a list of Teddy Roosevelt’s 1908 White House bird sightings.

For those who wish to participate in other yearly bird rituals –other than the CBC, see Miyoko Chu’s list in her SongbirdJourneys: The Birdhouse Network/Breeding Bird Atlas/Breeding Bird Survey/Great Backyard Bird Count/Project Feeder Watch/ebird/Urban Bird studies, other useful surveys of the Bird Nation. These are all part of what Lowe calls “practical mysticism.”

Lowe also discusses his personal birding epiphany in May of 1940 while encouraging other converts to the sacred cause. The amazing statistic is that in the 2006-2007 CBC over 57,000 US birders participated in the task. This means that birding is one of the largest citizen science projects in the world and it also contributes to the growth of civil society in the US and Canada. And this figure does not include those casual or occasional bird watchers (perhaps three out of four of us).Such people discuss birds at work, home, on the golf course, at the beach and elsewhere & whether they are aware of it or not they are engaged in ‘‘practical mysticism.”

Other examples are the composting of all organic matter/recycling of everything else, planting trees/bird feeder/butterfly-flower gardens/food gardens, act, buy & grow locally/lower your CO2 foot-prints/greener life-styles/kindness to all animals/plants & trees. Above all protect and defend our Mothers: Nature & Gaia, as well as all of God’s Creation.

Lowe believes—and he has almost convinced me that this Kabbalah-Hassidic inspired inspiration of “Practical Mysticism” may well be the most important single determinate for the success of the Fourth Great Green Env-Eco Awakening of the 21 st century. Why? Because it is intimately involved with the vitally necessary global environmental ethic/conscience and it must be deeply rooted in a mystical attachment to the land as sacred land. Moreover, perhaps a little brown bird will lead us on this exciting journey. Lowe suggest a path/a way and a process—an IBW guided by a BSPT—or master birder. Read all about it in Birding & Mysticism and begin your great birding journey as I did.

Back to Top

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RUSSELL FARNEN’S REVIEW OF George E. Lowe’s BIRDING & MYSTICISM- VOLUME # 2- January, 2010

BIRDING & MYSTICISM: ENLIGHTENMENT THROUGH BIRD WATCHING (TWO VOLS.) XLIBRIS, $34.99, 2009 by GEORGE E. LOWE

Note-this volume,no.2, is also being reviewed from a different/religious/theological perspective in Amazon.com by Nitsa Kahn, Professor of Hebrew Studies/Language at Dickenson College, Carlisle, Pa., USA

Introduction

George E. Lowe has been writing for a living all his life: as teacher at all levels of education, as a student in college and graduate school, as a Foreign Service Officer [Paris], US Naval Intelligence Officer [Hawaii/Japan/Pentagon] and Civil Service Bureaucrat in OE/Dept. of Education as a speech writer during the Reagan Years [for Secretary of Education, Ted Bell].

Along the way, Lowe had the occasion to write numerous books on a variety of topics including: the prevention of thermonuclear war through “simple/true” deterrence and transparency while preventing a right-wing Christian takeover of the major seats of power in all three branches of government and the across the broad perils which the Bush-Cheney administrations created when it raped and pillaged the economy, the environment, the courts, the UNO and other opposition NGO”s, as well as threatening world peace itself by imposing its brand of permanent war in politics, the middle east[western Asia], the the war on terror, international and US-Russian relations and on every other conceivable facet of un-democratic governance known to the mind of man.

The major books Lowe has produced over the years include: of The Age Deterrence [1964], It Can Happen Here: A Fascist Christian America , [2000] 2 viols, Truth Seeking: Travels in the Time of Terror/Wars and Religious Fundamentalists [2006] and now Birding and Mysticism: Enlightenment Through Bird Watching, [ 2009] two vols.[with a work in progress- Yet Still the Bulbul Sings: My Stalking of the Anti-Christ’s, Their False Nuclear prophets, Nuclear Gladiators and Spirit Warriors— 1 Oct. 1952--21 Dec. 2012](20100] He also published numerous government reports, journal articles, position papers , commentaries and many letters to the editor on military policy/ strategy, nuclear weapons, education and the environment. However, by far his greatest achievement concerns philosophical issues, birding, competing strategic nuclear doctrines, mystical religions and spiritual insights in nature via birding. He also instructs us on how to become inspired and initiated in the “mystery of mysteries’’ in nature on INTENSIVE BIRD [IBW] WALKS by a BIRD SPIRIT PERSON TEACHER} [BSPT]—who skilfully combines the modern empirical scientist with the ancient Shaman to identify and find--and yes, communicate with, the Bird Nation. Thus experiencing, by crossing the two species--The Avian with Homo sapiens, mystical moments/sparks on the way to the “dawning” of bird consciousness eventually leading to the way of cosmic consciousness. He is helped along his path-way by a series of SYNCHRONICITIES or “meaningful coincidences”.

He shows us how to avoid the dreaded “Curse of the Bird Nation” which Lowe placed, during a trip to Dublin, on what he calls the environmental Vandals and ecological Huns of the Bush administrations. Lowe also describes the bellicose foreign/military policies of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld distinguished by programs of death/defiance/defeatism and decadence which they spread—broadly speaking, at home and abroad.

 

Birding and Mysticism is a two volume, 1225 page work which is broadly expansive in scope and universally inclusive in its coverage of both familiar and exotic subjects. Birding, for example is a widely practiced pastime. Lowe goes into the details of bird-watching, bird lists, bird consciousness, a birding epiphany and birding observations, bird guides and bird inspired teaching. Additionally, Lowe discusses the detailed behavior of North American birds along with other esoteric subjects such as the following: Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, the cosmic Christ, cosmic wisdom, cosmic consciousness, creationism, Eastern religions and finding one’s own religion, religious fundamentalism, global warming, I Ching, Taoism[Lao Tse], memes, New Apostolic Reformation, Nirvana, nuclear weapons, Sarah Palin and “revelation”, The Tao of Physics, William James, Dr.Richard Bucke, the Tao of Psychology, Zen and Haiku. This is truly a remarkable sample of topics discussed in Vol. #2 of B&M.

 

Lowe demonstrates his passion for an active life of travel, public service, teaching, work, scholarship, birding, research and writing. These products also prove the worth of keeping a personal journal on a daily basis since in the meagre publishing world of 2010 even a well versed commoner can become king of letters if one has the time, talent and interest in doing so.

