Two hundred thousand years ago, give or take, we acquired the problem-solving gene that defines Homo sapiens. Intelligent man. The Bible poetically refers to it as eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge. And in order to achieve dominion over all the beasts of the land and birds of the air, homo sapiens required strategic planning, co-operation, idea sharing and, most importantly, imagination. We required language, very sophisticated language.
My interest in the power of language was piqued by hearing a Ted X lecture by a Vietnamese immigrant in the USA, Phuc Tran talking about the subjunctive mood. Probably like you, I could not recall back through my youthful education when the intrigue of the subjunctive mood was explained by my English teacher. But to recap, the subjunctive mood is used in English to explore imaginary or conditional situations.
“Imagine if it had not rained then we would have gone to the beach”. “Imagine if I were king, then I would ban all religion”. “Imagine if I could just make this thing do that then the outcome would be…”
Subjunctive forms of verbs are typically used to express various states of unreality such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, obligation, or action that has not yet occurred. And as such the subjunctive mood is so critical to the fundamental point of language for Homo sapiens, that is to problem-solve. For the most creative problem solving occurs in the language of imagination.
Which is why Phuc Tran’s talk was so interesting. He was raised from a child in the USA and so was very familiar with the subjunctive mood in English. Phuc Tran has taught Latin, Greek, German, and Sanskrit at independent schools in New York and Maine and was an instructor at Brooklyn College’s Summer Latin Institute. In 2010, he served on a committee to revise the National Latin Praxis exam for ETS. Phuc currently teaches at Waynflete School in Portland. But his parents were raised in Vietnam and although his father was a lawyer and politician with the expected skills in the Vietnamese language, he had no comprehension of the subjunctive mood in that language.
That came to light in a very poignant way. When they were escaping during the fall of Saigon, the Tran family was about to board a bus to the airport when young Phuc became hysterical. In calming him down they missed the first bus and caught the second. That first bus was hit by artillery and all on board were killed. The second bus made it safely. So today Phuc ponders the ‘what ifs’. His father cannot comprehend this line of thought. His father does not do “what ifs”. His father says “Why on earth do you waste time talking about what did not happen?”
His father has a point. And in that point we can also see that the subjunctive mood has two very distinctive moods. On the positive side it is the pathway to discovery, to problem solving, to inventiveness, to progress. On the dark side it can spiral down into regret, fear and fatalism. Sometimes through history some of our greatest geniuses were also among our most troubled minds. Soaring with the positive possibilities, then spiralling down into the negative fears of failure. The subjunctive mood is a wild horse that should not be ridden bareback; it needs reins, saddle and stirrups.
The right hemisphere of the human brain allows our creativity to explore the unknown and it is the left side that exercises the controls of calculation and logic. It is notable that the new wave of human distress, widespread social anxiety, has arisen at the same time that society has become increasingly reliant on technology to replace the left brain functions of calculation and logic, the reins on the subjunctive mood of the right hemisphere. Only two generations ago emphasis in classrooms was on developing ‘mental arithmetic’, the ability of students to carry out calculations using just the left hemisphere of their brain. This practice stimulated the electrical activity of that left hemisphere. When pocket calculators first came onto the market in the 1970’s it was forbidden to use them in the classroom but as their use gradually infiltrated classrooms, followed by laptop computers, the activity of the left hemisphere of young brains has weakened and the imagination of the right hemisphere has progressively dominated reality. Anxiety is the inevitable outcome of a dominant right hemisphere of the brain when outcomes that we only imagine begin to present themselves as reality that will inevitably happen. Perhaps mental calculations should be included in our daily gym programme to compensate for the role of calculation technology in the same way that stationary bikes and treadmills compensate physically for the motorised technology.
Phuc thinks that absence of the subjunctive mood may be the reason for the stoic resilience of the Vietnamese people. My daughter, who studied linguistics at Otago University, challenges this conclusion with the proposition that it is the culture creates the language, not the other way round. That stoic people probably have no interest in the subjunctive mood whereas excitable, ambitious people actively seek to express themselves in the language of the imagination. I tend to agree and speculate that when the balance of a tribe or nation swings more towards stoicism or imaginative ambition will have a huge impact on the evolution of our species.
The Bible records that humans had been so successful in the development of common language that God and his angels became alarmed that by the construction of the Tower of Babel, humans were challenging God himself. To summarise the Biblical story according to Genesis 11: ‘throughout the land mankind spoke one language and they moved eastwards to the land of Shimar (Sumer). And they said: “Come let us build a town and tower with its top reaching to heaven”.’ The Tower of Babel, said to be a baked brick structure intended to reach the heavens, was halted by God and his angels, because (Gen. 11: 6-9) “the Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.‘ So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.”
But what was it about this Babel tower that so concerned the God of the Bible, Yahweh? The Tower in question was built in Shimar (Sumer) which was Mesopotamia (now southern Iraq). Archeology dates the arrival of humans into Mesopotamia between 3500 and 4500 BC. as they moved eastwards from the Mediterranean. This is from carbon dating the virgin soil beneath the earliest records of human occupation. The Bible records in Genesis 10:10, that a descendant of Noah’s son, Ham, a man named Nimrod was the first ‘king’ of this region and built his city called Nippur. We know from unearthed and translated Sumerian tablets that a six-seven story Ziggurat had been built in the city of Nippur where this priest-king lived.
The Sumerians are known for their skilled metalwork, stonework and statues. But more importantly they developed mathematics system based on 60, a twelve-month calendar based on moon cycles and a cuneiform alphabet which they used to keep records on clay tablets using a stylus. We also know that the oldest records of the science of astronomy are from Sumerian tablets dated back to the 3rd millennium bc and that they demonstrate that the Sumerians had a sophisticated knowledge of the solar system. Clearly an imaginative race.
The tablet VA/243 shows all eight major planets in the solar system in correct relative size and the two dwarf planets of Pluto and Ceres. It also showed planets circuiting the sun (represented by the star of David). It was not until the 16th century AD that modern astronomers worked out that it was the earth travelling around the sun not the sun travelling around the earth.
While the five planets out to Saturn can be seen with the naked eye and were known to ancient astronomers, Uranus was only discovered by William Herschel in 1781, Ceres by Guiseppe Piazzi in 1801, Neptune was discovered by Johann Galle in 1846 and Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. And yet these four planets are depicted accurately on this 3,000 BC Sumerian tablet.
Babylon itself is first mentioned in tablets around 2300 BC as a small city in Akkad. Its status grew and around 1800 BC, a ruler named Hammurabi expanded the borders of the Akkadian/ Babylonian Empire, conquering Sumer. Babylon is recorded as replacing Nippur as the “Holy City of Mesopotamia”. The Babylonians studied the Sumerians cuneiform alphabet and then adapted it to their own Akkadian language.
The literal words of Genesis 11 are that the whole earth spoke one language. But this is the Bronze age. There were well-established civilisations in Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Sparta, Troy, China, Europe, Australia, North and South America and archaeology demonstrates that there were already many languages around the world. Being so concerned about this one baked-brick tower trying to reach the heavens also seems a bit pointless when just along the road the Egyptians were building their pyramids, in Britain they built Stonehenge to study the heavens, in South America pyramids were being built and the remains of many ziggurats, all built between 3000 BC and 600 BC and used as observatories to study the heavens have been uncovered throughout Mesopotamia.
So perhaps it was not the tower itself that was of concern but rather what was actually inside the tower. Perhaps the Sumerian priest/astronomers’ knowledge of the heavens was developing far more rapidly than God and his angels deemed safe for humans to possess. Was their imagination starting to get out of control? So was this Babel story no more than an historical account of the Babylonians conquering the Sumerians, plundering the library of knowledge, cosmology and science stored in the Priest-King’s Ziggurat in Nippur and then replacing the Sumerian cuneiform language with the Akkadian cuneiform language so that the knowledge contained in the Sumerian tablets would become confused within a generation. Were the Babylonians a stoic race? They certainly put great emphasis on their defence infrastructure surrounding their city with three rings of 40 foot high impenetrable walls which might indicate stoicism.
This story could get all too academically speculative and just dismissed as another Biblical myth that just doesn’t quite stack up against archeological evidence, except for the uncanny message that it is recorded in the Bible which tells us that the common language that the gods an angels set out to disrupt would enable men to reach the heavens. Why that is significant is that 4-5,000 years later humans once again are imagining that we will reach the heavens.
While the modern exploration of the heavens was initiated as part of the USA/USSR cold war, it is today very much a global mission. USA launched the space station Freedom in 1987 with support from the European Space Agency (Columbus Laboratory) and Japan (Japan Experimental Laboratory). In 1990 NASA launched the Hubble space telescope into low earth orbit. Russia then abandoned its plans for a successor to the Mir space station and in 1993 became a partner of the International Space Station (ISS). Without Russian support, the Western partners probably would have had to give up the Freedom Space Station. Today astronauts from around the world, including Japan, Canada, Europe in addition to Russia and the United States, travel to the ISS. Several languages are spoken on board. This communication challenge is assisted by the spoken dialogue computer on the ISS, named Clarissa, which is programmed to understand both English and Russian. But future NASA astronauts will be required to learn Russian before they go into space. Because the Russian Federal Space Agency is facilitating the space flight to and from the ISS, it makes sense that the NASA wants astronauts to be able to correspond with their fellow space travellers. For over ten years all European astronaut activities are conducted at the European Astronaut Centre in Germany. In fact all the other astronauts on the ISS: Americans, Russians, Japanese and Canadians are also trained with European laboratory equipment. And European astronauts receive training in either Houston, USA, Star City in Russia, Tsukuba in Japan or Montreal, Canada to learn to operate the systems and components of the partners. The arrangement between the international partners is that any partner who owns a laboratory or another infrastructure element on the station trains the astronauts of all partners for it. China is also developing its heavenly ambitions but is doing so quite independently of the ISS partners.
To seriously explore the heavens we need international financial and intellectual co-operation and we really do need a common language. The English language has been on a colonising mission for hundreds of years and while, at 370 million, it is only the third most common first language of the world, a long way behind Mandarin at 1.3 billion and also well below Spanish at 470 million, English is by far the most common second-spoken language on earth at just under a billion people against Mandarin at 200 million. Mandarin matches English in its population size if not in it’s geopolitical breadth and this difference makes English the likely contender as the one language that will rule them all in our goal of reaching the heavens. But even if one language is not agreed, technology, driven by our imagination, will be able to instantly translate different languages to create a virtual common language to all men.
This is all developing at a time when the US government is finally admitting that alien craft, with vastly advanced technology, are entering our skies at will. So will the Gods and angels intervene once more to deny our attempts to reach the heavens? Will they decide that our species is not yet mature enough to be allowed into the heavens? That we are just too volatile and dangerous.
With a nod to Jack Nicholson in the movie ‘ A few good men’: You want the subjunctive mood? You can’t handle the subjunctive mood!
Today Easter is mainly celebrated by Easter bunnies delivering chocolate eggs to the delight of little children and to the owners of Cadbury and Lindt and all corporations that hide behind the persona of Willy Wonka. Easter is a holiday. But by holiday do I really mean holi day? “holi” being the Hindu celebration of the start of spring in which they welcome the Lord of Pleasure, Madana, son of Vishnu and Lakshmi? Or do I mean a Christian Holy Day, a day when we put aside our daily toil behind the plough, over the blacksmith’s fire or on top of a thatched roof, and attend worship services on a day set aside by the Christian Church for devout chanting and singing in the commemoration of a significant religious event?
In New Zealand, this Easter holiday is, of course, to commemorate the death and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; and we are commemorating this because, based on belief in this resurrection, the collection of Christian Bishops, gathered together by Roman Emperor Constantine in Nicaea in 325 A.D., voted that Jesus was actually a God equal to God the Father as well as a human. With this declaration 1645 years ago, the Christian religion was established as a bona fide standalone religion rather than just a sect of Judaism. In the Roman world there was no limit on numbers of Gods and any ‘faith’ had to be headed up by a specific God. And so Christianity was established to become one of the three great religions of the modern era. It also slightly adjusted the original Christian Church’s Judaic base belief system from being purely monotheistic to now being a trinity of three Gods in one: a human form, a spirit form, and a paternal form.
