Mysticism, Nature, Time

Banks, Usury, and Doublethink in the Roman Empire – Part 1

Citing a tale from the Talmud in which the rabbis tell God, “You gave us a document to interpret and a methodology for interpreting it. Now leave us to do our job,” (Harvard Law Professor Alan) Dershowitz sees a lesson for Americans.

“The Letter and the Law”, Washington Post, Feb. 7, 2008

Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.

Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 11:52

Why do the nations rage[a]
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.

Psalm 2:1-4

“The Finger of God”, Carina Nebula

My mother has long enjoyed telling tales of my childhood exploits. This is one of the few that has never embarrassed me.

On the contrary, its retelling tends only to stir again a certain mischievous joy in that inner “naughty little boy” who, at age 32, succumbed to friendly pressure to go on a “just for coffee” blind date with an evangelical Christian lassie rumoured to be highly attractive and rather zealous, and so turned up in a T-shirt boldly proclaiming SATAN MADE ME DO IT out of curiosity to observe her reaction.

You see, when I was a wee lad, my parents were, for a time, members of one of the countless derivative sects of protestant Christianity. As with many others birthed in the Anglosphere in the 18th-20th centuries, this sect had its own founding “prophet”, who laid down a library of stringent rules for all aspects of one’s life conduct. A failure to observe any of these innumerable earthly rules risked the threat of Eternal Damnation, of not being counted among The Chosen in the Book of Life, and so not destined for heaven.

One of its most important rules derived from the biblical command of ‘God’ to pay the ancient Hebrew priest caste the church hierarchy a ‘tithe’ tax not less than 10% of my father’s before tax income.

Quelle surprise.

One day, while still in kindergarten, this naughty little boy made a wonderful discovery. Right there, in the Holy Bible, was the parentally-forbidden word “piss”:

And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon (“shâthan” – make water, urinate)

Indeed, it turned out that this naughty word appeared in King James’ Version of the Holy Word of God on no less than 6 occasions. As you can imagine, I was beside myself with glee.

“Pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth!”

“Dad, may I be excused please? I need to go and pisseth.”

“I’m sorry (for not coming promptly when called) Mum. I was busting to pisseth.”

My ‘holy’ enthusiasm soon posed a growing threat not only to family discipline and decorum but also to the very fabric of order and piety in the wider church society. For naturally, I was zealously sharing the supporting proof of my licence to sin with all the other children.

At a loss to come up with a more persuasive argument against my giving voice, loudly and often, to the literal Word of God, my parents were left to fall back on a plaintive “that word is from olden times; it’s not nice to say it now” as their primary tool of discouragement until the novelty of horrifying the adults in the room wore off.

Curiously, by the time I reached high school, to casually pronounce that one needed to go and “urinate” or “defecate” provoked a similar response from authority figures, despite these also being the technically “correct” and “proper” words, as I took no small delight in pointing out.

Unlike yours truly at age 5, the rabbinic sages of ancient Rome were able to come up with far more sophistic-ated arguments for sin. Their legal debates and decisions on property and usury laws exhibit telling correspondences with the ‘modern’ banking system, and with the key words and definitions used in financial accounting.

Thanks in large part to more than a century of Western education and cinema indoctrinating multiple generations with a blind faith in a theory of nature’s, and thus, humanity’s, innate tendency to evolve (“progress”), from “simplicity,” “ignorance” and “superstition,” supposedly moving, inexorably, towards an ultimate, “advanced” state of “sophisticated” utopian apotheosis, and so encouraging us to place our hopes for the future in technology sans morality enabling Self-Deification (immortality), we tend to assume that, compared with ours, the great civilisations of past æons must have been quite “backward”. Like most things we have been led to believe, closer examination reveals that, in many respects, this is entirely false. While in other respects, it becomes increasingly apparent that the deification of “sophistication,” and the scorning of “simplicity,” is not necessarily wise.

The circa 1000-year ecclesiastic prohibition of usury in late-Roman through late-Renaissance Europe and Britannia has been widely portrayed as being the result of “medieval” Christian superstition. Rarely mentioned is the Roman Republic’s Lex Genucia reforms (342 BC) banning money-lending at interest, almost four centuries before Christianity was birthed. This is not to imply that the Romans succeeded in their attempts to regulate financial “sophistication”. History records a rather more nuanced, and enlightening picture. One must simply understand where, and how, to go digging for it.

During the Principate era (c. 27 BC to 284 AD) of the Early Roman Empire, banking was conducted mostly by private individuals and firms functioning very much like large banks today. As the Empire expanded, vast numbers of slaves and skilled artisans were both compelled and enticed to settle in Rome and near provinces, and in its key industrial and trading centres abroad:

It is very clear from all sources that debt existed and that money was loaned out. In fact, money-lending was perceived as the second most important form of ‘investment’ after land. As such, on average, if no land was available, or if it was not a good investment, the Romans would try to lend their money. This was a big business and it was conducted by all strata within the economy.

It was not only the rich who loaned their money: credit was bountiful and wide-ranging, and this was “indicated by the variety of sources for loans and the sophistication of their forms. Depending upon the client and his needs, credit could be obtained from aristocratic financiers, from the publicani [corporations], from entrepreneurs, from the state (at least in Egypt), from civic treasuries, from temple funds, from foundations, from bankers, from money-lending partnerships, from loan clubs, from pawn-brokers, from loan sharks, and from other individuals who might lend occasionally. Money-lending was sufficiently widespread for it to be a requirement to declare money out on loan in the census. In addition to advances of money, credit was to be had in shops. In the finance of overseas trade maritime credit continued to play its part alongside mutual associations (societates). Money loans or arrears are attested in rural areas in Italy and in some provinces. Rural debt in money, as well as in kind, was surely ubiquitous.” Furthermore, this readily infers that money-lending was also available to all strata of the Empire, which can also be measured by the extent of “the social advancement of some professional bankers. The bankers, who were predominantly freedmen, were able to purchase property from their earnings. Some reached the highest honours normally available to freedmen other than the richest of imperial secretaries. This was possible despite the fact that for the most purposes bankers were not used by the elite, whose requirements ran beyond the means of individual bankers, and who relied upon their social peers when in need. The betterment of professional bankers was thus in part a reflection of the use of credit by the likes of wholesale merchants, artisans, shopkeepers, and property owners below the elite.”

Temin wrote: “The surprising result is that financial institutions in the early Roman Empire were better than those of 18th century France and not too far from those of the 18th century England and Holland.” Once again, the sheer magnitude and sophistication of the Roman Empire is brought to the forefront: in essence, this underlines the fact that it took the Western world at least 1,500 years to reach similar levels of sophistication in the field of financial intermediation…[1]

The legal debates of the rabbinic sages that we will examine in what must be a multi-part essay are of particular interest when seen in light of their historical context: the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (c. 70 AD), the extensive depopulation of Judea (c. 136 AD), the Crises of the Third Century (235–284 AD), the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity (eventually becoming the state religion in 380 AD), and changes in what might, or, might not, depending on one’s motives, be honestly interpreted as “the laws of the gentiles,” at specific times and places, with regard to the practice of usury.

The Bava Metzia (“Middle Gate”) is a Babylonian Talmud tractate dealing with Nezikin (The Order of Damages). The Jewish Encyclopedia explains:

It treats of man’s responsibility with regard to the property of his fellow-man that has come lawfully into his possession for the present, and of which he is considered as trustee. The tractate is based on Ex. xxii. 6-14 (A. V. 7-15). In this passage four kinds of trustees are distinguished: (a) One who keeps the thing entrusted to him without remuneration (verses 6-8); (b) one who is paid for keeping the trust (verses 9-12); (c) one who keeps a thing entrusted to him for a certain time for his own use without paying for its use (verses 13, 14a); and (d) a trustee who keeps a thing for his own use and pays for using it (14b).

Before we penetrate the “Middle Gate”, it is a most enlightening exercise in mental gymnastics, viz. creative assumptions (b) and tortured definitions (“fellow-man”), merely to attempt a logical comparison of the above definitions with the plain meaning, implication, and spirit of the words actually written in the Torah (Old Testament Pentateuch) at Exodus 22:6-14 (cf. 7-15 CJB transl.).

Try. I’ll wait….

For readers who may be unfamiliar, a little historical background is necessary before we move on, so that we may better understand the context, and chronology.

Ever since the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem in the Great Revolt – the First Jewish-Roman War (66–73 AD) – it has not been possible to perform the primitive agricultural society cult ritual of animal (blood) sacrifices for “cleansing” of sins. A truly epochal tragedy, for which wailing, gnashing of teeth, liturgical prayers, “Next year in Jerusalem” mantras, and for some, plotting and scheming, have continued for two thousand years. A world of “progress” toward hell ever since. And we, the goyim (Gentiles) – especially the “Romans” – are entirely to blame. For everything. All the evils of the world, are our fault alone.

Do not take my word for it though. Witness the central text of Jewish theosophy (mysticism) – on which we will have much more to elaborate at a later date – and, the holy founder of one of the largest, most influential Lurianic-Cabalist sects in the world; those nice, humble and harmless, mono-suited Men-in-Black hats often seen standing in large groups around the desks of presidents:

SAID Rabbi Abba: “‘Nephesh hahaya’ (living soul) truly denote the souls of Israel. They are the children of the Holy One and holy in his sight, but the souls of the heathen and idolatrous nations whence come they?” Said Rabbi Eleazar: “They emanate from the left side of the sephirotic tree of life, which is the side of impurity, and therefore they defile all that come into contact with them.[2]

Zohar (זֹהַר ‬, lit. “Splendor” or “Radiance”), 13th century A.D.

Gentile souls are of a completely different and inferior order. They are totally evil, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever… Their material abundance derives from supernal refuse. Indeed, they themselves derive from refuse, which is why they are more numerous than the Jews… [3]

Rabbi Schneur Zalman (1745–1812), Chabad-Lubavitch

Why such seething hatred in the hearts of the rabbis?

Why such a hate-filled, Other- and Self-destructive, extremist, supremacist, racist, fundamentalist ideology, embedded in a “sexualised, divine” ‘magic’ theosophy?