My personal perspective on George Lowe goes back over half a century. We worked together on several US governments. projects such as a major Citizen Education Conference in Kansas City[Summer 1976], set up by Logan Sallada and President Ford’s then Chief of Staff –Dick Cheney—midst the Ford-Carter presidential campaign[I did the evaluation of that successful conference for George and Logan]. During the summer of 1966 which I spent in Washington, D.C. teaching in one of George’s summer workshops on how the federal government works. George arranged for his students to meet with Hubert Humphrey (HHH) and his staff [George even wrote a few speeches for HHH on oceanic deterrence)

These occasions allowed us to become close colleagues with similar world views/political issues on the nuclear arms race fighting limited wars—especially in the counterproductive, perpetual Cold War nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. The central topics we then discussed were overkill and the so-called “merchants of death” in the unfolding national security state [see, for example, Fred J. Cook’s, TheWarfareState [1962]/defense socialism/MIC (military industrial complex), and the enigma of “Deterrence and Deterrents” in the Nuclear Age [“rational deterrence’]. Our personal and professional relationships have continued over the years. I have written two major reviews of his previous books—I t Can Happen Here: A Fascist Christian America [2000] and Truth Seeking [2006]. These reviews have appeared in Germany and remain on Amazon.com. In my review (2006) of Truth Seeking, I particularly focused on the value of SYNCHRONICITIES [‘’meaningful coincidences”] in all of Lowe’s work. This phenomenon was significant enough—and fascinating in the extreme—to see if he would repeat this “aspect of his inspiration” in his two new “birding books. Happily—I think—he does so “in spades”—as in our favorite Pinochle card game. He mentions this “mystical” phenomenon, especially its strong influence on his discovering key in his the Cold War and deterrence books/insights/ideas or viral memes no less than forty –five pages in vol. #2 and thirty –nine pages in volume #1. Thus synchronicities remain currently key/vital in his recent work.

  • The Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, and Deterrence

In his strategic nuclear thinking—going back to his years as a Naval Intelligence Officer in Japan/Hawaii [1954-1957]—ABM/SDI/STAR WARS/BMD are actually offensive weapons systems, not defensive systems as touted by the Pentagon and its think-tank allies, like RAND/AEI/Heritage/Hudson Institute et al... In George’s view, the Bush BMD was designed to add credibility to the Bush doctrine of pre-emption [September, 2002] or a first nuclear strike versus the Russian’s / USSR’S great nuclear deterrent [Bomber bases and ICBM silos]. And any surviving Soviet retaliatory missiles/weapons would be seriously impeded from hitting their American targets—the US would only lose 20 million Americans on a bad hair day! Well, Obama ditched the Poland and Czech Bush BMD interceptors and went with/adapted the NAVY’s AEGIS system—which Lowe has been writing about since the winter of 1970. It was the idea of his mentor’s Admiral George H. Miller’s SABMIS—which would be sea-based and destroy “rogue” nation’s ballistic missiles in their boost phase. Lowe provides us with a clever alternative to Bush’s and the neo—cons offensive –thermonuclear war- winning BMD. He regards the timing –early in the Obama administration as a current SYNCHRONICITY, related to another of his strategic views, namely —“finite deterrence” versus. “overkill” and very compatible to the new Russo-American START talks re warhead reduction in 2010-2012—and hence a tempting political issue in 2012. On these points, see his work in progress [Vol. #2, APPENDIX #2 “ THE BULBUL & THE ANTI-CHRISTS”—1952-2012 . This view is forthcoming in his enhanced memoir on the rise and fall of “nuclear imperialism”.

While researching the great nuclear arms race of 1945-1991 and the entire post-WWII/Cold War commentators by Traditionalists /and Utopians [Lowe’s terms from The Age of Deterrence [ 1964], as a revisionist historian, he renewed his interests of 1957-1965 and affinity for a group of revisionist scholars—mainly academicians. Numbered among them is my own nuclear strategy mentor, Professor Denna F. Fleming, a long serving member of the political science faculty at Vanderbilt University, Nashville Tenn.[In what must be regarded a significant synchronicity, Dr. Fleming—eminent cold war historian- Dr. Fleming congratulated George Lowe on his The Age of Deterrence [1964] for making an important contribution to understanding the roots of the cold war. Dr. Fleming’s letter, Lowe told me was the only academic comment on his book, which was dismissed as just typical “inter-service rivalry”] Dr Fleming was an avid[leading]pre-1941 prophet of the Nazi menace. He was also a post—WW II revisionist extraordinary. His stance began with his denunciation of the anti-Russian post-- 1945 cabal in DC consisting of such important policy makers as Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and George C. Patton, not to speak of Senator “Scoop” Jackson/LBJ/Paul Nitze—author of the very influential NSC-68[1950 ] and founder of the equally influential” Committee on The Present Danger”[where Nitze eventually hired Richard Perle & Paul Wolfowitz to carry out Nitze’s decades long hard line anti-Communist campaign during a good share of the Cold War years. He devised nuclear strategies designed to guarantee that the US would have a “preponderance of power” throughout the cold war. And that meant—more than anything else- thermonuclear power and the means (bombers/missiles) to get those weapons to Communist targets and to create/design the narrative of the Cold War which justified nuclear weapon “overkill.” Which is what Lowe calls nuclear imperialism in the service of the new American empire—actual or virtual?

George Lowe has re-discovered his own intellectual ties to these anti-cold war warriors—a group to which I have long belonged. So if this is just another of many such synchronicities or“meaningful coincidences’’ then let them continue to appear and mystify or even inspire us—whatever this phenomena is—or means. In the final analysis, the reader-you –after giving this powerful ”meme” it’s fair due-will make up your mind about the validity of Lowe’s and C. Jung’s insight into this alternative form of causality. The key word is “meaningful” coincidence. And Lowe’s definition of this as something which causes one after experiencing a synchronicity to react to things in a different way, to think differently, or to experience new thoughts. In other words, you just do not dismiss the event/happenstance as being meaningless and simply forget it!][Believe me—after reading George Lowe’s books you will examine all of your meaningful coincidences. Furthermore I will bet you will find many of them are synchronicities—I sure did!

 

 

Volume #2 of B&M has five main parts with sections and sub-sections conveying the substantive ideas of the volume, namely: the myriad/many forms of mysticism, previously introduced in volume1 as themes and separate narratives. The contents of volume #2 contain a summary of the insights & synchronicities which inspired and shaped the writing of B&M. This includes Lowe’s discovery of his personal mystical strain/inclination during a post-dinner walk/talk midst migrating wood warblers in a Pennsylvania oak forest. Other key insights came from a PHD theologian [Dr. Harry Gardner] and MLK classmate in Washington (during the fundamentalist-infested RWR years] which helped to confirm the religious/spiritual/mystical nature of birding sacred rites and rituals.

