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The best revenge is to live well. - Oscar Wilde
SIN AND THE CONTROL SYSTEM
Why We Quote from the Mythologies of the New World
Since uniformitarian scholars do not believe in cataclysms and in the cosmic origins of religions, they can seldom catch a religion at the precise moment of its inception, but are forever condemned to begin their study at some point far down the line, after the transmogrifications of time have converted the object of their study into a veritable mishmash.
What they can do−and often in quite brilliant and thorough fashion−is to trace its concepts, rites and motifs to some other religion, to some other people, or to some other time. When they do this, however, they are not really solving the problem of origin; they are merely demonstrating how widespread the problem is.
To exclude−for everyone but the most rabid of diffusionists the possibility of tracing the "origins" of the concepts we are discussing to the Egyptians, or to the Canaanites, or to the Babylonians, or to the Sumerians, we will give examples of them not only from the literatures of the Biblical world and the Greek world, but from that of the New World as well.
The Garden of Eden and the Destruction of the Golden Age
What did our ancestors believe had been the cause of these periodic cosmic catastrophes which we maintain were the starting points for many of the world's religions? Here we paraphrase some remarks of Velikovsky made during the course of a lecture at Columbia University:
So what was the reaction of man to these experiences? He felt guilty. This was his only hope. He−or his ancestors−had committed some sin. Now, if he were to change, maybe there would be some hope for his future.
And so we see repeatedly that after each catastrophe the survivors look for a new set of rules to follow. By doing this, they would become different, and there would be hope for their future.
Velikovsky is clearly implying that our ancestors believed that it was through their incorrect behavior that they had brought the catastrophes upon themselves. Is there any scriptural evidence to support this contention of Velikovsky?
Genesis 2-3 passim: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.". . .
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate ....
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, . . Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."
Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.". . .
Then the Lord God . . . sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.
He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
There are five elements in this passage which lead us to the conclusion that the garden of Eden−that is, the Golden Age−was destroyed by cosmic catastrophe:
The first is the sudden change of the climate from benign to harsh.
The second is that the people were driven into migration, a phenomenon normally associated with cataclysm.
The third is the presence of the cherubim. Cherubim are angels, and angels were originally personified celestial prodigies. /Cf. WIC, "The Archangels."
The fourth is the sudden replacement of innocence by sin and guilt. This cataclysmic mutation of the psyche must have been provoked by a correspondingly cataclysmic mutation of the physical environment.
The fifth is the nature of what Adam and Eve learned when they ate of the tree. They learned of the existence of good and evil−that is, they learned the true nature of the universe, that it is sometimes benevolent and sometimes malevolent. In religious terms, they learned that the same God who walked and talked with Adam in the cool of the evening could become−in one unpredictable moment−an angry and evil monster bent on the total destruction of his own creation.
Thus, for one brief instant, our ancestors−like Job−looked upon the Face of God. And like Job, they recoiled from the horror of what they had seen. The realization that the power that held them in the palm of its hand was evil was too painful to bear. It was less painful to take the evil upon themselves, and to believe that it was because of their evil that they were being punished by a righteous God. Only in this way could there be any hope of controlling a capricious and brutal universe, for now they could escape the wrath of God by doing what was right in His eyes.
It was at this moment−when our ancestors flinched in the face of reality and took upon themselves the evil of God−that sin and guilt were born, and religion came into existence.
Even so, the burden was great, and someday God would have to take it back upon himself, where it rightly belonged.
Thus we see that the Bible tells the old story backward. Adam and Eve were not driven out of Eden because they had sinned; they assumed that they had sinned because they had been driven out.
Since the story of a Golden Age appears in widely scattered regions of the globe, there must have been at one time an extremely broad bank of benign climate with little seasonal variation. As Velikovsky has suggested somewhere, this effect could have been produced by an extremely vertical position of the earth's axis.
Genesis 6.11, 13; 7. I: Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence.
And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
Then the Lord said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation."
