Our ancestors have made decisions that have put us—the human race—on a very dangerous path.
It leads to ever-increasing violence, destruction, and the ultimate extinction of our race.
We do not have to go down this path.
There are other paths we can take in the future.
This site explains these other paths.
We live in crazy societies.
They are violent, destructive, confrontational, irrational, unfair, and don’t conform to any logical or scientific standards about the way reasonable people might want societies to work. These societies are built on competition: They divide the world into a large number of entities we call ‘independent and sovereign countries.’ These countries don’t appear to interested in the long-term welfare of the human race or the protection of the only world we have. They seem more concerned with competing with other countries to gain short-term advantages for the group of people who (by chance) happened to have been born inside the network of seemingly arbitrary lines called ‘borders’ that define each country.
The teams/countries compete using almost unbelievably savage, barbaric, and inhumane methods. They use economic sabotage (‘sanctions’) to intentionally create poverty and misery for millions of people. They use extortion that includes threats to wipe out critical resources, infrastructure, priceless artifacts, or even to wipe out large parts of the world itself by bombing the deadly toxic waste repositories called nuclear power facilities, if those being threatened don’t grant concessions. But their most common means of competition are the well-planed, well organized, well funded, intentional acts of mass murder and destruction called ‘wars.’ These wars can carry on year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation, killing millions each year before morphing into new wars, that are just as deadly and dangerous.
An objective observer, looking at these societies from outside (say from another world with intelligent beings) might have a hard time accepting that the beings that have built this crazy kind of society are truly intelligent beings. They may think that this kind of society looks more like it was designed for apes or other savage beings, those without the ability to think logically, than by and for beings with true intelligence.
Apes Societies With Non-Ape Members
When we look at the mechanical structures of the societies in place on earth, we will see that they are, in fact, built on the same foundations that support the societies of the highly territorial and fanatically aggressive apes that were our evolutionary ancestors. Like us, they divide their population into groups (theirs are called ‘troops’) based on the location of the baby’s mother relative to territorial borders when that baby was born. These apes identify and mark very clear borders of their territories. They recruit soldiers to go out and patrol the borders. When they encounter threats to their borders, they act very aggressively and violently, often attacking and killing the other apes (the ones that are not citizens of their troop). They show fanatical resolve in these battles: Individuals will kill the outsiders with their bare hands (they have no claws: they only have the same natural weapons we have, teeth, fingernails, and the ability to punch and kick) and then tear them to pieces. When the alpha warriors of their troop directs them to do so, they will make suicide attacks, going to certain death for themselves in order to protect the territorial rights their troops had gained for them in the past.
Our closest animal evolutionary ancestors, the ‘pan troglodytes’ acted this way and, in nature, still act this way. We share 98.3% of our DNA with this species. DNA analysis can help us trace a clear linage from the pan troglodytes, through various levels of proto-humans (neanderthals and denisovans), through to early mixes of these different proto-humans that have yet to be named (they have just been discovered), to the ancient peoples who lived in Afro Eurasia from 40,000 years ago to Biblical times, and lived in the Americas and other non Afro Eurasian lands from 26,000 years ago to 1492 (it was actually about 1890 before they were fully subjugated or otherwise made irrelevant) to modern humans.
We have capabilities that the pan troglodytes and our other ape ancestors don’t have.
We can think on a conscious level and self direct or thoughts.
We could have used these skills to analyze our societies, determine if there were better ways to organize ourselves than the systems we inherited, and then build these better systems. But there is no evidence that any attempt has ever been made to make this happen.
Why should we go to all this effort?
The territorial conquest-based societies were good enough for our parents. They were good enough for our grandparents and their grandparents. They were good enough for the generations going back to the neanderthals, denisovans, the pan troglodytes and other species of apes whose DNA is 98.3% identical to ours. These fanatically territorial societies have endured for 6.7 million years.
Why should we be the ones to change them?
After all, we have a lot to do: The people in our country are in competition with the people from every other country on earth. We have to devote our time to finding ways to wipe the competing groups off the face of the planet before they can find ways to do the same thing to us. We are driven to compete this way, with the same evolutionary instincts that drove our ape ancestors to compete this way.
We just don’t have time to worry about other ways to organize our existence. Are other types of societies possible? The people who put Socrates to death for asking this question had a simple answer: we can’t worry about these things now. We will start worrying once the competition is over.
A Change in Perspective
Imagine you are a scientist in a world other than earth. You are part of a team studying other worlds. One day, you spill whatever drink people in your world use to help them wake up in the morning (like earth’s coffee) on the control of your radio telescope. It starts to move the antenna to an area your team has not studied before. Your radio telescope uses a quantum technology that allows it to interface with electronic devices it detects in real time. It detects that earth has an internet. It connects you.
The computers in your facility do an quick interface with earth computers to work out the details of the languages in use on the earth internet, so they can translate them into your language. Your computer detects search engines powered by AI (artificial intelligence) that can answer sentences asked in normal speech.
You can ask anything you want. You will get the same reply as you would have gotten if you had been on earth. You want to understand earth societies. You want to understand the different ways the earth beings that created the internet interact with the world they live on and with other members of their species. You ask questions that will help you understand these things.
You would see quickly that earth people interact with the physical world in a very dangerous way: They divide it with imaginary lines called ‘borders’ (which would probably appear to be totally arbitrary to scientists on other worlds). They call the parcels defined by each configuration of apparently arbitrary lines a different ‘country.’ At the time you connect to the earth’s internet, there are 200 of these countries.
