Friday, October 26, 2012

Bake And Wake 2

Becoming Dirigible

The most direct link between the Wake and 2012 comes out in the thought of Terence McKenna. McKenna's notorious Timewave theory was originally calculated to zero out in mid-November of 2012, and was later recalibrated to sync with the end of the Mayan Long Count on Dec. 21st. Terence came up with the Nov. 2012 end date by counting forward 24,576 days (384x64) from the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima on Aug. 6th, 1945.

In one of his talks, Terence reveals that the insight to begin this 67 year cycle with the Hiroshima bombing was inspired by Finnegans Wake. Just as the largest cycle began with the Big Bang, Terence concluded that each of the more compressed novelty wave cycles should similarly start with a bang. In this he was following Joyce in the Wake. 

The Wake is periodically interrupted by a blast of thunder, ten in all, an idea which Joyce takes from Vico's theory that cycles of history begin with terrifying claps of thunder. It's strange that much of the 2012 meme may be flowing directly from the Wake.

The fall (bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonner-ronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!) (p.3)

Terence claimed that the coming singularity or concrescence, which through interpretation of the I Ching he pinpointed to 2012, would be catalysed through the widespread use of psychedelics. This was based on his observation that the psychedelic experience evolves the sphere of what is expressible through language. It is the shaman's responsibility to his tribe to venture into the imaginal realm and report back his findings in words that can be understood. The plants actually facilitate this process and language has evolved partially because of it.

2012, for McKenna, represents the collective experience of being able to express the contents of the human unconscious. We will finally be able to talk faithfully about our dreams. The psychedelic experience directly taps into the twilight language once only available to mystics and adepts, the green language, the language of the birds. It is also the language of Finnegans Wake.

File:Odin hrafnar.jpg

McKenna often cites a passage from the Wake which discusses the alchemical transformation of global society during the coming return of the Golden Age. Joyce writes that during this time we will become "dirigible."

Let us auspice it! Yes, before all this has time to end the golden age must return with its vengeance. Man will become dirigible,  Ague will be rejuvenated, woman with her ridiculous white burden will reach by one step sublime incubation, the manewanting human lioness with her dishorned discipular manram will lie down together publicly flank upon fleece. No, assuredly, they are not justified, those gloompourers..... (p.112)

For McKenna, this means that very soon humanity equipped with a deeper and richer language will be able to both engineer itself into the realm of its own imagination and/or bring life to the stars.

A Machine To Produce Infinite Meanings

The Wake itself already expresses this new language. Its "Nat language," or "Nichtian" (recalling Nietzsche, nihilism, night, dreams, and even Burmese Nat gods), is really the absolute opposite of Orwell's Newspeak. Instead of intentionally and radically limiting the size of language and thus narrowing its ability to portray reality, Wakese expands language out to an almost infinite complexity and richness. Accordingly, its capacity to express is also likewise widened along with the scope of what can be real.

Every sentence in the Wake, almost every word, contains manifold meanings through use of multi-linguistic puns and wordplay from over 60 languages. Multi-dimensional webs of meaning and context are strung on every page. The Wake is able to express a reality which is polysemic, boundary-dissolving, shifting and mutating rapidly, often contradictory and ambiguous, confused and decentred. In other words, it is perfectly suited to tell us all about the collective dream that we are flowing through at the present moment in history.

It is a language of all times and places at once, a language of synchronicity. It is uniquely able to inform us about our rapid journey to the centre of the mandala, of our species' individuation, of our movement into the rhizome. As Marshall McLuhan said:

LSD is the lazy man's Finnegans Wake.

The language of the dream is opened up through the psychedelic experience, but it has already been written down in the Wake. In a very real sense the text is 2012. If 2012, according to McKenna, represents a moment of maximal novelty, a point where and when all possible information is contained at once, a return to the Eternal Now of the archaic dreamtime, then the Wake is definitely this in book form.

Philip K. Dick also had the idea of the Wake being a channel of ever-present "cosmic consciousness." In The Divine Invasion he writes,

Someday I'm going to get my article published; I'm going to prove that Finnegans Wake is an information pool based on computer memory systems that didn't exist until centuries after James Joyce's era; that Joyce was plugged into a cosmic consciousness from which he derived the inspiration for his entire corpus of work. I'll be famous forever.


Similarly, Umberto Eco called the Wake "a complex machine destined to produce infinite meanings, operating beyond the years of it's own Creator." This is what it seems to do.

McLuhan also wrote, "for Joyce has solved numerous problems which science has not yet formulated as problems."

But how would all of this be possible? Does the Wake really tap into some equivalent of the Akashic Records? Was Joyce aware of all this? Certainly he set out with the intention to create the Wake as a part (a book) which contains the whole. And he succeeds almost superhumanly at just this.

It is hard to know how seriously Joyce took all of this, but we must remember that 17 years of his life was spent in finely crafting his masterpiece. Joyce clearly considered himself a prophet and the Wake as a kind of holy text. He constructed it purposefully to absorb and resonate with all of the world's sacred scriptures and myths, and admitted that he was somehow "directed" in its research and writing. The Russo-Finnish War broke out soon after its publication and Joyce wrote, "As foretold by the prophet, the Finn again awakes."


Discordian guru, Robert Anton Wilson, took Joyce's role as a prophet absolutely seriously, and wrote several essays on its ability to produce synchronicities and to predict future events and inventions. Among the predictions Wilson finds within the Wake is the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We've already seen RAW's obsession with the book's use of the number 111.

The Wake seems to forecast the development of virtual reality, the widespread use of TV, the hologram, the popularity of psychedelics, etc. Impossible things. Others find in it the assassinations of John Lennon and JFK. McLuhan apparently tripped out when he found his own name on p. 254 as "Meereschal MacMuhun." Everything seems to be within it. Perhaps, as one critic put it, Joyce's work is at a level of complexity so great that it begins to mirror the complexity of the inner lives of its readers and the world as a whole.

Come In

One extreme take on it, from a blogger in Amsterdam, is that the Wake is a technology built to enable contact with non-human intelligence. As language is still the most advanced human technology -- the tech behind and permeating all other techs and texts -- the Wake, consciously weaving together by puns and other devices all of the earth's languages within multiple levels of meaning, is the greatest technology.

It is a portal through which, in addition to other such portals like the extreme free jazz of Sun Ra, communication with the ever-present alien other can occur. This alien other is ever-present precisely because any civilization advanced enough to send space ships through light-years of deep space likely don't. They probably have already found the means to travel and communicate non-locally. The Wake is one expression of this.

Perhaps it is the ultimate "strange attractor," drawing all weirdness towards it. Many critics have noted the similarity of the Wake with the hypertextual interweavings of the Net itself. It is a microcosm of the internet before the internet and, through people like McLuhan, it might have indirectly shaped the development of the net in its present form.

The difference, though, between the current internet and the Wake is that the Wake, at every point, is self-aware. The Wake, in other words, is an artificial intelligence. As Terrence McKenna points out, one of the ways the celebrated, oncoming "singularity" might manifest itself is by the internet transforming into an artificial intelligence -- as a sort of Neuromancer/Wintermute. Is the Net becoming a Wake?


But did Joyce really anticipate all of this? Joyce scholar, James Atherton, writes in his Books at the Wake of a story that reveals how Joyce let "the spirit of language" work through him:
An anecdote given by Richard Ellmann shows Joyce's unusual attitude: 'Beckett was taking dictation from Joyce for Finnegans Wake; there was a knock on the door and Joyce said, "Come in". Beckett, who hadn't heard the knock, by mistake wrote down "Come in" as part of the dictated text. Afterwards he read it back to Joyce who said, "What's that 'Come in'?" "That's what you dictated," Beckett replied. Joyce thought for a moment, realizing that Beckett hadn't heard the knock; then he said, "Let it stand." The very fact that the misunderstanding had occurred in actuality gave it prestige for Joyce.' ... Joyce was not in his own opinion simply writing a book, he was also performing a work of magic.

The Chapel of Forgiveness

This "work of magic" and "spirit of language," Joyce's reverence for meaningful coincidences, and his insistence that even people drinking at the pub were co-authors of the Wake -- all of this is precisely the flowing, playful spirit of ALP. HCE, the Mountain, makes up the intricate structure of the Wake -- a labour of 17 years to create, but it is ALP, the River, that sets it alive and free.

