“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
~ R. Buckminster Fuller
This is a Thought Experiment.
You need to suspend all preconceived notions and let go of all beloved dogma. Everything we think we know, is an act of faith. Political World View is a Religion. Spiritual belief is a Religion. Even Science is Religion. They all require us to have blind faith in our individual or collective ability to decipher what we can sense. They are fallible, like us.
Before beginning our journey, we need to understand together where I am taking us and why. To this end, I want us to explore the human-universe a bit. (Don’t worry, it will be a quick trip… hang on.) The following is based in-part on my own perceptions and to a greater degree upon the work of the author Yuval Noah Harari in his magnificent book entitled, “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.” (If you have not yet read this book, I recommend that you do.) Here we go…
You might ask…what’s with the name Mbogo 7-2121? I’m glad you asked.
When I read Ayn Rand’s, “Anthem,” it resonated with me, deeply. In this novel, the character who has been given the name of Equality 7-2521 has been assigned his role in society and indoctrinated to believe that free-thought was subversive and selfish. Still, he cannot shake the reality that he does think freely and that for him there is a better way to live. In time he is found out as a “divergent” thinker and is punished, imprisoned, and ultimately escapes into exile.
Whereas Anthem’s Equality 7-2521 escapes by running for his life from the authorities of the collective, Ayn Rand’s character “John Gault” chooses to “go on strike” and leave the world of the collective. In this time of my life, I find myself embodying both characters. If I ask the question, “Who is John Gault?” I come to the answer, “I am John Gault… sort of.”
For the record, I have devoted my life to service. “Selfishness” has always been a dirty word to me. As much as these stories speak to me, I am not a convert. With that said, the myths of collectivism and capitalism, democracy and kleptocracy, socialism and communism, class-separation and social-equality have all failed us. We need to refocus.
As someone who has worked and lived within the realms of the government, the criminal justice and homeland security systems, religiously organized systems, and academia, I have learned a great deal about the dark side to these planets. As someone who has travel and lived in four continents, I have seen the danger of “tribes,” “collectives,” and other social orders that are based upon the human constructs of “fairness” and “justice,” and “equality.” These myths have their value, just like the myths of “deities” and “heavens,” “markets” and “money.” Still, it is important to keep in the back of our minds that each of these are manufactured myths that are unknown in nature.
I see the value in cooperation; working together was can do great things. Working together, we can also create war, organized crime, oppressive governments and religions, global climate change, and the ever-over-swinging-pendulum of the search for “equality.” It’s a balancing act.
To my mind, I do not see a concern for personal liberty and self-care as mutually exclusive from caring for the earth or the health and safety of other humans. I think that they can be complimentary… potentially… I hope. Few things in the universe appear to be “either-or” propositions.
My concern with collectivism and “social-justice” movements is the difference between cooperation and coercion. In every collective human endeavor from religion to government to education to the local wine club, invariably the partisan-activists and narcissistic-elites take over and in short order freely chosen cooperation becomes corporate coercion and a self-inflicted slavery of sorts. I have never seen an exception to this. “Animal Farms” ensue. Collectivism and Capitalism both have their slaves.
Recently I read an article by an author who was trying to prove that Ayn Rand’s philosophy is dangerous, in practice. The author used Honduras as an example of a “Libertarian” hell. Okay… but another author could do the same using the “socialist hells” of Venezuela, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or Mao Tse-Tung’s China. I posit that each of these flavors of “cool-aid” has failed to meet the expectations that are printed on the box. Furthermore, it’s not helpful to true discovery for us to set out to prove a point; it is better to simple set out and see what you find.
To that end I want to ensure the reader that I am not a member of any tribe. I am not a “Rational Objectivist” or a “Existentialist” or a “Transcendentalist” or a “Stoic.” I am not a “Socialist” or a “Capitalist” or “Communist” and I am certainly not a “Fascists.” I am not a “Christian” or a Muslim” or a “Jew” or a “Buddhist,” or an “Animist.” I have no point to prove. I am a Nation of One and my Religion if I have one is to live a life of Loving-Kindness and Courage. I want you to know where I’m coming from… nowhere and everywhere. Let’s just see where this takes us and what we find.
I suspect that Yuval Noah Harari in his amazing book Sapiens has touched on the only thing that may save us, from us. We must create a new set of community myths. The new myths need to protect individual liberty and free-thought, while promoting understanding that we are all in this together.
As for me and the question of what kind of human world I’d rather create and live in… I’d rather be a deer than a cow. That’s my two shekels. Then again, “Who am I to judge?” I am only a nation of One. I sign on to no single tribe or faith or single way up the mountain. They can all lead us astray. In real life there is nobody who is going to float down from the sky… wave a magic wand and tell us to “follow the yellow-brick road.” We need to create our own path to a better and more responsible world. How do we do that? Got myth?
When you lose everything, you have nothing to lose. We as a species are getting dangerously close to committing suicide, and suicide is according to some, a selfish act. So come with me, and see if A Figment of My Imagination can Save America and by Extension… The World.