Universal Salvage Corporation

Specialists in Dying Civilizations


Importance in History

William W. Morgan

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This essays was written as a dedicatory epistle to a calendar of important people and events, and the associated database. I had been putting a section called “This Day in History” on The Aristarchus Times, with a few important events for each day of a month. But there seemed to be little interest in it, so I have stopped doing it regularly.

The subject of importance is central to the survival of man as a viable specie. Of what and who is important. The subject is significant because—despite what some people have said—man the specie does learn from history. But, since we have a false concept of what is important, we have learned the wrong things from history, which is the proximate cause of the pending and probable death of the specie.

Yet if we can learn the correct things—right things—from history, we can end and reverse this decline.

It is my contention that our society has the wrong “heroes.” We make heroes of people whose main claim to “fame” is that they are destroyers of property. And the more property they destroy, the more famous they are in their own lifetime, and the more columns they rate in history books and encyclopaedia.

Thus, a Napoleon has more columns than his contemporary Galois, when Napoleon’s legacy was death and destruction to millions and the impoverishment of France and Europe for decades.

Galois did not live to reach the age of twenty–one, yet his legacy is still being poured over by the greatest mathematical minds on this planet, who continue to learn from his work.

It is said that man does not learn from history. This is both true and false. In the area of natural science and technology man does learn from history, and he learns rightRight
Right: That which is based on true premises, valid and logical thought processes, and is corroborated by history and the laws of nature. And the resulting action—if any—is moral.
things—things which work. This is why we have television, automobiles, electric toasters (and the electricity to power them), jet–powered aircraft, the Sony Walkman, and electric lighting to light the darkness.

Unfortunately, in the area of knowledge concerning man's relations with his fellow man—knowledge related to social structures—we do not, and have not, learned anything of positive value. We repeat the old mistakes and acquire new methods (negative knowledge) of doing things wrong.

In the non–scientific world we learn to emulate an Alexander of Macedon (I will not dignify him by appending the usual “Great”) and thus we have a Napoleon. And then an itinerant painter fancies himself as being another Napoleon, and we have an Adolf Hitler. Young people aspire to what they have been told is “greatness,” while in fact their heroes are great only at interference in, and the destruction of property.

How much different the world would be if children grew up in awe and admiration of Archimedes, Aristarchus, Euclid, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, the Wright Brothers, Eddington and Einstein. Or Margot Fonteyn, Schubert, Ketelby—even Emmet the Clown. He was more important in history than all the crowned ruffiansCrowned Rufian
With credit to Thomas Paine for the concept of the "Ruffian".
and uncrowned rulers who have lived.

These are famous names. But what of Galois, Bruno, Chester Carlson, Julius Robert Mayer, Philipp Reis, Semmelweis, William T. G. Morton, Oberth, Tsiolkowski and others?

All of these—and many others—who have lived honorable lives and have virtually never engaged in the destruction of property. And if they did on occasion destroy property it was usually unintentional and not their main function in life. In fact all they have done is to create property, usually intellectual property, which is subsequently used to generate enormous amounts of tangible property, and additional intangible property—the concept of continuous creation of knowledge. The process enriching and saving the lives of millions of people. And having the potential to do more of a positive value were it not for the interference of the political state and politicians.

These people, the property creators, should be the Heroes of History—the people we honor and seek to emulate.

The Importance Equation

Importance Equation

Where I = importance
n = number of events
p = the property created, such as:

Thus, one discovery or creation can lead to many others. To “farther accounts”, as GalambosAndrew J Galambos
Andrew J Galambos (1924-1997), astrophysicist, creator of the Universal Laws of Volitional Behavior and the Science of Volition.
said. Each one adding to the importance of Lippershey. The first one in the chain. A basic innovator or discoverer increases in importance even after they are dead. And, the intellectual property they created remains their property. It can be licensed and otherwise used morally by others, but the ownership does not change.

They have built their pyramid. Something to mark their presence on Earth. And, unlike the monument of the Pharaohs, and the pesidential libraries of democractic rulers, the monuments of true creators continues to become more and more important.

I am reminded of the inscrption that the son of Christopher Wren wrote for his father in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London: “LECTOR, SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS, CIRCUMSPICE”. [Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you]. The monument to mark his existence on the planet were many of the buildings around St. Paul’s. The ones he designed and had built. For a man of achievement, a man of importance, you do not need to make a statue in the park. Name a street or, these days, an airport after them.

