A Book To Buy And Cherish
Here are review quotes regarding Beyond Civilization.
"If a team of Martian anthropologists were to study our culture, their initial findings might read something like this: These people have the strange idea that the thing they call civilization is some sort of final, unsurpassable invention. Even though vast numbers of them suffer in this oppressively hierarchical system, and even though it appears to be plunging them toward a global catastrophe, they cling to it as if it were the most wonderful thing (as they quaintly say) since sliced bread. That a more agreeable (and less catastrophic) system exists BEYOND civilization, seems to be entirely unthinkable to them."
I'll start by letting someone else do the talking. The following quotes are from a review on the WWW of a book by the prize-winning author, Daniel Quinn. Beyond Civilization and other books by DQ are very relevant to the focus and content of this freesite. Quinn is not only an astute observer of the failures of our present civilization, he is a passionate advocate for tribal values and the Leaver ethos that he describes.
"In Beyond Civilization, Daniel Quinn has made it his task to think the unthinkable."
"We all know there's no one right way to build a bicycle, no one right way to design an automobile, no one right way to construct a pair of shoes, but we're convinced there must be only one right way for people to live -- and the one we have is it, no matter what. Even if we hate it, we must cling to it. Even if it drags us to the brink of extinction, we must not let it go."
"Many other peoples have built civilizations -- and then waked away from them. Quinn examines the Maya, the Olmec, the people of Teotihuacan, and others, who did just that. But they all walked away moving backward -- to an earlier lifestyle. Quinn's goal in this book is to show how we can walk away moving forward, to a new lifestyle, one which encourages diversity instead of suppressing it. Not a "New World Order," but rather a New Personal Order. Not legislative change at the governmental level, but rather incremental change at the human level."
"This is a guidebook for people who want to assert control over their destiny and recover the freedom to live at a scale and in a style of their own choosing -- and starting now, today, not in some distant utopian future."
True Tribalism Is A Societal Balance Point
The readoption of tribal philosophies and values does not involve a return to living in caves and wearing animal skins for clothes. Those are stereotypes of Stone Age existence, not tribalism. True tribalism is the balance point between hedonistic individualism and anarchy on the one hand and totalitarian collectivism on the other. It is, as Quinn describes it, the natural form of organisation for humans. Just as the flock is the natural organisation for birds, the school is for fish and the hive is for bees, the tribe is the natural way for us to live and learn together.
The following diagram shows this positioning of tribalism between individualism and collectivisim; between anarchy and totalitarian control.
Concerns with family fall more towards the left of centre while concerns for the community fall somewhat right of centre. Neither of these concerns survive the extremes of individualism or collectivism. Within the mid range of the scale tribalism encompasses both concern for family and concern for the community. This does not imply that all forms of human organisation that incorporate values to do with family and community are necessarily tribal. But it is the case that true tribalism does hold and emphasise such values.
Tribal ways of living, whether they be in residual pockets of authentic aboriginal people or modern neo-tribes, represent a better social bargain than can be obtained at the extremes of individualism or collectivism. At the Anarchy end of the continuum nobody cares about family or community (nor the environment or much else for that matter) while at the Totalitarian Control end nobody is allowed to care about such things. In the centre, in a tribal form of society, one finds an accommodation of individual and group needs, mutual support frameworks, and genuine sharing of the burdens and joys of living.
As Daniel Quinn points out tribes are not always perfect. They are, however, normally free of the extremes that make living impossibly difficult and even soul-shrinking. Here, somebody might point to the horrific massacres in Rwanda in 1994, in which some 500,000 Tutsi people were slaughtered by predominantly Hutu supporters of the government, as a 'failure' of tribalism. But the Rwandan massacres were not an example of tribalism in action, anymore than the firebombing of the German city of Dresden by the Allies, on Shrove Tuesday 1945, was an example of Christianity in action. Both atrocities were marked departures from the essential mores and teachings of tribal societies and of the Christian religion.
Tribal Models Worked For Thousands Of Years
The Australian aborigines were, prior to European settlement, people who lived in conditions of managed abundance. For sixty thousand years, far longer than the fleeting histories of socialism, communism and capitalism, aboriginal tribes existed in harmony with the land. No major wars were fought. Although there were skirmishes between tribes these were seldom serious or prolonged. The aboriginal people did not experience famine because they did not exceed the population levels that could sustain a hunter-gatherer existence. They had no government except their local tribal councils, and they paid no taxes. In order to survive, the aboriginal people of Australia had only to work the equivalent of three days per week, the rest of their time was for their leisure and storytelling. The concept of suicide was unknown to these original inhabitants of the Australian continent. They also enjoyed one advantage over modern Australians; tribal people had lifelong support and cradle to grave security within their tribe. In a technological sense tribal Australians were backward, but in terms of community and social support structures they were an advanced culture.
Takers and Leavers
The settlers from Europe despised the "primitive" aborigines because they had not "conquered" the land, they were not warlike and they had not "developed" the resources of the land they inhabited. In the terminology of Daniel Quinn, the settlers had a Taker mentality while the tribal people were Leavers. The idea of exploiting the land and of exerting the power of life and death over all other species, is the notion of takers. Leavers, on the other hand, preserve a balance in the way they draw sustenance from the land and kill only what they need to survive.
The diagram above shows that while tribalism has often, but not always, been associated with a leaver ethos, taker attitudes prevail at the ends of the continuum between anarchic and totalitarian societies. The curves in the diagram indicate that tribal cultures are often more in tune with their natural environment and possessed of higher levels of spiritual awareness and consciousness than taker societies.
After only two hundred years of farming, mining, and otherwise developing Australia along taker lines, the record is damning. Settlers from Europe who were accustomed to four seasons in a year cleared and cropped land that might often go for seven years in a continuous state of summer. Now, 40% of all the original forests on the Australian continent are gone, 75% of rainforests are lost and can never be regenerated, and much of the fertile topsoil has been eroded and carried away on the prevailing winds - across the Tasman sea to New Zealand. Because the water table rose due to the loss of trees and vegetation, soil salinity is now a massive problem, and large areas of Australia can no longer be cultivated. It only took 200 years for takers to destroy land that had been preserved by leavers for 60,000 years.
Tribalism Remains A Viable Way Of Life
Daniel Quinn argues that tribal models have not vanished completely. He instances the culture and operation of the circus as an example of the persistence of tribalism during the industrial age. People who join a circus do so because they want to belong to the close-knit culture that such organisations have. Factors such as nationality, race, gender, language, religion, sexual orientation or politics, don't determine who can or can't join and belong. To be an accepted member of a working circus a person only has to contribute to its success in every area where their inputs are needed. The stars of the high trapeze help erect the big-top, distribute the hand bills, sell the tickets, and then they fly. After the show they help pull the tent down and move everything to the next town.
In return for sharing goals and contributing fully, members of the circus receive the unconditional support of the group. The circus tribe looks after, and stands by, its own people. Many start-up businesses adopt a tribal ethos, but they lose this characteristic as they grow. Microsoft was quite tribal at the beginning, but by the time it hired a finance manager and a human resources manager it became hierarchical and bureaucratic, and the magic of a tribe was lost. Tribal cultures are still with us, but they are not in the mainstream of big business, big government and big crime. True tribalism persists in pockets of our culture but it is not widespread.
Groups Under Stress Revert To Tribal Mechanisms
For all the seeming advantages of modern, state-governed, societies it remains the fact that when sections of our 'civilized' polity come under severe stress they often revert to tribal mechanisms to survive. Daniel Quinn would be likely to argue that this happens because the ways of the tribe offer the best chances of survival for human beings. The following examples (the first one from the 2nd Renaissance freesite) deal with the emergence of latent tribalism in groups that have come under stress.
1. The Banking Collapse In Argentina
State Money Controls Us - Our Own Money Frees Us
When the colonial powers first moved into Africa they found thriving 'economies' based on barter or the exchange of unregulated 'money', these systems were efficient and the tribes who used them remained free. The colonial masters brought the native populations of Africa, Australia, and the US, to heel by introducing a central money supply. To use Daniel Quinn's expression, "The food was under lock and key." You could only eat if you had state money and you could only get that if you entered the state-run economy; often as a low-paid labourer, porter, or the like. The indigenous peoples of colonised countries have been labouring under the yoke of the international monetary (aka control) system ever since. They have been joined by the non-indigenous descendants of the original European colonists, and other people who migrated to their lands.
But, every now and then, reality shines through a small crack in the system of national currencies and international trade, and then it is shut out once more. This happened in Argentina during the economic meltdown of 2001-2003, which involved the government defaulting on an external debt of US$132 billion, the collapse of the banking system, the freezing of deposited savings, soaring inflation and massive unemployment, and a "pots-and-pans rebellion" in which large numbers of Argentinians took over the streets of Buenos Aires and besieged the closed banks, demanding their deposits be returned.
Although many people suffered real hardship as a result of the lack of state-backed money, they were able to survive and quickly introduce their own systems of barter and unofficial currencies. And while sadly, some people died in the initial riots, for most Argentinians life did not end. The people of Argentina demonstrated that they could build an alternative economy and basic support frameworks for each other.
Nobody disputes the fact that the financial crisis in Argentina was due to mismanagement and corruption within the government and, to a lesser extent, the banks. Nobody suggests that the economic malaise that descended upon a country that had once been the seventh richest nation in the world was the fault of the people of Argentina. Thus, it is highly ironic that the money that was mismanaged and misappropriated was the people's. It was not the government's money - governments don't actually have any money unless they raise if from the people by taxation. It was not the bank's money - banks don't actually have any money unless people deposit it and then borrow money within the system. The money and the wealth that was so greatly devalued in 2001-2002 was ultimately the people's.
There is a strong possibility that if the Argentinian people had not participated in a state-managed economy, and if they had not dealt with large multinational banks, but invested and borrowed with local cooperatives instead, Argentina would still be one of the richest countries in the world.
Here are some WWW excerpts that capture the nature of the new communal movement that quickly emerged in Argentina, once the state-managed economy collapsed (They come from Global Village News and Resources - GVNR).
- "Alva Sotelo was just trying to hold onto her job and her salary. By December , she and her fellow workers' pay had fallen to only five pesos a week. ... She and her fellow workers began sleeping at the factory because they kept hoping their employers would come back and pay their salaries. "At first, we were waiting for someone to tell us what to do," she says.
Eventually, the workers at Burkman realised that wasn't going to happen - the owners had effectively abandoned the debt-ridden factory. The workers began, slowly, to run the factory themselves. They elected a six-member commission to coordinate the work. They paid off the company's debts with factory profits. They paid their salaries by dividing the remaining profits equally among themselves. ... Alva and her 50 or so fellow workers continue to sleep in shifts at the factory. But now they are bringing home around 50 pesos a week, and they laugh and talk to each other while they work. "We've actually discovered that we get more done when we communicate with each other." she says.
Alva Sotelo is one of many people in Argentina who have been forced by the collapse of the economy into creating alternatives. The result is new-found solidarity and empowerment and an opportunity to create new models that transcend the old individualist capitalist one. "Solidarity solutions" are sprouting up all over Argentina: street corner soup kitchens organised by neighbourhood assemblies, food donations replacing money as the price of entrance to cultural events, neighbours buying food together, community food gardens. The most notable changes have been the explosion of worker cooperatives, the rise of neighbourhood assemblies, and the proliferation of barter clubs. ... Once workers take control of a company, they can use legal channels to apply for cooperative status. Owner attempts to evict workers are often unsuccessful either because they are legally challenged or because members of local neighbourhood assemblies show up en masse to support the workers and non-violently prevent the eviction.
These assemblies, born in early January from "the pot and pan uprisings" (cacerolazos) of December, are another powerful force for innovation within a collapsing system. Breaking through the fear of activism instilled by the brutal military dictatorship, roughly 200 groups of neighbours throughout Buenos Aires have rejected traditional party divisions and opted for direct democracy and a "politics without politicians." They are sending delegates to an inter-neighbourhood assembly, publishing newsletters, requesting donations from local merchants for street corner community kitchens [children in some areas were reduced to eating fried toads and rats, so emergency food relief was vital] and organising demonstrations. In addition to confronting the practical needs of the neighbourhood, the assemblies have become improvisational think tanks where people trade political, social, and economic ideas to create a new vision for the country.
"In December," says assembly member Hugo Perez, "we dissolved the trance we had been in of 'Don't get involved.' We woke up and claimed the street, and once we had it, we didn't want to give it up." Many of these middle-class professionals have lost their jobs. Some have had their utilities cut off because of lack of payment, and some worry about how and what they are going to eat. Pro-government forces have attacked and threatened neighbourhood assembly members. Suddenly their own situation does not seem so different from the struggles of the working-class unemployed who have been protesting by blocking roads. A new slogan is chanted at demonstrations: "Potbanger and roadblocker, it's the same fight!"
