Yes, I know that many who usually appreciate my writings will recoil at the sight of this headline, but this article is since long overdue.
The unfolding of the Brexit event chain has mostly been a debate about how the United Kingdom is affected, but the departure of the United Kingdom has re-galvanised the federalists within the European Union, and during 2017 increasing calls have been heard to increase the amount of federalisation within the European project. Notable examples are commission president Juncker and German opposition leader Schulz.
I would argue that the EOS must speak in favour of the European integration project, and that we should argue that other eco-progressive and green forces ought to support the project of increased integration, not only in Europe but in other regions of the world.
Why? Because there was nothing good on TV on Sunday?
No. Because countries like Austria, Sweden and even Poland have an abysmal effect in terms of the important ecological issues. Certainly, they are capable of acting as role models, but in terms of substantial impact, they play an insignificant role. Sweden for example could try to switch to a fully sustainable society within ten years, and can theoretically even succeed with that. However, if the rest of the world does not follow, the end result will anyway become a sixth mass extinction event causing a loss of complexity which will affect all societies, Sweden included.
Countries like the United States, the Russian Federation, China, India and Brazil, which encompass hundreds of millions of people and entire bio-regions within their borders, have a greater ability to have a positive impact on the Earth. Should the European Union unite, and also include countries such as Turkey and Russia eventually, we would be in a much better situation if we chose to move towards a total transition.
This does not mean that we should strive towards hyper-centralism, for several reasons, notably the issues of authentic democracy, transparency, subsidiarity and information bottlenecks. We must always strive to approximate the right balance between centralisation and localism, and to ensure that the centralism is the minimum required to achieve substantial goals within limited areas.
Nevertheless, the current trail of globalisation remains directed towards benefitting multinational corporations and economic growth, without questioning whether how long-term sustainable said economic growth will be. Meanwhile, politically, we are moving towards increasing fragmentation and nationalism, which under a regime of global free trade only can mean a race for the absolute lowest standards in terms not only of ecological but also of social sustainability.
Ideally, we would need to move towards a Terran Confederation – a super-state composed of either all or most of our planet’s human civilisation. But since that is not politically viable at the moment, we need to argument for greater regional integration so we can get geographic tools to foment change, while ensuring the autonomy and a future for democratic governance on the local level.
It is well-known today that many of the greatest ecological, social and civilizational challenges of our age are global.
The convergence of crises which is currently emerging will – if not properly addressed – result in a Sixth Mass Extinction Event and a Civilizational Collapse.
We need to utilise the political dimension to shift the world towards a total transition, which is necessary.
The power to exert political power is mostly centred into the political institutions of nation-states, which primarily are engaged in benefitting their national interests, their elites and their citizenries.
There are currently 196 nation-states on the planet, most of which are swimming right above the threshold of being capable of sustaining their own infrastructures.
Only twelve of these nation-states have a population above a hundred million humans, while there are 7,5 billion humans on the planet’s land surface.
By creating fewer political entities with the mandate to exact transition policies, we can simplify the process towards transition.
Unifying huge areas under the same governance will create democratic and cultural problems, so there is a trade-off.
This trade-off can be alleviated by federalism or confederalism.
Ultimately, what institutional forms humanity decides to constitute itself in matters little unless all forces which strive towards a total transition can unite and win a critical mass for a programme of a total transition.
Global challenges; National interests
The concept of nation-states evolved in Europe from the predominantly kingdom-like Eurasian political entities, during the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the predominant ideas of the Age of Enlightenment was that governments were primarily answerable before their citizenries – the people – and thus the predominant view was shaped that the state should act accordingly to its “national interests”.
Imperialism spread European ideals to the rest of the world, and decolonization led to every piece of land in the world (apart from Antarctica and small patches of disputed lands here and there) being constituted into the nation-state form, no matter whether the inhabitants living on those lands view themselves as belonging to the same nation or not.
In our world of today, even the most despotic of tyrannies are formally basing themselves on constitutions which serve as fig leaves to provide a framework for the territory to be accepted as a nation-state, and their local warlords and torturers as presidents and prime ministers. In many other failing states, local gangsters and tribes are in reality holding the real power. Some states are really nothing more than occupying armies of mercenaries hell-bent on defending small elites which both exploit the territories they control, and invite foreign companies to exploit them. To a large extent, these companies are based in wealthier nation-states with vast middle class clusters centred in glitzy inner cities and suburban villascapes.
Nevertheless, the order of our world is based upon that each recognised nation-state should possess one vote at the UN General Assembly, no matter whether they represent more than one billion or less than one million citizens, and no matter whether they can claim to be genuine nation-states or even fully exert control over their territory. Most nation-states’ elites are also divided on what constitutes public welfare and national interests.
This is making the process of initiating the Transition excruciatingly painful, but even if all nation-states were homogenous entities with clearly defined national interests, it would still be a daunting task to move towards the steps necessary to take if we want to safeguard human civilization during the 21st century.
The dilemma at the heart of it
In today’s world, the prestige, popularity and stability of a government is generally determined after the annual economic growth within the nation-state. The challenge of instating environmental regulations is a well-known hazard within Economics, meaning that nation-states which install regulations meant to curb some of the excesses of exponential growth will subsidize nation-states which decide to install laxer or non-existent regulations. Since shareholders generally strive after the highest profit margins, they tend flocking to countries which either do not have environmental protection laws, or which are cheating on laws against polluting the environment and releasing excess greenhouse gasses (as well as abusing their labour, terrorising unions, allowing child labour and slavery-like conditions, etc…).
Since most nation-states have influential business communities and corporations, there is also an internal pressure for governments to give as few concessions as possible when it comes to necessary (but all too often insufficient) international treaties aimed at curbing man-made climate change, the deprivation of biodiversity and other types of regulations which will be expensive for businesses.
According to the orthodoxy ascribed to by most governments today, what is good for business is good for economic growth, and what is good for economic growth is good for all the people, from the tycoons in their palaces to even the homeless (since people afford to give more donations to shelters). And yes, that is – from a certain perspective – true. The problem, as many of you already know, is that this order is built on unsustainable foundations and is encouraging us – through fiat money and debt – to destroy our planet’s biosphere. In short, by stimulating exponential economic growth with today’s system, we are digging a deeper pit for ourselves to crawl up from.
This competition between nation-states about who will be most attractive for investments and best at generating economic growth is shortly speaking fuelling the destruction of the planet’s land surface for future generations.
While speaking out against destructive free trade treaties and policies intended to maximise economic growth figures within the rules set up by the current game may be popular amongst certain segments of the native working class and farmers in many developed countries, we (who desire a more sustainable world) must realise that we cannot achieve that world by pandering to Protectionism and Nationalism or other populist notions.
Human beings are by their nature creatures of habit, and most citizens of developed nations currently enjoy a middle class life standard, which they generally have positive feelings towards and are willing to protect (thence the support of protectionism). Also, many of them cling to these ideals, even if they currently are struggling against poverty, debt or marginalisation because they are enmeshed in the values of their surrounding society, both in terms of ideology and commercial brainwashing.
What we must realise is that while the citizenry may largely oppose agreements such as TTIP and TTP and the ISDS mechanisms if they learn about them, this opposition is not rooted in the long-term effects for ecological, economic and social sustainability, but rather are largely conservative responses against disruptive reforms which may inflict harm on entrenched parts of the working and middle classes.
In short, in order to foment the Transition – the greatest project of the history of Humanity and the most important struggle of the 21st century – we need to morally and mentally prepare the citizenry for a period when the changes on the macro-level will affect everything on the micro, when we all must question and ascend above what we have taken for granted. The Transition would see immense economic and social changes, and may for decades mean a lifestyle vastly different from what the general population of developed nations have become used to for several generations now.
What we also – however – must take into account is that if the Transition takes hold on a small nation-state, and institutes sweeping changes, it would, if the rest of the world is still marching on to the tune of Davos, lead to one national population bearing a very heavy burden for largely symbolical reasons, since what a nation of 10-20 million is doing with its national economy and infrastructure will not do much to alter the course the planet is heading towards. Moreover, the sacrifices during the initial stages of the Transition, especially if it is for no gain, would certainly erode public support for the Transition until the political leaders having vested their political capital into such a project would be removed, either by democratic means or by other.
Some may claim that the important issue is the moral cupping, namely that we as a collective choose to commit ourselves to a national course which the rest of the world will frown at, that the Sixth Mass Extinction Event will happen anyway but that we can choose to at least take a symbolic stand by committing to a Transition on the national level.
One can have many thoughts about such a position, but the Earth does not have any opinions whether or not your intentions were good. The biosphere needs to be saved, period, and the biosphere cannot ever be saved by national politics alone, which even the current Establishment understands. That is why the world leaders attempt to curb the excesses of the current system – while of course preserving the system itself – through binding and non-binding international treaties.
And now we are back to the starting point, for these treaties will always not only be defined by the incompatible goals of pressing gas and break at the same time, but also by the competing interests of nation states, and the “national interests” – give as little as possible while gaining as much benefits as possible.
The Prisoners’ dilemma in short.
A case for European Federalism
The Earth Organisation for Sustainability is an avowedly and openly globalist movement – because our goal is not that one nation-state or bio-region should successfully engage into the Transition. A Sixth Mass Extinction Event will affect everyone, no matter whether they live in Switzerland or Somaliland, so therefore only a concerted response by a majority of the human race can successfully and thoroughly commit ourselves to a total transition. Our Globalism is not one which exists to solidify or maximise the destructive potential of the current system, but on the contrary one which seeks to transcend political divisions and form cross-national platforms for carrying out the Transition.
Thus, a united Europe – even if initially not formed for the explicit purpose of carrying out the Transition – would be an immensely powerful bloc in the world, comprising around a tenth of the world’s population and some of the largest economic and industrial areas of the world. In fact, it would be one of the three largest economic regions of the world.
If such a power was to embark on a route of Transition, it would indeed have a tremendous impact which would be felt throughout the entirety of Earth’s surface, both in terms of Ecological, Economical and Social sustainability. It would be a seismic shift, able to provide leadership and a focal point for local transition movements throughout the world.
Even reactionary reforms would have a huge impact – reforms such as for example banning weapons’ or surveillance exports to countries at war or dictatorships, removing remaining post-colonial arrangements between former colonial powers and states nominally independent since the 1960’s and for example ceasing to illegally conduct fishing outside the coasts of West Sahara or the Horn of Africa.
Of course, establishing this super state is no guarantee that the situation will improve in itself – rather those who desire a sustainable future for Humanity must work tirelessly and steadfastly to shift the Zeitgeist towards what is the only course that allows for humans to thrive in the long term.
And yes, it is hardly surprising not a popular foundation to support European Federalism, because of quite obvious reasons, some of which are legitimate – such as the fear of eroded democracy and autonomy – and some which are more rooted in chauvinism and reaction. This scepticism is prevalent amongst many of us.
Given the severity of today’s situation, we have few options. We must work for a trans-national, global Transition which brings us towards a sustainable future, but working for that would be easier, at least here in Europe, with a European federal state which could take a stronger position in relationship to powerful non-state entities.
For that reason, wherever we live, we must support international cooperation and unification, while striving to ensure that the movement for the Transition should grow strong within the context of those regions.
A cautious, conditional approach
To support federal unification should not entail a support for any kind of policies supported by federalists, especially not if said policies would move economic sovereignty to institutions intended to foment the continuation of the current status quo. We must always ensure that there is a healthy dose of:
Democratic influence within the legislative bodies.
A high degree of subsidiarity (that decisions are made as close to those affected by them as possible) and autonomy.
We must also avoid the Siren song of identifying too much with our regional power constellations and their conflicts with other power constellations. Instead, we must ardently stand for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts in order to focus on the Transition, which should be the first, second and third priority for all of Humanity during our lifetime.
What we should do
EOS members throughout the world should work to facilitate sustainability in all its forms on the local, regional and global levels, and must within the constraints of laws, conscience and the EOS by-laws struggle to make the Transition blossom. EOS members active in the United States should focus on adapting their local communities for the Transition and also forming the foundations of a Proto-technate, to test variations of our concepts and ideas of a sustainable future civilization, just like EOS members in India, China and Africa… and Europe for that matter.
What EOS members, in my opinion, should not do, is to invest themselves – in their capacity as members – in political activism or bickering which may contribute to polarisation and conflict. Instead, we must strive to always where we can, bridge conflicts through diplomacy, non-violent communication and peaceful social activism, contributing to or initiating Transition efforts on the ground.
As an organisation, however, we should be able to state at least what institutional and social trends we find agreeable and would like to voice our support for, and what trends we take as offensive and disagreeable in relationship with our goals.
It is my belief, that if our increasing relevance should be sustained, that we should judge the current trends in the world in relation to our three criteria. It is also my belief that a world with more unification would be a world where the Transition would be easier, if we can manage to form a strong movement and explain to the public why everything must change.
Thus, the efforts of European federalists such as Martin Schulz are laudable, even though they may not (yet) share our sense of urgency.
The advent and rapid acceleration of information technologies have opened up increased opportunities for inclusion and participation, as well as making possible more de-centralised and autonomous methodologies of administration, project leadership and resource management.
The principles envisioned by the organisation named Technocracy Incorporated were based on the regimented industrial and managerial processes dominant during the first half of the 20th century, when the most powerful information technologies were television and radio, and when the most advanced and rational form of management was the tayloristic factory floor.
While the EOS have always found Energy Accounting a fascinating model to develop on in terms of a future system of resource management, we initially found the forms of management organisation envisioned by the US-based organisation to be outdated, and to a certain degree authoritarian or with the risk for falling into authoritarianism. Instead, the EOS has, through the Design document and its articles, proposed a system of autonomous Holons consisting of highly specialised and competent volunteer members and professionals.
A large part of this is not only a matter of a difference in managerial and ideological traditions between the eras, but also in terms of emerging technologies. Within EOS, within the scope of our means, we are utilising these new technologies and managerial systems to maximise our current resource base.
What this article will discuss is not the internal structural management of our organisation, but rather how the introduction and implementation of technocratic thinking as an integral cultural aspect of collaboration within a future sustainable global civilisation. The rise of the Internet, and its continued growth towards its full potential, can aid in the creation of a diamond age of humanity, but currently – in the United States and many parts of Europe – we are experiencing the ascent of mutually hostile echo chambers, digital tribes building on their own narratives and feeding on a sense of acute threat from rival tribes. This coupled with an increased acceptance of mob justice and trial by popular opinion can, if we are not careful, tumble some of the most technologically advanced societies on Earth down into chaos. That is an unacceptable situation, not only in itself but especially in relation to the convergence of crises we are finding ourselves in today.
No matter what level of governance we are talking of, local, regional, national or global, and no matter what communication system we utilises, it stands clear that the technocratic virtues must be a part of the future discourse, if we want to have a future that is, and must balance the creative democratic tendencies.
In order to preserve and build on the framework that underpins the principles of liberal democracy, these virtues are crucially needed today when every person with a cell-phone is not only a consumer of information, but also a potential producer.This is going to be the first in a series which will elaborate on the role of technocratic principles both inside our movement and in society at large
The existence of the Internet and its communities has empowered the average person to become a creator of content.
Traditionally, information has been produced by central nodes and divulged in a linear and vertical manner.
Today, information is more and more produced locally, and is interactive in the sense that articles, videos and sound content can be commented on, reused and reproduced by the audience, which also can interact with the creator.
We view this development as mostly positive, since these platforms allow for people to create and organise.
Sadly, the Internet has always been abundant with disinformation, grand conspiracy thinking, medical and pseudoscientific quackery, rumour-spreading, incitement to violence and especially ethnically based conflict paradigms.
Since the Internet allows the user to utilise time as they want, increasingly people are drawn, both by their own volition and by search engine algorithms which adapt to the search pattern of the user to find their preferences, and thus invariably echo chambers are created.
These environments existed at their infancy already during the 1980’s, but with billions of users today, billions are exposed for disinformation or information with an alternative slant.
Censorship and pre-approval by panels would in the short term diminish the challenge, but create slower and more cumbersome, bureaucratic platforms, and are also potentially a threat against dissenting voices and whistle-blowers who might possess information of which there is a genuine public interest.
The risk for a breakdown of civic order and an acceleration of destructive behaviours due to abuse of the Internet should not be ruled out – previous technologies such as Radio and the Printing Press have both been utilised as platforms for instigating genocide.
We argue that many of the infant diseases we are seeing within the user base of the Internet is rather attributable to the dumbing down effects of Television and Marketing.
It stands clear that we need a culture of authoritative knowledge and fine-tuned critical thinking skills, an increased awareness of biases and preferences and – apart from an improved general knowledge of scientific topics – that the knowledge and application of the scientific method should be ingrained into the human civilisation.
The technocratic virtues are not only useful in this regard – they are essential.
Ultimately, we need a Technocratic Cultural Revolution.
Different types of information technologies
All types of technologies can be subdivided into several categories. Within engineering for example, we can see a clear difference between construction materials and engines as disciplines. Within information technology, we can see a stark difference between a film camera and a microphone, where one is focused on the visual realm and the other on the audial.
There are other types of categories as well, more subtle than the obvious ones. There is a difference between an old cell phone and a new one in terms of functionalities. There are also varying brands of cell phones.
The type of categorisation system we will be focused on for this segment within the realm of information tech would be distributed contra centralised information systems.
A centralised information system is characterised by one or several central nodes that is transmitting information through sub-nodes vertically and linearly, which the end-users receive as consumers of information, with a limited to non-existent capacity to interact with in any substantial manners apart of that as receiver. Examples could be bureaucracies, churches, traditional corporations, early radio, Television.
A distributed information system, on the other hand, is characterised by an environment where all receivers have the capability to be nodes in their own right to a certain extent. Examples: writing, postal systems, amateur radio, the telephone network and the Internet.
Of course, most distributed systems are not truly distributed in the technical sense. Postal systems, telephone networks and the Internet are all dependent on nodes which may be fully regimented or centralised, or simply limited in regards to their number in relation to the number of users. To take the Internet as an example, there are a limited number of ISP’s – eliminate them and the Internet is taken down. But Internet is truly de-centralised in its characteristic that every consumer potentially is a producer.
This presents opportunities which are well-known, and challenges which are less investigated.
One analogy would be a previous information revolution, namely the invention and application of the printing press during the 15th century in Western Europe. Prior, books had been rare and pamphlets a de-facto monopoly for the Catholic Church and the worldly rulers – because only they could afford the scribes, and every manuscript had to be copied for hand, which meant that it was comparatively easy to control the production and distribution of texts, while it subsequently was quite difficult to administrate a region due to the time consumption and inefficiency in reproducing the same document.
While the advent of the early printing presses did not de-centralise the production of information that much, they did much to de-centralise the reception. Previously, priests and heralds had divulged the information to the public, but with mass production of books and pamphlets the market grew and the power could eventually become less centralised, especially in regard to spiritual matters. The Catholic Church had for centuries been the wealthiest institution in Western Christendom, and apart from utilising legal and physical means of silencing dissent against the Trinitarian doctrine or against Church policies, the Church had a huge benefit in comparison to lone dissenters or heretics who before the application of the printing press had to painstakingly copy all of their texts physically, often with a clear danger to their lives.
