I came across a news article the other day (early January, 2016) announcing the partial demolition of an old stone house in Pennsylvania. The place was called Silver Spring and the building which had evidently been recently used as a truck dealership, turned out to be the very tavern which used to be called The James Bell Tavern. This tavern is the reputed meeting place of some of America's founding fathers, the place where they gave final shape to the Constitution by way of a Bill of Rights, which was a set of amendments insisted upon by some fellows at the meeting. That meeting took place on July 3, 1788.
A backhoe had taken down about a third of the building when work was stopped pending an investigation as to why the site had not been registered as a heritage site. The development firm had a permit but stopped work on its own volition to allow the locals to sort out how they would like to proceed. Nearby are some farmers fields and a trailer park, not unlike where I currently live. The noble pursuit of real estate temporarily halted in a place sacred to some and unknown to many.
I didn't see or hear any news relating to this occurrence on any major news channels or by word of mouth. The news of the week was dominated rather by the deaths of musicians David Bowie and Glen Frey. As I pondered the men who sat with their tankards of ale 228 years ago finessing the blueprint for the republic to be known as America; I started to hum the 1974 Eagles hit song, Already Gone. This may seem pessimistic to many a patriotic soul but I beg to differ.
There once was a house in London called the Apple Tree Tavern and there men from four separate masonic lodges convened and united to become the Grand Mother Lodge of English Freemasonry on June 24,1717. Further organization of this lodge was conducted at the Goose And Gridiron Tavern, also in London. These meetings were of much importance and the business conducted there and then has affected all who live today in my opinion. The attendees, each according to their own lights and knowledge were carrying a very ancient torch that appeared to each individual as what that individual desired to see.
Six hundred years earlier in a place called Gisors, France there was a battle at the end of which a massive elm tree was ceremoniously cut down. This action signified a parting of ways of the two combatants under the conditions of an uneasy truce. One side went to England and the other to France. There were many meetings, ceremonies, organizations and re-organizations. Both sides infiltrated each other and were also infiltrated and influenced by yet other agents with other agendas or other beliefs on how best to accomplish things they all agreed upon.
Thus the men in the Goose And Gridiron were not alone in making practical plans for guiding the world in the directions they believed it needed to go. One major difference was between those that wanted to make rapid violent changes and those who preferred a slower, gentler pace of change. None of these men were the top cats. Rather they were the brains and brawn of politics, philosophy, science, mathematics and the human intellect in general. Most dedicated their lives to their work and did not seek the limelight. None, in my estimation had a full understanding of whom or what they served when engaged in their work.
Masonic lodges had been established in America long before the fellows met at the James Bell Tavern. Most of the founding fathers were members of one or another of these organizations. Some of these men suspected infiltration of their lodges by other organized occult forces (secret societies) and issued warnings to others just at the time the Constitution was being conceived and drafted. When I consider the amendment prohibiting alcohol, attached to the Bill of Rights but not ratified for over 100 years and then repealed a short time later; I understand the concern.
Its a footprint of sorts and I believe that some of the brilliant minds and fearless spirits who strove to make the finest political system ever crafted by man were also taken aback when they pondered what nature of beast made those particular kind of prints. Prohibition in the USA created a new huge underground economy which went on to fund many nefarious projects. If you were a big-shot in this business about the only way you could see any jail time would be the unforgivable sin of tax evasion. This is a very old scam indeed and still blithely practiced down to our own day with different substances.
I remember coming to a house on my postal route in Vancouver one morning to find the door crashed in and the place swarming with cops. There was a notice pasted on the new plywood door forbidding entry until a future date. Presently, the young couple who lived there drove up and we spoke. They told me they had been running a grow op for marijuana out of the house for several years. At three am the door had been breached and they had been busted. As I listened, I expected to hear some reference to being clapped in irons and was shocked to hear that rather, they had been politely told to dress and go to a Starbucks for a few hours while the product was removed. I expressed my condolences to them for their ill luck and said something to the effect of looking forward to the day when it was no longer illegal. The young man surprised me again when he expressed an opposite wish. He said the fine was just a cost of doing an extremely lucrative business and he hoped with all his heart that it was never legalized.
From getting taken off the gold standard, fighting fruitless wars, losing their manufacturing base, being flooded with narcotics, illegal aliens, having the Patriot Act imposed, enduring the terror of 9/11 just to mention a very tiny list of woes, there are many Americans who would see their current state of affairs mirrored in the partially collapsed James Bell Tavern. Their Constitution is already rendered moot and ghostly voices of the original inhabitants whose home they have occupied these past two and a half centuries still whisper on the wind.
