OCTOBER, 2008

Mythic Prelude:

The Present Emergency

In 1787, when the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia had completed its business, and copies of the finished product were being prepared for their ratification ride by swift courier to the legislatures of the 13 former colonies, the historic event naturally drew a crowd. As the delegates were filing out of Constitution Hall, Benjamin Franklin was accosted in the lobby by a woman who asked him, "Well, Dr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?"
"A republic, madam," he replied. "If you can keep it."
Why did Ben have his doubts? His scientific mind knew that there has never been a republic that did not become sooner or later, and usually sooner, a dictatorial police state controlled by an autocrat. In the long flow of historic time, republics have the life span of May flies. The Weimar republic lasted 14 years until National Socialism finished it. The Athenian republic lasted a century and a little more, from adoption of the Constitution in 509 BC until the Fall of Athens and Spartan rule in 404 BC. The French have had no fewer than five republics, four of them escorted out the stage door by Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, Napoleon III and Hitler. Or more accurately, the first four French republics were shown the alley by combinations of these men and their supporters and fixers. It is always these avid courtiers and other avaricious characters who begin snipping and clipping the constitution for their own gain. They're not power-hungry, and they're not anarchists. They just want the money.
The process is always the same. An extraordinary collection of talented men and women creates a new republic in which the sharing of powers is spelled out in a constitution that has a good chance, with some luck and the continued practice of republican virtues -- thrift, discipline, service, justice, honesty in public speech and action -- to stand the test of time and provide the people with order, safety and freedom for lifetimes, maybe even a few centuries. The founders are very clear about the virtues that are needed to keep the republic free, as Thomas Jefferson was. "I place economy," he wrote, "among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt." He also said, "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations which grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." 
Other stirring words abound, as Jefferson was not the only eloquent man involved in crafting the marvelous instrument of the American constitution. But -- no matter how skillfully and selflessly the framers of the constitution design for their country a government of laws, not of men, the trouble is that the men always keep showing up anyway. Ambitious men who have no sense that all the wealth and energy they will ever need is within themselves, and therefore feel compelled to take as much as they can from others. Men who begin by tweaking, poking and scratching the constitution here and there, and then find their ways to evade and qualify the law, and limit the rights and liberties of citizens. In the end, the constitution gets so weak that executives can declare war without the approval of the lawmakers, they can secrete, steal and misuse huge amounts of public money, they can go far beyond the deftly lubricated corruption that promotes ingenuity and profit, and they can even suspend a legal right as basic as habeas corpus, and incredibly, they remain in office.
Once this happens, then some crisis, often an economic disaster, is enough to finish the laws as they used to be, and turn the country into a praetorian security state, so named for the praetorian guards who were assigned at first to protect the emperor of Rome, but attracted sooner rather than later enough talented and power-seeking conspirators to turn the guard into a secret police agency and a state within a state. The praetorians deposed and killed a few emperors when the money was right. On one occasion, they even auctioned off the empire to the highest bidder, a Didius Julianus who did not get to enjoy the imperial box for long. It always happens that when corrupt governments broker enormously lucrative deals with military forces and the armaments manufacturers who supply them, the money becomes so extravagant that in the end it will buy anything: a servile press disinclined to speak truth to power, a citizenry soothed to sleep by entertainments and lullabies about how everything is just as it should be, and honest public servants intimidated by the fear of being ridiculed and smeared. Once this set of elements is in effect, then the body of the law, and constitutional liberty along with it, drops like a fat mango in June, and no one except the new dictator has a right anymore to do anything but to be quiet and do as he is told.
What's the best way to shake the tree when the fruit is ripe? Create the present emergency. That's what the Romans called it when they enacted their constitution in the same year as the Athenians, 509 BC. The present emergency was a dire situation, like an invasion or natural disaster, that empowered the Senate to appoint a "dictator for the present emergency." He would hold sole, unlimited executive power for as long as he needed to resolve the crisis, and then, it was clearly understood, he would surrender his dictatorship back to the Senate, and return to his rostrum or farm, having no more power now than any other senator or land-owning patrician. There are famous examples of those who played the dictator perfectly and then got offstage at once, such as Cincinnatus, who led the army north to defeat the invader, then slipped through Rome, avoided the customary victory parade, and was back on the Appian Way toward his villa in the south as fast as he could get there.
This is how it is supposed to work, and does work, as long as there is a government of laws. What always undoes it in the end, besides the money, is that clever would-be dictators figure out that they don't have to wait for the present emergency. They can create it themselves, by staging catastrophes like Stalin's famine and Nero's fire, among other bloody events, and using provocateurs to foment violence and civil unrest, so much of it that the government has no choice but to call in the police to restore order. At first, proper legal timing is observed in all of this, as the new boss needs for a while to go through the motions of an enabling act, and let's not forget the practical point that some of the police will need time to change out of their provocateur costumes, and back into their regular uniforms.
The man who broke the mold in the art of creating emergencies, the first de facto dictator-for-as-long-as-he-wants to rule Rome before Julius Caesar was the first to be acclaimed as de jure dictator for life, was Gaius Marius. We don't know if this head in the Munich Glyptothek is really him, but it looks like it could be, and not only because Roman men were smooth-shaven with close-cropped hair in the late 2nd century BC. The dictator clues are in the chin, which looks like it was made to ram a ship; the Rumsfeldian grimace in the mouth and eyes; and, maybe most telling of all, the furrows in the middle forehead, so numerous and deep you could almost grow corn in them. Is this the face of a man so inured to fabricating fake emergencies to fool others that he naturally wonders when somebody else is going to pull a real emergency on him? Very likely.

