Bird Droppings January 2, 2011
A Surgeon General, Holy Man, Medicine Man and Psychologist
“Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.” Dr. C. Everett Koop 1916 – Author, Teacher, former Surgeon General of the United States, and former head of Pediatric surgery at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia
“Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Black Elk, 1863 – 1950, Holy Man, Oglala Lakota Sioux, second cousin of Crazy Horse
“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Sitting Bull, 1831 – 1890, Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux medicine man
”The word “belief” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it – I don’t need to believe it.” Dr. Carl G. Jung, 1875 – 1961, Psychiatrist, an influential thinker, and the founder of analytical psychology
I opened my local Walton County Tribune to the Education section and this first quote was the start to Gina Andrew’s column although she did not mention who Dr. Koop was. “As 2011 unfolds, it creates a natural season of pondering the past and looking forward toward the future. This happens in the home and in the work place.” Gina Hawkins As I read Gina Andrews words I thought I might add in the schools as well.
I drove to South Carolina yesterday after saying goodbye to my grand daughter for a few days as they traveled to Florida for a doctor’s visit, to visit our middle son and his finance. I got home last night and rare as it might seem did not even open a page on my computer, the nine hours of driving did me in. So here I am making up for lost time sitting here a new grandfather, a father, a teacher pondering what can I do different to impact or not impact the lives of those around me in the coming year.
Perhaps I will start today with a brief connection of the four men who I will draw upon today to start my meanderings. Dr. Koop was the lead doctor for my brother many years ago after being diagnosed with severe brain trauma at birth. Dr. Koop also as Surgeon General issued the warning on the sides of tobacco packages that still go unheeded. Dr. Koop has been very busy over the years producing a mini series on health car for public TV that won several Emmy’s and now involved with the C. Everett Koop Health Care Institute at Dartmouth University named in his honor.
I was introduced to Black Elk by a dear friend of many years ago who my kids only know as Trooper. He gave me a copy of the book Black Elk speaks to read in 1973 or so and since that time I have read several times along with several others of John Neihardt’s works. Black Elk was one of the last living combatants from the battle at the Little Bighorn. Over the years I have been a Carl Jung fan and in my re-reading of the Premier edition of Black Elk Speaks a gift from my son a note caught my attention. John Neihardt, 1881-1974, published in the book Black Elk Speaks in 1932 to much acclaim. The book was a side venture from his prose and narrative works of Indians of the plains. Neihardt was invited by the Sioux holy man Black Elk to hear the words of the vision from his youth and record for history and for the whites to come. The book was extremely popular at its first publishing and was a best seller only to over the years go by the wayside. It was at the end of the 1960’s Dr. Carl G. Jung brought to peoples attention again and it became a best seller anew. It is a biography or autobiography as it is Black Elks words translated from the original tongue as he spoke by his son Ben Black Elk and recorded word for word by Neihardt’s daughter.
Sitting Bull was a medicine man to the Sioux during the famous battle of the Little Bighorn or Custer’s last stand as some call it. I have had a fascination with Indian lore and history all through my life and Sitting Bull has been a hero of sorts.
“What white man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me hungry and left me unfed? Who has seen me beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken?” Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull was a man of honor, integrity, and his people. As I was reading this morning they have a year of his birth which is not uncommon for Indians of that time as they had no written records. However what is more intriguing is his death date it is precise. Sitting Bull was killed as he foresaw in a vision by his own people. Sioux Marshalls were sent to arrest him for his involvement in the ghost dance movement in the late 1890’s. As he went to get something under his blanket and depending on whose account you read a revolver or his grandson’s toy doll he was shot in the back.
Dr. Carl G. Jung I have been quoting quite frequently the past few days. I first came to know Dr. Jung as a novice psychology student many years ago at Mercer University. While we were being trained in behavioral modification to some extent I found Jung’s views more along my own pathway. Years later reading James Redfield’s books I am reintroduced and the as I started my graduate work and daily pondering numerous books and connections seemed to daily fall in place. One of my favorites is finding a book by Thomas Moore, who was a student of James Hillman who was a student of Carl G. Jung. But you will also find as I list my favorite all time movie as Billy Jack a classic from 1972 or so Tom Laughlin director and star is a Jung student and trainer.
So where are all the connections? Perhaps I should draw a Venn diagram of Jung, Koop, Sitting Bull and Black Elk and show all of the interconnections.
“We who are clay blended by the Master Potter, come from the kiln of Creation in many hues. How can people say one skin is colored, when each has its own coloration? What should it matter that one bowl is dark and the other pale, if each is of good design and serves its purpose well.” Polingaysi Qoyawayma, Hopi
As I read various authors and especially these four though Sitting Bull left little written or recorded I should say information I find they are similar especially for this new year ahead. Each of these men saw that it was not as much about now as it was about later generations. What could we do or leave behind for them.
“My father, you have made promises to me and to my children. If the promises had been made by a person of no standing, I should not be surprised to see his promises fail. But you, who are so great in riches and power; I am astonished that I do not see your promises fulfilled! I would have been better pleased if you had never made such promises than that you should have made them and not performed them. . .” –Shinguaconse, Little Pine
In the political hoopla we throw out the idea of our children’s children yet so little is done to prevent or protect them most legislation is about the immediate a more selfish agenda than say any of these four men would have agreed too.
I often wonder as I hold my grand daughter what will the world be like ten years from now or twenty years from now. Our instantaneous world has little room for thinking ahead since so much is disposable and throw away, often including people.
“If today I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the… present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child’s feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!” Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker
I refer back often to an Indian way of seeing the world. It is a world in which each tiny piece is integral to the next piece and a world where we do think beyond the immediate moment and day. I have used the following quote many times before but today perhaps some special meaning as we go out starting a new year.
“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.” Ancient Indian Proverb
It has been almost eleven years since I started writing each day or nearly each day as I have been a bit off lately. I began ending my daily journals with this line during the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom about seven years ago. I am adding a new line to end my daily wanderings as well starting today. So as I have for some time please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
PS – In the Creek language, Ea Nigada Qusdi Idadadvhn, translated, All My Relations In Creation