Gian Piero de Bellis

Essays on post-statism

On the Social Sciences as Social Scam and the Social Scientists as Social Scoundrels

(2006)

 


 

Scenarios for the Future


Human Nature
Social Dynamics
Scenarios
Decadence
Collapse
Regeneration
The shape of things to come
References

 


 

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."
(George Orwell, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, 1949)


The attempt to explore the future by presenting possible scenarios requires not only a knowledge of the present, but also an understanding of human nature and of the social dynamics that are likely to follow from the multiple interrelations between human beings, the natural environment and technological artefacts.

Human Nature (^)

In the past the Church and in current times the State have repeatedly presented the human being as a generally frail and often wicked creature, stressing especially (or even exclusively) his negative traits or ascribing to every human being (potentially or actually) the worst aspects of a disreputable minority.
This in order to present themselves and their organization (the Church or the State) as indispensable agents, elected by God or by the people, to put things right, dispensing salvation in heaven or security on earth.
According to the religious and secular priests of these two organizations the life of human beings, without the restrictive and disciplining presence of these institutions, would be characterized by fierce conflict between each and every one, by extreme selfishness and general disregard for any future (personal - collective) well-being.
This because, always according to the views of those high priests of social life, human nature unconstrained by a superior entity is:

- aggressive and violent
- egoistic and egotistic
- irresponsible and inconsiderate.

"... we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature."
(Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976)


However, even a superficial observation/analysis of historical data is sufficient to show that these negative traits, far away from being intrinsic to or shared by the vast majority of people, are manifested especially, if not exclusively, by those in power or those seeking power.

"Our century will have truly been the century of the intellectual organization of political hatred."
"The current age is well and truly the age of politics."
(Julien Benda, La Trahison des clercs, 1927)


"In the state of nature which Hobbes imagined, violence was the only law, and life was 'nasty, brutish and short'. Though individuals never lived in this state of nature, the Great Powers of Europe have always done so."
(A. J. P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918, 1954)


The daily experience of billions of people with their fellow human beings is far from being a violent (or semi-violent) exchange/interaction with aggressive, egoistic and inconsiderate individuals, unless we are in a totally unbalanced situation of powerlessness, best typified by many Individual-State relations.
This being so, what should emerge from a survey of personal experiences, devoid of myths and manipulations engendered by past and present storytellers, is that human nature, except as exemplified by the power hungry - a comparatively small minority - is characterized by traits very different from those generally presented and reiterated. The common human being is mainly:

- compliant and convivial
- helpful and caring
- empathic and compassionate

If this were not the case, large and complex societies would not have arisen, or would certainly have stopped functioning long ago, no matter how much disciplining and repressive power were exercised by the state or by any mythical and superior power.
However, the fact that these are the most common traits of human nature, and so of most human beings (especially in highly differentiated realities), does not, by itself, make the situation any better, and certainly not problem-free.
As a matter of fact, those traits, unaccompanied by the universal spread of less natural and more consciously constructed personal attitudes (e.g. critical thinking and unconventional acting), might constitute the very source of problems.
Let us see why.

History shows that the large majority of people are not really interested in power over others (the multitude) but just want to carry on with their life and business in the most free and pleasurable way.
At the same time there is a persistent, relatively small, minority fixated on achieving power over the multitude.
In order to succeed in their objective, the individuals belonging to these power-hungry minorities have to perform an incredible feat of acrobatic reasoning that is remarkable both for its patent absurdity and concealed viciousness. Clearly, they are able and willing to do this as long as the large multitude of people whom they address do continue to be forgetful and simpleminded, as the case has been and still is.
Only in the presence of this naivety and absentmindedness can the person who wants to rule the masses succeed in convincing a majority of people that:

- first, they need protection because people left to themselves are, by nature, vicious and violent or, at least, totally and utterly selfish;

- second, that he, (i.e. the aspiring representative of the people), is an exception to this rule, being the good guy in town, heroically generous and primarily dedicated to promoting everybody's well-being, capable of solving every problem and especially keen on redressing every wrong;

- third, that the elector (i.e. the person whom he asks for support or, in other terms, for the vote) is not a villain like the others (i.e. the members and supporters of the opposing party), who are always intent on profiteering from everything and putting at risk the life and livelihood of honest people.

