TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
(THE TWILIGHT’S MOST RECENT GLEAMING)
By Michael J. Clark
1848 Onyx Alley
Eugene, Oregon USA 97403
For Alan Greenspan,
the last of the great white whaleboat captains.
The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced in their statue devil; -- Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, p. 200.
Writing, for me, is an act of discovery. It is a turning of the mind’s sometimes-lucid light on a darkened landscape of ideas, hoping and trusting that illumination will occur. I write in order to see reality more clearly. Writing is an act of focusing the mind through a high-powered lens on things hidden in nature, images existent in dark energy, dream matter – using the mind to draw these hidden things out into the open.
Writing, for me, is not a linear experience – it sometimes involves wandering from object to object – this can be maddening for some readers who appreciate the diameter more than the circle. Writing, for me, is a weaving in and out of ideas, in and out of symbols, in and out of meanings, which, when stitched together, create a visible object, a tapestry built by metaphor into a recognizable form.
In this way poetry is different than prose. Poetry leaps from idea to idea; poetry wanders, gets lost sometimes. Prose is causal, building an argument in a linear fashion, laying out a matrix based on temporal cause and effect.
This books is a poet’s view of history, a poet’s view of the real (non-linear) causes of historic manifestations. As such, a reader must allow for the occasional drifting in and out of what may seem like foreign, unrelated landscapes, These landscapes are, trust me, connected, but perhaps not connected in a linear fashion. A spider web is a whole structure, each part necessary to the whole – but not every strand of the structure is directly connected to every other strand. The structure of this book is somewhat like the structure of a spider’s web.
I began this book as an attempt to rationalize (clarify) my own understanding of my immediate environment, which had been darkened suddenly by a constellation of events: my own retirement surely; also the sudden destruction of Western Civilization through the devastation of a financial system seemingly constructed with great care by the self-adoring ‘masters of the universe’ on Wall Street, in London and in other western world capitals.
How had this happened? Where would it lead?
I had a fairly clear understanding when I began of the metaphysical engine driving History’s manifestations and de-constructions: that human and historical manifestations on earth were divided into periods of Day (activity, building, masculine solar organizing energy) and periods of Night (relative inactivity, deconstruction, feminine lunar dis-organizing energy) – anti-entropy (negentropy) and entropy. I did not expect, however, when I began writing this book for this Day/Night sequence to appear in history with such regularity as to make it predictable.
While writing this book, I discovered a 36-year cycle in American economic expansions (top to top) and an 18-year half-cycle (top to bottom). Was this kind of precision possible in Nature?
The mind will try to organize chaos into a rational system in order to give itself some security in confronting the shapelessness, the nothingness, the chaos, of reality. Perhaps these precise cycles are nothing more than this mania for mental organization which gives the human mind the illusion of ‘knowing’.
Still, I have come to believe – through seeing – that the most recent Day-Cycle of Western Economic Expansion ended (or should have ended) in 2001, when the Dot Com Bubble burst, causing essentially worthless internet companies that had been pumped full of hot air by duplicitous investment bankers to fall back to earth after soaring and making many of these duplicitous bankers millionaires or even billionaires. I say should have begun in 2001 had not Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan essentially – in a kind of mad positivistic ideological reaction – begun devaluing the American Dollar hand-over-fist in an attempt to avert the deflation that was needed to balance the inflationary financial bubble-factory that had driven America toward an economic precipice, making his colleagues in the American Ruling Class billions of dollars in the process – before it all came crashing down.
Cheap money; more debt; declining productivity – how, again, did this formula translate into a stronger, leaner, more competitive America? It didn’t. It translated only into more debt for most Americans and for the American government – and more wealth – an obscene amount of wealth in fact – for a handful of America’s ruling class, those in banking, finance, and insurance especially, but also in housing and energy.
An example of this obscene level of wealth is former Secretary of the Treasury (and CEO of Goldman Sachs) Henry Paulson who made, it has been reported, more than $400 million dollars in his position at Goldman Sachs, then transferred his power seat to the Bush Administration, then blackmailed the U.S. Congress (and through them the American citizen) for trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail out his friends at Goldman Sachs when the pyramid scheme they had collectively constructed collapsed in 2008.
I remember reading what a great ‘master of the universe’ Hank Paulson was, what a giant of finance, what a titan of American commercial life – a genius, indeed. Really? And I had been wondering why this titan of finance was not sharing a prison cell with everyone’s favorite thief, Bernard Madoff? Paulson’s plundering of the American Treasury is the greatest act of thievery in the history of the Earth.
2001 was also the year of the September 11th Muslim attacks on American commercial, political and military symbols, the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City being the most devastating of these attacks. This attack symbolically marked the end of the 18-year economic expansion of Western Civilization (the ideal of the ‘individual’ and the triumph of ‘private’ enterprise) that began with Ronald Reagan’s capitalist revolution in 1983. Day-Cycles exemplify ‘private enterprise’, and focus on individual gain, individual activity; Night-cycles exemplify ‘social enterprise’, and focus on group survival, group activity.
The period of 1983-2001 marked the 18-year period of economic expansion that followed the 18 year period of economic stagflation from 1965-1983, during which time America endured both high unemployment and high inflation, a flat investment market on Wall Street, and the spiritual death experience emblematic of the Counter-Culture movement, as the civil rights rebellion, the war in Vietnam and the general anti-Capitalist flavor of the period cast doubt on the purity of America’s history, exposing racial atrocity, economic bullying, and militaristic terrorism in Asia and Latin America. Clearly, this period produced the deflation of the American Ego – self-accusation, social fragmentation and polarization, civil disaffection and even armed conflict against the white, male power structure.
Ego expansion, inflation, requires and assumes social unity, either through a shared sense of danger, or through the enforced conformism – and through the shared doctrine of ‘individual responsibility’. Ego contraction, deflation, produces a climate of social division that threatens the government, the ruling class, and the economic hierarchy of the civilization: the very fabric of the society becomes torn.
This is where we are headed, straight into social division, polarization between the haves and have-nots, anger at the government and their masters in the Ruling Class (mostly white, mostly men) perhaps revolution. This disintegration will continue until around 2019, when the negative energy of the deflation period (‘emptying out’) will give way to the more positive energy of the inflation experience (‘filling up’).
Period A. 2001 – 2019: Night Cycle Deflation, Social Fragmentation, Chaos
Period B. 1983 – 2001: Day Cycle Inflation, Higher forms of Organization
Period C. 1965 – 1983: Night Cycle Deflation, Social Fragmentation, Chaos
Period D. 1947 – 1965: Day Cycle Inflation, higher forms of Organization
Period E. 1929 – 1947: Night Cycle Deflation, Social Fragmentation, Chaos
Period F. 1911 – 1929: Day Cycle Inflation, higher forms of Organization
Period G. 1893 – 1911: Night Cycle Deflation, Social Fragmentation, Chaos
Period H. 1875 – 1893: Day Cycle Inflation, higher forms of Organization
Period I. 1857 – 1875: Night Cycle Deflation, Social Fragmentation, Chaos
Period J. 1839 – 1957: Day Cycle Inflation, higher forms of Organization
Period K. 1821 – 1839: Night Cycle Deflation, Social Fragmentation, Chaos
Period L. 1803 – 1821: Day Cycle Inflation, higher forms of Organization
Period M. 1785 – 1803: Night Cycle Deflation, Social Fragmentation, Chaos
Period N. 1767 – 1785: Day Cycle Inflation, higher forms of Organization
The reader will see that the periods of deflation do include periods of social fragmentation, polarization and chaos, civil war, periods of class warfare and periods of economic depression. Periods of inflation (ego-inflation, not necessarily monetary inflation) include a return to national roots, a baptism, a washing clean of the sins of the past (a drinking from the River Lethe in the sense of the Greek Myth, a suspension of accusatory Memory), often a threat to national security and the resurrection of the Father Figure image – and a reawakening of religious imagery, embedded in symbols of Old Testament ‘chosen’ people imagery.
Put in the local vernacular, Ego-deflation Night-Cycles empower the Indian persona from American history. Ego-inflation Day-Cycles empower the Cowboy persona from American history. The ‘Indian’ is tribal (group-oriented), lunar, horizontal in orientation – animated by the imagistic dream content – and by the ethic of equality. The ‘Cowboy’ is individualistic, solar, vertical in orientation – climbing the ladder in search of objective recognition – animated by the scientific ‘real world’ of causality and engineering, city-building, active god-like behavior, and by the ethic of freedom.
It is this active, god-like behavior – pride, or the Greek idea of Hubris – that causes Adam and Eve to fall from the pure state of Paradise and to be cast into darkness (death, illness, decline, depression), which is the essence of the Night-Cycle of Ego Deflation, as the human being suddenly awakens to his own limitations, his own mortality, his own inability to stem the tide of the collapse through the old Cowboy logic of hard work, will power, and positive thinking – that is, of exclusion of the shadow, the negative energy, from the picture, creating the illusion of unity, a unity of parts.
Pubic spending won’t fix the decline; engineers can’t curb the collapse; politicians can’t talk or cheer their way out of the reality of the contraction. Nothing but time (18 years) can resurrect the dead power-source and inflate the ideals of civilization again.
The book looks more closely at these different periods of expansion and decline.
In this book, I will also look more closely at the 18 year cycle as it fits a 4-season cycle as a paradigm of historical development, a schema that owes something to both Gambatitsta Vico and Oswald Spengler.
This image represents a visual system of History’s stages – and applies to 18-year cycles and to historical life cycles in a more general sense.
History begins in a love of God, then transforms into a love of the world (of men), then returns to a love of God is three major steps, through four major personas or guardians. Black Giant (Nature, Dark Ages, Space: Midnight); Renaissance Man (First Middle Ages, Dawn); White Giant (Man, Empiricism, Time, Noon); Revolutionary Romantic Man (Second Middle Ages, Dusk).
This process will be examined quite thoroughly in the book that follows.
The Day-Cycle is essentially an idealization of the Masculine Principle. The Night-Cycle is an idealization of the Feminine Principle. The Day-Cycle idealizes physical strength, wealth, body, athletic ability, business acumen, heroism, military skills, mathematics, technology, construction abilities, religious discipline, the moral principle of Power or Freedom. The Night-Cycle idealizes love, thought, mind, spirituality, poetry, art, philosophy, mythology, religious mysticism, the moral principle of Love or Equality.
During Night-Cycles, men tend to grow their hair long and dress and act more like women.
During Day-Cycles, women tend to cut their hair short and dress and act more like men.
TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
(THE TWILIGHT’S MOST RECENT GLEAMING)
The party's over,
It's time to call it a day
They've burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away.
It's time to wind up the masquerade
Just make your mind up
The piper must be paid.
The party's over
The candles flicker and dim
You danced and dreamed through the night
It seemed to be right
Just being with him.
Now you must wake up,
All dreams must end
Take off your makeup,
The party's over
It's all over, my friend
-Words by Betty Comden and Adolph
Green and Music by Jule Styne
AS THE WORLD TURNS…DOWN
In April 2008, I retired after working thirty years as an administrative assistant in the Architecture Department at the University of Oregon.
Almost immediately, upon retiring, my vision of the future turned black. I was standing before an abyss. True, my life patterns, thirty years of the creation and preservation of a ritual, had ended – and I was undergoing a kind of psychic death. But there was more than this. The precipice at which I was standing was a cultural, racial gulf. The world we had known so well – which we had taken for granted and assumed would continue into the foreseeable future – was ending.
In Jungian psychological literature, when interpreting the ‘inner’ meaning of medieval alchemy, this period is called the ‘black sun’, Sol negro, and indicates the beginning of the soul’s descent into the underworld, the sun’s descent into death and darkness, prior to eventual rebirth on the other side of the Night. The soul descends into the ‘ocean of the unconscious’ and undergoes a death and purification ritual, washing itself clean of sins, facing its own judgments against its impurities and imperfections – and enters a period of dormancy, like a seed lying latent in the cold earth – to be awakened only, and with a new vision, a new body, and a new personal mission, when stirred to life by the warm rays of the virginal, Spring Sun.
Understood spiritually or psychologically, alchemy was the story of the individual’s quest to attain rebirth from a moral death, a popped Ego-bubble, that occurs at the end of a Day-cycle of active external social living – i.e., a Day of material existence. The vas, the container inside of which the alchemist tried to transform lead into gold, was the individual soul, inside of which the now-isolate human being attempted to transform the heavy night of a leaden depression and loss into the new gold of solar regeneration.
When the Day turned into Night, a new body was ultimately re-fashioned from the remnants of the old. The physical body weakened; and the spiritual body, the soul, became the vehicle of this transitory reckoning in the land of Darkness. Despair, Depression, loss of body and wealth, were psychic stages in this solar cleansing process.
It became clear to me, almost as if a light switch had been suddenly turned off, that the American financial system (and the global economy that America had been championing under the guise of ‘free market capitalism’ for so long) was heading off a precipice. There was nothing we could do to stop it. The world we had known for so long was slowly, irrevocably vanishing, matter being swallowed by a vast black hole that resided in the very center of our economic galaxy.
The world was ending.
And ‘positive thinking’, a cheerleading of material markets by its political and intellectual and practical enthusiasts, with their rational, technological ingenuity, which had helped to engender this most recent phase of the Great American Empire’s expansion (and its offspring, the global economic order), would not be able to stem the inevitable turning of Day into Night, the irresistible transformation of Positive into Negative Energy.
This book is about philosophical principles. It is about how the world really works and what really led to the collapse of world capitalism. It is not about financial principles so much. Writers will argue about the financial cause(s) of the collapse: the housing bubble, engineered by Alan Greenspan and his disciple Ben Bernanke; greed of Wall Street bankers, mortgage brokers and mortgage companies, federal agencies, lack of federal oversight. Sophisticated mortgage bonds will be blamed, credit swaps, mortgage insurance. President George Bush will be blamed. American consumers will also be blamed. Also targeted will be the lust for status and credit and consumer goods, which lust had driven the global feeding frenzy – and which had generated personal global wealth on a scale never before seen in human history.
Yes, there was a good side to this expansion. The good side was probably clear to everyone. Now we will get to see the shadow-side that accrues from a global loss of balance in values.
In my mind, these ‘financial causes’ are all effects of the expansion rather than cause. The ecstasy of greed creates corruption, theft, misuse of power, many forms of criminality, and desperation; shameful human behavior is often illuminated in much the same way as a low ocean tide reveals garbage, bones, dead bodies, as the water retreats from its raucous and relatively lawless period of high tide, revealing evidence of crimes committed during the raging of the mad period of expansion of the will. Bernie Madoff is not the only criminal who has been exposed by the receding of the water of greed. A government, if truly interested in prosecuting white-collar crimes, could busy itself for a decade pursuing criminal acts in banking, investment banking, mortgage-abuse, and bribery of government officials that have occurred in the last two decades, but especially the last eight years.
I, personally, do not blame George Bush for the collapse of the western financial system. He cannot control every limb of the American political tree, control every aspect of the unwieldy, voracious, political beast. However, the Republican ideology which has been in power since the advent of Ronald Reagan, which demands that ‘business be allowed to do what it does best’, with less and less government scrutiny, is, without question, responsible for both the creation and the destruction of the booming global economy.
We must remember that what business does best is to generate profits – the shadow side of this profit-generation is the practice of cheating and stealing and manipulating laws and law-makers in homage to the God of Wealth and the ideal of plutocracy. Business seeks to destroy or diminish competition, so that it can raise prices and, where possible, scalp the public for necessary or unnecessary goods and services. Higher profits and lower costs are what make a business successful.
The obscene profits generated by oil companies in the last decade give us a pretty good picture of what unregulated business is all about, when it is not regulated by laws rigorously set up to protect the consumer from unscrupulous business practices.
There is a thin line between regulations protecting the consumer and regulations serving economic expansion in an affluent society, both of these ends ultimately being the goal.
We are emerging from – and this will involve a very painful recalibration of our virtue -- a rapacious age of materialism, business expansion, glorification of the entrepreneur, the fleecing of the consumer by banks and credit agencies – an Age of Greed (an Age of White Collar Mafiosos) that has turned most Americans and most Europeans and many world citizens into credit-slaves, eager to exchange their own financial freedom for the seeming economic success defined by unending consumption in the name of prosperity and technological progress. Success is measured in this type of society by the number and quality of objects one owns: houses, vehicles, electronic devices, designer clothes, etc. When I write that we, as a society and as a globe and as a race, have turned our back on God, this is my meaning: Human character is not the measure of the man in this age; but material goods are the measure. In Biblical history, God turns His back on Man when Man forgets God. Metaphorically, this is what happens when the Night-Cycle of death and pain succeed the Day-Cycle of pride and wealth and self-worship.
When I describe the shadow-side of the economic expansion, I am also very aware of its opposite: the relative political peace and economic well-being that has graced the world, more or less, since the defeat of fascism in 1945.
I am not a hater of business, or of the business class, and their political party in America, the Republicans, although it may seem that way from my first few statements. In my view Ronald Reagan ‘saved’ America from the chaos and stagnation of a protracted democratic rule – the surrender to the malaise of nihilism, so wonderfully exemplified by President Jimmy Carter, with his messianic vision of self-sacrifice and the desired death of American Exceptionalism. There was a time for the Republicans – the personification of the Cowboy myth in America – the prophets of free enterprise, individualism, law and order, science and reason, survival through strength, the glory of wealth and social hierarchy and Man above and segregated from Nature. A rising to the trumpet of Empire.
However, there is also a time for the Democrats – the personification of the Indian myth in America – the prophets of a planned economy, the community, justice, poetry, art, metaphysics and philosophy, survival through diplomatic alliances, the glory of thought and culture; with humanity as a wise and modest part of an integrated Nature.
The Republicans represent the Day Hero in all its Solar bodily glory and youth.
The Democrats represent the Night Hero in all its Lunar glory of culture and thought and maturity.
The Republicans rule the Day World of Science, Trade, Engineering, City-Building and the manifestation of the order of Empire: the life of the body.
The Democrats rule the Night World of Metaphysics, Art, Music, Literature, Philosophy: the life of the soul.
The Republicans are the manifestation of the Sun. The Democrats are the manifestation of the Moon.
When I speak of the real cause of the financial meltdown in 2008, I make reference to the mechanism of duality which drives all phenomenological expression at least on this Earth, and, possibly, in this Universe. The discovery of anti-matter in the 1920’s seems to indicate this Law of Duality is an essential character of this universe. Religious thought dating back thousands of years has assured us that duality is the guiding principle of all manifestation. Some religious thought, especially that generated in the Mediterranean, insists this duality is the manifestation of God (light) and the Devil (darkness), two principles which are engaged in an eternal struggle on Earth for control of the world. Asian thought (Hindu and Buddhist thought most clearly) understand this duality to be a secondary manifestation of the world, and, as such, an illusion. The world is a ring, a stage, in which the struggle or dance between light and darkness is essentially the illusion driving all life into activity, creating passion, politics, war, the struggle of ideas. Us against them; I love that woman; communism is better than capitalism; Day is good and Night is bad.
Asian philosophy says the essential nature of reality is Whole, the One, Unity. And when the One splits in to Two, this is where all the trouble begins.
But, this split is necessary and it is periodical.
Christians and Muslims (and the Zoroastrians before them) have historically aligned with the illusive dualistic view of Nature, seeing the world as a drama expressing the struggle of God against the Devil. Typically, in this world-view, you, are, yourself, God’s emissary, and your opponent, by default, becomes the Devil’s agent. Christians and Muslims have a long and terrible history of arrogant religious tyranny, oppression of differences, racist theology, and a hyper-polarized conformist ideology. (This structural fuel of duality is not just produced in religious thought. Communism, an atheistic theology, assures us, in a different diction, that communists work for God and capitalists work for the Devil. A different language but the same underlying mechanism.)
Christianity has had its reformation, and its separation of church and state. Islam is in desperate need of such a reformation if it is to evolve and experience a true life-cycle, rather than to remain situated at the edge of the moral world, desert-bound, it’s identity nested somewhat comfortably within the role of World-Destroyer, the crescent moon, the scythe, armed to try to kill the Day-Hero, who is the Devil in their anti-material theology.
To say that Christianity has had its reformation, is not to say that all is right and good with the Christian world. The most likely result of the shattering of the global economy will be a reconfiguration of political power in the world, similar to what happened in the 1930’s. Further polarization is guaranteed. Further manifestation of fundamental Christianity, or a form of it, is very likely, as the conventional morality of civilization breaks apart and racial, religious identity begins to form as an expression of the life-and-death emotion that lives in the heart of the primordial. Civil war in Europe, between Christian/Aryan elements against Muslim elements, is almost guaranteed.
Economic collapse ensures political transformations on a grand scale. The fracturing of the World-Egg will allow the new stage of the Divine Idea to be born, but on the other side of the Night Experience we are all currently entering.
This book will be, among other things, a prophecy of the coming events on the world political scene. The Western World, and its shadow, the global economy, is about to reap the Biblical whirlwind again. (I say ‘again’, because the Day and Night sequences of history come along at regular intervals, intervals that seem to be calculable also, and will continue to do so, apparently, until our universe disappears.)
In American politics, this current duality is expressed through the two forces of Republican and Democrat. The Republicans tend to see themselves as God’s party, the party of the Father, the party with Christian roots. Many Republicans (especially those with evangelical ties) tend to view liberal Democrats as agents of Satan, as agents of social license, political and moral decay, the party of homosexuality, drug use, broken families, witchcraft, willful degeneration – in essence, the party of the antichrist.
Many polarized Democrats, for their part, tend to view Republicans as soulless materialists, agents of patriarchal oppression, racists, militarists, fascists, perfectly willing and even eager to destroy Nature for the sake of personal, racial and national profit, using religion as a pretext for aggression, greed, selfish virtue, and mindless conformity to fundamental Christian doctrine.
Each of these views is accurate from its own perspective. Each is a half-truth. That is, an illusion.
The polarized nature can see only two of four moral dimensions of Nature: each can see their own virtue and their enemy’s vice. They cannot see, during their own period of emotionalized manifestation or polarization or incarnation, their own shadow, their vice, or the virtuous side of their enemy. These ‘other’ dimensions are very real also. The Republicans are good and bad, light and dark; the Democrats are the same, to put it in rather mundane terminology.
This partial picture of moral reality makes it possible for Republicans to hate Democrats and for Democrats to hate Republicans, for Muslims to hate and kill Christians, for Christians to hate and kill American Indians….as the wheel of karmic retribution goes round and round.
Duality is the engine of incarnation, and drives the manifestation of nature’s higher kingdoms (of which humanity is one part). It is also, as I have suggested, the motor of the Wheel of Karma, in the Asian theology, for incarnation is the stage upon and during which sins are committed through the agency of a desire for life, a desire for a separate existence, and a desire for power.
There would be a constant state of war (international and civil war) in the world of men if God had not also built in to this system (the Laws of Nature, which are both physical and metaphysical) a mediating Middle Principle which seeks to bring peace between the two animating polarities. In one human, social aspect, the Middle Principle is the Middle Class of a given society, situated between perpetual enemies, the rich and the poor, patricians and plebians, republicans and democrats, whites and blacks, men and women, north and south, east and west….
What is it Leonard Cohen sings?
There is a war between the rich and poor,
A war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
And the ones who say there isn't.
When the Middle Class is large and vital, this class acts as the creative principle of the society. The middle pillar, the middle class, as a kind of social organism, joins the rich when the power of the poor needs to be reduced, when the chaos of rebellion and resistance to order becomes too dangerous to the life of the society – and when the individual members of the middle class believe they can gain a more comfortable, secure life by joining the ruling class – when they get greedy. The middle class joins the poor when the power of the rich needs to be reduced (as we saw happen in 2008, with the election of Barak Obama), when the ruthless ‘survival of the fittest’ capitalistic, individualistic ideology turns a blind eye on the sufferings of the poor, and when capitalist greed sinks the boats of society, and endangers all its life-boats. When the individual members of the middle class dream about becoming rich, they join the ruling class politically, creating Republican rule; when they dream about becoming poor – which is the shadow side of the ‘American Dream’, the nightmare-side -- they join the working class politically, creating Democratic rule.
When there is no middle class, there is no creation in the society – the ‘water of life’ has been withdrawn from the system – and the two poles are fixed in deadly opposition and civil war. When there is no viable middle class, the society is essentially dead. It has lost its animating heart. Then there is no evolution. All that’s left is conflict, and, ultimately, the triumph of either the Fascist Father or the Communist Mother principles.
In a living society, the middle class (the mediating middle ‘Life’ principle – the Demiurgos in some mythologies) creates the Heavens and creates the Earth sequentially, by cycling (via the infamous Figure 8) both above and below, informing gods about the nature of Earth and informing men about the nature of the Heaven.
In one sense, this Middle Principle is a ‘mirror’ which kills or neutralizes the polarization of both Heaven and Earth by presenting a picture of the ‘virtuous side’ of the opposition to each of the polar opposites. It pictures ‘wholeness’, which kills the fragmented part it encounters, thereby educating it into a larger scale of perception.
We recognize this mediating middle principle in the intellectual mechanism (dialectics) by which opposites (Thesis and Antithesis) are synthesized into a new idea or entity incorporating, in itself, both views, ideas and values of the original polarity. The middle principle arms both sides with ideas they can use against the other, but always acts as a balance against too much power being gained by either side.
The clearest form of the manifestation of this Middle Principle in politics is democracy, in which system Right and Left wings of political power are held together as a unity by the informing Middle Principle which is Republican during the Day Period of political manifestation and Democratic during the Night Period of political dematerialization. The Middle Principle in a viable democracy keeps both sides from gaining absolute power. When either side gains absolute power, the society is no longer alive and evolving.
The Middle Principle, by educating and evolving both sides of the polarity, is Life, itself, whose behavior, thus, ensures the circulation of the life-force between the Head and the Body, between the North and South, between the Abstract and the Concrete Physical – between the East and the West, between Social Obligation and Individual Will -- much as the heart in the body circulates blood throughout the body, north and south and east and west.
The Middle Principle, the Soul, if the guiding force of evolution, educating the Body of Life during the Day-Cycle and educating the Mind of Life during the Night-Cycle. Material Science evolves; Spiritual Science also evolves. Each cycle is an attempt to update the world-form that preceded it, expand it, reconfigure it, and take it a step or two further. Science evolves; Religion evolves – but, without the Middle Principle, the Soul, nothing evolves, everything becomes frozen in time.
The discovery of antimatter in the 1930’s (the discovery of anything in science is almost always the work of many people spread over many years – so whether Paul Dirac or Carl David Anderson is given credit for the ‘discovery’ of matter’s magical mirror-world seems relatively inconsequential now) opened a new door to the scientific understanding of the nature of the universe, and the illusive quality of the nature’s duality. Anti-matter is a mirror-image of matter. An atom of matter is composed of a positive nucleus -- a positive proton and a neutral neutron -- and orbiting negative electrons. An atom of anti-matter is composed of a negative nucleus -- negative anti-proton and a neutral anti-neutron -- and orbiting positive anti-electrons. An atom of Hydrogen is mirrored by an anti-atom of anti-Hydrogen – although no one is really certain as to where this anti-atom of anti-Hydrogen may be hiding at any given moment.
If our physical universe is composed mostly of material atoms, is it not likely that antimaterial-atoms probably compose an anti-universe that ‘reflects’ our material universe? Even if we use this description only as a metaphor at this point, it is not painful on the imagination to see the Republican Party as the masters of the Material Universe and the Democrats as the anti-masters of the Anti-Material Universe.
I am not making value judgments about these different seasons and universes. As I have written, each universe has both a positive and a negative aspect. In a similar way, the North is the material world, and the South is the antimaterial world, with the magnetic field of perception reversing at the equator, which divides the Earth in to two equal halves. A metaphor of this ‘mirror reflection’ shows that water runs down a drain clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, and counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
When the ‘Ideal’ Republican raises his right hand, the ideal Democrat raises his left. To the Republican (especially as manifest through the so-called ‘Religious Right’ of fundamentalist Christians) white is good and black is bad. To the Ideal Democrat, black is good and white is bad. The dark-skinned (southern) races have been persecuted by the Christian-driven (northern) white races for so long that the ‘moral balance’ is now tipped toward the southern races for the sake of balance.
The Republican sees wealth as a sign of God’s personal reward. The Democrat is suspicious of wealth, and feels guilt associated with wealth, assuming that success in business is a form of successful corruption, which suggests a metaphorical ‘contract with the Devil’. The Democrat is against matter, against the corporation, which is a manifestation of the body-life. The Republican is for matter, for the corporation, for the body, as a manifestation of power in the world – and against spirit (or antimatter) as a manifestation of weakness, weak-willed female weakness, abstract weakness, poverty, death, darkness.
I am not suggesting that the atoms composing the poles of matter and antimatter are stationary and fixed. These poles evolve and change, as long as the middle principle exists and continues to educate the poles. The wheel turns and individual atoms ride the wheel into heaven and back down to earth.
The Republican becomes a Democrat; and a Democrat is transformed into a Republican. Evolution involves the weight of the fulcrum changing its orientation, tilting toward the Father or tilting toward the Mother.
Europe has tilted toward the Mother for many years now, since America has been willing to play the Father-Role for Europe (for American gain surely, not out of the goodness of our hearts). Now Europe will swing back toward the Father-Worship that got Europe in so much trouble 72 years ago. Recent European elections show that socialists are out of power now and center-right and far-right parties are gaining power in Europe, blaming immigrants for all their social problems. This is just the beginning. Europe will be fighting for her racial life, as Islam has moved in to Europe, threatening to throw its blanket of submission to Allah over the heads of European States and suffocate them with ideological righteousness – which is another form of fascism.
As Europe swings to the Father again, America swings back to the Mother. This happened in the 1930’s as well.
If this social metaphor I have introduced is an accurate picture of reality, then I would expect science to discover, at some point soon, the method by which the Middle Principle (composed of both matter and anti-matter) can ‘become’ matter at one phase and anti-matter at the next. In fact, in 2006, science did discover a particle, far smaller than any atom, that switches itself back and forth between being a piece of matter and a piece of anti-matter, 18 trillion times each second. The back-and-forth switching appears to be one of the fastest processes in nature.
In the world of mythology, Mercury was the messenger between the gods and men, carrying messages back and forth between Heaven and Earth. Mercury was associated in Western theology with Michael the Archangel; and Michael the Archangel was associated with Jesus Christ.
What does all this have to do with the collapse of the American-driven capital market system? And where is this collapse leading America, Europe and the world?
Those are questions we will examine as we progress through this book.
I am not of the opinion that the most recent collapse of the Republican-engineered global American Empire, and its form, the global economy, signals the end of the American empire and will propel America into the state of a lost nation or a second-rate power. Many wish for this. Many Europeans speak gleefully of this vision as a wish the result of which would catapult European nations back into a position of empirical rule and global dominance, something for which many of the European Ruling Class are pining, remembering the good old days of their own ‘unlimited wealth’ through oppression of Africans, Asians, South Americans and even North Americans. But history does not limp backwards. The days of European youth are gone. But Europe will play a large role in the coming apocalyptic events, which role I will consider later in this book.
This current economic collapse will last for many years and will dramatically alter the face of global political alliances and power. If there is any accuracy in the numbers I will introduce later in the book, this Great Depression will last until, approximately, the year 2019 and will be accompanied by earth-shattering wars and political re-alignments.
We need to understand that the current crisis is not primarily an economic crisis – the effect of the crisis is a collapse of the global economic system. What has caused this economic collapse is a spiritual crisis resulting in a loss of identity, as Western ego-inflation (in the words of Jungian analysts) has popped, deflated and entered the formless world of Night, or Material Darkness.
Economic depressions come regularly in the history of living human systems as the male identity (the ego) ‘dies’ or is defeated, turns inward and descends into the formless darkness of chaos and self-judgment in an attempt to gain self-understanding, peace and comprehension of the meaning of life – to find his God, in other words. The ego (now Non-Ego) also seeks in the Darkness the identity of its next incarnation, its next life, its next phase of bubble-creation. The convex bubble (extroversion) becomes a concave bubble (introversion), digging a hole in the inner nature similar in extent and opposite in moral dimension to the dome it has built in its previous Day-time incarnation. The Day-Ego builds a dome in the world of matter; and the Night-Anti-Ego builds an anti-dome in the world of antimatter.
In nearly every religious system, creation of the world begins with the breath of God. The Creative God(s) ‘breathes Life in to’ – i.e., blows a bubble -- in the fabric of eternity. This bubble becomes a separate particle of Time (a mortal phenomenon with a defined length of existence) inside of which, and through which, Life expresses itself, experiencing objectivity, until the innate alarm clock goes off and the particle bursts or collides with its opposite. The Male Expansionary Energy pops and vanishes into the Darkness, in much the same way that Icarus, after flying at the Sun, singes his wax wings and falls into the ocean. Death/Dissolution is a falling back in to the waters of the Unconscious. Day-Energy builds the positive world; Night-Energy builds the negative world, destroying the world that the Day-Energy has created.
This is the real cause of the collapse of the global economy. The alarm clock went off. Energy changed its form and direction. The Sun-Hero was wounded, fell back toward earth, and was transformed in to the Night. And now the mythological Darkness, the Power of Chaos, has taken control.
About times and dates, brothers, there is no need to write
to you for you are well aware in any case that the Day
of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night.
It is when people are saying “How quiet and peaceful it is”
that sudden destruction falls upon them, as suddenly as labor
pains come on a pregnant woman; and there is no escape.
1 Thessalonians: 5: 1-3
What can we do about this?
Nothing really. We cannot ‘fix’ the problem. Only Time can fix the problem.
The Republican, masculine Day-Force, wants to ‘fix’ things. The Republican is essentially a Cowboy, an Engineer, a Problem-Solver. ‘Give me a problem to solve; and let’s keep it simple.’ In the (paraphrased) words of John McCain: ‘Let’s fight, fight, fight!’ Let’s fight chaos; let’s fight complexity; let’s fight pessimism. If we are willing to fight, we can overcome anything.’
This approach works wonderfully in the world of matter. But it does not work in the world of antimatter. Matter, rational coherence, male externalized energy literally disintegrates as it approaches the horizon of the black hole. Everything that worked for male energy in the Day Cycle tends not to work for male energy in the Night Cycle. There are new Laws of Nature in the anti-dome of antimatter, laws which are based on the laws of Metaphor and Analogy, not upon the Day-Nature laws of Cause and Effect. Day-Nature is measured from the outside; Night-Nature must be measured from the inside. Day-Nature measures from the outside in a controlled environment; Night-Nature measures from the inside with tools of metaphor, analogy, symbolism. The tools that work in the sunlight do not work in the moonlight.
The next decade promises to be very difficult; but it will also have its rewards. What can individuals do now? Each person must find his God – and seek to make himself Whole, make himself the Middle Principle. It is time to build an ark, to acknowledge the Moon as the counterpart of the Sun, to paint blood on the door, and to prepare for the Force of Death to pass over the world community once again. Fear of God is a good thing. Modesty is a positive value. Generosity and understanding and the community of shared suffering are virtues.
If there were only these two in the world – intellect and body –
but there were no soul, then the intellect would not be drawn to the
body (for it is entirely immobile and is not supplied with a principle
of movement, although it is far distant from the body), nor would the
body be drawn to the intellect since it is just as incapable and ineffective
in moving by itself, and is far removed from the intellect. But if soul
is interposed, conforming to both, there may be an easy attraction
from one to the other.
The Planets, Marsilio Ficino
ANATOMY OF A CRIME
(A Lust for Life is Also A Fear of Death)
"We're breaking the law, okay? We're breaking the law.
You know we're breaking the law. I know we're breaking the law.
What the hell do you think is going on here? We're sitting on an Enron.
This is…bigger than Enron. I mean, we’re doing four billion a month in loans.
If housing drops, housing value drops, people start to default, you know?
This is a nightmare. These people will not survive it,"
Banker Paul Bishop to Executives at World Savings Bank
Can one speak of a ‘crime’ having been committed in the context of inevitability? Is there free will to act against the concords of one’s own nature? Is Fate absolute? Is Destiny a loose-fitted garment that allows the individual the authority to choose an act that deviates from the harmony of history, from the logic of the path of one’s own Destiny?
These are all large questions that have been debated for millennia.
The electron beam is destined by its momentum and by its very definition to act in a certain manner (the Laws of Nature). But the electron beam is composed of myriad electrons, each free to act according to its own persuasion, apparently, but also to be balanced by some other electron in the beam so that the destiny and definition of that electron beam is not violated. Destiny does not pick which electron seeks freedom and which electron exercises balance. Apparently there is chance, and, at the same time, there is necessity and order.
Is this a scientific model which describes a solution to the dilemma of human fate, destiny, and free will?
So, there was a crime committed. There were many crimes committed. Corruption is a loss of balance between ‘human nature’ and the laws that govern the boundaries of human nature. Many of the human laws that have been in effect since the Great Depression in the 1930’s and that were designed to limit the crimes of banks and businesses and to protect American consumers from commercial robbery were rigorously stripped away by Republicans and Democrats alike, Democrats falling in to line with Republican dogma which essentially turned over all business-related policy-making decisions to American business-leaders, the implication being that the ‘real world’ of material profit was really the only world that really mattered.
The ideology of the ‘rugged individual’ is the essence of modern republicanism: God rewards those who work hard, who innovate, who conquer the world; and those who don’t should (there was a moral imperative in all of this) be condemned to poverty and loss. Selfishness and ‘ego expansion’ (self-actualization) drive the world into the future and are the mark of society’s ‘winners’, risk-takers, evolutionary titans. It was manifest destiny on the psycho-sexual and economic planes. ‘Losers’ are those with too much conscience, too much modesty, too much subjectivity, too much introversion – not enough aggression, talent and ambition.
America, as a culture, has always had ultimate respect for ‘winners’, ambition, success. Losers were the shadow side of this bright light: lazy, shiftless, criminal, drug-addicted, stupid. For centuries these descriptions were generally reserved for the under-class of dark-skinned Americans: American-Indians, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians (although Asians did much through hard work and discipline to elevate themselves as a race of competitors, though mostly through the arts of mimicry and doubled or tripled effort)… American success was defined, as a reflection of the same European success and world-dominance, as the triumph of the White Race.
Expansion of the Ego separates the races into a hierarchy of values (‘colors’ as well as moral virtues), with Will, the Will to Success, the Will to Rule, the Will to be White, rising above all other values. The Ego is separated from the Shadow as the Individual Hero, the Ego, climbs the ladder of Power and takes his place in the Sun. And, certainly, there are many positive repercussions to this isolate Will climbing the ladder of success: climbing to power, ruling the world, bringing innovation, technics, new ideas, and prosperity with him.
The Sun Hero climbs out of Darkness and brings light and fertility to the whole world, warmth and expansion, wealth, cities, human culture. But there is a shadow-side also. Human pride, and Ego-inflation, result when the human being attempts to become a God, attempts to become the Human Sun, seeks to control the world, make it submit to his own will, as if he were God.
For this sin of human pride, Ego-Inflation, there is the punishment of Ego-Deflation, a kind of psychic or moral death, at which time the prideful human, having fallen from the realm of power and immortality, must face his own Shadow, must face his own sins, his human limitations, the small side of his own nature.
The sin or crime of Economic-Inflation results, ultimately, in Economic-Deflation. The Day of success, and wealth and power must become, in time, the Night of failure, poverty and recognition of one’s limitations.
Orthodox religion, by definition, has racist implications. The Light of Day, with its heavenly qualities, joy, security, wealth, power, fertility, the Triumph of Light over Darkness, in all cultures, represents God’s blessings. God is Light; and the Devil is Dark. By implication, God is White; and the Devil is Black. Humans in the grip of fundamental religious passion naturally associate color with theocratic structure. It is in their own interest to do this, for survival becomes an issue, survival of race, nation, family, self. In nature, light fights darkness; darkness triumphs over light; light triumphs over darkness.
Oddly, and this fact is very rarely recognized by fundamental/evangelistic Christianity, Christian tenets espoused by their founder, Jesus Christ, of peace, generosity, modesty, poverty, non-violence are ‘virtues’ typically possessed by the non-white ‘losers’, the shadows of the white-driven feeding-frenzy for moral absoluteness, material success and world domination. In fact, if I remember my Catholic litany of evils correctly: avarice, ambition, violence, greed for worldly power and status --the ‘peace and prosperity’ factor -- were considered evil values and indicated an alliance with the Devil. Worldly Power did not imply God’s blessing. Instead, worldly power and success implied God’s curse, and the Devil’s insidious contract with the lost soul.