And so, after a few hundred years of persistence, Christianity replaced the beliefs of Paganism as the official religion of Rome. For a Church that believed that Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated the triumph of a human-form of God over the pagan forces of nature, it is peculiar, then, that the date of Easter changes annually, based on the timing of the first weekend after the full moon following the Spring Equinox. This uses an undeniably pagan calendar and coincides with a long-established Spring Equinox pagan festival.
One would have thought that the actual date of the crucifixion and resurrection would have been recorded by the apostles and disciples according to the Julian calendar of the day in Rome and Judea, which would then have been handed down with the gospels by the early Christians and then readily been converted to today’s Gregorian calendar. But for some unexplained reason, the Council of Nicea decided the pagan symbolism and timing of the first full moon after the spring equinox was the appropriate time to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Spring equinox celebration in paganism (witchcraft) today is called the feast of the Germanic goddess of fertility and new birth “Ostara” or “Eostre”, which is clearly the root name for our Easter. This is one of the eight neopagan holidays that make up the pagan wheel of the year. Knowing the Roman Catholic Church’s fundamental opposition to paganism and witchcraft, it is surprising that the commemoration of the death and resurrection is also named Easter, after this Germanic goddess.
And if we dig a little deeper in history to paganism in Rome at the time of Emperor Constantine, we find the older Spring Equinox festival where they believed in a goddess Cybele, the great mother of Gods, who had a consort named Attys. Attys had been a shepherd who was born of a virgin birth from his mother, Nana. Attys died from wounds inflicted by a boar but by the power of Zeus his body did not decompose.
Atys was then celebrated each year during the Spring Equinox. It is said that during this festival a pine tree was cut in the woods and brought to the sanctuary of Cybele. The duty of carrying the tree was entrusted to a guild of Tree bearers. The trunk was swathed like a corpse with woollen bands and decked with wreaths of violets (violets were reputed to have sprung from the blood of Atys). The parallels to our Christian mourning of the crucifixion are uncanny. On the third day of the festival the high priest (Archigallus) drew blood from his arm and offered it as a sacrifice. The inferior clergy also danced their way into a frenzy of self-mutilation to splatter their blood on the tree. The splattering of blood was supposed to be an aid to resurrection. Again the sacrament of the blood of Christ offered up at the last supper is an uncanny parallel. The subsequent rebirth of nature as spring progressed is then seen as proof of the restoration of life. The worship of Cybele and Atys was brought to Rome from Phygria (Asia Minor) in 204B.C. Atys was made a solar deity in the 2nd century ad. The black stone (meteorite?) in which the spirit of the goddess was embodied was entrusted to the Romans who installed it in the temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill. The subsequent harvest was exceptionally good and her position in their belief system was established.
All the way through my Roman Catholic upbringing, the core of our faith was based on the dogma, ‘that Jesus, son of God, died on the cross for man’s sins; so that man could now become righteous in God’s eyes’ 1 Peter 2:24: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.” This dogma referenced back to the last supper when Jesus metaphorically said that the wine represented his blood and the bread represented his body, and that he would sacrifice his body and his blood as the new covenant between God and man. This then came to pass the next day with his crucifixion.
So, what was that all about? If I had to think about this, I would have to puzzle over why an all-loving God would require his Son to suffer and die a cruel death as a means of atoning for the evils of man. There seemed no co-relation. How would having his Son rejected, tortured and killed by humans actually thereby make humans acceptable to God as a righteous species?
While I had been studying the Babylonian texts published in 1965 by W. G. Lambert and A. R. Millard, texts that had been written around 1650 BCE, (approximately 250 years before Moses is believed to have received the teachings of Genesis from Yahweh), I noticed that the translated epic actually contains an account of the sacrifice of a God. The Atrahasis epic is written on three tablets in Akkadian, the language of ancient Babylon.
Let her create, then, a human, a man,
Let him bear the yoke!
Let him bear the yoke!”
Let man assume the drudgery of the god.
They slaughtered Aw-ilu, who had the inspiration, in their assembly.
Nintu mixed clay with his flesh and blood.
That same god and man were thoroughly mixed in the clay.
For the rest of the time they would hear the drum.
From the flesh of the god the spirit remained.
It would make the living know its sign.
Lest he be allowed to be forgotten, the spirit remained.
After she had mixed the clay,
she summoned the Anunna, the great gods.
The Igigi, the great gods, spat upon the clay.
Mami made ready to speak,
and said to the great gods:
“You ordered me the task and I have completed it!
You have slaughtered the god, along with his inspiration.
I have done away with your heavy forced labor”
For this purpose of creating a man to make him useful to the Gods, one of the lesser gods was sacrificed, and his flesh and blood was mixed with clay from which process man was made. This reference to mixing with clay to create man in both the Greek and Biblical texts: “Prometheus shaped man out of clay, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure. Genesis 2:7,” Yahweh God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life”.
But these Akkadian texts describe the sacrifice of a God so that his flesh and blood could be mixed with man to make the man useful to the Gods developing from primitive beasts to intelligent farmers and workers.
The similarity to the account of the sacrifice of body and blood of Jesus as the new covenant between God and man in the New Testament is quite astounding. It requires some further research on how this more modern Christian dogma actually came to us.
If any of Jesus’ followers believed that God was promising to finally deliver them from the yoke of Rome and give them peaceful sovereignty over the Holy land, then they were disappointed. After two more failed Jewish rebellions in 70 AD and 135 AD, the Romans brutally crushed the Jewish state with hundreds of thousands of Jews killed, deported or sold into slavery. The Romans renamed Judea as Palaestina, derived from “Philistine”.
The development of Christianity in the first 100 years AD therefore evolved as one of saving the eternal souls of believers rather than saving the Jews from the military rule of Rome. Unlike other recorded messianic claimants at the same time, who generally met the same fate of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christian movement was not ended with the death of Jesus; indeed it flourished after his death. That the disciples of Jesus continued openly to preach the beliefs of Christianity, knowing this would lead to their own execution, is the strongest proof that they now believed in the afterlife based on the belief that Jesus, the man born as a result of a visit by angels to the virgin Mary, had risen from the dead.
So the question that I raise is, did the Council of Nicaea actually achieve an official takeover of Paganism by Christianity, or was the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in effect a reverse takeover of the original Christianity by the pagan emperor Constantine? After 300 years of Rome trying unsuccessfully to suppress this Judaeo-Christian cult, did he in fact simply don a Christian façade and bring the dissident Christians under his control in this way? Was the new, improved Christianity post-Nicaea simply a hybrid Pagan/Christian religion designed to bring a bit of religious harmony into the Roman Empire? Did he bring the feasts of paganism and the dates of paganism, complete with funny hats and symbolic staves? (plural of staff, didn’t you know?), meld them with carefully edited texts about the life of Jesus (many original texts were said to have been declared heretical by this new church, and burned) and say: “Behold the new Christianity!” Certainly once Rome became the holy seat of the Church, the blame for Jesus’ death was attributed to a divine decision to sacrifice his son for the forgiveness of the sins of all men rather than a political decision of Rome.
How much do we really now know, then, about the early Christians? And what did they really believe? It was Peter who first started preaching to pagans sometime after the crucifixion and later Paul, who only joined the mission years after the crucifixion, also extended the mission to the pagans and gentiles. But the original mission as stated by Mathew’s account of Jesus’ instruction (Mathew 10:5) was “Do not turn your steps into pagan territory and do not enter any Samaritans town; go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” And later in Mathew 15:12 when a Canaanite woman asked for help, Jesus’ reply was “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel…..it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house dogs.” Very clear Judaic messages. We do know in the early days post-crucifixion there was much dispute among the Christian disciples about Peter and Paul selling out this Jewish mission to the Pagans. So was the Council of Nicea like “Bethlehem’s family bakery, baking bagels since 33AD” selling out to “Romano’s Pizza Shack”- global franchise enquiries welcome.
Of all our holidays, Easter must be the most confused. Whatever your religious beliefs, it would appear that the Roman-Christian festival of Easter is in fact an appropriation of the Pagan festivals of Eostre and of Attys, including the moving-feast practice to align annually with the full moon following the Spring Equinox. Constantine obviously, but understandably, didn’t think it through to the spread of his Empire to the southern hemisphere.
Here is a thought, when the first mother of our species was ‘created’, it was done so by the organised communication and cooperation of about forty trillion cells to form a ‘mass’ that is a human mammal with all the operational functions that we think of as making us distinctively human. Those cells are combinations of chemical elements, almost 2/3 is the hydrogen element, 1/4 is oxygen, and about 1/10 is carbon. Different combinations form different types of life and different levels of ‘intelligence’. But what are the cells made up of?
In order to understand how we humans came to be, first we have to understand exactly what ‘mass’ is in its ‘dead form’, before it comes to life, and what is involved in the mechanics of forming it. I will start with our solar system, I could keep going out further but our own solar system is far enough to make a point. So we start with the biggest bit of mass in our solar system which is, of course, the sun. Then we step down then to Jupiter the next biggest bit of mass, skip over a couple and make your way down to earth, and within earth we have rocks. And what is all this mass made up of? It is all molecules and they all work as a team to form a mass of something. And so it is with every lump of mass in the solar system, from pebbles to planets to a sun, everything of mass has a molecular structure. For perspective, about 40 billion, billion molecules would make an object the size of a marble. Molecules are building blocks of various chemical elements and different combinations of molecules produce different types of mass. When molecules organise themselves into cells then matter evolves from inorganic mass to organic, living mass. Of interest, the cells in a human body are dying and being replaced constantly so that every seven years every cell in our body has been replaced. And yet we are still the same person. The cells are just the organic components that contribute to the evolution of the body.
But going backwards, what makes up molecules? Well that, of course, is our old friend the atom. The ancient Greek philosopher Democritus first theorised that all matter would continually be divisible until it gets down to a point where it could no longer be divisible and that point he called an atom. ‘Atom’ literally means indivisible. The atom is the building block of the universe and is the smallest particle into which an element can be divided without losing its identity. When you start trying to interfere with the structure of atoms, kaboom! Because the atom does contain sub atomic particles which are negative charges (electrons), positive charges (protons) and neutrons which act like a glue holding all the electrons together. Without neutrons the negatively charged electrons would repel each other and fly apart. You can see the effect of this if you futilely try to push the two north poles of a magnet together. The balance of electrons and protons also determines if two mass objects repel or attract each other. You walking into a brick wall is the result of strong repulsion, putting your hand into a bowl of water had far less repulsion.
It was the invention of the cathode ray tube in the 1890’s that enabled physicist, JJ Thomson, to ‘see’ the effect caused by an atom within the beam of light and in his experiments he identified the negatively charged cloud within the atom which was named the electron. The cathode ray tube is what enabled the creation of television, which is the transfer of particles to enable us to see in one location what is happening in another location. It is interesting to note the 1926 prophesy of famous inventor Nikola Tesla:
“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles, and the instruments through which we shall be able to do all of this, will fit in our vest pockets”.
Here he accurately predicted facetime on a mobile phone, over 80 years before it was released. But he also identified that the earth is simply a huge brain that can enable communication between all the particles that make it up. In fact this same description can be applied to the whole universe.
New Zealand’s own Ernest Rutherford worked out that there was more to an atom than the electron. With experiments he identified a nucleus within the atom. It wasn’t easy to spot because atoms are not big things. I am reliably informed that about a million of them standing one behind the other would bridge the width of a needle. And if we then imagine the atom as the size of a basketball, the nucleus would be the size of a marble inside it (about 1:1000). Following on from that he eventually found the proton, the little positive charge housed within the nucleus. He named it ‘proton’ after the Greek word ‘protos’ meaning ‘first’.
