What Can I Do Now?

by Christopher Lovejoy on February 13, 2011

At the end of my recent post, The State of Our World, I provided a few ideas on how to encourage and stimulate a transition from a global market-based economy to a global resource-based economy.

Here, in this post, I provide a practical and spiritual platform for understanding personal fulfillment through this transition and beyond, before offering some personal strategies for positive change.

On Being a Witness to Positive Global Change

Amidst the world’s chaos, conflict, and confusion, I’m a witness to positive global change.

I’m a witness to a movement that would have everyone entertain, and then support, the notion that every natural resource in this world belongs to everyone.

This means that everyone would have access to the air (especially clean air), water (especially fresh water), land (especially arable land), and everything contained therein or thereon.

Who is going to develop them? Those who are ready, willing, and able. And what incentive would I propose for them? The vision of an adaptable, sustainable, equitable, progressive global society.

I’m a witness to a movement that would have everyone recycle their ballot boxes; turn their churches, mosques, shrines, cathedrals, and temples into museums; and close their bank accounts once and for all.

This would mean no more voting, no more supplicating, no more loans, debts, and bankruptcies (with all of the acrimony, timidity, and destructive stress that goes with them).

Objection! What about the politicians and lobbyists? What about the religious fundamentalists and fanatics? What about the bankers, entrepreneurs, business people, and professionals?

Answer: what about the milk men, the elevator operators, and the circus freaks?

Seriously, these good folks would do what all smart people do in the current system: translate their knowledge and skills into areas of endeavor where they make the most of their qualifications.

I’m a witness to a movement that would have everyone come together and cooperate (yes, cooperate) in the service of a greater good, the common good, for everyone on the planet. Even the 34,000 children who starve to death every day and the 50% of the world’s population who are living on less than $2 a day. Yes, even them.

I’m a witness to a movement of people who would smile, grin, and laugh when these terms disappear from every language in the world: marxism, communism, fascism, socialism, capitalism, libertarianism, liberalism, conservatism, anarchism, and every other sickly ism that supports, implicitly or explicitly, an obsolete market-based economy driven by a corrupt debt-based monetary system.

I’m a witness to a movement that would have every nation of the world (this includes the Un-united States of America) declare the resources of this world as the common heritage of humanity.

This means no more cosy, corrupt relationships between state and corporate power.

I’m a witness to a movement that would have the most capable among us do a comprehensive survey of the planet’s resources to determine the carrying capacity of the earth for all concerned.

I’m a witness to a movement that would have everyone transform the entrepreneurial spirit from one of relentless selfishness and greed into one of collaboration and cooperation with a common global vision.

This would mean a globally and centrally planned resource management system with the necessary systems in place to meet everyone’s needs and make room for everyone’s desires – while slowly but surely integrating the less fortunate among us (the needy, the undesirables, the untouchables).

This would mean a vastly complex yet manageable system that is largely automated, cybernated, adaptable, sustainable, equitable, progressive, and ecologically sound, initiated into being by armies of qualified technicians, technologists, scientists, engineers, planners, designers, administrators, managers, and directors.

In three parts, my proposal is this:

One, ignite the imagination of humanity to envision a wholly new and integrated world, where the initiative of its inhabitants meets up with their capacity for relentless, interdependent action.

Two, fire up the innovation to generate a sustainable, equitable, progressive, ecologically sound system, where the interdependence of its supporters meets up with their ideas for establishment.

Three, fully charge the implementation to create an ongoing and stable equilibrium, where the ideas of its citizens for its establishment meet up with their initiative to keep it going and growing, developing and fulfilling, evolving and realizing itself in perpetuity, without turning it into a static utopia.

In light of these witnessing observations, I realized some time ago that I can no longer participate in any meaningful way with the current system, and soon, I’ll be encouraging others to do likewise.

A Starkly Obvious Contrast

We’re fulfilled when we stay true to our values, honor our preferences, maintain our commitments, make good on our promises, complete our tasks, satisfy our desires, and realize our possibilities.

I know, not an easy thing to do when people are generally consumed with getting on their hands and knees for a loan, paying off their mind-boggling, heart-rending, soul-numbing, spirit-crushing debts, and trying to cope with the prospect of going bankrupt or the aftermath of having gone bankrupt.

When we’re fulfilled, we do what we most love to do, we learn new things, we explore and generate new possibilities, we give what we can when we can, we make time for cultural pursuits, we spend quality time with family and friends, we travel the world to experience novel and varied ways of being, having, and doing, we appreciate the wonders of the natural world, and we take time for rest and relaxation. In short, we love ourselves and our loved ones enough to enjoy our lives fully.

