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Quoting Napoleon, Just This Once

“He who knows only his own generation remains always a child.”

Sustainable Energy and Agriculture: The Green Elephant of Economic Ruin

Green Elephant via bing image search

Everywhere.

“From time immemorial white elephants have been known in the East and are still believed to be an incarnation of the lord Buddha. In spite of this, the kings of Burma, Thailand and Cambodia used to present white elephants to people who had incurred the king’s displeasure as a mark of punishment. Their owners were obliged to maintain them without giving them any work to do and the drain on family resources often led to starvation and death; that is why a ‘white elephant’ came to mean economic ruin.”

~Kailash Sankhala

The Gift of Conjugial Love to Mankind: A Mythological Study on the Spiritual Significance of Marriage

Etruscan Terra Cotta Sarcophagus c 500 BC

Etruscan Terra Cotta Sarcophagus c 500 BC

“Show me the way to the town and give me some rag to wrap me in if you had any piece of cloth when you came here,

and then may the gods grant you everything your heart longs for; may they grant you a husband and a house and sweet agreement in all things, for nothing is better than this, more steadfast than when two people, a man and his wife, keep a harmonious household; a thing that brings much distress to the people who hate them and pleasure to their well-wishers,

and for them the best reputation.”

Comment: These words from Book Six of The Odyssey were spoken to Nausicaa by Odysseus, when he washed up on the shore after having drifted at sea for twenty days. Prompted by Athena in a dream the night before, the young lady had taken a picnic and was doing her family’s laundry by the sea.

This vibrant picture of conjugial love from Homer’s ancient epic reveals a pleasant and powerful representation of marriage as one the true blessings and advancements of life. It is likely that the source for this high esteem of conjugial love pre-dates the Roman and Greek civilizations; it is well attested that the Greek and Roman wives were kept at home, not to be seen in public, while the husbands went to banquets or other events. But The Odyssey shows kings and nobles showing hospitality and banqueting with their wives. This respected position and visibility is more closely matched with the Etruscan traditions than of their later conquerers, the Greeks and Romans.

It raises an interesting question, that if it may be shown that the Etruscan women were held in honor, carried out their own business for themselves, married happily having had their hearts won first, and were literate, then it is more accurate to consider Etruria, not Greece, as the “birthplace of Western civilization.” Of course, their histories and legends were lost after the Romans invaded, and their language remains a mystery; yet it has been said by some historians that the Etruscans had indeed developed some form of voting in their city-states. These questions must remain inconclusive, yet it is certainly worth looking beyond the Greek and Roman accounts for answers, since these were their rivals and later their destroyers in the pursuit of Empire.

I hope to continue this mythological series on marriage, and to show that some cultures and people are deeply and inherently conjugial, while we clearly understand that other cultures are not. It is at least a worthwhile study to understand this as a difference, with the hope that this difference can be discerned and appreciated. It looks to hold promise for an interesting survey, and in the end, I think perhaps more people can agree that being part of a conjugial tradition is really nothing to be ashamed of, but rather is a long spiritual heritage worth preserving.

For Now We See Through a Glass Darkly: An Attempt at Identifying Greek/Roman Distortions of Our Past, Present, and Future

Light dances on the highly polished heavy wooden door as a man in a tie emerges into the spring air. He descends the broad steps, still shaded from the sun’s rays by eight enormous columns, and pauses to look at his watch. He is a Senator, elected by the voters in his state two years ago. On the face of his elegant watch, one hand indicates IX and the other IV. Stepping into the hustle of the sidewalk, his eyes adjusted, he hardly seems to notice the carefully tended gardens beginning to bloom around him and moves efficiently to his next appointment. It is Saturday, March 23.

Our Greek and Roman heritage flows indelibly like a current through our daily lives from its headwaters in the ancient world. Today our calendar, numerals, architecture, forms of government, titles, astronomy, sculpture and symbolism all embody to some degree, or borrow, what belonged to these ancient societies. Much of our understanding of our history, and therefore of ourselves and nature, come from early Greek and Roman sources.

But what if, through the accidental abundance of Roman documents and edifices, this actually only provides a singular and quite distorted view of the cultures and eras before Greece and Rome? What if Classical culture was a continuation of the ancient world – but an inferior, lesser progression from previous people and cultures of the Aegean and Asian world? If we assume this is the case we can begin to ask new questions, and perhaps even push our way past the Classical wall between us and antiquity, and discover what has been hidden or obscured by unquestioning over-reliance on those particular witnesses.

It also allows us to question whether Greece was the cradle of modern civilization in its democratic form, or if in reality, Greek and Roman culture and philosophy actually casts one of the deepest and darkest shadows over the world, to this day. And we can observe whether, to the extent that we step out of these long shadows, we experience accelerated and unexpected creative and scientific advancement in all spheres of life.

Deep shadows: the Pontifex Maximus was the title of the high priest of the Roman State cult. This title and office is the same held by the Pope.

The Pontifex Maximus was the title of the high priest of the Roman State cult. This title and office is the same held by the Pope.

