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Humanarchy, Chapter 1 - Breaking The Credibility Barrier


HUMANARCHY Part One

CHAPTER ONE – Breaking The Credibility Barrier

Since the first spark of reason glowed within the dark firmament of our primitive consciousness, the human mind has journeyed onward, courageously overcoming countless barriers of credibility. Human development can be measured by the surmounting of such barriers. When we pass through them, when credibility arrives and we finally open our minds to new concepts and accept them as the truth, we pass from one state of consciousness to another, pushing back forever the parameters of our awareness and our understanding. Early European explorers ventured forth across hostile oceans and irrevocably broke one such credibility barrier, proving beyond all doubt that the world was round and not flat. Once we are beyond a credibility barrier we advance as human beings; we grow intellectually; we become wiser and we see from a heightened perspective. But, once we have crossed over, we can never go back.

"Humanarchy" invites you to cross such barriers. The journey will be not be an easy one – such journeys of discovery are rarely so. I do not expect you to take these words alone as your evidence before you pass from one stage of belief to another. I would urge you to explore every avenue to satisfy yourself before you make that bold transition. It is not the intention of this book to force, coerce, or persuade anyone to believe anything. It is however, a timely reminder that we have one final opportunity to choose for ourselves exactly what it is that we do believe.

Knowledge and wisdom was once seen as belonging exclusively to the highly privileged and the highly educated. We tend to forget, for example, that once there was considerable opposition to translating the Bible into English. Many believed that it would be disastrous if the common man and woman had the ability to read what was then regarded as the Word of God. From our present day viewpoint, it becomes obvious why the church and aristocracy opposed such a revolutionary idea. Yet who now can possibly estimate the benefits that have arisen for all those generations of people who were given the opportunity to read that one book? Whether you subscribe to its beliefs or not, it is a book that has surely moulded history. Now it is a book often found unread and ignored in hotel rooms all over the world.

Other inspirational books have come and gone. Some books have sired revolutions, some were even banned or publicly burned as heresies – such was the fear that their words evoked in the minds of those who tried to destroy them. Books can contain revolutionary ideas and they can speedily and effectively distribute them, spreading the thoughts of one person to another. To some people, such thoughts and ideas are like a contagious disease and they will do all that they can to prevent the infection. To others, such books are regarded as enlightenment. This book will no doubt be regarded as both.

New ideas and viewpoints can be dangerous things. Crossing the credibility barrier can be a risky business – as Galileo found out when his discoveries went against the beliefs of his time. A belief is a certainty and certainties, in our minds at least, are like the original Commandments of God. Until that is, we cross a credibility barrier and we see those set in stone certainties from a different viewpoint.

It could be argued that human progress is achieved by the overthrowing of old belief systems and replacing them with new ones – or at least seeing them from a new perspective. That is the purpose of this book. This book will invite you to do just that – and something more.

Human history has been a succession of revolutions, one after the other, but let us pause for one moment and think about what the word actually means. Revolution means to revolve – to turn around – but life on Earth is naturally subject to evolution – a process of change brought about by natural events and influences. Revolution turns thing around, rearranges them in new forms perhaps – but still the same basic inherent belief systems apply. This book is not so much about revolution as evolution for this book will invite you to overthrow ALL belief systems and replace them with a new vision from a new perspective. This book may to turn you into a new form of revolutionary – an evolutionary with a new vision of humanity – this book may turn you into a humanarchist.

The Right Stuff?

One of the greatest leaps forward in the history of aviation was the breaking of the sound barrier.

Towards the end of WW2, both pilots and aircraft designers knew there was a dangerous milestone to pass if air travel was to proceed from its propeller driven, piston-engined infancy to the next stage of development and allow fast, global travel available to the masses.

The sound barrier was an unknown quantity – no one had passed beyond the invisible wall and lived to tell the tale. Pilots that had flown at speeds approaching it reported bizarre aerodynamic behaviour, viscous buffeting and even reverse effects on their controls. As the inevitability of breaking the sound barrier loomed near, some were even killed in the attempt. A man named Chuck Yeager had the right stuff though. In a rocket plane designed to resemble a rifle bullet he blasted his way into the history books and broke through the sound barrier.

Today, breaking the sound barrier is a common, everyday event – not just for military pilots, like Chuck Yeager, but for ordinary men, women and even children. Concorde, the supersonic airliner breaks the sound barrier twice on every trip and you won’t even notice a ripple in your coffee cup as it does so. In less than a century, we have come from an age in which the very idea of manned flight seemed ludicrous, to an age in which men and women regularly go beyond the Earth to live and work in space. Incredibly, science fiction has become an everyday fact.

