Monday, January 18, 2021

Return visit to Lindsay Foreman's "Spirit Junkie" podcast: John the Baptist, the Devil, and the Higher Self

Thank you to Lindsay Foreman for inviting me back to her "Spirit Junkie" podcast for a return visit!

Welcome to new visitors arriving here for the first time after hearing about my work in this video or on Lindsay's Spiritual Pathways website (and of course, welcome back to returning friends).

Here is a link to the video from this latest visit, which was recorded on 17 January 2021: "John the Baptist, the Devil, and the Higher Self: Star Myths on the 'Spirit Junkie' podcast."

In my previous visit with Lindsay, she had suggested discussing the Biblical episode involving David and Goliath (in the so-called Old Testament) and the figure of John the Baptist (in the so-called New Testament). You can watch that previous conversation, entitled "Seeing Ourselves in the Stars," at this link.

During that visit, we did discuss David and Goliath but didn't have time to get to John the Baptist, so I promised to return to explore John the Baptist and related subjects. When inviting me back, Lindsay asked if we could discuss three subjects: John the Baptist, celestial aspects of the identity of the Devil as described in the Bible, and the recovery of the Self and healing of the alienation associated with trauma.

As I was preparing for this interview and putting together some visual aids to discuss those three subjects, I realized that the three topics are more related than I had at first perceived. I hope you will find the conversation to be beneficial to you in some way! 

Please feel free to share it with others who would find something positive in it, and also to give Lindsay some positive feedback for her work.

Previous posts dealing with some of the topics we touched on during this conversation include:

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Martin Luther King, Jr. born this day 15 January, 1929: Prophet who saw the "far deeper malady"

January 15 is the day on which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born, in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929.

He would go on to become one of the most powerful voices of all time against racism, oppression, violence, imperialism, and impoverishment.

Dr. King can rightly be described as a prophet in the fullest sense of the word, warning us in no uncertain terms of the consequences of deliberately continuing to violate the will of heaven, and advising us that until we face those violations head on and fix them, things will not get better but instead will get even worse.

Of course Dr. King is rightly remembered as a towering leader of Civil Rights, and that of course is an undeniable fact. But the fact that he very clearly and explicitly connected his struggle for Civil Rights and racial justice to the world-wide struggle against what he described as "old systems of exploitation and oppression" which enable "the privileges and the pleasures" and the "immense profits" which are enjoyed at the expense of constant wars of aggression and counter-revolution around the globe is all but forgotten today, especially by the controlled media which by its ongoing lies and dissimulation continues to support those systems of exploitation and those wars of aggression.

Even as the organs of the media and the government continue to give lip service to the memory of Dr. King each year on this day of his birth, they deliberately ignore his powerful and prophetic message on this crucial subject, a message which was at the very heart of the speech he gave on April 4th, 1967: one year to the day before he was brutally gunned down by criminal participants in an organized plot that included members of the very national security state which was perpetrating those wars of aggression and counter-revolution that Dr. King was opposing so powerfully in his oratory and with his life.

That speech was entitled "Beyond Vietnam," and you can hear the entire recording in the video file above or in the audio file here, and read the entire transcript online here.

Although Dr. King delivered that speech while the United States was embroiled in the hottest years of the Vietnam War, every word he says in his message rings as true today as on the day he spoke them, almost 54 years ago. In fact, every time he says the word "Vietnam" in that speech, the listener of today can imagine the names of other nations in which the United States now has military forces, either openly or clandestinely or towards the destruction of which the United States is sending weapons and fuel and other forms of military support: Afghanistan, and Syria, and Yemen, and Iraq, and the Ukraine, and countless others.

I would recommend that on this day of remembering the powerful life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it would be very fitting to listen to that entire message in "Beyond Vietnam," along with any of the other speeches and sermons of Dr. King which one can today find very easily on the web.

Here are some paragraphs excerpted from that moving address, which will be even more moving if listened to in the recording above, and to which we are called to listen today, because we have yet to address and truly face those violations against the divine order which Dr. King prophetically called to our attention so many decades ago, and until we do, we cannot hope to correct them:

For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a Civil Rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957, when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, the black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O yes, I say it plain:

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath -- 

America will be!

Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read, "Vietnam." It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that "America will be" are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

[. . .]

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. 

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality -- if we ignore this sobering reality -- we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. So such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of US military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. 

It is with such activity that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Increasingly, by choice or by ancient, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin -- we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. 

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West -- investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries -- and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Maya artwork provides powerful evidence of the Ancient World-Wide System

Above is a new video I've just published entitled "
This Maya drinking vessel unlocks the mysteries of an Ancient World-Wide System of myth."

On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, this Maya cup contains a "codex-style" scene featuring the god Chahk (also spelled Chaahk): god of rain, wind, thunder, lightning and storm, as well as of fertility and increase.

Thus far, scholars appear to have missed the fact that this scene is patterned upon the constellations of the heavens -- and indeed that it contains elements common to the mythologies of other cultures around the globe, and associated with gods of wind and thunder and rain, including Zeus of Ancient Greece, Indra of ancient India, Shango (also spelled Shango) of the Yoruba of Western Africa, and Thor of the Norse, among others.

The evidence is so strong in the artwork on this beautiful Maya drinking vessel that it could well be seen as the key which definitively establishes the existence of the ancient world-wide system of metaphor which connects the myths of cultures on every inhabited continent and island of our earth, including the stories and figures collected into what we call the Bible. They all share a common foundation of celestial metaphor and thus are in fact closely related -- much as they have (catastrophically) been used to divide us from one another.

Special thank-you and kudos to viewer Rick B, who left a comment on a previous video linking to a video discussing this Maya cup (here). 

Rick noticed "the bend of the Rain god's knees" and made the connection to other presentations I've given showing mythological figures associated with the constellation Hercules -- and I agree with Rick 100% that the god Chahk can be definitively shown to be associated with the constellation Hercules (as are so many other wind, rain and storm gods around the globe), not only by the bend of the knees but by many other compelling pieces of evidence included in the artwork on this Maya vessel, pieces of evidence that would be glaringly obvious to scholars, if they only understood the constellations and their connection to myths and sacred traditions.

Unfortunately, there is resistance to admitting that the myths of the world are operating upon a shared foundation of celestial metaphor -- because the existence of that world-wide system has profound implications for our understanding of ancient human history. In short, this evidence indicates that our conventional paradigm of ancient history is gravely flawed and in need of radical revision.

Check out this video exploring some of the most compelling evidence found in the Maya codex-style drinking vessel and its artwork, attributed to an artist known to scholars only by the modern designation of "the Metropolitan Master" -- evidence which shows beyond any doubt that the sacred traditions of the Maya are related to the sacred traditions of other cultures around the globe, and which shows beyond doubt that we are in fact all connected in some profound (but now forgotten) way.

And as you do, you might want to thank that unknown artist (the "Metropolitan Master") for creating this amazing artwork, which must rank among the most important in the world, because it so clearly demonstrates the existence of this system in the Americas, just as it can be demonstrated to be operating in the myths of ancient Sumer, and ancient Babylon, and ancient Assyria, and ancient Egypt, and ancient India, and ancient Greece, and the other cultures of Europe whose inherited sacred traditions were stamped out by literalist Christianity, and the mythology of the Norse, and of the cultures of Africa, and of Australia, and of ancient China and Japan, and of shamanic traditions in other parts of Asia, and of the cultures of Polynesia belonging to the islands stretching across the vast Pacific.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Capitol Hill Fiasco 2021

I am continuously surprised that men and women believe whatever the corporate media tells them, even after we see beyond any doubt that they have been lying to us for over 50 years about the murders of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, and about the events of September 11, 2001.

The supposed "storming of the capitol" that took place on January 06, 2021 does not make any sense on its face: there is simply no way a gaggle of "protestors" can burst into the Capitol Building unless they are deliberately allowed to do so. Footage shown during the event has all the appearances of drama: stage-acting (and not very convincing acting, either).

But what about the supposed fatal shooting of one so-called protestor? Let's take a look at the footage and see the very serious questions that footage raises. These questions are not being addressed at all by anyone in the corporate media or the government.

And yet despite these obviously suspicious facts, there is a heavy psychological resistance to admitting the possibility that the media (as well as the men and women occupying government office) are lying to your face. It is much less threatening to believe the media rather than our own eyes. But it causes internal displacement to do so.

