The political angle of magick

One would think that the topic of how magickal styles relate to politics would be about the same as how literary criticism relates to sandwiches.  (Here I’m using Aleister Crowley’s archaic spelling of “magick” here, much as he did to discourage confusion with stage magic.)  Still, the cultural Marxists did demonstrate quite thoroughly that you can politicize damn near everything.  That includes both literary criticism and sandwiches.

Political modes of magick

What would a leftist style of magick be?  Generally what comes to mind is some 1960s-1970s approaches, fully encompassing New Age fluff.  (I’ve read Shakti Gawain, and the experience was about like eating a bushel of cotton candy at one sitting.)  Some politicized forms of Witchcraft fit the bill too.  (I’ve read Margot Adler’s Drawing Down The Moon, not bad for a picture of what the scene was like at the time, but her background as an NPR journalist really shows sometimes.)  Not only am I familiar with all that too, I’ve studied Anglo-Saxon and actually know the proper way to pronounce “Wicca”.

What is rightist magick then?  For that answer, Counter Currents has quite an interesting article called “Evola’s Other Club“.  Julius Evola has become rather popular with the “deplorables” (as Cupcake calls us), though I have yet to get into him.  As for who Evola was, “Cis White Male With Extra Privilege” has a series about that, and “Philosophicat” does tooCounter Currents detected an interesting trace of thought similar to Ayn Rand.  That’s rather surprising, since she was very much a materialist and thought all supernatural stuff was poppycock.

Counter Currents didn’t go too far into it, but there’s more than a trace of British sorcerer Aleister Crowley too.  (I dedicated Space Vixen Trek Episode 13 to him.)  Consider this quote, for example:

You must know exactly what you want to accomplish, and you must feel it passionately, even obsessively. You must be willing to turn aside everything and everyone who doesn’t contribute to your realization for that aim. . . . If that strikes you as ruthless or extreme, it is because you do not yet possess, or are not yet honest about, your definite aim. When you find it, it will be like finding breath itself.

Also this:

Positive-mind philosophy places a demand on us, one that we may think we’ve risen to but have never really tried. And that is: To come to an understanding of precisely what we want. When we organize our thoughts in a certain way – with a fearless maturity and honesty – we may be surprised to discover our true desires.

This touches on the concept of the true will, a very central concept to Crowley’s thinking.  The capsule summary is basically to find out what your purpose in life is and pursue it single-handedly.  The article does tend to go back to that frequently.

Other than that, one does magick to get a certain result.  Still, one must keep a sense of detachment, something the article does touch on.  The basic idea is to put your intention out into the universe, and after doing so, forget about it and let things happen.  This is an interesting parallel to Crowley’s passage in Liber AL Vel Legis, “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.”

What was Crowley’s political alignment?  I’m pretty familiar with his writings, but even as opinionated as he is, it’s rather hard to pin him down on that.  One thing I do notice is that Liber AL vel Legis, written in 1904, does seem to have plenty of enigmatic New World Order stuff in it, predicting not just the drug use we’d get in the 1960s, but also the tricky globalists pulling levers in today’s politics.  (One of these days, I hope to write an article on the subject.)  The former is easy enough to explain, though.  Crowley did rub elbows with Aldous Huxley – an author and eventually an influential figure for the Counterculture – and turned him onto hallucinogens.

Does that make it globalist magick then?  When George Soros wrote The Alchemy of Finance, was the title a little more literal than figurative?  Some of the NWO types are into spirit cooking, which does have a very vague resemblance to one of Thelema’s rituals.  I’m familiar with the Thelemite scene, who are practitioners of Crowley’s religion.  According to Uncle Aleister’s prophecies, they’re supposed to be in charge of the world one of these days.  Sadly, that role has fallen to a gaggle of corrupt billionaires.  Still, there is hope; as I wrote in Deplorable Diatribes:

Some have speculated that we’re a century into the “Kali Yuga”, an era of decline where powerful coteries run the show. Still, I’m not so convinced that this is inevitable. Even if it’s true, and that’s just how it’s going to roll with power dynamics for a good while, that doesn’t mean we’re stuck with the same bunch for the duration. The potentates of today will be history one day; maybe this will be a lot sooner than they expected. Dynasties don’t last forever, so hopefully we might get a better bunch in the future. Folks like the Medicis and Borgias would be preferable to the bozos of Clown World. Back in the day, they had lots of backstabbing and poisoning, but they weren’t hostile to their own societies, and even had a first rate appreciation for art.

hillary-pepe-574x887

Other than that, Counter Currents mentioned memes, particularly including the NPC meme.  Another article, “Lord Kek Commands!“, gets further into meme magick.  For some more background that the article doesn’t go into, the 4chan post number-stamped 77777777 was a brief one, simply stating “Trump will win”.  Was that a coincidence, or is it one of those things that Karl Jung called synchronicity?

Somewhere on the way, the Korean word “Kek” came up and it turns out that Kek is also the name of an ancient Egyptian frog deity. That’s how we got all the catchy Pepe the Frog images.  I’m not sure why an ancient Egyptian deity would interest Himself in American politics, but I’m glad that we had the extra support to keep that Council on Foreign Relations toady Cupcake from getting in charge.  All I have to say beyond that is that chaos magick really is weird that way.

How to do magick

An obvious reaction one might have to this could be, “Is this stuff for real?”  (Hopefully none of my readers think I’m smoking whacky tobaccy for even writing about it.)  The first comment to “Evola’s Other Club” begins:

The way I understand it, New Thought is incompatible with rightist/reactionary/traditionalist thought. NT’s claim that you can modify circumstances via energized thinking is the basis of the utopian/progressive/leftist-liberal approach. Rightists seek to decipher, interpret and adapt to reality (reality is fixed); leftists want to modify reality in order to create something less offensive to their feelings (reality is fluid).

That is a good point.  Still, is magick only for crystal-sucking New Age weenies who eat buckets of magic mushrooms?  Their “make a wish and it will be so” stuff does seem rather like postmodernism, which is a leftist Ivory Tower hustle.  (Still, I’d rather re-read a Shakti Gawain book than a single page of Lacan, Foucault, or Derrida.)  Further, my experience as a teenage atheist made me rather allergic to that stuff.  If it weren’t for some later numinous experiences, I too would dismiss anything supernatural as wishful thinking.  Instead, I’ll say that 99% of it is baloney.