Rutherford then discovered that he could disintegrate the nuclei of nitrogen atoms by firing particles from a radioactive source which, in turn, resulted in the release of fast protons. This was the first ever artificially-induced nuclear reaction, a breakthrough that would lead ultimately to nuclear power and the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. In effect it was an offence by Rutherford against the natural order of the atom that unleashed unimaginable and catastrophic results. But while smashing atoms into each other may change the structure of the atom, he did not end up with two half-atoms split down the middle as the common language would imply. An atom does not die, it always was and always will be. Life was destroyed by the atomic bombs but the atoms survived. Cells have a timespan, some very short as it turns out. Our skin cells last only a few days before dying and being replaced. The molecular structure of inorganic rocks however will survive several billion years. But the atom lives on eternally, it existed at the beginning of the universe and will be here at the end, it is the the alpha and the omega.
In 1932 an English physicist, James Chadwick, identified the neutron, the neutral particle within the nucleus and finally we had the trinity of energy that makes up the one atom; the positive, the neutral and the negative, like the red, green and black wires in the cord that turns on our electric light.
Moving onwards to us humans, as well as other animals and living plants, and we discover that in the beginning our atoms sort themselves out into the appropriate molecular structures (seven billion billion billion molecules make up a 70kg human). So how do all these atoms, molecules and cells actually cohabit within a body in a way that does not create chaotic collisions everywhere? The answer is communication. It is what makes the world go round. Just as humans walking down the street by intuitive cooperation and unspoken signals of communication do not continually bump into each other, so too quantrillions of atoms have a communication system that allows them to co-operate harmoniously and creatively avoiding bumping into each other; and they create more communication systems within the molecules and cells that they create.
In the process of creating a mammal such as Eve, a few of the cells form into a pea sized gland called the pineal and happily nestle between the two hemispheres of her brain. In fact this is the first gland to be created in the human body after initial conception. You may recall an earlier blog where I wrote about the cultural and religious significance we have historically given to this tiny, pine-shaped gland. I concluded that this little gland may in fact be our human router connecting our PC (brain) to the universal internet. Do we have a built in universal wi-fi? If so is it this wi-fi that connects us with all other groups of atoms also connected (other humans and mammals) by their pineal router and enables us to co-operate, avoid bumping into each other and live in harmony (unless our ambition or hunger overrides such harmony)? Is this the complex communication network that enables our sense of curiosity, our search for intelligent life beyond our planet, our quest to find God and solve the fundamental question of ‘what’s it all about, Alfie?”
When you ask a physicist to describe an atom he or she will tell you:
- It is invisible to the eye. We can only perceive its existence by its effect on things we can see.
- It is three components in one.
- It is eternal. It had no beginning and has no end.
- It is all-powerful. It is the building block that creates the universe and everything in it.
- It exists everywhere. There is nowhere that the atom is not present.
I was raised in Christian schools. I know by heart the Christian theologian’s description of God. It is as above, word for word and gives meaning to the phrase, found common amongst many cultures, ‘the God within’.
- The Biblical flood
Noah built an ark, 300 cubits in length, while the people mocked him…
I have not given the subject of the Biblical flood much philosophical thought since my bible class school years, but I stumbled on a slightly new take on the subject with one of the books I bought for my summer reading that resurrected my interest. It was a book called ‘Magicians of the Gods; by Graham Hancock, who is a long-established researcher and writer of ancient geology, archeology and astronomy. Hancock attracted my interest not with studying the flood evidence in the lands of the Bible but rather to a place referred to as the Scablands of North America.
Throughout the 20th century there had been much debate around the formation of these monumental channels. To put them into perspective, what is referred now to as “The Dry Falls” would have, at the time they were formed, been almost three times higher than Niagara Falls and 50% higher than the Victoria Falls in southern Africa. They would also have been six times wider than Niagara. So the great debate in the 20th century community of geologists was regarding the cause of these massive washed out channels. The geological establishment always favoured the gradual erosion theory following the end of the ice age around 12,000 years ago when Canada and this northern part of North America was under three kilometres of ice. A few geologists did not buy this gradual erosion, arguing that the impact on the landscape was just too dramatic for erosion and therefore had to be the result of a catastrophic event. The two camps argued for a few decades and the community eventually ‘met in the middle’ with the theory of the collapse of a glacial lake causing the dramatic creation of the channels. But neither side really believed in this middle ground. The gradual erosion side were just of that geological religion and the catastrophic geologists just thought that the lake in question, Missoula, would never have contained anywhere near enough water volume to result in the massive scouring today visible. But they simply had no alternative theory to seize.
But enter the 21st century and geologists were now studying an apparently unrelated geological feature: nano diamonds. A team of 25 Geophysicists, with Richard Firestone, a nuclear physicist as its team leader and including Jim Kennett, an oceanographer at the University of California, presented a paper in 2007 claiming that evidence found in a number of 12,000+ year old carbon-rich sites (in the form of nano-diamonds) across North America and one site in Belgium, convinced them that an asteroid had entered earth’s atmosphere at the end of the last ice age, with North America taking the biggest hit. Such an impact would have also been responsible for the extinction of many of the mega fauna of the northern climes that also occurred at this time. The absence of a crater on North America was explained by the fact that it would have impacted on the 3 km deep ice sheet over Canada and Northern USA. However in 2018 a crater was discovered beneath the Hiawatha glacier in Greenland that is 31 km wide and created by the impact of a 1.5km wide iron asteroid which did impact within the timeframe of the last ice age and may have been related to this event. The nano-diamond evidence was created by thermal heat up to, or greater than, 2,200 degrees centigrade. The evidence of glass-like carbon is the smoking gun, or at least the residue from a smoking gun. The evidence began to mount over the next few years. The ongoing search has now found further evidence of these nano-diamond deposits over North America and Northern Europe.
‘Aha’, say the ‘catastrophic cause’ geologists of the Scablands study, ‘we have our event’. ‘Aha’ say the Biblical scholars, we have a date for our great flood. A massive comet impact landing on the 3 km ice sheet of North America and fragmenting across northern Europe would account for the creation of the nano diamond deposits and would also account for an instant melting of 10% of the northern icecap which would be a sufficient volume of water to create the scablands in North America and the great flood through the lands of the Bible, below the Northern Europe ice cap.
The scoured height of the Scablands in North America would indicate the wave of water going through was 150 metres high; that would be three times higher than Niagara Falls. For a modern day comparison, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami measured between 15 and 30 metres at the earthquake’s epicentre near Sumatra and between 6 and 12 metres on the Banda Aceh coast. That tsunami impacted 18 countries in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa, killing nearly 250,000 people in a single day, and leaving more than 1.7 million homeless.
2. Younger Dryas
Further Geophysical evidence from Greenland core studies of the earth’s temperature movements over the millennia shows that the last glacial maximum period of the ice age ended 20,000 years ago when natural global warming caused the gradual retreat of the expanding glaciers. This global warming progressed over 7,000 years until suddenly, 12,800 years ago, a global event plunged the whole earth back into the depths of the previous ice age. This mini ice age continued for a thousand years before natural global warming resumed and this period is scientifically referred to as the Younger Dryas.
It’s not rocket science, the idea of a comet hitting earth is not outrageous sci-fi. A little one did land in Siberia in 1908; a meteor landed in Russia back in 2013. These things happen. But if this big comet, estimated at 4 kms wide, hit Canada 12,800 years ago melting 10% of the Canadian ice cap in minutes, then that impact created a wave of water five times larger than that 2004 Sumatran tsunami.
Once mainstream science started accepting this comet theory as plausible, the astronomers began trying to trace where this comet might have come from. They have modelled it as having being one massive long cloud of comet fragments through which earth passed on its natural orbit of the sun 12,800 years ago. And on examining the plutonium levels of Greenland ice core samples in that period they concluded that this was not just a single hit, but actually continued for just over twenty years. Evidence of plutonium layers deep in the ice core indicate that twice a year the earth’s solar circuit passed through this comet cloud causing continuous comet strikes. The unrelenting strikes on land would have set the planet alight with massive wild fires; a living hell beyond anything we could imagine today. The smoke and dust from this 20+ year bombardment blocked the sun for a thousand years causing the Younger Dryas climatic event and hell quite literally froze over.
3. Day of Judgment
Whatever level of civilisation humans may have developed by that stage would have completely been burned and /or submerged and would have left little or no evidence behind for archeologists to discover today. If there was an Atlantis then this is when it would have disappeared beneath the flood. It could be reasonably speculated that most of the survivors from this hell on earth would be likely to be living south of the equator, below the primary impact region: South America, central and southern Africa, Southern India, Indonesia, Australia and lands of Oceania which rising seas would have carved into islands.
A common narrative handed down to us through our western religious indoctrination is the concept of heaven, limbo and hell as the three outcomes of judgement day. We are told that at the end of days the ‘righteous’ will be taken directly into the heavens, those who are in God’s grace and friendship but still imperfectly purified are placed in a state of limbo to become righteous and the rest are damned to an existence amongst fire and brimstone. We have no date for this scenario but what if that day of reckoning has already happened? Was this comet strike event humanity’s actual ‘Judgement Day’.
4. Survival in Hell and Limbo
While this was a global cataclysmic event that could have almost caused extinction of our species, the fact is that humanity did actually survive. These are the humans who lived far enough away from the impact zone and adapted to survive through the thousand year winter that followed. We learn from the Bible that this flood event with the destruction of the human race was foretold to Noah who was directed to build an ark to survive the impending flood with his immediate family of wife, three sons and their wives, with plants and animals to sustain them. The Hebrew Bible talks about Noah taking plants and seeds in his ark to Canaan, near Lebanon to repopulate the world. The legend that these were the sole survivors of the great flood probably had a factual basis but would almost certainly be a tribal rather than a global account of surviving the great flood. Rather than all the animals of the planet they would have taken on board the normal animals on which they relied for food and milk. The Bible also recounts that thousands of years later Moses’ Israelite army, under the instructions of Yahweh, slaughtered the Canaanites, who included the ‘giants’ who were descendants of Ham son of Noah, to claim Canaan for themselves as their promised land.
Graham Hancock went down this same path of study linking the Comet strike of 12,800 years ago with the great flood legends. One part of his research led him to the writings of the prophet Zarathustra who is reported by Plato to have lived 5,000 years before the Trojan War. Exactly when that was no one is quite sure, but it is known that Zarathustra borrowed from more ancient writings. His writings talk of the prediction of a great serpent that would sweep through the sky and bring forth a great winter. That sort of aligns with the comet and subsequent plunge back to the ice age. But then the Zoroastrian texts, as they are known, talk of the building of an underground shelter to survive this impending great winter. Into this underground shelter, called a Vara, the seeds of men and women of the greatest best and finest kinds…. the seeds of every kind of cattle…tree….fruit, until the dire winter passed and spring returned. The texts specified that no lepers, lunatics, impotent or deformed humans would be bred in this Vara; and only the seeds of the fruits and vegetables that are ‘fullest of food and sweetest of odour’.
The Vara that Zarathustra refers to was to be constructed on three subterranean levels, each smaller than the one above, the largest with nine streets, the middle with six streets and the smallest three streets. It also described the use of “uncreated lights that shine from below’ since the sun and moon would not be visible. Someone called Yima was given responsibility by the Gods for the construction. He was to bring the seeds of men and women, the seeds of every kind of fruit and of tree. Finally we learn from these texts that ‘every fortieth year, to every couple two are born, a male and a female. And thus it is for every sort of cattle.’ There is also a note that the humans live in Vara for 150 years. Moreover, intriguingly, the births of offspring to every couple do not result from sexual union but from the seeds deposited in the Vara. Actually as sci-fi as this Zorastrian text sounds, it resonates with how we would try to survive a cataclysmic global event today and is much more plausible than Noah and his sons and the animals floating on their ark for forty days being the source of all life on earth today.
Now, being a keen traveller and diligent researcher, Hancock went in search of such underground laboratory/ depository and did find that in Turkey’s Cappadicia region there are a large number of underground structures carved out of solid rock and usually, as described with Vara, consisting of multiple levels. He actually visited the one called Derinkuyu in 2013. Eight of its levels are open to the public, but there are others below still closed off. It also features a subterranean tunnel several kilometres long connecting with another underground ‘city’. Large stone doors shaped like millstones and weighing around half a ton were located ready to be rolled into place to block access. They had a remarkable system of ventilation shafts connecting from the bottom levels to the surface. It was a remarkable feat carved from volcanic rock and extending over four square kilometres.