You see, no longer could a Jew commit a sin against God, or against a fellow Jew – like, say, getting your period, or having a wet dream – go wait in a queue to buy an unblemished cow or sheep or pair of pigeons or turtle-doves from the temple thieves (after first getting raped at the currency exchange by the temple banksters), hand the poor doomed creature/s over to the pious, habitually de-sensitised, blood-thirsty rabbis dressed in tunics, pants, ephods (aprons), turbans and robes made from pure gold-threaded 6-ply “twisted” linens dyed with hillazon (“rare” and “expensive”) tekhelet (blue), scarlet, and Tyrian “Royal” Purple – even more rarified, a colour subject to Roman sumptuariæ lex restrictions since the Lex Oppia in 215 BC[4], whose dye the insanely profligate Nero (37-68 AD), said to have never worn his garments twice and to have fished with a gold net drawn by cords woven of purple and scarlet threads[5], confiscated Empire-wide[6] – a double-dipped (“dibapha”) linen which the contemporary Roman historian Pliny wrote (77-79 AD) “could not be bought for even one thousand denarii per pound[7],” more than its weight in gold, and “considered of the best quality when it has exactly the colour of clotted blood, and is of a blackish hue to the sight, but of a shining appearance when held up to the light; hence it is that we find Homer speaking of ‘purple blood'”[8]; a “blood” harvested from ‘unclean’, predatory sea-snails, resulting in Royal linen stinking to high heaven and needing to be aired out for weeks before use, driving a vast luxury perfume industry[9] to conceal the overwhelmingly fishy stench, and prompting Pliny to wonder how something smelling so bad (virus grave in fuco) could be so highly valued[10]; which “intrinsically holy” garments were not allowed to be washed, and so, on becoming “soiled” in the course of massive ritual blood-letting were shredded and used as candle wicks (hey, at least the Jewish priests maximised the utility of their bloody rags, right?), said priests waiting to slit your creature’s throat, butcher and holocaust it for you on their altar; then toddle off home, mindful not to step in the literal rivers of blood flowing from the Temple slaughtering area via “blood channels” designed by the Great Architect of the Universe, washed away by “sweet”[11] water from the Gihon Spring (מעיין הגיחון‎, Fountain of the Virgin) of Siloam (“Shiloh”, built on Zoheleth [זֹחֶלֶת “crawling thing”; Arabic زحل Zuhal: Saturn] the “Serpent Stone”, where king David’s son Adonijah held a great feast in an attempt to usurp the throne from his brother Solomon; from whence the occultist sex ‘magic’ Sleep of Siloam), with a clear conscience that ‘God’ had now forgiven you for blood flowing from your fertile , or for waking up in a wet spot.

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We will come back to all that, gentle reader. On other days. God willing. It will take us quite some time to work through it all. Today is mere introduction.

The Talmud is a voluminous collection of writings with two main components: the Mishnah (c. 200 AD), a written compilation of the Oral Torah, that is, the “Oral Traditions” (lore) of the rabbinic sages up to c. 200 AD; and the Gemara (c. 500 AD), a compilation of rabbinical analysis (i.e., dialectical debate) and commentary on the Mishnah. The Gemara has two versions – the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds – each compiled in their respective geographic centres of rabbinic study. Of these, the Babylonian Talmud is considerably the larger, comprising some 1.8 million words.[12] The three centuries in between the Mishnah and Gemara, coinciding with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, are known as the age of Amora’im (“those who say”, “those who speak over the people”).

Babylonian Talmud, Venice, 1520-1543 (Printed by Daniel Bomberg; private collection)

During these three centuries the great rabbis, principally centred in Babylonia (in modern Iraq) and connected via trading routes with the Jewish communities throughout the Roman diaspora, permanently transferred the benchmark of Jewish religious and legal culture away from the Torah (Pentateuch of Old Testament), to a new one establishing the authority of the rabbinate.

Supreme Authority, that is.

Even over God Himself.

In the great Talmudic tale referred to by Alan Dershowitz of a fantastical and puerile legal debate between ‘sages’ over the religious purity status of an earthenware oven divided into segments with sand – the crux of which argument hinged on whether it is classified as a “complete” oven (cf. cooking the books: “For every credit there must be a debit, and for every debit there must be a credit.” – Voila! A “complete” ‘oven’) – the chief protagonist is claimed to have invoked a series of miracles, as proof that God was witnessing that his position was correct. All to no avail. Even when God Himself spoke from Heaven in support, the other rabbis still conjured up excuses to defy the argument presented. In the conclusion we learn from a new tale – a conversation between a rabbi and the divine fiery chariot-driving immortal Jewish prophet who just happens to possess the same magic powers as the alchemists’ god Hermes, to cross back and forth over divine boundaries at will – that even God has accepted that He cannot defeat the ‘sages’ in a legal argument.

Why?

Apparently the All-Wise, All-Knowing Creator of the Universe cannot defeat the logical fallacy argumentum ad populum (“if many believe so, it is so”; the “appeal to the majority”):

Rabbi Eliezer then said to them: If the halakha [religious law] is in accordance with my opinion, Heaven will prove it. A Divine Voice emerged from Heaven and said: Why are you differing with Rabbi Eliezer, as the halakha is in accordance with his opinion in every place that he expresses an opinion?

Rabbi Yehoshua stood on his feet and said: It is written: “It is not in heaven” (Deuteronomy 30:12). The Gemara asks: What is the relevance of the phrase “It is not in heaven” in this context? Rabbi Yirmeya says: Since the Torah was already given at Mount Sinai, we do not regard a Divine Voice, as You already wrote at Mount Sinai, in the Torah: “After a majority to incline” (Exodus 23:2). Since the majority of Rabbis disagreed with Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, the halakha is not ruled in accordance with his opinion. The Gemara relates: Years after, Rabbi Natan encountered Elijah the prophet and said to him: What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do at that time, when Rabbi Yehoshua issued his declaration? Elijah said to him: The Holy One, Blessed be He, smiled and said: My children have triumphed over Me; My children have triumphed over Me.[13]

Rabbi Yirmeya’s circumcised ‘quote’ from Exodus 23:2, used as a rational-isation for the ‘triumph’ of a logical fallacy, and a rabbinic fairy tale of their victory over God – a defeat by His sons – is not what the verse actually says. It is an arrogant, circular, self-justifying inference, drawn from a category error. For the insightful, a very revealing one. As we will discover, it has had profound consequences for all of humanity, and Mother nature, ever since:

Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong; and don’t allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect will be to pervert justice.

(Complete Jewish Bible)

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a riv (cause, lawsuit) to turn aside after many to pervert justice; …

(Orthodox Jewish Bible)

Now at first glance, you may think that Rabbi Yirmeya’s inference is quite reasonable: that the exact opposite side of the coin “Do not follow the crowd to do evil” is “Do follow the crowd to do good”; that this is really the same thing. You may then be tempted to think that the only logical error – and in context of the circumstances, one we might reasonably ignore – is the “appeal to the majority” made by … the Rabbi Yehoshua-supporting majority!

After all, that’s democratic. A con-sensus of opinion. And a democratic majority view must always be right … right?

Wrong.

Good and Evil are not relative concepts. They are not subject to opinion. They are not subject to “majority rules”.

Good and Evil are objective realities. Two distinct, opposite categories.

To choose, or to act, are also objective realities. To “do” and “not do” – i.e., to hold back from doing – are two distinct, opposite categories.

In the case of objective Good, a good person will view “Do Good” as the highest choice, and “Do not do Good” (i.e., do nothing; hold back, refrain from doing Good) as the lowest choice:

An evil person will view the same category (objective Good) in the exact opposite way: to “Do Good” is the lowest choice, and “Do not do Good” (i.e., do nothing; hold back, refrain from doing Good) is the highest choice:

The complete spectrum for doing or not doing objective Good thus looks like this:

When it comes to the separate, distinct category of objective Evil, a good person will view “Do not do Evil” (hold back, refrain) as the highest choice, and “Do Evil” as the lowest choice:

An evil person will view the same category (objective Evil) in the opposite way: to “Do Evil” is the highest choice, and “Do not do Evil” is the lowest choice”:

The complete spectrum for doing or not doing objective Evil thus looks like this:

If we mix together the two opposite choices (“Do” or “Do not do”) with respect to the two opposite, objective categories (Good or Evil), the complete spectrum looks like this:

Doing the right thing – objective Good – requires daily sacrifice. Of our Ego, mostly.

And doing that can be “bloody” painful at times, right?

So you see, the ‘triumphant’ rabbinic majority’s argument, that God Himself supposedly could not defeat, really amounts to an error of perspective. On Self. Blindness to the true state of one’s own Being.

The result is a mixing together of opposites – the objective realities of Good and Evil, and, of “Do” and “Do not do”.

  1. We are right. (arrogance, Ego-blinded presumption)
  2. “Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong” implies the same thing as “Do follow the crowd when it does what is right.” (category error; obfuscating reality of objective opposites)
  3. We are the crowd. (i.e., majority)
  4. Ergo, we are right. (“appeal to the majority”; our Selves!)

God is dead. Might is right.

Though unafraid of straying from his ostensible topic, Dershowitz never wanders far from his favorite subject: himself.

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Rabbi Abba ben Joseph bar Ḥama (c. 280 – 352 AD), exclusively referred to in the Talmud as Rava (רבא‬), is a fourth-generation amora who lived in Maḥoza, a suburb with large Jewish and Christian communities on the west bank of the River Tigris, just across the river from Ctesiphon in Babylonia, the capital and “intellectual and religious center of the Persian Empire”:

The Sassanian Empire [224 – 651 AD] was a meeting point of religions and cultures. Although the official religion of the ruling dynasty was Zoroastrianism, Judaeo-Christian sects and Semitic pagan cults jostled with each other in splendid confusion in Mesopotamia. To these was added a strong Jewish presence in Babylonia and Adiabene… [S]yncretism was the order of the day, with Judaeo-Christian sects like the Elchasaites (among whom the prophet of Manichaeism, Mani, was raised), Christian sects such as the Marcionites, and certainly the Manichaeans and Mandaeans, all competing for converts. In some parts of the Empire, especially in the east, Buddhism was a factor.[14]

These sects did not exist in peaceful isolation. Some were at various times persecuted severely, especially the more orthodox Christian sects that were looked upon as natural allies of the Roman enemy. In 339, the catholicos, Simeon bar Sabbae, was martyred under Shapur II. A century earlier, the self-styled prophet, Māni, wore out his welcome at the court of Shapur I, and died in prison martyred by Vahram I (273-276). Mani’s influence continued to grow, however, including among the acculturated Jewish community of Maḥoza.