Unfortunately, not everyone in this world can do this. Not even a majority. As you might recall, 50% of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. And this doesn’t include those who make nominal amounts more than $2 a day. Nor does it include the vast numbers who are living below, at, or just above the so-called poverty line in the so-called affluent countries of the world. Not only is this state of affairs not even remotely equitable, it isn’t socially and economically sustainable in the short-term.

Major concerns for the affluent among us include: keeping in touch with loved ones, exercising to lose weight and get fit, getting organized and staying organized, getting and staying out of debt.

Major concerns for the less affluent among us include: having access to clean drinking water, getting enough to eat, finding a decent place to sleep, and finding ways to cope with all the stress.

I sense a disconnect here.

And you’ve probably heard some variation of this before: far too many affluent people are living lives of “quiet” (tense, resenting, smoldering, judging, accusing, condemning) desperation, working long hard hours at jobs they hate so that they can buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

Setting the Context for Change

The big picture is not that difficult to grasp. The devil, as always, is in the details.

How on earth (yes, on earth) do we go about making the transition to a world where everyone’s needs are met and where everyone has an opportunity to fulfill their desires with no worries or regrets?

The current market-based economy, with its fraudulent and corrupt monetary system is failing (no thanks to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and his slavish endorsement of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913) and failing miserably for the majority of people who live on this planet.

We can attend to this failure in a number of ways. We can help people understand why they’re losing (or have lost) confidence in their elected leaders. When enough do, this could mark a turning point in the transition, provided that the global resource-based economy can be presented as a viable option to as many people on the planet as possible, preferably with a major motion picture on a scale that rivals, or even surpasses, the commercial success of Titanic or Avatar (are you with us, Mr. Cameron?).

We can refuse to participate in the current system even as we continue to expose its flaws, and we can adopt a number of neutralizing and positive strategies for facilitating the transition.

In Zeitgeist Addendum, Peter Joseph outlined some steps that we can take to confront the current (flawed, unsustainable, inequitable) paradigm with these peaceful, strategic actions:

1. Boycott the Big Three. Expose the federal reserve cartel and its corrupt, fraudulent banking practices by boycotting Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America: if you work for them, change jobs; if you own stock with them, withdraw and reinvest; if you have mortgages with them, go elsewhere; if you have bank accounts or credit cards with them, change them. These actions will serve to draw public awareness to the corruption and fraud that characterizes a system that is rotten to the core.

2. Boycott the Mainstream Media. Refuse to accept the news networks with its pre-filtered news to maintain the status quo, and instead, find credible, competent alternatives on the Internet, while also being aware of the issues that would safeguard the viability of the Internet as a valuable source of information. With only four corporations owning all media outlets, objective information is impossible. With the Internet, they are losing control because of the free flow of information. Beware the prospect of a Kill Switch for the Internet, which is little more than an excuse to remain in control.

3. Boycott the Military. Do not, I repeat, do not, let yourself, your family, or anyone you know, join the military. The military is an obsolete institution that caters to the social, political, economic, and commercial interests of an establishment that is no longer relevant. War is not natural (count the number of suicides of soldiers with post-traumatic stress syndrome). The military is not, and has never been, an honorable institution (25% of the homeless population in the U.S.A. are war veterans).

4. Boycott the Energy Vampires. If you can, end your reliance on oil and gas. Find any and all means possible to make your home or car self-sustainable with clean, renewable energy sources. Wind and solar, for example, are now affordable realities and are less expensive in the long run. If you drive, drive a small car, or if you can, use energy conversion technology to move your car to a hybrid, electric, or other energy source to end your reliance on dirty, unsustainable establishment fuels.

5. Reject the Political System. The illusion of democracy is an insult to our intelligence. In the current monetary system, there is no such thing as a democracy. Focus on working to dissolve the current system of dirty politics in favor of technical and technological redesign that actually solves problems.

6. Join the movement to create a critical mass of energy and resolve in favor of the emergent paradigm and to mobilize as many people as you can to resist the inherent corruption of the current system. Also, push to have the world’s resources – clean air, fresh water, arable land, especially – declared as the common heritage for all of humanity, while informing people of the true state of technology and what it can do to make us free if we all work together towards the common good with a common purpose.

Here’s your choice: you can continue to be a slave to the current financial system and continue to watch the wars, the economic slide towards collapse, and the injustices around the world, and to remain pitifully immersed in vain entertainment and materialistic garbage, or you can focus your energy on true, meaningful, lasting, holistic change for the betterment of all, which actually has a realistic chance of supporting and liberating everyone on the planet, with no one left behind (if they so choose).

