Sunday, January 28, 2007


Quilombos started as illegal, autonomous human communities in Brazil. Mostly made up of escaped slaves, there were also indigenous Brazilians and disenfrachized settlers of European decent. People of the Quilombos militarily resisted destruction by the Brazilian military and bounty hunters. The most famous of the communities was Palmares, which existed for 94 years before being defeated (after a string of victories) by the Portugeuse military. At its height, Palmares population was 30,000.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! Chapter 11 (Mani, Gnostics, Yellow Turbans; State Religion Christians rule through Rome's splintering)


The Roman Empire continues to decompose rapidly-but not rapidly enough for the resisters. Every year brings new surprises; every season more springs pop, more wheels get jammed. But the artificial worm lingers on, and it keeps on lingering far too long for any resistance movement to remain what it was.

It must be remembered that machines have the perverse ability to do the same thing the same way for as long as they operate. The ability is built into machines. But people do not have this ability. They change, they die, they are replaced by others who perceive and behave differently.

The early resisters have some clear and powerful conceptions; the generations that follow them eventually invert every one of these conceptions and turn the initial commitment on its head.

In retrospect we can see that the paths of betrayal are already paved before anyone has recourse to them, but this tells why the betrayal follows these paths, not why the betrayal takes place.

I think the explanation is to be sought in the Leviathan first, and only secondly in the baggage inherited by the initial resisters.

The Leviathan places human beings in a situation they do not meet anywhere else in the Biosphere except in rare places like Sumer. In Sumer, the weather dried the fields up or else washed them away, not once or twice in a lifetime, but over and over again. Nowhere else, not in lands that border on ice nor in lands that border on sand, does Nature force human beings to become mirror images of their disasters. The Leviathan places every person it can reach in such a situation. Its tribute collectors, recruiters, procurers, rapists and cheaters beat on people with the regularity of a clock, forcing them into constant defensive responses which gradually also take on the regularity of a clock.

The rebels who take part in the feasts of Agape, in the festivals of rebirth and rejuvenation, suddenly or gradually withdraw from tasks expected of them by the guardians of Roman order.

The State responds to this withdrawal by maligning, persecuting and incarcerating resisters, even forcing some of them into arenas with unfed lions for the amusement of the circus crowds.

The resisters try to protect themselves by forging links outside the Agape feasts, even by seeking protectors among the guards. This is understandable in view of the persecution, but we can already see, with hindsight, that such links, which do not grow out of love and are not based on sharing, will in time form a noose which will strangle the initial commitment. The resisters are forming links which will bind them into what militants of our day will call The Organization.

Initially the rebellious visionaries were at one with every life-affirming strain, and they apparently borrowed freely from all of them. But as soon as they define themselves as Christains, they have to make it clear, to their patrons and to themselves, just how they differ from the followers of Moses, from enthusiasts of Mithra, from celebrants of Isis, Osiris and Serapis. And as soon as they make this clear, they have ton convince themselves that their own group has the most valid or the truest conception; if another group had it they would not have very good reasons for remaining Christians.

Once they turn away from other resisters, it does not take the Christians long to turn against them. The Christians are no longer at one with every life-affirming group. First they turn against the way others affirm life, gradually they turn against life.

At this point they find ready-made formulas--the paths paved for them by forerunners. "There shall be no other gods before me." This puts an end to Isis, Osiris and Serapis. The Christians add insult to injury by calling former friends Idolaters. This is shouted in extremely bad faith. The Christians know perfectly well that Isis and her brother are powerful symbols of primordial events, symbols which the Christians have attached to their own Jesse, whom they now call Jesus. They are shouting Idolatry without looking into their own baggage, without seeing that the abstraction they've inherited from the old Book, the King of Kings, the abstraction of Lugalzaggizi, symbolizes nothing primordial or even natural. They are shouting Idolatry without remembering that they are the ones lugging around an Idol to every part of the world.

The Organization seems to have its own logic. Some members are better than others at explaining away the ido in their closet, and these quickly become the Sheperds; the title of those who do not explain things so well is obvious. Soon there's talk of shepherds who mislead their flocks, of false prophets. But who can tell which prophet is false? Only the most conscious of the Shepherds; these are now called Presbyters and Deacons. But even Deacons err, and their errors can only be spotted by a Deacon of Deacons, a Bishop.

Each group of participants in an Agape feast becomes a Church. The past engagements of many of these Christians predispose them to accept some kind of hierarchic arrangement. They had though of Osiris as a Leader with Apostles. Many of them had thought of themselves as followers of the leader Moses.

Even so, to many of them the Churches are starting to look like provinces of the Roman Empire; all that missing is the Emperor. And an armored Roman who manages to rise to the post of Bishop now announces that the groupings are real churches only if their bishops are "appointed by Peter and Paul;: he means by a self-appointed spokesman for Peter and Paul, like himself.

* * *

The resisters' descendants have backed away from the monster's mirror image into its jaws. Many of them know it, and the shepherds have to prevaricated quickly and sharply in order not to lose their flocks. They borrow Darius's trick of wearing Ahura Mazda as an outer garment. The Hierarchs present themselves as the door to salvation. But everyone can see that the hierarchs lead nowhere, that they maintain themselves in power over congregations just like Roman officials.

So the Church officials borrow another trick from the Persians. They locate Salvation in the realm of the dead. And who can be sure the Bishop is not the door to such a salvation?

The church will go far along the same road, but already there are resisters who dissociate themselves from Christians for the same reasons earlier resisters withdrew from Imperial Rome.

Visionaries called Gnostics reject all attempts to organize counter-monsters in order to oppose the monster that shackles the world. They say the Archons, especially the Archon of Archons in the old testament, do not only enslave the body but also hold captive the spirit of human beings, encase the spirit in armor, put people to sleep. The Gnostics aim to remove the armor, to wake from sleep, and they insist that such awakening can only come if one remembers the primordial events that gave rise to the monster, not if one forgets.

In Anatolia, where Cybele once danced, the spirit of the initial resistance is kept alive and deepened by a large circle around prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilia and a man called Montanus. These people are convinced the empire is falling dand do all they can to help it fall quickly, going so far as to refuse to produce children for the Roman legions and plantations. They interpret "the kingdom of god is within you" to mean that every man as well as every woman is a potential visionary. They will later be liquidated by the Christian Church for their failure to repress the humanity of women. The official Christians do not acknowledge this group's prophetesses, and refer to the group as Montanists, after the man. Those in Prscilla's circle consider the lies and compromises of the official Christians abominations and are convinced such Christians will find Paradise neither in this world nor in any other.

Many other resisters turn away from the Romanization of the Christians. Some rejoin the circles around Isis and continue to affirm and experience the joy of Earth's generation and regeneration.

Others are drawn to the visions of a man called Mani, who embraces the liberating insights of Buddhists, Zarathustrians, Gnostics and early Christians, but rejects the Old Testament and its Leviathanic god. Mani's formulations spread from Persia throughout the Roman Empire and as far eastward as the Chinese wall, but Mani himself falls victim to the Shahanshah, the King of Kings of a reconditioned Persian Empire.

The Parthian Empire fizzled out when the legions led by Roman Trajan, and then those dispatched by Roman Marcus Aurelius, sapped Parthia's last strength. The vacuum was not filled by Zarathustrian light, but by the army of a Persian called Ardashir, grandson of Sassan, who proclaimed himself King and later Shahanshah by the grace of Ahura Mazda.

It is in this context that Mani, a young Zarathustrian familiar with Greek philosophy and with various strains of the resistance movement in the Roman world, experiences a vision. He sees the wealth and power of the new Persian rulers as gifts of light-devouring Ahriman, not of Ahura Mazda.

Hounded out of Persia by the Zarathustrian priesthood he exposes, Mani finds refuge among Indian Buddhists who confirm what he already knows, namely that the Leviathan is not the ultimate reality, that it is no reality at all.

Mani returns to reconditioned Persia during the more tolerant reign of King Shapur, but he can see that the people loved by Zarathustra, the seed planters and harvesters who celebrate Earth's life-giving powers, are the most oppressed people in the realm, subject to unbearable land taxes, personal taxes, forced labor and military recruitment.

Mani does no reconcile himself to the dark Leviathanic world. He's convinced that light will prevail, even if fourteen hundred years of unceasing fire are needed to burn the monster down. King Shapur's successor Vahram imprisons the aging rebel, and established Zarathustrian priests have him murdered in prison.

* * *

West of Persia, the vast shell still called the ROman Empire comes so undone from its human contents that the huges sprawl literally loses all rhyme or reason.

The armored legions, with all their advanced technologies, still overrun the provinces from one extremity to another, but the legions are no longer limbs of the artificial worm; they, too have come loose; they function for not other purpose than their own.

The monster no longer has a head, since the metropolis itself had been reduced to merely another province, merely another object for plunder for the most powerful legion.

Emperor Severus Septimus parades the head of his predecessor in Rome, but the viewing of such a spectacle is the only privilege still available to those who live in the capital. The Senate has long been a powerless relic. Laws are made and implemented by Praetorian guards and military strongmen recruited form other provinces.

Christians and other resisters are persecuted. Freeholders are squeezed into debt and reduced to the same status as the slaves: they are serfs on Latifundia owned by absentee military heroes.

Emperor Carcalla imposes yet another burdensome tax by calling all subjects Citizens and therefore accountable for citizenship tax, payable in kind by serfs.

The activity of the whole enserfed population goes to feed the hated legions, and the central aim of each legion is to raise its strongman to the post of Emperor.

The inner putrefaction of the Roman Leviathan is so advanced that none can grasp why this monster still stands. There are no longer poets or architects who ornament the brutality. The only thoughts expressed are the thoughts of resisters. The only thoughts about Rome are speculations about the agency that will at long last topple the lingering carcass.

