July 24, 2012 -
Transitioning from Capitalism to Tachytelism in the Anthropocene: A Framework by John Stanton…
Conceptions of post-Capitalist systems of governance, economy and human geography are undermined without the counsel of evolutionary cognitive neuroscience, biology and psychology. Constructs such as capitalism and culture are creations of the individual and collective human brain and its emergent concept of mind. Those constructs are the product of genetic and cultural evolution. Advances in evolutionary studies are refining definitions of Homo Sapiens. Post-Capitalist and social analysis must now build foundations with knowledge drawn from findings flooding out of the evolutionary studies arena. Leading scholars in the humanities and evolutionary studies disciplines have found common ground and seek to merge elements of each field into formulas for contemplative and critical paradigms, particularly in education. The timing for this is propitious. Humans recklessly manage the Earth in an act-before-thinking manner. Capitalism encourages this and at informational speeds that befuddle the human mind rendering it reflexive and without empty space for contemplative, critical thought. Proper alternatives must be found and action taken. This paper proposes a centralizing framework for an alternative based on evolutionary studies and the humanities. Tachytelism is combinatory system for critical thinking, global eco-system management, governance, Earth-based spirituality and leadership. This paper provides 12 elements of the frame.
Key Words: evolutionary neuroscience, capitalism, humanities, anthropocene
“It is quite conceivable that life belongs to a limited stretch of time that before the earliest geological ages it did not exist and that time may well come again when the earth is a lifeless, burnt out or frozen planet. To those of us who are aware of the extremely limited range of physical conditions under which the chemical reactions necessary to life as we know it can take place, it is a forgone conclusion that the lucky accident which permits the continuation of life in any form on this earth, even without restricting life to something like human life, is bound to come to a complete and disastrous end. Yet we many succeed in framing our values so that this temporary accident of living existence, and this much more temporary accident of human existence, may be taken as all-important positive values, notwithstanding their fugitive character.
In a very real sense, we are shipwrecked passengers on a doomed planet. Yet even in a shipwreck human decencies and values do not necessarily vanish, and we must make the most of them. We shall go down but let it be in a manner to which we may look forward as worthy of our dignity.”
Interviewed by Der Spiegel in 2010, Brzezinski punched more holes in the “shipwreck”.
“I am very worried that most Americans are close to total ignorance about the world. They are ignorant. That is an unhealthy condition in a country in which foreign policy has to be endorsed by the people if it is to be pursued. And it makes it much more difficult for any president to pursue an intelligent policy that does justice to the complexity of the world… That is a reaction to the inability of people to understand global complexity or important issues like American energy dependency. Therefore, they search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity. And the people that they are now selecting to be, so to speak, the spokespersons of their anxieties are, in most cases, stunningly ignorant.”
Capitalism Properly Viewed: A Creation of Human Genetic and Cultural Evolution
Critics of Capitalism have struggled mightily to envision and articulate post-Capitalist systems of economy, governance and culture. Participatory Economy, Eco-Socialism, Solidarity Economy and Market Socialism are offered as options to the global Capitalist variants. 1 They are not compelling alternatives to Capitalism as is it is informed and justified by culture specific theology and spirituality. For example, the United States—Militant, Exceptionalism, Protestant; the European Union–Colonialist, Splintered Christianity; China–Communist, Confucian; Russia–Centralized, Eastern Orthodox; and Brazil–Samba Capitalism, Catholicism.
Scholars and critics of Capitalism build analytic foundations based on philosophical and introspective analyses of economic and historical nuance. But the foundation is unstable. It excludes Evolutionary Psychology, Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience. Practitioners in these disciplines have opened pathways to the understanding of processes in the brain that are responsible for emotion, thought, consciousness, free will, and sociality. (Wilson 2012) (Pagel 2012)
To critique Capitalism, and divine the Human endeavor and movement, is to understand that these phenomena are themselves creations of the individual and collective human brain. And these, in turn, are direct products of genetic and cultural evolution which has managed to push humanity through wicked struggles for survival in a hostile planetary environment to near dominance of it. Absent Evolutionary Psychology, Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience inputs 2, the study of Homo Sapiens, and its creations and interactions with the environment, are crippled analyses.
Evolutionary Psychology, Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience (hereinafter “Evolutionary Studies”) are beginning to uncover “how the brain evolved the way it did and why….and within a generation we likely will have progressed enough to explain the physical basis of consciousness….however we need far more knowledge collected from both science and the humanities.” (Wilson 2012)
Viewed through the lenses of Evolutionary Studies, Capitalism was a genetic and cultural evolutionary stage of adaption that propelled a fearful and ignorant species to dominate the Earth, whilst accumulating knowledge about itself and its environment. In a dark Multiverse and uncertain world, Capitalism’s creative and destructive capacities filled the empty spaces in the individual and collective mind where quiet and contemplative thought processes existed, where one felt the exhilarating, fearful, and improbable experience of life. Such thoughts sent much of humanity back to the daily hustle of Capitalist life where numbing routine provided a measure of calming certainty. But the price of for this dubious certainty was steep. Liberty and critical thought were sacrificed for invasive security and deeper penetration and exploitation of the brain by society’s controllers. (Zemyatin 1921).
