Friday, May 27, 2016

Human history (II): Language like God's

Speech is an absolute marvel
Speech is an unmitigated miracle, something moderns often forget. It requires specialized bodily hardware and a brain that's capable of incredible abstractions. According to some models, speech began to become possible because of a mutation on the Y-chromosome (Crow, Tyler-Smith) and while some may wonder why, if men invented speech, women got so good at it, more serious investigators may not help notice the obvious parallel with Genesis 2:22.

Language (that which comes about from the ability to speak) is no less a miracle, because it is fundamentally based on agreement, vast agreement across vast areas and during vast amounts of time. Up until late in the 20th century, people were convinced that the various human languages were wholly separate things, and could only marvel at the amazing "coincidence" of the obvious similarities between languages of peoples who could never have met. More advanced linguistic theory, however, began to show that all human languages are in fact quite similar, and are all based on the same operating principle called syntax; all languages consist of things like nouns, verbs and adjectives and they all depend on the contextual relationship between the words.

As diverse as they may seem, the languages of peoples are as identical as their bodies.

Edward O. Wilson
Further amazing studies have revealed that DNA works in several distinct ways precisely like human language (Gariaev, Delrow). Some enthusiasts have concluded that extraterrestrials must have endowed all DNA of planet earth with a greeting in helpfully human language that we somehow managed to develop on our own, but the truth is obviously the reverse. Humans are not only forming their bodily cells according to their DNA, they also form their social bonding from it.

The biologist Edward O. Wilson once remarked that the individual ant does not exist -- ant DNA includes the social behavior that drives ants to build a highly complex ant hill and the same is true for humans and their language. Human languages are so alike because human DNA is so alike and both are so alike because they are really the same thing.

Human language resonates with DNA and DNA is not a boring "code" that we slavishly obey; it's exiting stories that we love to hear. Living things aren't machines that operate on software; they dance on genetic music.

Imagine how many factors must be just right to preserve a charcoal rock-painting for just a few years. The chance than one remains for millennia, let alone for tens of thousands of years, is minute and the very fact that we have found so many demonstrates that the old world was littered with human graffiti: sign posts, totems and probably a whole lot just for the prettiness of it.

Lascaux painting

All language writing evolved from pictures, and it may very well be that early art such as carvings and cave paintings was used primarily to stir up conversations, in order to find agreement on what to call things (Genesis 2:19). It's even likely that prior to speaking with words, people spoke melodically (they hummed, growled and clacked), and that music arose prior to language and primarily as a means of communication and social bonding (speech won from music probably because speech was more amusing).

Language is not an autonomous thing, just like DNA is not. But spoken language is an expression of DNA, and subsequently forms its own verbal biosphere. And just like, according to some models, the biosphere once consisted of a huge amount of different single cellular organisms, so must the realm of human proto-language once have consisted of a huge number of different proto-words (grunts, clacks).

In the biosphere, most single-cellular species died out (although even today, most of the biomass is represented by single cellular creatures) and some survivors began to huddle together in colonies. Likewise human speech began to polarize into languages, in which people of large areas began to represent the same concepts with the same sounds.

Language made it possible to describe and discuss things that weren't directly visible, and the art of story telling must have been a logical consequence. Stories gave people the ability to discuss and exchange abstractions. Stories were told and retold, reshaped and adjusted, like metal in a smithery (Psalm 12:6). Some versions were forgotten, others became campfire hits and became the archetypes that everybody recognized and personified with.

In the biosphere, complex colonies were surpassed in complexity by creatures that were in fact hyper-social colonies of single cellular creatures: multi-cellular creatures. In the realm of language, people began to compile their archetypal stories into the traditions that breathed like a collective soul through people's hearts.

In Hebrew the word for bee, deborah, is the feminine form of the word for 'Word', dabar
which is what we would call -logy in words like mythology.

Critics propose that religions came from fear and wishful thinking, but it's obvious that they don't. Mythologists marvel over the similarities between the various ancient myths of the old world, but the reason for this is that all of them reflect the same principles, namely the operating principles of DNA. All DNA contains code that drives a creature to reproduce this DNA. That's exactly what human language does too; it's a reproduction of DNA. On a genetic level, a bacterium is precisely as complex as a human being, just like on a linguistic level a freshly produced yarn is as complex as an established myth. But story telling follows the precise same kind of progression of complexity as life does.

Archaeologists wonder why after countless millennia of foraging, humans suddenly took up farming (which is a whole lot more work than foraging and yields little additional safety), and several enticing theories have been proposed. Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the mythologies of very old societies began to tell them that they should, simply because farming can feed more people and more people means more blather and more exchange of ideas.

It's still a scientific mystery where DNA might have come from because as a natural phenomenon it seems to violate the second law of thermodynamics. Energy fluctuations will eventually even out, and everything will eventually turn into dust; in other words: entropy will increase until the max. But since time is a legitimate dimension of the universe, the loss of entropy due to the initial formation of DNA may be paid for in full-and-then-some by the super-mess (transfinite entropy) living things make during their unpredictable lives.

In fact, the universe may reckon the rise of life as being in more than full agreement with this second law as long as living things move at will (Genesis 15:6).

In terms of a poetic approach to thermodynamics: human DNA is stiller than any other DNA, and the Torah is stiller than any other religious expression. The only possible outcome of evolution, called the New Jerusalem by John the Revelator, will somehow reflect DNA that reflects the universe that reflects God (Revelation 21-22).

... and you will be still

Friday, May 20, 2016

Human history: Murder most foul

Here at Abarim Publications we rarely get upset, but the chauvinism of the evolutionary paradigm has us frequently yawping barbarically over the roofs of the world.

Since Roman times folks have insisted that whatever is not like us is inferior, and this spawned in more recent times the idea that our anatomically identical ancestors must have been frightened oafs, huddled naked around campfires waiting for their big empty heads to somehow fill with the knowledge of how to farm and the good taste to appoint leaders to pliantly obey (at around 9,000 BC).

It has been said that we are a species with amnesia, but it's worse than that: cultural chauvinism has green lighted the murder most foul of countless millions of fellow moderns, and robbed the rest of us of our collective childhood.

Energy (what the material world is made of), DNA (what the biosphere is made of) and consciousness (what human culture is made of) have so much in common that they are most probable three iterations of one primary principle; three times the same basic idea. All three of these media showed up in its entirety out of nowhere and then stayed the same in essence but changed drastically in application, like a car that can be parked or roar down the highway all because that's what its essence allows.

The universe went from singularity (car parked) to its present form (car going 150 kph) because it has been able to do so from the beginning (when a brand new car rolled off the lot, for no apparent reason). Despite the play-down of certain people, life does the same thing. The mainstream estimate is that life started 4 billion years ago, as a myriad of tiny cells that all had our ancestral DNA in them.

This ancestral DNA was then (car parked) as vastly complex as it is now (car going 150). Much to the detriment of classical evolution theory: life didn't start out at the wheelbarrow level or even the bicycle level. It started fully-formed at the Model-T level and hasn't substantially changed since. Our most remote single cellular ancestor ran on the very same genetic software that all living things run on today; namely a colossal array of instructions written in a fully formed genetic language.

Life may change form, just like energy, but was wholly there from the get go.

The realm of consciousness follows the exact same profile: fully there from the beginning and lacking only convention (broad ranging intellectual agreement). Homo sapiens has been around for at least 200,000 years and they have always been exactly like us. They had our emotions, our sense of compassion, our theory of mind, or sense of planning, logic and problem solving.

Prior to the emergence of formal language (which requires advanced broad ranging agreement), people were just as smart as they are today and they certainly weren't mute. They had the same brains and voice boxes as we do and were able to imitate every animal in the forest. In fact, prior to the emergence of language, humans must have communicated largely via intonations and inflections, changes of pitch and rhythm and clacks and clicks made with the tongue and lips, which is precisely how their fellow creatures produced sounds.

In other words: ancient Homo Sapiens (and quite probably to some extent Australopithecus and Neanderthals as well) may not have spoken the king's English, they were fluent in lion, wildebeest, monkey and all the other animal "languages" in the world. Ancient humans understood precisely what an animal was on about when it produced vocal sound (signaling fear, anger, hunger, loneliness; all that) and was able to devise appropriate action. And because they most likely discussed animals by imitating the sound they made, the first real words were probably onomatopoeic; adaptations of animal sounds.

Unlike the parodial Flintstones, The Croods is indicative of the general changing attitude towards early man

From the get go, our ancestors told stories, laughed and cried, dreamed and plotted. Their minds were filled to the brim with knowledge about the natural world, and their ability to join forces made them practically invincible. Animal behavior could be predicted to such an extent that a daily patrol could keep vast areas confirmed clear of predators. Close cooperating human teams easily outsmarted giant lions and mastodons and killed them as a matter of routine. They strode the land proud as bears and nimble as packs of wolves. Our ancestors had absolutely nothing to fear. Compared to modern city slickers, ancient man truly lived in a garden of Eden

Humans are born problem solvers and the very fact that we barely changed our behavior for tens of thousands of years demonstrates that we had very few problems to solve. Most of the time, food came in oodles, just growing on trees. Studies show that ancient humans needed to spend only a little time on the necessities of life and could devote the rest of their time to socializing.