In a mind-blowing essay, Donald Theall writes of Joyce as being more the engineer of the Wake than merely its author. He views HCE as being the body of both the book and the world ever-transformed by accelerating technology, and ALP as the blood/energy that courses through the system and ultimately gives it life. Adam Kadmon, like the giant Finn, is spread across the earth -- "the tasks above are as the flasks below" -- an organic machine laying out on all levels the "every person, place and thing in the chaosmos of Alle anyway connected... moving and changing every part of the time."

Theall writes,

The highly technical discussion of color and light placed just before the concluding sections of Book IV marks the moment when the rising sun illuminates the stained glass windows of the Chapel at Chapel-izod. The generic name of the physical place where this manifestation (epiphany?) occurs is composed of an interlocking acrostic of the two sets of initials of the man and woman, HCE and ALP, in which one of Humph's initials, -C-, is the Alpha (or first letter) and one of Anna's, -L-, the Omega (the last letter). It also should be noted that in the central segments of the word are two letters of Anna's initials, AP, and that they are literally contained within the other two letters of Humph's name, HE, thus suggesting ALP nested within HCE, while Humph is also suggested as being the beginning and Anna, the end of the conjunction.

The rose window of the CHAPEL of HCE and ALP is the heart -- the central axis where the body and the blood become one. The dawning sunlight streaming through the window, the blending of all colours and vibrations, represents the final hierogamy of the God and Goddess. The Creator, finally remembering and accepting that he has never really created at all, has been fully forgiven by the Mother of Everything. Horus the saviour is born as the union of the two. And, as the Fall becomes Redeemed the cycle starts anew.

This cycle begins now, and it has always already begun. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bake And Wake 1

We have to had them whether we’ll like it or not. They’ll have to have us now then we’re here on theirspot. Scant hope theirs or ours to escape life’s high carnage of semperidentity by subsisting peasemeal upon variables. Bloody certainty have we got to see it ere smellful demise surprends us on this concrete that down the gullies of the eras we may catch ourselves looking forward to what will in no time be staring you larrikins on the postface in that multimirror megaron of returningties, whirled without end to end. (p.582)

The Wake for the end of history continues on. It is a "collideoscape," a kaleidocosm, all times and places, people and events, shifting in rainbow colours at once. A bang at the gate. A shout in the street. A letter written in the indelible ink of piss and shit, stamped and signed with a jism stain and pecked out of an archaic midden mud-heap by the mother goddess hen.

Cock and Biddy

The Wake has two main layers, each striated into many sub-accretions. These are called HCE and ALP -- standing for, from one perspective, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker and Anna Livia Plurabelle. Both of these layers make up the dream of the Wake, a couple sleeping foot to head, a sixty-nine, yin-yang position spiraling out the form of the nightmare.

HCE is ultimately, along with many other things, the creator god. He is Atum who has crafted the lesser gods and the rest of the world by spunking on the primordial mud pile. His boasts that he alone has created the universe are betrayed by his thunder-like stuttering. Deep down he feels the guilt of arrogating to create without acknowledging the Mother. This is the first great Fall and all other falls follow from this original sin.


He is the blind Demiurge, Ialdabaoth, his guilt causing a split within himself both between old and new and right and left. The whole nightmare of history is the unfolding drama to attempt to assuage this guilt -- a war of sons against fathers, brothers against brothers, all futilely trying to possess and conquer their wife/mother/daughter/sister. Finnegans Wake is the last act of this drama which can only end with the Goddess' love and forgiveness after all is surrendered to Her.

ALP is this goddess. She is the River that runs through and beyond all space and time. Joyce is the creator of the Wake, in which he aimed to contain the entire cosmos, but ultimately he humbles himself completely before the Goddess. The whole book is intricately structured and layered with meticulous and manic attention to detail, but it is all kept entirely open.

All chance, all synchronicity, all unpredictability, all unintended meanings are allowed to flow through it. But "allowed" is not the right word -- in complete surrender to the River, Joyce gave himself no choice. He entirely offered himself as a sacrifice to the Muse, manifested by his mother, his wife Nora, and his schizophrenic yet sparkling and dancing daughter, Lucia. ALP is the reason why all can be found in the Wake -- everything within Nature and Imagination bubbles and ripples through it.

Letting The Pieces Play

The Humpty Dumpty of tradition has fallen off the wall. God is dead. Modernism attempts to put the pieces back together again, although presumably in a way that is more rational and just. Like the King's men and horses it inevitably fails -- the process of constructing and falling anew only accelerates. Finally, postmodernism gives up. It "plays with the pieces." The modernists and old traditionalists snort in disgust. It seems to be pure nihilism.

But then something magical occurs. The pieces begin to organize themselves. A complex, chaotic order forms its own patterns, without centre and without control.

This is where ALP flows. This is the fully anarchic free market gift economy of the Gaian mind bound to replace all modernist models, both capitalist and socialist, of attempted economic and political control.

This involves a new paradigm of language, one discovered in the Wake. Beyond Ferdinand Saussure's view of language, taken up by the structuralists and the post-structuralists, as being a synchronic network of difference is his disconcerting discovery of hidden anagramic layers of meaning throughout Latin and other poetry. From this, he reluctantly realized that the emergence of unintentional meaning might well up and be present within all texts. This is ALP. This is what is beyond the post-modern.

Perhaps every text is an open text, as Umberto Eco termed it. Definitely all "sacred" texts seem to be so. Norman O. Brown claimed that only the generation of Westerners able to grasp the full significance of the Wake could ever hope to understand the Koran. Only now can we find the strands of Indra's Net through all works.


Mohammed countered his critics by claiming that it was impossible for the Koran to be a forgery because only Allah could compose a book so complex and perfect. Mohammed challenged anyone to try anything similar. Joyce took up the challenge and met it with the Wake. Both Allah and Joyce are names for the Creator of the universe.

In Joyce's testament, however, the God seeks forgiveness. Joyce names 111 of the 114 books of the Koran and refers specifically to Sura 18, "The Cave," which is called the Islamic Apocalypse. This Sura also has 111 lines (including the title) and it introduces Al Khidr -- Elijah, the Wandering Jew, the Green Man, Osiris, the Green Face -- ultimately the consort and messenger of the Goddess. Instead of "Allah the All Merciful," Joyce addresses his chapter to "Annah the Allmaziful." Annah is the archaic White Goddess, also the mother of Mary.

ALP equals 111 in gematria, and this is her number. The books of the Koran are thus sacrificed in flames to her. Robert Anton Wilson, who often signed his writing with his initials RAW, also became obsessed with the number 111 through his study of the Wake. This is what he writes in his book Coincidance:

This 1:11 business turns out to be more curious than we realize at first, even if we note that it is connected with Bloom's son, who died at age 11 days, Shakespeare's son Hamnet who died at 11 years and the 22 (2x11) letters in the Hebrew alphabet or the 22 words in the first sentence of Ulysses. If ALP and APL invoke all this, the LAP, a further permutation, invokes the LAP where a Freemason wears his apron, as in Aleister Crowley's BOOK OF LIES, Chapter 54, in which some Freemasons guess that the lost Mason Word is AMO, whose number is 111, and some guess that it is LAP which also has the number 111. (By Cabala, AMO=A which is 1, M which is 40, and O which is 70, 1+40+70=111, while LAP=L or 30, A or 1, and P or 80, and 30+1+80=111.) 

William York Tindall, a Joyce scholar who likes to count, has noted that many long sentences in FW have 111 clauses. Anna Livia Plurabelle's untitled "mamafesta" in Chapter Five has 111 alternative titles; when sad, she is described as "wan wan wan"; in Chapter 8, she has 111 children. Most books on Cabala hint at trancendental meanings in the fact that the Hebrew A or aleph=ALP=111 when spelled in full as aleph-lamek-pe.

It seemed to be no coincidence to his followers, therefore, that Wilson died on 1/11/07. What is weirder, though, and definitely a manifestation of the playful flow of ALP, is the fact that his initials RAW appear four times in a row on page 111.

...peraw raw raw reeraw puteters out of Now Sealand in spignt of the patchpurple of the massacre, a dual a duel to die to day, goddam and biggod, sticks and stanks, of most of the Jacobiters...

