Letter to CSU Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds
September 19, 1988
Dr. W. Ann Reynolds,
Chancellor, The California State University 400 Golden Shore
Long Beach, CA 90802-4275
Dear Chancellor Reynolds,
This last summer I enjoyed both the honor and the pleasure of attending the 1988 CSU Arts Faculty Institute at Kirkwood. The first purpose of this letter is to thank you for that opportunity. I believe the weeklong Institute to have been of significant value in helping to establish a network of communication among some remarkable and accomplished people. The co-directors Ann Woodhead and Alan Soldofsky deserve special credit for conducting a complex week of activities with both grace and efficiency.
My brief presentation addressed the rather large issue of relations between our own exoteric university methods and the esoteric means of transmitting teachings as have survived in traditional societies. In many instances, such traditional methods of teaching are in serious danger of being lost altogether. Therefore, we in the more stable educational institutions face an imperative challenge to provide receptive sites at which such teaching techniques might be preserved, and master esoteric teachers provided with some sort of academic sanctuary. This suggests a profound way in which all the distant "Theres" of other cultures might be brought closer to the "Here" of modern global consciousness. Thus may we address "Re-Forming the Forms" at a fundamental level of our present educational activity.
There appear to be four different basic ways in which information systems may be structured, hence reformed, whether such systems are biological and organic, mechanical hardware, or abstract software. They may be characterized as a TREE, an ARRAY, a NET, or as FEEDBACK/FORWARD. Analogs for each of these patterns of organization can be discovered in various forms of (esoteric) massage techniques, as well as with more conventional academic activities.
In the TREE characteristic of binary logic and of all on/offsystems we may also discover in the linearity of speech and writing. The TREE corresponds in general to the structure of our bones, connected end to end. At Kirkwood, I provided a brief demonstration of a massage technique known by the Mongolian term chua ka. This is a very deep massage utilizing an ivory (or sometimes a jade) spatula-like tool, called the ka. It has been said that Mongol warriors used to work all of the bones in their bodies with the ka before a battle. When they experienced pain it would be recognized as "fear," which could be eliminated by the massage treatment. After a battle, again the warriors would go over their whole bodies; obviously this process would serve to diagnose even the smallest of wounds--and the superior attention to medical detail gave the historical Mongol armies enormous practical advantages over less enlightened foes.
The ARRAY may be likened to the system of muscles in the body, together with the heart, arteries and veins that transmit the blood. The massage technique, bringing blood (hence heat) to an area so that the muscles may relax (thereby relieving pain), is the only one widely known and practiced in the Western world. Institutionally, an array structure is suggested by the relationship of the University to various community colleges, and to the high schools from which we derive most of our entering students. This array may be seen as reciprocal in so far as we train teachers who then return to the schools and colleges to teach other of our future students.
The NET provides an analogy for the body's lymphatic system, key to the immune response and the natural processes by which our bodies internally cleanse themselves. With all of the research on AIDS--as dysfunction of the immune system--it is curious that so little attention seems to be given to a traditional massage technique that works with the lymph nodes (rather than primarily with bones or muscles). Yet such a practice has been passed along by esoteric masters for doubtless many centuries: it begins at the extremities and works in a recursive manner, since lymph can not circulate as the heart pumps blood, but must be stimulated either by massage or by physical exercise. When one is very old (or very young), or bedridden, stimulating the lymphatic system can be of great benefit to the natural internal healing process.
Kurt von Meier