No wonder he looks nervous. Some of the things we do know about Marius, even if we don't know exactly what he looked like, are that he rose from humble origins to gain supreme power from 107 BC; he ushered in a new age of Roman trade expansion and conquest by extending Roman citizenship to all Italians and thus acquiring a huge new recruit pool for the army; and in the end he was deposed by his police prefect, Lucius Sulla. Most relevant to our purposes here, though, is the stunning fact that Marius got himself elected consul an unprecedented, and hitherto unimaginable, seven times. Other able men had served as consul more than once in the past, as the constitutional rules -- two consuls to hold power jointly and concur on all major decisions, and be limited to terms of only one year -- seemed to make the consulship a less than ideal dock for launching a bid to take over the whole marina. Marius, though, was able to see that even the consul's job, limited and checked as it was by the rest of the constitution, could still be the ideal leverage point if one stayed in it long enough and stirred up enough trouble with the help of a master agitator like Sulla.

Bribes and threats did their work too, as always. And legislators, who think and act in the phlegmatic tempo of an appropriations committee, are rarely a match for a decisive, fire-tempered man who is all allegro all the time, and acts so fast that he appears to be a blur rather than a solid object, so it can be hard to get an accurate likeness of him. It was almost too easy for Marius, really. "The senators were often incompetent," wrote William C. Morey in his Outlines of Roman History, "and they had no clearly defined policy. They seemed desirous only to retain power and to enrich themselves, while the real interests of the people were forgotten."

It is evident enough to us now, as we're a month away from the American election on Nov. 4, that momentous matters are underway here, and they are tied in the present and the near future to other transformative events that will have the effect of spreading the power of initiative and creativity for change among a broader base of human beings everywhere. For some twenty years now, ever since we became more widely aware of these matters, one of the main questions has been: what will it take to wake America up? Its role on the planet is clearly pivotal, and the world cannot really awaken unless America awakens too. So how do we communicate to the people there that their country isn't going broke just because felons of great wealth are stealing and dealing again. Their depredations, though surely harmful, are not the principal toxin. The country is broke because it now spends more on armaments and military research and development than the rest of the world combined. It maintains 761 military bases throughout the world, says Tom Engelhardt. It has an annual military budget of $1 trillion, according to Chalmers Johnson.