The people of the earth seem to act as if the people of each country are parts of a team in a giant, global, league sport. They are competing. For what?
The AI search engine I asked wasn’t sure about this. Somehow, there are prizes that the earth people seem to think are worth so much that they are willing to destroy the word and human race to get a greater chance of winning. You may start watching the shows earthlings call ‘news’ to see what form these competitions take.
This is a strange system. Before we look at the details of this system, consider how an outsider would look at it. What if you, the scientist in this case, took your information to your group. You describe what you see. You go to the footage of large internet information providers and see the bodies being hauled up out of the cellars, and listen to the hate filled commentary: we must not let them get away with this. We must destroy them. Then you go to the other side and see the exact same message, reversing the names of the teams. How do you think they would respond? Do you think they would say something like:
The earthlings have found the most wonderful society possible!!!
We can now stop our search through the universe and rejoice!
We no longer have any need to look for perfection. We know exactly what it looks like. We need to inform all other cultures on all other inhabited worlds there is a best way to live. We need to explain to them how the earth system works and have them copy it, exactly, dividing their world into countries to compete as the earth people do.
Or might you expect them to say something like:
These earth beings are still primitive animals in many ways. They are clearly capable of great feats of intellect. After all, they have an internet, smart phones, computers, rockets that can take them to other worlds, and nuclear bombs.
But they don’t appear to have taken any time or put any effort into studying the idea of societies. Their societies appear to be built on simplistic and animalistic foundations. They can’t continue to act as aggressive territorial animals after they gain nuclear technology. They need something better or they will wipe themselves out in a very short time.
The Possible Societies Series
This website is a portal to a series of books called the ‘possible societies’ series. The books in this series are about what is possible. The titles are listed below. Each title has a link that will take you to a section lower in this post that explains what that book is about and how it fits into the whole:
The books are:
The books in this series are all independent. You should be able to read any of them first, and then go through them one at a time in any order you want. But they all tie together. They all deal with a common issue. I want people to understand this key idea: The human race is capable of far, far more than we have yet achieved. We now have dangerous, destructive, violent, animalistic and savage societies. Almost certainly, the foundational elements of these societies are not even human creations: our evolutionary ancestors had instincts that made them fanatically territorial, made them want to divide into troops/teams/tribes, identify themselves with the people in their troop/team/tribe, and organize to defend the borders of their territories and wipe out any who were not clearly identifiable members, using any means necessary. We inherited these instincts and we inherited the societal structures that rested on these instincts. We are humans. But we are not really living in human societies, at least not in societies that take advantage of the incredible intellectual capabilities that we have that our evolutionary ancestors did not have.
We are capable of more. We can build what the books in this series call ‘sound societies,’ where the term ‘sound societies’ refers to those that are capable of meeting the long term needs of the human race and moving us toward a better future with each year that passes. We don’t have sound societies now. But they are possible, they can exist and, if we want to take the time to study the necessary information, we can have them. They are ‘possible societies’ in every sense of the term ‘possible.’
Each of the books in this series presents a different part of the puzzle you need to see this key point. We need to accept it. If we remain in ignorance in this matter, and never see we can do better, we will never try to do better and, of course, we will never have anything other than the simplistic and animalistic societies we inherited. We will be like the engine in the child’s book ‘the little engine that could’ before it got the courage to try. We are now on the very brink of our extinction. We don’t have to go over that brink. There are other paths into the future that go other places. If we understand this, we can taking the steps needed to alter our course so we go somewhere other than the place our current path leads.
In school, we all were taught a subject that was named history. But it really didn’t give us any useful information about history. It didn’t tell us anything that we could use to help us understand how the realities of existence for the human race came to be as they are. All the history books I was taught out of in school glossed over, ignored, or gave me magic or supernatural explanations for (referring to religious stories that violated known scientific laws) about anything that might have been of any real use to someone trying to understand the human experience:
How did the world come to exist? How did life come to exist? What events or actions caused changes in the first living things that eventually led to humans? How, when, and where did the first humans live on this world? How did they get their food and other necessities? How did they organize their families and raise their young? What were their general capabilities. (For example, did they use fire? Did they wear clothing? Could they visualize things they saw enough to create pictures of them from memory? Could they communicate in sentences that have the basic structure of the sentences we use?)
What led to the creation of the key institutions that dominate our world now, including the entities called ‘countries?’ Once these institutions existed, how, when, and why did they evolve over time to eventually get to their current form? How and why did the people who came before us change the key structures of human societies to make them work as they do now? The history I was taught didn’t discuss any of these things. It was full of stories which quickly became boring by their endless repetition of a certain theme.
I went to school in several different countries and I was amazed to find how dramatically different were the stories in describing the exact same events. You can see this for yourself quite easily, by downloading history books for grade school children from various countries and translating them into your language to read them. You will see incredible differences of accounts of the same exact event. For a simple example, you would not recognize the war the United States called the ‘French and Indian war’ from descriptions in Canadian history books (which call it the ‘War of the Conquest); or from French history books (which call it the ‘seven years war’); or from history books used the central Asia (which call it the ‘Third Carnatic War’) or from history books used in Spain (which call it the Anglo-Spanish war).
