Nathaniel on Anastasia’s question (3)

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Monday, December 4, 2017

4:55 a.m. Still pursuing the question, why are we on this timeline. I re-read the previous two entries last night, as a sort of preparation, but I don’t really have it in my head. Not my job anyway. I trust you have something to tell us today.

The key is to stop considering the subject as if 3D-you were the key to it. It isn’t. The key is connectivity. Once you alter your viewpoint to consider yourself and your own awareness as only a small part of the picture, things straighten out. It is the thinking of yourselves as autonomous units that causes the disorientation.

Obvious, as you say it. I suppose it is direct feed, giving me the idea behind it.

We won’t stop to explore the question of where direct feed comes from, in an ILC link. Perhaps you realize, now, that it is one of the meaningless questions.

We will continue to come back to one key: “As above, so below.” You are beginning to see how many things this rule of thumb illustrates, but we encourage you to apply it continually, creatively, in exploring such subjects, because, again, the universe is coherent, structured, predictable (in effect), once you have the approach: in this particular case, the fact that at any level, the being under discussion may be considered to be a part of a higher community and, at the same time, a higher self of a community of beings at a lower level of organization. That is clumsy, but the idea ought to survive the phrasing.

Once you adopt this point of view as a master key to the situation, you realize that considering any individual as if it were a totally free agent, able to do whatever it wished, unconstrained by circumstances beyond its own will, is but a misunderstanding of the situation.

Nothing in the universe exists in a state of disconnection. Therefore nothing exists in a state of lostness or of absolute freedom – which is two ways of saying the same thing. To think of yourself or of Sam or of anything as absolutely independent is to entirely misapprehend the situation. It can’t possibly be the case that, in a universe without absolute divisions, there could be any absolute separation of anything, no matter how large, no matter how small – and in saying “large” and “small” we refer not so much to physical dimensions as to any and all ways of looking at things.

Surely this is clear, once stated? Obvious, we mean.

It is clear to me, anyway, and at the moment. Whether later and to others, I can’t say.

Here and now will do. Well, if this is so – and we assure you, it is – it should also be clear that nothing can be understood without understanding the context within which it exists. That context is an indivisible part of the thing being considered.

I see that clearly enough. In case someone doesn’t, I’ll say this. If you look at anything – particularly if you set out to analyze it, to understand it – you are going to have to examine it in isolation. There is no choice. But how you examine it in isolation will make all the difference in how well or badly you understand it. The better you understand its context, the better you understand it. Looking at a ball bearing in itself will tell you nothing of a particular use for the ball bearing in a machine, for instance.

All right, so if that much is clear, extrapolate. You can’t tell much about a blood cell if you examine only the blood cell – in however much detail – without having in mind its function in a circulatory system. A red blood cell is a unit, and like everything in the universe has consciousness particular to itself, but whatever its ideas of its function may be, they are unlikely to comprehend itself as a tiny transient part of a vastly larger function that is comprehensible only on a larger scale. No matter if it is human blood, or the blood of a lion, the blood cell’s nature, function, purpose, is only really discernible in the context of the higher being whose purpose it serves.

Now, does this mean the cell is being “used” in the sense of being manipulated? Obviously not. You cannot argue that a subsystem is abused or cheated by functioning as it is designed to function. If your blood cell were to achieve “freedom” and isolation from the body it served, what good would that do the cell? It would be of no use; its existence would be literally meaningless and in fact absurd.

You’d wind up with a bunch of little Sartres, exclaiming, “Blood cells are a useless passion.”

Of course you would. And at the other extreme, blood cells who imagined that they would be judged by the higher being that they intuited serving would be likely to set up rules for their behavior – as if those rules were not innate and unalterable in the nature of things.

Using blood cells as example does make our own position clear by analogy.

It always will. Do you want to understand something in your life? Find the appropriate analogy at a lower level or higher level, and extrapolate. Not that this won’t steer you wrong sometimes, but that is a function of fallibility, not of an inadequate guide.

Do we need to consider the “freewill” aspect of the blood cell’s situation? I think the context shows us pretty clearly the determining limits of its existence.

Tell of your experience with the microscope.

My friend Jim Meissner had what I think he called a dark-field microscope. This allowed us to examine living blood cells, not only dead cells. So, a drop of blood on the slide, and it was a fascinating array of mutually interacting creatures, red and white cells. You could see the occasional white cell devour things, for instance. I gather that what you want this illustration for is that the cells appeared to float and interact.

