Mysticism, Nature, Time

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

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

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

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

Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 11:52

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

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

Psalm 2:1-4

“The Finger of God”, Carina Nebula

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

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

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

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

Quelle surprise.

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

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

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

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

“Pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth pisseth!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try. I’ll wait….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why such seething hatred in the hearts of the rabbis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supreme Authority, that is.

Even over God Himself.

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

(Complete Jewish Bible)

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

(Orthodox Jewish Bible)

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

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

Wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God is dead. Might is right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A truly ‘creative’ Lord of Time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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But wait!

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

How so?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 25:31-46)

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Withering gaze.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine my surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pliny the Elder

 

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

 

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

REFERENCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[15] ibid., pp.24-27

[16] ibid., pp.19, 26

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

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

[19] ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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Time

Once Upon A Time – An Allegory For Usury On Primetime American TV

 

“All magick comes with a price.”

– Rumplestiltskin / the Dark One / Mr Gold, Once Upon A Time

It premiered in 2011 as the top-rated drama. The pilot episode attracted almost 13 million viewers.

Now in its fifth season—and recently confirmed for a sixth—around 5 million fans in North America alone still tune in on Sunday nights to the ABC’s primetime TV series Once Upon A Time.

Doubtless very few have a clue that it is really a brazen allegory for money-lending. More specifically, for the practice of usury.

Couched in the guise of a modern fairy tale, it is really a story of magick debt “money”, that breeds more money.

For the magician, that is.

How?

By themagick” spell, of the binding contract.

The Promise To Pay. The I Owe You.

All the magician has to do, is tempt you to sign on the dotted line.



What do we owe, in “return” for this magick?

Our “firstborn”. The first “fruit” of our “labour”.


Most of us don’t really understand the “price” of magick. Compound interest is the “small” yet ever growing “price” we must pay, for enjoying the comforts of “magick” debt money.

I have watched only the first series of Once Upon A Time. From the premiere episode (clip below) onwards, it is filled to overflowing with symbolism and thinly-veiled allusions to the system of debt magick that has enslaved us all in a prison of Time.

All the other clips shown here are from episode four—aptly titled “The Price of Gold”—which first aired on November 13, 2011. Yes, that is 11/13/11 for fans of numerology, occultism, and conspiracy.

Please watch attentively the three slightly longer clips below, for a fuller context of that particular episode.

And for a comprehensively footnoted essay on how our modern system of debt money—and its supporting schools of economic theory—arose from the Hermetic-Kabbalist principles of double-entry bookkeeping in the 15th century, please read On Principal And Interest, Hermetic Magick, And The Lords Of Time.



A final thought.

Some—myself included—believe that private, for-profit banking corporations should not have the exclusive, government-backed and -enforced legal privilege of money creation. Especially when the only form of “money” these magicians create, is usury-bearing debt.

So if you have found some value (information, knowledge) in this post, perhaps you might be generous-hearted enough to do me a small favour.

That is, other than sharing this post with others.

Please take a look at the concept website I have created, explaining my idea for an alternative “money” (currency) system – deror.org.

I think every man (and woman) should be their own central banker.

UPDATE:

Should you still hold any doubts that Once Upon A Time is an allegory for usury, here are some snippets from the episode immediately following the one depicted above. Episode five—titled “The Still Small Voice”—also helps us to see that the “money” magicians are without excuse; that they know right from wrong, but choose to ignore the still small voice of God within (Conscience).

Importantly, it also confirms the foundational truths about the debt-money economy, as detailed in my essay.


And again, a slightly longer and more revealing clip, for context:

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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

 

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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

 

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[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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