Friday, July 21, 2017

The Three Stages of Ownership





 A good piece on the whole problem of ownership.  It is my contention that the key business of governance is the creation of forms of ownership and sometimes their actual retirement as well.  Whenever is look at any economic problem, i address first who owns it and by what mechanism.  Many situations exist in which ownership itself needs to be established.

A proper applied science of ownership would be revolutionary and truly change everything.

For example the south China Sea needs an international title creation mandate in which operators earn the right to lay down artificial reefs properly spaced to optimize the fishery take of surrounding waters.  Anything like that will likely produce seafood sufficient to feed the entire world several times over.  It often can be as simple as that and would encourage competitive investment...
The Three Stages of Ownership 

Thursday, July 06, 2017

I constantly get the question: why do we need this blockchain thing anyway? Here is why.

Every society with a vibrant commercial life exalts private property as an institution. The entrenchment of this institution occurs in three stages. All three are essential. 

The first stage is to create private property itself. This is usually done out of the necessity of getting enough to eat. Contrary to every socialist claim, this doesn’t happen through magic or authoritarian dictate. You need fences to grow things and raise animals, and you need your neighbors to regard them as inviolable. To invade them must become a kind of taboo, as Sigmund Freud wrote. This stage is necessary to escape primitive conditions. For society to mature, private property needs to be discovered as a technology for dealing with the problem of scarcity.

You need some technology that compels social assent to what you regard as owned property. 

The second stage involves securing that property from people who would violate the new norm, because such people will always and everywhere exist. It must be effective enough to deter them from taking your stuff. Traps, lookouts, moats, threats, and various shows of knowledge and strength to be able to keep what is yours are essential. This is the original function of what is often called policing: it is part of the method by which people can rely on the fact of ownership as a persistent feature of their lives. Otherwise, wealth creation is impossible. The third stage is the least understood of the three: you need some technology that compels social assent to what you regard as owned property. This is necessary to reduce the costs of securing property from invasion and creating a more stable environment for the rise of commercial life. Word of mouth can work on a limited scale. 

But beyond that, you need some kind of record keeping that everyone regards as objective and not subject to manipulation and fraud. This is necessary because property changes hands. It moves from parent to child, from small owner to large owner, and so on. Private agreements can work in one round of trading. But in multiple rounds, confusion over titles can create serious disputes and problems. 

Recording Ownership

This stage also requires some technological innovation. From ancient Mesopotamia archaeologists have discovered detailed records of ownership, ledgers listing property with numbers and owners. When archaeologists excavated a Mycenaean Greek site that dates from 1200 BC, they discovered it was a merchant’s house precisely because of all the record keeping. It was mostly kept on stones, which does indeed create an immutable record but it is not a very efficient or adaptable method for conducting business. 

If you couldn’t verify your right to own what you are selling, you make the buyer vulnerable to all kinds of mischief at a later time. 

In recent decades scholars have unearthed a vast supply of tablets and inscriptions detailing ownership records in many parts of the Near East. Records from the 7th through the 5th century B.C. are revealing all kinds of documents related to estate ownership, goods for export and import, and detailed reports on raw materials. In ancient Iran, property was recorded on cylindrical tokens. Later, papyrus was the preferred writing surface but it tends to fade. Parchment and vellum (made from lambskin) were much better because the data had great longevity, but they were more expensive. So much knowledge that historians possess about enterprise in these years draws from these records, without which they would have no evidence of complex economic structures. But what historians draw from these documents today was also useful to the people living in those times. They too had to have some record of ownership to delineate rights, else the rights become more susceptible to invasion. Verification of ownership is also essential in dealing with long trade routes. If you couldn’t verify your right to own what you are selling, you make the buyer vulnerable to all kinds of mischief at a later time. 

The problem doesn’t only concern land and tangible property. It becomes a huge deal when it comes to moneylending, interest payments, banking, and corporate partnerships. Here record keeping becomes paramount to the business enterprise and to the historian’s task of making sense of economic history. Ledgers detailing ownership rights date from the earliest records in the history of man. If you look at the history of accountancy (this is actually a huge deal), you come to realize that accounting is a useful application of the much larger issue of confirming ownership rights. 

The Invention of Numbers

Terrance Kealey, in his great book Sex, Science, and Profits does more than show that such records were crucial to the birth of civilization. He establishes that the need for such records was the whole reason for the invention of numbers themselves.

We even have evidence from the Bible for the need for such a technology. 

And it makes sense. Imagine being an early goat farmer. You need to count heads of livestock in order to establish that nothing is stolen, to quantify mortality, and to discern whether your small enterprise is profitable. It’s for this reason we have numbers to begin with. They certainly didn’t come into being because humankind has a compulsion for counting stars in the heavens. The Phoenician alphabet probably came about for the same reason: to facilitate commerce by gaining a great degree of certainty over ownership claims. We even have evidence from the Bible for the need for such a technology. Moses – who proclaimed "thou shalt not steal" – had a vision of a tabernacle when he was on Mount Sinai. The youngest son of the high priest was tasked with carrying it out. But it wasn’t possible without a solid technology of recording what was used for what. “These are the amounts of the materials used for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the covenant law,” says Exodus 38:21, “which were recorded at Moses' command by the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest.”

