The first electronic computers were used to plot naval gunfire, flak, torpedoes and bomb drops, or were developed as military encoding machines during World War II (sic). IBM punched cards tabulated the ebb and flow of inmates through Nazi concentration camps.
Weather forecasting became an art during the First (sic) World War and a craft during the Second (sic) when secret firefights raged around remote, ice-floe weather stations. Nowadays, weather modification has become a weapon of war without our knowing too much about it ― at least until it blows us away or shatters the ground under our feet. http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=38963
Some of the first television cameras were targeting devices in the nosecone of Nazi anti-ship missiles. Another was installed in an American robot bomber packed with explosives, which blew up prematurely and killed its test pilot, the eldest son of the Kennedy clan and its soon-to-be Presidential candidate. One of the first television programs broadcast into outer space was of Hitler’s opening speech during the 1936 Nuremberg Olympics.
We can’t take that back.
WeaponWorld’s first greeting to the Universe – engraved on a gold record platter and sent out beyond Pluto on a Voyager spacecraft – was read by Kurt Waldheim. Despite a Nazi résumé everyone managed to gloss, he was elected Secretary General of the United Nations (1972-1981). We might as well have broadcast: “Brethren of the Universe, this way to the showers!” as Nazis used to coax their select prey off trains and into gas chambers.
I do not look forward to the discovery of intelligent life in outer space. Wherever it comes from, whatever it looks like, it will become the next chosen prey of Earth’s international fraternity of psychopaths, finally united in their ultimate hunt of the Other.
Virtual reality, robotics and cybernetics have served first and foremost as weapons applications. That murderous video game you are playing in your handset? It was first developed to simplify the task of info-saturated helicopter and tank crews, combat commanders and military pilots. Your children are being taught the arts and crafts of military murder through the video toy you gave them for Christmas.
The appearance of artificial intelligence superior to our own seems inevitable. Will it emerge as another weapon technology and thus be destined to snuff us out? Most likely. The survival of our species will depend on its programming from start to finish by Learners dedicated to the mentality of peace.
Ultra-complex computer encryption codes risk being broken daily. Yet we can’t deciphered 3,500 samples of pre-Vedic inscriptions dug up from Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa; 800 texts dug up from Meroe, an African Republic whose people elected their own kings and thus conquered Pharaonic Egypt; Cretan scriptures we have known about for decades; and thousands of inscriptions from the Etruscan kingdom that taught the primitive Romans how to be civilized. We are very clever monkeys when it comes to weapons and monstrous fools almost everywhere else.
Nicholas Appert developed large-scale food canning circa 1810. He managed to win a military prize by feeding Napoleonic sailors aboard ship, long before Pasteur figured out how to sterilize glassware with heat and vacuum. The former stored vegetables in champagne bottles bathed in boiling water and then sealed, (he probably learned the trick from a genius grandmother). Afterwards, some canny Englishmen bought his patent and used tin cans. This, according to James Burke in his book Circles, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2000, p. 40-41. I recommend his books and videos since they deal with the history of Learning in general.
Our high-tech, over-processed, irradiated and freeze-dried foods go to serve the same purpose. “Modern” food processing provides gigatons of food of indifferent quality and extended shelf life, yet with minimal labor inputs. This is just the specification for warfare ― though probably the worst fare for our poisoned guts. The latest industrial food craze involves irradiating over-processed foods. The radioactive treatment of food permits total indifference as to its quality. After all, irradiated rat shit is sterile and therefore edible once properly disguised with flavor additives.
More recently (in 2006) plans were made to infuse food with bacteria said to be “detrimental to other bacteria.” Wouldn’t this new infection damage the natural bacterial colony of our digestive system? There are ten times more bacteria than human cells in a healthy human body and a thousand times more viruses. They form a vital part of human immune, digestive and neural systems.
Then we ask ourselves why colon cancer is an epidemic killer and why three out of four Americans complain of chronic digestive disorders ― again, withfrom the medical elite but plenty of commercials for palliative drugs. Real cures wouldn’t sell more drugs and generate more corporate profits. Besides, the recent pandemics of obesity and diabetes can be traced to the massive administration of antibiotics and excessive sale of sugar to young people. If you expect corporations and their bureaucratic satellites to cure disease (much less prevent it), that would be like asking the devil to promote goodness.
If insects refuse to consume these foods or die poisoned when they do so, what are we doing buying them up and slurping them down? What alien boogeyman is foisting this diet on us? Canned rat shit? Insects will eat healthy rat shit!
