10 July 2005

Growing Beyond the State

The Anglosphere is the set of English speaking Common Law nations. According to James C. Bennett, " To be part of the Anglosphere requires adherence to the fundamental customs and values that form the core of English-speaking cultures. These include individualism, rule of law, honoring contracts and covenants, and the elevation of freedom to the first rank of political and cultural values. " See Anglosphere Primer

The US and the UK, along with Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, form the greater part of the Anglosphere. Outliers might include South Africa, the English speaking population of India, and English speaking possessions and tributaries of the above nations.

These nations as a whole comprise the most desirable places to emigrate, for most of the world's population. They are acknowledged to have the best educational institutions, the most stable democracies, and the most advanced research centres in the world. Without the economies of the Anglosphere, the rest of the world would be in desperate deprivation. China is being pulled out of poverty by the Anglosphere, not by its own bootstraps.

Thus, naturally when we speak of the technological path toward humans gaining control of their own evolution, we expect this most advanced part of the advanced world, the Anglosphere, to display leadership in achieving this worthy goal. Yet, the Anglosphere is actively engaged in tying its own hands behind its own back, and placing blinders over its eyes, and sound mufflers over its ears. The Anglosphere is handicapping itself, making itself vulnerable to its enemies, just at the time when it is most needed to provide guidance, protection, and resources to the effort of humans to gain control of their evolution.

Does the Anglosphere have a suicide wish? Why does the Anglosphere wallow in self-defeating policies which can only hamper the effort to make humans more capable of providing long, healthy, and enjoyable lives for themselves?

The answers lie in the phenomena of labyrinths. Everything relating to modern human society can be related to the concept of a labyrinth, or maze. The best intentions might lead one to create a set of simple laws to govern a population. At first. But over time, special interests and special circumstances insert themselves into a body of law, again and again, until the convolutions and contradictions within that body of law require not one judge to interpret, but several levels of regional and provincial judicial committees, up to appeals committees and finally to the Supreme Committees of Law. Even the Supreme Committees are unable to fully comprehend the labyrinth of law, but they never admit that. Nothing must undermine the authority of the state and the state's representatives.

Consider tax law. Initially taxes might be locally based, and logically connected to some activity which is facilitated by the local government. But over time, more and more of human activity is taxed, until eventually a family's tax burden is its largest expense. More levels of government are created, all of which require operating expenses which are obtained from the population. Depending on the type of taxation involved, an individual or family must spend large amounts of time and money in order to insure that the state does not confiscate everything that makes life worthwhile, both during life and after death.

Most nations of the world are thoroughly strangled by labyrinthine bureaucracies and legal structures, often quite corrupt. Historically, the Anglosphere has largely avoided allowing its bureaucracies to choke as much human activity as almost all other developed and semi-developed nations. Recently, since the mid-20th century, that is becoming less the case.

How does this relate to the quest to become a next level human? Unfortunately, there is a direct connection between the choking out of the freedom of individual action by the state, even Anglospheric states, and the ability of humans to gain control of their own evolution. Reaching out to the next level of human existence will require all the resources at our command. Mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, socially, and politically, we will have to reach beyond ourselves to reach a place no one has reached till now.

It is increasingly clear that we will have to do this in spite of the states' exponential and labyrinthine growth, that threatens our freedom of action at every turn. Freedom is still greatest in the Anglosphere. I hope it will always be so, given the remarkable history of this tradition. But do not count on it. Aspiring next levels will need to learn to grow beyond the state.

Fortunately, just when the labyrinth of the state threatens to close all avenues of progress, new methods of organisation have been devised which will help provide us with alternative pathways of movement. The internet itself, based upon decentralised organisation of information transfer, provides a powerful metaphor for putting together a flexible system of accomplishing a goal, without a centralised overseeing entity.

While terrorists may use some of these ad hoc organising methods, it is likely that other groups with wholly productive goals will also organise along these lines. Individuals at many different research labs will carry out parallel research programs, off the books perhaps, while also doing their regular work. The results of this alternative research will be dispersed among researchers with special interest in these matters. Much of this work will be unpaid, just as computer experts often create open source software without being paid monetarily. Humans value many different types of rewards, besides money.

Regardless, just the activity of developing alternative means of organising human resources to reach goals, will be pro-evolutionary in itself. Sadly, however, a short lifespan of seventy years or so does not allow for very much evolution, and most evolution that does occur is not passed forward into the future, so it is often lost.

A longer lifespan will allow evolutionary advances to be recognised and passed on to newer generations. This longer lifespan must be presented to the state as a fait accompli. At that point, the state will have to decide if it wants to go along for the ride. Humans must grow beyond the state's power to choke off action and possibilities. That is the only way to move to the next level.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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