3/01/2014

The Planet of Sorrows

"Why are we Alive?  Why are we Conscious?
What happens after death and before we are conceived?  Why?
What happened to advanced civilizations and continents (Mu, Atlantis)?
Shall we also face a global catastrophe?  When?  What?  Why?
What are the greatest dangers for humanity on earth?
Should we dream or act?  Can we change the system without hurting anyone?

Whoever seeks answers to any of the above will find this book truly fascinating.

There are no theories in this book, no wishful thinking or fantasy.  It is an exact witness report of the Reality of the Universe.

Are you ready?"
Those are bold statements coming from the back of a book that only has used copies on Amazon and has had its Wikipedia entry deleted twice.  But perhaps that's just how it would work in this crazy world.  Would you really expect to find pure, unmitigated, ultimate TRUTH to be found on the New York Times bestseller list or in the holy book of a popular religion?  It just figures that you would stumble upon a random pdf in the farthest corners of the internet and find the answers to the most important secrets of life, death, and the universe itself.

So let's cut to the chase.  In June of 1987, Michel Desmarquet left his home and family in Australia for nine Earth days.  During that time he was abducted by Extra-terrestrial Beings, the most spiritually evolved and technologically advanced in the galaxy, and they physically took him to their planet so that he could bear witness to the Truth, return to Earth, and tell us all about it.  He originally published his report as "Abduction to the 9th Planet", and it is now available as "Thiaoouba Prophecy", named after the home planet of Thao, who led Michel through his fantastic journey of time and space, mind and spirit.

Thiaoouba Prophecy tells the chronological account of how he spent those 9 days and what he learned while he was with Thao and her people.  In his report you will learn that we are not the only human beings in the galaxy, but far from it.  The billions and billions of stars in the universe are inhabited by humanoids who may look different than us based on the environmental conditions of their planet, but share a common spiritual purpose with us and all living creatures.  His report explains the mysteries of our planet and all the wonders of the ancient world, from the giant statues of Easter Island to the Bermuda Triangle and the Great Pyramids of Egypt.  It tells the story of the first humans to colonize this planet and of the various advanced civilizations that rose and fell before our recorded history.  His report tells us the most important truths from the Big Bang and the meaning of life and death to the future of humans on this planet - or whatever future we have left.  That is the reason Michel was chosen to bear witness and bring back this message at this time - it seems that we are at a turning point in our "civilization" based on the intersection of our current level of technology and our decadent culture.  This is our moment to either rise to the occasion and go to the next level of spiritual awareness or go the way of Atlantis and other ancient civilizations buried at the bottom of the oceans.

Before we proceed to review the message that Michel received, let me make a recommendation about how to think about this information, especially if you read Thiaoouba Prophecy.  Michel is adamant that his book is not a work of science fiction, that it is an "exact witness report of the Reality of the Universe".  Indeed, he challenges any physicist or anyone else to disprove a single statement in his book, and he declares that it would not be possible for himself, or anyone else, to make up this story.  In order to imagine one coherent and consistent account that answers all of life's mysteries you'd have to be a genius and a brilliant science fiction writer, a brilliant theologian, a brilliant historian, a brilliant physicist, etc. - and as Michel is the first to admit that while he may be a brilliant landscape architect, he is none of these other things.

But because we all hold beliefs, some or many of which may be in conflict with this book, particularly religious, historical, and political beliefs, you might find yourself "reading" Thiaoouba Prophecy while really just searching for statements that go against your preconceptions.  Aha!  This book can't be true, because the bible clearly states this, or the latest carbon dating clearly shows that, so this whole thing must be rubbish.  I encourage you to keep an open mind, and the best way to do that is to allow yourself to play with the ideas in this book.  Entertain them.  Read it as if it were science fiction, and ask yourself - what can I learn from this?  Does it have any good recommendations?  If this were true, how would it change my beliefs or require me to live my life differently?  My point is that truth doesn't come from authority.  A homeless man can speak a beautiful truth, and a PH.D. holding Nobel Prize winner can blather pure nonsense.  If Thiaoouba Prophecy does contains truth, whether Ultimate Truth or just enough truth to help you live a better life or help us all improve society, does it matter whether Michel is a humble genius who made this up, or if his fantastic journey to the 9th planet really happened?  The only question that matters is, what are you going to do about it?

The Reality of the Universe

"You have been chosen by us, to visit our planet, in order to report certain messages and to offer enlightenment on several important issues when you return to Earth. The time has come when certain events must occur.  After several thousand years of darkness and savagery on the planet Earth, a so-called ‘civilization’ appeared and, inevitably, technology was developed - a development, which was accelerated during the last 150 years.
It has been 14,500 years since a comparable level of technological advance existed on Earth.  This technology, which is nothing compared with true knowledge, is nevertheless, sufficiently advanced to become harmful to the human race on Earth in the very near future.
Harmful, because it is only material knowledge and not spiritual knowledge.  Technology should assist spiritual development, not confine people, more and more, within a materialistic world, as is happening now on your planet.
...
The creator sought spiritual experiences through a material world.

Man exists physically for the sole purpose of developing spiritually.
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Universal Law decrees that man's principle obligation, regardless of which planet he happens to inhabit, is to develop his spirituality.
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In other words your technology, which is nothing compared with what existed on Earth more than 14,500 years ago, is dragging your civilization down, and pushing it closer and closer to moral and spiritual catastrophe.
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A certain percentage of these people are arriving at a very critical point in history and we feel that the time has come to try to assist them.  If they will listen, we can ensure that they take the right path. This is why you have been chosen..."
Those are quotes scattered throughout Thiaoouba Prophecy which set the stage for what is to follow - the Reality of the Universe.  Because the first question that comes to mind is this: Why would Thao choose to take Michel on this trip across the galaxy and back with this message, and why now?  But knowing that the purpose of our physical existence is to experience spiritual development, then any familiarity with the plans and predictions of Ray Kurzweil and other leading technocratic elites should make it clear that we are drifting farther and farther from our purpose in life at an ever increasing rate.  We're rapidly approaching the tipping point.  It's bad enough that everyone is addicted to smart phones, televisions, and social media instead of being present and engaged in the real world around them.  But if you take people like Kurzweil seriously, and imagine a world where we "upload our consciousness" and "merge with machines" - well that's just taking it to a whole new level, one that might warrant an interstellar intervention.

However, the abduction of Michael Desmarquet isn't the first time the people of Thiaoouba have intervened with the people of earth.  In fact, they keep a close watch over our planet, living among us in physical bodies or by projecting their astral presence here.  In some situations they intervene directly, such as influencing the behaviors of certain leaders.  For example, they prevented Germany from being the first nation to have use of the atomic bomb to avoid the calamity of a Nazi triumph of World War Two.  They also removed billions of "needles" from Earth's orbit that the U.S. Department of Defense released in 1963 as part of a telecommunications experiment, as they judged them to have been potentially disastrous for us.  So while they can lend us a hand or prevent our experts from playing with matches, they cannot save us from disaster automatically.  Not only would it be counter-productive, as it would be like a parent doing their child's homework for them and thereby preventing the child from ever learning his lessons, but more importantly, "serving the meal on a plate" would go against Universal Law.  What is Universal Law?  Let's start at the beginning - with the Big Bang:
"In the beginning there was nothing except darkness and a spirit - THE Spirit.

The Spirit was, and is, infinitely powerful - powerful beyond the comprehension of any human mind. The Spirit is so powerful that he was able, by the action of his will alone, to trigger an atomic explosion with chain reactions of unimaginable force. In fact, the Spirit imagined the worlds - he imagined how to create them - from the most enormous to the most minuscule. He imagined the atoms. When he imagined them he created, in his imagination, all that moved and will move: all that lived and will live; all that is motionless, or seems to be - every single thing.

But it existed only in his imagination.  All was still in darkness.  Once he had an overall view of what he wanted to create, he was able, by his exceptional spiritual force, to create, instantaneously, the four forces of the Universe.

