The Great Reversal
From the dawn of humanity through the dawn of history and down to the present day, the cyclical White–Red–Black trinity has been and will continue to be the basis of individual and society. I consider this assertion a corollary of the truly general principle of relativity: the notion that reality is a set of countless related souls, a multeity-in-unity. I see this principle as being at bottom of a prehistoric, essentially universal, and indefatigable philosophy I term the Golden/Legal. In the present chapter I explain how human society was most severely tested indeed, all but torn asunder by a set of closely related impulses that burst on the world almost simultaneously c. 3200 BCE and which gave the White (warrior) aspect (of individual as well as society) a nearly preternatural advantage over the Red (priestly) and the Black (feminine). Naturally the Golden Legal philosophy accommodated this sea change; but this accommodation was a reversal or inversion, in the sense that the Golden Legal generally favors the Black over the Red over the White. Thus the Great Reversal, as I call it, temporarily granted to the masculine ostensible and unprecedented dominion over the feminine. History, in turn, is chiefly the story of the Golden Legal philosophy’s redress of this reversal, the story of humanity’s return to a Golden Age.
The set of nearly simultaneous impulses which engendered the Great Reversal c. 3200 BCE are the following: the invention of bronze metallurgy; the invention of the plow; the invention of the wheel; the domestication of the horse; and, perhaps most importantly, the initial emergence of the acute infectious epidemic diseases influenza, smallpox, measles, etc. Mounting evidence suggests that this list should also include catastrophic impacts between the Earth and members of a certain group of comets and meteors known as the Taurid Complex, which group seems to be the debris from a single object originally some 100 kilometers wide that first arrived in the immediate vicinity of the Earth just before or during the retreat of the last Ice Age and has ever since been in a periodic relationship with the Earth a relationship punctuated most severely during the centuries immediately prior to 3200 BCE. Only after I had nearly completed writing this chapter (and the initial draft of this book) did this extraterrestrial component come to my attention. As such, the fact that this book points precisely yet generally to c. 3200 BCE as being an extremely crucial point in human history is a fact that should be considered further evidence of said “giant comet hypothesis.”
This set of impulses was able to all but reverse human culture because each of these impluses was intimately related to the crux of human culture: cultivation. The word culture and the word cultivation are close cognates of the Greek kyklos, meaning “wheel.” A brief survey of the long history of cultivation will function as an excellent point of departure toward a thorough understanding of both the Great Reversal and the overarching, cyclical Golden/Legal philosophy.
Cultivation may generally be described as the manipulation of plant life cycles such that certain kinds of plants are favored relative to others in proportion to the benefits perceived in them. More poignantly put, cultivation is weeding. Whether by hand, hoe, machete, fire, etc. humans have always been cultivators. The slash-and-burn method of cultivation compounds these approaches: it succeeds insofar as it allows sunlight to energize crops planted in a forest floor absent (for a mere year or so) the choke of competing vegetation. Apparently this method arose independently in several places worldwide by 10,000 BCE. The domestication of crops is merely another kind of cultivation/weeding. By around 8500 BCE in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, people had domesticated a certain small set of crops, including barley, millet and wheat. These domestications mark the beginning of the so-called “agricultural revolution.” Located upon the spatial center of this revolution the apex, as it were, of the Fertile Crescent is the ancient town of Haran, high-point of Abraham’s journey from Ur. As we progress in our understanding we will increasingly recognize Haran as representing the mythological moment: the transition from White to Red and hence to Black.
(For good measure several historical towns, regions
and empires are shown anachronistically.)
Technically speaking, cultivation performed without the use of a plow is called horticulture (from the Latin hortus, “garden”). In contrast, cultivation performed with a plow is called agriculture (from the Latin ager, “field”). As these particular words suggest, agriculture is characterized by the considerably larger plots of land consequent of plow technology. Predicated on the strength of the bronze blade, the plow initially emerged in the Middle East, sometime between 3500 BCE and 3000 BCE. In most non-forest habitats at least twice as much surface area can be cultivated using such primitive plow instead of a hoe; and the plow disturbs the soil to a much greater depth, destroying most of the weeds roots and all while in like measure facilitating the growth of the crops’ roots. (Exceptions include North China, where the loess soil is easily broken up, and the Americas, where the high, per-acre calorie yield of the endemic maize and potato in contrast to the Middle East’s suite of crops obviated the need for an ancient plow.) Said doubling (at least) is crucial. Why? Because it allows half of the cultivated land to be fallowed. What does this mean? Fallowing is a special kind of weeding. With respect to fallowing William McNeill of the University of Chicago writes in his fascinating Plagues and Peoples:
It is a testimony to humanity’s animistic propensities that most textbooks still explain how fallowing allows the earth to restore fertility by having a rest. A moment’s thought will convince anyone that whatever processes of geological weathering and consequent chemical change occur in a single season would make no noticeable difference for the following year’s plant growth. To be sure, in the case of “dry farming,” soil kept in bare fallow can store moisture that would otherwise be dispersed into the air by passage of water from the soil through the roots and leafy parts of plants. In regions where deficient moisture limits crop yields, a year’s fallowing can, therefore, increase fertility by letting subsoil moisture accumulate. Elsewhere, however, where moisture is not the critical limit to plant growth, the great advantage of fallowing is that it allows farmers to keep weeds at bay by interrupting their natural life cycle with the plow.
Scholars think that ancient plows were too unwieldy for most women to operate. Indeed, the obsolescence of the hoe relative to the plow corresponds to societal shifts from matriarchy to patriarchy. These sudden and inasmuch truly revolutionary shifts do not coincide with the establishment of the “agricultural revolution” which term is a double misnomer, for the change it signifies was horticultural and remarkalby gradual. From the Near East the “wave” of domestication reached Greece and Cyprus and the Indian subcontinent around 6500 BCE, Egypt around 6000 BCE, central Europe around 5000 BCE, and Britain around 3500 BCE some 5000 years after the “revolution” began and a few hundred years before the plow was invented and patriarchy began to generally eclipse matriarchy.
Ironically, the very slowness of domestication’s spread suggests that people generally intuited the true revolution nascent in it. People who chose to tend domesticated plants and animals did, therefore, immediately experience a specific new pressure to embellish the age-old Golden/Legal philosophy such that the inevitable, agricultural technologies and concomitant social organizations could be reconciled with it. The following outtake from Joseph Campbell’s Primitive Mythology touches upon this pressure and points up where the key to the accommodation thereof was largely to be found:
Among the paleolithic nomads the groups were relatively small and the demands of dharma [the cosmic order] relatively simple. Furthermore, the roles to be played accorded with the natural capacities of the male and female organisms, which had evolved and been gradually shaped under conditions of the hunt during the course of a period of some six hundred thousand years. With the turn, however, to agriculture … and the … development then of sedentary, highly differentiated, and very much larger social units (up to, say, four or five hundred souls), the problem not only of enforcing but also of rationalizing a dharma in which inequality and yet coordination were of the essence became acute. It was then by a stroke of genius that the order of the universe, in which inequality and coordination are of the essence, was taken as a model, and mankind was put to the school of the stars.
Rather unlike Campbell, I think even the earliest humans diligently studied the order of the universe fully insofar as that dharma was obvious to them; and I think they did so to affirm the principle of relativity that I explained in the initial chapter of this volume. But like Campbell, I think that that the culmination of this prehistoric science did nearly coincide with the advent of agriculture c. 3200 BCE and thus with the advent of history. Campbell continues in his Oriental Mythology — and the recognition he makes here is extremely important:
An overpowering experience of order not as something created by an anthropomorphic first being but as itself the all-creative, beginningless, and interminable structuring rhythm of the universe, supplied the wind that blew … civilization into form. Furthermore, by a miracle that I have found no one to interpret [my emphasis], the arithmetic that was developed in Sumer as early as 3200 B.C., whether by coincidence or by intuitive induction, so matched the celestial order as to amount in itself to a revelation. The whole archaic Oriental world, in contrast to the earlier primitive and later Occidental, was absolutely hypnotized by this miracle. The force of number [in the sense of discrete, quantum, Red/Dionysian mathematics] was of far greater moment than mere fact; for it seemed actually to be the generator of fact. It was of greater moment than humanity; for it was the organizing principle by which humanity realized and recognized its own latent harmony and sense. It was of considerably greater moment than the gods; for in the majesty of its cycles, greater cycles and ever greater, more majestic, infinitely widening cycles, it was the law by which gods came into being and disappeared. And it was greater even than being; for in its matrix lay the law of being.
Thus, mathematics in that crucial moment of cultural mutation met the earlier-known mystery of biological death and generation, and the two joined. The lunar rhythm of the womb had already given notice of a correspondence between celestial and terrestrial circumstance. The mathematical law now united both. And so it is that, in all of these mythologies, the principle of maat, me, dharma, and tao, which in the Greek tradition became moira, was mythologically felt and represented as female. The awesome, wonderfully mysterious Great Mother, whose form and support dominate all the ritual lore of the archaic world, whom we have seen as the cow-goddess Hathor at the four quarters of the festival palette of Narmer, and whose dairyland goddess of the cow, Ninhursag, was the nurse of the early Sumerian Kings, is equally present in the heavens above, in the Earth beneath, in the waters under the Earth, and in the womb. And the law of her generative rhythm was represented for the entire ancient world in those units and multiples of 60 of the old Sumerian sexagesimal arithmetic, which had caught the measure at once of time and of space.
I will later address and greatly expound this awesome quantum mathematical structure and order of the cosmos, especially as it was apparent to the early Sumerians, to their coevals, and, I think, to their intellectual precursors who may have hailed from outside the Middle East, perhaps even from Southeastern Asia or the British Isles.
