The evaporation of civilization
Hugo Salinas Price
Oct 11, 2006
Up until the beginning of the 1600's, the philosophy of western
civilization was the philosophy of Greece and Rome, preserved
and developed further by the scholastic school of the Catholic
Church. "Science" was then called "natural philosophy".
Philosophy (and natural philosophy) included metaphysics, a field
of study based on deduction which explained the material world
as an effect of causes operating beyond the material world.
Along came two thinkers, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) an Englishman,
and René Descartes (1596-1650) a Frenchman. Between the
two of them, they laid the foundation of a scientific revolution.
Thanks largely to them, metaphysics went out of fashion and remains
so. Induction - the discovery of physical laws based on experimentation
- was proposed by Francis Bacon as the only way to scientific
truth; René Descartes helped powerfully with his development
of mathematics. (Graphs, which we so dearly love and rely on,
were his invention).
Classical philosophy went into decline and materialism ("all
science is measurement and only measurement is science")
took over the world.
The scientific revolution, by itself, would not have changed
the world as much as it has, had it not been for a factor that
enabled the scientific revolution: the invention of the steam
engine working with the energy provided by coal. The scientific
revolution plus coal brought on the industrial revolution, which
historians date from about 1780.
One hundred years later, about 1880, it became clear that oil-based
energy was the energy source of the future. Since that time,
oil has provided abundant and cheap energy for the world. Oil
is, and must be, produced in ever-increasing quantities to keep
the world moving at an ever-increasing pace.
Civilization is being boiled out
The history of western civilization since the industrial revolution
can be likened to a pot of water sitting on a lighted stove.
As more and more energy is pushed into the water in the pot,
the water begins to circulate in the pot; then it begins to steam;
the water seethes and soon it is bubbling and boiling. It will
continue to do so until it has all been vaporized.
This is what has happened to all human societies under the influence
of the increasing amounts of energy being pumped into them from
all sources, but mainly, of course, from burning oil.
All human societies are being destabilized by the energy that
is injected into them. As societies are constituted by human
beings, we can clearly observe how the more "developed"
a society, the greater the physical and mental activity of its
population; the population has no option to being in incessant
activity. Like it or not, the energy in the societies in which
we live propels us: motion, both physical and mental, becomes
imperative for each of us, just as motion is imperative for the
water molecule in a pot of boiling water. Each American consumes
- I'd rather say, "is being boiled by" - 27 barrels
of oil per year. The figure for Mexico is 7 barrels per year
per person. China is down around 2.
This is destabilizing to any society, because the increased energy
which is propelling human beings to an ever more restless life
brings these human beings into collision with the stable institutions
of a former, quieter age. The institutions themselves can no
longer contain the motions of humans. All institutions are giving
way; in the United States, the increasing chaos in the face of
crumbling institutional restraints has produced a situation where
one out of every 150 Americans is in jail.
I can mention several institutions that are melting away: the
family, ancient sexual mores and respect for the Authority, just
to name three. But I am particularly interested in the institution
The vaporization of money
The institution of money has completely vaporized! We no longer
use money anywhere in this world. What humanity uses as money
is a simulation of money, simple vouchers which are used everywhere
as a means of exchange.
However, these vouchers are not actually money - money defined
as a thing of value the delivery of which, in an exchange, constitutes
payment. Money in today's world is not a thing; it is a non-thing,
a simple number whether printed on a bill, stamped on a coin,
or a number represented by bits on a computer disk. Since money
is not a thing, but only a non-thing, tendering it in an exchange
cannot, and does not, constitute payment.
What happened to money? The increase in human activity which
resulted from the industrial revolution, had its origin in the
process of pumping energy into human societies; the increase
in human activity was reflected in a great increase in commerce,
in transportation and communications. Coal and then oil energy
have made people incomparably more active and more restless than
at any time in previous history. As commerce, transportation
and communications increased in volume and speed, the need arose
quite naturally, for an easier and faster way to make payments.
So a "derivative" of money came into general use: the
redeemable banknote was welcomed by a world population impelled
to action by the energy being pumped into society.
The use of banknotes - derivatives of money - instead of real
money itself, gave rise to inflation of the money supply. These
derivatives were leveraged against their referent, the real money
supply. This inflation of the money supply by means of derivatives
of money distorted production beyond the real needs of the marketplace.