With these, he directed the first and the most gigantic atomic explosion of all time - what certain people on Earth call ‘The Big Bang’.  The Spirit was at its center and induced it.  Darkness was gone and the Universe was creating itself according to the will of the Spirit"
Thus, using the first of his four forces, the atomic force, the suns, the worlds, and all the atoms were formed over billions of years.  The planets cooled, continents formed, and some planets became habitable to life.  Then, using the second force, what they call the "Ovocosmic Force", the Spirit created the primary living creatures and plants with cosmic rays which ended up as "cosmic eggs".  And now we get to the good part: humans.  The Spirit always imagined experiencing feelings through a special creature, and thus he created that creature, man, with the third force, the "Ovoastromic Force".  "Blood that circulates thanks to the heart that beats millions of times independently of the will...lungs that purify the blood by means of a complex system...the nervous system...the brain which gives the orders, aided by the five senses...the spinal cord which is ultra-sensitive and which will make you [instantly] withdraw your hand from a hot stove so you won’t burn yourself."  All this for billions and billions of completely unique individuals; no two with the same fingerprints and no two having the same "crystalline" of the blood - pretty impressive stuff.  And now we come to the fourth force, the reason that our purpose in life is spiritual development:

"The Fourth force had a very important role to play: it had to bring to fruition all that the Spirit had imagined.  It ‘inserted’ thus, an infinitesimal part of the Spirit in the human body.  This comprises what you could call the Astral body, which forms one ninth of the essential human being and consists of one ninth of a ‘Higher-self’, which is sometimes called ‘overself'.  The Higher-self of man is, in other words, an entity which sends one ninth of itself into a human body, becoming the person’s Astral being. Other physical bodies are inhabited, similarly, by other ninths of the same Higher-self and yet each part remains integral to the central entity.  Further, the Higher-self is a ninth part of a superior Higher-self which, in turn, is a ninth part of a more superior Higher-self.  The process continues as far back as the source, and allows the enormous filtration of spiritual experience required by the Spirit."

The Astral body - our connection to The Great Spirit.  We are in constant communication with our higher-self via our cerebral canal, which acts as a transmitting and receiving post conducting special vibrations between our Astral Body and our Higher-self.  Through this mechanism (explored in books like The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe) our Higher-self monitors us day and night and can do things like save us from accidents, refresh us and bring us solutions to our problems in our sleep ("Night brings counsel"), and even perform the miraculous like healings that can't be explained by modern science or even resuscitating the dead (see DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences).

Nine seems to be the number of the universe.  Nine planets revolve around a sun, which revolves around a larger sun, each with nine sub-suns and nine planets each, which is again is one chain of nine to a larger sun, ad infinitum, all the way to the center of it all.  While for some periods of time a planet may disappear or appear, it always reverts back to a structure based on nine.

Michael is surprised to find Thao uses the Arabic number system, and in the appendix he shows how the numbers relate to their angles.  While snopes and other internet detectives have "disproved" this "hoax", I find it interesting.
So it is with us.  Each human being's Astral Body transfers to its Higher-self all the sensations experienced during its physical life, and "these sensations pass through the immense ‘filter’ of nine Higher-selves before arriving in the etheric ‘ocean’ that surrounds the Spirit."  If the sensations are based on materialism (a lifetime of staring at a smart-phone, perhaps?) then the higher-selves have trouble filtering this to get at the good spiritual stuff, just like a water filter clogs quicker if filled with dirty water than purified water.  Depending on the spiritual understanding we feed our Astral body during the course of our lives, it can take from 500 to 15,000 Earth years until our Higher-self has nothing left to filter.  At that point, one's Astral being is so spiritually advanced that it goes to the next stage where it contends directly with a more superior Higher-self.

Hence, there are 9 "levels" of planets, one for each level of humans and their associated Astral body.  And you guessed it, we live on a level one planet, sometimes called "The Planet of Sorrows".  Earth, like other first category planets, provides a learning environment like a kindergarten with an emphasis on teaching basic social skills.  As we are reincarnated and live various lives on this and other level one planets, we eventually graduate to a second category planet, like a primary school where further values are taught.  As we move up the chain and reach planets on the sixth, seventh, eight, and eventually ninth categories, both our physical bodies and Astral bodies reach a progressively more highly evolved state.  At the ninth level, they have the power to rejoin the Spirit and reach a point of "pure happiness" - definitely something worth working towards.

Alex Grey's "Godself" also shows nine - he must be on to something.
Thiaoouba is one of three ninth category planets in our galaxy, and they are like the adult supervision of our kindergartens and grade schools.  Their job is to guide us, to help with spiritual development, and in certain cases to help materially, whether that is to steer us clear of danger or even to punish us when our culture is particularly wicked.  But again, they must follow Universal Law: "If you make a mistake, you pay the penalty - immediately, in ten years time, or in ten centuries time, but errors must be paid for."  We can't count on them to always bail us out, otherwise, how would we learn our lessons and eventually graduate to the next level?

So there we have it, the meaning of life.  We all live on this planet in order to learn how to live, suffer, and die, but also to develop spiritually as much as we can.  Let's get to it.

The Dangers to Mankind

In order to maximize our time in this life towards spiritual development, we must be aware of the dangers we face.  Thao warns that it is not our physical bodies we should be concerned about, but dangers that brainwash our minds and corrupt our souls.  She advises four key areas that we need to be aware of:
"The real dangers on Earth, in order of ‘importance’ are: first money then politicians; third journalists and drugs and fourth religions.  These dangers in no way relate to nuclear arms.

If the people on Earth are wiped out by a nuclear cataclysm, their Astral beings will go where they must after death and the natural order of death and rebirth will be maintained.  The danger does not lie in the death of the physical body, as millions believe: the danger exists in the way in which one lives."
Money, the root of all evil?  The Venus Project people were right!  While there are a few passages that would seem to condemn money, when you take the lessons in context, it doesn't seem to be money as the medium of exchange that they warn against.  Money, as created by the market, is what enables the price system, which allows individuals to collectively economize scarce goods without the need for a controlling authority or technocratic elite to determine the infinite possibilities of what, how, where, and when to engage in the production process to serve fellow men.  Rather, it is the love of money, the singular pursuit of money and all that money buys to the exclusion of everything else that they warn against.
"The greatest danger concerns ‘materialism’.  The people of your planet seek money - to some it’s a means of attaining power; to others it’s a means to acquire drugs, (another curse) yet to others, it’s a way of possessing more than their neighbors possess."
So that makes more sense, especially in light of what we've learned about the Reality of the Universe.  Our Astral body can only be enriched spiritually - not materially.  Our physical body is just a vehicle we use to garble up spiritual experience, and when we die we can't take our toys with us.  So a life devoted to money and materialism is a waste of time or even a setback for our spiritual development.  That said, when considering the "hierarchy of needs", it seems money is necessary in order to facilitate trade and secure at least a basic standard of living.  Only once the bare necessities are taken care of do we have the time and energy left over to dedicate to the higher and nobler pursuits, including spiritual development.  So maybe we shouldn't abandon money and join the Venus project.  Not to mention, the Venus project assumes a technological elite that will dictate how humans interact.  Thao condemns all forms of authoritarianism - including communism.  But voluntary communism, when individuals choose to pool their resources together and share amongst themselves, whether that is the communism of the family or of small communities - there is nothing wrong with that.  In fact it may be very right!  It may not be as economical, meaning that scarce goods will not be used to satisfy the most urgently felt needs of all men engaged in the market process, but compared to moving up the spiritual ladder, maybe having the maximum standard of living isn't so all-important.

"On Earth, there is a great need for discipline, but 'discipline' does not mean dictatorship.  The Great Spirit, the Creator himself obliges no creature, human or otherwise, to do anything against their will.  We all have free will and it is up to us to discipline ourselves in order to improve spiritually.
To impose one's will on another, in a way which deprives the individual of the privilege of exercising his own free will, is one of the greatest crimes that man can commit."
Allow yourself to ponder that statement and reflect on what it means for us.  That should give you pause.  The very foundation of our whole rotten society is based on violating the "greatest crime" of imposing our will on one another.  It's one thing to have a government that forbids malum in se crimes: murder, assault, rape, theft, etc.  But we live in a world where it's illegal to sell toilets that use more than 1.6 gallons per flush, where cops pull sting operations on unsuspecting women for operating a taxi without a license, where scholars estimate every American commits three felonies a day!

So if politicians are our 2nd greatest problem do the Thiaooubians recommend we adopt Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalism?  Unfortunately not - but what can I expect from a Planet of Sorrows?  Instead, they describe how decentralized, democratic-monarchist political systems have worked with varying levels of success on other first category planets, where "leaders" operate within a very narrow range of action as opposed to "rulers" with unlimited power.

