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A mid-winter night’s tale

Image credit: unknown

Christmas morning is the most anticipated and most celebrated day in the history of the western world.

The Christian religion is based on the gospels of the New Testament of the Bible. But Christianity was alive and flourishing for 300 years before the Christian Bishops of the Catholic Church of Rome selected these four gospels and wrote the narrative upon which the modern Christians rely for their beliefs. Starting with the official birthday of Jesus, the 25th of December. It is mid-winter in the Northern hemisphere, so no summer holidays to follow as we have in the southern hemisphere. But nonetheless Christmas Day continues to be a huge celebration all around the globe most of them in the depths of mid winter. It is the big one. Billions of people stop work to celebrate Christmas Day. So how did it come to this?

The history of the celebration of Christmas Day traces back to when a Jewish preacher and miracle worker was anointed by his followers as the Messiah, meaning ‘the anointed one’ or ‘liberator’. The preacher was actually named Yahshua but was adapted to Iesous when, after his ascension into the heavens, disciples took the religion to Greece, and they added the Greek title of Christos, also meaning the anointed one.  The preacher’s 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 from the High Priests themselves, who were the puppets of Rome. This was a crime of sedition for which punishment was death by crucifixion. After his crucifixion, recovery and ascension into the heavens, his reputation lived on through his apostles and disciples and in fact Christianity grew beyond Galilee and Judea right 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 Judaic religion. But this Christian sect of Judaism just kept growing, no small feat given the persistent efforts of the Roman Empire to crush it. However at around 313AD the Roman Emperor Constantine decided that he would make peace with the Christians. The official Roman Catholic version is that in 312 CE Constantine saw a cross in the sky the night before the battle of the Milvian Bridge against rival Emperor Maxentius (aka his brother) over supremacy in the combined East/West Roman Empire. Constantine decided that the vision of the cross in the sky was a sign of favour from Jesus (his wife was a devout Christian) and so he decided that if he won the battle then he would stop persecuting Christians as his part of the pact. No one recorded whether Maxentius on the other side of the bridge had seen the same cross, but in the end, he finished up drowned in the Tiber and Constantine ruled the world.

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. The head office would be established in Rome and the Bishop of Rome would be the capo di tutti. And so, it was agreed. 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 a tithe to the parish priest or facing eternity in the fires of hell (and/or the swords of the soldiers of Rome). These were a simple people facing simple choices and so the Church flourished. The Sicilian Mafia used a similar system to extract donations from the local business men with the slight adaptation of insuring their business premises against the fires of earth. 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, just 70 kilometres from where he would build his great city of Constantinople just a few years later. Everyone loves a convention, especially in Turkey. Nicaea was no humble collection of cave dwellings in the wilderness from which the original Christianity had emerged; this was an historic and prosperous city right on the shores of the 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. It was like a forerunner of our modern day COP climate change conferences. 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 Son of God had to have a birthday celebration which would be a nice little earner for the bishops.

But whether by coincidence or by edict, the day chosen for Jesus’ birthday was an existing Roman festival of Natalis Solis Invicti. This celebration recognised that the dates of 21st/22nd December are the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest night of the winter. On this winter solstice the sun drops to its lowest point in the sky, descending onto the Crux constellation (the Cross) where it appeared to remain lost for three days before starting to rise again. So the 25th of December was the existing Roman festival of the rebirth of the sun.

Mithraism was the dominant pagan religious cult in the Roman military at that 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 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 even though it would seem unlikely that shepherds would be tending their flock at night in the hills of Galilee during the snowy depths of mid-winter. It was a political decision by 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. It could be said that the Roman Empire lives on under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church and the leadership of the Pope.

So, in summary, a relatively small, impoverished, and persecuted 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? It is not as if the believers can make a claim under the Consumer Protection Act if there is no heavenly plot awaiting them.

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 Messiah. They followed this star 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 stargazers 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, at the very kindest. And when witnesses described that on same baby’s final day on earth he was lifted from the Mount of Olives and last seen entering a ‘cloud’ hovering above them, they would be ridiculed as alien conspiracy theorists. If those disciples added in that before this departure he had appeared to have died on a Crux, only to rise again into life three days later, then the men in white coats would definitely be getting a call. But, thanks to the endorsement of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and the ongoing endorsement of all subsequent Bishops of Rome, this story has been given the credibility to be accepted as the basis of the very conservative religion of Christianity. The basis for the conclusion that Yahshua was indeed a son of God.

Today the religious narrative of a bright light over Bethlehem, heralding angels, and an all-knowing son of God travelling in a flying cloud, have now all been corrupted into the commercial myth of a Santa Claus from the North Pole, who knows if you have been good or bad, who has elves helping him prepare rewards for the good, and who flies around the world on a warp-speed sky-craft to pass judgement on all the little girls and boys.

For the first 1600 years, Christmas was solely a religious event, a Mass involving devout worship, wholesome family gathering and alms to collect on behalf of the poor. Any money to be made was in tithes to the local parish priest for a special Christmas performance, which passed up the line until the head man in Rome eventually wet his beak. The priest might hope for a little bonus from his clients, 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 original bishops at Nicaea, was rebranded as fat, jolly Santa Claus and the commercial Christmas era arrived in full force. In 1843 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 in 1931 that Coke that gave really gave Christmas the nostalgic magic of fantasy that overtook the religious festival and exposed the commercial potential of using Santa to endorse their products; and the rest of the commercial world quickly climbed aboard the sleigh.

Selling the idealism of a benevolent father figure living with his elves in the North Pole now runs parallel to the 4th century celebration of the arrival into Eastern European villages of the benevolent St Nicholas bearing gifts of sweet treats made by his helpers from Myra in faraway Turkey. St Nicholas himself paralleled the all loving Jesus living in heaven with his angels. Just as Constantine had blended an established pagan celebration with the birth of Jesus, so too Coca Cola blended the established Saint Nicholas celebration with a commercial Santa Claus celebration. It did not take long before the target market was extended to all people that we ‘love and care for’, and our 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 marketing campaigns of all time? How many businesses today owe their existence and profits to that morphing of Santa Nicholas into Santa Claus? Including family lawyers with post-Christmas now becoming one of their busiest times of the year as the victims of this season of peace and goodwill turn up at their offices in January as predictably as whitebait in October.

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Foreword

Man is no new-begot child of the ape, bred of a struggle for existence upon brutish lines……

Were he to regard himself as an extremely ancient type, distinguished chiefly by the qualities of his mind, and to look upon the existing Primates as the failures of his line, as his misguided and brutish collaterals, rather than as his ancestors…. 

Frederick Wood Jones: The Origin of Man (1918), a pamphlet published by The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge

The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.

But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world….. Let each man hope and believe what he can. 

Charles Darwin

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Tick, tock

Humans are the only life form on earth that concern themselves with the concept of time. Our bodies are very much in the here and now, but our minds are constantly sliding along the scale of time, revisiting the past and projecting the future. If we could communicate with our chimpanzee ancestors and ask them the time or the date they would have no idea what we were talking about.

Not so very long ago I was employed and busy, now I am retired and at leisure. Tick, tock, time started to go very slowly compared to how it used to fly by. Now I have plenty of time to start wondering what time is. I wonder why time seems to be variable. Newton believed time was absolute, Einstein begged to differ favouring relativity of time. Do animals contemplate time? Probably not, so why do we? And for that matter what is it?

‘What is time?’ I asked my oldest and dearest friend while waiting for our coffee to arrive. ‘It’s a noun,’ he replied. Then mumbled something off the cuff about organising things with it. End of conversation. He is a retired schoolteacher, but clearly off his game. The coffee had not yet arrived.

If he was on his game, he would probably have said that, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past present and future regarded as a whole. He would then have presented a slide show with his little laser-light pointer to demonstrate his definition, thus: “The Vacheron Constantin model 57260 pocket watch, pictured above, is named the “Tivoli” and was built by three watchmakers over eight years for one client. It is an exceptionally complex and sophisticated monitor of the procession of time. This timepiece would have fitted with Karl Marx’ quip that time was invented by clockmakers to sell more clocks”.

It is a pretty cool watch. The front of it is the side with the gold Roman numerals up top. There’s an astronomical calendar, which includes a display of the phases and age of the moon, a hand that tracks the movement through the Zodiac along with the equinoxes and solstices and a rotating sky chart. There are three full calendar systems in this watch. The first is a Gregorian perpetual calendar that includes displays for the date with a retrograde hand, day of the week, month and year in the leap year cycle. There are also indicators for the number of the day of the week and number of the week in the year in accordance with the ISO 8601 standard calendar. There is also a Hebrew perpetual calendar which shows the Hebrew name of the day, Hebrew name of the month, Hebrew date, Hebrew secular calendar, Hebrew year, whether the year has 12 or 13 months, where in the 19-year lunar cycle this year is, and the date of Jewish holy day Yom Kippur, which moves around the calendar. It has a double retrograde split-seconds chronograph and…. it tells the time in both sidereal and solar hours and minutes. Sidereal time tracks the earth in relation to the stars instead of in relation to the sun and differs from solar time by plus or minus a few minutes. Sometimes a few minutes makes all the difference. You can also see what time the sun will rise and what time it will set in the watch owner’s home city as well as how long the day and night will each be on that day. The hours and minutes are shown with regulator-style hands, meaning the hours and minutes are on separate axes. The small gold hands show a second earthly time zone.

But as complex as the data on this pocket-watch is, it is focused around the year which we understand as that which relates to the lifespan of humans. Human lifespans are measured in earthly years. But from the ancient Hindu records we can examine a calendar of what they knew as the Great Year.

This is record of a year in relation to the lifespan of our solar system within the greater cosmos. This great year lasts for approximately 25,770 human years, that is of Earth’s circuits of the sun, for that is the timespan it takes our planet to spin, with a wobble, the 360-degree circuit of the twelve constellations of space, moving at a snail’s pace of one degree each 72 years. We spend approximately 2,147 years in each constellation of the zodiac.

This calendar of the Great Year is divided into four Yuga, the equivalent of our four seasons in a solar year. These are named: Satya (gold) Treta (silver), Dvapara (bronze) and Kuri (iron). Within the four yugas are twelve rashis, the equivalent of twelve months in the human year. These are: Mesh (Aries), Varishabha (Taurus), Mithuna (Gemini), Karka (Cancer), Simha (Leo), Kanya (Virgo), Tula (Libra), Vrischika (Scorpio), Dhanu (Sagittarius), Makara (Capricorn), Kumbha (Aquarius) and Meena (Pisces). Right now, relatively speaking, we are transitioning from 2,000+ years in Pisces into the age of Aquarius. Aquarius brings us into the beginning of the 6,000 year long Gold yuga, believed to be a time of the purest age of truth and humanity under the rule of the gods. That may explain the exploratory extra terrestrial craft that the USA government has now admitted have been entering our skies at will over the past 80 years. We can only hope there is truth in that.

If we go further back in the cosmic calendar then the age before Pisces had been Aries, the Warrior, 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. From the history that is recorded, the Age of Aries did seem to climax over the latter five centuries with almost constant battles for supremacy within the main civilisations of Egypt, Greece, Persia, Rome and China. Many of the most notable historical characters of early first centuries bce were in fact generals or warrior kings: Alexander the Great, Mithridates of Persia , Qin Shi Huang founder of the Qin dynasty and Julius Caesar to name just a few.

As we moved through the Age of Aries, territorial wars were a constant feature of life. The Sumerians were conquered by the Babylonians around 2000 bce who were in turn were conquered by the Persians in 539 bce who went on to conquer Egypt and were constantly attacking the Greeks. It was Alexander the Great who restored order for Greece and by 300 bce had forced the Persians out of the Indus Valley, Syria, Judea and Egypt.

But as the Age of Aries came to its end, it was the Roman and Persian empires who were left facing off with each other for the finals of European/ North African and Middle Eastern dominance. By around 200 bce the armies from Rome had defeated the Greeks and Rome then ruled the former Greek empire, including Galilee and Judea. Julius Caesar was their most famous general conquering Western Europe as far as Gaul and Britain. But with the Romans having defeated the Greeks and now dedicating so much attention to Western Europe, Persia was also re-emerging as a greater military power in the middle east and with the technological development of horsemen archers and chariots, began claiming back territory lost to the Greeks and now controlled by Rome.

In 53bce the Persians lured 30,000 Roman legionnaires into open battle in the desert near a town called Carrhae, in modern Turkey, then surrounded them with their feared horseman-archers who rained shield piercing arrows on them and those who did not surrender were slaughtered, including General Marcus Crassus. In 41BC Marcus Antonius set off for Persia to avenge this slaughter. Along the route Marcus Antonius called a meeting of allies and there he met and was famously distracted by Queen Cleopatra who invited him to winter with her in Alexandria. Now that is a classy chat-up line. The march to Persia was halted in Syria. Parthian Crown Prince Pacorus and a Roman deserter Quintus Labienus took advantage of his distraction and made a preemptive strike across the Euphrates River into Syria and conquering all before them secured much of the Syria, Palestine, Judaea regions. Ongoing battles between Rome and the Parthians tended to be long and inconclusive, But in 40bce Marcus Antonius’ forces moved quickly against Labienus who had legionaries, but only limited cavalry support and Labienus was killed and the Parthians retreated from Judea and Syria, allowing Antony and his forces back into this Mediterranean strip. Antony took revenge on some of the treacherous kings, including Antigonus of Judea, and then established the Herodian dynasty in Judaea. But Antonius’ greatest threat was in Rome against Octavian and finally when facing defeat in 30BC, Antonius committed suicide while with Cleopatra in Alexandria. Octavian became Augustus Caesar and this was the geopolitical situation at the end of the Age of Aries and the dawn of the Age of Pisces.

Further backdating along the Ages of the Great Year, from the period of approximately 4,000 – 2,000 bce was under the sign of Taurus, the Sensualist, the enjoyer of earthly pleasures. This period was known as our Bronze Age (beginning approximately 3,000 bce) which was the discovery of the metallurgical skills that contributed significantly to that civilisation, particularly introducing the invention of the wheel. And as it turns out, human civilisation as we understand it today emerged in the three regions of Crete around 3500 bce, Sumer in Mesopotamia around 3400 bce and Egypt in Northern Africa around 3100 bce; all within 400 years of each other. But in the Hindu Great Year this was the first age of the descent of man into the hedonism of the Kali (iron) Yuga.

It was the Minoans on Crete and other Aegean Islands who are recognised as creating the first great European trading city complete with its palaces, grand cultural, religious, administrative, and commercial centres; forums for public gathering and celebrations; workshops for artists; astronomical observatory towers, public baths and aqueducts. Around this same period in the Age of Taurus, similar civilised life also blossomed in Sumer and Egypt.

The Minoan civilisation was devastated by a massive volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini around 1500 bce which was possibly the original source of the legend of the sinking of Atlantis. Two hundred and fifty years after the collapse of the Minoans civilisation, Mycenaean civilisation evolved as the most advanced and distinctively Greek civilization on mainland Greece.

But going back older than 4,000 bce, we are entering the dvapara (bronze) Yuga of the Great Wheel, which extends back as far as 10,480 bce and was the first decline of man from the Treta (silver) Yuga and further beyond this time, the Golden Yuga. We have no stories of humans and human civilisation during these Silver and Gold Yuga, we only have mythical oral legends of Gods and their creation of humans.

Image credit: unknown

We have solid archaeological evidence, in construction terms, of the nature of civilisation during the 2000-year era of Pisces, but before this era the evidence becomes progressively more sparse and we then start relying more and more on pottery fragments, until we get to the great pyramids of Giza. These pyramids are staring at us, stone-faced, as monuments proving that long before us was an age of inhabitants with technology that we are only now starting to catch up with. But most interestingly there is no evidence of the expected progression of construction and engineering from the time the great pyramid until 221 BC with the great wall of China, and even that is hardly of the scale and technological level of the Giza pyramids. So what happened to civilisation in the timespan between the building of the pyramids and the building of China’s great wall or the Hoover Dam or International Space Station?

Mainstream archeology theory maintains the legend that Egyptian pharaohs engaged thousands of slaves in a technologically primitive time about 5,000 years ago, to build the great pyramids and Sphinx. The great pyramid of Giza is recorded as being the burial chamber Pharaoh Khufu who was recorded as reigning from 2589-2566 bce, a period of 63 years (although modern historians calculate the reign to have been between 23 and 34 years). There is carbon dating tracing the pyramids back 4-5,000 years aligning with Khufu’s reign, but carbon dating cannot date stone; it can only date organic matter. The removal of the limestone sheathing to build palaces 4-5,000 years ago would explain why the organic matter on the surface dates back to that period. And no doubt the pharaohs did build smaller replicas of the Giza pyramids for their own grand tombs, and these are genuinely 4-5,000 years old.

