MONDAY, MAR 6, 2017
Eric Lee, A-SOCIATED PRESS
TOPICS: BEING THERE, FROM THE WIRES, WITH A SIGN
TUCSON (A-P) — Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others, for determining matters of taste. Who would you prefer to be your leader? What feel-good policies do you prefer? What are your likes and dislikes? What fears would you like vanquished? What concerns placated? What wants or self-interests can be pandered to? Whose 'solutions' do you believe most in?
The ecolate view (grasp of reality) is that the Universe doesn't care what you want, like, believe or prefer. The contingencies of survival, of long-term sustainability, have nothing to do with preferences manufactured by the industrial consumer society to maximize short-term production and consumption (growth). Human behavior, including verbal, needs to be adjusted to implement such real solutions as may actually work. Within the set of real solutions, preference may be considered.
Humans do not determine what works. Nature tells us what works. We endeavor to listen. Those who listen endeavor to find and face reality, our Mother, and to do as needed to live long and prosper within limits as responsible members of Earth's geobiosphere (it's a sciency thing).
This has been done before: "Kogi ideas about the structure and functioning of the Universe, and Kogi cosmology is... a model for survival in that it molds individual behaviour into a plan of actions or avoidances that are oriented toward the maintenance of a viable equilibrium between Man’s demands and Nature’s resources. In this manner the individual and society at large must both carry the burden of great responsibilities which, in the Kogi view, extend not only to their society but to the whole of mankind." (Reichel-Dolmatoff, ‘Training for the Priesthood among the Kogi of Colombia’ in Wilbert J. (ed.) Enculturation in Latin America - an anthology.. UCLA.1976: 267.) This is 'ecolacy' (as ecolate social control system) defined. You can't join the Kogi, but you can be Kogi, you can be ecolate for the price of an effort.
Why might 0.001% of adult humans, if that many, in the early 21st century be 'ecolate' and 99.999% not be? Empire building humans over the last 10,000 years commit empire by use of growth. They exploit resources, whether human or environmental, as enabled by agriculture and later fossil-fueled technoindustrial society, to dominate and prosper—for a time. A hundred or so empires have been named and are known to history/archeology. Today there is only one empire, the first global empire, the first to exploit the global vat of fossil fuels, the precondition for exploiting all other resources for the taking, including humans as commoners who voluntarily work to serve the SYSTEM. All humans who have any monetary income, even $1/day, are working to serve the SYSTEM. Working to destroy the SYSTEM as Empire is not rewarded intentionally by the SYSTEM. The only existential threat from within to technoindustrial society, the Euro-Sino Empire, are Islamist Jihadists who alone have industrial society in their crosshairs. Dependence on fossil fuel forces the Euro-Sino Empire to transfer money to those funding ISIS and ilk.
The growth narrative of Empire is antithetical to the ecolate narrative based on 'foresight intelligence', but the enemies of Empire are not friends of the ecolate as neither Empire nor its enemies serve the system of Nature as life-support system. The ecolate worldview is not consilient with that of industrial society nor its enemies, not of the current empire, all past empires, nor any yet to come. The ecolate endgame is the destruction of the industrial SYSTEM and prevention of it being replaced by even more dysfunctional SYSTEMs whether carrying a crescent, a cross wrapped in a flag, a swastika, a checkbook, or wearing Guy Fawkes masks.
Contrary to the verities of Mao and ilk, revolution, one that is corrective to the current SYSTEM run by five-year olds with machetes (technology), will not come from the barrel of a gun. It will come from the love and understanding of responsible humans with a grasp of Nature informed by real solutions. If necessary, the current SYSTEM will use armed droids to defend itself. It's weakness, prior to developing SYSTEM serving AI, is that it depends on an intelligentsia who serve the SYSTEM by supporting and spreading its narrative of illimitable 'progress' to believers, including the would-be intelligentsia students, to consume. The only weakness of the intelligentsia is its latent capacity to consider the possibility that it might be wrong, as in fundamentally, existentially wrong; a weakness more likely to be found among the young and would-be intelligentsia. To paraphrase Cromwell, 'Pray Gentle Wordsmiths, I beseech thee, to consider the possibility that you might be wrong'. No laws of the universe would be violated were some humans to consider the possibility that they might be wrong.
When empires begin to collapse, the narrative of EMPIRE! becomes more questionable. The 17th century's unquestioned narrative of 'God's Mandate', the SYSTEM narrative of 'divine rights' (of kings and aristocracy) it depended on, gave way to the new SYSTEM serving narrative of 'Growth's Mandate' as told by the new wordsmiths who replaced their old school predecessors (the Schoolmen). The new SYSTEM was better served by economists than theologians.
Growth's Mandate must now be replaced by Nature's Mandate. The old SYSTEM cannot be reformed into its opposite. A steady-state eco-nomy is the end point, but Growth's Economy will not be transitioned/eased willingly into it by fine words pleading that 'enough is enough' with a SYSTEM that wants EVERMORE. Replacing core memes is revolutionary. The old SYSTEM will be replaced one mind at a time, not reformed, and the challenge is to replace it with a different (ecolate) system that is not another SYSTEM serving the interests of five-year olds with machetes (and other technology) they don't know what to do with. Nature's Mandate is that we educate ourselves to be fully literate (inclusive of 'most likely stories'), numerate, and ecolate.
