where hypotheses come to die (madman101) wrote,
where hypotheses come to die
madman101

AVALON - Part 1

This is the beginning of a series so wide-ranging, I hardly know how to go about it. As you read it, then, keep in mind that everything, in some way, is going to be connecting to everything else. This means that it will help if you mull over each post, and maybe even do your own follow-up research, to help keep much of it in your memory.

We begin around the Appalachians, (an area that has always had a large proportion of Scots-Irish, and related Celts). There was a huge tunnelling project, somewhere around WV, PA, KY or such, around 1800, I believe. It was meant to divert a river. I'll find that Wiki page for you some time. The subject was interesting to me for a few reasons. The main point here is that many Euro-ethnicities were hired to do the mining through the mountains: German, English, Irish, Cornish, etc. Turned out that the Irish had to be fired, because they were so bad at mining. And maybe a bit 'lazy'? Well, what fun is there in hacking your way into a dark wall to no apparent end? And, Ireland has never been associated with mining. However, the fastidious Germans did well, as did the English. Best of all, though, were the Cornish. They had experience. Mining in Cornwall (and Devon) has been a primary occupation for thousands of years. Many important minerals - but, most importantly: TIN.

Slightly earlier in American history, around the time of Romantic Transcendentalism, and the Second Great Awakening, and after the Black-hawk Wars, the areas now known as Illinois and Wisconsin were being populated from people from the east, largely upstate New York. One reason for the migration was because, back then, people had very large families. Overpopulation - of needs. And, the way to economic success or stability was through owning and working land. Sprawl. Jefferson's Agrarian America, and ideals of self-sufficiency, were something of an urgent reality in those days. The drive to move westward was part of an historical ideology towards freedom and away from tyranny, (of which I have written a little).

This compulsion was validated once again when a massive influx of Germans, escaping tyranny in Europe, boosted the population of what we know as Wisconsin, making it the beer-swilling, polka-dancing state we have come to know and love. Germans also immigrated into other regions, most notably Texas and Mexico, where Polka infused a new ethnic music we now call Tex-Mex, or Mariachi. 'Both forms' are very positive, freedom-loving musics. Simple, for the everyman. Not the Superman. (Note: Germans in Mexico is why Mexico sided with Hitler in WW2. That and selling oil, I believe. By the way, Mexico has one of the world's few TIN fields, and so that probably had something to do with it, as well).

Before the Germans, though, there were a lot of original Americans, of English, and related, derivation, moving into what had previously been Black-hawk, Ho-chunk (Winnebago), or Ojibwa territory, just west of Lake Michigan. (Most of these tribes had earlier been pushed westwards to begin with). Many prominent Easterners followed this influx to study and partake in the phenomenon, and enjoy what was then referred to as, "The Wild Lands." These included Emerson, Thoreau, Twain, and many others. So, not only the new farmers, but the visitting celebrities and financiers, had a direct connection to what was going on back East, which was a Great Religious Awakening; American Transcendentalism, and the rise of Abolitionism, (and then other progressive movements). Thoreau visitted Beloit, etc., and even ended up in Minnesota, sarcastically for the healthy climate, where he promptly died of his tubercular-type illness.

The point is that progressive movements were going on simultaneously here and on the East Coast, and then in Oneida, NY. Imported-transcendentalism and naturism were what gave rise to, e.g., Aldo Leopold, Gifford Pinchot, Robert Muir, F. L. Wright, and ideas taken up by Teddy Roosevelt. Likewise, imported-progressivism led to, "The Wisconsin Idea," which prevails today, and the patron saint of Wisconsin, Fighting Bob LaFollette. I will discuss the latter some other time. But Transcendentalism, Naturism and Progressivism all deeply influenced this area, and were not confined to the English immigrants, but greatly to people of French, Scots, or, "Marginal British", heritage.

Mineral Point, Wisconsin, is the third oldest town in the state. It began around the 1820's, and saw the whole movement of trends touched on above. It began as an English and Cornish town, and was later overtaken by the huge immigration of Germans. On issues of, e.g., drinking alcohol, the "Brits" were about equally divided in opinion. About half of them, the more Puritan, were against it. The other, more Progressive half, were OK with it. But the Germans, who comprised at least a half of the town's population, were completely pro-beer. And this is how Wisconsin became Wisconsin. (The same percentages occurred when votes proceeded regarding going to war with Germany in WW1).

It is important to add that not all Wisconsin progressivism derived from Eastern, British ideas, taken up by Scots and Frenchies. The Germans were religiously anti-tyranny, and also introduced the Free-Thinker Movement, a secular-religious ideology which also thrived in Texas. So, when it comes to ideals of progressivism, not many other states - Minnesota, North Dakota, Massachusetts, California or the Northwest - can claim to be equal. And, what is this, "Transcendental Progressivism," to begin with?

A love and respect of nature. An insistence upon individual freedom. Care for those who cannot achieve success or freedom in reality. The improvement of health and amelioration of suffering. The belief that all persons should be treated as equals and be given fair opportunities. And the working towards economic and social justice to secure these ideas or rights. So, basically, transcendental progressivism believes that individuals are naturally endowed with free will, and are motivated not by prestige but by a transcendent sense of valour - to do what is just and good not to please God, or to fulfill commands, or to escape the disease of self-hatred, mortality or Original Sin - but to do it as it is naturally inspired.  Progressives trusted that a good education should improve individuals and society.  (Educational reformism also had a dark side, as you may know).

