The south side of Toulouse has, over the past 30 years, been transformed from one grid into another. Once a checkerboard of small farms and fields, it is now a checkerboard of office buildings and parking lots. Perhaps there is no more fitting symbol of the transformation of the agricultural economy into a service economy.
To link this zone d'activité to other commercial zones in and around Toulouse, a series of "rocades" have been constructed. To link Blagnac to the north in expectation of further development, the rocade is called the Voie Lactée (Milky Way). To link it to the south the rocade is called the Arc-en-Ciel (Rainbow). On both of these rocades one can see that the access preceded the need; the buildings rise up because now, they can. Their names evoke the aerospace industry which is the agglomerations breadwinner.
A few years ago a Colorado-based company called StorageTek swept into town with the promise of jobs. In exchange for creating a mere 470 jobs, the city of Toulouse gave the company 12 hectares off the Arc-en-Ciel and built a nearly 20 million-euro facility to go on it. Local municipalities also pitched in 7.31 million euros to help the company start operation. To make a long story short, StorageTek didn't come through. Not even half the promised jobs appeared and the company eventually pulled up stakes and left the place entirely, leaving a massive and expensive building and campus, replete with helicopter pad, empty. Toulouse was stuck holding the bill, and they recovered half of the sum later for promises unfulfilled.
As far as these things go, the building is rather handsome and landscaped with a subtle series of sidewalks going nowhere in strange geometric patterns; satellite photos are charmingly evocative of crop circles, at least to the imagination so inclined.
What isn't imaginary, however, is the small pyramid which is set at the entrance to the facility. (Getting a good picture of this pyramid will be tricky, but we'll see what we can do). [Got it! 10/03]
Like the pyramid at the Blagnac Centre Commercial (see Pyramid Power) it is placed within a circular base which serves as a fountain. LoS readers will also recognize this similarity to the so-called "Temple of Supreme Wisdom" in Blagnac (see Can an evil tree produce good fruit?)
Like both Blagnac fountains, a line at the top of the pyramid serves to accentuate the cap. In this case the round base serving as a pool has an oval extension in the direction of the main building which is a landscaped with palm trees and from above gives the impression of a keyhole.
The [first] picture of the pyramid shown above is nicked from a realtor's website (hope the link mollifies) which also tells us that the name of the campus is "Golf Park." Remember that in Pyramid Power we spoke of another development with an incongruously English name called "Green Park." This latter Egyptianate set of office buildings is also decorated with palms and just down the road is a monument to the A330 test flight accident which viewed from the ground gives an impression of a pyramid; from above it resembles a keyhole.
Note the repetitive circle patterns in this picture, like some sort of Kabbalistic sephirot gone awry, or even simply one giant golf course superimposed on the one the little people play on.
Just to add some spice to the mix, StorageTek left the premises after being acquired by Sun Microsystems. Sun was later acquired by Oracle. The realtor flogging the current empty space is named Bruno Pentecôte (Pentecost). What all that means is in the mind of the beholder. But why couldn't it simply be a Mr. Brown or involve companies with far less evocative names? Pentecost refers to the moment after Easter when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and caused everyone to start speaking in tongues. Or as we call it, babbling! Like a brook.
The name "Golf Park" derives from the fact that the campus sits on a golf course. Here we imply no conspiracy or intentionality, but there are many poetically resonant aspects to this association germane to this post which will become apparent in the next section. The connection between Golf and Freemasonry may or may not be intrinsic, but at least one synchromystic seems to think so. This latter link is especially resonant for LoS because it not only links golf with Freemasonry, but to the moon.
Another resonance, completely a propos of nothing, is that in researching stuff for the Gid's Gog and Magog posts, we discovered that this is the name of an elite English Golf Course! Which is pure comedy gold.
And all that water which went onto the crops now makes nice greens for those with a little disposable green.
The most important resonance is less metaphor than fact. A golf course is, after a park, probably the most blatant example of the Western man's desire to improve upon and sculpt nature, to impose a vision of order upon the organic in order to suit his purposes: to eat, play, mingle and above all, make money.
Tessellation of the plane
While there are several variations within definitions, the word "development" usually implies a notion of progress or improvement. In our opinion this notion is intrinsically linked with a linear notion of time and results in the progressive hierarchical structures one sees for example, in the military, the Boy Scouts and even that old bugaboo Freemasonry. There are systems of ranks which do in fact reach a culmination; it is a linear concept and moving towards the apex is called advancing or climbing through the ranks . Ostensibly towards the tip of a pyramidal organization.
Urban development then, is implicitly presented to people as "progress". We argue, however, that this is linked primarily to the rise of modern capitalism and Western notions of time and space. It's no secret that for many non-Western peoples the concepts of time and property ownership are radically different than our own. They simply don't exist as we envision them.
In lieu of urban development, we prefer the term tessellation of the plane. In recent posts we have rather casually linked this concept to Freemasonry, to which it is most certainly linked, but perhaps we have been unfair in our implications.
Before 1717, there is very little known about Freemasonry; there are cryptic references and speculation, but very little hard data. It would appear that in 1646 Elias Ashmole was initiated into the fraternity. This comes from his own diaries where he says "I was made a Free Mason at Warrington..." There are any number of good articles on the subject available on the web.
