2 The Kobiachi Maru

Written by dade on . Posted in 4: Reforming societies

Reforming Societies
Chapter Two: The Kobiachi Maru

 

On the original Star Trek series, the lead character, Captain Kirk, was said to have been the only person in Starfleet history to have ever passed the Academy test designated the ‘Kobayashi Maru.’ The Kobayashi Maru is a kind of war game, conducted under extreme pressure, with enormous losses implied by every possible decision that might be made. The game is designed to be a no-win scenario; it is designed to test the character of the officer candidates, determine how far they can be pushed before they reach their breaking points, and test their ability to make extreme sacrifices to obtain an objective.

No one is supposed to ever be able to ‘win’ the Kobayashi Maru. It is designed to be unwinnable.

How did Kirk win this unwinnable game?

At one point, Kirk explains how it did it: he cheated. He knew the game he was supposed to play, the Kobayashi Maru, was unwinnable. He didn’t want to have to play a game that couldn’t be won, so he changed the game. He got into the computer system and tweaked the program by just enough to create an opening that he could exploit to win. He didn’t actually win the Kobayashi Maru, he won a game of his own design that was almost identical, but had enough differences from the Kobayashi Maru, to be winnable.

You and I were born onto a world where a kind of game has been in progress for about 6,000 years. In this game, people form onto teams that they call ‘nations’ and fight ‘for their nations’ against the teams of all other nations on Earth. There are no off-limits moves in this game: One of the ‘play options’ in this game is an activity called ‘war.’ Nothing is too horrible to do in war so nothing is too horrible a move to make in this game. Most of us have seen the results in the real world, watching the people who have been crippled, maimed, lost their loved ones, or been driven insane by the game play trying to salvage some hope that will allow them to function for whatever time they have left. It is the way the ongoing game that is being played in the world around us works.

You and I didn’t start this game or even ask to play it. We had no choice. When we came to this world as babies, this game was already in progress. The rules had already been made, and these rules required everyone to take part. We got sucked into this game just as the generations before us were sucked into this game.

We can all see that it is a ‘Kobayashi Maru’ scenario, in that it is an unwinnable game.

No matter what play we personally make we will, a race, all lose. All we can hope for is to stretch out the game long enough for someone to figure out how to get our race to stop playing.

 

The Right Thing To Do

 

Kirk cheated.

How does this speak to his character?

What would we think of someone who cheats in this scenario? Recognizing that if one plays by the rules there is no way out, what does deciding to play by the rules, and what does deciding to take agency and change the rules say about the player?

We live in a society that is playing an unwinnable game, a ‘war game.’ Many people see that this game is unwinnable; but they play anyway and do their best to follow the rules. It is the only life they know. They see playing by the rules as a sign of good character; they are proud of the fact that they are able to do this and uncomfortable with any thoughts or suggestions that may try to convince them to live any other way.

What if some people were to say: This game sucks: We’re changing the rules.

Is this a bad thing to say? Is it something we are not even supposed to think about?

In his book 1984, George Orwell came up with the term ‘thoughtcrime’ to refer to thoughts like this: Society is supposed to work a certain way. We are not even supposed to think about trying to make it different. Orwell claimed that the type of society we live in (he used the term ‘Ingsoc’ to refer to ‘the type of society that dominates the world in 1984’) absolutely can’t function without indoctrination.

It needs indoctrination to keep people holding the desired frames of mind. This indoctrination includs instruction about a made-up past that held that claimed nothing else had ever existed. It included, in Orwell’s book, ceremonies like the ‘two minutes hate’ designed to legitimize the emotions promoted by the leaders, and it included training in mental techniques that helped people recognize when they are thinking properly and when their thoughts might be straying into criminal areas.

In the book, Orwell describes three mental techniques to help people avoid thought crime: crimestop, blackwhite, and doublethink. Here he describes the simplest technique, the one taught to children first:

 

The first and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught even to young children, is called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity. But stupidity is not enough. On the contrary, orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one’s own mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body. (Link to source, 1984 by George Orwell.)

 

Are we committing thoughtcrime when we allow ourselves to think about taking agency to change the game?

Or are we simply acting responsibly and taking advantage of our mental capabilities?