In the example of Mu (an advanced civilization that existed on Earth 14,500 years ago on a lost continent whose only remaining trace is Easter Island) it seems their laws only forbade malum in se crimes, and while the punishments were severe, crime was practically non-existent.  They made absolutely sure of the guilt of the person by using several mind-readers for hours at a time, and those mind-readers prepared separate notes which were then given to the judge.  If found guilty, murderers were thrown to alligators, rapists were covered in honey and buried next to an ant mound to be slowly eaten alive, and thieves had their primary hand cut off, followed by their second hand, followed by a mark on their forehead.  So rather than locking people up in cages and encouraging a new form of slavery via a private prison industry, people that were mortal threats were killed like rabid dogs, while thieves were free to live at the mercy of charity and as walking examples to deter theft.  Brutal, but certainly more just than our current system where the victims of crime are not given restitution and are wronged a second time by being forced to pay tax money to lock up and "rehabilitate" their offenders!

So while they don't recommend pure anarchism with private defense companies and insurance agencies offering protection and arbitration services, they do recommend something infinitely preferable to what we have today - limited republican monarchies with large swaths of voluntarism.  Not only did their example governments refrain from running amuck with malum prohibitum "crimes", but they also didn’t appear to claim ownership and dominion of every square inch of land - you are free to leave if you don't like it. And if you choose to be a citizen, then at least you have a very local and direct relationship with your leadership.  Thao gave examples from Earth and other first category planets where each town / village would elect elderly leaders known for their wisdom and common sense, and they wouldn't be paid anything for serving their community in this capacity.  They also mentioned the election was done with a hand vote, which clearly implies a very favorable representative ratio.

In representative-republican fashion, the seven leaders of a town would themselves elect a leader to represent them at the district level, from which they would elect a representative at the state level, where you then arrive at a wise council of seven for their kingdom, who then elect a "king".  While an analysis on the various forms of government is the subject for another blog, I did not need to be convinced that monarchism is preferable to democracy for those that value limited government and individual liberties.  I can thank Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Democracy - The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order for alerting me to that demonstrable fact.  So while I may be disappointed that we live on a planet whose people are so spiritually bankrupt that we may always need to have some form of an organization with a monopoly on violence, I do feel validated that the guardians of our galaxy recognize our second greatest danger as being "duped and led in circles by a structure of politician and bureaucrats."  But it's even better than that, they more or less validate the Non-Aggression Principle as a Law of the Universe!  Governments, should they be necessary at all, merely enforce punishment for malum in se crimes, while in every other capacity humans can voluntarily follow leaders and are otherwise destined to exercise their free-will in order to develop spiritually.  Libertarians of the world - we have a new moral high-ground!

"After politicians, you have the problem of journalists and reporters.  There are some among them, although unfortunately rare, who try to do their job of disseminating information honestly and sincerely, attending carefully to their sources; but we are greatly alarmed that most of them seek only sensationalism.
Your television stations too, screen more and more scenes of violence.
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The harm that such irresponsible reporting can do is unimaginable.  Thoughtlessness and irresponsibility are not qualities apparent in civilized nations.  That’s why I say, on Earth, you have not even achieved the first letter of the word civilization."
Not only do the journalists and reporters of our main stream media fuel the fires of our first two concerns, materialism and our political systems, they also have the power to influence the moral and spiritual development of millions of people.  As Thao says, sometimes they do good work, whether by acting as watch-dogs and alerting us of government corruption, or reporting on positive developments in the world, which are unfortunately usually regarded as not "real news" but instead "fluff pieces".  But that's the primary problem with media that Thao addresses - that journalists look for sensational stories full of blood, guts, and gore.  They figure "we'll give the people what they want" and completely neglect their responsibility they have based on their power over thousands or millions of viewers.

I've seen it mentioned before, but perhaps we'll take note when it's said by a 9th level being who is only one step removed from the creator of the universe: if we all agree that school shootings and other massacres are a bad thing, then why in the world does our media thoughtless devote so much time to immortalizing the sad, pathetic, lonely, confused lunatics who commits such atrocities.  For all the other poor souls who also want attention, this is a direct incentive for them to copy-cat these crimes in order take their place in the history books.  From a conspiratorial viewpoint, there are those in power who crave more power and therefore want to disarm every population that still retains their right to gun ownership and self-defense, and the more Prozac-heads that commit these crimes, and the more attention those crimes receive, the easier it will be to solicit a knee-jerk reaction and disarm the law-abiding population.

Regardless of their motivations, whether due to profit, ignorance, or more diabolical intentions, Thao has a common-sense approach to what responsible journalism would look like when tragedies occur:
"Journalists, reporters and anyone else whose function it is to disseminate information should devote no more than two to three lines to such cases of murder.  They could simply say: ‘we have just learned of the murder of seven people by an irresponsible lunatic.  This murder occurred at whatever location and is a sorry event in a country that considers itself to be civilized.’  Full stop’."
The other danger that we face, apparently tied with journalists, is the use of drugs.  While Thao doesn't give a run-down of exactly which ones are worse than others, the reason they are bad is not just their impact on one's physical health, but how they affect the psyche of the individual.  This is not just because it prevents spiritual development when you're in a drug-induced haze, but it can actually cause a reversal of your spiritual path:
"The Astral body can only be harmed by two things: drugs and the vibrations occasioned by certain kinds of noise.  Considering only drugs, it must be understood that they have an influence that is totally against Nature.  They ‘remove’ the Astral body to another sphere where it should not be.  The Astral body should be either in a physical body or with its Higher-self, of which it is a part.  When drugged, an individual’s Astral body is as though ‘asleep’ experiencing artificial sensations that completely distort his or her judgment.  It is in the same situation as a physical body is during an important surgical operation.  If you like, it’s like a tool that we bend or break by using it incorrectly or for a task for which it was not intended.

According to the length of time that a person is under the influence of drugs, his or her Astral body is going to decline or, more exactly, it is going to become saturated with false data.  ‘Recovery’ for the Astral body can take several lifetimes: for this reason, Michel, drugs should be avoided at all costs."
Religion: The hypocrisy of money, power, and war coming from a message of love turns Thao off just a bit.
The fourth greatest danger facing humanity is another drug once called the opiate of the masses: Religion.  In order to reconcile the most spiritually advanced people in our galaxy condemning religion, we must acknowledge that following an organized religion and being spiritual can be two completely different things.  The Thiaooubans continually fight against religions and particular sects because while on the face these organizations claim to help people worship God, they in fact "make it all much more complicated and quite incomprehensible by introducing rituals and laws invented by priests who look to their own personal interests rather than following nature and Universal Law."

Thao seems particularly upset when it comes to the double-standard and hypocrisy concerning religious organizations and money.  She goes on quite a rant concerning this:
"Sects and religions are a curse on Earth and when you see that the Pope sets aside millions of francs or dollars for his travel, when he could make do with much less, and use what money is available to help countries suffering from famine, you can not persuade me that it is the word of Christ which directs such actions.

There is a passage in your Bible that says: ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Paradise.’

The Vatican is certainly the wealthiest church on your planet, and yet the priests have made vows of poverty.  They have no fear of being damned, (yet they believe in damnation), because they say it is the Church which is rich, not them.  This is really just a play on words since they make up the Church.  It’s like the son of a multi-billionaire claiming that he is not rich - only his father is."
The other problem they have with religions is how holy teachings that preach peace and love can be twisted by religious leaders to promote wars and other atrocities.  From the times of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, you had supposed Christians killing and enslaving their fellow men all in the name of Christ.  While those are older examples, have we really gotten much better?  Laurence Vance writes extensively on the intersection of American Christianity and our dual-support for any and every War the U.S. empire launches, no matter how pathetic the target or how ridiculous the justification.  When churches fly American flags, pray for the troops, and generally turn a blind eye to the sick realities of an unjust, aggressive, and morally unsupportable war - you have to ask if they care more about their 501c3 tax-exempt status than being the modern day messenger of the Prince of Peace.

While it's not something Thao specifically mentioned, my concern is that religion is used by politicians to incite ignorance, hatred, and an all-encompassing Sharia Hysteria in our people to support bombing 3rd world countries who pose no justifiable threat to us, while also using these boogeymen as the excuse to restrict our liberties at home.  With America's good name being tarnished worldwide when acts of torture, spying, and other crimes against humanity are made known, we may be setting ourselves up to be the bad-guy in the next World War.  So it seems that the four greatest dangers that face humanity are conjoining sides to the same object - money, politicians, journalists, drugs, and religions are all tools used by elites, secret societies, and other enemies of mankind to corrupt us or at least keep us distracted from what we should be truly focused on - spiritual development through living a code of love, peace, and tolerance.

What Should We Do?

