- YOU CHOOSE (II) -

 VERSION FRANCOPHONE

 

SUMMARY OF LEARNER  INTRO & VOCAB

 

This text casts off straitjacket terms like Leftist and Rightist. Believe me, I have met some decent, thoughtful conservatives. I’ve appealed to far too many “progressives activists” simply devoted to their dead-end prejudices and herd-like associations — not to mention international right-wingers who look forward to a horror show re-enactment of Kristalnacht. I found a good many people whose politics slid right off this scale.

The clashing demands of weapon mentality empower multinational and interdenominational right-wingers, no matter how much the rest of us may despise them. Don’t tell me that extremists like Slobodan Milosevic, the KGB and their historical replacements were “Leftists.” They imitated all the tactics of typical Right Wing reactionaries. In essence they acted like interchangeable weapon managers. Most of us have born the talon-marks of these buzzards, if only indirectly on the part of our acquaintances and relatives overseas.

These days, “moderate” reactionaries, “compassionate” conservatives, bellicose liberals and mercenary radicals elbow each other across our TV screens. Each group lauds the peace content of its own position and condemns the weapons outcome of its adversaries. However, no-one uses terms like “peace content” and “weapons outcome.” That taboo vocabulary would reveal the inexcusable lapses and shared strengths of these people.

Learners will conserve worthwhile values, extend a liberal hand toward those less fortunate, and go to the root (radical) of social problems. They might even display reactionary revulsion — at renewed attempts to validate weapon myths, for example. A more accurate political shorthand might replace weapon managers’ “fearful hatred” with Learners’ “love beyond fear and reproach.”

 

Free enterprise is a vital activity in many settings; central planning is in others. The so-called free market fosters central planning by corporations and centralized corporate welfare within weapon states. It is painful for the conscience-driven to witness those activities in their pure form, since they become the more and more toxic once they turn into the only game in town.

Habits and institutions that promote honest peace should be adopted; anything that blocks it should be marginalized. Peace benefits should be identified and magnified; weapon threats, isolated and rendered vestigial. The same social winnowing can be applied to every political dualism that so-called leftists and rightists have failed to resolve as long as they could dictate the terms of debate.

Success at social transformation demands that rulers and ruled share a consensus — never again mere dominance and submission. This accord can only emerge from near-universal consent shared by those well informed. Our orthodox constellations of political metaphors cannot convey this unheard-of consensus. This book calls it a Cooperative of Plenty on the material plane, Laocracy on the political, and the World or Virtual Agora on the intellectual.

We submit to reductionist, hyperactive and hyper-rational (actually, semi-rational) humanism. In deference to this tyranny, a coalition of nation-states and multinational corporations oversees the most culturally isolated and politically neutered info proletariat it can engineer.

Every political party conspires to hasten this runaway despotism: from Socialists and Communists, to Democrats and Republicans, to Nationalists and Fascists and then back around again. Reflexively, info elites shield their rice bowl in the weapon status quo, even though they take great pains to hide that fact.

Those who confront this Gorgon emerge as militant extremists either from the Left or the Right. Every “revolutionary” proto-elite has been imbued with the same weapon mentality as its tyrannical archenemy. Each one promises to confront orthodox violence with redundant threats of popular violence. Each anticipates social collapse and plots to manipulate it — with no more success than its dead-end predecessors. Revolutionaries, crusaders and jihadi are only good at one thing: perfecting the next round of weapon technologies.

We live in an algedonic age. The real rules are the ones we understand the least. Crucial social rules are neither discussed nor acknowledged by popular consent. They control a vast meta-system of warfare that doesn’t intrude into our lives until the lead slug, toxiplasm or gamma ray with our name on it crashes into us. Until then, we remain complacent, more or less reluctant conspirators with this meta-system’s weapon management.

On the other hand, Learners will sustain syncretism (“as the Cretans did”). They will identify failing institutions and then remove, reform or circumvent them in favor of everyone’s life-quality, sacred awareness, natural habitat and long-term profit. We won’t sort these priorities effectively outside a Learner Commonwealth. Ranking them fairly will require everyone’s well-informed consent, which could only be obtained therein.

Greed, power-hunger, and deprivation/abuse/neglect fears will fall away under a succession of Learner administrations. Criminals, the obsessively rich and other social parasites will grasp the true meaning of wealth and power once they’ve let go their primary fears. New benefits will outweigh old fears and thus reduce violence and untruth.

Those heedless few who persist at ancient crimes will be caught up in social safety nets much more flexible, benign and secure than the makeshifts we rely on today: malign neglect before the fact and after. armored doors sealing concrete compounds spun around with razor wire.