With press houses, dissenters like Martin Luther and Jean Calvin could mass produce their texts faster than Rome could react, and thus avoid prison or the stake. The Printing Press amplified the voices of those with a message, and equalised their impact in relationship to the resources of the Papacy. This can be compared to today, in regards to whistle-blowers like Wikileaks, and their effect upon the policies of superpowers.
By removing or at least downplaying the role of priests in acting as interpreters of spiritually themed messages, Martin Luther set the stage for the German Peasants’ War and one and a half century of instability culminating in the Thirty Years’ War, the until then bloodiest conflict Europe had ever seen. Regarding the Peasants’ War, it could partially be said to have been a result of the Bible becoming accessible to laymen preachers who reinterpreted the scripture to justify a rebellion against the feudal order and for the destruction of the prevailing class hierarchy in early 16th-century Europe.
With fewer Bibles and no printing presses, it is doubtful whether these rebellions would have had such a destructive impact (it should however be stated that the foundations for these rebellions were not new technologies but rather injustices and famine years taken together, and peasant rebellions had happened throughout the Middle Ages when printing technology had not even been in its infancy, such as Wat Tyler’s famous rebellion during the early reign of Richard II).
Stating that, the printing press made it easier for dissidents or malcontents to organise, and for seditious writing to spread, as well as distributing rather than concentrating power. Therefore it also contributed to the chaos in the then Holy Roman Empire for more than a century.
The rise of the trolls
One of my acquaintances once said, that if our civilization would be wiped out tomorrow, and aliens would receive transmissions from the early 21st century worldwide web, they would find that most of the content consisted of pornography and cats, so they would think that we as a culture probably were very interested in the act of procreation and that we worshipped feline deities.
The Internet, due to its distributed nature, provides every user with an abundance of platforms from which the user can spread information and interact with others. This has created many useful academic tools and platforms, such as search engines, torrent sites, platforms such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy and video hosting communities such as Youtube, Vimeo and Dailymotion.
Another facet of the Internet since its release has been that it easily could provide anonymity, and the opportunity for users to create fake identities. While this has had some positive effects in individual lives, for example for abuse victims, it has also led to a thriving environment for disinformation and the dissemination of false rumours intended to be used for self-serving or purely malevolent ends.
Yet another type of disinformation all too readily received by millions of people have taken fertile ground on the Internet, namely the spreading of different types of woo and the various snake oils spread by self-declared medical experts who at the same time – for purely selfish ends – are trying to discredit mainstream remedies (who by themselves might not be perfect or underdeveloped or overpriced, but which are produced within processes which at least aim to control their effects on the human body and the environment).
Add to it the conspiracy and alternative reality communities, which increasingly are forming their own self-referencing loops, with connections to climate change denial and largely (for this particular moment in time) right-wing politics on the fringe, and their quite impressive growth rate.
Now, these three tendencies of disinformation are increasingly being merged together into a toxic brew. For example, conspiracy communities like Infowars are increasingly peddling snake oil supplements, while those who traditionally mostly have sold woo increasingly have begun peddling conspiracies, and while the trolls of the 90’s and the 00’s were mostly engaged in their activities out of boredom, trolling today have become increasingly professionalised in order to stir up emotions for economic and political gain, and are starting to have both short-term and long-term effects on politics.
Even the most ludicrous ideas are being spread like wildfire – for example the Flat Earth community has seen an enormous resurgence. Today there are actually people who are gaining considerable earnings on selling Flat Earth beliefs to willing acolytes.
Having said that, just like the Anabaptists of the 16th century and the advent of the printing presses, the concerns which are feeding support for the more polarising segments of the political spectrum are real, even if the proposed solutions may be both reactionary and ludicrous. For a reference, see the article Globalism contra Nationalism previously published here.
Given that, imagine an alternate world where the Internet never was released to the public, and the effects of populism and polarisation would probably take a slower hold (at least in Europe, in the United States right-wing talk radio expanded rapidly already during the 1990’s). It would be a world where information would travel slower, but also one where the conspiracy theories have not gained the enormous traction of today.
One must see this as a trend, and the bucket does evidently still roll down the slope. The ferocity of the polarisation and the creation of echo chambers, both on the left and the right, driven – ironically – by hyperdemocratic impulses of self-replication and the organic spreading of memes, is today leading to a rapid fracturing of communities throughout the developed world.
Unimpeded, this process could end with situation reminiscent of the civil wars suffered by Colombia, beginning with La Violencia during mostly the 1950’s. When political opponents start to view one another as enemies who cannot be understood, the room for civic discourse shrinks and an increased readiness to take to force establishes. It can seem far-fetched today, but there is a possibility that we could see large-scale democides take place inside western nations within ten years, if society continues to fracture between political, ethnic and sectarian groupings.
The powers that be are obviously in a state of growing fear of losing control of the narrative, possibly both for genuinely altruistic reasons (preventing a collapse of order and future genocides), and also for pragmatic reasons. After all, there are agendas which obviously will impact parts of the population negatively in the short run (neoliberal reforms, free trade agreements which reduce the capability of states to conduct economic policies, trying to avoid characterising certain forms of crime in shapes which may stir up tensions between groups) but which the establishment largely is convinced will create a better future for everyone in the long run. These sentiments are understandable. Ultimately, any kind of establishment must primarily ensure to keep a certain type of equilibrium, and any loss of stability does not only threaten the establishment but also the entire population, often most those dissatisfied groups who most loudly call for reform.
A number of policies have been enacted, both by states and by private entities, in trying to curb the growth of this polarisation. Other policies have been proposed, but not enacted. Here are a few examples:
Many online newspapers have removed their comment fields, after the comments became dominated by a minority or majority of voices filled with vitriol and negativity, often related to subjects such as foreign policy, immigration, trade, security and integration.
Facebook has been pressured by European governments to remove certain pages which may violate anti-extremism laws in European countries.
Youtube are increasingly demonetizing popular videos with politically controversial content or which are selling conspiracy beliefs.
There has been detailed proposals such as CleanIT which aims to control the Internet.
Cryptocurrencies are increasingly seen as a threat.
While these initiatives could be seen as laudable in combating certain tendencies, they often fall short of curbing the excesses. In Sweden, most newspaper comment fields were closed already during the last decade, yet that reaction has not changed the trend – instead the frontline has moved towards communities like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
With the ascent of Darknet and of Cryptocurrencies, and when non-western regimes are increasingly supporting fringe political movements and the conspiracy world in the west, it stands clear that polarisation will intensify. It has done so during the much illusory recovery of the 2010’s, and it will probably increase even more after the next Great Recession. There is an ever increasing risk that civil strife can move from the web communities and out on the streets due to this polarisation.
It should be noted that the legislators often are one to several steps behind the technology. The CleanIT proposal for example states that forum moderators should play a vital role in reporting and combating extremism on Internet, but during the 2010’s the importance of discussion forums have continuously diminished. Equally, the plans drawn up today to diminish and marginalise these tendencies will undoubtedly be of limited success simply because the Internet of 2018 can become an entirely different concept than the Internet of 2017.
One underreported process is the move towards mesh technology, which would make the Internet more independent from both broadband providers and ISP’s, eventually leading to it being virtually impossible to strangle or regulate, unless you would want to strangle electricity itself.
Besides, repressing a dissenting voice, no matter if it calls for humanity to run underground to protect themselves from Nibiru, would inadvertently lend credence to said voice. Note for example how Holocaust deniers are using the fact that Holocaust denial is illegal in France, Germany and Austria as “proof” that they are oppressed truth-tellers.
Moreover, while the temptation to regulate what people would be exposed to on the Internet is providing a certain allure, it is at this point in time probably one of the most destructive and authoritarian tendencies. If the system is granted the legitimacy to legally or socially block and destroy dissenting voices belonging to one or two disliked political opposition groups (yes, even insane malcontents are a form of political opposition), then it is granted the power to repress movements which aim to help the world moving towards the necessary Transition.
We must not forget that parts of the current supranational establishment, consisting of financial institutions, multinational corporations, think tanks and governments, are vehemently opposed to the recalibration of human civilization towards a sustainable future, because they can only think forward for the next six months of continued exponential economic expansion, not being able to comprehend the long-term damage of the current system on our planet.
It is very possible to imagine if voices which call for the transition towards a more sane and sustainable world order would gain traction, that these will be exposed for the most blatant, criminal, violent and immoral suppression from the forces invested in the prolongation of the current, unsustainable, status quo.
That is why it is essential to defend the Internet.
Given that, while defending the Internet as a platform for the transparent dissemination of useful information, knowledge and expertise, we must be ready to wage a two-front war against disinformation too. We would claim that the frontline should not be secluded to the Internet itself, but rather span through the entire community.
In short, in order to safeguard the mechanisms of Democracy, we will need to employ the traits and ideals of a Technocracy when finding ways of discussing the solution of real problems.
Most of the problems associated with fake news, conspiracy theories and echo chambers have actually predated the Internet, and been an intrinsic characteristic of western culture which has blossomed since the 1920’s, especially within the world of advertisement and mass media – I am of course referring to the type of advertisement, pioneered by Eduard Bernays, which strives to manipulate people’s subconscious by subtly making them associate eating fried potato with family life, or owning a Porsche with possessing a woman in a red bikini.
In fact, the blame for the uncritical attitude many netizens display towards whatever video they happen to click up on Youtube can be partially blamed to the Internet’s predecessor – Television – which has created and encouraged a culture of passivity and reception, where the brain’s inherent reaction is to shut down and just allow information to seep in. Television also greatly amplified a culture of “irresponsible market democracy”, where channels struggle to find the lowest common denominators amongst the targeted market groups. This created a loop where culture was inadvertently moulded, by legitimising and even lionising stupidity, idealising simplified reasoning and a short attention span. While schools have generally struggled to produce engaged and responsible citizens, Television has – unintentionally – worked to create an army of drooling zombies, readily and passively manipulated by programmes which rather than encouraging critical thinking are encouraging a weirdly alluring mixture of enticement and cynicism. One has only to look how History Channel and Discovery moved from interesting but possibly somewhat dry and professionalised topics to shows about Nostradamus, Aliens and Mermaids.
Open the Pandora’s box of the Internet for generations that have been intellectually passivized by the telly, and the result would have been the one we are seeing today.
In order to successfully fight the hydra of confirmation biases, fake news feedback loops and increasingly enclosed and aggressive online environments characterised by conspiracy thinking, we need to challenge the existing western culture where entertainment – no matter of what objective quality – is sanctified in relationship to its popularity rather than its content.
Television has taught us that Geordie Shore, Bachelorette and Big Brother are equally valid choices as Nova, Planet Earth and Cosmos, because they are equally if not more available, and also that consumers have a right to be entertained and not challenged. If a programme is boring, a consumer may just zap towards another channel which is entertaining.
It is not surprising then, that consumers who go on the Internet find that Alex Jones is more entertaining than CNN, that Naturalnews.com is more entertaining than Phys.org, and that when provided with a “market of self-declared truths”, people will choose the truth which they feel most positive towards and which challenges them the least.
Of course, people have been manipulated before by unscrupulous political agents, but it is hard to deny that four to five generations have had their critical faculties and even their logical thinking skills systematically eroded by being exposed to Television.
If it only was for Television…
Those unlucky enough to dwell in cities would always when they travel down to the city centre or to the supermalls be exposed to billboards, neon signs and advertisements designed to hack into their subconscious, transform their values and make them more pliable to impulsive behaviour in terms of their consumption. Consumerism as a way of life is dependent on tearing down people’s critical faculties.
For a person who is conditioned to be swayed by depictions of beautiful people, of bombastic music and a false sense of meaning and narrative provided both by blockbusters and by mundane Coca Cola advertisements, a film like this could have an impact.
If there is a connection between consumerism and the rise of the “alternative facts”-community, then we must confront the fact that the culture that have emerged for much of the latter half of the 20th century is melting down because of its own inner inconsistencies, and that we would need a cultural revolution to move away from consumerism and the deification of ignorance.
Humanity today possesses a power tremendous and terrible. We have the power to destroy the biosphere, to alter the climate, even to instigate nuclear winters. Yet, for the last generations, we have almost consciously created a culture striving to tear down inhibitions and self-control, to make people more impulsive, more promiscuous, more easily swayed by emotional messaging and – most crucially – without filters to critically access information.
Currently, parts of the establishment seem to strive towards a “middle ground” position, where people should be able to critical analyse RT, Press-TV or NaturalNews.com, but be more or less open and uncritical towards CNN, Coca Cola or McDonalds, in short – install selective locks to prevent people from accessing information from market operatives with agendas seen as destructive. That position can be construed as hypocritical, for why should it be seen as more immoral to advertise for Infowars-approved “Caveman” pills than for Coca Cola? At least the detrimental health effects of Coca Cola are well known by everyone. Advertisement is simply “fake news” that are somehow acceptable and seen as a cornerstone for society, even if the stated purpose is to make people buy things which often are destructive for their health and minds.
Apart from the blatant hypocrisy, any attempts to infuse “selective rejection” in a population conditioned to react primarily by emotions may slow down the breakdown of the concept of objective reality, but will fail short of achieving the goal. Despite the best efforts of public education, the concerted efforts of dumbing down the population has evidently been succeeded beyond the wildest dreams – if anyone would have wild dreams about an Idiocracy.
A Technocratic Cultural Revolution
Technocracy can be construed as “rule by the skilled” or “rule by skill”. I would state that most systems to a certain degree have carried the first characteristic, including our own. After all, most states in the world today have a civil service which politicians are obliged to listen to, and most power plants, hospitals, railways and airports for example are (quite luckily!) administered by professionals. In some countries, notably Germany and Austria, the department ministers are expected to be experts within their notable fields, for example a minister of infrastructure should be an engineer of some form.
The second aspect, however – Rule by Skill – is notably absent from the discourse and is seldom employed. There is a difference between skilledand skill after all, namely that while the first is describing an individual with certain characteristics who is given formal position because of these characteristics, the second is describing that these set of characteristics should define the entire system of management and the entire culture.
This is a central and essential distinction.
Because even if a person has the right education and has achieved the professional level acquired for managing certain sectors of a community, what if said individual decides to make a decision based on flawed, simplified or non-complete information. Also, too much emphasis on the qualifications of a decision maker can be used to shut down relevant critique against said professional.
What I would argue is that there are a few Technocratic Virtues which would need to be embedded in the culture, and the more democratic a system is, the more horizontal and de-centralised it is, the more it would need these virtues.
These virtues are:
Authentication (as defined by the EOS Board Member Lilium Carlson)
Self-reflection and awareness of one’s own biases, as well as one’s own emotions and reactions when confronted by material that challenges one’s instincts
Public knowledge of the Scientific Method
That the public is armed with the knowledge to identify and disarm attempts at manipulating public opinion.
The System of Public Education
It is absolutely crucial that children, probably from the age of ten, are challenged with epistemology, learn to identify fallacies of reasoning (such as strawmen), and learn to understand and utilise the Scientific Method, including Occam’s Razor. It is also essential that teachers themselves are acquainted with these methodologies and taught to properly being able to distribute tools necessary to acquire critical thinking skills.
Two examples: In fifth grade, we were exposed to a teaching methodology in “democracy and critical thinking”, where the entire class was to form a circle of chairs. The teacher then would ask the students what they thought about controversial subjects, such as bullying, steroids, drugs, racism, dictatorships and war and reason about it. Needless to say, the level of analysis was usually on the level that “war is bad because it hurts people”. While true, such a class I would claim fail to achieve the stated goals since it doesn’t provide any tools for the student to employ their critical thinking skills.
Later, in high school, a ruckus developed on school because some students were reading far right websites on the school library. The responsible teacher for our class decided – contrary to the recommendations of the school – that the students in the class should focus on two news and how four different newspapers created a narrative around these news, and also to speculate why the newspaper presented the news with that narrative. The newspapers in question were Aftonbladet (Social Democratic), VK (local newspaper, ind. Liberal), Proletären (the newspaper of the Communist Party) and Info-14 (ind. National Socialist). That teacher repeatedly taught us to critically examine all sources and ponder about the agenda of those responsible for publishing the news.
Of course, we were high school students, not ten year olds, but I still find it heartening that our teacher dared to ask us examine controversial material and discuss it from an analytic rather than moral perspective.
Overall, the education system must also more emphasise for students how advertisement often is a form of mind warfare employed in the service of hacking the brains of those exposed for the material. The students should of course as well be enlightened about the important role played by Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann in forming the current western civilization, which in reality is not much older than the second half of the 20th century.
If we should have a chance to re-establish a discourse of sanity in the public space, media must become a tool primarily for information and less for entertainment. There must exist public service, but the role of public service should primarily be to act as a facilitator of useful knowledge and of the current political, social and ecological situation of the Earth.
Regarding independent media outlets and actors, each agent wishing to market their ideas and opinions must state what their agenda is, what outcome they wish to see for the future, and what beliefs they hold regarding why their narrative is superior – rather than to try to sneak in a preferred narrative without the users being notified what they are exposed to.
Moreover, platforms such as Wikipedia and Reddit must be strengthened, and connected with video hosting websites and traditional media platforms in order to provide a foundational global reference system which should work as a baseline and a foundation for the dispersion of News, especially in regards to eyewitness accounts.
Ideally, as many lectures as possible should be published on video hosting platforms and be made freely and transparently available in MP3 and MP4 format, and ideally even subtitled in the most widely understood languages.
An online index of academic papers could be established, to provide an improved peer review system where not only those who subscribe to narrow academic journals or are students or researchers may get hold of crucial new information.
Bottlenecks which constrict access to information may – for the moment – be perceived as monetarily necessary, but actually both serves to move against the effective execution of the scientific method and the rapidness with which new technologies and discoveries could be accessed.
It would probably be an advisable policy to ban commercial advertisement in public spaces as a first step. There is a profound difference between advertisement on billboards in a city centre and TV- or Internet advertisement. Generally, people are not compelled out of necessity to watch TV or surf the Internet (even if the latter is discussable people can still choose to avoid websites with advertisement). Most people who live inside or in the vicinity of cities must however – often on a daily basis – travel to places where they are bombarded with commercial advertising without their active or passive consent.
Moreover, all products should be compelled by legislation not only to honestly display their impact upon the environment, but on the human body as well.
Possibly, rather than asserting a website’s notability from its popularity, search engines should rather focus on a form of peer assessment, from established institutions. For example, if a website – take for example NaturalNews.com – is interested in marketing alternative medicine, then medical websites and universities should be available to recommend that website or write statements which decides its notability. Also, notable websites which frequently spreads false or misleading information should be able to be given warning labels judged by the reactions of the other communities. This would create self-regulating algorithms.
Notice that this model of affirmation and authentication is what the EOS advocates should be used as a self-regulatory mechanism within the Technate as a whole as it is being established.
