Andrew Carpenter responds (Robert Steele’s opening at end):
I offer here a cautionary note in three areas.
First, Robert, I get that you have a prior commitment to electoral reform, and that’s your proprietary thing close to your heart. I note that when you write about it, when you present its rationale and its principles, they are cast in terms of values that are rooted in culture. Your overriding conversation is cultural; yet the proposed solution is social. There is a distinct layering of effective content and influence in our human world; without understanding that layering one is lost at trying to make sense of that world. That is one reason (of many, but this dissonance is fundamental) so many would-be “change agents” are so ineffectual.
To begin to try to start to introduce you to entering into an initial exploration of what in conventional Cartesian terms is a hierarchy of powers (but which is is actuality a holarchy), I am attaching a file that is not a literal sequential exposition of that holarchy (and I recommend you look up that notion for starters, as it is one of the conceptual keys to liberation from our conditioning), a pointillistic file that is a series of illustrations and reminders of structural relationships to support an actual internal conversation in mental-and-emotional real-time, and not a lesson in and of itself. It has not the slightest pretension to being complete. The concepts therein are a visitation from a different paradigm, and cannot be learned through reasoned discourse from within our established mental frameworks, only experienced gradually such that the old paradigm is subsumed into a larger awareness that leaves it behind like counter-intuitive Einsteinian relativity and quantum physics have “left behind” the more-mechanistic and less-sublime Newtonian and Cartesian world-view.
The reason I distinguish between the cultural and social levels in this context is that making new rules (social level) won’t change people’s net overall behaviors, only new core motivators (cultural level) will. After all, the old rules haven’t worked in our present configuration, why would just changing to new ones work without other shifts? New rules alone is like putting lipstick on a pig, like building a house on sand, and a classic case of legislating (a social tool) morality (cultural values). Famous, in all cases, for not working, as values (for good or for ill) will always find a way around, under, over, or directly through rules. We’ve seen it a gazillion times.
As for the Second American Revolution, we must never forget the absolute ruthlessness of the leaders of the Oligarchy.
Popular revolt against a ruthless, experienced modern dictatorship, which enjoys a monopoly over weapons and communications, …is simply not a possibility in the modern age.
George F. Kennan
The Second American Revolution must, perforce, at least initially be a cultural one if it is to succeed at all, however modestly. When cultural changes have occurred, and only then, can semi-stable, lasting social changes be enacted and maintained through rules and other tools of the social level. Genetic changes would be nice (to drive cultural changes), but that takes a long time and many selection events (which we may have, willy-nilly, since we seem to not have enough slow time these days).
The Nine Points are good, they are nice rules, but what values-changes will assure they won’t be perverted as have our present rules? By the way, such reform would also require some technical fail-safes or the pig will still act like a pig. If we engender strong enough motivation for change, effective rules will follow (and be followed). But within the social level we can’t create that motivation, nor contain strong enough counter-motivation. And the Oligarchy does know what it wants.
‘The People’ is that part of the State that doesn’t know what it wants.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
The complex non-linear system that expresses the power vectors of
Genetic (biological) to Cultural to Social to Personal (and back again),
with all its multi-level positive and negative feedback loops and micro- and macro-interoperation, provides a template (to compare with the paleontological and historical records) for generating an effective change movement. I will humbly propose that anything else will result in a lot of wheel-spinning (and draining status-seeking) and inadvertent consolidation of the established powers, who understand this full well and have demonstrated their growing mastery of it over the past thousand years or so.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds
by masters who rule them with lies.
They feed them on falsehoods ’till wrong looks like right in their eyes.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
And that’s without even touching the subject of religion (which is where it all started). I recommend the Adam Curtis videos (at http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=8339) about cultural engineering that maintains increasingly irrelevant social myths to act as illusions of power and governance, such that the puppet-masters no longer care if we see the strings. There may be no way to understand our times without a grasp of this process – the master technology of our era.
Second: About “we have evolved past that” (in bold and red below). On the contrary, we have not evolved past anything, neither individually (although we can incrementally and temporarily change ad hoc behaviors in response to environmental cues) nor collectively (where we are still a tribal mob at best). I am getting short on time, and will revert to quotations to belabor my point; however, I assert that the study of evolutionary psychology is perhaps the single most rewarding endeavor an awakening person can invest in.
Evolutionary psychology is not just one more school of psychology. It is a perspective on the whole of psychology that claims that we are human animals, and that our minds, no less than our bodies, are products of the forces of nature operating on a time frame of millions of years; human nature was forged from our ancestors’ struggle to survive and reproduce.
