Our ancestors have made decisions that have put our race into a certain path, one that leads to extinction for us an destruction of our world.
We do not have to go down this path.
There are other paths we can take into the future.
This book is about these other paths.
1 Chapter 1 Introduction
In June of 2023, the $10 billion Web telescope began sending back images to earth from its location in deep space. Within days, scientists began to realize that just about everything we thought we knew about the universe was wrong.
This was nothing new. Galileo’s simple book of drawings published in 1608 (Sidereus Nuncius) showed that virtually everything then thought to have been known about the ‘heavens’ was wrong. The moon had craters (it had been thought to be a perfect sphere), Jupiter had moons (only the earth was capable of having moons, it was thought), and Saturn had rings that contained moons. Galileo was arrested, tried, and jailed for the rest of his life (with a ban on all of his work) for contradicting the known sciences for publishing this book.
Einstein’s 1905 paper on relativity showed that even the basic ideas of the people who thought they understood the universe were wrong. For example, there is such a thing as ‘matter’ or ‘energy’ or ‘space’ or ‘time,’ only relativistic concecpts where matter and energy change form and the very existence of either space or time depends on our relativistic vantage point.
When I was growing up, there was a lot of speculation about the stars. The accepted view was that the thing we called a ‘sun’ was ‘like a star’ but not much like it. Our sun was special. It was the only possible heavenly body that can support a ‘star system.’ The schools I went to still taught a view that was totally consistent with the religious claims that hold that the earth is everything, totally unique, unlike anything else, and that the starts are just pretty things that our loving creator sprinkled through the sky to make it pretty.
In 1993, the first focused images of the Hubble telescope came to earth. All the stars examined looked at had planets. But a lot of people didn’t really want to believe the implications of this. They said that this particular section of the galaxy was favored by the creator, who put a few planets around the closest stars. But the rest of the galaxy was barren and empty.
The Webb images immediately showed this was not true. But they showed a lot more than this. They showed that the universe was much, much bigger than previously thought. On July 23 of 2023, scientists analyzing data from the Webb said that we would have to at least double the distance from ourselves to the farthest things we can see to account for their existence. In other words, the area taken up by the universe has to be 8 times bigger than previously thought (the area of a sphere is the cube of the radius, so if the radius doubles the area increases by 8 times.) This increases the number of galaxies that exist in the part of the universe visible to the Web telescope from the formerly accepted 100-200 billion to 800 billion-2 trillion. With an average of 200 billion star systems, in each, this means there would be between 16,000,000,000,000,000,000 and 400,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the part of the sky we can see from this neck of the universe. Even if the average star system only has 3 planets, this means there are between 32 sextillion and 1.2 septillion worlds in the part of the universe we can see from here.
And this is the number if we never ever discover that there was something beyond the area we can look at with our current technology.
Some series of events led to us here on this tiny blue world.
Are we alone? So far, no one has been able to prove we aren’t. But our technology is brand new. We are still babies in many ways, discovering that the world is a far more complicated and interesting place than we ever imagined before.
Imagine that you are a member of a research team on an alien world called ‘cosmos.’
Your team is monitoring planets with life forms that have attained radio technology. It has just located a planet that is new to the ‘radio capable’ club. The people of this newly-discovered world call their planet ‘earth.’
Your team analyzes the different kinds of ‘societies’ or ‘arrangements of existence’ of the beings of other worlds which have gained technologies that the scientists on cosmos can monitor and analyze. They want to know how intelligent beings on other worlds organize their existence, how they interact with the physical world around them and with other members of their species. They have studied thousands of worlds that have attained radio technology over the course of the past few millennia.
Now they have a new subject for study.
The earth is sending out vast amounts of radio information. Nearly all computers have some sort of wireless connection; signals to go routers that divide them and send them to various towers or servers, which communicate with other computers wirelessly (using radio, light, or other detectable electromagnetic waves). There are roughly 6,580,000,000 smart phones in use in the world today; they all communicate constantly with towers sending information even when they aren’t in actual use; people manage their appointments, make zoom calls, check the markets, check their security cameras at home, watch the news, watch movies, and even buy products with these devices.
Computers on cosmos have been monitoring radio emissions from earth for the last 25 years. They have very sophisticated radio receivers that pick up all the signals and send them to computers that sort them out. Over the last 25 years, every internet web page on earth has been accessed by some sort of wireless modem, phone, computer, or other device. The giant radio dishes around cosmos received and recorded all of these signals. Computers on cosmos sorted out these signals and reproduced each individual page on the internet, each text or email, each silly video of a cat walking on piano keys, and each social-media picture of a baby, each red-light violator, each credit card transaction, and each recorded cell phone or satellite phone conversation. Each has been filed both with the reference and file numbers they were assigned on earth, and using a second system designed by the scientists of cosmos to help them sort out all the information from all of the worlds they monitor, so they can compare features of these worlds. Cosmos happens to be a remote world, thousands of light years from any of the worlds it studies, and since signals can only travel at the speed of light, they are looking at the signals that left the worlds they study thousands of years ago. They can’t communicate with people on these other worlds, at least not without a lag of thousands of years so, for the time being, they are only listening and studying.
What Would Scientists On Other World’s Think of 21st century Earth Societies?
The computers on cosmos have built a kind of mirror of the earth electronic infrastructure. So far, this has all been done by machine. No one has looked at any of the data. But the computers have put it together in a way that will make it easy to understand. Basically, they have a kind of mirror internet on cosmos with all information on the earth internet, together with large files of information that is not on the earth internet but they have recorded and indexed. Researchers there can submit a query in their own language; their computers will translate it into the appropriate earth language and search for results using the same search engines that earth people use to get results in earth languages, with a ‘translate’ key they can push to get it into their languages.
If they want to know how tall the earth people are, they can ask; the computer will access height information, cross reference it for units that are the same on both worlds. (The scientific definition for the unit of length called a ‘meter’ is: 1,650,763.73 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the levels 2p10 and 5d5 of the krypton-86 atom. Using this definition, scientists on cosmos could determine the height that earth people would be if we could be transported somehow to their world.) If they want to watch the news for a certain date many years ago, they can ask and the computer will access it and present it. If they want to know whether human societies have ‘governments,’ the can ask and the computer will tell them. (We will see that not all societies of thinking beings with physical needs need governments to operate; in fact, there have been societies in our past that didn’t need or have governments.) Whatever they want, they can find out. Their computers don’t interface with any computers on earth, of course, because they are thousands of light years away. But the information is there and they can access it there as easily as we can access it here on earth.
No living being on cosmos has yet looked at this information.
Your first day of work, your boss tells you that the managing team members aren’t going to be available for a few weeks. She needs you and some of the other low-ranking researchers to go over the data from this newly-discovered radio-capable world and get some preliminary idea how the people on earth live. You are to provide background for the higher-level researchers. She says she wants you to put together the basics in a report to be presented when all team members are available.
Your boss tells you that you might start by immersing yourself in the earth societies. Imagine you actually live on the tiny blue planet. Pick a few spots that are different: earth people may live differently in different places. Watch the movies and television shows in that locations you select to understand what is entertaining to people there. Check out whatever the earth beings consider to be ‘news.’ Surf the web, just as someone on earth would do, following links to take you to whatever catches your interest.
After you have spent a few weeks of this, try to find an objective and scientific way to explain what you have seen.
How do the humans live?
Living things need food and other physical things to remain alive. They have to interact with the physical world in some way to get these things. How do they do it? Do they create organizations or select classes of people to own each part of the planet, then grant everything to the owners, who can then trade food and other items for other things? Do they consider the world around them to be their provider, a giver of gifts that no one can own, and divide these gifts in some way among the people of their world? Do they mix these options, creating global rules that grant certain rights to share certain parts of the food the land produces among all humans, and letting people or organizations own other rights? Do they have contests or wars where they compete to get the good things the land produces (or ownership of various parts of the world itself), then accept that the winners of these contests have the rights to everything in certain areas? If they do this, what are the terms of these contests, what tools (or weapons, if the contests are violent) do they use? How is the winner determined? How are the prizes divided?
After you have analyzed the way the earth people interact with the world, consider the way they organize their interactions with each other: Do they have leaders? Are all humans given the same role or vote in global elections, or do some have priority? Do they have clans or gangs with greater power in the world and, if they do, how is membership in each clan or gang determined?
Your boss tells you that she doesn’t want anything detailed, she just wants the basics. When the team comes, they will need to start somewhere. They have looked at a great many other worlds that have intelligent life. They want to know where the system on earth fits in with the systems on other worlds.
Once you have sput together something to present, try to name the system on earth.
The team members won’t want to say ‘and the type of society the earth people have created’ every time they refer to this system. They will need a name and part of your job is to come up with one, preferably one that is short and calls the system on earth to mind to anyone who hears it.
The Foundation Of Earth Societies
As soon as you start looking at earth, you would see that there is something very important about the way the societies on this planet work: The people of earth divide their world with imaginary lines into individual territories called things like ‘nations’ or ‘sovereign states’ or ‘countries.’
The exact number of these entities changes over time but there are about 200 of them in place as of the earth year 2000 (the starting year of your data) and the number is close to 200 as of 2021 (the latest year that you have information about so you can use this number in your report.
The earth people seem to consider nations to be extremely important.
The people of each nation act almost as if the nation they were born into (‘their nation’) is independent of the world and its people are independent of the human race. In fact, some nations even make a formal ‘declaration of independence’ stating that they are a ‘sovereign’ entity, with the right to make all decisions in the borders of their territory without any need to give any consideration whatever to anything outside of these borders.
Maps show the borders between these entities very clearly, usually with the heaviest and most noticeable lines; map makers color the land on the different sides of these borders differently, to make it easy for earth people to tell which nation each part of the world is a part of.
In many cases, the lines on the maps don’t correspond to any real physical geographic feature on the planet. The real lines on the maps therefore refer to imaginary lines on the real planet. The people on earth would never be able to find the locations of these imaginary lines without a great deal of effort. They hire surveyors who refer to the maps and use very advanced tools to locate the imaginary lines on the earth that correspond to the lines that have been drawn on the map.
Usually, the lines on the map are drawn by treaty negotiators after events the earth people call ‘wars.’ Both sides in the negotiations appear to want more land on their sides of the borders and try to make this happen; if they can’t agree they go back to war until they decide to go back to negotiations. This can go on for hundreds of years.
After they have decided on the lines on the maps and marked them, and hired surveyors to find the places on the earth that correspond to them, the earth people hire contractors come in and build fences or walls. These barriers are often very formidable and include some of the largest structures on earth. (Walls and ruins of walls are everywhere in Europe and Asia; some are so large they can be seen from space with the naked eye.) By their actions, it appears that the earth people to care more about the exact locations of these imaginary lines than just about anything else, even their own lives.
Even after the complex negotiations have settled the locations, the people on earth keep squabbling and arguing over this issue. Sometimes, these squabbles turn into the horrific activities imaginable: well-planned, well-funded, no-holds-barred orgies of mass murder, mayhem, and destruction that turn hundreds of thousands of acres of what once had been productive land into barren wastelands and leave millions dead. They appear to be doing these things for no reason other than to determine the exact locations of imaginary lines and make sure that the actual lines, when they are located and marked, are put in the right places.
They call these lines ‘borders.’
Borders appear to divide the land of the earth into individual parcels. Earth people use a great many terms to refer to the entities they say are created by the borders, including sovereign states, republics, emirates, caliphates, kingdoms, countries, nations, commonwealths, and unions, to name a few. You might pick one of these terms in your report to refer to these entities—nations for example—and have a footnote that explains that you are using this as a generic term to refer to the entities created by borders on earth in general, making no distinction between ‘nations’ or ‘countries’ or ‘sovereign states’ or the other entities the earth people use as names for the divisions.
The people who are born inside of each of these nations seem to act as if they believe the part of the planet inside of the borders belongs to them, in a sort of collective way. They are possessive about it, as if they believe that this part of the planet was created by their ancestors, or by some creator that gave it to their ancestors, and they can treat it as if it they themselves made it and have the moral right to do anything they want with it.
They act as if they believe the people inside their nations are different kinds of beings with entirely different rights than people outside the nations.
People inside the lines, their ‘fellow citizens,’ have rights which all people in that nation must respect and help protect. If they infringe on these rights in any way, even simply saying things that are called ‘racial slurs’ and hurt the feelings of others, they can be arrested and put into prison. People outside of the nations don’t have these rights; in some cases, when the people of one nation have disputes with another (generally over the locations of the imaginary liens), they are classified as ‘enemies.’ All people inside the nation must contribute to fund to be used to buy weapons and pay soldiers to kill these ‘foreigners’ and destroy everything that these outsiders may possibly use to defend themselves, take care of their children, or simply remain alive.
The nations issue a document to each newborn certifying the nation where this event took place. In many ways, it is the most important document that people will ever see in their lives. It will determine many realities of their lives, from beginning to end. When children go to school, they will be taught that the nation where this event took place is ‘their nation.’ They will be told it gives them human rights; it builds roads for them, creates order for them, and builds the schools that educate them. People are free, inside that nation, because the nation gives them freedom. Liberty, equality, majestic purple mountains, and the beauty of the sunset shining on the sea all exist because the nation provides them, out of love, to all its people.