Social distinctions also blur at the barter clubs proliferating throughout the country. With 400.000 participants and 800 nodes, the barter system now accounts for US$400-600 million worth of business. The nodes operate with slips of paper called credits, earned by trade in goods or services."
... Social economist and barter promoter Heloisa Primavera says the barter economy creates "social money" that fosters community rather than the isolation of traditional consumerism. "It's also a tool for replacing scarcity thinking with abundance thinking."
How far can this thinking go? At least one Argentine writer has suggested that the country could use barter with other countries as a way to free itself from the leash of the IMF and the external debt. When an entire people wake from the trance of political passivity, as the Argentinians did last December, it seems that anything is possible."
Although it lacked a new-tribal spirituality and leaver-giver ethos, the Argentina example shows the latent tribalism that lies just under the surface of their capitalist society. While the IMF and the OWO have again - for the moment - established economic and political control over ordinary Argentinians, the brief period of financial and political instability clearly showed that the people of Argentina were able to get along without a state-controlled currency, the 'services' of multinational banks, or the 'help' of the IMF. There is really no reason to suppose that they couldn't have carried on; to build a different and far better society, and to barter with people in other countries outside the international monetary system.
Once ordinary Argentinians began printing their own alternative currency they became free from the economic control of the state. Had they persisted they would have unleashed powerful innovative and wealth creating forces that had long been constrained by the old economic order. If the people of Argentina could do these things so can the people of any country or free city. They just have to realise that they can achieve far more without the overburden that state bureaucracies and national political parties impose. Then, once they decide that they can do far better using enterprise and social collectives, and applying natural tribal principles; they must act like ants.
2. An Infantry Platoon Anywhere At All
There is absolutely nothing to commend going to war and nothing to justify the militaristic build-ups that lead to war. However war provides a clear example of the way in which humans, when they are in danger, revert to innate tribal habits in order to survive. For all the drill and regimentation that goes into preparing an infantry platoon for combat it is tribal instincts and cohesion that come to the fore when the shooting starts. The more 'tribal' a unit is the greater are its chances of success and survival. Modern infantry tactics and the psychology of military command on mechanised battlefields have evolved during the space of a 150 years or so, but they also draw on much earlier military knowledge. However, even if one goes back to Roman times and, the tactics of the legions, the essence of tribalism is tens of thousands of years older.
People who study tribal habits tell us that survival is the primary reason for humans combining in groups of between 10 and 300 people. This is certainly true of an infantry platoon, which normally consists of between 16 to 44 soldiers. Analysts of the tribal phenomenon content that it is the need to survive in battle that causes close bonds and supportive attitudes to develop in the platoon. If the members of the unit don't look after each other they will all be at greater risk, so they build a culture that values mateship and a commitment so strong that all members will lay down their lives for each other - not for the flag or the nation or the war but for their mates.
Much the same motives cause workers in dangerous situations to bond in a tribal manner. Thus underground miners in some African and South American locations that are among the most dangerous in the world will normally act tribally, for mutual support and protection. And the construction workers that swarm like ants over bamboo scaffolding erected on many high-rise buildings in Asian countries will similarly have a mutual, and essentially tribal, commitment to 'look after each other' in the absence of the safety equipment and regulatory precautions that are found in places such as Australia and the USA.
Groups Adopt Tribalism For Success
Rather than its chance of survival it can be the success of a group that is enhanced by the adoption of tribal ways. In Daniel Quinn's example of the circus there is usually no survival imperative that draws people into a tribal mode of operation, it is more the lure of belonging to a special culture and of being part of its success. Although they were quite rare during the past industrial age examples could still be found in more traditional workplaces than a circus. One such instance is related next.
3. An Autonomous Work Group - Sydney, Late 20th Century
Various experiments in the 1960s and 1970s were aimed at establishing new work models in which self-motivation and innate teamwork could replace traditional command and control processes and rigid job prescriptions. These initiatives were often termed 'autonomous work groups' and, in most cases, they were quickly undermined and discredited by middle managers who were fearful of becoming irrelevant, and therefore unemployed. However at least some experiments in self-organisation endured well into the 1990s, one of these was at a carpentry jobbing and cabinet making factory in the western suburbs of Sydney.
There, traditional organisation structures and jobs were completely discarded and replaced by fluid work projects or 'events' that met the specifications and delivery dates of customer's orders. Once the people on the shop floor were given a computerised plan for a woodworked item or group of items there was no further direction or control from the factory manager. The workers held a short meeting, often standing up in the middle of the factory floor, and decided who would make the various parts, when they would be assembled and by who, and how to work the project around other work and still meet all delivery dates. Then they did it - correctly and unfailingly on time.
What happened at that Sydney factory, for several decades, was not an example of teamwork it was classic tribalism and it offered a sense of value, pride and the satisfaction of belonging to a success; as free and equal members of the work group.
Successful neo-tribal models will be grounded more in notions of equality, shared commitment and common purpose than a survival imperative. It will not be the infantry platoon model of tribalism that is most relevant but that of the inspiring and creative circus. As discussed below, there is an essential difference between tribes that hold to a Taker ethos and those that embody a Leaver ethos. Neo-tribes will function best from a Leaver-Giver perspective.
A Neo-Tribal Model
The diagram indicates some key characteristics of a neo-tribal model. It borrows from Daniel Quinn's observations. Reading the relevant pages in his book, Beyond Civilization, can provide further understanding and insights. We are not considering clans or ethnic tribes here, but the tribal model in modern and post-modern settings.
Quinn cites the small travelling circus as an example of a modern tribal model. In a looser sense, people collaborating in the development of open source software, such as Linux, might be said to have a tribal rather than a commercial culture.
In Quinn's terms,
"A tribe is a coalition of people working together as equals to make a living."
However, he notes that making money is a means of surviving in order to do what the tribe does.
Making money is not the primary purpose of forming or belonging to a tribe.
He points out that members of a circus want it to make money so that it can continue, but they don't join it because it is an enterprise. They join because it is a circus, and because it has a close knit culture that they can relate to.
In the 21st Century neo-tribes will play a major role in creating conditions of abundance. They will gradually achieve a state of self-sufficiency that does not depend on making money. The performances of the Circus can then be free. Neo-tribalism is a model for a Leaver-Giver society within a new, Level 4, civilization. It has no similarities with Taker philosophies or the failed models of nationalism and capitalism that have dominated the outgoing civilization.
Equality And Unanimity
Unlike the average citizen of a nation state, each member of a neo-tribe has equality with other members, hence the large smiling face in the diagram. There is a leader of each tribe, and usually a council of leaders for a coalition of tribes. But, as Daniel Quinn points out,
"...leadership carries little or nothing in the way of special benefits that are denied to other members of the tribe."
There is no ruling elite, no hierarchy, and nothing to overthrow. The purpose of the various endeavours of a neo-tribe is clear, and activities are undertaken in a collaborative, often selfless manner.
This contrasts starkly with the competitive, win-lose nature of representative democracies and corporatist organisations. As Quinn writes:
"Kids of all ages run off to join the circus. No one runs off to join Disney World."
Neo-Tribalism Is Not A Utopian Vision - It Just Works Best
Neither Daniel Quinn or the other proponents of new tribal models claim that such societies are perfect. Quinn says,
"The tribal life doesn't turn people into saints."
He argues, however, that because tribes exist for all their members, who are all involved in the work of the tribe, the model enables people to live and work together with minimal stress and conflict.
Quinn contends that tribalism is the natural form of social organisation for humans, just as the hive is for bees and the flock is for birds. All the models that have survived through the ages are successful for their members. Unsuccessful models also evolved, but they did not last. Tribal societies are not perfect, but:
"..tribalism is not only the pre-eminently human social organisation, it's also the only unequivocally successful social organisation in human history."
Takers Survive Leavers Surpass
This is one of the most important insights about tribalism. There is a big difference between the way that tribal mechanisms function in a Taker culture and how they are applied in an alternative Leaver culture.
Basically, the focus of tribalism in a Taker world is survival. But the focus of tribalism in a Leaver society is on surpassing the bounds of the ordinary and accomplishing the extraordinary.
If this focus on surpassing the ordinary seems unfamiliar and improbable it is because we have hardly any contemporary examples of Leaver societies. The whole modern world is unambiguously Taker and, therefore, all the tribal mechanisms we observe are examples of Taker tribalism.
The earlier diagram that shows how tribalism fits between individualism and collectivism is valid. However the indications of higher levels of spirituality and a greater connection with nature do not normally apply to Taker tribalism. The mid-zone in the diagram could more properly be termed 'survivalism'.
'Survivalism' or Taker Tribalism
Notice that the characteristics of Taker tribalism include:
- Mutual support
- Loyalty to each other
- Commitment to the group
whereas those for Leaver tribalism are more typically about:
- respect for the wisdom of elders
- Concern for nature
- Commitment to the next generation.
Surpassing the Ordinary - Accomplishing the Extraordinary
The form of tribalism depicted in the above diagram applies to earlier pre-taker societies such as the Australian aborigines. It also applies to the neo-tribes that are destined to become the dominant form of social organisation in a Level 4 Civilization. What is that? It is the advanced, abundance-based, society that will result from the 2nd Renaissance and it will emerge during the first two decades of the 21st century.
The Most Important Events and Outcomes of the First Renaissance
Because it took place over many generations, and involved so many disparate events, the history of the Renaissance in Europe is often presented in a rambling, fragmented manner. The single most important event, and the single most important outcome, both tend to be obscured by the clutter of information about the flowering of the arts, the many wars, the reformation movement, and so on. The single most important event was Johannes Gutenberg's introduction of the moveable type printing press in c 1455. This made possible the spread of information, knowledge and new ideas on a hitherto unprecedented scale. The escalation in the total amount of information then available to civilization led directly to the single most important outcome of the Renaissance, that of organised governments and democratic nation states.
Douglas Robertson is an author and scientist who has studied the relationship between information and civilization. To Robertson, information is civilization. He categorises the levels of human civilization according to the amount of information available. Level 1 arose with language, level 2 with writing, and level 3 was ushered in by mass publication. In his book, The New Renaissance - Computers and the Next Level of Civilization, Robertson notes that being limited to communicating information by verbal languages made anything more than a localised feudal realm impractical. Once information could be stored and transmitted in written form it was practical to expand the areas of rule, autocratic governments and widespread empires proliferated.
During the Renaissance, mass publication increased the amount and availability of information immensely. It became practical to organise and administer democratic forms of government. This was exactly what the people of Europe, who had suffered under the secular and spiritual domination of the Roman Church throughout the Dark Ages, wanted. Not every nation-state became democratic, but the amount of information to enable this to happen was assured.
In A Level 4 Civilization Everyone Can Know Everything
Douglas Robertson writes that while a billion-fold increase in the generation of information will become a reality in a Level 4 Civilization, this will not be its defining characteristic. He says that, "The ability to easily find and utilise the entire information stock will be the hallmark of a Level 4 Civilization."
Electronic computing began with the mainframe paradigm, this was consistent with the dominant industrial technologies and the way governments and businesses were organised at the time. Information was centralised, control was centralised and access to the system depended on hierarchical levels of authority. In contrast, modern computing is increasingly decentralised.
In a system such as Freenet, data is dispersed across many nodes rather than being concentrated on particular server units. The information is not anywhere, it is everywhere. This system approaches that of a computing model for the first stage of a Level 4 Civilization. Provided that they know the appropriate key to use, it is possible for anyone to retrieve a file from Freenet. The information that is retrieved in this way is free of control and censorship.
The Most Unbelievable Change of the 2nd Renaissance
Of all the changes that form part of the great transformation presently engulfing our world, the reality of abundance is the most difficult for most people to come to terms with. The notion that a Level 4 civilization can possibly produce more than enough physical resources and energy to feed, clothe and shelter all of humanity, at standards higher than those presently enjoyed by the top 10% of citizens of the outgoing civilization, is contrary to all the documented principles and knowledge in the vast number of economic texts and analyses that exist today.
However, all the old texts are now outdated. The force that has rendered conventional economic doctrines obsolete is information. The tool that has made it possible to access and utilise not only information but imagination and vision is the digital computer. The intellectual disciplines that have been greatly leveraged by the explosion of information and knowledge, and the availability of digital computers, are the sciences. The sciences are revising and extending knowledge exponentially, and new technologies spawned by scientific discoveries are leading, inevitably, to abundance in every aspect of human existence. As early as the 1960s the late G. Harry Stine recognised where we are headed. He said it simply.