But let us focus on the originals, the three pyramids of Giza and their Lion headed Sphinx. Apart from the geometric precision and alignment of the pyramid, which defies rational explanation, there is the enormous physical achievement. Even presuming that Khufu did reign 63 years and began the construction of the pyramid at the very beginning of his reign; and even assuming that tens of thousands of Egyptians worked on the pyramid twelve hours a day, seven days a week for each of those 63 years, they would still have needed to put those stone blocks, averaging 2.5 tonnes, precisely into position on the pyramid at the rate of one every seven minutes. Add the complication that it is presumed the pyramid was mainly built during the farming off-season, then the speed at placing those stone blocks with such precision defies all credibility.

The great Pyramid at Giza weighs six million tons and used 2.3 million blocks, the largest of which are found above the King’s chamber and weigh from 25 to 80 tons each. There were an estimated 144,000 highly polished casing stones cut flat to an accuracy of 1/100th of an inch and nearly perfect right angles for all six sides measuring 8 feet thickness and weighting 15 tons each. Its footprint is 13 acres with each side measuring 750 feet and height is 481 feet. But apart from the sheer size and weight of the blocks supposedly carried large distances by slaves with no greater technology than ropes, rollers, pulleys and hand tools, the mathematical and astrological accuracy is mind blowing even today. The pyramid’s coordinates align it to cardinal True North with a precision of 3/60th of a single degree. True North cannot be located by sight or by a magnet.

The height and length of the great pyramid are not just random figures either. Take the pyramid height of 481 feet and multiply that by 43,200 and you get a precise measurement of the polar radius of the earth. Then take the length of the perimeter of the pyramid, 4 x 750 feet and multiply that by 43,200 and you get the equatorial circumference of the earth. And what does the figure 43,200 mean? I don’t know why a factor of 43,200 was the basis for the design of the pyramid although interestingly 43,200 is also the number of seconds in a 12-hour day or the number of minutes in a month. The earth’s ‘wobble’ adjusts our precession through the astrological circumference by one degree every 72 years and 72 is also an exact factor of 43,200 (1/600th). So the number does have some natural basis aligning earth with the cosmos.

The Giza pyramid sits directly over an invisible electro-magnetic ley line and is aligned within 0.05 of a degree accuracy due true north/south. The Sphinx, as part of the pyramid complex, is an astrological alignment facing due east for the Spring equinox, which is also no accident. It is in lion body form, which was not just a whim of the architect and the sun at Spring equinox was last in the constellation of Leo in the 9,000 bc era. If, at the sunrise on the Spring equinox, you turned 90 degrees to face due south you would have seen the three stars of Orion’s belt appear in the exact same alignment as the three pyramids of Giza. The mathematical and cosmic precision of the dimensions is not coincidental; the Sphinx is the oldest calendar marker in our human history and was placed there to mark a significant time in our history. So was the Sphinx built as a calendar marker to communicate that the construction of this complex was in fact more than 11,000 years ago.

Sceptics scoff at the idea that a technologically advanced species lived on earth in ancient times; but either that happened or our primitive ancestors of at least 200 generations ago were capable of all this extraordinary astronomical, geographic, and engineering precision without the aid of computers, satellites, cranes or any machinery. We must dispense with the notion, once and for all, that primitive humans built these Pyramids with their only tools being axes, ropes and timber logs. That is simply nonsense. The Pyramids were built using satellite-sourced co-ordinates, computer-assisted planning, laser-precision stone cutting technology, and anti-gravity lifting technology

This was the Age of Leo when Earth was emerging from the Ice Age and the planet was warming. individuality started appearing. Humans started, or re-started, to organise the primitive social structures and brought on the horizon the first human priests/rulers/shamans of human origin (it is believed that prior to this time humanity was led by more advanced mentors/creators). The symbol of the Sun, the sign of Leo, is deep in all ancient religious records.

The Giza pyramids themselves may have been much older than the Sphinx. They were all built in hard granite and, as we all know, granite makes the highest quality batteries. Then they were sheathed in low conductive limestone slabs laid with laser sharp engineering precision to contain the energy within.

The largest of the great pyramids was gleaming white in its original state before, in later millennia, the polished limestone coating slabs were plundered to build the palaces in the region. The other two smaller pyramids were red and black granite respectively. At the time of construction, a branch of the Nile ran right to the pyramids providing a water table beneath the pyramids; they were built strategically on a magnetic lay line and they had the direct energy source of the sun with legend telling us the capstones were sheathed in gold.

In effect, the great pyramid of Giza had all the elements of a huge power generator that could supply the nearby city. But most importantly this would have been an implosive power source compared to the explosive nature of fossil-fueled power. Thousands of years later the free and renewable power creating technology of these pyramids consumed the genius mind of Nicolas Tesla.

But equally intriguingly, beneath these pyramids of Giza is a huge network of caves and passageways. British consul general Henry Salt records in his memoirs that he investigated an underground system of catacombs at Giza in 1817 in the company of Italian explorer Giovanni Caviglia. The document records that the two explored the caves for a distance of several hundred yards, coming upon four large chambers from which stretched further underground passageways. The full layout of these underground chambers remain a mystery today although in 2009 author Andrew Collins published a book demonstrating that he and Egyptologist Nigel Skinner-Simpson had followed Salt’s exploration and had themselves discovered the entrance to this huge underground complex.

Illustration of underground city below the Pyramids of Giza.
The Ancient Guy/Screenshot credit: TheBL/Youtube

The discoveries of archeology, the records of ancient Sumerians, the cosmic beliefs of the Hindus and the calculations of the Vacheron Constantin Model 57260 pocket watch, however sophisticated, are still just the measures of our observation of the motion of our planet in relation to the observable environment in which we exist. Is that all there is to time? It does not explain the mind’s perception of time; of how, when my retired teacher friend is supervising an examination room, time for him drags at a snail’s pace whereas for the students, with so much to do, the time races like a mouse (a house mouse’s actual top speed is 13kmh while it ‘feels like’ 260kmh. another time-distorting example).

I needed more. If my old friend had been a retired Physics teacher, he might have said that, according to Minkowski, who was Einstein’s Professor, time is the 4th dimension of Space-Time, additional to the three spatial dimensions of length, breadth and depth. This formed a basis for Einstein’s theory of relativity. While the watch is a time-based micromanagement tool, Minkowski and Einstein were trying to understand the relativity of time in a past, present and future sense. But what does this 4th dimension mean? The three dimensions of space are easy enough to understand because we can see them, but no-one seems to quite understand how time works as a 4th dimension.

We do know that we process information about our universe in a delayed sense according to the speed of light. The furthest star in the Southern Cross group is 364 light years away. So, when looking at the Southern Cross tonight the furthest star is, to our eye, as it was when Oliver Cromwell ruled England and the closest star in that constellation is 88 light years away, showing us what that star was like when Franklin D Roosevelt was President of the USA. This is simply the nature of the universe, the further something is from us, the slower is the transfer of awareness of that something. Therefore, the further out from earth we look the further back in time we see.

So, we have mechanical devices that monitor time as observed by the rotation of earth relative to the moon, sun and other stars; these devices are in fact no more than human inventions by which we try to control time, without which the organisation of our civilisation would fall apart. We also have a theoretical, invisible ‘fourth dimension’ formula that Minkowski and Einstein understand, but which is incomprehensible to most humans. And we also know that light, or the speed of it, seems to have a real effect on ‘time’ in a cosmological environment. So is time the effect of the motion of our planet on our lives, a fourth dimension of nature or is it simply the product of the motion of light particles? Or does time perhaps only exist in our minds?

This brings us to observe a tiny gland buried in our brain, right between our right and left hemisphere. We call it the pineal gland, because it looks like a pinecone, even though it is only the size of a pea. In fact, the Sumerians referred to the pine cone shaped gland on clay tablets thousands of years old, which is extraordinary medical knowledge to have had so long ago. The ‘sacred’ nature of this gland was also known thousands of years before modern science now tells us that this gland produces melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone which modulates sleep patterns in both circadian and seasonal cycles. Melatonin is a structurally simple hormone that communicates information about environmental lighting to various parts of the body. Ultimately, melatonin has the ability to control biological rhythms. The light-transducing ability of the pineal gland has led some to call the pineal the ‘third eye’. The pineal gland is also capable of making a compound called Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT is a powerful psychedelic chemical released during extraordinary states such as time of birth and the time of death. DMT may also induce our dreams of life in a timeless state.

The Fontana della Pigna (pinecone) at Vatican City. Image credit unknown

The pinecone symbol has appeared in religious and spiritual images for thousands of years. Depictions of Hindu deities are interwoven with both literal and symbolic representations of serpents and pinecones. The Egyptian Staff of Osiris, dating back to approximately 1224 BC, depicts two intertwining serpents rising up to meet at a pinecone. A statue of the Mexican god “Chicomecoatl” (“Seven Snakes”) depicts the deity offering forth pinecones in one hand, and an evergreen tree in the other. Those who have visited the Vatican may recall the large pinecone sculpture that is displayed, and which was built by the Romans, in pagan times, as a fountain alongside the temple of Isis. The pinecone symbolism is common throughout Greek and Roman art in reference to religion and it is hypothesised that the pinecone is the “fruit from the tree of life” referred to in Genesis. With all the references to serpents, it should be noted that, even today, the serpent remains the emblem of the medical profession.

So how did I get from a multi-million-dollar customised pocket watch to a pea-sized pinecone? I was wondering that myself. Are we still talking about time? Yes, we are; about time and the absence of it. I am now imagining whether time is the mechanism that our brain uses to process data. Our brain needs to organise events in a sequential list just to comprehend them and manage our lives.

Those yogis who achieve a very deep meditation state through the awakening of the ‘third eye’ put themselves into a state of timelessness, as do those under the influence of the psychedelic chemical DMT. Those who have returned from a near death experience, Anita Moorjani and Dr Mary Neale being two of the more famous living examples, also experience this timeless awareness. The pineal is the first gland to be created in the body, one month after conception, and is the last functioning part of the body at death with a great psychedelic shot of DMT to take us into the next dimension of body-less timelessness.

And in that timeless sense of time, we are describing what the Greeks referred to as “Kairos” as distinct from “Kronos.” Kronos is a god associated with sequential time and is represented by the scythe-yielding, cloaked and hooded old man, Father Time, leading us all from the cradle to the grave. His Roman name was Saturn and the sixth planet from the sun was named for him. From ‘Kronos’ comes the word ‘chronological’. Kairos on the other hand refers to time being a “timeless moment’. In Greek mythology Kairos is a young heroic god, youngest son of Zeus and the spirit of opportunity. But it was said you needed to seize Kairos from the front as he approached because, once he has passed, not even Zeus can seize him. Often this ‘moment of opportunity’ is represented in movies, when the hero is suddenly aware of the heroine for the first time, by voiceless sounds, slow motion action and surreal lighting. In the book of Ecclesiastes is the phrase “to everything there is a time”; time is translated in the first Greek Bible as Kairos. In Wm Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the quote “There is a time in the affairs of men” also refers to Kairos.

Our universe is made of three dimensions, space, mass and time. Mass is split into three sub-dimensions, height, length and width. Space is also split into three sub-dimensions: the light-reflecting space, that which we can see, light-absorbing space (black holes), and the dimension of wormholes, (a space version of the laundry chute in a multi-level home). The universe is the ultimate example of mathematical symmetry and so we can reasonably presume that time also has three dimensions which would then bring us to the great number 9 in universal majesty. We understand lineal or solar time, it has a beginning, middle and an end. A second possible dimension would be managed time, the process of time appearing to slow down or speed up; and then dreamtime completes the third dimension of time. Maybe when we experience Deja vu, or when we dream of ourselves in an unfamiliar setting or get a sense of some spiritual force, maybe that is just our us connecting briefly to ourselves or others in another dimension. Is our mind in sleep mode simply wandering through the cosmic human database that is stored in the ether? That would be a long way into the speculative theory zone for us in this lineal time dimension. But perhaps that next level is manifested in what we know as the visitors/ guardians/ aliens? When ‘man would eat from the tree of life and live forever’. (Genesis).

So, is that pea-sized, pinecone-shaped pineal gland just our brain-computer’s wi-fi device connecting us to the universe and transferring us between three dimensions of time? And I confess I am not even sure what I mean by all of that or where such speculation came from. Did I just dream that up? And talking of dreams, does the pineal gland have a connection to our dreams? We know the pineal gland contains small crystals, less than 0.02 of a mm in length (totally distinct from the hydroxyapatite concretions also found there). These crystals may well be natural super-microchips holding the master recording of our entire life. With the pineal gland responsible for our sleep it may also be responsible for using this sleep time to download, sort and provide links to existing stored data. The older we get the more complex this process and, combined with our imagination in freefall, the weirder become our dreams. It’s worth a theory.

Is that the time? Doesn’t it just fly by when you are immersed in writing? I must get off to bed; my melatonin levels are signaling that I need eight hours of timeless downtime from this process of life. I need to sleep…..to sleep perchance to dream. (Credit: Hamlet, an avatar of Wm. Shakespeare). 

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In the beginning

Image credit: Livescience.com

The homo species began about two million years ago with homo Erectus, upright man. The homo species had evolved over four or more million years, originally from the chimpanzee and bonobo species in Central Africa.

The development of the human species is generally explained as a natural evolution resulting from a changing habitat requiring less swinging in trees and more walking on savannahs. Such climate and habitat changes do happen in nature, evolving over millennia so that they do not disrupt the balance of nature. That however does not explain why our brains grew so much larger than other apes. Today we still share 97% of our dna with chimpanzees and bonobos, but that 3% difference is what has enabled us to create civilisation as we know it today. We have learned, or were taught, the domestication skills for the creation of fire, development of agriculture and medicinal use of plants; the technologies of pottery and metallurgy; engineering, construction skills and transport methods; astronomy and digital technology.

Western civilisation’s recorded explanation of human creation, the Hebrew bible’s Book of Genesis, tells us of the creation of humans in the Garden of Eden to serve the Supreme God and obey his angels. According to Genesis this was more specifically ‘where a river departed from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided and became four tributaries. The name of the first is Pishon, which is the circumnavigator of the land of Havilah where there is gold’.

This is generally thought by historians to be the region of the middle east where the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris plus the two tributaries Greater and lesser Zap flow down to the Persian Gulf. However, according to the latest DNA tracing research, our species originated south of the Zambezi River in North-West Botswana, Africa. The northwest Botswana region is very rich in gold deposits and if our very original ancestors had started life effectively as slave labour miners in this gold rich region, then the Zambezi delta, where the Zambezi river does divide into four tributaries before flowing to the sea, would have provided the fertile land for farming for this settlement and as such it is a real contender for the location of the original Garden of Eden. Perhaps the suggestion of the Euphrates/Tigris location was due to a subsequent migration there which the descended inhabitants thousands of years later believed to be the original location of creation.

 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), actually contains an account of the sacrifice of a God in order to create man. Continuing on from the firsdt tablet in which the rebellion of the lesser Gods against the seven greater Gods the texts reveal:

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.

The outcome of the rebellion of the lesser Gods against the seven greater Gods was the sacrifice of one of the lesser Gods so that his “essence” or DNA could be inserted into a primitive homo in order to make the human a more intelligent species for the purpose of being useful slave labourers in this Garden of Eden. The references to the mixing of clay is also recorded in the Hebrews Book of Genesis: God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive – a living soul; and in Greek mythology: Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure. But in the context of the expanded Akkadian texts, the purpose of creating humans was as slave labour.

About seventy thousand years ago, for whatever reason, large numbers of our species migrated out of this ’heavenly garden’ northwards and westwards through Africa, Europe, Asia and America. Whether they migrated for natural climatic reasons or were, as the Jewish Bible relates, forcibly ejected from the farming lifestyle of the garden of Eden to live as nomads, we don’t precisely know. But the purest living examples of this migration are today found in the deepest, darkest jungles of South America and Papua New Guinea and on the great southern continent of Australia whose aboriginal people, before the arrival of Europeans a few hundred years ago, traced an uncontaminated race for nearly 60,000 years. Throughout most of the rest of the world we are hybrids; different blends of evolved cultures and skin colours as white skins mated with dark skins. However, having emerged from the identical source as all other humans, the aboriginals of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the jungles of South America are the clear evidence of how all humans would have evolved today had there not been an intervention of major significance to turn black skins white and to teach a level of technology that is beyond the natural evolution of humans in only a few thousand years. Somehow that fast track evolution happened in the northern hemisphere and those northern humans created an entirely different, urbanised civilisation.

Ever since the migration of our species out of Zambezi in Africa, the practice of slavery travelled with us as part of our DNA. Slavery as a practice goes back as far as historical records reach throughout Africa, the Middle East and Mediterranean. In the Bible as well as in the historical records of the Greek and Roman empires, slave trading was a common form of existence for the poor, socially disadvantaged and victims of war. Indigenous slavery in Africa was practised in various forms. Impoverished African families felt compelled to sell their children; captured enemies from tribal warfare were held as slaves and targeted kidnapping raids by African slave traders were commonplace. Enslaved individuals could then be sold on to other communities in need of labor. African slave traders would also hold hundreds of captured slaves near the coastline to meet up with Arab or European slave traders.