While still in its infancy, the Pro-Truth pledge which this website has ascribed to could be a beginning of this process.
The role of the Individual
We must foster a spirit of self-reflection, introspection and awareness within individuals, regarding – without self-judgement or self-hatred – biases, preferences and what thinking might be rationalising rather than rational, in short to what regard we are limited by wishful thinking and how we can move above ourselves to try to see our own preferences and our own agenda, and how the world lines up from that point of view. This is something which must be ingrained in the entire community.
The Scientific Method and its role in culture
One of the foundational principles of our Ideology is that the Scientific Method is the least worst methodology if one wants to assess facts about the real world. We should strive towards a popular culture which emphasises that empiricism, rationalism, peer review and authentication are crucial tools for solving problems. Often, popular culture relies on narratives which glorify brawn, emotions and violence as problem-solving tools, which could have a detrimental effect upon public understanding of reality.
While religion is an essential factor in the mental well-being of billions of people, provides them with a sense of meaning and fulfilment, and also often inspires people to take care and make a positive impact in the lives of their fellow human beings, it becomes a problem when religious leaders choose to interpret scripture to assert that it may provide facts about the material world. It must be more emphasised that religious scripture primarily should be seen as allegorical, which was how people during the pre-modern day generally viewed those writings. Fundamentalism must be combated, because it is dangerous for individual, public and global ecological health.
Science and the scientific method cannot define morality or ideological values, they can merely point towards a method of attaining evidence and employing it in the service of the individual and the community. A technocratic cultural revolution must not strive towards fetishisation of science – i.e scientism, which merely replaces one dogma with another. Moreover, within the rational and atheist communities of the two latest decades, there has been a tendency to denigrate and mock opponents, instead of understanding that they merely are victims of a dumbed down culture.
We cannot ignore the inherent unsustainability of the current system, both in terms of culture and in terms of its resource management in relation to the Earth’s biosphere. Why we should fight against woo, alternative facts, climate denial, grand conspiracy thinking, Flat Earth and Young Earth creationism is not because they are a threat towards the current status quo.
On the contrary, these beliefs are in fact supporting our current status quo, some of them quite literally so (climate denial), while others are merely doing it by virtue of their distractive abilities – because they provide the public with readily made false consciousness’s which serve to passivize and divide the public.
We must neither forget that even those who speak facts, sometimes speak of carefully selected facts in order to mislead and provide people with a false sense of security. One example are the cornucopians, proponents of divulging the facts that absolute poverty is diminishing, that literacy is going up, that population growth is decreasing and that some environmental problems are diminishing. While these are all facts, they are presented in a manner which seems to be intended to make the public have faith in the current system, in the current form of globalisation and in that current global agendas, like the Paris Agreement and the UN goals – if implemented – would serve to adequately bring sustainability to our planet, and that exponential growth and sustainability are possible to combine.
Thus, the cornucopians are to a great degree far more dangerous for the well-being for the planet than climate denialists or proponents of the Lizardmen theory. For while the latter are generally gaining traction amongst those disenfranchised and without education or influence, the cornucopians are mostly attracting members of the managerial classes.
The goal: Establishing a consensus
We must establish a consensus that the scientific method should be the guiding principle in attaining solutions, that everyone should be capable of utilizing the scientific method, that all policies should be evidence-based, and that the major fact of our age and era is that a Sixth Mass Extinction Event is coming unless we move towards a sustainable future, which we only can achieve if we fulfill at least the first of the Three Criteria.
Conclusion: Transparency instead of Censorship
If we are going to summarise this article, we should state that the growth of the alternative facts community is attributable to the culture of entertainment created by Individualistic Consumerism. If people define their identity after their consumption patterns, it was only a matter of time before they would start to choose their sources of news and education to fit their own personal beliefs – thus nullifying the very purpose of education itself.
Instead of trying to delegitimise and de-platform the purveyors of nonsense and disinformation, we must rather delegitimise the notion within ourselves that we can choose our own reality.
We must systematically uproot and destroy that idea, by ruthlessly bringing it to light and attacking it. This is not because we hate the individual’s freedom to choose, but because everyone is needed – and everyone are needed to be sane in our day and age, with the Mass Extinction approaching. Disinformation and distractions serve to weaken humanity’s resolve in the face of this existential crisis.
Instead of viewing information primarily as entertainment, we must view it as an integral part of a system existing to safeguard the survival of Humanity and of Human Civilization. Therefore, it is of essential importance that each citizen should be empowered with the tools to critically access information and understand the scientific method.
Flint Michigan was a teachable moment ; is a teachable moment. One we are failing to fully take advantage of. Before we begin, there are some clarifications and terms we must agree on. We must agree on these terms in order to have a productive and responsible discussion on the topic. So, to start. Governor Snyder committed a crime of almost genocidal proportions and I do not level that claim lightly. The effects of Flint’s water contamination have been deadly and done generation spanning damage from which the people and city of flint are unlikely to recover. BUT for as grave as Snyder, and his administration’s offences are; they are not going to be my main focus here.
Instead I will focus on the “original sin” and by that I mean the core logical failing that caused the crisis. I will point out repeatedly, that local government failed in numerous ways to do it’s job. Though local government is responsible for this catastrophe, they are not to blame for it. You cannot blame the victim of a crime for being a victim; even if that victim made poor choices that made them vulnerable to crime. It is those poor choices that will be our focus here. We are not casting blame, we are looking to learn a lesson so that we do not repeat these mistakes.
Flint Michigan, circa 2010, was in Disastrous debt. The water utility which was managed by the city was in crippling debt and had been for years. The reasons why aren’t important, It doesn’t matter what Flint chose to spend it’s money on. It’s none of our business in fact. But what is our business is that the city was aware that the water infrastructure was old and near failing in some cases. They knew this, but they chose to spend their money on other things; and so year after year the utility along with the city, incurred debts it could not sustain. Here, I propose, is why. The government of flint failed to conceive of the idea that the utility could fail in a literal way.
Most Americans, exempting some specific plumbing failure, have never turned a faucet and had it not spit out water. Clean water is such a staple of urban life, so basic and so essential that it is largely not even thought about. Odds are, you too don’t often give a thought to it, The city government failed than to even consider the worst case scenario. They failed to conceive that the water utility could cease to function and that clean water could all together stop coming. Because they failed to even imagine this possibility, they failed to adequately anticipate the consequences of their actions; and therefore demonstrated an incompetence that is not forgivable in leadership and that leads me to the teachable moment I started with here.
Flint, it’s managing government mainly, took water and the complex macro systems that govern it for granted. I suspect even the governor, when he made his criminally incompetent decision to switch the water supply to the polluted river. Even he or even especially he, did not consciously consider that death and human suffering could be a consequence of his action. I believe this theory lines up well with the behaviors exhibited by both local government and State governor parties; both came from a place of taking the water supply for granted and THAT is the original sin. When we consider it in these terms, the lesson we can derive from their failure is to never take basic systems for granted. We must always, always, have a conscious thought to the gravity of our choices and the consequences of those decisions, especially how they effect our basic life sustaining systems. From flint, we can draw a cause and effect relationship between each failure of management. Each act of incompetency that drove the utility to ruin is relevant to us, because we are again, looking at how to not repeat those errors.
Our mission is the most paramount endeavour ever hurled over the shoulders of our species – namely to steer of a monster of our own making.
The Sixth Mass Extinction Event. A fever raging over our Earth’s biosphere, a convergence of crises approaching. There are causes hidden within causes. Humanity has allowed a financial system built on debt to govern our way of managing our planet’s surface and resources, leading to man-made climate change, the world-wide disappearance of insect populations, eroded soils, dying oceans, depleted freshwater reservoirs and massive deforestation in the tropical regions.
There is a rising awareness, but this awareness is segmented, incomplete and muddled by the interference of other issues into the equation. Our compartmentalised understanding of reality allows our elected leaders to indulge in the comfortable illusion that the bad environmental effects can be separated from the “good socio-economic system”. Yet, humanity will have to prevail on this one, or face a crisis unprecedented in the history of our species. In the most developed nations, celebrity gossip and twitter crises dominate headlines – yet mother nature does not care much for celebrities or for moral panics.
The Earth Organisation for Sustainability (the EOS) is formed with the mission of designing and testing alternative resource management systems, primarily of a socio-economic nature, in order to provide alternatives to the current order and facilitate a route towards a sustainable future civilization able to shelter and offer an equitable standard of living for 8-9 billion human beings (which is what the population around 2050 will gravitate around).
Our mission objective thus will inevitably form our methodologies of reaching out. That is not all, however, for during long courses of our existence we have been forced to operate with little resources at our disposal, which has taught us an ability to economise and to value creative utilisation of resources and time.
The purpose of this article is to describe how we are working and how it relates to our goals. It will also tell you what you can do to facilitate change in your environment.
The EOS activities can be summarised into three types – Research, Education and Social Activism.
Research can be divided into theory, innovation, application and data gathering.
Education consists of lectures, book tables and other forms of activities.
Social Activism, finally, is the process of activating neighbourhoods in taking active control of their own fate and strive towards a sustainable transition.
Our activities are facilitated through Holons, semi-autonomous units through which our members are organising.
Everyone who is an EOS member can start a Holon!
The foundation of the EOS is the scientific principle. This expresses itself through the employment of the scientific method, of the application of empiricism coupled with information generously provided by the scientific community, and of conservative interpretations of research data. It means that whatever we base our analysis on must be on the most recent estimates by respected institutions in the environmental fields, but that we must be open for the fact that these data may be altered with new information. Our own research must be open for peer review and falsifiable – meaning that others should be able to conduct the same experiments as us under the same conditions and achieve similar results.
Our main hypothesis is that a society based around the principles outlined in The Design would be able to better fulfil the three criteria of sustainability which we have defined. Our main goal is to put this hypothesis to test, both to identify general flaws within it and to find areas where it can be continuously improved – since we hold the belief that reality will always be too complex and contain too many parameters to be able to be perfectly digitally simulated.
The outlines of the civilization described in the book are also based on physical factors which are scientifically defined – since the physical reality itself on a macro scale is only definable through metrics provided by science. Thus, our vision for the future resource management system is based on physics, not metaphysics. We desire to improve on the tools of data acquisition and constantly strive towards a more perfect understanding of the physical outline of our Earth.
Science is however only our master insofar it serves us in better providing a viable path. We must avoid the trappings of scientism and of a fetishisation of science in itself. Science is simply the least flawed methodology to attain knowledge about the physical reality, but we do not believe it in itself can define morality, values or ideology – especially as utilitarianism taken to the extreme can become very destructive for the sanctity of life and of the human being.
We have several different types of educational activities. This website is one of them, though admittedly it’s a work in progress. The website has a potential reach to millions of people throughout the world, and exists to spur interest in our activities and to inspire the masses, as well as attracting future members and partners.
On the ground, we have educational activities too – Lectures for example.
Our lectures are usually open for the public, and disseminates the Design or the Ideology of the EOS in a comprised manner, usually for fifty minutes every time. If possible, we aim to strike cooperation with organisations that can provide space for the information sharing. After the lecture, the audience should be able to talk with the lecturer, ask questions about the topic and – if interested – receive information on how to join the EOS.
Another option for dissemination is to hold a book table, where you inform about EOS and showcase its projects for the world. The table should contain brochures, comprised texts about the EOS, possibly images or models of the project intended, and a banner or roll-up displaying our logotype and the website address.
Lastly, we have a page on Facebook to a linked group which currently has around 4000 members (https://www.facebook.com/eosprojects/). The page and the group displays information from multiple sources, and allows us to engage with the public in discussions and information-spreading. It also allows us a platform to spread our message, allow people an opportunity to join us and to network.
For 2018, we are planning to further strengthening our social media profile, amongst other things with podcasts.
Social activism for us is a matter about having a positive impact on local communities, regarding the issue of transition towards an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable future for that community. It could equally well be labelled “practivism” since what we aim to do is to organise people and contribute something tangible to their community.
One example is the biodome we are raising in the area of Alidhem, Umea, and plan to donate to the urban gardeners. While we are in the process of constructing it, we are engaging the urban gardeners and the public, inviting them to take interest and thus enlightening them about our existence and – more importantly – about the situation of our planet. It is important to engage people on their level, and connect what we are aiming to do with the needs and concerns of their communities. An organisation is abstract, a global crisis is possibly even more abstract – what we need to do is to bring these issues to the streets, parks and community meeting spots, to engage people.
Our primary goal should not be to recruit more members – even though we welcome anyone who wants to contribute to our goals and who shares our values. Rather, we want to change the public discourse, and transmit the severity of the approaching mass extinction event while pointing at solutions that can give people the courage and conviction to organise. Green consumerism is a good step, but not sufficient to transition the world towards sustainability – for that we need people to organise to transition their own communities. We want to be a spark which facilitates this mobilisation, and a conduit which allows groups already engaged to network horizontally and vertically.
This will also give us access to geographic, economic areas where we can field test The Design and expose it for stress in a dynamic environment where there are unknown factors which we could not have predicted.
Building a Proto-technate
A proto-technate, as envisioned by our former chairperson Dr Andrew Wallace, is an integrated vertical network which internally works according to the principles outlined in the Design. Each node – or holon – of the network is a semi-autonomous unit which provides some of its yield to the wider network.
One example would be if we establish a 3D-printing workshop in Alidhem, and we sustain the dome with upgrades and with maintenance, as well as repairing garden tools for the urban gardeners. In turn, they donate a part of their harvest to the workshop. This form of resource exchange can later on be replaced with a primitive form of energy accounting. Imagine then that we get a powerplant operating, maybe in Umea, or maybe in southern Sweden, and that it supplants some of its income to our other operations as well as those of the organisations we cooperate with. Gradually, we create a network which will become more and more self-sufficient, while yet being embedded in the regular capitalist economy.
In some regards, this is why our three aspects are so neatly tied together, because the proto-technate as an ideal embodies all of these three goals.
What you can do
Imagine that a stranger on the bus strikes up a conversation with you, and that the subject moves from pleasantries into serious issues, such as terrorism, religion, immigration, the housing crisis, the upcoming political election or trivialities such as a celebrity being caught uttering something socially unacceptable.
You, as an EOS activist or a sympathiser of our cause, changes the subject by the following words: “Excuse me, but the most important issue of our time is the fact that we are using the equivalent of what 1,4 Earths can provide for us every year, and that we need to find a way to reduce our global footprints.”
By those words, and those words alone, you have brought the transition towards a sustainable world a little bit closer to fruition. Maybe a few seconds, maybe a few breaths. But today, in our age, every moment is invaluable.
Don’t believe me?
It is said that gravity always works both ways. You are bound to the Earth because its mass is so great in comparison to yours it might well be infinite. But it is finite, and your mass does actually affect the Earth a little bit as well, just a tiny, minuscule amount. And even the Earth itself was once just a grain of dust which happened to be slightly larger than its most immediate neighbour. Remember that.
The same could be said of our civilization on Earth, and its cultures. Most of the major cultures of history were originally formed by tiny groups devoted to a cause – not all of them worthy. The world’s largest religion today was once just a handful of schismatic Hebrews. The world’s second largest religion was in its infancy just a hundred followers camped out in an oasis near nowhere.
Language is the most powerful hacking tool there is, and can be used for destructive and creative processes alike.
So, let’s say that you are an EOS member isolated from the hub of the organisation, maybe alone in your country. Do not despair and do not become demotivated. Instead, your first task should be to expand so you are two people with regular contact. Your goal from then on could take the route of research, education or social activism, but any of these three routes should facilitate the transition we all want to see realised in the world.
Throughout the European and wider western world, tribalism is once again emerging, through the lens of mainstream xenophobic parties, CounterJihad activism, the emergent Alt-Right and outright militant neo-Nazis. This phenomenon is however not only confined to the western world – and I am not thinking primarily about the Nazis in Mongolia or Mexico.
Groups such as the Islamic State, the Buddhist supremacists in Burma and Sri Lanka, the Hindu supremacists in India, ethnic supremacists in Africa and even – in its least dangerous and virulent form – in the form of regional separatism based on ethnic identity, such as the current Catalan movement for independence. All these various movements and ideologies are characterized by one notion, namely that of the separation of our particular grouping from the others, and competition about (usually physical) space and resources.
Adolf Hitler, the most well-known ideological leader of National Socialism, espoused Ethnic-Darwinian ideals. His was a dog-eat-dog Earth, where better adapted groups preyed on the habitats of smaller groups characterised by blood feuds. In Mein Kampf, in the Table Talks, and in his conversations with Eckhart it stands clear that he believed that the animalistic struggle for survival is the true, genuine aspect of human nature, and that Culture to a certain extent was neutering and domesticating these survival instincts.
To some extent, his analysis had a point. The process of human civilization and of culture can be seen as a multi-layered move away from our animalistic origin – not primarily driven by the desire to attain higher spiritual values, but by the need to not kill ourselves. Most philosophers, prophets, ideologists and state founders have aspired to (unlike Hitler) move humanity farther away from tribal collectivism – which is understandable.
Sadly, though most of the world has made significant progress, we have not yet made enough, as proven by the continued existence of tribalist identities to the extent that people are willing to make huge personal sacrifices for them. Yes, this is – for what we know – probably hardwired into human genetics. But human civilization could be understood as a process to curb the excesses of human nature.
As mentioned before, we have not yet succeeded in that endeavour…
This article will not so much explore the nascent rise of tribalism, but rather explain why human beings become tribalists, why tribalism represents a threat against human survival on Earth, and what strategies we can utilise to move away from tribalism and establish a democratic and legitimate global confederation.
Humanity evolved as pack-living animals on the African savannah.
This species had a tendency for striving towards homogeneity within the group and competition against outsiders.
With agriculture civilization was born, and thus humans were forced to organise in larger groupings.
With a larger population, conflicts between tribes and clans became bloodier and more frequent.
Humans developed aware coping strategies to defuse human aggression and channel it towards goals which elites saw as beneficial.
The need of collective belonging seems to be biologically ingrained in human beings, and this need seems to have the potentially most destructive characteristics within the male population between certain age groups.
This belonging is expressed not only through genetically close-knit groups but also through groups formed around other types of identities and commonalities.
We need to discuss what humanity should evolve into in the future to better adapt to the circumstances of tomorrow, which is what the third leg of our proposal is about – the Culture.
Ultimately, tribalism has absolutely no answer to how we should tackle the global environmental issues of our age and steer humanity away from the worst crisis in 65 million years. That is the real danger of tribalism.
Human nature and our rise from the Savannah
All life on Earth today is originating from single-cell organisms arising billions of years ago, and all vertebrates currently living on land share a common ancestor – a fish which evolved lungs and became the forebear of all of us. This event unfolded hundreds of millions of years ago. Humanity, or rather the beginning of it, arose less than ten million years ago in Africa, forming tightly knit family groups of omnivorous, scavenging hunter-gatherers, who eventually developed stone tools and learnt how to use fire (certainly after thousands of tragic accidents with making bushfires when trying to make flint knives).
