Thursday, May 31, 2018

Post #47,000: Simon & Garfunkel, “A Hazy Shade Of Winter”

Simon & Garfunkel, “A Hazy Shade Of Winter”

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Falling Through Time”

2002, “Falling Through Time”

X22 Report, “The Global Economic System Is Being Setup To Crash”

X22 Report, “The Global Economic System Is Being Setup To Crash”
Related followup report:
X22 Report, “The Pieces Are Falling Into Place, Follow The White Rabbit”

"A Look to the Heavens"


“This stunning group of galaxies is far, far away, about 450 million light-years from planet Earth and cataloged as galaxy cluster Abell S0740. Dominated by the cluster's large central elliptical galaxy (ESO 325-G004), this reprocessed Hubble Space Telescope view takes in a remarkable assortment of galaxy shapes and sizes with only a few spiky foreground stars scattered through the field. 
Click image for larger size.
The giant elliptical galaxy (right of center) spans over 100,000 light years and contains about 100 billion stars, comparable in size to our own spiral Milky Way galaxy. The Hubble data can reveal a wealth of detail in even these distant galaxies, including arms and dust lanes, star clusters, ring structures, and gravitational lensing arcs.”

Chet Raymo, “Roofs”

“Roofs”
by Chet Raymo

"It would be well, perhaps, if we were to spend more of our days and nights without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies, if the poet did not speak so much from under a roof, or the saint dwell there so long." Good advice, Mr. Thoreau.

I came here to this island for its unobstructed sky. Built a house called Starlight House. I'm no poet or saint, but I settled in to nurse what slender gifts I have. The sky has not disappointed. Except occasionally. We have just come off a rare four-day string of cloudy days, and the celestial bodies have been sorely missed, especially full-moon rises over the sea. Rare enough to make one wonder what history would have been like had the Earth been permanently shrouded in cloud.

What of poetry? What of sanctity? What of science? But, you say, we have lifted ourselves above the clouds. By now we would have seen the stars. And been as astonished by what we saw as stout Cortez and all his men on that peak in Darien. Not yet, I think. The origins of science and math are so intimately linked with observations of celestial bodies that I think it entirely reasonable to suppose that the advent of space exploration would have been delayed on a cloud-covered Earth, by at least a century, likely longer. We would still be waiting, in ignorance, for that greatest of all revelations.”

"A Long, Melancholy Roar"

"A Long, Melancholy Roar"
by Olivia Judson

"On a recent evening at twilight, I was sitting on the grass in Regent’s Park - one of London’s most manicured public spaces - when I heard the fierce, melancholy sound of a lion’s roar. I wasn’t dreaming: it was coming from the zoo. Listening to it, I began to reflect on predators - and us.

On returning home, I did some reading. I discovered that between 1990 and 2004, lions attacked 815 people in Tanzania, killing 563. Some of the victims were pulled out of bed during the night after lions forced their way inside huts. Between January 2000 and March 2004, crocodiles in Namibia attacked 35 people, killing 23. In the 34 months from January 2005 to October 2007, leopards in the Indian state of Kashmir attacked 18 people, killing 16. In the Sundarban swamps of Bangladesh, tigers killed at least 20 people last year. Dig around, and you can also find records of deaths from attacks by bears, cougars, sharks and a number of other wild beasts.

It’s hard to imagine how terrifying such a death must be. To be asleep in bed and to wake to hear a rustling sound, to see an animal leaping, to feel its breath on your face - think of the sweat, the panic, the contraction of your gut, the pounding of your heart, the gasping screams. For many of our fellow creatures, such terrors are part of daily life: other animals exist in a world of threat that humans today rarely glimpse. These days, thankfully, we are not used to being hunted. Most of us are more likely to be struck by lightning than we are to die at the paws of a bear or the teeth of a shark. And so we spend little time in that dark, primeval place of alarm, fear, adrenaline and (perhaps) gory death. For us, death usually comes in other forms.

Of our ancient enemies, microbes are now the most fearsome. Indeed, next to the figures for viruses and other infectious agents, deaths caused by predators are barely worth mentioning. Just think: HIV/AIDS chalked up 2 million deaths across the planet in 2007 alone; tuberculosis was close behind, with more than 1,700,000. The year before, malaria escorted almost a million people to their graves. We should be far more scared of mosquitoes than we are of bears; but we’re not.

Why not? It’s hard to be sure, but my guess is that it has to do with the way our brains are wired up. Just as the moose fears the wolf and the chickadee the owl, we easily fear lions and bears because the connection between danger and the animal is clear and immediate. It is harder, I suspect, to evolve fear of a mosquito because the deadly fever it brings does not happen straight after the bite. Instead, there is a time delay of days, weeks or years. In fact, the connection between mosquito bites and malarial fever is so obscure that we weren’t sure of it until 1897. But our forebears have been making connections between predators and death for ages.

Although predators are not an important problem for most of us today, they surely were for our ancestors. Indeed, millions of years ago, fear of predators would have been one of the forces that caused our ancestors to evolve to live in groups. The seeds of our social lives were watered with blood and nurtured by the roar of the lion and the claw of the leopard.

More recently, however, it’s been the case that the mammal most likely to kill a human is: a human. Murder and war have long been more important causes of death for us than predatory wild animals. You can see it in the landscape. In northern Romania, monasteries were fortified against marauding armies, and painted inside and out with scenes of martyrs being massacred. Further south, in Transylvania, the churches were fortified to withstand siege. In northern India, almost every town has a fort. Southern France is littered with the ruins of fortified castles and towns. In English forests, you can often find the remnants of iron-age defenses. All traces of peoples defending themselves from attack. We are our own most fearsome predator, and have been so for thousands of years.

Some other animals are also important predators of themselves. A lion has more to fear from another lion than it does from any other animal but us. Males taking over a pride routinely kill all the cubs they can find, and lions from neighboring territories sometimes kill each other. Chimpanzees kill each other at an alarming rate; and they are far more aggressive towards each other on a daily basis than we humans are.

But here’s the thing. Today, in many parts of the world, the human being most likely to cause your violent death is: you. Yes. You are the person most likely to kill yourself violently and on purpose. Suicide rates have risen dramatically over the past 50 years. Worldwide, deaths from suicide now outnumber deaths from war and homicide together: the World Health Organization estimates that each year around one million people - predominantly men - kill themselves. The true number is probably higher, because for many countries there is no data. In some countries, suicide is now among the top ten causes of death. For the young, worldwide, it’s in the top five.

A huge effort has rightly been devoted to trying to understand the particular causes of suicide in different places - unemployment, drug addiction, relationship breakdown, intelligence, predisposing genes, what your mother ate while you were in the womb and so on. But here’s another way to look at it. No other animal does this. Chimpanzees don’t hang themselves from trees, slit their wrists, set themselves alight, or otherwise destroy themselves. Suicide is an essentially human behavior. And it has reached unprecedented levels, especially among the young.

I’m not sure what this means. But it has made me think. We live in a way that no other animal has ever lived: our lifestyle is unprecedented in the history of the planet. Often, we like to congratulate ourselves on the cities we have built, the gadgets we can buy, the rockets we send to the moon. But perhaps we should not be so proud. Something about the way we live means that, for many of us, life comes to seem unbearable, a long, melancholy ache of despair."
Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist, is the author of “Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex,” which was made into a three-part television program. Ms. Judson has been a reporter for "The Economist" and has written for a number of other publications, including "Nature," "The Financial Times," "The Atlantic" and "Natural History." She is a research fellow in biology at Imperial College London.

The Poet: David Whyte, “The Sea”

“The Sea”

“The pull is so strong we will not believe
the drawing tide is meant for us,
I mean the gift, the sea,
the place where all the rivers meet.

Easy to forget,
how the great receiving depth
untamed by what we need
needs only what will flow its way.

Easy to feel so far away
and the body so old
it might not even stand the touch.

But what would that be like
feeling the tide rise
out of the numbness inside
toward the place to which we go
washing over our worries of money,
the illusion of being ahead,
the grief of being behind,
our limbs young
rising from such a depth?

What would that be like
even in this century
driving toward work with the others,
moving down the roads
among the thousands swimming upstream,
as if growing toward arrival,
feeling the currents of the great desire,
carrying time toward tomorrow?

Tomorrow seen today, for itself,
the sea where all the rivers meet, unbound,
unbroken for a thousand miles, the surface
of a great silence, the movement of a moment
left completely to itself, to find ourselves adrift,
safe in our unknowing, our very own,
our great tide, our great receiving, our
wordless, fiery, unspoken,
hardly remembered, gift of true longing.”

~ David Whyte
 “Where Many Rivers Meet”
 •
“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering - these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love - these are what we stay alive for.”
- “Dead Poets Society”

"The Majority Of Us..."

"The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt."
- Leo Buscaglia

The Daily "Near You?"