In return for the wonderful things the nation gives them, they will have to make sacrifices. They will have to turn over a large part of any money they make in their lives to the revenue service of their nation. They will also have to pay fees and taxes on just about everything they do from the time of their birth until their inheritance matters have been sorted out after they are dead, and thousands of different taxes will be built in to the prices of everything they buy. If they want to feed their children, they will have to pay their nation for the right to do this. A very large percentage of the money they pay as taxes will go to pay for weapons, to provide support for the weapons factories, and to pay for soldiers who will use these weapons to kill people who the schools tell children are ‘enemies’ and need to die so that their glorious and noble nation can have all the wonderful things it has.
They will be told of the great heroes of the past who made incredible sacrifices so that the nation could exist and provide the wonderful things it provides to the people it loves. Many of them killed thousands and some killed hundreds of thousands of people in enemy countries for this goal. Some lost their arms, eyesight, their sons, or their sanity (it is very hard to kill people who have done nothing to harm you, especially children, and remain sane) for this goal. The greatest of them all, the heroes who we must all emulate and seek to follow, gave their very lives for their country. They will be told that we are at the epitome of civilization; we have reached the ultimate in freedom, liberty, justice, and the majesty of mountains, due to the sacrifices of those who came before us. If the children learning these things don’t continue their work, everything they have done will have been in vain. The children will be told they must anxiously to be called forward and be given the opportunity to kill and destroy people’s life work for their nation. The highest honor they will ever be given will be the honor of being called to give their lives for their nations.
Perhaps on many planets with intelligent life, children may be taught that killing other people who have done nothing to harm them is wrong, something they must never do. On earth, the schools seem to take the opposite approach: as long as they are killing for their ‘nation,’ it is not only a good thing, it is the most moral and correct thing they could do. To even think about whether this may possibly not be the right thing to do is an act of treason and betrayal of all that is noble, good, pure, and righteous.
A look at the adult news will reinforce the incredible importance of nations in earth societies. The earth people have built devices called ‘three stage thermonuclear devices.’ These devices use an incredibly technologically sophisticated set of devices to create explosions of incredible power.
As of 2021, more than 22,000 of these three stage thermonuclear bombs are in declared arsenals that are declared in public documents. Most of them are in multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles in the nose cones of intercontinental ballistic missiles. If these devices are needed to defend the interests of the nations that own them, they can be exploded anywhere on earth within 90 minutes after the command to use them has been issued. There are another 78,000 of these devices in storage, ready to be activated in case destroying the world 22,000 times over isn’t enough to decide the war.
These devices were created to protect the interests of the entities the earth people call ‘nations.’ If used, they will destroy the planet and exterminate the human race forever.
The people who make military decisions on earth know this.
But they have decided, for some reason, that the interests of the entities called ‘nations’ are more important than the existence of the human race and the planet earth. This is a tautology, a self evident truth: it must be correct or these devices wouldn’t exist.
What are these things that the earth people call ‘nations?’
How did they come to exist?
What purpose were they created to serve?
What is it about the entities the earth people call ‘nations’ that makes them so important to the people on the tiny blue planet?
If you are new at the job on cosmos and have never studied a society that had nations before, you will probably have a hard time figuring this out. We will see, in the course of this book, that it is very hard to understand the way certain structures within societies work if you have never seen anything else and have no basis for comparison. If you had never seen a society that operated like this before, it will be hard for you to relate to the earth societies or understand them well enough to explain them to the other members of your team.
But, of course, you have a job.
You have to submit a report. You are a scientist and are writing a report for scientists. You will naturally want to make your report scientifically. How can you explain the entities the earth people call ‘nations’ in a scientific way?
Belief Based Societies And Intellect-Based Societies
This book explains a great many different kinds of societies. We will see that humans are truly incredibly capable beings, able to organize themselves/ourselves many different ways. We are able to survive, function, and even prosper in a great many different types of societies. They/we can start with several entirely different foundations and build on them in various different ways, leading to entirely different societies.
We will see that there are two basic places that a group of people who are in a position to build any kind of society may start:
First, they may start with logic and reason. They can do scientific studies of the different structures that can be part of societies of thinking beings; they can then figure out the different ways these structures can be put together to make finished ‘societies.’ Once they have done this, they can analyze their needs and come up with a idea of where the people of their world want to go into the future. They can find the system that has the greatest potential to move them toward that future and adopt it.
That is one way that a group of intelligent beings might go about building a society. But it is not the only way.
If the people on a world evolved from lower animals, they might not have gotten their full intellects instantly, like turning on a light. They may have advanced in some areas of their minds very quickly, but in others more slowly. They may have had instincts and emotions that pushed them to act certain ways. When they first gained intellectual abilities, they may not have turned these abilities to a scientific analysis of societies right away. They may have focused their intellectual capabilities in areas their feelings and emotions (manifestations of their instinctual pressures) told them were important, and basically left other areas (like the different ways social structures could work) unexplored.
For example, imagine a group of beings on a world that are evolving over time, with their capabilities gradually increasing due to the effects of natural selection. Say that, at some point in their evolution, these beings gained evolutionary advantages by marking off certain limits to their territory (most earth beings that do this use urine scent marks), identifying the members of their own tribe or clan (most animals on earth have better senses of smell than humans and can identify each individual this way). They had some sort of instinctual pressure to protect the marked territory for the exclusive use of authorized residents.
Even before these beings were true humans, they would have societies. They would have organizational structures that determined how they interacted with others and the world around them. They would interact with their world by dividing it into territories, marking the territories, and defending them. They couldn’t have created these societies through a scientific analysis of the different components that were parts of societies because, in this example, we are looking at them before they developed the ability to think this way. Their societal structures were built on instincts.
At some point, these beings may make a transition and become true humans, with the same brain lobes and mental communication protocols as components as we have now. They may have the power to understand complex ideas both as expressed to them from others and in their own communications to others. You if you were there and could talk to them, you might ask them how they feel about their enemies crossing the borders. They may tell you, if they had words for their emotions, that they felt fear: the enemies were trying to kill them. The enemies would stop at nothing in this attack and they might be killed. They were very, very afraid.
Then, if you asked them how they felt when they were killing their enemies, they may tell you their word for hatred. The evil ones had to die. The didn’t sit down and work it all out logically. They simply had feelings which were expressions of their instinctual pressures. These feelings took over when they were in battle and they didn’t analyze whether the people in front of them were bad people and had done something society needed to punish. They just wanted to kill them.
