Day of Wrath, 5

Julian Jaynes and the bicameral mind

In recent decades several historians without any link to the deMausean school have written about thirty books on histories of childhood. I will mention only a couple of those published in 2005: When Children Became People by Odd Magne Bakke and Growing Up: The History of Childhood in a Global Context by Peter Stearns. DeMause has iteratively complained that books of this sort are presented to history students as if childrearing in the past had been as benign as Western childrearing in our times. Stearns for example is author and editor of more than forty books, but he attempts to absolve the parents by claiming that infanticide had an economic motivation; when it is well documented that in some periods infanticide was more common in well-off families.

Psychogenesis is the process of the evolution of empathy, and, therefore, of childrearing forms in an innovative group of human beings. In a particular individual it is an evolution of the architecture of his or her mentality, including the cognition of how the world is perceived. A “quantum leap” in “psychoclasses” depends on the parents’ breaking away from the abusive patterns in which they were educated; for example, stop killing their children: a prehistoric and historic practice that deMause calls “early infanticidal childrearing.”

A fascinating essay by Julian Jaynes throws light on how, by the end of the second millennium before our era, a huge alteration occurred in human mentality. In 1976 Jaynes published The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Jaynes calls “breakdown” the transit of bicameral mind—two chambers or brain hemispheres—to modern consciousness. The transit is relatively recent, and it represents a healing process from a divided self into a more unified or integrated one. Jaynes describes how society developed from a psychological structure based upon obedience to the god’s voices, to the subjective consciousness of present-day man. Like deMause’s psychohistory, Jaynes’ model caused many of his readers to see mankind from a new perspective. He elaborated a meta-narrative purporting to connect the loose pieces of previously unconnected fields—history, anthropology, ancient texts, psychiatry, language, poetry, neurology, religion, Hebrew and Greek studies, the art of ancestral societies, archaeological temples and cuneiform writing—to construct an enormous jigsaw puzzle.

Jaynes asked the bold question of whether the voices that people of the Ancient World heard could have been real, a common phenomenon in the hallucinated voices of present-day schizophrenics. He postulated that, in a specific lapse of history a metamorphosis of consciousness occurred from one level to another; that our present state of consciousness emerged a hundred or two hundred generations ago, and that previously human behavior derived from hearing voices in a world plagued with shamanism, magical thinking, animism and schizoidism.

In the Ancient World man had a bipartite personality: his mind was broken, bicameralized, schizophrenized. “Before the second millennium B.C., everyone was schizophrenic,” Jaynes claims about those who heard voices of advice or guides attributed to dead chiefs, parents or known personages. “Often it is in times of stress when a parent’s comforting voice may be heard.” It seems that this psychic structure of a divided or bicameral self went back to cavemen. Later in the first cities, the period that deMause calls “late infanticidal childrearing” (Jaynes never mentions deMause or psychohistory), the voices were attributed to deities. “The preposterous hypothesis we have come to is that at one time human nature was split in two, an executive part called god, and a follower part called man. Neither was conscious. This is almost incomprehensible to us.” Preconscious humans did not have an ego like ours; rational thought would spring up in a late stage of history, especially in Greece. However, orthodox Hellenists usually do not ask themselves why, for a millennium, many Greeks relied on instructions coming from a group of auditory hallucinating women in Delphi. To explain similar cultural phenomena, Jaynes lays emphasis upon the role that voices played in the identities, costumes and group interactions; and concludes that the high civilizations of Egypt, the Middle East, Homeric Greece and Mesoamerica were developed by a primitive unconscious.

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind describes the theodicy in which, three thousand years ago, subjectivity and the ego flourished. For the common man consciousness is the state of awareness of the mind; say, the conscious state at walking. Jaynes uses the term in a more restricted way: consciousness as the subjective universe, the self-analyzing or self-conscious mind; the “I,” the will and morality of an individual, as well as the development of the linear concept of time (which used to be cyclic to the archaic mind, perhaps due to the observation of the stations of the year). The man who left behind his bicameral thinking developed a more robust sense of the self, and Jaynes finds narrative evidence of this acting self in the literary record. He examines Amos, the voice of the oldest Old Testament text and compares it with the Ecclesiastes, the most recent one. Likewise, Jaynes scrutinizes the Iliad looking for tracks of a subjective self, and finds nothing. The Homeric heroes did what Athena or Apollo told them; they literally heard their gods’ voices as the prophets listened to Yahweh’s. Their psyches did not display brightness of their own yet. (If we remember the metaphor of my first book, the mentality of ancient man was similar to what astronomers call a “maroon dwarf”: a failed star like Jupiter, not a sun with enough mass to cause nuclear fusion so that it could shine on its own.) Matters change with the texts of Odysseus’ adventures, and even more with the philosophers of the Ionian islands and of Athens. At last the individual had accumulated enough egocentric mass to explode and to shine by itself. Jaynes believes that it was not until the Greek civilization that the cataclysm that represented the psychogenic fusion consolidated itself.

