Tuesday, October 17, 2017

How Death Began, by Allen W Gould 1893

How Death Began, by Allen Walton Gould 1893

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Thou shalt surely die. Genesis, 2:17.

There is no Death! What seems so is transition.
Longfellow, Resignation.

Death is the greatest mystery of this earth, and because it is so mysterious it has seemed terrible to men. They have imagined it to be no part of nature originally but to have been introduced into the world by an angry God to punish men for some fault of theirs. It is indeed true that untimely deaths do come as the penalty for broken law; yet death itself has been found by the wonderful discoveries of recent years to be not a punishment for sin but a process of growth, and the stories of its origin have been found to be only the rude guesses of early men.

1. The Bible Story.
When man was driven out of Eden a part of the curse pronounced upon him was that he should return to the dust from which he had been taken. He was condemned to undergo death because he had eaten of the forbidden tree of knowledge. If he had not eaten of that fruit, he might have lived for ever by partaking of the tree of life which was in the garden. Death, then, was not at first the natural fate of man. He was originally made "to be immortal," as the bible says.

2. Other Legends.
The Persians also tell us that there was no death among men originally. The earth grew in size as fast as mankind increased in numbers, so that there was room enough for all. But when the first man sinned, the earth stopped growing and men began to die. The Chinese, too, were deathless till they brought on death by desiring to eat to be wise. The Africans say that men were created immortal, while the animals were mortal. But when men conducted themselves ill, the animals complained to the Creator of his injustice in making good animals mortal while bad men were immortal. So he took away man's immortality. Another African tribe says it was bathing in forbidden water that brought the doom of death upon all men; while in Madagascar it was eating forbidden fruit that brought death into the world.

Woman's curiosity is the cause of death in many other accounts beside that of the bible. In Greece it was Pandora's curiosity in opening the forbidden box; and the opening of a similar box brought the same fate upon the Cherokee Indians. In Australia it was an Australian woman's curiosity in going to a forbidden tree. As soon as she reached the tree a great bat flew out of it and people began to die. In the Solomon Islands death came because a woman would insist upon putting on her old skin; for up to that time they had cast off their skin each year, like the serpents, and lived forever.

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3. Their Origin.
Such stories as these are found all over the world, and they originate in the attempt of the savage to explain why it is that all men die. He thinks he can see why some men die, men who are eaten by wild animals or cut to pieces by foes or destroyed by any other visible cause. Even when occasionally strong and vigorous men die of some internal disease, like fever, he has a reason for their death. They are murdered by the magic rites of witch or wizard, and in many savage tribes such a death is followed by the execution of some person who is accused of committing the murder by sorcery.

But when it is seen that all men and women, even though escaping these accidental or malicious deaths, still finally die, the human mind tries to hit upon some general cause of death.

In lower stages of culture it is some failure or mistake of the powers that made men which dooms them to death. It was the miscalculation of the Creator which brought death, according to the American Indians. He intended men to live forever, but when the sun measured the earth it was found too small to contain their growing number, and so they were compelled to die to make room for others. In New Zealand death was brought on by the failure of the great God, Maui, to go safely through his grandmother, Great Woman Night, who lies on the western horizon with her gigantic teeth gleaming like glass in the sunset light. His father told him that if he could go through the "Great Night" and come out alive, men would never die. But when he was half through her, she was awakened by an unlucky accident and crushed him. And so all men have had to die.

But as men become more conscious of moral right and wrong they begin to explain death as a punishment for some disobedience or misdeed of their own, as in the many cases given above. They have eaten fruit, or bathed in forbidden water, or learned some forbidden knowledge. And the angry and jealous God punishes them all with death.

4. The Truer Story.
The story of science is far more wonderful than any of these savage myths. There was indeed a time when nature required neither death nor birth as the conditions of growth. The world was peopled then with nothing higher than single-celled beings, and when one of these beings finished its period of life it did not die, it simply divided itself into two cells. Nothing of its old material was cast aside. There were merely two new beings where there had been but one, and each of the new beings had its own life and then divided in its turn. And so on, till a single cell increased to a million or a billion of independent individuals. Life thus went on indefinitely without any death.

But life could apparently not rise any higher than this without death. For as soon as a higher form, even of the single cell, came, death came. The single cell that had any outer covering, any organs for locomotion, or for seizing or devouring its food, did not simply subdivide itself when the end of its lifetime came. Its outer covering burst asunder, its shell of organized form was brushed aside, and out of its inner material came the new beings that were to carry its career onward. It died, but its death was only to free its life from the hardened crust that prevented its further growth. It died as the egg dies that the chicken may start on a larger growth.

Among these lower forms, then, death came into the world that there might be more and higher life, that life might go on rising from cell to reptile and to man; and there is no reason for thinking that death in man is not for the same purpose. Every death in the brute creation is an open door for higher and larger life; and every death among men may be, as far as we can see, only an open door to higher life for the individual, if he chooses to go up and not down.

But for the community death is the indispensable condition of all progress. The great law of natural selection simply means that nature selects the fittest individuals to survive and dooms the unfit to death. If there was no death for the unfit, they too would survive, and so each community would have as many unfit as fit, as many bad individuals as good; and therefore it could not rise to any higher level. So science tells us that death is as natural as birth, that it is indeed a second birth; and that it was not introduced six thousand years ago by an angry God to punish the sin of man but that it was introduced millions of years ago by Infinite wisdom as the means of leading life upward.

5. Origin of this Story.
How do we know that this wonderful tale is any more trustworthy than the myths and legends which our ancestors believed? Of course no man was present at that far off time when only single cells existed. But men with their microscopes can see life existing now on the earth in just that low, deathless and changeless form; and they can see the higher forms of cell-life lose their covering and organs when they take a new start by passing through death. And men can also see from the fossils that death has been in the world for hundreds of thousands of years, and that the fittest have been enabled to survive and become more and more fit by the death of the unfit.

6. The Meaning of this Story.
Thus we see that death itself is not the result of divine miscalculation or anger, that it is not a curse but a blessing; that it is not the end of growth but the beginning of new and nobler growth, by breaking away from the hardened forms of this present life. For one who is full of years and wisdom, who has grown as far as this life will allow. Death comes as a kindly friend to lead him "with gentle hand into the silent Land, into the boundless regions of all perfection." As never before, the world can now say with Paul: O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?

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Monday, October 16, 2017

The History of the Dog, article in Birds & Nature Magazine 1900

The History of the Dog, article in Birds & Nature Magazine 1900

That the domestic dog has been held in high esteem by mankind from the earliest times, is shown by written records and mummified remains obtained from countries situated widely apart. The statement occurs in the Zendavesta, that "the world exists through the intellect of the dog." Cuvier wrote that "the dog is the completest, the most singular and the most useful conquest that man has ever made * * * each individual is devoted to man and remains attached to him even unto death; and all this springs not from necessity nor from fear, but from a true friendship. The dog is the only animal that has followed man all over the globe."

