“A Brief History of Humanity”

2005-01-25

Richard Moore

Friends,

Here's the latest version of Ch 2, following feedback from 
several reviewers.  The biggest change from the previous 
version is the incorporation of ideas from Riane Eisler and 
Laurence Gardner. Further feedback is always welcome.

all the best,
rkm

_____________________________________________
Chapter 2

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANITY
(c) 2005 Richard K. Moore


* Natural evolution: competition within a cooperative web

When I first learned in school about Darwin and evolution, the
lesson could be summed up in the phrases, "the survival of the
fittest" and "the law of the jungle." The strong lion lived; the
weak lion died. The strong caveman got the nice cave and
beautiful woman; the weak caveman got the leftovers. With the
strongest surviving and having the most offspring, in a
constant competitive struggle, the quality of species kept
improving, and eventually the level of Homo sapiens was
attained.

I never thought to question this simplistic characterization
of Darwin's ideas, because  it seemed to make perfect sense.
It turns out, however, that this just isn't how things work.
For example, lions in a pride work together as a team: they
hunt cooperatively, share their food, and they look out for
one another. When male lions compete for leadership of a
pride, we see the simplistic dynamics of genetic competition
operating -- but that is only one part, an occasional episode,
in the life of a lion pride. In fact, it is the cooperative
and social nature of the pride which in part explains the
widespread success of the lion in comparison to other, less
social, predator species.

It was not until the latter part of the twentieth century that
scientists began to study environments as a whole -- as
ecosystems -- and to look at biology generally from a systems
perspective. Once scientists looked at the real world, rather
than just theorizing around the presumption of competition,
they found that nature is characterized much more by
cooperation than by competition. Indeed, if we seek a simple
phrase to characterize our new understanding -- to contrast
with "survival of the fittest" -- it might be "survival of those
who fit in best."

In the case of the lion pride we see an obvious example of
cooperation -- conscious collaboration among sentient mammals
-- whose shared thrill on making a kill is perhaps not that
different than that of a soccer team on scoring a goal. But
the principle of cooperation in nature goes much deeper,
involving the relationship between plant and animal species
within the context of their environment. Those species that
fit in best -- within the overall system of biological
exchange -- are the ones that have the best chance of
surviving. If a predator species is too greedy for example,
and kills off its prey, then it won't survive.

A colorful example of cooperation can be found in the case of
a certain plant, which is pollinated only by a single species
of insect, and that insect in turn can only survive if it has
access to that plant. They are each other's life support
system -- the two species have a mutually-beneficial symbiotic
relationship.

Another interesting example has to do with the relationship
between deer and their predators. Predators always go for the
weakest or slowest individual, and this selective culling
serves to maintain the health of the herd. When deer are free
of predators, as when they live in some kind of protected
area, the herd soon begins to deteriorate through disease.

An ecosystem is in some sense an invention of the observer. We
can look at the whole Earth as one ecosystem or we can focus
our attention on just a pond in a forest, or anywhere in
between. But at whatever scale we might look, we find an
interplay among species that can in many ways be compared to
the economy of a community.

In a community people do different jobs, some producing what
others consume, and their collective exchanges are the economy
of the community. We may only occasionally feel like we are
"cooperating," as we go about our daily business,  but every
time we go into a shop and find it open and stocked as usual,
we are participating in a symbiotic relationship with the
shopkeeper -- and both of us are cooperating in the larger
endeavor of "keeping our community operating."

Similarly, in an ecosystem, different species play different
roles, some being consumed by others, and their collective
"exchanges" are the life-flow of the ecosystem. The ways in
which cooperation occurs are not always so simple as that
between a shopkeeper and customer. There can be a whole loop
of exchanges, all of which together make up a symbiotic
system. This is what we are referring to when we talk about
the food chain.

