Into the Heart of Lightness

INTO THE HEART OF LIGHTNESS - PART 1 of 5 - Work in Progress

PREFACE

References Not Required

A lie travels round the world while truth is putting on her boots - generally attributed to Winston Churchill but actually written by minister Charles Haddon Spurgeon (d. 1892)

The references for this project are incomplete, generally because it makes life easier, much like anything that can be dealt with in an atmosphere of trust.  The theory in use here is that official documentation does not make anything more or less true. In fact, as will be shown, there is often an inverse relationship between authority and authenticity.

As post-industrial society declines further, propaganda increasingly overshadows learning. It’s in keeping with Rollo May's maxim that it is an old and ironic habit of  human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.

Regardless, keyword searches bring information from a variety of perspectives, rather than the conformist, screened body of work usually found in reference lists.

A chapter in the following work covers various deception tactics and how best to spot them. Do your own research. 

INTRODUCTION

Reconnecting

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with other people; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as courses, and they come back to us as effects. - Herman Melville

A primary reason for the standard explosive model of change is the traditional cause and effect mindset.  This approach examines relatively few factors in a linear fashion to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.  Inevitably, myopic decision makers are blindsided by side effects building from phenomena that were not considered to be part of the problem.  Unintended consequences in one term used to describe what happens when an entire system is not adequately considered when designing a course of action.

Another method of problem solving is known as systems thinking or cybernetics, which can be defined as the art and science of communication and control.  In this outlook, many different interrelationships are assessed before the possible root causes of problems are addressed.  Linear dynamics are combined with feedback loops to see how areas progress or regress.  However, even known cybernetics can only deal with a small part of the stunning complexity that is life. Basic morality remains the missing key to complexity management for the future.

What follows is an attempt by an unprofessional writer to shoehorn the helical complexity of cybernetics into the linear book format, to see how moral actions might better become possible in an often viciously competitive world.  The emphasis on many interdependent variables has led to a rambling approach, with numerous quotes, repetitive elements and subject matter that's all over the map.  Core concepts are interwoven through different chapters to show different contexts and a lack of proper academic footnoting has littered the text with a jumble of titles and authors.

As always, the imaginative elite thinking needed during times of change is caught up in its own ceaseless striving for power and war of all against all.  The dictatorial solution has a disturbing tendency to emerge from such dynamics.  If this should happen, it would not only refute all of modern history, but miss the point of what the information age is really about.  There is just no way the speed and amounts of information that flow today can be intelligently controlled by any traditional methods. A decentralized information structure seems to be an obvious requirement, with morality being the unifying element. 

In an Imperfect World

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan

The views in this book may sound utopian to some, but they are really a question of why this generation is playing Russian roulette with the prospects of future generations.  Perfection at the level of human existence is a form of death.  Scientific evidence suggests that for a larger system to be in evolutionary balance, the constituent parts must be out of balance. 

However, there is an important distinction between the parts being out of balance and the whole being out of control.  In the past, a lack of control led to many troubles, but there was always a safety margin for recovery provided by the balancing actions of nature.  Today, technology has extended the clumsiness to threaten the human planetary life support systems, while creating information vehicles that leave most people unaware of what is really going on.  The result is that the individual, family, community, nation and planet are all under serious attack by a system that is quickly reaching its physical limits.  It has finally become an absolute necessity to distinguish between the type of competition that stimulates striving and advancement, and that which destroys what most people consider precious, including basic morality.

Listening to those who advocate waiting for an outside intervening force to save the day would seem to reject the fact that God or nature gave humans reasoning ability and free will.  Anything intelligent enough to rescue humanity would also know that it would be creating the mother of all welfare cycles.  It's a given that helpful information reaches people in ways unknown, but it's a wise design that offers help without taking responsibility.  It is the free will to act independently that enables healthy interdependent relationships and further progress.  Of course, self-determination is also a double edged sword, which can sow the seeds of a civil society, or reap a destructive, apocalyptic future. 

PART 1

CURRENT REALITY

The Fork in the Road

Dyma ni awr ar daith ein gobaith (here we are now on our journey of faith) - Morgan John Rhys

Say goodbye to work drudgery, heavy taxation and environmental degradation. This sounds like a late night infomercial. Yet we have the technology to do this and more. So why the disconnect between what is doable and what is politically possible? Powerful actors and institutions are often blamed, but these reflect society in general. Suspect leaders and institutions fade away through the ages, yet the gaping separation between human potential and political reality remains. 

The misdeeds by overt and covert rulers are part of a deeper, systemic problem. At root, humanity’s evolutionary path is the culprit. Like all life, it led through a jungle environment, where force and deception are the cardinal virtues. The brutish instincts required for survival in this milieu are still within us. Automatic reflexes, hormones and selfish genes are among the impulses that drive irrational behavior. A cartoon character spoke to today's reality by reframing the famous military quote from "we have met the enemy and he is ours," to "we have met the enemy and he is us."  

The good news is that people change all the time, and societies along with them. The development of civilizing structures nurture our better nature. The law of the jungle is slowly giving way to laws loosely based on justice. As a result, there is far less violence today than in times gone past. The most dangerous neighborhood would be considered a relatively safe space by our not so distant ancestors. The exception to this is during times of war. As one general put it “the clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.” 

History has also shown wars are inevitable in the absence of overarching laws. When tribal law was the highest level of social organization, there was constant combat between the tribes. As tribes coalesced into rules bound confederations, the fighting between erstwhile deadly enemies dropped off precipitously. Once these alliances amalgamated into nation states, warfare again diminished dramatically. Peaceful times were longer and covered more territory with law settling most disputes. However, when war did come, it naturally scaled up with the larger groupings.

As nations grow closer together through technology, trade and treaties, warfare is again decreasing. It has been generations since conscription in many nations. War between the democracies is almost unthinkable today. There is still constant warfare on the world stage because nascent international laws often have no teeth and are applied selectively. However this is on a much diminished scale compared to the past. The final step to ending war is to create more effective global laws. The question of our times is whether this is done through the imposition of a secretive global oligarchy with dictatorial ambitions or with the participation of a more educated, informed public. 

The Emperor’s Old Clothes

 “The higher I go, the crookeder it becomes.” - Michael Corleone, Godfather Part III

Understandably, many are strongly opposed to the idea of global law. The more distant the government, the more difficult it is to keep it accountable. The higher concentration of power also tends towards more corruption. Stories that leak out of existing international bodies do not dispel concerns. Nationalistic conditioning, complete with flags and anthems, creates yet more resistance to the idea of world citizenry. 

Beyond this, our daily experiences with national and lower levels of government are rife with abuses of power and other forms of corruption. Politicians often finish dead last in surveys on the trust accorded to a profession. Who in their right mind would want more of this, at a higher almost untouchable level?

The first question to ask is how is it that those elected to high office are ranked so low. To be fair, politicians are in the spotlight along with their shortcomings. Constituents can condemn the human failings of a politician while ignoring their own similar transgressions. That said, the lack of trust is ultimately justified. Politicians are integral participants in what has been accurately termed a lying structure. This method of ruling predominated long before any serious moves towards world government.

The lying structure political model was codified some 500 years ago in a book entitled The Prince, by high court diplomat Nicolo Machiavelli.The term Machiavellian is often used as a pejorative, meaning underhanded and unethical. However, Machiavelli was simply being forthright about what it took to advance in the ruling structure of his day. His conclusion was that we cannot do good without power but we cannot gain power, nor keep it, without doing evil. The reason he gave for this was the people themselves. Many would abandon their leader if they thought another power seeker could offer them more. Leaders “who have little regard for their word have achieved great things, being the experts at beguiling men's minds. In the end, these princes overcame those who relied solely on loyalty." 

If people see a greater personal advantage in supporting someone else, their loyalty turns out to be a loyalty of convenience, no matter what you have done for them in the past. Machiavelli went on to say: “one can make this generalization about people: they are ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit; while you treat them well, they are yours. They would shed their blood for you, risk their property, their lives, their children, so long, as I said above, the danger is remote; but when you are in danger they turn against you.” In other words, wise leaders don’t trust the people any more than the people trust their leaders.  

Because rival claimants to power can be unscrupulous, it was necessary that the current leader act likewise to defend themselves. Nice guys finish last was Machiavelli’s observation. Consequently, he advised “It is necessary that the prince should know how to colour his nature well, and how to be a great hypocrite and dissembler”. He went so far as to argue that it was irresponsible to apply to political action the moral standards that are appropriate to private life. His reasoning was that disorder would result and the people would suffer more.

Machiavelli viewed morality as only another tool for manipulation. He wrote: "a leader doesn't have to possess all the virtuous qualities but it's absolutely imperative that he seems to possess them." The crowd is won over "by appearances", and as "the world is all crowd", appearances matter. He expressed admiration for “a certain prince of present times, whom it is not well to name, never preaches anything but peace and faith, and is very hostile to both.” 

Over a century after Machiavelli’s defining work, Englishman Thomas Hobbes followed up with an equally pessimistic look at humanity. In his most famous work, Leviathan, he wrote "in the first place, I put forth a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceases only in death.” Hobbes argued that individuals living in a state of nature were constantly at war, did not know right from wrong, and lived lives that were “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. He advocated rule by an absolute sovereign, or dictator.  Otherwise “during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.”

The Machiavellian or lying structure predominates today. It underlies the false reality projected by our mainstream media, educational facilities and other institutions. People have a tendency to vote for whoever promises the most for their own personal circumstances, regardless of broken promises in the past. Leaders that are immoral and cater to the selfish side of humanity usually end up on top. For most people, it is easier to fool them than convince them they have been fooled. As difficult as it is to accept, as an aggregate, the people do get the government they deserve. It’s no one’s fault of course. Previous human evolution got us here and the selfish gene lurking deep within us needs to be better directed to get us out of here. The question is how best to break out of the cycle of mutual distrust to create a participative, empowering future for all world citizens. 

Machiavelli’s most well known statement is that "it's much safer to be feared than loved". The reasoning is that fear is a more powerful emotion than loyalty or friendship. However, fear also breeds hatred. It is instructive that the ruler who served as a model for Machiavelli’s book fell to ruin rather spectacularly. Machiavelli must have sensed the downside to his advice as he also wrote: “the best fortress is to be found in the love of the people, for although you may have fortresses they will not save you if you are hated by the people”.

Proofs of a Conspiracy

“If indeed sometimes I do happen to tell the truth, I hide it among so many lies that it is hard to find.” - Niccolo Machiavelli

Some super elites have owned up to their Machiavellian bent in published books that can be accessed through the public library system. Insider economist John Keynes came clean in his 1931 book Essays in Persuasion when he wrote “for at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.  For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight”. In other words, it is necessary to do evil in order to do good. The ends justify the means. Keynes was the major influence in the development of the post WWII money system which was based on odious debt and the resulting servitude.

Jesuit and Georgetown University professor Carroll Quigley, described by past U.S. President Bill Clinton as a mentor, wrote a book entitled Tragedy and Hope, a History of the World in Our Time. In this massive tome he laid bare the reality behind Keynesian economics. He wrote: “The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.” Quigley also related that he was an insider with this group, had studied its inner workings for years and approved of their overall aims.

Arnold J. Toynbee served as a director of the highly influential Royal Institute of International Affairs. He admitted his adherence to Machiavellian principles when he wrote: “we are at present working, discreetly but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of our world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands. It is just because we are really attacking the principle of local sovereignty that we keep on protesting our loyalty to it so loudly because to impugn the sovereignty of the local nation states of the world is still a heresy for which a statesman or publicist can perhaps not quite be burned at the stake but certainly be ostracized or discredited.”

In his book Memoirs, UN stalwart and financier David Rockefeller did not mince words when he penned: “for more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

This is but a tiny sampling of the evidence of the super elite push to weaken national sovereignty in favour of global governance and do so by secretive means. A key point here is that the conspiracy to create a world government is not a monolithic block as is sometimes presented. Like every other significant social endeavor, there are competing factions, outliers and shifting alliances. As Keynes, Quigley, Toynbee, Rockefeller and others make clear, even the injunction to secrecy is not something all feel bound to. A caveat is that when these leaders made their honest statements they felt confident their grip on the mass media and educational systems would ensure our political reality would not become widespread knowledge. Rightly, it was assumed that few people would read the original works in low circulation journals or plow through Quigley’s book of more than 1300 pages. The Internet is a game changer here. The relevant quotes were pulled from their obscurity and given wide circulation in a concise format, along with references to the original works. Belated, futile attempts to stifle information on the Internet is not so much to forestall fake news as to try to put this information genie back in the bottle. However, that genie can give us our best wishes, including an accountable, transparent world governance.

Through the Ages

The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom - Friedrich Hegel

It has been said change is the only constant. However, a distinction can be made between gradual change and discontinuous change. Gradual change is linear and incremental while discontinuous change is divergent and disruptive. When discontinuous change overtakes society in general it can be called an age change. Previous human ages were the hunter-gatherer age, agricultural age, industrial age and information age. Currently, the developed world is entering the knowledge age. Age changes can threaten existing power structures by creating new efficiencies faster than they can be realized by those invested and experienced in the old ways of doing things. 