Only by adopting Learner priorities – and subordinating lesser ones – may we expect real progress.

 

 

New Learner ceremonies could dissipate homicidal hostility — perhaps with live-fire militia exercises. Ernest Callenbach’s book, Ecotopia, portrays this form of ritual pseudo-battle.

Think of a bounded playing field. Wall it off from curious bystanders and forbid idle spectators. An underground “Dome of Pain” might serve best.

Set no rules, with the following exceptions:

 

·        Neutral ground: This dome should be located far away from contending militants’ home ground. It should be under the control of a local militia with no stake in the argument being contested.

·        Equal numbers: None but equal teams of contenders must be present during a ritual confrontation, with everyone else excluded. Afterwards, only local medical teams may rescue survivors and retrieve bodies (with local armed escorts, if necessary).

·        Similar qualification: Opposite teams should be roughly comparable. Politicians and bureaucrats should confront their peers from the opposite side, one side’s military leaders should be opposed by the other’s, etc. One side cannot send a team of commandos, or one or two politicians with a platoon of bodyguards, to exterminate the other side’s team of nothing but politicians.

 

No doubt, other rules will have to be elaborated as psychopaths figure out new ways to cheat and massacre their opponents. If these cannot be agreed upon by respective parties, abandon this model.

 

Arm naked antagonists with spiked clubs and fill emergency rooms with the outcome of their rage. Begin with the fifty foremost representatives of each aggressive assembly – political, military and religious – then fifty more replacements, then fifty more until none remain outside a hospital or cemetery. Let them express the full scope of their hatred and rage. This alternative might be preferable to quietly dispatching masses of innocent, patriotic children, set with modern military hardware and our social blessing, to confront equally innocent victims from the other side.

These days, arena-style televised violence panders to disgusting human traits without providing serious analysis or catharsis. At atrocious cost, entire peoples and countries are sacrificed to act out our common dread of the Other, from which nothing is ever learned.

Learner violence games will shut out voyeur (voy-uhr, Peeping Tom) thrill seekers. Such artificial confrontations may turn out to be superior to the crime scenes, prisons, and battlefields across which we’ve let our accursed rage range freely.

In exchange for voluntary and anonymous participation, they would provide:

 

·        mystery and initiation;

·        a real risk of sacrifice, serious injury and death;

·        a mystical quest for mutual understanding and forgiveness;

·        elaborate ceremonies of shared pardon and ritual cleansing; and

·        a mystical rebirth – symbolic, perhaps hypnotic, perhaps even hallucinatory – back into the real world where such cruel atavisms were no longer tolerated.

 

For example, the Maya staged a painful ball game so difficult and sacred that the rare winning team claimed the onlookers’ belongings and the losing (winning?) team’s captain sometimes sacrificed his life. Such confrontations might stem from duel-challenge, provided the challenged party could call upon volunteer and mercenary champions.

Outer space offers a handy death arena for those who must have their mortality served to them piping hot.

 

“The particular combination of physical and mental empowerment, retreat from and return to the ordinary world, and spiritual renewal that adventure offers, bears a close formal resemblance to classic warrior myths. And with care and thought, it should be possible to design adventures that could serve as initiation ceremonies for boys making the transition to manhood. Undoubtedly, activities not based on adventure, and myths not based on war can also be developed that would similarly move men forward toward maturity and transcendent experience. To assert that myths meet human needs and that we need new myths, does not imply that the Age of Enlightenment is over, just that rationalism has limits: it can take the world apart, but not put it back together. Only stories and visions do that.” James William Gibson, Warrior Dreams: Violence and Manhood in Post-Vietnam America, Hill and Wang, A Division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1994, p. 308.

 

These realtime wargames might parallel today’s battlefield reenactments and paintball wargames. In a highly structured, ritualistic environment, people might band together to act out their atavistic urge to posture, fight, flee or freeze in submission. As in martial arts sparring, overt violence might cause a few serious injuries and the exceptional fatality. The violence provoked would vary in proportion to the severity of local disputes whose numeric proportion could be controlled by the number of real bullets issued, compared to blanks. The first death and wounding from this ceremony would end it — as determined by female and shaman referees. However, deliberate risk-taking and sacrifice would form an integral part of the psychic process. All such activities would be strictly forbidden outside these arenas.

These cruel dramas could be turned into basic lessons in civics. Emerging from such hermetic rituals, shaken participants would shun further violence. They would undergo lengthy stretches of medical care, ritual purification, psychological healing and repatriation into a world at peace. They’d never revisit these “Arenas of Suffering” unless they felt the need to re-explore their craving for violence.

Male or female, hopeless addicts to these violence games would become paid agents, cult priests and priestesses, and permanent inhabitants of these taboo precincts. They could also serve as volunteer and mercenary stand-ins for weaklings called upon to duel. They could serve in long postings to the Foreign Legion, or remote and dangerous missions in outer space. Everyone will find a rightful place on PeaceWorld, even the most ferocious.

 

 

In the meantime, the best among us attempt to relieve a single problem in a vacuum. These problems seem so overwhelming that no one person or group could hope to resolve any of them with a mere lifetime’s work.

Frustrated reformers obey the arid logic of scientific reductionism. They chop up one big problem into tidbits that appear insignificant enough to be workable, and then sort out the least of them to resolve. These weapon reformers seek a compromise solution by scavenging among the discards of weapon technology. They are careful to leave monolithic weapon technologies intact, lest fear-haunted elites forbid them further improvement.

Independent groups of “morally superior” beings carry out this hopeless microsurgery in direct competition with other reformers for inadequate resources. Their pecking order resembles infighting among starving chickens. We’ve tried every variant of these tactics for thousands of years despite constant failure.

We must first topple weapon mentality from its pedestal in front of City Hall; only then may PeaceWorld stand a chance of success.

Cannibalism ended, universal salvation, emancipation from slavery, constitutional rights, class equity, worker solidarity, sexual liberation and apartheid terminated: it’s amazing how many initiatives the best among us have set in motion despite our human frailties! However, every time a mighty new ideal pried some isolated group loose from weapon mentality’s grasp, regrouped weapon managers seized the next opportunity to ambush, scatter and replace the peaceful consensus. In a weapon dominion, paradox, paralysis and reactionary politics attend every isolated lunge at progress, no matter how well intended.

We are on the verge of an Ethical Revolution as phenomenal as the Industrial Revolution. We have endured weapon management for so long (long before the industrial one and perhaps even that of bronze), we no longer grasp the sovereignty of peace — it has ceased to signify to us. We can’t count on anything any longer except aggression. Our societies are less and less able to handle any project except killing as many long-distance victims as possible in the shortest possible time.

Weapon mentality has stacked itself steeper than its angle of repose; its eminent collapse is inevitable. Such a nearly pure Tao of Yang is long overdue for a deep infusion of Yin.

 

In order to invoke peace mentality, we must manage the world under one roof and a peaceable one at that. Each nation may try to protect its national sovereignty by sacrificing the wealth and children of its citizens, but this reflexive nationalism will enslave us to weapon mentality forever.

This said, Normal Angell made a valid point about nationalism:

 

“However mischievous may prove some of the manifestations of Nationalism, the worst possible method of dealing with it is by the forcible repression of any of its claims which can be granted with regard to the general interest. To give Nationalism full play, as far as possible, is the best means of attenuating its worst features and preventing its worst developments. This, after all, is the line of conduct which we adopt [with respect] to certain religious beliefs which we may regard as dangerous superstitions. Although the belief may have dangers, the social dangers involved in forcible repression would be greater still.” Norman Angell (pseudonym for Ralph Lane) The Fruits of Victory, The Century Company, New York, 1921, p. 246.

 

As long as weapons elites coordinate proxy wars between nation states and other Prism sub-aggregates – as they manage to do today – weapon mentality and its contradictions will condemn us to misery in the short term and military annihilation in the long. National sovereignty and weapon management have never delivered peace for very long, no matter how painfully they were enforced. Only the sovereignty of one world government could hope to secure world peace into the foreseeable future.

 

“Two things should be obvious at once:

“…The peace of a political community is impaired by civil strife of all sorts. Whether or not we choose to call such civil violence “war,” the fact remains that civil peace cannot be regarded as perfect until governmental machinery is able to cope with every form of dissension or dispute.

“The perfection of peace does not depend on the removal of all causes for dispute or strife; nor even on the avoidance of force in the settlement of differences. It depends on ways of keeping quarrels on the conversational level, and on a monopoly of the legitimate force needed to execute decisions.” Mortimer J. Adler, How to Think about War and Peace, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1944, p 121.

 

Our weapons indoctrination coaches us to dread the prospect of one world government, (see the 1984 Syndrome). This idea makes us nervous because we have been convinced (have convinced ourselves) that the only workable alternative is dangerously impossible. However, in our heart of hearts, we loathe the current reality that allows Wimps and Prisms to lock us into global mismanagement — not the ideal of one elegant, global polity.

