Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Capitalism/financial crisis: relevant ancient history

Besides God, there is nothing more important to humanity than good stewardship of the earth. By this I mean the basics, such as the ability of humans to grow food and feed all of the population (without imposing population controls) and for humans to wisely manage the ecosystems so that flora and fauna can continue to grow and flourish, and not meet extinction unless it is genuinely their time.

People must learn to be shepherds of the wild and natural flora and fauna, being activist within the natural order of things. Thus they should not be blind exploiters, nor should they be laissez faire protectionists (where they protect the land but then do not lift a finger to either prune or encourage the species within). It is not a coincidence that God gave humans to understand that the earth is a garden because gardeners tend to their garden; they neither exploit the garden nor do they seal it off to be "all natural."

Why do I mention this? It is important to understand that more of humanity's education, jobs and interest must be redirected away from the false (electronic entertainment for example) and more toward the reality of tending to the earth. That is what genuine "green jobs" should be.

I also mention this as part of my helping people to realign their thinking back to reality, and to find their way back to sanity, and back away from the freak show societal delusions. So I want to explain to you something that used to be well understood, but I'm not sure it is taught in schools anymore.

Why did humans invent writing and number systems so they can count? Not to write down stories. Not to label the great buildings with the names of the kings. Not to develop Egyptian hieroglyphs for memorializing the dead. Humans invented writing and counting for one simple reason: to inventory their food supplies.

The earliest writing is preserved from Sumeria, now known as Iraq, in the form of clay tablets and also"cylinder seals." These are blocks of stones shaped like tubes, so that when one rolls the seal the message is also unrolled. As a former antiquities collector I always wanted to add a Sumerian cylinder seal to my collection, but did not get the opportunity to afford one.

When experts decipher the very earliest of human writing, they do not find sacred scripture or the deeds of mythical or real kings. They find boring crop reports, preserved on many clay tablets. Later tablets, but more often the cylinders, were used to depict scenes, history and divine beliefs.

Remember, then, those crop reports were not boring for people who live and die based on what they can grow in that season. Just ask those in Africa and Asia, and those in drought areas elsewhere today, and you will realize that all of mundane life is ultimately summarized and glorified in the ability of the good earth to provide for humans who are fruitful and who multiply, those who share the blessings of earth with new infants, and not resent, as so many "greens" seem to do, new life and new mouths to feed.

Sometimes it is very helpful to remember that writing, which is used so much for "entertainment" and agenda driven purposes today, and numbers, which have also been given by some people a weird and incorrect supernatural and superstitious importance, would not have been invented at all if people did not realize the most fundamental need, which is to provide the goodness of adequate food for all who need it. The old saying is that "necessity is the mother of invention." Writing and counting were invented because of the need to understand and inventory food supplies. Once writing and counting were invented, it is later that they are used for other purposes.

This, by the way, is one reason that Abraham was so wealthy: it was not gold or silver, but agricultural goods and flocks, so that his family could grow and support with love all who were born within it. Wealth among early humans was measured by counting one's flocks and one's harvest, so one knew that one could support their family and contribute to the clan and tribe's survival.

Sometimes to disinfect the skewing of mindset that has taken place, and what moderns take for granted, it is useful to think back to what used to be taught with some detail in schools, which is the agricultural basis for not only capitalism (which I explained in many previous blog posts) but also writing and counting. Thus people ascribe very strange "purposes" to the written word and to numbers, without understanding that they serve humans, and humans do not serve the written word or numbers.

I hope that you have found this helpful.

If you read articles about cylinder seals, you find that they speak almost exclusively of the more "glamorous" topics, such as deities and history, since that is, of course, what they were later used for and are of the most interest to archaeologists.


This is a great introduction to the beginning of agriculture in the area of Sumeria, and also the written tools I describe here in this blog.


But the more boring history indicates what I have explained above, which is that it was not the desire to record history that promoted writing and counting (since oral history continued very strongly after writing and counting were invented), but that the actual inventions of writing and counting centered around the essential inventory of food stuffs, both their aquisitions storage and their trade.