But clearly something critical happened to destabilize this virtually prehistoric understanding of the (Black) cosmos. Once again Campbell, from his Oriental Mythology:
… in the first centuries of the second millennium BCE a new note of dissonance becomes apparent in the writings of Egypt and, more emphatically, Mesopotamia. …
Do we not hear in this the prelude of the Buddha’s First Noble Truth: “All life is sorrowful,” and to the judgement of Aquinas: “It is impossible for man’s happiness to be in this life”? As Nietzsche has observed: “The sick and perishing: it was they who despised the body and the Earth, and invented the heavenly world and the redeeming drops of blood. … Beyond the sphere of their body and this earth they now fancied themselves transported, these ungrateful ones. Yet to what did they owe the convulsion and rapture of their transport? To their body and this earth.”
I [Campbell continues] shall term this crisis The Great Reversal, whereby death was no longer viewed as a continuance of the wonder of life but as a rescue from its pain: “like the recovery of a sick man,” “like the home that a man longs to see.”
Although Campbell never does suggest an answer to this extremely important question, he happens to mention the chief culprit twice in the immediately preceding passage. That culprit is sickness, disease namely the acute infectious epidemic diseases I suggested above. Each of these diseases jumped to humanity from domesticated animals. As I will explain, all of these jumps finally took hold and spread within the human population at rather precisely c. 3200 BCE.
To address the extremely important role that such disease has played in history especially in connection with said Great Reversal I will first bring into focus the Proto-Indo-European (P-I-E) culture as it existed c. 3200 BCE centered spatially on what is now the Russian steppe. The remarkable expansion of that culture seems to be the initial expression of the Great Reversal. Nevertheless, P-I-E culture was naturally imbued with and was indeed an expression of the Golden/Legal philosophy. Bruce Lincoln, University of Minnesota Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies and one of the world’s leading specialists concerning Indo-European religion and society notes in his essay “Indo-European Religions,” published in the compendium of his essays Death, War and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice:
At the beginning of time so the P-I-E cosmogony held there were two brothers, a priest whose name was “Man” (*Manu) and a king, whose name was “Twin” (*Yemo), who traveled together accompanied by an ox. For reasons that are not specified, they took it upon themselves to create the world, and toward that end the priest offered up his brother and the ox in what was to be the first ritual sacrifice. Dismembering their bodies, he used the various parts to create the material universe and human society as well, taking all three classes from the body of the first king who … combined within himself the social totality.
(The asterisk pretending the P-I-E words above signifies the fact that the P-I-E language was only spoken and sung, not written. Often in what follows I abandon this convention for purposes of immediate clarity and for economy.) The epithet *Yemo implies not only identity but also “twin of,” i.e. younger twin brother of Manu. (Of course even among twins there is a 1st born and a 2nd born.) As the above passage from Professor Lincoln indicates, P-I-E society was divided into 3 distinct classes: priests, warriors, and commoners. Here again we have Red, White, and Black. The king (*rēg-s; hence the English words regal, regent, regulate, right, etc.; and likely cognate with the prefix re-) generally emerged from the warrior class but was supposed to represent and exemplify all 3 classes. The high priest nevertheless wielded power over the king. In this sense the otherwise White/Apollonian king was reduced to a sacrificed, Red/Dionysian figure. Which is to say, the king was completed, rendered fully complex, insofar as he subjected himself to the high priest and hence to the commoners, i.e. to existence in general. (Likewise the warrior class subjected itself to the priestly class in large part, it seems, by paying taxes that supported the intellectual activities of the priestly class, which class was not required to pay taxes.) It was in this rich, WhiteRedBlack sense that the king more than any other individual in P-I-E culture corresponded to the Absent Father, P-I-E *Dyeus, which name derives from *deywo-s, “celestial, luminous, radiant.” This *Dyeus corresponds etymologically and otherwise to Dios and Zeus of the Greeks; Deus, Diespiter, Dis Pater (Father Dis) and Ju-piter of the Latins; and Dyaus of the Indian subcontinent.
Consider in this light the following from Julius Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul:
The Celts all claim to be descended from the god of the underworld whom they call Father Dis. For this reason they measure time not by day but by night and in celebrating birthdays, the first of the month, and New Year’s Day, they go on the principle that the day begins at night.
This favoring of night over day corresponds to the favoring of the priestly class over the warrior class, the Red/Dionysian over the White/Apollonian, and likewise to the favoring of the feminine over the masculine, the Black over both the Red and the White. By the same logic autumn was favored over spring. New Year, for instance, was celebrated in the autumn. Such favoring is a primary characteristic of what I will shortly distinguish as “proto-mythology.” Later I interpret James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake as being an especially proto-mythological address and expression of the Golden/Legal philosophy.
Father Dis is metaphorically described as a fallen god, a sacrificed god, a sacrificed king. Predominantly White/Apollonian, he is dominantly Red/Dionysian. It’s as if He has sacrificed himself and thus created the world. Father Dis is Joyce’s Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. He is also Humpty Dumpty, *Neptno, Nehushtan, Neptune, Poseidon, the Phoenix (which name means “shining red”), Finn (note the similarity to Phoenix), the Deity, the Devil (note the Dev- root, as in Deus), and Lucifer (stemming from Latin lucēre, “to shine,” this being closely related to the Greek leukos, “white”).
I’ve pointed up the tripartite social order of Europe’s emergent Middle Ages: peasants, aristocrats, and monarchs: Black, Red, White, or Black, White, Red, depending on whether you emphasize the mediating or challenging aspect, respectively, of the aristocrats. Wrapped up in these aristocracies and monarchies especially in the Merovingian dynasty is a legendary group of families who considered themselves descendents of the Jewish high priest Aaron (Red/Dionysian brother of chiefly White/Apollonian Moses) and conversely of (chiefly White/Apollonian) David and thus of Jesus of Nazareth and who likewise considered themselves descendents of the Jewish Sadducees, i.e. of the Zadokites, a proto-mythological “sect” which was sympathetic to the Romans but disappeared when Judaism became chiefly White/Apollonian during the first few centuries CE. This bloodline is known as Rex Deus, i.e. Redux, Red–White, Priest–Royal. Legend has it that these families instigated the first Crusade and established the Knights Templar to recover especially from the site of (proto-mythological) Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem the lost knowledge of the Sadducees. In fact the famously enigmatic seal of the Knights Templar depicts a single horse ridden by 2 knights; and it was for proto-mythologically emphasizing the complexity of old Black–White–Red Father Dis that the Templars were suppressed by the Catholic Church. Precisely this complexity seems to be the so-called secret at bottom of Freemasonry and likewise it is the reason why the government of the United States separates church and state while emphatically involving God and state.
Regarding the Merovingians, note that they were referred to as the “long-haired kings” owing to their symbolically unshorn hair. Their hair was also said to be red. What did this long, red hair symbolize? Well, the Greeks called the Pleiades constellation a cluster of what to the naked eye seems 6 stars but is mythologically said to be missing 1 star the kometes, “long-haired,” which word is the basis of our comet. Later I will explain that the Pleiades and comets proto-mythologically represent the college of king-killing, Red/Dionsyian nymphs, especially the likes of the chief nymph Aphrodite. By no mere coincidence, I think, does the name Magdalene — as in Mary Magdalene, she who had “7 demons cast out of her” — mean “one who builds up hair.” The congressional essence of hair, the Pleiades, and comets is the meaning of the Greek and Latin word komes, “companion, bound (by oath),” and more generally of the prefix com-, as in commoner and plebe, which latter — like the word plenty, as in Saturn’s wife Ops, goddess of work/plenty/eye/light/face/snake/power/voice/opera/covering/ancestors/ aristocrats/summits — is especially akin to Pleiades. Thus we have the complex basis of the Italian conte, the French comte and the English word count, i.e. earl (from the Old Norse jarl), aristocrat. In Danish this word is Greve; in Dutch it is Graaf. These words are curiously similar to the English gravity, grieve, and grail. In Polish the word for count is Hrabia; in Czech it is hrabě. These are similar to the English hair, which derives from the proto-Germanic *Hæran. Thus we seem to arrive again at Abraham’s Haran, the apex of the journey, the moment of transition, of king-killing, as it were, the complex moment of quantum gravity, of risingfalling the essence of all existence. Mongolian nomads upon attaining the crucial mountain pass of a journey tie to the “omoo” which marks the pass i.e to the cairn there, the herm a piece of hair from the mane of each horse present; thus they essentially honor Hermes, god of passage. Here we have a basis of Buddhist prayer flags and of flags (and flagellants) in general, the word flag moreover being cognate with plague and plaint and planet. The word *Hæran is clearly cognate with Hermes; less clear but just as intriguing is its close kinship with the Lithuanian šerỹs, “bristle.” The English word bristle is cognate with the Old High German burst of the same meaning, and these are linked closely to the English burst and to the following poignant cognates: the Indo European bhrstí-s, “point, peak, border,” the German Berg, “mountain,” the Welsh bryn, bre, “hill,” the Old Irish barr, “point, peak,” the Frankish *baro, “king’s man” (as in baron), the English barrow and barley (the latter as in John Barleycorn; barley being the Red grain, whereas wheat, as its very name means, is the relatively White grain) and bear (in both senses of the word), and the Latin fastīgium, “top, peak,” fascinum, “evil spell,” fascis, “bundle,” and fasces, “a bundle of rods borne before ancient Roman magistrates as an symbol of authority” this Latin root fasc furthermore being the basis of Fasching, alias Carnival. The word bristle is akin to the Latin carne, “meat” and the English carry, which stem from the Indo European kēr-, a prefix closely linked to the Greek mythological figure Core (daughter of Demeter/Ceres; alias Persephone/Proserpine) and to the English word corn and to the Sanskrit carati, “he moves, wanders,” and cakra, “wheel,” as in the synonymous Indian terms karma and Meat Wheel, and thus to the aforementioned Greek kyklos (as in circle, cultivate and culture). The Old Norse word for wheel is hvēl, akin to the English hovel and to the Norse Hel, she who rules the underworld from her circular redoubt. The English word hell stems from this name and likewise from the Old High German helan, “to conceal,” which in Latin is celare and in Greek is kalyptein as in Kalypso and Callisto and Calliope and the Hindu Kali and the P-I-E *Kolyo. Kalypso is Helen is Core/Persephone is the femme fatale Aphrodite is the Black Madonna.
