Time

The Magic Chain of Enchanted Economists

A real transformation of economics first requires its voluntary death

 

“All of the greatest religions speak of the soul’s endurance beyond the end of life. So what then does it mean, to die?”

– Eisenheim, The Illusionist

Our world is dominated by an idea. That by performing evil actions, good will come of it.

It is the black sheep, the dark one of twins. They are the descendants of a higher idea, which is the wellspring (wyllspring; “to wish, will”) of a current of ideas known as apotheosis.

To become a god. Release from earthly life, ascension to heaven; death. In other words, a transformation. Elevation to a transcendent position. The apex, culmination, or climax of something; the highest point in its development.

It is also the name given to the idea of a “latent entity that mediates between our psyche [soul] and our thoughts”. Freudian psychology refers to this entity by the concepts of id, the ego, and superego. This is misleading, and an inversion, as we will see. The true mediator is known by the Wise as the Conscience.

The realm of human existence and daily striving known as economics has been dominated for the past quarter millennium by this dark idea of evil acts resulting in “the greater good”. Until this idea is exorcised instead of being exercised, there can be no genuine progress, no true evolution, no real transformation of economics.

This idea is false. It is an enchanting deception. It enchants by granting licence to our lower instincts, in the full knowledge (of the Wise, the Adept, and the Magus) that repeated actions form habits. By encouraging, by tempting us with the licentious idea that we can act on our lower, darker instincts, our ‘animal spirits’, in the interests of a “greater good”, the Magus of Evil Will knows that our conscience will be destroyed. Death by a thousand cuts. Not only will we (and society) not be transformed for the good by evil actions, on the contrary, our conscience becomes increasingly desensitised, inured, and in a sense dead to the harm caused by our evil actions. We are only drawn onwards and downwards, ever deeper, into ever greater acts of evil.

In his magnum opus Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (1855), nineteenth century French occult magus Eliphas Lévi explains an eternal truth, one that centuries of “thinkers” have ignored, or swept under the magic carpet of economic theory (emphasis mine):

Not only do the wicked torment the good, but unconsciously the good torture the wicked. The gentleness of Abel was a long and painful bewitchment for the ferocity of Cain. Among evil men, the hatred of good originates in the very instinct of self-preservation; moreover, they deny that what torments them is good and are driven to deify and justify evil for their own peace. In the sight of Cain, Abel was a hypocrite and coward, who abused the pride of humanity by his scandalous submissions to divinity.1

The true Magus, whether of Good or Evil Will, knows that we cannot transcend evil by practicing it. We can only destroy our conscience, creating for ourselves an illusion of evil’s non-existence; becoming, as Lévi eulogises, a “free man” having “liberty” from the “servitude of conscience”. In precisely the same way that practicing evil actions forms evil habits, the practice of good actions forms good habits. Any notion of an inverse correlation is, simply, a lie. If we wish to experience more good in this world, then we must practice the good, and cease from practicing the evil.

But I digress.

While some still debate whether mainstream economics has taken Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” metaphor in The Wealth of Nations (1776) out of context, other, and I would argue, more influential early thinkers in the field once known as Moral Philosophy2 cannot be doubted in their clarity of expression.

In his Discourse on the Nature of Pleasures and Pains (1773), Italian Enlightenment philosopher, economist, and member of the Milanese nobility Pietro Verri stresses the positive function of pain. While pain is not good in itself, Verri says that “pain is the moving cause of all mankind” and so “good is generated by evil”.3

Fellow Italian Giammaria Ortes appears at a casual glance to reverse the order of causation. Or does he? In Della Economia Nazionale (1774) he writes that “The wealth of a nation corresponds with its population, and its misery corresponds with its wealth. Diligence in some compels idleness in others. The poor and idle are a necessary consequence of the rich and active.. .”4

A defrocked Camaldolese monk, libertine, and contemporary of another infamous Italian monk, the magician, alchemist, occultist and swindler Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, the Venetian Ortes is a most interesting, though lamentably lesser known figure in the history of economic philosophy. Karl Marx exalts him in Capital as “an original and clever writer”, “one of the great economic writers of the 18th century.” As we will see, his ideas, while undeniably “clever”, are not original. They are very ancient. Their origin, transmission, and far-reaching influence on humanity’s body politic should – like the study of cancer – compel our undivided attention.

Moneta Nostra_Cagliostro

If Ortes were living in our time, we would most likely see him employed in a “leading university”, an international money-lending institution like the IMF, or a neoliberal “think tank”. Many of us would, not inaccurately, refer to him as a shill for the oligarchy. Others of us, even less charitably, might call him a Useful Idiot for the 0.01%. Ortes was “closely associated with one of the most important salons or ridotti of the Venetian aristocracy”, the conversazione filosofica e felice (“philosophical and happy conversation group”), “the ideological arm of a closely allied group of Venetian oligarchical families.”6

From the beginning of his magnum opus, Ortes presents an argument that can only be useful to those wishing to promote the convenient-for-oligarchy idea that sovereign (i.e., papal; today, government) intervention can not contribute to material progress for humanity. Ortes provides a rhetorical segue echoing down to our time in the “Don’t tread on me!” anti-government howlings of libertarians, laissez-faire capitalists, Ayn Rand acolytes and others of similar ilk, by the simple expedient of insisting on the futility of any efforts to do so:

[N]ational economy is a matter which cannot be improved in any way by any particular action, and all attempts by persons seeking to organize national economy according to a better system, as regards provision or increase of goods, have to end up as useless efforts.7

Instead of projecting useless systems for achieving the happiness of people, I shall limit myself to investigating the reasons for their unhappiness.8

In the eighteenth century Age of ‘En-light-enment’, as in all ages, it was of course rather easier to “happily” spout let-us-do-nothing arguments for the status quo when your snout had been buried deep in the oligarchy’s trough.

Over one hundred years before Léon Walras, the alleged pioneer of the idea of “competitive equilibrium” and what has come to be known as the General Equilibrium Theory of neoclassical economics (1874), Ortes promoted the core idea of universal equilibrium, a zero-sum ‘higher’ unity arising from the antagonism of opposites – an ancient occult magic belief system – as a rationalisation for the alleged inevitability of inequality in social wealth, all under the guise of what Marx styled a “general natural law”9 (emphasis mine):

In the economy of a nation, advantages and evils always balance one another: the abundance of wealth with some people, is always equal to the want of it with others: the great riches of a small number are always accompanied by the absolute privation of the first necessaries of life for many others.10

The good therefore, understood as the possession of goods in excess of what is needed, can only be expressed between the individual and the commonality as the number zero, and since there is an inevitable lack of goods for some if these are to be abundant for others, this good can only appear as a mixture of economic good and evil, which tends neither to one nor to the other, or as the vector sum of forces which, operating with equal energy in different and opposite directions, destroy each other and resolve themselves into nothing.11

The observant reader will note the remarkable analogue of Ortes’s theory to a host of widely accepted general equilibrium economic beliefs in our day, such as “perfect markets”, and the fundamental ‘laws’ of supply and demand. Perhaps the most important analogue however, is to the assumptions of financial intermediation theory; a primary rationalisation – most useful for money-lenders – for the pretence that banks and debt don’t matter, since banks, according to the theory, act only as mediator between two opposites – savers and borrowers.

You may detect more than a hint of the idea of deification, of man becoming a god (apotheosis) manifesting in this self-serving theory of bankers being a kind of Kristos, an invisible mediator between God (good, wealthy) and man (evil, poor).

However, as proven empirically for the first time in modern history by Professor Richard Werner12, the real truth is that, progressively, slowly but surely, over millennia, ‘alchemists’ have apotheosised a now “Too Big To Fail” global domination system wherein they – the ‘Masters of the Universe’, ‘doing god’s work’ – represent something even greater than just a deified and transcendent, mediating Man-God. Instead, with the 1971 closure of the “gold window” backing (i.e., materially limiting the issuance of) the $USD as the world’s reserve currency, the 0.01% now represent an analogue to the very apex of the Trinity – the Infinite Creator Himself.

Readers of my earlier essays on the ancient origins and fraud-enabling ‘magic’ of double-entry bookkeeping (here, here, here) will also note the precise analogue of Ortes’s “vector sum of forces” theory to the symbolic representation of what I have christened the Paradox of Opposite Perspectives (POOP, or POP) embedded in double entry bookkeeping-based ‘money’ creation ex nihilo (“out of nothing”):

The primeval sages, when seeking the First of Causes, beheld good and evil in the world; they considered the shadow and the light; they compared winter with spring, age with youth, life with death, and their conclusion was this: The First Cause is beneficent and severe; it gives and takes away life. Then are there two contrary principles, the one good and the other evil, exclaimed the disciples of Manes. No, the two principles of universal equilibrium are not contrary, although contrasted in appearance, for a singular wisdom opposes one to another. Good is on the right, evil on the left, but the supreme excellence is above both, applying evil to the victory of good and good to the amendment of evil.

DEB_complete_Levi-8000ms

Omnipotence is the most absolute liberty; now, absolute liberty cannot exist apart from perfect equilibrium. Magical equilibrium is hence one of the first conditions of success in the operations of science, and must be sought even in occult chemistry, by learning to combine contraries without neutralising them by one another. Magical equilibrium explains the great and primeval mystery of the existence and relative necessity of evil. This relative necessity gives, in black magic, the measure of the power of demons or impure spirits, to whom virtues practised upon earth are a source of increased rage and apparently of increased power.13

Ortes had first written on general equilibrium and the zero-sum antagonism of equal and opposite ‘forces’ twenty years earlier (1754), in a short tract titled Calcolo de’piaceri e de’dolori della vita umana (“A Calculation of Pleasures and Pains of Human Life”). Here we find another quite remarkable analogue to el modo vinegia (the “Venetian Method”) of double-entry bookkeeping.

Academic Marco E. L. Guidi provides us with an invaluable summary (emphasis mine):

Ortes’s exposition moves from a set of hypotheses on [the] human body and on the relation between the physical and the moral constitution, which seem to be derived from Cartesian philosophy. There is also a strong analogy between Hobbes’s and Ortes’s explanation of the origin of sensations. The body is made by more or less elastic fibres and by fluids. When all fibres are in a steady state, fluids freely circulate within the body. This circular flow equilibrium goes along with a state of psychical indifference: a state which seems to be more hypothetical than actual, but nevertheless possible. The contact of human physique with external objects alters the state of fibres, overtending or overrelaxing them, and necessarily driving to a disorder in the circulation of fluids, felt by the mind as pain. Pleasure in [sic] nothing else than the impression produced by a contrary movement of fibres, reestablishing the original state (Ortes 1754: 288-89). This restoration can have two possible effects: either pleasure disappears with the new equilibrium and indifference is felt by the mind (Ortes 1754: 289-90), or the contrary movement which had produced pleasure continues beyond the point of equilibrium, thus altering the state of fibers and producing new pains (Ortes 1754: 292). Therefore, pleasure has a quantitative limit given by the amount of pain it removes. One of the examples given by Ortes is the same that manuals of microeconomics often give to explain to undergraduate students the meaning of Gossen’s laws: hunger which becomes indigestion once the satiety point is reached (Ortes 1754: 307-8). On the contrary, there are no limits to the extent of pain: every pain has a “fecundity” of its own, to the extent that the disorder in fibres can be communicated by fluids to other fibres, and so on in a chain reaction effect.

The assertion that the state of tranquillity can be altered only by pain (Ortes 1754: 307) leads Ortes to conclude that every kind of pain is a positive sensation, whereas pleasure should be defined as a negative sensation, i.e. the reduction of pain (Ortes 1754: 305).

Ortes’s originality can be found in the statement that pleasure is not a condition of tranquillity but a quantity of movement which restores tranquillity.14

For readers who may be unfamiliar with the rules of double-entry bookkeeping, the following chart shows how the entries made on a Balance Sheet are precisely analogous to the rationale of Ortes’s circular flow equilibrium theory of hedonistic calculus.

DEB-Ortes-Hedonistic-Balance-Sheet

It requires but a little reflection to see clearly what Ortes was trying to do. By proposing a theoretical correspondence of a universal trinity of paired opposite ideas – physical Pleasure and Pain; the Abundance and Want of material “good” (i.e., possession of wealth); and the moral opposite ideas of Good and Evil – the debauched monk and Venetian oligarchs’ ideological thinker was, from at least as early as 1754, trying to quantify, that is to say, to measure morality.

It is important to note that Ortes sought to measure morality – a perspective of the Higher (non-physical, spiritual) world – by means of hypothetical a priori analogues drawn from the (necessarily finite; that is, limited) perspectives of the Lower world. In other words, Ortes was projecting analogues drawn from the material microcosmos on to the immaterial macrocosmos.

Today, economists do exactly the same thing, in projecting microeconomic analogues (“principles”, “laws”) into macroeconomic models. As the king who is claimed to have received the Wisdom of God and is reverenced to this day in the symbolic Double Triangle of Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun”:

Mercurius Trismegistus begins his admirable symbol known under the name of the “Emerald Table,” by this threefold affirmation: “It is true, it is certain without error, it is of all truth.” Thus, in physics, the true confirmed by experience; in philosophy, certitude purged from any alloy of error; in the domain of religion or the infinite, absolute truth indicated by analogy: such are the first necessities of true science, and Magic only can impart these to its adepts.

As we have already said, according to the sole dogma of the Kabbalah, that which is in visible nature reveals that which is in the domain of invisible nature, or secondary causes are in strict proportion and analogous to the manifestations of the First Cause.