“The communism of effects is the privatization of communism. Communism has not disappeared from history; it has been privatized, creating a community of synchronized emotions. Something happened with progress and its propaganda to make us constantly preoccupied with progress and perpetually occupied by it. We are now in a situation of occupation in both the temporal and martial meanings of the word: we are under the pressure of permanent occupation. This occupation places us under surveillance, watching us, revealing us and it is increasingly present, increasingly accepted as a fate, a destiny. Promoting progress means that we are always behind: on the high-speed Internet, on our Facebook profile, on our email inbox. There are always updates to be made: we are the objects of daily masochism and under constant tension.” (Virilio 2012)
Capitalism preyed upon humanity’s psyche just as it savagely hunted down the food and energy stocks of the Earth. Insecurity and vainglory were the core pathologies of Capitalism. Capitalism did not favor contemplative thought processes or prolonged questioning and protest of the system. The empty and timeless spaces in the mind should be filled with enticements to consume when prompted, not left open to the corrosive affects of contemplative, critical thinking. The sensibility of auto-pilot consumerism would come under fire. A collective of critical, contemplative minds posed a threat to Capitalist production, consumption, and profit. (Spivak 2012)
Capitalist leaders and defenders feared the devaluation of assets, net worth and, more to the point, their own individual and collective self-esteem, power. Each was subjected to the vagaries of regulated competition, the unpredictable stock market, the masses, and of nature. They recoiled in horror at the knowledge that their exploits would only be known to a species inhabiting a miniscule planet located on the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. “We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and the rest of life” (Wilson 2012). The Capitalist was vainglorious seeking to be validated by peers and the masses alike. Even possessing extraordinary economic or political power, the Capitalist remained insecure. Hence, one of Capitalisms most insidious diseases, fear, spread throughout humanity like wildfire.
“Temporal compression, as it is technically called, is an event that concretely modifies everyone’s daily life at the same time. In the face of this acceleration of daily life, fear has become an environment even in a time of peace. We are living in the accident of the globe, the accident of instantaneous simultaneity and interactivity that have now gained the upper hand over ordinary activities…With the phenomena of instantaneous interaction that are now our lot, there has been a veritable reversal, destabilizing the relationship of human interactions and the time reserved for reflection in favor of the conditioned responses produced by emotion…” (Virilio 2012)
One of the palliatives for the psychological agony of insecurity and vainglory was the Capitalist accumulation of more information, labor, resources and material goods. As that process accelerated through mechanization and technology, humanity and the environment were crucified repeatedly. The most savage and raw example of Capitalism’s fury was the creation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium. 3
“Leopold signed a decree which privatized extraction rights over rubber for the State in certain private domains, allowing Leopold to grant lucrative concessions to private companies….In other areas, private companies could continue to trade but were highly restricted and taxed. The…system destroyed the traditional economy of the Congo basin and enforced a labor tax on Leopold’s Congolese subjects requiring local chiefs to supply men to collect rubber and other resources…It essentially obliged natives to supply these products without payment…The result was one of the most brutal and all-encompassing Corvée institutions the world has known . . . Male rubber tappers and porters were mercilessly exploited and driven to death’….Leopold’s agents held the wives and children of these men hostage until they returned with their rubber quota….
Those who refused or failed to supply enough rubber often had their villages burned down, children murdered, and their hands cut off the Congo Basin for the sake of exploiting the ivory and rubber resources of the region… From 1885 to 1908, it is estimated that the Congolese native population decreased by about ten million people…a number of causes for this loss under Leopold’s reign [included] murder, starvation, exhaustion and exposure, disease, and plummeting birth rates. Congolese historian Ndaywel e Nziem estimates the death toll at thirteen million… Leopold capitalized on the vast wealth extracted in ivory and rubber during his twenty-three year reign of terror… He spent some of this wealth by constructing grand palaces and monuments including the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren. Ironically, Leopold never visited the kingdom in which he committed such atrocities, to witness the tragedy of his greed.”
And yet, under the flag of Capitalism much of humanity’s stellar–and humane—achievements had been realized. Telecommunications technologies (satellites, wireless and mobile communication devices), the Internet (routers, servers, fiber optic pathways), and the World Wide Web (databases of visual and textual information) stand aside many of humanity’s triumphant achievements. Indeed, communications tools had liberated information from the grip of institutional and bureaucratic censorship and obfuscation in much of the world’s nations. The technologies had altered the way in which cultures interacted, how nation’s governed, and how the exchange of goods and services took place. Moreover, the dominant historical narratives employed by Capitalism to legitimize its history and future unraveled according to Stanton writing for the American Behavioral Scientist.
The authors of the “What is Marxism?” gave Capitalism its due.
“The achievements of capitalism, in developing the productive forces, are immense. The mechanization of the production process, electrification, the development of railways, an extensive road network and motorized vehicles, the invention of computers and the development of virtually instantaneous communication around the world, have transformed trade and produced goods and wealth in previously unimaginable quantities.”
The Ehrlich’s discussed Capitalism’s glories. “…discoveries of biological science started to end plagues and improve health, and thus lower death rates, and, by so doing, encouraged unprecedented human population growth. Those biological discoveries also began to explain where human beings had come from, how we fit into nature and how we got smart enough to create and apply science, become the dominant animal on the planet, and even contemplate our possible destinies. By substantially increasing the power of human beings to modify their environments, the industrial revolution and the population explosion laid the groundwork for a nineteenth- and twentieth-century human conquest of nature on a scale hitherto undreamed of. Societies around the globe cleared vast areas of forest to raise crops and build cities, lacing the world with railroads and then highways, filling the skies with jet aircraft, and creating a vast array of plastics and other chemical products never seen in nature.” (P. Ehrlich, A. Ehrlich 2008)
But the “productive forces” of Capitalism are cannibalistic, reflexively self-consumptive. Capitalism is a system that aims and shoots first before weighing the “why” and consequences. Contemplative, critical thought is built out under Capitalism and just-in-time decision making built in.
