Issue #26 / August 2012
A man casts seed upon the earth; and sleeps and rises, night and day, and the seed springs up and grows, he knows not how.
The earth produces fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
Emergence is one of those words that can conjure up wild secondary meanings. Please understand that I am not implying anything esoteric or new-agey. I am pointing to the fact that human consciousness, at least toward the leading edge, is pushing through ancient obstacles and is emerging in a new way, much like the organism in the illustration above is turning from a seed into something new.
Most of us haven’t noticed this because we face immediate and dark intrusions nearly every day: closed-minded people, immoral abuses and pointless hassles. These things are legitimately bad, but we over-focus on them, losing track of a larger, slower-moving picture: A lot of things are coalescing toward the good just now.
Our use of consciousness is starting to change. It is improving, at least among those people who are paying the most attention. Furthermore, the phenomenon is spreading.
Even more importantly, this general line of emergence is coming from many different directions at the same time. That is promising.
This emergence is already underway, though it is a mere blade, and a long way from its full form. But it has broken out of the ground and it deserves our attention. This is a moment when all of us who are able should be planting and nurturing seeds, however and whenever we can.
I am not being hopeful when I say that humanity stands at the brink of an emergence, and this is not hyperbole. I’ll explain why as we go through this issue.
At the same time, there is no guarantee that we’ll make it over the threshold; history suggests that humanity will probably blow the opportunity.
Nonetheless, emergence is upon us, and it’s possible that we’ll make it across this time.
THE HARD, CRUSTED GROUND
Emergence implies a barrier to be pushed through, and what we are pushing through now is one of the greatest of all barriers: the mentality that has held the state as inviolably sacred since several thousand years BC.
I am going to write very freely here about the relationship between humans and those who rule them, and I will not clutter the discussion with evidence and references, as important as they may be. You can find those in past issues, especially in FMP #24, where we covered the formation of rulership.
The state is an archaic concept. The idea that one group of men (generally among the worst of us), should be given monopolies on weapons, money, the right to use force and theft, and to control everyone else… is crazy, and barbaric. But that is precisely what the state is.
The heart of this archaic arrangement, however, is not force; it is a class of idea-merchants working in the state’s interest. It is their job to convince the rest of us that this arrangement is both impeccably righteous and the only possible arrangement for human life… and that any other arrangement would kill us immediately.
Like I say, this is both barbaric and archaic. What else from 5000 BC do we cling to more dearly than life itself?
The defeat of the state, however, is not something to be accomplished by physical means; rather, it must be accomplished in the minds and imaginations of men. And this is, by far, the best angle of attack. If people just stopped obeying the state, its whole structure would fall in months, with no force required.
The state is a parasite; it can survive only if we support it. Overcoming this ancient beast requires only that we look at it clearly. Then, being naturally repulsed by the sight, we would pull away and leave it to its fate.
But all that being said, the state really isn’t the core of this issue: What really matters is the life that is trapped beneath it. If we focus on injustice and overflow in anger, we’ll choke that life and get nowhere.
We are on the verge of breaking through a 7000-year old barrier, but the crucial thing is that once we get through the barrier, life will be free to function in many long-suppressed ways.
This does not mean that magic will suddenly spring forth and cure all our ills – it means that we will, for the first time in recorded history, be unrestrained in curing our own ills.
Once this emergence takes hold and thrives – presuming that we make it that far – it will mark the line between the old gray ages of mankind and the new radiant ages of mankind.
THAT WHICH IS OLD…
A lot of things in the world are showing their age just now – a lot of big, respected things; things that suck attention and energy out of men like psychic vampires.
And, as the biblical letter to the Hebrews says, that which has grown old is ready to pass away.
They are old, and they are ready to pass away. But we must exercise our wills in the Earth, or they will just regroup and start over… as they have in the past.
The graph below shows the role of legitimacy in Western Civilization. Legitimacy refers to the belief among people that it is right for them to be ruled by a given institution.
You can see from this graph that the Church of Rome held primary legitimacy during the first half of modern Western history. (This was rather unusual as compared to the rest of history.) The Church’s legitimacy peaked in the years between 1200 and 1400 AD, then declined steadily.