The cause of the deluge was the sin of violence. The only survivors were the righteous Noah and his family. Thus has the collective amnesia shifted the consequences of catastrophe to the sinful, and spared the righteous.
It is precisely here−in the near annihilation of the human race by cosmic catastrophe−that we have the Origins of salvation for the righteous, and the remnant of the redeemed.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
Genesis 19 passim.. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground....
So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.
To discover the reason that Abraham and his people were spared, we turn back to Genesis 18. Here we read that when the Lord and his two angels visited Abraham and Sarah by the oaks of Mamre, the were greeted with hospitality. In Genesis 19, we read that when the two angels of destruction (those celestial prodigies again:) visited Lot and his family in Sodom, they were again received with hospitality. The Sodomites, on the other hand, were extremely inhospitable. Salvation, therefore, was the reward for granting hospitality to strangers. We will return to this theme of hospitality when we examine Jesus' description of the Last Judgment.
In these passages we have an excellent example of one of the favorite devices of the collective amnesia−converting the cataclysmic approaches of heavenly bodies into friendly visits by the gods to the "good” people. (If this seems a little startling, the reader should remember that cataclysms tend to be interpreted by their survivors, not by their victims.)
Baucis and Philemon
Long, long ago, Jove in his mortal dress
They knocked for shelter at a thousand homes
Old Baucis and wife Philemon survived.
[The old couple make Jove and Hermes (Jupiter and Mercury) welcome, and prepare them a humble meal of bacon, olives, cherries, wine, lettuce, cottage cheese, radishes, and baked eggs.
When the wine bowl becomes empty, it fills again by magic. This reveals to the old couple that their guests are no ordinary mortals. Determined to offer them a more fitting repast, they attempt to chase down their old "watch-dog" goose, but it takes refuge in Jove's lap.]
'Don't murder the poor goose; we're gods on earth,'
Staggering on crutches Baucis, Philemon
A flood rose over everything in sight,
/Ovid, The Metamorphoses, trans. Horace Gregory (New York, 1958), Book VIII, pp. 226-29./
Again that weird pinpoint accuracy of the cataclysm in picking off the wicked and sparing the innocent. Again, salvation through hospitality. Again the cataclysmic approaches of heavenly bodies converted into friendly visits by the gods to the "good" people.
Vucub-Caquix and the Destruction of the Men of Wood
Popol Vuh 1.3: Immediately the wooden figures were annihilated, destroyed, broken up, and killed . . . those that they had made, that they had created, did not think, did not speak with their Creator, their Maker. And for this reason they were killed, they were deluged. A heavy resin fell from the sky....
This was to punish them because they had not thought of their mother, nor their father, the Heart of Heaven, called Huracan. And for this reason the face of the earth was darkened and a black rain began to fall, by day and by night....
1.4: It was cloudy and twilight then on the face of the earth. There was no sun yet. Nevertheless, there was a being called Vucub-Caquix who was very proud of himself.
The sky and the earth existed, but the faces of the sun and the moon were covered.
And he [Vucub-Caquix] said: I shall now be great above all the beings created and formed. I am the sun, the light, the moon," he exclaimed. "Great is my splendor. Because of me men shall walk and conquer. For my eyes are ... bright ... ; my teeth shine like precious stones .... My nose shines afar like the moon, my throne is of silver, and the face of the earth is lighted when I pass before my throne.
"So, then, I am the sun, I am the moon, for all mankind. So shall it be, because I can see very far.". . .
And all this happened when the flood came because of the wooden people.
Here we have−separated by eight thousand miles and an ocean from the land of the Bible−the same concept of destruction because of sin, and the same operation of the collective amnesia in shifting the consequences of catastrophe to other people−from the righteous "men of maize" to the sinful and half-human "men of wood."
How can this be? For the simple reason that the New World and the Old World had two important things in common in the year of 1500 B.C.−the cataclysmic visit of the Venus-comet and the response of the human mind to it.
The "resin" which fell from the sky is, of course, the sticky bitumen which precipitated from the clouds in which Venus enveloped the earth. This bitumen was the prototype of the aromatic gums and resins which the American Indians burn unto their gods to this very day.