No, the particular illustration is that the white cells appeared to choose, to be attracted in certain directions and then choose how to react. Free will? External direction? Meaningless at that level, maybe meaningless at your level. The entire “free will or no free will” debate at your level is meaningless because it looks at you as if you were in an impossible isolation. The white cell cannot choose to be in a different drop of blood; to a degree it cannot choose whether to react or how to react to the sensed presence of its natural prey. And yet, within these limits, it can, does, and in fact must choose its exact movements, even its larger strategies, so to speak.

Taking a jump here, because this popped into my mind as I was writing that – disobedience?

Continue the analogy. A white cell has its own nature. It lives in an environment it could never escape (and why would it? What would it do, outside the blood stream it was fashioned to play a key role in?) It follows instinct (or, call it the higher self’s purpose) and is fulfilled. But if the white cell turns upon its fellows and begins to rend the cells around it, it ceases to follow its nature and ceases to function as part of a balanced system. There isn’t much point in accusing the cell of moral failing – how can you know the nature or limits of its consciousness? – but, at least in effect, it becomes a rogue element.

The same thing happens at your level, and you may if you wish amuse yourselves trying to determine if criminal elements are so because they were born that way or society mis-shaped them or they deliberately said, “Evil, be thou my good.” The fact remains that elements of any system that begin to function as if they themselves were all that mattered become an obstacle to the system and, we may say, a problem to themselves. However, this doesn’t mean they are an inexplicable error in the system’s design. Any manifestation that is so persistent and that analogously appears in other systems must be considered – perhaps paradoxically – a part of the system.

Trickster, again.

That’s right. And we will resume from here. Bear it in mind: connectivity.

 

Categories: Intuitive Linked Communication (ILC)

Two remarkable films

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Courtesy of Netflix (which in context means courtesy of my brother, whose gift the subscription to Netflix was), I have just seen two extraordinary films. One, “Land of Mine,” is a drama. The other “Under Fire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro, ” is a documentary.

In both cases, moving isn’t the word for it. They are true experiences, that will not leave you unchanged.

“Land of Mine” uses fiction to tell the story of some of the young German POW’s in Denmark who, in 1954, were assigned the extremely dangerous task of removing the two million mines the German army buried on Denmark’s west coast against a possible Allied invasion. (More than half those who were assigned the task were killed or injured, the film says.) But the story is not so much about the hair-raising task itself as about the legacy of hatred that five years of occupation had left in the hearts of the Danish people, and the beginnings of reawakening to the humanity of the other side.

Hemingway pointed out in For Whom the Bell Tolls that war rarely kills the ones who deserve killing — the fascists who plan the wars, who commit the atrocities, who direct the terror. Instead, it tends to kill innocent young boys caught up in the army, often against their will. That’s the subtext here, that and the struggle between hatred and decency in the victims of so much entirely unmerited horror.

Tony Vaccaro was a combat soldier who took photos throughout the nine months he spent at war, from Normandy to the Elbe. He became a professional after the war, but his shots during the war were not amateur Kodak moments. He set our to make an honest record, then couldn’t bear to look at his negatives for decades. The thing that makes this documentary extraordinary is that it blends his photography on 1944 and 1945 with modern footage, and with commentary from (and footage of) the old man he has become, as long as commentary from various Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalists.

Professional rah-rah patriots probably won’t like either of these films, but real people will.

Categories: Past And Future

Chasing Smallwood .23. Caesar and Napoleon

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[A book with four interlocking themes:

  • how to communicate with the dead;
  • the life of a 19th-century American;
  • the massive task facing us today, and
  • the physical world’s place in the scheme of things.

.23. Caesar and Napoleon

[Sunday, January 29, 2006]

The events of the past few weeks have showed me that I was going about it all wrong – 180 degrees wrong – in trying to deduce past-life connections. In fact it applies to anything that is connected below (or above) consciousness. Search first – and you can hardly call it searching, it will be right in front of you – for what you resonate to. If you feel connected to the South Seas (I don’t) chance are that the South Seas are important to you. If you like cowboys, it doesn’t mean you were a cowboy – but look.

It’s only sense. I don’t know why it took so long to penetrate.

