Archive for Money

The Assassin’s Creed, Part 1

Posted in All, Economics, Miscellaneous, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by marushiadark

“Only a mind free of impediments is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world.  This is our greatest asset … It presents us with challenges, yes, but freedom yields greater rewards than the alternative.” ~ Altair, Assassin’s Creed.

In my post on chakras, I mentioned that I often lose faith in humanity; but that, once in a while, someone will come along and restore it and remind me that I’m on the right track.  The brilliant minds over at Ubisoft responsible for the Assassin’s Creed series are another such group of people.

For those who don’t know what it is, you can check out the Assassin’s Creed wiki, or play the games yourself.

Suffice to say, it involves global conspiracies throughout history that are well-researched and quite plausible, in my opinion.  It’s a work of fiction, of course; but much like the works of Dan Brown, I doubt such stories could be made believably if there weren’t a great deal of truth to the subject matter.

The main idea behind Assassin’s Creed is that there are two overarching factions at work: the Templars, who seek to control everyone and everything in an Orwellian oligarchy, and the Assassins, who seek to restore freedom and sovereignty to the individual.  Over the years, these two sides go by different names, have different faces, and use different methods, but the core ideas of order versus chaos, control versus freedom still prevail.

The Assassin’s Guild has its own rules and hierarchy, but these are much more general and loosely defined in what is known as The Assassin’s Creed.

“Justice is balance.  You burnt my house and left me for dead.  Consider us even.” ~ Raz Al-Ghul.

Like many factions, both real and fictitious, the Assassins see themselves as the agents of natural law and divine justice.  They believe in balance above all things and the authority of the individual to act as judge, jury, and executioner in maintaining that balance.

Justice is balance, and the purpose of any system of justice should be to restore a situation to its proper state.  If a person’s property is damaged, justice demands that the offending party fix the property or pay fair compensation for the damage.  If something is taken, it must be returned.

In our modern society, prison does not always serve as appropriate punishment.  All prison really does is remove the person from society, but this does not always remove their criminal influence on society, nor does it guarantee their reform.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Goodfellas, you know that people of wealth and power can easily circumvent the rules to avoid truly paying off their debts by turning punishment into a luxury.  Thus, the power of the offender often determines the method by which justice is best applied.

One cannot undo rape or murder or reverse psychological trauma easily.  Thus, justice would demand that the individual be made to understand the severity of the damage caused in kind, so as to deter them from further damage in the future.  A rapist is sodomized, a murderer killed, and one who destroys a person’s life has their own destroyed.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, … that is true justice.

The word “justice” itself derives from Latin justistia, meaning “equitable.”  It is an economic term that refers to the application of natural law in determining the monetary value of something.  The term “equitable” relates to “equatable,” meaning that two things can be considered the same.  This is the basis of our entire monetary system.

There’s a reason Lady Justice is blindfolded and carries a sword and balance scales.

The blindfold suggests the impartiality and unbias of true justice in the ideal.  The sword represents execution on the law in a strict sense, which may literally include the execution of an individual in taking their life.  The balance scales are used in commerce and are the best visual metaphor of equity.  If you place a weight on one side, the scales very obviously tip to that side.  If you then place a weight on the other side, the scales will tip back the other way.  If the scales are not even, then the two sides are not equitable.

Mercy is altogether a different thing from justice.  In fact, mercy is the special allowance of an imbalance to exist.  For instance, it is normally wrong to take a life because this causes great pain, but it is generally considered more wrong to allow a person to suffer for a long period of time.  Thus, the idea of a mercy killing creates an exception to the rule because it serves a greater good.

The term “mercy” derives from Old French mercit, meaning “reward, gift, or kindness.”  Mercy is linked to the concept of forgiveness: “For I give.”

If you give a gift, you are relinquishing your right to something in exchange for nothing.  You are putting something on the scales and the other person isn’t.  You are creating an exception in ordinary rules of justice.

In the Mosaic Law, there was execution on the law and an emphasis on justice and equity, taking back what is rightfully yours.  When Christ came along, he placed great emphasis on justice, but a greater emphasis on forgiveness.  This is because forgiveness represents a superior position.  If you have an abundance of money or power or love, you can give of yourself without suffering any significant loss.  Taking is easy, giving is hard.  If you are constantly giving, the other party will have no need to take from you, nor can they, as you cannot take something that is given freely.

“Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent.” ~ First tenant of the Assassin’s Creed

In carrying out their charge, the Assassins employ a variety of techniques and practices, including the killing of those that cause harm to others.

As you can imagine, having such power to take life can be easily abused.  Towards that end, the first tenant of the Assassin’s Creed was developed, which cautions against the spilling of innocent blood.  More generally, this cautions against collateral damage of any kind, instructing members of the order to act only when it serves the greater good.

This is one of the few rules that differentiates the Assassins from the Templars.  Where the Templars are willing to do anything and everything to achieve power, without regards for those they hurt, the Assassins exercise restraint and mercy alongside their administration of divine justice.

The term “fungible goods” is used to refer to anything that is equivalent to another thing of the same kind.  For instance, all one-dollar bills are worth the same amount.  It is generally assumed that all things of a kind (an eye, a tooth, a life) are fungible goods.  In the administration of justice, it is sometimes necessary to distinguish something as not being fungible. For instance, you cannot refuse a dollar bill as payment unless you can prove that it is counterfeit and therefore worthless.