But in Africa another social change emerged. Whereas in the world of chimpanzees the alpha male usually dominates the alpha female, in Africa the alpha females began to establish a level of dominance in society and it evolved that now the alpha could equally be male or female. The history of slave trading out of the West and Central African region into Britain and America traces its origins back to the African Queen Marico, who had led her Manneh tribe from East Africa on a series of colonisation raids of West African tribes between 1545 and 1560. Queen Marico then took over trading arrangements with the Portugese who had already established trade links in this region that they named, Serra Lyoa (Lion Mountain), later corrupted to Sierra Leone. It was at this time that Britain followed the example of the Portuguese and began trading for, amongst other things, slaves who had been captured from tribes in West Africa and the Congo for the purpose of being traded. The British slave trade business was started by Sir John Hawkins with the support and investment of Elizabeth I in 1573. 

Queen Marico of Sierra Leone was not an isolated example of an African warrior queen. In the research for her book “Gender and Power in Sierra Leone”, author Lynda Day found there were many women leaders amongst the 13 Kingdoms and 200+ Principalities in both pre-colonial and modern Sierra Leone. In 1808, the British signed a treaty with Queen Yammacouba to establish Freetown for the repatriation of freed slaves. A few years later the 1825 treaty with British Governor Turner was signed by Queen Ya Kumba who exercised great power over that region in southern Sierra Leone. Later treaties include the 1885 treaty signed by Queen Messe of Massah in the Krim country. There were a number of other women of power mentioned in dispatches including Yoko who was Queen of Senehu and Ella Koblo Gulama, Paramount Chief of the Kaoyamba chiefdom.

You will recall the legendary Queen of Sheba and probably presume she was an historical, possibly mythical, woman of enormous wealth and power. You may be surprised to know that the Queen of Sheba is alive and well today. Her Imperial Majesty, the Nubia-Sheba, Empress of the African Royal Kingdoms, the Queen of Sheba, Queen Shebah III is the descendant of the oldest matriarchal throne in Africa which originated in Kush, present-day South Sudan. Kush was once one of the great African empires for over 1,000 years and was an economic centre that operated a lucrative market in ivory, incense, iron and gold. The kingdom was both a trading partner with, and a military rival of, Egypt, even ruling Egypt as the 25th Dynasty. Queen Shebah III now lives in Trinidad and Tobago, by choice, and is currently the Vice-President of the Arab-African Supreme Council for African Affairs which is headquartered in Egypt. The council is an organisation of high level professional Arab and African business people. She also heads the African Kingdoms Federation, an organisation that seeks to restore the federation of African kingdoms. Africa has a long history of wealthy and powerful kingdoms.

The Kingdom of Aksum, now Ethiopia was a powerful and wealthy trading superpower for 500 years, from the 2nd century. Its gold and ivory made it a vital link between ancient Europe and the Far East. In more recent times the Mali Empire, created around 1200 ce by Sundiata Keita (the ‘Lion King’), was an enormously wealthy and powerful West African empire lasting to the 15th century. Legend tells that one of its emperors, Mansa Musa, while on a pilgrimage to Mecca in the 14th century, stopped en route in Egypt and spent so much in gold during his visit that its value plummeted in Egyptian markets for many years.

One of the largest empires in African history was the Songhai Empire which was formed in the 15th century from some of the former regions of the Mali Empire. This West African kingdom was larger than Western Europe and enjoyed a period of great prosperity thanks to a highly professional, decentralised bureaucracy and aggressive, co-operative trade policies. It reached its peak in the early 16th century under the rule of the devout King Muhammad I Askia, who conquered new lands and forged an alliance with Egypt’s Muslim Caliph. However internal tribal conflict eventually led to the collapse of this empire in the late sixteenth century. Tribalism was the force that undermined the prosperity of these once powerful and wealthy empires which should serve as a warning to social movements reverting to tribalism today.

Tribal conflict is the primary reason why the powerful economic empires of Africa collapsed into their current state of economic poverty. Social injustice in Africa has become a way of life as a consequence of this tribalism and is manifested in practices of abduction, forced labour under armed guard, the confiscation of identity papers and passports and child labour. The diamond mines of Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Cobalt mines of the Dominion Republic of Congo (DRC) are today dependent on slave labour. The DRC Cobalt mines were, in 2016, estimated by the Global Slavery Index to have had nearly 900,000 slaves including children as young as seven.

About 4-5,000 years ago the emerging civilisations of Greeks, Sumerians and Egyptians began making primitive written records of their ancient oral legends of the glorious times when the Gods lived amongst them. During the previous 5,000 years the seas had risen some 140 metres due to the warming of the planet and consequential melting of the ice caps and, at some point in time, the city of the Gods, Atlantis, had disappeared under water.

But as our human population grew exponentially, from less than half a billion a thousand years ago to one billion by the early 19th century and to 2.5 billion by the mid 20th century, political management structures evolved to adapt to large urbanised societies. The ultimate tribal authority of kings came under pressure. Liberal Democracy was first conceived in ancient Athens by Cleisthenes which gave the common citizen (although initially this did not include slaves) the right to both elect and dismiss their ruler. But in Western European politics the serious moves towards a democratic Parliament in Britain really began over 2000 years later with the English Civil war of 1642-1651 when Oliver Cromwell, an English general and statesman, led armies of the Parliament of England against King Charles I. Political chaos ensued after Cromwell’s son, Richard, failed to maintain control and in 1660 the ‘Royalist Cavaliers’ restored the exiled Charles 2nd, brother to Charles 1, to the throne. However the royals were forced to begin sharing power with the Commons and the Parliament became more and more ‘democratic’ over the next century, in 1801 the House of Lords was created to house the traditional nobility to oversee the House of the common people. In 1830, the Liberal Whig, the Earl Grey, became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Economically, Liberalism was an expansive ideology to promote global trading and an end to tribal protectionism; giving the freedom to commoners, not of royal birth, to create their own wealth from industry. Imperialism and globalisation, manifested in global enterprises from Earl Grey tea made by English from tea leaf grown in India to McDonalds Hamburgers taking American fast food culture from a small Californian town to 120 countries, were the economic concepts of the Liberal movement. But the Liberal democratic movement was also founded on social principles of freedom of common people from oppression. In 1607 Britain had established its first permanent colony in America at Jamestown, Virginia. Twelve years later they introduced the first African slaves into their new colony. The southern states of America were populated by the Royalists of England migrating away from the rising influence of the Liberal Parliamentarians in England which led to the civil war. Slavery was therefore very much a practice of the royalists on their great estates. But in 1833, under the first Liberal Prime Minister, the Earl Grey, Great Britain passed the Abolition of Slavery Act. The British established a freed slave region named Freetown in Sierra Leone in West Africa and a British naval fleet was stationed there specifically to combat the slave trade. Freed slaves were returned to Freetown from Britain, South Africa, Nova Scotia and Jamaica.

American Quakers had also begun to address the treatment of Africans in the United States with a programme of repatriating freed slaves back to West Africa. Both Presidents James Monroe, from Virginia, and Andrew Jackson, from a poor white background in Tennessee, had been members of the American Colonization Society. The Society bought land from a ‘King Peter’ at Cape Mesurado, Western Africa, in 1821 for 500 bars of tobacco, three barrels of rum, five casks of powder, five umbrellas, ten iron posts and ten pairs of shoes. The land they purchased was just 60 kilometres in length and 5 kilometres width. In 1847 this strip of land declared its independence and became the new nation of Liberia populated by about 13,000 freed slaves from America whose repatriation was sponsored by the Society.

This American colonisation programme in Liberia was effectively shut down by the Liberals of the Norhern states of America who opposed the phasing out of slavery in favour of total abolition and who opposed repatriation in favour of integration within America as free people. The practice of African slavery in America ultimately led to the American Civil War in 1861 between the North and the South. This American civil war officially ended in 1865 after the death of 600,000 Americans from a population of 30 million. Scaled to their current population that would be equivalent of 6.3 million deaths today. Having won that war Abraham Lincoln immediately released four million ill-prepared Africans onto the streets of the towns and cities of the South. Into an economy that had been totally crippled by four years of civil warfare. Into a hostile environment where every single Southern family would have known tragedy, trauma and death at the hands of the northern liberals on behalf of these Africans.

Traders are traders, they buy and sell at a profit. It was no different in the slave trade in the United States. The British and American traders were the buyers and sellers, but the African slaves were captured for sale by Africans under the orders of African Queens, Kings and Paramount Chieftains. The plantation owners who bought slaves did not do so purely for the desire of owning household slaves but far more so as a commercial decision to enable them to most profitably supply tobacco and cotton from their farming estates in the southern states of America to satisfy the global demand. And it was those ordinary global citizens who could not afford silk but desired the comfort of cotton and those who enjoyed a cigarette or pipe who were the ultimate funders of the American slave trade of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

With the Labour/ Communist Parties of the early-mid 20th century dominating the ‘Left’ side of the political arena opposing the Conservatives on the ‘Right’, the Liberal movement became caught in the midddle, no mans land. As the 21st Century dawns the Liberal movement has an identity crisis and was quickly becoming a forgotten and irrelevant political force. In response the Liberal movement stepped up its cause with a range of high profile campaigns promoted largely on social media. The end-is-nigh ‘#extinctionrebellion campaign; the anti-competitive #itsonlyagame movement; the anti-white supremacy #blacklivesmatter movement; the #metoo ‘name & shame the alpha-male’ movement and the gender-denial movement #areyouaboyoragirl?yes. But most disturbingly is that the modern Liberals have created and openly promoted a “Cancel Culture”, denying any debate or tolerance of opposing positions on their ideology and thereby undermining the very ‘freedom of thought and speech’ platform upon which the Liberal movement was founded. But no longer do generals lead soldiers to fight for peace and justice; the Liberals’ weapon in this political and social war is social media.

If the cotton garment wearers and the tobacco smokers in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries funded slavery back then, who today are the funders of the modern slave trade in the DRC? DRC supplies 60% of the world supply of cobalt. Follow the supply chain; the cobalt that is mined by slaves in the DRC is essential for the manufacture of lithium ion batteries that are used to power mobile phones, laptops, electric cars, electric bikes, mobility scooters and solar power generators and also in the manufacture of the powerful magnets needed in wind power turbines.

What hypocrisy lies with the Liberal activists today using their smartphones and laptops to organise, record and disseminate their “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#extinctionrebellion” protests? Instead they should refuse to buy a device from a manufacturer that cannot prove social justice and a living wage for the African miners. If that costs an extra 50% for the device, that is the price a Liberal should willingly pay for social justice. What futility is there in the destruction of the bronze ghosts of traders long dead who once facilitated the demand of the consumers of the day for tobacco and cheap cotton garments, no questions asked?

What patronising tokenism in the Manchester City and Arsenal football players and the NBA American basketball players ‘taking the knee’ pre-match in a protest against race-based social inequality? Manchester City players are paid an average of seven million pounds a year, that is a weekly pay of 134,615 pounds; Arsenal a bit less at around five million pounds. American NBA players are paid just under $US8 million, or over $US150,000 per week, all of these are ‘plus sponsorships’. The average weekly wage in the DRC is just under six pounds or $US7. One week’s wage from one player would increase by tenfold the wage of over 2,000 African families. A thousand sport players giving up just one week’s wage would achieve this for two million of the poorest African families. Forget a token, cynical knee-bend; form a trust, show them the money.

So if you are checking your texts or posting a selfie on Instagram or handing your ‘wag’ the keys to the new Maserati, when you suddenly hear the peel of African bells ringing out for social justice, then: “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” (John Donne, ‘No man is an island’).

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Imagine there’s a heaven

Robert F. Kennedy in 1964 LBJ Presidential Library/Yoichi R. Okamoto

Some people see things as they are and say ‘why?’ I dream things that never were, and say ‘why not?’

Robert Kennedy used this quotation from George Bernard Shaw to encapsulate his vision for the presidency of the United States. He was assassinated before the election.

Before we can really understand Genesis 6 we must go back a little further and understand Genesis 3, the fall of man, the temptation of Eve by the serpent and the eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge. When Adam and Eve first recognized their nakedness as primitive beasts and took their first step into civilisation with the sewing of leaves to cover their nakedness. So how has this “knowledge” manifested itself in homo sapiens?

I have had something of a romantic attraction to the order of the Templar Knights. The Red Cross on a white tunic was the symbol of this noble Middle Ages’ organisation. These gallant demi gods were the guardians of the roads from Britain to the Holy Land to ensure the safe travel of the pilgrims. Rescuing people from life threatening situations was the life calling of these knights in shining armour. But along the journey their marketing director got the idea to extend their ‘security’ services into the financial marketplace. They developed their system whereby, in order to protect pilgrims from robbery, the travellers could hand over their gold and silver to the office of the Knights Templar in England or France in return for a Templar Note that they could redeem once they reached their Holy Land destination, minus a small handling fee of course. Those Templar Notes were Europe’s first travelers’ cheques and so the noble Templar Knights became the Bank of the Red Cross, Europe’s first bank.

This was only 900 years ago, modern times in the greater history of mankind and I wonder how someone in that organisation first came up with the idea. I have no reason to think they exploited it, but from a cynic’s viewpoint, and experience has taught me it is always prudent to at least consider a cynic’s viewpoint, there was an inherent conflict of interest when it became obvious that the Bank of the Red Cross could profit handsomely if they were not always quite so diligent in ensuring that the pilgrims, whose gold and silver was in their safekeeping, actually did arrive safe and sound at their destination to present their Note and collect their gold. Again, I have no reason to believe they were anything less than diligent in their moral duty, still they did become a very wealthy institution and human nature is a fickle thing. But could they ever have imagined the banking industry that would mushroom over the centuries following the launch of their enterprise? The gold standard has long since disappeared in the banking world to be replaced by the US dollar and it is estimated that there are about 40 trillion US dollar equivalents in ‘cash’ flowing around through the cyberspace that is the banking world of today.

So where did an idea for a sophisticated, currency-based solution to a possible robbery during a potentially dangerous journey while on a religious quest come from? We are an evolved ape, but our other ape cousins do not yearn to travel the globe by horseback, sailing ship or motor. Other apes have never developed currencies or insurance schemes; other apes do not have religions over which they are prepared to fight foreign wars. To kill and be killed over a belief in what may or may not happen after our death and about whose God of their imagination is really in charge of everything .

Seventy thousand years ago, give or take, we acquired the problem-solving gene that defines modern Homo sapiens sapiens and which pre-empted our setting off, or being sent off, from our garden of Eden in Africa to migrate into the wilderness that was the rest of the world. Now upgraded from intelligent man to really intelligent man, archeologists refer to this as the ‘Cognitive Revolution”. The Hebrew 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 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 a Ted X lecture from a Vietnamese migrant in the USA, Phuc Tran, talking about the subjunctive tense. 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.

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 critical to the fundamental point of language for homo sapiens sapiens, that is to problem-solve. For the most creative problem-solving occurs in the language of imagination. The imagination of something that you have never before seen or experienced. The imagination of something that is not yet in existence.

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 tense 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 fear, anxiety, depression. 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 rejection. 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, which are 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 only the left hemisphere of their brain. This practice stimulated the electrical activity of that left hemisphere. When desk 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 as the right hemisphere’s imaginations have progressively dominated reality. It is also interesting that the Greek Philosopher Socrates objected to the use of writing quoting from the wisdom of King Ammon who said to the Egyptian God Theuth who apparently had brought the concept of writing to humans, “this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness….they will not use their memories, they will trust to the external written character; they will appear to be omniscient but will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company having the show of wisdom without the 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 and memory tests should be included in our daily gym programme to compensate for the role of the reference and calculation technology in the same way that stationary bikes and treadmills compensate physically for the motorised technology.

Phuc speculates that absence of the subjunctive mood may be the reason for the stoic resilience of the Vietnamese people. The question arises whether it is language that creates a personality or, as my daughter who is a linguistics graduate believes, the other way round. That naturally 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 with the latter and speculate that when the balance of a group of tribes swings more towards stoicism or imaginative ambition then that swing will have a huge impact on the evolution of our species. Stoicism limits co-operation to just the immediate knowns and facts and is a very tribal mentality. Trust no one outside the tribe. The ability to mutually adopt an imagined goal has the potential to unify hundreds, thousands or even millions of people who otherwise would never dream of co-operating with each other. From such imaginative ambition the concepts of nations and religions is born along with great armies to enforce their imaginative aspirations. It is the imagination of a heavenly existence after death that unites millions, even billions, of people around the globe to unite under the banner of an imagined concept and an imagined God.

If there is any true evidence of the power of the imagination. It has occurred over the last 50 years more than the previous five thousand. It was in the late years of the 20th century that we experienced the emergence of a new culture to move away tribalism and adopt globalism; one world, one people. This was hailed as the dawn of a new age, the Age of Aquarius. It stemmed from the imagination of a world without war and poverty; a world completely different to the reality of human existence as we knew it. And it was a new emerging technology revolution that sparked this imagination.