The agency that actually toplles the already decomposed Roman Leviathan takes the form of federated tribes who issue out of the Eurasian steppes. These tribes are not provoked into mtion by Rome alone but by the entire Leviathanic complex that now stretches over Eurasia's southern half.

In China, peasants inspired by Tao, the Way, dress up in yellow turbans, arm themselves with any tool that can serve as a weapon, and try to drive Leviathan out of their part of the world.

While Chinese occupiers of the Tarim Basin return to China to repress the peasants, the occupiers' armored accomplices hasten to replace the former occupiers and overrun the lands of communities of Hsiung-nu. Many Hsiung-nu stay on their home grounds and defend themselves; their descendants will overrun China itself three or four generations later.

Other Hsiung-nu flee westward. They will be called Huns when they reach the borders of Rome.

During the reign of Severus Septiums and his successor, these Huns form federations with Alans, Goths and other Steppe peoples and attack the caravans that move between Rome and the Tarim Basin; it is possible that they hold ancient grudges against the cheating merchants who lead these caravans, but we will not know.

The attacks of the Steppe peoples and the counter-attacks by Roman and Persian armies et off waves of motion in every part of Eurasia. Goths, Alans, Huns and others turn up on the northern borders of Persia, in Anatolia, even in Thrace by sea. Franks federated with Turkic-speaking Alans invade the Gallic provinces known later as France and Spain.

These people do not come to recondition the Roman Leviathan but to bury it; they use Roman scultures and inscriptions as stones in the walls of their lodges.

Rome responds to the newcomers as it had responded to the Dacians: by enslaving and massacring them. But some of Rome's legions are defeated by federations of newcomers, and in one province after another, Roman soldiers and sometimes whole legions join forces with the newcomers against Rome.

* * *

And then something no one had expected happens. It happens the very year when Hsiung-nu and other nomads at Eurasia's opposite extrmity overrun and dismember the Chinese empire.

A strongman and his legion of largely Christian soldiers repress a rebellion in Britain and proceed to invade Italy, oust the ruling emperor, and install themselves in the seats of power. This strongman, a certain Constantine who worships Optimus Maximus as well as the Sun, attributes his victory to the god of his Christian soldiers, and he proclaims himself Christian.

Now the Emperor is the Pontifex Maximus, namely the high priest, not of Optimus but of Yahweh, and the abstraction of the Israelites becomes the god of Rome's legions. Constantine is Emperor by the grace of Jesus Christ, and the largest strain of the inner resistance movement is recuperated.

Henceforth the Christian god marches at the head of the ROman legions, and any god that marches at the head of ROman legions is a twin of Optimus Maxiums.

At the Council of Nicea, the newly-arrived theologian Constantine insists that the Father, the Son and the Ghost are on the same level and of the same stuff. The Son is no longer Osiris-Serapis the reborn. All three are now a new three-headed abstraction, and their collective attributes are those of Optiumus Maximus. The Father is no problem to the counciling theologians since He already had the attributes of Optimus. But the Son cannot be so brutally reduced and inverted. Ah, but he can be. Caligula and Nero demonstrated that the Emperor of Rome can do anything. Constantine demonstrates this again.

All those who object to such a mutilation are called Schismatics and Heretics. The resistance has come to power, but its first aim is to liquidate all resistance. The wars of Israelites against Ammonites, Edomites and Moabites are now remembered as precedents for a holy war, and now the persecutors of the resisters wear the halos.

Optimus Maximus has not concerned himself (or itself) with the affairs of other deities. But now that Optimus is converted into Yahweh the jealous god who wants no other gods before, bside or behind him, this god proclaims an unprecedented war against all other gods--unprecedented everywhere except Judaea.

The first to fall before the armored idol of idols are the gods who symbolize primordial natural events: Isis, Osiris, Serapis, Mithra. And as soon as the field is cleared of all but Christians, the wrath of the theological legions turns against the Schismatics and Heretics in the midst of the Chistrians.

The heresy-hunt inverts every tenet the Christians had stood for. Henceforth, "I say unto you" will be heard only from the mouth of Pontifex Maximus; any other individual who expresses his vision will be a false prophet or, worse yet, Satan's tool.

The stories told by four friends of the crucified Jesus are slapped between the covers of a book, called The Gospels, and proclaimed to be the final words, the last testament. There will be no more visions, no more speculations, no more revelations, no more dreams. If Optimus-Lugalzaggizi has anything to say to His congregation, he will say it to his congregation's officials.

The spears and daggers, the war engines of Rome's armies are now aimed, not only at invaders and conspirators, but also at the imaginations of dreamers and visionaries. The bars and fetters that had imprisoned bodies now incarcerated minds.

Gnostics no longer leave their studies. Manicheans flee for their lives. Anatolians inspired by Priscilla, Maximilia and Montanus to express themselves freely, to share their visions, will be repelled by the prospect of having Emperor Justinian's bishops forced on them; they will lock themselves up in their churches and set the churches on fire.

This is the moment when Christianity ceases to become a Way, a resistance movement, and becomes a religion, a cult. It no longer leads anywhere and it promises nothing, for its priests and bishops have already arrived and are exactly where they wanted to be: they are simultaneously shepherds of the cult and officials of the Roman Empire.

And now the sheep are told that the inhuman, unnatural brutality of Leviathan does no reside in the monster but in its victims!

The priests name the abomination Sin, and they lodge Sin in the individuals who suffer its ravages. Again the Old Testament serves the purposes of the armored legions, for it tells that the first woman was corrupted by Satan, ate forbidden fruit and fell from Eden, taking all her posterity with her. Roman woman-haters join forces with Moses and claim that the people are the ones who are corrupt, not the King of Kings.

Manicheans protest that the misfortunes of the people are miseries, not sins; that the perpetrators of the brutalities, not their victims, are the sinners. But Manicheans are now hunted down by Roman Christians as Christians were one hunted down by Roman Pagans.

The Roman Leviathan tries to recondition itself by swallowing its negation, but it is already too late. The Christian Emperor slouches toward Byzantium to found a new capital while Celtic Scots and Picts with painted bodies and armed with arrows invade the large island beyond the Empire's westernmost province, Franks and Visigoths settle permanently in Gaul, Alans and Goths and Huns show no respect whatever for Emperor Hadrian's wall.

And at last the artificial beast cracks. The Empire splits in two. Greek Byzantium becomes the new capital, but of only half the empire. The western provinces fall to the same fate as the westernmost island and by falling, the priests would now say, they sin, for they abandon the refinements conferred by Roman Civilization.

* * *

Sunday, January 21, 2007

This website seems cool:

Saturday, January 20, 2007

i'm in st. paul, mn right now. i need an insulated loin cloth, it's so cold.

i got accepted by Joe Hollis at Mountain Gardens to be an apprentice. 7 months, 1,000 species of medicinal plants, growing our own food, contra dancing in the Black Mountains of Western North Carolina- for 7 months, if everything goes right! can i get FUCK YEAH?!

Friday, January 19, 2007

what do i do when my foot's STILL broken?

About to start The Illuminatus! Trilogy, and just started The God of the Small Things

In reading about H.P. Lovecraft over at Fortean Times, I found mention of something called the (Cincinnati) Bate Cabal. Here they are.

Since I've publicly decided to be an agitator instead of a ghost, I have no problem sharing this with you. It's an article about airplanes, HERF guns and terrorists. WARNING: don't try to make a HERF gun. I heartily disendorse them. Not that a disclaimer counts for much, as was shown with what happened to the SHAC 7, but just saying no strings attached. I'm a Luddite anyway.

I want to puke up a few more links for ya's. One is the Infiltration Zineabout going places you're not supposed to go. The other one is Urban Freeflow, the official worldwide parkour/freerun network. O I wish my foot wasn't broken.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! Chapter 10 (Isis, Mithras, Jesus; the Roman Empire's beginning of the end)


The Persian King covered himself with the mantle of Light, of Ahura Mazda. The Christian Church will cover itself with the mantle of reborn Osiris. Both have to lie continually to deny that they've put the mantles over machinery and to keep the mantles from slipping off.

The fire that spews out of Leviathan's jaws is a stolen fire. It is stolen from those who come to burn the monster. Neither lives nor fire are freely given to the monster; both fall into it as a trap, and once inside they try to find a way out, to burn their way out.

The reign of Octavian Augustus the first Emperor of Rome is not a time of first things but of last things, it is not dawn but dusk. It is the time when the fourth beast, the beast with great iron teeth and ten horns, has already devoured the whole earth, has already tread it down, has already broken it in pieces.

O ye hypocrites, ye discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern
the signs of the times?

We will be trained. We will see the colossal architectural monuments rising up in the metropolis and will think they are beautiful, they are the signs of the times. We will hear the demented outcries of the idol-worshippers abandoning themselves to uncontrolled orgies and will think they are an abomination.

But there's sorcery in the air, for suddenly the orgies grow beautiful and the architectural monuments turn into abominations.

Anatolians once abandoned themselves to Cybele, Earth, mother of all Life. Greeks of Anatolia and Acheae once took part in orgies around Earth's daughter Demeter, the Grain that sprouts yearly from Cybele's womb, and around Persephone, Earth's granddaughter who caught and cradled the seeds in the nether world. The dance with Cybele and her brood was all that was real to them, all that had meaning. When the Greeks hurled themselves into war and commerce they tried to forget Cybele, but they still remembered her son the spear thrower and her daughter the huntress with the arrows, and they built shrines to Cybele's grandchildren, and they ornamented the shrines.

Roman legions carried off Greek builders and ornamentors, and now shrines rise up in Rome--but look closely: the ornamented shrines rising in Rome are not shrines to Cybele or to any of her grandchildren. Cybele's daughter Ceres-Demeter is remembered in Rome only by slaves, and not well remembered even by them. The copies rising up in Rome, copies on a colossal, intimidating scale, are absolutely empty. They are not shrines. They are nothing but monuments to the victories of Rome's legions, colossal monuments to colossal massacres. Rome's architecture is a celebration of human sacrifice. It is an abomination.