Please watch my video, "The Capitol Hill Fiasco 2021," (and here is another location where you can find it) and consider these important questions. Thank you for watching. 

Important Note:

Only a few hours after posting this video, the friendly face of censorship arrived in the form of an email from google / youtube informing me that my video had been taken down for "content containing malicious harassment," along with a cartoon image of a referee blowing a whistle:

They also removed the video, along with the numerous positive comments provided by viewers from around the world, and for a time the blank screen where the video used to be stated that the video had been removed for violation of "harassment and cyberbullying."

As you can see from the content of their email, these overseers of what content may be allowed into the public have included the patronizing consolatory statement that: "We know that this might be disappointing, but it's important to us that YouTube is a safe place for all."

Please note that "disappointing" is not the correct word to describe what is going on here. 

This video provides analysis of an extremely important event which impacts everyone in the united states and indeed has interest for everyone in the world (since the behavior of the united states and its officials impacts men and women in many other nations). For google and the persons they describe as "our team" of reviewers to declare that this analysis "violates our Community Guidelines" and to take it upon themselves to censor it is unconscionable. 

I have since uploaded the video to another platform not controlled by google, and as you can see from the video there is no way to describe this video as harassing or bullying, and in fact the end of the video features a reference to Mahatma Gandhi and his strategy of non-violence.

In response to this censorship, I lodged a protest (youtube condescendingly terms it an "appeal"), which I have reproduced below (only 800 characters allowed):

Prior to being taken down, the video was seen by about 258 viewers, and had received about 43 "likes" and about 16 comments. Thank you to those who liked and commented and shared, prior to the censorship of this content in violation of the inalienable right, articulated in the Bill of Rights as the First Amendment but obviously belonging to all men and women everywhere, regardless of the despicable efforts of petty tyrants to curtail that right, to freedom of speech and the press. 

Note that misguided persons often rush in at this point to argue that "private corporations can do whatever they want: the First Amendment only restricts the federal government in the united states." 

That is untrue and mistaken. Google and youtube can only exist in their present form and business model through the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is a gift of nature (or a gift of the gods, as the ancients would see it), much like the rivers and ports and oceans and soil of the land. The electromagnetic spectrum is not a creation of any man or woman, any more than is the sea or the sunshine or the oil under the earth. It is properly understood to belong to the public domain, belonging to the people of the nation (those allowed to be born into that nation by the gods), and thus companies such as google / you tube are permitted to use that spectrum at the good pleasure of the people (that's why the government, which is supposed to represent the people, in a democracy, allocates spectrum and that is right and proper). 

Thus, google and you tube do not have any undisputed right to "do whatever they want" with the spectrum that is loaned to them by the people or by their representative government. It is very much akin to banks, who are tightly controlled by the government because as anyone who studies the matter will understand, banks are given a special privilege to issue money -- a privilege that is "loaned" to them by the government, because that power belongs only to the representatives of the people. If the banks abuse that privilege or violate their charter, it will be taken away. Google and you tube's charters should have been taken away a long time ago already, along with other abusers of the inalienable rights given to all men and women -- rights which it is the government's first duty to protect and preserve.

Update as of 11 January 2021:

My video has now been removed from Vimeo as well, as of this morning, after being on Vimeo for about two days.

See note received from Vimeo, below, informing me that the video “violates guidelines.”

This situation is becoming more and more disturbing, as there is clearly a centralized message of what may be said in the corporate news about the events of 06 January 2021, and now it is becoming very clear that there is a similar message of what may be said about it on major information sharing platforms.

I have uploaded the video to yet another hosting platform, which you should be able to see in the post above (embedded video plus URL link).

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year 2021: Received Ancient Wisdom vs Spiritual Junk Food!

Happy New Year to everyone! I was intending to publish this post in the morning but spent the day at the beach instead! 

Anyway, here is a short clip from the previously-published video of my conversation with Lindsay Foreman, a conversation you may have already heard in full, but which contains this short analogy (highlighted in the above clip) between: 

a) the replacement of traditional dietary practices with the "western modern diet" and 

b) the destruction of the world's ancient wisdom contained in the myths and sacred traditions given to every culture on our planet and their replacement with what amounts to "spiritual junk food" (because literalism necessarily externalizes the message and inverts key components of the ancient wisdom, thus robbing us of "essential nutrients" vital to our overall well-being, much as the western diet may keep us from being hungry while at the same time lacking certain essential vitamins necessary for our health).