The usefulness of such insights is related to the relevance of these cyclical themes to nature, the environmental tempo of the seasons, God as first cause or the big bang’s mysterious/mystical force and the resultant ever-expanding cosmos and universe. All in all there are an additional 24 insights/synchronicities to explain (Vol. #2, pp. 31-87) which are merely summarized, not analyzed here. These include the shared insights of William James such as cosmic consciousness—along with Dr. Richard Bucke who wrote a key book on the subject; many synchronicities in book findings in the most unlikely places—Nova Scotia’ used clothing stores; bird songs; ‘’warbler waves’’; mysterious/magical and mystical migrations of birds; the influence of the mysticism of Eastern religions on Emerson/Whitman/Thoreau; F.Capra’s attempt to fuse/conflate western science[the new physics] with ancient Eastern religions; The sources of numerous epiphanies, visions, illuminations, and synchronicities emanating from Jung/Pauli/ Koestler and Bucke

Other content areas presented in vol. #2 include the following themes: religion versus science, an Introduction to mysticism in all of its many faces—religious/spiritual/rational/personal and practical (including The Fourth Great Green Environmental/Ecological/Awakening[2000-2025], “The Way of Birding” and its mystical connections to Eastern religions (including Tao/Zen/Buddhism//and Jewish mysticism [including The greening of Judaism and contributions of the Kabbala to the impending “Solar Age.” Wherein the Jewish principle of TIKKUN OLAM helps move society from the dangerous rape/destruction/exploitation of Gaia/Nature toward the repair/restoration of Gaia/Earth and God’s creation to healthfulness/sustainability in the 21 st Century of a Green Third Millenium.

George Lowe concludes Vol. #2 with a series of conclusions/postscripts which encompass key ideas reconciling science and religion through birding. Then he adds six appendices which speak to “How to live in history—today and every day; “ The Bulbul and the Anti-Christs [A work in progress] ; UFO’s revisited/redux, a new Seder for Tu ‘B Sha’vat [combining trees and birds ), Practical Mysticism and birding rites/rituals, Christmas Bird Counts--St. Lucie and and Martin County, FL. and TR’s 1908 White House bird list.

Now to summarize key appendices, with emphasis on “ The Bulbul and the Anti-Christs” and the continuing fascinations of UFOs—fantasy/ hoax/reality? Politics? Military threat? Lowe’s first/initial list of key Ideas/memes [viral ideas] in both volumes contains subjects previously discussed above, such as: Intensive Bird Walks[IBWs]/the Bird Spirit Person Teacher[BSPT or “Birding Guru”/Master Birder], The Dawning of Bird Consciousness ,Cosmic Consciousness, Cosmic Wisdom, the relentless, historic struggle between the shaman’s role [first 3,000,000 years and during the last 10,000 years in conflict with religious priestly war-mongers[“Gott Mit Uns”/ US AIR FORCE ACADEMY’s Fundamentalist chaplains, Rev. Billy Graham—who never met an American war he did not like and Christian Zionists’ agitating for wars for Greater Israel (the current Israeli prime minister's allies] , the eternal conflict between man and the environment”—Whose ? How to protect our Mothers—Nature/Earth-Gaia and God’s Creation/body? The last 400 years of masculine reign/ruin versus the impending counter-point feminine inspired era/Solar Age [from the Kabbalah], man the destroyer versus man the restorer—a function of his new cosmic wisdom and Matt Fox’s New Living Cosmology ;, the coming of the Cosmic Christ[religious] and/or the advent of the cosmic wisdom[secular], a new global mysticism-re-defined and expanded for the 21 st century and the Green Third Millennium—which may well include God as process/ as stem cell—in one of many/many universes—and perhaps the final Restoration, as it was in the beginning? Or must we finally be content and agree with Dr. Paul Davies regarding “THE MYSTERY AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE”? Or Lowe’s favorite paradox, “GOD IS MYSTERY.”

In these final pages George Lowe returns to his discussion of rational mysticism, the unbreakable link between what he calls certain holy or sacred sites and birding suggests a truce between science and religion, (enlightenment) his ‘’real” conclusions about the “way of birding’ and the current environmental awakening and [accepting the great conclusions of conservation/ cosmic consciousness the collective unconsciousness of Jung[his recently published THEREDBOOK] , synchronicities and a new beginning for mankind in harmony with Nature and the Cosmos.

Lowe continues his concluding sections and finds that the 2008 Republican Debates provoked him to ‘’go political” for a moment in his writing of B&M. Why? That there were a pack of potential anti-Christ’s and first-strike nuclear warmongers all together on one stage was almost too much for George to ignore—see Vol. #2 p. 431

So many white, male heirs of General Le May, advocating—‘’get it over with ---Nuke them now” in a final “clash of civilizations” in Armageddon-WW III- or in any of its many Satanic manifestations.[anti-Russian, anti-yellow peril [China],anti-Iran[get Israel to help],pro-Georgia—all potential anti-Christ’s for the murder of millions of innocents hiding behind the usual GOP-oriented false nuclear prophets and their favorite nuclear gladiators—lusting to use the first-strike nuclear option lying at the heart of the nuclear war codes of the “Armageddon football” hidden in the Pentagon’s contingency plans deeply lodged in The SIOP abetting a nation still in thrall to the “temptations” of nuclear imperialism.

Lowe also reveals in these final pages his four blisses - birds/books /bridge, dogs and cats .George also details his lifelong battle [1952-2009] against what he calls the Anti-Christ’s and the false nuclear prophets’ [(vol. #2, p.437) who have repeatedly—often just for a mess of pottage, like Esau [Genesis 25: 33-34] sold mankind’s “birthright” here on our planet Earth. These ‘’wizards of Armageddon” have tried to figure out a strategy to take advantage of America’s nuclear superiority in the service of nuclear imperialism [1945-2010] - thus precluding either the coming of the cosmic Christ or the advent of cosmic wisdom. Like the Magi[‘’Wizard’s of Armageddon”] of a ACanticleforLeibowitz whispering into the Prince’s ear to strike first and the whole earth is his, as in most of the RAND Corp. scenarios’, the inevitable result was and will be a new dark ages, the planet of the apes, nuclear winter, or doomsday!

Lowe also adds a list of his personal beliefs and a catechism of faith.(vol.#2, pp. 438-39), which includes inter alia, a personal interest in things biblical, love of gothic/Baroque churches, appreciation of Roger Williams role as a Christian seeker and democrat of religious truth and falsity along with a personal accommodation and belief in nature qua nature/Gaia and the master concept of “practical mysticism”—rooted in the Kabala, plus” God as mystery’s” infinite creation “(vol. #2 pp. 438-39)

He also points out, near the end of his many conclusions the deep connection between the ways of the Tao, Zen Buddhism, Haiku, and birding. This insight helps us unravel for ourselves some of the the unfathomable secrets of nature, the MYSTERY OF MYSTERIES” [Charles Darwin’s term].’ It is there where Lowe comes closest to revealing details of his personal journey, which others have followed. One was W.H. Hudson and another of these seekers was Robert Presig’s who wrote the now classic Zen the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance .

All of Lowe’s books/volumes are less inclined to deal with with the art of maintaining motor cycles or the deep secrets lodged in a grain of sand. No, Lowe is more concerned with the inherent natural symbioses and man’s necessary accommodation to the needs of maintaining the health and sustainability of earth and repairing God’s creations while preventing the DOE/DOO by a doomsday device or ICBM exchange or through climate warming /over-population/pollution or destruction’s of earth’s eco-systems.

The very last part of volume #2 consists of a series of six appendices variously entitled: life in the Summer of 2006/07 [ Local life in S.W. Cove and Loon Landing/ Port Medway, Nova Scotia]The constant threat to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities by the US or Israel, finding your own religious way—without drugs, a discussion of the doctrine of deterrence, a new threat of a Christian fascist theocracy to American democracy—which only the green Vital Center can resist—this dangerous takeover of the venerable GOP of Lincoln/TR/RWR by God’s Own Party of fundamentalist Christians. The successors of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld have captured what’s left of the traditional GOP and turned it into the “Party of NO”/white , northern European fundamentalist Protestant, based in the old cotton-picking, slavery states of the Confederacy—who voted in greater numbers for McCain [2008] than they did for GWB in 2004! We can expect to see more of the GOP’s openly self-aggrandizing goals. There is a scary nuclear coda to these appendices [especially Appendix #2 “ THE BULBUL & THE ANTI-CHRISTS ”] in the forthcoming elections of 2010/2012. We can anticipate a heightened climate of national security hysteria issues dominated by Russo-American new START talks, extreme criticism for Obama’s rejection of Bush’s BMD bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. and replacing them with the oceanic-based Aegis- missiles[on CVs/DDs]—designed to destroy “rogue” nations’ ICBM s in their vulnerable boost phase assisted by multi-lateral manned smart drones. This re-introduction of bitter nuclear politics into the 2012 presidential campaign may rival that poisonous atmosphere of the 1964—General Goldwater versus LBJ campaign—Recall the little blonde girl picking daisy petals?

The Traditionalists will have to mount a major campaign to challenge Utopian plans to turn the sands of Western Asia into glass and melt Afghanistan’s icy mountains into water.

The Utopian warmongers are still, after nearly fifty years, trying to find political uses of America’s continuing superiority in first strike thermonuclear deterrent weapons—our secret default strategy—at the heart of American nuclear imperialism[1954-2012]. We traditionalists will be sorely tried by the mass hysteria ginned up by the end of the Mayan calendar on 21 Dec. 2012. This end of time neurosis will be supplemented by neo-McCarthy and neo-fascist groups which began their emergence, after being in hiding since Tim McVeigh’s Okla. City Bombing [1995], in the 2009 early summer —with the election of America’s first black president. We were given a preview of the elections of 2010/2012, by the angry white mini-mobs of August and the related white tea-baggers. Sarah Palin and her fans will try to ride this white /middle/lower middle classes’ populist anger and grievances versus ‘’The coloured ones’’ into the Oval Office in 2013.

The author continues with his analysis/discussion of US nuclear imperialism and the high crimes it encourages such as Hiroshima/Nagasaki and/or Abu Grabi. Or use of extraordinary rendition by the CIA. [George Orwell and the German SS/Gestapo would be proud of that phrase].

Finally Lowe asks the key question of the nuclear era: what did the use of the atomic bombs on Japan in August, 1945 do to the USA’s sense of morality and ethics? Furthermore he wonders how these events still contribute to the long standing debate over a future first strike/first use—in a preventive war[The Bush II doctrine of September,2002}.. The US ICBM’s if ever used in a total war with Russia/China would escalate into a global conflict—as the smaller nuclear powers will have to take sides. The end result would be mutual annihilation/mutual suicide ending in nuclear winter. Indeed the direct result of the most evil set of deeds ever wrought by the hands/minds of men—yes mostly white, macho, blind men and their amoral advisers—the “Wizards of Armageddon”—WW III would see three billion innocents with the entire world’s cities reduced to radioactive cinders. These horrors would make the Holocaust’s 6,000,000 victims and all the other historical mass murders –pale by comparison. That’s why we ought to be terrified by the nuclear politics that Sarah Palin and her advisors areplanning to makethis the key issue in 2012,

UFO’s and Strategic Nuclear Planning

Before we take up the personally more interesting topics of UFO’s and strategic nuclear planning ,(appendices 2 and 3 in vol.2),we can conclude our summary/critique of appendices 4 and 5 before returning to the aforementioned topic Appendix 4 focuses on Judaism. Some of the major themes of these two volumes are “the greening of Judaism” from the perspective of a new Tu ‘B Shav’vat Seder for the festival of the “trees and birds ”— that speaks to all our senses to the soul through the “tree of life.” and the Bird Nation. Here Lowe returns to the previous Darwinian discussions while restating these “mysteries and miracles of life “which are at the very core of both volumes of Birding and Mysticism. ” They are “at the very heart of my rationale”, he says,” for writing B&M i n the first place.”

He then takes us through the blessings, order, and fruits of this revised Seder with its’ prompts for participants and the congregation, meditations, the leaders’ script, responses, sacred drinks, and food for eating. Then the conclusions and after blessing ending with the classic greeting “next year in Jerusalem.” This latter display of adapting these ancient Jewish traditions to birding and mysticism illustrate, I believe, Lowes’ desire to include rather than exclude other religions and spiritual traditions which are accommodating to his own secular religion and personal mysticism. This process is self disclosing of his basic humanistic and non-discriminatory bent in his conception of mystery and spirit. We can easily see how much of his level of abstraction is uniquely universalistic rather than quotidian, parochial, petty or ordinary.

Appendix 5 provides us with two case studies of south Florida intensive bird walks. During the Christmas bird count of 2007, George Lowe served as the equivalent of the leader/guide (complete with Haiku, synchronicities, and I Ching, with a bald eagle sighting and a caracara found among the turkey vultures to boot. George’s younger brother, Bob (now deceased) went along this time as a neophyte student of birding. By the end of the walk and the CBC he admitted to being a three quarters committed birder and ready to go at it again. Such is the practical power of an IBW!

This book then goes on to discuss the nineteen basic aphorisms of Roger Shattuck, e.g.,”Everything has been said. Therefore, it has to be said over again-only better.” In these pages the author reminds us of just where we are living in 2009- just behind an eight year stint of G.W/ Bush’s Fundamentalist Christian inspired faith-- based policies such as abstinence, anti-abortion, pre emptive warfare, no arms reductions, etc... We were, Lowe says, heading towards a Fascist – Christian America. At this point– the author sets up for the first time some guidelines for IBW’s including rules such as not too much politics, no limits on birding talk or ecological matters, but cover the territory, The fruits of the 2008 IBW (including another bald eagle sighting in downtown Stuart, FL), and other contacts noted, more bird observations, good and bad identifications, highlights, and conclusions about religious, spiritual, and mystical matters stemming from each CBC, including more “Haiku”.