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

Free Download: George Orwell, "Animal Farm"

"Animal Farm"
by George Orwell

Biographical note: "George Orwell, 1903-1950, was the pen name used by British author and journalist Eric Arthur Blair. During most of his professional life time Orwell was best known for his journalism, both in the British press and in books such as "Homage to Catalonia," describing his activities during the Spanish Civil War, and "Down and Out in Paris and London," describing a period of poverty in these cities. Orwell is best remembered today for two of his novels, "Animal Farm" and "Nineteen Eighty-Four."

Description: Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely- and this is vividly and eloquently proved in Orwell's short novel. "Animal Farm" is a simple fable of great symbolic value, and as Orwell himself explained: "it is the history of a revolution that went wrong." The novel can be seen as the historical analysis of the causes of the failure of communism, or as a mere fairy-tale; in any case it tells a good story that aims to prove that human nature and diversity prevent people from being equal and happy, or at least equally happy.

"Animal Farm" tells the simple and tragic story of what happens when the oppressed farm animals rebel, drive out Mr. Jones, the farmer, and attempt to rule the farm themselves, on an equal basis. What the animals seem to have aimed at was a utopian sort of communism, where each would work according to his capacity, respecting the needs of others. The venture failed, and "Animal Farm" ended up being a dictatorship of pigs, who were the brightest, and most idle of the animals.

Orwell's mastery lies in his presentation of the horrors of totalitarian regimes, and his analysis of communism put to practice, through satire and simple story-telling. The structure of the novel is skillfully organized, and the careful reader may, for example, detect the causes of the unworkability of communism even from the first chapter. This is deduced from Orwell's description of the various animals as they enter the barn and take their seats to listen to the revolutionary preaching of Old Major, father of communism in Animal Farm. Each animal has different features and attitude; the pigs, for example, "settled down in the straw immediately in front of the platform", which is a hint on their future role, whereas Clover, the affectionate horse" made a sort of wall" with her foreleg to protect some ducklings.

So, it appears that the revolution was doomed from the beginning, even though it began in idealistic optimism as expressed by the motto "no animal must ever tyrannize over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers." "When the animals drive out Mr. Jones, they create their "Seven Commandments" which ensure equality and prosperity for all the animals. The pigs, however, being the natural leaders, managed to reverse the commandments, and through terror and propaganda establish the rule of an elite of pigs, under the leadership of Napoleon, the most revered and sinister pig.

"Animal Farm" successfully presents how the mechanism of propaganda and brainwashing works in totalitarian regimes, by showing how the pigs could make the other animals believe practically anything. Responsible for the propaganda was Squealer, a pig that "could turn black into white." Squealer managed to change the rule from "all animals are equal" to "all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." He managed to convince the other animals that it was for their sake that the pigs ate most of the apples and drank most of the milk, that leadership was "heavy responsibility" and therefore the animals should be thankful to Napoleon, that what they saw may have been something they "dreamed", and when everything else failed he would use the threat of "Jones returning" to silence the animals. In this simple but effective way, Orwell presents the tragedy and confusion of thought control to the extent that one seems better off simply believing that "Napoleon is always right".

Orwell's criticism of the role of the Church is also very effective. In Animal Farm, the Church is represented by Moses, a tame raven, who talks of "Sugarcandy Mountain", a happy country in the sky "where we poor animals shall rest forever from our labors". It is interesting to observe that when Old Major was first preaching revolutionary communism, Moses was sleeping in the barn, which satirizes the Church being caught asleep by communism. It is also important to note that the pig-dictators allowed and indirectly encouraged Moses; it seems that it suited the pigs to have the animals dreaming of a better life after death so that they wouldn't attempt to have a better life while still alive...

In "Animal Farm," Orwell describes how power turned the pigs from simple "comrades" to ruthless dictators who managed to walk on two legs, and carry whips. The story may be seen as an analysis of the Soviet regime, or as a warning against political power games of an absolute nature and totalitarianism in general. For this reason, the story ends with a hair-raising warning to all humankind: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which."
Free download, in PDF format, of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm" is here:

“Explaining Gaza to My Granddaughter”

“Explaining Gaza to My Granddaughter”
by Gary Engler

“Grandpa, why are they killing kids in Gaza?”

A deep breath to compose my thoughts.

“You said most people were good, but I think only bad people could drop bombs on little kids. There was a boy crying on TV. He lost his whole family.”

“Most people are good but sometimes they do bad things,” I answered.

Back came the inevitable: “Why?”

“Because of greed and bad ideas. Those are the two main reasons people do bad stuff.”