The things they have created, the new and useful knowledge and products, these are their monument.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is the monument to the “achievement” of George W. [Dour Leader] Bush, one of the American rulers. His “achievement” was to start 2 wars that ended up killing more than 100,000 people from the Middle East. And more than 5,000 Americans. It also gravely wounded—physically and mentally—a few hundred thousand. More than 2 million people were made homeless, billions of tons of CO2 were injected into the atmosphere. His actions also destablized the financial system of the United States and the World.

We would say that such a person had vast, almost incalculable negative importance in history. Your local trash person was vastly more important than Dour Leader. The fate of all politicians, actually.

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Classes of Events & People

A. Cosmological Innovators & Events

This is the highest class of individual and event.

It involves the creation of basic knowledge concerning the universe. Things such as the laws of thermodynamics and planetary motion; the knowledge concerning the birth, life and death of a star; the laws of motion and gravity. And of course those two great milestones which every volitional specie must pass on the way to achieving a rational and durable civilization whose time scale of existence will be concomitant with that of its own universe--the integration of the non-volitional sciences and the integration of the volitional sciences. Examples of cosmological innovators are Archimedes, Aristarchus, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, Copernicus, Kepler, Galambos, Galileo, Newton, Darwin & Wallace, Maxwell, Boltzmann, Eddington, Wilbur Wright, Einstein and Galambos.

B. Technological Innovators


These are the people who fine–tune, expand and add to the knowledge created by the cosmological innovators. They provide the necessary consolidation of one cosmological creation and lay the groundwork for the next one.

This also includes “engineers” who create the knowledge for the technological products which serve us and enrich and brighten our lives.

C. Preservers and Catalogers of Knowledge


These people are a very necessary part of the mechanism which allows for the creation of knowledge. The creation of a technology to preserve knowledge was itself a cosmological innovation. Without the ability to preserve and store knowledge there is nothing to expand--no way to create new knowledge.

There was a time when man spent his entire life just learning to survive. And his children did the same for millions of years. For thousands of years after the evolution of language and writing there was still no effective way to catalogue, store, and distribute knowledge. Thus its expansion—the accretion of knowledge—was painfully slow and susceptible to loss for centuries.

The thing that changed this was the creation of paper and then the knowledge of printing, which not only allowed for the storage and preservation of knowledge, but also its distribution.

D. Explorers & Navigators


One might think these would fit in with the technological innovators, and some of them actually do. Yet they were basically a different class. Often they at least started out as adventurers, with the scientific knowledge and data they returned being more or less a by-product of their adventure, rather than an intention.

Nevertheless, even when intent was missing or wrong, they often returned valuable and needed knowledge of the world. I have generally left out those who engaged in mistreatment of people they contacted, although it is not always easy to do so. Also, the details of various events are sometimes too sparse to be able to separate defense from aggression. Which is another reason to put these people into their own category.

E. Re–creation.


The heading for this category was difficult to select. One thought was “entertainment,” but the present usage of the word is enough to put me off. The hyphen is deliberate to provide for a separate pronunciation of “creation,” and to insert a proper concept for the word “recreation.”

It is something which should come after achievement—after, and as a self–reward for doing something worthwhile. In the long-term.

I do not include what I would consider to be “sports figures” unless their activity was as an individual test against themselves or as an individual against a time, distance or some other such criteria. So–called “team sports” participants do not qualify. Why this category at all?

Man needs relaxation from his productive activities. A “change of pace,” perhaps. Often by doing something else a person’s mind will go into “free wheeling.” Or, as a computer, the subconscious engages in “background processing,” and the solution to the problem which was previously “unsolvable” suddenly pops into the mind.

And what could promote that more than the sight of an ice skater gliding gracefully across the ice; a ballerina seemingly floating in the air—and even to beautiful music. The contemplation of a painting; the relaxation and laughter of a good cartoon “strip.” And for the ballerina we need a choreographer. For the singer an orchestra helps, although the orchestra can be very enjoyable by itself. But it does need a conductor. And a composer for the music.

Sometimes in this world—as in all worlds—there are people who are less worthy than others. I have left out many people; some deserve it, many do not. All I can say is that this area is sometimes a little more difficult to select from. Some people can lead disreputable and immoral lives and still bring pleasure to the world. I have attempted to leave out the truly immoral ones—as opposed to those who merely contravened the culture of the time. Others have been left out just because it takes more time to make selections.

In the great scheme of things—man’s striving to create a better life and world, this class—of “re–creationists”—make an enormous and worthwhile contribution.

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People & Events


With a very minor exception which will be explained, people who have engaged in any sort of negative activities or the destruction of property are not included in the database.