In fact, the historical animosity between Christian and Muslim stems mostly from these opposite views as to the toleration of worldly values. The Muslim (especially Arab Muslim) has almost no generosity toward the Earth. As such, the Muslim tends to spread a desert wherever he goes. Muslims seem to view the brutalization of the woman as a positive virtue – linking the female and the earth. The lack of water (the desertification of the Earth), poverty, and the oppression of the female-shadow are all part of the same paradigm, no doubt. The hatred and mistreatment of Jews are also a part of this same thought-structure. But that is a theme that I will be looking at later.
I am writing, here, about perceptions, of course. The inability of the human being to see all four moral dimensions at the same time is a primordial limitation. The illusion that one is right, God-instilled, brings about war between the opposites and is the mechanism that drives history, as we have discussed. Here again, the world appears as the object and the anti-object, each a mirror-image of the other, seeking to kill out the evil Other it finds standing accusatorily before it, reflected.
Each two-dimensional perception is a half-truth. By the same token, each two-dimensional perception is a half-lie also, by mathematical necessity.
Humans labor in a vale of darkness. Sometimes we see the world not at all: everything is dark. When we see the world very clearly, with a bright light of understanding, we are most often, at this point, seeing but that half-truth that gives us security in identity: seeing what we need or want to see, for our own psychic or spiritual reasons. Only through complete detachment from both sides is clarity of vision possible. But clear-sighted detachment is also a stage, one that decays into a state of incarnation as the soul is thrust into action on the side of either the Earth or Heaven, on the side of either the poor or the rich, on the side of either the woman or the man.
We don’t wish to lose our focus.
The ‘Anatomy of a Crime’. A crime was committed. Many crimes were committed. Many trillions of dollars of global wealth were wiped out (some would say stolen) in a matter of months. Lives of millions of human beings were destroyed or at least significantly damaged in many countries throughout the world – in the blink of an eye. Retirement savings vanished. Frozen credit -- and absolute terror brought about by a failing financial system -- led to a constriction of the circulation of currency, causing death in the body politic. Millions of jobs were wiped away, creating a world-wide panic, which led to a further constriction of spending.
History will look at the Great Credit Crunch of 2008 as the greatest looting of private and public funds by officers of public corporations and by public officials in the history of the world. Wall Street has proven itself again to be a nest of vipers. The great Robber Barons of the nineteenth century – Rockefeller, Dale Carnegie, Jay Gould, J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Frick, Edward Harriman – had nothing on today’s crooks, scammers and enablers: Christopher Cox, Joseph Cassano, Dick Fuld, Ian McCarthy, Stan O’Neal, Lewis Rainieri, Angelo Mozilo (who ‘earned’ over $400 in five years overseeing Countrywide Credit), Chuck Prince, Jimmy Cayne, Christopher Dodd, Ralph Cioffi, Matthew Tannin, Steve Crenshaw, Sir Fred Goodwin, Andy Hornby, Franklin Raines, Hank Paulson, George Bush, Phil Gramm, Bernie Madoff, “Sir” R. Allen Stanford, Bill Clinton, Kathleen Corbet, Marion and Herb Sandler, John Devaney, David Lereah, Ben Bernanke, David Oddson, Burton Jablin, Donald Trump, Paul Greenwood, Stephen Walsh, James Nicholson, Mark Bloom, Neal Kashkari (i.e., ‘Kneel; and Carry the Cash’). These are all people who helped to kill the golden goose that was laying millions of golden eggs for so many years so that we Americans (and many world citizens also) could live more comfortably if more dangerously indebted. But now the goose is dead. Wall Street is in ruins – and will remain a sewer in the minds of most Americans (a sewer designed for the interbreeding of rats) for many years to come.
‘Looting’ is defined by Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof and co-author Paul Romer as making loans ‘with a total disregard for even the most basic principles of lending…acting as if future losses would be someone else’s problems’ – which they have become, the problem of the taxpayer, through government (bank-engineered) bail-outs.
Even today, AIG, American Insurance Group, which received over $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money, announced intentions to pay executives $450 million, including bonuses of $165 million, this after announcing a loss of $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2008, the worst corporate loss in history.
What is the difference between an AIG executive and a Mafioso? Not much apparently. Except the mafiosos don’t get to raid the national treasury when their bad judgment leads to a loss of their own money, humiliation and public disgrace.
The sad thing is that AIG is probably not much different than most international corporations. The anti-corporate mentality that manifested so potently in America in the last Ego-Deflation Night period (1965-1982) will return with a vengeance after this arrogant, callous looting of the public coffers by American businessmen and women (mostly men, in fact).
Of course, we have not mentioned Allen Greenspan with this group. If all the above (mostly white) men and (a few) woman were crew members on the Pequod, chasing the black gold trophy in the dangerous oceans of financial risk (and almost all using other people’s money to make themselves obscenely wealthy), the captain of the boat was Allen Greenspan, whose manipulation of the money supply and whose cheerleading for Americans to take on more and more (and riskier) debt makes one question either his sanity or his level of awareness/denial, or his honesty. Then, as though we might not notice, after stepping down as the Maestro at the Federal Reserve, Greenspan quietly slipped into a (one would assume) multi-million dollar annual salary working with John Paulson and his hedge fund that made some $4 billion dollars in 2007 by shorting the US mortgage market, which Dear Allen (‘call him Maestro, don’t call him Bob Cobb’) had helped to inflate to unsupportable levels. Talk about your conflict of interest.
One wonders if Allen may have been talking to that ‘other Mr. Paulson’ long before he stepped down as the Captain of the Pequod. (At least Ahab had the decency to go down with his whale, with his obsession. It’s a shame Allen Greenspan hasn’t had the decency to retire and write his memoirs, instead of continuing to be a kind of Janus player in the Age of Greed smorgasbord hereby recently discovered floating face-up. In fact, like Ahab, Allen is still clinging to his whale, the whale he helped to create, the whale which stove in his empire, stove in his reputation for integrity and ingenuity, rendering him now a smudge on History’s dirty apron, a smudge next to the smudge that once was Herbert Hoover, the man who ‘caused’ the last depression.
Since Americans tend to honor the rich, no matter how they become rich, the political incentive to put the crooks in jail for their crimes has not yet gained much momentum. We will tolerate a billionaire who steals an old women’s life savings in an investment scam, but we will insist that a poor man who steals bread for his family be put in jail immediately. That is an immorality that must be corrected in the American system of values – the adulation of winning at all cost, instead of the adulation of the human character. Nobility is greatness; wealth is not. Generosity and decency are real values; cheating to get ahead is a sin and will be punished by God as such. And that is what we are experiencing now. God is punishing us for our sins, for our greed, for our selfishness, for our lies and for our indecency.
Some individuals, admitting guilt or shame as a part of misdeeds revealed by the economic low-tide, have committed suicide: Adolph Merckle, a German industrialist, who bankrupted his industrial empire through investment mistakes; Kirk Stephenson, director of a London private-equity house; and Rene Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, who lost his entire family fortune through mismanagement – i.e., through investing with Bernard Madoff, the New York City legend who was also, apparently, a fraud. Madoff apparently stole $50 billion in an elaborate investment scam from a many investors throughout the world, some his friends, even from his own sons. Mr. Madoff did not commit suicide. His name has now become synonymous with the great thieves in the history of the world. A Madoff Scheme (as in ‘I made-off with your money, ha-ha’) will become part of the world’s vocabulary, as Ponzi Scheme did in the Roaring 1920’s.
What caused this catastrophe?
The Housing Crash. Yes. The Great Housing Crash of 2007.
And the name of Alan Greenspan comes up automatically as a footnote or as a preface.
Alan Greenspan was, perhaps, the most powerful man in the world for nearly two decades, until his retirement in 2006. Greenspan was a devoted student of the causes of the Great Depression in the 1930’s, a devoted disciple of the ‘rugged individualism’ espoused by novelist Ayn Rand, and a favorite of Ronald Reagan, who appointed Greenspan as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in 1987.
What was Greenspan’s crime, Greenspan’s sin? To hear him tell the tale, in 2008, as he apologized, before a congressional committee, almost in tears, for his central role in the obliteration of the American Dream and the American capital system , he said simply: ‘I made a mistake.’ By this he seemed to mean that his mistake was his belief that the private business sector had the intelligence, wisdom and self-restraint to manage risk in a largely deregulated environment. Of course, Greenspan had been a prime mover in the ideology of business deregulation that had ruled America since Ronald Reagan came to power, a historical reaction to the anti-business years (i.e., pro-business regulation) of Democratic rule from John Kennedy through Jimmy Carter.
Alan Greenspan overrated the soul of the American (and Global) Business class. Alan Greenspan believed that, faced with a choice between an unrestricted greed that would lead to unrestricted profits but might imperil the life of the economic system and a restricted greed that would lead to restricted, but substantial, sustainable profits, the American ruling class would choose the responsible, sustainable path, the one leading to American and global prosperity for many generations to come. Instead, the Global Business Class, led by the American Ruling Class, chose unrestricted greed, madness, and, ultimately, self-destruction.
In some ways, Alan Greenspan was the embodiment of Gordon Gecko, the financial land-shark, in Oliver Stone’s monumental movie, Wall Street. Gecko tells a group of shareholders: ‘Greed – for lack of a better word – is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed – you mark my words – will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.’
A half truth again, which looked pretty good in 2004 but looks rather empty now in 2009.
America is not a corporation. A society is not a corporation. Making money is not the goal of life; money is a necessity that allows us to live comfortably; but money is not the ultimate of Life. And because we forgot this truth, God is now punishing us. And God will punish us some more until at least 2019.
Materialism has no soul – that is, the soul exists but the body dominates the soul. Materialism does not respond readily to moral codes and ethical restrictions unless it is required to do so by legal implications. Afterall, the Business Class hires lawyers and pays them terrific amounts of capital each year to instruct that Business Class how to bend the laws without breaking them, how to break the laws without getting caught. If that were not enough, the Business Class ‘inspires’ lawyer-politicians in the government (how are campaign contributions repaid?) to pass laws that make it easier for business to cheat and steal without breaking the law. It’s a good system set up for the American Ruling Class, lawyers, and our politicians in Washington and in every state, county, and city in America. Everyone gets rich. It’s all good. It’s a win-win situation apparently.
The idealism of Materialism is to get rich -- to get rich, without going to jail or getting killed by competitors in the process. Laws protect the Business Class from getting killed by their competitors. Lawyers protect the Business Class from going to jail, by providing them loopholes in the law. In fact, the basis of the legal profession is to serve the rich with labyrinthine legal maneuvers designed to neutralize or outflank laws designed to require more ethical business relations. Check out lawyers’ fees lately? Who can afford to pay a lawyer today but the rich and the super-rich?
Clearly, I am presenting the negative view of the Business Culture at this point. I am aware of, and I will also present later, the positive view of the Business Culture.
Greenspan’s real crime was philosophical – and psychological. He, and many other academic economists, devoted huge amounts of time, energy and intellectual resources to the proposition that the so-called Great Depression, which ran from 1929 through 1947 (some say 1942), was not inevitable, and was avoidable. If the Federal Reserve and American financial institutions at the time had only been more skilled in denial, had flooded the system with liquidity, then the Great Depression could have seen avoided. Death could have been cheated. Hadn’t the Business Class already proved that taxes were not inevitable? Why couldn’t they show the same about death, and the death of an idea?
This was a philosophic flaw in Mister Greenspan’s set of principles.
The flaw is the misunderstanding of the nature of ‘positive energy’ factor – the energy to build – which Greenspan apparently felt was eternal and inexhaustible, and his belief that the ‘negative energy’ factor, the Night – the energy to disembody or to de-construct -- could be avoided, ignored, or simply negated by an excess amount of positive energy, literally, by flooding the financial system with liquidity.
Of course, the Bible teaches us that too much liquidity led to the Flood, the Deluge, to the destruction of the world, and to Noah’s lonely survival on the top of Mount Ararat.
Biblical writing can be understood on many levels. But Biblical writing is very rarely literal, except in its advocation of moral principles. The world was not created in seven days, except in the symbolic sense: seven periods of creation, stretching over unimaginable millennia. Ask any serious Jewish scholar and none will claim the Seven Days of Creation describe ‘creationism’ in seven literal days. Only fundamental Christian insist on a literal reading of a symbolic literature.
To understand symbolic writing, the poetic mind is necessary – the dream mind – the literal, scientific, rational mind cannot comprehend symbolic writing. The poetic mind is almost always lost with mathematics and the scientific process. Likewise, the scientific mind often struggles with myth. The Day misunderstands the Night; the Night is beleaguered to comprehend the Day.
Also, the symbolic truth embedded in religious or mythical or mystical writing is timeless, like the dream is timeless. This timelessness makes the symbolic message illuminatory for all time, including the Present Time in which we currently live. Scriptural writing, and its underlying symbolic meaning, was written, not merely for the historical time of its composition, but also as a kind of psychic map for humans living at all times. Symbolic writing, describing eternal spiritual dilemmas, is a guide for spiritual survival that is as compelling and as relevant to yours and my quest today as it was to King David or to Moses in Biblical times.
Spiritual writing is a biography of the soul.
Eternal truths tell us about our lives, about the eternal parts of our own lives, today. The Flood is not just about Noah and his Ark in ancient myth – it is about us today. Nuah (the original of Noah) was a Chaldean word meaning ‘Spirit’; the Ark was a glyph for the Moon, as the Moon was symbolic of the Womb, in which the Spirit took refuge when the emotional element (Water) of Chaos and Night replaced the intellectual element (the Fire) of Order and Day – when the world ‘fell’ into the Chaos of the Flood, as we are falling into Chaos today.
Noah (Spirit) hid in his Ark (‘argha’ in Egyptian is the crescent moon) while the Darkness of Chaos destroyed the Material World. At the end of the destruction, Noah was re-born, was delivered back in to Life, the new prototype from which human evolution was patterned.
We cannot avoid the Night, the depression, simply by pretending it is not a part of the equation. By choosing Life in the World we also choose Death. By choosing to fly high, we also choose to fall deeply. By choosing to be rich, we also choose to be poor. By choosing inflation of the Ego, we also choose deflation of the Ego and all the suffering and death which goes with the death of a personality we have created.
There is a Middle Path, which is not so rich, and not so poor, not so strong, and not so weak, not so bright, and not so dark – but we have not chosen that path.
Greenspan, after the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, lowered interest rates to flood the system with capital to avoid the necessary Winter season in the economic expansion. Greenspan lowered rates to try to fight off economic death or descent. In the process, he helped to ignite a furious national and international housing price bubble. Exotic mortgages created by bankers and brokers on both Wall Street and Main Street, which essentially allowed unqualified home buyers with little or no money to buy houses they could not afford, also fueled the boom. Investment banks then helped further inflate the bubble by issuing even more exotic mortgage bonds that wrapped together high-risk and low-risk mortgage loans (in an attempt to neutralize the suspect loans), which they then sold to banks and other institutions all over the world as investment-grade instruments, which the rating institutions did not know how to grade, and which seemed stable and profitable as long a housing prices kept rising….
But what rises also falls.
As home prices fell, mortgage defaults rose. Banks holding the new breed of mortgage bonds did not even know how much risk they had assumed, because different grade mortgages were all bound up together, low-risk paper with high-risk paper.
The banking system began to implode.
Greed had trumped good judgment; and now default and bankruptcy were going to trump the seductive intoxication of a bull market in housing and the pure blue sky of Greenspan’s ‘free market’ religion.
The economic catastrophe was further exasperated in 2007-8 by a decline in the U.S. Dollar which fueled a wild spike in commodity prices, a third major bubble that formed under the Greenspan-Bernanke watch. (Bernanke was a ‘good son’ of Greenspan, from the same school of thought, continuing the old man’s prescient policies.) Oil shot up from $60 to $150 dollars a barrel. All major commodities followed this oil spike: copper, wheat, corn, gold, silver, aluminum, titanium, heating oil, natural gas. Commodity-heavy indexes and hedge funds spiked. Suddenly Canada, Russia, Australia, and other commodity-heavy economies were markets at which professional investors threw money. But the price of doing business for almost all other businesses escalated dramatically. Companies, already hurt by frozen credit-lines attendant to the banking crisis, now had to deal with escalating materials prices. American consumers, reeling from a popped housing bubble, now sagged under the heavy burden of skyrocketing gas and fuel prices.
In June 2008, the dollar reversed, as investors sought quality paper in response to the global banking crisis; and this flight to quality burst the commodity bubble. (So much for the theory of supply and demand regulating the marketplace. Speculators had created a demand in commodities as a response to a declining U.S. Dollar. But now the giants in investment-banking and hedge funds got caught in their own trap, as the unexpected return flight to the dollar destroyed overnight their huge profits in commodities.)
A deflating stock market, a deflating housing market, and a deflating commodity bubble cut trillions of dollars out of the global economy in a matter of months. This was just the beginning. Decades of price inflation and wage deflation had created a top-heavy tower that was crashing. The unwinding of debt wil take a generation to be accomplished.
Watching the collapse of the global capital markets each day on television and through the internet was a bit like watching the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City in 2001, and the subsequent de-materialization of the two buildings: there was nothing anyone could do. The world was set on fire. People were jumping out of windows. There were enemies of civilization behind each attack. The Muslim enemies of America knew they had attacked the Twin Towers; but the men (mostly white men, bankers and businessmen) who had attacked the global banking system really did not realize what they had done. That was the difference.
Masters of the Universe Greenspan, Bernanke, Paulson, and their cronies at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, AIG, Countrywide Credit, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had torpedoed the very ship they supposedly loved and had served much of their lives. They had slipped a Trojan Horse into the banking system. All in the name of a few more million dollars, a few more houses for their families, a few more luxury cars and yachts. There is never enough money. There is never enough power. There is never enough status.
These men will live in History’s Hall of Infamy for having destroyed the lives of millions of people across the globe, and for having shamed America and America’s reputation as the leader of the Free World.
These men betrayed their own way of life and their own people without really being cognizant of what they were doing. At least the Muslim terrorists who attacked America in 2001 had the self-awareness of understanding they were trying to destroy America. The Muslim terrorists failed badly at their goal, although they did inflict impermanent damage on the psyche of the country. But the American terrorists, the bankers and the greedy mortgage agents, inflicted a mighty wound to the American psyche, one from which it will take a generation or more to recover.
Greed knows no honor.
For this is the Day of the Lord
A day of vengeance
When He takes revenge on His foes:
The sword will devour until gorged,
Until drunk with their blood,
For Lord Yahweh Sabaoth
Is holding a sacrificial feast
In the land of the north
On the River Euphrates.
WHY WE NEED DEFLATION
(The Winter is a Season of both Death and, later, Regeneration)
It didn’t have to be this way. The big mistake, in my view, came when the Fed condoned the equity bubble in the late 1990s. It has been playing post-bubble defense ever since, fostering an unusually low real interest rate climate that has led to one bubble after another. And that has given rise to the real monster -- the asset-dependent American consumer and a co-dependent global economy that can’t live without excess US consumption. The real test was always the exit strategy."
Stephen Roach, ‘The Test’
Deflation is a necessary season in the economic cycle. Deflation is the necessary contraction phase, and helps to balance the excesses fueled by the principles and energies of expansion. Deflation modifies prices that have escalated during the expansion phase of the cycle. These two forces – Inflation and Deflation – work together, as Day and Night work together, as Man and Woman work together. They only appear to be adversaries. Their adversarial relationship – like the relationship of Republican and Democrat – creates, in fact, a unity of motion. Centrifugal motion pushes energy outward from the center of a system; centripetal motion pulls energy from the periphery back to the center.
The U.S. government had been telling the American citizen for several decades now that there is no inflation in the American economy.
Of course, Americans know this isn’t true. Oil prices rose from $15/barrel to $150/barrel in twenty years. Housing prices jumped 150-500% is three years, after averaging an appreciation of 2.5% per year over a century. Health care costs explode year after year, averaging 9.5% growth, year-over-year for the last decade. The cost of college tuition has gone up by almost 1000% in thirty years. And we are told that there is no inflation.
It finally became clear to me, after years of musing on this phenomenon, that, there is no inflation, according to government statistics, as long as there is no wage inflation. And there has been little wage inflation – that is true. As long as wages stay low and do not chase the escalating costs of goods and services – and this is almost possible if the cost of credit stays low -- then the inflation spiral is muted. Of course, the consumer, in this scenario, becomes more and more indebted through this method of paying for myriad inflationary goods and materials. Apparently there is no moral dilemma in this. Business profits grow, wages remain low, and workers take on more and more debt. It sounds to me like a volcano that is bound to blow. But what do I know? I’m not an economist. Sometimes logic is only logic for those not sophisticated enough to know the difference between appearance and reality.
Of course, consumers were able to offset stagnant wage growth in the last few decades because of the impressive stock market gains (the first bubble to pop). The stock market became a second source of income for American consumers, to help pay for ever-increasing costs, children’s education, first, second or even third homes. But then the stock market flattened out after 2001, moving sideways for a few years, eliminating wall street as a guaranteed source of secondary income.
Consumers were then forced to borrow against the equity of their homes, as the housing bubble took hold – via Mister Greenspan’s steady hand -- once the stock market bubble played out. Of course, the housing bubble, again, increased American consumers’ indebtedness – forcing them to essentially withdraw savings from their own mortgage equity – in order to pay for the rising costs of health services, food, transportation, energy, education. As long as home prices continued to soar, the system seemed fine. Refinancing meant Americans could continue to draw on their increasing real estate wealth.
Of course, this paper wealth was being fueled by a dubious policy of serial bubble-creation that cheapened real money and turned millions of Americans (and world citizens as well) into credit-slaves and credit-junkies. The dogma of unlimited growth and unlimited wealth was being bruited about by the same bankers and financiers – and Fed Chairmen and Treasury Secretaries and U.S. Presidents -- who were laying the groundwork for the destruction of America and Europe, and all the other ‘emerging’ nations of the world that could not wait to jump on this miraculous bandwagon of capitalism.
Charts of debt accumulation by American consumers shows pretty clearly that phantom inflation of prices was accumulating on American’s credit card accounts.
Another way in which Americans sought to keep up with the accelerating cost of living was to have both parents working. Of course, women’s liberation doctrine called upon women to pursue careers in the real world and diminished the role of women as home-makers and child-rearers. But most Americans were not influenced by this radical ideology of gender equality. Most Americans were influenced by the need for two incomes to try to keep up with escalating prices.
There was, of course, a dramatic and negative reaction in the society to this ‘careerizing’ of the American family. Divorce became the norm, drug-use accelerated, crime increased, delinquency became pandemic.
Many readers will argue that America is the greatest country in the world, the richest, the freest. But something is wrong in America. We are building prisons are a rapid (inflationary) rate. The number of incarcerated Americans has increased 960% since 1950. Two in three marriages fail. Our children are taking guns to schools and shooting fellow students. Everything is not right in America.
More cheerleading of America, more honoring of Donald Trump as a hero (and many other entrepreneurs), more ‘keep government out of business’ slogans will not address America’s social decline. Much of this decline of the family comes from the inflation of costs of materials and services in the American economy, bubbles created by Mister Greenspan for the sake of corporate profit and corporate expansion and the resultant extraction of women out of the homes to chase wages in order to salvage the families’ economic integrity.
Loans, second and third jobs, refinancing of mortgages, dependence upon an inflated stock market, credit card abuse….these led to a consumer that was overextended and susceptible to bankruptcy should any of these currents of equity dry up suddenly. Now, it seems, every current of emergency money has begun to dry up at the same time.
With the saving rate at historic lows, most Americans are one or two paychecks away from bankruptcy and a life on the streets as a homeless statistic.
Republicans make icons of the concepts of individualism and national patriotism. Democrats sing the praise of the so-called international community. To Republicans, the ideal of Globalism – and we should not forget this – was and is tied to the goal, in American if less-so in Europe, of controlling business costs by driving down wage demands through the destruction of the power of Western labor unions.
‘Globalism’ was a positive-spin-word for maximizing profits by exporting high-wage jobs to third-world countries, first Mexico and South America, and then to Asia, transforming these high-wage jobs to low-wage jobs, without benefits. The corollary piece of this puzzle was to maintain the First-World’s role and even duty (and I use this word with care) to consume manufactured goods as a means of helping to sustain international economies, despite decreasing wages, but through cheap credit. It was the duty of Western nation citizens to consume globally-produced goods in order to sustain the Western way of life, with its high standard of living, despite the fact that living thus drove the Western consumer toward a condition of credit serfdom in modern, plastic society. No one thought much about debt. As long as matter expanded, and the future was bright, everything would be fine. And wouldn’t matter always expand?
Of course this was ‘all good’ for business.
Sometimes, what’s good for business is not good for American citizens. The ‘free-market’ idea, which has controlled America since 1982, has run its course. We are beginning to see the underside of this doctrine. The ‘free-market’ system is very good for the owners of businesses – but it is not so good for the workers.
Sometimes what is good for American business is not good for citizens of the world. Walmart has a dismal record all over the world for abusing its workers through low wages and insubstantial or no benefits. In China, Honduras, Sri Lanka, and other countries, workers are required to work long hours (8AM to 10PM), 7 days a week, 365 days a year for less than $3 a day. A toy that Americans buy at a U.S. Walmart store costs $14.96 but only costs Walmart 18 cents to manufacture, because of its mistreatment of workers in China. This is immoral. This is un-Christian. Walmart shames every American citizen by exporting such shameless behavior in the name of American Capitalism. American business is supposed to be showing the world the right way to do business, not generating hatred and bad feeling in the name of American Exploitation.
Walmart is also notorious for its shark-like business plan designed to destroy local small businesses competitors in towns all over America, and all over the world, through an enforced low-price merchandise built on the backs of low wages and and poor or nonexistent benefits for Walmart workers. This lack of conscience and human exploitation is not a legal right; and it should be corrected through government legislation. This is an example of why and how the government must legislate business. Business will not do the right thing by its workers unless it is forced to do so by the weight of the law.
A government that refuses or is unable to protect its working class from plantation capitalism will fall to a revolution. It is in the best interest of all classes in a society to support fair and honorable treatment of all of its citizens.
Generally speaking, the rich get rich by cheating and stealing. We should not forget this.
Money is not the root of all evil; but the love of money is the root of all evil.
Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world; and he has given more than 50% of his wealth to charitable organizations. The Walton family (Walmart owners) are perhaps the richest family in the world; and they have given less than 1% of their wealth to charitable organizations.
A famous American shoe company that makes a designer sneaker could export all production jobs to Asia, pay relatively unskilled workers about $2.25 a day to manufacture these sneakers, export the shoes back to American, European or Japanese markets for pretty impressive profits. The production cost per shoe might be $3 a pair in Vietnam (labor and material) and might sell for $250.00 in First World markets. That’s a pretty impressive mark-up.
Now, one argument companies might make as the logic of exporting jobs to low-cost markets is this: a company able to make shoes (or any product) much more cheaply through foreign production, could lower domestic costs of the manufactured goods. This does make sense logically. But that’s not how it has worked. Business has been able to win on both ends, with both decreased costs and with increased profits. Why? Because consumers have tended to view credit as money-in-their-pockets instead of a hand-cuff on their wrists. (In fact, it’s much closer to the latter than it is to the former.)
When I was a child in 1966, my father bought me a new pair of Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star sports shoes each year so I could play basketball. These athletic shoes were the best that money could buy at the time; I think these shoes cost about $3.50 a pair. If we compare a current cost of Nike Air Jordan shoes today ($250) with my old Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars -- the best sports shoes on the market in their day -- we see that prices have inflated some 7000%. My father worked for the Sinclair Oil Refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming as an office manager (Payroll, Human Resources, Accounting, et.). I can’t imagine he was paid more than $15,000 in 1966 (and that may be high). The inflation rate implied in this example suggests that my father would need to be making $1,056,428.57 today, against $15,000 in 1966.
I admit that this example is somewhat self-serving. You can argue that quality of product is much higher today, that raw costs have gone up. Labor costs, in this example, have not gone up however. I will give other examples later in this book that will show clearly that we have just passed through a devastating inflationary cycle – one that has largely been ignored by governments and economists -- from which we are only now beginning to unwind, with the deflationary spiral that has just begun in 2007.
When I was growing up, I idolized Willie Mays. He was the greatest all-around baseball player I ever saw (ahead of Robert Clemente by a fraction). I remember all the excitement about Willie Mays becoming the first major league baseball player ever to break the $200,000 salary barrier. He never did. His highest payday was in 1971, when he earned $180,000. Not bad for a kid from Mobile, Alabama, growing up in a racist country, playing a little boy’s game for much of his life.
Mays could hit for average, hit for power, run, field, throw – he was one of the best defensive centerfielders of all time. He is in the Hall of Fame and will probably be considered by History to be one of the greatest all-around baseball players of all time, if not the best.
Ok, now for the ‘inflation’ story.
Manny Ramirez is a very good hitter today, a clutch hitter, who does not field well, does not run well. In fact, Manny is a liability defensively. He doesn’t have range to get to balls, he doesn’t have grace when he does get to balls, and his throwing arm is mediocre. He’s slow. Willie Mays stole 338 bases in his career; Manny has stolen 37.
Manny has a higher career batting averge than Willie Mays (.314 versus .302). Willie stayed in the league a few too many years; this dragged his batting average down. Willie hit 660 homeruns in 22 years. Manny has hit 527 in 16 years. It is doubtful that Manny will pass Willie’s homerun total (Manny has averaged only 19 homeruns his last three seasons). Manny would need to play almost 7 more seasons and hit 20 homeruns each year to pass Willie’s 660.
Manny will not every be considered one of baseball’s greatest all around players and I doubt he will be elected to the Hall of Fame – although he is a great natural hitter and ha given his teams good play and offensive firepower, as well as reasons to complain with pretty regular bouts of laziness and leadership problems.
Willie Mays made $180,000 in 1971, when he was the best baseball player in history (or one of the best).
Manny Ramirez recently signed a $25 million contract to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.
I have nothing against a man getting what he can in this life. But don’t tell me there is no inflation. Manny is making 125 times what Willie Mays made in 1971. Manny Ramirez isn’t worth what Willie Mays was making. (And now Manny has been suspended for 50 games in the 2009 season for testing positive for drug use.)
By example, an engineer making $35,000 in 1971 would need to be making $4,375,000 dollars today to keep up with the inflation rate suggested by the inflation of Mays/Ramirez acceleration of major league baseball players salaries.
As I have suggested, the reason there was ‘no statistical inflationary pressure’ in America for the last two decades is because the statistics are stacked to overweight the wage inflation component. There are several reasons for this, a primary one being American business has been scrambling to export jobs to low-wage countries and destroy American unions in the process. I am not necessarily pro-union. I understand the hostility to unions in the business world; and I also understand that mafia involvement with unions in the 1970’s helped to destroy the integrity and decency of unions. But I also understand that without a prosperous working class in developed countries there will be no prosperity in the world economy – there will be no one to buy all these ‘wonderful’ products the world economies are producing.
China and India are supposed to pick up the consumer demand, as demand falls in America, Europe and Japan. That is the ‘global market’ company line. So far, China and India are leading the world into depression. Do we really think China and India will have the consumer spending power to lift the world back up after it has fallen down? And will China and India have the political stability to make all this occur? I think not. Civil unrest in both countries seems highly likely as prosperity vanishes and governments (and the business elite) are blamed for this.
There is nothing immoral in profit. Without profit a business cannot survive, cannot employ citizens, cannot pay taxes that help the government provide public services. With significant profit, a company can expand, can hire more people, and can become even more successful and pay more taxes (although, businesses pay billions each year in lawyer’s fees to avoid paying a fair share in taxes), and can produce more goods, keeping the costs of their products more affordable for consumers. That is the theory.
However, there is a problem with this theory. Too much capacity, too many goods produced, tends to drive down the price of the product. Too much supply is a problem for business. Too much oil drives down the price of oil products. If the number of vacuum cleaners produced cannot be absorbed by the market at a given price, then prices almost always come down to encourage distribution of the product. So there is a built-in self-serving limit to expansion. There are ways around this problem, but production cut-backs (and worker lay-offs) are a popular response. Escalating profits that cannot be ploughed back in to the business (for fear of over-production) often are used produce conglomerate companies and are ploughed back into salaries and bonuses of CEO’s and company officials. It is obscene to watch banks and financial institutions being given billions of taxpayer money by their pal Hank Paulson from the U.S. Treasury (who is supposed to be serving the American public), while salaries rise and huge bonuses are paid to the very people who engineered their own companies’ bankruptcies.
In fact, this is worse than obscene; it is criminal. The 1920’s in America had their Robber Barons. The rescued bankers, mortgage brokers, financiers and insurance men in 2008 – the worst and the greediest on Wall Street, and their cronies in government – should be heading to prison instead of heading to the government welfare banquet.
Republicans, especially those wearing evangelistic colors, the Rush Limbaugh and the Sean Hannity variety, have accused Democrats and liberals of raising the ‘class warfare’ flag whenever an increased tax rate on rich Americans is suggested. In fact, the Republicans and their Business Culture have been waging class-warfare on the working poor in America for the last three decades, through the destruction of labor unions and the export of high-paying manufacturing and industrial jobs. It is shameful to hear Republican supporters of this top-down class-warfare policy now raise the specter of bottom-up class-warfare only after they have been waging and winning the class war for a quarter of a century. The Republicans (capitalists) have no problem with class warfare, as long as they are winning the class war.
The rich, in American, should be paying higher taxes. In fact, the rich have a moral obligation to help their fellow Americans now, especially after the rich had such a free hand for decades to profiteer locally and globally and, also, have played such a pivotal role in destroying the American financial structure which is driving many middle-class families into poverty and many poor in to deeper state of financial despair.
The Judeo-Christian God honors generosity, kindness, mercy, charity even more than He honors selfish acquisition, avarice, pride, status, and covetousness of neighbors’ wives and goods.
Something is going on here, Mister Jones – and you better find out what it is.
I repeat: I am not necessarily pro-union. I am not anti-business. Ecclesiastes understood the Wheel of Time, how each polarity is a season in the whole round. Each ‘virtue’ or necessity rules in and for its own time, and then recedes, like the tide.
Free the Ego – the Practical Man -- during the Day (the Day is the vertical axis of the cross, the North-South orientation) to expand the economy, and to re-create the bubble of affluence. The Cowboy rules the Day, with its Individualism, its Business Culture, its ‘Greed’. The Indian rules the Night (the horizontal axis of the cross, East-West orientation) with its emphasis upon the internal and local, peace, sharing, and the life of the group, the life of the soul.
Death and Depression, the coming in of the economic and spiritual Darkness, the fall of Man from his throne of power and wealth, involves the cutting off of extremes: the high are lowered and the low are raised up, all being pulled into the ark, in a metaphorical sense, all being transformed into the Middle Principle in an attempt to ride out God’s destruction of the world. And that is the real sense in which the ‘meek’ (or the ‘modest’ – those who are ‘whole’) inherit the Earth.
We need the cycle of deflation (the Dark season) as much as we need the cycle of inflation (the Light season). The crime that the American Ruling Class committed (with their helmsman Mister Greenspan) was to curse the Night and to try to make believe it would not come if they merely pretended it wasn’t part of the reality.
It is very understandable why the Ego tries to build intellectual systems that reject death. The whole expansion of the economy is a response to the fear of death and to the conflict set up at Dawn which allows the Light to rise and forces the Darkness to fall. The desire for Life (the fear of Death) is the animating force of all creation.
All spiritual thought stems from a fear of Death and an attempt to understand why Death was added to the equation of Life. Death is darkness, the tragic overtaking the heroic. If the mind can create a mathematic trick which excludes Death from the picture – such as forced liquid-ization of the economy, in the sense of flooding the economy with cheap money, not in the sense of forced selling of property to cover debts, which comes later -- then we could all live for ever. Alan Greenspan, and his colleagues, thought they had done exactly that. Inflate the universe for ever: inflate, re-inflate, re-inflate, re-inflate…. Some physicists even have argued that the universe expands and will continue expanding for ever.
But, apparently, one form of liquidation inevitably leads to the other form of liquidation.
Also, there is a karmic debt that attaches to each inflation, as there is an economic debt that attaches to each economic inflation. And the longer the inflation goes on, the more debt that is taken on, the longer will be the period of deflation during which that karmic and economic debt are unwound.
In words that might appeal to the Republicans (I have written that I am both a Republican and a Democrat – in fact, I am also an Independent), God is a banker and he gives us credit, packets of Light, if you will. But, in the contract we sign when we take on this loan from God we also are told that we will have to pay God back. Deflation is the nature of Humanity giving back energy to God.
The Darkness in Human Society – poverty, despair, hopelessness, tragedy – is the process by which Humanity is drawn back to God. ‘Falls off its high horse’ might be another way of expressing this metaphor.
The ‘winners’ we love so much in American society, the heroes, the conquerors, the successful and rich, the famous, the stars, the beautiful people, are those who are farthest from God. We look at the ‘winners’ in our society, and what do we see? We see – along with mansions, expensive cars, glamorous vacations and sophisticated friends and entertainment -- divorce, addiction, crime, perversion, excess, loneliness, often early death, sometimes suicide. The ‘winners’ in human society, the rich, the powerful, the famous, are often ‘the losers’ before God calls them home again. The ‘winners’ are Icarus before he falls. The ‘losers’ are Icarus before he flies.
Psychological or Spiritual Deflation is the means by which God throws a human being to his knees.
Economic Deflation is the means by which God throws a society to its collective knees.
Deflation is not the end of life. Inflation, in fact, is the end of life,.
Most world cosmologies begin with God ‘breathing life’ into the world. But God also breathes life out of the world.
To ‘expire’ means to breathe out, to dig a hole in space and create a bubble that, ultimately, cuts one off from his source, the common fabric of life. This describes the inflation process. ‘Expire’ also means to die, of course. ‘Inspire’ means to draw breath in, to call souls back home from the burst bubble of isolated experience. ‘Inspire’ also means to fill oneself with excitement, knowledge, and revelation.
Deflation is closer in time to the beginning of life, the seed, the root, whereat and wherein the human soul becomes a child again, meek with lost pride, with fear and hope and vulnerability all mixed together. Deflation brings back community, and brings a human soul back to its roots, racial, national, and cosmic roots, back to the origin of its existence.
The Ego does not need God. The Ego believes he is God, standing alone above life, above God, above the mass, the king of the hill, a star centered in its own firmament. Ahab, in Melville’s masterpiece, Moby-Dick is the ultimate Ego confronting the world as a demi-god.
Misters Greenspan, Paulson and Bernanke and all their friends in Washington and on Wall Street were kings of the world (they apparently called themselves ‘The Masters of the Universe’ – Greenspan’s nickname was ‘the Maestro’ -- graced by God, each a Sun in his own system. Who, given such a high state, such grand power, a god ruling over men, would accede quietly to the regular, cyclic loss of power that the Night was demanding? Who would willingly climb down from a omnipotent throne and fall to his knees and proclaim: ‘God, you are higher than I! Your will is my will!’
To the minds of America’s Ruling Class, Deflation was not God. In fact, deflation was the Devil – as to Ahab, Moby Dick was the Devil. Death was a Devil that needed to be fought, needed to be resisted, needed to be defeated! Perhaps technology could defeat the Devil! Perhaps semiconductors might do it! (Even better: perhaps Viagra could do it.) Perhaps Death was just a trick of accounting, something we could take off the books – with everyone looking in the other direction (in the direction of their own self-interest), perhaps no one would even notice that Greenspan had erased Death from the Cosmic ledger.
People (nearly everyone) would get richer and richer and we would sail off into the sunset on our collective Ted Hood Yacht. Perhaps, together, the Great Society of Individuals, could kill the Great White Whale of our finiteness. Perhaps we were the generation God had willed to finally destroy that form of spiritual Gravity which transformed Hope to Despair, which transformed Victory to Defeat, which annihilated Beauty and Bodily Power and terminated Youthful Dreams, and was the tragic denouement of every play and every existence ever writ!
And perhaps not.
We need deflation; and we need inflation. Deflation saves human souls from their isolation, from their self-love, from their manic disease of pride and inhuman will. Inflation saves human souls from their self-loathing, from their lost direction, and from their lonely descent into failure.
The Night is not only our primal enemy; the Night is, at the same time, our primal spiritual regenerator. The Night is death, but it is also peace, and the source of our Wisdom. The Night is terror, but it is also our comfort, our rest. The Night makes us small again, but it also gives us dreams, which resuscitate us, and carry us back in to the light, allowing us to become large again.
Material wealth is not the only treasure in life. Material wealth allows us to become gigantic individuals but it also forces us to become demonically isolated and dangerous. Material possessions separate us from life – giving us freedom to pursue our dreams but also becoming the burden that cuts us off from our humanity.
Wealth is good and bad; Poverty is good and bad. Nature is wealthy in Summer and Autumn; Nature is poor in Winter and Spring. We must experience the entire round of this cycle in order to gain depth as human beings in human cultures. Something is taken from us in Winter – but something is also given to us. We lose our bodily pleasures and our bodily strengths but we gain a spiritual treasury. We lose power but we gain perspective. We lose passion but we gain compassion. We lose wealth but we gain peace of mind, if we are fortunate. We lose youth but we gain a sense of completion.
