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The End Of Our Empire Approaches

History is clear on where we're headed
Friday, April 27, 2018, 8:01 PM

Do you have the nagging sense that our empire is in decline?

If so, don't be embarrassed by it. Historically speaking, we’re in very good company.  Far larger and longer-lived empires than ours have come and gone over the millennia.    

This was hit home for me on a recent trip. I scored a major "dad win" by taking my youngest daughter, Grace, to England for her 18th birthday (we live in Massachusetts, USA).

All on her own, Grace developed an abiding love of mythology at a very young age: Greek, Roman, Norse, Native American, Aztec…you name it.  She’s read the Iliad four times, a different version each time, as each has the biases of the translator subtly woven throughout. 

Naturally, her dream mini-vacation involved going to the British Museum where the Rosetta stone lies, along with Viking hoard treasures and every possible Roman, Greek and Egyptian artifact one could hope to see. 

The British empire came of age at the perfect time to muscle in and “retrieve” the cultural treasures of many different countries. Such are the spoils of empire.

Who knows, perhaps one day we’ll see sliced off segments of the Palace of Westminster on display in Cairo’s main square.  History ebbs and it flows.  Back and forth.  Victors and losers swapping places over and over again.

If the British Museum reveals anything it’s just that.  The long sweep of human history shows us that the more things change, the more things stay the same. 

The treasures on display at the British Museum also show us that every race and culture has revered beauty.  The most intricate and delicate and objectively beautiful jewelry and adornments were worn by kings and queens, priestesses, nobles, and warlords alike.

Sutton Hoo

Consider the find of the Sutton Hoo burial mound.  An eminently important and revered individual (possibly Raedwald) was buried sometime around the year 740, with an enormous ship 89 feet in length serving as his burial chamber.

Just imagine how many people it took to dig a hole in the ground that held the ship to its gunnels, and then bring forward enough earth to cover the whole affair in a gigantic mound of earth more than ten feet high in the middle. As a gardener, I can tell you that dirt is heavy stuff that really resists being moved by hand.  Hundreds of people must have labored for a very long time to create this burial mound.

Whoever this person was, he was revered enough to be buried with an astonishing collection of wealth. And, perhaps more amazingly, none of it was looted.

Here’s the sword belt, made of an intricate lattice of pure gold and polished garnet:

Isn’t that a beautiful work of art?

Again, nobody came back and looted this afterwards.  Maybe they killed the workers who built the gravesite, but surely folks still knew a very rich ruler had been buried in the area. And yet nobody looted the site. To me, it's hard not to see that as a sign of how much the man buried there was respected by his kinsmen.

Here’s a close up of the dragons head from that sword belt:

If you’ve ever worked with garnet, you know just how devilishly hard it is (a 7.5 on a scale of 10) and how much work it must have taken to polish up even one of those tiny panels, let alone all of them, and into such careful shapes.

Similarly, these shoulder clasps meant to secure an article of clothing (like a cape or cloak) are also magnificent:

Again, the detail and workmanship are impressive. But what struck me most was how these works of art are so … beautiful. And from a time of early medieval history referred to ‘the dark ages’ and popularly described as a period of bleak survival. 

If they were, somebody still had the resources to churn out works of extraordinary precision and beauty. That much is clear.

The rest of the artifacts are similarly extraordinary -- especially the helmet, shields, and coinage. Just take a look at this purse lid:

Taken together, I see a culture where reverence mattered.  Sutton Hoo's buried leader was revered enough that his tomb was not looted afterwards, promptly or otherwise.  The items buried display a reverence for his authority as well as for beauty. 

These burial artifacts were by no means trivial items. Each one could have supported a family for many generations at a time when resources were scarce, only obtainable through the hard labor of many.

And yet they were left untouched.  Who among today's leaders would be honored enough as a leader that their tomb would not be looted for massive personal gain?  Where can you see that our culture reveres beauty to the same degree, being willing to place so much collective effort into its creation?

The Taranto Scepter

Everywhere else in the British Museum were similar displays of honoring the feminine -- the women and the goddesses of the world.  Many of the Egyptian displays caught my eye, as did the Greek, but one piece stood out so much that I came back to it three times, so amazed was I by the beauty of it and the message I took from it.

It came from “The Tomb of the Taranto Priestess” and dated from 350 – 340 BC.  Since kings did not rule Taranto during that period, it is believed to have been the property of a priestess.

First, her scepter is truly extraordinary:

The entire scepter is perhaps 18 inches in length and capped in extraordinary gold adornment.  But what really caught my eye is the gold mesh you see running down the shaft (lost to history, thought to have been bone?). It consists of extremely fine gold wire wrapped in even finer gold wire, and is woven into a meshwork of little diamond shapes with tiny circles at their corners. Each of these circles contained a tiny gem or enameled treasure of some sort (most, again, lost to history).

Here’s a close up:

The gold wire used is finer than hair. This scepter speaks of power and delicacy in equal balance, one reinforcing the other.  Only the lightest of touch could hold the scepter without breaking strands of gold that fine. That made me think of the woman who wielded it with such a delicate touch.

Again, this person was revered to such an extent that an object of such immense value and beauty was entombed with her, and not robbed at a later time by someone who knew what the tomb contained.

Power, honor, reverence, and beauty.  All attributes that show up again and again all throughout history.

The entire British Museum is packed to the rafters with such expressions. I came away both elated to have gotten back in touch with these better expressions of humanity, but also saddened because I can't locate their equivalent in today’s world.

One missing element from today?  Reverence for the goddess, for the feminine.  I cannot think of a single western homage paid to the feminine.  No temples to the goddesses and no elevation of feminine attributes.

This is important to note, not because we wish to bash the masculine, but because anything out of balance requires rebalancing. In fact, re-elevating the feminine will actually bring honor and meaning back to the masculine. 

Our world is caught up entirely in money, and power, and wars, and force.  We revere power over rather than power within.  

So the questions I’d like to leave you with are these.

  • Where do you have beauty in your life?  Do you consciously manifest it?
  • What do you revere?
  • How honorable are you?
  • Do you instill a sense of loyalty in those around you?  Who would rob your grave and how quickly after you passed?
  • Who do you honor, and how?  Also, why?
  • How important is it for you to be surrounded by people you can trust, and whose opinions you trust?
  • Where and how do you respect, honor and encourage the feminine in yourself (whether you are male or female), in others, and especially in nature?

