Friends, Thanks again to all of you who entered into the discussion about capitalism, elites, etc. It is by such interactive dialog that these ideas have been developed; I consider myself to be a scribe, part of a collaborative endeavor. Several people asked permission to publish that series in print or on websites, and I'll be presenting it as part of a paper in April in Manchester at a conference on 'Alternative Futures and Popular Protest'. Since writing those three sections, I received my copy of 'The Story of B' and immediately read it through. It's the kind of story that changes your thinking to the core. I was surprised at how much I (we) had already figured out, but I was surprised as well by how many important pieces of the picture had been overlooked in our discussions. As a result, I've added a new section, at the beginning. You can also consider this section to be a kind of book report on The Story of B. Here's the new TOC for Chapter 1: 1. How we got to be the way we are 1a. The myth of human dominion and the birth of the Takers 1b. Capitalism - the ultimate Taker economy 1c. Hyper-Takerism & the rise of capitalist elites 1d. Globalization: the end result of a 10,000-year cul-de-sac best regards, rkm ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The myth of human dominion and the birth of the Takers ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ "Man was born MILLIONS of years ago, and he was no more a scourge than hawks or lions or squids. He lived AT PEACE with the word...for MILLIONS of years. This doesn't mean he was a saint. This doesn't mean he walked the earth like a Buddha. It means he lived as harmlessly as a hyena or a shark or a rattlesnake." - Daniel Quinn, The Story of B, p. 255. "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." - Genesis, 1:28. Some ten or twelve thousand years ago, in a place called the Fertile Crescent, a momentous event occurred, an event usually referred to as the Agricultural Revolution. People had learned to sow, harvest crops, and herd animals long before, but with this revolution came a new kind of agriculture, what Daniel Quinn calls 'totalitarian agriculture'. The revolution was not about new knowledge or new tools - rather it was about a change in cultural _vision, a change in the culture's defining _mythology. We know a lot about non-agricultural societies, from those few that still exist, and from many others which were studied in the 1900s - as colonial expansion invaded new shores. _Universally, these cultures view humanity as part of the world, interdependent with the Earth and with other species. Typically there are rituals to honor and thank a slain animal for the food it provides. _None of these cultures see humanity's role as being to change the world, or to rule the world. Instead, they seek to find their place in the world, and to live in harmony with the world. The Agricultural Revolution came about when some tribe, already familiar with the sowing of crops, decided that harmony was not enough, that the world owed them more than that. They came to believe that the world was theirs to change, in order to produce more food for themselves. If wolves prey on cattle, then wolves can be hunted down and slaughtered. If a forest stands in the way, then it can be cleared away to make room for more crops. It had always before been 'the gods' who decided which species prospered and which perished, and where crops could grow and where they couldn't. But for this tribe, with their new cultural vision, these prerogatives had become their own. The tribe had become like gods, and the world was theirs to rule. Quinn, in 'The Story of B', calls this unknown tribe the 'Takers', or 'Tak'. The Tak knew no more about growing crops, or herding animals, than did their neighbors, or had been known for countless centuries. But with their new myth of human dominion, they began pursuing agriculture and animal domestication with a new kind of totality. In this way they soon accumulated food surpluses, and their numbers began to grow. They then wanted more land to feed their growing population. So they began to expand, conquering or displacing their neighboring tribes. Just as they - being like gods - could clear away forests and hunt down wolves, so could the Taks clear away (or conquer) neighboring tribes. Not only totalitarian agriculture but also wars of conquest developed inevitably once the myth of dominion became the core cultural vision. By force and by emulation, the Tak vision began to spread. When it eventually reached the tribes of Abraham, the adoption of the vision was recorded in the book of Genesis, as the Garden of Eden story. The story tells us that the world was made for humanity to conquer, and the story omits a million years of prior human history. Adam and Eve spring forth from nowhere already imbued with the Tak vision. Part of the Tak myth is that humanity has always been like this - and Quinn calls that 'The Great Forgetting'. Today, except for a few remote tribes, all of us everywhere on every continent and of every religion are descendents of tribes which adopted the Tak worldview. Not only do we believe the world was made for us to rule, but we also believe that conquering the world is human nature. Our ancestors all forgot that for a million years every culture - hundreds of thousands of them - believed and acted differently. And our faith in our myth was not shaken when we eventually learned that early man didn't share our vision after all. We simply expanded our myth, and decreed that early man was 'getting ready' for his inevitable dominant role. He was developing the technology, and sharpening his skills - in training to inherit the world that had always been intended for him alone to rule. The Tak vision - our vision - is out of balance with the world. It is unsustainable. Instead of harmonizing with the world we are at war with the world, and by conquering the world we are destroying our own nest. Our unique cultural vision impels us to go forth and multiply, always growing and expanding. The Tak worldview has only been around for 500 generations - an infinitesimal fraction of human history - and in that short time our population has grown exponentially and we have brought the planet to the point of environmental collapse. Agriculture and technology are _not the problem. Agriculture and technology pursued without respect for the Earth _are the problem. Human nature is _not the problem. A particular cultural myth - the Tak myth - _is the problem. Competition is _not the problem - all creatures compete for their place in the world, and some species don't survive. Relentless domination - where competitors are systematically and thoroughly exterminated - _is the problem. A large human population is _not the problem. An always growing population, stressing ever more the balance of nature, _is the problem. Can humanity find its way back to sanity? Can we abandon our disastrous Tak mythology and return, like the prodigal son, to become once again harmonious participants within the web of life? Before we try to answer the question, let's take a look at our more recent history. Any such changes will need to be made in the context of today's circumstances - and any such changes will surely be opposed by our current political regimes. We need to be fully aware of the obstacles that face us before we can understand how they can be overcome. -- ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• URL: http://cyberjournal.org A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. - Frantz Fanon "One cannot separate economics, political science, and history. Politics is the control of the economy. History, when accurately and fully recorded, is that story. In most textbooks and classrooms, not only are these three fields of study separated, but they are further compartmentalized into separate subfields, obscuring the close interconnections between them" -- J.W. Smith, The World's Wasted Wealth 2, (Institute for Economic Democracy, 1994), p. 22. Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .