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“Money is coined liberty.” Fyodor Dostoevsky House of the Dead
The VOC was a prime example of a company who had as much rights as a government. The VOC was founded in 1602 in Holland with seventeen directors known as the Here XVII. They received sole rights from the Dutch government to trade with the East. In their territories they could conclude treaties, build forts and keep garrisons.
The word manumit is a word we rarely hear today it means “to free from slavery, servitude, etc.; emancipate” and is derived from the Latin manūmittere – to release, from manū from one’s hand + ēmittere to send away.
In the Cape colony both male and female slaves could submit a request to the Council for manumission. In order to secure freedom however, slaves needed to be baptized, and be able to speak Nederduits. In addition, they needed to provide the VOC with a healthy capable male slave to take their place or pay the Company the amount equal to the value of a strong young male slave.
What has really changed since then?
Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal — that there is no human relation between master and slave.” – Leo Tolstoy
Mortgage: In the word mortgage, the mort- is from the Latin word mori (via old french mort) for death and -gage is from the sense of that word meaning a pledge to forfeit something of value if a debt is not repaid. So mortgage is literally a death pledge.
What do we have to give for our manumission?
“Since 1940, Washington has spent the unimaginable sum of $20 trillion ($20,000,000,000,000!) on the military–enough money to have provided for adequate nutrition, clean water, electrification, housing, literacy, and basic health care for the world’s entire population. In the next four years alone an additional $1.2 trillion will go down the military rathole. Today the U.S. military budget is bigger than that of the rest of the United Nations Security Council members combined. This bloated military establishment exists to protect and serve U.S. capital–not only to extend and maintain its domination in what used to be called the Third World, the oppressed countries, but also vis-a-vis its imperialist allies and rivals.” – Richard Becker
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of it laborers, the genius of its scientists and the hopes of its children” — President Dwight D. Eisenhower
I opened my eyes filled with wistful longing. The burning doorway was gone and I found myself in a meadow with a gentle breeze carrying the scent of green, playfully tugging at my hair. Under a willow next to a stream I see the man who said he knew the way. He was resting against the tree and appeared to be in a day dream. He had however, aged. As I approached him, with his eyes still closed, he asked me,
“Are you dreaming ?”
I did not expect that question;” If I am in a dream, then surely all I have to do, is wait until I wake up. It is pleasant enough here.”
“How do you know that you are in a dream and that this is not real? Perhaps this is all that there is.”
“If I am here and you are here, then we must have been born once, so we must have a mother and father, and they must have had a mother and father and so there must have been a history that preceded me in a world with a history of beginning somewhere. This place here, I have no idea where it is, or who I am here, or who you are. So it must be a dream.”
“ What if only dreams have a history and a location in space time and what is real have no history or space time continuum? Then this must be real.”
I felt confused. Of course that is what all wisdom traditions say, but this does not feel real either. I have no idea how I came to be here, or who I am suppose to be, or what I am. So this must be a dream.
He opened his eyes and the intensity of blueness surprised me. I do not remember that he had eyes like that and I would surely have remembered.
“Do you remember going to sleep or what the beginning of this dream was then?”
All I remembered was that I went looking for something, stepped through a doorway and found myself in the warrior’s world. After that I was lost wandering from one place to another trying to find my way home and for some reason the key was my link to home. Above all though, I felt an anxious yearning to go home.
‘Why would I feel a yearning to find my way home, if I was home already?”
‘What is home to you?” Before I could answer he asked another question.
“Where did you get lost?”
I did not even want to think of that place. I hate violence in any form. It hits me in the heart with its unflinching brutality and coarse barbarism.
“Where did you get lost?”
“After I left the world of the warriors.”
“If that is the last place where you did not feel lost, then you must go back there. Perhaps when you are there you will remember how you got there and then will be able to find your way back.”
“Will you come with me?”
“Do you remember me being there with you?”
He took a red ribbon from his pocket and handed it to me.
“Hang your key around your neck. You might need both hands free in that world.”
“How do I get back there? There are no doorways here?” I asked hoping that I would not have to go back there.
“Turn around; there is a doorway behind you.”
Sure enough, there was a doorway behind me and through the doorway I could see the warrior’s world’s red desert landscape.
I turned back to him but he had vanished with the meadow and I was left in dark place of nothingness. I had no choice but to step through.
To be continued …
So, often people utter this phrase, as a justification for not improving themselves. Why do we limit ourselves to our lowest denominator rather than aspire to our highest? Why bond ourselves to our failings and not our successes? What does it really mean to be only human?