Happy Sins

Also on page 111 is the first appearance of the Letter, which is the Wake itself, signed at the end with a tea stain. The very last word of the Wake, usually seen as joining the first sentence and so creating an endless loop, is "the." Thé in French is of course tea. This is the tea stain. The tea or "T" is also the Tunc page of the ancient Irish manuscript, The Book of Kells -- which Joyce somehow claims was inspired by the Wake.

Many scholars assert that the Tunc page contains the whole mystery of The Book of Kells and that it points to active pagan survivals, most notably the serpent cult, within the pre-Roman Catholic, Celtic Church. The Tunc page, with its large illustrated T, represents Christ on the Cross flanked on either side by the two thieves. For Joyce, the Cross is his final the, thé or T, the two thieves are Shem and Shaun, and Tunc is also the ever-giving, ever green and fertile cunt of the Goddess. A new theology is created.

Joseph Campbell, who really began his career by writing the first full-length book on trying to decipher the Wake, called the Tunc page the key to unlocking the Wake. Campbell writes in his Occidental Mythology,

The so-called Tunc-page, bearing the words of the Gospel according to Matthew: "Then there were crucified with him two thieves" (Tunc cru/cifixerant/XPI cum eo du/os la/trones).

We recognize the cosmic self-consuming, self-renewing serpent, whose lion-head recalls the old Sumerian lion-bird, while the T of the word Tunc is a lion with serpentine attributes, either swallowing or emitting (or both) a tangled pair-of-opposites. The serpent, as we have learned, is generally symbolic of both the self-consuming and self-renewing powers of life; the lunar mystery of time, while the lion is the solar power, the sun door to eternity. The circumscribing serpent, therefore, is the demiurgic, world-creating and -maintaining principle, or, in the Gnostic-Christian view, the God of the Old Testament, while the lion of the T is the road of escape from this vale of tears: the "way and the light," that is to say the Redeemer.

The Greek letters XPI, inserted in the text after crucifixerant, are the signa of Christ (Greek Χριστός ). The same three letters furnish the base of the whole design, as appears when the page is turned clockwise, to lie on its right side. In this position, the great initial unites with the central bar to form P: the middle letter of the sign, symbolizing the Savior between the two thieves, which latter now are represented by the X and I, and thus one with -- indeed parts of -- XPI, or Christ.

The Book of Kells was itself the most famous, most brilliant example of Irish illuminated manuscripts composed during the 700 years of the Celtic Church. This church lasted from the arrival of St. Patrick in 432 AD to St. Malachy's establishment of the Roman liturgy along with his archbishophoric in Armagh in 1132. 

1132 is another number which pops up throughout the Wake. Certainly the 11 represents completion and return after the sequence of 1 through 10, and the 32 is the number of feet per second that objects fall through the air. It also represents the Fall and the Resurrection, Campbell points out, as explained in Romans 11:32.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

This verse introduces the doctrine of the happy sin, or felix culpa -- the original Edenic Fall being happy because it actuated Christ to come and redeem humanity. Joyce alters "felix culpa" to "phoenix culprit" -- the guilty person, HCE, of the incident at Phoenix Park, which is both Eden and the ever burning and rising phoenix of ancient myth.

It is obvious, though, that 1132 refers to the history of Ireland as well. St. Malachy effectively ended the relatively autonomous Celtic Church and, in the same year, the Abbess of Kildare was raped and deposed from power. The Abbess was the representative of St. Brigid, who was a contemporary of St. Patrick. St. Brigid, in turn, is the Christian transformation of the Celtic goddess, Brigid. Both St. Brigid and Brigid share the same feast day at Imbolc, the First or Second of February, which is also Joyce's birthday. 

Thus in 1132, the female and pagan elements of Christianity in Ireland were effectively overthrown and patriarchal, direct rule from the Vatican was established. This marked a huge tragedy for Joyce. There is more to the story, though. St. Malachy is attributed as writing the Prophecy of Popes, forgery or not. This is a poem of 111 lines. Each line represents a verse for every pope following and including Celestine II, the reigning pope when Malachy first had his prophetic vision. 

Joyce directly refers to this prophecy in the Wake and notes the connection of the 111 popes with the 111 of ALP. The end of the list, sometimes concluding with a 112th pope, Peter the Roman, is seen as marking the end of Roman Catholic Church and the start of the Final Judgement. Did Joyce view this ending as marking the return of Brigid?

(secunding to the one one oneth of the propecies, Amnis Limina Permanent) (p.153)

It is interesting that the 111th pope is in the Vatican right now -- Pope Benedict XVI who in the prophecy is named as "the glory of the olives." Is the Wake, then, a prophecy about the present?

Sleeper Awakening

In previous posts this blog has noted the possible awareness that Joyce had of the Rosicrucian 108-year cycle, particularly that of 1904 to 2012. Joyce does not write anything explicitly about 108 years, although there are several references to 432 (108x4) in the Wake. In Ulysses, on the other hand, during the "Ithaca" chapter Joyce includes several numbers which sum to 108 -- just as Homer includes a list making up of 108 suitors in the Odyssey.
Stephen wrote the Irish characters for gee, eh, dee, em, simple and modified, and Bloom in turn wrote the Hebrew characters ghimel, aleph, daleth and (in the absence of mem) a substituted qoph, explaining their arithmetical values as ordinal and cardinal numbers, videlicet 3, 1, 4, and 100.

Readers of this blog will note the Hebrew letters Gimel and Daleth, connected to the 13th path of the Tree of Life and the gateway of Da'at. The numbers 3.141, or pi, will come up in a subsequent post making a deeper reading of the Wake. An earlier post noted that this year, 2012, is also 1132 according the traditional Nepali sambat calendar. Whether Joyce was conscious of any of this, or whether this only emerges from the mysterious substratum of ALP, the connections can be found.

In any event the "story" of Finnegans Wake, like Crowley's writings from 1904, includes the rebirth of Osiris as Horus and the dawn of a New Aeon, the rising from sleep into the morning Sun.

The eversower of the seeds of light to the cowld owld sowls that are in the domnatory of Defmut after the night of the carrying of the word of Nuahs and the night of making Mehs to cuddle up in a coddlepot, Pu Nuseht, lord of risings in the yonderworld of Ntamplin, tohp triumphant, speaketh. (p.593)
Did Joyce also know about the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012? Whether he was writing on the intentional level of HCE, or he was acting as an unconscious channel of ALP, the world maya is mentioned a significant seven times within the Wake. Seven is significant because it is the number of colours in the holographic rainbow kaleidoscope that is personified by the seven Rainbow Girls. The maya references are more clustered towards the end, towards the awakening, with three in the last chapter and two of these in the last few pages. 

Obviously maya is also associated here with both the Hindu idea of illusion, also the veil of Isis, and the mother of the Buddha. But these references are almost invariably coupled with the statements about the end of time, about awakening, about the coming of ALP the Goddess.

Where did thots come from? It is infinitesimally fevers, resty fever, risy fever, a coranto of aria, sleeper awakening, in the smalls of one's back presentiment, gip, and again, geip, a flash from a future of maybe mahamayability through the windr of a wondr in a wildr is a weltr as a wirbl of a warbl is a world...... (p.597)

But you're changing, acoolsha, you're changing from me, I can feel. Or is it me is? I'm getting mixed. Brightening up and tightening down. Yes, you're changing, sonhusband, and you're turning, I can feel you, for a daughterwife from the hills again. Imlamaya. And she is coming. Swimming in my hindmoist. (p.627)

A flash from a future of maybe. And she is coming. This resonates well what many also associate with the turn of the Mayan great cycle in 2012. Do we wake this year?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Dark Shamanic Origins of Debt and the State 3

History as Malignancy

All throughout the process described in these posts the driving force is debt. A person in debt can be seen to have two options. He can work and pay off the debt or he can somehow con, convince, or force others to pay off his debt for him. Often, however, when the debtor chooses the second option it is necessary for him to go into further debt in order to raise the funds to do the conning, convincing or forcing. Then, from this additional expense, he requires still more people to pay off the new debt. The vicious and downward spiraling process that characterizes all of history ensues.


