AuthorTopic: Tower of Babel: Fact or Fiction?  (Read 6509 times)

Offline monsta666

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Tower of Babel: Fact or Fiction?
« on: September 21, 2013, 07:12:23 AM »
Found this piece on The Burning Platform which was written by Stucky. An entertaining read that certainly puts a spin on how difficult it can be to interpret God's actions which do not seem consistent even within the Bible itself. More significant however is the fact that God's action, by needing to investigate the tower, appear to suggest he is not all knowing and is actually insecure about man accumulating too much knowledge. It seems on this point not even an explanation is given from God to man as to why he smashed the tower. Without adequate explanation we can only conclude this was done out of spite or out of fear. I do know the Tower of Babel does appear in Islam although it is not directly labelled as such in the book. In that story the suggestion was made that man was beginning to learn about magic and other forbidden knowledge that was too dangerous for his own good hence the destruction of the tower and the scattering of one language to many. To me that makes more sense and suggests that God had a purpose for making man forget and it does certainly vibe with what we see today. However this message of acquiring forbidden knowledge is not conveyed in the Bible so this line of reasoning cannot be used.

This act of divine intervention does touch on another issue and that is the Bible and other Abrahamic religions placing a great deal weight on the concept of man having free will and the right to govern the world as he sees fit without being directly controlled by God. This act of generating confusion, making man forget their old original language and forcing him to lose the ability to communicate with his fellow man by making him only understand another new foreign language is clearly a violation of free will. God is altering the very minds of men to make them behave differently and he does this without even giving them an opportunity to stop this outcome from happening. As far as I am aware there is no forewarning of this mind alteration event and even if there was a warning this intervention acts against the concepts of allowing man to have free will. It is curious really because coercion or carrot and stick tactics from God are often seen as tactics that undermine the whole free will concept so if those tactics are frowned upon why is it acceptable to believe God can act in this manner? I think this action can only be somewhat warranted if God could foresee great ill in allowing man to accumulate excess knowledge and this point is not stressed enough so I feel this reasoning cannot be used. 

Ignoring these points however perhaps the main reason for the Tower of Babel story is to raise a more simple point. The story may simply offer an explanation as to why man developed many oral and written languages describing the origin of all languages. I could be wrong in this interpretation and this explanation certainly does not match any archaeological evidence of there being either a Tower at the allotted place and time-frame. On top of that there has been evidence of multiple languages existing as long as there been evidence to show human languages. In fact it is very difficult to impossible to conclusively prove that all modern languages can be traced to one language as oral speech pre-dates any written records by a significant margin. And even when it comes to oral languages it is difficult to pinpoint the exact mechanisms that triggered complex oral languages to develop in the first place. It takes more than intelligence and the correct vocal cords to make it happen as the animal has to also trust that the sound signals it receives are accurate and reflect the message that is conveyed by its fellow animal otherwise the signals would get ignored as noise. Any how I have rambled enough; here is Stucky's piece:

------------------------------------------------

TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction?

Posted on 20th September 2013 by Stucky in Economy

Babel



PROLOGUE

Along with The Arky Arky and the Great Flood, the Tower of Babel is one of the best known bible stories.

But it is famous beyond its ACTUAL content… A mere 236 words (in English). Yet, the story has come to mean much more than its actual words. For example, the idea that God is so afraid of tall brick structures that he has to create multiple languages to keep people from becoming too smart for their own good.

Most have at least a vague idea of what the story is about, or at least know the name "Babel". But, let's take a look at the entire brief text. I will follow-up with my usual outrageous observations.

Quote from: GENESIS 11:1-9
"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."

BACKGROUND

The Babel story is a great example why a literal interpretation of many OT stories makes no sense whatsoever. A literal interpretation makes a mockery of science, tortures logic, and detracts from the author’s actual spiritual meaning (if any) he intended to impart.

Genesis is a narrative dealing with "beginnings," as its title indicates. It records the beginning of the universe, plant life, animal life, and even mankind. Hence, one is tempted to apply a literal interpretation that the primary lesson of the Babel passage is the record of how human beings began to speak different languages. This is incorrect, as you will soon see.

That being said, "Babel" may very well be a story of beginnings. The city "Babel," is the same exact term used of "Babylon" elsewhere in the Bible. Indeed, the Tower was built in Mesopotamia, not Israel. So, more than just a possible explanation for the confusion of languages, it may also function as the etymology of "Babylon"… The very same Babylonian empire that would wreak tremendous havoc on Israel in sixth century B.C.E.… And the very same Babylon called a "Whore" in Revelation, representing all that is evil, and ultimately destroyed.

Before I get into specifics, it is worth mentioning the origin of the word "Babel". Strong's Concordance says the word means "confusion". That may be true regarding the meaning, but that's not its etymology. In Hebrew 'el' is a name for God… Any God, actually. In Ezekiel — "I am el (God), in the seat of elōhîm (Gods). The Hebrews called God El-shaddai (God almighty), ImmanuEL (God with us), and dozens of other 'el-' names.

The Miriam Webster dictionary gives the following etymology: "Middle English, from Hebrew Bābhel, from Akkadian bāb-ilu, gate". So, what is Babel? Literally, the Gate of God. So, is it the city that's called Babel because that's where God "came down"… as the text says? Or, was the actual tower the people were constructing the "gate of God"… Their attempt to "reach to heaven", or more likely, their attempt to provide a means for God to come down? The text is not clear. So, we'll leave as interesting speculation.

THE MYTH OF A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech."

A literal interpretation presents problems right from the get go. That's because there has NEVER been One Universal Language spoken by all humanity. However, I don’t wish to debate philology. A fine overview of the origin of languages is here; — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_language

Rather, I am much more interested in the status of human language AT THE TIME referred to by the text. Scholars diverge wildly regarding the possible date the Tower of Babel could have been built – anywhere from 3500BC – 2500BC. So, let's take the earliest possible date (3500BC) and briefly examine the archaeological evidence.

I need only one example. Spirit Cave in Thailand is a stratified site showing human occupation from BEFORE 5000 B.C. We do not know what language they were speaking in what is now Thailand …. but we can be darn sure it was not Sumerian, or Hebrew. Also, an archaeological dig in Pakistan revealed trident-shaped writing on fragments of pottery dating even further back at 5,500 years BC. Pretty sure they weren’t speaking Sumerian or Hebrew either. There, I gave you two examples.

The fact of the matter is the writer of Genesis 11 was oblivious to the existence of the Far East, Australia, the Americas, and pretty much the rest of the world beyond a few hundred miles of his locale. Had he been aware of these lands, the peoples, and their cultures… which existed AT THE SAME TIME as when The Tower was built then he would have had a much better understanding regarding the history of language, and he would NEVER have said "The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech."

Furthermore… and quite significantly… the previous chapter in Genesis, Gen: 10, seems to completely contradict the Babel story. Gen 10 is known as the "Table of Nations". It lists all the nations that derived from Noah's sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) after the flood; Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, dozens of other "ites" and even including Egypt and Babylon. No one in their right mind would suggest that ancient Egypt and ancient Babylon spoke the same language. We have written texts from both areas to prove otherwise. So, now we have at least two languages. Of much, much greater significance is the fact that the Bible itself states that once dispersed… These people spoke "after their tongues!" Let's be clear about this; the Bible states people spoke in unique tongues BEFORE the construction of the Tower.

Either the author of Chapter 11 was being redundant at best (an unlikely repetition in Chapter 11 of what was just reviewed in Chapter 10), or much more likely, he didn't know that God ALREADY dispersed the nations… Each speaking after their own tongues. That's quite a conundrum for literalists.

GOD GETS ALL PARANOID, ONCE AGAIN

"And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower… Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down,"

1) God says, "let US go down." Who is this 'us'?? Some folks say it is a figure of speech; such as when a British Royal Queen refers to herself as 'we'. Unfortunately, there was no British royalty back then… And the royalty that did exist simply didn't talk that way. But most Christians say God was talking to Jesus in his pre-incarnate form cuz Jeebus existed before he was born. I don't know how to debate time-travel fantasies, so I won't. The more logical explanation is that the ancient Jews, before they developed monotheism, believed in multiple Gods. Even Abraham's father worshipped multiple Gods, and almost certainly Abraham was raised by his own father to do likewise (until he didn't). Many years later, perhaps decades, Rachel was caught hiding the "household idols" inside her camel's saddle. Then after the Jews escaped Egypt, one of their first acts was to construct and worship a Golden Calf. However Christians want to interpret this. The fact of the matter is that early Judaism adopted very many of the Gods they left behind, they believed in multiple Gods, and monotheism actually took centuries to fully develop.

2) Why does an omniscient, omnipotent God need to "come down" to see anything?? And, where exactly is he coming down from? Does he walk, or take a bus? Theologians call this anthropomorphism; "the attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being, such as a God." These attributions must be made because no one has ever seen this OT God. Moses came closest, and even then, he only saw God’s "backside"… literally, "ass". Who said there's no humor in the Bible? "Anthropomorphism" is just a way of saying; "We make our Gods in MAN'S image." Have you ever noticed that Western Gods behave just like humans? Especially the Greek and Roman Gods with all their fornication and backstabbing and jealousy and murder. And the OT God who laughs, cries, repents, has massive bouts of anger so much so that he has attempted to wipe out the human race, is often driven to jealous rage, and suffers from severe bouts of paranoid insecurity. We anthropomorphize deities because the more the Gods become like men, the easier it is for men to believe in the Gods.

3) Regarding paranoia in the Tower of Babel story — why would an omnipotent God be so damn afraid of humans [supposedly] speaking one language? Why is he so afraid of humans building a structure that is, at best, about 300 feet high? Why didn't he strike dead the builders of One World Trade Center who just completed a 1,776 foot skyscraper? Why is God afraid of technological progress? Does God REALLY believe that by having one language that "NOTHING" will be "impossible" for mankind? The implication being that puny finite mankind can (will) overthrow an all-powerful eternal God …. unless their language be confounded. Isn’t this idea just beyond silly, and indicative of massive paranoia?

And this isn't the first time God exhibited his paranoia. He freaked out when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit… Fearing that mankind is "now like us." (There's that 'us' again.) Really??? Humans are now like God because they ate some fruit? Shortly thereafter God freaked out again… Afraid that Adam and Eve might eat from a tree that would give them eternal life, so he had an angel with a flaming sword drive them out of the Garden to prevent that. Another time God was so freaked out over man's wickedness that he sent a Great Flood to wipe out all but eight people from the face of the Earth… You know, because this all-powerful God was totally powerless to influence humanity. There are dozens more stories in the OT where God freaks out, and when God freaks out, humans die. A strange and paranoid God.

HOW DID GOD PULL THIS OFF?

Almost always in the reading of God's miracles, they are almost always simply accepted at face value. The reasoning being that God is All-Powerful, and therefore He can do anything He wants. So, when the Bible states that the planet Earth stopped spinning, or the sun stood still, (so that Joshua could kill more Amorites), well, not one in a hundred Christian readers stops to ask themselves "how in the hell is that even possible without the earth exploding into space in a million fragments?" "More miracles" is the only possible response. But that answers absolutely nothing. Such cop-out explanations are akin to the Hindu idea that the elephant holds up the earth. Someone asks, "What holds up the elephant?" Answer: Another elephant. And so on, ad infinitum, ad absurdum.

So, exactly how did God pull this off? Did folks suddenly and immediately in the blink of an eye start speaking, for example, German? Were they suddenly able to pronounce "umlauts" and that crazy "ch" sound? Did they suddenly and immediately understand the nuances of the German language and realize that one can now end a sentence with a verb? Did they suddenly wear Lederhosen? Language is in the brain, of course, so did God have to "rewire" each and every person’s brain, from 5 year olds to 100 year olds? Key question; did they forget their original language… Or were they bilingual, in which case, of course, the people would all STILL have a common language! Lol

WAS CONFOUNDING LANGUAGE A GOOD IDEA?

It doesn't seem that confounding human language was all that brilliant. SAME language/culture unites… MULTICULTURALISM divides. It is significant to note that up to this point in biblical history, man had not fought against his fellow man other than in conflicts between individuals. There had been no mention of wars, no racial strife, no religious bigotry, no patriotic blood baths. Man had no reason to gang up and attack other groups of men. At that time, man was not at war with his fellow man and all men communicated freely in one tongue. It was this free communication which God knew he must put an end to if he planned on keeping men enslaved. Brilliant!

IS GOD BIPOLAR?

I ask this because thousands of years later in the New Testament book of Acts (2:1-11), God has a totally different agenda. This agenda is the antithesis of Babel… ONE language. This is the narrative. Believers were all in one place and of one accord (just like in Babel). The story even uses the word "confounded", but for a different reason. This time after having received the Holy Spirit, the apostles preach… And men of diverse languages hear the sermon IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGES. Back in Babel the plan was to separate people, and now in Acts we're seeing the exact opposite; a great re-integration. Bad one time. Good the next time. I wish God would make up His mind.