Finally, are you ready for the massive changes that are coming?

Our Empire Of Debt

The British museum is a testament to the fact that empires have been rising and falling for thousands of years. The common elements of every empire include its own appreciation for works of extreme beauty and human craftsmanship, along with strict hierarchy. They all expressed a strong connection to the divine, however they felt it, each with their own mythologies and attendant religions to make sense of it all…and help cement the rulers place(s) at the top, of course.

Each empire had a mythology by which it self-organized and people bought into that belief system. Looking back they seem like such obvious mental traps it’s easy to scoff and wonder how people could have been so blinkered.

Here’s the thing about hierarchical societies in every era…in every single one there were always a very few haves and a whole lot of have nots. How were the masses kept in line? Why did the vast bulk of humanity in every empire live in relative poverty and misery, never lifting a finger in revolt except under very rare circumstances?

The connection to yourself is this; each society has a set of reasons in place that explain to the people on the lower levels why they belong there. In some prior cultures the explanation was that authority was invested the royal blood line. You either had it or you didn’t.

In other societies, the rulers were said to be closer to the gods, if not descended directly from them. To go against the rulers meant you were assaulting or dishonoring the very gods you prayed to and on which you utterly depended.

While the mythologies in place “explaining” the hierarchy differed, the results did not. They always resulted in a few at the top and an expanding pyramid of population and entitlement laid out below them.

The middle management in this story, those that had relative advantage were the necessary keepers of the systems in each culture and each system. They had more to lose than to gain through revolt and so they stayed true to the system through their entire lives.

The people on the very bottom, despite having a vast numerical advantage, had the limiting belief that they had no power. So revolts almost never happened. Systems of hierarchy persisted until the empire had run its course, almost always failing because it ran out of resources to maintain itself and its growing complexity.

The lessons of history are absolute; nothing lasts. Everything changes, especially who’s in charge.

So what are our explanations today that keep us all in line? What keeps us from revolt? To what do we bow our daily collective heads in fealty to?

The answer is Money.

What we call “money” today was a wicked genius invention that popped up right around the same moment in history when humans were working out other keen, life-altering inventions such as clocks, and printing presses.

“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.”

~ Goethe

A person in debt is a person controlled. But they think it was their own decision. Hence the Goethe quote above. A nation in debt is a nation controlled. The debt trap is especially insidious, and it relies on the illusion of free will combined with the full weight of ‘the law.’

By attaching a stated rate of interest to a loan, a person’s future output was yours if you were the holder of that note. What a stroke of pure (evil) genius! Set the rate high enough and the term long enough and you can get all of your money paid back plus another 100% of that amount or more, every bit of which was actually the future productive output (i.e. time) of the borrower.

Conjure up a promissory note out of thin air and then you get to skim the true productive output of that person, regardless of outcome. Whether they succeeded or failed in the endeavor, you still won. If they paid you back, the win was obvious. If they failed you often had collateral on the back end protecting your “investment.” No matter what, you won.

And even if that wasn't the case? Well, you lost the amount of effort on your end that it took to draft up the note. In other words, nothing really.

I’ve yet to find this laid out in any museum even though the introduction of debt-based money was arguably the most course-altering invention of the past thousand years. It transformed millions of human slaves kept in check by threat of power and physical coercion (if not death) into billions of humans perfectly willing to hand over their labor to a very few elites at the top who did little to no work themselves.

Before this transformative invention money was always a very concrete thing – you either had a stash of silver or gold or you didn’t. Afterwards money became abstract. You could loan someone something you never had, written on a slip of paper, and the belief invested in that idea was sufficient to enslave that person until that debt was repaid. “Your” money might never be seen or handled by you at all, which is true for most people today. It exists as digits on a statement or computer screen. Yours, but utterly intangible. A powerful force, never actually seen or handled. In other words, a shared idea. A mythology imbued with tremendous power by a culture that served to enforce the current system of hierarchy.

There is a vast empire now spanning the globe but the mystery of it all is that it’s not based on or in any one country. It is an empire of debt. Those issuing the debt are harvesting the output of entire nations, no different in final effect than the Romans enforcing the practice of tithing from extant countries in AD 100.

We now live in a world of, by and for bankers, and other financial elites. Where once it was your royal lineage, or direct connection to the sun god Ra that assured your place at the top, today it's your proximity to the temples of money. 

But what happens when the economic pie is no longer expanding, yet the keepers of the system seem unable to turn off their own desires to grab more, more and yet more from that same pie?

That is where we find ourselves today. The economic oxygen is being sucked from the middle and lower classes and the social and political pressures are building.

Meanwhile more and more claims (currency and debts) are being piled on top of this stagnant economic pie thereby increasing the pressure on a creaking system. Someday that all gives way rather spectacularly and ends very badly. History says it ends with a lot of social anarchy and quite possibly another world war.

In Part 2: What History Tells Us Will Come Next, we provide a detailed analysis of how late-stage empires always collapse as the elites exhaust the resources of the masses. We are seeing clear signs of that today.

As we progress from here, the disparity between the haves and have-nots is only going to intensify, with debt (and our debt-based money system) being used as the primary weapon for controlling an increasingly dispossessed public.

Are you prepared?

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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50 Comments

charleshughsmith's picture
charleshughsmith
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an excellent contemplative essay

A truly excellent contemplative essay, Chris--a great pleasure to read and ponder.

 

Time2help's picture
Time2help
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Nobody's foolin' nobody 'bout where it goes

It would be nice to avoid this if at all possible.

Hotrod's picture
Hotrod
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Interest

My father used to frequently quote my grandfather, who said in German, "Interest eats at the table before you do."  To which my dad would add, "Interest is the penalty you pay for being poor."  He would then talk of mortgage burning parties where the farm folk would dance and drink until the sun came up, no longer slaves to the note holder.  Kegs of beer from the house to the barn. LOL

It is a pleasure to see your expanded view on life these past ten years Chris.

 

Yoxa's picture
Yoxa
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The Feminine


Quote:

amazingly, none of it was looted

... not until the archaeologists showed up.

Quote:

cannot think of a single western homage paid to the feminine

Some Christian traditions think of the Holy Spirit as feminine - "Sophia". English translations seldom convey that thought well, but it has deep biblical roots.

The book of Genesis says this about "in the beginning" (originally in Hebrew):

Quote:

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

The Hebrew word for the Spirit of God is "ruach" which is feminine.