By Solon’s times it may be said that the modern self, as we understand it, had finally exploded. The loquacious gods, including the Hebraic Yahweh, became silent never to speak again but through the bicameral prophets. After the breakdown of divine authority, with the gods virtually silenced in the times of the Deuteronomy, the Judean priests and governors embarked upon a frenetic project to register the legends and stories of the voices that, in times of yore, had guided them. It was no longer necessary to hallucinate sayings that the god had spoken: man himself was the standard upon which considerations, decisions, and behaviors on the world rested. In the dawning of history man had subserviently obeyed his gods, but when the voice of consciousness appears, rebelliousness, dissidence, and even heresy are possible.

Through his book, which may be called a treatise of psycho-archeology, Jaynes follows the track of how subjective consciousness emerged. His ambitious goal is to explain the birth of consciousness, and hence the origin of our civilization. Once the former “maroon dwarfs” achieve luminescence in a group of individuals’ selves, not only religious dissent comes about, but regicide, the pursuit of personal richness and, finally, individual autonomy. This evolution continues its course even today. Paradoxically, when the West reaches the stage that deMause calls “helping mode” in child-rearing, it entails ill-fated consequences such as Caucasian demographic dilution and the subsequent Islamization of Europe (as we will see).

Although Jaynes speculates that the breakdown of the bicameral mind could have been caused by crises in the environment, by ignoring deMause he does not present the specific mechanism that gave rise to the transition. Due to the foundational taboo of human species, explained by Alice Miller in my previous book and by Colin Ross in this one, Jaynes did not explore the decisive role played by the modes of childrearing. This blindness permeates The Origin of Consciousness to the point of giving credibility to the claims of biological psychiatry; for example, Jaynes believes in the genetic basis of schizophrenia, a pseudoscientific hypothesis, as shown in my previous essay. However, his thesis on bicameralism caused his 1976 essay to be repeatedly reprinted, including the 1993 Penguin Books edition and another edition with a 1990 afterword that is still in print.

In the bicameral kingdoms the hallucinated voices of ancient men were culturally accepted as part of the social fabric. But a psychogenic leap forward gives as much power to the new psychoclass as the Australopithecus character of 2001: A Space Odyssey grabbing a bone. “How could an empire whose armies had triumphed over the civilizations of half a continent be captured by a small band of 150 Spaniards in the early evening of November 16, 1532?” The conquest of the Inca Empire was one of a handful of military confrontations between the two states of consciousness. A deMausean interpretation would lead us to think that it was a clash between the infanticidal psychoclass and an intermediate state of ambivalent and intrusive modes of childrearing. The Spaniards were clearly up the scale of “psychogenic leaps” compared to the Incas.

This reading of history is diametrically opposed to Bartolomé de Las Casas, who in his Apologética Historia claimed that in some moral aspects the Amerindians were superior to the Spanish and even to Greeks and Romans. Today’s Western self-hatred had its precursor in Las Casas, who flourished in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In identical fashion, in the 21st century it is irritating to see in educational TV programs an American in Peru saying that the Incas of the times of the Conquest “were much smarter than the Spanish.” The truth is that the Incas did not even know how to use the wheel and lacked written language. They literally heard their statues speak to them and their bicameral mind handicapped them before the more robust psyche of the Europeans: something like an Australopithecus clan clashing with another without bones in their hands. The Spaniards were, certainly, very religious; but not to the point of using magical thinking in their warfare stratagems. According to a 16th-century Spaniard, “the unhappy dupes believed the idols spoke to them and so sacrificed to it birds, dogs, their own blood and even men” (this quotation refers to Mesoamericans, the subject-matter of the next section). The Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa believes that his ancestors were defeated due to a pragmatic and basically modern European mentality in contrast to the magical thinking of the natives; and the Mexican Carlos Fuentes wrote that the conquest of the American continent was a great triumph of the scientific hypothesis over the indigenous physical perception.

Jaynes overemphasizes that the prophets of the Old Testament literally heard Yahweh’s voice. Because the minds in the Ancient World, like present-day schizoid personalities, were swarmed with sources of hallucination, humans still lacked an inner space for retrospection and introspection. Bible scholars have debated at length about what could have caused the loss of prophecy gifts in the Hebrew people after the Babylonian exile. I would say that the elimination of the sacrificial practice of infants meant a leap toward a superior psychoclass, with the consequent overcoming of the schizoid or bicameral personality.

But going back to Jaynes: Formerly terrestrial and loquacious, the later mute gods were transported to a heaven, making room for human divination: the consultation of human beings that (for having been raised by more regressive parents I may infer) still heard the fateful voices. Even though the divine voices made themselves unnecessary for the new kind of human, praying continued to a god who was incapable, centuries ago, of communicating through divine voices.

The entire succession of [Old Testament] works becomes majestically and wonderfully the birth pangs of our subjective consciousness. No other literature has recorded this absolutely important event at such length or with such fullness. Chinese literature jumps into subjectivity in the teaching of Confucius with little before it. Indian hurtles from the bicameral Veda into the ultra subjective Upanishads. Greek literature, like a series of steppingstones from The Iliad to the Odyssey and across the broken fragments of Sappho and Solon toward Plato, is the next best record, but still too incomplete. And Egypt is relatively silent.