To break through barriers of credibility also requires the ‘right stuff’. Courage is essential, as is the ability to adapt and change – for as I said, what we are talking about here is not so much revolution as evolution. Once we break through we can never go back and things will never be the same again. Ask yourself now whether you are made of the right stuff. If you are not, if you are afraid, if you cannot adapt and change – then read no further. I am deadly serious. The place to where we are travelling is not for you.

Here Be Dragons

Of all the barriers that we as individuals as well as a species have to cross, the credibility barrier is also the most liberating. To see from the other side of the hill is what makes us climb in the first place. Our quest for the truth has driven us up from the dark pit of our superstitious past. We must accept, however, that there are always those who don’t want us to see what is on the other side of that hill. Why? Because those that control our lives want keep us on their side of the hill by making us believe that over there – it’s bad for us and dangerous. It’s an historical certainty that they are almost always either wrong, or they are deliberately lying to us. Why? Because the last thing they want us to see is a new horizon, for that would give us a different viewpoint from the one they impose upon us and the last thing they want us to acquire is our liberation.

The maps of long ago showed the world to be a flat disc surrounded by a monster filled ocean, embellished with the dire warnings that should anyone proceed beyond the confines of the known world, they would fall over the edge of the Earth into hell or infinity. Yet for those who dared to cross those perilous oceans the rewards were great. We are, in every age, submitted to similar lies that masquerade as the truth. We must be like those brave adventurers of old if we are to explore new horizons.

To go against the flow of belief is a hard business. We are all victims of the propaganda of our time. It is said that the first casualty of war is the truth, but that is also a lie. In peacetime the truth gets slaughtered just the same. The fact that we rarely acknowledge this to be so and are even unwilling to entertain the idea, is in a sense, proof that not only are we deluded, but that we also delude ourselves. As the philosopher Hegel said, the one thing that we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

A Vision Of A Blue Planet

There are times when the whole process of social change is almost cataclysmic. In Britain at the end of WW2 there was a massive victory for socialism. The reason for this huge swing to the left was put down to the fact the thousands of ordinary people had seen the world and their lives from a totally different viewpoint. The experiences of war, travel to other lands and of other cultures and systems of social order, especially that of Soviet Russia, changed the direction of post war recovery and development and, in the process, destroyed a whole host of entrenched belief systems that had existed, in some cases, for centuries.

The United States of America is a nation that was founded in revolution, but in Britain there has never been a real, full blooded overthrow of the Establishment. Even though Oliver Cromwell wrenched control away from the Monarchy for a while, it wasn’t too long before things got back, more or less, to normal. The British are a shrewd people and their upper classes know well how to handle those they perceive as their inferiors. They have had almost a thousand years of experience. They come from a small island, but once that island influenced and controlled most of the known world.

An empire might be gained by military might but to hold on to it requires good people management. To rule the waves is one thing, but to rule the people requires psychology, not guns, whips and bayonets. Those that successfully control whole nations know full well that if you give the masses the illusion of power and freedom and you claim you are protecting them, then by and large, they will be content with their illusions. In other words, they will effectively control themselves.

It is not always the experience of war that brings about revolution. Revolutions happen when the control system breaks down, but it is not always oppression that causes this to happen. Sometimes it is the experience of a different viewpoint that explodes upon the consciousness of the masses that ignites the flame. The decade of the 1960’s could be viewed as such a time.

New ideas and new concepts, new ways of viewing things initiated tremendous social change – so much so that it seems a whole generation of humanity re-invented itself and gained a whole new consciousness. It was, of course, an era when humanity left the cradle of Earth and looked back from space. Such a viewpoint meant that for all of us, our world and our lives were transformed forever, never to return. We have now left the cradle – in our minds at least.

Those of us who were fortunate enough to be part of that new consciousness will never forget the heady sense of freedom and optimism that came with that tremendous social upheaval. Those that were not part of that revolution, those that were either too old or too stubborn to bend when the winds of change blew around them were either left behind or broken by it. It was – I can assure you – a wondrous time to be young, but surely, it must have been one hell of a time to be a parent.

As well as a whole host of new developments, it seemed to be a time when credibility barriers were falling like autumn leaves. Just about everything it seemed, was redefined, re-invented and re-evaluated. But, in retrospect, of all the changes that happened during that period, there were perhaps three aspects that had the most profound affect on the future of the human race.

The Triple Development

Three major developments have dominated the course of human society in the post war world.

