Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Magic /
Brutus, Cassius and the conspirators butchered Caius Julius, their Caesar, in the Forum. A day later Rome was ruled by a triumvirate. Another day later the empire had Caesar Augustus. The following generations would have Nero, Caligula …
thanx NYT movies
These Romans were very proud of having no king. Rome was not administered from a throne. The Romans had had more than their fill of kings many generations before.
The Romans were modern, sophisticated. They’d come a long way from their superstitious ancestors. Their empire was administered not from a throne, but … note carefully … from an executive seat. See? Throne is spelled with a “t-h …”; Executive seat … I don’t know how either is spelled, or pronounced, in Latin. It doesn’t matter. Do you see what I mean? They had an emperor! No damn king.
A difference of no difference to me; a difference of huge difference to them: they wanted a hiararchy, an authority, a decision maker at the top. Julius was the first: called “Caesar”. Augustus ruled the longest.
Sophisticated, Not Superstitious
Once, a fisherman caught a prize fish within sight of Augustus’ island retreat. He labored up the steep cliff, lacerating himself on the rock, to present his prize to his emperor. The emperor’s guards threw the fisherman back down the rocks to his death. There had been no imperial summons for that fish: how dare he?
United States President William Clinton had fat Jewish girls kneeling under his desk, sucking on his dick. Augustus had little boys swimming between his legs as he stood in the pool. The boys were instructed to nibble on his balls. With diligence on their part, maybe the emperor could get it up enough to shove it up the ass of one of them.
He could have had a cornucopia of Gibraltar-bosomed whores: slave girls, virgins … No, he wanted little boys.
(Clinton’s interns may not all have been fat or Jewish, but she’s the one who got her picture in the paper. We also don’t know how plural the interns under the desk were: neither do we know how plural they weren’t.)
(Don’t you feel sorry for the poor over-privileged? The Marquis de Sade couldn’t get it up without somebody bleeding. His victims were paid volunteers. (The doctors drew their blood without their consent and without paying them. De Sade was a treasure of humanity compared to their usual experience.)
(What’s with the blood? Some upstairs maid agrees to suck on his dick while she’s clapped in irons in the dungeon. What gives? Well, she and three others sucked on his dick all last night. Seven others sucked on his dick all the night before. He hasn’t gone a day without several fucks and a few blow jobs since he was twelve. Do you think you could get it up without a little new fantasy?)
Julius — genius bastard — was getting rapidly stupid by the time he got butchered. What a fool not to stand up when the senators entered. He’d always stood before. He could give them the finger, but he had to stand up. Julius actually committed suicide. Fuck this. Fifty years is long enough to go undefeated. End of story.
Augustus worked eighteen hours a day for longer than his adopted father had been pope, general, and dictator put together. The Caesars became very short-lived after that. Nero, Caligula … like leaves falling. Julius, with the help of his adoring armies, had killed plenty of other generals, including Roman. After Augustus, the soldiers started killing the emperors. I can imagine Caligula breathing a sigh of relief when they butchered him: What took you so long? Poor little half-wit Claudius went and hid behind the curtains. He knew they’d be after him, put that cursed laurel on his head.
There was no escape. The soldiers dragged Claudius out of hiding and Rome had another emperor.
Why indeed. I asked that question of myself long and hard. I never bothered to ask a teacher. In my experience, the teachers who might have been able to answer had all been fed hemlock or crucified. The “teachers” I had actual exposure to tended not even to know the subject they assigned lessons in. Finally I got an answer. Of sorts. One of Michael Grant’s books on the Caesars says that the army needed an executive to “sign the checks.”
The exploiting class needs a military, not to protect the people; to protect itself! and an executive, to clear road blocks, so the exploiting class is not hindered in its exploitation.
Absolute Leader Teen
2016 11 21 I’m watching a BBC presentation of the Romanov family: Russian tsars. Russian rulers of church and state wanted a check signer, an executive of single power. They argued and argued, finally decided on a Romanov: sixteen year old Mikhail. The senators give the kid the crown, the kid bursts into tears: his mom said leave my son alone. But of course they wouldn’t, didn’t. The electoral crowd told her it wasn’t up to them, it wasn’t up to him, the kid, or her, the mother: it was what God wanted! Ho-oie!