Vucub-Caquix is the brilliant head of the comet−the demonic agent of the destruction and one of the American counterparts of the Canaanitic Helel, prototype of Isaiah's Lucifer.
The Plague of Thebes and the Black Death
Oedipus: O children, last born stock of ancient Cadmus,
Priest: O Oedipus, ruler of my land, you see
The city, as you see,
now shakes too greatly
And on the barren birth pangs of the women.
Creon: May I tell you what I heard from the god?
Oedipus: With what purgation? What kind of misfortune?
Creon: Banish the man, or quit slaughter with slaughter
Oedipus: Who is this man whose fate the god reveals?
/Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, trans. A. Cook, in Ten Greek Plays, ed. L. R. Lind (Boston, 1957), pp. 117-20./
Note the reversal of the situation described in previous citations. We are not dealing here with a cosmic catastrophe but with a terrestrial one, and it is the victims of the disaster who are interpreting events. No longer is it the great mass of mankind which has sinned and been destroyed by the catastrophe thus provoked while the righteous remnant survives. Here the collective is obeying every rule of the control system, and its administrators−the priests−are working overtime. Yet the plague continues and the collective is being punished for the sins of one man.
Thus sin has become individualized, and it consists in breaking the rules of the control system and thereby subjecting the collective to the anger of the gods and to disaster.
But the Oedipus Rex is literature, and the oracle has−with admirable nicety−pointed out the one man responsible for the plague. Let us now take a peek at grim reality:
During the fourteenth century, in Europe alone, twenty-five million persons perished .... During epidemics of the plague the medieval cities were in an indescribably horrible condition. The dead and dying blocked the streets. . . . Among the dying multitudes there were scenes of courage, devotion, and self-sacrifice .... There were scenes, too, of the most despicable brutality as the people sought to find an escape in their panic by the torture and execution of the Jews. . . . They were accused of causing the plague by poisoning the wells. In some places they were systematically murdered or driven to their death by persecution. In Mayence 12,000 threw themselves into fires kindled to bum them.
H. W. Haggard,
M.D., Devils, Drugs and
It is not obvious that the ostensible reason for the execution of the Jews is merely a camouflaging of the real reason? The Jews have brought this disaster upon the collective by their refusal to subscribe to the gods, premises, and rules of the prevailing control system. And herein lies the origin of the witchhunt and the pogrom.
The Man who Picked up Sticks on the Sabbath
Numbers 15.32-36: While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been made plain what should be done to him. And the Lord said to Moses, "The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp." And all the congregation brought him outside the camp, and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.
It is passages such as this that constitute one of the primary scriptural sources of anti-Semitism. But the summary treatment accorded this poor fellow was not a manifestation of some peculiar defect in the character of the ancient Israelites. Like Oedipus, he had broken the rules of the control system, and was thereby placing the entire collective in imminent danger of catastrophe.
Note that the collective did not know automatically what the penalty for this act should be. This implies an imperfect state of the control system in that not all the rules and penalties had yet been codified. Thus the code was an expanding structure, reacting constantly to the blows of harsh reality and to the desire to cover all possible ways of displeasing God. The reader has only to leaf through the Pentateuch to catch a glimpse of the elaborateness which the rules of the control system were ultimately to attain.
It is clear that the offender did not know the penalty for his sin. Since no one thought to ask him, it is not even clear that he knew he had sinned. Would it have made any difference if he had not known? Probably not. Remember that Oedipus did not know that he had killed his father and slept with his mother. Besides, "ignorance of the law is no excuse."
The Contract and the Coming of the Priesthood
The founding charter of the control system is a contract between the collective and the universe−or rather between the collective and the god or gods into which it has personified the universe. In the case of the Israelites, fortunately, it was a written contract of which a copy is still extant:
Exodus 15.25-26: There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he proved them, saying, "If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord, your healer."
But who is to determine what "right" is and what God's commandments and statutes are, and what constitutes their proper observance? The experts, of course−the members of the priesthood.