Title Companies

As enterprise grew more sophisticated in the late medieval period, recording ownership claims itself became a business, and thus was the title company born. These took on new importance in the American experience because property was not granted based on political connections but rather homesteaded and traded with every manner of stipulation regarding surrounding resources. 

Moses – who proclaimed "thou shalt not steal" – had a vision of a tabernacle when he was on Mount Sinai. 

In times of political upheaval, being able to demonstrate your ownership claims through some objective record can make all the difference. This was true in Roman times, when such records could resolve disputes with tax farmers. But it was even true in the aftermath of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, when some effort was made to restore East German property to its rightful owners. Establishing who owns what is a crucial feature of ownership itself. Ambiguity over ownership is one of the more frustrating problems of the human experience. Consider the phrase “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” It is of Scottish origin, and said with a bit of cynicism. It is an exaggerated send up of the constant problem all courts face of knowing who owns what. Most systems are so bad that judges have generally said: if you possess physically it, it is yours. 

Surely there has to be a better way! 

The Blockchain

You can notice that the technology for achieving the goal of recording rights has improved along with the increased complexity of economic structures. It followed a long trajectory: stones, clay, papyrus, vellum, scrolls, books, databases, and computer files. It makes perfect sense that in the 21st century, the digital times would cry out for another and better solution. 

Looking back, it is obvious that a technology that seeks to provide social assent should not be controlled by a central party. It should be seen by all and be able to be confirmed or denied by any interested party, so that consensus is realized as the claims to ownership are being made.

Here is the core function of the blockchain. It provides a distributed system for verifying claims of ownership, whatever they may be. A few years ago, this truth was not widely understood because everyone was so distracted by the incredible fact that the tokens that make the blockchain work obtained a market value, and behaved like money themselves. 

The blockchain today performs the same function that a record of ownership provided in the 11th century BC. 

A market-created money made out of digits? That is indeed amazing. But to observe only this is to limit the implications. The blockchain today performs the same function that a record of ownership provided in the 11th century BC. It confirms that this is mine and that is yours, and thus makes possible a greater degree of peaceful trade and wealth creation. 

When you think of it this way, you realize that the blockchain is a new technology that provides for an ancient need. If it had existed in the 11th century BC, along with the supporting technology, it would have been used. 

The point is that it is here now. It is the future, until the next technology comes along. What gives rise to such services is not the longing for edgy new gizmos or the digitalization of everything but rather a universal human need. 

First, you need to claim a thing. Second, you need to defend your claim. Third, you need to verify that claim against every form of theft, fraud, deception, cheating, and anyone who would use some measure of ambiguity to take what is rightfully yours. By nearly perfecting this third stage, the blockchain has earned for itself the respect and admiration of everyone who wants a more civilized life.

Ellijay, Georgia area now has more indigenous Americans than ever

Ellijay, Georgia area now has more indigenous Americans than ever

The irony is of course choice.  Most if not all Latinos are at least partially native americans.  There really where damn few Spanish back in the day.  And intermarriage was usually encouraged or simply necessary with the men been worked to death in the mines.

The same has happened throughout all of the Americas  and most if not all have some European DNA, either recent or Bronze Age. If any genetic predetermination toward vulnerability ever existed at all, it has now been resolved.

The take home that needs to be well understood is that ethnic exclusivity dissolves through a fairly short cycle of generations and pretty completely after several centuries and is radically accelerated under modernity..  Today we are all remarkable hybrids.

Ellijay, Georgia area now has more indigenous Americans than ever

Conversations with Indigenous American immigrants in the Georgia Mountains. 

In one of the ironies of our times,  many counties in the highlands of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee now have more indigenous Americans than they ever did before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived.  Of course, most of these indigenous Americans are immigrants from Latin American countries or their first generation children, but they carry more indigenous DNA than typical federally-recognized tribal members in the USA.  

The impact is most visible in rural areas such in Gilmer County, where Ellijay is located.   Gilmer’s economy is absolutely dependent on indigenous American laborers, who work in the apple and poultry industry.  There are currently over 3,000 permanent Latin American residents in the county . . . representing about 12% of the population.  Another 1,000 or so Latinos arrive during harvest season. 

Over the past 20 years as Dixie’s Latin American population skyrocketed, one of my favorite past times has been to be “nice” to our new neighbors.  It is my way of “giving back” for the extreme hospitality and acceptance that the people of Mexico and Guatemala showed me on my four journeys down there. One learns surprising information when you talk to these people.  Few Gringos do . . . except to give them work assignments.

Eduardo (photo above) originally from the State of Michoacan, was stunned last autumn when I walked up to him in a Gilmer County orchard and criticized his University of Georgia baseball cap in Spanish.   I told him that on my next apple-picking visit to the orchard, I would bring him a Georgia Tech baseball cap.  He was really scared at first . . . thinking that I must be a federal law enforcement officer or a local neo-Nazi.  No Gringo had ever spoken to him in Spanish before . . . except employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  

He had to keep on working while we talked, but relaxed considerably when I described my hiking and bus journeys through Michoacan.   I had actually been in the small town where he grew up. Initially,  Eduardo would not admit that he was Indio.  In Mexico, American Indians are considered the bottom of the societal barrel.  However, when I began describing the cultural achievements of the Purepeche Civilization, he finally admitted being Purepeche and being able to speak their language fluently.   His children are in the Gilmer County Middle School and Gilmer County Elementary.    