Richard Dawkins invites us to look at evolution at the level
of the selfish gene*. Most of us are more accustomed to
thinking of evolution in terms of evolving species. Those are
both useful perspectives, but what may actually be more
illuminating is to think in terms of evolving ecosystems. In a
rainforest, for example, there are thousands of species of
plants, animals, birds and insects -- with countless and
complex interconnecting relationships -- all of which add up
to a vibrant, vital flow of life. Such a complex system
evolves over many eons, each species co-evolving along with
it, prey species getting faster, predator species getting more
cunning, fruit species becoming more tasty to the
seed-spreading creatures, etc.

When we think in terms of species, the "goal" (i.e., tendency)
of evolution seems clear: a species evolves toward being more
successful,  more able to obtain its food, more able to care
for its young, etc. But what is the "goal" of ecosystem
evolution? In what "direction" does an ecosystem tend, as it
gets more refined and complex?

There are perhaps different measuring rods which might be
relevant to this question, but there is one that seems to be
most fitting. The tendency of an ecosystem, assuming no
drastic changes in environmental conditions, is toward
maximizing the overall life activity within the system*. As an
ecosystem evolves over time, the amount of life activity going
on per acre tends to increase, limited only by the
life-support resources available. When plenty of sunshine,
water, and fertile soil are available -- as in a rainforest --
then we see how far this evolutionary process is able to go.
The amount of life in one acre of rainforest, from beneath the
soil to the tops of the trees, is staggering*.

The rainforest can be seen as a pinnacle of ecosystem
evolution. Similarly, in terms of the evolution of commerce,
we might say the economy of New York City is a pinnacle. Both
are examples of very complex systems, with all sorts of
cooperative synergies and interconnections operating, all of
which co-evolved over time. And just as a large city achieves
a maximum in the quantity of economic exchanges per acre, so a
rainforest achieves a maximum in life activity per acre.

As each system evolved, both cooperation and competition
played a role. The big wheel of evolution is cooperation: the
evolving web of mutually beneficial interactions, enabling
ever greater productivity per acre. The smaller wheel of
evolution is competition: where players compete to occupy the
most desirable niches in the evolving system. The overall
tendency in both cases is toward greater cooperative
efficiency. Competition, in each case, plays a supplementary
tuning role, rewarding favorable adaptations within the
evolving cooperative system -- i.e.,. rewarding those who "fit
in best."


* The nature of primordial societies

Although life systems are pervaded by webs of cooperation,
some species exhibit more overtly cooperative behavior than
others. A Cheetah lives and hunts alone, sometimes supporting
cubs; lions and dogs live and hunt in family groups. Among the
most social and cooperative of the animal kingdom are the
monkeys and apes. Thus our ancestors had been highly social
and cooperative for millions of years prior to becoming
distinctly human. We started out as cooperative bands, much
like chimpanzee or baboon troops today. As we began to find
our own evolutionary path, we developed increased capacities
for cooperation. Perhaps the most significant of these new
capacities was that for complex language. As intelligence and
linguistic capacity increased, enabling more complex languages
to develop, early humans could plan out hunting expeditions,
discuss strategy and compare experiences, talk over the pros
and cons of migrating to a new territory, etc. Language, as an
adaptive trait, can be seen as a tool designed to maximize the
effectiveness and flexibility of cooperation within the band.

We can perhaps now see how thoroughly wrong is the simplistic
Darwinian characterization of evolution, as expressed in the
common phrases, "survival of the fittest," or "law of the
jungle." A jungle, in fact, is much the same as a rain forest
-- a pinnacle of cooperative synergy.

Based on archeological evidence, in particular skeletal and
DNA remains, it seems that we have been fully human for
something like 100,000 years, although as usual, experts
differ over the precise dating*. In any case, people have been
just like us for a very, very long time -- before any kind of
civilization came along. If a human infant could be brought
across time from that far back, and be adopted into a modern
family, he or she would grow up speaking today's language  and
be in every way a typical modern person. We can be sure there
have been many individuals -- throughout the span of this
whole period -- with the same capacity for genius as a Mozart
or Einstein.