It seems that God's primary reason for "coming down" was not necessarily the Tower structure itself – that was merely the means to an end — but because the people of Babel wanted to "make a name for ourselves." But, in the very next chapter it is God himself who makes Abraham's name great. King David spends a good portion of his life making a name for himself (2 Sam 8:13) without any negative repercussions or divine reprisals. It can be really hard to figure out what God really believes/wants.

WHAT LESSON CAN WE LEARN FROM THE TOWER OF BABEL?

Are we really supposed to believe that the Builders of the tower were motivated by building a structure that could reach heaven? How stupid would that be? They built the thing on "the PLAINS of Shinar." A FLAT plain. There were MOUNTAINS nearby which would have given them a few thousand feet head start. Lol Are we to believe that they thought they could build a structure higher than a mountain? If they really wanted to reach the heavens, wouldn’t they have built the tower on the nearest high mountain? Yes. So, there must have been a different motivation… One we will never know. However, I can speculate on what the writer of the Babel story intended.

We can all certainly agree that the end result in the Tower story is one of division (one of God’s specialities). Let's take a very brief look at one other major example in how God divides. OK. So, God chooses one race to his people… Creating Judaism in the process. God later sends a Messiah to create a second division of his people… Creating Christianity in the process. God then chooses another guy, Mohammed, to create a third division of his people… Creating Islam in the process. And don't tell me it wasn't God who did all this. You should know that for ALL three of these divisions, God used the angel Gabriel as the messenger. Of course, these divisions have resulted in the longest and bloodiest conflicts in human history… Which continue to this very day.

So, what are we to make of all this?

The 16th century philosopher, Machiavelli, may be able to help understand what is going on. Machiavelli described how a third party could manipulate two other parties… And maintain control over them both. It works like this;

1) The Ruler creates a division amongst the people.

2) The Ruler does this by creating conditions which accentuate the differences between groups. This causes conflict, and so the groups fight amongst themselves rather than against the ruler.

3) The Ruler hides that HE is the cause of the conflicts, going so far as to feign innocence.

4) The Ruler then offers support to ALL parties involved, thus maintaining their loyalty and faith in him.

5) The Ruler is now viewed as The Beneficial One – Machiavelli uses the term "concerned parent" — no matter how bad and evil The Ruler might be in reality. After all, ONLY The Ruler can help bring everyone back together. There is a steep cost, of course. Many will suffer. Few will benefit. But, no one will ever blame The Ruler … which is just the way he likes it.

Now, am I saying that God is some type of Machiavellian monster? No. But, I am saying that that's how the writers of Scripture often portray Him. Some may not want to hear this, but I am 100% convinced that the various authors of Scripture had no clue whatsoever that they were writing Scripture. There was no voice from heaven thundering "Hezekiah! Grab a pen. Let’s write some Scripture!." They had no clue that the words they penned would take hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years to be considered "The Word of God…" And even then, only by a fatally flawed procedure of humans voting. The Ancient Sages had even less of a clue as to how the world works, human psychology and all that, but that didn’t stop them from trying to explain it.

So they wrote stuff, lots of stuff… Some of it eventually became God's Word… Based on their observations and very limited knowledge. I imagine some smart (at the time) guy trying to explain to the people how multiple languages came into being, so he fabricates a story that at one time all humanity spoke just one language (a blatant misconception). No one apparently knew better, so people believed it. They believed it for so long, that even when the truth of the matter was made know… People STILL believed it. That, my friends, is the power of propaganda, believing the temporary lie until it becomes permanent truth. So, people have a choice to make. For me, the Tower of Babel story is an interesting piece of ancient literature. Nothing more.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 07:17:45 AM by monsta666 »

Offline g

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 08:03:46 AM »
Quote
Ignoring these points however perhaps the main reason for the Tower of Babel story is to raise a more simple point. The story may simply offer an explanation as to why man developed many oral and written languages describing the origin of all languages.

You can have a Tower of Babel situation where everyone is talking the Same language. The modern financial scene is described by many, including myself as a Tower of Babel, there are many other situations where the term could be used, such as the Middle East situation.

Speaking the exact same language can be the same as a multitude of languages in this regard.

Take my recent discussion with WHD over the word "Reeks", or my bad vibe about the word "Tribe" being used as somehow demeaning.

Strange admission on my part, but when I read the story of the Tower of Babel, I never considered God causing everyone to speak in different languages. I took it to mean that their words came out in a mumbo jumbo of confusion, while the language used was the same. Much like a crazy person muttering lunacy.

Surprised others find it to mean speaking in different languages.                                    :dontknow:
 

Offline Ka

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 12:05:06 PM »
Quote from: stucky
TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction?

How about "neither"? I yawned my way through Stucky's piece, and have to wonder what the point of it is. The Fathers of the Church were well aware of the contradictions that arise if the Genesis stories are taken literally, that anthropomorphic portrayals of God most definitely are not literal. That includes, by the way, not just physical anthropomorphisms, but also stating things like God's purposes in human terms, like "God wanting to sow confusion".

There are two classes of people who are clueless about monotheism. One are the Young Earth Creationists, the other are the argumentative atheists who view the OT as just "an interesting piece of ancient literature", that is, those who say it is fact, and those who say it is fiction.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 01:16:27 PM »
I basically agree with you, Ka.  I thought Stucky's piece was good for the most part, but I think the conclusions of the last couple paragraphs were unwarranted.

I think a far better working hypothesis, rather than these were completely made up explanatory stories, was that these were stories based on real events, which may have been amplified or distorted.

I believe there was a real tower of Babel that was built.  The purpose was likely to have been as a watch tower, so the entire plains was visible.

The thing about a very tall brick structure is that it requires a whole heck of a lot of dull tedious work.  Someone probably got the bright idea that they could capture some of the surrounding nomads and force them to do the work.  Now what was one people with one language becomes a confused mess.  The worst part for the tower builders is they don't understand the words used to plot against them.  The slaves revolt and the tower is smashed.

What the story of Babel is then is not the beginning of language but the beginning of slavery, something that wasn't perfected until the 20th century with the development of "soma" techniques, where people do not even realize they are slaves and they love their chains.
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Offline Ashvin

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 02:31:35 PM »
I'm not sure why people even bother to "analyze" these OT accounts if they are going to totally ignore its grammatical-historical context (which includes many different factors). It ends up reading like someone plucking a scene out of Shakespeare to "analyze" it, without any knowledge of Shakespeare's use of language or his plays or any historical context in which he may have been writing those plays.

