Chapter Four: Why This Matters
Other books in this series explain the long-term solution to this problem:
First, we have to open our minds.
We have to realize and accept that the societies that we have are not gifts from some god (perhaps one whose name is ‘God’) and therefore unquestionable. We have to be willing to accept that we are flawed beings that are inheriting systems that were created by other flawed beings. They evolved—we evolved—from beings with even lower capabilities, and have not attained perfection. Once we have the right state of mind, we need to look around us, figure out how we got here and exactly where ‘here’ is. We need to understand the options, the possibilities, about going forward. We need to find a sane system and begin moving toward it.
We need to have some sort of tools to allow the people of the world to work together in some sort of organized way. People have to know there is a path to a better systems. They have to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They have to know that they can help: there are things that they can do to move us closer to that light.
The other books in this series explain these matters.
They show it is at least possible for the human race to get onto a path to sound systems.
This is part of the solution. But it is not all.
Once people know there is a path, and we are on that path, they will have reason to believe it makes sense to take steps to try give us more time, in the hope that we can get to the point of light while our race is still intact.
Hope is a key part of the solution.
If there is no hope—if no one truly believes, in their hearts, that we can ever get onto a different path—no one will try.
Of course, if no one tries there is no chance of success.
This means that there are two parts to the solution.
We must do both:
Part One: Hope
First, we must have structures in place that make it clear that there are other paths into the future (paths that don’t takes us to extinction) and that it is at least possible for us to get onto one of these other paths. The more people think this is possible, the more people will be willing to actually do something. The more hope they have that success is possible, the more effort they will be willing to put into the project. The creation of hope is therefore a key part of the solution.
The book Preventing Extinction builds on the discussions of the book Possible Societies. Some may say that, even if we try, there is little chance we will make it. They won’t be willing to help. Maybe most people will not try. But maybe, just maybe, some will. Maybe they can put that little point of light on the far distant horizon. Maybe, when young people see that little point of light they may be inspired to help. If the system is ready, the rules are in place, and there is a simple and effective way for them to contribute, maybe, just maybe, a few more will pitch in.
At this point, we have to depend on the hope that the initial analysis was right:
Are humans really capable of building other societies?
Can humans ever have societies built on something other than territorial sovereignty? (In other words, can true human beings live in system where the land is not divided into ‘countries’ that are independent and sovereign? History appears to tell us at least one other option is possible: natural law societies are built on entirely different premises.)
If we know we can have two societies, one of which has countries and organized war but also has rapid progress with the other stagnant with no countries, is it possible to mix and mach? Can we build a kind of ‘hybrid’ system that is the best of both worlds? In my mind, this is only a technical issue. It is not a problem of whether it can exist: we know it can. (The book Forensic History shows that our history is far longer, far richer, and far more varied than the standard books called ‘history books’ that are used to teach children in school would have you believe. In fact, many people have understood this issue and tried to solve it. Although they didn’t totally succeed, they did make substantial process in some important areas.) We know it can be done. All we have to do is solve the technical problems to make it a reality.
You may compare this to the problem of going to the moon and back. Kennedy made his speech announcing the project on September 9, 1962; the landing took place on July 7, 1969, exactly 2,500 days later. The hard part is accepting it is possible. Until people accept it is possible, they won’t try. Once they have accepted this, however, if the technology is available, the work can be done quickly. Humans are very, very good at making progress toward a technical goal, if they now they can get there and the first steps have been taken. This is what we do best. Hope may come hard but, once the hope is there and people start to try, we can make progress very quickly.
Global Non-Governmental Humanitarian Organizations
The book Preventing Extinction show that a path that takes us to a sound society will take us along a certain route. It starts with the very basics: Formation of an organization that represents the interests of the human race, and is so structured so that no government or other militant group can direct or interfere in its operations. I have already set up an organization that I hope can eventually be a seed from which this organization may grow, and provided funding for it with my own and other people’s money. Preventing Extinction shows how that the people of the world can work to make this organization grow, if we want this to happen. The more people know about it, the more will help make it grow. At some point, people will see that it really is possible for the people of the planet earth to work together for at least something.
The organization, called the ‘Community of humankind’ is designed to operate in ways that will prevent any person or group smaller than the entire human race from preventing it from acting as a tool called a ‘Global Non-Governmental Humanitarian Organization.’ It won’t have any specific projects to support. It is designed to be a kind of blanket organization that won’t do anything specifically itself, but will direct money from the flows that it controls to projects voters want funded. To vote, you will have to meet one requirement: be a human being. Its main purpose will be to create an organization that will let every person on earth know that there really is something that we can do, acting together, to make a difference in the world.
Preventing Extinction shows that, at first, this organization will be insignificant in its effects. Mathematicians use the term ‘epsilon’ to refer to ‘the smallest possible non-zero amount of change. At first, it will be epsilon. But, as small as epsilon is, it is far, far greater than zero. Any number, no matter how small, is infinitely greater than zero. Epsilon can grow to ‘miniscule,’ which can grow to ‘tiny,’ which can keep growing until it gets to a size that we can see.
Forensic History shows that people have used this particular method to help solve a great many problems. In fact, some of the largest, most important, and influential organizations in the world started out as miniscule Global Non-Governmental Humanitarian Organizations.
Minimally Sustainable Societies
If we are heading toward a sound society, we will make progress slowly and incrementally. We can measure this progress and make estimates of how long it will take to get to certain important waypoints. If the destination society is non-destructive, as we move toward it, we will see rates of destruction fall. At some point in our journey, we will be at a place where the rates of destruction are so low that the combined effects of progress, empathy, willpower, the healing power of time are strong enough to overcome the effects of the destruction.