Recommended listening: the song "She Flies On" by Gordon Light (an Anglican priest)

ckessel's picture
ckessel
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How will humanity evolve?

" Meanwhile more and more claims (currency and debts) are being piled on top of this stagnant economic pie thereby increasing the pressure on a creaking system. Someday that all gives way rather spectacularly and ends very badly. History says it ends with a lot of social anarchy and quite possibly another world war. "

If history is a guide then I expect to see a series of unforeseen events over a longer time period that we expect resulting in a great reduction in population. Short of that, we would need to see a dialogue develop where our predicament can be discussed, dealt with and managed.

The internet is one vehicle that exists which could facilitate that process which has not been a factor in previous turning points. I see little evidence it will be used that way but then again, a few of us are here and we are discussing it. So there is some evidence!

Regardless of the situation, I intend to keep on keepin on because I do think humanity has the ability to make the changes necessary to at least address the situation in a positive way. That is my belief, the only factual part is that I am keepin on!! See you all next weekend.

Coop
Coop

Olduvai.ca's picture
Olduvai.ca
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Debt-based monetary system and growth

Another excellent essay, Chris. 

An additional component of this debt-based monetary system is the seeming requirement that growth of the system is perpetual to keep it from contracting/collapsing. And what could possibly go wrong (except for those techno-cornucopians who refuse to accept that biophysical limits exist) with such infinite growth on a finite planet? 

We seem to have some tiime ago begun experiencing the downslope of diminishing marginal returns that Joseph Tainter suggests leads all complex societies to 'collapse' (i.e. significantly reduced sociopolitical complexity). And all the-powers-that-be can simply do now is extend-and-pretend (or distract). The options to continue exponential growth are few and far between, if they exist at all. 

I truly appreciate the insight this site (and a few others) provide with respect to actions and behaviours that help people in their attempts to detach from the Matrix (i.e. complex systems we have grown reliant upon). In that vain, I have spent the last few days outside taking advantage of some good weather prepping our garden for this year's planting of vegetables and trimming the fruit trees and bushes. Each year we get a bit better harvest and grow a little bit less reliant on the grocery store...

Empirical Spiritual's picture
Empirical Spiritual
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Sacred Feminine - at Sulis (Bath), Roman Baths

Here is one example of the sacred feminine representation of the goddess Minerva, on display in Bath, SW England. 

Image result for goddess minerva bath

The Catholic veneration of Mary is another reflection of a human need for a sacred mother. 

Image result for mary mother of god

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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so appreciate

your efforts to make sense of the human  condition and the scope of history.  bravo.

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Masculine vs Feminine

Agree that the feminine in everything should be revered and elevated in society.  Not just making women more masculine, and reducing the value of the feminine. But acknowledging the power and leadership of women in their current form.  Teaching girls to be more like men would be a cultural tragedy. 

Waterdog14's picture
Waterdog14
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The "Veneration of Mary" does not respect the feminine

Having been raised Catholic, I don't at all believe that the "veneration of Mary" respects the feminine.  Instead, it represses the feminine, and relegates it to an idealized (and idolatrized) version of female/mother/saint.  What is feminine about never having sex?   

Here's an interesting view of how other cultures have portrayed feminine beauty, and how perception has changed over human history:   

https://vimeo.com/258828793

We all have both masculine and feminine characteristics, which we need to balance as individuals and (hopefully, someday) as a society or culture.  To work on your own balancing of masculine and feminine energies, try Kundalini yoga.  It's a trip.   

thc0655's picture
thc0655
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Food for thought

I've always rebelled against the idea that "man is the measure of all things," convinced that it can only lead to disaster in the long term.  I think we can all easily see how that philosophical foundation has led to the degradation of the natural world, among many other disasters.  The below fleshes out that kind of critique. Worth a read in the context of Chris's article.

http://www.amerika.org/politics/why-faith-in-the-enlightenment-is-evaporating/

A few passages to give you a glimpse:

We who survive now were born into a lie. We were told that the purpose of our civilization was to facilitate individual dreams, fantasies, visions, and desires. As the great wealth bubble that empowered these ideas comes crashing down, we see that they were as a red flag to a bull: a pleasant path to death...

At that point, we chose our path with The Renaissance™ and The Enlightenment.™ Both emphasized a rejection of classical culture, which emphasized a natural pattern order in which human life fit, and instead focused on the human individual as the goal of civilization and largest building block of society.

The elders warned us, of course. They said that this approach would not work, eventually. However, in that pocket of time between a bad idea and its consequences a good time can be had, so we opted to cheat. We wanted our good time now instead of stability for the indeterminate future...

Individualism means the philosophy of “me first” before any kind of social, natural, or divine order. It appeals to those who fear that they cannot contribute, or will be in error, or otherwise will lose social status because their activity will be insufficient.

Those who are normal, sane, and healthy have a philosophy known as realism. This tells them that they are one part of a larger system, and when they are in the correct context, they can maximize their abilities and contribute the greatest amount in the format laid out by nature and logic. This gives meaning to their lives.

As the great civilization wealth train has gone on, however, this group has become ignored because the larger group of people who want only “me first” has seized the public imagination. This group demanded democracy, equality, diversity, and now, finally, a universal “fifteen minutes of fame” for everyone independent of contribution.

This amounts to the victory of the shallow over the deep, of appearance over structure, and of the short-term over the eternal. That was the goal of The Enlightenment™ all along, to obscure what is always true and cover it with what might be true if we look at it a certain way, so that the “me first” party could continue...

More fundamentally, democratic man rejects any hierarchy. There is only the individual and the bureaucracy designed to care for it. On top of that, somewhere, there is nature, mortality, real life, experience, and adventure, but those are not safe, so they are consigned to outsider status.

We are coming out of the era of democratic man, and entering into the era of realistic man, or those who recognize an order larger than the individual. This rejects the ideas of The Renaissance™ and The Enlightenment,™ which hold that “man is the measure of all things.”

Instead we suggest a new order: reality is the measure of all things. Reality consists of all things connected, united under the principles of nature. This does away with our dying human bubble, and allows us to discover the broader adventure of life itself, in the process rediscovering our will to live.

 

Empirical Spiritual's picture
Empirical Spiritual
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I did not say that the

I did not say that the veneration of Mary resulted in respect for femininity in practice. My point is that esthetically, it clearly is a representation of a sacred femininity. There were lots of virgin birth myths in antiquity (eg Horus). The role of Mary was the early church being pragmatic with polytheistic (goddess) traditions that the new religion was laid on top of. Same with all the saints. The Romans often brought local deities into their pantheon.