They tell of treaties broken. They warn that those who broke treaties with them then will of course break treaties with others now. The elected fly around the globe like paper wasps making larger international treaties which bind whole countries to rules which the citizens are never properly consulted about. These treaties will likely decorate future battlefields. You cannot lose what you do not own. The concept that a piece of paper with scratch marks on it constitutes ownership is an illusion. This is the basis of real estate and by extension politics. This is the gulf between the primitive and the civilized.
The primitive have been forced to sit and watch the civilized destroy what they revered. Those who for two hundred plus years were busy living the dream will awaken to find that they were living in a paradigm not of their own design and not for their own considered benefit except where that happened to coincide with the overall plans of other people who care not a fig for them or their aboriginal neighbors. These dramas are on such a scale as to be practically indiscernible except in hindsight. Serendipity can and does render whole generations into the lap of seeming luxury or peaceful oblivion.
When Beethoven was about ten years old and forced by his alcoholic father to play music in the middle of the night for the entertainment of drinking buddies he had brought home from the beer hall; a company in England created a brand of breath mints called Altoids, "The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Mints.” This company was later bought by Messrs. Callard and Bowser of Maryhill, Glasgow. This is the location of the barracks where Rudolpf Hess was first held as a POW after his May 10, 1941 flight to Scotland to see the Duke of Hamilton and discuss peace arrangements with Britain unbeknownst to Hitler at the time. Long before that there was a Roman Fort nearby.
“While the Scottish Enlightenment is traditionally considered to have concluded toward the end of the 18th century, disproportionately large Scottish contributions to British science and letters continued for another 50 years or more, thanks to such figures as Thomas Carlyle, James Watt, William Murdoch, James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin and Sir Walter Scott. The influence of the movement spread beyond Scotland across the British Empire, and onto the Continent. The political ideas had an important impact on the founding fathers of the US, which broke away from the empire in 1775. The philosophy of Common Sense Realism was especially influential in 19th century American thought and religion."
-Sydney E. Ahlstrom, "The Scottish Philosophy and American Theology," Church History, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Sep., 1955), pp. 257–272”
From Wiki I see that "historian Jonathan Israel argues that by 1750 Scotland's major cities had created an intellectual infrastructure of mutually supporting institutions, such as universities, reading societies, libraries, periodicals, museums and masonic lodges. The Scottish network was "predominantly liberal Calvinist, Newtonian, and 'design' oriented in character which played a major role in the further development of the transatlantic Enlightenment".
- Israel, Jonathan (2011). Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights 1750-1790. Oxford UP. p. 233”
When we look at today's headlines we see the likes of Donald Trump running for President of the USA, a man whose Oct. 2015 net worth was somewhere in the vicinity of US $4.5 billion. His name is a household word and many in the world hope he wins and many more hope he does not. All seem to feel very strongly about their opinion of him day to day. It has been discussed in the British Parliament whether or not to ban him from entry to the Realm.
You may have wondered why I mentioned Altoids earlier in the essay and I can tell you that they are my favorite candy. I have recently finished the last tin available in my little town and it may be months before I see another. Besides being excellent mints with a useful package, I often muse at the men in meetings through history since the late 18th century who may have also enjoyed them. They have stood the test of time so far. Perhaps Beethoven used them or Andrew Carnegie or Ben Franklin. They also serve another purpose, that of perspective.
From Wikipedia we learn about the current owner of the Altoid brand:
“Mars, Inc. is an American global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products with US$33 billion in annual sales in 2013, and is ranked as the 6th largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes. Headquartered in McLean, unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, US, the company is entirely owned by the Mars family. Mars operates in six business segments around the World: Chocolate (Hackettstown, New Jersey), Petcare (Brussels, Belgium), Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Chicago, Illinois), Food (Rancho Dominguez, California), Drinks (West Chester, Pennsylvania), and Symbioscience (Germantown, Maryland), the company's life sciences division. Throughout 2012, Mars contributed $376,650 to a $46 million political campaign known as "The Coalition Against The Costly Food Labeling Proposition, sponsored by Farmers and Food Producers" This organization was set up to oppose a "Proposition 37," demanding mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. In 2014, Mars opened a new $270 million chocolate plant in Topeka, Kansas, the first new plant in the USA in 35 years.”
Let's look at two of the several Mars heirs, Forrest E. and John F.