In reality:

- 1. There is no such pressing and overwhelming need for security and social protection because most people (outside the state entourage) are not aggressive, egotistic and inconsiderate, otherwise they would attack him (the hopeful ruler) and certainly would not entrust him with power (representation) and money (taxation);

- 2. There is not much hope that the elected person would be any better (or any different) than those who have elected him and so there is no rationale for giving him the power to decide for everybody on important matters;

- 3. There is no need, in particular, for professional protectors to whom monopolistic and unfettered power should be given, because this is the most likely situation that would make a scoundrel even out of an honest person.

"It is, indeed, quite difficult to conceive how individuals who have totally renounced the habit of taking autonomous decisions could succeed in selecting well those who are to lead them; and it is impossible to believe that a liberal, active and wise government could ever come out of the suffrage of a population of servants."
(Alexis de Tocqueville, De la Démocratie en Amérique, vol II, 1840)


"This is to think that men are so foolish that they take care to avoid what mischiefs may be done them by polecats or foxes, but are content, nay, think it safety, to be devoured by lions."
(John Locke, Concerning Civil Government, Second Essay, 1690)


If people are generally aggressive and vicious, the social scientists should explain why somebody elected (and so endowed with power) should be less aggressive and vicious than the rest, especially considering that the elected person has been chosen by a majority of supposedly aggressive and vicious people; on the other hand, if people, or the majority of them, are basically good and affable, the same social scientists should explain why they need a vast bureaucratic and policing apparatus of regulation, control and repression.

"Nor do I know, if men are like sheep, why they need any government; or if they are like wolves, how can they suffer it."
(Sir William Temple, An essay upon the origin and nature of government, 1751)


These are the mysteries of the immaculate castration performed by the state (through school manipulation and police oppression) with respect to the mental capacities and physical energies of the whole of the common people.
Whatever the case, with a master stroke of appalling shamelessness, the actual and the aspiring rulers, while harping on the vicious and dangerous aspects of human nature unregulated (implicitly meaning, unregulated by them), use the traits of human nature previously listed (which they pretend do not exist), to their own advantage.

And so, the very features that could make for a good civil society are employed to work for the setting up of an irresponsible totalitarian power, for the benefit of the ruling elite. The voluntary servitude of the human being is then built on the manipulation, by some, of those very malleable features that could be so appropriate to a free (self-regulated) social life.
Through successful manipulation:

- the compliant and convivial human being becomes the obedient and gregarious state subject;

- the helpful and caring human being becomes the usable and exploitable worker/soldier/citizen/taxpayer or whatever else suits the state leaders;

- the empathic and compassionate human being becomes the impressionable and pliable dupe of every possible pietistic or frightening con produced and circulated by the state rulers and their high priests and servile accomplices, the social scientists.

"Life in society requires consensus as an indispensable condition. But consensus, to be productive, requires that each individual contribute independently out of his experience and insight. When consensus comes under the dominance of conformity, the social process is polluted and the individual at the same time surrenders the powers on which his functioning as a feeling and thinking being depends. That we have found the tendency to conformity in our society so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern. It raises questions about our ways of education and about the values that guide our conduct."
(Solomon A. Asch, Opinions and Social Pressure, 1955)


"A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority."
"Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work becomes patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority."
(Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority, 1974)


This might be all very well for the state and the state rulers while the state lasts and while the con works; but in the long run, as the collapse of the Soviet Empire has already shown, a society made of a relatively few absolute scoundrels and many obtuse gullible morons is likely to produce, sooner or later, a very perverse social dynamic.

Social Dynamics (^)

The social scientists have not only misrepresented human nature but they have also led people astray with regard to social dynamics.
Their descriptions of and prescriptions for society are unsound because they have added to the false premises (about human nature) false inferences (about social dynamics) based mainly on intellectual preconceptions instead of factual reality.
It is a common conviction that evil (bad thoughts, deeds, attitudes) comes from:

- Illnesses (physical, spiritual) : consequences of traumas, suffered violence, past deprivations, etc.

- Ignorance : lack of learning about how to live and how to care, appropriately and effectively; wrong information received; imitation of unsuitable models, etc.

- Intolerance : hubris, bigotry, inhumanity, arising mainly from cultural upbringing and resulting in excessive self-assurance and importance being assigned to personal/group beliefs, associated with the right to impose them onto others.

