Here is the script and visual aids that accompany episode #7 of a Bee In Eden on the Storytellers Campfire radio network. Our Show Slogan is: “Anticipating our future by remembering our past.” The bee-buzz sound byte file that you hear in between breaks is the Bee In Eden Show Theme composed by Lady Selah SuJuris with Ambient-Mixer. It can be downloaded from ambient-mixer.com.
Episode #7 – recorded November 7, 2016
The Mystical Zero
Segment 1 (3 minutes)
Welcome to another episode of the Bee In Eden radio show. My name is SedonaDeb. You can follow along at the SedonaDeb blog with pictures and script of the show, plus extra info related to our topic today.
To introduce today’s topic, I’d like to ask you a trivia question: When did we begin using the Zero? Would it surprise you to know that we’ve only been using the Zero for 700 years? Yes, that’s right. Western civilization and the Babylonian business of finance and credit got along for thousands of years without ever using a Zero in their math.
Our recent radio shows have been painting the history of a financial nexus point around the year 500 B.C. We’ve seen how an elite network of money-lenders acquired the power to set up kings and tear down empires when it suited their interests. In today’s show, we will fast forward to another financial nexus point in history, a period 1200 years after Christ. This is all part of my plan as your radio host. Future episodes will connect the dots in this 1700-year timeline to pull back the curtain on the Wizards who have been driving the engine of our modern western civilization this whole entire time.
Let’s talk about the quiet mathematical revolution that took place in Europe around the year 1200. This Revolution of Thought enabled Europe to leave the Roman numeral system behind and replace it with the Arabic numerals that we know today, like, 1,2,3 etc. Think about all that becomes possible simply by using a Zero in your mathematics. Do you think we could have iPhones and ATMs without the Zero?
While we take our first break, think about how would you balance your checkbook without using a Zero, hmmm? We’ll be right back.
Segment 2 (13 minutes)
Our story about the mystical Zero swirls around an educated rebel by the name of King Frederick II who was born of the Norman bloodlines and lived during the 13th century, or after the year 1200 AD. Frederick II was King of Sicily, and of Germany’s Holy Roman Empire, and yes, by his own device, King of Jerusalem at a certain point during the Crusades. This means he was a ruler who lived during the days of the Knights Templar. In fact, if you are watching this on Youtube or at my SedonaDeb blog page, you’ll see a picture of a gold coin minted in his Kingdom that incorporated the familiar 4-square Templar Cross right there on the coin.
(His coin, pictured below, is a gold “augustale,” similar to a future Bohemian word used for coined money, “thaler.” The “thaler” would eventually metamorphize into the word “dollar.” The significance of the Lion symbol will become evident in future shows.)
This king made the acquaintance of a brilliant mathematician by the name of Fibonacci around the year 1225 A.D.
If that word Fibonacci sounds familiar, you may have heard it in the phrase the “Fibonacci spiral.” This is a beautiful, natural mathematical pattern that seems to govern intelligent design in nature. You can observe a spiral growth pattern in objects as distinct from each other as seashells and sunflowers.
The next time you are out taking a walk, take notice of the way tree branches swing their growth outward from the tree. You will notice that nearly everything grows in spiraling, swirling patterns.
Mr. Fibonacci didn’t just discover the spiral and number sequences that bear his name. He also was the author of a guidebook about the popular Hindu-Arabic number system in his hometown of Pisa, Italy in the year 1202. It was that number system that incorporated the Zero.
Fibonacci learned about the Hindu-Arabic number system during the years he spent studying the free-thinking system of calculation that had already become popular among the Muslim Arab merchants who traded along the coast of North Africa. His father was an Italian merchant in his own right who worked as a notary public at a trading post in Algeria.
Son Leonardo became fascinated by the advantages that this new number system presented. He published a guidebook, the Liber Abaci, to demonstrate the new system in Europe. The death of the old Roman numeral system then became assured.
However, the acceptance of such an abstract concept of Zero, or Nothingness, as a placeholder, did not come easily in Europe. William of Malmesbury protested that the new number was “Dangerous Saracen magic!” He did have a point. Farther down in this post, we will demonstrate that the concept of Zero did in fact originate within the mysteries of Kabbalah and Indian Jainism.
Fibonacci lived 200 years before the printing press was invented, so it was not easy to get a copy of his book. However, his radical new system did come to the attention of the rebel-minded King Frederick II. Frederick enjoyed both German and Norman parentage. He was also itching for a fight with the Church.