In law, human bodies are considered physical property of the soul and fungible as a general rule.  Of course, in practice, not all human beings are equal.  Some people have more to offer than others.  Some are better at a craft or are better teachers, etc.

In the case of capital punishment, the value of a murderer’s life is considered diminished because the vessel has a history of causing damage to other vessels.  If the body or mind cannot be restored to a state of health, the vessel must be destroyed to prevent further damage.  This is not unlike a car with faulty parts that tends to lean to the left and drive into on-coming traffic.  If the issue can’t be corrected, and no other value can be gained from the vehicle, the car must be removed from the road and destroyed.

This is what the Assassins do in carrying out divine justice – rounding up and destroying the vessels that damage other vessels, leaving all others to their own devices.  Just as you would not needlessly destroy a perfectly working automobile, so too does the first tenant of the Assassin’s Creed guard against the needless and unjustified destruction of innocent human beings.

Just as crushed cars are recycled, so too will the human body and mind be recycled by the universe.

However, unlike a car, human beings are self-correcting machines.  Given enough time, even the most vile of persons can come around.  Unfortunately, this could be several hundred years, which is enough to span several lifetimes.

Thus, it is a very delicate matter being an Assassin.  It requires great wisdom and experience to determine whether a person is too far-gone to be healed, if they are worth saving or too dangerous to be kept alive.  Because human beings are not yet at the point where we can restore life as easily as we can take it away, I think capital punishment should be reserved as a last resort and for those that are truly incurable.

K is for Karma

Posted in All, Economics, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by marushiadark

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” ~ Galatians 6:7

I’ve heard a lot of people tell me that the concept of karma isn’t expressed in the Bible, but I can’t think of a more concise definition of karma that than passage right there.  What you sow is what you reap.  So simple that even a child can understand, yet profound enough to have an impact on everything we do.  It’s also one of the few fundamental laws of the universe.  There aren’t very many absolutes in life, but causality, action-reaction, is one of them.  Everything has a cause and everything has an effect.  Nothing happens by accident.  If you had full and complete knowledge of a system’s causes, you could predict all its effects.

That’s really what karma is, except that karma tends to be more focused on the behaviors of human beings.  If you do something good, you’ll eventually be rewarded.  If you do something bad, you’ll eventually be punished.  And usually, that reward or punishment will be both in accordance with what you did and several times greater in yield.  Just as a single seed, overtime, can yield many fruits, each with many seeds of the same type, so too do our actions bear fruit.

In explaining the concept of karma, I’ve always found it helpful to think of karma as a form of spiritual currency.  Many of the same rules of currency can also be applied to karma.

For instance, say you get paid and are feeling really good about it.  You go to the bank and deposit your money into a savings account.  The bank then takes that money and lends it to someone else, so the money makes its way through the system.  The bank then collects interest on loans and transfers it to your savings account in the form of interest.  Now you have more money than you put into the system.  Conversely, when you take out a loan, the idea is that you borrow someone else’s money, use it to create something of value, and then repay the full amount with a little extra as the cost of doing business.  The extra value comes from having multiplied your commercial energy through the act of creation.  If you can’t pay your debts, then your creditors will add penalties and fees because they think you’re being irresponsible and squandering the money they gave you, so you must be taught a lesson.

When you do something for another person.  You are giving some of your own energy to that person.  They then take that energy and transfer it to someone else.  That energy goes into the system we call the universe, which has theoretically unlimited energy.  Eventually, some of that energy will come back to you through the deeds of other people or from the universe itself, usually with a bit more or at exactly the right time you need something.  So going things for others is like investing your energy into the Bank of the Universe and collecting interest on it.

Conversely, when you do something for yourself, it’s like taking out a loan.  You are borrowing energy from the universe to satisfy your own needs.  Hopefully, once those needs are met, you’ll be in a better position to give back that energy and contribute to serving others.  If you don’t, but instead squander that energy and use it to hurt others or deprive them, then eventually you will have to pay for what you’ve done with extra fees attached.

That is the basic principle of karma.  What you put in, you get out.  What you take out, you must put back in.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:23

I was listening to some audio lectures by Brandon Adams on commercial law.  One of the things he talked about is how the Bible can be seen through many lenses, one of which includes a commercial lens.

For instance, it’s said that Christ’s sacrifice has redeemed us.  What does it mean to redeem something?  If you have a coupon, you go and redeem it and get stuff.  Well, the redemption is basically a certificate that says the thing is prepaid, whether in part or in full.  It’s on someone else’s tab, a gift that you just have to accept.

Originally, we lived in a paradise called Eden, which was a commercial-free zone.  Everything we wanted was free for the taking, so long as we observed the rules that God set down.  The only rules at the time were be fruitful and multiply, take care of the earth and everything on it, and don’t touch the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge.  If the rules were broken, God would demand payment in blood.

Adam and Eve broke the rules by eating from the tree.  God said that the punishment for this would be payment in blood, but as we know, Adam and Eve didn’t die.  Instead, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, i.e. they entered a different jurisdiction of law.  They no longer had access to free stuff and were forced to labor (Gensis 3:16 for Eve and 3:17 for Adam) for things.  God revoked the privileges of Eden, but discharged the debt, off-setting it to a later date.  So Adam and Eve and their descendants could live for a while, but they still had to pay for the damages.  Originally, they offered fig leaves, but God, being the creditor, wanted payment in the form of blood sacrifice, so eventually, the two would have to die.  During the course of their lives, however, they and their descendants would have to offer up animal sacrifices.