Jaynes’ book is dense, closely argued, and despite its beautiful prose often boring. But the chapter on the Hebrew people titled “The Moral Consciousness of the Khabiru” is must reading. If he is right, it was not until the fifth century before the Common Era when the bicameral mind began to be seen as the incapacitating disorder that is presently labeled as psychosis. In contrast to the mystic psychohistorian Robert Godwin, I am closer to Jaynes in that one of the most persistent residues of bicameralism is our religious heritage.

Jaynes, who died in 1997, may be the proverbial author of a single book, but many people continue to read The Origin of Consciousness. Tor Norretranders, a popular author on scientific subjects, expanded the bicameral hypothesis in a book published a year after Jaynes died, The User Illusion, and he cites more recent investigations than those collected by Jaynes.
 
Popperian falsifiability

Despite the book’s popularity and the fact that Jaynes taught in Princeton University and did archaeological work, his colleagues did not pay him much attention. Many academics reject theories that have been presented through literary books. It is understandable that a book with such lyric passages has been ignored by the dry science taught in the psychology departments; by neurobiologists, and by evolutionary theorists. Jaynes, basically a humanist, had not presented his theory in a scientific or falsifiable format.

Adepts of social sciences grant such authority to the hard sciences that, when they run across a text that emphasizes the humanities, they want to see everything translated to the language of science. They do this in spite of the fact that, in the reign of subjectivity, hard sciences are incapable of producing something truly significant. Notwithstanding this scientific demand, I concede that if we humanists make claims that could be interpreted as scientific hypotheses, it doesn’t hurt to present them in such a way that they may be refuted, if per chance they are wrong. Consequently, I must make it very clear that the trauma model is falsifiable.

For instance, it occurs to me that, if the model is correct, in the Israeli kibbutz children cannot be easily schizophrenized. The cause of this would be, naturally, that in the kibbutz they are put farther away from potentially schizophrenogenic parents than the children in nuclear families. Something similar could be said about Jaynes’ ideas. His hypothesis can be presented in falsifiable form always provided that the presentation is done through a deMausean interpretation of it, as we will see almost by the end of this book.

Once it is conceded that even humanists who venture into foreign lands can present their theories in falsifiable form, I must point out that very few academics, including psychologists, are willing to delve into the darkest chambers of the human psyche. To them it is disturbing that prehistoric man, and a good deal of the historic man including their ancestors, had behaved as marionettes of hallucinated voices or nonexistent gods. Jaynes’ ideas represent a serious challenge to history as it is officially understood and even more to religion, anthropology, and psychiatry. He seems to postulate that a scant connectivity of the two brain hemispheres produced voices, and that the changes in consciousness caused the brain to become more interconnected through the corpus callosum. In case I have interpreted him correctly, I am afraid it is not possible to run tomographs on those who died millennia ago to compare, say, the brain of the bicameral pythoness against the brain of the intellectual Solon. Let’s ignore this non-falsifiable aspect and focus on hypotheses that may be advanced by epidemiologists in the field of social sciences. Studying the changes of incidence patterns of child mistreatment through history or contemporary cultures is a perfectly falsifiable scientific approach.

In the book reviews of The Origin of Consciousness available on the internet it can be gathered that the experience of many readers was as electrifying as a midnight ray that allowed them to see, albeit for a split second, the human reality. If the ultimate test for any theory is to explain the most data in the simplest way, we should not ignore the psychohistories of Jaynes and deMause. If they are right, the explanatory power of an unified model would help us understand part of the human mystery, especially religion and psychosis.

 
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The objective of the book is to present to the racialist community my philosophy of The Four Words on how to eliminate all unnecessary suffering. If life allows, next time I will publish here the section on schizophrenia theorist Silvano Arieti. Those interested in obtaining a copy of Day of Wrath can request it: here.

Infanticide in the historical Israel

Below, a Spanish-English translation of pages 602-608 of my book Hojas Susurrantes. For a broader context of the subject of infanticide, see the Metapedia article (here).


In the past, the shadow of infanticide covered the world, but the Phoenicians and their biblical ancestors, the Canaanites, performed sacrifices that turn pale the Mesoamerican sacrifices of children.

The Tophet, located in the valley of Gehenna, was a place near Jerusalem where it is believed that children were burned alive to the god Moloch Baal. Later it became synonymous with Hell, and the generic name “tophet” would be transferred to the sacrificial site of the cemetery at Carthage and other Mediterranean cities like Motya, Tharros and Hadrumetum, where bones have been found of Carthaginian and Phoenician children.

Semitic-offering-to-molech

According to a traditional reading of the Bible, stories of sacrifice by the Hebrews were relapses of the chosen people to pagan customs. Recent studies, such as Jon Levenson’s The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity have suggested that the ancient Hebrews did not differ much from the neighboring towns but that they were typical examples of Semitic peoples of Canaan.

The cult of Yahweh was only gradually imposed in a group while the cult of Baal was still part of the fabric of the Hebrew-Canaanite culture. Such religion had not been a syncretistic custom that the most purist Hebrews rejected from their “neighbor” Canaanites: it was part of their roots. For Israel Finkelstein, an Israeli archaeologist and academic, the writing of the book of Deuteronomy in the reign of Josiah was a milestone in the development and invention of Judaism.