Probably the most objectionable parts of Michel's report, especially for those that consider themselves religious, will be the sections that describe the history of human life on Earth including the first peoples to migrate from another planet, the histories of our religions including Judaism and Christianity, and the rise and fall of ancient civilizations over the last 1,350,000 years.  I find this part fascinating, especially as it describes such wonders of the world as the 887 giant statues of Easter Island sitting out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (it's the remnant of the lost continent Mu) and the true purpose of the Great Pyramids - not slave-built tombs, but technology used to channel energies to communicate with other planets.  Anti-gravitation, the secrets of cutting rock using 'electro-ultra-sounds', the long skulls of Peru, controlling the weather, the secrets of the moon, and other mysteries found on the History Channel now form a coherent story when seen through the lens of Thiaoouba Prophecy.

While not as important as the meaning of life and death, Thao also sheds light on the Wonders of the World.
But while those things may be interesting, we come back to the practical questions: What does it matter?  How would it change the way I live?  What do I do with this information?  Luckily, there are some valuable lessons contained in the histories of the peoples that colonized this planet from another first category planet, from which Michel met an ambassador during his travels.

First, we can learn from the bad example of Earth's first interstellar immigrants.  1,350,00 years ago, on the planet of Bakaratini of the constellation Centaur, a decision was made by the leaders of that planet to send expeditions to the planets Mars and Earth.  By the time they decided to explore our uninhabited planet they had become very spiritually advanced, but that came at the price of some very hard lessons.  They were like us, having relatively advanced technology but also enormous political barriers between themselves.  Things escalated until they finally destroyed themselves with the atom:
"A nuclear war broke out on such a grand scale that the entire planet was plunged into darkness and temperatures fell to minus 40 of your degrees Celsius.  Not only did atomic radiation destroy the population, but cold and lack of food accomplished the rest.  It is a recorded fact that a mere 150 black people and 85 yellow people survived the catastrophe, from a population of seven billion black and four billion yellow humans.  A register of survivors was taken just before they began to reproduce and when they had stopped killing each other.
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Because of the lack of food, when the weakest died, they were eaten; then, in order to eat, they had to kill each other - and that was the worst catastrophe on the planet.
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All of this occurred, in spite of all the warnings they had received.  It should be said that before this almost total decimation, both the black race and the yellow race had attained a very high level of technological advance.  The people lived in great comfort.  They worked in factories, private and government enterprises, offices - just as happens now on your planet.

They had a strong devotion to money which, to some, meant power and to others, wiser, it meant well-being.  They worked on average 12 hours per week.

On Bakaratini a week comprises six days of 21 hours each.  They tended to the material rather than the spiritual side of their existence.  At the same time, they allowed themselves to be duped and led in circles by a structure of politicians and bureaucrats, exactly as is now happening on Earth.  Leaders fool the masses with empty words and, motivated by greed or pride, they 'lead' entire nations towards their downfall.

Gradually, these two great races began to envy each other and, as there is only one step from envy to hate, eventually they hated each other so much and so completely that the catastrophe occurred.  Both possessing sophisticated arms, they achieved their mutual destruction."
So that is an example of how things could go very badly for us.  Luckily, Michael also comes to us with an example of how to avert a nuclear war scenario that he learned from a fellow first-worlder named Arki.  He came from a planet very similar to Earth but about twice the size and with 15 billion inhabitants.  They had experienced two nuclear holocausts as well as many of our problems, including "dictatorships, crime, epidemics, cataclysms, a monetary system and all that is associated with it, religions, cults and other things."  But 80 years ago something happened which can be an example for us: how a small group of people can peacefully resist their government, and how that example can inspire an entire nation to withdraw their consent and gain their freedom:
"The reform was set in motion by a group of four people from a small village on the shores of one of our largest oceans.  This group, comprising three men and one woman, preached peace, love and freedom of expression.  They traveled to the capital city of their country and requested an audience with the leaders.  Their request was denied for the regime was dictatorial and military.  For six days and five nights, the four slept in front of the palace gates, eating nothing and drinking little water.

Their perseverance attracted public attention and by the sixth day, a crowd of 2000 had gathered in front of the palace.  With feeble voices, the four preached to the crowd of uniting in love to change the regime - until guards put an end to their ‘sermon’ by shooting the four and threatening to shoot members of the crowd if they did not disperse.  This they quickly did, in genuine fear of the guards.  Nevertheless, a seed had been sown in the minds of the people.  On reflection, thousands of them came to realize that, without a peaceful understanding, they were powerless, absolutely powerless.

Word was passed around among the people - rich and poor, employer and employee, worker and foreman, and one day, six months later, the entire nation came to a standstill.
...
The nuclear power stations shut down, transport systems halted, freeways were blocked. Everything stopped.  The farmers didn’t deliver their produce; radio and television networks ceased transmitting; communication systems shut down.  The police were helpless in the face of such unity, for, in a matter of hours, millions of people had joined the ‘cease work’.  It seemed, for that time, the people had forgotten their hates, jealousies, differences of opinion as they united against injustice and tyranny.  A police force and an army comprise human beings and these human beings had relatives and friends among the crowd.

It was no longer a question of killing four subversive individuals.  Hundreds of thousands would have had to be killed just to ‘liberate’ one power station.

In the face of the people’s determination, the police, the army and the Dictator were forced to capitulate."
This story reminds me of two things from our own planet, the historic speech by Mario Savio and the essay The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Étienne de La Boétie.  Mario Savio speaks of the realization one comes to when the system around you is so corrupt, so morally and spiritually bankrupt, that you can no longer walk through life as a single piece in this great puzzle, because even though your own individual actions may not amount to horrible sins, the system you are supporting is committing great evils.  By doing nothing and continuing to play your role, to be nothing but a robot in an assembly line, your sin is one of omission.  For not doing all you can to stop the "banality of evil" you share in the responsibility.


Étienne de La Boétie's great work approaches this aspect from a slightly different angle.  Rather than deciding to "throw yourself upon the gears and upon the wheels" of the machine, he takes a hard look at the reality of voluntary servitude and recommends that you merely walk away from the machine and it will fall apart on its own accord.  Stop propping up your government, stop consenting to be ruled, and you will be ruled no longer:
"Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed.  I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces?"
So the first brave four of Arki's revolution took the path of Mario Savio, they decided they had nothing left to lose, they could no longer take part, even passively take part, in the evils of their government, and they sacrificed themselves as martyrs by being an example of peaceful resistance and non-compliance.  For this they were killed, but like the Tank Man, a seed of resistance and realization was sown in their countrymen.  Bullets could kill those first four, but the idea could not be stopped.  As this idea spread like a virus through their country, the recommendation of Boétie became a reality.  By using the power of numbers and inertia, by merely not going to work in an organized and systematized effort, the individuals may have each lost a day's wages but the owners of the system lost billions.  This was how they won their freedom and saved their nation from disaster, and if they can do it on their Planet of Sorrows, then so can we.

Conclusion


In the postscript of Thiaoouba Prophecy, Michael recommends that the book is read three times, and he says that at the end of the third reading you will fall into one of three categories:

  • The first, who form the majority, have said they still don’t believe I went to another planet, but have admitted they were moved by the book.  In any case, they have said, it doesn’t really matter whether or not it happened, what matters is the powerful underlying message. 
  • The second, is the former sceptic who, having read the book three times in a row, is convinced that my story is factual, and this reader is right. 
  • The third, is already more evolved from the outset, and knows from the outset that this is a true story.

If you've gotten through this blog, then my recommendation is more humble.  Read it once.  There is so much more to this book and I was only able to scratch the surface.  If you prefer physical books like myself, you can pick up a new copy for $27 here.  After you read the book, you can watch a lecture Michel gave regarding his trip to Thiaoouba.

I don't know how much it matters whether you fall in the first, second, or third categories of readers that Michel described.  But I do think reading this book is important.  After having read the book, the most important question isn't whether or not his journey really happened, but if there is truth contained in his story, and if so, what are you going to do about?  Maybe you won't lead the revolution yourself, but at the least this book will challenge many of your basic assumptions and foundational beliefs.  Not only that, but it's so interesting!  Once you've read it you can join me in the fun game of finding stories in the news that validate things in Thiaoouba Prophecy.

When I watch the documentary Thrive and it shows the free-energy technologies that are being suppressed, I say, "interesting, Thao described that."  When ancient cities are discovered deep in the oceans and evidence of advanced technology is found in the relics I am not surprised.  As technologies develop that allow us to see Auras I feel relief, as Thao says it is imperative that our experts invent the special equipment necessary to perceive the Aura so that we can make the correct choices in the times ahead.