And, rest assured, deflation is not the end of all things, is not the last movement in a dying opera. The universe is a seed that expands as a bubble with the hot, fiery Great Breath and builds great creations. But Time kills the universe too. The atomic alarm clock goes off. The universe contracts, crumpling matter as it recedes, pulling down great structures, as matter drawn back down toward the black hole center of anti-matter, contracting back in to a seed again. It is a never-ending process.
The universe is a great tree that rises up and falls back down again, rises up and falls back down again, an endless cycle of Day and Night, each time carrying a new dream into construction, the dream it is given in the Night. The seed is the dreaming time, and the resting time. So it is with humanity. So it is with the human atom, Man.
Do we really need an economic deflation? Yes.
I worked for thirty years in administration at the University of Oregon. Each year, as part of my tasks, I developed a statistical study for the department. One such study centered on the cost of tuition for students.
From 1976 to 2007, University of Oregon full-time tuition for undergraduate residents of Oregon climbed from $216 per term to $2107. This is an increase in thirty years of 875%.
In the same time, full-time tuition for non-resident graduate students increased from $320 per term to $5447 per term, an increase of 1602%.
To put this in perspective, a person earning $20,000 per year in 1976 (a reasonable salary at the time), would need to be making $320,400 in 2007 in order to keep up with this suggested inflationary rate.
A person earning $60,000 in 1976 (a higher administration type salary), would need to be making $961,200 in 2007 in order to be keeping up with this inflationary rate.
Not many job categories have increased at this rate. Some have: CEO’s of elite American businesses, successful founders of technology or biotechnology companies, or internet start-ups, Wall Street investment bankers, perhaps doctors and professional and college football coaches. But most Americans have not seen this kind of inflation of salary rates.
It is not just higher education which has inflated so dramatically.
When I was entering college in 1970, a new Volkswagon bug cost $1700. Today, a new bug costs $20,000. This is an increase of 1100%. A person making $20,000 in 1970 would need to be making more than $215,000 dollars today to keep up with that inflation rate.
Then, of course, there are housing prices.
My sister-in-law in Portland, Oregon bought her house in 1988 for $71,000. This was a modest three-bedroom house in a modest part of Portland. She and her husband had just emigrated from Vietnam; both she and her husband were working jobs starting at close to minimum wage. She had $3000 in savings and borrowed another $4000 from her mother to secure a 10% down-payment. In 2007, this house was valued at $700,000. In 2008, Portland housing declined about 10%. A house that has increased in value from $71,000 in 1988 to $630,000 in 2008 has increased 787% in twenty years. A couple making $30,000 in 1988 should be making $236,100 in 2008 in order to keep up with the suggested inflation rate designated by this gain in housing.
Talk about ‘global warming’!
In 1950, the year I was born, the median price of a house was $14,500. Average income was $3,216. In 2006, average house prices in the U.S. were $232,000. This is a gain of 1500% and suggests that average income in 2006 should be around $300,000 per year, using 1950 as a benchmark of normality.
The global economy has been in a condition of ‘massive, unsustainable animal heat’ for more than a decade, with Alan Greenspan leading the charge, cheering on the dogs: ‘Get your dreams now! Take on more debt! Being deeply in debt is a great thing for yourself, for your family, and for your country – even for the health and well-being of the Earth!’
Debt is good. Debt is sustainable.
But are high levels of debt really sustainable? A picture is worth a thousand words. In 1950, Americans’ debt to income was 20%. It is currently almost 120%. Personal savings as a percentage of income was 7% in 1950; today it is less than 1% (in the chart below it is 1% -- it has grown to about 3% in early 2009), the lowest it has been since the 1930’s, when it went negative.
A second chart shows current American total debt is 350% of GDP, the highest in history. In 1930 American debt was 300% of GDP; and we all know what happened to the economy at that point in history. American debt amassed in the late 1920’s and 1930’s did not get unwound until almost 1960. In the late 1990’s American debt vs GDP attempted to peak at about 240%. Alan Greenspan to the rescue. To drive off the great leviathan of recession, Mister Greenspan opened up the waters of liquidity: Americans responded by taking on more debt, pushing total debt to 350% of GDP in 2008. More debt does not solve the problem of a society carrying too much debt. Stimulus packages and lower interest rates will not achieve a renewed American economic might – just more debt for the taxpayer and more debt for the consumer.
We are in a very deep hole. And it will take America almost a generation to get out of the hole we have all dug, with the help of Mister Greenspan and his ‘free market’ ideology.
Analysts might argue that it took Americans almost 30 years to dig out of debt from the Great Depression Era because this massive indebtedness caused a depression, which was then followed by a world war, depriving Americans of an optimum wealth-building business environment for fifteen years after the crash in 1930. Well, we are entering the depression at this moment; and the national responses to another great international depression will make another world war also very likely.
The Era of Fast Money-Making is over. We have entered a new reality, one that will not be an optimum business environment for at least a generation.
A look at one last chart shows the extent of housing inflation that occurred under Mister Greenspan’s watch. The broken line is the Case-Schiller projection of a housing bottom in 2016 or 2017.
Is it any wonder housing prices have fallen off a cliff? Fewer and fewer people can afford to buy a house at their current bloated levels, especially now that ‘creative accounting’ banking and exotic no-money-down, interest-only-payments-for-three-years mortgages (so called ‘liar loans’) are no longer in favor at America’s insolvent banks.
Also, people have already taken on maximum amounts of debt.
Also, with unemployment rising, businesses failing, with further foreclosures coming as variable-rate mortgages demand significantly higher monthly housing payments throughout 2009, 2010, and 2011, and with commercial real-estate heading down the drain, housing prices are set to fall at least another 50%.
My sister-in-law’s house, which she brought for $71,000, and which listed at $700,000 in 2006, should be worth $120,000 when the smoke finally clears, which will mean a gain of about 2.5% per year, which is the historical average.
Health-care costs, energy costs, the cost of food have all spiraled upward…has the cost of anything gone down in the last thirty years, except for computers and memory chips and some electronic equipment?
Salaries have moved sideways. Salaries have definitely gone down for a man or woman who once worked in heavy manufacturing and is now selling coffee at Starbucks after his or her job was exported to China.
One of the reasons salaries are stuck is because of the collusion that has driven health-care costs through the roof. Doctors, medical providers, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies all have been having the times of their lives in America. Everybody has been getting rich, at the expense of the American worker and at the expense of sick and dying Americans. Businesses that provide workers with health-insurance benefits have watched insurance premiums rise nearly 10% per year for more than a decade. Doctors, hospitals, drug companies raise prices; insurance companies raise premiums. The worker asks his employer for a raise and the employer says I’d love to give you a raise – but I already gave you a 9% raise in your health-care premium. A worker making $35,000 a year in 1998 would receive a comparable salary of $90,314.90 in 2009 if health-care premium increases were excluded from the cost of his salary. The worker is still being paid $30,000 a year in 2009. All the extra money is being paid to the insurance company. The insurance companies don’t care if doctors and drug companies raise prices, in fact they want them to raise prices; they just pass the costs on to the worker and the employer.
My wife takes asthma medication, which costs about $150 per spray-bottle in the US. When we visit friends and family in Vietnam, the same medication costs $10 per bottle. There is a conspiracy in America between doctors, medical providers, insurance companies, and politicians to gouge the American consumer. And this has been going on for decades. This is a natural side-effect of the Reagan/Greenspan/Bush doctrine that the business-class can do no wrong, that the business-class should be allowed to regulate itself, that business profits are sacred and trickle down through the entire society; and government should simply stay out of the way.
But does the American Dream require that individuals be allowed to become rich at the expense of middle class and poor Americans? I don’t think it does. Ingenuity, hard work, and intelligent risk-taking should be rewarded. But what we have now, in the health-provider fields, on wall street, and in the banking industry, and in many other branches of American business, is a form of state-capitalism, in which the government and businesses work hand-in-hand to enrich themselves, legally and illegally – and the rest of the crew of our ship of state can be damned.
The health-care bubble needs to be popped to make medical care affordable for all Americans. In 2009, even with all the defaults and foreclosures connected with the housing crisis, over 60% of all bankruptcies of American citizens were caused by medical catastrophes. Americans weren’t only spending beyond their means – they were being gauged by the health-care providers. Even Americans with health-care insurance often face insurmountable difficulties in receiving insurance payments when catastrophic illness strikes.
The following ClusterStock chart indicates quite clearly the bubble in health-care costs, driven most by the greed of the health-care providers:
How do we know it is the ‘greed’ of health-providers that have caused this massive bubble, rather than increased cost of treatments and technology, and the shark-invested legal waters ballooning the cost of malpractice insurance? (Again, the insurance companies! And the lawyers!)
David Schuler, a health-care researcher and writer, explains where the costs of health-care are rising so much:
From 1965 to 1981 national expenditures on health care more than doubled from $201 billion to $507 billion in real 2009 dollars. Most of the increase in costs in healthcare can be explained by three factors: increased utilization, particularly immediately after the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid during the period 1965-1972, higher prices, particularly during the period 1972-1981, and inflation. Most of the increases after 1981 can be explained by inflation alone.
In the period 1965-1972 use increases accounted for 45.8% of the increase in healthcare spending and price increases accounted for 45%. In the period 1965-1972 57.5% of the increase in spending for physician services can be accounted for by price increases and 32.2% accounted for by increased utilization.
Hospital expenses and physician services account for the majority of healthcare costs and both of those are other words for people’s incomes. Rent, insurance, equipment, and so on are a pittance by comparison with wages as components of both of those.
Here’s my alternative explanation for what has happened to healthcare costs. In the immediate aftermath of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1966 there was an increased utilization of healthcare. That is what was supposed to happen: old people and poor people were supposed to get more healthcare. In a fee for services environment, the model that prevailed at the time and still has considerable force, that means that physicians and hospitals made significantly more money. Their incomes increased. When utilization levelled off (as should also have been expected) they continued to increase their incomes by raising prices. They had become accustomed to increasing incomes.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the increasing healthcare expenditures capturing of such a quickly rising proportion of the federal budget finally caught the attention of the Congress and a number of steps were taken to slow the increase. But the harm had mostly been done. A high cost basis had been built into healthcare, healthcare was a major component of total GDP, and inflation alone (of which rising healthcare costs are one of the largest components) was enough for healthcare costs to grow unsustainably.
I am not blaming healthcare providers for acting this way. I believe it was a natural human response and they responded as anyone else would have under the circumstances.
However, it means that simple cost control won’t achieve what we need to accomplish. The primary components of healthcare costs are hospital costs and physician services which comprise the majority of costs, insurance administrative costs which comprise something like 30% of costs, pharmaceutical costs which comprise something like 10% of costs, and other factors which comprise very small proportions of the whole. All of these costs are other words for wages, somebody’s income. Healthcare costs are high because wages in the sector are high.
What kind of civilized, wealthy society allows a poor person to die because he or she lacks money for medical care? We claim to be a God-fearing people, a spiritual people, but we still seek to deny charity in our society to all except those who don’t need it. This moral stinginess is a sign of corruption. This selfish, small nature must be corrected. We Americans are a tribal family of men and women and children. We must treat our family with justice and generosity. When we do this, we all benefit and live in a more decent and supporting environment. We will spend our public money to build more schools instead of building more prisons.
We can choose, as a nation, to change our values. We are not obligated to support a state-vision through which doctors, drug company executives, and insurance agents are made millionaires while the vast majority of Americans cannot afford the costs of their services, except as ‘benefits’ at work. And how secure is this ‘benefit’? Lose your job: lose your right to health-care treatment. A serious illness then results automatically in bankruptcy – perhaps in both death and bankruptcy. Is this the way we want to live? Are these the values we want to give our children? Is it reasonable for us to glorify only the rich in our society; and to discard those who are not rich, who are not the ‘winners’ we admire so ardently?
God wants humans to build a heavenly kingdom on the Earth. This means taking care of one another. This means not exploiting others for financial gain. This is a set of values religious Americans need to think about deeply, This is the message of Jesus Christ. Christians need to remember the meaning of the message of Christ.
Jesus was not a conservative. Jesus was a moral revolutionary who preached that humanity needed to change its behavior, needed to change the way it interacted with its brethren. He preached love, generosity, selflessness, and equality. He did not preach the virtues of materialism, selfishness, and suspicion – nor did he espouse the virtue of the rich and the degeneracy of the poor. Jesus preached generosity to the unfortunate; Jesus also surmised that the common vices of the rich made admission of the affluent to the heavenly kingdom almost impossible.
If the rich wish to proclaim ‘Jesus be damned, we’ll take wealth on the earth and nothing in the afterlife’, then fine. But one can’t have it both ways.
We must understand the symbolism of Jesus driving the money-changers out of the temple was a very simple observation that God does not reward piety with earthly pleasures and wealth. This is the false argument used by the Satanic Force, which justifies its own greed for power by maintaining Earthly Power’s alliance with God. Jesus admonishes this fraudulence, and commands the bankers to desist in their apparent alliance with Spirit, to leave the protection of this false justification of their own ‘chosen’ status.
We’ll also remember that Satan met Jesus in the wilderness and offered him power over all the Earth.
God is not source of Earthly power and wealth; the Devil is. The Devil’s Contract and God’s Covenant are not the same document. This is a truth the many Christians have conveniently forgotten during the feeding frenzy that his gripped the Earth for so many years.
The Higher Education bubble needs to be popped to make education affordable for all Americans with an aptitude for university study. This will require more education support from federal and state governments. It will also require the popping of the health-care bubble, which has become such a huge burden for universities and for university students, not to mention non-educational American businesses.
When someone pointed out to Alan Greenspan the ‘irrational exuberance’ of the housing bubble in 2005, Alan commented: ‘Even if there are declines in prices, the significant run-up to date has so increased equity in homes that only those who have purchased very recently, purchased just before prices actually literally go down, are going to have problems.’
The American banking system was also going to have problems, as banks careened toward default, insolvency, bankruptcy. The American Ruling Class was also going to have problems: Lehman Brothers would be gone; Morgan-Stanley would be going; Goldman-Sachs would essentially be castrated; and, without massive intervention from their former boss, Henry Paulson (who made over $400 million dollars from Goldman-Sachs stock options before joining George Bush’s government), who essentially robbed American taxpayers to try save his friends on Wall Street, Goldman-Sachs would have vanished.
Nothing was more bizarre than witnessing the bullying Paulson and his trembling shadow Bernanke appear like magistrates of social reconstitution before Congress, putting a gun to the heads of unsuspecting congressional leaders, demanding trillions of taxpayer dollars to ensure the salvation of Western Civilization, something of which only Paulson was now capable, insisting Congress approve a scheme whereby Paulson could give money to whomever he chose, and demanding a guarantee that no one connected in any way with the blatant act of highway robbery (the ‘bailout’ being reconstituted euphemistically as a ‘rescue’, first, and then as a ‘conservatorship’) could ever be held legally accountable after the crime.
The arrogance of the man!
Paulson later told a colleague: ‘It didn’t have to be a trillion dollars. It could have been anything! But it had to sound big.’
He wanted to scare legislators and the President into giving him what he wanted. He haunted Congress and George Bush with the picture of banks collapsing, riots, revolution, tanks in the streets, Washington D.C., and New York on fire. Washington swallowed its collective tongue (there were resistors) and gave Paulson $500 billion with few questions asked, few strings attached. Later, after giving away his stash, Paulson refused to divulge to the American public the names of the private institutions to which the cash grants had been made, concerned that stigma might attach to institutions so unsubtly graced (and so needing to be graced).
Now, after the first wave of $500 billion of personal Paulson loans and gifts to banks and financial firms (some at least with equity stakes) has not done the trick, we hear that more taxpayer money will be needed if the American banking system would survive its own mismanagement.
Alan: you were wrong. Your policy was doomed. AIG is gone; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are gone, all ghosts of their former selves, all shadows slipping in to nothingness of the sea.
Wall Street is gone, Alan. The investment banks you so admired, which helped to fuel the global free-market bubble, and fly proudly the great American flag of world financial leadership, have vanished or gone in to hiding, begging the government for money; once proud titans, now hat-in-hand, begging Congress for their own survival. How the mighty have fallen!
The ‘free-market’ is gone, too, Alan. We are heading, inevitably, into an environment of protectionism, of tariffs, of limited trade, of national responses to an international crisis, to international political realignment, probably to world war. And the ideology of the vainglorious ‘free-market system’, wherein noble and virtuous corporate leaders and financiers would be wise and capable of disciplining themselves, will not be mentioned again by serious policy-makers for at least another half-century or so. American capitalism has shamed itself on a huge public stage. American capitalism has given back all it won after a century of battle with Marxist dogma, given it all back and then some, because greedy bankers and politicians could not discipline themselves and limit their own obsessive needs to win.
Positive thinking, and cheerleading the business model, is not the same as the moral leadership of a nation. And it is not in the nature of wanna-be billionaires (i.e., criminals) to discipline themselves when no one is watching.
In early 2009, Alan, one in ten mortgages in America are either in foreclosure or under water (are worth less than what is still owed on the mortgage). Six million jobs for American workers have vanished. Even more millions of jobs for global workers have vanished. Suicides, mental illness, alcoholism, divorce, crime….these are all real side effects of the destruction of our economy.
Ervin and Ana Lupoe both worked as medical technicians at a Kaiser-Permanente hospital in West Los Angeles. They owed $850,000 on a mortgage; they both lost their jobs. They were in foreclosure; and they bounced a check for back-taxes with the IRS. So Ervin shot his five children, his wife and then himself. They were trapped; and becoming homeless with five children was not a future they were willing to confront. This was the seventh murder-suicide of a family in California since the depression, generated by the broken housing bubble, hit California.
More than just a few late-comers to the global housing Gold Rush are going down in flames, Mister Greenspan. Some of your friends are probably going down too.
What can the new Obama government do to solve the problems of economic collapse during this necessary period of deflation? Not much really. In a very real way, depression is ‘matter’ being drawn into a black hole, matter being destroyed through a growing proximity to anti-matter. Government can provide support systems for its citizens, extend unemployment benefits, generate government jobs to help reconstruct the infrastructure, protect savings in the self-destructing banking system. But all the trillions of dollars the government is now throwing or is planning to throw at the collapsing financial balloon of the global economy will not stop the ship from sinking. This depression will not bottom out until that atomic alarm clock goes off again, signaling the Dawn, when the necessary deflation will have finally been accomplished. We will look at this question more deeply later.
One thing government can and must do, however, is to raise taxes on the very rich Americans to provide social support systems for those who have been impoverished by errors, sins, and misdeeds committed mostly by America’s rich, those ‘masters of the universe’.
As I have suggested, I believe in Ecclesiaste’s wisdom: to everything there is a season. Let the rich generate personal wealth during the Day; and let the rich give back this wealth during the Night. It is a mechanism we can follow. Competition by Day; and Cooperation by Night. Lower taxes during the Day-Cycle; higher taxes during the Night-Cycle.
The danger the richest class faces, if they resist such collective sharing of the wealth during the Night-Cycle, is that they might lose everything in a social revolution, which is always a possibility during a deflationary Night-Cycle. History shows many examples of inflexible arrogant rich classes being stripped of their wealth and driven in to exile during Night-Cycles, when the moral imperative changes sides, joins forces with the weak.
One wonders why Alan Greenspan has not joined the monastery by now after his ‘free market’ doctrine and policy has helped to turn the American and global financial gargantua into a paper junkyard; and has turned the financial promises of America’s once-proud corporations into a kaleidoscope of shrinking visions, corporate corruption, and a rattled pyramid of junk-bonds.
The ‘I made a mistake’ statement – i.e., ‘I made an error in judgment’ – is not enough, Alan. Admit that you are a kind of Ahab! Admit that you unintentionally torpedoed the Pequod, the boat in which all Americans are riding! Admit that you sank the American Ship of State because you were trying to destroy Death, trying to defeat the Shadow; you were trying to exterminate the Great White Whale of philosophical and financial and physical mortality!
Tell us that your ambition was great, even as your judgment was flawed, as your management skill was … much less than advertised! A good education, and mediocre understanding, almost always lead to tragic results.
“I continue to believe the U.S. economy is healthy. We have had a significant housing correction in the U.S. You can’t have a correction like that without causing some dislocations. It’s too early to tell whether it’s bottomed. I believe it has…….shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that there’s some fallout in the subprime mortgage market … but it’s largely contained.”
~Henry Paulson March 2007
What is the difference between a Banker and a Mafioso?
The Banker is the Mafioso at the end of his career. The
Mafioso is the Banker at the beginning of his career.
APOLLO AND DIONYSUS. THE COWBOY AND THE INDIAN.
"Practical men who believe themselves to be quite immune from intellectual influences are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."
John Maynard Keynes
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche re-discovered in Greek mythology the ancient classical ideas of the divine manifestations of Day and Night. In his book, The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche draws a clear distinction between the Day brother, Apollo, and his shadow, the Night brother, Dionysus.
In The Consequences of Ideas, R.C. Sproul writes:
‘While working on his doctoral dissertation, Nietzsche studied classical Greek art and philosophy. He noted the ancient conflict seen in the images of Apollo and Dionysus. In these images, Nietzsche discovered the visceral antagonism within himself, and antithesis between the mind and the will. In Apollo, the rational and the orderly are incarnated. Apollo represents the Greek ideal of order and harmony. Apollonian art displays perfect symmetry and proportionality. Its sculpture displays no warts. The figure of Dionysus, on the other hand, represents the element of the chaotic. Dionysus was worshiped in the ancient Bacchanalia, named after Bacchus, god of the grape or of wine. In the ancient ritual, one attains mystical release from the inhibition of reason by entering into a drunken, orgiastic stupor. In this Dionysian frenzy, a person loses his individual identity as he merges into mystical union with a transcendent ‘one’ or ‘oversoul’.
For Nietzsche, the Apollonian idea is realized in Hegel’s intellectualism, the Dionysian mood in Arthur Schopenhauer’s voluntarism. The Dionysian model offers entrance into a dynamic stream of life-force marked by passion and expressed in music that creates a feeling of abandon.
Historical movements representing the Day and Night cycles would later be called Rationalism and Romanticism. Of course, the advent of the Wagnerian Dionysus imperative was an intimation of the rise of National Socialism in Germany. We will note that the manifestation of Dionysus will always be associated with destruction.
George S. Williamson, in his book The Longing for Myth in Germany, would write:
The stated purpose of The Birth of Tragedy was to set forth the ‘secret doctrines’ of Greek aesthetics. Greek culture, Nietzsche argued, originated from the interaction of two antagonistic forces, represented by the deities Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo was the power that created the images of dreams and fantasy. The beautiful forms of Greek sculpture, the coherence of the individual psyche, even the ordered veneer of the phenomenal world, were all products of Apollonian illusion. Dionysus, by contrast, was the formless abyss of suffering that coursed underneath these tranquil surfaces. The Dionysian reached its perfect expression in music, an art form without images. According to Nietzsche’s scheme, the cultural flowering of Greece depended on the continual tension between Apollo and Dionysus, just as procreation depended on a dualism of the sexes, with ‘continuous strife and only periodic reconciliation.’
It was the Apollonian impulse that had given rise to the bright Homeric deities, whose serene images had led Winckelmann and Schiller to praise the blessedness and naivete of Greek life. But, now, Nietzsche contended, ‘the Olympic magic mountain opens up for us and shows us its roots.’ For the Apollonian images did not reflect Greek happiness but, rather, compensated for a darkly pessimistic [and recognizably Schopenhauerian] worldview. From time to time this world of appearances would fall away, as the hard-won individuality of the Greeks collapsed in a torrent of Dionysian ecstasy. On such occasions social distinctions were overturned, ‘the slave became a free man’, and neighbor was reconciled with neighbor in an ecstatic celebration of unity. ‘Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art. The aesthetic power of all nature, to the highest satisfaction of the primordial unity, reveals itself here in the tremblings of intoxication.’
Apollo was thoughtful; Dionysus was willful. Apollo was dreamy; Dionysus was worldly. Apollo was saintly and artistic. Dionysus was devilish and materialistic. Apollo wrote about life, described it in sculpture or painting. Dionysus lived life, in all its brightness and darkness. Apollo’s expression touches on perfection. Dionysus is the birth of the tragic. Apollo is a ‘detached’ man of reflection, governed by intellect. Dionysus is an ‘attached’, passionate man of action, governed by body and by the life-instinct. Apollo expressed the subjective; Dionysus expressed the objective. Apollo was concerned with God’s laws; Dionysus was more concerned with man’s laws.
H.L.Mencken wrote in The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche:
In ancient Greece, he pointed out at the start, Apollo was the god of art - of life as it was recorded and interpreted - and Bacchus Dionysus was the god of life itself - of eating, drinking and making merry, of dancing and roistering, of everything that made men acutely conscious of the vitality and will within them. The difference between the things they represented has been well set forth in certain homely verses addressed by Rudyard Kipling to Admiral Robley D. Evans, U. S. N.:
Zogbaum draws with a pencil
And I do things with a pen,
But you sit up in a conning tower,
Bossing eight hundred men.
To him that hath shall be given
And that's why these books are sent
To the man who has lived more stories
Than Zogbaum or I could invent.
Here we have the plain distinction: Zogbaum and Kipling are apollonic, while Evans is dionysian. Epic poetry, sculpture, painting and story-telling are apollonic: they represent, not life itself, but some one man's visualized idea of life. But dancing, great deeds and, in some cases, music, are dionysian: they are part and parcel of life as some actual human being, or collection of human beings, is living it.
Nietzsche maintained that Greek art was at first apollonic, but that eventually there appeared a dionysian influence - the fruit, perhaps, of contact with primitive, barbarous peoples. Ever afterward there was constant conflict between them and this conflict was the essence of Greek tragedy. As Sarcey tells us, a play, to hold our attention, must depict some sort of battle, between man and man or idea and idea. In the melodrama of today the battle is between hero and villain; in the ancient Greek tragedy it was between Apollo and Dionysus, between the life contemplative and the life strenuous, between law and outlaw, between the devil and the seraphim.
Nietzsche, as we shall see, afterward applied this distinction in morals and life as well as in art. He called himself a dionysian and the crowning volume of his system of philosophy, which he had barely started when insanity overtook him, was to have been called "Dionysus."
I write that Nietzsche re-discovered the meaning of Apollo and Dionysus. The metaphysical meaning of Apollo and Dionysus dates back to the most ancient philosophies of Assyria and Babylon, and began as a concept connected to the Moon. Moon-worship developed before Sun-worship. Moon cycles were easy to observe from the Earth, as the Moon moved through a very distinct 28-day cycle divisible in to 4 equal segments of 7 days each. Seven was a sacred number of most early religions because of the Moon’s easy divisibility. The creation of the Week as a division of time came from the observation of the Moon cycle.
Also moon-worship developed in the southern climates where, quite literally, the Sun was experienced as an oppressive force, the Moon as a soothing sanctuary from the deadly heat of the day.
The North worshipped the Sun because the Sun saves the North from the killing cold of Winter (Night daily embodiment of its larger cyclic brother Winter). The South worships the Moon because the Moon saves the South from the killing heat of Summer (Day is, of course, the small-cycle counterpart of Summer).
There is this built-in duality of Earth: when it is Day in the East it is Night in the West; when it is Summer in the North, it is Winter in the South. This, in part, explains the conflict built-in to Earth cycles. Each of the four quarters of the Earth is experiencing life at a different stage of the cycle and through a different perspective of reality. Each perspective, in this sense, is ‘true’ – yet, also, at the same time, adamantly contradictory.
When civilizations developed more advanced sciences in astrology/astronomy (and when civilization moved more northward), Sun-Worship supplanted Moon-Worship; but Sun-Worship presented a similar time-structure as Moon-Worship, this time over the term of One Year as the Moon did over the term of One Month.
The Time Structure of the single Day also evinced a similar structure: two forces in opposition; two forces in balance.
Three time elements were seen to have a common archetypal structure.
The trinitary Time divisions into four ‘seasons’ were:
Dawn Noon Dusk Midnight
Waxing Half Moon Full Moon Waning Half Moon New Moon
Spring Equinox Summer Solstice Autumn Equinox Winter Solstice
Ernest Busenbark writes in his (unfortunately-titled 1949 book) Symbols, Sex and the Stars:
In addition to the myths derived from the ancient belief that the moon was a Generator of Life, Goddess of Motherhood and Regulator of Fate, the moon was the subject of another type of myth, in which her monthly changes were thought to be the result of a conflict between deities. It was a contest between the God of Light, or the Overworld, and the God of Darkness, or the Underworld, in which each contestant triumphed, in turn, over the other. With the growth of sun worship, the myths, which were based upon this theme, began to partake of a solar character.
The underlying motifs of the Light and Darkness myths were growth and decay, life and death, day and night, summer and winter, which seemed to constitute systems of pairs of opposites by which all life and activity in the universe was maintained in a state of balance by the opposition of natural forces.
The Mother Goddess cults generally deteriorated gradually into sex worship, and finally passed from the world’s stage, leaving only a mass of myths and superstitions; but the Light-Darkness myths contained the germ from which developed the great ‘ethic’ religions which now, for upwards of 2500 years, have played a great part in molding civilization….
Light was not, in itself, a complete entity: it required the Darkness to make it whole, just as the Male required the Female. As a positive current of electricity is without force unless accompanied by a negative current, so, in early times, the God or Power of Light was considered incomplete without the power of Darkness to give it contrast, opposition, force, and completeness.
Opposition or apparent conflict between the ascending and descending phases of the Moon provided the underlying motif for the story of the Two Brothers, called the ‘parted’, which, in various forms, is found in mythology all over the world. In the zodiac, they are thought to be represented as Gemini, the Twins. In China, they appear as Oph and Shichim; in India they are Cristna and Balarama; in Egypt, Set and Horus. Some students of comparative religion see similar motifs in the conflicts between Abel and Cain, and Jacob and Essau.
The descending half of the Moon was often depicted as the Dark One, the Deceiver. In another type of myth, the descending Moon becomes the Manifester, the Precursor or the Sacrificial Type; and the ascending half is portrayed as the Bringer of Light, the Savior or Redeemer.
The Full Moon is, of course, the Virgin Mother, the Queen of Heaven.
In Egyptian mythology, the ascending phase of the Moon, as the reflector of the Sun’s Light is represented by the God Horus, who is portrayed as the Eye of the Sun. The dark phase is caused by Set, the demon of Darkness, who steals or wounds the Eye of Horus. On ancient monuments, Set is shown with the head of a jackal, which fact proclaims him as the Night Prowler and the Thief of Light.
Graphically, this dual representation of Light Brother/Dark Brother, overlaid on our Time diagrams, appears below. Apollo, of course, in this context, represents the Bringer of Light; Dionysus represents the bringer of Darkness, whose power grows from nothing at Noon or the Summer Solstice, when there is no shadow, to all-powerful at Midnight or the Winter Solstice – at which point Light is weakest, almost non-existent. Of course, the Winter Solstice represents the birth of light, the birth of Christ, the re-birth of the Solar Hero, the re-birth of Apollo.
This discussion is complicated by the fact that the perception from the material universe is exactly reversed from the perception from the anti-material universe (the spiritual universe). In the material universe, white (Day) is good and black (Night) is bad. In the anti-material universe, Day is bad – the arena or ring of conflict, where sins are committed, and where karma is accrued-- and Night is good, a place of rest and reflection – also a realm of judgment for those who have sinned during the Day. At Night the soul approaches his God. Day is the time when the material world expands – riches, powers, temptations are given to the soul. Night is the time when the spiritual world expands. But in the anti-matter world, expanding materialism is the darkness, the Night, not the Light, the Day.
Both perceptions are illusions, as I have written. Illusions being part-truths. But both illusions are very potent; and both illusions power the world into action and re-action, back into Day and back into Night.
The material world relates to the anti-material world as the photograph relates to the photographic negative. Light relates to darkness in this same manner. Without darkness there is no light. Without the photographic negative, there is no photograph.
I realize I have awkwardly complicated these ideas, ideas which were somewhat complex even before I added the mirror reflection.
For my own purposes, the myth of Apollo and Dionysus seems too classical and too European. To more clearly present this structure in the American context I believe the ‘updated’ concept of Cowboy and Indian might be more useful. I will also use the expressions Day-Force and Night-Force, as well as the expressions Culture and Counter-Culture. I have a slightly different take on the essences of these two ‘brother’ natures, in fact.
Who is the Cowboy? The Cowboy is the White Man who is attracted to his opposite, the Dark Woman (the Earth). We will see that the Indian is the Dark Man who is attracted to his opposite, the White Woman (the Moon). The White Man is the Spirit Force materializing, falling to Earth. The Dark Man is the Matter Force spiritualizing, rising into Heaven. As the Spirit Force falls, it becomes darker. As the Matter Force rises, it becomes lighter. The Hebrew diagram for the Star of David incorporates some of these same ideas.
I have written that the White Man (the ‘winner’, the ‘successful’ force) will become, in time, the Dark Man (the ‘loser’, the ‘defeated’ force) – and, when the White Man becomes Dark (‘Dark with sin’) he will be rejected by the Dark Woman, the Earth – this is a basic law of physics, opposites attract; like forces repel. And this White Man-become-Dark Man will then be saved by the White Woman, the Moon, the Virgin Mary in Christian terminology. The Dark Man becomes the Messiah, the Soul, that is given birth by the Wisdom of the Night, the Virgin Moon, shining in the Night Sea.
The Cowboy is the force of the Day, the Physical Sun, the force of Man’s Law that supports city-building and civilization. The Cowboy is the fertility force, the Sun that magnetically inspires the growth of crops, the building of wealth, procreation, empire, material expansion.
The Indian is the force of the Night, the Metaphysical Sun, the force of God’s Law that destroys city-building and civilization through the force of inactivity, the force of the Dream-Time. The Cowboy is Human nature; the Indian is the human-in-Nature.
The Cowboy is the Hero, who seeks to defend the innocent Community from the forces of Evil. The Indian is an Anti-Hero, who seeks to defend the innocent and the poor from the evil forces of the corrupt overlord community.
How all this hidden symbolic structure relates to history has been pursued and presented by some historians, Oswald Spengler, Gambattisto Vico, and, in a different sense, Marsilio Ficino have all written morphological studies of history. These approaches have been met with admiration at certain cycles of history, and with ridicule at others. Clearly these historians are Indian types, whose visions are generated through the symbolic mind, not the Cowboy rational mind. Science comprehends the straight line of causality but not the curved line of cyclicality, which it considers superstition.
Freud was a Cowboy (read ‘practical’); Jung was an Indian (read ‘other-worldly’). Confucius was Cowboy (read ‘willful’); Lao-Tse was an Indian (read ‘selfless’). Aristotle was a Cowboy (read ‘a physician of the Real World’); Plato was an Indian (read ‘a metaphysician of the Ideal World’).
Negentropy (an unfortunate name for the increasing complexity of organization of information) is a Day-Force; Entropy (increasing complexity of disorganization of information) is a Night-Force – i.e., the physical world runs down. The Lone Ranger was a Cowboy, obviously; and Tonto was an Indian. Tom Sawyer was a Cowboy; Huckleberry Finn was an Indian. (Huckleberry Finn was a Cowboy; and Jim the Slave was an Indian. This shows how complex this structure is, and how roles shift depending upon the attendant elements participating in the atom.)
A contemporary Jungian scholar (it may have been James Hillman or Edward Edinger, both of whom I admire) described the difference between Freud and Jung as being (and I am paraphrasing) that Freud sees the world through the eyes of a youth approaching the world of men seeking life, success, and well-adjusted conformity to man’s social structure; whereas Jung sees the world through the eyes of an adult approaching old age and death, seeking knowledge of the future life (Eternal Time) and a well-adjusted conformity to God’s more esoteric spiritual structure.
The diagram (above) of the Apollo/Dionysus polarity is not very exact. In a more real sense, the Light rules from Dawn to Dusk (the Overworld); the Darkness rules from Dusk to Dawn (the Underworld). But the diagram above does show an aspect of the two brothers’ relationship: Light is weakest at Midnight (Winter Solstice) – i.e., the days are shortest -- but begins gaining strength at this point until Noon (Summer Solstice), when days are longest, nights are shortest. At Summer Solstice, Light begins to lose its battle with Darkness – nights begin to get longer, days shorter. Darkness is weakest at Noon (Summer Solstice), after which Darkness begins to win the battle with Light.
Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and
served the Baals and the Astoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods
of Sidon, the gods of Moloch… So the anger of the Lord was hot
against Israel; and he sold them into the hands of the Phillistines
and into the hands of the people of Ammon. From that year they
harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years…
Book of Judges,: 10, 11
DAYS AND NIGHTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY.
(If There Is Precision Inherent in Matter, Is There Not Also an Implied Precision in Matter’s Behavior?)
‘All things from eternity are of like-forms and come round in a circle.’
Ronald Reagan was a Cowboy; Jimmy Carter was an Indian. Barack Obama is an Indian.
The illusion is that the Cowboy and Indian, the Culture and the Counter-Culture, are two separate forces, two separate natures and personalities. In fact, these two forces are a unity. The Cowboy is the youth approaching the world of men seeking life, success, and well-adjusted conformity to man’s social structure; the Indian is that same force at a different point in the Time Cycle, as an adult approaching old age and death, seeking knowledge of the future life (Eternal Time) while seeking a well-adjusted conformity to God’s more esoteric spiritual or anti-material structure.
The Cowboy carries the world out of anti-matter (the Dream Time, Eternal Time) in to the world of matter (Time); the Indian carries the world out of matter back in to the black hole of anti-matter. The ‘black hole’ of depression is a kind of womb in which we germinate, dream, in and from which we find the ‘mask’ or vision our re-birth.
The Cowboy represents the Life of the Body, the life of Form, Formality, Reason, Law, Civilization, Scientific Intellect The Indian represents the Life of the Soul, the Life of Mind (Spiritual Intellect), Informality, Dreams, Creativity, Culture, Art, Community. Every culture, nation, individual needs to develop both sides of this ‘personality’, the Day Personality and the Night Personality.
The Cowboy builds the physical world and provides security and rules of behavior in which the society can develop. The Cowboy brings law to the world, order, civilization. The Cowboy ‘engineers’ the world, building structures in the external world, houses, cities, nations, specializing in technology, expanding its influence on a truly global scale. The Indians (the Indians are Asiatic in origin) are more passive in the physical world, view Nature as a divinity, rather than a resource to be appropriated or ‘developed’ (which is an interesting word, as though Nature were not developed. The ‘developer’ is clearly one of the more interesting euphemisms that materialism has imagined.) The Indians build structures, understandings, in the internal world, develop relationships with gods, spirits and ancestors who live now in the dream world.
Cowboys are Solar-Worshippers. Indians are Lunar-Worshippers.
Cowboys abhors the Indian, think the Indian is insane. (The Culture generally feels the same for the Counter-Culture.) The Indian feels the Cowboy is crude and materialistic, soulless. Donald Trump is a Cowboy, the conqueror of the world. Bill Gates is a Cowboy, a scientist conquering the world. Napoleon and Hitler were Cowboys. Bach, Rembrandt, Melville, and James Joyce were Indians. My thesis is that we need both. America, speaking generally, has given more credence to the Entrepreneur, the Cowboy, over the last thirty years. Sadly, I think most Americans would rather have their son grow up to be Donald Trump than Johannes Bach. I think this is explained by our overemphasis on the practical Daylight side of life – devotion to the so-called ‘real world’ -- and the religion of Materialism that has dominated the world since the Scientific world-view dethroned the Religious world-view in the West, especially over the last 200 years or so.
That is not to say that the Donald Trumps of the world have no value. Donald Trump plays his role, as do all of the builders of the physical world. It’s just that for every million Donald Trumps the world creates, the world creates only one Johannes Bach.
America, speaking generally, gave more credence to the Artist, the Musician, the Poet, from 1965-1982 however. At least the youth of America did, which is the machine that drives Western culture.
I believe America’s future will be great in terms of cultural developments. I will discuss, in a later chapter, the American civilization vis-ą-vis the Roman civilization. Intellectuals, especially European intellectuals, enjoy despising American culture by equating it to ancient Rome. Ancient Romans were skilled as warriors and engineers, as city-builders, and empire-makers, as the ‘Policemen of the World’. The Day-Force, the Cowboys, in other words. In this view, Greece was the culture of the world and Rome was the body, the uncultured force of will. In the same way, today, Europe is the culture of the world, the Greece of today. Rome was a nation of materialistic bullies. Many, today, view America in this same way.
Hinduism speaks of a Father-Mother principle, the Unity split into two, before the duality splits into adversarial manifestation.
