“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” An Upton Sinclair quote taken from the syndicated column of Mike Mailway (pseudonym for L.M. Boyd of regretted memory) working for the Seattle Post Intelligencer of regretted memory. All that’s left in town is the Seattle Times that scams progressive Seattle politics by hyping unelectable Republican sellouts and their mercenary politics.
Please read “The Future” first.
One way or another, a grim era is winding down. Weapon managers cannot tease any more profit from warfare … even false profit. That time has passed. The energy wasted on weapon myths can no longer be considered surplus. No justification remains for knee jerk ignorance, deliberate poverty, preventable disaster, sanctioned injustice and doctrine-based overpopulation: by far the most expensive social policies. New enhancements would cause us less regimented suffering and offer more profit. Better yet, they would reduce the ill will that plagues us.
We are rapidly burning up petroleum. A dozen or so years ago, we were forced over a cliff edge of increasing oil demand and reduced supply: a leap that none of our officials bothered to warn us about.
The inertial momentum of WeaponWorld has grown too massive to be stopped. It has turned us into a cartoon character suspended over a precipice and windmilling his feet to keep level. There is still enough time (though precious little) to pick what we will take with us over that precipice.
We can take the jump bearing the latest flame-thrower apparatus WeaponWorld could devise: death at a trigger pull, that’ll fry anyone who would dare pry it from our hands. Costing a fortune. Why not several, why not heavily armored and self-propelled on tracks, why not divisions of them? That unit will make a satisfying flash-bang when it crash-lands on the canyon floor below. A spectacular fireworks display: smoldering body parts and bits of junk cartwheeling in all directions!
Otherwise, we could don a parachute: carefully woven, tested true, well packed and deftly secured to us. Train long and hard to land catlike, like veteran smoke jumpers.
I suspect that we will take this jump equipped with something halfway between those extremes: a moth-eaten emergency parachute to uphold the tin can flame-thrower tankette we’re riding.
If only we had looked deeply into this problem back in the 1950s when enough oil reserves remained to cushion the fall. If only a convincing precursor of Learner had been published in millions of copies a generation or three ago!
But WeaponWorld authorities were too shortsighted to do the right thing back then; and their modern-day counterparts show no greater vision, on the contrary. Windmilling their feet with the dedication of synchronized swimmers, they are just politically correct enough to appease us idiots.
Tending toward flame-throwers: the sacrifice of the Other. Tending toward parachutes: the celebration of Learners.
It is not mere profit we should seek, but Learner commonalities we may share: the Humanity of World Peace and the Duty of Learning (paraphrasing ).
Our future is jeopardized by society’s worst habits: elite presumption, proletarian ignorance and mutual submission to error. Prejudice, panic and greed have degraded everyday wisdom; ignorance, mental sloth and self-isolation have short-circuited common sense.
The suggestions contained in Learner demand serious consideration; better alternatives, STAT application.
Powerful private interests may resist (are resisting) this transformation; they may jam (are jamming) infant Learner Networks – especially the Internet – with meaningless babble. Info elites persist at peddling their worthless priorities across tiers of monologue mass media. Conspiracies of Greed still crouch behind private property rights and other weapon myths so that they may violate the Commons with impunity.
Once Learners prevail, weapon technicians (globally inferior peace technicians) will not be content with their newfound vestigial status. They will suffer clinical withdrawal from so much money, authority and prestige—this last, the ultimate military perk. Battle elites may balk at honoring the newfound priorities of their proletarian host; they may refuse to cooperate with erstwhile enemies except to wreck more havoc.
Religious fundamentalists are for the most part resurrected carnivores in sullen retreat. They’ll find no sustenance in Learner for their self-worship. Preaching the patent contradictions of religious bigotry and blessed mayhem, they accurse themselves and their followers. Yet exactly the same people could decide to celebrate more often and sacrifice less, help more people and injure fewer, thus render due devotion to God’s peace.
So too, those who exult in catastrophe. It doesn’t matter whether they draw inspiration from the Bible's Book of Revelations, from some rabid misinterpretation of the Koran (Qran) or from some other source they’ve rendered toxic. Their reaction is that of a bus driver who daydreams of a fiery crash that will consume the passengers entrusted to his care. The trick would be not to hire such people as our guides.