Four Considerations

1. The Persistence of Rome

To generally mark out and confirm the persistence of Roman government over the West, even after the supposed fall of Rome itself, I present these candid observations:

Christianity did not adopt pagan culture, but rather Rome adopted Christianity and continued its main offices, language, and philosophy from the city of Rome. It enforced the use of Latin in all manuscripts and learning; it maintained the scientific and political teachings of Aristotle and Plato as the authoritative educational standard for centuries, until the European Renaissance; and the office of Pontifix Maximus, High Priest of the Roman State religion, was continued in both title and functions through the Pope. This would explain why one may see an underlying continuity of Roman gods and goddesses in European art and churches.

 

 

 

 

3. Plato’s Long Shadow

karl-popper via anchaesmicasa wordpress comAs Karl Popper has exhaustively demonstrated in his book, The Open Society and Its Enemies: The Spell of Plato, the political philosophy of Plato possesses the earliest roots and full explanations of totalitarian and collectivist systems, and of the original misanthropic view of man as a slave by nature, who is only fit to be bred and ruled by a ruling class. (It may not be any accident or coincidence that the Club of Rome bears the name of that Iron Empire.) These philosophies persist to this day in almost the exact form and details Plato gave them in his writings 23 centuries ago.

 

 

 

 

2. The Tendency to Verify the Known

To very briefly introduce the problem of the over-confidence of scholars in Classical sources to interpret the ancient world, I present examples of several civilizations whose mythologies have no written record or textual narrative, yet as a whole are interpreted as reflections of Greek mythologies, and in popular documentaries, the Minoans are approached almost entirely in the context of passages from Plato’s writing: 

Back of the epingle en or. Decipherment and translation, by Dr. Aartun of the Linear A inscription on the gold pin is as follows:  a-ma-wa-si . ka-ni-ya-mi . i-ya . za-ki . se-nu-ti . a-ta-deTranslation: ”Devout yourself to the true friend who returns to you the good, who is free from hostile thoughts” (lit. “clean from hate”). Source: http://jarnaes.wordpress.com/1-minoan-crete-linear-a/

Back of the epingle en or. Decipherment and translation, by Dr. Aartun, of the Linear A inscription on the gold pin possibly reads as follows: a-ma-wa-si . ka-ni-ya-mi . i-ya . za-ki . se-nu-ti . a-ta-de
Translation: ”Devote yourself to the true friend who returns to you the good, who is free from hostile thoughts” (lit. “clean from hate”). Source: http://jarnaes.wordpress.com/1-minoan-crete-linear-a/

Ancient cultures preceding and contemporaneous with Greek/Roman civilization, such as the Minoans, Mycenaeans, and Etruscans, are interpreted through what is known in Greek histories, and their gods are automatically equated with Classical gods. This is the case, despite the fact that their texts remain undeciphered – or even undiscovered; they are thus not allowed to speak for themselves.

In fact, there is no shortage of examples which show that because of their own biases, the Greeks and Romans were sometimes quite unable to understand or accurately interpret cultures that were very likely in many respects their betters. And so these Classical reports can be false, idealized, or even slanderous.

As for city-states with elected governments, it is known that Etruria was unable to unify its own cities in the face of foreign invasion. Whether they had experimented in voting or not is a matter of speculation; but the Etruscans did not have a strong central government, preferring to exist as independent, prosperous provinces.

Front of the Minoan epingle en or

Beautiful Minoan epingle en or

 

 

 

 

 

4. Other Possible Questions About Our Past

candle-wallpaper-300x500 via furloo comIt would be wonderful to keep in mind, when holding up our small candle to look far back into the deep past of the Earth and its people, that there are many languages that remain untranslated, to this day. These include those of the Aegean cultures already mentioned, and also the writing of the Indus Valley people, besides others. Also, in some cases an ancient language may have been successfully translated, but the majority of tablets remain unavailable because of modern-day socio-political tensions – such as is the case in Ebla.

These ancient peoples’ character and relationships, manner of daily living, quality of life, writing or lack of it, are all still awaiting revelation. What was the founding genius and spiritual principles they built their original cultures upon, as preserved in their legends? What was the manner of the decline and fall from the original genius of the people, and what finally caused their cities to become abandoned?

What advanced cultures may have existed without leaving megalithic monuments or any trace upon the Earth? Is it possible that the physical preservation of great stone cities skews our view of the past toward highly centralized societies, and leaves the cultures that did not favor massive building projects unrepresented in our history?

Are there lost cities on the continental shelves, beneath the sea, which push human history even further back in time? These questions and others may help us begin to identify distortions and knowledge gaps, and to acknowledge the possibility of some of the lack or limitations in our present understanding of the ancient world. An excellent starting point for new discovery would be to set aside the powerful temptation to refer only to what is known through Greek and Roman sources, even ignoring them for a time, in order to study the unique character and genius of these unknown people on a case by case basis.