It was amazing to watch my voracious cat turn up its nose from cheap meat leftovers on the dinner plate I’d set before him. His sense of smell must have told him something about its nutritional content that I really didn’t want to find out about. Its marinade in chlorine bleach, no doubt? Disgusting!
The agrochemical industry is a peacetime subsidy program for the titanic explosives and chemical weapons industries required for warfare. There is an amazing correlation between weapon production and rearranged peace demand. Artificial fertilizers correspond with military explosives; pesticides, herbicides, bleach and synthetic dyes, with war gases; automobile and petroleum industries are necessry for motorize armies.
Modern weapon technology may have introduced Mach three and faster jet aircraft and sung hosannas in their praise; but it still takes me fifty minutes (an hour and a half on a bad day) to cover 5.75 miles from work to home every day: peace technology at the speed of cow.
Whatever your opinion in the matter, you own a private vehicle for one main reason. Your Army must be able to issue you with one that you (or some other weapon technician) can drive and maintain. Your Army will need them to carry you and your buddies, or your children and their buddies, plus weapons, across a modern battlefield. You couldn’t wait for a bus or a tram on a battlefield. Nor could you walk around as light infantry for very long and expect to survive. Nor could your government subsidize just busses and trams and their drivers and fixers alone ― unless everyone inhabited PeaceWorld, and battlefields were nightmares of a long-forgotten past.
Of course, public transport is better: cheaper, safer, less toxic, more reliable and profitable ― what else have I missed? The relative merits of public versus private transport are irrelevant to military logic.
Public conveyance is inconvenient because it is inadequately funded; it is funded inadequately so that it can remain inconvenient and thus convince everyone to buy a car. Cars are in no way more convenient. They are a technological monstrosity of a kind idolized by weapon technology.
Adequate public transport does not exist yet because deliberate underfunding has gone on for so long. Plus the thousands of hours of pro-car advertising that we submit to, compared to which even warfare propaganda sounds even-handed.
When alternate transport technologies do emerge, they will make automobiles look like the industrial massacre machines and environmental wreckers they actually are. No one in the future will believe we favored such atrocious machines.
Celluloid was the first plastic produced in quantity; its primary spin-offs were gun cotton and dynamite. In some of the first studies in the field of biochemistry, Professor Neuberg of Berlin got yeast to ferment sugar into glycerin. His “cultured” nitroglycerin sustained the German war effort during the Great Paroxysm; this despite a tight Allied naval embargo against German imports of fats and oils normally used to make such explosives.
The Jewish chemist, Chaim Weizmann, extracted the Balfour Declaration from very reluctant British officials. It upheld the Jewish reoccupation of Israel, even though the Brits at the time would much rather have left Palestine in the hands of its Muslim majority. Weizmann, later on the first president of Israel, achieved this triumph by isolating a bacterium that could convert carbohydrates into the acetone the British needed to plasticize their unlimited share of high explosive cordite during World War I (sic) ― much the way a fairy tale wizard might have cast a magic spell. During the Greater Paroxysm, an equivalent discovery of synthetic fuel prolonged the Nazi agony ― like a potent curse in a Wagnerian opera.
Or check out the fate of Fritz Haber, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. A renounced Jew (so as to better fit into the bigoted German upper class), he invented ammonium fertilizer before World War I (sic), war gasses during the war, and an insecticide that was later turned into Ziklon B, a genocide gas. The merciless irony of his life, which led his beloved wife to commit suicide, would not have been possible on PeaceWorld.
The first chemical companies manufactured corned black powder, a much more potent explosive than the Chinese variety invented a thousand years prior. Alfred Nobel’s dynamite-financed Peace Prize was awarded to Realpolitik mass murderers and no-one so much as blinked.
My Dad grew up in New Jersey and became a passionate forestry student later on. As he put it: the DuPont chemical corporation’s motto, “Better Living through Chemistry” should have been “Better Living through Bad Smells.” Dupont sought its first profits in government contracts for gunpowder and dynamite.
Joseph Pulitzer allegedly founded his Pulitzer Prize to reward outstanding journalism. His yellow journalism framed the innocent Spanish Government when the American battleship Maine blew up spontaneously in Havana harbor. Thus did he manage to embroil America in the Spanish-American war ― to the great profit of his rich friends and the infinite regret of “mothers who lost their son(s) in battle.”
