The years preceding the French Revolution saw the last vestiges of feudalism. The peasants did not own the land they lived on and worked. They could not put up fences since it would interfere with the lord on his hunt nor could they frighten away the game that fed on their crops. They paid the majority of the taxes while the ruling class paid little or none meanwhile, in Paris and Versailles, the elite and higher clergy were having a pretty good time. It seems that everyone had some sort of title and spent their days parading around in self importance and playing mind games.

But as bad as things were for the French peasants, they were even worse for the average peasant of Eastern and Central Europe a century before. They lived in a state of near starvation retiring to their huts at night with meals mostly of black bread, water and roots. What made them live such lives? Was it religious fairy tales telling them to accept their miserable lives so that when they die they could go to a heavenly paradise with streets paved with gold? Maybe their self esteem was so bad they thought they did not deserve any better? Whatever was going on in their minds, the French peasants got pretty upset once they realized how unfairly they were being treated. This is because the French peasants were a bit more intelligent.

The French Revolution was followed shortly after by the Reign of Terror. During this macabre event it would not be uncommon to find French women sitting on rented benches doing their knitting while awaiting the next execution which were taking place at the rate of about 28 per day. Eventually even the leaders of the revolution were also executed.

When quality minded teachers, librarians, and scientists are given proper support, these kind of things never do happen again. These seekers of truth are only too happy to share the knowledge they have acquired in order to reduce human suffering and misery.

In his famous novel, Siddhartha, Herman Hesse tells the tale of a young ascetic who emerges from the forest and meets a beautiful courtesan who tells him she will be his lover if he obtains fine clothes and much money. Siddhartha has as his only possession a ragged loincloth but he states: “I can think, I can wait, I can fast.” With these seemingly strange abilities he easily obtains the cloths and money. He becomes a business man and approaches it as if it were a game. The beautiful courtesan becomes his lover and teaches him many exotic methods of touch and lovemaking. He becomes more and more “successful” at business and acquires much wealth and power. He becomes addicted to excessive drinking and gambling but eventually sickens of this type of living and walks away from it all. He feels disgusted with himself and contemplates drowning himself in the river but passes out. He awakens, refreshed, to the countless voices of the river giving him wisdom. He spends the remaining years of his life as a humble ferryman transporting many different kinds of people across the river in his simple craft.

There is no true security on the physical plane. Everything is in flux. This is a scientific fact. True security comes from deep within but this requires quitting the mind and allowing pure conscientiousness.

In the distant future students will learn of the horrible things humans have done to each other and how they raped the earth for selfish gains but their teacher will tell them: “ They were not evil; they were just ignorant.”

Dennis Miller lives in the Shade River State Forest, Meigs County, Ohio

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