I thought it was appropriate for New Year's because we often start the year with resolutions regarding what we eat, and I would certainly recommend checking out the arguments presented by Dr. Steven Lin (whose work I reference in my introduction of the above analogy) in his 2018 book The Dental Diet: The Surprising Link Between Your Teeth, Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health, in which Dr. Lin provides abundant evidence (following on the work of other doctors and dentists before him) which demonstrate that, in his words: 

traditional cultures [. . .] all seemed to have diets rich in fat-soluble vitamins. [. . .] A little known fat-soluble vitamin that works in conjunction with vitamins D and A, K2 helps the body to place mineral into bones and teeth. It's crucial in the process of jaw growth and is fundamental to mineral balance in organs throughout the body. [. . .] Traditional diets had, over centuries if not millennia, structured their diets around the very foods that had the nutrients I was looking for. 24 - 27.

The modern western diet, however, is typically deficient in those exact fat-soluble vitamins which traditional diets, no matter their latitude or climatic environment, were so careful to include. Those three important fat-soluble vitamins, discussed in detail in Dr. Lin's book, are vitamins A, D, and K2.

I would highly recommend considering the information in The Dental Diet, which provides a number of sources of these essential vitamins, and discusses what they do for us (and why our modern diet is typically lacking in them).

And I would suggest, without implying that Dr. Lin agrees with me or my assertions in any way, that the situation he is describing provides us with a powerful analogy for the loss of the ancient wisdom preserved in each cultures myths and traditional stories. 

Just as he finds that traditional cultures around the world seemed to have found ways to ensure that their diets included those essential fat-soluble vitamins in quantities sufficient to promote good health, while the western diet which replaced those traditional diets was dangerously deficient in the exact same essential fat-soluble vitamins, even so and in much the same way, every culture on our planet appears to have preserved a set of "original instructions" in the form of their ancient myths, scriptures, or sacred traditions (I am indebted to scholar and author Peter Kingsley for the term "original instructions," which I find to be an excellent description; for his use of that term, see his lecture series entitled The Elders, available on his website here, and see also my discussion in a 2015 blog post here).

Catastrophically, those original instructions in the form of the ancient wisdom preserved in the myths and sacred traditions have been deliberately overturned in one culture after another -- probably starting during the time of the Roman Empire and continuing through the march of literalist Christianity throughout the Mediterranean and then into the regions of western Europe and later northern Europe, and from there into other cultures and continents as well, usually accompanied by violence and exploitation.

While using ancient stories and texts, the literalist misinterpretation of these ancient stories robs them of their original meaning -- while at the same time arguing that their interpretation constitutes the only truth and that the sacred traditions of all other cultures are wrong and worthy of being ruthlessly eliminated. 

The tragic irony of that mistake is revealed when we see the overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that the very same ancient system of celestial metaphor forms the foundations for the ancient myths and sacred stories of virtually all the world's cultures, as well as for the stories and characters in the Bible. 

However, just as the modern western diet lacks sufficient sources of the vitally-important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2, the literalist misinterpretation of the ancient stories in the Bible strips out vital components of the intended message, with the end result being a system which, instead of having as a central feature the prevention of trauma, and the repair and resolution of trauma where and when it arises, actually promotes and inflicts trauma upon men and women.

As we look forward to a new year, I highly recommend looking into the role of the important vitamins A, D, and K2, and finding sources of those vitamins which are most amenable to whatever diet you choose to follow. And, on a wider level, I hope that we can work to address the terrible effects of malnourishment, certainly physical malnourishment around the world but also spiritual malnourishment caused by deficiency of the beneficial elements contained in the world's ancient wisdom given to every culture, which have been deliberately suppressed for centuries, but which are still present and waiting for us, in all of the ancient myths and stories (including those preserved in the Bible), if we turn to them and listen to them in the language that they are actually speaking, which is a metaphorical language, an esoteric language, and a celestial language.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Warren Mosler on the Macro & Cheese podcast -- dropping knowledge to combat austerity, unemployment, and privation

Continuing with the gift of podcast ideas, which I started yesterday with a link to a podcast of Steve Keen talking with Michael Hudson on the Debunking Economics podcast, here is another podcast to which you might not yet be listening but which you might consider adding to your lineup: Macro & Cheese, hosted by Steve Grumbine. 