Egyptians monuments dating back 3,400 years B.C, show several varieties of dogs, most of them being allied to the greyhound. Carved records of a later period portray the mastiff, a turnspit and a form closely resembling the hound. Without question the dog was domesticated in Europe previous to any historical record. His remains are found in the kitchen-middens of Neolithic times and an increasing size in the animals is noticed through the Bronze and Iron ages in Denmark. Remains of the Neolithic in Switzerland disclose skulls closely resembling our hounds, setters or spaniels. The Americans had indigenous dogs before the conquering Spaniards introduced European species, and mummies of dogs are found in the oldest Peruvian tombs.

All this goes to show that the differentiation of the dog took place at a very early date. As in the case of man, the link is missing, but the ancestry is certain. Without question the varieties of the dog originated in domestication and inter-breeding of different species of wolves living in various parts of the world.

The dog family is divided into three groups. First, the wolves or wild dogs, having a round pupil in the eye and a short tail. Second, the foxes, which are characterized by a slit-like pupil and a long bushy tail; and, third, the long-eared dogs which inhabit eastern deserts and possess more numerous and a different set of teeth than the other groups. Considered as a family they are distinguished by a lean body, small head, the slim or long legs terminated by small paws furnished with strong but not retractile claws. The fore paws usually have five toes while the hind paws are always limited to four. As the dogs do not live exclusively on animal food they are not as savage as the cats, neither do they possess the "soulless expression of face so characteristic of the felidae."

While most of the dog family are gregarious, certain forms lead lives that are solitary or nearly so. Other species are nocturnal in their habits, while yet others burrow in the earth for shelter or protection. All bend the joints of the legs in walking, all possess great speed and endurance, and without exception are good swimmers.

Intellectually, dogs are more highly developed than any other brute animal. Many forms act with a rational deliberation and follow carefully thought-out plans. The senses are wonderfully developed. The sense of smell is marvelous in many forms, while strength of eyesight distinguishes others.

Of the three groups mentioned, the wolf without question was the ancestor of the domestic dog. In the German mythology, he was consecrated to the god Woden (Odin), but when Christianity reconstructed old beliefs, Woden was metamorphosed into "The Wild Hunter," and the wolves became his attending dogs, which finally were evolved into the ghost-like wolves of nursery and fable. The wolf has all the attributes of the dog except the nobility which necessarily comes from education. The tail always droops, never curling upwards as in the domestic dogs, and even when tamed they rarely wag the tail. Among the wolves may be mentioned the jackals of Asia, which are said to have entered largely into the breeds of oriental dogs. These were known to the ancients as "gold wolves," and are said to be the foxes whose tails Samson set on fire in order to burn the fields and vineyards of the Philistines. The Indian wild dog, or "Kolsun" is claimed by many to be the progenitor of all domesticated dogs. He closely resembles a greyhound, and is found all over the Himalaya and East India country. He exhibits many traits characteristic of our hunting dogs.

Prominent among several distinctive and familiar breeds of dogs is the Greyhound, which while graceful and universally popular as a pet, and a sporting dog, is unfaithful and unsympathetic [Ed.: ??) The great lung capacity gives the animal unusual endurance, but while possessed of keen sight and hearing, the sense of smell is very deficient. The Mastiffs constitute another group embracing many of the familiar forms. Among these are the Danish dog, the German Mastiffs, the Bulldog and the Pug. With the exception of the Pug, which is justly called a caricature of a dog, the group is remarkable for fidelity, courage, determination and strength. Great Britain is the home of the Hounds which, because of their intelligence and docility, are considered to be in the first rank of domestic dogs. All the varieties of this group are born hunters, being strong, swift and possessed of unusually keen senses, especially that of smell. Among these are the Pointers, the German Bloodhounds, the Staghounds, the Beagles, and the Foxhound. This last is justly considered the greatest of hunting dogs, possessing the speed of the greyhound, the courage of the bulldog, the delicate scent of the bloodhound and the sagacity of the poodle, he is well equipped for his duties in field and forest.

Probably no two dogs have so endeared themselves to mankind as the St. Bernard and the Newfoundland. Both of these, together with the Spaniels, Setters and the sagacious Poodles make up the Spaniel group. While as a class they are not remarkable for docility or endurance, these defects are more than compensated by a superior intelligence, fidelity, courage, keen scent and great speed. Much has been written about the qualities of the Newfoundlands and St. Bernards. The first are said to be the best of all water dogs, possessed of great beauty and an exceptional fund of good nature, gentleness and gratitude. The heroic deeds of the others are inseparably linked with their native home, the Hospice of St. Bernard. The intelligence and courage exhibited by these dogs among the avalanches and frozen wastes of their mountain homes have given them a place in history and earned for them the title of "The worthiest of them all."

Dedicated to my best friend: Teddy Schmitz. I miss you buddy.
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The Stupidity of Karl Marx By Henry Strickland Constable 1896

The Stupidity of Karl Marx By Henry Strickland Constable 1896


SOCIALIST—RADICALISM is founded on Karl Marx’s astonishing fallacy, that all profits should go to manual labourers, inasmuch as all production comes from muscular labour. But this is true only among the lowest savages, who have not brains sufficient even to invent a spade. The wealth and the great things that are done in the world do not come from muscular labour, but from brains to invent, economy to save, prudence to keep what is saved, foresight to see beyond the present moment, patient thought to make complicated and elaborate plans, will to carry out the plans, ambition to become rich, and steady perseverance, self-control, and self-denial enough to sacrifice the present to the future. We may say, perhaps with an approximation to truth, that forty-five per cent of what is produced in the world is produced by exceptional brain power and inventive and organizing genius; forty-five per cent by moral qualities, such as ambition, self-control, and will-force; and ten per cent by muscular labour. Arkwright’s inventive genius, combined with his ambition, will—force, and foresight, produces, perhaps, ninety per cent of the manufactured cotton goods produced in the world. Indeed, mere muscle by itself would not produce any. Patagonians are stated to have much muscle for savages, and a country that will grow cotton; but they produce no cotton goods, and probably never will. Then, can a more stupid statement possibly be made than that of Karl Marx, that all production comes from muscular force?

Saying that all great creations, like cathedrals, palaces, or railroads, are creations of manual or muscle labour, is just what children would say who can see the outside of things with the eyes, but nothing deeper. It is like a man who, seeing a rock from a mountain crush a house to powder, thinks it a wonderful exemplification of force, quite unconscious that it is absolutely nothing as a force compared with the quiet, almost imperceptible, forces of the sun’s warmth and action unceasingly working and bringing out all the glorious life and beauty in the world. A stupid man, like the Radicals I am speaking of, sees a navvy hurl a spadeful of earth that he knows he himself could hardly lift, and concludes, in the emptiness of his head, that this is the force that makes the railway. The real force is the quiet, molecular working that goes on in the brains of men of enterprise, energy, genius, ambition, foresight, self-control, invention, and organizing faculty. Herbert Spencer says that spiritual and intellectual, as well as physical, phenomena might, if men had knowledge to do it, be stated in terms of force somewhat in this way: If Shakespeare’s brain did fifty horse-power of work in composing the soliloquy of Hamlet, Goethe did twenty-two horse-power of work in composing Mignon’s song in “Wilhelm Meister.” Whatever truth there may be in this, it is manifest that men cannot measure and weigh these forces. Still, we know that some ninety per cent or more of the forces that built York Minster were spiritual forces—that is, intellect-force plus moral-force, plus religious-force.