I saw on some Facebook page a bit of a self-indulgent reminiscence by one of my generation recalling the good old days when we had face-to-face friends not face-book friends; when we built go-carts to race downhill against our mates rather than played X Box games against avatars. When someone else took photos of us if the occasion was significant and we kept those photo prints in a private album. There is nothing new in the older generation despairing for the younger generation, that has been going on since at least the time of Socrates, but the difference today is not so much attitudinal as it is technological. Today’s technology has had an influence on the behaviour of youth that Socrates could never imagine in his wildest philosophies. The Facebook post put the timing of this quantum shift in normality at the mid 1980’s. Those of us born before that time had real lives, but the post 80’s generation are now living a fake online life and they seem to be really struggling, emotionally, to adapt their natural human psyche to this self-created virtual world.

Computers in primitive form had been around well before the 1980’s but they were just big, cumbersome calculating machines. I tried, unsuccessfully, to learn to speak to one of these great machines when I studied (although that is probably overstating the effort I put in) accounting at university in the early 1970’s. The computer then needed its own room, actually it was the size of a small room itself. It spake strange tongues of Portran and Fortran. It told me, numerically speaking, that it was in control of me, not the other way around. If what I put in did not compute, it spat it back out. Start again human. IBM was the driving force of the computer world and seemed focused on keeping it within the corporate and political world, well above the lives of ordinary folk.

It was in the late 1970’s that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started a business to bring these giant computing machines down to size. They wanted computers to be fun for all. They named the company Apple. In his biography Steve Jobs said that it was just a serendipitous choice; that he was on a fruitarian diet at the time and had just returned from an apple farm and thought the fresh, fun name suited his company’s vibe. If so, the coincidence is uncanny. The apple has an established historical connection with a quantum leap in mankind’s knowledge of universal law; Isaac Newton said he had his ‘eureka’ moment about gravity when he watched an apple fall from a tree. The apple also has a prehistorical connection with man’s quest for knowledge and even immortality. In Norse mythology the goddess Idun was the keeper of the apples of the tree of knowledge and life and is known as the goddess of eternal youth. In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, ruled the Garden of the Hesperides (nymphs) where there was an orchard in which trees bearing golden apples had the power to heal and renew. And the bible relates that Lucifer gave Eve the fruit, usually depicted as an apple, from the tree of knowledge

And by the mid-later 20th century the two Steve’s had brought the Apple computer into our homes. Well they did not immediately arrive into our homes; in the 1970’s and 80’s they were still a geeky, impractical and expensive machine that almost all homes happily lived without. But while Wozniak was the brains behind the machine itself, he would never have taken it beyond the techno geek market and as such would not have survived commercially. His Apple would have withered on the branch. Jobs was most certainly the man (the Lucifer, the enlightened one) responsible for tempting mankind with the Apple of knowledge. And in a very strategic move, he first took it into the classroom, actually donating the original Apple 1 to some schools just to whet the appetite. He was less interested in wasting the fruits of the Apple on the elders of humankind, he wanted to give it to the children. In 1978 he won a contract to supply 500 Apple II computers to schools in Minnesota. In 1983 he sold a computer package (including floppy disc) to over 9,000 schools in California at a cost per package then for what you would now get a decent I-Mac. The Macintosh (an actual variety of apple) was launched in 1984 and the flood gates started to open.

One generation after the Apple from the tree of knowledge was fed to our children, we could no longer imagine education without computers. We could not imagine homes without computers, or people without smartphones. My little granddaughter was just two years old when her innate demand for language, knowledge and technology led us to the conclusion that we had no option but to provide her own personal connection into the universal consciousness. Her very own Apple i-pad. She took to it like a duck to water. Her knowledge, understanding and communication skills have taken quantum leaps; she swipes through the icons as though she invented them. 

So once again an apple from the tree of knowledge is the means by which knowledge and imagination is being spread throughout humanity.  It is the means by which we have built our rocket propelled towers with which to explore the heavens. In ancient history, Babel was the place where many voices come to speak together. Could the modern-day Babel be the headquarters of Google, Apple, NASA and Spacex? Or is 21st century Babel located in the cloud and refers to the inanity of Twitter? The fake lives of Instagram? The pretend friends of Facebook? Interestingly while the Bible’s Genesis tells us that it was man’s corruption and evil that caused the great flood, the pre-dated original Sumerian clay texts said it was the noise and unending chatter of humans that caused the Gods to bring the great flood.

The changes in our lifestyle are, in reality, just as dramatic as noted in the Facebook post I referred to earlier. The irony being that he used Facebook to express his concerns; he did not call around to voice his concerns to me in person over a cup of coffee. As much as computers have changed our way of life, in the greater picture they have been the most important tool we have developed to enable us to pursue the greatest challenge to our sense of imagination. That is imagining the heavens. Looking into the night sky and imagining what is out there. Whether there are other life forms, more evolved technology, black holes and a never ending universe full of possibilities. And will we, in the heavens, discover our true genesis? Is there a God and if so what is God? And it is that this is such a challenge to our imagination that we dedicate resources of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of highly skilled humans to enable us to develop the technology to physically explore the space beyond our planet.

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, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia 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 travelers. For over ten years all European astronaut activities have been 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 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 its 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.

If Steve Jobs was the 21st century Lucifer then let us hope that humanity is ready for such knowledge this time around. Embracing the computer technology pioneered by Jobs in order to elevate humanity to new levels is Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX, who has now announced that the final goal of “Neuralink”, his brain-machine interface development, is to allow humans to achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence. Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-computer interfaces in the most complex human organ to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries and ultimately fuse humankind with artificial intelligence.

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. The Bible’s Book of Genesis, the beginning of mankind, tells us that the reaction of God, having discovered that Adam had eaten the apple from the tree of knowledge, was to expel man from Eden to forage like the beasts in the wild lest they then seek to eat from the tree of life and live forever. Further on in the same Book we read that the astronomers of Mesopotamia were planning to reach the heavens from the tower of Babel, and so the Gods confused their language so as to defeat their plan. Interfacing human consciousness with artificial robotics as a means of living forever and exploring distant galaxies in the heavens is actually now a very real prospect within the next century. Imagine that!

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Take us to your leader

May 2022: The House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, together with the military, shared information about unidentified flying objects, which they prefer to call unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). The US military, together with intelligence, are striving to classify and characterize all reports of unidentified aerial phenomena. Answering questions about UFOs, Deputy director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray said:” In the cases of objects with unexplainable propulsion the US is not aware of any potential adversaries with such technologies.” The number of official reports of UAPs released has increased from the 140 declared in 2021 to 400 in 2022.

When the Deputy Director of US Naval Intelligence does not know the origins of the craft being regularly observed he is saying that he does know that these craft do not originate from the US nor from any other country on earth. If they did, he would know. If the situation moves up from ‘surveillance’ and the builders and fliers of these extra terrestrial craft ask to be taken to our leader, who on earth steps up to chair our negotiating team, as a species? Only a couple of decades ago we would have assumed the President of the USA would assume that role. But things have changed.

I have contemplated, of late, that we are watching the decline of the American Empire. I say ’empire’ but America’s empire is not a legal/political entity in the sense of declaring it’s president an emperor like Julius Caesar, Suleiman the magnificent, or Napoleon. Even Britain, prior to Elizabeth 2nd, declared it’s sovereign to be King/Queen of Britain and its colonies and the Emperor/Empress of India. In the modern context I refer to ’empire’ in the sense of dominating global currencies and building the most potent military capabilities. By those criteria, America ascended the imperial throne at the end of World War 2 deposing England. The English had been poking their noses, warships and their guns around the world as far back as the 17th century and by the late 18th and 19th centuries their manufacturing technology and their formidable navy led to domination of global trade through colonies in South Africa, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the South Pacific and the Americas.

All was going well for the Brits during the 19th century but, by the early 20th century, America was starting to get the better of their balance of trade. The USA now had their own cotton gins. However, Britain remained the centre of world commerce and much of the global trade was conducted in British pounds and all major currencies were pegged to gold bars.

Then came World War 1. That conflict was such an expensive war that many European countries, beginning with Germany, had to abandon the gold standard to print unsupported currency in order to pay military expenses; their currencies devalued rapidly. Three years into the war and even Britain needed to borrow money to keep going and the Yanks were there to help. Eventually even Britain was forced to abandon the gold standard as the valuation of their currency and the British international merchants who traded in pounds found their bank accounts severely depleted. The greenback $US was now the leading reserve currency.

When World War 2 broke out only twenty years later, the US stayed out of the conflict for a long time but nonetheless profited from the war as the preferred supplier of weapons, ammunition and supplies to the allied forces. They required payment for most of it in gold and by the end of the war they held most of the gold on earth in Fort Knox. The Americans only entered the war after they were directly attacked at Pearl Harbour by Japan, an ally of Germany. I say directly but the main island of Maui is over 2,000 nautical miles off the coast of California and is geopolitically a part of East Asia. Playing a major role in ending the war in Europe gave the Americans the opportunity to claim ‘top of the table’ seat on the global international stage. In 1944, delegates from forty-four Allied countries met in Bretton Wood, New Hampshire, to come up with a system to manage foreign exchange that would not put any country at a disadvantage. It was decided that the world’s currencies could never again be linked to gold, but they could be linked to the U.S. dollar, which in turn was linked to the gold in Fort Knox. The agreement was that the central banks would maintain fixed exchange rates between their currencies and the U.S. dollar. The United States would then guarantee to redeem U.S. dollars for gold on demand.

So now, instead of gold reserves, other countries accumulated reserves of U.S. dollars. Needing a place to store their dollars, countries began buying U.S. Treasury securities, which they considered to be a safe store of money. Now the US currency virtually replaced the international currency of gold. How would that work out? All went jolly well during the relatively peaceful decade of the 1950’s. America was Camelot and Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy were the three great emperors of America. I say peaceful, but WW2 had delivered two contenders for world domination, the USA and the USSR. The allies tried to buy a compromise, splitting both Germany and Korea into Russian/American zones of control. Russia tagged China to support the North Korean communists in their war against South Korea and USA and that war ground to an unresolved stalemate. And then came Vietnam. Russia had shown no interest in Vietnam until USA decided to throw bags full of money to support the French attempt to suppress communism in North Vietnam. That is when the Russian bear began to feel poked and in 1954, the kitchen got too hot, and the French pulled out. That was the start of a very expensive war with the USA that, in my opinion, began the collapse of the American empire. Kennedy, elected in 1960, recognised the disaster that was Vietnam and committed to a withdrawal of all troops by 1965. This plan ended with what appears to have been a palace assassination in Dallas Texas. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, recommitted to Vietnam and at the same time launched an ambitious and expensive “Great Society” social programme intended to end poverty and racial discrimination in America. Or, in other words, to try to hide what was now becoming a very obvious cultural divide in America. Much of the proposed funding, however, went into the increasingly expensive war in Vietnam and the late 60’s exploded in violent cultural riots highlighted by the continued political assassinations of Martin Luthor King in April 1968 and Robert Kennedy in June 1968. In a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare, America lost it’s soul in the five years between the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers 1963-1968.

The collapse of the empire manifested itself, as it’s creation had done, with the greenback. The Vietnam war costs, in addition to the “Great Society” domestic programme budget, had become so expensive that in 1971 Richard Nixon had to abandon the gold standard for the US dollar and flood the banks with paper money. This created the floating exchange rates that we have today. However, despite large deficit spending, trillions of dollars in foreign debt and unlimited printing of US Dollars (the last incidence was the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8) the U.S. Treasury remains the world’s reserve currency because the world trusts that the US will always remain solvent. The US gross domestic product as at 2016 was way ahead of anyone else at over $US18 trillion. That is bigger than the whole BRICS (China, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa) trading bloc combined. But everything balances tentatively on the tightrope of trust and confidence. The trust and confidence that the US is politically stable enough to maintain its dominant economy. What could possibly shake that trust and confidence?

His name is Donald Trump. He did not cause a cultural divide in the USA, but he is the highest profile manifestation of it. There is a cultural chasm in America that the rest of the civilised world did not really understand. Not until the good old boys motivated themselves to get sufficient numbers to the polls to elect Donald Trump in 2016, and he has shown us all very clearly what a problem it is for them. It appears that the Civil War never ended because, although they were militarily defeated and subjected to new laws, the hearts and minds of the South were never changed. The cultural difference is as entrenched as any tribal conflict in the middle east. It may have been suppressed by the force of law, but mainly it was suppressed through lack of leadership from the south to stand up and raise the Confederate flag once again. Donald Trump was seen as that man. He talked the Confederate talk. He promised brick walls against the Mexicans, he promised the drawbridge pulled up against Muslims.

The first English settlement in America was from the Pilgrims seeking religious freedom who settled in Virginia in the early 1600’s, but the larger migration came with two distinct groups in the 17th century. First were the Puritans, following the path of the Pilgrims, escaping religious persecution in their home county of East Anglia. They settled in Massachusetts and brought their distinctive East Anglia twang with them, which was the root of the general American accent, albeit modified by other European groups that migrated to America, especially New York and Boston.

Then subsequently the Royalists (Cavaliers) left south and southwest England in the mid seventeenth century to the safety of America when the civil war in England broke out. These aristocrats left because they opposed the “Parliamentarians” wanting more power over governance. They brought a completely different culture of royalist aristocracy opposing ‘government by the people’ to America and with it they brought the distinctive South England drawl. They settled further south in Virginia and the Carolinas. They bought vast tracts of land and grew tobacco and cotton crops. They imported slaves on British slave boats and exported their cotton and tobacco to England. They established a social hierarchy where even the serfs were happy for their aristocracy to run the politics and businesses and for the slaves to be lower on the social structure than them. And that formed the basis of the southern lifestyle that the Confederates went to civil war to protect.

Political factionalism in the USA was originally created by the Federalists wanting big government and the Democratic-Republicans favouring decentralised government. The dominant Democratic Republicans split in the early-mid 19th century over the question of slavery. It was in 1854 that the Liberals formed the Republican Party in Wisconsin to oppose slavery and led to the Civil War against the Southern Democrats.

The Charlottesville riot in August 2017 demonstrated that the surrender in 1865 was only a cease fire, not a capitulation. The month after Trump was sworn in, the Charlottesville Council voted 3-2 to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee. A riot broke out as the good old boys of the traditional south marched opposing the removal. The confederates had declared war. The ghost of General Robert E Lee had risen. The Liberals also turned up ready for the fight. One man drove a car into a crowd; a woman was killed and 19 people injured. Trump appeared unconcerned. Confederates celebrated US President Donald Trump’s remarks about the protests when, after being pushed persistently to make a stance, he denounced violence “on all sides” rather than explicitly condemning white supremacists. After two days, following massive pressure from his own camp, Trump added “including KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.” No one believed him. Racism is alive and strong in the USA, it has Trump as a sympathiser and is the basis of the great cultural divide.

Washington DC made life very difficult for Trump. Even Trump would agree that being president with so many enemies is no fun. He knows who likes him, those good old boys down south and the mid-western solid rural folk. Significantly, after Charlottesville, polls showed Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Dakota: North and South, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia were all in the 50-60% Trump approval rating. Florida and Georgia were close at 48%. Suddenly the states don’t look quite so united. The irony being that the political party philosophies had reversed and it was now the Republicans who supported the traditional southern confederates and the Democrats who were dominated the big government Federalists.

The 2020 election saw Trump removed as president and replaced by Joe Biden. Biden was elected President even though Trump won more votes than when he had been elected in 2016 and even though Biden was clearly suffering from age-related cognitive failure.  On Trump’s departure he rallied a small army of ‘good old boys’ looking very much like a confederate reincarnation to march on the Capitol Hill building right in the heart of Washington DC and put terror into the heart of the Yankees although now . They were demanding a divorce and they meant business. This was an unprecedented response to an election result.

Divorce means division of property and the geo-political split was clear. This was a renewed battle between the Confederates and the Yankees, albeit under different banners to the original war. The Cavaliers and the Puritans. It is tribal, it is primal, it is never going to go away. Trump left the office in Washington DC with his army and returned to his home in Florida. Would he be the sort of guy that would see himself as general Robert E Lee reincarnated? Would he like a general’s uniform with medals and would he like to establish a royal, ruling Trump family dynasty?  Yes, I do think he might like all that. Would he relitigate the South’s old claims? Would they follow him? Especially the strategically vital and lucrative marginal state of Florida? 

If he declared Florida as the capital of a new country with his Mar a Lago palace becoming the presidential palace then maybe Florida would lap that up with Georgia following like a lamb. Finally has the Mid-West/ South got enough money to fight a war with the Yankees? Did you think they were just chicken farmers and moonshine bootleggers after the civil war? If so, you were wrong.