The origins of the hunter-gatherer age predate the arrival of homo sapiens 300,000 or so years ago. Earlier species of humans added meat to their diet about 3 million years ago. They first ate recently deceased animals and the larvae and insects found on carrion. Once the survival value of this additional food source was established, it was a logical progression to dispatch wounded animals with rocks and clubs, and then devise rudimentary weapons and hunting techniques to bring down healthy prey. Tribes that did not learn to hunt were at a disadvantage and went by the wayside. 

The agricultural age began to supplant the hunter-gatherer age about 10,000 years ago. People learned to cultivate crops and domesticate animals and so established more control over their food sources. The increased food supply led to the growth of settlements. Warfare also increased as population pressures led to more territorial clashes. Cities and civilizations arose out of the conquests and alliances. Money was invented, but barter and self-produced consumption still dominated the economy. Industrial production made up less than 5% of the agricultural age economy. Hunter-gathering tribes were pushed to the margins and overrun when they came into contact with tribes that had the advantage of agriculture.

Inventions like a better seed drill, crop rotation and the cotton gin were innovations that greatly aided agricultural production and provided the food surpluses made the start of the industrial age possible. At a world's fair in 1855, a thresher was demonstrated that could replace 123 farm labourers. Steam power began to gradually replace horses, mules and oxen on farms. Food production continued climbing even as the bulk of the population migrated to towns and cities. As the agricultural age came to a close, less than 3% of the population was required to produce food surpluses in the developed countries and money was used for almost all economic activity. Countries slow to industrialize made easy prey during times of war. 

Those uprooted by the mechanization of agriculture found work in the growing factories amid yet more inventions and innovations like the power loom, electricity and the assembly line. Trains, automobiles and planes revolutionized transportation while the telegraph, and then telephone, transformed personal communications. Newspapers, followed by radio and television replaced the town crier and travelling minstrels. By 1956, about 70% of the workforce was directly engaged in manufacturing activities in the leading countries. Many jobs were specialized. Increasing automation led to a gradual reduction in blue collar employment and a rise in less essential white collar activities such as advertising and finance. The next discontinuity was around the corner.

In 1946 ENIAC became the first fully functional digital computer. It occupied about 1,800 square feet, used about 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighed almost 50 tons. In 1964, the first desktop computer was unveiled to the public at the New York World's Fair and about 44,000 were sold to the business world. The first personal computer was introduced in 1971. In 1977 three preassembled mass-produced PCs hit the marketplace: the Apple II, the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80, and the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor). The information age was off and running. 

Futurist Alvin Toffler wrote a groundbreaking analysis of this age transition in his trilogy Future Shock, The Third Wave and Powershift. In the 1980 bestseller, The Third Wave, Toffler warned that the last transition, from the agricultural age to the industrial age, involved "one long blood-drenched drama of wars, revolts, famines, forced migrations, coups d'état, and calamities''. In assessing the start of the information age, he concluded "today the stakes are much higher, the time shorter, the acceleration faster, and the dangers even greater. Much depends on the flexibility and intelligence of the elites, sub-elites and super-elites. If these groups prove to be as shortsighted, unimaginative, and frightened as most ruling groups in the past, they will rigidly resist the third wave (information age) and thereby escalate the risks of violence and their own destruction." 

Arrested Development

This is a time to make the future—precisely because everything is in flux.  This is a time for action - Peter Drucker

Forty years after the publication of The Third Wave, the establishment mantra is that the information age is now here. In terms of technological capability this is true. In terms of society in general, the misinformation age would be a better fit. A true age change was “rigidly resisted” by the elites. However, they were not overthrown or superseded by the new technology as happened during past age changes. Instead, they manipulated the rise of the tech giants and other upstarts through their control of financing and mass media. New players that didn’t get on board with the old guard were marginalized or worse. For the general population, propaganda techniques and amazing technological advances kept enough people distracted and sated at a level where the industrial age elites could continue, despite their shortcomings. The misuse of the information age technology covered the cracks caused by obsolescent institutions. However, like most such temporary fixes, the necessary foundational work is only delayed, not forgone. 

Institutional changes are at the heart of successful age changes. As the agricultural age gave way to the industrial age, political institutions changed from monarchies to representative democracies; economic institutions went from primarily barter and self-produced consumption to widespread capitalism, socialism and communism; and social institutional changes included the evolution of extended families into nuclear families and massive urbanization.  

The institutions that emerged with the birth of the industrial age like the mass media, central banks, schools, legislative bodies, corporate structures and so on remain largely unchanged in the information age. Economic progress is still measured by GDP which, among other shortcomings, does not account for environmental sustainability and measures a murder and a marriage to be of equal value if the same amount of money changes hands. The fundamentals of these industrial age institutions still in use today were devised before there were telephones, televisions, radios, computers, instantaneous trillion dollar global transfers or the capability to destroy the environment.

Because institutional change was largely stillborn in the information age, many facets of society degraded, even as technology made more possible, Unhealthy addictions increased and accompanied an overall decline in morality and civil behaviour. Where once it was common to leave doors unlocked, it is now necessary to button everything up and put bars on the windows of higher risk targets. American professor Brene Brown points out the world’s leading country is “the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history”. Such signs of social decline are in stark contrast to the social improvements wrought during humanity’s advances through the agricultural and industrial ages.

The institutional changes that did happen in the information age came, as always, from the outliers and the grassroots. The nuclear family, which is largely outside of government and corporate control, has undergone substantial change. Crypto currencies are just starting to probe at weaknesses in the banking systems. Decentralized social media is well on the way to replacing centrally controlled mass media and will be at the forefront of driving more significant institutional change. National legislatures remain largely unchanged but they are often held in contempt, with political representatives increasingly ridiculed in many countries as people look for new, relevant governance models. 

FREEDOM ROAD 

Change of Change

When precedents fail to assist us, we must return to the first principle of things for information and think, as if we were the first people that thought. - Thomas Paine

Toffler's work was mainstream enough that he dined at the U.S. White House and a congressional house speaker wrote the forward to one of his books. Because of his establishment approach, some of the specific concepts behind his concerns could only be hinted at. In 2020, at the dawn of the knowledge age, self-censorship along with the usual establishment censorship, is neither necessary nor desirable. Knowledge requires replacing indiscriminate and often intentionally inaccurate information with relevant and truthful communication. 

Evolutionary economist and cybernetician Kenneth Boulding was an early adopter of the term knowledge age. The wholesale rejection of mainstream economic misinformation was necessary for his scientific approach to wealth creation. In the simplest terms, his formula is knowledge applied to matter and energy. In thermodynamic terms, this is the human element applied to the natural entropy or disorder of the universe, which reverses the dynamic and creates what is called negentropy, or order from chaos. Other key facets of the knowledge age, such as lifelong learning and artificial intelligence, also rely on the bedrock of honesty to be effective. Otherwise, it’s garbage in, garbage out. The arrival of the knowledge age completes an overarching discontinuity that spans all previous human ages; the journey from the force and deception of the jungle to moral dynamics; Machiavelli’s retirement party as it were.

Humanity is still at a fork in the road that is as significant as any in history. True to form, the ruling class approach to the knowledge age is ‘shortsighted and unimaginative’. Superficial changes, lip service and a reflexive clampdown flows from the top. The required institutional transitions are ‘rigidly resisted’ by the procrastinating elites who fear and dread real change as much as the average worker facing layoffs. While disappointing, it is not surprising. One of things Toffler left unsaid is the catch 22 inherent in an uninformed populace under a Machiavellian leadership. How do the current rulers get off this tiger without being eaten?

There are precedents for peaceful transitions in age changes. During the transformation from the agricultural to the industrial age, some ruling members of the aristocracy did not “escalate the risks of violence and their own destruction” and gracefully gave way to the emerging elected legislative bodies. English and Dutch royalty segued into comfortable ceremonial roles. Conversely, French and Russian royalty met tragic ends. Either way, the agricultural age institution of hereditary rulers gave way to the somewhat democratic industrial age legislatures. 

The peaceful route needs to be expanded as the now inadequate, captive legislatures give way to knowledge age governance structures that truly empower the individual. To take the path out of the jungle, to what Toffler and others have referred to as the first true human civilization in history, the transition itself should reflect the desired peaceful society as much as possible. Some developments since the last age change that call for a relatively peaceful transition include the advent of nuclear weapons and serious ecological challenges. Humanity's capacity for repeating a history of violent change may be reaching its limit. It has been said that people and nations will act rationally, when all other possibilities have been exhausted. That point has been reached. Change of change is necessary.

Discontinuity and the Deep State

Our problems are man-made — therefore, they can be solved by man. – John F. Kennedy.

Despite the shortcomings, the information age did develop structures which make the first relatively peaceful age change possible. The communications and nascent global organizations are two of primary vehicles for this, even if they are largely staffed by reactionaries trying to hang onto old ways or even go backwards in terms of a shift in power. Bilderbergers, Trilaterals, Davoists and other elite organizations formed and flourished, but retained an overall motif of generals fighting the last war. The philosopher Friedrich Hegel pointed out the corrective way forward with: “the history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom”. A product of his time, Hegel also thought the state would best advance the cause of freedom for all. Communism had not yet been tried and found wanting.

Hegel also propounded on the process where some advances are arrived at through the melding of a thesis and its opposite, the antithesis. Creatively incorporating ideas from each side of an argument for and against a course of action can result in the best solution to some problems. This synthesis process is iterative, leading to higher and higher levels of understanding or progress over time. As Boulding points out, the dialectic should not be over emphasized in that many knowledge building blocks fall into place through natural symbiotic arrangements. 

Elites pervert the Hegelian dialectic to try to push in the opposite direction of the natural law inherent in Hegel's observation on the impetus to freedom. This corruption was solidified by communist proponent Karl Marx. The tactic has also been described as problem, reaction, solution, where the elites will create or point out a problem, the thesis, create a desired reaction or antithesis in the public through their propaganda organs such as the classroom and mass media, and then offer up a predetermined solution or synthesis that enhances their power at the expense of the citizens The pseudo synthesis seemingly takes in the concerns of the public over a loss of freedom to scale back some of the authoritarianism in a proposed antithesis. The iterative part of the dialectic is then used to claw back yet more individual freedom during the next crisis, manufactured or not. The truly free exchange of ideas necessary to a healthy dialectic is nowhere to be found. Natural law, or nature always bats last, and so Marx’s communist states collapsed in their competition against freer nations. Not learning from history, the elite solution is to scale communism up to a global level, such that there will be no opposing freer states. If they succeed, eventually nature will still come in to cleanup bat, but with apocalyptic results this time around.  

There is still time to change the road we’re on and there are promising developments. A surveillance society is one aspect of the authoritarian model being pushed by the establishment, but historical lessons on the horrors of totalitarianism, whether communist or fascist, have left a deep impression on society in general. Constitutional protections in the democracies provide an additional layer of protection and are stalling the efforts of would-be the dictators and oligarchs. As always, there are some elites onside, wise enough to resist repeating the history of authoritarianism and getting substantial backing from the populace for doing so. 

Form Follows Function

Signs are, needed institutional changes can no longer be forestalled. Growing inequality is but one breach in the dam, and at the point where Aristotle’s observation is germaine in that in an oligarchy will result in either a revolution or a tyranny. What remains to be seen is the method and form of the transition. Force is less tenable today. Widespread massacres of rebellious populations are off the table in the liberal democracies, not least because most police and soldiers would refuse such orders and switch sides. This is helped in no small part by the right to bear arms on the part of the general populace in the United States and to a lesser extent in other countries. Likewise, mob rule seems unlikely in countries where nascent democratic traditions have taken root.

The continued effectiveness of institutional deception looks to be off the table as well. Widespread new communications technologies means less of the people can be fooled less of the time. The Internet is forcing the issue. As decentralized social media supplants industrial age mass media, the secrecy necessary for the Machiavellian method is melting away. The manufacture of consent is becoming increasingly difficult. The old guard financed dominant positions in the tech giants and are attempting to block and spin information to continue the lying structure inherent in the industrial age mass media. However, endruns are easy. 

The original DARPA military contribution to the development of the Internet emphasized decentralization in order to survive decapitation by nuclear strikes from a totalitarian regime. This capability is now being fulfilled in unexpected ways to accomplish the same purpose. Instead of re-creating a totalitarian news structure, big tech censorship and fake news efforts come to light. The blowback is establishment credibility and influence are further damaged. It is not unusual for condemnations and ridicule to be the dominant themes in a comment section on an official news story that at one time would have been widely believed. 