Maḥozans were wealthy, cosmopolitan, canny, and skeptical of rabbinic authority. Even members of the household of rabbinic authorities were not greatly informed about the intricacies of everyday halakhah [religious law]. Maḥozans had the reputation of being perspicacious and delicate, the women were pampered and idle, the men pursued still more wealth and the good life.

We can say this: the Babylonian Talmud was not produced in a ghetto, nor was it initially studied and transmitted in one. Its major figures, experts in Jewish traditions, were also very aware of broader currents in the general culture.[15]

Rava is one of the most often-cited rabbis, “the commanding local presence in the Babylonian Talmud, who is mentioned some 3800 times in the text.” His methodology for dialectical debate is said to have greatly influenced the stammaim (“redactors”), whose work “constitutes just over half of the total text of the Babylonian Talmud and which frames the discussion of the rest.”[16]

Out of hundreds of recorded disputes between Rava and his study partner Abaye (“Little Father”), “the law is decided according to the opinion of Abba ben Joseph in all but six cases.”[17] His yeshiva became one of the intellectual centres for the Babylonian Jewish community.[18]

Rava’s creativity was fueled by his cosmopolitan urban environment. For instance, he ruled that one who habitually ate certain non-kosher foods because he liked the taste was nevertheless trustworthy as a witness in cases involving civil matters. So too did he suggest that a lost object belongs to the person who discovers it even before the loser is aware of his loss, because it prevented the loser from resorting to urban courts to try to get his property back and eliminated the period of uncertainty of possession. It also led to the legal concept that “future [psychological] abandonment [of possession] when unaware [of the loss] is [nevertheless retrospectively accounted] as abandonment.”[19]

A truly ‘creative’ Lord of Time.

Remarkably, this great ‘sage’ informs us that the very same All-Wise, All-Knowing God, who supposedly could not distinguish between the rabbis fallacious mixing together of Good and Evil and “Do” and “Do not do” in the great debate over the purity of a “complete” oven, apparently can tell the difference between the drops of semen that distinguish a firstborn child from later children in the households of the ‘evil’ goyim (Gentiles):

Rava explains: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: I am He Who distinguished in Egypt between the drop of seed that became a firstborn and the drop of seed that did not become a firstborn, and I killed only the firstborn. I am also He Who is destined to exact punishment from one who attributes ownership of his money to a gentile and thereby lends it to a Jew with interest. Even if he is successful in deceiving the court, God knows the truth. And I am also He Who is destined to exact punishment from one who buries his weights in salt, as this changes their weight in a manner not visible to the eye. And I am also He Who is destined to exact punishment from one who hangs ritual fringes dyed with indigo [kala ilan] dye on his garment and says it is dyed with the sky-blue dye required in ritual fringes. The allusion to God’s ability to distinguish between two apparently like entities is why the exodus is mentioned in all of these contexts.[20]

Mixing together the money of the Evil with the money of the Good, in order to lend at usury to the Good, is Evil.

Cheating the Good, by invisibly altering your weights used for counting money and goods by weight, is Evil.

Using inexpensive vegetable dye to perfectly imitate a colour that “YHVH”, via the exclusively-privileged intermediation of Good elite rabbis, has declared to be compulsory for the common Good to wear on their compulsory fringes, and that must only be coloured using a rare, phenomenally expensive, Imperial Roman elite-restricted, magical light-transformed dye (6,6′-dibromoindigo), produced using secret gnōsis (“knowledge”), from the Good “old wine”, “clotted blood”-like secretions of Evil (“unclean”), non-kosher, human female genitalia-analogous, bottom-dwelling, predatory and cannibalistic sea creatures, by an independent city-state global maritime empire of Evil pagans… is Evil.

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What is the letter Vav?
He said: There is an upper Heh [5] and a lower Heh [5].*

They said to him: But what is Vav [6]?
He said: The world was sealed with six directions.
They said: Is not Vav a single letter?
He replied: It is written (Psalm 104:2),
“He wraps Himself in light as a garment,
(he spreads out the heavens like a curtain).”

Sefer ha-Bahir (“Book of Illumination”), c. 1176 AD[21]

* Vav ו (“hook,” “peg,” or “spear,” that “binds” heaven and earth;
the phallus; value: 6).
Heh ה (the Soul; five fingers of magic hamsa hand; “Hashem,”
a Name for God; female “cup” / ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ “waters”;
thought, speech & action; value: 5)

 

Good rabbinic authorities engaging this maritime empire city-state for 192 years as their “independent” central bank, issuing High-Powered Money (HPM) for the Second Temple blood ritual cult – a silver shekel expressly re-designed to bear the image of an Evil pagan god of sea*-dominating commerce and a dedication to his “holy city” of safe space (“refuge”) – to ensure that the “full value”[22] of the Temple cult’s accumulated assets (e.g., “Gold sheets to cover the Holy of Holies”), and annual wealth-extraction, both kept pace with inflation; using this HPM mechanism to rape the common Good with punitive, unjust exchange rates on “ransom for your life so “YHVH” doesn’t smite you with a plague” annual Temple taxes, payable only in Evil-‘transformed’-into-Good pagan silver shekels; enabled by a well-‘oiled’ system of insidious national propaganda based on the “scapegoat”[23] festivals of Evil Babylon (Sakaia) and Evil Rome (Saturnalia); unsubtly threatening the common Good population with involuntary seizure (“mortgage”) of assets if they do not pay up, every year, on the very morning after inciting them to drink until they “cannot tell the difference between” Good and Evil, while conjuring up legal exemptions for the Good priest class, all ‘divinely’ ‘justified’ by casuistries and pious sophistry… is Good.

(* “sea” – ancient esoteric pun, associating ‘waters’ of mother earth with Evil; primordial chaos, the female)

Bribing the disciple of an Evil Galilean activist who challenged the laws created by the Good elite rabbis to circumvent the Written Law commanding 7th-year debt cancellations – offering him a bounty of thirty (30) ‘holy’ safe space pagan city-state-issued silver shekels to betray his Evil master – and having him tried and crucified as a criminal for challenging the perpetual debt servitude-enabling Oral Laws (“traditions) of the Good elite rabbis… is Good.

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But wait!

Apparently this very same All-Wise, All-Knowing God, the one Who is “destined to exact punishment from” the Good (or is that Evil?) for cheating the Good – because even if the Good (Evil?) cheat can deceive a rabbinic court, he cannot deceive God, because the Good God knows the truth, and can even tell the difference between the drops of semen that distinguish a firstborn child from later children in the households of the ‘Evil’ goyim (Gentiles) – well, at exactly the same time, on His exact opposite hand, apparently this very same All-Wise, All-Knowing God can not tell the difference between the drops of semen that distinguish a firstborn child from later children in the households of the Chosen Ones, the ‘Good’ Israelites.

How so?

Because, as we are told in the Torah, the Israelites had to slaughter an innocent lamb .. or, a baby goat .. and paint their doorposts with the lamb’s or kid’s blood, so that their All-Wise, All-Knowing ‘God’ could see which households to smite (Egyptian) and which households to Pass over (Israelite):

Your animal must be without defect, a male in its first year, and you may choose it from either the sheep or the goats.

For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals; and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; I am Adonai. The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you

Exodus 12:5, 12-13, Complete Jewish Bible

The Torah also informs us that from the largely, if not entirely imaginary (as we will discover) moment in time out in the Egyptian desert, when ‘Moses’ (allegedly) received The Law from God, twice, ‘God’ demanded a twice-daily, sunrise-sunset, dawn-and-dusk (Inanna-Ishtar-Virgin/Whore-Love/War-Lucifer-Venus morning-and-evening ‘star’), slaughter and holocaust of innocent lambs – but not goats – “forever” (תָּמִיד tâmîyd : “standing”, perpetual, from root “to stretch”). A primitive cult ritual practice ruined by the ‘evil’ Romans when, in response to a Jewish armed revolt against paying Roman taxes, the Roman army destroyed their Temple at Jerusalem, some 40 years after one Jesus of Nazareth tried to inspire a People’s revolt against the binding, usurious debt obligations legally-enabled by, and the payment of “ransom” taxes to, the rabbis’ Jerusalem-based Temple cult.