Nature also has four motions produced by two forces which sustain each other by their tendency in an opposite direction. Now, the law which rules bodies is analogous to that which governs minds, and that which governs minds is the very manifestation of God’s secret – that is to say, of the mystery of the creation.

As we have already said, there are two palmary natural laws – two essential laws – which, balanced one against another, produce the universal equilibrium of things. These are fixity and motion, analogous to truth and discovery in philosophy, and in absolute conception to necessity and liberty, which are the very essence of God.

Does not human life present itself also under these four phases or successive transformations – birth, life, death, immortality? And remark here that the immortality of the soul, necessitated as a complement of the tetrad, is kabbalistically proved by analogy, which is the sole dogma of truly universal religion, as it is the key of science and the universal law of nature.

Every individuality is therefore indefinitely perfectible, since the moral order is analogous to the physical, and since we cannot conceive any point as unable to dilate, increase and radiate in a philosophically unlimited circle.15

It should not escape our notice that embedded in Ortes’s moral calculus there are two rather tempting ideas; a paradoxical duality that, from a ‘higher’ perspective, can be seen as a unity of opposites; one that again represents a powerful analogue to the Paradox of Opposite Perspectives in double-entry bookkeeping. These two ideas would doubtless serve as a soothing salve for the seared consciences of the merchants and money-lenders of the Venetian oligarchy: for the wealthy, “the possession of goods in excess of what is needed” actually represents a return to the original state of man (freedom from pain/evil; perfect equilibrium; the number zero; a god-like state of psychical tranquillity and indifference); for others, pain (e.g., the pain of debt) should be thought of as a positive (‘credit’) “movement” or sensation.

Following this chain of reasoning/sophistry then, it is not too difficult to see how, some 250 years on, we find ourselves observing tens of millions actually believing that their favourite “Prosperity Gospel” televangelist, “Christian” businessman, or “conservative” politician simply must be a good man – “approved of God”, indeed – by virtue of his enormous wealth.

According to Jane Gleeson-White (Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance), “Our modern urge to measure everything dates back to the late Middle Ages when a ‘radical change of perception’ took place in which mathematics, Venetian bookkeeping, and [monk, magician] Luca Pacioli played a key role. .. [O]nce you can measure something, then you have a quantitative or numerical representation of your subject which you can manipulate and experiment with, no matter how great its errors or omissions.16 (emphasis mine)

In other words, what you can measure, you can control. At least, you can con-vince yourself (and others) that it is so. After all, it does appear to be so with material examples of measurement; why not with the immaterial as well? Indeed, have not the Ancient and Wise clearly advised that the earthly is a mirror (though darkly) of the heavenly? “That which is above is like or equal to that which is below,” say the magi.17

It stands to ‘reason’ then, that if you can find a way, by analogy, to measure morality – if you can measure Good (“God”) and Evil (“Satan”) – then you can control, that is, attain power over the forces of Good and Evil.

Hedonistic (or “felicific”) calculus is usually attributed to the English philosopher, legal scholar, and founder of so-called “utilitarian [i.e., useful] ethics”, Jeremy Bentham. His efforts, like those of Ortes, can hardly have failed to find favour with the money-lending oligarchy. Indeed, we must acknowledge the great historical significance of the sublime eloquence and cunning casuistry of Bentham, in something other than its useful role in the promotion of his utilitarian calculus. It was also the catalysing force for the final capitulation of the remaining vestiges of sincere community-spiritedness within elite opinion, with regard to the traditional legal restrictions on the practice of usury (since Bentham, conveniently and happily rebranded under the more ‘positive’ appellation of “interest”).

In Defence of Usury (1788) he argued against “the Impolicy of the Present Legal Restraints on the Terms of Pecuniary Bargains”. Bentham basically opined that what had been considered legal protections against the predations of money-lenders – protections proven to be a genuine necessity for millennia of human history – are instead “Restraints to the Progress of Inventive Industry”.

Liberty, you see, must include a “right” for “free” individuals to offer and/or accept an offer of usurious (etym., a serpent’s biting) “bargains” with other “free” individuals. As usual with Benthamite notions of “useful” ethics, this nod and a wink to evil is allegedly for the greater good. In this especially egregious example of casuistic reasoning (also known as “special pleading”) for the inversion of traditional moral values, serpentine “pecuniary bargains” are now necessary for the greater good of “Progress of Inventive Industry”.

Usury – like the “positive” pain of Ortes – is a “necessary evil”, don’t you see? It is actually “good” for “progress” toward the apotheosis of Inventive Industry. Without the disequilibrating pain of compounding debt, we would have no incentive to work, to constantly “invent” new (or copied) products and services and convince others (by fair means or foul) to buy them (whether needed or wanted or not). In other words, without the “necessary evil” pain of debt that, having “a ‘fecundity’ of its own”, is constantly growing in a “chain reaction effect” (i.e., compounding “interest”) – a type of pain that has no quantifiable limits, according to Ortes, economics textbooks, and many economists – without this “necessary evil”, we would have no ongoing need to compete with each other for money, or to seek “pleasure” (the “reduction of pain”) in the acquisition of money, and so, in the repayment of debt to the money-lenders, spend our lifetimes in a great apotheotic quest – to restore ourselves to our original “higher” equilibrium state of perfect tranquillity.

Clearly the much-lauded Jeremy Bentham was not so great or original a thinker as some have chosen to believe. A sophist, casuist, and intellectual enabler of the money-lending class would appear to be a more accurate appellation. Indeed, it has been soundly argued that “in the entire school of British Philosophical Radicalism after the time of the American Revolution – including Malthus, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), James Mill (1773-1836) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) – there is virtually nothing that cannot already be found in Ortes. The British empiricists were, as usual, obliged slavishly to plagiarize their decadent Venetian originals.”18

Karl Marx offers us a further insight into the “Enlightenment” world of the British empire, where we see that indeed nothing has changed; then, as now, public opinion was invariably moved by the tide of eloquent but unoriginal plagiarists shilling for the oligarchy (emphasis mine):

If the reader reminds me of Malthus, whose “Essay on Population” appeared in 1798, I remind him that this work in its first form is nothing more than a schoolboyish, superficial plagiary of De Foe, Sir James Steuart, Townsend, Franklin, Wallace, &c., and does not contain a single sentence thought out by himself. The great sensation this pamphlet caused, was due solely to party interest. The French Revolution had found passionate defenders in the United Kingdom; the “principle of population,” slowly worked out in the eighteenth century, and then, in the midst of a great social crisis, proclaimed with drums and trumpets as the infallible antidote to the teachings of Condorcet, &c., was greeted with jubilance by the English oligarchy as the great destroyer of all hankerings after human development. .. With the exception of the Venetian monk, Ortes, an original and clever writer, most of the population theory teachers are Protestant parsons.19

If Bentham et al merely re-presented ideas that had first been advanced by Ortes when Bentham was still a child, then where did he get them from? Although praised by Karl Marx a century later as “an original and clever writer”, we have now seen that Marx’s acuity with regard to Malthus seemingly abandoned him with regard to Ortes; the Venetian “charlatan and mountebank” had promoted little more than eloquent self- and banker-serving analogies to the Venetian Method of double-entry bookkeeping.

Around the turn of the 16th century and the high point of the Hermetic Reformation20, better known to us today as the humanist Renaissance (“rebirth” in French), Europe’s most famous living artist, the genius Albrecht Dürer produced a masterful work entitled Allegory of Eloquence*.

A curator at the British Museum informs us that Dürer’s treatment of the subject is “based on a sketch by Hartman Schedel after an antique bas-relief, in his ‘Collectanea’. Schedel’s source for this was the Italian antiquarian and epigraphist, Cyriacus of Ancona (c. 1391-1450). In the legend, used by the ancient Greek satirist Lucian, Hermes (or Mercury) is described ensnaring his audience with the golden chain of his eloquence.”

allegory-of-eloquence_Albrecht-Durer

The trickster god referred to in an early Arabic source on alchemy as “Hermes, the Sage, the Babylonian”21, is depicted by Dürer consistent with classical Greek and mystery school tradition: rising on winged feet, wearing a winged traveller’s hat and bearing in his right hand the double serpents and baculus of the caduceus, symbol of universal generation, eternal life, and universal equilibrium. Over his head shines a six-pointed star, representing the Double Triangle and Keys of Solomon, the “magical law of two forces constituting universal equilibrium”22. Golden chains extend from Hermes’ tongue to the ears of his listeners, including a cleric, a soldier, and a nobleman wearing the familiar tall hat (later silk top hat) satirised throughout the capitalist era to the present day as a quintessential symbol of the oligarchy – that is to say, of the upper class, big business, and bankers.

An inscription in Greek above his captive audience reads: “Hermes, the son of Maia, the son of Zeus, Three Times Great, helper, strong, shining light, who works through law, shepherd, slayer of Argo, with a baculus of gold, herald of the gods, diviner, bearer of fortune, hegemon, who makes profits, a thief, a merchant, who is in the marketplace.”

Eliphas Lévi explains what is the secret of the allegory of Hermes’ golden chain (emphasis mine):

To make the Magic Chain is to establish a magnetic current which becomes stronger in proportion to the extent of the chain.

The Great Work in Practical Magic, after the education of the will and the personal creation of the Magus, is the formation of the magnetic chain, and this secret is truly that of priesthood and of royalty. To form the magnetic chain is to originate a current of ideas which produces faith and draws a large number of wills in a given circle of active manifestation. A well-formed chain is like a whirlpool which sucks down and absorbs all. The chain may be established in three ways – by signs, by speech and by contact. The first is by inducing opinion to adopt some sign as the representation of a force. .. Once accepted and propagated, signs acquire force of themselves.

market-economics-system

Printing is an admirable instrument for the formation of the magic chain by the extension of speech.

The magic chain of speech was typified among the ancients by chains of gold, which issued from the mouth of Hermes. Nothing equals the electricity of eloquence. Speech creates the highest intelligence in the most grossly constituted masses. Even those who are too remote for actual hearing understand by sympathy and are carried away with the crowd.

Two things, as we have shown, are necessary for the acquisition of magical power – the emancipation of will from servitude and its instruction in the art of domination.

We have already said that the devil is not a person. It is a misdirected force, as its name indicates. An odic or magnetic current, formed by a chain of perverse wills, constitutes this evil spirit, which the Gospel calls legion, and this it is which precipitated the swine into the sea – another allegory of the attraction exercised on beings of inferior instincts by the blind forces that can be put in operation by error and evil will.

All enthusiasm propagated in a society by a series of communications and practices in common produces a magnetic current, and continues or increases by the current. The action of the current is to carry away and often to exalt beyond measure persons who are impressionable and weak, nervous organisations, temperaments inclined to hysteria or hallucination. Such people soon become powerful vehicles of magical force and efficiently project the astral light in the direction of the current itself; opposition at such a time to the manifestations of the force is, to some extent, a struggle with fatality.

Hence there are two kinds of bewitchment, voluntary and involuntary; physical and moral bewitchment may be distinguished in like manner. .. Bewitchment by means of currents is exceedingly common, as we have observed already; morally as well as physically, most of us are carried away by the crowd.

The great work is, before all things, the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future; it is especially the perfect emancipation of his will, assuring him universal dominion over Azoth and the domain of Magnesia, in other words, full power over the universal magical agent.

This solar agent subsists by two contrary forces – one of attraction and one of projection, whence Hermes says that it ascends and descends eternally. .. To be acquainted with the movement of this terrestrial sun in such a manner as to be able to take advantage of its currents and direct them, is to have accomplished the great work and to be master of the world. Armed with such a force you may make yourself adored; the crowd will believe you are God.23

It should be fully apparent by now that these two “contrary forces” of “attraction” and “projection” are simply eloquent metaphors for money-lending; the ‘Magical Art’ of “projecting” and “attracting” money.

Indeed, in a chapter entitled “Mastery of the Sun”, Lévi informs us that (emphasis in original):

The work consists entirely in projection, and projection is accomplished perfectly by the effective and realisable intelligence of a single word. There is but one important operation, and that is sublimation24

The thoughtful reader should need no reminder that “Magical equilibrium is one of the first conditions of success” in the great work, and that this ‘magic’ is achieved specifically by “learning to combine contraries without neutralising them by one another”. In other words, by working (like Hermes) “through law” to ensure the “attraction” of payment of compounding usury, in addition to the “neutralising” repayment of the original “projection” of the principal.

In The Eternal Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus, Antoine Faivre provides an important detail concerning the magnetism of “Hermes in the Western Imagination”. He informs us that the French Renaissance humanist writer and monk François Rabelais “knew that Pan was descended from Hermes and Penelope, and had heard tell of the oracle of Hermes at Pharae” (emphasis mine):

Ludwig Schrader has furnished an excellent study of this subject, his interest being particularly in Panurge. .. Panurge can be identified with Hermes.

Panurge is not only connected to the tradition of Hermetic magic: he also has something of the humanist Hermes, the savant of his time. This does not prevent him from being at the same time a sort of alchemist, for he claims to possess the Philosophers’ Stone: “I have a philosophical stone which sucks money out of purses as the magnet attracts iron.” And in his speech in praise of debtors, he speaks of the “joy of the alchemists when, after long labors, great care and expense, they see the metals transmuted in their furnaces.”25

In my forthcoming book I present a controversial yet robustly-evidenced argument: that the fundamental principles of economic theory and practice – the ‘laws’ of supply and demand, market equilibrium, ‘rational’ self-interest, ‘utility’ (“pleasure”) maximisation, hedonistic calculus, and more – are all derived from the “universal science” of Hermetic-Kabbalist Luciferianism.