We could identify a point that we might call ‘minimally sustainable societies’ that represents the point where the condition of the human race is not getting progressively more dangerous each day that passes. It is a point where we will be able to see that, although the problems that threaten us are not solved, they are at least moving in the right direction. A society is ‘sustainable’ if the conditions in that society can be sustained: these conditions are not moving toward a catastrophic event that will destroy the society. Minimally sustainable societies are not non-destructive societies. But, if we start at the societies we inherited and move toward non-destructive societies, we will eventually pass through minimally sustainable societies.
Of course, it is not easy to estimate the amount of time it will take to get there. But Possible Societies shows that, if we arrange the different kinds of societies in a logical way, we will find that minimally sustainable societies are not a great distance away from the societies we inherited. We can use historical comparisons (like the Red Cross, as described above, one above, and the marked history of success of Global Non-Governmental Humanitarian Organizations in general) to make estimates. These estimates show that we could at least potentially get to minimally sustainable societies within about 30 years after the first steps have been taken.
If you are looking at serious problem, and want to get people to actually make an effort to solve it, it helps to have some numbers and general goals. When Kennedy wanted to people to work on his moon project, he didn’t ‘I hope we can make some progress toward the goal of getting to the moon some time in the future. He had an exact date: he wanted it done before December 31, 1969. With this date in mind, people could make plans. A lot of things had to be done. Their plans had to mesh and come together. They had to meet certain very specific deadlines for it to work.
If we really are serious about at least trying to solve the problem of war, we might do something similar. We may make some projections about the exact conditions that need to be reached to have minimally sustainability. (This a technical question: scientists can determine the standards in the same way they determine the standards needed to get a man to the moon and back.)
The hard part is getting to minimally sustainable societies. Once we are there, we will all see that we are on the right path. We will all see that, unless we have some unexpected catastrophic event, we will make it. We may say that getting to ‘minimally sustainable societies’ should be a timed event. It should be something comparable to ‘getting a man to the moon and safely home by December 31, 1969. We may not make it. But if we have something to shoot for, we can then do an analysis of the details.
Let’s say, for the sake of example, that we decide we want to try to get there in 50 years. In one respect, 50 years is nothing: humans have been on this planet for thousands of 50 year periods; we have had territorial sovereignty societies for more than 120 of these periods. One more doesn’t seem like much.
On the other hand, 50 years is a lot. Some of us watch the world news every day and live in constant fear that it will be the last news show they will ever see. We have all been through events that scared us. We may not make it 50 years.
But what if we knew this: What if we knew that if we could keep from destroying ourselves for 50 years, we would be home free? Suddenly, the idea of nuclear disarmament doesn’t seem so silly after all. It doesn’t have to work forever. It doesn’t have to change human nature. It only has to get us to the next waypoint.
If we are in a position to look at the problem of war this way, we can then look at each of the individual forces within the societies we inherited that lead to war. We can figure out what we can do to weaken them. A few examples:
We live in societies that can’t function unless they have a ‘low unemployment rate.’ War related industries create hundreds of millions of global jobs. If the threats of war were to end, suddenly, hundreds of millions of people would be thrown out of jobs. These people wouldn’t be able to afford to walk away, happy that the world is now safe. They would have to find other jobs. But there wouldn’t be enough jobs for all. They would have to take jobs away from others, by offering to work for less. Wages would collapse and this would make the problem even worse: Spending would collapse and people wouldn’t be able to buy the things they need. Producers would not be able to justify operating their factories and would close them, laying off the workers.
This is one of the forces that pushes us toward war. I am far from the first person to discuss this: many people in the past have analyzed it and come up with solutions. Of course, there is no point in trying any of these solutions if the underlying problems that lead to war still exist and there is no hope of having a world without these problems. But, if we have time, we can deal with it.
The rest of this book deals with the very specific problems that push toward war in territorial sovereignty societies. What if we wanted to find ways to keep these problems at bay and didn’t have to worry about solving them forever, we just needed something that would get us through the next 50 years? You might realize that the way we approach the problem of war will have a big effect on how much effort people will take to try to solve it. If we say: ‘we need war to be solved by someone through some method they must figure out (and we won’t help) at some vague time in the future,’ we can’t expect anyone to really try too hard. However, if we have a plan that a scientific analysis shows will work, if there are steps to be taken and we know exactly what they are, and we know that we can get there if we can meet our deadlines, the problem looks quite different.
Suddenly, the impossible seems possible. Suddenly, that trip to the moon doesn’t seem like such a pie-in-the-sky idea after all.
If we can get this state of mind, we will have accomplished one of two goals that we much reach to actually end war. We will have hope. We will see it makes sense to try.
I know what you are thinking: this lady is crazy.
We are allowed to talk about war as long as we keep our thoughts vague and don’t actually try to understand anything that might change anything. We are allowed to say how much we hate the idea of war in general and allowed to say how much we support ‘our’ troops in the current war. We can say how glad we are that the bad guys were defeated in each and every specific war that is named.
it and how much we support our troops in the current war. We can say things against it as long as they are vague and can’t clearly chanage anything, like ‘they should do something about it’ or ‘why can’t they just get along?’ or ‘We should hit them hard and destroy them; that will end the war faster and be the most humane way to deal with the problem.’ But we can’t actually think about the