People are learning to think for themselves as they shake off the blinders of our compromised educational and mass media institutions. This sea change in knowledge and attitude happened in the forty years since Toffler published his groundbreaking book at the onset of the information age. Some dissidents adopt the tactics of the Machiavellians and spread countervailing fake news, but they are also found out and lose credibility with the majority. The knowledge age is on the horizon.

The End of Feudalism

“In every republic there are two parties, that of the nobles and that of the people. The former have a great desire to dominate, whilst the latter have only the wish to not be dominated, and consequently a greater desire to live in the enjoyment of liberty.” - Nicolo Machiavelli

In addition to the age change, an overarching era change is in the cards. Insider Carrol Quigley chose his words carefully when he wrote the financial system “was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world“. The neo-feudalism Quigley referred to is accomplished by having a relatively few people create money from thin air and lend it out at compounding interest to the general public and captive governments. The end result is that masses of borrowers enter debt servitude. Even if an individual has no personal debt, they are still the servant of the borrower through odious government debts. In Canada, it is estimated one third of tax dollars goes towards paying interest on money created from nothing and ostensibly lent to governments by private banks. Refusal to pay the portion of taxes to service odious debt would result in property confiscation and prison. In more honest times, the odious debt payments would have been called tribute, paid by a weaker state to avoid attack by a stronger, predatory state. In mafia terminology, it is called a protection racket.

Feudalist structures emerged as the tribal fireside decision-making of the hunter-gatherer age became unfeasible in the agricultural age. The growing populations lacked the necessary communication technologies to keep everyone in the loop. The information control leveraged force of arms to create societies of rulers and ruled, then knights and vassals allied under a hereditary or military ruler. Formal feudalism ended through inventions such as the musket which spelled the end of the knight, and events like the French and American Revolutions that presaged the industrial age. However, as Quigley points out, the feudalist process didn’t stop; it went underground as banks took over from the medieval aristocrats. A captive mass media and educational systems served as propaganda vehicles to obscure this modern feudalist reality. 

Microserfs was about a continuance of feudalism in the information age, with a group of ‘serfs’ that worked to break free from the watchful eye of Bill Gates to found their own tech company and live fuller lives. ‘Wage slavery’ is all too often an accurate description of how most people spend the bulk of their waking hours. More often than not, the work involved is busywork, and does not add to wealth by anyone’s estimation, even as it destroys our environment. Resources are churned and burned simply so that many people can obtain enough money to survive and pay their debts. The age of leisure once promised by automation receded during the information age. Monetary reformer C.H. Douglas guessed that people are kept busy so they have little time to dwell on their political reality. Another reason is likely that some deficient rulers would not enjoy their power as much, should general society be leisurely and not have a desperate dependence on these rulers for financial survival.

In fairness, in addition to causing great suffering, especially in poorer countries, the enslaving financial system also was used to apply leverage that lessened warfare. There are those who claim the opposite and that our current money system caused all wars, but this is impossible as warfare was ongoing and endemic long before the monetary fraud came into play. Banks do profit enormously by financing the war, often on both sides of a conflict. However, in terms of the percentages of populations involved, war is much reduced today. In this case, the Machiavellians did evil to do good. However, the centralized power corrupted. Instead of setting up the conditions to free people and segue into a great new civilization, finance is working at creating a servile totalitarian state. They justify this as a requirement to prevent ecological disaster, blinded to the more desirable, and sustainable, alternatives.

Modern lord and serf dynamics are sometimes referred to as class warfare by socialists and communists. However, in socialist countries, despite claims to the contrary, feudalism is both more direct and more pronounced. As survivors of the collapse of the USSR relate, the predictable corruption happened with the concentration of power there, and elites lived in opulence and followed a different set of rules than the oppressed masses. The knowledge age promises to at last end the feudalism era in both capitalist and the surviving socialist countries. With the new production and communication technologies, the first societies in history with true individual freedom are now possible. As Alvin Toffler pointed out in Powershift, power is not merely transferred in an age change, it is transformed.  

The Best of Both Worlds

A good change leader never thinks, "Why are these people acting so badly? They must be bad people." A change leader thinks, "How can I set up a situation that brings out the good in these people? - Chip Heath

Despite better communications technologies, legislative bodies are growing increasingly distant from those they are supposed to represent. Widespread cynicism and opportunism are the new dominant motifs in establishment politics.  Long-running surveys show that public confidence in the government fell precipitously in the 1960s and ’70s, recovered somewhat in the ’80s and early 2000s, and is at historic lows today. Increasing electoral fraud coming to light promises to push this even lower.

Another sign of the obsolescence of the current political structures is the increasing divisiveness within electorates, to the extent that violence is bubbling to the surface even in developed nations. Separation movements are on the rise to try to bring more government closer to home; both physically to enhance accountability, but also culturally, to get away from the one size fits all of a more totalitarian central government. Separatist movements are not unusual, it is the dramatic increase that is discontinuous, particularly within previously comfortable developed nations or the EU. Alberta, Texas, Catalonia and Britain with Brexit are some of the examples. The Economist magazine covered the growing list in The World in 2020: The coming surge of separatism. Recall and referendum movements also look to be on the rise. 

Something new is needed, to keep people from drifting apart when it comes to problems that occur on a global level. The governance structure changes required today would be similar in effect and degree as happened during the change from agricultural age aristocracy to industrial age elected representatives. Periodic elections of candidates heavily compromised by election financing requirements no longer suffice.

Communications technologies comprise one key here. As Nicholas Negroponte points out in Being Digital, connected computers have the ability to globalize and harmonize while simultaneously providing decentralization and individual empowerment. In other words, the devices can create a synthesis from the thesis of individual empowerment and decentralization, and antithesis of harmony and globalism. The networks are also capable of exchanging more information in seconds than all of the pre-computer communication in recorded history. 

An additional requirement for new governance structures is a better informed populace. In the industrial age, indoctrination, not education, became a primary goal of schools, often out of the necessity of defending a nation state. Now it’s time to teach students how to think, not what to think. Computers would again play a central role with online learning. Many of the specific changes can not be determined in advance, but would emerge in tandem with the other institutional changes. The overall goal and theme is what is important.There are some excellent designs to prototype, including one by the late social crediter Tom Taylor, who served as the Dean of Industrial Sciences at the University of Manitoba. 

An educated, informed populace is a necessity for the future because an oligarchy, benevolent or not, is unsustainable in the upcoming age. The flow of information today cannot be adequately addressed by excessively top down structures. By the time information has passed up and down a decision tree, the situation on the ground has often changed. A truly aware person closest to the action is needed for most intelligent decisions today. Artificial intelligence, or AI cannot fill the gap, one reason being it is susceptible to the garbage in, garbage out rule. This also applies to machine learning algorithms, perhaps moreso. IA or Intelligence Amplification in the general populace is also required. There is much unknown about human information capabilities, especially as it relates to higher information sources.

Less deception also results in more of the moral glue that helps align much of the lower level decision to the common good. Currently, morality is declining in the West, as more and more people see through the lies of the leadership and lose faith in the system.

Even if a dictatorial leader resists the tendency of power to corrupt, the relative decency of such a person and the oligarchical structure itself leave them wide open to a coup by those with less scruples. A broad base of informed popular support is needed to prevent a downward spiral into increasing tyranny. It was not an accident that Machiavellians came to dominate our current leadership.

As Machiavelli pointed out, the people themselves are ultimately at fault because of their own grasping for material gain. However, much of this is driven by what is known as a ‘scarcity mentality’, where insecurity leads many to try to obtain as much as possible during good times to survive during the bad times. Economic security bolsters what is known as an ‘abundance mentality’, where people are secure and so do not feel the need for greed. Of course, there is also the driver to keep up with Jones, or be the alpha ape in a town, city, country or globe. But this can be redirected and subsumed within higher callings. Indeed, higher callings is the only way to attain any significance at all in a universe where the tallest buildings do not even register.

As it is, our societies are caught between the jungle and true civilization. The worst of our leaders are opportunists, looking for material advantage and with little to no thought given to the common good. They may be peripherally aware that not all is as it appears in regards to budgets and deficits, but there is little thought given to this. They are not motivated by the primary goal of many players in the international financial fraud, which is a world government with a view to ending warfare and introducing environmental sustainability.   

However, the best of our current leaders also constantly lie or tell lies of omission.With some justification, they think truth and participative democracy would lead to anarchy; or worse the raw opportunists gaining more power. In their eyes, they lie to us for our own good. They do evil in order to do good. At some point, these leaders have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. By keeping the public in the dark and subverting our educational and mainstream mass media systems, they have ensured that the average person does not have the tools to participate fully in their future. Yet the old feudal structure is no longer viable or sustainable in the information age. 

Totalitarianism cannot be the glue to prevent a tragedy of the commons and create environmental sustainability. In the Principia Cybernetica Project, the thesis was that the more individual freedom increases, the less free an overarching system is to follow a predefined course. Conversely, the more free the larger system is to follow a plan, the less free the individual constituents will be. Thesis and antithesis. The synthesis is found by separating the lower and higher needs, defined here from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is also necessary to introduce ownership economics. At the lower levels of existence such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation and communications, the most ecologically sustainable design would be mainly technocratic in nature; extending the concept behind the fluoride free public water systems in many countries. Something like the Venus Project would be one viable prototype, with one very important, critical difference. The ownership of the machinery providing basic needs would be widespread. This would diffuse power and work against the tendency of power to corrupt. For the higher levels of our existence, our sense of belonging and self-actualization, freedom should be as unfettered as possible. 

There are also natural aids in bridging the false dichotomy between what cyberneticians term the freedom of the individual and the freedom of the whole. This theory does not account for many things, such as most individuals choosing freely to do the right thing for society in general, if given good information. In short, enlightened self interest, morality and maybe synchronicity are absent from the hypothesis. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides a good starting point for knowledge age institutions. As will be seen, the section on the rights of property ownership in this document is of particular importance. In the final analysis, widespread, individual ownership is what makes the other rights sustainable. The call coming out of the World Economic Forum that the people should own nothing and be happy is stunningly misdirected in view of history and the real human condition.

Own or be Owned

Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. - Universal Declaration of Human Rights

True emancipation requires what has been termed an ownership society, where each and every individual owns a part of the amazing technology that is making labor less and less of a factor in wealth production. A discipline known as binary economics is the pre-eminent starting point for this path out of the jungle. The binary refers to the idea that all individuals have two main sources of income open to them; their labor and their investments. It is not a stretch to argue that civilized means must be used for the transition to a truly civilized age and this design has it in spades. For starters, the change process involves bringing everyone up, without bringing anyone down.  

Unlike past age changes, the establishment is not harmed nor even deprived of any property. This is possible because almost all property today is in the form of capital rather than land. The continual increases in wealth derived from new technologies can be widely distributed by free market principles, without taking from existing property owners. Currently, every year trillions of dollars of new capital come into existence. In binary economics each and every person can invest in productive property through interest free loans made possible by this new capital. Insurance vehicles serve as collateral. The loans are paid back through the profits on the investments. The ownership also provides a dividend income stream to the individual beyond what their labor can provide, much as happens for the wealthier today. A guaranteed income through a negative income tax is a last resort if an individual’s current investments don’t pan out. The design can be reversed engineered, starting with a negative income tax for more people due to current conditions, and segueing these people into ownership incomes.

There are various investment instruments. One is entitled capital homesteading in recognition of previous homesteading legislation in North America that made land owners out of many in the propertyless classes. In this policy, enacted both in the U.S. and Canada, land was sold for a nominal amount on the condition that it was improved and made productive. The explosion in new property owners formed a foundation for democracy and the middle class that led to North America becoming a beacon and desired emigration destination for the world. Capital homesteading follows a similar design, except relatively limitless capital takes the place of limited land. With ownership, each individual is in direct control of their productive property. 

Other investment vehicles include Employee Stock Ownership, Community Investment Corporations and Consumer Stock Ownership Plans. Utility companies, new industrial and residential developments, larger companies and so on can all come into being with widespread, direct ownership by individuals. These and other designs form the foundation of what has been called economic democracy. There has been decades of work on these concepts by accredited lawyers, economists and other professionals with the result that both the current system and the future system are well understood, thereby helping ensure a relatively smooth transition to a new age. Employee Stock Ownership legislation in the U.S. resulted from the lobbying efforts of binary economists and supportive politicians. 

In binary economics, all will have equality of opportunity, but Individual productive investments, along with one’s own labour, will lead to dramatically different individual material wealth results.Some might prefer more free time instead of a higher standard of living. As the founder of social credit, C.H. Douglas put it "what we really demand of existence is not that we shall be put into somebody else's Utopia, but we shall be put in a position to construct a Utopia of our own”. Universal Basic Ownership should predominate over the top down, feudalist Universal Basic Income idea. 

