One Paragraph of Non-Fiction, Prehistoric History
You'll need this for the MeanMesa fiction which follows.
|Possibly the oldest man made artifact ever found on Earth. [image]|
Blombos Cave is an archaeological site, located near the town of Stilbaai on the southern coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa. The site contains objects made by early humans more than 70,000 years ago. Before the Blombos artifacts were discovered, experts had thought that human creativity originated about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, probably in Europe.
[Read more here_WIKI]
Spring time duties have been occupying MeanMesa for a couple of weeks. There are a couple of nice posts waiting for their "final touches," and these should be appearing here at the Short Current Essays blog shortly. So, rather than leave our blog dormant, the following selection from the MeanMesa archives is posted here to provide a bit of light hearted reading.
Frequent visitors here have already encountered posts noted as "future history," but this one will be much more along the lines of "past history." In any event this is a frolicking, fun filled little fiction which you may, hopefully, find enjoyable.
If you've become more involved in US Presidential politics than you might consider healthy, think of this as the literary equivalent of a brief "air freshener." Have fun! [Please note: The original is 42 pages long.]
A Short History of Cash
WHERE DID ALL THE LIFE ENERGY GO?
Even the shortest history of reserve money must begin at its most organic roots. Great Nature evolved life on earth such that it would be timed with what Gurdjieff called its breath. In his Period of Dimensions there is expressed a wonderful sort of continuum. The Cosmoses are graded in many ways, but most obviously in size. The difference in size is such that a cosmos of a next higher order cannot be delineated as simply a larger and larger version of the cosmos below it. The higher cosmos is bigger, not simply larger.
Likewise, the size, passage and importance of the line of time at these various cosmic levels cannot be graded in a simple comparison of, say, faster or slower. Yet, Gurdjieff’s period of the breath of a microbe can be compared to the period of a breath of a man and to the period of a breath of the earth. A discussion group, seated in comfortable chairs, comprised of the microbe, the man and the earth could probably agree on many things about one breath, but the cosmic idea would continuously show the scale of the difference.
The common feature of the period of one breath in the exploration of cash will be that a surplus is generated. In the case of the man where we are most familiar, a breath enters, extends its presence through the octave of development, then exhausts. It has a period. It does not enter the man continuously every second one place, perhaps exhausting continuously somewhere else. There is a period between inhaling and exhaling during which the man is briefly independent of atmosphere and the process of breathing. During this time he exists in a state of unbridled freedom. He is briefly self- contained and self-sufficient.
There are, of course, limits to such a period. Fill the man’s pockets with stones and shove him into the pond!
It can be said that a man requires water. However, it can also be said that he does not require water at this moment. Likewise, food. He requires food equally as much when he leans back to relax after a great feast as when he is near death from crossing the desert. Thirst and hunger differ from no thirst and no hunger as they are defined by immediacy. Fatal dehydration and starvation mark the end of thirst and hunger.
The point is that each of these human experiences defines a period of one breath for the man. These realities of the Tritocosmos mark the time used for the maintenance of the man. Do they mark the time for Demonsthenes to create and deliver his Phillipics? Do they mark the time for Einstein to conceive and prove the General Theory? Of course. These features of great culture were, first and foremost, marked by air, food and water, then by the brilliance of Third Being Food.
The Phillipics and the General Theory exist at the pleasure of the earth. If the earth were to end, they would also end. Unhappily, these phenomena might also end from lack of interest! However, at this moment, we find ourselves within the period of a breath for these two constructions. We find them, as with the man between inhaling and exhaling, momentarily free of the limits of the earth. Their existence is sustained by their crystallization within the experience of our planet. The planet has, compared to the period of our breath, impressive stability and longevity. More than us, but less that the cosmos above the earth. We no longer enjoy the company of Demosthenes or Einstein, but we enjoy the benefit of their work because it exists as surplus within the period of the breath of the earth. Although such inventions are perpetual within not only the earth, but within further, extended conditions. Within these limits such inventions may be considered continuous, that is, not requiring reinvention.
Two and Three Brained Food Cycles
WHAT’S FOR DINNER IN 60,000 BC?
The storage of food is, of course, a mere single factor in the description of various forms of life on earth. Yet, a few sweeping generalizations will demonstrate similarities in different patterns of this behavior. Ants are an excellent example.
These tiny creatures have been specialized by evolution for their existence in widely varied environments. Their food saving methods map out a generous territory for each type of ant. All kinds of cultural habits, distribution of labor, a generally flexible diet and significant mobility allows them to nest almost anywhere.
On the contrary side, the Panda bear exists with a regimen of food and environment so strict as to bring the creatures to the brink of extinction. The Panda’s existence relies on the green leaves from a specific plant which seems to grow only in areas waiting to be WalMart parking lots. (Yes, in China.) The Panda has paid for its extremely limited dietary demands by placing itself in a precarious and very limited life environment. In comparison, the ant hill has a very long period of a breath before it starves to death. It can shut down and come back. The Panda cannot.
Another, slightly varied example, and one which moves us closer to topic, will be the prehuman hominid. These creatures enjoyed a diet more diverse than the Panda, and, more importantly, they moved to areas with sufficient food when their local supplies failed or became challenged by the competition. They probably did not store food. Their days were probably filled completely with the task of finding food and eating it immediately.
Homo Erectus and other similar people could cooperate and hunt. This ability placed a surplus in their hands on an intermittent schedule immediately providing them with time to make cave drawings, learn to dance, create various musical instruments and establish the first democratic elections using stone ballots. Well, not exactly. Perhaps, and even more astonishing, with the first bit of what could be called free time, they etched decorative scratches on a few small rocks.
A human surplus had, for the first time, added to the planetary coating. The race was on! By the way, we have the rocks.
So far we have discussed, in an extremely abbreviated way, the general accomplishments of creatures of the “ant” type, the “Panda” type, the “prehuman hominid” type, the “homo Erectus” type and the “modern man” type. Having completed this work in only a couple of pages, we must now apologize to the anthropologists who have made a myriad of clever books about every single word we have used here. Further, we must not offer this paper for their review lest we induce in them apoplexy and other maladies of prideful exasperation.
We are not really guilty on these counts. There is an interest in anthropology, but not the sort of anthropology that ends up in dioramas filled with mannequins of naked villagers. We are interested in the effect of surplus in the making of the men who have it, the effect of no surplus in the men who do not have it and the final conversion of surplus to gold then to cash.
HOW MUCH IS MORE THAN ENOUGH?
The story of surplus requires an immediate judgment. The questions are straightforward. What constitutes a surplus and what constitutes meat left over from the dead bison we found? The prehuman hominid made it a point to live in a place where food was, if not in plentiful supply, usually sufficient. This condition, no matter how harsh at times, represented his version of the ant hill finding aphids and the Panda finding bamboo. If there were more aphids than needed or plenty of bamboo shoots left after the meal, would our ant and Panda amend their tax returns to show a surplus? No. They would probably agree that they were living in a great part of the jungle, but neither of them would argue that they were responsible. This line of thought is easily extended to the case of the ants and the Panda moving when necessary to a more abundant place further down the river. They have still done nothing to create the food History of Cash 3 cycle advantage of their new homes.
The first test of a surplus is: Does it protect me from misadventures in my food cycle? The ants and the Panda could quite easily become food for crows and hyenas at some disparate and forlorn spot on the way down river. The ants and the Panda get a free ride from Great Nature with respect to their participation in the Second Planetary Imperative1 . In them is the more or less automatic ration of survival instincts which will serve to direct and maintain them in an environment with a food cycle such that they are not required to participate.
As two brained beings they could be characterized as untroubled, free spirits who pretty much just wander around with their mouths open, waiting for food to enter. Of course not. If they could be interviewed in an honest moment, we would find an account of lives entirely devoted to the First and Second Imperatives, food, defense and sex.
Moving forward to the fellow who decorated the stones, we find the startling development of the first, say, pseudo-surplus. Does this mean that his caveman camp was surrounded with majestic grain silos? Of course not. It does, however, speak to one wonderful fact. Part of the time he was not defending himself, not gathering food and not running around seeking sexual opportunities. He was at home working on his etching! He had enough of everything to open an account with the Third Planetary Imperative! Further, he enjoyed this state for a period stretching over a number of days.
His food excess probably came and went. There were inevitably nights when he went to bed without etching, but the amazing development remains. There were nights when he did etch! This means that he did not stop gathering food when he was no longer hungry. He kept gathering food, and the reason he kept gathering food was the etching idea. He understood how this worked.
The second test, which actually includes the first test, is at hand, Can I understand that there is a reason, an advantage, to having more food than it takes to satisfy my hunger? The first reason actually runs fairly close to the ant and the Panda. I do not want to die because I ate all the food I found yesterday and there does not seem to be any for today.
The man etching the stone has gone a step further. No animal, including him, wants to wake up on a day when there is no food. The etching very clearly goes beyond this. Being food ahead so I can do my etching says that there is more which is necessary to me than my simple survival. The ant and the Panda are, so to speak, automatic animals. Absent emotional centers, they would probably say that they are doing everything they want, and, by that, they would mean [1 A short reference explaining the Planetary Imperatives can be found at the end of this paper.] that they are being ants and Pandas. They cannot want more than that. They would not understand it. They would not like it. You get the idea!
On the other hand, while our stone etcher certainly had a bit of the automatic animal in him, he apparently had a little more in him, also. The Panda looked at himself and saw a Panda. In the same light our man looked at himself and saw the man version of the Panda, wanting to do the man version of the Panda version of automatic things, but a tiny, yet wonderful spark was there even after accounting for all these automatic-man-Panda things. Somehow, a three brained creature was emerging.
Although probably not the very beginning of the emotional center in man, this is a good case for having been the visible manifestation of one. We have all seen the horror movies during which the werewolf or the man-eating lizard run through the forest to kill someone. This scene is portrayed by moving the camera rapidly through the brush. This creation is made even more sinister by leaving all but the very center out of focus. The result of this camera work is wonderfully alien and frightening to those of us in the theater. We are accustomed to wide, panoramic sight delivered in sharp focus.
That style of sight gives us, possibly, at least the illusion of being inside our heads, a position somewhat suited to the idea that “we” actually “exist” somewhere behind our eyes. Further, because we see stereoscopically, we can pick and choose where we will put our attention. This proves, at least to the werewolf, how advanced we are. The key words here are “we” and “exist.”