If you are gullible enough to believe the reams of ‘dialectical’ anal-ysis and “commentary” written by 3rd-5th century A.D. now-in-forced-exile from Eretz Yisra’el – again – wealthy cosmopolitan Maḥoza-resident Babylonian rabbis, retrospectively professing that their now-defunct Second Temple priest caste ancestors were not personally benefitting from what we will discover was an outrageous, mobster-esque, blood-thirsty extortion racket imposed on their own people, one marked by disturbing similarities to our present-day systems of governance, jurisprudence and finance, then do I have a Santa Claus / Father Frost story and a mountain of minutely-detailed (pun intended) evidence for you.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 25:31-46)

A few words on this inspirational message, with regard to virtue-signalling hypocrites; also, those wearing bleeding hearts on sleeves, and/or, any of the well-meaning yet dangerously gullible who may be reading. Do not fall into the pilpul-wielders’ trap, cherry-picking Jesus’ message out of context, and using it as ‘divine’ licence, or endorsement, for acts of abject stupidity. Such as, visiting an island of known murderous savages, in spite of all warnings, and its being illegal to visit this island, to preach “the good news”; and going back again, the day after they greeted your first “loving” attempt to intrude on their community, with a hail of arrows. Or, welcoming hundreds of thousands of military-age men from cultures having entirely different values with respect to (eg) “expressing” physical violence against the physical person of others, just because your government, media, ‘celebrities,’ similarly-brainwashed religious leaders, and “the majority” of TV-entranced, logos-bereft, brain-on-autopilot gibbering fools all around you are preaching that “It’s the right thing” to do. They are wrong. Worse, many of them are not merely wrong. They are brazenly, malevolently lying. Jesus was teaching his followers – mostly common Jews; hungry, poor, sick, homeless, oppressed, financially raped and pillaged by their own legal authorities, the rabbis – to love and support each other. On the basis of correct context, and, in consideration of other statements attributed to him – such as, an initial refusal to have anything to do with a .. wait for it .. Syro-Phœnician woman, in the region of Tyre(!), asking for his help with her demonically-possessed child (this is seriously significant stuff, gentle reader; you have no idea, but will, in future essays) – my personal opinion is that Jesus would not have told his followers, especially the females and effeminates, to rock on down to the train station or the docks at Haifa to welcome with open arms, legs, and flowers, an Open Society-financed, rabbinically-endorsed invasion of doubtless lovely and genuinely desperate refugees from rabbinically-endorsed regime change wars abroad, blended with (say) Mongols, Hutu or Tutsi, or Bolshevist, Khmer Rouge, or ISIS-inspired, New York and London bank-financed, ne’er-do-well psychopaths from far-flung parts of the known world.

In other words, do not be like the rabbis. Do not slice-and-dice out of context, and twist a small piece of “the good news” to make it serve as ‘divine’ licence for elite interests, under the “I am such a good person, see? Look! Look at me!” blind guise of “love your neighbour kin-folk”.

A wholehearted, religious acceptance of both sides in logical “paradoxes”, irreconcilable contradictions, exact opposites, as being equal, and equally true, poses no intellectual, spiritual, or moral difficulty for Jewish law, philosophy, theosophy, and culture. Beginning in Genesis – even earlier than the Exodus tale, the foundation for halakha – this ‘Orwellian’ doublethink is embedded as the heart, mind, and soul of Judaism:

The Talmud strictly forbids a Jew, on pain of severe punishment, to take interest on a loan made to another Jew. (According to a majority of talmudic authorities, it is a religious duty to take as much interest as possible on a loan made to a Gentile.) Very detailed rules forbid even the most far-fetched forms in which a Jewish lender might benefit from a Jewish debtor.[24]

The vain cultivated the color purple.
He had precious notions about life, but was
often more cultured than humane.[25]

 

Since the time of the late Roman Empire, Jewish communities had considerable legal powers over their members. Not only powers which arise through voluntary mobilization of social pressure (for example refusal to have any dealing whatsoever with an excommunicated Jew or even to bury his body), but a power of naked coercion: to flog, to imprison, to expel—all this could be inflicted quite legally on an individual Jew by the rabbinical courts for all kinds of offenses. In many countries—Spain and Poland are notable examples—even capital punishment could be and was inflicted, sometimes using particularly cruel methods such as flogging to death.[26]

There is a significant volume of scholarly work, most notably that of Israeli academics, evidencing the same trend towards rabbinic theocracy recurring in the purportedly secular-democratic modern Israeli state since the 1982 Lebanon War, especially in terms of growing influence on both military and “settler” ‘ethics’.

David Shasha, director of the Center for Sephardic Heritage warns:

For those who have any concern with the Middle East conflict or with Judaism, what you know — or do not know — about pilpul is something upon which your well-being could depend. Ignorance of pilpul is a very dangerous thing, something that would allow your interlocutor to have the upper hand in ways that you could not begin to even imagine.

Pilpul is the Talmudic term used to describe a rhetorical process that the Sages used to formulate their legal decisions. The word is used as a verb: one engages in the process of pilpul in order to formulate a legal point. It marks the process of understanding legal ideas, texts, and interpretations. It is a catch-all term that in English is translated as “Casuistry.”

What this means for contemporary Jewish discourse is critical: Even though many contemporary Jews are not [religious] observant, pilpul continues to be deployed. Pilpul occurs any time the speaker is committed to “prove” his point regardless of the evidence in front of him. The casuistic aspect of this hair-splitting leads to a labyrinthine form of argument where the speaker blows enough rhetorical smoke to make his interlocutor submit.

In this context, the Law is not primary; it is the status of the jurist. Justice is extra-legal, thus denying social equality under the rubric of a horizontal system. Law is in the hands of the privileged rather than the mass.

What is thought to be the Jewish “genius” is often a mark of how pilpul is deployed. The rhetorical tricks of pilpul make true rational discussion impossible; any “discussion” is about trying to “prove” a point that has already been established. There is little use trying to argue in this context, because any points being made will be twisted and turned to validate the already-fixed position.

Pilpul is the rhetorical means to mark as “true” that which cannot ever be disputed by rational means.[27]

Remember Rabbi Eliezer, on whose behalf even God Himself, performing miracles and speaking from Heaven, was unable to defeat the doublethink and logical fallacy endorsed by the majority?

The Sages said: On that day, the Sages brought all the ritually pure items deemed pure by the ruling of Rabbi Eliezer with regard to the oven and burned them in fire, and the Sages reached a consensus in his regard and ostracized him.

And the Sages said: Who will go and inform him of his ostracism? Rabbi Akiva, his beloved disciple, said to them: I will go, lest an unseemly person go and inform him in a callous and offensive manner, and he would thereby destroy the entire world.

Withering gaze.

What did Rabbi Akiva do? He wore black and wrapped himself in black, as an expression of mourning and pain, and sat before Rabbi Eliezer at a distance of four cubits, which is the distance that one must maintain from an ostracized individual. Rabbi Eliezer said to him: Akiva, what is different about today from other days, that you comport yourself in this manner? Rabbi Akiva said to him: My teacher, it appears to me that your colleagues are distancing themselves from you. He employed euphemism, as actually they distanced Rabbi Eliezer from them.

Some would say he lied. The exact opposite of the truth. The student learned his lessons well.

Rabbi Eliezer too, rent his garments and removed his shoes, as is the custom of an ostracized person, and he dropped from his seat and sat upon the ground.

The Gemara relates: His eyes shed tears, and as a result the entire world was afflicted: One-third of its olives were afflicted, and one-third of its wheat, and one-third of its barley. And some say that even dough kneaded in a woman’s hands spoiled. The Sages taught: There was great anger on that day, as any place that Rabbi Eliezer fixed his gaze was burned.[28]

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Such is the infantile drivel that one must endure in order to examine the ‘wisdom’ of the world’s ‘holiest’ ‘sages’. 1.8 million words of it. What a legacy.

After several millennia of (supposedly) exclusive basking in the glory of ‘God’s’ Omniscient Light, there is no excuse for it:

{A}t least in one philosophical text, written sometime in the mid-thirteenth century, the anonymous Ruaḥ Ḥen, it is written: “And it is known that imagination will sometime err and Yeẓayyer [will draw] things that do not exist at all.” It is difficult to miss the negative connotation related to an act of imagination, which is prone to invent nonexistent things {..} A negative attitude towards imagination is found also in R. Abraham Abulafia’s writings, one that is equal to the imperative to “kill” it.

However, in the Kabbalistic texts we deal with here, the negative overtones have been removed and the instructions to visualize make no mention of the negative results that may be generated by imagination. This positive turn toward imagination is noteworthy for the history of Jewish mysticism.[29]

Imagine my surprise.

We will take a much closer look at Cabalist “mysteries” in future. And we will return, in detail, to the subject of rabbinic teachings on bank ‘deposits’, holding in trust, ‘clever’ redefinitions of usury, and relations with the Evil Other in the ancient Roman empire.

Since the time of Rome’s rise and fall, ‘imaginative’ doublethink has been embedded as the heart and soul of ‘modern’ accounting, banking, capitalism, communism, and most (if not all?) post-Renaissance economics theories.

97% of ‘money’ today ‘exists’ in the form of double-entry bookkeeping records. +1|-1, credebt entry null-ities. Used to legally counterfeit real, (formerly) sovereign, legal tender money (physical cash). This ‘money’ does not exist. It is an imaginary money, for an imaginary slavery.

Banks, debt, and money are modelled by economists as though they do not exist – which is actually true, from the higher perspective, for credebt – but the effects of their non-existence certainly do exist.

Although they are modelled as “effectively” non-existent, non-existent banks are simultaneously modelled as though they are a source of “frictions” in the economy – the exact opposite of the truth, as they are in objective reality the exclusive legal source of lubricant.

The economy – that is, the ‘forces’ of Supply and Demand, coming together to ‘negotiate’ an Exchange – are assumed to always be tending toward a state of Equilibrium; an ‘equilibrium’ supposed to be associated with Omniscient, Hedonistic, Luciferian consumers’ individual acts of perfectly-efficient ‘price discovery’. This might be the truth, if not for (inter alia) the objective reality that the operations of banks and central banks are designed to manipulate Supply and Demand volumes, and signals (‘data’), in order to deliberately create states of Dis-Equilibrium (asymmetry). Why? Because Dis-equilibrium, arising from manufactured ‘realities’ (perceptions) – such as, legally-privileged artificial shortages of credebt Supply for some, but abundance for others – is the basis for extracting (deceitful, unjust) profits. And so, in objective reality, this fundamental ‘modern’ economics axiom too, is the exact opposite of the truth.

The final word – for now – we leave to George Orwell, from his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four:

All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because they ossified or because they grew soft. Either they became stupid and arrogant, failed to adjust themselves to changing circumstances, and were overthrown, or they became liberal and cowardly, made concessions when they should have used force, and once again were overthrown. They fell, that is to say, either through consciousness or through unconsciousness. It is the achievement of the Party to have produced a system of thought in which both conditions can exist simultaneously. And upon no other intellectual basis could the dominion of the Party be made permanent. If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one’s own infallibility with the power to learn from past mistakes.

Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary.

