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. Official documentation does not make anything more or less true and there is often an inverse relationship between authority and authenticity. As the age declines further, disinformation increasingly overshadows knowledge, mirroring the old and ironic habit of human beings to move faster when lost. For anyone wishing to verify or read further according to a particular author, keywords will get you there. 

Additionally, references are screened according to the biases of a writer. Today, unguided searches on the Internet provide a superior method for obtaining further information. Mainstream search engines and social media can supplement less compromised online information sources. Fact checking websites can also be useful, with the caveat that they are usually sources of disinformation for important truths that go against the establishment.

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

PART 1

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 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. In the words of a cartoon character, 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. 

PART 2

Out of the Heart of Darkness

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

It has been said change is the only constant. However, a distinction can be made between gradual change and discontinuous change. Discontinuous change has been defined as non-incremental, relatively sudden change. It can threaten existing power structures, often because it alters the way things are done. When discontinuous change overtakes society in general, it can be referred to as an age change. Previous human ages were the agricultural age and the industrial age. Currently, most of the world is working through the information age. 

As futurist Alvin Toffler relates in The Third Wave, the last significant transition in human affairs occurred during the birth of the industrial age.  It 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, Toffler concludes "today the stakes are much higher, the time shorter, the acceleration faster, and the dangers even greater”. Toffler concludes his 1980's bestseller with "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."  Toffler's work is mainstream enough that he has dined at the U.S. White House. Because of his establishment approach, many of the specific concepts behind his concerns could only be hinted at.  There are no such constraints here.

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. This age change is being “rigidly resisted” by the elites. The powerful institutions that emerged with the industrial age; the mass media, banks, schools, legislative bodies, corporate structures and so on remain largely unchanged. Economic progress continues to be measured by GDP, where a murder and a marriage are considered to be of equal value if the same amount of money changes hands. Instead of the overdue transformation of thoroughly obsolete and unjust industrial age institutions, there is the usual attack on individual rights that occurs when a power structure is threatened. 

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 upcoming change is ‘shortsighted and unimaginative’. Superficial changes, lip service and a reflexive clampdown flows from the top, while real, institutional change, as always, is coming from the outliers and the grassroots. It was to be expected. 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 in the last age change. During the transition 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 peacefully 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 industrial age legislatures. The peaceful route needs to be expanded as the legislatures give way to information age governance structures. To take the path out of the jungle, to what Toffler and others have referred to as the first true human civilization in history, change of change is necessary.

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

The industrial age brought amazing progress to humanity including that which makes the first relatively peaceful change to a new age possible. 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. Likewise, mob rule seems unlikely in countries where nascent democratic traditions have taken root. Other developments since the last age change that call for a relatively peaceful transition include the advent of nuclear weapons and serious ecological challenges. 

A surveillance society is being pushed by the establishment but historical lessons on the horrors of totalitarian societies have left a deep impression on humanity in general. Constitutional protections provide an additional layer of protection and are proving resilient in the face of would-be dictators and oligarchs looking to forestall the age change. 

The continued effectiveness of institutional deception also looks to be off the table. Widespread new communications technology means less and less of the people can be fooled less of the time. The Internet is forcing the issue as social media supplants industrial age mass media. The secrecy necessary for the Machiavellian way is melting away. Dominant players in the new technologies are attempting to block and spin information much like the traditional mainstream media, but endruns are easy.

Censorship and fake news efforts come to light, such that even more credibility and influence are lost by the establishment. It is not unusual for condemnations and ridicule to be the dominant themes in a comment section. This sea change in knowledge and attitude happened in less than 30 years. The original DARPA military contribution to the development of the Internet emphasized decentralization in order to survive decapitation by nuclear strikes from the totalitarian USSR. This resilient capability is being fulfilled in unexpected ways in preserving freedom of expression in the democracies. 

In addition to the age change, an overarching era change is in the cards. Insider Carrol Quigley chose his words carefully when he wrote “this 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. More about this later. The end result is that masses of borrowers enter debt servitude. Even if an individual is free of personal debt, they are held to be responsible for a share of the ballooning odious public debts. Modern lord and serf dynamics have sometimes been referred to as class warfare. However, in socialist countries, despite claims to the contrary, feudalism is both more direct and more pronounced.. 