But the main benefit I've received from Thiaoouba Prophecy is peace of mind.  Especially helpful for those in the liberty movement that follow every news event in great trepidation of the acceleration towards the Big Event, the words of Thao allow me to keep perspective on the big picture and remind me to focus on controlling the controllables.  It is a comforting feeling to know that, even in the worse case scenario, if the tensions in the Middle East or on Russia's doorstep lead us to nuclear war, that this is part of the natural cycle that first-category planets go through.  It wouldn't be the first and it wouldn't be the last time this has happened on a Planet of Sorrows like ours.  I don't want to come off as nihilistic, we should most definitely do everything we can to follow the path of Arki's revolution and not of the Bakaratinians.  But in the end the only person we can truly control is ourselves, and if we each work on our own spiritual development by living a code of friendship, tolerance, peace, and love, then even if we don't save this world, at least we'll each have a better chance of moving on to the next level!

Keep it simple: Focus on improving yourself, it's the only person you can truly change.

10/30/2013

Population Boom or Bust?

Since 1798 when Thomas Malthus published "An Essay on the Principle of Population", the causes and consequences of a steadily increasing human population have been studied by society's elite and have influenced government policies, cultural institutions, and family norms.  During his time the debate waged between whether or not we had a population problem.  Does human population really grow geometrically while food production grows arithmetically, leading to inevitable starvations, wars for scarce resources, and other sources of misery?  Or is this an imaginary problem?  Can technological advances in agriculture keep pace with human population growth?  If not, can individuals limit their collective growth to not exceed the scarce resources on this planet without the heavy hand of government?  Or why look to this planet as the limit, is exponential growth our glorious destiny, with this planet just being the first stop to Alpha Centauri and beyond?

Today the general consensus to these latter questions is no.  There are too many people, and those people can't be counted on to live sustainable lives on their own accord.  For every thousand specialists combating the social problems of crime, poverty, drug addiction, mental illness, suicide, and child abuse, you have one that sees these symptoms as branches, and unsustainable population growth as the root.  But a tree needs soil, nutrients, water, and sunlight to live - so what feeds this tree of misery?  Is it the human condition itself?  Are we destined to breed beyond the earth's capacity to sustain us, always resulting in a society of haves and have-nots?  Or is there something else feeding this problem?  If so, what?

Human Beings as the Problem

In the movie The Matrix, Agent Smith says that human beings are a disease.  Many of our intellectual and government elite share that sentiment.  They say we are a plague.  Prince Henry fantasizes about being reincarnated as a deadly virus to thin the human population.  Are they right?  Does the earth have a bad case of the "humans"?  If so, then blasting off to other galaxies would just delay the inevitable.  Einstein called compound interest the most powerful force in the universe, and we've all heard the legend of the mathematician's challenge to the king concerning rice and a chessboard.  Starting with 1 grain of rice and doubling it for every square on a chessboard results in 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains - a heap the size of Mount Everest.  So if humans cannot live any way but through perpetual, exponential growth, assuming we live in a finite universe, then we would end up filling the stars until we've consumed every last resource - and then we'd all die.

If human populations grow exponentially in a finite universe, then the anti-humanists are right.  Let's hope we can challenge one of those assumptions.

This is a pretty grim picture, and there are only two answers to this scenario.  The first is to challenge the assumption of living in a finite universe.  If we could create free, limitless energy through cold fusion, taping into the zero-point field or other methods, then perhaps the next advance in technology right around the corner will solve this seemingly insurmountable problem.  Or do we live in a far uglier world, where free-energy devices have been suppressed by shadowy conspiracies as described in the documentary Thrive?

If we discount free-energy and assume that humans cannot naturally limit their growth through voluntary means, then an ends-justifies-the-means argument that most would find abhorrent becomes debatable.  Should powerful governments use their monopoly on violence to force their captive citizens to limit their growth?  Starting with the least objectionable means, governments could use "soft power" to promote zero-growth behaviors by offering free contraceptives and education to those that would otherwise go without.  In the novel The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess, the governments in a world plagued by overpopulation resort to similar means, such as promoting homosexuality and sterilization while criminalizing families that have more than one child.

Unfortunately, we don’t need to look to fiction to find examples of the "hard power" available to governments in their fight against population growth, and China's one-child policy is not the only illustration.  The United States of America was the first country to forcibly sterilize tens of thousands of people when pursuing the pseudo-science of eugenics.  As documented in Edwin Black's scholarly work, War Against the Weak, Hitler wrote love letters to American eugenicists while he sat in jail for the Beer Haul Putsch.  And the praise went both ways.  American eugenicists wrote letters to each other describing their mutual admiration of Nazi Germany for taking the necessary steps that Americans were just not ready for.  Needless to say, they kept their mouths shut when their dream of eugenics was exposed as a nightmare of crematoriums and concentration camps to the horror of the American public.  As Michael Crichton writes in his essay Why Politicized Science is Dangerous, all of a sudden "nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist."

When governments get in the business of managing human  populations they may have noble sounding reasons.  Whether it's for improving the genetics of the human race or saving the earth, the ends do not justify the means.

Reflecting on this example, we know the evils that governments are capable of when pursuing eugenics and its seemingly noble goal of "improving the qualities of future generations either physically or mentally".  Given this recent history, it's not without precedent to suppose that future governments could resort to similarly genocidal means in the equally serious fight against overpopulation.  Some will argue that it's already happening right before our eyes, the only difference being the transition from Hitler's iron fist to a technocratic elite's velvet glove.  Is this the Brave New World we have to look forward to?  Is this truly our predicament?

One Culture as the Problem

At least one man says no: Humans qua humans are not the problem.  Instead, it is only one human culture that is inherently unstable and plunging towards disaster.  Unfortunately, that is the dominant culture compromising 99.99% of the people on planet earth.  The man identified by this lone voice is Daniel Quinn, and he calls this a positive message.  From his unique perspective it is very positive.  After all, if human beings are truly the problem then the only solution to saving the planet consists of submitting to a scientific dictatorship, killing ourselves, and seeking happiness in the afterlife.  But if it is just one culture that is the culprit, one particular set of rules, customs and way of thinking, just one culture out of the tens of thousands that have existed, then at least this can be changed.  There is at least the possibility of hope.

Quinn's worldview is explored in a quasi-trilogy consisting of three philosophical novels: Ishmael, The Story of B, and My Ishmael.  All three are sub-titled "An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit" and they truly meet the definition of adventure as each book leads the unsuspecting reader through completely unknown territory via a Socratic dialogue that challenges our holiest beliefs and our most sacred cows.  Whether or not you walk away converted by his message you will be changed.  Unable to view our institutions and cultural norms through the same unquestioning eyes, you will hear the voice of Ishmael challenging you and pointing out the other way.

So what is this new way of looking at the world, and how does it relate to the cause of our assumed population problem?  The basis of this vision is the relatively new but seemingly unremarkable fact that the history of humans on this planet is not 10,000 years old, but approximately 3 million years old.  This claim is considered uncontroversial stuff for everyone except the most die-hard bible thumpers, those who would claim that the earth itself is only a few thousand years old and dinosaur bones were placed by the devil to test our faith.

8,000 B.C. does not mark the creation of the earth or the birth of humans, but it does approximate the event we call the Agricultural Revolution, which is the primary factor that unites our superficially different cultures both east and west.  We are taught to view the Agricultural Revolution as the zeitgeist that lifted humanity out of the mud and set us on a journey that would eventually put us on the moon.  Our evolutionary story is progressive and linear, always moving forward, never backward.  From single-celled organisms that evolved into human's prehistoric ancestors, it was all leading up to the discovery of agriculture so that man could leave his animal brethren behind and take his rightful place with the gods as master of all he surveyed.  It was only with the Agricultural Revolution that we started truly being human.  Only with this milestone could we realize our vision that "the World was made for Man, and Man was made to conquer and rule it."

Quinn's revolutionary doctrine posits the existence of a contrary world vision, one that is out of fashion today, but prior to the agricultural revolution was the world vision shared by the thousands of distinct human cultures that had spread to every continent on the earth at that time.  This 3 million year old vision, still held by the 0.01% of the population that haven't joined us, like the Bushmen of Africa or the Alawa of Australia, says "the world is a sacred place and a sacred process, and we are a part of it."

Leavers vs. Takers: not as a linear and evolutionary progression, but as a short-term deviation from a stable way of living that served us for millions of years.  Will we survive it?

For lack of a better term, Quinn calls the peoples that lived and still live by this radically different world view as "Leavers" while the rest of us are categorized as "Takers".  The takers believe that humans own the world, while the leavers believe humans are part of the world.  The takers live by the same law that regulates every other creature that we share this planet with, what Quinn calls the law of limited competition.  This law says, "You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war."