Her expectant stare caused a moment of panic. She needed an explanation. She needed the truth. But the dilemma in explaining war to a seven year old is that simple answers - “these are the good guys and those are the bad guys” - are part of the problem. Simple answers limit critical thinking and enable those who profit from war to manipulate people.  How could I explain a complicated subject in a simple enough manner that helped my granddaughter learn to think for herself? I had to try.

“You know what Israel is?”

“It’s a country. My friend Sarah went there for a holiday.”

“It’s a country that was started with some bad ideas that seemed like good ideas at the time. It’s a country the greediest people in the world give bombs, airplanes and other weapons to, because these greedy people have the bad idea that they’ll make lots of money and keep their power by doing it.”

The look on her face proved this was far too complicated. Start over.

“Do you know what religion is?”

“It’s like when people believe in god and go to church and stuff.”

“Yes. One religion is called Judaism and the people who belong to it are called Jews. It’s very old and a little bit different from other religions because some people still call themselves Jews even if they don’t believe in god or follow any of the Jewish rules. Through most of their history Jews have lived in places where there was another, more powerful religion and many times the bigger religion picked on Jews. You know, like kids picking on someone just because they’re different.”

“I know. Papa explained that to me.”

“Well in Europe picking on Jews grew and grew until a very bad man named Hitler took over in Germany and during a war his armies killed millions of Jews, including mommas, papas, grandmas, grandpas and little kids. That was called the Holocaust.”

“Millions?”

“Yes. It was very horrible and after the war the world felt so bad about the Holocaust that the governments of the most powerful countries said the Jews could have a country of their own where they could run things for themselves. Sort of like giving the kids who have been picked on their own playground.”

“Their own playground far away from the bullies?”

“Exactly, but the problem was that the land which the powerful countries gave to the Jews belonged to other people.”

“How could they give away land that belonged to other people?”

“Well, unfortunately that used to happen a lot. Like right here in Canada when the British and the French fought over land that belonged to the First Nations. Mama and Papa have explained colonialism to you, right?”

She nodded. “That was very bad.”

“This country given to the Jews was called Israel and some people thought it would be the perfect thing to end all the bullying that had happened in Europe, but others were not so sure. Some people said that if you gave land that belonged to other people the only way Jews would be able to keep it would be by becoming bullies themselves.”

“Why?”

“Because the people who lived there, the Palestinians, wouldn’t just give up their homes. Why should they? Palestinians weren’t the ones who had killed the Jews so why should they be punished for bad things Europeans had done? People predicted that the Jews would have to fight the Palestinians for the land and that’s exactly what happened, over and over again. And it’s still happening today.”

“They fight to take the Palestinian land?”

“At the root of it yes.”

“Are the Jews bullies now?”

“Jews are the same as everyone. Some are bad, but most are nice. Most don’t even live in Israel.”

“But taking people’s homes is not nice. Dropping bombs is not nice.”

“You’re right. But are you a bad person when you pick on your sister or have a temper tantrum? No, you’re a nice person doing something bad. It’s the government of Israel, its army, one of the largest in the world, and the police who are bullies. They’re always picking on Palestinians, especially the ones who still live on the land that the right-wing Israelis want for themselves, but that the governments of the world say belongs to Palestine. Of course this makes the Palestinians very mad and they try to fight back anyway they can. When they do, the Israeli government puts them in jail or tears down their houses or drops bombs on them and kills lots of little kids. Then Israel and its supporters says they can’t possibly be nice to Palestinians because all they ever do is fight.”

“I think the Israelis are mean.”

“I do too. But the real question is how do we stop it?”

“I don’t know.”

“How do you stop someone being mean on the playground?”

“By telling the teacher.”

“Sure, but sometimes that doesn’t work. And in the case of Israel telling the teacher is like telling the most powerful country in the world, which is the USA. But the USA keeps on giving Israel all the bombs and other weapons it wants. It suits the interests of the rich people who run the USA to keep everyone in the different countries around Israel fighting amongst themselves.”

She looked perplexed.

“So what do you do if the teacher doesn’t stop someone who is being mean?”

“Stop playing with them?”

“Exactly. If you can’t get a teacher or an adult to stop a bully, you stop playing with them. You avoid them. You tell your friends and everyone you know to stop playing with them, to avoid them. If no one plays with a mean person, if everyone avoids a bully, they just might learn that only way to have friends is by being nice to people. Right?”

She nodded.

“Well that’s what we need to do to Israel. We need to boycott it until it stops being mean to Palestinians, until it allows them to have their own country. That’s the only non-violent way of fixing things. Does that make sense?”

She nodded. “Sometimes when I’m bad, Mama makes me have a timeout.”

