Monica Do Coutto Monni
"The limit of technology.There is indeed a mine for silver, and a place for gold which men refine. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is melted out of stone. The earth, though out of it comes forth bread, is in fiery upheaval underneath. Its stones are the source of sapphires, and there is gold in its dust. But whence can wisdom be obtained, and where is the place of understanding? Man knows nothing to equal it, nor is it to be had in the land of the living.How to buy wisdom?
To Anthony and Clara, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, heart of my heart.
To the youth of the world, my spiritual children. Be better than I could be.
I really don't care if people call me crazy, saint, senile, humanitarian, pessimistic, naive, ignorant, a visionary, wise, or plain stupid from now on. Pick your adjective if you wish.
I am just a human being like you, with the good, the bad and the ugly in my personality, like everyone else. However, I am one of those of you who believe that Good must prevail.
I will tell you what I see and think, no half words. It is not time for ceremonies anymore.
Here's the equation:
7 billion people on the planet + 2 new babies born every second + climate change + exhaustion of natural resources + global pollution + global economic crisis + massive poverty + failure of global governance + general dissatisfaction + social unrest + intensification of natural catastrophes in a super-populated planet + weapons of mass destruction = You tell me!
This book is about hope. And life. And what can be rebuilt after what we are about to see. It will come to pass soon. We all know that.
We all feel it deep in our bones. Something inside us makes our skin crawl when we think about the days to come. Few of us have the courage of wording it loud, in fear of being considered crazy or radical.
I'll tell you what, son: we all have survival instincts. This internal silent red alert we are all feeling is real. It is the red alert of our species ringing out loud in all of us.
It is 3 AM in deep Canadian winter, 2011. It is – 25 C out there and the North wind whirls and howls under the red lights of the hospital. Through the window I see the toy world of Temiscaming, my cute little French-Canadian town in Northern Quebec – everything is pitch black and icy white and immensely silent. Nobody out there: it feels so peaceful.
Temiscaming, Quebec, Canada
I am wide awake by the bed of a dying gentleman.
The only light in the room is my laptop screen, and the divine sound of Bach’s Six Partitas with Glenn Gould comes through my earphones and fills this strange world, composed of laptop and human in the dark.
It is ironic that I can almost touch the dream in such a setting – I have sought for it so eagerly all my life and could not find it anywhere, not even in the most advanced and beautiful places and societies of the world...
Anyway, what I want to tell you is that I am not writing for today, or for those living right now.
I am writing to you, children of a future I will never see: those who survive this moment.
The present I live in, it will not end well, and it will not last much longer.
It feels very lonely in here, in my consciousness: hard to be painfully aware I am living among people who think they are alive, who move and talk as if they were alive, as if they had a lot of life ahead, planning delusional schemes of power, personal pleasure, wealth, or grandeur.
It is a question of time now: they are already dead and they don’t even know it.
They will never see the future - so there is no point in talking to them.
These people of my generation, they are going into massive self-destruction.
I am living in a world of living-dead soon to be destroyed: all their dreams, all their deeds suddenly turning into nothing.
That’s why I've decided to talk from now on exclusively to those who will survive what is about to come.
I am talking to the future, not to the present. I am talking to life, not to death.
This strange dialogue is taking place in the silence of the night, in some extemporal space between your soul and my soul.
It happened, will happen, and is happening now, at the future for me, in the past for you, when I am long gone physically, and you were not born yet.
When you finally read this, it will strangely remind you of something you had apparently never heard before. It will seem to you right now, and you will know my voice.
And you will recognize me.
I am writing to you before I complete my days on earth, so that my words become my living love and heritage to you.
And you are Humanity under God.
I leave you my hope: the hope of seeing a better world than I’ve seen. I hope that by now you are helping to build a world of Peace and Justice, a world of Humanity in harmony with Nature.
I am writing to you in my mature years, and this is the result of all that my eyes could see.
Accept it as a kiss of love in your soul, and a warm embrace from my arms around you.
That kiss I've never received, that embrace I’ve never known. Because my generation, they did not know how to love, how to be near, how to give, how to share.
I’ve cried inside all my life, all these years, together with almost everybody else - most of us belonging to my generation have been isolated and crying inside.
We have lived in loneliness, hurt, insecurity, fear, and anxiety - and life seems an endless stream of neglect, disappointment, and sorrow.
I don’t want you, my future, to cry like us. So please hear my words. Pass them on to your flesh and blood.
Write these words in the womb where your children are growing, so that they are born knowing it...
With Much Love,
The question on why humans created realities such as politics, economics, religion and culture the way we did has received the most diverse answers. Most of these accounts are in fact discourses organized around some cosmogonist theory on how these phenomena originated and developed.
Ultimately, we cannot know for sure and in detail how things happened in our past: if science can give us broad lines and general directions in its account of the human phenomenon, it is still far from giving us the ultimate explanation, or decisive evidence speaking in favour of all the in-betweens. That is why, in an effort to make sense of reality, many authors turned to a coherent narrative of origins and development - the cosmogonist approach.
Intellectual giants have tried the cosmogonist approach: the classical Greek Philosophers, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke, Darwin, and Stephen Hawkins are just a few of them. What is a cosmogonist model? It is a model that tries to explain "the origins" of something. More or less like the Book of Genesis: its a narrative about how the world, Adam and Eve were created.
This book is also exploratory cosmogonist model. I try to analyse the mechanism of human power from the perspective of evolutionary survival mechanisms, as a new attempt of giving an account of the human phenomenon that can further our insights, and more importantly, our potential of interfering in our human and physical reality in a positive way.
Please take into account it is an EXPLORATORY cosmogonist model. I am not psychic, not God, I don't hold the exclusive copyright over Truth, I have no vocation to be a fundamentalist extremist, nor I intend to found a new religion or Scientology. I don't even want to convince you that what I am saying here is unquestionable and engraved in stone.
Rather, the next chapters are meant to be a teaser to your imagination. New ways of thinking about ourselves, new possibilities of what we may become. I invite you to be much more than a passive reader: please come sit by my side and let us exchange new insights, let us imagine the world together.
I want you to QUESTION the human condition WITH me. Let us dive in the mystery of human nature!
You will see that I will often refer to the recent phenomenon of Globalization to exemplify the unfolding of my theory.
Let us begin with a simple assumption: “globalization is a historical-evolutionary inevitability but not an unchangeable inevitability.”
In a nutshell: we can see globalization as the inevitable outcome of the evolutionary trend of the human species towards becoming the ultimate predator on the planet, and the subsequent application of predatory survival strategies to human cultural structures such as politics and economy.
Although inevitable - and determined by the choices our species has made so far, our evolutionary trends are not unchangeable due to various causes, such as the plasticity of human brains; the plasticity and adaptability of evolution itself, when confronted with new challenges; and the unique ability of the human species of interfering in our own behaviour and culture.
I have proposed in previous works (Do Coutto Monni, September 2007; November 2007; February 2008) that it is impossible to fully understand phenomena such as globalization, politics, economy, and law outside the framework of human evolution (Darwin, 1859).
Humans have developed mechanisms of survival that evolved in a rather chaotic and unplanned way, mostly determined by chance; successful mechanisms of survival were repeated throughout human history indiscriminately, as a panacea, with no second thought about their appropriateness when applied to different contexts and situations.
With time, these survival mechanisms evolved into a monstrous outgrowth, an over-arching cultural structure nowadays called “civilization”, which permeates all cultural sub-structures, including politics, power, economy, and globalization.
I call this over-arching structure “the predatory culture.”
We humans have developed a "predatory culture" because we took these predatory survival mechanisms for granted – as “good,” “efficient,” and “the only option we have to survive, because it is part of our nature.”
Indeed, it is “part of our nature.” However, it is not our complete human nature, and not even a lasting human nature. The blunder we historically have been doing for millennia is to assume that “nature cannot be changed” and that “this is the only nature we have.” Being predatory was a stage of human evolution, and I argue that we have achieved a stage of brain development that is now beyond the predatory brain of the superior mammals.
