Here Thar Be Monsters!

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19.5.17

In Search Of A River

Well, it's been an eventful week.  Started off with a massive web virus attack initiated by the NSA and targeting specifically Russia and China, and ended up with special council being appointed to get to the bottom of the Trump-Russia issue, which of course is entirely fabricated to keep eyes away from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

I've made it abundantly clear I don't care much for Donald Trump.  I think he's a self-aggrandizing circus barker who happens to be a marketing genius, but he's only as good as the people he surrounds himself with, since he's not much of an intellect, just a bundle of impulses that appear to have coherency.  I must admit, though, I miss him using "bigly" all the time.  Great adverb that no one, even the late night blabber-mouths picked up on.

In any event, it's all very exciting and makes for hours of knee-slapping entertainment.  The Russians are certainly bemused, though we must keep in mind that Russians are second only to Germans in their lack of a sense of humor.  The Chinese and North Koreans are completely nonplussed, given that Trump sailed half the US fleet over to the South China Sea to deliver the message that he was ready to talk.  A nice note delivered by the ambassadors would have been more than sufficient.

Given the global circus currently playing on a Fake News channel near you, it seems that humans should try something we haven't done in a long, long time - try life without governments.

Just imagine: no taxes, no police brutality, no wars, no corporations, just folks going about their business pursuing happiness, however one defines that.

One of the greatest books in English literature is Huckleberry Finn.  No one is allowed to read it anymore, because one of the main characters is named Nigger Jim, but its demise is a loss to all humanity.  Here's a link to a free copy.

This book has had a profound effect on my life.  It was one of the first books that I critically analyzed in school, meaning it was instrumental in my revelation that great literature had multiple layers of meaning.  More importantly was its message that civilization was often less civilized than living the free life of pure, unadulterated anarchy.

The story is about Huck Finn and Nigger Jim taking a rafting trip down the Mississippi River in the early 1800s.  The river, of course, is a metaphor for life and freedom.  However, whenever the two characters stopped off on the banks, they were immediately burdened with the authoritarian world, where people and institutions began imposing civilization upon the two hapless travelers.

In one adventure, Huck is adopted by a godly woman, forced to bathe and dress "appropriately," and bundled off the church on a regular basis.  Huck is like a fish out of his element, as he lies on the beach of law and order, gasping for freedom, even though he thought he was supposed to meet these expectations as part of the "good life".

In another adventure, Nigger Jim is captured and labelled as a runaway slave.  Again, the assumptions and prejudices of "civilized" society entrap our heroes and force them to flee in fear and disgust.

It is a brilliant book and one which every conscious mind should take in.

For my own experience, some of the best times of my life have been when I had hardly a coin in my pocket, no schedule and thousands of miles from "civilization".  One of my most memorable adventures was backpacking from Morocco to Egypt, through Algeria and Libya, in 1980.

I had undertaken the journey after a run through Morocco to see Casablanca and El Fez.  Wanting to see the pyramids, but finding it rather out of the way to go through Spain, Monaco, Italy, and Greece to go from North Africa to North Africa, I decided to take buses across the Mediterranean coast.

On the first leg of the journey from Tangiers to the Algerian border, I was packed into the barely road-worthy bus with all manner of humans and livestock.  The lack of A/C meant that there was more dust swirling around the inside of the bus than could possibly be found in the entire Sahara desert.  For the remainder of the trip, I opted to sit on the luggage rack welded precariously to the back of the bus, and with a towel wrapped around my head and face, proceeded to watch the unfolding of where I had been.

I had maybe $100 in my pocket at the outset, and roughly $85 when I arrived at the foot of the Great Pyramid.  It took four days of rib-cracking, kidney splitting rides and it was among the best weeks of my life.  No bosses, no one to talk to (my French was pretty limited back then) and nowhere to be in any particular hurry.  Other than the occasional passport stamping routines, I had no authority over me at all, and needed none.

Oh sure, a number of folks tried to rob me or scam me out of my money, but I managed to get through those events relatively unscathed, and they only occurred when I entered cities.  On the open road, life was blissful, quiet and safe.  I imagined myself as Huck Finn at that time, minus the abundant water, which would have been nice for the occasional bath.

The point of all this rambling is this: how much of what we assume is necessary for life to go on do we really need?  And how much of it is just a scam that we have been raised to believe is a critical part of life?

When you really contemplate the unholy mess we call "civilization", almost all of the bad things are CAUSED by authority, not solved by it.  Honestly, outside of "don't cheat, don't steal, don't lie, and don't murder", how many laws actually do us individuals any good?  Most simply protect corporate, government or religious interests, not you and me.  The bulk of civilization benefits a handful of folks at the top of the pile, and the rest of us be damned.

When you look at all the crap going on right now with governments around the world, how much of it actually affects you and me?  Does it really matter that Kim Jong-un is playing with rockets (like a couple dozen other countries that aren't being threatened)?  Does it really matter that Ahok had an opinion about a couple of lines of text?  Does it really make a difference what Trump told Lavrov?  Will Macron or Brexit or the entire EU make damn bit of difference in a thousand years?

How much of the truly important things would still be there without governments?  I'm willing to bet that demand would mean someone would supply electricity, water, housing, and the internet out of sheer self-interest.  In fact, I'm willing to bet all of it would be much better without all the "authority" fingers in those pies.

I would love for some country to take the first step.  Imagine Iceland or Switzerland or even Venezuela declaring an end to government and free, happy living.  I would bet that in 50 years' time, nearly every country on Earth did the same thing.  What would the governments do about it?  After all, there are only a few million "public servants" to us billions of real people.  Not like they'd have much choice.

But, oh, ain't there a whole lot of conditioning and mind control to overcome.

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