The legitimacy of the state, however, rose as the Church’s fell, attaining primacy in the years around 1600, and peaked in the late 20th century. At present, the legitimacy of the state is falling, and at an increasing rate of speed. (It’s power, however, is at an all-time peak.)
It is this legitimacy that we must push through.
The thing that legitimacy restrained was not our bodies, but our minds. By transcending the belief that it is right for other people to order us around, we cease to be welcome hosts to the parasitic state. Then the parasite starves and our physical chains soon fall away.
Our chains are forged with our own labors. The state produces nothing of itself; all it has, including weapons and wealth, was taken from us first.
It is legitimacy that keeps the game going, not bullets and cages.
All we have to do is to recognize the situation in front of us – that this system requires us to obey people we know to be liars and worse – and to react naturally, not as terrorized people.
Consider these points:
- No one, thinking without fear and conditioning, would choose to be ruled in the style of 5000 BC while living in an age of spaceflight, Internet, nanotechnology and genetic medicine.
- No one, thinking without fear and conditioning, would endorse systems responsible for the organized killing of millions, merely for control of new territories and people. Looking at such a thing plainly – without being conditioned to it – we would recoil.
- No one, thinking without fear and conditioning, would endorse systems of power to control everyone. If nothing else, they would recognize that such systems are the ultimate inducement to crime: The very existence of such a system calls the immoral to game it.
But, again, the root of the problem is not the outer situation, but the inner one – of people believing and teaching the statist creed:
It is right for important people to control me.
Right now human ability is chained to the wills of masters, joined to intellectual partners, attacked with fears, overcome with emotions, and washed away with distractions and addictions. This keeps it from operating according to its own nature, and keeps us from emerging into our full selves.
We are, however, used to this situation, which makes anything new frightening. And if we are strongly conditioned (and most of us have been professionally conditioned during our most susceptible years), a departure from our bound state can be terrifying.
To illustrate this concept I have included, below, one of my favorite illustrations. It is from Wilhelm Reich’s book, Listen, Little Man! and was drawn by William Steig.
The drawing is compelling because it is true. We carry chains, but they are chains to which we are thoroughly accustomed. Leaving them for an unknown territory can be frightening and almost paralyzing.
For the first promotion of my novel, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, I asked a question:
What if you could be more than you ever thought you could be?
To be better than you thought you could be?
Would you do it?
Regardless of how many people might flippantly answer, “yeah sure,” many fewer would actually agree to this, after understanding that being better also means leaving the familiar. In fact, similar choices in the past have been broadly rejected. For example:
After the Black Plague of 1348, the peasants of Europe found themselves in a position to greatly increase their incomes and to pull themselves out from the bondage of serfdom. Close to half the people in Europe had died and the remaining laborers could demand almost whatever wage they wished.
Most of the peasants, however, fought to avoid this. They actually petitioned the remaining nobles and clergy to enforce the meager rights they had as serfs: indentured servants for life.
These peasants could have stepped into a larger, better life, merely by saying “I want more.” The nobles had no real choice. But that would have required them to exit the low-but-guaranteed positions they held. They preferred the slavery they knew to an obvious but new improvement.
Their children, however, did demand more from the nobles a generation later, and the situation was still enough in their favor to secure improvements. This may be a good sign for us.
AREAS OF EMERGENCE
Here are some areas where emergence is showing itself. All of these, at their core, support an emergence of consciousness, which I will do my best to highlight:
Psychology: Leaving symbiosis behind.
From an early stage, psychology was presented as a science pertaining to the weird and the aberrant. The focus of nearly all the literature was on curing sick people, not making average people better. Freudian psychology quickly became the most popular form, largely because it involved discussion of sexual and other taboo subjects. Philosopher Allan Bloom, for example, was a young man when Freud’s ideas rushed into America, and he used to tell an amusing story about discussing penile envy with a young coed, and not knowing whether he was learning something or about to lose his virginity.
Psychology is – or at least can be – used for far more important things than lurid flirtation tools. Properly used, it makes us better. The best psychologists have labored against the popular stream to develop fields like Positive Psychology and Self-esteem Psychology. These are tools that improve people.
The better aspects of psychology (such as an understanding of denial, which is now common knowledge) release us from dependence on larger entities for comfort and self-esteem. People with insecurities very easily take refuge in large institutions, such as states or organized religions. They join with them emotionally, and then feel protected. “Being part of something larger than myself” is how this is often described nowadays.
