We the People and cultural transformation

2005-03-10

Richard Moore

Friends,

I'm now making my final editing pass through the manuscript. I
won't be asking for feedback again until the book is complete.
I've reached the point where the only thing left is to satisfy
myself as regards the overall coherence of the material, and I
am a demanding critic.

You are certainly welcome to comment on this new section,
below, but my intention really is to share it with you, rather
than solicit feedback.

This new section starts off Ch 3, re: the Transformational 
Imperative.

ciao,
rkm

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* We the People and cultural transformation

In the first chapter, on the Matrix, I outlined the nature of
our current societal systems and reached the conclusion that
civilization is in dire crisis: capitalism's growth imperative
is in fatal collision with the limits of a finite Earth, and
our political leaders are irrevocably committed to continuing
on that suicidal path. In the second chapter, just preceding,
I traced back the origins of our civilization and suggested
that our early partnership societies were hijacked six
thousand years ago by warrior tribes and their hierarchical,
dominator cultures. It is from there that we can trace the
origins of our current crisis.

Over the centuries we've seen warrior chiefs replaced by
kings, and kings replaced by corporate elites, but always
there have been a few who made the rules and the many who
obeyed them, a few who reaped the rewards and the many who
paid the taxes and fought in the wars. We've seen slavery
replaced by serfdom, and serfdom replaced by employment, but
always it has been a few at the top who have owned the product
of our labors.

When the warrior chiefs first conquered our civilization, they
found themselves in control of a more complex society than
they were accustomed to, one based on systematic
domestication. Animals and crops had been extracted from their
natural surroundings, and installed in regimented and
controlled environments, e.g., pens and gardens. By providing
them with sufficient food, supplemented by appropriate
restraints, certain animals could be domesticated and would
acquiesce to either a long life of burden or a short life of
being fattened up for the table. We can imagine the thoughts
in the mind of our victorious warrior chief: "A pretty good
racket, this domestication thing, let's see if it works on
people!"

Throughout the centuries domestication has been the fate of
"the many": domestication to hierarchy, by means of sufficient
food and appropriate restraints, and acquiescence to a long
life of struggle or a short life on some battlefield. When we
were still untamed, our restraints were heavy, the chains of
slavery. Over time we forgot what freedom was like, and fewer
restraints were needed to keep us down. Today we have so
forgotten the taste of real freedom that we mistake our
current condition for freedom, and our own illusions have
become our chains. We partake of the bread and circuses and
imagine ourselves to be the sovereign rulers of Rome. We are
living in a dream world, and our dream is turning into a
nightmare.

If the world is saved, it will be saved by people with changed
                    minds, people with a new vision. It will not be saved by
                    people with the old vision but new programs.
                    -Daniel Quinn, The Story of B 

The source of our crisis is the dominator culture itself.
Environmental collapse and capitalism are merely the terminal
symptoms of a chronic cancer, a cancer that has plagued us for
six thousand years. No matter what dominator hierarchy might
be established, or which group of leaders might be in charge,
things would always evolve toward something similar to what we
have now. Such is the path of domination, hierarchy, and rule
by elites. There is a popular computer-simulation game called
"Age of Empires". In this game you, playing the role of the
ruler, can build villages, fortify them, and set out to
conquer other villages. As the game progresses, the technology
advances and you get better weapons, but you always feel like
you're playing exactly the same game with slightly different
pieces. The technology has changed over the past six thousand
years, but the game has always been the same, with elites at
the controls putting us through our paces, down through the
ages.

If we want to build a sensible society, we must base it on a
different kind of culture: not a dominator culture, but a
culture in Eisler's partnership category. We need a culture
based on mutual understanding and cooperation rather than on
war and conquest, a culture based on common sense rather than
dysfunctional doctrine, on respect for life rather than the
pursuit of profit, and on democracy in place of elite rule.
After six thousand years of domestication, we sheep must
finally cast aside our illusions, recognize our condition, and
reclaim our identity as free human beings. In reclaiming our
identities we will also be redefining our cultures.

Cultural transformation is the basis of social transformation.
Social forms reflect cultural paradigms, and the dominator
paradigm cannot support social forms that are capable of
dealing with the crisis that faces us. Domination is the "old
vision," and as Quinn points out, the world "will not be saved
by people with the old vision." If we want to save the world,
we must become people with a "new vision" regarding our
relationships with one another as human beings, a vision based
on mutual understanding and harmony.

We the People are the only hope for humanity. We are the only
ones who can save the world. Domination can end only when the
dominated decide to do something about it. Our own liberation,
and the transformation of our societies, are two names for the
same thing, two aspects of the same project. A partnership
culture is a culture of liberation, as well as being a culture
that facilitates social harmony and economic sustainability.
Such a culture will not be given to us; we must create it by
our own initiative and our own efforts. And by the very act of
undertaking that initiative, we will be already expressing the
essence of our new culture: liberation, empowerment, and
release from the domesticating Matrix of illusions.

"That may be all well and good," you might be thinking, "but
how on Earth do we go about creating a new culture and gaining
a new vision? And how can that lead to the transformation of
our societies?" These are very important questions, difficult
questions, but I believe there are practical answers to them.
Indeed, providing workable answers to those questions, insofar
as I am able, is the primary mission of this book.

The basic problem is that We the People need to wake up and
realize our common identity as a sentient species. As a first
step in understanding what it means to "wake up," let us
review episodes in which we have woken up, in the form of
social movements and revolutions. By looking at a few
examples, where we have made serious attempts to transform our
societies -- sometimes with considerable success -- there are
many useful lessons to be learned.

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Richard Moore (rkm)
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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