The historic church being a male only institution that adopted celibacy in the early middle ages probably took it in some odd directions is a completely different subject.  

The main article talks about a culture's organizing myths and art being a method of maintaining cohesion. It reminded me of a story I heard about a Tibetan monk's reaction to a western museum of art. He was really impressed by the early masters work and beauty of the renaissance paintings. However, he became increasingly troubled as he walked through modern exhibits - the art became more technically deconstructed and fragmented, and the subjects less harmonious / idealized. He worried what that was saying about the culture that made it.   

suziegruber's picture
suziegruber
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Balancing Masculine & Feminine - Yes!

IMO it's a beautiful and deep journey for each of us to explore our personal balance between masculine and feminine.  Right along with this comes an exploration of our relationship to our sexuality which cannot be separated from our relationship to our own life force.  How different would our culture be if the majority of us had a healthy relationship with our own sexuality.

For anyone interested in diving into this realm, I strongly recommend Sarah Byrden's offerings.  She is revolutionary in her teachings on sexuality, particularly in her efforts to educate college students.

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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Debt and Dissipative Energy Systems

Meanwhile more and more claims (currency and debts) are being piled on top of this stagnant economic pie thereby increasing the pressure on a creaking system. Someday that all gives way rather spectacularly and ends very badly. History says it ends with a lot of social anarchy and quite possibly another world war

I'm thinking out loud here so let's see how we go.

Following the collapse of organic growth (approx. 2008 in the Western economies) it was clear private debts could not be repaid with interest. To get around the problem and keep industrial civilisation going the central banks 'had' to step in as the major debt players. Thus ended capitalism - private wealth could no longer carry the burden of issuing debt at risk in a zero growth economy for the simple reason that the ridiculous levels of debt are never going to be repaid without a serious devaluation of the currency.

What emerged was an economic system to address the immediate short-coming - Debt was issued publicly to offset the reluctance of private capital's exposure to risk. In return, we could go on collectively pretending that all was well. It's easier to see in the charts I made from Bank of International Settlements data;

However, break that down into public and private debt and it's easier to see what's occurring;

Not only are we collectively working for a poorer future - we're robbing from ourselves to do it!

To compound the problem the 'benefits' of this debt model aren't distributed evenly - those with assets see the values of their portfolios rise, those without see themselves getting poorer (wages aren't rising in line with inflation - both for goods and assets). Thus is the current debt model eroding social cohesion. Chris, I think you're closer than you realise when you say "social anarchy". Once this becomes widely understood I expect the response will be a reduction of productivity amongst the working (non-asset owning) class. Automation may temporarily solve some of the productivity problems but it further adds to the deflationary problem and a lack of taxable income for governments to honour their obligations (e.g. state pensions).

With a rather cloudy crystal ball that'd mean;

1) Civil disobedience

2) Reduced Productivity

3) Increased automation

4) Defaults / Scaling back of Government programs/promises

5) Reduction in commodity prices

6) Reduction in available resources

7) Most vulnerable in society are cut off from essential products and services (extending upward)

8) Downward spiral into either civil war or further debt servitude (the outcome would depend upon both the populace and the rulers in question).

In short, I think 'worse' will have a few more levels to fall.

 

 

thc0655's picture
thc0655
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Don't fear the coming storm...

Admittedly, that's probably a male perspective.  But that's ok: I'm a male.

"Welcome to the Hunger Games. And may the odds be ever in your favor."

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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All in good time :)

All in good time :)

Afridev's picture
Afridev
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Dept is a symptom

Debt is (one of) the symptoms; the causes are rooted in physical constraints and dogmas.

Debt is a tool that has allowed us to eke out just a little bit more of the Conservation phase of the adaptive cycle, thereby increasing the potential energy that is stored in the system.

about-resilience-adaptive-cycle

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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Debt is an input

Hi Afridev,

Debt is an input to industrialised civilisations - it is needed to fund exploration, mining, refinement and infrastructure. In growth economies it's self-liquidating (if issued to those with the means to repay). In non-growth economies it's bondage (assuming that there isn't an option to default - think Greece)

Other inputs to industrialised civilisation are materials, energy, ideas and natural cycles (e.g. carbon, water, oxygen).

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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Going full circle?

I find the discussion interesting and the details of the contributing "posters" enlightening. However, is occurs to me that we have somewhat lost sight of what Chris was focusing on in his comments.

So what are our explanations today that keep us all in line? What keeps us from revolt? To what do we bow our daily collective heads in fealty to?

The recent speculation on the Amazon accepting bitcoin for payment and then providing a transaction record to the "authorities" smacks of "Big Brother" in a very disconcerting manner. Fealty is one thing, but slavery is quite another.

http://bitcoinist.com/amazon-may-soon-accept-bitcoin-and-sell-the-data-to-law-enforcement/

My original impression was that BitCoin was an attempt to remove the middle-man and make barter more user friendly and fair. In any case, who controls of the technology is the unknown.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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History of Debt

A good read to supplement Chris' excellent article is this interview of Michael Hudson who has written extensively about debt.

 

http://michael-hudson.com/2018/04/bronze-age-redux/

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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That was brilliant.
thc0655 wrote:

I've always rebelled against the idea that "man is the measure of all things," convinced that it can only lead to disaster in the long term.  I think we can all easily see how that philosophical foundation has led to the degradation of the natural world, among many other disasters.  The below fleshes out that kind of critique. Worth a read in the context of Chris's article.

I really enjoyed that essay, very well written and powerful.

I loved this line:

"However, in that pocket of time between a bad idea and its consequences a good time can be had, so we opted to cheat. "

Heh heh.

Also, several parts made me think of this, of course:

Afridev's picture
Afridev
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Hi Luke, Debt is not an issue

Hi Luke,

Debt is not an issue if it is manageable and self-liquidating, but that is mostly not the case here. What are the underlying causes that have led to runaway (bondage) debt and plenty other social/ cultural/ environmental issues? As I see it its limitations in (what you call) inputs - physical/ environmental - and cultural/ economic/ political dogmas.

I don't have the impression that my line of thinking opposes yours. I think we just seem to have used a different perspective. Maybe that's just me...

 

 

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An extraordinary comment. An

An extraordinary comment. An extraordinary lecture about history, about the conflicts of classes, about distribution of revenues, about the mechanisms to control the masses driven by the elites and applied for their keepers..