The problem with being joined to an institution – of finding self-esteem and meaning in it – is that this short-cuts and displaces the healthy development of our consciousness. For example, it is all but impossible to discuss certain subjects with someone strongly beholden to nationalism. In such cases, consciousness is derailed.
Psychology, even functioning partially, is eliminating ties that prevent consciousness from healthful function and development.
Multiple information sources: Collective identity undone.
It used to be that 98% of all news (at least in America) came out of two or three zip codes in Manhattan, produced by a more or less homogenous group of people. Now, it comes from everywhere.
“Guys in pajamas” brought down the mighty Dan Rather. Events are recorded and can be verified in moments. The life-span of bad information is collapsing, and manipulation with it.
It was easy to manipulate large numbers of people in the late 20th century, because the culture was so homogenous: everyone watched the same TV shows and listened to the same news broadcasts. A single set of influence-tools could be used on them all, referring to the same items in their memories.
But this has clearly changed and the collective identities of the 1950s have broken. Being “American” or “British” can no longer by trusted to refer to a fixed set of ideas, and that is a good thing. Fixed ideas of “I am…” are limits upon consciousness. If we find identity as a Frenchman, for example, we feel restraint when considering things that are not accepted as “French.” Our judgment is limited by the views of others.
This pertains to legitimacy also. To retain full legitimacy, a state needs substantially all public intellectuals to comply with them; competing views must be seen as crazy and dangerous. Once that condition breaks, the state’s legitimacy begins to chip away.
Multiple societies: Collective identity undone.
Unbeknownst to most of us, the word society underwent a change in the late 1700s. Most of us learned that it refers to a huge collection of people, all gathered under a single banner. Previously, however, it referred to a “friendly association.” For example, here is how George Mason, one of the better American Founders, used it in his old age:
I determined to spend the remainder of my days in privacy and retirement with my children, from whose society alone I can expect comfort.
We are in society, naturally, with our families, the people we trade with, people we choose to spend time with, and so on. Perhaps this is unique to my background, but if I call people “my guys,” I am in society with them. And my guys are important to me. When one of them suffers, I want to do something about it; not because it is my duty, but because of my communion with them. I am not sacrificing to help them, I am protecting something I value; protecting my own property in an odd sort of way.
Because of the breakup of collective identities, more of us are choosing to be “in society” with specific groups of people, rather than feeling like a more or less forced member of one giant ‘society.”
This is very good for the operation and development of our consciousness because we choose to be in society with these people for internal reasons. It is also highly important because it allows us to change our arrangements when we find change appropriate. We become free agents, not cogs in a machine.
Anonymity and privacy: Protecting development.
One of the great features of the Internet was a hedge of anonymity to hide behind. This was a very important thing. (Forget the stories of rude anonymous behavior, they’re less than a percent of the whole and are trumpeted for fear’s sake.)
We have all felt intimidated by fear of what others might say. This has stopped us from doing and saying many things, and that wasn’t good for us. Intimidation is clearly the enemy of growth. Anonymity protects us from this enemy by removing any path for consequences to reach back to us.
Online anonymity allows people to put their ideas into a public square while insulated from shame. So what if some of those thoughts are not good? Once spoken in the public square, they can be tried, analyzed and improved. It is profitable for us that this should occur without ruining lives and reputations.
Anonymity makes correction and growth fear-free, which is superbly important.
Privacy is similarly crucial:
As we go through our lives, our choices form us. They make us what we are. The less we are able to choose freely, the less we are really ourselves, and the more we become what other people demand. Privacy frees us from this and allows us to grow according to our own natures, not according to the demands of a collective.
Privacy is a tool for becoming what we authentically are.
Home Schooling: Outside the box.
Almost no one thinks government schools are the best choice for their children anymore, and with good reason: The factory style of education steals from children the thrill of discovery. Rather than teaching them to understand, it demands memorization of them, which is boring, unnatural and largely useless. And, possibly worse, it tyrannizes them into reflexive obedience.
Learning is actually quite cheap to provide by modern means; there is no natural reason for it to be institutionalized or to cost many thousands of dollars per student, per year. People pay these extortion-like prices because they fear exclusion from high places without a respected approval certificate. It is a conditioned tyranny.