It has spent its treasure to give armaments makers a huger profit from war in a short time than they have ever realized at any time in history. Like Sparta, another famous miltary security state, the United States has accepted a future of perpetual war and preparation for war, if not because Americans have bought the old fear paradigm of the world as a perilous place full of aggressive evil, then because the death merchants have proven, at least in their own eyes, that peace has a dampening effect on business. And yet, believe it or not, for all their big dog posturing and their determination to stay armed to the teeth even when they can no longer afford to have teeth . . . the Americans will be bringers and resourceful artists of peace in the years ahead, as more of them wake up and their country's greatest resource, the creativity of its people, is in play again.
So . . . what's the best way to wake more people up, and get them to see what's going on? Well, first, you have to get their attention, and one sure way to do that is to take their money. When they understand that others want to take all of their money, and all of the money their family will have for the next few thousand years, until sometime in the Age of Capricorn, and take everybody else's money too, then this is sure to get the attention of many people all at once, as they begin to see the true dimensions of the incredible financial cyclone that they have brought about. Whether they have created this catastrophe actively, by seeking to grab much more than they need; or passively, by remaining so unengaged in public affairs that their habits of denial and distraction have blinded them to the disaster gathering under their noses and feet -- one way or the other, whether they see themselves as responsible or are about to, millions of people are suddenly, rudely waking up to what they could have done, should have done, but didn't do. Some people are getting as livid as Ben Stein, for whom the main issue isn't the money. It's the way that emergencies bring would-be dictators out of the lustrous cherry woodwork and into the conference room faster than a rumor in a harem. What especially drew Stein's ire was the astounding gall of US treasury secretary Henry Paulson in proposing a $700 billion bailout plan that will not be subject to judicial review.
"This would amount to an abrogation of the Constitution," Stein wrote. "Not only would [Paulson's] decisions be sacrosanct and above the law, but so would the actions of his pals in the banking world in connection with this bailout." The unlimited power, the titanic amounts of money and the potential dizzying consequences are beyond anything that has happened in our history. Not even Napoleon had this kind of power. What Paulson has demanded could make Julius Caesar think himself unimaginative, and make Gnaeus Pompey feel like a two-sesterces olive oil broker next to Hank the Bank. So, if public officials and ordinary citizens are able even to consider a constitution-killing proposal like Paulson's, is the money, or the "economy," whatever that means, really the main issue in this election? No. The main issue is the survival of the United States as a constitutional republic whose laws protect its citizens from the depredations of criminals, foreign and domestic. Now that the most dangerous malefactors have been seen more clearly to be persons of great wealth -- they almost always are, they've just never been so conspicuous about it -- the double threats of poverty and tyranny are compelling more people to get more educated.
Initiatives like Vote No Bailout can be organized and networked instantly, and may yet hit their aim of stopping the bank bailout completely. It hasn't worked yet. As of this writing on Sept. 30, the latest outcome is that the Congress, the banks and other players have worked out a compromise deal that is acceptable to all parties -- except ordinary taxpayers, that is, who were not invited to the negotiations. So Whew! It looks like the nation has been saved from the dictatorship of Henricus Vulpinus. So Americans can sleep again, as soundly as one can in these times, knowing that the powers that be will not get to screw everybody to death. They will only do it to us until we pass out. At least that's how it looks today.