The sight vision of the werewolf or the man-eating lizard, however, show only the part of the eye vision needed to run after the girl. There is not any of the highly developed pick and choose of the advanced human. It is the aim of the film to make the monster single sighted and megalomaniac, terrifyingly limited in thought to his killing. Switch werewolf for ant of Panda and switch killing for foraging. There is no particular “we” and “exist” in either creature. Food is seen in tunnel vision. From there it is automatically moved to the stomach in the case of the Panda, and to the Queen’s hive in the case of the ant. Etching will not be showing up anywhere around here. The ant and the Panda have joined a class action lawsuit for inflicted suffering due to unlawful and suspicious discrimination. To date they have eaten all client copies of the plaintiff briefs.
Getting a little extra food to allow the pursuit of a non-automatic, non-Panda type task had everything to do with what the man thought he was. His identity did not, of course, accept starvation in the way of the Panda, but his identity also did not accept not doing his etching! The foundation of his new being still said no to starving, but it also said no to the idea of not etching.
We have to wonder how that felt.
The incredible relationship between gathering food after I am no longer hungry and etching seems notable enough, but our view of this phenomenon can be tailored just a little to, perhaps, make it even more notable. First of all, the etching and the gathering are to be considered as a single act. Our friends the anthropologists can separate them, but we see them as one thing. All the unanswered questions go together too well.
“I have time to find something I can do in my spare time.”
“I have time to wonder if I can etch the stone.”
“I have time to wonder how I will do that.”
“I have time for trial and error about etching.”
“I know why I have time for wondering and etching.”
“I want to etch more.”
“I remember etching when I am gathering food and what to do.”
The second conclusion has to do with “happen” and “do.” The ant and the Panda are “happen” creatures. Remember the werewolf view of the world? They may be extremely talented at the execution of their “happenings,” but they are not concerned with etching. In all fairness, our prehistoric man was probably more “happen” than “do,” but the little “do” he had certainly went a long way.
Finally, because there was someone behind those eyes this simple action had someone to see it and, even more importantly, someone to be it. He took a few moments of his precious life energy, filled up his bucket with it and then directed it into the etching of the stones. He took, and accepted, the responsibility of investing his own “Panda life,” that is, gathered food after he was no longer hungry, and then went home to direct the use of this reserve energy to the creation of something originating in his own creative mind.
The system was operating at a surplus! A surplus of etched stones? Well, in a sense, but the results of all the factors which were part of the etched stones constituted the real surplus. Yes, it amounted to a single thimble full, but it meant a lot considering that all the other thimbles were empty.
Perhaps our modern version of this will be the first turnip grown on Titan!
Welcome to Lagdash
OBEY ALL SPEED LIMITS AND RELIGIOUS LAWS,
DON’T EAT TOO MUCH
Lagdash was hardly just around the corner from the stone etching center on the African coast of the South Atlantic, but she was a great old town full of examples of the continuing development of the idea of surpluses. There is something particularly special about Lagdash, a good central location in the Mesopotamian delta with quite a good bit of anthropological work which can assist us as we speculate about surpluses.
As one of famous first three cities, Lagdash grew to a respectable population and managed the construction of a very substantial wall. Five or six thousand years ago, a substantial wall was a very good investment. However, the Sumerians who lived in Lagdash had a tradition of having lived in much less glorious places before they moved (built) their city. Yes, the beautiful city of Lagdash was a somewhat expanded version of, you guessed it, etched stones! With a price tag of, no doubt, thousands of human lives invested in it, the walls of Lagdash were also, you guessed it, an expansion of etched stones.
In the granaries of Lagdash there were sufficient excesses to feed the wall builders. Behind her magnificent wall, there was sufficient tactical advantage to defend the granaries, add to them and even add to the wall if it were to become necessary.
What had begun with our stone etcher as the rather enlightened idea to continue gathering food after hunger was sated to provide the means for stone etching, had developed into a sort of Mesopotamian cottage industry. (The High Priests of Lagdash held their first city in great pride. They would have probably hung -- or worse -- anyone who called it a cottage industry.) The contents of those grain silos became a central focus of just about everything else!
Our prehistoric stone etcher continued to live, in the most part, just as the ant and the Panda. His claim to fame, and it is a sound claim to fame, had to do with the very brief percentage of his day available for rock etching. The citizens of Lagdash, however, had advanced far beyond the idea of not stopping food production when one was no longer hungry. For that matter, they had advanced beyond the idea of stopping food production when the surplus was sufficient for stone etching. They had built a wall, built a city, erected a temple to EnLil (speculation) and had even embedded blue glass cylinders here and there to allow sun light to penetrate the walls of their houses.
Were these industrious Sumerians some sort of better class planetary citizens that the African etching on the stone? Were they able to create a surplus sufficient for all this because they were more advanced? Or, had the surplus of Lagdash somehow been the foundation for their advancement? Was all of this some sort of anthropological synergistic miracle?
A few hundred years before the Sumerian Wall Builders’ Union, SWaBU, laid the first block of the wall of Lagdash, the affairs of these people had been, no doubt, quite a lot more tribal. Our anthropological friends will have created one of their glorious accounts of all this, but we will be coursing after ideas about surplus more than enjoying the amazing conclusions in their books. At this point, our goal is to trace history for our point. A hundred years per paragraph should be a rate which will keep this tale lively!
The Sumerians began their marvelous assent by acting very much like the ant and the Panda. They sought out and lived in places where food availability could sustain them, generally in the Fertile Crescent, although their inhabitance of that region could very easily have been the product of their search for a favorable food availability. The Fertile Crescent was just about as good as it gets. After having migrated out of long series of crappy places, they had finally encountered a region which could support the possibility of surpluses! They immediately signed a mortgage on the Tigris Euphrates valley, copyrighted and franchised the name “Sumerians,” and opened up shop.
Their earliest tribal groups were probably members of an expanded family. The composition of such families could have been maximized, three breeding females, three strong male hunters, three older parents (one could only be sure of his mother) for agriculture and seed gathering and not too many babies who ate but did not produce. However, the shock power of Great Nature would have almost certainly served to create tribal families configured in any way but the maximized profile. Where is Dr. Phil when we need him?
The business of this family tribe was to defend, eat and breed. Whatever the inefficiency caused by its population profile to these activities, made the measure of the tribal family’s strength, strength to defend, strength to eat and strength to grow larger and, of course, stronger. In between the time dedicated to the Big Three, these tribal Sumerians made baskets, sandals and got a good start on their religion of the One Fold Way which they would need in Lagdash. Why wait for Zoroaster?
Noticing that an unacceptable percentage of children fathered by brothers or fathered by fathers of mothers (the ash tray and the pencil, but not the ash tray and the orange, which isn’t there, or the pencil, you get the idea), a sexual mating imperative initiated the stealing of women (most of when were already packed), the stealing of children or the new idea of Family Tribal Joint Venture Contracts, FTJVC’s. The tribes grew larger. Conflicted issues of tribal head man authority and limitations on breeding arrangements were resolved in pools of blood.
The surplus idea made its first great leap forward. The odds are good that a larger family tribal unit would almost certainly have a population profile which was going to be more efficient for everything the tribe needed to do. The amount of surplus for each member of the smaller tribal unit grew larger. There was more surplus and more members and more surplus for each member. Lagdash, here we come!
Men and women who eat better produce more food. Having enough food got the stones etched, but now the tribal surplus had grown to a magnitude that the entire life sustenance of some members could be supported absent any food producing work at all on their part. Of course, there were some serious questions about who these well fed individuals might be, and especially questions such as “Why him and not me?”
The well fed, nonworking sorts could see that this might cause problems. They had already tried the “we are etched stones” idea with mixed results, so they moved ahead to new names for themselves, King and Priest. At this point, additions could have been made to the Body Guard, but all those men, of course, ate, that is, they could hardly be expected to guard and farm at the same time. A very efficient and quite economical solution was introduced by these superior and very clever Kings and Priests.
What had been a wonderfully informal brand of tribal superstition was gradually hammered into a raging Paleolithic God. This was a God with no appetite for grain, at all! Kings and Priests were Kings and Priests because God said so. If you, as a family tribal member crossed this idea, you would be enjoying extremely good fortune if the Body Guard massacred you and your family before The God got around to it! Kings, Priests and a surplus. The fields were safe for work. The tribal village was protected by an army of sorts. We can hardly remember the last famine. In fact, we are all eating pretty darned well! Who wouldn’t buy into The God idea? Just don’t try it when things are awful in a time of famine with hostile troops stealing the food and the women.
The tribal development of these Sumerians unfolded because of many reasons, but the lubricant all along the way was the important fact that they continually produced more food than they ate. Everything the archeologists unearthed in the tribal village or in Lagdash itself, for that matter, was the direct product of all the benefits of having the surplus in the granaries. If all these tribal Sumerians had been eating hand to mouth, like the Panda, practically nothing would have been left, except of course, what is always left.
When conditions progressed to the actualization of the literal city of Lagdash, the planetary coating business was in full swing. At least this was the intention. We can follow the octaves of development as the bird drops a seed which grows into a plant which is eaten by a sheep which is roasted for a man who converts it into the energy of his body which supports the work of his mind where he forms a wonderful new idea which influences life on earth. A similar octave of development describes the path from the first paltry surplus seed to the glory and majesty of the great city of Lagdash. It is said that the three great first cities of Sumer, Ur and Lagdash had primitive neighbors who had yet to develop the ability to speak. How equally superior and grateful the citizens of Lagdash must have been with their mighty city. We might also assume that these primitive neighbors enjoyed between none and very little extra grain. They were apparently too busy to learn Sumerian.
Our primitive stone etcher grew famous because he was willing to divert his life moments into thinking ahead. When he held that little extra food in his hand, he was actually holding a commensurate amount of his time in his hand. He had converted some of his time to get the food, and when he ate the food on a day when he had not needed to hunt, he received the time back. Time for his etching.
When we consider Lagdash’s wall, we can value it the same way. Let us say that the builders of the wall required one thousand lifetimes to finish the task, so we can also say that the value of the wall was one thousand lifetimes. As King of Lagdash you keep a careful chart of accounts on all your civil works projects. In the wall column you listed the cost. The thousand lifetimes of your wall builders actually turned out to not amount to much. Life in Lagdash was cheap. Even though the thousand lifetimes is a nice round number for the wall building, it is unlikely that these builders began at birth and continued into old age. The labor cost for this wall was probably more like three thousand men for a third of their lives, say three thousand men working every day for twenty years.