It is with awe-inspiring miracle that we should be playing like an infant chuckling among toys on the floor—no longer bemoaning unstoppable catastrophe.
You, indignant social activist! Snap out of your hypnotic fascination based on empty clichés; shake off the dead-end lethargy, the busy futility and the vehement emptiness that you have become heir to. Take up instead the golden yoke of Learning. Watch radiance blossom from every furrow you would till along with the rest of the world.
We who have been routed by the forces of reaction, let us sound the rally call so that our scattered companions may link up with us from the far ends of the Earth. We who share no vision beyond our worst fears, let us form square around Learners and stand our ground until reactionary arguments shatter against the wall of our bodies, and their results bog down (as usual) into the worst possible outcome. Then we may advance irresistibly, once and for all.
This book proposes just a few preliminary responses to our worst problems. Expect better answers to emerge once new Cooperatives of Plenty rouse Learner creativity. After these creative coops emerge, we will gain a new say in every problem our curiosity illuminates. Every baby step, every antinomy both personal and institutional clarified, will win another round for Learners.
First off, we must winnow the weapon content from our constellation of political metaphors. Only then will we free ourselves from the Thousand Year Reich of weapon mentality.
This text invokes the reform-idealism of youth―call it revolutionary fervor, for lack of a better term. Everyone moderately sane shares a kalotropism: an innate attraction to the good. Our conscience will guide us through it quite reliably once we stop suppressing it.
This fervor lies dormant these days, with no permissible outlet. Weapon mentality converts this healthy fellow feeling into Prism exclusivity, rabid nationalism, parochial prejudice, personal loathing—and ultimately, willingness to soldier. Under this all-pervading deception, the milk of human kindness is curdled into frustration and rage. Hypnotized since birth by expert weapon mentors, we have rejected new ideals and resisted real progress. Then we ask ourselves why our little piece of the puzzle refuses to fit!
Most of us have defied these perversions, at least in the privacy of our own thoughts. Our defiance, however, has relied on obsolete vocabulary, outmoded politics and feeble appeals for circumstantial justice. Our liberal, atomistic and meliorist mindset has stalled, since it’s been monkey-wrenched by sociopaths. To shake them off and jumpstart it, a vast majority of Learners will have to form cooperatives of abundance everywhere on Earth.
Peace loving Learners will turn this reform-idealism into a dynamo of social transformation. Once we allow it fair play, we will be destined for glory. Given a knowledge-value loom stout enough to shuttle the thousand-count sheet of reform and stiffen it with ribs of revolutionary fervor, we may mend the tattered remnant of the social fabric in a few years and reweave it within a single generation into a broadcloth of many colors.
The foremost souls on Earth have swaddled their bruised conscience in empty mysticism, bombastic positivism, pseudo philosophy and parafaith; anesthetized it with drug abuse, pathosex and the obsessive meaninglessness of Prismatic and Wimpish thought.
We’ve read and reread stacks of weapon mentality books and magazines, spent years watching television programs that merely underscored our powerlessness and social futility. In desperation, we’ve clung to a succession of addictive denial mechanisms. We’ve indulged in “scientific” closed-mindedness, inertial paralysis, post-modern nihilism, groundless fundamentalism and religious faith in the unlikelihood of progress. We’ve taken refuge in personal cool, evasive jokes and refusal to take anything seriously except our carefully fattened ego.
We pay attention to nothing, any longer, but that which swaddles us in our comfort zone by confirming our worst prejudices. For fear of becoming “fanatics,” we’ve rejected every hope and inspiration except trivial ones. We have turned into hopeless credophobes: too hung-up and “cool” to believe in anything new.
Weapon mentality thrives on dissipating your talent and intellect, it favors the clamminess of your cool. As for the mentality of peace, it would spark the ardent torchlight of your Learning.
Don’t count on any grace-benefit – homegrown, store-bought or book-learnt – until we’ve anchored global peace. Five thousand years of unilateral self-perfection, bloody nation building, futile dissidence and fanatical cult revival—that is all our history has to show for itself: untold time and aching effort wasted.
These outgrown notions have taken their best shot. They’ve been granted more than a fair chance to succeed; much more latitude than sane prudence would dictate, given their disastrous outcomes so far. They have failed as miserably as they were cunningly advertised and fanatically adhered to.