For Quinn, this law of limited competition regulates the lives of lions, toads, and wombats.  Indeed, all creatures that fly in the air, swim in the sea or slither on the ground must obey this law or face extinction, and the great folly of our culture is that we do not believe this law applies to us.  If Quinn is correct, and humans aren't exempt from this law, then we may be in the same situation as the would-be pilot who is pushed off a cliff and trying to operate a flying machine that was not built according to the laws of aerodynamics.  As our delusional pilot plummets to the ground he may believe he is flying, but that fantasy will be short lived as he rapidly approaches the consequences of disobeying a natural law.  Similarly, since our culture does not obey the natural law that allowed our ancestors to live in harmony with the world for 3 million years, our last 10,000 years of history is a mere blink of the eye in the proper perspective.  We may think we're flying, but we're really accelerating towards the destruction of all life on this planet, or at least the destruction of our own lives.

Agriculture as the Problem

Now that the necessary background of leavers vs. takers has been introduced, we can visit Quinn's ideas concerning how agriculture contributes to the population problem.

In Ishmael, Quinn seemed to argue that the Taker worldview is directly manifested through their form of agriculture.  If man's destiny is to conquer and rule the world, then man's duty is to decide what lives and what dies.  So we kill the wolves and the lions because they eat our sheep.  We kill the grasshoppers and other insects that eat our crops.  The Takers decided that rather than eating from the Garden of Eden like their Leaver brothers they would only dine on their most favorite foods and declare war on anything that got in their way.

While it is much harder work to toil in the fields than to live as hunter-gatherers (Kalahari Bushman worked 12-19 hours a week for food, Tanzania Hadz nomads about 14 hours), it does create greater food surpluses than any other method.  And here we come to Quinn's next radical claim: the food surpluses caused by adopting agriculture will result in a population increase, which will require more forests to be plowed over to plant our favorite foods, which will always lead to a further increase in population, which will require more land put to the plow, which will yet again enable an increased population, ad infinitum.

In The Story of B, Quinn calls this an inevitable consequence of the ABCs of Ecology, where "A" represents "food" in its most general context.  Food includes every creature in the community of life.  Plant food, swimming food, flying food, crawling food, even humans - we are all food.  The "B" represents how populations rise and fall depending on food availability, and he states this as a unbreakable law.  "There is no species that dwindles in the midst of abundance, no species that thrives on nothing."  It's hard to argue with that logic.

The ABC's of Ecology: As food populations increase, feeder populations increase. As feeder populations increase, food populations decrease. As food populations decrease, feeder populations decrease. As feeder populations decrease, food populations increase.

Not only is this law of ecology plausible on the surface, but it seems to have some empirical evidence behind it as well.  In Ishmael, Quinn walks us through our forgotten history as he plots the estimated human population from 3,000,000 B.C. to today.  His point seems inescapable.  For 3 million years man and his ancestors spread to every continent on the globe and developed a stable population with their environment.  Even going from 200,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C. gives us an estimated doubling rate of once every 19,000 years.  But once you hit that 8,000 B.C. mark everything changes.  All of a sudden that stable and slow growth starts looking exponential.  The doubling takes 5,000 years, then 2,000 years, then 1,600.  1,400 years later we're at 1 B.C. and the human population has reached 200 million.  It took us 1,200 years to reach 400 million, then just 500 years for 800 million.  By 1900, 200 years later, we're at 1.5 billion.  1960 takes us to 3 billion, and by 1998 we've reached 6 billion - a doubling in just 36 years.

For Quinn, these data points are fundamentally no different than what you'd see running an experiment with a population of rats as you increase their food supply and widen their cage.  Our species is governed by the same laws as rats and deer and mountain lions, and we ignore this at our own peril.  Our form of agriculture is unsustainable.  We will never feed the whole world.  For those in the 3rd world, their bellies will forever be empty.  Any increase in food production will not feed them, it will just result in more damn people.  It is was a losing battle before it ever began.

Libido Dominandi as the Problem

After reading Ishmael I estimated that I was about 90% supportive of what he had to say.  I enjoyed looking through his unique worldview.  I found his arguments interesting and his Socratic dialogue engaging, but I wasn't ready to jump on the blame-agriculture bandwagon.  I definitely agreed that our world is headed for disaster and that our culture as opposed to humans themselves require some major changes - but putting it all on agriculture didn't make sense.  There were too many counter-arguments and counter-examples, some of which admitted by Quinn himself.

In the first place, Quinn gives examples of Leaver cultures that practiced agriculture in various degrees.  Some, like the Plains Indians, just devoted a fraction of their time to promoting the crops they enjoyed while still using the majority of their time to hunt and forage.  He gives other examples of Leaver cultures that seemed to have experimented with heavy-duty agriculture but then apparently decided to abandon the practice and return to an easier way of life.  If just one Leaver culture can practice agriculture without turning Taker, then clearly agriculture cannot be the defining characteristic of Takers nor the sine qua non of our population dilemma.

In The Story of B Quinn introduces the term Totalitarian Agriculture, and defines it as "the style of agriculture whereby its practitioners destroy all competition and assume all resources are made only for their own use".  But again, this is a matter of degrees.  At what point are you merely promoting the crops you enjoy most versus declaring war on all life?  That line is too fuzzy.

In my mind, the key to what defines the Taker culture is revealed by Quinn himself as he describes how the Agricultural Revolution started in the fertile crescent and from there expanded until it eventually filled the world.  The key is that the Takers would not let the Leavers live as they wanted to.  The Takers either exterminated their Leaver competitors through war or assimilated them.  The Takers did not agree with the philosophy of "live and let live".  This is what puts the Totalitarian in Totalitarian Agriculture.  The Taker's lust to dominate their fellow men is the key to this puzzle.  Their insatiable desire to rule others is the real culprit, not agriculture.

To be fair, this does introduce a chicken or egg scenario.  Did the use of agriculture and the concomitant increase in population necessitate the conquering of neighboring tribes to capture their land?  Or did the lust to dominate and rule other tribes give the first Taker the idea to put their captured slaves to work in the fields in order to feed this new ruling class?  Where is the original sin?  And just because one came first, does that make it the true cause of our problem?

At the risk of appearing as one that sees a world of nails because all he has is a hammer, I believe libido dominandi, the lust to dominate, is the true issue.  Agriculture can be practiced sustainably and with respect to the environment without introducing the spiraling chain of events that have led us to this unenviable position.  The problem is not agriculture, but the desire to rule others, i.e. government.  If the culture of governing is the problem, then a new culture of anarchism is the solution.

Even the population problem?  That's the way it looks...

Although he never says it, Quinn gives plenty of supporting evidence to this claim.  In My Ishmael, Quinn focuses mainly on our social institutions - how we raise our children, how we educate them, how we deal with conflicts, how we live as people.  He compares our current methods with those employed by Leaver cultures, and points out that humans had ways of living peaceably for 3 million years, but we lost that knowledge over the last 10,000 years during "the Great Forgetting".  The point that seemed obvious to me was that every leaver culture he described operated in a state of anarchy - there were no rulers.  Now there were leaders to be sure, people voluntarily followed because of their wisdom or other qualities, but you never found a separate class of individuals with a monopoly on violence that lorded over everyone else.

But more important than who started this fight, the question we must answer is how to fix it.  Again, for every problem we currently face that Quinn described across his trilogy, I could always think of a government intervention as the cause.  We're producing too much food? Look at the government subsidies to agriculture that distort market signals and cause entrepreneurs to grow more food then they otherwise would.  Too many people?  Look at the government programs that incentivize the very people that can least afford to have more children.

Let's revisit the ABC's of Ecology through a more critical lens.  The first challenge is against the claim that humans follow this law just like all other creatures on this planet.  All of Austrian Economics is predicated on the action acxiom.  The defining characteristic of human beings is that they act, they engage in purposeful behavior.  We are not billiard balls in an physics experiment that always act predictably given certain stimuli, we have the capacity to choose one thing over the other.  And this choice could include the decision of whether to have children or to abstain from procreation.

Quinn addresses this challenge by arguing that even though you don't see the population increase in the same vicinity as the over-production of food, that food still causes the increase in population in other countries.  It's like a steam valve that must find some place to let loose the excess pressure, and in this case the North American bread basket is responsible for the population nightmare in the 3rd world.  But there seems to be a much more obvious cause for these high birth rates.