Each of the three thousand men expected a meal every day, and these men working on the wall were not available to work in the fields. Consequently, just as the wall was to attain a certain value, that is, one thousand man lives, so was the grain produced in the absence of these grain-eating wall builders by the grain producers. It was a great thing when the surplus grain entered the granaries, but the grain inevitably ran into the same thing as the wall. It was produced at the cost of so many man years, and some of what entered the granaries had probably already been diverted to feed the grain growers.
We have converted harvested grain into the walls of the city. If we consider the labor value of a wall builder and a grain grower to be equal, we can actually extrapolate a relationship between the great city of Lagdash and the tons of grain required to feed everyone who undertook that construction. There is a further quirk in our computation. At any given moment the city wall might be a great deal more valuable that the granaries. In fact, the granaries were outside the walls. This was partly due to the fact that good urban property, protected by the walls of the city was too pricey for granaries. It was also very much due to the idea that the value of the wall would really go up if an invading army were to attack. This last idea included the concession of the invaders eating the grain just so long as they failed to loot the city.
The grain could be replaced. The wall could also be replaced, just probably not by the current residents of Lagdash. Looted granaries might mean a lean year, but a breach in the city wall might mean that everything would change for good and not for the better.
The point here is value. The surplus grain the the field has value. Since the full granaries could be measured as so many man-months of labor, a definite value began to be associated with them, a value which could be transferred to the grain eaten by the wall builders. Did this give the wall a grain value? Or a value of the man years of wall builders plus the man-months of the grain raisers? But what was the value of the wall when there were ten thousand hook-nosed Hittites outside? In fact, did the walls of Lagdash gain even another increment of value, planetary value, because they protected the existence of a lot of good Sumerian work done for the 3rd Planetary Imperative? Coating is not much good after it has been looted, broken and burned. Sometimes, however, looting is just what the doctor ordered.
Neglecting some of the details of this cost analysis will not really shadow its usefulness, but we should touch on them anyway. The first is the creation of the fields. Trees had to be uprooted and stones moved. In some cases there were irrigation projects required. The fields had a capital value similar to a building which has been renovated. This work was probably completed during the tribal family stage, but it was, nonetheless, a lot of work.
The other consideration which has become more of a habit in modern times can be called the wear and tear on the field soil. Granted the Lagdash Bureau of Environmental Protection was famous for accepting bribes, threats or Royal Influence. Code compliance was minimal.
Anyway, the important rate of value had to do with labor. What is the actual, tangible value of a man-month as it measures the labor of a field worker? Or the value in a man life as it measures the wall builder? During the tribal family period we can assume that tribal family members did the work. However, after the grain surplus of Lagdash began to throw its weight around, all kinds of new things started to happen. Along with Kings and Priests came armies and something like police and lots of monks, and these people were not field workers. Using the idea of divine right and having the armed muscle to back it up, all the residents of Lagdash were property of the king. Lagdash was property of the King. The army was property of the King. However, there was a class of merchants and businessmen in Lagdash who gradually began to prosper. These people were not field workers either.
The Sumerian city of Lagdash did not invent the idea of slavery, but they could definitely spot a good idea when they saw one. Like most ancient cities (ancient meaning before the mid 19th century AD), the Sumerian businessmen of Lagdash never met a slave they did not like! All the development vectoring out from the surplus grain gave Lagdash a great and prosperous military advantage which could deliver slaves and territory almost without limit.
Of course, the neighbors to Lagdash, the other two first cities of Ur and Sumer, had the same idea. So there were limits, but on the other hand there was a lot of territory, even when it was divided three ways.
Earth Man Moon Money
WHAT’S THE REAL LOWDOWN AT LAGDASH?
Whatever had once been considered the value of a man’s labor for a month or a lifetime depended a great deal on how the man saw it. It further depended on whether or not the man could exert what influence was necessary to continue to be able to make the decisions and defend them. The King of Lagdash could have probably built the wall using only tender handed boys who were the spoiled children of the merchants. However, to keep his city together, he would have to pay them, tolerate their defiance and complaints without the satisfaction of his lash and negotiate with their new labor union.
The wall, no matter how appealing an idea, might have come to nothing more than a rapacious cost over run that totally bankrupted the city of Lagdash and precipitated horrible King wrecking whining from all these sweet faced boys to their well heeled mothers.
The slave idea ended all these problems. The new value of a man-month in the fields now amounted to no more than a little grain to keep him on his feet and the wages of a guard to keep him working. The cost of the grain in surplus became much less. The value remained very high. Likewise the builders of the wall and, ultimately, the city itself caused its own transformation this same way
.The cost entry for the value of human lives to perform this work became nothing. We might consider that Great Nature willingly gave sufficient grain to feed a man. A little more might have been brokered out of Her for the stone etching, but there was no extra increment of life. The stone etching was done in the sense of a trade between the life of the prehistoric man and the new asset of the produced stone. The etching consumed part of his life during which he could have done something else. Later, the lives of slaves would be converted into the walls, roads, bridges and palaces of Lagdash without the possibility of their having done something else. This is not to mention certain other special services they might provide to imaginative slave owners in the city.
When wild animals encounter a place with abundant food, they grow larger, stronger and more healthy. Stronger means less problems with predators and more healthy means more little animals. As Lagdash discovered itself in a similar, abundant place, the result was similar. Abundant food meant abundant slaves, and that meant a larger Lagdash. It became a great famous city in a world where there were not very many cities at all. It was built on, more than anything else, the lives of its slaves.
It was built on exactly the precious living moments of their lives.
Larger than Lagdash
GREAT NATURE’S SUMERIAN BUNGALOW
Great Nature, in company with Her brilliant evolutionary abilities, was running a very well organized planet a few millions of years ago. Even though there were a few lumps such as the dinosaur meteor, things seemed to just run along smoothly millennium after millennium. All the inhabitants of earth were doing just as they were told. For the animals under Her tutelage, it was essentially an automatic life (one seen through the eyes of the werewolf). It was eat, be eaten and breed, all activities very largely driven by thoughts originating in the experiential sensation system. See it, eat it, See it, run. See it, breed. The automatic concept is even more automatic for the one brained plants.
Great evolution progressed though all this time. The breath of the earth patiently continued through hundreds of billions of dark nights and bright warm sun rises. The First and the Second Planetary Imperatives were very adequately serving the needs of the Trogoautoegocrat in one and two brained mode. In a sense, however, the earth was starving for its 3rd Being food. In the long period before the first stone etching, there was some great evolving going on, but very limited planetary coating. The Third Planetary Imperative was, in the planetary, Great Nature sense, going nowhere. The coating created by life in evolution was filled with advanced technology for designing animals and plants, but very little cutting edge stuff such as etching stones.
Discouraged and concerned about the low production record for etched stones, “low” meaning “none” except for the volcanoes and their stones and their etching seemed to be, well, not exactly Third Planetary Imperative material, Great Nature called a project meeting. All of Her engineers attended, of course. Although She never lost Her temper, they all knew that a project meeting was a good time to appear to be paying attention.
As these diligent masters of the world roamed about, the same sort of tired animal advances were trotted out in the meeting. “We have made an improved fang for our saber tooth tigers, extra sharp and long.” “Our new giant beetle is now capable of thousands rather than hundreds of eggs.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” She sighed. “All those improvements make the world work better and better, but they do nothing to solve the etched stone production problem.”
An uncertain voice from the back of the room penetrated the assembly. “What about those monkey things?”
The Head of Evolutionary Engineering spoke up immediately, glaring at the last speaker. “Those monkey things, as you call them, have turned into one of our best product lines. As far as automatic life existence goes, they are among the very most skilled. They run fast, breed fast and stay busy. A mutation has caused some of them to break open seed pods with a stone.”
The Planetary Mother hesitated for a moment, thinking. The assembled members of the project group immediately assumed the respectful silence of a funeral, even though there had never been one. Finally, She rose. By this is meant that She floated up into the air and enlarged Herself, emitting powerful rays of light and the restful music possible only from one of Her stature.
Great Nature was preparing to make a decree. Her last decree had been over two hundred million years ago during the Trilobyte crisis.
“I have decided to share my dominion. Up until now, my rules have governed all the creatures of the earth, coercing them into automatic living. The result of this is that none of these utterly happy and well designed creatures or plants has what it takes to want to produce a single etched stone.”
“Through all these millions of years, I have been the entire planetary identity. Whenever one of these automatic creatures might ask another about whether or not it has an identity, the other always answers, “Oh, of course not, The Planetary Mother contains all identity. That is why we animals can lead such a blissful life, objectifying everything except ourselves. In fact, I am surprised at your question. How could you have formed such an inquiry in an automatic mind filled only with eating, fighting and breeding? My goodness, how could I have answered? How could one without identity answer such a question about identity?”
Everyone in the meeting continued to demonstrate great enthusiasm and interest. The Planetary Mother’s speech giving the last decree, the one about Trilobytes, lasted almost eighteen thousand years.
The Planetary Mother continued. “I am going to allow the possibility of some small identity to develop in the minds of the monkey things over the next hundred thousand years or so. This should solve My problem about the etched stone, planetary coating and the Third Planetary Imperative all at once. All kinds of interesting and constructive achievements should be rolling in right away after that. In any event it will be quite refreshing to have some independent creation going on.”
A little thing in the meeting spoke up, “My dear Planetary Mother, do you mean that these monkeys in the crazed state engendered in them by this bit of identity will be allowed to simply do whatever they wish?”
With Her eternal and unperturbable smile, the Planetary Mother addressed this impertinent question. “Let’s see. I am the Planetary Mother in charge of everything and you are utterly nobody whatsoever. You heard my decree. Are you challenging Me?”
“That would be the furthest thing from my mind, Mother!” the little thing answered, shaken. Turning to the thing next to it, it whispered, “Those monkeys will never do anything anyway. They are far too busy eating and breeding all the time. This foolhardy identity idea will never amount to even the slightest change. They will never have time to do more than create a way to break open seed pods.” The thing’s neighbor at the table slid as far away as possible.
The Planetary Mother, still in Her official decree mode scowled at the terrified little thing. “I heard that! I revoke the identity I gave you when I created you. Now you will become the first stone to be etched! Hope you’re patient!”
The meeting had changed from politely attentive to desperately attentive. The little thing was gone. Those remaining would have smiled if there had been mouths.
“The little thing actually had a point. We won’t be getting any planetary 3rd Being Food if the monkey is always eating and breeding.” the Great Planetary Mother spoke, thoughtfully. “How will we solve this part of Our problem?”