"We must learn how to be rich and handle abundance, because we have never had to do it before."
Food Production Capacity Already Exceeds Global Needs
Before we consider the implications of abundance we need to establish that abundance exists. We can get to the crux of the reality of abundance without needing to instance the way new sources of energy can already eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels, or the way nanotechnology will soon offer the prospect of robotically manufactured goods that are constructed from molecules - from the inside out - rather than crudely fashioned by human machinists from larger blocks of material. We can look at the abundance of food.
To many people in the developing world this is a contradiction in terms, food and abundance do not go together in their countries. But, when all countries are considered together, there is already sufficient productive capacity to feed every human being on Earth. Although food is not scarce in an overall sense, more than 100,000 children die each month from malnutrition and related diseases. Excess food is routinely dumped and agricultural production is restricted by quotas designed to maintain high prices.
Greed and fear are the historical causes of the obscene failure of Western nation-states to end the practices that curtail the production and distribution of food, and other essential resources, to the people of the world.
Zero Pricing and REALLY Free Markets
Taker thinking is so pervasive in our present civilization that hardly anyone is conscious of it. This causes difficulty in accepting the notion that anything that is manufactured could be distributed freely or that anyone would be prepared to provide their services at no cost.
However, almost anything that is truly abundant is already free, it is only the traditional scarcity of economic resources, and the prevalence of payment for service, that causes prices and markets to operate. Air is free, a walk along a beach is free, sunsets are free, moonlight is free, if you can use a line or net fish are free. All these things are free because they are abundant.
Because the store of human interest and kindness is huge, a significant proportion of the work performed in our present society is already voluntary and unpaid.
One of the better characteristics of the United States is the level of philanthropy that exists there. Having struggled to build their fortunes in highly competitive markets, many successful American entrepreneurs then give much of their wealth away. They endow universities and research projects that would otherwise, in a market-driven economy, not attract such funding.
In many ways the actions of an entrepreneurial class in providing funds for science and research are a far more efficient mechanism than a reliance on government agencies to fulfill this role. When entrepreneurs give their money and volunteers give their time to not-for-profit undertakings we see a glimpse of what can happen in a situation of abundant resources and manufactured goods. Individuals, not governments, donate their personal time and interest to helping others, or the environment, or the animals, in whatever way they choose.
When scarcity is not a constraint, human interest and kindness drive the distribution of products and services.
Limits To Growth Arguments
Both Douglas Robertson and Daniel Quinn struggle with the concept of abundance and population growth. They seem sure that, if human populations explode as a result of abundance and the prolongation of lifespans, there will be a point at which a limit will be reached. The phenomenon is common, it is observable in everything from insect plagues to algal blooms. Eventually a point is reached at which the growing population exceeds the capacity of the environment to sustain it, and the exponential growth curve comes, literally, to a dead stop.
Robertson puts the argument thus. "The existence of a finite limiting resource places a fundamental mathematical limit on growth." It is human to expect and anticipate limits and boundaries of some sort. We have great difficulty visualising more than three dimensions, and also in imagining infinity. We always assume that there are limits, but in reality they might not be there.
Science is on the threshold of gaining mastery over matter, of being capable of transforming any element or molecule into any other. Once this mastery is achieved, the question will be one of whether there are finite limits to the number of atoms and the amount of energy required to convert them.
In a practical sense, various scientists and technologists answer the question of whether there will be limits to the levels of human population that are sustainable, with another question: - "What makes you think we are going to stay on Earth?"
Science Drives Technology - Technology Drives Freedom
Science is driving radical discoveries, discoveries are driving technology, and technology is raising the level of information to a point where a Level 4 Civilization becomes practical. Technology is also making information and knowledge widely available, and this has significant implications for human society. Just as "civilization is information", it is the case that "knowledge is power".
The first Renaissance freed knowledge from guarded libraries and made it available via the medium of printed books. However, because books are physical objects, they and the ideas they contain can be controlled. Big Brother in all his guises, totalitarian, democratic, communist, imperial, etc, could and still does ban, burn, and otherwise restrict, the spread of "dangerous" knowledge and ideas. This control is exercised in all forms of published and broadcast media, and it is also exercised by shaping curricula and content in state education systems.
Power can remain centralised while knowledge can be restricted, shaped and censored. The technology of the first Renaissance did not free the spread of information and knowledge to the point where it could not be governed and controlled in this manner. The technology of the 2nd Renaissance, even at this early stage, does free information and make knowledge ungovernable. Freenet is a clear example of this ungovernability of information and ideas, hence it is a likely target for Big Brothers everywhere. Unhappily for the tireless censor-folk, new science and 21st-century technologies are making it impossible for the censoring and shaping of information and knowledge to succeed for much longer.
New Science - New Civilization
During the Dark Ages, in Europe, the scientific theories used to describe the observed world left a lot to be desired. The Roman Church was the final arbiter on all scientific explanations of nature, matter, life and the heavens. At the time, it was held that the Earth was the centre of a limited universe, the Sun was said to travel across the heavens, and the number of stars in the firmament was seen as fixed and unchanging. Until Galileo Galilei, science followed the teachings of Aristotle in physics, and it was considered that heavier objects fell faster than lighter ones.
The first Renaissance produced a wave of new thinking and theories and led to the science that is now taught as "modern". By the start of the 20th century it was thought, by some scientists, that all that could be explained in the physical sciences had been discovered. But, during the 1900s, and particularly following the introduction of powerful and widely available computers, the "modern" theories and explanations of science began to be challenged and radically revised.
Much of this new science involves explanations and theories that are counterintuitive. Quite early in the 20th century Niels Bhor remarked that anyone who isn't shocked by quantum mechanics has not understood it. The trend of uncovering previously undreamed of levels of complexity in nature that are governed by elegantly simple constructs continues at an ever-increasing rate. New scientific theories and new insights are spawning previously unimaginable new technologies, that will inevitably lead to a global abundance of physical resources and material goods.
The new technologies will also raise the level of information available to the incoming civilization to about 1025 bits. This is the level, calculated by Douglas Robertson, at which a Level 4 Civilization will operate. As noted above, it is not only the explosion of information that is so empowering, but the expectation that new technologies will enable the entire stock of knowledge to be accessed.
Abundance Scares Profiteers and Politicians
Vested interests and government ideologues alike are wedded to the notion of economic scarcity and are intent on keeping it alive. It is easy to understand why those who control the supply of food want to maintain a base level of scarcity. If food were too plentiful it would not be possible to charge high prices. But why would governments fear abundance? Look no further than the reasons for having governments at all. Besides providing basic services, which they are increasingly privatising or contracting out, governments redistribute wealth and resources. They have social policies and programs to fix poverty, fix crime, fix health, fix schooling, fix housing, fix anything and everything - just trust them one more time. Once resources become abundant, however, most people will choose to fix things for themselves.
Representative democracy becomes unnecessary in conditions of abundance. That's the problem for profiteers and politicians facing the 2nd Renaissance. They must impede insights and developments that lead to abundance, and promote the old notions of economic scarcity.
While vested interests and governments have, so far, succeeded in constraining the production and distribution of food, the challenge of doing the same for energy, and for the almost costless consumer goods that will result from nanofacture, will be more difficult. In due course the challenge of suppressing knowledge and abundance will prove impossible.
Takers - Leavers - Givers
In several of his books Daniel Quinn has provided lucid explanations of the way that the development of agriculture led to the formation of the Taker mindsets that replaced older Leaver philosophies. At our present point in human history, takerism is both dominant and in decay. We are at the transition point from one paradigm to another. But there will not be a return to the ways of the leavers, the new paradigm will incorporate the new reality of abundance. There will certainly be a new spirituality and a new awareness of the need for cooperation and coexistence, rather than predation and species genocide, but there will be an additional element.
A strong component of giving will emerge, based on knowledge and technologies that enable almost costless production of energy and material goods.
The people of the first cities to host talent collectives in the 21st century will be givers. They will use new knowledge to develop products and services with very low matter and cost compositions and then give them away. Software, medicines, foodstuffs, educational materials, and a large range other essential items will be free, to all those who need them.
The New Tribal Phenomenon
There are a growing number of advocates of new-tribalism, but its nature is widely misunderstood. While few people seriously believe that new tribalism involves going back to living in caves, many think that it is associated with restraint, low economic growth and reduced living standards. Quinn himself, in his book Beyond Civilization, gives the impression that sustainable growth implies that not everyone can aspire to the lifestyles of the top Taker societies of the US and Europe. However, Quinn also points out that people who leave our Taker civilization behind, do so in the expectation of gaining something more valuable than the way of life they give up. As he puts it,
"People never run off to join the circus to give up something. They run off to the circus to get something."
Besides the unconditional support that membership of a tribe implies, Quinn suggests that people who are prepared to live in a sustainable way, as Leavers, can expect to gain "security, hope, light-heartedness, and freedom from anxiety, fear and guilt." This is quite a shopping list. Given the mess that the outgoing civilization is in, such gains will be attractive to many people who are currently enduring feelings of hopelessness regarding their retirement years and the future of their children.
Still, many in the New Tribalism movement, including Daniel Quinn, appear to overlook the impacts of the scientific discoveries and enlightenment associated with a second renaissance. Far from there being unavoidable choices between new tribal lifestyles, continued affluence and rising living standards, it is becoming practical to have all these outcomes at once.
The emergence of a new tribal society is being held back by the continued acceptance of old paradigms and "truths" that are no longer valid. One of these no-longer-truths is that resources and the factors of economic production are, and always will be, scarce. Other no-longer-truths are that nationalism remains desirable and appropriate in a globalised world, and that national governments desire to progress, and can implement democratic processes that will take us forward, to the sunlit uplands of a new age. They can't. We must reorganise our society and do it for ourselves - and we must do it quickly.
Forces Driving Freedom
There a number of powerful forces acting to increase freedom in the early phases of the 2nd Renaissance. These include the speed of technological change, the shift from tangible to non-tangible sources of wealth, the unstoppable nature of information flowing on the Internet, and generational effects on attitudes and values. Most importantly, the reality of abundant resources and energy completely obsoletes capitalism and nationalism, and leads directly to a Level 4 Civilization. While strong forces for change also drove the first Renaissance, they do not compare to the scope and immensity of the new waves of change that are engulfing the world. Despite the strenuous efforts that various central governments and global cartels are sure to exhibit in their efforts to maintain the status quo of the old civilization, the 2nd Renaissance will roll forward at an ever-increasing rate.
In due course the new civilization will be shaped and energised by new talent collectives.
Industrial Employees Create on Capital's Terms
Patent and copyright protections were developed for the old economy. The new economy is built on the imaginative and creative use of knowledge and information. In this new context, copyright laws protect different interests. The old sources of wealth were capital and organisational infrastructure. Except in the few cases that authors or other artists were able to self-publish, copyright protected corporations.
The new source of wealth creation lies in imaginative inputs. It might seem that there is no problem here, because the creative people who first conceive of an intellectual work, will subsequently progress it to an output state that will be covered by copyright. The law attributes copyright to the employer, even if an employee actually conceives and produces a work, so it seems that the ownership of copyright is unaffected by the new economy.
But there is a new factor involved, it is the growing independence of talent. Back when manufacturing was the mainstay of a developed economy, capital and infrastructure dominated business. When a journalist, for example, wrote an article as part of his or her job, the employer owned the copyright on the work. Individual journalists could not start their own newspapers, because the capital, infrastructure, advertising contacts and political connections required, were all beyond their capacity. Even if the individual worked as a freelance, the newspaper that bought their work would own the copyright.
In The New Economy Talent Creates On Talent's Terms
The situation is different in talent centred industries, there is not the same need for an imposing office and a lot of infrastructure. In their book, The Sovereign Individual, James Davidson and William Rees-Mogg cite the example of a large US advertising firm that decided to operate without an office, using electronic links to the homes of employees instead of having people in a headquarters building, and hiring space in hotels for projects when needed.
There is now little to stop talented individuals, or groups of such people, from setting themselves up in business and owning the copyright on their own work. In the case of new sunrise industries that rely heavily on creativity and imagination, there are real opportunities for individuals or small teams to follow their own interests, outside traditional corporate structures.
Capital and infrastructure don't dominate the new economy, talent does.
Individuals will increasingly opt to work for themselves, or for small collectives of creative talent. In either case, talented people will wish to own the copyright for value built from their efforts. For this reason, corporatism and managerialism are set to lose their monopoly on copyright ownership. Many individual copyright holders and talent collectives are likely to have very different views of the application of copyright than those of the old guard of transnational tycoons and their lawyers.