According to the Golden/Legal philosophy every individual is fundamentally a duality. Each person indeed each entity consists of an original, pure, sophomoric, masculine, extending, ascending aspect (White/Apollonian) and a mediating, worldly, mature, feminine, introverting, descending aspect (Red/Dionysian). Here we have the warrior and the priest, the virgin and the nymph, the Yang and the Yin. Every male duality is thus considered as inhering a female aspect, and vice versa. Hence, too, the duality male–female corresponds to the trinity White–Red–Black. The Black — or as I prefer to call it, the Black/Baroque — is the vegetal, the existential, the real in contrast to the ideal; it is more feminine than masculine; it corresponds to the Crone yet it also corresponds to Black Dis, alias Father Dis, Aides, Hades; it is tomb and womb and night; it is the set of souls, i.e. the set of real things, real quanta.
I distinguish as being proto-mythological the expressions of the Golden/Legal philosophy which not only emphasize a complex (i.e. non-simple) pole of sorts (i.e. a WhiteRed, YangYin essence) within that philosophy but which also enforce a cyclical directionality: White to Red to Black (to White). Relative to the convention established by the Great Reversal, this directionality is counter-clockwise; yet according to both proto-mythology and the Golden/Legal philosophy, this directionality is the true clockwise directionality. The proto-mythological is identical the Golden Legal except that the latter allows the White/Apollonian apparent domination over the Red/Dionysian insofar as circumstances call for such inversion; i.e. the Golden/Legal allows said directionality to be temporarily arrested and even reversed while still generally conserving it. Likewise the Golden/Legal more than either mere paradigm (or aspect, or essence) emphasizes the ultimately Black/Baroque nature of all individuals. The Great Reversal is great to the extent that it occurred (and occurs) on a grand scale, but in truth such reversals are elementary to every moment of existence.
The following graphical depictions of the above distinctions may prove useful as a reference.
Yang is White, Yin is Red; their basis, the plenum
or matrix which is real, material is Black;
the directionality is “counter-clockwise.”
Yin is Black or just dark, Yang is White;
their basis is immaterial, otherworldly, past or
potential; the directionality is “clockwise.”
The same profound complexity essential to and evident in mythology, history and psychology characterizes physics as well. However, both the White/Apollonian and Red/Dionysian camps of physicists, i.e. the continuum and quantum camps, championed respectively by Newton/Einstein/Shroödinger and Bohr/Heisenberg, have been all but ineluctably wedded to whole-number mathematics and therefore to continuum mathematics. Heisenberg almost broke fee of this continuum by dropping the commutative law of multiplication in relation to sets of classical physical parameters which are conjugal with each other (such as position and momentum). Thus he made room to accommodate the “quantum” of action — which is in truth a function (i.e. an irrational “number”), not a quantum (i.e. not a ratio and precisely inasmuch not a true number). We can write Heisenberg’s move in terms of mathematical symbols as follows: qp ≠ pq or qp - pq ≠ 0, where q and p are any classically conjugate variables (the product of which always has the dimensions of classical “action”). The difference of this pair of products is then forced (i.e. set) to be equal to Planck’s constant (divided by 2, for merely historical reasons) flagged by the imaginary number symbol i signifying the fundamental difference between space and time and likewise signifying the complex, truly quantum essence of reality, and the function 1/Pi signifying a function which is itself significant of quantum mathematics. As such, we have the now physical equation (a functional relationship, to be more precise) qp – pq = i (h / 2 Pi). Thus the classical set of variables (and likewise the continuum) is in a sense conserved, but they are now not considered variables representing reality but rather as representing the classical concepts necessary to determine the fundamental notion of measurement (i.e. control, “observation”) and as merely happening to correspond to a pure, self-referential mathematics, i.e. to purely mathematical symbols rather than to mathematics which is supposed to symbolize something (e.g. reality) other than mathematics. This is the sense in which Heisenberg understood and I think deeply misunderstood a comment Einstein had earlier made to him, that “it is theory which first determines what can be observed.” This famous comment proferred by Einstein seems to stem from the following equally famous statement by Schelling: “Every experiment is a question addressed to nature that nature is forced to answer. But every question contains a hidden a priori judgement; every experiment which is an experiment is a prophecy; experimentation is itself a production of the phenomena.” In making the above comment to Heisenberg, Einstein was saying that symbols should refer not to observations but to a reality which is supposed, i.e. postulated, addressable in terms of principle only. … Conserved in orthodox quantum theory along with the classical set of variables is Hamilton’s canonical, action-principle formulation of mechanics (the most beautiful expression of Newtonian physics; based on the analogy between mechanical and optical problems), for each component of Heisenberg’s equation qp – pq = i (h / 2 Pi) has the dimensions of action. The value of the new entity, however, Planck’s constant, goes unexplained; it is simply forced into the equation so that the equation accords with all measurements of atomic phenomena.
Unlike Schrödinger and Einstein, Heisenberg abandoned the classical, White/Apollonian notion of particle orbit (although, let me repeat, he conserved the classical continuum mathematics), which notion especially as applied by Bohr to the hydrogen atom — was largely based on analogy with the planets. Heisenberg’s principle was that physical structure is identical to measurement theory, which theory is a refinement of classical notions. Put simply, Heisenberg believed that physics is measurement theory, that physics must stop profoundly, quantumly short of addressing reality. In contrast Schrödinger and especially Einstein, following Spinoza, believed that physics must aim to address nothing less than God. Any physics which does not aim to do this is was considered by Einstein incomplete.
In the early 20th century the way ahead for both camps of physicists was illuminated by Louis de Broglie inasmuch as he postulated that all matter not just so-called radiation, i.e. light, as Einstein had earlier usefully postulated fundamentally harbors particle–wave duality. De Broglie suggested that the quantum condition (i.e. the imposition or forcing of the quantum of action) in Bohr’s by then archaic, planetary model of the hydrogen atom (which model was of course largely the point of departure for both Heisenberg and Schrödinger) should be explained in terms of the wave aspect of matter, because a stable wave around a nucleus can only be a stationary wave and therefore the perimeter of the particle aspect’s orbit must be an integer multiple of the wave aspect’s length. This suggestion conserved the classical, White/Apollonian notion of a continuous orbit, a fundamental path of sorts; for otherwise according to the postulate/principle of particle–wave duality the quantum of action would, it seemed, be completely inexplicable, a Red/Dionysian mystery.
Einstein applied to quantum theory the same approach he successfully applied in developing his special and so-called general theories of relativity: he radically conserved; i.e. he did not abandon fundamentals that did not need to be abandoned. This steady approach was and is courageous by nature; likewise it tends to be practiced almost utterly alone. I think Einstein failed in this approach because he could not in connection with Spinozs’s philosophy justify abandoning whole-number, continuum mathematics and the concomitant classical set of physical variables.
Forgive me, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. The preceding discussion of physics belongs largely to the following chapter and the penultimate chapter of this book and especially to the next volume of the Gravity trilogy. Yet such discourse serves us presently insofar as it indicates that the proper determination of the Golden/Legal philosophy should be an absolutely quantum mathematics i.e. a mathematics different than whole-number mathematics symbolic of a set of real, related things (the Black/Baroque, the matrix; in contrast to abstract and in this sense physical, measurable, controllable, secondary, merely essential things).
Returning to mytho-logic … note that the Red/Dionysian emphasizes the self-sacrificed (metaphorically speaking) aspect of God, i.e. of the Deity and likewise every soul especially of the king. According to proto-mythology, this understanding calls for regicide, the literal sacrifice of the king. However, according to reversals akin if not identical to the Great Reversal, surrogates are sacrificed in place of the king. To the degree these surrogates are unlike the king, the king is a mere king, unlike and ruling without the authority of God.
In this respect consider the following description of the Gauls, from Pomponius Mela’s De Situ Orbis, c. 40 CE:
… at one time they were so savage that they believed a man to be the best and most pleasing sacrificial victim for the gods. … Still, they have their own eloquence and their masters of wisdom, the Druids. These ones profess to know the size and form of heaven and earth, the motion of sky and stars, and what the gods desire. They instruct the noblest of their race in many things secretly and at length, twenty years, either in a cave or in remote woodlands.
That’s right: 20 years, the equivalent of a modern doctorate. These Gauls and their coevals were generally illiterate. Their priests cultivated the art of memory, and thus the priestly class functioned as the cultural database. The priests shared their knowledge with the rest of the people, but they did so fractally, holographically, you might say, keeping the great bulk of the information to themselves, communicating it to the people in watered-down form, with various determined degrees of precision that amounted to mere adumbrations of the sharp yet general edge the priests themselves wielded. Thus a metaphor suggests itself: hard-won priestly knowledge as great, magical sword akin to the blade which the Absent Father originally wielded upon Himself, creating the cosmos, rendering Himself the Deity (Dis). Giambattista Vico is largely correct when he writes in his classic New Science: “the priests of every nation kept their sacred teachings arcanely hidden from the masses of their plebeians … This is why all nations refer to their religious doctrine as sacred, which is synonymous with secret.”