DEVELOPMENT ONE

For the first time, human beings left the Earth, ventured into the void and looked back from a new perspective at the cradle of humanity.

DEVELOPMENT TWO

The discovery of computer technology, born out of the darkness of the Second World War, transformed human society and was seen as a shining way forward to the future. It went hand in hand with the space program and brought about a terrestrial communications revolution. The world became a smaller place for those of us down here on Earth – a perception graphically illustrated by the astronauts, who stood on the barren surface of the moon and eclipsed the blue jewel in the black sky with the fingers of one hand.

We had learned to see our world from a new perspective, but more than that, we were beginning to think from a new perspective. The creation of artificial intelligence not only helped send men to the moon – it helped to create a new place for those of us back here on Earth to exist. For the first time in the history of the world our species began to create a collective mind beyond the biological confines of our individual selves. The Internet – the cyber-mind was born.

DEVELOPMENT THREE

Around the same time, another revolution was taking place in the lives of ordinary men and women. For the first time, human reproduction could be effectively controlled. In the western world, the contraceptive pill became widely available, transforming the lives of millions of people. For women, it meant liberation from the oppression of unwanted pregnancy. It freed them from the constrictions of motherhood and opened doorways to what was seen as unlimited opportunity. Perhaps for the first time in history, western women, at least, had real choices. For men, it meant the beginning of an age of deep uncertainty. Biologically, their roles were unchanged but psychologically things would never be the same again.

This trinity of developments gave us a new vision of ourselves and of our place in the universe. It also gave us the vision of new opportunities, new adventurings and new discoveries – not only about our world and beyond it, but about ourselves. Just as the vastness of space was opening up to us, so we began to grasp the vistas of endless possibility that lay open to us as human beings. We could indeed boldly go where no human being had gone before.

We Had A Dream

In the year 1968, the boiling currents of social change manifested themselves in civil unrest and violence. In France and America there were particularly destructive outbursts. Students carried the little red book of Chairman Mao and young women spat at soldiers in the streets. The young did not like the world that had been left for them and they naively thought that they could change it. The western world came close to a real, red, blood and guts revolution, but it was carefully avoided. Guns and tanks just give the people something solid to fight against. Oppression gives the people martyrs and saints. There is only one real, effective way to quell a revolution – and that is to give the people what they want – or at least make them think that their demands are being met.

The ‘revolution’ of the late 60’s was put down by such an illusion. After all, it was the power of public opinion that eventually brought about the end of the war in Vietnam. It was public opinion that motivated legislation to bring about equality for blacks and for women. A new world vision was dangled before our youthful, eager eyes, a vision purged of the diseases of nationalism, bigotry and inequality which was epitomised by Dr. Martin Luther King delivering his "I have a dream" speech to a quarter of a million people on the Mall in Washington. Power, at last, had come to the people. It is a dream that many still share. But, like all dreams, it is not a reality, it is an illusion.

Understandably, the more appealing and comforting an illusion may be, the longer we tend to hold on to it. Nobody likes to admit that they’ve been suckered – as the story of the Kings New Clothes so eloquently demonstrates – but they very often are. The very people who were young in the 1960’s are no longer children with flowers in their hair. Neither are they radical student protesters naively thinking they could change the world with a placard and a protest song. Now they are the parents and the grandparents. Now they are the businessmen and women, the bankers, the bakers and the candlestick makers. Now they are the politicians. These people were revolutionaries who live under the delusion that they have changed the world. They haven’t. In a sense it is exactly the same world with the same human mind set that has existed for some 10,000 years. That is an incredible statement to make, I know. I am one of that same generation of revolutionaries and believe me, I know how hard it is to cast off my delusions, but there is one thing that we all failed to notice. We were the last revolution. The generations that followed us did not rebel. The ‘radical’ young of today are almost identical to the hippies of the 60’s. They spout the same messages and wave the same texts and that is something that should concern us deeply – young and old alike, for a generation that does not reinvent itself is a generation that is dead, frozen in time.

Those who saw themselves and the golden years of their youth as part of a new era for humanity have grown old. Did they succeed in creating a better, fairer, juster, cleaner and more peaceful world, or is that, like the sun drenched summers of our youth, an illusion? To admit that it was all just another con, a scam to keep everyone in line, that we actually gained no power at all, that the visions of a better world were false – is unthinkable, isn’t it? Isn’t such an idea incredible?

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.