The Head of Evolutionary Engineering spoke up. “We can evolve the monkey’s food gathering and sex efficiency, but that has never really worked so far. Creatures evolved that way simply eat more and breed more. I am afraid that our monkey will need to remember himself during food gathering and sex so the identity You have placed in him will have the possibility of wanting to do something else, such as the etched stone, and at the same time remembering just who wanted to do it and possibly why. He will need to remember that he is, that he exists, in some way other than like the werewolf film.”
The Great Mother looked at the Head of Evolutionary Engineering. “That sounds roughly like what I had in mind, but how will you do it?”
The Engineer responded cautiously. “With Your permission, I propose the addition of another brain to house the identity You are giving to him.”
The meeting, forgetting the fate of the little thing, now went into pandemonium. “How can you add a brain to a two brained being? Where would you put it? If we are the only thing there is, how can there be another thing that is?”
The Planetary Mother spoke a single word which immediately restored order, “Quiet.” She commanded. Turning to the Engineer, she said, “This is a bit more than I had originally planned. I am sure you know that we have no three brained creatures at this time and none planned.”
The Engineer spoke again, “The results of independent creation which might arise from such an innovative construction could possibly, although not necessarily, fulfill Your wish. Your idea of such a creature having an inclination to not be constantly consumed by food and sex is likewise possible. The sexual performance of these monkeys is already well formed. Their instinctive systems limit such activity, but the pressure of immediacy in food gathering can be suitably addressed, with Your permission, by the introduction of what is called surplus.”
Again the meeting was in a turmoil. “We never got a surplus, whatever it is, and we turned out just fine.” “I suspect that just exactly these surpluses are the culprit in turning our kids against us.” “Animals like these monkeys are made to work mindlessly all the time. What will the other creatures think?”
Once again the Planetary Mother responded. “Quiet. Quiet all of you.” Turning to the Head of Evolutionary Engineering with thinning patience, “I can remember the difficult path I followed from nothing to something and finally to somebody. First, I have given away My dominion on identity, next I have agreed to radically new technology as I approved a third brain. What will be this surplus I am giving now?”
The Engineer spoke, “The surplus means that the monkey will, at intermittent times, possess food which he will not require. He will gather and eat what is needed to satisfy his hunger, but he will also continue to gather food such that, at a later time, he will be able to again satisfy his hunger from this surplus food without additional work at gathering. During this time when he is not immediately required to gather food, he will be free to pursue the, as of yet, unserviced Third Planetary Imperative. The surplus will not cause the quantity or use of food to vary. It will simply amount to the efficient management of the time of gathering food.”
The Planetary Mother was growing a little short at the length of the meeting. It had, after all, already lasted more than five thousand years. “Are you certain that this will involve no additional food?”
“Absolutely certain. I think this is a very positive, yet frightening design plan. It is both daring and astonishingly well considered, qualities very well suited to your remarkable and well respected leadership. I express my gratitude for this opportunity to assist this project in my own small way.” By the end of this statement, the Engineer was bowing deeply. The remainder of the group held a uniformly puzzled glaze. The evolutionists had struck again!
The Great Mother, Her dignity revitalized, rose up a little higher. “All of what the Engineer just said is My decree. I want to hear no more of this bizarre undertaking until I am happily situated in my Lagdash condo.”
The rest is history. Boy, oh boy, is it every history! The next crisis was, of course, the two brained gay decorator. She got over it.
Meanwhile, With the All Quarters Maintainer
A LARGER VIEW OF LARGER LAGDASH
“It absolutely amazes me that She ever makes real progress given the screwball way She does everything. That decree business and the very idea of a project meeting lasting five thousand years! Oh well, She does have the franchise for planetary development! Now She’s handed over the whole future direction of the thing to a bunch of monkeys. It’s a good thing that I put an agent into that so-called project team. Archangel Hee (Head Evolutionary Engineer) took the assignment almost three billion years ago, and has been patiently enduring Her heavy handed management since then.”
“This is the Archangel’s report. To insulate both such a flow of data and my own career from the unwanted consequences of the scattered and chaotic Law of Accidents prevalent and in place everywhere around that planet, I shall review what the Archangel has reported before, as they say, sending it on up to Higher History of Cash 17 Levels.”
Report of Archangel Hee
Concerning Progress Made on the Earth
The planetary franchise holder, one Great Nature, has decreed that the system has failed to meet Her progress requirements with respect to new innovations with respect to the Third Planetary Imperative, namely the ability to be aware of and to willingly participate in receiving the coating of the flow of the experience of reality. The exact goal of such development, named by Her, is a stone, etched without purpose at the ESS level. Although both grotesque and adolescent, this product qualifies under Standard Cosmic Guidelines as an entry level element of the Third Planetary Imperative. I shudder to even imagine where She got this idea, possibly from a National Geographic which would be the same place She got the Trilobyte idea. She denies ever having seen such a magazine, and She gets dangerously defensive whenever anyone brings it up.
Prior to initiating this modernization program, the two brained creatures of all sorts living on the planet fulfilled their duties under a shortened form of the Sacred Triamazikamno in the following manner, quite normal for such creatures. The Holy Denying aspect of their existence flowed into their two brained systems when they were sated, that is, when sufficient food was inside their planetary bodies that they no longer, for the moment, desired to eat more. The Holy Affirming aspect of their existence flowed into their two brained systems, predictably, when the converse was the fact, that is, when insufficient food was inside their planetary bodies that they, at that moment, desired to procure and eat any food of the correct type immediately. This straightforward system was completed as what passed as the Holy Reconciling aspect of their existence, acting as an influence with a pretty darned low voltage limited by the prevailing one and two brained nature of these creatures and plants, caused them to dream of the, for them, wonderful transformation of the Holy Affirming aspect into the Holy Denying aspect.
These dreams, and even the completion of the Sacred Three Fold Way, were less than simply roses. In fact, a creature such as myself cannot even see these things in a planetary reality. These dreams given without either identity or will amounted to little more than a dull sense of inaction, even less with the plants. Prototypical versions of things such as the emotional part of the moving center and other two brained being center parts fill this need, that is, at least as well as it gets filled.
All of this was the case before that calamitous project meeting, the very meeting where She railroaded me into all sorts of ill considered ideas. Ideas which foretell huge, unmanageable changes. Developments which, I suspect, She has neither planned for nor expected in any other way. To further emphasize my point, rather than some thoughtful cogitation, She rushed the whole meeting, decree and all, through in barely five thousand years!
All of this unstable behavior only reinforces my suspicion that She has a hidden agenda. She wants a class of three brained beings to carry Her to another planet! You might chuckle to yourself and say, ha ha ha, these are only monkeys, but mind my words. There is mischief afoot.
Remember my offer to take over if things get totally out of hand.
The work She has done so far is consistent with the initial owner’s manual issued in Djartklom. Yes, the planet is strange, but I am willing to admit that it is teeming with life and parts of it are quite beautiful. It is a standard issue creation, lst period of breath made the rocks from star dust, 2nd breath produced life everywhere all over it, and now, She is barreling ahead with the 3rd period of breath which is creating identity independent of Her own.
In addition to this, these monkeys, in the normal course of evolution, have just kept developing more and more neural synapse in their little heads, some of my best work by the way, and their tiny little brains have sprouted quite robust neo- cortical areas. Until Her decree, these creatures, although highly competitive compared to their planetary comrades, processed two brained life in a very competent, yet quite normal style, eating, breeding and sleeping, with the notable exception of one remarkable habit. This habit caught the attention of our beloved Project Manager, and may well have been the cause of Her selecting such creatures as prototypes for Her third brain idea.
This particular habit which caught Her attention was that these monkeys were very cute. This cuteness of theirs was the total, pointless manifestation of all the complexity of neural synapse and neo-cortex which had grown in them. Aside from being extremely competent at all life skills suited for two brained creatures, these hairy little idiots seemed to play in their spare time. It was just this playing which caught the eye of the Planetary Mother in a troubling display of favoritism. No thought was given to Her other animals or plants, but, absent identities, none of them seemed to be even a little curious, much less resentful, at having been left behind.
As an Evolutionary Engineer, I could easily see that this playfulness of these monkeys was, of course, a manifestation of just exactly the identity sharing decreed by the Great Mother. In fact, I was already well aware of this development and had already made a note on my planetary maintenance log to, as they say, nip it in the bud so as to return this, so far, one and two brained system to its design state. By manipulating this Great Planetary Mother in just this most subtle way, I have satisfied both Her insane rantings about the Third Planetary Imperative and at the same time, saved myself from a little work.
One more short note should be added. Although the identity driven playfulness is a common and normal outset phenomenon for all creatures during the transformation from two brains to three brains, our Heavy Handed Mother, revealing once again Her appetite for depressingly Gothic lines of development for everything under Her control, has completely dismissed any possible value in the monkey’s playfulness and enjoyment of life in favor of the idea of fully utilizing this new emotional brain of theirs in the production of surplus grain. These monkeys do not, at present, consume grain and will not even begin to consume grain for another sixty-thousand of their planetary years.
I include this account of things here to once again emphasize the unstable nature of The Great Mother. She has now undertaken this crazed, megalomanic dash for the etched stone, not caring a bit about the misery and confusion which will inevitably be the result in the technically modified monkeys. Instead of dedicating their simian existence to playfulness and the enjoyment of their lives, they will be gradually changed by normal forces present there into surplus hoarding creatures living with the perpetual agony of both suspicion and indigestion from eating their precious grain. I cannot so much as even ponder the path from this unfortunate interuption of their normal development to the creativity of the Third Planetary Imperative.
Respectfully submitted, Archangel Hee
PS: What’s a Lagdash?
As far as my report goes, the Archangel’s account offers a fairly complete record of what was observed at his level of awareness. Unlike the Trilobytes, these monkeys, perhaps because they were already a little further along, did not plunge into a mass extinction. The new ideas of identity and surpluses gradually became the natural order for them. Their fully manifested Three Fold Way, at first, moved forward quite nicely. In their Holy Denying aspect, they simply relaxed as much as possible with full bellies. Once they again became hungry, the Holy Affirming aspect developed in them and they moved about the jungles of earth to find their correct 1st Being Foods.
Just about at this stage, the Great Mother’s changes became visible. No longer enjoying the two brained luxury of simply finding enough food to end their hunger, they instead accomplished that planetary duty and then continued so that the now infamous surplus might also be collected. Although the minds of these monkeys were correctly filled as they found food and ate it, during the period spent by them to collect the surplus, their minds were filled with various dreams. This time these dreams were absolutely fully formed “like movies” and, in fact, became part of the surplus, providing not only surplus food, but also ideas, already made!