Texas is the second largest economy after California. Apart from the bigger than anywhere farms bringing in huge agricultural revenues and ten billion barrels of oil, they have NASA there and all the spinoff aero-tech businesses that brings. North Dakota is the next largest oil producer with a very respectable 5.7 billion barrels of oil. Mississippi is full of huge hi-tech, high-wage factories including the $1,4 billion Russian owned Severstal steel mill producing steel for cars. The Yokohama tyre factory, Nissan factory at Jackson, GE Aviation at Hattiesburg, Hybrid Plastics, one of the top ten nanotechnology producers in the US. They have a Rolls Royce engine building plant, a navy shipbuilding plant and a plant building unmanned helicopters for the navy. Mississippi is a busy little state. Tennessee has GM and Nissan car plants, 142 solar power companies, manufacturing plants for Whirlpool and Electrolux, Eastern Chemical and Delta faucet companies. Tennessee has won economic “State of the Year” award in 2009, 2013 and 2014. And Florida does more than a bit of orange juice too. It has the fourth largest economy in the US behind California, Texas and New York. Florida produces over $100 billion worth of food; 70% of the country’s citrus and in the winter months supplying 80% of the country’s fresh fruit and veg. It’s aerospace and aviation businesses contribute over $140 billion. The Florida tourism industry employs a million people, 10% of the workforce, and earns $US54 billion pa. Allied to tourism is that Florida is also full of wealthy retirees and the flow on bio-tech research and Life Sciences industry is substantial. If the secret to eternal youth is going to be discovered, it will probably happen in Florida. Bundle up the smaller states’ rural economies with these and you have a combined GDP of $US 6-7 Trillion. It would be the third biggest GDP in the world. It would be bigger than Japan and Germany and bigger than the UK and Russia combined. It would not be an insignificant little country for Trump to preside over.

The east coast would be completely cut off from the west coast so maybe California will expand its borders to include Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington State and Hawaii and declare itself the independent country of OprahLand? Montana becomes an isolated state so may choose to just get right out and join Canada? Maybe the remaining 19 states of the USA: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, will just then rename itself Massachusetts the Nation in respect for the tribe that occupied the Boston region when Puritan settlers from England first arrived there.

But divorce in the 21st century is somewhat more complicated than it was when the confederates first demanded it in the 19th century. Now there are two really big issues, the nukes and the dollar. Much of the nuke hardware is bunkered in the deserts of TrumpLand, but the software and the launch codes are in Yankee territory. The rest of their weapons of mass destruction are on warships, submarines and in the skies. What port do all those military assets call home? And the dollar? TrumpLand would want its own currency. He would probably approach bitcoin or one of the others with a request to ‘give me a couple of trillion dollars of your finest crypto currency my good man’ which, although not a currency trader, I would suspect might have a very destabilising effect on the greenback, the foundation stone of the American Empire. The lawyers will be able to retire in luxury off this divorce settlement. Meanwhile what an ideal time for China to put up a toll gate on the South China seas to keep the world in passive resistance while it performs a classical siege of Taiwan to starve them into submission.  

When Trump left the Whitehouse, America and the world were still dealing with the Covid Pandemic crisis, and the new wave of the delta variant was taking hold. The Climate Change politics were becoming a greater challenge and the internet was now established as a major political tool and social threat.

 In respect to the clear message of the spread of the Covid-19 virus through humans around the globe from late 2019, there had 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 huge corporate ‘donations’ to political candidates, 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. Both the Democrats and Republicans rely on the billionaires to stay in power.

At the same time there are other social and political issues causing much angst in the western world. These issues have the hand-wringing western countries hell-bent on ridding themselves of fossil fueled energy within thirty years; hell-bent on self-flagellating for the colonisation sins of their forefathers of 6+ generations ago and hell-bent on making gender a matter of personal choice rather than of nature. Such a state is simply a natural progression of liberalism spinning out of control with abuse of the social media platforms of the internet. The outcomes of all these trends are beyond rational comprehension.

On the other hand, China is the world’s largest consumer of fossil fuels and, despite rhetoric, is continuing to build coal-powered factories. Modern China evolved from the austerity of hard-line 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 now seriously challenging the USA.

China recognises the threat of social media as a political tool to destabilise a nation and undermine its government and accordingly Chines law maintains strict control on the intrusion of social media into the lives of its citizens. It has also just announced a ban on under 18-year-olds from playing video games for more than three hours a week. 8-9pm Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The market for video games in China alone is $US45 billion; globally it is estimated today at $US140 billion. When the stock market reacted sharply to this decision from China, the wealth of the tech giants controlling this industry was massively impacted. The industry’s unwitting spokespeople, the social liberals, will probably be marshalled to the online frontline for damage-control protests. Well-meaning social liberals have always been easy recruits for corporate agendas. Protecting this $140 billion (and growing} industry is a very big corporate agenda.

Chinese authorities describe these games as spiritual opium. I think that would have made a lot of politically centrist western parents sit up and blink. Those millions of parents who are coping with the addiction of their children to virtual worlds. Those parents who are watching their previously bright young children morph into sleep-deprived zombies with the consequential impact on their social behaviour and mental well-being. Those parents who have had the right to make their own disciplining decisions legally taken from them by liberal extremists infiltrating bureaucracy, thereby giving the video gaming industry unregulated access to the children, even legally by-passing parental control.

On the gender issue China accepts the rights (even obligation) of trans gender people to employment and education but is balancing that with active support for masculinity in boys. China is also acting decisively to curb the right of individuals either in commerce or in celebrity status, to become excessively wealthy and through this wealth to consider themselves as mass influencers of the population’s culture. In the West, the liberal extremists in bureaucracy are denying parents any level of parental control on children’s gender identity decisions. Make no mistake, Xi Jinping has sent a very strategic message to a middle America that is already worried about the moral and political bankruptcy of their own country.

The early decades of the 21st century saw the Social Democrats in Western democracies, formerly the Federalists of the USA, in the ascendence. The great issues of social tolerance and environmental sustainability, through the overwhelming indoctrination of the social media platforms, have been used to build that momentum to levels of violent conflict. Without question, uncontrolled capitalist liberalism can lead, and indeed has led, to devastating social and environmental consequences. But can the socially responsible, but commercially naive democrats survive the bleak freezing winters, transport chaos and industry shutdowns as they transfer from fossil fuels to wind and solar power? Can they survive the ecological impact of mining rare earth minerals to support green energy? Can they resolve the social problems of traumatised and roboticised youth from 24/7 exposure to manipulation through social media? For these social democrats today face the same challenge that Communism faced in the 20th century: economic poverty as the price of ideological inflexibility.

Can the current American President keep the United States united with Trump bunkered down in Florida and rallying his troops? Can America survive as the dominant economic and military empire of the world? Biden is clearly losing control of his mind but then he also has begun losing control of bodily functions and, when engaged in conversation with the Duchess of Cornwall at the Glasgow Climate summit in 2121, he broke wind without breaking conversation. A loud and long fart that was reported as having been impossible for the Duchess to ignore. It was a metaphorical gesture at a summit where he had just rebuked world leaders for their failure to control their methane emissions. Somehow, he was an epitome of the state of the nation in America. It was as if it was a cosmic sign that the American nation had given up the fight for global alpha status.

 Is a new star rising in the East? The Star of Bethlehem, the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, occurred in December 2020. Auspiciously it occurred on the solstice date of 21-12-2020. Three months later, wise men from Persia (Iran) arrived in China bearing gifts in the form of a 25-year multi-level co-operation agreement. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 appeared to signal the complete global domination of the West, but that was just an illusion as, behind the scenes of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, China had politically emerged from the poverty trauma of its own recent history and began building an economic and military powerhouse that would match the USA within a generation. And with an ever more powerful ally in China, the imperialist ambitions of Vladimir Putin were dusted off.

In February 2022, Russia has invaded Ukraine in response to a perceived threat from the armies of the west under the Nato alliance established after World War Two. Having progressively moved their armies eastwards ever closer to Russia , particularly since 1997, Russia decided to make a counter attack to Ukraine’s desire to join the Nato alliance. The response began seven years ago, 20-02-2014 with the sudden annexation of Crimea from Ukraine at a time when the Ukrainian government was Russia-friendly. Putin may have wished to celebrate this anniversary date with his invasion of the rest of Ukraine, but Xi Jinping already had his dance card full for the 20th of February as host of the closing celebrations of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. But the fireworks were barely extinguished from Beijing before they started in Russia. On Monday the 21st of February Putin declared Russian recognition of two independent states that were part of Eastern Ukraine on Russia’s border. These regions had been in a state of civil war for several years between the army of Ukraine and the Russian separatists living there. On Tuesday 22nd of February 2022 the Russian Parliament authorised Putin to send the army into those regions on a ‘peacekeeping mission.’

This Ukraine invasion was a military challenge to the USA and its allies in Western Europe. The USA, or at least its President Biden, declared that the USA, while supporting Ukraine, would not engage in direct military action against Russia over this invasion. The invasion progressed south and west. The UN called for a show of hands on where everyone stood regarding Russia’s invasion. Four countries stood behind Russia; Belarus, Syria, North Korea, possibly as a China proxy vote and Eritrea. Ominously 35 countries abstained, refusing the motion to condemn Russia. These included the big nations of China and India, along with supporters Vietnam and Sri Lanka, a few ‘stans” including Pakistan and Kazakhstan, both Iraq and Iran from the middle east and a large number of African nations including South Africa. Of the BRICS trading bloc, only Brazil voted against Russia at the UN but that was in direct contradiction to the publicly stated position of President Bolsonaro. Another 12 countries, mainly African, simply did not vote at all. Biden’s reason for not engaging Russia on Ukraine soil or in Ukraine airspace was to avoid World War Three. But I think the date 22-02-2022 will be remembered in history as the date of the Russian declaration of the start of World War Three and that this will be a world war between the old world and the new world, the East against the West.

The great civilisations within our knowledge, going back 5000 years, emerged out of Africa, migrating North to the increasingly temperate zones of Central Europe then orbited east-south to encompass Asia, India and Arabia. In the millennia before this common era, this was the known world, the civilised world, and the the birthplace of all the major religions. It was only during the common era of the last 2,000+ years that the standards of civilisations of the East come to the West. This began with Julius Caesar conquering westwards towards Gaul and Britannia and bringing advances in science and technology to the West. The Romans were accomplished architects and engineers, building roads, aqueducts and grand civic public buildings and amenities. In later centuries the Christian religion followed this trail west from Rome becoming the dominant religion of Western Europe. Around 1500ce a sailing adventurer, Columbus, sailed into the unknown western ocean on behalf of the Spanish Queen and so began the transfer of this Western European civilisation into what became known as the New World; the world of the Americas. Within a relatively short time the native populations of the Americas were overrun and overwhelmed by the disease and the violence of the expats from Western Europe. The countries of origin of these expats is identified by the languages now spoken in the New World; Portuguese in Brazil, French in French Guiana, Spanish in the rest of South America, French in Canada and English in the USA.

This is, in a sense, a remake of the ancient Greek myth of the wars between the Titans and the Olympians, the old rulers and the new rulers and in 1776 the USA became the new world Olympus, the land of liberty, free from the shackles of the old world. The second world war resulted in the New World emperors, Franklin D Roosevelt and his post-war successors Harry S Truman, Dwight D Eisenhower and John F Kennedy, dominating the politics of Western Europe, Japan and South Korea.

The Nato allies responded to the Ukrainian invasion with economic sanctions including the denial of Russian access to western banking systems. Putin has, at time of writing, held well back from launching his full nuclear military might onto Ukraine. From this restraint, western media have proclaimed the invasion has stalled and Putin has miscalculated. But Russians, from all walks of life, are experts in chess. Russians embrace chess as Europeans embrace football; as though it is in their DNA. The soldiers are Putin’s pawns, he opened with a Queen’s gambit and the Queen is the currency. Biden brought his black queen, the US Dollar, into play. US banks denied Russian access, Visa and Mastercard closed down operations in Russia. The Russian white queen immediately accessed the E-Yuan, the Chinese crypto currency that had been made globally available during the Olympics only days before; the Chinese Credit Card UnionPay also seamlessly picked up the Visa and Mastercard business. Putin has used his bishop, Kirill the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, to persuade the Russian flock that this is a holy war, the West’s bishop, Pope Francis, has countered on behalf of the western faithful; the Rooks, carefully protected, house the two essential components in a war, grain and fuel. Between them, Russia and Ukraine produce 30% of the world’s wheat supply and 50% of its sunflower oil. Much of their exports are to the desert lands on the Arabian peninsula and to the impoverished, but well resourced, countries of Africa. Flour and cooking oil are essential to the daily survival of people in these countries. And according to Eurostat figures of 2017, 30% of the EU’s petroleum oil imports and 39% of total gas imports came from Russia. In some eastern European countries between 75% and 100% of gas supplies come from Russia. The West is urgently trying to diminish its vulnerable reliance of fossil fuels from Russia and its Middle East allies by faking a ‘war on climate change’ and swinging technology towards battery sourced energy, but that comes with its own formidable challenges, both logistical and environmental.

The Russian nuclear knights remain, as I write, safely positioned guarding the Rooks and the King. The NATO allies have rallied with massive financial and military aid for Ukraine and nine months after the invasion, Russia is well and truly on the back foot. But while the West counters all the moves on Putin’s chessboard, the thought in everyone’s mind is whether Ukraine is a dress rehearsal for Taiwan. Even if the West can win against Putin in chess, it is a whole different game to beat Xi Jinping at Weiqi. Ukraine is officially neutral ground. In Taiwan the US does have a military presence, albeit an unofficial one, but like Ukraine, no formal mutual defence alliance. Apart from China’s historic nationalist claims, from a strategic viewpoint Taiwan manufactures 92% of the world’s semi-conductors, with South Korea the other 8%. Any Chinese military blockade disrupting the supply chain of semi-conductors would wreak havoc on western countries as well as Taiwan’s economy. In November 2022 Biden and Xinping have met on neutral ground, Bali, to try to deescalate the tensions between them. But Xinping looks more in control of the engagement.

Apart from being an amusing palindrome, there is a cosmic significance to the 22-02-2022 date as the start of World War Three. It is the date that the planet Pluto “returned” in the United States. This means it is seen 27 degrees Capricorn, as it was on its last return which was 246 years ago. This is an astrologically significant event as the Pluto Return is historically connected with events of great upheaval and change. You may think that is astrological hogwash until you note that the previous date of the Pluto Return in the USA was on 6-07-1776; and if that date rings a bell it is because it was the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A Pluto Return also heralded the start of the Roman Empire in 27bce; the next Return of Pluto around 200ce heralded the split of the Roman Empire into the East and West Roman Empires, the East ruled from Constantinople and the West from Rome. The next Pluto Return in the late 460’s brought in the final years of the Roman Empire officially ending 476ce. The Pluto Return in the USA around 1528 marked the early years of the establishment of Spanish settlements in America after Columbus’ return to Spain. The Pluto Return in 1776 heralded the birth of the United States and effectively the American Empire that dominated the world after WW2. So does this Pluto Return on 22-02-2022 signal the start of the military withdrawal of the USA from the old world? So what do we answer when (and it is when) the Gods land on earth and say ‘Take us to your leader.”

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Green Peace in our time

Climate peace in our time: Paris 2015

The very first Globalist Climate Change Summit (Conference of Parties COP 01) was held in Berlin in 1995 and was a relativity modest and sombre affair consisting of 800 delegates, 1000 observer organisations and 2000 media. This was just to start the bureaucratic ball rolling and by 1997 in Kyoto there were an impressive 10,000 delegates but from then delegates collapsed to half that number over the next few years and so a special push to really lift the event focused on the 21st COP, Paris 2015. And they did it as a record breaking 28,000 bureaucratic delegates and media representatives descended on the city of love just before Christmas with their employers’ credit cards loaded and unlocked. And this summit to beat all summits culminated in the celebration dinner at which the Grand Poohbah of climate high priests could announce that sacrifices have been made and the gods of the climate have been appeased, for now.

The latest updated version of these ‘save the planet’ summits (COP26) has just finished in Glasgow, so they can tidy up a few details left as ‘matters pending’ from the last conference, COP25 in Madrid. Before Madrid it was Poland, of all places, that had won the bid to host the global bureaucratic Christmas party, COP24. Never mind the carbon footprint of the eighteen thousand people who travelled from all over the globe to have a ‘conversation about climate change’. Never mind the irony that it was being held in the heartland of Europe’s largest coal-producing region. The important question is ‘was it a bigger and better Christmas party than Francois Hollande’s in Paris?’ And the victory of the Polish-hosted battle in the war against climate change was declared by Michal Kurtyka in his embarassingly-staged jump for joy.

By contrast the Madrid conference in December 2019 was a bit of a disaster from the climate alarmists’ viewpoint despite the attendance of Saint Greta arriving on her magic yacht. The Christmas party had originally been intended for Brazil but was changed to Chile due to the unfriendly change in the political situation in Brazil. It was then changed again from Chile to Madrid, again because of ‘political’ issues. However the average Jose Spaniard on the street was not buying it and major protests really spoiled the party atmosphere of COP25. Discouraged and unable to reach any consensus they pushed pledges into the next conference as ‘matters carried forward’.