The Geissenklostere flute, dated to 40,000 BC, is one of many found

Forty-thousand year old, three and five-holed flutes were found in Germany, and whatever remains after such a long time must have been part of a huge collection. The German flutes were made of bone and ivory and must have taken a long time to make. That means that flutes and music were not invented the day before. Tens of thousands of years before of our ancestors took up farming, they must have been jamming away in the forest. There's no real reason to assume that they didn't form orchestras and choirs and took their craft as seriously as we do today.

Paintings from Chauvet Cave date from 30,000 BC
Around the same time that our ancestors started making music, they took up painting and sculpting and the very fact that so many Stone Age artifacts are still with us (occupied places usually stay occupied, and a living place that doesn't get redecorated for eons is extremely rare) means that the whole human world must have been littered with graffiti, then as much as now.

Our ancestors weren't quiet and they didn't hide. Quite the opposite. They were doing their utmost to get noticed. There was very little competition and the only thing humans could have craved was entertainment and excitement. Just like dolphins who spend most of their time playing, early humans must have played all the time, with whoever of the neighboring tribes cared to swing by.

The complex at Gobekli Tepe was built long before people began to farm or congregate in cities.

Just like our internet today, the internet of the old world served largely to stay up to snuff with the latest lyrics and campfire hits. So much even that they created elaborate central hubs long before they settled as farmers. The 10th millennium BC complex at Gobekli Tepe, for instance, has chagrined all the right people and shifted the paradigm away from the presumption that our foraging ancients were clueless brutes and toward the understanding that they had the grace and the skills but simply not the desire to give up living off the fat of the land, and only congregate at pow-wows.

Our ancestors had the same soif-de-vivre we have today. Tens of thousands of years before anybody took up farming, our ancestors had ships in the water, and they were most likely navigating by the stars. For no necessity or dire circumstance whatsoever, they crossed vast stretches of ocean and created colonies all over the world -- and a colony requires a bare minimal viable population of about 20 people, which means that a colony never happens by accident.

Man built whatever he wanted and went wherever he chose. He thrived and dominated the whole natural world long before he started to domesticate plants, animals and ultimately himself.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Why you probably aren't a Christian (but something even better)

Over the years my homies have suffered their share of my rogue theologies but nothing sends them into hurls and recoil as much as my confessing that I'm not a Christian. Bible studies that center on being a Christian commonly conclude in hysteria and once or twice I ended up duct taped upside down to the bathroom ceiling.

My homies, you see, are Christians first and foremost, and reasonable only after all other avenues of sapience have been exhaustively explored. With all those bloodthirsty immigrants and terrorists lurking on the horizon these days, declarations of allegiance are like secret passwords and the confident examination of alternatives has been long retired in favor of banner waving, rally crying and mud slinging to all things other.

But, as He said through the words of Isaiah: Come and let us reason together (Isaiah 1:18).

In old Israel, you see, a king was not crowned but anointed into office. The verb for that is masah and an "anointed one" (a king), was called messiah. In Greek this verb is chrio and the corresponding noun is christus (from whence comes our word Christ).

When in 63 BC the Roman general Pompey put an end to the royal Jewish Hasmonean dynasty, nationalistic Jews arose who resisted the Roman occupation, and aimed to reinstate a Jewish king on the throne of Judea (see John 6:15). Since the world at that time spoke Greek, such a Jewish king would have been known as christus. These nationalistic Jews in turn would have been known as christianos or Christians; those pertaining to the anointing. When Jesus arrived and it became clear that nobody but He was the real Christus, things became complicated.

In the Bible, all people who held a unique office had unique names. That's why there are only one Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David and Solomon in the Bible. The name Jesus, on the other hand, was as common as Bobby is to us today. That means something.

Anybody who held any intellectual clout in the old world adopted as surname the place where he enjoyed his formative education or held his signature sway. That's why we speak of Paul of Tarsus, Archimedes of Syracuse, Simon of Cyrene and Hypathia of Alexandria. The biographers of Jesus (who knew what they were doing, I must insist) didn't tie Him to Bethlehem (to subscribe to His royal descent) or even Jerusalem (to accentuate His intellectual leaning) but to Nazareth, and Nazareth was either such an obscure hamlet that no other writer of that time mentions it, or else it's not a town at all but rather a moniker that means "Scattered".

In other words: the name Jesus of Nazareth perfectly paraphrases as John Doe from Anywhere, and a reader without bias or preconception may surely be forgiven to conclude that the gospel writers deployed this name as literary device to make their central points extra very clear.

The gospel of Jesus explains that the ultimate manifestation of humanity lies not in an empire in which every individual is subject to the whims of one deified emperor (even if he was dubbed King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Son of God, Savior of the World, as was Augustus, who reigned when Jesus was born; again no coincidence) but rather in the autonomy of every human individual, whatever named, wherever from. For humanity to reach its ultimate potential, every human must be an anointed king: someone without an earthly superior, someone wholly free and therefore entirely responsible for his or her own actions.

The authors of the New Testament overly explained that the followers of Jesus do not pertain to the anointing but partake in the anointing (2 Corinthians 1:21, Hebrews 1:9, 1 John 2:20). And please let that sink in: Pertainers to the anointing are not the anointed king but support the anointed. Followers of Jesus do not support the anointed but are anointed. They are Christs.

The Greek word christianos occurs three times in the Bible:
  • In Acts 11:26 the author notes that in Antioch the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. That's usually explained as referring to the birth of the word, but obviously the author expresses his frustration about their divine liberation movement being confused with some noisy political party.
  • In Acts 26:28 Paul reasons with Herod Agrippa, after which the king snickers that Paul is so convincing that he might actually turn him into a christianos. This is sort of half-funny because although Herod's family ruled Judea as puppet kings, they were Idumean and not Jewish, and doubtlessly suffered their share from nationalistic opposition.
  • In 1 Peter 4:14-16 it's made even more clear: If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed. Don't get into a situation in which you might be accused of being a murderer, thief or evildoer (simply by not being one), but if misinformed folks start calling you christianos, then take courage in the name Christ (and obviously not in christianos). 

Followers of Jesus are not Christians but Christs. Not some distant emperor but every Christ is Son of God and Savior of the World. Not some leader in a fortress somewhere will guide us to the New Jerusalem but the liberty and autonomy of every person under God. The Creator Himself communicates directly into the heart of everyone who is anointed with the Holy Spirit, and there is no authority higher than that.

After the Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD, three centuries followed in which the Roman empire attempted to subdue the most corroding revolt of all: the belief that one individual -- any individual -- mattered and had value, even as much value as the next dude, even if that were the emperor. The Roman Empire could only function if its subjects shivered in fear for their leadership and asked no questions. Talk of abolishing all rule, and all authority and power (1 Corinthians 15:24) and "don't call anyone your leader" (Matthew 23:10) was treason of the highest order and detrimental to the Roman state machinery.

But this idea proved so attractive to the plebs that no amount of slaughter and torture could kill it and make it stay dead; it kept resurrecting! These people had no leader to assassinate, no capital to sack, no regalia to desecrate. They sprouted up everywhere, like green grass amidst the boulders of Rome's temples. They ignored political borders like birds on their trek. They worshiped nobody but the actual Creator alone. They studied nature to learn of the divine (Romans 1:20) and wouldn't hear of the magic rituals that kept belief in the empire going.

Constantine the not-so-great
Finally, in the fourth century, aspiring-emperor Constantine had a brilliant idea. If he couldn't bring Moses to the mountain, he would bring the mountain to Moses. If these terrible rebels wouldn't succumb to the personality cult of the Caesar, he would make the cult succumb to them! And so Constantine made John Doe from Anywhere the impromptu Caesar.

It took some work, but with the help of large numbers of scholars, Christianity was formalized to fit precisely the mold of Roman Imperial Theology and to seamlessly take over its primary function: the control of the masses.

It was announced that there were no myriads of anointed free individuals, there was only one: the Christ, the emperor of the universe in whose direct stead the earthly Caesars ruled. All other people had to bow down and obey the one and only Christ who was represented by the emperor for everybody's convenience.

The relationship between the one and only Christ and the Creator and His Spirit was explained in such a way that monotheism was effectively abandoned. The Trinitarian dogma solved a problem that had never occurred to anyone in the thousand years of Judaism, and although it was wholly artificial, it also neatly provided a parallel between the new faith and the old Capitoline Triad, which was worshiped in the heart of Rome.

The Capitoline Triad
The "descent into hell" of Jesus likewise is not discussed anywhere in Scriptures and is nothing but a revival of familiar Greco-Roman myth.

Shepherds don't abide in the field in dead winter, yet the birth of the Christ was stuck to the year's shortest day, following the cult of Sol Invictus.

Likewise Easter was Astarte's spring festival reloaded.

The word saint, in the Bible consistently applied to all believers, became a religious rank. Its blessed cluster quietly usurped the familiar image of demi-gods that once surrounded the throne of Jupiter in praise.