Bankers are not thinkers. They are quite ordinary flesh and blood
people who want to expand their business so as to collect as
much wealth as possible. Their attention is not upon matters
of principle. The bankers and the economists in their pay devised
methods for eliminating the barriers to the expansion of their
business, which is lending money.
To make a long story short, the derivatives - which were invented
to facilitate the ever increasing speed and volume of transactions
caused by the application of increasing amounts of energy to
society - ended up by displacing the underlying original referent
itself, gold and silver money.
Today, banknotes are no longer derivatives of gold or silver.
They refer to no underlying value and promise nothing to the
holder. They are now no longer money, though they look like what
we think money should look like.
Since August 15, 1971, the world's money has ceased to be a thing,
or even a derivative of a thing; consequently, nations have not
been settling their accounts between themselves since that date.
They have only been shuffling around the vouchers (dollars, euros,
yen, pounds, etc.) which are the means of exchange that is being
Oil energy has overwhelmed almost all institutions in the world.
This is a terrifying fact, for a society without institutions
is the definition of a barbaric society. A world without enduring
institutions which limit and order human life is a barbaric world.
The last remaining institution is the one that characterizes
barbarism: the Army. That is what we are approaching today.
Why did oil overwhelm almost all institutions in the world? Why
did the Western World dissolve in the boiling pot I have mentioned?
Why was it not able to take the heat? The answer is: because
the world turned away from Philosophy beginning in the Seventeenth
Century. Little by little the accumulated wisdom of two thousands
years of philosophy was pushed aside in favor of the brilliant
successes of materialistic science and its application to the
production of dazzling marvels using oil and more oil. Principle
retarded and obstructed men who were in a hurry; practicality
and pragmatism were favorites with business people. Principle
is for "squares"; pragmatism swings!
Philosophy left us because she was not wanted, and she left us
to boil in our pot on the oil-fired stove; and there we are,
boiling away until we all return to barbarism.
N.W.O. is based on abundant
energy and simulated money
Those who rule this world today can do so, thanks to the simulated
money which we now use - the real money having vaporized 35 years
ago. They observe the destabilized state of all societies in
the world; the money-masters have the power of issuing unlimited
amounts of simulated money and of credit denominated in such
simulated money. They come to the conclusion that the World,
in this state of flux and semi-barbarism, is soft and pliable
and susceptible to formation according to their view of what
would constitute a desirable state of affairs. Societies with
debilitated or vanished institutions are societies lacking in
structure, they are ductile and can be shaped, like red hot iron.
This, the rulers intend to do. There are two imperatives: oil
must be abundant; and simulated money must have no competitor.
With these two elements, world control and the shape of world
society is in their hands.
However, I think the would-be world controllers are deceiving
themselves. If we have not reached "peak oil" yet,
but even if we only reach it in 50 years time, eventually oil
will become very scarce and very expensive. The consequence will
be that societies in the world will begin to slow down; slowing
down will mean there will be more time given to thinking and
less to frantic motion in response to energy inputs. Slowing
down will entail a contraction in the number of people in this
world. Less oil will mean less fertilizer, less irrigation, less
machinery to sow and harvest crops, less transportation to move
it, less energy to transform and package food products and get
them to market. Less food in the markets will mean less people
This is a hard thing to say, but hard or not, I think it is truthful.
As the world slows down because "the tire under the pot
is burning lower" and people have more time to sit and think
in the "cooler" environment, humanity may be able to
recapture tranquility and initiate a reconstruction of institutions
conducive to civilized life. The sway of the world rulers will
not remain all-powerful.
As for simulated money, the would-be world rulers will try to
suppress all competition to it. As a chastened humanity suffers
through the cooling-down process, it may rediscover philosophy;
there may be a recovery from the materialistic illusions of the
Industrial Revolution and the oil age. Tranquility - just sitting
and thinking, or contemplation - is also an activity, the highest
activity of the soul, in fact: the contemplation of truth is
pure action of the intellect.
Perhaps people will be able to shake off the irrational belief
in simulated money. Energy has so crazed society that few are
able to see through the sham. Like the Queen in "Alice in
Wonderland" we are all running like mad just to stay in
the same place. The re-institution of real money in society will
be the re-foundation of civilized life: payment will once again
mean delivering some thing in exchange for some thing, and not
delivering a ticket or voucher worth no-thing in exchange for
some thing. Real money is the central institution of society
(excluding religion and philosophy as superior institutions of
a higher nature). Real money is the material cement which holds
a society together and permits civilized life in the peaceful
division of labor. Without this cement, we cannot build enduring
great enterprises; absent the social cement of real money, social
life becomes impossible and we shall live in a virtual state
of war with each other. Real money will be rediscovered, as the
world begins to cool down.
"Free energy" is the
death of Civilization
At the present time, scientists are working on the invention
of devices that will produce electricity out of the energy in
space; the flow of energy will be inexhaustible at whatever volume
is desired and forever. This is a project certified and guaranteed
to "boil the water in the pot" to which we have been
referring, right down to the last drop of water, and poof! Humanity
will be gone, replaced by brutal savages. In Switzerland there
is today a small religious community of Christians near the town
of Linden. In a building in this community there is a device
which produces more energy than is required to make it run. Why
has not this device been marketed? The elders of the community
answer: "Because humanity in its present state is not ready
for it." They are absolutely correct in their decision.
But others are working on the project and making progress - toward
our definitive extinction as humans.
Francis Bacon and René Descartes initiated the beginning
of the worship of number and quantity in this modem age of ours.
Measurement as the be-all and end-all of science is based on
Number. René Guenon, a French philosopher of the first
half of the Twentieth Century called our age "The Reign
of Quantity" in a book with that title. Truly, humanity
was seduced; it forgot two thousand years of inheritance of philosophy
and turned to the worship of number, and number and measurement
are related to matter. So the "Reign of Quantity" is
the "Reign of Matter". Materialism is our anti -religion.
Guenon thought that our times are part of a cycle and that the
duration of our cycle is coming to an end at an increasing rate
of approach. The cycle repeats time and again, going from Quality
to Quantity as decay sets in. At the end of the cycle, our present
humanity disappears and a new humanity comes on the scene.
Will humanity recover from the orgy of oil energy which has banished
peace of mind, philosophy, religion and civilized institutions
from mankind? I think it is possible.
Will we manage to extinguish ourselves with "free energy"
Are we fated to extinction by the law of an inevitable cycle
which controls human life? I cannot think so.
If enough people were to become aware of the pot we are boiling
in, we might be able to do something to alter the course of events.
The institution of real money
The plan which I espouse is to reintroduce silver money into
circulation in parallel with simulated paper money. The method
allows this silver money to co-exist with simulated money, in
spite of the ever-increasing volumes of simulated money being
pumped into society. This is because the silver money will, under
this plan, have no engraved nominal value. Previous silver
(and gold) money was swept out of circulation because monetary
inflation caused the value of silver and gold in the precious
metal coins, to exceed the engraved value. The silver and gold
money reached the "melting point" and became demonetized
as a consequence.
"A beginning is more than a half" said the ancient
Greeks. To reinstate the institution of real money by attempting
to abolish simulated money at one blow is to call for a massive
world-wide collapse of all economic activity. I think that such
a call will not be heeded by the vast majority of people in any
country. On the other hand, the call for the institution of real
money in parallel with simulated money is a non-threatening invitation
which offers an opening with new and attractive vistas.
Modern conditions of perpetual inflation of the money supply
make silver and gold coins with an engraved value obsolete. In
this age, precious metal money must have no engraved value -
only a quoted value, a quote issued by a monetary authority.
As the value of silver and gold rises due to monetary inflation,
the official quote also rises. An indispensable condition for
these coins actually to become money is that such a quote must
on no account be reduced.
Today, this is all that human societies require for the retrieval
of that most fundamental of all material institutions: real money.
The institution must be created, no matter if the quantity of
such precious metal money is small. In looking to principle or
quality, rather than to quantity and number, a society instituting
real money will be acting in the highest interest of human life.
In the words of that enlightened statesman, George Washington:
"Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest may
Time will reveal the devastating contradictions which will terminate
the simulation of money. A real money based on eternal principle
- payment is giving some thing in return for some thing - will
endure. When the great farce of simulated money is over, silver
and gold coins will be serving for peace and cooperation amongst
human beings, not barbarians.
October 7, 2006
Hugo Salinas Price, President
Asociación Cívica Mexicana Pro Plata, A.C.