There Is Growing Scope For Talent Collectives
Although there is little to prevent talented individuals from banding together to create and develop new technologies, products and services, the incidence of such collectives in the controlled economy is low. Too few people presently see the opportunities that now exist to create and own wealth in their own right, without working for large corporations that take the intellectual property as their own, and reap the profits for institutional investors rather than the creative and inventive individuals who did the crucial work. But this situation is set to change as the 2nd Renaissance progresses. Davidson and Rees-Mogg make it plain that enterprises that generate wealth from knowledge and imagination, rather than the traditional sources of capital, infrastructure and physical labour, cannot be held to ransom by nation states.
Robert Reich, who wrote The Work of Nations, prior to becoming US Secretary For Labour in the first Clinton administration, came to much the same conclusion. Reich called creative knowledge workers "Symbolic Analysts" because they manipulate concepts and ideas instead of wrenches and lathes. He saw that symbolic analysts were globally mobile, they needed only a laptop computer, a mobile phone and the stimulation of contact with other creative minds in their field.
Reich understood that a creative environment in which individuals can meet, have coffee and discuss new ideas and technologies with colleagues is a vital ingredient of knowledge work. He identified what he called specific zones in the US where the right creative habitats had developed. Specialists in molecular biology and biotechnology had congregated in a cluster of towns in Arkansas; specialists in semiconductors had grouped in an area south of Portland, in Oregon; creative talent in music and film had become centred in Los Angles, and so on.
At the time that Reich wrote The Work Of Nations (1991), the majority of the symbolic analysts in these and other creative zones worked for scientific institutions or corporations. But, the more advanced the technology and the less visible and tangible it is, the greater is the scope for knowledge workers to form or join talent collectives.
Half the scientists and technologists working in the US are not from there, they and the native born knowledge workers could choose to live in a suitable creative zone anywhere on the planet. The same options apply to new technologists, scientists and innovation leaders currently working in any nation state.
Talent Collectives Transcend The Controlled Economy
Digital technology does not recognise borders, it flows freely from one point to another, and information and ideas flow through the digital conduits. Talented people are, for the moment, more restricted. There are controls on physical movement and the movement of funds, restrictions on property ownership by foreigners, citizenship waiting lists for immigrants, compulsory military service requirements, and a host of other regulations and restrictions that people face within nation states. However, it is clear that nations are now in competition for residents who have the knowledge and imagination to create new sunrise industries and economic prosperity.
This competitive need to attract and hold talent will not only lead to many tax and other exemptions for certain classes of technologists and their families, but also the formation of free cities and regions designed to attract them away from the centralised federations of the controlled economy.
As yet, there are no instances of independent cities that are built around the economic advantage of unique talent collectives. This is because talented people are still working as employees of corporations or institutions, or they are freelancing as individuals. No talent collectives have yet been formed with the aim of clustering a particular strand of expertise, such as nanofacture, in a chosen geographic locality. When this does happen, as it surely will, the cluster of talent collectives will have immense bargaining power in negotiations with potential host states.
The creative development and application of new technologies holds the key to the achievement of abundance, and enables new talent collectives to transcend the controlled economy that is based on scarcity. The new city states that host talent collectives will, initially, become oases of abundance in a global desert of self-defeating economic rationalism and scarcity.
Free Cities and Regions
Those who doubt that independent or quasi-independent economic regions and free cities will emerge from the melee occasioned by the shift from "drop it on your foot" products and commodities to invisible technologies with near-magical capabilities, should consider the close parallels to be found in the emergence of city-states during the first Renaissance.
The breakdown of feudalism and the hold of the Roman Church on Europe in that period was due to new wealth and prosperity derived from new commerce. Italian cities such as Genoa, Naples, Milan and Venice were able to break free of the rule of feudal overlords because they possessed expertise in new forms of wealth generation, such as banking and the emerging publishing and books trade (the Renaissance equivalent of the late 20th century IT sector). However, the most important factor in the rise of powerful city-states was their role as centres for new thinking and new ideas. This will also be the most important factor in the success of free cities during the 2nd Renaissance.
Conversely, the greatest weakness of the large and economically powerful nation states and their federal administrations is that they remain centres of old thinking and old ideas.
The city-states of the first Renaissance did not persist as such, they were absorbed into the new nation states. It was the increased levels of information due to mass publication technologies that made centralism, nationalism and industrialisation practical. City states that broke free from feudalism and church rule were a transitional phase on the rising curve of modernity and "drop it on your foot" technologies, that culminated in the Level 3 Civilization that we were all born into.
The year 1980 was the pinnacle of the controlled economy, nationalism, militarism, and takerism. From that time, new digital technologies, in the hands of individual users, began to change the world and lay the foundations for an information revolution that will lead us, inevitably, to a Level 4 Civilization. Again, independent cities can be expected to emerge in the transition phase from one form of society to another.
Finding New Freedom Centres
The initial recipients of the generosity of the new technology regions and cities that develop the potential of invisible technologies are likely to be the poorest and least developed areas of the world. People in these places have the greatest need and are likely to be the least defensive of old institutions and power structures.
It might seem that poor countries could directly host talent collectives and form zones of technological leadership within their own geographical areas. But the poorest nations are not places where talent collectives might wish to settle, because such locations presently lack sufficient infrastructure and amenities. There are moves to build and operate huge floating cities outside the territories of existing nation-states, but the members of talent collectives might not wish to sail the high seas endlessly. They are far more likely to do what the talent collectives of the first Renaissance did, congregate in existing cities or towns within developed regions of the old civilization. There, the new technologists will progressively negotiate the freedoms and conditions they aspire to. But they will deal with small government, on a local level, not the irrelevant central bureaucracies of nation states.
Not Revolution, But Abandonment
The process of gaining full freedom from nation states will not involve revolution or civil disobedience. It will thus be beyond the power of federal governments to attack or control.
Daniel Quinn, writing in Beyond Civilization, Humanity's Next Great Adventure, puts the situation into sharp focus. Quinn uses the analogy of an aircraft in trouble, he argues that in such a situation nobody wants to shoot or overthrow the pilot, they only want a parachute and an open door. As Quinn sees it, governments always have countermeasures in place to put down any attack on their authority and power from within (aircraft pilots might have a double locked door between their cockpit and the main cabin, as well as weapons to use if they are attacked by passengers), but governments never have any defences against abandonment (a line of passengers with chutes exiting the external door of the main cabin).
Quinn contends that while governments can imagine a revolution they can't imagine abandonment. As he puts it, "..even if it could imagine abandonment , it couldn't defend against it, because abandonment isn't an attack, it's just a discontinuance of support."
The new free cities will not emerge in some far off place, but inside the borders that nation-states set up long ago to delineate their territories and facilitate the taxation of "drop it on your foot" products and commodities.
High Potential For Secessions
Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, federations such as Australia will have a significant potential to fragment during the early stages of the 2nd Renaissance. The main forms of secession are likely to be:
- Concentration of like-minded sovereign individuals and technologists in existing cities or towns, and formation of specialised talent collectives centred on such locations.
- Secession of predominantly farming regions that are unable to compete in global markets without subsidies. These regions might also attract knowledge collectives and sunrise industries to their midst.
- Reclaiming of tribal lands in desert and other regions and the formation of economic pacts between new talent collectives and indigenous land owners.
It is unlikely that existing Australian states will secede from the federation, as there would be too few gains in individual sovereignty involved in continuing to operate under state governments. If the Australian federation fragments it will be more likely to form twenty or thirty free cities or regions than six or seven states that follow the old boundaries set at the time of European colonisation.
Because the original tribal people are generally tolerant and naturally predisposed to leaver philosophies and ways of living, Australia could be a very suitable place for emerging talent collectives and new sunrise industries to locate themselves. The non-indigenous people of rural communities in the Australian bush are also likely to be very amenable and compatible with 2nd Renaissance culture and freedoms.
The major cities could be a different matter, because they have large populations of corporate employees and professionals who will be likely to perceive the collapse of capitalism and nationalism as a threat to their "right" to a high standard of living and social status. The fact that everyone should be better off once the 2nd Renaissance begins to leverage technologies that produce abundance, might well be lost on many Australian city dwellers.
Landlocked Cities and Regions Can Thrive
There will be no need for free cities and regions to have access to a seaport. Sunrise industries capable of supporting a leaver-giver ethos will only require an airport and some satellite links. Given these basic facilities the invisible technologies of the 2nd Renaissance will be able to distribute near costless goods and services to the world at large, particularly to those people in most need of them. There will be other facilities and conditions that play a part in attracting and holding talent collectives and new knowledge industries, but the traditional requirement of trading ports will not exist.
Why Technology Elites Will Choose To Give
Davidson and Rees-Mogg recognise that specialists in new 21st century production are very different to the specialists in violence of capitalist-nationalist times. However, they argue that technological elites will develop, and that the gap between the richest and poorest people on earth will inevitably widen. But, there are several factors that should cause us to be more optimistic about the prospect of leaver-giver centres and societies forming the basis of a Level 4 Civilization. These factors include:
- The key premise of The Sovereign Individual is a looming privatisation of the economic power and social freedom previously expropriated by national governments. Because this change is assumed to occur under conditions of scarcity and the need to compete to survive, it is considered that an entrepreneurial and technological elite will benefit from such privatisation, at the expense of the rest of us. However, in the conditions of abundance arising from the 2nd Renaissance, there is no reason to presume that the necessities of life, and many of its luxuries, will not flow to the billions of poor and needy on this planet.
- Giving and Getting
- It is an observable fact that once people amass sufficient wealth they begin to give some of it away to others. This behaviour occurs within the present capitalist system and is known to have been evidenced by some of the most ruthless of entrepreneurs. Outside the commercial arena, there are other examples of individuals who have chosen to devote their skills and much of their time to helping less fortunate people. The work of the late Fred Hollows in setting up programs to treat curable blindness among Australian aborigines, and other people in many parts of the world, is an example of the latter form of altruism.
One of the great secrets of life is that, "The more you give the more you get". Once technologists have magic new technologies that are able to deliver all manner of near costless goods and services there will be no further need to compete for survival. Many of the new technological wizards can then be expected to discover the secret of giving and getting.
- In the past it has been possible for well off people in developed economies to ignore the plight of the multitudes in the so-called third world who are existing on less than two dollars a day. As the 2nd Renaissance progresses there will be pressing reasons to help the less fortunate within the first world economies themselves.
Davidson and Rees-Mogg quote the results of a US Education Department survey that indicated that some 90 million Americans, or one third of the total population, are "woefully incompetent" and unprepared to join the electronic information world.
In Australia, measures of the relevance and modernity of the work being done in typical firms indicate that around two thirds of the present workforce is engaged in activities that will be made redundant by new technology, most probably before 2010.
Emerging technological elites will find it preferable to freely distribute costless goods and services than to wall themselves off in gated communities, living in fear of an increasingly angry and disillusioned underclass.
In the early days of European occupation of Australia, many exploratory expeditions, many shipwrecked mariners and lost aviators, perished from starvation. These unfortunates simply ran out of supplies and then starved to death in remote country that contained abundant sources of both food and water, but in unfamiliar forms and locations. Today, the Australian army has a manual that identifies every edible source of nourishment in the outback. The manual contains all the knowledge required to maintain patrols indefinitely in the same areas in which many early explorers perished.
While it is destroying old forms of production and commerce the 2nd Renaissance is simultaneously creating new opportunities in almost every field of human endeavour. But these new opportunities are as yet, largely unrecognised by people who are still thinking and acting according to old paradigms and misleading teachings. Secession from failing federations and the establishment of new tribal communities suited to survival and success in a Level 4 Civilization is one such opportunity. It escapes current attention because secession from strong, easily controlled and governed federations has previously been difficult and fraught with coercion and conflict. The fact that this situation is changing has not yet registered on the consciousness of most citizens of the outgoing civilization.
They are in sight of freedom but they cannot see it.
Microjurisdictions - The New Model
In the view of Davidson and Rees-Mogg national governments and international relations won't survive the coming privatisation of citizenship. They say, "If "international" were a stock, now would be the time to sell." The concept is likely to be supplanted in the new millennium, or at least narrowed to its original meaning for the compelling reason that the whole world will no longer be dominated by the system of interrelating sovereign nations.
Relations will take on the novel "extranational" forms dictated by the growing importance of microjurisdictions and Sovereign Individuals." In a Level 4 Civilization the jurisdiction of service-only governments will usually be limited to the equivalent of a town or city. Their purpose will be to provide the type of services that municipal councils now look after, roads, building standards, sanitation, garbage recycling, and so on.