According to Archangel Hee’s plan, these dreams were generally about activities scheduled for later having to do with the creation of thoughts and objects consistent with the Third Planetary Imperative. Everyone involved was simply overjoyed with this except, of course, the monkeys. Although these monkeys experienced a definite sensation, although one imperceptible to them, arising from their work at the Third Imperative, they quickly began their descent to their ESS or mechanical existence. In the beginning these very same monkeys had simply and productively entered the Holy Reconciling aspect of their lives with both the famous surplus and the ideas largely constructed from other times about just what Third Planetary Imperative project might be undertaken.
As this new system progressed, the Sacred Triamazikamno enjoyed by these monkeys began to slowly reconfigure itself. This unseen consequence of the Archangel Hee’s program arose mainly as a result of the fact of the monkeys’ isolation. These creatures developed their ideas of three brained existence without either enlightened guidance from the Mother’s staff or from the company of any other aware three brained creatures. Hee’s new monkey was as a puppy who had been created and raised never seeing another animal of any sort -- not a dog, not a fish and not a bird. How could one expect such an animal to grow up acting like other dogs reared with plenty of examples and opportunities for self knowledge?
Well, just this fate fell on these monkeys. Their Sacred Denying aspect became, rather than resting in the pleasure of satisfaction, a sort of fear. This fear was based of the idea of having to, sooner or later, once more entering the Affirming to hunt for more food. They thought, for some reason, that resting with a full bellies was somehow better than the inevitable work of hunting for food when hunger returned. It was not difficult for them to collect food. Their planetary bodies were absolutely remarkable for moving everywhere and seeing and hearing everything which might be their food, yet the normal pleasure of being satisfied came to be threatened, in their eyes, because it was not permanent, even though these monkeys lived in a wonderfully, for monkeys, abundant place. It was just then that gluttony was introduced as the new Denying aspect.
A different, yet similar, change occurred in the activities of the monkeys which had traditionally been marked as the Holy Affirming aspect. At first the monkeys had gathered what food was needed to satisfy their hunger, and then they gathered a little more which would be their surplus while thinking of ideas related to the Third Planetary Imperative. Because the new nature of their Denying aspect had cast an overall undesirable light on moving around to collect food, this work was, as they say, speeded up very much. As these monkeys rushed around none of their newly found presence was in the work they did -- not even as much presence as was in this work before they were given identities! Consequently, neither the psychic nor the nutritional value of this food was as great as it had once been
Further, because of the newly found idea of gluttony, each monkey was taken by the idea that collecting more and more of this empty food was the very best of all possible ideas. Needless to say, certain competition arose between monkeys as they gathered food. As the Denying had become gluttony, the Affirming had become cunning!
The monkeys’ playfulness and enjoyment of life mentioned by Archangel Hee could have continued very nicely after the introduction of the Great Mother’s identity. The thoughts of the Third Imperative which used to occur during surplus food gathering were now crowded out by tactical food gathering strategies, leaving the monkeys without what had been a good head start during the period when the surplus was to be eaten and one’s time was to be spent in the Third Imperative work. Instead of finding the great comfort of the Holy Reconciling aspect, the monkeys soon chose to be alarmingly unreconciled, turning the thoughts made possible by their new identities and their third brains toward imagination about the endless bliss of their entirely fantastic periods of gluttony and about their make-believe superiority and cunning in getting the food which would normally have gone to their fellow monkeys.
There is still no sign of the Great Mother’s etched stone.
A Sentimental Journey Back to Good Old Lagdash
GOSH HAS THIS PLACE GROWN!
A Further Note from All Quarters Maintainer
All of these official opinions about the progress of the “monkeys” were, as usual with all paperwork, quite distantly dated behind the actual facts on the ground. I supposed that a more current accounting of all this would both serve to more fully illuminate Your appraisal of what progress has been made, as well as being, perhaps, an indication that I am still quite involved in the affairs in Lagdash even though the current situation is utterly beyond my control. I took the evening bus from Alleppo such that my arrival in Lagdash might more clearly reveal what was going on there. I remained in the city for one month wandering around as a tourist. The sights were both alarming and often perplexing. However much the Great Mother’s original idea, that is the identity housed in a full third brain for an amateur creature awash in the idea of a surplus, went askance in its earlier time, the current state represents a “thing” so remote from anything expected in those first ideas as to suggest that everything in the city actually originated from some other source.
Lagdash is a city with a strange absence of any normal direction from its past. Its present is both puzzling and explosive, constantly lurching into one after another grotesque civil adventure. As to the nature of its further growth, I have already mentioned that estimating its future condition would be little more than, in a darling Sumerian phrase, a crap shoot.
Perhaps the most astounding result of the Great Mother’s first action would be what is called the surplus. In its original form it was just a bit of food held over as extra which would hopefully provide for the needs of the monkeys as they did the very special work on ideas for the Third Planetary Imperative. Well, this surplus grain is of such magnitude that it is now stored in huge granaries. In fact, when I first saw them from the window of the bus, I assumed that they were actually the city of Lagdash.
By employing their cunning these monkeys have expanded the advantages of Lagdash’s original, modest surplus such that it has come to provide absolutely everything needed for a massive army, including the soldiers. Although the granaries contain a thousand fold times the possible requirement for every citizen of Lagdash to work uninterrupted on his ideas for the Third Planetary Imperative, this army continually works to further increase the fields and the laborers with the idea that even more grain will be made.
However, the value of this grain has gradually changed through the years of Lagdash’s time. No one in the city has been hungry or can even remember ever being hungry. Even the slaves are fed in a style that has become famous all through the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent.
The arrangement for these slaves is quite simple. After they are captured, often on the field of battle, each is given the opportunity to die on the spot at the hands of the army of Lagdash, or accept a new condition of life in which every living moment of his existence after that will be in labor without compensation to himself at all, but instead labor to add even more of the surplus grain to the granaries of Lagdash. The living moments of these slaves are transformed into what had originally been that extra small period of self-awareness of the original monkeys in which they, more or less consciously, continued to collect food after they were no longer hungry. It was in these wonderful reconciling moments that the monkeys were first revealed to the endless and sincere joy of the Third Planetary Imperative, that is, as they remembered themselves and remembered why they were collecting this extra food, they were already in the energizing cosmic embrace of the Third Imperative, and not, as they were prone to think, during the actual moments they dedicated to this effort.
All of these advantages, envisioned by the Great Mother, had become strangely transformed. One might think that with such a great surplus, the entire population of Lagdash would be occupied almost every moment in work under the Third Imperative, thinking only those thoughts which in some way might enhance and further this great undertaking. The slaves in Lagdash might also be reasonably expected to be persuaded by this high borne commitment, as they saw it in the sincerity of their masters, to participate however they could to assist in it.
This is not at all what I observed. Instead of investing their own life energy into the collection of the surplus and in so doing preparing themselves for their work of the Third Imperative, these monkeys consumed all of the life energy of these slaves to prepare the surplus. Now, of course, this left the slaves with some of this energy but with absolutely no time whatsoever to pursue this work. In fact, certain of the slaves who conformed most beautifully and perfectly to the physical ideals of Great Nature were made to, as they say, clean house and prepare meals. The sacred energy derived from this work by the monkey living in the house or the monkey eating this meal was sent on a pointless and circuitous path through the slaves. The living and eating monkey continued to live and eat, only, of course, still hungry for the vivifying benefit of these energies that he would have enjoyed had he performed this labor himself.
There were still other tasks demanded of these well formed slaves, both men and women. These were the “secret bedroom duties” which, although denied in every possible venue by the participating Sumerians, became almost universally common throughout the city. It was the natural idea of these monkeys to cooperate and compromise with monkeys of the opposite sex in the general work of making romantic alliances, creating what they called “families” which were systems of voluntary agreement providing “fathers” and “mothers,” engaging, of course, in sex with each other, producing little monkeys called “children” and endeavoring to raise them properly to a responsible age after which the process might repeat itself, always and in every moment being filled with emotional love originating from their newly installed third brains.
This process of third brained mating, needless to say, requires work on the parts of the hopeful couple. All sorts of little matters need to be resolved, and work of a sometimes difficult nature needs to be completed to compromise conflicting positions in a way which will make the mating “blissfully” matched.
Well, the work done to develop this partnership and the concessions happily made to sustain it represent none other than an additional sort of surplus. The monkeys successfully existing in such an arrangement have invested many moments of their living energies, and will continue to invest them also, to provide for themselves all sorts of assistance in life, the availability of sex and the joys of companionship. These benefits exist exactly because these mates have invested moments of their lives when their natural hunger of sex could have consumed everything about them, but instead have been transformed into the building of this match. It is no coincidence that this idea of saving food collected after hunger has passed is so similar to entering into all the transformations which might lead to the “bliss” of this mating by working on one’s self instead of simply “eating everything” with, as the Sumerians might say, an eager smile and a well cut bodice.
Oh, of course, there were all sorts of arcane ideas about mating during the tribal family times, but the rules in play, rules sternly enforced by the leaders of these tribes, directed all this process to the benefit of everyone. Further, an invention of these monkeys called gossip served as the ultimate sort of an intelligence service. Everything any one of these monkeys might do would be seen by other monkeys and immediately would crawl across the tribe like snails headed for a Sumerian beer!!
In the genius of engineering that was Lagdash, however, the social control previously created by just this gossip was effectively neutralized by another Sumerian invention called door. One of these doors could be closed providing a place of privacy where all sorts of monkey delights might be undertaken just beyond the reach of the gossip. Meanwhile, even though these so-called doors were not any sort of secret to any of these monkeys who enjoyed such an appetite for gossip, anything that might happen behind them was not only considered a secret, but a total unknown. The residents of Lagdash and their now famous doors immediately developed an entirely new system encompassing not only the rules of tribal times but also the entire ritual of gossip which had been used to enforce them.
Just as, due to the industry of surplus making, there was no longer any of the natural energy which was at first derived from collecting extra food by the use of these doors, the similar energy in past times directed to the making of suitable mates available for cooking and cleaning and sex was also made into a thing of the past, an inconvenient historical thing now happily replaced by something modern.
Now, having selected these well formed young slaves for household duties, these slave master monkeys take them behind the famous doors for special service, both young men and young women, that is, for monkey delights. After each occurrence, the slave is threatened and sent back to work. If the slave were to ever tell, the words would be branded a defiant hateful lie and the slave would be killed.
