I recently watched the following video and listened to the commentary presented by John Taylor Gatto, whom I am guessing may one day be remembered, if he is not recognized already, as one of the "Founding Fathers" of "Unschooling":
The Purpose of Schooling
In this program, one thing in particular stood out to me, starting around 1:20...
"[It was recognized that], if children could be kept childish beyond its term in nature; if they could be cloistered in a society of children without any real responsibility except obedience; if their inner lives could be attenuated by removing the insights of history, literature, philosophy, economics, religion; if the imminence of death and the certainty of pain and loss can be removed from daily consciousness; if the profound reflections on one's own death could be replaced with the trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, young people would grow older but they would never grow up. And a great enduring problem of supervision would be solved, for who can argue against the truth that childish and child-like people are far easier to manage than critically trained and self-reliant ones."
Prior to this, with the last update of this blog post (June 2012), I had written the following:
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I have come to the conclusion that people tend to have the same idealized view of "the Government" as they do of their parents. Furthermore, to the degree they are still of the mindset that they NEED "Government", or that other people NEED "Government", then it is roughly to the same degree that they are unsure of their own abilities to function as mature, self-sustaining, relatively self-sufficient adults in the company of other mature, self-sustaining, and relatively self-sufficient adults. To have "government", after all, is to have someone else "governing" or guiding one's behavior, with the assumption that is necessary because one is suffering from some deficit - mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually - that would make them incapable of guiding that behavior for themselves.
In addition, to the degree that the Government abuses its citizens, which it actually does all of the time through taxation and inflation, as well as sending its often poorest members to die in foreign wars, people are just as inclined as children to repress the trauma that results. Naively, they continue to love their parents (or in this case, their "government", or at least the institution of government) "unconditionally", and as if their very lives depended on it (just as our lives do depend our our parents when we are very young children).
In one of my earlier "Blue Moon Turtle Blog" posts, Cornerstone Part 1, I explained how I was given a legitimate reason to question everything my mother taught me when she ended up in the emergency room of the local hospital having (apparently) had a major paranoid delusional episode that led to her trying to "kill herself." I wonder if there is an equivalent action or course of events involving one or more governments in the world today that would once and for all, give everyone (or, at least, almost everyone) good enough reason to question everything those governments (or "Mother Culture", as Daniel Quinn would put it) have been teaching us. For instance, is it going to take a Nuclear War to see the "craziness" of our parent-governments? What about the part of the population that is quite literally praying for "apocalyptic" destruction (while assuming no harm will actually come to them, the "believers", just to "everyone else")?
I'm not sure the "occupy X" gatherings are going to provoke much of a response. And, now, several months down the road, there is little evidence that they have had much of an impact. In fact, I think the Government is just fine having all of that frustrated energy expended towards the Wrong Targets, i. e. towards the "bastard step-children" (Big Bankers, Greedy Capitalists, etc.) instead of the "Abusive Parents."
So what happens after the Occupy movements run their course with little or no actual effect?
I read a Buddhist quote the other day: You have three options - remove yourself from the situation, change the situation, or accept it.
I know some people think they can get "the Government" to "solve the problems", and each group is focused on their particular issue, but that is going to be an ultimately futile effort since "Governments" are notorious for being central to many of the problems facing human culture today.
I know their are many people afraid of "anarchy" - even though, as Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio explains in this book, Everyday Anarchy, there are all kinds of ways that human culture is already "anarchic". It is not like there is a central government that is controlling every aspect of our daily lives, and therefore, those aspects that are outside the government's control, we exercise without "hierarchy", or "monarchy", or any other kind of "-archy" which is the same as "AN-archy".
In addition, if you believe human beings to be inherently flawed and selfish...then why give even a few of them a monopoly of military and police power so they can selfishly and greedily lord over all the rest of us. At the end of the day, people who become our elected officials are really No Different than the rest of us, except for the fact that they are actually More Likely to have exaggerated selfish or even psychopathic tendencies. So giving them access to even More Power than the rest of us doesn't make any sense.
With regards to Option One: It may seem impossible to remove oneself from the influence of "government", in part because most areas of the world are ruled by governments, so where could any of us "go" to get away from ours?
The first step may be simply to "walk away from" the whole IDEA of "Government". We are either able to figure out how to take care of ourselves and the people nearest to us either as family and friends or members of communities, or we aren't. Clearly relying more and more on "the Government" to do that hasn't worked out so well. (And, keep in mind, there are TWO major dependent populations here, in this country, not just one: Both the "welfare poor" AND the Ultra-Wealthy people are depending on the Government, one for millions of dollars and the other for billions. Either way, they are both DEPENDENTS, and for some reason not feeling mature or capable enough to manage their lives successfully On Their Own, contributing Real Value to the society by actually engaging in work that is of Real Value to others.)