The biggest change we can make, however, is the one we make within. Through the ongoing evolution in consciousness, we can eliminate the divisive, materialistic noise that we’ve all been conditioned to accept as desirable, as we discover, amplify, and align with the signal coming from our true, empirical oneness, while heeding the wisdom of J. Krishnamurti: to understand is to transform what is.

Two Modes of Personal Fulfillment

As far I can see at this point, there are two modes of personal fulfillment: (1) a mode that would have us navigate with skill through the current system of debt, waste, fraud, and corruption, and (2) a mode that would have us look forward to living in an era where the GRBE comes to pass for one and all.

(Side note : GRBE = Global Resource-Based Economy)

The first mode I call Transitional Fulfillment (TF), where we navigate around and through the faults and flaws of the current system so that we can continue to satisfy our needs and fulfill our desires.

(Hint: not too many of us can demonize money at this stage without hypocrisy).

The second mode I call Evolutionary Fulfillment (EF), where we imagine ourselves and each other in a GRBE, where we can learn, grow, explore, create, participate, evolve, and fulfill ourselves freely.

Before we can even talk about TF, however, we need to get a handle on EF. We need to know where we’re going so that we can tailor our current TF practices in favor of EF as we transition into EF.

A Thought Experiment

Here’s a thought experiment I like to do when I think about my EF:

I suddenly find myself in a city of the future where the GRBE is fully operational.

I recall that I agreed to do this alone, for the sake of my friends and loved ones.

I stand transfixed inside a large space, the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

People are passing me by, some nodding and smiling at me, some looking at me curiously.

No one’s in a hurry and I suddenly feel at ease. I feel that I can take my time. In fact, I feel like I have all the time in the world, where everything seems perfect just the way it is right now.

I look around, soaking up the many sights, sounds, and smells, and feel awestruck by the precision engineering, by the harmonious play of light and shadow, by the sheer beauty of it all.

I start walking. I have no idea where I’m going, but I feel so much at ease, it’s all I can do to keep myself from exploding with excitement while I explore the offerings of this wondrous world.

I set my first intention: to find a place where I can hang, to chat someone up, to get my bearings, and perhaps get a customized place of my own before too long.

I start walking, and marvel at the wide open spaces, but especially the luminescent and hemispherical dome that seems to hover high above the public space like a majestic crowning achievement.

I enter what appears to be a spacious bar and lounge. It’s not crowded, but it’s not sparsely occupied either. Everyone appears engaged with each other. I find a place to sit and watch the entrance.

About an hour has passed. People have come and gone, always in pairs or groups. I wait patiently, wondering if anyone in this society ever does anything alone.

My wondering is answered moments later when a youthful looking fifty-something walks through the entrance. As if sensing my thoughts, she comes over to my table and sits across from me.

She smiles, looking at me with friendly curiosity, before saying: “You belong somewhere else.”

I laugh. “This is true. How can you tell?”

“In the public sphere, most people have company or companionship.” She pauses momentarily. “And I’ve never seen anyone in public at your age without companionship or company.”

I ponder this curious fact for a moment. “So, you’re not ‘most people’.”

She smiles, sidestepping my comment, asking: “Have you been here for long in this part of the world?”

I shake my head and then proceed to have the most engaging, stimulating conversation I’ve ever had.

We talk about everything under the dome – and beyond.

I learn that she’s a member of what she calls The Council of Guardians. This council is responsible for safeguarding the moral fiber of global society from decay and dissolution, a position that carries a high status – almost as high as the World Council, whose members oversee everything in the world.

We talk of global unity, where national boundaries are no longer enforced and technology has evolved to a place where people of different languages can speak to one another without difficulty.

No one is appointed or elected to positions of power. People voluntarily assume such positions based on their skill at addressing some aspect of human or environmental concern in annual public debates.

Typically, most people hold these positions for a year or two before moving on to other endeavors, in effect creating a rotating, circulating power structure without sustained differential advantages.

The world’s resources are managed sustainably and efficiently with state-of-the-art technology, and the automated, cybernated systems that extract, refine, and distribute them are powered by clean, natural, and renewable energy sources: geothermal, primarily, but also solar, wind, tidal, and wave.

Most of the mundane tasks of manufacture, construction, and maintenance have been automated, run for the most part by a rotating contingent of qualified human personnel in cooperation with artificially intelligent computer systems and highly advanced and automated machinery.

No one is poor, unless they choose to be so, which some do, knowing that they can always return to a place or position of affluence within society. No one is rich as there is no need to be so. Everything you need is practically at your fingertips, used when you need it, reused or recycled after it’s returned.

Markets and money are no longer necessary, leaving human motivation and inspiration free of the scarcity mindset. Conflicts (personal, interpersonal, and social) still occur, but when they do, they’re resolved relatively quickly and easily, sometimes with qualified, concerned support or assistance.