The predatory spirit entities entice the shamans/priests into debt, who in turn pass on this debt in part to the chiefs/kings. These leaders are ensured that they are granted sovereignty from the “gods”, really the predatory entities, and the kings then willingly transfer their own debts to the general population, or through war enslave other populations. None of this eliminates the original debt. It is only deferred and inflated. History itself manifests as the malignant accumulation of debt in expressions of rape, plunder, conquest, slavery and genocide.

Canadian philosopher, John McMurtry, compares this historic expansion of debt, and the destruction that it characteristically leaves in its wake, to the growth of a cancer.

We can discern from these operations and consequences of the global money sequence of compound-interest debt how ‘the borrower remaining creditworthy and able to carry the debt’ can destroy the life-fabrics of societies. These malignant tumour cases, and like those at the cellular level of life-organization, are accumulations of rogue sequences of reproduction and growth that do not remit, but grow worse as they progress. The money sequence linked to the death sequence is the way in which the cancer expresses itself as visible tumour.

The Cancer Stage of Capitalism, John McMurtry, p. 185.

From where does this cancer originate? If my speculation about debt arising from the temptations of predatory entities to pre-historical dark shamans is on the right track, we might also ask why the shamans became tempted in the first place? Also, we might wonder if this type of temptation has continued throughout history.

To Threaten the Economy of the Entire Universe

As was stated earlier, a sort of by-product of meditative practice, which early shamans appear to have knowledge of, is the arrival of certain supernormal powers. In Sanskrit these powers are called the siddhis. Mircea Eliade explains how the development and use of the siddhis would often tempt and misdirect the seeker off the path of complete enlightenment. This is something, he explains, that the Buddha directly warned against.

For, if it was true that the monk must die to his profane condition in order that he might hope to attain the unconditioned, it was not less true that, if he let himself be tempted by the ‘miraculous powers,” he ran risk of fixing his abode in a higher mode of existence, the mode of gods and magicians – and of forgetting the final goal, integration of the Absolute. In addition, the possession of one or another ‘miraculous power’ in no way furthered the propagation of the Buddhist message; other yogins and ecstatics could perform the same miracles. Even worse, one could obtain ‘powers’ through magic, without undergoing any inner transformation. Nonbelievers could well suppose that what they witnessed was only the result of some magical charm... It is for this reason that the Buddha forbade the display of siddhis: ‘You are not, O bhikkus, to display before the laity the superhuman power of Iddhi. Whosoever does so shall be guilty of a dukkata [evil deed].’

Yoga Immortality and Freedom, Mircea Eliade, p. 179-180.

Such are the warnings from the Buddha and many other awakened teachers from various traditions. We also read that the spiritual seeker, upon achieving a high level of attainment, has always been approached by gods, demons and other entities who attempt to seduce the seeker into accepting mere “powers”. A well known example in the Western tradition is Satan’s unsuccessful temptation of Christ. Eliade explains why, to these spiritual entities, such a temptation is deemed necessary.

As we know, in the Indian view, renunciation has a positive value. He who renounces feels not lessened thereby, but enriched – for the force that he gains by renouncing any pleasure far exceeds the pleasure that he has renounced. By virtue of renunciation, of asceticism (tapas), men, demons or gods can become powerful to the point of threatening the economy of the entire universe. In the myths, legends, and tales of India, there are many episodes in which the principal character is an ascetic (man or demon) who, by virtue of the magical power he has gained through his renunciation, troubles even the repose of a Brahma or a Visnu. To prevent such an increase of sacred force, the gods tempt the ascetic...

They continue to tempt him with celestial women, with supernatural sight and hearing, with the promise of turning his body into a ‘body of diamond’ – in short, they offer him participation in the divine condition. But the divine condition is still far from absolute freedom. The yogin must reject these ‘magical hallucinations,’ these ‘false sensory objects that are of the nature of dreams,’ ‘desirable only for the ignorant,’ and persevere in his task of gaining final emancipation.

Yoga Immortality and Freedom, p. 88-89.

The renunciant, the seeker, the awakened shaman, in his or her sincere desire for eternity and the vast knowledge and power that spontaneously arises from this quest, effectively threatens “the economy of the entire universe”. In other words by attaining a grasp on eternity the seeker transcends the entire hierarchical metaphysics of debt, revealing to all its utter illusory nature.

The Immortal Charms

To prevent this, and to preserve their own privileged, although ultimately empty, status and positions, the gods, the entities do whatever it takes to prevent the ultimate goal from being reached. This kind of immense pressure is almost impossible to not succumb to. To use a more commonplace example, we can easily imagine a naturally charming person, endowed with the power of affecting others in a favourable way.

These charming individuals effortlessly attract followers -- people who want to be with them simply because these charmers make them feel good. A natural temptation will emerge for the charming individual to abuse and exploit the good faith of these fans for sexual, monetary, psychological or other favours. This type of thing occurs all around us on a day to day basis.

In the case of an individual who is a meditative adept these natural charms, and those that they attract, are multiplied a thousand fold. At this level it is the gods themselves that are seduced by the charms, are drawn like moths to a fire to the vital energy, and who in turn try to seduce by offering powers of their own. These powers, of course, are deathly pale imitations of the final goal and we are warned throughout the traditional literature against accepting them.

For as soon as the ascetic consents to make use of the magical forces gained by his disciplines, the possibility of his acquiring new forces vanishes. He who renounces secular life finally finds himself rich in magical forces, but he who succumbs to the desire to use them ultimately remains a mere ‘magician,’ without power to surpass himself. Only a new renunciation and a victorious struggle against the temptation of magic bring the ascetic a new spiritual enrichment. According to Patanjali and the whole tradition of classic Yoga -- to say nothing of Vedantist metaphysics, which condemns every kind of ‘power’ -- the yogin uses the innumerable siddhis in order to regain supreme freedom, asamprajnata samadhi, not in order to obtain a mastery over the elements, which, in any case, is only partial and provisional. For it is samadhi, not the ‘occult powers,’ which represents true ‘mastery.’

Yoga Immortality and Freedom, p. 89-90.
                                                                              The highest of these siddhis, and the one that is the most tempting for mere humans who experience the decay and death of their own physical forms, is the allure of immortality. The desire to become immortal is fundamental in the psychology of humanity and it appears as the positive flipside of the fear of death -- the thanatos of Freud and other psychologists.

This drive for immortality is ubiquitous throughout the stories of nearly all cultures. This is a thread that runs from Gilgamesh, to the first emperor of China, to Dr. Faustus. It is a universal human drive and it is the ultimate temptation offered by the entities throughout history.

Manly P. Hall reveals how this drive for immortality, rooted in the fear of death, is really the basis of all black magic.

True black magic is performed with the aid of a demoniacal spirit, who serves the sorcerer for the length of his earthly life, with the understanding that after death the magician shall become the servant of his own demon. For this reason a black magician will go to inconceivable ends to prolong his physical life, since there is nothing for him beyond the grave.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly p. Hall, p. 318.

The most dangerous form of black magic is the scientific perversion of occult power for the gratification of personal desire. Its less complex and more universal form is human selfishness, for selfishness is the fundamental cause of all worldly evil. A man will barter his eternal soul for temporal power, and down through the ages a mysterious process has been evolved which actually enables him to make this exchange. In its various branches the black art includes nearly all forms of ceremonial magic, necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery, and vampirism. Under the same general heading are also included mesmerism and hypnotism, except when used solely for medical purposes, and even then there is an element of risk for all concerned.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages, p. 318.

Under the influence of entities, the seeker turned sorcerer, who pursues occult powers for selfish reasons, is obliged to prolong his own life in order to escape the enslavement of the spirit he has pledged his afterlife to in exchange for worldly influence. The sorcerer attempts all manner of malign devices and plots to shift the debt owed to the entities onto less culpable victims. This is surely another driving factor behind history as political leaders throughout the world have literally “sold their souls” to attain and expand their temporal power.

It appears then that it is really a struggle between immortality and eternity, not a struggle between concepts but between objectives. Immortality is a flight from death. From Gilgamesh to the Builders of the World today, the aim is to cheat death, to win total control over the realm of matter.

This is a counterfeit, the merely penultimate, the illusion of second best. The true path of wisdom leads to a realization of eternity. The seeker finds that he has already found. There is no place to go -- living now is glorious but dying is just as well. The cycles continue eternally and samsara is in actuality nirvana.