“Forrest Edward Mars, Jr. (born August 16, 1931) is the eldest son of Forrest Mars, Sr. and the grandson of Frank C. Mars, the founder of Mars, Incorporated, the confectionery company. In March 2015, Forbes estimated his wealth to be $26.8 billion. As owner of the Diamond Cross Ranch, an 82,000-acre (33,000 ha) parcel along Montana’s Tongue River and on the northern end of the Powder River Basin, Mars has been active in opposing the development of his part of what's been called the "most productive coal and natural gas fields in the nation." Companies that hold the oil and gas leases to his land, rights originally made possible by the Stock-Raising Homestead Act and the Mineral Leasing Act, are seeking to exercise those rights on his ranch. Mars is reportedly concerned about the large amount of water that energy exploration and production projects consume, water needed by his ranch."
“John Franklyn Mars, KBE (born October 15, 1935) is an American businessman.
According to Hurun Global Rich List 2015 he is 28th richest person in the world with a net worth of US$26 billion. In March 2015, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him an honorary knighthood at Windsor Castle."
Their grandfather, Frank C. boldly chose not to follow the lemonade stand formula, the real estate formula or any such complicated nonsense and instead made candy. His son, later came up with the idea of putting a milk shake into a candy bar. While the intrigues and passion plays of the 20th century listed above were roiling about, this family was selling chewing gum, chocolate and mints. They were living the dream. Along the way came race horses, cat food, M&Ms and too many other things to list here. They adapted with the times and now under their Symbioscience Division they are unlocking the mysteries of cocoflavanoids as fast as they are isolated in their labs. I have heard that they plan on building some new coral reefs. This is necessary because I have recently seen joint health supplements boasting coral as the magic ingredient.
If people are worried about fats and cholesterol, say from chocolate for instance, then simply find clever ways to utilize the husks, shells and such from the cacao pods, which probably went to waste in the good old days. If research can be construed to show health benefits and the lab mice cooperate, brand new opportunities await. Already Indonesian women are being “empowered” to make paper products from the chocolate processing waste materials. We will have to wait and see if a Knighthood of The British Empire is also awarded to Forrest Edward down there in Montana. I'd say, likely not. Altoids are Altoids and cocoflavanoids are cocoflavanoids. 82,000 acres of coal and gas underneath a cattle outfit in a Charlie Russell landscape at a time when a barrel of oil is worth less than a bottle of cheap Scotch is a different basket of crabs altogether. Yet, I think of a future person tending genetically altered cacao plants in a hothouse on Mars, playing air guitar to David Bowie's Space Oddity while munching on an Earth Bar.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“ I say that Auschwitz is an extreme manifestation of an attitude that still thrives in our midst. It shows itself in the treatment of minorities in industrial democracies; in education, education to a humanitarian point of view included, which most of the time consists of turning wonderful young people into colorless and self-righteous copies of their teachers; it becomes manifest in the nuclear threat, the constant increase in the number and power of deadly weapons and the readiness of some so-called patriots to start a war compared with which the holocaust will shrink into insignificance. It shows itself in the killing of nature and of “primitive' cultures with never a thought spent on those thus deprived of meaning in their lives; in the colossal conceit of our intellectuals, their belief that they know precisely what humanity needs and their relentless efforts to recreate people in their own sorry image; in the infantile megalomania of some of our physicians who blackmail their patients with fear, mutilate them and them persecute them with large bills; in the lack of feeling of many so-called searchers for truth who systematically torture animals, study their discomfort and receive prizes for their cruelty. As far as I am concerned there exists no difference between the henchmen of Auschwitz and these “benefactors of mankind.”
-Paul Feyerabend from Farewell To Reason 1987
Here is my math Quiz for the 21st Century:
X = (∞ - 1) + (∞ + 1) where the term (∞ - 1) may be substituted by the poem Kubla Khan and the term (∞ + 1) may be substituted by the quote from Feyerabend.
Solve for X.
OK, let's simplify: ∞ + ∞ = ∞, thus ∞ = X.
Expressed in words I would say that we are solving for what came before never and adding it to what came after forever. We should find some very interesting things by way of our inquiries. If we conduct this research in the realms of what we today call History, Religion, Science and Politics I venture that we would we wind up on what resembles a chessboard constructed from a Mobius Strip.
Wow! Should we attempt that? By all means. We are humans, so saddle up. The exchequered landscape we shall gallop across is, after all, the very ground we stand our questions on and have our brief experience of life upon. Your roof is also your floor and your room is the world at large, while the world at large is very surely your room.
I have heard that Mr. Coleridge was being visited by some literary friends who suggested a walk. He was feeling poorly due to some medical problems and took some medication, possibly an opiate. He stayed behind in a chair in the garden while the others went for a stroll. The poem he wrote upon waking from his brief chemical escape from the pain of his existence has now become a classic.