We have as much to fear from one world government as we would from a Mayor’s Office: benign or corrupt as the case may be. In other words, we have nothing to fear that Learner vigilance could not handle in the long run and in the majority of cases. Just as human conscience has promoted the best legislation and social philosophy written so far, it could promote justice, freedom and plenty for everyone under a global regime that excluded from power those who disrespected these things.

 

But I cannot leave it at that. We are here to deepen our thoughts, not to simplify them.

The Bible and history reveal a basic contradiction. Let’s call it the paradox of the Tower of Babel. God intervened in the government of mankind in Genesis 11: 1-9.

 

1.      And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

2.      And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

3.      And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

4.      And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

5.      And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

6.      And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be retrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

7.      Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

8.      So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

9.      Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

 

It’s strange, how God intended to make us scatter across the planet…what we hated most.

Likewise, history shows us that every time a civilization has reached heroic peaks of inclusiveness, abundance and benevolence, some monstrous cataclysm destroyed it. Whether by plague, drought, volcanic eruption, meteor-driven, all-season winter or by annihilation at the hands of a weapon horde; some calamity befell every well-run society.

It doesn’t seem to matter that the same fate befell every other human aggregate, civilized or otherwise, as well as entire pre-human ecologies. It did not matter that primitive tribes were much less vulnerable to natural disaster until recently, than complex, stationary and fragile urban societies. We are interested in the fate of well-run civilizations and not of those whose disappearance never got recorded. Right?

So what choice do we have? We are confronted by a planetary civilization at odds with itself: vicious and arrogant because it is fragmented where it should be whole (in its peace technology) and holistic where it should be fragmented (in its mastery of weapons).

On the one hand, God forbids us to kill and Jesus, to harm the little ones. We are supposed to love our neighbor and turn the other cheek to violence. The best way to do that would be for everyone to live under one roof and that a peaceable one, well regulated — in other words, on PeaceWorld.

On the other hand, the God of Genesis has trained us like attack dogs to disregard our solidarity and execute random mayhem with enthusiasm. The Book of Revelation promises the Wrath of God to anyone but Jesus who’d dare urge Peace on Earth.

Likewise, the natural world with its serial disasters that seem to focus in time and space on the greatest centers of civilization. Note the broad-brush massacre of the trans-European civilizations of the Goddess halfway through the fourth millennia BCE. Note the volcanic eruption of Thera that blew Cretan civilization away; the meteor showers that destroyed the entire urban fabric of the Middle Bronze Age, first, and a thousand years later the Early Iron Age – see Burning Libraries (BC) – and so on, whether they recorded themselves in history or not.

It would be difficult to chronicle the destruction of your civilization if your last ten generations had had to focus on not starving to death.

So it must be up to each of us to determine our ambition. Do nothing, sit on our hands and watch killer primates fatten themselves on helpless babes and the World Forest? Or stand up on our hind legs and act civilized? The former course certainly looks safer and I am sure many moral cowards will cling to it. The latter is more tempting for those who find this barbarism intolerable — even at the risk of damnation by some red-toothed god, one in whose face I’ll spit as its jaws close on me.

Let me put it this way. Should planetary disaster befall us, its ignorant survivors will likely blame it all on our having come together and tried to turn this carnage around. No doubt, those among them who can read and write will forgo scratching their fleas long enough to inscribe this solemn truth in the next set of sacred texts.

“This is the holy post-script of nuclear winter. The peacemakers were horribly wrong. Everything was their fault and not that of our predecessors, our militant disciples or us. Mayhem fervently executed is the only way to secure the blessing of God. It’s better to wind up a Good Book Viking than a heathen victim. Hallelujah!”

Isn’t that strange? A few passages in the first and last books of the Holy book forbid world peace, whereas the others recommend it. The Bible attributes every crime imaginable to man, but the only regulation that might reduce their impact — God forbids? Seems like an obvious textual revision by weapon managers.

All I can say is this: screw that. If God commands me to do A and then condemns my eternal soul for having optimized A, that’s His call. I refuse to consent to perpetual world war merely because some long-revered weapon text forbids world peace. Let the chips fall where they may; I will go on pushing for world peace. In the universe ruled by Loving God, it will be those who refuse to cooperate in peace who will face God’s disappointment prior to being saved in any case.

I have no use for a deity who can’t make up His mind what His slaves are supposed to do, and who condemns them to eternal hellfire for failing to satisfy schizoid demands (or for whatever reason, for that matter). I will do my best not to kill and not to harm the little ones regardless of their provenance. Let God decide whom to punish for His unforgivable lack of clarity.

And you, make up your mind as well, now that these contradictions have been set before you.

NEXT       TABLE OF CONTENTS       PRIOR

Learner, begin

 

CONTACT PAGE