They felt these emotions: They feared and hated the people on the other side of the lines. Perhaps, when they first gained their abilities to think logically, they didn’t even consider using them to help them build societies. They needed weapons. This was their first priority. They could think about other things once the ones they hated and feared were gone. They didn’t really build societies. The inherited societies. Their societies weren’t built on a logical analysis of anything. They had priorities. They were surrounded by enemies. They needed weapons. they could worry about other things, like whether they could organize their societies differently, once they had killed all the people who used the wealth on their sides of the lines to build weapons to threaten them.
If you gave them a little time after they became humans, they would be able to figure out how to smelt copper. (From time to time, going through ashes, they would find little bits of metal that had melted. This was very useful and could be hammered into many shapes.) It is a short scientific step from smelting copper to smelting iron and making steel. Once they had steel, they would be able to make incredibly strong materials including steel tubes. Eventually they would discover chemical mixtures that would explode. They could put some of this explosive mixture into a steel tube, put a projectile in afterward, light a fuse and send a projectile flying hundreds of feet at a speed capable of piercing skin. They would have guns. They could then make rockets, grenades, mines, and bombs. The enemies would get these advanced weapons too so, to defend themselves, they would keep working on better and better weapons. Eventually they would have engines, trucks, and planes.
On earth, we got from the first diesel engines and trucks to ICBMS with MIRV warheads containing three stage nuclear bombs in about 50 years.
For your report on cosmos, you have to provide some insight as to the reason the societies on earth work as they do. Perhaps you may speculate that something like this happened on the tiny blue planet.
Perhaps intellectual talents of the earth people developed unevenly. Perhaps they were very good at figuring out how to build new and better weapons and developed very advanced sciences to help them in this area. But they didn’t use these science to help them understand the basic realities of their societies. Perhaps they had primitive superstitious beliefs about why they were on the world that were created at a very early period in their development. Perhaps they saw the wonders of nature around them and speculated that there had to be some sort of intelligence behind this. How can flowers and bees, fish and trees, the beauty of the sunset and glow of the moon through the forest at night, the awesome sight of a fawn feeding next to its mother in a snow covered field, all be meaningless consequences of the operation of laws without any intention behind them?
Perhaps people saw this and though that it all had to be the result of intelligent design.
There must be a designer or creator.
This creator must have done everything for a reason. What is this reason? They may have speculated. They say that the people of the world divided the land into territories and fought over the territories. They may have speculated that this couldn’t be the case if the creator didn’t want it to be the case. It must be the will of the creator that we act this way. Perhaps, at some time in the past, the creator may have picked out a few people who were his favorites; the creator then split off certain parcels for these favorites and gave them to them, perhaps giving them special orders to use force to defend them (to ‘hold dominion over them’) and to do anything necessary to the land to make it better able to provide the things they needed (to ‘subdue’ the land).
Perhaps they divided the land into territories and fought over it because this was supposed to happen: The one who created the world they lived on had planned it and made it happen.
If this is what happened on earth, you aren’t going to be able provide a scientific and logical explanation for many of the structures of their societies, particularly those related to territoriality. In your report, you may simply state that certain aspects of the societies of the people on earth don’t appear to have been created for any logical reason. The earth people aren’t logical in every area and mix emotion and logic in their decision making in very dangerous ways. This has led to structures like those the humans call ‘nations’ that appear to be very dangerous.
Territorial Sovereignty Societies
What might you call the foundational principle of the earth societies? They divide the land of their world into individual territories. They then create rules and laws that grant the rights the earth people call ‘sovereignty’ to each of these territories.
To understand the earth societies, we really need to understand the term, ‘sovereignty.’ Sovereignty is a legal term, used to define the legal rights claimed by certain people (the decision-makers of nations) on behalf of other people (the legal inhabitants of their nations).
You can find entire books about this concept and descriptions of the meaning of this term from the perspective of national leaders, international courts, unions of nations, natural courts (the United States constitution splits sovereignty between the federal government and the states and the Supreme Court has issued formal rulings on this), and many others in many places. Although there are some differences, the basic idea is pretty simple: sovereignty is absolute, total, complete, indisputable, uncontestable, paramount, authority and control over that territory. The people with sovereignty over a part of the world claim and enforce the same rights that a being with the power to create a planet out of nothingness would claim for this creation: It exists only as long as the creator wants it to exist and the creator can do anything to it, without limits of any kind.
Let’s consider how this works on practice in earth by looking at a few legal definitions of the term. The first is from Blacks Law Dictionary:
The possession of sovereign power; supreme political authority; paramount control of the constitution and frame of government and its administration; the self-sufficient source of political power, from which all specific political powers are derived; the international independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating all internal affairs without foreign dictation; also a political society, or state, which is sovereign and independent.
See Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. 455, 1 L. Ed. 440: Union Bank v. Hill, 3 Cold. (Tenn.) 325; Moore v. Shaw, 17 Cal. 218, 79 Am. Dec. 123. “The freedom of the nation has its correlate in the sovereignty of the nation. It is in and through the determination of its sovereignty that the order of the nation is constituted and maintained.” Mulford, Nation, p. 129. “If a determinate human superior, not in a habit of obedience to a like superior, receive habitual obedience from the bulk of a given society, that determinate superior is sovereign in that society, and the society (including the superior) is a society political and independent.” Aust. Jur.
This is from the West’s Encyclopedia of Law:
Next, consider layman’s descriptions. This is from Wikipedia:
Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate authority over other people in order to establish a law or change an existing law. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme legitimate authority over some polity. In international law, sovereignty is the exercise of power by a state.
Here is Britannica’s entry:
Sovereignty, in political theory, the ultimate overseer, or authority, in the decision-making process of the state and in the maintenance of order. The concept of sovereignty—one of the most controversial ideas in political science and international law—is closely related to the difficult concepts of state and government and of independence and democracy. Derived from the Latin superanus through the French souveraineté, the term was originally understood to mean the equivalent of supreme power.
History: In 16th-century France Jean Bodin (1530–96) used the new concept of sovereignty to bolster the power of the French king over the rebellious feudal lords, facilitating the transition from feudalism to nationalism. The thinker who did the most to provide the term with its modern meaning was the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), who argued that in every true state some person or body of persons must have the ultimate and absolute authority to declare the law; to divide this authority, he held, was essentially to destroy the unity of the state.
Notice the superlatives:
Ultimate and Absolute authority.
These are terms that legal scholars use to refer to the term sovereignty.
