A Shooting Star Of Possibility
History is known to many as the greatest writer and actor of all time, and yet History is by no means creative, or even original, invariably through the twenty-four hours of its normal day. A seemingly content chronicler of events, History is often seen linking stories in a sequential chain spanning beyond the scope of human perception. Millions of people, the links of a nation, are cast and spent before History finds its hour of inspiration and scribbles off some poetic shooting star, soaring through the ether like a radiant firework carrying an immeasurable wealth of possibility for a people, for a nation, for all of humanity. And History leaves us smitten again to its seductive prose as a truly significant incident has taken place once more.
In 2016, our most beloved scribe flared in creative brilliance and penned a new champion who overcame political correctness and emerged as President of the United States of America. Donald J. Trump. A monumental time to be alive, we are all participating in tomorrow’s inglorious past. Lovers of History rejoice and sing out your hallelujahs!
But with all due respect to History’s creative imagination, any person sensitive to the long term trends in America would have predicted a businessman becoming President one day. Rage Against the Machine did so back in 2000. However, I feel no reservation in acquiescing to History’s suggestion in christening President Trump as America’s present day shooting star. The orange fossil has valiantly accepted the sole responsibility as our nation’s antihero to stage an exposé on the dopey fallacies of democracy in his mock seriousness, a task so bold and so politically fearless I daresay the swelling contempt directed onto himself would bring a mortal man to his knees weeping for his tender loving mother.
But try he must for Donald is the only suit in the room with the balls big enough to say, “Hey guys, our fucked up political system only serves to worsen our backwards culture. Here, let me prove it.” Boom.
When we look at democracy by itself we find no evidence of a deliberate plan of attack for a sustainable and benevolent structure that would improve the quality of life for everyone. What America has for a political system is just another facade for the toxic nature of power and greed inherent to capitalism and the perverted dominance of economic élite which politicians get on their knees for.
It’s quite disappointing how with an allegedly superior form of government that freedom itself can still only be measured by the size of one’s bank account. The perceived value of money is deeply embedded into generation after generation. Children are brought up with the notion that profit is more valuable than all the intellectual and creative achievements wrought by civilization. Glancing at the most popular college degree program will disclose where a nation’s real values lie, Business. Never once did a parent say to their child, “I’ve noticed you’ve taken an interest in doodling. You should keep at it and check out a school called the Center for Cartoon Studies. I think you’d really like that.”
Wild animals leave themselves to live in a world of dog-eat-dog competitiveness. There is absolutely no reason for why a philosophizing human being capable of arithmetic and poetry should have to surrender to the same primitive social structures as the dumb animals it puts in cages.
Our exalted free enterprise is one of many archaic value systems handed down from more primitive times. It nurtures senseless prejudice by means of economic disparity, minds are wasted on the endless pursuit of profit in careers that have no benefit to the human intellect or condition, growth and prosperity are stunted even though the resources are available, money is surely the worst stigma to modern civilization.
However, an equal dilemma has persisted in stride. This wildfire consumes all rhyme and reason in a fiery display of cultural turmoil seen in the witch trials, gold rushes and lynch mobs of yesterday to the clown sightings, police and school shootings, fake news and hashtag #boycotts of today. America is constantly drowning itself in a sea of uncivilized pandemonium, in odds with itself, fully incapable of seeing its own tomfoolery towards its fellow man.
Looking down from Trump Tower, Donald saw America as a hysterical woman, arms flailing, wheels spinning, void of all intellectual stability – a culture in decline as one concerned activist once called it. He couldn’t take it any longer and so set forth with feigned disposition to shake America violently and slap her around with his over-the-top demeanor in a heroic attempt to knock some sense into the old bird. The overdramatized nincompoopery reminds me of a circumstance where one person is behaving like an uneducated buffoon but doesn’t know it, so it takes a second person to act with exaggerated character to make the first person realize how unacceptable their own conduct has been. It’s a bizarre method of problem solving, I know.
And it’s not just America that needs to be slapped. Humanity as an aggregated living community needs to snap out of its hysterics and shed its shell of self-centeredness, political agendas and obsolete values to forge a more humane future beyond politics, poverty and war.
A Future By Design
Imagine playing the world building game, Sim City, and the city you’re creating is not flourishing as expected. The citizens despise you, congested traffic and garbage fills the streets, the city’s vaults are empty and a UFO just destroyed a neighborhood while abducting several Sims. Do you continue patching your broken city, or do you delete your game and start from scratch, retaining the accumulated wisdom and experience of your previous gameplay?
Human civilization has enough collective knowledge to redesign its own society through the intelligent management of people and resources. The same scientific method used to advance the sciences and technology could also be used to advance society and culture. The importance of this process of experimentation for observational exploration and drawing conclusions cannot be overestimated.
