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The Hispaniola

The ship, "The Hispaniola". is symbolic of Spain, which, in spite of its gold and silver enterprises, still managed to retain its cultural identity. While the rest of the world went industrial, Spain continued the silver and gold trade. Currency can both undermine and help unify cultures (i.e. Switzerland, the EU, and so forth is a recent great example).

 

 

Chad

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opportunity cost and the black spot

[ Edited ]

More simply, you might think of "the black spot" as "opportunity cost" which economists attempt to measure or value. Is "the black spot" simply the opportunity cost of using money. The black spot would be immeasurable because economics would have to anaylze itself - that is, it is not possible or not logical to place a monetary value on the use money. The closest valuation of the black spot might be something economics calls  "transaction cost", if we could come up with a value at all.

 

Chad

 

PS- The black spot is our inability to value a world without money.

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Unemployment, generation gaps and the black spot

The pirate, and moreover the entire age of piracy, could be argued to have been created by a bunch of unemployed buccaneers-  mercenaries hired to help secure trade routes. The line between a buccaneer amd a pirate is a fine one, (hinging on a commission by the crown), and so buccaneers are usually considered to be synonymous with pirates, but they are not necessarily the same thing,

 

And although pirates are criminals, they appeal Jim hawkins' sense of adventure and they appeal to the youth, in general- the Pirates movies and pirates are still very popular. But we tend to think of "generation gaps" as gaps resulting from modernization, that is, young and old are not able to relate because of  rapid societal changes. But are major generation gaps a result of large scale unemployment? For example, could " the generation gap" of the 50's and 60's be the result of the "great depression" of the 1930's?

 

Chad

 

 

   

 

 

 

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The pirate song

"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest-- Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"

 

The first line of the pirate song often appears in "Treasure Island", which encapsulates Stevenson's theme of opportunity cost or "the black spot"- that immeasurable amount of money which either creates labor (for  example, the hoisting of a treasure chest), or drags them along under a keel of a ship, long after the owner of the treasure chest has died- nothing you can do but drink a bottle of rum.

 

Does the labor generate money, or money generate labor? In our modern politics, there have been arguments over how to create jobs. Occasionally the job creation solution is a monetary stimulus of some kind. But hopefully, you won't be lifting anything too heavy:smileyvery-happy:.

 

Chad  

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Re: The pirate song

Just to add the pirate song: social security......arghhhhh....which is estimated to be somewhere in the trillions of dollars...it's a cash reserve that has to be in place for retirees and it is probably the closest approximation of a "black spot". Interestingly, there have been debates over dipping into the reserve. And interestingly, quite recently s.s.has become a drain on our bad economic situation. Usually, s.s is a reserve that we can withdraw from, not pay into.....

 

Chad

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Social security

Just to clarify: "s.s is a reserve that we can withdraw from, not pay into....."

 

People are paying into s.s. now, but s.s. funds are usally way above what it pays out in s.s. benefits. A recent report I had read (which I'll see if I can find) reported that this will not be the case in near future. That is, we have to contribute more to the s.s. fund in order to cover the s.s. checks. So, the solution was either  a rasing of the s.s. rate in the FICA or a taking of funds from the general coffer in some way. The government has enjoyed a surplus of s.s. in years past and that was the controversy over dipping into s.s. funds- from my understanding.

 

Chad  

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Treasure Island

An intersection of land and sea, sight and sound, rock and plants, time and space, reality and imagination, truth and lies, "Treasure Island" is that very special place formed by all of our hard earned money, whether it be in the form of social security checks, IRA's, or buried treasure. Well, you couldn't save up for an island on s.s- maybe if everyone decided to use their s.s collectively to buy an island. But "Treasure Island" is the realization of our dreams. Indeed, you occassionally read about people buying or selling islands- sometimes our earnings are islands in the future, or somewhere right now in the middle of sea.

 

Interestingly, at the time "Treasure Island" was written, humanity was very much grounded, sometimes looking at up a big silver island in the sky, the moon, or humanity's John Silver And then, we finally reached the moon in 20th century of course. The moon is basically a barren planet, and you wonder if  the rock alone, innocent and pure, drew us to it. Our own earth, and human civilization, is certainly a combination of "poisonous" plants and rock. Remember that Stevenson often writes about civilization's use of alcohol (rum) tobacco, and other addictive substances and also how that use reached a pinnacle sometime in the late 1800's- meaning, humanity had to quit the plants cold turkey at that time- the prohibition came later. Indeed, lithium, derived from rock, was used to balance the effects of fermented plants,  as we had read in "Jekyll and Hyde." In any case, if I could be an advocate of money: rocks, like silver and gold, or currency in general, finally brought humanity to the moon. But could we have reached the moon more quickly if nothing had been spent on "poisonous plants?"  Wine, marijuanna, opium, tobacco have been around forever and so has the need....Or could we have reached the moon without them?