In Turkey numerous underground cities have been discovered. Some of these may have been built before the great Flood to survive the climatic catastrophe of a comet strike or simply as a defence against marauders. We just don’t know, but we do know that very ancient writings described such places as refuges for life on earth to be preserved within earth’s embrace and survive emerge again when the great winter ended and spring returned to the earth. Such is the way of nature. But if there were predictions and preparations for such a comet impact then someone was watching the heavens above and tracking this comet trail as it circumnavigated the cosmos out there.
5. Seven Sages
Sumerian clay tablets dating back to as far as 5,000 years ago are the oldest written documents discovered. They pre-date the Bible by over 1,000 years. They also have their tale of the great flood, although their hero of the flood is named Ziusudra not Noah. In these Sumerian clay tablets is also reference, post-deluge, to seven sages, the magicians of the Gods, travelling and sailing to different parts of the globe on a mission to re-civilise the world. Egypt was first port of call for the civilising process, Turkey and Babylon not far after. China was also an early starter in the modern civilisation process followed by Japan. South Americans have similar tales about Gods arriving after the flood and teaching them metal-craft, gold-smithing and the engineering skills to build intricately designed irrigation schemes on the sides of mountains and precision pyramids with accurate astronomical references.
Continuing his further research Hancock also studied ancient scripts in Egypt and Mesopotamia relating to this same period and found reference to “the seven sages who set forth in ships to all parts of the world to take with them humans, animals and seeds with which to repopulate a world that had been devastated by the great flood”
And so, just as the Sumerian and Egyptian writings describe, a thousand years after that great flood event, the Seven Sages emerged from beneath the ground with their technological, agricultural, chemical and engineering knowledge and set themselves on a mission to rebuild a new civilisation accompanied by the humans now pale-skinned, blue/green eyed and fair headed as a result of having been laboratory-bred underground for a thousand years. And eventually these ‘sons of Gods’ went forth to distant lands to find the descendants of those who survived the great flood as hunter gatherers. Those who migrated from the jungles of South America up through the plains of North America, those who had always lived in Southern Africa since the dawn of the species and eventually the island-dwelling people of the Pacific.
Humans living in parts of southern Africa, southern Asia, Australia, Oceania and South America also survived the great flood and lived a hunter gatherer existence over the thousand year winter. They were well south of the North American ice sheet and also out of range of the main impact of the comet so were the people who witnessed the arrival from the Middle East of these god-like pale skinned humans, bringing with them their hi-tech magic to show them how build great pyramids and temples and how to fashion metals and gems. And thus began the worship rituals of the Mayans, the Incas, the Persians, the Indians and Asians as they embraced the knowledge and the mysteries of their allocated sage, one of seven, and the ‘sons’ who accompanied them.
The Pacific ocean was first recorded by Europeans in 1513 and the first recorded European contact with a Pacific Island people, on the Marquesas Islands, was not until 1595 when a Spanish explorer randomly encountered the island during a voyage. A Dutch explorer, Willem Janszoon, landed at Western Australia in 1606 and James Cook arrived on the East Coast of Australia in 1770. The Aborigines had occupied Australia for an estimated 60,000 years prior to that and yet one thing undeniably links the ancient aboriginal cultures with those of Europe, America and Asia. This is a group of remote stars in the cosmos. Looking up into a clear night sky with no street light pollution we are presented with a seemingly infinite choice of stars. Apart from our own solar system’s planets, which are much brighter by their proximity, there is little to distinguish the billions of stars we can see for the amateur sky gazer. Certainly some are brighter than others and some may cluster more than others. Some may form a shape that localised navigators create in their minds as a navigational tool but still there is nothing so remarkable as to be obvious to anyone who looks up into the night sky from any point on the planet.
The ancient Babylonian star catalogues however name one, quite unremarkable group MUL.MUL or “star of stars”, and they head the list of stars along the ecliptic, reflecting the fact that they were close to the point of vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC. Several Sumerian clay tablets have depicted these seven stars that reference the harvest period.
The modern common name for this cluster of stars as recorded in Greek mythology is ‘Pleiades’. Pleiades is mentioned in the poems of Homer and Hesiod around 1,000 BC, in which the Pleiades were seven sisters: Maia, Electra, Alcyone, Taygete, Asterope, Celaeno and Merope. According to Greek mythology, after a chance meeting with the hunter Orion, the seven sisters became the object of his pursuit. Enamoured with the young women he pursued them over the face of the Earth. In pity for their plight, Zeus changed them into a flock of doves, which he set in the heavens.
Even though the Greeks actually name nine stars of the Pleiades, they acknowledge that only six stars are distinctly visible to the naked eye. Apart from the seven daughters they also name Atlas and Pleione as the parents. These two stars do exist although they would have been invisible to the searching eyes of ancient Greeks, Chinese or Persian astronomers. But of the seven sisters, they write that the star Merope is often called the “lost Pleiade” because she was not seen by astronomers nor charted like her sisters. The ancient Greeks explained that Merope was most faintly visible because she took a mortal husband, Sisyphus, the King of Corinth. It is a mystery how they knew of more than the six visible stars.
In Norse folklore the same cluster was known as Freyja’s hens, identified as a hen with six chicks. In Celtic tradition the rising of this cluster between the Autumn equinox and Winter solstice was a period to mourn the dead which led to festivals of “all souls day” and Halloween. The stars also appear in Hindu writings as early as the Indus Valley civilisation (3300–1700 BCE) known as the Matrikas, a group of seven divine mothers. This same cluster of stars appears in the folklore throughout the Americas, from the Cherokee to the Aztecs (Tianquiztli , the marketplace).
The cluster is also recognised in Japan under the name Mutsuraboshi (“six stars”) in the 8th century Kojiki and Manyosyu documents. The constellation is also known in Japan as Subaru (“unite”) and you may note that the Subaru car logo contains six stars. Interestingly Japanese often refer to seven stars instead of six. Travellers to Japan may be familiar with Shichifukujin (literally “seven happy gods”) which are often seen at temples and in miniature at souvenir shops throughout Japan. Locals in some prefectures of Japan still call the cluster “Shichifukujin”. As with many things Japanese, the recognition of this cluster of stars was imported from Chinese astronomy observations. This cluster of stars seem to be among the first stars mentioned in astronomical literature, appearing in Chinese annals of 2357 B.C. The Chinese were a very advanced civilisation in the study of astronomy.
The Pleiades cluster is within 4° of the ecliptic and is in the constellation of Taurus. In the Northern Hemisphere the cluster can be seen in November from dusk to dawn. The heliacal (pre-dawn) rising of the Pleiades marks late May/ June mid winter season in the Southern Hemisphere. In Hawaii this cluster is named Makaliʻi hiki (also translates as ‘little eyes’). The Makaliʻi hiki in Hawaii rises shortly after sunset and is visible for four months from October/November to February/March. In Hawaiian tradition, this was a four month period of celebration of the harvest called Makahiki. Warfare was forbidden and it was a period of feasting, sports, dancing and celebration. The Makaliʻi hiki were also a navigational guide for the Hawaiians.
In Aotearoa the cluster is called Matariki (also translated as ‘ little eyes’) and it appears in the South-East horizon of the night sky in May/ June and is referred to as the mother, surrounded by her six daughters whose role is to assist the weakened sun to return to strength.
The Australian Aborigines also include this same Pleiades star cluster, which they call the Meamei, in their dreamtime folklore. According to their mythology, the cluster represents seven girls chased by the hunter, Djulpan. This is an identical myth to the Greek myth of Orion, the hunter chasing Pleione and her six daughters. Again they speak of seven stars although only six are possibly visible to their naked eyes.
So when science tells us that man only emerged from a primitive hunter gatherer existence to becoming a civilised farmer just 12,000 years ago, we must ask then how an unspectacular star cluster exists in the dreamtime mythology of a race that had migrated to this southern continent 60,000 years before Europeans records show first contact with the Aborigines of Australia.
So from that link important questions arise. Do the seven stars of Pleiades represent the Seven Sages who, according to ancient Sumerian clay tablets and Egyptian stone records, set forth on boats to re-civilise the world after the great flood? Do these Seven Sages align with the seven archangels of the Hebrew bible and the seven senior Gods of the Accadian clay records as referenced in my earlier blog on “Angels”? Were the seven sages / archangels/ gods of ancient lore actually beings who came from the star cluster we know as Pleiades? Did they explain their origins to our ancestors?
So, if a cataclysmic comet strike ushering in a thousand year winter was indeed our judgement day, we can see those who lived in this hell on earth for a thousand years until the fires extinguished, the ice melted and the atmosphere cleared would then represent the damned. Those who were artificially preserved and bred in underground Vara represent the chosen ones to be purified; but what, if anything happened to the blessed who were to be raised, body and soul, into the heavens?
6. Stairway to heaven
Today Governments around the world are investing billions in a race to colonise Mars. The United States, China and United Arab Emirates have all active missions to Mars programmes in 2020. Why? Transport entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Richard Branson compete to develop the ability to commercially transport humans to Mars. Why? There are so many priorities on earth for our investment and technological developments; why is there this focus on colonising a planet where the atmosphere cannot even support life? Mars’ atmosphere contains more than 95% carbon dioxide and not even 1% oxygen; earth is nearly 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. Plants cannot grow up there, we can’t even breathe up on Mars; its’ surface is exposed to radiation levels that would kill humans in minutes. We would only live inside a dome. It seems madness. Why are we not putting that energy, money and focus into making our own planet a better environment to live in? And yet we are hell bent on this mission to colonise Mars.
In America, Elon Musk has established his own special school, Ad Astra (to the stars), on the SpaceEx campus in Los Angeles. He took his five sons from Los Angeles’s Mirman School, a K-8 school for “gifted” children. Musk also hired one of Mirman’s teachers, Joshua Dahn, to run Ad Astra. In the new school’s first year, the Musk children (twins born in 2004 and triplets born in 2006) were joined by a few children of SpaceX employees. Today, more than 30 students aged 7 to 14 take part in a curriculum focusing on science, maths, engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Ad Astra leaves a very light digital footprint from its absence of grades to the secrecy of its admissions process. Reportedly, spots are limited to the children of SpaceX employees and, even then, are by invitation only.
Minkowski, Einstein, Tesla and Hawking have all been figuring out this time-space warping concept that leads to a conclusion that there are black holes and wormholes in space. The closest I could get to rationalising this was from an old-style department store in my youth called Penroses. It had a network of brass pipes running all around the store with little portals at each counter. The sales assistant would place a sales docket with the cash into a capsule, insert it into the portal and by some gravity defying, vacuumed magic the cylinder could be heard being sucked up through the network of pipes towards the upstairs office. A few moments later a clunk would announce its return and the assistant would retrieve the cylinder and remove the receipt and change. Is there a space portal on Mars that connects to a black wormhole that fast-tracks between our solar system and the Pleiades? Is Mars a colony to live on or is it to be an intergallactic space-port? Or is it both?
So if earth’s natural, dark-skinned native population represent the resilient survivors of the cataclysmic comet strike 12,800 years ago and the white-skinned westerners are the descendants of the artificially preserved humans kept in underground limbo for 25 generations, did any of us make it on the list of the righteous and gain a ticket on a direct ascension into the heavens? And if so, what has happened to them? Were they taken up to the Pleiades? Do they keep in touch? Are they inviting us to join them?
Conspiracy theorists always claim that somebody knows something they aren’t telling us? But NASA is not making any secret that they have been tracking asteroid 99942 since 2004 when initial observations showed a slight chance of an impact with either the earth or the moon in 2029. It has just made another pass around us and projections have been updated and we are now apparently safe until possibly 2068. It has a diameter of 370 metres and has been named Apophis, after the Egyptian god of chaos. That is relatively small compared to the estimated 4 kilometre wide asteroid that caused the younger dryas and only a only a pebble compared to the ten kilometre wide asteroid that hit Mexico 66 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs; but it could still do some serious damage to the area it hit, cause a major weather disruption globally and certainly put an end to our technology-based civilisation as all satellites suddenly went out. In such an event it might be useful to have an incubation dome safely located well away from the impact zone where the human species and the seeds of earth could be preserved. A place with a worm-hole connection to higher technological support in distant star zones. So that when Earth’s dust is settled and the climate has recovered, such preservers of the species could then seek out the survivors who had adapted and survived over many generations of a far more primitive life. Could these ‘strangers’, who had lived hundreds of years in an incubation dome, be tasked to help restore the technology-based civilisation that had been lost by the asteroid impact? Our task is the survival of the species.