It is time they were swept from the scene like musty rags; either that or brought to the rooftop and flooded in clean water and soapy suds, then sunned during the heat of day, that their colors might shine bright.
We must improve the global stage tremendously. Other remedies, so hard to achieve in the past, will turn out to be self-starting and -sustaining once Learners sort out these other things first.
Learning alone will raise the living standard of common and uncommon folk alike. Developed wisely, real abundance could replace the hardship and terror we have settled for up ‘til now, until essentials are shared in peace. Peaceful abundance could become our birthright for which we’d paid in full already. Any remaining threat or dearth will be an isolated problem subject to swift resolution—never more another unintended consequence swept expertly under the rug by senile institutions.
The poor of today take for granted some things for which an ancient Emperor would have traded one of his kingdoms: telephones and vaccines, for example. In a Learner world, the poor will claim security and comforts surpassing the pathetic luxuries our besieged billionaires boast of today.
This text delivers to smug elites and ambitious proto-elites the only challenge worthy of their braggadocio (strutting arrogance). Their cooperation is vital for the planning and completion of this endeavor. Their recent accomplishments are trivial in comparison and doomed to fail unless followed up by Learner development. In supporting Learners, they will ensure that their descendants enjoy a better life than they ever dreamt possible, even (especially!) after everyone’s legitimate need have been met.
And so, to work! Forgo the paramilitary consumer display we’ve mistaken up to now for success, reject suicidal wealth-to-poverty ratios surpassing fifteen-to-one and five-to-one. Instead, provide everyone with free choice between moderate serenity and the riskiest adventure Learners may find use for.
We Learner proto-elites are just awakening to our responsibility. In response to new stimuli, we find ourselves in turn Wimpish, Prismatic and Chaosist; info elite and info proletarian; progressive, moderate and conservative. Moreover, we are loath to pin our political identity into such claustrophobic corners. We reject old values, but are baffled by current events. No valid vision of the future inspires us; our hearts embrace no conviction. Infant-like, our attention fixates on flashy baubles. No matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to concentrate on real progress.
Learners will find ready allies on both sides of every social divide of wealth, class, ethnicity, nation, religion and occupation. Relieved of their fears, many former rivals will emerge from their sandbagged gun pits, ready to make friends. The dissimilarities remaining on PeaceWorld will show off some cultural and artistic uniqueness—little more. They’ll turn out to be similar to the German Oktoberfest or Native American Powwows: sources of cultural pride and comfort instead of bigoted hostility and suspicion. Most of our alleged opponents will turn out to be natural allies. The mightiest resistance of the sullen remainder won't even pose a speed bump before Learner progress.
These pages have not been engraved in stone ; on the contrary, typed in the most ephemeral of pixels. Treat them as an agenda of discussion and a stage set in the round to plan a bright future. Dedicated professionals and gifted amateurs should reconsider every assumption found herein. Their debates may engender a brilliant Learner Commonwealth. Our first and last question should be: “What if the sky were the limit?”
Either Learners will drag humanity kicking and screaming into PeaceWorld, or WeaponWorld will sleepwalk us hand-in-hand, and smiling blankly into military disaster.
You. Yes, you! Quit stoking the WeaponWorld Jive Drive. Defy weapon mentality wherever you find it. Be anarchic in your own inimitable way or join some new collective and ensure the success of your chosen project. Devote your life to quiet saintliness, as your ancestors may have done, or quietly trip up the bully chasing his next victim past your front door.
In any case, stretch! The miracle we’ve sought since the beginning of time is just within reach!
“Our way of conceiving justice and truth is doubtless destined to be outdone by the ages to come. This much we know. And, far from reducing our courage, this hope and conviction are the foremost stimulants for our current impetus. It is therefore each generation’s strict duty to reach for the truth as far as it can, to the very edge it could glimpse—and cling there desperately, as if it had reached the absolute truth. The progress of humankind is at such a cost.
“The life of one generation is no more than an endeavor that follows and fronts the others. Anyhow, my friends, our generation did its bit.
“Peace be upon us.”
Roger Martin du Gard, Jean Barois, Edition Gallimard, Paris, Le livre de poche, 1921, pp. 327-328.
So, what else are you waiting for? Learner, begin!