Look at how great our power of destruction is. We as humans are capable of wiping out all life from this planet. That’s an awesome power. But remember that for every power in existence there is also an opposite in existence. If we are capable of such destruction, then it stands to reason that we are also capable of equally creative, and productive powers.
Imagine you possess an awesome power, however, you are not aware it, and oops, one day quite by accident, with the slight of a hand you cause a whole building to collapse in a moment of anger, or thoughtlessness. Now, on discovering that that you do possess such a power, you can either deny that you have it, under a cloak of guilt, and say that something else caused the building to collapse, or you can admit you do have such a power, and take responsibility for it. Once you have acknowledged your power, you could then make sure that you train yourself to use the power in a skilled way.
If you do not admit to yourself that you do have such a power you would continue to wreck thoughtless havoc, and perhaps some random acts of positive creation. Only by acknowledging to yourself that you do have such a power at your disposal could you train yourself, to use it with care and skill, for a specific well thought of purpose; for the good of all.
We are not “only human” in the limited sense of it, we are also human in the limitless sense of being human. If we as humans stopped concentrating only on our lowest material abilities, jealousies, and insecurities, and belief in scarcity, and rather turned our concentration to our highest abilities, who knows what we could be capable of? If we rather aspired to be like our most honoured fellow humans, and we judged ourselves rather according to what the best of us are capable of, then we as humans are actually incredibly powerful beings.
Those amazing men and women, that have astounded us with their capabilities, acts of endurance, kindness, and creative genius, are not just flukes among us; they are there to show us what we can be like at our best. If you put together all the incredible feats you have ever heard human beings capable of into one super being, you would indeed see the human being as an awesome creature.
“Ah”, you might say, “but that is all very good and well, but I am still just struggling to make ends meet, all alone, with no special talents.”
Do you see yourself as a drop in the ocean, or as a drop in the ocean with the whole of the ocean’s power flowing through you?
The focused human mind is capable of incredible feats. What are the united focus of human minds capable of?
The ‘Maharishi-effect’ is an interesting example of this. This concerns the statistically significant effect of meditation (or of meditators) on a community. In 1974 the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revived an ancient Hindu notion when he suggested that, if but one percent of a population were to meditate regularly, the remaining 99 percent would be notably affected. Subsequent statistical studies, by Garland Landrith and David Orme-Johnson among others, showed that the classical insight was sound. There appears to be more than random correlation between the number of meditators in a community and community crime rates, incidence of traffic fatalities, deaths due to alcoholism, and even levels of pollution. (Ervin Laszlo– David W. Orme-Johnson, ‘Higher states of consciousness: EEG coherence, creativity and experiences of the siddhis, ‘Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 4 (1977))
What are our minds preoccupied with mostly? Is it the positive aspects of our nature or the negative aspects? Remember “Energy goes where attention goes, and attention goes where interest goes.”
Next time you want to say ,“Unfortunately I am just human,” think again.
All that we know is nothing, we are merely crammed waste-paper baskets, unless we are in touch with that which laughs at all our knowing. -D H Lawrence
I received a post from “Seriously” on the subject of who is more stupid Idiots or Morons:
The first thing I did was to reach for my favourite dictionary (before I saw the rest of the post), Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (1901). To my surprise there was no word “moron” in it, only the word morology. Morology means foolish talk and comes from the Greek word moros, a fool. At first I thought something must be wrong with my eyes, otherwise why can’t I find it? Then I realized that the word moron must be relatively new.
So, I did a search to find out when it first came into common use;
Moron was originally a scientific term, coined around 1912 by psychologist Henry Goddard from a Greek word meaning “dull” or “foolish”, and used on the English version of the “Binet Scale” of human intelligence. The Binet Scale was developed in the early 1900’s by Alfred Binet, a French psychologist and inventor of the first usable intelligence test, the basis of today’s IQ test. The Binet Scale went approximately as follows:
Normal —– IQ 85-115
Deficient —- IQ 71-84
Moron —— IQ 51-70
Imbecile —- IQ 26-50
Idiot ——– IQ 0-25
The words were rather popular since 1970s until there came some changes. Today both of these words have been changed in the IQ test with mild, moderate and severe retardation which is not a great word either, from what I know we use the word physically challenged now and not retarded anymore.
Now the words, imbecile, idiot or moron are words that I personally never use, because lets face it no matter how brilliant you are, in some areas of life, you will act like an idiot, moron or imbecile. Idiot savant is another matter altogether.