The Counter Currents article does indicate that quantum theory has explanations for how magick can work in the first place.  Some serious practitioners of magick have reached similar conclusions.  Rather than expounding on all that at great length, I’ll refer you to the original article for explanations.  I’ll summarize that magick isn’t really about breaking laws of physics, but rather making use of some little-understood ones in order to nudge probability the way you want.  I’ll admit that I tried it on the “Pick 3” lottery once.  Two numbers were correct, and the last was off by one.  As Bill Clinton might put it, close but no cigar!

Also, magick isn’t about making something completely impossible happen.  There’s no getting around objective reality, which rightists realize and also some of the more sensible leftists.  One of the article’s quotes emphasizes practicality, a good point that I didn’t see in Shakti Gawain:

Contrary to many purveyors of spiritual self-help, I reject the notion that we can become anything we dream of. Not all desires are realistic. . . . Your age, training, and education matter – as do geography, finances, and time. These are not to be seen as barriers – but they are serious considerations.

As for the actual method:

First, clarify a sincere and deeply felt desire. Second, enter a state of relaxed immobility, bordering on sleep. Third, enact a mental scene that contains the assumption and feeling of your wish fulfilled. Run the little drama over and over in your mind until you experience a sense of fulfillment. Then resume your life. Evidence of your achievement will unfold at the right moment in your outer experience.

Basically, that means to meditate and visualize.  In another place, it says to adore the image you’re visualizing, a process it describes in greater detail.  I’ll add further that another technique is focusing the will on it with blazing intensity.  Some other folks draw sigils and have various ways of charging them.

Once again, is this stuff for real?  One thing that can be said with certainty is that if it’s something that helps motivate you to reach a certain goal, why not?  Even if you feel that it has zero chance of nudging probability, it will help you reprogram your subconscious mind.

The political angle of magick

The ugly truth about “sugar dating” is proof that Fourth Wave feminism has gone full retard

Feminism has undergone quite a paradigm shift.  The First Wave was the least noxious.  Part of their efforts included various social reforms, such as fighting prostitution.  Were they right to consider it exploitation?  I don’t pay for sex, but I’ve known quite a few who sell it, and I’ll just say that the reality is not too much like Risky Business and a lot more like Requiem for a Dream.  These days, according to Fourth Wave feminism, prostitution is “empowerment”.  Things were moving in that direction among some currents of the Third Wave, but now it’s gone full retard.

I’ve written before about the commodification of the sexual marketplace.  It’s been around for quite a while – often called “the oldest profession” – but Internet technology has given it some new twists.  “Sugar dating” is one of these sexual marketplace hacks.  As the above-referenced article states:

Courtesans have been around for ages. Now there are websites to facilitate this, allowing the “sugar babies” to maximize opportunities far and wide like women already do with online dating. (If only DARPA had known the interesting ways their civil defense communications network would be used!) The sugar daddies should find a real girlfriend instead of these greedy gold diggers.

Before all this, attractive young women already got lots of freebies, and on average, a pretty easy ride in society.  I can’t even blame them for that; utilizing advantages is merely part of human nature.  However, now they’re learning to monetize their goodies like never before, thanks to high technology along with the Current Year’s lack of moral standards.  Today’s feminists even encourage this, calling it “empowerment”.  Unfortunately, things end pretty badly for those who choose to go this route.

All that said, a few days ago, I clued one of my friends into the “sugar baby” phenomenon.  I merely told him he should check out the recent Stefan Molyneux video on the subject:

It looks like that turned out to be a major Red Pill for him.  I’ll add that up until recently, he was a lifelong atheist, but this seems to be one of the features of Clown World that jolted him to the point of reconsidering.  The following is from a couple of emails he sent to his friends, reposted with permission.  He’s not an avid Manosphere reader, and again, I didn’t say too much about the subject.  All of the following is from his own research and conclusions.


10% of coeds are sugar babies

Feminism is supposed to empower women.  Combine that with relative morality of atheism and you end up with millions of young girls in college selling their bodies to middle age men for money.   Actually, the lowest bid ebay style auction kind of money.

This email will be very upsetting.

First up.   Some internet dating history and who has the power.

  1. The ratio for a women in her 20’s on a dating site is about 100 to 1.  That is 100 men try to pursue the 1 medium to very hot women.  Of those men, a few of them are actually marriage material.  The girl gets to figure out which one.   Women have all the power in online dating in their 20s.   The men have no power online.
  2. The ratio for a women in her 40s to find a marriage material man is more like 1 to 10 or 10%.  The men have all the power when the woman is older and less desirable.   This is just reality for a man of high value.   The high value man has many women to choose from and he knows it.

Now, the Sugar Baby “dating” websites turn the tables completely around.  The men bid on the women with their money and the woman goes on a date with the highest bid.

  1. The 20 year old girl gets higher bid prices than the 40 year old who probably gets no bids.   But, the men can bid on multiple women and only actually pay the woman that accepts the lowest prices.   Who has the power on the Sugar daddy website?  The men who are bidding have all the power.  They are usually over age 40 and tend to be profession IT or CEO types.
  2. The 40 year old woman has no chance against the 20 year old woman on the Sugar Baby websites.  The men get to choose whoever they want.

Here is the saddest part.    About 10% of all college girls are selling their bodies for money to men old enough to be their fathers.  Most, don’t have sex, but all of them are being used by much older men.

This rabbit hole goes deeper than you can possibly believe.  And it leads straight to Satan’s will.   Destroy the family by destroying the most valuable thing a young woman has.

Look at the disgust on the audience faces in this one.

Hundreds of thousands of Sugar Babies in Australia.

Here is a Sugar Baby explaining to other girls how to be a Sugar Baby.  If you don’t watch the entire videos, just read the comments.

What Man in his right mind would ever marry a Sugar Baby?   I’m not talking about the “Johns”.    I’m talking about the used up damaged woman that the “Johns” create.  I have a feeling that the fatherless generation has something to do with the rise of Sugar Babies.

Religion was created to teach women to value their chastity as an prize to be gained when a man commits.   For thousands of years, it was a bargain where women gave up her body in exchange for the commitment of the man.   Now, women give up their body  for money and the man has absolutely no reason to ever commit.   The woman’s bargaining tool is gone.

What is left is pure hedonism where the easy life choices are preferred instead of the good life choices that actually make a better life.

Feminism is Cancer.   We are going back to the indigenous days before religion separated humans from the hedonistic animals.

Followup

One thing.   I’m not saying indigenous were animals.   I’m was saying that religion created humans, not that humans created religion.