David Livingston Smith, Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and the Unconscious Mind
The human mind is a product of the Pleistocene age, shaped by wildness that has all but disappeared. If we complete the destruction of nature, we will have succeeded in cutting ourselves off from the source of sanity itself.
David Orr, environmental philosopher, in Adbusters
The alternative to thinking in evolutionary terms is not to think at all.
Sir Peter Medawar
Is evolution a theory, a system, or a hypothesis? It is much more. It is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems much henceforward bow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow. This is what evolution is.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene: Humanity’s Proud Illusion and the Laws of Nature
Third: As is almost always the case, the surface challenge is not the true challenge. Instead of social engineering, we are driven to cultural engineering (to catch up with its masters – Our Lords and Masters) to reclaim our birthright. Being re-directed into a lower level is a annoying, but an empowering one in the long run, for without its tools we remain in thrall.
New rules will not change complacency, ideology, willful ignorance, denial, conditioning intentionally crippled education, endocrine exhaustion, and the other denizens of our American mental and emotional landscape. New values (or an admixture of new values and old values) grounded in direct and inescapable experience just might, especially if people are upset enough to feel their feelings (as distinct from abstracting them) as they extract themselves from a numb stupor of inertia and not-just-physical obesity. Fear is overused, anger is dangerous; what will avail us of our future?
It may be that the current vectors of instability are already serving an agenda of awakening. It may be that it is not only science that advances one funeral at a time – our polity may work exactly the same.
An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning. Science advances one funeral at a time.
Max Planck, Nobel Laureate, 1936
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (apocryphal)
Robert Steele’s outgoing to which above is a response….
Everything I know about evolutionary consciousness, evolutionary activism, and the possibilities of collective intelligence I have learned in the last ten years from others–and if that was your Notes on Evolution with the cartoon, loved it.
1. The Internet has changed the game, to include OpenBTS that puts the eviction notice on the telecommunications companies. It’s not about connectivity, or even content any more, it’s about sharing and sense-making just in time with truth and trust and transparency as the operative memes and values.
2. The kleptocracy knows we are coming. No Labels and IndependentVoting.org, in my view, were last ditch attempts to out-do the Reforms and the Greens. This democracy bug is out of the bag, and if GroupOn decides to play in 2012 starting now, they could be the game changer.
3. Quite right that America was never intended to be a “real” democracy.” I lost sight of that and you have brought it forward brilliantly, at the same time that you remind us that we have evolved past that. It’s time for the Second American Revolution, and I believe that if someone like Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, or Cynthia McKinney can call out Obama and Bloomberg on Electoral Reform (1 Page, 9 Points)–10 points if you add write-in votes must be counted–then we are in a position to achieve an over-whelming public victory prior to 4 July 2011. The beauty–the elegance–of this victory is two-fold: one, it is achievable and it is exactly what we need to do–create an integral democracy that can be collectively intelligent; and two, it gives the oligarchs time to wind down and accommodate themselves to no longer owning the banks….the restoration of electoral integrity does not threaten past ill-gotten gains, nor should it.
4. We have one chance to get this right, not for us, but for the five billion poor that can either be a global cesspool on steroids, OR they can create infinite wealth. There are not enough guns on the planet to keep the oligarchs save, even in Dubai, and I personally am somewhat surprised to see a man of Bloomberg’s intelligence and accomplishments waste money of Peter Peterson and David Walker’s pipe dream–that whole mess came right out of Wag the Dog and was just as ludicrious. A theme song? Did they have anyone throwing old shoes in the air? An extravaganza of arrogant idiocy in the extreme–Jackie Salit fell for it, is bleeding badly, and may not recover–she lost all credibility with me over this. So here is the deal: we can non-violently take the power back and get local to national governments back in touch with their integrity and the public interest, or we can watch our children start emigrating to Canada, Denmark, Iceland, and elsewhere. The Oligarchs have done to all of us what industrialized agriculture did to the heartland, and we stood still for it.
SO: I put it to all of you. Now is the time to take up the universal focus on Electoral Reform (1 Page, 9 Points) and make it our Bunker Hill, our battle cry, our mission. Everything else pales in comparison to this, is trivial in comparison, and largely unachievable to boot.
The good news is that the Earth is resilient no matter what the idiot humans do. The only question is: do we evolve fast enough to be all we can be, or do we fade out as an advanced version of homesteading chimpanzees good with tools?
I am optimistic.