This belief about the sources of evil has been also verified and highlighted repeatedly by empirical evidence and it has become widely accepted on the strength of that empirical support.
However, what social scientists still fail to accept and take on board in their research and reflections is that most evil comes from professed good intentions and righteous practices or, rather, from professed good intentions gone regularly astray and proclaimed righteous practices that invariably wreak havoc in people's lives.

"I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good."
(Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776)


"If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life ... for fear that I should get some of his good done to me."
(Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854)


The simple fact of proclaiming good intentions and righteous practices without actual knowledge and wisdom at the start (to assess the acceptance and appropriateness of the course of action proposed and the means employed) and knowledge and honesty at the finish (to assess if the ends have been achieved through the use of suitable means) is most likely to lead to moral and material disasters.
It might then come as a shock to many well-meaning but quite naïve individuals to learn that illnesses, ignorance and intolerance can be the result of officially planned actions, generally devised, approved, and extolled by the social scientists as beneficial to most human beings if not to the entire human race.
For example:

- Illnesses (spiritual, physical) can be the result of a suffocating moral upbringing or of a too aseptic environment, all provided with the best intention of protecting the child from unwanted risks of any nature;

- Ignorance can be the product of state mass schooling which, with the "noble" pretext of granting equality, succeeds in universally instilling conformity and eradicating creativity.

- Intolerance can be the outcome of the deep felt desire to spread what is firmly considered (and what might even be in some personal cases) the good and the right, in all directions and with all means, up to the point of forcing it on everybody.

"Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false. To know the truth is more difficult than most men suppose, and to act with ruthless determination in the belief that truth is the monopoly of their party is to invite disaster."
(Bertrand Russell, Ideas that Have Harmed Mankind, 1946)


Disseminating the true religion or the modern culture, bringing so-called freedom and democracy, spreading what is reputed to be knowledge and development, all through the gentle use of bayonets (in the past) or of "intelligent" bombs (in the present), these are, for example, the missions of the ruling elites of the self-proclaimed advanced and progressive world. In the course of these missions, millions of people have been tortured and killed but, according to our rulers, these are only minor details, largely justified by the lofty ends.
The popular saying that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" has then remained a simple hunch that has never been taken seriously into account by the state rulers and the social scientists because it would highlight the fact that, relying on pretended and professed good intentions, both of these groups have built and continue to build their role (power) and status (privileges), subjugating, manipulating and dominating people.

Clearly it is not so easy to unmask the unwarranted belief that good intentions lead, automatically, to good outcomes, without appearing (or rather, without being made to appear) as insensitive and heartless individuals opposed to what is good and right and to those people who advocate the good and right for humanity.
In fact, this is precisely the strategy carried out by state rulers and social scientists against individuals who try to expose their fallacy. They are qualified as selfish and callous, devoid of any sense of compassion and care, even when the so-called compassion and care, as practiced by the state rulers and the social scientists, feeds only corruption and leads mainly to dependency.

And so, in the course of centuries, we have witnessed a perverse social dynamic through which some basic human aspirations, for example to do good and to worship a God (God as any perfect entity that some love and respect for reasons that go beyond simple rationality), have been distorted and manipulated, first by the Church priests and then by the state priests, for ends that have nothing to do either with good or with God.

"Oh how we hate one another, for the love of God!"
(Cardinal Newman, XIX century)


In the contemporary era the state is the new Church, having replaced the power and symbols of the old Church with its own power (bureaucratic caste, intellectual clerics, etc.) and symbols (the flag, the national anthem, the pledges, the statues of national heroes, the monuments to the glory of the Fatherland, etc.).
Under the new Church the same perverse social dynamics persist, employing the same old tricks. The banality of evil keeps preying on simple minds. As a result of it, basically good or harmless people carry on perpetrating or silently witnessing wrongdoings and atrocities, either in the name and in support of "good" causes or as official agents performing their assigned tasks (magistrates, policemen, prison guards, teachers, economists, social workers, etc.).

The fact is that the practice of top-down or authority-taken decisions, advocated by the social scientists, is, in too many cases, succeeding in producing numb people with no ideas and no will of their own.
The lack of freedom in social experimenting and in taking personally responsible decisions (i.e. decisions for whose consequences, whether positive or negative, the person is responsible) is the hallmark of the contemporary bureaucratic societies dominated/regulated by so-called professionals. This arrangement represents a formidable obstacle to any learning process by individuals and to any progress in the quality of the relations amongst themselves and with the surrounding environment.