These books don’t seem to make any attempt to be accurate. They don’t seem to be designed to help us understand how the world came to work as it does, so we can work with other members of our species to try to make it better. We need a field that will do this.
Forensic History is a new kind of history book. It takes advantage of new tools to reconstruct the important events of the past. It focuses on information that can help us understand the really important aspects of our existence, so that we will have the best possible tools to use to move toward a better future. I hope you will read Forensic History. I want people to look at the human experience from an objective perspective. I want as many people has possible to understand that we (the members of the human race) are actually far more complex and far more capable beings than standard ideas that come from standard teachings would have you believe. Nothing could make you feel more hopeless than the stale and boring versions of history that are taught to children and reiterated by adult history books. These histories make it appear that humans are one dimensional beings that have no depth. The real history tells an entirely different story and I want as many people as possible to understand it.
The Meaning Of Life
I was raised in a different time. The laws that allowed teachers to be put in jail for letting children science had been repealed. But most school boards, including those that ran the schools I attended, still didn’t teach these things. There were things that they didn’t want children to know. Embarrassing things that would lead to questions the teachers couldn’t answer. The scientific ‘theories’ would cause us to question things that the school systems wanted us to accept. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? We weren’t told this, at least not in so many words. But the message came though pretty clearly: Each school day started with a pledge of allegiance. We all had to stand in a position of great respect, almost as though we were engaging in a religious ceremony, with hands over our hearts, as if to keep our hearts from jumping out of our chests due to the joy we felt as we recited the wonderful words. We pledged allegiance to the flag, of course, as the icon of all things wonderful. We then pledged allegiance to the nation which the flag represented, and to the god (who was named ‘God’) who was its guardian and controller. We also pledged allegiance to the very idea behind the nation, almost as if the writers of the pledge were looking for numerous things to have children pledge their allegiance to and had run out of ideas, at least didn’t have any ideas that implied the territoriality, team spirit, and patriotism they wanted to instill.
Then class started. The greatest skill I have acquired in my life, the most valuable and useful, is the ability to decipher the squiggly lines called ‘letters’ and combinations of letters called ‘words and sentences.’ But as soon as I had this skill, the people who ran the classes started to channel it. They wanted me to use it for something very specific. We were assigned huge amounts of reading, so much that, I presume, many children never really read anything that was not on the list of required books, perhaps because they were tired of reading after having completed the assignments. A lot of the books were what I was told were ‘history books.’
Now, when I read books written for gullible children, I can see that they are definitely not real history books: they don’t present objective and informative information about our past so that children may figure out how our world came to work as it does so that they could work with others, all around the world, to try to make it better. They were story books that followed a certain theme: there were good guys and bad guys. The bad guys were horrible monsters trying to destroy everything worth living for. The good guys fought for things that were unquestionably good, like the things our country stands for. This is why we pledged our allegiance to the flag: it represented the epitome of good and would be what we would be asked to kill for later. This is why we sang to the glory of the country, to the great powers that lived in the heavens and guided it with a light from above.
We studied a field called ‘social studies.’ What did we learn in ‘social studies?’ Did we learn about social interactions and how to get along with others? Did we learn what behaviors were socially appropriate in different social settings? Did we learn about how to negotiate with others, how to get our way without having to resort to aggression or violence, how to mend a friendship ruined by an emotional outburst, and how to accept, reject, or offer gifts without offense? If these things were taught, I don’t remember them.
I remember being taught about the institutions called ‘governments’ which were in charge of the structures called ‘countries.’ There were hundreds of them and I didn’t learn about all of them. I only learned about the most wonderful government the world had ever seen, a perfect system created by perfect men with guidance from a perfect being and more generosity and altruism than any other collection of humans had ever had.
These ‘founders’ loved us, where ‘us’ means the people who would be born inside the borders they marked out. to give us a good life, they removed the people who lived on these lands before they came (heathens who would not worship the things they worshiped) and brought in slaves to clear so they could collect the wealth this land produced. They did all this for us. They wanted us to control our own destiny but with strict limits, to protect us from our own stupidity: they knew better than we did what was good for us. We learned that we have been given, as a free gift, freedom, liberty, and total justice for all. In return, we had to play a part in the system, follow its rules, work, pay taxes, and support any wars our governments declared, without questions. If asked to fight, we must fight. If asked to kill, we must kill. If asked to die, we must consider ourselves honored: our lives are nothing compared to the needs of the country.
Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? We aren’t told this directly. But the message implied in all of the teachings is pretty clear. We were born into a team in a savage competition for resources. We are here for our team. We are supposed to love it with all our hearts and fight, kill, and die for it, without ever asking if these things are right or wrong. We are here to pay the taxes that will build the aircraft carriers, the ICBMS, the nuclear submarines, the doomsday weapons that our governments will have available, if defeat is inevitable, to destroy it all so that the other teams don’t get it. Is this the meaning of life?
Is this why we were placed here, on this tiny blue speck of dust circling an insignificant star in one of the hundreds of billions of galaxies: to form into teams to fight other teams over things that are, in the end, totally meaningless? This is not a logical explanation for ‘why we are here.’ It isn’t even a human explanation. It is something we would expect from the highly territorial apes who act the same way, including those that are our evolutionary ancestors. It is not something a reasonable, logical, scientific person would claim was the reason for human existence. What would be?