And yet some seekers do not achieve this breakthrough in awareness. In fact, most don’t. Most go a certain distance and are waylaid by worldly things -- occupations, families, possessions, lesser dreams. They choose to stop searching for the happiness beyond happiness -- what Socrates called eudaemonia.

Endless Duration or the Eternal?

A few go much higher. They reach lofty spiritual heights and as they climb their vitality and power grows, and they become more attractive. As stated above, their charm attracts disciples, admirers, groupies, etc., but they also attract other entities that are able to offer still more power. These entities are dark forces, predators of flowing vitality, incubi and succubi, able to grant many boons and favours.

The earnest seeker is thus seduced by the promise of power, riches, sexuality, vigour, genius, fame and so on. But these things do not come without a price. The predators are the original bankers and all debts must be paid back with interest.

The demon, or daimon, is at first in the service of the seeker turned black magician but only with the guarantee that after death the servant becomes master. The magician can only halt this conclusion by seeking immortality. As Gilgamesh found, however, this quest also produces more death and suffering. A debt can only be deferred by offering a payment in its stead. The demons demand sacrifice.
All of history is generated from this. The formation of the state is the result of a dark shamanic deal with the entities (afterwards called "the gods" and then unified as "God"). The priests and rulers at first allowed themselves to be sacrificed but gradually surrogates were slain -- scapegoats. These, of course, did not equal the principal of the debt so the interest, and thus more debt, grew steadily. History is the futile attempt to attain immortality and escape all debt. This is impossible and so the horror accelerates and the earth bleeds.

However, none of this needs to happen. There is no debt because nothing real was ever offered to anyone. The predators, who the Gnostics called the Archons, really possess nothing that we do not already have. Since eternity is here presently anything else is illusory. The world as it seems to be constructed is a maniacal chain of debt reaching down to the very physical and real banking systems that we all have to deal with, and extending upwards (or downwards!) to the Archons themselves – the creators who have created nothing for free.

It is all a scam, a sham, a spell, an entirely empty mirage. No one owes anyone anything as we each and all have everything! The deals with the devil have been signed not in blood but in invisible ink on parchments that vanish in thin air. All the states, laws, divine rights of kings, bloodlines, stock exchanges, derivatives, constitutions, religions, hierarchies, bonds, shopping malls, all of it, are built on these non-existent foundations. All are meaningless in the bright light of eternity. Immortality is a debtor’s prison. Only imagination frees. And, as Blake wrote, the Imagination is not a State.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Dark Shamanic Origins of Debt and the State 2

The Nightmare Begins

A major theme of these posts is that the historical flight and expansion of capital and debt, and the exclusion of the multitude from the realm of Spirit are intrinsically linked and exist together as part of one vast movement of history.

The question remains as to where debt began in the first place? If we assume, as explained in the previous post, that the original banks were the temples of the ancient world and the original debtors were the first kings and sovereigns, another question arises. Where did the priests obtain the power to issue credit? How did they convince anyone that their money was good? If the origins of the first states, the first banks, and the priesthoods are all connected then how did this situation arise in the first place?


Certainly the question of the origin of the State is huge and there is no consensus as to what really took place. Most mainstream historians have taken a materialistic approach and have assumed that the State emerged from millennia of more or less egalitarian tribal societies as the result of pressure caused by resource depletion and/or population growth.

An alternative to extrasocietal conflict as a reason for the rise of the state has been proposed in the present century. That the classical origins of the pristine states in Mesopotamia, the Indus River region, the Yellow River in China, the New World Valley of Mexico, and coastal Peru all seem to have involved irrigation systems has suggested that the factors of great bureaucratic power, high population density, intensive and high agricultural production, sedentary urbanism, or various combinations of these are responsible for the rise of the state, or at least the ‘Oriental’ version of it.

Origins of the State and Civilization, Elman R. Service, p. 41-42.

These materialistic explanations, however, do not take into account the spiritual/religious outlook of studied tribal societies. The entire philosophy of these societies is centred around a deep understanding of dynamic balance. This philosophy is well expressed by ethnologist Paul Radin.

We have nothing even remotely comparable to primitive man’s sense of an objective social world, a world which is just as real as the external world and which is conceived of as being just as independent of the individual as the external world is. The social reality he predicates has existed from all time and is, in his eyes, as old as the external world of the senses. Like the external world it is never static but always dynamic, taking on varying forms and appearing under different aspects. Yet in spite of this dynamic character it is always the same, a unique and unalterable social world. An individual may sin against varying parts of it without incurring dangerous consequences but if he sins against any fundamental aspect he must be prepared either to dissociate himself entirely from this world or die.

Primitive Man as Philosopher, Paul Radin, p. 43.

Material scarcity, in the rare times when it arises, is shared collectively throughout the tribe. Accumulation by the chief or by any other exclusive group is resisted ferociously by the rest of the tribe. The entire structure and function of the tribe is designed to act against this type of accumulation, so necessary for the formation of the State. Even inter-tribal warfare has the effect of preventing the concentration of power. Peter Lamborn Wilson, applying the ideas of anthropologist Pierre Clastres, explains how warfare was used in this way.

Primitive warfare, and here I'm quoting the French anthropologist Pierre Clastres, is completely different from classical warfare in that in primitive societies warfare disestablishes or deconstructs power, it's what he called the "centrifugal effect," a fleeing out from the center. Whereas modern warfare, in complete contrast, is a "centripetal effect," it's a concentration of power. If you look at primitive and hunter gather societies you'll see that there is no class structure, no permanent leadership, the pyramid is not there. Every act of war in that situation is to prevent that pyramid from appearing, the war chief, as soon as he's finished, is out of a job, he does not become the paramount chief and in fact in hunter gather societies the war chief is always a suspicious character. So the primitive warrior has glory, he has adventure, but he has no power. On the contrary, the classical warrior is very interested in power, he wants a centralization of power.

Likewise, population is also strictly kept is balance with the supply of resources immediately available to the tribe through food gathering or limited food production. Certainly, knowledge of herbal birth control and other techniques were widely available. It does not seem, then, that either material scarcity or population expansion alone would be enough to account for the emergence of the State. So what happened?

Beings that Wander About Within the World

Primitive societies are extremely conservative. They obtain an optimum of self-sufficiency and balance within their chosen territory and they remain at this level, with little alteration, for as long as possible. Even the technology and techniques used by these societies do not radically change through the generations. This is certainly not because they lack the ability to progress, their intellectual faculties were and are just as developed as our own, but instead because of an extreme reluctance to do so.

The shamans play an especially conservative role in this regard. It is their role to preserve and make vital the customs and rituals of the tribe. It is also their function to employ the techniques of ecstasy, through entheogenic plants or other methods of trance, to maintain the rapport between the tribe and the spiritual world.

The shamanic worldview is fundamentally different than from the materialist outlook. For the shaman, nature is literally teeming with discarnate entities and supernormal forces. There are just as many as these beings as there are biological organisms inhabiting a particular ecosystem. As with every other level and niche of nature these entities both compete and cooperate with themselves and with humans. There is a natural dynamic balance at work here too and it is in the shaman’s interest to perpetuate this balance.

The shaman can both “see” and communicate with these entities. They can grant powers or boons to the shaman and others, or be employed to curse or drain vitality. There are special classes or beings often called the “predators” who thrive off of the vital energies of others. These vital energies are contained in the liquids of the body and also found freely in plants and other natural organisms.

There are also free kinds of /kuru/ substances, such as some tree secretions (ieikuru) or the bitter cassava juice liberated through pressing manioc tubers (ekuru). These free occurrences of /kuru/ substances are defined as the natural food of some metaphysical beings that wander about within the world, and they are considered extremely dangerous for the human being. The free occurrences of /kuru/ substances are also the subject of countless classes of taboos.
Touching, seeing, or even talking about them in certain situations (the proximity of a hunt, for example) can produce the physical state of uopra’. They must avoid touching blood (circulatory as well as menstrual) and any other tacky and viscous substance that recalls male sperm. Everything that seems to have /kuru/ in free form represents danger because it is the favorite nutrient of the harmful living beings that circulate in the world and the chief factor attracting their malefic actions.
“Being Alone amid Others”, Marnio Teixeira-Pinto, In Darkness and Secrecy, eds. Neil L. Whitehead and Robin Wright, p.228.