“The word idiot usually refers to a simpleton, in contrast to the word “savant” in French that means “learned one.” Idiot savants are a subgroup of a class of people called idiots with an IQ of about 25. Idiot savants are a group of humans that are incapable of learning, writing or reading, yet they have unlimited access to specific, accurate knowledge in the fields of mathematics, music, and other precise areas. Now the irony of an idiot-savant is that this group of individuals does not acquire knowledge by learning as the average human does. They mysteriously ‘know’ explicit, exact, correct information. One may wonder: “How do idiots savants know certain information or possess certain skills?” By whatever means they obtain this information, they undermine current definitions about intelligence. Does their knowledge show that a source of intelligence exists? Is it possible to tap into this source and not know of its existence?
Dr. Joseph C. Pearce states the following about the general nature of the idiot savant. “so far as can be observed, the savant has not acquired, could not acquire, and is quite incapable of acquiring, the information that he so liberally dispenses. If we furnish the savant with the proper stimulus, a question about the specialty, he gives the appropriate response, but can’t furnish himself with that stimulus, can’t develop the capacity as an intelligence and can’t move beyond his narrow limits (Evolution’s End, p. 5).”
There are all types of theories that try to explain how an illiterate and untrainable idiot can have access to unlimited accurate information in a certain field. Some theories try to explain the idiot savants by genetic and biological abnormalities. Howard Garndner in his book Frames of Mind believes that genetic and environment factors create idiot savants. Professor Garndner thinks that arithmetic calculations of the idiots savant are: “based upon the relative sparing or proliferation of certain brain areas: like hyperlexia, it represents an automatic, impossible-to-stop-process (p. 156),” This theory still does not explain how the people obtained this knowledge.
Other modern theories use the principles of quantum physics, specifically Bell’s theorem, to explain idiots savants.. Simply put, these theories define intelligence as “fields of potential,” in the same way that magnetic fields interact with iron filings. In this theory, an idiot savant’s brain receives this information directly from a non-local source forming these “fields of knowledge.”
Quoting Dr. Joseph C. Pearce in his book about the cause of the idiots savant, he says an idiot savant “is pre-disposed to the intelligence of his specialty through some early infant-childhood experience that activates a “field of neurons (brain cells) ” capable of translating from field of intelligence,” within narrow limits (Evolution’s End, p. 6).”
John Davidson in his book “The Formative Mind” writes about an idiot savant from Canada, Daniel. “Daniel’s forte is making electronic toys. But his methodology is bizarre. He simply sticks a transistor here, a resistor there, a capacitor somewhere else, a bulb in one corner and a switch in another. He does not even wire them together. They appear to be randomly glued on to a piece of perspex. Yet when he switches them on, the bulb lights up. In fact, when anyone switches them on, even when he is not in the room, and he is involved with something else, they light up. So any constant psychokinetic influence from Daniel’s mind is ruled out.
Clearly, Daniel can see, in his mind, the inner structure of energy patterns at the subatomic and vacuum state levels. Unhampered by preconceived ideas concerning what is and what is not possible, and working along the mind energy hierarchy into physical manifestation, he is simply rearanging the energy patterns of physical manifestation to do his bidding. From his point of view, he is simply playing with his toys and wants them to light up. With both a direct mental perception and manipulative capability, he arranges the structure of the vacuum state and its manifested subatomic particles to take on the patterns he desires.
Some of the scientists who have witnessed Daniel’s toys in operation and even taken them to their laboratories for testing, have been reduced to tears, stating that all that they had been taught and believed in appeared to have been turned upside down. – Perhaps, although he cannot explain himself as we might like, he is also trying to tell us something…”
(For more on Idiot savants see my post: Imago – Just my imagination)
I believe he is. So often we ignore people with disabilities, reject those who “dance to a different drumbeat”; but are they not showing us perspectives on our visions of reality that we could not have seen otherwise? They are giving us insights into our potential as Human beings. How clear it is how our differences help to reveal alternate aspects of our reality.
To add more food for thought on the subject of idiots and morons, I would like to quote from the following post.
But I always wonder if there is such thing as an IQ, I mean where would you place a person who works day and night, feeds his family, respects everyone, loves his family, does lots of great things for society, but at same time have a low IQ, to be honest for me the person would be a great living being compared to all the other people who have great IQ but are totally idiots.
Interestingly, ages are also added to the categories of classifying Idiots (below three years), Morons (seven to twelve years) and Imbeciles (three to seven years).