The Meaning of Life takes the same general approach that Forensic History takes to understand this issue. Before we can start to think about what ‘life’ may be about, we need to have some idea what this term represents. What is ‘life?’ Until very recently, the only explanations were supernatural. A god or spirit (perhaps one whose name happened to be ‘God’) had powers to do things that couldn’t otherwise be done. This god or spirit did magic and live came to be. Everything that happened after that is magic.
Now, we can study the details of life. We can study the different ways different kinds of DNA work. We can study the different coded messages that are hidden inside of the DNA molecule (there are three codes that are overlaid one on the other), and translate the coded messages into configurations of atoms needed for life to take place, and then put them into position to replace any that wear out or arrange them to create new living ‘babies’ patterned on the DNA codes in their parents. We can study the way the food we eat gets transformed first into essential nutrients, then into ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the only power source for all life on earth), then into electricity, which then runs everything in the bodies of all living things.
We can study the way that the strange set of events that lead to ‘sexual reproduction’ take place; if we do, we will see some pretty clear indications that this is not some random process but operates in ways that seem clearly to be goal orientated. (To have evolution, there must be genetic diversity: every single newborn of every species is a brand new genetic system. These different beings then compete for resources, with the most capable winning. The result of this process—which can easily be studied by looking at historical data—is so stunning that it seems impossible for any objective person to claim it all happened by accident.)
More than 60 years ago, a team of researchers discovered three separate codes that are embedded in all DNA. The exact same three codes, all of which are incredibly complex, run all life on earth, from the lowest to the highest. One of these researchers, Francis Crick, studied the code and determined how likely it is for such codes to arise from chance due to random events.
He determined that this was so incredibly unlikely that it would be unreasonable or anyone who claims to be a scientist to accept that we came to exist either as a result of random chance or as a result of magic (having been created by a being not subject to the laws of science). In the time that has passed, mountains of evidence have accumulated to support Crick’s premise. (You can find it in the book ‘Life Itself,’ in the resources section of the PossibleSocieties.com website.)
I am not saying here that Crick is right and I can prove it. I am only saying that this is a question we need to think about, openly, logically, and objectively. Then, we have to do the same things scientists always do: we need to gather evidence, come up with theories, and test the theories.
What is the meaning of life? I will show that we can push aside the standard explanations pretty easily. After we reject them, we are forced to allow ourselves to think life may not be about what we were raised to think it is about. There might be more, a lot more.
Why does this matter? We are now on a path that leads to extinction. Traditionalists say this is the best path: the religious texts predict it (no one would believe a religion that didn’t recognize the way we will end up if we don’t change). But they say it is for the best. I have heard this many times: life on earth is a test of our souls. We must endure misery and hardship and never lose faith that it is all for the best. If we can keep the faith through it all, we pass the test and get to live in paradise for eternity. (Not as living beings; living beings can never have paradise, but our spirits or souls can have it.)
This is an incredibly cruel test. How could a benevolent spirit that loved us conduct it? The answer is that it is just a temporary measure. It will all end, one day soon. When the end comes, all future souls will be granted entrance to paradise without having to take the test. This event will be called something like ‘the rapture.’ We will all exist, from then on, in endless, orgasmic rapture. If this is the meaning of life, there is no point trying to get ourselves off of the path to extinction. In fact, people who believe this want to push us along this path even faster.
What if it is all an accident? What if a bunch of atoms were in the right configuration to form an amino acid, 5 billion years ago, and lighting struck it, brought it to life, and this life evolved, as a result of random chance, into us? If this is what happened, what difference does it make if we go extinct. It is all meaningless.
But what if life is about something else? What if it is about anything else. We don’t have to know what this ‘anything’ is to know that if it is not random chance, our existence is not meaningless and our extinction will not be meaningless either. If we are here for any reason at all, we have an obligation to do everything we can to prevent extinction at least until we can figure out this reason.
The Meaning of Life is a key part of the Possible Societies series. It provides an answer to the question: Why bother to figure these things out? It takes some mental effort to come to understand the different possible ways societies work. It takes some mental effort to figure out how we can get onto a path that will take us, eventually, to a sound society. The Meaning of Life is designed to help you see why it is worth the effort.
The title book in the series opens the door to an analysis of human societies. It is called Possible Societies. It is about the possible. I use the word ‘possible’ in its widest possible meaning. What kinds of societies could intelligent beings (perhaps earthlings, perhaps other similar beings on other worlds) build if they had all advantages and no limits? What could we build in the widest possible sense of the words ‘we’ and ‘could:’ ‘We’ means humans or any other beings in the same category as we are (thinking beings with physical needs) and ‘could’ means ‘what societies do not violate any immutable scientific laws?’ Why would we want to know this?
We have inherited societies that can’t meet our needs. If we want systems that can meet our needs, we need to start by understanding the big picture. It makes no sense to say we want something if we don’t know what is possible for us to have. For example, as a kid, I wanted a unicorn. But there is no such thing as unicorns, so all the wishes in the world won’t make it happen. Before we can figure out what we want, we must understand what is possible for us to have.
The type of society we have today is a possible type of society. (This refers to societies that divide the land into territories and allocate sovereignty to each territory to the group that has conquered and dominates the land.) If we have a chart of all possible societies, the type that we have now will be on that chart somewhere. If we had such a chart, we could examine it to find the option that best meets our needs. We may refer to that as a ‘destination’ society. We may then start to chart a path, starting with the societies we have now (and we have no choice about our starting place) and ending at the type of societies we want to have eventually. Possible Societies shows that sound societies are possible.