The official ideology abounds with contradictions even where there is no practical reason for them. [..] These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be forever averted—if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently—then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest of arguments if they are inimicable to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

It need hardly be said that the subtlest practitioners of doublethink are those who invented doublethink and know that it is a vast system of mental cheating.[30]

Let us be prepared then to excuse this frantic passion for purple, even though at the same time we are compelled to enquire, why it is that such a high value has been set upon the produce of this shell-fish, seeing that while in the dye the smell of it is offensive, and the colour itself is harsh, of a greenish hue, and strongly resembling that of the sea when in a tempestuous state?

Pliny the Elder

 

POSTSCRIPT: Before beginning this essay, I happened to mention my childhood “pisseth against the wall” mischief-making to my mother, who in turn mentioned it to my kindergarten teacher; her now-retired husband gives my aged mother physiotherapy. Her response? “He always was one for looking into things. I remember he used to read encyclopaedias.”

 

******************

REFERENCES

[1] Zgur, Andrej (2007) “The Economy of the Roman Empire in the first Two Centuries AD: An examination of market capitalism in the Roman economy”, pp. 34-35; cit. Temin, Peter (2002) “Financial Intermediation in the Early Roman Empire”, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics Working Paper Series, Working paper 02-39 (Oct, 2002) (pdf)

[2] Zohar, Vol I, Bereshith 47a (retrieved from sacredtexts.com 7 January 2018)

[3] Foxbrunner, Dr Roman A. (1993), Habad: The Hasidism of Schneur Zalman of Lyady, New Jersey, Jason Aronson Inc, pp. 108-109

[4] Lex Oppia, The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (2016) – “The Lex Oppia, passed in 215 bce and repealed in 195 bce, prohibited women from using more than half an ounce of gold, purple-dyed clothing, or carriages except during public religious festivals. The law has become a focal point in discussions of Roman luxury and women’s rights.”

[5] Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Book VI: Nero; Book Six: XXX His Extravagance, A.S. Kline translation (2010). (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[6] ibid., Book Six: XXXII His Methods of Raising Money, (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[7] Bostock, John & Riley, H.T. (1855), Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book IX Chapter 63. (.39) (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[8] ibid., Book IX Chapter 62. (.38) (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[9] Ruscillo, Deborah (2005), Reconstructing Murex Royal Purple and Biblical Blue in the Aegean, Archaeomalacology – Molluscs in former environments of human behaviour (Oxbow Books), p.105

[10] Bostock, John & Riley, H.T. (1855), Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book IX Chapter 60. (online, retrieved 7 January 2018) –

It is for this colour that the fasces and the axes5 of Rome make way in the crowd; it is this that asserts the majesty of childhood;6 it is this that distinguishes the senator7 from the man of equestrian rank; by persons arrayed in this colour are prayers8 ad- dressed to propitiate the gods; on every garment9 it sheds a lustre, and in the triumphal vestment10 it is to be seen mingled with gold. Let us be prepared then to excuse this frantic passion for purple, even though at the same time we are compelled to enquire, why it is that such a high value has been set upon the produce of this shell-fish, seeing that while in the dye the smell of it is offensive, and the colour itself is harsh, of a greenish hue, and strongly resembling that of the sea when in a tempestuous state?

[11] Siloam, Wikipedia (online, retrieved 7 January 2018) cit. Smith, Stelman. The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names. Bridge Logos, 2009; cit. Josephus.

[12] Elman, Yaakov, The Babylonian Talmud in Its Historical Context, p. 19, in Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein, Yeshiva University Museum (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[13] Bava Metzia 59b:5, The William Davidson Talmud (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[14] Elman, Yaakov, The Babylonian Talmud in Its Historical Context, p.25, fn.26 (cit. Samuel N. C. Lieu, Manichaeism in Mesopotamia and the Roman East (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 25.); in Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein, Yeshiva University Museum (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[15] ibid., pp.24-27

[16] ibid., pp.19, 26

[17] Rav (amora), Wikipedia (cit. fn 1, online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[18] Elman, Yaakov, The Babylonian Talmud in Its Historical Context, p.27, in Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein, Yeshiva University Museum (online, retrieved 7 January 2018).

[19] ibid.

[20] Bava Metzia 61b, The William Davidson Talmud (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[21] Kaplan, Aryeh; Sepher Ha-Bahir or “The Book of Illumination”, 29-30

[22] Hendin, David (2015), Surcharge of the Money Changers, American Numismatic Society, p.2 cit. Rabbi Benjamin Yablok

[23] Rubenstein, Jeffery (1992), Purim, Liminality, and Communitas, Association For Jewish Studies Review, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Autumn 1992), pp. 247-277 –

“Frazier [The Golden Bough, 1935] noted the similarities between Purim and the Babylonian Sakaia and Zakmuk festivals. In the larger context, all these festivals are types of ‘scapegoat rituals’ often found in primitive agricultural societies. To ensure a successful harvest, these societies appointed a temporary king to impersonate the god of fertility and subsequently put him to death in the hope that he would rise again with renewed virility and power [a la the Phœnix myth, and alchemical allegory – CM].” (p.248 fn. 8).

[24] Shahak, Israel, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (1994, Pluto Press), Chapter 3 Orthodoxy and Interpretations (The Dispensations), p.39

[25] Faber Birren, Color, A Survey in Words and Pictures (New York, University Books, Inc.)

[26] Shahak, Israel, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (1994, Pluto Press), Chapter 2 Prejudice and Prevarication, p.15

[27] Shasha, David, What Is Pilpul, And Why On Earth Should I Care About It?, Huffington Post (22 May 2010), online (retrieved 7 January 2018)

[28] Bava Metzia 59b:7-8The William Davidson Talmud (online, retrieved 7 January 2018)

[29] Idel, Moshe (2015), Visualization of Colors, I: David ben Yehudah he-Hasid’s Kabbalistic Diagram, Ars Judaica 2015, p.42

[30] Orwell, George (1949), Nineteen Eighty-Four, Centennial Edition (2003), First Plume Printing

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Mysticism, Nature, Time

The River of Death: On Abortion, Alchemy, and Reversals

“The End from the Beginning by Steps” – George Withers, A Collection of Emblems, Ancient and Modern, 1635. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

It’s not good for women to go through the procedure and have something living sucked out of your bodies. It belittles women… Every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem, smaller and smaller and smaller.

Dolores O’Riordan, The Cranberries

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

 

This essay was prompted by an exchange on Twitter. An account named @LiveAction  tweeted a paraphrase of the above quote, to which I responded with an excerpt from the Apocalypse of Peter (c. 2nd Century AD):

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 9.03.40 PM

For those with eyes to see, the blue highlighted sentence revealed what was in my heart. The motive and intent.

Empathy.

A compassionate desire to give something, some small amount of consolation, of encouragement, of hope, to the heart of a stranger who, presumably, feels sufficient inner pain concerning the topic to have committed some part of their own life – Time, and labour energy – to public activism.

Perhaps little more would have resulted from this gesture, if not for a third party reply. An attempt at alchemical transformation; of extracting a more ‘pure’ essence from the base material – a ‘higher’, more ‘en-light-ened’ form of ‘knowledge’ – by the “royal Art” of philosophistry:

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Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 2.32.29 PM

My interlocutor attempted to justify the killing of the unborn, based on the ‘logical’ reason-ing that a belief in the idea of the baby going to heaven “would arguably outweigh any bad thing about abortion”.

In doing so, he willfully ignored the majority of the quoted excerpt, detailing the punishments to be suffered by both women and men who cause their children to “be born untimely”; who “delivered us unto death”.

This perfectly manifests what is the reigning spirit – and mental-ity – of our times.

Antinomianism.

(n) from Greek: anti “opposite, against” + nomos “rule, law”

Or, stated more clearly, Satanism:

True Lords of the Left-Hand Path will .. identify with the cultural norms of ‘evil’ [..] The practice .. often manifests itself in antinomianism, that is, the purposeful reversal of conventional normatives: ‘evil’ becomes ‘good,’ ‘impure’ becomes ‘pure,’ ‘darkness’ becomes ‘light’. [Flowers, 1997]

Where have we heard that sort of inversion-of-values philosophistry before? In my previous essays, where I have explained the ancient origins of the ontological sex magick principles of Eastern and Western alchemy, that are deeply embedded in the ‘modern’ (neo-Babylonian) double entry accounting, banking, and credebt promise-based ‘money’ systems:

[The third] justification for the “transgressions” of the Vajrayana consists in the Bodhisattva vow of Mahayana Buddhism, which requires that one aid and assist every creature until it attains enlightenment. Amazingly, this pious purpose can render holy the most evil means. “If”, we can read in one of the tantras, “for the good of all living beings or on account of the Buddha’s teaching one should slay living beings, one is untouched by sin. … If for the good of living beings or from attachment for the Buddha’s interest, one seizes the wealth of others, one is not touched by sin”, and so forth. In the course of Tibetan history the Bodhisattva vow has [..] legitimated numerous political and family-based murders, whereby the additional “clever” argument was also employed, that one had “freed” the murder victim from the world of appearances (samsara) and that he or she thus owed a debt of thanks to the murderer. [Trimondi, 2003].

The same perverse form of messianic, “heal the world” (tikkun olam) by practicing evil, utopian philosophistry, appears in myriad writings of philosopher ‘luminaries’ from the Hermetic Reformation (“Renaissance”, Fr. “rebirth”) and the En-Light-enment, through to modernity’s John Maynard Keynes:

I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue. [..] But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight. [Keynes, 1930]

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Satanism is self-Deification; specifically, the deification of the supposedly ‘rational’ individual’s “Divine Mind” –  the “Absolute Intellect”, or “Absolute Reason” – associated with the left hemisphere of brain activity.

