Tuesday, 23 October 2012


“What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more.” - Seneca

Magpie Tales has become lured by filthy lucre this week, choosing one of the images appearing on the USA dollar bill for this week’s mimetic inspiration. The Great Seal of the United States can be easily viewed on the back of a one-dollar bill. The obverse is on the right side (the eagle) of the bill, while the reverse is on the left side (the pyramid).

The unfinished pyramid has been interpreted as a masonic symbol. With the motto ANNUIT COEPTIS the subject of the verb must be supplied, and the translator must also choose the tense. In 1892 it was suggested that the missing subject was in effect the eye at the apex of the pyramid, and thus the motto became (in the present tense) “it (the Eye of Providence) is favourable to our undertakings”.  In later publication the missing subject of the verb ANNUIT was construed to be God, and the motto has been translated in more recent Department publication (in the perfect tense again) as "He (God) has favoured our undertakings”.

NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM has been linked to Virgil, the renowned Roman poet who lived in the first century BC. In his Eclogue IV, the pastoral poem that expresses the longing of the world for a new era of peace and happiness, we read:
“Magnus ab integro seclorum nascitur ordo”

Virgil’s line has been translated in different ways, including:
The great series of ages begins anew
The ages’ mighty march begins anew
A mighty order of ages is born anew
The majestic roll of circling centuries begins anew.


“Novus” means: New, young, fresh, novel.
means: Series, row, order.
, a shortened form of seculorum (sæculorum), is the plural of seculum (sæculum), means: Generations, centuries, or ages.

Thomson, a Latin expert, coined the motto: “Novus ordo seclorum” and explained its meaning: “The date underneath [the pyramid] is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Era, which commences from that date”.

Here is my offering today, centring also on money…

The Backing

And we have God as the backing
Of our life’s peregrinations,
Just as the gold is locked up
Deep in the safest bank’s vault,
Backing our paper currency.
And with the worthless paper, we buy
Flesh and spirit: Human souls sold by the pound;
And our life just like currency
Is used to buy us our place in Paradise.

Funny how the economy trips along
On pictures printed on paper,
While in some dark dungeon
Gold’s shimmer is extinguished.

Isn’t it funny how we value all
Based on the glint of a caveman’s eye
When he first beheld the sparkling
Gold nugget in some stream?

And even funnier perhaps,
Is weighing our every action
On what the savage invented
To protect himself from fear of death?

Poor man, wandering aimlessly in eternity!
How could you even imagine
That your life is a failing economy
Based on a currency without backing…

1 comment:

  1. Clever writing, leaving us with quite a bit to think about...