September 17, 2018

Shad Brooks

Dear Shad Brooks,
I enjoy enormously your lectures on medieval subjects.  Let nothing I have to say detract from that even though I may end this with a challenge.  You recently mentioned King Arthur of whom I once knew more than most as he featured in my honors thesis in college.  I speak strictly of the man who led the Celts at Badon Hill. 

People are very superstitious, and an oft repeated tale tends to accumulate magical elements.  An obvious case would be the magical sword.  If a young man strikes often enough with a sword, the metal will harden, lose its temper, become brittle and break.  You can tell it’s going to happen because the blade will begin to ring.  An unbreakable sword would be a natural thing for a hero to have. 

So exclude any magic.  Things went ill for the Saxons on Badon.  That was actually a forgone conclusion.  If you look at you will see that regimes fail according to a strict schedule.  For the whole story, check The reason is, essentially always, that the regime stops having babies.  The Celts won because their time was not yet up.  Within a generation, however, they lost to those same Saxons.  No babies – no future.  The Saxons  survived most of the 300 year maximum life span until they were almost overrun by Vikings; their time in turn was about up, but in Wessex there were still babies, if Alfred is any clue.  Alfred’s regime lasted again most of 300 years until Hastings. 

After Badon Hill it must have been obvious that there were no babies, and indeed people must have remarked on it.  And then, in one of the momentous adventures ever, some of the knights looked around for a cure.  Of course, they were looking for something magical, so it was all in vain, but evidently a few on the quest went over to France.  This was remarkable enough so that it was remembered until Cretien de Troyes wrote of it.  The legend was the Holy Grail.  But the quest in all likelihood was real.

The Grail is no cup but a biological process; if you understand it – and if there is time, which is just now most problematic – the babies will never fail and your civilization (and its technology, values and so forth) may endure indefinitely.  It is all one to me; at my age it is improbable that I see babies in the developed world stop altogether, and quite impossible that I die when the collapse of the civilization reduces us to famine and cannibalism.  However, some of us have an investment in the future – like children. 

So I say the Grail quest, although not an actual Grail object, was real and goes on.  The world awaits a hero with great motivation, world class ability to communicate, intelligence of the highest order and, yes, a lot of courage.  It’s all laid out in the second link and the thirty-two subordinate links, courtesy of the iconic little old hermit in the cave.  If you take the quest I shall help in any way.  Otherwise please accept my thanks for your admirable work.


M. Linton Herbert MD

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