Capital, says the Socialist, is that which muscular labour produces; but there is no capital till the gains are saved, and this requires brain-power, moral and intellectual—that is, brain-force to make, and brain-force to keep when made. “It is more difficult,” said a wise man, “to keep what is acquired than to acquire it"—meaning that it requires qualities such as self-control, of which the mass of mankind have but very little; so, “when they get on horseback, they ride to the devil.” “Greater virtues,” says Rochefoucauld, “are needed to bear good fortune than bad.”

The fact is, great self~control, great intelligence, great energy, great ambition, great foresight, and great enterprise (this rare combination of faculties) form a gigantic force, which does all the great things that are done in the world. Muscle by itself can do hardly anything. It cannot even create a spade—that first step in civilization and in equality—still less a plough, which may be called the second step. And yet muscle is, of course, wanted. In fact, all classes are necessary. It is like the organs of the body; take away any one of them, and the organism dies.

The shallowness of Radicalism is unfathomable. Wealth is unceasingly breeding wealth. Destroy the wealth, and this reproduction ceases. Radicalism seems to look on the riches of a country as a certain fixed sum in the hands of a few people, and that, if these riches were taken from them and divided among the masses, the millennium would commence, and happiness be universal. Of course, the real effect would be to bring about among the poor universal indigence, famine, and misery unspeakable, inasmuch as the breeding of wealth, that ought to be unceasing, would come to an end. As I have said, the working classes get, directly or indirectly, every penny of the incomes of the rich, which incomes are renewed and increased year by year by means of the brains, energy, and self-control of the owners of the capital. Turn over the riches to the poor, and all would be lost, inasmuch as the poor (exceptions apart) are poor because they are hereditarily, from the times of savagery, deficient in the qualities necessary for making, keeping, renewing, and increasing wealth; though they may have other virtues, such as generous and affectionate instincts, to any amount. Everything in the world depends upon character—on mental, and still more on moral, qualities.

Atlantis is Not a Myth by Edward Thompson 1879


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OUR sturdy worker in the copper mines of Lake Superior, finding both himself and his vein of copper growing poorer day by day, determines to seek some more paying claim in the as yet unexplored portion of the copper country. He gathers his kit of tools together and starts, and, after many a hard hour's travel over the wild and rugged country, finds a region with abundant signs of copper, and where seemingly no human foot has trod since creation's dawn.

He strikes a rich vein and goes steadily to work digging and blasting his way to the richer portions, when suddenly, right in the richest part, he finds his lead cut off by what looks to his experienced eye marvelously like a mining shaft. Amazedly he begins to clear out of the pit the fallen earth and the débris of ages, and the daylight thus let in reveals to his astonished gaze an immense mass of copper raised some distance from the original bottom of the pit on a platform of logs, while at his feet lie a number of strange stone and copper implements—some thin and sharp like knives and hatchets, others huge and blunt like mauls and hammers—all being left in such a manner as though the workman had but just gone to dinner and might be expected back at any moment. Bewildered, he ascends to the surface again and looks about him. He sees mounds that from their positions are evidently formed from the refuse of the pit, but these mounds are covered with gigantic trees, evidently the growth of centuries; and, looking still closer, he sees that these trees are fed from the decayed ruins of trees still older—trees that have sprung up, flourished, grown old, and died since this pit was dug or these mounds were raised. The more he thinks of the vast ages that have elapsed since this pit was dug, that mass of copper quarried and raised, the more confused he becomes: his mind can not grasp this immensity of time.

"Who were these miners? When did they live, and where did they come from?" are the questions he asks himself, but gets no answer. However, one fact is patent to him—that, whoever they were, they will not now trouble his claim; and, consoled by this reflection, he goes to work again.

The traveler in wandering through the dense and almost impenetrable forests of Central and South America, suddenly finds himself upon a broad and well-paved road, but a road over which in places there have grown trees centuries old. Curiously following this road, he sees before him, as though brought thither by some Aladdin's lamp, a vast city, a city built of stone—buildings that look at a distance like our large New England factories—splendid palaces and aqueducts, all constructed with such massiveness and grandeur as to compel a cry of astonishment from the surprised traveler—an immense but deserted city, whose magnificent palaces and beautiful sculpturing are inhabited and viewed only by the iguana and centiped. The roads and paths to the aqueducts, once so much traveled as to have worn hollows in the hard stone, are now trodden only by the ignorant mestizo or simple Indian. Of this deserted home of a lost race, the traveler asks the same question as the miner, and the only answer he gets from the semi-civilized Indian is a laconic "Quien sabe?" And who does know?

The curious and scientific world, however, are not so easily answered, and various are the theories and conjectures as to these diggers of mines and builders of mounds and strange cities. One of the most plausible of these—one believed by many scientists to be the true theory—is this: Ages ago the Americas presented a very different appearance from what they now do. Then an immense peninsula extended itself from Mexico, Central America, and New Granada, so far into the Atlantic that Madeira, the Azores, and the West India Islands are now fragments of it. This peninsula was a fair and fertile country inhabited by rich and civilized nations, a people versed in the arts of war and civilization—a country covered with large cities and magnificent palaces, their rulers according to tradition reigning not only on the Atlantic Continent, but over islands far and near, even into Europe and Asia. Suddenly, without warning, this whole fair land was ingulfed by the sea, in a mighty convulsion of nature.

Now, this catastrophe is not impossible or even improbable. Instances are not wanting of large tracts of land, several hundred miles in extent, disappearing in a like manner. The island of Ferdinandea suddenly appeared, and after a while as suddenly disappeared. In 1819, during an earthquake in India, an immense tract of land near the river Indus sank from view, and a lake now occupies its place.

The whole bed of the Atlantic, where Atlantis is said to have been situated, consists of extinct volcanoes. The terrible Lisbon earthquake of 1755, and the later American shock, created a commotion throughout the whole Atlantic area.

That Atlantis possessed great facilities for making a sudden exit can not be doubted. Its very situation gives good color to the narratives of ancient Grecian historians and Toltecian traditions, that "it disappeared by earthquakes and inundations."

Not only is it within the bounds of possibility that it might have occurred, but if traditions so clear and distinct as to be almost authentic history are to be believed, then it did occur. Listen to what one of the most cautious of ancient writers, Plato, says: "Among the great deeds of Athens, of which recollection is preserved in our books, there is one that should be placed above all others. Our book tells us that the Athenians destroyed an army that came across the Atlantic seas, and insolently invaded Europe and Asia, for this sea was then navigable; and beyond the straits where you place the Pillars of Hercules was an immense island, larger than Asia and Libya combined. From this island one could pass easily to the other islands, and from these to the continent beyond. The sea on this side of the straits resembled a harbor with a narrow entrance, but there is a veritable sea, and the land which surrounds it is a veritable continent. On this island of Atlantis there reigned three kings with great and marvelous power. They had under their domain the whole of Atlantis, several of the other islands, and part of the continent. At one time their power extended into Europe as far as Tyrrhenia, and uniting their whole force they sought to destroy our country at a blow, but their defeat stopped the invasion and gave entire freedom to the countries this side of the Pillars of Hercules. Afterward, in one day and one fatal night, there came mighty earthquakes and inundations, that ingulfed that warlike people. Atlantis disappeared, and then that sea became inaccessible, on account of the vast quantities of mud that the ingulfed island left in its place." It is possible that the débris, said to have been left by this catastrophe, might be identical with or the nuclei of the sargazo fields that, many centuries later, Columbus found almost impenetrable. Again, Plato, in an extract from Proclus, speaks of an island in the Atlantic whose inhabitants preserved knowledge from their ancestors of a large island in the Atlantic, which had dominion over all other islands of this sea.