Rome was a Father-Mother principle, manifesting, first, as the Father, the militarist, the force of earthly order, business, pragmatism. Later, after corrupt ancient Rome was overrun by Germanic barbarians, Rome manifested as the Mother, giving birth -- after a long-period of dormancy (the Dark Ages) -- to Renaissance European city states, which later developed in to the independent countries, cultures and languages of Europe and England.
To judge Rome fairly, one must view Roman history in both parts: the Day world of the powerful Patriarch, with his powerful army, his business acumen, who dominated the physical universe – the civilization stage -- and the Night world of the powerful Matriarch who gave birth to Modern Europe – the culture stage. Julius Caesar transformed in to Jesus Christ, at Midnight; and, then, at Dawn, in to Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Dante, Shakespeare, Bach, Goethe…and all of the great artists and thinkers that grew up from Rome’s rich animated diffuse soil.
America will have a similar period of cultural greatness. But America will also need to go through a Dark Age to get to the stage of cultural rebirth. Economic depressions (Night-Cycles) are Dark Ages in miniature form (36-year cycles in toto). Historical Dark-Ages are Winter-Cycles, enduring for hundreds of years.
If the life on Earth does not end in 2012, then we can expect American history to mirror roughly Rome’s own history, with an eventual collapse of democratic government (the Republic Stage), an advent of government by an autocratic family or families (the Empire Stage, even more dramatically executed than today, with even greater failures), and a final collapse into corruption and fall to a barbarian invading culture (or, perhaps, a great civil war through which the powers of East-Coast American cities are overthrown.).
According to this scenario, current American regions (New England, Northeast Corridor, Atlantic Coast, Deep South, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and California) will, over time, and through a Dark Age stage of isolation, germination, and spiritual regeneration, develop independent national cultures with languages and dialects rooted in English, much as Europe developed cultures and languages from the root of Rome’s Latin world-language.
If the lens I’m using is accurate, a messiah figure is also scheduled to appear in America during this next century. A messiah figure who is both lion and lamb, and may manifest the lion aspect of his character 2,000 years after having manifested the lamb side of his nature. We will look at this more closely later.
The ‘Culture’ comes from the inner world and creates the outer world, the Civilization; and the ‘Counter Culture’ destroys the civilization and re-creates the inner world, the Culture. The Counter-Culture flows in to the Culture (when there is Unity) and flows out of the Culture (when the Father-Aspect and the Son-Aspect begin to disagree).
The ‘Culture’ largely ignores the inner world, and, in so doing, allows the Dream-Body to wither. The ‘Counter-Culture’ largely ignores the outer world – hence, degeneration of the physical world occurs, economic depression being an aspect of this – and focuses on regeneration of the culture’s Dream-Body. Hence, the orthodox ‘Culture’ must focus on re-ordering the external world when it re-ascends to power, because the ‘Counter-Culture’ has allowed the Physical Body to become weak and disordered (the Night has abandoned the physical body).
‘Eternal life’ depends upon the vitalization of both bodies – the Physical Day Body and the Dream Night Body. When Day comes, we inhabit the Physical Form. When Night comes, we inhabit the Dream Body.
Building civilization is a Day activity. Building culture is a Night activity. The Sun is the great builder of Nature during the Day. The Sun, through the vehicle of the Moon, is the great builder (nurturer) of Nature during the Night. The Sun powers the Mind through the brain. The Moon powers the Soul through the heart. The Day is ruled by the Fire of the Sun. The Night is ruled by the Water of the Soul.
Generally speaking, the Republicans are Cowboys, and Democrats are Indians. The Republicans are the male-energy; Democrats are the female-energy. Generally speaking. The most recent manifestation in American politics of the Cowboy spirit began in 1982 with the advent of Ronald Reagan, the ultimate Cowboy Archetype, and ran through 2008. George Bush and John McCain were also manifestations of the Cowboy Nature. Reagan was the Cowboy Archetype re-born after a long retreat, disappearance and germination – the Cowboy again rising at the beginning of a Day Cycle. Bush and McCain were manifestations of the Cowboy Nature at the end of the Day cycle, worn out, defeated, declining.
Obama is a manifestation of the Indian Nature after a long period of Cowboy Rule. Obama is a symbol of the refreshed Indian, as Jimmy Carter was a symbol of the enervated, defeated Indian Nature.
Franklin Roosevelt as a manifestation of the re-born Indian Nature also after a long period of Cowboy Rule (1911-1929).
Abraham Lincoln was a manifestation of the re-born Indian Nature also after a long period of Cowboy Rule (1839-1857).
John Kennedy, very similar to Lincoln, was a manifestation of the re-born Indian Nature after a long period of Cowboy/Businessman Rule (1947-1965). Later we will discuss complications both Kennedy and Lincoln present when looking at our dual historical time-scale.
During the Day Cycles, the polarization tends to be external, the country is united; during the Night Cycles, the polarization tends to be internal, the country is divided.
Democrats nearly always preside over the Darkness in American history, the defeat of the material nature. I write this with some hesitation, understanding that there is some disagreement among historians as to the definition of an economic depression, about where the barrier between a recession and a depression can be drawn; there is also the problem with an historical definition of Democrat and Republican. A Democrat today is much different than a Democrat in Abraham Lincoln’s time (when the ‘Democratic Republicans’ were the ‘Democrats’ of today). I might attempt to illuminate this latter problem by defining ‘Democrat’ as the party that cares more for racial and economic equality and by defining ‘Republican’ as the party that uses Biblical references to justify racial and economic inequality through individual destiny and freedom. In one sense, the Republicans use Old Testament Biblical references to justify racial and economic inequality in the interests of national exceptionalism (a ‘chosen nation’ status as defined by the national monotheistic God); and the Democrats use New Testament references to justify policies of racial and economic equality as penance for sins (ego-inflation) committed during the Day Cycles through an excessive sense of exceptionalism.
In fact, Day-Cycles are manifestations of the Old Testament; and Night-Cycles are manifestations of the New Testament.
The ‘Republicans’ also focus their philosophy on the opportunities for and the freedom of the individual; ‘Democrats’ focus their attention on what is good for the nation as a whole. ‘Republicans’ defend the corporation, which is both an individual entity, and a symbol of ‘bodily’ existence, a noun, a manifestation of ‘I am’ -- the life as the Ego. ‘Democrats’ defend co-operation, a verb, an (moral) activity, a manifestation of the Self and the collective experience.
I am not making moral judgments in this description. The Cowboy responds to an external threat – and to the re-polarization of life that occurs as the Darkness is ending. The Cowboy defends the laws that define the life of the civilization. The Cowboy drives off the criminal darkness, the dangerous storm clouds, which have aggregated during the Night, with real intentions of suffocating the society through violence and revolution.
Reagan ‘saved’ America from the self-hatred of Jimmy Carter, as the Dawn returned and ‘re-incarnation’ was demanded. Re-incarnation, in this sense, happens every day when the human awakens from sleep, and resurrects the ‘personality’ of the Ego which has lost its structure during a night of sleep. (Reincarnation also works on larger scales of manifestation.)
Reagan re-introduced the structure of the American personality after that personality had been crucified during the Darkness of the 1960’s and especially 1970’s.
I believe Jimmy Carter saw himself as a messiah figure, a shadow of Christ (his initials J.C. perhaps helping to illuminate this destiny to him). Jimmy Carter put himself upon the cross in order to pay for American sins of the Indian Wars, slavery, racial discrimination and persecution, inequality in American society, immoral foreign intrusions in Latin America and Asia, most recently in Vietnam.
The Darkness is a time of self-judgment, self-condemnation, as the sins of the Day are visited upon the nation, illuminated in the Soul by the pure light of the Moon. Each incarnation brings more sins the society must face during the Night. That is why the Wheel of Incarnation (Re-Birth) is considered the vehicle of Karmic Debt.
Our Cowboy defends freedom in the world. That is the positive side. But there is a shadow side to this also. Our Cowboy defends freedom in the world so that American corporations can do business in foreign countries, enabling Americans can enjoy a higher standard of living – this often involves the suppression of legitimate political goals of foreign countries and foreign nationals, even to the point of the U.S. injecting marines in foreign countries to ensure the freedom of American corporations to profit from foreign enterprises.
The U.S. military is the ‘muscle’ of American business. Nations who follow the capitalist model – and which allow American business to operate and profit – become our allies. In this we are not so different than most nations of the world, during their expansionary, civilization, empire stage. But there is a moral cost to all this. Karmic debt accrues. Much of the social and moral chaos that occurs during the Dark Phase of the Winter months in a society is caused by the selfish, isolated Ego acting out its survival instincts during the Day. The Soul judges the Body, and condemns the Body as being immoral. Civil War often becomes the result of this Karmic self-judgment. Revolutions are the children of the Night. Religious re-births are also the product of the Night cycle.
The Soul is pure, perfect, because it is the principle of Life, taking the shape of the body that contains it. The Body is not pure or perfect. The Body despises the Soul during the Day for its weakness and ineffectuality. The Soul cannot get things done, and is literally helpless in the practical world. The Soul despises the Body during the Night for its immorality, and its aggressive selfishness, and lack of imagination and spiritual essence.
During the Day, white judges black. During the Night, black judges white.
During the Day, white becomes black with sin. During the Night, black becomes white through an alchemical purification process, by washing itself white in the light of the Moon and through the fire of its own empyrean suffering and ‘emptying’ condition. The soul returns to its source, to its original condition.
Day Energy is hierarchical since it is fighting a real or perceived war against the Darkness in an attempt to live, in an attempt to suppress the Darkness, and create a sanctuary that excludes the darkness. Michael the Archangel is a Christian form of Apollo when he drives the Darkness out of heaven and chains Satan in the underworld. As Spring winds drive away Winter storm clouds, so do the Cowboys drive away Night-world pessimists after re-birth.
Reagan drove away Carter pessimists (self-destructive passive moralists) through the sheer power of his positive energy, after the Democrats had ruled the Darkness in America from 1965 through 1982. The positive energy has to build, has to generate forms.
Of course, there are democratic presidents who rule during the Day phase (Bill Clinton was a recent example of this). And republican presidents also rule during the Night phase (Richard Nixon was an example of this).
I remember a few years ago when my elder brother scoffed -- when recalling Nike’s motto: “Just do it! -- ‘That’s right! Just do it! Don’t think about what you are doing!’ My brother was in the grip of Apollonian reflective, inactive energy. My response was: ‘Just do it! Don’t talk about it!’ I was in the grip of Dionysian energy of will and activity.
Dionysus must act. The external world is his playground. Apollo must think and talk. The world of ideas is his playground.
As I have written earlier, the illusion is that these are two separate entities. Apollo is Dionysus (anti-Apollo) at an earlier stage of his life. Dionysus is Apollo (anti-Dionysus) at both an earlier and a later stage in his life. Human life begins in Apollo, becomes Dionysian, and then re-becomes Apollonian once again. The child is Apollo; the adult is Dionysus; the defeated adult is Apollonian once again.
These three steps relate to the Christian Trinity, and also to the ‘three steps of Vishnu’ in Hindu mythology, and the three aspects of divinity: Brahma, who creates through the mind, Vishnu, who preserves through the body, and Siva, who destroys again through the mind (or Spirit).
So, we have concluded that, indeed, there are cycles in Human Manifestation. Can we measure these historical cycles accurately?
Can we even get historians to agree on when economic depressions occurred in America? I don’t think we can. Part of the problem is distinguishing a ‘recession’, matter approaching a small black hole, from a ‘depression’, matter approaching a large black hole.
I believe the astronomical metaphors are appropriate. Others may find this representation of a metaphorical truth as a physical reality to be troubling. The Day World is ruled by literalism, linear rationality, and causality. The Night World is ruled by metaphor, analogy, and symbolism. In the Day World: ‘This is caused by that’. This is a description of the straight line: Time running from Past through Present to Future, sequentially.
In the Night World: ‘This is related to that. (And everything, indeed, is related.)’ This is a description of the circle, with a network of connecting lines – more like a spider’s web: a matrix, with connections running from all directions. This is a view of simultaneity: all Times (past, present and future) existing in the same container, connected through the graces of…metaphor, analogy, through a kind of optical overlay, with patterns inside of patterns. We will look at this again later.
An economic depression is a large entity, state or systems of states, collapsing in on itself. A black hole is a large astral entity (a massive star) collapsing in on itself. The gravity is so strong in a black hole that no mass falling in to perimeter of its influence can escape the gravity of its downward pull. No amount of matter thrown at the black hole will escape the gravity, the downward pull of the black hole.
What is the white hole, then? A maddening kind of symmetry seems to exist in Nature. A black hole is a region of space from which nothing can escape. A white hole (a time-reversed version of a black hole) is a region of space into which nothing can fall. A black hole can only suck things in; a white hole can only spit things out. The Black Hole is the Force of Night; the White Hole is the Force of Day.
Is it possible, using Time’s symmetry as a model, that a black hole could evaporate into a white hole over time, recycling energy back in to the system through this inner transformation? This model of energy recycling seems to have been very ably anticipated by an age-old Asian glyph that also represents the relationship between Apollo and Dionysus, and between the Solar Day Force with its weakened Lunar Night Force and the Lunar Night Force with its weakened Solar Day Force.
How many depressions has America experienced in the Twentieth Century? We can all agree on one, although historians will argue when it began and when it ended. For argument’s sake, let’s say it started in 1929 and ended in 1947 – many economists, I trust, would accede to this. This may be right or wrong – but we can live with it at the moment.
Ok. We are now experiencing perhaps the second depression in the last 100 years. Did this begin in 2001, with the bursting of the dot com bubble? Or did it begin in 2007, with the breaking of the housing bubble?
For argument’s sake, let’s say 2001 (despite Alan Greenspan’s best intentions).
Recessions? Some historians also claim there was a recession in the U.S. from 1965 – 1983, during the long years of democratic rule, with unemployment rates as high as 9% nationally and an inflation rate of 13.5% in 1980. That sounds like a depression to me. There is no question that America was experiencing a spiritual depression in the 1970’s and early 80’s. America was undergoing an Ego-death Night experience then, with racial riots, unrest generated by an unpopular (many said racist-) war; this period was also distinguished by a huge growth in interest in Asian mysticism, a sign of Night-Cycle inundation.
In my mind, economic recession/depressions/stagflations are not measured by GDP growth and decline, but are ‘spiritual deaths’ in much the same way that economic expansions are national Ego inflations (symbolized by the erect male sexual organ)…the man taking ‘heaven by force’, expanding its influence, realm of law, business-interest imperative. ‘Spiritual deaths’ – using the same metaphor – represent the male imperative in its flaccid state, impotent in the world. It is interesting that the ‘viagra era’ has swept over the entire earth. This is, when seen in its unconscious meaning, an attempt by the masculine Ego-Force to short-circuit the approaching Night through the use of mind/technology and pharmaceutical magic. This won’t work, of course. Nature is very demanding; and Nature wins during the Night-Cycle. I would not be surprised to see use of Viagra be linked to some form of health plague eventually. Sixty-year-old men are not supposed to be sixteen. The fact that sixty-year-old men want to be sixteen says much about the spiritual vacuum in which we live today – the pleasures of life are linked to the sex organs and to the sex organs alone.
Interestingly, if we take the following years as starting points for American recessions/depressions since 1900:
…we find that there are exactly 36 years between the start of each depression. Being an amateur mathematician, I assume that a full cycle (from recession to recession) of 36 years implies a Day cycle of 18 years and a Night cycle of 18 years. Is there that much symmetry in economic history?
Perhaps. (As I have written, reasonable historians can argue about the starting and the ending dates of something as nebulous as a depression, as they can also argue the characteristics and real nature of an economic depression. But, for the sake of argument, let’s proceed.)
1929 - 1947: 18 years
1965 – 1983: 18 years
2001 – 2019: 18 years
If there is truth in these numbers, and there is some kind of sacred discipline involved in historical manifestation, then the following years should have also displayed such peaks and valleys of American economic expansion and contraction.
1713 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1731 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
1749 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1767 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
1785 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1803 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
1821 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1839 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
1857 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1875 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
1893 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1911 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
1929 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1947 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
1965 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 1983 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
2001 Night Cycle Ego Deflation begins – 2019 Day Cycle Ego Inflation begins
Since American history is relatively short, it is difficult to test this hypothesis. However, judging from the century of so existence of the American Stock Exchange (Dow Jones Industrial Average), and using this as a gauge of economic expansion and contraction, it is apparent the stock market did follow the inflation-deflation cycles almost perfectly.
By being in the Dow Jones Industrial Average only during the Ego-Inflation or Day Cycles, one would have amassed profits of more than 1700%, or 41% per year. By being out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average during Ego-Deflation or Night Cycles, one would have missed losses of 51%, or 1.15% per year.
STOCK MARKET RETURNS
1923* DJIA @ 75.23 - 1929 DJIA @ 331.65: EGO INFLATION CYCLE: Positive 400% - 67% per year.
1929 DJIA @ 331.65 - 1947 DJIA @ 175.66: EGO DEFLATION CYCLE: Negative 47% : -3% per year.
1947 DJIA @ 175.66 - 1965 DJIA @ 854.36: EGO INFLATON CYCLE: Positive 386% : +22% per year.
1965 DJIA @ 854.36 - 1983 DJIA @ 1045.07: EGO DEFLATION CYCLE: Positive 22%: +1% per year.
1985 DJIA @ 1045.07 - 2001 DJIA @ 10,604.59: EGO INFLATION CYCLE: Positive 915%: +51% per year
2001** DJIA @ 10,604.59 - 2019: EGO DEFLATION CYCLE (through 2/09 DJIA @ 7850.41): Negative 26%: -3% per year.
* Could not find DJIA prices back to 1911.
** Current deflation from 2001 to February 2009.
Many will argue that this kind of precision in Nature’s manifestations in the Human Kingdom is untrue and even ridiculous, an example of man seeking to impose order on Nature’s chaos. This may be true about everything humanity thinks. That is a separate issue.
Of course, scientists do not argue with the precision shown in Nature’s Time structures (Day, Month, Year, Sidereal Year, Cosmic Year). No one argues with the geometric precision of material structures: a common snowflake (a hexagonal crystal), a water molecule, an ice crystal, or methane. If Nature manifests geometrically, then why would Nature’s Time-Patterns not manifest with geometric precision?
Snowflake crystal Water molecule Ice crystal Methane
Sunspot cycles apparently happen each 11+ years. Each 28+ years Saturn returns to the same place in the heavens. Each 28+ days the Moon makes a complete cycle. Each 365+ days, the Sun makes a complete cycle. Jupiter returns to the same place in the heavens each 12+ years. Solar eclipses come in patterns that lay a lattice of light/shadow on the Earth running north to south or south to north every 18 years and 11 days, called the Saros Cycle. A catalog of Solar Eclipse Saros 127 shows a return of the eclipse in line with our Day-Expansion Night-Contraction cycles: (running from the future back in time, expected or documented) 2055, 2037, 2019, 2001, 1983, 1965, 1947, 1929, 1911, 1893, 1875, 1857, 1839, 1821, 1803, 1785, 1767, 1749, 1731, 1713…
In ancient myth, the wounding of killing of the Sun-Hero or Sun God signaled the decline of the Day and the manifestation of the Night-cycle – in effect, the power of the Sun was eclipsed.
There clearly seems to be order in Nature’s seemingly random manifestations.
The human calendar is a monument to the human understanding of Nature’s repeating patterns.
Ok, so Nature does work in repeating patterns. Even exacting patterns. Take the phenomena of Mautum (bamboo tree death) in Mizoram, a remote state in India. Every 48 years brown rats appear out of no where and destroy the rice fields in the area. This 48 year cycle stretches far back into history. What is the cause of this? The immediate cause is that for 47 years of the cycle there is not enough food in the forest to sustain the indigenous brown rat population. But every 48 years the bamboo forests in this region die; all the bamboo trees linked by an elaborate root structure die together. Each 50 years the bamboo trees flower; after the flowering, 2 years later the Melocanna bamboo drops a massive amount of bamboo fruit on the forest floor. Suddenly the forest has a huge amount of excess fodder. The rat population explodes, overruns the forest and the neighboring fields, destroying crops, leaving the inhabitants without subsistence rice for the year. Starvation ensues. Forty-eight years ago, this phenomenon led to an armed revolt against India, as the people of Mizoram felt their calls for help were ignored by Indian politicians.
So, the death and re-birth of the Melocanna bamboo forests cause the 48 year cycle of brown rat pests. But what causes the 50-year life-cycle of the Melocanna bamboo forests? Scientists have transplanted Melocanno bamboo trees from Southeast Asia half-way around the world, only to find that the South American transplants die at exactly the same moment that their siblings do in Mizoram or Thailand.
But what gives credence to the author’s 18-year cycles of American history? Do these cycles ‘work’? They seem to work with the stock market cycles, in a very imprecise sort of way.
I am no expert on American history. I wish I were. It would make this study much easier for me to complete.
My intent is to look at the perceived importance and stability of numbers (as emanations of God, or God’s thoughts) throughout history and then to attempt a deciphering of America’s very short history in light of these 18-year cycles.
I do remember from my Catholic education, that the history of Jesus Christ had a gap missing between his early education and his latter ministry of 18 years, during which time it is assumed he may have traveled to India to study mystical philosophy (and cycles) with the Hindus.
Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web." - Marcus Aurelius
NUMBERS – AND THE NUMERICAL MANIFESTATION OF HISTORY
(Where Do Numbers Come From? What Do They Mean?)
‘You know, the difference between you and me is that I think
the world Is a circle, and you think the world is a straight line.’
Richard E. Nesbett, quoting a Chinese student: The Geography of
Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently, And Why
Many readers may find this clear, exact numerology embedded in history (indeed, is the law of historical manifestation) impossible to fathom or believe. If this precision were inherent in Nature, why didn’t everyone know about it? Why was it such a mystery?
Of course, scientists do know about the precision of numbers. That’s what allows them to project a rocket into space for thousands of miles and have the rocket land on a dime. We know there is a precision of numbers in the physical world. Why would there not be a similar precision of numbers in the metaphysical world.
Pythagoras, the first great philosopher in classical Western culture, believed in the sacredness of number. To Pythagoras, God was number. Pythagoras claimed: ‘Number is the ruler of forms and ideas, the most ancient and ruling Deity. Number is the canon, the reason, the intellect and the most undeviating balance of the composition and generation of all things.’ According to Pythagoras, Number was the first essence of Nature. Pythagoras claimed that between men and numbers there was a science of correspondence.
Plato later wrote that ‘God is ever geometrizing’. Deity is Number; Number is Deity. Plato taught his students that ‘the Soul is a Number’. He would also write: ‘Geometry is the knowledge of the eternally existent’ – reminding me of what I wrote earlier about symbolic, scriptural, poetic language.
According to Orpheus: ‘the eternal essence of number is the most providential principle in the universe; it is the root of the permanency of divine things, of Gods and daemons.’
Porphyry writes that numerals were ‘hieroglyphic[al] symbols by means of which he taught ideas concerning the nature of things’.
These ideas of Number did not start with the Greek philosophers. The Greeks learned much from the Hindus in India and from the Egyptians. The Hindus had a highly-developed system of numbers and geometric symbolisms. For the Hindus, the universe begins in Darkness, the Unmanifest Unknowable Deity, Unchanging, Primordial Chaos, Zero, the Circle. The Zero transforms itself into One when the universe manifests, when the Night phase transforms into the Day phase. At the basis of all existence lies the binary system of zero and 1.
As the alarm clock of Manvantara (Day-Phase Activity) sounds, Deity transforms itself into 1, the Unity, the contained Universe, the Circle with a central point. This Deity then divides itself into 2 parts, the Duality, Light and Darkness, Day and Night, Activity and Rest, a Circle with a central diameter. Deity then manifests as the 3, the Mediating Middle Principle, Life, the Synthesis mediating the opposites, the Thesis and the Antithesis. The 3 then reflects itself below, creating the 4, the Sacred Square – or the Cube when taking on dimensionality – upon which model the entire universe is created. This Builder’s Square, of course, is again composed of a duality: two triangles offset as reflections.
The Hindus built an elaborate chronological exegesis based on the first four numbers of their cosmology: 4320, which acted as a numerical foundation-stone in Indian philosophy. The Hindus divided the duration of their four seasons (or Yugas) of Spring (Golden Age) Krita Yuga, Summer (Silver Age) Treta Yuga, Autumn (Bronze Age) Dwapara Yuga, and Winter (Iron Age) Kali Yuga into different lengths, their sum being 4,320,000 moral years.
360 days of mortals make a year 1
Krita Yuga contains 1,728,000
Treta Yuga contains 1,296,000
Dwapara Yuga contains 864,000
Kali Yuga contains 432,000
The total of the said four Yugas constitute a
Maha Yuga 4,320,000
432,000 x 2 = 864,000.
432,000 x 3 = 1,296,000
432,000 x 4 = 1,728,000
The 4320 is truly the (smallest) building block of these time phases (432,000), and also the sum of the whole (4,320,000), both microcosm and macrocosm.
Interestingly, if one adds these ‘building block’ digits together, one arrives at one of the primary ‘building block numbers’ of time. 4 + 3 + 2 + 0 = 9.
Our 18 and 36 year cycles of American economic inflations and deflations are numbers that are, of course, divisible by 9.
Many ‘rationalists’ will dismiss this type of analysis as mystical hocus-pocus. The mathematician, however, will recognize immediately that these ‘magic numbers’ (magic years) are all ‘elements’ of the circle with its 360°.
One will notice quite quickly that the above Yuga numbers break down into interesting component sums:
4 + 3 + 2 + 0 = 9
8 + 6 + 4 = 18
1 + 2 + 9 + 6 = 18
1 + 7 + 2 + 8 = 18
Christian mystics assigned the Number 7 to the Virgin Mary since its was the only number among the numbers of the sacred dekad that could not divide the 360° of the circle as a whole number. The number 7 was ‘not touched’ by the world.
Deity, in every culture, has been represented by the circle, an emblem of unity and totality. Deity is the Being inside of which/whom we have our being. Deity is the bubble, the universe, inside of which we have our life. It is a leap, but not an unreasonable leap, to comprehend that each human soul or being is a cell in God’s Body – i.e., a circle inside a larger circle. Of course, we cannot know the being within whom we are living anymore than the cell in our own body can comprehend us, the totality, they help compose and animate.
This universe, of course, may be only a cell in a larger being. And this process may repeat for ever, smaller circles composing larger circles, and larger circles composing smaller circles, running for ever in both directions. Maybe for ever; maybe not forever.
Clearly, humanity can perceive larger circles than itself: the family is a larger circle, the town is a larger circle, the county is a larger circle, the state or district is a larger circle, the nation is a larger circle, the continent is a larger circle, the hemisphere is a larger circle, the planet is a larger circle, the solar system is a larger circle, the universe is a larger circle.
Humanity can also perceive smaller circles: the human organism is composed of cells, which is composed of molecules, which are composed of atoms, which are composed of a sub-atomic reality science does not fully understand at present.
Perhaps there are foundation stones on each end which cannot be split. This is possible. Poles which create a real boundary, inside of which lives or souls ascend and descend --Jacob’s Ladder seems to be the most common metaphor of this movement between poles. Jacob’s Ladder seems, in a metaphoric sense at least, very much like the chromosomal tree of life which informs all living matter.
Humanity can look through a telescope to see the larger circles of life; humanity can look through a microscope to see the smaller circles of life. This makes it appear that humanity is somehow in the middle between the two poles. This may or may not be true.
Jewish mythology represents Jehovah (Jod, the masculine, and Hovah, the feminine) – the duality instead of the unity – that is, the Creative God, the second manifestation of Deity, or Elohim -- as the ratio of the circumference of the circle to the diameter, or mathematically, Pi, 3.1415.
The circle is the bubble environment inside of which the Day-Phase activity takes place, the empty atom of Ego existence, which seems full, until the bubble breaks, and the Day-Phase inflation ends, and contraction or deflation begins.
ALHIM, Elohim, has the following symbolic numerical correspondence:
(A) = 1
(L) = 3
(H) = 5
(I) = 10 or 1
(M) = 40 or 4 =
13514, which, by transmutation, becomes 3.1415, or Pi. (In Jewish Gematria, or number symbolism, numerals and letters in a system can be re-ordered and read in different patterns as a way of metaphorically linking similar ideas or phenomena.)
Adding the numbers together (1 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 4) equals 14, which relates this to the Hebrew words for ‘gold’, ‘love’, ‘hand’, ‘garment’, ‘beginning’, ‘Beloved’, ‘David’, ‘valley’, ‘enough’, and ‘afraid’. (Interestingly, in the context of this book, the Hebrew word for ‘love’ is ‘ahab, which connects us back to our theme of megalomaniac light/darkness and Melville’s prophecy concerning the destiny of America.)
Reading the above number (13514) geometrically, we have a point, a triangle, a pentagram, a point, and a square. The 354 of this number-glyph describes the number of days there are in a lunar year, connecting Jehovah as Elohim to the Lunar or Night-Phase of the cycle.
It is during the Night, after the deflation, that God visits the Soul and offers the covenant of Life, the contract of physical re-birth.
Jehovah (Yah – Father, He – Mother, Vau – Son, He – Daughter) also corresponds to Saturn. Hence, the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday, Saturn’s Day. And the Sabbath is the 7th and last Day of Creation, at which time all activity ceases…the perfection of creation is reached…and the bubble of Day-Activity is popped. This is the point at which Humanity must once again face its creator and be judged.
Saturn is known as Father Time, the Great Harvester, the Father Who Eats His Own Children. Saturn presides over the end of the world, the deflation of the Day-world back to the Nothingness of Night, back to God, or to Zero, formlessness (pre-atomic bodilessness).
Jehovah-Saturn is the God who both gives and takes away – that is, gives when He blows the bubble and creates Time-Space as we know it – the Day Cycle -- and takes away when He pops the bubble and brings about the Darkness of the naked soul standing before Eternity without a shell or a body and with no where to hide.
Saturn, the planet, returns to the same position relative to the Earth (approximately) every 28 years. Because the Moon’s cycle is (approximately) 28 days, Saturn is considered intimately connected to the Lunar Cycle; Saturn was always considered a Lunar God, governing the advent of both the Day and Night Cycles.
Significantly, Tetragrammaton, IHVH, the symbolic glyph for Jehovah-Saturn, has the corresponding numerical values:
I + H: 15
I + H + V: 21
I+ H + V + H: 26
4-fold components of 72:
As should be readily apparent, ancient religious thought and numbers have always had an intimate connection.
The great Chinese philosophical system, The Book of Changes – I Ching – also indicates the importance of the number 9 and its building-block qualities (especially in its form of 9 x 4 = 72). W, K. Chu and W.A. Sherrill translate and comment upon the ‘Ho Map Lo Map Rational Number Manuscript’ in their books The Astrology of the I Ching:
Daily Calculation Cycles
The several aspects of the yearly hexagram control the daily cycles for the entire year. These are closely associated with the five elements: water, wood, fire, metal and earth. Each of these five elements is considered dominant for about 72 days each year, with the exception of the earth, which is given as the principal influence for 77 days a year…
Earth is believed to interact with the other elements at all times, and to come into dominance over its associated element during the last stages before each of the solstices and equinoxes. In calculating the length of time between seasons, it is found that, between the autumnal and the vernal equinox, the number of days is more or less exactly 180 days, whereas between the vernal and the autumnal equinox are 185 days plus. With this astrology being largely based on the influences of the sun and the earth, the extra days beyond 360 (5 elements multiplied by 72 day) are considered to be under the dominance fo the element earth. Hence, as will be seen subsequently, the hexagrams representing the element earth will influence these extra days. Compensation is thereby made for the fact that the winter solstice varies in its time of commencement during the appropriate days.
In connection with the foregoing, when one is analyzing any particular day one should also examine the preceding and succeeding days, as the cycles are not precisely defined as to where one begins and another ends, but, rather, represent a continuum of change.
An astrological year (beginning with the winter solstice) is cominated by the five elements approximately as follows:
(a) Water 72 days
(b) Earth 18 days
(c) Wood 72 days
(d) Earth 20 days
(e) Fire 72 days
(f) Earth 21 days
(g) Metal 72 days
(h) Earth 18 days
Seventy-two days (72) is the length of time it takes for a hexagram to change to its opposite and then return to its original state, allowing each line to be the controlling line for a day. The days start at the bottom line and move upwards. Thus each hexagram controls a six-day period, before changing into the next hexagram (the changes entering at the bottom and continuing to the top) when another six-day cycle takes place. A hexagram goes through its complete cycle of evolution in seventy-two stages, during which the controlling element (water, wood, fire or metal) goes through its seventy-two day cycle and exerts its controlling influence for that period of time, according to its stage of evolution on any given day.
The Heavenly Ideal of the Circle apparently translates to the moving earth as a 365-day orbit, not the 360 day orbit an Ideal Geometer might expect. Apparently the Earth is not traveling fast enough. If it were traveling at 30.23379 kilometers per second, then there would be 360 days in the year; instead it is traveling 29.79 kilometers per second. This difference is about 20 minutes per day. It seems that the Earth is a bit overweight.
I guess this is just one of the many imperfections on Earth. (Afterall, Heaven is the plane of perfection and perfect archetypes; Earth the plane of imperfect approximations of the archetypes. An architect’s blueprints may be perfect but this apparently does not mean that the building will be perfect.)
Joseph E. Mason, in his article ‘The Cycle of Time Number 432’ quotes mythologist Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Inner Reaches of Outer Space’ in which Campbell draws a comparison between the Babylonian and the Jewish Flood Myths (Genesis). Campbell shows that the ten kings living in Babylon from creation to the time of the flood lived a total of 432,000 years.
Sumerian King List
King City Year
Aloros Babylon 36,000 (3 + 6 = 9)
Alaparos Unknown 10,800 (1 + 8 = 9; 10 + 8 = 18)
Amelon Pautibiblon 46,800 (4 + 6 + 8 = 18)
Ammenon Pautibiblon 43,200 (4 + 3 + 2 = 9)
Amegalaros Pautibiblon 64,800 (6 + 4 + 8 = 18)
Daonos Pautibiblon 36,000 (3 + 6 = 9)
Euedorachos Pautibiblon 64,800 (6 + 4 + 8 = 18)
Amempsinos Laragchos 36,000 (3 + 6 = 9)
Otiartes Laragchos 28,800 (2 + 8 + 8 = 18)
Xisouthros Unknown 64,800 (6 + 4 + 8 = 18)
Total years = 432,000 (4 + 3 + 2 = 9)
The Babylonians viewed a natural division of time and space (360°) from units of both 6 and 10, the hexi-decimal system.
In the Book of Genesis, there are also 10 Patriarchs between Adam and Noah (the Flood). These also each live many years. Noah was 600 years old when his Ark landed on Mount Ararat.
Dates in Genesis
Adam (Gen 5:3-5) 130
Seth (Gen 5:6-8) 105
Enosh (Gen 5:911) 90
Kenon (Gen 5:12-14) 70
Mahalalel (Gen 5:15-17) 65
Jared (Gen 5:18-20) 162
Enoch (Gen 5:21-24) 65
Methuselah (Gen 5:25-27) 187
Lamech (Gen 5:28-31) 182
Noah (Gen 7:6) 600
Total years until Flood = 1,656 (1 + 6 + 5 + 6 = 18)
These 1656 years, multiplied by Jehovah’s gematrial number, 26, (Jod = 10; He = 5; Vau = 16; He = 5) is 43,200. Also 1656 years equals 86,400 weeks, which, when halved, equals 43,200.
Joseph Campbell also points out that in the Viking Eddas, on the Day of Ragnarok, the ‘Twilight of the Gods’, 800 divine warriors appeared out of the 540 Doors of Valhalla. 800 x 540 = 432,000.
The Rig Veda, the most ancient of Vedic texts in India, is composed in 10,800 stanzas. Each stanza is composed of 40 syllables. This means that the entire composition contains 432,000 syllables.
Where does this number 4320 come from in Nature? From astronomy, which was linked with astrology in ancient cultures, since ancient societies did not rigidly separate external (measurable) and internal worlds. As above, so below. As within, so without. The inner and the outer worlds were reflections of each other.
The earth wobbles 1° every 72 years. This wobble is caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon about the equator. This causes the precession of the equinoxes, the slow retrograde, or westward motion of equinoctial points along the ecliptic and the resulting earlier occurrence of equinoxes in each successive sidereal year. The ecliptic is the great circle on the celestial sphere representing the sun’s apparent path during the year. The ecliptic gets its name from the fact that lunar and solar eclipses can occur only when the moon crosses this line.
If the earth wobbles 1° every 72 years, how much does it wobble in 360 years, the full cycle of the circle? 72 x 360 = 25,920 years. This is the Great Year, called by some a Platonic Year. 25,920 years divided in to 12 constellations (analogically comparable to our months on earth) = 2,160 years.
(Incidentally, adding this number internally, 2 + 1 + 6 + 0 = 9, the same as magic number 4320.)
25,920 years divided by 6 = 4320.
Of course, 360° times 12 also equals 4320.
Ancient astronomers reasoned that it took 2,160 years for the Sun to pass through each constellation in the sky during this 25,920 years of the Platonic Year. By back-dating Time, they concluded the division of solar years spent in each zodiacal sign and devised the myth of the Solar Hero passing through 12 houses each Platonic Year cycle:
Sun Sign Eras
Leo (Lion) 10,800 - 8,640 BC (10 + 8 = 18) (8 + 6 + 4 = 18)
Cancer (Crab) 8,640 - 6,480 BC (8 + 6 + 4 = 18) (6 + 4 + 8 = 18)
Gemini (Twins) 6,480 - 4,320 BC (6 + 4 + 8 = 18) (4 + 3 + 2 = 9)
Taurus (Bull) 4,320 - 2,160 BC (4 + 3 + 2 = 9) (2 + 1 + 6 = 9)
Aries (Ram) 2,160 BC – 0 (2 + 1 + 6 = 9)…
Pisces (Fish) 0 - 2,160 AD
Aquarius (Water jug) 2,160 - 4,320 AD
Capricorn (Goat) 4,320 – 6,480 AD
Sagittarius (Archer) 6,480 – 8,640 AD
Scorpio (Scorpion) 8,640 – 10,800 AD
The much-discussed Aquarian Age, which will begin in 2160 AD, is part of a mathematical division of the circle and observations of astronomers viewing the sun’s passage through the heavens from the perspective of the earth. Whether there is any ‘truth’ to this mythological view of the Solar Journey is a much different issue than it being superstitious nonsense. It is based on a form of reason and on mathematics, seen through the metaphorical lens I mentioned as being the ‘logic’ of the Night Cycle, as opposed to the causal lens which views Day Cycle phenomenon.
Astrology is built upon an illusion, the illusion that the Sun travels through ‘houses’ of the zodiac. This illusion only seems true from the perspective of the Earth. However, this does not negate the value of the metaphorical truth of the zodiac, which is, afterall, a record of the human journey on earth through life stages contained within the eternal circle of birth – maturity – decay – death. If this journey is told in a metaphorical or symbolic language then one must understand that symbolic language to be able to comprehend the true meaning of the story. This language describes the journey through the Night, when the body has been lost. The Night is the Sea of the Unconscious. It is the world upon which Noah travels (Ahab too) when darkness has fallen upon the world.
The Zodiac is actually the description of a human life system on Earth (physical, psychological, and spiritual) that is projected through the Sun (the symbol of the Soul) into the heavens. The illusion is that the Sun ‘moves’ through these astrological houses in the heavens. That does not, however, render the symbolic description of stages and joys and conflicts of human life on earth invalid. The ancients studied themselves, their own transformations and trials in life – and ascribed these same episodes and logics to the Sun (the Oversoul) as a metaphorical allusion, linking Heaven and Earth.
In the previously-mentioned Rig-Veda: ‘The 12-spoked wheel (of time) in which the 720 sons of Agni are established…’ 12 x 720 = 8640. Which is our 4320 multiplied by 2; and which appears prominently in the division of the Sun Seasons above.
The Mayan ‘long count’ is also based upon similar heavenly observation. 1 Tun = 360 days; 1 Katun = 7,200 days (360 x 20); and 15 Katuns = 2,160,000 (6000 x 360) days. Their great cycle was believed to last for 13 Baktuns or 1,872,000 (5200 x 360). It is the present Baktun which is set to end on 22 December 2012. Many people are convinced that the world will actually end in 2012.
Interestingly, from our earlier example, showing that 7 is the only number in the dekad that does not divide the circle evenly (360° divided by 7 = 51.4285): Matthew 1:17 states that there were 42 generations (3 groups of 14) from Abraham to Christ. From Abraham to Jesus Christ is a total of 2,160 years. If you divide 2,160 by 42 you get 51.4 years as being the time signifying a generation.