They are also the terms that religious scholars use to refer to the power of the creator. The creator is a god. (Some say he is ‘the’ god and there is no other; some claim there is only one god and his name is ‘God.’ This book does not capitalize the term ‘god’ when it refers to a general concept but does when the term is used as a proper name.) capitalizes the term ‘god’ only when it is used as a proper name.) There are no limits to the power and authority of a god. The people who make decisions in nations have sovereignty. They have the exact same rights to the land they would have if they had created it. The land exists only because they want it to exist. If they ever decide they can gain some advantage by destroying it, it is their absolute right to do this.
This book explains a great many different societies that humans can form. We will see that humans are very capable beings. We can build a lot of societies that divide the land in various different ways and for various reasons. For example, in many societies, the people may want some common services like garbage collection. They may divide the land into different districts, each served by a different garbage company. Societies that divide the territories may create administrative organizations and give them various different levels of authority. Most likely, a garbage company would not be given the authority to take money from the people as taxes and use the money to build nuclear bombs. The society would be territorial, but the administrations of the territories would not have sovereignty (this assumes that the garbage companies were the only authorities in each territory).
When we look at different societies, we will see that there are varying degrees or levels of authority for territorial administrations. There is a limit to the degree of authority the administration can have: it can have 100% or sovereign authority. For some reason, the people of earth have divided the land into territories and granted sovereignty to the administrations of each territory.
If we want to understand the different societies that we can have here on earth, we need objective definitions of different kinds of societies. We need some sort of term to refer to different kinds of societies so we can compare them to other kinds of societies. For now, let’s not worry about why the earth beings have created societies built on territorial sovereignty, how this came to be, or exactly how it works. (We will go over these issues separately.) The only point here is that territorial sovereignty is a foundational element of human societies. A group of scientists beings on another world who are studying earth would be able to tell that we divide the world into territories and accept that the territories have and have the right to defend and protect their sovereignty.
This book uses the term ‘territorial sovereignty societies’ to refer to societies that are built on the principle of territorial sovereignty.
Other Possible Societies
People who are guessing about things they don’t understand may be in different situations and may make different guesses.
If people think that there must be a creator (perhaps because they see so many wonders in the world around them that they don’t think could possibly be the result of the operation of laws without any intention behind them), they may then guess about the intention of the creator. In the above example, a group of people saw that they divided the land into territories and fought over the territories, so they guessed that happened because the creator wanted it to happen. A group of people guessing about the intentions of a being that they don’t even know for sure exists may make other guesses. If they come to accept that these guesses are right, the guesses become beliefs. They are things they think are probably right, but they can’t verify with objective evidence. (If they could verify their guesses with objective evidence, they wouldn’t call them ‘beliefs’ they would call them ‘facts.’)
Once they had beliefs, they may decide it is wrong for people to act in ways that go against the things they think are true. They may raise their children to act in the ways their beliefs tell them to act. They may work with others to make rules that require everyone to act properly, in whatever way the beliefs tell them people are supposed to act. They may pass these rules and instructions down from generation to generation. The children born into these systems would be born into belief-based societies.
The earth has two major land masses that are separated by very intimidating bodies of water. Both landmasses have had humans living on them for more than 25,000 years. The people of the American landmass appear to have made different guesses, had different feelings, and created different societies than the people on the other land mass, Afro-Eurasia.
The people on the Afro-Eurasian landmass appeared to have been highly territorial. They made guesses about why they were territorial and appear to have decided that this happened because it was supposed to happen. The territory of each group, clan, or tribe was seen to belong to that group, clan, or tribe. No entity outside of that territory had any authority. They had sovereignty over their territories.
The people on the American landmass appear to have interacted with the land differently. They did have some territorial instincts, but they seem to have been able to control them. When they organized the principles of their societies, they didn’t organize them around territoriality. They organized them around other factors. They came to certain conclusions about the way humans were supposed to interact with the world around them. They believed that certain things were right and other things were wrong. They taught their children how they thought people were supposed to act. Over generations, people made rules to make it easier to understand which acts the people around them would accept and which they wouldn’t. Customs and organizations developed, all of which were built around the beliefs of the people and the guesses about ‘things that are important’ that were based on these beliefs. This network of beliefs, rules, customs, and conventions defined their ‘society.’
The societies on the American landmass didn’t operate the same way as the societies that eventually gained control of the Afro-Eurasia landmass.
They were not territorial sovereignty societies.
They were an entirely different types of society.
I want to give a short quote from someone who was raised in one of these ‘other types of societies’ and had a chance to compare it to the societies that were in the process of ‘conquering’ the land of North America at the time. It comes from 1849 letter sent by Chief Seattle of the Duwamish to William Medill, the head of the Indian Affairs Department, a division of the Department of War of the United States of America. It was a reply to a formal offer from Medill, made on behalf of the government of the United States, to buy the land where Seattle and his people lived.
Medill worked for the department of war. The department had been aptly named. Its job was war. Medill had been ordered to remove the people from this area no matter what it took. He expected it would take war, but there was a chance the people could be persuaded to move without having to use force. Medill had sent in negotiators to try to get them to move.
The negotiators presented their standard offer: they would give the people some metal disks (gold) in exchange for a defined part of the planet. If the people accepted and took the disks, the United States would own this part of the planet and would have the right to ask them to leave. If they didn’t leave, they would be in violation of the law and could be removed by force. If they refused to sell, the negotiators would inform the war department, which would then deal with them in some other way.
Seattle listened to the offer and took it to his people.
They held many councils and other meetings to discuss the offer, and drafted a response. The passages below are from the response:
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man—all belong to the same family.
We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father’s grave behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care. His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.
This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see. One thing we know which the white man may one day discover; our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. The earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
Natural Law Societies
It is possible for human beings to believe that the world we live on does not belong to us and can’t belong to us. It is possible for them to believe that we depend on nature and the natural world for our survival and nature can destroy us in a instant. It is possible for people to believe that we all depend on the health of nature and if we do things that harm nature and make it less healthy, we harm ourselves. If nature is no longer healthy enough to meet our needs, we will perish. It is possible for people to believe the laws of nature are above the laws of men and that, if we want to survive as a race, we must learn the laws of nature and respect them.
If a group of people are in a position to form any kind of society they want, and they have the above beliefs, they may organize their behavior to match these beliefs. They may teach their children that they must respect nature and their highest priority must be to make sure the world we all depend on remains healthy. Children raised this way may grow up accepting that this is the right way to live, the way they want their own children to live, and the way they want everyone around them to live. They may push for rules that require people to treat the world in accordance with these beliefs, regardless of the sacrifices they must make to do this.