Archeological evidence conclusively indicates that for almost
all of these 100,000  years -- excepting only about the past
10,000 -- we have all lived in small, hunter-gatherer bands.
But archeology can give us very little detail about what our
primordial societies were like, or how our bands made
decisions back in the early days. In order to gain insight
into what those societies must have been like, we need to look
elsewhere. History is no help, because  written language was
not invented until a society had already reached the early
stages of civilization. We can learn a lot, however, by
looking at those hundreds or perhaps thousands  of indigenous
societies that have been observed and studied over the past
few centuries of European expansionism.

Anthropologists have surveyed the many indigenous societies
that have been observed and written about by witnesses, and
they have gone out and studied  still-existing societies in
the field directly, They have found an amazing diversity and
variety of languages,  cultures, systems of beliefs, diets,
and economic lifestyles. By combining these observations with
what we can learn from archeological investigations,
anthropologists have found that societies tend to evolve
through certain predictable stages as they adopt new
technologies, and as they become larger and more complex.

In some cases, as with the Incas in Peru, the Europeans found
complex civilizations that had evolved independently from
Europe, and had gone through the stages of chiefdom, kingship,
and finally emperor-divinity. In other cases they found
agricultural and herding-based societies, operating under
various social systems, usually based on tribal and clan
relationships. And in many cases they found societies that
were still operating on a hunter-gathering basis -- living
examples of primordial societies.

Anthropologists have observed a large number of universally
shared characteristics in these remaining primordial societies
(although they have needed to make allowances when looking at
cases where such societies engage in exchange with more
"advanced" societies.) Every such society has a complex
language, capable of abstract and imaginative expression.
Every such society has its own culture, supported by
mythologies, beliefs, taboos, and stories which are passed
down orally from generation to generation. In this way mores,
history, discovered knowledge, and adaptive behaviors are
preserved and reinforced in the culture. Frequently poetic,
rhythmic, and musical forms are employed--which aid greatly in
preserving intact the oral cultural heritage through the
generations. Typically there is a creation story in which some
kind of spirits or gods lay down the foundation of the
cultural beliefs and explain the society's place in the world.

Every such society, except those going through some kind of
adaptive transitional phase, lives sustainably in its
environment. Although the observed mythologies are very
diverse, they all place humanity within the context of nature,
as part of nature, with a kind of spiritual responsibility to
live in harmony with nature. The members of every such society
cooperate systematically in their economic endeavors -- mostly
hunting, foraging, and territorial defense -- with culturally
specified roles for different ages and sexes. Every such
society is egalitarian, apart from gender and age
differentiation, and decisions tend to be made by consensus
based on open dialog -- with no individual or clique being
given the power to decide for the group. There may be
"chiefs," selected for their wisdom and knowledge, but they
hunt and gather along with everyone else, and they have no
authority to command others.

Such societies exhibit territorial behavior, each group
typically wandering over a particular area, following the diet
opportunities as the seasons change and local areas become
depleted. Although communication and exchange occur among
neighboring groups, territories are defended against intruders
and a pattern of relatively stable territorial niches is
generally maintained. These patterns shift from time to time,
as changing conditions cause some groups to migrate -- and
more aggressive groups sometimes displace other groups -- but
on a day-to-day basis each group has its own territory, within
which it finds its collective livelihood.

We know that people have been basically the same for 100,000
years, in terms of their innate capacities and tendencies. We
know that all observed hunter-gatherer societies share certain
characteristics -- and the "sample size" of such societies is
large.  With this knowledge, I suggest that we can reasonably
assume that for nearly all of the past 100,000 years, apart
from the past 10,000, all humans have lived in societies with
these same characteristics.

If there is any meaning at all in the notions of humanity's
"natural state" or of "human nature," then surely we must look
for that meaning in the context of these primordial societies
and their social structures. For most of our time as humans we
have lived in cooperative, egalitarian bands; we have been
collectively responsible for our 7own survival on a local
basis, and we have inherited shared belief systems that have
sustained our cultures and reinforced our successful
environmental adaptations. To some extent such an existence is
"home" for us; it is our native "comfort zone." This is why we
experience so much anxiety and stress in our gigantic modern
societies where we are anonymous cogs in a machine, where we
have mostly lost any sense of being part of a supportive
community, and where our cultures are fragmented into
competing religions and ideologies.