So, Glasgow 2021 was under enormous pressure to deliver a new “greenpeace in our time” resolution. They had to re-kick the party and ensure that an even better signed charter would be presented as our upgraded covenant with the climate gods to be stored in an ark and carried to the next pre-Christmas conference. This despite the position that on the street there are two camps of thought: those who believe climate change is a process of nature, and the hand wringers who say it is far too little, far too late, we are all going to fry.

But within the bureaucracy who attend such summits, the irony and hypocrisy is astounding. As an embarrassing start to Glasgow, the luxury Jaguar electric cars supplied to ferry the high priests around Glasgow were powered by oil-fired generators as there were insufficient electric charging points in Glasgow. On the airfields around Glasgow there were 140 private jets parked up that had been used to fly VIP delegates from around the world, the least energy-efficient means possible of attending. A minor detail let’s party on! And so at a conference denouncing the methane that is produced by raising cattle, delegates were filmed dining out at the Knightsbridge Steakhouse that serves beef steaks cooked in gold foil and costing between 850 and 1450 pounds sterling. No scientists presented a paper calculating the carbon footprint of that meal.

But like Madrid, Glasgow again ended in failure as it attempted to increase the targets that, in Paris, had been calculated by the leading members of our scientific community as the targets that would save the planet. Alok Sharma, the President at the Glasgow conference was not dancing on the table. This summit, living up to it’s cities reputation, was as dour and sombre and affair as the very first conference in Berlin.

I am not a ‘climate change denier’. Indeed I would be alarmed if the climate did not change because that would indicate natural cycles had ceased which would certainly be the end of times. Why would scientists ever think that climate change, the warming and cooling of the planet and the raising and lowering of C02 levels, is anything other than the normal natural process that has continued throughout the eons. 

Our ancestor, homo erectus, evolved about two million years ago and survived until just 120,000 years ago so they lived through several cycles where both temperature and C02 levels have been at least as high as they are today. Even our sapiens species at only 200,000 years young lived through the cycle 120,000 years ago when C02 was as high as today and temperature was even higher, without a factory or car on the planet. So, let’s not be bullied into accepting a doomsday panic and giving the ‘end of the world is nigh’ high priests a blank chequebook to fund global pre Christmas conferences for their ‘conversations’. Let us only consider what impact the current climate observations and speculations might practically have on the lifestyle of our ice age species. The climate summits are no more nor less than arrogant humans believing we are rulers of nature. That humans caused the climate to change with our burning of fossil fuels and that we can again change the climate back again by our use of electric and solar powered batteries. Such simplistic, arrogant folly. How the Gods laughed.

When I say temperature change, what do you think that means? The scientists work, of course, off average mean temperatures when they get into this global warming issue. You might be surprised to know (I was) that the global mean temperature today is about 14-15 degrees Celsius. That, for reference, is also the average mean temperature of Milan, Italy.  When they talk about the global warming over the past 30-40 years, they are talking about a rise of 1 degree Celsius. Back in the Miocene epoch at the last major global warming spike, the global mean temperature was another 4-5 degrees Celsius higher than today, or an average of around 20 degrees C (or the current mean temperature of Brisbane Australia, but much cooler than Montego Bay, Jamaica which now averages 27 C).

And there is the misleading result of talking about ‘averages.’ A region that has a summer average of 40 degrees followed by an autumn average of 15 degrees, a winter average of minus 10 degrees and Spring of 15 degrees then has an annual average of 15 degrees which sounds pleasant enough but in reality has 3 months of blistering heatwaves and 3 months of sub-zero conditions which is a dreadful climate. And while our climate scientists at Paris and Poland went on about the C02 emissions creating a greenhouse warming across the whole planet, the reality is quite different. We have regions experiencing exceptionally hot summers at the same time some are experiencing record breaking cold temperatures in winter across Europe, Asia and the USA. What we are experiencing is not a gradual warming from a high level of C02 gas in the atmosphere as though we are living in a glasshouse, but in fact the weather is becoming more extreme at both ends of the temperature gauge. And those extremes are not explained by a greenhouse effect.

It just puts a little perspective into the debate and perspective is what the current climate handwringers seem to be ignoring. Man has been through these climate changes before. Life goes on in those climates. Yes we would probably want to improve our air conditioning systems and some of us may end up with a beachfront property where once we had a main road between us and the sea, but we can adapt although sea rise currently is at its most stable since the natural emergence from the ice age and the melting of the icecaps over the past 10,000 years.

Having emerged from the forests 200,000 years ago, we have built our great cities and civilisations because of the ‘sapiens’ gene. We have done so through notable periods of climate change with ice caps expanding and retracting, sea levels rising and falling. We have had the imagination to adapt to our ever-changing conditions and challenges to improve our experience of life on earth.

We now need to focus our energies on more intelligent and imaginative use of resources, recycling, and re-engineering to meet the climate challenges that nature and our own activities present us today. Yes we need less air-polluting sources of power than fossil fuels and less ground-polluting sources than nuclear power or battery-stored energy. Yes we need to regenerate forests and natural habitats. Yes we need to prepare for higher seas and more extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. So let’s get on with it and stop wasting time with King Canute conferences that just clog up the process with hand-wringing, progress-stalling bureaucracy, forever adjusting the narrative and setting new targets to ensure that the conversation never ends. And stop blaming humans as though we created carbon dioxide. For whatever caused the high levels of C02 in the atmosphere in the eons before 1800 ad, we are reasonably sure it wasn’t humans and engines.

Perhaps 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, or true north, 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 geomagnetic north pole location 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.

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 to the North Pole 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 and looking for a $1,500 gold-foiled steak, 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 both an Akubra hat and a pair of Redband gumboots. 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.

The Climate change industry, on the face of it, is a scientific movement that is ostensibly quoting science as the reason for the hysteria. But in truth it is not a battle of the scientific theories, it is a new religious war. Christianity is the religion of the 2000-year cycle of Pisces. Christianity is the religion of the Europeans who conquered the world and brought industrialisation to the world beyond Europe. But the age of Pisces is over. The Age of Aquarius has arrived. And with it a new religion and a new maiden saint to lead this religion.

This religious revival for the new Age ostensibly worships Gaia, the mother earth god, rich with the traditional religious zealot placards of ‘the end is nigh’ and the incessant mantra chanting, but with a modern age twist. This new worshipper of Gaia takes its pick from the inventions of the Pisces generation: jet travel, luxury hotels, computers, smart phones, modern clothing, but chooses to dispense with the established source of that wealth, fossil fuels. That is their sole point of distinction for their religion of Aquarius. The impending environmental and social catastrophe, resulting from the mass extraction of the rare earth minerals required to partially replace fossil fuels as an energy source, is tomorrow’s problem and this generation does not do tomorrows. The surfboard of common sense has never withstood the surging wave of religious fervor and is not doing any better today.

I recall having watched Greta Thunberg, millennial poster child for the climate alarmists, speaking at the United Nations Climate Action summit in 2019. What venom was in that face and in the words she spoke? And she set the stage by so publicly promoting that she sailed to this UN Conference on a multi-million-dollar yacht so that she did not make a carbon contribution to the climate before returning to the Climate summit in Spain the same way to be received like a victorious Joan of Arc. Oh, how the UN delegates 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 22,000, the equivalent of 60 jumbo jets, who had travelled to the Poland climate alarmist conference the previous year and also among the 28,000 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.

The most despicable tactic of the climate alarmists is their recruiting of schoolchildren such as Greta as their foot soldiers by instilling absolute terror in their young minds of the horrific apocalyptic death of all humans from the climate. It has become a religious revival movement determined to replace Christianity as manifested in the white European male. Greta has been anointed as their virgin child goddess. As a quick fact check, the climate has always been a cause of death in the world, particularly as it swings towards the extremes of heat or cold on its natural cycle. But climate as a cause of death has never been as low as it is today after a century of advanced technology, climate protection and humanitarian aid. In the 1920-30 decade, climate related deaths were recorded as 4- 500,000. By 1980 they were down to 50,000.

I have also noticed that these protestors have used as a strategy the apportioning of blame for the polluted state of our planet solely on the selfish excesses of the oldest generation still alive. ‘Ok boomers’, is now a common catch-cry which they see as a condescending patting of grandad on his deluded head. 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 human contributors to C02 in the atmosphere, accelerated most dramatically in the decade 2000 to 2010, and primarily in China. This was entirely a result of China becoming an economic ‘powerhouse’, building massive coal-powered factories to feed the millennial driven breed of “hyperstores”. The boomers were the ’boutique’ generation and the millennials have become the ‘hyperstore’ generation. Boomers considered a phone to be a purchase for life and they repaired appliances when they failed; in the millennial era we discard quickly and buy new, mostly with a made in China tag attached. And the flow on effect are the landfills and oceans clogged with discarded plastic and packaging waste.

Jet air travel is a massive contributor to C02 but, before the Covid-19 pandemic forced it, there was no sign of the millennial generation trimming down on demand for air travel. Scheduled services had in fact accelerated 80% in just 8 years from 2004 to 2012. The Travel industry had their business antennae set for the millennial market. A report by industry giant by Travelport said young people ages 18 to 34 were most likely to spend more money on vacations than other age groups. An Expedia poll showed also millennials travelled the most; 35 days each year to be precise.

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 their contribution to mobile phone use was relatively modest. Apple i-phone sales in 2010 were less than 40 million, but by 2017 it was well over 200 million. The massive growth in smart-phone consumption is fueled by the millennials and their social media addiction. Every smartphone 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. One very visible and tangible consequence of this vast consumption of mobile devices as well as other high tech devices and green energy systems 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 today; that population boom is based on the mining and processing of rare earth elements to satisfy the digital and green energy demands of the millennial consumers. Batou is now a seething toxic lake that is seeping into the subsoils and water table throughout northern Asia.

Batou, image credit Liam Young/ Unknown Fields

Baotou is one of the major sources today of these rare earth minerals and Batou by 2013 supplied 70% of the world’s use of these REE. But as demand has grown massively since then, 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 and to ‘go green’.

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 plant-based burger when they feel the whim.

The alarmist millennials are spreading anxiety around the world like a virus all because the ‘average’ 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 superpowers that lived in constant paranoid 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 twelve 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 did something about the situation, and we made the changes. 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.

But too many of the current protest generation just want to fly around the globe from one conference junket to the next, ‘having conversations’ to relitigate the actions of the boomer and earlier generations rather than actually contributing to life in a positive way. 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 life on earth does get less pleasant in coming decades, 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 lazy, impotence of their alarmist sub-category.

On reflection, I believe the first generation of humans to be born into the social media environment are a very troubled generation, psychologically. Society was simply not prepared for that degree of personal intrusion which has resulted in a highly anxious and paranoid generation. The boomers faced similar cataclysmic threats but, in general terms, were emotionally more capable of living with the threat of nuclear holocaust and getting on with life. We just had to have faith in the survival instinct of humanity.

But yet even today when ecological fear permeates the environment and creates a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ generation, there is a beacon of hope; and hope brings faith. We have 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 Clean-up 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 six years of research, development and trialing, in late 2019 when Greta was sailing on her luxury yacht to New York and back to Madrid to talk, Boyan was also on the ocean, but he was collecting plastic waste from it. One thousand riverways have been identified as contributing 80% of the ocean junk clutter. In 2021 Coca Cola have become a global partner to help rollout the ‘interceptor’ programme to catch the rubbish before it reaches the oceans. 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 the 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. Use our imagination to solve the problem we face, clean up the oceans, clean up the rivers.

Credit: The Ocean Cleanup

Boyan, from an old boomer, ‘I love you, man.’

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The dawning of Aquarius

Image credit: Magnify Media

The year 2021 was a cosmically significant year for our planet and our species. In strict calendar terms 2021 Anno Domini means two thousand and twenty one years since the birth of Jesus the Christ. The AD/BC calendar only came into being in 525 AD. It was calculated by a monk, Dionysius Exiguus, so that everyone in Christendom could align their calendars and celebrate Easter on the same day. At the time 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. The inability to reliably use BC/AD to align with historical events is why modern historians now refer to CE (Common Era) and BCE.

But, in the great cosmic picture, the importance of 2021 is that is is officially the first year of the Age of Aquarius. In ancient Indian astrology, the Great Year is the time frame within which the earth moves around each of the twelve houses of the Zodiac over a period of 25,920 years; and just as the twelve months of our year are not equal in number of days so too our twelve Ages are not necessarily equal. There are various methods of calculating the boundaries of the Ages, but they are generally accepted as 2000 years +/- . But 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. Depending on which astrologer you follow, the age of Pisces ended either at the December solstice 2020 or on the vernal equinox in March 2021. Of interest is that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which appears to shine as a temporary very large star, occurred in December 2020 and appeared just as the vernal equinox had just moved out of the last degree of Capricorn and into the first degree of the constellation of Aquarius. This same conjunction was in the sky in 6 BC when it appeared in the constellation of Pisces and ushered in the age of Pisces. As we welcome in the Age of Aquarius, it is appropriate to review our 2,000 years in Pisces.

Whatever precise year it began, the birth in Galilee of Yeshua (Jesus) has undoubtedly been the defining event to introduce the Age of Pisces. Yeshua was born to Myriam, by way of a visitation by non-earthly beings and consequential artificial conception, and was the adopted son of Yasaf. The constellation 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 which 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. The health of those born under the star sign of Pisces 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 and continuing to the Popes of today, 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. From the artistic renaissance period of Da Vinci and Michelangelo 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 thus the emergence of great writers of the era such as Shakespeare and Chaucer.

That is not to say the age of Pisces was without war and conflict; far, far from it. But for most of this Age of Pisces war took on a totally different guise. War before the common era, before Pisces, was characterised by the blunt, brutal and transparent ambition of military leaders; Pisces by contrast was a wolf in a sheep’s clothing or in Piscean terminology, a shark in a dolphin suit. It started with Emperor Constantine of Rome absorbing the established Christian Church under his control and from then using that acquisition as Rome’s divinely authorised cover for it’s political, military and economic control of Europe throughout the middle ages of Pisces. This included the Crusades against Islam in Spain, Africa and the Middle east, 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 the terror of damnation to eternal hell and it was, commercially, very successful. The Church of Rome which dates back to Emperor Constantine of Rome became the wealthiest institution on the planet.

The final decades of Pisces had witnessed an alarming surge in population growth which was resulting in equally alarming consumption of earth’s resources and consequential pollution of the land, sky and seas of the earth. This last century of Pisces also coincided with a return to brutal tribal warfare within Europe and state brutality in the anti-religion countries of Russia and China, as well as a global pandemic, the Spanish Flu, all of which in combination accounted for the cruel and untimely deaths of tens of millions of people.

In 2020, the last year of the Age of Pisces, a highly dangerous virus spread from Wuhan, central China across the entire planet. A pandemic was declared and we were all part of a global lockdown. Life as we knew it changed dramatically. Confined to our own home-bubble except for highly regulated essential movement. This virus appeared to primarily attack the oldest of our population, the last of the Pisceans.

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 then went onto 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, many from starvation, before it was quarantined to the island of Taiwan. In the history of virus release, it seems Wuhan has history.

But from 2021, as we start to adjust to life with an ‘out of control’ virus, earth has officially moved into the age of Aquarius. Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus; the planet that governs innovation, technology, and surprising events. Indeed, I must concede that our new religion appears to be technology. Today our people increasingly consult Google, rather than the priest of a patriarchal religious corporation, to seek the answers to life’s mysteries. 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.

The last generation of Pisces began to foresee and prepare for the Age of Aquarius. This preparation for Aquarius first emerged in the 1960’s in San Francisco, rose to the big stage in New York’s production of Hair the Musical in 1967, was worshipped in Bethel N.Y.’s Woodstock in 1969 and welcomed to the world by “Blue Mink” proclaiming that ‘what we need is a great big melting pot.’ This counterculture was singing out for a world 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 idealistic, we were so ‘woke’ to injustice, but it ended up with a McDonalds photo-bombing the Giza Pyramid. Where did it all go so wrong?

This movement began 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 take it to 64. Three further steps take it to over 500; and just three more steps and you are over 4,000. And that is with each person only infecting two others. 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 jet fuel on a 10-hour flight. 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 a computer simulated 24-hour pattern of global flight and you will essentially be watching the transmission of this virus. But it was the internet that spread the panic.

We have a perception that viruses are malevolent. In fact, many are simply benign, and some are 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. Whether it is shooting goats from a helicopter or releasing the cruel rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) virus to cull the rabbit population in New Zealand, humans do what must be done to control animal populations that get out of control.

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 1918-8 Spanish flu killed about 2% of the world population. Initial data from China suggested that was similar to the Covid-19 impact. 2% does not sound a lot but that was approximately forty million people worldwide a hundred years ago. 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, the 150 million death toll would be: 28 million in China, another 26 million in India, 6.5 million in the USA, 1.5 million in Germany, 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 than now. Natural selection is about the survival of the species, not the individual; it has always been thus.

