Men and the world are mutually toxic to each other. –Philip K. Dick
Codes play a previously unsuspected role in equations that possess the property of supersymmetry. This unsuspected connection suggests that these codes may be ubiquitous in nature, and could even be embedded in the essence of reality. If this is the case, we might have something in common with the Matrix science-fiction films, which depict a world where everything human beings experience is the product of a virtual-reality-generating computer network. – James Gates
“Kill them all and let God sort them out.”
These words were attributed to Arnold Amaury, the monk placed in charge of the First Albigensian Crusade, at the sack of Beziers in 1209. The well fortified walls had offered no protection against a foolish decision of the defenders, both Catholic and Cathar. On the very first day that the vast army of the Papal forces laid siege to Beziers, as the occupying troops were pitching their tents preparing for a long drawn out stalemate, potentially taking months to break the will of the defenders, a lone peasant ribald stood on outside the moat and called insults up to city. Ribalds were wandering, obnoxious, foot soldiers who joined armies for the fighting and a small share of the spoils unwanted by the knights. This fellow was evidently a master of the pejorative. At first, the Occitan defenders of Beziers gave as good as they got, shouting curses in Monty Python style down on the unwashed crusader.
No doubt the lone heckler said things like, “You fucking heretics are so fucking doomed! You kissers of cat ass!” In fact, the very term Cathar is probably a play on words between the Greek word meaning “The Pure” and the ancient German phrase meaning “cat ass kissers” in reference to their critics’ claims of their obscene rites. Whatever, the man said, it was too much to bear for the stout defenders of the Languedoc stronghold. They ordered the gates opened and the draw bridge dropped, much to the chagrin of our ribald. One can imagine his face turning deadly pale, his eyes staring wide.
Out from the gate rushed a small troop of armed Occitan knights. Occitan being a term used to describe the people and language of Languedoc, which means the place where people say “oc” instead of “oui”. Needless to say, the lone ribald was ripped to shreds, but not before many of his fellow ribalds had run to his assistance. A melee on the drawbridge ensued. The ribald forces held up surprisingly well, armed with their clubs and knives against the swords and maces of the knights of Beziers. By the time the lords of the city realized that their gates were up and rushed to defend their town, the small contingent of Occitan knights that had sought to punish the lone heckler were severely outnumbered and scores of ribald troops were pouring into the city, beating and stabbing anyone they encountered.
Even more surprised than their Occitan counterparts, the knights of the north were the last to notice that the battle for the city had already begun. The cries of: “To arms, to arms! The City has been breached!” finally reached their ears as they set up camp. At last they grabbed their weapons and rode out into the city to wage their holy war against the heretics and those who would defend them. And Beziers fell.
It was then the Arnold Amaury, when asked how they would figure out which of the city’s citizens were heretics and which were faithful Catholics, coined the infamous phrase.
“Kill them all and let God sort them out.”
Fires were lit, and soon the great fortress of Beziers, stronghold of the House of Trencavel was a giant funeral pyre. Those who were not slaughtered by knight and ribald in the initial attack were consumed in flames. Between 15,000 and 20,000 people, Cathar, Catholic, and Jew died in the first holocaust of the Crusade against the heretics of Languedoc.
But who were these Cathars? And why did the Pope want them destroyed?
The Cathars, and it must be noted that they did not refer to themselves by this term of insult, but simply called themselves the Good People or Good Christians, were a Gnostic Christian sect that arouse to notice and power at the turn of the first millennium. They claimed that their faith was the true Christian faith and that their sect was founded by Mary Magdalene who had fled the Holy Land to France and had settled in Languedoc, the region of southwestern France today known as Languedoc-Roussillen. There it is said that Mary shared the true teachings of Christ with her followers.
The Good People believed that there were two Gods, the Good God who created Heaven and the angels, and the Evil God who created the World. The Evil God, the Gnostic’s Demiurge, then tricked the angels from heaven and caught them in the web of the flesh, forcing them to reincarnate again and again, feeding off their fear and evil deeds. There was only one way out of this mess they preached, and that was to follow the example of Jesus, by turning away from the irrelevancy of worldliness, by abstaining from sex, by taking no oaths, eating no meat, by embracing poverty and self-sacrifice, and by spreading the good news that this prison of flesh could, in fact, be transcended, and the pure could again dwell with God in his Heaven.
The Cathars, of course, realized that such a life was not for everyone, and not everyone was spiritually pure enough to make that leap of faith and reach the White Brilliance of the Good God, the Heavenly Father. Therefore there were two classes of Cathar, the credentes who held the beliefs but were not ready to live the life of purity required, and the Perfect who lived in poverty, purity, and spiritual grace. For the Perfect this was their last incarnation before reunion of God. The credentes held the Perfect in awe and aspired to one day, in some incarnation or other, join them in purity and grace. However, unlike the Perfect the credentes could live how they liked, eat what they would, and basically do whatever they wanted as this world was completely irrelevant to their spiritual fate. Earth was hell, and finding whatever refuge from the nightmare of life was completely acceptable.
Other Cathar beliefs included sexual equality, as one could be a knight in one life and a milk maid in another, so women could be Perfects as well (after all their church was founded by a woman). Social equality: one’s religion did not prevent one from holding public office. Though the Catholic Church didn’t love these aspects of the sect, it was the Cathar stance on the Church itself that defined their heresy. The Good Christians held that the Church had lost its way, and become an engine of evil, leading people away from the message of Christ, holding them in the endless cycle of rebirth and death, pawns of the archonic Evil God.
At first, the Church attempted to out preach the Cathars of Languedoc whose teachings were spreading like wildfire across Europe. However, the hypocrisy of the rich monks, priests, and legates of Rome was evident to any that could see. Their fine clothing, the gold they demanded for Rome and their own pockets, their luxurious lifestyles by Medieval standards stood in stark contrast with the simply piety of the Perfect. Further, the Perfect and their credentes held that Rome had no right to tithes or indulgences, which they considered simple extortion, and had encouraged the lords of Languedoc to ignore such demands of the Catholics.In the 12th century, however, the Catholic Church was in no position to do anything about the Cathar heresy fomenting in Languedoc, as it had its own problems in Rome. Rival papancies battled throughout Italy for supremacy. This was the age of the antipopes, whose constant warfare against each other required all of their attention. And so it was until a strong pope emerged from the fray. Pope Innocent III was the most powerful pope in five hundred years. He quickly consolidated the faithful of Catholicism and then turned his attention to the Occitan heretics. It was Innocent that launched the horrific and bloody crusade against the Cathars. The slaughter at Beziers was just the beginning. In just over a hundred years, there were no more Cathars left in Europe, the lords of Languedoc who defended them were stripped of their lands, their houses broken, castles destroyed, and handed over to the French king by papal authority.
Copyright 2017 Diana Hignutt