Interestingly, my few books on the Civil War are not here. But I did see in the Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia that Shiloh happened not in the fall of ’61 as I had thought but in the spring of ’62, and that the Chattanooga campaign was in the summer of ’63, not ‘62. I could not have made so gross an error in the timing of the eastern campaigns, I think.

So, Joseph, I am not so inclined to try to “correct” your memories! And it actually is reassuring when what I get seems like it can’t be right and I find that what I’d thought I’d known is wrong.

[Wednesday, February 1, 2006]

(Noon) Joseph, shall we start again about the Civil War.

Up to you. Always up to you. Once you’re in no-time it’s as if you were in all-time. It ain’t like talking to you stops me from doing anything.

All right. So I looked up Shiloh and found it was in the Spring of ’62 and Chattanooga and all was ’63, not ’62 the way I thought I’d remembered it. And that’s all I looked up, as my Civil War books are conveniently and suspiciously packed up in boxes in the garage –as you know. So – over to you.

Well, it’s a good point you made somewhere, that your trying to make my account fit in with what you thought you knew was working from a bad assumption – You’re assuming that if one or the other is wrong, it has to be me. But even published accounts contradict each other sometimes, you know. They say Napoleon made military mistakes in his memoirs.

Let me divert you, though the thoughts are coming faster than the pen can move. I was going to ask how Napoleon could possibly have known so much about politics, warfare, science and managing men, starting so young – and I heard “Caesar.”

Yes. Caesar, back again. And who else do you think could have known all that? The reason it isn’t widely recognized is that Caesar in his time is seen in a different context than Napoleon in his, and so he looks different.

What I mean is this. Caesar was an aristocrat in a slave-holding society; a man of letters despite that, a man of diplomacy – pretty shady diplomacy, especially in the disgraceful episode with the Persian king – and a self-taught soldier who was nothing less than a genius. Plus, he was merciful in a hard time, and knew how to use that mercy for his own ends. But he lived in pre-Christian times, and so he looks better to us than if he were to have the same characteristics nearly 1800 years later.

Take Napoleon in that light. Still unscrupulous, still a military genius, still sexually voracious, still calculating, still a skilled diplomat, man of letters, and all that. But the times had moved on. Caesar’s characteristics didn’t look so good against Christian ethics and morality even if honored mostly in the breach and not the observance by most people most of the time.

Napoleon in Caesar’s time would have been a step up from the norm, in intellect, vision and far-sighed reform (the Code Napoleon that he instigated) and in fact that’s Caesar’s life.

But Caesar in Napoleon’s time – well, we see the rascality of his career, as well as the greatness. We see clearly that though he was a great man he was not a good one – and we couldn’t quite say that of Caesar in Caesar’s time.

You see? And this doesn’t even touch how much bad example Napoleon was. The world could have profited by South American revolutionaries consciously styling themselves on George Washington; instead, people like Bolivar thought they were Napoleon. A man ain’t responsible for the people he inspires, maybe – but he surely is responsible for what he sends out into the world by what he is and what he does. Washington was a good man. Nobody would say Napoleon was.

Now to resume about mistakes. The only point that matters here is – am I real? Do I really represent for you an actual man, an actual life, and do I have actual access to actual memories. If you could say “yes” to all that, you wouldn’t have a problem and I could make all the mistakes I liked; you could feel the connection slip here and there and it wouldn’t matter a damn. But until you can, there ain’t any use in wishing it was so. We just go to do the best we can. The only thing is, don’t let what you think are mistakes – even big ones – immediately persuade you there’s nothing here. Even a dog gets a day in court, or something like that. You know. If you think something’s wrong, don’t clutch up, just call me on it and we’ll see where we wing up. When you and Rita was “talking to the guys” and she asked ‘em one thing one week and a while later would say “what you’re saying now seems to contradict what you said then” – did that smash the works to flinders? It did not. Every time, they stopped, said “well you got to understand,” and tied the two together. Every time there was a gain in comprehension, you know? What if she’d been afraid to call ‘em on it for fear they didn’t exist? How far could she have gotten?

Okay. I see your point. It seems like I’ve been going at this wrong way to, just like the question of affinities and memories.

Now, you don’t entirely realize it, but you’re sort of tired. Take a break and we can come back to this when you can and want to.

Categories: Intuitive Linked Communication (ILC)

Nathaniel on Anastasia’s question (4)

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Nathaniel on Anastasia’s question (4)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

4 a.m. Continuing with the question of why we are living the particular version of our lives that we are on. As with last time, I have little idea where you intend to go with this, but it worked out well before, so presumably it will work out again.