Cain tried to offer fruits and vegetables, but that wasn’t an acceptable form of currency.  Abel, on the other hand, offered God an acceptable currency in the blood of lambs, and God favored Abel more.  So Cain slew Abel to pay his debts, but this damaged God’s property (our bodies are vessels of the soul) and so God demanded restitution.  So Cain’s fate became the same as that of Adam and Eve: banishment and labor.

Abraham offered payment to God in this form as well.  Eventually, following the Exodus, this became the standard ritual and God further contracted with mankind in the form of a covenant.  Basically, sin is a form of spiritual debt and must be repaid in blood, which is where we get such ideas as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  This is all balancing debts.

In Exodus 34:7, God declares that he is willing to offer mercy and forgiveness to those that have repaid their karmic debts, but that those who remain guilty, his wrath will extend to the man’s descendants.  Basically, this is the spiritual equivalent of life insurance.  If you have enough money saved up, your descendants will inherit when you die and receive a better start on life.  Likewise, if you leave the world in a better place than when you found it, future generations will reap the benefits.  Conversely, if you leave this world with a lot of debts, your family will suffer in paying your bills.  And unfortunately, we as humans have wracked up a lot of karmic debts over the course of thousands of years and the Bank of the Universe isn’t at all pleased with this.

So now we come to the time of Christ where Jesus volunteered his own life, taking on the sins (karmic debts) of the world.  He and God made a deal that Christ’s blood would replace the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament and serve as an extension of credit to the human race.  This is why Christ declares that his is the “blood of the new and everlasting covenant,” with the old covenant being “pay with the blood of animals or die.”

In dying for our sins, Christ gave us a great gift.  He settled our tab, as it were, and wiped the slate clean, balancing our karmic books and zeroing out all the accounts.  God would no longer demand blood sacrifice during the course of our lives.  The original debt had been paid.  So only new debts would affect us and it was our choice to put his gift to good use or squander it.  If we put it to good use, then we will eventually prove that we are responsible individuals worthy of returning to the commercial-free zone of Eden.  However, if we squander that gift, God will once again demand payment in blood and suffering.

Hierarchy of Law

Posted in All, Economics, Politics, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by marushiadark

“Then God said, ‘Let us create man in our own image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion … over all the earth and every other creeping thing that creeps upon on the earth.” ~ Genesis 1:26

In my last post, I talked about how we tend to identify with things that have nothing to do with who we really are, and how we are simply the observers on this universe.  It is important that we understand who we are and what are place is in the hierarchy of the universe.  If we don’t, then we become the slaves of our creations instead of their masters.  Many people are suffering at the hands of religions, governments, and corporations because they have forgotten that they are the creators and that our position is of higher authority.  It’s as though we are serving our spoons and our hammers.  To correct this, we need only remember our place in this world and who we are and then exercise our authority as true sovereigns.

So the most fundamental level is the level of God and the soul, which is the level of being.

From there, the soul may choose to create a mind to think and reason with, which may entail the temporary division of the mind into parts to create the illusion of separateness.  So now we have two levels: the level of the soul and the level of the mind.  We are a soul, but have a mind.

Of course, from this, we can infer that the mind in turn creates illusions and avatars in the form of a physical body.  So now we know there are at least three levels: soul, mind, and body.  We are a soul, but have a mind and a body.

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.” ~ Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 1-2

If you take something and someone else then claims it as their own, it’s common to retort, “Well, I didn’t see your name on it.”  Of course, we know that there is no such mark.  There’s nothing there to identify the object as being the property of any individual in particular, so it becomes fair game to all.  Yet in our everyday lives, we place so much identity and attachment to our names in reference to who we are.

When you were born, you didn’t come out of your mother’s womb with a UPC barcode on your body, did you?  There were no inherent identifying marks of any kind that could be misconstrued as labels stating who you are, were there?  Of course not.  So why is it that when asked, “Who are you?” we answer with our name?

A name is not something you have inherently.  It is something bestowed upon you by another.  And such a name can be different depending on who’s referring to you.  A child may call you “Mom.”  A parent may call you “Son.”  Your dog may call you “Arf.”  The IRS calls you by your Social Security Number “123-45-6789.”  These are all names given to you as a means of referring to you, but they aren’t you.  There’s not even a rule that says you have to have a name at all.  There’s no law that says you have to carry around any sort of identification of any kind just to walk down the street.

In that scene from the movie Shooter where the cop stops Bob Swagger and asks to see his ID, he could have just turned around and asked, “Are you suggesting I’m obligated to carry around ID with me?”  The cop would then have had to either let him go or prove that there was a law requiring him to carry ID.

In the spy business, agents rarely use their real names.  Those names are just NOCs the agency gives them.  Those names have no more to do with who those agents are than your birth name has anything to do with who you are.  Your name is something that you choose to use or not.  You can change it anytime you like.

You are a soul, you have a mind, a body, and a name.  This distinction is very important for anyone that considers themselves a free individual because, as you’ll soon see, a name is everything in law.