Describing any new doctrine as “dangerous Saracen magic” was the best Siren call that he could ever hope for. Frederick was already well versed in Arabic culture. In fact, Frederick is well known for promoting quite a radical multicultural way of life in his kingdom. His Constitutions of Melfi introduced ideas still used today for running central governments, establishing state standards in weights and measures, and improving medical education and requiring that doctors take licensing exams.
Already we can see that Frederick II, whose mother was of Norman blood, is well-primed to pursue the Fraternity agenda of which I have written previously (linked here). By the way, Frederick became united with Fibonacci due to the efforts of Frederick’s court astrologer, Michael the Scot. The Zero and its accompanying Arabic number system were a big hit with the Holy Roman Emperor.
The news of the radical math system began to spread right around the same time that Frederick embarked on the Sixth Crusade, a crusade that would go down in history as one of the greatest acts of defiance against the Papacy of Rome. Frederick, heir to the throne of Jerusalem by marriage, managed to negotiate a treaty for western control of Jerusalem without spilling a single drop of blood and without the Pope’s permission. The Muslim negotiator on the other side, al-Kamil, just loved this guy.
And as a cherry on top, Frederick accomplished all of this while living under an Order of Excommunication by Pope Gregory IX. In fact, Frederick endured no less than four excommunications from the Church during his lifetime. Frederick simply … did … not … care.
Let us return to that warning issued by William of Malmesbury. Was there indeed some kind of inherent danger in this “Saracen magic” of the revolutionary Zero? Where exactly did the Zero come from?
It would seem that we have religious mystics from India to thank for the invention of Zero as a decimal-system placeholder, among others. A Wikipedia article on the origins of Zero tells us that “the earliest text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, [is] a Jain text surviving in a medieval Sanskrit translation, which is internally dated to AD 458.”
One of the teachings of Jainism is (non-attachment to possessions), a “voiding,” we might say, of materialism in one’s life. To this last point, this comment from a Facebook user is of note:
WHY WERE JAINA MONKS STUDYING MATHS?
In the modern world it is common to see religion and science as always in conflict. Yet in ancient India, one cannot untangle mathematics and mysticism. To the Jaina monks the ideas of spiritual nothingness led to the mathematical zero. Zero denotes nothing. It was derived from the concept of shunya. Shunya means a sort of salvation, – when all our desires are nullified, then we go to nirvana or shunya or total salvation.
This concept of Zero appeared in Jainism as early as 458 A.D. And you’ll never guess what geometric symbol is held sacred in Jainism?
Now it might surprise you to know that the Swastika symbol has been in use long before the Nazi Party vilified it. Evidence of its importance in sacred philosophy spans the globe, from India to North America. Arizona residents have long recognized that the Hopi of the Southwest still revere this symbol. The Hopi claim relationship with the Mayans of Mexico-Guatemala … who, by the way, had also discovered the use of Zero at almost this exact same time in history. (But that is a story for another day.)
From India, the abstract concept of Zero spread to the mathematics of the Muslim Arabs. As we have seen above, Fibonacci came in contact with the system during his schooling in North Africa. There remains, however, another important mystical connection which would tend to indicate that King Frederick was well aware of the power that lies beneath such an abstraction. Zero also finds its way in the primer lessons of the Kabbalah.
Now let’s talk about the role that was played by the Kabbalah and ancient wisdom beliefs in shaping people’s use of the Zero in our math and bookkeeping routines. In a previous show here on the Bee In Eden, I hinted that the Murasu banking family was already aware of this new belief system that would later come to be known as “Kabbalah.” To put it simply, Kabbalah is what resulted when an elite fraternity of apostate Israelites fused their ideas with the mysticism of their adopted homeland, Babylonia.
In a future show, I will share evidence with you that shows that belief systems like the Hermetica and Gnosticism are ideologies that branched off the Kabbalah concepts. All of these ideas influenced the powerful bankers and free-thinkers of Europe. This is really what touched off the whole Renaissance.
We’ll take a quick break here but come right back to learn the connection between ancient mysticism and the Zero that we know so well.
Segment 3 (8 minutes)
But getting back to today’s story … we’re talking about how the modern idea of Zero has only been in use in our Western culture for the last 700 years. It came to Italy via the Muslim merchants of North Africa and Arabia. They, in turn, learned about it from the Hindu Jaina mystics of India.