The fact is that there is nothing more plastic and malleable than Nature (Darwin, C., On The Origin of the Species, 1859). If you just give life enough time to evolve from simple unicellular beings such as bacteria to highly complex organisms, you get lifeforms such as human beings, who do not resemble at all with our remote unicellular ancestors in the primitive oceans. Four-hundred fifty million years ago, our ancestors were flatworms in the Cambrian oceans. Seven or so million years ago, our ancestors were small apes jumping from tree to tree, the Ardipithecus ramidus. Three or so million years ago, our direct ancestors, the Australopithecus africanus, still looked more like our modern apes than human. So make an exercise of imagination with me now: who shall we be, say, in three million years from now...?
Our great great grandparents the flat worms in the Cambrian Ocean: what do you think, looks like you...?
Closer analysis would even question if there is such thing as “nature,” or just lasting - in human terms - though eventually passing configurations within what we are used to call “nature,” i.e. the physical world. Nothing ever stays the same...
Any geologist will tell us how young the human species is, and how many predators were the passing rulers of the natural world for a brief evolutionary moment before us, since time immemorial. Their lasting kingdoms are now just a thin geological layer under our feet.
Our great grandparent the Australopithecus ramidus (above) and our direct ancestor the Australopithecus africanus (below).
Despite our limitations as a species, we humans have developed technology, though so far we have not been capable of implementing the much dreamt of Common Good. Why haven't us been capable to ensure simple things such as peace and happiness on earth, even being capable of sending probes to the stars...?
It is clear that, if we have already reached the stage of deserving the title of Homo habilis - after one of our ancestors who lived around 2 million or so years ago - we are still far from actually being Homo sapiens.
Classifying modern humans as "sapiens" is a bit over-ambitious to my taste - maybe we should review the adjectives we use as self-proclaimed "wise guys." Sapiens means “he who knows,” "he who has sapientia (i.e. knowledge, wisdom), and it seems to me that we are a little carried away by our self-proclaimed "knowledge" and "wisdom:" actually, we still lack clear-cut understanding of basic issues, such as the underlying reasons of our own behaviours.
If you do not acquire clarity on why you behave the way you behave - the driving forces that make you do what you do, feel and think the way you do, want the things you want - you are nothing more than a biological and cultural android, a robot, or even worse, a zombie, driven by forces and ideas you cannot really interfere with. In other words, you are helplessly programmed by instincts and cultural heritage, and your free will, your ideas about free choice - or even freedom at all - are a real joke.
So first things first, let us try to think together about the essentials: why you act the way you act.
I cannot prove what I am going to say because I am a theorist, not a field scientist: I will tell you a story, the way I see it after a whole life of observation. And story for story, my tale is as good as any other tale.
I have no reservations in telling you all a story, in an age of statistics and hard sciences, first because all statistics and hard sciences could not prevent the destruction about to come, and they could not give a constructive direction to humanity; second because millions of people and countless generations have based their lives in narratives and traditions such as the Bible, or imaginative cosmogonists such as Rousseau and Hobbes. So if the “modern” mind could take dreamers like Rousseau and paranoiacs like Hobbes seriously, I don’t see why they should not take me seriously too. I think the ideas you are about to read make a lot of sense.
Again, I ask you not read it as if I were giving you a final answer that must be engraved in stone. I am not a prophet, nor a genius, not even a scholar. I am just a simple woman who never stopped to observe and think for half a century. So I am quite sure my ideas are just a small stepping stone, over which many other brilliant thinkers will be able to develop magnificent cathedrals of constructive ideas to you, my future.
You may be thinking: “what a lame way to start a book. This woman Monica asks me not to believe in her theory; she tells me this is just a beautiful story, a tale as any other tale, and even has the cheek to admit she has no proof of what she affirms here. Why should I read that?”
Well, here’s a good solid reason to shoot my own foot in terms of literary style just in Chapter One: I am not a shameless liar.
And here’s a second reason: I have the strongest intention of subverting your mind out of the models you follow currently.
It is time for you to wake up from the danger of believing easily in things you hear, see, and read, just because someone presents a new idea or piece of information to you in a very self-assured way, positive words charged with certainty, “speaking with authority,” with self-asserted body language and airs of gravity, presenting their own ideas as truth engraved in stone.
Yes, it is true that there is such thing as “fact,” as in “death.” “Death” is a “fact.”
A "fact" happens despite, and independent of, any and all words we can say about it, any and all desires and perceptions we may have about it.
And then there is make-believe, as in "your perceptions about a fact," as in “the meaning of life and death,” in the form of a narrative. We can give all kinds of different “meanings” to life or death, depending on our perceptions.
“Narrative” implies in language: just words, words, words... signifying unities put together in a chain that seems plausible to your senses.
There are various types of languages that use different types of “words,” such as numbers in Mathematics, images in visual arts or in a CAT scan, sounds in music, components and pieces of technology, or elements and results in a scientific experiment. These are also “words,” “unities of meaning,” capable of composing a plausible narrative that your mind will then interpret, or give a meaning to.
Nothing can be more “factual” than technology. There it is: all those pieces and components being assembled together to make some artificial creation of man, so as to serve some practical purpose.
Nevertheless... have you ever thought about “technology” as “narrative”...? It certainly is. There is a “genesis” of every piece of technology, its conception, creation, improvement, maturing, its purpose, its function. Its great conclusion, when it fulfills its function. Its aging, its retirement, and death. Its life cycle. The human mind “reads” the narrative of the pieces building up a new gadget, to assemble it in a “full story,” the meaning we attribute to that gadget.
There are pieces of ancient technology of which modern humans cannot make sense anymore, because we’ve lost the “context” in which that gadget served its “purpose,” like the Antikythera mechanism.
"The Antikythera mechanism was found in a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera in the early 20th century. While it was originally thought to be a part of the first known mechanical clock, it’s now recognized as the first known analog computer. It was probably built between 150 and 100 B.C.E., predating other similar devices by at least 1400 years. But since it’s not operational and has long ago crumbled into many pieces, we still don’t know exactly what its function was." (Quote and picture available at http://gajitz.com/gadgets-of-gears-gone-by-ancient-greek-analog-computer/)
We cannot escape “narrative” – it is everywhere.
However, all these different types of narratives together, helping you to “make sense of the world,” are in fact the mother of all make-believe’s.
Why? Because the same narrative can assume an altogether different “meaning,” depending on your own perceptions.
There is a quote I love about that, by St. Paul:
“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13)
Your perceptions about a “fact” are fleeting. They can change due to many factors, such as your age, health, culture, psychological maturity, personality, mood, or system of beliefs.
For example, not long ago, an adolescent humanity totally infatuated with its own strength and intelligence, was hailing nuclear power as the ultimate solution to all our problems. This myth becomes very clear in American movies.
An asteroid is about to hit Earth...? Easy, nuke it and vapour it into pieces! The moon is falling down on Earth...? Nuke it to put it back into its orbit! The Ring of Fire is about to swallow Los Angeles in a mega-earthquake...? Nuke the geological fault to close it! Advanced aliens from space invading Earth...? No problem, nuke’em! Ice Age, mega storm, the invasion of the mutant ants, epidemic outbreak...? Well, you know: just nuke’em.
Nuclear power seemed to have acquired an Eros of juvenile male potency, capable of overcoming all challenges and dominating everything. Anyway, old experienced women find this particularly comic - just as a brief digression.
The narrative about nuclear power is changing, as natural disasters gain momentum in this era of transformation, and humanity experiences the uncontrollable devastating consequences of nuclear power plants cracked open like nutshells by nature, in the blink of an eye.
All of a sudden, nukes are not Eros anymore, not an icon of unlimited creative power and preservation of life, but a tool of destruction and death, the symbol of human impotence and foolishness, the magic spell turning against the wizard’s apprentice who unleashes powers he cannot control.
A “fact” per se cannot be satisfactorily and exhaustively expressed by, or translated into any language, to be finally captured as a “final truth” by the human mind.
“Fact” in its purest form is “non-verbal;” it “exists,” period; “non-verbal” here meaning “beyond any and all forms of narrative,” “beyond and independent of narrative meaning.”
