“History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was plowing fields and carrying water.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 101). HarperCollins.
Today, May 4, is Star Wars’ Day (see below).
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
It is April 15 and little has happened of note other than the passage of time. The sun seems to have made it beyond the spring clouds; morning follows night; things measured only by emotions; sleep disturbed by dreams. The great Elizabethan theatrical producer and sometime writer wrote, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” (The Tempest Act 4, scene 1) It is beyond rounded, more like impregnated the way ricotta impregnates cannoli filling. We sleep at night and often move through the day like we are still asleep, the mind wandering on its merry way as it does at night with little connection to the world around us. We live our stories, those narratives we tell ourselves until we pass beyond our service area.
It has been a week since I wrote the above. Things have happened but I have forgotten them. Perhaps, I wrote some down here but for some reason, they got erased. Anyway, it is raining today and I decided to skip exercise at the health club and stay indoors lying in bed snacking on grapes and Hostess Chocolate Cup Cakes while I type this.
One day, I went for a walk on the “New York Trail” near my house. Along the trail, there are signs warning of mountain lions. There is one area that the trail passes through that I especially fear that mountain lions are hidden in the bushes. Below is a photograph of that stretch of trail. I usually turn back when I reach here. I did so again that day.
Later in the week, Lena arrived in Sacramento. I met her there and took her to tour the State Capitol which she had never seen. She was thrilled with the restoration of the building and took many photographs. Then I accompanied her on a walk through Capitol Park beneath my beloved trees. She was less thrilled. We then went to the Crocker Museum where an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s portraits was on display. I preferred the nineteenth-century landscapes that make up most of the museum’s permanent collection.
So, for about a week now I have suffered with a slight, but still miserable, cold. Last night was the worst — waking up coughing, raw throat, burning eyes sleeping fitfully with disturbing dreams. Finally toward morning following a rather disturbing event that I will not go into, I found myself traveling in the desert.
I was riding a bicycle pulling a small wagon loaded with camping equipment and a bottle of vodka. The desert landscape resembled the Burning Man in its early days, little encampments of shaggy people constructing oddly shaped dreams from refuse. I came across one that appeared to be a twisted derrick with a pod of some sort attached to it. As I approached, a bearded figure sitting in the crane shouted, “We are going to the moon.” And with that, the pod detached and shot up into the sky. I could see it contained a person since it had metal limbs extending from the pod. It was very exciting.
The pod, so high it was barely visible, circled the desert. Suddenly, it plummeted to earth, plunging behind a small building. The ugly loud crash startled a nearby flock of crows cawing into the air. I felt terrible.
The crows circled the small building for a while then returned to their roosts. From behind the building, a small woman, not elfin and slender, but broad-faced and broad-bodied came running trailing pieces of the pod behind her. She passed me with a big smile on her face shouting, “I made it! I made it!” With that, I decided it was a good point to wake up and start the day. And so I did.
While swimming one day, I noticed in the sky a wispy cloud that looked like the ghost horse (Pooka) all skeletal tattered and menacing. It disturbed me. Not because I am superstitious but because it forced me to stop and persuade myself that I wasn’t.
Today while driving HRM to school he told me that it was Star Wars Day. “May the Fourth be with You.”
B. BOOK REPORT:
I have just finished reading the last novel in Bernard Cornwall’s trilogy about King Arthur. Previously, I read the first nine novels of his series set in the time of King Alfred of England and his immediate descendants. While both series can be classed as historical novels, they each concern the life of a made up hero who has an out of proportion impact on the affairs of the kings and times they tell about.
We know that at the end of the Fifth and the beginning or the Sixth Centuries a warlord with the name of Arthur lived. We also know that during that time the Saxon invasion of England was temporarily halted and about a generation of relative peace followed. All the rest is legend and surmise.
Britain had a population of about 4 million throughout the Roman ascendancy. It collapsed to about 2 million within a few decades following the Roman legions departure. Many people left Britain along with the military. Some were Roman elite who returned with the armies to the remnant of the empire. Many others, the Celtic aristocracy primarily, emigrated to Brittany and Galicia in Spain. Most of the others died of disease, hunger and slaughter as civic order collapsed.