Roman celebrants of Death are raising their abominations in every provincial capital from the Nile to the Ebro. But the plazas in front of the rising monuments are becoming desolate. Only dead souls stay in the vicinity of the abominations and only bribes and circuses keep even the dead souls from abandoning the plazas. Living people are withdrawing. They sense in their guts that "This generation shall not pass."

On the Nile, people rush into their Temples to protect their gods from Roman architecture. It is a wonder there are still people in Egypt with such strength in them. They were bent by the weight of Persian tribute, emaciated by the burden of Greek Ptolemy's plunder, utterly destroyed when Roman generals grabbed all that was left and sent it to Rome. They have abandoned fields that were fertilized by the Nile since before the first Pharaoh, and rather than forcing the Nile to feed Rome, they are letting the fields revert to sand. Once the world's envy for their wealth of grain, they are beggars now; they barely eat.

Yet here they come, carrying dead Isis and her twin Osiris and the twin's double Serapis out of the Temples. It is the first time those stifled gods have been out in fresh air since the first wall was built around them.

And then the emaciated beggars perform a feat that seems superhuman for people in their condition. They begin to dance around the dead gods, they go on dancing, and the dance itself seems to give them strength, for they stop feeling the exhaustion and the misery, they feel weightless and free. And the eyes of the calf-like Isis seem to come alive, and her nostrils seem to breathe--surely this is a delusion; the goddess has been dead for a hundred and twenty generations.

Delusion or not, others who are less emaciated also see the gleam and feel the breath. Roman soldiers weighed down by their armors rush into the Temples that have not yet been turned into architecture, and they too rush out carrying Isis, Osiris and Serapis into the fresh air.

The soldiers carry the Egyptian deities to every region where Roman legions march, to every region from which soldiers are recruited; North Africa, Gaul, Italy itself, Greece, Anatolia, the Levant.

And everywhere people recognize in Isis their own abandoned past, their golden age. And they too withdraw from the architectural monuments, they too abandon the plazas, they too join the circles of dancers and feel strength returning to their limbs and meaning to their minds. They discover beauty far from the architectural wonders which are places of desolation.

Can ye discern the signs of the times?

Isis is neither an idol nor a cult, and she is not a stranger to any of the people who welcome her. Wherever she is carried, the people recognize her as Earth, abandoned and betrayed Earth, the mother and the daughter, the soil and the grain. The recognition brings people alive, and their life brings her alive.

It Italy Isis is recognized as Earth's daughter Ceres--we will still call her Cereal, but we will be trained to think farmers or agricultural zeks make the grain; some of us will think machines make it.

In Greece and Anatolia, Isis is recognized as Cybele's daughter Demeter, and her twin brother Osiris or Serapis is obviously and alter-ego of Demeter's daughter Persephone, the one who went underground, the one Demeter tries to bring back up.

And of course Isis is familiar to everyone on the Levant, even in Judaea. She's the one the fleeing Israelites danced around as soon as they reached the desert--until Moses chained them to his Law.

The reborn Osiris is also familiar on the Levant: he's the Babylonian Tammuz, the Anatolian Attis, the Greek Adonis. He rises every spring and descends every fall. He's all vegetation.

Just as new vegetation rises every spring, the dancers will rise renewed after the long night. They know this because they feel it in their limbs as they dance. A vanished strength is in their emaciated limbs. It is a strength which will vanquish all of Rome's legions.

Soldiers themselves are removing their armor. Those who don't find Osiris in Egypt find Mithras on the borders of Parthia, and they carry Mithra to every part of the realm. This Mithra was a minor light at the time of Zarathustra, but ever since Darius seized and extinguished the light of Ahura Mazda, people have been seeking the one who still carries the light. The Roman soldiers call him Mithras, the reborn, the carrier of Ahura Mazda's light. They take him as far as the British Isles. In many places Mithra merges with Osiris. Those who celebrate with Mithra acquire the fire with which to bring the new dawn.

Soldiers overthow their commanders; at times they desert in mass. Peasants leave their lands untilled in order to keep food from Roman tax gatherers. Urban people move to the country so as to avoid all participation in official activities. The well-known Jewish dropouts called Essenes stay away from Roman as well as Judaean burdens and obligations.

The forms vary. The withdrawal is vast and it keeps on growing. We would call it a generalized resistance with revolutionary overtones.

Unlike the first Persians, these resistors are not storming the Leviathan from outside. They are insiders; many but not all are zeks. Unlike the Israelites in Egypt, these resistors are not heading to a place outside, for they think there is no outside; the fourth beast has devoured the whole earth. Unlike Moses, these resistors are removing their armor before the great event, so as not to find themselves in the desert with nothing inside them but another Leviathan. Rome reveals all of Leviathan's qualities, and none are preparing to walk into a fifth beast's jaws. This is communicate in many ways; one way is: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Whatever else "the kingdom of heaven" may mean, it does not mean Babylon, Persia, Rome, nor any other Leviathan. And it does not mean Death--not yet. An ode quoted by Turner says,

And I became like the land which blossoms and rejoices in its fruits.

People are joyous, not because their end is at hand, but because its end is at hand. They're joyous because the new day will bring something as different from Leviathan as day is from night. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" for the living, and as a living paradise, an Eden, a golden age, a community of free human beings in harmony with Isis and Osiris and all of Cybele's children: plants as well as wolves, birds and fish as well as insects. Such a "kingdom" is a new dawn; it is the end of His-story, the end of Leviathanic time.

Furthermore, people are not waiting for the dawn. They are dancing already. They are recovering the lost community before the last day. They've stopped recognizing distinctions between masters and slaves; "neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common" as the later Book will say. They've started sharing while in the Leviathan's entrails. Sharing is the heart of the lost community. It is antithetical to Leviathan's very existence, as Shang Yang knew so well. By having all things in common, the resistors are melting the beast from within its entrails.

* * *

The decline of the Roman Empire began when Rome was still a Res Publica. What happens when Octavian becomes first emperor is that the decline picks up momentum. From now on Rome is in a continual state of rapid decomposition, and so is Leviathan itself.

Parthia is as riddled as Rome with resistance, withdrawal and outright rebellion.

And the third Leviathan, the one whose existence is barely suspected in Rome, is shaken by the Rebellion of the Red Turbans, which comes close to removing the segments from which another Chinese Dragon can reconstitute itself. The Chinese rebellion is probably not related to the movement at the western extremity of Eurasia, but this is not certain. People called Sarmatians or Alans are known to Chinese and also to Roman border guards. Farmers called Sakae in Turkestan will be found (by archeologists) to have Greek objects as well as Buddhas crafted in distinctly Greco-Roman styles and it well be determined that Sakae villages lie on the silk route between Rome and China. And the influence is not necessarily from west to east. The Way, Tao, could easily travel from China to the Mithra movement in Parthia, and thence to Rome with Mithras.

The Levantine province called Judaea is only one of the Roman provinces in which the various forms of withdrawal are combined, fused and reformulated. But this is the province which will give rise to world-embracing Christianity and Islam. In retrospect, it is a misfortune for nature and humanity that so much liberatory experience should pass through the gate of such a Leviathanized region. The ways in which the resistance will be deflected, neutralized and inverted are already in place in Judaea, and in fact precede the anti-Roman resistance.

Already in the days of the early Persians, soon after Isaiah announced that Cyrus had come "to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon," the scribe Ezra and his followers showed to what use they would put their freedom. They went from Babylon to the Levant as conquerors, imposed a Book written in Babylon on Jews who had remained in the Levant, and empowered by their Book and by Persian Artaxerxes, made themselves Judges. And as Judges they reversed the Persian policy of tolerance and returned to their own earlier tradition, turning against Phoenicians, Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites and Samaritans, preaching intolerance and hatred, prohibiting intermarriage with people less pure than themselves. They took prisoners into the dungeon and closed the seeing eyes. They established a Leviathan that had more in common with Assyria than with Persia because they carried within them the Sumero-Akkadian armor Moses had not been able to shed, because the god in their Temple was not an inverted Ahura Mazda but an abstracted Lugalzaggizi.

When Alexander's heirs swept the Persians from the Levant, Judaea was beset by hatred, intolerance and an ongoing civil war, but the lot of Judaeans grows yet worse when Pompey's Roman legion invades the Levant. The people defend themselves and they are devoured, sacrificed to the architectural monument Pompey raises in the capital. Thousands are sold by Pompey's businessmen into slavery.

By the time Emperor Augustus installs Herod as King of Judaea, the population in this province is as hungry for good news as the population of any other.

* * *

The resistance in Judaea will eventually be symbolized in an individual called Jesse or Joshua, a carpenter's son. The virtue of centering on an individual is that the subject is clear: the subject is a mortal, a living being, a person. It is difficult to say much about a collectivity without giving it Leviathanic traits, because a collectivity shares with a Leviathan some traits which an individual lacks. But the pitfalls of centering on an individual are the very ones that led earlier Israelites from the entrails of one beast into the jaws of another.

Actually, many of the pifalls are avoided by the Judaean resistance against the Fourth Kingdom because the Judaean resistance has more in common with the resistance elsewhere in the Roman Empire than it has with the heritage of Moses.

The "Follow me" theme is remarkably underplayed in a context where people cherish the memory of ancestors led out of captivity. This Jesse does not promise to lead them to any new Canaan, and instead of saying "Follow me," he says, "The kingdom of god is within you." This is something very different from "Follow me." This suggests that something is being repressed internally as well as externally, that liberation can only begin with self-liberation, that the repressive armor must be cast off or cast out--and this removal of the armor is something an individual can only do himself.