Josiah represents what I call one of the psychogenic mutants who firmly rejected the infanticidal psychoclass of their own people. Never mind that he and his aides had rewritten their nation’s past by idealizing the epic of Israel. More important is that they make Yahweh say—who led the captivity of his people by the Assyrians—that it was a punishment for their idolatry: which includes the burning of children. The book of Josiah’s scribes even promotes to conquer other peoples that, like the Hebrews, carried out such practices. “The nations whom you go in to dispossess,” says the Deuteronomy, “they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.” (12: 29-31). “When you come into the land that the Lord is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering.” (18: 9-10).

This emergence, or jump to a higher psychoclass from the infanticidal, is also attested in other books of the Hebrew Bible. “The men from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the men from Cuthah made Nergal, and the men from Hamath made Ashima; the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim” (2 Kings: 17: 30-31).

There were kings of Judah who committed these outrages with their children too. In the 8th century B.C. the thriving King Ahaz “even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites” (2 Kings 16: 1-3). Manasseh, one of the most successful kings of Judah, “burnt his son in sacrifice” (21:6). The sacrificial site also flourished under Amon, the son of Manasseh. Fortunately it was destroyed during the reign of Josiah. Josiah also destroyed the sacrificial site of the Valley of Ben Hinnom “so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech” (23:10). Such destructions are like the destruction of Mesoamerican temples by the Spaniards, and for identical reasons.

Ezekiel, taken into exile to Babylon preached there to his people. He angrily chided them: “And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and made them pass through the fire” (Ezekiel 16: 20-21). The prophet tells us that since his people wandered in the desert they burned their children, adding: “When you offer your gifts—making your sons to pass through the fire—you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. Am I to let you inquire of me, O house of Israel? As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will not let you inquire of me” (20:31). Other passages in Ezekiel that complain about his people’s sins appear in 20: 23-26 and 23: 37-39.

A secular, though inspired by Jung, way to see God is to conceive it as how the ego of an individual’s superficial consciousness relates to the core of his own psyche: the Self. In the following diatribe by Ezekiel (16: 35-38) against his people we can hear this inner daimon, the “lord” of the man Ezekiel:

Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your nakedness in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood in sacrifice, therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see all your nakedness. I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring upon you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger.

When a prophet—that is, an individual who has made a leap to a higher psychoclass—maligned his inferiors, he received insults. Isaiah (57: 4-5) wrote:

Whom are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? Are you not a brood of rebels, the offspring of liars? You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.

Ezekiel wrote in the 6th century B.C.; Isaiah in the 8th B.C. Although Julian Jaynes would say that their visions were bicameral, it has been said that some of those diagnosed with schizophrenia have a much higher moral standard of values than the average individual. The very psalmist complained that people sacrificed their children to idols. But what exactly were these sacrificial rites?

Since the 10th century B.C. the spoken tradition of what was to be collected in biblical texts centuries later complained that Solomon “built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites,” and that his wives made offerings to these gods (1 Kings 11: 7-8). And even before, from the third book of the Torah we read the commandment: “Do not give any of your children to be passed through the fire to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God.” (Leviticus 18:21). A couple of pages later (20: 2-5) it says:

Say to the Israelites: “Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech.”

Despite these admonitions, the influential anthropologist James Frazer interpreted some biblical passages as indicating that the god of the early Hebrews, unlike the emergent god quoted above, required sacrifices of children. After all, “God” is but the projection of the Jungian Self of a human being at a given point of the human theodicy. Unlike Larry S. Milner, a Christian frightened by the idea, I do not see it impossible that the ancient Hebrews have emerged from an infanticidal psychoclass to a more emergent one. In “The Dying God,” part three of The Golden Bough, Frazer calls our attention to these verses of Exodus (22: 29-30):

Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. You must give me the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.

A similar passage can be read in Numbers (18: 14-15), and this one (3: 11-13) seems revealing:

The Lord also said to Moses, “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.”

The psychohistorian Howard Stein, who has written several scholarly articles on Judaism since the mid-1970s, concludes in an article of 2009 that the gathered information suggests a particular interpretation. According to Stein, the substrate of fear for the slaughter “helps to explain the valency that the High Holiday have for millions of Jews world-wide,” presumably echoes of very ancient happenings.

In contrast to what we were taught in Sunday school as children, Moses did not write the Torah: it was not written before the Persian period. In fact, the most sacred book of the Jews includes four different sources.