The priestly power seems to have achieved its greatest possible antique precision and generality and thus its pinnacle just prior to 3200 BCE. Evidence of that pinnacle stems mostly from Europe and the Middle East, especially from the British Isles and Mesopotamia. But in Mesopotamia this apex coincided with the space–time epicenter of the aforementioned complex of impulses and especially with the seemingly most random, unfathomable, and unprecedented component thereof: acute infectious epidemic diseases. The Mesopotamian priesthood most notably the priesthood of the Sumerians must have been largely discredited by these invisible, seemingly lawless foes and by the consequent and similarly random attacks which raiders from the desert and steppe (Semites and P-I-E Aryans, respectively) waged upon the physically and spiritually weakened populace. The same wits who could predict the movements of the heavenly bodies could do almost nothing to accurately predict the essentially random attacks that were crippling the incipient agri-culture.
The Sumerians, I should add, seem to have arrived in the region of southern Mesopotamia (alias Sumeria) just prior to c. 3200 BC and with their culture already fully developed. Where they came from nobody knows; but they called their place of origin Dilmun. The Sumerian language, like the Basque, seems to be a language unto itself; it is, for instance, neither Semitic nor Indo European. The name Sumer (Shumer, Shinar) is Akkadian (Semitic). The Sumerians referred to themselves as the Sag-gi-ga, which name is commonly interpreted to mean “Black-Headed People” and likely signifies a proto-mythological recognition of the Black/Baroque as the basis of culture in general.
Acute infectious epidemic diseases and comet and/or meteor impacts were the categorically terrible impulses among the closely related set of impulses which resulted in the Great Reversal. The other components of that set were largely considered boons — although they rather directly caused the emergence and spread of acute infectious epidemic diseases and thereby and otherwise weakened the Red/Dionysian relative to the White/Apollonian, in ways that I will shortly describe. Again, these largely beneficial components are the following: the invention of copper alloys (bronzes), the invention of the plow, the invention of the wheel, and the domestication of the horse especially for riding. The latter technologies were dependent on and almost immediately emergent from bronze metallurgy; bronze was the only extant material strong enough to be transformed into reliable plow blades and wheels, and it made efor superior weapons which coupled to the wheel and horsemanship made for superior, ultra mobile warriors. Copper itself had been collected in the form of pure nuggets (not altogether uncommon in certain places, such as Anatolia) and, more generally, smelted (i.e. refined from simple copper oxides such as azurite and malachite) since c. 9000 BCE. But mere copper was too malleable, too weak, to suffice for plows and wheels and swords. Copper alloys, on the other hand i.e. bronzes, which involve tin (a bluish-white or silvery-white metal, exceedingly rare) and zinc or other rare metals, plus the element arsenic are tricky to make, but they are much stronger than pure copper, and they tend to flow into molds much more nicely (greatly facilitating complex castings). The process of creating bronze was invented in the Near East c. 3300 BCE. Bronze stands in marked contrast to iron. Bronze is much stronger and much more shiny than iron. Moreover, bronze, unlike iron, lends itself to polishing. Furthermore iron is brittle, and it rusts (i.e. turns weak and reddish). Nevertheless, by 1200 BCE iron being very abundant throughout the world and not involving relatively rare metals such as tin had become by far the most commonly used metal. Bronze was the metal of the upper and middle classes, iron the metal of the lower. To the extent a society had gone over to the Great Reversal, the society’s upper classes were rendered White/Apollonian. Bronze therefore is White/Apollonian, iron Red/Dionysian.
The Caucasus Mountains, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, were to the ancient world a major source of tin and hence they were a natural nexus for the spread of bronze metallurgy and related technologies especially the wheel. Just to the north of these mountains is the steppe, which stretches from the plains of what is now Hungary through what is now Mongolia. The nomadic tribes who lived on the steppe adjacent to the Caucasus adopted the wheel quickly. The steppe does not lend itself to cultivation and therefore is rather sparsely populated; but it does lend itself to the horse. Wild horses were plentiful on this steppe but utterly absent from the Middle East and southern Europe and rare in northern Europe. The domestication of the horse on the steppe began, most likely, with the keeping of orphaned wild horses as pets. Slowly there developed an art of breeding these pets. Of course this breeding produced increasingly docile and large animals, beasts which could be trained and ridden. These completely domestic horses facilitated the management of sheep, goats and cattle over much larger areas than were otherwise manageable. Likewise the domestic horse facilitated lightning-like raids upon horseless and inasmuch defenseless enemies. And with the arrival of the wheeled cart, which was, however, typically drawn by oxen, whole nomadic communities and tribes of this steppe region became completely mobile, able to follow and support their equestrian warriors, who plundered horseless communities in both directions on the steppe. To the west, the Dnieper River (note the essentially ne- prefix), which flows south to the Black Sea, had previously marked the cultural boundary between the nomads of the steppe and the neolithic farmers of Europe. But c. 3200 BCE the nomads began breaching that boundary, probably in multiple waves punctuating several hundred years. These invaders of course brought with them the tool which of all tools is the easiest to carry: their language. This language is now called Proto-Indo-European, its speakers having introduced it and, more importantly, their extremely potent suite of cutting-edge technologies especially horsemanship wherever they eventually conquered, east and west: India, Western China, Europe, Anatolia, and Iran (Persia).
Upon reaching the plains of Hungary and there the very western frontier of the steppe itself c. 3000 BCE, the westward arm of the P-I-E people’s expansion ceased. Not only did this cessation spatially coincide with the edge of the steppe, ittemporally coincided with the world’s initial explosion of acute infectious epidemic diseases among humans, these diseases being the now familiar influenza, smallpox, measles, etc. Originating in Mesopotamia, this nasty congeries of diseases surely spread with phenomenal ease along the international trade routes that were now especially active due to the demands of the burgeoning bronze industry. Indeed, the spread of P-I-E peoples in contrast to their language and the horsemanship it attached to may have been stopped more by disease than by their native affinity for the steppe. Nevertheless, early Bronze Age Europe west of the steppe was rendered a protean milieu. As Jared Diamond notes in his Guns, Germs and Steel: “around and after 3000 B.C. … a bewildering array of other [European] cultures [are] developing … [They] combine steppe elements like horses and militarism with old western European elements, especially settled agriculture [horticulture].”
From southeast Europe, P-I-E language and horsemanship coupled to bronze metallurgy in terms of the wheel, agricultural implements, and especially weaponry spread westward, morphing of course yet nearly suffocating aboriginal languages and cultures. Only the Finno-Ugrian language (now of the Finns, Lapps, and Estonians) and Basque (now of far southwestern France and north-central Spain) survived this burgeoning of the Indo-European. Inasmuch, we can assume that the Finn-Ugrian and Basque cultures survived as well, each distinguishing itself as Red/Dionysian relative to a fresh, White/Apollonian mantel that covered the rest of the continent and, eventually, the British Isles and Ireland. A nearly general inversion had occurred a Great Reversal. The masculine, militaristic, White/Apollonian paradigm had filed for divorce from the Red/Dionysian and hence from Black/Baroque reality itself.
Naturally the relatively complex, Red/Dionysian aspect of each society that was affected by the set of impulses we’ve been discussing that aspect conserved by the priestly keepers of language, legend, legacy, legality, and science, as it were greatly resisted said petition for divorce. But while the White/Apollonian aspect was especially bolstered by the new technologies, the priests were especially discredited not only by their failure to foresee and offer protection against human invaders who arrived on horses and armed with bronze weapons, but perhaps more importantly by their similar failure in regard to the aforementioned extraterrestrial invaders (comets) and especially in regard to the invisible invaders: the acute infectious epidemic diseases.
Indeed, I suspect that the Great Reversal may never have occurred if not for these especially insidious, extremely random microbial invaders. As such, these diseases warrant our further attention. Again Jared Diamond, from his Guns, Germs and Steel:
The major killers of humanity throughout our recent history smallpox, flu, tuberculosis, malaria, plague, measles, and cholera are infectious diseases that evolved from diseases of animals. … Because diseases have been the biggest killers of people, they have also been decisive shapers of history. … Studies show that measles is likely to die out in any human population numbering fewer than half a million people. Only in larger populations can the disease shift from one local area to another, thereby persisting until enough babies have been born in the originally infected area that measles can return there. … To sustain themselves, [these acute infectious epidemic diseases] need a human population that is sufficiently numerous, and sufficiently densely packed, so that a numerous new crop of susceptible children is available for infection by the time the diseases would otherwise be waning. Hence measles and similar diseases are known as crowd diseases [or childhood diseases, as they are now commonly called]. … the crowd diseases … could have arisen only with the buildup of large, dense human populations. That buildup began with the rise of agriculture starting about 10,000 years ago and then accelerated with the rise of cities starting several thousand years ago.
William McNeill, from his Plagues and Peoples:
… in view of the figure of half a million needed to keep measles in circulation in modern urban communities, it is noteworthy that a recent estimate of the total population of the seat of the world’s oldest civilization in ancient Sumeria comes to exactly the same figure. It seems safe to assume that the Sumerian cities were in close enough contact with one another to constitute a single disease pool; and if so, massed numbers, approaching half a million, surely constituted a population capable of sustaining infectious chains like those of modern childhood diseases. … Person to person, “civilized” types of infectious disease could not have established themselves much before 3000 B.C. …
… Infectious bacterial and viral diseases that pass directly from human to human with no intermediate host are therefore the diseases of civilization par excellence: the peculiar hallmark and epidemiological burden of cities and of countryside in contact with cities. They are familiar to almost all contemporary humankind as the ordinary diseases of childhood: measles, mumps, whooping cough, smallpox and the rest.