And it is here−in its role as administrator of the control system that we have the origin of the power of the priesthood.
Why the Sinner Must be Punished
But if God is just and righteous, then why−as in the case of a plague, for example− must the innocent collective suffer for the sins of one man, or even for those of the strangers within the gates?
For answer, we will not turn to the uniformitarian psychiatrists, scholars and theologians. They have imbibed far too freely of the waters of Lethe to be of any help to us here. Let us go back twenty-four hundred years and question the ancient Greeks on the matter:
Creon: May I tell you what I heard from the god?
Lord Phoebus clearly
bids us to drive out,
Oedipus: With what purgation? What kind of misfortune?
Creon: Banish the man, or quit slaughter with slaughter In cleansing, since this blood rains on the state.
It appears, then, that the collective is not innocent after all. It has been "nourishing" a "pollution" in its midst. The logic is inexorable. Unless the collective takes the evil upon itself−just as Adam and Eve did−it remains with God. He is then seen to be capricious and brutal, and there is no longer any hope of controlling him. And this is precisely what the collective cannot face.
It also appears that God−being just−wants the punishment to match the crime−"slaughter" for "slaughter." Thus when in time of calamity the collective butchers the strangers in its midst, it is carrying out the will of God.
It is enough to chill the marrow of the bones, but there it is.
Equally instructive is an analogous situation that occurs in the body of science. The world view of modern science−that is, of uniformitarian science−is that the universe operates in accord with laws of its own. These laws can be detected and formulated and, through their application to nature in the form of technology, the human race can make infinite progress in a stable and orderly solar system.
The premises of science are only partially false. It can, indeed, ensure a relative degree of control over terrestrial forces, but since a cosmic catastrophe occurred less than three thousand years ago, it cannot, despite all its claims to the contrary, assure us that the solar system will remain as stable in the future as it is at the present time.
One of the primary responsibilities of science is to examine reality and report its findings to the collective. When−with the adoption in the last century of the false dogma of uniformitarianism−science ceased doing this, it ceased being true science and the scientists ceased being true scientists. We will explore elsewhere the reasons for this abnegation of responsibility.
Nevertheless, like other control systems, science does supply the collective with the illusion of control.
Once a control system is established in a literate collective, its administrative personnel−to the extent possible and considered necessary−proceed to rewrite the history of the collective to bring it into harmony with the premises of the control system.
Modern Science Rewrites History
Since one of the major premises of the control system operated by modern science is fallacious, its administrators are under a terrible compulsion to rewrite history to make it accord with their false dogma. This dogma states that the solar system was stabilized into its present order long before the advent of man, and that, therefore, no cosmic catastrophes can have occurred to the human race. It states further that the heavenly bodies are so neatly separated by Newton's laws that no such catastrophe is likely to occur in the foreseeable future. The astronomers readily admit that one will occur four billion years from now when the sun enters a new phase of its evolution, but they have no fear that this prospect will shake the faith of the people in their declaration that the universe is essentially benevolent.
Now, it so happens that one of the most convincing pieces of evidence that Velikovsky has presented to show that Venus has not always been in her present orbit is the so-called "Venus tablets of Ammizaduga." These tablets present a series of Babylonian observations of the movements of Venus which are not at all in accord with her present movement.
How does the reader suppose that the astronomers and scholars have reacted to these tablets? Were they, perchance, moved by their respect for Babylonian astronomy to undertake an "agonizing reappraisal" of their precious uniformitarian dogma? Let us see just how they did react:
"The period between the heliacal setting of Venus and its rise is 72 days. But in the Babylonian-Assyrian astrological texts, the period varies from one month to five months−too long and too short: the observations were defective.". . .
"The impossible interval shows that the data are not trustworthy."
