White Rabbit #2 - That Radical Zero

In Lesson #1 we demonstrated that the original sacred doctrine of Debt between Banker-Priests and human society was born of a false rationale. That rationale, in essence, stated that God expended or "sacrificed" a portion of his own resources in order to give life to you, therefore you owe a debt back to God to replenish His "loss" and keep the universe in "balance." This Debt was seen to be the "common surface" that is shared in a trinity relationship, or topological metaphor, between God and Man. We can see how this "closed" interpretation of Man's relationship to his Creator and to the natural world could, and did, devolve into a system of debt slavery imposed by an elite Priesthood.

Conversely, all through history, there have been powerful groups, even actual bloodlines, of people who challenged that "closed" view of Man's relationship to God and the natural world. Author Alan Butler, in his book "The Goddess, the Grail, and the Lodge," focused his attention on the developments of some of these bloodlines as the Roman Empire declined. In his book, Butler uses the label "Troyes Fraternity" to describe this network of families. This network is named after that region with which they were associated in France, the Burgundian city of Troyes. As we will see in this blog, one member of this bloodline saw a chance to turn the medieval world upside-down in the 13th century by adapting the abstract, mystical concept of Zero into Europe's commercial system. Or perhaps he would turn that world rightside-up rather than down? Follow the White Rabbit and decide for yourself.


In his book, Alan Butler shares the research that he has uncovered regarding these powerful families who are now associated with the Norman Conquest, the Burgundians, and the Holy Roman Empire. From page 125, we read:

At no time did the Troyes Fraternity (or whatever it really called itself) admit its own existence nor did it openly seek to make its desired changes by way of force. Unfolding events show that it was composed of people who came predominantly from manorial holdings or from towns and cities that were bisected by longitudinal or latitudinal salt lines.... In fact, an exercise I undertook regarding the results of the Norman Conquest of Britain positively proves that ... the salt lines were well understood.

Peeking back to his previous page 124, he also says: 

What we definitely do know about the Troyes Fraternity is that its members made a number of conscious decisions, the effects of which would be played out across several centuries. It is clear therefore that the people concerned were very patient. Exactly when the series of pivotal decisions were made is impossible to say, but certain facts about the beliefs and conclusions of the Troyes Fraternity are beyond doubt. It sought to:

  1. Destroy the power-base of the Roman-ruled Church.
  2. Replace it with a Church based in Jerusalem.
  3. Institute organizations that were specifically intended to destroy feudalism and to restore the rights of individuals.
  4. Elevate the "feminine" within established beliefs to such an extent that Christianity effectively changed its nature altogether.
  5. Effectively destroy national boundaries and create a form of "internationalism" that would restrict the power of individual rulers.

Now let's step back for a moment to take in all that was copied above. We are already being presented with a theory that there isn't just "one cabal" of elitists who intend to impose their worldview on mankind. We are talking about a network of influential families who have devoted themselves to challenging the only other oligarchy that existed in their time, the "Roman-ruled Church." It goes without saying how some of those other agenda items in the above list are clearly manifesting themselves in our own 21st and 20th centuries, especially that last one about "internationalism." We will let the reader ponder the further possibility that the only force strong enough to challenge an oligarchy is ... another oligarchy.

At this point, we want to focus on the life and times of one particular product of the Norman bloodlines, a 13th century educated rebel by the name of King Frederick II, King of Sicily, and of Germany, and yes, by his own device, King of Jerusalem, who made the acquaintance of a brilliant mathematician by the name of Fibonacci around the year 1225 A.D.


It might surprise you to learn that the donut-shaped numeral that we take so much for granted, the ZERO, has only been used by us westerners for about 700 years. In fact, our entire first string of numerals -- 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 -- only entered our consciousness after a young man named Leonardo Fibonacci painstakingly published a guidebook about the popular Hindu-Arabic number system in his hometown of Pisa, Italy in the year 1202.

Fibonacci learned about it during the years he spent studying the free-thinking system of calculation that had already become popular among the Muslim Arab merchants who traded along the coast of North Africa. His father was an Italian merchant in his own right who worked as a notary public at a trading post in Algeria. Son Leonardo became fascinated by the advantages that this new number system presented. He published a guidebook, the Liber Abaci, to demonstrate the new system in Europe. The death of the old Roman numeral system then became assured.

However, the acceptance of such an abstract concept of Zero, or Nothingness, as a placeholder, did not come easily in Europe. William of Malmesbury protested that the new number was "Dangerous Saracen magic!" He did have a point. Farther down in this post, we will demonstrate that the concept of Zero did in fact originate within the mysteries of Kabbalah and Indian Jainism.

Fibonacci lived 200 years before the printing press was invented, so it was not easy to get a copy of his book. However, his radical new system did come to the attention of the rebel-minded King Frederick II. Frederick enjoyed both German and Norman parentage; he was of the "Troyes Fraternity" bloodline. He was also itching for a fight with the Church. Describing any new doctrine as "dangerous Saracen magic" was the best Siren call that he could ever hope for. Frederick was already well versed in Arabic culture. In fact, Frederick is well known for promoting quite a radical multicultural way of life in his kingdom. His Constitutions of Melfi introduced ideas still used today for running central governments, establishing state standards in weights and measures, and improving medical education and requiring that doctors take licensing exams.

Already we can see that Frederick II, whose mother was of Norman blood, is well-primed to pursue the Fraternity agenda that we mentioned above. By the way, Frederick became united with Fibonacci due to the efforts of Frederick's court astrologer, Michael the Scot. The Zero and its accompanying Arabic number system were a big hit with the Holy Roman Emperor. The news of the radical math system began to spread right around the same time that Frederick embarked on the Sixth Crusade, a crusade that would go down in history as one of the greatest acts of defiance against the Papacy of Rome. Frederick, heir to the throne of Jerusalem by marriage, managed to negotiate a treaty for western control of Jerusalem without spilling a single drop of blood and without the Pope's permission. The Muslim negotiator on the other side, al-Kamil, just loved this guy.

Frederick II and al-Kamil  

Frederick II and al-Kamil


And as a cherry on top, Frederick accomplished all of this while living under an Order of Excommunication by Pope Gregory IX. In fact, Frederick endured no less than four excommunications from the Church during his lifetime. Frederick simply ... did ... not ... care.

Let us return to that warning issued by William of Malmesbury. Was there indeed some kind of inherent danger in this "Saracen magic" of the revolutionary Zero?


It would seem that we have mystics from India to thank for the invention of Zero as a decimal-system placeholder, among others. A Wikipedia article on the origins of Zero tells us that "the earliest text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, [is] the Lokavibhaga, a Jain text surviving in a medieval Sanskrit translation of the Prakrit original, which is internally dated to AD 458."

The three main teachings of Jainism are: Ahimsa (Non-injury to living things), Anekantavada (non-absolutism or multiplicity of viewpoints) and Aparigraha (non-attachment to possessions), a "voiding," we might say, of materialism in one's life. To this last point, this comment from a Facebook user is of note: 

In the modern world it is common to see religion and science as always in conflict. Yet in ancient India, one cannot untangle mathematics and mysticism. To the Jaina monks the ideas of spiritual nothingness led to the mathematical zero. Zero denotes nothing. It was derived from the concept of shunya. Shunya means a sort of salvation, - when all our desires are nullified, then we go to nirvana or shunya or total salvation.

This concept of Zero appeared in Jainism as early as 458 A.D. And you'll never guess what geometric symbol is held sacred in Jainism?


... The Swastika .

We trust that the RogueMoney readers are illuminated enough to realize that the Swastika symbol has been in use long before the Nazi Party vilified it. Evidence of its importance in sacred philosophy spans the globe, from India to North America. Arizona residents have long recognized that the Hopi of the Southwest still revere this symbol. The Hopi claim relationship with the Mayans of Mexico-Guatemala ... who, by the way, had also discovered the use of Zero at almost this exact same time in history. (But that is a story for another day.)