 

But there are other planets in our galaxy and an image of a livable planet (i..e with plants and water), captured by a telescope, might motivate humanity to reduce "the black spot", or  use save a portion of our collective "opportunity cost" for space exploration. But "Treasure Island" is also about secrecy, lies and subterfuge So if I had actually found my "treasure planet", why would I tell anyone? Arghhhhhhhhh!

 

 

Chad

 

 

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Axial Skeleton

Robert Louis Stevenson always writes about where things meet: where light meets dark, where good meets evil, the apex, the pinnacle of a pyramid, the top of a mountain- balance. In "Treasure Island", as I mentioned, where things meet is actually "Treasure Island." But I should also mention Skeleton Island, a small island off the coast of Treaure Island and the bay in between both islands in which the Hispaniola anchors.

 

If we view ourselves as ships, the human skeleton is literally our anchors, or our keels- our balance. And scientists believe that organisms achieve a balance within their "axial skeletons"-  the skull and the vertebrae. For example, as humans evolved, the human skull became harder as he lost a few segments along his spine- namel his tail. In contrast,  the snake gained a few veterbrae along his spine. So "Treasure Island", next to Skeleton Island, is where the human faces his own evolution- where the human meets the snake or where Jim hawkins meets the rattlesnake, or where Trelawny meets the pirates. 

 

Is the balance we have in our own current axial skeletons the final balance, or will man find a new one? Interestingly, as we age, the human skull retains its hardness as our limbs and spines become more frail.... 

 

 

Chad

 

 

 

 

 

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Religion

Thus far, Long John Silver seems to be the only religious character in the story, who respects God and the bible. At least he recognizes God as the ultimate authority. Stevenson, of course, often writes about religion because of Religion's place at the pinnacle of civilzation(s)- indeed, chuch steeples are indications of where religion is, or at least where religion wants to be. And being at the apex, religion then can also be thought of as "the balance" or the "skeleton" of civilization. But also, as Stevenson writes, civilizations achieve balance in other ways, way perhaps not so positive- as in alcohol or in money. Therefore, what often occurs at the pinnacle is a spinning mix, like a top, that is often difficult to understand. So if use "religion" as an example: coin minting and alcohol production have historically been a part of religion, and have helped religion achieve political might- but then it probably took a suboordinate position to other societal institutions when it became too oppressive. In any case, we're still trying to understand religion's role in both endeavors....or we still could be a spinning mix of all three.... 

 

Chad 

 

PS- It obviously becomes more complicated when we add gunpowder, shipbuilding, law and science to the apex- which are all in the "Treasure." But I just used alcohol, minting and religion as an example for now......

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Re: Religion addendum

Alcohol is a part of Christian rituals and a few sects of Christianity exclude alchohol from them.

 

Chad 

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Re: Religion addendum

"coin minting and alcohol production have historically been a part of reies to cligion"

 

We get historical tidbits of religion's involvment in metallurgy and beer and wine making. So someone may want to take on a historical thesis topic or dissertation on this most interesting topic. Some monastaries still produce wine and beer, some brewing or wine making began in religion, or maybe religion had acquired wineries or breweries. Remember that the Christian ritual still uses wine.

 

Moreover, mining guilds and precious metals were powers to control, by either the church or the state, or combinations thereof. Throughout history, the Catholic church issued several decrees essentially protecting Spanish goild and silver trade routes and also their own interests. During the reformation, the protestants were able to break away from the catholic church with shipbuilding knowledge- they survived by finding something else of value with which to trade. So, more info. about this shibuilding/protestant technocracy vs. the metallurgy/catholic technocracy has always been needed in my opinion. 

 

Catholicism and Spain sort of sunk with their quest for gold. The Vatican still produces its own money, but also uses the Euro, interestingly- uh oh.....

 

Chad 

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Balance in munitions

Maybe just a few more comments:

 

The characters of "Treasure Island" obviously find a balance in arms- Silver and the pirates vs. Captain Smollett, Trelawney, et alia. 