They can exist, if the conditions are right. Once we understand that sound societies are possible societies, we need to figure out what conditions we must meet in order to have them. Then, we need to start planning the changes that, if made, will put us onto a path that will allow us to meet these conditions. Then, we need to use tools (which we will see already exist) to determine what the members of the human race really want:
Do we want to keep the world divided into teams that fight each other with ever more powerful weapons to determine which team will be called the ‘owner’ of each square inch of the planet earth? In other words, would the majority of the people of the earth want to remain on the path we are now on until we go extinct? If this is what we want, we don’t have to do anything. We are already there.
However, I don’t think it is very likely that the majority of the people of the world would want the human race to go extinct. If this happens, everything we have ever done or thought becomes meaningless. If we want to take some other path, and we know exactly what must be done to move the course of human progress onto another path, we can start with step one, then take a second step, and keep going until we get how many ever thousands or millions of steps are necessary to get where we want to go.
That is the basic idea behind this series as a whole. Possible Societies is about the very first step. Before we can do anything at all, we need to know what is possible. We are now headed toward oblivion. If we want to go somewhere else, we need to know what other places we can go. It just makes sense: Don’t start out on a journey without having a destination in mind. Then, once you know where you can go, and where you want to end up, figure out how you are going to get there. People who have tried to reform societies in the past don’t seem to have understood this critical matter.
If your house doesn’t meet your needs, you don’t burn it down and then try to figure out where you are going to live. First, you find out if something better is possible. Then, you figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to go. This may take a great deal of time. Once you are in a good situation, and don’t need the house anymore, you can figure out how you want to dispose of it. But throwing a tantrum and setting fire to the house (equivalent to trying to tear apart the structures of the societies we inherited) is a very, very bad idea.
Possible Societies is a very long book, because there is a lot we have to know in order to understand the different systems that we can build. We have lived in systems that are simplistic and animalistic, not much different than the highly-territorial societies of our ape ancestors, for the entire time humans have been on this world.
We teach children to love their team/country and fight for it. We ask them to hate more than anything else. Then, we use our immense intellects to help us build weapons that will allow us to compete in the savage competitions. This is not the mindset of intelligent and rational beings. It is the mindset of a group of frightened and confused animals.
I hope you will read Possible Societies. Before we can have sound societies, we need to know that sound societies are possible. I think that, if you read Possible Societies, you will realize that our situation is not even close to hopeless. We are not at the end, we are at the beginning of a voyage to a future the people who are currently fighting the wars (thinking this is what humans were made to do) couldn’t even imagine.
There are certain topics that are taboo. We aren’t supposed to talk about them. We are on a path to extinction. Is it possible for us to not take this path? Is there any other place we could go? You would think that this is the most important question in the world. It should be on everyone’s minds 24 hours a day. If you are in a car headed for a cliff at 100MPH, your first priority should be to find out whether there is a way to alter the course of the car so it goes somewhere other than over the cliff.
All else should be ignored until you can determine this. If you find it is possible, your next step should be to figure out how to make it happen. When you are safe, you can worry about other things, like the music the sound system is playing, the condition of the tires, or whether the oil needs changing. These things just don’t matter as long as the cliff is coming at you at 100 MPH.
But, for some reason, people seem to think it is wrong to actually think about this seriously. It is OK to joke about it. It is OK to laugh about how our leaders seem to be trying to make it come sooner. But it isn’t considered acceptable to think about it seriously. Even the far lesser question of ‘are better societies possible societies’ appears to be taboo. We are supposed to assume that this question is so nonsensical no sane person would even consider it. Any who are willing to even consider this issue seriously are called ‘utopian dreamers’ or ‘out of touch with reality. People who actually try to open a conversation in this area, like Socrates, Thomas More, and John Lennon, are considered dangers to society and are put away.
I have tried to figure out why we seem unwilling to pay any attention to the one question that logic tells us should be the most important question imaginable. We are headed for a cliff and, if we continue on our current path, we all die and everything the human race has ever done becomes meaningless. Is it even possible to alter our course? Why would anyone be afraid to think about this?
I believe that there is a reason. I think that people are desperately afraid that, if they look at this question objectively, they will realize that the answer is affirmative. If we try, we can change course. We are not necessarily doomed. If we take the right steps, we can alter our course by enough to allow us to skirt the cliff; we will ride along it for a time (close to the edge, but on the right side of it) and then, if we keep making progress, we can veer away to safety. Why is this a fear? Why be afraid of hope?
I think that the reason has to do with the same things discussed in the book The Meaning of Life, above. We live in systems that we think are sound. We were raised in these systems and taught that they were sound. We were raised to believe that the people we call ‘leaders’ are selected from the most intelligent of all people and know what they are doing. They represent us and are working on the things we want them to work on. Yet they don’t seem to pay this issue any mind at all. They act confident and assured, as if there is an answer, the just don’t want to talk about it. As long as we can avoid talking about it, we can believe that they are good, kind, noble, and intelligent people who know what to do and will do it when necessary.
But if we look seriously at the above question, we can see that this just isn’t true. They are not the intelligent ones working for the benefit of the human race. They know how to talk in cultured ways and dress well. But, if they really have no idea how to do the most important thing that has to be done, it is all a façade. They are actually idiots and we are idiots ourselves for following them. This is why we are afraid to discuss this issue seriously.