Plutarch, in his life of the philosopher Solon, Herodotus, and other ancient writers, speak of this island as a known fact, and it is impossible to believe otherwise than that Seneca thought of Atlantis when he writes in his tragedy of "Medea": "Late centuries will appear, when the ocean's veil will lift to open a vast country. New worlds will Thetsys unveil. Ultima Thule" (Iceland) "will not remain the earth's boundary." He evidently believed in the unknown island and continent, and knew it would not remain for ever unknown.

Diodorus Siculus says that "opposite to Africa lies an island which, on account of its magnitude, is worthy to be mentioned. It is several days distant from Africa. It has a fertile soil, many mountains, and not a few plains, unexcelled in their beauty. It is watered by many navigable rivers, and there are to be found estates in abundance adorned with fine buildings." Again he says, "Indeed, it appears on account of the abundance of its charms as though it were the abode of gods and not of men."

The situation, the description of the country, in fact every particular, agrees precisely with our idea of Atlantis; and what other land now in existence agrees in any way with this description—what islands of magnitude that contain navigable rivers, large fertile plains, and mountains?

Turning from our well-known ancient writers, we find in all the traditions and books of the ancient Central Americans and Mexicans a continual recurrence to the fact of an awful catastrophe, similar to that mentioned by Plato and others.

Now, what are we to believe? This, that either the traditions and narratives of these ancient writers and historians of both lands are but a tissue of fabrications, evolved from their own brains, with perhaps a small thread of fact, or else that they are truths, and truths proving that the Americas, instead of being the youngest habitation of man, are among the oldest, if not, as De Bourbourg affirms, the oldest.

Brasseur de Bourbourg, who Baldwin says has studied the monuments, writings, and traditions left by this civilization more carefully and thoroughly than any man living, is an advocate of this theory, and to him are we indebted for most of our translations of the traditions and histories of the ancient Americans.

To the imaginative and lovers of the marvelous, this theory is peculiarly fascinating, and the fact that there is plausible evidence of its truth adds to the effect. With their mind's eye they can see the dreadful events, as recorded by Plato, as in a panorama. They see the fair and fertile country, filled with people, prosperous and happy; the sound of busy life from man and beast fills the air. Comfort and prosperity abound. The sun shines clear overhead, and the huge mountains look down upon the cities and villages at their feet, like a mother upon her babes: all is a picture of peacefulness. Suddenly, in a second, all is changed. The protecting angels become destroying fiends, vomiting fire and liquid hell upon the devoted cities at their feet, burning, scorching, strangling their wretched inhabitants. The earth rocks horribly, palaces, temples, all crashing down, crushing their human victims, flocked together like so many ants. Vast rents open at their very feet, licking with huge, flaming tongues the terrified people into their yawning mouths. And then the inundations. Mighty waves sweep over the land. The fierce enemies, Fire and Water, join hands to effect the destruction of a mighty nation.

How they hiss and surge, rattle and seethe! How the steam rises, mingled with the black smoke, looking like a mourning-veil, that it is, and, when that veil is lifted, all is still, the quiet of annihilation! Of all that populous land, naught remains save fuming, seething mud. It is not to be supposed that all perished in that calamity. Long before this they had spread over the portion of the Americas contiguous to the peninsula, building cities, palaces, roads, and aqueducts, like those of their native homes; and adventurous pioneers continually spreading north, east, and westward, their constant increase of numbers from their former homes enabling them to overcome the resistance offered to their progress by both natives and nature, till at last they reached and discovered the copper country of Lake Superior. That they appreciated this discovery is evinced by the innumerable evidences of their works and of their skill in discovering the richest and most promising veins. Wherever our miners of the present day go, they find their ancient fellow craftsmen have been before them, worked the richest veins and gathered the best copper; and it is supposed that they continued thus till the terrible blotting out of their native country cut short all this, and left this advancing civilization to wither and die like a vine severed from the parent stem.

Having no further accession to their numbers, and being continually decimated by savages and disease, they slowly retreated before the ever-advancing hordes. Gradually, and contesting every step, as is shown by their numerous defensive works along their path, they were forced back to their cities on this continent, that had been spared them from the universal destruction of their country, where the dense and almost impassable forests afforded them their last refuge from their enemies, and where, reduced by war, pestilence, and other causes, to a feeble band, their total extinction was only a matter of time. Such is probably the history of this lost civilization, and such would have been the history of our civilization had we in our infant growth been cut off from receiving the nourishment of the mother countries.

Within the last twenty-five years, all sciences relating to the past and present of man have been enormously developed. Old, worn-out, useless theories have been discarded, new facts have taken their places, discoveries have followed discoveries, each discovery helping to form, link by link, the chain of human history.

We are beginning to perceive that we are but yet young in the knowledge of human history, that we have as yet picked up but a bright pebble of thought or glittering shell of theory, while before us lies the whole vast sea of human history unexplored. That we are beginning to acknowledge this is a good sign, for, when a man or mankind acknowledge their ignorance, they have at least a sure foundation to build upon.

Again, the spirit of bigotry, the spirit that told men to scorn and deride Galileo and Columbus, is fast passing away, and in its stead comes the spirit of rationality, a spirit that tells men to look upon a new idea or theory, even if it does run outside of the accustomed rut, with a reasoning if not favorable eye. And we have faith, as science grows to grander proportions and dispels some of the mist that now envelops it, that some day not far distant will bring forward an historic Edison that shall bring together the faint voice of the prehistoric past and the bright, clear voice of the present; that some future Champollion will discover, among the ruined cities of the Americas, an American Rosetta-stone that will complete the chain of human history. "The noblest study of mankind is man."

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Apocrypha In The Early Christian Church By William Ralph Churton 1884

The Apocrypha In The Early Christian Church By William Ralph Churton 1884

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The high estimation in which the Apocrypha, or at least a portion of it, was held in the early Christian Church, admits of no doubt. The use which early writers make of the Books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and Baruch shows that many of them were more familiar with these portions of the Apocrypha than with several of the Canonical Books of the New Testament, such as the Catholic Epistles, or the Apocalypse of S. John. There is reason to believe that these books obtained a wider reception in the early Christian Church than the 'disputed' portions of the New Testament. In the controversy with the Jews, the second chapter of Wisdom was repeatedly alleged as an inspired prophecy of Christ's passion, and as a genuine work of Solomon. Baruch, chap, iii., was frequently quoted, together with portions of Hebrew prophecy, as one of the testimonies of the ancient Scriptures to the Divinity of Christ. In the controversies on the Doctrine of the Trinity and the Divine Logos, Word, or Wisdom, much use was made of the Book of Wisdom. Thus, besides the moral use of the precepts of the Son of Sirach, there was an extensive doctrinal and controversial use of Wisdom and Baruch. On the other hand, evidence is not wanting to shew that when the question was examined more accurately, as by Melito, and the Council of Laodicea, it was admitted that there was an important difference between these books and the books in the Hebrew Canon. If the ancient Church had discarded the Hebrew Canon and adopted another, we should have expected (1) that the Apologists would have accused the Jews of mutilating their Scriptures by the removal of these books; (2) that Christian authors, when enumerating the books of the Old Testament, would have included them. Since, then, we find a distinct recognition of the Hebrew Canon by Melito, the Council of Laodicea, and Athanasius, we infer that the regard shown to the books outside the Canon was of a different kind, whether their contents were Apocryphal, or of such intrinsic value as to obtain for them a place amongst the highest class of human writings.