2002 10 27 One reason Darwin was so opposed by the authority-oriented is that his evolution made no mention of a hierarchical executive in the design. It had been a lot easier to convince people about “God” when the kleptocratic model of a six thousand year old universe was not obviously preposterous. As soon as folks start seeing human history in years running to five or seven figures, the default assumptions of The Executive falter and fumble. Man needed no executive on the African savanna. Man needed no executive to raft to Australia, to cross the Bering Straight. It’s Imperial Rome that needed an executive. When you see Americans tripping over themselves to step around a clearly fudged “democratic” election to appoint an executive, what we’re really the direct descendant of becomes clear.
The army really ran things, but they needed one figurehead to authorize the pay. The olive oil merchants got gold for their olive oil. The soldiers are pure parasites. They produce no food, no value: only kleptocracy. Some parasites inject their host with a narcotic — make them hold still, dream nice dreams, while the parasite sucks. The military gives the illusion of authority to their figurehead. The figurehead can arbitrarily confiscate an aristocrat’s land, steal his wife, rape his daughter, murder, rape, or mutilate his servants (so long as that aristocrat is not big in the army) … What that figurehead cannot do is actually govern: like reforming anything. Nero and Caligula went mad because they were so powerless. Their abuse of what pathetic power they did have was a form of sarcasm, irony, humor. See how powerful I am? All I can do is butcher slaves.
Sometimes the parasites forget to give you’re the narcotic, the states illusions may become tattered. But they never forget to suck the blood.
Now: I’ve freely developed Grant’s point beyond the point he made. (Historians are such cowards.) Twenty-five or so years after thinking the above, I was still not satisfied: until I began this (History/ )Magic sub-directory:
Sure the army is a powerful parasite. Sure the army can promote and assassinate. Sure, all the powers, all the parasites, like one central yes man. Even the olive oil sellers, hardly parasites (at least to begin with), want a yes man: or they couldn’t sell their olive oil by monopoly to Africa as well as Sicily. The people, both rabble and senators, want a powerful man: makes them feel powerful by association. The people will always prefer to lose fifty cents on the dollar so that one of them can win the lottery: and live like a senator or olive oil merchant without the fear of having their ancestral estates confiscated. But what the people: the rabble, the soldiers, the olive oil pressers … all want: is someone to make the sun rise. To make the rain rain.
Oh, please: we’re talking about the Romans. They’d put those superstitions behind them. They didn’t even really believe in their Jupiter.
No. I’m sorry. Not one in one hundred thousand ever really puts his superstitions behind him. Maybe … some seem to … on Monday; but not on Sunday, not when their grandmother has just died; not on Halloween.
My perception can’t be taught in school. It can’t be printed in the paper. No publisher who loves his profit would touch it. On the other hand, it’s obvious to anyone with any gift for and a little background in anthropology. If you live in a democracy, you have to pretend that the people are intelligent. If you live under a Church, you have to pretend that the priests are pious. If you live under a king, you have to pretend that the king is god-like. But I don’t live under any of those things. I get no resources from any of them. (Uh oh: in another six days the US is supposed to start giving me a little Social Security: but I don’t trust them not to find some excuse not to.)
Anyway: that Sir James Frazer-derived perception has sustained me this decade. I try to share it with you. But discovering Jared Diamond gives me a new perception. They’re not in conflict: both could be true. (I doubt that either is false, but concede the possibility.)
People put up with kings and armies and emperors not only because we haven’t really stopped believing that magic will give us an advantage: we put up with Caligulas, Claudiuses, and Clintons because (we believe)
Empire protects the shoal of us.
Scientists are learning that even chimpanzees and gorillas will band together and gang up on an isolated individual. Humans didn’t invent genocide. The possibility, the inevitability, is deep in our brain stem. You wanna survive? don’t look for the truth of anything: blend with the majority.
(I don’t want to survive: not if superstition, kleptocracy, and more kleptocracy is the price.)
Fish school together. The predator comes slashing through. Individual after individual gets chopped, flutters down helpless. Great numbers of individuals are engulfed in the predator’s maw. But the school lives on. Some core survives. (Till today when the trawler scoops up Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear and all their cousins.)
The fish do it; but are the fish “right”? I’d like to see a computer model comparing the results between one thousand democrat sperring invaded by three great striped bass and one thousand anarchist sperring invaded by three great striped bass. Is the security the individual sperring feels in the group real or imaginary?