This whirlpool of ideas is perhaps better known to us today under the rubric “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” of twentieth century occultist and “Wickedest Man in the World”, Aleister Crowley.

Aleister Crowley

George Cooper (Money, Blood and Revolution) recently observed that “One of [Thomas Kuhn’s] greatest insights came in recognising how paradigm shifts are usually led by laymen and resisted by the incumbent experts who have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. When new thinking is needed, Kuhn showed the experts are usually intransigent, dogmatic and unwilling to objectively criticise their own ideas.”26

In a similar vein, Eliphas Lévi warned that “it is weariness and danger to strive against the fluidic currents stirred up by chains of wills in union. .. The man who is eccentric in his genius is one who attempts to form a circle by combating the central attractive force of established chains and currents.”27

Quite so. No matter how compelling the evidence, no doubt there will be not inconsiderable resistance to my argument that not only economic theory but also a multiplicity of widely-held philosophistries including dialectics, humanism, secularism, liberalism, materialism, evolutionary theory, political science and sociology, are all linked by a golden chain of eloquence veiling a universal temptation – the Pride-ful idea of self-directed apotheosis (“progress”) through values-inversion and practicing evil – passed down through time by the keepers and manipulators of the “universal wisdom” and their Magic Chain of “impressionable and weak” Useful Idiots of “perverse wills”.

American historian and philosopher of technology Lewis Mumford says that the ultimate values of the capitalist era – Power, Profit, Prestige – can all be traced back to Egypt (emphasis mine):

Within a few centuries, the new capitalist spirit challenged the basic Christian ethic: the boundless ego of Sir Gales Overreach and his fellows in the marketplace had no room for charity or love in any of their ancient senses. The capitalist scheme of values in fact transformed five of the seven deadly sins of Christianity – pride, envy, greed, avarice, and lust – into positive social virtues, treating them as necessary incentives to all economic enterprise; while the cardinal virtues, beginning with love and humility, were rejected as ‘bad for business,’ except in the degree that they made the working class more docile and more amenable to cold-blooded exploitation.

In sum, where capitalism prospered, it established three main canons for successful economic enterprise: the calculation of quantity, the observation and regimentation of time (‘Time is Money’), and the concentration on abstract pecuniary rewards. Its ultimate values – Power, Profit, Prestige – derive from these sources and all of them can be traced back, under the flimsiest of disguises, to the Pyramid Age. The first produced the universal accountancy of profit and loss; the second ensured productive efficiency in men as well as machines; the third introduced a driving motive into daily life, equivalent on its own base level to the monk’s search for an eternal reward in Heaven. The pursuit of money became a passion and an obsession: the end to which all other ends were means.28

I argue that the chain of transmission of this magnetic “current of ideas” can be traced back through the adepts of the Art of Alchemy to its earliest recorded origin in the Sumerian-Semitic cult worship of Inanna-Ishtar, the androgyne goddess of Love and War, whose priesthood and royalty strove after ultimate god-like power over the elements – and of course, their fellow man – via esoteric knowledge, self-deification, and the symbolic manipulation (through ritual inversion of values) of the ‘universal’ paradox of achdut hashvaah or coincidentia oppositorum, the Unity of Opposites (emphasis mine):

It is well established that the beginnings of science in general started in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and from thence they were transferred into Greece. It is useful therefore to investigate the beginnings of chemistry in these two ancient civilizations since this may reveal to us the origin of several theoretical concepts in both alchemy and chemistry.

The Babylonians believed that the universe originated from water. They noticed also that the universe contains opposite elements. Thus there is day and night; light and darkness; male and female; hot and cold; wet and dry. There is also the good and the evil, and in general, there is for every feature an opposite one. It is also possible to divide matter into two opposite elements, and from these two opposite elements everything can be generated.

The Babylonians were keen observers of the stars; and from their early history they believed that the gods are in control of the planets. They believed also that the sun, the moon and the other planets [CM: five then known; with sun and moon, seven “gates”] have influence on what happens on earth. This was the beginning of astrology. The influence of the planets involves metals; thus sun influences gold, and the moon influences silver, and the other planets control the remaining metals. This linkage between the planets and metals was the biggest contribution of the Babylonians to alchemy or the Art.

The principle of the two opposites of the Babylonians was inherited by Greek philosophers who were thinking about the nature of matter and whose theories were based in part on the Babylonian concept.29

Central .. to the Mesopotamian perspective is the existence of antitheses and contradictions, the delicate balancing of order and disorder.30

The Babylonian elites’ quest continues to this day, mirrored in post-Renaissance humanism’s continuing belief in the doctrine of progressive transformation towards individual, social, economic, and political apotheosis; not by force of Conscience, guiding man’s exercise of willpower to progressive growth in the practice of good and cessation of the practice of evil, but by force of human Ego, directed by “enlightened” human Intelligence – possessed only by an elite cabal of fully “liberated” “priesthood and royalty”, of course.

Same as it ever was.

In her introduction to Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, the “gifted storyteller and professional folklorist” Diane Wolkstein discusses the legend of Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld, the earliest written evidence for a preoccupation with apotheosis. Her words hint at the magnetically-attractive power of this idea; the notion of the rebirth to deity, through Self-empowerment, and a dead-conscience attitude of “whatever it takes” (emphasis mine):

I read Inanna’s descent again and again. I was drawn to the story of a woman who gave up, at seven successive gates, all she had accomplished in life until she was stripped naked, with nothing remaining but her will to be reborn.31

How positively inspiring!

Unfortunately, Wolkstein herself has been bewitched by the magnetism of clever sophistries passed down through the aeons by the purveyors of the golden “chain of perverse wills”.

The Inanna myth says no such thing:

The moral which an ancient hearer of The Descent of Inanna might take away from it, far from a `symbolic journey of the self to wholeness’ is the lesson that there are consequences for one’s actions..32

Indeed, Wolkstein’s own representations of co-author Samuel Kramer’s original translations of the Inanna myth, are the strongest evidence giving the lie to her enchanted enthusiasms. Rather than Inanna being the powerful independent “liberated” heroine exalted by modern feminists, a Queen who impliedly saved herself through her “will to be reborn”, the story as rendered by Wolkstein herself irrefutably evidences the fact of Inanna being saved from the Underworld by the intervention of a pair of genderless golems (“demons”33), two androgynous mediators representing a unity of opposites sent by her Father … and even then, she was not permitted to leave without providing “someone in her place”:

From under his fingernail Father Enki brought forth dirt.
He fashioned the dirt into a kurgarra, a creature neither male nor female.
From under the fingernail of his other hand he brought forth dirt.
He fashioned the dirt into a galatur, a creature neither male nor female.
He gave the food of life to the kurgarra.
He gave the water of life to the galatur.
Enki spoke to the kurgarra and galatur, saying:

“Go to the underworld,
Enter the door like flies.
Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld, is moaning

The queen will be pleased.
She will offer you a gift.
Ask her only for the corpse that hangs from the hook on the wall.
One of you will sprinkle the food of life on it.
The other will sprinkle the water of life.
Inanna will arise.”

kurgarra_galatur_RLoriented_8000ms

 

The kurgarra and the galatur heeded Enki’s words.
They set out for the underworld.
Like flies, they slipped through the cracks of the gates.
They entered the throne room of the Queen of the Underworld.

The corpse was given to them.
The kurgarra sprinkled the food of life on the corpse.
The galatur sprinkled the water of life on the corpse.
Inanna arose….

Inanna was about to ascend from the underworld
When the Annuna, the judges of the underworld, seized her.
They said:

“No one ascends from the underworld unmarked.
If Inanna wishes to return from the underworld,
She must provide someone in her place.”34

INANNA_DESCENT_691x940

But again, I digress.

Some scholars believe that the ceremonial inversion of values practiced by the Inanna-Ishtar cult may have served a positive social purpose (“They remind us of the existence of rule”35). However, later initiates in the mystery school religions came to believe in apotheosis by “education of the will” in habituated evil acts; that only in this way is it possible to achieve “emancipation of the will”, to “liberate” the “Absolute Reason” of the Individual from “the servitude of conscience”.

Inanna asked:

“What is this?”

She was told:

“Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect.
They may not be questioned.”36

 

Outside of the initiatory mystery schools in Freemasonry et al, and secret societies for future US presidents at Yale University, within the realm of economics there has in recent times perhaps been no finer example of the magnetic power of eloquence to deify and justify (“rationalise”) acts of evil, deaden the Conscience (“liberty”), and convince the “impressionable and weak” of the ‘relative’ merit of inverting the moral order in the interests of attaining “the greater good” of illusory utopian aspirations, than the words of economist John Maynard Keynes in his aptly titled Essays on Persuasion (emphasis mine):

I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue – that avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanour, and the love of money is detestable, that those walk most truly in the paths of virtue and sane wisdom who take least thought for the morrow. We shall once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful. We shall honour those who can teach us how to pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well, the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things, the lilies of the field who toil not, neither do they spin.

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.37

Robert H. Bork (The Antitrust Paradox) wrote that “One of the uses of history is to free us of a falsely imagined past. The less we know of how ideas actually took root and grew, the more apt we are to accept them unquestioningly, as inevitable features of the world in which we move.”

Indeed. So let us conclude back where we began.

Not only the realm of economics but indeed our entire world of ‘thought’, is now dominated – possessed, if you will – by an idea. That by slowly killing our Conscience in a death of a thousand cuts, through repeated, habituated, sometimes enchanted but often plain willful acts of evil, somehow a “greater good” will come of it.

The lesson drawn from deep dark history and the earliest written records of humanity, the lesson that I aim to prove beyond all shadow of doubt in my forthcoming book, is that this idea is false … and the truly Wise have always known it to be false.

It is a deliberate manipulation. An inversion of the truth.

A wise old prophet said:

Woe (judgment is coming) to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Woe (judgment is coming) to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever and shrewd in their own sight!38

Perhaps we should leave the final word to the Babylonians themselves. In the Descent of Inanna, we are told that as she languished a corpse on a hook of the wall of the Underworld, her faithful servant Ninshubur – “my constant support, my sukkal who gives me wise advice, my warrior who fights by my side” – following Inanna’s instructions given her “If I fail to return”39, went to the temple of Enlil, and prayed to the Air god to save her:

“O Father Enlil, do not let your daughter
Be put to death in the underworld.”

Father Enlil answered angrily:

“My daughter craved the Great Above.
Inanna craved the Great Below.
She who receives the me of the underworld does not return.
She who goes to the Dark City stays there.”40

 
********
 

UPDATE 17/4/2017: Added quotations, footnotes 32 and 33

 
********

  1. Eliphas Lévi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, (AE Waite 1896 ed.), p.132
  2. Michael Hudson, Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to ibn Khaldrun, Counterpunch (June 24, 2016)
  3. Marco E. L. Guidi, Pain and Human Action: Locke to Bentham, (1994), p.17 – Guidi examines theories of human action based on pain and pleasure from Hobbes to Pareto with particular reference to Verri and Ortes. He posits that what has been viewed as a single or ‘sensationalist’ tradition was in fact the result of two different approaches to analysis of human decisions. He contrasts these as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ hedonism (emphasis mine): “Pain and pleasure are for Hobbes (1588-1679) the result of the interaction between two causal mechanisms: the action of external bodies on senses, and from there to the head and to the heart, and the “vital movement” of human body. The confrontation of these causal mechanisms takes place in the heart. Pleasure is experienced when the external causation seconds the internal movement, while pain is the result of the clash between the two mechanisms. However, pain and pleasure are not passive sensations. Human bodies react to the influence of pleasurable and painful events, and are urged to approach the objects which are pleasant, or to escape from those which are unpleasant (Hobbes A: 49-50)1. For this reason, the prime mover of action are inclinations and adversions, i.e. “foreseen and expected” pleasures and pains (Hobbes B: 147; C: I.vi).” p.4
  4. Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 1 chap XXV sec 4
  5. ibid., n.6
  6. W.H. Tarpley, Giammaria Ortes: The Decadent Venetian Kook Who Originated The Myth of “Carrying Capacity”
  7. Giammaria Ortes, Della Economia Nazionale, (Milano: Marzorati) edited by Oscar Nuccio; quotation from W.H. Tarpley
  8. Giammaria Ortes, Della Economia Nazionale; quotation from Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 1 chap XXV sec 4, n.26
  9. ibid.
  10. Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 1 chap XXV sec 4
  11. Giammaria Ortes, Della Economia Nazionale, (Milano: Marzorati) edited by Oscar Nuccio, p. 45; quotation from W.H. Tarpley
  12. Richard A. Werner, Can banks individually create money out of nothing? — The theories and the empirical evidence (2014)
  13. Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (AE Waite 1896 ed.), pp. 46, 74-75
  14. Marco E. L. Guidi, Pain and Human Action: Locke to Bentham, (1994), p. 8
  15. Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (AE Waite 1896 ed.), pp. 28, 34, 52, 55-56, 337
  16. Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance (2013)
  17. Eliphas Lévi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, (AE Waite 1896 ed.), p.44; cf. “‘That which is above equals that which is below,’ says Hermes.”, p. 38
  18. W.H. Tarpley, Giammaria Ortes: The Decadent Venetian Kook Who Originated The Myth of “Carrying Capacity”
  19. Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 1 chap XXV sec 4, n.6
  20. James D. Heiser, Prisci Theologi and the Hermetic Reformation in the Fifteenth Century, 2011
  21. Vladimír Karpenko, Alchemy as donum dei, HYLE – International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry, Vol. 4 (1998), No. 1, pp. 63-80 – “In the Tenth Discourse of his treatise Al-Fihrist,[12] An-Nadim (A.D. 987) writes, after the introductory basmallah, about the origin of alchemy [§ 1]: ‘The adepts of the Art of Alchemy, … assert that the science of the Art was first discussed by Hermes, the Sage, the Babylonian …’.”
  22. Eliphas Lévi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, (AE Waite 1896 ed.), p. 291
  23. ibid., pp. 52, 99-100, 106, 129, 229-230, 260-261, 263
  24. ibid., p. 335
  25. Antoine Faivre, The Eternal Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus (1995), pp. 36-38
  26. George Cooper, Constant Reformation, Equitile Investments, (July 2016)
  27. Eliphas Lévi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, (AE Waite 1896 ed.), p. 101, 129
  28. Lewis Mumford, Myth of the Machine (1967)
  29. Ahmad Y. al-Hassan, Arabic Alchemy ‘Ilm al-San’a: Science of the Art; History of Science and Technology in Islam
  30. Rivkah Harris, Inanna-Ishtar as Paradox and Coincidence of Opposites; History of Religions, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Feb., 1991), p. 267
  31. Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (1983), p. xvi
  32. Joshua J. Mark, Inanna’s Descent: A Sumerian Tale of Injustice (2011), http://www.ancient.eu/article/215/
  33. ibid.
  34. Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (1983), p. 64, 67-68
  35. Rivkah Harris, Inanna-Ishtar as Paradox and Coincidence of Opposites; History of Religions, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Feb., 1991), p. 274, n.70; quotation from Umberto Eco, “The Frames of Comic Freedom” in Carnival!
  36. Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (1983), p. 56-60
  37. JM Keynes, ‘The Future’; Essays in Persuasion, pp. 371-372, Norton and Co Edition, New York, 1963
  38. Isaiah 5:20-21, The Amplified Bible
  39. Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (1983), p. 53
  40. ibid., p. 61