“Bob Marley isn’t my name.  I don’t even know my name yet.” ~ Bob Marley

Do you know what your name is and when you were born?  If you do, you must have a time machine or some sort of clairvoyant powers, because you weren’t alive at the time of your birth to know all that stuff.  What you think you know is the result of hearsay from your parents and others who were around at that time.  But you, yourself, don’t have first-hand knowledge of that.  So your name is, at best, an accepted designation; and your date of birth, at best, is an estimation.

Were you also aware that you have not one, but two names and dates of birth?  In the legal system, you actually represent two persons: a natural person and a legal person.

The word “person” in law is a tricky thing because it can refer to either a natural person or a legal person, and often there is no telling which is being used.  Usually, it applies to both.  You see, law is a very precise thing.  Every word, phrase, spelling, and punctuation mark changes the meaning of what is written.  For instance, the phrase “A young, bare man” has a totally different meaning from “A young bear-man.”  But if I were to say both sentences aloud, without you seeing the spelling and punctuation, it could get quite confusing.

Just as there are two types of person, there are also two types of law: common law (the law of the land) and admiralty law (the law of water).  Common law is common sense and is the law of flesh and blood human beings.  Admiralty law is maritime law and is the law of commerce, taxes, businesses, and corporations.  Each has its own jurisdiction.

The so-called natural person is the name given to the flesh and blood human being.  It’s written using proper English Grammar with a capital initial letter and the rest in lower-case, such as John Henry Doe.  The legal person, however, is the name of a corporation and is written in all caps, such as JOHN HENRY DOE.  If you don’t believe that, just go ask a lawyer or a judge.

If you look at your driver’s license, credit card, bank statement, Social Security card, or other such commercial documents, you will likely see that the name on the document is written in ALL CAPS.  This means that you are operating under the jurisdiction of commercial law, not common law, and the rules are very different between the two.

Knowing that, it begins to make sense how a burglar can enter someone’s house illegally and win at court because he got hurt, even though he’s the one at fault.  It’s because you’re fighting in common law and he’s fighting in admiralty, and because he’s the plaintiff coming forward with a claim, he gets to choose which court to play in.

But how did all this happen?  How did we get two names and two birth dates?

“Your birth is a mistake you’ll spend your whole life trying to correct.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, satirist

When a ship enters port, it travels down a canal, leaves the water, and is then placed onto dry land where the ship is then said to be “berthed.”  An officer of the State (such as a customs agent) will then ensure that the vessel is registered, complete with the ship’s name and date of berth.  He then gives the ship a registration number, which is recorded on a special piece of paper called a certificate of value and cargo manifest.  From that point on, the ship is subject to all the statutes and commercial laws of the jurisdiction that it’s in, so long as it resides in port.  In order to operate in commerce, the ship must obey these rules or it cannot do business.

What does that sound like to you?  Does that sound like something you’ve possibly heard of before?  No?  How about this.

Approximately nine months after your dad knocks up your mom, your body (a vessel for your soul) travels down your mother’s birth canal and leaves the water of the womb to enter onto dry land.  At this point, you have been birthed.  Shortly after, your mother will register the birth on a birth certificate and a State officer will file that with the county as proof of your manifestation into this world.  From that point on, you are subject to all the laws (commercial laws, that is) of whatever jurisdiction you were born in if you wish to do business and operate in commerce.

My, my, isn’t that interesting?  So does that mean your body is actually a commercial vessel subject to admiralty law?  It certainly sounds that way, doesn’t it?

“Like everyone else, you were born into bondage.  Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch.” ~ Morpheus

The 14th Amendment states that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.  Recall that I said “person” has a dual meaning, that it can refer to a natural person or a legal person.  Wal-Mart is a corporation, a legal person, and has all the same rights as a person like you or me.  Doesn’t that just make your blood boil?

All of the commercial documents that you get over the course of your lifetime, from bank accounts, to credit cards, to driver’s licenses (or any licenses) … they all require you to have a birth certificate.  And those that don’t usually require presentment of other documents that do.

The ALL CAPS name on your documents is, in fact, a corporation.  The birth certificate your mother registered is actually a unique piece of work.  It bridges the gap between natural person and legal person and is what created the legal person in the first place, allowing it all the rights and privileges under commercial law, according to the 14th Amendment. In the game of commerce, it’s your playing token.

Having a registered birth certificate is both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, being under admiralty law affords you certain rights and privileges.  You can own a business, have a bank account, take out a mortgage for a home, collect Social Security and Medicare benefits, etc.  On the other hand, it also means you have to pay taxes and avoid certain things like putting drugs into your body.  After all, the State doesn’t want anything to happen to your vessel while you’re in their port.  Damaged ships on their turf reflect a bad image and can be a potential threat to their property.  Why do you think illegal immigrants are such a concern for them?

But you can’t have it both ways.  Either you accept the pros with the cons, or you give it all up entirely.

It’s been said that ignorance of the law is no excuse.  That may be true if you’re talking about common law, where the only real rule you have to remember is don’t infringe upon the rights and/or property of others.  But when it comes to the 16,000,000 or so commercial laws and statutes, I think most people would say that ignorance of the law is every excuse, because it’s just too much information to keep track of.  Yet, if you don’t know how to play the commercial game, you’ll likely suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of those that do.