Measles, tuberculosis, and smallpox seem to have originated in cattle (initially domesticated c. 6000 BCE), measles perhaps stemming also (or instead) from the dog (initially domesticated c. 10,000 BCE). Influenza, on the other hand, stems from birds, especially from ducks, geese and chickens; but it often enters the human population via a mammalian intermediary, especially the pig (initially domesticated c. 8000 BCE). An especially nasty strain of influenza was the culprit in the most deadly single epidemic in human history: the influenza epidemic of 1918–1919 CE, which infected 1/5 of the world’s population and killed some 20–40 million people or more. The history of this extremely deadly strain remains a mystery; but John Oxford, Professor of Virology at St. Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Hospital, suggests there is compelling reason to think it initially emerged during the winter of 1916–1917 CE in the overcrowded British base camp at Etaples, in Northern France, where some 100,000 soldiers per day many sick, wounded or otherwise immunologically stressed lived in proximity to and some perhaps in immediate contact with all the aforementioned animal carriers as well as mutagenic gases.
Imagine. Before c. 3200 BCE none of these diseases existed in the human population. Then suddenly they arrived en masse. Their typical affects on an individual back then tended to be much more severe than today, for humanity had never before played host to such diseases and consequently possessed little immunity to them. Whereas many of these diseases afflict only children now, they each would have originally afflicted all ages perhaps even young adults especially, as was the case with the 1918–1919 CE influenza epidemic. Nearly everywhere agriculture existed a huge portion of the population would have been wracked with vomiting, diarrhea, fever, coughing, horrible sores, etc. Until then such symptoms had been virtually absent from the human condition. In all likelihood ⅓ or more of the agricultural human population of the world c. 3200 BCE died from this complex impulse, as it were, of unprecedented plagues. What’s more, this impulse seemed to be extremely random, largely because it was microscopic and thus invisible. The peoples affected by these plagues were therefore wont to attribute them to the disfavor of the gods if not to hordes of evil spirits unleashed upon the Earth much less an evil nature of wordly existence in general. The Red/Dionysian, priestly class, whose job it was to understand and affirm worldy existence and to explain-away seeming disorder, must have been deeply and widely discredited by the plagues alone, not to mention the nearly coincident onslaughts of human and perhaps cometary invaders. … As a young teenager I became extremely interested in the apocalyptic literature of the Bible. In church I would mostly ignore the sermons and such and instead would intently read the Bible. I’m reminded of at least one episode when, from my seat near the rear, I observed the herd-like congregation with my eyes fascinating on the decrepit individuals and my ears pricked to the desultory coughing and crying which severely marked the otherwise silent ambience. “How fallen, how wretched, how pathetic human beings are!” I thought to myself. “Hopefully the end will come soon!”
History records a similarly complex and devastating impulse in connection with the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Scholars estimate that the aforementioned diseases plus a few others, such as typhus, killed off nearly 90 percent of the native American population immediately following the initial arrival of Europeans. Previously the Americas had been phenomenally free of parasitic, bacterial and viral diseases, this largely because the dog and the llama were the only domesticated animals on the American continents, and also because native American cities were few and far between. As such, native Americans generally possessed little or no immunity to the Indo European diseases. Neither did native Americans possess similar endemic diseases with which to serendipitously infect the European invaders. The result was a unilateral, effectively biological war: Europeans and their diseases against the native Americans. Consider in this respect the following from Jack Weatherford’s little gem of a book entitled Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World: “In this agonizing and slow genocide, the [otherwise remarkably, even tremendously successful] Indian doctors found most of their cures impotent and were thrown back increasingly on the meager resources remaining to them — prayer and magic. They chanted, danced, mumbled, and searched for magical solutions to ailments that they had never before encountered. The great accomplishments of Indian medicine have been forgotten.”
This sort of biological warfare which tends to be waged unknowingly at the start but soon thereafter with a considerable degree of intent similarly characterized the expansion of the early agricultural societies of the Middle East. Again, McNeill:
When civilized societies learned to live with the “childhood diseases” that can only persist among large human populations, they acquired a very potent biological weapon. It came into play whenever new contacts with previously isolated, smaller human groups occurred. Civilized diseases, when let loose among a population that lacked any prior exposure to the germ in question, quickly assumed drastic proportions, killing off old and young alike instead of remaining a perhaps serious, but still tolerable, disease affecting small children.
The disruptive effect of such an epidemic is likely to be greater than the mere loss of life, severe as that may be. Often survivors are demoralized, and lose all faith in inherited custom and belief which had not prepared them for such disaster. Sometimes new infections actually manifest their greatest virulence among young adults, owing, some doctors believe, to excessive vigor of this age group’s antibody reactions to the invading disease organism. Population losses within the twenty-to-forty age bracket are obviously far more damaging to society at large than comparably numerous destruction of either the very young or the very old. Indeed, any community that loses a substantial percentage of its young adults in a single epidemic finds it hard to maintain itself materially and spiritually. When an initial exposure to one civilized infection is swiftly followed by similarly destructive exposure to others, the structural cohesion of the community is almost certain to collapse. In the early millennia of civilized history, the result was sporadically to create a fringe of half-empty land on the margins of civilized societies.
On the home front, cities sought to maintain their populations and thus their power by encouraging people and entire peoples to emigrate to urban ground. McNeill:
The striking way, for example, in which Sumerian-speakers gave way to Semitic-speakers in ancient Mesopotamia during the third millennium B.C. is probably a direct consequence of this kind of population movement. Speakers of Semitic tongues presumably migrated into Sumerian cities in such numbers that they swamped speakers of the older language. Sumerian lingered on as the language of learning and priestcraft, but for everyday purposes, the Semitic Akkadian took over.
Farmers and desert warriors alike were drawn to the cities. Farmers were especially affected by the new dynamic; not only were they forced to supply the city with food, they were also pressured to supply the city with people. A high rural birth rate resulted. Indeed, early marriage and a large number of offspring became, among the peasants, symbolic of success. As such, however, any prolonged duration free of disease, famine and war would result in acute rural overpopulation. Wars of conquest were an obvious solution to this problem, for even if these wars failed to secure new lands they would certainly cause a tremendous number of human deaths. From Campbell’s Creative Mythology:
… it was precisely at this point of space and time, in the Near East, and specifically in Sumer, c. 3500–3000 B.C., that the evidence first appears among the ruins of those earliest city-states Kish, Uruk, Ur, Lagash, and the rest first, of a disciplined social order imposed from above by force, and next, of deliberate expeditions of military conquest against neighbors: not the mere annihilation raids of one tribe or village horde against another, in a spirit of plunder, malice or revenge, but deliberately progressed campaigns of systematic conquest and subjugation.
The natural contrast between elder and younger siblings was exacerbated by this new state of affairs. Younger sons especially tended now to move not to neighboring tribes where according to proto-mythologic they would marry and stay, thus building strong familial bridges (of peace) between tribes but rather to a city, thus destabilizing the polity of the countryside while breaking their native bond to the traditional, dominantly Red/Dionysian and proto-mythological way of life. In the city, young people would tend to subscribe to the notion that city life in all its White/Apollonian splendor and freedom (“city air makes one free,” says a German adage), and with its absence of antique obligations is superior to the old way of life. The males would tend to join the military. These soldiers (from the Latin solidus, “pay”) would thus assume a rather artificial yet ornate and considerably powerful White/Apollonian persona as traveler, sophisticate, and military man. Thus the native rift between Red/Dionysian and White/Apollonian elder and younger increased to a hugely unprecedented degrees, with the White/Apollonian establishing and institutionalizing likewise unprecedented dominance over the Red/Dionysian within and without the city.
The primary and perhaps chief role that disease has played in shaping world events has gone phenomenally underappreciated. “Until modern times,” notes McNeill, “… surviving records simply do not take notice of what happened to the weak and unfortunate neighbors of civilized people.” Not only were the affected peoples nearly wiped out and extremely demoralized, the few people who could write, regardless of which side they were on, possessed minimal knowledge of the underlying biological processes of disease. To put it simply, the victims hardly knew what had hit them. Likewise the victors failed to recognize that their greatest strength was other than their gods, their culture, their military and such. Indeed, writes McNeill, the conquerors “naturally enough, tended to assume that the expansion of civilization (their own, of course) was only to be expected, since its charms and value were self-evident.” Even in the modern world there remains an overwhelming tendency to disregard the import of disease. Susan Sontag notes the “near-total historical amnesia about the [aforementioned] influenza pandemic of 1918–19.” Yet the events in Mesopotamia c. 3000 BCE are perhaps indicated in the opening chapter of the Iliad, where Homer tells us that Apollo sent a “deadly plague” to punish Agamemnon’s discourtesy to a priest of Apollo. Homer similarly refers to the disease of the “dog-star” time. The Dog Star, as we will come to understand precisely, is a prime signifier of proto-mythology.
We’ve been addressing class distinctions with a remarkable generality and simplicity. The extremely complicated caste system which largely characterizes India stands in contrast to such simplicity. But even that system stems from the initial wave of acute infectious epidemic diseases. This wave spread very well in temperate or northerly regions; but it eventually met nearly insurmountable resistance in the tropical jungle of India, an environment in which primates and in turn humanoids (if not homo sapiens sapiens) evolved and which therefore holds many an old and relatively complex biological adversary. Again, McNeill:
In that subcontinent, a civilized level of society arose initially in the semi-arid Northwest, where the Indus River runs through increasingly desert lands from the high Himalayas to the sea. Such a landscape was similar to that of Mesopotamia and Egypt, and the irrigation agriculture that supported Indus civilization was probably very like that of the two ancient Middle Eastern civilizations. The basic pattern of Indian history was defined by massive barbarian (Aryan) invasions after 1500 B.C., followed by a slow reassertion of civilized patterns of life.
… the forest [jungle] peoples in India did not crumple up and disintegrate as might have been expected. Instead, they had their own epidemiological riposte to the biological armament of civilization. Various tropical diseases and parasitic infestations that flourished in moist and warm climates protected them against the temperate zone pattern of civilized encroachment. As was true later in Africa, death and debility lurked in too many forms to allow massive or rapid invasion of moist, warm regions by civilized personnel from India’s drier North and West. A sort of epidemiological standoff ensued. Forest folk might be decimated by infections arising from contacts with civilized peoples, but civilized intruders were equally vulnerable to contacts with the tropical diseases and infestations familiar among the forest folk.