Hierarchies are structured favoring access for mid to high wage income earners in nations that practice Capitalism. For example, “instantaneous communication” via the Internet and World Wide Web was being disrupted and censored through corporate pricing mechanisms and the military occupation by the cyber commands of many nations. Pop-up advertisements polluted the computer display, service providers raised prices for data transfer, and search engine companies, such as Google, had cozy relationships with intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency in the United States. 4
Coupled with millions of mobile communications devices, most often connected to the Internet and World Wide Web, the human brain was carpet bombed with far more information than it could process in a time and space available for critical thought. This process is created many millions of non-contemplative plug and play human minds. (In the United States it was common to see parents pushing a newborn in a baby stroller whilst talking on a mobile communications device. What was the child learning from the experience?). This was a bonanza for business and government particularly in light of recent findings in Evolutionary Studies that “consciousness and free will” were largely illusions. Already, public and private institutions are divining methods to exploit brain functions for fighting wars and marketing goods and services. (Wilson 2012) (Pagel 2012)
A counter to these developments was suggested by practitioners in the Evolutionary Studies field and scholars in the Humanities. Enlightened thinkers from both disciplines understood that breaching the Capitalist, Western educational model would be difficult.
An interdisciplinary Evolutionary Studies and Global Humanities curriculum that would be offered at the secondary and post-secondary school levels was contemplated. Such a program was thought to assist in the development of defensive measures against Capitalist corporate and government brain exploitation through the creation of pause functions that; in turn, would open ample time and space for contemplative thought and analysis.
“The humanities version of sustainability…was to maximize imaginative training and minimize the mind-numbing uniformization of globalization. As we were trying to achieve this, the increasingly corporatized and ambitious globalist university in the United States supervised the minimalization of the humanities and social sciences in order to achieve the maximum of some version of globalization…Globalization takes place only in capital and data. Everything else is damage control. Information command has ruined knowing and reading. Therefore we don’t really know what to do with information. Unanalyzed projects come into existence simply because the information is there. Crowd sourcing takes the place of democracy. Universities become adjuncts to what is called international civil society; the humanities and imaginative social sciences bite the dust. At this point, some of us remind ourselves that the legacy of the European Enlightenment is Doubt. Hope, or lack of hope, and sentimental nationalism, or sentimental post-national globalization are where much of our world stands now…The most pernicious presupposition today is that globalization has happily happened in every aspect of our lives…” (Spivak 2012)
“‘She watches with the raptor’s eye, trained on distance as she is, and dark—so when she turns to what is close, so intimate and huge, she keeps the gift of sight beyond herself, neither sentimental or detached….’Who, indeed, watches the passing show with the raptor’s eye? Couple the quick tweet and modalities of social networking with the videoing and blogging obsession, immersion in video games, overtime on the Internet and the constant interruption of face to face interaction by the cell phone, and you have a recipe for attention deficit in the life world. we are transferring our intelligence into the machine and machine is transferring its way of thinking into us…We are beginning to process information as if we are nodes…”(Stafford 2012).
Capitalism Produces the Anthropocene, Capitalism Fades
Capitalism produced and accumulated Exabyte’s of data detailing the impact of its processes had on the Earth’s ecosystems and humanity itself. Within this data were the seeds of Capitalism’s fade. Data clearly showed that if humanity continued to march under the Capitalist banner its extinction was assured. If not outright extinction, then nearly so as humanity would use a fusion of silicon and genetic engineering to render itself fit for life on a ravaged Earth (Virilio 2012). Geo-engineering of the Earth’s climate systems produced unanticipated side effects accelerating humanity’s movement to some end.
Capitalism, then, a creation of the human mind and genetic and cultural evolution, relished in the enterprise of destroying itself and countless number of life-forms on Earth. It proudly acknowledged the ignorance of consequences. In so doing it damned future generations.
“Since we are in the midst of this process of change, a clear description of what is happening is not easy, but the heart of the matter is that our technologies have become more powerful than our theories. We are capable of doing things that we do not understand. We can perform gene-splicing without fully understanding how genes interact. We can make pharmaceutics without being able to explain effects and predict side-effects. We can create new sub-atomic particles without knowing precisely whether they actually exist outside of the laboratory. We can store, and retrieve, endless bits of information without knowing what they mean.” (Cilliers 1998)
In the United States, the Capitalist Education Industry bore great responsibility for the plight of humanity. Its mission was to on mass produce standard model intellects capable of memorization and regurgitation of disparate bits and bytes of data. Only in the most cursory fashion were they programmed for the excitement of discovery, of mining for knowledge and, perhaps, applying it in a beneficial way for one or many.