Thus you will find only a few politicians, whether civil, military, or religious. Military politicians are usually called generals, having achieved this “exalted” rank. Actually, the three generals listed do not deserve to be called politicians—even though they may have dabbled in it—and I will not do so. Civil politicians have titles so numerous as to be impractical to list, and is of no importance in long term history.

Politicians as individuals are not necessarily bad. It is the system which is bad. It is based on irrational and immoral precepts and it corrupts the best of people. Individuals who are basically moral and rational should see the internal contradictions of the system and refuse to participate in it. Many do, but many others heed the “siren call” of the pseudo–importance and imperial trappings of this non–profession.

The politicians and generals included are:

  1. Publius Cornelius Scipio — Scipio Africanus
  2. Gen. Homer Lea
  3. George Washington
  4. Thomas Jefferson
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. Winston Spencer Churchill
  7. Gen. Douglas MacArthur
  8. Theodosius I

Scipio Africanus


It is with great affection, admiration and respect that Scipio is included. The recognition due him as the greatest general in history is long overdue. The great military historian, B. H. Liddell Hart rescued Scipio from oblivion in our time by his book A Greater than Napoleon. Which went out of print almost as soon as it appeared, not to reappear again until forty years later, in 1971, through the courtesy of Biblo & Tannen of New York City.

Not only did Scipio defeat the man most people believe to be the greatest general in history, but he did it while almost always outnumbered by his armies at least 2:1 up to 5:1. Scipio defeated all of the members of the Barca family one by one until, finally, at the Battle of Zama on August 19th, 202 b.c., he met Hannibal directly for the first and only time. There is some possibility that they may have met personally just before the battle. (I think I remember Plybius telling me about this…)

One must remember that Scipio was fighting off the aggressor, defending his country. Carthage had attacked Rome and eventually killed Scipio’s father, also a general. The Roman army in Spain was defeated and in disarray, with the Carthaginians there getting ready to turn their attention to the Roman heartland. Then, when no one else wanted the command—and while still in his early twenties—the Roman Senate reluctantly gave Scipio command of the Roman armies in Spain. Reluctantly because he had no military experience, and was barely out of school. Within several years he defeated both of Hannibal’s brothers and brought Spain back under Roman control.

Then, against the “superior wisdom” of the Senate of Rome, and finding and funding his own legions and ships since the Senate would not help him, he went to Africa to meet Hannibal. Never mind that Hannibal was in Italy, and the Senate wanted Scipio to fight Hannibal there. Scipio knew what he was doing.

He went to Sicily where the disgraced 5th and 6th legions had been exiled after their defeat at Cannae. He spent months training them and building up their moral, all the while having them construct ships to take them to Carthage, since the Senate would not fund them.

And in a one day battle near modern Tunis, with 20,000 troops against 65,000 for Hannibal, Scipio defeated “the ‘greatest’ general in history.”

Yet his true greatness lay before him. Both Hannibal and Scipio were decent and honorable men as generals and human beings go, but all the more astoundingly so for their time in history. Scipio did not raze Carthage, raping the women and enslaving the few male survivors. Rather, he appointed Hannibal—his defeated “enemy”—military governor of Carthage. The result was that within five years Carthage was more prosperous than it had ever been.

Yet this is still not the true greatness of the man—only a clue. Scipio was only thirty–five when he defeated Hannibal and returned to Rome to a “Triumph” arranged by a grateful Senate and people. Riding at the head of the previously discredited 5th and 6th Legions. At this age he was offered what, in effect, was the rulership of “the known world” for life. Dictator of Rome. Previous to this, Rome was ruled by a triumvirate with one man being the committee–head for a year on a rotating basis.

I can see Scipio now, astride his horse at the head of the returning Legions coming up the tree–lined via Appia to the Forum and the Senate to receive his Triumph, and title of Scipio Africanus. Leading the 5th and 6th Legions, which had been decimated by Hannibal at Cannae. Scipio was not a tall man, but on this day he looked tall. Something about the magnificence of his achievement. Going directly from an untried 24 year-old to Commander of the Armies of Rome, with the responsibility for saving Rome from what seemed certain defeat. He was only given the command when his father was killed in battle and no one else wanted to take on the seemingly hopeless task. Defeating all of Hannibal's other generals, then taking his army to Carthage to force Hannibal to leave to leave Rome (the Italian peninsula) to defend Carthage and face him at Zama.