Through language, a door opened for us towards abstract thinking and reasoning, making the human being the only animal to have discovered both the past and the future. Through this, we were able to better cooperate and become the world’s alpha predator, eventually forming civilization. Yet, for all our humanity, we have not negated (and should in no way negate or try to repress) our animalistic instincts. And despite that we know language, millions of human beings every year express frustration or try to exert control through flight-fight responses, violence and dominance behaviour still used by other animals.
One aspect which unites most human beings is that they desire to belong to a community, and abhor isolation. That is hardly surprising. Our particular human species is 300 000 years old according to recent fossil finds, and according to both archaeological findings and anthropological studies of hunter-gatherer communities, Homo Sapiens tend to prefer tribes of up to between a hundred and two individuals who are closely related, mostly egalitarian, with different semi-elected leaders who take care of the different practical and spiritual functions of the tribe. Individuals who are ostracised by such communities, under the conditions prevalent during a hunter-gatherer state, generally succumb for the privations of nature. Thus, the fear of ostracism – often irrational in modern western civilization – usually meant the difference between life and death for the early human being.
We cannot speculate much about human beings and violence – like most other animals, humans tend to avoid violence when possible. During the Palaeolithic era, differing tribes did not tend to compete over scarce resources, and generally avoided bloodshed (though it was not unknown, judged by recent finds). During stressful times, human tribes could wage tribal warfare, either to drive another tribe away from its territory, or even to eat members of that other tribe. This was however quite uncommon.
Twelve thousand years ago, humans began to cultivate crops – and their number grew as they became sedentary. Before the age of writing, towns like Jericho sprung up both in the Middle East and in parts of south-eastern Europe (the Trypillian civilization comes to mind). Since this was an age before writing, we can only judge by scant archaeological findings. Previous generations had lived in small groups with relatively large territories at their disposal – but as agriculture and early irrigation emerged, humans of different tribes began living closer together.
Most of the world has undergone a process where organic tribal groupings are broken and assimilated into larger cultures. Not so the island of Papua, which sports over 800 different languages and several hundred tribes. Though the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea for thousands of years have cultivated crops, the island’s particular geographical features have prevented the emergence of a unified government until the arrival of European imperialism.
Thus, Papua New Guinea may be a state, but a nation it isn’t. Fractured by tribal violence, its democratic but weak government is unable to effectively govern. One can imagine that much of Eurasia around 7000 years ago effectively resembled contemporary Papua New Guinea, with a huge diversity of clans and tribes all competing for scarce resources at the river valleys, while being pressured from the outside by nomadic tribes. One should know that was the situation of the more peripheral regions of the ancient world even during historical time, which the myths and limited historical knowledge of for example the Balkans of the Bronze Age can attest to.
What is Tribalism?
Individual human beings operating in nature are vulnerable and easy prey. Cooperating within small groups yield certain benefits, but organically speaking there seems to be a limit of the amount of people an individual human being can operate together with – of roughly below two hundred people. Larger organisations demand constructed hierarchies and formal rules which are enshrined. Within the framework of the organic, tribal group, morality tends to arise in the form of unwritten rules and taboos regarding social status, human interrelationships and how the outside world is viewed.
Tribalism as morality is simple, and can be summarised by three rules.
Treat those within your own group with respect and be loyal with them.
What lies in the interests of your group is good, even if other groups are losing on it.
If other groups act in a manner which damages the status or survivability of your group, it is bad, and you need to defend your group.
In short, morality is situational and dependent on what group the individuals dealing out or being affected by an act are belonging to. Whatever your tribe does is right and morally justified, but if other tribes act that way against your tribe, they are perpetrating a huge moral crime.
Of course, this outlook on life lies in the interest of the tribe as a self-perpetuating super-organism. By behaving in a manner veering between indignant self-righteousness and sociopathic predation, the tribe is maximising its ability to gather resources and social status, and thus increase its ability to procreate at the expense of other tribes.
One may claim that most of the world, especially the most developed parts, have put tribalism behind and embraced other ideals. While it is true that tribal organisation has been supplanted by other types of organisation at the formal level of our society, tribalism does not need close genetic kinship to arise. It has arisen in the shape of sectarian strife, of political conflicts related to nation, class, religious or moral issues. Even out of trivial, for all extent non-political issues, tribalism has emerged. One needs only to think of football hooliganism and subcultural conflicts, or primary school bullies. Neither does it need to be violent – in fact, most of the tribalistic behaviours within the framework of modern societies take the form of cheerleading.
Active members of political parties often cheer for political victories of their parties, even though they may disagree with the political issues themselves, simply because their party won. At sports bars, supporters drunkenly cheer the victories of their teams without even watching the games on the flat screens, instead feeling a sense of kinship and camaraderie with other supporters of the same team. People worship celebrities and gain a sense of belonging by being a part of a mob of cheering fans.
The need for belonging to a social group – or tribe – is one which actually evokes very positive, energetic feelings in the hearts of human beings. Happiness, togetherness, safety – the more isolated we grow, the more we long for them. The regime of clicks and likes on Facebook, and the groups gathered to support or boo left-wing and right-wing political articles, is but the most recent manifestation of this very human desire.
Increasingly, the political discourse in the western world has become more and more virulent and polarised, drifting apart by the issues of globalisation, nationalism, multiculturalism and Islam. The diverging political acolytes are following different media sources, constructing different frames of reality, and constructing echo chambers which serve to confirm their worldviews. But as time progresses what really matters is not the worldviews anymore, but rather the need to keep the tribes united and to uphold a unified line against “the barbarians” on the other side.
Tribalism, at its core, is the triumph of instinct over rationality, of myth above truth. Even groups that are defending the ideas of the enlightenment and of rational discourse, such as New Atheists and Anti-Flat Earthers, have often turned into pseudo-tribalistic gatherings which primarily serve to cheerlead the victories of their great leaders against the forces of superstition.
Thus, tribalism seems to not only be emerging everywhere where human beings are organising – it also seems to be necessary to a certain extent if groups should be able to survive. Self-critique is a valiant and noble undertaking, but too much of it can demoralise a group and lead to its dissolution. Even human beings who ought to be aware of the psychological mechanisms which drive human beings towards tribe-forming seems strongly susceptible to its allure, and strong tribal groupings complete with their own echo chambers seem to be able to spontaneously arise even with the absence of strong, charismatic leaders.
In short, Nazi morality is truly not alien or inscrutable seen from how human behaviour has expressed itself for literally hundreds of thousands of years, and mammalian behaviour has been characterised by these kind of group-egoistic patterns for hundreds of millions of years. Of course, Nazis would be the first to affirm that, with the usual right-wing argument that “because it is a part of human nature, it is natural and therefore good”.
So, let us examine the alternatives to tribalism.
When people from distinct tribes first formed city-states, it probably increased the risks for confrontations between various blood-related kinships. One can imagine that, following inevitable crises, order broke down until order re-emerged under the guidance of alphas. Such an order would equally inevitably become brittle, because it in itself was little more than pure gangsterism. In order for the leader of one clan to have their rule seen as legitimate by the other clans, a militia capable of imposing physical violence is not enough. Rather, a dominant and capable alpha male (historically it has usually been an alpha male) has generally established patron-client relationships with other clans, to give them incentives to cooperate beyond the fear of violence.
There is a point where patron-client relationships fail to work effectively, and that is when the number of clients grow to the point where important clients must be bestowed power in order to protect the interests of the patron, while the clients themselves often have internal conflicts in which the patron is compelled to mediate. In short, the spider can be trapped in his own web of power.
The establishment of formal laws is a strategy aimed at solving three issues simultaneously.
The universal application of rules in relationship to trespasses, in accordance with formal standards rather than political expediency or arbitrary judgements.
Laws can serve as a layer of protection against the ruling clique and can limit the amount of power the clique can wield over an individual or a group, or at least provide a balance.
For the ruling clique, laws can actually be helpful too, especially when difficult decisions which can cause friction must be taken. A ruler can then delegate the decision to a court, which can liberate those with political power from having to enrage powerful rival clans within the same system.
Legalism as a moral system is (ideally) completely morally neutral apart from the fulfilment of the letter of the law and should ignore political, moral and emotional considerations in the way decisions are made.
There are however several problems with legalism which we should not elaborate on in this article. As systems of law often emerge to protect property rather than human lives, it can enshrine the kind of inequality which threatens human quality of life, and also stipulate cruel punishments which serve to protect the elites. Moreover, legalism can enshrine even formal inequality, such as the feudal systems in Europe did. Lastly, if the elites really wish to for example exterminate a group of people, the legal systems can compel bureaucrats and judges to partake in crimes against humanity.
Legalism at its core is moreover built on fear, because its underpinnings are those of the ability to inflicting pain. Nevertheless, legalism, as it emerged in Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, China and other places, can be seen as the first step away from tribalism.
The need to regulate, channel and repress the violent tendencies of human beings has only grown with the ascent of civilization and technology, and these methodologies have usually expressed themselves through the establishment of states and laws, through attempts to shape the culture through other values, or through universalist ideologies and worldviews. This roughly corresponds to the three systems of control which we have identified.
External control I (fear of retribution).
External control II (fear of ostracism)
Internal control (desire to better fulfil an ideal)
Universalism has mostly emerged out of the high cultures of Eurasia, roughly during the same period between 2500 and 1500 years ago and appeared in the form of religious and philosophical systems encompassing the individual as a subject and all of humanity as its scope. There is no coincidence that it emerged (in imperfect shape) during the same period in Greece, the Middle East, India and China. All four regions were amongst the most developed in the world, and had undergone crises which were caused by the old tribal order but also undermined it, destroying tribal identities and kingdoms supported by them, in exchange for oligarchic city states in Greece and parts of India, and Empire in the Middle East and China.
While tribalism asserts the particular identity and right for collective self-expression of a tribal grouping, universalism tries to assert the shared humanity of everyone, in spite of tribal affiliation, gender, class and other demarking factors, transcending them with a new identity rooted in some kind of metaphysical or existential value. The emergence of this kind of identity can be seen both as a response to the horrors of tribal violence, but also as an organic adaption to urban life in emerging (then the closest thing to) global metropolises such as Babylon, Seleucia, Alexandria, Athens and Rome. Such cities, fraught with disease and high child mortality, sprawled because immigration from the countryside, forming the foundation for a new human identity – that of a colony- rather than a pack-dwelling animal. In the city, the human being sacrificed security for a – during peace-time – greater standard of living, survival skills for specialisation. And yes, new pseudo-tribal identities emerged in cities, those related to class, neighbourhood or political and sectarian belonging.
Universalism is also an internalisation of the type of legalistic code which aims to treat the state’s subjects equally. It means that actions – instead of being judged through the context of who was wronged and who the perpetrator was – should be judged after universal moral standards encompassing all human beings, where the action is judged independent by which it entails rather than whom perpetrated it. Of course, similar acts of laws had existed before – but were either installed by decree like Hammurabi’s code, or just encompassed the tribal identity of the nation, like the Mosaic Laws. Universalism strove to install into the human being a concept of justice unrelated to blood and soil and instead emanating from the sanctity of the human being. This provides the legal structure with a guiding moral principle beyond and above the propertarian foundations of most legal codes.
The foundations of Nazi Ideology
National Socialism as envisioned by ideologists such as Gottfried Feder, Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, was an amalgamation of several intellectual trends during the 19th century, a mixture of German idealistic philosophy, non-Marxist guild socialist currents, Romanticism, biological anti-Semitism, Vulgar Darwinism and traditional German militarism. Various scholars – both pro-Nazi and anti-Nazi – have differing viewpoints regarding this ideology, thus our summary will probably not satisfy everyone.
If one wants to summarize an ideology – any ideology – as well as its levels of moderation or radicalism, we can determine its structure through a simple graph. Let us say that the X-line represents a “problem” (it might be a genuinely objectively life-threatening problem, or one made up by brain phantasms), while the Y-line represents the devotion to an ideal – because what ideologies are constructed to convey is ultimately the meaning of human civilization.
The problem formulation of Nazism is as follows:
There exists a scarcity of food, resources and land in relationship to growing populations (Malthus).
Human beings bond in racial (genetic) groups which fight over resources (Hobbes, Dawkins, Pseudo-Darwin, Rhodes).
The weaker races must yield to the stronger races (Pseudo-Darwin).
Civilization and cities serve to dilute the blood and domesticate the human being, thus rendering it vulnerable to invaders not yet weakened by the trappings of humanism and universalism (Gibbon).
Races which “dilute” their blood with the intermixture with other races lose their “racial soul” and become polluted (Gobineau, H.S Chamberlain).
The core worldview of Nazism can be summarised as follows:
A race possesses a “folk-soul” which can be polluted and lost by racial mixture (Herder, Pseudo-Hegel).
The struggle for survival and supremacy between races is natural and healthy (Pseudo-Darwin, Pseudo-Marx, Pseudo-Hegel).
Those who are losing this struggle deserve to go extinct (Pseudo-Darwin, Pseudo-Marx).
An individual can only achieve immortality within and through the survival of their “folk” (Hitler, Pseudo-Hegel).
Nazism can only be understood and consciously accepted if one would subscribe to all or most of above statements. As the “problem” is formulated, we can see that the first two points are touching the realm of the real by virtue of considering resource economics and human behaviour. What Nazism advises, however, is that it is impossible and immoral either to manage resources in a manner which would prevent conflict between human beings, or to prevent conflict between human beings (Dawkins touched this dilemma in “The Naked Ape”).
Neither technology nor sound ecological management can in the end salvage us from a Malthusian resource war, and civilization only serves to weaken the resolve and primitive survival instincts of a “folk” against its less civilized enemies. In short, Nazism – much like anarcho-primitivism after it – represents a rejection of Humanity as a project.
Rather, Nazism imagines a world of racially homogenous nation-states which are fighting for habitats and resources (neo-Nazis generally consign the struggle to the interior of countries and imagine isolationistic homogeneous nation-states where the dominant ethnic group acts like a huge tribe). Thus, it is a reactionary ideology, not in the pejorative sense but in the sense that it wants to retard civilizational and cultural development and sweep away the collective super-ego of the western civilization.
According to Nazism, what is “natural” (to kill those who are genetically more distant from you to improve your offspring’s chance of survival) is automatically assumed as morally righteous because of its inherent genetic rationality. The “folk”, understood as a racial rather than a cultural, social or civic constituency, is under mortal threat of extinction by the mere existence of representatives of other races and ethnic groups in its habitat.
For a liberal-minded, educated and economically safe westerner, this ideology looks repugnant and kooky, but what Hitler consciously devised and mobilised a managerial, bureaucratic state to perform has for millennia been a facet of human tribal behaviour – as of recent revived in its ugly form in the decolonised world. Ethnic cleansing, by machetes rather than firing squads and gas chambers, has plagued large parts of the world. The weaponisation of rape to break the “folk-soul” of tribal adversaries is but one of the horrific tactics employed by ethnic militias throughout the world.
The Nazis, racist and white-supremacist, claim that they are the strongest defenders of Western Civilization, and that they abhor Africans (amongst others). Yet, Nazism – in its primal form – is a repudiation of western traditions since the 18th century and before, and aims for the nations of Western Europe and North America to assume a virulent, aggressive form of tribalism which would destroy the very idea of Humanity as a conscious project.
This is but one of the reasons why Nazism must be rejected. This rejection must, however, not take the form of moral panic, and must be based on a wider rejection of tribalism in all its forms. The reason for the danger that Nazism poses is not its inhumanity, but because its keen touch with certain animalistic instincts constituting a part of what we can call “human nature”.
Which is the most terrifying part of it.
Why Tribalism and Nazism are a problem for all human beings
Our country is Earth, our nation is Humanity.
That is the perspective of our movement. As you are well aware, our goal is to help our civilization avert the sixth mass extinction event. This is not only because the ecosystems and the biosphere have a value in themselves, but because humanity is dependent on the weather, the soils, fresh water and biodiversity to thrive.
In short, if you want to truly cherish humanity and the individual human being, you have to express ecocentrism. And if you want to prevent a sixth mass extinction and stabilise the biosphere, you have to have a global outlook. Humans from all parts of the world must need to pool their skills, willpower and resources together if we are going to make it.
Tribalism may be excusable amongst illiterates, hunter-gatherers and isolated farmers in the most remote parts of third world countries. It is definitely not excusable amongst urban dwellers with at least a primary school education – and either is a product of wilful ignorance or malevolence – malevolence, I should add, just not against the groups targeted against the ethnicities or tribes that are the object of derision and hatred, but against all humanity. Because splitting humankind in this century, under this situation – when the most serious crisis life on Earth has faced for the last 65 million years is approaching – is tantamount to an indirect, extended suicide.
Imagine for a moment that the Islamic State – in reality yet another tribalist group, unified around a sectarian, violent form of Salafism – conquered most of the Middle East and established a Caliphate, without much resistance from surrounding powers. Imagine that they succeeded with their goal of establishing Islamic Sharia Law and their form of government, rebuilt their cities and re-established what – from their point of view – would be an Islamic golden age?
Their Caliphate would nevertheless be destroyed when climate change turns much of the Middle East more uninhabitable for human beings when it already is, and a large part of the population are turned into refugees, in the period of 2050 to 2100.
The same if a Fourth Reich is established somewhere in Europe. If all the descendants of Non-European migrants are expelled, if all minorities are quenched and all Jewish influence removed, nevertheless rising sea levels will not only render coastal communities inhospitable, but will also damage sweet-water reservoirs. Melting glaciers in the Alps would disturb river systems, and changing climate will upset the ecological balance and thus expose the population for more hardships.
It is true that we – tribalism or not – are moving rapidly towards an ecological collapse, caused – which once again is true – largely by a civilization based on debt, trade and exponential growth rather than tribalism. But just because tribalism is not directly the cause of the approaching sixth mass extinction event, does not mean it would be a solution to the crisis – as for example those Nazis who are aware of the environmental crisis like to boast.
In order to transition towards sustainability, we need to address the issues of climate change, soil erosion and freshwater depletion from a global perspective. If a civilization or a culture is based around the concept of hostile particularism directed at other groups of human beings, that civilization or culture will have a difficult time cooperating with those it views as hostile or as subhuman. Moreover, its intricately constructed ethnic conflicts and theories of superiority or inferiority represents a distraction from the core problems.
Our rejection of virulent tribalism in all its forms must not be based on liberal-humanist sentimentality or an unwritten, unsaid endorsement of our current, unsustainable civilization, but must be based on an uncompromising faith that we – the human species – can endure this crisis and transition towards sustainability only if we unite around common objectives and view the Earth as our homeland, and Humanity as our nation.
The resurgence of nationalism in all its various forms, as well as of ethnically based conflicts, from Burma to the banlieus of Paris to the inner cities of the United States, is hardly surprising giving the current state of automation, economic development, globalisation and the mass extinction event we have caused and continue to cause as a meta-civilization.
Those reactions, however, would not do much to solve the crisis – in fact they serve to complicate the situation. Tribalists generally view the world as a static, zero-sum game where the tribe would need to attain dominance over a geographic area, be it a neighbourhood, a region, a country or a continent. What they are unable to comprehend is that even if they attain their goals, they will not be able to reach sustainability – which is what they believe they will achieve in their own lives if they succeed in defeating their designated rivals.