The Leviathanic "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" motif is also remarkably underplayed, at least by the initial resistance. The son of Mary does not say the Abstraction speaks through him. He invariably says, "I say unto you." In other words, he speaks for himself, as a single human being, which is quite remarkable in a context where previous orators almost invariably wore the mantle of Yaweh, Leviathan's very "soul." And he presents himself, not as agent, angel or messenger of the abstract Lugalzaggizi, but as a son of god or of woman or of man, namely as a living human being who eats, shits and dies like wolves, eagles, snakes and human beings. He makes it quite clear that he considers the King of Kings' priests as much a part of this world as the moneylenders; both are part of the world he has come to cast fire upon.

The fire does not come from the tradition of the burning bush but from the tradition of Zarathustra: it is a cleansing fire. The Zarathustrian Daniel had referred to "fiery flames," "wheels of fire" and "a fiery stream" as attributes of the one or the many who would consume the fourth and last beast. In Jesse's time this fire is being carried by Mithra because Ahura Mazda was swallowed by the Persian Leviathan.

We will not know how familiar the Judaean resistors were with Isis, Osiris and Serapis, but the stories or gospels composed by Jesse's friends give mounds of powerful clues.

First of all, Mary, the Mother, plays a very prominent role in a corner of the world where women had been systematically downgraded for tens of generations. She is not explicitly called Mother Earth, but her crucified son goes under the ground and then rises up, like vegetation, like Demeter's daughter Persephone, like Isis' twin brother Osiris. This news is not at the margins of the myth but at its core.

And the news goes deeper. The crucified Jesse is like Serapis the bull, Osiris's double. By his death, he redeems the living. New shoots are fertilized by fallen plants. Death is overcome, its finality is taken away, it is reduced to the stage that proceeds renewal. Out of the dead fragments sprout the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and every living thing that moveth upon the earth. The bull or the lamb gives himself for the sake of the living, for Mother Earth's renewal.

This powerful affirmation of Nature and Life is at the opposite pole from "Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth." Moses called for the sacrifice of the living to Leviathan, the Artificial Man. The resistors are calling for war against life-hating Leviathan. And they don't want to wait: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Their torches are already lit. "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

This generation does not pass. This generation sees the world set on fire and watches the world burn. Dominion over the fish and over all the living gives way to celebrations of Nature's renewal, rites enacting the death and rebirth of vegetation, feasts of love (Agape), festivals of gratitude to the Earth Mother Cybele-Demeter-Isis-Mary.

* * *

Unlike the captives who withdrew from Egypt by removing themselves physically, the Roman captives withdraw by removing themselves from the artificial beast's shell while still inside. The effect is quite different. The Egyptian worm retained its coherence. The Roman one loses it. The innards become detached from the shell and acquire a life of their own. The disconnected shell, with all its armor, architecture and art, is from now on nothing but a loose funnel-shaped carcass spread over the world, keeping out sunlight and fresh air.

Already during the reign of the first Emperor, the beast's shell starts to fear its own entrails: nine thousand Praetorian Guards protect the Emperor from his Empire; and already the second Emperor, Tiberius, becomes a tool of his bodyguards.

The third Emperor, Caligula, already draws all the conclusions that follow from this: the head, totally disconnected from its innards and even from its limbs, bonded neither to nature nor to people nor even to the rest of its machine, is free to do whatever it wills, however unnatural inhuman or irrational. Only the murder of Caligula by his bodyguards saves the shell from shattering to pieces.

Nero, the fifth, stretches the artificial freedom of the Prince even further. We're told he was a decent, even a gifted person before his accession. Be that as it may, Nero quickly sees what Caligula had seen earlier: the loosened head of Leviathan has access to an artificial freedom not available to any living beings. All others are free within the bounds set by nature; they are free when they are constrained by no other bounds. The Roman Emperor is constrained by no bounds whatever, not even the bounds of his own character, for as Emperor he is as characterless as Optimus Maximus. He can be totally arbitrary; he can do anything as well as the opposite, and if he keeps his eye on his bodyguards, no one and nothing can stop him. He can murder his own mother and deify his girl friend Sabina Poppaea. He can purge, torture and kill by a mere turn of the wrist. He can experience himself as Pallas Athena and Zeus by giving Greeks their freedom one moment and taking it away the next. He can even experience the joy of the resistors by setting fire to Rome and watching it burn. He can fly as freely as the visionary of the ancient community, but unlike the visionary, who returned to his body and shared his experience, Nero keeps on hovering over nature and humanity and has nothing to share but their doom.

Some of the oddest words written are words of praise for the disconnected but lethal shell called the Roman Empire. Gibbon is going to focus on the period between the twelfth Emperor and the seventeenth, and he will call this mankind's "most happy and prosperous period." Why? Because this is the only period when Rome's emperors pretend not to know what Caligula and Nero knew, pretend that the Prince of Rome is a normal human being just like any other, pretend that all's well in Rome. Rostovtzeff will say that never, until the rise of modern America and England, "has a larger number of people enjoyed so much comfort...and never [not even in America and England] did men live in such a surrounding of beautiful buildings and monuments." Rostovtzeff's statement reveals exactly what he will be looking at.

This highly praised period is precisely the period when the machine's decomposition goes into high gear. The internal resistors trying to topple the enormous machine start to be aided by outsiders. Eventually the concerted action of resisting insiders and outsiders will free Earth from Rome.

When Gibbon's happy period begins, Nerva accedes to the Roman throne and Pan Ch'ao at the world's opposite end conquers the Tarim Basin, pushing waves of pastoral nomads westward. A wave of Scythians and Sarmatian Alans turns up in Dacia (on the Danube) and on the borders of Anatolia; some of the Sarmatians are adopted by Dacians and war alongside them against Rome. Nerva's successor Trajan, Emperor by grace of his army, can neither expel nor absorb the Danubians, cannot reduce them to a Roman province. The Roman army exterminates the entire populations of Dacians and repopulates the area with Romans, as was done at Carthage. But the Carthaginians were the last of the Phoenicians, whereas the Dacians are the visible tip of the rising iceberg.

Rome has proclaimed genocidal war against Eurasia's remaining population; it can no longer reduce yet more human beings to provincials. The next militarist, Hadrian, tries to wall the attackers out, but the wall imprisons the Roman Empire. From this point on, the hideous shell begins to crack, and no glue can repair it.

Hadrian's last victory is against resisting Judaeans, and it is as "happy" for Rome as the victory over Dacia: the Romans slaughter the rebels, destroy Jerusalem, ban Jews from the Levant, and thereby launch Jews on a diaspora and send Judaean resistors inspired by Jess proselytizing all over the realm.

* * *

Monday, January 15, 2007

Collapse Culture is

Collapse Culture is
How can we thrive while fostering the whole of Life?
How can we get what we need without toil & strife?
How can we feed a hundred thousand, without fossil fuels, while the land around us is turning to desert and the land under us is mostly pavement?

Collapse Culture is
Should we fix up our poorly designed house, or raze it & build a new simple efficient one with local materials and our hands?

Collapse Culture is
fostering native species AND embracing exotics--just getting to know what grows around you. Seeing your neighborhood with no more fences, no more lawns, no more cars, children roaming free, green growing fruit trees nut trees berry patches perennial grains ducks chickens rock doves squirrels venison, & fish if there are any left without mercury. Elders telling stories about the day they bought their freedom.

Collapse Culture is
knowing it will take a lot more than voting, petitions, letters to authorities, recycling, high tech, nonprofit corporations.

It will take working together, face to face as friends, ignoring the incompetent, d.i.y. improvisation, learning & imagination.

Collapse Culture is
the City becoming the Garden

It's what FEELS right.

Collapse Culture is NOT "the end is near," but "the beginning is here."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Collapse Culture introduction

I've been thinking about Afterculture and The Fifth World a lot (which I found thru Ran, whom I found thru Noble Savagery). It's fine and good to think about what could be making life work in 400 years when everyone's re-indigenized. But I like to think about right now, or in a bit, what could we be doing, what might people be doing, to survive in just a few years? Which helps me think about things that might work right now. Especially under the radar of those who would like to interfere with those who are doing things differently.

So I name the "in-a-bit-culture" or "4.1 World" Collapse Culture. If you're even faintly aware of the idea of petro-collapse, climate chaos, civilliesation running itself out of its fuel, that sort of inevitable catching-up-with-us of our denial of our problems, you are part of Collapse Culture. And I wonder ...

How long will it be?
What will it be?
Desert, jungle, swamp, or ice?
Concentration camps in Kansas? (Oklahoma's already full)
Or creative flowering the likes of which we can only barely imagine?
Can we all quietly stop going about the business that's destroying the world & our souls?
Can we justify using ANY petroleum, coal, paper AT ALL? If we mean well, & say we're propagating memes to enable others' self-liberation & the dis-integration of Leviathan?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

i have my own ideas, here's one!

an old Gadsen flag

I've come to notice some dreadful things about this blog. Principally, my ideas haven't always come through clearly enough, and my sidebar of links was sloppier and less selective/helpful than I'd like. I cleaned that up, and now it's time to tackle my first conundrum.

Sure, I've got opinions and misc. knowledge that I like spouting off because it shows what I've proudly spent my time soaking up. But a lot of what I've put up on Noble Savagery is just somit cool I heard or read someplace else. NO MORE, I SAY!

So here's what's on my mind. What's the most desirable way to set up or select a community? Let me rephrase that for my ownself. Where can I pursue my burdgeoning 10,000 interests and hobbies, which include: being on knowledgable and pleasant terms with a diversity of other lifeforms; rock climbing; magick; making out; food; ad infinitum. (Dang, I should be at the School for Designing a Society!) To start exploring this question, I'm gonna talk about sustainability, then ramble some, then explain what I mean, and why this should be practised in order for life's continued freedom to pursue happiness. I'll talk vaguely about what sustainability properly applied might look like, and be on guard to stay open minded and realistic and not become my own patented brand of "Social Ecology" or something.

Sustainability is a concept, that, when applied to our actions at all, is often missing a lot that would make it an effective praxis. This should alarm anarchists and everyone who cares about their freedom. Here's why.