* Cultural evolution: stability within adaptability

Animals are born with most of their behavior patterns already
hard-wired in. Humans, on the other hand, learn their behavior
patterns -- and their culture generally -- as they grow up in
their society. Just as a fox or lion inherits instincts that
make them efficient hunters, instincts that evolved over the
eons, so early humans inherited a culture that enabled them to
efficiently use their territory -- a culture that had evolved
over many generations. A primordial culture is finely tuned to
its own local environment -- as are the instincts of an animal
species to the requirements of its evolved niche.

But whereas animal behaviors typically change only on a time
scale of millions of years or more, human cultures can evolve
over thousands or even hundreds of years. When a group
migrated to a new kind of territory, for example, it could
typically learn all the useful plants, and the patterns of the
local animals, within a single century.* This ability to
rapidly adapt to new circumstance enabled early human
societies to spread out from their original primate habitats
and occupy a wide variety of niches. We soon left the other
species behind like so many frozen statues in a pastoral
tableau. Lions are still doing exactly what they were doing
before humans came along. Meanwhile, humans spread out over
whole continents, from tropical deserts to the polar regions,
evolving complex, specialized cultures suitable to each kind
of environment that was encountered.

The loss of innate specialization, as a biologically inherited
characteristic, represents one of the most significant
biological distinctions between humans and other species --
ranking right up there with complex linguistic capacity. On
the one hand, de-specialization enabled us to inhabit nearly
the whole globe, aided by our ability to discuss and share our
discoveries and experiences. On the other hand, it has made us
particularly dependent on our societies and inherited cultures
for our survival. Whereas a mixed group of lions from
different prides could be released into an available territory
-- and they might be expected to form successful  new prides
-- a mixed group of humans from different primordial groups
would find it very difficult to spontaneously organize
themselves and survive in a strange environment -- even if
they could communicate in some common language.

Although from a long-range perspective cultural evolution is
characterized by its adaptability, primordial cultures tend to
exhibit remarkable stability over very long periods -- when
environmental conditions don't change much and there are no
significant intrusions by other societies. Cultural stability
is a desirable survival trait: it serves to preserve the
adaptive knowledge the group has gained over the generations.

This cultural stability is facilitated by the fact that
children are highly impressionable. If a primordial child, or
a modern child for that matter, is told repeatedly by trusted
adults that a certain mountain is the home of a certain god,
with a certain agenda, the child will typically take that on
board as absolute, literal truth. The child learns its culture
not as a set of facts to remember; rather the culture is
absorbed as the child's model of reality: what the world is
all about, what the role of society is in the world, and how
people are supposed  to behave. The more this model is
reinforced through social interactions, the more deeply
embedded it becomes in the child's mind. When the child
becomes an adult, he or she simply "knows" that the cultural
beliefs are "the truth."  The adult would no more question
these beliefs than a devout Christian would question the
existence of God.

As a consequence, the adults of a primordial society tend to
pass on their culture to their children exactly as they
themselves learned it. As children, they were too
impressionable to question the culture, and as adults they
don't question it because they "know it's true." In addition,
coherent stories, poems, images, and songs provide a reliable
mechanism for passing on cultural details unchanged. Hence
primordial cultures tend to remain remarkably stable until new
adaptations are required, or new opportunities arise, due to
some significant change in circumstances.


* Origins of civilization: inside and outside the Garden

For nearly all of the past 100,000 years, all of us humans
lived in egalitarian, cooperative, hunter-gatherer societies
like the ones described above. Then, about 10,000 years ago,
some societies began to systematically domesticate plants and
animals as a means of food production. This shift from
hunting-gathering, and its aftermath, are known as the
"agricultural revolution." Rather than opportunistically
harvesting what nature naturally produces, some societies were
now beginning to manage the production process themselves. The
eventual consequences of this revolution were profound,
bringing about fundamental changes in the economies and social
structures of societies, and leading eventually to the
development of civilization as we know it.