* Dürer’s Allegory of Eloquence brought to my attention by Dr. Omar Zaid, published in his paper The Subversion of Reason, SSRN-id2658998 – https://zaidpub.com/

 

Standard
Time

The Money $hot: Even Banking Is All About Sex

 

On Double-Entry Bookkeeping, Money Creation, Sexual Alchemy, and the Magickal Inversion of Values

 

“In vulgar opinion, transmutations and metamorphoses have always been the very essence of magic. Now, the crowd, being the echo of opinion, which is queen of the world, is never perfectly right nor entirely wrong. Magic really changes the nature of things, or, rather, modifies their appearances at pleasure, according to the strength of the operator’s will … Speech creates its form, and when a person, held infallible, confers a name upon a given thing, he really transforms that thing into the substance signified by the name. The masterpiece of speech and of faith, in this order, is the real transmutation of a substance without change in its appearances.”1

– Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, 1896

 

“In case you thought banks lend moneythey take deposits and lend moneyyou’re wrong. Legally, they do not take deposits, they borrow from the public. The expressions in banking are designed to mislead what’s really happening. What does a bank do? Banks purchase securities .. and they don’t pay up.”

– Professor Richard Werner, Address to the Russian Academy of Sciences, 12 Feb 2015

 

It is often said that “the devil is in the detail”. We commonly understand this to mean that hidden somewhere there is a catch or mysterious element. It serves as a warning to pay close attention in order to avoid error… or entrapment.

When we consider the grand mystical numberland of banking and finance today, with its infinitely labyrinthine mountains of multi-layered financial derivatives—allegedly ‘monetary’ instruments bearing incomprehensible acronyms, innumerable interconnections, and indecipherable obligations—one might be forgiven for believing that the devil and his minions really does now rule the world.

So it is both interesting and ironic that this idiom is itself a derivativeand an inversionof an earlier saying.

“Le bon Dieu est dans le détail” (“the good God is in the detail”)2 means that attention paid to small things has big rewards. It serves as an encouragement to be conscientious in one’s work; that whatever one does, it should be done thoroughly, with an eye to how “the good God” will judge it.

There is one small detail that has been troubling me ever since publishing my June 2015 essay, On Principal And Interest, Hermetic Magick, And The Lords Of Time.

There, we traced the history of el modo vinegia (“the Venetian method”) of double-entry bookkeeping, and unveiled the abundant evidence for its true purpose.

Contrary to popular belief, it was not developed as a dry, moral values-free, coolly rational mathematical tool of accounting and practical commerce. It was, rather, a Hermetic-Kabbalist ‘magick’ method for a very different kind of calculationthe deliberate, willful concealment of the immoral (and at the time, illegal) practice of lending money for gain (usury).

We also demonstrated that the method, both of double-entry bookkeeping, and of bank ‘money’ (credit) creation ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), is precisely represented by the Hermetic-Kabbalist alchemical symbol of the hexagram:

LOAN-STAR-CC_DE

 

However, in one small detail, the above diagram has never appeared to me to be perfectly consistent with 19th century French occult magus Eliphas Lévi’s “Double Triangle of Solomon”, as referenced in my essay:

Seal of Solomon, front page of Eliphas Lévi's 'Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual' (Source: Wikipedia)

Seal of Solomon, front page of Eliphas Lévi’s ‘Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual’ (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Lévi tells us that “(t)he notion of the infinite and the absolute is expressed by this sign … the most simple and complete abridgment of the science of all things”3:

The Double Triangle of Solomon, represented by the two Ancients of the Kabbalah; the Macroprosopus and the Microprosopus; the God of Light and the God of Reflections; mercy and vengeance; the white Jehovah and the black Jehovah.4

 

Specifically, the detail that has long troubled me is the two little symbols (and their inverses) in Lévi’s sign, representing inter alia the Hermetic-Kabbalist alchemical axiom, “As above, so below”5:

“That which is above equals that which is below,” says Hermes.6

Screen shot 2015-04-12 at 6.39.30 PM copy 2

 

Comparing with my diagram, the apparent inconsistency is clear:

LOAN-STAR-CC_DE - highlight

 

As you can see, that which is Above does not appear to be the same as that which is Below – that is to say, in the very particular sense of there not appearing to be two different pairs of opposing (inverse) identities on the Left hand side versus the Right hand side, as depicted in Lévi’s “Great Seal”.

Note carefully that the word values (meanings) do not appear to match – even though their numerical values do, as indeed they must (remember the fundamental rule of double-entry bookkeeping – “For every credit there must be a matching debit”):

LOAN-STAR-1s-CC_DE

 

The apparent inconsistency is easily resolved, however, by a closer consideration of Lévi’s magnum opus, with particular attention to the importance of languageand especially of speechin ritual magick (italicised and bold emphasis added):

Grammar itself attributes three persons to the verb. The first is that which speaks, the second that which is spoken to, and the third the object. .. The magical dogma is also one in three and three in one. That which is above is like or equal to that which is below. Thus, two things which resemble one another and the word which signifies their resemblance make three.7

 

What is the word that signifies the “resemblance” of the symbols and their inverses?

What is the word that defines not the form but the substance of the so-called ‘Asset’ and ‘Liability’words that appear to be contradictoryas employed in the process of bank ‘money’ creation?

Interestingly, the correct word is itself a triadic word; one in three and three in one.

Promise-to-Pay.

Or, to use the correct legal term employed by the ‘money’ creators, a Promissory Note (ie, promise-ory). In layman’s terms, an I-Owe-You (“IOU”).

If you have read my earlier essay, you will recall that we went through the double entry process step by step, demonstrating that it is precisely represented by the Double Triangle of Solomon.

Let us review that process symbolically once again, but this time, with a more precise, and complete word definition included. That is to say, we will now include the triadic word (“IOU”) that signifies the unity of the “two things which resemble one another”the two apparent oppositesthat are being created. We will also include the word that signifies the identity of the person issuing the IOU.

When you go to the bank to borrow money, the first critical step is the forming of an agreement – the loan contract:

The contract says, in essence, that the bank promises-to-pay (IOU) a number of Dollars, Euros, or Pounds (the “principal” of the loan), in exchange for your promise-to-pay (IOU) the bank the same (“principal”) number of Dollars, Euros or Pounds back again …

… plus “interest” (usury):

From your perspective as the borrower, on the one (right) hand your IOU to the bank is your Liability – you are going to have to discharge that liability, by paying the bank in future. On the other (left) hand, the bank’s IOU to you is your Asset – when the bank discharges its liability to you, you will have ‘money’ to spend:

Borrower-transformation-IOU

 

Likewise, from the bank’s perspective, their IOU to you is their Liability, and your IOU to them is their Asset:

Lender-transformation-IOU

 

When the loan contracta binding legal documentis signed by both parties, the Sacred Marriage or Divine Union between the male (phallic △) principle (the Lender), and the female (vulva ▽) principle (the Borrower) is ready to be consummated.8

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $

 

It behooves one to draw attention to the obvious anthropomorphic metaphor here: the Borrower is about to get ****** by the Lender.

As we can now see, by carefully defining what is the true substance, and not just the magickal form of words used, the Above does indeed match the Below. The legal substance (an IOU) and its numerical value (the principal amount) is identical, as is the identity (person) who “owes” on either side. Only the word form (and thus, the word value, or meaning) is transformed, by inversion:

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $-As Above

 

Now, consider carefully that it is the Lender (male △ identity) IOU that appears in its inverse reflections “As above, so Below” on the Left hand side, while the Borrower (female ▽ identity) IOU appears on the Right hand side.

Eliphas Lévi informs us that (bold and italicised emphasis added):

The primeval sages, when seeking the First of Causes, beheld good and evil in the world; they considered the shadow and the light; they compared winter with spring, age with youth, life with death, and their conclusion was this: The First Cause is beneficent and severe; it gives and takes away life. Then are there two contrary principles, the one good and the other evil, exclaimed the disciples of Manes. No, the two principles of universal equilibrium are not contrary, although contrasted in appearance, for a singular wisdom opposes one to another. Good is on the right, evil on the left, but the supreme excellence is above both, applying evil to the victory of good and good to the amendment of evil.9

 

It is apparent then, that the Hermetic-Kabbalist creators of the Venetian method of double-entry bookkeeping have also inverted the traditional correspondence of Good with the Right hand side, and Evil with the Left hand side. In double entry, the rule of law (pun meaningfully intended) is reversed – Assets (“in the black“) are shown on the Left, and Liabilities (“in the red“) on the Right:

If the stunned exclamation “Holy ****!” leapt to your lips in the watching of that video, then you might well be forgiven.

Why so?

Because you are more near to right than you know.

This formalised inversion of values can be traced back to the ancient Semitic empires of Mesopotamia, and the cult worship of Inanna-Ishtar, goddess of Love and War, the “Queen of Heaven” (all parentheses in original; bold and italicised emphasis added):

Central to the goddess as paradox is her well-attested psychological and more rarely evidenced physiological androgyny. Inanna-Ishtar is both female and male. Over and over again the texts juxtapose the masculine and feminine traits and behavior of the goddess.10

Her androgyny (also) manifests itself ritually in the transvestism of her cultic personnel. The awesome power of the goddess shows itself in the shattering of the human boundary between the sexes: “She (Ishtar) [changes] the right side (male) into the left side (female), she [changes] the left side into the right side, she [turns] a man into a woman, she [turns] a woman into a man, she ador[ns] a man as a woman, she ador[ns] a woman as a man.”11

Sjöberg… discusses the meaning of the transformation implied here. In his opinion, the passage does not suggest “a changing of the sexes when referring to the Inanna-Ishtar cult. The passages refer only to the changing roles of women and men in the cult ceremonies.” … Note the association in Mesopotamia, as elsewhere, of the left side with the female and the right side with the male. On the “pure right” hand and the “impure left” hand, see M. Civil, “Enlil and Ninlil: The Marriage of Sud”…12

Inanna-Ishtar combines male aggressiveness with the force of superabundance of female sexuality. She encompasses the two forms of potential disorder and violencesex and war.13

The most vivid expressions of the goddess’s innate contradictions appear in the following passage:

To run, to escape, to quiet and to pacify are yours, Inanna….
To destroy, to build up, to tear up and to settle are yours, Inanna….
To turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man are yours, Inanna….
Business, great winning, financial loss, deficit are yours, Inanna….
Neglect, careful preparation, to raise the head and to subdue are yours, Inanna….
Slander, untruthful words, to speak inimical (words) (and) to add hostile words are yours, Inanna….
To initiate a quarrel, to joke, to cause smiling, to be base and to be important are yours, Inanna.14

Inanna-Ishtar’s cultic celebrations and cultic personnel above all reflect her anomalousness and liminality. She is, one might say, externalized into unordered, carnivalesque celebration that demonstrates a reaching beyond the normal order of things and the breakdown of norms. The goddess’s festivals are institutionalized license. They celebrate and tolerate disorder. They are occasions when social rules are in abeyance and deviance from norms is articulated. Through symbolic inversion they attack the basic categorical differences between male and female, human and animal, young and old.15

The chief participants and actors in the goddess’s cult are well known by name … Their transvestism simulated the androgyny of Inanna-Ishtar. It was perhaps the inversion of the male/female binary opposition that thereby neutralized this opposition. By emulating their goddess who was both female and male, they shattered the boundary between the sexes. … The cultic personnel of the goddess in their costumes, words, and acts had but one goal: “to delight Ishtar’s heart, give themselves up to (otherwise) for[bidden] actions.”16

Inanna_Ishtar-vase

The male prostitutes comb their hair before her….
They decorate the napes of their necks with colored bands….
They gird themselves with the sword belt, the “arm of battle”….
Their right side they decorate with women’s clothing….
Their left side they cover with men’s clothing….
With jump ropes and colored cords they compete before her….