If we continue to play this game by the rules our ancestors played by, everyone loses. People playing the game can get the game chits that we use to keep score (money) by doing the most horrible things imaginable, including acts that, if they continue long enough, will destroy the game itself, by destroying the game board (the Earth).

If we allow ourselves a little mental distance, we can get some advantage that will help us solve this moral dilemma. If we allow ourselves to accept that this really is simply a game, and analyze it the way Kirk analyzed the Kobayashi Maru, we can consider it as if we were disinterested parties. We can leave our emotions about the problems behind and stop trying to get vengeance on the descendents on those who have harmed people and the things we love in the past (as part of their game play) and start thinking about manipulating the game variables to make it winnable, for all of us.

We can analyze the game and come to understand how people ‘score’ (mainly by getting the ‘chits’ we call ‘money) in it. We can look for ways to manipulate the rules of this game so that when they ‘score’ personally, they move the human race as a whole toward a better future, rather than a worse one.

 

Anatomy of the Game

 

To understand the game play, you have to have a starting point that takes us back before the game play began. In the earlier books in this series, we saw that the first sign of true human beings on this planet (with demonstrated capability of abstract thought, generalizations, and complex plans that were intentionally orchestrated and carried out) goes back 3.4 million years.

Links to other books in the series:

Forensic History: Explains how the realities of human existence came to be as they were at the time that the current generation of humans came to exist.

Possible Societies: Explains other ways that beings with our general limitations and capabilities—thinking beings with physical needs—can organize the realities of their existence, or the different kinds of societies that are within our capabilities.

The Meaning of Life: Goes over scientific information that can help us understand whether we ought to try to change the way we organize our existence.

Humans have lived on this world for a very long time.

If this game was always in play, we might conclude that we have no choice but to play it. It came from our creator or is a part of our nature. But the truth is different. The truth is that this game started only a very short time ago. It goes back a mere 6,000 years, less than 2/10th of 1% of the time humans have lived on this world. This means that there was a time when this game was not in play. Then, it started. Now, it is in progress.

To understand the anatomy of the game, we need to have some idea how people lived before game play started. Before this particular game started, people still had to organize the realities of their lives in some way that would allow them to get the food and other physical items that humans need to stay alive. All animals with physical needs have to do this, of course: If we don’t meet our physical needs, we die.

Humans are unique, however, in an important way: our intention gets involved. We have the ability to think on an abstract level, to generalize, to work out plans in advance in our minds, calculate the results, and then choose the plan that we think has the best outcome.

Other animals have to organize their existence to meet their needs. But they don’t have the same abilities to plan as we have. Other animals are born with their most important behaviors pre-programmed. They must act in whatever ways that nature has programmed them to act. Humans alone are capable of designing our societies. We can decide how we want to organize our existence, determine what structures are needed to make this a reality, plan out these structures, work through them in detailed ways in our minds, make plans to put them into place, and make them reality. This is not a brand new capability that humans have only had for the last 6,000 years. It is a defining capability of humans, one that our species by its very definition: we are ‘homo sapiens,’ the ‘intelligent’ hominids. Early humans would have taken advantage of this capability just as we do today.

We know from a huge number of artifacts that they organized their existence differently than we do now. They also played a kind of game, they just organized their game differently. Before the game now in progress started, people treated the world differently. The world still provided the food and other things they needed, just as it does now. But they didn’t consider the planet they considered on to be ownable by anyone, not even groups of people who called themselves ‘nations’ and went through ceremonies. As a result of the fact that they didn’t consider the land to be ownable, they didn’t offer prizes to groups that were able to ‘conquer’ land, or ‘convert it from ownership by one team to ownership by another team.’

They played the game of existence differently than we play it now.

To them, the land was a giver of gifts, not a possession to be exploited for the benefit of the team that had conquered it. The land will give more gifts if it is kept healthy. They divided the gifts the land provided among the people in some way. No matter how they divided these gifts, if the land produced more, everyone got more gifts. They ‘played the game’ by working together to find ways to keep the land as healthy as they could make it, so they would get the maximum in points and have the best lives.

If you are being allowed to live on land that you don’t own, you are a guest there. The people who lived in these societies considered themselves to be guests on the land, not the owners of the land. Guests have a kind of obligation to their hosts: if they want to keep receiving hospitality (the gifts from the land), they have to respect their host’s property. If their hosts, whoever this was, had wanted dams, power plants, irrigation systems, and buildings that would last thousands of years, their hosts would have provided these things. Since these things didn’t already exist, the guests had no right to create them. They were bound, by the rules of the game, to leave the land as it was when they arrived.

Since the game precluded them from changing the world, the game precluded them from either improving or harming the world. The world stayed as it was. The people had the ability to make improvements. We know this from the artifacts they left behind, which includes complex tools and artwork that require a great deal of planning to create. They made these things, indicating they had the ability to build things that would have permanently altered the world. But they were just as involved in the game then as we are now. The rules of the game prohibited change so there was no change for millions of years.

 

Playing A New Game

 

One group in one time at one place didn’t like these rules.

The rules prevented them from making changes that they could see would make their lives better.

Some people in new generations thought that the rules were old-fashioned. They wanted new rules. They decided to change the game.

To make this happen, people had to change their mindsets. They had to change the way they thought about the role of humans in existence and the rights we have to interact with our world in different ways. Consider a very simple and obvious change to the world that people would have certainly thought of many times over history: the construction of a dam to create a pond for the purpose of irrigation. If we are only guests on this planet, we have no right to create an artificial pond: If our hosts wanted an obstruction in the river that created a pond, they would have obstructed the river there and the pond would already exist. It is against the rules of the game of existence (the way they thought of them) for guests to presume to alter the world to create a pond that the hosts didn’t want. (If you were a guest at the White House, and wanted a pond that wasn’t there, would you believe you had the right to create one?) For people to take the steps that we know they began to take 6,000 years ago, they must have decided that the old rules of the game did not suit them. They must have decided to change the game.

Once one group makes this decision, that group can expect progress and growth in production that does not happen in groups playing the game by the old rules. They will have advantages in terms of food and free time that other groups do not have. Under the new rules of the game, parts of planets are now ownable. Groups can take advantage of their greater production and higher efficiency of production (created from improvements to land, like the construction of irrigation dams) to force groups without these advantages to move off of the land they inhabit. The group that considers the land to be ownable can then go through whatever ceremonies its members accept will cause the land to be ‘claimed’ by some group and ‘belong’ to that group.

Now two entirely different games are in progress. In one game, people organize into teams to get points. They can get points by ‘conquering’ land. Once they conquer the land, anything it contains in a pie shaped wedge from the imaginary lines they call ‘borders’ to the center of the Earth belongs to the conquerors. Anything it produced in the past, produces now, or will ever produce in the future, belongs to the conquerors. The more land they conquer, the more prizes they win. They can organize their particular team (their ‘nation’) in ways that encourage other team members to help contribute to the team effort. They can create a kind of point system that rewards people who do things that move the team toward its goals. They may stamp out little disks of metal (perhaps using gold, silver, or other metals that are not very common and therefore can’t easily be acquired) or print up very fancy pieces of paper with numbers on them that represent rights to get things the land produces or contains. They can set up ‘economies’ around these pieces of paper, organizing these ‘economies’ so that people who contribute to the war effort get points and people who don’t contribute do not get points.

Such societies have enormous military advantages over societies built on the former game play. If they want land, they can take advantage of their weapons industry (something people playing by the old rules will not even have) and their military industry (the old rules don’t have enough surplus production to support a dedicated military) to simply move any groups playing by the old rules out of the way and ‘conquer’ their land. The area controlled by people playing by the old rules will shrink; the area controlled by people playing by the new rules will grow.

At some point, the ones being moved will not have anywhere to go. The people playing by the new rules will naturally take the best land first. As the land capable of supporting life becomes ‘owned,’ the people who play by the old rules will be forced onto land that can’t support them. The people playing the game by the new rules can then decide what they want to do with the remnants of the old system. They have the ability to simply wipe them out. They can assimilate them, by killing the males and turning the females into concubines. (Babies will be raised according to the new rules. They will never be exposed to any remnants of the old rules, except perhaps in the songs they remember their mothers singing to them as infants.) They can force them onto special ‘reservations’ and leave them in conditions so harsh their numbers decline, eventually to insignificance, using their control over the wealth of the land to force these people to change their ways and accept the new rules. It will take time, but the old ways will die out entirely. The new game will have taken over.