If we look at the areas of our lives where we act like idiots, Imbeciles, or Morons could it not point to the ages in our life’s passage where we received the wounds that we have not resolved in ourselves yet?
(See: The Wound – The Shadowlands)
Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa is not a man you will ever forget once you have met him. Larger than life in every way, he is by far the most unforgettable person I have met. Credo is a true Renaissance man; he is a Zulu lore master, High Priest, a prophet, a poet, a painter and sculptor, and the best story teller I have come across. You can sit and listen to him open mouthed, without ever tiring. I feel like a child in his presence, wanting to ask for more. You can ask him any question you can think of and he will come up with an amazing answer. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to sit around the camp-fire listening to his stories.
Credo had very little formal education, but experts often call on him to provide another perspective. He is a man of natural wisdom. On one occasion I was at Credo’s house on a Sunday morning, after a whole night of initiation ceremony. The drumming had quieten down and most of the attendees were trying to get a nap. a Gospel band named The Arch Bishops arrives and proceeded to march through the house in full swing, announcing their arrival. While they were waiting to speak to Credo I had a chance to speak to them. I was very curious as to why a Christian group would want to see Credo a known Pagan. Their answer surprised me, “we have come to learn more about God.”
In a world that is so specialized, with experts advising in every field, there is still no equal in insight compared to that of organic wisdom; knowledge that have grown through the tasting of life. In the experience of life we taste and absorb experience as nourishment of the soul. Its sweetness or bitterness both alike enrich our being and create depth to our insights. The mere accumulation of knowledge has no value unless it has been tried and tested.
I often mourn the loss of apprenticeships; generations of knowledge acquired through practice of the craft, lost, unless it is passed on. There are seemingly insignificant details that books do not mention as it is taken for granted. Yet, those little details make all the difference in the mastership of skill. Life is an apprenticeship to the craft of living. In learning the craft it is most often the mistakes, accidents and crisis experienced in the practice that refines the skill and brings new insights that thoughts alone could not achieve.
“It sometimes takes a crisis for parts to appreciate the value of the whole.”
The following article and the tale told exemplify for me organic wisdom. It contains timeless truth within the words of a simple man. It contains the kind of wisdom that we so sorely need in our times. We live in a time of crisis, a time where we have the opportunity to experience the value of the whole. All we have to do is reach out to one another with genuine caring. There was a time when we listened to the wisdom of the elders. Wisdom organically grown and harvested from experience is what we need most in these times.
Teller of tale
By Simao Kikamba
My father had two ways of teaching me: one by putting me through a test and one by telling me a story and drawing the relevant lesson from it. He never went to school and could not read or write but he was a gifted teacher
When I was young, he once let me touch fire. I remember burning my finger and crying from pain, thinking how cruel of him to let his son go through such an experience, wondering why he hadn’t kept me from the fire. Nevertheless, I never played with fire again.
“Why did you once let me touch fire?” I asked him once as I was growing up. I had never forgotten the experience.
“So you could learn to never play with fire,” he said.
This is how he taught me the virtue of patience…
One evening, as Mama was serving supper, just as I had finished washing my hands, impatiently waiting to be served my share, my father decided to send me out to collect the kola nuts he’d left at his friend’s place at the other end of the village.
“Can I please eat first, father?”
“Your meal can wait.”
“I am hungry.”
“Patience is a virtue.”
Reluctantly, I got to my feet and ran, tripped halfway there, fell and stood up again. When I finally reached the place, my father’s friend made me wait till he finished doing whatever he was doing what he was doing. When he finally handed me the kola nuts in a bowl, it was night.
I ran back and tripped and fell down, scattering the kola nuts all over the ground. I wasted more time trying to find the kola nuts. By the time I reached home, my father, my mother and my sisters had finished eating supper. Father thankfully took his bowl of kola nuts and made me sit down and wait.
My stomach was churning with hunger and I could have eaten my father if he were food. I waited and waited till he got to his feet, stepped inside the house and brought out double my normal share of supper. From that day on, I always waited whenever my father asked to do so. One evening, as we sat round a fire, he told me this story…
On a clay mound once inhabited by termites by the roadside on the fringe of the equatorial forest, lay a twinkling pair of eyes. The eyes were joined by the upper bone of the nose and resembled a pair of glasses. The eyelids were brownish, the eyelashes dark, the iris of sapphire blue and the cornea of diamond white colour.