“That’s right, Israel needs a timeout. You remember when I took you to the candy store and bought you some but you wanted more. And I made the mistake of listening to you and buying you more? And that still wasn’t enough? You wanted even more? Then you threw a temper tantrum. You hit your sister because she wouldn’t give you her lollipop, even though you’d already eaten yours?””

“Mama said it was because of the sugar.”

“Exactly.”

“Is that what Israel is like?”

“Pretty close.”

She thought about it for a few seconds and then asked: “Grandpa, can you read me a book?”

"Have You Not Your Soul?"

"What matter if this base, unjust life
Cast you naked and disarmed?
If the ground breaks beneath your step,
Have you not your soul?
Your soul! You fly away,
Escape to realms refined,
Beyond all sadness and whimpering.
Be like the bird which on frail branches balanced
A moment sits and sings;
He feels them tremble, but he sings unshaken,
Knowing he has wings."

- Victor Hugo

"How Roger Williams Started a Free Society”

"How Roger Williams Started a Free Society”

"Formation of a Radical: Kings never impressed him. And Roger Williams was exposed to Kings from early in his life. As a youth, he worked for Sir Edward Coke, who was a lawyer, judge, and held other similar political posts in 17th century England. Williams accompanied him daily into the chambers of Parliament and other Councils. Coke trailblazed many decent government policies for the time. One was that a man’s home is his castle. This helped set the tone for individual rights in England, even against royal opposition. It was Ye Olde Stand Your Ground.

Williams would later take this foundation and build on it. He didn’t believe that the power of Kings truly came from God. Rather, political power derives from the people. The point of government, to Williams, was to organize society for the best interests of individuals so they could pursue their own path, especially when it came to religion.

Williams’ views on religion evolved over his life. By the end of it, he argued for absolute autonomy to practice whatever religion one wished. He even thought atheism should be tolerated, which was radical at that time. Though personally, he remained strongly against atheism, he realized that it was not the government’s role to enforce subjective values. John M. Barry gives a detailed history of Roger Williams in his book, "Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty."

At Pembroke College of Cambridge University in 1623, Williams got first-hand experience with censorship. A graduate of Pembroke was arrested after delivering a sermon arguing the king’s subjects could lawfully resist a ruler who tried to kill or rape them. The student died in prison from the horrible conditions. Subsequently, Cambridge formally declared “the kingly power… subject to none save God, all resistance to same was pronounced infamous.”

Not surprisingly, Williams later observed, “We count the Universities the fountains [of knowledge]… but have not those Fountains ever sent what streams the Times have liked? and ever changed their taste and colour to the Princes eye and Palate?”

Isn’t it interesting that we have so much in common almost 400 years later? Luckily not many college students are imprisoned for what they preach. But universities do indeed promote the popular message of the time, without giving much credence to free thought and open discussion. You could say colleges still align their “taste and colour to the Princes eye and Palate[.]”

Roger Williams couldn’t stand the suppression of free thinking and open discussion. How else were people supposed to make the world a better place? After his formal education–which wasn’t worth as much practically speaking as his education from Coke–Williams became outspoken on the Bible. He was not afraid to let his interpretation of scriptures be known, even as doing so became risky. At the time King James V was not into opinions on religion other than his own. Eventually, Williams would run into legal trouble because of his preaching. It was at this point that he decided he should move across the ocean. There, supposedly, he could find freedom in a new society.

Private Settlements in America: The first English settlements in New England were private business ventures. Companies were pushing hard to get people to move to America. They were, after all, business ventures and they needed the plantations to be populated in order to succeed. Even though settlements still fell under the jurisdiction of England, the companies which chartered the new mini-societies had enormous control over how they were governed.

The Puritans were after religious freedom… but only for themselves. These settlements were not chartered to be bastions of free thought. They were created to be theocracies; shining cities on a hill to demonstrate how God smiled upon his chosen people. Their startup societies were very ideological.

They were also separatist. They put up with England’s authority because they knew it would cause too much trouble to attempt to break away. Yet their expressed purpose of starting a new society was because the old one in England was crumbling. According to them, this was because God was punishing the country for its unholiness. Sin was tearing England apart, and they would resurrect a Godly country an ocean away.

In 1629 the governing structure was transferred from stockholders in England, to the actual inhabitants of the colonies. This was a significant step as it allowed the people on the ground to form the type of government they wanted. This attracted more people to the physical location of the colonies. Now the people living there could participate in their local government.

The plus side of the charters was that there were a few different options for which mini-society you wanted to settle in if you moved to America. When Roger Williams arrived in Massachusetts, there were established charter towns in Boston, Salem, and Plymouth.