A major stumbling-block is that you tend to think of the system – any system you analyze – as if it were more static than it is. View it in motion, and things change. Relationships and consequences clarify.

So, if you look at 3D life, or “the afterlife,” or immediate-post-physical-death occurrences like “past life reviews,” or past lives themselves – or anything – they look one way if considered as a one-time event, another way if seen as continuing process.

Isolation in space, isolation in time, always distorts the reality you examine. It may be necessary to examine a thing in isolation, but it distorts. So, once you’ve looked at it closely, look at it again in broader context – in time, that is (in repeated sequence), not less than in space (that is, extension).

That is easier to assent to in principle than to comprehend in practice.

Still, it is worth bearing in mind. It will help you understand anything better.

So, in this question of particular timelines. Given the fact that a decision is, in effect, a change of timeline – well, we need to sketch out several things needing to be sketched out in turn. What is a decision, and who makes it, for one. What a decision actually does; that is, how it affects timelines. Why decisions are possible, why they are made, for another. How they are made. And, not least, how all this is affected by, and affects, other layers of consciousness. That’s a lot to have to accomplish, but it seemed better to set out the problem so you would have some idea where we’re headed. How long it takes us to survey the field is of much less concern.

I get that orienting us – or me, maybe – somehow makes the task easier on your end.

If only in that it reduces anxiety, certainly. Perhaps anxiety isn’t the correct word, but something akin to it, anyway.

I’m not insulted. I get it. It’s easier to trust that you know how to get where you want to go if there is a road map, and it’s easier to believe in the road map’s existence if you cite some landmarks. Clumsy analogy, but the point is, I know what you mean.

So, what is a decision, and who makes it? Probably it won’t astonish you to hear that it makes a difference where you view the situation from.

No, it doesn’t astonish me. Viewpoint and perspective – and the usefulness of repeatedly changing them during any examination – have been pretty well ingrained in us by now.

Look at it first from a 3D individual’s point of view, then from the All-D self, then from the larger being of which the 3D being is a part, and watch things change appearance.

So. you in 3D are living your life. There comes a moment of choice, large or small, as occurs continually. You pay no attention or little attention or really focused attention on the choice, depending on the magnitude of its apparent immediate importance. Then that decision leads to the next, continually. This process may be paraphrased by saying  the choices are made in varying degrees of a mixture of predisposition and deliberate conscious weighing of options.  In the nature of things, most choices, even quite important ones in their consequences (but seemingly less so in their immediate importance) are made more or less by pre-existing disposition; that is, by habit, by accustomed inclination.

In other words, mostly we don’t do much deciding at all.

Considering yourselves as conscious, aware, individuals, that’s right. Mostly you run along the rails your life has set down for you. And this is not only not a problem, it’s how things have to be (considered as a system), if you think of it. To consciously decide every little detail of your life would be exhausting, like having to concentrate to tie your shoes or write your name or sip your coffee. That’s what habit is, after all, Colin Wilson’s robot that helps you live your life.

But now look at it a little more deeply. Without for the moment examining the moments when you do consciously decide, consider how your day-to-day drifting looks to your All-D self. It has a wider view of your life – wider, longer, in greater depth, in fuller potential extent. Whereas you in 3D mostly do not see your life in perspective (being overcome by the perpetually moving present moment), the All-D self always sees it in perspective, even though the perspective is perpetually in motion.

I know that “overcome” isn’t quite the right word, but I had to use it or come to a complete stop. Overshadowed, or overawed aren’t quite right either.

Yes, you are looking for a 19th century word you scarcely remember, which makes it hard. Given that

Overshadowed. [Forgetting that I had just considered that one!]

That will do; you mean – we mean – haunted, in a sense; our consciousness fixed on the present moment.

Overshadowed isn’t quite it either. I wish I could think of how to say it. Obsessed, fixated, haunted – all of these have something of the right meaning, but not quite. (Why is this important?)

We can get along without it, but the right flavor would tell you something about your lives that isn’t necessarily obvious to you.

I’ll let it churn in the background. Maybe it’ll surface. [Looking up synonyms for haunted, later, the closest I could find to the word I want is entranced, or obsessed. Still not the word, though.]

So. Your All-D self does pay attention to all the little things you can’t be bothered with consciously. It, your vastly wrongly named “unconscious” self, pays attention. It sees future consequences; it keeps in mind past pre-existing conditions. It knows when a step to the right or to the left will make a difference in your life, and it also knows which way you tend to move when it makes no particular difference. You might say that your larger-than-only-3D awareness is always making your decisions for you according to past demonstrated predilections unless and until you overrule (or confirm) its judgment by 3D-oriented willpower.

Now look at it from your Sam’s point of view (though “point of view” is misleading. “Field of view” might be a little less so.) San continually balances input from all its lives. Therefore in effect it has preferences, moment to moment, that your All-D self picks up.

That relationship isn’t quite clear. Why “therefore”?

“As above, so below.” Envision your daily life, balancing input. Sam reacts, as you do in your sphere, with preferences for greater or less change, in this or that direction, of this or that level of intensity. It isn’t just one-way feed. Sam is not sitting at the City Desk reading reports from various places and doing nothing in consequence. Like a City Desk editor, he reacts to what he reads; he makes decisions, and issues instructions and queries. Don’t carry the illustration too far, but it may help correct the unconscious idea you have (people have) that Sam just sits there reading reports, and doesn’t interfere.

Seems to me that is how Sam’s function has been portrayed to us.

No, it is that only part of the relationship has been sketched, till now. Sequential exposition is a painfully long process.

Now there you have three different levels entering into any potential decision. You in 3D mostly don’t decide consciously. You as part of your All-D self decide continuously, but mostly by default – “steady on course, straight ahead.” And Sam intervenes only at important moments, like you in 3D in a sense, only the moments are likely to be different, and the factors entering into the decision are likely to be very different, and Sam’s preferences have to be expressed via your All-D self, which has to get your 3D attention or acquiescence for at least non-interference.

And that’s enough for the moment.

Very interesting, thank you.

 

Categories: Intuitive Linked Communication (ILC)

America’s Long Journey: Cowboys and Indians and nesters

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Nineteenth century (1900 back to 1800)

Cowboys and Indians and nesters

In the mid-20th century, movies and television ran Westerns as staples, several series appearing week after week, for years. Kids routinely got toy six-shooters and just as routinely played Cowboys and Indians. The Wild West, at least the Wild West as re-imagined by Hollywood, had a firm grip on the people’s imagination. Perhaps it represented an ideal of freedom from urban crowding and suburban conformity, freedom from bureaucracy and office routine and dull postwar reality after the exciting World War II years. Nobody would be idealizing the Depression years, nor the Roaring Twenties that had roared so conspicuously over the cliff. Not much enthusiasm for a war to end wars that had paved the way for a bigger and more desperate crusade 20 year later, and that brought us back to Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, a moment in time. But there was a time after the Civil War and before the frontier disappeared into a seamless web of (dull) civilization. This was the 1870s and 1880s, which looked increasingly romantic.

The reality wasn’t quite as romantic as Hollywood would later paint it. If you look at The Old West in terms of economic and social forces, it retains a certain appeal, but it is a long way from Hopalong Cassidy.

First, the Indians. Plains Indians, unlike their Eastern counterparts, were nomadic, their homes light, quickly assembled and quickly taken down. Within the broad confines of their own more or less defined tribal areas, they moved along with the seasons, and with the buffalo, and according to whatever else moved them. Their way of life seemed to stem from time immemorial, but in fact was transitional. It depended upon two things they got from Europeans, and then from Americans: horses, and firearms.

The horse came to the plains Indians only beginning in the 1500s, when the Spanish, who brought horses to the new world, began losing them to raids and runaways. But the Indians adapted to the new animals so well, and reshaped their lives so thoroughly around their new mobility, that they became what been described as the finest light cavalry the world has ever known. By the time white settlers came pouring across the plains in the wake of the Civil War, and earlier, during the 1840s when white settlers in trains of horse-drawn wagons crossed the plains on their way to Oregon and California, and even earlier than that, when the mountain men began to trap beaver in the Rocky Mountains, and even earlier than that, when Lewis and Clark came by at the beginning of the century to get a sense of what the newly acquired Louisiana territory included, Indians had had horses so long that it seemed as if they had always had them. Still, the horse was a European import.