Many existing services might well be unnecessary in an age of magic technologies. For example, nanoconstructors in the home or in communal production centres might reuse the atoms in household waste and garbage as feed matter for the creation of new nanofactured items. There will certainly be no need for electricity and gas utilities in the event of universally available free energy. Nor might mass transport systems such as rail and road networks be required. Whatever services requirements are left will probably be provided by some form of microgovernment. These administrations will genuinely serve the people, rather than control and exploit them.
As Davidson and Rees-Mogg put it,
"The idea that humans must naturally place themselves in an "invented" community called a nation will come to be seen by the cosmopolitan elite as eccentric and unreasonable in the next century."
Changing What WE Control
All over the world activist groups are using the wrong ideas to take on the Old World Order (OWO). Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Animal Liberation, and many other groups are often trapped by a wrong, but dominant, idea.
The idea involves changing what governments and corporations do.
A better idea is for us to change what we do. We still have control over many of our own actions, but almost no control over the actions of federal governments and global corporations.
Governments can easily ignore our attempts to make them change. They can also use the rule of law, and their considerable legal and financial resources, to defend whatever they do. Large corporations have similar capacities to resist pressures from ordinary people. Since the mid-eighties London Greenpeace has organised an annual World Day of Action against McDonalds. The protest takes place on 16th October. It attacks aspects such as the use of former rainforest land to graze cattle for beefburgers, the means of slaughtering chickens, the impact of fries and beefburgers on obesity, and the wages and conditions of employees. Greenpeace asks ordinary people to "..talk to friends and family, neighbours and workmates about these issues." Two activists, Helen Morris and David Steele were sued by the McDonalds corporation in 1990, for distributing a leaflet critical of McDonalds products and business practices. Although the pair came through the longest libel trial in British legal history with significant public support, and some favourable rulings, their leaflet did not change McDonalds products or practices at all.
Corporations like McDonalds can control what they do, and they can choose to ignore criticisms and use the legal system to silence those who speak out against perceived shortcomings in their operations and ethics. But individual citizens also have control over many aspects of their lives. You and I might not be able to travel internationally without visas, body searches, and currency restrictions, but we can still choose what we eat, what we watch, and who are friends are.
Withdrawing Our Support
While we can't change governments and corporations, we can change what we ourselves control. Artificial scarcity is the bedrock of capitalism, but it is a two way street. By withdrawing our support for commercial products or government programs, we citizens can create scarcities of our own. We can cause a scarcity of consumers, a scarcity of program participants, and a scarcity of believers.
The latter form of scarcity is vital to diminishing the power and control of the Old World Order. Citizens, particularly those in the West, need to withdraw their support for official truths and the mechanisms that promulgate them. There might be good reasons to withdraw support from McDonalds products, but doing so would only harm that single corporation, and many of the people who work there. A wide refusal to consume McDonalds meals will never damage capitalism or hasten the transition to a Level 4 Civilization. However, a widespread withdrawal of support for the misinformation and lies disseminated by government and corporate spin-doctors, and the mainstream electronic media, can do so. Such a development can help us meet Daniel Quinn's key requirement for our survival as a species.
"What we must have (and nothing less) is a whole world full of people with changed minds. "
See Sub-Heading  of the 2nd Renaissance freesite for a list of some of the many actions that we can take quite independently of governments or corporations. None of the actions listed involve violence and none will cause lasting harm to the world. There are many more possibilities that meet these criteria. The list on the 2R freesite only gives a few examples.
An action we could add to the list is this: we could, if we so choose, decide not to sue each other. No violence would be involved in not suing each other, and although there would be an effect on the earnings of lawyers and the like it would not absolutely ruin anyone. The consequence of a significant number of us abandoning recourse to the courts would draw the attention of others to the issue of whether the Rule of Law is worth supporting into the 21st century, and the more people that were caused to think about that the better would be the chances of them changing their minds about a whole lot of other issues as well.
Neo-tribal actions in the initial stages of the transformation of the world, from 'taking' to 'leaving' attitudes, must concentrate on changing people's minds about the way we live now and our place in the scheme of nature. The formation of free cities or regions and the use of new science and technologies to generate abundance will be a later stage (but not too delayed). The first task of the new tribalism is to widely change attitudes and thinking in our present society.
New Thinking NOW!
The diagram below suggests that we really need a fast transition to a Level 4 Civilization. Every year that we loose will mean that millions of people suffer and die needlessly, under the false promises of capitalism and nationalism. Neo-tribal thinking and actions can help to raise awareness of the social, economic and environmental alternatives to takerism, and generate fresh thinking and hope.
As the diagram shows, the disintegration and chaos of the end of the Level 3 Civilization is well advanced - far more than is apparent from the messages of the mainstream media.
The time is ripe to engender new awareness and hope in communities and common interest groups around the planet. This process has already started, particularly on the WWW. Now is the time to give new ideas and new meaning a greater impetus, and to widen community based dialogue in order to help new thinking and values spread and take hold.
There is no revolution involved in a transition to a free and better society based on abundance and raised levels of spirituality. There will be no violent overthrow of existing power structures; just a firm abandonment of the outmoded and limiting paradigms of the old civilisation that was based on scarcity and centralised control. In the looming age of abundance each neo-tribe and free city can readily support and control its own culture and ethos.
Be very clear about it, whatever the snowmen and parrot people might say;
Secession is not sedition.
Secession is an individual right! Every person born into a federation belongs in that land and society, but they do not necessarily 'belong' to a centralised administration. Citizens in a democracy only tolerate control and continue to fund central administrations through taxes if those administrations deliver them the things they aspire to.
One of the most important things that people everywhere want for themselves and their families is freedom. If a state of federation does not provide what groups of people aspire to those same groups have a right to secede and set up their own more advanced society. If they don't have such a right then they aren't living in a democracy at all, but in a totalitarian state that is disguised as a democracy.
No matter what the Old World Order might do or say there are many ways that ordinary people can support each other and take both joint and individual action towards one crucial goal: establishing a Level 4 Civilization by 2014.
Follow A Freedom Flag
Patriotism and pride in national flags is increasingly misplaced. The flags of the nations making up the Coalition of the Willing and many other countries have been so sullied by war crimes, and social and economic barbarism, that they are no longer worthy of any reverence. Not only have the national governments that fly those old order flags repeatedly engaged in military actions that have killed and maimed large numbers of non-combatants (women, children, the aged, and the infirm), corporations from those nations have also routinely engaged in the deliberate destruction of surplus foodstuffs in order to maintain their scarcity and high prices, while many children around the world have starved to death for lack of nourishment. Very simply: the sullied flags the Feds fly are no longer worthy of being followed.
Leaver-Giver movements and the free cities that will form during the 2nd Renaissance will need a new flag to follow - a freedom flag that is pure and unsullied by two centuries of capitalism and federalism. A draft design, which is of course freeright, is offered here. It is by no means completed and still requires detailed attention by a professional graphics artist to perfect it. Nonetheless, several symbolisms are contained in the flag as it is shown here.
The white waveform signifies the new and liberating knowledge and technologies that will banish scarcity and enable the formation of a Level 4 Civilization. It also depicts the reality beneath the seeming solidity of the world around us, that although there appear to be solid objects everywhere, vibrations create all matter and we are really inhabitants of a universe of waveforms.
The spiritual significance of the waveform motif is that just as there is no matter there is no death. Our physical bodies quickly wear out and turn to dust, but our souls continue to exist forever and we journey on in other lives and other bodies.
By changing one or both of the two colours used in the Freedom Flag it will be possible for every free city and leaver-giver tribe to have their own distinctive form of the design. While the colour combination shown represents the overall movement for freedom, abundance, and the establishment of a Level 4 Civilization. The hex code for the upper colour of the primary flag is #800080 and that of the lower is #FF8000.
Each free city and LG-tribe can choose their own colour variations and then register them on Freenet. At first, the registrations might need to be anonymous and only refer to the fact that a group of people in a city (say Dallas!) is working to found a LG-movement there and they have chosen two colours for their flag. Since all larger cities in the West are established strongholds of the OWO, formative LG-tribes will probably need to remain relatively discreet until they achieve a critical mass of membership and community support. It's not a free world yet!
Basic Entitlements In Free Cities
Cities that proudly fly their version of the Freedom Flag will begin to implement an abundance economy by first providing the basic necessities of life; free to all their citizens. These basics will include food staples, basic shelter, adequate clothing, medicines and healthcare, digital libraries and access to Lightnet (3rd generation Internet) terminals, etc. No money will be required to access the basics for living. Non-basic commodities and services will be traded during the early years of the free economies, using barter or a 'people's currency' much as the Argentinians did in 2001. Gradually, as magic new technologies make inroads on scarcity and begin to generate goods and services in abundance, more items will be added to the free list.
It will be some time before luxuries such as yachts and cosmetic surgery become free to everyone, but that too will eventually be possible. However, by that point, the influence of new spirituality will have greatly reduced the desire of people to accumulate material possessions. Life will be full of joy and love, but simple in its requirements.
The First Steps Beyond Takerism
Throughout thousands of years and two levels of civilization, people needed money to buy food that was otherwise unavailable. Unless you were a subsistence farmer, there was no alternative to working in a scarcity-driven economy in order to obtain money to pay for food, shelter and the other necessities of life. But now the conditions for a major change exist. Once food and energy become readily available at negligible cost, the way will be open for those with the knowledge to live outside the long-standing system of artificial scarcity.
The transition from the present socio-economic model to a new one based in free cities and regions will either happen progressively, as nation-states lose more and more of their power over economic and other outcomes within their borders, or it will happen very suddenly, as a result of a catastrophe. The most likely candidate for the latter circumstance is total failure of the international monetary system, and resultant chaos that renders conventional governments impotent in managing economic and social affairs. The recent collapses of major banks in Argentina gave a glimpse of this scenario. People there survived by becoming self-sufficient at the community level. The financial troubles in Argentina are far from over and, given time, independent regions or free cities might yet arise from the ashes of that previously centralised economy.
There are already examples of a more evolutionary progression towards economic self-determination. The Japanese author, Kenichi Ohmae, writing in his book, The Invisible Continent, identifies what he calls "region-states." Singapore, Trinidad-Tobago, Ireland, and New Zealand are said by Ohmae to be operating differently to traditional economies. They are doing this because they have to compete in global markets. National governments can no longer protect them from the changes beyond their borders, so whole regions and cities are finding ways to compete without tariffs and other regulatory mechanisms.
The new region-states also include areas within the wider borders of nation-states. Ohmae cites Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Dalian, and Penang as examples of localities that are operating as semi-autonomous parts of larger countries such as India, China and Malaysia. He says that the national economy of the USA is now like a zebra. If you look at it from a distance it appears to be a uniform grey, but when you get close there are stripes of economic activity that are often globalised or moving to that position. Here are some examples of his observations.
- "Each 'stripe' of the American zebra is an autonomous economic unit. Some, like the areas around Chicago. New Orleans, and Cleveland, are struggling to escape their industrial-era identity and haven't succeeded. Others, like parts of Maine and the Great Plains states, are mired in a moribund fishing - or agriculture - based economy. These areas have declining per-capita gross domestic product. Hey, other parts of the US have economic growth of 20 percent per year: Colorado Springs/Denver/Boulder; Austin; San Antonio; Phoenix/Scottsdale; Seattle; San Jose; (Silicon Valley); Boston/Cambridge; parts of New York City area; and recently the outskirts of Washington D.C., known as the dot.com belt."
- "Iceland is one of the rare cases where the bright stripe of the zebra, - in this case, the zebra is a newly unifying Europe - is contiguous with a national government. The United States and Germany are more typical: the prosperous and nonprosperous regions do not fit neatly within national borders. Economic boundaries drift and change far more rapidly than national boundaries. In recent years, for example, Seattle and Vancouver together have come to constitute one prosperous stripe, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helped create a single 'stripe' out of parts of southern Texas and northern Mexico. It would be fruitless to try to reconfigure national boundaries to match the stripes of any particular zebra."
There are close parallels between these descriptions of areas of new prosperity arising from new thinking at the local rather than national level, and the same situation in Renaissance Europe. Then, as now, new technologies and new thinking drove localised centres of prosperity, and this happened quite independently of national governments and lines on maps.
There is another similarity between what is happening now and what happened five centuries ago: new thinking is driving the stripes of prosperity upwards and outwards, while old thinking is condemning other regions to falling living standards and disaffection with politicians and their false promises. In the latter cases the main political debates are still about how to share a limited 'pie' of wealth. In the regions that are seizing opportunities in the global economy, the debate has shifted to how to share in a larger pie. Ohmae writes as follows.