If we are to pursue our happiness in freedom, having the resources available that our forebearers did would be optimal- if we don't, the option to continue in more or less the same vein they were is taken away. For instance, how come we don't have a greater diversity of amazing, huge and cool animals to interact with and study that our ancestors 500, 6,893, or us 8 years ago? The portion of the cause that concerns us is, naturally, the part our ancestors and we have played in this regrettable state of affairs. People either did not care about the sentiments of today's humans, or did not accurately predict them, when they exterminated land crocodiles, elephant birds, the Chinese River Dolphin, or the Megalania! (Okay, maybe I can deal with not having to deal with that last motherfucker.) But still. People haven't been thinking of the future's best interest.

The flip side is that people must be allowed to branch off from their folks' route. No liberty involved if they can't. The rigidity of a culture can kill its actors, as was shown when the Vikings starved because they were against eating seafood during a drought. We don't want repeats of that.

Sustainability does not necessarily imply someting like a "Steady State Economy". Who wants all those woosy reformist trappings in their idealism, anyway? What a fly in the ointment, to start off with. To rephrase something I saw in a zine I glanced at today said "It doesn't matter how many people have guns, but how they use them... If they respect an authority while tossing out their current ruler, than the next day their authority will confiscate their weapons." But that's not the only problem with something so rigid. Only the laws of the universe must be obeyed, and only until each one can be gotten around.

To illustrate my thinking around this, we are starting at the beginning: If the Goddess denied creating new shit, than nothing would ever have happened. (Would she even exist? But I don't want to get into big "P" philosophy.) If biological evolution had been blocked from occurring than life could not exist. (The primordial ooze or meteor or whatever started that ball rolling could not have even put protein and protein together to start that self-replicating specialness we call Life, because that would have been something like moving from 0 to 1, and without evolution, this change would have been blocked just like moving from 1 to 2.) It predates the cycles that Deep Ecology holds holy. Sure, a lot of critters have died without replicating. But as my dad says "The creative process proceeds with great waste and at great hazard." Keep on truckin', baby.

So here's how the Media lies in all this:

(Scene from medical drama TV show "House" which was on when I started this entry.)

Foreman: "If humans had bothered to once look at his blood, the parasites would have jumped out at them."
Cameron: "Price of the electronic age."

No, no, no. If you can't have your pie and eat it too, than there's no point in having a digestive tract, a pie, or a mind that can comprehend what I just said. So how do you have happiness now, while simultaneously people turn over a new leaf with more technology? And how can self-centered humans who don't give a fuck about anyone but themselves respect each other enough, and the rest of our ecosystems, to get 'er done?

It's not the million dollar question. It has answers. We all have them inside us. Here's one of mine, like I promised.

We learn to see ourselves fully and accurately. Because we are ourselves, we must learn to love ourselves or we'll be unhappy. As we progress in self-knowledge, when we use our senses we inevitably see how similar we are to other humans, other life forms, and really, to everything else- rocks, empty space, an algorithims included. And we respect them, in solidarity. And then we come together in more convivial communities, which use only frequently renewed resources to prevent unpleasant shortages for what we depend on. I'll be able to explore my subconscious, and my friend can run a chinchilla farm, and not fuck up nature or squander the resources that people pushing the technology envelope need to do so. To be continued.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tao Te Ching, verse 13

Colour's five hues from th' eyes their sight will take;
Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make;
The flavours five deprive the mouth of taste;
The chariot course, and the wild hunting waste
Make mad the mind; and objects rare and strange,
Sought for, men's conduct will to evil change.

Therefore the sage seeks to satisfy (the craving of) the belly, and
not the (insatiable longing of the) eyes. He puts from him the
latter, and prefers to seek the former.
this evening, instead of buying chocolate, i drank some water, masturbated, and read the above. i'm learning!

Monday, January 08, 2007

jean giono- the man who planted trees


The Man Who Planted Trees

Translation from french by Peter Doyle

In order for the character of a human being to reveal truly exceptional qualities, we must have the good fortune to observe its action over a long period of years. If this action is devoid of all selfishness, if the idea that directs it is one of unqualified generosity, if it is absolutely certain that it has not sought recompense anywhere, and if moreover it has left visible marks on the world, then we are unquestionably dealing with an unforgettable character.

About forty years ago I went on a long hike, through hills absolutely unknown to tourists, in that very old region where the Alps penetrate into Provence.
This region is bounded to the south-east and south by the middle course of the Durance, between Sisteron and Mirabeau; to the north by the upper course of the Drôme, from its source down to Die; to the west by the plains of Comtat Venaissin and the outskirts of Mont Ventoux. It includes all the northern part of the Département of Basses-Alpes, the south of Drôme and a little enclave of Vaucluse.
At the time I undertook my long walk through this deserted region, it consisted of barren and monotonous lands, at about 1200 to 1300 meters above sea level. Nothing grew there except wild lavender.
I was crossing this country at its widest part, and after walking for three days, I found myself in the most complete desolation. I was camped next to the skeleton of an abandoned village. I had used the last of my water the day before and I needed to find more. Even though they were in ruins, these houses all huddled together and looking like an old wasps' nest made me think that there must at one time have been a spring or a well there. There was indeed a spring, but it was dry. The five or six roofless houses, ravaged by sun and wind, and the small chapel with its tumble-down belfry, were arrayed like the houses and chapels of living villages, but all life had disappeared.

It was a beautiful June day with plenty of sun, but on these shelterless lands, high up in the sky, the wind whistled with an unendurable brutality. Its growling in the carcasses of the houses was like that of a wild beast disturbed during its meal.
I had to move my camp. After five hours of walking, I still hadn't found water, and nothing gave me hope of finding any. Everywhere there was the same dryness, the same stiff, woody plants. I thought I saw in the distance a small black silhouette. On a chance I headed towards it. It was a shepherd. Thirty lambs or so were resting near him on the scorching ground.
He gave me a drink from his gourd and a little later he led me to his shepherd's cottage, tucked down in an undulation of the plateau. He drew his water - excellent - from a natural hole, very deep, above which he had installed a rudimentary windlass.

This man spoke little. This is common among those who live alone, but he seemed sure of himself, and confident in this assurance, which seemed remarkable in this land shorn of everything. He lived not in a cabin but in a real house of stone, from the looks of which it was clear that his own labor had restored the ruins he had found on his arrival. His roof was solid and water-tight. The wind struck against the roof tiles with the sound of the sea crashing on the beach.
His household was in order, his dishes washed, his floor swept, his rifle greased; his soup boiled over the fire; I noticed then that he was also freshly shaven, that all his buttons were solidly sewn, and that his clothes were mended with such care as to make the patches invisible.
He shared his soup with me, and when afterwards I offered him my tobacco pouch, he told me that he didn't smoke. His dog, as silent as he, was friendly without being fawning.

It had been agreed immediately that I would pass the night there, the closest village being still more than a day and a half farther on. Furthermore, I understood perfectly well the character of the rare villages of that region. There are four or five of them dispersed far from one another on the flanks of the hills, in groves of white oaks at the very ends of roads passable by carriage. They are inhabited by woodcutters who make charcoal. They are places where the living is poor. The families, pressed together in close quarters by a climate that is exceedingly harsh, in summer as well as in winter, struggle ever more selfishly against each other. Irrational contention grows beyond all bounds, fueled by a continuous struggle to escape from that place. The men carry their charcoal to the cities in their trucks, and then return. The most solid qualities crack under this perpetual Scottish shower. The women stir up bitterness. There is competition over everything, from the sale of charcoal to the benches at church. The virtues fight amongst themselves, the vices fight amongst themselves, and there is a ceaseless general combat between the vices and the virtues. On top of all that, the equally ceaseless wind irritates the nerves. There are epidemics of suicides and numerous cases of insanity, almost always murderous.

The shepherd, who did not smoke, took out a bag and poured a pile of acorns out onto the table. He began to examine them one after another with a great deal of attention, separating the good ones from the bad. I smoked my pipe. I offered to help him, but he told me it was his own business. Indeed, seeing the care that he devoted to this job, I did not insist. This was our whole conversation. When he had in the good pile a fair number of acorns, he counted them out into packets of ten. In doing this he eliminated some more of the acorns, discarding the smaller ones and those that that showed even the slightest crack, for he examined them very closely. When he had before him one hundred perfect acorns he stopped, and we went to bed.
The company of this man brought me a feeling of peace. I asked him the next morning if I might stay and rest the whole day with him. He found that perfectly natural. Or more exactly, he gave me the impression that nothing could disturb him. This rest was not absolutely necessary to me, but I was intrigued and I wanted to find out more about this man. He let out his flock and took them to the pasture. Before leaving, he soaked in a bucket of water the little sack containing the acorns that he had so carefully chosen and counted.

I noted that he carried as a sort of walking stick an iron rod as thick as his thumb and about one and a half meters long. I set off like someone out for a stroll, following a route parallel to his. His sheep pasture lay at the bottom of a small valley. He left his flock in the charge of his dog and climbed up towards the spot where I was standing. I was afraid that he was coming to reproach me for my indiscretion, but not at all : It was his own route and he invited me to come along with him if I had nothing better to do. He continued on another two hundred meters up the hill.
Having arrived at the place he had been heading for, he begin to pound his iron rod into the ground. This made a hole in which he placed an acorn, whereupon he covered over the hole again. He was planting oak trees. I asked him if the land belonged to him. He answered no. Did he know whose land it was? He did not know. He supposed that it was communal land, or perhaps it belonged to someone who did not care about it. He himself did not care to know who the owners were. In this way he planted his one hundred acorns with great care.

