Economics for everyone (episode nineteen) – Talks with tribal elders

(Continued) ....

The First Generation

The following diagram contains three additional symbols for use in our discussion. The letter “C” represents the Earth’s Core (the arrow may suggest a movement toward the inner space). We differentiate the second letter, “S,” from the previous version, which includes a dot above or below. This second “S” shape without a dot produces a sound that resembles the word “hiss,” but with the letters “h” and “i” removed. The shape of the letter reminds me of a curl of smoke or steam ascending upward toward the Sky. The “G” that represents Ground reminds me of the observed movements of the Sun, the Moon, and other celestial bodies. However, the circular direction of this arrow more correctly suggests the daily revolution of our planet on its axis and Earth’s annual revolution around the Sun (as perceived in the Northern Hemisphere).

Myth, Legend, and Oral History

According to Myth, Legend, or Oral History, the first human being known as Sea-Air-Fire-Earth (S.A.X.E.) produced two sons. The elder has been known in the western world by the name spelled “Stuart” or “Stewart” and the younger by “The Fair Child” or, simply, “Fairchild.” Each of the two sons of the S.A.X.E. begat two children. Though there may be literal truth to this account, this HLM may have evolved symbolically as the second son developed the Earth’s Core. Assuming that one son continued the legacy of the Sea while the other formed the Core, each of the two lines produced a child of the Sky and one of the Ground.

Together, this first generation of S.A.X.E. appears as follows:

The Second Generation

The HLM remains quiet as to the identity of the spouses of S.A.X.E., C.A.G.E., C.A.S.E., S.A.G.E., and S.A.S.E. Nevertheless, it appears that the Second Generation required the coupling of first cousins. First-cousin marriages remain less common today. Viewers of the television series “Victoria” on PBS may recall that Victoria and Albert were first cousins (Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld/Kent and Strathearn and Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha/Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg). Nevertheless, the earlier expansion of S.A.X.E. probably led to greater diversity in successive generations.

Wrapping Up the Fish

Let us return to the theme that involves the pronunciation of the family surname of Nebraska Senator Benjamin Eric Sasse by President Donald J. Trump (originally Drumpf in German). In considering the various permutations of Sea-Air-Sky-Earth, we point out that the recurring alliances between the king of the wood and the family of fishers who form the egalitarian crew of the wooden boats used to harvest the fruits of the Sea. These crews include navigators known as S.A.S.S.E., S.A.S.S., and S.A.S. For names having a double “S” following the “A,” the second “S,” which is dotted, represents Sea. Sound confusing? Let me explain.

These names constitute a combined navigational system. Let us imagine ourselves standing waist-deep in the Sea, not far from the beach. Below the waterline (our waists), we have the Sea, while above that line, we stand in the Air. Therefore, Sea below and Air above imply “S.A.”—the first two letters of these names. The primary letter “E” at the end of some of the names represents Earth—i.e., land. As we stand in the water, the Earth along the shore and the Sky (the simpler “S” without a dot attached) serves as a navigational point. The level at which Sky and Earth meet is our horizon line along the shore. Now, let us get on the boat!

Facing out to the open water, the Sea-Air-Sky-Sea (S.A.S.S.) team member performs his/her duty by standing at the head of the craft while guiding it outward to the fishing grounds. Therefore, with the Sea below and the Air above, the S.A.S.S. focuses on the horizon line between the Sky above and the Sea below.

As the crew returns home from deep-water fishing, a navigator, Sea-Air-Sky-Earth (S.A.S.E.), stands at the head or figurehead of the boat (note: the head is the vertical piece atop the bow connected to the keel along the bottom). The S.A.S.E. focuses on the Sky/Earth horizon in order to guide the boat back home safely to the sands along the shore. The upside of this position is the great view. However, the downside includes getting hit in the face with large waves and, depending on wind direction, being in the “line of fire” when other crew members go to the head to relieve themselves. The navigator at the head of the boat allows positioning to transfer part of the catch to the dole (a separate boat) for distribution among the fishing community. The remaining catch is brought to shore, unloaded, and stacked for trade.

The shortest of the names listed above remains S.A.S. The second “S” is Sky, and the name suggests the person who has studied the Sky, stars, and planets with a wisdom that comes with age. Reclining on his/her back, this individual helps to navigate the boat. Significantly, this person’s knowledge offers a greater probability of not getting lost as the craft ventures further into the more expansive open Sea.

The last name, Sea-Air-Sky-Sea-Earth (S.A.S.S.E.), inspired me to write this missive. Preferably, a crew has two of the Sea-Air-Sky-Sea-Earth on board, preferably with one on each side of the boat. Their primary duty is to guide it past rocks, shifting sand of shoals, and other dangers (such as a rare Kracken-like creature) that could sink the vessel.

Back to the Top

We hope that you have been amused and enlightened by this piece of obscure ancient history. Names are more than a jumble of letters: they help us to define our more extensive social web of human interrelationships. Such a web is fundamental to creating a level of sufficient affluence in a sustainable economy because such systems are necessary for continued human existence. For attorneys, such systems remain fundamental to define laws, their structure, and their application. Additionally, the consideration for a person’s background is inherent to the civilized handling of a case. This act leads to respect for the client, the opposing counsel, various experts, and all members of the legal community.

Let this observation bring us back to Republican Senator Ben Sasse, who ramped up his criticism of the Trump election-strategy in mid-October only to be brushed aside in a fiery tweet in which the President described him as “stupid and obnoxious.” On a later news broadcast, Trump pronounced the Senator’s name in a tone that could start a row on a grade-school playground. He slammed the Senator following the leak of an audio recording in which the Nebraska lawmaker leveled harsh criticism against the President. Hopefully, education, honesty, kindness to fellow beings, and other attributes that helped our forefathers to develop America continue to remain vital, valued attributes today. In this spirit, we want to wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving Day, however you celebrate it during these extraordinary times.
Dr. John F. Sase teaches Economics at Wayne State University and has practiced Forensic and Investigative Economics for twenty years. He earned a combined M.A. in Economics and an MBA at the University of Detroit, followed by a Ph.D. in Economics from Wayne State University. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School (

Gerard J. Senick is a freelance writer, editor, and musician. He earned his degree in English at the University of Detroit and was a supervisory editor at Gale Research Company (now Cengage) for over twenty years. Currently, he edits books for publication (

Julie G. Sase is a copyeditor, parent coach, and empath. She earned her degree in English at Marygrove College and her graduate certificate in Parent Coaching from Seattle Pacific University. Ms. Sase coaches clients, writes articles, and edits copy (