Look at the birth rates by country rankings compiled by the CIA.  Now take a look at one of the freedom indexes available.  A sub-replacement fertility rate is anything lower than 2.1, and in the 3rd world countries of Africa you see the highest birth rates of 4, 5, 6 and as high as 7.03 in Niger.  Western European countries have rates between 1.4 and 1.7 while America is just below the sub-replacement fertility rate at 2.06 and the UK is at 1.9.  The countries with the lowest birth rates are the Asian countries with Japan at 1.39, South Korea at 1.24, Hong Kong at 1.11, and Singapore at 0.79.  Notice that the two countries with the lowest birth rates are ranked as the #1 and #2 positions on the freedom index?  Is it a coincidence that the countries with the least amount of freedom have the highest birth rates?

Here's a theory: The freer a country is, the more prosperous it is.  With a more prosperous country, the people of that country have a higher propensity to plan out their lives and choose to postpone or completely abstain from life decisions like marriage and/or children.  As standards of living improve, people have a wider range of options for taking advantage of all the opportunities that capitalism provides with respect to both time and money.  The pursuit of things like higher-education, a fulfilling career, personal interests, and travel necessitate having fewer children than a person otherwise would.  But it doesn't have to be an all or nothing decision.  Merely postponing a family to enjoy the luxuries of life leave fewer child-bearing years for mothers, so instead of starting at 20 and having 5 kids, they may start at 35 and have 1-2.  This seems like a much more plausible explanation for the birth-rate difference while acknowledging that human beings have the power to choose their procreation plans.

The governments of the world are holding the people of the 3rd world hostage.  By oppressing them and denying them the benefits of private property and voluntary trade these governments keep the standard of living abysmally low and the population rate ridiculously unsustainable.  Humans do not have to follow the ABCs of Ecology like garter snakes, dolphins and wildebeests.  If the people in the freest countries can collectively choose to have a sub-replacement fertility rate and stabilize their population, then so can the people most oppressed in the 3rd world.  We don't have to submit to a scientific dictatorship, kill each other, or resort to hunter-gatherer lifestyles to save the planet, we just need to be free.

Conclusion

When trying to arrive at any serious concluding remarks on a topic like this, the term "pretense of knowledge" comes to mind.  Writing a post that contains everything I have to say about guns and gun rights is a pretty straightforward task: assemble all of the known view points, categorize them, and support or attack the various arguments in a logical flow.

But where do we start with the topic of our population problem?  Maybe half the people believe we have a population problem and have already concluded that it is up to the government to stop it, the other half have either not heard of this problem or deny it exists, and virtually no one is even familiar with Daniel Quinn's perspective on this issue.  Rather than claiming to write the definitive conclusion on the population problem, it seems much more honest to be one that merely spreads awareness that this topic exists and humbly attempts to add something of value to the ongoing conversation.

While I might disagree with the final conclusions that Quinn draws, assuming I have correctly understood his position, I still can't recommend his books enough.  I'm generally satisfied with a book if it teaches me something new, perhaps a re-branding of an old but forgotten insight, or a new argument that I hadn't considered before but am happy to add to my intellectual tool-belt.  Based on that criteria, this Ishmael trilogy should be at the top of everyone's reading list, as it is so rare to come across a book or any form of media that exposes you to a completely new world view - to ways of thinking that you've never come across your whole life.

Daniel Quinn explores the most important questions that we could possibly ponder, and we should all be exposed to his valuable perspective.  What I have covered here is just the tip of the iceberg.  His insights into our philosophies, myths, religions and social institutions are equally interesting.  But if you choose not to expose yourself to these books and some potentially uncomfortable truths, then I at least hope you'll give it a second thought the next time someone boldly states as unquestionable fact that we have too many people and governments must be responsible for bringing us in check.  Remember the following quote from Ismael, and challenge this very dangerous claim.  The consequences of remaining silent and allowing this myth to spread from common-sense "fact" to government policy could be very dangerous for all of us.
"There's nothing fundamentally wrong with people.  Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world.  But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world.  Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will act as the lords of the world.  And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now."
Seriously, read these books.  Look - here's a guy in a gorilla suit.  He can't be wrong.

8/13/2013

The Libertarian Debate: Principled or Practical?

The big and powerful political parties must always guard themselves from being taken over by hostile elements.  Decades ago, small "s" socialists had a strategic decision to make: do we work to build the Socialist Party of America, or do we infiltrate the Democratic Party and take it over?  They made their decision.  Similarly, many small "l" libertarians have chosen to work with Dr. Paul on an outright takeover of the Republican Party.  Time will tell whether the Ron Paul Republicans will be as successful as the socialists have been.

Within the Libertarian Party we don't have as much to worry about from coup d'états and power grabs, but rather our infighting is like an honest and good-faith difference of opinion amongst old friends.  We don't like to air our dirty laundry to the public, but within the "big tent" Libertarian Party, where we may agree on 95% of everything worth talking about, that last 5% is a doozy.  Minarchism vs. Anarchism.

As I first found out at the 2012 LP National Convention in Las Vegas, an understanding was reached at the 1974 Libertarian National Convention regarding this divisive issue.  Known as the Dallas Accord, it was a agreement that would satisfy both the minarchist and anarchist factions within the LP by keeping the platform purposefully vague as to whether a state should exist at all.  The thinking behind the truce was that all libertarians can agree our present government needs to get dramatically smaller, so let's join together in that common goal where we have that 95% agreement.  Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.  With a slogan like "Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom", each libertarian can define that minimum in his own mind, whether it be the minarchist "night watchmen state" or the true minimum of zero, a society that lacks an institution with a monopoly on aggressive violence.  As more conservative and constitutional leaning libertarians have joined the party in the last decade, 2006 and 2008 saw a swing in the LP power structure in favor of the minarchists, where our choice of candidates and changes to our platform disenchanted many an-cap libertarians.

The 2012 national convention saw a partial reversal of this power swing, making it an excellent time for the party to have an honest conversation with itself and revisit the reasons the Dallas Accord was made in the first place.  The Libertarian Party of Texas decided to host such a conversation in the form of a 2 on 2 debate this summer titled "The Ultimate Debate: Low Tax versus No Tax".  Since there are some that don't want libertarians to say the word "anarchism", let alone acknowledge such forces exist within the party, "no taxes" was chosen as a suitable marketing substitute for the "A" word.

One of the participants on the "No Tax" side could not attend due to a family emergency, and I was asked to take his place 2 hours before the debate.  "The show must go on".


Going into the debate I planned to focus on three lines of attack: the moral argument against taxation, the economic argument against taxation, and the naiveté of expecting "low taxes" to stay low in the long run.  My opponents were very clever.  They didn't challenge me that taxation was theft - they agreed.  They didn't challenge me that our ultimate aim should be to get rid of taxes altogether, they agreed that was a worthwhile goal.  One of my opponents didn't even resort to the "what about the roads" argument, he acknowledged that services like roads, defense, and arbitration could be supplied in a free and voluntary market.

So where did they get me?  The real debate came down to this: do we take the principled or the practical route on this journey to freedom?  A "no taxes" / anarcho-capitalist platform is not currently practical.  Can I get elected on this platform?  Could I get any bills passed?  Are the American people ready to entertain these ideas, let alone vote for someone openly advocating them?  I admit the answer is "no".  This is not a question of beliefs, but one of tactics and strategy.  More or less, the debate came down to, "Yes, I agree that "no taxes" is the correct moral choice, and I may even acknowledge it could work economically, but the people just aren't ready for it, so let's be reasonable or they won't take us seriously."

I didn't have a satisfactory answer to that line of attack during the debate, but now I offer a story followed by a few arguments for why libertarians should stick to our principled beliefs rather than water-down our platform or message to what is expedient or currently practical.  In short, why we should live up to the name "The Party of Principle".

The Story of the Practical Abolitionist

It's pre-civil war America, and a small minority of people have come to a radical conclusion: the institution of slavery is wretched, indefensible, and morally wrong.  They call themselves abolitionists, and their common goal is to end slavery.  They have quite an uphill battle.  Most of their countrymen do not agree with the abolitionists, either believing that slavery is a good thing (at least for the non-slaves) or that slavery is a necessary feature of this imperfect life.  Like death and taxes, you may not like it, but there is no escaping it.  The best you can hope for is to be on the right side of the whip.

We have established the abolitionist's common purpose, their goal, the vision that unites them and defines them as "abolitionists": the end of slavery.  Now comes the question of tactics and strategy, which is a topic that divides the abolitionists into different camps.  Some believe that education and persuasion is the right course of action.  Abolitionists should write letters, give speeches, and utilize every non-coercive means available to spread their message and change the hearts of their brethren one at a time.