- "In Canada , there is still a 'Nova Scotia versus British Columbia' syndrome: provincial forces battle over who gets rewarded what privileges. The province of Quebec is still soul-searching as to where it belongs. These are typical dilemmas of the nineteenth-century nation-state model. The implicit assumption is that there is a limited slice of the pie, and politics consists of battles over how to slice the pie. The new regions...have graduated from this model in two ways. First, their leaders now see that there is no limit to the slice of the pie, so long as they allow the region to interact with the global economy......Second, these regions have learned to expand the horizon into cyberspace. Like Dublin and Bangalore, they've learned that jobs and money can easily migrate over telephone lines and satellite transmission."
- "For the European Union to succeed, the most important step for Brussels to take is to free the regions - geographic areas smaller than countries - to become competitive in the global economy. These regions could be the size of Catalonia, Lombardy, Wales, or Scotland. They could even be smaller."
The one crucial point that Ohmae misses, at least in his book written in 2000, is the inevitability of the economic pie becoming infinite, early in the 21st century. However, this development does not invalidate his reasoning, it complements and strengthens his ideas. Once the technological elites realise that they don't have to serve the capitalist system in order to eat, they will have even more incentive to set up free cities and regions.
However, these will not be the 'region-states' that Ohmae writes of, they will be true leaver-giver societies with no ties to central administrations in Brussels, Washington, London or anywhere else. The technological elites will quickly realise that they don't need central governments any longer. The very limited civic administrations that exist in free cities and regions will not control anything. they will simply provide services to communities that operate on neo-tribal principles.
All the power in free cities will rest in tribes and the individuals that comprise them. These tribes will not consist solely of technologists and scientists, but all manner of people, young and old, skilled and unskilled. The tie that binds them together will not be due to their religion or ethnicity, but to a shared purpose of creating and distributing the abundance of goods and services that scientific discoveries and new technologies have made possible. The bond will be due to a common leaver-giver ethos.
Some Key Education Principles For Free Cities
A city or region will not be truly free unless its people can know the truth. Not the 'official truth' of state propaganda machines and institutionalised science, but the real truth - at every level and in every field of knowledge. Knowing the truth will be essential to achieving spiritual awakening, and to the realisation of leaver-giver aims.
Because they remain firmly set in traditional forms of government and administration, none of the 'region-states' that Ohmae identifies are free in the above sense. Although these centres are globalising their commerce and switching from 'drop it on your foot' products to knowledge and services centred trade, they are still operating within the capitalist model. More significantly, the new technologies they are applying continue to be understood and taught in terms of the erroneous physics, chemistry and mathematics that fill the old Level 3 Civilization.
Education systems in free cities and regions must be very different to those of nation states. It is not just the methods of encouraging learning that will distinguish education in free cities from that of nation states, but the truth that the knowledge is rooted in. There is no point in swotting to pass examinations in subject knowledge that is wrong. Yet, that is exactly what young people in state education systems are doing. Neither they, or their parents, or their teachers realise this fact, but it remains the case.
When knowledge is revised on a massive scale, as it now must be, the people who often find most difficulty with the change are those who have been 'educated' in what becomes superseded. Children and young people must quickly learn the new foundations of knowledge, and the free cities will concentrate resources and emphasis on their education. When it comes to older people who are presently qualified in the superseded knowledge, there will be difficulties. It will be hard for many of them to accept that they are suddenly back on the bottom rungs of the learning ladder, in company with teenagers who are much younger than they are.
Presently 'uneducated' people who have never been through the state-run schools and universities will have far less trouble with the new knowledge than those who have built their careers on it. Thus, it will often be quicker to establish free cities and centres of abundance in places where there are not many conventionally educated people. In locations that presently have many 'educated' workers there will be strong resistance to change and any new education systems there will need to include content to alleviate the ingrained resentment that many such people will harbour.
Writing in The Sovereign Individual, Davidson and Rees-Mogg identify the same potential source of resistance in relation to new technology. Listing some anticipated consequences of the transition from the industrial to the digital age they say.
- "The nationalist and Luddite reaction will be strongest, however, not among the very poor but among persons of middling skills, under-achievers with credentials, who came of age during the industrial era and face downward mobility."
- "Reactionary sentiments will be most intensely felt within the currently rich countries, and especially in communities with high percentages of the value-poor and skill-poor who previously enjoyed high incomes."
Although the authors of The Sovereign Individual are not writing about quite the same thing as a revolution in scientific truth and the foundations of knowledge, the parallels are obvious. The new education systems of free cities will need to do things differently to conventional education models. Some of the necessary characteristics of free city education systems might include.
- All ages participation. The new knowledge must be available to adults as well as younger people.
- Absolutely free enrolment and participation in learning. Internet access and materials should also be free.
(Where will the money come from? ....Abundance.)
- Curricula and new knowledge materials that build new understanding without confronting or criticising old teachings as 'wrong'. The emphasis must be on what is now known to be true, not on dismantling conventional knowledge or belittling its authors. Learning should not be a war zone.
- Mandatory skills modules in literacy, numeracy, music, and the like. Additional elective learning modules and options with a wide range of appeal and no disciplinary segmentation or boundaries.
- Reliance on review panels and student demonstration of learning rather than examinations. Emphasis on coaching weak students until they achieve a standard rather than failing a proportion of those taking a course. One hundred percent pass rates and full learning goals.
- Home schooling and special tuition options for those who want them. There might, however, be a requirement for students to demonstrate their learned knowledge to independent review panels and professional bodies.
- An absence of pressures to learn. No formal exams, no set homework and nothing that takes the fun out of learning.
- Continuing learning and education as a part of life, rather than schooling as a stage in a preparation for lifetime employment.
Note that learning in a free city should not be compulsory. But full opportunities to learn must be readily available to everyone, at all times throughout their life. Religious instruction is a separate process. In keeping with the ethos of a leaver-giver society, free cities should not restrict religious instruction in any way, and various religious groups should be free to combine other learning and religious studies however they choose.
The above points are not intended as a wish list of admirable, motherhood, conditions for free city education systems. Each is likely to be quite important to achieving the types of learning and the levels of learning that will be required in a Level 4 Civilization. Truth and the wide availability of information and knowledge will be essential to successful leaver-giver societies. For neo-tribes to function effectively, all members must contribute to success. And, to be able to contribute in the 21st century, individuals will require knowledge and a passion for learning in their particular field of expertise.
It will not be necessary, or even desirable, for every member of every neo-tribe in a free city to be a scientist or technologist. Indeed, this will be impossible in the early decades because many older and otherwise ill-equipped people will never be able to assimilate the knowledge involved. Neo-tribal principles require that each member contributes to the overall success and well-being of the tribe. In return the tribe offers what is probably the best form of cradle-to-grave security that humans have ever devised. It is the most natural form of social structure, and it incorporates a full transmission of accumulated knowledge and wisdom from one generation to the next.
All animal groups similarly communicate their knowledge to their young. Flocks, herds, packs, warrens, swarms, and hives all have mechanisms that preserve and freely pass on vital communal knowledge about how to survive and prosper on this planet. So do human tribes. State organised education systems, on the other hand, often transmit knowledge selectively, according to what authorities decide should be taught. Thus, it might come to be seen as 'wrong', or even illegal, to teach evolution in state schools. Whole areas of ancient history might be omitted from the curriculums of such systems. Or, worse still, the facts might be 'shaped' to conform with someone's ideas of what is acceptable for citizens to know and believe.
This is not meant to suggest that knowledge isn't sanitised or that truth cannot ever be distorted or suppressed in tribal societies. Clearly, such distortions and omissions of truth can and do happen. But the shaping of truth within tribal groups does not even begin to compare, either in scale or impact, with what happens at the national level in state education systems. During the 20th century there were obvious examples of severe distortions of knowledge in the Soviet Union and China, both communist regimes. A less pronounced, but more insidious, creation of whole bodies of official truth occurred in supposedly 'free' countries such as the United States, Britain, and Australia. In science, a shift in emphasis from a broad, holistic, examination of nature to a narrower, more material, approach took place in the late 19th century, and continues to the present day.
Institutionalised science and national education systems have created an attitudinal disconnect between cause and effect in environmental degradation. Whole generations have been educated to believe that man stands above and apart from the other life forms that he is surrounded by, and that nature exists to be managed and exploited for the benefit of humans. That is, after all, quite in keeping with the long standing assumptions of takerism. The one big problem is that it isn't true. The natural world was not created for us to exploit at the expense of other creatures, and we do not have any right to exterminate other species at will, just because our technology enables us to do so.
Most importantly, 20th century science that excludes all possibilities that it cannot touch and test in a laboratory is not necessarily superior to the knowledge of earlier tribal peoples who recognised both the material and non-material worlds. Reductionist science that shuts out the metaphysical realm is actually deficient and inferior to earlier systems of knowledge and wisdom.
Free cities and regions will recognise the need for people of all ages to study both the modern and ancient collections of knowledge. In particular, anybody who wants to will be able to explore the details of subjects such as sacred geometry, musical structures and the power of vibrations. These are areas where earlier civilizations held knowledge that is often more clear and meaningful than modern coverage of the same areas.
Only recently, with the modern study of metaphysics under the name of quantum mechanics, has it begun to be recognised that all matter is ultimately composed of vibrations, and that the faith that tribal peoples, such as the Australian aborigines, have in sound as a healing medium is likely to be well justified. Until the geometric nature of music is widely understood there will still be many people who dismiss the use of vibrations from the didgeridoo to cure a range of serious ailments, as a myth. Sadly, that is the way they have been educated to think: that all knowledge from earlier times that is not readily explainable in terms of modern theories has to be nonsense.
Leadership of Free Cities
There will be no shortage of talented scientists and technologists who can be attracted to free cities. But the same cannot be said for truly visionary leaders. Such people are already hard to find, and there is no educational strand or developmental mechanism for producing them, at least not in the old Level 3 Civilization. What have always been churned out there - in the 'leadership' category - are managers, executives, and militarists. People with those values and backgrounds are most unlikely to possess the skills or attitudes that will be required of the leaders of talent collectives and neo-tribal societies.
Management within a Level 3 Civilization and leadership within a Level 4 Civilization are not so different in areas like communication and motivation, but they are based on entirely different value systems. Since the old education systems and organisational cultures created and reinforced old values, managers from the past can't be counted on to do the best job of leading and energising free cities and regions. New leaders will emerge from areas and backgrounds that are not steeped in traditional managerialism. New leaders will also be developed from the ranks of the young, who will learn their leadership skills within 2nd Renaissance cultures and value systems.
Martinus Thomsen (1890-1981) was born out of wedlock and in quite poor circumstances. He began to work as a herd boy in rural Denmark, at the age of eleven. Despite having only limited schooling in a village school, on two days of the week during the summer and autumn, Martinus developed an entire theory of creation and existence, authored some 40 books, produced many papers and gave innumerable lectures on philosophy, science, and human development. An institute bearing his name continues to this day in Denmark, to keep his work and ideas alive and available to the world. These achievements are, of themselves, remarkable for an 'uneducated' dairyman living during the peak of the industrial revolution and the blooming of academia and institutionalised science. Martinus' predictions about the future of humanity were also extraordinary.
More than 70 years ago Martinus was able to foresee such technologies as; supercomputers, robotics in manufacturing that would initially make people unemployed but subsequently free them to pursue their moral and spiritual growth, credit cards and money-less transactions, human thought processes controlling machines, and teleportation. Remember, that although we now know that scientists have been able to teleport photons in a laboratory situation, Martinus had his insight well before Star Trek, and even before there was television to broadcast that now famous science-fiction series. What are the chances that a non-scientist and academic 'nobody' could presently predict new technologies that will exist in the year 2075, with similar accuracy?
Our interest here is not with the theories and predictions of Martinus. It is his philosophies and value system that are relevant. Martinus set out clear principles for humanity to live by. According to him, to become a person of good character, one should:
- Remove the concept of 'enemies' from your consciousness.
- Never retort to anger, slander or other forms of attacks which are directed against you.
- Never say anything evil about anyone or anything.
- Be absolutely true and honest under all circumstance in life.
- Remain absolutely untouched by flatter, praise or blame.
- Never participate in killing, hurting or maiming living creatures.
- Never let your thoughts move away from working on how you may best serve your fellow beings.
Such guidelines as these are based on a value system that fits a Level 4 Civilization, and free cities and regions, like a glove. But it is hard to find examples of political leaders, business executives or managers, let alone any militarists, who appear to live by such dictums. It's not that there are not many people in the world who think and live as Martinus recommends. They are to be found in many walks of life, not only in charities and churches, but many other areas as well. The problem is that hardly any of the people presently running nation states think or live like that. Can you name one who does? Perhaps Nelson Mandella did, or Aung San Suu Kyi might, if she had her freedom and control of the government in Burma.