And Elon built a space-ark, 300 cubits in length, while the people mocked him……
Let me suggest that it was no coincidence that right after Christmas 2018 an urgent meeting of geophysicists gathered to update the World Magnetic Model. As you no doubt know, the magnetic North Pole is not located at the same place as the geographic North Pole so navigation systems need to know exactly how far apart the two points are. As it turns out, the magnetic North Pole had moved further away from where we thought it was and that is no small matter for navigators and so the urgent meeting was called in January 2019 to correct our calculation model. They expected to get five years life from the 2015 magnetic model but it was realised that the north polar region was experiencing an unpredicted erratic change and the revised model was launched under urgency in 2019.
The unpredictable wandering of the North Pole has occupied the imaginations of scientists and explorers ever since it was first accurately located in 1831 by James Clark Ross in the Canadian Arctic. But in the mid-1990s it’s speed accelerated from around 15 kilometres per year to around 55 kilometres per year. By 2001, it was in the Arctic Ocean. It is currently on track for Siberia. Likewise in our part of the planet the magnetic south pole has now moved off the coast of Antarctica and is now even outside the Antarctic circle.
The iron core in the centre of the earth generates our planet’s magnetic field; if the inner earth motion changes, it affects the direction of the magnetic field. In 2016, Satellites tracked an acceleration of the magnetic field beneath South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Scientists are trying to understand just what is going on deep inside our planet and what affect various scenarios might have on earth’s magnetic field. It may be a result of geomagnetic pulses, like the one that happened in 2016, or it might be a result of hydromagnetic waves deep within earth’s core.
But what scientists can tell us, from study of magnetic minerals in the ice core, is that it is all quite natural. Over the eons the poles have completely reversed on average every 2-300,000 years; the last reversal was nearly 800,000 years ago so they are saying we are actually well overdue for another switch. They also calculate that the process of reversal took over 20,000 years to complete so we do get time to change the order of the N-E-W-S letters on our compasses.
But here is a thought. The earth’s magnetic field is one of the two powerful forces in our atmosphere, the other being gravity. In theory gravity is over 100 times stronger than magnetism but, for my money, if you pick a nail up from the floor using a magnet and it stays stuck to the magnet you would have to think that magnetism has won that arm wrestle. That’s all by the by; the main job of the magnetic field is to shield our planet from excessive galactic cosmic rays. So the real question is, could a shifting magnetic field have an effect on climate and weather patterns? Heatwaves, winds, storms, deluges, tidal surges, arctic ice-shelf calving; that sort of thing? It’s worth thinking about. Certainly there are some Danish scientists giving it very serious thought. Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark, professor in the Division of Solar System Physics at the Danish National Space Institute in Copenhagen, has been researching the link between galactic cosmic rays and earth warming for decades. In 1997 his study was published with the conclusion that: During the last solar cycle, Earth’s cloud cover underwent a modulation more closely in phase with the galactic cosmic ray flux than with other solar activity parameters. Further it is found that Earth’s temperature follows more closely variations in galactic cosmic ray flux and solar cycle length, than other solar activity parameters. The main conclusion is that the average state of the heliosphere affects Earth’s climate. More recently this claim has been supported by two Danish geophysicists, Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager using data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman to compare our magnetic field with that of 5,000 years ago. The results of the study have been peer reviewed and published in the U.S. scientific journal ‘Geology’.
Anyway, the increasingly unpredictable shift of the North Pole is a geological fact that nobody can deny and so there will have to be far more regular meetings of the people who are required to keep our navigational systems in working order. They will, of course, have to meet pre-Christmas just so Santa can set the auto pilot control and get home quickly after a busy night. As it happens the ‘human-caused’ climate change zealots also favour pre-Christmas conferences, so maybe the geomagnetic mob can make a big annual conference-style event of this and the two groups can join forces. The additional numbers might increase the incentives that big cities are prepared to offer to get an economic injection of 30,000 people, all on expense accounts, turning up a few weeks before Christmas.
Maybe they will argue over bragging rights as to whether man’s industrialisation or earth’s magnetic field is having the greatest impact on the climate or maybe they will collaborate and decide that man is somehow affecting the earth’s inner iron core by mining coal and drilling for oil. Who knows? Not me, I am not a scientist I am just a Joe Blogger and I am hoping Santa will bring me an Akubra and a pair of Redbands. Adapting to the natural ebb and flow of the climate environment has been the sapiens mantra for 200,000 years and so I will be tending my carrots and lettuces while the Court of Canute is ordaining Greta Thunberg, their reincarnated Joan of Arc, to lead us against the forces of nature.
As a young child, the eve of anticipation was far more exciting than Christmas Day itself and apart from a few hours sleep to give Santa the window (or chimney) of opportunity, was effectively an all-nighter with a 6:00pm start watching the sky and a 6:00am opening of Santa’s gifts. But then the day itself, once gifts were unwrapped, quickly tended to disintegrate into the grown-ups routines of church and a family meal until exhaustion kicked in from the all-nighter. In fact, for me, the best thing about Christmas really was that it launched our summer holiday break from school and I had a new cricket bat, swimming goggles, softball glove or tennis racquet.
It is, of course, mid-winter in the Northern hemisphere, so no great summer holidays to follow the 6:00am opening time for them. But nonetheless Christmas Day continues to be a huge celebration all around the globe. It is the big one. Billions of people stop work to celebrate Christmas Day, 25th December. So how did it come to this?
Well, in a nutshell, the story of Christmas Day starts when a Jewish preacher and miracle worker was anointed by his followers as the Christ. The preacher was actually named Yahshua and he was given, by his Jewish followers, the title of Messiah, meaning ‘the anointed one’ or ‘liberator’. Other followers who, educated in Greek, called him Iesous and used the Greek title of Christos, also meaning the anointed one. The name has subsequently been Romanised and/or Anglicised to Jesus Christ. Christ’s Mass is the Christian Churches’ celebration of his birth. But there is no actual record by day, month or even year that Yahshua was born. So how did the day of 25 December come to be established?
As a Messiah/ liberator he was recognised by the Romans and the Jewish High Priests as being intent on liberating the Jews from the rule of Rome and of the High Priests themselves. This was a crime of sedition for which punishment was death. After his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into the heavens, his reputation lived on through his apostles and disciples and in fact Christianity grew beyond Galilee and Judea throughout the Roman Empire and was causing the state of Rome some irritation. Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70CE scattering the surviving Jews and forbidding their religion. But this Christian sect of Judaism just kept growing. At around 313AD the Roman Emperor Constantine apparently decided that if he couldn’t exterminate the sect, he would simply create an organisational structure to control it for his own purposes. The official Roman Catholic version is that in 312 CE Constantine thought he saw a cross in the sky the night before the battle of the Milvian Bridge against rival Emperor Maxentius over supremacy in the Roman Empire. Constantine decided that the vision of the cross in the sky was a signal that Jesus had enabled him to win the battle and so he agreed to stop persecuting Christians as his part of the deal. No one knows if Maxentius had seen the same cross, but in the end he ended up drowned in the Tiber.
In effect, Constantine made the Christian bishops an offer they could not refuse. His patronage. That meant legitimacy, an end to persecution, an authority over the peasants in their parish that was backed up by the soldiers of Rome and an income from those peasants that could only increase as the emperor’s endorsement expanded their customer base. The bishops would become franchise holders of this religious organisation. And so it was agreed by all that Yahshua died, not for the crime of sedition against the Roman occupiers of Israel and their Rabbi puppets, but rather in atonement for the sins of all mankind. It became almost as if the Romans had been given no choice but to crucify Yahshua because this death was ordained by God, who decided to sacrifice his son in atonement for the sins of all humans. It wouldn’t be the first time history was rewritten. It was a win/win. The Christian church expanded with the support of Rome and the bishops made sure all those under their pastoral care were loyal to Rome.
The common people obviously bought into this concept (literally bought in), believing that it was a choice of paying up to the parish priest or facing eternity in the fires of hell (or possibly the swords of the soldiers of Rome). These were a simple people facing simple choices and so the Church flourished. Then in 325AD Constantine convened the first formal convention of all the bishops of this Christian Church of Rome at a place called Nicaea, which was in modern Turkey. Everyone loves a convention, especially in Turkey. Nicaea was no humble collection of cave dwelling in the wilderness from which the original Christianity had emerged; it was an historical and prosperous city right on beautiful Lake Ascania. This convention was called to establish the doctrine of Christianity to which all Christians would be bound under pain of consignment to hellfire for all eternity. One of the items on the agenda was to give Jesus the Nazarene a birthday to celebrate. His followers over the past three centuries clearly had not settled on a birthday celebration, so Constantine thought that needed sorting out. Jesus the God had to have a birthday celebration.
Whether by coincidence or by edict the day chosen for Jesus’ birthday was an existing Roman festival of Natalis Solis Invicti. With 21st/22nd December being the winter solstice, the longest night of the winter. On this winter solstice the sun dropped to its lowest point in the southern sky, descending onto the Crux constellation (Southern Cross) where it appeared to remain for three days before starting to rise again. The 25 December therefore was the existing Roman festival of the rebirth of the sun.
Mithraism was the dominant pagan religious cult in the Roman military at this time. According to the Roman historian Plutarch, Mithraism became part of Roman religious belief during the military campaign of Pompey around 70BC. Worship of the deity Mithra goes back 3500 years in the Indian Verdic religion and spread up through Persia following the conquests of Alexander the Great, eventually becoming the primary god in Asia Minor. Mithra was referred to as the Sun-God. His legend also reportedly includes having been born in a cave, statues of him are shown as emerging from a rock, to a virgin goddess named Anahita. As the Sun-God, Mithra was said to have had twelve satellites (read apostles) and was believed by the Indians to be the mediator between God and Man. From this some scholars conclude that Constantine simply overlaid his Mithraic beliefs onto the Christian religion that he had usurped.
So Jesus’ birthday was then agreed at the Council of Nicaea to be December 25th in the year one even though it would seem unlikely that shepherds would be tending their flock at night in the hills during the snowy depths of mid-winter. It was a political decision of the ruling military power of most of the world at the time and the effective ruler of Christianity but it has been retained by Christianity long after the fall of the Roman Empire.
So, in summary, a relatively small, persecuted, poverty-stricken cult of thousands was taken over by Rome Inc. and today has a global client base of around two billion people paying off an advance mortgage on an after-life plot in heaven. It is now a modern, complex corporation worth untold billions of tax-exempt dollars. Was this the greatest corporate takeover of all time? And it is not as if the people can make a claim under the Consumer Protection Act after they are dead.
But at its essence, the celebration of Christmas is the official recognition of the legend that just over 2,000 years ago, three magi (star watchers) travelled from somewhere in Persia to Galilee because they had noticed a very bright body in the night sky and, from their ancient knowledge, they concluded that this ‘star’ meant the coming of the anointed one. The son of God. They followed this light until it shone a beam down to a stable in Bethlehem where they witnessed the birth of Yahshua.
Now if anyone today told of a mysterious bright light in the sky leading three astronomers to a remote village in the desert to witness the birth of a child of a woman who had been approached by unearthly beings and artificially impregnated they would be looked at with serious scepticism. And when witnesses described that same baby’s final day on earth 33 years later as one where he was lifted up from the Mount of Olives and last seen entering a ‘cloud’ hovering above them, they would be ridiculed as complete ‘alien conspiracy loonies’. But, thanks to the endorsement of the Roman Emperor Constantine, this story has been given the credibility to be accepted as the basis of the religion of Christianity. The basis for the declaration that Yahshua was indeed a son of God.
Today the bright light over Bethlehem, the angels serving an all powerful God and the hovering cloud from the religious narrative have now all been translated in the commercial myth of a Santa, who knows if you have been good or bad, flying around the world on a warp-speed sky-craft to either reward or to deny reward.