As recent studies have made clear, shamanism is itself extremely ambiguous. “Dark shamanism” is a ubiquitous phenomenon whereby certain types of shamans use their abilities for selfish and anti-social purposes. In a certain sense, however, dark shamanism also acts as a brake to any concentration of power, similar to how Clastres explains that inter-tribal warfare prevents political centralization. This is because the targets of this type of shamanism are often chiefs, “light” shamans, or other influential members of tribal society who attempt to set themselves too far above the rest of their community.

The dark shaman resides in the nightly crevices between every segmentary center of Amerindian society and, as such, actively functions against any possibility of a concentrated political power at a rigid center. No repetition of segments can coagulate to form a simple rigid center capable of appropriating in the political the shamanic power to kill. The death-dealing arrows of the dark bewitching shaman keep the social segments supple, never allowing them to accumulate at one point as the surplus of a single entity. Death comes to everyone. It comes in the dark horizon of the west propelled by the bewitching shaman.                                                                                             
The redistribution of any surplus power placed into healing by the light curing shaman is, therefore, the energy effect of the dark shaman’s complementariness. The surplus can only be forced into its distributive mode by the hostile act of the dark shaman who causes ‘little deaths’ of sickness as well as death itself to appear in the first place. Without the violence of the dark shaman, there is every reason to believe that the surplus power of the light shaman could transform itself into a rigid segmentarity within the political domain. Without the dark shaman’s ability to initiate death, the shamanic power of life – streaming from the east like a blazing light of the sun – could dominate, as the political, all the supple segmentarities of transcendent presence.

“The Glorious Tyranny of Silence”, George Mentore, In Darkness and Secrecy, p. 139.

It is my thinking, though, that from this nexus -- the relation between light and dark shamans, the spirits, and the rest of society -- the question of the origin of the state can be resolved. To return first, however, to the relations with the spirits it is useful to look at the account of Martin Prechtel who was an initiated shaman within a Tzutujil Mayan society of Guatemala.

Prechtel claims that all relations with the entities of the other realm must, as they should be in both human society and the local natural environment, be based on reciprocity. Nothing should be taken without giving something back. This is certainly in keeping with the literature on the primitive gift economy following Mauss, Durkheim, Bataille, etc., whereby in such economies any surplus that cannot be distributed to all would be consumed and/or destroyed in orgiastic festivals.

But the gift is not the only form of potlatch; it is equally possible to defy rivals through the spectacular destruction of wealth.... In northwestern America, destruction goes as far as the burning of villages and the smashing of flotillas of canoes. Emblazoned copper ingots, a kind of money on which the fictive value of an immense fortune is sometimes placed, are broken or thrown into the sea. The delirium of the festival can be associated equally with hecatombs of property and with gifts accumulated with the intention of stunning and humiliating. 
   Visions of Excess, Georges Bataille, p.148

The spirits can grant knowledge and power but they want something in return. According to Prechtel, they are usually placated by songs, rituals, and limited sacrifice. If something is taken from nature without these gifts being offered and without the proper reverent intent behind them, then a debt to the spirits is incurred.

Spiritually Expensive

Even the construction of a simple tool requires certain rituals to be performed in order to extract and transform the material components of the tool from nature. If these precautions are not taken, or are taken in bad faith, the spirits demand compensation. If debts continue to accumulate the spirits become more insistent in their demands for repayment. A kind of interest is added to the principle and blood and living energy is demanded.

As Christians are born with original sin, Mayans are born with original debt. In the Mayan worldview, we are all born owing a spiritual debt to the other world for having created us, for having sung us into existence. It must be fed: otherwise, it’s going to take its payment out of our lives.
Prechtel uses the example of the construction of a knife to show how an enormous debt must be paid to the other world.

So, just to get the iron [for the knife], the shaman has to pay for the ore, the fire, the wind, and so on – not in dollars and cents, but in ritual activity equal to what’s been given. Then that iron must be made into steel, and the steel has to be hammered into the shape of a knife, sharpened, and tempered, and a handle must be put on it. There is a deity to be fed for each part of the procedure. When the knife is finished, it is called the ‘tooth of earth.’ It will cut wood, meat, and plants. But if the necessary sacrifices have been ignored in the name of rationalism, literalism, and human superiority, it will cut humans instead.
It is because of this spiritually “expensive” process of manufacturing technology that the Mayans choose not to progress in this way. Western or modern cultures, convinced that matter is a dead thing, feel no compunction to offer anything back to the Earth and her spirits. The debt is ignored, perhaps deliberately, and with the construction of a fully technological world, accelerating rapidly since the eighteenth century, the immense expanding debt is extracted through violence. Presenting the manufacture of automobiles as an example of this process Prechtel states,

All along the way, very little, if anything, was given back to the hungry, invisible divinity that gave people the ability to invent those cars. Now, in a healthy culture, that’s where the shamans would come in, because with every invention comes a spiritual debt that must be paid, either ritually, or else taken out of us in warfare, grief, or depression.

The Mayan people, and other shamanic cultures, choose not to invent such technologies not because they are unable to or that a “primitive” lifestyle is somehow “romantic,” but because they understand fully the expense of ritual and the destructive nature of debt. Our modern world of “advanced” technology, of shopping malls and space shuttles literally starves the spiritual world and causes it to demand sacrifices for debt.

The universe is in a state of starvation and emotional grief because it has not been given what it needs in the form of ritual food and actual physical gifts. We think we’re getting away with something by stealing from the other side, but it all leads to violence.

When we no longer maintain a relationship with the spirits, the spirits have to eat our psyches. And when the spirits are done eating our psyches, they eat our bodies. And when they’re done with that, they move on to the people close to us. When you have a culture that has for centuries, or longer, ignored these relationships, depression becomes a way of life. We try to fix the depression through technology, but that’s not going to work. Nor will it work to plunder other cultures, nor to kill the planet. All that is just an attempt not to be held accountable to the other world.

While the need for reciprocity is idiomatic in the spiritual world, the entities themselves are obviously not equal in character or alignment. Some are more generous and some are more deceptive and rapacious. It is likely though, that as in human societies, that it would be the more power-hungry members of these denizens who would seek deals in order to bind people with debt.


Path to the Proto-State

Here is a possible, if not plausible, scenario, therefore. Among certain tribes, and perhaps at certain periods and locations where resources were in short supply at least temporarily, like in the Near East, the Nile delta etc., the precarious balance between dark and light shamanism became destabilized.

Particular shamans or sorcerers demanded too much power, either for self enhancement, for revenge, or perhaps for protection of the weak, of predatorial entities and this debt could not be paid back in full. Societal imbalance resulted. A state would not emerge from these societies from a sheer physical or political source. Power can only come from the barrel of a gun temporarily, and from that point on it must be sustained as a mythological reality. Only the shamans would be in the position to assume this type of mythic control.

Egyptian magic dates from the time when the pre-dynastic and prehistoric dwellers in Egypt believed that the earth, and the underworld, and the air, and the sky were peopled with countless beings, visible and invisible, which were held to be friendly or unfriendly to man according as the operations of nature, which they were supposed to direct, were favourable, or unfavourable to him. In nature and attributes these beings were thought by primitive man to closely resemble himself and to possess all human passions, and emotions, and weaknesses, and defects; and the chief object of magic was to give man the pre-eminence over such beings.
The favour of the beings who were placable and friendly to man might be obtained by means of gifts and offerings, but the cessation of hostilities on the part of those that were implacable and unfriendly could only be obtained by wheedling, and cajolery, and flattery, or by making use of an amulet, or secret name, or magical formula, or figure, or picture which had the effect of bringing to the aid of the mortal who possessed it the power of a being who was mightier than the foe who threatened to do evil to him. The magic of most early nations aimed at causing the transference of power from a supernatural being to man, whereby he was to be enabled to obtain superhuman results and to become for a time as mighty as the original possessor of the power; but the object of Egyptian magic was to endow man with the means of compelling both friendly and hostile powers, nay, at a later time even God Himself, to do what he wished, whether they were willing or not.
                                                       Egyptian Magic, E. A. Wallis Budge, p. viii-ix.

It could happen like this: the shaman, normally very sensitive about maintaining a balance between the tribe, its environment and the spirits, becomes tempted to abuse the supernormal powers acquired through mystical practice and granted by the entities. Through use of these powers, and through other trickery, the shaman would be able to establish his authority over others. This, in fact, must have happened countless times throughout prehistory and cut at the bud by opposing members of the tribe. At times this process would have progressed further than others.