However, the EOS cannot fall into the trap of letting the rejection of tribalism become an endorsement of liberalism – because liberalism in its current form is ultimately in itself an endorsement of a civilization built on the illusion of exponential growth, the very system which in itself is causing the sixth mass extinction, and which encourages the masses into passivity and consumerism.
Our universalism must be one built on active inclusion, on introspection and on action simultaneously – a common project based on enlightened, heroic collectivism aimed on transitioning towards a sustainable future for all of humanity.
“We possess the power If this should start to fall apart To mend divides To change the world To reach the farthest star”
For decades, the concept and reality of mutually assured destruction could be said to have contributed to a less warlike world. Since the end of the Second World War, we have not had any more direct wars between Great Powers – not to a small part because the destructive potential defined by the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction ensures that such conflicts only have losers, and that future generations born in the areas affected by mass destruction will still suffer from the destructive effects.
While we haven’t seen nuclear weapons being used in conflict since September 1945, there is little reason for complacency in this regard, especially as the number of nuclear powers have nearly doubled since the 1960’s, with the addition of India, Pakistan, Israel and just recently North Korea. This latest addition to the WMD club has proven to cause an on-going international drama with possibly abominable effects on the prospect of human life in North-East Asia. Another drama which unfolded during the preceding decade was the presumed Iranian Nuclear Weapons programme which has been temporarily solved by a treaty.
The Kingdom of Sweden has signed a petition for a nuclear-free world, which is understandable since the mathematics are simple. The more nation-states that are developing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, the higher the risk will become for a nuclear conflagration occurring somewhere in the world. Moreover, nation-states can turn into failed states, increasing the risk that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of ruthless warlords, nihilistic terrorists or messianic fanatics.
And the more states that acquire the capacity of making nuclear weapons, it will increase the risk of regional arms races. If for example Iran would acquire nuclear weapons, it is a matter of time before Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and maybe even smaller states like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will acquire weapons of mass destruction too. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan allowed Russia to transport the nuclear weapons away from the facilities in these former Soviet republics, in return for border guarantees. Following the annexation of Crimea, regimes such as those in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Belarus could secretly begin the process of reacquisition of weapons of mass destruction.
There is also a more long-term risk that nationalistic states in eastern and central Europe could arm themselves with nuclear weapons. Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Ukraine come to mind. In Africa, emerging great powers such as Nigeria could well initiate the process of nuclearisation. Authoritarian states such as Uganda and Sudan could follow within a few decades. In Asia, there is an increasing risk that Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia can acquire these weapons following the North Korean nuclear armament. And even if a state has no overt designs on nuclear weapons for the moment, the presence of nuclear reactors could easily be used as a tool to produce these harbingers of death, and more and more countries are investing in the development of nuclear reactors.
In short, we should abolish these weapons completely, shouldn’t we?
There is another side of this coin, and that is how the existence of nuclear weapons serves to moderate the actions of great powers. Imagine for a moment if nuclear weapons had never been invented – do you believe the risk for a large conventional war between the Western Alliance and the Soviet Bloc would have been smaller or greater? Thus, the existence of nuclear weapons may actually until now have led to fewer wars and thus fewer violent deaths – but this equation will probably change when we have more than twenty powers armed with atomic weapons. The idealistic notion of complete nuclear disarmament could very well initiate a period when aggressive states are laying claim on weaker neighbours and forcefully expand their borders without the consent of occupied populations.
So, there is a dilemma – if we allow the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons, the risk of their usage will grow, but if we strive towards complete disarmament the incentives to take risks regarding conventional warfare will most likely rise, to the detriment of millions. The current status quo evidently doesn’t work since the five NPT-exempted powers have been joined by four more nuclear-armed powers, and is de-facto the same as the first option.
This article will argue for a third solution, namely a supranationalisation of nuclear technology and existing nuclear weapons.
As outlined in the introduction, the current structure with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the five “legitimate” nuclear-armed powers and the IAEA has failed to stop proliferation.
Complete disarmament, apart from being completely idealistic and therefore unrealistic, risks destabilising countries and increases risks for armed confrontations in Eastern Europe and between the State of Israel and her neighbours.
The solution proposed in this article aims to build on the current system and to strengthen international and institutional control of the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The principle is inspired from the treaty birthed of the negotiations regarding the Iranian nuclear programme.
No new countries will be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
Three international authorities subjected under the IAEA should be established – each having operational control and the complete ability to monitor 1) nuclear reactors, 2) nuclear weapons, 3) launch-pads and ballistic missiles.
Nuclear-armed powers should also discard direct control over the launching systems to the IAEA.
Nation-states which have nuclear weapons will not be forced to disarm, but should leave the operative control of the nuclear weapons and the facilities capable of producing such to IAEA, while still formally being the owners of said weapons, according to the terms presented in the two points immediately above this.
The production, storage and management of radioactive material need to be put under either the control of a supranational organ or under strict monitoring, no matter where it is produced.
If nation-states wish to use nuclear weapons, they would have to ask the Security Council of permission to retrieve control over their launching systems. This would be the matter no matter whether it is the United States, Russia, Pakistan or Israel.
This solution should not be seen as a new permanent status quo but as a step towards a more peaceful, ordered and disarmed world.
The foundational principle
The 2015 framework to limit Iran’s ability to pursue nuclear armament is interesting from this perspective. It limits this specific nation-state’s ability to enrich uranium, the number of enrichment facilities and the production and storage of heavy water. It also establishes strict monitoring by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). These concessions were in turn reciprocated by lifted sanctions. It can actually be argued that the establishment of this harsh nuclear regime over Iran to a certain extent was discriminating – after all, had not Iran signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty? Granted, there were valid reasons to suspect that the nation-state intended to develop the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction.
On the other hand, it can be argued that the injustice lies not in the fact that Iran was subjected to this agreement – but in the fact that the rest of the world isn’t!
Imagine a world order where nuclear weapons and the technology necessary to produce such would be deemed too dangerous to leave under the control of one nation-state? Where the management and operational control of these technologies are in the distributed hands of collaborating international organs intent on securing the responsible usage of these technologies under the purpose of creating a more peaceful world order?
The principle is simple and self-evident – no nation-state should have the ability to kill millions during a matter of minutes. Therefore, the possession of nuclear technology should be deemed too dangerous to be in the hands of any nation-state, no matter if it is North Korea or Norway.
The first and most difficult step
The renouncement of the keys to nuclear technology is for understandable reasons the most difficult one, especially for great powers like the United States, Russia, China and India. These powers are, no matter whether they are authoritarian or democratic, disposed towards safe-guarding their own interests and control, and none of them has any reason to voluntarily absolve themselves of the operative control of their MAD insurances. After all, should the United States, France and the United Kingdom relinquish their power to immediately utilise their nuclear arms, the strategic power of the non-western nuclear states would increase correspondently if they would not at the same time relinquish their nuclear control.
Therefore, the most realistic step to go forth with this proposal would be if a majority of the world’s nuclear powers, and especially those five possessing the most nukes would agree for the IAEA to take control over both their weapons and their nuclear power plants. But why would they move towards this goal, when it would decrease their ability to effectively protect their national security?
Because it will in fact increase that national security.
The status quo established during the 1970’s stipulated that there were five legitimate nuclear-armed powers – the very same powers then possessing permanent seats at the Security Council. The Non-Proliferation Treaty established that countries would not try to acquire nuclear weapons. Evidently, this status quo has failed, since what by 1970 was five nation-states armed with nuclear weapons has today increased to nine, nearly a doubling. By 2067, would we then have around eighteen to twenty states armed with weapons of mass destruction? In a world which by all accounts would be more environmentally ravaged and thus unstable?
By creating a new order, based on relinquishing the control of nuclear weapons to international organs, the security for everyone will be increased, but only if everyone agrees to it.
Moreover, such an order will decrease the incentive for non-nuclear states to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. One of the many problems with the existence of nukes in the hands of states, is that this can underpin imperialistic or domineering behaviour over regions, and create a sense of victimhood for those not endowed with weapons of mass destruction. It can be added that any order built on precedent of status quo, that the United States and Russia have been privileged by having developed nuclear weapons before these weapons became subject to international agreements, is inherently unfair and hypocritical, given that it gives certain states superior rights contra others and therefore the incentives to rebel against this order multiplies.
The eight nuclear powers which have behaved mostly rationally in regards to usage of their arsenals have clear incentives to move along with an order which would decrease everyone’s ability to swiftly resort to destroying millions of human lives. Nevertheless, the transition must be based on trust – and this relinquishment of control will not mean a relinquishment of official ownership. Rather it will be the equivalent of having a semi-automatic assault rifle locked safely in a safe behind the desk of a shooting ground, and its ammunition stored in another part of that building.
Note that this proposal would not mean that the keys to nuclear warfare will be laid at the feet of the UN in a centralised, activated manner. Firstly, that could lead to increased tension between powers, and secondly it could lead to the UN – in the worst possible scenario – developing into a tyrannical one-world government hell-bent on subjecting humanity in all its wonderful diversity to uniform regimentation.
Here is a rough outline of the structure we are imagining:
The IAEA would under this order be granted operational control over all existing nuclear weapons, all existing or planned nuclear power plants and all ballistic missiles, their launching pads and the military installations in question. The direct control will however not be managed by the IAEA in a central manner, but instead be distributed to three sub-authorities which will be primarily focused on managing these facilities. Centrally, the IAEA would rather be tasked with monitoring the global flow of uranium, plutonium, other radioactive materials and waste, and be tasked with reporting any suspected illicit use of such substances.
The possession of the nuclear-launch briefcases will be relinquished by all nuclear powers to the Security Council, and stored on a neutral location under control by an authority oblivious to the launch codes and tasked with only seeing that these entities are not activated, misused, damaged or in any manner compromised (this would also make impossible situations where the president of the United States allows foreign guests to pay money to take photos with themselves holding the nuclear codes, or the president of Russia to forget his nuclear briefcase in a Stockholm hotel).
Under this order, only the Security Council can re-authorise a nation-state with the temporary right to launch a nuclear attack. Yes, this would mean that Russia and China would have the right to decide whether the United States should use nuclear weapons, but it also means that the United States would have the power to authorise or not authorise whether Russia or China should have the right to use nuclear weapons.
If someone tries to act illicitly
The risk for nuclear proliferation remains a serious threat to humanity, and any state which is proven to pursue the ownership and control over weapons of mass destruction must be subjected to the most severe sanctions, blockaded and isolated from the world community – banned from partaking in international events and have its votes relinquished from international organs. This should not even be subject to a vote in the Security Council or in the General Assembly, but a part of international law. Acquiring the power to murder millions of innocent human beings should be seen as conspiracy to democide and treated as a crime against the international community.
If the aggressor in question insists on pursuing such a nefarious goal, there should be a protocol for international intervention in order to neutralise such a government. A war should never be initiated lightly, especially since innocent human beings will undoubtedly die in the calamity. Our movement considers Life to be the highest value in the Universe – which is exactly why weapons intended to kill millions and destroy entire cities at a blink of an eye are the rotten seeds of Pandora’s Box.
The long-term goal – a sustainable world
We have not often written about issues such as these, and this article will guaranteed confront, provoke and enrage. It is a highly political and sensitive subject, and often those who write articles entailing these subjects can be suspected of having hidden agendas, either favouring the Western liberal alliance or the Eastern neo-authoritarian powers in some regard. Our agenda is however not focused on either helping or damaging any party, but on offering advice regarding the protection of Humanity.
In the long term, the mere existence of nuclear weapons is unacceptable for a sustainable future. But in a world of armed nation-states, we need a transitional period where the crucial matter is that institutions are strengthened and given greater power, while the unchecked power of states and other actors must better be regulated.
The simple fact of the matter is that most human societies have been built on the principle of constraining and limiting the execution of violence. Ploughing down resources and time and grey hairs into worrying for your neighbour, the village on the other side of the hill or the tribe inside the forest will take precedence over matters that can improve your life or which you need to attend to. States must simply sacrifice the destructive forms of autonomy which will bring suffering to everyone, in order to be able to enjoy greater safety and liberty.
This is especially urgent since we today are both cursed and privileged to live at the defining moment of Humanity’s historical period, when we globally must make the most difficult decisions in the history of our species. The issues of national prestige, economic competition and geopolitical rivalries pale in front of the approaching Sixth Mass Extinction, a monster which is of our own collective making – and our only real enemy.
The knowledge base you create as a cross reference framework for dealing with your reality, does not solely determine your sight, but vision. For whatever you see, you will see it in contrast to your knowledge base, and if your knowledge base is not wide and deep enough, you will obviously miss a lot of points, and in so doing – loss a lot of time you could’ve saved. This is why a constantly expanding knowledge base is a strategic imperative no matter who you are or what you do, as it saves you a lot of time and grief by cutting the learning curve and quantifies your process towards any kind of goal or attainment. But to really quantify your process of accumulating knowledge and understanding in an optimal way, it is necessary to develop a strategy or method by which you constantly expand your perspectives, by simply deciding and planning what to focus on. Your time, attention and efforts are your primary assets, and how you deploy these in a strategic long term manner is of outmost importance when it comes to really creating a desirable future.
All of this seems fairly obvious, but in terms of really having a more in-depth look at the implications of directing any kind of content through your mind, I believe we tend to overlook some of the more major implications. Because when directing something through your mind, it is not merely a matter of the conscious-mind. The data goes through the subconscious and unconscious-mind as well, and in that process provokes all kinds of reactions, pre-programmed responses and so on. So, knowing this to be the case, and that everything you put in is highly suggestive to the subconscious and unconscious-mind, it makes it easier to see the need for prevention as the best cure. Meaning: to not put anything in that is not useful, supportive and/or integrity wise, in a long term strategic way, as a way of applying the principle of prevention as the best cure to ensure long term success and effectiveness. Because what you put in will determine what you put out.
What I am basically talking about is a strategically long term information diet that is meant to support you in dealing with various areas of life that is determining. There are certain areas of life that we may consider foundational. This would include areas that largely determine what becomes of a human-being. Such as relationships, social-environment, self-awareness, understanding, health and well-being. All of these areas cover a lot of the ground work in learning how to adjust and adapt to really optimize your life. And what is more, all of these areas are changing with the disposition of times, and thus it is necessary to consistently expand your awareness and competence in these areas in order to remain flexible and effective, no matter where and with whom you must deal.
So to contextualize all this in a practically self-empowering way, I will share a bit about an obsession of mine that started when I was about 15 years old, nearly 12 years ago; as I started studying how leaders read. But my interest was more specifically about how leaders decide what to focus on and invest in – a question that has been very difficult for me, as there are so many things of interest to me. So it all started as a way to help myself deal with everything, as I always felt a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities, opportunities and potential I could see through all kinds of knowledge and information that I just couldn’t decide what to really work on. But in this I started seeing a need for planning what to focus on and invest my time in. I started making investment plans in knowledge and information, by building a library, both physical and digital, and eventually, I started working with this concept of long term strategic information diets, that could be constructed and engineered after individual needs.
In this I began creating booklists/data-diets to tackle various problems. I created data diets for people considering suicide, people experiencing anxiety, fear, anger etc. Any kind of problem I could identify, I tried to find a knowledge and information diet that could remedy the problem. And so in this I began a process of living a consistent kind of mind-programming. Eventually I began to experience the effects of my data-diets in terms of improved pattern-recognition, empathy, strategic thinking, deduction abilities and an overall ability to see, realize and understand more complex systems, relationships and problems. I began to experience a kind of mental acuity that I realized anyone could develop. So I started getting in deep, by studying the reading habits of all kinds of leaders. I studied emperors, business leaders, innovators, experts, politicians, athletes and so forth. Now, in this process I found some interesting correlations between many world leaders, and particularly the highest achieving ones. There was always a behavioral pattern of constant learning and reading, and it was always very deep and wide. So what I saw was that what all leaders did was to constantly expand their current perspectives, and neglecting all conclusions to remain flexible and expansive in reasoning, or teachable more directly put. So what can simply be concluded by these studies of the reading habits of leaders, is that you need a plan for your own personal intellectual leadership, in terms of how to invest in knowledge and information. To help people become knowledge and information investors in long term strategic ways. What really is required is a more long term sustainable and strategic approach towards one’s own education, as it is a never ending pursuit, that extends far beyond the education that is formal, and a strategy regarding your education can save you decades of hard work. In this age of knowledge it is clear how complexity is the enemy of execution, and so I think reading disciplines can simplify the complexity and put things into a perspective that makes one more able to execute.
And maybe it is true what the wealthy say, that the only thing you can buy that will make your rich, is books. And additionally, another point to consider about making investment plans for the accumulation of knowledge and understanding, is the compound interest of it. There is for instance no way to predict the compound interest of buying a book such as Benjamin Grahams book The Intelligent Investor. How could that book change your life?
By consistently accumulating valuable knowledge and information, it will throughout time create compound interest, get more organized and you may easier find ways to convert the knowledge into value. It’s about a way of life I suppose; to constantly expand your view, develop leadership vision and find ways to lead your mind and become an effective processor of the 21 century, which is this age of knowledge. It is time to take the habit of reading seriously, and consider how when you create habits, they will eventually create you. Reading is the one constant of the mind. It is always reading, whether it be reactions, emotions, feelings, content, people etc. You are reading both internally and externally, and so reading is a skill, not just an ability, I would argue it is The Skill, and my primary interest is dedicated to help develop people develop this skill, in the fashion many billionaires, investors and world-leaders have done it. It’s truly time to sharpen our reading skills, to make sense out of this overflowing world of information and knowledge.
So with this I hope I have aroused your interest regarding my company and that you would like to learn more about how data diets can be utilized to support yourself in the long term and increase your chances for success in whatever you pursue.
The textbook definition is that it is a complex society characterised by urban development, professional specialisation, symbolic communication forms and a separation between mankind and nature. That definition, however is inadequate to explain what a civilization really is, since it fails to account for how a civilization perpetuates itself and manages to glue itself together.
Ultimately, it can be said that the situationist interpretation of society as a “theatre play” to some extent is true, since human civilization is an on-going process created by institutions which in their turn are constantly being formed by repetitive behaviours and rituals, which are encompassing the social fabric of a civilization and giving it resilience. It is also quite true that such patterns are necessary in order to uphold a civilization. This should not be taken as an endorsement of all norms ever developed by humans, especially as several customs – institutionalised and ritualised racism, subordination, sexism and animal abuse to take a few examples – are imposing various degrees of pain on unwilling participants. Without norms, however, complex societies will not be possible, due to situations arising where individuals may need to sacrifice the interests of themselves and their close kin for other individuals or groups of people who aren’t as closely related. In short, civilization as a concept could be defined as an on-going effort of realising itself.
It could be argued that a civilization concretely depends on three to four interlinked aspects which to some extent shape one another:
A geographical bio-region which provides areas for settlement and resource extraction. (Aspect Zero).