For the first 1700 years, Christmas was solely a religious event, a Mass involving devout worship, wholesome family gathering and alms to the poor. Any money to be made was in tithes to the local parish priest which passed up the line until the head man in Rome eventually wet his beak. The priest would expect a bonus from his clients for a special Christmas performance, but the despised merchant class was largely left out of the action.
Then, thanks to Coca Cola and the D’Arcy advertising agency, Saint Nicholas, a revered Christian patron saint of children and one of the bishops at Nicaea was rebranded as
fat, jolly Santa Claus and the commercial Christmas era arrived in full force. Charles Dickens had tried to start instilling a bit of guilt and goodwill in the hearts of the rich at Christmas time, but it was Coke that gave really gave Christmas the nostalgic magic of fantasy that overtook the religious festival and saw the true commercial potential of using Santa to endorse their products and the rest of the commercial world climbed aboard the sleigh. Selling the idealism of a beneficial father figure living in the North Pole with his elves, bringing gifts to all the good little children, runs parallel to the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Just as Constantine had blended an established pagan celebration with the birth of Jesus, so too Coca Cola blended the Christian celebration with a commercial Santa Claus celebration. It did not take long before the target market was extended to all people we ‘love and care for’. Even extended families, which are progressively becoming more complex, are socially coerced into getting together for this day. That of course just exponentially increases the number of gifts that must be purchased. It became a gift-giving event that threatened social shame upon those miserly Scrooges who did not support it. Brilliant! Was this one of the most effective ad campaigns of all time? How many businesses today owe their existence and profits to that creation of Santa Claus? Including family lawyers with post-Christmas now one of their busiest times of the year as the victims of this season of peace and goodwill turn up at their offices post-Christmas, as predictably as whitebait in October.
It is March 2020 and a pandemic is declared. We are all part of a global lockdown. That is huge; we have never before had a global and domestic travel lockdown. Confined to our own home-bubble except for highly regulated essential movement. The virus has been analysed and found to have come from bats. Initial blame for the virus is that bats may have infected some other mammal that somehow found its way into a seafood marketplace in Wuhan, Central China. Further analysis of the situation is emerging to suggest that the virus released in the Wuhan seafood market may well have been a human to human transmission and so focus is now on the nearby biosecurity laboratory that studies bat sourced viruses. It may very well have been human curiosity opening Pandora’s box* of infectious diseases that has caused this pandemic.
If you are looking for any cosmic link to Wuhan being fated to be the spark to launch this pandemic, there are two. In the 1858 Treaty of Tianjin, ending the second Opium war that Britain waged on China. Britain demanded access to Wuhan, right in the heart of China, for trading purposes. Wuhan is strategically located at the confluence of the Han and Yangtze rivers and provided access to all the products and industry in central China. The weakened Qing dynasty had no choice but to agree and Wuhan became known as the Chicago of China as a vital trading post where several Western trading countries had land concessions and consulates. What the West finally imported from Wuhan 160 years later is a lesson for all bullies to be careful what you demand.
The second connection to Wuhan is that in 1911 the republican revolution of China was launched there. This liberal revolution led to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, the last Imperial dynasty of China that had begun in 1644. That capitalist-based system was subsequently seen by Mao Zedong and his followers as a political virus and ridding the country of it resulted in a death toll in the tens of millions before it was isolated to the island of Taiwan. In the history of virus release, it seems Wuhan has history.
But how on earth did this current pandemic cause such a global lockdown after all the extraordinary development in medical science, healthcare and global communications that we have made since the outbreak of the Spanish flu in 1918.
The dawn of the age of Aquarius broke in the 1960’s in San Francisco, rose in New York’s production of Hair the Musical in 1967, was worshipped in Bethel N.Y.’s Woodstock and welcomed to the world by the Beatles in 1969 proclaiming ‘here comes the sun“. This counterculture was singing out for a global melting pot of coffee-coloured people. We wanted to travel; to experience other cultures; create fair trade to share the wealth of the first world with the third world. We were rebelling against greed and selfishness; against hate and prejudice. It all seemed so noble but it ended up with a McDonalds photo-bombing the Giza Pyramid. Where did it all go so wrong?
The era started promisingly bringing with it both jet travel and the internet to help make the global village vision a reality. But the word of warning to humankind is the power of the mathematical phenomenon called exponential growth. Start with you as one person infecting just two people who each infect two people, who each infect two more people and you now have eight people infected; three further steps takes it to 64. Three further steps takes it to over 500; a further three steps and you are over 4,000. And that is with each person only infecting two others. We see this phenomenon in the human population slowly growing from 1 billion 2000 years ago to 2 billion 200 years ago then escalating exponentially to 4 billion only 50 years ago to 8 billion any day now. The progression takes us to 16 billion in a matter of a couple of decades, if not controlled. The damage that such exponential growth does to our planetary body is the same as a virus does to our own body or an infected body does to an entire population.
Our civilisation moved from being a boutique world 50 years ago to being a hyper-store world today. Air travel has accelerated exponentially by 80% from 2004 to 2012. With the power of technology, flight data companies like FlightAware can tell us that on any average day last year there were around 10,000 aircraft in the sky at any one time. Jets consume 150,000 litres of jetful on a 10 hour flight. We have a floating plastic ‘island’ in the North Pacific that is over 1.6 million kilometres in area. We became a world focused on globalisation and perpetual population expansion, economic expansion and mass consumerism.
It was jet travel that spread the Covid-19 virus from Wuhan to almost every geographic cell on the planet; follow the pattern of this visualisation of a 24 hour pattern of global flight, with each yellow dots representing a flight, and you will essentially be watching the transmission of this virus. But it was the internet that spread the panic.
In my domestically locked-down state I decided to do a little virtual travelling to while away the hours. I went on a visit to San Diego Zoo which in the old world would have been a 12 hour flight to LA and a car hire to drive down the California Coast. Today I was there in virtually a minute. Searching through the live cam options I decided to have a look at the penguins. I had seen penguins here on the Otago Peninsula as they emerge from the ocean after a long days fishing watched them gather together apparently discussing the days fishing success before waddling up the sandbank to their nest to feed their spouse and young and settle down for a well-deserved sleep. The San Diego virtual experience was nothing like the real natural experience. In San Diego a kindly Zoo ranger sat on a rock beside a pond and threw out bits of food to the cluster of penguins surrounding her. All except one in the background, apparently quarantined behind a wall structure. After lunch they were allowed to waddle on the small rock surface or paddle around in the pond.
That pond may be safer than the ocean and it is much easier to be hand-fed by a kindly ranger than to swim all day in the ocean depths hunting food; but it is no life for a penguin. My lockdown, consisting of passively watching passive existence in a zoo on a computer, is no life for a human either. We cannot hide away waiting for the scientists to beat nature at its own game. The common cold is a coronavirus and we have no vaccine for that; likewise SARS from 2002, H1N1 from 2009 and MERS from 2012. All are a Coronavirus infection (as distinct from flu) and we have no vaccines for any of them.
I am reminded of the shark attack scene in the Danny Boyle Movie “The Beach”. After doing all they could to try to save the victim’s life, he was then isolated away in a tent so that the rest of the community could get on with their beach life; eventually, when his screaming became too much to listen to, he was put out of his agony in an act of mercy.
This pandemic is a serious threat, but any time of threat is also a time of opportunity, and in particular a time of political opportunity. Politically the WHO organisation decided that this virus needed to be branded in a way that did not assign blame on any of WHO’s sources of income. So this virus was market-positioned as the new improved SARS, now to be known as Covid-19. Neat, catchy and appealing to the target market. The right balance between alarm and hope. I like it.
In respect to the clear message of the spread of the Covid-19 virus through humans around the globe there have been two distinctly different responses by nations. In general terms these align with the political bias of the country, taking their lead from the different political structures of the two economic giants of the world, USA and China. China is a social democracy where the government, while allowing what they see as a necessary capitalist ‘virus’ to exist, keeps it firmly under control. The USA is a liberal democracy where corporate ‘donations’ to political candidates, all the way up to the $1.6 billion dollars that the two main candidates in the 2016 US election spent, give the corporate donors significant leverage over the decisions of government. China went into immediate and severe lockdown particularly at the epicentre. Business simply shut down. Health was more important than wealth. The USA stayed open for business, saying it was not serious, it was more important to keep trading than to take a day off. Until so many workers got sick and unproductive that the “Boss” ungraciously accepted the ‘sick leave’ disruption but warned he wants them back at work very quickly. The billionaires’ club need their businesses to keep running.
Modern China evolved from the austerity of hardline communism under Mao Zedong to the social democratic system of China’s Government today. You certainly cannot argue with the economic success of that system as we have seen China emerge over the last four decades from an impoverished nation to an economic powerhouse. The Western economic powerhouse of the USA has operated, since its foundation, under a liberal democracy.
Today the whole world is being tested on which system, social democracy or liberal democracy will emerge from the Covid-19 challenge in strongest health. Will the USA President retain his position as economic leader of the world? Or is there a new sheriff in town? We don’t like having our personal freedom restrained for social good but on the other hand, personal freedom is so often abused by individuals to the great cost of society. Not least the freedom to breed beyond the parents, or the planet’s, ability to support those children with the basics of a healthy life. In local politics we will wait and see whether, when we go to the ballot box, PM Jacinda will be seen as a Joan of Arc or a Florence Nightingale; Head Nurse of the National Sanitarium who’s job is now done and done well, or CEO of NZ Inc. whose job is yet to be done.
We have a perception that viruses are by definition malevolent. In fact many are simply benign and some are actually an essential part of life, performing vital functions. But all life forms live with the reality of viruses. In many cases they form a natural culling process; and being natural this is for the greater good. And it is not only nature that culls life forms. We humans, who were given reign of all the birds and beasts, will regularly cull wild animals when they are becoming so numerous as to cause ecological damage. We need only recall humans deliberate release in 1997 of the cruel rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) virus to cull the rabbit population in New Zealand.
The earth is a living organism and has strong immunity, but it still needs to take appropriate measures to maintain its good health. When humans become the problem for the health of the earth then it is nature which is called on to resolve the problem. While records were not accurately taken, analysed and shared globally a hundred years ago, our best estimates today are that the Spanish flu killed about 2% of the world population. Initial data from China suggested that was similar to the Covid-19 impact. Two percent does not sound a lot but that was approximately fifty million people worldwide. If this Covid-19 virus cannot be contained and has the same impact as the Spanish flu, that would equate to a culling of 150 million people off today’s global population of 7.5 billion. Pro rata, that would be 26 million from China; 6.6 million in the USA; 1.3 million in the UK and 100,000 in New Zealand. On the plus side 1.3 billion of the healthiest people in China would survive, over 320 million of the healthiest Americans and 4.9 million of the healthiest kiwis would also survive. The ‘median human’ on the planet would be slightly younger and notably healthier and, probably, more controlled with their consumerism. Natural selection is about the survival of the species, not the individual; it has always been thus. Modern healthcare should minimise the human impact, allowing for those who, given age and health, would have died with Coronavirus but not primarily of Coronavirus. The biggest impact will be the global economy across all age and socio demographic profiles as the world consumption of disposable goods and air transport shrinks to a level that Gaia can more readily cope with.
So from today it is 2020, whatever that really means. Traditionally it would have meant 2020 AD, Anno Domini, in the year of the Lord. Two thousand and twenty years since the birth of Jesus the Christ. The AD/BC calendar only came into being in 525 AD; created by a monk, Dionysius Exiguus, so that everyone in Christendom could align their calendars and celebrate Easter on the same day. There was a schism between the Orthodox Christians of the East and the Roman Christians of the West and Pope John 1 felt the need to synchronise Easter globally. The Pope adopted Dionysius’ calendar for all nations under his control.
Historians have now concurred that Dionysius was out by a few years in his calculation. From the gospels we know that Jesus’ family fled to Egypt to avoid Herod’s slaughter of the innocents but historians know that Herod died in 4BC. The Gospel also said the family went to Bethlehem to register for the Census of Quirinius, Governor of Syria, but Quirinius was appointed to that post in 6AD. The inability to reliably use BC/AD to align with true historical events is why historians now refer to CE (Common Era) and BCE. My identification of a likely star of Bethlehem puts the birth at 6-7 bc.