After the noon meal, he began once more to pick over his acorns. I must have put enough insistence into my questions, because he answered them. For three years now he had been planting trees in this solitary way. He had planted one hundred thousand. Of these one hundred thousand, twenty thousand had come up. He counted on losing another half of them to rodents and to everything else that is unpredictable in the designs of Providence. That left ten thousand oaks that would grow in this place where before there was nothing.
It was at this moment that I began to wonder about his age. He was clearly more than fifty. Fifty-five, he told me. His name was Elzéard Bouffier. He had owned a farm in the plains, where he lived most of his life. He had lost his only son, and then his wife. He had retired into this solitude, where he took pleasure in living slowly, with his flock of sheep and his dog. He had concluded that this country was dying for lack of trees. He added that, having nothing more important to do, he had resolved to remedy the situation.
Leading as I did at the time a solitary life, despite my youth, I knew how to treat the souls of solitary people with delicacy. Still, I made a mistake. It was precisely my youth that forced me to imagine the future in my own terms, including a certain search for happiness. I told him that in thirty years these ten thousand trees would be magnificent. He replied very simply that, if God gave him life, in thirty years he would have planted so many other trees that these ten thousand would be like a drop of water in the ocean.
He had also begun to study the propagation of beeches. and he had near his house a nursery filled with seedlings grown from beechnuts. His little wards, which he had protected from his sheep by a screen fence, were growing beautifully. He was also considering birches for the valley bottoms where, he told me, moisture lay slumbering just a few meters beneath the surface of the soil.
We parted the next day.

The next year the war of 14 came, in which I was engaged for five years. An infantryman could hardly think about trees. To tell the truth, the whole business hadn't made a very deep impression on me; I took it to be a hobby, like a stamp collection, and forgot about it.
With the war behind me, I found myself with a small demobilization bonus and a great desire to breathe a little pure air. Without any preconceived notion beyond that, I struck out again along the trail through that deserted country.
The land had not changed. Nonetheless, beyond that dead village I perceived in the distance a sort of gray fog that covered the hills like a carpet. Ever since the day before I had been thinking about the shepherd who planted trees. « Ten thousand oaks, I had said to myself, must really take up a lot of space. »
I had seen too many people die during those five years not to be able to imagine easily the death of Elzéard Bouffier, especially since when a man is twenty he thinks of a man of fifty as an old codger for whom nothing remains but to die. He was not dead. In fact, he was very spry. He had changed his job. He only had four sheep now, but to make up for this he had about a hundred beehives. He had gotten rid of the sheep because they threatened his crop of trees. He told me (as indeed I could see for myself) that the war had not disturbed him at all. He had continued imperturbably with his planting.
The oaks of 1910 were now ten years old and were taller than me and than him. The spectacle was impressive. I was literally speechless and, as he didn't speak himself, we passed the whole day in silence, walking through his forest. It was in three sections, eleven kilometers long overall and, at its widest point, three kilometers wide. When I considered that this had all sprung from the hands and from the soul of this one man - without technical aids - , it struck me that men could be as effective as God in domains other than destruction.
He had followed his idea, and the beeches that reached up to my shoulders and extending as far as the eye could see bore witness to it. The oaks were now good and thick, and had passed the age where they were at the mercy of rodents; as for the designs of Providence, to destroy the work that had been created would henceforth require a cyclone. He showed me admirable stands of birches that dated from five years ago, that is to say from 1915, when I had been fighting at Verdun. He had planted them in the valley bottoms where he had suspected, correctly, that there was water close to the surface. They were as tender as young girls, and very determined.
This creation had the air, moreover, of working by a chain reaction. He had not troubled about it; he went on obstinately with his simple task. But, in going back down to the village, I saw water running in streams that, within living memory, had always been dry. It was the most striking revival that he had shown me. These streams had borne water before, in ancient days. Certain of the sad villages that I spoke of at the beginning of my account had been built on the sites of ancient Gallo-Roman villages, of which there still remained traces; archeologists digging there had found fishhooks in places where in more recent times cisterns were required in order to have a little water.
The wind had also been at work, dispersing certain seeds. As the water reappeared, so too did willows, osiers, meadows, gardens, flowers, and a certain reason to live.
But the transformation had taken place so slowly that it had been taken for granted, without provoking surprise. The hunters who climbed the hills in search of hares or wild boars had noticed the spreading of the little trees, but they set it down to the natural spitefulness of the earth. That is why no one had touched the work of this man. If they had suspected him, they would have tried to thwart him. But he never came under suspicion : Who among the villagers or the administrators would ever have suspected that anyone could show such obstinacy in carrying out this magnificent act of generosity?

Beginning in 1920 I never let more than a year go by without paying a visit to Elzéard Bouffier. I never saw him waver or doubt, though God alone can tell when God's own hand is in a thing! I have said nothing of his disappointments, but you can easily imagine that, for such an accomplishment, it was necessary to conquer adversity; that, to assure the victory of such a passion, it was necessary to fight against despair. One year he had planted ten thousand maples. They all died. The next year,he gave up on maples and went back to beeches, which did even better than the oaks.
To get a true idea of this exceptional character, one must not forget that he worked in total solitude; so total that, toward the end of his life, he lost the habit of talking. Or maybe he just didn't see the need for it.

In 1933 he received the visit of an astonished forest ranger. This functionary ordered him to cease building fires outdoors, for fear of endangering this natural forest. It was the first time, this naive man told him, that a forest had been observed to grow up entirely on its own. At the time of this incident, he was thinking of planting beeches at a spot twelve kilometers from his house. To avoid the coming and going - because at the time he was seventy-five years old - he planned to build a cabin of stone out where he was doing his planting. This he did the next year.

In 1935, a veritable administrative delegation went to examine this « natural forest ». There was an important personage from Waters and Forests, a deputy, and some technicians. Many useless words were spoken. It was decided to do something, but luckily nothing was done, except for one truly useful thing : placing the forest under the protection of the State and forbidding anyone from coming there to make charcoal. For it was impossible not to be taken with the beauty of these young trees in full health. And the forest exercised its seductive powers even on the deputy himself.
I had a friend among the chief foresters who were with the delegation. I explained the mystery to him. One day the next week, we went off together to look for Elzéard Bouffier, We found him hard at work, twenty kilometers away from the place where the inspection had taken place.
This chief forester was not my friend for nothing. He understood the value of things. He knew how to remain silent. I offered up some eggs I had brought with me as a gift. We split our snack three ways, and then passed several hours in mute contemplation of the landscape.
The hillside whence we had come was covered with trees six or seven meters high. I remembered the look of the place in 1913 : a desert... The peaceful and steady labor, the vibrant highland air, his frugality, and above all, the serenity of his soul had given the old man a kind of solemn good health. He was an athlete of God. I asked myself how many hectares he had yet to cover with trees.
Before leaving, my friend made a simple suggestion concerning certain species of trees to which the terrain seemed to be particularly well suited. He was not insistent. « For the very good reason, » he told me afterwards, « that this fellow knows a lot more about this sort of thing than I do. » After another hour of walking, this thought having travelled along with him, he added : « He knows a lot more about this sort of thing than anybody - and he has found a jolly good way of being happy ! »
It was thanks to the efforts of this chief forester that the forest was protected, and with it, the happiness of this man. He designated three forest rangers for their protection, and terrorized them to such an extent that they remained indifferent to any jugs of wine that the woodcutters might offer as bribes.

The forest did not run any grave risks except during the war of 1939. Then automobiles were being run on wood alcohol, and there was never enough wood. They began to cut some of the stands of the oaks of 1910, but the trees stood so far from any useful road that the enterprise turned out to be bad from a financial point of view, and was soon abandoned. The shepherd never knew anything about it. He was thirty kilometers away, peacefully continuing his task, as untroubled by the war of 39 as he had been of the war of 14.

I saw Elzéard Bouffier for the last time in June of 1945. He was then eighty-seven years old. I had once more set off along my trail through the wilderness, only to find that now, in spite of the shambles in which the war had left the whole country, there was a motor coach running between the valley of the Durance and the mountain. I set down to this relatively rapid means of transportation the fact that I no longer recognized the landmarks I knew from my earlier visits. It also seemed that the route was taking me through entirely new places. I had to ask the name of a village to be sure that I was indeed passing through that same region, once so ruined and desolate. The coach set me down at Vergons. In 1913, this hamlet of ten or twelve houses had had three inhabitants. They were savages, hating each other, and earning their living by trapping : Physically and morally, they resembled prehistoric men . The nettles devoured the abandoned houses that surrounded them. Their lives were without hope, it was only a matter of waiting for death to come : a situation that hardly predisposes one to virtue.
All that had changed, even to the air itself. In place of the dry, brutal gusts that had greeted me long ago, a gentle breeze whispered to me, bearing sweet odors. A sound like that of running water came from the heights above : It was the sound of the wind in the trees. And most astonishing of all, I heard the sound of real water running into a pool. I saw that they had built a fountain, that it was full of water, and what touched me most, that next to it they had planted a lime-tree that must be at least four years old, already grown thick, an incontestable symbol of resurrection.

Furthermore, Vergons showed the signs of labors for which hope is a requirement : Hope must therefore have returned. They had cleared out the ruins, knocked down the broken walls, and rebuilt five houses. The hamlet now counted twenty-eight inhabitants, including four young families. The new houses, freshly plastered, were surrounded by gardens that bore, mixed in with each other but still carefully laid out, vegetables and flowers, cabbages and rosebushes, leeks and gueules-de-loup, celery and anemones. It was now a place where anyone would be glad to live.
From there I continued on foot. The war from which we had just barely emerged had not permitted life to vanish completely, and now Lazarus was out of his tomb. On the lower flanks of the mountain, I saw small fields of barley and rye; in the bottoms of the narrow valleys, meadowlands were just turning green.
It has taken only the eight years that now separate us from that time for the whole country around there to blossom with splendor and ease. On the site of the ruins I had seen in 1913 there are now well-kept farms, the sign of a happy and comfortable life. The old springs, fed by rain and snow now that are now retained by the forests, have once again begun to flow. The brooks have been channelled. Beside each farm, amid groves of maples, the pools of fountains are bordered by carpets of fresh mint. Little by little, the villages have been rebuilt. Yuppies have come from the plains, where land is expensive, bringing with them youth, movement, and a spirit of adventure. Walking along the roads you will meet men and women in full health, and boys and girls who know how to laugh, and who have regained the taste for the traditional rustic festivals. Counting both the previous inhabitants of the area, now unrecognizable from living in plenty, and the new arrivals, more than ten thousand persons owe their happiness to Elzéard Bouffier.

