Off the keyboard of RE
Published Originally on Reverse Engineering on October 31, 2011
Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner
Note from RE: Inside the Diner, the Hot Topic of the Day is the Foxstead Project, an “IRL” versionsome of the dedicated Diners are pursuing to find a WAY OUT of the Matrix, a bit of FREEDOM in a World where this commodity reached its PEAK long ago, long before Peak Oil became an issue.
Diners are not the First Freedom Seekers, nor do I suspect we will be the last. Here in this article, I took a look at some Freedom Seekers from a Mullenia ago, amongst the last to find true FREEDOM on the Earth.
Those of you who have read my posting for a while know I like the Sail paradigm, some of you may have even read some of my paeans to the Polynesians who first colonized the Big Island of Hawaii around 1000 AD. This was a remarkable accomplishment for a Stone Age culture. They learned to navigate the High Seas without instruments even as rudimentary as a Sextant. They did it in Boats they built with Stone Tools. The culture that colonized Hawaii was the same one that colonized New Zealand, the Society Islands, the Marquesas Islands and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). All these folks were able to understand their languages, though they were not precisely the same over time. They did not just make the trip Once by Luck; they made these trips many times over the centuries.
Much of this seems near Miraculous to me. I’ve done a decent amount of woodworking, but most of it with Power Tools. Even the Hand Tools I used were all made of Metal, and the wood I worked with milled already into easily usable planks and 2x4s. Putting it together, I have metal screws and a variety of bonding materials, all courtesy of the chemical plants DuPont runs. How these folks managed to take raw trees and cut them up into planks with stone tools, then bore holes into them with Bone Awls and sew them together with sinew and then waterproof the whole bizness is beyond me. Yet of course they did manage it, the evidence is quite overwhelming that they did.
All the while these folks were engaged in this task, Europe was in the middle of the Dark Ages, Vlad the Impaler was running roughshod over Transylvania and the Vikings were raiding coastal towns and Monasteries from the North Sea right down to Portugal.
So in my mind’s eye, I tend to see the Polynesians of 1000AD having it far better than their counterparts over in Europe, but did they really? What was driving the Polynesians to make these long voyages fraught with danger? Answer would be two things, need for expansion with growing population and the search for FREEDOM.
Hawaii when it finally did get colonized eventually became a Monarchy of sorts, besides that a terrifically Inbred one. Brothers married Sisters, that sort of thing. By the time Cook arrived in the 1500s, the stratification of Hawaiian culture was pretty complete.
The tendency of ALL cultures of Homo Sapiens is to become stratified over time with Haves and Have Not’s, I suspect this was even true of the Native cultures of the Pacific Northwest which engaged in Potlatch. If you don’t get born into the right family in the right circumstances, you’re not “born equal”. About the only time “all men are created equal” is right at the BEGINNING of any cultural
development and expansion, the beginning of the Ponzi so to speak.
In NO society of Homo Sapiens, and none really that I can think of in the Mammalian Kingdom is there not stratification of some sort, Alpha Males getting all the Reproductive Rights, that sort of thing. it seems from the biological and sociological evidence that a truly egalitarian system is not possible to run. Hell, even on the Insect level you have your “Queen Bees” and “Worker Bees”.
This is in essence the battle being waged now by the 99%, which is to overthrow the stratification in this society because it has become too onerous and not beneficial to the community at large. However, even if successful in overthrowing TPTB, they are likely to create the very same kind of stratified system all over again, as it seems to be biologically determinate. You can’t really have an egalitarian system except at the very smallest level, and even then for only short period of time until the society grows and matures in its structures.
One would think living on limited size islands for decades if not centuries, the people living there would have grasped the concept that their population size had to be limited. Also you wonder just why the vast majority of people would accept Inbred Kings and Queens as their Rulers and provide for them a very good standard of living relative to the population as a whole, JUST because they were “Born to Rule”? My only answer to this is it must in some way be hard wired into the DNA of all Animals and Insects, though it does not seem to be true for Plants.
So the real CHALLENGE for Homo Sapiens in this iteration of the cycle seems to be the need to develop a NEW species, to EVOLVE beyond such a hard wiring of stratification of society. Clearly a difficult thing to do, it’s certainly never been done far as I know in the last iteration of the cycle. I have no idea how such a thing might occur, given the fact there are always biological discrepancies between individuals which give some the ability to take advantage of others. In a purely basic physical scenario, the Biggest and the Strongest make the best Hunters, that allows them to rule over the less Big and less Strong. In a complex society dependent more on intellectual abilities, it allows the Really Smart to rule over the Less Smart. Both types of organization lead to you Haves and Have Not’s and the eventual conflict which arises when the population grows past the point where the local resources are sufficient to keep the have not’s properly fed.
Perhaps there is no solution to this other than Boom-Bust cycles such as we have undergone so many times in the past and are undergoing once again now. Rumour has it according to Population experts that on Oct 31st we will cross the 7B threshold in Population of Homo Sapiens living on the face of the Earth. A remarkable achievement in many ways for Homo Sapiens as Top of the Food Chain in this system. Nevertheless, clearly not a SUSTAINABLE achievement, one can only guess at the day this Number will begin to FALL instead of RISE, but I have little doubt that day is Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You.
For myself, I grew up in the Age of Oil at the very END of this Ponzi. Little Freedom left even when I was born in 1957, quite a bit less by the time I understood some Politics in the late 1960s, still less in my middle years in the 1980s, far less now and getting less all the time here. I miss the Freedom, and my life has been one of moving ever outward to find it, but unlike the Freedom Seeking Polynesians who first found the Big Island of Hawaii, there really is not anywhere left to GO anymore. At least nowhere to go you could live anything but the most marginal of subsistence existence. The first Polynesians to find the Big Island of Hawaii lived anything BUT a marginal existence, they were SURROUNDED by Bounty relative to the few people who managed to Navigate their way there in ocean going catamaran rigged canoes.
Over time though, the Bounty disappeared and the society stratified. I would not have been a happy man in Hawaii of 1500 right before Cook arrived ashore to bring Smallpox to those Islands. The only time I EVER could have been “happy” was if I had arrived to those shores FIRST, when all was Pristine and Clean, when ALL on my Sailboat arrived as equals, when there was more than enough for ALL of us to be happy and content. Sadly of course, the very LAST day that ever happened on the face of the Earth WAS the day that Ocean Going Canoe arrived at those shore, for before that, every other place on the face of the earth already had some other Homo Sapiens living there.
As it stands now, this iteration of the cycle is about OVER, we stand at the culmination of 6000 years of power and wealth consolidation and social stratification, and all the earth is now OWNED and OCCUPIED. This will not remain the case in perpetuity however. Whether by cause of Nature and the Cosmos or whether by the Hand of Man himself, this iteration of the cycle is coming to a close now. We will RESET and begin again, or we will be no more, in one case there will be few left to begin again, in the other none.
I for one hope for the former case to be true, because if so then some day in the far distant future, once more some Navigator will see in the distance a Volcano erupting, and guide his Canoe toward that fiery light. It will be a NEW Island over that Hotspot in the Pacific Ocean, and beside it there will be other Islands all Pristine and Clean, the ONLY place TRUE FREEDOM ever exists, for ever so brief a time. My Spirit will find that Navigator and that Canoe sometime in the far distant future, I am certain of it. It is where I BELONG.