"When responsibility coincides with liberty, when the person who takes some decisions suffers the full consequences of these decisions, then there is a feedback loop; then people benefit from their good choices and lose from their bad choices; and so they may learn from experience."
"Without responsibility, we lose track of how to behave; worse, with misplaced responsibility, where those who decide are not those who suffer the consequences of decisions, then we get on the wrong track, and we run into disasters."
(François-René Rideau, 2005)


Scenarios (^)

The social scientists see society as a machine with a captain (the political and intellectual elite), a professional crew (the social experts and practitioners) and many passengers (the common people). The captain gives orders and dictates rules while the crew is paid for making sure that the passengers obey the orders and follow the rules.
For these social scientists the only acceptable view is that society (i.e. human beings) receives impulses from a centre in the form of laws or monetary incentives and only on the basis of those impulses it functions.

The idea that societies (i.e. the social exchanges amongst human beings) might be, as a whole and in their parts, self-regulating organisms whose entities are capable of self-direction and self-management through a series of continuous adjustments in response to life requirements, is something that is not acceptable to the social scientists because it would reduce and even dispose of their role.
However, this would not be a big loss because their role resembles more that of the fly on the coach-wheel (boasting inexistent abilities and influence of direction) than that of the foresighted oracle (pinpointing social problems that might arise).

If we accept the way society is deemed to function according to the social scientists, we should accept also the fact that an organism exclusively activated from the centre loses the flexible capacity to react swiftly and autonomously when a new situation arises. This means that the burden on the centre of taking decisions for everybody in every slightly novel case increases continuously until nothing is solved and nothing is done unless prompted by the centre or even performed by the centre. Clearly, this is an absolutely crazy and totally unrealistic situation.
This should be called social statics, having nothing to do with social dynamics and with the way human beings function and make society (i.e. their social intercourse) function.
The frightening truth about current reality (which everyone should be aware of) is that it is characterized by technological dynamics on the one hand, associated, or rather, conflicting with social statics on the other. In between, there are human beings that are part of both realities and so are, at the same time, empowered (by technological tools) and enslaved (by ideological rulers).

Out of this epochal contradiction, perhaps never seen in such sharp terms, come three possible scenarios for the future that could either take place at the same time but in different parts of the advanced world, or in succession one after the other, or one to the exclusion of the others. They are:

- decadence
- collapse
- regeneration.

Decadence (^)

Decadence is the running down of the physical and mental energy of an organism.
It is a natural process affecting all living entities, which ceases only when a final state of permanent static equilibrium (death) is reached.
Decadence can be opposed and postponed through a continuous appropriate interchange of energy with the surrounding environment (food, air, water, light, mental inputs, etc.).
In a social organism decadence still affects its constituent parts (individuals) but a final state of equilibrium (death) is avoided because new individuals are born who replace the departed.

Nevertheless it is possible for all the members of a small society to descend to such a level of decadence that even the survival of the newborn is compromised (extinction); or it may happen that the newborn, on reaching maturity, introduce such sweeping changes as to extinguish, metaphorically speaking, the old society and to give rise to a new one (regeneration).
Decadence is a natural and inevitable process for any organism but it is accelerated for those entities which remain in static positions (resembling equilibrium), isolated and insulated from all sorts of exchanges and changes. The remedy consists in generating situations where the living entities are far from equilibrium but not far from equilibration. In other words, situations where there is a suitable metabolic interchange between the organism and the environment, within appropriate parameters that allow for the (indefinite) continuation of the interchange. Otherwise decadence will be eventually replaced by collapse.

In present times many individuals living in advanced societies seem to have fallen and got stuck in a trough of decadence compounded by a risk of ecological disasters.
This actual and potential decadence comes as a result of a technology that has practically solved (or can practically solve) all problems of material survival (food, shelter) but which is combined with an ideology still primarily obsessed with material concerns.

The technology makes possible, for instance, the production of huge quantities of food, and this possibility becomes a nightmarish reality because the official ideology promotes subsidies for the production of ever larger quantities of food, which are stocked, destroyed or sold for an ever larger consumption.
The technology makes it possible to transfer to machines most of the work necessary for the survival and comfort of individuals, but, at the same time, the official ideology remains focused on how to create employment in the form of dependent jobs, and the answer is by setting up useless bureaucratic apparatuses where masses of people perform useless bureaucratic tasks.
All this is done for two main reasons:

- to convey money towards the state coffers by collecting state income receipts (VAT) via material consumption

- to retain power within the state castes by preventing the development of individuals' critical faculties via occupational alienation.