LR brain hemispheres

Brain structure and behaviour

Mark Passio, “Natural Law: The Real Law of Attraction” © Mark Passio, whatonearthishappening.com

L-R M-F brain

Mark Passio, “Natural Law: The Real Law of Attraction” © Mark Passio, whatonearthishappening.com

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Mark Passio, “Natural Law: The Real Law of Attraction” © Mark Passio, whatonearthishappening.com

R dominant

Mark Passio, “Natural Law: The Real Law of Attraction” © Mark Passio, whatonearthishappening.com

L dominant

Mark Passio, “Natural Law: The Real Law of Attraction” © Mark Passio, whatonearthishappening.com

 

The Left-hand path ideology identifies with the “eternal rebel” (and trickster) known variously through the ages as (among other names) Prometheus, Hermes, Mercury, Satan, and Lucifer.

The “Light-bringer”. Intermediary agent of the gnosis: the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The archetype of “absolute freedom” from all social, moral, and legal taboos; “unfettered” from all restrictions to the attainment of “ultimate sovereignty” in (or rather, over) the material realm.

On the path of jnana (knowledge) the practitioner is himself transformed into a being of the divine typos without sacrificing his individuated existence… [Flowers, 1997]

The eight “fetters” (does that number ring any bells?) that restrict the “liberty” of the witting (or unwitting) satanist – that hold him/her back from becoming a ‘god’ – are, in the Hindu left-hand path tradition of vamachara, “Sympathy. Delusion. Shame; the idea of sin. Fear. Disgust. Family, kinship, clan. Caste. Customary rites and precepts. As each of these bonds or fetters are broken the [initiate] becomes progressively more liberated.” (Flowers, 1997)

Mair_Symbola aurea mensae, Frankfurt, 1617_ Avicenna_SA02

Avicenna – Michael Maier, Symbola aurea mensae, Frankfurt, 1617. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

The phase of Blackening which usually marked the beginning of the work, was brought about either by heating the prima materia in the process of Calcination (the ‘dry way’ of the alchemists), or by the process of Putrefaction, a slow rotting or digestion over a period of weeks or months (the so-called ‘wet way’). The Black Crow or Raven was often associated with this Calcination, for on vigorous heating the calcined material would usually carbonise and layers would flake off and move like a crow’s wings in the flask. The Toad was a better symbol of the Putrefaction, the decaying mass slowly pulsating and shifting as gasses were given off, while the substance rotted down to a black mass. [..] The alchemists paralleled these experiences in their souls as a withdrawal into the darkness of their interior space, a darkness pregnant with possibility. [McLean]

Maier, Atalatanta Fugiens_AF05

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

Satan-traditional-arms

Satan’s heraldic Coat of Arms (Source: Wikipedia)

The coat of arms traditionally attributed to Satan in European heraldry. In the book The Heraldic Imagination by Rodney Dennys (1975), this is traced back to the late 13th-century Douce Apocalypse manuscript, in an illustration to Revelations 20:7-10. The design is based on the “three unclean spirits like frogs” of verse 16:13. Green frogs on a red background contravene the heraldic Rule of Tincture – presumably deliberately.

 

Removing these “fetters” necessarily means eliminating all feelings of compassion, empathy (“sympathy”), and most importantly, guilt (“shame”).

In other words, in order to become fully “free”, one’s own “ultimate sovereign”, and thus “divine”, one must become lawless (“Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”), and a psychopath:

He may have to participate in exercises of cruelty and other aberrations of social and religious norms as a way of placing himself totally outside of profane society. Thereby he is ‘unfettered’ from the bonds and tabus of society as a way of unfettering himself from spiritual bonds. [Flowers, 1997]

Podesta lucifer art 1

Satanism – or Left-hand Path ‘magic’ – seeks “liberty” from “the servitude of conscience.

In essence, the Left-hand Path is an egocentric philosophistry of separation or “non-union”, that prescribes the willful deception, manipulation, domination, theft, and ultimately, the destruction of one’s Right side – the faculty of emotion, empathy, holistic thinking; the intuitive, compassionate, nurturing Female principle  – the Mother Nature felt in us all – in order to attain apotheosis as an individual, Intellectual ‘god’:

[A] symbolic murder is hidden behind this. The black matter, a symbol of the fundamental feminine and of powerful nature from which we all come, is burned or in some cases vaporized, cut to pieces or dismembered. Thus, in destroying the prima materia we at the same time destroy our “mother” or, basically, the “fundamentally feminine”.

The European adept does not shy away from even the most crass killing metaphors: “open the lap of your mother”, it says in a French text from the 18th century, “with a steel blade, burrow into her entrails and press forward to her womb, there you will find our pure substance (the elixir)”. [Trimondi, 2003]

Aurora consurgens

Aurora Consurgens, 15th century. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

Thurneisser_TH13

Leonard Thurneisser, Archidoxa, 1575. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

 

[T]he essence of the vamachara [Sanskrit: “left-handed attainment”] is the total transformation of the human initiate into something superhuman or god(dess)-like. This lies at the root of why antinomianism (inversions of all kinds of normatives) is so important in the methodology of … the left-hand path.

An eternal separation of the individual intelligence from the objective universe is sought in the left-hand path. This amounts to an immortality [divinity] of the independent consciousness… .

[O]n the leftward way one does not worship a god but rather one enacts divinity from a subjective perspective. [Flowers, 1997]

Woodcut by Jost Amman from Jacob Rueff, De conceptu et generatione hominis, Frankfurt, 1587_amcl_emb34

Woodcut by Jost Amman from Jacob Rueff, De conceptu et generatione hominis, Frankfurt, 1587. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,
knowing good and evil
.”

 

In the Genesis story, the archetype of Woman (Eve) was doomed to suffer “greatly multipl[ied]” pain and suffering in pregnancy and childbirth, in consequence of disobedience to God’s (cosmic, natural) law, and the resulting Fall from innocence: a pure, ‘god’-like state of being, of not knowing both good and evil.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

The symbolism of the pear – having the form, or silhouette, of a woman with “child-bearing hips” – has important relevance in religious and alchemical lore.

The pear tree represents the Tree of Life. It is mentioned in literature and folklore connected with love and temptation. An aludel is a pear-shaped earthenware bottle, open at both ends, used as a condenser in the sublimation process, and so came to signify the end-stages of transformation. It is also called the Hermetic Vase, the Philosopher’s Egg, and the Vase of the Philosophy.

In Greek and Roman mythology, pears are sacred to three goddesses: Hera (Juno to the Romans), Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans), and Pomona, an Italian goddess of gardens and harvests. The ancient Chinese believed that the pear was a symbol of immortality. (Pear trees live for a long time.)

During medieval times, however, (if you will excuse the dreadful pun) the symbolism went pear shaped, and the pear, as a whole tree and fruit, then symbolised masculinity, which would seem extremely strange until one realises that the symbolism applied largely to the tree and not the fruit.  According to Albertus Magnus, writing in the 13th century and accepting the ancient and orthodox view of his time, the pear is considered masculine because of “the hardness of its wood, the coarseness of its leaves and the close texture of its fruit.”

Sephardic Jews – in other words Jews who followed the Kabbalah and were thus part of the mystic groups, used a pear tree as their emblem.

La Bugia series - Massimilio Palomboro, 17th C_LB08

La Bugia series, Plate 8 – Massimilio Palomboro, mid 17th Century. © Adam McLean (alchemywebsite.com)

The great Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519) reveled in collecting cryptic puns, aphorisms, fables, prophecies, jests, mottoes, and fantastic tales. Codex Arundel 67 contains several botanical fables including one involving the laurel, the myrtle, and the pear:

The laurel and the myrtle on seeing the pear tree being cut down, cried out in a loud voice: ‘O pear tree where are you going? Where is the pride that you had when you were laden with ripe fruit? Now you will no longer make shade for us with your thick foliage.’ The pear tree replied: ‘I am going with the husbandman who is cutting me down and who will take me to the workshop of a good sculptor, who by his art will cause me to assume the form of the god Jove, and I shall be dedicated in a temple and worshipped by men in place of Jove. While you are obliged to remain always maimed and stripped of your branches [while] men shall set around me in order to do me honor.” (Embode, 1987).

Earlier in the Genesis story, the Creator is portrayed commanding Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply” (1:28). In Judaism, this commandment (mitzvah) – the First Commandment, to the First Man and Woman – is called peru u’rvu (Hebrew: פרו ורבו).

Rabbinic lore, however, overrides this First Commandment, with an exemption:

Jewish law traditionally exempts women from the obligation of peru urvu [..] This is because pregnancy endangers her life, and one is not obligated to endanger oneself. Such an exemption strengthens the woman’s right to protect her health over that of a fetus that endangers her. [Grossman, 2006]

Rabbinic lore is replete with mutually contradictory exemptions – loopholes – devised by the Sages.

For example, the Sages teach that Leviticus 18:5 (“You shall keep My statutes and My Judgments, which a person shall do, and he shall live by them”) really means that “the mitzvot were given to provide life, but they were not given so that one will die due to their observance.” (Sanhedrin 74a)

Based on this interpretation, the Sages derived the precept that “protecting life” overrides all other commandments (Tosefta Shabbat 15:17).

(Example: the subjective, arbitrarily applied – according to self-interest – “Responsibility To Protect” [R2P] euphemism as justification for U.S. “interventionist” foreign policy.)

However, while pregnant women are not obligated to endanger their own lives for the sake of an unborn child, the rabbinic Sages also insist that one is obligated to endanger oneself rather than violate the commandments against murder (?!?), sexual violence (incest, rape, adultery), and idolatry:

The Gemara now considers which prohibitions are permitted in times of mortal danger. [..] With regard to all other transgressions in the Torah, if a person is told: Transgress this prohibition and you will not be killed, he may transgress that prohibition and not be killed, because the preserving of his own life overrides all of the Torah’s prohibitions. This is the halakha (rabbinic law) concerning all prohibitions except for those of idol worship, forbidden sexual relations, and bloodshed. Concerning those prohibitions, one must allow himself to be killed rather than transgress them. [Sanhedrin 74a]

In other words, according to the ‘wisdom’ of the ‘Sages’, on the one hand, a married or betrothed woman must choose to be killed, rather than submit to rape:

[S]o too, with regard to a betrothed young woman, if she is faced with rape, she must be killed and not trangress the prohibition of forbidden sexual relations. [Sanhedrin 74a]

But, on the other hand, if she is pregnant, then she may commit murder of the unborn, if the reason given is that doing so will preserve her own life and “health”.