An infrastructure which allows human beings to take out a surplus necessary to form the basis for an organised way of life.
A culture of norms and expectations regarding interpersonal and inter-group behaviour which provide a manner of conflict resolution in tow with a common sense consensus.
A cluster of internally consistent values which serves to legitimise the status quo and the very existence of the civilisation in question.
This article will focus on the fourth and last of these aspects, in short what constitutes a hegemonic ideology, why a hegemonic ideology is needed, how the current hegemonic ideology – Liberalism – operates, and how it relates to our current way of life and our civilization. And thirdly, I will devote this article to define and elaborate on The Ideology of the Third Millennium, which is the driving value compendium behind our movement.
Human beings are dependent on food and sleep for sustenance.
Society arises because it offers humans scale benefits.
Human beings are however not biologically evolved to organise in large groups.
Societies need internally consistent value systems from which concepts of justice, arbitration and power could be derived.
Such value systems can establish themselves in the form of cultural traditions and intellectual systems such as religion, philosophy and ideology.
Ultimately, the purpose of an ideology is to establish what the meaning of the civilization project is.
Our current hegemonic ideology, Liberalism, was created during a period when we could not foresee how the biosphere could be imperilled by carefree usage of the planet’s surface and resources.
Therefore, we need a new hegemonic ideology.
The ideology of the Third Millennium exists to establish an internally consistent array of ethics integrated within one intellectual system for the future sustainable civilization.
Our goal is to create a holistic ideological system where the liberties and rights of individuals should be enshrined and protected.
What you can ascertain
As a human being, there are only two things you can know the existence of – your own consciousness and an external reality which it (your consciousness) is unable to directly exert total control over.
Your body is not fully autonomous, but dependent on nutrition which it cannot produce on its own, only acquire from external sources. If your body’s intake of water and food is inadequate, it will start to break down and you will eventually die.
Therefore, you need to eat to live. And when you are eating, you are utilising physical surface on the planet, which other species desire too, for they too need to eat – otherwise they shall perish as individuals. As Lierre Keith wrote: “For you to live, something else will need to die”.
I am perfectly aware that statements such as these are not popular or opportune for the young generations in the western world. Our current civilization has done a great work to separate ourselves from the reality created by our patterns of consumerism and resource usage, putting a veil of conscious ignorance between our manner of living and the effects it has on the biosphere.
Now, our movement is as pro-humanity a movement as there ever was. We desire for humanity to thrive on this Earth sustainably, and to secure the existence of a civilization for millennia. We need to eat, but we need to use the surface and space provided to us as wisely and optimally as possible.
To return to the topic of human existence – in order to amplify our ability to survive, we tend to cluster together in communities. We are a social species, and for untold generations humans lived, ate and socialised within the framework of small kinship communities living a life-style as hunter-gatherers. Organising in larger societies demand more complex forms of organisation, which are not adapted to our biological nature.
In short, conflicts that arise within the confinement of small groups can be solved through case-by-case arbitration when the group is a small, closely related band of Palaeolithic roamers. If you start to see emerging communities of hundreds of individuals, some which are not that closely related, you may soon witness the breakdown of society into groups fighting turf wars over living space and resources. This has forced through an evolution over the ages, in most sedentary civilisations, towards institutions – both formal and informal – which regulate and channel human behaviour, interests and passions in a manner which should reduce activities destructive for the continuation of civilization.
Note that most ideologies and treatises written by philosophers and leaders have focused on how to make humans live together and how to regulate the usage of land and property in such a manner that society doesn’t break down.
Modes of control
Most societies generally have three different forms of control which are used to uphold stability and establish norms and patterns of behaviour. In general, control is utilised in order to make the individual act in a manner which is seen as in accordance with the values and interest of greater society (beyond the kin of the individual), even if this manner in question would entail the individual moving against their own interests or the interests of their close relatives. Note that we do not claim that control in itself is something which always should be aspired towards, or that all forms of control are ethically sound.
Physical control – whereas one or several dominant figures operate through a chain of command, with the power to execute punishments and dole out rewards. The oldest form of control, prevalent since hundreds of millions of years back when animals started to use their size to dominate those smaller or weaker than themselves.
Social control – when the fear of rejection and the desire to be included within the meaningful framework of a social kinship is putting impact upon the behaviour of an individual. This kind of control seems to be organically ingrained in normally functioning human beings, as any casual observation of a schoolyard would indicate. This form of control is strongly related to cultural mores and is generally providing stability beyond what individual leaders could muster. Could be observed in species of social mammals apart from humanity, especially amongst apes.
Inner control – externally the simplest and most peaceful type of control, but the internally most complex form since it doesn’t rely of any hypothetical intervention from another party, just their mere existence. The individual here has formed a super-ego, an ideal version of themselves which they strive to realise and which they judge their actions in relation with. For an example, a person may refrain from committing an act considered illegal or immoral, even if there was conceivably no risk of getting caught, due to the sense of disconnect it would create between the idealised meta-identity of the individual and actions violating this idealised image. For example, a person may refrain from taking in possession an object of value found in a remote place, and instead opt to contact the police, even though there is little to none risk of being discovered and chastised by the wider society.
Of course, these three forms of control coexist in most human societies presently existing on our globe, though they vary in composition, emphasis and strength dependent on both societies and individuals. Some rare individuals may only be curtailed by fear of physical retribution, and some equally rare individuals are mostly driven by their inner locus of control.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium views the third form of control as the most evolved, and see in it one of the keys for humanity to achieve inner sustainability. When people strive consciously towards being the ideal they want to see implemented in the world, the amount of discord, self-interest and oppression will decrease – because humanity will evolve towards a more advanced state of existence.
This, however, necessitates a common foundation of values. The system of ethics ingrained into a civilization regarding human interrelationships, proper responses to events and how to show respect and consideration for other human beings and non-human individuals, and the principles from which these patterns are emerging must be consistent, allow for a spectrum of interpretation and be flexible enough to handle new situations. A civilization displaying a wildly varying diversity of ethical systems without the majority connecting to one overarching more is destined to rip itself apart. Right now, there are literally hundreds of different ethical systems throughout our Earth, some of which are diametrically opposed. Often-most, tribal ethical systems use two different sets of ethical rulers – one applied for the tribe and one for those outside of it. Such ethical systems can properly not be attributed as ethics as all, because they are per definition only serving the collective self-interest of one group above everyone else. It is advised to take a stare at Papua New Guinea to realise that the simultaneous implementation of dozens of particularist ethical belief systems on the same geographic space will produce a result which is beyond sub-optimal for all involved parties.
Thus, an ethos for a multi-ethnic, future sustainable civilization needs to be universal. That is not said that all other systems of ethics shall be repressed, but just as under Liberalism, there should be one which is normative.
Why cannot, however, Liberalism be that ethos, as it already is the dominant Ethos of the western world, and indeed is universalist and establish equal rights of all human beings?
At first glance, Liberalism – the hegemonic ideology of today’s western world – appears to be the best constructed and most consistent of the ideologies until now created, not the least because it has, as Francis Fukuyama evidently pointed out, of the large ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries it’s the only one still widely practiced, while its rivals – Marxism-Leninism and Third Positionism – have largely ceased to exist as rival claimants to the interpretation of reality. If we look at the western world, with a few fringe exceptions, democratic socialism and conservatism can today be viewed not as independent ideologies in their own right, but as outliers of Liberalism which are basing most of their value systems on the heritage of classical liberals and social liberals.
Without dwelling too much on what Liberalism is or from where it is derived, we can state that we define it as an ideology centred upon the individual as a legal subject, and on the idea that laws should be founded on natural, individual rights. All adult individuals are viewed as equal in terms of being citizens and legal subjects. Conflicts between human beings should, in case a party is breaching law or causing injury, be solved within the framework of public or civil courts. A principle of separation of powers shall ensure that the state cannot fall under the power of one individual or faction. Another principle is democracy, that those tasked with government should rule with consent of the electorate and be representatives rather than rulers.
All of these principles, we agree with.
So why do we then need a new Ideology?
Because, there are several issues with Liberalism that makes it ill-equipped to intellectually and empathically deal with our current global ecological crisis. Moreover, some of the way in which Liberalism grade its principles are actually detrimental to our ability to transition the world towards a sustainable future.
Liberalism sees the individual as the focus and subject of society – the purpose of society is to guarantee individual rights visavi other individuals. However, an individual is not an atomised unit, but a consciousness dependent on a physical support system (a body) which is dependent on nutrients which can only be extracted from external sources (of the individual). If we exclude that reality, we disconnect the individual from the environment and render the environment into an abstraction.
Natural rights – the foundation of human rights – are based on the protection of property, which is seen as an absolute right. In fact, most classical liberal philosophers derive their philosophy of rights from the idea that all individuals possess natural self-ownership over their bodies. This brings with a number of problems, because multinational corporations – abstract entities really – are given equal (de jure) and more than equal (de facto, since they have more capital and thence time to act through the court system) powers in arbitration regarding conflict with individuals. In several countries, companies poison the water, destroy the air and subject their workers to inhumane working conditions, and the system of property rights are used as an ideological shield to justify their atrocities.
Rights are seen as being derived from the potential ability to reason, meaning that they are belonging exclusively to human beings. Thus, according to Liberalism, animals are either ‘externalities’ (if being a part of the wildlife), or property (if being domestic), and the well-being of the animal must always be weighed in relation to what damage intervention inflicts on the property rights of the owner. (See the article “Relational Rights” – https://eosprojects.com/relational-rights-a-new-foundation.html)
An economy must always primarily be a free market governed by the derivatives of supply and demand. Demand from this perspective is a function of the consumer’s demand curve, which basically denotes their monetary capability to consume. This means that a wealthy German male is seen as having the same right to acquire the ownership of a mechanical clock displaying a doll with an old geezer who can drag down his pants and fart, as a poor Malian woman is having a right to water and rice.
The environment is primarily seen as a “public utility” at best, since tourists may want “nice forestlands” to visit, and people may demand documentary films. Ultimately, keeping the environment “clean” is seen – again, at best – as another interest of equal regards as continued economic growth, property rights, urban zoning, the interests of entrepreneurs and consumer protection. The judgement regarding the macroscopic effects of a sixth mass extinction is not even present, as authorities are seen as managing a static set of interests in relation to rules based on the values of a disinterested, secular and liberal state.
Liberalism ultimately views the inherently unsustainable form of economic growth made possible by unlimited credit and consumerism as positive, and holds a positive view on consumerism as “liberating” the human being. In fact, Liberalism views the kind of atomised individualist who is the product of 70 years of commercialisation and commodification of our civilization as “the human in its natural state”, free from the inhibitions and social control inflicted by previous societies. This society is also seen as intrinsically desirable because it allegedly is a product of consumer choices. Progress is viewed as a linear curve always pointing to the right and upward, and according to Liberalism everything will always become better, because people in general have longer lives and a higher general income today than 200 years ago (which is true). They then extrapolate from this argument that this rise of global living standards will continue indefinitely, at the same rate as before, and that it will not be affected very much by rising sea levels or by soil deterioration and collapsing eco-systems caused by monocultures. Most of the establishment is aware that a few of the global environmental problems (notably most often mentioned being global warming) are poising a threat… to the current system of perpetualised economic growth that is. For if we “stumble” into a sixth mass extinction event, they realise that what they cherish and love about our current civilization cannot possibly continue.
In this regard, the delusion of the current system becomes apparent – it is like if a human being learning that unless they improve they are going to succumb to cancer is expressing grave concerns about the well-being of the tumour, and fervently denies that the tumour is the root cause of their ailment.
This forms the foundation of our civilization’s doublethink, where officials and leaders are guided through Powerpoint presentations which show how we are killing our biosphere, and later other presentations which show how we are going to increase economic growth. They put up regulations designed to curb emissions, and sign free trade treaties which increase them. And this they do in the sincere belief that they are “contributing to” the salvation of the planet, wishfully thinking that their lukewarm and self-contradictory reforms together with some Wundertechnologie will remove the bad environmental effects from the good system.
There are several reasons that they are unable to move away from the sky castle in which they are trapped. What we need to understand is that these people sincerely believe that the current way, despite its many shortcomings of which they are the first to admit, are convinced that it is the least bad system at worst, and that incremental changes and adjustments can salvage mankind through the crisis. When they hear more radical proposals, they instinctively cower in fear and react with anger, fearful that these radical proposals will scare the powerbrokers away from listening to moderate reform proposals, and are themselves stalked by premonitions of the crimes done in the name of the non-liberal or anti-liberal Utopian ideologies of the 20th century.
Our intention is not to destroy Liberalism, but to create a new Ideology which cherishes and protects the rights and dignity of the human being, while at the same time building its intellectual framework on an evolved, holistic view of our planet based on the knowledge we today have about how we are affecting and damaging an incredibly complex biosphere.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium – Life, Love and Light
At the core of every successful Ideology is a unified concept detailing the ethos and pathos of said ideology, and telling its adherents what – in essence – the meaning of the human civilization is. In short, what the meaning of life should be according to these values. No matter if the proponents of the ideology is aware of it or not, their adherence to their credo is often based, in its rawest form, on the ideology’s conception of a fundamental value. The ideologies which we have had, can often be summarised down to one word. Beneath, you can see how the most successful isms of the 19th and 20th centuries formulated their core values.
Traditionalism – Hierarchy
Conservatism – Order
Liberalism – Liberty
Socialism – Equality
Third Positionism – Struggle
Many of the original proponents of said ideologies were themselves unable to comprehend their own fundamental values, in relation to the values upheld by the founders of their rival belief systems. We are not going down that path, and we are very aware that the Ideology of the Third Millennium is founded on one, fundamental value which we believe should be the guiding principle of a self-aware, planetary civilization.
The value of Life.
Life, the guiding principle
We humans are living beings, and everything which we pursue in our lives is built upon the fact that we exist, that we are here and that we are alive. All the values, dreams and aspirations which every individual strive for in their own lives, are hinging on the existence of consciousness. No matter what this concept entails, it is necessary for every human being to be alive in order to be conscious, in order to pursue their interests.
Other species are striving towards the same goal of expressing themselves according to their capabilities and limitations. Life, self-conscious or not, seems guided by the desire to express itself. This need to survive and will to thrive have formed our biosphere – from its humble origin in chalky puddles of water or toxic sulphuric gas vents – towards planetary conquest, a symphony of tens of thousands of biomes and ecosystems, constantly transforming, expanding, contracting and inventing through the process of Darwinian evolution. This process, beginning with self-replicating amino acids and eventually birthing humanity, turned the Earth into a living planet – a paradise of colours, scents and songs. From our perspective, every human being has been given a chance to add their contribution to this great symphony – and with our creativity at disposal, there is no limit to the ways in which we could express ourselves.
It should be noted that humanity, despite its great ingenuity, wouldn’t be anything without the beautiful, living Earth which it emerged on once. Without the rivers and lakes, the fertile soils formed by thousands of generations of species, the forests and grasslands, and the animals which have assisted us during our rise, we would never have been able to form a civilization in the first place.
Unfortunately, our Universe is not – in general – well-adjusted for the emergence of complex forms of life. Most of it, 99,999999…% of its volume, consists of a dark, cold void, a few fractions of a degree warmer than absolute zero. Life – as we know it – is dependent on sources of energy. Stars, the fusion power-plants of the Cosmos, are manifold billions, but virtually insignificant in relation to the full volume of space. Around some of these stars, worlds with the capability to support complex eco-systems are situated, and life eventually emerge on them. Many of these worlds will undergo disasters throughout their history, wiping out all our significant portions of their Life again and again. Gamma rays and solar bursts may scorch the surface, meteorites and super volcanoes may blot out their suns, and some planets may even be ejected out from their mother systems, orphaned and destined to wander the cold vastness for billions of years…
And here we are, on our Earth. Five times, Life has nearly been extinguished, and five times it has rebounded, after millions of years of recovery. Humanity has existed for 150 000 years, and the concept of human civilization is a mere 10 000 years old. In relation to that, our latest rebound following the latest global mass-extinction has taken place for the last 65 million years. Life on Earth has existed for 3,5 billion years, though complex life has only existed for half a billion years.
The position of the Ideology of the Third Millennium, is that Life is the foundation for our civilization – and moreover, it is our Credo. It is diverse. It is beautiful. It is a flowing river of opportunities. It is everything. It is the Universe experiencing itself. It has allowed us the chance of standing up over the savannah, and be able to gaze beyond the stars and into our own souls.
Therefore, we mean that the founding imperative of a Planetary Civilization should be to uphold Life as the highest principle – that Life is the highest value of our Cosmos and that worlds with capability to host complex life are the most cherished material entities in the Universe. This means that we have an obligation to design our civilization in such a manner that we allow Life to flourish and multiply.
Our current civilization is – as you well know – not built upon these principles. Rather, it is founded on the maxim that short-term economic growth should be upheld indefinitely and be so positive as possible for the next quarter of a year. Those defending Life under this current system must beg on their bare knees to gain attention, must flatter and scrape before the powers that control the resources and must almost apologise for having the nerve of existing in face of the self-evident principles of fractional reserve banking and consumerism, because their suggested alterations may well hurt the prospects of continued economic growth. In fact, those forces who care about the future of life on Earth often have to resort to studies which claim that environmental soundness is good for economic growth, for example regarding tourism.
Proponents of the Ideology of the Third Millennium are ready to have a civilised dialogue and seek a discussion about an incremental transition towards a sustainable future, but we will never apologise for the desire to save our biosphere. For us, Life is not something which shall need to plead for its right to exist. Our manner of destroying the oceanic eco-systems through trawling and to turn half the planetary land surface into mono-cultures and significant portions of it into concrete wasteland is not even objectively good for ourselves in the medium to long term, since we are undermining the foundations of human civilization. It is beyond doubt that our current way of managing resources and surfaces is parasitic and is turning Life into Death, which is fundamentally against all our principles.
We believe in Humanity, and that we are able to form a truly planetary culture which can create a prosperous and thriving existence for our species while upholding a sustainable relationship with the biosphere on which we all depend for our sustenance. We also believe that this is not only a possibility – it is a duty for our Civilization to uphold sustainability and to see Life as the highest value, consideration and meaning of its existence.
The future civilization should not be founded on the fear of force or exclusion, but on respect for human beings. Human beings are expressions of Life, and are each endowed with rights and duties towards one another and towards humanity as a whole. When we form communities within the framework of this new, sustainable civilization, they need to be based on a non-aggression principle which is based on the respect for Life rather than property.
In the heart of this principle is that human beings have a right to live, from the moment that they are born. That is the right which is the fundament of all other rights. From this follows that human beings should not be exposed to force, threats of force or intimidation with the purpose of creating distress. From this also follows that all human beings have a right to nourish themselves, to have a space where they can sleep and do their needs in private, to be able to clothe themselves and to have equal access to the public spaces of their communities, as well as free right to travel.
The exception to this is when human beings have committed acts of violence and have victimised other individuals. They may be restricted from having full access to the community, but may not be wilfully physically injured or put under treatment with the purpose of causing physical or emotional distress when they have already been neutralised. Every human being does however have a right to self-defence.