Of the three pillars of education, ecolacy is foundational. The Kogi are illiterate, innumerate, but they are ecolate. We of the Euro-Sino Empire (and our intelligentsia) are at best literate, semi-numerate, and inecolate. If we don't destroy the Kogi, they will be living right and well at the Heart of the World a thousand years from now. If we don't destroy ourselves in addition to the myriad species we are destroying along with their habitat, it will be because we became ecolate enough, soon enough. We might as well start now to maturate a few decades in the process to become thirty-five year olds with some grasp of reality (Nature).
The needed change will have to take place within the minds of such intelligentsia as can change their minds and among the young whose minds have not been fully subsumed (yet). To tell the narrative of Nature's Mandate, wordsmiths need to step aside and become 'ecolate' or at least listen to those who listen to Nature. Wordsmiths need to loose interest in mere wordsmithery. No one knows Nature. We can at best iterate towards knowing something of Nature. To be ruled by our best-guess understanding of Nature is a social control system of ecolacy that is alternative to politics and religion as-usual. Call it Naturocracy or Best-guess-archy, as it is not all in the name.
To wax more metaphorical, humans may be 'a most promising species', but industrial society is evolving us into a Borg-like collective. Look around, pay attention, read the tea-leaves of evidence with a little help using the macroscope of ecological systems science. If 'most promising' suggests 'Federation-like' then the conflict between 'Federation' and 'Borg' is existential. The 'get serious' message involves whether our posterity become Borg (current trajectory), Federation, or a remnant horde, who having eaten as many as could be eaten, end up scraping lichens off rocks and sea snails out of tide pools (current unimaginable alternative trajectory). I submit that human extinction is preferable to our current trajectory of EVERMORE which is on the path to Borgdom. So you spend your life serving the SYSTEM (and being well rewarded) that somehow doesn't end in collapse, but ends up building a Dyson sphere..., and then what? Think about it as 'there is no life without [ecolate] thought'.
Humans still have the potential (conceivably) to be Federation, to live within limits (Prime Directive) without laying waste to the biosphere of planet Earth (a non-interference policy), and perhaps of even exploring the home galaxy without laying waste to it. Those who would dedicate their life to Plan A, who decide to 'get serious', need to think more about it. I submit, for consideration, that the FIGHT for the human heart and mind needs to be fought within the ranks of the intellectual elites, the de facto intelligentsia. Any change will have to be from the top down. A few one percenter elite intellectuals, that 99% of the intelligentsia have cause to admit (at some point) are smarter and overall know more than they do, will have to step foreword and draw clear lines in the sands of contention. Those who can say, 'we told you so' will be in a position to lead a coup when 'a teachable moment' arises. To 'turn things around', aim to turn around the leaders of the intelligentsia first (compile evidence, question all claims, reevaluate all values). Second, turn around 'the knowledge workers', then as many of the remnant horde as will 'be Federation'. A consensus is arising among those who can think more than a decade ahead. Now is the time for all good humans who could be 'ecolate', if they would be, to come to the aid of their planet. Ground zero is the 'academic community' that includes some alumni, which has been and remains dominated by SYSTEM serving wordsmiths just as the medieval SYSTEM was served by its wordsmiths.
Oxford and Harvard still have divinity schools (prior dominate hegemon), but only as marginalized remnants. SYSTEM serving economists need to be replaced by system serving (ecosystem, life-support system serving) eco-nomists, and SYSTEM serving liberal and postmodernist ideologues (the current hegemon), need to be marginalized as well. The 'transformation' needed involves revolutionary change that will look like 'revolution' to those forced to transform (e.g. economists become eco-nomists) or 'be marginalized' (like theologians have been) as alternative to having their head put on a pike. The fewer heads rolling the better, but existential conflict is by definition a life and death struggle. The belief in growth is the still beating heart of industrial society. Attack the collective's story of 'growth is good', hit the SYSTEM where it hurts, rip out its still beating heart, challenge its SYSTEM serving narrative and those who repeat it.
This 'extreme' view, extremely unthinkable though it is, follows given that whether humans become Borg or Federation is an existential conflict, as in a real, irreconcilable conflict. Its a high-stakes endgame. Both worldviews can't 'just get along'. Our collective grasp of reality, our 'sanity' is at stake, not to mention the sustainability of life on Earth. We are currently not 'right with reality' and there are consequences—becoming evermore Borg-like or ending up eating each other among them. The Ecolate alternative will cease to seem strange once you get used to it.
If post-truth social media is used to 'tell our own stories'.., then what? More delusional prattle?
Science and scholarship as likely stories, artfully told, would be alternative storytelling that could matter.
We need to 'get right with reality'. If Mama (Aluna, Gaia...) ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.