“The scientific and technological revolution, itself so basically cerebral in character, still tends to affect American society in a largely unplanned fashion that is determined by decisions and impulses reflecting the values and interests of the earlier America. Intellectual power is mobilized to answer “how?” but not to ask “why?” America consequently risks becoming a civilization committed to the quest for continually improved means to carelessly examined ends. The political system has still to develop mechanisms and procedures to raise and answer the second question. Matters that fundamentally affect the national way of life, such as the construction of a supersonic aircraft, or that pose an ecological as well as a human threat, such as industrial pollution or radiation from atomic energy plants, are handled by a decision making that inhibits the opportunities for an intelligent expression of the popular will. Even higher education, by not focusing on the underlying questions but by emphasizing techniques, runs the risk of becoming miseducation: of creating large numbers of “educated” people who think they know the answers, but who in fact do not even know the truly important questions.” (Brzezinski 1970)
Capitalism created the Anthropocene Epoch
According to Crutzen and Shwagerl writing in Yale Environment 360, “For the past three centuries, the effects of humans on the global environment have escalated. Because of these anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, global climate may depart significantly from natural behavior for many millennia to come. It seems appropriate to assign the term ‘Anthropocene’ to the present, in many ways human-dominated, geological epoch, supplementing the Holocene — the warm period of the past 10–12 millennia. For millennia humans have behaved as rebels against a superpower we call “Nature.” In the 20th century, however, new technologies, fossil fuels, and a fast-growing population resulted in a Great Acceleration of our own powers. Albeit clumsily we are taking control of Nature’s realm, from climate to DNA. We humans are becoming the dominant force for change on Earth. A long-held religious and philosophical idea — humans as the masters of planet Earth — has turned into a stark reality. What we do now already affects the planet of the year 3000 or even 50,000. Changing the climate for millennia to come is just one aspect. By cutting down rainforests, moving mountains to access coal deposits and acidifying coral reefs, we fundamentally change the biology and the geology of the planet. While driving uncountable numbers of species to extinction, we create new life forms through gene technology, and, soon, through synthetic biology.
Human population will approach ten billion within the century. We spread our man-made ecosystems, including mega-regions with more than 100 million inhabitants, as landscapes characterized by heavy human use — degraded agricultural lands, industrial wastelands, and recreational landscapes — become characteristic of Earth’s terrestrial surface. We infuse huge quantities of synthetic chemicals and persistent waste into Earth’s metabolism. Where wilderness remains, it’s often only because exploitation is still unprofitable. Conservation management turns wild animals into a new form of pets…We are no longer disturbing natural ecosystems. Instead, we now live in ‘human systems with natural ecosystems embedded within them.’ The long-held barriers between nature and culture are breaking down. It’s no longer us against Nature. Instead, it’s we who decide what nature is and what it will be. To master this huge shift, we must change the way we perceive ourselves and our role in the world…”
Crutzen’s classic piece in Nature Magazine, “The Geology of Mankind”, coining the term Anthropocene, had this unsettling comment.
“Unless there is a global catastrophe — a meteorite impact, a world war or a pandemic — mankind will remain a major environmental force for many millennia. A daunting task lies ahead for scientists and engineers to guide society towards environmentally sustainable management during the era of the Anthropocene. This will require appropriate human behavior at all scales, and may well involve internationally accepted, large-scale geo-engineering projects, for instance to optimize climate. At this stage, however, we are still largely treading on terra incognita.”
Virilio figured that humanity would genetically and culturally remake itself for a planet cannibalized by its own kind. “After the industries of death brought about by the gas chambers and concentration camps, the industries of life now offer the possibility of a genetically modified human race, calling into question humans born of blood and sperm and therefore the wild, the natural part of humanity. The “naturals” would become the new savages with augmented people leading a new humanity shaped less by political totalitarianism than bioengineering. And now we have entered the question of hyper racism. The deadly consequences of the great ecological fear are extremely disturbing. We are at risk of seeing not military dissuasion established between powers, but civil dissuasion between people.
What would be behind this civil dissuasion? The third bomb, which in truth has not yet exploded, already carries a name: the genetic bomb. It is the mutation of the human species by genetic engineering: the production of a human being with a smaller ecological footprint, consuming less air water and energy; the installation of a genetically modified organism to adapt to new environmental conditions, a new human being with a smaller ecological footprint because it uses less proteins water and oxygen, a creature made compatible with an Earth of dwindling resources…” (Virilio 2012) (Moravec 1988).
As humanity simultaneously geo-engineered the Earth and redesigned itself into a networked and integrated silicon-genetic based life form, Homo Sapiens faded like Capitalism 5. What would post Homo Sapiens look and be like? (Moravec 1988) Survival on a crippled Earth depended on strict uniformity of thought and action. The human brain, expending 1/5th of the human body’s energy resources (Pagel 2012), had to be regulated and restricted from movement, thought and emotional processes demanding high energy usage.
Anthropocene Ushers in Tachytelism
Tachytelism was an inevitable development in the ongoing genetic and cultural evolution of the Human Species. Specifically, it was the product of the genetic and cultural evolution of the human brain as it interacts in and with social and natural environments. Tachytelism is loosely derived from the field of Evolutionary Studies (Simpson 1953). “Other considerations strongly suggest that some phases of evolution have also involved rates higher than any in distributions … That exceptionally fast evolution is tachytely and it moves at tachytelic rates. Adaptive radiation occurs, and especially if this is of a basic or major sort, the shift of each divergent line into the zone it comes to occupy is commonly tachytelic.”
Doctor Girish Chandra, a former professor at Delhi University and author of the website Izoology, provided another definition. “Tachytelism is sudden spurt in evolution or explosive radiation that gives rise to entirely new adaptive types that can invade a very different environmental zone and survive. Such event is also called Mega-Evolution.
Humanity’s survival, and that of its associated species on Earth, depended upon embracing Tachytelism. Humanity jettisoned Capitalism and set-aside the pseudo-Capitalist models regularly proposed by well-intentioned scholars. Reincarnating Capitalism was no longer an acceptable option. (Guattari, Negri 1990).
“What is at stake here then is a functional multi-centrism capable, on the one hand, of articulating the different dimensions of mass intellectuality, and on the other hand of actively neutralizing the destructive power of capitalist arrangements… The dismantling of companies, of branches of industries, of entire regions, the social and ecological costs of the crisis can no longer be written off as a necessary reconversion of the system.”