After reconsidering the whole idea or "need" for government, then the second step would be to find creative ways to exchange goods and services without the Government having an easy way to track or tax those transactions. I know there are various communities and even barter businesses, for instance, that are already doing that. (This video,The Money Fix shines some light on some of those alternatives.)
The above exchanges would of course involve more local food production. Wherever possible it would mean "shrinking" or restructuring communities to be more self-sufficient and sustainable. (Here is a good place for more info on what is involved with that: Transition Network.)
I'm thinking there is something to the "management model" currently being used at W.L. Gore highlighted in this article: (Innovation Democracy: W.L. Gore's Original Management Model) that might also be applied to smaller "human scale" communities. Here is another article highlighting a cooperatively owned company in Spain that is now competing successfully in the "capitalist" market: Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism: Mondragon shows the way.
Clearly, many people have already begun to "remove themselves from the situation", emotionally, psychologically, and practically, without actually removing themselves from the land mass of their home "States" or territories. However, if you have the resources, that is even an option with Seasteading:Seasteading Institute.
I am a firm believer in the idea: If you don't use it, you lose it. So...if we stop "needing" or "using" the Government, or slaving for it, then it will collapse on itself. All the people in the world today who are extricating or even partially extricating themselves from the system are, at least to me, the Great Pioneers and Explorers of our time. No different from many of the early explorers, creative thinkers, and artists of the past.
I present the idea my TEDx talk below, that "The World Is Waiting" for us to Grow Up. And we need all of the mature adults, who are capable of being responsible for themselves and working productively with others that we can get in the years ahead if we are going to finally move human culture into its next level of evolution.
Get Ready - The World is Waiting
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As of this update (March 2013) I have this to add from a comment I recently posted on Facebook:
In our world of "instant gratification" and propensity to solve problems of violence with more violence, it is hard to imagine that there is a "middle road" (between the kind of government we have now and no government at all) that is actually, already evolving, but has not fully come into existence yet.
In the fall of 2011, I came to my work with Paul K. Chappell and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, still feeling very "anti-government". However, as I am currently re-reading a galley copy of Paul's fourth book, "The Art of Waging Peace", to be released July 4th, I am reminded of the conversation we had that was about the statistics of large groups; i.e. within a population as large as that of the U.S., all other things being "perfect", you are still going to have a percentage of the population that will be inclined towards violent behavior, if that is 1 in 10,000, in a population of 3 million, that is still 30,000 people. And if those 30,000 people amass themselves into groups, they can cause even more damage.
Consequently, there is a logical reason for the Intelligent Use of Police Force, within populations as large as most of those around the world, something Martin Luther King, Jr. also believed in. We may not have the best way of organizing that yet, but I have lost much of my idealism around a purely voluntary society system. I still do not like the system we have, There is Plenty of Room for Improvement, but I don't think we will ever be at a point where there will be no need for Some Kind of Governing Structure, and Police Forces, as part of that system. Having massive militaries on the other hand, that is actually a different matter altogether, a matter and distinction that Paul also addresses in "The Art of Waging Peace."
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Update June 29, 2013
And yet again, here is another video that gives a very clear explanation of What Anarchy Isn't that addresses the concern about need for "protection" from any person or group of persons in a society that might want to violate the non-aggression principle, for whatever reasons.
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In addition, there is more and more evidence that the "Occupy" movement is making some headway in various quarters. For instance, this article came to my attention recently: Occupy Sandy Builds Worker Power in Far Rockaway. I am pleased to see that the article refers once again to the Mondragon company which I have already drawn attention to above.
More and more people are becoming sensitive to the problem of plastic waste in our world and in our oceans. This documentary is one of many highlighting the problem, and this is one 19-year-old's possible solution Ocean Clean-up Array.
There are many more organizations expanding to educate people about "urban gardening" such as John Kohler of Growing Your Greens, and GROWtest.org which advocates "Grow Food, Not Lawns". And lots more consideration with regards to more sustainable housing not least of which are the Tiny House and ongoing experimentation with Earthships.
Two other organizations (among many) I would like to draw attention to here are A Liter of Light led by Illac Diaz and World Bicycle Relief.
As I have said above, although we may be looking for "instant gratification" from all of our efforts, it is only because we have been conditioned by our fast-food and fast-media culture to expect that. However, this is like expecting fast results from a fad diet. What is required from all of us today is to Commit Our Entire Lives as necessary to Becoming the Change we want to see in the world, and persevering in those efforts, even if we do not live to see the greater impact.
But, Things Are Changing, slowly but surely, and I have Faith that the slow and steady nature of "Turtle Power" Will "Win this Race", Win for the Human Race, in the long run. We just have to Keep On Keepin' On!