Religion created humans thru stories of how to live a better life.  Those stories had to come from God because they are so good.  Every successful religion in the world has marriage in it with 1 man to 1 woman.    Islam has to be a rich man to have many wives.

Before religion, it was 1 man to 5 women.   The DNA shows that.  That is the “natural” way humans to live just as the primates do today.

I don’t think that was a better life, because 80% of all the men were INCEL.

My point is that Feminism is returning humans to a life that we hadn’t seen for 10,000 years.  I don’t agree.

The ugly truth about “sugar dating” is proof that Fourth Wave feminism has gone full retard

The Handmaid’s Tale series: a politically correct soap opera, subversive victimization porn, and electric brain cancer

Much like with The Stepford Wives, the Black Pilled channel hit another home run on their propaganda analysis.  This next one is called “Soap Operas that Wash Your Mind”.  The only thing the creator of these videos could be doing better is making it a little clearer in the titles what show is being picked apart.  This one is about The Handmaid’s Tale series.

A brief overview of The Handmaid’s Tale

Originally this began as a novel by Margaret Atwood.  It got a massive amount of publicity back in the day.  The literary establishment promoted the hell out of it, for the fairly obvious reason that it suited the ideological inclinations fashionable with publishers and critics.  I’m not saying it lacks artistic merits or is badly written.  What I am saying is that surely it helps that the book promotes certain narratives.

A movie was made of it too.  Hollywood spinoffs are one of the side benefits that come from being hugely popular with the literary establishment.  Lately the story was serialized and essentially became a soap opera.  These spinoffs are one of the ways the MSM can leverage their conglomerates to  signal-boost messages they like.

It’s no mystery why feminists ate it up like candy.  Basically, the plot happens in Gilead, a dystopian version of the future USA where the evil patriarchy is in control.  Their religious beliefs are even more extreme than the Westboro Baptist Church douchebags.  Basically, it’s an over-the-top exaggeration, though not too far from what lots of liberals think typical Christians actually believe.  They enslave the women because we men are a bunch of dicks.  The protagonist was shanghaied and turned into a concubine, which is a common and accepted practice in Gilead.

Why it misses the mark

Dystopias usually have an underlying premise.  What if all the wonderful feminist progress since the late 1960s got rolled back suddenly?  That seems to be what the theme is driving at.  The message is something like, “We’d better be vigilant and put a stop to the Religious Right.  People like Pat Robertson and the Moral Majority are dangerous.”  The book implies that if people like them get in charge, The Patriarchy will enslave the women and make them concubines.  That’s none too subtle, of course, though it’s not too different from what lots of radical feminists actually believe.

The problem with all that is that it’s too hard to take the premise seriously.  America in the 1950s certainly didn’t look like Gilead.  Neither would it be an accurate portrayal of society in the late 1860s, a time that actually was patriarchal and very devout, and a century before feminism started going full retard.  It’s not even a fair representation of the Middle Ages, at least in Western society.  Therefore, The Handmaid’s Tale is less plausible than The Hunger Games being an accurate prediction of the future.  America wouldn’t turn into Gilead even if Pat Robertson somehow became President – or dictator, for that matter.

All that seemed like an exercise in feminist scarum-shouting about fundamentalists.  Although I don’t regard Christianity as the only game in town – much less the Protestant evangelical version – I don’t have any particular quarrel with it.  I certainly don’t hate fundamentalists; most of them are nice people.  It’s possible to like someone even if you don’t agree with everything he or she believes.  I wish more liberals realized that.  Most of them are nice people too, but many were conditioned to believe that the rest of us are scary boogeymen.

Moreover, criticism of fundamentalism in practice isn’t always about religion.  Sometimes it’s more like a sneaky jab at cultural conservatism without bothering to try to refute it on its own terms.  This is just as putting down Christianity (more broadly) is often a proxy attack on Western civilization.  Things like that tend to set off the alarm bells with me.  I might add further that you don’t have to believe that the world was created 6000 years ago to realize that feminism was a disastrous social engineering project based on flawed utopian premises.

The maker of the following video about The Handmaid’s Tale noted that it actually was based on Islamic treatment of women.  This is a pretty good reason why it’s so unrecognizable in terms of Western society.  Then why didn’t Atwood depict a heartbreaking drama about a Muslim country where Quran-thumpers do the shit to women that they already do in the name of Sharia law?  Then the story would’ve been much more plausible.  However, as I noted in Deplorable Diatribes:

[M]odern feminism became a branch of critical theory, including its “academic discipline” of women’s studies. Consequentially, in practice it’s explicitly anti-Western, almost as much as it is anti-male. They criticize our own society bitterly and incessantly, but with comparatively few exceptions, they don’t have much to say about some truly dreadful things that happen to women routinely in many Third World countries. (It’s rather cruel that these downtrodden women abroad mostly are ignored by the activists who could help the most.) Western feminists actually could do a lot of good if they stopped complaining about “manspreading” and instead focused more than a token effort on real problems. However, that would mean admitting that First World women don’t have it so bad after all. Furthermore, calling out Third World societies would contradict their anti-Western agenda, which is more important to them than actual women’s liberation (in places where they actually need liberating). Therefore, their rhetoric is almost entirely pearl-clutching about their own First World problems.

Later I read Atwood’s Oryx and Crake.  That one is another dystopian novel, this time about almost-there biotech coming into fruition, vast stratification of wealth, global warming, and some generic New World Order tropes.  Actually, it’s a pretty decent leftist critique of globalism.  I’ll have to say she mostly was on point with that.  However, this doesn’t mean that Atwood has wandered off the plantation.  If only she had followed the cookie crumbs a little further, she might be pretty horrified by the globalist shmucks who call the tune in today’s progressivism.

After reading Oryx and Crake, I realized that this one was biting satire.  (I write that way too sometimes, though from a rightist perspective.)  So at that point, I realized that perhaps The Handmaid’s Tale had more to do with satire than presenting a plausible near-future scenario, though still unfortunately saturated with moldy Second Wave feminism.  The problem is that satire should be a caricature, rather than something so distorted that it’s unrecognizable.

The Handmaid’s Tale as a propaganda soap opera

I haven’t seen the series.  I could pirate it, but I’ll give that a miss.  The Black Pilled commentators did all the analysis.  So after my long-winded intro, here it is:

He said the “fast forward” button helped a lot.  The series is larded up with perspective shots and melodramatic music.  With filler like that, they can drag it out for a long time without taxing their screenwriters too much.  The soap opera formula is that it builds up to a weekly finale on Friday, and then throws in a cliffhanger microloop for next Monday to keep the vidiots watching.  Worse, it looks like the producers had the indoctrination dialed up to 11.