On Earth, the game was played according to the old rules for more than 3,394,000 years. The rules of the old game were very compelling. Almost certainly, people tried to change the game during this time, but if they did, their changes didn’t take hold. But, in one place (the central part of the AfroEurasian continent) at one time (6,000 years ago), the attempt to change the game worked. One group abandoned the old rules and created new rules. This change happened in the central part of the AfroEurasian continent about 6,000 years ago.

People who played by the new rules were able to conquer land very, very rapidly. As we saw in Forensic History, the expansion of land under control of the new rules took place in much the same way that a cancer grows: A new ‘colony’ would be formed in an area where the old rules prevailed. The rules in the area being colonized would reward people who expanded the borders of the colony to include new land. They could move people playing under the old rules out and move their borders out. The colony would grow in much the same way a tumor grows, expanding outward as long as there was healthy tissue to take. People in the colony could gain more points for themselves if they went out, away from the existing colony, and created a new colony themselves. They would spread out in much the same way as malignant tumors send out tendrils to healthy tissue. The colonies, each of which would now be a ‘state’ or ‘nation,’ would grow until they were touching each other. They would then establish borders by some method (generally through war). Eventually, so much of the board would be under control of the new rules that, the new game would become the dominant game. Its players could then play according to the new rules to take the remainder of the land. At some point, the only game left would be the new game. The game would have changed.

Forensic History explained the way this happened on Earth. Here is a quick recap.

The first group playing by the new rules appeared 6,000 years ago. Areas under the control of the new system expanded so rapidly that, within 2,000 years, it covered the entire breadbasket of AfroEurasia, from the area now called ‘China’ and ‘India’ to the Mediterranean basin. Over the next 3,500 years, the players worked on perfecting their games. They figured out how to make new and better weapons. They worked on different methods of organizing the internal structures of ‘nations,’ to get people to work harder, to get them to extract more wealth from the land, to organize to build superior weapons and tools of war.

They found that certain technologies translated into advantages in the most important play of this game, the play called ‘war.’ People had been making iron and steel for thousands of years before the first nations came to exist, but they made it only in very tiny quantities by very labor-intensive methods. Steel is extremely useful in war. Certain nations figured out that they could make large amounts of steel if they were willing to create and support population centers where people lived who did not produce food or other necessities of life for themselves and their families. They could make more steel if they formed the structures we now call ‘cities.’ The team leaders decided to allow and even encourage these ‘cities’ to exist, because the cities could provide steel and other weapons useful in game play. The economies of the cities were set up so that people could get points (pieces of paper with numbers on them or metal disks called ‘money’) if they could build better weapons than those that already existed. About 4,800 years after the new rules of existence started, people discovered how to make explosives, the first of which was called ‘gunpowder. With both explosives and steel, people can make truly devastating weapons, including cannon, rockets, grenades, mines, torpedoes, and a great many different kinds of bombs.

Once this technology existed, only nations that had scientists capable of building rockets, bombs, guns, and other high-technology weapons were able to succeed in war. Nations had to start encouraging science. Technology advanced.

By 1492, technology had advanced to the point where people playing the game by the new rules were able to build ships that could cross the great ocean sea to the west of Afro-Eurasia. One mariner decided to see if he could cross to the west and end up in the east. In the attempt, he discovered that the continent that played by the new rules only included half of the land of the Earth. Another half existed that had yet to be ‘conquered.’ People there were still playing by the old rules. The conquest of the lands that the conquerors were to call ‘the new world’ began right away. Within 500 years, the realities of existence for this other half of the planet had also changed. There was now only one game in town, the new game, the game of conquest and destruction.

 

The Kobayashi Maru

 

For the human race as a whole, the game is unwinnable.

As individual teams advance toward their goals, the human race as a whole suffers. The teams can gain if they have more and better weapons. Weapons are tools of mass murder and destruction. Having more tools of mass murder and destruction on the planet do not make the world a better place for the human race as a whole. To make more weapons than the other players, the teams must extract more resources than the other players. The cheaper they can extract these resources, the cheaper the weapons. They can extract more resources more cheaply by ignoring the environmental damage they do, so they ignore the damage. The world gets more damaged each year that passes. The teams playing the game gain advantages from these activities, but the human race as a whole suffers.