Luis Miguel Goitizolo, in his book The Wheel of Time writes:
Now, in connection with these two key numbers, 72 and 25,920, there are extremely suggestive coincidences that evidence a perfect correspondence between the life of man, the ‘microcosm,’ and that of our universe, or ‘macrocosm.’
For one thing, 72 corresponds to the average number of beats of the human heart in a minute, and a quarter of 72, or 18, to the human breathings in the same period, so that in one day a man will have breathed 18 x 60 x 24 = 25,920 times.
On the other hand, after 72 years, which is the average length of life of man at present, a man will have lived a total 25,920 days (assuming an ideal year of 360 days), while the Earth’s axis will have barely traveled a degree of the equinoctial circle of 360 degrees or 25,920 common years. In other words: from a cosmic view, man’s life lasts only one day.
The number 72 appears frequently in connection with cosmic cycles. For example, it appears in the Chinese magical square and corresponded, in the Far–Eastern tradition, to the division of the year in five parts (5 x 72 = 360), out of which three (3 x 72 = 216) were “Yang” or masculine, and two (2 x 72 = 144) “Yin” or feminine.
I will mention, in passing, that this division of the year was also used by the ancient Incas. Among the ancient Egyptians, in turn, 72 are the plotters who stand by Seth in his scheme to kill Osiris. Again, remember that 72 were the disciples of Jesus (12 apostles and 72 disciples), 72 the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin and, in the Middle Ages, the articles of the Rule of the Order of the Temple were also 72.
So, the ancient Babylonians, Mayans, Egyptians, Chinese, Indians, Greeks, and Jews generated philosophers and philosophies that calibrated philosophical truths -- and their historical shadows -- on the basis of geometric archetypes. It is also interesting to note that the Chinese division of the year into 5 parts, 3 Yang and 2 Yin all add up, through internal addition, to 9. (3 + 6 + 0 = 9; 2 + 1 + 6 = 9; 1 + 4 + 4 = 9.)
Let’s complete the Hindu cosmology:
360 days of mortals make a year 1
Krita Yuga contains 1,728,000
Treta Yuga contains 1,296,000
Dwapara Yuga contains 864,000
Kali Yuga contains 432,000
The total of the said four Yugas constitute a
Maha Yuga 4,320,000
Seventy-one of such Maha-Yugas form the
period of the reign of one Manu 306,720,000
The reign of 14 Manus embraces the duration
of 994 Maha-Yugas, which is equal to 4,294,080,000
Add Sandhis, i.e., intervals between the reign
of each Manu, which amount to six
Maha-Yugas, equal to 25,920,000
The total of these reigns and interregnums of
14 Manus, is 1,000 Maha-Yugas, which
constitute a Kalpa, i.e., one day of Brahma 4,320,000,000
As Brahma's Night is of equal duration, one Day
and Night of Brahma would contain 8,640,000,000
360 of such days and nights make one year of
Brahma make 3,110,400,000,000
100 such years constitute the whole period of
Brahma's age, i.e., Maha-Kalpa 311,040,000,000,000.
All of these numbers are divisible by 9. Cycles of 9, 18, 36 and 72 years are all part of the smaller cycles manifesting as history.
Luis Goitizolo writes about this 311 trillion number of duration:
The immensely vast length of 311,040,000,000,000 common years that the texts implicitly assign to the great cycle of cosmic manifestation, accommodates indeed comfortably the 15 billions of years estimated by modern physics as the age of the universe; and even if such length were deemed exaggerate – say it was a thousand times lesser, i.e. the actual figure was only 311,040,000,000 years, which is certainly not impossible if we stick to the foregoing considerations – even so the 15 billions of years would fit comfortably within that period. At any rate, it would mean that our universe is still very young and that we are now, within the immense cycle of universal manifestation, virtually at the beginning of an expansion period.
And indeed, it is amazing that it took literally millennia for the modern scientific circles to again conceive this ancient notion of a universe that “breathes,” i.e. a universe that has two phases, one in which it expands and the other in which it contracts; two phases which, by virtue of the correspondences to which cycles of any order of magnitude are subject, can be respectively assimilated to a Brahma’s Day and its corresponding Night…both phases of what the Hindus call (one) Manvantara.
The Greeks gave a different perspective to this same cosmic cycle number: 311,040,000,000,000. In Greek Gematria (number/alphabet symbolism), ‘Pythagoras’ = 864. Of course, 864 is implicit in and very apparent the Hindu system also. 432 x 2 = 864.
If we multiply 24 (hours in the day) times 60 (minutes in an hour) times 60 (seconds in a minute) we get 86,400 (seconds in a day). So this number has rather deep roots – and is not simply pulled, like a rabbit, out of a hat.
In terms of astronomical science, 864,000 is also the calculated diameter of the Sun in miles.
Along these same lines, the calculated diameter of the Moon is 2160 miles.
8640 (the Sun) is our magic 4320 number doubled.
2160 (the Moon) is our magic 4320 number halved.
Again, in our ‘Sun Sign Eras’ we see these numbers being repeated rather significantly:
Sun Sign Eras
Virgo (Virgin) 12,960 – 10,800 BC
Leo (Lion) 10,800 - 8,640 BC
Cancer (Crab) 8,640 - 6,480 BC
Gemini (Twins) 6,480 - 4,320 BC
Taurus (Bull) 4,320 - 2,160 BC
Aries (Ram) 2,160 BC - 0
Pisces (Fish) 0 - 2,160 AD
Aquarius (Water Jug) 2,160 - 4,320 AD
Capricorn (Goat) 4,320 – 6,480 AD
Sagittarius (Archer) 6,480 – 8,640 AD
Scorpio (Scorpion) 8640 – 12960 AD
Interestingly, the diameter of the planet of Mars is 4320 miles.
We will look at all the planets in our solar system and their relation to the Ideal Circle later in this book.
In Greek mathematics, the two sacred forms were the Circle, the female principle, and the tetraktys, the male principle (the Triangle composed of 10 dots). Multiply “Pythagoras” (846) x the Circle (360°) x the Tetraktys (10) and you get 3,110,400. Adding additional zeroes will get us to the magic Hindu cosmology number.
Taking the original gematria number for ‘Pythagoras’, 864 and adding this to 864 multiplied by the Circle (360°), gives us 311,040. Then multiplying 311,040 by the Tetraktys (10, with an additional 0 added, or 100), gives us 31,104,000. Adding all three numbers together equals:
31,104,000 = 31,415,904. When we then move the decimal point 7 spaces (the perfect, indivisible number), we get 3.1415904 – which brings us back to the idea of pi, the relationship of the circumference of the circle to the diameter.
In terms of sexual symbolism, the Circle is the Womb (or Zero), the Diameter in the Circle is the Male Unit (number One -- the 1 inside the zero, or 10 the number of completion, male and female unified), which diameter divides the Circle in half, indicating polarity, or the Day-Cycle. Pictorially, the Male Principle starts at one point on the circle and draws a diameter to the other side of the circle: when he hits the other side of the circle, the Day ends. It is tantamount to having an orgasm. When the digit is rigid, it enters the womb; after orgasm it disappears; then the circle re-absorbs the male element for a period of rest, or pralaya. The womb is impregnated; 9 months later the world is re-born.
Of course, when the reader asks ‘What has this to do with the author’s major concept of cycles being of 18-years?’ I would reply that the Day-Cycle of the Male Principle dividing the Circle in half (with his Diameter) = 180° of the complete Circle 360°. The Day-Cycle is 18(0)°, the Night-Cycle is 18(0)° and, together, they make up the 36(0)° of a completed cycle.
God breathes spirit or energy into matter, creating the bubble that is and becomes physical existence (the physical, emotional, mental trinitary unit). God extracts energy from matter, breathing in, collapsing the bubble; and light vanishes. Light that is trapped in the bubble evaporates. Matter transitions into dark background matter. Background matter comes to the foreground in material form; and material form then recedes back into this background source radiation.
The Hindus call the Night of Brahma ‘Pralaya’. Pralaya is the period between two incarnations, two periods of activity, two Day-Cycles. In A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, Alice Bailey writes: ‘From the point of view of any unit involved, a pralaya is a period of quiescence, of cessation from a particular type of activity, involving objectivity; yet, from the point of view of the great whole with which the unit may be involved, a pralaya may be considered merely as a transference of force from one direction into another. Though the unit may be temporarily devitalized, as regards its form, yet the greater Entity persists, and is still active.’
A metaphor for this process of ‘a transference of force from one direction into another’ is provided by electricity. Electricity changes direction. Electricity flows from negative to positive during the Day Cycle; electricity flows from positive to negative during the Day Cycle. It is not possible to eliminate either part of this circuit (circle) without eliminating the phenomena of electricity entirely.
‘Though the unit (number 1) may be temporarily devitalized’ – the male organ, the Straight Line, the Diameter – ‘the greater Entity persists, and is still active’ – the female organ, the Circle.
Day activity ceases; form-building ceases; forms disappear as light disappears; human forms can no longer see the large world outside, and are forced to turn their vision inside, to their home, their family, their cave. They sleep. They become active in their dream body. They experience quiescence. They experience rest.
When the human wakes up the next morning, humans begin form-building again, picking up where they left off at the end of the previous day. Day-Time never goes backward. Night-Time is not the same as and does not comprehend Day-Time. Night-Time dissolves Day-Time; and, then, ineluctably, resurrects Day-Time. Day-Time feeds the Dream-Time; and Dream-Time feeds the Day-Time.
This is not a warm, fuzzy process, of course, where all oppositions are worked out amicably and without pain.
The Day and the Night are enemies; and their ‘combination’ at Dawn and Dusk can produce the monstrous. The Day is Christianity; the Night is Islam. The Day is Capitalism; the Night is Communism. The Day is Tammuz, who gets eaten by a wild boar (the Night). (Attis and Adonis, also Sun Heroes, both fall from power at the Summer Solstice and get eaten by a wild boar). Set, the Egyptian Dionysius, is out hunting wild boar when he finds the body of Osiris (his brother, the Sun Hero, the Egyptian Apollo), whose body he then tears into 14 pieces and scatters across the land.
Why a wild boar? In Babylonia, the month of Haziran (June) derived from the Chaldean word ‘Hazir’ or ‘Hazira’, which also signified porcus or hog. Interestingly, Temmuz was the Babylonian word for the month of July.
In all ancient mythology we see an esoteric reference to Time and to Time’s cyclical structures – an archetypal structure or blueprint that exists on many different, alternating, and overlapping scales.
The Chinese believe in constant change, but with things always moving back to
some prior state. They pay attention to a wide range of events; they search for
relationships between things; and they think you cannot understand the part without
understanding the whole. Westerners live in a simple, more deterministic world;
they focus on salient objects or people instead of the larger picture; and they think
they can control events because they know the rules that govern the behavior of objects.
Richard E. Nesbett: The Geography of Thought:
How Asians and Westerners Think Differently, And Why
TIME CYCLES IN HISTORY
(Looking at the Prototype in Microcosm)
A hero is devoured by a water-monster in the West… The
animal travels with him (inside) to the East… Meanwhile
the hero lights a fire in the belly of the monster…and, feeling
hungry, cuts himself a piece of the heart. Soon, afterwards, he
notices that the fish has glided on to dry land; he immediately
begins to cut open the animal from within; then he slips out.
It was so hot in the fish’s belly that all his hair has fallen out.
The hero may, at the same time, free all those who were
previously devoured by the monster.
-- Frobenius, Das Zeitalter des Sonnengottes
The academic study of Western History has an implicit (agreed-upon) Time structure currently in place although current usage probably is more habitual than enlightening today in terms of both structure complexity and complicity. Terms such as ‘middle ages’, ‘renaissance’, and ‘dark ages’ refer to times of the day and seasons of the year – although current usage rarely, if ever, translates these descriptions as elements in a time-centered historical metaphysic.
In my interpretation of these terms, the Dark Ages are the Nights or the Winter season in Western Civilization, times during which the ‘light of civilization’ has vanished. The Dark Ages in Western History began essentially with the gothic destruction of Rome as the capital and symbol of Western Civilization, the world-city 2000 years ago. The Dark Ages rule for approximately 1,000 years, from the fall of Rome until the rise of the Renaissance city states of northern Italy (Florence, Siena, Venice).
The Renaissance is nested within the Middle Ages (Medieval period) – the Middle Ages is often connected by historians with the Dark Ages, which, in my mind, is erroneous -- the Middle Ages being, as a Time location, Dawn or Spring, and the historical reflection of the Middle Principle I discussed earlier in Chapter One. The Middle Ages are the Dawn, in one aspect (light rising out of darkness), wherein the forces of Light and Darkness are balanced in terms of strength, where the world-view unites the opposites, unites, for example, the Religious and the Scientific perspective. There two principles are ‘united’ in certain individuals – but they are also locked in deadly battle. If one views nature, Spring is the season of a ferocious battle between the new idea (in this case, Reason rising) and the old idea, the darkness (in this case Religion falling).
The human race, from here, will move in to the Age of Reason, or the glorification of the human intellect – leaving behind the ‘mystery’ of nature, the darkness of the clouded female mystery, taking this development to the pathological stage (repression and ridicule of the ‘mystery of nature’ as insane or superstitious) at Noon, precedent to man’s fall.
‘Renaissance Men’, the great artists/scientists of the Medieval era, are symbols of the complete man, uniting Light and Darkness, Male and Female, Reason and Dream, Mathematics and Art or Poetry. In historical manifestation, this temporary balance is lost. During the deep part of the Day Cycle, Science, Technics, the Male Mind, dominates; and during the deep part of the Night Cycle, Religion, Poetry, the Female Mind, dominates.
In my system, there are two Middle Age periods: the Dawn and the Dusk. At the Dawn, the Artist joins the side of Science, rational enlightenment (the light of the object), man, humanism, city-building, drawing away from the Religious world-view. At Dawn, the Artist is supported by the rich classes. At Dawn, the Renaissance Man supports the rich classes, supports the building of the city, supports the separation of the light and the dark. (City-building, raising the edifice, the monument of civilization, is a symbol of the male erection, raised up out of dormancy, a magic wand by which Nature becomes fecund, prosperous, matter filled with light.)
At the Dusk, the Artist essentially re-joins the side of Religion, mysticism, Nature, turning his back on the city as a den of iniquity, turning away from Science (which now seems sterile), turning away from Materialism (which now seems empty), turning away from the abstract Father and back toward the Natural Mother. At Dusk, the Artist is hated by the rich, and hates the rich in return. The hero at Dawn becomes the Anti-Hero at Dusk, the Revolutionary. The Angel of Creation at Dawn becomes the Daemon of Destruction at Dusk, enemy of the existing power structure. The religion that the Romantic Anti-Hero (as Prophet) joins is not the orthodox old religion of the establishment that he has created (under an earlier persona, guise, or mask), but the mystical dark religion of Death, the kabbalistic hidden magic religion of depth, the Wisdom Religion. Sterile orthodox literal religion cannot engender re-birth of the soul. It oversees the death of the soul, freezing the soul with reason. It is only the Living God, found on the mountain in darkness, which can resurrect the soul to a new life.
We remember that the ‘romantic’ idealizes and moves toward an Ideal through the power of love, away from a corrupted ideal which he no longer trusts or values. The Spring-Time Renaissance-Man’s love for the Earth in her virginal spring flowers and pure scents becomes, in Autumn, the Romantic-Man’s rejection of a corrupt Earth, in her colorful fallen leaves and fully-born fruits and bounty, an Earth used-up, in a sense, past her youth. As beautiful as the New Earth was to the Renaissance Man of Spring, the Old Earth is a corrupt and as disturbing to the Romantic Man of Autumn – and he looks to a new woman for inspiration, the Moon, the White Woman, for a love that is not Earthy, for a love that is emotional and spiritual and less material.
The De-Naissance Man of Dusk is, at one stage, a romantic anti-religious revolutionary, a Marxist. As he goes deeper into his solitude, he will leave behind this secular rebellion (which is a final form of materialism) and re-enter the water element and experience what Oswald Spengler calls the ‘second religion’, a re-birth of wonder at life’s richness (found in deprivation, darkness, and a re-discovery of primitive Nature, and his Non-Self), a personal reawakening of the genuine religious experience.
In Hinduism, Vishnu takes three steps across the universe. There are many meanings to this three steps Vishnu takes. One meaning is the description of human life as (1) Religious Life, in which the human believes in God as he is told to do by his parents (this is the childhood of the man); (2) Anti-Religious Life, in which the man rebels against the instructions of his parents, individualizes, resists the common perceptions (this is the adolescence of the man); and (3) the Second Religious Life, in which a man synthesizes the oppositions (establishment and anti-establishment, culture and counter-culture), and sees God with his mind and heart fused – seeing God’s Mind through Nature’s Laws -- as he saw God in the first stage only with his heart, only with his faith.
The loci of the Dawn is in mercantile City-States, rising up out of Nature’s dark water. The loci of the Noon is urban, the city, the megalopolis. The loci of the Dusk is the academic City-States (university towns), where the ‘back to nature movements’ are born and bred, and where the Counter-Culture thrives. The loci of Midnight is the Earth, the soil, the land, where the roots are found; where Gothic nature builds great monumental churches to God, a philosophy, a theology, written in stone.
It is possible for a man to feel gigantic in the City. It is not possible for a man to feel gigantic in Nature.
The Renaissance Artist symbolizes the Dawn, the growth of Culture. Julius Caesar and the Roman Legions symbolize the Noon-Time, with its Neo-Classicism. The Romantic Artist symbolizes the Dusk, the growth of the Counter-Culture (the decay of Culture), and with its two paths, Marxist rebellion and Mystical Death and regeneration. Both of these paths romanticize martyrdom. Jesus Christ and his Gnostic and then his Gothic followers symbolize the time of Midnight, with its Mysticism. The Renaissance Man marries Religion, Science, and Art. The Romantic Man divorces Science from Religion and Religion from Art and marries himself to the poor, generating Democracy, first, then a more totalitarian proletariat government, then a rejection of life entirely and an embrace of death with leads to either suicide or spiritual rebirth.
Theocracy is born at Midnight, with the rebirth of the Religious Idea. The Aristocracy appears, first, as the military arm of the Church. But, over time, the Aristocracy grows weary of the tyranny of the Priesthood. The Aristocracy rebels against the Church, creating a feudalistic Spring Season in human culture. The Romantic Aristocracy rebels against the Renaissance Aristocracy, bringing a republican Summer Season to human culture (Dionysus kills Apollo; Tammuz is gored by the bull in June). It is this Summer-to-Autumn season that sees the creative fruition of the human plant in the form of individual talent on its largest scale (in the form of freedom and equality, symbolized by the astrological sign of Libra). We will note that Dawn and the Dusk are times of great artistic and philosophical ferment. In the Democratic Era, the greatest human freedom occurs – and this corresponds to the harvest season, the culmination of the seed of human culture planted back during the darkness.
The Romantic, leading the Middle Class, rebels against the corrupt Aristocracy and joins the Working Class to create the great Democratic Era. The Working Class ultimately rebels against the Middle Class to bring about the Winter era (the Marxist era?) of Chaos and sterility. Greater freedom, in each case -- freedom from God's Law, freedom from Natural Law, freedom from Society's Laws -- leads, eventually, to a state of Chaos, an age in which each individual seeks to live by laws that he or she creates. The health of the group, the strength of tradition, weakens as the strength of the individual grows. When the society has destroyed itself through freedom, and has indulged in chaos and darkness, it returns to God; and a form of Theocracy rises when the Working/Peasant Class allies itself with the Church seeking order.
The Romantic anti-hero at Autumn rebels against academic technique as much as the Renaissance Man of Spring let himself be defined by the precisions of academic technique.
The Renaissance Man (the Dawn) is a figure of balance between the two forces of Light and Darkness, as is the Romantic Man (the Dusk), each standing with one foot in light and one foot in darkness. The Renaissance Man is moving toward an imbalance of enlightened reason (Scientific thought) which leads to a kind of apocalypse; the Romantic Man is moving, instead, toward an imbalance of unenlightened reason (Metaphysical thought) which also leads to a kind of apocalypse.
The Materialistic apocalypse is experienced at Noon, and this is why so many Noon-Cycles erupt into economic depressions.
The Religious apocalypse is experienced in Midnight-Cycles – recent religious apocalypses include the murder-suicide binge led by Jim Jones of the People’s Temple, in Guyana (with nearly 1,000 church members poisoned by their leader, who then committed suicide) and the spectacle of disillusioned American and European middle-class children joining the religious commune in central Oregon led by Osho (Bagwan Shree Rajneesh) an Indian Guru who proclaimed the following as part of his religious doctrine: ‘Sex is fun; Materialism is good; and Jesus was a madman.” Osho owned 93 Rolls Royce cars, while his followers live in relative poverty. He had sex with many of his followers; and several leaders of his cult were arrested when they intentionally spread salmonella food-poisoning in ten local restaurants, sickening more than 750 residents of the Dalles, Oregon, in an attempt to take over city government by diminishing voter turnout during the 1984 voting season. Followers were also arrested on conspiracy to commit murder changes for plotting the murder of a United States Attorney. (Osho was also a very open anti-semite, one of his favorite sayings being: “I will have to wash my mouth out; for I have just eaten a Jew.’)
Too much reason is a form of ‘Noon-Madness’, rendering life arid and sterile; and not enough reason is a form of ‘Midnight Madness’, turning life in to a flood.
1978 – Jim Jones People’s Temple Mass Suicide, Guyana
1981 – Establishment of Rajneeshpuram in Oregon.
It is not only religious apocalypses that occur at Midnight, but also secular horrors.
1939 – Nazis invade Poland, starting World War II
1941 – Japan bombs American fleet at Pearl Harbor
1943 – Auschwitz main Nazi extermination camp
1945 – Atomic bomb dropped on Japanese cities
Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Americans
1975 Khmer Rouge takes power in Cambodia
1979 Khmer Rouge genocide of up to two million Cambodians
The above is all painted in rather broad strokes. I do not intend to fully elaborate this view in this book, since it is quite intricate and will need much development. This book presents a blueprint of ideas, with a primary focusing on the Great Tribulation now facing the Earth as we slip in to the Night-Cycle (the Waking-Dream Deflation) The Day-Cycle is the Waking Dream and the Night-Cycle is the Sleeping-Dream.
A few more basic premises. The Summer/Noon represents a peaking of economic cycles; and a fall, as the future essentially contracts and darkens when the Sun-Hero, the Ego, is wounded; internal strife, war and civil war, rebellion of the Son against the Father Force (the Sky), economic panics, are all part of this declining Summer Season. Winter/Midnight represents the bottoming of an economic death, the slow rising of Masculine Spirit again after a period of Darkness.
The Female element (the Dark Brother, the Pessimist, The Loner, The Loser, the Revolutionary, in some myths, the one who kills or wounds the Sun) begins to win in the Summer/Noon, gains strength through the Autumn/Dusk and Winter/Midnight; and her/his strength is absolutely broken in the Spring/Dawn when the new-born Sun-Hero wars with the darkness, ultimately driving the Night (the Storm Gods/Clouds) out of heaven, back in to the Deep Darkness below (the Primordial Ocean).
Michael the Archangel is Judeo-Christianity’s new-born Sun-Hero, on one level, who drives Satan out of Heaven and chains him in the underworld. In fact, the myth of the rising Sun-Hero marries the figures of Jesus Christ and Michael the Archangel. Jesus Christ is Michael the Archangel when he is an angel in Heaven; Michael the Archangel is Jesus Christ when he is a man on Earth. We will look at this more later.)
Another way of looking at this duality is that of Private versus Public activity. The Private activity corresponds to the Day-Cycle, the Ego-driven cycle, where each private individual is allowed to pursue his/her fortune at the expense of everything else. The Public activity corresponds to the Night-Cycle, when the Private Enterprise (the male private parts, in keeping with the earlier metaphor of the Circle and the Circle’s Diameter) is re-absorbed back in to the whole. During the Public activity phase, the individual is often not allowed to pursue private dreams, as the survival of the whole is put to the test. Wars, financial crises, political and social dislocation, are often a part of this picture.
During the Day-Cycle, the emphasis is upon the Private Sector providing opportunities for citizens. During the Night-Cycle, the emphasis shifts to the Public Sector. (Some Business Culture voices claim that the Public Sector causes the economic depression. This is pretty clearly not so. As we can see in our most recent and continuing financial debacle, excesses of the Business Culture have brought the economy to its knees. This was also true in 1929. The Public Sector Culture (liberalism) tries to respond to the condition in which it finds itself. Simply cheerleading Business will not work; lowering interest rates will not work, especially when citizens are already over-leveraged and worried about bankruptcy and loss of jobs. Hunkering down, saving money, self-protection, becomes the order of the day.
I am aware of the paradox of this private-public dichotomy. During the Day-Cycle, the private man works in the public sphere (the external world); and during the Night-Cycle, the public man works in the private sphere (the internal world). During the Day-Cycle, the public man appears from his house to perform rituals of social service and exploitation; during the Night-Cycle, the pubic man disappears back in to his private residence in order to refresh himself from the stress of his public life. As he dreams he journeys back into his dream world, which is, paradoxically, both private (composed of individual wishes and fears) and public at the same time (when viewed as Jung’s Collective Unconscious).
Jung’s Self is a paradox, a unity of opposites. So we should not be surprised to see this paradox being the primary law of nature. Splitting the whole into parts precedes and defines the process of incarnation and life; fusing the parts into the whole again defines the process of pralaya, the period of rest subsequent and precedent to incarnation or Day-Cycle activity.
This is why economic protectionism is inevitable. Historians argue that protectionism caused the Great Depression in the 1930’s. This notion is silly. Protectionism is not a cause but an effect. The contraction causes world concerns to shrink back to the local. Each nation begins to put its own citizens first, instead of just its business executives. Globalism (the expansion of capitalism’s open markets) becomes moot. Open markets shrink back toward the center – this is what contraction means. Competition between nations for economic survival generates animosities and conflicts that often lead to outright warfare.
Does protectionism makes the situation worse? Perhaps. Perhaps that is the wrong question to ask. Perhaps we should ask if the recovery of the deflated Ego of the culture is possible without a phase of protectionism. If the life-instinct is dependent upon a threat to life in order to experience resurrection, then perhaps nationalism/protectionism cannot be avoided, even if it does a disservice to the profits of multi-national corporations in the short-term. We will look at this phenomenon more completely later when we devote a chapter to the process of protectionism. We will also note that the term ‘Romantic Nationalism’, used to describe a kind of art movement in Eighteenth Century Europe, also describes an historical process as the Tree of Life moves back toward its folk-component, its soil, and its roots. As the world becomes increasingly dark, it also becomes increasingly ‘national’ as opposed to ‘international’ during the periods of enlightenment.
The worship of wealth (which is a form of body-worship) is not the only value that defines a culture and a people. What really defines a people is how they respond to adversity, much more than how they respond to prosperity.
In one sense we have already looked at a microcosmic scale of this organic whole in historical manifestation. The Renaissance is the Spring; the Empire is the Summer; the Fall is the Autumn; and Rebirth of the Sun Hero is the Winter. In any historical analysis, we should look for these symbols as being clues to the time-position of the historical manifestation.
In European (Roman) history, the Renaissance was clearly marked by the city-states of Italy: such historical figures of Michalengelo, Leonardo, Dante, Vico, Botticelli, the Medici, all mark this time as the time of Spring and rebirth.
We look for some form of political tyranny at Noon, absolute power wielded in the name of Empire. Napoleon comes to mind immediately. We know that there are cycles within cycles (Hitler appears as a German Noon-Symbol as well.) At Noon there is no shadow. (‘It’s all good.’) In other words, the shadow has been beaten down so badly as to appear almost non-existent. The loyal opposition has essentially come to agree with the masculine force of will so much so that there appears to be absolute unity in the country. (Or the opposition has been killed, driven underground, or driven into exile.)
The Noon is also a time of the tyranny of ideas, with Science being at its highest arc in the circle. Social Darwinism was emblematic of this tyranny of an idea: ‘the survival of the fittest’, the implication being that the people on top were the most skilled and most talented, the fittest of the human species, while those on the bottom were considered expendable failures of the human species. It is a short jump from this to the fascist racism which put white Aryans as the super-race or yellow Japanese as the direct descendants of the Sun-King, destined by the gods to ruthlessly dominate life on Earth.
Noon represents the apex of the expansion of the self-made man.
When we think of the Romantics of Europe, many names come up: Goethe, Beethoven, Nietzsche, Lord Byron, William Blake, Goya, Delacroix, Schubert, Liszt, Wagner, Turner, Constable, Friedrich, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, Schiller, Novalis, Delacoix, Hugo. One thinks of Caspar David Friedrich’s ‘Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’ is a symbol of this anti-heroic retreat from society, retreat into the subjective. There is a well-dressed (urban) man standing on a high peak, alone, in Nature, contemplating other high peaks.
The subject in the painting is essentially turning his back on man, on man’s creations, on the city, now viewed as corrupt beyond repair. He is going back to Nature. He is turning his back on human society and on objectivity, returning to the subjective reality, the dream, and the God hidden in the dream, in the soul.
The Hero protects clean and helpless society from the dangers of diabolical and criminal forces of nature. The Anti-Hero turns against an unclean, corrupting society, choosing the dangers of a life of solitary wandering as superior to the life of greed, decay and human decadence which the city has come to represent to the Anti-Hero. The Anti-Hero demonizes man and the city, idealizes Nature and the Primitive Life, much as the Hero demonizes Nature and idealizes man and man’s power to create. These two forces are essentially the same, but at a different time, and with a different perspective. The Dawn is pure and fresh, the light of illumination becoming more golden as it rises up out of the dark womb, Nature. The Dusk is dark, cold, jaded, used-up, the light of illumination becoming more saturnine as it sinks into the dark womb, Nature. (Many historians speak of the Romantic Era as the Counter-Enlightenment, a period of reaction against the age of deductive reasoning (Science), during which the ‘feminine’ mind-qualities of intuition, feeling, and imagination are once again discovered and elevated, having been demonized or ridicules during the period of masculine scientific will, or Enlightenment.)
The Hero at Dawn believes in the objective world, which comes more and more in to view as the Day expands. The Anti-Hero at Dusk believes in the subjective world, which comes more and more in to view as the Night expands (as the Day contracts).
Midnight, of course, is the time of Jesus Christ in Europe. From the cradle of the Moon, Jesus rises up out of the darkest night, becoming the Renaissance Man, Michaelangelo, becoming the Empiricist tyrant, Julius Caesar, becoming the Romantic ‘Sturm un Drang’ Rebel, Goethe, then re-becoming himself, the Scapegoat in Capricorn, the New Sun born in Capricorn, in the endless cycle, endlessly turning.
The implication here, apparently, is that the 2 becomes 4. This is a complication of the picture, at least in one sense. We have largely been talking about two forces in opposition. But these two forces are also dual, each with a dominant nature and each with its own shadow. We know these dominant natures as the circle and the circle’s diameter, the Darkness and the Manifested Light, the Feminine and the Masculine, the Womb and the Penis, the Zero and the One. But each force casts a shadow, each has a nature it keeps in the background, suppresses, attempts to diminish.
(This complication may seem to be an unnecessary digression here. But, since the idea of the Shadow implies a dominant principle, which implies a subordinate principle, a dominant principle that receives more light (and has a more substantial body, technology, of course, being an extension of the body), the idea of race is inherent in this concept. Race is an integral part of American history, as it is of world history. And clearly race is something that must be addressed as we speak about history’s sins and history’s redemptions. Also, with the apparent risings of fundamental Islam (I believe that is a redundancy at present) also raises issues of substance/shadow that will manifest and is manifesting on the historical stage today in a very dramatic fashion. It might be interesting to look at the Muslim phenomenon through this lens also, which we will do later.)
We re-begin, geometrically-speaking, in the Sea of Primordial Darkness, Night, Pralaya; then, at the appointed time, the 1, the Seed of Light, the Universe, appears and begins to expand. The 1 divides into 2 (Demiurgos). The 2, in opposition and cooperation (the paradox) create the 3 (the triangle), which, in reflecting itself in the world below, creates the 4 (the square).
This square is the essence of these two sets of opposites and their shadows, for the masculine force and its shadow are the Vertical Force (North and South), while the feminine force and its shadow are the Horizontal Force (East and West). Thus the cross is born, or illuminated, in its essence, as a totality.
(This diagram is drawn from the perspective of the West. I do not believe that the sun actually rises in the west and sets in the east. It is intended to represent a set of ideas focused in Western history only. The Southern perspective is the exact reverse of the Northern perspective. The Eastern perspective is the mirror image of the Western.)
The North’s shadow is the South; the South’s shadow is the North. The West’s shadow is the East; the East’s shadow is the West. (We must remember that the Sun, in its Day-Cycle, journeys East to West; and,, during its Night-Cycle, journeys West to East – in a boat or casket on the water. Hence, the myths of Nuah and Noah and Dagon and Gilgamesh and Osiris and Deucalion and Vaivasvata Manu and Jaik-Khan and Kezer-Tshingis and Lif and Noj and Pairekse and Schal-Jime and Utnapishtim all relater to the Flood, when the world is swallowed by Water or Darkness and the Night-Journey begins.)
These dynamisms make up the World Lotus in Eastern religious philosophy; and the Rosy Cross in Western religious thought.
In mythology, the Four Directions and Four Seasons are connected with the Four Elements (Air, Fire, Water and Earth), the Four Archangels, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Four Rivers in Paradise, the Tetragrammaton (the Four Parts of the Sacred Names of Jehovah, YHVH), the Four Worlds of Kabbalism….all refer to material totality and solidity, completeness.
It is a short step, graphically speaking, from this rendering of the ‘four principles of nature’ to a much more modern (scientific) rendering of the same principles, with added secondary directions of Northwest, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest, a floral octagon structure.
In much the same way that the oak tree is implicit in the acorn, it might also be true that the planet (and the planetary life) is, itself, implicit in the material seed, the atom.
By the same token, the solar system may also be implicit in the atom, as prototypes repeat through large and small scales, and scales in-between.
A LITERARY DIGRESSION
(Numbers and Structure in the Microcosm Seen Through the Lens of Melville’s Moby-Dick)
In his masterpiece Melville’s Moby-Dick – An American Nekyia, Edward Edinger writes about the symbolism of numbers, that reflect on the above, and also on what we wrote earlier about the ‘Three Steps of Vishnu’. Edinger writes in Chapter 14, ‘The Pact With the Devil’:
As the Pequod approaches the cruising ground where it is expected Moby-Dick will be found, Ahab has the blacksmith make him a special harpoon of the hardest steel to use against the white whale. For the final tempering, Ahab asks [his special] three harpooners for some of their blood, and into this he plunges the heated barbs:
‘Ego non baptizo te ill nominee patris, sed in nominee diaboli! [I baptize you not in the name of the father but in the name of the devil],’ deliciously howled Ahab, as the malignant iron scorchingly devoured the baptismal blood. [p. 532, chapter 113)
This ritual confirms what has been suspected all along, that Ahab’s pact with Fedallah is a pact with the devil. First of all, we note that Ahab does not use the full formula of Christian baptism. The complete ritual statement is ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ Ahab omits the reference to the son and the Holy Spirit. This suggests that his psychological state corresponds symbolically to the pre-Christian period. Ahab’s image of deity is the Old Testament Yahweh.
The Christian trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one of many threefold images symbolizing the developmental stage of psychic growth. The first three numbers have important psychological symbolism. Number one, as the first and original number, is not, strictly speaking, a number at all. One, us unity and totality, exists prior to the awareness of numbers, which requires a capacity to distinguish between separate, discrete entities. Thus, one corresponds symbolically to the original state of wholeness prior to creation and the separation of things.
Two is the first real number, since with it is born the possibility of discriminating one thing from another. Two symbolizes the act of creation, the emergence of the ego from the original state of unity. Two causes opposition; it represents a state of conflict. Three, however, is the sum of one and two, and unites them both within itself. It is the reconciling symbol that resolves the conflict state of two.
The three terms in the Christian trinity, considered as phases of psychic development, can be equated with the symbolical meanings of numbers one, two and three just presented. The Age of the Father (one) is the state of original oneness with life, without doubt or doubleness of mind. The Age of the Son (two) is a state of inner conflict in which the ego is separated from its original ground of being. It is a state of alienation which longs for redemption or salvation. The Age of the Holy Spirit (three) is the stage of reconciliation. The opposites Father and Son have been connected by a third, the Holy spirit, which provides reciprocal communication and a release from the irreconcilable conflict of opposites in stage two.
Ahab omits the Trinitarian formula of baptism because it does not correspond to his psychological state. He is in stage two, the state of conflict and alienation. He experiences himself as the Son of the Father who can maintain his identity only through defiance, by insisting that two exist, not just one. Like Job, Ahab is rebelling against the Age of the Father.
Edinger’s insights also take in the notion of the number 4.
The monomaniacal patriarchal figure of Moby-Dick is Ahab, the damaged and damned captain of the Pequod, a man who has lost one leg to Moby-Dick, the Great White Whale, and who has had his face, indeed his entire body, nearly cut in half during hand-to-hand combat with the monster – he has a long scar that neatly divides the left half of his face from the right half, in fact divides his body in half. Ahab is the titan, the giant, who is divided against himself. Ahab’s holy quest, and the whole purpose of his life now, is revenge on Moby-Dick. Moby-Dick represents to Ahab all the darkness in the world, all the madness of the world, all the violence of Nature and all the malevolence God had thrust upon Humanity, in the form of its mortality. ‘[Ahab] piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down…’
The soul element of Moby-Dick is the Son-aspect of the novel, Ishmael, who has taken his place on the Pequod out of boredom, alienation from city-life, and out of a longing for adventure.
In fact, Ahab is the Father-Figure who has risen from the balance, the Dawn, out of the ocean of non-being, to become the tyrannical Force of the King at Noon, the man divided against himself and also divided against the world, the builder of the Tower of Babel. Ishmael is the Son, the Dusk, the Anti-Hero, who has turned his back on the city, on civilization, and, ultimately, turned against the rule of the White Man, the emblem of this rule being Ahab, his symbolic father.
The whale-boat captain is an emblem of a guardian of civilization. Sperm oil from the whale lit the lanterns in the West during the 19th Century, generating the light that defeated the darkness of Night. Ahab, in a symbolic sense, is a protector of civilization. He fights the dark monsters of the primordial ocean in deadly battle, with very real consequences, loss of limb and life, in order that the women and children on land (in the cities) can live with more comfort, and less fear during the Night.
Ishmael is the son in rebellion against civilization, in rebellion against the father figure. Ishmael is on the Pequod almost by accident. He has stumbled in to Ahab’s circle, without understanding the grimly serious nature of Ahab’s quest.
Ishmael, on the first night of his adventure, shares a bed with Queequeg, a huge terrifying primordial dark-skinned ‘savage’, with tattoos all over his body. A pagan; a devil, in the eyes of most Christians at the time.
Jung writes, as if describing Ishmael (and as if describing the Romantic Anti-Hero as a class, the Autumn Middle-Age types, who turn their backs on the orthodox rules of the city and civilization):
There have always been people who, not satisfied with the dominants of conscious life, set forth – under cover and by devious routes, to their destruction or salvation – to seek direct experience of the eternal roots, and, following the lure of the restless unconscious psyche, find themselves in the wilderness where, like Jesus, they come up against the son of darkness… Thus an old alchemist prays: ‘Purge the horrible darkness of our mind, light a light for our senses.’ The author of this sentence must have been undergoing the experience of nigredo, the first stage of the work, which was felt as ‘melancholy’ in alchemy and corresponds to the encounter with the shadow in psychology.
Queequeg is Ishmael’s shadow. Ishmael is the West; Queequeg is the East. Ishmael is Civilization; Queequeg is Nature. Ishmael is alienated Consciousness; Queequeg is the original unconscious state, at home in Nature, at home with life’s paradoxes. Queequeg is the dark ‘Natural Man’, the shadow the white man both fears and admires, both despises and secretly envies.
Ishmael first meets the savage harpooner in chapter 3 and is frightened by the alien appearance, his strangely tattooed skin and his pagan religious ritual. He is the very opposite of Ismael’s civilized, Christian consciousness. Characteristically, Ishmael expects to be attacked by Queequeg. The ego usually assumes the shadow has a hostile intent. This is a projection. The ego feels hostile toward the shadow and expects hostility in return, which, under the circumstances, is quite likely. As a rule, the unconscious shows the ego the same face that the ego shows to it….