He recapped the first two episodes.  He begins with some meta-commentary, first about what kind of target audience this show has.  (For propaganda analysis, that’s a good point.)  Going into the details of the plot, the psychological associative conditioning shticks are pretty plain.  For a few examples:

  • If you’re concerned about declining fertility rates, then you’re an evil patriarchal right wing fundamentalist
  • If you don’t like birth control, then you’re an evil patriarchal right wing fundamentalist
  • If you don’t like abortion, then you’re an evil patriarchal right wing fundamentalist

One of the scenes showed an abortionist who had been hanged by the evil patriarchal right wing fundamentalist regime.  Other invitees to the necktie party were a priest (presumably Roman Catholic) and a gay guy.  Way subtle, right?  Fundamentalists want to hang heretics!

To digress a bit, what would happen if a reality TV show ever depicted what abortionists actually do, including a picture of the bloody bucket with the baby parts?  Every feminist who didn’t suffer from a mind-crippling case of cognitive dissonance would be crying uncontrollably and overcome with horror.  That’s why you’ll never see anything like that on the idiot box.

Other than that, the video describes the anti-White bias in the series.  It doesn’t state outright how that ties into the depopulation agenda, though the connection is pretty clear.  Indeed, this is what the Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan is about.  At the 22 minute mark, he gets more specific about the target audience, and indicates that the show is geared to women of childbearing age, who are exactly the people they want to brainwash with the depopulation messages.  An interesting discussion follows about how the globalist establishment wants to manipulate the human genome to make people more docile, and this soap opera seems to be more agitprop geared to encouraging these trends.

That’s why they’re promoting lifestyles and mental disorders that result in fewer or no offspring from the groups they see as threats.

That’s a great one-sentence summary about the purpose of the degeneracy that’s been promoted for decades, especially aggressively for the last two.  It’s all about the social engineering.

Other than that, it isn’t too hard to read between the lines here, now is it?  Then the ones pushing this on everyone wonder why they’re so unpopular and keep getting blowback.  It doesn’t have to be that way – they should just stop doing that.

Interestingly, this depopulation agenda is almost exactly what the mad scientist character in Oryx and Crake does through genetic engineering.  He created a tribe of humans modified to be docile and clueless, and meanwhile he killed off the rest of the world with a plague.  However, surely it would take a major epiphany for Margaret Atwood herself to put together the pieces about how the globalists want to do fairly similar things to us for real.  Still, if she ever does wander off the plantation, then the literary establishment would never publish another one of her books.

Finally, the commentary has an excellent ending:

The Handmaid’s Tale is just this subversive-to-the-core victimization porn.  And quite frankly, if you have loved ones that are watching this electric brain cancer, this shouldn’t be tolerated.  You should just tell them no.  It’s time to be a man and start putting your foot down and being at least half as effective as the boogeymen that their propaganda makes us out to be.

Preach it, Brother!  Can I have an “Amen”?

The Handmaid’s Tale series: a politically correct soap opera, subversive victimization porn, and electric brain cancer

Former Muslim draws Muhammad cartoons

I was looking around for irreverent art, and I came across mocartoons.com by someone with the evocative name Mohammed Ibrahim.  Quite likely it’s a pen name, since I’m sure he doesn’t want to get his head cut off on TV.  One of his specialties is drawing the Prophet Muhammad.  That’s s a serious no-no in that religion, not that he believes in it any more.  I understand; I’m almost as jaded about mine and its founder.

Obviously a lot of people will get their noses bent out of shape about it.  Still, his stated intention is not offense for its own sake, but rather to be witty.  It’s fairly similar to my own Space Vixen Trek Episode 13:  The Final Falafel, in which I poke fun at lots of religions, though in an entertaining way.  Some of the cartoons have more impact than others.  (Islamic jurisprudence can be a dry topic sometimes.)  Still, he does have his moments.  One of his classics is “Prophet Muhammad gets drunk“, in which there’s quite a confession.

Another is “Hijab in the West vs. hijab in the Muslim World“.  This shows two fairly glam Muslimas in a mall, at the minimum standards of compliance, contrasted with a couple of ladies in burqas, adhering to the customs at maximum scrupulosity.  That does strike a chord with me, since it grinds my gears to hear Western feminists telling us how ninja suits are “liberating”.  (Heck, when are feminists NOT completely wrong?)  This shows that their anti-Western agenda is more important than their ostensive goal of women’s liberation – but I digress.

Other than that, the artist draws on some generic atheist themes, some of them pretty funny.  Aside from that, he does political themes too.  He’s liberal, but I won’t hold it against him.  All told, I came across his site and figured that I’d signal boost it.

Former Muslim draws Muhammad cartoons

The Biblical Joseph was a crooked politician who stole everything from the people, even their freedom

Earlier I had some irreverent remarks about the founder of my religion.  Surely that one offends any Mormons more devout than I am, and it’s hard to get less pious than Yours Truly.  This time I’m surely going to irritate some garden variety fundamentalist Christians by telling it like it is about a revered figure in the Bible.  Apologies in advance; you’ve been warned.

It turns out that Joseph Smith – “Glass Looker”, writer of mediocre Biblical fan fiction, rookie bankster, bad Egyptologist , horn dog – wasn’t such a big shyster after all, compared to his Old Testament namesake.  In fact, comparing the two would be about like a high school kid who deals nickel bags of weed from his locker versus Pablo Escobar.  Adask’s Law tells about this, worth a read in its entirety.

That one takes a poke at the economist Keynes.  Anyway, I don’t have a gripe with Keynes; it’s the neocon economists who drive me up a wall.  That’s all another rant for another day.   I figured I’d recap the story too with my own spin.

The Biblical Joseph plots to swindle the entire country

There’s lots of stuff in Genesis about Joseph’s long sojourn in Egypt.  There were plenty of ups and downs in that experience.  He eventually became the second in command of the Pharaoh, who fully trusted him and delegated his powers to him.  That’s not bad for a foreigner who started out as a slave and just got sprung from jail, right?  Together, they would begin a monstrous scheme against Egypt’s citizens.

