some current conversations with friends


Richard Moore


Speaking of action, what do you propose? So far, I’ve heard very little about that from you or in any of the commentaries you’ve posted. Mostly what you’ve been providing are just a lot of interesting but debatable analyses. …  If all you can offer is another interpretation plus interpretations of others that you find worth posting, aren’t you failing to address the most important point of all?

I’ve thought a lot about proposed actions, and what kind of process might help transform society. I wrote a book about my findings, Escaping the Matrix, and the basic ideas are summarized on my blog, whose URL is at the bottom of every posting:

There are a handful of people on cyberjournal who are interested in those kinds of proposals, and interested in talking about social transformation. Most of those folks I’m in touch with on other lists, or on a personal basis. Those ideas don’t seem to spark general interest here on cyberjournal, and people generally respond with critiques, saying that the ideas are unrealistic, and suggesting that we should think more in reformist terms. That then leads to responses from me challenging the assumptions behind those critiques, and thus we end up back dealing with analysis and interpretation of the world situation, or a discussion of our various philosophies.
Now that Obama has come along, most progressive energy seems to be tied up with him. Either people are counting on him to fix things, or they’re in a waiting mode, giving him time, waiting to see how things go. When it comes to analyzing current events, progressive attention seems to focus on whether Obama’s programs are advancing, and on the nature of the opposing forces, more than on the content or consequences of the programs themselves. It is assumed the programs are the best that can be done under the circumstances, and suggestions otherwise are dismissed as being either paranoid or utopian. And issues that aren’t related to Obama’s programs don’t receive much attention at all.
As I look at current events, Obama plays very little role in what I see — it’s not about Obama at all. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, under Gates, I see a direct continuity of policy, with the Pentagon and CIA proceeding with their various projects of destabilization, conquest, and imperial expansion. With the ‘War on Terrorism’, we have the same rhetoric about smashing the Al Qaeda phantom, and the policies are continuing regarding indefinite detention without charges, enhanced interrogation techniques, and arbitrary government surveillance and secrecy. And then there’s the international drug trade, managed by the CIA on behalf of the big banks that handle the money laundering, and with opium production at record levels in Afghanistan. In so many areas, if we just look at what’s happening on the ground, we wouldn’t even know there had been a change of administration.
In the area of finance, again Obama has little relevance. A clique of Wall Street insiders have installed themselves in Treasury, and are proceeding to loot the nation on behalf of elite central bankers, while the same heist is happening throughout the West at the same time. Its a global banking takeover involving forces quite a bit higher up the ladder of power than the White House.
In the area of food and agriculture, while the Obama’s plant an organic garden, the Monsanto global steamroller continues forward, putting small farmers out of business all over the world, consolidating a stranglehold on global food production, and forcing us all to eat genetically modified foods. The consequences for world poverty and starvation are horrendous, and are further exasperated by the market in biofuels. These may be the most significant developments going on in the world today, eclipsing climate change and peak oil, but they aren’t discussed in the mainstream media; they aren’t among the themes being featured in the Obama-era saga. 
And then there are the programs we identify with Obama, the stimulus package, energy, education, and health care. As usual, most progressive attention seems to focus on whether the programs will make it through Congress, rather than on the content of the programs. And what we’ve been told about the programs has been vague. The main thing to know about those programs is that they will be strict austerity programs. However nicely they may be structured, ‘fiscal necessity’ will ensure we will be facing a drastic reduction in service and quality in every area. The other main thing to know about them is that they are supported by Big Pharma, big insurance companies, and big medical-industry interests. And they probably do understand the details of the programs. 
So I look up from these events and developments, and I say where are all the protestors? Where is all the progressive energy that should be taking action of some kind in the face of all these dire developments? Where is there even any recognition that we are heading in entirely the wrong direction as a nation? 
I feel like I’m up on the deck of the Titanic with a few friends, and we see that we’re approaching the iceberg. Meanwhile everyone else is downstairs watching an Obama movie, and they don’t want to be disturbed. Under the circumstances, it seems necessary to try to raise the alarm — Get out of the theater, come see what’s happening, we’ve got to do something!
But I’d much rather be talking about what we need to be doing. 

Unfortunately, no political party now seems capable of achieving viability on [a sensible money-system] platform.  That no ‘electable’ party has come forth with such an obviously popular and winning strategy simply reflects that such parties are all controlled one way or another by Big Money [or Big Labour, which is obviously in Big Money’s back pocket].