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An extraordinary comment. An

An extraordinary comment. An extraordinary lecture about history, about the conflicts of classes, about distribution of revenues, about the mechanisms to control the masses driven by the elites and applied for their keepers..

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Debt itself is not the issue - interference in the contract is
Afridev wrote:

Debt is not an issue if it is manageable and self-liquidating, but that is mostly not the case here. What are the underlying causes that have led to runaway (bondage) debt and plenty other social/ cultural/ environmental issues? As I see it its limitations in (what you call) inputs - physical/ environmental - and cultural/ economic/ political dogmas.

I agree that debt in and of itself is not the issue. Debt is one person/entity lending saved resources to another and expecting something for that risk. The problem is when you have an outside entity using force against others to insure one of the participants. Participants in the debt both need to be acting in their best interest and reap the consequences of the decision.

However, we have government guaranteeing the debt issuer. It generally takes the form of "for the benefit of the people" wording to hide the problem. FDIC insurance, FHA loans, low income loan guarantees, student loan guarantees are all examples of this. The dysfunction we see today and the great wealth in-equality that it has led to are the "cost" of those "free" things.

Until people stop asking governments to provide "free" stuff by using force against others I do not believe we have any hope of solving these issues - and unfortunately as things deteriorate, we will see even more begging for the same people that caused this issue to interfere.

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wealth managers offer a peak into the lives of the 'haves'

[apologies -- my caps and 'command' keyboard buttons don't work and i can't copy and paste....]

in keeping with chris' focus on the abstraction of 'money' that separates the masters class from the serf class.

-------

the atlantic has an article from october 2015 by brooke harrington titled 'the secret world of tax avoidance experts.'

these wealth managers serve the 100,000 people with greater than 30 million of investable assets.

example--mitt romney's presidential campaign focused on his 250 million net worth that was spread throughout the world in the bank accounts of multiple nations and trusts.   this network was designed and maintained by 'wealth managers.'

oxfram estimates that 50 percent of the world's wealth will be held by 1 percent of the population.  this doesn't just happen.  wealth managers have the job of keeping the wealth out of the hands of governments, litigants, divorces spouses and disgruntled heirs.

cook island trusts

apparently the ultimate protection is offered by a trust held in the cook islands.  no government or litigant has been able to break into one of these.

the wealth managers also help clients swap passports so that they can avoid the pesky requests of their nations' tax collection agencies.

travel without passports

examples of travel around europe on private jets to private airports to private limo's all without customs and passport inspection.

the wealth management profession as someone who 'gets things done'

working in obscurity and anonymity from simple nondescript offices, these wealth managers are the people that know how to get things done and skirt the law.  they keep their clients off the radar of the press, police and regulatory agencies.

many of their clients had wealth that exceeded the gdp of nations.  they considered themselves above the law and international citizens.

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Debt

It’s not the lending (debt), it’s the interest. Interest = growth. Perpetual growth = collapse. 

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debt is not loaning 'saved resources'

rhare wrote;

I agree that debt in and of itself is not the issue. Debt is one person/entity lending saved resources to another and expecting something for that risk.

so that is the issue as i understand it -- loans issued by banks are not coming from saved resources

the money banks loan out is made from nothing. 

those empowered to create money initially have unbelievable advantage over those who must repay that same loan using real resources and real labor.

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Debt in Dissipative Energy Systems

Afridev,

We're probably saying the same thing just in different ways. At some point the debt obligations in a dissipative energy system become unpayable. In that sense a debt based monetary system is incompatible with our current energy predicament. That's why I think it'll go down the way I described above. Just my opinion of course.

Edit: To catch SP's point as well;

those empowered to create money initially have unbelievable advantage over those who must repay that same loan using real resources and real labor.

Yep, to turn a phrase from Spiderman, "with great power comes great irresponsibility". The corruption in office hasn't helped - printed money entering politics and so on. Unelected people choosing winners and losers... Non-prosecution of financial fraud within large institutions...

All the best,

Luke

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Not a specialist in finance

Not a specialist in finance and economics, so I'm not pretending that I know all the ins and outs around 'unhealthy debt'. As I work in the domain of 'resilience' I often have to look into the underlying causes of vulnerability and separate the symptoms/ effects from the causes. Are urbanisation, immigration, conflict, environmental degradation causes for problems? Yes, of course they are. But if you continue to dig deeper you'll find that these too are only the outcomes of underlying causes.

What you describe is a corrupted and/or inequitable system around debt and the abuse of power. From my perspective debt has been used to skew physical limitations and as a tool around gaining/ maintaining power/ resources. Eliminate all debt that exists now and in no time we'll be in the same problems concerning debt we are in now. You want to solve the issues? You need to address the underlying causes. Dig deep enough and you get to physical restrictions and belief systems.

Again, I don't see the contradiction between our viewpoints; is there an error in my reasoning?

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Luke
Luke Moffat wrote:

At some point the debt obligations in a dissipative energy system become unpayable. In that sense a debt based monetary system is incompatible with our current energy predicament.

Yes, I agree. I think that the economy is a trailing proxy for the physical world. Ultimately it will have to follow reality...

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all debt isn't bad

Self-liquidating debt is fine.  If you are buying solar panels using debt, and the panels will generate a 15% ROI per year in reduced electric bills, and you're paying 6% to borrow the money, that's a wise choice, assuming you will continue to use electricity.  Even if this debt is created by a bank, from nothing, it is still fine if the debt is self-liquidating.  I would argue that removing this power would constrain our ability as a society to execute its transition.

Ultimately, self-liquidating debt improves society as a whole, because the money you borrowed into existence ultimately ends up paying for itself, with some extra on top.

Its the non-self-liquidating debt that is the problem.  That's the real cause of the slavery we see today.

Perhaps everyone already knows this, but eliminating debt itself is a bad idea (never mind it is impossible - its a natural human act to borrow something you don't have, cups of sugar from the neighbor, etc).  Even in a declining net resources situation, the ability to take on self-liquidating debt must remain.  How else could we as a society possibly afford to buy those Mr. Fusion devices?  Or whatever other mitigation resources we will need to produce and deploy during any transition we might be about to experience.

Of course, you have to be careful about the assumptions you make where you assess a debt as self-liquidating, and that might be tricky in a downturn.