— Franz Kafka

What You See Is What You Get

In our own personal lives we have many credibility barriers to cross. Life is, or should be, a process of education and with it we must change and develop. We live and we learn. When we are very young, our views of the world are shaped largely by our parents. Then, we get a chance to flex our intellectual muscles a little when we are exposed to formal education but what we largely get are the views of our teachers and tutors and indirectly the views of the educational establishments that taught them.

Next comes our experience of going out into the ‘real world’, making a living, making relationships, learning about other human beings. Throughout all this time we are also subjected to the mass of information that bombards us from our TV screens. Never in the history of the world were so many ordinary people privileged to have access to so much information to help them to form their opinions and ideas.

But wait a minute. Here we should remind ourselves of a very important fact. Almost all television and radio is broadcast for commercial purposes – that is, to sell us things. And it’s not just the advertising between the programmes that is targeted at us. The programmes themselves are not chosen by us. They are chosen by those who are concerned with ratings. The higher the ratings the more effective the advertising. The same could be said with all popular media culture. But who drives the market? Is it us or are we driven by the market too?

Today, just as in the 50’s and the 60’s we are not just people, we are consumers. Incredible as it now seems, it was the marketing industry that created a whole new human entity in the 1950’s – the teenager. We are under the illusion that consumer demand and choice drives the market, but in fact it’s the other way around, the market leads us, or drives us, to be more accurate. We are consumer fodder – there to be moulded, browbeaten, terrified or exalted so that we may buy. We are even educated so that we can conform to the ways of the consumer, so that we can be fit to produce and consume. That, after all, is how capitalism works.

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.

— Sinclair Lewis

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

— Stephen Leacock

Advertising is legalised lying.

.— H. G. Wells

Little Boxes

At the beginning of the 20th century a person could go into the village store and buy the exact amount of coffee, beans, sugar or flour that they wanted. Then the Lever Brothers hit on the brilliant idea of putting things into boxes and packets so that the ‘customer’ had to buy the amount they wanted him or her to buy. By and large, people thought this was a good idea – they surely must have, because they preferred to buy the brightly coloured packets and boxes. Now the store wasn’t a ‘store’ any longer – it became a retail outlet and we ceased to be ‘customers’ – we became consumers. Now we no longer buy what we need, we consume more and more of that which we do not need.

When markets for products became saturated, new forms of consumer entity were constructed – the housewife, the teenager, the ‘do it yourself’ home improver, for example. When this strategy became exhausted, the concept of planned obsolescence was introduced. Goods that were designed to break down so that you were forced to buy the new model – which was likely to have an even shorter working life than its predecessor. Children were encouraged to demand that their parents buy them toys with limited or no play value so that they had to buy the next crazy fad to satisfy their offspring’s lust for more.

Intelligent adults were clearly not immune from such strategies as the panic buying every Christmas graphically illustrates. The concept of ‘fashionable’ goods required tastes to be every bit as transient as their spoiled children’s were. We are thereby forced to squeeze into clothes that are made in a narrow range of sizes in this seasons colours for a narrow range of tastes, when clearly clothes should be made to fit us – as we as human beings come in all shapes and sizes. Our tastes and our preferences are equally diverse, or at least would be, given the choice.

Now people spend millions of dollars buying diet foods so that their bodies conform to someone else’s idea of what size and shape they should be. The market not only drives us – it defines us. To our fellows in the third world who do not have enough to eat, this must seem incredible; a kind of mass insanity brought about by a culture of unimaginable decadence and excess.

We are treated not as human individuals, but as a herd – to be a certain physical pattern and to think a certain way. We act like a herd and go right along with this madness. We have the ‘freedom’ to buy any amount of consumer goods we choose, but do we have the ‘freedom’ to make real choices? Can we really choose to buy what we want, when we want it, and how we want it? No, that is an illusion. In reality we have to admit that actually we have little or no say in the matter.

There is no underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

— H. L. Mencken

Welcome To The Herd

Even our perceptions of ourselves are moulded by those who wish to sell us things and our socio-economic identities are defined by them – not by ourselves. Increasingly, we exist less in the reality of the physical world, and more on computer databases, in the minds of machines; correlated and filed into type and area; our limited tick-boxed likes and dislikes; our tastes and our abilities duly noted along with our salaries and our earning potential. Our non-disposable, as well as our disposable, income is calculated, along with our estimated chances of becoming ill, with what diseases and even when we are likely to die.

In the UK as in many other countries, a new mother fills in a questionnaire and she will receive a free ‘Bounty Bag’ of baby products – nappies, soaps, wipes and lotions. Though she does not realise it, this is the thirty pieces of silver she gets for selling her baby’s life to the data banks. The information she gave for free is sold to the marketing organisations. Her child is duly registered, typed and coded. It’s economic potential assessed and projected. She has unwittingly sold her child into the lifetime bondage of consumerism – from the cradle to the grave.