Nothing stays the same for long. Improvement on all levels – personal, social, economic, cultural, and technological – is constant. Most people are constantly learning, growing, travelling, exploring, creating, designing, performing, and evolving for their own good or for the good of others.

Members of humanity are augmented with synthetically intelligent agents, which serve as their proxies for managing or completing all manner of mundane tasks, leaving them free to concentrate on creating the lives of their dreams, which may or may not involve risky, even dangerous, pursuits.

I finally ask her: “Moral decay and dissolution? How is this even possible?”

She smiles. “Anything is possible. We’re educated to look for telltale signs, and when we spot them, we submit our findings to the appropriate people and systems for analysis and possible remedial action.”

“Are these remedies enforced?”, I ask in a mock hushed voice.

She laughs. “Let’s just say that they’re incorporated in subtle but beneficial ways.”

“What about crime? Surely, there must be some.”

“Crime is driven by scarcity – by a scarcity of resources and by a scarcity of opportunity; children and adolescents are educated, materially and spiritually, in the ways and means of abundance.”

A sustainable, progressive utopia that makes room for imperfection. Who would have thought?

At the end of our conversation, she offers to introduce me to everything I need to know to get settled, assuring me that it won’t take her long to do so. I accept her offer graciously and gratefully.

I feel positively intoxicated. I have more freedom to be, have, and do than I’ve ever known.

I can hardly wait to tell my friends and loved ones.

13 Personal Strategies for Positive Change

This idyllic scenario suggests many personal strategies for positive change – strategies that we can begin to implement right now in support of our individual and collective TF on the way to finding our individual and collective EF.

1. Get to know yourself as well as you can, as if you had no money in your life. Do the same thought experiment that I did (above) and imagine yourself as free and as comfortable as you can be.

2. Transform your relationship with ‘stuff’. The growing popularity of minimalism is a good place to start. Google ‘minimalism’ for more information on how to live with less so that you can be more.

3. Think about the contributory role that you’d most like to play (if any) in a GRBE. Are you a thinker, a doer, designer, creator, performer, councillor, analyst, manager, director, producer, or leader?

4. Get used to the idea that you can talk to anyone about anything, anywhere and anywhen, regardless of any of the current (and false) barriers of race, creed, color, gender, status, appearance, ability, etc.

5. Start developing your ability to communicate and honing your skill in debate if it’s your intention to assume a leadership role and address some aspect of human or environmental concern in a GRBE.

6. Educate yourself about the beneficial power of technology to support you, your friends, and your loved ones in a GRBE. Think of technology in terms of being sustainable, efficient, and progressive.

7. Imagine conflict as necessary for your growth and the growth of society. Know also that change will be constant, but at a pace that you get to control in accordance with your capacity to cope.

8. Get used to having everything you need when you need it for as long as you need it, knowing also that it will be ridiculously easy and convenient to return everything to be reused or recycled.

9. Begin augmenting yourself with available technology to have your devices do most of the work for you – locating information, getting your bearings, looking after the mundane tasks of everyday living.

10. Most risky, dangerous pursuits will, in all likelihood, be simulated – scaring the crap out of you, but keeping you safe and sound. Keep this in mind the next time you feel the urge to do something risky.

11. Realize that a lot of neurotic and criminal behavior in the current system is driven by a mentality of scarcity. We are not violent, aggressive, acquisitive, competitive, or selfish by nature. We are very much a product of our social, economic, cultural environments. Relax. Take your time. We’ll get there.

12. If you fancy yourself as a visionary, begin crafting a vision of the future where everyone lives in a sustainable, equitable, progressive, dynamic utopia that makes room for our imperfections.

13. Spread the word. Get stoked by the prospect of more perfect world. Allow yourself to feel positively intoxicated by it; imagine having more freedom to be, have, and do than you’ve ever known.

We’re all different, we’re all individual. A more perfect society does not mean abject conformity.

In such a society, the measure of success will be based on the fulfillment of your individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property, and power.

I encourage you to devise some personal strategies of your own for positive change.

If you found it difficult to stomach some of the content in this post, check out this essay by Jacque Fresco. It’ll likely answer most if not all of your questions – and then some. You’ll notice he rejects the notion of utopia, which I think is perfectly understandable when you remember that most people view utopia as essentially static and conformist.

In the meantime, let go of the old norms, the old patterns, and whatever you do, don’t die a copy and don’t die before you die. Be true to yourself. Be authentic. Be an original.

You can do this. In fact, most of us can. We just need to stop fighting ourselves and each other long enough to wake up to what is now possible.

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