There a few contextual points that should be noted here:

Genesis 11 describes events occurring after the Flood and humanity's repeated disobedience of God's commands to spread and "fill the Earth", from the time of Adam to the time of Noah. Instead of spreading and settling West and East, they migrate back East and settle in one location.

Ancient cultures typically thought of their Gods as beings that dwell on a mountaintop (separated from them in the "heavens"). Yet since there were no mountains in the plain of Shinar, it seems the Babel account is describing people who wanted to construct a Tower in worship of a false God (in Genesis 5, some people had "began to call upon the name of the Lord", now they are attempting to "make us a name")

The Bible (OT and NT) often uses language like "the whole Earth" or something else that seems all-inclusive to refer to all people in a given region, i.e. the whole known world. This makes sense since that known world was the only thing they were aware of and that mattered to them.

The Bible often talks about God asking questions or coming down and "investigating" as a means of showing that He had decided to get involved in some way and communicated that involvement to humanity (this happens multiple times in Genesis alone). It should be obvious that the purpose of asking or investigating is not to gain knowledge...

Also, this is a very short section of Genesis. The Bible often uses non-literal descriptions to convey literal truths, so it's quite possible that some type of blasphemous, ungodly culture was established over time in this region, but we are not provided the details about what exactly happened or how exactly God intervened in judgment (God's judgment of humanity's actions does not violate our free will). None of those details are important to the message being communicated.

Offline RE

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 03:00:20 PM »
I'll cross post this one on the Diner.  Stucky has a byline here.

Going back to 2008 on Peak Oil, I wrote an article making the case that the Tower of Babel was actually a Counting House and Warehouse; the different languages that are mentioned are actually different currencies; and what is being described is the collapse of their economic system which led to a One-to-the Many breakup of that Civilization.

This makes a lot more sense on a historical basis than a literal interpretation of the story.

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 03:07:33 PM »
I'm not sure why people even bother to "analyze" these OT accounts if they are going to totally ignore its grammatical-historical context (which includes many different factors). It ends up reading like someone plucking a scene out of Shakespeare to "analyze" it, without any knowledge of Shakespeare's use of language or his plays or any historical context in which he may have been writing those plays.

You should go drop these words of wisdom in on the thread on TBP, it's 66 comments deep already there (my comment was #66  :icon_mrgreen:)  Stucky will appreciate your insights I am sure.  :icon_sunny:

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 03:22:03 PM »
Seems to me a lot happened with Babel that was left out of the narrative.  I am not  sure why or what "the rest of the story" might be.  In considering this, lots of questions arise, and no answers.  (Yes, Ashvin, i've read the traditional interpretations and am not convinced).

I am wondering if the account was written well after the events, after a (new) language developed.  It has the feeling of an oral tradition later put to writing.  It may be the events were traumatic enough that no one who witnessed them survived.

If there was a worldwide language (pre-sanskrit?) that could suggest a previous worldwide civilization.  As far as we know there was no previous universal language.  Did man communicate by telepathy and have the "gods" deprive him of this ability?  If so, how?

How did the top of the building "reach" heaven?  If heaven could be reached, where was it exactly?  It's a bit outrageous to posit that the top of the building detached and flew into space! 

Was it a communication station?  Were the original Babylonians trying to communicate with "other gods" and incurred the wrath of a jealous god??  Was earth a colony, trying to get a better deal?

"A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest." -  Simon and Garfunkel

Offline RE

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2013, 03:29:56 PM »
  It's a bit outrageous to posit that the top of the building detached and flew into space! 

Seems reasonable to me.

 :spacecraft:

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Offline Ashvin

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2013, 04:13:23 PM »
I'm not sure why people even bother to "analyze" these OT accounts if they are going to totally ignore its grammatical-historical context (which includes many different factors). It ends up reading like someone plucking a scene out of Shakespeare to "analyze" it, without any knowledge of Shakespeare's use of language or his plays or any historical context in which he may have been writing those plays.

You should go drop these words of wisdom in on the thread on TBP, it's 66 comments deep already there (my comment was #66  :icon_mrgreen:)  Stucky will appreciate your insights I am sure.  :icon_sunny:

RE

An article like that is seriously not worth responding to...

Stucky wouldn't even consider that kind of criticism, let alone appreciate it.

He did manage to whiff by the point of the Babel narrative when he wrote this, though:

Quote
"Anthropomorphism" is just a way of saying; "We make our Gods in MAN'S image." Have you ever noticed that Western Gods behave just like humans? Especially the Greek and Roman Gods with all their fornication and backstabbing and jealousy and murder. .

That's exactly what the entirety of the OT warns against. Men making God(s) in their own image was the biggest sin according to ancient Israelites, the degradation of God, and presumably that's what was happening at Babel.

Quote
And the OT God who laughs, cries, repents, has massive bouts of anger so much so that he has attempted to wipe out the human race, is often driven to jealous rage, and suffers from severe bouts of paranoid insecurity. We anthropomorphize deities because the more the Gods become like men, the easier it is for men to believe in the Gods

Here Stucky is confusing pagan religious systems that make anthropomorphic claims about the reality of their Gods with a Judeo-Christian system that uses anthropomorphic language to make its God accessible to humans. The only underlying reality that is being claimed with this language in the OT is that God is a person who has a will.

Offline monsta666

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2013, 05:46:36 PM »
I think the problem with a lot of these stories from Noah's ark to Sodom & Gomorrah is that they are presented in such a way as if they literally happened. I am not saying this occurs universally as I am sure quite often it is stressed that people should not interpret these issues literally. I am merely stating that it happens in a frequent enough basis that it is a problem. Furthermore these subjects are often taught to children who have yet to develop the critical thinking skills to challenge such information so with that thought in mind you need to make things straightforward which you can't if there are hidden meanings or reading between the lines. It is all well and good to say these stories should not be taken at face value and must be interpreted in this way or another but then the whole conversation will become somewhat subjective and even muddled. It is this confusion, to decipher the real truth, that distracts us from the real message that was supposed to be conveyed. I also suspect what Snowleopard said about certain details being missed is probably true. Since the story was probably originally told orally some of the early interpretations or important details were missed when written to book.

Still despite the disagreements about the meanings behind the Tower the point still stands that God had intervened directly and he did alter the minds of men. In some shape or form God made it so man could no longer understand or communicate with one another in the universal 'language' that man had used prior to this event. We can debate what the language was or the reasoning behind why God performed the actions he did. We can even debate what the Tower was supposed to represent but the point remains; this story runs contrary to the message that man has free will on planet Earth to govern as he desires.