When I think of Khan, I think of Genghis and I think of horses. Open prairie, taiga, tundra, savannah, steppes, llanos and deserts. Two legs astride four is one of our most ancient symbols for power, triumph, freedom and mobility. Man and beast combined at first glance. Looked at another way, we may perceive two animals acting together for the benefit of one of them. I cannot see the benefit to the horse in an open grassland setting for making alliance with man. I could write an entire book on the benefits garnered by man up to my own day by this heavily one sided partnership.
We could canter along behind Genghis and his Mongols to see some of the fruits of this hoofed extension of man's power. We could also stop for seven days in 732 A. D. at the confluence of the Clain and Vienne Rivers between Poitiers and Tours and watch Charles Martel turn back the massive armored cavalry of Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi Abd al Rahman with a vastly smaller infantry force.
Four years later we could ride over to Narbonne and watch the same Charles Martel crush a further Muslim invasion, this time headed by Rahman's son and arriving by sea. Again we see Charles using a smaller force but this time incorporating heavy cavalry with the chain-mail and stirrups that his enemy had been equipped with on their first encounter.
After watering our mounts we could ship out to the New World with the Spanish and do some conquering and get the silver and gold mines running at full slave capacity. As we watched this drama, we would see some of these introduced horses become lost or stolen and subsequently become huge roaming herds of wild mustangs ranging North.
Several of the tribes in what are today Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado will go on to utilize these animals both for their survival and for domination over and expansion of their Prairie Empires. Their approach to the already well-ingrained old World methods of domestication and training of the horse will seem uncanny to us as we watch them become one with the caballo.
None more than the Comanche tribe as a whole. A newly mounted force of armed men in an economy based upon a migratory food source of behemoth proportions in a harsh environment will evoke a familiar play as we observe them from Kansas to the Gulf of Mexico. Natural selection may be readily observed here whether one subscribes to Darwin's grandfather's theory via the Royal Academy in toto or not.
Like any creature suffering great persecution down through history, it is the superlatives that live to breed. This holds true for both admirable and for dishonorable traits. Aggression, cunning and what Feyerabend calls “colossal conceit” and what I might call psychopathy are as readily passed on as are large hands, tallness and abundance or lack of body hair.
We could watch a small group of Cherokees, for example, who adopted much European clothing, farming practices, writing, religion and home building; steadily working their way West. They have already inter-married for many, many generations. They are led by a half-Scottish Chief who sports freckles and red hair. Some of them are mounted and they will use their horses to do plowing and land clearing as well as for transportation. They are seeking a place to be left alone to practice their hybrid culture and do not trust waiting to see “how it all works out” back East. History proves them right, in their pessimism and serves up The Cherokee Trail of Tears some time after their departure.
After an earthquake in Missouri compels this group to undertake yet another move West, they arrive at what at the time was the boundary of civilization as practiced by the United States of America. They are in today's North East Texas, which is under the administration of Spain. To their West and to their North are other tribes which are still in their original lands as per their own local history of struggle has allowed.
Over time the Comanches and one band of them in particular, the Quohadis, which was headed by a half-white war chief, Quanah Parker are the dominant force in this part of the planet. Other tribes are mounted and hostile in the sense of practicing a raiding lifestyle such as Apache, Cheyenne, Kickapoo and Arapahos but all fear and respect the superior Comanche horsemen.
The Spanish tolerated them so as to serve as a buffer against any incursion by other colonialists. They were the hands down pinnacle of mounted fighting men and were only brought to ruin just before getting wide access to the modern repeating firearms of their foes. They stood in the way of the formation of the Republic of Texas which itself was a stepping stone to the expansion of the USA proper in order to reach the Pacific Ocean and tie both coasts down with rail tracks and barbed wire.
As we braid our ponies' tails we could watch the Cherokees agree to fight the Comanche and Apache so as to free up the Texians to fight the Spanish. Of course this would net the Cherokee a new, clear title to their extensive holdings that would replace the valid title they had obtained legally from the Spanish Government in Mexico City in accordance to the Euro way of doing things. They smelled the wind and picked a horse.
A considered bet was placed, much like Eudes The Great Duke Odo of Aquitaine did in 730 when he allied himself to Uthman ibn Naissa, the Emir of Catalonia. He had defeated a Muslim invasion force at Toulouse in 721 and then had watched the invaders reach Burgundy four years later. He picked a horse and his horse picked a fight with Abd Rahman, Emir of Al Andalus who has already been mentioned in this essay.