All of this is restrictive of consciousness and development, and it is wholly unnecessary. The situation continues primarily because of force and mental inertia.
Homeshoolers, or un-schoolers, or even some privately schooled children, are exempted from this damage. And since there have now been many millions of such children, new lines of development are starting to play themselves out. This is healthy.
Micro-fabrication: Hierarchy dethroned.
Micro-fabrication (also known as 3-D printing) is a factory on a desktop. Imagine a printer that takes output from your computer and produces a three-dimensional object from it, rather than the usual two-dimensional piece of paper. That’s what micro-fab is. And just to make the point clearly, the weapon pictured below was printed, not manufactured:
You can see precisely how it was done here.
Micro-fabrication is digital-to-physical manufacturing, without product-specific tools or skills. The crucial pieces of the process are software instructions, which can be written by anyone.
Many micro-fab machines sell in the $10,000 range, but prices are dropping and there are some models selling for less than $1,000.
The interesting thing about micro-fabrication is that it eliminates any need for factory-type organization. That type of organization reigned in the 20th century and forced collective operation upon people. It required everyone to ignore their own will and judgment, and to obey exterior orders from people in superior positions.
Escape from that type of hierarchy is important, and it allows consciousness to develop in its own way, which is certainly not hierarchical.
Christian anarchism: Rejecting the state as a moral partner.
I can’t say for sure how widespread Christian anarchism is, but I know that it was rare in the 1970s, and that I run into it frequently now. And I am sure that it is a healthy development.
While it has gone unnoticed by most people, even believers, the Bible preaches anarchy. That is, it says clearly that the state has nothing to do with God, and is, in fact, oppositional.
Let me give you a few examples:
And the devil took him (Jesus) up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.”
If you look up this passage, you will notice that Jesus accepted that this statement as true. He responded by telling the devil that he’d never worship him, but he did not say “that is false.”
That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Not much on this planet is more highly esteemed than states. Esteem, in fact, is the same as legitimacy, and it is core of their existence.
We must obey God rather than men.
That’s a very clear and emphatic statement of priorities, and one that implies no exceptions.
I think it is clear to see that Biblical thought leads straight to anarchism. And this same model holds for Judaism. The Torah recognizes no king at all, and when the ancient Israelites demanded one, God took it as a rejection of himself.
As pertains to this discussion, the important point is that Judeo-Christianity in its proper form places justice and truth above rulership and informs men that their minds and development ought not to be slaved to rulers. This also is healthy.
Independent contracting: Accepting responsibility, improving development.
The last couple of decades have seen a huge shift from employment to independent contracting. Ads saying “work from home and make more money than ever” have become common. Working as an independent is often the preferred ideal, albeit one that many people still feel they can’t reach.
Being an independent means that you are fully responsible for yourself, and that is not only a very healthy thing, but in the current economic environment (with more laws than anyone can possibly know) it is a brave thing.
Those who take this step are undertaking development along a different (and in many ways healthier) path.
People fear the responsibilities that are implied by consciousness. And so, being afraid, they often avoid seeing, because seeing makes them responsible. The amount of human error and suffering that derive from this mistake is probably beyond calculation.
But by choosing to accept responsibility, we begin to reverse that damage, and to shift our development back toward its natural path.
Small agriculture: Self-reliance as a norm
Another interesting development is that of small agriculture. (We covered this a bit in FMP #16.) It is now easy and affordable to grow large volumes of food in small yards, mini-greenhouses, and even indoors.
Here is a photo of a vertical farming arrangement, producing vegetables with 30% of the water that would be used outdoors, and with no pesticides required.
To produce food is to directly produce your own wealth. The food is often better than what can be purchased in stores, it costs little to grow (at least once the growing area is prepared), and it is not subject to taxation. And, also importantly, growing your own food can be pleasant and personally rewarding.
By growing our own food we become more responsible for ourselves, which is good for our development. We also tend to seek out and cooperate with others who are doing the same, which is also healthy.
There are many other new and healthy lines of development, and we don’t have time to explain them all. To be very brief, here are a few others:
- People are beginning to organize themselves into resilient communities which are strongly or fully self-reliant. They may feature self-defense, their own currencies and complex barter arrangements. These people are looking after themselves, not calling for an overseer.