The first societies to move beyond hunter-gathering were in
the area known as the Fertile Crescent, between the Tigris and
Euphrates rivers in present day Iraq. These societies were
more complex than their primordial predecessors, but for the
first few thousand years -- according to the archeological
evidence -- they were peaceful and their social structures
continued to be egalitarian and cooperative. They worshipped
nurturing, feminine deities; women had equal roles in society
along with men; their art does not portray battles or
conquests. Riane Eisler, in "The Chalice and the Blade," uses
the term "partnership societies" to refer to these earliest
agricultural societies.*

Meanwhile on the Russian steppes  another kind of
post-hunter-gatherer society was developing, based on nomadic
herding and horsemanship. These were male-dominated warrior
societies, with strong chiefs. The archeological evidence
reveal that human sacrifice was practiced, warrior deities
were worshipped, and that chiefs were buried with impressive
caches of weapons. Eisler places these societies in the
category of "dominator societies."

These two paths both make a certain kind of sense, each in
their own context. In a settled agricultural society, there is
considerable incentive to maintain peace and harmony. Warlike
activity would take resources away from food production, and
conflicts could lead to the destruction of crops, food-stores,
and dwellings, Agricultural pursuits and settled communities
thrive best in a climate of stability -- "partnership virtues"
would provide a survival advantage. With nomadic herding, on
the other hand -- particularly with horses as attack vehicles
-- the dynamics are different. Such nomadic groups are
accustomed to being on the move, rather than being settled,
and they would presumably be competing regularly with other
nomadic groups for the best grazing areas and water sources --
and in bad years these might be scarce and hard-fought for.
One might expect "warrior virtues" and "strong leadership" to
provide a competitive advantage to societies in such a
context.

Up until about 4400 BC it appears that these two strains of
social evolution developed mostly apart from one another.
While the nomadic dominator groups expanded in the steppes
regions, the partnership strain spread out from the Fertile 
Crescent into Europe -- and led to the development of the
earliest civilizations. I quote here from Eisler (p. 13), who
refers to these partnership societies as the "Civilization of
Old Europe":

            Between circa 7000 and 3500 B.C.E. these early Europeans
            developed a complex social organization involving craft
            specialization. They created complex religious and
            governmental institutions. They used  metals such as copper
            and gold for ornaments and tools. They even evolved what
            appears to be a rudimentary script. In Gimbuta's words "If one
            defines civilization as the ability of a given people to
            adjust to its environment and to develop adequate arts,
            technology, script, and social relationships it is evident
            that Old Europe achieved a marked degree of success."

The nomadic dominator groups, based on the archeological
evidence, did not create any civilizations on their own. Their
development involved instead the refinement of their methods
of warfare, and the rise of chiefs of chiefs -- the emergence
of larger hierarchical social structures. What seems to have
happened around 4400 BC was the same phenomenon we saw later
in the twelfth century, with the rise of Genghis Khan. In both
cases an unusually strong leader arose within a warlike
nomadic culture, and he managed to unify under his command a
sizable population behind the mission of invading and looting
agricultural-based societies.

It was such a Kurgan chief from the steppes of western Asia
who must have led the first invasion against the
partnership-based agricultural societies in the fertile
crescent. Some initial raids may have been limited to looting
and pillaging, but eventually what happened is that the
warlike tribes took command of the more civilized societies,
retaining the agricultural methods, but imposing their own
authority structures.

Thus hierarchical civilization seems to have arisen as a
hybrid between these two cultural strains: the partnership
strain contributed the civilizing technologies and the slaves
to till the soil; the dominator strain contributed the ruling
hierarchy and the dominator culture. The earliest hierarchical
civilizations were characterized not only by hierarchy, but
also by a class distinction between the conquerors and the
conquered -- a kind of nobility and peasantry, a warrior class
and a toiler class.