But the Massachusetts startup societies were not free. Religious rules were enforced officially by magistrates. They governed separate from the church, but still enforced religious law. Unofficially, social pressure was the first line of defense against sinners. But physical removal by the church or state was another option. Submitting to the church and political authority after a transgression usually reduced the sentence.

Individual Secession: You could choose to go off into the wilderness on your own if you wished, and many people did. Most were left alone by authorities in the settlements. But one man’s lifestyle–and mocking criticism of the church–was too much for them to take. A guy named Morton set up his own home on the outskirts of Boston and erected a large maypole to attract ships to his property where he would trade in furs and other goods he had traded from the Native Americans.

Morton regularly had parties for the Native’s as well. But when he traded them guns and bragged about having sex with the women, that was the last straw. Authorities arrested him and sent him back to England, even though he was outside of their jurisdiction.

Williams would have to remember this lesson when he eventually started his own settlement out of necessity. When you reject authority to stake it on your own, you cannot rely on that same beast to respect your rights. A society must have security in mind from the beginning.

Hypocritical Authorities: Ironically, the government of the settlements in Massachusetts faced oppression from England at the same time they were oppressing individuals. Seeing the challenge to royal power, the King attempted to revoke the charter of the colonies and bring them under English government power. This would have transformed them from basically private governance, back to the jurisdiction of England.

While employing political delay tactics, the colonies armed up. They thought their only option was to centralize and militarize in order to stand up to the authority of the King. The colony decided to defend itself and its “lawful posessions,” at the same time they sought to silence Williams’ views on property.

Williams recognized that it was the king who had unlawfully taken lands from the Native Americans, and granted them to the colonies. But they were not his to grant. The colonies recognized the land as their own, even though the power of the King had helped them obtain the lands. Williams saw the hypocrisy of the colonies wanting to have it both ways.

In 1635 Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts colonies for essentially preaching in favor of the separation of church and state. He said that governments were not meant to enforce religious laws. Individuals should have freedom of thought and freedom of speech. Now Williams would have to find a new place to build his vision of a free society.

Roger Williams Starts a Society: Williams went south and was likely aided by his Native American friends. The natives liked Williams because he traded with them, and made a real effort to learn their customs. Williams learned their languages. At a time when other whites were arguing that it would be impossible to civilize the savages, Williams pointed out that it hadn’t been so long since the people of England behaved the same, before being conquered by Rome. With the aid of the natives, Williams was able to settle in what would become known as Rhode Island.

Williams had no desire to live by himself, to live cut off. To the contrary, he wanted very much to belong to and participate in a larger society. Now he had the opportunity to create one. Now in addition to the men who had initially sought him out and moved to Providence with him, a handful of others began straggling into what was New England’s most primitive settlement. It could not yet be called a town. He and they, without a charter or any legal authority from England, without any previous agreement as to how to govern themselves, had to determine what kind of society to build.

Influenced by his mentor Coke, and all his trouble with English and Colonial authority, Williams created a society of individual rights. A man’s home would be his castle, and arbitrary authority of government would be rejected. Rules would be implemented only to better order the tiny society. Everyone there had joined by their own free will. Now they had the opportunity to create the type of government they saw fit. And if it didn’t turn out how they wanted, they were free to leave, once again, into the wilderness, and start their own.

Williams had observed by now many societies. He knew intimately how the government of England worked, as well as the tiny governments of Massachusetts colonies like Plymouth, Salem, and Boston. He now set to putting his observations to work on his brand new experiment in governance.

Structuring a Society: The land was all owned by Roger Williams, which he had bought fair and square–no trickery–from the Narragansetts with whom he remained on good terms. Williams maintained ownership of the land, which meant he could have acted as a sort of King. Instead, he allowed others to settle the land and voluntarily submitted to majority rule by heads of households. He considered his land to be common land. But this caused a lot of problems, as it always does.

So instead Williams divided the land among families and created a system of government which would tie them all together, but still allow for the most possible individual freedom. Williams was coming to see that individuals did not inherit a place in the world; they created it.

In addition, Williams was developing the view that governments received their authority from and were responsible to their citizens. This contradicted both the divine right of kings and the Puritan belief that they were carrying out God’s plan…

Williams’ colony grew by absorbing more Massachusetts expatriates who similarly questioned the various governing policies of the Massachusetts colonies. Many of these people had radically different ideas from Roger Williams on religion and morality. But they never-the-less fit in because the philosophy of the colony did not require one homogenous train of thought. People could have different beliefs and still get along, as long as no one tried to force their ways on others. By 1641 Providence had reached a population of about 200. The governing structure consisted of “five arbitrators–chosen by the town meeting to work out disputes.”