Finally, in Appendix 6 we have a list of Teddy Roosevelt’s 1908 White House bird sightings, e-bird, and other Bird Nation citizen science surveys. These are all part of what Lowe calls “practical mysticism.” He also discusses his personal birding epiphany of May 1940 while encouraging other converts to the cause email him re their birding epiphany. The amazing statistic is that in the 2006-2007 CBC over 57,000 US birders participated in the task. This means that birding is one of the largest citizen science projects in the world and it also contributes to the growth of civil society in the US and Canada. And this figure does not include those casual or occasional bird watchers (perhaps three out of four of us).Such people discuss birds at work, home, on the golf course, at the beach and elsewhere

In his Appendix 3,Lowe focuses on two UFO incidents, one in Roswell AFB, N. M.(July.1947) and the Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia event (October,1967). At the time Roswell was the only place in the world where huge atomic bombs were assembled (by 39 persons working over two days)and then loaded into thirty specially modified B- 29’s. UFO SYNCHRONICITY ANYONE?

Lowe’s views on the existence or sources of UFO’s have more to do with perceived synchronicities than with empirically proven facts combined with a suspected US/ Canadian government cover ups of such details( including others in Texas, at sea ,in Britain and Montana, and elsewhere.)He believes both of these governments deliberately misled their publics and lied about them not being a security threat. This sentiment is shared by Nick Pope (author of Open Skies, Closed Minds) who has documented UFO sightings in Britain ever since he served as a consultant to the UK government from 1991-1994.

In Appendix 2, Vol. 2, pp. 500-558 Lowe takes us through arrows, bullets, and Cobalt bombs to explain how he became a revisionist of cold war historian. Also included is his story of how he continued with his study, research, and writing on strategic thinking and deterrence theory for over half a century despite the threats/actions posed by his bureaucratic superiors in the US government. He constantly and behind the scenes worked to stymie the advocates of counterforce and first strike weaponry and planning who wanted, for example, to target opponent’s weapons, not cities for obvious reasons. This plan revealed that their goal was to destroy the enemy’s weapons in a first pre-emptive strike by Le May’s SAC, to prevent a retaliatory response. So killing people qua people was a useless diversion since deaths were not important in this calculus and fallout was often not included in the expected mega-deaths estimates. Obviously the first US pre-emptive strike targeted fixed Soviet bomber airfields and ICBM silos, not the “hostage cities.”

In this same section ,Lowe gives us a summary/outline for his next book called The Bulbul and The Anti-Christ’s (1952-2012 ,( B & A C )the end of the Mayan calendar).Here he wants to share his thoughts on how to forestall Armageddon-WW III, false nuclear prophets, nuclear gladiators, spirit warriors, and Utopians whom he has battled so long. The organization for his new book is chronological from 1940-2012. Each of the seven sections/decades uses the same format, namely, part a, Historical overview/ ,b, Key events,/ c, Selected fiction/film on nuclear topics /Armageddon-WW III,/ and d, An evaluation of potential “anti-Christ’s”[US PRESIDENTS] and their allies, advisors, minions, and advocates of implied nuclear terrorism, blackmail and coercion, which Lowe has labelled Nuclear Imperialism.

Appendix 2 discusses the growth of the realization that there will be no nuclear winners only losers after a nuclear first or retaliatory strike. So, it is foolish to fight a war that cannot be won with weapons that can never be used since to use them would prove your policies have failed. Any survivors would surely envy the dead. In the past the enemies of mutual assured destruction(MAD)such as General Le May and his former, initial ally, Secretary McNamara[counterforce-no-cities] believed it was possible to fight and win such wars using the US strategic arsenal.( not to forget is the more recent G.W. Bush II plans for pre-emptive first strikes[The Bush doctrine of September 2002] as well as breaking out of the ABM treaty, while he stalled START negotiations, all of which Obama has pledged to reverse.

Under Bush, over eight years not one significant arms agreement was reached whereas by using Polish and Czech radar and missile bases and expanding NATO the Russians felt they were once again encircled. The strategic thinking used against “Red’ fascism for fifty years was also under Bush II simply transferred to Islamic Fascism whereas Obama’s ´early re-evaluations/re-thinking of the war in Afghanistan were denounced by Dick Cheney because they took too much time. It ended as a thoughtful reappraisal, even if the result was not unexpected—except for the beginnings of an exit strategy in 2011. Bush II treated nuclear weapons as ordinary weapons even in these days when napalm, cluster bombs, drones, CBW’s, bunker busters, and landmines are new generation and anything but normal This short sighted[ view which emphasizes the ‘’nuclear as conventional’’ is called in B & M the Utopian view. Whereas those who accept the abnormality/uselessness of nuclear weapons, except as a deterrent are called Traditionalists. The US spent 6-7 trillion dollars over sixty years or about one years’ total GNP from 1945 on to protect its Great Deterrent to World War III. The US was dangerously close to WW III on a few occasions especially in Berlin [1961] and Cuba in 1962. But disaster was averted because Khrushchev blinked and JFK kept his rational resolve without any dangerous escalation. The first use/ pre-emptive strike against Cuba/ Russia were what the Utopians wanted to encourage in the White House’s decisions. But Kennedy and Khrushchev reached a missile compromise: Russian would remove their MRBMs from Cuba and the US would later remove its MRBM’s from Turkey / Italy.

These same years saw the rise of the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and a professional military establishment, defence elites, tax exempt, right wing foundations such as the CISS, ACU, RAND, the Committee on the Present Danger, AEI, etc. There was also the rise of Christian Fundamentalists (Theo cons) with with their all too familiar Armageddon—WW III and end times predictions. They also preached a wild nationalism, American exceptionalism, the blessings of corporate selfishness and greed, big media, the birther movement, and promoted the Manchurian candidacies of Reagan, Bush II, and Palin for examples. There were also many opportunities for the Anti-Christ’s to appear, such as predicted by Hal Lindsey in his The Late Great Planet Earth (1970)—the best selling non-fiction book of the 1970s.

