Thanks to Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer for allowing us to post this video and blog feature on a crumbling society on the road2ruins – ours! Our civilization has had many examples of failure to learn from, but continues practicing failed techniques with ignorant bravado. In this feature Jason and Sarah compare our downfall to that of Uruk, the first known civilization, and provide thoughts on what we can do to right the ship. Enjoy!
Uruk Is Fallen: America in the shadow of the Old World Order
by Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer
21st century America is a land of distractions. We have various electronic trinkets, entertainment, social media and other temptations luring us ever so subtly towards an absolute oblivion. Although we are hypnotized by the Syren’s call of intellectual and spiritual sleep, we do still gather together on occasion—even though our eyes are now usually turned away from one another and fixed upon the screens of the latest windows into the electronic ether. We still work and play together, while under the surveillance of the endless incarnations of the ever-present eye of the camera god. Meanwhile, our economic, medical and political institutions continue to spin out of control, propelling our national destiny into the abyss of history. Perhaps the most inexplicable factor of this journey into collapse is the fact that so many truly and honestly believe that there is no end to this parade of decadence, this dance of impoverished souls. There seems to have emerged some strange arrogance, which causes Americans to look upon the failed empires of the past and think, “never us”. But for those of us who remain sentient, for those with some lasting glimmer of wakefulness in this sleepy hour, the reality is apparent: America—and perhaps the entire Western World—is crumbling.
The purpose of this article is to identify some of the corrosive factors eroding the very fabric of our once free society, and to demonstrate that, in fact, there is nothing new under the sun. For although we have come to regard ourselves as somehow separate from, and more advanced than the ancients who tread the earth millennia before us, the very forces which destroyed history’s first known civilization have long taken root in the heart of America.
The Uruk Expansion
During the later part of the fourth millennium B.C., a great empire arose in Mesopotamia from out of Uruk, reaching Iran, the southern Caucasus, pre-dynastic Egypt, Turkey, and Syria. This phase of Mesopotamian civilization is known as The Uruk Expansion, and although it crumbled over five thousand years ago, the signature left behind is surprisingly familiar. According to Guillermo Algaze:
“The expansion of Uruk Societies bears some resemblance to the colonial expansion of European societies into less developed areas of the Third World. The Uruk phenomenon may be characterized as an early instance of an ‘informal empire’ or ‘world system’ based on asymmetrical exchange and a hierarchically organized international division of labor that differs from modern examples only in degree.”
New innovations and technologies developed at this time, which transformed the lives of all humanity. Advanced forms of irrigation and social organization emerged, as the first city-states were born. Also during this period, sometime after around 3500 B.C., the first writing appeared in the form of cuneiform script. The capital city of Uruk (or Erech) itself has become known as the first city in world history, and its people must have truly thought of themselves as exceptional, perhaps immune to the chaotic forces which once plagued the chiefly rulers of previous tribal societies.
The socio-economic organization inherent in Uruk society is hinted at in the origin of writing itself. For the city of Uruk, former capital of the world, did not originally invent a writing system to record the deeds of great heroes or to educate the people encompassed by the ever-expanding realm of influence. Rather, writing in Uruk first appears to keep record of the distribution of wealth, resources, and goods into every level of society by a powerful temple ruled by a sorcerer king. The first cheaply made clay cuneiform tablets in Mesopotamia did not record the arrival of ancient aliens or the wars of ancient gods, but rather the debt of the people, who rarely ever saw any actual “money”, which in those days was in the form of silver horded into vaults of the temple. David Graeber elaborates:
“Temple bureaucrats used the system to calculate debts (rents, fees, loans, etc.) in silver. Silver was, effectively, money…Most of it (silver) just sat around in Temple and Palace treasuries, some of which remained, carefully guarded, in the same place for literally thousands of years.”
Beneath the temple were a group of “leaders” who regulated and managed human labor and ingenuity to the sole benefit of the Uruk elite. Farmers, craftsmen, potters, and metalworkers (just to name a few) were subject to this cadre of thousands of temple bureaucrats who assured the specialization and control of humanity’s toil.
The system of redistribution of money, goods and resources created an accelerating gulf between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the Uruk World System, and although the expansion of this system has been attributed to growing “trade networks” reaching into Northern Mesopotamia, these networks were actually nothing less than the organized imposition of an emergent uniform economy, which only existed to the benefit of the technocratic power elite.
Of course, like any group of people seeking to attain domination of every aspect of human life, the elite caste of the Uruk period sought legitimization. The Uruk power brokers understood that people would always agree to live under unfavorable circumstances so long as they believed that their servitude was somehow necessary or acceptable. In order to reach this legitimization, the Uruk royalty turned to the manipulation of religion.
In Mesopotamian mythology, human kind was essentially created for the sole purpose of toiling in the fields. Of course, man was incompetent to do this alone and needed the management of the gods. This is an unsurprising concept for a society so determined to implement a peasant lifestyle upon the populace. The work of mankind was advised by a group of sages known as the Apkallu. These were representatives of the god Enki, who consorted directly only with the kings of the city-states. Through the kings they
implemented their will and taught mankind the proper way to labor, craft, build, compose, and invent. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, it was the Apkallu themselves who built the walls of ancient Uruk. Eventually, the Apkallu bred with human royals and produced a lineage of god-kings, including the mighty Gilgamesh himself. Thus, it was here in Mesopotamia that the concept of “divine right”—the vile notion that some special relationship with the divine entitles an individual and their lineage to rulership over other human beings—was born. By attaining this relationship, the high priests of Uruk established a transcendent legitimacy in the minds of the people, as, according to Bruce Bower, “Southern Mesopotamians believed their temple gods owned the land and humans were its stewards. Thus, Uruk city-states may have pursued a type of ‘manifest destiny’…claiming nearby lands in the name of their deities.”
The emergence of the first large cities during the Uruk period was also based upon the model of socio-economic dominance. According to Marcella Frangipane:
“The emergence of cities radically transformed lifestyles…driving the parties to increasing specialization and role/task differentiation, and above all to a gradual growth of mutual interdependency…This specialization and interdependency, which became structural in character, reduced the autonomy of the populations and made it necessary, or at least desirable for the sound functioning of society to establish a centralized system and specific institutions to manage and mediate relations”.
The End of Uruk
Around 3100 B.C., the Uruk Expansion came to an abrupt and spectacular end. Uruk itself was burned, and the enclaves were destroyed and abandoned as entire populations vanished. Although there are numerous conflicting theories vying to explain this event, there are several factors that bear mentioning. The first was a collapse of the socio-environmental system in the Southern Mesopotamian region brought on by the ever-increasing demands of a corporate controlled agriculture, which destabilized the environment. Second, groups managing the peripheral areas of the Expansion were growing substantially in power and influence, and it is thought that these individuals—who oversaw the movement of goods and prestigious exotica into the Uruk heartland—may have begun carving out their own territories, ultimately disrupting the long reaching but fragile interdependent economy. Finally, and most importantly, the Uruk system had replaced reciprocal exchange between human beings and autonomy with a completely stratified social system. For example, at the enclave of Arslantepe in Northern Mesopotamia, a powerful bureaucratic class was formed to rule as a powerful elite, redistributing food and resources, in a society with “no graduated social ranking of the populace”. At Arslantepe, the Uruk system heralded the institution of absolute social differences, the upper class of which had ambitions “at loggerheads with the aspirations and interests of the population.”
Thus, the collapse of the Uruk system may be ascribed to a number of factors working in tandem, as a divinely sanctioned, permanent, super class over-exploited the population and the environment. Inevitably, the ambitions of the elite became unsustainable for both the land and the people.
5,000 years later
Like the ancient inhabitants of the City of Uruk, many modern Americans have convinced themselves of the exceptional status of their nation. Yet nestled in the heart of the country are the very evils which birthed—and destroyed—the Uruk World System. While Americans were busily promoting their personal assortment of pet causes over the will of fellow citizens in side-show elections, and indulging in the consumption of superfluous amounts of choice goods and trinkets for the last century, these forces have been eating away at the foundations of the United States.
The American Debt Temple
To begin with, America has its own debt temple. Originally, the founders allotted the privilege of creating money solely to Congress. This was a deliberate attempt to prevent the establishment of a central bank and the transformation of the free people of the United States into a nation of debt slaves. Struggling against one attempt after another to create a debt-centric national bank since its inception, America was betrayed in December of 1913 when Congress ratified the Federal Reserve Act, surrendering the right to print currency to a cabal of private bankers. Under this cozy new arrangement, the Federal Government gained the power to indefinitely borrow money from the Federal Reserve Bank, and pass the debt on to the citizenry. Due to interest, the debt would without fail be passed on to future generations. By this alliance, the government grew to its current bloated, intrusive size, while the Federal Reserve gained the indebtedness of the American Public—forever. The temple priesthood now had absolute control of a redistribution economy.
The paper slips of the Federal Reserve (aka “dollars”) are actually debt slips. They are not backed by gold or silver, and they only have the value declared by the temple. In effect, they are the clay debt tablets held by the citizens of Uruk, most of which never actually saw a true silver bar. One U.S. President actually tried to free America of the Federal Reserve Temple and its contemptible priesthood. In June of 1963, John F Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110, abolishing the Federal Reserve and restoring true currency to the American People. Kennedy commissioned the printing of “United States Notes”—debt and interest free bills backed by silver. He was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963 and the notes removed from circulation.
Temple Regulations of Labor
As in Uruk, the architecture of the American System directly beneath the Temple and the Political class consists of thousands of bureaucrats who control manufacture, farming, distribution, and all manner of economic activity through regulatory agencies, such as the EPA, FDA, USDA, and other members of a near endless trail of alphabet agencies. Ran by unelected “officials” who work on behalf of the will of the corporate elite, these bureaucracies ensure that no one in America can grow, dig, craft, invent, raise animals, buy, sell, develop, or otherwise utilize anything naturally occurring within the United States. America even has an agency—known as the Smithsonian Institution or National Museum—by which our understanding of prehistory is filtered and recreated in accord with the will of the establishment.
As a consequence of the cronyism of the Banking/Government partnership, elite corporations have received extensive special favor in the business and legal arenas, generating extensive artificial success in the market place and overthrowing the free market, as regulatory groups target and eliminate competition. Having no choice but to seek employment by such corporate entities, all the while amassing massive debt for an education to become “specialized” by the authorities for such corporate positions, Americans have largely abandoned the independent lifestyle and aggregated into large urban areas near corporate business zones. As in Uruk era Mesopotamia, this has caused the citizenry to become dependant upon water, sanitation, energy, and other necessities from city “authorities”, which now increasingly regulate the use of private property within city limits around America.
Divine Right in America
Fortunately for the criminal detritus ruling America, the concept of divine right has found a ready and willing new home in the United States, where churches on every street corner readily equate their government ruler’s actions with the will of God Himself on a regular basis. In 1954, Lyndon Johnson brought America’s churches under the authority of the state with the introduction of 501c3 tax-exempt status. Under the conditions of IRS code 501c3, pastors are forbidden to oppose public policy or the ambitions of the political class. Those who violate this pact face the loss of their precious tax-exempt status, back-paying previous years of taxes, imprisonment, or all three. Pastors have the alternative of not becoming 501c3 tax-exempt when they found churches—but where is the profit in that?
As a result of the 501c3 pact, a new theology of government righteousness has swept through American Christianity, which uses Romans Chapter 13 as the justification for kissing the hand of the state—ironically, the churches in Nazi Germany used the very same verse of scripture for the same purposes. An independent study of the Bible reveals a book filled with epic and heroic stories of individuals resisting tyrannical governments and corrupt kings. For this reason, many 501c3 pastors refuse to teach practically the entire Old Testament.
The 501c3 pact is precisely the reason why one never sees large groups of Christians protesting, speaking against, or otherwise opposing in any way, shape, or form the unconstitutional laws, endless wars of aggression, murders, bailouts, out of control taxation, economic warfare, and genocide engaged in by the Government/Corporate partnership in the United States. It is also why, every time a new measure against Civil Liberties is taken, pastors in America are the first to offer their support. 501c3 status is nothing less than the institution of the divine right of politicians in the United States.
The desert sands of Mesopotamia have buried most of what remains of ancient Uruk, once the glorious capital of the first civilization, and the dirt of North America may someday devour the last traces of our own. Uruk is fallen, but is there some way to change the fate of our own land? The answer is yes, and the solution is you.
The system into which you were born is nothing if not intrusive. You were educated, nurtured, and programmed by the educational system, the media, entertainment, and your peers from the earliest age for a reason, and that reason was to implant a paradigm into your mind, which could be used to propel you in a direction desirable by the elite class. The first step toward thwarting the empire is to mentally and spiritually reject this paradigm.
Rediscover culture, history, genuine science, and art. Let entertainment decrease and learning increase in your life. Let the crowd melt away and the individual arise. If you feel the call of spirituality, engage. God (or Providence) created you for a reason—embrace this fact. As you learn, you will find that you have something to express. You will find some deep drive pushing you to paint, sculpt, teach, write, speak or otherwise create something, which comes from the most human element within you. In doing this, in becoming essentially yourself again, you will defeat the New World Order, because the ultimate victory against the corporate state is to refuse to be molded into a cog in their machine. Understand that a contribution to the well-being of future generations is the goal of a well-lived life, rather than expedient profit and material success for its own sake. You are an individual striving for the freedom, dignity, and birthrights of all of humanity, and all else is second to this.
Find the inspiration within you and let it shine at all costs, and remember—the whole world can be wrong. After all, it was wrong 5,000 years ago.
Appendix: Some Proposed Principles of Change
These are four proposed ideas which, had they been embraced by the people of Mesopotamia or even the previous generation of Americans, may have halted the march of World Order altogether. We include these here as points for discussion and deliberation amongst others, not as dogmatic solutions, as the issues we face are truly diverse and elaborate.
Creativity: Your inner potential and the work of your hands are the energy upon which the corporate system feeds. Without your creativity and talent to channel towards its own end, the machine loses some of its strength. Finding your purpose and drive, and harnessing your energy in that direction rather than surrendering to the profits and comfort offered by the system will seep power from the machine just as your work opens minds and engages others around you.
Earth: The lands of this world and the resources and creatures dwelling thereon are not, nor should they ever be, the property of any government or corporate authority. They are the gifts of the Creator and/or nature (as you choose), and do not need to be “managed” by human beings working for corporate bodies. In this way, a method of living with nature may be found which is based upon harmony, rather than exploitation. Harmony can only come from willing, rather than coercive, human collaboration, while corporate and state bodies have demonstrated throughout history that they are incapable of anything other than aggressive exploitation.
Authority: No human being or group of human beings has any right or privilege, “divine” or otherwise, to rule over or subjugate any other human beings or the resources and natural inhabitants of this world. There is no legitimate exception to this rule.
Generations: No decision should ever be made which adversely affects future generations yet unborn. For example, debt should never, under any circumstances, be passed down to future generations. The idea that debt should be inherited by subsequent generations was the primary cause of the economic destruction of the United States, and the acceptance of this scenario represents one of the most immoral acts committed by any generation of Americans.