No single word exists for them, even though they’ve been quite numerous, God knows. I suppose we just don’t want to hear any talk about them. Did you know that Mother’s Day used to be International Mother’s Peace Day, before the greeting card people took it over? Thank Hallmark Corporation, that Republican cash cow. Sentimentality enslaved to weapons mentality: a typical human tragedy!
By the way, the Spanish American War and its geopolitical fallout stifled American Progressives during the 1890’s. It ensured another century of weapon-based, corporate-dictated Americanism. I’ll bet that most of my American readers would assert that Americanism and reflexive militarism are contradictory. Get over yourselves.
In The Earth in the Balance, Vice President Al Gore asks why world-class economists have consigned ecological damage, labor abuse and resource depletion to wastebaskets of “externality” that they could proceed to ignore. We might also ask why homelessness, crime/prison empires, substandard education and child abuse/neglect are ignored as cost factors. They, too, are reliable indicators of peace incompetence and weapon mastery. Gore never bothered.
Paraphrasing Shakespeare: “First, kill all the economists.” Never has an evil been forewarned by them nor much good encouraged. On the contrary.
I would rather call them econologicians and their “science” econologic. They skimp on logic by dismissing as externalities crucial factors like sustainability. How convenient this cut-down logic must seem for them and their paymasters!
Mr. Gore never admitted that econologic, like all current science, justifies and rationalizes weapon technology. That is its primary aim, if unstated. We need not figure out why National Capitalism – the ultimate evolution of weapons econologic – makes such destructive choices. Its motivations are obvious.
I must admit, Mr. Gore makes up for many prior lapses in his recent book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Random House, New York, 2013. However, he never acknowledged either the weapon/peace antinomy or the near-future likelihood of Learners’ one-world politics to oversee his Earth, Inc. (global national-capitalism) and Global Mind (WWW and other massive interactions). Since his book neglects the model of Learners as monitors/catalysts of future transformation, nothing more than wishful thinking can emerge from his Conclusion chapter. He is a weapon “realist” and a reductionist meliorist typical of his ineffectual, well-meaning kind. But they are granted the vast majority as their audience, and quite nice compensation in exchange for their affable nonsense.
“It was the gradual creation of an effective bureaucracy which brought an end to all this filth and disease, and the public servants did so against the desires of the mass of the middle and upper classes. The free market opposed sanitation. The rich opposed it. The civilized opposed it. Most of the educated opposed it. That was why it took a century to finish what could have been done in ten years. Put in contemporary terms, the market economy angrily and persistently opposed clean public water, sanitation, garbage collection and improved public health because they appeared to be unprofitable enterprises which, in addition, put limits on the individual’s freedoms. These are simple historic truths which have been forgotten today, thus permitting the fashionable belief that even public water services should be privatized in order that they might benefit from the free-market system.” John Ralston Saul, Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, Vintage Press, A Division of Random House, 1991, p. 239.
Do you hold a certain reductive, progressive project close to heart? House a few more of the homeless, maybe, or feed a few more of the poor in your hometown or state? Make this or that corporation “nicer” or one of its subsidiaries? Cultivate a few more trees here, more family farms there? Educate your kids and their friends a little better? Reduce corruption by a few pennies per year in this market or that country? Render your people slightly less vulnerable to racial, sexual, ethnic or religious violence and its economic repercussions?
Forget all that! Reductionist and atomistic peace projects cannot resist the Gibraltar-like inertia of weapon mentality, which applies holistic and inclusive principles to its own objectives. Well-meaning meliorists (people who try to fix one little thing bit by bit) shouldn’t expect their isolated fix to succeed until we’ve turned this other thing around first. Only thereafter will those fixes succeed, and at that point beyond our wildest dreams.
People are for the most part ritualistic. Everything important they think and do and feel is regulated by the drumbeat of ritual dance and the drone of ritual worship dictated by the ritualistic repetition of incessant cultural myths.
We could attempt to improve things one by one and little by little, sickened by the culture of war and its mythology ― we would certainly fail. We must convert the ritual dances and mythmaking of the whole world into those of peace; at which point we may succeed in a manner that would seem like a miracle.
Once everyone agrees that our social evils spring from the same source, Learners may neutralize its toxicity by rational reinvestment. Once peace becomes our first priority, many social improvements that we’ve fought for so bitterly and failed at so often will click into place of their own accord and flourish as if they had been on autopilot all along. Our descendants will nurture peace as naturally as we grind out perpetual war. And they will ask themselves what all our fuss was about.
By default, we are the designated pathfinders. Are you ready? You must be, since you’ve persevered thus far in your reading of Learner. Read on and tell your friends about it. That will be okay.