As long as we can keep from thinking about this issue, we can continue to delude ourselves that the people who are in charge know what they are doing. As long as we can keep from thinking about this issue, we can delude ourselves into thinking that the things that we were taught about the way the world works were basically correct, and our foundational knowledge about existence is basically sound. If we have to face the fact that our extinction is by no means certain, and that we can live differently, we have to face the fact that pretty much everything we were raised to believe is nonsense and, if we want to understand anything important, we have to basically start from scratch. We don’t want to have to face this, so we simply refuse to think about it, at least not seriously. We can joke about it. But we can’t seriously ask ‘what conditions would have to be met for the human race to survive’ or even the far simpler question ‘is it possible for any group of beings in the same category as humans to survive the challenges we now face?’ The book Preventing Extinction violates this taboo. It asks the question. Here is the short version: If we want to prevent the extinction of the human race, we need to do two things:
First, we need to at least begin to move away from the primitive, animalistic, fanatically territorial societies we have inherited. It is simply not possible for a group of intelligent beings who build their societies on fanatically territorial animalistic instincts, and have nuclear bombs, to avoid wiping themselves out, eventually. We need a society built on some premise other than dividing our race into teams/countries that fight over territory.
We need a ‘sound’ society, where the term ‘sound society’ represents ‘a society that can meet the long-term needs of a race of thinking beings with physical needs.’ Preventing Extinction is about altering the path we are taking through time to get us onto a path that leads somewhere other than destruction of our world and extinction for our race. We can do this. But we can’t do it overnight. It takes time.
Preventing Extinction goes over the steps and creates a kind of map of way stations that will allow us to measure our progress. We can go from one station to the next, knowing we are making progress. We can see the goal in the distance and know that, if we keep making progress, we will eventually get there. This will give us hope: if we try, we can make it. The more hope we have, the more willing we are to try and the more progress we make.
But this, alone, is not enough. There are two parts of the solution. The first part involves steering the giant machines of our societies so that they begin to move along another course. The second part of the problem involves taking steps to make sure that the problems that are inherent in societies built on territorial sovereignty and already exist do not destroy us in the meantime.
Societies built on the principle of territorial sovereignty are conflict-based societies. The human race divides into teams based on territorial borders. The teams then compete for territory and resources using economic sabotage, organized infliction of misery on each other, and organized warfare using the most technological weapons we can build. We already have weapons that can wipe us out.
As the earlier books in the series show, we will begin moving toward sound societies right away and the pressures for war will weaken as time passes. But they won’t go away entirely until the transition is a long way along. In the meantime, war can destroy us any day. This means that changing the path, although important, is not enough. We need to actively deal with two specific problems:
2. Environmental destruction
The next two books in the series deal with these issues.
Humans evolved from highly territorial apes. These apes divided their population into individual teams that we now call ‘troops’ based on the territory of their birth. Before the currently living apes were born, their ancestors had fought over territory and gained rights to the land they now occupied. They had hard borders. They organized patrols on these borders. When they identified threats, they acted quickly and decisively to locate and kill any that may have or may in the Here is a description of this behavior from a study conducted by the ‘Institute for Human Origins’ at Arizona State University, to give the general idea:
The point here is that humans didn’t invent the idea of dividing the world into territorial units to fight over the borders. Our evolutionary ancestors organized themselves this way. The adult generation raised the next generation to accept certain realities. Our borders are under threat. They couldn’t use the words for this, because they didn’t have the power of speech. But they were able to make it clear, as is obvious from the above quote. Generation after generation passed. This idea was passed down. The identities of the individuals in the societies changed as new members were born and older ones died. But the basic structure of the societies remained the same: they were territorial societies that claimed that they had total rights (sovereignty) over the land their ancestors had conquered.
Humans didn’t invent this system. It isn’t, therefore, strictly a human system. It can’t be built on a logical analysis of the different ways that beings can interact with their world and each other. It is built on something else.
We use the term ‘instinct’ to refer to any force that affects behavior that is not based on intentional analysis. Clearly, at least some of the forces the lead to war come from ‘instinct.’ This instinct gets passed down from generation to generation by some means. We evolved from apes. We got some of these instincts. At least part of the forces that push toward war comes from our animal side. Other animals had societies built on the same basic forces.
But war has changed over the roughly 76,200 years that true human beings have been on this planet. It is now a uniquely human structure, organized in incredibly complex ways that shape virtually everything else in society. We have mixed the power of our animal side with the power of our human side. Chimps use their arms to punch, their legs to kick, and their teeth to bite, and tear apart their enemies using these simple tools. We have knives, spears, arrows, guns, grenades, rockets, jets, napalm bombs, graphite bombs, chemical weapons, biological weapons, and nuclear weapons.
Chimp patrols couldn’t take long because the soldiers had to get their own food. After a few weeks, if they didn’t take a break to get food, they would starve to death. Humans have taxation systems that allow the leaders of the militaries to take wealth from everyone and use it to buy food that the solders can eat on the fly. They get uniforms, to make it easier to identify ‘friendly troops’ so that we don’t kill our own people. They are backed by spies of all kinds to gather intelligence about the enemies, so they can fight the most effectively.