A group of people who see this may guess about why we are here and the possible intentions of the creator, if they think there is one. They may realize that they have great intelligence and great abilities that no other animals have. They may guess that the creator made humans and put us on this world so that there would be someone here to take care of the wonderful things that the creator put here. They may guess that this is their role: the creator made a world that would take care of them as long as it remained healthy; it was their job to make sure it stayed in this condition.
This book explains a great many different societies that humans can form. We need names for important categories of societies so we can compare the different categories of societies to each other. The term ‘territorial sovereignty societies’ refers to a category of society; all societies built in the principle of territorial sovereignty fit into this category, regardless of the specific details of these societies.
Like territorial sovereignty societies, natural law societies are built on beliefs. But the people who built these societies didn’t start with the same beliefs as the people who built territorial sovereignty societies. In fact, the beliefs that form the foundations of natural law societies appear to be the opposite of the beliefs that form the foundation of territorial sovereignty societies. In both cases, people started out guessing about the role that humans are supposed to play on earth. In one case, the people guessed that we are supposed to hold dominion over the land (dominate it by force) and subdue it (alter it any necessary to meet human needs). Starting with this belief, they built a set of rules that allowed them to do anything they wanted to the land and rationalized it as necessary to carry out the will of the creator. As far as they were concerned, each part of the planet belonged to whatever people were able to gain and hold dominion over it. Once they held dominion, that part of the world belonged to them and they had the right to do anything they wanted to it.
Natural law societies are built on the belief that nature and the natural world are in charge and all living things, including humans, depend on nature and the natural world. We are obligated to respect nature. Nothing could show more disrespect for a thing of incredible natural beauty like a majestic purple mountain or a rich valley than to claim it is nothing but chattel, a simple possession that only has the right to continue to exist if the human who has turned over some metal disks to another who claims to own it and agrees to allow it to exist. Natural law societies are therefore the opposite of territorial sovereignty societies in certain ways: they don’t accept any ownability at all.
Both of these societies are built on beliefs. Beliefs are things that our minds tell us are true but that we can’t prove scientifically or objectively. (If we can prove they are true, we don’t call them ‘beliefs’ we call them ‘facts.’) Generally, beliefs come from feelings, emotions, and guesses about things that we can’t study or understand with objective evidence. We start with simple guesses. We refine them. We build on them. We teach our children that these things are true. They trust us and their instincts tell them to emulate us (all animal infants have instincts that push them to copy and emulate adults of their species). They may or may not question these beliefs but, if the other people in their clan/tribe/group/nation all seem to accept these beliefs and act in accordance with them, they will do this too. In time, the origin of the beliefs will be forgotten. But people will continue to accept the beliefs, pass them down from generation to generation, and continue to build on and advance the laws and rules that require people to interact with the world and each other in ways that are consistent with the beliefs.
Mental Resistance To The Idea That Other Societies Might Be Possible
Seattle was born in a natural law society. He was raised in a natural law society. He learned the rules of life while growing up. His mother was raised in a natural law society, as was her mother so on, for hundreds of generations. Their religious leaders, teachers, doctors, and everyone involved in administration and decision making had been raised the same way. It was all they knew. Until Seattle was an adult, he had never heard of a different kind of society and had no idea any other kind of society existed. As far as his people knew (before they met the first members of the conquering society), nothing else existed, nothing else would ever exist, nothing else was possible.
Nature was in charge, not humans. Humans followed the laws of nature or we/they perished.
If you were to ask the people in these societies (again, before they had ever heard of the societies of the conquerors) to imagine other kinds of societies, and tell you how they think other kinds of societies might work, they would probably think you are crazy.
They don’t have a ‘type of society.’
There is no such thing as ‘types of societies.’
Their minds would have a hard time comprehending that anyone would seriously believe that humans could live any other way. You can tell by the quote from Seattle above that, even after he met people with other kinds of societies and they told him the way the other system worked, he doesn’t seem to have been able to accept they really are possible. Humans can’t survive if they their laws conflict with the laws of nature. Yet, here they were. He rationalized this as a temporary situation: yes, they have been given power from some source and for a brief time will rule, but since they violate basic principles of existence, this can not last. Later in the letter he states:
The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own filth. But in your perishing you will shine brightly fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.
Clearly he is mystified. The conquering societies should not exist and can not exist. Yet they did exist.
You and I were born in territorial sovereignty societies. Our mothers were born in natural law societies. They loved us and wanted the best for us. They taught us the ways of life. They only knew about one system. Teachers, religious leaders, doctors, all the administrators and decision makers all understood only one system, a system that divides the land into nations and raises the children to be good citizens and follow the rules of the nation into which they were born.
In school, we sang songs about the wonders of our countries. We pledged allegiance to the flags of our countries, to the countries themselves, and to the principles for which they stand. We learned that history began with the first countries and the first wars. We learned about savages who looked like humans and could say things that made them sound human, but who lived in chaos because they weren’t smart enough to divide themselves into countries and form governments to tell the people what they were required to do to contribute to the country. They didn’t have liberty, justice, freedom or purple mountain majesties because they had no countries to give them any of these things. We were taught to feel sorry for them and to ask our governments to put together programs to help the descendents of these savage animals with human form be taught how to live right and turn them into real taxpaying, patriotic human beings. But we don’t associate them, or their ancestors, with a ‘type of society.’
They didn’t have countries.
They didn’t have governments.
They didn’t organize for, prepare for, and fund wars to defend, protect, and advance the interests of any country.
How could people without these things claim to be anything other than savage animals?
You and I were born and raised in societies built on territorial sovereignty. The people around us were raised in societies built on territorial sovereignty. It is all they every learned about and studied. If you were to ask people around you to imagine other kinds of societies, and tell you how they might work, they would probably think you are crazy.
We don’t have a ‘type of society.’
There is no such thing as ‘types of societies.’
Dividing the land into territories and fighting over sovereignty for each part of the world is simply the way all thinking beings with physical needs live.
It is the only way we have ever lived.
It is the only way any beings with true intelligence can live. Our ancestors had this system for hundreds of generations. They were smart people. If there was something else, and there was any reason whatever to think about it, they would have found it. They loved their children and would have given them something better if there was something better. There is nothing better. There is nothing else.
It is not a ‘type of society,’ it is reality.
There is no such thing as ‘types of societies.’
There seems to be something about the human mentality that makes us accept that the way of life our ancestors created, our parents and teachers accepted, and that we were raised in is really the only way of life possible for humans.
In some ways, this makes sense.
We all need mental anchors to tie us to the real world.
We need a foundation for our understanding of reality.