The one who covers the sword with blood, he sprinkles blood….
He pours out blood on the dais of the throne room.16a

Returning then to our account of the monetary Sacred Marriage or Divine Union that is about to be consummated—that is, now that the all-important legal document (the loan contract) has been signedwe are about to discover that another inversion of (word) values is about to take place. This one, far more crucial. And entirely one-sided.

For clarity, and confirmation, we turn to the ground-breaking empirical research of Professor Richard Werner, the Chair in International Banking at Southampton University UK, author of the best-selling book Princes of the Yen, and the must-see documentary of the same name.

From the video lecture at top this essay:

If you go to the bank and you borrow money you sign a loan contractvery crucial. Your signature creates the money supply. Because the banklegallywill consider the loan contract a Promissory Note, and that’s what it’s considered legally, a Promissory Noteand the bank purchases this contract. That’s what they do; they purchase the loan contract. Now, they owe you money. You say ‘I don’t care about the mechanics, give me the money’. The banker will say, ‘We’ll put it in your account. You’ll find it in your bank account’. Well, what is a bank account? It is not a deposit. What is it? It is a record of the bank’s debt to the public; it is a record of the bank’s debt to the new borrower, and they’ll show you the record of how much money they owe you. That’s it. They don’t pay up.17

 

In other words, the Lenderthe male (phallic △) principledoes not discharge his Sacred Marital (legal) obligation to the Borrower, the female (vulva ▽) principle.

‘Our’ monetary system is really an Un-holy ****”.

It is an anthropomorphic metaphor for the ancient alchemical practice of coitus reservatusan andocentric, misogynist, predatory ritual magick system for the acquisition, manipulation, transformation, and domination of the female power18 principle of fertility or fecundity (i.e., the power to create abundant new life)applied to the realm of ‘money’ creation. The Lender chooses not to discharge his ‘essence’ (substance) or ‘seed’ (the “principal”) that he is obligated to give her, in exchange for her promise to repay him with her “firstborn” (monetary) “child”; the “first fruits” of her “labour”.

Bernard Lietaer and Rivkah Harris (respectively) explain:

Essentially, to pay back interest on a loan requires using someone else’s principal.  In other words, not creating the money to pay interest is the device used to generate the scarcity necessary for a bank-debt monetary system to function.  It forces people to compete with each other for money that was never created19

Play (mēlulu) is an integral part of Inanna-Ishtar’s personality… her playground was the battleground: “Goddess of fights, let the battle proceed like the play of puppets.” .. “Ishtar, whose play is fighting.”20

 

Now that the Borrower has naïvely signed up for her legal obligation to him, the Lender engages in a willful act of deception; he inverts the meaning of the words used to define his own legal obligation to her.

If you will forgive a little wordplay, well might ‘our’ monetary system be called “Malice in Numberland”.

Professor Werner has demonstrated how this is done in his superb research paper, How do banks create money, and why can other firms not do the same? An explanation for the coexistence of lending and deposit-taking.

For our purposes here I have taken the liberty of excerpting from the Conclusion of the professor’s paper, and inserting the relevant tables (my bold and italicised emphasis added):

The act of signing the loan contract and purchasing it as a promissory note of the borrower without yet making the borrowed funds available to the borrower (Step 1) has the same accounting implications for banks, non-banks and non-financial corporations alike. In all cases, the balance sheets lengthen, as an asset (the loan contract) is acquired and a liability to make money available to the borrower is incurred (accounts payable).21

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 5.24.35 PM

In Step 2, the lender makes the funds available to the borrower. The fact that in Step 2 the bank is alone among firms in showing the same total impact on assets and liabilities as everyone else at Step 1, when the money had not yet been made available to the borrower, demonstrates that the bank did not actually make any money available to the borrower. This means that the bank still has an open ‘accounts payable’ liability, as it has not in fact discharged its original liability. What banks do is to simply reclassify their accounts payable items arising from the act of lending as ‘customer deposits’, and the general public, when receiving payment in the form of a transfer of bank deposits, believes that a form of money had been paid into the bank. As a result, the public readily accepts such ‘bank deposits’ and their ‘transfers’ to defray payments. They are also the main component of the official ‘money supply’ as announced by central banks (M1, M2, M3, M4), which is created almost entirely through this act of re-classifying banks’ accounts payable as fictitious ‘customer deposits’.22

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 5.24.57 PM

This one-sided inversion of (word) values appears like this when depicted in its Hermetic-Kabbalist symbolic form:

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $- Acct Payable copy

 

As you can see, the ‘money’-Lender sex magiciansfor all practical intents and purposestransform their own Liability (“AC Payable”) into a fictitious “Client Deposit” (that is, as seen by the Borrower), through the power of authoritative opinion, repeated ad infinitum.

It is worth recalling Eliphas Lévi here (bold and italicised emphasis added):

In vulgar opinion, transmutations and metamorphoses have always been the very essence of magic. Now, the crowd, being the echo of opinion, which is queen of the world, is never perfectly right nor entirely wrong. Magic really changes the nature of things, or, rather, modifies their appearances at pleasure, according to the strength of the operator’s will … Speech creates its form, and when a person, held infallible, confers a name upon a given thing, he really transforms that thing into the substance signified by the name. The masterpiece of speech and of faith, in this order, is the real transmutation of a substance without change in its appearances.

 

This magick power of speech to create form, and to (apparently) transform the substance of a thing simply by conferring a (different) name on it, is only the more pertinent in light of the recent release of the Panama Papers, allegedly containing evidence of tax avoidance (both legal, and illegal) practiced by wealthy individuals and public officials, through their lawyers and accountants, via offshore company entities.

How so?

In yet another inversion of word values (meaning), there is a formal accounting principle called “Substance over form” that enables precisely the kinds of legal obfuscation adopted by these individuals in moving their wealth offshore … and that banks perform in the magickal transformation of their “accounts payable” obligations (bold and italicised emphasis added):

Substance over form is an accounting principle which recognizes that business transactions should be accounted in accordance with their (economic) substance instead of their (legal) form. Economic substance refers to the underlying economic or commercial purpose of a business transaction apart from its legal or tax considerations. Legal form refers to interpretation of a business transaction in accordance with the applicable business laws.

While accounting for business transactions and other events, substance over form principle requires accountants to measure and present the economic impact of an event instead of its legal form. …

Substance over form principle is recognized by all major financial reporting frameworks, namely the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and US GAAP, etc. External auditors are required to attest that companies recognize all business transactions in compliance with the substance over form concept.23

 

In accounting then, the legal definition of a transaction is not considered its substance; it is now only its form, is open to interpretation, and, most importantly, is to be considered only apart from and secondary to the (claimed) “purpose”. The ‘substance’ will now be whatever the accountant (or banker) claims the purpose of the transaction to be.

Since the economic purpose of a bank’s “accounts payable” item is to provide the customer with ‘money’, then according to this barefaced inversion of logic, reason, and morality, it is standard accounting practice for the bank to re-enter (transform) and record its “accounts payable” item as a “customer deposit”, even though the true substance of that item remains, both legally, and from the bank’s own perspective, a Liability (IOU) of the bank!

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $- Acct Payable copy
 

As we saw in my previous essay, the Venetian method of double-entry bookkeeping was developed as a tool for the deliberate concealment of illegal (and immoral) practices. So perhaps the “substance over form” example of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) should come as no great surprise.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that it is not only through the speech of an authority “held infallible” that such a transformation becomes ‘real’ – it is also through the ceaseless repetition of those magick words over generations.

Eliphas Lévi explains (italicised emphasis added):

Had Apollonius [of Tyana] offered a cup of wine to his disciples, and said to them: “This is my blood, of which ye shall drink henceforth to perpetuate my life within you;” and had his disciples through centuries believed that they continued the transformation by repeating the same words; had they taken the wine, despite its odour and taste, for the real, human, and living blood of Apollonius, we should have to acknowledge this master in theurgy as the most accomplished of enchanters and most potent of all the magi. It would remain for us then to adore him.24

M. de Montalembert seriously relates, in his legend of St Elizabeth of Hungary, how one day this saintly lady, surprised by her noble husband, from whom she sought to conceal her good works, in the act of carrying bread to the poor in her apron, told him that she was carrying roses, and it proved on investigation that she had spoken truly; the loaves had been changed into roses. This story is a most gracious magical apologue, and signifies that the truly wise man cannot lie, that the word of wisdom determines the form of things, or even their substance independently of their forms. Why, for example, should not the noble spouse of St Elizabeth, a good and firm Christian like herself, and believing implicitly in the real presence of the Saviour in true human body upon an altar where he beheld only a wheaten host, why should he not believe in the real presence of roses in his wife’s apron under the appearances of bread? She exhibited him loaves undoubtedly, but as she had said that they were roses, and as he believed her incapable of the smallest falsehood, he saw and wished to see roses only. This is the secret of the miracle.25

 

Let us indulge ourselves in a small act of transformation of our own, replacing the forms and identities in the words of Lévi’s tale with those of our present subject:

Why, for example, should not the noble client of St Goldman, a good and firm Christian like himself … why should she not believe in the real presence of money in her bank account under the appearances of a promissory record? He exhibited her a record of the promise undoubtedly, but as he had said that it was money, and as she believed him incapable of the smallest falsehood, she saw and wished to see money only. This is the secret of the miracle.

 

What all this means of course, is that for several hundreds of years (yes, literally), we have all like sheep been led astray.

That is to say, we have been led to believe a lie.

All of the ‘money’ that we believe ourselves to own, and that we circulate daily among ourselves in payment for goods, services, and investments, is neither ‘money’ in true substance, nor are we the owners of it.

The reality of the system is this. Bankers create IOUs out of nothing. These digital tokens represent our IOU to the bank. Then—by a clever accounting trick—they let us borrow their IOUs as ‘money’.

Begging the question – why don’t we all do the same thing, and just lend to ourselves?*

It also begs the question of how it is that the ‘money’ magicians have been able to perpetuate this colossal deception for so long, without being discovered and called to account.

Eliphas Lévi explains:

To become invisible one of three things is necessary—the interposition of some opaque medium between the light and our body, or between our body and the eyes of the spectators, or the fascination of the eyes of the spectators in such a manner that they cannot make use of their sight. Of these methods, the third only is magical. Have we not all of us observed that under the government of a strong preoccupation we look without seeing and hurt ourselves against objects in front of us?26

The secret of invisibility, therefore, wholly consists in a power which is capable of definition—that of distracting or paralysing attention, so that the light reaches the visual organ without impressing the eye of the soul. To exercise this power we must possess a will accustomed to sudden and energetic actions, great presence of mind, and skill no less great in causing diversions among the crowd. Let a man, for example, who is being pursued by his intending murderers, dart into a side street, return immediately, and advance with perfect calmness towards his pursuers, or let him mix with them and seem to be engaged in the chase, and he will certainly make himself invisible. A priest who was being hunted in ’93, with the intention of hanging him from a lamp-post, fled down a side street, assumed a stooping gait, and leaned against a corner, with an intensely preoccupied expression; the crowd of his enemies swept past; not one saw him, or, rather, it never struck anyone to recognise him; it was so unlikely to be he!27

 

There are a variety of words and phrases that come to mind as being apropos to describe this phenomenon.

But perhaps the most apropos word of all would be this.

Chutzpah.

 

* You may be interested to discover an alternate currency ecosystem concept of my own design, that can enable everyone to do this – to be their own central banker. Visit deror.org

*****

ADDENDUM:

I am presently writing a book on the thesis outlined in this, and my earlier essay. As we have seen, the core concepts are traceable right back to the ancient Semitic cult worship of Inanna-Ishtar, the “Queen of Heaven”. Of particular interest is the evidences for widespread regional use of magickal talismans and erotic plaques placed at thresholds (eg, doorways, windows) to sexually attract and “bind” prosperity demons:

Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)

Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)

 

Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)

Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)

 

If you would be interested in receiving notification upon the book’s completion and publication, please feel free to drop me a line using the contact form at deror.org

 

UPDATE 21/4/2016

Added quotation (footnote 16a) plus video clip “The male prostitutes..decorate the napes of their necks with colored bands”

 

****

[1] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 282

[2] John Bartlett, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature, 17th ed. (2002)

[3] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 44

[4] ibid, p. xxi

[5] “That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one” – Hermes Trismegistus, The Emerald Tablet, translation by Jabir ibn Hayyan, (Holmyard 1923: 562.)