Property ownership is at the core of individual freedom and has been recognized as such, before our education system became an indoctrination system. Early American statesman Daniel Webster was stating the obvious with “power naturally and necessarily follows property”. Noah Webster, who has been tagged as the ‘Father of American Scholarship and Education’ wrote: “Let the people have property and they will have power – a power that will forever be exerted to prevent the restriction of the press, the abolition of trial by jury, or the abridgment of any other privilege.” At the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829 Benjamin Watkins Leigh weighed in with “power and property can be separated for a time by force or fraud - but divorced, never. For as soon as the pang of separation is felt...property will purchase power or power will take over property” .

More on binary economics in a mainly U.S. context can be found at cesj.org. The website at globajusticemovement.org works on marrying the core concepts of binary economics with other progressive movements that focus on creating a world community designed around ecological sustainability.

OUT OF THE HEART OF DARKNESS

The Angel and the Ape

“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: Man is not truly one, but truly two.”

― Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In Origin of the Species, biologist Charles Darwin made the case for humanity’s common ancestry with apes and our evolution from the jungle. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published shortly after Darwin’s groundbreaking scientific treatise. Art imitates life in Robert Louis Stevenson’s fiction. After drinking a potion, Dr. Jekyll transforms into a smaller, squat and hairy Mr. Hyde who exhibits ‘ape-like tricks’, ‘ape-like spite’ and ‘ape-like fury’. An antidote brings him back to his civilized self. Jekyll had planned to isolate and expunge his hidden dark side but his experiment goes horribly wrong. The Hyde persona acts without conscience upon entering society and Jekyll finds himself stimulated and enjoying the unchecked power his sinister alter ego wields. Once corrupted, the good doctor gradually loses out to his bestial urges. To Jekyll’s horror, one night he transforms into Mr. Hyde without taking his serum, as if his thoughts alone supply the necessary chemicals. The uncontrollable transformations become more frequent and the antidote becomes less effective as the now dominant Hyde personality asserts itself. Ultimately Jekyll is destroyed, committing suicide to escape the hangman’s noose for a murder done under the influence of his opiate. 

Journalist Nick Spencer provides a more hopeful account of the conflict between our evolving morality and bestial past. In a series on Machiavelli for The Guardian newspaper, he wrote: “the tussle between the person and the creature, the subject and the object, the angel and the ape, the human and the animal, as various generations have described it, is as old as there are written records – for the simple reason that neither side holds the winning cards, and the two natures wrestle, like Jacob with his angel, within each of us”. The view here is that humanity does indeed hold the winning cards but it is not always apparent in a game being played out over millennia. A caveat is there is no guarantee the cards will be played correctly, given the double-edged exigencies of our free will.

Machiavelli himself, as could be expected, took a pragmatic view of the duality of human nature. He advised: “there are two kinds of combat: one with laws, the other with force. The first is proper to people, the second to beasts; but because the first is often not enough, one must have recourse to the second. Therefore it is necessary for a leader to know well how to use the beast and the person”. History shows that all too often the beast takes over as unaccountable power tends to corrupt, much like Hyde took over Jekyll’s personality. And to continue the analogy, totalitarian societies, whether fascist or communist, also end up destroying themselves. The lure of unaccountable power is such that history’s lessons are brushed aside by those in thrall to this addiction.  

Darwin’s proteges continue to develop the scientific theories put forward in Origin of the Species. In The Goodness Paradox, anthropologist Richard Wrangham related how “chimpanzees engage in physical aggression with other group members at a frequency hundreds or thousands of times higher than humans do. Nowadays any human that got into fights as frequently as a wild chimpanzee would be locked up within days”.The genetic degree of separation between ape and human is approximately 2%, or roughly that of a dog and a fox. Obviously something fantastic happened to humans along the evolutionary path.

Wrangham came to the conclusion that 300,000 years of capital punishment in human society had helped select out genes with a propensity for violence. Today, we have the resources to isolate such individuals from the community, or at least those subject to the rule of law. Beyond that, there is much more at play here than preventing such genes from replicating. The complex interplay between nature and nurture is fairly well established as a primary driver of human behavior. However, as will be seen, what constitutes nature is given short shrift, with little or no thought given to influences beyond that which can be easily observed.

Wrangham also reviewed The Origins of Virtue, by science writer Matt Ridley and concluded Ridley “wants to have it both ways, that we’re both nasty and nice. We’re nasty at one level (the unconscious genetically driven self); but in the real world, we’re nice, genuinely pleasant.” Wrangham misspoke. The overall theme of Ridley’s work is that the reason we are pleasant is not at all genuine. We are nice only so that others are nice back to us. This holds to the evolutionary biology theory that altruistic acts are simply another survival tactic and not a result of any innate morality. 

The seeds of this doctrine surfaced in Charle’s Darwins’ second book entitled The Descent of Man, first published in 1871. Darwin argued instinctive altruism effectively enables individuals to guarantee survival of the group, which in turn will aid survival of the individual. Biologist E. O. Wilson summed it up with "in a group, selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals. But, groups of altruistic individuals beat groups of selfish individuals." Hence, groups with more selfish individuals were selected out. 

However, the survival of the group did not always aid in the survival of the altruistic individual. In the main this holds true, but what about when an individual sacrifices themselves for the good of the group, often in large numbers during times of war? This discrepancy led some to conclude that the main evolutionary driver was the survival of the genes in the group, not the individual. In this theory, soldiers dying in the front line were not protecting a country or even individual personalities in their families so much as they were protecting the raw genetic material back home.

In his 1976 bestseller The Selfish Gene, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins developed this hypothesis. He posited organisms and individuals operated largely as vehicles for genes. A vehicle was defined as a collection of genes that survive and reproduce as a unit, which Dawkins compared to rowers on a crew team that can only win the race by pulling together. Genes do occasionally evolve to succeed at the expense of other genes within the same organism, such as cancer, but they are relatively rare. In the view of Dawkins, and the early work of his mentor, George C. Williams, individuals don’t qualify as replicators (which are the theoretical basic unit of evolution in the gene-centered view of evolution) but they remain important as vehicles of selection. The Guardian newspaper listed The Selfish Gene as number 10 on the all time list of non-fiction books and it can be argued it brought evolutionary biology into the mainstream. 

The reductionist viewpoint championed by Dawkins and others crumbled under criticism. Entrepreneur Jag Bhalla wrote The Selfish Gene fell into a fallacy of composition; that “Dawkins inappropriately extends properties of parts to wholes. An absurd example is: each atom in a teacup is invisible, therefore the teacup is invisible. Dawkins projects his preferred “selfish” zero-sum property of genes onto everything built by genes, and falsely concludes everything that has ‘evolved’ should be selfish. Biology isn’t that simple. It mixes competition and cooperation.”

Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould also rejected Dawkins’ doctrine and wrote: “adaptations evolve at all levels of the biological hierarchy...a fully developed theory of evolution requires such a hierarchical view in which natural selection operates in different ways at a series of different levels, from the gene, the cell and the organism to the sub-species and the species”. Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson added “adaptations evolve at all levels of the biological hierarchy, including individuals, social groups, species, and ecosystems.” Multi-level selection theory was the term coined to describe how these different levels function together to maximize fitness or reproductive success. E.O. Wilson compared the various levels of co-mingled evolution to nested sets of Russian matryoshka dolls.

Dawkins did give some good advice on the way out of our concrete jungle. In the conclusion to The Selfish Gene he wrote “to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly… you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then have a chance to upset their design, something which no other species has ever aspired to. We can even discuss ways of cultivating and nurturing pure, disinterested altruism, something that has no place in nature, something that has never existed before in the whole history of the world.… We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.” 

The Selfish Gene also introduced the term meme, now in widespread use, to describe cultural transmission and the evolution of ideas. In essence, Dawkins is advocating reversing the relationship between genes and memes. Civilizing influences and ideas subsuming instinctive behavior. The angel overcoming the ape, Jekyll winning out over Hyde. Red of tooth, claw and gun, to the first true civilization in history. 

Long overdue fundamental educational reform would be a foundation stone of course. Not only to discuss genes and how to overcome their negative aspects on modern society, but the reflective industrial age systems that encourage bestial behaviour. This would include currently taboo subjects such as how our money system really works. Behind the headlines, it is a massive fraud that creates artificial shortages that force people to turn on each other in order to financially survive. Frequently, there is not enough money circulating to enable all to pay their debts and interest on those debts. It’s a real life version of musical chairs where instead of losing your seat, you lose your home and business; a sure way to ensure cunning and ruthlessness remain central to our society. Former central banker and financier Bernard Lietaer covered the details of this dynamic in his book Beyond Greed and Scarcity. In one sense, the financial deception is about doing evil to do good. It is behind the development of many international bodies that have resulted in less warfare over the decades, and created a platform for world government. It has also damaged much of that which makes the good possible and has totalitarian control built into its current design. Money cannot continue in its present form, if positive change is to be sustainable.is overdue for a transformation. 

Regarding the future, Charles Darwin deduced “as man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent these sympathies extending to the people of all nations and races.” As knowledge of the shortcomings of the current top-down world government design becomes more widespread through the Internet, there is a natural backlash that works against this natural, grassroots sympathy for world government.

E.O. Wilson summed up humanity’s progression to our present day with: “out of the warlike peoples arose civilization, while the peaceful collectors and hunters were driven to the ends of the earth, where they are gradually being exterminated or absorbed, with only the dubious satisfaction of observing the nations which had wielded war so effectively to destroy them and to become great, now victimized by their own instrument.” Hence the need for a world government to end war on earth; and to build out to another level of multi-level fitness for human survival, before war ends us. And to avoid repeating the cycle, an empowering, accountable world government, not a dictatorial Machiavellian world government. This is the necessary foundation to start fulfilling humanity’s destiny, which is another story in itself.

To Infinity and Beyond

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims. - Buckminster Fuller

To this writer, the tendency of some scientists to ignore or even attack the idea of a higher intelligence is a strange one. There is no argument that our reality exists in a system of nested hierarchies.. Yet there is little thought given to the levels beyond the gene, organism, groups and ecosystems. Or going in the other direction, the molecules, atoms, quarks and down past what can be directly observed into the field of quantum mechanics. 

The groups of humans are now nested within nations, in an emerging global society, within our solar system, enclosed in our galaxy, nested in a universe of many galaxies, and so on beyond what we can observe. Information flows through all levels, from the largest to the smallest. Humans, along with the rest of the planet, are being constantly bombarded by and exchanging atoms with extraterrestrial rays from near and far. Still,many scientists continue to ridicule the idea that this interchange of atoms, and wavicles can contain any information that can have an effect on human behavior. Yet at the lowest, simplest level of the heavens, it has been documented there is correlation between the phases of the moon and human behaviour.

The reductionism of The Selfish Gene looks to be put on the shelf where it belongs, with Dawkins himself softening his views. His mentor, evolutionary biologist George C. Williams went further and changed his views dramatically over his working life. He moved from his focus on the gene to eventually conclude current theories could not account for evolutionary phenomena over longer time scales, and was thus an "utterly inadequate account of the evolution of the Earth's biota". The difference between instinctive altruism and the cooperative, symbiotic arrangements found everywhere in nature relies on more than a multi-level hypothesis that currently ends at ecosystems for many scientists. But why would it stop there? 

Is it not logical that the pattern would continue until evidence proves otherwise. Pattern recognition and probability are stalwarts of science. If Pi has been calculated to a certain number, the view is that there is additional information that can be accessed after that, because of probability and pattern recognition. And then Pi is calculated to the next number. How improbable is it that higher forms of intelligence will not exist throughout the intertwined, nested hierarchies of systems reaching out to infinity? Multi-level selection goes beyond genes, organisms, individuals, species, ecosystems, to earth as a whole; and then up through solar systems, to galaxies, the universe and beyond. And likely down past the genetic level, to molecules, atoms, quarks to quantum mechanics. 

It is improbable to the point of impossible for all intents and purposes that it is simply a coincidence that cognition and awareness stops at the highest level we can observe it at. Such close mindedness has occurred through the ages. The earth was flat, when it could only be observed from the ground, our galaxy was held to be the entire universe, when early telescopes could only observe that far, atoms were held to be the smallest element, before quarks could be observed and so on.

Intelligent design is a nascent discipline working on how cognition and awareness extends to higher, more complex systems. There are strong arguments made that it is highly improbable the speed and complexity of evolution operates from simply blind variation and retentive selection; that, inexplicably, the environmental effects stop at that which we can observe. 

Biologist Lynn Margulis is one of many scientists arguing for a more inclusive definition of consciousness and intelligence. She writes: “Not just animals are conscious but every organized being is conscious. In the simplest sense, consciousness is awareness of the outside world”. It is relatively easy to study and understand systems that operate at a lower level of intelligence than us. In studying the ultimate hierarchy, that which some have termed God, Einstein is correct that "the problem involved is too vast for our limited minds.” However, we can look up that path, no doubt guided somewhat by that which flows down to meet us, aware that “natural selection operates in different ways at a series of different levels.”

