Was watching a traveling show about Rome, and they showed an old aqueduct that used to bring water to the city. It was a great innovative way to bring water from the mountains, but unfortunately it also created a great weakness. When the city was attacked, the enemies destroyed the aqueduct, which eventually brought down the city.
The first idea that came to mind, is that of religion. Water keeps the physical body and city alive, but God, the Numinous, etc, has also been called “water” of a spiritual kind.
And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.
The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
The root of most brooks, rivers, etc, are the snow capped mountains/or glaciers atop them.
The mountain itself is a very meaningful place in esoteric and exoteric theology. It is known that both Moses and Jesus “started” their journeys atop a mountain.
Mount Sinai is where God reveals the ten commandments to Moses and where Jesus is transfigured (reaches the pinnacle, and his numinous nature), and becomes the Man of Light:
Six days after this momentous declaration, Jesus takes his three closest disciples – Peter, James and John – onto a high mountain where his appearance is changed or ‘transfigured’. His face shines brightly and his clothes become dazzling white, while Moses and Elijah (representing the Jewish lawgivers and the prophets) are seen by the disciples talking with Jesus. A cloud envelops the snow-topped mountain and God’s voice is heard saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
This motif also appears in Sufi and Greek writings, usually ascending a mountain, to the cosmic pole, or Mount Olympus being the place of the Gods. Water, Mountain, Light, etc, are numinous archetypes so they are understandably used in a lot of traditions and theologies…
Jesus also went into the Desert for forty days to fast, and meditate. This is the well known “Temptation of Christ”. He came out of that triumphant, but also saying:
But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The connotation is that bread (or you can see it as material needs) are not enough, alone to nourish a person. They need to have that transcendent connection with a numinous/transcendental truth. (God) (Spiritual Food, the Water of Life (“Bread and Water” being the two that go together for simple fare, and are mentioned in the bible in a few places.))
All of this comes down to my feeling that our culture, Western culture, needed a numinous source of life; something to feed the living spiritual organism that is the culture itself. Unfortunately we destroyed that connection. (religio from re (again) and ligare bind, connect)
The relationship we once had with the transcendent is mostly gone.
Most people now use religion as a Creed(the same critique Socrates made of the Athenians, or Jesus of the Pharisees), and have no connection with the divine. And so our culture, and our citizenry is slowly withering, declining, and now seeds of chaos are being sown, and some already sprouting.
I will end with a poem by W.B Yates:
The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?