After sharing Queequeg’s bed for the night, Ishmael reawakens next morning in the heavy embrace of the dark man’s arms, ‘This arm of his tattooed all over with an interminable Cretan labyrinth of a figure…’ Later this same association with the labyrinth of the Minotaur in the myth of Theseus appears in a description of the [inside of the] whale, ‘supplied with a remarkable involved Cretan labyrinth of vermicelli-like vessels…’
One thinks immediately of the biblical story of Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale, and who lived inside the whale for three days, before being safely deposited on land again, after a period of death-instruction, or pralaya. It is my thesis that America’s (America being an emblem of the Sun-Hero) fall from power through the recently-begun financial collapse is essentially entering the whale again, and must undergo an initiation into death, into the images of failure, self-hate, self-reproach, very similar to the biblical imprisonment of Jonah in the belly (lower regions) of the whale (the king of the ocean). We will remember that Jonah was commanded by God to preach the end of the world to a corrupt Ninevah, a command Jonah feared and attempted to escape, by sea. Jonah, on-board his own version of the Pequod, was thrown overboard when the crew considered him a pariah; he was then swallowed by the whale and initiated into the secrets of God’s laws.
America, too, will be initiated into the secrets of God’s laws, as will the whole world. We remember the biblical doctrine: ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to pass into heaven.’ A rich society has no need of God. A rich society is God, is bigger than God; and this leads to the sin of pride, which leads to the fall, which leads to the re-discovery of God. A man must be small to pass through the eye of a needle.
We will find, also, that the Night-Cycle world we are entering is like a labyrinth, a structure in which only a small extent can be seen at any one time. During the Day, the eyes can see for miles. But during the Night, the eyes become much less useful. Vision is reduced dramatically. The labyrinth implies a prison for the senses, an experience of loss, many stops and many false starts, a reality for which a map is needed in order to ensure progress. Metascience, of course, religious, scriptural writing, the symbolic language, is the map tht has been prepared for humanity to help them survive the test of the labyrinth, which is built in to the system as the Night-Cycle experience, the experience that re-awakens the presence of God is society.
The labyrinth or the maze is a symbol of the unconscious, particularly its dangerous aspect, which threatens confusion and disorientation. Theseus could dare to enter it only with the orientation of Ariadne’s helpful thread. Ariadne is an anima figure; her thread signifies a connecting link between the ego (Theseus) and the anima, or feeling life. In the Cretan labyrinth lived a masculine monster, the Minotaur, representing undifferentiated male instinctuality. The myth suggests that one may dare to confront one’s unregenerate lust and power urge only when holding on to the guiding thread [Sutratma in Hinduism] of human feeling-relatedness, which gives orientation and prevents dismemberment and dissolution in the chaos of instinctive drives. If Queequeg is the labyrinth, he is also an Ariadne. As we shall see shortly, he evokes in Ishmael a capacity for love and human feeling, which will redeem him, and, ultimately, save him from the catastrophe of the Pequod’s voyage.
So Queequeg, the primitive, is Ishmael’s shadow; but he is more than a personal shadow; hhis roots go deep. He is a piece of primeval nature itself, a personification of thee original Whole Man [Adam Kadmon] at home with nature and himself. A close, indeed, inseparable relationship quickly develops between Ishmael and Queequeg. This is the theme of the primitive brother or friend, the hero’s necessary counterpart, who provides [the hero] with a certain balance. For instance, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the dark brother Enkidu helps the hero to overcome the cosmic bull.
The wholeness Queequeg embodies is alluded to by the fact that he has black squares [the four] tattooed on his body and that his mark is the Maltese cross [the four]. Many other descriptive passages about Queequeg indicate this wholeness. He had a ‘certain lofty bearing’ and ‘looked like a man who had never had a creditor’….
Queequeg is the ‘noble savage’. Ishmael speaks about Queequeg:
Savages are strange beings; at times you do not know exactly how to take them. At first they are overawing; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity seems a Socratic wisdom. I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other seamen in the inn. He made no advances whatever; appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances. All this struck me as mighty singular; yet, upon second thoughts, there was something almost sublime in it. Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Cape Horn, that is --which was the only way he could get there --thrown among people as strange to him as though he were in the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself. Surely this was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should not be conscious of so living or so striving. So soon as I hear that such or such a man gives himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman, he must have broken his digester. As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning low, in that mild stage when, after its first
intensity has warmed the air, it then only glows to be looked at; the evening shades and phantoms gathering round the casements, and peering in upon us silent, solitary twain; the storm booming without in solemn swells; I began to be sensible of strange feelings. I felt a melting in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world. This soothing savage had redeemed it. There he sat, his very
indifference speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilized hypocrisies and bland deceits. Wild he was; a very sight of sights to see; yet I began to feel myself mysteriously drawn towards him. And those same things that would have repelled most others, they were the very magnets that thus drew me. I'll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy. I drew my bench near him, and made some friendly signs and hints, doing my best to talk with him meanwhile….
As Edinger points out, Ishmael is saved from his sense of isolation and shame by his association with Queequeg. Edinger writes: ‘Ishmael has been redeemed from his initial state of alienation through his encounter with Queequeg, who is a composite of Shadow and Self. The [alchemical] ‘melting’ within [Ishmael] indicates that a reconnection with the Self is accompanied by an awakened capacity to love.’
We know a few things about Queequeg: he is the native of a primitive south sea island, the son of a king, a royal man who risked his life to cross a great ocean to visit the West and see first-hand the glories of civilization.
Queequeg needs the civilization that Ishmael rejects.
[Queequeg’s] urgent need to make contact with civilization is important. It represents the striving of the shadow for consciousness. Queequeg’s heroic efforts to go to sea [he stowed away on a visiting whaleboat, resisted threats to throw him overboard, pleaded with the captain for a chance to visit Christendom] and learn about the white man’s civilization is a movement in the unconscious reciprocal to the depressive escapism which sent Ishmael to sea. It is as though Ego and Shadow were running toward each other from their appointed positions. Ishmael leaves his sterile life on land, Queequeg leaves his primitive, unconscious island paradise, each in search of the other.
The Shadow’s striving for admission to consciousness is a common theme in psychotherapy. It is often represented in dreams by primitive or uncouth figures who are attempting to break into a house. Such dreams, like Queequeg’s urge to visit civilization, indicate the shadow’s urge to participate and realize itself in consciousness. The Shadow carries aspects of the personality rejected by the Ego because they do not fit its ideal self-image. The Shadow is, thus, branded as inferior and unacceptable. At a certain point in development, psychological growth cannot proceed until this attitude is change, and the Shadow is welcomed in to consciousness. Queequeg must leave his unconscious paradise isle and be accepted at the conscious level if the capacities he represents are to be realized in actual life.
The electoral victory of Barak Obama, for many reasons, but for this reason also, marks a victory in the psychic struggle in America for wholeness, for healing, after many centuries of racial warfare, and of a divided psychic nature – the American political process has opened up enough to allow the Shadow full participation in the mechanism of civilization. Of course, there remain many elements of white-only conservatism that want, again, to exile the Shadow back to the bottom of the society. Fundamental Christianity, which connects dark skin with dark virtue (evil), another half truth, prepares always for a regeneration of a religious hierarchical order placing the white race in heaven – the northern hemisphere -- (and in control of Earthly society) and the black race in hell --the southern hemisphere.
It is by no means easy to accept the Shadow. It usually involves facing one’s most serious weaknesses and fears. It is commonly thought that the acceptance of a weakness gives it a reality that it would not otherwise have. The Ego operates on the false assumption that it can decide which aspects fot he psyche may be permitted existence. Acceptance of a weakness is equated with the condoning of it; that is, the Ego acts as a judge which approves or condemns various wholeness of the personality. This is the repressive attitude which split the original wholeness of the psyche and created the Shadow in the first place. However, for the adult, the psyche, in all its aspects, is a given fact. Since it exists and has its effects, whether consciously accepted or not, it is greatly to the individual’s advantage to be conscious rather than unconscious of his or her own reality.
After Ishmael gets over his initial horror at the prospect of sleeping with a savage, he sees Queequeg chiefly in positive terms. This is commonly the effect of facing the Shadow; it turns positive, at least in part. In addition, Ishmael represents an Ego which is acutely ware of its own inadequacies. In such a case, much of the potential strength of the personality sinks into the unconscious, where it is carried by the Shadow, making this figure more positive. We then speak of a Positive Shadow. Queequeg is such a Positive Shadow, carrying major strength and assets as yet unrealized by consciousness. His positive character is particularly evident in the prominent masculine attributes he embodies [and which Ishmael lacks]. In contrast to Ishmael, who is moody, depressive and subject to regressive tendencies, Queequeg is full of strength, dignity and purposefulness, a harpooner who has his harpoon with him constantly: ‘That barbed iron was in lieu of a scepter now…’
The harpoon, as a variant of the spear [and scepter], belongs to the whole body of masculine libido symbols – sword, arrow, ray, phallus, staff, torch, etc. Those images all refer to the masculine principle which, on the instinctive level, is manifested by aggressive, self-asserting power and, on the psychological level, by initiative, disciplined purposefulness, penetrating, discriminating rationality, and the clarifying, creative power of the Logos. The figure of Queequeg carries these capacities in a primitive, undifferentiated form.
Ishmael is the West traveling to the East; Queequeg is the East traveling to the West. Ishmael is seeking to become Primitive and Whole again, in Nature; Queequeg is seeking to become a man of civilization, a man of the City, a man of Light and Reason.
Ahab also has a Shadow. His name is Fedallah. Ahab is High Noon, a man of Law, fighting the outlaw nature of the White Whale. No one on the Pequod can stand up to Ahab. Ahab’s Shadow is not even seen at first, because he is kept hidden in the Pequod until the boat has sailed and the calling has been announced and clarified.
I have written that Alan Greenspan is America’s most recent Ahab, and that his ‘sin’ is his inflated nature, his pride: he came to believe that he was God. Therefore he was setting himself up to be overthrown by God, thrown out of Eden (he ate the forbidden fruit so that he could become as powerful as God), cast into death and darkness and labor (‘labor’, in this instance, constituting at least a dual meaning: work and a symbolic maternal pain of re-birth).
Alan Greenspan is not the only Ahab in America at this moment. But he was the leader (in many ways more a leader, longer, than George Bush) of the expanding Ego in America, the inflated state of America. His nickname ‘the Maestro’ indicates the level to which his Ego had been elevated by friends and colleagues. The Maestro. The Genius. The Fuhrer. The Man Without a Shadow. The Man Who Walks On Water. The Sun-King. The Magnificent. With his staff, the Sceptre, the new Pope of modern global capitalism, King Alan, brought wealth and health and happiness to common people all over the globe. With his finger on the magic button, he could expand or contract the world economy at will, simply by inflation or deflating the wonderful Credit Machine (note: he did much more inflating than he did deflating). He was a mountain of a man. A man from the mountain.
And, like Ahab, none of his crew on the Pequod questioned his judgment, even those who tacitly understood that his policies would lead to the eventual destruction of the Pequod, of home and hearth, of city and industry.
As the death-voyage begins, Ahab appears with his officers and crew on the deck of the Pequod, and hammers a gold coin, a doubloon, to the main mast and announces that the first crew-member to sight Moby-Dick will receive the coin as a reward. The coin, a circle, represents the whale, the Self, the Earth, and the Zodiac in the heavens above, connecting Ahab to God and to the Devil through the White Whale.
The circular golden doubloon is a mandala, and, hence, an image of the Self. It is stated that the doubloon is ‘the white whale’s talisman’, thereby establishing an organic connection between the symbolic meaning of the coin and that of the whale. This provides added evidence for the conclusion previously reached that the white whale is a symbol of the Self…. On the coin is seen:
the likeness of three Andes’ summits; from one a flame; a tower on another; on the third a crowing cock; while arching over all was a segment of the partitioned zodiac; the signs all marked with their usual cabalistics, and the keystone sun entering the equinoctial point at Libra…
Libra, of course, marks Ishmael’s point on the Wheel of Life, the Autumn, and the first point in the Underwater journey, from which point the dark quarter of the Winter is begun to be experienced. Libra is the balance; but the balance is about to be lost, plunging the entire crew of the Pequod into the confrontation with Nature’s darkness. Officers and mates and crew approach the coin, consider it, and illustrate their own reaction to the talisman and to the God the object represents symbolically.
The zodiac is, itself, a mandala Self-image projected on the heavens and divided into the twelve archetypal zones or houses. Within this zodiacal circle on the coin there are three mountains. Mountains have always represented the abode of the sky or spirit gods, and the place where man and God meet [Moses on Sinai, for instance]. The Cosmic Mountain occupies the Center of the world, and, hence, is called the World Navel. The number three suggests the masculine trinity; and the other images reinforce the masculine emphasis: Fire, tower, cock and sun are all alternative expressions of the masculine spirit principle.
First to approach the coin is Ahab, who says:
There's something ever egotistical in mountain-tops and towers, and all other grand and lofty things; look here, -- three peaks as proud as Lucifer. The firm tower, that is Ahab; the volcano, that is Ahab; the courageous, the undaunted, and victorious fowl, that, too, is Ahab; all are Ahab; and this round gold is but the image of the rounder globe, which, like a magician's glass, to each and every man in turn but mirrors back his own mysterious self. Great pains, small gains for those who ask the world to solve them; it cannot solve itself. Methinks now this coined sun wears a ruddy face; but see! aye, he enters the sign of storms, the equinox! and but six months before he wheeled out of a former equinox at Aries! From storm to storm! So be it, then. Born in throes, 't is fit that man should live in pains and die in pangs! So be it, then! Here's stout stuff for woe to work on. So be it, then.
If we did not already know it, Ahab’s inflation would not stand revealed. [‘I’d strike the sun if it insulted me!’] He identifies himself with the three proud mountain peaks; the Ego is identified with the Self [the man believes he is God]. Such a psychic condition is, indeed, a stormy one; and, so, Ahab sees the storms to come.
Birth pangs and death pains Ahab associates with our Middle Ages – the astrological signs of Aries and Libra (the ‘time of storms’) – Dawn and Dusk – Spring and Autumn.
We will look more closely later at the significance of the Tower (and of the Twin Towers), as a symbol of Ego Inflation, Civilization, and the insinuated decline of a civilization.
Ahab also has a shadow. But this Ahab-Fedallah unity is not the Positive Shadow, as in the case of the Ishmael-Queequeg unity. Judging from his name, Fed’allah is a Muslim. Dorothee Metlitsky Finkelstein writes in Melville’s Orienda that the name Fedallah is an Islamic compound from Feda, ‘sacrifice’, or ‘ransom’ and Allah, ‘God’. Fedallah, thus, means ‘the sacrifice of God’
Edinger shows that the cognate term Fedai means ‘he who offers up his life’. Fedai refers to a medieval sect of Islamic mystics who were also called the ‘Assassins’. Edinger writes:
These were avenging ministers or destroying angels of God who were pledged to commit murder in the service of Allah. The word ‘assassin’ derives from ‘hashish’, or ‘hemp’, the source of marijuana, and was applied to these religious killers because they consumed hashish in order to induce an ecstatic state of communion with the deity. These connections are most interesting in the light of Fedallah’s prophecy to Ahab that ‘hemp only can kill thee…’
Fedallah’s name, thus, suggests that he is the avenging agent of God, Fate’s assassin, sent to punish Ahab for his hubris. The weapon of assassination is hemp or hashish, which causes intoxication and loss of reason.
While it is not the hemp of hashish that ultimately kills Ahab – nor is it the hemp of the hangman’s noose, which Ahab ultimately fears – this hashish allusion is, indeed, food for thought, especially when considering the Romantic Counter-Culture’s love of hashish (the Dusk-Force) and its role in the temporal destruction of the ‘house that the father built’.
Finkelstein writes of the Fedai:
The Fedais or assassins were sent to all parts of the world on missions of assassination as a religious duty. They were distinguished by the determination with which they exposed their lives in order to destroy their victims, the voyages which they undertook to achieve their purpose, and the calmness with which they waited for the moment favorable to their design.
Fedallah is a kind of Judas, a traitor, sent to oversee the crucifixion of Ahab – a kind of Trojan Horse slipped on to the Pequod during cover of night, manifested onboard only after the ship has sailed.
As the horizontal axis (East-West) of the Ishmael-Queequeg unity represents a humanistic dualism – a polarization of human ideals -- the vertical axis (North-South) of the Ahab-Fedallah unity represents a religious dualism, the Christian at one pole and the Muslim at the other. The East-West duality is a smaller, daily cycle. The North-South duality is a much larger, yearly cycle, a millennial cycle. (In the classical idiom, there are 360 – or 365 to be more scientifically, less geometrically, accurate -- East-West duality cycles in every one North-South duality cycle.)
Fedallah pretends to be Ahab’s amiable shadow. In fact, he is present on the Pequod in order to carry out Allah’s fatwah (death-sentence) on Ahab. There is not a great difference between assassins like Fedallah who give their lives to assassinate enemies of Islam and suicide-bombers who do the same today or those who commandeer civilian planes and fly them into buildings as avenging angels of their God’s cry for vengeance.
Unknown to the others, Ahab had secretly brought on board the Pequod his own whaleboat crew with its leader, Fedallah. When whales were first sighted and the boats were being lowered, these strange stowaways suddenly make their appearance. ‘With a start all glared at dark Ahab, who was surrounded by five dusky phantoms that seemed fresh formed out of air.’ Fedallah, their leader, was the most striking one.
The figure that now stood by its bows was tall and swart, with one white tooth evilly protruding from its steel-like lips. A rumpled Chinese jacket of black cotton funereally invested him, with wide black trowsers of the same dark stuff. But strangely crowning his ebonness was a glistening white plaited turban, the living hair braided and coiled round and round upon his head. Less swart in aspect, the companions of this figure were of that vivid, tiger-yellow complexion peculiar to some of the aboriginal natives of the Manillas; --a race notorious for a certain diabolism of subtilty, and by some honest white mariners supposed to be the paid spies and secret confidential agents on the water of the devil, their lord, whose counting-room they suppose to be elsewhere. While yet the wondering ship's company were gazing upon these strangers, Ahab cried out to the white-turbaned old man at their head, All ready there, Fedallah? Ready, was the half-hissed reply. Lower away then; d'ye hear? shouting across the deck. Lower away there, I say. Such was the thunder of his voice, that spite of their amazement the men sprang over the rail; the sheaves whirled round in the blocks; with a wallow, the three boats dropped into the sea; while, with a dexterous, off-handed daring, unknown in any other vocation, the sailors, goat-like, leaped down the rolling ship's side into the tossed
boats below. Hardly had they pulled out from under the ship's lee, when a fourth keel, coming from the windward side, pulled round under the stern, and showed the five strangers rowing Ahab, who, standing erect in the stern, loudly hailed Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask, to spread themselves widely, so as to cover a large expanse of water. but with all their eyes again riveted upon the swart Fedallah and his crew, the inmates of the other boats obeyed not the command…
Fedallah’s hair coils like a snake; he hisses like a snake; his race is notorious for a certain diabolism of ‘subtilty’…a characteristic that also distinguished the biblical Satan. Swart (a word used three times in this passage to describe Fedallah) means ‘dirty’, ‘blackish’, ‘malignant’.
Fedallah is clearly related to the devil; if he is not the devil himself, at least he is one of his subordinates…. Stubb says of him: ‘I take that Fedallah to be the devil in disguise.’
Although it is not described with the same clarity, it is evident that Ahab’s relation to Fedallah has a certain infernal parallel to Ishmael’s relation to Queequeg. Just as Ishmael concluded a pact of eternal friendship with Queequeg, which had its external symbol in the monkey rope that connected them, so Ahab was in some way bound to Fedallah:
But be all this as it may, certain it is that while the subordinate phantoms soon found their place among the crew, though still as it were somehow distinct from them, yet that hair-turbaned Fedallah remained a muffled mystery to the last. Whence he came in a mannerly world like this, by what sort of unaccountable tie he soon evinced himself to be linked with Ahab's peculiar fortunes; nay, so far as to have some sort of a half-hinted influence; Heaven knows, but it might have been even authority over him; all this none knew. But one cannot sustain an indifferent air concerning Fedallah.
In addition, Fedallah carried for Ahab something of the same characteristics of primal natural man and original wholeness, as did Queequeg for Ishmael:
He was such a creature as civilized, domestic people in the temperate zone only see in their dreams, and that but dimly; but the like of whom now and then glide among the unchanging Asiatic communities, especially the Oriental isles to the east of the continent – those insulated, immemorial, unalterable countries, which even in these modern days still preserve much of the ghostly aboriginalness of earth's primal generations, when the memory of the first man was a distinct recollection, and all men his descendants, unknowing whence he came, eyed each other as real phantoms, and asked of the sun and the moon why they were created and to what end…
Just as Queequeg revealed his relation to the original wholeness of the Primordial Self by his square tattoos and his mark, a Maltese cross, so Fedallah’s similar meaning is indicated by his being associated with the ‘primal generations’ and with the ‘first-man’. The image of the primal man, the Anthropos, has been extensively described by Jung. It is a symbol of the Self, the integrated whole person. Totality and the union of opposites is also implied by Fedallah’s clothes, which combine the opposite colors [or non-colors] black and white. Queequeg and Fedallah, being part-personalities rooted in the unconscious, both carry intimations of the primal wholeness. They are the shadows respectively of Ishmael and Ahab. This is specifically stated at one point:
And Ahab chanced so to stand, that the Parsee occupied his shadow; while, if the Parsee’s shadow was there at all it seemed only to blend with, and lengthen Ahab’s.
Having noted the correspondences between Queequeg and Fedallah, we must also mention the differences. In a sense, they are a pair of opposites paralleling the opposite natures of their corresponding partners, Ishmael and Ahab. Queequeg is largely a positive figure, embodying strengths and fortitudes that complement the weakness of Ishmael. He represents the noble savage. Fedallah, on the other hand, is the diabolical savage. He conveys a sense of darkness and evil. He does not complement Ahab’s conscious sense of heroic strength by weakness the way Queequeg’s strength complements Ishmael’s weakness. (That particular shadow function is reserved by Pip [the tiny half-mad black cabin boy]. However, Fedallah’s evident moral inferiority does compensate Ahab’s conscious sense of nobility, just as Queequeg’s nobility compensates Ishmael’s ignoble escapism.
With the voyage well under way, we have, then, a pair of mutual assistance pacts, together making a quaternity. Ishmael is bound to Queequeg in mutual love; and Ahab is bound to Fedallah in their mutual quest for vengeance.
Edinger identifies the number 4 with the four psychic functions of human consciousness. The two primary modes of perception, which are validated by causality and rational, scientific thinking: (1) thinking; and (2) intution; and the two modes which have been devalued, or invalidated, by empirical reasoning: (3) sensation; and (4) feeling.
Edinger suggests that these four psychic functions are embodied in Ahab and his officers on the Pequod: Ahab, the captain, represents the dominant function: Thinking. First Mate Starbuck represents the auxiliary function: Intuition. Stubb is third in command, the Second Mate, and represents the Sensation function. Flask is the Third Mate; he represents the Feeling function.
An argument can be made, also, that these four psychic functions are embodied in our four emblems of totality, our earthly cross of axes: Ahab-Fedallah; Ishmael-Queequeg.
The human being who is able to manifest this quaternity, to discover in himself all four psychic functions, assigning none to the habitat of a psychic shadow-land down under, exhibits wholeness. Ahab is not interested in wholeness, however. He is not interested in well-adjusted, mundane existence. This is shown by his destruction of the ship’s quadrant near the end of the novel, which also represents a kind of quaterity of presence in the Now.
A ship is largely blind without a quadrant. By using a quadrant (the root of which means ‘the fourth part’), measuring the elevation of the sun, a seaman can determine a ship’s current placement on the earth, existing latitude. Ahab dismissed the usefulness of the quadrant since it can only tell him where he is now, not where he will be in the future (by implication, that it works only during the Day, with the Sun, and not during the Night: it has no ‘metaphysical’ vision).
Surprisingly, Ahab instructs the quadrant (in one of his many mad soliloquies) that man’s view was meant to be horizontal (East-West); that if God had expected man to be proud, gazing into the heavens – i.e., vertically oriented, a climber) -- he would have put man’s eyes in the top of his head. In this, Ahab is taking a step toward Ishmael, striking back at science, striking out at the limits and the isolation of the inflated king, the king who has climbed the Tree of Knowledge in Eden and who surely, one day, must fall back toward the earth.
Then Ahab smashes the quadrant on the ship’s deck, essentially choosing to be lost in the heavens, rather than to be ‘known’ on earth. Ahab knows he is not coming back.
Foolish toy! babies' plaything of haughty Admirals, and Commodores, and Captains; the world brags of thee, of thy cunning and might; but what after all canst thou do, but tell the poor, pitiful point, where thou thyself happenest to be on this wide planet, and the hand that holds thee: no! not one jot more! Thou canst not tell where one drop of water or one grain of sand will be to-morrow noon; and yet with thy impotence thou insultest the sun! Science! Curse thee, thou vain toy; and cursed be all the things that cast man's eyes aloft to that heaven, whose live vividness but scorches him, as these old eyes are even now scorched with thy light, O sun! Level by nature to this earth's horizon are the glances of man's eyes; not shot from the crown of his head, as if God had meant him to gaze on his firmament. Curse thee, thou quadrant! dashing it to the deck, no longer will I guide my earthly way by thee; the level ship's compass, and the level dead-reckoning, by log and by line; these shall conduct me, and show me my place on the sea. Aye, lighting from the boat to the deck, thus I trample on thee, thou paltry thing that feebly pointest on high; thus I split and destroy thee!
Ahab consults Fedallah (Ahab’s predeterministic prophet) as to the parameters of Ahab’s own fate. Fedallah promises Ahab success in his quest – and this can be read as a prophecy for America (‘the sound like the moaning in squadrons over [Lake] Asphaltites of unforgiven ghosts of Gomorrah’):
These last three [dead whales] were brought alongside ere nightfall; but the windward one could not be reached till morning; and the boat that had killed it lay by its side all night; and that boat was Ahab's. The waif-pole was thrust upright into the dead whale's spout-hole; and the lantern hanging from its top, cast a troubled flickering glare upon the black, glossy back, and far out upon the midnight waves, which gently chafed the whale's broad flank, like soft surf upon a beach.
Ahab and all his boat's crew seemed asleep but the Parsee [Fedallah]; who crouching in the bow, sat watching the sharks, that spectrally played round the whale, and tapped the light cedar planks with their tails. A sound like the moaning in squadrons over Asphaltites of unforgiven ghosts of Gomorrah, ran shuddering through the air.
Started from his slumbers, Ahab, face to face, saw the Parsee; and hooped round by the gloom of the night they seemed the last men in a flooded world. I have dreamed it again, said he. Of the hearses?
Have I not said, old man, that neither hearse nor coffin can be thine?
And who are hearsed that die on the sea?
But I said, old man, that ere thou couldst die on this voyage, two hearses must verily be seen by thee on the sea; the first not made by mortal hands; and the visible wood of the last one must be grown in America.
Aye, aye! a strange sight that, Parsee: -- a hearse and its plumes floating over the ocean with the waves for the pall-bearers. Ha! Such a sight we shall not soon see.
Believe it or not, thou canst not die till it be seen, old man. And what was that saying about thyself? Though it come to the last, I shall still go before thee thy pilot.
And when thou art so gone before --if that ever befall -- then ere I can follow, thou must still appear to me, to pilot me still? --Was it not so?
Well, then, did I believe all ye say, oh my pilot! I have here two pledges that I shall yet slay Moby Dick and survive it.
Take another pledge, old man, said the Parsee, as his eyes lighted up like fire-flies in the gloom, -- Hemp only can kill thee.
The gallows, ye mean. --I am immortal then, on land and on sea, cried Ahab, with a laugh of derision; -- Immortal on land and on sea!
Both were silent again, as one man. The grey dawn came on, and the slumbering crew arose from the boat's bottom, and ere noon the dead whale was brought to the ship.
Fedallah, as Ahab admits, is Ahab’s ‘pilot’, his leader – is the daemon driving Ahab’s soul. Ahab is the captain, the pilot, of the Pequod – however Fedallah is the ‘captain of Ahab’s soul’.
What is Ahab’s fate? What is Fedallah’s fate? The fates of each are fused.
Ahab pilots the Pequod to the ‘very latitude and longitude’ (the cross) at the equator at which point he first saw, and battled Moby-Dick and lost his leg to the monster. Sighting the whale, the crew of the Pequod undertakes the fighting of the Great Whale, which fighting continues for three days. On the first day of the fighting, Moby-Dick attack’s Ahab’s harpoon boat and destroys it. On the second day, the harpoon boats are again lowered; Ahab wounds the Great Whale; but the whale again attacks Ahab’s harpoon boat. Fedallah is trapped in the harpoon line, and is dragged overboard to his death in the deep.
Lashed round and round to the fish's back; pinioned in the turns upon turns in which, during the past night, the whale had reeled the involutions of the lines around him, the half torn body of the Parsee was seen; his sable raiment frayed to shreds; his distended eyes turned full upon old Ahab. The harpoon dropped from his hand. Befooled, befooled! --drawing in a long lean breath -- Aye, Parsee! I see thee again. --Aye, and thou goest before; and this, this then, is the hearse that thou didst promise. But I hold thee to the last letter of thy word. Where is the second hearse? Away, mates, to the ship! those boats are useless now; repair them if ye can in time, and return to me; if not, Ahab is enough to die --Down, men! the first thing that but offers to jump from this boat I stand in, that thing I harpoon.
Moby-Dick, the Great White Whale, is the first hearse, the only not built by mortal hands. This shall be Ahab’s hearse also, as he joins Fedallah the next day, carried by the whale into the deepest part of the sea. The whaling ship Pequod shall be the second hearse, built of American wood. And the hemp that kills Ahab shall be neither hashish nor the hangman’s cord, but the harpoon rope attached to Moby-Dick which catches Ahab about the neck and pulls him underwater, to a death similar to Fedallah, coiled about the body of the whale.
On the third day of battle (the biblical symbolism of ‘three days’ echoes throughout the Old and New Testaments), Ahab and his crew again battle the Great Whale. Moby-Dick, wounded, turns and attacks the Pequod, staving in the huge whaling ship,sinking the Pequod in a massive whirlpool, scattering crewman down into the sea.
In unrelentingly beautiful writing, Melville describes the scene:
From the ship's bows, nearly all the seamen now hung inactive; hammers, bits of plank, lances, and harpoons, mechanically retained in their hands, just as they had darted from their various employments; all their enchanted eyes intent upon the whale, which from side to side strangely vibrating his predestinating head, sent a broad band of overspreading semicircular foam before him as he rushed.
Retribution, swift vengeance, eternal malice were in his whole aspect, and spite of all
that mortal man could do, the solid white buttress of his forehead smote the ship's starboard bow, till men and timbers reeled. Some fell flat upon their faces. Like dislodged trucks, the heads of the harpooneers aloft shook on their bull-like necks. Through the breach, they heard the waters pour, as mountain torrents down a flume.
The ship! The hearse! --the second hearse! cried Ahab from the boat; its wood could only be American!
Diving beneath the settling ship, the whale ran quivering along its keel; but turning under water, swiftly shot to the surface again, far off the other bow, but within a few yards of Ahab's boat, where, for a time, he lay quiescent. I turn my body from the sun. What ho, Tashtego! Let me hear thy hammer. Oh! ye three unsurrendered spires of mine; thou uncracked keel; and only god-bullied hull; thou firm deck, and haughty helm, and Pole-pointed prow, --death-glorious ship! must ye then perish, and without me? Am I cut off from the last fond pride of meanest shipwrecked captains? Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. Ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds, pour ye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piled comber of my death!
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear! The harpoon was darted; the stricken whale flew forward; with
igniting velocity the line ran through the groove; --ran foul. Ahab stooped to clear it; he did clear it; but the flying turn caught him round the neck, and voicelessly as Turkish mutes bowstring their victim, he was shot out of the boat, ere the crew knew he was gone. Next instant, the heavy eye-splice in the rope's final end flew out of the stark-empty tub, knocked down an oarsman, and smiting the sea, disappeared in its depths. For an instant,
the tranced boat's crew stood still; then turned. The ship? Great God, where is the ship? Soon they through dim, bewildering mediums saw her sidelong fading phantom, as in the gaseous Fata Morgana; only the uppermost masts out of water; while fixed by infatuation, or fidelity, or fate, to their once lofty perches, the pagan harpooneers still maintained their sinking lookouts on the sea.
And now, concentric circles seized the lone boat itself, and all its crew, and each floating oar, and every lance-pole, and spinning, animate and inanimate, all round and round in one vortex, carried the smallest chip of the Pequod out of sight. But as the last whelmings intermixingly poured themselves over the sunken head of the Indian at the mainmast, leaving a few inches of the erect spar yet visible, together with long streaming yards of the flag, which calmly undulated, with ironical coincidings, over the destroying billows they almost touched; --at that instant, a red arm and a hammer hovered backwardly uplifted in the open air, in the act of nailing the flag faster and yet faster to the subsiding spar. A sky-hawk that tauntingly had followed the main-truck downwards from its natural home among the stars, pecking at the flag, and incommoding Tashtego there; this bird now chanced to intercept its broad fluttering wing between the hammer and the wood; and simultaneously feeling that etherial thrill, the submerged savage beneath, in his death-gasp, kept his hammer frozen there; and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial beak thrust upwards, and his whole captive form folded in the flag of Ahab, went down with his ship, which, like Satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven along with her, and helmeted herself with it. Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.
The rough, theological North-South alliance/opposition leads to death and sinks both the substance and its shadow into the deep waters of the Flood. The Sun-Hero goes down with the boat and begins a protracted journey through through the underworld which is represented in the Solar Hero myths of all ancient cultures.
In a very real sense, Ahab becomes Ishmael, Ishmael becomes Fedallah, Fedallah becomes Queequeg, and Queequeg becomes Ahab, as the wheel keeps turning, and Time keeps creating manifestations in line with the Law of Time.
What becomes of the East-West alliance/opposition, the humanistic duality of Ishmael/Queequeg?
Queequeg, earlier on the journey, certain of his own death, requests his coffin be prepared (a third hearse of sorts). When he recovers, he turns the coffin into his bed, carving primordial hieroglyphics into the wood of the casket as talismans similar to the tattoos Queequeg bears on his skin. Later, when the ship’s standard-buoy is lost, Queequeg’s coffin is caulked and sealed with pitch to ensure it will float, and is used as a substitute for the ship’s standard-buoy.
When Moby-Dick rams the Pequod, ship-mates are scattered overboard, all about the sea; they are all drawn into the Pequod’s spiral death-dance as the ship sinks out of sight pulling everything and everyone below in the whirlpool. Everyone but Ishmael. Alone among all the crew, Ishmael is thrown far from the Pequod, avoiding the grave concave centripetal pull of the dying ship as it goes under.
As the ship sinks to its southern limits, and all the men of the Pequod with her, Queequeg’s re-finished coffin (with its magical carved incantations), breaks free of its tether and pops again to the surface of the sea. Ishmael climbs aboard the coffin and floats atop the life-buoy, saved by Queequeg’s coffin, upon which he is discovered a day later by the whaling boat The Rachel.
According to Edinger, the Rachel connects to the biblical passage Jeremiah 31, promising the Jews a return from exile:
15 Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work, ”
declares the Lord,
“and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future, ”
declares the Lord,
“and your children shall come back to their own country.”
Jeremiah 31 also contains God’s promise of a ‘new covenant’, a new ‘chosen’ status, and a new Day-Cycle expansion.
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Implicit in surviving the Great Flood (the great catastrophe or World Destruction) is a status of being ‘chosen’ by God for this New Covenant – as the New Sun replacing the Old Sun and casting Darkness back down into the pit or into the ocean. It is interesting that Ishmael, the primary narrator of Moby-Dick, is the only person to survive this specific Holocaust. As the primary narrator, he is the story-teller; and the story-teller is the writer, the heavenly scribe, who must live so that the story gets told.
We will remember that Ishmael, in our gallery of types, corresponds to the Romantic Artist, the Medieval Autumnal Artist, who turns his back on civilization and returns to nature, returns to the abyss, returns to Death and survives to be re-born again, not as himself, but as the Renaissance Artist, the one who believes in life, light, reason and community.
TIME CYCLES IN AMERICAN HISTORY
(Making Sense of the Senseless – The Logic of the Irrational Time Cycle)
Readers may wonder why such a long digression into the symbolic intricacies of Moby-Dick (an opaque jeremiad as it is) is necessary to consider America’s current financial disorders. Be reminded that we are looking at the real cause of this world-destruction – and by real I mean the underlying metaphysical causes -- a task which, by definition, excludes surface conditions as being anything more than a chain of effects generated by the Law itself. Moby-Dick is a novel about the Laws of Nature – about both the Laws of Nature’s Body and the Laws of Nature’s Mind. That is why we look at reality through this metaphorical lens.
It is my belief, also, that the American Ship of State, analogically the Pequod, has just been struck by the whale we have been stalking for several decades (or perhaps, on a larger scale, describing Western Civilization, several millennia). The whale has turned on us, has staved in our hull; and our survival as a nation is now being threatened. Learning to speak the symbolic language (in which scriptural texts, and all serious literature, like Moby-Dick, are written) will help us to survive this coming catastrophe.
Ishmael had a natural virtue that protected him. Ishmael had a powerful Guardian Angel protecting him. America must also find her own natural virtue and her own Guardian Angel to protect her from the holocaust we are currently entering.
In our model of history, which has much is common with and owes recognition to the views of Giambattista Vico, the 18th Century romantic critic of pure reason and re-discoverer of antique wisdom, speaks of the birth of an idea coming in the Winter, in the form of an animating theological idea.
If we look at American history, excluding for the moment the long history of tribal America and its tribal native inhabitants – we will not exclude the Indian history from our picture however, for the tribal history, whether it be the tribal Goths or the tribal Hopi or tribal Shoshoni or tribal Romans lays a bed in which the spiritual seeds reside, germinate, and finally take root when awakened – we see the (transplanted) Puritan Theological State in America taking root from 1492 until the dynamics of the American revolution shook the state loose from its theological root and separated church and state dramatically.
From the Puritan roots evolve the aristocratic Renaissance Men of the Revolution, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Hamilton. In a very broad sense we have two pieces of our ‘American microcosm’ puzzle in place. The tyrant part of the puzzle (the Ahab at Noon, the All-Powerful Father Figure) is harder to place, with its non-mystical rational religion and the triumph of business and the material god. The Romantic Autumn is rather clear: there have been several of these. Clearly, the Melville era – the 1830’s -- with romantic writers such as Henri David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Emily Dickinson marks a romantic turning away from Calvinistic materialism which had dominated America for the first half of her existence.
Ann Woodlief writes in American Romanticism:
Politically the time was ripe. The 18th century left a heritage of optimism about man's possibilities and perfectability. The lofty ideals of democracy asserted the value of individuals, regardless of class, and education. Of course, these values primarily applied to white males. In fact, tensions were building which cried out for creative release. Inequality, not equality, was the rule for many, especially women and slaves. The clash of these realities with the idealistic rhetoric led writers to take extremes, championing individualism yet also seeing the darker sides of a fragmenting society.
Economically America had never been wealthier. But the rising materialism and focus on business at the cost of the mind and the spirit was spawning reform movements all over America. Over 150 intentional communities -- from the Shakers to Oneida to Brook Farm -- were formed by people disillusioned by the materialistic values and inequities of American society.
Yet there was enough affluence for people to develop and appreciate writing and reading, and a growing leisure class with cultural pretensions. There was one period of crisis -- the Panic of 1837 -- but that only increased the drive toward material values.
Religion, always a basic concern for Americans, was also ready for romanticism and its kind of pantheistic religion. The stern dogmas of Calvinism had been replaced by rationalistic Unitarianism and Deism. However, they were so rational and so determined to avoid the emotional excesses of the Great Awakening that they seemed dry and cold, unable to satisfy deep spiritual yearnings. People, especially Emerson, were looking for new spiritual roots, personally involving and meaningful, but not traditional.
Connected to this was the rise and professionalization of science, which seemed to many to conflict with religion. Many felt a psychic dislocation, that the bottom had dropped out of their world since traditional values and conventional reality were just not enough for them. They tried to impose meaning individually, for institutions and dogmas seemed to possess little truth. Philosophically, they reacted against the materialistic educational theories of Locke and rationalism. They found Truth more a matter of intuition and imagination than logic and reason. They rejected the mechanistic view of the universe so dear to Franklin and Deists and opted for a more organic view, seeing the world more as dynamic and living.
Aesthetically, the romantics were also in a state of revolt, primarily against the restraints of classicism and formalism. Form, particularly traditional literary forms, mattered much less than inspiration, enthusiasm, and emotion. Good literature should have heart, not rules, although it is never so simple as that.
There were specifically American components to the romanticism of our authors. They were particularly aware of nature, especially its wild aspects, and were beginning to comprehend that it was being lost as fast as they were appreciating it. The physical frontiers were being conquered in this time of "manifest destiny" and there was little wilderness to explore (and exploit). They turned to artistic, metaphysical, and intellectual frontiers to recapture the ecstasy of exploration and discovery.