We are limited by physical laws to this one planet. It is our home and, if it is destroyed, we are destroyed. To quote one of the people who played by the old rules (when this still happened) Chief Seattle of the Duwamish ‘soil your bed and you will wake up in your own waste.’

There are no more new frontiers. There is no more land to conquer. Any conquests from now on will require conflicts between two teams in competition for each other. As team leaders realize this, they devote more and more wealth to finding tools of mass murder and destruction that will give them advantages in game play. Unfortunately for the human race, they have succeeded very well at this and now have weapons that can destroy the world in a microsecond, at the touch of a button. We keep hoping that the button is never pressed. But the people who play the game know they can get points for their team if they can get other people in the world to think they will press the button if they don’t get their needs met. They want to convince people they will press the button and have even set up systems to cause the button to be pressed automatically in certain circumstances.

They don’t think of this as a game at all. They see it as reality. They are driven to play this game. Nothing else is important to them. They will keep playing and playing. But they can never win. There is no such thing as ultimate victory in this game; there is only ultimate defeat. If this game goes on long enough, every team will lose, because the playing field will be gone and all the players will be dead.

In the movie ‘War Games,’ a computer programmed to learn is programmed to play war games with itself. At one point, the people in charge of nuclear weapons decide that humans are the weak link in nuclear war, because they may not press the button when required, so they turn the launch codes over to the computer. The computer decides that reality is a game and starts to play war games for real, getting ready for the launch that will end the world. A kid computer-genuis comes up with a solution: program the computer to play an unwinnable game. The computer is designed to learn. Eventually, it will learn that the only way to not lose the game is to not play the game. In the movie, the computer finally figures this out and stops the game only seconds before destroying the world.

We need to learn the same lesson. The only way to not lose this game is to not play it.

 

Tweaking the Game

We have seen that the game is rigged: the people who run the game and are its best players have gained control of the score pieces and we all need these score pieces in order to eat. We can’t simply decide not to play, at least not as individuals.

But this doesn’t mean we are doomed. We can use the same trick to defeat the game that James Kirk used to defeat the Kobayashi Maru: We can ‘tweak’ it. We can alter the parameters of game play and change the game itself.

Kirk could not win the Kobayashi Maru. It was not winnable. So he changed the game. To all the testers in Starfleet, it looked like the Kobayashi Maru. But it was a tiny bit different game. The game Kirk played had an avenue for victory. This is the challenge: how to change the game without destroying the players, the game pieces, the lives of the existing players, and the game board itself.

In the central book of this series, Possible Societies, we saw that there are many different ways for thinking beings to organize their existence. There are many different ways to play this game. Only a tiny number of the options are true no-win game options for the human race as a whole. The great majority of the options do not push the people of the world to divide into teams and then compete against each other to kill and destroy. We saw that there is a continuum of possible options for game play, starting with ‘sovereign law game rules’ (the rules now in effect) on one end and ending with ‘natural law game rules’ on the other extreme.

Under sovereign law game rules, groups of people can own absolute rights to or ‘sovereignty’ over parts of the planet. These game rules allow total or 100% ownability of parts of planets. Natural law game rules don’t allow any human entities (even groups that go through ceremonies and draw up declarations that claim they are ‘nations’) to own any rights at all to parts of planets. In other words, they allow ownability of 0% of the rights the planet.

100% and 0% are extremes. One means ‘all rights ownable’ the other means ‘no rights ownable.’ There are infinite gradients between ‘everything’ and ‘nothing.’ There are infinite numbers between 0% and 100%. Possible Societies showed how we could use tools like leasehold ownership to create systems that allow ownability that is somewhere between 0% and 100%. This means that, if we want, we can have game play under rules that are almost identical to the rules now in place, but not totally identical. We can move away from the extreme systems to moderate systems. We saw that some of the moderate systems work in ways that alter the rules of the game just enough to make it winnable. Some modify the rules by a great deal and some give the human race as a whole a key position as moderators of this game, with the ability to alter the rules through global democratic elections.