Fear of a New Way: But to outsiders the colony’s growth was terrifying. Not just in Massachusetts did authorities feel this way, but the fear spread to New Amsterdam (present-day New York City).

One New Amsterdam minister, speaking of people his colony expelled because of religion, remarked, “We suppose they went to Rhode Island, for that is the receptacle of all sorts of riff-raff people, and is nothing else but the sewer (latrina) of New England.We suppose they will settle there, as they are not tolerated in any other place.All the cranks of Newe England retire thither.”

The surrounding colonies did not want the rabble to pour over into their settlements and spread their dangerous philosophy of freedom. But also, they saw the wealth that was being created and attracted to Rhode Island, because of the liberty available.

Eventually, Massachusetts would try to assert its authority on Rhode Island by claiming the authority to settle land disputes and authorize property deeds there. In order to fight this advance in courts rather than in blood, Williams went to England to ask for a charter. If he could get an official proclamation establishing Providence and other Rhode Island settlements, this would place his colonies back under the jurisdiction of England. But it would also clearly seperate them from the government of Massachusetts.

Williams was able to get his charter in 1644 without destroying the freedom on which his colony was founded. [The charter] gave the colony “full Powre & Authority to Governe & rule themselves, and such others as shall hereafter Inhabite within any part of the said Tract of land, by such a form of Civil Government, as by voluntary consent of all, or the greater part of them shall find most suteable to their Estates & Conditions.” The charter would help get Massachusetts off Rhode Island’s back, but it did mean submitting to the authority of England. But hey, England was across an ocean, and Massachusetts was knocking at the door.

The charter was a step in the right direction. Democratic majority to rule is not ideal for individual liberty. But it meant acknowledgment that the people had the right to rule; that governing authority stemmed from the people and not from God or the King. And it just so happened that at that time, the majority in Rhode Island wanted full separation of church and state. It was thus that the grand experiment of individual liberty truly began in America.”

Musical Interlude: The Rolling Stones, "[I Can't Get No] Satisfaction"

"I Can’t Get No…"
by Bill Bonner

"In the summer of 1965, President Johnson opened a new phase of the war in Vietnam. Instead of observing, training, advising and protecting, US soldiers were to go on the offensive. It was already nearly a half-century after Woodrow Wilson had put America into the empire business; still, the country was just getting the hang of it. But in a matter of months, there would be more than half a million U.S. troops in that steamy hellhole. Their mission was to protect Western democracy from the communist menace. That they were on a fools’ errand, sent by imbeciles and commanded by blockheads was apparent then, as now, to anyone who took a minute to think about it. But only a philosopher with a stone heart could do so; almost everyone else went along - believing what they had to believe.

People think the most preposterous things. But the most preposterous thing they think is that they think at all. We have come to that conclusion after much observation, reflection and experience. Practically every stance any man ever took can be traced not to his head, but down to his feet, to the circumstantial rocks and sand upon which he stands.

Before the Limelight: When America was a humble republic, with neither the means nor the will to play a part on the world’s great stage, its leaders were content with minor, supporting roles. "Mind your own business," was practically engraved on the nation’s currency. Then, when its economy became the world’s largest, in 1910, and its ambitions grew, it stepped out under the proscenium arch with the cautious confidence of a young Booth or Barrymore. It knew even then that it was destined for a long career before the limelight.

So it adjusted its ideas. It found that it had to "make the world safe for democracy." Because democracy was what it had. For reasons that are still largely inexplicable, it decided that Germany, rather than England, represented a threat to democracy. As a matter of logical thinking, it made no sense. But thoughts are always subordinate to circumstance. Britain was in decline and ready to hand over the imperial baton to America. Germany, on the other hand, was an ascendant industrial power. It was Germany that had to be defeated in order for the US imperium to rule the world.

In this instance, as in so many others, America may have miscalculated. In defeating Germany, she gave rise to another competitor - the Soviet Union. And by the summer of 1965, this new empire - with its comic creed and suicidal tendencies - had taken over the half the world. So it appeared to the empire builders in Washington that they couldn’t afford to lose another square meter to the red menace. They did not know it, but communism had reached a peak. It was overpriced and overbought. A quarter of a century later, it would be history, probably whether a shot was fired or not.

If that were all that had happened in the summer of 1965, it would have passed in through these pages as just another warm spell of fraud and claptrap. But something important happened that year too.