Own or be Owned

“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

The feudalism era became entrenched with the end of the hunting and gathering age. It overlaid the agricultural, industrial and now the start of the information age. The book Microserfs was about feudalism in the information age. The phrase ‘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 any of what people would consider wealth. It is done so they can obtain money to live and to pay taxes and interest. 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 labour less and less of a factor in wealth production. 

A discipline known as binary economics is perhaps the pre-eminent starting point for the path out of the jungle. 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 of their property. Instead, natural increases in wealth that constantly occur are widely distributed, generally by free market principles. It is done in such a way that each individual is in direct control of their productive property, without relying on an often corruptible, inefficient bureaucratic central body to dole out rewards.  

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.The latter could come into play through a negative income tax, but only as a last resort, for the small minority whose investments do not pan out for a time.

The websites at globajusticemovement.org and cesj.org work on marrying the core concepts of binary economics with other progressive movements that focus on creating a world community designed around ecological sustainability. 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. This would avoid what has been referred to as the tragedy of the commons. Even so, ownership of the machinery providing basic needs should be widespread through such things as community investment coalitions. For the higher levels of our existence, our sense of belonging and self-actualization, freedom should be as unfettered as possible. 

By separating the lower and higher needs (defined here from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) it is possible to bridge the somewhat false dichotomy between what has been termed the freedom of the individual and the freedom of the whole. Some cyberneticians hold that the more individual freedom increases, the less free an overarching system is to follow a predefined course and vice versa. This view does not account for many things, such as most individuals choosing freely to do the right thing for the commons, if given good information. In short, enlightened self interest and morality are absent from the theory. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides a good first goal for information age institutions. 

It is increasingly obvious that industrial age legislatures are on the way out. Adults should have more direct more input into the governance of their community, state, nation and globe. Communications technologies have at last made this possible in societies larger than the tribal unit. As Nicholas Negroponte points out in Being Digital, connected computers have the ability to globalize and harmonize while simultaneously providing decentralization and individual empowerment. The networks are also capable of exchanging more information in seconds than all of the pre-computer communication in recorded history.

An oligarchy or dictatorship, benevolent or not, is unsustainable in the upcoming age. One reason is the flow of information today cannot be adequately addressed by such 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. 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 leaves them vulnerable to a coup by those with less scruples. A dictatorship or oligarchy based on lies will not have the broad base of informed popular support of a truly representative government. It was not an accident that Machiavellians came to dominate our current leadership. In the final analysis, mushroom eating John’s biblical warnings about an apocalyptic ending to the dictatorial path is based on logic. 

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 mob rule. 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. Superseding industrial age educational institutions will be an early requirement for the upcoming age change. Evolutionary economist and cybernetician Kenneth Boulding spoke of a knowledge age, rather than an information age, to distinguish between an age with massive flows of indiscriminate and purposely inaccurate information and that which is relevant, true and therefore useful.

PART 3

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

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published shortly after Origin of the Species. In the latter work, scientist Charles Darwin made the case for humanity’s evolution from the jungle and its common ancestry with apes. Art imitates life. After drinking a potion, Dr. Jekyll transforms into the squat and hairy Mr. Hyde who exhibits ‘ape-like tricks’, ‘ape-like spite’ and ‘ape-like fury’. Jekyll’s experiment goes horribly wrong. He had planned to isolate and expunge his hydden dark side. Instead the good doctor is gradually taken over by his sinister alter ego, seduced by the unchecked power it wields. Ultimately Jekyll is destroyed, committing suicide to escape the hangman’s noose for a murder done under the influence of his opiate, no longer in a vial, but chemically springing from his thoughts unbidden. 

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 man, 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 man”. History shows that all too often the beast takes over as unaccountable power tends to corrupt, much like Hyde took over Jekyll’s personality. 

Charles Darwin’s proteges continue to seek scientific linkages between the ape and the angel. 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”. Wrangham came to the conclusion that 300,000 years of capital punishment 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.

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 current dominant viewpoint that altruistic acts are simply another survival tactic and not a result of any innate morality. 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."

