Keeping Civilization Alive

Keeping civilization alive has fallen to us. A lot of us grew up believing that Democracy would deliver the best of all possible worlds, but that pleasant promise has become very obviously false. Rulership is not equipped to supply honest and humane living; what they are equipped to supply is ever-more rulership, aka, enforcement.

And so there’s no one to cultivate civilization but us, and we must do this. As briefly as possible, I’ll describe our situation, then move on to what we must do. Continue reading “Keeping Civilization Alive”

Earned Knowledge, L4, P1

Starting Over

As we said in Lesson #3, in the years surrounding 1,200 BC, every major ruling group in the Near East was wiped out. Egypt was the only exception, and just barely at that.

For most people this was a significant change, but not a horrific one. People who lived in cities had to flee; a certain number of farmers and traders had to flee as well, but it was almost entirely rulers and soldiers who died. Still, the ripping away of rulership, in a very short period of time, was difficult for people. Continue reading “Earned Knowledge, L4, P1”

Earned Knowledge, L3, P4

The period that followed this collapse (also called “the great catastrophe”) was a period of reorganization… of reset. It is usually called “the Dark Age of the Greeks,” and it ran for about four hundred years… until 800 BC or so. In most places there were no rulers at all, and people simply organized themselves in families.

And so, here’s the map we mentioned earlier, displaying these events: Continue reading “Earned Knowledge, L3, P4”

Information Is Broken

Humanity is informed as never before; nothing in the historical record compares. This, unfortunately, is not a particularly good thing.

The provision of information, if it is to bless mankind, must have quality control built into it… it must have a feedback mechanism with teeth. Barring that, it can spiral out of control, as, indeed, it has.

Consider that almost everyone in the modern world is flooded with information. Even the poorest people walk around with phones beeping at them a dozen times per day, delivering little packets of it. And for active people the info-delivery is far greater. Even the delivery devices themselves, smart phones, have become status symbols. Continue reading “Information Is Broken”

Earned Knowledge, L3, P3

Late Mesopotamia

As we’ll see in other rigid, stratified civilizations, Sumer began to fall apart after about 1,900 BC, and was taken over by nearby rulers by 1,750 BC. The Sumerian people had remained where they were, and lived as they had lived, through many changes of rulership. This time, however, the “reason to obey” promoted by the rulers changed, and the farmers didn’t take to the change. Continue reading “Earned Knowledge, L3, P3”

Bourgeois And Proud

Even if you’re not exactly sure what bourgeois means, you’ve almost certainly noticed that it refers to something bad or embarrassing. In a moment I’ll explain its actual meaning, but first I want to turn the tables on it: I will maintain that bourgeois is good. For most of us, the bourgeois way of life is something to be sought, and hopefully to be attained.

Now, let’s get back to the proper meaning of the term. Continue reading “Bourgeois And Proud”

Earned Knowledge, L3, P2

Daily life in Egypt was much the same as for Sumerians, save that it was more restrictive and less prosperous. Sumerians owned the land they farmed, or at least their family as a group owned it. Egyptian farmers did not; the king owned their land. They were watched and controlled very closely as well. That’s what is illustrated in this drawing, which was found in the tomb of an overseer: Continue reading “Earned Knowledge, L3, P2”