The Tales


An Excerpt from Children of the Mind


What The Chronicles did not relate were ‘The Tales’.

‘The Tales’ passed down from generation to generation.  The tales concerning thought-catchers and dreamlatchers and the days of uncertainty and fear:  the last days of the past and the first of the future. The establishment of an elaborate all-pervasive apparatus of terror.  The rise of Mildtryth, a simple, some say, fated man. The children taking to the streets shouting, “We Want Dreams” and “Give Us Back Our Minds”.

So state ‘The Tales’.



The Avoidance of Dreaming


An Excerpt from Children of the Mind


The avoidance of dreaming was an unfortunate consequence of the idea that ultimate reality had no existence outside the observing mind.

The Chronicles record that in the Dark Age before parallel thinking there were those who considered themselves professional dreamers by trade.

Considered dangerous by the authorities, these dreamers were first compelled to register their minds as weapons. Later, considered a threat to the general population, the dreamers were herded into pits and abandoned salt mines where they were subjected to a vigorous regimen of anti-mirage medication.

When this proved to no avail, a medical procedure was devised that would surgically excise the dreams from the mind of the individual dreamer. This too failed when it was discovered that “the dreams were lodged in the imagination, where it was deemed too deep to operate”. This all occurred during the “Year Without Tears”.

So state The Chronicles.

The Story of Ulugh Beg


A Little Known Fact About Mr. Beg

(An Excerpt from Children of the Mind)


An interpreter of dreams in a dreamless world, the old man was among the first the Unperson had known to be nebulized. Ulugh Beg by name, he claimed a fish had revealed to him a secret, a secret that would set the clouds and sky afire. There was little question that he would be nebulized. It was only a matter of timing.

The Unperson still kept an object Ulugh had presented to him as a child, in the days before parallel thinking, before people had become afraid of their own minds. That object would now be considered ‘non-parallel’ or ‘oblique’.

Numbering an oblique artifact among one’s possessions was to be considered at best, indiscreet. Having an object once possessed by one of the nebulized was a particular indiscretion. The Unperson was anything if not discreet. Nevertheless, he kept the oblique object hidden away upstairs in a drawer. The object seemed to exert an undue influence over the Unperson; he could never quite rid it from the deeper recesses of his consciousness, such as it was.

Disengaged from Reality

Disengaged from Reality


When the Dream-drive was finally constructed, it was assumed that all the miseries of humankind would be held permanently in abeyance since the dreams would be coming to populate all the land.

However, such was not the case for the Dream-drive apparently malfunctioned and spewed forth such spontaneously generated, unmitigated catastrophes as the ENDLESS WAR, a formula altering the normal aberration of light, and an obscure form of societal amnesia in which no one could quite recall how to disengage the Dream-drive from reality.

8.26 (IV) (41:4) #671




Gwalstoe, as he called himself, was the first certified case of dementia mythos (mythomania in layman’s terms) since the days of the pre-Socratic Greeks.

Considered dangerous by the authorities, he was compelled to register his mind as a weapon. He was brought to those of the medical profession who were considered to be the best in their fields yet the only responses they could elicit from the fellow were such statements as:

  • “You will die but the songs about you will live forever;”
  • “Much of the confusion of life is stilled when you realize that you are your father,”

and the like.

The treatment proceeded in this manner until he was declared incurable, and, as a menace to society, the next step was incarceration.  He was placed in the deepest  & darkest pit available for solitary confinement, yet still his myths poured forth.  (No attempt proved fruitful at stemming the dreadful flow.  The guards had to be especially outfitted with waxen earplugs that their sanity might be preserved. All the residents within the surrounding area were evacuated to emergency shelters in church basements. And school auditoriums and the surrounding countryside was declared a disaster area.)

Realizing the futility of this all (and cognizant of the bad press they were receiving) the authorities released Gwalstoe, now old and emaciated, on the proviso that he spend his remaining days wandering in the desert and the other barren areas of the Earth.

Now, all this happened long, long ago, or many years hence-forward, (I forget exactly which), but let me tell you that even today if you listen ever so closely to those sand-filled winds that now and again blow from the South, you can sometimes hear Gwalstoe’s faint voice crying,


The Lament


The Lament:  The Last Words of the Last Speaker of the Proto-Indo-European Language


“… the Sanskrit language, whatever its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a strong affinity, both in the roots of verbs and forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.”

– William Jones (1786)

“… we will term Indo-European any language which at any time whatever, and however altered, is a form taken by this ancestor language, and which thus continues by an uninterrupted tradition the usage of the Indo-European.”

– Antoine Meillet (philologer)

“The total number of speakers of all Indo-

European languages amounts to approximately half the population of the earth.”

– Calvert Watkins (1971)


So Spoke the Sage:

“There is a land called Hap-Kaptah where monoliths, square in plan with triangular sides, called Pyramids, loom above the desert  sands.

“There is a region, crescent in formation, between the Tigris and the Euphrates, where Cities rise in profusion and the fields are watered by a system of mighty channels. This is called Mesopotamia.

“There is an island in the midst of the Mediterranean housing a culture that records it achievements – and these are many – in hieroglyphs. It is called Krete.

“There is a place of the Rising Sun, in this great land mass called Asia, where the warriors of wandering tribes mount a beast called the horse.

“Then there is Europe, Land of the Setting Sun, of which little is known. Whether this is an abode of the gods, a habitat of man, or neither, is uncertain.

“There is a region of Cities to the East, called Mohenjo Daro, whose people cultivate a soft, white fiber, cotton, into order to weave it into clothing.

“There is a culture called the Sumerian which has made pottery making into an Art and where the Priests write in curious, wedge-shaped symbols. They have also developed a method by which a metal called bronze is extracted from rock, through a magical process, and is twisted into all sorts of wonderful implements.

“There are lands where wondrous things called wheels and arches exist.

“There is a region that is ruled by but one God.

“There are cultures where there is an Art by the name of Astronomy and a Science called Astrology.

“There are cultures where strange beasts are made tame and where wood is carved into strange and peculiar shapes and structures.

“There are islands where magic rules; where men never age; and where women remain forever virgins.

“Yes, there are many lands to behold under the Heavens and of all, only ours will be forgotten.

“We have been conquered over and again. Our Cities remain charred and despoiled. Our monuments eroded by the sands of time. No markings shall remain. Where we tread there shall be no tracks.

“Those of us who have been left unharmed, and indeed, we are few in number, die of plague and the pestilence. Woe be our name. It would have been better had we never existed.

“In the dark aeons to come there shall be no remembrance of us by those who follow, if there be any.”

Thus Spoke the Sage.

And he spoke this all in a tongue that one day would be known as Proto-Indo-European.

Steppingstone to the Stars

Steppingstone to the Stars, or How the Zero Was Discovered


In the backwaters of time, before Hammurabi compiled his Code or Akhenaton renounced the Ruling Lord of Thebes, in a region known for its heat and abundance of humankind, a man whose name perhaps will never be pronounced was working hard and long upon a treatise that had come to him from Mesopotamia.

The man was weary from long hours of concentration. The curious numeration of the Sumerians, cuneiform in construction, was

uncommonly hard to decipher; it had taken its toll. He put down his dustboard and repaired to the shade of a mustard tree for a short nap. Sleep came grudgingly; this was not unusual for an old man. Yet it was during this fitful sleep that he dreamt a dream.

In this dream he saw what no man had seen before. It appeared to him as the Eye of God. And this was possessed of a voice, in that it spoke to him:

“I am Nothingness. I can be united to something and only that something remains. I can be taken away in like manner. I am Void, yet, if something is multiplied or divided by Myself, only I shall remain.

In time, learned men will come to say that the Earth, itself, revolves upon Me. I am Emptiness. I will be worshipped as a secret symbol. My name will be whispered and uttered only in select company and darkened rooms.

I am Nothing, it is true, but I am also the steppingstone to the stars and the key to the secrets of the atom. I shall be called an Integer and described as Real. I am Rational. And, most importantly, I am Good.”

Upon awakening, the unknown Hindu set down his dustboard and drew upon it the Eye of God.

Thus did the Zero intrude itself upon the Universe.

The Dustbin of History

The Dustbin of History, or How the Infinity Symbol Came Into Existence


John Wallis (1616-1703) possessed no knowledge of the mathematical arts at the age of fifteen, yet he later went on to become the Savilian professor of Geometry at Oxford, the friend and teacher of Isaac Newton (he was the first to charge that Leibnitz had stolen his ideas for the calculus), and a charter member of the Royal Society. Yet his place in the history of mathematical thought is, perhaps not unjustly, obscure (and oftentimes, simply, ignored). A list of his major formulations would serve, merely, as an esoteric series of footnotes to the said compilation, which would interest, it should be stated, rather few.

For example, Wallis discovered that, in all such operations, it was mass times velocity (mv) that was conserved and not, as it was widely held, merely velocity (v). However, he fell short of unsecreting the laws of motion (which Newton would later publish). He also, at one time, theorized “that for the purposes of calculation, the earth and moon can be treated as a single body, concentrated at their center of gravity …” but stopped short far short of formulating the basis for the Laws of Universal Gravitation.

It can also be noted that Newton borrowed his system of fluxional notation (in which the fluent of  was represented by , and the fluent  by  and so on) yet this, too, was swept into the dustbin of history when it was later replaced by that system developed by Leibnitz. His significant work still owed a heavy debt to the Greeks and the most notable of these was Arithmatica Infinitorum sive Nova Methodus Inquirendi in Curvilineorum Quadraturam aliague difficilora Matheseosos Problemata (1673), which is more often recalled for its title rather than for the fact that it introduced to mathematics the idea of ‘limit’.

It is often opined that a man might fulfill the secret purpose of his existence in the doing of a seemingly trivial deed such as a word said in passing or, perhaps, an action not acted upon (the significance of which, more often than not, is forever hidden from the from the doer).  In the case of John Wallis it can be said that he, quite possibly, achieved his destiny with the few simple strokes of his quill with which he, in 1656, modified a Roman variation for 1000.

This was to serve him simply as the notation for a very small quantity, but, in centuries to come, was to serve the world as the symbol (and signature) of INFINITY:


A Brief History of Chess

The Tangles of Time:  A Brief History of Chess


Chess yields us,

when we need them most,

companions in our loneliness.

—Mu’ Tazz


As masterful a player as Emmanuel Lasker regarded chess as neither an art nor a science but rather a war in which the pieces served as troops and the players the generals. This stemmed from the notion that chess was invented as a war game and so, that is the manner in which it should executed. Undoubtedly reality is reflected in the idea that chess originated either as an aid or substitute for warfare.

Lasker maintained that to understand its creation all that is needed is an understanding of the method of classical warfare. Lasker explained that opposing armies would take their positions in nearly straight lines separated by a nearly level plain. The generals, in order to make their plans comprehensible to their commanders, would sketch the original position and later movements of their pawns and men. Lasker was fond of using the Battle of Cannae, 216 BC, as an illustration. At Cannae, the Carthaginians under the command of Hannibal defeated a Roman force nearly twice their number with superior strategy.

Lasker thought that it was entirely possible that Hannibal not only drew lines and placed stones on a board to explain his stratagems, but did so on what would one day be called a chequer-board. This was given the now familiar shape of a square divided into sixty-four smaller squares, colored black and white alternately. Though Lasker’s contention that chess was invented as a game of war is undoubtedly true, he seems to have postdated its conception by some eight centuries and misplaced it by several worlds.

After a millennium passed in the Buddhist era, various references occur to a game that seems the direct forbear of present-day chess. According to Sanskrit literature, apart from the central king and counselor, the pieces represented the quadrants of the ancient Indian army: war chariots, cavalry, elephants, and foot soldiers. The Upper Basin of the Ganges, or thereabouts, was the locale where

this game first appeared. Since the area was a Buddhist stronghold, it is not unreasonable to assume that their monks had a hand in its inception. Since Buddhists oppose the killing of any form of life, it can be hypothesized that the game was invented as a bloodless substitute for war (by allowing men to engage in a combat of a higher sort).

In this version the infantrymen moved as pawns of all times and places, excepting the modern two-square debut. The cavalrymen were placed and manipulated in the same manner as the knight. The elephants’ movements were diagonal and limited to two squares, therefore they were inherently weaker than the bishops into which they were later transformed. The chariots were equal in every respect to the castles which through some ripple in history came to be called rooks. And the counselor, beside the king, moved diagonally also and only one square per move; as time passed its powers were increased to that of the bishop, thereby considerably enhancing the complexity of the game.

Chess spread rapidly (in historical terms) from the Subcontinent to the curiously diverse cultures further west, each leaving ineradicable traces of their time and culture. Persia bestowed the name to the game. Words, unlike mathematical formulae, both lose and gain in their sojourn through time and place. Aside from the usual etymological eddies, the development of the name flowed as follows. The Persian shah “king” came through the Arabic and the tangles of time to Europe as, among other variations, the Old French (e)sches, plural of (e)schek “check” derived from “shah.” From there it was but a minor simplification to the Saxon and Modern English word “chess.”

The culmination of this bloodless substitute for bloodletting is the murder of the enemy king, although the modern game ends euphemistically with the checkmate. This term, too, can be traced through a millennium to Persia. Shah mat “checkmate” means ‘the king (shah) is dead,’ where “mat” is related to the Latin stem mort- “death” found in “mortuary.”

Within a generation of the Hegira, the Arabs conquered Persia in the sacred name of Mohammed. As is usually the case, the two cultures became inextricably entwined and from that time forward it was the Islamic culture that became the primary vehicle of chess. As the game was carried from land to land it underwent a series of

transmutations, some surprising and some not so surprising at all.

The Elephant was reduced to its ears. That is it was simplified (for reasons of convenience and religion) to a lump of wood, with a cut extracted from its center. An item of far more interest concerns the Arab rukh which predates the English rook for crow. It is still a matter of some controversy whether the rook was actually a chariot, a bird, or even a ship. It is highly probable that in differing cultures in differing centuries it was each.

In Arabia there seems little doubt that the chariot was replaced by a moderately prominent member the then-current mythology. In Arabian Nights the rukh was an enormous bird of gigantic girth which was inordinately wide of wing; a vast magnification of the eagle or condor. In most variations, the bird had the ability to carry an elephant, and sometimes several, in its talons. The thread of interest that lies about and through all variations of the rukh myth is that it was, whatever else, a deadly enemy of the elephant. (Later, with the aristocratization of chess, the elephant would be transformed into an ecclesiastic.)

Soon chess was a commonplace throughout the world of Islam, from Andalus in the West to the Indus in the East. The Moors carried chess to the Iberian Peninsula during the eighth century of the Christian era, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium also learned of the game before the century had waned. From Iberia it spread to the north of Europe, while Russia seems to have acquired the game directly from India. (In Russian chess bears its original name, shakh-maty.)

During the High Middle Ages chess became a leisure time activity of the feudal lords, and the pieces began to resemble the aristocracy. (The rukh became, curiously enough, a castle.) A knowledge of ‘Nights and Days’ was considered a social grace for every genteel and parfait knight. Obviously, one reason for this was the connection between chess and war. Soon the powers of certain pieces were increased,making the game much more lively or, if you prefer, deadly.

That lump of wood with the split was not recognized in Europe as an elephant. This was understandably so, since to the folks of medieval Europe an elephant was just as much a mythological creature as the rukh, and possibly more so. To those who were unaware of its esoteric meaning, the elephant, also suggested a bishop’s mitre, an old man, a count or a fool. To this day in French the man is called Le Fou “the fool” and it is diagramed as a cap and bells.

The English, however, were the first to introduce chess diagrams to printing and since the piece remained a bishop there (and in Iceland) the bishop’s mitre would soon become the worldwide standard. However, Germans use this now universal symbol for their laufer “runner” while Russians use the mitre for their slon “the elephant.”

The evolution of the king’s counselor into the queen has been attributed to the similarity of the Arabic word fere “advisor,” to the French vierge “maiden” but probably can be more simply attributed to the make-up of the feudal court. A parallel between the historical liberation of women and the glorification of Mary by the Church could also have been factors in the metamorphosis.

And finally, a mention should be made of pawns; those so adequately named pieces which are even denied the status of chess ‘men’. They are, without exception in all cultures, represented by conveniently small and humble objects. For these there seems a universal need. History: read it and weep.

There are some 1.7 x 10 to the 29th methods of playing the first ten moves of this ancient and storied game. (The Greeks, clever as they were, didn’t even possess a symbol or number for any number larger than ten to the fourth, a myriad.) This being so, it becomes comprehensible why, while chess has ebbed and flowed through history, it has never been successful as a method of channeling the human mind to that combat of a higher sort.

To be sure, there have been wars of every possible description since its inception some thirteen hundred years ago, and when the number of possible permutations is envisioned even in this relatively simple game, it becomes obvious why there is more than adequate room for that phenomenon, war, in the universal scheme of things. This nightmare, even when contained by a square of sixty-four smaller squares, has the potential to continue in a million billion varying guises for eons on end (and still there would remain variations untried).

When one of the first Caliphs, Omar b. Al-Khattab, was asked if chess were lawful he replied, “There is nothing wrong in it; it has to do with war.”




A Day in the Life of the Philosopher


                 Time Spent                                        Activity

8  Hours   3 Minutes     05 Seconds:         Sleep (food for the mind).

6  Hours   37 Minutes   52 Seconds:         Keeping body and soul together.   Necessary toil.  (This may include but not necessarily be limited to any and all of the following: lecturing, writing, pondering, pandering, and/or posturing).

1  Hour     53 Minutes   35 Seconds:         Thinkings on the material world.

1  Hour     23 Minutes   21 Seconds:         Reading.

1  Hour     17 Minutes   34 Seconds:         Arguing with God.

1  Hour     25 Minutes   17 Seconds:         Pondering the interface between being and nothingness.

33 Minutes   34 Seconds:         Debating Ignoratio elenchi’s.

27 Minutes   26 Seconds:         Establishing dogma.

26 Minutes   33 Seconds:         Agonizing over axioms.

23 Minutes   54 Seconds:         Examining the boundary between meaning and meaninglessness

22 Minutes   21 Seconds:         Disestablishing dogma.

21 Minutes   41 Seconds:         Solving contradictions with paradoxes.

17 minutes   00 Seconds:         Avoiding absurdities.

11 Minutes   04 Seconds:         Deducing generalisations.

08 Minutes   00 Seconds:         Categorizing phenomena.

04 Minutes   16 Seconds          Ignoring Ignoratio elenchi’s.

03 Minutes   27 Seconds          Observing the mechanizations of fate.