Since the 17th century thinkers such as Spinoza and Hobbes had researched the origins of the Pentateuch, and the consensus of contemporary studies is that the final edition is dated by the 5th century B.C. (the biblical Moses, assuming that ever existed, would have lived in the 13th century B.C.). Taking into account the contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible—for example, Isaiah abhorred animal sacrifice—it should not surprise us that the first chapter of Leviticus consist only of animal sacrifices, which the “Lord” called holocausts to be offered at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. After killing, skinning and butchering the animal, the priest incinerates everything on the altar “as a burnt offering to the Lord; it is a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord.” A phrase that is repeated three times in that first chapter, it also appears in subsequent chapters and reminds me those words by Cortés to Charles V about the Mesoamerican sacrifices (“…they take many girls and boys and even adults, and in the presence of these idols they open their chests while they are still alive and take out their hearts and entrails and burn them before the idols, offering the smoke as the sacrifice”). In the book of Exodus (34:20) even the emerging transition of child sacrifice to lamb sacrifice can be guessed in some passages, what gave rise to the legend of Abraham:

For the first foal of a donkey, they should give a lamb or a goat instead of the ass, but if you do not give, you break the neck of the donkey. You must also give an offering instead of each eldest child. And no one is to appear before me empty-handed.

Compared with other infanticidal peoples the projection of the demanding father had been identical, but the emergency to a less dissociated layer of the human psyche is clearly visible. As noted by Jaynes, the Bible is a treasure to keep track of the greatest psychogenic change in history. The Hebrews sacrificed their children just as other peoples, but eventually they would leave behind the barbaric practice.

isaac sacrifice

After the captivity in the comparatively more civilized Babylon in 586 B.C., the Jews abandoned their practices. In his book King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities, published in 2004, Francesca Stavrakopoulou argues that child sacrifice was part of the worship of Yahweh, and that the practice was condemned only after the exile. Like their Christian successors, the Jews had sublimated their filicidal desires in the Passover ritual. Each year they celebrate the liberation of their people and remember how Yahweh killed the firstborn Egyptians: legendary resonance of the habit of killing one’s eldest son.

But the biblical Moloch (in Hebrew without vowels, מלך, mlk), represented as a human figure with a bull’s head was not only a Canaanite god. It also was a god of the descendants of the Canaanites, the Phoenicians. The founding myth of Moloch was similar to that of many other religions: sacrifices were compensation for a catastrophe from the beginning of time.

Above [i.e., in my book] I said that Plutarch, Tertullian, Orosius, Philo, Cleitarchus and Diodorus Siculus mentioned the practice of the burning children to Moloch in Carthage, but refrained from wielding the most disturbing details. Diodorus says that every child who was placed in the outstretched hands of Moloch fell through the open mouth of the heated bronze statue, into the fire. When at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. Agathocles defeated Carthage, desperate and immersed in the most abject magical thinking the Carthaginians began to burn their children in a huge sacrifice as a tactical “defense” before the enemy. The sources mention 300 incinerated children.

Blake-Moloch

Had I run a career of film director, I would feel the obligation to visually show to humanity their infamous past by filming the massive red-hot bronze statue while the Greek forces besieged the city, engulfing child after child, who would slide down to the bottom of the flaming chimney. In addition to Carthage, the worship of Moloch, whose ritual was held outdoors, was widespread in other Phoenician cities. He was widely worshiped in the Middle East and in the Punic cultures of the time, including several Semitic peoples and as far as the Etruscans. Various sacrificial tophets have been found in North Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, outside Tyre and at a temple of Amman.

Terracotta urns containing the cremated remains of children, discovered in 1817, have been photographed numerous times. However, since the late 1980s some Italian teachers began to question the historicity of the accounts of classical writers. Tunisian nationalists took advantage, including the president whose presidential palace near the suburban sea is very close the ruins of the ancient city of Carthage.

The Tunisian tourist guides even make foreigners believe the Carthaginians did not perform sacrifices (something similar to what some ignorant Mexican tourist guides do in Chiapas).

Traditional historians argue that the fact that the remains are from very young children suggests sacrifice, not cremation by natural death as alleged by the revisionists. The sacrificial interpretation of Carthage is also suggested by the fact that, along with the children, there are charred remains of lambs (remember the biblical quote that an evolved Yahweh implies that the slaughter of sheep was a barter for the firstborn). This suggests that some Carthaginians replaced animals in the sacrificial rite: data inconsistent with the revisionist theory that the tophet was a normal cemetery. To make matters worse, the word mlk (Moloch) appears in many stelae as a dedication to this god. Had there been simple burials it would not make sense to find these stelae dedicated to the god of fire: the graves are not marked with offerings to the gods.

Finally, although the classical writers were bitter enemies of the Carthaginians, historical violence is exercised by rejecting all accounts, since the time of Alexander to the Common Era. The revisionism on Carthage has been a phenomenon that is not part of new archaeological discoveries, or newly discovered ancient texts. The revisionists simply put into question the veracity of the accounts of classical writers, and they try to rationalize the archaeological data by stressing our credulity to the breaking point. Brian Garnand, of the University of Chicago, concluded in his monograph on the Phoenician sacrifice that “the distinguished scholars of the ridimensionamento [revisionism] have not proven their case.”

Nonetheless, I must say that the revisionists do not bother me. What I cannot tolerate are those individuals who, while accepting the reality of the Carthaginian sacrifice, idealize it. On September 1, 1987 an article in the New York Times, “Relics of Carthage Show Brutality Amid the Good Life” contains this nefarious phrase: “some scholars assert, the practice of infanticide helped produce Carthage’s great wealth and its flowering of artistic achievement.” The memory of these sacrificed children has not been fully vindicated even by present-day standards.