But, can you think of anyone in power in the Coalition of the Willing nations who fits the bill? No? Then why are you supporting them, paying taxes to them and generally being their model citizens? Because you have a mortgage and the bank might foreclose on the loan if you lose your job? That's no excuse when mothers and their children are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, every day - while you pay off your home, your second car and your home entertainment system!
Oh, so you're 'looking after Number One first'. Well, according to Martinus, you're notit, your fellow beings are Number One.
Moreover, the 'things' that we are all so intent on possessing are really not worth having, because they don't bring real happiness. Only giving does that. Taking never provides us with more than a few moments of satisfaction, if that. When the majority of the people in the West understand this, and begin to live as Martinus suggests, all the killing in the world will stop, and all the famines will cease. Poverty will gradually be overcome, human civilization will go up several gears, and we will all move ahead - together. It can happen. In fact, it has to happen.
Of course, you don't really need to give up all the 'things' you covet, such as your cars and home entertainment systems, in order for the world to become a more equal and better place. All that is required is a concerted effort to raise the living standards of all the people who presently exist in poverty.
Conventionally educated - one could even say 'conditioned' - managers and economists can't see this because they continue to believe that resources are scarce, and always will be. New leaders, on the other hand, are people who understand that resources have been deliberately kept scarce to support capitalism and ensure profits.
New leaders are people with new ways of thinking about economics and the promise of new technologies. They see that instead of keeping the world economic pie small, and serving the biggest slices to the so-called developed nations, it is already practical to greatly increase the overall size of the world economic pie. Bigger slices of it can then be served to all the people on the planet.
New leaders are distinguished from old managers by their way of looking at problems, and by their values. In the first area, new leaders have a different understanding of realities and different, often more radical, solutions to improving the lot of disadvantaged people. In the second area, new leaders have and uphold values similar to those of Martinus. Their outlook is more collaborative/supportive and less combative/competitive than their managerial counterparts in the old social order.
Presently, men predominate in positions of authority and leadership in the Level 3 Civilization, however women may well prove very suitable as leaders of talent collectives and neo-tribal councils, and services providers, in free cities and regions. This is because female nature is often closer to the required values profile than that of males. Women are inherently nurturers and conciliators, they are more likely to seek to resolve arguments through negotiation than by the use of violence. All leaders in a Level 4 Civilization will need to have the very inclinations that most women possess. When free cites are set up, one of the key watchwords should be 'Give The Girls a Go'.
Further Guidelines For Free Cities
Besides the need for a fundamentally new education system, along the lines outlined, there are some other changes that free cities and regions should consider. Most of these innovations are designed to moderate the inclination for the old habits of 'rulers' in the Level 3 Civilization to reassert themselves. Except in circumstances where entirely new cities are founded in desert or remote regions, there will, inevitably, be a need to radically remodel or dismantle the institutions of the former nation state. In order to attract people with the technological expertise to enable each free city to rise above the economics of scarcity and develop a leaver-giver society, the conditions of residence will need to be attractive.
People who join the building of a new civilization will not wish to reduce their standards of living, and there is no reason that they should need to do so once the new engines of abundance are in operation. There could be a short period in which things don't get a lot better, but the conditions should never become worse than they were under the old order. Some of the fundamentals that people in free cities will expect are listed below.
- Low, real value-for-money tax levels, in contrast to the extortionate rates that typically apply in conventionally governed states.
- Safe surroundings for all residents and low rates of crime and poverty in the community.
Rather than attempting to achieve such outcomes through bureaucratic programs and a plethora of regulations, free cities will be better advised to rely on supporting neo-tribal based self-regulation on a wide scale, and also freely distributing essential foodstuffs, clothing and shelter to everyone in need. Initially, all residents - without exception - might need to perform one day of free community service per week, so as to lower the cost of such initiatives. However, freely distributed goods and services will be essential to breaking down the poverty traps that more than a century of capitalism and artificial scarcity have created.
- Unrestricted access to magic-age health services and facilities.
Nation states have universally made a complete mess of health care. Government, even in its limited local services role, should have no part to play in the provision of free high standard health care facilities and services. This is a job for specialist, highly dedicated leaver-giver interest groups, and medical practitioners and technologists. One of the keys to success will be medical technology alliances with other free cities, and the breaking down of patent protected profiteering by traditional 'ethical' drug companies. The days of the latter are numbered, but it might well be necessary to deal with them for several years after the formation of free cities and regions. It seems improbable at first thought, but without big governments to protect them, multinational corporations will be at the mercy of progressive local communities around the world.
- Unrestricted banking and money transfer facilities.
While the role of banks and governments in financing and regulating national economies will quickly break down, there will still be a need to accord the people who will form and operate talent collectives financial freedom. If they wish to send funds out of the free city they must be able to do so. If they decide to bring money in or raise funds outside they must also be able to do that. As the economics of scarcity is literally 'put out of business' by the economics of abundance there will be less and less need for financial regulations and controls. Free cities and regions must begin as they intend to continue - financially open and unregulated.
- Absolute freedom of movement and association.
The talented people who will settle in free cities and regions, and spearhead the abundance revolution, will not tolerate restrictions in these areas, which they regard as fundamental to a free society. These folk won't want to live in anything but a genuinely free community, and they will also wish to associate with whomever they choose, whenever they wish to do so.
Free cities are sure to also attract the less fortunate of the old civilization, why wouldn't people living in refugee camps for years want to come to a place of rising abundance and growing equality? They are sure to seek relief from their plight, for the sake of their children, if nothing else. However, there need be no problem with an inevitable migration to free cities. Neo-tribal principles can be used to achieve an orderly process that does not overload community resources, but meets much of the demand for resettlement and a new life. In such a system each neo-tribe would agree to help support a specific number of new arrivals, and the city would also contribute to the cost. Thus there would not be an overall immigration quota set by a government, which can often be of a defensive or blocking nature, but sectional commitments to supporting new arrivals. The latter arrangement would lead to higher immigrant intakes, but still keep volumes within the capacity of the communities to absorb them. Of course. the more free cities and regions there are the easier it will be to do this, because other centres will more effectively share the load of settling immigrants.
Other Circumstances that People in Free Cities Should Look For.
These are important because they will not always be obvious to those who have grown up and lived under nation state regimes. People won't necessarily expect these conditions and freedoms because they have never had them before. However, these initiatives will be crucial to a successful transformation to a Level 4 Civilization. If they are not put in place it will be too easy for a new society to slip back into the familiar old structures and practices that typified politics and government in nation states and federations. If we want no more of such things we must ensure that we put the following conditions in place.
- No secret police or covert intelligence agencies. None at all!
Having seen how easily dark forces can capture centres of surveillance and control, even in declared democracies such as the US and Australia, the members of free city societies should not want any of the 'protection' they or their parents experienced under federal or state administrations. There can be no compromises on this point. Either there are no snoops, no budgets to fund snoops, and no legal provisions or powers for snoops, or you and your family should not join the free city or region. If there are snoops there take your talents and energies elsewhere.
- Reverse surveillance systems and rights of access to public premises.
This form of surveillance involves citizens watching city administration and other officials, hence the term reverse. In nation states the servants of the government, their officials and police, routinely conducted surveillance of ordinary people. This was always justified by claims such it being 'in the national interest' or 'for the public good' but is was often just a form of control, or a political or commercial weapon.
In a free city the people should have unfettered access to administration offices and records, including computer files. Such access must be an inalienable right of citizens in a free city or region. There is further information on reverse surveillance on the Surveillance freesite. Click on the link on the sidebar to go there.
- Apolitical administrations without career bureaucrats.
It will be preferable for city functions, including a legitimate police force, to be staffed mainly with people drawn from the various talent collectives and neo-tribes. Local area policing should be largely a community based and staffed operation. Wider policing might require a mix of specialists, forensic scientists and the like, and shorter-term representatives provided by the community. However, none of these officers should ever answer to a central administration. Rather, they should service and report to local policing groups that are predominantly controlled by local people. The aim should be to avoid the formation of centralised power structures and career officials whose interests are furthered by serving those entities rather than the people of the city. There is ample experience from the 20th century to show that such a centralisation of authority and power inevitably breeds a 'class' of officials that acts in its own best interests rather than those of the communities it should serve.
Note that the form of law that will increasingly apply in free cities is 'the law of reason and obligation', that is administered by collectives and councils. The present-day 'rule of law', that is administered by a professional elite, and often twisted to serve the interests of unelected cliques and cartels that are beyond the political process and often the law, will not persist in the 21st century.
- No career politicians or political dynasties.
Given the long history of political processes and institutions in nation states, many of the old ideas and conventions can be expected to carry-over to the transition period of self-rule in free cities and regions. Although it would be desirable for cities that separate from a federation or state to run along fully neo-tribal lines from their commencement, the reality is likely to be different. In most instances there will be remnants of the old city administration and state and federal institutions operating in conjunction with a web of local area councils. A key principle in such situations will be to limit the time that any individual can serve in political office. One or two terms should be the limit, there should be no opportunity for people to make a career out of politics. Nor should it be possible for generation after generation of any family to be employed in politics or as politicians. One only has to look at the distortions and inequalities that some of these political dynasties have introduced to the course of legislation in Australia and the US to know that long-term careers and generation to generation successions are not a good idea.
As the above items show, there are a multitude of issues involved in achieving a wide restoration of civil freedoms in the 21st century. But it will be essential to tackle this task as part of the process of moving society and civilization beyond the failing concepts of capitalism and federalism.
It is clear that one of the major difficulties that neo-tribal secessionists will face is identifying the less familiar issues, so that they can be addressed. Whenever matters of civil freedoms are discussed, the obvious issues are instantly perceived. For example, people know that freedom of speech and association are fundamental rights that must be attained and then preserved. But the issue of the right to know the truth is not obvious to many citizens because they believe that our present society both teaches the truth in its schools and records and pursues it in all fields - history and science to name just two. Nothing could be further from reality, but most people have been conditioned to think that what they read, see on TV, and even hear that their children have been taught at school and university, is correct and well-proven knowledge. It isn't, most of what is presented as truth is based on incomplete theories, or worse still, it is deliberate misinformation and lies.
As already noted, the most important freedom that present day children, the future citizens of a new civilization, can have is access to the truth. Yet, because they do not recognise the need for this freedom in their present-day society, many parents will not perceive a need to do anything about this vital freedom.
People trust those who supposedly 'know' to tell them and their children the truth. They don't necessarily trust their present government to keep its election promises, nor do they trust corporate developers to commission valid environmental impact studies for their projects, and so on. The general public are aware that many corporations are managed by people with questionable ethics and few scruples, who might often sanction their marketing and public relations departments lying to the community. But these ordinary citizens trust the state education system, the teachers, the university lecturers, and the like, to present the truth and qualify doubtful theories. Likewise, they trust mainstream scientific institutions to provide correct information and facts about the natural world and the universe beyond. Sadly, their trust is often misplaced, although they remain unaware of such betrayals.
Mind Reach and Transformation
Most people, however intelligent and well educated they might be, find far out ideas and radical hypotheses somewhat intimidating. This is not their fault, it is the fault of our society which encourages conformity and actively discourages breakout thinking of any kind.
Edward de Bono discovered that all young children have strong powers of imagination, an innate inquisitiveness and high creativity. Nature equips us to face a complex and changing world by providing us with these vital abilities. But by their mid teens most young people have learned to limit their imagination and to conform to the standards of mediocrity set by state education systems and the mainstream media. Thenceforth they become 'good' citizens who are unwilling and, in many cases unable, to think outside the square of familiar, conventional, ideas and practices.
Our mind reach ability has nothing to do with our performance in IQ tests. Scores in the Mensa range do not indicate whether a person will be comfortable with far out ideas, nor do they indicate any ability to make use of new ideas and technologies in transformation processes. In such areas it is not IQ that matters most but attitudes and values.
The following diagram can help those of us who are older than six years, and therefore lacking the open-mindedness of young children, to understand and avoid the trap of always thinking and acting in the 'conceptual comfort zone' that modern education systems have locked us into.
At a personal level:
- My Comfort Zone is the realm of familiar ideas and concepts that fill our day-to-day routines. Everyone is comfortable here. My 'reality' might not be exactly the same as your 'reality' but I am comfortable with it. Actual reality might be very different to both of our frameworks of understanding and ideas. But we are quite happy with the way we think things are. The way we think things are is the way we have learned that they are. It was our upbringing, our academic and religious education, our peer groups, and the 'authoritative' material we have been exposed to that determined what we believe, and what we are comfortable with thinking and doing.