Warrington, incidentally, possibly derives its name from "people at the weir." A weir is a low dam. The name Washington is a similar "locational surname" which might be from weis, or wash, which is an estuary or water running in from the sea, perhaps the shallow part of a river. (See water.) Controlling the flow, anyone?
What is certain is that after 1717, the public phase of Freemasonry is well documented. We need not recount the details, but suffice it to say that in the 18th century it flourished and by century's end included notables from all walks of life: the military, the aristocracy, the world of commerce, the clergy. It's also no secret that among the revolutionary upheavals of the time, Freemasons played prominent roles: Bolivar, Washington, etc. Hence the endless reams of conspiracy theory surrounding the New World Order and the Illuminati etc. ad nauseum.
Interestingly for a period in which so many dastardly (or heroic, depending on your perspective) revolutionary deeds were ascribed to the Illuminati, we call this period the Age of Enlightenment. The period where reason and rationalism came to the forefront of intellectual life.
Freemasonry fits into all of this for its very specific rationalist worldview. Freemasonry in many ways embodies the Newtonian model of the clockwork universe. The Universe was not a chaotic and random place. It was strictly subject to laws which could be fathomed by the mind. God becomes the Great Architect of the Universe.
But Newton, rational as he may have been, was also a mystic. He was deeply interested in the Kabbala and numerology. His was a mathematical route towards the understanding of the Mind of God. The Freemasonic model of God as architect can be viewed the same way. Some have posited that the Scientific Revolution turned architecture away from a metier concerned with mystical and numerological consideration into "'blind technological intentionality'....in which rationality was its primary objective."(Albo, 2007). We would argue that while this may be true in some part, the conflict between rationality and mysticism only plays out in minds predisposed to think of them as irreconcilable. However, a fundamental esoteric tenant is the reconciliation of opposites: As Above, So Below. Rationality could be put into the service of mysticism. Newton serves as a perfect example. Freemasonry another.
Which brings us back to the tessellation of the plane. Perhaps the most blatant symbol of this doctrine is the chessboard, where black and white squares form a larger whole; the squares are interdependent within their unity for the great game. And the checkerboard pattern is a common motif in Masonic tracing boards.
Weights and Measures
In the Age of Enlightenment, aka the Age of Reason, we see other developments linked to the tessellation doctrine. The development of the metric system, for example--a perfectly rational system of measurement based upon mathematical relationships existing solely in the mind--has replaced in all but three countries old standards of measurement. Imperial measurements, for example, are based upon the human body: an inch comes from the width of the thumb (indeed the French word for inch and thumb are the same); the foot comes from the average foot. The yard an average human stride. Horses are measured in hands and so forth. Needless to say, this could lead to discrepancies and we are told that the primary motivation for France to adopt the metric system was to resolve disputes involving commerce and taxation; presumably this would extend towards the measurement of land. The metric system was adopted by France in 1791.
Speaking of land, which we feel has become of paramount importance in our apocalyptic times (see Gog and Magog: Ruminations), it was in 1790, at Napoleon's instigation, that the French were obliged to abandon their traditional provinces in favor of the current departments. This change was explicitly for the purpose of imposing a more rational structure on the land and to mitigate cultural differences in order to homogenize and unify the people. Once again, as with the adoption of the metric system the next year, the traditional, organic standards were replaced by rational and more artificial ones.
It was the Age of Enlightenment, after all, and the light of reason was held up like a lamp to illuminate the shadow of ignorance and thus dispel superstition, local tradition and notions of distinct cultural identities. For all its variety, France today remains Europe's most centralized and homogeneous state.
Across the channel in England, it may also be worth pointing out that during roughly the same period (1750-1860) the Enclosure Acts were at their zenith. Roughly speaking the Enclosure Acts were literally government acts to enclose common lands and privatize them, concentrating the land into the hands of wealthy landowners. Marxist interpretation reads this as a way to force the peasantry into the cities and thus create the proletariat, the cheap labor supply for an increasingly industrialized nation. One doesn't really need to be a Marxist to see that this was so; maybe not by design but true nonetheless; it's no coincidence that Age of Enlightenment was also concurrent with the rise of modern capitalism.
It's also no great leap to state that in addition to idealistic notions of rationality, the rearrangement of territory in back in Revolutionary France also were designed to facilitate commerce and economic development as with the adoption of new metric standards by which to measure these new arrangements.
Standardized measurement served both the interests of commerce and the division of land among an increasingly wealthy minority. It is interesting to note that George Washington, famous Freemason and revolutionary, was also a surveyor. But more importantly, he was a land speculator.
So as we run out of space to occupy, in a world where homesteading is a scandalously bygone possibility, where guys like Ted Turner buy up millions of acres of Patagonia and George Bush Senior millions of acres in Paraguay above the largest freshwater aquifer in the world, where the average person dreams the dream and puts themselves 30 to 100 years in debt to own a postage stamp somewhere in which to merely breathe free, what's left to control?
Coups d'état, even revolutions have involved re-appropriating the land and what's beneath it: gold, uranium, even water. That free air might be next. As Below So Above.