Reaction was a major, but not the only, mode for these romantics. They confronted the distinctively American pressures for conformity and definitions of success in terms of money. They spoke out, to some degree, against slavery, promoting the ideals of Jacksonian democracy, that "any man can do anything" (if he's white and educated). They sought to creative a distinctive American literary voice; it was time for the cultural revolution to follow the political one. They felt compelled to declare cultural and individual independence from Europe, even though they had little idea of what form that could take.
This could as well be describing the 1960’s in America as the 1830’s. Of course, the 1960’s represented another Autumn in America’s cyclic manifestation. Hippies, with their loud colors and loud music and loud politics, were the colorful leaves falling from America’s Tree of Life. Intentional communities – hippie communes – dotted the American landscape (and spread all over the world, in fact). The Artist, as a type of American Hero, replaced the Businessman/Entrepreneur, who had replaced the Warrior. Inequality was no longer acceptable. The Soul joined the dark races and women in an act of moral solidarity. Communism rose up as a force of order antagonistic to ‘selfish’ capitalism.
Some historians, including Woodlief herself, speak of the terms ‘renaissance’ and ‘romanticism’ interchangeably. From my view, of course, this is not accurate. The ‘renaissance’ moves away from Nature, away from mystical Religion, toward reason and empire and materialism, with its concurrent blessing by a rationalist Religion – embracing the pure, unsullied, perfected forms of classicism. ‘Romanticism’ moves away from Empire, away from materialism, and toward Nature, the wisdom of antiquity, embracing ‘nativism’ (and nativity) and rejecting classicism (universalist idealism) in favor of nationalism, a form of localism.
In modern political terms, the ‘renaissance’ moves toward fascism and the racism of white over black; ‘romanticism’ moves away from fascism, moves toward democracy, communism, and toward the integration (interweaving) of white and black, light and dark. The ‘renaissance’ leads to the separation of men and women in society, white and black in the world; ‘romanticism’ leads, eventually, to the mystic marriage (re-marriage) of light and darkness, man and woman, in the deep part of the Night.
One can speak of ‘romanticism’ as a period of ‘cultural re-birth’, for the artist, as an archetype, is very important in both the manifestation of the Dawn (the renaissance, the creation of the culture as civilization) and the Dusk (romanticism, the creation of counter-culture as anti-civilization). In one sense, the Renaissance Hero seeks to re-create classical, foreign high Apollonian culture, while the Romantic Hero rebels against the classical and seeks to (re-) create a nationalist, nativist, locally-organic Dionysian counter-culture.
Few counter-cultures in recent history have expressed the ‘Dionysian culture’ with such adamantine vigor as the 1960’s counter-culture. We will remember that Dionysus (as Bacchus) was the god of wine, the god of revelry and intoxication (as opposed to the god of sobriety, represented by Apollo), the god of orgies, the god of free love, the god of drugs, the god of romance, the god of rebellion against the established order. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Anti-war. Anti-material. Anti-urban. Sense over abstract description of the senses. Naturalness; as opposed to the artificial quality of the urban civilization. The hippie counter-culture of the 1960’s was the perfect manifestation of Dionysian spirit.
There was a similar romanticism that occurred in the 1930’s, on the heels of the last major international deflation. Marxism became the official rebellion of the intellectual class during that phase of romanticism. That is, the soul chose to side with the poor, after the body-soul relationship had ended so badly with the international financial collapse in 1929.
During the Renaissance (the Dawn), the Son sides with the Father (and becomes the Father) becoming the Word Made Flesh, expanding Light and Life and Wealth and Masculine Power, describing only the virtues of the world, expressing a Unity with the Father that makes Him/Them (and his society) all-powerful, and irresistible. During the Romantic Fall (the Dusk), the Son turns against the Father, becomes a rebellious angel, condemns the rich, champions the poor, pulls the Sky down (metaphorically), describing only the evils of the world, becomes a revolutionary.
During the Renaissance, the Hero eats from the Tree of Life. Life allows a certain moral paradox, a duality of character. One is both good and evil, because Life demands this.
During the Romantic Autumn, the Anti-Hero eats from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He condemns his father, condemns himself, condemns his society, since he now confronts the shadow side of the incarnation, the roots of the Tree of Life he finds beneath the Earth, the roots of the Tree of Life being, themselves, the limbs of the Tree of Knowledge, that have been reflected into the underworld.
1929 Night Cycle Ego-Deflation begins –
1947 Day Cycle Ego-Inflation begins --
1965 Night Cycle Ego-Deflation begins –
1983 Day Cycle Ego-Inflation begins --
2001 Night Cycle Ego-Deflation begins –
2019 Day Cycle Ego-Inflation begins –
So, we have periods of Romantic Ego Deflation (emanations of the anti-hero) in the 1930’s, the 1960’s, and we have intimations of a similar Romantic Ego Deflation occurring with the election of Barak Obama in 2008.
We know that we had a very clear inflation of Ego (manifestation of the Cowboy Masculinity) in 1982, with the election of Ronald Reagan. Did we have a similar manifestation of Cowboy Masculinity in 1947? This is not clear to me. We did have a re-polarization of East and West, Capitalist and Communist after World War II, as the Cold War was kicked into high gear, after a period of East-West alliance during World War II.
In fact, a similar ‘friendliness’ between Western intellectuals (counter-culturists) and the East (communism, first, and Eastern mysticism, next) occurred in both the 1930’s-40’s and in the 1960’s-70’s. My prediction is that we will see a similar re-connection between East and West as we sink more deeply into the current economic catastrophe that too much capitalism has brought on.
The 1920’s and 30’s saw another explosion of artistic production in the world and in America. Some of America’s greatest writers appeared on the scene: Sinclair Lewis, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, T.S. Elliot, Ezra Pound, Eugene O’Neill, Robert Frost, John Dos Passos, Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemmingway, Willa Cather, Theodore Dreiser, Gertrude Stein, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, Edna Ferber, Kathrine Anne Porter, Nelia Larsen, Countee Cullen. The novel reached its apex as an art-form, in the experimental works of genius produced by James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, William Faulkner, and D. H. Lawrence.
The 1960’s saw a similar regeneration of artistic experimentation and flowering in literature (Joseph Heller, J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, and many others), the plastic arts, cinema and especially music – rock music, which spawned a revolution in thinking that spread like a wild fire across the globe. Music became a kind of literary act. Music and poetry were married. Rock albums became conceptual novels, with sustained narrative dramatic themes containing messages of morality, political rebellion, spirituality, messages that transcended race and culture.
A similar fertilization of art will also occur over the next generation, if my calculations are correct. Art as a device for entertainment characterizes the Ego-Expansion phase; and especially art as a device for the generation of wealth. Art as a commodity. There is no real meaning to the art during these phases. The art is essentially throw-away art. The art generated in America since the advent of Ronald Reagan in 1982 has been largely throw-away art. Art has become a profession. There is not really much difference between artists and insurance salesmen. Each is ‘in it’ for the profit – and meaning is really an unnecessary (or even a problematic) element in this life procedure. The artist needs money for his family; so does the insurance salesman. That is the Tree of Life, watered by surface needs. The Daylight grows a weaker and weaker shadow; and, hidden in the shadow, is the meaning of the act. There is no polarization between Soul and body during the Daylight. Without polarization, meaning disappears.
During the Daylight, society is one big corporation, all working for the same ends, all parties part of the team. Life is a kind of sport. The strongest body, the strongest will, wins the prize. And the losers should not complain.
But as the shadow grows, animating the Romantic Anti-Hero, art becomes filled with meaning. Polarization between the Corporation (the Body) and the Soul and Spirit sends the society into the Chaos of disunity. Materialism becomes a problem. The life of the Body is no longer trusted. There is some other dimension that is illuminated. Morality appears. The society meets its better angels and the angels are angry about what has been done in their name. This is the Law of Karma.
Since the Sun-Hero (the masculine Cowboy energy of expansion) is killed or wounded by the darkness at the apex of its climb into heaven, we should expect to see some form of symbolic death or wounding occur at or near the beginning of each Ego-Deflation period.
We do see this in 2001, with the Muslim attack on America on September 11, 2001. The destruction of the Twin Towers was clearly a wounding of the masculine spirit in America, the energy of business, expansion, internationalism, and the propagation of a single language, and a universal Earth culture.
The tower is a very graphic phallic symbol; and we will remember that castration is an image of the mythological wounding of the masculine Sun-Hero. In Greek myth, Castor and Pollux were the Light and Dark Brothers – the Gemini Twins. Pollux was immortal (the Darkness is not born and does not die); but Castor had to die. Castor shares the root with the word ‘castration’ – the act of ‘castration’ in the context we are using it may be an actual assassination or it may be merely increased regulation of the business class after it engineers its own destruction by (‘bullishly’) running amok in the financial china closet. Regulation is a form of (‘snip-snip’) the female force working to take away some of the wildness and risk and unpredictability of the masculine bull. Taxes are a form of castration. Also, a cut in military is a form of castration.
Was there a Sun-Hero murdered or wounded in America in or around 1965? Yes. Clearly John F. Kennedy was a Sun-Hero, cut down in his prime: the beautiful Sun God, destroyed by his own shadow. Kennedy was very clearly assassinated by the CIA or some shadow form of a domestic intelligence group, perhaps with the assistance of the mafia, both of which wanted Cuba back from the communists for further American business exploitation.
Who was the Sun-Hero murdered or wounded in the world in or around 1929? This is not clear to me. Perhaps Wall Street was the emblem of death in 1929: the collapse of Capitalism (the Tree of Life) under the weight of greed and selfish corporate and personal opportunism.
The Seventh Day of Creation again: when everything stops. When the world ends and sinks out of sight. Something falls, even if we cannot hear it clearly.
I mentioned the Romanticism of Melville, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau in the 1830’s. To fit our picture, the Romanticism would have to be gauged a little earlier than 1830. However, in the example below, 1803 marks the Midnight Hour, as the New Idea of Manifestation and Will is born in the soil of the Mother Principle, at the darkest hour, with Physical Light and hope almost nonexistent (which corresponds, of course, to the period of rule of Jimmy Carter, 1977 – 1981 – in our most recent Midnight Experience. Jimmy Carter represents the saintly side of the American soul. He is not worldly – he is moral, inwardly directed, educated, noble, gentle, concerned with the saving of the American soul, a friend to women, blacks, the poor, the underprivileged.)
The Sun defeats the Darkness in 1811. The Sun peaks and begins its decline in 1821 – but the Sun is not truly overthrown until 1830. In 1830, the Romantic Angel wins and essentially rules until 1848. The Angel of Light then rules, first as the Son, from 1857, and then as the Father who falls, from 1866.
1803 Day Cycle Ego-Inflation begins --
1821 Night Cycle Ego-Deflation begins –
1839 Day Cycle Ego-Inflation begins –
A way of looking at this same information in a slightly different way, would be:
As a reminder, we would expect to see a significant increase in manifest masculine power (business strength, reproduction strength – more births per capita – and foreign military intrigue) from, in the above example, 1803 through 1821. Of course, we see exactly that in the Monroe Doctrine (1823, a bit later than we would have expected vis-ą-vis our time cycle schedule) which essentially threatened war with an European or foreign nation attempting to colonize or threaten any state or area of continental America. The Monroe Doctrine was a secondary declaration of independence, and a precursor of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny that surfaced in the early 1840s.
We would expect to see an economic downturn beginning around 1821, with more civil and social unrest, a growth in feminist and underclass consciousness – perhaps in this case exemplified by more sympathy with the plight of the American Indian – and a higher death rate – from 1821 through 1839.
The storms come (the wind begins to blow, bringing storms and combat between the Light and the Dark) at Dawn and at Dusk. So we should expect wars and/or civil wars at 1812, 1830, 1848, 1866.
We should expect arrogance and economic depression at 1821 and 1857.
We should expect introspection, an otherworldly sense of detachment at 1803, 1839 and 1875.
Does the year 1803 really represent the Midnight of this cycle of American history? Thomas Jefferson is elected president in 1800. Jefferson is an educated southern aristocrat, a farmer, a gentleman, a friend of the poor, a man with a rich interior life, uninterested in worldly political entanglements. A democratic Republican (the Democrats of this era) who virulently opposed the Federalists (the Republicans of this era) and their schemes for a National Bank, for government of, by and for the Business Class, by bankers, and by a European-looking East Coats (urban) monied aristocracy. Jefferson is a prototype for Jimmy Carter, a man who described himself as a ‘Washington outsider’, a man suspicious of the power establishment and the centralized power of the imperial presidency in Washington. Carter later described Jefferson in his memoirs as ‘a great humanitarian who love the common people’. The same could be said of Carter. It could not be said of Ronald Reagan or George Bush Senior however.
Did ‘Ego-Expansion’ begin in 1803? Yes, in a manner of speaking. In May of 1803, Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from the French (we will remember that Jefferson trusted the French more than he trusted the British; the Federalists trusted the British, some even wanting a king in American, and did not trust the French, the breeding ground of mob democracy and revolution) for ‘inward’ expansion. One need not look back too many years to see a similar virulent alliance/oppositon between Republicans-England against Democrats-French. During the Iraq War, a vengeful anti-French atmosphere rose in American, nourished by the Bush Administration – nourished also by French arrogance and self-satisfied hyper-nationalism. We will see quite clearly that the British represent the Male Principle (reason, will, strength, fire) in the International order; the French represent the Female Principle (emotion, love, softness, water, fickleness). The Dawn is the force of resurrection (a rose erection – that is, a hard, disciplined, fertilizing penis); the Dusk force has less interest in raping the world, and has more interest in finding completion through a resolved emotional wholeness, to overcome a recent fragmented condition – the woman represents home and hope to him at this stage, rather than a something above which he must stand.
The Dawn and Dusk, as I have written, usually represent conflict, the Dawn a triumph of the manifest destiny of business expansion and the Dusk, quite often, social and civil strife, with emphasis on fairness, equality, and help for poor citizens. The Dawn loves power and wealth; all citizens, given the rife optimism, begin to imagine themselves either directly or indirectly potential royalty, potential millionaires and aristocrats. The Dusk hates the rich, hates the aristocracy, hates privilege, hates injustice, hates realization of their own failure, fears for its own survival (Death is heavy in the air), and seeks a social system which offers aid to those who have fallen.
1812 should be a time of a revolution against an outside power, similar to 1776, the revolution for independence against British Imperialism in America. And it was. America declared war on England in 1812, after Great Britain impressed American seamen and blockaded American ports. Interestingly, the New England and Mid-Atlantic states did not support the resolution of war in the Congress, since their cultural and trade ties were more clearly tied with England than were those of the other regions of America. British troops invaded many American cities, including Washington D.C., where they set the Congress and the White House on fire. This war lasted two years, before the British signed the Treaty of Ghent, ending the second war between these two nations in less than fifty years.
Do we find an expansion of the American Empire, business wealth and science, technology and political will between 1803 and 1821? And do we find a economic depression around 1821?
1817 is dubbed the ‘Era of Good Feeling’. This is comparable to the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and ‘Happy Decade’ of the 1990’s in America, before the economy imploded and left millions out of work and with little hope.
The Panic of 1819 was, according to historian David Reynolds, ‘the first great American depression’. Reynolds writes in Waking Giant: American in the Age of Jackson:
All the way back during the Presidency of James Monroe, American workers got a harsh lesson in the vicissitudes of capitalism when the economy crashed. The Panic of 1819 initiated the nation’s first major depression.
As in the case today, that crash, too, resulted from a confluence of national and international events. In the heady atmosphere after the War of 1812, both U.S. imports and exports surged.
This was the first of several severe downturns that would tarnish America’s otherwise vigorous economy throughout the 19th century.
European demand for American goods, especially agricultural staples like cotton, tobacco, and flour, increased. To feed the overheated economy, state banks proliferated, and credit was easy.
The federal government offered for sale vast tracts of western lands, fueling real estate speculation funded by bank notes. Reserves of specie, or hard money, plummeted, especially in the West and the South.
As early as 1814, Thomas Jefferson warned, “We are to be ruined by paper, as we were formerly by the old Continental paper.” Two years later, he asserted that “we are under a bank bubble” that would soon burst.
The Second Bank of the United States was supposed to steady the economy, but gross mismanagement in its early phase sapped its effectiveness.
The bank’s first president, William Jones, instead of taking steps to regulate the nation’s currency, doled out huge loans that fed speculation and inflation. He also kept lax watch over state banks, where fraud and embezzlement created chaos.
A congressional committee’s proposal to terminate the nearly insolvent Bank of the United States had little backing — because 40 members of Congress held stock in the bank.
The bank’s problems arose at precisely the wrong moment, when the economy needed a firm rudder during its postwar expansion. Jones resigned and was replaced by the South Carolina congressman Langdon Chews — and later by the Philadelphia lawyer Nicholas Biddle.
Although the bank sharply contracted loans in 1818, the damage had been done. The Bank of the United States, far from helping the economy, was among the destabilizing forces that led to the depression of 1819.
At the same time, swelling crop yields in Europe reduced the demand for American farm products, whose prices plunged. An economic contraction in Europe led banks there to reduce credit. The crisis abroad, coupled with the contraction at home, forced American banks to call in their loans as well.
By early 1819, credit, once so easy, was unavailable to many Americans. With specie reserves depleted many American banks failed, and other businesses followed. Sales of public lands plummeted. Unemployment soared, and in some regions food and other basic necessities were difficult to come by.
Especially hard hit were cities outside of New England like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. Farmers suffered too, though many survived by resuming a subsistence lifestyle.
With insolvency rife, prisons were overcrowded with debtors. The depression lingered for two years. It was the first of several severe downturns that would tarnish America’s otherwise vigorous economy throughout the 19th century.
The Panic of 1819 fostered mistrust of banks, bankers and paper money. The volatile Tennessee politician Davy Crockett spoke for many when he dismissed “the whole banking system” as nothing more than “a species of swindling on a large scale.”
The aging Thomas Jefferson complained that the new generation, “having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of 1776, now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and money incorporations... riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry.”
The Second Bank of the United States was supposed to steady the economy, but gross mismanagement in its early phase sapped its effectiveness. This mistrust of corporations was aggravated by landmark decisions handed down in 1819 by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall. In Dartmouth College v. Woodward, the Supreme Court protected private corporations against interference by the state governments that had created them. In McCullough v. Maryland, it ruled that the Bank of the United States, though privately run, was a creation of the federal government that could not be touched by the states. These pro-capitalist court rulings aggravated class divisions, which escalated over the next decade. The 1820s saw the meteoric rise of Andrew Jackson, who defended working-class Americans against what he characterized as the oppression of a wealthy elite epitomized by the central bank.
The recession of 1819-1822, which was blamed largely on bankers, was one of the economic forces that made many Americans look to Jackson as the savior of the working class.
Reynolds speaks of the 1819 Panic creating a recession that lasted through 1822. But this does not fit our picture of an 18-year Night Cycle experience.
Using our logic, the ‘depression’ should have lasted from about 1821 to about 1839. In fact, this is what we do see.
Panic and Depression, 1832. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson refused to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States; and Jackson transferred government monies to state banks. Nicholas Biddle, head of the National Bank, called in all outstanding commercial loans. A panic followed; and then a recession. Eight hundred banks closed; and the national banking system collapsed. One third of manual laborers were out of work in New York City alone. And the national unemployment rate was over 10%.
Panic and Depression, 1836. President Andrew Jackson comes to recognize that his defeat of the National Bank in 1832 might present long-range problems for the country. In an effort to short-circuit the inflationary consequences of unlimited printing of money by unregulated state banks, Jackson issued the Specie Circular, which law required all public lands be paid for in gold or silver, hard currency. Land sales and prices collapse. The hoarding of precious metals. Land and metals speculation explodes.
Panic and Depression, 1837-1843. Historian Reynolds writes that five weeks after Martin Van Buren’s election, national pessimism and erratic bank policies sank the economy and triggered ‘the worst depression that the United States had known’. Reynolds writes that this fourth panic since 1819 lasted from 1837 through 1843:
The  downturn resulted from various international and native economic developments.
In 1836, the Bank of England, fearing a run on its deposits of specie (silver and gold), sharply contracted credit. British companies curtailed their business with the United States. Foreign demand for U.S. cotton plummeted, cutting cotton prices nearly in half.
Southern planters suffered and many northern companies associated with the cotton trade failed. The Specie Circular, which mandated that speculators could purchase public land only with hard money, caused a drain of specie from eastern to western banks.
In April 1837, world prices suddenly collapsed, creating a run on banks. On May 10, 1837, all banks in New York suspended specie payments — that is, they refused to redeem paper currency in silver or gold. Banks in New Orleans and other cities soon did the same.
The specie suspensions caused panic, which in turn led to widespread bank failures. The New York diarist George Templeton Strong said, of the banks, “So they go — smash, crash. Where in the name of wonder is to be the end of it?”
All told, around 40% of America’s 850 banks soon were out of business. Most sectors of the economy slumped. Business failure brought unemployment. By January 1838, half a million Americans were jobless.
The economy then briefly rebounded, but another contraction abroad brought on a second panic in October 1839, leading to four more years of depression. Wholesale prices tumbled, and the nation’s money supply shrank. Imports plummeted, as did property values. America would not again see such deep, prolonged economic malaise until the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Predictably, President Van Buren was blamed for the downturn. Whigs insisted that Jackson’s reckless policies, carried forward by Van Buren, had wreaked havoc on the economy.
What was needed, they argued, was government-sponsored stabilization of the economy through a new national bank. As the “out” party, the Whigs profited politically from the depression, gaining in state elections at moments when it was especially bad. Still, as the 1840 election approached, Van Buren had reason to be confident of re-election.
He had consolidated the Democratic Party. He had averted war and subdued sectional tensions. He had run a tight financial ship with the assistance of generally skilled administrators. In his view, he had put the nation on a course toward economic recovery by divorcing the government from banking. He did not seem to recognize the depth of the nation’s crisis. A much later Democratic presidential candidate would heed advice that should have been shouted in Van Buren’s ear: “It’s the economy, stupid!”
Despite the small upturn of the economy in the middle of Van Buren’s term, the nation had never seen such hard times as it did under him.
It was difficult for many Americans to fathom the withdrawal of the government’s money from many banks at a time when money was in such short supply. The Whig arguments for an expanded currency, relaxed credit and governmental participation in everyday finance made sense at a time when scarcity reigned.
The Democrats’ largest base was among rural and urban workers. The Whigs appealed mainly to business interests in the North and plantation owners in the South, but also to some sectors of the working class. Neither party was wholly “the people’s party,” though the Democrats had seized this image.
The Whigs believed in government control of the economy through some version of the American system. They tended to be affiliated with movements like temperance, prison reform, nativism and anti-prostitution.
The turnout on election day was exceptionally strong. Voter participation, which had stood at 58% of eligible voters in 1836, reached an astonishing 80% in 1840, setting a pattern for high turnouts that continued through the 19th century. Although the Log Cabin hoopla contributed to the excitement, recent historians have shown that it was the mass hunger for economic reform that brought out voters in unprecedented numbers. The Whigs surged to victory.
Reynolds’ description of the differences between the Democratic and Whig party principles shows the difficulty in assigning fixed labels to political parties, since these two parties tend to adjust to one another over time. The Whigs ‘appealed mainly to business interests in the North and plantation owners in the south’. The Democrats largest base ‘was among rural and urban workers’. This seems pretty clear. The Democrats were on the side of the poor; the Whigs (Republicans) were on the side of the rich. The Whigs ‘believed in government control of the economy through some version of the American system’ – this really means, I think, the Whigs wanted a National Bank; and they wanted the banks in control of the economy. This does not really sound like Republicans of today, who want private banks to run the world; and want government ‘interference’ reduced.
Whig excitement over ‘moral’ (almost biblical) issues like temperance, anti-prostitution, prison reform sounds largely like today, where Republican outrage over gun control, abortion rights, prayer in school, stem-cell research rings somewhat hollow when compared to the overwhelming silence connected to outright business theft of private and taxpayer funds. The Republican outrage seems more directed at the government giving failing businesses bail-out money rather than at corrupt and criminal businesses for engineering their own demise. Remember, the businessman is the hero of the Republicans – they cannot very well crucify their own hero, so they have turned their anger, instead, on the messenger.
We will remember that a basic tenet of early Republicanism (Federalism, Whigism) that a strong federal government was needed to protect the monied interests in America from the tendencies of state governments to be too populist or too democratic. Early Democrats (democratic Republicans) argued for states’ rights, for local autonomy, for a weak central government, and for a non-imperialistic federal government and foreign policy. These principles have flipped several times in history, most notably in the 1950’s, when democrats began arguing for a strong federal government to enforce federal civil rights laws, protecting the Underclass (nonwhite) from domination by the Overclass (white). A split in the democratic party then occurred, with southern democrats aligning more with northern and western Republicans in arguing for states rights, against federal mandates. The new alliance of Republican and southern white Democrat carried Nixon to victory in 1968 – and became the New Republican Party of the late twentieth century.
State’s rights meant one thing to Democrats in the 1800’s, protection from the Big Business and Banking Class of northeast America and their drive for an America that was urban, industrialized and imperialistic (world trade is imperialistic by nature); whereas, state’s rights for the New Republican Party of the twentieth century was founded in racism (opposition to federal civil rights laws) and old-time Bible-thumping anti-humanism (abortion, school-prayer, gun-control, stem-cell research issues).
If Dusk is 1830 in our picture of cyclical American history, we should expect a Romantic, anti-hero to appear on the scene at approximately this time, a fighter for the poor, the working classes, armed against the rich aristocrats.
In 1828, Andrew Jackson is elected President of the United States. Jackson is a southern populist, friend of the working class, enemy of big business and banking, and decidedly not an aristocrat.
It is interesting that Jackson was nearly elected in 1824, but southern aristocrat Henry Clay threw his support away from Jackson, to East Coast aristocrat John Quincy Adams, for which support Clay was appointed as Secretary of State in Adams’ administration. Regional alliances meant less than class alliances and personal fortunes apparently. The southern aristocrats viewed Jackson suspiciously as his supporters among the working poor in the north and south smacked too much of ‘mob-democracy’, feared equally by southern plantation-owners (and slave owners) and northern (or more accurately north-eastern) businessmen. Andrew Jackson opposed the National Bank, as had Thomas Jefferson – and Jackson abolished it when president. Andrew Jackson writes:
It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes. Mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges... which are employed altogether for their [mutual] benefit…. No American should have to live under the oppression of a sprawling oversized central government; or suffer the loss of personal autonomy and liberties to perfunctory bureaucrats; or endure the invasion of privacy by officious functionaries; or struggle through a life trying to stay ahead of inflation; or endure the nightmare of over regulation and criminalization; or tolerate mass corruption and fraud by self serving elected officials; or to grind out a living only to be ravaged by labor-wage taxes while Federal Reserve Bankers get rich off baseless currency; or die fighting in some needless war.
We recall, of course, that American wars, especially today, but earlier as well, were almost always fought by the working poor Americans for the sake of American business interests. That is, the poor fought and died and were maimed and crippled while the rich sat home and cheered from the shore, living in safety and comfort, largely in disdain of the American working poor.
Andrew Jackson was a friend of the white working poor in America. He was not a friend to the slave or the Native American however. He openly ignored federal policy and contracts signed with the Cherokee Nation and forcibly evicted them from ancestral homelands in Oklahoma, freeing up more land for white ownership and westward expansion of southern plantations. Jackson seemed to share Jefferson’s vision for America, of a peaceful Greek-like agrarian republic stretching westward over the North American continent: an ‘extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, occupied by more than 12 million happy people, and filled with the blessing of liberty, civilization and religion.’
In the romantic literature of this time, we do see, however, in the writing of Melville and James Fennimore Cooper, Mark Twain, and in the newspapers of William Lloyd Garrison, a growing intellectual opposition to the institution of slavery, and a more positive portrayal of ‘savage cultures’ (the Ego’s shadow) in popular culture.
In 1831, with darkness settling in, Nat Turner, an educated slave in Virginia, led an insurrection of slaves on a killing spree of white residents near Southampton. In all, 70 whites were killed. Over 100 slaves were killed in retaliation.
We should note that at Dawn in our time-cycle of historical developments, white domination of black (and hatred of the shadow) wins out and carries through until Noon, when the shadow is thoroughly defeated. By the same token, Dusk is a time when black defeats white, and dominates white through Midnight when black hatred of white also finds its peak. Dusk should be a time when black violence against whites escalates, when Black Panthers, Black Muslims, ‘Black Pride’ movements manifest and become strong forces of anti-law, seeking anti-hero justice for past injustice. Black power generally should be growing from the killing of the White Father Figure, Light, at Noon, through the re-birth of Light, at Midnight.
The 1831 killing of whites in the Nat Turner insurrection fits in to this time frame.
The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland in 1966.
The Nation of Islam (Black Muslims) was founded in Detroit in 1930.
Noon is where Adolph Hitler triumphs, with his shadow and adversary, the Jew, nearly eradicated. Likewise, Midnight is the point in our time-cycle of historical development when black hatred of whites should also find its peak. Whites (light) have almost no power at Midnight.
The Soul is on the side of the Blacks at Night; and on the side of Whites during the Day. This is a balancing mechanism. Jehovah gives and Jehovah takes away. The Soul is the female (Water) element. The Soul attaches herself to the Body and to the Mind sequentially.
Let’s remember also that when we speak of White and Black we are not only speaking about racial types and skin colors. White is Daylight and is the Sun and is Positive Electrical Energy (generative). Black is Nightlight and is the Moon and is Negative Electrical Energy (receptive). In any given relationship, the black man could be the white force (more positive) and the white man could be the black force (more negative). The black man could be white and the black woman could be black. The white woman could be white and the black man black. The black woman could be white and the white man black. All racial types fit this descriptions: the Asian man can be the yang force and the white man the yin force. The Asian woman can be the yang force (although most Asian men will probably debate this) and the Asian man the yin force. The same is true for Hispanic, American Indian….all racial or ethnic types.
Each individual is made up of all four types of force we describe in our historical cycle blueprint. I am Michael the Archangel at Dawn, driving Satan (my own darkness, pessimism, longing for death and destruction) down as I utilize positive energy to regain my sense of hope and the strength of willful activity. I am also Julius Caesar at Noon, seeking to enslave the world to my own sense of what is right and needs to be done. I am Melville and James Joyce and Marcel Proust and W.B. Yeats at Dusk, when I turn my back on my own creation and abstract my will from the material world and pray for its demise. I am also the darkened face of the Dark Monster Siva who lives down at the bottom of the well, seeking to kill myself and the entire world with me, seeing only the negative values of the world, seeing only darkness. I am also Jesus Christ, Horus, Apollo, and every other Sun-Hero born of the virgin Moon who re-discovers value in life and rises up out of the darkness to ascend the Magic Mountain (Aetna, Olympus, Sinai, Ararat) to find the Father again in his Heaven.
It is a complex task to simplify all the complex compositions of dark and light into elemental symbols that define a stage in the cycles of history.
When I speak of the Black Strength Movements (Night Cycles) I must also pay close attention to the rise and fall of feminist movements. The most recent feminist movement will be born at Noon (1965), will achieve a kind of battlfield victory at Dusk (1974), will be at their greatest extent of power at Midnight (1983), and will be cast down and defeated at Dawn (1992).
In some ways, symbolically-speaking, we can see the Black Movement of the 1960-70 era defeated at Dawn in 1992 in the guise of an incident somewhat similar to the insurrection of Nat Turner in 1831. In 1993, an unemployed Jamaican black man named Colin Ferguson, living in New York, boarded a Long Island Railroad Line car in Garden City, New York and pulled an automatic pistol and began shooting as many white people as he could. He killed six and wounded 19. He said something about wanting to kill as many white people as he could. His original trial lawyers proposed a very innovative argument: that Ferguson suffered from a psychotic condition of black rage when he committed the crime. Ferguson fired his lawyers in order to represent himself. His argument was that he had not done the shooting, that he was being framed by white people for the crime. Notorious liberal attorney William Kuntsler tried to defend Ferguson before the trial began, attempting to argue that Ferguson had been driven to mental illness through years of living in an oppressive, racist society.
Of course, this argument, if believed, would logically have done away with all human laws. This argument would provide legal justification for any black person, any minority, any oppressed person (from any race), anyone feeling he or she was oppressed (from any race or ethnic group), any human being in other words, to kill any person or persons that the aggrieved party (the accused) thought might represent the oppressors, through actual personal oppression, or by way of ancestral complicity. That argument, if accepted, would have essentially reduced humanity once again to the jungle, with a law of only kill or be killed, oppress or be oppressed.
Kunstler argued that Ferguson’s refusal to follow Kunstler’s advice (to plead insanity on the basis of sustained racism) proved Ferguson’s insanity and proved Ferguson’s psychological incompetence. (Only a lawyer would be able to phrase an argument proving sanity was linked to the gospel being sold by that lawyer himself.)
Clearly Ferguson was a murdering racist. He was a black racist, who killed people because they were white. He killed six and wounded almost 20 others and he would have killed many more if he had not been wrestled to the ground by his intended victims. Now if a white man had done the same to a group of blacks in a Selma Church for instance (which a white man or men had done, in fact), a great chorus of distress would have been raised by both black and white people. But when Colin Ferguson killed and wounded white people riding home on a train, very few voices of outrage were heard, and almost no black voices. Black racism was apparently acceptable, understandable, justifiable as retaliation for past sins by the white race. The fact that Kunstler and other white liberals, and blacks, might argue that such generic racial profiling by a black man with a gun in his pocket should be allowed under the law, based on past slights or sins or oppressions, essentially opened the door to all crimes potentially based on the rationale of righteous indignation or vengeance.
There are White racists at Noon and there are Black racists at Midnight and both are unbalanced and dangerous. Murder of innocents by White racists or murder of innocents by Black racists is both unacceptable and must be resisted. The illusion is that one side is right and good; and the other side is wrong and evil. When a being is polarized, they believe this illusion; and they are willing to kill and be killed for this truth.
The Dawn Force, becoming Whole again, understands that all things are a composite of dark and light, of good and bad, of heaven and earth. The Dawn Force is neither White nor Black, but both White and Black, both Day and Night, both Man and Woman. In Jewish Kabbalistic writing, the first man is Adam Kadmon, Day and Night, Man and Woman, High and Low, Angel and Devil, all things compressed into one complex being.
White guilt had ebbed; and was now flowing. The rationale of Night that all blacks were good because they were victims of the whites; and that all whites were bad because they victimized blacks was vanishing as all half-truths eventually vanish. Life is complex. Life almost never conforms to easy, simplex ideals based on either stereotypes or anti-stereotypes.
In the 1990’s I wrote a collection of short-stories entitled The Death of a Liberal. This series of stories examine, as I describe it, ‘the legacy of the liberalism of the 1960’s from the perspective of the 1990’s – a middle-aged eye being cast back on the shadows of the idealisms of youth. One story -- ‘The Professional’ -- a about a friend of mine, Jeff Smith, who moved to Seattle after finishing architecture school. Jeff was a very talented student, a gifted designer. One early morning, walking to work, Jeff was attacked by a black man who hit him over the head with a baseball bat and stole his wallet. This was essentially the end of Jeff’s life. He could not recover from the attack. He lost his passion for architecture. He lived in fear. He finally bought a gun and began looking for his attacker. Jeff learns the attacker goes by the street name ‘Batman’. Here is an excerpt from the story:
Jeff didn’t give up. He performed his new ritual aggressively, becoming, in his own mind, a citizen policeman. People in the ghetto didn’t bother him. They probably sensed that he was armed, perhaps with a weapon and more obviously with rage, and so they kept their distance.
Jeff went into Jake’s store each morning, when he had finished his patrol. He tried to get the old man to talk with him. The old man took his money, said nothing. Jeff usually left with donuts and coffee.
One day Jeff showed up in the middle of the afternoon. It was almost Thanksgiving. Three old men, including Jake, were sitting together near the back of a store, near a wood-stove. They were talking and laughing. Jake was surprised to see Jeff so late in the day. He didn’t like seeing the white man come into his store.
Jeff bought a coke. Then he followed Jake back to the wood-stove and pulled up a folding chair to sit with the men.
Jake said: “I didn’t hear anyone invite you to this party, mister.”
Jeff said nothing. He sat down with the old men. He warmed his hands at the stove. Smiled. And said: “Any of you men know a young black man named Batman?”
The three old men became silent.
“Batman hit me in the head with a baseball bat a few months ago,” Jeff said. “I was walking down the street on my way to work. He smashed me in the head, so he could take my wallet. I don’t have my job anymore. I had to give it up. I have pain all the time in my head now. I want to find the man who did this to me. Do you people condone what this man does? Is it alright with you if he hits people in the face with a baseball bat? Are you so filled with hatred that you tolerate such behavior...?”
“Wait a minute,” replied Jake. “What do you think? You think we support such behavior...?”
“As long as it’s a white man he’s hitting, I suppose you do,” Jeff said.
“Maybe that’s just the payback you get, after so many years of brutalizing the black man....” another man said – his name was Gerald. He wore blue coveralls, and wore a Los Angeles Dodger baseball cap.
“I didn’t brualize any black man,” Jeff replied.
“Yeah, but your ancestors probably did,” Gerald said.
“I don’t know about that,” Jeff said. “I know that I had ancestors who died in the Civil War fighting against slavery. Whites didn’t create black slavery, you know. Black Africans enslaved other black Africans and sold them throughout north Africa long before the whites ever came along. There’s always someone to blame for your problems. That’s an easy way out. Just blame the whites and accept your role as a victim in this world. In fact, black people have been victimized by other black people for centuries. Do you think Batman harms only white people? If he harms white people, then he probably harms black people too. In fact, the last person he attacked was a black man, not a white man. He’s a gang member. Gang members prey on their own race. Why do you feel that you have to protect a murderer? If a white man is a murderer, I don’t have any allegiance to him because he’s white. If a white man is a murderer, then let’s put him to death, and get rid of him, so the rest of us won’t have to live with the pollution of his presence. If a white man had hit me in the face with a baseball bat, then I’d be hunting him down too. We have to get rid of the criminals, so that the rest of us can live decent lives...!”
“Those are just words,” Jake replied. “You want to do away with black criminals. Why are black people criminals? Because they’re poor...!”
“Not everyone who is poor is a criminal,” Jeff replied. “There are a lot of poor black people in Seattle who aren’t criminals. During the Great Depression, crime went down. Criminals make life in your neighborhood even worse than it is in my neighborhood. You protect thugs and killers because they have black skin. To hell with them. If they are criminals, then they pay for their crimes, no matter what color they are!”
“You think there’s no such thing as persecution of the black man...!” Otis said, the third man. He looked as if he had been an athlete, still trim, wearing a Seattle Seahawk jersey.
“Racism comes from thinking of a man as being part of a race instead of as an individual,” Jeff replied. “The black race will never be raised as a race out of poverty. Individual black people will have to raise themselves up, through education, against bigotry. The blacks seem to believe that the government will use a magic wand and create equality through some special law. But equality is something that is achieved through the efforts of individuals. No race is raised magically into the heavens. There are poor whites and ill-educated whites and criminal whites too. Each race has good and bad. So, when we understand that, then we move to the point where the individual is what matters. We judge a tree by its fruit, not by its bark. If an evil black man is punished, that is not to say that all black people are punished. Individuals commit crimes; and individuals must be punished for their crimes. You should be less concerned with the color of a man’s external skin than with the color of his internal skin. The quality of his soul. “
“I’m asking you to leave my store,” Jake replied. “We did not ask you to come here. We really don’t want you being here with us...”
Jeff had nothing more to say. But he wrote out his phone number and left it with Jake. “If you want to tell me anything about this Batman, just call me and leave a message.”
Then Jeff left the store and stepped back into the cold wind, moving toward home.
Jeff continued to perform his patrol twice daily. One Tuesday in December, having returned home after a day out, Jeff turned on the television to see a special news report: a disgruntled black man, Colin Ferguson, had turned a handgun on a group of commuters in a train outside of New York City. The man calmly shot 23 people before being overpowered by three men on the train. He carried over 100 rounds of ammunition and bits of a journal in his pocket in which he described his hatred for whites, Asians, and conservative blacks. The report showed a young woman being carried on a stretcher from the train. She was beautiful, in her mid-twenties. She had worked as an interior designer in New York. Colin Ferguson had shot her through the neck, muttering “You’re all going to die! You’re all going to die!” Only whites and Asians had been shot.
