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The evaporation of civilization
Saturday, 7 October 2006
Hugo Salinas Price

Up until the beginning of the 1600's, the philosophy of western civilization was the philosophy of Greece and Rome, preserved and developed further by the scholastic school of the Catholic Church. "Science" was then called "natural philosophy". Philosophy (and natural philosophy) included metaphysics, a field of study based on deduction which explained the material world as an effect of causes operating beyond the material world.

Along came two thinkers, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) an Englishman, and René Descartes (1596-1650) a Frenchman. Between the two of them, they laid the foundation of a scientific revolution. Thanks largely to them, metaphysics went out of fashion and remains so. Induction - the discovery of physical laws based on experimentation - was proposed by Francis Bacon as the only way to scientific truth; René Descartes helped powerfully with his development of mathematics. (Graphs, which we so dearly love and rely on, were his invention).

Classical philosophy went into decline and materialism ("all science is measurement and only measurement is science") took over the world.

The scientific revolution, by itself, would not have changed the world as much as it has, had it not been for a factor that enabled the scientific revolution: the invention of the steam engine working with the energy provided by coal. The scientific revolution plus coal brought on the industrial revolution, which historians date from about 1780.

One hundred years later, about 1880, it became clear that oil-based energy was the energy source of the future. Since that time, oil has provided abundant and cheap energy for the world. Oil is, and must be, produced in ever-increasing quantities to keep the world moving at an ever-increasing pace.

Civilization is being boiled out of existence

The history of western civilization since the industrial revolution can be likened to a pot of water sitting on a lighted stove. As more and more energy is pushed into the water in the pot, the water begins to circulate in the pot; then it begins to steam; the water seethes and soon it is bubbling and boiling. It will continue to do so until it has all been vaporized.

This is what has happened to all human societies under the influence of the increasing amounts of energy being pumped into them from all sources, but mainly, of course, from burning oil.

All human societies are being destabilized by the energy that is injected into them. As societies are constituted by human beings, we can clearly observe how the more "developed" a society, the greater the physical and mental activity of its population; the population has no option to being in incessant activity. Like it or not, the energy in the societies in which we live propels us: motion, both physical and mental, becomes imperative for each of us, just as motion is imperative for the water molecule in a pot of boiling water. Each American consumes - I'd rather say, "is being boiled by" - 27 barrels of oil per year. The figure for Mexico is 7 barrels per year per person. China is down around 2.

This is destabilizing to any society, because the increased energy which is propelling human beings to an ever more restless life brings these human beings into collision with the stable institutions of a former, quieter age. The institutions themselves can no longer contain the motions of humans. All institutions are giving way; in the United States, the increasing chaos in the face of crumbling institutional restraints has produced a situation where one out of every 150 Americans is in jail.

I can mention several institutions that are melting away: the family, ancient sexual mores and respect for the Authority, just to name three. But I am particularly interested in the institution of money.

The vaporization of money

The institution of money has completely vaporized! We no longer use money anywhere in this world. What humanity uses as money is a simulation of money, simple vouchers which are used everywhere as a means of exchange.

However, these vouchers are not actually money - money defined as a thing of value the delivery of which, in an exchange, constitutes payment. Money in today's world is not a thing; it is a non-thing, a simple number whether printed on a bill, stamped on a coin, or a number represented by bits on a computer disk. Since money is not a thing, but only a non-thing, tendering it in an exchange cannot, and does not, constitute payment.

What happened to money? The increase in human activity which resulted from the industrial revolution, had its origin in the process of pumping energy into human societies; the increase in human activity was reflected in a great increase in commerce, in transportation and communications. Coal and then oil energy have made people incomparably more active and more restless than at any time in previous history. As commerce, transportation and communications increased in volume and speed, the need arose quite naturally, for an easier and faster way to make payments. So a "derivative" of money came into general use: the redeemable banknote was welcomed by a world population impelled to action by the energy being pumped into society.

The use of banknotes - derivatives of money - instead of real money itself, gave rise to inflation of the money supply. These derivatives were leveraged against their referent, the real money supply. This inflation of the money supply by means of derivatives of money distorted production beyond the real needs of the marketplace.

