which consists of demonstrating the intimate proximity of the Planets to our hearts and minds, beginning with the ancient Wars Among the Gods, and how these may suggest means of countering Reagan's "Sky-war" designs according to Marx, while the Soviets appear to be most impressionable in this area.
ON THIS, the third week of February 1988, we of the United States of America have made it official: first we shall set up a factory of exotica and structural components in Space flying the American Flag; next we shall set up a factory colony on the Moon with a special fan to keep the Stars and Stripes waving; and then in a scant generation, we shall be open for business on Mars, dressed in Red, White, and Blue dungarees.
Commerce comes out of the barrel of a gun. So, along the way we shall be emplacing missiles with access to Inner Space to explode any unfriendly missiles that might be proceeding toward friendly targets, such as Washington, D.C.
We have all of this on the word of that great author of science fiction, President Ronald Reagan. He is the Possessor of the Keys and Successor of Sky Lab and the Bomb, and of Hollywood movies about Sky Wars and Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon and Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and a long glorious religious tradition about the Wars of the Gods in the Heavens.
The Soviet position by contrast with the American, sounds good: "parity and equal security, changes in the pattern of military activities, in the structure and deployment of armed forces and armaments as well as strict verification." No sky wars, no missiles aimed at destroying Europe (I had better stay where I am), progressive destruction of nuclear arms, withdrawal from little wars here and there -- but most relevant here is the agreement reached by Messers Frank Carlucci and Dimitri Yazov, chiefs of American and Soviet Defense agencies, on this very day, to admit to, to publicize, to expand, and develop more military contacts, and to exchange military data.
"Building bridges of communication," Carlucci called it, but in this book it can mean only the exchange of secrets, multiplying the already heavy exchange of secrets that makes normal ambitions of spies petty and ludicrous. Why, hell, the secrets that the USA and USSR are already giving to each other are enough to make the KGB and C.I.A., if they had picked them up illicitly, the most effective spy organizations in history.
A few months later, Soviet scientists visiting America let it be known that the Soviets have had two large vehicles travelling 450 miles high in space during the last two years, so high that the Reagan star-war scheme would require immediate revision: the vehicles contemplated would be like sitting-ducks below the Soviet machines. Congress saved many billions of dollars by warding off his hare-brained proposals. The same Soviet vehicles are intended to land people on Mars; maybe an American will be invited along.
Continuously larger exchanges of secrets between the superpowers are planned. There will be, no doubt, rotten morale in some sectors of espionage.
In addition, ordinary great care is exercised by the American Government to prevent the discharge of nuclear missiles against the Soviet Union, inadvertently or as a result of a coup d'état or berserk act. Two keys to launch intercontinental missiles are fastened to the bibs of two officers who are under constant protection and surveillance. These Red-Beer-of-Hathor Stewards are denied all privacy.
Who doubts that such violations of privacy are justified? Not I. More than doubt, I deny the whole war system that has lasered into these keys, which like the keys of Benjamin Franklin can bring down lightning from the sky, lucky he was to survive.
I would never give the order to launch. If I could do so, if I were on the spot when the critical command to fire away came in, I should certainly try at the risk of my life to prevent the turning of the keys. Of course, nobody is handing me the keys, and as my Mama used to say, "Talk is cheap."
Still, to my way of thinking, this would appear to be the most patriotic act I could possibly perform. But if it should be treason, make the most of it.
It is not Americans like me that the Russki are afraid of. The Soviets have been rendered anxious by some of the more threatening utterances of Americans, and by what they have heard of American evangelism. The fact that Ronald Reagan claimed to be a "Born Again Christian" disturbed them no less than it did a number of Americans, who were not so sure that Reagan was a political bluff in these matters. Nor does anyone doubt that there were millions of Americans who said "Amen!" to being Born Christian Again, and Again and Again.
For the ordinary American does not appreciate the view that the Russians and other Europeans have of us, that we are uncontained evangelicals who treat literally the Bible and especially the Apocalypse of John.
As atheists, Russian officials are quite sensitive to the historical record of crusading Christendom and Islam, and want no part of its recapitulation. They are all too aware that the True Believer in the Lord can comfortably expect an eternal peace in Heaven if the present show blows to smithereens. They recognize those cheerful phrases "Judgement Day" and "The Second Coming of the Lord" as euphemisms for world catastrophe. Yet may I point to a reason for taking comfort, that Mr. Reagan has given us assurances of at least one more generation of existence (see First Paragraph above), by which time he will have passed from the scene, if he is human.
Christoph Marx does not reassure the Soviets. To the contrary. He is worried also. For instance, on June 29, 1981, about the time that Leonid Breshnev was suffering from a grave heart condition and Russian offices abroad were alerted to search out the possibility of some form of treatment to assuage his condition, and Marx is doing some work for a company that is experimenting with new therapeutic drugs for cardiac cases, and is trying his best to inform himself and the Soviets, quite legally, to be sure, of these experiments and their applicability, his mind continues its preoccupation with the Apocalypse, and he is writing to Alexander Falcone at New York University in Manhattan:
During this semester, I was able to take on the creationists here during an "interdisciplinary" (the term is very much "in" these days) course and so-called dialogue on "theology-natural sciences". I came to think of this movement of creationism as a dangerous thing: their theses are based on apocalyptic ideals (I would even call them) with a terrific (-ying) missionary drive behind it (particularly to enforce the "coming of the kingdom of god" -- the expression "atomic battle" comes up, in German "Atomschlacht," a very catching word).
I have gone through many such experiences myself and get what comfort I can out of knowing that people are constantly saying and believing on one level ideas that they would not possibly have the heart to carry into effect if afforded the opportunity. Still, I would rather they changed their tune.
The on-going extremist holy murder campaign, ordered by the Ayatollah Khomeini Iranian leadership, against the English Pakistani novelist, Salman Rushdie, and his defenders, has cost within a year scores of deaths and injuries and destruction by bombing and vandalism in fourteen nations. Philosophers and theologians, even unto Grand Rabbis and the Vatican Spokesman and the British Foreign Secretary, have been trotted out to utter asinine noises against the book, The Satanic Verses.
This is much worse than the Flag-desecration episode in America that I mentioned earlier, where not only was the exposition of art continued, but many persons stepped forward to defend the artwork on principle. There should be limits to extreme art, utterances, and actions -- I wish I might have place here to repeat what I have said elsewhere, but, believe it or not, there are limits even to my digressions in this book; the nature of the truth, the format of the truth, the forum and timing of the truth -- all these, when known, tell us whether, if at all, the Authority of Government may restrain, and by what kinds of sanctions it may do so. It is not only Christian and Islamic and recent history of bloody Nazi, Communist, militarist, and populist secular regimes that give me pause. There is all of history and pre-history back to the catastrophic events themselves. What are we to think, exclaim those authorities on pre-historical myth and science, Drs. Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, of the "baffling Mesopotamian texts dealing with gods cutting off each other's necks and tearing out each other's eyes."
The Sky Wars of the Gods! We find these theomachies everywhere in ancient traditions, the Greek Olympians in the Iliad of Homer, for instance, where the crazy gods above are matched by the crazy warriors below: when Achilles goes stark raving mad, he fights everyone, the Trojans, the gods, even the raging river.
The Hindus, the Mexicans,the Scandinavians, the Teutons: rare is the people that does not insist upon going back to its memories of primordial sky wars of the gods in which mankind is implicated, its heroes born to run amok in the battles.
The planet Venus, in her ancient historical roles, was of many names among the many peoples of Earth, played many a destructive part. She was, I've already mentioned, called by a thousand names, Minerva to the Latins, Hathor in Egypt and also sometimes Isis, Fricka and Frigga among the Teutons, Deva-Durga-Kali with the Hindus, Quetzalcoatl, Ishtar (Babylonian, Hebrew Esther, and Greek Aster) and Inanna, Mazzaroth, Lucifer, Noga, Michael, and Baal, Uzza in Arabia, and Pallas Athene.
She is also connected with Phaeton the driver of the Sun's chariot, a comet struck down by Zeus. She is also connected with Easter, which is when she stopped destroying the world and began resurrecting it.
And the deeds ascribed to her in myth and by various scholars are just as many as her names and run the gamut of disaster. She shifted the Earth's orbit and ecliptic plane. She slowed its rotation. She flooded, moved, and set afire the Earth in many places, caused myriad volcanoes to erupt, delivered millions of tons of burning oil, stones, and dust upon unfortunate locales, and draped the atmosphere in noxious gases, instant carbohydrates, and dust clouds. She darkened the day, brought general starvation, and sent nations on the warpath. She aroused a great religious fervor and stimulated and revived a host of sacrifices, often of humans. Cults of eunuchs and virgins arose to honor the Great Androgyne.
It is to be stressed that all great religions include some elements of these mythical gods and real experiences in their beliefs and rites. In Christianity, the single God is nevertheless a Trinity, to which a fourth "Goddess", the Virgin Mary, has been joined, and many powerful saints. God and his Heavenly Host fights against the Devil who is a god that cannot be disposed of by all-powerful God. The Good Angels fight mercilessly with the Bad Angels. It is ill-considered to talk of any religion as if it were the cleverly packaged doctrine of philosophers; one has to ask for the real religion of the people: what is going on in their minds and how they are behaving.
Communists know some of this sociology, too, and so do most non-communist westerners. So when diplomats speak of a peaceful U.S. or NATO policy, the Russians consider the idea of peace in the Western Mind as conditioned by this kind of background. Our record is against us.
Even more than their record is against them.
They are furthermore economically disturbed as well as psychically disturbed by the sky-war scenarios. The burden of their military effort is heavier on their economy than ours upon our economy. They appreciate that to engage in a four-tiered military effort -- undersea, surface, air and space, will ruin their less productive and efficient economy.
Furthermore, they regard their chief advantage over NATO in the field of infantry, tanks, and artillery. Every step away from this arena is more difficult for them than for us. Under the circumstances, they are dead-set against the Star-Wars program.
Chris Marx has reassuring views on this subject, since he believes that the West has a deadly aggressive fear of the East and that the East would not take any bellicose initiative; that is, he rules out a preemptive strike from the East, whether by long-range nuclear missiles or by conventional surface thrust.
This belief has made him more comfortable in dealing with the Soviets than most others would be. I spoiled these illusions. Well, so did the Soviets themselves, in Afghanistan, in Indo-China, in Poland; and it wasn't hard for me to recite some history of Eastern Europe that Marx was conveniently forgetting, Finland, the Baltic States, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and wherever else on its borders it could aggress -- Japanese Islands, Chinese Mongolia and Manchuria -- and where at the time there was not a tough confronter like the USA or Canada or Turkey or Greece backed by the USA, and so on. I am embarrassed at Marx' ignorance of history.
Then he retreats from defending the Soviets to exalting the Chinese. "They were so relaxed. All smiles. No baggage inspection. Go right on." If the Chinese were mobilized like the Swiss, they would have 120,000,000 Men under Arms!
Moreover (and this stupefied me, though I was too polite to say), he gave me to believe that the Chinese language is preoccupied with the here and now, is a singing language, and is not based on historically developed vocabulary and syntax. The Chinese, he told me, live in today; they are uninterested in the past.
Christ Almighty! I thought this guy had really gone bananas! Confucianism -- the worship of ancestors -- 2600 years of belief wiped out because Chris Marx wants to believe in some cracked theory of a special Venus effect?
And what of the great new Chinese interest in archaeology? One great Unearthing Discovery after another? Marvelous representations are almost pushing up the ground to escape, like all souls on Halloween. Means nothing, he says calmly; just a few people poking around here and there.
The Chinese five-pointed star, the Chinese dragon -- both everywhere manifest, as he so well knows -- have they nothing to do with Venus?
"But the Chinese Dragon is laughing," objects Marx.
In rebuttal, I argue that "the Chinese smile when they convey bad news. Haven't you heard of comedy being the other face of tragedy? Of black humor, at which persecuted peoples are masters? Laughing is amnesiac and cathartic. Laughing is no laughing matter."
And of course he alludes to the Chinese Great Wall as the ultimate proof of the defensive posture of the Chinese. The Wall, need I say, is neither here nor there in typing a people. The Romans were great wall-builders, and terribly aggressive. The Chinese Wall kept out nuisance marauders of the cold deserts while they invaded the lands to the West, South and East.
They have been recently aggressive in four directions, which to my knowledge exhausts the points of the compass.
Nor am I anti-Chinese, and have been heard to say often, if I had to be assimilated to (and especially fed) by any conquering Communist culture and physical type I should prefer it to be Chinese. But one cannot accept errant nonsense regarding the Chinese therefore.
What in hell is Chris Marx saying? He is onto a faintly true and effectual idea, that in the terrible days when the rampaging comet Venus approached the Earth, it came in from the East. Ever since then, he asserts, and he claims that Velikovsky would support him on the point, the West has dreaded and hated the East.
You must know by now that I do not reject half-baked ideas carelessly. But once again the evidence against Chris is overwhelming. The great invasions of the world have gone from East to West. Need I mention the Aryans, the Carthaginians, the Gauls, the Teutons, the Huns, the Turks, the Chinese.
Still, whenever they were seized by the urge to burst outward, the nations turned to wherever they could. Rome and the USA expanded in all directions of the compass in their expansion of influence. So did Spain, England, and France. So did Islam from Arabia. And who can forget the Nazis, with their "Heute Deutschland, Morgen die ganz Welt!"
Oh, well, it is useless; there is a completely idiotic historical idea here.
Even if you say, apologetically, "but the East invades the West because it is fearful of an attack from the West. So Moscow ties East and Central Europe tightly to itself."
And then the contrary is arguable: the West aggresses against the East because it is afraid of a coming attack. This fear really played a large role in the success of Nazism with the German people,and with Nazi sympathizers throughout Western Europe; I know, I heard these stories throughout my childhood.
But, even as a child, I looked at the people retailing them, and was not so convinced.
It appears that European, American, and generally all scientists are also set against Sky-Wars. You do not have to go back to pre-history and the shaky sanity of mankind to argue the case solidly. Entrance upon a grand new set of problems, most of them extremely costly to solve, requiring heavy investments of scarce manpower, and promising nothing more than the more fully assured ultimate destruction of the world, is not going to beckon a congratulatory fanfare from the informed and educated classes anywhere.
So I can sympathize with the Russians who hear from Marx's lips agreeable, confirmatory, consoling and helpful words, and there is always the hope that while it is hard to make sense out of what he says, one day, strolling along the Rhine at Basle, he will blurt out some suggestion of a technical-mystical sort that can be hammered into a useful tool in the prevention or counter-vention of sky wars.
Whoever might catch these pearls of wisdom falling from the lips of the Expert on Artificial Intelligence will certainly deserve the epithet, "Hero of the Soviet Union."
But Marx will have to go it alone. I cannot help him. And I would rather not make the Soviets more anxious than they are. We do not want them to become convinced that we are beyond all cure. They might be driven to some rash action to forestall our going on-line with missile-destroying, hence ipso facto world-destructive, weapons in space. "I am putting my weak shoulder to the wheel, America," as Allen Ginsberg once sang: I am hoping to shut down all the sites of all four tiers of weapon concentration.
Dissolve the militocracies of the world at a (negative) exponential rate. Find better work for them to do in the world. Or else...Venus will trap them again and again.