The upshot is well known. Instead of digesting the various primitive communities that had occupied southern and eastern India in the manner that was normal north of the Himalayas, Indian civilization expanded by incorporating ex-forest folk as castes, fitting them into the Hindu confederation of cultures as semi-autonomous, functioning entities. Local cultural and social traditions were therefore not destroyed before being fitted into Indian civilized social structures. Instead, a vast variety of primitive rites and practices survived for centuries.
… the taboos on personal contact across caste lines, and the elaborate rules for bodily purification in case of inadvertent infringement of such taboos, suggest the importance fear of disease probably had in defining a safe distance between the various social groups that became the castes of historic Indian society. Only after a prolonged process of epidemiological encounter, during which antibody immunities and tolerances of parasitic infestation were gradually equalized (or initial differences sharply reduced) did it become safe for Aryan-speaking intruders to live side by side with speakers of Tamil and other ancient tongues.
Jungle diseases are typically caused by complex, multicellular parasites, organisms such as worms and protozoa in contrast to the relatively simple bacteria and viruses which cause infectious epidemic diseases. Such complex parasites can circulate seamlessly within the non-gregarious (i.e. non-herd) host populations endemic to jungles, for ususally such parasites neither kill the host quickly nor trigger the host’s immune system. Moreover, the high ambient moisture and heat of a jungle are conducive to the evolution of these small yet complex organisms, some of which eventually incorporate into their life-cycle long durations spent outside as well as inside another organism or organisms. These life-cycles and the interrelationships they involve tend to become extremely elaborate and, as I mentioned, usually non-lethal to the hosts. (Many of these diseases are however onerous. And occasionally, when some threshold or another is passed, they, too, are deadly.) All told, it’s fair to categorize acute infectious epidemic diseases — i.e. herd diseases, diseases of the plains, “childhood” diseases, simple diseases as being White/Apollonian. This characterization is especially true relative to said complex parasitic diseases i.e. sluggish, introverted diseases, jungle diseases, adult diseases which are, by way of contrast, Red/Dionysian.
Primates, including humanoids, having evolved in jungle environments, became naturally involved in symbiotic relationships with a rich array of typically non-lethal, complex parasites. Human biology has of course remained susceptible yet accommodating to such parasites. By the same token the savannah, plains and steppe naturally harbored parasites especially of the simple, White/Apollonian sort, i.e. bacteria and viruses, typical of herd animals which could pose a severe threat to human biology. This threat was attenuated insofar as prehistoric humans lived non herd-like populations and in very loose connection with herd animals. As such, the only herd parasites which actually tended to harm human physiology were of the complex, non-epidemic variety. Take, for instance, the trypanosome parasite. Carried by the tetse fly, which lives among the herds of ungulates on the savannah, this complex parasite causes sleeping sickness throughout much of Africa. “It is, in fact, mainly because sleeping sickness was and remains so devastating to human populations,” writes McNeill, “that the ungulate herds of the African savannah have survived to the present. Without modern prophylaxis, humans simply cannot live in regions where the tsetse fly abounds.” When humans migrated to temperate climates outside the range of the tsetse fly, however, they found themselves in simpler environs largely absent the sort of the complex, Red/Dionysian parasites that had checked them for eons. In fact the archaeological record of human prehistory testifies to the phenomenally good health these humans typically experienced outside Africa. McNeill:
Except for formidable illnesses traceable to recent contacts with the outside world, these peoples … seem to have been quite free from infectious disease and from infestation by multicelled parasites. Anything else would have been very surprising, for there was not enough time for the slow work of biological evolution to devise organisms and patterns of transfer from host to host suitable for cool and dry conditions such as would be needed to maintain a tropical level of infection and infestation among the small and relatively isolated communities of hunters who penetrated the world’s temperate and sub-Arctic climates.
Consequently the human population outside Africa exploded. What’s more, because the typically microscopic parasitic pressures on human evolution never had been literally seen by humans and largely inasmuch therefore never had been fathomed and acted upon by human intelligence, evolution selected for human brain power in inverse proportion to the waning importance of microscopic parasites. Typically macroscopic threats were now of the greatest import to humanity in general. And it is precisely such obvious threats that human intelligence was geared to address and to act upon. Human intelligence was surely now the single chief aspect of human physiology that evolution was selecting for. Altogether the consequence would have been a nonlinear increase in both the human population and the typical human intelligence. …
Now, the seminal epidemics chiefly if not entirely responsible for the Great Reversal have an especially remarkable historical counterpart in Europe’s so-called Black Death of 1348 CE. That epidemic was in fact a complex of 3 plagues bubonic (which is the “black” plague, its victims marked by black spots and a black tongue), septicemic (i.e. of the blood; Red), and pneumonic (of the lungs; White) which killed about 35 percent of the European human population over the course of just a few years. Before analyzing the aftermath of those terrible years, we’ll do well to briefly address them in terms of the Dark and Middle Ages.
As I will later explain, Rome was markedly Red/Dionysian. The fall of Rome was naturally followed by a multiplication of political entities. This multiplication was famously countered by Charlemagne (c. 800 CE) but it nevertheless resulted in hundreds of European states. Such states were likewise rather powerless to prevent such multiplication within themselves. Inasmuch, local chieftans emerged on rather equal footing with yet in striking contrast to the monarchs. Thus the complex power which was Rome became primarily conserved not only in terms of the Roman Church and hundreds of monarchical goverments (especially the Merovingians) but also most poignantly in the relatively unfamiliar terms of myriad newly landed and legitimized aristocrats especially in Northern France. This aristocracy began life not only a (supposed) parvenu but also a meritocracy, thus further contrasting with the monarchs who represented (in one sense or another) the antique blood-aristocracies. In this important sense the new aristocracy was ironically more proto-mythological than the ostensibly mytho-logical monarchies, whose regents were at least ceremoniously considered high-priests of sorts (as in the aforementioned term Rex Deus) and were increasingly wont to claim powers of healing. In terms of the dawning of the Middle Ages an especially complex historical moment had been reached, and inasmuch it naturally corresponded to the proto-mythological transition/balance of power. As Fareed Zakaria writes in his outstanding Future of Freedom:
In practice if monarchs wanted to do anything start a war, build a fort they had to borrow and bargain for money and troops from local chieftains, who became earls [i.e. counts], viscounts, and dukes in the process.
Thus Europe’s landed elite became an aristocracy with power, money, and legitimacy a far cry from the grovelling and dependent courtier-nobles in other parts of the world. This near-equal relationship between lords and kings deeply influenced the course of liberty. As Guido de Ruggiero, the great historian of liberalism, wrote, “Without the effective resistance of particular privileged classes, the monarchy would have created nothing but a people of slaves.” In fact, monarchs did just that in much of the rest of the world. In Europe, on the other hand, as the Middle Ages progressed, the aristocracy demanded that kings guarantee them certain rights that even the crown could not violate. They established representative bodies parliaments, estates general, diets to give permanent voice to their claims. …
The English aristocracy was the most independent in Europe. Lords lived on their estates, governing and protecting their tenants. In return, they extracted taxes, which kept them both rich and powerful [but also obliged them to serve the people in like measure]. It was, in one scholar’s phrase, “a working aristocracy”: it maintained its position not through elaborate courtly rituals but by taking part in politics at all levels. England’s kings, who consolidated their power earlier than did most of their counterparts on the continent, recognized that their rule depended on co-opting the aristocracy — or at least part of it. When monarchs pushed their luck they triggered a baronial backlash. Henry II, crowned king in 1154, extended his rule across the country, sending judges to distant places to enforce royal decrees. He sought to unify the country and create a common, imperial law. To do this he had to strip the medieval aristocracy of its powers and special privileges. His plan worked but only up to a point. Soon the nobility rose up in arms literally and after forty years of conflict, Henry’s son, King John, was forced to sign a truce in 1215 in a field near Windsor Castle. That document, the Magna Carta, was regarded at the time as a charter of baronial privilege, detailing the rights of feudal lords. It also had provisions guaranteeing the freedom of the church and local autonomy for towns. It came out (in vague terms) against the oppression of any of the king’s subjects. Over time the document was interpreted more broadly by English judges, turning it into a quasi constitution that enshrined certain individual rights. But even in its day, Magna Carta was significant, being the first written limitation on royal authority in Europe.
Clearly the estates of the English lords correspond to the states of the United States of America. Likewise the lords correspond to the senators of the United States Congress. Again, the role of the aristocrats/senators is Red in the sense that it represents a profoundly complex middle, an extremely heroic hierarchical balance between multiplicity and unity. The impetus of the White/Apollonian, on the other hand, is toward multiplication, utter freedom, populism, absolute equality, pure relativism, pure democracy if not anarchy thus terminating in an all too simple sort of unity, e.g. monarchy. Remember Blake’s rule: extremes meet. The impetus of the Red/Dionysian is toward unification; yet wisely in accord with Blake’s rule, the Red/Dionysian directs this impetus short of unity, aiming rather for hierarchy, meritocracy, federalism, republicanism, representative democracy. The Golden/Legal philosophy demands one or another balance be struck between these contrasting idealities. Although generally such balance is natural i.e. Black/Baroque, existential and therefore ineluctable, extreme care must be taken to create and maintain a proper Golden/Legal balance. It is instructive to note that when the mythical hero Theseus introduced federal government to the 12 virtually autonomous communities of Athens, he found the serfs and yeomen (Black) naturally prepared to follow him, and he persuaded the major landowners (Red) by promising to abolish the monarchy (White) and replace it with a democracy pure (White) save for his own role as commander-in-chief and supreme judge (Red).