Framework for the Development of Tachytelism
(1) Tachytelism and Human Evolution: The velocity of humanity’s genetic and cultural social evolution outpaced the Earth’s ability to support the human species in its current form (Pagel 2012) (Wilson 2012) (Cilliers 1998).
(2) Tachytelism and Institutions: The institutional capacities to manage and sustain the earth’s ecosystems developed more slowly than humanity’s overuse of the same systems according to Rockstrom’s Planetary Boundaries concept.
(3) Tachytelism Indicted Capitalism: creating, exchanging, accumulating and storing information for profit led to Exabytes of scientific and historical digital data documenting the environmental and human carnage that Capitalism wrought. That information was available courtesy of the Internet and World Wide Web. Scientific reports indicted, without doubt, that the creative and destructive cycles of Capitalism were murderous beseeching Humanity to embrace Tachytelism. (Wilson 2012) (Pagel 2012) (Cilliers 1998). The United States’ own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned its Capitalist “leaders” and citizens repeatedly of the impact that Climate Change would have in the United States and around the Earth. “Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with additional contributions from the clearing of forests and agricultural activities.”
(4) Tachytelism Tamed Capitalism: the pathologies of Capitalism were tamed by revealing to humanity its bleak future, or grotesque modification, even as Homo Sapiens propelled by Capitalism sat triumphantly atop the Anthropocence. As it tamed destructive pathologies by informing it altered and matured humanity, prompting critical individual and collective awareness. Tachytelism catalyzed a pause moments within humanity that asked the question, “What have we done, and are doing, to ourselves, our Earth?”
(5) Tachytelism Liberated the Mind: Tachytelism reveled in the improbable experience of existence and the uncertain nature of life on Earth. Humanity’s individual and collective sense of place in the Multiverse was contemplated and serenity established. The sense of isolation that initially came with Tachytelic thinking was then overtaken by a flood of emotions. At that moment, the human mind recognized that the Earth is humanity’s paradise, that genetic and cultural evolution designed Homo Sapiens for life on this planet, not in a mythical Heaven or Hell, or on the planet Mars, or the moons of Jupiter (Wilson 2012) (Pagel 2012).
The exhilaration of being a unique individual and social animal ignited a sense of gratefulness for the improbable chance to exist. This rare probability was a gift from Earth and from ancestoral human lines dating back millions of years. (Wilson 2012). The opportunity to hear, see, smell, touch and contemplate as one interacted with nature and society on Earth, amidst a billion other suns in the Milky Way Galaxy is remarkable. This gift is bequeathed by genetic and cultural evolution of human lineage that struggled for millions of years to survive and prosper. The output was Homo Sapiens. Tachytelism reminded humanity that time moves swiftly. It cautioned that human health degrades rapidly limiting the experience of life. Time must be used prudently and in consideration of future generations who deserve a chance to live. Tachytelism has its own beliefs and faiths. It subdues traditional religion viewing it as a once useful Darwinian device for the primal mind. (Wilson 2012).
(6) Tachytelism Subordinated Narrow Interests: In its taming of Capitalist pathologies, Tachytelism subordinated national self -interest to a global non-hegemonic, cooperative interest. The stark reality of ecosystem damage and resource depletion was harsh. Equitable repair and sharing arrangements were set and enforced. Creating the Tachytelic mindset came from national example setting, and the development of interdisciplinary education programs in Evolutionary Studies and Global Humanities. These programs were mandatory and inserted into learning schemes at secondary schools around the globe. Coursework began no later than thirteen years of age. The Tachytelist core belief came to be this: Global before National Interest.
China has provided an example of an emerging Tachytelic mindset. Writing in the Canadian Naval Review, Chircop’s “The Emergence of China as a Polar-Capable State” would be prescient.
“It is also interesting to note that China has spoken for the global commons in ways that no other major state has done in recent times. Clearly there is self-interest in reminding Arctic states that extended continental shelf claims… should not trench on the international seabed area. In doing so, however, it is also playing the role of advocate for the common heritage of mankind and interests of developing countries, which no other Arctic state is doing. It has given itself a voice for developing countries. Considering its substantial official development assistance in all developing regions, this is a role which many developing countries are likely to endorse.”
What of an interdisciplinary education in Evolutionary Studies and Global Humanities?
Patniak writing in the Social Scientist had this to say. “What is meant by…the task of higher education…It is indeed striving for knowledge, for excellence, but unrestricted by the hegemony of existing ideas which typically emanate from the advanced countries. These ideas must of course be engaged with, but higher education in developing societies cannot remain a mere clone of what exists in advanced countries. Developing societies must go beyond the mere imitation of research agendas set by the established centers of learning in the advanced countries in order to take account of the people’s needs.”
Tachytelism ruptured industrial models of education that manufactured students as though they were automotive vehicles. Planned obsolescence was built into the acquisition of most college degrees. Knowledge shifted and expired rapidly in the Anthropocene. Tachytelism subordinated nationalist models of education to secondary status, favoring instead global over national education.
The educational philosophy that promoted the notion that the receipt of a basic or advanced certification of expertise immediately confers lifetime knowledge—and privilege–in a particular subject matter was outdated. Tachytelism sought to release young minds from the education-as- warehouse model.