So at the moment, you are saying, things are being run by a wealthy elite. Some people think back, and say we used to be better off. Others look ahead, and imagine more effective parties might emerge. I spent several years looking back in history, trying to find where things were better. I came to the conclusion that it’s always been elite rule, all the way back to Mesopotamia. The times we seemed to have some kind of power were times when it suited elite interests to give us a long leash, or when they needed our help to fight a war or revolution, or when we were fortunate enough to be living in a seat of empire, like the citizens of Rome with their bread and circuses. It’s always been variations of servitude, often involving participation in the exploitation of others.
Elites rule by means of hierarchical systems, and the history of civilization is about the co-evolution of those systems as hierarchical domains compete with one another. Such dynamics lead to the dominance of the most aggressive and best-organized actors. It was always inevitable, once the Industrial Revolution came along, that a single global hierarchy, a global tyranny, would ultimately emerge. That is of course what we see happening right now, at an amazingly swift pace.
As I see it, any significant reform of our systems, not that it is any longer politically possible, would simply rewind us to some previous place in history, and from there we’d evolve back to what we have now. It’s inherent in the nature of hierarchy and in the psychology of people with power. ‘Power corrupts’ says it all.
Regarding the view that ‘civilization is the problem’, and that it should be redesigned rather than propped up, the question that arises is what is possible.  The limiting factors are our freedoms, our imagination and collective intelligence, understanding, and will.  Also the powers of reactionary forces, as well as leadership, from whatever sources.

I don’t see the question of what is possible as being relevant. I see us as being in prison, and either we think it’s worth trying to escape or we don’t. If we don’t, then we might as well try to be model prisoners, focus on making our cells as comfortable as possible, and forget about politics. If we think escaping is worthwhile, then our business is to find a way. And ‘escaping’ means building a non-hierarchical culture and society, without positions of power.

My major objection to micro-finance and LETS is that these noble and effective efforts at the micro level serve to distract activist efforts from working to improve the macro level problems, effectively propping up the status quo systems of exploitation.

And my major objection to efforts aimed at improving macro-level problems, is that they distract activists from pursuing bottom-up structures, effectively propping up the status quo hierarchies.

Isn’t it amazing how reasonable people can see things so differently?

rkm> If we’re going to do anything about it, now is the time to start doing it, since it’s already too late to start yesterday.

I hope that this wonderful statement is from your own lovely mind because It applies to almost everything.
 and clever to boot.  nice to see people world wide slowly getting not only your analysis but also how well you’ve said it. as some one said, “Waking on water  wasn’t built in a day.”

Yup, my phrase. I like your comment about applying to ‘almost everything’. More and more I feel like my philosophy is becoming holistic, with fewer and fewer core principles, and everything seeming more and more related to everything else. It’s like the holographic concept of the macrocosm being present in the microcosm, and cosmology being intimately related to quantum science. 

There’s an isomorphism between psychology and group process, where our internal voices are like the group members. The reason Dynamic Facilitation works is that it models the group process on the way a healthy mind operates when engaged in creative thinking. Essentially what happens is that a collective creative process is activated, almost as if everyone’s neurons were interconnected and synchronized. The result is greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts mind functioning, ie collective wisdom
And then there’s an isomorphism between a microcosm group of citizens, and the larger community from which they come. A small group is able to do work together that would be impossible for a whole community to participate in. And yet, if the group is a balanced microcosm, and if it reaches unanimous conclusions, those  conclusions are likely to find resonance throughout the community, and contribute to community harmonization. If the group uses something like Dynamic Facilitation, then in effect the process is bringing into being, temporarily, the collective wisdom of the community
It is easy to see how such processes could lead to a convergence in community sentiment around wise policies, and enable effective community self-governance. If we then consider the concept of fractals, it becomes easy to imagine wise communities leading to wise societies interacting wisely on a global scale. 
It all seems so simple, so obvious, and so necessary.

We do not control any of the organizations operating in communities throughout the world.  However, our plan must work to shift control of these organizations from this wealthy clique to the people who live and work in their community.  We are currently discussing the development of dialog methods, particularly dynamic facilitation, as a means of shifting power to the participants.  We will eventually need to address how this power shift can influence organizations already exercising power over their members, even other people.

Yes, we need some concept of how dialog among citizens could lead to shifts in how society actually operates with its organizational structures. Let’s consider a hypothetical example…
Suppose we have a small town, and suppose that a series of Wisdom Councils, or some variation, are convened there over a period of months. Finally, let’s suppose that this process leads to a strong community consensus around a community agenda, and that it also leads to a general embracing of this kind of dialog, as a means of maintaining the community consensus.

If that were to happen, and it’s not an implausible scenario, it seems pretty clear to me that at the next town election all the officials would be elected on the basis that they were going to take their policy direction from the ongoing community process. And rather than politicians and real estate agents running for the offices, there’d be a slate of candidates who are respected in the community, and they would run essentially unopposed.

So there would be no storming of the bastille, or overthrowing of city hall, rather the town government would be subsumed as an agency of the self-governing process. Once that happens, then reorganizations of departments and functions would follow automatically as the need became apparent. 

In general, I see an ‘inclusive democracy movement’ as being territorial in nature. Within ‘liberated territory’ organizational forms are digested into the democratic process. The movement would spread when other communities perceive the virtues of the transformation, and understand that they can do the same thing themselves.