Believe it or not, there’s a lesson from comparative mythology that I believe is informing the method in their madness.

I’ve written this before about Karl Rove and his electorate-jacking MO, and it applies equally well to the Big Short.

Now, this is a big idea, so please bear with me.

It’s called, The Secret of the Two Partners. It’s an ancient Egyptian principle of pharaohnic rule. And it goes like this (cue the fade out to the sands of Abydos, c. 2,800 BC…)

In what follows, ask yourself: where have I seen this MO before?

(BTW, as a Joseph Campbell Foundation Associate, I’m taking the liberty to quote at length. The entire quote can be found here)

Such, then, or somewhat such, was the rite by which the literal killing of the old king and transfer of power to the new had been transformed into an allegory. The king died not literally, but symbolically, in the earliest passion play of which we have record. And the plot of the sacred mime was the old, yet ever new, formula of the Adventure of the Hero, which is known to the later arts and literatures of all the world.85 Analyzed in terms of its component folkloristic motifs, the plot might be summarized as follows:

Pharaoh (the Hero), when it became known to him that the time had come for him to be slain, set forth to procure a token of his qualification for continued possession of his throne (Call to Adventure). Led by the “Opener of the Way” (Guide to Adventure: Magical Aid), he entered the palace of the underworld (Threshold of Adventure: Labyrinth: Land of the Dead), where he touched the four sides of the land of Egypt (Difficult Task: Micro-macrocosmic correspondence), and with the goddess of the land of Egypt assisting (Magical Aid: Ariadne Motif: Supernatural Bride), was thereupon acknowledged by his dead father, Osiris (Father At-one-ment). He received the Will (Divine Designation: Token: Elixir), and in new attire (Apotheosis), reappeared before his folk (Resurrection: Return), to resume his throne (Adventure Achieved).

[Source: Campbell, J. (1962). Masks of god: oriental mythology, pp. 77-82. Arkana, 3rd ed.]


Now who doesn’t see GS’s MO in that?

This reads like a direct description of what we saw from the Goldies:

The pharaohs in their cult were no longer simply imitating the holy past, “so that the scripture might be fulfilled.” They and their priests were creating something of and for themselves. We are in the presence here of a line of grandiose, highly self-interested, prodigiously inflated egos. Furthermore, as we have seen, these megalomaniacs were not satisfied to be merely one god; they were two, and, as such, had two burial palaces apiece. On the Narmer palette, which was worked on two sides, two crowns appeared, one on each face; and they represented the two Egypts, which again were represented by the interlaced necks of two symbolic beasts. On one side of the palette the pharaonic principle was represented in the bird form of the falcon Horus, on the other as a mighty bull. And in the pageantry of the Sed festival two coronations were celebrated. In the royal sealing of King Zer, the monarch is shown twice, while in the little scratched picture of King Den-Setui nimbly stepping from the presence of his father (with whom, though they were two, the king was one) we have seen that both wear the double crown.

Moreover, the ceremonial name of the Will, the final symbolic warrant of pharaonic rule, is the “Secret of the Two Partners.” What are we to think of that?

The answer appears beneath the sands of Abydos, in the tombs of the pharaohs of Dynasty II, which are enormous and exhibit every evidence of a lavish display of suttee. For the fourth pharaoh of this line is always represented by two cartouches and two names, over one of which, Sekhemab, there is shown the usual Horus falcon of the royal house, while over the other name, Perabsen, there appears the curiously characteristic quadruped somewhat resembling an okapi that always stands for the arch¬enemy of both Horus and Osiris—namely, Seth. And on the seals of the seventh and last pharaoh of this line, Khasekhemui, the two antagonists, Horus the hero and Seth the villain of the piece, ; stand side by side, together and co-equal (Figure 12), while the monarch himself is termed “the appearing of the dual power in which the two gods are at peace.” 88

The name of the Will, then, “the Secret of the Two Partners,” was a reference to the hidden understanding of the two gods, who, though they appear to be implacable enemies, are of one mind behind the scenes.




that in the Narmer palette, where the pharaoh, with the lifted arm of Horus, slays the chieftain of the harpoon folk, together with six thousand enemies, who are here in the role of Seth, the scene is one of peace. And of this peace, which is the inhabiting reality of all things, all history and sorrow, the living god Pharaoh is the pivot. He is an epitome of the field—the universe itself—in which the pairs-of-opposites play. Hence, to follow him in death is to remain in life, there being in fact no death in the royal pasture beyond time, where the two gods are at one and the shepherd crook gives assurance.[Source: Campbell, J. (1962). Masks of god: oriental mythology, pp. 77-82. Arkana, 3rd ed.]

The Narmer Palette, Obverse

The Narmer Palette, Reverse


See? Implacable enemies who are one behind the scenes! Sound familiar? As it turns out, the ol’ “creator of the universe" / "creature of that universe” routine is one of the oldest tricks in the world, it’s older even than books.

Now, as a Zen Buddhist, I appreciate the whole "transcending dualities" thing, but the shape of the suffering of the world is still up to us. We can smash heads, or heal wounds. We don’t have to accept the myth with which we keep getting jacked: that a bogus eternal holy war, powered by the myth of the Secret of the Two Partners, is the only possible way of being in the world.