Something Old, Something New

The power of love and not the love of power - Mae Moore

This idea that there may be some higher intelligence influencing human morality, above the groups, is rarely discussed. One reason of course is that this is the highest level of the drivers of human behavior that we can observe with any degree of certainty. Out of frustration, perhaps politics, there is often vehement opposition to the idea of a higher power, as evidenced in another of Dawkins’ books entitled The God Delusion. And as always, some people would like to carry on the ancient tradition of the leaders themselves being gods, in a backwards attempt to transmute the alpha ape syndrome to something divine. Perhaps the outsized publicity for The Selfish Gene could be partially due to the idea that humans as shambling Frankenstein machines for genes, written by a vehement atheist, fits well with such ancient agendas. The addiction to unaccountable power over others is by far the most dangerous addiction of all.

E.O. Wilson took a more mature attitude and described his position as provisional deism or agnostic. He went further and explicitly denied being an atheist for those that somehow think atheism and agnosticism have something in common, even though they are opposites. In his book The Creation, Wilson suggests that scientists ought to "offer the hand of friendship" to religious leaders and build an alliance with them, stating that "science and religion are two of the most potent forces on Earth and they should come together to save the creation." Since then he has changed his views and advocated that organized religion should be eliminated as it is dragging us down. There is a middle ground on organized religion that E. O. Wilson is missing and multifaith groups are bringing into play.

As E.O. Wilson realized, organized religions can drag things back to the bestial by claiming to be an exclusive gateway and holding all religious writings to be error free, even though they were transcribed by fallible humans. However, the charge that religions cause wars would be more accurately stated as a lack of true religion causes wars. Early human tribes aped chimpanzee bands routinely engaging in genocidal combat over territory, long before any organized religion existed. The bloodiest wars in history had Christian religion against Christian religion. In short, the alpha ape selfish gene can take on religious trappings. Wars fought in the name of different religions are based on humanity's dark territorial past and not the guiding light of spiritualism.

There is extremely valuable guidance in the holy books, but the analogies and parables need to be regarded through the corrective lens of justice, peace and love, which are common to all the major religions.  The different perspectives on these concepts brings the needed religious diversity to an area where little precise knowledge exists.  Wars fought in the name of different religions are again based on humanity's dark territorial past and not the guiding light of spiritualism.  Einstein again said it best when he stated "if the believers of the present-day religions would earnestly try to think and act in the spirit of the founders of these religions, then no hostility on the basis of religion would exist among the followers of different faiths.  Even the conflicts in the realm of religion would be exposed as insignificant."

As could be expected, Einstein was adamantly against the anthropomorphic idea of a God that took human form and favoured one religion over another. This sensible stance was often taken out of context to paint him as an atheist rather than agnostic. Einstein wrote "The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgement and action."

Einstein also wrote "knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life.  Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth.  What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the enquiring and constructive mind.  What these blessed men have given us we must guard and try to keep alive with all our strength, if humanity is not to lose its dignity, the security of its existence, and its joy in living".

In using the qualifier 'personalities like' for the religious founders, Einstein managed to emphasize both the importance of all inclusiveness and the dangers of idolatry.  Despite the conflicting claims of praying to the one true word, the information in the religious books has been decoded, added to and edited by fallible humans.  The certainty of a destructive apocalyptic is more religious dogma, with discarded gospels discovered in the 1940's showing a Jesus who taught God was present in everyone and everything, and that this beauty was very much about the here and now, as well as the future.  The apocalypse is meant as a warning, not what must come true. The promised Messiah could arrive as promised, through the word made flesh in the hearts and minds of billions of people.

Einstein also offered some insight in connecting spiritualism, philosophy and science with: "a human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security." This impetus was described by philosopher Fredrich Schiller as "sympathy or participatory passion, that is an involuntary affection of the emotional faculty, determined through natural law."  

This seems the best approach and indeed there is much happening along these lines with the proliferation of multi-faith initiatives. The commonalities such as peace, love and justice are the focus, rather than the differences in how to interpret teachings on these coming down from a higher information source.

Even when the information excluded by obsolete institutions is computed, the seemingly chaotic complexity of modern society can never be fully addressed by hard science alone.  Quickly changing variables and massive amounts of immeasurable data make it impossible to design adequate communication and control systems from just an outside in process.  A unifying perspective that springs from within the individual is also needed to bridge the modulating information gaps.

Einstein again displayed his insight when he wrote "The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions.  Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on this.  Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.  To make this a living force and bring it to clear consciousness is perhaps the foremost task of education."

Any individual within an organized religion that primarily promotes the essence of the golden rule common to major religions cannot but help be a step in the right direction. The current attack on organized religions is misguided. It is wrong to attack an individual’s belief system when they are not infringing on your rights, are striving for morality personally and often doing good works for the community. Newer religions are often vilified as they can attract the enmity of both anti-religionists and establishment religions, but the same criteria apply. 

The Just Third Way in Our Global Justice Movement brings it all together for the next baby step of evolution. It follows a multi faith approach, with priests, rabbis and muslims all involved in founding and running our mentoring organization, the U.S. based Center for Economic and Social Justice. People of good faith are of course central as well. They do not belong or take active part in any organized religion, but follow the agnostic concepts espoused by Einstein, E.O. Wilson and others.

A foundation stone of the Just Third Way is the Core Values as follows:

There is an ultimate Source of all creation and of all universal and absolute values such as Truth, Beauty, Love and Justice, which represent the highest ends of human actions. Many people call this Source, God.

  •  Nothing should stand between God and the human person.
  • There is a hierarchy of human work: The highest form of work is perfecting the social order to elevate each person in his or her relationship to God. The lowest but most urgent form of work is for sheer personal survival.
  • In interacting with nature to promote one's own perfection, every person must respect the rest of creation. Each human being, a steward of nature, remains responsible for conserving natural forms of existence, each of which is interdependent and shares the same divine origin with humanity.
  • Under the ultimate sovereignty of God, all sovereignty in the social order begins with the human person—not institutions including the family, the State, organized religion, the business corporation, the labor union, or academia.
  • The essential means to achieve the sovereignty of the person include such inalienable human rights as the right to life, liberty, and access to productive property and free markets, equality of opportunity, and the secret ballot. These rights—including the rights of property—are not ultimate ends in themselves, but they are intermediate ends or fundamental means to enable each person to pursue Truth, Beauty, Love and Justice.
  • People create tools, shaped from the resources and energies of nature, to support the economic and social sovereignty of the person. Through private property ownership, each person can become master of the technology needed to realize his or her fullest human potential and dignity.
  • People also create and maintain social institutions as highly specialized "invisible tools" designed to serve highly specialized social functions within a just social order. Institutions, as organized expressions of society's values and goals, largely determine the quality of each person's individual and social life. As historical creations of humanity carrying within themselves the wounds of history, institutions are continually in need of healing and perfecting.
  • The highest responsibility of each person is to pursue absolute values and to promote economic and social justice in his or her personal life and all associations with others.

PART 2 

DOORS OF PERCEPTION

Paradigms

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend. - Henri Bergson

A paradigm is considered a self-evident truth that helps the efficiency with which people think and act day to day.  It is regarded as an obvious fact by a profession, a political faction or an entire culture.  As the flat earth paradigm proved, general acceptance and truth are not the same things. 

Sometimes paradigms come full circle.  An ancient reverence for the power and beauty of nature was thrown out when it was thought that industrial society had conquered the natural world.  People are again coming to the obvious conclusion that we are a part of nature, and risk destroying ourselves by indulging in this conceit of the early industrialists. 

Author Stephen Haines has assigned the following characteristics to paradigms:  they are rules that regulators use to establish the definition for success; data and facts tend to be ignored if they don't agree with a paradigm; when there is a paradigm change "we all go back to zero"; a successful past blinds one to the requirements for the future; and what is impossible to do with one paradigm is relatively easy to do with another paradigm.

Past illusions are easy to see once a general culture has undergone a paradigm shift.  It is tempting for modern society to scoff at previous generations who believed in a flat earth, the science of alchemy, the evil of witchcraft and the unsinkability of the Titanic.  However, illusory knowledge is no less prevalent today.  Fact as fiction continues to flourish, with a primary reason being that individuals are still involved in a fiercely competitive milieu.

What makes paradigms so efficient and so hard to change is that the brain itself physically optimizes the mental associations made in response to basic beliefs.  New thread-like connections grow between neurons, while others are strengthened, and yet others are weakened or discontinued.  Certain brain cells also shrink or grow.  Researcher Leslie Ungerleider showed how the process is ongoing by expanding small sections of the brains of volunteers who practiced picking out a tiny pattern against a confusing background.  Repeated exposure to a valid idea can overcome an obsolete paradigm. This neural plasticity is present throughout life

Cave Shadows

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” - William Blake

Mistaken beliefs are held tenaciously, often regardless of any contradictory evidence.  One study found that most people would believe in a credible negative prediction, until it was applied to them, at which point belief dropped off precipitously.  As psychologist Daniel Goleman states "there is an almost gravitational pull toward putting out of mind unpleasant facts.  And our collective ability to face painful facts is no greater than our personal one.  We tune out, we turn away, we avoid.  Finally we forget, and forget we have forgotten.  A lacuna (blank spot) hides the harsh truth."  .

Another perceptual problem, according to Therry Melchior and other hypnotism researchers, is that there is no fundamental difference between susceptibility to suggestion in everyday life and that of the person clucking and pecking onstage.  It is simply a matter of degree.  When a Walmart employee is injured by stampeding shoppers who need Tickle Me Elmo dolls to celebrate Christmas, it's hard to believe the degree of separation is a substantial one. 

In the late 50s, social scientist Erving Goffman published Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, which dealt with how much time people spent performing off-stage.  Goffman marveled that sometimes a person is "sincerely convinced that the impression of reality which he stages is the real reality." 

Evolutionary theory brings a dark side to the misconceptions.  In his foreword to Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, Robert Trivers noted Dawkins' emphasis on the role of deception in animal life and added that if indeed "deceit is fundamental to animal communication, then there must be strong selection to spot deception and this ought, in turn, to select for a degree of self-deception, rendering some facts and motives unconscious so as not to betray—by the subtle signs of self-knowledge—the deception being practiced."  In other words, we deceive ourselves in order to deceive others better.  

Trivers concludes "the conventional view that natural selection favors nervous systems which produce ever more accurate images of the world must be a very naive view of mental evolution."  If Dawkins and Trivers are correct, pathological behaviour could be more common than is generally thought.  A question of the age would seem to be how to create the conditions to, as poet William Blake put it, "cleanse the doors of perception".

Robert Wilson coined the term fnord to describe, among other things, how unease created during newscasts is followed by a commercial that promises security and stability. Doctor Richard Gunderman provided insights to the societal health implications when he wrote of a giant in this field: “Often referred to as “the father of public relations,” Edward Bernays in 1928 published his seminal work, Propaganda, in which he argued that public relations is not a gimmick but a necessity: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind."

When propaganda became a pejorative term, he rebranded the concept as public relations. Drawing on the insights of his Uncle Sigmund – a relationship Bernays was always quick to mention – he developed an approach he dubbed “the engineering of consent.” He provided leaders the means to “control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it.” To do so, it was necessary to appeal not to the rational part of the mind, but the unconscious.

In the 1930s, Bernays promoted cigarettes as both soothing to the throat and slimming to the waistline. But at home, he was attempting to persuade his wife to kick the habit. When would find a pack of her Parliaments in their home, he would snap every one of them in half and throw them in the toilet. While promoting cigarettes as soothing and slimming, Bernays, it seems, was aware of some of the early studies linking smoking to cancer.

Bernays used the same techniques on children. To convince kids that bathing could be fun, he sponsored soap sculpture competitions and floating contests. These were designed to prove that Ivory bars were more buoyant than competing products. Bernays also used fear to sell products. For Dixie cups, Bernays launched a campaign to scare people into thinking that only disposable cups were sanitary. As part of this campaign, he founded the Committee for the Study and Promotion of the Sanitary Dispensing of Food and Drink.

Today we might call what Bernays pioneered a form of branding, but at its core it represents little more than a particularly brazen set of techniques to manipulate people to get them to do your bidding. Its underlying purpose, in large part, is to make money. By convincing people that they want something they do not need, Bernays sought to turn citizens and neighbors into consumers who use their purchasing power to propel themselves down the road to happiness. Without a moral compass, however, such a transformation promotes a patronizing and ultimately cynical view of human nature and human possibilities, one as likely to destroy lives as to build them up.”

Diversity

We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. - Anais Nin

Differing cultural and personal experiences, along with unknown influences, are critical for creating needed diversity.  Yet the separate perceptions they build can sense only a shadow of the truth beyond basic morality.  If the issues aren't directly experienced, even the shadow can be blocked out by lies.

The role of perception in reinforcing illusions has often been illustrated by a fable about three blind men and an elephant.  In the story, each blind man felt a different part of an elephant and none of them felt more than one part.  Being closed minded, each insisted their perception of the elephant was the only correct assessment.  The person who had felt a leg said it was like a tree, while the man who grasped the trunk thought it was similar to a snake and the third who pulled the tail argued it was like a rope. 

Of course the blind men and the elephant fable does not accurately portray how blind people feel something to determine what it is.  An elephant would be considered an unknown without a step ladder and a patient elephant.  However, the metaphor fits because sighted people can be blind to the incompleteness of their perceptions. 

The differing views are invaluable, since it's impossible to synergize anything in which the inputs are identical.  The more peaceful co-existing variety there is in a social system, the more options that system has to progress and meet the challenges of a changing environment.  The principle of requisite variety is the jargon for this phenomena in cybernetics.  Two heads are better than one is the folklore win/win expression, while it takes two to fight is the win/lose or lose/lose folklore aspect of diversity.  The first law of cybernetics is that diversity is strength. 

Can I See What You See

What we see depends mainly on what we look for. - John Lubbock

The variables that affect perception and conception are virtually limitless.  Not only are they innumerable, but the combination is continuously changing.  The old game of telegraph, where a phrase is whispered from one person to another shows how conception can completely distort audible, well understood language codes by the time the fifth or sixth person expresses their interpretation of the facts.  As stated, fascism has tried to overcome the confusion caused by perceptual diversity by molding rigid conformists, with the predictable disastrous long term results.  Even the short term results are often poor, with the British outproducing the Nazi's during World War Two.

Standing back from a situation and mentally placing it in a larger context can help see how different perceptions can all contain some elements of truth.  Musician and scientist Onar Am coined the term perspectivism to describe how looking at apparently divergent views from several different perspectives can bring one closer to reality, much as if the blind men had felt all three parts of the elephant.  Walking a mile in someone else's shoes is another good way to get a wider worldview.   

Educator Tom Taylor relates an anecdote about using visual flight rules to guide a bush plane along a river course.  On one trip, the pilot encountered fog, and lacking instrumentation, was in danger of crashing into the water.  By gaining altitude, he was able to see the fog was only over the river and that the fog trail could be followed to the destination.

Management consultant Stephen Covey relates the same theme by using a fable about workers hacking a path through a jungle.  When the misguided leader finally climbs a tree he calls back to the workers that they have been cutting a path through the wrong jungle.  This kind of perspectivism is critical to some of Covey's other central teachings which are to begin with the end in mind and to deal with first things first.

In a relationship, the thesis and antithesis of two people who think differently can be more easily transformed into a synthesis if perspectivism is practiced.  Team learning provides even more possibilities for natural and creative synergy and is critical for shaking out misconceptions regarding complex situations.  One should also be careful not to overemphasize the dialectical.  As economist and cybernetician Kenneth Boulding points out, many dynamics are naturally symbiotic.

Patterns

The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the mind. - William Blake

Paradigm comes from an ancient word that meant to show side by side.  Conceptualizing differences and similarities between things, or determining patterns, is a primary determinant of learning ability.  For example, when Columbus believed the world was round, he was able to educe from the round objects within view that a point could be reached by sailing in either direction.  In his mind, he imagined the two things side by side.  The difference was the size and the similarity was the shape.  In the flat world paradigm, mariners were afraid to venture too far from the coast because a table was their point of reference.

The mind is always looking for patterns in order to learn more, and can sometimes project or imagine patterns where none exists.  If a person stares at the snow on a television screen long enough, the mind can create a pattern.  Those exposed to a monotonous hum will sometimes start to hear music.

All of an individual's experiences act as filters in determining which information is given emphasis in looking for a pattern.  If a black king of hearts is flashed at a subject, most people will read it as a king of spades.  As stated, this could be changed or even reversed with practice changing the brain's associative network.  

Context is another important concept for pattern recognition.  For acquiring firewood, an axe and a saw could be perceived as being very similar.  In the context of war, the axe would be regarded as more similar to a spear.  In less obvious instances, the context of a situation can vary widely according to the perception of an individual and create all kinds of possibilities for misunderstandings. 

Context also relates to what is given emphasis in an observation.  If a person is picking someone up at a crowded airport, much of the other activity will be filtered out unless there is an unusual disturbance.  What is not consciously observed is also recorded by the brain and can affect subsequent behaviour.  Sometimes this subconscious memory can be brought to consciousness by an appropriate trigger.

Mind and Matter

Every type of crucial experiment proves that what we see, and where we see it, depend entirely upon the psychological functioning of our body - Alfred Whitehead.

The physical circle of causality, where a system's components and its larger environment act on and change each other, is related to the informational circle of causality between perception and conception.  Psychologist and philosopher Carl Jung commented on this phenomena when he stated "bodily traits are not merely physical, nor mental traits merely psychic.  The distinction between mind and body is an artificial dichotomy". 

The more obvious aspect of this is that the physical alterations in the brain occur because perceptions and conceptions can continually reinforce or change each other through positive or negative feedback. A wine taster's conception allows a heightened sensitivity in taste perception while another person might acquire a taste for scotch through repeated links between perception and conception.  A bad experience in early childhood can lead to long term negative feedback regarding the event.  When two adversaries engage in growing perceptions and misconceptions the outcome could be termed a self-fulling prophecy.

On a higher level, there are thought to be several ways of perceiving things that do not fall into the realm of the five senses.  One researcher has identified 53 possibilities.  The electrical energy of the heart is thought by some to be an information receiver.  The large ganglia of nerves behind the stomach is another strong candidate for perceiving information.  A nose for the news or smelling a rat could be indicative of another intuitive input.

If humans did not possess less obvious perceptual abilities, they would be the exception in the animal kingdom.  Sea turtles migrate accurately because electrical receivers in their head can pick up information from the earth's magnetic field.  Cats can attenuate their whiskers to pick up information from the most miniscule of air movements.  Some animals can know a storm or earthquake is coming, even though sophisticated scientific devices are inaccurate or are left in the dark about the phenomena. 

Language

Togetherness is the true principle of reason and language, but means of which are sensations and representations are modified - Johann Hamann

It's well known that word choice can affect perception with freedom fighters becoming terrorists and vice versa depending on who is doing the reporting. Less obvious is that the structure of language can also cause misleading perceptions. 'Joe sees the dog' is an example of the linear format of English.  Other languages would structure this as  'Joe and dog seeing', which creates the perception of a circle of causality.  In this simple case, Joe will know from experience that the environment can bite back but in more complex situations, linear language will reinforce a false impression of his relationship to the environment.

The Somnambulist Society

There is only a rough correspondence between the sensory order and the physical order. - Gerald Edelman

As stated, leading hypnotism researchers, such as Thierry Melchior, postulate there is no clear boundary separating the memerized onstage people from the susceptibility of people to suggestion in everyday life.  It is simply a matter of degree. Old cigarette advertisements established a firm connection in the minds of its customers between smoking and glamour.  When ads connect personal worth to net worth and are shown at Christmas, their suggestive power contradicts and overwhelms the message of the founder of the holiday. 

The disconnection grows when the buying binge devolves into a fixation on a few particular items, in which the worth of something is determined by the fact everyone else wants it.  The connection between the buying and Christian reality is non-existent, except in the receiver's mind.  This is referred to as binding the referent to the receiver by hypnotism researchers.  In advertising, politics or news, the disconnection becomes less obvious than in hypnotism simply because almost the entire audience believes in the representation. 

Decades ago, there was an uproar when the advertising industry flashed subliminal messages on movie screens to get patrons to buy soda pop.  The image would not stay on long enough to register on the conscious brain, but sales increased noticeably after the blip was shown.  A public outcry soon led to the practice being outlawed.  Since then the advertising industry has spent untold amounts of money on further mind control research. Bernays

Careful studies are done on the psychological effects of colours, shapes, movements, eyescan and other criteria.  An object that moves from right to left creates an unconscious feeling of unease in western cultures because the eyes are accustomed to moving in a left to right motion for reading.  Three objects arranged in a pyramid shape will create an inner feeling of stability, while insecurity can be caused by having the same three objects placed in an inverted pyramid.  In ambush research, a marketer will pretend to be conducting a survey on environmentalism for example, and then make notes about the reaction of the subject when an arranged interruption involving the product occurs.

Relevant focus groups are hooked up to perceptatron machines that measure their involuntary responses to the stimuli, while surveys and written reports compile psychological profiles to determine the weak spots of the target customer.  Often the product itself goes unexplained, while the hopes, fears and desires of the target are twisted to have the desired subconscious and conscious effect.  At the point of sale, the brand colour or shape can trigger the subconscious associations with the product.

Over $450 billion is now spent annually on the advertising, which to a large extent is disinformation of the worst sort. 

The conquest is helped by our present institutions, which ignore many of the basic community or spiritual needs of people.  The advertised substitute promises to rectify the situation by filling up any feelings of emptiness.  The inevitable dissatisfaction that follows such misrepresentations sets the target up for the next round.  Idyllic scenery or family moments are often associated with a product, even though the business culture has to be committed to destroying the reality behind such images, simply because maximizing shareholder returns is what allows them ion that is endemic to modern societies, like all repressions, makes a receiver an easy target for subliminal manipulation.

Children are not exempt from the psychological warfare.  For example, chips and fast foods are presented as part of a normal diet on Saturday morning shows, with only 2 percent of food featured being regarded as healthy.  A study of 160 pre-school children found that those who watched the least amount of TV had diets that generally had less than 30% of calories from fats  Those that watched a minimum of 14 hours of  TV a week had diets with 35% or more of calories from fat.  The food advertised generally contained saturated fats where anything above 30% is held to raise risk of heart disease. 

Like all studies, there could be unstated other explanations, such as parents who insist their children watch less television and also insist on providing a healthier diet.  However, anyone who has gone shopping for a toy with their child is well aware of the effects of television programming.  There is minor legislation that protects the trusting children from the worst abuses, but there is concern that new editing technologies are being used to do an endrun around even these modest restraints.  Again, this is a statement about processes and structures and is not about specific businesses or individuals.  Any executives that didn't scheme how to take advantage of childhood perception would soon be out on the street. 

Television seems to have a more devastating effect on changing a person than other advertising media such as magazines and radio.  There is evidence the medium itself lends itself to hypnotic influencing.  In November 1969, researcher Herbert Krugman convinced his secretary to engage in an experiment involving a brain scan and television.  Within thirty seconds of a television being turned on, the secretary's brain waves switched from predominantly beta waves, indicating alertness, to predominately alpha waves, which indicate an unfocussed, aimless state subconscious state.  When the secretary started to read a magazine, the beta waves reappeared.  The staggering time allotment given to the television must also have an effect.  At a lowball average of 20 hours per week, if television was considered the same as an eight hour a day job, then most people put in 25 years of service.

Marshall McLuhan also studied the differing effects of various media.  He classified television as a cool medium, where an impassioned argument would appear shrill or overboard to the sedated viewer.  The same speech on radio, or what McLuhan classified as a hot medium, would sound stirring.  Polling results after the famous debate between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon had radio listeners giving Nixon a clear edge, while television viewers were left with the opposite impression.  The extent of the effect of the medium on perception led McLuhan to comment that "the medium is the message", which he changed to the medium is the massage for one of his books.

In Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley described how English law evolved so that a Habeas Corpus could be issued against a jailer that stated a person's body, or corpus, had to have his case examined within a certain time period.  Huxley goes on to state that a person can  "be free to be under no physical constraint and yet be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national state, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act."

He goes on to say "there will never be such a thing as habeas mentem; for no sheriff or jailer can bring an illegally imprisoned mind into court, and no person whose mind had been made captive would be in a position to complain of his captivity.  The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative."

On a positive note, hypnotism and advertising suggestions can be rejected by the conscious mind before they have a chance to infect the subconscious.  A person cannot be hypnotized against their will.  A knowledge of what advertising is really about can shield a person from its worst effects.  In essence, the conscious mind can act a guard against hijackers of the subconscious.  The subconscious can in turn remain free to guide the conscious mind with the innate potential for intelligence and morality all people are capable of.

School Daze

"Quit Jammin Me" - Tom Petty

Formal education does not leave the populace with many tools to see through the official illusions and delusions.  The school system itself has been accurately described as mass hypnotism in the guise of learning by engineer, reformist C. H. Douglas.  Outside of the science and maths, the subject matter is in many ways a continuation of the preschool lessons taught about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.  Christian and other children learn that adults will repeatedly lie to them about major events, but they also learn that the punchline will be given when the fun is over.

The teachings are inconsistent, but they remain about indoctrination rather than learning.  Older students were informed that America was discovered in 1492.  In reality it was an invasion with genocidal overtones.  Revisionist history takes the opposite extreme and portrays the natives as slaughtered innocents.  The Iroquois annihilation of the Christianized Hurons shows this viewpoint to be at the opposite end of the unreality scale. 

There is no consideration that the apportioning of five hundred year old innocence or guilt is a smokescreen.  Instead of presenting various perspectives of the evidence and letting the students draw their own conclusions and interpretations, memorization takes the place of learning.  Instead, there are no classes on the processes of inductive and deductive thinking, systems thinking; or how to see issues in shades of grey instead of black and white.  We are taught what to think, not how to think. 