Recently, Steve did two back-to-back episodes featuring Warren Mosler, a successful investment manager whose understanding of how banking works became the paradigm known today as MMT, or "Modern Monetary Theory" (episodes 90 and 91, embedded above and below the text of this post).

Warren Mosler is always worth listening to, but these two interviews are particularly important, because Steve asks Warren to enumerate the contributions MMT has made to our understanding of how the world actually works, and in the process, we get some of the clearest explanations of how "movement of money" actually takes place, and why taxation necessarily creates unemployment. 

Understanding these concepts is critical to preventing the seizure of a nation's natural resources by oligarchs through austerity and privatization, and to preventing the wasting of the gifts and talents given to men and women through the scourge of unemployment and underemployment.

In discussing the first paradigm-shifting contribution of MMT, which Warren Mosler identifies as the "the sequencing idea" (introduced at 0:04:49 in the first of the two interviews, which is episode 90), Warren introduces a terrific metaphor in this interview, one which I personally have not heard him use previously.

By "the sequencing question," he means the question of the "sequence of spending" -- does the government of a nation first tax the people, in order for that government to be able to spend, or does the government spend first in order for the people to be able to have currency, some of which is then taxed? 

This question is critically important, because proponents of austerity regularly declare that the only way that nations can spend is by taxing their citizens first, in order to get whatever funds they want to spend. We can hear a famous example of Margaret Thatcher making that exact declaration in a video I made in September of this year entitled "Money Creation vs Unemployment and Indebtedness," beginning at 6:00 into the video, in which she proclaims:

One of the great debates of our time is about how much of your money should be spent by the state, and how much you should keep to spend on your family. Let us never forget this fundamental truth: the state has no source of money other than the money people earn themselves! If the state wishes to spend more, it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. And it's no good thinking that someone else will pay: that someone else is you. There is no such thing as public money: there is only taxpayers' money.

Clearly, this position constitutes a powerful argument against any increased government spending on anything, and that is exactly how it is always used. I have made another video (entitled "Austerity and Rent-Seeking vs Public Infrastructure and Prosperity") explaining that certain opponents of government spending have an ulterior motive, which is their desire to privatize the public domain in order to give themselves the ability to impose what amounts to private taxation upon their fellow citizens.

However, as Warren Mosler explains and as he and other MMT researchers have shown beyond any doubt, Margaret Thatcher and those who argue that the government must first tax or borrow "your savings" before it can spend have the "sequencing" exactly backwards! 

Warren explains, at 0:06:40 in the interview of episode 90, that -- far from the government needing money from taxes or money from bond purchases in order to spend -- the situation is exactly the opposite:

The money to pay taxes or buy bonds comes from the government or its agents. In other words, the government has to spend first, before the US dollars are there that can be used to pay taxes or to buy bonds.

But where does that money "come from," many will immediately wonder.

It "comes from" changes which are made in balance sheets at banks, which the government authorizes to be made in those account balances based on spending that is authorized by its fiscal authority, which in the United States is a function that is given to Congress to authorize (Congress is given control over fiscal policy in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution). 

Because money actually originates in balance sheet changes, Warren explains that it actually doesn't "come from" anywhere, in the sense of an object that moves from one place to another:

So if the sequence is: first the government spends -- and technically, they're crediting, for the most part, crediting "reserve accounts" at the Fed, which are like checking accounts at the Fed for all the member banks -- so first they spend by putting money in all the member banks' checking accounts at the Fed, called reserve accounts, OK? And, those balances that they put in member banks' accounts can only go to other member banks. They can transfer them between each other, but they can't, like, jump off the balance sheet and run overseas or something -- there is no such thing. It's just an entry on a spreadsheet. They can only debit one account and credit another. There's no independent existence for these balances. OK, so they spend first: some of those balances are used to pay taxes (so that they would then debit your account). And whatever's left over can be used to buy government bonds, so they sell government bonds. When those get paid for, they shift the money from these "checking accounts" at the Fed to government bond accounts where they're just savings accounts -- time deposits. 