So were firearms, and this cultural acquisition did not work out as well as the horse had. Indians were nomads; hunters. Their way of life made no provision for a manufacturing industry, and yet, in acquiring firearms, they had become dependent upon a product of industry. Firearms without fresh cartridges were useless, and the Indians had no way to manufacture cartridges, and no interest in changing to be able to do so. Firearms also broke, or wore out, or were lost or stolen, and needed to be replaced. The only ways Indians had were purchase or theft. Widespread theft wasn’t practical, and purchase amounted to being fleeced, as purchasers dependent upon particular traders are always fleeced. (The price of a new rifle was sometimes set at the height of a rifle in beaver skins packed flat.)

The logic of trade resulted in Indians hunting more and more in order to obtain cartridges that allowed them to hunt more and more. Although modern romantics like to think of Indians as natural ecologists who lived in harmony with nature, etc., etc., when economic push came to economic shove, they joined the French Canadian and American trappers in trapping and shooting the beaver, for instance, to the point of extinction. In the case of the Indian, as in the case of the white trapper, it was a matter of inexorable economic logic. The real and tangible needs of the few outweighed the abstract and invisible needs of the whole. They always do, unless there is a countervailing pressure from somewhere, and that implies a larger view and an exponent of the larger view. Among the whites, Thoreau was one, as we shall see. So was John Muir. So were a few others. Surely some Indians must have understood what was happening as well, but an oral society leaves us no written records to consult.

In any case, there was a more fundamental conflict. The Indians were nomadic hunters and the whites were farmers and ranchers, settlers, who could only see undivided land as pre-civilization. (Indeed, that hasn’t changed. European patterns of land ownership have made us nearly unable to think in terms of land that is not owned. If nobody has title, it is presumed to be owned by the government. What’s more, America simplified European forms of land ownership, omitting whole classes of provisional or conditional ownership and replacing all with ownership in fee simple. Only later would we begin to rediscover the advantages of restrictions on ownership, in such things as land trusts, easements, etc.)

Where was the basis for compromise between a way of life that depended upon the free movement of millions of buffalo across hundreds of miles, and one that depended upon land surveys, property lines, and fences? There was no way to square that circle. Either the Indians would remain upon the land, living their pre-industrial existence (yet ever more dependent upon the weapons, tools and conveniences their new industrial neighbors could provide, for a price), or they – and the thundering herds of buffalo upon which they depended – would have to go. It didn’t help that many whites looked upon the Indians as savages – in fact, “savage” was the accepted word for them, before the less prejudicial word “natives” came into use – but even if they had been accepted as equals, how could settlers and nomads coexist?

But before the farmers and the towns came the cowboys. In 1866, trading post owner Jesse Chisholm and Black Beaver, a Lenape Indian, collected some of the stray cattle that filled the Texas plains and drove them to railheads in Kansas to be shipped East, where cattle went for $40 a head, as opposed to $4 a head in Texas. Texas cattlemen eventually drove an estimated five million head of Texas cattle along the Chisholm Trail to Kansas and thence East to market.

Huge cattle ranches gradually grew up throughout the plains states, wherever water was available and Indian resistance was not too strong. (In some areas, sheep were raised rather than cattle, but there was a bitter hostility between cattle ranchers and sheep herders, as sheep ruined the land for cattle grazing and horsemen consider sheep herders, who worked mostly afoot, as lesser beings than those like themselves who lived in the saddle.) These ranches were unfenced, and relied upon cowboys to keep watch over the herds day and night, and at the proper time drive them to the nearest railhead to get to market. Cowboys and Indians thus resembled each other in many respects, but the differences were profound enough to keep them on opposite sides. Cowboys lived in bunkhouses when not night-herding or cattle-driving; they read newspapers and magazines when available; if they saw cities seldom, they still considered themselves, proudly, part of the new nation still being constructed. And of course they were proud of being white, except (as was not all that uncommon) when they were black. They clung to a superiority stemming from their being part of “civilized” rather than a “savage” society.

And with time came new forces, that sent the open range the way of the untrammeled herds of buffalo. The railroads brought towns, and towns were surrounded not by ranches but by farms, and farmers – sometimes contemptuously called “nesters” – were looked upon by the cowboys with as little favor as Indians or sheep-herders. Didn’t matter. Farmers were the future and cowboys, the past. It would take a while, a couple of generations, but by 1890 the census bureau announced that the frontier – a line of demarcation separating the settled from the unsettled part of the country – had disappeared. Cowboys (and cavalry) had overcome the Indians, but civilization had overcome the cowboys in turn.

Categories: Uncategorized