Saturday, 16 January 2010

The REVOLUTION begins here - Part 1

I finished my last post saying that having painted such a bleak, but all too realistic, picture of our situation, in my next post I would present some of my ideas on how, once recognised, we might face up to this existential challenge. So here goes:

The REVOLUTION begins (as John Lennon says in his song of that name) in each individual's head (and heart), with recognition (which John, I guess, lacked) of the perverted Darwinian nature of the power structures which underlie the existing socioeconomic order of state and economy, and of our civilisation in general. 

Notwithstanding our complete material and (often neglected) also emotional dependency on it, the whole system is fundamentally flawed, having developed over centuries or millennia as a misplaced and perverted expression of our Darwinian nature (tabooed, rationalise and thus unrecognized), to facilitate society's (self)-exploitation as an artificial environment. This is the context in which history and all the social and political sciences need to be studied and understood.

Since we can survive neither with nor without it, we have no other choice, unless we leave a ruthless Mother Nature to take her course, than to create an alternative, based, not as the existing socioeconomic order is, on the blind (subconscious) perversion of our Darwinian nature, but on a conscious, rational and humane understanding of it, and of the situation it has got us into, which we have to get out of if we want our civilisation (and our children with it) to survive and prosper beyond the middle of the current century.

I realise that recognising this is a huge, initially terrifying, step in itself, but it has to be taken before we can proceed.

Then the next step is to recognise that at the moment "we" are just a tiny, relatively powerless, minority who must cultivate hope and patience, rather than succumbing to frustration or resignation. I've put "we" in quotation marks because there will never be agreement on what this alternative should be, and we cannot afford to waste time arguing or fighting over it. We have to get a move on, which means developing a number of different alternatives, in order to accommodate our major differences. We just need some very basic rules of mutual respect, non-violence and democracy to regulate how the different alternatives interact and cooperate, analogous to those which now regulate relations between the states comprising the European Union.

At the moment we are all totally dependent on state and economy, i.e. capital, which organize society for their own (ultimately, perverted Darwinian) purposes. Creating the necessary alternative(s) requires us organizing OURSELVES, peacefully and grassroots-democratically. These alternatives cannot be created in an instant, but will require time (years) to develop. As they do so, we can transfer our dependencies, activities and vested interests to them, gradually, step by step, each of us, when we are ready and at our own pace - notwithstanding the urgency of our cause. At the moment, at least, any coercion could be totally counter productive, because people naturally and understandably, as a matter of principle, react against it. We need ourselves and others to act from conviction and of our/their own free will. This is what will drive our revolution, in contrast to past revolutions, which, no matter how well-intentioned, have always been forced through and imposed, and have thus miserably failed to achieve their goals.

In liberal democracies like Britain, there is nothing to prevent such a grassroots-democratic revolution, provided we proceed peacefully and within the law. Otherwise the state will simply crush us or incorporate us back into itself, which is what happened to all past revolutions or attempts at revolution.

This revolution must have a base so broad that it can not be easily overturned. And its most basic constituent parts (namely, millions of individuals) so robust that even if they are torn apart, they will quickly reconstitute, i.e. reorganize, themselves once favourable circumstances allow. Just as the whole material universe and the life it has given rise to (certainly here on Earth) are rooted in self-organization at the most basic, atomic and molecular, level, so too with society, where the basic units are the individual and his or her tribe.

Just as atoms, given the right conditions, organise themselves into molecules, molecules into more complex structures (e.g. cell organelles) and these into cells, which differentiate and organise themselves into specific tissues and organs, which finally constitute the finished (but evolving) organism, so too, I suggest, by analogy, with society. Only it is not for me, or anyone else, to tell another individual how he or she should feel and be inclined to self-organize, i.e. which alternative(s) to the existing socioeconomic order, they should commit themselves to.