 

Throughout history, civilizations have reached something we know as "detente" through a balance of armaments. The "cold war" of the 70's and 80's is a great example. 

 

Stevenson describes "balances" as sometimes being "rattlesnakes"- something that can spin around and later bite back... I can definitely see a balance that we sometimes find in arms as a rattlesnake, other balances civilizations have achieved might be a little more difficult to see as snakes until we actually step on them. But how much is the balance that we have in the world today is a balance of arms?- is the question....

 

Chad

 

 

 

 

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Captain Smollett

The U.K. found a balance in its navy and rose to dominate the seas, during the 18th century. Captain Smollettt seemed to have had no difficulty in commanding a ship, either on sea or on land- he seemed to be a keel or a even a backbone himself, even though the Hispaniola had been commissioned by Trelawney and Livesey and had also become embroiled in mutiny Technical sailing knowledge left the apex of the balance of power in Britain a long time ago. That is, gradually a "sailing technocracy" was replaced by steam, and other technology, and maybe even old notions like "the captain always goes down with his ship," which reminded me of the recent Itailian cruise tragedy (?). But Capt. Smollett, obviously in his own element sometime in the eighteenth century.... Chad
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Navy Basics

So, if can you envision our world history as series of balances. one balance (which is what "Treasure Island" is about) is found in arms, particularly in Navies. In times of war or hostilities between Nation states, Nations often find an imbalance (i.e. a shortage) in their Navies in the number of vessels. And sometimes a nation will commission merchant vessels to increase its naval power. Essentially, the piracy that was reported throughout the 1700's was due to an employed "merchant marine", who, no longer needed by the Nation, went rogue- disgruntled and probably without a retirement, they became pirates. Enter Captain Silver, who buries his treasure for a happy retirement on an island in the Carribbean somewhere :smileyvery-happy:

 

Chad

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Treasure Island Again

[ Edited ]

As I stated, Treasure Island is that very special place in natural balance, but also in conflict. It is a place of conflict "realized"- past balances struck by humanity which erupt into fighting or war.  So, it's always interesting to think about what might still be on "Treasure Island".....a fortress, a ship, a fight waiting to be fought before the age of sails.

 

Chad  

 

PS- "Nature" is an important player in politics and world history. Essentially, unresolved conflict or a balances struck in civilization are often "realized" in Nature, whether it be in the North American Wilderness, or somewhere on a remote island in either the Atlantic or the Pacific. So, don't chop any more trees down- they are really who we are, certainly as Americans....:smileyvery-happy: 

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To the "hesitating purchaser"

We're about to leave this wonderful classic- I can't believe it!

 

But let's return briefly something I wrote in the beginning:

 

So I actually stood in a B&N bookstore and hesitated to buy this book.:smileyvery-happy:(?)

 

And my "hesitatation" in my decision to buy the book, or in my decision to buy anything else in the store for that matter, could be classified as a "fight" in my mind over what else I could possibly do with my money at that time, and as a struggle which I "bury" somewhere in my mind at that moment, and, even worse, as a real "treasure" to dig up again sometime in the future, to fight the fight that I had buried in my mind in the past. And if I had stolen the book, even though the security guard may have caught me in the act, then the conflict would have been realized, then and there in the B&N bookstore.

 

So Stevenson writes for the "hesitating purchaser", for all those who often store away a struggle in their minds over a purchase. A brief hesitation on a purchase on the part of one consumer is insignificant. Brief hesitations on the part of an entire economy could quite posssibly lead to a full scale revolt.

 

So what was the mindset of the American revolutionary soldier? And is an economic classification of this "struggle" as an "opportunity cost" simply a delay of a war?

 

Aye mateys! These were the issues of Treasure Island! Argghhhh! And best of luck to ye!

 

Chad 

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On Insanity

I thought the fact that humanity is insane is kind of a "no-brainer." And so we are, as humans, in a constant search and struggle to try and figure out what it is to be "human" and maybe to become more sane- one of the reasons for my literary tour. So the sentiment that "people are crazy" is in and of itself not part of a mental illness, or a mental illness itself- no, we really are crazy!!!!