Anatomy of War is about the different forces that push toward war. We need to understand these forces. If we don’t, the structural change described in Preventing Extinction won’t do us any good, because we may be just on the verge of avoiding the cliff when a land mine blows us over the edge. We need to understand where the mines are and how to deactivate them so we can make progress and eventually get out of the mine field. That is what the book Anatomy of War is about.
I hope you will read Anatomy of War. I think that, if you do, you will find that war takes place for very understandable reasons. If we understand these reasons, we can put the idea of avoiding war (while structural change is taking place) into a scientific discussion. We can find the forces that we need to deal with, find the tools we have to deal with them, and figure out the most effective way to use these tools.
Are we to die from war?
But not definitely. If we understand it, we have some hope that it will not destroy us. We can only be absolutely sure it will destroy us if we refuse to even open our eyes and study it.
The same basic arguments apply to destruction as to war.
The two problems are related.
Reasonable people would realize that they need a planet to live on.
That is their first priority.
All else falls below this, in the priority of a reasonable, thinking individual.
But when under the animalistic territorial instincts that push us toward war, we aren’t reasonable. Our first priority is not making sure we have a clean, safe world to live in. Our first priority is to kill the enemies and tear them apart. They are not us. They are them, the others, the ones that were not born in our territorial unit, not raised to accept the things we were raised to accept, and therefore, they must die.
Everything else is so far down the list of priorities that, for practical purposes, we feel we can ignore it until the first priority is accomplished. We know that the environmental problems are fixable. A part of us understands this and realizes that, if we didn’t have to worry about other things that are more important, this would be pretty easy to do. But we can’t concern ourselves with this at this time. The resources of our part of the world belong to us.
They are ours to use to meet our needs. If we can gain a military advantage by doing things that harm the land, the land’s condition is so low in priority (by comparison) that the people who make decisions won’t even give it a second thought. Of course, they will say they care. They need to tell us how much they care to get reelected (or avoid overthrow in societies without elections). They will cry along with others, express their sympathy to the protestors, and create awards to give to people who love the land and try to protect it. But they know we need weapons.
Although the public will be upset if the leaders show themselves to be liars and harm the environment after they have claimed they want to protect it, the public will be far more upset if they can’t make sure there are plenty of weapons available when needed. The truth is that governments of the entities called ‘countries’ don’t actually work to save the world. They do the exact opposite. The only earth activity that has more government subsidies on it than those that pay people to destroy the planet is organized mass murder itself (war).
War is the #1 government priority.
Destruction of the world is the #2 priority.
Anatomy of Destruction shows that, if not for direct government interference and intervention in markets, direct subsidies, legal frameworks that prevent non-destructive alternatives from taking over, we wouldn’t be using destructive systems for much of anything now. The things we destroy are expensive. The more producers destroy, the higher their costs (they have to buy the things they destroy). Natural economic forces push toward less destruction over time: as people try to cut costs, they cut destruction. If not for governments, most of the destructive problems we now face would have disappeared long ago.
I want to give a quick example to show what I mean.
I make all my own electricity with solar panels on my roof. I power my house with them and my car. The devices I use are dirt cheap for a simple reason: they are made of dirt: solar panels are made of 87% silicon dioxide, 8.3% aluminum, and some trace amounts of other materials. If you look up the composition of the earth’s crust (also called ‘rocks’ or ‘dirt’ or ‘sand’) you will see it is made of the exact same things in the exact same proportions: 87% silicon dioxide, 8.3% aluminum, and a few small amounts of other substances.
The raw materials are the cheapest on earth.
Using them does not harm them in any way. (With a hammer, I can break the panels and turn them back into sand in a few minutes. The sand can then be turned back into solar panels if desired. This can be done endlessly.)
The fuel is totally free. (Sun shines on my roof whether I convert it into electricity or not.)
How much does it cost me to produce electricity this way? How can I calculate this? I don’t get a bill from the sun. My panels were so cheap when I bought them that they cost the same as a roof, and I needed a roof anyway. (My panels are my roof.) Nothing is destroyed so I buy nothing. My cost for this is nothing. The electricity is free.
As Anatomy of Destruction shows, solar could easily produce all our energy. Panels on roofs (like mine) can produce all energy for households and small businesses. Photoelectric coatings on roads, alone, would produce three times more electricity than is produced for all purposes on earth. Why isn’t this reality.
There is a reason.
Anatomy of Destruction goes over the way the energy industry evolved in our world and shows how giant corporations, working with governments, took control of everything. The corporations make money destroying. They need to keep the destruction going to keep making money. (They can’t charge us for sunlight.) Politicians need the jobs and activity that destruction brings. Corporations and politicians work together to keep destruction going.
This has been a part of our societies for a very long time. However, until very recently, the damage has been minor simply because we haven’t had the technology to destroy more rapidly than nature could repair the damage. When we cut trees with hatchets, mined gold with pans, and generated our energy by burning wood, we could damage the environment, but not so much that nature couldn’t quickly repair the damage. Now we cut trees with automated excavators that use AI to identify the trees, cameras and radar to locate the trees, and automated machines to remove, limb, and stack a tree in a few seconds, then go on to the next. We remove gold with massive cyanide heap leaching fields that are so large you can see them from space and we create energy by burning so much fossil fuels that we can measure the changes in the atmosphere on simple gauges, and watch it change on a daily basis. Nature simply isn’t able to fix the damage as rapidly as we can do it. And, of course, our capabilities to destroy grow each day that passes, and the impacts of the destruction grow as nature becomes less and less healthy and less able to fix any damage at all.