In Lagdash children are taught that truth appears in four versions. Truth is truth without condition only if no one cares. Truth is gossip when it is officially used to destroy someone. Truth is a secret when one is instructed to never, under any circumstances, turn it into gossip. Finally, truth may be unknown in the case when absolutely everyone knows for absolute certain that it is completely unknown and unknowable, simply conjecture and having no basis in fact.
The final situation here has become very unusual. The normal work on oneself required to finalize a good agreement between mates such that cooking, cleaning and sex were available to both parties now finds itself without a cause. All that work is performed by slaves which, of course, leaves the masters without the energy they would have normally received from it. Likewise, instead of receiving the energy from the meals they used to prepare for themselves, they came to eat only meals the slaves prepared. The nutrition of such meals suffered terribly because of this. Since the masters never cooked and, consequently, never received the energy from cooking, the meals made by the slaves seemed to become necessarily larger and larger to satisfy the hunger of the masters.
Gluttonous eating this way, in the absence of the energy normally available from honest cooking, allowed these monkeys to create a new invention, and not one reflecting the joy of the Third Imperative. For the first time in the millions of years which had passed since their beginning, these monkeys grew fat. During my visit to Lagdash this very invention provided the necessary clue to determine which monkeys were citizens of Lagdash and which were slaves. Further, the monkey delights taking place behind the doors were almost inevitably initiated by a fat monkey master who would never take another fat monkey master in there, but instead, would always take a well formed young slave who was not fat.
This master’s fat, of course, originated from the necessary excesses of his nutrient starved diet and the compounding result of his total avoidance of any sort of physical labor, except, of course, that unknowable secret labor he might perform behind his closed doors!
The final result of all of this modern society must also be mentioned. The old system of tribal family rules and gossip had caused a positive result similar to cooking one’s own food or courting one’s own spouse. These rules were a constant reminder of the tribal importance and the cooperation of the tribal members. The new rules employed by the city of Lagdash seemed, on the surface, to be equivalent to the old rules. However, on closer examination, these new rules were both pointless and tricky. For example, both the old and the new rules forbid most of what could be done behind closed doors. It was easily possible to see a group of fat monkeys gathered in a street yelling their total support for the rightness of this law. However, at the end of this meeting, these very same monkeys would return home, collect a well formed slave and close the door. Every day this same sort of meeting in favor of one law or another would occur, and every one of them would be one thousand times more enthusiastic than any of the meetings which occurred during tribal times.
It was the same with religion. Everything about religion was one thousand times more boisterous than during the tribal times. One would think, watching all of these meetings in the streets of Lagdash that here was a city filled with fervently religious and painstakingly lawful souls. However, of course it was none other than the pious brush of the invention doors which made this deception possible.
When the powers that be had in mind to destroy some citizen of Lagdash due to just exactly the same cunning as when they were first made, then, and only then, would the gossip appear. This would be done not by threatening a slave to be still, but rather threatening this slave to speak, always with the same inevitable result. The fields, family, fortune, slaves and treasure of the evil doer would change hands.
All of this account is presented as an update on that idea of introducing the extra food, the surplus, to the monkeys at the time they began to experience their third brains. Now that this surplus has grown to incredible proportions, it has effectively replaced not only work on, but every existing aspect of the Third Planetary Imperative itself.
Of course these moneys build temples and palaces, perhaps it is better said that their slaves build them, but all these edifices exist in the view of the werewolf only. When one of these Sumerians looks at a temple, he sees only the temple. He does not see himself building it, or even the labor of his slaves. Worst of all, not withstanding the high hopes of the Great Mother, he does not see himself seeing it.
Any mention of the Third Planetary Imperative will be found only in the dustiest part of the city library, and anything found there will be anything but a correct mention. The exact spot where this poor city sits is coated indeed, but only with the experiences of the existence of that spot. The overweight monkeys teeming back and forth in the city seem not to be coated with the experiences of their existence at all.
Back to the Search for Cash
NO GRAIN VOUCHERS ACCEPTED
The City Council of Lagdash was hardly an early form of a modern things with the same name, worrying about a couple blocks of curb and gutter. For one thing there was no mayor. There was a King. If the City Council ever did anything to make the King even a little bit poorer, or if they were to ever do anything He did not like in general, He would kill them. After that He would take absolutely everything they had owned when they were alive. Speaking in an absolutely single voice. every other resident of Lagdash would think it was a good idea and that they had deserved it.
One of the main reasons that the King was the King had to do with how rich He was and in Lagdash rich meant grain. Like everything in Lagdash, the entire value of this grain could be measured by the labor of all those who had raised it. As far as being a great reservoir for the wealth of the city, the grain was fine. Anytime a transfer to another city came up, the transfer could be made in grain.
Lagdash was city which had absolutely no problems purchasing friendship or loyalty, making careful arrangements to avoid war, usually with high speed monket deals, once again, behind their now famous closed doors and, of course, placating the great stone idol with sacrifices of grain. At times a King here or there might, for a moment, wonder about the sacrificed grain. The stone idol was certainly not eating it, but the priests who insisted on it seemed to be even more, well, fat, than the remainder of the city. “What matter, anyway,” these Kings thought. “I have lots of grain and the god, whatever that is, seems to like it here. Who could ask for more than that?”
This system seemed to be completely stable. Year after year it seemed to remain about the same. The sheer visibility of wealth and power assisted all citizens of Lagdash to have a correct idea of their place in the city. There was never a doubt about who was rich. For example, on a day when the King wished to shop, He would appear on the street with His usual entourage but also a great wagon filled to the gunnels with, what else, grain.
Whatever caught this King’s eye would be paid for in grain. When He was in a very good mood, He would order His servants to simply give a bag of grain for free to some pathetic family of the poor. For this generosity He would receive in return a period of passionate, dogged gratitude. It was considered extremely rude to appear on the street with more grain than the King unless such a quantity was required for a large purchase.
In the Queen’s quarters of the palace of Lagdash, likewise, every comfort had been assembled including fine carpets and furniture and other things crafted in Lagdash. Here and there in her room were great ornate urns. Each urn was, of course, filled with grain. This provided the Queen with a constant reassurance of her wealth and high standing. In her innermost heart, she was, frankly, no longer particularly reassured, but she continued to absolutely rave about it when she spoke with her Husband.
Her growing lack of interest in all the grain in her room ended abruptly. The story of the monkeys’ surplus took a sudden turn. The grain business had become grotesque but similar enough to the beginning of things to be understandable.
On this fateful day the Queen noticed a beautiful red stone tied to a bit of leather and hung around the neck of one of her house servants. Unlike her husband who would have simply taken the stone after slapping the slave, the Queen formed a plan. She would tell the King how pleasant this was and ask Him in her special way to buy her something similar. She did this and the King answered her not a single second later.
“Yes, dear. Of course, dear. No, dear. I won’t take hers. I will get you a special one that will show you how much I love you.”
However, later that day, several incredibly upsetting realizations reached the King’s mind. The first was that He had known for a long time that His Queen really could not have cared less for the valuable grain all around her room. Now, she wanted something that was not grain! The second thought was that if one woman, his wife, wanted these baubles more than grain, He could bet the very walls of the city that every woman in Lagdash would also want them more than grain! The very fact that women wanted anything represented an unassailable testament to its value!
He was ruined! Well, not actually. It is hard to be ruined when one is immeasurably rich and the King of an entire city. It was, however, one minute till midnight as far as expanding His portfolio went. He realized that He was way too heavy in grain and way too skimpy in baubles! He immediately sent out servants to locate the source of these woman pleasing miracles. The King had in mind to not only purchase some, but to corner the market. Whatever His Sumerian shortcomings might have been, this King was a expert at being both persuasive with His business partners and ruthlessly opportunistic in the commodity markets which He assumed that He actually owned already.
His purchasing efforts were, at least partially, as success. His servants located a single shop in a rather shady part of town, Lagdash Jewelry. The owner of the business was at first delighted to see customers, but when he heard that they worked for the King, and even worse, that the King was on His way down to purchase jewels, he had what could be called second thoughts (a thing that can be done when one has a third brain...). The King of Lagdash never simply took anything, but He had a habit of, shall we say, designing His own transaction. The jeweler knew, at this point, that he would be the proud owner of immense surplus grain by dinner time.
“Oh well, it could be worse.”
The King, acting quite coy, stood for a while, slowly examining one jewel after another. Finally He spoke. “There seem to be only eight of these, ah, jewels. Where are the rest?”
“These eight jewels are my entire stock right at the moment. Are none of them satisfactory, Your Majesty?” the jeweler answered.
“No, no, of course not. It is not that at all. They are all wonderful indeed. It is only that I had in mind to purchase a far larger number of them. Perhaps you might refer Me to your supplier’s warehouse. Is it local?” The King was being suspiciously courteous.
“Actually, Your Majesty, these eight stones here in the display case represent the entire stock presently for sale. With Your Most Generous Royal Indulgence, I might endeavor to explain that procuring these stones is a rather fidgety business, one that is quite unpredictable even at its best moments. During the process of gathering these stones, my, ah, associates spend long periods of their living moments searching across the desert in hopes of encountering a stone such as one of these.”
“I was curious about the value of stones such as these. As a resident of Lagdash I assume you have read my best selling work concerning the value of grain, walls, temples and palaces.” It was rare that the King would stand in such comfortable chit chat. “I introduced the new idea that all things might be placed in their respective values by comparing how much of the living moments of men’s lives were required to produce them. Of course, good sensible investments such as grain, walls, temples and palaces all enjoy a further value when one considers their utility or necessity.”
The jeweler had, indeed, fumbled through the King’s account of economics. In fact, every living soul in Lagdash kept a copy of the scroll close at hand so that it might be quickly taken up and used as a sort of prop during the times that the King’s guard passed by. Because of this, the jeweler was prepared for the line of questions, “Yes, Majesty, when one considers the value in this way, it would be fair to say that man months or, possibly, even man years are required to find a single one of these fine gems. However, according to the new ideas I learned from Your rather fantastic work on economy, there are two more important components which contribute to the full value of the stones.”