The results are:

- physical obesity (fat)
- mental apathy (dumb)
- moral aridity (numb)

These are the essential factors that make for the decadence of people in a technologically advanced society.

"Il se plaignait de ne pas avancer.
Pourtant il suivait son idée.
C'était une idée fixe."
(Jacques Prévert)
"He kept moaning he wasn't advancing
Even though he was pursuing his idea.
It was a fixed idea."
(Jacques Prévert)


"Politics offers yesterday's answers to today's questions."
"The old civic state and national groupings have become unworkable. Nothing can be further from the spirit of the new technology than 'a place for everything and everything in its place.' You can't go home again."
"Our 'Age of Anxiety' is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's job with yesterday's tools - with yesterday's concepts."
(Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage, 1967)


There is no solution in view or way out of the decadence unless the ideology that has produced this situation (statism) and the organization that gains from this situation (the state) are disposed of in the scrap-yard of history. If this is not done, the individuals and groups concerned are likely to undergo a long period of physical and mental degeneration that could lead to various types of collapse (moral, ecological, organizational).

Collapse (^)

Collapse is the sudden breaking down of the physical and mental energy of an organism.
The causes can be either a severe internal malfunctioning at the climax of an ever-accelerating deterioration, or an external blow (a catastrophic accident) that severely compromises or even puts an end to the existence of the organism.
With reference to a social organism we can differentiate these two eventualities as:

- internally engendered collapse
- externally provoked collapse.

This differentiation is made only for analytical purposes and should not give the idea that the two aspects (internal-external) are neatly separated in reality.
As to the first eventuality, this is the situation likely to take place in a closed society after a very long period of decadence. A collapse is especially to be expected if the society is decaying while growing in size and complexity to the point of becoming unworkable.

Almost all advanced societies are, presently, semi-open societies in the sense that they are open up to a certain point; in fact there are still several barriers to the free circulation of individuals, goods, ideas.
These barriers are becoming more and more anachronistic and more and more difficult to enforce (especially as far as ideas and goods are concerned) because of the advancement and spread of technology.
So, the most likely scenario of collapse for an advanced society is a severe inner crisis provoked by external interventions in the form of catastrophic occurrences.
In this respect, it is worth remembering that the main rationale for the existence of the state is the defence of the realm and the protection of the population living in the realm.

However, since at least the Second World War and the massive use of the airplane for aerial bombing, the distinction between military and civil targets has practically disappeared. The bombing of Dresden (Germany) and Coventry (England) and especially the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Japan) have shown not only that the state cannot protect the citizens living under its sovereignty but that it might be the main source of situations that put in danger entire populations.
With the advancement of technology also in the area of weapons of mass destruction, the risks of insecurity provoked by the aggressive postures and actions of state governments have multiplied.

We have now reached the age of do-it-yourself bombs and mini atomic bombs assembled in a garage (like the first personal computers). With the coming onto the scene of personal bombs, to think that the (i.e. your) state can protect you from other individuals that are full of rage against the (i.e. your) state which is, more or less brutally, meddling in their lives or in the lives of their fellow human beings, is an idiotic illusion and a macabre joke.
A matter-of-fact analysis of this new development shows that some individuals are only attempting to replicate the strategy introduced by states during the Second World War (and employed in other conflicts, for instance the war in Vietnam) with the bombing of civil populations aimed at spreading terror, weakening morale and forcing the government of the civilian victims to surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the clearest example of that strategy.

In current times and with current technology, that strategy has fallen within the reach of any fully-determined individual who can assemble a personal bomb, in the same way as an expert hobbyist, with a relatively small amount of money, can assemble a personal computer. And as personal computers are as powerful as a mainframe of some time ago, so a personal bomb can/could be as destructive as an atomic bomb of some decades ago.
The collapse of an entire society caused by a small atomic bomb exploded in the centre of any large capital city whose state is carrying out an act of aggression (or what is perceived as an act of aggression or undue interference) is a highly likely eventuality. At the same time it is not an inevitable occurrence or something that is expected to happen in Sankt Gallen or Montecarlo.