The earliest controversy concerning the Apocrypha is found in Origen. In his Epistle to Africanus he defended the History of Susanna from those who considered it as fabulous or incredible. Some facts omitted in Scripture were, he argued, preserved in the Apocryphal writings. Such was the sawing asunder of Isaiah, and the persecution of the prophets, as referred to in the Gospel, the Acts, and the Epistle to the Thessalonians. The Jews, he supposed, had removed passages from the Scripture which tended to the disgrace of their nation. But to this he adds that though the Churches made use of Tobit, 'both Tobit and Judith were rejected by the 'Jews, not being in Hebrew, as he had learned from them.'

S. Augustine, whilst rejecting certain Apocryphal works on account of the many fictions which they contained, spoke of others which the Church received, although not received by the Jews. At other times he speaks doubtfully of the authority of the latter. We find that books which were at one time quoted as Divine, were at other times questioned as of doubtful authority; their use in confirming doctrine being disputed in a manner which would have been impossible if an early tradition had existed that the Apostles had pronounced them to be Canonical Scripture. And it is to be observed, that doubts were thrown not only upon the Apocryphal narratives, but upon books of such high repute as the Wisdom of Solomon. According to Philastrius (Heresy 60, 'The Apocryphi'), it was supposed that the Apostles and their successors had decreed that only the Canonical Scriptures were to be read, and that other works were to be reserved for the use of those who were perfectly instructed.

The Books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and Maccabees are found to be quoted as Scripture by Clement of Alexandria and Cyprian. Of the former, the historian Eusebius wrote, that he used in his works testimonies from those Scriptures which are disputed, namely, the Wisdom that is called Solomon's, and the Book of Jesus Sirach, and others.

The 59th Canon of Laodicea decreed that Psalms composed by private persons ought not to be said in churches; nor ought books to be read that are excluded from the Canon, but only the Canonical Books of the New and Old Testament. Then follows a catalogue, from which the Apocryphal Books are excluded, the list corresponding to that of the Hebrew Canon.

The 47th. Canon of the Third Council of Carthage, A.D. 428, adds to the above list five books of Solomon, Tobit and Judith, and two Books of Maccabees.

The Council of Sardica, which excludes the Book of Wisdom from the Canon, has been quoted as an instance of the doctrinal use of works judged to be of inferior authority. To allege a book in argument was not to claim for it a place in the Canon of Scripture.

Thus the distinction drawn by Jerome and Epiphanius between books of Canonical Scripture and books received by the Church, and yet possessing an inferior Ecclesiastical authority, only added a greater precision to the tradition which was handed down by their predecessors. Many passages quoted from the Apocrypha might be regarded in a loose sense as Scripture, being paraphrases upon Scripture, as giving the sense, though not the exact words, of an inspired author. This is found to be the character of several of the passages alleged by S. Cyprian and others.

The distinction drawn by Jerome and others was that the Canonical Scriptures were adapted for public recitation in the Church, the inferior Scriptures for private study only. In the Synopsis ascribed to Athanasius, they are especially recommended for the study of Catechumens: but on the other hand, S. Cyril of Jerusalem exhorted the Catechumens to read Canonical Books only, forbidding the study of Apocryphal works, though it is uncertain what writings were thus described by him. In the treatise of Dionysius On the Divine Names, Wisdom was quoted as an 'introduction' to the Scriptures, as if the study of it had been a preparation for the reading of the Canonical Books.

S. Isidore wrote, 'We place in a fourth rank those books of the Old Testament which are not in the Hebrew Canon, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, and two Books of Maccabees: books which the Hebrews separate and place among the Apocrypha, but the Church of Christ honours and preaches them among those which are Divine.' So also S. Ambrose made a large use of the Apocryphal Books, and commented upon them as Scripture. Yet in the subsequent period, the definition of S. Jerome, that they were books read by the Church for moral instruction, and not to confirm doctrine, seems to have obtained a wide acceptance. The story of Eleazar slaying the elephant in 1 Macc. vi., was quoted by S. Gregory the Great (on Job xvii.) as from a book which was not Canonical. In later times, S. Thomas Aquinas, in the first part of the Summa, Question 89, in discussing the question whether the spirits of the dead are acquainted with the events that happen in the world, quoted Ecclus. xlvi., concerning Samuel's prophecy after death; but he adds that the appearance might have been procured by demons, since the authority of Ecclesiasticus, which is not found in the Hebrew Canon, is disputed. Many more instances of similar doubts were alleged by Rainolds, in his learned work against Bellarmine. Down to the time of the Council of Trent, there was a succession of commentators upon Scripture and Ecclesiastical authors who maintained the necessity of a distinction between the authority of the Canonical and Apocryphal Books, whatever respect and honour might be claimed for the latter.

With respect to the public reading of the Apocrypha, there was a diversity of practice in different Churches: the Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril, and the Council of Laodicea, indicating an entire prohibition of any books that were not Canonical; whilst the testimony of Jerome and Ruffinus prove that they were so far received as to be read as books of piety and moral instruction. The latter estimate of them is shewn to have prevailed, by the extensive use of them in the Offices of the Church: portions of the didactic and narrative treatises occupying in the services of the Breviary the place which at other times is given to Holy Scripture. Thus, for the purposes of teaching, meditation, and devotion, the Church continued to use the Apocryphal Books after the time of Jerome, although his learned investigations had resulted in greater caution in the employment of them in controversy.

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Johannes Gutenberg's Information Revolution

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Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of printing with moveable metal type, is a true benefactor of humankind. His innovative application of printing technologies was not only a showcase example of market anarchism, but a greater source of benefit to mankind than state-sponsored technologies can ever hope to be. His is a story not only of innovation, but of immigration, opposition to politically connected interests, and freedom of information.

Remember the Millennium?
Nearly ten years ago – in time for the millennium celebrations – Johann Gutenberg (ca. 1400-1468) was singled out as the greatest inventor of the past 1,000 years by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). Life rated his printing of the Bible as the top event of that time period. In addition, the Exlibris news and discussion group (University of California at Berkeley) dubbed him Man of the Millennium.

He did not invent either book printing or moveable type. But his improvements on existing technology changed everything. 

There were good reasons to celebrate Gutenberg's innovation – not to mention subsequent related breakthroughs such as (1) offset printing, which transferred images from page-size plates onto paper beginning in 1904, (2) digital printing, which developed in the 1980s, and (3) web-page publication, which developed in the 1990s and was the result of a decision (in 1988) to end the 30-year stranglehold of the U.S. government on Internet development.