“By extending education on an intermittent basis throughout the lifetime of the citizen…the duration of the self-contained and relatively isolated phase of initial education could then be shortened. Taking into account the earlier physical and sexual maturation of young people today, it could be more generally pursued within a work study framework, and it should be supplemented by periodic additional training throughout most of one’s active life. A good case can be made for ending initial education (more of which could be obtained in the home through electronic devices) somewhere around the age of eighteen. This formal initial period could be followed by two years of service in a socially desirable cause; then by direct involvement in some professional activity and by advanced, systematic training within that area; and finally by regular periods of one and eventually even two years of broadening, integrative study at the beginning of every decade of one’s life, somewhere up to the age of sixty. (Brezezinski 1970)
(7) Tachytelism’s Analytical and Critical Thinking Tools: Tachytelist thinking employed a mix of analytical tools. Tachytelism sought the counsel of Evolutionary Studies and the Humanities (Wilson 2012) (Pagel 2012), (Stafford 2012) (Spivak 2012). Tachytelism utilized the methodologies of Systems Analysis to assess the whole of complex issues, its parts and their relationships and influences on other systems. It provided connective methodologies designed by James Burke and presented in his television series Connections. John Boyd’s Observe, Orient, Decide, Act, Assess, and Recycle methodology became essential epistemological lenses (see Reference 38). Tachytelism adapted Situational Awareness methods to teach cognitive depth, recognition and empathy within complex cultural terrains. Developing knowledge and practices of other cultures became paramount for humanity.
A presentation by Stanton titled Framework for Strategic and Cultural Analyses presented at the Defense Academy of the United Kingdom, Cranfield, (see Reference 38 ) tied many of these elements together. A United States Marine Corps Information Operations presentation provided lessons in depth-thinking and situational awareness.
(8) Tachytelic Economy Enforced Human Security:
Writing at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity, Alkire provided a hint of what would be the Tachytelic Economy’s primary focus. Beyond redirecting monetary resources, debt elimination, maximums and minimums for income, repair of Eco-systems, redirecting educational models, etc.; Human and Ecosystem Security became “vital cores”. However, the vital core’s approach would be just a start on the path to break down and redesign institutions.
“The objective of human security is to safeguard the vital core of all human lives from critical pervasive threats, in a way that is consistent with long-term human fulfillment. Human security takes its shape from the human being: the vital core that is to be protected. Institutions that undertake to protect human security will not be able to promote every aspect of human well-being. But at very least they must protect this core of people’s lives…. Human security is deliberately protective. It recognizes that people and communities are fatally threatened by events well beyond their control: a financial crisis, a violent conflict, AIDS, a national policy that undercuts public and private investments in health care, a terrorist attack, water shortages, chronic destitution, or pollution in a distant land. Many threats are far more destructive if they come as a surprise. The damage and deaths of an earthquake can be minimized by producing earthquake resistant buildings; the impoverishing effects of a financial crisis can be mitigated if counter-measures are put in place in advance; early warning systems can reduce the effect of famine. Yet many of these preparations require threats to be acknowledged, before they occur (or at the very least, as they occur). The human security approach urges institutions to offer protection which is institutionalized, not episodic; responsive, not rigid; preventative, not reactive. In this way, people will face inevitable downturns with security.”
(9) Tachytelism was not a “Peace on Earth” Development: Tachytelism was a stage of genetic and cultural evolution. The transition to the Tachytelic World View would take hundreds of years. Humanity’s embracement of Tachytelism would come only after nuclear war, uncontrollable tectonic plate shifting, and the entry of deadly synthetic organisms into large swaths of humanity.
The transition took place in a world where living aside stockpiles of nuclear and conventional weapons, and in a perpetual state of war and crisis, was considered normal, part of the Capitalist routine. In this volatile environment, the United States–like many nations around the globe, eagerly sold conventional weapons and advanced war-making technologies to dictatorships and representative democracies alike 6. Exacerbating the problem was the “stone age minds” (Wilson 2012) evident in the Capitalist “leadership” of the Western World. It was fixated on maintaining and expanding its Capitalist interests. Other national leaders outside the Western World were not far behind. Al Jazeera, a news agency based in Qatar, reported that 19,000 nuclear weapons were in the hands of national “leaders”. Many more nations sought civilian nuclear power plants and coveted nuclear weaponry.
(10) Tachytelism and Governance: Tachytelism viewed quasi-representative and deliberative bodies the world over as unproductive and ceremonial. Assembled bodies of politicians or political-military-economic “leaders”, no matter what their location, party affiliation or ideology, served as models of “unexamined absorption”.
Deliberative representative institutions and summitry faded away having become dysfunctional, the stuff of theater. Matters of human survival, war, health and “the people” were put deep in the queue by the actors that made up the institutions. Protecting national interests, personal power and transacting for profit became the primary function of the people’s representatives. Corporate sponsorship and privileged access to political-military “leaders” pulled back the curtain to reveal what constituents mattered most. An excellent display of this was the May 2012 NATO Summit held in Chicago Illinois. That city’s Welcoming Committee website displayed a roster of corporate sponsors who helped defray expenses and gain face-time with world “leaders.”
Tachytelism embraced dispersed local, regional, national and global management via telecommunications technologies that allowed remote visual and audio communications. The Internet and World Wide Web (Skype for example) provided such services. Telegovernance and telemanagement replaced privileged gatherings in capitol buildings and city convention centers. “Leaders” were required to stay in their respective communities interacting nearly 100 percent of the time with their constituents. The era of the pomp and circumstance of elections, inaugurations, and their great expense, had past. The reward for leadership in the Tachytelic Era was the act of leading itself, of making the balanced decision for the greater welfare, not narrow interests.