[6] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 38

[7] ibid, p. 44

[8] Julia Assante, Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period (2002)

[9] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 46

[10] Rivkah Harris, Inanna-Ishtar as Paradox and the Coincidence of Opposites, History of Religions, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Feb., 1991), p. 268

[11] ibid., p. 270

[12] ibid., p. 270 n. 48

[13] ibid., p. 270

[14] ibid., p. 265

[15] ibid., p. 273

[16] ibid., p. 276-277

[16a] ibid., p. 276, cf. n. 83 – DD. Reisman, “Iddin-Dagan’s Sacred Marriage Hymn,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 25 (1973): 187:45-64

[17] Victor and Victoria Trimondi, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism (2003)

[18] Richard A. Werner, “To a new understanding of the function of the banking sector: the mechanism of productive credit creation and quantitative easing”, presentation to the Russian Academy of Sciences, round table “Anti-crisis fiscal policy of the state in the interests of economic development of Russia” (2015)

[19] Bernard Lietaer and Jacquie Dunne, Rethinking Money, (2013), p. 39

[20] Rivkah Harris, Inanna-Ishtar as Paradox and the Coincidence of Opposites, History of Religions, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Feb., 1991), p. 274

[21] Richard A. Werner, How do banks create money, and why can other firms not do the same? An explanation for the coexistence of lending and deposit-taking (2014)

[22] ibid.

[23] AccountingExplained.com, Substance Over Form (11 April, 2016, 8:39pm AEST)

[24] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 282

[25] ibid, pp. 286-287

[26] ibid, p. 284

[27] ibid, pp. 285-286

Standard
Time

On Principal And Interest, Hermetic Magick, And The Lords of Time

 

“I would like to continue with an examination of Time. From the moment we enter this life we are in the flow of it. We measure it and we mark it. But we cannot defy it. We cannot even speed it up or, slow it down. Or can we?”

– Eisenheim, The Illusionist

Time. The Fourth Dimension. The Universal Agent.

Imagine having the power to control Time.  To manipulate Time.  To become its master.  Instead of feeling like a slave to Time, imagine what you might do, if you had the power to make Time work for you?

Men have always dreamed of possessing this power.  In 15th century Italy, the discovery of mysterious ancient documents in Byzantium finally made it possible.

Today, we often speak of the value of “our time”.  We speak of “spending time”, and “buying time”.  But in truth, it is not “our” time at all.

Throughout the world, our Time is controlled, manipulated and directed, by ‘Masters of the Universe’.  Men who are adepts in these ancient secrets, and have the power to make “our” Time work for them.

They are the bookkeepers.  The men who keep score.  And just as it is said of the game of golf that “a good scorer can always beat a good player”, so it is with the mystical, magical art of double-entry bookkeeping.

 

“For every debit there must be a credit, and for every credit there must be a debit” – Alas!  How few consider that if this must be the case, the rule to go by, nothing is more easy than to make a set of books wear the appearance of correctness, which at the same time is full of errors, or of false entries, made on purpose to deceive!1

 

When the “Father of the Renaissance”, a humanist scholar, priest, and astrologer by the name of Marsilio Ficino translated the Corpus Hermeticum from Greek into Latin, he could not have known that his labour would, in time, condemn most of humanity to slave labour for the Lords of Time.

Bust of Ficino by Andrea Ferrucci in Florence Cathedral (Source: Wikipedia)

Bust of Ficino by Andrea Ferrucci in Florence Cathedral (Source: Wikipedia)

Ficino’s lifelong patron was Cosimo de Medici, scion of the famous Italian merchant banking dynasty, and ruler of the Florentine Republic.  His circle of friends included the greatest philosophers, mathematicians, and elite movers-and-shakers in the Western world.  They now had in their hands the ancient secrets of Hermes Trismegistus, the “Thrice-Greatest”.

Hermes Trismegistus, floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Siena (Source: Wikipedia)

Hermes Trismegistus, floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Siena (Source: Wikipedia)

Starting at the Medici-sponsored Platonic Academy headed by Ficino, the rediscovered Hermetic secret knowledge would light the imaginative fires of the principal scholars, philosophers, and financiers of the Renaissance — also known as the “Hermetic Reformation”2.  It would influence the mind of a monk, magician, mathematician, the Father of Accounting and the man who wrote the seminal book on double-entry bookkeeping, Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli, the “constant companion of Leonardo da Vinci”3. And in a grand syncretism with Neo-Platonism and Jewish Kabbalah, conjured up and expounded by fellow Renaissance men such as Pico della Mirandola (900 Theses), Johannes Reuchlin (De Arte Cabbalistica), and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres), it would spread throughout the western world, deeply embedded in commerce and banking, the arts and sciences, social philosophy, ethics and morality.  It would change the course of human history (bold and italicised emphasis added):

Our modern urge to measure everything dates back to the late Middle Ages when a “radical change of perception” took place in which mathematics, Venetian bookkeeping, and Luca Pacioli played a key role.  Historian Alfred W. Crosby explains this “radical change”:

‘In practical terms the new approach was simply this: reduce what you are trying to think about to the minimum required by its definition; visualise it on paper, or at least in your mind … and divide it, either in fact or in imagination, into equal quanta.  Then you can measure it, that is, count the quanta.’

And once you can measure something, then you have a quantitative or numerical representation of your subject which you can manipulate and experiment with, no matter how great its errors or omissions.  Such data can acquire an apparent independence from its human creators and, when fed into a twenty-first century computer model, an authority that appears irrefutable.4

Portrait of Luca Pacioli, traditionally attributed to Jacopo de' Barbari, 1495 (Source: Wikipedia)

Portrait of Luca Pacioli, traditionally attributed to Jacopo de’ Barbari, 1495 (Source: Wikipedia)

Now, it is well worth our time to pause for a moment in our journey through past time, to consider the identity of Hermes Trismegistus.  Today, he is considered to be a syncretism of the Greek god Hermes, and the Egyptian god Thoth.  The Greeks considered Hermes to be the god of boundaries and transitions – in particular, the transition to the after-life.  He was also the god of commerce, travel, the patron of thieves and orators, and a cunning trickster who outwits other gods for his own satisfaction.  The Greeks equated him with the Egyptian god Thoth, who shared similar attributes.  Thoth was seen by the Egyptians as the god who maintained the universe, the mediator in disputes between good and evil.  He was the god of equilibrium, who unified or balanced the opposites.  Importantly, in both of their respective cultures, Hermes and Thoth were the gods of writing, and magic.

The more astute reader, and in particular, the reader who has a grasp of the Duality Principle of double-entry bookkeeping — “for every credit there must be an equal debit” — may already be seeing a little light dawning in a corner of their mind.

Ficino and his influential friends at the Medicean court were to discover in the Corpus Hermeticum and in Kabbalah Ma’asit (“practical Kabbalah”) the secrets to controlling Time, the Universal Agent.  At the heart of Hermetic teachings was the idea that man could influence or even control the forces of nature.  To do so, one needed to master the “Three Parts of the Wisdom of the Whole Universe”.  One of these parts, along with Astrology and Theurgy, was the magical art of Alchemy. Similarly, at the heart of Kabbalistic theurgy was the idea that man could magically invoke the creative or Life force — using esoteric knowledge of divine language and writing — for personal advantage in this world.

As with double-entry bookkeeping — and similarly, the dark art of keeping two sets of books — the magic of Alchemy involves a dual aspect or dual nature.  In its esoteric (inner) doctrine, it is the work of spiritual purification; a transformation of common impure man, into pure and perfect Man.  In its exoteric (outer) doctrine, it is the notion that man can transform common “impure” metals into pure gold, through the discovery and mastery of the “Universal Solvent”.

The magic of Hermeticism, with its emphasis on practical experimentation to discover and control the forces of nature, would have a powerful effect on the greatest scientific minds (such as Isaac Newton) for centuries to come.  At the same time, its intrinsic get-rich-quick appeal would pose a constant attraction for over-indebted kings and princes — and for too-big-to-fail international bankers such as the Medici, whose compound interest-bearing loans the princes of Europe could not repay without borrowing even more.

The Emerald Tablet, a key text of Western Alchemy, in a 17th-century edition (Source: Wikipedia)

The Emerald Tablet, a key text of Western Alchemy, in a 17th-century edition (Source: Wikipedia)

Some four hundred years later, a great revival of spiritualism and the magick arts swept over Europe during the late nineteenth through early twentieth centuries.  It is from this time, in the writings of adepts such as the famous occultists Aleister Crowley and Eliphas Lévi, that we can see clearly stated the most fundamental principles of Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick.

As we will see, they are precisely the same principles that form the basic rules of double-entry bookkeeping. Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick has been carried down from the Hermetic Reformation of the 15th century to our time, deeply embedded at the very core of all economic and social life; in commerce, economic theory, the fundamentals of capitalism, and banking.

The Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick principle of double perception is embedded at the core of the money system itself.  In the very act of ex nihilo (“out of nothing”) creation of “our” money in the form of loans — using nothing more “real” than electronic double-entry bookkeeping — bankers enjoy the power of creator gods, employing “divine” magick principles in writing and language to harness the force of Time, transforming it into wealth for themselves.

“Money” created by bankers is simply the symbolic, written expression of this double perception. Each Dollar, Euro, or Pound created as a new loan magically appears (to the borrower) as both a debt (Liability) that must be repaid plus interest to the bank, and simultaneously, a credit (Asset) that the borrower can spend.

Borrower-CC_DE

At the same time, to the bank that very same Dollar, Euro, or Pound magically appears as both an Asset (money that must be repaid by the borrower), and, a Liability too, because the bank must make it available to the borrower to spend.

Lender-CC_DE

This is the embodiment of the Kabbalistic concept of achdut hashvaah (“Unity of Opposites”) — (bold emphasis added):

The coincidence of opposites that characterizes God, humanity and the world can be approximately understood by the simultaneous adoption of two points of view. As put by the founder of the Chabad movement, Schneur Zalman of Lyadi (1745-1813):

(Looking) upwards from below, as it appears to eyes of flesh, the tangible world seems to be Yesh and a thing, while spirituality, which is above, is an aspect of Ayin (nothingness). (But looking) downwards from above the world is an aspect of Ayin, and everything which is linked downwards and descends lower and lower is more and more Ayin and is considered as naught truly as nothing and null.5

LOAN-STAR-CC_DE

When viewed from this Kabbalistic “higher” logic perspective, the mathematical expression “-1 = +1” is actually true; an object and its exact opposite are seen to be one and the same thing. A single unit of “money” is both credit and debit, liability and asset; it just depends on whose perspective it is seen from. But all things balance themselves out, when viewed from the hidden “All-Seeing Eye” perspective of the divine nothingness or Ein Sof. Each number is created from the same central number (“0”); the space “0” between -1 and +1 is exactly “1” from either side, and so each cancels out the other:

When it arose within Ein-sof (the Infinite) to weave Yesh (Something) from its Ayin (Nothing), Ein-sof performed an act of Tzimtzum, contracting and concealing itself from a point, thereby forming a central, metaphysical void. It is in this void that the Primordial Man, Adam Kadmon, and all the countless Worlds (Olamot) emerge.6

LOAN-STAR-1s-CC_DE

In the cryptic, mystical language of Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick, Aleister Crowley, the man once dubbed “The Most Wicked Man In The World”, explains the fundamentals of Magick In Theory And Practice (bold emphasis added):

…the object of any magick ceremony is to unite the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.

It is as in optics; the angles of incidence and reflection are equal.  You must get your Macrocosm and Microcosm exactly balanced, vertically and horizontally, or the images will not coincide.

This equilibrium is affirmed by the magician in arranging the Temple.  Nothing must be lop-sided.  If you have anything in the North, you must put something equal and opposite to it in the South.  The importance of this is so great, and the truth of it so obvious, that no one with the most mediocre capacity for magick can tolerate any unbalanced object for a moment.  His instinct instantly revolts.

…the arrangement of the weapons of the altar must be such that they “look” balanced

…And however little he move to the right, let him balance it by an equivalent movement to the left; or if forwards, backwards; and let him correct each idea by implying the contradictory contained therein.

let him show the basis of that Stability to be constant change, just as the stability of a molecule is secured by the momentum of the swift atoms contained in it.

In this way let every idea go forth as a triangle on the base of two opposites, making an apex transcending their contradiction in a higher harmony.

It is not safe to use any thought in Magick, unless that thought has been thus equilibrated and destroyed.7

 

In his magnum opus Transcendental Magic, French occultist Eliphas Lévi explains that:

There exists in Nature a force which is immeasurably more powerful than steam, and a single man, who is able to adapt and direct it, might change thereby the face of the whole world.  This force was known to the ancients; it consists in a Universal Agent having equilibrium for its supreme law, while its direction is concerned immediately with the Great Arcanum of Transcendental Magic. … This agent… is precisely that which the adepts of the Middle Ages denominated the First Matter of the Great Work.8

Now the ancients, observing that equilibrium is the universal law in physics, and is consequent on the apparent opposition of two forces, argued from physical to metaphysical equilibrium, and maintained that in God, that is, in the First Living and Active Cause, there must be recognized two properties which are necessary to each other—stability and motion, necessity and liberty, rational order and volitional autonomy, justice and love, whence also severity and mercy.  And these two attributes were personified, so to speak, by the kabalistic Jews under the names of GEBURAH and CHESED.9

 

Lévi says that to gain control over the “Great Magical Agent”, one must learn how to use the alchemical formula of opposites, “Solve et Coagula” (SOLVE, to dissolve, to project, to move; and COAGULA, to coagulate, to concentrate, to fix):

The Great Magical Agent, by us termed the Astral Light, …this occult, unique and indubitable force, is the key of all empire, the secret of all power. … To know how to make use of this Agent is to be the trustee of God’s own power; all real, effective Magic, all occult force is there, and its demonstration is the sole end of all genuine books of science.  To have control over the Great Magical Agent there are two operations necessary — to concentrate and project, or, in other words, to fix and to move.10

 

Who can fail to see here, hidden in plain sight, the distilled essence, the Philosopher’s Stone, the whole alchemical formulation of double-entry bookkeeping?