Steve Keen suggested that we keep home mortgage debt under control by regulation: banks cannot lend more than some (conservative) multiple of rental income that the house would provide if it were rented on the open market; I think his number might have been 10x or 12x rental income.  That's a form of the same concept.

Of course that would promptly cut home prices by 50% - more in some areas - so that would NOT be popular among the homeowner crowd...

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One Step Beyond
davefairtex wrote:

Even in a declining net resources situation, the ability to take on self-liquidating debt must remain.  How else could we as a society possibly afford to buy those Mr. Fusion devices?  Or whatever other mitigation resources we will need to produce and deploy during any transition we might be about to experience.

Of course, you have to be careful about the assumptions you make where you assess a debt as self-liquidating, and that might be tricky in a downturn.

It might even go beyond issuing self-liquidating debt for production of viable mitigation resources. One of the ideas I've been toying with is whether central governments will throw large sums of borrowed currency at energy production facilities - I'm specifically thinking of nuclear fission reactors here. The point being that if they don't the currency becomes worthless anyway as there isn't an economy in which to spend it. I'm wondering if that was the same thinking behind solar power - until they realised how expensive it would be combined with the fact that it doesn't actually achieve energy parity in areas of moderate insolation.

From the outside looking in, of course.

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One More Thing
davefairtex wrote:

Even in a declining net resources situation, the ability to take on self-liquidating debt must remain.  How else could we as a society possibly afford to buy those Mr. Fusion devices?  

Just a question regarding this; if fusion was viable wouldn't private capital already be invested?

Again, shooting from the hip here but I think complex energy sources and distribution systems is what broke capitalism. The large up front cost probably dissuades private finance from taking the risk. Once you include the lengthy delays in generating an actual return that'd be the nail in the coffin - let the public/state take the risk instead. Better to go and boost real estate prices (until that stops working)

I get the sense that we'll witness an alternative financial system - sort of like a bastardisation of Marx. Rather than industrial societies reaching a state of abundance in which the surplus is distributed 'evenly', the state will just create currency to build power stations (along with other non-helpful stuff too). It'd be interesting to see how EDf's construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant affects their finances before abandoning the private model but I've got one eye on the sheer number of reactors required to transition from fossil fuels to nuclear in the condensed time frames demanded.

Edit: I recognise that colossal government spending contradicts the 8 points I mention above - again, just thinking out loud. In all probability I doubt those in power would take the risk on building so many nuclear power plants in case of an incident - much easier to stamp on the poor...

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Museum

Here is another kind of museum, which may portend of the next empire and what we might expect.

http://tibetmuseum.org/

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davefairtex wrote:Perhaps
davefairtex wrote:

Perhaps everyone already knows this, but eliminating debt itself is a bad idea (never mind it is impossible - its a natural human act to borrow something you don't have, cups of sugar from the neighbor, etc).  Even in a declining net resources situation, the ability to take on self-liquidating debt must remain.  How else could we as a society possibly afford to buy those Mr. Fusion devices?  Or whatever other mitigation resources we will need to produce and deploy during any transition we might be about to experience.

While debt has always been around, it only recently formed the basis of the economy. For most of human history, debt had little to no inclusion in the monetary system and society got by just fine. We could get by today perfectly fine in a hard gold standard with no debt money. 

Debt is for growing the economy. Since the economy will soon stop growing, there is no need for debt in the monetary system. 

The reason people think we need debt to buy mr. Fusion is because we are all debt slaves where 1% of the population owns 50% of stuff, or something like that. We have no reference frame to understand a society where there is no need for debt.  If we had a fair wealth ownership distribution then quite simplyy, if someone wanted a Mr. Fusion... He/she'd just go buty it and wouldn't need to go into debt. You'd just save up for a few months and buy it. 

I argue that once we end debt serfdom and restore a more equitable wealth distribution, most of the economic problems we face today would automatically fix themselves. Those problems are merely symptoms of extreme wealth inequality. 

 

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Debt throughout history
Mark_BC wrote:

While debt has always been around, it only recently formed the basis of the economy. For most of human history, debt had little to no inclusion in the monetary system and society got by just fine. We could get by today perfectly fine in a hard gold standard with no debt money. 

Debt is for growing the economy. Since the economy will soon stop growing, there is no need for debt in the monetary system. 

The link above with an interview with Michael Hudson is very interesting.  I'd recommend reading the whole thing, but this passage illustrates that debt has been a part of recorded human history, throughout every era, and played a huge role in keeping things organized as they are (hierarchically):

[Hudson] Well, from the very beginning, after working on Wall Street, I realized something that should be mathematically obvious. The debts now today are too large to be paid without bankrupting society and polarizing it, in much the way that has occurred again and again in history.

It occurred in Rome, it occurred earlier in Sparta. You have a constant historical movement here.

So my focus primarily was to trace the history of debt cancellations. 

What I realized is that when Luke 4 reports the first speech of Jesus, when he goes to the temple and gives his first sermon, he unrolls the Scroll of Isaiah, and says he has come to proclaim the Jubilee year …. The word he used, and that Isaiah used, the deror, was this Babylonian, Near Eastern long tradition that was common throughout the whole Near East. 



Now most of the Biblical translations miss this point. They were translated in the 17th and 16th century, when people didn’t know cuneiform, so they had no idea what these words meant and what the background of the Jubilee year was.

And 50 years ago, there was almost a universal idea that the Jubilee year was something idealistic, utopian, and could never actually be applied in practice. But we know that in Babylonia, Sumer and Near Eastern regions, it was applied in practice. Not only do we have the royal proclamations, we have the lawsuits by debtors saying “This creditor didn’t forgive me the debt,” and the judgments for that.

Each member of Hammurabi’s dynasty after him ending up with this great grandson Ammi-Saduqa had more and more detailed anderarum acts, debt cancellations, to close all the loopholes that creditors tried to resort to. 

So what Jesus was referring to was a very tangible fight. In his time, this was the fight throughout Greece, it was the fight throughout the whole ancient world – the fight to promote debt cancellation.

The Dead Sea Scrolls show this. For instance, Melchizedek 12 is a huge midrash of all of the Biblical citations of the Jubilee year, tying them together. And we now understand that the Dead Sea Scrolls were not a sectarian Essene product, but they were basically the library of the Temple of Jerusalem, that was sent and put in these caves for safekeeping during the civil wars. 



So what Jesus was referring to was what was the class war between creditors and debtors that swept throughout the whole period, including Rome itself. This has not been clear to most people who think they’re taking a literal version of the Bible.