The United Nations was moved out of the United States and decentralized among the nations of the Earth. Communication nodes were established within the continents. Representatives were required to remain local among “the people”. Global and national decision making proceeded at a faster pace in accordance with the needs and events of the time. National institutions such as the United States Congress, the United Kingdom’s Parliament and China’s National People’s Congress underwent similar restructuring.
(11) Tachytelism and Leadership: Tachytelism set the standards bar for leadership extraordinarily high. Humanity was desperate for leadership and guidance. There were models for such leaders. One of them was Nobel Laureate and United States General George C. Marshall. The other was China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. Their personality traits were remarkably similar.
The Zhou Enlai Peace Institute cites United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s impression of Enlai. “Zhou Enlai, possessing the sense of cultural superiority of an ancient civilization, softened the edges of ideological hostility by insinuating an ease of manner and a seemingly effortless skill to penetrate the heart of the matter…In some sixty years of public life, I have encountered no more compelling ﬁgure than Zhou Enlai. Short, elegant, with an expressive face framing luminous eyes, he dominated by exceptional intelligence and capacity to intuit the intangibles of the psychology of his opposite number…”
“Despite his power and influence, Zhou Enlai lived an extremely simple life. He never wasted anything, and wore his clothes, shoes and hats for years until they wore out completely. Much of his salary went to family needs, and to the many orphans he adopted. Even his pajamas were patched over and over again, until the original cloth was almost gone — it was all patches, many colors mixed together. Upon his death, it was found that Zhou Enlai was virtually penniless. He had kept nothing for himself, and claimed nothing from the vast wealth of China. He gave everything he had, and everything he was, to the people of China.”
Marshall served as United States Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. Marshall was the head of the American Red Cross and a Special Representative to China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. During his Nobel Prize acceptance speech he suggested that students at the secondary school level be taught of the processed that lead to the “horrors of war.”
Marshall received many lucrative offers from publishing houses and movie studios. Accepting them would have made him wealthy. He rejected them all.
One of Marshall’s greatest skills-interpersonal relations–was captured best by Orson Welles in an interview on the Dick Cavett Show. “He was a human being,” said Welles. 7
The Marshall Foundation provided many accolades and stories of this impressive individual. “Marshall’s restrained and professional behavior during the politically explosive tangles with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) over the tension between readiness and aid to Britain provides a polar star for members of America’s armed forces to guide upon as they consider their civil-military responsibilities. He did not attempt to advance his cause through leaks to favored journalists. He did not attempt end runs of FDR to the president’s congressional critics. And he did not publish in the New York Times or Washington Post op-ed pieces articulating alternative solutions to the administration’s policies. Instead he privately provided his commander-in-chief independent and candid advice, not partisan advocacy of alternative policies, and he loyally supported and actively assisted their execution once the president had decided.”
Media outlets in the United States reported on Marshall’s extraordinary abilities. For example, this excerpt from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Quarterly: “Marshall gave a rare press conference that became part of his legend. He began by asking each of the 30 correspondents to pose their questions. Marshall remained silent until the last question was asked. He then spoke for 40 minutes, answering each question, looking directly at its author and weaving it all into his global portrait.”
(12) Tachytelism and the United States: In his Second Treatise on Government, John Locke wrote, “. . . in the beginning, all the world was America.” Today all the world is America, in the sense that America is the first to experience the social, psychological, political, and ideological dilemmas produced by man’s sudden acquisition of altogether unprecedented power over his environment and over himself.” (Brzezinski 1970).
The United States Republic practiced Militant Capitalism under the guise of national security, representative democracy and “God”. The United States National Security machinery was Capitalism’s sledge hammer; opposing interests—foreign or domestic, the nail. Capitalist interests were enforced by United States uniformed military services, intelligence agencies and legions of private defense contractors. Provisions for national security were consciously built into The United States’ Constitution (for example see Articles One, Two and Four).
Since at least 1890 the United States had waged war within its own borders against Native Americans and coal miners seeking better working conditions. Its interventionist record outside its own borders spoke for itself according to Grossman of Evergreen College in the United States.
The United States Instruments of National Power were formidable. They included diplomatic, informational, military, economic, financial, law enforcement, intelligence (and human capital). These tools had global and household reach. The Instruments of National Power allowed the United States to shape much of the world in its favor. The United States’ Army’s Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare Manual, September 2008, provided an exemplary analysis of the Instruments of National Power.
The United States remained the preeminent global power for decades into the 21st Century. National power measurement indices from China’s Comprehensive National Power Index and the World Economic Forum confirmed this reality according to the editors of European Geostrategy 8. But change was coming.
“Closely related to the issue of the rate of multi-polarization, is the question of the pace of U.S. decline. The eventual U.S. fall from its current superpower status to become one of the equal poles in the future security environment is a given, a premise that is not debated. However, how long this process of decline will take is not a certainty,” wrote Pillsbury in “China Debates the Future Security Environment.”
And so the Cold War was restructured in the early part of the 21st Century. Knowing that its global supremacy will be nullified over the coming 100 years, the United States moved swiftly to hem in China and Russia through its considerable Instruments of National Power. In this view Iran, Libya and Syria were pawns in a sequel to the Cold War. Accordingly, The United States’ sought to replace the then Syrian and Iranian ruling elite with pliable dictatorships with an eye towards military basing rights. The brinkmanship between the United States, Russia and China began anew. As turmoil increased in Syria and spilled into Lebanon and Turkey (with the United States and Saudi Arabia instigating much of it), Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medeyev made the extraordinary statement nuclear weapons could be used in a wider regional war, reported the Times of India.