The obvious first step in this process would be investigating the environmental factors which spawn root causes of society’s problems. The removal of obsolete beliefs like money and debt, religion, nationalism, elitism, and borders would stop choking rational decision making and perpetuating social stratification. Afterwards, several possibilities could arise but perhaps the most coherent opportunity is seen in the life work of Jacques Fresco.
Over several decades of research and development, Fresco concluded that only a holistic approach dedicated to human and environmental concern would solve humanity’s search for a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. The long sought after idea for basic human rights and equality can only be achieved through declaring earth’s resources as a common heritage to all the world’s people.
Through the intelligent and humane application of science and technology, every person on earth is capable of a very high standard of living. The global problems faced by mankind cannot be solved through politics. All conflict, domestic and global, is ultimately derived from the imbalance of natural resources in the form of clean water, arable land, and the technology and personnel needed to maintain a high standard of living.
In a Resource Based Economy, all goods and services are available to all people without the cumbersome, unequal exchange of money, barter, or otherwise. Humanity currently has the scientific and technological means to reach a high productivity level, creating an abundance of resources. Only through abundance and its equitable distribution can nations and people hope to end their infantile behavior towards one another.
Building new cities instead of updating the piss poor efficiencies of current human habitats would also be required in our redesign of society. Whole cities could be erected one at a time in highly efficient layouts optimized for energy, population, food production and recreation. These future cities would be based on the garden city design first illustrated by Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1898, fixed size circular communities surrounded by greenbelts containing the perfect ratio of residences, industry, and agriculture.
A city center might include eduction systems where learning takes place without financial segregation. The center might also include other core services such as health and child care, and the cybernated network systems which manage resources intelligently. These circular cities, as a whole, would act like universities for global resource management and environmental studies. They would be dynamic, continually improving research institutions meant for the benefit of all people.
Automobiles would, in most respects, be replaced by a much more intelligent transit system consisting of high-speed magnetic rails connecting all cities. Politics and governing bodies would be phased out by computers allocating earth’s resources efficiently to the benefit of all. Planned obsoleteness would no longer be a thing. Robotics and automation would replace all repetitious jobs. Man would finally be free to pursue the higher possibilities of intellectual fulfillment and creative endeavor.
What might motivate people in such a society if they are not required to earn a living? Incentives would manifest from the reward of problem solving and self-actualization. Once people are mentally free of debt, obligation and servitude they can at last seek out new horizons that they would never have dreamt possible before.
The narrow mindedness of national anthems ought to be left for encyclopedia references to a more barbaric past. John Lennon crafted the lyrically perfect song entitled Imagine. His rhythmic ballad yearns for a society that can truly call itself free. As we begin our march into the future, this new anthem would symbolize our more humane direction.
There are no notions of a perfect utopia and we may never solve all of our problems, but we can certainly design and build a strikingly superior environment to advance the lives of all human beings.
Redesigning society may appear extraordinarily difficult, but not really. We have the absolute freedom to do whatever it is we want. The only thing holding us back are the limitations we impose on ourselves.
History’s Last Laugh
I would expect many indoctrinated citizens will regard this futurist projection of humanity as commendable yet completely impractical for the bestial realities our leaders display and the nationalistic idiocy they encourage. It’s questionable whether we will ever overcome mankind’s declension into violent extremism and materialistic decadence.
Change is difficult. Exceedingly difficult. When Carl Sagan speculated on the evolution of human intelligence, he described human societies as lacking innovation, suffering from their own habitual tendencies. Any suggestion to transcend their comfort zone and change their perception or values is met with suspicion and resistance. History has written of society’s intolerance to novelty quite often, such as in the lives of Leonardo, Galileo, and Darwin. Even those suppressed by their religious, military, socialist, or capitalist leaders will often resist change because there is always more warmth in the familiar than with the risk of trying something new.
At some point in the not so distant future History will turn the page to kickoff a new chapter in humanity’s story and begin writing about change as robotics, automation and artificial intelligence take over the vast majority of available jobs. Billions of people will be rendered useless. How will humanity respond to this? Do we become the gluttonous society seen in Pixar’s highly-rated, animated film Wall-E, or a university society free to pursue intellectual and creative interests without limitation, or perhaps we’ll just settle for the regimented dystopia of the 1927 film, Metropolis, with the haves and have nots?
It’s unfortunate that History needs great human suffering before it begins writing about change. And actually, that might be Trump’s masterplan after all, to completely fail in his presidency. It would be the first instance a President carries hope for the future, for only a catastrophic political failure at this sublime moment in time could force a stupendous political-social-economic revolution the world has never known before. If this is indeed Trump’s ingeniously devised conspiracy, wow, just wow.
But knowing History’s twisted sense of humor, however, my greatest fear with reaching the end of our page turning shooting star is that the politics and duress prevalent with capitalism will persist as another opportunity for social and political innovation is only dangled in front of us like a carrot but never reached. History, you sonofabitch!