The terrain can seem to shift daily. It turns out, according to Ben Stein, that the figure in last month's UFC for the total amount of money invested in credit default swaps is way low. It's not $45 trillion, as reported in May by George Soros. It's now actually $62 trillion. So, using the same Simple Math as we did last month, we now know that the money a few financial players have invested in credit default swaps in the last decade is not a skimpy $61,356,217 for every day since the first Christmas. No, it's really a robust $84,535,233 -- that is, almost 85 million dollars gambled on credit default swaps for every day since Jesus was born. That's good to know. It is reassuring to see that the information is getting more accurate. If it is. Rep. Dennis Kucinich mentioned, in an interview on the bailout bill, the unregulated derivatives market of "half a quadrillion dollars" -- eight times the figure Ben Stein cited.
More big numbers, lots of them, are about to jump into view soon, like clowns tumbling out of a circus bus, now that we've just reached the end of the fiscal year, the time when the annual reports come due, the actual figures have to be put in print, and numbers that have been fudged, faked, finessed, finagled and flimflammed for a year now must all get reported. When they do, the collective rage they stir could cause such unrest that former investment banker George Green, in a much discussed initial online audio interview on Sept. 2 and a sequel on Sept. 22, sees the imposition of martial law, the cancellation of the election and the suspension of the constitution among plausible scenarios that could unfold as early as this month. The question at the top of this month, then, is not whether we will see an October Surprise, but . . . how many of them will there be at the same time? By whom? Which ones are decoys and diversions, and which are true? Will the election, if it does happen, have a clear winner, or could the electoral college vote end in a tie, throwing the choice of president into the House of Representatives for the first time since 1824?
Many people will be ready to weird out very seriously a few weeks from now. If Winston Churchill was correct in saying that “America will always do the right thing -- after having exhausted all other possibilities,” it is certainly a good thing that Americans are exhausting the other possibilities fast. The rage and blame are getting vented -- they'd better be, as some people get paid so much to stoke them -- and are giving way, encouragingly, to a stronger, broader-based teamwork and creativity among people who see that when there is so much at stake, we have no time for the usual sniping and games. People are getting better informed fast, even sitting through all 3 1/2 hours of The Money Masters, and reading some of the cogent commentary about what is happening, such as the ones that provide the best guidance now:
Paul B. Farrell's "The Zen millionaire's 12-Step antirage Meditation"
Roy Morrison's admirably concise 300-word editorial "Follow the Market"
Carolyn Myss's newsletter article "In Times Like These"
"Our New and Powerful Connections," the latest Energy Update (Sept. 29) in Karen Bishop's What's Up on Planet Earth.
There is certainly no shortage of good new writing going on now, or of old ideas we might wish we'd remembered all along, like this just in from Pericles, courtesy of the Planet Proctor newsletter by Philip Proctor of Firesign Theatre. “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics," Pericles said, "that doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
So much to think about in, it seems, so very little time, and on terrain so unpredictable that it's no wonder more and more people are learning about chaos theory. They're even starting to get comfortable with the notion that chaos may be a good and necessary thing, like a storm or an illness, that forces adjustment to a new paradigm, or at the very least stimulates the creativity that can flow very fast when one feels the wall at his back -- or, more accurately, the ground slipping away from beneath him. One thing that can certainly be said for chaos is that all possibilities are wide open. The more tightly controlled a field is, the less flexible it is, and the less responsive it can be to shifting conditions that require intrepid new moves. The less control there is, though, and the more the field is open to new shapes and combinations, then the more opportunity there may be in the way those elements seem to bump and bounce at random. A pattern may develop spontaneously. We may help to create it. We may even be able to perceive that so many things that have stirred such fear and trembling in so many of us are in fact very different from what we imagine.