As they shone with the vermilion rays of the rising sun, they glinted with flashes of green sprinkling from the surrounding foliage. None of the inhabitants of the forest t-moths, butterflies, bees, rats, antelopes and so on, could resist such beauty and would each stop to admire such alluring creatures.
“Shame!” they would exclaim. “What adorable little eyes!”
“How strange!” thought the eyes, basking in their admiration and wishing they, too, possessed feet to walk and arms to hug each of their admirers. “How strange that although they all have feet to walk and hands to touch, a mouth to speak, they will covet two lovely eyes stuck on a mound!”
As the sun gradually rose towards the zenith, the eyes rolled, blinked, winked and even dozed off from heat. A large grey cloud soon appeared up in the sky, and the sky growled and thunderbolt after thunderbolt crackled, and a storm fell, washing the eyes off their resting place all the way down to the foot of the mound.
Covered in mud, the eyes could no longer see and they cried and cried and swelled up from crying. Night fell and morning dawned and the early morning dew drizzled over the eyes and washed them clean so they could see again. It was a bright morning, with swallows skipping from tree to tree. Then came, bouncing along and tumbling a pair of legs. Near the mound they stopped and as if they could see with invisible eyes, they thought to themselves:
“What beautiful eyes!”
“What pretty legs!” thought the eyes. Neither of them had a mouth to speak to the other.
The legs, bruised from tumbling along a thorny path without seeing, leaned against the mound to gather strength before they could resume their long journey. As the legs walked around the mound after resting, the eyes were struck at the harmony of the legs, one never walking without the other.
For a while, the eyes and the legs shared the comfort of the mound, next to each other, without a word passing between them, each confined to their own thoughts, until came the mouth to serve as their interpreter.
“How do you do?” asked the eyes through the mouth.
“How do you do?” replied the legs through the interpreter.
“Do you always walk like this?” asked the eyes.
“Always,” replied the legs quite proudly. “I throw one step, then another, left and right, right and left.”
“Why?” asked the eyes, rolling with admiration.
“For balance,” said the legs, a little irritated.
“For balance?” echoed the eyes. “You have been tumbling along like a loose barrel.”
“As you can see, I can’t see,” said the legs with a choking voice. “It takes eyes to see.”
“It takes legs to walk,” said the eyes.
“You could see for us,” said the legs.
“And you could walk for us,” appended the eyes.
The eyes rolled and twinkled with joy, while the legs leapt about the foot of the mound with excitement. The eyes seeing, the mouth speaking and the legs walking, they set in search of other parts of the body.
However, a dispute broke out. The mouth had eaten too much and the stomach complained of pain, the legs of tiredness and the eyes of dizziness. The body disintegrated with each part going its own way.
“But because no part could function properly without the rest of the body, they decided to reintegrate the body, each deciding to never leave the body ever again.
“It sometimes takes a crisis for parts to appreciate the value of the whole,” my father concluded.
- Simao Kikamba grew up in Zaire. His début novel, Going Home, is being published by Kwela Books
The vineyards are aflame in shades of burgundy. The Cape doctor (the South Easter) has taken a respite from its activities, with the North Easter blowing in the cooling rains of autumn. In wet places the Arum lilies have made their welcome appearance. To the delight of children the “surings” (indigenous oxalis) too have appeared in abundance.
Autumn, traditionally the time of harvest festivals. Times to look back over the year that has passed by and take stock. My thoughts turn inwards in reflection. Last year on May Day, I had no inkling what this year would bring, yet here I am again, and I breathe a sigh of relieve that I have come this far. It is not without trepidation that I now turn to face the coming year. Where do I want to go this coming year, what do I want to achieve? I shiver in the cool evening breeze, wrap my cloak tighter around myself. Somewhere I can hear the mournful hoot of the neighbourhood owl. The breeze playfully tugs my hair and despite myself, I have to smile. Do I hear Herne’s call? Time to turn inwards. A time for finding balance.
I was born in cold darkness of winter in the Dark Continent where the Dark Mother is strong. I have developed night vision. It is the very struggle that makes me defiant of death, that drives me to know, and makes the depth of my love so much deeper, because I know the contrast. Like light and shade in the hands of the artist, the blend in the need to express, so is the chiaroscuro of my being. Testing extremities to find the pleasing balance.
Stormy – Cindie Watkins
“You shall be freed indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound. …Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape. These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling. And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light. And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.”
In the birthing process stay within the eye of the storm.
Psyche – Barry Windsor-Smith