So you have two options.  Learn how to play the game properly, or stop playing.  Stopping is hard because so much of our society is based upon the commerce game.  However there are those that have gone and done this successfully.  Such people often form their own little communes away from civilization, away from commerce, technology, and all the trappings of modern life.

However, it would seem that a far more practical solution would be to learn the rules and enjoy the game as it was meant to be played so that we can take advantage of all the good things that modern life can offer us as well.

To do that, though, you must first realize who you really are.  You are a soul, which has a mind and a body.  The body has the name of a natural person and that natural person is then the player with the legal person being the game token.

You can think of the legal person as yet another avatar for your natural person, just like how a car acts as an avatar of your physical body, which is in turn the avatar of your soul.

I know that can sound quote complicated, but it’s really very simple.  Just remember that there is a hierarchy to all this: God / soul, mind, body, natural person (John Doe), legal person (JOHN DOE).  It’s really as simple as that.  No creation can be higher than its creator, so long as the creator is operating from a position of creator instead of a position of victim.  If you remember that you are a living soul and a part of God, then you are already three-quarters of the way to being totally free from the legal and corporate entities that we created down below.  The rest is just putting it into practice.

M is for Money

Posted in All, Economics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2010 by marushiadark

“So you think that money is the root of all evil.  Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?” ~ Ayn Rand

At the time of my writing this, I’ve yet to read Atlas Shrugged.  I think I might already know a great deal of what’s in it, much like when I first read The Lost Symbol.  However, at the insistence of my mother, and many others, apparently, I’ve made Atlas Shrugged the very next book on my reading list.

Even still, Ayn Rand makes a very good point.  What is money?  Have you ever really thought about it?

For most people, when you mention the word “money,” a lot of things come to mind.  To some, it means little green pieces of paper or metal with pictures of dead presidents on them.  For others, it may call to mind an image of the mint printing vast rolls of the stuff.  On the one hand, money can be the source of great stress and grief if we don’t have it, or great opportunity and abundance if we do.  Pious people avoid it like the plague, while people that have it are willing to do anything to get it and can’t seem to get enough of it.

Most of these are probably incomplete observations, made by equally  ill-informed observers.  I know that, for most of my own life, I kept having the wrong impression about money, and only recently am I beginning to see money for what it actually is.

But what is that, exactly?

The Uniform Commercial Code is the Bible of commercial law.  UCC Article 1, Section 201b, Line 24 gives the definition of money as it’s used throughout most of the world today:

“Money means a medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government.  The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more countries.”

In brief, money is simply a medium of exchange, an I.O.U.

When you play Monopoly, the paper is just there to help regulate how much you’re worth in comparison to the other players.  If you run out, the game even tells you to make more money out of regular paper, because it’s just a medium of exchange with no inherent value of its own.  Or if you play in digital form, it’s all done via electronic transfers and moving numbers around.  It’s Bookkeeping, the Game and boy do we love playing it!

If this were a barter system, we’d trade goods directly, like a camel for five bags of potatoes, or whatever we happened to agree was an equivalent exchange.

Money is just an indirect way of trading.  For instance, say I had a hat, but needed a pair of shoes.  I meet a man who needs a hat but has an extra pair of shoes.  So I trade him the hat for the shoes.  Now this man, some time later, needs to buy food.  He needs the food more than his hat, so he finds someone who will make the trade with him.  In that process, the hat was used as money because it was the medium that facilitated exchanges.

If we wanted, we could really use anything for money, as long as it was agreed upon by everyone involved; and in ancient times, that’s exactly what happened.

It used to be that money was more than just worthless paper.  When things like gold, silver, beads, shells, stones, and feathers were all used as money, the money itself had inherent value.  It could be used in trade, or kept by its possessor because it was worth something for its own merit.  Over time, certain things like copper, gold, and silver became more standardized as money because their value as a medium of exchange was more universally accepted among disparate cultures.  Eventually, people began to store, lend, and borrow coins and soon the first banks were formed.  From there, it was a short while before people started carrying around certificates that represented an amount of hard currency being kept in a vault somewhere.  And thus, we arrive at paper money.

The documentary Money as Debt elaborates more on this concept and gives a brief, allegorical history of the evolution of money.

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:10

Money is a form of power.  So it follows that the love of money is the love of power and of control over one’s self and others.  What we do with that power, however, is the determining factor.

Greed and lack are just flaws in perception.  The world is nothing but abundant with wealth and resources for all, and then some, yet this misguided belief of never having enough to survive is what leads people to commit both great and terrible acts in an effort to get more money.  Rest assured, it’s not the paper or the numbers that they want, but the power and the goods that said money represents, as you will see later on.

The cure for greed and the cure for poverty are one in the same: recognize that there is more than enough to go around for everyone and find a way to satisfy everyone at the table.

It is important to note that money is not, itself, a bad thing.  It’s just a tool, like a hammer or a pencil, that facilitates a purpose.  In the case of money, that purpose is to act as a catalyst for the trade of goods and services.  Just as guns don’t kill people, neither does money create problems.  It is only people that kill people or create problems.  How can money create something?  It’s just a tool.  Only divine beings, living souls, can create anything.

Without getting into too much detail, there is a principle in law that states that the created cannot be higher than the creator.  Who is the creator in this case?  We are.