We get this from our parents, our ancestors, our teachers, religious leaders, the people who administer and organize our societies so they can meet our needs. If these people don’t know what they are doing, if they have missed everything important, we lose that mental anchor. We have to reexamine everything we were raised to believe, everything we were told are ‘our beliefs,’ and everything that we have accepted about how existence works. We have to reevaluate the morality of the things we help to do. (Your taxes go to pay for tools used to kill people both directly and by preventing them from benefiting from the good things produced on a part of the world that no one created.)
The easy way to react to this is to simply deny that anything else is possible. We can use the mental tool that Orwell called ‘crimestop’ when ever we feel yourself wavering. We must block the thoughts before they can do too much harm to the way we were told we are supposed to think. Here, he defines the term:
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 [this is orwell’s term for ‘the type of society we are raised to accept’] 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. (From the unaltered version of 1984, available in full on the PossibleSocieties.com website.)
The easiest way to deal with the incongruity between what we see is true (that other societies really are possible) and what we were raised to believe (that the system that we have is the only true society humans can have) is to deny reality. Then, when our minds try to make us accept reality, to exercise the mental tool Orwell described above, and create mental barriers to prevent the crossover. We can pretend to not grasp the analogies, to not see logical errors in our own arguments; we can pretend to misunderstand even the simplest arguments if they in any way conflict with the things we want to believe about the systems we were raised to love and worship.
Seattle seemed to have had a hard time accepting that anything else was possible. His mind struggles and, eventually, he decides that somehow a mass insanity has taken over the minds of a large group of people and they are in the process of committing mass suicide. (Nature really is more powerful than humans. No amount of conviction to the contrary can change this fact. The conquerors will control the land, but only for a short time. Then, the only societies that Seattle believed were truly possible would take over again.)
People in territorial sovereignty societies—you and I and the people around us—seem to have the same mental problem accepting that other societies can really exist. Even when we see other societies with our own eyes, can go to the areas where people live differently and live in other societies, can listen to histories that go back thousands of years, we don’t seem to accept. To accept they really are possible, we need to reject our natural trust and faith in the intelligence and love of the people who raised us and trained us. It can only be the case if the people who came before us were totally ignorant. They couldn’t have really understood the things they claimed to understand. They must have left a very, very large portion of human capabilities totally unexplored and even unimagined. The entire foundation that they taught us to accept was ‘reality’ must be flawed.
This is a horrible thought to have to face.
It is scary, like being little kids who get separated from their mothers in a crowd. They have no idea what to do. We depend on the wisdom of people who came before us to help us do everything. When we find out they can’t help, because they don’t know themselves, how can we avoid panic?
But it also a wonderful notion to allow our minds to accept.
If it is true, there is a giant door behind us that contains new worlds of understanding. The societies we inherited may be only a tiny tip of a giant iceberg of possibilities.
One way or the other, the societies we inherited are clearly going away: They are unsustainable and that is what unsustainable means (they can’t be sustained). If we accept that nothing else is possible, there is only one way they can go away: they will go away when one of the problems that are inherent parts of these societies destroy the human race. When we are gone, these societies are gone too. But so is everything the human race has ever done, all of our successes, all of our music and architecture, and all hope anyone may have had about anything at all.
However, if the people who raised us really were ignorant, and didn’t know what they were doing, there may be wonders in front of us that no human ever in history has been bold enough to imagine. The societies we inherited will still go away: This is going to happen one way or the other. But they will go away when they are replaced by sound, stable, orderly, peaceful, sustainable, and prosperous societies that move the entire human race toward a better future with each day that passes.
We will see, when we examine other societies, that the science behind them isn’t really particularly difficult. Understanding the science isn’t the hard part of creating these societies. The hard part is allowing ourselves to accept that the people who came before us, the people who taught us, the people we respected and trusted, didn’t know what they were doing. The hard part is trusting our own minds, particularly when they tell us things that go against the things people before us have believed for as far back as our understanding of the past goes.
If you had been hired on to a team on cosmos that studied other societies, you would have had to have had some sort of training to qualify you for this job. You would have had to have learned at least the basics of a field we may call ‘societal analysis’ or ‘societology.’ If cosmos had studied a large number of other worlds with varying kinds of societies, they have some sort of classification system.
They would have observed that some societies work in ways that can’t really be classified scientifically, because they weren’t built on a foundation of science. Some societies would be built around guesses about the possible intentions of invisible beings that may exist or divine forces that may or may not exist. People work through the possible guesses, guess about which they think make the most sense, and accept that they believe these things are true. They then build the laws, rules, customs, and economic systems around these beliefs. To early people in these societies, the beliefs are nothing but guesses. But after hundreds of generations pass, with the rules and beliefs being passed down and no one ever learning about any other rules and beliefs, people eventually accept that the structures built on these beliefs are natural parts of existence that they may take for granted.
Scientists on another world, studying these societies, would not be able to find scientific reasons for these structures because they weren’t built on science.
In your basic classes on societology, the professors may explain that it is possible for a group of people to build societies on logic, reason, and science. But when beings are in an early stage of evolution toward intellectual capability, they may have other priorities and not even think about using their intellects to change the nature of their societies.
You may learn about belief-based societies by studying two examples that illustrate the extremes that these societies can have. The first example, territorial sovereignty societies, start with the extreme premise that the newly-evolved people are gods that have taken on the absolute rights and authority of whatever gods or god they think created the world. (These societies may or may not have religions like the Abrahamic Religions—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism—that teach children that the creator gave away these absolute rights to certain people’s ‘seed.’) This is an extreme system in that it accepts that the ownable rights to the world are unlimited and absolute. These societies are built on the premise that the planet is a simple possession that exists only for the benefit of people born inside a certain territory. It only exists if they continue to allow it to exist. Their rules and laws are built on this absolute premise and they use any weapons their technology allows them to create, including nuclear weapons, to enforce these rules and laws.
Natural law societies also start with an absolute premise. They start with the premise that nature is in control of their existence and they depend on it entirely. No rule, law, or structure that in any way violates the natural dignity of nature will be allowed. These systems don’t accept that humans can own any rights whatever to any part of the world whatever for any purpose whatever. It doesn’t matter what benefits the people of this society may possibly gain by creating private property, even types of private property that are very limited in scope and do not harm to the land that is controlled privately. These societies aren’t built on analysis of the benefits various structures can bring to the human race and don’t even consider this. If a structure violates the basic beliefs, it is wrong, period, and never allowed.
In your class, you may be given examples of these two simple societies. (They are simple because they are extremes. Nothing is allowed that violates the beliefs, regardless of its benefits. Exceptions always make systems more complex.) You may watch videos that illustrate the way these systems work. The videos of territorial sovereignty societies might come from the feeds of the earth internet, or the internet of some other world that is in the same stage of development. You can see how these societies work by watching the videos. You don’t have to know any scientology (any tenants of a science of society), you can feel everything in your gut when you watch the video. I don’t have to explain to you how these videos make people feel: all you have to do is go to any news station, right now, and watch some videos. You will see how territorial sovereignty societies work.
