Riding The Unicycle Of Human History
Richard William Posner Activist Post
Ouroboros would seem to be an apt symbol for the self-destructive nature of the human species.
samsara: n. Hinduism & Buddhism
The eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.
What’s to be done about the impending collapse of civilization as we have known it? What sort of plans and preparations should we be making?
Is there any way to stop the impending fall of the empire? Do we even want to?
Is there any chance that something better will rise from the ruins once the apocalypse has wrought its devastation?
It would seem that much of the evidence to be taken from our brief history would lead to the conclusion that the human species is simply doomed to repeat the same, self-destructive cycle until it joins all the other failed evolutionary experiments in extinction. It looks as if that goal is now not far off.
If that’s indeed the case, then pick your favourite post-apocalyptic action movie and plan accordingly. Fortify, weaponize, hoard and prepare to kill or be killed. Same as it ever was.
If we are truly fated to keep repeating the same actions and expecting a different result, which has become widely accepted as a popular definition of "insanity", then extinction is what we deserve and there really is no point in planning at all.
Trying To Balance The Unicycle
I have searched, with great persistence, throughout more than fifty years, for some crumb of optimism in the annals of human folly. That quest has left me a devout pessimist. Nonetheless, despite all indications to the contrary, I find I cannot escape the conviction that, somehow, the human race will manage to achieve its full potential, which I imagine to be far beyond anything we have even thought to attain thus far.
That Was Then, This Is Now
When I look at this present cycle and compare it to those past, I see all the familiar characteristics of the stereotypical imperial samsara, with one major exception; never before, as far as I can determine, has this scenario been played out upon a truly global stage.
In very simple terms: through a process called ponerogenisis, a ruling power becomes a pathocracy, which is by nature inhumanly oppressive and tyrannical, causing great suffering for the majority. When people thus abused finally reach a point beyond which they can be pushed no further, they take up arms against their oppressors and, after much violence and death, the existing regime is overthrown, a new one replaces it and the entire self-destructive cycle begins again.
“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” - Pete Townshend, The Who, "Won’t Get Fooled Again", Who’s Next, 1971
With some variations in the details, this has been basic human history since the Neolithic revolution. However it happens, the collapse is inevitably the result of a pathological ruling class incapable of restraining its lust for power and control.
Yes. It really is that simple.
Until the present, all empires that have come and gone were relatively localised. They affected a limited number of people within a narrowly defined region.
While the Nazi pathocracy was an abortive attempt at a global empire, it never came near success. However, the present capitalist empire, with america as its titular "leader" du jour, has succeeded where all others failed.
Same Game, Lots More Players
So, now there is an entire world population being subjected to the same oppression, impoverishment and abuse by a single tyrannical pathocracy; capitalist globalization, embodied in an international banking cartel.
The cause for revolution is being homogenised by an actual global empire.
What will happen when billions of people, worldwide, all reach the threshold of endurance simultaneously? I think we shall soon know.
In my own opinion, the result will be a major, fundamental paradigm shift. We have reached a pivotal point in our brief history. The direction we choose next will determine whether or not that history continues into the distant or only the very near future.
In every instance of past pathocratic cycles, the forces for ill have always failed; always. When these forces fail yet again, as all empirical evidence indicates they must, on a global scale, I think there is a small chance our species may finally choose to stop being insane; id est, doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.
Fight, Flight or…?
The single most significant thing we can all do is; stop competing against each other, to everyone’s detriment. Start cooperating, to everyone’s benefit and thereby, Promote The General Welfare.
Competition is merely a euphemism for war. It always means someone must be beaten, someone must lose, an adversary must be defeated. So we base our every action, our very existence, upon a completely negative paradigm. Aggressive, confrontational, competitive, hostile, exploitive and abusive actions are the exception, not the rule. The broad acceptance of such traits as normal in a society results from many generations of relentless indoctrination.