All human beings have a right to a say in matters where they are affected by the decisions of others, whether individual, communitarian, judicial or global. This includes communities, which should have power to influence decisions regarding the usage of land and resources which will affect their livelihood in one way or another. People have the right to form and utter political, religious and social opinions, in public and private, and to form voluntary associations.
Animals have rights to the extent that when human beings, individually or collectively, are imposing their will on animals, and directly or indirectly are affecting the natural behaviour of the animals, the decisions should be made in a manner of respect towards the animals and a desire to the extent that is possible protect their ability to pursue their natural behaviour. If their natural behaviour cannot be guaranteed, procedures involving unwilling animal participation should be discouraged. Human beings do however have a right to self-defence if they are attacked by an animal.
When we make decisions in order to transition our civilization towards sustainability, many human beings will see their interests injured – which is inevitable. The process of transition must be moderated in accordance with these rights to ensure that all human beings, even those for various reasons being vehemently opposed to the transition, should have their rights, as defined above, guaranteed and respected. Any future systems must be designed in a de-centralised manner which seek to have independent bodies which would seek to it that the transition towards sustainability and the management of our civilization is conducted in a manner that safeguards human rights and dignities.
Property is however not an extension of a human body, and when operations are damaging to other human beings or the environment, forceful action to stop the abuse cannot – as long as it doesn’t involve the physical injury of the property owner – be considered a violation of human rights. The property owner does have a right to challenge the forced management of their property, and their other rights may not be infringed upon by such an intervention, and should be ensured.
We do not view rights as propertarian, but as relational, and for those interested we have written a previous article on the subject.
Regarding duties, we see to it that there are negative (strong) duties, to not destroy biomes or damage the biosphere, to not commit wanton acts of cruelty towards other individuals, to not cause distress to other human beings and to not display indifference in regards to events when others are being subjected to suffering. There are also positive duties, to uphold Life and support what makes Life thrive, to show empathy towards one another and towards animal life, and to contribute to the new planetary civilization.
These duties are however not compulsory, and it is by far worse to police a fellow human being regarding their active conduct regarding positive duties. Instead, those who feel strongly about these ideals should by themselves act as a light for the world and make a positive example out of themselves primarily. A foundational principle of our way is that introspection and inner control shall gradually phase out primitive forms of outer control, and that we actively should strive to form our culture in such a way that we evolve towards a state where few if any are still subject under the individual governance of base instinct.
This does not entail that we desire humanity to evolve into the Vulcans of Star Trek, or the dispassionate Jedi of Star Wars. We desire that humanity embraces its full potential, both collective and individual, and strive towards an open community where no one shall be compelled or forced to conform to a certain kind of fad or thinking. Emotions shall not be repressed, instead we must focus on understanding our emotions and being able to separate ourselves from them when necessary.
We have established the Ethos of our future civilization (Life), and the manner in which we must relate to one another (Love). This segment is devoted towards discussing, not how our institutions should be governed (that is a matter for The Design, not The Ideology), but rather after what principles decisions should be made.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium does not proscribe any particular policies on the micro-level. As long as policies strive towards social and ecological sustainability and do not exert harm on individuals, there should be a foundation to discuss the form of their execution in relation to the goal. A few “ideologies”, notably obscure far-left isms such as “Maoism” and “Hoxhaism” have been quick to proscribe singular, specific policies as core tenets of their ideology, for example collective farms, mass organisation, the creation of low-quality steel through home furnaces and the genocide of bird populations using loud things. Critique of these policies have often been interpreted as vicious attacks as the ideologies themselves. We, the proponents of the Ideology of the Third Millennium do not believe that an Ideology should or even can point towards any specific policies, or establish policies at all. Rather, our Ideology should influence our policies in regard to what we are striving towards, and what we may not do in the pursuit of them.
However, what we can establish is the principles under which policies should be evaluated and enacted. These principles are built on Enlightenment, namely that:
Decision-makers, elected representatives or the citizenry are expected to deliberate upon the desired goals of a hypothetical policy.
When these desired goals have been expressed, groups with expertise in the fields pertaining to the desired goals should be introduced into the process and produce, amongst themselves, scenarios under which these goals could best be realised to the lowest cost for the communities and for the environment.
Ideological and political considerations (apart from human rights and sustainability) must not be utilised when the expert groups are establishing scenarios and measuring them. The policies must be judged according to the scientific method.
The expert groups need to conduct their study of the policies in a transparent manner, and both the summaries and the full report must be publically available. They must also present the proposals to the public in good time before a vote, and the public must be allowed to give their input.
The community must make sure that the public understand the policies which are introduced.
The policies must be introduced in a democratic manner.
The scientific method cannot establish normative goals, nor can it state anything about what morality our civilization should adhere to. However, it is the least bad of the methodologies we have at our disposal currently in how we are ascertaining facts and are relating to reality whenever something should be built, renovated, introduced or legislated.
For the opposite form of procedures, we can ask the reader to view the proposal of the current US Presidential Administration to build a southern border wall. Instead of carefully deliberating on how to achieve a policy objective (decreasing illegal immigration), the Administration has founded its mandate on the implementation of a goal which has not been studied or analysed by experts.
Enlightenment does however entail more than how policy processes are shaped.
It is imperative that the citizenry is educated. Rather than speaking about raw knowledge regurgitated through an educational system of the industrial public school variety, we are talking about a state of existence where the people should be able to reason in an informed manner about policies and values, be able to understand and critique arguments based on principles rather than opinions, where a majority would be able to recognise instances of psychological manipulation, the exercise of flawed arguments and to discard appeals to passions such as anger, sexual arousal, fear and pride. We strive to move even farther, and create the environment for future generations that would recognise and thwart attempts to subconsciously affect them through the use of marketing.
Our current civilization is partially built on the opposite foundations. It is informally seen as a right to attempt to affect the cognitive functionalities of the public through misleading or implicitly dishonest advertising. The forces of consumerism has strived to create an environment where people are increasingly under the control of their baser needs and instincts, in order to reduce the inhibitions to the indulgence of spree-shopping. In short, the foundations of a liberal, rationalistic civilization is challenged from within by advertisement and entertainment industries which together are working to make the public more stupid and more susceptible.
We need to strive towards the opposite, not by filling the heads of the public with knowledge which they cannot at present utilise, but by learning the populace what knowledge is, and what intellectual tools there are at disposal to properly use knowledge. We desire to and must work to create the foundations for an enlightened people armed with the ability to reason and utilise logic for the ends of protecting their interests and the interests of the planet.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium is centred around Life as the highest value, social and ecological sustainability as the goal and the protection of individual rights as an imperative. It is also essential that policy formulations are separated from notions, prejudices, opinions and politics and are undergoing a universal process where expert groups transparently should present proposals to the public.
It differs from the current hegemonic Ideology of Liberalism in the following ways.
Liberalism sees the Individual as an atomised, abstract unit endowed with rights derived from their (human) rationality and from property rights (initially being seen as being God-given).
The Ideology of the Third Millennium sees the individual as a consciousness in possession of a physical body which needs nutrients, sleep and intellectual and emotional stimuli.
Liberalism sees property rights as the foundation and model of all rights.
The Ideology the Third Millennium sees that rights arise from relationships, and whenever a human being is interacting in some capacity with another human being, both parties are having rights and duties in regards to one another. Animal have rights when human beings are affecting their ability to pursue their natural behaviour.
Liberalism believes that the laws of supply and demand are the highest good in the realm of economics, and that they are the basis of economic policy. The environment is seen as an external factor and a special interest at best. According to classical Liberalism, human well-being is subjective and a wealthy person’s desire for a third car is at worst equal to a poor person’s desire for rice.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium seeks to it that we should strive towards a functioning biosphere, to ensure the well-being of future generations, while ensuring that no human being must live under a certain minimum level measured by objective standards.
Liberalism sees the highest good as the unimpeded right of the individual to live their life as they please, within the context of a civilization based on exponential growth and consumerism.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium sees the highest good that we build a Life-centred civilization, where each and every human being is free to express themselves within the constraints imposed by the needs of the biosphere to thrive.
Liberalism views it as so that all human beings are entitled to their opinions and prejudices, and that individuals, political parties and maybe more than anyone corporations have the right to manipulate human perceptions with misleading advertisement and propaganda.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium views it as so that all human beings are entitled to possess the intellectual tools that make critical reasoning possible, and have a right to be intellectually armed against manipulation.
Liberalism sees the western civilization of post-1991 as the End of History and the culmination of human endeavour.
The Ideology of the Third Millennium sees it as our duty to build a civilization which upholds as its highest value Life, as the highest goal a sustainable planetary biosphere able to sustain future human generations, balanced with a need to ensure that humanity could – individually and collectively – thrive within the constraints imposed by the planetary carrying capacity.
Liberalism and the Ideology of the Third Millennium agrees that human rights need to be defended, and that human beings have a right to influence decisions affecting them, to voluntary association, freedom of movement, of faith and political conviction and to have the right to partake in and refuse to partake in political activities. Both ideologies agree that there should be an independent judiciary body and a freedom of information.
The first goal of the Ideology of the Third Millennium is to be a platform for public education, with the goal of establishing a global consensus regarding the following issues.
That Life on Earth is the highest single value for humanity.
That we have a serious ecological crisis regarding climate, soils, freshwater reserves and biodiversity.
The goal should not be to ban or censor divergent opinions, but to ensure that 66% of the global majority understand the reasons behind and support this consensus, and that it is necessary for humanity surviving with dignity on Earth.
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
“We possess the power If this should start to fall apart To mend divides To change the world To reach the farthest star”
Ronan Harris, VNV Nation, the Farthest Star
“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.”
Why do we need a theory framework about Human Rights?
To achieve sustainability, we need to focus not only on the environment, but also on the well-being of our own species. We need to establish a framework from which we can establish foundational, universal norms.
The question then arises, “Why are the current Universal Human Rights as defined by the United Nations insufficient?”
Insufficiency, I would argue, is the wrong word. I would rather call it an inadequacy, which stems from the intellectual firmaments of the contemporary theory of rights. The problem is not so much the rights in themselves, as the rails of reasoning from which this contemporary western concept of rights have emanated, and the regressive effects it has – especially regarding the in some cases non-existent border between real human beings of flesh and blood, and what really amounts of abstract concepts. If we do have the goal of creating a sustainable future for humanity, our ideology must have a theory of rights on its own.
While a concept of rights have existed since ancient times, the contemporary view on rights were expanded on from the establishment of Lockean “natural laws” in the 17th century.
These “natural laws” based the theory of early human rights from the concept of property rights. In short, all rights are derived from human self-ownership.
Thus, rights are primarily seen as an individual endeavour, aimed at granting all citizens universal protection from violence.
Since that, what rights are has been expanded quite much, but most of the intellectual foundations could be traced back to Locke.
This does however also grant entities such as corporations most of the same rights, while denying for example non-human individuals any rights whatsoever.
Moreover, property is ultimately an abstract concept gradually evolved during the transition from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian civilization.
We argue that rather than property, we could base the concept of rights on relationships.
A short history, from the Enlightenment to the United Nations
Human rights emanate from a concept called “natural rights”, which was defined by the English philosopher John Locke. The concept entails that human beings are endowed rights independent from state power – namely negative rights, which are defined in terms of the ownership of property. These property rights transcend the idea of being legally founded – instead they are viewed as a priori divinely ordained. Locke’s philosophy was partially derived from the experiences of the English Civil War and how state power was abused in the 17th century during the inter-religious conflicts of contemporary Europe, and partially a rebuttal to Hobbes’ Leviathan – a philosophical work with the opposing view that all legitimacy stemmed from state power, legalistically vested in the concept of commonwealth. Locke’s foundational idea is that each individual is self-owning, and is also owning the land with which they mix their labour (hunter-gatherers and natives are however exempt from that in Locke’s vision, as they do not cultivate the land on which they live).
Until the 19th century, the Anglo-Saxon philosophical tradition often focused on negative rights, which stated that human beings were endowed with a right to not be the object of confiscatory or aggressive actions from other human beings or from violence executed by a political power – as long as the human in question did not violate the rights of any other human being. During the time when the agricultural civilisation slowly turned into an industrial one, positive rights – like limiting work hours, retirement funds, education and the right to shelter were introduced and gradually expanded into varying types of social safety nets.
Human beings have rights because they are endowed with reason, which gives them self-ownership, an inviolable ownership contract on their own bodies. This remains the foundation for human rights until this day.
What are the problems with that?
There are obvious problems with deriving an ought from the ability to possess reason and from the legal concept of property. Firstly, natural rights work as a theoretical intellectual game, but in reality the concept of property evolved gradually and slowly. Early, pre-agricultural human societies did not even have a concept of personal property – rather the land was seen as a conscious being which owned itself. Thus, the concept of rights in the current western tradition is based on the idea that a human-constructed metaphysical concept somehow preceded humanity (the early enlightenment philosophers were all Christians or at least deists, so they presupposed the existence of a creator who had established universal laws before human beings and based these laws on rational foundations – while the creator was relegated away from worldly affairs with secularism, the underpinnings are still largely built on that assumption).
The problem that inevitably arises with a concept of rights based on property rights as a foundation, is that property legally can own itself, and thus be bestowed personhood. When for example a corporation poisons the water reservoirs of a district and thus ruins tens of thousands of subsistence farmers, it is usually treated as a mere conflict of interest in a judicial manner, rather than as a crime against humanity. When a corporation handles genetically modified crops irresponsibly, thus ensuring that they spread and grow in adjacent farming communities, and then sue the farmers for “pirating” the trade-marked crops, it is actually taken seriously by several institutions. The prevalent consensus of our age has been that corporations are endowed with the natural right to take possession of land, freshwater reservoirs and other resources and handle them in manners which hurt not only the environment but local populations as well.
Of course, positive rights are also enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration, but the prevalent tendency in most national legislations has been to interpret the utilisation of human rights within legal framework in a manner which clearly shows that property rights trump the other rights. The practice seems to indicate that, which hardly is surprising. After all, multi-national corporations have resources which states and politicians need, while poor subsistence farmers have nothing to offer.
We should of course not omit to mention the billions of non-human beings used in the global meat and dairy industry. Most mammals on our planet, excluding us humans of course, belong to a limited number of domesticated species, mostly utilised for the sake of their meat, their milk or their eggs. Oftentimes, they are forced into conditions where they are fixated on one spot, are enduring intense, blinding light uninterruptedly, are fed with fast-growth fodder or even pumped with hormones to grow extra fast, and are unable to fulfil aspects of their natural behaviour. They are moreover exposed to situations where they are overfed to the point of being bloated, where they are suffering from unhealthy amounts of sulphur from their own un-cleaned cages, where they are gnawing on the tails and ears of one another, where many succumb to illnesses even before slaughter and where they are exposed to anxiety and mental agony.
Yet animals are said to have no rights, because they cannot own property – because they do not possess reason. This has historically legitimised animal cruelty and has in our age contributed to the near complete industrialisation of livestock existence. While it is clear that there are other factors behind this horrendous manner of treating living beings, it is clear that our current concept of rights does not take their interests into assumption.
A new foundation for a Theory on Rights – Relationships
Rights are not a matter of facts but of values. And values are shaped by culture and philosophy, concepts which are created and upheld by human beings. This does not mean that such concepts are just ‘abstract’ or can be violated at whim, only that there is – to our knowing – no external force which will establish right from wrong. Thence, we are for better or worse endowed with the duty to define the values on which we should build a theory on rights.
There are however a few conditions on which these values must be built. Firstly, they must be consequential and built on equal rules for all human beings. Secondly, they must be able to provide at a minimum equal safety and liberty as the current model of rights, and strive to be able to offer better protection.
It is essential that rights should be understood in more than a legalistic framework – that they should be seen as a part of the culture rather than as an extension of legislative processes. Rather than being supported by laws, a concept of rights should per definition be supporting the spirit of any legislative processes. When transcending the current foundations for a theory on rights, we must not throw out the baby with the bathwater, and we must build on the civic experiences of two thousand years of western civilization, in terms of the idea that the protection of the individual should not stand or fall at the whim of anyone faction with the ability to inflict trauma through the command of violence. Therefore, just like our current idea of rights, the new foundation of rights need to be founded on the idea that rights should be seen as underpinning the legal foundations of society.
Pre-legality or “supra-legality” is however not the only condition which is necessary to define rights. They must be derived from an aspect of human existence, which should be universally understood and possible for the consistent application of equal rules. The definitions of rights established by Locke managed to achieve this goal by defining the term “self-ownership”, which despite its problems has managed to form the basis of a consistent value-system.
We argue that rights as a concept emerge:
Whenever sapient beings interact with one another.
Whenever a sapient being interacts with a sentient being.
Whenever an organised institution governed or programmed by sapient beings interacts with either sapient or sentient beings.
Sapience is defined as the ability to have conscious self-awareness of one self and others, and to be able to reason empathically. If a being has these characteristics, it follows that the being should be treated with respect and not willingly or by neglect exposed by others to conditions which endanger the health of the being in question. It also follows, since all sapient beings are defined as equal in dignity, that this sapient being should not expose others to the same conditions.
These conditions are defined as following:
Direct, unprovoked use of physical force to inflict pain or dominate a sapient being against their will.
Manipulation with the intent to force a sapient being to do something against their will or their interests.
Situations where sapient beings are being deprived of shelter, nutrients, water which inhibit their ability to function physically, cognitively or socially.
Situations where sapient beings are being deprived of safety and/or exposed to threatening situations or situations characterised by wanton coercion and arbitrary rules.
Another principle is that a human being is not defined as consisting only of the human mind and the human body, but as the access to the water, nutrients and shelter that a human body needs to continue to function. Therefore, every human being has a right to nourish themselves and to (have a place to) sleep. Within the framework of a traditional propertarian narrow view on rights, these conditions are seen as an individual responsibility rather than inalienable rights – but if these conditions aren’t met, the human being can seldom be able to fully satisfy these conditions which are necessary to function. Our belief, on the contrary, is that if a human being has the right to life, then the human being must per definition have the rights to the minimum requirements to sustain their physical life.
This new foundation of rights, which are derived from our sapience, is still going to protect property – but not as the end in itself, rather as an extension of the interrelational principles established by these rights. They will also mean that property rights no longer will trump the rights to life, and that land-owners, mining companies and industrial operations will find a harder time motivating why they have to create conditions which endanger the life, health and well-being of their employees or of those living nearby the places where they conduct their activities. Thus, they will provide a stronger and more equal protection, without having to rely on so many additional concepts and regulations.
It also means that property should be treated more as it de-facto must be already today. While no one arbitrarily may be deprived from what they own, and every person must be given a say in decisions pertaining their interests, there can arise issues where property needs to be transferred.
With a system of rights defined from relationships, we can establish a basis for a more equal system where every individual gains a more level opportunity to be represented and protected.