Schools further dim inquiring, active and open minds but insisting that test answers fall with certain parameters of what comes down from on high.  The value of morality is propagated, but it is combined with creating the mindset to fit in with an immoral system.  The pretense is dropped as the graduate nears working age.  Professor Niel Postman, in Technopoly, states that higher education is now set up to deliver a person with no commitment and no point of view, but with plenty of marketable skills.  The effect of the programming on the alignment of self managing workers with the greater good is evident everywhere in modern society.  In the words of musician Roger Waters, all in all, education is just another brick in the wall 

Beyond the content of the lessons, there is what has been described as a secret curriculum.  Regimentation, obedience, and measuring efforts by the dial of the clock are all designed to prepare the student for the industrial age workplace.  The format creates a mentality that will slog away at something uninteresting, unrewarding and unnecessary simply because orders must be followed.  The structure met the needs of industrial society for standardized, concentrated, synchronized behaviour.  The increasing irrelevance of these traits in the decentralized, fragmented information age means the educational situation is one of short term pain for long term pain.

If anything, there seems to be an inverse relationship between enforced memorization and the creative, reflective abilities that produce real value.  Julian Huxley described many of the high pressure situations in school as the subconscious desire of the adult to revenge himself to ordeals he was subjected to in the past.  Yet, leaders and parents who could never imagine themselves as being a large part of the problem clamour for a return to more rote learning.  Before the recent freefall into indoctrination over education, Albert Einstein has answered a student looking for the meaning in education by remarking "it is undeniable that the enlightened Greeks and the old Oriental sages had achieved a higher level in this all-important field than what is alive in our schools and universities."

Education reform is the most critical need both for freedom and for handling the demands of the information age.  Hitler had joked that when he invaded areas, he would have schools set up to teach the conquered to count to twenty, read the road signs and nothing else.  All the thinking would come down from above.  Except for a few higher education courses, the system today uses subtler processes to accomplish a less extreme version of the same design.  The massive flow of information today would make a dartboard decision as relevant as this type of top down direction. 

The Most Dangerous Addiction

One of the more powerful and interesting motivators to come out of the development of the ego is the fear of death. It is held we are the only such animal to have knowledge of this, which is mistaken.  However, we are the only animal with the luxury to dwell upon it outside of the everyday life and death situations faced by most other animals on a daily  basis. Anyways, as spiritual author Eckhart Tolle relates: “Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego's fear of death, of annihilation. To the ego, death is always just around the corner. In this mind-identified state, fear of death affects every aspect of your life.” But only from an atheist viewpoint. Marcus Aurelius said it best with “to fear death is childlike”.

The Denial of Death is a work by Ernest Becker which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1974, shortly after his death. (In the scene above Woody Allen buys the book for Diane Keaton in the Academy Award-winning movie “Annie Hall.”)

The book’s basic premise is that human civilization is a defense mechanism against the knowledge that we will die. Becker argues that humans live in both a physical world of objects and a symbolic world of meaning. The symbolic part of human life engages in what Becker calls an “immortality project.” People try to create or become part of something which they believe will last forever—art, music, literature, religion, nation-states, social and political movements, etc. Such connections, they believe, give their lives meaning.

Furthermore, Becker believed that mental illness, especially depression, results when we don’t feel connected to some meaningful project. And lacking such a project reminds us of our mortality. He also argued that schizophrenia results from not having defense mechanisms against mortality, causing sufferers to create their own reality. (These ideas remind me of Viktor Frankl’s claim, in Man’s Search for Meaning, that mental illness most often results from a lack of meaning.)

Moreover, Becker believed that conflicts between contradictory immortality projects, especially religious ones, are the main cause of wars, bigotry, genocide, racism, and nationalism. Our particular immortality projects are so important to us, that we can’t tolerate others suggesting that our beliefs are mistaken. But, Becker argued, religion no longer offers convincing arguments for immortality or meaning in life. Unfortunately, for most people, science doesn’t fill the void.

In response, Becker suggests that we need new comforting “illusions” to give life meaning. He doesn’t know what these new illusions will be, but he hoped that having them might help us create a better world. Still, deep in our bones, we know that we are mortal. As Becker put it:

This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-­expression—and with all this yet to die.

DECEPTION

See No, Hear No, Speak No

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. - Norman Vincent Peale

At a learning forum, I used my opening remarks to express concern about growing skin cancer rates after others had commented on the hot, sunny day.  I was the only union member among a managerial group but the speed of disagreement still left an awkward silence, even though the learning forum was about the future and the company held the secretariat for an international environmental paper.  The next meeting opened with the moderator explaining that all comments should be positive. 

But what is positive and what is negative?  Holed up in a Berlin bunker and surrounded by an overwhelming force, Hitler believed he could still win the war if only a certain commander would make a certain maneuver.  It was a positive assessment but it was also completely out of touch with reality.  That being said, there is much that is positive today, but those things will look after themselves as well as help deal with the negatives.  What is needed is to take off the rose coloured glasses handed to us by out of touch institutions and take a serious look at what is really going on. 

Those that decide to do so often find themselves labelled as pessimists.  However, if the problems are proven to be persistent and predictable then it could also be argued that those who downplay or block them out are not really optimists.  A primary reason for ignoring something is a belief that nothing can be done about it. 

Another perspective could be to question why it is so odd for the average citizen to talk about such things as the ozone thinning.  Is it really okay to burn individuals in complicated ways, and because of the time, distance and closed door meetings involved, comment is not welcome?  Yet if an industrialist were in a room flicking less harmful hot matches at a child, and talking about gradually ceasing, there would be an uproar from all. 

Many elites, who are locked-in to a history of short term problem solving through rigid hierarchies and secrecy, encourage the public apathy by labelling those who point out valid problems as complainers and special interest groups.  Often they cite modern advances as proof there is really nothing to worry about.  However, there is little appreciation that these advances, from civil rights to the women's vote, came about precisely because of the type of behaviour they are condemning. 

There has been a recognition of the value of intelligence amplification within leading businesses, with flattened, decentralized organizational structures and worker empowerment replacing layers of bureaucracy.  However, what is considered important within corporations is being held back in the far more consequential society that both corporations and life in general depend upon.  Additionally, what is happening in the larger society hobbles the attempts at empowerment and decentralization in the corporations.  The more efficient the worker becomes, the more likely it is that they or their workmates will not have a job, largely because a long involuntary work week has no place in a highly automated society.   

Good decentralized decisions imply good information flows.  This suggests an upper echelon that does not keep secrets from their staff and honest assessments from workers who feel free to say what they really think. The freedom must be a true freedom in that the citizen is also made aware of how the larger society works.  Otherwise, their decisions and feedback will frequently be incompatible with the health of the overall system, even if they are adequate for short term needs.  Without truth and real empowerment, there is just no way to align individual action, organizational processes and the interests of the larger supporting environment. 

Angst and Apathy

What luck for rulers that the people do not think - Adolph Hitler

Planned ignorance and the resulting apathy has always been a feature of large societies.  When these societies broke down, there was a frontier and the physical requirements to build anew.  Today, it looks more and more like the burn-to-the-ground and rebuild conditions no longer exist, although there seems to be little recognition of this, both from extremist opponents of the present system, and those that imagine a top down imposed solution will have any staying power beyond that of the biblical beast. 

There are several factors working against public participation just when it is most needed.  The non-committal, highly skilled products of today's educational institutions are no doubt regarded as a success story by elites who wish to make decisions with minimal outside interference.  In reality, the decentralization and alignment requirements of today means that a Frankenstein is being created by the education policy of 'business uber alles'.

In 1988, a Parent's magazine study of 290,000 American college freshmen showed developing a meaningful philosophy of life was a priority for a record low, while a record high 76% thought being well off financially was most important.  Twenty years earlier 83% favoured a meaningful philosophy of life, with money being of secondary value.  Without a meaningful philosophy of life, it is hard to imagine that the money of the graduate could come to symbolize anything positive for the future.  Ten years after, a new wave of graduates could change things once again.

The programming started by the school system is kept in place by a compliant mass media.  In doing so, the media helps rob the workers of the information needed to make good decisions at the level where the rubber meets the road.  The corrupting influences of the wrong kind of power and the struggles for dominance among the elites themselves feeds the process.  Only the moral information that insists on shining through in both high and low places has created a window of opportunity to reverse such a situation.

Perceptual problems could also be aggravated by a condition similar to that endured by soldiers during large scale close quarter combat.  Survivors had written how all they could remember were a handful of enemies during the fight.  Later they were astonished to see an aftermath of incredible mayhem surrounding them.  For many parents and CEO's, the day to day economic battle is fought most effectively by filtering out the landscape under assault and concentrating on dealing with the immediate threats to the financial security of the family or company.  However, the increasing devastation is still there, and it is still the inheritance of their children and grandchildren.

A corporate version of the Stockholm Hostage Syndrome also seems to be muting criticism.  This psychological term was coined to describe how people tend to identify with an entity that controls their fate, regardless of the merit of that entity's actions.  In today's brutal economy, it helps short term survival to buy into the myths that are being propagated by a system on the verge of collapse.  Elites are or course not immune to this illusion.

People that have become aware of the need for real change face other barriers.  The increased workload that has strangely accompanied automation has left many with little time or energy to face the larger issues.  Somehow the segue between the glowing descriptions of a leisurely future and the need to work harder and longer happened without comment.  When the topic does come up, it is as though nobody can figure out what happened. 

The employees who view the working world as a master and servant relationship also keep quiet.  It is the rare person that dares make waves about a major company or industry policy that seems ill-conceived or unfair.  Those that do, usually find out that free speech means the freedom to go hungry and homeless and not much else.  Since the destitute are held to be incompetent, this method of silencing dissent is again effective and again detrimental to the long term good of all. 

Regardless of the cause of apathy, to say nothing can be done, is to ignore overwhelming evidence that shows something must be done.  There is now a general consensus among scientists that the present industrial age system cannot continue.  The current downplaying of the environmental problem is based on obsolete business models and not systems science, with 1500 scientists, including most Nobel laureates, signing a proclamation that the current system is unsustainable.  Simple math also shows that dissident engineers and economists are correct in ascertaining the industrial age economic system has the seeds of its own destruction within it. 

The Mind Managers

It is necessary that the prince should know how to colour his nature well, and how to be a great hypocrite and dissembler - Nicollo Machiavelli

Machiavelli is considered by some to be an apt advisor for a prince of darkness.  Yet he also made many astute observations that seemed to belie a cold and cruel heart.  The apparent paradox is of course a result of the rule of ruthlessness.  Those that didn't play this game, at least within the public arena, were soon replaced by others that would.  Machiavelli was just a realist for his time and for all time so far.  The manner in which this too will pass is another question of our age.

Robert Wilson describes some of the ways in which the centralized mindset malfunctions as an information processor.  The short-circuits include: argument by imposture, where the speaker claims to represent something when his actions would prove otherwise; argument by precedent, which has taken such forms in the past as the world is flat because everyone knows it has always been flat; and argument by intimidation, in which a lack of reasoning is accompanied by the often unstated threat of do it or else.

Other common information gaps are: argument by self-interest, where a leader opts for private gain over public good; argument of guilt-by-association in which a valid finding is dismissed because of where it comes from; and argument by evidence alone, where statistics are skewed to obtain the desired results.  As Winston Churchill said about the latter, there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics.  The numerous statistics in this work are not immune of course, and should not be regarded as objective facts.  Instead they are pieces of data that should be considered within the context of all the other information a person has at their disposal. 

A significant percentage of the population now distrusts both the media and politicians.  Alvin Toffler digs deep in his analysis of the communication methods of those caught up in power plays to show the details of what the law of the jungle information wars have become. 

Deceptions include: the secrecy tactic, where elite missteps are hidden under the pretence of business confidentiality or national security requirements; the guided leak, which is usually elite infighting masquerading as valuable public information; and the masked source, in which supposedly independent bodies have misleading names or affect an academic disinterest in order to give credibility to their message.  One such Canadian animal is The Fraser Institute.  The findings are widely quoted in newspapers, but there is never an admission that the wife and right hand man of the country's most powerful media baron sits on its board of directors. 

Toffler's labels for other modern day variations on the trashing of truth and trust include: back channeling, double channeling, the need-not-to know tactic, the omission tactic, the generality tactic, timing tactics, the dribble tactic, the tidal wave tactic, the vapor tactic, the big lie tactic, the reversal tactic and the blow-back tactic.  The last includes a strategy where a false story is planted overseas and is then picked up and reprinted by a domestic press.  The other tactics are no less disingenuous and become increasingly hard to unravel once they are used in combination. 