- Digital cash is setting people free from the financial machinations of states and the fiat currencies with which they steal the lifetime earnings of their subjects.
- Free market economics is applying honest measurements to the economic actions of states and their mega-corp partners, and is exposing their frauds. Eyes are being opened at a rapid rate and the people who are repulsed by what they see are taking their own development upon themselves.
- People are separating themselves from the expensive, arbitrary and corrupt systems of state law, and are moving to independent arbitration, reputation systems and non-jurisdictional systems of law.
- Groups like the Oath Keepers and martial arts clubs are seeing to their own physical safety, in their own ways and separate from the state.
- Because travel has increased, people are exposed to much more of the world. And so, the scapegoating of outsiders no longer plays as well as it used to. People are now much less likely to do things like condemning thirty million Germans as demon Huns: they may know several Germans and would not call their friends and acquaintances such names.
- Sites like YouTube (also events like Burning Man and many others) have given millions or billions of people a chance to create and perform, not just the very few who make it through the entertainment corporations. If this continues, people may once again come to believe that creating beauty is something for all of us to do, and not just for “famous people.” That would be a very healthy thing.
- Active, principled anarchy is thriving. People are re-arranging their lives and forsaking the televised script that was so long promoted as the authorized way of life. This is clearly an acceptance of responsibility, and thus of consciousness.
The great supercharger of these changes is the Internet. Not only is it a necessary infrastructure for some of the things mentioned above (like anonymity and digital currencies), but it allows us to communicate much better and at near zero cost.
Our ability to form and share our ideas with people on the other side of the world is of immense value. Bad ideas are rooted out, good ideas form and root, and people improve faster and further than they would by themselves.
It would be hard to over-estimate the value of Internet communications to the emergence that is forming now. If we make it through to the other side, the Internet will have been the key factor that got us across.
A recent supercharging event was the political campaign of Ron Paul. Because Mr. Paul touched on so many of the emergent themes mentioned above, he drew many people of like mind together. The importance of this was not really in sharing ideas (they were doing this already, online), but in the camaraderie and rich interactions what we humans enjoy. For us, physical meetings and discussions are more memorable and encouraging than disembodied meetings.
The Ron Paul people, working together and merely being together, share a special type of relationship, and these relationships will bear fruit in the years to come. This has nothing to do with politics, by the way, it has to do with people being, as the Bible calls them, co-laborers for the truth.
There is an interesting thing that happens as people get firm in their emergent convictions and begin to act upon them, the world be damned: They get better.
Separation improves people. The radical, if he or she can survive the process of telling the world goodbye in a deep way, becomes a better, more effective person. Once they start acting on their own and transcending intimidation, they tend to improve.
This was true of the Lollards in the Middle Ages, it was also true of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and many, many others. It was also an advantage that Jews often had. Being outside of the mass mind opens up consciousness and makes us better: Braver, kinder, more patient with others, and with deeper understanding.
Greatness comes via individuality, not from conformity or by the myth of “oneness.” Individuality frees us from the power of status and our race’s sad habit of focusing on what we are not, rather than what we are.
So, as more and more people make clear breaks with the status quo, their rate of emergence will increase.
The work that stands in front of us now is really the same as it always should have been:
- To be and become authentically what we are.
- To develop what is naturally within us, not according to the designs of outsiders, but according to designs that resonate and form within us.
- To help others see that they are not impotent cogs in a giant, controlling machine, but are in fact separate organisms, who deserve to develop in their own ways.
- To show people that it is moral and right for them to develop in their own ways; to show them that people who say otherwise are the agents of sacrifice-collectors, who survive on the labor of others.
- Tell people that they have a natural right to act in the world. That if the world is to be changed, it is up to us to do it, directly.
- That in integrity is health, and that integrity requires us to honor ourselves.
- To plant good seeds at every opportunity and to nurture honesty and goodness however we can.
- To Will and to Act.
All of these things tend to come together on their own. They need not be forced, they need only be allowed. The seeds of these things support each other as they grow, and they produce people who encourage and support each other.
And as the emergence continues, with people acting authentically and developing themselves, we are likely to experience something that was spoken of by Zeno of Citium, the ancient Stoic:
All the good are friends of one another.
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See you next month,