The Carthaginian tophet is the largest cemetery of humans, of boys and girls in fact, ever discovered. After the Third Punic War Rome forced the Carthaginians to learn Latin, just as the Spanish imposed their language to the conquered Mexicans. Personally, what most worries me is that there is evidence in the tophets of remains of tens of thousands of children killed by fire over many centuries. I cannot shudder more over imagining what would had become of our civilization had the Semitic Hannibal reached Rome.

P.S. for this blog:

And the traitors of today are planning to make a movie depicting the non-Aryan Carthaginians as the good guys and the Romans as the bad guys of the film…

On classic pederasty

This article has been edited in September 2017.
For a longer version of this article see: here

 
Julian Jaynes argued in The Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind that Homeric Greeks were, psychologically, vastly different from historical Greeks. Semitic cultures were even more different. In the online edition of my Day of Wrath I refrained to reproduce this image for the simple reason that it would have meant retro-projection.

In the image we see women, presumably the mothers, trying to rescue their children from a propitiatory child sacrifice to Moloch Baal. The disturbing truth is that, in real life, the parents themselves handed over their crying children to the assistants of the priest, hence the inflammatory sentence with which I ended one of my books (“In the final book of this work I’ll go back to my autobiography, and we shall see if after such grim findings mankind has the right to exist”).

In Hollywood such sort of retroprojections are ubiquitous in movies about the historical past. For instance, Australia, a pro-aboriginals film set before the Second World War, had an upset Nicole Kidman telling another white person, “No mother would leave her child!” when in real life, as recounted in Day of Wrath, quite a few Australian abbos not only abandoned some of their babies, but killed and ate them (for scholarly references supporting this claim see Day of Wrath).
 
Psycho-classes

By “retroprojection” I mean projecting one’s own morals and frame of mind onto the Radical Other, insofar as most people are unaware of the existence of “psychoclasses.”

Westerners, and incredibly, child abuse researchers included, have not awakened to the fact that there have been very dissimilar psychoclasses or ways of childrearing in the world; and that this has had enormous implications for the mental health of a people, primitive or modern. For example, in my Day of Wrath I said that Rhea hid Zeus and presented a stone wrapped in strips, which Cronus took as a swaddled baby and ate it. Cronus represents the pre-Homeric Greeks, the archaic Hellas. After the breakdown of the bicameral, or schizoid mind, historical Greeks considered barbarous the practice of child sacrifice, symbolized in Zeus’ successful rebellion against his filicidal father. Though they still practiced the exposure of unwanted babies, the historical Greeks at least stopped sacrificing them in horrible ways: a practice that their neighbors continued. Nonetheless, if films on both Homeric and post-Homeric Greeks were historically accurate, the exposure of babies, which was practiced even in Roman times, would be visually depicted.

Recently I saw two films that I had not watched for a long time. In the 1959 Hollywood interpretation of Ben-Hur starring Charlton Heston, Tiberius’ Rome and Jerusalem are idealized far beyond what those cities looked like in the times of Jesus. Think of how, to impress the audience with the grandeur of the Roman circus in a Hollywoodesque Palestine, for the chariot race sequence the director made it look as large as Constantinople’s circus! Conversely, in Fellini’s 1969 Satyricon, freely based on Petronius’ classic, the Roman Empire is oneirically caricaturized to the point that the film’s extreme grotesqueries bear no visual relationship whatsoever to the empire of historical time. Both extreme idealization and oneiric caricature constitute artistic ways to understand the soul of Rome. One may think that an Aristotelian golden mean may lie somewhere between Ben-Hur and Fellini-Satyricon, but not even in HBO’s Rome, a purportedly realistic TV series that claimed paying more attention to historical women, dared to show that such women abandoned their babies who died on the hills, roads and the next day were found under the frozen streets: a custom approved even by Plato and Aristotle.

Growing in a “late infanticidal” culture, to use Lloyd deMause’s term, makes members of that psychoclass greatly different compared to our modern western psychoclass. (One could easily imagine what a shock for the modern mind would represent the spectacle of white babies dying on the streets of Vermont, Bonn or Florence with nobody bothering to rescue them.) So different that I believe that the hostile takeover I do of deMause’s Psychohistory to deliver it to the nationalist community will revolutionize the understanding of history once it is properly digested and understood.

In my Day of Wrath I quoted psychohistorian Henry Ebel (no ellipsis added between unquoted sentences):

DeMause’s argument had a breathtaking sweep and grandeur such as we associate with the work of Hegel, Darwin and Marx. Moreover, it seemed to be a valid response and interpretation of a series of gruesome facts that had been consistently understated or suppressed by conventional historians. “The Evolution of Childhood” has proved a morsel too large, too complete, too assertive, and in many ways too grim for the historical profession to digest. Since adult styles and roles, including the academic and professional, are mainly denial-systems erected against those early needs and terrors, the academic consideration of deMause’s argument has been, understandably enough, of less than earthshaking intelligence.