Jeff was furious. It seemed to him that acts of brutality were occurring daily. Racially motivated brutality. It was the end of the world. The criminal race had rose up from the dead and had found no resistance. The courts had failed. Justice for crime must be quick and exacting. Murder could not be tolerated, or civilization would die. Each citizen should be carrying a gun, Jeff decided. He considered buying a six-gun and holster, similar to the old west, as a visible sign that he had armed himself and would not be taken without a fight. His head began to throb. He had headaches almost every day, whenever he became agitated. He looked at himself in the mirror. His jaw was now permanently twisted to the right of center. His hair seemed frail and frightened into old age. The structure above his left eye was dented visibly in toward his brain. He had become ugly. Yes, he was ugly. He rarely thought about his appearance. But his beauty had been stolen from him, his charm, his glow. He had a dark soul now. The night had descended upon him. Nothing was illuminated. Nothing was alive, except his anger, and his desire to be liberated through retribution.
The phone rang.
“Jeff Simms?” the voice asked. The voice was deep and old and sounded like a black man’s voice.
“Yes,” Jeff replied.
“1307 Jefferson Street, in the back. That’s where Batman lives.”
The phone went dead.
I include this excerpt to demonstrate the kind of rationality and individuality (the opposite of the group awareness of the Night Cycle tribalism) that typifies the appearance of the Dawn and regeneration of the world of form at a time of cultural renaissance, when Law, Reason, Civilization are again valued – and when Lawlessness, Chaos, Tribal Logic, and Emotional Righteousness are less valued, in fact, get cast out.
I was a bona-fide liberal throughout my college years (1970-74) and throughout the Carter presidency. That is, I was a white man on the side of the Shadow. In my mind, while in college, the dark races were the victims of the white races. My father’s world was absolutely evil and corrupt. I supported the civil rights movement; I marched against the war in Vietnam; I supported the Dark, Female, pacifist force against the capitalistic, militaristic Father. I was even a communist for a few years during the 1970’s. But this all began to change slowly.
I remember sitting on a hill in Oregon some time during the early 1980’s, with my brother and some friends from college. We all shared a similar world-view. Above, a jet plane passed, leaving a vapor trail in the sky. I said: ‘Isn’t it amazing, there is a highway in the air just like there is a highway on the earth.’ This comment was met with a stunned silence. Then I said: ‘It’s pretty amazing what humans have been able to do. Look at this plane. It weighs tons – and it’s able to fly people all over the earth.’
My friends were anti-man, anti-machine, anti-technology, anti-human growth. And I had been too. But the earth turns; and we turn with it.
I had been on the side of the black race in America for several decades. All blacks were good; all whites were bad. Blacks had the right to kill whites, since their violence against whites was a form of political retribution for past injustices.
But my perspective was changing. The middle principle was changing sides, moving toward the light, away from the dark. The illusion is that one side (either side) is right, and the other wrong. The ideal, moral perspective gets lost. The paradox replaces it. There are good blacks and bad blacks; there are good whites and bad whites; there are good and bad poor people, and good and bad rich people. Life is more complex than black and white. Colors began to be born (Spring and Autumn, Dawn and Dusk, are times for colors to appear in nature, afterall). Individual judgment began to replace political/religious/scientific dogmatism.
I began to forgive my father for not having been perfect. And I began to forgive myself. I did not have to be martyred by the dark race for past sins committed by assumed ancestors. I was responsible for myself. I was responsible for my own crimes, not my race’s crimes. I was not willing to allow Nat Turner to come in to my house and murder my family because Nat Turner had been abused by white landowners in Virginia more than 100 years earlier.
I was white. If there were to be a racial apocalypse in America, and races were to kill races, blacks would kill me. I was white. In choosing death (and tragedy), I would align myself with the poor dark races and see my own death as martyrdom for past sins. In choosing life (and comedy, levity), I would align myself with the rich white races, and see my own life as an expression of Jehovah’s will that I live.
The Dark Clouds, the Storm Gods, the Negative Floodwaters, are driven away at Dawn by the Wind and the Will and by the heat of the Sun.
TIME CYCLES IN AMERICAN HISTORY, CONTINUED: THE MASCULINE IDEA OF MANIFEST DESTINY
(Looking at the Magic Lantern as a kind of Magical Quadrant)
We were working our way through the Nineteenth Century, with at least some limited success, until my digressions led us slightly adrift.
This type of typological historical analysis in which we are engaged is a bit like trying to describe the images reflected on a wall by light being cast through a magic lantern. Shapes are sometimes grasped, glimpsed, then lost, as the turning lantern suggests allusive connections, new interpretations. My intent is to avoid describing these images as rorschach designs only, as simple shapes cast up out of my own mind, without relevance to the phenomena they are fashioned by.
The main premise of this book is that we have recently entered an 18-year economic downturn – and that the economic recovery will not occur until about 2019. So my main focus, again, is on the Noon-Midnight experience of Dionysus, the peaking of the expansion, and the succeeding descent into negative, discordant matter, as a way of trying to imply what lies ahead for America as a nation and as part of a larger world community.
I apologize that my style of investigation is not as linear as some readers might like. There is really very little that is truly linear in my subject matter; and I am reading this landscape (and recording it) more like I might build a sketch or a painting, than as if I were recording a mathematical proof.
We would expect a seed idea of re-born masculinity to appear around the Midnight hour, at about 1839. This masculine re-birth expresses the desire to live, to expand, to grow, to increase, counteracting the economic contractions of the recent Night Cycle – the desire to die, to shrink, to escape one’s shame -- expressed in the depressions of 1819 and 1837. A new sense of national mission – of a covenant with God – would be expected as an inherent compact within this rebirth. Manifest Destiny was just such a seed-idea.
Essentially Manifest Destiny was a second Declaration of Independence from European powers (and Mexico). The doctrine of Manifest Destiny stated that the North American continent south of Canada and north the Rio Grande River belonged to the United States of America; and any attempt by a foreign power to abrogate this right of ownership would be met by the use of American military force. It was America’s destiny to expand westward. Not only was westward expansion required for social, political and commercial reasons, but God was also calling on the people of the United States to expand ‘the borders of freedom’, to impart their ideals and belief in democratic institutions to other people capable of self-government.
The covenant with the New Jerusalem, which we will discover as a seed-idea in Puritan and colonial America, appears again and again as justification for American expansion, a call to American expansion, American empire. God has chosen America to be the bringer of light and civilization to the world, even to those parts of the world that may not yet appreciate the gift of light and civilization (this includes, of course, to the immediate west, a wide variety of Native American tribes and possibly outposts, fortifications and provinces of Mexico).
The first appearance of the expression ‘Manifest Destiny’, as far as I can tell, was in 1845, in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review in an article by John L. O’Sullivan, who wrote ‘the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence…’ The term ‘Manifest Destiny’ became popularized by politicians and journalists after that as the religious duty for America to spread her influence throughout the world.
The Soul born at Midnight, which becomes the Renaissance Man at Dawn, is the ‘Annointed’ of God, the miraculous New Sun, the purveyor of God’s laws over the Earth. The ‘Chosen One’. The force of a New Order overthrowing the Dark Element of an Old Idea.
Dawn is a warrior for order, light and the spread of civilization.
In 1846, the Mexican-American War begin With the Battle of Palo Alto. In this process, Texas was ‘freed’ from Mexico, New Mexico was annexed from Mexico, and American settlers in California proclaimed an independent Republic of California, which was annexed in to the United States in august of that same year.
Midnight 1839 – Business Expansion begins.
Dawn 1848 – Business Bubble accelerates.
Noon 1857 – Business Expansion ends: Chaos Begins.
Expansion of light begins at Midnight; but it begins very quietly. Light is a child at Midnight, weak, vulnerable, protected by the Darkness. But this expansion gains momentum and runs like a train, eventually, to its maximum extension, Noon – at which time it falls back to earth.
Donald J. Mabry, in his article ‘Economic History, 1843 -1857’ describes the vigorous American expansion of this Day-Cycle. The inflation of the masculine Ego bubble brings inflated prices, an inflated sense of national mission, and an inflated masculine power that brings conflict to the world. (As the symbolism of the erection indicates, the power of this type of erotic expansion is periodical and limited.)
From 1843 to 1857, the market economy showed what it could do without a major economic depression. The results were impressive. In the 1844-1854 period, the total value of all commodities rose 69%. In the 1840s, output per worker rose an average 10% in the 1850s, 23%. In part, it was simply a further acceleration of the market economy after the 1837-1843 depression.
Commercial agriculture grew faster than ever. By 1846, the formerly protectionist Northwest was exporting so much wheat to foreign markets that it became a free trade area and voted for low tariffs in 1846. By 1850, the Northwest exceeded the Northeast in wheat production with as the wheat growing areas moved into Wisconsin, Iowa, eastern Kansas and Nebraska. The use of the mechanical reaper pushed wheat production from 30 million bushels in 1850 to 100 million in 1860. Meat packing and the production of corn and hogs was almost as spectacular. In the South, in the 1840s, cotton production increased 60% and, in the 1850s, increased 100%. The increasing productivity and profitability brought an increase in slave prices as plantation owners, faced with labor shortage, competed with each other for workers. In the 1790s, a prime field hand sold for $300; by 1840, the amount was $1,000; and by 1860, $1,500. Some of this price increase was simply inflation but the figures indicate that the prices were climbing.
The growth of regionally-specialized commercial agriculture was closely tied to the development of a national system of transportation and communication. The railroad network created in the 1850s brought the railway system to full efficiency. In the 1840s, there were only 6,000 miles of track in the nation, by 1852, there were 12,000 miles; and, by 1860, there were 30,000 miles. By 1857, one billion dollars had been invested in railroads, two-thirds during 1850-1857. By the early 1850s, the completion of 5 trunk lines connecting Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston with Ohio and Mississippi by way of Albany, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Atlanta, Chattanooga and on to Chicago, St Louis, and Memphis. One could go from the Atlantic Coast to Chicago or St Louis in two days for $20. Numerous feeder lines meant that even more locales could use railroad transportation.
American exports grew from $144 million dollars in 1850 to $334 million in 1860, but imports were greater than exports . The trade deficit grew from $5 million in 1850 to $58 million in 1860 and was met by the exportation of gold.
Immigration surged upwards, especially from Ireland and the German-speaking parts of Europe. Before 1825, there were 10,000 immigrants yearly. By the mid-1840s, ten times as many or 100,000 a year were coming. By the early 1850s, the number had reached 400,000 a year. In the 1844-1854 period, 3 million immigrants came. They did factory work, the dirty work in railroad and canal construction, domestic service, and any other jobs that they people who were already in the US would not do them. The Germans tended to settle in the Mid West; the Irish tended to stay in the Northeast. The Irish started displacing the women who worked in New England and other Northeastern factories. So many came that strong resentment against them grew in many places. A common expression about the Irish was "it's a good thing the wheelbarrow was invented; it taught the Irish to walk on their hind legs."
Their coming to the United States helped grow the economy. Immigration is a subsidy of the receiving country. Most people do not realize this. From the time a child is born until he or she immigrants, people had to pay to raise that child. In other words, a capital investment is made. When the person immigrates, then the country to which the person goes gets the benefit of that capital investment while the sending company loses it. So immigration represents a source of wealth for the receiving country. That immigrants tend to be healthy, ambitious people means that the investment is worth a great deal to the receiving country.
The rounding out of the vast and lucrative market set the stage for the Industrial Revolution to occur in the US. From the 1850s on, industry was the motor for economic expansion. Large-scale factory production had been developing since the War of 1812. There was such growth in the 1840s that, by 1850, the value of manufactured products exceeded the value of agriculture. From 1850 to 1860, the value of manufactured goods went from just over $1 billion to just under $2 billion. The value added by manufacture rose 157% from 1839-1849. From 1844-1854 it rose 134%.
Cotton textiles were the pioneer industry. Samuel Slater learned in his native Britain about Arkwright's spinning and carding machines; he immigrated to the US in 1789 and built similar machines from memory. In 1793, he created the first US cotton mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The industry boomed during the War of 1812 because demand increased and imports were difficult to obtain. Successful merchants saw the profits and began investing money in manufacturing. In Massachusetts in 1813, Francis Cabot Lowell headed a group who founded the Boston Manufacturing Company in Waltham, Massachusetts with $600,000. It used an efficient power loom and spinning machine he had created with another man. His mill was probably the world's first mill in which were performed all operations converting raw cotton into finished cloth. This system spread to wherever water power was available. It used the assembly line techniques developed by Eli Whitney of Connecticut. The assembly line technique spread to other products, hog butchering and packing being one example.
The iron industry grew to meet the demand for new machines. Railroads were big consumers as the locomotives and railroad cars were made of iron and ran on iron rails. Iron was strong and malleable as increasingly was used in machines.
By the 1840's , manufacturing was not as dependent upon waterfalls; stationary steam engines allowed the location of factories in cities. With that development, cities began to grow rapidly as working families flocked to them and others went to sell them products. By 1860, greater New York City had over one million people. Sizable cities such as St Louis and Cincinnati had come on the old frontier.
With the rise of industry came a new working class. Lowell hired farm and small town girls to work in his factory. These Waltham Girls were carefully supervised at work and at leisure so their parents would let them leave home. Many sought to earn enough for a dowry; others supplemented the family income. For most industrial workers, wages were low, hours were long, employment was tenuous, working conditions were hard, and living conditions were bad. Some workers tried to organize unions to improve the situation but the constant stream on immigrants, who would accept any condition, meant that unions were rarely effective.
As a greater percentage of men were working in factories rather than on farms, the ability of men to raise their children declined. Farming allowed men to raise children, for he could keep an eye on them, but, unless his child worked in the same factory, a father had little opportunity to see his child. Often, the child worked under a foreman in a different place than the father. Industrialization, although it had many social and economic benefits, meant that men who loved their children had to leave them to others to raise.
Men, women, and children were willing to pay the price for the economy was the most prosperous the country had ever seen. Farm work involved very long hours for everyone, hours shortened only by darkness. Children had chores. One of the reasons to have children was that they consumed less than they produced. Factory work differed because the work day did not shorten or lengthen with the seasons. Here, too, most members of a family, if not the entire family, worked. The payoff was a higher standard of living. Immigrants flocked to factories and mines; the jobs that had to be done did not require much English. They also flocked to farming communities which used free labor; they tended to stay away from the South since they did not want to compete with slave labor.
With prosperity, people were generous; there seemed to be more than enough to go around. Sectional tensions were at a low ebb. The US Congress gave away 18 million acres of land to railroad companies between 1850 and 1860 to get transcontinental railroads built. The South, which believed cotton was king, supported railroad construction because it wanted to get cotton to markets. Industrial expansion did well even under the low tariff of 1846, which had been supported by agrarian interests. Settlement was expanding as Americans went westward, some across the Oregon Trail. The Mormons had to leave the US in 1846-47 to find refuge in Mexico but the Mexican War (1846-48) swallowed Utah as part of the Mexican Cession. The gold strike in 1849 near San Francisco encouraged thousands to go to California. The cotton frontier was expanding westward into the Mississippi Delta region and further westward into eastern Texas.
As we have stated before, Noon represents the ultimate outward expansion (materialization) of an idea (manifest destiny, for instance) or an energy (positive, externalized), followed by the loss of momentum, and the collapsing back toward earth (gravity). We expect economic crisis to mark this fall of the Solar Hero, as expansion turns in to contraction. (The diameter of the circle runs from one side to the other side, dividing the circle in half, and then disappearing back in to the unified circle when the bubble expansion has created ultimately pops.)
Midnight 1839 – Business Expansion begins. Chaos begins to end.
Dawn 1848 – Business Bubble accelerates.
Noon 1857 – Business Expansion ends: Chaos begins.
Dusk 1866 – Business Contraction accelerates.
Midnight 1875 – Business Expansion begins. Chaos begins to end.
The Panic of 1857. America did have an economic panic that began in 1857; this led into the Dark Half of the 18 year cycle (the Night-Cycle) which led, shortly thereafter, into the American Civil War.
J.S. Gibbons writes in The Banks of New York, Their Dealers, the Clearing-House, and the Panic of 1857.
The major financial catalyst for the panic of 1857 was the August 24, 1857, failure of the New York branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company. It was soon reported that the entire capital of the Trust's home office had been embezzled. What followed was one of the most severe economic crises in U.S. history.
Almost immediately, New York bankers put severe restrictions on even the most routine transactions. In turn, many people interpreted these restrictions as a sign of impending financial collapse and panicked. Individual holders of stock and of commercial paper rushed to their brokers and eagerly made deals that "a week before they would have shunned as a ruinous sacrifice." As the September 12, 1857, Harper's Weekly described the scene on the New York Stock Exchange, "…prominent stocks fell eight or ten per cent in a day, and fortunes were made and lost between ten o'clock in the morning and four of the afternoon."
The Report of the Clearinghouse Committee, produced in the years following the panic of 1857, found that "A financial panic has been likened to a malignant epidemic, which kills more by terror than by real disease." Yet behind the reaction of New York's bankers to the closing of a trust company lay a confluence of national and international events that heightened concern:
The British withdrew capital from U.S. banks; grain prices fell; Russia undersold U.S. cotton on the open market; manufactured goods lay in surplus; railroads overbuilt and some defaulted on debts; land schemes and projects, dependent on new rail routes, failed.
To compound the problem, the SS Central America, a wooden-hulled steamship transporting millions of dollars in gold from the new San Francisco Mint to create a reserve for eastern banks, was caught in a hurricane and sunk in mid-September. (The vessel had aboard 581 persons—many carrying great personal wealth—and more than $1 million in commercial gold. She also bore a secret shipment of 15 tons of federal gold, valued at $20 per ounce, intended for the eastern banks.)
As banking institutions of the day dealt in specie (gold and silver coins instead of paper money) the loss of some thirty thousand pounds of gold reverberated through the financial community. Howell Cobb, secretary of the treasury, encouraged not only the placement of vast amounts of such government gold on the market, but also redemption of government bonds at a premium. At his suggestion, President James Buchanan proposed to Congress that the Treasury be authorized to sell revenue bonds for the first time since the Mexican American War.
Although bankers showed the first signs of concern, depositors soon followed. On October 3 there was a marked increase of withdrawals in New York, and over the next two weeks withdrawals nearly quadrupled. Reports of financial instability, perhaps exaggerated, were quickly carried between cities by the new telecommunications medium, the telegraph.
As the public's faith in soundness of financial institutions continued to plummet, the nation's banks began to collapse. Although the East Coast was hardest hit—with bank closures in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and elsewhere, bank failures also reached across the Missouri River to cities such as Omaha. The climax came on October 14, ”Suspension Day, when banking was suspended in New York and throughout New England.
The term panic refers to the worst moments of a financial crisis. What follows is frequently a recession (a period of reduced economic activity) or a depression (a more serious and prolonged period of low economic activity, marked especially by rising unemployment). The contraction of the economy that followed the panic of 1857 was profound and had parallels in Europe, South America, South Africa, and the Far East causing it to be held as the first worldwide economic crisis.
In the U.S., the setback caused significant job loss; a major slowdown in capital investment, commerce, land development, and the formation of unions, as well as in the rate of immigration. The effects of the "revulsion," as it was referred to at the time, lasted a full eighteen months and reverberated until the onset of the Civil War.
Harper's Weekly, for September 12, 1857, took a dim view of dealings on the New York Stock Exchange. They claimed that the greed of speculators underlay the panic and gave examples that included the following:
…Jones believes that we are going to have a "crisis," a "revulsion," and "panic." Or Jones is treasurer of the New Gauge Railway, and having access to the books, knows that it is insolvent. In both these cases Jones directs his broker to sell for his account so many shares of the New Gauge Railway…retaining the right of delivering the stock on any day he pleases prior to the conclusion of the contract. Of course, Jones doesn't own the stock he sells; he intends to buy it at a reduced price at the time he delivers. Now, if Jones has been right in his prognostications — if the panic and crisis do come, or if the New Gauge Company does turn out to be insolvent, of course the stock goes down, and Jones buys in for delivery at the reduced price, realizing the difference between that price and the one at which he sold. But if Jones has been wrong — if the crisis don't come, or is unduly postponed — such things have been known to occur — if the New Gauge concern should prove profitable, and not insolvent, why then the stock might go up, and at the end of the contract Jones might be forced to buy for, say $50, that which he sold at $45 — netting a loss of $5 per share.
In the late 1880s the wreck of the SS Central America was located about 8,000 feet under water. One ton of extraordinary riches surfaced including the world's largest bar of gold ingot, weighing more than eighty pounds, and thousands of 1857-S Liberty Double Eagle twenty-dollar gold pieces, each of which contained nearly a full ounce of gold.
Gibbons speculates the world-wide financial crisis lasted for18 months (again the number 18). My thesis, of course, is that the period of chaos and depression lasted much longer, from 1857 – 1875: 18 years. Historians tend to think of history as a succession of unconnected (or loosely-connected) events. Discrete happenings: here today, gone tomorrow. A connecting theory or structure of history will enable historians to organize isolated incidents into a fabric of causes for better understanding cycles in history.
Historians seem to agree that there was a Panic of 1857, a Panic and Depression of 1869-1871, and a Panic of 1873. My argument is that these depressions were all part of the same general phenomena: the Night-Cycle of the deflating Masculine Ego bubble. Life expands; Death contracts. Heat expands; cold contracts. Life constructs the Tree of Life; Death de-constructs the Tree of Life, returns energy to the soil, returns to its Winter roots.
Miriam Medina writes in her article ‘The Panic and Depression of 1869-1871’:
The New York Stock Exchange rose to a position of real prominence only after the Civil War. In the 1860’s the United States was not on the gold standard. Monetary values were expressed in terms of paper money.
Gold was scarce, and the scarcity resulted in high interest rates. By 1869 the federal treasury held in reserve $95,000,000 in gold, but only $15,000,000 worth of the precious metal circulated throughout the country. Even at that time the fact that it did not deal in gold as a commodity threw a great part of the community's highly speculative business over to the Gold Exchange, which was formed for that purpose exclusively.
The Gold Exchange was established in 1864 on the corner of Broad Street and Exchange Place. The dramatic incident of this period was the gold panic on Black Friday in September, 1869, when a combination of several unscrupulous speculators, among them James Fisk, Jr., and Jay Gould, attempted to corner and put to extravagant figures the gold supply of the market. Operations on the Stock Exchange proper at that time were largely made up of the personal struggles of rival capitalists, notably in connection with the Erie and New York Central railroads.
The completion of the Pacific Railway (1869) caused extensive speculation in shares of the two transcontinental railways, and as capital increased and the railway mileage of the country extended the transactions of the Exchange became of a national rather than provincial character. The leading operators of that time were Gould, Fisk, Daniel Drew, Cornelius Vanderbilt and their associates. None of the capitalists named was accustomed to trade personally on the Stock Exchange; indeed, such a practice has always been the rare exception among active financiers.
BLACK FRIDAY: The term is often used to designate a dark financial day. September 24, 1869, is sometimes referred to as Black Friday in the United States. On this day a syndicate of New York bankers advanced the price of gold to 162 1/2, causing a panic. It sold at 143 1/8 the previous evening. The Grant Administration dumped $4,000,000 in gold on the market, the price falls in fifteen minutes from 162 to 133, and many investors were ruined. Fortunes were lost. Wall Street brokerage houses failed. Railway stocks shrank. The nation's business was paralyzed. Another such day was Friday, Sept. 19, 1873, when Jay Cooke & Co., leading American bankers, failed. A great crash ensued in Wall Street, the center of financial operations in America, and the historic panic of 1873 began. Credit generally was impaired and many financial institutions were forced into bankruptcy.
Ms Medina also writes about the ‘Panic of 1873’.
The Panic of 1873 begins another period of [American] depression. The economy is in fact over-expanded, particularly in railroad construction, and the weak link turns out to be the banking house of Jay Cooke and Company, which helped the U.S. Government finance the Civil War and also underwrote the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Jay Cooke and Company, a large and respected banking house declares itself bankrupt, and announces its failure on September 18, 1873. (The bank's collapse precipitates the "Panic of 1873" and the ensuing three year depression during which more than 10,000 businesses fail.)
The basic economic problems are overproduction, a declining market and deflation. Investors in Europe, where a depression is already underway, begin to call in American loans. The New York Stock Exchange closes its doors for 10 days; other businesses fail; and railroad construction is curtailed, with some railroads defaulting on their bonds. The unemployed begin to move about the country seeking jobs, and bread lines appear in the cities. The hard times drove numbers of laboring people and those in humble circumstances to the West and other portions of the country, to seek the rewards which the stagnation of business in the great commercial centre denied them.
This does not mean that the depression was the only reality from 1857 through 1875, or in any Night-Cycle experience. Light (the energy of erection – anti-entropy) and Darkness (the energy of de-construction – entropy – or impotence, if a lack of energy can be expressed as a type of introverted energy) always exist together. But from 1857 through 1875, the energy of deconstruction was stronger than the energy of construction.
Light struggles with Darkness during the Night – but Darkness wins. Darkness struggles with Light during the Day – but Light wins. Ego-Deflation cycles are not without attempts at Ego-Inflation. Ego-Inflation cycles are not without attempts at Ego-Deflation. Gravity is stronger than Levity during the Night cycle. Levity is stronger than Gravity during the Day cycle, when man flies above the earth.
Words are limited in expressing these concepts clearly (since the spirit has more levity during the Night that during the Day, but the body has more levity during the Day that during the Night). Words are tools for sketching this process; but words can be misunderstood. Words also have a substance and a shadow side.
I also do not want to give the impression that economic panics happen only during the Night-Cycle of history, during the decline of the Male Principle. One of the greatest ‘panics’ in American history occurred in 1987, during the heart of the ‘Reagan Miracle’. In one day in 1987, ‘Black Monday’, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22% of its value. But, within a week, the market had bottomed, and buyers had returned to the market, pushing prices back up again. There are negative incidents in Day-Cycle bullish periods, panics, sell-offs – but these incidents do not end the larger trend. There was negative growth in the economy in 1953-54; but the overall electric-energy of the era was positive.
There are ‘nights’ during the Day-Cycle; but these nights are weak and short. There are ‘days’, during the Night-Cycle; but these days are also weak and short.
The American Civil War, which began in 1861 and ran into 1865, was the ultimate act of de-construction, in that it pitted brother against brother (Apollo against Dionysus), over the issue of secession, or divorce, or dismantlement of a country. De-construction. Civil War is the ultimate chaos a society can experience.
The Civil War had many surface causes – urban trade of northern cities versus agrarian systems of the south – England against France again – Civilization against Culture again – but it also had at its heart the ‘romantic’ issues of racial inequality, slavery, and feminism. ‘Equality’ are always issues that move the Romantic – and ‘equality’, the balanced scales, is the sign of Libra in the zodiac, which occupies the position of the Dusk, the Romantic Autumn.
The 1850’s and 1860’s were very fertile times for America’s emerging national culture. Literature saw the rise of Melville, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Whitman. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin moved people all over the world to the plight of America’s slaves.
The expansion of Life (the Day Phase) is about God’s Will – what the Bible says. The contraction of Life (the Night Phase) is about Humanity’s Will, about Humanism, Man’s sense of justice.
The Day is monotheistic at heart, tyrannical in the extreme, and autocratic by nature. Why is this so? The Day is ruled by One Heavenly Force, the Sun. Occasionally a dim image of the Moon can be seen floating by, seemingly dead, ghostly, incomplete, without power or presence.
If one studies the heavens at Night, in contrast, one sees a whole range of planetary and stellar forces (described as divinities by ancient cultures). The Moon is the closest and the largest of the heavenly bodies; but there are myriad stars in the sky, all demanding recognition. There is a heavenly circle of constellations which the human mind conceived as a girdle, or circle of houses, through which the Sun passed in its annual journey through the heavens. Man was blind of the heavens during the Day; man had no soul during the Day. The Sun was so blinding that man lost his sense of the magnificent expanse of Nature. Man’s own nature expanded so much during the Day that it blotted out God and the heavens. Man actually believed he was God during the Day, his pride making of him reflection of the Sun God – and this was his great sin, this pride – from which he must eventually fall. Mister Greenspan became a symbol of this, of course. It is my thesis that he has been our Ahab, that America is the Pequod, that God manifests as the Great White Whale (White and Black by turns, as the yin-yang symbol portrays it); and that we are all heading down to the bottom of the sea, after the White Whale has stove-in the Ship of State, punishing the crew (all of us) for the transgressions of its captain.
The Day is monotheistic, reflecting belief in the Great One God, the Sun. It is a time of the Outer Body, animated by the Spirit. It is the time of the Chosen People, the Covenant, Conquest, Triumph, Wealth. The Day ultimately desires a monarchy, desires a government not of equal men, but of a replica of the Sun, itself, a Man-God-King who rules with iron hand, the archetype of the Patriarch. This rule is based in the worship of Man-above-Nature, in the Man’s conquest of Nature, and in the Worship of Material Reproduction (the conquest of land and gold).
The Night is polytheistic and pantheistic (pagan, if you will), reflecting belief in a plurality of gods, the Moon and Stars, the forces of Nature. Orthodox Christianity dismisses this sequence as Paganism, as a kind of Pantheism. It is a time of the Inner Body, the Dream Body, animated by Spirit. It is the time of the death of the Outer Body, Judgment Day, Man Meeting His Maker, Crucifixion, Purification, Holiness, and, ultimately, of Rebirth. The Night, ultimately, at its extreme, also desires a monarchy (Moon Ark Key), desires a government not of equal men, but of a replica of the Moon, a Matriarchal rule, based in the worship of Nature and in the Worship of Sexual Reproduction, with the woman on top and the man a weakened (impotent) accessory. (As I have written, we will also find ‘feminism’ as a radical culture also at its most power at this stage of Midnight, Capricorn, Winter Solstice.)
The Night is ‘religious’ is the mystical sense, a living God moving among tribal societies, imparting laws and lessons of wisdom through God’s manifestation through Nature. Shamen, priests, prophets, poets and artists are all considered close to God, messengers of God, and are honored in the Night-Cycle society.
The Day is ‘religious’ in the non-mystical sense of a written codes of Law and a priesthood that enforces a relatively rigid code of comprehension of this written Law. The living religion of Night is replaced by the historic religion (the written text) of an ancestral reality. Prophets are scorned, arrested or labeled lunatics during the Day-Cycle of empire.
Prophets, shamen, mystic priests, artists and poets lead the society back to God in the Dusk; and they lead the society into the light, away from the darkness at Dawn. But, like Moses, they do not enter the Promised Land themselves, the Land of Light and Wealth and Milk and Honey. They wait behind at the place where the two worlds meet, their work never done, leading some to light and some to darkness, depending on their deeds and on the trajectory of their arcs.
The Dawn is essentially the same ‘man’ as the Dusk but with the difference that the Dawn has his back to the Darkness (the Moon) and his face to the Light (the Sun) and is moving toward the Father Light; the Dusk has his back to the Light (the Sun, the Father) and his face to the Darkness (the Moon) and is moving toward the Darkness, the Mother, the Source of his Life and the seedbed of his new life through Re-Birth.
The Dawn is a Republican in the pure sense of the word – a believer in the Republic. The Dusk is a Democratic in the pure sense of the word – a believer in the Democracy.
The Republic – i.e, democracy of, for, and by the aristocracy -- is the domain of the Renaissance Man (the ‘enlightened’ Mercantile Renaissance Man at Dawn moving away from Religion and toward Science, embedded in Humanism. Democracy (considered ‘Mob-ocracy’ by many republican aristocrats) – i.e., democracy of, for, and by the equal masses of men and women – is the domain of the Romantic Renaissance Man at Dusk, also embedded in Humanism, moving, in his mind at least, away from the City, from Civilization, back toward Nature, moving back toward Religion, back toward the Earth). Democracy only exists when the two primordial forces exist in a relatively balanced state of wholeness as the middle principle – the Human Principle, and Humanism -- between the two extremes of Sun or Male Monarchy (Patriarchal Fascism) and Moon or Female Monarchy (Matriarchal Communism).
To the extent that the monotheists (monarchists) persecute the pagans (peasants, Goths) (those who have no physical body to defend themselves, technology also being an extended form of the body) indicates just how much suffering the monotheists will have to endure once they lose their bodies and become, themselves, now defenseless, residents in the land of the Night, the polytheists, as karmic law animates the piper who plays a love song for the Goddess Nemesis.
Note in the diagram, the number 7 is the end of manifestation in matter (spirit materializing) at Noon (in Cancer) and also the end of manifestation in spirit (matter spiritualizing) at Midnight (in Capricorn). 7 of course is the last Day of Creation, the Sabbath, the Great Day of the Lord (Saturn-Jehovah) at which time all activity stops.
I do not wish to leave this time period without saying something about the great Abraham Lincoln. I have said that a Father Figure almost always dies or is wounded at or near the Noon Hour of the Time-Cycle. John Kennedy is martyred near the Noon-Hour in 1963.
Abraham Lincoln is martyred near the Noon-Hour in 1865 (actually closer to the Dusk-Hour).
Our earlier characterization of the Positive-Electric Time Periods as being ‘Cowboy’ periods and the Negative-Electric Time Periods as being ‘Indian’ periods, makes the phenomena of Lincoln and Kennedy (as symbols) somewhat hard to place. Was Abraham Lincoln a Cowboy or an Indian? Which was John F. Kennedy?
Another way of looking at this – with less onus on individuals and the place(s) they inhabit on the electrical arc – is to look at both sides of the cycle in terms of the journey of the Sun Hero, whose ascension is to provide light and life for the world and whose descent creates discord, poverty, political conflict and social chaos.
John Wilkes Booth is clearly an emanation of the Dark Brother, Set in Egyptian mythology, who murders his brother Osiris and sends Egypt into an era of loss, mourning and prayers for resurrection.
Lee Harvey Oswald is a similar figure, dark, lonely, alienated. It is not clear to me that Lee Harvey Oswald did kill John Kennedy. It seems much more likely to me that rogue forces of the FBI, the CIA, in collusion with the mafia killed John Kennedy. Perhaps some day we will know the truth about this.
Both Lincoln and Kennedy appear as Sun Heroes, both murdered by the forces of chaos and disintegration. Lincoln devoted his life (and gave his life for) the concept of the Union – Unity, the mystical marriage of the two opposing forces. The Civil War was a graphic picture of the symbolic rupturing of that mystical marriage by the forces of chaos.
John Kennedy was, in many ways, the archetypal Sun Hero. Handsome, young, intelligent, a bright light in the world, who was killed by the forces of polarization. Kennedy’s death threw America in to the most polarized chaotic time it had experienced since the death of Lincoln.
There is an odd phenomena at work in the biography of North and South, Heaven and Earth, Heaven and Hell, Light and Darkness. We know that when it is Summer in the North it is Winter in the South; and when it is Winter in the North it is Summer in the South. These forces are not stationary but are in constant movement, pulling away from one another for a time; then drawn toward one another by the law of attraction.
Spring (Dawn) and Autumn (Dusk) are the two times during the Sun’s annual journey that these forces of Light and Darkness meet. The Northern Autumn is the Southern Spring – and, as such, at this time the Southern force kills the Northern force and takes his place in Heaven, although moving in a counter-direction through the heavens. When the North becomes dark, the South becomes light. When the North becomes light, the South becomes dark.
The North moves ever in a clockwise direction; the South ever in a counter-clockwise direction. It is proclaimed, through this Law of Nature, that North and South will ever see the world from both different perspectives and also from different angles of momentum.
Interpretation of reality will always be trained through a different lens because of this dynamic of polarity.
When the East says: “It’s Day”, the West will counter “No, it’s Night.” When the North says: “It’s Summer”, the South will always counter “No, it’s Winter.” These four forces will always run from counter directions, with counter perceptions. A truly unified Earth will never be possible because of this.
Myth never happened but always is.
Sallust, Gods and the World
TIME CYCLES IN AMERICAN HISTORY, CONTINUED
(The Falcon cannot hear the Falconer)
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
W.B. Yeats – ‘The Second Coming’
I have written that my main focus in this book is on the predictable contraction periods when structures collapse or come under attack by the forces of chaos (entropy) – or, in W.B. Yeats famous words: ‘Things fall apart: the centre cannot hold.’
But that is not our only focus. We also expect to see significant evidence of national modes of expansion and unity during the Day-Cycles of American history.
Expansion is supposed to occur in the Cowboy Cycle (Midnight – Noon), it might be interesting to see in which phases the majority of expansions of the American borders have occurred over the last 250 years.
Dawn 1776 – Original expansion: American Declaration of Independence.
1782-3: Treaties with Britain to establish the United States. as an independent country being bound on the north by Canada, on the south by Spanish Florida, on the west by the Mississippi River, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
Midnight 1803: The Louisiana Purchase (bought by Thomas Jefferson from France) extends the western
boundary of the United States to the Rocky Mountains. The Purchase doubles the territory of the United States.
1810: President James Madison declares West Florida a U.S. possession.
1810: Tristan de Cunha first overseas possession claimed by the U.S.
1818: A convention with Great Britain established the northern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase at 49 degrees north.
1819: Florida was ceded to the United States and purchased from Spain.
1820: Maine became a state, carved out of the state of Massachusetts. The northern boundary of Maine was disputed between the U.S. and Canada so the King of the Netherlands was brought in as an arbiter and he settled the dispute in 1829. However, Maine refused the deal and since Congress requires the approval of a state legislature for boundary changes, the Senate could not approve a treaty over the border. Ultimately, in 1842 a treaty established the Maine-Canada border of today although it provided Maine with less territory than the King's plan would have.
1845: The independent Republic of Texas (1836-1845) is annexed to the United States. The territory of Texas extended north to 42 degrees north (into modern Wyoming) due to a secret treaty between Mexico and Texas.
1846: Oregon Territory is ceded to the U.S. from Britain following an 1818 joint claim on the territory. The Treaty of Oregon establishes the boundary at 49 degrees north.
Dawn 1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the Mexican War between the U.S.
and Mexico resulted in the purchase of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and western Colorado.
1853: With the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, the land acquisition that resulted in the area of the 48 contiguous states today was completed. Southern Arizona and southern New Mexico were purchased for $10 million and named for the U.S. minister to Mexico, James Gadsden.
1856: Guano Islands Act. U.S. claims Baker Island, Howard Island, and Navassa Island.
1867: Alaska was purchased from Russia for $7.2 million in gold. Some thought the idea was ridiculous and the purchase became known as Seward's Folly, after Secretary of State William Henry Seward. The boundary between Russia and Canada was established by treaty in 1825.
1898: Hawaii was annexed into the United States. Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines and Cuba ceded from Spain at end of Spanish-American War.
1917: United States Virgin Islands bought from Danes.
1925: The final treaty with Great Britain clarifies the boundary through the Lake of the Woods (Minnesota), resulting in the transfer of a few acres between the two countries.
Noon 1929: American Samoa made a formal territory of the U.S.
Midnight 1947: Marshall Islands, Federated Islands of Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau
Formalized under U.S. trusteeship.
Clearly more physical expansions in American history have occurred during the 18-year cycles I have called Day Cycles or Cowboy expansions. I would also expect to see higher birth rates during these Midnight-Noon cycles. But finding statistics on this is not always easy. The statistics I did find do indicate a higher per-capita birthrate during the expansion cycles than during the contraction cycles, although the birth-rates during the expansion cycle from 1983 – 2001 seem very low.
Midnight 1911 – Noon 1929: 511
Noon 1929 - Midnight 1947: 385.5
Midnight 1947 - Noon 1965: 455
Noon 1965 – Midnight 1983: 310
Midnight 1983 – Noon 2001: 290
I would also expect to see a higher marriage rate and a lower divorce rate during Expansion Cycles. I would expect lower crime rates during Expansion Cycles.
This has nothing to do with good and evil in the world. This has everything to do with creative forces in Nature, or types of energy: the breathing process in Nature that balances growth, expansion, and development (and over-development) in equal cycles of Activity and Rest.
Each soul spends time on both sides of this mountain, the bright expansive side, and the dark contractive side. The bright expansive side corresponds to the victory of the Ego in the world; the dark contractive side corresponds to the defeat of the Ego in the world. Every soul experiences both sides. The polarity that divides one side against another is not accidental, but it is also programmed. When the Soul (the Middle Principle) attaches itself to the Body (the Material World), then the Body defeats the Spirit. When the Soul attaches itself to the Spiritual World, the Material World is defeated, and declines. Human character requires that souls experience defeat. Without defeat, a soul develops no depth, staying on the surface of ego victory, skimming on the surface of life where the senses rule but where wisdom, understanding, and human values of the soul are almost impossible to find. Life provides each soul with some victories, but also with some tragedies, since the point of life seems to be the development of the soul, the development of character, the deepening of one’s nature. Too much obsession with the surface leads to Botox City, leads to Viagra Nation. Too much obsession with the surface leads to adults seeking to remain teenagers for ever. Plastic Surgery is a symbol of the hollow life, the plastic life, spent skipping on the surface of convention, amassing meaningless material possessions, seeking status, and titles.