We humans are the creators of every organization and institution on this planet, and we are the creators of governments and money.  They are our tools, our creations.  They have only the power and authority and value that we say they do or that we give to them; and we alone have the ability to revoke that power, authority, and value.  Whether we choose to abdicate our role as creator and be overrun by these Frankenstein monsters or not is our choice.  But eventually, the human race will be pushed to the breaking point unless it wakes the fuck up and remembers that the power was ours all along.

Like what Glinda, the good witch, tells Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz, you’ve had the power to go home all along.  It’s just that you weren’t in a position to accept or believe it, and so no one told you, but instead left you to figure it out for yourself.  Well, consider this your wake up call, with me giving you formal notice the power is yours.

“The man who has no money is poor, but one who has nothing but money is poorer.” ~ Orison Swett Marden, New Thought author

Return we now to the subject of paper money.  It’s really almost absurd how everyone knows that paper money is just worthless paper, and yet we still choose to rely on it for everything.  We covet it as though it were the secret of eternal life.  But why?  What makes paper money so valuable?

Recall that, in ancient times, people used mainly gold and silver as money in the form of bars or coins.  Bars and coins were used because they could be regulated in terms of weight and purity, but they were not without their flaws.  The most basic reason for switching to paper money was because it was lighter in weight and easier to carry around.  You could write up a certificate for really any amount of money that you wanted, so long as you had enough gold or silver somewhere to back it up.

For hundreds of years, it was the case that all certificates of this kind could be turned in any time the holder felt insecure and he would be given an amount of gold or silver equal to the amount that was written on the document.  What had value wasn’t so much the actual paper, but the confidence that it could be exchanged for something of worth.  And soon people began to trade these papers as though they were actual value.

If you look at the top of any American dollar bill, you will see the words “Federal Reserve Note” scrawled on it.  The word “note” in this case means a promissory note.  In other words, it’s a promise to pay.

If you’ve ever taken out a loan, you probably filled out a promissory note and gave it to your creditor or bank.  That promissory note is your promise to pay.  It’s your promise to them that they can redeem it for something of actual value.  With that confidence, the note can be exchanged as though it were actual currency.  They can trade it in for whatever it’s worth (which these days is just an extension of credit).

Things start to get interesting when you begin to realize that all cash is just a promissory note.  What we think of money is really just our promise that the holder will get something in return for it.

More interesting still is that, if you look at a dollar bill, it no longer says “redeemable in gold or silver.”  Prior to 1933, all dollars were promises of payment in either gold (which was standard) or silver to the holder.  So what happened in 1933?

“What difference does it make how much money you have?  What you do not have amounts to much more.” ~ Seneca

For a more in-depth history, I would recommend the documentary The Money Masters, but suffice to say that the history of America has really been one of banking and trying to avoid central banks, in particular.  The Founding Fathers resisted the Bank of England and wrote into the Constitution the power of Congress to coin money and to regulate its value.  And our country managed to survive well enough without a central bank for over a hundred years.  Since our inception, private international banks have tried to get Congress to give over that power to them and, in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson finally caved with the signing of the Federal Reserve Act.  From then on, the Federal Reserve (a private international bank) would be the sole creator of all the currency used to fund the government, which it lent to us at interest.

Prior to 1933, the United States was on a gold standard and most of its currency was backed by gold.  In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered a seizure of all the gold held by private citizens in an effort to pay off the national debt.  With the signing of HJR 192 on June 5, 1933, the use of promissory notes backed by gold was ended and a new form of currency replaced it: the Federal Reserve Note.

Federal Reserve Notes (which replaced United States Notes) are what’s known as fiat currency.  Fiat means that is isn’t backed by a commodity (like gold), but has value because of government decree.  It has value because the government says it does and will force you to accept it if offered for the payment of any and all debts in the United States.

If you look in the corner of the dollar bill, it says as much.  The word “tender” in this case means “an offer of money.”  It’s an offer of money because it’s only a note, which is a promise of money, not actual money itself.  There is no money.  Roosevelt took it all from us to pay the debt, which we still have hanging over us to this very day.

Following World War I, Germany was in bankruptcy because a lot of its infrastructure was destroyed and it had no money to rebuild or to pay the war reparations that its enemies demanded as a condition for accepting German surrender.  As a result, Germany suffered massive inflation and the Deutsche Mark became incredibly devalued without anything to back it.  It is said that marks were used to wallpaper people’s houses, that’s how worthless they were.  It was only through the aid of private banks and corporations – some of them American – that the Nazis were able to rise to the levels they did, and we all know how that turned out.

Similarly, after the Great Depression, people began to hoard gold as the only valuable form of currency.  Without gold and value passing through the American economy, the government had no funds to operate with.  It couldn’t afford to maintain its military in wartime or repay the Federal Reserve and its other creditors.  So the United States was also forced to declare bankruptcy and stole all the gold of its citizens in an effort to pay off its debts.

While we may have gotten out of the Great Depression through a re-stimulating of the economy via Roosevelt’s New Deal, we continue to employ the Federal Reserve and its worthless paper.  So a rational person would have to conclude that it’s only a matter of time before we fall back into that same pit again.  Only next time, it’s liable to be a lot worse.  Remember, we brought the Fed into this world and we can certainly take it out.

Symbols, Part 1: Introduction

Posted in All, Economics, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by marushiadark

“I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” ~ George Carlin

Chances are, the first things we think of when we think of symbols are logos and religious emblems.  All major corporations have their own specific form of branding with an enigmatic logo to identify them to the public.  Religions use symbols like crosses, stars, wheels, the sun, the earth, and a whole host of others as representations of their specific beliefs.  But these aren’t the only symbols.