The seeds of this doctrine surfaced in Charle’s Darwins’ second book on evolution entitled The Descent of Man (first published in 1871 with substantial revisions in 1874). Darwin argued instinctive altruism effectively enables individuals to guarantee survival of the group, which in turn will aid survival of the 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 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, individual organisms 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. 

Dawkins’ reductionist viewpoint crumbled under criticism. 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”. 

Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould also rejected Dawkins’ viewpoint 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 “in the received history that just about everyone agrees upon, many biologists during the first half of the 20th century assumed that 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. He 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 avoid repeating the cycle, an empowering, accountable world government, not a dictatorial Machiavellian world government.

Dawkins did give some good advice on the way out of the jungle in the conclusion to The Selfish Gene when 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 and claw, and their extensions, to the first true civilization.

Long overdue fundamental education reform would be necessary of course. Not only to discuss genes and how to overcome their negative aspects on modern society, but also on 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. It also creates artificial shortages that often force people to turn on each other in order to pay their debts and financially survive. A real life version of musical chairs where instead of losing your seat, you lose your home and business. A sure way to build cunning and ruthlessness. Ex-banker and financier Bernard Lietaer covered this dynamic in his book Beyond Greed and Scarcity. In one sense, this deception is about doing evil to do good, in another, it destroys that which makes the good possible. More about this later.

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 to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.” One planet, one people is how one religion terms this outlook.

Something Old, Something New

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

The difference between instinctive altruism and the cooperative, symbiotic arrangements found everywhere in nature relies on more than just the selfish gene and the limited multi-level hypotheses. There is infinitely more at play than what Dawkins and the others suggest. Dawkins’ mentor, evolutionary biologist George C. Williams learned this 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". David Sloan Wilson included ecosystems in his discussion of the multi-levels that evolution worked at, 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. We don’t say the nth plus one number of Pi does not exist because it has not been calculated, Multi-level selection goes beyond ecosystems, to earth or Gaia and through the galaxies and universe Russian dolls up to what some refer to as God. 

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 certain ancient agendas.

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.

Rather than the impractical and doomed to failure advocation of the elimination of organized religion Einstein argued they should return to their roots and wrote "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 "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.

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. An interesting take on the duality of people is held by the World Transformation Movement. They aver that all our problems result from the conflict between our instincts and our intellect, which developed along with our consciousness. The biblical Tree of Knowledge, where Adam and Eve eat the apple, is held to be an analogy of our evolving consciousness and ego. However, instinct vs intellect is an oversimplification of the exceedingly complex interplay of our past and present motivators, where sometimes our intellect can actually align with our instincts. 

To Infinity and Beyond

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 or in the analogy of E. O. Wilson, a set of Russian dolls. The process of course goes far beyond the gene, organism, groups and ecosystems. Within the genes are molecules, which are composed of atoms, which are made of quarks and down past what can be observed. What is interesting here, is that it was once scientific fact that atoms were the smallest element in creation, and lo and behold, there was yet another level.

Going up, in the other direction, humans comprise communities, which are nested in nations, which in turn make up global society, all of which affect our behavior. All of this exists within ecosystems, which make up the earth and some have made the case that the earth is a living system in the Gaia hypothesis. All of the aspects that make up any living system are found within this planet. It could be one of humanity’s symbiotic duties to defend the planet against asteroids, which can throw the atmosphere beyond the gravitational pull faster than it can regenerate, resulting in a sterile planet like Mars. And then move the earth out of the path of the sun implosions. 

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, Einstein is correct "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.”

Past the propaganda, humanity cannot destroy the earth, but we are currently the only species that can save it from the statistical certainty of destruction by asteroids. Deflection is the starter position, but eventually the planet could be moved bringing another meaning to Bucky Fuller’s Spaceship Earth. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke of a noosphere and commented on the higher information flows with: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”: 

Beyond this it is a given that the physical systems continue. The earth lives 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. Yet many scientists continue to ridicule the idea that this interchange of atoms, and likely other forms of energy/matter, 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.

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. 

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 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. The scientific concepts of most probable and pattern recognition would have eliminated these previous errors and should dispel this limitation tendency if science is to be worthy of its name.

The Just Third Way in Our Global Justice Movement brings it all together. 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.