OK -- and so the first thing is the sequence: that they spend first and then taxes are paid or bonds are purchased. Well, if that's the case, the whole idea of "where does the money come from" is inapplicable!  It's just the Federal Reserve changing the numbers in somebody's bank account, at the Fed -- another bank's bank account at the Fed. That's where the money comes from. It doesn't come from taxing. It doesn't come from borrowing. It doesn't come from anywhere. 

In order to illustrate that the money doesn't actually "come from" or "go to" anywhere, Warren brings out a very helpful metaphor about so-called "money flows." Continuing from the passage just cited above, which itself follows immediately after the first quoted passage that begins at 0:06:40 in the interview, Warren says (beginning at 0:08:20):

People visualize money as "flowing," so it moves from this account and goes into that account and goes somewhere else. And the analogy I like to give for money is a television screen. So if you look at your television screen today you saw a tennis match between Nadal and Djokovic, and you saw them running around, and you saw the ball going around. But there was nothing moving on your television screen. If you got up really close to your screen [. . .] what you'd see are little dots going on and off. There is nothing moving on that screen. And if you look at money -- at least in the banking system -- what you see is numbers in accounts going up and numbers going down, but you don't see anything moving in-between accounts. All right? It's just accounting -- it's score-keeping. One score goes up and another score goes down, but there's nothing actually moving. 

This is a fantastic analogy, although I think it is even easier to visualize using a video game than a live tennis match, because here (at least in older video games, such as Joust from 1982, which I remember playing quite a lot) you can actually see the pixels which turn from one color to another in order to simulate all the appearance of motion on the screen:

This metaphor is very helpful for understanding the mechanics of balance sheet operations consisting of credits and debits and assets and liabilities which underlie the functioning of a nation's currency, and which become important when you want to understand what is actually going on with fiscal policy and monetary policy. I have earlier tried to explain this concept using the analogy of traffic lights turning from green to red (see my video from October of this year entitled "Money, Credit & Debt: Is Debt-Based Money the Root of All Problems in Society?"). 

It is pretty obvious that in that analogy, a green light or a red light doesn't "jump" or "flow" from one light signal to another: one red light goes off on one panel and the green light comes on, while on the opposite panel a green light goes off, and a red light comes on, without any lights themselves moving anywhere. This action is analogous to the changing of two numbers on one balance sheet, and the corresponding changing of two numbers in another balance sheet.

Another metaphor often used by those who understand MMT is the changing of a score on a scorecard (Warren Mosler actually uses this analogy in the interviews linked), and you can see the score changing on the screen above as well. 

Where do the "points" being added on the scoreboard above "come from"? Obviously, they don't "come from" anywhere! The same holds true of the points in a stadium at a football game, or those on the board above the court at a basketball game. Those points don't "come from" anywhere: they are added by someone who has the authority to change the scoreboard. 

You must have authority within the rules of the game to change the scoreboard, but if you have that authority then it is ridiculous to ask "how many points can be added before we 'run out' of points?" And yet we hear people all the time talking about the possibility of a government "running out" of money. 

This talk of "running out" of money originates either out of ignorance regarding how the system actually works or (as I believe to be the case quite frequently) out of a desire to promote austerity by those who understand very well just how the system works, and who want to impose austerity in order to impoverish the people and in order to seize for themselves the gifts given to a nation by heaven which are intended to benefit all the people of that land (but which are extraordinarily lucrative if someone is able to privatize them, with privatization being a direct consequence of austerity).

That these subjects relate directly to the world's ancient wisdom may not be immediately obvious at first, although during these interviews Warren Mosler makes quite clear that even though the paradigm which has grown out of his observations has come to be known as "MMT" for "Modern Monetary Theory," all money in ancient civilizations followed the same "sequencing" (which he points out using a story from his visit to the ruins of ancient Pompeii).

However, as the previous post discussing Professor Michael Hudson and his work should make evident, the ancient myths and scriptures -- including those included in the Bible, from first to last -- have as one of their central themes the subject of debt and debt-cancelation, as a protection against oligarchy and against the privatization of the gifts bestowed by heaven upon all the men and women of the land. 