It’s very funny that the people who call themselves fundamentalist Christians will have dioramas of dinosaurs and human beings all sharing the same landscape, literally. But what they ignore is, if you take the Bible literally, it’s the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation.

(Source - relink)

The class war between the creditors and debtors is a very old story.  Later int he piece he goes on to recount how new rulers would not forgive debts to be kind to their ruled over subjects but to free those same people (read: property) up for service in the king's/ruler's armies and other projects.

The main difference I can see, and to your point about the role of debt in the money system, and to the main point of my essay above, is that once a debt represented actual hard-money wealth that was first earned before it was lent out, and now it is merely a fractional-reserve representation of money that is first conjured and then lent.

The difference is huge!  

It looks like, smells like and acts like money, but it isn't wealth!  It isn't tied to reality.  It wasn't earned first.  It was conjured.

One hundred years ago Frederick Soddy, the Nobel Prize winning chemist, also converted his reality-based observations of such things as energy, wealth and savings, into a comprehensive view of why modern banking was both operating against nature's laws and a thinly-disguised scam:

Debts are subject to the laws of mathematics rather than physics.

Unlike wealth, which is subject to the laws of thermodynamics, debts do not rot with old age and are not consumed in the process of living. On the contrary, they grow at so much per cent per annum, by the well-known mathematical laws of simple and compound interest …

For sufficient reason, the process of compound interest is physically impossible, though the process of compound decrement is physically common enough.

Because the former leads with the passage of time ever more and more rapidly to infinity, which, like minus one, is not a physical but a mathematical quantity, whereas the latter leads always more slowly towards zero, which is, as we have seen, the lower limit of physical quantities

[Wealth, page 70].

(Source - an awesome read for those interested)

Yep, perpetual compound interest shares a motto with Buss Lightyear - To infinity and beyond!

Real wealth is created and then degrades back towards zero, while debt based compound accumulations head off towards infinity.  You can keep that charade going until it runs into reality and collides.

Spoiler alert:  Reality always wins that battle.

That's why I liked Thc0655's linked article above so much.  It argues that the long turning away from reality is swinging the other way.  For cultural reasons.  I've been arguing that reality will come back into vogue for resource reasons.  If neither of those come first then it will be for mathematical exhaustion of the debt to infinity narrative.

Yes, we live in interesting times.  :)

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free markets

Luke-

I'm not entirely convinced the market for these Mr Fusion devices is free.

In the old days, the car manufacturers bought up all the electric streetcar companies and - presto, no more streetcars.

In some sense, back in the day, US/modern society was architected by the car companies and oil to their benefit - via tax policy, government spending (on roads, vs rail), and direct company action.

Do we think they've stopped doing this?

How much of where we are today was simply accident, and how much was architected behind the scenes?

Big Tobacco got away with saying "smoking doesn't cause cancer" literally for decades.  Their product kills people.

How many inventions that went against Big Oil were swallowed up, never to see the light of day?  If we imagine that major, powerful, political operators knock off their enemies, as do government, would this be beyond the pale for a multi-trillion-dollar multinational group?

Oil is liquid hegemonic power - US Navy controls the sea lanes - if we got off oil, the US Navy would no longer be nearly as influential.

Of course I have no proof.  But if such a thing did appear, it would threaten the international order.  Would national/international resources be brought to bear on the unlucky inventor?

I mean, if you were MBS, and you had a trillion-dollar national oil company IPO coming next year (and/or your wealth, and all your relatives' wealth, and your nation's place in the world depended on oil remaining the master resource), and some yahoo invented Mr. Fusion, wouldn't you arrange for him to have a weightlifting accident?

If I were MBS, and I weren't such a nice guy, I'd consider having a team in place for just such an occasion.

Perhaps MBS - or his Uncle - has an entire secret basement full of prototype Mr Fusion devices.  Who can say?

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Debt slaves

I cannot vouch for it being real, but this image of a student loan balance has been making the rounds:

I've seen and heard of plenty of other similar stories so I'm inclined to believe it.

If that's not a debt slave, I don't know what is.

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Debt Serfs

I prefer the concept of debt serfdom. Slavery means no freedom.

In the Middle Ages under feudalism serf were tied to the land. They actually had some freedoms as long as the Lord got his cut of their production. 

In modern times feudalism has been streamlined and costs have been cut by tying the serfs to debt. As always the question arises of why the serfs tolerate this and don;t rise up. The answer is quite simple. The new serfs are given the illusion of freedom. These are enshrined in the Constitution. Why on earth would serfs rise up when they have freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, free speech etc. etc. It is entirely beside the point as to whether these freedoms actually exist.

Thus serfs are not only willing to tolerate their serfdom but actually participate in enforcing it.

As an example I was recently at a music festival. There is a tent devoted to gospel music and I happen to like gospel music. The groups were primarily black. At one particular time one group asked everyone to stand for the national anthem. Now I get patriotism but I don't get descendants of people who had been slaves for generations, who have been economically and politically marginalized and disproportionately imprisoned could possibly wish to sing a war song of a nation that to this day continues to oppress them, during a presentation of spiritual music. I don't think cognitive dissonance goes far enough as a descriptive term.

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Mohammed Mast wrote: I don't
Mohammed Mast wrote:

I don't think cognitive dissonance goes far enough as a descriptive term.

Cognitive disassociation?  

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Take on debt!

If we're subscribing to the Ka-Poom theory, then we should take on debt to buy real assets, because we're going to end up with inflation, which will wipe out our debts and leave us with the tangible assets. 

If there's no deflation and we go directly to Poom, it's all the more reason to take on debt now.

Just make sure you fix the rate of interest and the repayments are manageable.

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Thumbs up!
SagerXX wrote:
Mohammed Mast wrote:

I don't think cognitive dissonance goes far enough as a descriptive term.

Cognitive disassociation?  

Good one. :)

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Disassociation

Clinically I don't think so. 

Symptoms and signs of dissociative disorders depend on the type and severity, but may include:
  • Feeling disconnected from yourself.
  • Problems with handling intense emotions.
  • Sudden and unexpected shifts in mood – for example, feeling very sad for no reason.
  • Depression or anxiety problems, or both.
  •  

 

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Mo Mast Wrote: "Feeling

Mo Mast Wrote:

"Feeling disconnected from yourself.
Problems with handling intense emotions.
Sudden and unexpected shifts in mood – for example, feeling very sad for no reason.
Depression or anxiety problems, or both."