No matter which kind of “language” you use to make sense of the world, even if you use all these languages I’ve just mentioned together – the sum of all human knowledge and perceptions – narrative is actually a crutch the human mind uses to limp clumsily throughout and towards the “non-verbal,” where fact exists in its purest form.
If you go back to History of Science, you know that even in hard sciences such as Physics, a given “ultimate truth engraved in stone” not long ago, such as Newtonian Physics, proves to be just a part of the whole story, a particular perception of a “fact” written in a special style of narrative, and not “the” unquestionable final truth.
Those among you, who know something about the history of political propaganda during wars, are aware that entire populations are kept in a cloud of illusion and misinformation through news on the radio, TV, newspaper, and widespread rumour, by leaders who slant facts to meet their own goals of power. Just think about the sinister, intolerable, shocking Nazi propaganda against the Jews during WWII. This can be done anytime against any of us, my friends - if we accept assertive discourse as representative of a "fact."
On a humorous note, the panic caused by Orson Welles' War of the Worlds in 1938 is still an embarrassing little testimony to how easily our minds can be fooled by assertive words.
If you think that slanting facts and altered perception only happens in fiction or in politics, you have totally forgotten that day you quarrelled with your brother, sister or friend when you were both little: “it’s your fault,” “NO, it’s YOUR fault,” and both of you were SURE to be right about the very same “fact.” What was that again...? Whose turn was to throw the ball...? Yours or his...? Who started it again...? “He,” of course – not you; but “he” will swear forever it was “you”- not him.
And if you think I am talking here just about politics and children, think again: look at the endless, sometimes millenary grudges among countries and cultures in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, or among ethnical and cultural groups in America. They all live in a “story” that repeats itself in a loop, because subsequent generations receive the “narrative” of past events and perpetuate it unconsciously, as “truth.”
Imagine if one day all Palestinians, Jews, and Middle Easterns suddenly woke up with total amnesia.
No memory whatsoever about their differences.
Imagine that all records of their past disputes were destroyed, all markers of national frontiers were not in place anymore, no information about their previous grudges since the Pentateuch.
For some miracle, they would all wake up that day speaking the same “language;” all their culture and beliefs of the past totally erased and gone. Their only referential would be their own bodies and nature around them.
Do you think that they would immediately grab their guns in that wondrous morning, and start shooting one another for no reason...?
Imagine that someone appeared to them that morning and told them a totally different story. Imagine that this someone affirmed that he knew them since their creation and that they were brothers of the same blood; that they had been one single nation united in peace and mutual bonds of love since time immemorial.
How do you think they would all behave, if all of a sudden this new “story” were introduced in their completely erased minds...? How would mothers and teachers educate their children that day? How would two men, who had gone to be as a fundamentalist Jew and a fundamentalist Muslim the day before, react on that wondrous morning, when their sons started a brawl because of the ball game...?
I am quite sure that they would “believe” the new story, and actuate upon it accordingly.
In that wondrous day, Jews and Muslims would go hand in hand to school and work side by side in peace, to build one single nation and feel like brothers of the same blood. Just because “that’s the truth they believe in.”
Well, this actually happens every at two seconds every day, at every new child that is born. Children are born with no “memory.”
If only we all gave a chance to all those children, so that they could live in the present as friends, buddies and play mates, as two peas in a pod ... not in a delusional fairy tale of “differences impossible to overcome” and “unforgiveable mutual wrongdoings” of a past that is no more...
Why must our children inherit our mistakes and wrongdoings? Why obliging them to perpetuate mutual grudges and hatreds, to live a life that is not theirs, but of their ancestors...?
Why, for God’s sake, do we have to pass on the errors of our grandfathers to our grandchildren, and oblige them to repeat the same mistake, and suffer all the misery, again and again...?
This is just an example to give you an idea of the power of narrative.
When Catholics talk about “forgive and forget,” for example, this opens a glimpse of what the world could become if only ONE generation of parents were committed to break with each and every past event of misunderstanding, war, and mutual hatred.
Imagine... if only a whole generation of adults from all sides and paths of living had the courage of stopping all wrongdoing in their own chest, broke up with all past, silenced all mutual accusations, opened their mouths just in praise of their former enemies, approached just to work together, and told their children a new story of peace, friendship, and mutual understanding - even if in the beginning the new story seemed to them all a total delusion...
Their children would grow up perceiving the “tale” of their parents as “truth.” And as soon as their parents’ generation had passed, and a historical past of violence buried with them, a new historical narrative would unfold...
Partial distorted perception mediated by language and memory - the fate, beauty, and curse of the human mind.
Coming back to present days: with the advent of the Internet, you can read the same fact reported by newspapers all over the world, each one telling the same story from an altogether different point of view, sometimes even interpreting it in the opposite way of other newspapers on the very same day, depending on censorship, political goals, interests, and ideas of a particular country, local culture, current beliefs, and many other factors.
And should I remind you of commercial advertisement in the mass media, commanding you to buy *now* that *infallible* drug that will make bald men grow hair, plump ladies slim down 4 sizes in 2 weeks, or that *miracle* cream that will erase all wrinkles from grandmother’s face...? And they even show before-and-after images to give you *evidence of the truth.* Of course your grandmother in the advertisement is a 20-year-old gorgeous skinny model in hairdo, make-up and high heels, but obviously you are not supposed to notice that. And because the assertive images and words in the advertisement “command” you not to notice it and buy the darn cream, you don’t notice it and actually buy the darn cream – you “believe” that the cream has transformed grandma into a gorgeous skinny 20-year-old model and will do the same miracle to you.
I will not even go into the promises politicians make during electoral campaigns, the analysis and forecasts economists prophecy about your country, the advice experts give you on how to invest your money, or the assessment of car dealers on that used car they are trying to push to their clients.
Let me break some shocking piece of news to you: last week, an 18-year old woman resident in the woods of ..., whose real name is still kept in secret by the authorities, was brutally poisoned by her stepmother, upon which she asphyxiated and died. Some days after passing away, she was spectacularly revived during her funeral by a stranger who suddenly approached her coffin and kissed her on the mouth. Witnesses declared that “she started coughing convulsively, spat a chunk of apple, opened her eyes, sat in her coffin, and smiled.” The lucky young woman declared that she is marrying the stranger who saved her life, and it turns out that he is a true blue-blood prince. The happy couple is planning to establish their residence in his castle, and to live happily ever after.
That’s the kind of *truth* you have been hearing all your life, from all sides. At school, work, home, in the media, and even that famous “I love you,” remember...? Make-believe in the form of narrative.
And if you still believe in all firm assertions you hear, my dear friend, we have a deal for you.
Fact is - I am not here to push any “truth” down your throat like that apple.
I just want you to look at everything around you with inquisitive eyes. Think for yourself. Think about the possibilities.
This is the heritage I want to leave to you: free thinking.
I want you free to dance around with all languages material and immaterial, in search of more and more glimpses of that non-verbal fact, wherein the silent eloquent mystery and beauty of existence lies.
One of the main causes of the demise of this current era is that people were educated to believe in assertive lies and mass media imagery fairy tales without questioning, like small animals to which one throws treats, happily hopping around to eagerly grab the treats in the air, with no second thought.
To hell with the possibility that there may be ground glass, razors, or poison in that darn beautiful red apple - you have been gobbling whatever comes with a nice coat of red caramel, don’t you? Including carcinogenic and teratogenic treats: remember thalidomide and DDT...?
Anyway, being systematically duped by the mass media and false appearances is not completely your fault, you know...?
This nasty habit of biting into poisoned apples without questioning, just because a big respected worm in suit and tie told you gravely on TV to do so, “it’s good for you,” and you should obey its words, actually started with your first ancestors in Genesis. The only difference is that the original big respected worm and your ancestors were all naked and there was no TV.
Besides, in your defense I have to say that mutual trust is a beautiful quality, and should be the norm in a world with more decency, if only people tried to be less mouthy and more genuine to one another. Nearer the non-verbal, more distant from appearances and make-believe that comes through discourse – including body “language.”
Don’t be mistaken about body “language” either. Only a small fraction of it is instinctual. Body language is learned and transmitted culturally. You can greatly misinterpret it, if you observe someone from a different culture making a gesture or having a facial expression that have an altogether different meaning in your own culture.
Body language even varies within a given culture. I remember a Particle Physicist from my own country that would smile throughout burials. In the local culture, you were supposed to display a low head and a sad countenance, so he was considered eccentric.
And never take the smile of a woman to you in a simplistic way: it can be anything, really – from love, to fear, to interest, to boredom, to hope, to derision, to admiration, to jealousy, to impatience, to charity.
As you see, trying to grasp, or impose, undeniable “truths” through any kind of “narrative” is futile.
Clarity of mind never commands you “I know best, believe my words!”
Clarity of mind tells you “that’s the best explanation I've found so far but I’m sure there is more into that than I can see now.” So please never stop thinking.
I have no intention of being your Kommandant. I just want to point at possible directions and further insights.
Truth is not a frozen pizza. You cannot take it from the cooler and heat it in the microwave. It will never be ready to serve in 10 minutes.
Truth is a pathway, not a destination. You must keep walking to find new pieces and bits of it at each step. Truth is inexhaustible – I don’t think we shall ever master it all, or obtain a copyright over it.
Forget “final certainties,” there is always more ahead on the way.
I have no miracle, no final enlightenment to bestow on you, no golden rule except that: that your eyes may open to see for yourself some glimpses of the Light that is out there.
I repeat: I’m not a shameless liar. So don't follow me (how about that...?) - go find your own answers personally.
You can use my ideas as pointers to your personal search, just that.
I will not sell you one more “undeniable infallible truth,” or “the solution to all problems,” or “the real meaning of life,” or "the perfect political system that will save the world."
I just want to share with you that glimpse I’ve been able to capture so far.
Human truths, they are all narratives of ideas and facts conveyed in some particular jargon or language: they are all stories told in form of Art, Religion, Mathematics, Technology, Philosophy, Science, Journalism, Politics, Literature, Education ...
So story for story, and without any further delays, here’s my story to you.
A lame story, yes – told in non-assertive words swirling freely around the non-verbal - but at least I'm being frank with you. Enjoy the view.
Let us go back in time, to pre-historical humanity.
From now on, this will be an exercise of imagination.
Imagine us all, humans, gradually developing survival strategies as millennia went by. These survival strategies included gathering, agriculture, hunting and breeding animals.
As I see things, these behaviours can be roughly divided into two groups: the gatherer-hunter and the farmer-shepherd.
The first group based on pro-active, predatory behaviours, namely “exploit, pillage and kill as much as you can and you will have a winter of plenty.”
The second group based on toilsome lifetime activity, namely “take very good care of, and protect everything around you – though kill them in the end - and you will have a winter of plenty.”
The gatherer-hunter strategy implies in perpetual mobility from one territory to another and does not favour the perception of clear boundaries and territorial frontiers, pretty much like the phenomenon of globalization, which has no other sense of frontier than “unexploited” and “conquered” markets.
The farmer-shepherd strategy implies in a more rigid notion of boundaries and territorial frontiers, because even migratory shepherds had preferential routes and seasonal territories for their herds, which ultimately takes mankind to the notion of land property and nation-states confined to a limited territory with clear frontiers.
These strategies are all permeated, interwoven and ultimately get interdependent by an extraordinary and central human phenomenon: trade. A volatile, ever-changing wave of humans on the move with a purpose: go get it.
Because humans developed language, we can pass on our experience to our descendants: overall, these two basic ideas were deeply ingrained in our behaviour, to the point that these strategies became “part of us,” the foundations of subsequent cultural ideas.
During the course of millennia, these strategies intermingled and took intricate forms.
For example, we extrapolated the idea that animals can produce wealth for us into “if horses and oxen make me wealthy, humans will make me even wealthier:” that is how we came to be breeders of humans, exploiting the workforce of our own species in the form of slavery.
Humans incorporated predatory survival strategies into their basic cultural structure, alternatively addressing fellow humans as predator (dominant specimens, competitors, bosses, authorities), peer (team workers, mates, friends), or prey (servant, slave, second class citizen).
I call this the PPP mindset, i.e. predator, peer, prey.
I like peer. It implies in unity and collaboration in its intrinsic structure. Problem is: “peer” has also been used as a predatory strategy, wherein “predators” unite and collaborate (at least temporarily) as “peers,” to hunt and kill “prey” more efficiently.
Think about team work in corporations, trying to “defeat” their “competitors.” This is human collaboration with a predatory twist, just like in hunting packs of wolves.
Notice that, from the three categories, only one – the peer – opens up to a potential change towards peaceful collaborative action: the other two, predator and prey, remain forcibly in the realm of pure destructive behaviour.
Collaborating to predate more efficiently is an instinctive survival strategy of many species – it is more dramatic and graphic in superior mammals and top predators. The problem with humans is that we are not exclusively instinctive anymore. We have been evolving mainly CULTURALLY, and not biologically, for a long time.
We collaborated in hunt, pillaging, and war, it worked, and we liked the results (I mean, our ancestors who survived – their victims of course did not like it at all). And because we liked the results, we taught our children to do so. Taught and trained them. We gradually added new strategies to their “education,” as we tried new “ideas” and they worked. After all, we felt that our children had to be prepared to survive. It was the best we could do to “protect” them: teach them how to be better predators...
Then we started trying those successful hunting and warfare strategies to other areas of our lives, such as politics, international relations, trade, local competition, and even “harmless” activities such as sports, in order to win, to prevail, to get advantages, to be the best, the first, the strongest - the dominant.
Please remember this word – “DOMINANCE.” We will be talking about that a lot.
I invite you to start observing people in their daily interactions with eyes of “dominant and submissive” behaviour. Try to spot who is trying to get dominance over whom, and how. You will be surprised at how deeply infected most human behaviours are with this game of dominance and control.
Even in the case of “harmless” people, such as a group of teenage sweet cute girls chatting cheerfully in a shopping mall: you can often observe one of them trying to laugh or talk louder than her “peers” in order to attract the attention of a group of boys. That’s “competition.” That’s an attempt of “dominance.”
Then you will perhaps see the “challenger” girl moving into action and laughing or talking even louder, or sending off a sign of attraction through her body language, to the boys nearby, so that they divert their eyes from the first girl to HER.
You can also observe the “submissive” behaviour of some of their “peers,” who will unconsciously assume the role of “follower” or “beta-female,” and walk a little behind the “challengers” or “candidates to alpha-female” of that group. These “followers” typically will not raise their voices, or laugh out that loud.
Do not take their actions as “totally instinctive.” Nothing could be more wrong than that. At home, consciously or not, mom and elderly sisters may be modelling these behaviours to them. They’re learning new tricks to attract boys with one another at school, in magazines, on the TV, at the gym, hairdresser, you name it.
So you see, the original basic pre-historical predatory survival instincts and strategies that in the origin of our species acted in a plain form just for hunting and confrontations, ended up evolving in a myriad of different subtle forms, up to the point of being present in almost every little cultural behaviour. That’s why we cannot “notice” it. It became kind of the “cultural air” we all breathe, or the “cultural sea” we all live in.
The problem of over-expansion and intermingling of these ancient predatory behaviours with human culture is that we transformed these survival strategies into cultural “narratives” and moral “codes” that make no sense at all: we learn to collaborate in society in order to predate more efficiently, and we learn that both “collaboration” and “predation” are “good” and “useful” in one sense, when it favours our own group and harms another, and “bad” and “immoral” in another sense, when it harms our own group and favours another. That’s what I call a moral and ethical mess, dichotomy, and double standard.
Actually, this mess causes us to develop into culturally split personalities, predating not only on all other species of the planet, but also on our own species, at times classifying our predatory behaviour as “progress,” and at times as “monstrosity,” depending on which side of the fence we are.
We created a hierarchical work system based on co-operation and division of roles, like some insects (bees, ants), and at the same time internalized and turned the predatory behaviours of superior mammals (wolves, lions) against our own species.
Politics, economy, power and globalization, as still practiced in this beginning of the 21st century, are expressions of this bizarre being, and an echo of this intrinsic evolutionary contradiction.