Eduardo said that he initially began doing farm work seasonally in Arizona and hated it.  However, his family needed the money because his father had died.  He then worked construction in Texas, but hated it because the summers were so hot and the land was flat.  Michoacan looks like the Southern Appalachians and even gets some snow in the winter.   When Eduardo heard about a place like home, where the whites did not mistreat you, he took a bus to Ellijay and soon gained permanent residence.   I don’t think he is a full citizen.  Probably, his limited knowledge of English is the problem.  He speaks English better than I speak Spanish, though. LOL  

North Georgia is the poultry capital of the world. Most of the laborers are Central American Indians. 
 All of the foremen are Mexican-Americans.
The Mayas in Georgia

In the summer of 2006,  while I was doing research on the archaeological sites at Carters Lake,  I noticed that MANY Central American Indians, mostly Mayas, spent their Sunday afternoons there . . . picnicking and playing traditional Central American music.  Many of their car tags said “Gilmer County.”   Local Gringos were horrified at the sight of sub-humans hanging around the picnic shelters and singing foreign songs at THEIR lake, but local deputies told them that no laws were being broken, when people sing songs in Spanish and Maya.   

Having been treated especially kindly by the Mayas . . . several families tried to get me to marry their daughters . . . I wanted these newcomers to know that all people in the mountains were not jackasses.  I carefully rehearsed a few Guatemalan Maya words.

The next Sunday afternoon,  I brought along a Mexican-American lady friend, who worked at the Latino newspaper in Atlanta.   We walked up to them and I said in Maya,  “Hello . . . How are you? . . . Welcome to our beautiful mountains.” 

You would have thought that an extraterrestrial had just stepped out of his flying saucer and spoken to them.   They understood me, but apparently the impossibility of a Gringo speaking Maya left them with the conclusion that I was Kukulkan, an angel or minor Maya deity. 

They never ceased being freaked out, but my lady friend explained to them in Spanish that they were on a Creek Indian sacred site . . . that the Creek Indians were part Maya . . . and that the Creek Indians were honored that Maya families would want to spend their weekends here.

The Maya families were so freaked out by the experience, there was no chance of us joining in for the festivities, so we walked away.

Second generation Indigenous Americans

Last Saturday,  I chatted with Jorge and Pilar, while they were sight-seeing on bicycles along my country lane.  They spoke perfect English with very little accent.  I noticed that they were wearing tee-shirts from an apple farm store in eastern Gilmer County and guessed right that they worked there during summer vacation from school.  They didn’t say if they were “a couple” or just on a casual date.  They are Kennesaw University students, but grew up in Gilmer County.  Both love the Appalachian Mountains, but have no intentions of moving back to Gilmer County after college.  Their preference now is to either live in a Latino area of Atlanta or better still, in Gainesville, which is over 1/2 Latino and near the mountains.  They didn’t want me to take their photo, but didn’t say why.

Neither one remembers anything, but living in Ellijay.  Both made it clear to me that they were United States citizens, because their parents were citizens.  As legal residents, both students are getting their tuition paid by the Hope Scholarship Program from the State of Georgia.  This is a sore subject now at Kennesaw because the Trump Administration is trying to deport a young lady at Kennesaw University, who was brought into the United States illegally as a newborn baby.  She has no family in Mexico and speaks minimal Spanish. 

Jorge’s family are Huastecs from the State of Tamaulipas.  His mother knows how to speak Huasteca, but he doesn’t.  He does not like going back to Mexico to visit relatives.   He said that their home town is dirty, poor, uneducated and in terror of the drug cartels.  He obviously resented even being considered a Mexican-American. Jorge insists that his friends at school call him George. 

Pilar was born in a town in Michoacan that I love . . . Patzcuaro.   However, she remembers little about it.  She is very proud to be Purepeche and was wearing Native American jewelry.  She was much more interested in the research I do than Jorge.   She said that after graduation from Kennesaw State in Education,  she would like to spend enough time in Michoacan to become fluent in Purepeche.   She added that she would love to become an archaeologist, but her family did not have the money to put her through graduate school.  

Pilar told me something interesting.   She said that there are actually three Latin American communities in North Georgia, who have little to do with each other.  The laborers in the poultry industry are often from Central America.  They only work and socialize with other Central Americans and so typically know very little English.  

The apple industry workers are mostly Mexican-Americans and have been in Georgia a long time. They have developed friendships with the white farmers and learned rudimentary English. The United States born generation is actually intermarrying with working class whites.  They have been mountaineers for thousands of years and have no intention of leaving the Georgia Mountains.  

Long time Latin American residents, who have become US citizens form a third clique.   They are plant managers and foremen or else have started their own businesses.  Some are even professionals, such as teachers and doctors.   They mingle with the Gringos and try to be as “Americanized” as possible.  They do not want to live near large concentrations of Latin Americans.  

I told her that the exactly same thing happened to the Creek People of Georgia.  I don’t know, if she understood what I meant.  Maybe someday she will get that anthropology degree.   Multi-cultural people like her are badly needed in the Southeast’s universities. 

First Evidence of Legendary Great Flood in China May Rewrite History


This flood obviously emptied a large lake and caused huge damage. We also posted on this last year as well.  What is interesting is that the events took place four thousand years ago and that the civil response was so excellent.

I would like to see the geology worked up on the flood of the Pleistocene Nonconformity as well.  This is where the Pacific surely unloaded its energies in the form of a monster tsunami that washed out over vast tracts of land leaving debris banks.

 The sea level was still three hundred feet lower  so that may make it difficult, but the potential is there for such a larger vision.

First Evidence of Legendary Great Flood in China May Rewrite History

5 August, 2016 - 21:50 ancient-origins

Modern people have long wondered about ancient stories of great floods. Do they tell of real events in the distant past, or are they myths rooted in imagination? Most familiar to many of us in the West is the biblical story of Noah’s flood. But cultures around the world have passed down their own tales of devastating natural disasters.

New research recently published in Science by a group of mostly Chinese researchers led by Qinglong Wu reports geological evidence for an event they propose may be behind China’s story of a great flood. This new research delves into the field of geomythology, which relates oral traditions and folklore to natural phenomena like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods.

A view of Jishi Gorge, upstream from the landslide dam researchers say unleashed a great flood in China almost 4,000 years ago. Gray silt deposits are visible dozens of meters above the water.

A view of Jishi Gorge, upstream from the landslide dam researchers say unleashed a great flood in China almost 4,000 years ago. Gray silt deposits are visible dozens of meters above the water. (Wu Qinglong)
“Great Yu Controls the Waters”

The story of Emperor Yu, the legendary founder of China’s first dynasty, centers on his ability to drain persistent floodwaters from lowland areas, bringing order to the land. This ancient flood story centers on the triumph of human ingenuity and labor over the chaotic forces of the natural world. It’s strikingly different from other flood traditions in that its hero didn’t survive a world-destroying flood but rather pulled off feats of river engineering that brought order to the land and paved the way for lowland agriculture. But was Emperor Yu a real historic person, and if so what triggered the great flood so central to his story?

Detail of hanging scroll of Emperor Yu.

Detail of hanging scroll of Emperor Yu. (Public Domain)
In their new analysis, Wu and colleagues build on previous studies of landslides in the Jishi Gorge that dammed the Yellow River where it flows down off the Tibetan Plateau. They marshal geological and archaeological evidence to argue that when a landslide dam failed, a flood ripped down China’s Yellow River around 1920 BC. They dated lake sediments trapped upstream of the landslide dam and flood sediments deposited downstream at elevations of up to 165 feet (50.29 meters) above river level. They estimated the landslide dam’s failure sent almost a half million cubic meters of water per second surging down the Yellow River and on across early China. They also note that the timing of this flood coincides with a major archaeological transition from the Neolithic to Bronze Age in the downstream lowlands along the Yellow River.

The Science study not only reports evidence of a great flood at the right time and place to be Yu’s flood, but also notes how it coincides with a previously identified shift in the course of the Yellow River to a new outlet across the North China plain. The researchers suggest the flood they identified may have breached the levees on the lowland river and triggered this shift.

Diagram of the hypothesized dam outburst process in the Jishi Gorge.

Diagram of the hypothesized dam outburst process in the Jishi Gorge. (Wu Qinglong)
And this, in turn, would help explain a unique aspect of the story of Yu’s flood. A large river rerouted to a new course could trigger persistent lowland flooding. A longer route to the sea would impose a gentler slope that would promote deposition of sediment, clogging the channel, and splitting flow into multiple channels – all of which would exacerbate flooding of lowland areas. This sounds like a pretty good setup for the story of Yu’s long labor to drain the floodwaters and channel them to the sea.

Flood Stories from Cultures Around the Globe

When I researched the potential geological origins of the world’s flood stories for my book “The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood," I was impressed with how the geography of seemingly curious details in many local myths was consistent with geological processes that cause disastrous floods in different regions. Even along the Nile, where the annual flood is quite predictable, the lack of flood stories is consistent with how droughts were the real danger in ancient Egypt. There, failure to flood would have been catastrophic.

Around the tsunami-prone Pacific, flood stories tell of disastrous waves that rose from the sea. Early Christian missionaries were perplexed as to why flood traditions from South Pacific islands didn’t mention the Bible’s 40 days and nights of rain, but instead told of great waves that struck without warning. A traditional story from the coast of Chile described how two great snakes competed to see which could make the sea rise more, triggering an earthquake and sending a great wave ashore. Native American stories from coastal communities in the Pacific Northwest tell of great battles between Thunderbird and Whale that shook the ground and sent great waves crashing ashore. These stories sound like prescientific descriptions of a tsunami: an earthquake-triggered wave that can catastrophically inundate shorelines without warning.

‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ (c.1830-1833) by Hokusai.

‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ (c.1830-1833) by Hokusai. (Public Domain)
Other flood stories evoke the failure of ice and debris dams on the margins of glaciers that suddenly release the lakes they held back. A Scandinavian flood story, for example, tells of how Odin and his brothers killed the ice giant Ymir, causing a great flood to burst forth and drown people and animals. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this might describe the failure of a glacial dam.

While doing fieldwork in Tibet, I learned of a local story about a great guru draining a lake in the valley of the Tsangpo River on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau – after our team had discovered terraces made of lake sediments perched high above the valley floor. The 1,200-year-old carbon dates from wood fragments we collected from the lake sediments correspond to the time when the guru arrived in the valley and converted the local populace to Buddhism by defeating, so the story goes, the demon of the lake to reveal the fertile lake bottom that the villagers still farm.

The most deadly and disruptive floods would be talked about for years to come. Here Aztecs perform a ritual to appease the angry gods who had flooded their capital.

The most deadly and disruptive floods would be talked about for years to come. Here Aztecs perform a ritual to appease the angry gods who had flooded their capital. (Public Domain)
Don’t Expect Definitive Proof

Of course, attempts to bring science to bear on relating ancient tales to actual events are fraught with speculation. But it is clear that stories of great floods are some of humanity’s oldest. And the global pattern of tsunamis, glacial outburst floods, and catastrophic flooding of lowlands fits rather well with unusual details within many flood stories.

And even though geological evidence put the idea of a global flood to rest almost two centuries ago, there are options for a rational explanation of the biblical flood. One is a catastrophic inundation that oceanographers Bill Ryan and Walter Pitman propose happened when the post-glacial rise in sea level breached the Bosporus and decanted the Mediterranean into a lowland freshwater valley, forming the Black Sea. Or perhaps it could relate to cataclysmic lowland flooding in estuarine Mesopotamia like that which inundated the Irrawaddy Delta in 2008, killing more than 130,000 people.

Does the new study by Wu and his colleagues prove that the great flood they reconstruct was in fact Emperor Yu’s flood? No, but it does make an intriguing case for the possibility. Yet previous researchers studying landslide dams in the Jishi gorge have concluded that ancient lakes there drained slowly and dated to more than 1,000 years before the dates reported in this latest article. Was there more than one generation of landslide dams and floods? No doubt geologists will continue to argue about the evidence. That is, after all, what we do.

It’s always been part of human nature to be fascinated by and pay attention to the natural world. Great floods and other natural disasters were long seen as the work of angry deities or supernatural entities or powers. But now that we are learning that some stories once viewed as folklore and myth may be rooted in real events, scientists are paying a little more attention to the storytellers of old.

The Great Flood. (c. 1450-1499)

The Great Flood. (c. 1450-1499) (Public Domain)
Top Image: Cataclysmic natural disasters frame indelible human stories. Francis Danby, The DelugeCC BY-NC-ND
This article, originally titled ‘Geomythology: Can Geologists Relate Ancient Stories of Great Floods to Real Events?’ by David R. Montgomery was originally published on The Conversation and has republished under a Creative Commons license.

Kolbrin - Rolls of Record - Chpt 16 - 20

 The community has arrived and established itself about Glastonbury in England and is now reconstructing itself.  It is plausible that this took place around 1000 AD during the height of the Viking Age.  Plenty of sea traffic was available and this locale is a natural settlement prospect on the sea routes.  It is the right place for a former Bronze Age Community abandoning a city near the copper fields in Lake superior to end up.

We now have the first mention of a horse no less.

The rest is material useful to such a community.  We also get some material explaining the spiritual aspects of this community.  But scant. 

What we do pick up here is that the library was actively maintained in the Americas until as recently as 1000 AD.   This is unexpected.  similar material is purported to have existed during roman times coming out of Egypt, but this particular community and the Jewish community are the only two that appears to have sustained what are libraries around the roman world..

(Many following chapters are lost.)



The Master was seated at his table, and, about him in a half circle, were those he instructed, and he taught them in this manner:

"My brothers, these are the ordinances of living and the laws which are the ordinances of men. No law, whether it be of The Supreme Spirit or of man, wholly produces happiness and causes no sorrow. So, to be worthy and good an ordinance or law must produce more contentment and happiness than it prevents. It must also prevent more sorrow and confusion than it produces, or it would be a work of wickedness and a memorial to the follies of men".

"Pleasure never comes unadulterated and no form of goodness which man seeks to promote is unencumbered with restriction. Nonetheless, there is no form of goodness which is unproductive of happiness in the hands of those governed with wisdom. Joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, success and failure are all moulding processes operating on the spirits and natures of men. Neither of the opposites is of less importance than the other."

These were the things taught:

'The nature of every person is different and all tend to drift towards the circles which accord with their natures.

Therefore, we set a standard, which not all will find acceptable, so that only those whose natures demand the best find our company congenial."

"Unless the soul of each man and woman is developed and disciplined by the restraints of spiritual and material decrees, it cannot rise above its earthly elements. As the earthly body must be kept fit by discipline and self-control, and become gross and weak through overindulgence or indifference, so is the spirit controlling the body required to exercise restraint."