Most animals have a significantly lower level of cognitive development than human beings, though there are a few which have approached or might even have reached a proto-sapient or sapient level of understanding reality. Therefore, bears, wolves, crocodiles, hippos and even domesticated animals like dogs cannot be expected to be able to honour interrelational rights.
However, all animals are sentient to the level that they are able to feel pain, anxiety and fear, and also experience things which they find more agreeable. Because of that, sentient creatures do have a right to not be exposed to cruelty by sapient creatures – and they do have a right to the pursuing of their natural behaviour. This right emanates from the fact that when we are interacting with a sentient creature, there is a relationship between our actions and the effects they will have on said creature. If we have the power to affect the well-being of another living being, we also have the responsibility in case we create unnecessary suffering.
Domesticated animals which are exploited in various forms of agricultural and social tasks can also be said to gain rights because we force responsibilities upon said animals. Sheep, cows, pigs and horses have not volunteered to be utilised as sources for heat preservation or nutrition. It follows from this that those who utilise animals have a responsibility to ensure that the animals should not suffer.
In short, while a system of rights where all rights could trace themselves back to property rights inherently privileges the owners of industrial farms, fur farms and other operations dependent on the economic utilization of sentient beings, a system of rights based on relational rights empowers those who – quite literally – lack voices to articulate their feelings.
What separates rights from privileges is the foundation that rights need to be applied equally and consistently, and be founded on norms and values which go deeper than the court of temporary public opinion (a court which could demand the gelding of sexual predators, unless these aforementioned predators happens to be local junior sports heroes).
Since rights need to be applied in such a manner, they need to be based on a consistent, universal fundament of ethics – one which could guarantee the protection of individuals and communities.
The liberal basis – Lockean Natural Rights – which denotes property as the fundament upon which all other rights rest, has been the least bad attempt until now to establish a consistent foundation of rights. However, they have been found lacking in several aspects.
Conditions which indirectly cause suffering and negative physical and cognitive effects are not viewed as violation of these natural rights.
When the exertion of property rights cause suffering to human beings or to sentient beings, no matter whether we talk about Central American debt slaves or pigs in an industrial operation, these property rights usually trump the suffering of those without voices.
Corporations and other abstract entities are awarded rights which should be meant for human beings.
Non-human beings are not seen as having any rights.
Attempts have been made to install a concept of positive rights into this propertarian model, but there have been little to none attempts to reconcile the concept of natural rights with the later additions, thus often rendering them impotent and incapable of consistently being applied since their application would often come at odds with property rights.
Relational Rights, on the contrary, are capable of dealing with all these problems. They do not see property as an inherent axiom predating even the material basis of the Universe, but rather choose to focus on the relations between beings on various levels. Whenever a sapient being interacts – directly or indirectly – with another sapient being, it establishes mutual obligations between the parties. This goes beyond actions that directly affect the bodies of said individuals. It also establishes obligations on sapient beings interacting with beings that are sentient – to not expose them to cruelty and to the best ability ensure their right to their natural behaviour.
Of course, relational rights recognise the right to self-defence if another party is initiating direct aggression. Equally of course, relational rights would – as well as propertarian rights – see that there is an opportunity for conflict, when two sets of rights are in opposition to one another within the same ethical system. That is not a weakness, since such conflicts would arise no matter what kind of ethical system we would employ. These rights are however not fraught with the weaknesses listed above, and their execution would allow for a more thorough and equal treatment of individuals, communities and even species.
In terms of western internal politics, the 2010’s has seen an increasing trend of anti-establishment movements, nationalists and populists from the right and the left attacking “the establishment”, turning from marginalised outsiders into third and second-tier parties – becoming serious contenders for power. Often, the established parties of the centre, whether left or right, tend to galvanise together against the outsiders. These new political actors were generally characterised not only by the different thoughts they brought in to their respective national discourses, but also by the overt hostility of established political power-brokers and by the media. Despite being generally maligned and closely scrutinised, these movements nevertheless have grown – though seemingly unable to breach the threshold of 50% necessary to make a decisive impact…
It can be argued that the triumphs of the Eurosceptics in Britain’s June referendum, and Donald Trump’s equally surprising and populist win in the United States presidential election were outliers, and it remain to be seen whether or not Geert Wilders or Marine Le Pen can reach power in their countries. However, the establishment has been shaken and is seemingly at this point unable to put down the challenge from the populists.
The main questions we have to ask ourselves are:
Who are the populists and what do they want?
Who are the establishment, and what do they want?
Why is all of this happening?
Our current financial system is dependent on economic growth.
When prosperity increases, exponential growth decreases.
This forces the system to increase its efficiency and engage in “creative destruction”.
One form of creative destruction is to deregulate and remove economic barriers.
This increases growth, but hurts groups that have won benefits from said barriers.
A new political conflict zone is emerging, with the third world proletariat and the billionaires on one side, and the lower middle class of developed nations on the other.
All this serves to hide the more serious issue of the global ecological crisis.
We would need to seek a solution which emphasises a confederational global order and localised autonomy.
Legitimate and illegitimate faultlines
In most liberal democracies, there is a political spectrum, consisting of diverging opinions, generally centred around the issue of taxation levels and the form, size and direction of the welfare state. Usually, we see a moderate right – which desires to have low taxes and low public expenditures – locked in a debate with a moderate left, which desires roughly the opposite. Most of the major newspapers lean towards one bloc above the other, but seldom tries to indict, disqualify or delegitimise the political opposition.
Usually, however, both blocs tend to share political sentiments on a wide range of issues. Both blocs are usually supportive of free trade, of a foreign policy consensus regarding the country’s role within the European Union and/or NATO, as well as several free trade agreements. Both blocs tend to be supportive of status quo when it comes to the financial markets, and tend to share roughly the same ideas when it comes to the issue of climate change. Both blocs also tend to see the role of citizenship (as disconnected from ethnicity) and the nation-state (as transformed and reduced) in the 21st century in a similar light.
Thus, there are issues which are seen as a legitimate arena for political debate – namely those which pertain the issue of the size of taxes and how to spend them. Other issues, like international entanglements, free trade and the role of the nation-state are viewed as far more sensitive, almost illegitimate to veer into. Then there are a few topics that are seen as absolutely toxic (criticising media, focusing too much on the banking system, and then – worst of all – ethnopolitics). The reason why some subjects are seen as legitimate and some as less legitimate is because the establishment has reached an equilibrium in the West, following the Second World War (which, by the way, is a prudent way of organising a society – judging by the instability of third world democracies lacking a national consensus). Upsetting the delicate balance and the status quo could risk destabilising society and create a situation where electoral democracy may be at risk. For many decades, the general population shared into these sentiments.
What would however happen when the political consensus achieved by the establishment is viewed – by large chunks of the general population – as unsettling to the status quo?
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s enter the age of Globalism.
The Politics of the Unipolar World and the nature of Growth
The spectre of globalisation became fully evident with the end of the Cold War on the 25th of December 1991. It had however brewed for a while already, with the first wave of offshoring production, first to Japan and then to other Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia, which began already during the late 1960’s. This was made possible by two conditions – Pax Americana and the development of communications technologies, which allowed companies to distribute their investments to the locations with the lowest costs and the highest benefits.
Following the debt crisis of the 1980’s, dozens of third world countries were forced to open up their economies and sell out vital utilities to multinational corporations, which served to increase the flow of money in the system and to weaken the role of the state. During the 1990’s, this order was codified through the Washington Consensus and the formation of the WTO (World Trade Organization). While free trade agreements of the past tended to reduce and lower the amount of regulations, these new free trade treaties established during the past 25 years have served to introduce legislative measures (for example ISDS mechanisms which penalise countries for instituting laws which could damage the profitability of corporate operations within their borders, or anti-piracy laws), above and partially beside the scrutiny of the national legislative chambers. In short, these new agreements have a tendency to allow multinational corporations powers which are approaching those of state actors in their relationship with sovereign states.
Of course, the most far-reaching and deepest example of international cooperation and supranationalism during our era is and remains the European Union, though it is hampered by the problems of the European economy and by the fact that it is split between those who envision it as a future federal state, those who strive towards it becoming a template for global governance, those who wish to scale it back and those who desire to break it. The nation-state, we have heard, is growing increasingly obsolete due to technological development – and that is a good thing, for the sake of diversity, progress and growth.
And yes, economic globalisation is indeed a dynamic force, having a multiplying effect on trade and stock markets. It binds together the globe in linear networks, transforms entire bio-regions into landscapes intended for the production of goods, which then are brought around the globe to the vast supermarkets of the emergent super-cities. These cities join together tens of millions of people from all the continents of the Earth, forming vibrant, creative, multi-cultural hubs characterised by fashion, innovation and novelty – mobilising economic activity to never before seen heights.
There is however several shadow sides to this glitz of vitality – the one most apparent being that while the GDP economy has indeed grown – in several western countries it has more than doubled since 1980, automation, off-shoring and immigration has weakened the once dominant manufacturing sector. 25 years ago, it was still relatively easy for a high school dropout to apply for a manufacturing job. New positions within that sector demands higher skillsets, and are fewer in number – and still gradually shrinking in importance.
Instead, the new jobs which are created generally consist of fewer hours and a higher amount of insecurity. These jobs go into the service sector – the fast food industry, sales-by-phone, on-hour positions within the cleaning sector, and micro-jobs – popular as a solution in Britain and Germany. While older people are generally entrenched by laws protecting their employment, youths are more exposed for this new, emerging, hyper-competitive economy. Entire regions, once consisting of chimney-forests of industrial towns, have turned into basket-cases characterised by high unemployment and growing poverty.
While generally claiming that this process of creative destruction is “historically inevitable” (akin to Marxian historicism), the establishment in most western countries, from large multi-national corporations, to centrist political parties, mainstream media and academia, seems heavily invested into the furtherance of this mega-trend. That is hardly surprising, giving the positive net effects on economic growth.
As we previously have explained (https://eosprojects.com/what-is-money.html), our current monetary system has an in-built need to maximise growth and to never reach an equilibrium. States which have failed to open up their economies to the dynamic forces of globalisation – most notably Japan – has also stagnated economically. Stagnation breeds a risk for a loss of confidence in the system, and thereby a future financial crisis created by the mountains of debt owed by future generations.
One aspect of this trend has been immigration. The maximisation of growth necessitates the destruction of unproductive countryside regions and the expansion of urban cityscapes. In the context of cities, however, demographic growth tend to plummet. Opening up the cities for global immigration adds new workers and consumers into the mix, without the need for much extra investments into schools and universities. Even those who get stuck in perpetual unemployment are contributing to the profitability of businesses, because their existence as potential labour serves to depress wage increases and thus strengthen the employers in trade situations. If the immigrants are from impoverished or developing countries, they are usually willing to work for worse pay and under worse conditions than domestic labour would appreciate.
Enter the nationalists
I am well aware that the populist tide in the west is occurring both on the left and the right side of the spectrum. However, the strongest growing tide has occurred on the right, with nationalists rising nearly everywhere (except the Iberian Peninsula, if you discount regional separatists). There are several reasons for this, but the most logical one is that resistance against economic globalisation and for a return to 1960’s style Keynesianism is (what even Marx himself would have labelled) a reactionary stance.
The nationalist solution is simple, and is about strengthening the nation-state, introduce protectionism and decrease the growth of the labour pool by reducing immigration and utilising the tool of deportations. Of course, xenophobia and racism plays a role in this outlook – especially regarding the target of the ire – but the goal is economically linked to the fear of competition and of seeing increased risk in one’s own life. If the source with this risk is associated with what is viewed as an out-group (religious, ethnic, political or economic does not matter), then there will also be a heightened risk for inter-group conflicts.
The dilemma of the establishment has been the following: How to increase the competition between groups, without creating hate and animosity between them? The solutions have varied between countries, from trying to impose assimilation of ethnic minority groups, towards state-sanctioned individualism, the denial of the existence of ethnic groups and official anti-racism. Judging by the current nationalistic wave in the West, all these methodologies have failed in defusing the situation.
To some extent, the nationalist rage also represents the rebellion of the “economically unviable” regions against the metropolises, often characterised by the countryside and declining manufacturing towns joining together in an alliance against the capitols – against the rainbow coalition for globalization unifying capital and bare feet.
The venom of Ethnopolitics
While globalization represents a huge opportunity for economic growth to manifest itself, it also increases the risks and vulnerability. According to Ricardian principles, the implementation of free trade would necessarily increase the co-dependency between nations and between continents. The increasing reliance on linear transfer of resources, were raw materials are extracted, sublimated into assembly materials, assembled into products and finally consumed on – in order – four different parts of the world, is highly vulnerable even to regional disturbances. The social collapse in one region, or the disentanglement of one great nation from a number of treaties could affect a domino line of other factors in manners unpredictable even from the point of view of the most refined computer programmes available today.
Ethnopolitics – the basis of ethnicity as a separating identity – represents a dangerous powder-keg which, under the wrong circumstances, can blow up and create the conditions for crimes against humanity.
Nationalism is resented by the current establishment because the current establishment values the benefits of globalization, sees the process of globalization as not only necessary but as virtuous, and because it threatens to lead down into a slippery-slope where the normalisation of ethnically charged hatred can spiral out of control and lead to genocides. History has proven over and over again that there is a risk for such an occurrence.
Yet, as previously stated, the conditions for nationalism to arise are created by the effects of globalisation – which disconnects the countryside from the city and which is (partially) responsible for human beings being exposed to the stark reality that their existence may be economically unnecessary. Meanwhile, the establishment has largely embraced a globalistic ideology which welcomes and strives to transition their countries towards more of these rationalising forces.
Thus, a large share of the public has started to view the establishment as a radical force which threatens their traditional way of life and the values attached to it. Especially as the traditional conduit for communication between the elites and the people – mass media – have increasingly come to be seen as a medium for “pro-globalist propaganda” and for ignoring the sentiments of the traditional working class. Meanwhile, the nationalists represent a threat of the same magnitude against the professionals and classes which have come to rely on the dynamic aspects of the globalized economy. Thus, polarisation intensifies.
A dialectal process?
To some extent, the nationalist reaction is understandable. After all, interior, rural regions – no matter where they are located – are economically irrational in a world driven by the logic of linear systems and exponential growth, no matter their sense of their own values and importance. When agriculture and manufacturing soon would be completely automated, why then subsidise the existence of remote, rural towns dominated by retirees, public employees and the unemployed or underemployed? Just ask the people of the Dorotea and Asele municipalities, who saw their primary care gutted.
Yet, it must be said that the aggressive blame on entire ethnic migrant groups and the judgement on them as collectives is a scary trend which proves that humanity has not yet overcome the primal urges for tribal conflict, especially when said groups mostly are driven to the West by wars partially directly or indirectly initiated by actors based in the West, and for the sole purpose of creating a future for their children. These people cannot be blamed for being exploited as a wedge to liberalise the labour market. Moreover, this process is already underway, even in countries pursuing xenophobic policies – due to the destructive force of automation.
Thus, the alluring promise of a return to the early 1960’s remains a mirage, and the nationalist forces remain impotent to achieve that, though redistribution to declining regions and their tourist attractions may slow their demise.
If Karl Marx had been alive today, he would probably have hailed globalism as a progressive force which streamlined the productive capacities of the world, eliminated barriers of capital and moved the world closer to the foundation of two classes, the super-wealthy oligarchy and the teeming global proletariat. He would disdainfully have declared those forces opposing globalism as relics judged by the Darwinian forces of historical materialism to be flushed away and dissolved into the proletariat or into nothingness.
The endgame of globalism is a world with free movement for capital, goods, services and people and universal laws for the conduction of business. It would be a world of Ricardian divisions, where each region focuses only producing what it is least bad at producing, creating monocultures intended to feed the emerging Ecumenopolis the resources desired by its inhabitants.
The problem with this vision is not only that it is horrifying in its grandiosity as well as its shallowness, but that it is untenable.
Globalism and nationalism – a flawed narrative
Nationalism remains unable to achieve the harmonic stasis which it promises, because it is based on the backward technological paradigms of an age which was dying already by the 1960’s.
Globalism, however, also fails to meet the judgement of reality, and that in a much more chilling manner. It is not possible to entertain exponential economic growth for an eternity, because the more an economy grows, the less it will grow, simply because €1 of €50 may be 2%, but €1 of €50 000 000 is barely noticeable, because human beings have a limited ability to consume which gradually will lead to a flattening of their consumption curve no matter their income, and – most of all – because we are collectively as a species already annually using up 140% of the planet’s renewal capacity.
The logic of comparative benefits taken to an extreme leads to sterilised mono-cultures and to emphasising destructive surface usage practices which already have turned over a third of the Earth’s land surface to areas used to grow fodder for meat animals. The logic of emphasising exponential growth leads to the continuous rise of our exploitation of our home planet, and the very purpose of every WEF meeting at Davos is intended for the promulgation of the gospel of growth.
Maybe they believe that the environment is just an economic factor, but their policies are leading to deforestation in the tropics, to the destruction of soils and freshwater reservoirs, which have an importance for humanity which cannot be overstressed. If we are continuing down the current path, we will be on a good way towards accomplishing a Sixth Global Mass Extinction Event by the year 2100.
To take a stand both against the destructive force of nationalism, and the if-not-more destructive force of thoughtless globalization requires far more than buzzwords. We need an alternative to the current model – and the Earth Organisation for Sustainability has created a blueprint, known as The Design. We do not yet however know whether it will work or not, it has to be tested, in thousands of simultaneous but slightly varying local experiments, and gradually grow up from the soil. We do not have much time at the moment.
What we do know, is that our future is dependent upon three criteria.
That we do not use more than 100% of the Earth’s annual renewal capacity.
That we aspire towards a circular economy.
That every human being on Earth has the right to life, which also means the right to have a guaranteed minimum income.
Ultimately, what this means is that we have to cooperate globally to create a confederation of autonomous regions, seeking to place power as closely to the human beings efficiently possible.
How we must make an impact
As chairperson, I envision the EOS as a movement for peace. We affirm that all human beings have a right to aspire to fulfilling their own life’s goals, as long as that does not entail the wilful injuring of the lives of other human beings, or of our planet.
The greatest physical and moral challenge of the 21st century is how we can proceed to shift our food production away from destructive monocultures towards more sustainable systems, without causing mass starvation or suffering amongst the peoples of the Earth.
To transit towards a sustainable future requires that communities are directly involved in the transition, and for that to occur, it must mean that communities should be empowered. This is, to a large extent, the opposite of the current trend of hyper-centralisation of power into the hands of financial institutes, multi-national corporations and the treaties intended to empower these actors. Humans deprived of the means to control their own destinies would increasingly become irrational and eventually act like cornered rats.
Instead of railing against groups or proposing simple solutions, we must organise locally and regionally, and seek to unify human beings on the micro-level. The election of Trump has proven that no Paris Agreement is strong enough to withstand the power of an angry people. The elites are powerless to curb the excesses of their own system, but a people who is enlightened, who can understand their own interests and who have the tools at their disposal is the most powerful in the world.
It is time to build a future where humans can live, can love, can be fully human!