 

We don't need to pinpoint ways in which we are crazy when we know we can't take measures to improve ourselves, But one major way humans became crazy, as Stevenson illustrates, was/is through daily shopping and budgeting- budgeting is literally a "training" of the human mind to delay a conflict, or needs, etc...Stevenson and pretty much all of the writers probably would not agree with the sentiment that the human is "sane animal", but that sentiment is what makes them great writers...:smileyvery-happy:

 

Chad 

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planetary motion

Quite often the writers of the 1800's write about the planets and their impacts. How much do we resemble the planets? So, if you sat on the pole, either north or south, or maybe if you sat on Treasure Island- things spin in a pattern. But on Treasure Island, things spin visibly. So, you see the the double crested hill, and Spyglass Hill all at once- remember "Treasure Island" is where things materialize.

 

For example, if you own a savings account, you know the value or the mound of money, or the amount your saving in the present, but while you save, you're building an unforeseen hill somewhere else, and Spyglass hill is "government", or "you", that attempts to monitor both hills- it's kind of abstract.

 

But how much do our parties, republican and democrat, and the U.S. government represent this (double crested hill, spyglass hill) pattern?- is still a good question for the present. 

 

Chad

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Re: planetary motion

[ Edited ]

chad wrote:

Quite often the writers of the 1800's write about the planets and their impacts. How much do we resemble the planets? So, if you sat on the pole, either north or south, or maybe if you sat on Treasure Island- things spin in a pattern. But on Treasure Island, things spin visibly. So, you see the the double crested hill, and Spyglass Hill all at once- remember "Treasure Island" is where things materialize.

 

For example, if you own a savings account, you know the value or the mound of money, or the amount your saving in the present, but while you save, you're building an unforeseen hill somewhere else, and Spyglass hill is "government", or "you", that attempts to monitor both hills- it's kind of abstract.

 

But how much do our parties, republican and democrat, and the U.S. government represent this (double crested hill, spyglass hill) pattern?- is still a good question for the present. 

 

Chad


 

I posit that the hills are symbolic. One hill represents that sum of money you might bury away in the present, for the future,which is the other hill ordinarily not seen- but Stevenson envsions a "Treasure Island" where conflict is realized, all of the hills are seen ( past, present and future, etc.)- the conflict on "Treasure Island" is over "buried treasure."

 

The story of piracy is a story of conflict "unrealized" as well, That is, merchant marines, in the 1700's and prior, were built and commissioned by nations,like the U.K., to help protect trade routes- literally, they were built for money. And the money that was stored away with the added protection of the merchant marines, later turned around and bit the nations "like a rattlesnake", when the nations no longer needed their services, and decommissioned many of the vessels and their crews. And the rest is history: the decommissoned vessels became pirates, watching out for other pirates who might take their buried treasure with aid of a spyglass.

 

I like the pirates of the Carribbean movies- the pirate era always needed some attention, and there is some historically accurate information in those movies, I think, along with the fantasy or the make-believe.

 

In general, if I work on a ship, unless I am "mutinous", I have to set aside my own needs for the survival of the crew. And the hierarchy that I find on a ship ensures that I do this. That is, the hierarchy provides a method of conflict resolution- sometimes not always, obviously not in the case of mutiny. In the cases where mutiny could have taken place, or did not, the ship, then, can be considered to be "conflict unrealized." The Hispaniola crew, Captain Smollett, of course had unknowingly employed pirates.

 

Interestingly, Captain Smollett ran a "tight ship." And the spanish ships were reported to not be as "well run" as the British ships. The pirates used a form of election in this story, passing their decisons on as the black spot. And nations of the world continue to find a balance between an electoral process vs. "appointed" or even "self-appointed" leadership.

 

How much did the way pirates ran their ships influence our own government and the world today?

How much of the story is historically accurate?- were just a couple of questions I wondered about as I read.

 

So, on the negative side of this story, every nation of  the world, and the world in general, might folow the two hill, spyglass-hill, "Treasure Island" schematic- and that's all we are now, that's all we ever will be. 

 

But on the positive side, the old gold and silver minted coins, the search for treasures forgotten or lost at sea during the age of pirates, and the moon itself, Long John Silver, will never die, they keep us young and continue to call us to adventure....

 

Chad:smileywink:

 

PS- Because we have probably been saving money for about as long as money has been around, is there an amount of money that has never been realized? What is that amount collectively?- I know we occasionally find coins in walls, like recently in France, or buried in the sand, and so on....

 

 

 

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Funny lines

Sometimes the classics come up with funny lines that make me laugh, and there were a few in "Treasure Island", like this one: Jim to Ben Gunn: "Well," I said, "I don't understand one word that you've been saying. But that's neither here nor there; for how am I to get on board?" Chad