Cooperation means that everyone can win. People working together for the common good is natural human behaviour. When confronted with disastrous events, people invariably forget their contrived differences and revert to their cooperative, helpful and even self-sacrificing natural state. In fact, it is almost certainly this openness and willingness to cooperate that has allowed the few pathological to repeatedly rise to dominance over the many normal.
I think we may look, for some degree of guidance, to the remnants of certain indigenous societies that have survived the onslaught of “western civilization”.
A good example comes from the story of the kunlangeta.
A story reported by Dr. Jane M. Murphy, now director of Harvard’s Psychiatric Epidemiology Unit, serves as an example of the vigilant stance that one millennia-old indigenous culture – a group of Inuit in Northwest Alaska – takes regarding psychopathic types within their midst.
So aware is this group regarding the existence of these individuals that their language includes a term for them - kunlangeta – which is used to refer to a person whose 'mind knows what to do but does not do it,' resulting in such acts as lying, cheating, stealing and taking advantage of the tribe without making sufficient contribution. And how seriously do the group’s members take the need to respond to the threat such individuals pose to the group’s sustainability? When asked what the group would typically do with a kunlangeta, Murphy was told ‘Somebody would have pushed him off the ice when nobody else was looking’. (source)An isolated but enduring sub-culture such as the Amish may also provide valuable examples of specific methodology.
Why Wait Til The Last Minute?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret MeadThe new communities of tomorrow should be forming now. People able to drop out, to disengage from the current pathological system, must begin building the foundation for a genuine civilization to rise upon. Maybe the “hippies” were on the right track? Too bad we dropped the ball.
Much existing technology will probably remain after the smoke clears. Who then controls it and determines its use could orchestrate a new renaissance, speed the healing of Gaia and enable a quantum leap in our evolution.
Scientists and technicians must be brought into the fold. Teachers, doctors, artists, writers, farmers and philosophers and so many more; all will be needed. All ethnicities and former nationalities must be represented. Diversity is crucial.
If you are a teacher, talk with your peers. Invite them to a gathering in your home to discuss the creation of supplemental classes to be offered, pro bono, after school and on weekends. Confer with parents and elicit their cooperation.
If you are a technician in the energy industry and know your way around solar power, invite others from that field to discuss ways of bringing energy independence to neighbourhoods. Talk to homeowners, form a cooperative, find a way to make it happen.
Start a conspiracy! Conspire with family, friends, neighbours and co-workers to disengage from the mindless consumption machine. Commit your time, skills, resources and energy to being the change. Conspire to build free, open and sustainable communities so your children and theirs will inherit a world still capable of supporting human Life!
It must begin somewhere. All it takes is two people talking, cooperating and reaching out to others. Two people conspiring to be free. Two can grow to a hundred. The hundred can become a thousand, a thousand becomes a million, a million becomes tens and hundreds of millions, which all leads to a sustainable land of free people and hence to a healthy, bountiful, free world, supporting a sustainable population of healthy, prosperous and free people.
It may take a few centuries of hard effort to reach such a lofty pinnacle. But they will be centuries of success, progress, achievement and enlightenment. No more regression, stagnation, oppression, poverty and ignorance.
A Head In The Light Is Worth A Million In The Sand
Preparing to survive an inevitable disaster is preferable to pretending it won’t happen. Planning to avoid the recurrence of the same disaster in the future is preferable to pretending it will never happen again.
Those of us who are able to prepare for this opportunity, to begin building the free, open communities of the future now, can help make a positive outcome a bit more probable. There is much to be done. But, educating those who are the future is one of the most important steps that can be taken in that preparation. Knowledge without wisdom is a deadly weapon, yet wisdom is unattainable without knowledge.
If our successors are to have any chance at a future of Peace, Freedom and Equality for all, their minds must be opened to and prepared for a fundamentally and radically different way of Life.
…chance favours only the prepared mind. -- Louis Pasteur
Richard William Posner is a writer, computer graphics and image editor, and is skilled at electronic music applications. The full range of his political and ideological views, and the background for those, can be found on his own site. Richard can be contacted directly at email@example.com