Notably, in Satanic lore, the first main tenet (principle, or doctrine), is Self-Preservation. The second tenet, is Moral Relativism.

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. [Hall, 1928]

Contrast the first principle teaching of Jesus of Nazareth: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Both the Torah and rabbinic lore have much to say concerning the binary notions of Life and Death.

We have seen in earlier essays that Jewish mystical philosophy (Cabala) openly confesses its origins in “Old Chaldean” ontology – a worldview, or philosophy of being and reality, in which every thing in the universe is believed to be created from the sexual union (merging, mixing, fusing, binding, blurring) of exact opposites.

This is illustrated in the Cabalistic ‘Tree of Life’ or ‘Gates of Light’, where the ’emanations’ or attributes of God and Being are depicted as gendered pairs, joined together in a sequence of mystic, ‘sexual’, father-mother-son-daughter unions of opposites.

Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla, Portae lucis, 1516

Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla, Portae Lucis (Latin translation of Gikatilla’s work Shaarei Ora – “Gates of Light”), 1516. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

We have also seen that the ‘trick’ of alchemical sex magick, is the cunning inversion or reversal of the natural “flow” of the (pro)creative fluids, which are considered “energies” – the semen virile and semen feminile.

To reverse the left to right pattern, contrary to nature and cosmic law requires an exercise of the faculty of will. This is an act of rebellion against nature and against divinely ordained cosmic order.

Practitioners .. may often rely on what appears to non-initiates to be chicanery and tricks involving slight of hand.

What is important here is the left-hand path technique or philosophical model of inverting or reversing natural processes through the power of will and consciousness. By being able to reverse natural ‘flow patterns’, be they in the body (subjective) or in the world (objective), practitioners of the left-hand path demonstrate or exercise their independence from the natural universe – thus establishing that which is divine in their individualities. [Flowers, 1997]

In left-hand path sexual alchemy, rather than the male fertilising the female – which would mean giving his vital “energies” to her – he steals the female’s “flows” by a secretly-practiced sexual exercise, or (for the less skilled) by drinking them.

“After he has streamed forth,” Mircea Eliade quotes a text as saying, “he draws in and says: through my force, through my seed I take your seed — and she is without seed”. The man thus steals the seed of the woman under the impression that he can through this become a powerful androgynous being, and leaves her without her own life energy. [Trimondi, 2003]

Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit, early 1400s_HD_Munich_Image33

The Mercurial Rebis: A Crowned and Bat-winged Hermaphrodite, Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit, late 14th Century (Munich MS, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, CGM. 598). Source: Adam McLean, alchemywebsite.com

 

This secret Tantric practice is tacitly affirmed in Lurianic Cabala:

[Isaac Luria’s disciple, Chaim] Vital describes how the face-to-face status of the Father and Mother [sefirot] visages was maintained by ‘feminine waters’ (mayim nukvim) emanating from the interior of the Mother. [Drob, 2003]

Maier_Atalanta Fugiens_AF34

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

Frontispiece from Nicolas de Locques' Les Rudiments de la Philosophie Naturelle, Paris 1665

Mercury-Hermes stealing the “waters” (menses) of Aphrodite-Venus | Nicolas de Locques, Les Rudiments de la Philosophie Naturelle, Paris, 1665. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

 

Naturally – or rather, un-naturally, since antinomianism (inversion or reversal of normatives) is fundamental to satanic practice – it is believed that the greatest power is obtained from internalising those things that have been traditionally considered impure, unclean, and thus off-limits or taboo.

The magical principle of transforming or ‘purifying’ any substance or experience to serve the purpose of the pure Will of the magician is typical at all levels of the left-hand path.

When discussing antinomian left-handed tantrism Renou states “… we observe the inversion of normal worship and common ethical principles. The fact that those objects are ‘worshiped’ is evidence that the stage has been passed at which they would be considered sinful.” So objects or practices which would normally inspire shame, hate or fear in the orthodox .. will be willfully worshipped and engaged in with a sublimated attitude of sacrality.

It is by breaking these taboos [incl. cannibalism and necrophilia] and going beyond the barriers of good and evil that the [initiate] attains new levels of power and ‘liberation’ (from his human limitations).

It is this third category, the libertines, which [Marquis] de Sade saw as the apex of humanity. Libertines, through active use of the imagination, transform themselves through acts of will… . For de Sade the greatest pleasures were to be found in overcoming things which may have at one time inspired fear or disgust. [Flowers, 1997]

This explains why left-hand path philosophers and practitioners throughout the ages and across many cultures have evidenced a peculiar obsession with the cyclical monthly “flows” of the female.

[E]very woman knows that she has two kinds of flow that come from her vagina. Ancient sources called these the River of Life and the River of Death, meaning the clear or white flow at the time when a child is more likely to be conceived; and the forbidden flow of menstruation, when it is most unlikely that a child can be conceived. [Lishtar, 2000]

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 2.31.42 PM

Trimondi, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic, and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism (2003).

 

In the Hevajra Tantra the adept must drink the menstrual blood of his mudra out of a skull bowl. [..] As a tantric saying puts it, “What binds the fool, liberates the wise”, and another, more drastic passage emphasizes that, “the same deed for which a normal mortal would burn for a hundred million eons, through this same act an initiated yogi attains enlightenment”. According to this, every ritual is designed to catapult the initiand into a state beyond good and evil.

According to the tantric logic of inversion, that precisely the worst is the most appropriate starting substance for the best, the yogi need not fear the magical destructive force of the menses, as he can reverse it into its creative opposite through the proper method. [Trimondi, 2003]

Engraving of Flamel's hieroglyphic figures from Des beruhmten Philosophi Nicolai Flamelli , Chymische Werke, 1751

Des beruhmten Philosophi Nicolai Flamelli, Chymische Werke, 1751. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

Abraham Eleazar, Uraltes chymisches Werck, 'Flamel', Erfurt, 1735_EL07

Abraham Eleazar, Uraltes chymisches Werck, ‘Flamel’, 1735. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

Samuel Norton, Alchymiæ Complementum et Perfectio, 1630

Samuel Norton, Alchymiæ Complementum et Perfectio, 1630. © Adam McLean (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

“Hyle” (matter, materialism; semen virile), Left-hand side
Menstruum” (spirit, solvent; semen feminile), Right-hand side

Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 1.43.12 PM

Samuel Norton, Alchymiæ Complementum et Perfectio, 1630_16

Samuel Norton, Alchymiæ Complementum et Perfectio, 1630. © Adam McLean (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

“Bufo” (toad) “rubea” (red, reddish; feminine of rubeus)
at ‘base’ (‘Mother’ earth, prima materia) of Tree of Life
“Saturnus Plumbum” (Satan’s  lead; transformation into ‘gold’)

 

This may also offer a deeper insight into, and explanation for, the Western Establishment’s “liberal” support for abortion … and the sale of body parts.

Planned Parenthood Caught On Tape Selling Fetal Body Parts

Aborted Body Parts Sold For “Science” Experiments

The Market For Fetal Body Parts

 

“Modern philosophies and political ideologies have fully embraced principles basic and fundamental to the left-hand path, almost all of which have become the accepted norm in the west.”

 

doloresoriordan2391944007_58d8066af5

“It’s not good for women to go through the procedure and have something living sucked out of your bodies. It belittles women… Every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem, smaller and smaller and smaller.”

– Dolores O’Riordan, The Cranberries

 

*****************

REFERENCES

Stephen E. Flowers PhD, Lords of the Left-hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent (1997)

V. and V. Trimondi, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism (2003), transl. by Mark Penny

John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Essays In Persuasion, The Future (1930)

Adam McLean, Animal Symbolism in the Alchemical Tradition (alchemywebsite.com)

Mark Passio, Natural Law: The Real Law of Attraction (2013)

Rabbi Susan Grossman, Mikveh and the Sanctity of Being Created Human (2006)

Sanhedrin 74a, The William Davidson Talmud, (sefaria.org)

Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928)

Sanford L Drob, Towards a Kabbalistic Psychology: C.G. Jung and the Jewish Foundations of Alchemy (2003) 

Lishtar, The Avenging Maiden and the Predator Gardener: A Study of Inanna and Shukaletuda (2000), citing Shuttle and Redgrove (1989)

 

Standard
Mysticism, Nature

Straighten Up and Fly Right: Jordan Peterson and the Left-hand Path

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF46

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”

 

Jordan B. Peterson would appreciate this moment of synchronicity. After all, he is well-versed in Jung.

A friend in the northern hemisphere tweeted a video clip of a Peterson interview yesterday on BBC Radio 5. I just happened to see his tweet, five hours later.

In reference to young men, he said:

“They’re desperate for a discussion about responsibility and fair play and noble being and working properly in the world, and to hear the idea that their lives actually matter; that if they straighten themselves up and fly right that they’ll have a beneficial effect on themselves and their family and community, and that the world is starving for that, and for them, as individuals; not for them as a group but for each of them as individuals.”

 

When I heard those words spoken, my memory instantly flashed to consciousness the 1943 hit song by Nat King Cole:

A buzzard took a monkey for a ride in the air
Monkey thought that everything was on the square
The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off his back
But the monkey grabbed his neck and said “Now listen, jack”

Straighten up and fly right
“Straighten up and stay right
“Straighten up and fly right
“Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top
“Ain’t no use in divin’
“What’s the use of jivin’
“Straighten up and fly right
“Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top.”

The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”

From “Her Lucky Night” 1945

I instantly knew – by intuition, buttressed by knowledge, acquired recently and reviewed only yesterday – what this idiom really means.

It has a profound significance.

I doubt that many today – if any – fully appreciate what these allegorical lyrics mean. Wikipedia provides a helpful hint, by dint of the background story:

The song was based on a black folk tale that Cole’s father had used as a theme for one of his sermons. In the tale, a buzzard takes different animals for a joy ride. When he gets hungry, he throws them off on a dive and eats them for dinner. A monkey who had observed this trick goes for a ride; he wraps his tail around the buzzard’s neck and gives the buzzard a big surprise by nearly choking him to death.