Lowe also explicitly details just what he means by the term anti-Christ’s as well as listing his roster of those who fill the bill. This group includes the false nuclear prophets, select Theo-con foundations, as well as some famous politicians with more than a million civilian deaths to their names. These people include LBJ, RMN, Robert Mc Namara, Henry Kissinger, Randites, et al...The nuclear gladiators (such as -- Nitze, Le May and Perle.) General Le May had a simple war plan for WW III—launch everything—all 2200 megatons at his command during the Cuban Missile Crisis.[see Neil Sheehan’s AFiery Peace, InaColdWar ]

 

During the early Reagan years a new/old strategy was revived: This plan targeted demonizing the Soviets as the “evil empire”, build a new civil defence program/retarget for counterforce—under guise of Mutual Assured Survival, build the SDI Star Wars system[RWR’s “own idea”], rearm at a cost of $1 .9 trillion and then wait for an Incident—or cause one-- all the while protecting our first strike capability, adoption of a posture for a war fighting/ war winning strategy to triumph/win/prevail in any nuclear exchange with the Evil Empire.[ Jan 1981-Nov. 1983]

In opposition to all of these Utopian views/strategy stands the new Obama Administration which Lowe predicts will usher in a new Green Vital Center.” The 2008 election was fought between a conservative Utopian and a liberal Traditionalist but neither wanted to blow up the world. Obama may well return America to the Western fold with a healthy respect for all other religions and cultures including Arabs and Islam. Lowe then discusses an interesting recent development in this field .This is the doctrine of “extended deterrence” whereby any group having, sharing, or allowing the use of their territory for the launch of a nuclear armed weapon will be held responsible by the US ( It is actually a rule which has already been broken by Dr. A.Q. Kahn the Pakistani “father of the Islamic A-bomb” who was under house arrest for his crimes—until recently released).The true and new US strategy ought to update “Containment and Deterrence” which is the proper “conservative” approach despite the opposition of the radical, militarist Utopians determined to ditch/reject both traditional strategies. Any doctrine of first use, pre-emption, or BMD is radically unconventional and dangerous to the extreme. Why? Because what those policies/ and related weapons systems imply is the use of Thermonuclear weapons in a war-fighting/war-winning strategy.

What the US needs is a broad and in depth discussion—a new great strategic debate as is now taking place in the UK about it’s minimal sea--based Trident deterrent of four nuclear armed and powered submarines. This debate should take place in the media and in local citizen groups about just what does/should the SIOP actually authorize and the related role of nuclear weapons in America’s New Grand Strategy—beyond the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld years. Whither “NUCLEAR IMPERIALISM”? This will expose many new & useful alternatives to help us move toward a more peaceful, stable, prosperous world. This Public Forum would be the place to expose the private agendas of past war makers/militarists/ warmongers/chicken hawks such as the so called bomber generals -General Le May /Powers/Twining who, with others of their ilk ,looked upon the Cuban Missile Crisis as a US “defeat”. Recall that during that high- crisis time General Le May launched an unarmed Minuteman missile from Vandenberg AFB across the far Pacific

General Power unilaterally raised the Def-Con level to #2 just short of # 1 which is a state of war --unknown to the President/Secretary McNamara.[See Neil Sheenan, “The Charlie Rose Show’,[PBS ] 24 December, 2009] Just where was the Constitutional “civilian control of the military” during the CMC?

Today, the job of President is to shrink the Bush conception of the American Empire by leading our allies using persuasion and good example, not through war, debt, and bloodshed. President HW Bush’s short-lived New World Order was after all a coalition of the willing and it did not require/involve US “imperial overreach” or a radical GW Bush doctrine of “pre-emption. The US “strategic elite” must reaffirm that US nuclear forces are only useful while we sit on them (unlike Napoleon’s bayonets) and they must remain unused. If a US atomic weapon were to be fired in anger then deterrence will have failed along with our entire foreign policy—and probably our way of life.

Lowe stresses that US citizens also need to finally understand that BMD is not a defensive, but rather an offensive weapons system—an integral and essential component of the Bush II doctrine of pre-emption/pre-emptive war. It would only be useful to weaken /diminish a return blow after we had launched a first / pre - emptive strike against our enemy’s Great Deterrent in perilous times.

Nuclear wars--all nuclear wars- are not “winnabl e ” in the way that wars traditionally were. Because modern thermonuclear wars are in reality mutual suicide pacts - our very own Doomsday Machines. So that is why they must never be fought or planned for as if they were really just very big ‘conventional weapons. As a matter of fact these weapons should be cut by 50% or more

by Russia and the US which currently have 95% of them, This great reduction in such weapons is called “finite deterrence” versus” overkill” [1945-2010].
Furthermore, our nuclear armed submarine fleet should share much more responsibility for maintaining “The Great American Deterrent “in this respect because they are virtually undetectable and indestructible. They also have the virtue of being able to wait —before their second strike—in case of an accidental launch at stray flocks of Canada geese. Obama also needs to ditch The Bush II doctrine of pre-emption—the first use of nukes since it is destabilizing and un-necessarily threatening. Let us hope that our new President can correct some of his predecessors’ mistakes, such as: the America First sloganeering, pre-emption; anti-UNO policies, torture/Gitmo. rather , and again working with willing allies vs. the unilateralism of the Bush-Cheney years; use AEGIS as an effective ABM , instead of Bush’s BMD, supplemented by the use of drone planes, assisted by satellites to destroy North Korean or Iranian missiles in their boost phase . And above all, try harder to containing the nuclear beast via new non-proliferation treaties—the number one priority for Obama’s administration.

All too soon we may also have to deal with an Israeli preventive strike against its sworn enemy, Iran, which has threatened to vaporize the Jews from the face of the earth. We need, Lowe says to give Israel more accurate defensive missiles to supplement/complement the Aegis/Drones aimed at the Iranian missiles in their boost phase. Instead we need to accelerate their development—as they do not threaten Russia—as the Bush BMD did.

These new security policies could certainly create a true New World Order III of ‘’finite deterrence”, arms control, and hopes for an enduring peace/prosperity in the decades ahead.

Some concluding remarks – with an eye on 2012.

Readers of this book and review may believe that some of the positions George Lowe takes are extreme or even outlandish. My response to this unfounded claim is to ask: compared with what? With whom? With what alternative policy positions? Take, for example, the contrary views of a supposedly conservative and mainstream politician and former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Sarah is very cozy with the US rightist and nationalistic American Independent Party as well as with the ill fated reform Party when active in 2000. She invokes God’s aid and sanctions for US policy in Iraq, says climate change could be cyclical rather than man made, supports creationism rather than evolution, participates as a family in a witch/demon banishment religion, resigns from her governorship without prior public warning, and chastises the liberal mass media, educated intellectuals, Ivy Leaguers, and Washington insiders as a plague on the national political scene. She is clearly a populist who panders to the disaffected and those. (called the birthers!) who claim that President Obama is an illegitimate Kenyan communist? Palin also talks about using ”spiritual warfare ”in politics and blithely goes on her merry way managing her totally dysfunctional family while eschewing modernity for populism . She has other very strange beliefs. She says, for example, that the End Time Days, the Second Coming and Armageddon will occur during her lifetime. To compare her views on world events with those of George Lowe is to compare the ravings of a madwoman with the rational views Lowe presents on the major public policy questions of our time, namely nuclear weapons and nuclear winter, the threat of American fascism, climate change, evolution, “demonic spiritualism/witchcraft” of Palin’s New Apostolic Reformation pals, and other issues discussed in these two volumes about which the most recent Republican candidate for the second most powerful position on earth has not a clue to understanding or appreciating,(on these points, see Christopher Hitchens: “Palin’s Base Appeal”, Newsweek, November 23, 2009,pp.30-33)

 

Contrast Palin’s views on deterrence, deterrents and nuclear strategic politics with those of a great conservative statesman, Winston Churchill, who spoke in 1955 about the role of deterrence in world affairs:

"All deterrents will improve and gain authority within the next ten years. By that time the deterrent may well reach its acme and reap its final reward. The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell.”