I get those symptoms every time I read or see world news. But Considering I think the world has gone completely insane, these would be considered as normal reactions. 

 

 

 

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feminine
 
"One missing element from today?  Reverence for the goddess, for the feminine.  I cannot think of a single western homage paid to the feminine.  No temples to the goddesses and no elevation of feminine attributes.
 
This is important to note, not because we wish to bash the masculine, but because anything out of balance requires rebalancing. In fact, re-elevating the feminine will actually bring honor and meaning back to the masculine." from https://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/113979/end-our-empire-approaches
 
 
Dear Chris, thank you for this excellent piece. I agree that reverence for the feminine is critical and is sorely lacking in our culture. Reverence for the feminine, however, is NOT entirely gone. "As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary has a unique position among the saints, indeed, among all creatures. She is exalted, yet still one of us." http://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/mary/index.cfm
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about devotion to the blessed Mother; her feminine influence on me is strong, and perhaps enkindling a relationship between her and you would be beneficial. Peace be with you.
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On the feminine
finanindecia wrote:
Dear Chris, thank you for this excellent piece. I agree that reverence for the feminine is critical and is sorely lacking in our culture. Reverence for the feminine, however, is NOT entirely gone. "As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary has a unique position among the saints, indeed, among all creatures. She is exalted, yet still one of us."
 
Thank you for saying that, it's true She's not entirely gone, and I also agree with an earlier poster that the Virgin Mary is but a very thin slice of the feminine attributes and in no way comprehensive.  
 
To fully love someone, or revere something, that is done wihtout conditions.  We cannot love the moss in the forest but exclude or despise the trees and say we love nature.  It's a package deal.  Love and reverence cannot be conditional, and if they are, then we have to term them something else.
 
We might ascribe these feminine attributes to the Virgin Mary, and they are all good and wonderful:

Receptivity

Empathy

Radiance  

Nurturing

Tenderness

Patience

Loving

The feminine is also the source of all true power.  She is the giver of life.  In the form expressed by Kali, she is also the remorseless taker of life if/when the masculine disrespects her.
 
She is alos the essense of sensuality and sexuality, two extremly powerful states that the church, in its own quest for power, subverted and banished to dole out under its own terms ("no sex before marriage, and we control that institution...")
 
She is also Artemis, the huntress and maiden, capable and competent.  
 
And she is Venus, with beauty flowing effortlessly out of her, as well as the crone, wise and deeply connected.  
 
There are so many feminine archetypes and they are all equally valid and important.  Here's a very partial list of Greek goddesses, each distinct and complex and animated:
 

Hygea

Goddess of good health, cleanliness, and sanitation. This is where the word “hygiene” comes from. Iris Greek goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. She is also known as one of the goddesses of the sea and the sky.

Kotys

A Dionysian goddess whose celebrations were wild and lascivious.

Lachesis

Second of the Three Fates, the measurer of the thread of life woven by Clotho’s spindle which determines Destiny. 

Maia

Eldest of the seven Pleiades and the greek goddess of fields.

Mania

Spirit goddess of insanity, madness, crazed frenzy and the dead.

Melpomene One of the Muses.

Originally the muse of singing, she then became the muse of tragedy. Merope One of the seven Pleiades and married to king Sisyphos of Ephyra.

Metis

Titan goddess of wisdom, an Oceanid, and the first great spouse of Zeus.

Nemesis 

The goddess of retribution and personification of vengeance.

Nike

Goddess of victory, known as the Winged Goddess of Victory.

Nyx

Primordial goddess of the night. Peitho Greek goddess of persuasion and seduction.

Persephone

Goddess of vegetation and spring and queen of the underworld. Lives off-season in the underworld as the wife of HADES.

(Source)

So the feminine as I am using the term draws upon the many cultures that revered the full and wide expression of the feminine all the way from the loving archetype of Mary, to Nemesis the goddess of retribution and personification of vengeance.
 
The feminine is, of course, deeply complex and it shall be through our reverence, faith, support and trust that SHE will return to balance here....if not Kali (mother earth) will be perfectly content to chop off all our heads.  
 
To me the Virgin Mary represents several central and important feminine attributes and yet she is not the entirety of what I refer to when I speak of feminine attributes.  So thank you for the opportunity to expand and clarify.
 
P.S.  The only place I have personally been to that dedicated an entire buildng/shrine to the Virgin Mary was in Mexico and what's interesting is that the Church at the time was confronted by the fact that the local traditions and belief systems *had* to have a place for the feminine.  So one was made.    Are there any others in the US or Europe?
 
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Marian Doctrine is much, much older than Mexico.

P.S.  The only place I have personally been to that dedicated an entire buildng/shrine to the Virgin Mary was in Mexico and what's interesting is that the Church at the time was confronted by the fact that the local traditions and belief systems *had* to have a place for the feminine.  So one was made.    Are there any others in the US or Europe?

"Confronted by the fact of the feminine"? Sheese. Mary was declared "Mother of God" with shrine after shrine created long before the Church even knew Mexico existed. Doctrine holds that Mary was the first sinless human, the "New Eve". I don't think the Catholic Church cared a whit what the Indian "feminine culture" was (or was not). She was responding to a reported Marian miracle, not the first time, nor the last, from dozens of countries and cultures.

Anyway, a Marian shrine is just a shrine marking an apparition or miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a site centered a strong Marian devotion. Europe is ground zero for this. For example, Lourdes receives 5,000,000 pilgrims/year (In France only Paris has more hotel rooms). 1,000,000+ pilgrims per year visit the Black Madonna statue at the Chapel of Grace in Altötting, Germany, where for more than 500 years miracles have been attributed to praying to the Virgin Mary at that shrine.

To see the massive list of shrines: see this.

jennifersam07's picture
jennifersam07
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2012
Posts: 113
realization is happening

Thus is the current debt model eroding social cohesion. Chris, I think you're closer than you realise when you say "social anarchy". Once this becomes widely understood I expect the response will be a reduction of productivity amongst the working (non-asset owning) class.

This is happening now. Witness the difficulty in finding 'skilled' workers for manufacturing. It is a global problem; some of it is demographic, but it also reflects the awakening of young people to the reality that the system is hopelessly unjust and they are refusing to engage. 'Capitalism is dead,' they tell me. 'The American dream is dead. Why should I become a slave to a job that will never allow me to build real wealth, only go into debt.'

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