Overall, this contradiction causes our species to be in a social and political paradox: the Herculean effort of generations to build the Common Good through a hands-on practice of power based on slavery and exploitation. In other words, on the pain, flesh and blood of our fellow humans - which is nothing else than a blind repetition of anachronistic and misplaced predatory survival mechanisms.
These predatory survival strategies, and mindset, DO NOT apply to our reality anymore. Actually, they currently IMPAIR, ENDANGER AND HARM our well-being in a fundamental way. They were pertinent and useful in past situations, in a past reality, at the beginning of our development as a species, yes - but not anymore. We could well live without it, if only we dared to take off these furry cultural garments of predatory beast.
What you have not noticed is - metaphorically speaking - humans are NOT wolf in sheep's skin anymore. We have evolved to be sheep asphyxiating in wolf's skin. The proof is that excessive aggressiveness only harms us and make us suffer tremendously. Our psyche is not capable of coping with brute graphic predation anymore. Our psyche breaks, it goes deranged, if you cross the limit of brutality the new and more sophisticated human psyche is capable of taking in, the same way our awesome but fragile IT gadgets cannot take the same pressure and brute force of former stones being engraved with hammer and chisel by our forefathers.
The crux of the matter is exactly that: we are still trying to use hammer and chisel on our tablets and text-messagers, to put it into an image. Brute predatory survival strategies, raw predatory culture, applied to a newly-born, delicate, sophisticated prefrontal neocortex, capable of logical and critical reasoning. Capable of coping with the challenges of life by using wisdom, intelligence and reflexion, not a gun. A new human psyche, already here, but newly born and in need of nurturing and protection. We're crushing the baby, the best, most sensitive, finest fruit and most valuable part of our "self." The precious product of three torturous, arduous million years of evolution.
We are murdering our humanity. Consequently, we are murdering humanity.
So far, we have not really questioned our survival mechanisms transformed into culture: we have been replicating behaviours blindly, again and again, simply because these behaviours were culturally passed on from one generation to another. They are “there,” as the invisible cultural “air” we breathe.
There has not yet been a global critique to, sharp awareness of, and rupture with, these undesirable destructive survival strategies and behaviours.
"Modern" structures such as politics, power, economy, and globalization are a product of chance and ignorance, a reflection of what we humans are: a chaotically evolved creature with an intrinsic evolutionary contradiction, who has so far failed to make a critique of these behaviours transformed into culture.
As a species, we are still blind to the root-causes of our own destructive behaviours. We give little or no second thought about the appropriateness of the choices we’ve made throughout our evolutionary path.
It is high time to rethink ourselves.
A big problem with predators is that evolution grants them insensitiveness to their prey; otherwise, they could not possibly kill and eat dinner. Humans evolved to be the ultimate predators in nature and consequently evolved this insensitiveness as a protection against existential despair.
However, our protection against existential despair is not exactly impermeable. The part of us that evolved collaborative strategies of survival is there all the time, and must be repressed, or suppressed, or masked. This leads to dissociation: humans transform the discomfort of existential despair into frantic search for some compensation, such as sex, addictions, greed, consumerism, and so on. When the tension escalates beyond our capacity of keeping our minds as one, we break into psychological dysfunctions such as depression, outbursts of irritation, violence, or disruptive and destructive behaviour.
At the socio-political level, you can see this dissociation in corrupt elites. These privileged individuals have so much, and even so, they keep looking frantically for more power, stuff, and money. It is clear that something inside them is deeply dissatisfied; otherwise they would settle down and feel content with all they already possess, with themselves, and with their lives. However, they will enter in all sorts of corrupt schemes and messy business just to have more: they bargain their peace of mind for stuff, money and power that will never give them back their peace and well-being.
Why do leaders and elites sell out for something that really does not give them any real lasting psychological balance and well-being? Because they don't know how to be different, and often don't even know one can actually be different: they are breathing the predatory culture, and they live in the illusion that "this is reality:" "if I predate more I'll have a winter of plenty and THIS is what guarantees my life and the life of my family."
This kind of mindset blinds cultural predators to the obvious reality that physical survival is currently guaranteed in a far less complicated way: one does not need to be hunting all the time to have a life. One could well be devoting to collaborative survival strategies to make a living. Being a political leader does not necessarily mean to take advantage from the people all the time - this mindset could be easily transformed into "collaborating with the people all the time."
At the politico-economic level, this kind of “modern” leader with a split cultural personality often transforms their existential anxiety into corruption, oppression and exploitation of their peoples and organizations. At the personal level, it is common that they live pierced with fear of, rejection to, and derision for, their peoples, but still totally dependent on them on a very puerile, basic way, to suckle privileges, like helpless children.
On the other hand, you see corrupt peoples boiling in hatred, envy, revolt, fear and rebellion against the powerful, but still worshipping them, and trying to imitate their elites, all the while trying to eliminate them and take their place. Why? Because peoples are breathing the "predatory culture" and think that THIS is a leader, someone with power and money. That is what they have seen all their lives, so they think "that's the way it is." Few of them are capable of imagining a leader with no authoritarian mindset and personal and political control over the masses.
Fact is, in the collaborative mindset, leaders DO NOT HAVE personal and political control over the masses. They are there to SERVE and INSPIRE their peoples so that they go and do it for themselves, like so many leaders humanity have already seen. Real leaders EMPOWER their people, they do not take the power of their people as a hostage and use it for themselves. If you are skeptical about this, remember someone like Mother Theresa of Calcutta. She was an indisputable leader, and even though the predatory mindset you breathe in the present times prevents you from perceiving this kind of leadership - a leadership that serves - as political.
Somewhere in the mists of the predatory mindset inside your mind, something very crooked distorts your perception, and you feel this kind of leadership as "weak," "not respectable enough," "not a real politician." You hate the suit-and-tie leaders, but you go on voting in them and treating them with deference and subservience because you were primed to do so: you were educated and role-modeled by the predatory culture to have the mindset of a slave.
Remember, in the predatory culture, slave, servant = prey. Every time you eagerly shake hands and smile with four dentures at a suit-and-tie type of authority and run to do what they ask you, you are positioning yourself unconsciously as a follower, a beta-specimen, as cattle, slave or prey. Every time you worship this kind of success and power and do everything in the world to get there, you are culturally "bowing" before this "god" impersonated in an "individual" and recognizing his /her "divine" right to rule over you. Can you give me one single good reason you should do that ...?
You know, my grandmother used to teach me, when I was a kid, about subservience. She used to say: "sweety, if you bow too low, you will show your ass."
That helped me in practice a million times in real life, to preserve my personal dignity. I learned to turn my back and leave, instead of bowing. So my little woman's ass was kept very well covered, thank you. You turn your back with no second thought or warning, and leave your humiliators talking to the walls and to their mirrors. Leaders must have followers - or opponents. When you "stay there" and respond to dominant humiliators or exploiters, you perpetuate the neurotic game of dominance-submissiveness and validate their position. Have you ever thought about that...? It is the presence of the slave, the servant, that validates authority. There is no such thing as a solitary leader. Well, there are some in the psychiatric hospital, yes - still commanding the walls.
So to conclude this reflection, on the one hand, you have leaders who despise the masses, fear them, humiliate them, exploit them, but depend on them for everything, since there would be no wealth or authority if the masses did not produce it and follow it. On the other hand, we have the masses who despise their leaders, fear them, flatter and pamper them in public, but hate them on their backs, support them economically and politically, but depend on these leaders to make all decisions for them.
Together, human predator and prey in the predatory culture have been forming the mother of neurotic pairs in neurotic co-dependence. When you look at both sides of this story, you see the very image of an anthropophagic insane species. Please do not stand outside of this image. You are somewhere there, in the very middle of it, right now, exercising authority or subservience in some way. You are part of it. I hope not for too long, as you read my book and gradually free yourself from the predatory mindset.
The key to understand the human phenomenon is perhaps the word ultimate: an ultimate predator is an animal capable of killing and exploiting everything.
This implies in the fact that we have become insensitive - in other words, indifferent - to everything around us: the survival of other species, the well-being of our planet, the happiness of our own fellowmen, even those we love the most, and our own selves.