In The Book of Lies, M. Hirsh Goldberg describes a history of fiction masquerading as fact.  Beyond the anecdotes are some fairly standardized misinformation procedures such as:  manipulating polling questions to obtain prearranged results; using statistics in a misleading context to create illusions for public consumption; and the use of  'drylabbing' to achieve a desired scientific outcome. 

The latter recently came to light during an inquiry into a false murder conviction in Canada.  In essence, a man had been convicted on his arrest, primarily because of a lack of connections.  The prosecutors, police and forensic scientists then constructed the illusion of justice using methods that would be considered criminal if undertaken outside of a justice institution.  Hundreds of slides were discarded and the written concerns of a technician were ignored, so that less principled scientists could give the police the results they were looking for.  In an American example, chemical evidence was found in strange places, including an incriminating object where it would have washed off due to rain, and in several places in the lab where it never should have been in the first place.  To be fair, the justice system is following the drift of a society in which consistent truth telling is a severe handicap.

Goldberg also relates an anecdote about a spoof column written by the acerbic journalist H. L. Mencken.  Despite a retraction that admitted his satirical account of the history of bathing was entirely made up, Mencken's column continued to be used as a reference in medical journals and elsewhere.  Mencken went on to say he considered such a reaction as typical, and that "out of such frauds and guesses flows much of what passes for human knowledge".  Again, this project is not exempt from false information.

In her book, Lying, Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, Sissela Bok writes how even people who were debriefed after being lied to felt a loss of trust regarding the larger community.  This commonly occurs during social research, where experts will lie to get honest opinions.  The loss of trust process of course accelerates when people discover official lies on their own.  As the trust breaks down, it becomes increasingly difficult to coordinate responsibilities in a free society. 

Lying for Survival

He who will die is he who will kill - The Clash

As belief in the larger system is lost, the misinformation fog grows at lower levels.  As Richard Deacon relates in The Truth Twisters, disinformation on one side tends to induce it in the other.  Routine lying to authorities, such as that prevalent in insurance cases, is often seen as a form of self-defence against a system that seems to have lost its sense of a just price.  A worker group discussing a defendant who wanted to prove his innocence, rather than take advantage of a technicality, passed an unanimous sentence of stupidity.  The hyper-competitiveness of the new economy leaves less room for principles, the two cardinal virtues of any jungle being force and deception.  Bright spots abound, but the overall trend does not look promising.

  1. Scott Peck in A World Waiting to be Born, opens with "an illness is abroad in the land" before recounting how a major investment firm bought a page of U.S.A. Today to show how its services could allow a check of a potential contact's credit rating before "buying a beer for my new best friend".  The company that positioned its service in this way was probably right on in its marketing strategy, although it's hard to imagine anything but a negative response in the not so distant pass.  Scott concludes "something is seriously wrong" when such an ad makes the rounds for stamps of approval, and everyone thinks it's a good idea.

In a recent television commercial, a suave character gets a gorgeous girl and a drink of her beer by way of the old fingers in the water trick with a sleeping overweight fellow passenger.  The embarrassed, soaked-for-the-trip stranger exits stage left.  Having conquered one territory by back stabbing subterfuge, the winner changes seats to take up residence beside his prize.

A 1997 study used a broad definition to document how an average of  200 lies a day were conveyed by the modern person.  The researchers then reached the conclusion that many of the lies were required in order to function in today's society.  If this dynamic was within a family, the analysis would probably have been dysfunctional.

The effect of increasing lies in an age that is supposed to revolve around information has not really been adequately considered.  How can something have value if it isn't true?  Even though individuals can gain a temporary advantage by lying, to themselves or others, the damage to the overall support system is becoming increasingly severe.  Even in a slower, more isolated world, folklore recognized this important dynamic long ago and stated it as ‘what goes around, comes around’.  The industrialist who abuses the environment to stay competitive, and dies a rich, accomplished man, has not really disproved this archetype.  Species far less advanced than humans know how important future generations are to existing generations. 

Most individuals, elites and otherwise, would seem to have innate knowledge that more honesty is needed regarding the long term requirements of the modern age.  Unfortunately, they are also aware that openness and truth are more and more becoming competitive disadvantages, regardless of any official company ethics. Trust, sincerity, friendship and family are frequent casualties of this personal battle between two opposing indispensable needs. 

In effect, the communication and control that describes cybernetics must be honest communications and a large degree of self-control.  The term cybernetics itself comes from an old Greek word meaning to steer or steersman.  Trying to steer in a society where many directions are based on falsehood is like asking directions in town full of liars.  The speed and power of today's technological vehicles means that not knowing which roads obviously lead to nowhere can have consequences considerably more serious than just temporarily getting lost. 

Lying is a common pattern in nature, but more advanced species are supposed to discover the increasing value of morality, not move away from it.  As sociobiologists Wilson and Daly relate, "morality is the device of any animal of exceptional cognitive complexity, pursuing its interests in an exceptionally complex universe."  The information age has not only forgotten some basic logical requirements for survival, but even a lot of what it means to be human.

Those that consider a clampdown to be a viable alternative to trust and truth are ignoring today's complexity and have forgotten history.  The false idols epitomized by human dictators are a recipe of disaster for one and all.  In the past, authoritarian regimes have only delayed and exacerbated the inevitable chaos that must occur with a breakdown in community spirit.  As repeatedly stated, there is just no way the massive amounts of information can be intelligently processed by a select few. 

As well, the more lying and manipulative behaviour there is at the top, the more disinformation will spring up at all levels, and the more the larger supporting whole becomes threatened.  The rule of ruthlessness at higher levels means Machevellian maneuvers must continue.  Although they guarantee the destruction of a society, they also prolong its existence.  The only way out is to find a workable global solution, that is protected from the natural urge to power by a knowledge age information structure.

Truth in a Haystack

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free - John VII

Researcher William Bartley offers a checklist of four criteria for assaying given viewpoints.  They are: using basic logic to check for inconsistencies in the theory;  checking personal experiences against the theory; checking one's own biased logic and sense observation by seeing if the theory contradicts any generally accepted scientific hypotheses; and most importantly, determining if the problem the theory is supposed to deal with is being successfully solved.  The last one is particularly useful for judging extremely complex situations.

Philosophy is a very important component in the search for truth, since science and math alone can not even prove it is wrong to needlessly inflict pain.  Rabbi Nahman provides a bedrock analysis when he states "falsehood imitates truth and it seems impossible to know which is which.  What, therefore, is the difference between the upholders of truth and the champions of falsehood?  This is the unfailing sign: people of truth are especially dedicated to the task of redeeming captives.  They hate slavery.  This is the test by which you can tell the difference." 

Nahman's advice on truth and slavery is related to an information source that has been much maligned by those who consider science to be the final arbiter of truth.  Listening to the heart, as well as the head, is a very valuable verification procedure.  Nature has bestowed humans with a conscience which constitutes a rich lode of subconscious knowledge.  While the conscious can only handle 5 to 9 variables at one time, the power of the subconscious is magnitudes greater.  A caveat is that manipulative cultural institutions can detract from, as well as add to, a person's innate sense of right and wrong. 

Hemispheric brain activity can also be used to illustrate how conscious and subconscious information can be transformed into knowledge.  The left side of the human brain has been identified as processing hard scientific facts and is linked closely to individualism and objectivity.  The right side of the brain deals better with abstractions, artistry and tends toward communal reflections and subjectivity. 

An overactive right side generates irrational creative urges while a dominant left side results in a cold calculating rationality that rejects the power of the subconscious.  Both biases invariably lead to short term thinking, either for oneself or for the community support system.  The two sides of the brain function best when they are used as a symbiotic, cooperative mechanism.  Bilateralism is a primary pattern found throughout nature and humanity's thinking ability also rests on this excellent design principle.  Like two legs walking, both oars in the water or two eyes seeing depth and perspective, the artistic and scientific sides of the brain work best when balanced. 

When accident victims lose the capability to transmit information between the right and left brain, the extreme effects of unbalanced brain hemispheres become obvious.  Experiments showed a handicapped subject's thoughts and actions were completely out of touch with the reality of the diagrams that were displayed to one eye only.  The left hand literally did not know what the right hand was doing. 

A caveat here is that hemispheric brain activity, like conscious and subconscious thought, is a highly simplified analysis of what actually occurs.  Like everything, each somewhat arbitrary division can be studied to help understand the phenomena, but the thing itself can only be understood by seeing or intuiting how it interacts with all the other phenomena that make up the various larger wholes.  Think globally, act locally is a slogan that captures this concept. 

While no advice can entirely eliminate misconceptions, a person's susceptibility to lies and misinformation can be greatly reduced by following Bartley's checklist, Nahman's rule of truth and balancing hemispheric brain activity.  It is also important to remember that recently acquired information is overemphasized by the brain and can skew probabilities if a person is unaware of this when mulling over conflicting information.  With practice, information from untrusted sources can be quickly and automatically screened through a personalized truth filter, that in the final analysis rests heavily on intuitive morality. 

The Chains of Communication

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and will never be.  - Thomas Jefferson

Primitive people were in direct personal contact with most of the information by which they made their decisions.  Immersion in real experience and the resulting observations directed many thoughts and actions, although witch doctors could still encourage mistaken beliefs.  A modern person has most of their information chosen for them with headlines, word choice, camera angles, photograph selections and editorials adding shape to the selection.  Mass media makes it possible to hate someone who has never been met, or experience joy, sadness and anger without being exposed to any direct stimuli. Many people still confuse authenticity with authority and give a high credence to this information.

Researcher John Hannigan questioned the effect of mass media ownership on democracy in his essay Ideology, Elites and the Canadian Mass Media.  He urged serious action on the role of news as business ideology and manufactured product.  Hannigan concluded that the effect of the media was such that a democratic society could not coexist if this information structure was compromised in its ability in what it could publish.  In 1969 and 1981, mounting concern over the concentration of ownership led to federal studies, which were shelved as the diverse, outspoken opinions of small independent publishers gradually became a thing of the past. 

Concentration of newspaper ownership in Canada has now reached the point where one company distributes the news to more than half the population.  In a recent interview, the head of the company had talked of the need to stem the "soft, left, bland, envious pap that has poured like sludge" through the newspapers.  The magnate's right hand man also stated "if the editors disagree with us, they should disagree with us when they're no longer in our employ."

Because of costs and limitations on bandwidth, radio and television are even more closely controlled than newspapers.  A public looking for escapism is also demanding less news and more entertainment, so that what does get through provides very little to meet the needs of a decentralized information society.  Professor Niel Postman described the emphasis on escapism in his book entitled Amusing Ourselves to Death.

The conflict of interest situation is worsened by the media’s reliance on business for advertising income.  The general policies required for business needs are filtered down to the newsroom through subtle negative and positive sanctions.  Like most jobs, much of the behaviour modification has nothing to do with quality or efficiency.  It's a tribute to the human spirit that newspapers often contain relevant information, even though they must remain silent on the big issues.

Hebert Schiller in The Mind Managers states "It is not necessary to construct a theory of intentional cultural control. In truth, the strength of the control process rests in its apparent absence. The desired systemic result is achieved ordinarily by a loose, though effective, institutional process. It utilizes the education of journalists and other media professionals, built-in penalties and rewards for doing what is expected, norms presented as objective rules, and the occasional but telling direct intrusion from above. The main lever is the internalization of values." 

The leading American critic, Noam Chomsky, chronicled the role of the media in his book, Manufacturing Consent.  The title refers to a descriptive phrase found in the minutes of a meeting that a powerful business group had held.  The American elites had talked of a plan to use the media to ‘manufacture consent’ for their policies. 

There have been many other comments made about the media by those who access less obvious information sources.  Journalist turned novelist Theodore Dreiser stated that the American Press is kept by big corporations, the way a whore is kept by a rich man.  American author Gore Vidal has opined the genius of the American press is their ability to get the voter to vote against their own interests.  Thomas Jefferson said he had pity on any person who thought they knew what was going on from reading the newspapers.  Noted American educator John Dewey remarked on the extent of mind management by saying “the reactionaries are in possession of force, not only in the army and police, but in the press and the schools.”

The North American techniques of media manipulation are far superior to the overt, crude methods that have been employed by the regimes of police states.  As such, they are being clumsily adopted in post-communist Russia and other areas joining the global economy.  However, the sense of western media sophistication is really a false one. In The Truth Twisters, Richard Deacon writes "the Western democracies are sometimes just as vulnerable as the people of totalitarian regimes- indeed perhaps more so, because they are more likely to accept what they are told as the truth." 

Like other industrial age institutions, the media manipulation has its roots in the jungle mentality that is common in arenas where competition is fierce.  Force and deception are the cardinal rules of the jungle and the human preoccupation with information secrecy was originally developed to provide protection and security in this world of real scarcity.  The camouflage was a necessary shield from hunger, predators, other clans, different tribes, opposing city states, enemy nations and finally competing transnationals.  Like many other security arrangements for past ages, secrecy is now making us less secure. As the globe becomes more and more interdependent, the poor decisions made as a result of bad information, come around and go around with increasing speed.