Most of us spend the majority of our time in this zone of negligible mind reach. This does not mean that we are stupid, but it does mean that we are limited. Fortunately, the boundaries that constrain our mind reach are of our own making and we have it in our power to remove them at any time we choose.
- My Challenge Zone is what is mostly known as 'innovation' or 'creativity' but is really the extension or rearrangement of conventional knowledge and accepted concepts. It can be challenging to do, but it is not in the same class as working with truly weird and far out ideas and realities.
Everyone does some of this level of thinking, but most of us don't do enough of it. And, even if we thought and worked at this level for much of the time we would still be far short of full mind reach.
My Challenge Zone is the area of thinking and adapting that lies between the thinking that I am fully comfortable with and the thinking that I find increasingly uncomfortable. There is no sharp divide, but as the used materials and concepts become more unusual and confronting there is a point at which it is easier to close out and reject solutions than to accept them and proceed. The more used I am to working with truly weird and far out ideas the further my mind can reach before I become too uncomfortable to continue with what seem, by then, to be bizarre and foolish notions.
- My Acute Discomfort Zone is, as the title suggests, quite prickly. An analogy is the hedgerows that are used in regions of Britain and Europe instead of fences. It's a struggle to get through one but when you do get to the other side you are in another field entirely, and it could be a whole lot greener than the one you left.
The facts, ideas and concepts in this zone are, at least to me, threatening like the thorns of bushes in a hedgerow. I don't feel at all comfortable in this zone and suffer doubts and fears of failure, together with acute anxiety about being seen to be foolish for even considering such things. I have to overcome my fears and doubts before I can break into the zone that lies beyond. To do so, I will generally need to have high levels of self-confidence and a driving desire to go there. But it will always be worth the effort.
The following excerpt from the book Twelve Principles - Living With Integrity in the Twenty-First Century, by Martin Hawes, illustrates two attitudes that are characteristic of people who succeed in traversing this zone successfully. First there is an unshakable belief that a particular goal is attainable. Second there is persistence and focus while under fire from various naysayers.
- "It is incredible what one person can do. In 1995 a young Canadian called Craig Kielburger set up an international youth-run organisation called Free The Children to help the victims of child labour in developing countries. His efforts attracted the attention of presidents, prime ministers, monarchs, and popes, and Free The Children now has more than 100,000 members in 35 countries. In 1995 Craig Kielburger was just twelve years old."
Although he was so young Craig Kielburger could get through the hedgerow because he had the necessary attributes.
In a similar vein Peter Plichta (see the 'Like Birds On Wires' freesite link on the sidebar) was undaunted, right from his student days, by the criticism of the many people he came into contact with who just knew that prime numbers could not possibly play any part in determining the structure of the chemical elements. Plichta worked on the problem for 40 years until, finally, he was able to show, quite unequivocally, that the prime numbers really do govern the formation of all matter in the universe. Such a breakthrough could never have been achieved by someone who was easily deterred from working with uncomfortable ideas and under relentless ridicule.
- My Transformation Zone encompasses the full limit of my mind reach. Some others might be able to go even wider than I can but, for me, this is my absolute personal best. Just as the margins between first and last in athletics are quite narrow, so the spread between what all people can achieve in this zone is not great. Success here is not due to intelligence or educational qualifications it is more dependent on attitudes, values and an ability to tap into subconscious and spiritual realms. This is not an elite zone, it is not like the Mensa club. Most people can achieve this level of mind reach but, sadly, the prevailing focus on conventional skills and conservative thinking deters many from even attempting to go here.
Note particularly that the aiming point of full-reach transformation mind work has little to do with my personal improvement or gain. It is mainly about my development and application of the mental focus that Martinus prized above all else. The goal of full-reach mind work is to help others. As he put it: "Never let your thoughts move away from working on how you may best serve your fellow beings."
Where the label for this zone speaks, on the above diagram, about 'imaginative use of truth and new insights' it is not restricting thought to orthodox or strictly rational and observable phenomena. My Transformation Zone extends into spiritual and metaphysical realms of thought.
Also, the zone is not exclusive to famous thinkers. Albert Einstein and Edward de Bono have both worked at the extremes of human mind reach, each brought practical insights and usable tools to the rest of humanity. But this zone is not only populated with the achievements of such intellectual celebrities as Einstein and de Bono, the contributions of many authors and pathfinders also fit there - Daniel Quinn is one such person, his stories teach a philosophy that humanity needs to embrace if it is to survive and prosper. There are still others, many in great cities, universities and religious institutions, and some still living and working in jungles and remote places - as shamans.
What all these people have in common is an ability to drive thought to its very limits and then turn it into benefits that are shared widely by others. Some sages do this with knowledge and wisdom, others draw help from hallucinatory drugs, but all generate gains that have wide benefits for others, and often for humanity and nature at large. That is why accomplishments in this zone are always worthwhile, however difficult it might be to produce them.
In the present-day civilization the vast majority of people think and work in their Comfort Zone where there is very little mind reach required. However, most people in a Level 4 Civilization will think and work in the Transformation Zone.
Such a development might not be as new or novel as it seems. It is possible that ancient civilizations placed more emphasis on spiritual and metaphysical aspects than our current materialist society. While we cannot know with any certainty that places like Caral (a megalithic archaeological site in Peru) operated like that, such a proposition is consistent with the indications that those people were able to live without wars for 1,000 years. How else would they be able to achieve such an outcome, if not by focusing on serving their fellow beings? Far mind reach and far out ideas would go together in that sort of transformation zone scenario.
When mind reach extends to the outermost zone for groups of people, such as neo-tribes or talent collectives, it reaches its most powerful state. Then, almost anything becomes possible.
Societal Stresses Are Escalating Right Now
If you think that the neo-tribal solutions described here are too idealistic and utopian to ever succeed consider the alternatives. What is ever going to save the world if not a complete change of attitudes and the way we relate to each other and to nature?
.... I'm still waiting for your solutions.
Astutely, Daniel Quinn observes that,
"People don't want more of the same. Yet, oddly enough, when they ask me what will save the world, they want to hear more of the same - something familiar, something recognisable. They want to hear about uprisings or anarchy or tougher laws. But none of those things is going to save us ......What we must have (and nothing less) is a whole world full of people with changed minds."
Daniel Quinn is saying that the thinking comfort zone is a trap that threatens us all. So something has to happen to help people to become comfortable with hedgerow thinking and the transformation zone beyond. I believe that neo-tribal groups and talent collectives will energise and lead a total change in human thought and action; along with the introduction of magical new technologies that can break the economic and political hold of the old order. My research and reflection tells me that such a thing can and will happen.
The following few items (taken from the 2nd Renaissance freesite) indicate the need for radical change in the face of growing societal stresses and inequalities.
The 'Better' Things Are, The Emptier People Feel
According to all the accepted measures of economic wellbeing, the citizens of developed countries are now better off than ever before. Paradoxically, figures for one of the wealthiest nations on Earth, the United States, show that while real income levels have risen by some 400 percent, since the end of World War II, the percentage of Americans who consider themselves to be "very happy" has not risen to the same degree. Over a period of three decades, from the late fifties to the late eighties, the number of "very happy" Americans actually fell by 5%. As the US entered the 1990s, only 30 percent of its citizens were "very happy". Similarly, only 30 percent were "well satisfied with their financial situation". From the survey statistics, more than two thirds of the citizens of the US do not feel "very happy" with their lot in the civilization that industrial capitalism built around them. Social commentators are now describing epidemics of boredom, alienation and despair in the Western world as diseases of affluence.
Youth Suicides Reflect Alienation and Despair
The young people in affluent, industrial-capitalist countries are taking their own lives. The statistics on youth suicide, like those on unemployment, are rubbery. Politicians elected on a platform of reducing the problem tend to obscure harsh realities by changing the way figures are collected, and the rules by which certain forms of death are included or excluded. But nothing can hide the ugly truth that, in the developed world, young people, particularly young men, are killing themselves in droves. This is so across all socio-economic levels of those societies. The raw figures are indicative of the magnitude of the problem. In the United Kingdom, 19,000 young people attempt suicide each year and some 700 succeed. Again in the UK, suicide accounts for 20% of all deaths of young people aged 15 to 24 years, and is the second most common cause of deaths in this age group. In Australia, suicide rates in males aged 15 to 24 years increased fourfold in the latter half of the 20th century, and suicide now accounts for one in every four deaths in that age group. Throughout the 1990s, more young Australians died by suicide than by road accidents. Chillingly, an Australian survey of school students showed that 60% have thoughts of suicide.
No civilization or economic system, no matter how much wealth it creates, can be deemed a success when the majority of its youth are so despairing that they consider or attempt suicide.
Industrial-Capitalism Is A Widely Adopted Failure
Today, capitalism is the dominant economic system on this planet. Socialism and communism have been and gone, and only industrial-capitalism retains any sway. The financier, George Soros, is critical of capitalism because "it has no soul". Nothing in the system takes care of the people who lose as a result of the operation of market forces. By some mysterious means an informed and rational market is supposed to lead to a rapid and efficient distribution of scarce resources through a reallocation of the traditional factors of production; land, labour, and capital. That such a simplistic theory can continue to form the basis of economic management, at a time when science is uncovering the startling complexities of biological systems and habitats, says a lot about the shallowness of public debate and policy in our society.
Although industrial-capitalism has been in operation for some two hundred years, 5 billion human inhabitants of this world still live on less than US$2 per day. This fact alone says that something is very wrong with the theory and operation of capitalism.
Capitalism Has Been Mistaken For Civilization
Governments in the developed world pay undue attention to economic indicators, and try to avoid accountability in areas of human advancement and social development. Their spin-merchants trumpet economic growth and other indicators (whether in a raw or sanitised form) and claim success, no matter what is happening to the social fabric, the environment, biodiversity, or other relevant measures of the well-being and sustainability of our present civilization.
Regrettably, governments have come to equate the economics of capitalism, and "good numbers" in this area, with a job well done. This philosophy misrepresents the goals of capitalism and industrial production as being synonymous with the advancement of civilization. Nothing could be further from the truth.
True Civilization Involves Cooperation
In his novels, such as Ishmael and The Story Of B, Daniel Quinn describes the way successful tribal societies evolved in the times before the practices of agricultural farming and animal husbandry made it possible to accumulate the food surpluses that led to the emergence of towns and cities, and to a new need to buy food rather than find it on the plains and in the forests of the old world. Early tribal societies evolved a way of living in conditions of managed abundance. Natural selection ensured that the societal models that were successes survived, and that the failures did not.
Science now understands that 19th century models of nature, that emphasised the ruthless extermination of rivals, were mistaken. A modern understanding of ecosystems and symbiotic relationships leads to the conclusion that cooperative models predominate in both the plant and animal kingdoms.
However, business and government thinking remains locked into the old combative models, in which human enterprises and institutions are continually at war with each other and the planet at large. These are dead-end mindsets that cannot lead us to a higher, more advanced level of human civilization. War is not found in nature, only coexistence models succeed there.
A Sunset and A Dawn
The signs that the sun is going down on the old Level 3 Civilization are everywhere. The sun is going down on nationalism, militarism and capitalism. It is going down on federalism as surely as it long ago went down on feudalism. Most importantly, the sun is going down on scarcity, poverty, ignorance and blind dogma.
While the industrial age sun was full it was difficult to break free of the above forces, but in the darkening hours of the 20th century it began to be easier. The old structures and institutions of the industrial age are growing weaker by the day, and escape is becoming a real possibility for ordinary people all over the world. Now is the time to assemble the ideas and formulate the strategies that will take humanity forward at the arrival of a new dawn.
During the night the forces of darkness, in the form of the covert agencies of nation states, will do what they can to disrupt and suppress the process of economic and spiritual liberation. However the military-industrial complexes of the old civilization are not fighting against a revolution which they can readily put down, but the abandonment of a failing model by former citizens of federal and state regimes. As Daniel Quinn points out, there are few defences against abandonment, and the operatives and leaders of most materialist regimes can not even comprehend the possibility that the masses they "serve" and "protect" will simply decide to leave them behind, and combine to build new societies based on new opportunities that flow from the 2nd Renaissance.
One of the major forces spearheading this transformation will be a revival of tribal values and mechanisms from pre-taker times, thousands of years in the past. A cycle will be completed and human society will have come full circle, to its natural and superior form of organisation - the tribe.
Think about it. Talk about it. Then act to help your fellow beings!
Lothar, April 2005.