This indifference, however, is not an intrinsic or unchangeable attribute of some hypothetical human telos (nature, or being). I argue that it is just a circumstantial, instrumental attribute generated by a process we unconsciously perpetuate – THE PREDATORY CULTURE - and not some kind of true human nature.
We are living and actuating according to a conditioned drive, at odds with dimensions we could well relate as part of our own being: how often are we insensitive to the members of our close family, and to our own personal health, happiness, and well-being, trying to be “more productive,” and to overcome “competitors” or “challenges,” in modern society?[i] One can say that this is what happens when process takes precedence over being. Human behaviour has evolved not to guarantee the well-being of the human species itself[ii], but to guarantee the perpetuation of survival predatory mechanisms.
For example, during the 60’s, modern technology was seen as the magic wand that would free societies from the burden of hard work in two or three decades. Helped by technology, we would have more leisure time and freedom to develop different human dimensions such as human interactions, personal relationships, self-actualization, arts, philosophy, and so on.
Nevertheless, the unfolding of events proved the contrary: technology never took us to the Promised Land. The exhaustion of natural resources and current global economic bankruptcy[iii] are not only the most dramatic evidence of process over being and actuation over life in the beginning of the 21st Century, but also give shocking witness to the backwardness and inadequacy of our political, economical, and social practices in the very middle of the so-called “post-modern times.”
Calling our times “post-modern” and “civilized” is an act of debauchery. It is total lack of self-criticism - and frankly, I see it as insane inflated self-perception as a species.
There is nothing “civilized” in generalized misery, war, corruption, oppression, stupidity, greed and blind destruction.
Civilization will (perhaps) dawn when and if we finally leave predatory culture behind us. How can we talk about "civilization" in times when people are still born - when they are not killed in the womb - with no rights whatsoever to a clean environment, peace, health, housing, food, clothing, dignity, education, care, love, nurturing, protection, employment, leisure, freedom and equal opportunity...?
Open your eyes and look around! We are still in the pre-history of civilization! That's all that is there. Time for us to evolve from predator to something better - and this cannot be made at the public level. No one can impose a new law that will transform a predator or a prey into a collaborative peer. This evolutionary change must be made at the individual level first, to be then transformed into collaborative culture. The evolutionary mutation, in our case, is a CULTURAL MUTATION. We don't need to wait for some strange gene inside us to suddenly change. The genes of a cultural mindset are "ideas" and "perceptions." We can change that in a fraction of a second, when we finally have the insight. Like, right now.
HOW CAN WE CALL THIS A CIVILIZED WORLD...?
[i]It is irresistible to quote Paul of Tarsus here: “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?” (Romans 7:14-24). I do invite you to read Paul’s lovely confession under the light of the “predatory culture” I am proposing. You may be surprised at the striking parallels between the Christian concept of “carnal sin” and thoughtless actuation under the influence of a predatory unconscious script. A common misinterpretation of this passage is to associate Paul’s “sin that dwells in my members” to sexual drive. This is a modern misreading of his words. Paul was a soldier. The early Christian tradition tells us that Paul’s personal problems were generally due to outbursts of impulsive aggressiveness, and to his terribly short temper. He would often be entangled in discussions with male members of the early Church, the Romans, the Jews, the gentiles, and what not. A terrible boy, who challenged and criticized his opponents in public in the heat of the discussion, and had difficulties to forgive his enemies. When he would finally come to his senses, he would be sad for what he had done. Paul was definitely a repented fighter, not a repented lover such as Pierre Abélard – though both definitely charming, amusing troublemakers.
[ii] Contrary to what Hanna Arendt argues in her book The Human Condition, Chapter VI.
[iii] Starting with the crash of Wall Street in 2008.
Now I invite you to see human predatory behaviour through my eyes.
Modern predatory culture is just the logical consequence of the Cambrian Explosion, which started around 580 million years ago. When Nature granted a mouth and an anus to a bilateral flat worm - along with a digestive tract wrapped by a primitive nervous system and a pin-head organizing nervous centre near the mouth (the seed of our future brain)[i] - the stage was set to the logical natural evolution of the ultimate predator. A predator not only capable of exploiting all natural resources of the planet but also capable of killing and ingesting most life forms in the planet.
Here we are. Surprisingly, the ultimate predator is a small ape with big brains (though not yet big enough).
In simple words, humans have so far been compelled by the dynamics of predatory behaviour, simultaneously becoming the agents and the victims of this dynamics, exactly like the former champions of the predatory world, our friends the dinosaurs: a dog-eat-dog society wherein everybody is lunch.
I want you to imagine these predatory behaviours growing little by little throughout the millennia, from simple instinctive behaviour into unconscious or pre-conscious cultural mindset. Imagine these predatory behaviours being replicated and spreading, being attempted in new domains of human activity, and culturally transmitted to all aspects of human life; imagine these predatory strategies infiltrating all fields of our thinking, and becoming a solid constituted habit. Imagine disputes for dominance, so common in predators, transformed into politics and economy, in the form of competition for power and money. After millennia of repeated predatory behaviours, the psychological pre-conscious position feels like "it is human nature," "it's how we are and who we are."
Imagine Empires and nations getting organized as a pack of wolves, for example.
Imagine the strong dominant Empire or nation-state of any specific historical time as the dominant alpha-male. Imagine its strong allies and close associates as the other alpha-males of the pack, helping the dominant male to keep his sovereignty over potential competitors.
Imagine the pack’s followers and subjects as beta-males. Not strong enough to challenge the alpha-males, thence following in their shadow, gobbling every little crumb or bone the alpha-males leave behind, smiling at the alpha-males with four dentures while sniffing around for a breach, a moment of distraction of their leader in order to seize advantages and power.
Imagine the games of flattering and seduction around the alpha-male in order to get what he possesses. Imagine the lures, tricks, baits and traps they put in the way of these dominant alpha-males in order to weaken them, bleed them imperceptibly, or simply get them enmeshed in some invisible trap, in order to fall in the hands of these subdued specimens.
Imagine the dominant alpha-male and his allies becoming partially conscious of the game and hardening its rules to the extremes of the impossible, closing all doors to power and dominance to their followers, surrounding himself with all kinds of protective walls in the form or weapons, laws, control over wealth, and internal exchange of privileges and favours. Imagine this politico-economical dominant alpha-male crushing their opponents systematically with their indisputable superiority in strength and resources.
Imagine a group of dominant alpha-males trying to isolate themselves from treachery and competition in some form of exclusive boys’ club such as a League of Nations, treaties and organizations such as NATO, the UN, the G8, the IMF, and guilds of bankers. Although there is internal competitiveness in their circle - and fierce internal competitiveness for dominance - these dominant alpha-males organize themselves around common interests of survival and power.
Imagine these dominant alpha-males training younger members of their pack to work for them and to produce wealth (the subject colonies and countries), because they are still young and full of energy and resources – and have a surplus of vigorous inexpensive labour force – but are still immature enough to comply with all orders and coaching coming from their leaders, no matter how absurd and unjust these impositions may be.
Imagine the dominant alpha-male aging, becoming fat, self-indulgent, sleazy, and complacent, as the younger members of his pack work for him out of fear, blind loyalty, or ambition. Imagine this aging male losing touch with reality out there, surrounded by his privileges, and almost or totally forgetting the original reasons why he created his Empire and tried to stay strong in first place. Imagine him becoming distracted with all sorts of pleasures and corruption.
Now imagine the younger Empires and nation-states growing in the shade of the dominant Empire – be it a thriving rich colony like America was to the UK, be it “countries in development” - as we like to call the Fields of the Lord currently.
Imagine these subject younger nations as fierce teenager alpha-males, in the prime of their energy and resources, with muscle created under forced labour for the Lord of the Fields, resented, impatient, frustrated with year after year of heavy work, heavy economical sanctions imposed to them, looking at the party at the dominant alpha-males’ club from outside the window, living with no privileges, resilient, trained for survival in any circumstances, ferocious, avid to challenge the aging patriarchs of the pack and kill them in battle to finally get to the privileges of dominance.
Now imagine that when they finally break into the gates of the castle, they find out that the old bastard has already consumed all that they have produced and there’s nothing left in the pantry.