In this hypothetical case, however, the shaman was able to get enough prestige and followers that he was able to establish an exclusive society of initiated sorcerers -– perhaps he was aided in this by dire or challenging environmental conditions, although this would not necessarily have been the case.

At this point the brotherhood of shamans form a priesthood. They accumulate a surplus of material goods -- before a taboo -- and they empower the tribal chief as a valuable ally. The chief's cooperation would be essential in this endeavour but alone the chief would never be able to establish a state -- he would lack the necessary sacred and mythological authority to do so. He would not have the blessings of the spirits. In later times, the chief would be transformed by the priests into a king.

The next step for the society of sorcerers would be to eliminate all opposition viewed as possessing spiritual power. Individual shamans and other visionaries or sensitives would be forced to join the brotherhood or face exile or worse. More crucially, the techniques of ecstasy -- the secrets of the spirits, meditation and the supernormal powers -- would be monopolized. This knowledge would provide the base of their power, and it is from this base that the State congeals.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Dark Shamanic Origins of Debt and the State 1

Forever Blowing Bubbles

The Spell that keeps us all in thrall is most notably economic and financial in nature. The ongoing massive economic crisis, which began in 2007/2008, is really a case of one bubble popping and another attempting to form. In recent decades we've suffered through the collapse of the Asian bubble, the Russian bubble, the emerging markets bubble, the dot-com bubble, the housing bubble, the commodities bubble, and we are now tightening our belts in response to "austerities" imposed in order to prop up the bailout bubble. The global rat race zooms forward at light speed and we all get sucked into one inflationary bubble after another. What is going on?

The world is literally awash in money. The equivalent of trillions of dollars moves without rest through electronic networks at the click of a mouse, resulting in inflationary floods or recessionary droughts wherever this mass settles or flees from. There is anywhere from 500 trillion to one quadrillion US dollars in derivatives sloshing around, seeking a way to sustain and expand itself.

This staggering amount consists mainly of speculation, on bets on bets, on guesses that the price of anything material or immaterial will rise or fall at a future date. It requires constant movement and constant growth to perpetuate its existence. Like a deranged behemoth, it survives only by madly devouring more and more.

This is very obviously insane by any definition of the word. The estimated combined GDP of the planet is only about 80 to 100 trillion in US dollars, meaning that the ever-growing derivatives market dwarfs the world’s productive capacity from anywhere to five to ten times.


But this does not signify that the money is imaginary. All money represents future productive labour. It only means that the world, the labour of everyone, owes a collective debt of five to ten times our present ability to produce. This level of debt, and it does not include individual, government or personal debt which is also staggering, is quite unimaginable. We are all slaves to debt for generations to come if things do not change fundamentally. How did it get to this point?

Since the nineteen eighties, advances in information technology and the reversal of regulations impeding the flow of capital allowed for an unprecedented movement of money. It is this consequent production of debt that currently holds the globe in thrall. This however is only the most recent chapter in a very long story.

Temples of Gold

Banks, by their nature, are producers of debt. All of the money in circulation originated in a loan to some individual or institution from a bank to be paid back, including interest, through the future fruits of productive labour. This has been the case since the beginning of banking which can really be traced back to the origins of the expansionary state.

Throughout history the banks have played with, invested and re-invested, a continuing and expanding pool of debt. They have always counted on our labour to eventually balance the books if ever the final reckoning occurred. But where did this debt come from originally?

We all know by now the folksy tale of the origin of banking -- how the goldsmiths realized that they could hand out tokens for the amount of gold any given depositor had in their holdings, and that they further realized that nobody would notice if they issued more tokens than the value of the gold that they in fact held.

If these tokens were exchanged as money, so that things could be bought and sold with them, and if nobody was the wiser that they were not backed up with the same quantity of metals as the tokens indicated, then what did it matter? Everyone was happy as long as people did not lose trust in the primitive banks and did not try to cash in their tokens for real gold all at once. And so banking was born as the scam that it is.

This is a good story which makes for a great myth about greed and deceit, and it likely happened this way in certain instances, but is this really how banking began? James Breasted, and other historians of renown, state that the original banks were in fact temples.

While the Babylonian merchants were a powerful class and were even called the rulers in some communities, it was the temples, with their large possessions, which were the center of business life. They dealt in merchandise, controlled extensive lands, and loaned money like banks. The rate of interest on loans was high, – twenty percent a year, payable in monthly installments. Silver had become so plentiful that it had decreased greatly in value. Gold was used sparingly, for it was from twelve to fifteen times as valuable as silver. Commercial interests were therefore the leading influences in Babylonian life, even in religion. The temples, as we have said, had a large place in business life, and religion never proclaimed the rights of the poor and the humble or championed their cause against the rich and the powerful.

Ancient Times a History of the Early World, James Henry Breasted, p.174.
                                          These conclusions are echoed by the French traditionalist philosopher, René Guénon. Guénon points out that the domination of money and finance by the priesthoods, like the Druids, is evident even upon examination of ancient coins.

It may very easily be observed, provided only that ‘one has eyes to see’, that the ancient coins are literally covered with traditional symbols, often chosen from among those which carry some particularly profound meaning; thus for instance it has been observed that among the Celts the symbols figured on the coins can only be explained if they are related to the doctrinal knowledge which belonged to the Druids alone, and this implies a direct intervention of the Druids in the monetary domain.

The Reign of Quantity, René Guénon, p. 134.

Guénon further explains that this direct control of money continued almost until the beginning of the modern era.

The control of money by the spiritual authority, in whatever form it may have been exercised, is by no means exclusively confined to antiquity, for, without going outside the Western world, there is much to indicate that it must have been perpetuated until towards the end of the Middle Ages, that is, for as long the Western world had a traditional civilization.

The Reign of Quantity, p. 135.

A Universal Pontifical Empire

The original bankers were the priests and the original debtors were the sovereigns, either initiated by the priests or priests themselves. These kings depended on a ready supply of capital to raise armies, to purchase slaves, to expand markets, to construct edifices and infrastructure, to make expeditions and so on. The priesthoods of one empire, being the most literate, cosmopolitan and educated members of their society, had connections and communications with the priesthoods of other empires.

In his 1832 magnum opus, Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins argues that in the ancient, post-diluvian world a connected, international priesthood held sway over populations throughout the world. Whether one agrees with all of Higgins’conclusions or not, it is relevant here to demonstrate the similarity of priestly orders across cultures.                                                                           

I think that I shall not be accused of giving way to idle superstition; but despite of incurring this accusation, I must say, that there appears to me, when all circumstances which I have laid before my reader are considered, much truth and very great plausibility in a passage of Dr. Woodward’s discourse on the Ancient Egyptians: ‘The colonies all carried these customs along with them to their several abodes: and there were from the beginning priests, sacrifices, temples, festivals, and lustrations, as well among the ancient Germans and Gauls, in Peru and Mexico, in Siam, China, and Japan, as in Egypt.’ What can be more striking than the custom of circumcision among the Tamuls, in Mexico, in Colchis of Armenia, in Egypt, and in Guinea and the kingdom of Congo, on the coast of Africa? It is also remarkable that this rite is found in all these places to prevail only among the Priests. 
This tends strongly to support the opinion which I entertain, that the order of Chaldei, a learned order, did escape from a flood, and by means of their superior intelligence, did establish an universal pontifical empire, getting the command of the Aborigines all over the world, who were unarmed Buddhist barbarians, who also had escaped the flood; and that the rite of circumcision, or initiation, as it was called, was invented before the art of writing was known, in order to distinguish that order from the rest of mankind.
Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins, p. 309, Book 2.

There was, in this sense, only one ancient priestly caste on a world scale whose monopoly, centred in the temple/banks, gave it supremacy in all international trade. With this monopoly in capital, trade and communication the international priesthood was able to manipulate political events for their own benefit. They could cause gluts or shortages in resources and thus alter prices. They could expand or limit credit to sovereigns, cause slave rebellions, scandals, conspiracies and wars. Theirs was the power to decide if an empire would rise or fall. According to H.G. Wells:

Originally the priests constituted the entire learned class; the priesthood was all the learned professions. The Egyptian priest was doctor, lawyer, teacher and financier. His order supplied the only writers and poets. He was architect and artist. He stood at the side of the ruler as secretary and minister. The temple was bank, treasury and museum. This original monopolization of education by the religious organization is written plain over the history of those mediaeval and Renascence European communities from which the contemporary world derives the bulk of its tradition. If there was any collateral development of writing and reading in ancient times it was probably in relation to the account-keeping of nomadic and sea-going traders. The estate clerk and the court scribe may also have been laymen from very early times – but they must have been educated by men in the priestly tradition.