"Every law, whether arising in the sphere of the spirit or the sphere of matter, suppresses something arising out of the nature of man and therefore calls for the exercise of restraint and forbearance. Yet is it not true that though every just law restrains something within men and women, it also restricts evil and things which are not good?

The less a law imposes upon men and women and the more it imposes upon the things detrimental to their welfare, the better the law. All laws are paid for out of treasury of freedom, the lower the cost the better the law."

"The laws of earthly rulers are kept by force of arms, but the keeping of the higher spiritual laws can only be ensured through enlightenment and wisdom. The causes of misjudgments, sorrow and remorse stem more frequently from breaches in spiritual laws than in earthly ones."

"Moral laws and restraints are essential to the progress and welfare of mankind. When passions are unrestricted and weaknesses unfenced by moral laws, various forms of vice and perversions become accepted and sap the stamina of nations. When the abnormal is given free access to intrude upon the normal, the nation degenerates, the race is contaminated and mankind suffers a reverse. The Great Law places an obligation upon mankind to improve itself. Every man and woman must safeguard their heritage and raise themselves above earthly sordidness. This is one of the reasons for living. The struggle of life is with man, the struggle of man is with himself"

"Wise leaders in every land and age have made laws restraining the weak and abnormal from satisfying their carnal appetites and immoral urges. If their own uncontrolled desires were allowed freedom to dictate their actions, then not only would the weak and abnormal destroy themselves, but they would be like a cancer in the living body of mankind."

"The Sacred Books tell us that the nature of man contains a sense of shame. This is so, and it is there that he may also know the meaning of decency and be proud of himself as a man. It is there to make a better state known to him, a state of spiritual cleanliness and purity."

"Such knowledge does not come naturally to man, any more than good pastures come naturally to the
husbandman. The city over the hill was founded in goodness, and its founders were not men who found pleasure in wickedness. Nonetheless, as the years passed it became apparent that all was not well within its walls. Now, because of the inclination of its inhabitants, the city's days are numbered."

"Men come across the sea in ships from the South, bringing things much sought after by the people who surround us, who go into the city to exchange the things they have caught or grown, or which have been dug out of the ground. Things are exchanged in the marketplace of the city, but they are for the enjoyment of the body, not the satisfaction of the soul."

"Nonetheless, men will always be driven, by their very natures, to seek for and obtain things which do not satisfy any earthly appetite. Such things are those which delight the hearts of men by their beauty, or bring inward joy and contentment. Also things which bring pleasure to loved ones and things which inspire men to noble deeds. With all the earthliness of man the things most sought and desired are those which stir the forces within the soul, and not the forces within the body. When it is otherwise mankind will slip backwards towards the beasts."

This is rewritten in our tongue, through a rethinking of the text by Anewidowl.



My name is Farsis, from the house of Golaith and I am without wife. These are my pledges to Awerit of Glendargi:

"Here, in the light of day, before The Supreme Spirit and before all men, in the sight of my father Bealin and your mother Goronway, I establish you as my wife."

"I shall not fail to consult you before I take another wife and you will never be other than headwife. You will never lack for food and clothing, though the food may be uncooked and the cloth unwoven. A roof shall always cover your head and a weapon be ever ready for your protection. I will always be considerate of your wants and always careful in things relating to your welfare. Whatever good fortune comes it will be shared with you and our children."

"I will protect you through every year of my life and shelter you from every calamity to the best of my ability. An insult to you shall be an insult to me and every man of my blood. As from this day, my house is your house. What your father and your father's house were to you before, now am I and my house."

"Should greater duties call me from your side, I will take every precaution for your safety and welfare. Should I leave you, through any change of heart or darkening of thoughts, or should I slight the pledge given here and take to myself another woman in your stead, then, unless you have brought shame on me and my house by committing the great wickedness of women, I shall pay to your father's house twice the bridal price. I shall also bestow upon you a half share of our property and possessions joined together since marriage. Each of our children shall be given its proper portion of all my property and possessions, and it shall be established in the hands of the king's servants." "Whatever comes to you as bridal gifts or is brought with you as your own shall be yours. I shall always safeguard and defend it. I will never take it to myself so that you are deprived of it, unless for the one wrong which defiles my house and mocks my name. Whatever your father gives shall be ours,
after the custom of the great laws."

"Your infirmities are accepted, to be shared with you, and the children you bear shall always be mine. No man shall ever mock you or abuse you without my hand being against him. No man shall ever wrongfully lay hands upon you, for you are mine, now and for always."

"I will not neglect the upbringing of our children, but they shall be raised according to my own light. You may follow your ovm creed even as I follow mine, each being tolerant towards the other." 

Those are my pledges, my hand and my token.



These are the lawful changes witnessed before Masiba:

"No man or woman shall own a slave, and no maiden or woman shall enter the household of another except as a wife or maidservant. To possess a concubine is no longer lawful. A maidservant shall be under the protection of the master of the household wherein she serves, and he shall render her up in due time. If he lay hands on her in anger he shall make due payment for it, and if he seduce her he shall forfeit to her household a third part of his possessions and may be otherwise dealt with lawfully."

