Introduction: Three – Dubio transcendit

You and I arrive at the third stage on our Odyssey. Now we will give a first interpretation to – and derive a first meaning from [1] – the complex universe around us. By making sense and derive meaning from the things around us, a creative process starts. Most of this process of creating and recreating is beyond our perception [2]. This invisible creative process goes its own way. We can only trust in the good event of these developments beyond our control.

The tiny part of the creation and recreation that you and I may control, we try to change to our advantage. We think that we need this advantage for our survival. Here we act selfish. Later, you and I will encounter more complex forms of ethics. Now we start at the beginning of conscious creativity and our opinion about it.

Our selfishness is often overtly and socially acceptable in our society. We hunt and gather, we perform farming, we work in factories or offices, or by mutual agreement we will prevail over others. All these actions are questionable: later we will come back to this. But sometimes this selfishness is unacceptable and is obtained by force or by law suits.

In specific cases, we camouflage our selfishness by adding appropriate images to acts that are not acceptable on its own. Around wars and the conquest of land linger all sorts of myths and rituals [3].

In one particular case the number three is also used to justify the theft of cattle in a myth: it is the Trito myth followed by the myth of the cattle cycle [4] [5].

In the Proto-Indo-European world, the creation of the world is interpreted by the Trito myth.
The twins Manu – related to the word “man” [6] – and Twin travel through the universe accompanied by a cow. The two brothers decide at a certain moment to create the world. This requires that Twin must be sacrificed. From the remains of Twin, Manu creates with the help of the gods the separate parts of the world. By this act Manu became the first priest [7] and the first inventor of the ritual sacrifice by which the world was created.

When the world was finished, the sky-gods gave cattle to the “third man” named Trito. But the cattle was cleverly stolen by a three-headed snake. With help of the storm gods, Trito killed the snake and freed the animals. Some of the cattle were given to priests for a smoke offering to the sky gods. By this act Trito [8] was the first warrior. He restored the prosperity of the people and his gift of livestock to the gods ensured that the cycle of gifts between gods and humans continued.

The second myth – the cattle cycle [9] – is a continuation of the Trito myth. In the cattle cycle, God [10] gives cattle to the farmers who in turn take care of the cattle and and increase the herd. Foreign men raid the cattle. The warriors seize the cattle back and give a part of the cattle to the priests for smoke offerings to God who in turn thanks for the sacrifices by giving cattle to farmers again.

The raiding of cattle has obtained a central place in this culture by both myths.  It is an essential act to acquire property. With the acquisition of livestock by raiding, warriors may obtain means of exchange for acquiring one or more women [11]. In the Proto-Indo-European world, women represent the only real property of value [12]. Only by holding the highly regarded medium of exchange – cattle – warriors can get women for posterity.

The cattle cycle provides a basis for a ritual of mutual trust – Credo (I believe) – between gods, priests, men and classes of people themselves. In this case, cattle are a metaphor for mutual trust, a role that money has taken over in our society.

In the following messages you and I will encounter the “person in the middle, “the object in the middle” and the “spirit in the middle”.


[1] See : Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Phénoménologie de la Perception

[2] See also: Eames-Charles&Ray, Powers of Ten (1977) and the post on this subject.

[3] See also: Keegan, John, A History of Warfare (2004); Goldsworthy, Adrian, In the Name of Rome (2003); Crefeld, Martin van, The Culture of War (2008).

[4] See: Anthony, David W., The horse, the Wheel and Language (2007), p. 134

[5] See: Mallory, J.P., In Search of the Indo-Europeans, p. 137

[6] √man: means “think” in Sankrit; “manu” means “intelligent, thought, wise”. Maybe this name already refers to the division of mind and matter similar to the division of sky and earth.

[7] In Sanskrit √pṛ means: “be able, show”; Ish means: “ruler, god”; and √tṛ means: “cross”

[8] kshatriya means warrior in Sanskrit.

[9] See: Mallory, J.P., In Search of the Indo-Europeans, p. 138

[10] “go” means “cow or bull” and “da” means “give”

[11] See Anthony, David W., The horse, the wheel and Language (2007), p. 239

[12] See: McGrath, Kevin, STR women in Epic Mahâbhârata. Cambridge: Ilex Foundation, 2009 p. 9 – 15

[13] Source image: Povray – Float Cloud JvL


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