And while some may argue that the origins of the Internet lie in the government-sponsored ARPANET, the ARPANET is yet another example of state-sponsored Frankenstein technology – a relative dead end that did not yield significant benefits until it was released from its state-enforced dungeon to become transformed by the private sector into the World Wide Web.

In a sense, the Web has multiplied the potential of Gutenberg's original invention: first, Gutenberg made possible the publishing industry, in which scarce resources are concentrated to fund the dissemination of information from relatively few replication centers; the Web and the app economy take it further, making it possible for everyone to become a publishing center.

Fact and Fiction: The Discovery of Printing
Let's look at what Gutenberg did and didn't do. He did not invent either book printing or moveable type. In The Gutenberg Bible, James Thorpe, former director of the Huntington Library, points out that the earliest known wood-block printing of a book took place in 9th century China with the 16-foot-long roll of the Diamond Sutra. To produce it, entire pages were carved into flat wooden blocks that were inked and pressed onto paper rolls.

Furthermore, as early as the 11th century, printers in China (and Korea) were experimenting with pieces of moveable type made of baked clay. That invention, however, did not endure in East Asia because too many distinctive pieces of 'type' (the baked-clay letters) had to be created to print a book. In contrast to the 26-letter English alphabet, for example, the Chinese language uses approximately 40,000 ideographs – far too many (at the time) to offer any labor-saving advantages through printing.

Copying Books by Hand
In Europe until the time of Gutenberg, books were copied by hand, usually on some type of parchment (the skin of an adult sheep, goat, or cow) or on vellum (skin from a newborn calf). During the early Middle Ages, most of this copying took place at monasteries in a scriptorium, but by the 13th century, busy manuscript-copying establishments were located in major cities – usually near the early universities where books were in demand. Wherever manuscript copies were made, however, they contained errors.

The quill pens used by copyists – usually made of goose feathers – required frequent refills from ink pots, and the tedium of copying led to errors consisting of repeated or omitted portions of text. Even the introduction of wood-block printing in Europe during the late 14th and early 15th Centuries (usually for illustrations) offered few advantages. For example, wood-block carvings were laborious to create and could be ruined with a single false stroke of the carver's knife. They also wore out quickly and could not produce clear imprints for very long.

And while it is true that manuscript copyists used abbreviations to save time, new books still required about a year to produce. Not surprisingly, they were very expensive. As a result, the literacy rate was low – only 30% in some English towns during the 15th century.

The Printing Press in Action
The idea of printing with reusable pieces of durable, moveable type held definite advantages for Europeans. Since the Latin alphabet had only 23 basic letters, only a limited range of metal pieces of type had to be cast and replicated. Once created, these pieces of type could be arranged into orderly rows and pages of text on a printing forme. The letters were inked up, and damp paper or parchment was lowered onto them to receive the ink impression.

The result was hundreds of nearly identical copies of books. Once a set of pages were printed, the pieces of type could be reassembled again and again to print other pages and books until they finally wore out after many uses. All things considered, printing with re-usable, metal type yielded savings in labor and cost, greater accuracy and consistency in the final product, and a remarkable increase in the volume of books available.

A Market-Driven Process
The invention of printing, however, did not occur in a vacuum. Like any other product, it was subject to market conditions to which Gutenberg responded in an entrepreneurial way. We already have seen how the Western alphabet – with its limited set of letters – played a supporting role in the success of European printing.

To this, we can add the availability of paper in 15th century Europe – a cost-effective substitute for parchment and vellum. According to Warren Chappell and Robert Bringhurst (A Short History of the Printed Word), the process of making paper from plant fibers was discovered in China in the 2nd century. It spread to the Middle East in the 8th century (where it was improved), and the Moors brought it to Spain (11th century). By the late 13th century, a paper mill that used linen and rag fibers was operating in the Italian town of Fabriano . From there, it spread rapidly through Europe – just in time for Gutenberg's invention.

Gutenberg was responsible for the print process itself, and his story has been outlined by Christopher de Hamel in The Book: A History of the Bible. As a stepping stone to the invention of printing, however, Gutenberg may have developed a mechanical-stamping process in the late 1430s. Details of his metal-stamping process, however, are unclear, and what little we know is based on the much-debated record of a lawsuit that was filed after the death of one of his business partners.
The scale of the Gutenberg Bible project was astonishing for its time.

Nonetheless, it appears that while living in Strassburg, Gutenberg and his partners intended to mass-produce small, inexpensive convex mirrors by using Gutenberg's metal-stamping process. They planned to sell the mirrors to pilgrims visiting the holy relics in the city of Aachen. The relics were displayed every seven years, and pilgrims would pin the expensive mirrors to their hats, or they would hold them up as they viewed the holy objects. The mirrors would reflect – and thus capture – some of the spiritual presence of the relics.

Unfortunately, Gutenberg and his partners miscalculated the date of the pilgrimage (or perhaps it was changed); the pilgrimage took place in 1440 instead of 1439. This delay and the partner's death led to the failure of the enterprise. Nonetheless, this business venture may have contributed to Gutenberg's later innovations when he moved to the city of Mainz in 1448. Note, however, that this was an entirely private endeavor. No risk was forced upon taxpayers.

Gutenberg's Test Projects
In Mainz, where Gutenberg eventually established his printing operation, a legal document once again provides the few reliable details that have been passed down to us. The document (called the 'Helmasperger Instrument' after the notary who signed it on November 6, 1455) describes the attempted recovery of two loans taken out by Gutenberg in 1450 and 1452. It also mentions Gutenberg's project as 'the work of the books,' and it is described in Johann Gutenberg and His Bible, by Janet Ing.

Despite a settlement that obligated Gutenberg to repay with interest any money not used on the project, the settlement may have favored Gutenberg – despite a legend that he was bankrupted as a result. Furthermore, it is possible that Gutenberg continued to print books in Mainz during the 1450s even though his moneylender (Johann Fust) and his assistant (Peter Sch'ffer) became partners in their own printing business there.

In 1454, the year before he printed his Bible, Gutenberg completed a few smaller projects, and they testify to his entrepreneurial spirit. They included a pamphlet warning of the danger posed by the Turks, who had just captured the ancient capital of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. In addition, there were four printings of indulgences, which were sold to raise funds for a war against the Turks. He also printed a New Year's greeting in German and a small Latin grammar. These small projects indicate a businessman who was 'ramping up' his operation for a bigger undertaking, such as the printing of the Bible. Once again, Gutenberg's projects were entirely for profit.

Marketing the Bible
Gutenberg clearly perceived the anti-Turk hysteria as a boon to his sales effort – a kind of rally-round-the-Bible marketing opportunity.

In the case of the Bible, Gutenberg was targeting a specific group of customers: religious institutions such as monasteries. They were his best potential customers because they needed large Bibles for public readings. Only a limited number of wealthy individuals could afford the other copies. Providing a glimpse into Gutenberg's sales effort, we have a letter written by Aeneas Silvius, who subsequently became Pope Pius II in 1458. He personally witnessed Gutenberg displaying several sections of his not-yet-completed Bible in October 1454 at a conference of nobles in Frankfurt. The purpose of the conference was to rally public support for war against the Turks.