Other abolitionists are not patient enough for this line of thinking.  Slavery is horrible, and people are suffering every day.  There is simply no time to wait for a slow conversion of hearts and minds.  Direct action must be taken to show these slave masters that we mean business.  Run-away slaves should be protected and transported to free lands.  Slave insurrections should be encouraged and nurtured.  Every law that protects this evil institution should be resisted and openly broken.  Anything less makes you nothing but an "Ivory Tower Abolitionist".

The abolitionists have a wide range of options in pursuit of their common goal.  Everything from peaceful persuasion to violent rebellion is a conceivable option in the fight against slavery.  But what is the right strategy in the short term vs. the long term?  The two may not be the same.

Another group of abolitionists recognize that their government's policy is a major contributor to the institution of slavery.  Fugitive slave laws make it a crime to assist run-away slaves, even when their masters are in far away states.  Since none of the major parties would risk going against the majority of the voters by taking a principled stand against slavery, this group wants to use the political mechanisms available to them to promote their cause.  By creating the "Abolitionist Party" they can not only use this vehicle to educate their countrymen when they go to the polls, but it is conceivable that they could influence other parties as they take away votes, and perhaps even someday win and implement abolitionist policies to end slavery.

Within this politically oriented group there is another question that divides them: how do we craft our message?  The "hardcore" and "radical" elements of the Abolitionist Party want to openly promote the complete end of slavery.  They boldly proclaim, "No man should be owned as the property of another.  The way to interact with each other is through commerce and voluntary association, not with chains and whips."

But another faction thinks otherwise.  The people will never take our party seriously if we advocate completely ending slavery over-night.  Yes, it's a worthwhile goal in the long run, but for the next election it would be disastrous!  Number one, it would destroy the economy that is built upon the institution of slavery.  Second, these slaves are not equipped with the responsibilities that freedom requires; who would take care of them?  Or maybe taking care of them is the last thing to be worried about, maybe some will be angry and we'll have violent riots on our hands!  "Don't get me wrong", says the practical abolitionist, "I'm with you on ending slavery, but let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  How about we endorse a measure to decrease slavery by 29%?  Today we have slavery 7 days a week, so if we grant 2 days of freedom a week, say on Saturday and Sunday, then that would certainly be an improvement over current conditions.  Once we have 2 days of freedom, we can work on a 3rd, 4th, etc.  That is certainly a more practical strategy given current conditions, right?"

Lessons from the Practical Abolitionist

How do we respond to the practical abolitionist?  With knowledge of how the past played itself out we can easily point out the error of his ways.  In fact, knowing that the abolitionist cause ultimately succeeds makes this story a little silly.  But the point isn't whether it's silly or not from our vantage point, but whether the parallel is a valid one.  If so, then perhaps the practical elements of our own party will seem silly to our descendants in the utopic libertarian future.

With 20/20 hindsight vision, it's clear that the "practical abolitionist" is his own worst enemy by endorsing a goal of "reducing slavery by 29%".  Given the conditions of that time, it may be more realistic to reduce slavery then to end it, but he is making the mistake of sacrificing the integrity of his long-term goal for a short-term win.  He is playing into the hands of his opponents.  Why should anyone else adopt the long term goal of "ending slavery completely" when even the so-called abolitionists seem to endorse slavery for 5 days a week? If slavery is a moral outrage, a crime against humanity, and a sin under god, then it must be totally wiped out.  But if the group that is most publicly denouncing slavery is satisfied with a mere reduction in this great sin, then there must be some flaw in the arguments.  Now the abolitionist brand has been compromised.  As "purists" in the Libertarian Party have been known to point out, when we water down our message we lose twice, first by not winning the election, and second because we didn't even get our message out.  By focusing too much on short-term wins in the political arena we forget about the long term goal of education and spreading the message.  Without that the big political wins can never be accomplished.

While it might bring charges ranging from rudeness to being a proponent of "abolition purity tests", the impact of the "practical abolitionist" is so disastrous to the Abolitionist Party that it may be prudent to question the sincerity of his beliefs.  After all, the practical abolitionist is confusing the abolitionist message in the minds of the voter, he is giving his opponents an easy line of attack with charges of hypocrisy and insincerity, and in some cases he even gives lip service to his enemy's propaganda rather than combating it when he uses it as the excuse for why people aren't ready for the "hard-core" message.

We should always advocate breaking the chains of slavery, never to make the chains more comfortable.  When we take the practical route we inadvertently advocate the very system we claim to fight.

It gets even worse than this.  If slavery is the evil that the abolitionists claim, why would they support any goal that would make slavery more tolerable to live under?  The more obvious the evil is, the easier it will be to recruit new abolitionists to combat it.  But if they are successful at "reducing slavery" then they will also be taking the wind out of the sails of their movement.  Those that were at the edge of pledging their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" will now be placated with this bone thrown at them.  From this perspective, the message of the practical abolitionist isn't so different from the deviously clever strategy of "Mr. Smith" in Larken Rose's parable of "The Jones Plantation".

This brings up the next point, what inspires people to join a movement?  When you're up against the odds and looking to change hearts and minds, it's not prudency or the ability to compromise that converts people to your cause.  From my own perspective I can say with confidence it was the opposite; I fell in love with the logical consistency and principled stance of the libertarian message.  Here are people that when they say something, they really mean it.  But beyond my personal anecdote, which may be a fluke, we can look to the man who has undoubtedly turned more people onto the libertarian message than anyone else, Dr. Ron Paul.  When new converts speak of him, they don't get into the details of the libertarian message, they talk about his consistency.  Here is a man that I can trust because he stands for something; he says what he believes and he believes what he says.

Back to the abolitionist analogy, we see the same respect for the man of principle and disgust with the compromisers and hypocrites.  Say anything positive about the constitution or the libertarian beliefs of the founding fathers and the msm talking point is immediately relayed like a dog salivating to the ring of a bell: "The founders were hypocrites!  A bunch of white men that talked about freedom and equality but owned slaves, why should I trust anything they said?"

And the worst part is… they are right.  It was hypocritical to talk about freedom being an unalienable right granted by a creator from one side of your mouth while defending the ownership of slaves with the other.  It is cognitive dissonance, doublethink, and schizophrenic thinking at its worst.  Now the opponents of freedom can denigrate the idea completely.  If these so-called founders didn't even believe in freedom, then surely no one did… well, except for someone named Lysander Spooner.

A tribute to this heroic man deserves its own post, but long story short, here is an abolitionist that walked the walk.  He used every action available to him to further the abolitionist cause.  He wrote pamphlets and books to spread the message, including the very influential "The Unconstitutionality of Slavery."  He promoted plans for guerrilla warfare against slave holders and conspired with the "activist" members of his group to plot insurrections, even participating in one himself to free a fellow abolitionist.  And most obviously, he didn't own any slaves.  Today Lysander is a hero to principled libertarians.  His writings did not debate the petty issues of his day, instead he wrote about broad principles of liberty and justice that transcend space and time; hence his legacy will live on forever.  We want to be the Lysander Spooners of the freedom movement, not the "practical abolitionists".

No one remembers the practical abolitionists, but Lysander's memes will live in the internet forever.

Conclusion

The most compelling part of the practical argument for low taxes is painting the picture of what would happen to the less fortunate if we ended taxation tomorrow.  Most obviously, goods and services that have been monopolized by the government would take time to transition to being run by the private sector.  So think of all of the people dependent on these government services, including welfare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  These programs are paid via taxation, so what happens to them if that revenue stream no longer has a gun to keep it flowing?

Going back to the slavery / abolitionist theme, it reminds me of the following quote from the great British abolitionist Thomas Macaulay:
"There is only one cure for evils which newly acquired freedom produces, and that cure is freedom.  When a prisoner first leaves his cell, he cannot bear the light of day, he is unable to discriminate colors, or recognize faces.  The remedy is to accustom him to the rays of the sun.

The blaze of truth and liberty may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which have become half blind in the house of bondage.  But let them gaze on, and they will soon be able to bear it,…

Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people out to be free till they are fit to use their freedom.  The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.  If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever."
This quote is the ultimate answer to the "practical abolitionist" of the 19th century and to his descendants within the Libertarian Party today.  The flip side to freedom is responsibility, and the ability to take responsibility for your actions is a muscle that must be flexed from regular use or it will atrophy and decay to a shadow of its potential.  The "practical abolitionist" says the people aren't ready for freedom, so let's be reasonable and promote practical measures.  History tells us he was wrong.  If Dr. Martin Luther King was correct, and “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”, then we should look to the optimist within and have confidence that in time our message will succeed.  And when that day comes, we want to be standing on the right side of history.  The next viral video shouldn't be "Ron Paul was Right" or "Peter Schiff was Right", but "The Libertarians were Right!"
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