                            Winston Churchill's “Farewell to the Commons”, 1955
QUOTED ON FLYLEAF OF John Renaker, Dr. Strangelove and the Hideous Epoch, [2000], REGINA BOOKS, Claremont, CA

This is an example of a great prophecy--for by 1965—there was mutual deterrence —“The Peace of Deterrence’’--brought about by invulnerable second strike deterrents--like the Polaris-hence “The Peace of Polaris. ''On earth as well as in the stars”.

Palin’s new book is titled “Going Rogue; An American Life”. Here she reveals her right wing fundamentalist idea as well as her distaste for moderate Republican Party members. Despite her widespread populist appeal there is little likelihood that she will win her party’s nomination in 2012. Therefore, if someone asked me about which of these two books to read. (Palin’s or Lowe’s)I would not hesitate to recommend the latter. Why? Because book reading is supposed to be personally edifying ,expanding our minds, emotions and horizons as well as improving our character. You are unlikely to receive any of these benefits from reading Palin but you most assuredly would benefit in these respects from reading Birding and Mysticism .

Russell Farnen

Professor (emeritus) of Political Science

University of Connecticut ,

Storrs , CT, USA

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KIRKUS Discoveries Reviews for George E. Lowe's BIRDING AND MYSTICISM: Enlightenment Through Bird Watching

A mammoth volume on the spiritual implications of birding. Birding and Mysticism has a clear structure—it details a series of birding expeditions throughout the Americas. The order of expeditions follows a typical birding season, from early spring and into the darker seasons. Each expedition receives a chapter, and each is, in turn, broken into two parts, creating an almost moment-by-moment account of the trip and a list of species seen. It’s accompanied by a series of reflections upon the mystical significance of the day’s events. The burden of the book is to make this connection between the culture of birding—with its patient, green-centered observation of the natural world—and a spiritual awakening, one inflected by various traditions of liberal Christianity, popular science and the work of Carl Jung. Though the book’s purpose is clear, not much else is. This is largely the result of a wandering style. Birding and Mysticism clocks in at 602 pages—a tough length in which to maintain interest, and as Lowe’s volume moves between intense specificities, like the contents of a day’s lunch and bulleted lists of quotations from the that week’s reading, readers will find it difficult to stay engaged. They will not doubt the passion behind the volume’s political pronouncements and its easy display of erudition, but they will get lost quickly. Ultimately, the book founders on the rocks of genre. It’s got an interesting concept, but it’s never quite clear what the book is about. Is it a celebration of birding and its pleasures? A call to arms for a new and religious green movement? A memoir? Lowe’s book attempts to do all of this, and in doing so, it starts to fall apart at its binding. Zealous and wordy, this book would benefit from an editor’s eye.

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REVIEW OF BIRDING &MYSTICISM: ENLIGHTENMENT THROUGH BIRD WATCHING (vol. 1) –19 November, 2009, by Peter E. Price Sr. Clarks Green, PA, Author & Editor

 

Birding and Mysticism: Enlightenment Through Bird Watching (vol. 1) is the latest addition to the beginning-to-groan shelf of books from birdwatcher/scholar/gourmet cook/environmentalist/political analyst George Edward Lowe. Like all of his books since TheAgeofDeterrence (1964), the present volume mingles all of these persona to sometimes bewildering but always highly readable effect. Sages stride and sandpipers skitter through the 586 –page narrative with equal gravitas, while the master craftsman behind the screen here drops a hint on how to jazz up post-holiday turkey soup, there slips us a clue to the best place in Florida to find burrowing owls, and everywhere dazzles the reader with his latest recipe for saving the cosmic bacon.

 

What’s it about, this hefty new book? How about an easier question, such as what’s Revelation about, or Finnegans Wake! Birding and mysticism is, about eighty-one years in America*--more booms than Memorial Day at West Point, more busts than a year of Playboy—Lowe has seen it all, and seventy of those years years through a birdwatcher’s osprey, variously angry and eager, but never detached. Calvin Coolidge was president when George was born in November of 1928, although president –elect Hoover was waiting to replace him. (If poor Herbert knew then what he would know within a year, he might have grabbed the next plane for Tangier.) Such institutions ‘’too big to fail’’ in those days—U.S. Steel, the Pennsylvania railroad—were humming; they just didn’t know yet that it was a dirge. Some things are time proof, though; the Yankees just won the World Series.

The Lowe of BirdingandMysticism, however, really emerges a dozen years later with his first ‘’new birds’’, a thrush and a thrasher glimpsed in a New Jersey woodlot—George’s ‘’birding epiphany,’’ as he’s fond of describing that pivotal moment when an inchoate birdwatcher loses his spiritual cherry. From that magic day onward Lowe’s life has been birds—though in a sense incomparably broader and deeper than the typical weekend birder of gentle hikes and neat lists and I’D RATHER BE BIRDING tee shirts. To Lowe, every bird is precious; his may in fact be the founding voice of Avian Right to Life. And a stout voice it is, and a stout spirit summons and informs it. Lowe is an environmentalist, of course—a dyed-in-the- redwoods ecofreak, and damned proud of it!—but much more than that, much more than saving the Everglades or the rain forests. Not strictly sectarian, and yielding to no one in his arctic contempt for the Fascist Fundie Christian right” (p.57, and passim), Lowe channels that god who ‘’marks the sparrow’s fall,” and speaks to us of Thompson’s ‘’many –splendored thing” from which most of us have chosen to turn our ‘’estranged faces.” Bird watching has led George Lowe into those ‘’fairy lands forlorn’’ where God—upper—or lower-case as you prefer—man and Nature (see god, supra) blend . . . if we’ll but let them. *And Japan and the Caribbean and Paris and the Galapagos and. . .

 

Readers of Birding and Mysticism, then, are in for a vigorous trek, or what the writer calls an Intensive Bird Walk, or IBW. (Lowe is found perhaps over fond, of Instant Acronymization [IA? It’s catching!]. A testimony to many years as a naval officer and bureaucrat.) In any case, as you take up his book, be advised: all scope abandon, ye who enter here! Lowe will march you over meadow and marsh, and into the philosophical gulleys you may not always find agreeable. And did someone mention politics? Lowe has a cold eye for its practitioners, by and large, but his fury is never so intense as when it focuses on George W. Bush and his boys, notably :” Rove, Cheney, WSJ editorial page , Fox, Hate Radio, Coulter, and Limbaugh’’(p.81) on whom he has laid the ‘‘curse of the Bird Nation’’(p.11 and elsewhere). Not for Lowe the gentle musings of a John Muir or the etiolated exceptions of an Emerson; no, this “god-intoxicated man” minces no words, shoots from the hip, and takes no prisoners.