Once we integrate Psychohistory to our view of history, it is easy to notice that when Greg Johnson talks of Greco-Roman homosexuality he does it retroprojectively, as if it was similar to the mores of today’s world: consenting sex between adults. But if Jaynes and deMause are right, the peoples of the classical world inhabited an altogether distinct psychic universe, especially before Solon. So different that sometimes I even wonder if Francis Parker Yockey has a valid point when he wrote that the Italian Renaissance is sold as a link between two cultures that, according to him, have nothing in common.
 
The real Greco-Roman homosexuality: pederasty

A splendid example of such discontinuity is what André Gide called normal pederasty, the ancients’ infatuation for adolescents. Keep in mind that Gide did not condemn such customs. On the contrary, he considered his Corydon, published in 1924 and which received widespread condemnation, his most important work. However, since I can only understand the geist of a culture through the visual arts, before quoting Gide let me convey visually what “homo”-sexuality signified for the classical world through a couple of scenes of the Italian movie Satyricon (YouTube clip: here).

Cinematic experiences aside, what are scholars saying about what I call pseudo-homosexuality: pederasty (which must never be confused with pedophilia)? In the introduction to On Homosexuality: Lysis, Phaedrus, and Symposium, published by Prometheus Books, Eugene O’Connor wrote (again, no ellipsis added):

Benjamin Jowett’s introduction to his translation of Plato’s Symposium expresses prevalent Victorian, Edwardian, and even later attitudes, particularly in England and America, toward Greek homosexuality. Some excerpts from the introduction will illustrate this “clash of cultures.” Since Jowett’s day much has been done to counter and correct this willful distortion of ancient sexuality. We may now consult, for example, the more sober appraisals of K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (1978), and Saara Lilja, Homosexuality in Republican and Augustan Rome (1983) to help us redress the oversights of earlier scholarship.

The composition of [Plato’s] Symposium owes much to the Greek tradition of “banquet literature,” often a collection of informal discussions (in prose or verse) on various topics, including the power of love and the delights of young men and boys. Indeed, a whole body of homoerotic literature grew up around the themes of male beauty and how one ought to woo and win a boy.

The customary social pattern was this: a boy in his teens or, at any rate, a younger man (called an eromenos, or “beloved”) was sought out by an older male (called an erastes or “lover”), who might be already married. Women in classical Athens were kept in virtual seclusion from everyone but their immediate families and their domestic activities were relegated to certain “female” parts of the house. As a consequence, boys and young men—partly by virtue of their being seen, whether in the gymnasium, in the streets, or at a sacrifice (as in the Lysis)—became natural love-objects.

Strict rules of conduct bound both parties: adult males could face prosecution for seducing free-born youths, while Athenian boys and young men could be censured for soliciting sexual favors for money. That would make them in effect equal to courtesans, who were hired companions and lacked citizen status.

This erastes-eromenos (lover-beloved) relationship, although it was sexual and in many ways comparable to typical, male-female relations, with the man assuming the dominant role, was meant ideally to be an educative one. The older man instilled in the younger—in essence, “made him pregnant with”—a respect for the requisite masculine virtues of courage and honor.

Socrates in the Phaedrus describes how the soul of the pederast (literally, “a lover of youths”) who is blessed with philosophy will grow wings after a certain cycle of reincarnations. In recent centuries, the word “pederast” has come to be viewed with opprobrium, fit only to describe child molesters. But in ancient Greece the word carried no such negative connotation, and was employed in a very different context.

Surrounded as he often was by the brightest young men of Athens, Socrates jokingly compared himself, in Xenophon’s Symposium, to a pander or procurer. These are witty, humorous characterizations of Socrates to be sure; yet, in the end, Socrates was the best erastes of all; the loving adult male teacher who sought to lead his aristocratic eromenoi (male beloveds) on the road to virtue.

I have read Xenophon’s Symposium and on chapter VIII it does look like Socrates and others had intense crushes with the eromenoi.

In his Corydon Gide shares the Platonic view that what he calls “normal pederasty” (to distinguish it from child molestation) is a propitious state of the mind to shed light on truth and beauty. In the last pages of his slim book Gide concludes: “I believe that such a lover will jealously watch over him, protect him, and himself exalted, purified by this love, will guide him toward those radiant heights which are not reached without love.” In the very final page Gide adds that “From thirteen to twenty-two (to take the age suggested by La Bruyere) is for the Greeks the age of loving friendship, of shared exaltation, of the noblest emulation,” and that only after this age the youth “wants to be a man”: marrying a woman.

But not only I need visuals to properly understand a culture. Narrative is fundamental too as a way to get into the unfathomed deeps of a bygone world. Below, a tale recounted by an old poet, Eumolpus in the first long novel that Western literature knows, Petronius’ Satyricon:

I relocated the hilarious, though rather long, quotation of the Satyricon as an isolated quote in another of my blogs: here

However, the erastes-eromenos relationship was not always as hilariously picaresque as Petronius depicts it. In my previous response to Johnson, when I added the image of a terracotta statuette of Zeus carrying off Ganymede, I included no references. Here I’ll add a couple of them. In the academic work that O’Connor mentioned above, Greek Homosexuality, K.J. Dover writes:

Ephoros, writing in the mid-fourth century, gives a remarkable account (F149) of ritualised homosexual rape in Crete. The erastes gave notice of his intention, and the family and friends of the eromenos did not attempt to hide the boy away, for that would have been admission that he was not worthy of the honour offered him by the erastes. If they believed that the erastes was unworthy, they prevented the rape by force; otherwise they put a good-humoured and half-hearted resistance, which ended with the erastes carrying off the eromenos to a hide-out for two months.