"Obviously, the days of the month have been mixed up. As the impossible intervals show, the months are also wrong." /WIC, "Venus Moves Irregularly."/
But this is not precisely rewriting history. This is more on the order of calling the Babylonian astronomers stupid. Let us now look at an actual attempt to rewrite the Venus tablets:
. . . The compiler or copyist has in the numbers of the months taken for m last one unit too little (I instead of II) and has added this quantity to the number of the month of e first (IV instead of V). By a similar error he has taken two tens too little in the number of the day for m last, and has added these to e first. Afterwards he has found the difference between the false dates of the two phenomena: an interval of five months sixteen days instead of the correct difference, two months six days. The observation, thus restored, is excellent and with Ammizaduga 5 the best at superior conjunction. (From The Venus Tablets of Ammizaduga, S. Langdon, and J. K. Fotheringham, Oxford, 1928, pp. 105-106.)
/ Cited in Pensee V (Volume 3, Number 3, Fall 1973), p. 38. /
Now let us read the comments of Professor Lynn E. Rose upon this remarkable performance:
Note the ease with which LFS [ Langdon, Fotheringham, Schoch] can take away a month here, add a month there, take away 20 days here, and add 20 days there, all for the sake of reconciling the text with modem observations of what Venus appears to be doing. This is what I called playing the uniformitarian game. They don't want any five month invisibilities, so, when the ancient texts report one, they rewrite those texts so that it isn't there anymore and so that what is there will be in accord with modem observations. Then, after the surgery has been completed, they find, to no one's surprise, that "the observation, thus restored, is excellent."
/ Ibid., pp. 39-40. /
But such acts of mathematical legerdemain are far from constituting the principal way in which uniformitarian science rewrites history.
If there is one thing above all others that we would like the reader to learn from this essay, it is that our sacred texts, our mythologies, and our folklores−as transmuted by the collective amnesia as they may be−contain the pre-scientific history of the human race.
Now, uniformitarian science does not really go to the trouble of actually rewriting all this history. With all the weight of its enormous prestige behind its pronouncement, it simply declares that the stories we find in religious texts, mythologies and folklores are little more than the confused but charming product of the primitive and childlike minds of our ancient ancestors who were obviously incapable of making accurate observations of the phenomena of nature.
In other words, science simply pronounces the ancient history of the human race to be non-history. In this way, the control system is then made more secure; and hence we can see the psychological roots of the resistance of both orthodox religion and science to Velikovsky's dredging up of buried memories.
The Extension of the Control System
The need for the control system was created by cosmic catastrophe. Now, if the coverage of the system had been restricted to the staving off of cosmic catastrophe, it would have fared very well at the hands of its confrontations with reality. Each near miss of Venus, or of Mars, or of a comet would have supplied overwhelming proof of the efficacy of the system. And even when disaster did strike, the administrators would have found it relatively easy to "prove" that somebody had broken one or more of the rules. (Indeed, perhaps we have here one of the very reasons for constantly adding to these miles.) Further, when the disaster had finally run its course−as it always did−the control system could then take credit for having brought about this fervently desired result.
Unfortunately, however, the coverage of the system was extended to terrestrial calamities− both major and minor−to war, famine, plague, locusts, leprosy, and even the welfare of the Jewish state. The logic behind this extension was straightforward enough. The God who had destroyed the crops of Egypt could turn out some bounteous harvests−if he so desired. The God who had drowned the Egyptian army could surely protect his chosen people from the Amalekites, and the Canaanites, and the Edomites, and the Moabites, and the Ammonites, and the Philistines, and even from the mighty hordes of Assyria and Babylon. The God who had put his people through the tortures of the damned to bring them at last into their Promised Land would surely not allow them to be hauled away into captivity by their enemies−unless, of course, they were to commit some sin of such enormity as to deserve it.
As a result of this overextension, the control system will actually fare rather poorly in its daily confrontations with reality, for it will eventually become apparent to all but the most obtuse−and, naturally, to the holders of office in the system−that the thing is not really working very well at all.
Thus disillusionment sets in, and perspicacious and bold individuals−voicing the general malaise of the people−will stand up and challenge the very premises of the system.
As to some of the manifestations of this disillusionment, and the careers of some of the challengers−that is another story.
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