Early in the development of Medieval Europe the former European lands of the Roman Empire were remarkably land-locked: in the north and west by the powerful Viking traders and pirates and in the south and east by the Islamic powers and by ultra conservative, ultra formal Byzantium. Consequently this Europe was overwhelmingly agrarian and self-sufficient, its industry and commerce rather negligible. But as the European monarchs and nobles inevitably indulged dreams of intra-European unifications/acquisitions and of interaction with the impressive world beyond, they increasingly required of their subjects monetary currency rather than the relatively non-liquid produce of the land. Inasmuch Europe’s feudalism which stemmed from an ethos of regal, White/Apollonian self-sufficiency was giving way to a market economy and likewise to the general, proto-mythological upward mobility of the peasant class. Thus a cultured gentry began to emerge, a new middle class, as it were a new chief exponent of proto-mythology, that is to say under the aegis of the previous middle class, the aristocracy. The contemporaneous aristocracy, I should put in, itself had likewise emerged under the aegis of the previous middle class: the monarchies that had altogether functioned as a proto-mythological, mediating force between the Roman Empire and the aboriginal peasantry. Rome, too, had originally elevated itself insofar as it was a proto-mythological, mediating force, a middle class, as it were. The Medieval emergence of the gentry was exceedingly impressive in England, home to Europe’s most powerful and likewise locally involved aristocracy. Hence we have the now famed English gentleman, a phenomenon/character of truly mythic proportions. … Meanwhile on the battlefields the newly invented crossbow and Welsh longbow both capable of throwing missiles that could penetrate armor rendered the previously indefatigable, aristocratic, warhorse-borne knight all but obsolete. Thus the gentry and the peasantry it represented gained further power relative to aristocracy and royalty.
Similarly, however, the Roman Christian Church was absorbing much of the power lost by the monarchies and aristocracies. Among these Christians, the Knights Hospitaller of St. John (now known as the Knights of Malta) greatly benefited from the internecine suppression/sacrifice in 1307 of the relatively proto-mythological Knights Templar, receiving most of the Templar’s great wealth including especially their myriad properties. The Roman Church in fact came to own about 30 percent of the land in England. With the remaining Templars gravitating to the gentry, the stage was set for a showdown.
And then, via the Kipchak Mongols fighting the Genoese on the coast of Crimea in 1347 CE, the Black Death came knocking. Camille Paglia, in her Sexual Persona, points up some of the consequences:
Boccacio describes the breakdown of law and government, the desertion of child by parent and husband by wife. A wellborn woman who fell ill was nursed by a male servant: ‘Nor did she have any scruples about showing him every part of her body as freely as she would have displayed it to a woman …; and this explains why those women who recovered were possibly less chaste in the period that followed.’ The Black Death weakened social controls. It had a polar effect, pushing some toward debauchery and others, like the flagellants, toward religiosity.
The Athenian plague, I have argued, brought high classicism to an end. The Black Death worked in reverse, giving birth to the Renaissance by destroying the Middle Ages. Philip Ziegler says, “Modern man was forged in the crucible of the Black Death.” Christianity’s failure to protect the good damaged Church authority and opened the way for the Reformation. I think the grossness and squalor of the plague broke the Christian taboo on display of the body … Public ugliness and exhibitionism unmoralized the body and prepared it for its reidealization in painting and sculpture. Boccacio’s plague-framed Decameron, the first work of Renaissance literature, is an epic of cultural disintegration and renewal.
There’s also the fact, emphasized especially by James Burke in his Connections, that the survivors of the Black Death were, on average, far more wealthier than before; this because they inherited the economic capital of the dead and, what’s more, found themselves highly valued within a labor-scarce economy. In terms of labor the peasant was now worth 2 to 3 times what he had been. At last he could afford some of the niceties in life, which at the time included linen garments most notably underwear. Underwear, as you know, soon becomes rags. Burke:
The bone collector, who had previously travelled from village to village collecting bones to be ground up for fertilizer, now included in his round the collection of linen rag, and became the rag-and-bone man familiar throughout the following centuries. Linen rag was, of course, excellent raw material for high-quality, durable paper. …The demand for paper was high because it was comparatively cheap in relation to its competitor on the market, parchment. Between two and three hundred sheepskins or calfskins were needed to produce enough material for a large Bible, and the preparation of the skins was timely and therefore costly.
At last the circumstances were favorable for a machine meant to print literature. Thus in Germany of the 1400s CE emerged yet another element empowering the peasant: the printing press natural conservator and exponent of proto-mythology. The Reformation was in the offing. Likewise we can fairly say that the American experiment was in the offing, for as the European middle class had shifted from monarchy to aristocracy to gentry it was now becoming identified with the population as a whole. This identification was itching be institutionalized and legalized, expressed in the virtually unalterable form of government itself. That expression occurred first in England, but only the Americans were in a position physically and culturally to shake off feudalism altogether and begin the process of making the expression purely: a market economical, middle class world, essentially proto-mythological and philosophically Golden/Legal a world which had been anticipated in terms of Troy and Rome with respect to a lost Golden Age.
The “curiously spontaneous” English Peasant Revolt of 1381 CE presaged Luther and the Americans. This revolt seems to have been spurred by the remnants of the Knights Templar, who had fled France and found refuge in Portugal, England and, especially, in Scotland. Indeed, the inaugural Knights Templar preceptory (outside Palestine, that is) was constructed near Edinburgh, at a place called Temple, on the land of the family St Clair. This aristocratic Norman family, which had arrived in Ireland and Scotland c. 1062 CE, is a member of the aforenoted Rex Deus group of European (and perhaps Sadduceen) families. According to legend, the Templars in 1140 CE removed to Killwinning, Scotland, certain important artifacts excavated from below Jerusalem’s Mosque of Omar (the “Dome of the Rock”) on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which mosque the Templars considered as occupying the site of Solomon’s Temple (destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE), which is also the site of the Second Temple (built when of the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity, c. 536 BCE) as well as the site of Herod’s Temple (a massive expansion of the Second Temple; destroyed by the Romans under Titus in 70 CE). In 1118 CE, in the wake of the 1st Crusade, the Templars founded their order in this mosque, converting the structure into their headquarters. They renamed the building Templum Domini and christened themselves the Order of the Poor Brothers-in-Arms of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. The Knights Templar (or Templars), as they are more simply known, gained great wealth and power during the subsequent 150 years or so, especially inasmuch as they became a major international bank. (A person could deposit currency with the local Templars, receive from them a promissory note in the amount of the deposit, travel perhaps internationally to another such Templar repository, and exchange the note for an equivalent amount of currency.) But back in Europe the popularity of crusading from which vocation the power of the Templars largely derived was waning. By 1296 CE the sultan of Egypt had pushed the Christians out of the Holy Land. The Templars retreated to (Aphrodite’s) Cyprus, where they planned a new crusade. The relatively White/Apollonian King Philip IV of France — being in great monetary debt to the Templars — determined to seize the Templar treasure and eliminate the Templars forever. Philip’s initial machinations in this regard succeeded in placing his man on the throne of Saint Peter as pope Clement V. The new pope then set the trap by indicating to the Templars that he desired another crusade. Taking the bait, the Templar leadership returned to France in 1307 CE to plan the crusade. At dawn on Friday the 13th of October, all the Templars in France were sought for arrest and imprisonment. The Templars who were consequently captured were tortured, and on this pain many “admitted” to heresy. However, a large number of the Knights Templar in France avoided arrest and fled, as I noted, to Portugal, England, and Scotland. Having been horribly betrayed by their Christian brothers and understandably self-transformed into an underground society trusting in “Deity” rather than Church the Templars some 74 years later seem to have decided that the time was right to begin rebuilding their public power. The English “Peasant” Revolt was on.
It seems reasonable to believe that the Templars finally revealed themselves in 1717 CE: as the Freemasons. The Freemasons continue to espouse religious freedom, the separation of church (in contrast to Deity or God) and state, secular education, market economics, and representative democracy all according to the principle of “liberty.” Of the 56 signers of the American Declaration of Independence, at least 8 including Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock were avowed Freemasons. The list of other avowed Freemasons among the American revolutionaries includes George Washington, Paul Revere, Ethan Allen, and John Paul Jones. The general list of Freemasons is more interesting still, including as it does the following: Louis Armstrong, Mustapha Kamal Ataturk, all 4 of Napoleon Bonaparte’s brothers (but not the emperor himself), Omar Bradley, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Edward Gibbon, Winston Churchill, Mark Chagall, Nat King Cole, Conan Doyle, Gustav Eiffel, John Glenn, Goethe, Haydn, Harry Houdini, King Hussein, Rudyard Kipling, Meriwether Lewis, Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, Montesquieu, Mozart, Alexander Pope, Alexander Pushkin, Stamford Raffles (founder of Singapore), Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Schiller, Walter Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Jan Sibellius, James Smithson (founder of the Smithsonian Institute), Jonathan Swift, Harry Truman, George Bush Sr., Mark Twain, Voltaire, Arthur Duke of Wellington, Oscar Wilde …
It was Wilde who said, “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Disease, which we’ve focused on in this chapter, is a sort of suspension between these essentially ideal poles. As such, in and of itself disease — or more generally woundedness, aging, cyclicity — is precisely not tragedy but rather passion, the sad yet exhilerating human condition, the existential, the Black/Baroque, the middle class world. In a sense, then, disease is Hermes the middleman, Ulysses tied to the mast, Odin on the tree. Nietzsche distinguished the human being as “the sick animal.” The Golden/Legal philosophy is ultimately the coming to terms with the general cyclicity which disease especially presents. “The gods,” Carl Jung said famously, “have become diseases.” “In your pathology,” writes contemporary psychologist James Hillman, “is your salvation.” Robert Bly: “Wherever a person’s deepest wound exists, that is where his greatest gift to the community lies.” Theodore Roethke asks rhetorically, “What is madness but nobility of soul/At odds with circumstance?” Perhaps this is why we see so much disease about us still, much of it manufactured by self-destructive habits. The so-called agricultural revolution led not only to the aforenoted plague of acute infectious epidemic diseases but also to severely increasing rates of tooth decay, bone disease, and cancer. Dieticians attribute these increases largely to the switch from the prehistoric, nomadicultural/horticultural diet to an agricultural diet dominated by carbohydrates. I suggest a further, more fundamental phenomenon: Inasmuch as the White/Apollonian and Red/Dionysian are promoted from their true status of ideality to a false status of reality, people gravitate toward disease for disease is real, Black/Baroque. “Schopenhauer has said,” writes Thomas Mann, “that without death on earth there could scarcely be philosophy. Also, there could hardly be any ‘education’ on earth without it. Death and disease … are … great teachers, great leaders toward humanity.” Susan Sontag, from her Illness as Metaphor:
As a character in The Magic Mountain explains: “Symptoms of disease are nothing but a disguised manifestation of the power of love; and all disease is only love transformed.”…
Consumption [in the 1800s CE] was understood as a manner of appearing, and that appearance became a staple of nineteenth-century manners. It became rude to eat heartily. It was glamorous to look sickly. … The TB-influenced idea of the body was a new model for aristocratic looks at a moment when aristocracy stops being a matter of power, and starts being mainly a matter of image. (“One can never be too rich. One can never be too thin,” the Duchess of Windsor once said.) Indeed, the romanticizing of TB is the first widespread example of that distinctively modern activity, promoting the self as image.