The Saxon migrations into the rapidly depopulating England, during the two hundred or so years it lasted, totaled only about 30 to 50 thousand people. The warbands on both sides rarely were larger than 100 or so armed men, not much bigger than a modern biker gang. They terrorized the small hamlets (about 50 families each) that made up most of the villages in the depopulated country. They killed the men raped the women and stole whatever goods the people may have had, until they realized that they could increase their profits by offering the villagers, for a price, protection from other biker gangs and, more likely, protection from themselves. With the extra money, they paid those who were better at playing the harp than fighting to make up songs about how great they were.
Pasted Graphic 2.tiff
British habitations following departure of Romans
Into this chaos rode Arthur and his 20 or so henchmen riding large war horses (Dark Ages Harleys) and engaged the Saxon gangs in a series of lightning raids into their turf. The horses were probably descendants of the mounts of the Samaritan cataphracts (Heavily armed mounted troops from Samaria) that the Romans imported to Britain to pacify the country.
I find it interesting that following the conquest of Britain by the Romans, they brought in an alien ruling elite and superior social organization but left the indigenous population subservient but intact. Relative peace and prosperity reigned over the island for four hundred years. Following the departure of the Romans, the native Britons fought amongst themselves until the Saxons arrived with their war of extinction. About 100 years following the peace Arthur secured after his victory at Mount Badon, the Saxons succeeded in driving the Britons into the mountains of Cornwall and Wales. Then, for about two hundred years, the Saxons fought amongst themselves until they also were faced with a war of extinction from Danish invaders. Alfred halted the invasion and his decedents pushed them back until about 100 years later the Normans conquered them all, Saxons, Danes and ultimately Britons, bringing in a ruling class that provided superior social organization and relative peace for the subservient indigenous population for the next 400 years or so — by then almost everyone thought they were English.
Anyway, all the novels were good old swords and a little sorcery along with a lot of grunting and killing in battles and more killing and raping after the battles ended and a lot of drinking of mead and ale and more killing and raping and a lot of oaths pledged and broken and Kings and Queens and starving and diseased peasants and so on.
Pookie says, “Check it out.”
Adam Smith’s stated that “The profits of production must be reinvested in increasing production.”
I would assume from that that the good A. Smith may have agreed that if the profits of production go into building up wealth and not reinvested in increasing production, it is not Capitalism or a capitalist system but rather something else — perhaps something more like the royal system he lived in where the profits of production went to increasing the wealth of the entitled classes or into rent based assets.
Similarly, the debt and credit system are not Capitalism. They existed long before Capitalism developed. They proved exceptionally helpful and often assisted in increasing production but the bankers need for timely repayment is not the same as the investors wish for profit and may at times suppress production in order to satisfy the need for repayment. Also, as we have seen in the past 50 years or so, the bank based financial system encouraged the replacement of production with production-less wealth creation, thus requiring government to periodically step in to boost confidence by transferring public wealth in order to prop up the banks thereby making non-production based assets even more valuable. In effect, companies producing goods can fail but banks producing paper wealth cannot. I always felt that the banking system, since it often in the long run substitutes debt and credit for investment, risk and the reinvestment of the profits into increasing production is the anthesis of Capitalism.
Corporations are not Capitalism. They are a state sponsored scheme to encourage investment in production that investors would otherwise consider too risky. True, like debt and credit they may be helpful and perhaps essential in increasing production but they also have downsides. Investors having significantly limited liabilities as well as microscopic ownership interests leave operational oversight, to management, a few large investors, and various investor agents all of whom may have and often do have interests other than increasing production. They also, in the long run, substitute organizational preservation to production. Reinvestment of the profits of production in increasing production becomes a far lower priority to keeping Wall Street happy.
‘Kushim!’ is the first recorded name in History. He was an accountant in Mesopotamia somewhere about 5000 or more years ago. It is interesting and telling that the first recorded name in history belongs to an accountant, rather than a prophet, a poet or a great conqueror. The second name we know from about the same time in Gal-Sal. He was a slave owner and the next two names we know about were his slaves En-pap X and Sukkalgir. So the first people whose names we know of were an accountant, a slave owner, and two slaves — no heroes and no Kings. The first King’s name showed up a couple of generations later.
What this shows is that little has changed in 5000 years. The world is still run by accountants, business owners (slave owners) and workers (slaves), Kings, Heroes, and Prophets are just entertainment.
A. Religious Thoughts:
No one knows if God exists.
No one knows if He does not exist.
In the beginning ,there was the Singularity. The Singularity became the Universe.
The Universe generated life.
Life evolved in complexity and awareness until it delivered a symbol using, self-aware entity we call Humanity.