From paintings on pottery, frescoes, and eventually from
written records, we can trace the changes in mythologies that
occurred as partnership civilizations were conquered by
dominator societies. What we typically find is that the
mythologies of the earlier partnership societies were not
totally abandoned, but were rather reinterpreted, and overlaid
with new gods and beliefs. Hybrid mythologies were developed
which served the purpose of legitimizing and reinforcing the
new regime. Sometimes a female goddess from the partnership
pantheon would continue in the new mythology, but she would be
shown in a subservient role to the new warrior male gods, one
of which would typically be supreme over the whole pantheon.
In this way male dominance and subservience to hierarchy were
portrayed as being part of the divine order.

In the Old Testament's "Garden of Eden" story we can see an
example of this process of mythological reinterpretation and
cultural overlaying. The garden itself can be seen as the
pre-existing partnership society, and indeed the serpent was
typically a central mythological symbol in those early
agricultural civilizations. In the biblical story we see the
entrance of a new male god onto the stage, one who holds
absolute sovereignty, and who denounces the once-revered
serpent as being an agent of evil and deception. The hybrid
myth "explains" to people why they must give up their old
beliefs and loyalties and adopt the new ones.

The story doesn't deny that the garden (the partnership
society) was a better place to live. Indeed, the new god must
officially banish the residents in order to get them to leave.
The story gives a reason for the banishment -- disobedience
and sinfulness -- and it prescribes a new mission for humanity
-- to go forth and dominate the Earth and all its creatures.

Let's consider this hybrid myth from perspective of the new
peasant class. The myth tells them that they were banished
from the garden due to their own innate failings, and they
must be obedient to the new hierarchy. It tells them that
humanity's mission is to conquer and dominate nature. The net
effect of the mythology is to relegate the conquered to the
role of cogs in a dominator machine, a machine controlled by
its ruling hierarchy. For those at the bottom, it is a
mythology of oppression and exploitation mixed with
self-blame.

Now let's consider the mythology from the perspective of the
new rulers -- the warrior chief and his lieutenants. They
weren't banished from a garden; rather they gained ownership
of someone else's garden. They already had their own warrior
culture, in which conquest and domination were extolled as
virtues. There seems to be little reason for these people to
take the new mythology seriously. It's function is to
legitimize their authority, and for that only the underlings
need to "believe."

One might almost imagine -- based on the behavior of modern
and historical elites -- that the top rulers of hierarchical
civilizations have maintained their original culture through
the ages -- as raw warriors and conquerors -- never really
themselves becoming civilized. Whenever I read one of those
conspiracy theories about "secret elite societies," I always
wonder: "What big secret they could be hiding?" It seems to me
there's really only one big secret that such people might like
to share and celebrate on special occasions: "Never forget that
we run things, and we do whatever we want. Everyone else is
little people, and we're going to keep it that way!"

In any case, these new hybrid hierarchical civilizations
enabled the rulers to engage in warfare on an expanded scale.
With the production afforded by slave-based agriculture,
rulers could afford to pursue conquest and expansion.
Excavations reveal that cities were repeatedly destroyed in
warfare, and then rebuilt over the ruins by each wave of
conquerors. Kingdoms became empires and the rest, as they say,
is history.

                        Relationships of ownership 
                        They whisper in the wings 
                        To those condemned to act accordingly 
                        And wait for succeeding kings 
                        And I try to harmonize with songs 
                        The lonesome sparrow sings 
                        There are no kings inside the Gates of Eden 
                        -  Bob Dylan, The Gates of Eden

In the beginning we all lived in egalitarian primordial
societies. Some of us then took the path to civilization,
continuing our egalitarian ways, developing our arts and
crafts, and creating our own partnership Eden. Others of us
took the path to barbarism and warfare. The barbarians then
conquered Eden, hijacking the course of civilization, and
forcing us all down the war-strewn dominator path that has
brought us to our current global crisis. To this day we have
an exploitive kind of civilization in the domestic microcosm,
and outright barbarism in the geopolitical macrocosm.