I found what I think would be the ideal background music for this march up the via Appia. I would like your opinion on it. It is something like Ravel's Balero, in that it starts out very softly as you see Scipio in the distance. Slowly reaching a crescendo as he arrives at the Forum. I have re-named is Scipio’s Triumpal March. You may need to turn up the volume in the beginning…

I would like to repeat his entire story here, but you should do some work on your own. You will find Liddell Hart’s bookThe book…
A Greater Than Napoleon.
as exciting as any work of fiction and, with a little thought, one of the most educational books ever written.

Gen. Homer Lea


Gen. Lea is a bit of an odd-man-out in history. He was an American, but was not a General in the American army, but the Chinese Army of Sun Yat Sen. Because of physical deformities he was not considered suitable by the U. S. military.

His significance lies not in military prowess but in a triumph of intelligence and perseverance over biological deformities, and his understanding of the world. And as an illustration of the fact that those who do not understand history and who are not intellectually curious are doomed by the past created for them, and the past they are creating for future generations.

Gen. Lea, in his book The Valor of Ignorance, written in 1912 (?), foretold with great accuracy the military expansionist activities of Japan. He foresaw the attack on the Philippines and Pearl Harbor. Indeed, it appears the Japanese read his book and followed his invasion maps. And of course we know the Americans did not read his book. After all, he was a physical misfit, not suitable for military activities.

George Washington


Mr. Washington is included not for the traditional concept of being “the father of our country,”—and certainly not for his generalship—but because he refused to be King. “Mr. President,” while not the proper title for a significant person in history (unless it is president of a private company), is a slight step forward on the evolutionary ladder to a rational and moral social structure.

He is also included for this steadfast friendship with—and support of—Thomas Paine, who earned virtually nothing from the massive sales of Common Sense and The American Crisis. The reading of which to Washington’s troops when in the depths of despair, was a major causal factor of Washington’s eventual defeat of the British. Upon receipt of a letter from Paine in December of 1781, Washington took steps to rectify Paine's deplorable financial situation. For this Washington also acquires special merit.

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Thomas Jefferson


The first five presidents of the United States were generally men of great intellectual and moral stature, given their time and place in history and the knowledge available to them.

Mr. Jefferson is included for his offer to send a warship to France to pick up his friend—and the intellectual father of the United States—Thomas Paine, who had been languishing in a French prison, barely escaping execution by the leaders of the rebellion against the monarchy. “Revolution,” the usual word for the event, is not a correct term to use for what was in fact the French Rebellion.

The world “revolution” implies a “turning around,” or something new. Rebellions against a political ruler are not new.

For this act, Jefferson earned the enmity of most Americans. Their gratitude toward Paine for his Common Sense and The Crisis had been short–lived, largely because of several intemperate letters Paine had written to and about George Washington, and of course the alleged atheism of his Age of Reason.

Abraham Lincoln


While Abraham Lincoln was in a position of coercion, he was one of the most decent persons in history to occupy such a position. As such, we can forgive him his lack of knowledge concerning rational and moral social structures.

Mr. Churchill


Churchill—whom I have elevated to Mr. from Sir—is included for perhaps one speech and the image he projected because of that: /p>

His speech to Hitler and the world was that Britain would fight Hitler down to the point of sticks and stones if necessary, but that he—Hitler—could not and would not subdue Britain.

This, and the inspiration it provided to the British people and the RAF almost certainly caused Hitler to give up on Britain and turn his attention to Russia. Hitler would have turned to Russia eventually anyway, but if he had conquered Britain first and had an additional year or so to build his industrial and war capacity further, he may very well have conquered Russia. And with his V–9 rocket, subdued the United States, his main obstacle to world domination.

After fifty years we tend to forget how desperate the situation was in 1940 and 1941. By his actions, Churchill may very well have saved the world from another dark age. For this, and this alone, he deserves inclusion in the calendar and to be remembered in history.

General Douglas MacArthur


MacArthur was probably the best general America has had, and one of the greatest since Scipio. He was also—despite protestations to the contrary—a very fine man. Perhaps not nice, but fine.

From the way he conducted himself, from his actions in battle to those in peace, it is obvious that he was a student of ScipioMacArthur & Scipio
MacArthur's widow, Jean, confirmed to me that Liddell Hart's book was in MacArthur's library in Manila.
. As with Scipio, the chances of surviving under MacArthur were much greater than with any other general. MacArthur, as Scipio, rarely if ever did the same thing twice in battle. And, if he could avoid a battle he did, as when he bypassed hundreds of thousand of Japanese soldiers on various islands, leaving them with nothing to do but grub for food.