The jeweler moved the tray of stones into the afternoon sun, enhancing the clarity and color of each one even more. “The second great factor in their value is, perhaps, exactly what has brought You here just now. Because these gems are so startling in their appearance, the act of wearing one communicates many things for the woman who might wear it. First, because of the great value of such a stone, its appearance on the robe of any woman testifies to the wealth and power of her mate. Next, and not any less a factor, the stones draw the attention of anyone who might see them, and in so doing, act as a beautiful and impressive distraction calling the eye of the beholder away from, shall we say, the typically portly figure of such a wife and mother. Finally, no matter how unfortunate such a development might be, if the mate of a woman who possessed such stones were to die of sickness, run away to be with that special slave or be rightfully and justly executed for some legitimate transgression, perhaps, against the King Himself, then such a woman, still possessing her valuable stones, might save herself by, once again, selling them to someone else to sustain the needs of her life.”
The jeweler, seeing the King’s attention, continued. “The last and, perhaps, the most interesting quality of these fine stones is just this. You have mentioned the value of the additional utility which much be added to such edifices at walls, temples and palaces, and the value of the great utility of adequate supplies of grain are obvious, so just what is it that can hold this final increment of value in the case of these jewels?”
The jeweler continued. “It is exactly this. These jewels are created in shortage. There will never be enough of them to satisfy the desire for them arising in all the women who see them. Reasonable or not, the fact is that so many who desire to own them will be unable to purchase one. This market pressure will escalate until the equivalent grain value for each gem will sky rocket. Wives will be leaving their husbands and their bedrooms filled with urns of grain to take up with absolutely any sort of man who can provide them with one of these jewels. Thus, the additional utility which might be considered in the value of these jewels will be, simply, their extreme scarcity.”
The Great King always felt compelled to explain Himself. “So, My dear jewel merchant, an enterprise of this sort is based on certain ideas. First, it is based on the idea that My Queen is fat. Second, it is based on the idea that your jewels will be able to gradually destroy the value of My grain. Third, it is based on the fact that, unlike grain, such jewels are portable and that they will gradually undermine the total dependence of a wife upon her husband, and, in fact, might cause that to happen in the case of My own Queen.”
“That is pretty much the picture, My King. It is probably a very wise idea for You to have such an interest in this market.” The jeweler agreed with his royal customer.
At this moment the King of Lagdash quickly drew a dagger from the scabbard of His always present security guard and thrust it through the neck of the jeweler, who grabbed himself in a surprised way, collapsed on the floor of the Lagdash Jewelry Shop, and died. The King collected the jewels, depositing them in His bag, and handed the bloody weapon back to its owner.
“You won’t mind cleaning this?”
“Of course not, Your Majesty.”
News of the affair traveled rapidly through the city by gossip in that it had not been done behind the famous closed doors. Public opinion poll results the very next day once again reassured the King. His popularity in Lagdash was legendary. On the matter of the killing, absolutely everyone thought it was a good idea, that the jeweler had, in every way, deserved it, and that a court of law, if there had been such a thing, would have found it accidental, legally legitimate and probably, in fact, very likely self-defense.
The King of Lagdash immediately launched a major effort to find a large number of His own valuable jewels. Tens of thousands of His slaves were sent to roam pointlessly through the deserts, mountains and other places suspiciously likely to hold such jewels, as they say, just below the surface. His workers did, indeed, find a few jewels, about one dozen jewels, but considering the effort expended, the King was becoming convinced that He might require a different plan. Besides, people were beginning to talk, behind closed doors, of course. A crazy King with a half-baked scheme sending tens of thousands of slaves into the deserts on a wild goose chase simply did not sit well with the common sense people of Lagdash.
Additionally, the King began to have labor problems. Of the twelve jewels He had found so far, eleven were retrieved from slaves who had, immediately upon finding one, simply slipped it into his pocket and continued looking as if nothing whatsoever had happened. The single slave who had found a jewel and actually given it over to the King’s men imagined himself a philosopher. The eleven, dishonest, slaves had been put to death.
Aside from this more or less expected, yet, to the King, disappointing undertaking, a second, rather surprising development also unfolded. No fewer than three or four thousands of the slaves had purchased their freedom. This was quite unusual in Lagdash for many reasons, but for the greatest reason that slaves never had any money. These slaves had not only paid for their freedom, they had hired coaches and wagons, made their way directly to Lagdash and opened hundred of jewelry stores. Each was remarkably well designed and stocked with astounding jewelry. For the owners of these stores, business was booming.
One such store, The Lagdash Roses, Simply Roses Jewelry Emporium, found it necessary to erect a canopy outside to shade customers waiting in line to purchase jewels.
The King found Himself constantly tense. The Queen now wanted more and larger jewels than those anyone else had. Further, all the predictions of that first jeweler were coming true. He estimated that His surplus grain supply might keep the Queen in jewels for half a year at most.
Suddenly the King grew ill and died in one day. All of what had been his possessions and wealth became the possessions and wealth of the new King. All, that is, except the old Queen who escaped to Ur in a single U-Haul truck which was all that was necessary to move a few of her robes, all of her jewels and none of her urns filled with grain.
The news that the Old King had been poisoned spread through Lagdash like wild fire thanks to that very same gossip. The poisoning might well have been done behind closed doors, but as for the dying, everyone had seen it;. Public opinion poll results the very next day once again reassured the New King. His popularity as the new ruler of Lagdash was the talk of the town. On the matter of the killing, absolutely everyone thought it was a good idea, that the Old King had, in every way, deserved it, and that a court of law, if there had been such a thing, would have found it accidental, legally legitimate and probably, in fact, very likely self-defense, and further, as poisonings go, beautifully well executed.
The New King’s plan for gathering the jewels was simple. All the mates of his desert jewel seeking slaves were placed in a pen, guarded by the King’s meanest soldiers. Every day all the new jewels were counted and any deficit was corrected by the killing of several wives, each selected at random. Jewel discovery increased greatly not only enhanced by this incentive, but also from the fact that slaves were rather intolerant of theft by their fellows. Every resident of Lagdash completely agreed with the wisdom and leadership of the New King as he implemented this savage nightmare.
Further, none of these slaves purchased his freedom. The King’s meanest soldiers, to a man, gained weight as he watched the construction of his new house.
The New King took an additional step. He nationalized the entire jewel trade in all the territory controlled by the city of Lagdash. By nationalized, this New King meant that it belonged to him.
One would think that all the freed slaves from the Old King would quickly go out of business, but that was not the case. The fat masters who had purchased jewels from the New King invented yet another thing in this mad hatter tale. They had come to the idea that these jewels of theirs looked the absolutely most stunning, shining, sparkling and distracting when each one was placed in a dainty little gold something.
The Old Lagdash Roses, Simply Roses Jewelry Emporium took a coat of paint, updated its Yellow Pages advertisement and became the all new Lagdash Artistic Design and Goldsmithing Gallery. The sun shade awning in front of the store was extended, additional counter help was hired and snappy new uniforms were ordered for all employees. Jewels, of course, remained expensive under the New King’s supply management. The gold used by such craftsmen in all the shops was mined by a single family and a few slaves a day’s walk up the Tigris River. Be certain that family and slaves alike were getting very fat.
A Moment with the Great Mother
I TOLD YOU SO, DIDN’T I?
“Welcome to the Oprah show, Planetary Mother! Is Planetary Mother the correct way to address you?”
“I prefer Great Mother. Oprah it is so wonderful to be here. Just think, a network show run by a woman! I can’t tell you how long it has taken to get this far!”
“Well, let’s get right to the point.”
“I suppose you want to talk about the etched stone. Right Oprah?”
“You read my mind! Everybody is curious about it, Great Mother. Everyone wants to know how it is progressing.”
“As you know my idea for the stone etching caught a lot of flak when I first introduced it six million...”
“Stop right there my dear lady. No woman has to tell her age on this show!”
“This is wonderful! Anyway, when I first introduced this idea, some opinions from those around me just ridiculed the idea and made fun of it. Needless to say, none of those short sighted folks remain on the Planetary Advisory Panel today. What I am here to announce this afternoon is that, as far as I am concerned, these little jeweled gold things they are making in Lagdash more than satisfy my stone etching target. They are very attractive and modern. I brought you one for a gift, Oprah.”
“Oh, my goodness! It is just beautiful! Here. See if you can get this in Camera Three. Thank you so very much, Great Mother. I will cherish it forever. Do you mind if I ask you another question?”
“Of course, dear. The Great Mother knows that you have to earn a living.”
“You have clearly gotten a big boost from the jewelry affair, and a lot of satisfaction. But what about the Third Planetary Imperative work and, my gosh, I almost forgot, the, ah, surplus idea? How did that work out?”
“ . “
“The Oprah network is experiencing technical difficulties. Further information concerning the destruction of our New York studio and the still unconfirmed reports of Oprah’s death will air on this station when details are available.”
Lagdash One Last Time
ONE MORE STOP, AND, WE’RE IN THE MONEY!
The Old New King had grown despondent over the fact that his subjects seemed to be willing to pay even more for the gold than for his jewels. Gossip had it that he had killed himself with his bow and arrow. All the residents of Lagdash very comfortably accepted the idea of self-defense and were, happily, certain that he was now in a better place. In an interesting turn of Sumerian history, the New King had not murdered the Queen Widow of the Old King as he looted and confiscated all the possessions left in the inheritance. He had married her. The New King was the New King, but the New Queen was also the old Queen. Gossip held it that the New King was attracted to her thanks to her expertise at archery.
The colder fact was that the Old Queen had not only her own jewels, but also all the jewels of her late, royal husband. This arrangement of routine cunning would not have amounted to much, except for the following events. Some of the King’s customers for jewels recognized certain of the Old King’s stock which, through the accepted process of royal looting, should be on sale by the New King and not by the Old Queen. The very idea that this Queen had in some way manipulated this New King such that she, and not he, had retained the Old King’s fortune shook the city to its walls. Not far below the surface in Lagdash’s opinion polls, the burning question of the day, was the idea that this New King should have murdered this Old Queen, taking everything for himself with, what is called, an iron fist.
This could mean only one thing according to this gossip. This New King was a spineless, back sliding mama’s boy who did everything that his wife, the Queen, told him. Even the ultra-loyal palace guard was shaken by these revelations.
In a new sense of royal expediency, the New King demanded all these jewels from his wife and forbade her from pursuing any sort of illicit jewelry commerce. To make good this demand, he informed her in no uncertain terms that his jewelry merchants would be able to immediately detect any of these gems in the market. Once one of the King’s jewelry merchants even cast a passing glance at a jewel, he, after that moment, had a memory like an elephant and could always identify that jewel afterwards, probably even in the darkest night.