This inspiration is comparable to the new theologies of Protestantism, except that they do not insist that only those who are wealthy are proved Good, or that only those who do good deeds are to be saved (Catholic), or that good intentions will get you into Heaven. Instead, what I am calling transcendental progressivism is more like the ancient Christianity advanced by the Knights of the Round Table, where each is equally good and influential, and each acts not to please Rome but out of an inner moral and natural impetus. Evangelicalism without the need to be saved, and with a more direct, humble social justice mission.  Not inspired by guilt, force or god - but by 'soul', i.e., independent, free will.

Not far from Mineral Point is Wisconsin's state capital, and so hub of progressivism, Madison. Am I saying that the ethos in Madison is a akin to the morality of the legendary King Arthur? A little bit. But, I would say that modern American "liberalism', as it has devolved into identity politics and me-first entitlement, has been a Balkanising degeneration of the ideals of, "Transcendental Progressivism", which is bound to happen now and then, in waves, as society contends with the realities of need in economics, false social trends, and so on. The main thing is to keep striving towards the ideal, as the legend of KingArthur did, despite all, and despite the fact that we are none but destined to dirt. And, so, to act despite the grim and injust - the amorality of nature and man - is what I term an act of, "Existential Transcendentalism." (Or vice versa).

Well, to come back to a main theme... Mineral Point was early a largely Cornish town. The reason for this is that, as the name implies, the town was based on mining - minerals and metals. Who do we know to be amongst the greatest miners in all of history? The Cornish. The people from Cornwall and Devon. In Mineral Point, Wisconsin, they were given the job of mining lead and zinc. However, historically, back in Britain, it was largely TIN that the Cornish mined. Apparently, mining in Cornwall/Devon goes back at least as early as 4,000 years ago. The mining of TIN there was important to all of Europe, as it pulled itself out of the Neolithic - the stone age.

For a little while, copper was mined alone. One day, around 2150 BCE, someone discovered that if you add a little TIN to copper, you get Bronze - a better alloy for making tools and weapons. Thus began the Bronze Age. Without TIN, which mainly came from Cornwall/Devon, there could have been no Bronze Age(!) Well, there were a few other places in Europe where TIN could be mined. Around "Czechoslovakia", (not far from where gold was also found). There was also TIN to be had in Northwest Iberia (Spain). (Legendary "Tin Islands" probably existed in the Bay of Biscay).  And, the second-best place to find TIN was in the Brittany area of Gaul (France). All of these areas were inhabitted by ~Celtic peoples, associated with the wide influx of Bell Beaker Culture from the east, who were also infatuated with gold.

Cornwall/Devon, which is not too far across the English Channel from Brittany, (in Gaul/France), did not only share TIN-mining with Brittany in the old days. It shared a few other things. Both areas were related by blood. That would be Celtic, "Brittonic," Cornish, and Welsh. In the early centuries AD, (CE), Rome pushed into France (Gaul), and then later, as Rome weakened, the Normans pushed into Gaulic Armorica, (eastern Brittany - and see armorica tag above), etc. These impositions forced a migration of Brittonic, (Brythonic), etc., people out of Brittany, (and via Brittany), into the south and west of the largest British isle. (Millennia earlier, these people were somewhat related when no English Channel even existed between them). Trade and talk continued between these little nations, and so did legends.

Hundreds of years later, some of these legends were recorded, embellished or manufactured, during a flurry of poetic and romantic manuscript writing, around the 12th century, when moveable type had also been introduced. However, because these legends waited a thousand or more years to be 'novelised' does not necessarilly mean that they were all fictitious. Indeed, some, if not many of these legends may have been based on historical fact.

Some of these legends, based on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, from the 5th century AD (CE), do appear to be grounded in some degree of historical fact. Unfortunately, King Henry VIII not only removed all the Catholic monks and monasteries in English Britain, he also destroyed their libraries, such as that in the Abbey of Glastonbury, where only 40 manuscripts survived. Thus, all the documentation of legends and earlier history, put into books in the Brittonic, Cornish, Welsh, etc., West of England, put into books, was lost to us. Who but the people they concerned would have documented those legends - and now that information is gone, because of a beheader who wanted to be King AND head of a new Church of England. Always, it is religion that inflicts these informational/ genocides.

The Abbey of Glastonbury was said to have once held the tombs of Arthur and his wife, Guenivere. It was also said that Joseph of Arimathea visitted Glastonbury, and might even have become the first "catholic" bishop in that area. Most scholars discount these legends, as a publicity stunt by the Abbey in later times. I think that is entirely possible. However, scholars often don't know how to tame their hunches which are based on insufficient, alternate evidence, but so willingly overlook such facts as tomes and tomes of evidence being destroyed in the past. Evidence that might have disproved their theories in an instant. But we don't know, because it is gone - like the wisdom at Alexandria - and the wisdom of earlier civilisations. We must always understand that what we claim to know is but the tip of a tip of a succession of icebergs, whose bodies may be hold information which might as well be from other universes, as far as we tend to see. All fact is theory, ultimately.

Just ask Shroedinger's Cat. We get these atoms saying this and those atoms saying that and we don't really know. All we know is we are standing on this single mountain peak, on this day, in this world, and supposedly it is not some kind of iceberg likely to melt.
Tags: "transcendental progressivism", arch - bell beaker culture, arch - bronze age, arthurian legends / king arthur, celtic / irish / gaellic, cities - glastonbury england, cities - mineral point wisconsin, countries - british / england / uk, countries - cornwall, existential transcendentalism, free will, freethought / free thinker movement, go west!, great travesties in history, history - armorica, history - brythonic / brittany, history - early first millenium, history - mining, ignorance / neglect, joseph of arimathea, king henry viii, music - mexican mariachi, my terms / definitions, progressivism, religious intolerance / destruction, s - avalon series, states - wisconsin, thoreau - henry david thoreau (hdt), tin, tragic incidents, transcending the existential, wisconsin idea
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