A symbol is anything that stands for something else.  Every letter and number is a symbol and the words they comprise are just oral or written symbols for ideas.  A kiss can be a tactile symbol of love or betrayal, depending on its context.  Your own body is just a symbol for who you are, just like your signature or your avatar on a forum.  People (or more specifically their actions) can be symbols for specific ideals or modes of thought.  Certain buildings, banners, and flags are also symbols for the same.  Money can be a symbol of status and power or of greed and corruption, and its lack can be a symbol of either suffering or enlightenment.

Really anything can be a symbol, and symbols can be symbols of other symbols, even.  We are undoubtedly creators and users of symbols, all of us.  In fact, we are the only creatures on the planet that use them, and we use them for pretty much everything.

“Most people are unwilling to seek and create their own interpretations of these symbols.  Instead, they blindly submit to preconceived definitions and connotations given by sources unknown.  Because of this, many things have been predetermined in our understanding of life without our knowledge.” ~ The Esoteric Agenda

If I were to say the word “swastika” to you, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind?  Probably a Nazi banner or something else to do with Nazis or Nazism, right?  What if I said “red, white, and blue”?  Probably the American flag, if you’re an American, or something about patriotism and government if you’re from a nation whose flag is red, white, and blue, such as England, America, France, Australia, and many others (most of them use the same colors).  If I said “cross,” your first thought would probably be a Latin cross, with or without the image of Jesus’ body hanging from it.

That right there is proof that we are fixated on symbols that have predetermined definitions and connotations, and that we allow others to dictate for us what to think.  The swastika has its origins thousands of years before the Nazis ever existed, and it was largely a symbol of peace and power.  The cross has its origins thousands of years before Christianity ever arose.  And “red, white, and blue,” are just colors – frequencies of light waves.

Symbols have no meaning except what we give them, so why are our interpretations of these symbols so specific and so limited?  The only reason our thoughts would be so restricted is through deliberate social conditioning.  Symbols and their meanings are not something genetic, but rather they are learned and culturally specific.

Does that mean that everyone whose first thought when I said “swastika” was “Nazi” is a mind-slave?  No, not really.  It does if those are the only things you thought about, but those with more knowledge and awareness will not be limited to just one interpretation of such symbols.

To illustrate the difference, one of my teachers used the example of “gum” as a symbol.  A ditsy, bubble-gum chewing, Valley Girl cheerleader with no awareness or knowledge at all might only think of chewing gum; but someone else might think of chewing gum and think of other things, like a gum tree, gum arabic, or even gummy substances.  The point is that a person who’s not a mind-slave is in full control of their mind and is actively using it to make mental connections to as many things as possible, developing a neurological web instead of a linear, one-to-one association between symbol and idea.

When a corporation, religion, or government body creates a symbol, there is next to no leeway in what they want you to think with regards to that symbol.  Corporations want you to associate their company and their product with it.  They pay millions of dollars to develop logos that will hit deep psychological nerves in your subconscious and create nuerological links between those symbols and the desire for certain products.  Religions demand your focus and devotion to their symbols, which only serves to distract you from truly experiencing life the way it was meant to be lived.  This is why God made it a sin to worship such images.  And governments want your loyalty and your obedience and to keep you distracted with these symbols of pride and patriotism while they carry out large-scale violations against our rights, most-notably war.  In the pledge of allegiance, we’re told to pay homage to the flag and that burning a flag is illegal in many places, even though the flag is just a piece of cloth to which we add our own meaning.

Such symbols are most prolifically portrayed through the media, Hollywood, and through advertisements.  Many of them are variations of the same bastardizations of more spiritually enlightening icons: the sun, the moon, the all-seeing eye, the pentagram, the hexagram, the double-square, the cross, the pyramid, the torch, the eagle, the yin-yang, vesica piscis, skull and crossbones, and so on.  These symbols are not inherently good or bad, but are only good or bad in so far as the meanings and purposes we assign to them.  Look around sometime and see just how prolific these symbols really are.

Thoughts for Labor Day

Posted in All, Economics, Humor, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by marushiadark

“… to celebrate work by being at play.” ~ Unknown

Today is Labor Day (not to be confused with Labour Day), a day commissioned to honor the social and economic achievements of the working class.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Having parades in honor of the hard-working, blue collar men and women of America.

How do you plan to celebrate this most American of holidays?  Take the day off?  Have a barbecue?  Watch a parade?  Go to a ball game?  Or maybe just sleep until noon?  After all, you probably haven’t had a Monday to yourself since Memorial Day.

Yes, Labor Day is a day dedicated to you, the L5 vertebra in the back-bone of our society … or at least that’s how they sell it to us.

If you were to look at the history of Labor Day, you’d see very quickly that it was actually the result of political expediency in an effort to placate the masses.  President Grover Cleveland, no doubt at the behest of railroad lobbyists, ordered the U.S. military to step in and put down a group of workers exercising their Constitutional right to peaceful protest against what they believed to be unfair working conditions.  Many workers were killed and the whole thing was a political disaster stacked on top of questionable authority, so the President hastened the approval of making Labor Day a national holiday in the hopes that people would be too distracted by the big fancy floats to remember what happened.