In the late 19th century Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest spawned a social movement which was coined by Sir Francis Galton, an English scholar, as ‘eugenics’. Early in the 20th century the concept was picked up by American John Kellogg who, with his brother Will developed the process of flaked corn which Will subsequently turned into the Kelloggs company. Walt Disney is reputed to also have had such a eugenics philosophy and, of interest, in 2001 Disney/Kelloggs established a joint business venture with a Disney themed cereal. Eugenics became a popular social movement in the United States that peaked in the 1920s and 1930s. Books and films promoted eugenics, while local fairs and exhibitions held “fitter family” and “better baby” competitions around the country. The eugenics movement in the United States proposed the elimination of undesirable traits from the population. Proponents of this movement reasoned the best way to do this was by preventing certain individuals from having children. During the first part of the twentieth century, thirty-two States passed laws that resulted in the forced sterilisation of more than 64,000 Americans including immigrants, people of colour, unmarried mothers and the mentally ill. But this movement of applying animal husbandry logic to humans soon morphed into barbaric, inhumane, racial genocide with the emergence of Germany’s Nazi Party.

This eugenics movement was soundly defeated in WW2 by the humanitarians. Although ironically it was the ruthless and horrific use of indiscriminatingly dropped bombs from the sky on hundreds of thousands of non-combatant citizens of all ages that brought an end to the war on eugenics and ‘victory’ for humanitarianism. And that included the development and use of the atomic bomb which also ironically created the current humanitarian peace model of ‘mutually assured destruction’, with the appropriate acronym of ‘mad’. Today the outcome of our liberal humanitarianism is a population that is escalating exponentially out of control.

The phenomenon of exponential growth shows in the human population reaching 1 billion around 1800 a.d. rising to 2 billion less than 100 years ago then escalating exponentially to 4 billion only 40 years ago and about to reach 8 billion any day now. The progression takes us to 10 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 community. It is not so much the actual resources of coal and oil that is causing the present environmental impact of the planet, it is the sheer volume of the use to keep this huge and growing population alive that is causing the destruction of our environment.

We had failed to address the fundamental issues of exponential population growth by ourselves; the gift of technology was being corrupted and abused. During the last year of the old Age, the skies were almost clear of jet planes; the polluted air over congested cities had cleared to show the colour of the sky and heavens; the flood of waste into our oceans had slowed to a trickle; huge amounts of the oil extracted from the bowels of the earth sat stored and unburned. All due solely to a virus that can defy our technology.

Almost two years after the original creation of this SARS COV 2 virus we are facing the wrath of its Delta and Omnicom variants and it appears the world is adjusting to the prospect of having to ‘live with Covid’, which of course means accepting whatever level of dying this virus intends. The global death toll by 2022 exceeds 6 million, if we reach the estimated 2% death toll of the Spanish flu, we, globally, have 140 million deaths yet to face. That will mean many fewer aged and seriously ill people on a forced life extension in hospital beds and many fewer people filling the chairs in aged-care lounges around the world, being deprived of the one thing they prized most in life, their dignity. The global total of age 80+ was 15 million in 1950, 0.6% of the population. By 2011 it was 110 million, 1.6%, by 2050 it was projected to be 400 million at 4% of the population. Keeping old people on life support is a big industry and this trend defies nature’s ‘three score years and ten” rule as a natural life span or as the Jewish Bible quotes in Psalm 90 10, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

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 2022 I feel like a fish out of water, but I have no doubt that the Universe knows what it is doing. Aquarius, this is your time. May the Gods be with us.

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Knock knock……who’s there?

ancient bronze angel. Image credit: unknown

From ancient artefacts and through the ancient folklore of cultures from around the world, we know of unearthly beings that were present on the earth and engaged with humans. They were called various names, faeries, nymphs, elves, angels not to mention the more menacing versions of the creatures called trolls, gnomes and leprechauns. Whatever these beings were, they clearly are worthy of some research to understand their impact on human civilisation.

Tap, tap; a lovely, smiling young couple stand at my door holding what could only be a Bible. They were Asian and so I would have expected them to be holding the book of the writings of Confucius rather than the history of the Hebrews, but what else have I got to do for the next half hour? I might just learn something interesting.

They were from a Bible study group up in a nearby suburb, so they informed me (from which I concluded that I was being assessed for my potential to join their group to help defray the cost of hiring the hall and to take my turn at bringing supper). Then the man asked if I knew there was also a female God? Points for originality in an opening gambit, where was this going? I wondered. They might just be weird enough to be interesting. “Why no, I didn’t know that”, I replied. Two delighted Asian beams told me I had given just the answer they wanted. Step 2, ‘now we have three question for you, ok?’ ‘Ok, give me your three best questions; game-on.’

They produce an electronic tablet of some sort, not an Apple i-pad I noted, although I know little about these things, which had a question 1 written on it: ‘do you believe in GOD? (in red and underlined).“Well, I replied, that depends on your definition of God, doesn’t it?” Confucius reigned on the young faces before me. Not the expected response at all. It was supposed to be yes/no from which, I could see, they had two pre-planned paths to lead me to the good news about this female god (they should have said goddess, but I can overlook that with English being a second language). “The person who created you and us and all thing on earth and all stars in sky” they countered, tag-teaming to recover their composure.

That was their big mistake. When some stranger answers a fundamental question of faith with an even more fundamental question of faith, and all you wanted out of this meeting is to get a new member for the Bible study group to help defray costs and take a supper turn, then the red flag should go up on their electronic tablet. It should say to them: ‘this is the moment to cut your losses and exit stage left.’ I am sure an apple i-pad would have had that function. “Well”, I continued, “if you are talking about God as a physical person, a him or her in the sense that you and I are hims and hers and you think that this him and/or her, if that’s where you are leading with your opening gender-specific gambit, created humans and animals and all the stars in the sky and all the things on earth, then no I do not believe that such a gender-specific person exists. So, they switched; God was now a spirit not a him or her.  Ok now we are getting somewhere even though it seemed to have drifted away from the ‘female God’ opening gambit, but I let it go, for now. Then he showed me the references to the plural ‘us’ when God talked about creation in Genesis. I am totally with them on all that. Yes, I do acknowledge all the Biblical pluralities in reference to multiple gods and have no argument with that although a little surprised that a Bible study group that normally sticks rigidly to the ‘three in one ‘ monotheistic creed would keep pointing it out. But he jumped on to other references. There were lots of highlighted underlined verses bouncing between different books in their Bible to continue references to multiple gods as well as to Genesis 6 which said ‘The sons of god resorted to the daughters of man and bore children by them’. That raised an eyebrow; I was aware of the verse although I cannot recall it ever being discussed by the priests or brothers in my catholic upbringing. Genesis 6 intrigued me though and seemed worthy of further discussion.

Then, before we could clarify that, he quickly shifted back to his plan, backing up to the start of the Bible, Genesis. Then with excitement he points out ” Look Adam and Eve have two son, Cain and Abel, but Cain kill Abel then Cain have wife!!! Where come Cain wife?’ He blurts with frothy excitement. ‘Then Adam is not first man, just first man who know God!’ I see, but what I am really interested in is Genesis 6 and this claim that sons of God mated with human women, can we discuss the implications of that a bit more? But no, he is away again flicking through the tabbed pages to show me other great stories in the Bible and was not willing to be side-tracked by the goings-on between sons of God and daughters of men.

So, I reeled him in with ‘so who do you think wrote all these stories in the Bible? It is, after all, only two or three thousand years old.’ Confucius again reigned briefly in his eyes. Then he replied, “No, no, Moses write of course. Moses write five book of Torah” (‘are you the full yuan?’ said his eyes). “Well, there is some dispute with that, with Moses having been dead before arriving in the Promised Land, but setting that aside, even if it was written by Moses, that was still only 3,000 to 4000 years ago, and humans have been on earth some 200,000 years, the earth has been around 4.5 billion years; so, if Moses was the author, then he was writing about stuff that happened a long, long time before he was born’. He looked at me, clearly wondering if I was a tile short of a mahjong set.

“So anyhow let’s get back to Genesis 6” I suggested. The frustrated young man asked “why?” why, when he was explaining things for me, did I keep jumping back to Genesis 6 and making Confucius? For the simple reason my friend, that until you can explain what it means by ‘the sons of Gods resorted to the daughters of men and bore children by them‘, we can go no further. That is a brick wall; you do not pass go, you do not collect two hundred yuan until this is resolved between us.

Again, he tries to switch back to the plan. “Look Genesis say, day 1 God create the light make day so that is sun made, ok?” (yes, my enthusiastic young friend, that would be the sun), “then day 4 God create two light, sun and moon ok?”  (if that is what it says). “BUT (he leaped with joy at having sprung his trap) how can be two sun? first sun make day 1 and day 4 make number two sun. How can be?” Ok, he has now completely lost me, and I am weary of this, I step it up a bit. “So, now that we are talking about suns,” I replied, ” there are not just two suns but many hundreds of billions of suns. We are a small planet in a solar system located in the far corner of a Galaxy, the Milky Way which is only one galaxy in the universe, correct? And God created all this?” He seemed a little bit annoyed at this topic shift, but he agreed. “So, Magellan got in a boat early in the 16th century” I continued, “and sailed continuously to the horizon not knowing whether he would fall off the edge of the planet or hit the sky like a brick wall but, in fact, he came back to where he started. So, if you and I, John, (I had extracted his Christian name by now as John, presumably in honour of the Baptist) set off in a spaceship traveling faster than the speed of light and kept going, avoiding collisions, would we eventually hit a cosmic wall, fall off the end of space or come back to where we started?”

In my peripheral vision I see the young woman moving discreetly stage left, this shouldn’t take long now. The young man is slumping, “I don’t know; too many big; too many headache.” Of course, my young friends, the universe is huge and we are but one planet in the solar system of what is known as a dwarf sun, a minute speck in the far flung corner of an unspectacular galaxy containing tens of billions of stars, which itself is just one galaxy among a hundred billion galaxies (give or take) so answer me this: would the God who created all those hundreds of billions of suns and trillions of planets only put life on one planet? Ours? “Yes?” he whimpered. “No, no, no my Good News friend. God would have created more life than us somewhere in the universe, surely? And so, is it not possible that other life has journeyed through the universe before us and that we were visited by a far more intelligent species in the past? And if so do you suppose those alien visitors might have had some connection to Genesis 6?”

At the mention of the ‘alien’ word there was a weird blend of horror, despair and resignation in his eyes. She had already started to move. With one final look telling me that I was clearly a lunatic, he followed her. They did not actually run, not in the classic Greco style, but a very quick shuffle probably covers it. Exit Stage left. “Where are you going? We didn’t get past question one. We haven’t even started on the New Testament.”

What I would give to be at next week’s Bible Study meeting in Roslyn, but these were not the only missionaries working on my patch, spreading the good news. I was outside in the garden when I became aware of a presence. They had just appeared almost from nowhere, an angelic, golden haired, family of father, mother and child. Armed only with their Bible they just wanted to know if there was anything they can do to help me share in their joy of life gained through their understanding the good news in the Bible. Actually, I warm to this young family. They look so innocent and well-meaning and I am, despite first impressions, also very open to understanding the Bible which, at the very least, is a very important set of texts on the history of the Hebrew nation that has played a significant role in the civilisation that has emerged some 4,000 years after the birth of Abraham.

Like most, I have been exposed to the Bible during the younger schooling years of my life and I found parts to be a balance between scarcely believable and quite intellectually challenging. Intellectual challenge is of course the consequence of the original transgression against divine law when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge. So, when this pleasant young man offered his services in interpreting the Bible, I agreed he could; starting with explaining Genesis 6 to me?

His eyes noticeably brightened with both surprise and joy at the challenge and, being unable to recall Genesis 6 off the top of his head, he thumbed vigorously through his Bible to the appropriate page and began speed reading to refresh his memory. To help I said, “it refers to the sons of God taking as many of the daughters of man as they wished for their wives and having children by them; and these children being the heroes of ancient times.” His now frozen smile agreed that this was what it said, and he paused quite a while to compose his thoughts.

To fill the awkward silence and bring some focus on exactly what my question was, I asked; “so exactly who were these sons of God”? As he scanned the chapter he quickly, albeit a little hesitantly referred me to the line regarding “Nephilim who were on the earth at that time” and he also hesitantly suggested that angels might be involved. I said that I understood the Hebrew translation of Nephilim to mean ‘the cast-down ones. There is also an interpretation that the term was associated with giants. And the cast down ones possibly referred to the angels defeated by Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and the other archangels who fought on the side of Yahweh.

So, is identifying the Nephilim, the cast down ones and/ or the giants and/ or angels, the key to understanding Genesis 6?  At this point the young chap decided he needed to go back to his Church elder and seek advice so that he did not mislead me. I said I would look forward to seeing him again soon. I do not even know which Church he represented. I can understand his dilemma; if the sons of God were angels, then the concept of them mating with human women is an unthinkable religious narrative; if not angels, then who on earth were they?

The missionary has not yet returned. I now don’t think he intends to. So I still did not quite know what Genesis 6 means but being fairly early on in the first book of the Bible, I cannot have been the first person to have sought clarification on these sons of God, the Nephilim and what role they and their heroic offspring played in the creation of modern man. It was not as if it was an obscure notation in the depths of the Bible. This is Genesis; this is the beginning. I have some time on my hands so I thought I would search available texts to see what I could find out.,

The Bible that the missionary seemed unable to explain is in its essence the Hebrews’ text of their ancient history and passed-down knowledge of creation. There were other nations in these times, and even earlier, who have their own historical texts and creation legends so perhaps I should seek other ancient historical texts for further clarification. I do not have to look far to start getting other accounts of the battle between the Gods.

The accepted authoritative texts upon which modern Bible is based date back to the reigns of King David and his son Solomon, the ninth century BC, (although some Biblical scholars believe parts were not written until several centuries later during the period of Babylonian exile for the Israelites, 600-400 BC.) and Revelation was written by John after the death of Jesus. The lessons in first five books of the Bible, the Torah, may well have been given to Moses by Yahweh around 1400 BC during the 40 years in the desert, however the recorded texts themselves can only be traced back to the 9th century BC,

At this same time, around 900 BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey were being written in Greece, similar to the Hebrew texts they recounted tales of ancient Greece, the creation of man and the war of the gods. The Greeks are an old and respected civilisation particularly from an intellectual, political, and philosophical viewpoint and these books of the Iliad and the Odyssey therefore deserve a level of respect.

The Greek epic told of three groups of gods: the primordial gods were Gaia (earth) and Uranus (heaven). The second group of gods were called the Titans, referred to as giants, and the first generation of Titans consisted of the twelve children of the primordial gods. The third group of gods, the younger gods who included many of the children of the Titans were called the Olympians. Among the Olympians there was a hierarchy of twelve senior Olympians and several minor deities. The leader of the Olympians, Zeus, was a son of the Titan ruler, Cronus.

There was, according to the Greek texts, a war between the Titans and Olympians; the Biblical battle between Satan and Yahweh is paralleled in Greek mythology as the battle between Zeus and Cronus.  In the Greek epic, the outcome was that the Olympians then ruled the earth and created men and the Titans (the giants) remained in the heavens.

In explaining the creation of men, the Greek account is that Prometheus and Epimetheus, even though they were members of the Titan giants, were given the task of creating man. Prometheus shaped man out of clay, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure. This account resonates with the first book of the Bible, Genesis 2:7,” Yahweh God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life “.

Prometheus, like Lucifer, is associated with ‘intelligence’ and was a protector and benefactor of humans he created. Prometheus decided to make man stand upright just like the gods did and to give them fire. As in Genesis, God created man in his own image. He may be paralleled with Satan who enabled Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge and become like Gods. Prometheus fell out of favour with Zeus while Satan fell out of favour with Yahweh because he gave the fruit of knowledge.

As for sons of Gods breeding with daughters of men, certainly the Greek historical accounts do not treat this as unusual, but rather as a very normal practice. Demigods were quite common throughout the population and long lists were handed down in history. Achilles certainly fits the description of a demigod, his mother a nymph goddess and father a mortal king, and he most certainly was one of Greece’s great heroes of in the Trojan war.

But we also have even older accounts of the creation of man. In 1840 a French Consul in Mosul (now Iraq) who had been filling in his days riding in the desert, had came across mounds that contained pottery shards and also discovered a huge number of clay tablets containing cuneiform writing. Regarding them at first nothing more than a curiosity, a couple of years later he showed them to an Englishman he had befriended, Henry Layford. Layford was convinced this was a major archeological find. This then became a serious archeological site as a joint Anglo-French dig, albeit a clear demarcation line was drawn. But this dig uncovered the first Assyrian palace built by King Sargon 11 near Ninevah in 709BC. Tens of thousands of clay tablets were uncovered and removed for translation and preservation. The information on these tablets changed the whole timeframe understanding of human civilisation. They were written in 700BC but told stories that were 3,000 years old. There is one tablet, named VA/243, which shows all eight major planets in the solar system in correct relative size and the three main dwarf planets of Pluto, Eris 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 the earth is travelling around the sun not the sun travelling around the earth; a fact that the Sumerians clearly knew thousands of years before modern science worked it out.

