NO FEAR OF THE EVIL EYE – Preface and Introduction
This is the start of the serialization in TTP of my next book, No Fear of the Evil Eye: Key to Freedom, Peace, and Prosperity.
We did the same for The Jade Steps – which prompted me to finish it. On most Mondays, we’ll present each chapter in succession. Today (8/17), we embark with the Cover photo that you see above, Epigraph (a quote at the beginning of a book), a short Preface, and Introduction.
The Preface you see here is, however, something of a placeholder, as what needs to be said will be very different depending on the outcome of the November 3 election. It, the Introduction, and every succeeding chapter is a work in progress.
I have written a lot in TTP about the book’s subject, and here is where I must put it all into a comprehensive whole. I will be thankful for any TTPer comments that help me reach that goal. So feel free to let me know what you think!
“There is not one kind of Strife (Eris) alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honor due.
But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she is far kinder to men. She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbor, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbor vies with his neighbor as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men.” –Hesiod, “Works and Days,” 700 BC
I have been planning to write this book for many years. Now is the time. The year 2020 has seen the greatest global mass insanity in human history.
For centuries and millennia, various societies and cultures have suffered outbreaks of “popular delusions and a madness of crowds.” The results can be huge economic loss, such as Holland’s Tulip Mania of 1637, or America’s Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2007-2010. Or they can be monstrously evil, of genocidal slaughter of millions and the snuffing out of freedom for millions more.
There is no one cause for all of them, other than a contagion of emotions overriding reason. What would cause such a contagion varies. A mass frenzy of making an easy buck. A megalomaniacal “conqueror” with a crazed armed horde wiping out entire societies and nations for no rational purpose whatever – Genghiz Khan and Napoleon are but two of history’s many examples.
A mass panic of irrational fear is another. Fear of witches. Fear of voodoo. Fear that human production of less than 2/10ths of 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases is going to burn up the Earth causing the end of civilization. Fear of a flu bug with a survival rate of 99.7%, the median age of death from which is higher than average life expectancy.
This book focuses on one particular kind of fear. It is not fear of something imaginary or hyperbolized to the Moon. It is primordial and very real, so old the ancient Israelites deemed it the cause of history’s first murder. So contemporary it caused the pointless death of over 100 million human beings in the 20th century alone, and continues to be the ruination of countless lives to this day.
I am an American, and my own fear is that America, after achieving the pinnacle of success among the nations of history, will now succumb to this fear. Actually, it has been succumbing for the last several decades because of reaching that pinnacle – until today my country may be on the verge of final capitulation to it.
To avoid this fate, Americans and those of any other country in danger of it must come to understand the nature and cause of this primeval terror. For once we do, we then understand how to conquer it.
Ready to explore this with me? Here we go.
You’ve seen jewelry like these pendants, haven’t you?
If you travel most anywhere in the Mediterranean – Spain, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco – you’ll see people wearing something like this as bracelets, necklaces, pins, amulets. You’ll see something similar all over Central Asia and the Middle East, in Iran, India, Mexico, Central and South America.
But for countless millions of people all over the world, displaying this type of jewelry is very serious business. Its purpose is to protect its wearer from The Evil Eye.
In Greece, the Evil Eye is called matiasma, in Spain and South America the mal ojo. The Evil Eye is known as ayin horeh in Hebrew; ayin harsha in Arabic, droch shuil in Scotland, mauvais oeil in France, bosen blick in Germany, and oculus malus among the ancient Romans.
Today in Italy it is called the mal occhio. Fans of those preservers of certain unpleasant aspects of Italian culture, The Sopranos of the old television series, will recall Tony Soprano referring in classic New Jerseyese to da ol’ maloik, that old evil eye.
So what is it in the look, be it a glance or stare, in someone’s eye that makes it malevolent, wishing harm upon its object? It is the look of envy.
Fear of the envy of others is one of mankind’s most deeply primal and pervasive terrors.
Ask a taxi driver in Cairo why he has a beaded blue eye dangling from his rear-view mirror, and he’ll tell you, “Many people will look at you with evil eyes and want to harm you when they see you with a new car – so this protects me.”
Compliment a peasant woman in a Turkish or Italian or Peruvian village on her beautiful baby and she will panic in fright, loudly denying your words.
Envy and envy-avoidance are two of the most basic and primary motivators of human behavior. They have dominated the lives of countless cultures for thousands of years and continue to do so to this very day – from tribespeople in the Amazon jungle, to taxi drivers in Cairo, to social science professors at elite universities and editorial writers at the New York Times, to multi-millionaire black athletes refusing to stand for the national anthem in apology for their success.
Yet envy and envy-avoidance remain today more intractable than ever, causing more misery, poverty, tyranny and death than anything else people do to each other – as they have everywhere for millennia.
The heartbreaking irony is that while we will never eradicate envy from human souls, we can eradicate the horrifically destructive efforts to avoid it. And doing that is the key, the most necessary condition, for achieving freedom, peace, and prosperity for ourselves, our culture, our country, and our world.
How to do that is the purpose of this book.