And, as Warren Mosler goes on to explain in the interviews cited above, an imbalance between levels of taxation and government spending leads unavoidably to the scourge of unemployment (and its close relative, underemployment), which by its very nature results in the squandering of the gifts and abilities given by the divine realm to men and women, and to a host of concomitant social ills besides.

Indeed, as Michael Hudson's research has shown, the forms of oppression and exploitation and rent-seeking behavior that descended upon western Europe following the dismantling of the world's ancient wisdom during the period of the Roman Empire led directly to the policies which are identified as "neoliberalism" today, which Professor Hudson has said could also be properly labeled "neo-feudalism" (see for instance here and here).

I hope you will take the time to listen to these two important episodes in which Steve Grumbine interviews Warren Mosler, and to think carefully about the implications of the concepts being discussed -- concepts about which, it should be quite clear, we are being kept in ignorance deliberately, by those who (like Margaret Thatcher) want to impose austerity and privation upon the people.

And, if you find that information valuable, consider letting Steve Grumbine know and sending him some encouragement for bringing us these important interviews.

For previous posts referencing the work of Warren Mosler, please see for instance: 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Amnesty and debt jubilee in the world's ancient wisdom

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Professor Michael Hudson, whose indispensable perspective has been the subject of many previous blog posts, finds abundant evidence to support the conclusion that a central message of the ancient scriptures of the Bible involves debt and the principle of debt-forgiveness -- and that this emphasis echoes the same focus in the ancient wisdom given to other cultures of the world, including those of ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and indeed cultures on other continents including the Americas.

In his vitally important 2018 book entitled . . . and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year, Professor Hudson points to the text of Isaiah 61 which contains the Hebrew word deror, used in Leviticus and other ancient texts to signify the cancellation (forgiveness) of debts during the Jubilee Year (Hudson, 9), and a cognate word directly related to the earlier Mesopotamian concept of andurarum, which also meant a debt amnesty which was typically granted by Babylonian rulers at the beginning of their reign (Hudson, xv).

Of the passage in Isaiah, Professor Hudson writes (on page 10; all inserted glosses in brackets and parentheses as found in the original of Professor Hudson's text):

Isaiah 61: 1 - 2 provides the bridge to the New Testament. Written by the prophet known as Third Isaiah c. 400 BC soon after the codification of the Priestly Laws of Leviticus in the wake of Nehemiah and Ezra, this remarkable passage reads:

The spirit of the Sovereign Lord [Yahweh] is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to preach good news [gospel] to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty (deror) for the captives and release for the prisoners, to proclaim the Year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God . . . 

Many of these phrases have become so familiar that they appear hackneyed today, but they were quite specific in their original setting. The word "gospel" means literally "good news." But apart from Isaiah 61 and its quotation by Jesus in his inaugural sermon (in Luke 4: 18f. and Matthew 11: 6 // Luke 7: 23), the full phrase "good news to the poor" appears nowhere else in the Synoptic gospels. It refers to the deror tradition, the amnesty freeing citizens from bondage and restoring their means of self-support on the land in "the Year of the Lord's favor," the Jubilee Year. The Year's yobel trumpet is to be blown on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement signaling a restoration of worldly order, righteousness and equity. The yobel trumpet, a ram's horn blown on the tenth day of the seventh month, gave its name to the Jubilee. 

Professor Hudson demonstrates that the ancient principle of debt cancelation goes back at least as far as Sumer in the third millennium BC (see Hudson xv) and that it was understood as preserving the order of society, rather than as disrupting it:

These public needs took priority over the acquisitive ambitions of creditors. Cancelling debts did not disrupt economic activity, nor did it violate the idea of economic order. By saving debtors from falling into servitude to a financial oligarchy, such amnesties preserved the liberty of citizens and their subsistence land rights. These acts were a precondition for maintaining economic stability. Indeed, proclaiming amnesty to restore the body politic -- like periodically returning exiles from cities of refuge -- was common to Native American as well as Biblical practice. The logic was universal. xvi.