So read his book. If you liked the Book of Jeremiah, you’ll love BirdingandMysticism—and if nothing else, you’ll end up turning out a superior turkey soup.!

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PETER E. PRICE’S [CLARKS GREEN PA} AUTHOR/EDITOR ON
GEORGE E. LOWE’s, BIRDINGANDMYSTICISM: ENLIGHTENMENTTHROUGHBIRDWATCHING, VOL. #2 XLIBRIS, [2009]

 

The second (and concluding) volume of George E. Lowe’s BirdingandMysticism reminded me in certain ways of the third (and concluding!)Act of Thornton Wilder’s OurTown, a determinedly ‘’plain ‘’ drama that has had a profound influence on Lowe’s development, both as writer and as combatant/celebrant of Life as we twenty-first centurions groggily conceive it. Volume 1 of B&M introduced us to the author as indefatigable birdwatcher/naturalist, febrile consumer of and commentator on the news of the day, gourmet cook and gracious host and fond father/husband/brother/uncle/friend (where I come in, in case you were wondering), much as in Wilder’s first two acts the Stage Manager set the scene and acquainted us with the deceptively simple dramatic personae. With both authors, there is a gathering certainty that there is more to come—that what we are reading (or watching), however satisfying and agreeable, is by way of prelude, an ‘’intro’’; heavier chords, darker motifs lie ahead. And so it proved to be: Emily had to die; BirdingandMysticism/Volume 2 had to be written.

 

In a way, Lowe has sucked the unwary reader into a rarefied crypto-metaphysical version of the Ol’ Bait and Switch, the hoary scam beloved of hustlers since ‘’time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.’’ In Volume 1 he teased us with hints of mystical goings-on(‘’synchronicities,’’ ‘’epiphanies”) and otherworldly folk(daemons, shamans), all the while soothing us with the background elevator music of thrush- and larksong and lulling us with the seductive aroma of the author’s flan bubbling on the hob. With the first page of Volume 2, however, it becomes joltingly clear that Lowe is through fooling around: no more Mister Nice Birdwatcher! In Volume 2 he seizes us by our lapels, hoists us, squirming, an inch above the ground, and roars, Thewoodsareburning, buster! Thebarbariansarenolongeratthegate; they’reinsidethefuckingcompound! And just what barbarians? Well, here’s a Loweian glimpse of the enemy’s chaplaincy:

[T]he Fundie/Conservative Evangelical Christianity of the Dallas, Texas, Theological Seminary. . . Hal Lindsey[of] TheLateGreatPlanet Earth[1970]. . . the “Left Behind “ Christian Nation propaganda novels of LaHaye and Jenkins with their near sexual glee at the prospect of the Lord destroying all of the Earth’s great cities and 3 billion humans as the result of Armageddon-WW III-by atomic fire this time!. . . [T] he . . . Roman Catholic-hating pastor John Hagee. . .[and his] blood-thirsty Southern Baptist doctrine. . . [of] Rapture/Tribulation. . . Armageddon-WW III, the Second Coming of their General Lord Jesus Christ and His establishment of His Millennial Kingdom, aided and assisted by the returned Raptured Holy “Purple” Church . .. armed with NRA-supplied assault weapons. . . to control as “AssociateKings”—for their General Lord Jesus Christ the rest of us ‘’non-born-againers’’--destined for “the lake of fire” and eternal damnation( pp. 96-97, emphasis—and brimstone sparks-- in original).

And lest you conclude that Lowe is some latter-day Robespierre focusing his glittering eye on the clergy, here are some observations on the politicos of the day:

 

“Sarah Palin[is] already ‘’anointed by the New Apostolic Reformation’s Bishop Mufee as their ManchurianCandidateIII[succeeding Reagan and George W. Bush as MCs I and II], by those same men of ‘’passionate intensity’’ who gave us and imposed on us our illegitimate forty-third President. . . The GOP cabals which brought us RWR and GWB in 1980 and 2000 are already planning yet another coup in the next decade(p. 60, emphasis in original).

All of this fiery oratory could be dismissed as just so much Huey Long-winded fulminating except that Lowe has on his birding ‘’life list’’ that most elusive of all raraeaves: Hope. It may indeed happen here, he concedes; it may in fact have already begun to happen, at least in part, butitdoesn’thaveto. The merged might of millenarians and militarism need not prevail—but it’s up to us to stop it. As Lowe sees it, each of us must “do what we can,” in the spirit of the tiny bird he often alludes to: on its back, its pitiably tiny legs raised and braced against the predicted fall of the heavens. (For all his bluster about eagles and ravens, I suspect that this pathetic little fowl is his favorite species of all.)

BirdingandMysticism’s subtitle—EnlightenmentThroughBirdWatching-- really defines the overall thrust of the two books considered as a whole. To Lowe, birdwatching is a hobby only in the sense that pacifism was a hobby to Gandhi and King; it infuses his very being, and informs his every conviction. Lowe’s lamb ragout is, ipsofacto, Birdwatcher’s Stew. George and I were dewy-eyed (but not Dewey-inclined!) neophyte birdwatchers in the early 1940s, and I have remained pretty much at that amateur level ever since. George on the other hand, reached some sort of ideological glass door, and—like Alice facing her looking glass--stepped through it. BirdingandMysticism is the excursus of that choice, its implications, and the epistemological fallout of deciding, as he did, to cock an ear and actually listen to the music of Nature. And for George Lowe that means all of Nature—the feeble twitterings of the chimney swift not one whit less than the heartbreakingly beautiful sighings of the hermit thrush at dusk.

Lowe’s mission—and I don’t believe that’s too solemn a noun—is to follow his daimon wherever it leads, which is, as the books make clear, through the dark and twisted alleyways of Jewish Mysticism and Tao, the Kabbalah and Zen, Cosmic Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. It’s been a ‘’savage pilgrimage,’’ to borrow D.H. Lawrence’s phrase, and not at all as bookish and joyless as I may be making it appear. Along the way, Lowe makes ample time for cakes and ale, for dear friends and dearer family, for life at its singing cockamamiest. The sighting of a glaucous gull in the Dry Tortugas--a new species, a “lifer’’!—is an occasion for joy and wonder, but no more so than the plaintive question posed on a bumper sticker in a California parking lot: WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE BUSH A BLOWJOB SO WE CAN IMPEACH HIM?

BirdingandMysticism is George Lowe’s crowning achievement—so far. It’s impossible to predict what comes next. The old birdwatcher is 81. Still, as he might point out, Mozart didn’t write his first oratorio until he was nine.

Time will tell. The Stage Manager waits in the wings. So do we.

Clarks Green, PA[near Scranton) December 28, 2009 ACE

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