Here Thar Be Monsters!

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3.10.12

Revolution No. 10

When I was a boy, my grandfather, known to us as Poppy Boy, would tell me that a revolution was coming to America any day now.  My father echoed that and added piles of historical evidence and reasoning to it.

I've heard dozens of thinkers, radicals and reactionaries pontificate at length on the coming revolution.  Some envisioned a 'workers' paradise' to follow, while others a 'libertarian dreamland'.  Still others predicted the breakup on the US into regional blocks.  I've listened for hours to the 'freepers' whose idea was to move all like-minded folks to one state where they could vote each other into power and take over.  Last I heard, Vermont was the target and it has yet to materialize in any significant way.

The problem with all these predictions is that they offer little in the way of novel ideas to follow up the general destruction and upheaval implied by a revolution.  Unlike the Enlightenment, which spawned the American and French revolutions, there is no tidal wave of new ideas to supplant the old regimes.  No one has come up with something better than democratic republics, which replaced the inbred monarchies.

I've heard a number of folks speculate that the overwhelming military forces of the various powers that be frighten off would-be revolutionaries and prevent new ideas from manifesting.  I beg to disagree.  At the time of the American revolution, the British military was arguably the most formidable on Earth, yet it was soundly defeated in a couple of years.

More examples?  A bunch of Vietnamese rice farmers defeated the US army in that conflict.  A bunch of goat-herders defeated the Soviet army and is close to doing the same to the US army.

Ideas can't be stopped by military force.  In fact, creating martyrs has the opposite effect.  The problem here is that there are no new ideas to catch fire in the minds of the masses.  There is no modern Enlightenment to postulate new forms of governance and novel directions for human endeavors.

We;ve tried hereditary monarchies and found them lacking.  We've tried pure democracy, and that was a mess, as well.  We've tried the constitutional nation-state for the past 400 years, and they always devolve into chaos and dictatorships.  About the only thing that hasn't been tried is the sovereign individual, but that seems to be undermined by human greed and ambition, with competing mafias and warlords being the ultimate result.

What we've ended up with by default is a kind of corporate state, where Big Business dictates the rules and uses economic warfare to enforce them.  This appears to be a hybrid of hereditary monarchies and nation-states, with profit being the ultimate goal of all efforts and a precious few being the Overlords.

The problem with this approach is that to achieve a theoretical perfect profit requires complete efficiency, and that requires the elimination of human beings in order to factor out any random element and completely control all the variables.

Frankly, it's undoable.  Humans can not conceive of a system in which humans do not have a part in designing it.  Thus, we can not create the 'perfect' clockwork society.  Human nature infuses and infiltrates everything we attempt and nothing can eliminate that variable, except the complete and utter destruction of humanity, which by its nature eliminates profit.  It's a circular problem with no solution.

If we examine history, the most successful societies would appear to be those who accepted the cyclical nature of Time and the random nature of humans, and worked within those boundaries.  These societies had the fewest number of laws and pretty much left everyone alone to hack and slay their way through this mortal existence.  Simple legal structures that kept to the time-tested principles of don't murder, don't lie, and leave your neighbor's stuff the hell alone allowed enough freedom for individuals to achieve personal satisfaction, while codifying the minimum boundaries for civil co-habitation.

The final stages of most civilizations seems to be when the power elite start trying to regulate the minutiae of daily life and establish social boundaries that are so narrow as to choke the life out of the citizens under that system.  And this appears to be the exact point where most of the Western hemisphere finds itself now.

It would seem that the necessary effort on the part of every human being right now is to come up with 'what's next'.  We are quickly running up against the limits of our social systems and they are failing at an alarming rate.  At the same time, there are no clear voices offering a way out.  We are trapped in a crumbling building with no exits.

At some point, we will be forced to find an alternative.  Shouldn't we be thinking about that certainty, rather than trying to plaster over the cracks in the current paradigm?

As I have frequently stated in past rants, the fundamental problem with our current culture is the concept of 'corporate persons'.  Thanks to Catholocism, we have developed the idea that collectives can function as actual 'persons'.  The problem with this idea is that to emulate the human conscience, it requires a legal code that is so complex that it is contradictory and untenable.  Otherwise, these 'persons' operate with impunity and become that most feared kind of 'person', the tyrant.

We see evidence of this all around us.  It suffuses every headline and controls our daily lives.  Every aspect of our existence has been stamped and branded to the point where we are walking advertisements for a dozen different products.  The only step remaining is to make each individual human a product, as well.

And that ain't far off...

We need to return to the idea that not every aspect of human existence is controlled by commerce.  There has to be some core of our lives and cultures that is not for sale, that is pursued without profit, and is treasured for simply being.  We must stop trying to monetize every single thing we can conceive of.

There is no profit in watching a sunset or looking at a newborn or beautifying your little corner of the world.  We do it because there is inherent beauty that is beyond value in these activities.  At some point, being human requires laying down commerical pursuits to enjoy a moment that is irreplaceable

Stop to smell the roses.

Not every activity is profitable, but that doesn't make them any less valuable.  Furthermore, there is a glory in just being human, in being unpredictable, in making leaps of faith and concept that don't have logical steps to achieve.  It is the individual who forms the collective, not the other way around.

Poppy Boy and Dad were right, there is a revolution coming...nay, already here.  But it is not a revolution of bullets and bugles, it is a revolution of ideas.  It is time to re-think what we have created, like Victor Frankenstein once he beheld the creature he had made.  It's a revolution that realizes that the underlying concepts behind our civilization are flawed and must be abandoned.

The revolution will happen whether we want it to or not.  You can not live outside the bounds of Nature forever.  The key is to recognize it for what it is and begin to formulate the future.  Otherwise, we will be left standing in the ruins of our creation wondering what the hell happened and what to do next.

Tommorow is today.  Carpe diem!