The state, organized religion and capital currently organize society from the top down for their own perverted, subconscious (and thus unrecognized) Darwinian purposes (the pursuit and exercise of power in its multifarious forms). It is for us - those of us who will - to gradually, peacefully and grassroots-democratically turn this situation on its head.

The basic problem with so-called "society"

The underlying and unrecognized problem with "society", is the fact that it is not primarily a society at all, but an (artificial, socioeconomic) environment, which state and economy developed over the centuries to facilitate the self-exploitation of, to the main advantage of power, wealth and privilege.
From a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian, perspective it is easy to understand why this should be the case, but massive social, political and personal taboos - the product of a prodigious "prime-ape" brain that evolved tointerpret reality (its environment) to its own, now perverted, Darwinian advantage - have thus far prevented this, deluding us into seeing state and economy as serving society, rather than exploiting it.
They DO serve society, of course, and we ALL totally depend on them (for order, security, income, products and services), but as a shepherd serves his flock, which isn't primarily for the flock's sake, but for his own and/or his employer's sake, for the meat and wool the flock provides and can be exchanged at market for MONEY, the most versatile form of POWER, the pursuit and exercise of which (in all its multifarious forms) is what Homo sapiens' primordial struggle for survival and (reproductive) "success", misplaced and perverted in the artificial environment of human civilisation itself, has essentially been reduced to.
If our civilisation is to survive, we must recognise and develop an understanding of this, because it is the root cause of the problems (social, political, economic and environmental), which, unless resolved, will put an end to us.
Currently, virtually everyone still looks to either the state or the economy (or usually a combination of both) to solve "society's" problems, but they are utterly incapable of doing so, since they themselves are the primary cause of these problems. Only it is not in the state's or the economy's (capital's) perverted Darwinian self-interest (in facilitating the pursuit and exercise of power) to recognise this. And because our dependency causes us to identify our own interests with them, our brains prevent us from recognising it too.
One might reasonably doubt that there is a solution, since "society" and the power structures of state and economy which serve and exploit it have never fundamentally been any different to the way they are now. It is just that in the past "society's" privileged elites were not nearly so large or numerous, and the overall impact on the natural environment was far smaller. Now, our collective impact is totally unsustainable and rapidly leading to disintegration of the globalised economy it can only temporarily support.
Of one thing I am sure: if there is to be any hope at all of us (our civilisation) surviving this present century, we must quickly recognise and develop an understanding of the situation we are in (and its Darwinian nature), instead of continuing to deceive ourselves into believing that we can carry on more or less as we are.
It is a very scary situation we are in (another powerful force deterring us from facing up to it), but we need to be scared - terrified! - not necessarily for our own sakes, but for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Even if we cannot be sure of success, we should at least face up to the challenge. That is the very least we (who have had it so good in our lifetimes) owe to them, and to our forebears, who endured and achieved so much for OUR (their children's and descendents) sakes, but for whom state and economy couldn't give a monkey's. On the contrary, anyone making too specific a reference to them is likely to be accused of xenophobia and racism.
The political left and right are not really so different from each other as they like to imagine. Both are intent on maintaining and/or changing the socioeconomic environment to suit themselves. The political right want a state that largely restricts itself to protecting and enforcing individual property rights, which is where their main interests lie, while the political left want a state which gets involved in all aspects of society, because that is where their interests tend to lie. With both sides insisting, of course, and no doubt sincerely believing themselves, that their own interests correspond with those of society at large, since what really characterizes the human brain is not its (hugely exaggerated) rationality, but its capacity for rationalization and self-deception in pursuit of narrow, short-sighted and often perverted or totally misconceived self-interests.
No political party or movement, to my knowledge, has even the foggiest notion of our true situation and thus of how we might yet save ourselves. All are blindly intent, no matter how sincerely and well-intentioned, on leading us to oblivion.
Having painted such a bleak - but, I'm afraid, only too realistic - picture of our situation, in my next post I will present some of my ideas (which are far from fully developed) on how, once recognised, we might face up to this existential challenge.