Talk about buying people off!

But that’s all in the past, right?  The U.S. government no longer treats workers like crap.  I mean, this isn’t Communist Russia where we have things like graduated income tax, confiscation of property, centralized credit systems, centralized communication and transportation systems, property taxes, state-sponsored schooling, disproportionate rights for immigrants and rebels, … oh wait.  I guess we do have all that stuff over here in America.

Just that we had our workers revolt a few years before the Russians did.  And here we were worried about them beating us at something.

“If hard work made you richditch diggers would be rich.” ~ Proverb on Work

You might have heard that quote before, perhaps even in a letter about starting a business from home.  I’m not here to tell you to go and do that, but it raises an interesting point that there’s a disparity between what we’ve been conditioned to believe about working to earn money and the truth.

We’re taught from an early age that having a job and working hard makes you a successful and upstanding member of society; yet for most of us, the reality is probably a lot different.  The truly sad part, though, is that we’re all aware of it to some extent, but we either ignore it or think we’re powerless to do anything about it.

For instance, have you ever wondered how it is that 1% of the population earns 95% of all the money and can get away without paying any taxes on it to boot?  If you haven’t, then consider this is your wake-up call.

That 1% owns 95% give or take a few percent.  So if there were a hundred people in a room with a million dollars between them, one person would have $950,000 and each of the other ninety-nine people would have little more than $500 each.  Does that not seem unfair to you?  I count myself among the 99% and I think that’s unfair.  I mean, there’s ninety-nine of us and only one of him.  Why don’t we all just get together and make him give us a bigger cut?  Maybe he’s a really great guy that contributes a lot to society, so he can get a slightly bigger slice than the rest of us and that’s fair, but I seriously doubt he’s ninety-five times better than any one of us.  As a matter of fact, in all likelihood, he’s probably about ninety-five times worse than any of us.

But I’m generalizing of course.  Not that you go out and murder every rich man on the planet, although in the long-run it might be a lot fewer bodies.

“All the measures of the government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.” ~ William Henry Harrison

I once read that, in a single year, David Rockefeller made $16,000,000 and paid no taxes on any of it; yet in order for us to pay off the outstanding national debt, income taxes of every man and woman in America would have to be raised to something like 65% of their total income.  With the amount you pay on taxes now, do you think any of us could survive such a thing?  Maybe it’d be worth it if we got something in return for it.  But I bet most of you reading this article right now are probably struggling with what you already have, trying to make ends meet while busting your ass for forty, forty-five hours a week or working two jobs or something, with kids and rent and family medical expenses on top of all of that.

I should know, since I’ve seen my own family go through that very thing.  My mom works as a nurse – sometimes twelve hours a day – and my dad is a general contractor.  My first job was working for him over the course of several years for next to no pay at all.  For a while, my dad had no work during the most recent recession, so my mom was supporting us all by herself.  Ours is a family of four kids, two dogs, and a mortgage.  Thank God we’re all healthy and went to public schools or we’d be in even worse shape than we are now.

“There’s nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” ~ Peter F. Drucker, Social Ecologist and Management Consultant

As Peter Joesph, creator of the movie Zeitgeist (linked in sidebar) put it, “Most people think of having a job as some form of basic instinct.”  Without much question on our part, we sell our time and labor out for money to some dictator we call “boss” for little pay and even less respect.  And the jobs we do are done solely because, if we don’t, we are going to lose our house or our health insurance or our vehicles or whatever.

Obviously, it’s not a totally unreasonable thing to do what you have to in order to survive, but working harder isn’t always a guarantee of fulfilling our needs, either.  And even then, we’re just taking care of our physiological needs.  We’re being kept alive to do … what, exactly?  Working hard to keep us alive just enough so that we can keep on working hard?  That’s what I thought.  What’s the point of laboring if you don’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labor once in a while?  Most people put off their enjoyment until they’re old enough to retire (which is usually some time in their sixties, if at all).  But even a poor orange grower gets to eat oranges one season out of every year.

It’s one thing to save for a rainy day, it’s another thing entirely to save every penny for a day that might never come.  If you aren’t living and enjoying life now, then you’re doing something wrong.

What that something is depends on your particular situation, but there are a few general things you can do.  For starters, I’d recommend reading the book The Richest Man in Babylon, as it has a lot of wisdom on earning money and making it work for you.  Wisdom that is really timeless.

Working hard will not be enough to get you what you want in life.  Trading your income for labor is something that a robot or a well-trained monkey can do and you’re not a robot or a monkey (not even a well-trained monkey), so you need to begin to work smarter, not harder.  Instead of working that dead-end job in retail or telemarketing (which is only helping to bring down the whole of society), figure out what it is you love doing and develop a plan around that.  You’ll be a lot happier for it.  And take some time out to enjoy life once in a while.  Otherwise, you’re little more than a cog in some great big corporate machine that churns out tools and bureaucrats by the barrel-full.

As I’ve often said, there’s a difference between work, a job, a career, and a hobby you get paid for.  Work is back-breaking labor, a job is a tedious task, a career is something you’re stuck doing for the rest of your life and a hobby you get paid for is just that: a hobby you get PAID for.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all do what we loved and then get paid for it?  If we did, I’m sure some robotics geek could build the machines to do all the other things we hate … and he would have fun while doing it, too.