The highest good in this new Christianity was compliance to the social order and thus its leadership. That is why in most Christian churches people sit or stand in neat rows, listening to one preacher without the right to engage him or challenge his thoughts. This arrangement is not natural (God-made) but mimics the philosophies behind the modus operandi of a Roman legion.

Jesus' most central message of individual freedom via inspiration by the Holy Spirit was simply erased and was replaced by esoteric knowledge that had to be studied. Its fraternity of practitioners became society's new elite, and entry into its embrace was governed by elaborate rituals that revived the magic of yester years.

People today are tempted to think that the main struggle on earth is faith versus science, or Islam versus Christianity, or greenlings versus McDonalds, but no. The most fundamental and most cosmic struggle on earth is that of autonomous individual versus empire, also known as, you guessed it: Christ versus Antichrist.

You can recognize a typical empire by its leadership cult, its disdain for the common bloke and the uniforms he is made to wear to nullify his individuality. You'll recognize an empire by its rigid organizational manifesto and insistence on membership administration and ranks, labels, categories, stamps and passes, symbols, and usually a wide spectrum of elaborate promises and oaths by either the representatives or else the replacements of God on earth.

You can recognize free individuals by the absence of all these things and the blind hate imperialists have for them.

Look at the house-style of the Nazis. It's precisely the same as that of Caesarean Rome, and the only difference between Hitler and Augustus is that Augustus won.

Both Rome and Germany hated Jews, because both worshiped their machine-like state and Jews embodied something beyond political non-compliance and subversion: the worship of only the Creator.

People like that can't be opposed, debated or enticed. You can't convert them into the state religion because these people aren't religious to begin with. That is why the exasperated 1st century Roman historian Cassius Dio could call atheism "a charge on which many others who drifted into Jewish ways were condemned" (67.14).

It's nice to be liked, but there are more important things than that. You'll have to crawl away from a beating now and then, but by God don't kneel to any regime, not to the Romans, not to the Germans, not to any of them. We belong to God, and we stand continuously in His presence, blameless with great joy.

Don't pertain, partake!

Friday, May 6, 2016

How Beer ties into the Promise of Salvation

For eons mainstream historians have tried to make us believe that humanity made the transition from being hunter-gatherers to living in agricultural and urban societies, because of such mundane considerations as religion or people's desire to huddle up and be safe. A recent revolution has changed all that. Now we know the real reason for the agricultural revolution: beer!

Yes folks, people domesticated barley and brew beer millennia before they baked bread, and beer has saved humanity more than once since (watch the riveting and wonderfully entertaining documentary below if you don't believe it).

But if beer was such an important catalyst in human development, why is beer not mentioned in the Bible? It's generally accepted that the agricultural revolution is described in the late Patriarchal cycle, specifically when Jacob began to build booths for his cattle (Genesis 33:17). But where's the beer (not counting the names He-Brew and Beer-sheba for argument sake)?

The answer may very well lie in the word nazid, which comes from the verb zud, meaning to boil. Our word occurs six times in the Bible, divided over a mere three scenes:

(1) The prophet Haggai describes a complete meal in Haggai 2:12, which contains our word but no beer (which in antiquity would be a part of any well balanced meal).

(2) The prophet Elisha was called to the rescue when during a famine some prophets had concocted a brew (nazid) from unknown ingredients, and it was awful. Elisha ordered the men to add some qemah, and what that is we don't know but it has to do with a grain product, usually translated with meal or flour but that's just a guess. And the brew was fine! Could qemah have been hop?

(3) But most revealing is the use of our word nazid in the story of Esau (the hunter and man of the field) and Jacob (the home boy). One day Esau came home from hunting and found Jacob stirring some nazid (Genesis 25:27-34). Esau famously traded his birth right for some of it, and when father Isaac was about to dispense his blessings, he blessed Jacob who brought him a dish made from domesticated goat-kid and had little blessing left for Esau and his fresh kill (Genesis 27).

And as a footnote: it's generally assumed that Jacob tricked Isaac into blessing him, but that's patently untrue. Isaac was blind and Jacob's visual disguise would hardly have made much difference to Isaac. In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul wrote that Isaac knew very well what he was doing, and blessed his sons according to his understanding of the things to come (Hebrews 11:20).

And beer? Besides securing Jacob's blessing and Israel's future, beer brought people together and caused society.

Beer kept the ancients healthy by producing the 20th century wonder of antibiotics naturally. Beer caused the American Revolution and was responsible for a pre-computer Internet.

Because of beer, people invented refrigeration and machines that replaced child labor.

So next time you pop a cold one, proclaim of the immortal words of John Nash: I have respect for beer!


Oh, and watch this cheerful and most excellent documentary on How Beer Saved The World:

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