Now, there have been several prominent schools of mystic thought that have shaped the fabric of our daily lives ever since the first temple was built in Babylonia. The teachers of the Kabbalah were quick to pick up on the idea of Zero from Hinduism. In the Kabbalah, the Zero is associated with the first level in their Tree of Life diagram. Notice this quote from an official Kabbalah web site that identifies the Zero with the very beginning of Creation.
The web site Kabbalah.info states:
In his writings, Rav Yehuda Ashlag explains to us that the Light emanating from the Creator designates the desire to create beings and to please them. You might remember that Light is the sensation of the Creator, pleasure. This in Kabbalah we refer to as the Root Phase and is numbered zero (0). In Hebrew, we call it Phase Shoresh and name it Keter. It is given the number 0 because it is considered the preliminary phase to actually creating anything at all.
For further elucidation on the connection between Kabbalah and the revolutionary introduction of Zero into western math, please take note of the following comments by Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London (now deceased as of October 2015), during this BBC audio interview. The actual audio is linked from our companion page and is very revealing.
“There’s an element of the mysticism of the East in this. Because, if you have six apples on the table and you allocate the number “6” to that, that is a MARKER for the number of apples on the table. However, if you start looking at an array of numbers, you begin to see PATTERNS in them, if you are of the “patterning” kind. That is to say, you have a slightly more mystical, as it were, Indian mysticism or Kabbalistic mysticism … and then you begin to PLAY GAMES with those markers and realize that THEY HAVE A REALITY IN THEIR OWN RIGHT … That the NUMBER is something you can manipulate and you don’t need objects to manipulate it. And the ZERO emerges at that point. And Indian mathematicians, as it were, at that point discover what we now understand as mathematics.”
“I once asked my Muslim friend, ‘Why did bookkeeping, bills of exchange, and mathematics as we know it come from Islam?'”
Her reply, “Because Mohammed was a merchant.”
To summarize, as stated by one of Professor Jardine’s colleagues in that same interview, “Zero unlocks the secrets of the universe.” One way that Zero does this is by becoming the “fulcrum” between Positive and Negative numbers. For the first time in western thought, it becomes possible to conceptualize and quantify “less than nothing.”
Therefore, with Zero, Negative numbers come into existence with as much reality as Positive numbers. There are, of course, intellectual landmines ready to be detonated when those principles make their way into the lives of real people and real nations who are dependent on credit. Nevertheless, we must admit that the introduction of abstractions like Zero would spur the great analytical Renaissance that was just beginning to brew in 1225 A.D.
As a man with strong ties to the Knights-Templar-related Cistercian Order and that “Troyes Fraternity” of central France, King Frederick II would have been on the lookout for all manner of heretical ideas with which to challenge the Church and likewise “unlock the secrets of the universe,” certainly, at least, with respect to the universe of Trade and Finance. In fact, there appears to be quite a latitudinal vein of Gnostic, Kabbalistic, and mystical Muslim thought that extends all across the lands of southern Spain, southern France, and southern Italy during the 13th century. This is that pre-Renaissance period dominated by forward-thinking, albeit heretical, networks such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, and ruled by Holy Roman emperors whose territory extended from the Baltics down to the Mediterranean Sea.
Therefore, when Fibonacci showed up at Frederick’s door with a clear guide for using the Arabic system in trade and record-keeping, it was a match made in heaven. That “new math” certainly enabled Frederick to speak the Caliphate language when he negotiated a peaceful treaty for Jerusalem that had no backing from the Pope at all.
Interestingly, the Muslims were staunchly opposed to usury, often regarded as the charging of ANY interest on a loan. Yet these same Arabs had developed a decimal system that would appear ready-made to create such a weapon of mass financial destruction. Indeed, somebody DID notice that power, the power to “play games” of both Creation and Destruction with those numbers. For that story, we turn to the Medici Family of Florence, 200 years further into the future. (Stay tuned for future blogs!)
For now, just keep in mind that the Zero came to be adopted in our Western culture by men who saw how to use it as a power of Creation and Destruction in our financial lives. Zero would clear the way for the arrival of powerful tools like the ability to compound interest on loans and the eventual creation of the binary number system, the very language of modern computer systems. And once again, it was a system of religious priesthoods that wove the Zero into the very fabric of our reality.
It’s time to return to the beehive until our future escapades into history. We’d like to thank the sponsors of the S.C. network and to the website Ambient-Mixer.com for music that accompanies our show. Until next time, this is SedonaDeb buzzing back to her blog.
Would you like to know more about this Rebel with a Cause, King Frederick II? Enjoy this Youtube presentation: Frederick II a bridge between East and West: