“…Citizens seeking to introduce changes in the form of their government, whether in favor of liberty or despotism, ought to consider what materials they have to deal with and then judge of the difficulty of their task. For it is no less arduous and dangerous to attempt to free a people disposed to live in servitude, than to enslave a people who [opt] to live free.” Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourse on the First Decade of Titus Livius, Ninian Hill Thomson, Trans., Kegan, Trench & Co., London, 1883, p. 376.
Me, I’m just a cheap, craven stay-at-home (thus no sainthood claimed here!). My sole intent, in writing Learner, is to catalyze a more livable world into which I (and anyone else) could reincarnate. No way to predict how the world will turn out in one’s absence; but, flying blind, PeaceWorld seems to offer a better destination.
As I review this text, its cosmic presumption stuns me. No special privilege entitles me to claim your time and attention; no lofty reputation, mighty patronage, personal charisma, business savvy, saintly complacency, ambition public or private, or literary merit. When I find decent work, I’m just a clerk and a distracted one at that.
Nonetheless, I must claim your careful consideration here. No-one else took the trouble to do what was necessary ; I felt compelled to do so. This book may be the most important text you read; that’s up to you and your fondness for the status quo.
I’ve stayed up late reviewing endless redos of botched political experiments and muttering, “At least one of these should have worked out to spec!”
I still dare hope. Learners form a Nation among nations, a state of being within the State. In our own quiet way, once properly inspired, we will command enough talent and initiative to tackle any challenge. Once we Learners find each other in the dark, realize how numerous we are and the sway we hold over the world; once we rally around those ideas, we will be unstoppable and destined for glory. It does not matter how wretched human isolates may be with their sterile pecking orders, or how much toil will be needed to restore things to their rightful place. Every deadly rehearsal we’ve had to fight in the past will evolve into our world struggle for existential survival and its masterpiece of peace renaissance.
Aghast, I understoos King Ashoka’s torment. Standing back-to-back in this carnage of our own making, we could neither duck our complicity with this disgrace nor stand idly by. We had to do something: stretch out for the big brass ring dangling just beyond our dreams; blow the doors off our fragile confidence, competence and self-worth; risk everything to lessen the robotic atrocity of the human condition.
Learner isn’t engraved in stone (yet). Dedicated specialists, amateur and professional alike, should chew over each of its assumptions. Their debate may conjure a brilliant Learner Commonwealth whose new mantra would be, “What if the sky were the limit?”
Every cubic yard of earth, air, water and vacuum may hold all the energy in the Universe (minus 1?). Will we become clever enough to reach into this vacuum fire and warm our hands in it, yet not burn our fingertips or the world? Or will we remain parched and starving stumblebums wandering across a desert while untold abundance lies locked away below our feet?
All of us are sitting down together to share a giant, super-deluxe pizza. It stretches out to the horizon and beyond that to infinity. It is covered with mounds of perfect vegetables, creamy cheese, aromatic spices and deli delicacies: all the trimmings of the finest pizza. This pie has got college degrees, fair housing and low infant mortality; enough abundance, justice and serenity for everyone; anything we could ask for and more of it than we could find use for.
Too bad we only see down a one-degree slice of this pie, the sorriest of slices, unbelievably bad. It’s been combed over at sword-point for millennia, stripped bare, burnt black and saturated with poverty, fear and suffering. Across it, starving children cower in stoic tears in bunkers, hovels and refugee dumps: the poster children of our failure and guilt. That’s all we can see: this WeaponWorld of ours, the napalm-blackened crust of a burnt-out world. Starving for something finer, we scramble after its crumbs with microscopic compulsion.
The infinite leftover, heaping with untouched goodies? It is beyond view, as far as we’re concerned. The other 359 degrees of this cosmic pizza have been walled-off by long-revered cultural blinkers. Our culture screens us off at birth from PeaceWorld in favor of WeaponWorld, and more and more relentlessly as we age. As a result, we’ve dismissed the potential abundance of PeaceWorld as mere utopic fantasy.
Learners will polarize those blinkers and present the whole pie to everyone. This bounty is there to harvest on PeaceWorld. We have but to focus our vision, roll up our sleeves and make it happen. It will then be harvest season and almost everyone will gather and share this incredible abundance; they’ll be too busy in so doing to rip each other off for a much lesser gain. We can no longer afford to be so wantonly wasteful.
Four fifths of my lifetime ago, as I began testing the shaky legs of new-foaled opinions, my father challenged me thus: “It’s easy to condemn institutions,” this suave Bayard informed me. I’ll always remember him as un chevalier sans peur et sans reproche: a fearless knight beyond reproach.
That’s a tricky combination, if you think about it. It would be easy to inflict harm while bearing some illusion of fearlessness. “I don’t give a damn; let loose the dogs of war!” It would be more difficult to do good from fear of bad consequences, but not much more rewarding. The true goal should be to achieve good for the most part, fearlessly. My father strove to do that his whole life, which made him a nobleman in the finest sense of the term. No lesser deed is worthy.
So you think yourself fearless? Fine. Do good, without counting the cost, and prove it to us. A little trick you will have to play in your head, for your entertainment and the wellbeing of the world. Could you manage that?
The paragraph above may be essential reading for sociopaths who recognize themselves and for their friends who see it in them. To them, I suggest a careful reread. It might ease their troubles and break a new trail to PeaceWorld.
“Condemn institutions? Don’t bother,” this mild-mannered horse-soldier taught me, “unless you come up with better ones.”
I've knocked myself out, since, to puzzle those alternatives. As a child of the greasy 50’s, I found capital-R Revolution revolting. Its runny blemishes were more telling than its watery promises. Among its worst failures, after untold suffering, it offered nothing more than the unacceptable present with frequent backslides. Revolutionary dialectics (and every convention sprung from them) struck me as so much cheap talk—culture’s inflamed reaction to orthodoxy’s stunted mediocrity.
No Great Book On Peace exists, even though students cram Clausewitz’s On War in every college. Believe me; I’ve searched the stacks in vain, for On Peace.
Midway through my mandatory obedience training – once I’d gotten good and sick of its lies and their stacks of victims – I started combing libraries available to me for a primer on the administration of world peace. You know, a real civics lesson for a serious cosmopolitan up against nationalists of every stripe? So what if it were nothing but a wild-eyed speculation? I’d have settled for that!
All I found was On War and select textbooks on weapon management. There were countless histories, pious tomes, pompous political screeds, literary soap operas and nut-cracking philosophical quibbles—each sustaining weapon mentality and diverting attention from what should have been our primary study all along: peace. They covered feelings, sentiment, technicalities, meaningless abstractions or some other such nonsense—anything but Peace. As my readings grew more voracious and less finicky, they led me to affirmations of weapon mentality more and more ponderous, elaborate and boring. This mountain range of uselessness aside, I found very little else, to tell you the truth.
Avid for the peace primer I could never find, I set about drafting its Volume One. I would never dare call my work On Peace. Only a global consensus of Learners, assembled in the World Virtual Agora, could compose such a work in a thousand million volumes. Nowadays, we profit from none of those.
Even if Learner fits alone on a virtual library bookshelf under a non-existent call number (no Dewey Decimal for peace, the Library of Congress prefix JX no longer used), its scribe cannot claim copyright of the ideals of peace. The gold flakes of peace mentality may lie buried under mounds of weapon mentality dross, but hints of its color shimmer from all of our masterworks. Where did Learner’s opulent forbears go? They disappeared, replaced by the weapon Classics we’ve been compelled to worship all our lives.
Learner reconsiders a vital choice we make between weapon mentality and its peace equivalent. Every moment we endure here on Earth, we connive with this evil or defy it, whether we admit this to ourselves or not. These days, weapon mentality dominates our thinking without serious debate. No wonder runaway weapon technologies harvest evermore victims, since everyone submits to weapon mentality without a second thought. It’s also no wonder that every progressive aspiration shudders to a halt in this Sargasso Sea of weapon mentality. What surprise is there in that? This social defect is so common and predictable, we shouldn’t even feel disappointed by it. Disgusted and enraged, of course; disappointed, not at all.