Humanity then ordered its perception of everything into the known, the Empirical and into the unknown, the Belief and the ethical, the Moral.
The empirical system most complex, organized and integrated we call “Science”.
The belief system most comprehensive we call “Religion”.
The unknown is infinite.
The known is ever expanding and evolving.
Science and Religion are one and cannot conflict.
The unknown remains infinite as Science expands.
When Science discerned the earth was not the center of the universe religion continued unlimited.
Whoever claims that the fruits of Science are wrong because they conflict with Religion are wrong.
All things change and evolve, the form evolves, the science evolves, the religion evolves. Even God evolves.
Humanity enunciated (developed) the prime Moral rule, “Do good and avoid evil”. All religious sects agree.
Humanity put forth the means to carry out the prime rule, “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you,” Most religious sects have enunciated this rule in one form or another.
It means the individual measures the rule.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
“Humans and domesticated animals are two of nature’s evolutionary success stories. Unfortunately for domesticated animals, there is only too often a vast discrepancy between evolutionary success and individual suffering.”
C. Today’s Poem:
A young man’s plea for the return of his wife
“Of marriage? Judge, I want to say,
It’s deep and homeward, safe and soft,
As evening birds make to their loft,
Or horses to their beds of hay.”
“Of women I knew nothing deep;
I lived alone and worked my fields,
And fed my cattle, milked their yields,
And nightly, wearied, laid to sleep.
But I believed that man needs more,
And so I set myself to learn
Of marriage, everywhere I turned,
By watching couples evermore.
I saw young men with beardless cheeks
Dancing with their shining brides.
I saw old gray-haired men besides
Look fond as though they’d wed but weeks.
And then I thought and thought so much
Of what Life needs to make it pure,
I understood man must be sure,
Yet tender with his loving touch,
And never coarse and never mere,
Watchful that he do his duty,
Husband, lover, to his beauty,
Trusted guardian of his dear.
I thought and thought of how I might,
Love a woman who would give,
Her hand to me and come and live
Beneath my roof from morn till night.
I found a woman, sweet and pretty,
Good of nature, clear of eye,
Kind in spirit, soft of sigh,
Who didn’t need me to be witty,
Who knew that I could love with force,
Who judged my feelings were sincere,
Who sensed that I would hold her dear,
Who saw I was an untapped source
Of kindness, warmth and deep affection,
Care and conscientious thought,
Who believed a true man ought
Give his wife his best protection.
She married me, I married her,
A day of days, the sun shone brighter,
Our hearts, we found, were never lighter,
And then I knew it—love’s the spur.”
“For the short time we were married,
I did my best to love this girl,
I never grizzled like a churl,
And always made sure that I carried
Heavy weights, like sacks or logs
Or furniture from room to room,
I combed the horses with the groom,
And fed the cats, the birds, the dogs.
The other matters that I tended,
Sweeter things that women need,
A lovely flower, a glass of mead,
A smile to praise a garment mended.
I ate her food with hearty joy,
I chose for her the finest leather,
For boots to brave inclement weather,
Loved her hearty or when coy.
If I came into the house,
And she stood there, unawares,
I chased her laughing up the stairs
And kissed her neck, soft as a mouse.
Every night I held her close,
Stroked her softly, caresses deep,
Smoothed her forehead, and in sleep,
Held her safely till she rose.
As I speak these words this morning,
It must sound as though I brag,
But my motive is to drag
My hurt heart out of its mourning.”
“The truth is, judge, I lost my lady
Not to any man who’s moral.
Pretty soon he’ll pick a quarrel,
And he’ll dump her somewhere shady.
But if she’ll come and take my arm,
I’ll so love her, so regard her,
Do my best to work much harder,
Even try and learn some charm.
I may be dull and somewhat boring,
But I love her perfect skin,
And the way she tilts her chin,
And her little whispered snoring.
I love the way her tiny hand,
Can crack a nut, or milk a cow,
I love above all that she knows how
To draw pictures in the sand
Of faces, insects, beasts, and birds,
And writes rhymes that never scan.
She whistles better than a man;
I love her sense of the absurd.
We dwelt quietly on a hill…
I’m an ordinary man…
Her body’s soft, much softer than
A fledgling’s—God, I love her still.”
Delaney, Frank. Ireland: A Novel (p. 203). HarperCollins.
“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally, they reach a point where they can’t live without it.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 87).