But whatever year it happened, the birth of Yeshua, son of Myrium, by way of a visitation by non-earthly beings and consequential artificial conception, and adopted son of Yasaf, has probably been the most influential event of the Common Era.
And this is where things get really interesting from a cosmic viewpoint. You will recall I have written about the Great Year whereby the earth moves around each of the twelve houses of the Zodiac over a period of 25,920 years, giving us an average time in each house of 2160 years. Well according to this cosmic observation, based on the location of the sun at the March equinox of the year, we have been in the house of Pisces for the past 2,000+ years (Click photo to enlarge).
The name ‘Pisces’ means the fish. The symbol of Christianity is also a fish and had been adopted as such by the Greeks about two hundred years prior to Dionysius. Jesus first recruited fishermen as his disciples and told them they would become ‘fishers of men’. The miracle of the multiplication of the fishes and loaves features as a significant event in the Bible and the ‘153 fish miracle’ was the demonstration of the miraculous powers of the resurrected Jesus.
Pisces is ruled by the planet Neptune and is known as the water planet; the mission of Jesus was first announced with Jesus’ baptism in the waters of the Jordan River and to this day adoption into the Christian faith is done by baptism with water.
Pisces health is characterised by issues with the feet (fish were never meant to walk). It is a practice of the leaders of Christianity, beginning with Jesus himself, to ceremonially wash the feet of the common people.
Pisces is also characterised by the creative arts. Indeed the last few hundred years of the age presented the greatest surge of artistic creativity in humanity’s known history. In painting from the renaissance period of Da Vinci and Michaelangelo through the phases of impressionism of Monet and Van Gogh to the cubism of Braque and Picasso. The Renaissance also saw the invention of the printing press and the emergence of great writers of the era such as Shakespeare and Chaucer.
The previous age was Aries, dating from approximately 2100 bc. Aries is a fire sign ruled by the planet Mars which has the characteristics of male aggression, strong passions, relentless determination and a direct, uncomplicated approach in carrying out their ambition. While much of global history BC is unrecorded, the Age of Aries did seem to climax over the latter five centuries with almost constant battles amongst the main civilisations of Greece, Persia, Sparta, Egypt, Rome and China. Some of the most notable generals were Alexander the Great, with thirteen years of conquests of seventy cities between 336 and 323 BC; Qin Shi Huang 258-210 BC was the founder of the Qin dynasty and was the first emperor of a unified China; Julius Caesar lived from 100BC – 44BC and conquered most of Europe including Britain.
That is not to say the age of Pisces was without war; far, far from it. But war took on a totally different guise. While Aries was characterised by blunt, transparent ambition of military leaders, Pisces by contrast was a sheep in a wolf’s clothing or in Piscine terminology, a shark in a dolphin suit. It started with Emperor Constantine absorbing the established Christian Church under his control and using the Christian Church as Rome’s divinely-authorised cover for it’s political, military and economic control of Europe. This was followed by the Crusades against Islam, the Inquisitions against Protestants and the sending of Christian missionaries to conquer the souls of South Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Indians and Filipinos. Conquest in the Age of Pisces was done in the name of a patriarchal religion and its higher authority. It conquered by fear and it was, commercially, very successful. The Church of Rome which dates right back to the strategic takeover of Christianity by Emperor Constantine of Rome became the wealthiest institution on the planet.
The astrologers tell us we are now in the early stage of the age of Aquarius. If that is true, what would that mean, if anything, in our day to day life? While you would think Aquarius is a water sign, it is not. It is one of the air signs; preferring intellectual debate over emotion. Aquarius is symbolised as the water bearer, a humanitarian sign bringing water to the thirsty and quenching the parched earth. The emergence of the climate response by the millennial generation seems clearly a sign of the times.
Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus; the planet that governs innovation, technology and surprising events. Indeed I have to concede that our new religion is technology. Today our people increasingly consult Google, not the priest of a patriarchal religious corporation, to seek the answers to life’s mysteries. Our reverence towards Gaia, the earth, is growing. We ar developing renewed respect for paganism (from pagani, Latin for ‘person of the countryside’) in our quest for organic and free range food supplies. Increasingly we are using machines to do much more of the work from factories to hospitals while humans travel from one conference to the next to have intellectual conversations about the state of the world and humanity. I hope that the most obvious problems of overpopulation and disparity of wealth will be solved by technology; it is the smart decision. And we know that if we do not solve it then Gaia will do it for us.
I wrote the above at the same time that, unsuspected by me, a mystery new virus was already on its mission to do the job for us. Oddly our leaders spent time during the critical early weeks of the outbreak debating the name we would give it as though it was a commercial branding exercise. Diplomatically it could not be identified with any location or race. It’s brand name became Covid-19, complete with typography, design and colour scheme. As though by branding it we could gain control over it. Perhaps even market it for commercial or political profit. When will we ever learn?
We had failed to address the fundamental issues by ourselves; the gift of technology was being corrupted and abused. By March, due solely to an unseen virus that can defy our technology, the skies are almost clear of jet planes; the polluted air over congested cities has cleared to show the colour of the sky and heavens; the flood of waste into our oceans has slowed to a trickle; huge amounts of the oil extracted from the bowels of the earth sit stored and unburned. And we are, as a global civilisation, finally forced by nature into a state as close as close to unity as we have ever known in our 12,000 years of this era of our civilisation.
I am a thoroughbred Pisces; born in the age of Pisces, during the March equinox under the star sign of Pisces, on the night of the new moon and with the ruling planet of Neptune in retrograde. In 2020 I feel a bit like a fish out of water but I have no doubt that the Universe knows what it is doing. Aquarius, I think it is your time.
Is the average temperature on earth higher today than it was a century ago when industrialisation expanded throughout the globe to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population? It is actually not as easy as you might expect to find the answer amongst the plethora of press releases from the climate alarmists. From all the micro data that the climate alarmists are extracting, analysing and dispensing, why is it so hard to find a simple list of actual seasonal temperature recordings over the last one hundred year period in any given location? Instead we get charts of variations of temperature from the norm (although rationalising what ‘the norm’ is and when the norm supposedly happened seems to be just ignored). They provide charts of ‘moving averages over years’ with the years selected to ‘prove’ a trend entirely at the writer’s discretion. And while the internet is absolutely overwhelmed with alarmist headlines, basic, actual temperature data over 100 years, separated by season is very, very hard to find. But I eventually did find one. It was from Britain. Have a look at these actual seasonal temperatures over the last hundred years in the country that birthed and led the coal-powered industrial revolution and tell me where you see any temperature trends that would alarm you.
So as a brief scan, in Central England in 1912, the year the Titanic sank and the coal miners went on strike, the average winter temperature was 5.36, spring 8.53, summer 17.55 and autumn 10.39.
At the start of the ‘Boomer’ generation in 1948, winter was 5.13, spring 8.75, summer 17.50 and autumn 11.15.
In swinging 1965, the year Gen. X was born, winter was 3.28, spring 8.43, summer 15.71 and autumn 10.40
In 1981 the year the ‘Millennials’ arrived on earth, winter was 4.33, spring 9.17, summer 15.06 and autumn 10.12
And at the dawn of the 21st century winter was 5.35, spring 9.49, summer 16.45 and autumn 11.57.
I could take three summers spread over this period of 2000, 1948 and 1912, draw a connecting line and claim that the climate has since cooled by 1 degree over the century. I would not do that of course, three points over a 90 year span does not make a valid data base. Yet the alarmists fill the media and internet with no more than micro data snippets to make their claims. So just look over the above 100 year chart as a total group or a random handful and just ask yourself, do these temperatures alarm me?
According to the best astrophysics information we have, our temperatures are, unsurprisingly, linked with the natural orbit of the earth around the sun, which is a changing environment and by no means a perfect circle as we might have assumed. Milutin Milankovic, a contemporary of other mathematics and physics geniuses Einstein, Minkowski and Tesla, demonstrated the way our solar system works.
In brief, Milankovic identified that there are three cycles contained in the way earth orbits the sun: elliptic, tilt and precession. The elliptical plane changes shape quite dramatically every 100,000 years. It moves from an orbit of being more round to being more elliptical. In its more elliptical phase earth spends a longer time further away from the sun. Unsurprisingly the cycles of glaciation of the planet also have a 100,000 year cycle, or at least have done so over the past 600,000 years that Milankovic was able to include in his calculations.
Milankovic’s calculations connecting solar radiation levels with glaciation, even in temperate climate zones, remain valid today having been constantly reviewed with all the computing support to which modern astrophysicists have access. According to NASA’s earth observatory, Earth’s orbit changes its eccentricity over the course of 100,000 years from nearly 0 to 0.07 and back again.
When the Earth’s orbit has a higher eccentricity, the planet’s surface receives 20 to 30 percent more solar radiation when it’s closest to the sun than when it is furthest. During a glacial period the planet cools as the earth spends less time closer to the sun and more time further away from it; so the air dries out and water levels fall as liquid is transformed to ice. Land bridges start to become available and islands appear where before they were part of the sea bed.If the cycle repeats the pattern of the the past 600,000 years then we are now at the peak of the warming cycle and will, over the next few thousand years begin the cooling slide back to glaciation when in 90,000 years time, ice sheets will again cover North Europe and North America,
The second change is in the tilt of earth. This moves between 22.1 degrees and 24.5 degrees over a period of 41,000 years and this tilt effects the severity of the seasons. Earth is currently in the middle of this range.
The third cycle is the precession of Earth caused by a slight wobble similar to that of a spinning top. Currently Earth’s axis has been pointed north towards Polaris, also known as the North Star. But Earth’s gradual precessional wobble means that in approximately 2,000 years the north star will be a dimmer star called Errai. As the Earth progresses through its a precession cycle, the orientation of the planet is altered. This wobble also effects the level of solar radiation striking different hemispheres of earth as it proceeds around the 360 degrees.
When we just look back 400,000 years we have scientific consensus from both sides of the climate debate on the temperature cycles as per the chart above. What we don’t have consensus on is ‘where to from here?’ The alarmists, with no rational or mathematical base that I can see, that the temperature heads rapidly due north towards a hell on earth scenario. They state that the planet suddenly u-turned just 100 or so years ago when industrialisation, motorised transport, steam ships and smoke belching trains started to take hold around the globe. There is no explanation what caused the same cyclical patterns over history, well before our current industrialisation. Nor can they determine whether increasing solar warmth creates more natural CO2 in the atmosphere or the other way around. They simply do not have the scientific data to make that decision.
They do know, of course that even today, with a population passing 7.5 billion compared to 2.5 billion in 1950, human- generated C02 represents only 3% of total C02 which was confirmed in this EPA document (click to enlarge).
As a brief history of our climate in this current ‘inter glacial’ period, when the last glacial episode officially ended Canada was still under 2+ kilometres of ice and it was possible to walk across the Bering straight from Eastern Europe to North America. Aborigines could also island hop from South East Asia to Australia as could the Celts cross from Europe to Britain. Our planet had been in that ice age for the previous 100,000 years. Over the first 6,000 years of this inter-glacial phase the ice mountains melted and the oceans rose dramatically, submerging islands and causeways and possibly even a small continent if the legend of Atlantis has any basis in fact. The sea height has levelled out since then.
Basing projections on historical patterns, which are linked to the orbit of the earth around the sun, we are in fact right now coming towards the end of a cosmic Indian Summer and we will gradually move back towards a much cooler planet and in about 90,000 years we will again have Canada, Northern Asia and Europe all underneath kilometres of ice sheet.
The reason for the heightened anxiety of the alarmists is that today our scientists are micromanaging data and constantly tweeting bite size doomsday headlines that simply are not supported by the bigger picture trends. The climate works in tens of thousands of years, not in months. The last time humans went through this climate cycle they were blissfully unaware of the fact that there even was a cycle; it was a pleasant and warm time and they probably just enjoyed it; a few hundred generations later the climate was comparatively much colder, but they did not know it was colder because they had no records to analyse; it just was what it was. Too much micro analysis of climate data on a month by month basis is just creating hyper anxiety and panic.