In Genesis 40, Joseph starts to get a reputation as a dream interpreter, a gift from God as he explains.  So then – how does he use this great blessing?  In the next chapter, the Pharaoh has the dream about the seven fat cows and seven lean cows.  After a similar dream, he consults Joseph about it.  This meant that there would be seven great harvests, followed by seven bad harvests.  Maybe you heard about all that in Sunday school, and how – forearmed with the knowledge – Joseph saved the Egyptians from mass starvation.  What a nice guy, huh?  A closer look at the story reveals things in an entirely different light.

And so it came to pass that the dream came true.  Insider information is great to have.  For example, a hedge fund manager could make serious bucks if he’s on buddy-buddy terms or related somehow to a Federal Reserve honcho.  Knowing before anyone else does which way the prime rate will go is worth quite a bundle on Wall Street.  (Insider trading like that is crooked and illegal, but hey…)  Imagine what you could do if you had a hot tip straight from God!

Ancient Egypt gets gypped

So here’s what happened.  As predicted, Egypt had bumper crops for seven years.  During that time, Joseph bought up the surplus, preparing for hard times.  The government surely got a pretty good deal on it; that’s Economics 101.  Having a major buyer would’ve kept the prices from hitting rock bottom, though, so the farmers were making money.  Then things take a turn for the worse in Genesis 47.  The seven years of plenty were finished.

“47:13 – And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.”

During the lean years, he provided the surplus grain to the people so they had enough food.  That’s what you heard about in Sunday school.  Yay Joseph!

Oh, but wait – did you think he sold back the grain at cost, or at merely a modest markup?  He could’ve if he’d wanted.  For seven years straight, the farmers had profited from a massive surplus.  Presumably they didn’t blow it all in Vegas, though surely they would’ve gotten a kick out of Luxor.  Buying back the grain they’d grown in seven bountiful harvests, they completely ran out of money in under a year.

“47:14 – And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.”

Apparently the price gouging was so exorbitant that (if the story is to be believed literally) the Egyptian people were left completely penniless.  The government took the opportunity to squeeze them for every last copper they had.

Economic digression

Now let’s read between the lines here.  After a massive crop failure, of course the price of grain was going to be high; again that’s Economics 101. It’s not like anyone was in a position to sell it cheaper and undercut the government’s price, since the harvest was terrible this time.  If anyone found the price objectionable, the government’s agents simply could shrug their shoulders and say, “Yes, it was much cheaper last year when you were selling it, but that was then.  Hey, it’s the maaaarket.”

That’s what the oil execs say these days whenever they pop a Viagra and jack up the gas prices.  One example of this game is when the Rockefellers artificially limited the refinery capacity and gave us the late 1970s energy crisis.  If you’re an old geezer like me, you’ll remember unprecedented high prices and cars lined up for a couple blocks to get into gas stations.  OPEC gets froggy too on occasion.  Sensibly, they cut it out after a while and dial prices back down, before electric cars (like the 1970s Citicar, the 1990s EV1, or newer models) really get a chance to catch on.

This has far-reaching implications.  All products get brought to stores in trucks.  When the fuel cost goes up, prices go up, that’s one of the things that cause inflation.  When oil prices eventually go back down, it takes a good while longer for gasoline prices to go back down.  Products at stores take much longer to get cheaper again, if they do at all.  Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” theory states that prices set themselves efficiently because of competition.  However, this certainly doesn’t happen overnight.

Further, running a monopoly or a cartel is an end run around that.  Competition can’t set the prices efficiently, if there’s no competition.  It means the owners can make the price whatever they want, because fuck you.

Joseph’s food monopoly worked great – for him!  All the country’s money went straight into the Pharaoh’s treasury.  The prosperity from seven good years, as well as all the rest of their savings from before – gone!  So now what?

From the Dust Bowl to the Great Depression

“47:15 – And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.”

Now check this out.  Parsing this quaint KJV phrase – “money failed” – into modern terms, Egypt’s private sector economy suffered a catastrophic depression.  Of course that was going to happen; after all that price gouging, nobody had any money left to buy more overpriced grain!  Joseph seems to have been a pretty sharp cookie, entrusted with a great nation’s financial affairs, so surely he knew exactly what would happen.  You don’t even have to be Adam Smith to understand that no money means no economy.  Now the public was completely desperate, and begging for relief.

“47:16 – And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.”

“If?”  Like things had any chance of improving?  Good one, Joe!  He reassured those guys, “if money fail” further yet, he’d just trade all their livestock for enough grain to keep them alive a while longer.  No money, no problem; we got you covered!  (Snicker, snicker.)

“47:17 – And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.”

Sure enough, ancient Egypt’s Great Depression didn’t end.  Of course “money failed” still, since all of it remained hoarded in the Pharaoh’s treasury.  They didn’t have tractors back then, so farmers relied on horses, donkeys, and oxen to work the fields – which they had to hand over to the Pharaoh just to survive.

“47:18 – When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:”

Surprise!  In the second year, the peasants were screwed, and not in the fun way.  They knew it and the government knew it.  Well, if you can’t get blood out of a turnip, you can still put the turnip up for sale…

Dependency is the road to slavery

whiteslavery
Slavery LARPing

“47:19 – Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.”

So after the next iteration of this, the once-independent farmers gave up their land and freedom to the Pharaoh.  Today, “servant” generally means paid household help, but in earlier times it meant “slave”, from the Latin term “servus”.  The passage is quite clear that they wanted to sell themselves into slavery for bread, along with their land.  They even begged for that.  Societal self-abasement never got any lower than this, at least until cultural Marxism came along thousands of years later.

“47:20 – And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.”

Now these independent yeoman farmers had lost all their property, and even became property themselves.

“47:21 – And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.”

The new slaves got crowded into the cities and rode out the crisis on the Pharaoh’s handouts.

“47:22 – Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.”

The Asshole Dictator 101 course teaches that you can’t risk pissing off everyone.  You need to keep your high class citizens, especially those in a position to keep morale from completely collapsing, on your side.  They, and the military, are what keep the peasants from revolting.

The “New Normal”

“47:23 – Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.”

Likely there was a fast forward here for a few years.  After the anticipated famine came to an end, Joseph cut them a deal.  They’d been slaves crammed together in the cities for a while, but he’d let them go back to the fields they used to own, which now belonged to the Pharaoh.  He’d even give them seed grain from the remaining supply so they could get started again.  What an awesome guy!  There were strings attached, though – surprise!

“47:24 – And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.”