Gutenberg clearly perceived the anti-Turk hysteria as a boon to his sales effort – a kind of rally-round-the-Bible marketing opportunity that exploited Christian fears of Turks and their faith – Islam. From the letter of Aeneas Silvius, we also learned that Gutenberg had pre-sold every copy of his Bible before its completion.

Furthermore, there is undisputed evidence that Gutenberg had to increase the size of his print-run by about 33% to meet the high demand. This required him to re-set (with type) and re-print additional pages of some early sections of his Bible and purchase additional paper and parchment. The re-printed sections of his Bible contain subtle differences that can be seen today in the surviving copies.

Short-Term Benefits of Printing
The scale of the Gutenberg Bible project was astonishing for its time. Each printed Bible consists of two volumes totaling 1,286 pages and measuring 11-' by 16 inches. They are set in two columns of large, Gothic, black-letter type with 40 to 42 lines per page, and they can be read at a distance of three feet. Approximately 160 to 180 copies were printed – 75% on paper and the rest on parchment. Paper copies weigh 30 pounds each, and parchment copies weigh 50 pounds – each requiring the skins of about 160 animals (over 6,000 skins for all of the copies).

Although the Latin alphabet has only 23 letters, a complete set of metal upper- and lowercase type used to create the Bible – including abbreviations, diphthongs, and punctuation marks – consisted of 290 characters. Four to six employees were busy setting type, and the print office held 200,000 printed pages stacked up for binding at the conclusion of the project.

Today, only 48 copies survive – 36 on paper, 12 on parchment. Only two parchment and four paper copies are in the U.S. , and prices have risen dramatically. A copy sold for $2,600 in 1847 and $50,000 in 1911. In 1978, the going price was $2.2 million, and in 1987, one volume (1/2 of a set) sold for $5.4 million at Christie's. Nobody knows what Bill Gates paid for the complete copy he purchased in 1994, but some say it was nearly $31 million. A single leaf can easily fetch more than $60,000. Contrast this with NASA. Who wouldn't happily pay to shut it down – along with its succession of orbiting money-pits that disintegrate and rain down debris from the sky?

The influence of Gutenberg's Latin Bible was tremendous, and by the end of the 15th century, 80 more Bible editions were printed in Europe – all but two of them based directly on Gutenberg's text (which was itself based on a 13th-century version of Jerome's late-4th-century Vulgate translation).
Even more important were the spread of printing beyond its birthplace in the city of Mainz and the consequences of that proliferation. By 1470, there were printers in 14 European cities, and by 1480 they were located in more than 100. By the end of the year 1500, over 1,100 print shops were doing business in more than 200 European towns, and they had printed over 10 million books. We refer to these early printed books (through the year 1500) as incunabula, from the Latin word for swaddling clothes or cradle, because they represent the infancy of printing.

Long-Term Benefits of Printing
In the case of 15th century printing, calligraphers and illuminators levied political pressure to restrict its spread.

The creation of large numbers of books was not the only spin-off benefit of Gutenberg's invention. The abundance of books was reflected in the growing size and number of libraries as well. Before the advent of printing, libraries existed only in a few centers of learning and were very small. In England, for example, the largest libraries were located at Canterbury and Bury – each holding about 2,000 books.

Cambridge University Library held only 300 titles at the time, but today it holds over 5.5 million books and more than 1.2 million periodicals. With the widespread availability of books, the literacy rate increased. From a 15th-century rate of 30% in some English locations, it rose to between 30 and 40% in the 16th and 17th centuries, 60% in the 18th century, and 90% in the 20th and 21st centuries (although today's government schools are doing their best to curtail independent thought and churn out slogan-spouting automatons instead).

While the literacy rate rose, there also was a shift from oral learning to learning through reading – which made self-education even more widespread. There also was greater access to ideas and an increase in knowledge on the part of literate men and women. This helped to unleash an era of innovation and invention that continues today.

Some people even credit the success of the Protestant revolt to the printing press. If we consider the World Wide Web to be an outgrowth of the printing process, the number of 'publishing' centers continues to grow. For example, a Netcraft survey compiled in June 2006 identified 85,541,228 sites.
Immigration: China to Islam to Westminster

For those who suffer from the current xenophobic infatuation with impermeable borders and immigration restrictions, the story of printing offers a powerful and much-needed antidote.

We already have seen how the art of paper-making had its roots in East Asia and spread to the civilization of Islam before arriving in Europe. The free movement of people across borders – immigration – enabled the rapid spread of the new technology, and the story of William Caxton (ca. 1422-1492) illustrates perfectly the spread of printing and ideas from one country to another. Caxton is famous because he printed the first book in the English language and introduced the printing press to England 

Nonetheless, he spent much of his life abroad. By the year 1446, he was living in Bruges (Belgium). There he printed the first book in English in about 1473/1474 – the Recuyell (compilation) of the Historyes of Troye, which was his own translation of a French courtly romance. He completed this translation while living in Koln (Germany), and he probably learned the art of printing from Ulrich Zell, a priest from Mainz (Germany).

He moved back to England in 1475 or early 1476, and he set up a print shop near Westminster Abbey. There he published the first books printed on English soil. Among these were Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1476) and the Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers (1477). The latter was based on a work that originally was written in Egypt by Mubashshir ibn F'tik in the 11thcentury. The original was translated from Arabic into Spanish, then Latin, and finally French before being translated into English. For those who suffer from the current xenophobic infatuation with impermeable borders and immigration restrictions, the story of printing offers a powerful and much-needed antidote.

Special Interests Oppose Innovation
With its many benefits, one would think that the invention of moveable-type printing was universally hailed, but vested interests can be counted on to oppose changes that threaten them. Just ask aerospace engineers how they would feel if competitors such as Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne eliminated their NASA gravy train. In the case of 15th century printing, calligraphers and illuminators levied political pressure to restrict its spread. Resistance was strongest in the city of Florence , where (according to Chappell and Bringhurst) calligraphers and their customers were 'contemptuous of what they considered the vulgar and mechanical imitations of good manuscripts.'

Oddly enough, the establishment of printing by the end of the 15th century did not spell doom for calligraphers. As more people learned to read, more learned to write. Consequently, the art of calligraphy continued to thrive. The 16th century was distinguished by many of the most beautiful manuscripts, and it also was the age of the great handwriting manuals.

Printing'or Imitation Handwriting?
Gutenberg's connection with his Bible was only recovered many years later and after much research and controversy.

To understand the early opposition of calligraphers, we must remember that Gutenberg and other early printers did not conceive of printing as a way to produce a new kind of product. They viewed their technology as a way to produce handwriting. Consequently, calligraphers viewed printing as a direct competitor. Perhaps the greatest authority on early printing, Konrad Haebler (author of The Study of Incunabula as well as The German Incunabula and The Italian Incunabula), wrote extensively about the goals and practices of early printers. He explained that early printers – to comply with the aesthetic demands of their customers – were compelled to use confusing (to us) abbreviations in their printed products even though they were rendered entirely unnecessary by the new technology.