Professor Hudson's book shows that Old Testament kings were judged as being either righteous or unrighteous depending upon whether they followed the practice of preventing oligarchy by proclaiming such amnesties (which is righteous) or failed to do so and thus failed to stop oligarchs from devouring the blessings bestowed upon the land for all the people (which is unrighteous). 

He also shows that this tension, between creditors wishing to capture the land of others for themselves and the "royal power capable of enforcing debt amnesties and reversing land foreclosures on homes and subsistence land," played out in other cultures as well, notably those of ancient Greece and Rome, where creditors eventually won out, with the result being that "a rising proportion of Greeks and Romans lost their liberty irreversibly" (xii, xiv).

Thus, when the gospel accounts tell us that the first public sermon of Jesus upon returning to Nazareth has him unrolling the scroll of Isaiah and finding the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4: 18 - 19)," this was a radical rebuke of those who had abandoned the ancient principle of debt cancelation, an ancient principle stretching back to Isaiah and to Leviticus in the Old Testament scriptures, and stretching back to the very earliest texts of ancient Sumer that we have available to us today -- and an ancient principle preserved in the original instructions given to other cultures around the world. 

However, as Professor Hudson wryly points out, those who take the scriptures of the Bible literally on all sorts of points where they should not be taken literally somehow refuse to perceive this very clear and central theme of the Biblical scriptures regarding the cancelation of debts. He writes:

Fundamentalist Christians show their faith that God created the earth in six days (on Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC according to Archbishop James Ussher in 1650) by building museums with dioramas showing humans cavorting alongside dinosaurs. While deeming this literal reading of Genesis to be historical, they ignore the Biblical narrative describing the centuries-long struggle between debtors and creditors. The economic laws of Moses and the Prophets, which Jesus announced his intention to revive and fulfill, are brushed aside as anachronistic artifacts, not the moral center of the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish and Christian Bibles. The Jubilee Year (Leviticus 25) is the "good news" that Jesus -- in his first reported sermon (Luke 4) -- announced that he had come to proclaim. xv.

He notes that the very words "redemption" and "redeemer" have to do with the forgiveness of debts, but that "In today's world the Christian idea of redemption has been turned into an analog for amnesty and salvation to heal suffering in general -- almost everything except indebtedness" (16).

Professor Hudson also points out the very important distinction that the debts being described in the ancient texts and traditions are personal debts, owed to private creditors, rather than business debts which were often owed to the palace and which would be forgiven by the king in the event of a war or a drought or a plague (or "pandemic," as we would call it today). And, in an important recent interview with fellow-economist Steve Keen, on Steve Keen's Debunking Economics podcast (embedded below), Michael Hudson and Steve Keen discuss with Steve Dobbie the need for a revival of this ancient concept of a debt jubilee, particularly when governments choose to impose lockdowns in response to a perceived pandemic, as has happened in 2020 and as continues to happen as we go into 2021. A textual transcript of that interview is also available here.

Michael Hudson and Steve Keen perceive that unless we regain the concepts of amnesty and debt jubilee, which are central to the ancient wisdom preserved in cultures literally around the globe, we will continue to inflict absolutely unnecessary misery, unemployment, impoverishment, anxiety, and trauma upon millions or even billions of men, women and children, and our economies and societies will continue to court grave danger and even potential self-destruction.

That concepts we would categorize as "economics" can be found at the very heart of the world's ancient wisdom is a subject about which I have written in many previous blog posts, and about which I have spoken in many previous videos as well. The ancient myths very clearly and directly declare that the bountiful resources of the earth -- the fertile soil and the growing crops, the rolling rivers and the spacious harbors, the broad seas teeming with fishes and the dark forests filled with all manner of trees, the sunshine and the rain so necessary to life, and even the mysterious mineral wealth concealed beneath the surface of the land -- are gifts of the gods (or, if you prefer, gifts of the divine realm), given for the benefit of the men and women that heaven allows to be born into that land. 

And, one step further, the ancient myths and scriptures also demonstrate quite emphatically that the gifts and talents and capabilities given to men and women themselves have their source and origin in the heavenly realm, and that men and women would be wise to remember the source of those talents, and never in their pride place their skill above the source from whence those gifts derive.

For previous posts exploring this subject, or mentioning the work of Professor Hudson, see for example: