Empires and how they fall


This is actually a short synopsis based on a video (pasted in below) from the Kaiser Report. I found it interesting, as we seem to be in a similar time/situation here in America as the Roman Empire was shortly before its fall. It’s a good thing to look at history and how it played out before…I added some of my own thoughts in italics.

Empires are based on global reach and extraction of resources beyond home borders.

Eight Factors that Characterize the Fall of Empires

  1. Profound Political Disunity (i.e. Powers that Be break into factions warring amongst themselves over what to do about the decline of the Empire)
  2. Rise of Unproductive Complexity (tens of thousands of regulations no one can keep track of)
  3. Erosion of those bearing the sacrifices of keeping the system going (mid rank military, doctors & nurses are resigning in droves)
  4. Decay of Leadership (no real leadership)
  5. Rise of Bread & Circuses (distractions in the form of entertainment, often dark, but sometimes light)
  6. Decline of Ability to Produce Wealth (relying on trickery to produce wealth rather than real value)
  7. Sclerosis that occurs when vested interests control everything in the Empire–Common People have no say
  8. Resource Depletion and Environmental Damage

Empire currencies usually lasted far longer than the empires themselves. (In the case of the Spanish Empire and the Roman Empire, of course, the currency was on valuable metals, so they had some basis other than fiat–but then, people were also used to accepting them, as they are fiat currency now.) Physical cash might still be a source of value, precious metals, etc.

Trust your network, not the State. Set up systems of informal credit and/or barter (ie LETS in Asheville, if that’s still going), as well as local currencies. Crypto-currencies are another idea. Diversify. Skills are also valuable. Whole local economies could be based around a common interest or commodity, as well, such as craft brewing in cities like Portland, Oregon (or Asheville! Here we’d have a good basis for a “chocolate” currency as well!).

Eventually empires become too expensive to maintain, as the people in those empires–at least the ones at the top–live with much more than they need, multiple residences, assets, etc. After the fall of empires, life tends to “re-localize.” Generally life in the rural areas bear with the change easier than in large population concentrations (at least during the Roman Empire collapse–because food was produced there, and they didn’t “depend” on the city centers as much, where the power structure was concentrated).
As heard on Max Keiser’s report Aug 6 by Charles Smith of oftwominds.com

Paula & Sherman’s Wedding

A Little Background

Neither of us had ever been married before, and we both had a lot of friends (and Sherman had a LOT of relatives), so it was a BIG wedding. We didn’t have a lot of money, and wanted a more community feel in any case, so we did a potluck wedding dinner with our wonderful (volunteer) kitchen coordinator Nancy Duggan (whose anniversary to her husband Colin happened to be the same day), and a bunch of volunteers to help set up, decorate, play music, and call contra dances for the reception. My friend John Combs took pictures and Jonathan Ross took video. We had whole teams of volunteers that also had some coordination by our friend Donna Richardsen. We had 209 people! About a week before the event, we expected around 80, because people don’t seem to like to RSVP for weddings…

We did a Renaissance Wedding, too, with costumes, and encouraged people to dress up likewise. My dress was one I’d made (all without electricity!) back in the mid 90s and I made Sherman’s outfit to match after he chose a fabric he thought would go well with the dress. It was a very non-traditional wedding. The Masonic Temple worked great for this, having the “thrones” (I was determined not to have to stand through my own wedding!). Finding the venue was the most nerve-wracking part, actually, as several other places fell through in the planning through various mishaps (construction delays, one place was going to be sold but then the deal fell through and the guy told us, “I’m a pirate–I’d feel totally fine about taking your money and running, but I’ll let you know that up front. We listened, and went elsewhere.), but the Masonic Temple was perfect, being big, historic, a really cool building, good acoustics for the wedding itself, with a water fountain in the foyer and a huge kitchen with plates, etc for us to use, as well as lots and lots of chairs! We had the guests carry chairs down at the end–I’ll bet it’s the only wedding with people carrying chairs going through the Receiving Line!

If I’d known how nerve-wracking organizing a huge wedding with volunteer food, setup, making the Groom’s Cake myself, throwing a party the night before for family to meet one another, etc, I might not have taken on the additional load of performing at my own wedding, as well as writing and performing a duet! I wrote the service initially, and then Sherman had some suggestions that we worked on together adding in. I made my own mother & brother play for the opening music and processional, and Sherman’s mom sang and his dad (a minister) gave the benediction (I had written one, but he did one of his choosing ūüėČ Everyone was a volunteer–I put my family to work!–but the leading minister did request a six-pack of my homemade chocolate stout as her “payment.” I had made a batch of mead for the event, but since the Masonic Temple didn’t allow alcohol, I had four gallons of my chocolate kava drink, instead, which was very appreciated by all who drank it… During the dinner, too, we took a break at sunset for a dove release, courtesy of our friend Julia of A Spirit’s Wings.

The Video

When I first tried to upload video of our wedding to YouTube, the time allowance was only 15 minutes per video. Our wedding outstripped that, and the software I had was not terribly good at splitting up the pieces and making them good quality, so what I have are small videos of each segment of the wedding.

Part 1 (Processional, Paula sings Jesu, Congregation Hymn, Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, 3 Rituals)

Part 2¬†(Exchange of vows, Jennifer’s Reading, Sherman performs Secret Marriage, Paula & Sherman’s duet, Pronouncement, Benediction, dismissal)

Dove Release (done after ceremony and during dinner, up on the top of the Masonic Temple, downtown Asheville, NC)

The official order of the ceremony:

Wedding of Sherman Hoover and Paula Bishop
October 2, 2010
Officiant: Reverend Harriette Bugel

(4:45pm) Musical Prelude of Renaissance and Medieval works
Gail Ann Schroeder, treble viol, Ann Stierli, recorders and tenor viol, Martha Bishop, bass viol, Bryan Bishop, harpsichord and piano, Mary Hoover, soprano voice

Processional    Ductia, Anon 13th Century

Jesu (excerpt BMV 147) by Johannes Sebastian Bach (sung by Paula Bishop)

Invocation    (Rev. Harriette Bugel)

Congregational Hymn: “All Things Bright and Beautiful”

Reading: The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic (Rev. Jay Joslin)

Three Symbolic Rituals:
1. The Candle Ritual
2. The Loving Cup
3. The Ring

Sherman and Paula pledge their troth to one another

Reading: Apache Wedding Blessing (Rev. Jennifer Stansbury)

“The Secret Marriage” by Sting¬†¬† ¬†(Sherman Hoover, bass and vocals, Bryan Bishop, piano)

“Duet of Vows”¬†¬† ¬†(written & sung by Paula and Sherman)

Pronouncement of Man and Wife    (Rev. Harriette Bugel)

Benediction    (Rev. Kenneth Hoover)

Recessional of Couple and their families    Trotto (Italian, 14th Century)


Getting Spring Water from Black Balsam Knob

Black Balsam near Shining Rock Wilderness area has several places to get fresh, cold spring water!

Trying this out…

As “everyone” knows, one must blog or become invisible–though, to be sure, one blog among many thousands is pretty certain to be invisible, anyway. But by the mercy of the all-connection internet, it is possible that someone “out there” may one day see and even read it.

Blogging may be the wave of the 21st Century, but I’m still amazed that people have the time to do constant updates. I have friends who blog every day–consider it almost a job, and yet, the payoff is a different kind, fans who “tune in” to his own particular point-of-view.

So, this blog may or may not get updates–for right now, it’s simply a test to see how WordPress works. A learning exercise. A leap into the unknown.

My husband and I wearing filigree latex headgear