"If anyone strike a half wit or injure one in any way he shall be severely dealt with lawfully. Courtfathers shall be appointed, who will be protectors of widows, orphans, half wits, the afflicted by fate and those assigned to them. The Courtfathers may be responsible themselves or they may appoint guardians. The property and possessions of any person may be placed in their care. If the Courtfathers act without good faith, deceitfully or carelessly in their trust they shall make restitution without stint and be punished otherwise."

"If two men fight without weapons, using their hands, without wood or stone except that they may use staves or sticks, and one be injured so that he keep to his bed upward of three days, the other shall pay for his loss of time and fiall healing. If any man gain deceitfully by keeping to his bed declaring himself to be hurt sorely, he shall not keep his gains and shall be punished otherwise. If a man fight with wood and stone in his hands, or unlawfully with weapons, he shall be punished severely. If an armed man attack another who is unarmed he shall pay heavy compensation and be punished severely."

"If, when men fight, a woman with child is hurt so that she suffer, or if at any time a man cause injury to a woman with child so that either die, he shall pay with his own life. If it can be doubted whether a man caused an unborn child to be stillborn he shall not die, but can be made to pay compensation to the husband of the woman,"

"After her punishment the life of an adulteress shall be in the hands of her husband. If he redeem her he may deal with her as he wish. If he redeem her but do not wish to deal with her, she shall still be denied the status of wife."

"If a woman use a substance so that she may not conceive, her husband may punish her by whipping or beating, providing he does not draw blood or maim."

"If a woman make a substance which prevents conception, or give or convey this substance to a woman, she shall be whipped with wands, as before. From this time the whipping shall be done on three days following each other and she can be made to pay compensation. If a man make, give or convey this substance, he shall be severely dealt with."

"If a woman cause her unborn child to be stillborn, she shall be secluded in a place of confinement for a month and whipped with ten strokes of the wand every third day. If anyone supply a potion to cause an unborn child to die, they shall be punished. If a woman, she shall suffer double the punishment of a mother who causes her child to be stillborn, and can be made to pay compensation. If a man, he shall be much more severly dealt with."

"If anyone poison an animal belonging to another, that person shall pay compensation to no less three times the value."

"The flesh of horse, squirrel and rat shall not be eaten. The badger is a creature sacred to our fathers because it was their salvation, and it shall not be slain."

"When a child stands on the threshold of manhood and his manly organs become active, he shall be made a man after the old custom. He shall be handed over the threshold stone and welcomed as in times past, but this shall be the new declaration: "I know without doubt what I am. I am the seed of divinity implanted within a body of flesh. I belong with those who walk the Great Path of the True Way and my place is beside them. I am a man knowing manly ways and I will do what is required of me as a man".

"My duty is to always protect those who walk with me and never deny my beliefs. I shall be steadfast even under persecution. The tormentors' instruments will not open my mouth. I undertake to bring at least one convert into the light".

"My duty is to take a wife and beget children who will be raised in the light of the Great Path of the True Way. My duty is to provide for them in every way within my power and to instruct them in the paths of wisdom." "My duty is to learn a skilled craft. I will be kind to animals, to vegetation and to the soil.

I will not wilfully harm a wild creature or a tree. My duty is to oppose all forms of disorder and lawlessness. It is to learn the purpose of life and to try to understand the design of The Supreme Spirit Who laid all things out in orderliness. I know I must always keep my thoughts clean, my words true and good and my deeds manly."

"I know there is a path of evil. It is the way of weakness and cowardice, which leads to self-destruction. I will fight all forms of wickedness and evil wherever I find them and I know I carmot go manfully through life without opposition and struggle".

"I know that all men are bom mortal and all must die in body, but I believe I am a soul with the potentiality of everlasting life. If, during the trials of life, I am assailed by doubt I will not remain passive before it".

"I promise to obey the code of manliness and to follow the paths of wisdom. My tongue will ever speak true and my hand do good. I know that just to do good is not sufficient, but I must attack evil. My duty is to oppose wicked men and their ways, and I will abide in peace with my brothers".

"My duty is to learn and to understand the teachings of the Holy Writ, so that I may direct my children by its light. I will uphold  and support the Brotherhood all the days of my life and expound its teachings to others. I backnowledge that only by example can I be a true and worthy exponent.

"I will never oppress any man for his belief, unless he first attack mine. Even then I will bear him with tolerance, until his oppression threatens to overwhelm me. I will never agree to the conversion of men by force, even for their own good, for this is an evil thing. My only arguments shall be example and commonsense".

'The faith I hold shall not be something imprisoned within my thoughts, but something lived and expressed in deeds. I give thanks for the knowledge that I am a living soul, but I know fiill well the grave responsibility I bear towards my ftiture being. I will not be a disgrace to Earth when I pass to the greater realm beyond."

"When I become a father of children I. shall accept responsibility for their wrongdoing, even as credit is claimed for their goodness. I shall not seek to blame others for my own failures. I shall be ever mindful of the good things of life and grateful for them. I shall suffer adversity and affliction with fortitude, rising above them like a man and not cringing before them like a dog under the stick of his master. Doubts, fears, unnatural desires and unmanly urges may lurk along my path, like forest demons which waylay those who travel, but I shall overcome them."