Once our allegiance shifts from weapons to peace, we may yet thrive along with all our progressive aspirations. Until then, forget them and forget us.
Since you’ve begun to grasp the central premise of Learner, you might have coughed it up by reflex.
“World peace? PeaceWorld? Shut up! I’m through!”
If you like to triangulate controversies to mold your mental landscape, ask yourself: “Why dismiss this topic without a fair hearing? During my long drawn-out study of other topics at school, why didn’t someone teach me about it just as carefully?”
I’ll tell you why, if you choose to pay attention. Emerging from our infancy into frustrated adolescence, we mature sexually (about age 15) before we do so emotionally and socially (30). Society exploits this offset development. It offers us a predictable life cycle, from adolescent rebellion to adult uncertainty, followed by the mid-life backlash of reactionary senescence. The force-feeding of weapon reality to child hostages will destroy whatever youthful idealism they once held.
It’s funny, if you think about it. From the standpoint of physical fitness, the human body was designed to be eaten around the age of thirty by a saber-tooth tiger and thus avoid the painful dissolutions of old age. Under such conditions, our survivors must have endured the transports of love, sex and reproduction as adolescents. Most humans don’t develop their empathy and problem-solving skills until thirty years of age or thereabouts (some sooner, others never). The pitiless Neolithic killing ground called for near-suicidal recklessness and procreation as early teens, therefore the self-centered naiveté of young beasts in heat. Thoughtful old age, though revered by the brightest of surviving children, was never welcomed by the natural world.
As in Herman Hess’s Siddhartha, we may only plumb the depths of harsh asceticism, sensual pleasure, material wealth, self-revulsion and eventually, saintly complacency in our own mediocrity (by default). We are forced early on to surrender our healthy conscience and replace it with passive-aggressive compromise and adherence at gunpoint to conspiracies of greed. We soothe our heartache with ignorance, apathy, drugs, alcohol, fanaticism, amateur obsession, professional compulsion, insanity, felony and self-destruction. From these escapisms take your pick.
The reform-idealism of youth is everywhere subverted. The suppression of youthful idealism is a pseudo-skill each of us is called upon to master. Shouldn’t our first priority be to nurture that creative drive?
Do you remember when you were a bright young thing as pure as a glass of water? Recall the barrage of insults that fell on your childlike investigation of world peace? Little did it matter to whom you turned – to strangers or beloved, to enlightened teachers or dumb brutes – you had to run a gauntlet of veiled insult, condescension and violence if you persisted.
Think back. “World Peace? End poverty? Feed and care for everyone in honest equality? Get real, stop dreaming, grow up! What do I have to do, grab you by the shoulders and shake?”
Ok. I’m summarizing years of systematic and very subtle indoctrination in a few lines of text. But you get my point.
On this WeaponWorld of ours, a so-called “happy childhood” is the rare one during which inescapable traumas and injustices are inflicted at a later date, at random, by surprise and by strangers.
No doubt your tentative childhood investigations were cut short by dismissal, rejection and conformist denunciation. According to them, “World peace = crap. Treat it as such, if you know what’s good for you.”
Did this ceaseless brainwash, while you were young and impressionable—did it bring you up short? Was your conscience battered silent? Did you suspend your disbelief to avoid rejection? Did you enslave yourself to its lies, regardless of their merit? Would it have mattered what race, nation or creed you sprang from? What choice did you have?
“Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments that are inimical to [orthodoxy], and of being bored and repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.” George Orwell, 1984, the New American Library, Inc., New York, 1961, p. 174.
See The 1984 Syndrome.
We were blocked because Everyman silenced us the moment we started asking awkward questions. Our culture subverts pacifism and military decadence as obsessively as it controls human waste and waterborne disease. Both were lethal to a primitive society and both are suppressed. We have been potty trained, as children, to oppose peace and valid spirituality.