Mesopotamia is the land where Abraham was born and lived most of his life before migrating to Canaan. Atra-Hasis (exceptionally wise) is a character of an Akkadian epic that is recorded in various versions on clay tablets. The Atra-Hasis tablets include both an account of the creation of mankind and of the great deluge. This is one of three known Babylonian stories of the great deluge. Atra-Hasis also appears on one of the Sumerian kings lists as king of Shurrupak in the times before a flood. The oldest known copy of the epic tradition concerning Atra-Hasis can be dated to the reign of Ammi Saduka (1646–1626 BCE), 200 years before Moses, during the time that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt.

These texts greatly increased knowledge of the epic and were the basis for Lambert and Millard’s first English translation of the Atra Hasis epic in something approaching entirety. A further fragment has been recovered in Ugarit. In its most complete surviving version, the Atra Hasis epic is written on three tablets in Akkadian, the language of ancient Babylon.

Tablet I contains a creation myth about the Sumerian gods Anu, Enlil, and Enki, gods of sky, wind, and water, when gods were in the ways of men. Following a casting of lots, sky is ruled by Anu, earth by Enlil, and the freshwater sea by Enki. (This account from Atra-Hasis has a corresponding passage in the Greek poem the Iliad, i.e. the division by lots of the air, underworld and sea among the Gods Zeus, Hades and Poseidon.) Enlil then assigned junior divinities to do farm labour and maintain the rivers and canals,

In this ancient set of tablets, the authors also write of a war between two groups of the gods, the lesser gods against the seven senior gods. But they give the reason for the war; it was that the lesser gods were required to do all the manual labour on earth and they simply rebelled after forty years.

When the gods were man

they did forced labor, they bore drudgery.

Great indeed was the drudgery of the gods,

the forced labor was heavy, the misery too much:

The seven great Anunna-gods were burdening

the Igigi-gods with forced labor.

The Igigi-gods were digging watercourses

canals they opened, the life of the land.

The Igigi-gods dug the Tigris river

and the Euphrates thereafter.

Springs they opened from the depths,

wells … they established.”

“Everyone of us gods has declared war;…We have set … the excavation,

Excessive drudgery has killed us, our forced labor was heavy, the misery too much!

Now, every one of us gods has resolved on a reckoning with Enlil.”

This has an echo of the biblical conflict between the seven archangels in heaven and Lucifer who obviously resided on earth, amongst the humans. The book of Revelations records a conflict within the population of angels and that Satan and his angels rebelled against God and the seven archangels, named in the Book of Enoch as: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Remiel, Reguel and Zadkiel.  Rev. 12: 7-10 “And now war broke out in heaven when Michael and his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived the world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him.”

Genesis’ cites Satan/ Lucifer as responsible for the fall of this created human by giving the fruit of intelligence to Adam and Eve, which meant, as Yahweh, God stated, “the man has become like one of us with his knowledge” Gen. 3:22. Yahweh then interceded to prevent further development of man before he also gained immortality. Gen 4: 22: “he must not be allowed to eat from the tree of life and live forever.

Satan/ Lucifer was identified symbolically as a serpent, obviously not literally since he interacted with humans, so possibly referencing a scaly skin. The serpent image in ancient cultures subsequently became synonymous with divinity and sovereignty in Egypt; with fertility in Greece; with longevity of life in China. Indian Hindu culture regards the snake as divine linked to the power of death and eternity.

To this day the serpent is the symbol of the medical profession, linked to healing and extending life. Was the cause for conflict with Yahweh because Satan was experimenting with the early humans to now give them the genetic capacity to understand the sciences of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, astrology, alchemy and what are broadly described as the arts of magic?

The explanation we would be comfortable with would be that homo sapiens sapiens was simply a natural mutation process that increased brain capacity. But if so, what on earth possessed these intelligent beings to invent the origins that we read about today when humans were first able to commit their oral histories to print, only 5,000 years ago. So connecting our scientific knowledge today with the handed down stories of our ancestors, we still have to ask whether genetically modified humans were evicted from “Eden” because they had acquired knowledge beyond that of natural earthly creatures? As Yahweh had warned Lucifer, they would become like the Gods and would live forever. Were these advanced, knowledgeable humans, known to us as Homo sapiens sapiens now referred to as ‘sons of God’?

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Twinkle, twinkle

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The star of Bethlehem is the defining cosmic symbol of the birth of Christianity. The star that prompted the three Magi to travel for several months to bear witness to the birth of the Messiah, the one who would be king of the Jews. This, of course, made the three Magi themselves also an essential part of the birth of Christianity and yet we never hear of them again in the books of the New Testament. We read in the bible that they visited the Court of King Herod on their journey and were instructed to report back to him when they had found this royal baby. We read that after the Magi witnessed the birth, they returned to Persia by a different route to avoid Herod; and we read that Herod then issued orders for all Jewish males under the age of two to be slaughtered to ensure the death of this potential threat to his line.

We also read that Mary and Joseph were warned of the threat by an angelic non-earthly being and they departed urgently with their new born for Egypt. When Herod died two years later, the family returned to Judea. But after that we read very little about Jesus with the only reference during the first thirty years of his life was at age twelve when he was taken with his family to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem as they did each year. On this occasion he astounded the Hebrew scholars with his knowledge of scripture but we have no idea how Yeshua gained the knowledge that he impressed the scholars with, or where and how he spent the subsequent eighteen years before he publicly began his ministry with his baptism at age thirty. That was quite a mature, middle aged man by the standard of the day.

Yeshua was baptised by John, said to be the son of his mother’s cousin. John was a Nazirite which is a strict sect of Judaism. Nazirites were desert dwellers who believed in purification by immersion in water, who adhered to extremely strict ascetic vows and who have special powers to cast out demons. Notably, following his baptism Yeshua himself went into the desert where he was tempted by Satan with worldly goods before making his final resolve to embark on his God-inspired mission to gather “the lost sheep of Israel” and challenge the religious hierarchy of Judea who had ‘turned God’s house into a den of thieves’.

Minor errors in creating the modern Gregorian calendar have demonstrated that the birth of Jesus would not have been at the beginning of 1ad as we assume. King Herod the great, who is also central to the nativity story, is recorded to have died in 4bc. The belief is that under the Gregorian calendar Yeshua would have been born around 6bc. So what, then, was the wandering star that caused the Magi to set off on their search? Computers today enable us to back-trace the location of planets and even comets two thousand years ago. An obvious first point to check is whether the star of Bethlehem was Halley’s comet on its regular circuit. But that passed through earth’s sky in 12bc, at least 5-6 years before the birth. Apart from which, in ancient times, comets were considered forerunners of catastrophe, not the joyful birth of a king.

Of interest, the original Aramaic text of the Magi’s explanation is that they had seen Yeshua’ star “in heliacal rising.” This means a star that appears immediately prior to sunrise. The most significant planetary observation is the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn which make an exceptionally bright light, although from two planets aligned rather than being one star. This alignment randomly appears in different constellations each time but when it occurs in the constellation of Pisces it is recognised as the Star of David, symbol of Judaism.

It was Johannes Kepler, the father of modern astronomy, who had studied the writings of a medieval Jewish scholar, Rabbi Abarbonel, and discovered the significance to the Jewish people of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which together shine like a superstar, in the constellation of Pisces. This alignment was regarded as the ‘star of David’. Kepler also calculated that during 6bc this alignment of Jupiter and Saturn made the rare appearance in Pisces and was in fact a triple conjunction, occurring three times in the period. This has been confirmed by modern computer-generated calculations as occurring in 6bc on May 22, October 8 and December 2 with the heliacal rising in the dawn sky. This is a very plausible source of the legend that the birth of a king who would restore the line of David would be signaled by this ‘star of David’ appearing. In Greek lore Saturn (Cronus) is the heavenly father of Jupiter (Zeus).

So the Magi were literally looking for the Jewish baby boy born under the star of David who was born to be king. This would certainly spark the interest of Magi who were astronomers, given such a rare conjunction and even more so spark the alarm of the current King of Judea, Herod. Triple conjunctions are rare and a triple conjunction in Pisces, the Star of David, is even more rare. It should also be noted that this time was also when the vernal equinox was moving from the age of Aries into the age of Pisces, the fish. This is notable with the significance of the symbol of the fish in Christianity. The last 2,000 years which began with the Magi observing a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces has certainly been the age of Christianity. The next triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was in 967 ce when it had just moved out of the Pisces constellation.

So what then became of the three Magi? Indeed the question should be raised what are Magi? The Magi were the astronomer-priests presumed to have travelled from Persia and, if so would have been adherents of the religion founded by a Persian astrologer/ philosopher named Zarathustra.  It would seem most unlikely that three foreigners who followed the religion of Zarathustra, an opposing religion to Judaism, would be summoned by the Jewish God, Yahweh to witness the birth of Yeshua for no other reason than to bring gifts and then depart. Yet the authorised New Testament of the Bible speaks no more of them, in fact there is only one reference to them which is in the Book of Mathew. There is a reference in an extract from a medieval saints calendar printed in Cologne which read, “Having undergone many trials and fatigues for the Gospel, the three Magi met at Sewa (Sebaste in Armenia) in A.D. 54 to celebrate the feast of Christmas. Thereupon, after the celebration of Mass, they died: St. Melchior on Jan. 1, aged 116; St. Balthasar on Jan. 6, aged 112; and St. Caspar on Jan. 11, aged 109.” The Roman Martyrology also lists these dates as the Magi’s respective feast days. These are extraorinarily long lives for people of that age, giving rise to the question of what the title of Magi really means. In further research it would seem that the Magi had knowledge beyond that of ordinary folk. Knowledge of mathematics and sciences; of medicines and healing; astronomy and astrology; of metalurgy and alchemy; of feats that defy human understanding. To ordinary humans they had the mystical powers of what we call magic.

Did the Magi continue a role in his education after his birth and the family’s return from Egypt? Did Yeshua live with them in Persia to prepare for his mission? And did they see his mission as purely spiritual to ‘fulfill the law of the prophets” or as the cosmically anointed inheritor of the kingship of David to restore the sovereignty of Israel as a defence against Rome? Rome was a serious enemy to the Persian Empire and Judea was right on their western border; it was earlier ruled by Persia before Alexander the Great conquered them. So it was certainly in the Persians’ political and military interest to have an allied, independent Judea between them and Rome. Whatever you think of this theory, clearly King Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the time, and the Jewish puppet priests, took the possibility seriously.

It raises the question about just how much influence the Persian Magi had on the politics of Judea and whether they were continually working towards the eventual 66AD great uprising of religious zealots in Galilee and Judea when the Romans were finally driven out of the region. If so, it was a short-lived victory as Rome returned with a vengeance in 70AD and the Jews were driven from the land which was given to the Philistines (Palestinians). So perhaps the Magi did have more heavenly than earthly intent. Above all they were the star watchers and believers that what happened in the heavens effected life on earth. As above, so below.

Incidentally the next great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be in November/ December 2020 this will appear just as the vernal equinox is moving out of the Capricorn constellation into the first degree of Aquarius. Jupiter, aka Zeus, has always held a special place in the imaginative minds of humans and considered by ancient civilisations as the supreme God and protector of earth. Our fascination with Jupiter has never waned and since the 1970’s NASA has sent nine space missions up that way; it is the best part of 600 million kilometres away. In 1995 Galileo entered Jupiter’s orbit and stayed there until 2003 and observed Jupiter. Juno’s mission is to get to the very core of Jupiter and get answers to some fundamental questions about the creation of our solar system, and of us. Juno will orbit in a path that passes over Jupiter’s poles and will measure microwave emissions, the gravity field and the magnetic field, which apparently is how the scientists will gain the vital clues into the formation of our solar system. 

In Greek mythology, Zeus, the presiding deity of the universe, ruler of the skies and the earth, was the god-master of all natural phenomena in the heavens. The personification of the laws of nature; the ruler of the state; the ruler of gods and men. At his command, mighty thunders would flash and lightnings would roll; he represented the grand laws of unchanging and harmonious order, by which both the natural and the spiritual world were governed. In Norse Mythology, Thor (Jupiter) rode through the skies during a thunderstorm to kill the giants, the enemies of the gods (planets), and to kill the mighty serpent that flies through the skies with the lightning from his hammer and his magical ‘belt’ that doubles his strength.

But if you ever wondered why Zeus (Greek)/ Thor (Norse) / Taranis (Celtic)/ Jupiter (Roman) was associated with the lightning, a hammer and shield wielding warrior deity, considered the chief of the planet-gods in their mythologies, you might be interested to know that Jupiter is in reality still a protector of earth. The massive energy of magnetic field and gravity of the gaseous giant has either deflected comets back out of our solar system or taken one for the team when its gravitational pull has dragged asteroids and comets to their death and preventing them turning their attention to earth. Such impacts are noted regularly and there is calculation that Jupiter’s size and gravitational pull drag in up to six asteroids/ comets per year. But some of the comets and asteroid strikes that our astronomers have actually observed have been real monsters. But as useful as it is, Jupiter is a planet not a star and, amazingly, our ancient knowledge of the stars in the heavens goes away beyond Jupiter, and even away beyond our solar system.

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 link 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 seven sisters 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 New Zealand 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 being in the southern hemisphere 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 emerged from a primitive hunter gatherer existence to becoming a semi-civilised farmer just 12,000 years ago we must ask then how this unspectacular star cluster of 5,000 year old Babylonian and Greek records also 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.

But why do we care? Why do we want to continually study further and further into the universe? Perhaps it matters because we have a quest. We have a curiosity born of intelligence. We want to keep going further into the heavens in search of our creator in the same way that families want to keep searching further and further back into their roots. As a species we want to find God and ask: ‘having created us, where are you and why did you go away?’ Fair enough. But we live on a tiny dot of a planet that floats in a relatively small solar system (our sun is a dwarf sun) which is located in a remote corner of the Milky Way which itself is a remote little galaxy within the incomprehensible universe.

The concept of humans contemplating the vastness of the universe reminds me of an interesting part of a David Attenborough documentary about the Kalahari Desert in Namibia. They filmed down a cave, named Aegamas cave, 60 metres below the desert, in which there is the earth’s largest known underground lake. Down in this lake lives a little fish named the golden catfish. It grows up to 16 centimetres long. It is an air-breathing fish and as such could move a short distance on land, like an eel. To the golden catfish, this lake of almost 2 hectares is the entire universe. They have no conception of a narrow portal that may lead to a completely alien world of the Kalahari Desert with its huge night sky above it and the rest of Africa surrounding it.

But imagine if that fish had a genetic desire to search for its DNA relatives beyond its own universe. ‘Why have you forsaken us, oh great creator of the golden catfish?’ It is, after all, what drives other fish species to travel huge distances back to their birthplace. And, with that drive, the golden catfish explores the edges of its known universe and finds a small underground stream that eventually finds its way to another river or swamp down in the southern rainforests. What a discovery. What a new world with sunlight above it instead of the darkness of its cave. Imagine the change in organisms to feed on, the change in temperature and the new creatures it would meet along the way. But it would not find any other golden catfish; their cave environment has resulted in them evolving as unique to that mini universe; and I am not sure they would survive meeting their closest dna relative in African rivers and swamps, the sharp-tooth catfish, which grows to an average length about a metre. But, if they made it to shore and crawled briefly onto land, they would then be confronted with all manner of terrifying flying insects and birds, crawling ants and scorpions; they would hardly comprehend larger animals of hippos or elephants; hyenas or lions; it’s life Jim, but not as we know it. At what point does the catfish wonder why he left the cave.

So why do we get so excited about visiting our most distant planets and beyond? About black holes and space portals. We are far more intelligent and imaginative than a catfish and we have watched the entire Star Wars series as well as Star Trek. We would not just stumble unknowingly into terrifying alien worlds to become nothing more than a rather unmemorable snack before lunch.

We believe we are the divinely anointed masters of all beasts of the land and birds of the air, which in our civilised terms means having selected parts of them lightly sautéed in a brandy sauce, served with a pear and blue cheese salad and washed down with lightly chilled Chablis. But that franchise is only for this planet. We have no rights beyond our atmosphere. Similarly, in the Aegamas cave the golden catfish rules all the organisms in its own little universe, but that doesn’t mean much if they come up against a metre long saw-toothed relative who doesn’t feel the same family connection. As a life-form they were created from base organisms just like us. The golden catfish evolved over millions of years to the creature it is now.

If we keep venturing out further and further into the universe, perhaps we may find that there is an alien life-form that at some time in the past re-wired our brains and dna to fast-track our evolution. If we find them we should be prepared in case they may not welcome us as their beloved children, rather they may say ‘Hey look at our little monkeys, how did they get here?’

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