Social scientists and especially state rulers are keeping quiet on all this or, what is worse, are sending misleading messages of a civilization under attack from evil forces, plagued by envy and cultural backwardness (see: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism, 2005).
This denial of responsibility and self-absolution is, precisely, the attitude that will lead to a disastrous collapse.

The state is incubating/generating the loose destructive cannons/forces that will bring it down, together with everyone and everything around it. It is a suicide strategy, set in motion by paranoid and blind state rulers, and triggered into action by desperate human beings who think they are left with no other way out of their desperate rage. If both of these sets of people succeed in occupying centre stage, the collapse scenario will be the most likely ending for some advanced societies.
That is why we need to dispose quite soon of senseless state rulers and servile social scientists and have a myriad of reasoning social critics, whose unceasing task should be to help making everybody aware about:

- what might happen: a collapse of an advanced society caused by a man-made catastrophic event for which the technological means already exist and are within the reach of many determined individuals;

- why it might happen: the existence of aggressive state rulers with their bullying behaviour, masked by bogus good intentions;

- where it might happen: in the most delicate and complex nodes within those states, for instance in a big city bustling with life and with centres of administration and decision-making;

- what should be done for it not to happen: to reduce, as soon as possible, the power of territorial states to a bare minimum, prior to their definitive disposal, and to start replacing it with the widest development of other humane and sensible modes of personal and social organization.

If awareness about all these aspects could arise in a substantial number of people, in different places and walks of life, it would mean that we were not any longer under the nefarious influence of state rulers and their servants, the social scientists, and that the power of both was coming to an end.
In this case, the avoided collapse could be the prelude to a total regeneration.

Regeneration (^)

Regeneration is the healing and heightening of the physical and mental energy of an organism.
It follows either a situation of sickness of the organism (or of some of its parts) or a situation of malaise (e.g. impasse) where the existence of problems is not matched by the capacity to find solutions.
The human being is a whole made of biological and cultural entities that operate as building blocks. They can be the source either of evolution and development or involution and degeneration.
Biological and cultural entities can be suffocated and altered in their functional development, can be put under excessive stress and attacked by some unhealthy agents, in other words can be transformed into and reproduce viruses that will engender sickness and malaise in the organism (i.e. physical, intellectual or spiritual cancer).

A virus is a parasitic agent that preys on weak/weakened entities, by infiltrating, replicating and causing damage to tissues not sufficiently healthy and strong to withstand the attack.
Regeneration is a process that succeeds in fighting the viruses, healing the attacked entities and even enhancing (by immunization) the general strength of the organism.
The organism of the human being is here considered as an integrated whole of nature (biology) and nurture (culture). This is never clearer than when a tissue is under attack and the counterattack, in order to be successful, must be of both a physical and mental order, because health is a physical and mental concern/compound.

"Mens sana in corpore sano."
(Juvenal, Satires, X)


"Mens sana in corpore sano is a foolish saying. The sound body is a product of the sound mind."
(Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists, 1903)


For this reason we need to posit a basic unit having mental (significative) and material (substantive) qualities and performing the task of regeneration.
This basic unit is here called "seme" and the term could be intended as the conceptual and practical fusion of semen/seed and sema/sign (i.e. meaning)
The "seme" is characterized by being a

- germinator, that is a producer of new original and healthy combinations
- gladiator, that is a fighter for new original and healthy combinations,
- propagator, that is a diffuser of new original and healthy combinations.

The Regeneration is here considered as being:

- a micro affair (regeneration is performed by the basic units within the total organism);

- a direct affair (regeneration is achieved through personal initiative);

- a free affair (all of the healthy entities must be free to react in order to regenerate the entire organism).

Regeneration takes place when healthy productive entities (the "semes") germinate, fight back and propagate while the unhealthy destructive ones (viruses) lose strength, yield terrain and finally die out.
Looking at the wide picture, it seems reasonable to conclude that, in current times, human beings, through their technological and cultural artefacts, have increased the possibilities either of total destruction or of speedy regeneration.
Undertaking either of those paths is clearly, as it has always been, up to individuals.