From now on, all of Egypt’s farmers would be sharecroppers, with the Pharaoh getting a 20% cut every year henceforth.  (If you’re a middle class American, you’re in the 22% tax bracket.  You can play some Negro spirituals next time you’re doing your taxes to get you in the mood.)  Did Joseph decide to upgrade their status slightly, from slaves to serfs, because he felt guilty about screwing them?  No, he knew that the agriculture was about to improve and their grain reserves wouldn’t last forever.  The Pharaoh needed them to grow crops again.  Best of all, he’d get a 20% piece of the action henceforth.

“47:25 – And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.”

You might think that after this colossal swindle, the people of Egypt would’ve been ready to lynch their despotic Pharaoh and his crooked right hand man.  If you figured the torches and pitchforks would come out, you’d be wrong.  Those two never even had to use force to cheat the public.  They simply manipulated a crisis to their maximum advantage.  As events unfolded, it’s not too hard to imagine Egypt’s top politicians feigning concern while hiding the details and conspiring to stick it to the public further.

The public’s servility toward the Pharaoh is a textbook case of societal Stockholm Syndrome.  This was the guy who’d approved of the scheme and now owned all their money, livestock, fields, and (since all that wasn’t enough gravy for this greedy shmuck) 20% of their future earnings.  As for Joseph, he was a skillful enough bullshit artist that he got the public to believe he was their savior.  He positioned himself as the way out of their predicament, when in fact his predatory practices caused it.

Holy chutzpah, Batman!  Even now, he’s considered to be this great patriarch, a wise and magnanimous guy who helped out those starving Africans.  This is all despite a colossal profiteering scheme involving price gouging, crashing the economy, and cheating a nation’s citizens out of everything they had.

If the story that the Bible tells is true, Joseph and the Pharaoh were some of the worst kleptocrats of the Bronze Age.  Ancient warfare got pretty bad.  Sometimes foreign conquerors would plunder a defeated country, or shake down the helpless population with a heavy tribute.  (The Mongol Yoke is a classic example of this.)  However, a king oppressing his own citizens that badly is just a little much.  A responsible leader doesn’t exploit the people.  Anyway, all that’s another discussion; stay tuned.

Did this actually happen?

It’s doubtful the story is true, at least in any substantial sense.  Egyptian records (which are pretty thorough) describe nothing like that.  Neither are there any chronicles from abroad corroborating these events, other than the Old Testament itself.  However, there could be a slim chance that the Egyptians finally got wise to that, pronounced damnatio memoriae on the corrupt Pharaoh and the scheming foreigner, and edited this sordid episode out of their history.

Aside from that, the Nile floods every spring, bringing fresh water and runoff from as far away as Uganda.  The Egyptians then got to plant on fields enriched by a new layer of mud.  America’s Midwestern farmers could only dream about this kind of climactic regularity.  It seems a little improbable for there to be a seven year long Dust Bowl on the fertile banks of the Nile.

This seems to have taken place at the beginning of Egypt’s “New Kingdom” era when they got expansionistic and took over the Levant.  Canaan (later Israel / Palestine) is also mentioned suffering from the same problems.  This new province of Egypt was the western part of the Fertile Crescent (considerably more hospitable than now).  They had their own agriculture; that’s the first place farming got started.  It was a separate climactic region with different characteristics than the Nile Valley.  They also had access to neighboring kingdoms – the Hittites, Mitanni, and Babylonians – who could’ve sold them food if needed and undercut exorbitant government prices.

Furthermore, it would’ve taken an unprecedented granary capacity for that scheme to work.  Also, it’s unlikely for grain to stay reasonably fresh for seven years, which is how long the crisis supposedly lasted.  Without advanced technology, it probably would’ve gone bad in half that time, or less.

Lastly – assuming God inspired the correct dream interpretation and it wasn’t just a lucky guess – why did Joseph get away with using the information maliciously?  He could’ve been struck by lightning, turned into an ant, infected with leprosy, or gotten the old-fashioned slow roast.  Some other parts of the Old Testament show people arguing with God, or even trying to pull a fast one on Him.  Sometimes it even works, but I think that Heavenly Father actually is a little smarter than that.  This story wouldn’t have worked in Greek mythology; someone who committed hubris would’ve gotten a can of whup-ass opened up on him in a hurry.

The Book of Genesis is basically right about some parts.  However, I’ll have to conclude that this part of it was either a fable, or substantially embellished.  Perhaps it was made up by someone who knew the rudiments of commodity manipulation, then wrote a yarn about how their great patriarch gypped those Egyptian peasants and they even loved him for it.

If it was partially true, I would suspect there was substantial spin doctoring.  Those types think that they’re wonderful people, oblivious to the resentment generated by their behavior.  Even if they’re aware of the conditions they caused, the public matters nothing to them.  If the people get wise and retaliate, they think they’re being terribly wronged and can’t understand what they possibly did to deserve it.  Well, bless their hearts.

The Biblical Joseph was a crooked politician who stole everything from the people, even their freedom

A brief and highly irreverent biography of Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith, the founder of my religion, has a reputation of being a 19th century con man.  I certainly won’t argue the point, as I’m pretty much a heathen, and just a Mormon by technicality.  This isn’t exhaustive, but rather a few highlights of his career.  Actually, he got started early with the bullshit artistry.

In his younger days, he was a “money digger“.  He didn’t have a metal detector, but fortunately he had a magic peepstone to see through dirt.  There was just one problem – whenever his shovel touched a treasure chest underground, immediately it sank deeper.  Silly pirates – always burying their booty in quicksand!  People were more superstitious nearly two centuries ago, and believing in folk magic stuff wasn’t too unusual, but that only went so far.  In 1826, “Joseph Smith the Glass Looker” got arrested for fraud.

Later, Smith got into the religion racket, finding it (as L. Ron Hubbard did much later) to be considerably more profitable.  Another thing he had in common with Scientology’s founder was a very active imagination.  Some others, though, might say that he’d dropped too much LDS.

Smith called a couple other magic peepstones the “Urim and Thummim”.  He’d drop a crystal ball into his hat, stick his face in the hat, and start reciting the Book of Mormon.  This way, he didn’t even have to look at the Golden Plates to translate them, or page through an Aztec dictionary.  That’s how the book that Mark Twain called “chloroform in print” came into being.  I’ll have to admit, Hubbard was the better writer of the two.

Then there was the Kirtland Safety Society swindle.  Joseph Smith tried to start a bank, and had paper money all printed up and ready to go.  The Prophet was surprised to find that its charter got denied.  (Gosh, I wonder why the state rejected it?  He thought they were just being prejudiced.)  Still, he went ahead with it anyway, despite its unlicensed status.  He had the funny money stamped over, so that the “Kirtland Safety Society BANK” bills read “anti BANK ing” instead.  It wasn’t really a bank, because he didn’t call it one!  Clever, huh?

Fractional reserve banking is a tricky business, of course, even when it’s “anti-bank-ing”.  They filled chests with rocks, then scattered a thin layer of coins over the rocks.  After a look in the vault, prospective customers were convinced it was quite solvent indeed, a great place to deposit their money.  Things didn’t end so well – what a shocker!  Come to think of it, Joseph Smith should’ve asked some Indians for advice; surely these Lamanites had inherited a knack for high finance from their forefathers.  With the tribe’s help, running an “anti-bank” would’ve been a piece of cake…

So the Kirtland Safety Society went belly-up from illiquidity, $100K in the hole and sued nine ways from Sunday.  According to one inflation calculator I found, in 1837, a hundred grand then would be the equivalent of $2.2 million now.  Back then, Americans didn’t use funny money from that tricky Federal Reserve.  Your great grandparents had real money – gold dollars!  I suspect it’s actually inflated considerably more than a 22:1 ratio after we switched to paper money.  In the 1800s, fifty cents was a decent grocery run.  Eleven bucks won’t buy much food these days.  Maybe the Federal Reserve is an “anti-bank-ing” venture too?

He dabbled in Egyptology too, and claimed to have deciphered their language, though the results were pretty embarrassing.  Still, that’s how we got the Book of Abraham, with some cool stuff like Planet Kolob.  There’s much more, but I won’t compile a list of Joseph Smith’s flaky deeds, as I could write a book about it.  In fact, others have done exactly that, and I doubt I could do better.

Anyway, all that bullshit artistry is something for bad Mormons like me to chuckle about.  At least he got more pussy than a cat shelter.  His notch count was even higher than mine, which is no mean feat.

Eventually things came to a bitter end for our first Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.  I figure it was inevitable.  Even if he hadn’t been shot in the Carthage jail, some other mob would’ve whacked him eventually.  That had nearly happened a few times before.  Church history basically says that he went like a lamb to the slaughter.  The truth is that he had a gun snuck into the jail, and he went out trading fire.  Somehow I like the real version better.  Maybe that means that he’s in Valhalla now?

Anyway, his birthday is coming up soon on December 23.  Be sure to raise a glass of Pay Lay Ale for Brother Joseph.

A brief and highly irreverent biography of Joseph Smith

Reconciling Genesis with science

Creationism states that God created heaven and earth, then plant and animal life, and finally mankind.  Science says the universe began with the Big Bang, then stellar formation, and eventually life evolved on Earth.  There has been considerable tension between the two viewpoints.  This spilled into politics ever since the Scopes trial.  Advances in biology, astronomy, and physics are bolstering the scientific explanation.  This causes distress for some religious people.  Not only do they feel embattled for having their views, some experience cognitive dissonance.

I’m a heathen, and mine isn’t the orthodox opinion.  By and large, I have no quarrel with Christianity, and I do understand their perspective.  Also, I have studied astronomy; actually, that’s a great way to apprehend the awe and majesty of the universe.  Hopefully the following might be helpful to some; take from it what you will.  It is not my object to debate the merits of religion or which is best.  Rather, I wish to present a path of understanding for believers struggling to reconcile religion with science.

Literalism isn’t the only way to go

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
— Matthew 13:13

A major problem with reconciling Scripture with science is the assumption that the Bible must be taken completely literally, most typical of fundamentalism.  Unlike the Quran, there’s nothing in the Bible that states that every last word is straight from God.  Some parts of the Bible are historical, but some others are most certainly meant as allegorically.  For instance, the New Testament parables are allegorical; they wouldn’t be meaningful otherwise.  The fundamentalist interpretation isn’t the only one.

Considering Genesis as a creation myth settles these problems.  This isn’t to say Genesis is all wrong.  A myth is not a fairy tale; rather, it’s a symbolic story containing a rich deeper meaning.  They aren’t literal narratives; the truth is in that deeper meaning.  We heathens understood what myths were all about, and came up with many of our own back in the day.

Many events in Genesis are quite similar to the creation myths of neighboring Semitic peoples.  This doesn’t diminish from the importance of the Bible.  New religions usually develop from earlier sources; this is quite common.  It’s no problem to consider the Bible as the inspired words of ancient Levantine prophets, some of them hearkening back to earlier Mesopotamian sources.  The Bible certainly has meaning, even if it didn’t just float down from the sky on a cloud.

Let there be enlightenment

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
— Genesis 1:1

One big problem reconciling science with Genesis is that geology tells us the world is about 4.5 billion years old, beginning shortly after the sun formed.  As for the universe itself, the latest astronomical consensus is that the Big Bang happened thirteen billion years or so ago.  The science is pretty solid on this.

As for the Biblical account, Creation took place in six days.  By Archbishop Ussher’s reckoning, this happened in 4004 BC.  This contradicts paleontology, since fossils of many organisms – trilobites, dinosaurs, even ancient mankind – predates this quite significantly.

To resolve this, we should ask ourselves – what is a day to God?  Must it mean 24 hours of our time?  “Yom” in Hebrew often means a calendar day, but it can also mean an era.  So it’s not too much of a stretch to say a day during creation could span geological epochs.

As for the Big Bang, why couldn’t this be the very process that God used to create the universe?  We’ll have to set aside the fundamentalist assumption that God micromanages everything.  Imagine playing SimGalaxy on several billion monitors for thirteen billion years – that’s an awful lot of micromanagement even for a deity!  The Bible doesn’t go into details about how the universe formed, so there are really no contradictions to resolve.

What initiated the Big Bang remains a mystery for everyone.  Science proposes a great quantum fluctuation.  There’s no explanation thus far of how there came to be a chasm of cosmic nothingness where a random quantum fluctuation could cause a universe to spill forth from nothing.  If you’d like to consider it an act of God, why not?

Be that as it may, it certainly seems the universe was arranged to support life.  Without going into a long digression about ratios of physics constants, we have exactly the right balance to have stellar formation (the gravitational constant), and another fine balance allows molecular formation (the ratio of the strong atomic force, causing nuclear cohesion, to the weak nuclear force, causing radioactive decay).  Without stars and chemistry, life wouldn’t exist.  The balance is extremely delicate; you’re a lot more likely to win Powerball twice in a row than for these constants to be just right at random.