"I will not hide my contempt for the workers of wickedness and servants of evil, and though they may be in the seats of the mighty I will accord them no respect. I will never commend that which is wicked."

"I recognise that my soul and body compete for the satisfaction of their separate desires. I know that each day the body dies a little, that every day it draws nearer to the dark shore. Therefore, I will follow the precepts of prudence and each and every day will be a step forward in the awakening of my soul. I shall not punish my trueself for the sake of satisfying a decaying body".

"I will live in the light as revealed in the Holy Writ, the Written Light as revealed to the Brothers of the Book. I will live as a man, acknowledging my duties and obUgations as a man, and I will die as a man."



The barbarian asks, "Who and What is The Supreme Spirit?" Say unto him, "Conceive it as a Being even above your greatest god. If it helps in your understanding, see The Supreme Spirit as a God reflecting His image as nyourself. It is He who fills Heaven and Earth with His might, and His powers are displayed in the elemental forces. He is now as in the beginning and will be no different after the end. He formed men by building an earthly structure around a heavenly seed and into this he infused the vapours of life. He maintains the order of the Heavens and stabilises the land in the waters. His breath is the breath of life and He causes water to fall and greenery to live". Say to the barbarian, "Look about you and see God reflected as in a mirror. No mortal man has ever looked upon Him directly, but His reflection may be seen with immunity".

The barbarian seeks a god he can see, but try and make him understand this is impossible, because of God's very greatness and the littleness of man. Take the barbarian out next time the sun shines at its strength and ask him to gaze upon it. He will be forced to admit that it is beyond his powers to do so. Then say unto him, "See, it is beyond your power to look upon even the shield behind which Haula hides himself because of his brightness.

Yet even this great god is no more than a faint, far off reflection embodying the ray carrying power from The Supreme Spirit. How then could you hope to look upon the source of power itself?"

The barbarians are still children and these things do not easily come within their understanding. Because of this it may be best if they were taught by simple tales, like children, and so brought into the hght gradually. A behef in The Supreme Spirit is of no great importance. An inquiry into His nature by the ignorant is purposeless foolishness. It is of much more importance to men that they beUeve in their own souls. Belief in a god of any sort without belief in the immortality of man and his godlike-ness serves no end. If a god existed without man deriving any benefit from his existence, it would be better for man to ignore him. This, however, is not the case.

Man seeks unity and communion with The Supreme Spirit only for his own benefit. Man has a destiny founded in something greater than himself, and hence his need for that something.

The existence of a Supreme Being is not just something to accept, believe in and ignore. A beUef, faith alone, cannot be ends in themselves, for nothing exists without purpose. Simple belief in a Supreme Being is not enough, we must know the purpose or intention of the Being. If we believe this Supreme Being created us, however this was brought about, we must seek to discover the purpose behind our creation. If we were created to serve some purpose, to do something we were intended to do, we must do it or earn our Creator's displeasure. 

Does the potter keep the pot useless for its purpose, or the smith keep unwrought metal? Only things which serve the purpose for which they were intended are kept and cherished.

Therefore, we who are brothers, were taught not only to believe in a Supreme Being but also in our similarity to Him. The Supreme Spirit is not a stranger beyond our ken, the powers of The Supreme Spirit infuse every fibre of our bodies.

If we have difficulties among the barbarians, the difficulties here are no less. The Truth we have seems not only unpalatable but also indigestible. Men seek tastier food, even though it is less sustaining, and few replace the brothers who depart. Would we serve better if we presented Truth as a draught diluted with water and honey?

The threat of the barbarian king is something upon which you shall be counselled. If you are threatened with the alternatives of death or transgressing our laws, you may transgress them within reason and the bounds of conscience. If, however, you are required to deny all that you hold to be good and true, to betray all that we hold sacred, then you must accept death for the sake of your soul. You will be informed about these things by Kuin of Abalon who comes later, so only the things you enquire about are answered.

For the sake of the barbarians it is perhaps best to call The Supreme Spirit, 'God, The God without a Name.'

This will solve some difficulties, and if the barbarians think themselves superior because they contain Him within a name, let it be so and hold yourself in peace.

Say to the barbarians, "As the soul of man fills his body, so does God fill His domain. As the soul surrounds and contains the body, so is it with God and his creation. As the soul sees but cannot be seen, so does God see without being seen. As the soul feels, so does God. As the soul oversees the nourishment of the body, so does God revitalise the whole of His habitation. As the soul occupies an unfmdable place within the body of man, so is the residence of God unfathomable. No man can know the seat of the soul and no man can know the seat of God."

The barbarians make images of God to make Him more understandable. Are we much better who make images of Him in our likeness within our thoughts? Not perhaps because we beUeve Him so, but to make Him more understandable.

As man's understanding of God increases, so does God recede; so that though through the ages man comes to understand God better. He ever keeps the same distance away. We who dwell in the light of The Supreme Spirit have come closer to imderstanding, not because we are better men but because we have devoted our lives to the search. If any man seek carefiiUy and diligently enough he must find whatever it is he seeks.

The rest of this letter is missing, but on a small recovered scrap dealing with buildings, it refers to Galheda.

Elsewhere it is stated Galheda rewrote it. 
There was an error in this gadget