One arises from the other, don’t you think? In the absence of peace, wouldn't valid spirituality suffer? In the midst of war, doesn't our spirituality turn into a monstrous caricature of itself, sneering at its hypocrisy? During what we dare call peacetime, is it not just as bad?
Are we ready to cry Enough! into the face of this grotesque weapon cult? Have we ever been more ready; will we ever be more ready?
As with our weapon cults and their relevance to God, it doesn’t matter how much mouth-jabber we dedicate to peace. We are just as averse to it as to excrement. As a result, we face a multitude of social contradictions and zero closure, resolution or clarity.
Sure, I can understand your fear and loathing, but I can’t let that stop me. You and other Learners, rally ‘round! We’re grownups now, seemingly immune from childhood blame games. Unplug your ears – there, that’s better – and pay attention. Learner retrieves painful questions we let drop when we were kids, with or without our consent. The choices we were denied as children, Learner restores them to you.
As this Aquarian Age dawns, it’s a sorry state we submit to. Arrogant mismanagement invokes chainsaw logic and lubricates it with snake oil democracy. Fate’s idiot smile favors Conspiracies of Greed. Smirking predators gang rape Blind Justice before our disbelieving eyes. They laugh all the way to their bank, congress, pulpit and academy, then come back for sloppy seconds, thirds and so on... Over and over, our institutions legitimize the spastic slapstick of killer primates.
Absurd clichés jam our constellation of political metaphors, despite their spectacular failure—or hadn’t you noticed yet? Like nitwit kibitzers around a stalled car, we keep intoning “We’re just gonna need more Love, personal perfection, patriotism, Christ in this world, Humanism, Science, Submission, Family Values, Free Markets – straighter politicians, fairer bullies and kinder Fat Cats.” In short, some purer dictatorship of fathead vacuity. Even more widespread and worthless: “Don’t believe in nothin’, little pal, but earning and spending your next buck. Be cool, be a steady fool, like us.”
Stupefied by all this barbarism, prophets, newscasters, technocrats and commoners bray disaster in four-part harmony. Others pray that swift Apocalypse come deliver them pretty please. Stupefied by their panic, they worsen the necrosis of this world merely to speed up the Ending they crave.
We deny the obvious, the Miracle upon which our existence depends a thousand times a day. According to this Miracle, a greater wisdom could replace our typhoons of venom with windfalls of abundance. Fantastic plenty could blossom where wastelands fester nowadays; full justice, soothe ancient traumas and about-face mutinous legions back to civility.
Imagine that! Picture the best that could happen.
Instead, weapon dissidents and weapon reactionaries sing rounds of hoary dogma. They obsess over the hated Other and plot His impossible demise. Others sit on their hands until everyone has turned into an angel or until Christ returns to deliver us (whichever comes first).
Everything is improvised. No-one knows what he’s talking about or has a workable plan except for more killing—sit still for it or stir it up. The first privilege of promotion these days is not having to listen; just issue insane orders unmindful of reality or pass them on without question—the recipe for guaranteed disaster. In fact, modern management tends to manage by disaster. It inherits criminally neglected disasters or kindles new ones, and then demonstrates “leadership” by waving its arms and blaming subordinates for failing to meet impossible demands.
We only get two kinds of politicians, these days: those who have quashed good ideas for generations (Democrats) and those who never met a bad idea they didn’t love (Republicans). Like a village blacksmith lusting after a first-glimpsed motorcycle, they long to tease the world apart and reassemble it to suit their fancy. But their obsolete political vocabulary won’t let them understand the world’s fundamental contradictions and opportunities. They seek to fix a Harley-Davidson with Age of Pericles terms and horse-and-buggy tools.
Only the absolute justice of our cause keeps it alive—not our necrotic habits of thought and speech. Rendered feverish by gangrenous ideologies and their failure to benefit anyone but special interests, we’ve grown too credophobic to believe in anything any longer. Force-fed meaningless commercial blather, our moral gyros tumbled, we’ve let go our last spirit toeholds and plunged into riptides of change.
But do not despair. Listen to Jesse Jackson and “Keep hope alive!” As happened to two post-war Germanys, reactionaries will hand over a basket case for us to reanimate once it seems too late to salvage anything from the wreckage. Learner anticipates that handover—this time, of the whole world.
You might recall watching some movie where ruthless Evil secures every source of power, control and security. By midway through the story, the Good are dumbfounded. No one has any idea what to do next.
Then someone – perhaps Ruth – says, “Hold on, I have a plan.” Rather than turn away in dumb despair, listless bystanders pay miraculous attention. Inspired, they turn into heroes. By then, for the sake of dramatic continuity, the camera cuts to the triumph of the Good.
This book lists vital steps between “no plan” and “plan in action.” During this critical but no-fun stage, we must discuss our plan, expose its weaknesses, suggest other alternatives and coordinate their timing and chronology. Let volunteers take on tasks that fit their special interests and talents. All you reductive meliorists stalled out and pounding on your steering wheel, start your engines! Shake awake those who’ve held back from nihilism and cowardice.
I have a scheme; here it is, as follows. We are at this essential if boring stage of the procedure. Proceed with dispatch, I implore you.
A few warnings before we begin. This book’s eccentric prose, exotic idiom and outlandish speculations make for hard reading. We’re going to make warfare illegal across the planet—not bake a simple cake. You’ll find in these pages neither quick fixes nor simple sound bites, none of the pablum you’ve grown used to. Click Back if that was all you came here looking for.
What’s more, the chapters of Learner were crafted as stand-alone texts that an Internet searcher could stumble upon independently of the others. So there will be a lot of repetition if you read them in succession. Fine! You never heard enough of this stuff during the rest of your life.
Treat Learner as a rough guide clearer than run-on Classics and straighter than Ivy-League obfuscations. After reading it, young prodigals may scout out this locked-down prison world while guards and convicts slumber.
Evenhandedly, this book calls to ecstatic Nobel laureates, berserkers with nothing else to lose, idealists adrift, madrassa dreamers, oriental bonzes, Talmud scholars and Bible seminarians ‒ none of them satisfied ‒ prep-schooled sellouts and ghetto luminaries defying evils wriggling just beyond their own brown study. It speaks just as much to every Learner lost in a funhouse mirror-maze of weapons and peace, as to my childhood ghost haunting bygone stacks. I address these words in equal parts to this year’s applicants to the War Academies and to next year’s harvest of middle school prodigies.
The best have combed the library stacks of weapons administration for the literature of peace, to no avail. This book sketches what we were driven to discover and failed to find.
California dreamin’, it surfs riptides of chaos and swims the undertows of paradox. Irritably, it tosses treasured concepts and takes up much-maligned ideas. My message is quite biased. Attacking sly platitudes, it climbs way out on shaky limbs—higher than you might wish to follow. You’ll find no “detachment”, “disinterest” or “balance” here, as those terms are misused today. Given this complex topic, my lettered numbskills and worse erudition, your work is cut out for you.
What’s more, I’ll turn rhetorical cannons against the weapon mentors who drilled me on them. Horrified and enraged, I’ll cite fallacies more useful than their “logically correct” counterparts. I have no use for proponents of “logical analysis” who permit children to starve and turn their back when such awkward topics intrude on their blank spirit. On the contrary, Learners will pirate Madison Avenue frauds and taps bugle calls that lulled us up ‘til now, to uphold PeaceWorld.
If you seek a six-hundred-word-or-less formula for World Peace, consult the Georgia Guidestones carved in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian (but not in French, you hick):
1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally, resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.
If the dry logic of world peace is all you seek, read Mortimer Adler’s How to Think about War & Peace, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1944. Back then, President Roosevelt and his brilliant staffers anticipated a popular, one-world government that would have criminalized warfare across the planet and guaranteed human rights for all – seventy years ago, with 150 million fewer war dead and a couple billion fewer deaths of famine and preventable disease that we “enlightened” contemporaries are responsible for―and how many more thousands of trillions of dollars, vital resources and sabotaged ingenuity chucked out the window with our consent?