… It is with TB that the idea of individual illness was articulated, along with the idea that people are made more conscious as they confront their deaths, and in the images that collected around the disease one can see emerging a modern idea of individuality that has taken in the twentieth century a more aggressive, if no less narcissistic, form. Sickness was a way of making people “interesting” which is how “romantic” was originally defined. … This idea of how interesting the sick are was given its boldest and most ambivalent formulation by Nietzsche in The Will to Power and other writings, and though Nietzsche rarely mentioned a specific illness, those famous judgements about individual weakness and cultural exhaustion or decadence incorporate and extend many of the clichés about TB.
… Perhaps the main gift to sensibility made by the Romantics is not the aesthetics of cruelty and the beauty of the morbid (as Mario Paz suggested in his famous book), or even the demand for unlimited personal liberty [freedom], but the nihilistic and sentimental idea of “the interesting.”
Sadness made one “interesting.” It was a mark of refinement, of sensibility, to be sad. That is, to be powerless.
… The myth of TB constitutes the next-to-last episode in the long career of the ancient idea of melancholy which was the artist’s disease, according to the theory of the four humours. The melancholy character of the tubercular was a superior one: sensitive, creative, a being apart.
… The TB sufferer was a dropout, a wanderer in endless search of the healthy place. Starting in the early nineteenth century, TB became a new reason for exile, for a life that was mainly traveling.
… It is not an accident that the most common metaphor for an extreme psychological experience viewed positively … is a trip.
Travel is a “bug.” Travel is the absence of a teacher, the absence of ideality. Kerouac from his On the Road: “And they knew this when we passed, ostensibly self-important moneybag Americans, on a lark in their land; they knew who was the father and who was the son of antique life on earth, and made no comment.” Travel, we may fairly say, is being with a woman, with the Black/Baroque. Kant: “Woman does not betray her secret.” Nietzsche: “From a woman you can learn nothing of women.” Lawrence Durrell: “There are only three things to be done with a woman: You can love her, suffer for her, or turn her into literature.” White, Red, Black, or Red, White, Black, depending on whether you consider love or suffering the more ideal. Let's say suffering is the more ideal. As travel is different than tourism, so disease, pain, passion are different than suffering. Consider Chrétien de Troyes speaking of courtly love:
From all ills mine differs;
Such “love” is more suffering than pain/passion. Whereas pain or passion are communication, suffering is not. Henry Miller: “Suffering has never taught me a thing; for others it may still be necessary, but for me it is nothing more than an algebraic demonstration of spiritual inadaptability.” Somerset Maugham: “I have never found that suffering improves the character. Its influence to refine and ennoble is myth. The first effect of suffering is to make people narrow … [W]e learn resignation not by our own suffering, but by the suffering of others.”
Black is the color of travel, of the journey, the quest, of communication, of experience itself. Black is the color of disease, pain, passion. Black is ultimately the color of the hero, the middleman Odin/Odysseus/Hermes, the tree, the mast, the lightning rod. Black is the color of the forest and its horticultural garden in contrast to the slave-worked field. Black is the color of the matrix, the Present Mother. This mother, the Black/Baroque, does not explicitly teach but she is understandable and determinable (i.e. her structure is quantum, it can be perfectly symbolized) yet she is precisely not controllable. She is heuristic, providential. She is the nature of the of the middle class world, the world in which every (unique) soul is most extremely related, every soul a commoner, a peasant yet inasmuch at least a potential hero.
Speaking of Odin and his existentially suspended kind, I’ve kept you in suspense about the emerging “giant comet hypothesis” according to which several very large members of a certain group of comets and meteors impacted with the Earth catastrophically c. 3200 BCE. As I emphasized in this extremely important respect above, I gained knowledge of this hypothesis only after I had otherwise completed writing this book. Therefore, let me say again, the fact that this book points precisely yet richly to c. 3200 BCE as being an extremely crucial juncture in human history is a fact that should be considered further evidence supporting this hypothesis. One of the chief advocates of the giant comet hypothesis is Duncan Steel, Professor of Space Technology at the Joule Physics Laboratory, University of Salford, England, and author of Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets: The Search for the Million Megaton Menace That Threatens Life on Earth. Dr. Steel suggests that said group of comets and meteors is the so-called Taurid Complex and that this complex featuring the comets Encke and Oljato is the debris from a single extremely large object (roughly 100 kilometers wide) that first arrived in the immediate vicinity of the Earth somewhat before or during the retreat of the last Ice Age. This initial encounter seems to have occurred c. 18,000 BCE and resulted in a partial break-up of the original object. Apparently the encounter was repeated with similar consequences c. 12,000 BCE and c. 7600 BCE, when Encke and Oljato finally emerged as separate comets. The subsequent repetition seems to have occurred c. 3200 BCE. Presently comet Encke has a trail (not tail) of debris nearly 100 million kilometers long, and Oljato seems to be on an orbit which coincided with the Earth’s orbital plane c. 3200 BCE. Earth’s initial encounter with this otherwise extraterrestrial nemesis may have reversed the planet’s last Ice Age; and the re-encounter that occurred c. 7600 BCE may have directly caused the swift and extremely mysterious “quaternary extinctions” of myriad megafauna worldwide especially in North America at the end of the Pleistocene epoch. (Most of the species lost to this extinction “event” had survived through the previous 1,000,000 years, a duration that included 6 transitions between ice ages and warm ages, the ice ages on average lasting much longer than the warm ages.) This c.-7600-BCE encounter and/or the c.-3200-BCE encounter, insofar as they involved deep-sea impact, might have caused the massive flooding described with remarkable consistency in legends worldwide. Consider in this respect the following from Duncan Steel’s paper “Before the Stones: Stonehenge I as a Cometary Catastrophe Predictor”:
RAS observations have indicated that Comet Encke has a trail (not tail) of debris some tens of millions of kilometres long, presumably produced since its latest period of activity began about 200 years ago. One may further presume that the Taurid meteor showers we observe in this epoch are the result of the dispersal of trails produced in previous activity cycles which must stretch back to about 20,000 years ago. When the comet, accompanied by such a trail, has a node close to 1 AU [astronomical unit, the distance between the Sun and the Earth], one expects intense meteor storms to occur, perhaps accompanied by multiple Tunguska-type events if the disintegrating comet spawns massive lumps of debris. Determination of the epochs of such events from backwards integrations is impossible due to (i) Chaotic orbital evolution; and (ii) Non-gravitational forces; but pairs of intersections (one at the ascending node, the other descending) are to be expected a few centuries apart and separated by 2500–3000 years. It is suggested here that one such pair occurred in 3600–3500 and 3200–3100 BC, provoking the construction of the Great Cursus and Stonehenge I. From Stonehenge I, apparently the first construction at the famous site, as the comet neared the Earth it would have appeared to rise in the evening with a huge bright stripe crossing much of the sky, originating in the north-east. Passage through the trail would then result in celestial fireworks (and maybe worse); afterwards the comet and trail would have passed in the direction of the Sun, partially blocking sunlight for a few days. In order for terrestrial intersection to have occurred in that epoch (late fourth millennium BC) the mean orbital period of the comet over the past 5,000 years would need to have been slightly less than at present, and might then be expected to have produced a 19 year periodicity in meteor storm events (six cometary periods). It is suggested that Stonehenge I was built by the Windmill Hill people to allow the prediction of such events ….
Dr. Lonnie Thompsen and his team from the Ohio State University have shown that the tropics worldwide suffered an extremely severe drought precisely c. 3200 BCE. Separate, dendrochronological analysis has revealed that the Irish oak has extremely thin growth rings at 3195 BCE. Research from Switzerland has demonstrated that from 3202–3187 BCE a highly unusual pause occurred in the construction of Swiss lake settlements; and immediately prior to this pause there was a similarly unusual change in the orientation of villages suggesting a general change in the wind pattern and likewise in the pattern of major ocean currents. Measurements of the Greenland GISP2 ice core reveal extremely high sulfate levels in the ice from 3200–3100 BCE, presumably owing to the deposition of open-water biogenic sulphate upon the permanent sea ice off the Greenland coast. I could go on, but you get the picture.