The source - www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/tours.html, accessed January 11, 2016 tells us: "According to one unidentified Arab, 'That army went through all places like a desolating storm.' Duke Eudes (called King by some), collected his army at Bordeaux, but was defeated, and Bordeaux was plundered. The slaughter of Christians at the River Garonne was evidently horrific; Isidorus Pacensis commented that 'solus Deus numerum morientium vel pereuntium recognoscat', 'God alone knows the number of the slain' (Chronicon). The Muslim horsemen then utterly devastated that portion of Gaul, their own histories saying the 'faithful pierced through the mountains, trampled over rough and level ground, plundered far into the country of the Franks, and smote all with the sword, insomuch that when Eudo came to battle with them at the River Garonne, and fled.' Eudes appealed to the Franks for assistance, which Charles Martel only granted after Eudes agreed to submit to Frankish authority."
Yes, the Duke did change horses in the middle of a stream. He kept his hide but had to give up his separate Kingdom and be subsumed into Greater Frankdom. The Texas Cherokees picked a horse and went to war allied with the Texians. Soon afterward, as their land title sat unratified on the President's desk of the new won Republic, they were approached and given notice that the document had been rejected and nullified. They were asked to leave their crops, houses and farms and head to Reservations. They chose to fight after much consultation with all involved and lost the ensuing Battle of the Neches. They picked the wrong horse and rode it over the edge. Some painted their horses and survived extermination.
We spur our mounts and head back home to 2016 and our flat screens. On the way we see a stray lone wolf begging food at the mouth of a cave from a man. A Prince loosing a falcon and a Pharaoh setting a jaguar onto a fleeing gazelle. Once home we see Muslim turmoil again in France and Germany. We see Catalonia separating from Spain. We see yet another Trail of Tears. We see Charter Schools teaching the Koran and Sharia Law in the USA. We see a businessman in Nevada with an exclusive license to send weapons into space via his private company. We are urged to worry about a millimeter rise in ocean levels as if every man, woman and child on earth had a waterfront beach home to be concerned with. We are compelled to trade 10 serious side-effects for a fifty-fifty shot at eradicating temporarily a single symptom, all the while leaving our malaise unhealed. We see an ex-CIA drug operative thrown to the wolves during an election year after being purposely empowered for years.
We stop and check if we are indeed home again in our own time and confirm that this is indeed the case. We read that many top scientists and philosophers of science have been of the opinion for over two decades that there is nothing of any material benefit to humanity left to be discovered. As we munch on a chemical laden biscuit, reading an article about a cougar recently shot in Idaho which had an entire extra set of fangs growing out of the top of its head facing backwards and watch the good old nuclear capable B-52s winging their way to South Korea, we wonder why our houses are chilly, why our food is substandard, why our water is laden with detrimental additives and why our children are unable to afford even the extremely substandard politically correct brainwashing for social change that masquerades as post secondary education. We do a quick check back to the eighteenth century and realize that yes, taken as a whole we have become very thick indeed. All the benefits and comforts afforded us by science are priced out of our reach while we are simultaneously harangued by those who can afford them to provide these things to everyone on the planet at our expense, except those countries our leaders are currently engaged in destroying. The Daylight Tax of old has morphed into the Carbon Tax.
We return our horses to their former wild state and they carry on just fine without our ministrations on their behalf. Our dogs sit at our feet awaiting our orders while our cats keep one eye on the fridge and another on the door. We ponder that the real water crisis is about how much of it has been converted to ethanol and soda pop since the beginning. We ponder that every alliance eventually unravels like an old sweater and that betting on horses is just that, betting. A fifty-fifty shot when measured over time on the Mobius strip that is our human story. If something works it is not abandoned. Power is never given away for free. In terms of actual factual intelligence, via the Freedom of Information Act and such like, history has a depth of less than fifty years and is constantly being re-written. According to the telly it appears that Hitler made it out of the bunker and traveled from Argentina to Colombia.
We ponder a quote which was learned by Prince Henry from his chosen tutor, Sir Walter Ralegh as that condemned man awaited execution in The Tower of London by order of Henry's father James. An order fueled in part by jealousy due to Ralegh's writing of a History of the World and dedicating that work to sensible young Henry.
“All wars of religion are only civil wars, and by civil wars no nation's condition was ever bettered.”
-Henry Prince of Wales circa. 1618
As I light my smoke and blow my prayer skyward in a figure eight, I wonder who bet on Ralegh's horse.
Michael Hawes was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and lives in British Columbia.