But ‘getting it wrong’ is not the reason I speak up against the climate alarmists. It is because they have the right problem for the wrong reason and that makes them counter productive to solving our environmental challenges. It is because, even as they march on their Friday strikes and fly around the globe in their thousands to attend conferences and draft resolutions, they are just plucking temperature levels and deadlines out of the air about when we may reach the point of no return which target seems to be a shifting landscape. In 2008 the tipping point was predicted to be 1 August 2016; in 2016, following the Paris Agreement which set 2 degrees as the tipping point, IIASA (science institute) policy brief said we had until to Dec 31 2020 to keep warming under 2 degrees; as that date approaches the 2019 climate summit in September says we can still get under the 2 degree tipping point within 12 years so that takes us out to 2031. Prince Charles is a little more optimistic and thinks we have until 2050. And now there is another big pre Christmas conference in Madrid, delegates from 200 countries, they apparently need to tidy up some details from the 2015 Paris Christmas party, oops I mean conference, and maybe review the next tipping point date.
Fossil fuel over-use is not a problem of climate, it is a problem of health. Instead of talking about the ‘invisible demon’ C02 and the inevitable ‘Mad Max’ scenario, all because of the industrial sins of our forefathers, we need to be talking about investing in better technology to reduce lung-damaging air pollution in our cities. We need new technology to prevent pollution of our farming soils and our waterways that poison our food and water sources. When we get rid of the climate doomsday message and focus on health solutions then we might start making some progress. Right now the climate alarmists are only creating a climate of doom and hopelessness. And that carries the risk of being a self-fulfilling prophesy.
1) Vostok ice core: a continuous isotope temperature record over the last climatic cycle (160,00 years): Jouzel, J., C. Lorius, J.R. Petit, C. Genthon, N.I. Barkov, V.M. Kotlyakov, and V.M. Petrov. 1987.
2) Extending the Vostok ice-core record of palaeoclimate to the penultimate glacial period.: Jouzel, J., N.I. Barkov, J.M. Barnola, M. Bender, J. Chappellaz, C. Genthon, V.M. Kotlyakov, V. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, J.R. Petit, D. Raynaud, G. Raisbeck, C. Ritz, T. Sowers, M. Stievenard, F. Yiou, and P. Yiou. 1993.
3) Climatic interpretation of the recently extended Vostok ice records.: Jouzel, J., C. Waelbroeck, B. Malaize, M. Bender, J.R. Petit, M. Stievenard, N.I. Barkov, J.M. Barnola, T. King, V.M. Kotlyakov, V. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, D. Raynaud, C. Ritz, and T. Sowers. 1996.
4) Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica.: Petit, J.R., J. Jouzel, D. Raynaud, N.I. Barkov, J.-M. Barnola, I. Basile, M. Bender, J. Chappellaz, M. Davis, G. Delayque, M. Delmotte, V.M. Kotlyakov, M. Legrand, V.Y. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, L. Pepin, C. Ritz, E. Saltzman, and M. Stievenard. 1999.
I watched Greta Thunberg, millennial poster child for the climate alarmists, speaking at the United Nations. What anger and venom was in that face and in the words she spoke. And the new darling set the stage by so publicly promoting that she sailed to the UN Conference on a multi-million dollar yacht so that she did not make a carbon contribution to the climate. Oh how they cheered, the irony lost on the adoring audience that they, in contrast, had all flown first class from around the globe to listen to her live, in person. And many of them possibly also numbered among the 28,000, the equivalent of 70 jumbo jets, who had travelled to the Poland climate alarmist conference the previous year and also among the 40,000 alarmists who had travelled to the earlier Paris alarmist conference. But they applauded the example that this child showed us by travelling on a yacht that not even the reasonably wealthy boomer, whose ‘capitalist excesses’ she despises, could ever hope to afford.
I have started noticing how many of these millennial climate alarmists have started referring to my generation most disrespectfully with the dismissive phrase: ‘ok boomers’, which they see as a more clever version of patting grandad on his deluded head (and I use the word ‘clever’ quite incorrectly). We have apparently earned that disrespect because we are accused of being the generation that, through the burning of fossil fuels, has made a complete mess of the environment and left them a legacy of an uninhabitable planet.
I don’t want to take the bait, wade in and fuel the animosity, but we do need to do a bit of a fact check on the charges made by these alarmists against us as boomers. It seems such a silly attack because generations are not fixed date separations. The generational transfer is quite fluid and while there will be evolving cultural footprints, exactly when they started and when they ended is very difficult to define. But let us look at a few key trends over the relevant decades:
Coal burning, one of the big contributors to C02 in the atmosphere, accelerated dramatically in the decade 2000 to 2010, and primarily in China. This was entirely as a result of China becoming an economic ‘powerhouse’, building massive factories to feed the new breed of “hyperstores”. The economic powerhouses of the boomer generation were Europe and the USA whose coal consumption was, comparatively, very modest. But what generation fuelled this hyperstore boom? The boomers were the ’boutique’ generation, it is the millennials that have become the ‘hyperstore’ generation. Boomers repaired appliances, millennials discard and buy new. And the flow on effect are the landfills and oceans clogged with discarded waste.
Look at the trend in passenger air travel kilometres graph. No sign of the millennial generation trimming down on demand for air travel. Scheduled services have in fact accelerated 80% in just 8 years from 2004 to 2012. The Travel industry have their business antennae set for the the millennial market. A report by industry giant by Travelport says young people ages 18 to 34 are most likely to spend more money on vacations than other age groups. An Expedia poll shows also millennials travel the most; 35 days each year to be exact.
But it is not just the airline industry that the millennials consume with voracious appetites. By 2010 the average boomer was 50-60 years old and had a limited demand for mobile phones and their contribution to mobile phone use is displayed in the left side of the graph attached. Shift along to 2015 – 2018 and just watch the impact on i-phone consumption by the millennials.
Every i-phone is a handful of rare earth elements (as are the mechanisms of wind power generators and electric motors, but that’s another story for another time). Rare earth elements are separated from the rest of the earth by a highly toxic chemical process. The millennials consider mobile phones to be disposable items to be discarded and replaced every time someone tweaks a camera setting in a new model. The very visible and tangible consequence of this vast consumption of mobile devices is, in a word, Baotou. That is a city in Mongolia that has grown to a population from under 100,000 when the boomers were born, to 2.5 million; based on the mining and processing of rare earth elements to satisfy the demands of the millennial consumers.
Baotou is one of the major sources today of these rare earth minerals and China has, up until 2013, supplied 90% of the world supply of REE. But as demand has grown massively since 2013 other countries are getting in on the market. India, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Russia and Brazil are all now mining rare earth elements. What started hidden away in ‘out of sight out of mind’ Mongolia and Northern China is now coming to a country near you, and all to satisfy the insatiable demand of the millennials to discard a 12 month old phone for the latest model.
The millennials are also the generation that has brought in the Uber Eats mentality because they do not think they should have to cook their own meals. Paying for cars to drive around and around the block, pouring emissions into the atmosphere so that a car is always on hand to pick them up a burger when they feel the whim.
The alarmist millennials are spreading anxiety around the world like a virus all because the temperature has warmed by 0.8 degrees C since 1880 and the seas are rising at 1 – 2 mm pa. The reality is that the planet has been warming annually, and sea levels rising, consistently since the last ice age ended. In fact scientific ice core analysis shows that Antarctica warmed about 20 degrees in the years from 20,000 to 10,000 years ago (while the rest of the planet warmed only 4 degrees over that period), the ice age was coming to its natural end. That was a process of nature and processes of nature extend over tens of thousands of years, not over decades. Of course no alarmist is still reading because the official stance of millennial-controlled media is now to refuse to debate the issue. That decision exposes them as propagandists rather than journalists.
If you want to know how to handle global anxiety, you could do worse than talk to a boomer. We boomers grew up knowing that two men who represented two super powers that lived in constant paranoiac fear of each other, each carried a suitcase around with him everywhere he went in which was a button that could launch enough nuclear rockets to destroy the planet several times over in a matter of hours. When I was 12 we had the Cuba standoff crisis between these two nations that had us all just waiting for the minute that life-ending nuclear war started. Technology development in the previous generation had introduced nuclear power. Nuclear power was seen as a clean and highly effective alternative to fossil-burning coal power. As indeed it is, in theory. The phallic atomic bomb came as a very unwelcome side product driven by the ambitions of Hitler, just as viagra was initially developed as a medicinal treatment for high blood pressure.
So, in our youth we protested to our elders, as youth will always do. We were the “Make love not war” generation and when we achieved our own democratic influence on the world we actually did something about the situation and we made the changes.
The graph below shows the dramatic decline in battle deaths from the 1970’s, the decades of the boomers in control.
This boomer generation built social bridges and healed the deep rifts of generations past. Racially bigoted laws in the USA were overturned as were laws against same-sex relationships. Racial slurs were replaced in common speech with respectful racial distinctions; ‘queers’ of previous generations became ‘gays’. Tolerance was the byword of boomers.
In the decade when boomers were approaching adulthood, well over ten million people had died from famine. Boomers were the “Live Aid” generation determined to end famine in Africa. We cared about the plight of the poor people of the world. We raised the money, we invested in Africa, we got results.
The dramatic reduction in death by famine during our watch is demonstrated in the attached graph.
But too many of the current protest generation, rather than get on and do something about the challenges of life, just want to fly around the globe from one conference junket to the next ‘having conversations’ and looking for someone to blame. And they skulk in the background, grooming their “Gen. Z’ children like Greta to demand that their grandparents start doling out their life savings, as they believe is their entitlement. If these millennial alarmists just keep playing the blame game as their only contribution to humanity, and if the 20/20 Generation do experience what their Greta poster child is predicting, either by natural means or as a result of this generation’s rampant consumerism, it won’t be the boomers that Gen. 20/20 will be pointing the finger of shame at, it will be the self indulgence of the millennial generation and the impotence of their alarmist sub category.
I stated at the outset that I did not want to take the bait and fuel the animosity and then I proceeded to swallow the bait whole and throw gasoline on the debate (if you will excuse the awfully clumsy mixing of metaphors) with graphs, pictures and commentary. In reflection, with my indignation appeased, I do have to accept that the youth generation today is not too dissimilar to we baby boomers in our youth. They are genuinely frightened of catastrophic pollution and the impact on their generation just as we were equally genuinely frightened of catastrophic nuclear war and the impact on our generation. Eventually we just learned to live with the threat of nuclear holocaust and got on with life. We just had to have faith in the survival instinct of humanity.
And today, when ecological fear permeates the environment, there is a beacon of hope; and hope brings faith. A young man who is as fearless and creative as Greta Thunberg is frightened and helpless. His name is Boyan Slat. As a teenager, this young Dutch engineering student witnessed the state of the sea while diving in Greece and decided to do something about it. Today, still in his twenties, he is CEO of an organisation called Ocean Cleanup that has attracted over $30 million in funding from Silicon Valley and European corporations to develop the technology to both extract plastic from the ocean and to intercept plastic waste at their river sources. The challenges were huge but after 6 years of research, development and trialling, the system has now started successfully collecting plastic waste from the ocean in late 2019. Their next stage is the development of products made from this recycled plastic. His is a story we all should follow closely. He is the Steve Jobs of this young generation, with the intelligence and attitude to create real life solutions to, and opportunities from, our economic and environmental challenges.
What a pity Greta Thunberg did not talk about Boyan Slat when she got the chance at the UN. Greta Thunberg’s speechwriters, who made such a big point about her sailing to that conference across the ocean as her ‘save the planet’ contribution, did not once promote Boyan Slat’s impressive entrepreneurial work to clean up the ocean that she had just sailed on. On the contrary she proclaimed, on behalf of the millennial generation, that solutions were nowhere in sight.
Boyan Slat is a beacon offering the alternative path. He offers faith in the survival instinct and creativity of home sapiens to do what homo sapiens have done for 200,000 years. Solve the problem they face, clean up the oceans, clean up the rivers.
Boyan, from an old boomer, ‘I love you, man.’