The Work Wealth and Happiness of Mankind, H.G. Wells, p. 310.


Knowers of the Cosmic Order

Historian Lewis Mumford also explores this phenomena of the monopolization of knowledge by the priests, tracing it from the Old Kingdom in Egypt to the scientific experts of the modern world.

To be effective, this kind of knowledge must remain a secret priestly monopoly. If everyone had equal access to the sources of knowledge and to the system of interpretation, no one would believe in their infallibility, since their errors could then not be concealed. Hence the shocked protest of Ipu-wer against the revolutionaries who overthrew the Old Kingdom in Egypt was based on the fact that the ‘secrets of the temple lay unbared’; that is, they had made ‘classified material’ public. Secret knowledge is the key to any system of total control. Until printing was invented, the written word remained largely a class monopoly. Today the language of higher mathematics plus computerism has restored both the secrecy and the monopoly, with a consequent resumption of totalitarian control.
The Myth of the Machine, Lewis Mumford, p. 176.

Joseph Campbell explains how this priestly monopoly of information became entrenched in the Bronze Age by promoting a mythology based on the calculation of the cycles of the planets, the Moon, and especially the Sun.

And we have discussed there also the epochal appearance toward the dawn of the Age of Bronze of an entirely new priestly mythology, oriented principally neither to the animal nor to the plant world as manifestations of the laws and mystery of being, but to the cycling, mathematically calculable order of the stars, the sun and the moon, with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. As in heaven, so on earth. To the priestly knowers of that cosmic order an absolute, divinely directed moral authority was attributed; and from the time of the rise of the earliest great temples of the ancient Near East (c. 4000 B.C.) to the period to which our reading now has brought us, every known civilization – except, for a time, the Greco-Roman – took its spiritual instruction from these priestly watchers of the sky, who were supposed to have derived from the cosmic order a knowledge of the order proper as well to men on earth.

Occidental Mythology, Joseph Campbell, p. 505-6.

The priests functioned as the sole intermediaries and interpreters of this cosmic order and their authority entirely stemmed from this monopoly of knowledge.
Both to establish and maintain kingship, an infusion of divine power was essential. But the constant intercourse with Heaven, necessary for the guidance of the king, demanded professional aid from priests, magicians, soothsayers, interpreters of dreams, and readers of cosmic signs, who in turn were dependent upon the king’s secular power and wealth for their own status and office.

The Myth of the Machine, Lewis Mumford, p. 176.

In this way, the power of the priests perpetuated itself and expanded throughout the course of history. When their financial policies and manipulations brought down their former home empire they would simply relocate to a new centre of political power which they had principally helped to establish. The buildup and collapse of empires in ancient days functioned exactly like the expansion and popping of investment bubbles today. The speed and volume of capital was nowhere near the scale at which it is now but in the same way each successive empire increased the pool of debt.

In more recent times we can directly trace the rise and fall of banking centres, and the kingdoms and empires that they supported, from the late medieval period onward. From Florence to Genoa to Antwerp to Amsterdam to London to New York, with other slightly more minor centres playing auxiliary roles, we can trace the concentration and evolutionary development of capital and its financial instruments to the present day.

Financial centers persist; yet, no center lasts forever. Four of the seven centers (Florence, Venice, Genoa, and Antwerp) no longer exist. The historical record shows also a certain degree of dominance of one center over the others. Florence was the top banking center in the first half of
the 14th century, Venice was a commercial and financial power house in the 15th century, Genoa was on the financial frontier in the second half of the 16th century, Amsterdam was the top financial center in the 17th century, London in the 19th century, and New York for part of the 20th
 "The Evolutionary Chain of International Financial Centers", Michele Fratianni

Most of the major political events of modern history in some way stem back to deals worked out in back rooms of one or another of these centres. Banking dynasties and families have apparently come and gone but in actual fact these groups, and their wealth, have persisted as a class and a caste up to the present. They continue to manipulate and indebt governments, institutions and individuals, and events are rigged according to their designs.

It is crucially important to state here that this is not just another repetition of the tired old antisemitic diatribes on how Jewish bankers rule the world. Very valuable information on the historical connections of certain Jewish families with banking, and the violent antisemitic reactions to this, can be found in the work of Jewish scholars like Hannah Arendt.

Needless to say, not all bankers are Jews and very few Jews are bankers. To be antisemitic because some bankers are Jewish makes even less sense than to be anti-Italian because the Mafia tends to be made up of Italians. There are crooks of every race and ethnicity, and the scum always rises to the top. 

Specialists of the Sacred

The banking caste of today seems to be ideologically at a great distance from the ancient priesthoods who, after all, were religious leaders in contrast to the very materialist bankers of modern times, but this difference is only apparent. The priestly orders were definitely materialist accumulators of wealth, and modern elites have their own religious beliefs which are not so dissimilar to ancient doctrines.

The great banker of Florence, Cosimo de Medici, for instance, was the man who commissioned the translation of the esoteric Corpus Hermeticum in 1463.

About 1460, a Greek manuscript was brought to Florence from Macedonia by a monk, one of those many agents employed by Cosimo de’ Medici to collect manuscripts for him. It contained a copy of the Corpus Hermeticum, not quite a complete copy, for it included fourteen only of the fifteen treatises of the collection, the last one being missing. Though the Plato manuscripts were already assembled, awaiting translation, Cosimo ordered Ficino to put these aside and to translate the work of Hermes Trismegistus at once, before embarking on the Greek philosophers... In the year 1463 word came to Ficino from Cosimo that he must translate Hermes first, at once, and go afterwards to Plato.

Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Frances A. Yates, p. 12-13.

Throughout the modern period the religious ideology of the banking elites has been a mix of hermeticism, papal Catholicism, esoteric Talmudism, Freemasonry, deism, and mechanistic scientism. While these creeds seem to be at odds and even contradictory from an exoteric perspective they all emphasize the need to dominate the natural, material world and the necessity of maintaining a select elite of intermediaries between this world and the realm of Spirit. It does not really matter whether this elite be Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis, Freemasonic grandmasters, or specialized scientists.

The objective for all of these groups is to convince the masses that these “specialists of the sacred” alone possess spiritual truths, and that it is essential to channel all desires for the divine through them. In more recent modern times, this exclusionary con has bloated into the scientific denial of the Spirit altogether. Only the scientists are left to teach us, the uninitiated, the mysteries of the universe which, they explain, are really not that mysterious after all. Only the fully dominated realm of matter is left for us to attempt to survive in.


The very word ‘humanism’ implies a pretension to bring everything down to purely human elements and thus (at least in practice if not yet by virtue of an expressly formulated theory) to exclude everything of a supra-individual order. The next thing to do was to turn the attention of the individual towards external and sensible objects, in order as it were to enclose him, not only within the human domain, but within the much narrower limits of the corporeal world alone; that is the starting point of the whole of modern science, which was destined to work in the same direction, thus making the limitation more and more effective.
The constitution of scientific or, if preferred, of philosophico-scientific theories also had to be embarked upon gradually; (and here it is necessary to do no more than to summarize matters already dealt with) mechanism prepared the way directly for materialism, which was to mark the more or less irremediable limitation of the mental horizon to the corporeal domain, thenceforth looked upon as the only ‘reality’, and itself stripped of everything that could not be regarded as simply ‘material’; naturally, the elaboration of the very notion of ‘matter’ by the physicists had an important part to play at this point.

The Reign of Quantity, p. 233.
We are left, as usual, with only the authority of the "priests", at the present time clad in white lab coats instead of black frocks, to interpret the mysteries for us. Self-initiated exploration is ill-advised and tantamount to insanity. And, for those plucky few who insist on finding out things for themselves, the priests' strong arm, the State, is legally enabled to crush any resistance that effectively counters the monopoly of knowledge. But from where did the State arise?