Although he appeared to glory in war, that was because he hated it, wanted to win quickly, and get it over with. He knew it was a terrible thing, but one he was good at. As history has shown, he was correct, and the intellectual midget who was the Ruler of the United States—the former bankrupt haberdasher and office boy for the Chicago bosses—was wrong about the Chinese in Korea. They would not have done anything had he gone ahead and bombed Manchuria.

He was obviously the student of Scipio for another reason—his handling of the Japanese when he was the effective Viceroy of Japan. He insisted that Japanese soldiers hand in their arms to Japanese officers, and that they be allowed to keep their Emperor. As with Scipio and Carthage, within a short time they were more prosperous than they had been before the war. To the discomfort of a complacent American political and business community.

Theodosius I


* * the following is subject to further verification * *

Whereas Churchill probably prevented the start of another dark age, Theodosius I deserves to be remembered for actually starting the first and only dark age to date on this planet. How did he do this?

He was the one who destroyed the Library at Alexandria, the greatest and most important repository of the magnificent and immense creation of the thinkers of antiquity.

We have only a glimpse of what was destroyed, but that in itself is immense. A mere fragment of the knowledge represented by the books in The Library has survived. Yet it is this fragment, and the preservation of this knowledge by the Arabs, which ended the dark ages and brought forth the renaissance.

The destruction of people and tangible property is spectacular and tragic. The destruction of knowledge can go almost unnoticed at the time. In this respect it is very similar to the creation of knowledge. But the destruction—as the creation—has far reaching effects. One can only imagine—and that with some difficulty—how our world would be if that knowledge had not been destroyed. Can you project yourself 1,000 years into the future?

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In volitional societies, comprised of volitional beings, only two things can occur. One is that the civilization and its specie survives and thrives, or that it dies. If the Library at Alexandria had not been destroyed, our beautiful planet would either now be devoid of viable, volitional life forms, or members of our specie would long ago have left earth to fulfill man’s destiny: the exploration and colonization of the universe on a moral basis. I do not really want to use the word “colonize,” except perhaps to restore it to a place of honor.

And, we would be descendants of those who created a rational and durable society in which coercion and property destruction were concepts known only to historians.

The use here bears no resemblance to the traditional image of the word. A destruction of a beautiful word, brought on by man’s irrational social structure based on coercion. The timely disappearance of this phenomena—a social structure based on coercion—determines whether a volitional specie survives to acquire a time scale of existence concomitant with that of its universe, or is extinguished.

On this planet we are rapidly approaching a threshold—a point of no return. We can take a giant step toward avoiding this by elevating the men in the database of important people on this server—and others to be added—to the status of “hero.” Heroes and role models which us and future generations can and must emulate for our civilization to survive.

We have acquired the technological ability to destroy our own civilization and lack the volitional knowledge (I will not use the word social, and certainly not the phrase social science, which is a contradiction in terms and a travesty on the word science) to prevent this. Without this knowledge, the life span of civilizations decreases as their technical knowledge increases.

The Egyptian civilization lasted 3,000 years or more. The Roman one for 1,600 years when you include the “Eastern Roman Empire.” The sun set on the British Empire in less than 900 years. The North American Empire is only slightly more than two hundred years old and is in an accelerating and probable terminal decline.

But the situation now is not the "Decline and Fall of [blank]". Because of "connectivity" and globalizationGlobalization
The societal condition that exists when any individual may trade with any other individual based solely on mutually agreed terms and conditions.
the disorder and chaos will be so great that it will be the fall of Homo sapiens.

We must emulate people such as Archimedes, Aristarchus, Eratosthenes, Euclid, Pythagoras, Scipio, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Euler, Semmelweis, J.C. Maxwell, Einstein and Eddington and others to survive. Not Caesar, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, Kennedy or their predecessors and successors.

Version History

Created: 1995, Aug 1
Version 2: 2002, August 31
Version 3: 2005, June 4
Version 4: 2013, June 1
Version 5: 2013, June 28th


  1. Dates in “Antiquity.”

    The exact dates of events in antiquity are often not known. Indeed, sometimes even the year is not known. This should not prevent us from celebrating the birth and achievements of these people.

    I have therefore taken the liberty of assigning exact dates, doing so in essentially an arbitrary or random manner, trying to spread the dates throughout the year.

    If anyone knows with certainly the exact dates where I have made a guess, and can provide citations proving the matter, I will happily change my dates. In the absence of certain evidence I don't really want to be bothered on that matter.

  2. Errors

    Unlike Popes and other varieties of politicians I do not claim infallibility.

    Any place I have made an error I will also happily correct such errors on presentation of citations proving my mistake. Such persons will receive primary and secondary credit when I accept the information and make the change.

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