How dare you hint that none of this be of your doing! Quit lying to yourself, at least here. We are all 100% accountable.
Alas, commissars of the American Weapon Party made sure that a failed haberdasher, Harry Truman, would grab the reins of power from Roosevelt’s dying hands. Hiroshima, my love? Truman and his small-town, small-mind cronies threw away the global goodwill America had earned by liberating the world from fascism. Just like Bush the Lesser and his rat pack did after 9/11, when the whole world was on our side once again.
Truth to tell, America and the world never recovered from the “purely coincidental” regicide of two Kennedys, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X (as well as many more international progressive chiefs wasted anonymously by dark op during Cold War and since), and their replacement by slime molds of the reactionary warmonger kind. They have groomed politically correct mediocrities, since. Their prejudices drove us to another a hundred fifty million war dead and into another half-century of bankrupt weapon management,.
Still today, we waste precious time and talent in pointless protests against mighty warmonger initiatives. Let them protest, in total futility, our mighty peace initiatives—never again the other way around!
This text is a speculative entertainment and an impassioned rally cry, not some textbook drear. Neither fiction nor non-, it fits in somewhere between confession, screed and sketchbook of homilies, anecdotes and conjectures. As Margaret Atwood put it, forecast journalism. Actually, I thought of publishing it as a series of pamphlets, the way Thomas Paine wrote, to reflect its hundred stand-alone chapters. There is no other text like Learner. I have found no political group that would adopt it outright as its own.
Were that I could! I would not have felt so alone on this planet of unrepentant killer primates, nor so terrified that things will go from bad to worse at their hands, with or without Learner.
I have no faith in my own generation (good for nothing but Bush the Lesser and his National Capitalist cronies, and now Trump the Joker) nor those that follow; perhaps the third or fourth… Learners will certainly arise as a political party in the future, perhaps after I’ve left—as came about with Marx, Rousseau and Erasmus.
“So it happens that beyond the imaginary demarcation line between past and present, the writer still finds himself eye to eye with the human condition, which he is bound to observe and understand as best he can, with which he must identify, giving it the strength of his breath and the warmth of his blood, which he must attempt to turn into the living texture of the story that he intends to translate for his readers, in such a way that the result be as beautiful, as simple, and as persuasive as possible.” Ivo Andrić, Acceptance Speech for the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature.
"If humanity bears an eternal truth, it must be the tragic hesitation of the man who will be called, for centuries to come, an artist – standing before the work of art he experiences more deeply than anyone, that he admires in ways no one else can, yet that he alone on Earth wants secretly to destroy at the same time."
"So understand this fully: if genius is a discovery, the resurrection of the past is based on it. At the beginning of this speech, I told you what a renaissance could be, what the heritage of a culture could be. A culture is reborn when men of genius, searching for their truth, draw from the depth of centuries what used to resemble the truth, even if they can’t recognize it."
André Malraux, Les Conquérants, (The Conquerors), Le livre de poche, © Bernard Grasset, 1928, pages 311-13.
“The leader bears all our confusion in his attempt to climb above society for a clear view that reveals the right way. There, on his imaginary mountain, he stands alone while suffering the private anxiety of freedom. He watches us dancing aimlessly below and half struggling with mortality in our reassuring maze. He can note a certain reassurance on our part, lost in our earthly eternity. But how will he manage to collect his thoughts if he cannot force all of us and the structure itself to respond to his efforts?” John Ralston Saul, Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, Vintage Press, A Division of Random House, 1991, p. 349.
Accept the scraps of Learners you approve of, then make something better happen. Dismiss what you find that disconcerts you—as conjecture, hearsay, heresy, what you will.
If this work inspires some new idea, let me know. I’d love to add new ideas to a rewrite of this text (with proper attribution). I may get to chronicle the real-world progress of this endeavor … maybe in future chapters of this samizdat.
