Please read “The Future” first.
I have less and less faith in creeds – militaristic or mystical – that appeal to anything but our best-informed self-interest. Social systems are ridiculous that attempt to turn the masses into saints. Those that rely on force, terror and the law (merely the most organized form of terror) are perverse and therefore self-defeating.
No matter how “sophisticated” we become, turbulent mind/universe interactions will outpace our ego-driven representation of them.
Couldn’t this turbulence drift us into a better catch? For example, couldn’t we influence our world through art, dreams, wishes, blessings and curses—just as much as through worldly routines?
Primal humans “made up” their own story and image of the universe by naming the ancestors they could recall or imagine, then significant events from their lives. Around the evening campfire, they recited this biographical epic to each other as a chronology and scrolling map. See Genesis in the Bible.
In The Anatomy of Restlessness, Richard Chatwin revealed a fascinating talent. Some Bushmen could translate snippets of each other’s “naming songs,” even though their dialects were mutually unintelligible. The narrator and listener lived on opposite ends of the Australian continent; they spoke dialects separated by thousands of miles. Yet one listener could visualize a familiar landscape in the other’s tale, solely by the cadence and rhythm of his narration.
The same thing happened just as providentially to me. An African TV evangelist recited the Lord’s Prayer in his language that I couldn’t identify much less understand, but the cadence of his speech was unmistakable. Allah Akbar!
For better or worse, we “program” our reality by repeating to ourselves: “I deserve that joy; I hope this happens” or “I’ll never succeed at this; it’s bound to fail” and suchlike incantations, affirmative or negative. Subconsciously, we project our reality through speech and thought. We imitate our parents and mentors who taught us what notions were acceptable and how to recite them to ourselves. Thus do we transmit the sins of our fathers unto the seventy-seventh generation.
Traditional and therefore more rigid faiths invoke with equal fervor this “New Age” programming. Even though they reject New Age doctrine, they make use of it as prayer. Their prayer in church is specifically forbidden by Jesus (see Matthew 6-5 in the Bible).
His teaching seems more “New Age” than all of them put together. Most such practices seem more venerable, cross-cultural and universal than the exclusionary sacraments of younger, more restrictive and jealous mass monotheisms. In a way, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other thousand-year-old cults can be seen as mere sprouts leaking the green sap of envy and cursing their wiser elders instead of venerating the best that they have shared.
“New Age” is another weapon-distorted expression tinged with irreverent derision; like the idiot idiom “politically correct,” the arrogant self-dispensation of suppressed bigots. We should replace the former with some neutral and benign expression like “primal” or another, and treat the latter for what it is: the stealth sociopath’s last call to mayhem.
I would rather recite the Lord’s Prayer at home by myself, in accordance with Jesus’ specific instruction in Matthew 6. This form of prayer has led me to believe that I may achieve personal salvation by reincarnating into Christ's lifetime after my next death. I console myself with the promise of ultimate escape from this vale of tears turned charnel house, famine site and Bedlam of impending plague. Let me be worthy, even if “my worthiness” be worthless.
Learner serves as a focal point for my meditations.
Jesus’ commandment: “Love your enemy,” may have been His best effort to cleanse our universe. If, instead, we revile one another and stick our elbows in each other’s ears until aggression becomes the norm, then must rebound criminality, (worse yet, lawful sociopathy), injustice, pollution and warfare.
Besides, I believe that if someone guns me down, I must come back as the shooter. He'll be likely to come back, too, to be shot down by me. Or, who knows? One of us may find a way to interrupt this cycle of destruction. And if I shoot or torture someone else, I must come back as the victim. There is no escaping this fate, except, perhaps, for Jesus’ love as revealed above.
Speaking as the hopeless narcissist that I am, how can I not love myself, if only cloaked in another’s incarnation?
Could we wish for a world of human harmony and work for it? In this world so alien to us, everyone’s primary needs and comforts would be met as a sacrament, and leftover wealth would pile up unused in the form of climax biohabitat and aquifers of clean fossil water.