From India, the abstract concept of Zero spread to the mathematics of the Muslim Arabs. As we have seen above, Fibonacci came in contact with the system during his schooling in North Africa. There remains, however, another important mystical connection which would tend to indicate that King Frederick was well aware of the power that lies beneath such an abstraction. Zero also finds its way in the primer lessons of the Kabbalah


In this quotation below you will likely hear echoes of the Topological Metaphor that we mentioned in our previous White Rabbit blog. The web site Kabbalah.info states:

In his writings, Rav Yehuda Ashlag explains to us that the Light emanating from the Creator designates the desire to create beings and to please them. You might remember that Light is the sensation of the Creator, pleasure. This in Kabbalah we refer to as the Root Phase and is numbered zero (0). In Hebrew, we call it Phase Shoresh and name it Keter. It is given the number 0 because it is considered the preliminary phase to actually creating anything at all.

For further elucidation on the connection between Kabbalah and the revolutionary introduction of Zero into western math, we would like to call attention to the comments of Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London (now deceased as of October 2015), during this BBC audio interview.

"There's an element of the mysticism of the East in this. Because, if you have six apples on the table and you allocate the number "6" to that, that is a MARKER for the number of apples on the table. However, if you start looking at an array of numbers, you begin to see PATTERNS in them, if you are of the "patterning" kind. That is to say, you have a slightly more mystical, as it were, Indian mysticism or Kabbalistic mysticism ... and then you begin to PLAY GAMES with those markers and realize that THEY HAVE A REALITY IN THEIR OWN RIGHT ... That the NUMBER is something you can manipulate and you don't need objects to manipulate it. And the ZERO emerges at that point. And Indian mathematicians, as it were, at that point discover what we now understand as mathematics."

"I once asked my Muslim friend, 'Why did bookkeeping, bills of exchange, and mathematics as we know it come from Islam?'"

Her reply, "Because Mohammed was a merchant."

To summarize, as stated by one of Professor Jardine's colleagues in that same interview, "Zero unlocks the secrets of the universe." One way that Zero does this is by becoming the "fulcrum" between Positive and Negative numbers. For the first time in western thought, it becomes possible to conceptualize and quantify "less than nothing." Negative numbers come into existence with as much reality as Positive numbers. There are, of course, intellectual landmines ready to be detonated when those principles make their way into the lives of real people and real nations who are dependent on credit. (More about that in our future blogs.) Nevertheless, we must admit that the introduction of abstractions like Zero would spur the great analytical Renaissance just beginning to brew in 1225 A.D.

As a man with strong ties to the Knights-Templar-related Cistercian Order and that "Troyes Fraternity" of central France, King Frederick II would have been on the lookout for all manner of heretical ideas with which to challenge the Church and likewise "unlock the secrets of the universe," certainly, at least, with respect to the universe of Trade and Finance. In fact, there appears to be quite a latitudinal vein of Gnostic, Kabbalistic, and mystical Muslim thought that extends all across the lands of southern Spain, southern France, and southern Italy during the 13th century. This is that pre-Renaissance period dominated by forward-thinking networks such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, and ruled by Holy Roman emperors whose territory extended from the Baltics down to the Mediterranean Sea. 

Therefore, when Fibonacci showed up at Frederick's door with a clear guide for using the Arabic system in trade and record-keeping, it was a match made in heaven. That "new math" certainly enabled Frederick to speak the Caliphate language when he negotiated a peaceful treaty for Jerusalem that had no backing from the Pope at all.

Interestingly, the Muslims were staunchly opposed to usury, often regarded as the charging of ANY interest on a loan. Yet these same Arabs had developed a decimal system that would appear ready-made to create such a weapon of mass financial destruction. Indeed, somebody DID notice that power, the power to "play games" of both Creation and Destruction with those numbers. For that story, we turn to the Medici Family of Florence, 200 years further into the future. (Stay tuned for future blogs!)

Would you like to know more about this Rebel with a Cause, King Frederick II? Enjoy this Youtube presentation:  Frederick II a bridge between East and West :

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