Bankers are not thinkers. They are quite ordinary flesh and blood people who want to expand their business so as to collect as much wealth as possible. Their attention is not upon matters of principle. The bankers and the economists in their pay devised methods for eliminating the barriers to the expansion of their business, which is lending money.

To make a long story short, the derivatives - which were invented to facilitate the ever increasing speed and volume of transactions caused by the application of increasing amounts of energy to society - ended up by displacing the underlying original referent itself, gold and silver money.

Today, banknotes are no longer derivatives of gold or silver. They refer to no underlying value and promise nothing to the holder. They are now no longer money, though they look like what we think money should look like.

Since August 15, 1971, the world's money has ceased to be a thing, or even a derivative of a thing; consequently, nations have not been settling their accounts between themselves since that date. They have only been shuffling around the vouchers (dollars, euros, yen, pounds, etc.) which are the means of exchange that is being used.

Oil energy has overwhelmed almost all institutions in the world. This is a terrifying fact, for a society without institutions is the definition of a barbaric society. A world without enduring institutions which limit and order human life is a barbaric world. The last remaining institution is the one that characterizes barbarism: the Army. That is what we are approaching today.

Why did oil overwhelm almost all institutions in the world? Why did the Western World dissolve in the boiling pot I have mentioned? Why was it not able to take the heat? The answer is: because the world turned away from Philosophy beginning in the Seventeenth Century. Little by little the accumulated wisdom of two thousands years of philosophy was pushed aside in favor of the brilliant successes of materialistic science and its application to the production of dazzling marvels using oil and more oil. Principle retarded and obstructed men who were in a hurry; practicality and pragmatism were favorites with business people. Principle is for "squares"; pragmatism swings!

Philosophy left us because she was not wanted, and she left us to boil in our pot on the oil-fired stove; and there we are, boiling away until we all return to barbarism.

N.W.O is based on abundant energy and simulated money

Those who rule this world today can do so, thanks to the simulated money which we now use - the real money having vaporized 35 years ago. They observe the destabilized state of all societies in the world; the money-masters have the power of issuing unlimited amounts of simulated money and of credit denominated in such simulated money. They come to the conclusion that the World, in this state of flux and semi-barbarism, is soft and pliable and susceptible to formation according to their view of what would constitute a desirable state of affairs. Societies with debilitated or vanished institutions are societies lacking in structure, they are ductile and can be shaped, like red hot iron.

This, the rulers intend to do. There are two imperatives: oil must be abundant; and simulated money must have no competitor. With these two elements, world control and the shape of world society is in their hands.

However, I think the would-be world controllers are deceiving themselves. If we have not reached "peak oil" yet, but even if we only reach it in 50 years time, eventually oil will become very scarce and very expensive. The consequence will be that societies in the world will begin to slow down; slowing down will mean there will be more time given to thinking and less to frantic motion in response to energy inputs. Slowing down will entail a contraction in the number of people in this world. Less oil will mean less fertilizer, less irrigation, less machinery to sow and harvest crops, less transportation to move it, less energy to transform and package food products and get them to market. Less food in the markets will mean less people around.

This is a hard thing to say, but hard or not, I think it is truthful.

As the world slows down because "the fire under the pot is burning lower" and people have more time to sit and think in the "cooler" environment, humanity may be able to recapture tranquility and initiate a reconstruction of institutions conducive to civilized life. The sway of the world rulers will not remain all-powerful.

As for simulated money, the would-be world rulers will try to suppress all competition to it. As a chastened humanity suffers through the cooling-down process, it may rediscover philosophy; there may be a recovery from the materialistic illusions of the Industrial Revolution and the oil age. Tranquility - just sitting and thinking, or contemplation - is also an activity, the highest activity of the soul, in fact: the contemplation of truth is pure action of the intellect.