When I consider that a single man, relying only on his own simple physical and moral resources, was able to transform a desert into this land of Canaan, I am convinced that despite everything, the human condition is truly admirable. But when I take into account the constancy, the greatness of soul, and the selfless dedication that was needed to bring about this transformation, I am filled with an immense respect for this old, uncultured peasant who knew how to bring about a work worthy of God.

Elzéard Bouffier died peacefully in 1947 at the hospice in Banon.

fellow travelers: exercise is important!

hey guys, public service announcement: having a strong, supple body is fun to attain and makes existance much easier to enjoy. it also makes your life in your current body longer, so listen up.

like anybody, my attention level to this aspect of my health has waxed and waned. right now i'm waxing. because i'm a guy who want to physically attractive to people in my culture, i have a few bottom lines that I have to stick to. these are:

1.) Not getting obese
2.) Being strong enough to do routine activities and play rough games
3.) Being happy with my self-image, so I can choose to be less than fully clothed around semi-strangers
4.) Ability to motivate myself in getting off my ass whenever it behooves me.

To this end, I do as many of the following 6 exercises as I can (called repetitions, or reps) two, three or four times (called sets), every two or three days:

dips these are the shit. i do them all over the place, most notably between pairs of newspaper vending machines

chinups, and next time, pullups as well

careful sit ups (naysayers can go work at a gym. bah)

pushups there are a lot of cool variations on the theme

this thing where i lie on my back, put my hands under my butt, and take my streight and together legs up to 5 degrees, then 30, 60, 90, 60, 30, 5, holding each for at least 12 seconds, doing that at LEAST twice

and finally, something where i lie on my stomach, feet together, and hold my hands in front of me like Superman in his flying pose. i then bring my hands back to where i could extend my thumbs to touch my shoulders, while simultaneously rearing back like a snake (or a yogi in cobra pose) and holding my torso up for a second with only my lower back muscles, before lowering down. do a few sets of 20+ of those

(normally i jog and climb and what not, but not with a healing foot.)

why not give them a try? a generous chunk of DIY wisdom that Misha Golfman of Kroka Expeditions fame shared with me is that pushing around your own body weight can better prepare you for realistic activiites better than usually machines can. also, that the world is really your playground. one time a group he was leading on an expedition to camp Quebec and explore Cree culture, myself included, went to a kids playground to work out. i scoffed, as i usually do at the guys ideas, but he directed us to make use of that playground equipment in 12 or 13 different ways so that by the end we were all tired, sweaty, and wonderfully achey. props
Here's eco-resistance from a Tolkein perspective-

against his-story, against leviathan! chapter 9 (tragic rise of the Roman empire)


We will be able to look at Rome closely. It will be an extremely well-documented Leviathan because it is enamored with its own His-story. We will be able to ask if Latin tribes really did step out of the "darkness" of the Eurasian steppes into the "light" of Mediterranean Civilization because the productive forces were ripe and waiting for them, if the "Barbarians" stormed the gates of Civilization because they were eager to take on the refinements and enjoy the amenities of the Higher Stage. In the case of Rome, we will not have to speculate; the story is set down and preserved.

Only the beginnings are shadowy. The Romans say they desended from twins suckled by a wolf. They share this myth with Turks, so it may be that one group borrowed its origin myth from the other, or that a section of a once-single people changed its language but retained its origin myth. In any case, a totem animal is important in Rome's past, and a wolf at that.

We first see the Romans camped on the outskirts of Etruria.

The Etruscans, we may remember, are Phoenicia's clients. They are the Greeks of Italy. The Etruscans are octopus-like. The Greeks call Etruscans Pirates, which means merchants whose competition the Greeks don't want. The Etruscans have fleets of ships, like the Greeks and Phoenicians. They have cities with temples and shrines, like the Sumerians.

The Latins are to the Etruscans what the Mushki were to the Assyrians and the Scythians to the Greeks. The Latin language, in fact, is of the same family as that of the Mushki and Scytians, and it seems likely that these people were close kin in a not too distant past, and that women and Earth deitities were as important to them as they remain among other kindred people called Sarmatians.

Etruscan merchants, in order to placate and please their gods, exploit not only overseas victims, but also those in their hinterland, namely Samnians, Sabines and Latins.

The exploited tribes form a league to defend themselves from the exploiters.

The Etruscans try to pacify or exterminate the federated resisters. But like Phoenicians and Greeks, Etruscans are not overly strong on land. They are an octopus. Their strength is in the holds of their ships.

Thefederated tribes of Latins, Sabines and Samnians do not aspire to install themselves in the mercantile establishments of the Etruscans. On the contrary, they figght to eradicate Etruscan Civilization from the Italian Peninsula. They are animated by revulsion toward the "fleshpots," not by admiration.

They war against Etruria for four generations.

The fighters' goals and souls are maimed by the long war. Yet even then the former outsiders do not rush to become what the Etruscans were. They let the Etruscan commercial empire sink into the sea. They let the ships rot. Romans will still be shy of ships when they themselves set out to sea many generations later.

The Latins and their confederates are not lured by the "ripeness of the productive forces." They are repelled by these forces and they federate to destroy them. But while federated for four generations something happens to them. They undergo what P. Clastres will call a "political revolution," although the transformation is gradual. The generals become permanent, and so do the soldiers. The peasants who feed the army also become permanent, and their contributions come to be expected and finally enforced.

During four generations a community of equals is metamorphosed into a society of three classes, and the federated tribes become terribly similar to the destroyed Etruscans.

Roman narrators speak of two classes: plebs and nobles.

The plebs are under consraint. They are no longer free human beings. In some respect they haven't changed much: they hold festivals to the goddess Ceres, Mother Earth, who nurses their seeds. This Ceres is the twin sister of Demeter and other Indo-Iranian goddesses.

The nobles have changed much. Their war god is an abstraction they call Optimus Maximus, and thiks god is surprisingly like a deified Etruscan merchant: on receiving a given quantity of offerings, he is expected to confer a given of number of advantages or military victories. The nobles have become suspiciously like Etruscans. They are not at all the men of the people their grandfathers were.

The magnitude of the challenge maimed the original community, and in this sense, despite their seeming victory, the Latins are defeated. They are maimed because most of them cannot cope with the new-fangled military machine and some of them can cope with their most basic requirements only be coercing and expropriating others.

At this point the Romans themselves look like Etruscans to some of their own confederates and to other outsiders, but not to themselves. The Romans do not realize that Samnites and Celts are turning against the very things Romans turned against earlier. Perhaps plebian soldiers do realize this, but they are dpendent on the grains the noblemen expropriate from peasnats, and the Roman military nobility is renowned for an unusual lack of imagination. The Romans turn their forces against the egalitarian Celts as if the Celts were Etruscans, and then they lead their armies against their former allies, destroying every Samnian village.

The Roman nobles, like the earlier Spartans, have become armors frozen to their spears, but unlike the Spartans, the Romans are going to try to spread their armors over the world's entire surface. They begin by annexing and repressing their former Sabine allies.

Roman plebs seced and refuse to give further support to the arrogant nobles. The haughty nobles face this challenge by resroting to a Periclean device: they raise the plebian soldiers to the status of lesser nobles with plebs of their own. Now the interests of the former plebs coincide with those of the highest nobles. This is a device we will call cooptation or recuperation.

The Romans then set out to swallow every other tribe, federation and city on the Italian Peninsula. The Romans are more singlemindedly militaristic than the Assyrians ever were. Rome not only has a powerful army; Rome is a powerful army, and it is nothing else.

* * *

Romans call their city a Res Publica, a Public Thing. They know it is a thing, a made thing, an artifice, long before Hobbes will announce his discovery. Roman soldiers die in battles, but the Public Thing marches from victory to victory; it does not die; it cannot die; it is a Leviathan. The Romans have become Civilized.

But oddly, their revulsion, their hatred toward Civilization, continues to animate them even now.

They help Syracusans expel Carthaginians from Sicily, for in the Carthaginians they recongnize the Phoenician traits they had hated in the Etruscans. The Romans defend Syrancuse by absorbing it, and they turn all of Sicily into a Roman province.

Then the Romans turn against the Greek cities on the Italian peninsula. They destroy these cities with the ferocity they've shown toward Civilized Etruscans and Carthaginians. Unlike the Assyrians and Persians, the Romans are not satisfied to ruin cities by exacting tribute. The Romans raze the Greek cities to the ground, confizcate the land, enslave the inhabitants, recruit the Greek peasants into their army.

Themselves encased in a Leviathan shaped like a worm, the Romans still can't stand a Leviathan shaped like an octopus, and they never will. They continue warring against the ogre their ancestors considered Civilization, the Etruscan city-state. In this sense the entire Rise of Rome is an unceasing war against Civilization.

The Greek parts of Italy are literally extirpated by the Roman army. The land itself is carved up into immense estates which are given to lesser nobles and plebs. The former Greek lands are named Latifundia and are worked by gangs of chained slaves.

This strange combination of a grotesque Leviathan with a fierce hatred of Leviathanic accomplishments is not unique to Rome, even among documented cases.

Ch'in Shih Huang-ti's Leviathan expands over China during the generation when Rome expands over Italy, and with the Assyrian methods recommended by Shang Yang: war, treachery, assassination, slaughter, deportation. The Ch'in militarists are intent on rooting out all the traditions and accomplishments of every region they invate, reducing all populations to labor gangs, burning all books except Shang Yang's. After half a generation, insurgents in every part of China rise up against the monstrosity and successfully overthrow it. Shang Yang had not heard of Pericles; his writings did not include the precept that potential insurgents can be turned into impassioned collaborators when they are given Latifundia.