It is easy to understand why scribes made use of these labor-saving shortcuts: it reduced the amount of writing they had to do. But the printing press made it possible – and easy – to spell out every letter of every word without additional effort. In fact, the creation of unique pieces of type to imitate abbreviations (and diphthongs) was an additional burden and expense.

As Haebler explained, however, any attempt to break this rule resulted in products that could not be sold because they did not comply with the exacting standards of customers. Book buyers expected to see abbreviations, and printers gave them what they wanted. It was only in later years that they could depart from this imitation of manuscript models and take full advantage of the new technology. In a similar way, modern architects only gradually understood the new design possibilities made available by building materials such as steel and glass curtain-wall. The result is the sleek, geometric, glass-sheathed structures of today's skyline.

The Customer Is Always Right
Haebler described other characteristics of manuscripts that also were preserved by early printers. For example, the beginning of new chapters and other important sections of a book included oversized initial capital letters that were several lines high and projected into the body of the text and into the margins as well. Early printers – including Gutenberg – left large blank spaces in their columns of neat text so that calligraphers and illustrators could fill them in with large capital letters and decorations by hand. To this day, many incunabula contain all of their original blank spaces because rubricators were never hired to decorate them.

In a similar attempt to replicate the standards of hand-written text, books on medicine, law, and theology were printed using Gothic type almost exclusively. Otherwise, they could not be sold. Furthermore, when the art of printing spread from the German-speaking world to Italy in 1465 (with the arrival at Subiaco of German printers Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz), Roman letters – the ancestor of our Times Roman font – were used for the first time instead of Gothic letters.
Roman type became the necessary standard – in Italy – for all printed works of philosophy, literature, science, art, and authors from classical antiquity. It suited the aesthetic tastes of the learned men of Italy, who had imbibed a humanistic Renaissance education and had an appreciation for ancient Roman inscriptions. Again, the customer always came first.

Below is an example of what is now considered the perfected form of Roman type, printed in 1478 by Nicolaus Jenson in Venice (from Plutarch's Lives, or Vitae illustrium virorum).
Below is an example of Gothic type, printed in 1480 also by Nicolaus Jenson in Venice (from Antoninus Florentinus, Summa theologica, part IV).
In contrast to the sensitivity of these early printers to the preferences of their customers, the 'products' and 'services' of government agencies are usually provided in abysmal fashion or are forced upon the public under threat of a penalty. Next time you are compelled to 'contribute' to any state bureaucracy, remember the early printers and ruminate on what has been lost.

Epitaph for a Genuine Benefactor
It is not surprising that Gutenberg's name faded from memory shortly after his invention. His Bible is not dated, and it does not mention him by name. In fact, Gutenberg's connection with his Bible was only recovered many years later and after much research and controversy.

Nonetheless, a rector of the University of Paris, Professor Guillaume Fichet, wrote an early testimony to Gutenberg on December 31, 1470, just a few years after Gutenberg's death. Can anyone say anything remotely similar about NASA and its pseudo-accomplishments?
'Not far from the city of Mainz, there appeared a certain Johann whose surname was Gutenberg, who, first of all men, devised the art of printing, whereby books are made, not by a reed, as did the ancients, nor with a quill pen, as do we, but with metal letters, and that swiftly, neatly, beautifully. Surely this man is worthy to be loaded with divine honors by all the Muses, all the arts, all the tongues of those who delight in books, and is all the more to be preferred to gods and goddesses in that he has put the means of choice within reach'of mortals devoted to culture. That great Gutenberg has discovered things far more pleasing and more divine, in carving out letters in such a fashion that whatever can be said or thought can by them be written down at once and transcribed and committed to the memory of posterity.'
This essay originally appeared on Strike the Root
Lawrence  M.  Ludlow
Lawrence M. Ludlow
Lawrence Ludlow is a freelance writer living in San Diego.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ghost & Dreams by George Harris 1916

Ghost and Dreams by George Harris 1916

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I DO not believe in ghosts, but there is a truth in this superstition which had best be thoroughly understood and minded.

Ghosts, so I hold, do not exist, but the fact that they do appear cannot be denied. Ghosts are vivid dreams and dreams may occur not only when we sleep, but also when we are awake, in which case they are called "hallucinations" or "visions."

Accepting this broad view of dreams, I will say that I have seen ghosts repeatedly and especially once. It happened recently and under peculiar conditions. I consider the appearance of ghosts as rare and exceptional but not as extraordinary or remarkable. They are as all dreams, subjective phenomena and do not have any objective existence, but granting that they are subjective phenomena, they may, sometimes, possess objective significance, and if that happens it makes us pause.

There is one case in my own experience that has startled me and set me to thinking, because it was like a prophecy and seems to have possessed a validity which I am inclined to deny to the entire domain of dreams in general and ghosts in particular. So I regard this experience of mine as a remarkable coincidence; but the coincidence is so extraordinary that it seems to me to illustrate plainly the truth that exists in the belief in ghosts.

The dead are not absolutely dead. They live on in the memories of the living. This existence in memory seems to us unreal and futile but memories are as real as all our intellectual activity and also our emotions, in fact, as all our spiritual life. They are as live and real as is the psychic life of any living being and we ought not to underestimate their power and efficacy.

The law of persistence is general. It extends to mental life and occasionally may produce what we call the apparition of ghosts, but it applies also to our deeds. What we have done is past but the past is not dead. The effect of the past remains and we cannot obliterate it. We may be pleased with the advantages of an evil deed, but the evil effect of it will be indelible too. It will reproach us like a bad conscience, and a bad conscience works like a disease in the human body, a disease that has power to kill.

This feature of a bad conscience is perhaps well known; it works like a bodily disease, as Shakespeare represents it in Lady Macbeth. But what are ghosts? Ghosts are our subconscious thoughts which assume a concrete shape in dreams or in waking dreams, i. e., in hallucinations. Such is the appearance of the ghost in Hamlet; and the truthfulness of hallucinations depends upon the correctness of our thoughts. As our normal thoughts may be correct, so our subconscious thoughts may anticipate the future and it may happen that visions predict events that will be fulfilled.

My experience does not prove the reality of ghosts, but it does prove that there is a truth at the bottom of ghost stories. The belief in ghosts is a superstition, but the truth that underlies the superstition keeps it alive and preserves the recurrence of apparently supernatural phenomena even in a rationalistic age.

The same is true of many beliefs that have been denounced as superstitious. There is, for instance, much truth in the ideas of Heaven and Hell. The "Choir Invisible" is as real as the curse that rests on evil deeds, and there are protecting angels that guide children and childlike characters through dangers, although the notion of winged messengers that come down from God's throne are mere inventions of Christian art. The psychologist will describe them in abstract terms as influences or good instincts.

Further there is a plan in the development of the human race as if it followed the design of a personal providence, while in fact it is obviously due to natural law.

Thus I have come to the conclusion that our religions are true, not in the literal sense of the dogmas, but in their allegorical meaning; and it seems to me that the infidel is totally wrong if he rejects religion altogether when he finds out that some religious doctrines in their literal interpretation are untenable before the tribunal of reason.

My experience of having met a ghost face to face is one instance only of a whole class of spiritual phenomena. It was a dream, but it illustrates a broader truth and is generally applicable to the entire domain of our religious and psychical life.

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