Let us rearrange the terms of the equation enunciated in the Foreword of this e-book from the standpoint of my Predatory Culture model:
7 billion people in the world + exhaustion of natural resources + climate change + weapons of mass destruction + primitive unprepared leaders still thinking about power in terms of alpha-male dominance + economic pressure over weakened older dominant alpha-males + young fierce primitive teenage males trained by older dominant males to become dominant males = dispute for dominance.
It's all about dominance, that's the basic mindset: no matter how complex culture has become, and how well culture masks the fight for power in the form of politico-economical “relationships,” the basic mindset unfortunately is still dominance, so disputes are unavoidable.
How and when it will be 10 dogs to a bone at a global level, this is something I cannot forecast accurately because I'm not psychic, and I have consciously jumped out of the circles of power long ago, not to get stuck in the swamp to the nose; therefore, I don't hear the rumours circulating in the inner circle anymore.
However, I am still capable of reading the behaviour of these... fine gentlemen in a clear way, even at distance. In 2008, I told my own blood and friends I was picking the scent of males preparing for war. I told them that, for all I was observing around the world, we were entering in pre-war period that in general lasts 10 to 15 years.
Males have been giving off all the classical signs; and believe me, their pheromones are so intense right now that I can smell them from frozen Canada at – 25 C and brought by the winds from across both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The signs of do-or-die for dominance are intensifying.
Due to that, I have been encouraging friends to try to have work options in both hemispheres, ideally with an option among at least three continents, to enhance the statistical chances of my loved ones to survive the odds of all this politico-economical and climatic transformation going around the world.
The problem I see is not the event of a total nuclear war - in this case the problem of how to sustain life on earth becomes irrelevant and we go into extinction. If there is no solution the problem is solved, so my concern is not with the probability of a full-fledged global nuclear war.
The real danger lies in the possibility of current politico-economical alpha-males choosing between classical warfare and limited nuclear / biochemical warfare to try to keep dominance; these are the options these fine gentlemen are considering right now (so intelligently and skilfully), as they try to figure out how to control their competitors.
My concern is that they come up with one of their classical “bright ideas” on how to keep dominance. My central concern is that things don’t go the way they have planned (they never do) and suddenly get out of control. One single moment of panic in the middle of some unexpected natural or economical disaster and this can easily set the domino cascade towards a new world war – and this time alpha-males and their challengers have nuclear and biochemical weapons instead of their teeth.
If you think that “unpredictable,” “reactive” and “stupid” cannot happen in the middle of this mess, just look back at History basics.
You see, I am not talking about “biological” alpha-males at any point of this book. I am talking about “cultural” alpha-males all the time. And I hope it is now clear to you that when I talk about “cultural alpha-males,” this term applies not only to individual belligerent behaviour but also to predatory collective structures, systems, and interactions.
Again, let us go back to the idea that humans are not evolving biologically only – for the last millennia, we have been evolving mainly culturally. Human cultural evolution happens in a faster pace than our biological evolution.
To give you a sharper picture of the Predatory Culture, I need to go back to some ideas of last chapter and paint them in graphic crimson.
Let us focus on the internal dynamics of human groups at the level of nation-states, and how cultural alpha-males practice dominance over their own human packs: a glimpse at the non-verbal energies going on inside “modern” societies.
Again, I want to stress here the word “cultural” alpha-male, meaning “anyone capable of sitting on the darn leader’s chair” - even a totally unprepared incompetent beta-male (I will come back later on how beta-males have actually accessed power throughout the millennia through the use of language and ruse, among other possibilities).
Prepared or not for the position, if the individual IS ACTUALLY sitting on the darn chair, and tapping in the mechanisms of power, he is playing the role of the alpha-male - even if he doesn’t have ANY hint of a trait of a genuine leader.
Unprepared incompetent leaders are my favourite example, and the epitome of what I like to call a “cultural” alpha-male.
The most tragicomic examples I know are those born in families of the elite, with no clue or calling whatsoever for leadership, who are automatically put in the darn chair due to the intrinsic inertia of the power game itself. This inertia is created by cultural alpha-males trying to defend themselves: it is common that they set up their own brood and associates in positions of power to defend their own interests.
Anyway, I will try now to word the non-verbal underbelly of our own “civilized human behaviour.” It is NOT my intention to prove here that we are reckless beasts of prey, on the contrary: I see hope, and I want to facilitate the insight of the savage non-verbal pre-conscious issues that need housekeeping, need to be brought to light so that we all see it clearly, and decide to change.
You cannot change issues that you don’t know you have, or that you cannot word properly because they are still at the non-verbal or pre-conscious level.
It is true that the masses still wait for the easy miraculous solution - some alpha-male on earth or a divine alpha-male doing everything for them. Then when schtick happens they can go on accusing someone, be it their secular leaders, their religious leaders, or their God. That's sheer immaturity and irresponsibility. Teenage attitude: “mom and dad are guilty of and responsible for all the problems of my life.”
I have been meditating about this mindset at the socio-economic-politico-religious-philosophical levels for some time – I like to call it humanity's global adolescence - that's where we are at this evolutionary moment, as a species.
We want the house and car keys, we want to dump school and be free to frolic as much as we want, but we are not mature enough to think about the consequences of our decisions, and how to realistically KEEP our social groups RUNNING and self-sufficient with day-in-day-out loyalty and responsibility, now and in the long run. In the long run” here means “as long as humanity can last on planet Earth.”
As a species, we are still living for the moment, and we don’t care if this one “good moment” will explode our planet or extinguish life on it.
Fact is – seeing that from the perspective of social groups - a responsible adult will start only those activities he/she is SURE he /she can keep running. You don’t buy a BWM if you cannot afford the taxes, insurance, down-payment and maintenance. You don’t buy a mansion you will not have the money or the physical strength to maintain. You don't set a boat to sail in Open Ocean if you don't have a plan, the goods, and the skills to go to the next harbour.
Likewise, mature responsible adults will not start a family if they are not CERTAIN that they will be able to cope with all the frustrations and challenges of protecting and parenting a new human being for the next decades. Obviously, you should never say "I'll love you forever" if you are not SURE that you will be able to resist all other temptations for the rest of your life, even when the thrill of the first times of a romance is gone.
You should not open a Bakery if you cannot wake up at 3 AM every day to have bread ready for your clients at 5AM.
You should not invest millions of dollars in a new factory if there is not enough raw material to sustain the production. OK, rewind that for a minute: how about a whole humanity investing in global consumerism that demands far more raw material than the Earth can actually supply us with...?
Same way, it is TOTALLY DELUSIONAL to start a Social Contract and a nation-state, wherein in theory the goodwill of their citizens should be transformed BY the citizens into daily reality, transformed into the concrete Common Good to ALL citizens of a nation, if: 1) so many citizens can't agree with one another; 2) so many citizens can't even know what they really need and cannot access education to figure it out; 3) the minority among them who DOES access education are predominantly interested in their OWN selfish Good; and 4) hardly anybody REALLY CARES about the Common Good IN PRACTICE, and won’t devote a realistic chunk of their daily lives to WORK and make decisions towards this Common Good, and leave it to the governing elites.
When societies simply want to “push” the hot potato of deciding what is our Common Good to the will of governing elites – this is not the “Will of the People” anymore, obviously! This is the will of the few, of the elite – and elite means ELITE: a few privileged ones, distant from the reality of the masses, estranged to the needs and difficulties of their people, simply because they have never experienced forced institutionalized slave labour in the form of minimal wages, unemployment rates, and poverty on their own skins. Or if they have, they make a point to forget and deny it very quickly.
Leaders of the elite will never make REALISTIC DECISIONS that respond to the concrete needs of their people simply because they are isolated from their people in an ivory tower of comfort; they are not under the urgent pressure of their people’s pain.
So they think theoretically, in terms of "long-term strategies," that alleviating the pain of individuals can wait a couple of centuries more, and the future wealth of their country is a good reason that justifies submitting millions of people living now to the horrors of poverty and forced labour. After all, they are building the wealth of their “nation” – the same way pharaoh was building his pyramid – losing some hundreds of thousands of slaves is still a fair price for the future well-being and greatness of “my” nation, isn’t it...?