Just as had been predicted, the entire trade of Lagdash had been converted from wagon loads of grain to pockets full of jewels. This arrangement was suited well enough in the case of large purchases, a slave, a camel and, perhaps, even a rug, but only if it were of the finest quality. However, the jewels were still quite valuable, made even more so by the insidious marketing techniques of the King. The purchase of, say, two heads of cabbage, was simply unmanageable. Even the smallest jewel would hold a trading value sufficient for a thousand heads of cabbage.
Hauling grain around to the market was unthinkable. No respectable citizen of Lagdash would be seen with it in public, as it was a perfect way to establish oneself as too poor to trade in jewels, not to mention, ridiculously old fashioned. Slaves who would stoically endure a beating without comment would beg out loud not to be sent to the market with a cart filled with grain.
Two new inventions arose from this currency difficulty, neither of them a good sign in regard to the initial plan. As to the first, the problem between the Queen and her King, that is the problem of the identifiable nature of the jewels, began to occur in many of the homes in Lagdash which had previously been absolutely filled with the very sweetest kind of affection, loyalty and wifely obedience.
Jewels would be given to the woman of the household with the understanding that they would be used to purchase food. This very same house wife was also just the one who pretended that her fat husband was simply getting his hair cut in those instances when he found it necessary to collect a slave, male or female, and go where the famous door might be closed behind them. Then this equally fat housewife, searching more for marital equity than a substitute for husbandly attention, would, after buying all the finest groceries, stop at yet another shop only a few doors down from the market. Here an ex- jewel merchant, put out of business by the King’s jewel monopoly, kept several male slaves of an extraordinary quality, ostensibly as labor to carry bags and boxes of things required for the enterprise. It seemed, however, that these slaves simply rested most of the time.
These athletic boys always had every kind of careful finish in their manicure, haircuts and teeth. Not a single hair grew on their chests, and every muscle which could be placed in such a boy was, as almost every woman in Lagdash would attest to, remarkably well made. None of these features was, however, exactly that feature which made them extraordinary. Below their loin cloths resided, perhaps, the ultimate testimony to the First Planetary Imperative and everything needed for an extraordinary experience.
For the price of one jewel, our housewife could not only meet her special needs, of course, behind closed doors, but she could also, in her own thinking, not only for the moment forget her own gluttony. but also retaliate against that fat, thoughtless husband of hers. It was exactly this glue that held marriages together in the ultra-modern city of Lagdash.
The problem with this arrangement arose later. Her husband, either by happenstance or by his directed investigation, would happen to see the very jewel that he had previously given his wife for food, but now in the hands of this unscrupulous ex-jewel merchant. Although a very few did not, we may assume that almost all such husbands, finding this jewel which was the very one he had once had, returned home to angrily beat his fat wife.
The second development of the use of these jewels in daily affairs of commerce, say, again for the purchase of two heads of cabbage, was the invention of what was called the tab. Vendors in the market, rather than lose sales, would simply, out of the goodness of their hearts, allow their customers to collect what groceries they desired each day and instead of paying through the inconvenience of jewels, simply have the sale amount written down by the vendor. These amounts would increase each day the customer shopped until the vendor’s total equaled the value of a jewel.
This might well seem to be a true breakthrough in commerce and convenience, but there was a darker side. It might also have been a new and improved version of cunning. As the totals on the vendor’s slip increased, a certain extra charge was added. The evil twin of the tab was the interest. The application of this interest spread like wild fire throughout the commercial life of the city, except, of course, at the little shop down the street from the market. The policy there was pay as you go.
Although the value of food, jewels and even love remained the same, the prices went up. Lagdash, for the first time in centuries, had inflation. The cost of the grain stores went up, but the prices buyers were willing to pay, since they were not usually from Lagdash, continued to reflect the value of the grain where they lived. Grain prices sank.
The King of Lagdash still held a tremendous wealth in grain. Watching the sale prices plummet thanks to burden of so much interest on his city’s economy and the resulting high prices caused by inflation made even worse by the interest, led him to reckless panic.
This New King, by now rather older, stepped out the window of his bedroom and fell several stories to his death. The suicide idea, promoted by the Queen, was reinforced by the arrow in the Old King’s back. The Queen, and she was a Queen for more reasons than being married to a King, took charge of the city.
This Queen, stripped of all of her emergency escape jewels during her second husband’s tantrum, seemed likely to simply run out of wealth in no time. Her King’s finances had been anything but roses, simply roses at the moment of his tragic suicide. Everyone knew that a King, or a Queen, without wealth, jewels or even grain amounted to no more than a pigeon waiting to be plucked.
This New Queen, however, had made arrangements for her own future for a case just like this one. She had, indeed, abandoned her illicit jewel business as demanded by her husband, but, a testament to her cunning, she had entered into an even more lucrative and innovative replacement! The change had been fairly simple. It had occured to her the very night that her King had pulled the plug on her jewelry business.
“What new commodity will replace my jewelry business? Certainly not grain, that has become old hat. I need something a bit like jewels, but without the headache. Whatever it is, it must be utterly worthless, easy to carry around, and impossible to trace. It must absolutely be something in a scarce supply, something very difficult and dangerous to get and even then, something so rare that no one will ever be able to get as much as they want.”
It had taken only a moment. Within a day the bodies of the gold mining family, along with their slaves floated down the lazy drift of the Tigris River. In their place one thousand of her slaves now endured the drudgery of gold mining, wagons of ore made their way to the smelting furnace and bright shiny ingots with her royal seal were stacked to cool in the mild Sumerian wind.
Now that she was Queen, she nationalized all goldsmiths in Lagdash. Now they all worked for her. It was more than enough to allow her city to make a safe landing from the jewelry business. The citizens of Lagdash now wanted grain, jewels, jewels put in golden jewelry and ingots of the Queen’s gold.
What more could this Queen possibly want? Perhaps this would be that deciding moment when work on the Third Planetary Imperative might finally start!
She called her maid servant. “Bring me a dark cloak and tell them to ready a carriage, but not the fancy Queen carriage. I want something plain.”
“Yes, my Lady. I will also call the royal body guard. They can accompany you on horseback.”
“No. Select one guard to drive the carriage. That is all.”
The Queen’s unnoticed carriage with an entirely uninteresting, to gossip that is, woman in a black cloak made its way slowly through the twisting streets of Lagdash, passing by the market, now empty in the night, just another door or two. The Queen motioned the guard to enter. A moment later he returned, bowing until he saw her wave her hand, “The shop is empty at the moment.”
She entered, met by a deeply bowing shop keeper and his employees. As the young men stood up again, she found herself paralyzed by the sight. Kings were good for some things, but one of these boys would certainly be good for others.
She pointed her royal finger, “You!.”
Turning to the shop keeper, she unceremoniously dropped one of her ingots on the counter. “I have bought this boy.”
Although he said nothing, the shop keeper endured the classic sandwich of positive and negative emotion. He was terrified by the identity of his customer but overwhelmed by the extreme generosity of her payment.
The carriage left as quietly as it arrived, making its way back to the royal palace.
WHICH PLANETARY IMPERATIVE?
The boy’s nick name was “Shank.” He was a wonderfully good natured lad from Ethiopia, an artist of sorts. The Queen’s affection for him increased every day and, on one special occasion especially. That was the night he asked her very sincerely if it would be alright if he didn’t marry her.
It was “Shank’s” invention to make coins from the royal gold with the Queen’s picture on one side. She wanted his on the other, but he convinced her that a lion would be better.
Everyone thought that the surplus idea had gone about as far as it could possibly go. Everyone thought that major progress on the Third Planetary Imperative was just around the corner. Everyone had forgotten the First Planetary Imperative, you know, happy ever after.
There is a larger conclusion, however, than our artistic Homo Erectus or our industrious and satisfied Queen of Lagdash might bring to the table. The surplus made for stone etching, of course, had a side to it quite removed from either the surplus or the etched stone. The obsession of our Sumerian monkeys with the advance and perfection of their social surpluses, driven by appetites far evolved, sort of, from Erectus, yet tragically contaminated by the imperious toxin of gluttony and cunning, served to spin great efforts toward a heart breaking descent back to the ESS. Sacred Triamazikamno, thankfully, held the rudder through all this history with great intent and passion for the ant and the Panda. In the case of all these monkeys, however, the saber was held loosely!
Hearalding the faces of the Three Fold Way, the First Planetary Imperative affirms. What force could be unleashed with greater potential than a baby? Ask the parents of Genghis Khan, Joseph Stalin or Franklin Roosevelt. Perhaps less of a celebrity, but with an influence arguably equal in the imaginary events of this paper, the essential idea of surplus seen with all its attendant factors will be the face of the Second Planetary Imperative. What started as a tiny handul of food held off death and denied or delayed the visit of unexpected forces of extinction. The moments of life prolonged by this bit of surplus food invited the Third Imperative, the reconciliation between growth, change and feverish caution which enabled time and safety sufficient for coating.
A sad small portion of the multitude of men on earth in our modern time can either understand the comforting cosmic division, and individual separation, of the Great Three Fold Elements in their lives as shown in the faces of Triamazikamno. Confusion, despair and hopelessness attend each infrequent effort such men might make to breathe a pattern into their affairs which would serve to make such confusing lives comprehensible. The wound inflicted most deeply is the one left by the absence of the Sacred Reconciling, the absence of the human energy which arises in the man who makes use of his surplus to complete his natural calling, his invitation to Martfotai, his possibility of self-perfecting.
Knowing this being-duty for what it is represents the first gift. Conducting a life of energy and effort to manifest it will be even the greater second gift. This surplus is within the man. It is made there by his efforts, efforts quite beyond those necessary for the normal life, dull and amusingly dedicated to the pointless conflict between opposing poles of A and B influences. The First and Second Planetary Imperatives are easy. Real men define themselves and the meaning of their lives in the arena of joy. Real men pass through lives of meaning in the realm of the Third Planetary Imperative.
The following notes are taken from Revisiting Si, and are reprinted here as a reference.
Planetary Imperatives Seen In Overview
The Imperatives can be conceptualized as springing from a single source, passing through the process Djartklom and appearing in human reality process as the product of the Threefold Way. Can they be an “extra powerful” life communication originating at the Absolute directing life on earth?
Absolute First Principal
1. Every living creature of every form will endeavor to add its seed to the planetary gene pool.
2. Every living creature will make every possible effort not to die before a time consistent with the form of its life.
3. Every living creature will assist in every way made possible by its form to “coat” itself with the benefits of its experience with reality.