As Tears Go By: Earlier in the year, Keith Richards was staying in a motel in Clearwater, Florida, with a guitar and a tape recorder by his side. He was 21 years old. Having a hard time sleeping, perhaps jet-lagged, he worked on a riff modeled after something by Chuck Berry. The year before, the Stones had done their first tour of the United States. Unlike the Beatles, they were received poorly. Dean Martin mocked them. Ed Sullivan was cold and reserved. But their popularity was growing. In 1964, their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, had practically locked Richards and Mick Jagger in an apartment in Chelsea. They had to write some songs, he told them. What they wrote was the tender "As Tears Go By."

Readers may wonder why we are writing about the Rolling Stones. We answer: first, because we have been thinking about the difference between price and value. We find the subject sticks in our brains, like a melody. We remember when "As Tears Go By," came out. That too haunted us like a ghost - it was there when we went to bed. It was still there when we woke up in the morning. It was a soundtrack in the back of our brains. We never knew exactly when we would hear it… or when it would be silent.

That is the way good music is. Whether it is popular or classical, it sticks with you. Somehow, without passing through the logical, word-processing, humbug-churning part of the brain, it goes into the mind and furnishes the sentiments. It has value - a value you can’t put a price on. You can hear music for nothing. In the summer of 1965, some of the best music ever produced by man came out. For some extraordinary reason, the world was flush with political claptrap for which it paid a high price but high-value popular music you could get for free. All summer long, the Stones’ new hit - "Satisfaction" - was on the radio.

Their Own Sound: We are not music critics. But we can’t help but notice that most of the music played by most of the world’s people most of the time is bosh. We do not know how it works; it does not appeal directly to the intellectual faculties. There is no rational way to judge it; still it seems as stupid and puerile as a Senate speech. The ideas, sentiments, and musical combinations themselves are worn out. They sound like humbug set to music. This true of all musical genres. You’re as likely to find it in the highbrow opera houses of Paris as in the low dives of the Tennessee backwoods… in the avant-garde, as in the traditional.

Against this backdrop of lame mediocrity in the early 1960s came an exceptional group of fresh and talented musicians; in the summer of 1965, they reached a kind of bull market peak. There was Bob Dylan with his "Like a Rolling Stone." The Beatles came out with "Yesterday." The Who produced "My Generation." And the Beach Boys classic, "California Girls," also came out that year.

Each had its own sound. Each left a tune in your mind that stayed for days… weeks… months - like an immunization against tetanus, some remained in the blood for years. Many are still there, nearly 50 years later, coursing through our vessels, pumping through the old heart valves, occasionally spraying up in our brains, too, like happy memories, for no apparent reasons. We recall when we first heard them. It was as if we had done more than merely listened to music. We thought we had lived through something special, something important. It was if we would never be the same, never able to go back to our work in quite the same way, or to look at things in the same way.

Inspiration and Suffering: They say that great artists are tortured, that they feel pain more acutely and are able to express it more eloquently than most people. "My compositions," said Schubert, "spring from my sorrow." Beethoven’s genius was traced to Guilietta Guicciardi. The Beach Boys had no shortage of California girls to provide inspiration and suffering.

The Stones were no exception; they shared models and mistresses. They had their Ruby Tuesdays who could not be tamed. But they also had plenty of women "under my thumb." That was the nice thing about the Rolling Stones; they were able to turn the conventions around. They were raw, but still refined. They were tortured, but they were torturers, too. They could dig around in the mud of man’s eternal tragedy, but they could have fun doing it. They appeared to trashy, cheap, layabout drug addicts, but they were imposters; they were far more than they appeared to be.

Their music rested on the work of Berry, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley, but they added some delightful nuance that the old rockers couldn’t manage. "Blue Turns to Grey," "Sitting on a Fence," as well as "Ruby Tuesday," were not just songs of disappointment and disillusion. They have a kind of elegant sweetness that surpass the genre.

In "Satisfaction," Keith Richards began by borrowing from Chuck Berry, but he worked on it and gave it more life. In a Los Angeles studio, he worked with a collaborator of Phil "Wall of Sound" Spector and the sound engineer David Hassinger. They managed to fill it out - and give it that distinct distortion that makes the opening of "Satisfaction" sui generis. By midsummer, the song was a No. 1 hit in practically the entire world. Young American boys listened to it on their way to getting themselves killed in the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam.

Some things have no value. Others have no price. A young man tends to focus on prices. But a middle-aged man sitting around in the French countryside listening to old Rolling Stones tunes wonders more about value. He sees more life behind him than in front of him, like a man down to his last dollar wondering how to get the most of it."
The Rolling Stones, "[I Can't Get No] Satisfaction"