Now - the non-verbal issues going through the pre-conscious mindset of elites, middle classes and masses (imagine elites as a “mom and dad” figures of irresponsible teenagers and kids wanting freedom – i.e. the middle classes and masses) is something so heavy that it costs a lot to me to even put it in words. Anyway, you cannot clean and heal a wound without first exposing it bare nakedly and putting your finger right inside it; so let me try to word the unspeakable and the taboo, for love of a better humanity that can be and should be.
Elites look at the masses in a split and contradictory way, with spurn and disgust at their base behaviour, but also expecting to be served and adored by them. Elites need audience, applause, and are psychologically and physically dependent on the masses to work for them and thus legitimize their “superiority,” but all the while they also want to “stay far” from the masses because they cannot tolerate them. Last but not least, elites also fear the masses. Otherwise they wouldn’t ride in armoured cars and surrounded by security guards (and we must admit they have a point in that).
Governing elites act as incompetent destructive parents in relation to their children: "common people are total retards - vulgar, stupid, corrupt, crude, ugly, smelly, lazy, impaired and inferior; they're not competent at all to do it by themselves, so let us manage their lives for the rest of our days: put them to clean our stables and plant our fields or in some forced labour production line, because that's the maximum that they can do. Let us give them some food and lots of circus so that they keep quiet and don't bother us too much, since we're stuck with them. And of course I want to be the boss because I'm intelligent, superior and competent; and of course I deserve to get all the result of the work of my retards for the trouble of being obliged to tolerate their stupidity - they're retards but they're good cattle in terms of workforce, so let's exploit them;" which of course is very convenient and often conscious vested interest that masses remain stupid to work for them.
What we have here is the wolf transformed into shepherd, the goat transformed into gardener, and the abortionist transformed into parent. Sheer cold derision, not one drop of genuine love and concern for the welfare of those masses vaguely perceived as instrumental agents of “my” well-being, or hardly tolerated as a "necessary evil," not as humans beings just like me, in need of all I need and deserving all I deserve.
So far, leaders have acted that way: never TRUSTING or HOPING that masses will ever mature or develop; or fearing that one day the masses might evolve and become “just like them” – and then it is proven that they are not “superior,” “special,” or “unique” at all. So for reasons of spurn, vested interest, or fear, the needed investment in education and ethical formation of the masses has NEVER been made so far. And then the vicious cycle is perpetuated, because as a leader you don't really make the political decision to take the masses to the level you are: first because you don't really trust or love the masses AT ALL; and second because you have a vested interest in them not growing because they are producing your easy life.
OK, let us word that graphically: the elites are indifferent or have a vested interest in KEEPING THE MASSES CRUDE AND UNCIVILIZED.
Therefore, indifference and vested interest actually translate into keeping HUMANITY crude and uncivilized.
If humans currently evolve mainly CULTURALLY, how on earth do you suppose humanity can evolve to a more constructive and collaborative culture in this kind of sabotaging, curbing mindset...?
In this mindset, OF COURSE humanity as a whole will stay stuck at a mediocre level indefinitely, one generation after the other.
DECENT leaders would acknowledge: "OK, it could be me. I am not different from anyone else. I am an average intelligence and when I look inside myself I know how limited and flawed I am. I would be that vulgar, smelly, quasi-idiot crude little animal I despise so much if I were born in the same hut he was. So, if I could learn and go beyond myself just because I was lucky enough to receive nurturing and protection, if we give the masses education, say, for some 20 to 50 generations, we help push the general maturity and competence of humanity in 400 to 1,000 years. With 1,000 years of investment, it is likely that everybody with an average intelligence like mine or my children will have the same opportunities in life I am having now, as a minority. I don’t deserve more than anyone, and my people don’t deserve less than I have received.
I WAS NOT BORN SPECIAL AND I AM NOT RULING BY SOME KIND OF ‘DIVINE’ RIGHT BESTOWED ON ME BY GOD, FATE, OR CHANCE."
That said, I hope now the underbelly of elitist non-verbal or pre-conscious mindset is graphically exposed and clear to you, my reader – and that you never forget it.
For - even for those who live in a religious mindset - say, Catholic, waiting for the Second Come of Christ - Jesus has left it abundantly clear that this had to be a PARTNERSHIP between Man and God, with Man becoming part of the Body of God – part of perfection - so that TOGETHER, they could perform visible miracles on earth and multiply physical and spiritual bread to ALL.
Now let us turn our attention to the non-verbal pre-conscious process taking place among the masses. If you think I’m going to pull up something like Rousseau’s “noble savage,” you’re totally wrong, my friend.
Masses look at the elites with a mixture of envy, admiration, hatred and hope that the “rich and powerful” will provide them with all they need, like children, yes. If dad gives them what they want they will smile at dad with four dentures and flatter dad with “I love you’s” and promises of eternal loyalty; if dad says “no” they will kick dad’s leg and yell “I hate you” and “I’ll kill you, you bastard.”
Masses look at the powerful and rich elites as role models anyway. They will imitate the elites. So if they watch some TV soap-opera about how their elites use drugs and have wild promiscuous sex in their parties with no misery or bad consequence, next day they will do anything to get a facsimile of the dress “that girl was using at the party, which attracted all those rich sexy dudes to her: I want to be just like her” – and there goes the poor dreamy girl, all happy and waddling downhill on cheap high-heels and outfit, to the joint on the corner of the street; and not long after, there comes one more unprotected child into the world.
Masses in the labour force get revolted against the heavy work they’re obliged to do to survive: going to sleep with body all sore, on a half-empty stomach almost every night, and never seeing the result of their physical torture. There is a point they decide “it doesn’t pay the pain” and will work grudgingly, eliciting reaction from their bosses, which in turn elicits even more hatred from labour force. At this point, labour force will do whatever possible to deceive, be sly, steal, and sabotage their boss and the rich, whom they see as their nemesis. They look at the elite with spurn and disgust, as a bunch of idle, corrupt, crude, promiscuous, selfish, good-for-nothing, indifferent idiots who live in luxury over the sweat of the poor.
So in a nutshell, masses have split and contradictory feelings and expectations about the powerful and rich: want to be like them, want to kill them.
So far, masses have acted that way: never trusting that their leaders will take them to a better future (and we must admit they have a point here) but on the other hand doing everything possible to imitate the elites, or get what the elites have.
Now - if you think that middle classes are in better shape, you’re wrong. Middle classes look at both the elites AND the poor with spurn, disgust – and mixed feelings of adoration or sympathy. They want – and do insane personal sacrifice – to “be like dad” as well. They will give their very last drop of their blood to climb to the next level of the social ladder – which means that consciously or not, they want to be like the elites they despise as incompetent, idle, corrupt, crude, promiscuous, indifferent idiots who live in luxury over the sweat of the “brave competent middle class.” They look down at the poor as troublemakers, corrupt, crude, promiscuous, incompetent, criminal idiots who are there to steal and to cause problems and expenses to them. However, they yearn and sigh for a simpler life like the poor have, with less overwhelming pressure and responsibility, and when it is time to spurn and be hostile to the ruling elites, they will side with the masses with no second thought.
OK, I guess you got the picture. I don’t need to go into further graphic detail.
Now, based on all that, tell me:
With so much divide, HOW ON EARTH can we create an organic, operational and collaborative society...?
Talk about dysfunctional!
If you look at this dynamics, one element jumps out of the screen as the glaring obviousness: the Predatory Culture mindset. It has taken us nowhere.
Dominance, subservience, competition, challenge, lure, divide, mutual fear, mutual rejection, utilitarianism, exploitation, and do-or-die: predatory survival strategies, all of them.
The Predatory Culture has kept us in a vicious cycle of Rise and Fall of Empire after Empire.
The Predatory Culture is the wound. A Collaborative Culture is obviously the healing.
How to get from point A to point B is the treatment – our challenge as a species: and yes, there is hope of survival. Next chapter will take us to some basic answers to our problems.
[i] The simple bilateral nervous system of the flat worms would later evolve into a spinal chord, and a sophisticated tree-like nervous system, controlled by the brains.
THIS IS A FREE E-BOOK IN THE MAKING