In traditional combat, the mass of bodies win. The nomads were bigger, stronger, and healthier (not to mention more free) than the farmers, but the farmers won anyway: because there were so many of them. But with weapons of mass destruction, the opposite should hold.
Besides, the individual can never know what the safest course is. You take your position and you take the results. There’s the story of the guy on the sinking ship who preferred going back to the bar for another drink to fighting for a life preserver and a place in the life boats. The boiler exploded. The life boats were all sucked under with the ship. Only the drunk was thrown free into water he survived. Is having another drink normally a better survival strategy than putting on a life vest when faced with drowning? No. My only point is that no strategy is guaranteed. The Super Bowl may get fixed, but life, in the long run, cannot be.
(I used to jot down notes for short stories hoping that someday I’d write them. Some did get written. But my story King (very much on this subject) is the last I expect ever to write. Yesterday I got an idea for another. I hadn’t even thought of noting it down, but before the thought slipped away, (permanently?) back into the random (the source of all things), it occurs to me that it fits here:
Protecting the President: Hi-tech revolutionaries develop a ray to transport persons in space and time. They won’t assassinate the President; they’ll just send him off to Pluto. No blood. No body. No Habeas Corpus. Nobody sure what happened. Some beginning to doubt that anything happened. Maybe he want to Camelot. Maybe he’s waiting with Jesus till we really need him. … Translation device is just a little pipe. Hides in the sleeve. President is coming down the hall. Translator lets pipe slip down into his hand. Hand has to turn no more than forty-some degrees to … Secret Service Agent Starling (excuse me Tom Harris) sees metal, sees movement, launches self between moving metal and President …
The President stands in the confused crowd. Starling leapt … now no one knows where she is.
She’s on Sirius Beta where she becomes president: and protects herself and the Sirians very well.
(The “real” point of the story as it flashed on me was just the misleading title. The reader doesn’t learn who the “president” being protected really is until the end. Like deSica’s Bicycle Thief.))
The group believes in the protection of the throng. I have ceased to believe in it. The group will tolerate abuses (seemingly) infinitely: just to be in the throng, the shoal. The standards of reasoning that apply in science or philosophy do not apply in the throng. The throng is willing to be lied to, preyed on, abused … The throng is anxious to be lied to, preyed upon, abused … (Haven’t throngs always been? Where would the throng get the imagination to imagine alternate possibilities?) Just don’t exclude me from the throng: where I’d be exposed to real primate nature.
Governments threaten with annihilation. They actually have no intention of annihilating anything: strike fear, then rule. Ten percent is all you ever really have to kill: then the ninety percent will behave like lambs. (The governments’ intentions and the governments’ actual results bear no necessary connection. The governments could easily destroy us all without “meaning” to. I believe that they will destroy us all: without meaning to.)
There is only one rule: the guys who make the rules reserve the right to change the rules without notice. Gary North
(This modern truth is also independent of the historical truth that some cultures did intend, and occasionally did accomplish, annihilation. Take Genghis Khan, for example. The nomads recognized the danger of the farmers. Organize. Annihilate. Leave the world safe for nomadism. The nomads didn’t want to tax the farmers, rule the farmers, sell their own produce to the helpless farmers; no: the nomads wanted genuinely to destroy all farmers. (I wish they had.) Unfortunately, a string of Khans decided to live in farmers’ palaces rather than return to Mongolia and their herds. Genghis started out burning and salting the land: ruining it “permanently” for farming. Then his grandson winds up as an image of luxury in a poem by Coleridge. This is the way the world ends: not with a bang; but in a palace.)
(Governments, like their populations, are also never very good at carrying out any long term plans. The colonists swore to exterminate the natives. They didn’t. Not because they were Christians; Christians wouldn’t have warred on them in the first place. No the colonists got enough of what they wanted, and went to their real business of farming, shop-keeping, and breeding. It was easier to ignore a few surviving natives that to actually eradicate them. Ditto with the slaves. First, enslave. (Or buy slaves.) Then, make them build your infrastructure. Once you have your mind changed for you by a Presidential edict (backed by a remorseless war machine) … OK, you let your slaves go. And that’s all you do. You don’t say sorry, ‘suage their suffering, send them home … You do nothing. Get back to farming, shop keeping, breeding … (and still fucking the n- girls).