The adept takes every single “common” transaction, and on entering it into his books, he first dissolves it (SOLVE) into a pair of opposites (debit entry and credit entry).

 

TRANSACTION-CC

 

When it comes time to determine his Profits — and in turn, his total wealth or Capital — he “coagulates” (COAGULA) all of the entries in each of two columns (DR and CR) into a single number.

 

PROFIT-LOSS-CC

 

This then, is the apex of the triangle, the “higher harmony” of the “base of two opposites”, “transcending their contradiction”.

 

Seal of Solomon, front page of Eliphas Lévi's 'Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual' (Source: Wikipedia)

Seal of Solomon; front page of Eliphas Lévi’s ‘Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual’ (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Eliphas Lévi tells us plainly that the purpose of the Great Work is to gain control over one’s future; that is to say, to gain control of Time itself:

The Great Work is, before all things, the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future; it is especially the perfect emancipation of his will, assuring him… full power over the Universal Magical Agent.11

For the man who is greedy for gain, who sees financial wealth as the secret to a long and happy life, the possession of money is the means to attain “the full and entire conquest of his…future”.  He can transform himself from a pauper into a prince — “the creation of man by himself” — and become a “self-made man”.

How so?

Money is the means of controlling Time.  By lending his money at compound interest, the skillful adept increases his wealth, without risking his health through manual labour.  His little pile of wealth (“capital”) grows inexorably, compounding into an ever larger pile over time.  Just as in Eisenheim’s great illusion of the Orange Tree, the “seed” which was taken by dividing a single orange into two equal parts, grows at a speed which defies Time, “producing” even more golden fruit – fruit that the magician assures us is “quite real”.

This wondrous power is all thanks to the magic of what has been called “the greatest mathematical discovery of all time” and “the most powerful force in the universe” — compound interest.

But in a classic example of circular reasoning, the alchemical wizard’s “right” to charge compound interest is all thanks to a cunning rhetorical device (remember, Hermes was the god of oratory) — the so-called “Time value” of money.

 

Money, wrote [Luca Pacioli’s mentor, Leon Battista] Alberti in the 1430s, is “the root of all things”: “with money one can have a town house or a villa; and all the trades and craftsmen will toil like servants for the man who has money. He who has none goes without everything, and money is required for every purpose.” As historian Fernand Braudel argues, something new enters European consciousness in Alberti’s writing – along with his celebration of money went thriftiness and a concern with the value of time12

 

This clever sophistry of the “Time value of money” has its origin in one of the greatest moral arguments of all time; whether the charging of interest on money (usury) is right, or wrong.

For over 1,000 years the Christian West officially prohibited the practice of charging interest on money (usury).  But in the 15th century, the advocates for usury found themselves equipped with a new box of rhetorical and symbolic tricks with which to convince their audience.  The syncretism of Neo-Platonic, Kabbalistic, and Hermetic philosophies in the Renaissance (“rebirth” in French) resulted in the resurrection of ancient Greco-Roman paganism.  With it came an individualistic, “Me”-centred rather than “God”-centred worldview, with all-pervading emphasis on rationalism, and numerical calculation.  In particular, the calculation of profit (bold emphasis added):

[German economist Werner Sombart] says that by enabling a numerical, monetary (and hence, in his view, “rational”) calculation of profit, double-entry bookkeeping provided the basis on which commerce could be seen as a process of acquisition: as an unending, systematic pursuit of profit.13

Like Sombart, [Max] Weber argues that double entry is significant because it makes possible an abstract measure of income and expenses – and therefore enables the calculation of profit, the key component of capitalistic business practice.14

The economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) also traces the development of capitalism back to double-entry bookkeeping. … Schumpeter says that capitalism adds a new edge to rationality by “exalting the monetary unit – not itself a creation of capitalism – into a unit of account.  That is to say, capitalist practice turns the unit of account into a tool of rational cost-profit calculations, of which the towering monument is double-entry bookkeeping.”  In his view, double entry’s “cost-profit calculus” drives capitalist enterprise – and then spreads throughout the whole culture: “And thus defined and quantified for the economic sector, this type of logic or attitude or method then starts upon its conqueror’s career subjugating – rationalizing – man’s tools and philosophies, his medical practice, his picture of the cosmos, his outlook on life, everything in fact including his concepts of beauty and justice and his spiritual ambitions.”  For Schumpeter, capitalism “generates a formal spirit of critique where the good, the true and the beautiful no longer are honoured; only the useful remains – and that is determined solely by the critical spirit of the accountant’s cost-benefit calculation”.15

 

Double-entry bookkeeping would then, as now, serve the purpose not only of helping the merchant calculate his profits.  It would enable the merchant to “prove” that his profit-making was legitimate; that is to say, in context of the times, that he had not been practicing usury in violation of the Church’s official prohibition (bold emphasis added):

[Luca] Pacioli advises merchants to incorporate explicit signs of Christianity into their books as a way of legitimising their profit-seeking activities.  The use of double entry itself was like the Catholic confession: if a merchant confessed – or accounted for – all his worldly activities before God, then perhaps his sins would be absolved.16

This notion of ‘good’ bookkeeping was soon extended to the point that the use of double entry was seen to confer moral legitimacy on a merchant’s work.  As Pacioli had, Hugh Oldcastle encouraged merchants to use their account books as a space in which to invoke God.  He wrote in 1588: “it behoveth him [the merchant] first in all his workes and business to call to minde the name of God in all such writings, or in any other reckonings, that he shall beginne.”  The first cashbook of the Bank of England, established in 1694, opens with ‘Laus Deo‘ – ‘Praise God’.  As we saw with the merchants of Prato and with Pacioli, such appeals to God were a common feature of the earliest double-entry books and in some parts of Europe continued until the eighteenth century: through the exactitude of their earthly accounting, merchants hoped to gain divine approval in God’s heavenly accounts.17

If you are a businessman concerned with the morality of making a profit, then keeping the fullest possible set of accounts is a bit like confessing your sins.

Even if you are doing something morally suspect, at least you are making a clean breast of it.18

Indeed exactly because accountancy looks like a dry, value-free activity, it can be used as a kind of moral laundry.

When the Nazis stole the personal property of Europe’s Jews, Himmler insisted that all the looted property be meticulously accounted for.

By enforcing stringent accounting, he argued that “in carrying out this most difficult of tasks… we have suffered no harm to our inner being, our soul, our character.” Theft was transformed into book-
keeping.19

 

For an enormously successful usurer like Cosimo de Medici, who had the rare quality for a banker of suffering from a guilty conscience20, the matter of having one’s sins absolved had a profound importance.  At that time, the only way to be absolved of the mortal sin of usury, and so be assured of a transition to Heaven in the after-life (hello Hermes/Thoth), was by making full restitution of all one’s ill-gotten gains.  This meant, of course, that you could not pass on your wealth to your heirs; if you failed to make restitution before death, then in order to set you free from purgatory, your heirs would have to make restitution of all your usurious gains on your behalf:

Giovanni di Bicci de Medici, founder of the Medici Bank and Cosimo de Medici’s father … died intestate because in making out a will “he would have denounced himself as a usurer and might have caused considerable trouble for his heirs.”  This practice had become a Medici family tradition, which Cosimo, Giovanni’s son would continue.21

Cosimo de Medici, Portrait by Bronzino (Source: Wikipedia)

Cosimo de Medici, Portrait by Bronzino (Source: Wikipedia)

The popularisation of double-entry bookkeeping in the Medici’s time offered another profoundly important benefit.  It gave the merchant a way to “rationally” justify all of his “costs” — including the “costs” he perceives himself to have suffered, in extending (lending) “credit” to customers.

This would prove crucial in context of the historical argument on usury.  Then, as now, those who argued in favour of usury have claimed that a man who lends his money to another has a moral right to be compensated for a wholly imaginary expense — the “opportunity cost” of his not being able to use the money he loaned out, to earn more money in some other way.

The “logic” of this argument for charging interest rests on an arrogant presumption — that the lender is certain of earning a “return” in that “other way”, and therefore, he must certainly be suffering a “cost” of lost “opportunity” to “earn”, if he lends his money out instead.

The unstated notion here, of course, is that, one way or another, the owner of money must always receive even more money.  Gimme gimme gimme, more more moar!

It is on the foundation of this sophistry of an imaginary “opportunity cost” suffered by the money-lender — and “proven” to be real simply by writing it into his double-entry accounting books — that an even greater sophistry is built — that of the Time Value of Money.

In a 1991 paper on accounting and rhetoric, Bruce G. Carruthers and Wendy Nelson Espeland argue that the symbolic language of double-entry bookkeeping is as significant as its technical capabilities … They argue that a double-entry account is not just a piece of neutral information, but also an “account” or story; that accounting is not merely a technical practice, but also a means of framing a set of business transactions with a rhetorical purpose.22

Accounting’s use of numbers gives it an air of scientific rectitude and certitude, and yet fundamental uncertainties lurk at its heart.  Indeed, accounting is as subjective and partial as the art of storytelling, the other meaning of the word “account”.23

 

The illusion – for that is precisely what it is – that money possesses within itself an innate characteristic called “Time value”, is quite simply the greatest public deception of all time.  When the arcane teachings of Hermes Trismegistus were infused and codified in el modo vinegia (“the Venetian method”) of double-entry bookkeeping in the 15th century, the twin magic arts of writing and sophistry were woven together to form the material of the magician’s cloak, and the curtain behind which the Wizards of Oz have hidden ever since.24

 

As Jakob Burckhardt, and following him, Frederich Nietzsche, said of the Italian Renaissance, it was a time of sophistic.  The sophistic character of the Renaissance is apparent not simply from its rhetorical perspectives and practices, but in its use of the first sophists as well.25

In an essay published in 1985, the historian James Aho linked double-entry bookkeeping to the ancient art of rhetoric, the rules used to make persuasive arguments perfected by the Roman lawyer and orator Cicero (an art, incidentally, which Aristotle says sprang from a property dispute).  According to this argument, medieval merchants used double-entry bookkeeping as a rhetorical tool of capitalist propaganda, to persuade their ‘audience’ that their business was honest, morally sound and its profit-making justified.

Why would bookkeeping need to persuade?  Because, says Aho, it was used to defend these businesses against the Church’s ban on usury.  The rhetoric of a well-kept ledger argued for the honesty of a business and the legitimacy of its profits, as this advice from 1683 makes clear: “If [the merchant] be fortunate and acquire much, [double entry] directs him the way to Imploy it to the best advantage, if he be unfortunate it satisfies the world of his just dealing, and is the fairest and best Apologie of his Innocence and honesty to the World.”26

 

Today, we are born into a world where the “logic” that money possesses a Time Value seems self-evident.  The idea is so deeply embedded in our individual and collective consciousness, it has become part of our common language.  Everyone knows that “Time is Money”.

This belief that money has an intrinsic Time Value is, however, nothing more than a spectacularly sly, self-serving example of self-interested swindlers successfully selling a self-referential, “self-creating” sophistry.  For over 500 years, its purpose has been to persuade us all that money will certainly earn more money over time; and therefore, money possesses the innate power to earn more money over time; and therefore, the Lords of Time must have the right to charge interest for the use of money lent out, as compensation for their “lost opportunity” (ie, Time) to “earn” more money from their money’s innate power to earn more money.

This first half of the “Time Value of money” circular flow of illogical reasoning has come to be universally accepted, largely because so few pause to consider the unstated second half of the circle, which goes like this:  and therefore, the Lords of Time must also have the right to pay interest (if they wish) to people who deposit money with them for “safe-keeping” (storage), as compensation for their “lost opportunity” to “earn” more money from money’s innate power to earn more money — err, say what now?! — (and whose deposits the Lords of Time can also lend out and charge interest for); and therefore, since it is now firmly established that money deposited with the Lords of Time will earn interest over time, this proves that money will certainly earn more money over time, and therefore money obviously possesses the innate power to earn more money over Time, etc etc, ad infinitum.

In its definition of the Time Value of Money, Investopedia unwittingly lets the cat out of the bag, highlighting this circular reasoning which lies (pun intended) at the dark heart of the grand mystical numberland of finance (bold and italicised emphasis added):

 

DEFINITION OF ‘TIME VALUE OF MONEY – TVM’

The idea that money available at the present time is worth more than the same amount in the future due to its potential earning capacity.  This core principle of finance holds that, provided money can earn interest, any amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received.

Everyone knows that money deposited in a savings account will earn interest.  Because of this universal fact, we would prefer to receive money today rather than the same amount in the future.27

 

Clearly then, the circular logic of the supposed Time Value of Money fails, if ever the “universal fact” that “money deposited in a savings account will earn interest” fails.

Like, err, now.

At this present time, so-called “ZIRP” (Zero Interest Rate Policy) and even “NIRP” (Negative Interest Rate Policy) is spreading all over the moribund economies of the Western world.  We now receive zero interest on money deposited in a savings account.  Not only that, in an increasing number of Western countries, the Lords of Time are now charging interest (ie, paying negative interest) on money deposited in a savings account.  Yes, that’s right … if not now, then very soon, they will charge you interest for “holding” money on deposit in the “safe-keeping” of their bank.

Why are they doing this?  As with so many magician’s tricks, the key to successfully pulling off the illusion, is movement.  In the sideshow hustler’s game of Thimblerig or Three Shells and a Pea28, the faster the hustler moves his hands, the more difficult it is to see that he has moved or even pocketed the pea.