It’s ironic when we remember that once upon a time, back in our distant past, human beings were formed in to nomadic tribes, living like parasites on the flesh, the hide and the bones of migrating herds of wild animals. Now we are the herd and there are others of our own species that live upon us like parasites, feasting upon us like carnivores, trying every devious strategy imaginable to take the wealth we create. Even those who lead and direct the herd, those that govern and administrate us take their pound of flesh from us.

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of the citizens to give to the other.

— Voltaire

Whether we like it or not, we are being herded along like cattle under the ever watchful eye of nameless, faceless drovers. We are livestock on the balance sheet. We are branded with brand names. We are subject to status. To those who rule us and govern us, to those who insure us and take care of us, to those who supply our food, our homes and our entertainment – we are as cattle to be exploited. We are nothing but slabs of meat marked with numbers.

Now the human herd migrates with the seasons of economics. We thrive or we whither by the ebb and flow of the financial markets. We are not as free as we would like to believe. In fact, we are enslaved far more than our parents ever were and certainly far more than our ancient ancestors. It’s just that now our chains are made of gold – or, more accurately, plastic masquerading as gold. We wear our shackles as if they were jewellery, but however much they may sparkle and shine, they hold us to the herd and they are still our chains.

Every man, woman and child is now expected to exist and conform within certain parameters. This helps those who drive the human herd along to keep us on the trail. If we are known to be coded with a certain number, our place in the herd can be determined. The mavericks can even be cut out for special attention. The drovers can keep us moving along steadily. Cattle are docile creatures. The drovers know that the huge bulk of the herd will follow a few lead steers. They know that it’s fairly easy to keep the herd moving. The cattle will naturally drift along looking for fresh grass or the next water hole. As long as they are kept hungry and fairly calm the herd will keep right on moving along. The drovers will even sing them songs to soothe them, for they know how much damage can be done if the herd should stampede. The songs are sweet, haunting, comforting. The cattle may not understand the words of the songs, but if you are one of the herd you will be lulled by them and you will keep on moving along, paying no attention to the high fences of the stock yards on the horizon, not knowing or understanding what awaits you at the end of the trail.

STAMPEDE!

We are now living through a time of incredible change. The rate of change is also accelerating at an incredible rate – incredible because it truly is beyond our comprehension. There is no way that we as individuals can form anything like a coherent picture, or grasp even a basic understanding of what is happening and where this wild stampede will lead us. Change is now so much a part of our lives that often it seems that all we can do is stand bewildered and lost, unable to keep pace with all but the simplest concepts that fly past us.

—  Frederick Remington

This stampede is leaving whole sections of the human herd behind. For example; those who have failed to grasp even the basics of computer technology are isolated now, left behind in an obsolete, fragmented world like the inhabitants of some historical theme park museum. Those that have left them behind are rapidly loosing contact with old timers. The new ways of communicating are forcing apart the old systems that bound us all together. The use of e-mail has superseded long distance verbal communication, just as the telephone superseded personal, eye to eye contact in the past. Now we can do business, make friends, and touch the lives of people we will most likely never see, never meet and never know other than in the new non-world of cyberspace.

Barriers are falling, levelled by the new reality. Language, class, nationality, colour, religion, space and time are of little consequence to the inhabitants of the new world that has been created out of nothingness. We have a new identity in a new sphere of influence – we are different beings in a different world in a new universe – each moment we are drawing further away from those we left behind in the old world, with its old ways. Having journeyed so fast and so far – we can now never return. But have things really changed? If we think about it, this stampede is not so different from what was happening 10,000 years ago.

Just like in our prehistoric, nomadic past, the herd moves on, leaving the sick, the old and the lame behind. It is the survival of the fittest – the natural selection of the most adaptable. They alone will be the inheritors of the future – until such a time as they too can no longer keep pace and they also will inevitably fall, gasping, breathless and exhausted by the wayside. Then, as it was always in our distant past, they too will sit in the dust and watch the herd disappear into the distance without them, knowing that their time is over.

The dust will drift away across the plain, the sound of the thundering hooves will rapidly diminish, to be replaced by the lonely sighing of the wind and the distant howling of hungry wolves.

 

Perseus'

Illustrated version of The Head of the Medusa

Humanarchy – The book about globalization

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Posted 2000 04 19
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2006 10 31 (reformated)

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