If we want to prevent extinction, we need to take the time to go through the structural changes described in Preventing Extinction. Unfortunately, some of the problems related to environmental destruction are so serious that we may not have this time. The book Anatomy of Destruction is about the nitty-gritty of the destructive problems.
I hope you will read Anatomy of Destruction. I think that, if you do, you will see that there are people who benefit from destruction and they work intentionally to keep destruction going and prevent what would otherwise be a natural transition to non-destructive alternatives.
If we want to survive as a race, we need to stop whining. We need to stop saying ‘it is so unfair’ or ‘they are such liars.’ We need to stop pretending to be surprised by the fact that the governments and corporations are tricking us. We need to accept that the people who claim the governments and corporations are tricking us were right all along. We need to figure out the tricks they use so we can defeat them. That is what the book Anatomy of Destruction is about.
The books in this series are all independent. You should be able to read any of them first, and then go through them one at a time in any order you want. But they all tie together. They all deal with a common issue. I think that the first two decades of the 21st century mark a kind of mental progress that humans have never been able to make before. The internet, communication services, information services, computers, artificial intelligence, have all come of age in this time.
We no longer have to accept the things the people around us tell us.
Anyone with a phone can ask a question and get a rational, scientific answer.
Before, the scientists of the world could be and often were totally overwhelmed by nonsense and prejudice.
Galileo did experiments and found out that certain relationships held.
People said ‘that’s not the way I learned it so it must be wrong.’
Galileo kept teaching it. The authorities pressed charges. He was charged with ‘teaching false sciences’ for claiming he saw that Jupiter had moons (something that Aristotle had claimed was impossible) through his telescope. At his trial, he set up the telescope and let the jury see for themselves. What did they do?
They added a charge of ‘wizardry’ to his incitements. The things they saw with their own eyes conflicted with the things they were taught were true. They preferred to believe the things they had been told over their own eyes. Galileo spent the rest of his life under arrest, with guards to monitor him to make sure he didn’t tell people things that went against their beliefs.
For thousands of years, this is how it worked. Prejudices and beliefs were passed down from generation to generation. People believed them in preference to their own eyes. People who doubted had no way to check. Those who found ways to check were treated like Galileo and many others who shared his same fate. Everyone was told the same nonsense and ended up with the same false ideas about how the world worked.
Now, this is no longer true. You can watch Jupiter’s moons circle the planet in real time. You can read about the software used to adjust for space time dilation in GPS trackers. You can buy a gene sequencing machine and sequence your own DNA in your home. Try the same experiment ten times and you get the exact same result each time. It has to be true, regardless of what people in the past believed.
Humans ‘descended’ (to use Darwin’s word) from other primates. We share 98.6% of our DNA with our evolutionary ancestors. We are 98.6% ape and only 1.4% uniquely human. We have inherited certain instincts, including the instinct to form into tribes/troops/teams, identify with the other members, and work with them to defend arbitrary territorial borders using violence. This is not magic; it is not the will of a being with supernatural powers. It is a scientific fact. We have instincts to accept a social hierarchy, where an ‘alpha’ is in charge and everyone else is a follower. This is not the only way to organize a society. But it is one that our inherited inclinations pressure us to follow.
The world was created by being that had the power of magic (the power to do things that went against the laws of science). This being created countries and then created war to make sure the people who had the countries were following orders to ‘dominate and subdue’ the land and everything that walketh upon it. said ‘this makes sense.’ Thousands of people said ‘it doesn’t match our beliefs so it is wrong.’ (Galileo was put on trial for ‘teaching false sciences.’ He was convicted, dismissed from his teaching position, his work was banned and burned, and he was jailed for life with monitors to watch him to make sure he didn’t sneak any of his ideas out.) If you read Darwin’s books, you can see that this hadn’t changed by the late 1800s. Even in the 1950s people could be put into jail for teaching some scientific ideas. When I grew up, I found it hard to find people who thought scientifically. I got in trouble, a lot, for saying things that were totally logical to me, but offended the belief structures of the people around me.
There are still a lot of people who refuse to accept the evidence of their own eyes. But I have noticed a sizable change in the mental landscape. Even the most fanatical ‘conservatives’ I have met accept that the earth is a planet that goes around the sun, and that there are billions of other planets in our galaxy. They all accept the basic principles of molecular chemistry and nuclear physics. Even if they claim to reject evolution, all I have talked to about it accept the science behind DNA, the fact that our DNA can be compared to the DNA of apes and correspondences exist that would be virtually impossible to explain by any means other than evolution.
Children today grow up with phones and ask their phones questions that they would be afraid to ask their parents, their teachers, their priests, or even their doctors. When their parents/ teachers/priests/doctors tell them things that are nonsense, they know they are hearing lies. They can find out the truth.
These are watershed times. We are ready, at last, to go forward. All we need is a path. I think we should all be working on trying to find ways to shine light on this path. The books in this series are my attempts to help in this effort.
I really want you to read these books. If you read them, I am sure you will think of me as arrogant and to have some other personality defects. I hope you will forgive me these defects and accept this information in the sprit in which it is intended. I want to do my part. I want to ask you to help and show you that it is not a waste of time to try to do so.
The more light is shined on the path, the easier it will be for us to find our way.