In your estimation, what would seem more sustainable and “realistic?” Since we should not pray for things and circumstances, but only recite an exact rendition of the Lord’s Prayer, what should we wish for?
Paranormal talents, forgotten now, may have been commonplace in the past. Learner Networks and other breakthrough info technologies may make those hidden talents known and allow us to put them to good use. We are just beginning to apply the scientific method to paranormal studies. Rupert Sheldrake is the patron saint of this new science, called Noetics.
Assuming we cast aside our clever omnicide toys, this new path of inquiry may boost our energy manipulations to their next order of magnitude and enrich us sustainably.
God help us if we only succeed at reinforcing weapon technology with novel paranormal talents. Absent resurgent peace mentality, powerful new skills might lure us into extinction. We’d hold each other hostage for a while, then wreck everything during the next pointless military showdown; or let our machines and computers kill us off that much more efficiently. Think of IBM punch cards charting the ebb and flow of concentration camps, then the realtime military development of fictional Skynet. Now think of the opposite: PeaceWorld.
Like ambitious employees of a rigid bureaucracy, complex societies tend to promote themselves one rung higher than their own level of competence. They may operate optimally for quite a while, at or below their level of competence; but then some new benefit allows them to grow beyond the counsel of prudence.
Joseph A. Tainter, (The Collapse of Complex Societies), proposes that societies grow more complex once they have made a key discovery that responds to an old problem with innovative solutions and newer, more auspicious resources. Once this sort of paradigm-shift offers unforeseen new benefits (as did Islam, reciprocating engines and constitutional democracy, for example), satiated majorities would rather maintain recent gains than take additional risks to advance beyond current limits. These beneficiaries-turned-conservatives fossilize cultural orthodoxy and suppress innovation. In pursuit of reassuring simplicity, they deny the need for follow-up improvement.
There is no populace more reactionary than a once-downtrodden one that has finally found what seems to be a dependable source of new benefits, but lost it once again. See Weimar Germany, brexit England, and Trumped America. Tyrants are brought to power at all costs to maintain current levels of satisfaction. They take credit for them (even though those benefits are not of their doing), and weave an astonishing fabric of lies. Eventually, subtler dollar democrats replace them. They amplify trivial matters to world-shaking importance (the World Series, for example) and trivialize significant matters into invisibility. The status quo is thus preserved beyond its useful shelf life. The longer this period stretches, the worse the series of disasters that will bring it to an end and the more fascistic the leadership that will take over from then on.
Our weapon societies have produced progressives and idealists in numbers far surpassing their muted voice om the historic record. Only the pig-squeal of a minority of inflexible reactionaries remains to be heard, amplified by present-day psychopaths who control the world media. Weapon communities only tolerate progressive commentary insofar it suggests chrome-plated, cosmetic fixes to cover up the ragged edges of social injustice. These regressive societies have just three uses for weapon dissidents.
· They attract potential revolutionaries into their bogus organizations and betray them to police surveillance.
· They uncover radical ideologies and quash them with mental inertia, verbose indifference, insipid arguments and orthodox distortions of historical analysis. Negative peer pressure is applied in that order of complexity, depending on the intransigence of the defiant outsider.
· Through endless hot-air debates – like a roomful of monkeys typing a Shakespeare Sonnet – they reveal new, low-risk ways for weapon managers to tighten their stranglehold on the info proletariat.
As communal creativity tails off over time, social rewards shrink. Public expenses skyrocket as newfound benefits wear thin. Conservatives demand more and more effort for less return. Eventually, citizens starve, sicken to death, revolt, get massacred or simply walk away. Cultures go into decline because their leaders adhere more and more strictly to some preferred norm despite the real-world’s demand for sustainable productivity through transformation. Such societies collapse when unforeseen environmental disturbances and military disasters force shell-shocked survivors to adapt to unworkable change.