~P. West, 2013

James Madison: Protecting the Rights and Possessions of the Minority from the Passions of the Majority

Hancock.JamesMadison Hancock via portrain sculptors org

Walter Hancock, 1901-1998. Image via The Portrait Sculptors Society of the Americas or portraitsculptors.org

 

 

“[I]n all cases where the majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger.”

~James Madison

 

 

 

Comment:  Today we consider the words of James Madison on the subject of minority and majority rights. James Madison is known as “the Father of the Constitution,” because his Virginia Plan provided the basic framework and guiding principles of the Constitution. He was also, as an elected Representative in the House, sponsor of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.

Madison’s words serve as a guiding light in times of doubt and uncertainty about the role of government in our Republic. Today, it would seem that those who believe government should be used to provide all manner of services and “standards of living” for its citizens are on the side of the angels. They are “are united by a common interest or passion” to expropriate more of the earnings of its citizens in order to institute social programs for all. However, as the majority gains the unimpeded ability to confiscate the income of some of the citizens, who are defined as “wealthy,” in order to pay for these services, a very basic principle is violated. The government ceases to protect the rights and possessions of a certain group of people, who are called “rich,” and begins to use its force to seize more and more of what they have. This is a problem, because as soon as this is done to the “rich,” the argument is effectively made – and won – that government may seize half (or more) of the possessions of all citizens.

One potential solution to the problem of allowing an unrestricted majority to pluck the rights and possessions of a minority is to move toward instituting a flat tax. This would bring simplification of the tax code and the protection of upper income couples, while introducing neutrality into the tax system towards the earnings and rights of both the minority and the majority.

A flat tax would introduce simplicity and neutrality to the tax code. Read more here: http://www.heritage.org/research/factsheets/2012/01/the-new-flat-tax-encourages-growth-and-job-creation

A flat tax would introduce simplicity and neutrality to the tax code. Source.

Norman Borlaug: One Man’s Scientific Vision and Perseverance Extends the Staff of Life to Hundreds of Millions of People Around the World

Norman Ernest Borlaug (March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009) “was an American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate who has been called “the father of the Green Revolution”. Borlaug was one of six people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor.

Borlaug received his Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942. He took up an agricultural research position in Mexico, where he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties.

During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations.[5] These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.

Later in his life, he helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa.

Dwarfing

Dwarfing is an important agronomic quality for wheat; dwarf plants produce thick stems. The cultivars Borlaug worked with had tall, thin stalks. Taller wheat grasses better compete for sunlight, but tend to collapse under the weight of the extra grain—a trait called lodging— from the rapid growth spurts induced by nitrogen fertilizer Borlaug used in the poor soil. To prevent this, he bred wheat to favor shorter, stronger stalks that could better support larger seed heads. In 1953, he acquired a Japanese dwarf variety of wheat called Norin 10 developed by Orville Vogel, that had been crossed with a high-yielding American cultivar called Brevor 14.[19] Norin 10/Brevor is semi-dwarf (one-half to two-thirds the height of standard varieties) and produces more stalks and thus more heads of grain per plant. Also, larger amounts of assimilate were partitioned into the actual grains, further increasing the yield. Borlaug crossbred the semi-dwarf Norin 10/Brevor cultivar with his disease-resistant cultivars to produce wheat varieties that were adapted to tropical and sub-tropical climates.[20]

Borlaug’s new semi-dwarf, disease-resistant varieties, called Pitic 62 and Penjamo 62, changed the potential yield of spring wheat dramatically. By 1963, 95% of Mexico’s wheat crops used the semi-dwarf varieties developed by Borlaug. That year, the harvest was six times larger than in 1944, the year Borlaug arrived in Mexico. Mexico had become fully self-sufficient in wheat production, and a net exporter of wheat.[21] Four other high yield varieties were also released, in 1964: Lerma Rojo 64, Siete Cerros, Sonora 64, and Super X.”               ~Wikipedia

“[S]ome of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be shocked that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things”.

~Norman Borlaug, on environmental and other groups hostile to bringing high yield crops to Africa

Happy Autumn and Fall Festivities

Originally posted on Tallbloke's Talkshop:

CHUNDER DOWN UNDER

HOW GHCN v3.2 MANUFACTURES WARMING IN THE OUTBACK
by Roger Andrews

I originally entitled this post “Blunder Down Under”, but then it occurred to me that all of what I’m about to describe wasn’t a blunder at all, but intentional. So I changed “Blunder” to “Chunder”, which as those of you familiar with the Strine language will know, means “throw up”.

NCDC recently released the latest version of the Global Historic Climate Network data set – GHCN version 3.2, which applies adjustments to remove the artificial man-made discontinuities and spurious gradients that allegedly plague the “raw” GHCN Version 2 data.

I started to go through the GHCN v3.2 data, and the first record I looked at was Alice Springs in the middle of Australia. I plotted the “raw” GHCN v2 data against the adjusted GHCN v3.2 data for the station, and here’s what I got:

http://oi49.tinypic.com/2e34y6d.jpg

GHCN…

View original 776 more words

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