Why do the terms “utopian” and “idealist” throw our highest values on the trash heap? When did reactionary chic wrong-foot empathy?
We may be bad practitioners of peace, at first; but the love of good flows in our veins. No description of this talent exists (kalotropism?) but it will not be denied much longer. Who knows; doing good may become fashionable once again, despite the effort of the worst among us to forbid and ridicule it.
Loudmouthed morality truants fake cleverness by worsening our weapon neuroses. By rote repetition, they malign “do-gooders” and “bleeding hearts”. Hiding their shameful shortcomings, they’ve confabulated the pig-headed terminology and criminal line-up of reactionary correctness. They’ve set up an assembly line of conmen and professional hypocrites “politically correct” enough to serve as stand-ins for legitimate leaders. Each new candidate less good than his predecessors, while people of talent and genius are chased from politics and social commentary; gunned down in the street or crucified by the media while their killers are justified.
Sneering reactionaries betray themselves, since they alone use the expression “politically correct.”
Who are these thugs? Do-badders? The flint-hearted? Do a few stony hearts require a little lubricant bleeding to re-oxygenate their flat-lined conscience?
After so many tries, why don’t we have the best possible government? With all our schools, books and teachers, why aren’t there millions of peace mentors out there, enriching the abundance that is our due, filling the world with miraculous technologies, sacred wildlife, courtly love and random acts of kindness? Where did the superb replacements of young Andy Carnegie, the Roosevelts and Little Flower LaGuardia go, that the administration of excellence demands?
If we saw this world as one Grand Academy –Learners would wish it were – most of its students major in some aspect of weapon technology while all too few take an elective in peace. As the machinery of war grinds on, only its most devoted slaves may evaluate its usefulness in public discourse.
Hardly anyone can list the great peace mentors. Peace’s foremost practitioners have been unassuming gentlefolk and female peace practitioners as under-reported here as they have been in general history. Compare this state of ignorance with our familiarity with Genghis Khan, Hitler and like masters of mayhem. If peace were our first priority – not mass murder – this Learner deficit would cause us grave concern.
Your first appraisal of Learner may make you dizzy, its range of topics is so kaleidoscopic. We never studied them in the depth they deserved. Our first review will be insolently superficial and subject to myth-based denial at every page-turn. Once this crisis has passed, we may render justice to these exotic notions.
Read the first chapters of Learner to take in its vocabulary: (“Intro & Vocab” to “Stop”). Then resume your random perusal in any of its three Sections:
SECTION I) Why we’re in this mess;
SECTION II) How we approach PeaceWorld; and
SECTION III) What results we should expect.
The first and harshest Section, “Why,” stretches past the midpoint of Learner. “Why” is so incendiary, its first-time readers risk burnout. Unlike more sedative texts, this one doesn’t overlook great evils we’ve been taught to regret briefly and then take for granted. This merciless inventory of error will seem wearisome to you at first, mind-numbing later on and soon unbearable. Your subconscious will revisit every aversion therapy you suffered as a child, to get you to quit. You’ll grow frustrated with this reading, then nauseated by it and soon enraged. You will have to brace yourself to chugalug this bitter brew to its dregs. Take tiny sips of this sour mash and find more syrupy refreshment elsewhere, perhaps at the titty of TV.
But don’t give up. I could just as well have celled them Lamentation, Transition and Hope.
Bittersweet “How” lists unfortunate tendencies and proposes some countermeasures. Sweeter “What” sketches peaceful alternatives to the weapon technologies we submit to today—assuming global majorities have already grasped Why and How.
This text is intended for every Learner to come. Its discontent should have been our patrimony and was—forgotten since. I leave the next Sections: Who, When and Where, to you, beloved Learners. If you catch me fumbling my mandate, that’s your cue to take up my burden of proof.
I had no choice but to write – en deux langues (in two languages) – this book, this whole book and nothing but this book. In the end, I can only justify my presumption by pointing out the depths of our moral bankruptcy … and of our craving for Peace: the ultimate forbidden love.