It is possible to do what Kirk did at his Kobayashi Maru trial: we can tweak the game. We can alter it in tiny ways that the players who depend on the game won’t even notice. The game will continue, but it won’t reward destruction and violence as much as it does now. At some point in this continuum of possible game play rules, we get to scenarios where the game is no longer unwinnable. We will no longer be playing the unwinnable game.

 

The Tree

I don’t claim this method of reforming societies is going to be easy. There are roadblocks that will be in the way of any group that tries to make this a reality. If we want to get past these roadblocks, we have to accept they are there, understand why they are there, and understand why people are driven to place roadblocks in our way. If we understand this and use the tools we have at our disposal in intelligent ways, we can get around these roadblocks.

Changes that will alter this game really do benefit everyone. If the game ends with the destruction of the world, it won’t matter which team controls the most land or has the most points (piece of paper with numbers on them or metal disks called ‘money’ used to keep score in this game) at the end. Dead people don’t benefit from having large amounts of money or controlling more of the Earth’s surface. Everyone benefits if we can tweak the game to make it winnable.

Why would anyone try to put roadblocks in the way of such efforts?

The main reason is that a large percentage of the people of the world believe this is not a game at all; they think it is reality. They think that the entities called ‘nations’ are real things and these ‘nations’ were created by an invisible spirit being or beings with powers that dwarf the powers of humans. Since the invisible superbeing created it all, there is nothing we can do to change it. All we can do is love our team (‘nation’) and fight and kill and die for our team and the superbeing in the sky who created it, loves us all, and will reward us all with better lives (lives where this game is not in play) after we die, provided we devote our earthly existence to this game. They believe this. If you try to tell them they are deluded, they will get angry. They will fight and resist any attempt to make them see the big picture with every ounce of their strength.

They have been trained to think a certain way and they have learned to think that way.

I think the best way to understand this is through an analogy. There is a redwood tree outside my window that has been standing there for more than 1,200 years. When I look at the tree, I see something good. It is nature, something that I associate with the Chinese word ‘how,’ which means ‘good.’ (The symbol for ‘how’ is 好, the symbol for a mother next to the symbol for a baby boy. How do you draw a picture of the concept of ‘good?’ The people who came up with this symbol have been able to put something together that makes you feel what the term ‘good’ represents.)

I know people who think differently. If that tree were cut down, it could be turned into the little pieces of paper with numbers on them that grant points in this game. It is a very big tree, so it could make me a lot of money. By cutting this tree down, I would help create jobs, because there would be more demand for logging services, more demand for trucking, and more demand for mills. I would add to the amount of lumber available to builders. This would cut the cost of building homes and encourage more homebuilding, creating even more jobs. More jobs would lead to competition for workers, which would drive up wages. Higher wages would give people more to spend and they would spend more, stimulating the economy. The government taxes incomes, profits, and all activities that my actions would stimulate, so it would get more money and could devote more to weapons research. These people think that the current military conflict is a crucial conflict, perhaps the most important military conflict in all of history. They think that, if we could just spend a little more, the forces of good (which they truly believe the team they consider themselves to be on represents) we could finally defeat evil.

They say I am not doing my part. It is true that cutting down the tree would not have a huge impact on the variables that matter. But we are all part of the process. If everyone does a little, our efforts will add up and we will be able to make a better world. My part in making the world better is to turn that tree into little pieces of paper with numbers on them. I will benefit, my team will benefit, the forces of good will benefit, and the world will get better.

There is a game in progress. If I am not playing for our team, I am helping the other team. I am with the forces of evil. That is the way they see it. To not cut down the tree is the same as not drilling for oil when it is there or not attacking people and taking their land when they are vulnerable.

If we are to make this game winnable, we have to accept the obstacles in our way and plan for them. We have to accept that our real adversary is a mindset that allows people to think that the game is everything, that ‘nations’ are very real things with real rights which come from a higher power, and that all of the evidence to the contrary is not worth considering.

Where do we start?

Other people have tried to change games while in progress before. In fact, they have succeeded. It makes sense to learn from people who have done it before and build a plan that conforms to efforts that have succeeded, even if the game they were trying to change is not nearly as comprehensive as the game that we are trying to change.