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscientious endeavor."
(Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854)


Amid a lot of still discouraging realities, there are also some hopeful signs of openness and awareness. If they spread and multiply, they could signify the development of new original human actors for the present and the future in place of the mass production of identical dysfunctional replicators of the past.
Only in that case, through a cross-fertilization and an appropriate selection of different healthy "semes" that will transmit and transform the best of the past into the best in the future, could a regeneration of individuals and communities take place.
The technological potentialities are increasingly in place and what is now needed is a cultural climate that assigns the main role not to the state and its servants but, once again, to the human being, as in the Age of Renaissance.

The shape of things to come (^)

The scenarios presented above, even when they are in stark contrast to one another (decadence - regeneration) all share a common aspect, namely the end of statism and the disappearance of the territorial sovereign state.
Technological, ecological, economic, cultural and many other factors all coalesce into a trend whose continuous progression will sanction the end of the age of statism.

What precisely will replace the ideology of statism and the state as organization is not clear yet, but the fact that individuals living in advanced societies (and not only them) are moving in the direction of post-statism reality/realities is more than a simple matter of chance. It is a consolidated dynamic that only state subservient social scientists fail to notice.

This being the case, it is then likely that, with the formation of a critical mass of individuals thinking outside the ideology of statism and acting beyond the sphere of the state, a tipping point will be reached (probably during the first quarter of the XXI century) that will start a chain reaction leading to the widespread acceptance of new ideas (new paradigm/s) and new forms of behaviour (new social organization/s).

At this stage we can only formulate hypotheses, based on past history, about the Who (protagonists) and What (organizations) will replace the state. They might be:

- scattered individuals and communities, like after the collapse of the Roman Empire and the abandonment of Rome in favour of the countryside;

- parallel societies, like different Churches existing side by side after the wars of religions and the acceptance/practice of religious tolerance;

- unified ecumene like a cosmopolis (or cosmorurapolis) inhabited and animated by cosmopolitan human beings. This would be something totally new that has nothing to do with the emergence of a world government but with the formation of world citizens and of a global village.

These new protagonists and new organizations are not mutually exclusive, but might be present, in various ways, at the same time, in different realities or even coexist in the same place.
We could give these three hypothetical outcomes the names personarchy, polyarchy, panarchy. However, what is important is not to stick labels on new realities but to sense what are the qualities of the new protagonists and the essence of the new organizations.

If decadence and/or collapse are only temporary phases of the human adventure and are followed by regeneration, for this to take hold it is necessary that individuals with creative and critical faculties multiply and spread everywhere.
The qualities of these individuals and the essence of the organizations they will be members of are likely to be characterized by:

- enthusiasm and energy
- knowledge and wisdom
- trust and care.

When enough individuals with those qualities come forward and actively use and promote those qualities, against all obstacles, then, new social entities will emerge based on new organizational lines. At that point regeneration will be in full swing.
It is up to everyone to make his/her choices.
And it is always time to make the appropriate choices.
Let the Persons be and let Life begin!

 


 

References (^)


[1690] John Locke, Concerning Civil Government, Second Essay

[1751] Sir William Temple, An essay upon the origin and nature of government

[1776] Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

[1840] Alexis de Tocqueville, De la Démocratie en Amérique, vol II, Flammarion, Paris, 1981
see also: http://www.panarchy.org/tocqueville/democratie.1840.html

[1854] Henry David Thoreau, Walden, W. W. Norton, New York, 1992

[1903] Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists
http://www.panarchy.org/shaw/maxims.1903.html

[1927] Julien Benda, La trahison des clercs, Bernard Grasset, Paris, 1975

[1946] Bertrand Russell, Ideas that Have Harmed Mankind
http://www.panarchy.org/russell/ideas.1946.html

[1949] George Orwell, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1999
see also:
http://www.panarchy.org/orwell/war.1949.html
http://www.panarchy.org/orwell/ignorance.1949.html

[1954] A. J. P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1969

[1955] Solomon A. Asch, Opinions and Social Pressure

[1967] Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage, Penguin, Harmondsworth

[1974] Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority, Tavistock, London

[1976] Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999

[2003] The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Robert Pape of the University of Chicago
http://www.columbia.edu/itc/journalism/stille/Politics%20Fall%202007/readings%20weeks%206-7/Strategic%20Logic%20of%20Suicide%20Missions.pdf

[2005] François-René Rideau, Capitalism is the Institution of Ethics (§3 Responsibility: The Dynamic Feedback of Ethics)
http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/sofia2005.html