* The co-evolution of conditioning and hierarchy

From the very beginning of hierarchical civilization, myths
and conditioning have been used to subjugate. As civilization
has evolved, the means of conditioning the masses have become
gradually more sophisticated. Hammurabi was apparently the
first Western ruler to reduce the cultural rules to an
enumerated list, a list that was consciously designed by a
known elite ruler. With Constantine we see an emperor facing a
crisis of control; we see him select a religion to use as a
conditioning tool; we see him modify the principles and censor
the defining documents of that religion (Nicene Council,
325AD); we see him declare the newly re-designed religion to
be the official mythology of the empire -- and then we see the
new regime succeed in resolving Constantine's crisis of
control.*

In the Western world at least, Constantine's formula continued
as a primary control strategy right up until the period of the
Enlightenment, c. 1800. During the intervening millennia, a
partnership between the sibling hierarchies of church and
throne -- Constantine's formula -- remained the mainstay
foundation of Western dominator forms. When changing economic
conditions pushed monarchs toward stronger nationalism,
protestant revolutions were encouraged, shifting the church
part of the hierarchy closer to home -- reducing its relative
power vis-a-vis the throne -- while not reducing its power to
control the masses through conditioning. Indeed the pulpits
now had the printing press; people could learn to read and
could then condition themselves on their own time -- a very
effective technological adaptation on the part of elites. For
many years, printing presses were used exclusively for
distributing biblical texts, as modified by Constantine and
the early church hierarchy.

When republics were established, a radically different
mythological regime accompanied them, one consciously
promulgated by emerging new elites. Whereas the previous
regimes had aimed to condition populations to accept the
reality of their oppression -- i.e., their station in life --
the new regime proclaimed the doctrine that people can escape
altogether from arbitrary rule by elites -- a doctrine which
may prove, someday, to be true. But along with this appealing
doctrine came a whopper of a myth: the myth told people that
they had already rid themselves of elite rule, that they
themselves were now the sovereign rulers of society. The
schools taught, and the people came to believe, that they
lived already in democracies. I cannot help but recall a
practice they have in a certain remote village. Once a year
they take the town fool, put a crown on his head, and for a
day they bow down to him as king. In his case, we can forgive
him if he doesn't get the joke. In our case, we should know
better.

The strength of this particular myth can be measured by the
number of readers who, at this early stage in our narrative,
are asking themselves, "Hold on a minute, isn't it true that
we do live in democracies?" I would not expect anyone to burst
free of that deeply embedded and daily-reinforced myth on the
basis of the general observations I have offered in this
introductory chapter. In later chapters we will examine, as an
archetypal case, America's Founding Fathers and the
circumstances and intentions surrounding the drafting and
adoption of the widely revered American Constitution. After
that inspection, and the intervening material, you may find
yourself more willing to entertain doubt regarding the
"obvious truth" of democracy achieved. That turns out to be
one of the most disempowering myths within all of Matrix
reality.

Having gained, I hope, a useful perspective on "how we got
here," let us now turn our attention to the question: "What
can we do about it? How can we respond to the crisis that
faces us as a species and a civilization?"
_____________________________________________

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Wexford, Ireland

"Escaping The Matrix - 
Global Transformation: 
WHY WE NEED IT, AND HOW WE CAN ACHIEVE IT ", somewhat current draft:
    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/rkmGlblTrans.html
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    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
      - Srdja Trifkovic

    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in ourselves - not gods, ideologies, leaders, or programs.
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"Zen of Global Transformation" home page: 
    http://www.QuayLargo.com/Transformation/

QuayLargo discussion forum:
    http://www.QuayLargo.com/Transformation/ShowChat/?ScreenName=ShowThreads

cj list archives:
    http://cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?lists=cj

newslog list archives:
    http://cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?lists=newslog
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Informative links:
    http://www.indymedia.org/
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/
    http://www.MiddleEast.org
    http://www.rachel.org
    http://www.truthout.org
    http://www.williambowles.info/monthly_index/
    http://www.zmag.org
    http://www.co-intelligence.org
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