Now I am not against divine intervention with God actively changing things by suspending the laws of nature; this is okay but if an argument is made about the merits of free will or intervention then you need to be consistent. It is inconsistency to selectively punish people yet let others go that generates problems. If God is to intervene and punish people, even if done harshly, at least punishment should be enforced consistently. Why is it the folks of Babel (or perhaps Babylon?) had to suffer while the modern pigman is allowed to flourish? This is the question people will ask and it is a legitimate question to raise for God is applying selective judgement. He is not being consistent. Then again perhaps if God is really consistent and we merely have not witnessed the punishment that is yet to come then this story holds even greater significance. If that point is true then perhaps it can be taken as a sign of what mankind is likely to face if we interpret this story in the way other posters have suggested. This is especially true if we were to take Ashvin's point about worshipping false God's. What is the thing most worshipped in modern Western and in particular US culture?

Offline Stucky1

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Tower of Babel: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2013, 07:08:35 PM »

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Published on The Burning Platform on September 20, 2013


http://misplacedperson.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/tower_of_babel_2_s.jpg


Discuss this article at the Spirituality & Mysticism Table inside the Diner


PROLOGUE


Along with The Arky Arky and the Great Flood, the Tower of Babel is one of the best known bible stories.


But it is famous beyond its ACTUAL content … a mere 236 words (in English). Yet, the story has come to mean much more than its actual words. For example, the idea that God is so afraid of tall brick structures that he has to create multiple languages to keep people from becoming too smart for their own good.


Most have at least a vague idea of what the story is about, or at least know the name “Babel”. But, let’s take a look at the entire brief text. I will follow-up with my usual outrageous observations.


============================================

THE BIBLICAL TEXT — GENESIS 11:1-9

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”


============================================


BACKGROUND


The Babel story is a great example why a literal interpretation of many OT stories makes no sense whatsoever. A literal interpretation makes a mockery of science, tortures logic, and detracts from the author’s actual spiritual meaning (if any) he intended to impart.


Genesis is a narrative dealing with “beginnings,” as its title indicates. It records the beginning of the universe, plant life, animal life, and even mankind. Hence, one is tempted to apply a literal interpretation that the primary lesson of the Babel passage is the record of how human beings began to speak different languages. This is incorrect, as you will soon see.


That being said, “Babel” may very well be a story of beginnings. The city “Babel,” is the same exact term used of “Babylon” elsewhere in the Bible. Indeed, the Tower was built in Mesopotamia, not Israel. So, more than just a possible explanation for the confusion of languages, it may also function as the etymology of “Babylon” …. the very same Babylonian empire that would wreak tremendous havoc on Israel in sixth century B.C.E. … and the very same Babylon called a “Whore” in Revelation, representing all that is evil, and ultimately destroyed.


Before I get into specifics, it is worth mentioning the origin of the word “Babel”. Strong’s Concordance says the word means “confusion”. That may be true regarding the meaning, but that’s not its etymology. In Hebrew “el” is a name for God … any God, actually. In Ezekiel — “I am el (God), in the seat of el?hîm (Gods). The Hebrews called God El-shaddai (God almighty), ImmanuEL (God with us), and dozens of other “el-” names. The Miriam Webster dictionary gives the following etymology — “Middle English, from Hebrew B?bhel, from Akkadian b?b-ilu, gate”. So, what is Babel? Literally, the Gate of God. So, is it the city that’s called Babel because that’s where God “came down” … as the text says? Or, was the actual tower the people were constructing the “gate of God” … their attempt to “reach to heaven”, or more likely, their attempt to provide a means for God to come down? The text is not clear. So, we’ll leave as interesting speculation.


THE MYTH OF A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE


And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.”


A literal interpretation presents problems right from the get go. That’s because there has NEVER been One Universal Language spoken by all humanity. However, I don’t wish to debate philology. A fine overview of the origin of languages is here; — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_language


Rather, I am much more interested in the status of human language AT THE TIME referred to by the text. Scholars diverge wildly regarding the possible date the Tower of Babel could have been built – anywhere from 3500BC – 2500BC. So, let’s take the earliest possible date (3500BC) and briefly examine the archaeological evidence.


I need only one example. Spirit Cave in Thailand is a stratified site showing human occupation from BEFORE 5000 B.C. We do not know what language they were speaking in what is now Thailand …. but we can be darn sure it was not Sumerian, or Hebrew. Also, an archaeological dig in Pakistan revealed trident-shaped writing on fragments of pottery dating even further back at 5,500 years BC. Pretty sure they weren’t speaking Sumerian or Hebrew either. There, I gave you two examples.


The fact of the matter is the writer of Genesis 11 was oblivious to the existence of the Far East, Australia, the Americas, and pretty much the rest of the world beyond a few hundred miles of his locale. . Had he been aware of these lands, the peoples, and their cultures … which existed AT THE SAME TIME as when The Tower was built …. then he would have had a much better understanding regarding the history of language, and he would NEVER have said “.. the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech”.


Furthermore … and quite significantly … the previous chapter in Genesis, Gen: 10, seems to completely contradict the Babel story. Gen 10 is known as the “Table of Nations”. It lists all the nations that derived from Noah’s sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) after the flood; Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, dozens of other “ites” and even including Egypt and …. Babylon. No one in their right mind would suggest that ancient Egypt and ancient Babylon spoke the same language. We have written texts from both areas to prove otherwise. So,now we have at least two languages. Of much, much greater significance is the fact that the Bible itself states that once dispersed …. these people spoke “after their tongues”! Let’s be clear about this; the Bible states people spoke in unique tongues BEFORE the construction of the Tower.


Either the author of Chapter 11 was being redundant at best (an unlikely repetition in Chapter 11 of what was just reviewed in Chapter 10), or much more likely, he didn’t know that God ALREADY dispersed the nations … each speaking after their own tongues. That’s quite a conundrum for literalists.


GOD GETS ALL PARANOID, ONCE AGAIN


“ And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower … Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down,”


1)- God says, “let US go down”. Who is this “us”?? Some folks say it is a figure of speech; such as when a British Royal Queen refers to herself as “we”. Unfortunately, there was no British royalty back then … and the royalty that did exist simply didn’t talk that way. But most Christians say God was talking to Jesus in his pre-incarnate form .. cuz Jeebus existed before he was born. I don’t know how to debate time-travel fantasies, so I won’t. The more logical explanation is that the ancient Jews, before they developed monotheism, believed in multiple Gods. Even Abraham’s father worshipped multiple Gods, and almost certainly Abraham was raised by his own father to do likewise (until he didn’t). Many years later, perhaps decades, Rachel was caught hiding the “household idols” inside her camel’s saddle. Then after the Jews escaped Egpyt, one of their first acts was to construct and worship a Golden Calf. However Christians want to interpret this. The fact of the matter is that early Judaism adopted very many of the Gods they left behind, they believed in multiple Gods, amd monotheism actually took centuries to fully develop.


2)- Why does an omniscient, omnipotent God need to “come down” to see anything?? And, where exactly is he coming down from? Does he walk, or take a bus? Theologians call this anthropomorphism; “the attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being, such as a God.”. These attributions must be made because no one has ever seen this OT God. Moses came closest, and even then, he only saw God’s “backside” … literally, “ass”. Who said there’s no humor in the Bible? “Anthropomorphism” is just a way of saying; “We make our Gods in MAN’S image.” Have you ever noticed that Western Gods behave just like humans? Especially the Greek and Roman Gods with all their fornication and backstabbing and jealousy and murder. And the OT God who laughs, cries, repents, has massive bouts of anger so much so that he has attempted to wipe out the human race, is often driven to jealous rage, and suffers from severe bouts of paranoid insecurity. We “anthropomorphize” deities because the more the Gods become like men, the easier it is for men to believe in the Gods.


3) Regarding paranoia in the Tower of Babel story —- why would an omnipotent God be so damn afraid of humans [supposedly] speaking one language? Why is he so afraid of humans building a structure that is, at best, about 300 feet high? Why didn’t he strike dead the builders of One World Trade Center who just completed a 1,776 foot skyscraper? Why is God afraid of technological progress? Does God REALLY believe that by having one language that “NOTHING” will be “impossible” for mankind? The implication being that puny finite mankind can (will) overthrow an all-powerful eternal God …. unless their language be confounded. Isn’t this idea just beyond silly, and indicative of massive paranoia?


And this isn’t the first time God exhibited his paranoia. He freaked out when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit …. fearing that mankind is “now like us”. (There’s that ‘us’ again.) Really?? Humans are now like God because they ate some fruit? Shortly thereafter God freaked out again … afraid that Adam and Eve might eat from a tree that would give them eternal life, so he had an angel with a flaming sword drive them out of the Garden to prevent that. Another time God was so freaked out over man’s wickedness that he sent a Great Flood to wipe out all but eight people from the face of the earth …. you know, because this all-powerful God was totally powerless to influence humanity. There are dozens more stories in the OT where God freaks out, and when God freaks out, humans die. A strange and paranoid God.


HOW DID GOD PULL THIS OFF?


Almost always in the reading of God’s miracles, they are almost always simply accepted at face value. The reasoning being that God is All-Powerful, and therefore He can do anything He wants. So, when the Bible states that the planet Earth stopped spinning, or the sun stood still, (so that Joshua could kill more Amorites), well, not one in a hundred Christian readers stops to ask themselves “how in the hell is that even possible without the earth exploding into space in a million fragments?” “More miracles” is the only possible response. But that answers absolutely nothing. Such cop-out explanations are akin to the Hindu idea that the elephant holds up the earth. Someone asks, “What holds up the elephant?” Answer: Another elephant. And so on, ad infinitum, ad absurdum.


So, exactly how did God pull this off? Did folks suddenly and immediately in the blink of an eye start speaking, for example, German? Were they suddenly able to pronounce “umlauts” and that crazy “ch” sound? Did they suddenly and immediately understand the nuances of the German language and realize that one can now end a sentence with a verb? Did they suddenly wear Lederhosen? Language is in the brain, of course, so did God have to “rewire” each and every person’s brain, from 5 year olds to 100 year olds? Key question; did they forget their original language … or were they bilingual, in which case, of course, the people would all STILL have a common language! Lol


WAS CONFOUNDING LANGUAGE A GOOD IDEA?


It doesn’t seem that confounding human language was all that brilliant. SAME language / culture unites … MULTICULTURALISM divides. It is significant to note that up to this point in biblical history, man had not fought against his fellow man other than in conflicts between individuals. There had been no mention of wars, no racial strife, no religious bigotry, no patriotic blood baths. Man had no reason to gang up and attack other groups of men. At that time, man was not at war with his fellow man and all men communicated freely in one tongue. It was this free communication which God knew he must put an end to if he planned on keeping men enslaved. Brilliant!


IS GOD BIPOLAR?


I ask this because thousands of years later in the New Testament book of Acts (2:1-11), God has a totally different agenda. This agenda is the antithesis of Babel … ONE language. This is the narrative. Believers were all in one place and of one accord (just like in Babel). The story even uses the word “confounded”, but for a different reason. This time after having received the Holy Spirit, the apostles preach … and men of diverse languages hear the sermon IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGES. Back in Babel the plan was to separate people, and now in Acts we’re seeing the exact opposite; a great re-integration. Bad one time. Good the next time. I wish God would make up His mind.


It seems that God’s primary reason for “coming down” was not necessarily the Tower structure itself – that was merely the means to an end — but because the people of Babel wanted to “make a name for ourselves”. But, in the very next chapter it is God himself who makes Abraham’s name great. King David spends a good portion of his life making a name for himself (2 Sam 8:13) without any negative repercussions or divine reprisals. It can be really hard to figure out what God really believes / wants.


WHAT LESSON CAN WE LEARN FROM THE TOWER OF BABEL?


Are we really supposed to believe that the Builders of the tower were motivated by building a structure that could reach heaven? How stupid would that be? They built the thing on “the PLAINS of Shinar”. A FLAT plain. There were MOUNTAINS nearby which would have given them a few thousand feet head start. Lol Are we to believe that they thought they could build a structure higher than a mountain? If they really wanted to reach the heavens, wouldn’t they have built the tower on the nearest high mountain? Yes. So, there must have been a different motivation … one we will never know. However, I can speculate on what the writer of the Babel story intended.


We can all certainly agree that the end result in the Tower story is one of division (one of God’s specialties). Let’s take a very brief look at one other major example in how God divides. OK. So, God chooses one race to his people … creating Judaism in the process. God later sends a Messiah to create a second division of his people …. creating Christianity in the process. God then chooses another guy, Mohammed, to create a third division of his people …. creating Islam in the process. And don’t tell me it wasn’t God who did all this. You should know that for ALL three of these divisions, God used the angel Gabriel as the messenger. Of course, these divisions have resulted in the longest and bloodiest conflicts in human history … which continue to this very day.


So, what are we to make of all this?


The 16th century philosopher, Machiavelli, may be able to help understand what is going on. Machiavelli described how a third party could manipulate two other parties … and maintain control over them both. It works like this;


—– 1) The Ruler creates a division amongst the people.


—– 2) The Ruler does this by creating conditions which accentuate the differences between groups. This causes conflict, and so the groups fight amongst themselves rather than against the ruler.


—– 3) The Ruler hides that HE is the cause of the conflicts, going so far as to feign innocence.


—– 4) The Ruler then offers support to ALL parties involved, thus maintaining their loyalty and faith in him.


—– 5) The Ruler is now viewed as The Beneficial One – Machiavelli uses the term “concerned parent” — no matter how bad and evil The Ruler might be in reality. After all, ONLY The Ruler can help bring everyone back together. There is a steep cost, of course. Many will suffer. Few will benefit. But, no one will ever blame The Ruler … which is just the way he likes it.


Now, am I saying that God is some type of Machiavellian monster? No. But, I am saying that that’s how the writers of Scripture often portray Him. Some may not want to hear this, but I am 100% convinced that the various authors of Scripture had no clue whatsoever that they were writing Scripture. There was no voice from heaven thundering “Hezekiah! Grab a pen. Let’s write some Scripture!”. They had no clue that the words they penned would take hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years to be considered “The Word of God” … and even then, only by a fatally flawed procedure of humans voting. The Ancient Sages had even less of a clue as to how the world works, human psychology and all that, but that didn’t stop them from trying to explain it.


So they wrote stuff, lots of stuff … some of it eventually became God’s Word … based on their observations and very limited knowledge. I imagine some smart (at the time) guy trying to explain to the people how multiple languages came into being, so he fabricates a story that at one time all humanity spoke just one language (a blatant misconception). No one apparently knew better, so people believed it. They believed it for so long, that even when the truth of the matter was made know … people STILL believed it. That, my friends, is the power of propaganda, believing the temporary lie until it becomes permanent truth. So, people have a choice to make. For me, the Tower of Babel story is an interesting piece of ancient literature. Nothing more.



Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: TOWER OF BABEL: fact or fiction? by Stucky
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2013, 09:18:47 PM »
I think the problem with a lot of these stories from Noah's ark to Sodom & Gomorrah is that they are presented in such a way as if they literally happened.
There was a time when we thought Troy was a complete fabrication, until we dug it up.

I think most of these stories are based on actual events.  For example, my understanding is that every culture has its own version of the Flood story.  It could be a memory of the Toba supervolcano eruption that left so few survivors.   There is also a theory that a comet hit the Indian Ocean about 5000 years ago.

Again, though, as Ashvin says, we do have to consider the historical and grammatical context when reading these stories, not taking them to necessarily mean literally what we understand today, for example "the world".

Quote
It is this confusion, to decipher the real truth, that distracts us from the real message that was supposed to be conveyed.
The message that was meant to be conveyed was clear enough at the time it was written.  It is the way that language has changed that has muddled things.
Quote
I also suspect what Snowleopard said about certain details being missed is probably true. Since the story was probably originally told orally some of the early interpretations or important details were missed when written to book.
I have to disagree with you there... I'm pretty sure the important details were recorded... it's just what was important to nomadic farmers in the desert in not what is important to an egghead studying ancient history.  Unimportant details like the kind that can be used to verify historical accuracy.
Quote
Why is it the folks of Babel (or perhaps Babylon?) had to suffer while the modern pigman is allowed to flourish?
Don't worry, I'm sure in 5000 years it won't be the story of how the pigmen flourished that people will be telling.  That story is not over yet.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline RE

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Collapse of an Economic Tower of Babel: Classic RE October 2008 on Peak Oil
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2013, 09:27:31 PM »
I dug up my "Collapse of an Economic Tower of Babel" article on Peak Oil, dated October 15, 2008. It is now part of a merged thread in Economics on the Peak Oil Message Board.  There are numerous posts following this thread on the Peak Oil board.

Those of you who know your Collapse History here will note that this was exactly the time Hank the Skank Paulson was threatening total economic collapse if he did not get Unlimited Bailout Funds for the TBTF Banks.

Below the text from the original article:

Quote from: RE
Collapse of an Economic Tower of Babel

 Wed 15 Oct 2008, 02:17:29

Reviewing as I have been Ancient History for parallels with what we see going on today, one Ancient Civilization collapse I always had trouble understanding and believing now is coming more clear to me as a parable. That would be the Fall Of Babylon and the destruction of the Tower of Babel.

From Wikepedia:

 
Quote
   According to the biblical account, Babel was a city that united humanity, all speaking a single language and migrating from the east; it was the home city of the great king Nimrod, and the first city to be built after the Great Flood. The people decided their city should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens." However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was dedicated to the glory of man, with a motive of making a 'name' for the builders "Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'" - Genesis 11:4. God seeing what the people were doing, gave each person a different language to confuse them and scattered the people throughout the earth.


Now first off in my old analysis, just how could a Tower falling down instantly render people unable to communicate with each other? This seems impossible if you take it at face value as describing verbal language, but what if you take it to mean a Reserve Currency to which all things are linked in their value?

What happens when the Dollar loses its meaning entirely? The ALL the traders can't talk to each other anymore, it about instantly renders it impossible to communicate in the world of trade.

The first obvious parallel here would be the Crashing Down of the World Trade Center in NYC, a "tower so immense it would have its top in the Heavens". However, the more important tower that is crashing down is the intricately connected system of world markets. Its rapidly becoming apparent that traders cannot talk to each other in a common language, and so international trade is grinding to a halt. Now each country has "a different language to confuse them and scattered the people throughout the earth." We are of course all scatterred, and each individual locale now has to come up with its own monetary language to begin trading internally again. The Confusion here is clearly apparent as well.

Some very interesting tidbits in this story that have some relevance to today's Tower of Babel collapse:

    The building of the Tower was meant to bid defiance not only to God, but also to Abraham, who exhorted the builders to reverence. The passage mentions that the builders spoke sharp words against God, not cited in the Bible, saying that once every 1,656 years, heaven tottered so that the water poured down upon the earth, therefore they would support it by columns that there might not be another deluge


If you Google up the collapse of the Roman Empire, it actually occured in 352 AD (2008-1656=352) when the Empire fractured between Constantinius II and Magnentius.

http://www.roman-empire.net/collapse/magnentius.html

Coincidence? Perhaps. However, that is one pretty big coincidence if you ask me. Interesting how the Geopolitics seem to replay themselves on the interval of every 1656 years.

Reverse Engineer

Much more in this thread, available still to read at:

http://peakoil.com/forums/the-economic-collapse-thread-merged-t2406-390.html

RE
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Re: Collapse of an Economic Tower of Babel: Classic RE October 2008 on Peak Oil
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2013, 09:44:58 PM »
This thread really has quite a bit in it, here is a chat I had with Pops which holds true still to this day.  You will see in it the GENESIS of the Diner, resultant from some of my posting being deleted in this thread by the PO Mod Squad (and many other threads also!):

Quote
Re: Collapse of an Economic Tower of Babel

Unread postby ReverseEngineer » Wed 22 Oct 2008, 01:43:23

    Pops wrote:

        ReverseEngineer wrote: If you do not perceive me to be interesting enough to chat with by catching me up here a little, that is fine. Flaming up my last post a little by identifying what I have read of yours recently as "Pollyanna-ism" was just a prod to get you writing :-)


    :) That's cool, do it myself here and there.

    My first A&P and my latest...
    My favorite, 5 Rules...

    BTW, here is how Wiki sums up Polly:

        Eventually, however, even Pollyanna's robust optimism is put to the test when she gets hit by a car and loses the use of her legs. ...

        Then the townspeople begin calling at Aunt Polly's house, eager to let Pollyanna know how much her encouragement has improved their lives; and Pollyanna decides she can still be glad that she had legs.

        The novel ends with ... Pollyanna being sent to a hospital where she learns to walk again and is able to appreciate the use of her legs far more as a result of being temporarily disabled.



    I know the doomers only need to be right once and the Polly's need to be right every time but you'll see from the threads I mentioned above my optimism is tempered with a good dose of "learning to walk" - before being struck by the car.



I read a few of the posts from these thread Pops, and I have a hypothesis here regarding some of the long term Peak Oil folks.

Clearly it has been discussed "forever" what to do in the event of a crash, where to move to, what to prep with. Hawaii, Oklahoma, wherever. These themes of course still persistently arise as newbies join the board, and veterans relate the stories of their choices since the time they perceived the problems of peak oil and how they might play out.

At the same time, back there in 2004, there were your "Instant Doomers" floating around also and debates about what the trigger events might be. Mamy recognized the problems, but never really could anyone drop an absolute timeline on it to say THIS is when it will happen. So you make your preps anyhow not knowing when or even if it will happen, but since you are making them you must figure it will happen. But it does not happen for quite a long time, all the while some new doomer joining the board and saying its going to happen tomorrow, and it doesn't. You develop something of a defense mechanism of against the perspective of the instant doomer as a result, a "tough skin".

Wehn the Doom really does come as a result, you tend to deny that it IS doom. "Well, dropping $700B of funny money on the problem yesterday isn't REALLY doom, since today the grocery stores still have groceries"

I of course arrived on this board relatively late in the game, but I have been observing the nature of society since childhood, when I lived in Brasil as the son of an International Banker for Chase Manhattan. Learned to read very young, had a college level reading score when I was in 3rd grade. Lived well with Maids in a Penthouse overlooking Ipanema beach.

My family disintegrated in the 70s, moved back to NYC with my mom, my Dad continued working for Chase, travelling to Australia for a while and then eventually back to the US. Chase overall did not do well through this period, and eventually many of the middle managers like my dad were bought off. His fortunes sagged thru an adventure in private business owning a Japanese Restaurant in Rio for a while, finally retiring early on his pension from Chase in his late 50s.

I'm not going to write a complete autobiography here, but suffice it to say that observations I made through my college years of the nature of society and the nature of wealth did not sit well with me, and I pretty much ended opting out of the pursuit of wealth to rather do what I enjoy doing.

More than realizing precisely what was going on, I jsut became progressively more upset about the spin down of culture and the absolutely shallow way people lived. It wasn't always easy to keep making a living just doing what I enjoy, so I spent 6 years driving a Big Rig around the lower 48 and Canada.

Eventually through a series of fairly bizarre coincidences, I ended up here on the Last Great Frontier. I pondered more on what was going on, and after Bear Stearns collapsed a light bulb finally went off in my head, and shortly thereafter I joined Peak Oil.

So for me to respond in depth about my specific preps is not really relevant, because I only do what I can do given the environment I am in and the absolute amount of money I have. Ideally, if I had zillions, I'd probably buy an abandoned Mine and fit it out with enough preps to last me into the 22nd Century. LOL. Out of the question obviously for me. LOL.

I think many of the suggestions specifically given to members here now are out of the question as well. Just how is the current owner of a suburban home going to sell his house, and how will he get a mortgage to buy a farm in OK? How will he accumulate the knowledge to run a subsistence farm fast enough to make such a thing possibly work, especially after he cannot get diesel for his tractor? Such a person would have about as much chance of making it thru as a Stockbroker out in the Wilderness.

So in these threads, the current subsitence farmers can talk with other subsistence farmers and share ideas, but it tends to exclude folks who are not already in that paradigm and trying to make it sustainable. Similarly, I could go on and on about means and methods to hunt and fish Copper River and the Yukon, but what good would that do anyone who does NOT live at the very edge of civilization in a wilderness like this, which is the LAST such Wilderness on EARTH? What might work up here won't work ANYWHERE else.

So given that our individual preps can't be precisely mimicked by others, what is the grounds for general discussion? From my point of view, its looking at the Big Picture, the macroscopic view of why we are where we are and how it might play out on the World stage, and then how those scenarios play out for individual locations. You might argue that this is a waste of time because you can't DOI anyhting about this, you can't STOP it from happening, but I do not agree with that. The understanding itself has value, and communicating the why's and wherefore's to others has value. PArticularly important IMHO is to squash down Evil and Selfish arguments made by members who think things like Mass Sterilization is a good idea, or who think that the CAUSE of all our problems are those pesky Illegal Aliens who pick the lettuce for us. This is hateful stuff for a start, second most of it is just plain WRONG for many reasons, from the practical ones to the spiritual ones. I make it my JOB to take such ideas and show why they are wrong, and I often get attacked for this. I am OK with that, so long as I am allowed to defend my ideas and help people to understand what is going on now, and what is likely to happen here in the pretty near future. This is not an easy thing to do here, because there are just plenty of folks who will flame me, and when that happens, I don't back down at all. Not my nature to do that. Like Nolan Ryan, I have an arm that just won't QUIT, and I can throw the SMOKE with anyone. You cannot run a board like this with topics that incite such passion in people and NOT have the Napalm contests.

Unfortunately, some of my best stuff does not appear here because it is moderated out of existence, either before I write it through self censorship or after I write it when it inspires someone to start flaming me. I cannot communicate this way, and its unfortunate because I really do think I have something to say here that is worthwhile. Its quite frustrating for me.

Reverse Engineer

5 years later, not frustrated this way anymore.  Now the DINER exists.  :icon_sunny:

RE
Save As Many As You Can

 

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