Otherwise, the inescapable warrior elite claims greater and greater riches for itself, even though its interventions are less and less useful, preservative and cost-effective. After all, its foreign adversaries have become just as well armed and organized. It stages increasingly destructive temper tantrums, directed inwards more and more often as military revolt and civil war, since in the long run its own civilians appear to be more accessible and profitable targets. It ceases to earn its keep by protecting anything, but takes its pay as “protection money” to prevent it from destroying the whole in armed pursuit of quick cash.
All that blocks this historical tendency is the deeply held conservatism and sense of honor typical of career military personnel. However, the cultural speedway to military chaos is paved with military loathing for civilian life and its messy, peaceful tendencies. Their sense of honor alone will prevent them from wrecking the sum total, which fact peace mentality must emphasize above and beyond other considerations.
It is interesting to note that the American military are fierce champions of laissez-faire capitalist philosophy, even though their own lives and that of their dependents are strictly centralized, pre-planned and communistic; also that the first seeds of capitalism have taken root in army headquarters of nations historically deprived of it.
Learner offers its readers – assuming they grow numerous enough – the opportunity to adapt willingly to a peaceful transition. We can do it that way now, or wait for weapon routines to overtake us, rip this last opportunity from our grasp and devour us.
Although cultural creativity and chaotic aggression seem antithetical, they share a resemblance to the discharge of a battery. Its polarized ions interact with their opposites (friend and foe, rich and poor, progressive and conservative, chaosist and pacifist, legitimate and criminal, ignorant and aware) to release energy either as useful current (peace, justice and progress) or as a lethal discharge (war, riot and revolt). The pair operate in proportion to the efficiency and usefulness of the social circuit board into which they are plugged. This cultural battery runs down once its depolarizing human ions become too similar; it fails when they share equal parts of abundance and misery, unless some new energetic potential re-infuses it.
Learners will differentiate a few communities of interest that share the same topic of passion, from many more that don’t or hardly at all. These segregations will recharge the cultural battery without having to resort to our most customary and shameful methods, “us versus them,” which includes those of age, class, race, nation, belief and relative wealth or political power. PeaceWorld would draw power from the polarization of ignorance and expertise along so many cross-dimensions that everyone would consider themselves an expert in some topics and ignorant in most others, while those other polarizations disappeared along with their destructive influence.
Poverty is a great incubator of genius, but others born into it develop an appetite for crime, repression and militant bigotry. On the other hand, those born with a silver spoon in their hand tend to favor chauvinistic mediocrity. Look at the United States, where a more or less well-to-do population suffers recurrent bouts of smug severity, ungrateful exclusion and senescent reaction. Passive-agressive conservatism satisfies most rich elites most of the time. Nonetheless, they revert to vigorous wreckage the moment they feel threatened by change. They feel compelled to short-circuit their own imagination and that of their cultural inferiors, especially when the need for change becomes obvious. Socio-educational advantages and disadvantages tend to muddy these distinctions, but they remain significant in any case.
As co-conspirators with the ultimate weapon societies, we are coerced from our first, slapped breath until our pried-into death rattle and death tax. Irrelevant and stultifying information engulfs us without letup. At any moment, we are vulnerable to arbitrary confrontation whether at the hands of the police or the criminal community.
Our governors are more intent on their immutable institutions and regulations than on the noxious effect they may have on us. We are taught to tolerate ignorance, expect injustice and respect oppression. Personal sainthood is required of us by every creed, even though current events stretch it far beyond our reach. Thus violence and lies must figure as our foreseeable fate and reasonable expectation.
Even though these myths make up the favorite talk of fundamentalists, Learners will reject every jot of them. It could be that this civilization rules itself more wisely this time around. We will have to abandon our cherished misgivings about radical transformation and our elitist desire to serve as orthodoxy’s early warning system and act instead (as our conscience would dictate) as creative, sacrificial and in time affluent Learners described above.
In the meantime, the meek may inherit the Earth by accident through their suffering, and the mighty, die by the sword they live by, thanks to their insufferable conceit.
Let us opt for abundance and goodwill instead!