You may also watch videos of natural law societies and read records of the way they operated. Perhaps your teacher may ask you to imagine you had been born into and raised in one of these societies. What is life like.
Then, after you had some kind of virtual experience with two different societies, you may compare them. (If I were the teacher, I would have my students write a report on this.) You would find that there are certain very important differences in the way these two societies operate. These differences exist for very understandable reasons. If we compare the two systems, we will see that there are certain variables within societies that can change; if they change, the realities of the societies change. This means that, if you understand the different realities of at least two different societies, you can work out basic principles that will allow you to understand a large number of societies, most of which have never existed before.
That is the way this book explains intellect-based societies:
It starts by going over the basic realities of the two types of societies that we know are possible, because both have existed. We will see that these societies have very dramatic differences. We can compare the societies to figure out the reasons for these differences. We see that if certain specific mechanical variables change within societies, the societies work differently. (We don’t have to know anything about beliefs to understand these things. The observed realities of the societies are the result of the operation of the mechanical structures of the societies. Although these structures may have originally been built on beliefs, once they exist they operate the same way and the beliefs of the people who created them no longer matter.)
We can understand these differences. We can understand the reason these differences exist. Once we understand the mechanisms that cause the differences, we will see that they can work more than two ways. (More than the two ways they work in the two societies we started with.) Each different ‘adjustment’ in the mechanism leads to an entirely different type of society. These other societies are intellect-based societies: We don’t have any evidence that we have ever had intellect-based societies on earth, to this date. But they are possible and can exist if we want them to exist, understand how they work, and intentionally create them.
Why does this matter?
Once we understand the different societies that are possible we can compare them. Some of them have forces that lead naturally to territorial divisions that fight each other in wars. Territorial sovereignty societies do this. Once the beings in territorial sovereignty societies reach certain technological thresholds, their situation becomes untenable. They will have the ability to make weapons of great destructive power and they will use them. They will have the ability to harvest resources from their planet (needed to make weapons and support the military industrial complex) with giant machines that leave nothing but devastation and they will use them. Soon after they gain the ability to destroy themselves, they will do so.
This is not the result of evil forces.
It is not the result of evil people.
It is not a result of not enough good emotions like ‘love’ and ‘concern.’
It is the necessary and natural result of the operation of certain mechanical forces within the societies. The people who set these societies up made mistakes. They created systems that force the people in them to instigate and participate in destruction and organized violence just to meet their needs. They will never stop doing these things as long as the human race lives in these societies. If we want to survive as a race we have to have some other kind of society.
What other kind?
We can’t even start to think about this until we know what other kinds of societies are possible societies.
That is what this book is about.
I wanted to start this with the story of cosmos to create some perspective. When you are extremely close to a problem, and deeply emotionally invested in details, you may not be able to see the big picture. We see so many horrible things happing around us. The media sensationalizes them in an attempt to make every story seem like it is the most important thing that has ever happened on earth. Its easy to get angry: the writers are experts at making you angry (if you are angry, you will keep watching the feed; if you are very angry you will comment and tell others why they should feel the same emotions.) Its easy to think that we need to drop everything and fix this one problem. Of course, if this should work (and normally it doesn’t) there are new problems that are even worse. It is never ending. If we wait for breathing space before we look around, we will never look around.
If we keep ourselves mired in the details, we will never see the big picture. We may never notice that there are structural forces that are going to create an endless stream of new problems, one after the other. Try to fix them after they come off of the line and you will never catch up. What you need to do is come to understand how the line (the assembly line that creates the problems) works, and stop it.
I wanted to start this book with a chapter that would help you understand a perspective that would allow you to see that there really is a big picture. If we look at earth the way scientists on another planet would, we can get a general idea of the nature of the problem. The people who built the foundational elements of the societies we inherited didn’t know what they were doing. They built an unsound foundation. No matter how good we are at building, we can’t build a sound society on an unsound foundation.
I am not saying that we need to abandon everything else while we work on the foundation. We can keep working on them. But, while we are doing this, we can devote some effort to expanding our minds. We can accept that we are very capable beings, able to organize ourselves many different ways. We can examine the options, find systems that do NOT have the foundational defects, and start making plans to make a transition to one of these systems.
The very first step we must take is to figure out our options. We need to figure out what kinds of societies are possible societies.
That is what this book is about.
When I look out at the night sky, I see so many points of light that I couldn’t begin to count them all. Some of them, the very brightest, are other worlds in this solar system. Others, the next brightest, are star systems in the Milky Way galaxy. There are so many that even the best scientists can only take stabs in the dark to estimate their number. All they can say is that there are ‘hundreds of billions of stars in this galaxy.’
How many hundreds of billions?
They have no idea.
The faintest and by far most numerous of these points of light are not even in this galaxy. They are other galaxies in and of themselves. Each of them has such vast numbers of worlds that our minds would not be able to comprehend the numbers, even if we knew what they were.
Perhaps millions or billions of species of intelligent beings in this mass of systems have gotten to the point where we are now. Perhaps many or even most of these races were trapped in systems that couldn’t meet their needs, and didn’t have the intellectual courage to accept they had the right to start fresh. They were trapped by their societies and their societies destroyed them.
What if this happens to a lot of the beings who get to this point, but not every single one? What if some of them—perhaps even an infinitesimally tiny percentage—were able to get through this period?
If we think of it as a numbers game, then it makes sense to have at least some hope. There is some probability of us understanding our situation well enough to make the transition to reason. Our minds can envision other words and other modes of existence. Our minds can put together ideas and work through them. We can do thought experiments, figuring out what is likely to work, then create real experiments to test these theories. Once we know what works, we can make it a reality.
Maybe only one out of every thousand societies of thinking beings that gets to the point where we are now ever survives this period. Perhaps only one of a million make it, and perhaps the number is much higher, say one in a billion. But, if there are enough societies of thinking beings out there, at least one will make it.
I am arrogant and proud. I never had any school spirit. I never rooted for a sports team or adopted a religion. I have lived in a great many countries and never did see any differences important enough to fight over. I was never patriotic and was never able to feel anything but confusion when I met people who were. But I really am arrogant and proud. I think the human race has done wonderful things. We may be at an early stage in our development. But we show great promise. If only a few of the races of thinking beings in this universe make it, I want us to be in that number. If only one that makes it, I want my race, the human race, to be that one.