 

"The Conjurer," painted by Hieronymus Bosch (between 1496 - 1520). The painting accurately displays a performer doing the cups and balls routine, which has been practiced since Egyptian times. The shell game does have some origins in this old trick. The real trick of this painting is the pickpocket who is working for the conjurer. The pickpocket is robbing the spectator who is bent over. (Source: Wikipedia)

“The Conjurer,” painted by Hieronymus Bosch (between 1496 – 1520). The painting accurately displays a performer doing the cups and balls routine, which has been practiced since Egyptian times. The shell game does have some origins in this old trick. The real trick of this painting is the pickpocket who is working for the conjurer. The pickpocket is robbing the spectator who is bent over. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

In the great alchemical trick of Hermes the Thrice-Greatest and his Latter-Day Saints, this vital movement is called “Flow”, or the “Velocity of the Circulation of Money”.  So long as the flow of money in the economy is fast enough, no one notices that the game is actually rigged.  That is, no one notices that there is insufficient money in the system to pay interest.

This policy of zero (or even negative) interest rates on bank deposits, is all about trying to speed up the flow of money in the economy.  The Lords of Time are hoping that this policy will encourage people to spend (“Flow”), not save (“Stock-pile”) money.

Why?  Because the only way for the Lords of Time to keep on “earning” compound interest on the intergalactic levels of debt that they have lent to the world, is to make the “money” flow fast enough.

The real truth of the Money Illusion is this: If everyone had to settle their debts at the same time, there is always far more money owed, than there is money to pay with.  The game only seems to work fairly and honestly if we only look under one shell at any time, and, if we believe the hustler’s claim that the missing pea really is just hiding under one of the other shells all the time.

In a recent article in Forbes titled “The Principal And Interest On Debt Myth”,29 a modern day mathematician and globally renowned academic economist set out to prove to the now-growing crowd of questioning (and in some cases, hostile) finger-pointers, that we should all just “Move along now, there’s nothing to see here”.

That is to say, he challenged the view that “because banks lend principal, but insist that principal and interest be paid by the debtor, the money supply has to grow continuously to make this possible”.

His proof?

A simple model of a “simplest possible financial system” … based on double-entry bookkeeping:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.29.53 PM

 

Alas, the accounting fraud-riddled history of double-entry bookkeeping ever since its Western popularisation by Fra Luca Pacioli (and more importantly, by his powerful patrons in the world of money-lending), strongly suggests that a reliance on the “logic” of double entry to “prove” anything with regard to banking, money, debt, and compounding interest, is tantamount to using the casino’s own roulette wheel in an attempt to “prove” that the game of roulette is not rigged in favour of the house.

Or, to return to our shell game analogy, it is tantamount to relying on a sideshow hustler’s own sleight of hand skills to “prove” that the pea you couldn’t see really was under one of those three shells all the time.

It all works fine (for the hustler), whilst ever the “flow” of the hustler’s hands is fast enough to fool the common man.  But if the flow is slowed – in economic terms, by a growing “loss of confidence” in the game, resulting in too many people saving or “hoarding” money (Stability) rather than spending it (Movement) — suddenly the hustle begins to be exposed.  At a slower rate of “flow”, it becomes much more easy to see that the hustler has been pocketing the pea all along.

Happily, the economist writing in Forbes did admit that the money-lenders’ money-shuffling game only works “so long as those flows are large enough”:

Critical Caveat - the RATE of Flow is critical to supporting Steves thesis, that the Interest can be paid out of flows

 

He also admitted that his simple model does not reflect the real world, which “is far more complicated”:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 3.21.31 PM

 

He also admitted that it is possible to enter different values for the limited set of parameters he chose for his simple model, that would make his conclusion (that interest can be paid without increasing the money supply) “untenable”:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.34.30 PM

 

But arguably his most important admission of all was not included in his Forbes article.  Rather, it is on his Twitter account that we find his admission, that it is mathematically impossible for everyone to pay their debts at the same time:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 4.09.44 PM

 

In his zeal to disprove the claims of a growing crowd of questioning onlookers who are pointing out that the monetary alchemists’ shell game is rigged, the good professor has fallen afoul of the error of oversimplification. A simple double-entry bookkeeping model, of a “simplest possible financial system”, having a limited set of parameters, that obviously does not include all the parameters of the real world’s financial system, but that does include a number of invalid assumptions (eg, the notion that banks are “consumers”, who spend all their earnings back into the “flow” of the national economy); a model that does not reflect the real world “which is far more complicated”, is a model that is quite obviously too simple, and does not prove (or disprove) anything at all.

Jane Gleeson-White, author of Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Shaped Modern Finance, relates an interesting and relevant anecdote regarding Fra Luca Pacioli, the acclaimed father of accounting.  On 11 August 1508, Pacioli gave an introductory public lecture at the church of San Bartolomeo near the Rialto Bridge in Venice (bold emphasis added):

Some five hundred people came to hear the celebrated mathematician speak … The famous Venetian printer Aldus Manutius was there and may have brought along Erasmus, who was staying with him near the Rialto while supervising the printing of his translation of Euripedes and a collection of ancient proverbs.

Intriguingly, after leaving Italy in 1509 Erasmus wrote his famous satire, In Praise of Folly, in which he mocks scientists who use maths to bamboozle their audience.  His description of these boffins rather accurately parodies the methods used by Luca Pacioli in his talk on Euclid: “When they especially disdain the vulgar crowd is when they bring out their triangles, quadrangles, circles, and mathematical pictures of the sort, lay one upon the other, intertwine them into a maze, then deploy some letters as if in line of battle, and presently do it over in reverse order – and all to involve the uninitiated in darkness.”  In his book, Erasmus set out to deflate the pretensions of anyone who claimed special knowledge or importance, whether they were philosophers, merchants or clerics.30

 

In his Praise of Folly .. he calls Mercury the inventor of tricks or of conjuring (“Quos nos ludos exhibet furtis ac praestigiis Hermes?”“What entertainments does Hermes show us, with his tricks and sleight-of-hand?”)31

 

Bernard Lietaer is a former central banker, fund manager, and co-designer of the European Currency Unit (precursor to the Euro), who was named “the world’s top currency trader” by Businessweek in 1992. Today, Lietaer is a currency system reformer with almost 40 years active experience in the field.  In Rethinking Money, he uses the brilliant analogy of the game of musical chairs, to help explain how “our” alchemical money system really works.

His analogy helps to illuminate this fundamental point – that it is only when the music (money “flow”) slows (“economic slowdown”) or stops (“credit crunch”), and people get nervous (“economic con-fidence”) and start looking for a chair to sit on, that we discover there never was enough chairs (“money”) for everyone:

Essentially, to pay back interest on a loan requires using someone else’s principal.  In other words, not creating the money to pay interest is the device used to generate the scarcity necessary for a bank-debt monetary system to function.  It forces people to compete with each other for money that was never created, and it penalizes them with bankruptcy should they not succeed.  When a bank checks a customer’s creditworthiness, it is really verifying his or her ability to compete successfully against the other players – that is to say, assessing the customer’s ability to extract from others the money that is required to reimburse the interest payment.  One is obliged in the current monetary system to incur debt and compete with others in order to perform exchanges and pay the resulting interest to the banks and lenders.32

Although new loans are being created, the interest on the principal is not.  Nowhere in the system is this additional money created.  This gives rise to scarcity, which, in turn, creates competition to acquire the extra money to cover the loans’ interest.  This magic, where one person’s loan becomes another’s deposit, and whereby when you pay interest you are using someone else’s principal, is really monetary alchemy.  This monetary alchemy is one of the esoteric secrets of the monetary system.33

A key point to keep in mind is that this entire money-creation process hinges on loans.  If all debts were repaid, money would simply disappear, because the entire process of money creation would reverse itself.  Reimbursing all loans would automatically use up all the deposits.34

alchemy_woodcut_omnia_unus_est_by_dashinvaine-d62hzol

When a banker  checks a customer’s credit score, it is to assess how successful or aggressive that individual or business will be in contending with others to obtain funds that are not created in sufficiency to pay back the interest on the loan.35

In a manner of speaking, it’s like a game of musical chairs in that there are never enough seats for everyone.  Someone will end up getting squeezed out. There isn’t enough money to pay the interest on all the loans, just like the missing chair.  Both are highly competitive games. In the money game, however, the stakes are elevated, as it means grappling with certain poverty or, worse still, having to declare bankruptcy.36

 

The real brilliance of Lietaer’s musical chairs analogy is that it helps the “common” man and woman to easily visualise, and understand, the alchemists’ critical need for monetary “motion” as opposed to “stability”, in order to conjure an apparent economic “equilibrium” of “constant change” (ie, constant economic “growth”) moving through time. It is, we now see, an illusory “equilibrium”, built on the ancient magic of sophistry and numbers, and contrived to “produce” compound “yields” for the Wizards of Oz hiding behind the curtain:

let him show the basis of that Stability to be constant change, just as the stability of a molecule is secured by the momentum of the swift atoms contained in it.

In this way let every idea go forth as a triangle on the base of two opposites, making an apex transcending their contradiction in a higher harmony.

It is not safe to use any thought in Magick, unless that thought has been thus equilibrated and destroyed.37

 

Unlike these present-day Lords of Time and their legions of high priests all preaching the obscure doctrines of Hermetic-Kabbalistic economic theology, Lietaer is speaking an everyday, “common” language — of “common” imagery and symbols — that we can easily understand. Most important to notice though, is that his clear and simple language is a result of his motivation. He seeks not to obfuscate but to elucidate.

In a telling passage of John Maynard Keynes: Vol 2 The Economist As Saviour 1920-1937, Keynes’ biographer Robert Skidelsky informs us that (bold and italicised emphasis added):

In Keynes’s view capitalism’s driving force is a vice which he called “love of money” … in the General Theory “the propensity to hoard” or “liquidity preference” plays a vital part in the mechanics of an economy’s rundown, once something has happened to make investment less attractive. And this links up with Keynes’s sense that, at some level too deep to be captured by mathematics, “love of money” as an end, not a means, is at the root of the world’s economic problem.38

 

Nearly two thousand years earlier, Jesus of Nazareth pointed to the same thing, in debunking the money-lenders’ illusion (delusion) that “‘Time’ (‘God’) is ‘Money'”:

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money].39

 

*******

UPDATE 2/2/2016

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in them both, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it (…) 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 as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality.”

— George Orwell, defining “doublethink” in his book 1984

 

“Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures. Society is now required not only to recognise everyone’s right to the freedom of consciousness, political views and privacy, but also to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning. This destruction of traditional values from above not only leads to negative consequences for society, but is also essentially anti-democratic, since it is carried out on the basis of abstract, speculative ideas, contrary to the will of the majority, which does not accept the changes occurring or the proposed revision of values.”

— Vladimir Putin, Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, December 12, 2013

 

UPDATE: 10/2/2016

Added Faivre quotation, footnote 31.

 

UPDATE: 2/3/2016

Corrected first three diagrams consistent with DE balance sheet rule (Assets – left, Liabilities – right).

 

UPDATE: 3/26/2016

Added video clip “It’s called an economy” – see Once Upon A Time – An Allegory For Usury On Primetime American TV

 

*******

[1] Edward Thomas Jones, Jones’ English System of Book-Keeping by Single or Double Entry, 1796

[2] James D. Heiser, Prisci Theologi and the Hermetic Reformation in the Fifteenth Century, 2011

[3] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[4] ibid.

[5] Sanford L. Drob, The Doctrine of Coincidentia Oppositorum in Jewish Mysticism, 2000

[6] Sanford L. Drob, The Theosophical Kabbalah, 2001

[7] Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice, Book IV, Part III, Chapter VIII; Of Equilibrium: and of the General and Particular Method of Preparation of the Furniture of the Temple and the Instruments of Art

[8] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual, 1896

[9] ibid.

[10] ibid.

[11] ibid.

[12] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[13] ibid.

[14] ibid.

[15] ibid.

[16] ibid.

[17] ibid.

[18] Jolyon Jenkins, How Men In Grey Suits Changed The World, 2010 – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8552220.stm

[19] ibid.

[20] E. Michael Jones, Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism As The Conflict Between Labor And Usury, 2014

[21] ibid.

[22] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[23] ibid.

[24] Bill Still, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Monetary Reformer’s Brief Symbol Glossaryhttp://www.themoneymasters.com/the-wonderful-wizard-of-oz-a-monetary-reformers-brief-symbol-glossary/

[25] Richard Marback, Plato’s Dream of Sophistry, 1999

[26] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[27] Investopedia, Time Value of Moneyhttp://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/timevalueofmoney.asp

[28] Wikipedia, Shell Game – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_game

[29] Steve Keen, The Principal And Interest On Debt Myth, Forbes, 2015 – http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevekeen/2015/03/30/the-principal-and-interest-on-debt-myth-2/

[30] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[31] Antoine Faivre, Eternal Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus, 1995

[32] Bernard Lietaer and Jacquie Dunne, Rethinking Money, 2013

[33] ibid.

[34] ibid.

[35] ibid.

[36] ibid.

[37] Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice, Book IV, Part III, Chapter VIII; Of Equilibrium: and of the General and Particular Method of Preparation of the Furniture of the Temple and the Instruments of Art

[38] Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Vol. 2, The Economist As Saviour 1920-1937, 1994

[39] Matthew 6:24, The Sermon on the Mount, New King James Version

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