The rejoinder to this is the multiverse concept and the anthropic principle.  The former postulates that there are an infinite number of universes out there.  the anthropic principle basically states that we just so happen to be in the right universe, otherwise we wouldn’t be discussing this.  Since no other universes have been observed, and you can’t test this in a lab, the science is pretty shaky, so you can’t even properly call it a theory.  Again, you’d have to have a lot of faith to believe all this was all a lucky coincidence.

When the sun was young, rocks and dust and gas from space swirled around and formed common centers of gravity, falling inward and forming planets.  Surely it must have been a very amazing time, with meteors falling through the smoky, dust-choked gloom and striking bubbling lava fields.  Eventually order rose from chaos.  It’s not a huge stretch to say that Genesis 1:2-10 could be an approximate account of the world coalescing during the Hadean Eon.  That process was a slow one, beginning about 4.5 billion years ago, taking 500 million years to wrap up.

Evolution isn’t evil

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
— Genesis 1:2

Many religious people have a problem with Darwinism.  The theory has much going for it; natural selection works, and it’s actually quite intuitive.  If God wanted evolution to be part of the plan to produce millions of species, rather than micromanaging everything into being, why not?  Also, there’s no reason that divine Providence couldn’t nudge things here or there as necessary.  Darwin himself allowed wiggle room for that.

Around the end of Hadean Eon – as the world was no longer quite such a hellish wasteland – life began.  Science agrees that life formed in the oceans.  It’s no accident that the pH level of blood is pretty much the same as that of seawater.  Eventually there were prokaryotes, the first microorganisms.  The specifics aren’t very clear.  As for how sea foam or mud at the bottom of the ocean or whatever could become a functional self-replicating cell with DNA, there are lots of missing pieces.  It seems a bit improbable that everything just came together randomly.

So this happened soon after the world became habitable, but apparently life hasn’t emerged spontaneously since then.  If life could easily form from any old mud puddle, then we’d observe many phyla of organisms with DNA and biochemistry obviously unrelated to anything else, as if they were alien life forms.  Other organisms might have right-helix DNA, or even some completely different genetic encoding method.  If you wish to believe that the Holy Spirit oversaw the process of putting together the first cell, that’s really about as good an explanation as any so far.

Chloroplasts emerged about half a billion years later, the basic element for plant life.  Chlorophyll is a very interesting molecule, using solar energy – on a quantum level, so I understand – to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen while nourishing the plant.  There was a great quantity of it in the beginning.  Much like neighboring Venus and Mars, Earth’s atmosphere once had high levels of carbon dioxide.  It took about a billion years for oceanic algae to oxygenate the atmosphere, paving the way for animal life, which has since then been a great ecological equilibrium.

Eukaryotes began to dominate, a more sophisticated type of cell with more structure and multiple chromosomes.  Eventually, multi-cellular organisms appeared, the first quite simple.  After that, things really took off.  About half a billion years ago, life took root on land.  All that corresponds to Genesis 1:25-26, though it will have to be considered figuratively.

Hey hey, we’re the monkeys

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
— Genesis 1:27

This is a big sticking point between religion and science.  According to science, humans have 98% of DNA in common with chimpanzees.  Other primates have a more distant genetic relationship.  Still, the thought that we’re related to chattering apes who fling poop is a rather disturbing one.

So what is meant by God creating man in His image?  Fundamentalists might consider God as an old man in the sky with a long, gray beard.  However, that’s not the only possible viewpoint.  If you write the name of God, YHVH, in Hebrew letters from top down (Chinese style) rather than the usual right to left, it forms a human stick figure.  Perhaps more to the point, humans have the power of reason.

One major genetic difference between apes and humans is that we have one less pair of chromosomes.  So two chromosomes fused, becoming our chromosome 2.  Changing chromosome structures is a random event, rare and quite risky.  So what happened here was the following:

  • A proto-chimpanzee had a chromosomal fusion that wasn’t fatal and didn’t cause serious problems.
  • Another of the opposite sex had a fusion on the same chromosomes in the same way, so they had compatible DNA.
  • They were around the same place at the same time to fall in love (well, you know).
  • Neither of the two had any recessive genetic problems that doomed the little tribe they created which eventually became humanity.

All that seems a bit improbable, but it did happen.  If you’d like to consider all this as a Providential tweak to evolution, you’re more than welcome to do so.  As for the story of forming Adam out of clay and Eve from Adam’s rib, that’s the best explanation the natural philosophers had for it at the time.  We heathens had quite a few similar explanations too.

We’re animals, but very sophisticated ones.  We can contemplate philosophy, write operas, form civilizations, launch spacecraft, build computers, and bake chocolate chip cookies.  Of course, it’s been quite a long road from cavemen banging rocks together.  Unlike other animals, we have the power of reason – something we have in common with God and the angels – and great power must be used responsibly.

in the Garden of Eden, baby

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it– Genesis 2:17

So now we’ll cover the Fall of Mankind.  After God created the world, soon after we wrecked everything.  God told Adam and Eve that they could raid the refrigerator all they wanted, but they’d better not touch that big lollipop on the coffee table, or else!  If you go by the literal meaning, it really looks like God set them up to fail.  It doesn’t take an omniscient deity to see what would happen next!  We’re left wondering how it was just for God to punish us eternally for breaking merely one rule.

Looking at it another way, the story is really about growing up.  Living in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were like children whose parents provide everything for them.  Upon adolescence, they started thinking for themselves and got rebellious.  One doesn’t exactly have to be Sigmund Freud to figure out what the snake and the forbidden fruit were all about.  After they became adults, Adam had to work and Eve had to raise children.

On another level, it explains how early mankind went from primordial innocence – being carefree cavemen – to a society relying on agriculture and family structure for its survival.  It also explains that we’re a little too curious for our own good, we make mistakes sometimes, and that we have moral responsibility for our decisions.  All told, Genesis is a powerful creation myth conveying many truths allegorically.

Finally, one might ask, if the prophets were under divine inspiration, why didn’t they describe things in scientifically accurate detail?  That wouldn’t have been possible.  The oldest parts of the Bible were written by Bronze Age hill people who didn’t have words to describe stellar formation, molecular biology, and so forth.  The ancient natural philosophers were cleverer than we often assume, but even they would’ve needed a lot of science they just didn’t have then to begin to grasp these concepts.  It makes sense that the Bible was written in a way that the common people would understand.

Reconciling Genesis with science