Books in this series

This book is a part of a series of four books about the important realities of human existence. They are:

1. Forensic History: uses new scientific tools and information sources to reconstruct the series of events that put the human race on the path it is now on. It explains how the realities of human existence came to be as they are. It focuses on the events led to the existence of the power structures that dominate the world today, including the entities called 'nations,' organized religions, and the massive and extremely powerful entities we call 'corporations.' These entities did not appear by magic. They came to exist as a result of decisions people made in the past. If we want to understand the realities of human existence, we have to understand who made these decisions, why they were made, and how the decisions made in the past have led to the realities that we see around us.

2. Possible Societies goes over the capabilities of the human race and the limitations we have for organizing the realities of our existence. It is an attempt to categorize all possible methods of organizing human existence—or all possible societies—in a methodological and organized way. Once we understand the different options we have for organizing societies, we can go over them to determine which of the options are able to meet our needs without constant problems such as war and unnecessary environmental destruction.

3. Reforming Societies: We were born onto a world that was organized in a very dangerous way. It was cut up with imaginary lines into the entities we call 'nations.' Each nation had formed a government which claimed that everything within that nation belonged to the people who were born inside the imaginary lines. Any society built on this foundation necessarily has very serious problems, which include powerful forces these entities surrounded by imaginary lines to engage in activities that are the most horrific destructive within the capability of any physical beings with the power to think on a rational level. The pressure to perform these horrible acts is so powerful that the industries devoted to war and the support of war, combined, make up the largest industries on Earth: More wealth, manpower, effort, skills, talents, capital, and resources are devoted to organized mass murder and destruction than any other activity on the planet. People have gone as far as building weapons that will destroy the planet if used and actually deployed these weapons, making them ready for instant use if certain circumstances arise. Given enough time, these circumstances are certain to arise.

What if we—the current members of the human race—decide we don't like these particular realities of existence? What if we decide we want some other destiny for our race (than extinction)? It is possible to organize the realities of our world in different ways. (Even children should realize this: humans need food, water, air, sleep, and protection from the elements; the imaginary lines that cut the world into 'nations' don't give us any of these things.)

But is it possible to actually build them?

If we know other methods of organizing the realities of human existence are possible, we can work out the exact structural differences between the realities of these other societies and the current realities of human existence.

We can figure out practical steps to take to change the form of ('reform') other societies. It explains the exact practical steps that ordinary people like you and I can take to put the human race on a path to one of these societies, if we should decide we want to do this.

4. The Meaning of Life explains why this matters. The societies we were born into must raise children to think a certain way so they will be willing to sacrifice for and participate in the wars that are an inherent part of societies built on the division of the world into 'nations.' To make them willing to participate, they must raise children to believe that there is a higher purpose behind the wars and behind the existence of the nations: They must make children believe that they were born to and exist to protect their nations, to respect the claimed founding principles, to honor the nation and, through ceremonies that all children are taught in schools, to even worship the nation, in the same way they are taught to worship the higher power that they were told created the nation. To make them do the horrible things that people must do to have wars, they must make children believe that this is the meaning of life and the reason they were born.

New scientific evidence is allowing us to put together messages that are encoded in our DNA and evident from the structures that are necessary for the process we call 'life' to exist in ways that can show us that there are scientifically acceptable and mathematically likely explanations for the existence of life on Earth that totally conflict with the premises taught to keep people willing to fight, kill, maim, cripple, destroy, risk and accept death for the benefits of the entities called 'nations.' If we accept science, logic, and reason, we can put together a picture of the meaning of existence that can help us see that the claimed reasons for existence that have been taught in schools and accepted for thousands of years are basically propaganda, created for the express purpose of allowing rationalization of horrific acts. If they could put together some rational picture of the reason we are here, people would not be willing to do the things that they spend their lives doing today.

What if we find there is a real meaning to our existence and it has nothing whatever to do with worshiping invisible superbeings or protecting nations? The entire rationalization for dividing the world into 'nations' and making war basically disappears. We must accept that the realities of existence on Earth are as they are because people made certain decisions. These people are no longer alive. We are here. We can make our own decisions. We can decide where we want to go from here and begin going there.

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