During this same generation, Great Alexander's armored heirs, Antiochuses and Seleucuse, march their armies from Egypt to the borders of China trying to reduce populations to a similar misery, but unlike their Chinese and Roman counterparts, these heirs of a Greek Leviathan try to preserve some of Civilization's ornaments and amenities.

By enslaving the Greeks of Italy, the Romans themselves become aware that the war machine can be beautified, ornamented. The Romans learn Art from their Greek slaves, but they learn reluctantly. They are almost Modern in their reluctance; they are almost ready to say that a killing machine is beatiful if it works. They are not quite that modern, and they let Greek craftsmen conceal the brutal militarism with Architecture, Sculpture and Painting. They learn Aesthetics, that strange ability to see in blood gushing from a wound only the beauty of the shape and color.

Having turned all of Italy into an armed camp called Rome, they hit out in every direction, as if the whole world consisted of Etrurias disturbing their harmony, or as if a perpetual motion machine had been set off by the Etruscans and none could thereafter stop it.

They turn up in Greece itself, at first as protectors of the "Free and Autonomous Greeks" from the fangs of the grasping strongman Antiochus, then from the fangs of the last Philip, and finally from the Greeks themselves, who knew before the Romans ever came that other names for protected freedom are subordination, submission and slavery. Rome is a thirsty army, and soon the only resectably independent man in any former Greek polis is the man who sucks the polis dry to make drinks for the Romans. The Greek city-state is already ancient history.

The Romans are still reacting against Civilization in its Etruscan form when they turn their immense war engine against North African Carthage. The hate-filled speeches (Cato's are best known) are irrational and incomprehensible in view of the actual threat of Carthage to Rome. On numerous occasions the Cartaginians try to buy their way out, the same way the second Hiram bought his city's way out of Assyria. The Cartaginians' last resort is to try to march on Rome itself, but it is foreknown by both sides that a seaborne octopus cannot defeat a landed worm now any more easily than ever before.

The final destruction of Carthage has no precedent in the SUmerian, Akkadian or even Assyrian past. The last independent Phoenician city is isolated, besieged, attacked, totally destroyed and then burned. Its inhabitants are scattered to the world's four corners as slaves. Still not satisfied, the Romans flatten what buildings and walls remain standing, plow the ground and sow it with salt, so that neither a house nor a crop will ever rise where Carthage once stood, so that the very memory of the city's existence will be erased.

The rest of the story is equally revolting. North Africa, Iberia, Gaul, Macedonia, Thrace, Anatolia, the Levant, all become Rome. The inhabitants are either killed or enslaved or transformed into killing machines. Small Leviathans as well as free communities are shattered. Ancient traditions are broken and forgotten. Human beings are killed or maimed.

Yet how many pages will be devoted to the greatness of Rome! And how many pages to the technological ingenuity of Rome's war engines! Why not praise death itself? Death is an even greater killer than Rome. Is it the ornamented Greek palaces and monuments in the capital that make the brutality so reputable? If so, then to win such praie, Death need only hire Greek artists.

* * *

Rome's greatness will be posthumous. Among those in Rome's entrails, only the few in the worm's head love it; all others hate it, and many try daily to destroy it.

Those in the head are few; they are the nobility, including generals and politicians, the Latifundia owners, and those the Romans call Equites.

These Equites are confidence men on horseback. They are the hustlers and contractors who get things done. They command slave gangs in olive groves and vineyards. They do the importing, the exporting and the arranging. They are tax farmers and they are pirates. They place themselves at every interstice and bottleneck of the unwieldy empire. In a future Rome across the great water, such confidence men will be called Businessmen.

All these people love Rome.

The growing number of dehumanized hangers-on for whom the circuses and games are performed also love Rome. But these lovers no longer think of the brutality or the pluder as offerings to the gods. They love the plunder and brutality as such. They are becoming what we will call Sadists.

The beloved of Sadists are Masochists, but the majority of people have not yet sunk to that level. The vast majority of the Res Publica's population consists of zeks, internal and external zeks: slaves and provincials. In the capital city alone there are a quarter of a million slaves. The internal zeks rebel continually despite the intimidating omnipresence of the world's strongest garrisons. Some slave revolts become insurrections embracing whole regions, and in three known cases, during a period of two generations, insurgent slaves hold their own against Roman armies for as long as three years.

The provincials resist as fiercely as the slaves. Hardly a year passes without expeditions to massacre and repress rebels.

And the enormous legions themselves give rise to ever greater rebellions. The armies have to be fed. Tax farmers squeeze provincials who have already been plundered by the passing legions. And then retired soldiers return to the provinces as propiretors of the provincials' lands, rewarded for the years of loyal service. The rebellions and uprisings against this regime last years, even decades, and are too numerous to list.

The ongoing repression of so many rebels on all fronts is what gives rise to the hardened organizers of mass murders who officiate over the graduation of the Res Publica to a yet higher stage. Caesar is the killer who reduces the west, Pompey the killer who reduces the east, Crassus the killer who lines the roads of Italy itself with six thousand crucified slaves.

Three mass murderers cannot share a single crown, and Caesar, to be translated as Tsar and Kaiser, becomes the face of what Hobbes will call the Artificial Man.

The world-embracing Res Publica becomes a single man's plaything, an Empire.

After swallowing Egypt and suppressing the noblemen who preferred the former Public Thing, another mass murderer, Octavian, becomes the Sun, Pontifex Maximus, earthly incarnation of the abstraction called Optimus Maximus, the Latin version of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

* * *

Rome stretches from Gibraltar to the Armenian highlands and Parthia from Armenia to India/ The world has fallen into the entrails of Leviathan, where it is dark, where life is nasty, brutish and short, where human beigns are driven by fear of early, violent death, where a person can neither stand nor lie nor sit. Hobbes and his contemporaries will project Leviathan's traits to the world outside Leviathan in order to justify the enclosure and reduction of all that is still outside.

To the zeks of Rome and Parthia, the day when Octavian Augustus becomes the Sun is even darker than the day when Darius became Ahura Mazda. No living veing can draw warmth from such a sun.

Already in the days of the Chaldeans' neo-Babylonian Empire and even earlier, there was a movement abroad to cleanse the world with fire, to burn down the light-obstructing Leviathan.

Now, in the days of Potifex Maximus Octavian, there is an even greater movement, both abroad and at home. What Turner calls "the crisis cult" is only one among many parts of this movement. Unfortunately for humanity and for nature, the crisis cult that will eventually father the Western Spirit takes root in a dark corner where light is expected to shine forth from Optimus Maximus, from the lightless abstraction of Leviathan itself.

The "crisis cult" does not spring out of the air but out of the attempts of human beings to disencumber themselves of the integument that dehydrates them. And it is not a "cult." It is a living way that becomes da cult only when it is re-encased in the artifice's integument.

There are some notable continuities from the time of Chaldeans to the time of the Imperial Romans.

In China the Tao Te Ching, the Way that recognizes the LEviathan as an obstacle and nothing but an obstacle to wellbeing, inspires people to drop out of all the highly organized activites offered by the State. The Chinese drop-outs may have been influenced by post-Periclean Greeks, since some of their bas-reliefs are said to be similar to those done by Greeks in neighboring Bactria, and some of their bronzes are said to be identical to those of Scythians. But in China there is no movement of mass withdrawal--not quite yet.

West of China, there seems to be some continuity between the State-burners of earlier and later days. Apparently Darius's waving of the candle did not altogether exnguish the light.

There is a fascinating clue in The Holy Scripture themselves. It seems to have gotten there because of someone's oversight. Such oversights are not uncommon in The Book. We've already seen that the words of a certain Isaiah who hailed Persian Cyrus as the Messiah got into a chapter named after a differenet Isaiah who lived several generations before Cyrus. The scribes had a lot of material, and they had to put edifying visions and formulations into one or another of the chapters. When they got tired, they apparently failed to make sure the material came from attested and certified Mosaic sources. One such fragment got into the chapter on Daniel.

The main Daniel is said to have been an Israelite who live in exile among the Chaldeans of Babylon. Interspersed with this Daniel is a shadowy character who lives much later, probably in the days of Rome and Parthia, who speaks the language not of Moses but of Zarathustra, and who looks for the coming, not of Yahweh, but of Ahura Mazda. This man speaks of a Zarathustrian sequence of ages, which are empires, and he visualizes the empires as Leviathans.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had
eagle's wings; I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked off... And behold another beast, a second, like
to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had tree ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it had
three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and was said thus unto it: "Arise, devour much flesh." After this I
beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the sides of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had
also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth
beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly: and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in
pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet; and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it;
and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn,
a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the foots; and behold, in this horn
were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things...

These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, that shall arise out of the earth...

The fourth beast... shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces...

But the judgment shall sit, and his dominion shall be taken away to be consumed and to be destroyed
unto the end

In the days of Pontifex Maximus Octavian, the identity of the four beasts becomes clear. The first is the Chaldean, the second the Persian, the third the Hellenistic Greek, and the fourth may be the Parthian but is most likely the Roman. And after the fourth there are no more. The sequence ends. The fourth breaks the world into pieces and is itself broken. After the fourth beast there is Light, the light of Ahura Mazda.

The agency that overturns the fourth beast is supernatural. But this does not exclude human participation. The most spirited revolutionaries are those who think the gods are fighting alongside them.

Dreams are the stuff the world is made of, and such dreams are self-fullfilling prophesies. In the midst of the hell that Rome has made of Earth, it will not be long before someone comes and announces, "I come to cast fire upon the eart." This one means the earth that is Rome, the fourth beast, the last. He comes to announce the end of His-story.

Rome does burn. But stirring its ashes, lo and behold another lurking beast, a fifth, with lion body and head of a man, a beast that shared the firebringer's cradle, a Church.

* * *