In 2012 the United States had 700 military installations of assorted sizes placed around the globe according to the National Post of Canada. The United States’ military Lilly Pad strategy made use of these bases to launch covert military strikes anywhere in the world said the New York Times.
Ensuring that the United States dollar remained the world’s currency was a priority. The financial strangling of the Iranian economy and people provided the world with a stark reminder of United States’ power and global reach. The United States’ Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network was inescapable.
The United States’ continued to meddle in the internal affairs of Russia according to President Vladimir Putin stated the Washington Post Company’s Foreign Policy magazine. It also continued to place missile defense systems in close proximity to China and Russia’s borders said China Daily in 2010. According to the news agency Reuters, Russia’s response was to test fire a new missile capable of defeating United States missile defenses.
Joseph Stalin was reported to have said that “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.
Stalin was wrong. No outside force was going to “undermine” the United States. The decline would come from within.
United States’ public and private “leadership”, its two-party Republic and Democratic system (one monster with two heads), its institutions and its people became unhealthy, adrift and addicted to the concept of Capitalist American Exceptionalism.” United States citizenry and their “leaders” were “stunningly ignorant” as Brezezinski stated. Stellar leaders such as Marshall and Enlai did not appear and the United States could not keep pace with a changing world that saw re-emergent powers like China, Turkey, Russia and India create new polarities. Emerging independent economic powers like Brazil and non-United States based joint compacts like that of the Union of South American Nations were exciting developments on the world stage. The United States sought to dominate rather than cooperate. Only violence could rupture the Militant Capitalist consciousness of the United States.
Brzezinski provided keen insights into the problematic dynamics of the United States’ political, institutional, and societal structure as it attempted to reboot itself for rapid change. Quoting extensively from Brzezinski (and concluding this paper):
“The responsiveness of political institutions to the need for change is of great import to America’s future. Some citizens see the present American system as incapable not only of promoting the needed social changes but even of reacting to pressure on behalf of such changes. In such a setting, procedures and institutions that in times of stability are vaunted for their deliberateness become in times of more rapid change examples of delay, inefficiency, and even fundamental injustice. The government as an expression of the national will increasingly tends to be seen as unable to direct and coordinate national change effectively. It appears neither to articulate national goals nor to develop a sense of national direction.
This feeling of uncertainty about national purpose is also magnified by the fading of the established political elite…The breakup of the postwar [World War II] elite highlights the dichotomy between the qualities necessary to gain political power in American democracy and those necessary to exercise effective leadership of that democracy. The courtship of the press and the mass media is a necessary concomitant of courting the masses, since the masses are influenced not only by direct appeal but also through the intermediary of an “image,” which is in part built up by the media themselves. The desirability of this image puts a premium on advocating the immediately popular and the fashionable rather than on formulating broader objectives by focusing attention on basic philosophical questions concerning the meaning of a modern society. Since social consensus has been fragmented by the pace of change and society’s value structure has itself become highly tactical, the large strategic questions tend to be obscured. To make matters worse, the American institutional framework has not kept up with the pace of societal change.
Given the country’s enormous transformation through industrial growth and communications mobility, its federal arrangements have become increasingly devoid of economic or geographic substance. These arrangements are kept alive by local traditional sentiment and vested interests, rather than by their actual functional utility. The national government, particularly because of the two party system, has also found it difficult to develop the needed mechanisms for openly channeling the new major competitive forces on the political scene, and it still operates as if the political “game” revolved around the two relatively loose alliances of interest groups that largely reflected the industrial rural dilemmas of the earlier age. In general, that arrangement had been effective in expressing, as well as moderating, the popular will and in striking a balance between continuity and change. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that in past times of stress and sharper choices the two party system occasionally broke up, though only temporarily. It would appear that the breakup of the two party system is again under way, precisely because the dilemmas of the country have become intensified by the extraordinary pace of change and by the widening spectrum of often incompatible choices it stimulates.
The result is paradoxical: the situation described stimulates a more intense public interest in politics while increasing the sense of the futility of politics; it fragments national consensus while prompting louder appeals for a sense of common national direction; finally, it simultaneously confronts the individual with the twin dangers of fragmentation and of excessive control. Indeed, national policy seems to fragment as national government expands. As a result, many Americans feel that their freedom is contracting. This feeling seems to be connected with their loss of purpose, since freedom implies choice of action, and action requires an awareness of goals. If America’s present transition to the technetronic age does not result in personally satisfying achievements, the next phase could be one of sullen withdrawal from social and political involvement, a flight from social and political responsibility through inner retreat and outward conservatism.”
- All excellent insights but minus the counsel of Evolutionary Studies. Mulgan, Jeff. 2009. After Capitalism, Prospect Magazine http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/aftercapitalism/; Dolan, Ed. 2011. The Ecosocialist Critique of Capitalism vs. Real World Socialism. Economonitor, A Roubini Global Economics Project. http://www.economonitor.com/dolanecon/2011/04/29/the-ecosocialist-critique-of-capitalism-vs-real-world-socialism/; Serrano, Melissa and Xhafa, Edlira. 2011 The Quest for Alternatives beyond (Neoliberal) Capitalism Working Paper No. 14, International Labor Organization, http://postcapitalistproject.org/sites/default/files/GLU_WP_No.14.pdf
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John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at email@example.com
The views of the above author are not strictly the views of Windows to Russia. They are an independent view from an outside source and country that brings a better light on the world in general and Windows to Russia is pleased to have John Stanton’s article on its pages today. It is hoped that we will have many more of his writings in the future…
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