Engraving from I.C.H. Des Hermes Trismegistus, Leipzig, 1782

Engraving from I.C.H. Des Hermes Trismegistus, Leipzig, 1782. © 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

The phrase “straighten up and fly right” is said to mean:

Fig. to improve one’s behavior or attitude and perform better. (Originally referred to an airplane.)

in. to get serious and start behaving properly.

Clearly this is the context in which Peterson used it.

But there is far more to this allegory. I think it extremely important that we fully understand it:

And therefore, it is wisely said, that the stone is born of the spirit, because it is altogether spiritual. For the vulture himself flying without wings cries upon the top of the mountain, saying, I am the white brought forth from the black, and the red brought forth from the white, the citrine son of the red; I speak the truth and lie not.

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF43

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

[F]or the vulture flying in the air without wings, cries out that it might get up upon the mountain, that is upon the waters, upon which the “spiritus albus” or spirit of whiteness is born.

The vulture flying through the air, and the toad creeping upon the ground, are the emblems of our magistery.

– Lapidus, “In Pursuit of Gold”, The Secret Book of Artephius (c. 12th Century)

Last evening – again, just by ‘coincidence’ – I had tweeted a lengthy thread of quotations from a book I am reading, written by a PhD scholar. The author’s preface openly states his purpose:

This book was composed in large measure as a response to the irrational “Satanic scare” of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was written with the intention of reaching a wide readership of thinking individuals capable of understanding the historical and cultural scope of ideas underlying the images of the left-hand path. [..] It should also be noted that the author of this book is not a Satanist, but is a practitioner of the left-hand path based on purely indigenous European models.

Stated more simply, the book is a scholarly defense of Satanist ideology, and so-called “black magic[k]”.

In earlier essays, such as Cheating Females Parts 1 and 2 (here, here), Ode to Debt (18+) (here), and Stags and Unicorns: The Alchemical Root of the Normalisation of Cheating (here), I have demonstrated that the left-hand path philosophy has been deeply embedded in modern western culture. It is increasingly evident – brazenly so – in the decadence, nihilism, and orchestrated chaos of postmodern western culture.

Indeed, the “Satanic” philosophy is literally the driving force of ‘our’ capital-ist,¹ Mammon-worshipping (and thereby enslaved) world. I have shown that it is at the very core of double-entry accounting, ‘modern’ banking, and the creation of our ‘money’ supply in the form of Balance Sheet credebt records, deceitfully rented to us at “interest” (usury, compounding):

..Freud cites overcoming incapacity for work as a major motive for entering a pact with the Devil. [..] A major psychological feature of black magic is that it provides immediate gains without immediate payment. The payment is feared as “really” both deferred and excessive. Thus deferred and excessive payment for immediate gain is characteristically associated with pacts with the Devil. The aversion towards usury, in current times as well as throughout the history of Christianity, is not completely coincidental. For usury is exactly a social expression of the Satanic Pact, immediate gains and excessive deferred payment.²

DEB-Ortes-Hedonistic-Balance-Sheet

Engraving from JA Siebmacher, Das guldene Vleiss, Nurnberg 1737

Note hands AND feet: Left = Assets (real wealth), Right = Liabilities (double-entry *book* debt) | J.A. Siebmacher, Das guldene Vleiss (“The Golden Fleece”), Nurnberg, 1737. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

To my repeated assertion that Satanic philosophy is the driving force of modern and (especially) postmodern western capitalist culture, our scholar would appear to agree:

“The existence of the left-hand path is not easily discovered, but once its principles have been uncovered it slowly becomes apparent just how widespread the philosophy is.”

“[T]he basic precepts of the left-hand path have for centuries penetrated far beyond the sphere of magical and occult activity.”

“[M]odern philosophies and political ideologies have fully embraced principles basic and fundamental to the left-hand path, almost all of which have become the accepted norm in the west.”

The true significance of the allegorical sermon by Nat King Cole’s father becomes clear only when we understand the origin and meaning of the left-hand path, versus the right-hand path.

We see then that, rather than “the devil in the detail”, in the lyrics of the song we find the exact opposite: “Le bon Dieu est dans le détail” (“the good God is in the detail”).

I will now present some excerpts from our left-hand path scholar’s book, trusting that your eyes will be opened, and you will see. Note that italicised emphasis is in the original; bold is mine:

The actual origin of the right-hand versus left-hand path terminology itself is rooted in the vocabulary of Indian tantric sects. The two main divisions of these are the dakshinachara, “right-way” and the vamachara, “left-way”. [..] The eventual elaboration of the right-hand/left-hand path distinction is quite complex, but its origins are most probably rooted in the widespread tantric doctrines of a natural flow of universal force through the human body along a left to right line – entering the left, exiting the right. This is mirrored by a cosmic flow of force from the north to the south. When the human being is oriented toward the east this flow pattern is said to be in harmony with the one natural to his body, as his left hand is to the north, his right hand to the south. Here are the roots of the key to the common antinomianism, reversal of patterns, found in left-hand path tantrism. To reverse the left to right pattern, contrary to nature and cosmic law, requires an exercise of the faculty of will. This is an act of rebellion against nature and against divinely ordained cosmic order. [..] In going against this flow, individuals more fully articulate – individuate – themselves within their environments. Independence and freedom are attained and maintained – perhaps even personal immortality is to be gained.

Julius Evola remarks on the distinction between the two paths:

“The creative and productive aspect of the cosmic process is signified by the right hand, by the color white, and by the two goddesses Uma and Gauri… . The second aspect, that of conversion and return (exitus, reditus) is signified by the left hand, by the color black, and by the dark, destructive goddesses Durga and Kali. Thus according to the Mahakala Tantra, when the left and the right hands are in equilibrium we experience samsara, but when the left hand prevails, we find liberation.”

[Burton’s Legal Thesaurus: reditusproceeds, rent, revenue]

Engraving from Benedictus Figulus, Thesaurinella olympica, Hamburg, 1682

Benedictus Figulus, Thesaurinella olympica, 1682. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

Alain Daniélou remarks that the left-hand path corresponds to a “disintegrating tendency” (tamas) which “uses the power of Nature, the passions and instincts of man, to conquer, with their aid, the world of the senses… This way leads directly from the physical to the abstract because … the descending tendency is at both ends of the manifested, [therefore the left-hand path] may utilize even eroticism or drunkenness as a means of spiritual achievement.”

Clearly the left-hand path .. is associated both with the idea of dis-integration (separation) and with the practice of antinomianism  – of “going against the grain” of conventions in order to gain spiritual power.

Here it is quite clear, at least from the masculine perspective,³ that the essence of the vamachara [left-way] is the total transformation of the human initiate into something superhuman or god(dess)-like.

One of the significant differences between the two tantric paths, although both are under aegis of Shiva, is that on the right-hand path the adept always experiences “someone above him,” even at the highest level of realization. However, on the left-hand path the adept “becomes the ultimate sovereign” (chakravartin = world ruler).

Sixth woodcut from Basil Valentine's Azoth

Heinrich Nollius, Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae, 1617. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

It is tempting to expand this essay with details of the antinomian “aberrations” that are practiced on the left-hand path in pursuit of its goal. But to do so would, I think, detract from the importance of the thematic understanding here presented, thanks to Jordan Peterson, a black folk tale, Nat King Cole and his preacher man father, my Twitter friend on the other side of the planet, and what was, for me, a spirit-raising moment of Jungian synchronicity.

If you feel compelled to learn more of the (disturbing) details, then you may wish to read my earlier essays mentioned above. One further quotation from our PhD scholar will be mildly suggestive:

Ultimately, [Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis] de Sade holds that the pursuit of pleasure is the object of human life, and that physical satisfaction is more noble than the merely mental. Happiness depends on the greatest possible extension of pleasure. This is done by enlarging the scope of one’s tastes and fantasies. It is only through wilful imagination that the possibilities for pleasure are extended. Social or religious conditioning prevents this in most cases. Finally, happiness is not so much found in the enjoyment of pleasure as in the desire itself and in the destruction of obstacles in the way of its accomplishment.

For de Sade the greatest pleasures were to be found in overcoming things which may have at one time inspired fear or disgust.

Whether in the sexual or more abstract philosophical sphere, the truest definition of Sadism .. is: “The pleasure felt from the observed modifications on the external world produced by the will of the observer.”

Suffice it to say, the allegory of the trickster buzzard who offers to take you on a jivin’, “fly left” joy ride – one that will “set you free” – is a profoundly cautionary tale:

“It is quite understandable why the forces of orthodox Christianity fought every advance in scientific, political, or religious philosophy, for each advance in spiritual freedom and enforcement of the interests of plurality over unity is indeed a victory for the Prince of Darkness – the principle of isolate intelligence…”

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF12

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

“Evil is the conscious attempt to make the conditions of existence more pathological than they have to be, and it’s motivated by conscious intent.”

 

The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”

 

UPDATE 3 Feb 2018:

Recommend reading this article on the gnostic underpinnings of Jordan Peterson’s philosophy. Compare with Cabala’s origins. Readers of my other essays will hopefully recognise the fundamental connections between gnosticism, cabala, and left-hand path philosophies.

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REFERENCES

Stephen E. Flowers PhD, Lords of the Left-hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent

¹ If the reader is tempted to assume that I am opposed to the ideology of capitalism alone, I would say only that there was insufficient time and space to address the subject here. Please consider that I am somewhat widely read on the true origins, intent, and consequences of ‘Marxian’ socio-economic theories; thus my views on what I consider to be an artificial opposition are likely more nuanced than you may have presumed.

² David Bakan, Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition

³ Cheating Females: The Production of Inequality, By Illusions of Equality

I recommend giving thought to this man’s words. But do not watch if you are unable to ignore vulgar, and/or blasphemous language, in the interest of gaining understanding.

“Of course, if I get disassociated from by a domination of empirical science I could be objectified into nihilism but apart from that little hiccup…”

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