Perhaps people will be able to shake off the irrational belief in simulated money. Energy has so crazed society that few are able to see through the sham. Like the Queen in "Alice in Wonderland" we are all running like mad just to stay in the same place. The re-institution of real money in society will be the re-foundation of civilized life: payment will once again mean delivering some thing in exchange for some thing, and not delivering a ticket or voucher worth no-thing in exchange for some thing. Real money is the central institution of society (excluding religion and philosophy as superior institutions of a higher nature). Real money is the material cement which holds a society together and permits civilized life in the peaceful division of labor. Without this cement, we cannot build enduring great enterprises; absent the social cement of real money, social life becomes impossible and we shall live in a virtual state of war with each other. Real money will be rediscovered, as the world begins to cool down.

"Free energy" is the death of Civilization

At the present time, scientists are working on the invention of devices that will produce electricity out of the energy in space; the flow of energy will be inexhaustible at whatever volume is desired and forever. This is a project certified and guaranteed to "boil the water in the pot" to which we have been referring, right down to the last drop of water, and poof! Humanity will be gone, replaced by brutal savages. In Switzerland there is today a small religious community of Christians near the town of Linden. In a building in this community there is a device which produces more energy than is required to make it run. Why has not this device been marketed? The elders of the community answer: "Because humanity in its present state is not ready for it." They are absolutely correct in their decision. But others are working on the project and making progress - toward our definitive extinction as humans.

Francis Bacon and René Descartes initiated the beginning of the worship of number and quantity in this modem age of ours. Measurement as the be-all and end-all of science is based on Number. René Guenon, a French philosopher of the first half of the Twentieth Century called our age "The Reign of Quantity" in a book with that title. Truly, humanity was seduced; it forgot two thousand years of inheritance of philosophy and turned to the worship of number, and number and measurement are related to matter. So the "Reign of Quantity" is the "Reign of Matter". Materialism is our anti -religion.

Guenon thought that our times are part of a cycle and that the duration of our cycle is coming to an end at an increasing rate of approach. The cycle repeats time and again, going from Quality to Quantity as decay sets in. At the end of the cycle, our present humanity disappears and a new humanity comes on the scene.

Will humanity recover from the orgy of oil energy which has banished peace of mind, philosophy, religion and civilized institutions from mankind? I think it is possible.

Will we manage to extinguish ourselves with "free energy" devices? Perhaps.

Are we fated to extinction by the law of an inevitable cycle which controls human life? I cannot think so.

If enough people were to become aware of the pot we are boiling in, we might be able to do something to alter the course of events.

The institution of real money

The plan which I espouse is to reintroduce silver money into circulation in parallel with simulated paper money. The method allows this silver money to co-exist with simulated money, in spite of the ever-increasing volumes of simulated money being pumped into society. This is because the silver money will, under this plan, have no engraved nominal value. Previous silver (and gold) money was swept out of circulation because monetary inflation caused the value of silver and gold in the precious metal coins, to exceed the engraved value. The silver and gold money reached the "melting point" and became demonetized as a consequence.

“A beginning is more than a half” said the ancient Greeks. To reinstate the institution of real money by attempting to abolish simulated money at one blow is to call for a massive world-wide collapse of all economic activity. I think that such a call will not be heeded by the vast majority of people in any country. On the other hand, the call for the institution of real money in parallel with simulated money is a non-threatening invitation which offers an opening with new and attractive vistas.

Modern conditions of perpetual inflation of the money supply make silver and gold coins with an engraved value obsolete. In this age, precious metal money must have no engraved value - only a quoted value, a quote issued by a monetary authority. As the value of silver and gold rises due to monetary inflation, the official quote also rises. An indispensable condition for these coins actually to become money is that such a quote must on no account be reduced.

Today, this is all that human societies require for the retrieval of that most fundamental of all material institutions: real money. The institution must be created, no matter if the quantity of such precious metal money is small. In looking to principle or quality, rather than to quantity and number, a society instituting real money will be acting in the highest interest of human life.

In the words of that enlightened statesman, George Washington: "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest may repair."

Time will reveal the devastating contradictions which will terminate the simulation of money. A real money based on eternal principle - payment is giving some thing in return for some thing - will endure. When the great farce of simulated money is over, silver and gold coins will be serving for peace and cooperation amongst human beings, not barbarians.