They may not even be there at all. The money sure isn't. Financially hip, knowledgeable people like my friend James Marcus in Hawaii know, as most people don't yet, that the money is gone, and "the US Treasury is long ago emptied. All that is left there is accounting debt (and smoke and mirrors payback promises), so much of it that it is likely already 'unpayable', in the realistic sense, for the forseeable future." This is a relief, then. Thanks be to God, the Goddess, or Both, the money has all vanished. So the near future may be less turbulent than some of us feared because the assets that we might otherwise be getting ready to scheme and fight over just aren't there. This unexpected situation could, if we play it cogently, yield a very pleasantly lightening, liberating sensation among those who feel the world as currents of energy rather than the stasis of solid things. Looking at the entire economy in such new ways can bring us much closer, when we're ready, to seeing the truth of our condition and flowing much more comfortably with it.

The money doesn't exist. It's an illusion. Or at best, it's an opinion, as we saw last November in "Blowing Bubbles," about economies as only collective thoughtforms held by people about whether their country is rich or poor. The "wealth" is secondary. What makes the nation rich is that its people think it's rich, and so it is. Many other fantasies about money and economy only seem to be solid not because they're actually true, but because so many people believe them. The novelist Hari Kunzru quotes the economist Michael Hudson about how "the US economy is basically fictitious, based on pretend earnings and pretend values. This will only genuinely become a crisis of capitalism when people generally become aware that much of the growth and prosperity produced by capitalism is a fiction, and if the consensus about where the real global value lies shifts radically. In other words, if people stop believing that apparently wealthy countries actually are producing wealth."
What's the best way to proceed, then, once we're aware of this, of the sheer insubstantiality and emotional fluidity of the United States, the world and their money, all of which are only opinions? Not by being passive, that's for sure, only reading about what's going on, rather than making moves to create change. The time for action has arrived, as Scaramouche put it -- and here too the ground has shifted, as more and more people recognize that 1930's-style protests, while they do have the laudable value of bringing people together socially over their colorful clothes and signs, are led too often by loud, humorless people who are least likely to attract the sympathy of others, and are so negatively fixated on what the protestors don't want that they have no time or energy left to vision and then manifest what they do want. So the flexible money that will ride the current of change is interested instead in the energies of vision and feeling that are collected into the Impending Event Alerts that are being gathered by John L. Petersen and his team at the Arlington Institute.

Similar in some ways to Princeton's Global Consciousness Project (GCP), which maintains a worldwide network of sensors to detect changes in the collective emotional field of all human beings, the Arlington project collects data from reports by individuals who register impending events from dreams, clairvoyant visions and other precognitive images. On Sept. 10, Petersen wrote that " in the last two days I have received four independent, explicit indications from far removed friends . . . that something very substantial and disruptive is going to happen to the U.S. within the next 60 days or so.  If these warnings manifest . . . in an event of the significance of something like 9/11 then people all over the world should begin to experience dreams and other intuitions suggesting that something extraordinary is about to happen." There is certainly no shortage of vivid images: America, with its immense things, its proud granite buildings and all, swirling loudly down a drain. Bankers jumping off pediments in Wall St., Americans operating moonshine stills in their basements at night, and keeping their ears open for things done in the dark of which we do not speak.

But -- what if we could bring the unthinkable about? What if many people at once began to report the same impending events in which thousands, even millions of human beings go into the fields to meet and bow to each other, to learn each other's words and hearts, and to sing together in voices freed from fear? What if we report a world in which no one worries about not having enough because we all recognize that our true wealth is in our friends, and our true safety is in taking care of others, knowing that when the time comes they will take care of us, as well as we all did when we lived in the Old Cultures? What if we didn't see more 9/11's? What if we expected instead, as more and more of us are spontaneously seeing it, a world of peace and freedom where all -- human beings, dolphins and whales, all conscious beings live together in grace and courtesy? What if that is the vivid, lucid dream that we all held together, intended, and thereby brought about? If we form the habit of seeing these things, will they not begin to come often, even billions of times a day to people everywhere? Can we actually plant the world we want as a new archetype in our collective consciousness?
How do we do this? Practice. Lucid dreaming and manifestation require that we form the habit of visioning the end we aim to bring about. We achieve it through doing rather than reading and talking, in the active way favored by Old Culture practitioners like the Platonist philosopher Iamblichus of Apamea (late 3rd-early 4th centuries AD). In The Jesus Papers (2007), Michael Baigent describes Iamblichus' teaching as "centered upon what he called theurgy . . . that is, 'working with' the gods. . . . contrasted with theology -- 'talking about' the gods. He was interested in practical effects rather than intellectual argument; he wanted his students to know, not just to believe."
It's time to work with the gods again. If we do that, the money takes care of itself. It could even start to grow back again. To do that, though, we might have to open our voices, as few things promote growth like resonance. So we may sing with the gods again too. They have been waiting a long time. Keep Holding That Frequency.

 

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The Chiron - Neptune Conjunction of 2009 - 2012:
Prelude: The American Election of November 4, 2008
Prelude Supplement: And the Winner Is . . .
Act 1: Conflicts: The Neptune Return of April 11, 2009
Act 2: Complications: The Triple Chiron-Neptune-Jupiter Conjunction of May-August, 2009
Act 3: Turning Point: The Exact Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Feb. 16 - 17, 2010
Act 4: Crisis and Climax: The Crosses of Summer, 2010
Act 5: Denouement: The Near Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Nov. 2 - 3, 2010

Copyright 2008 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.