Fish school. Humans shoal: especially human farmers who’ve picked up armies along the way to protect their gross over-population. It’s all we know. It’s all the histories tell us about. History began six thousand years ago. At the same time that God began. At the same time government became something more than some guy counting the sheaves of wheat the other guys bound. History is not the study of what happened. Nor is it the study of man; it’s the study of man under government. That story includes one story I love: learned recently not just by me, but by science.
The disease of civilization manifested not just in the Tigris Euphrates, but in a number of places: independently. Oh, lots of stuff got copied, got borrowed, stolen … but there really is some independence of invention as well. Just occasionally. So it was with agriculture.
The peoples of the Americas found a teosint corn that mutated enough to be cultured. The next thing you know, the Americas have the Olmecs, the Mayans, the Aztec … (You want to know a little bit about some of it? Read Aztec by Gary Jennings: a favorite novelist of mine not just because he’s good, but because he writes about the losers, not just the winners: hints how things might have been if only the worst elements didn’t always have the best weapons.)
(Orson Scott Card’s novel about Columbus and the new world also has some good details.)
The corn kings were magic just like their Eurasian counterparts. The king’s blood was sacred, especially the blood from his divine privates. Above I recount Claudius hiding in the curtains. My king in my story of that name (linked below) flees his coronation the way we’d flee a werewolf. The poor corn kings had to sit still while they stuck porcupine spines in their dick. The priests would catch the sacred blood the way the IRS catches dollars: don’t spill a drop. The magic won’t work without it.
Archeologists and so forth naturally explore the ruins of the civilizations of those corn kings. (That’s how they get a few of those dollars.) Something startling has been learned. In one of the cultures, there’s evidence that the kings were there, bleeding into the priests’ cups. The priests were there, in force. The people were there: worked to death, sacrificed on altars, their hearts cut out for the god … And then there’s evidence that it all stopped. Suddenly. The people are still there: subsisting in the jungle. Just no civilization. No kings. No priests. No blood-lettings. No army. No tyranny of literacy. No executive.
The people still form a group. Of sorts. But the mad shoal behavior is gone. Maybe they still find some isolated schmuck and torment him till he dies and rots. But where are the ceremonies? The bullshit about the Sun?
The PBS narrator imagines the people telling the kings (and priests), “Go away. You don’t work here any more.”
Oh, please let it be true. Please. Let us learn from these saints of good sense.
Go, thou, and do likewise.
2013 07 02 I’m not sure what I was hoping for when I searched for an image to suggested Romans as sophisticated, no longer superstitious, but I just love having mounted a witch on a broom stick. Not only is she female, always nice, but she fits hand in glove with related points made wonderfully by Michael Pollan in his The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. There I learn that “witches” were herbalists, typically female, typically “old,” experienced, not limited in their search for hallucinogens to alcohol … and specifically used a stick to smear their concoctions on their genitals: canabis, mushrooms, whatever … applied to the pussy! Hence: the broom stick!!! Dig it: once upon a time there was Christianity: wine-based: and all else, anything not alcoholic, was therefore ungodly, damned! That’s why pot devotees have such a high hill to climb. Lucky, stupid, me, I had only booze to contend with.
2014 04 06 The other evening I steamed the movie Valkyrie, Tom Cruise as Nazi Oberst Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, famous for missing his attempt on Hitler’s life. The movie was crammed with detail, I bet it was historically accurate as movies go: plans to take over Berlin so that the coup would smoothly substitute one government for another: Hitler dead and gone some other damn king in his place: the kleptocrat is dead: long live the kleptocrat. I don’t want a new Hitler under a different name. I don’t want to be rid of Nixon so we can have Reagan, Bush, Obama instead. Don’t pay taxes to Hitler, don’t pay taxes to anybody.
You don’t want God’s laws? Fine: embrace nature’s laws: if only we knew what they are.
Meantime we can guess (if we were smart we could try to prefer smart guesses). Meantime, try this one: once upon a time the civilizers used vertical authority to rule trade. They built roads. They won the skirmishes with any trying to stop the road building. Fine. That’s the past, that’s what got us here, into all this shit. Now: reverse: for the time being. Kill the road builders. Let Babel divide us. Divided is where we belonged. Divided might have been survivable.