At the end of that period the two of them returned to the city (the eromenos was known, during the relationship, as parastatheis, ‘posted beside…’ or ‘brought over to the side of…’) and the erastes gave the eromenos expensive presents, including clothing which would thereafter testify to the achievement of the eromenos in being chosen; he was kleinos, ‘celebrated’, thanks to his philetor, ‘lover’. [p. 189]

John Boswell, a homosexual professor at YaleUniversity who died at forty-seven of complications from AIDS, specialized in the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity. For this reason alone it is interesting to compare his claims with James O’Meara’s on exactly the same subject. Boswell abstains to mention the word “rape” which Dover unabashedly used in his treatise published by Harvard University. But in Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe Boswell describes in less academic, and more colorful language, the legal arrangements regarding such abductions:

Apart from the abduction aspect, this practice has all the elements of European marriage tradition: witness, gifts, religious sacrifice, a public banquet, a chalice, a ritual change of clothing for one partner, a change of status for both, even a honeymoon.

The abduction is less remarkable, by the standards of the times, that it seems. The ruler of the gods, Zeus, mandated a permanent relationship with a beautiful Trojan prince, Ganymede, after abducting him and carrying him off to heaven; they were the most famous same-sex couple of the ancient world, familiar to all its educated residents. Zeus even gave Ganymede’s father a gift—the equivalent of a dower or “morning gift”. The inhabitants of Chalcis honored what they believed to be the very spot of Ganymede’s abduction, called Harpagion (“Place of Abduction”). Moreover, as late as Boccaccio (Decameron, Day 5, Tale 1) an abduction marriage that takes place seems to find its most natural home in Crete.

Heterosexual abduction marriage was also extremely common in the ancient world—especially in the neighboring state of Sparta, with which Crete shared its constitution and much of its social organization, where it was the normal mode of heterosexual marriage. It remained frequent well into modern times, and even under Christian influence men who abducted women were often only constrained to marry them, and not punished in any other way. In a society where women were regarded as property and their sexuality their major asset, by the time an abducted woman was returned most of her value was gone, and the more public attention was focused on the matter the less likely it was she would ever find a husband. And in a moral universe where the abduction of Helen (and of the Sabine women) provided the foundation myths of the greatest contemporary political entities, such an act was as likely to seem heroic as disreputable. The Erotic Discourses attributed to Plutarch begin with stories of abduction for love, both heterosexual and homosexual. [pp. 91-93]

This last sentence about the foundation myths of both the ancient Hellas and Rome is absolutely central to understand their moral universe. However, Boswell omits to say that Zeus would be considered a bisexual god with strong heterosexual preferences—Hera and many other consorts—according to current standards, in no way a “gay” god.

Furthermore, unlike the same-sex unions of today, the erastes-eromenos relationship wasn’t meant to be permanent. The continuance of an erotic relationship was disapproved. In dramatic contrast to contemporary “gay marriages” and the myth promulgated by James O’Meara at Counter-Currents, romantic relationships between adult coevals were disrespected. In fact, the former eromenos might well become an erastes himself with a younger youth when he got older. Boswell, who strove to use classic scholarship to support the so-called “gay marriage” of our times, overstates his case in other passages of Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. What struck me the most of his study was that on page 66 he misled the readers by claiming that the Satyricon protagonists, Encolpius and Gitone, are simply a same-sex couple. I have read a couple of translations of the Satyricon and it is all too clear that Boswell omitted two fundamental facts: Gitone’s age, an underage teen for today’s standards, and another lover of Gitone, Ascyltus (who also appears in my embedded YouTube clip way above).
 
Discussion

Classic pederasty did not resemble what currently is called the “gay movement,” let alone O’Meara’s preposterous claim that homosexuals have represented a sort of Western elite, in some ways superior to the bourgeoisie of the Christian world. The causes of pederasty are to be found not only in what O’Connor said above: women being kept in seclusion and men transferring their affections to younger boys. More serious was something that neither O’Connor nor Dover or Boswell dared to say: Infanticidal Greece and Rome produced a surplus of males as a result of the exposure of babies, especially baby girls. As I said in my Day of Wrath, it was not until 374 AD that the emperor Valentinian I, a Christian, mandated to rear all children. What apologists of homosexuality fail to understand is that that was a psychoclass distinct from our own, since for modern westerners it is unthinkable to expose baby girls.

In a nutshell, the Greco-Roman erastes-eromenos institution was not “gay” in the modern sense of the word.

Translation of pages 483-541 of “Hojas susurrantes”

Note of September 2017: I have removed this text because a slightly revised version of it is now available in print within my book Day of Wrath.

Translation of pages 419-482 of Hojas susurrantes

swaddled boy

Note of August 10 2017: I have removed this text because I will be adding separate chapters of it as entries.