Monday, October 20, 2008

The Free Currency Project

Let's talk about solutions, for a change.

I'm in the process of putting one of mine up at the Free Currency wiki. Here's an excerpt, to whet your appetite:

For the past few hundred years, ever since the establishment of the first central bank, the creation of money has come with a price attached: an interest fee, which must be paid to the issuer. In the end, such money is nothing but debt, and it's ending now in the only way it could: everything, all the real wealth in the world, is being sucked to the top of a pyramid billions of people broad and hundreds of years old. This end was inherent in the way our money works, but it is not inherent in money per se. Our modern monetary system is, when you get right down to it, nothing but a game that we play. On this page, you'll find the rules of a new game. One that just might be more fun to play than the one we're all sitting at the table for now.

This isn't just some bullshit idea I came up with on my own (although certain details of the implementation are, so far as I know, unique.) The basic concept was brought to my attention in a series of articles (Money: A New Beginning Part 1, Part 2, Money and the Crisis of Civilization) by Charles Eisenstein, a thinker whose thoughts are deep in that way that many philosophers aspire to but few are able to pull off with such grace (his book, Ascent of Humanity, is online, free to all, and highly recommended.) The key idea is that of demurrage, which is very simply the opposite of interest: whereas the money we use now gains value over time simply by virtue of being money, free currency loses value until eventually it just dries up and vanishes. This is odd, until you consider that in the real world, actual physical goods and, yes, services, also decay and must eventually be replaced. Use money that the same principle applies to, and the potential changes are enourmous.

Now, I'm not going to explain all the ins and outs here. That's what the wiki is for, so if you're interested, go there and check it out. What I'm really interested in, is help (that's why it's a wiki.) Reformatting our currency is one of those things that, by definition, cannot by done alone. It's a big project, and it requires more than just me (good for big ideas, and not much else.) The project needs web designers, programmers, graphic artists ... and that's just the initial stage. Later on, when it's time to go live, it'll need people on the streets marketing the currency, talking to businesses, getting the word out to the man on the street. I've got ideas on how to do all of this; no doubt others out there have their own. The project needs them all.

If you want to help, drop your name in the comment string and I'll give you edit permission on the wiki (it's closed to the public until I've got everything up.) And even if you don't, don't be afraid to mention this at whatever forums you hang out on.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to take our economy back.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Comets and Strange Clouds

Last night I had a dream. What it meant, if anything, I don't know, but this is what I saw.

Initially, I was inside a room, at a party which many of my friends were attending. It was night, of course. Most likely in the city, as I couldn't see any stars in the sky. Then, looking through the window, I saw a light, high in the heavens, and so went outside, where I could get a better view of things.

It started as a single meteor, streaking through the sky. Before long it was joined by others. All came from different directions. They came down, and hit on the over the horizon. A flash of light, followed long after by a boom that rolled over the landscape. By this time my friends were joining me outside, and they were starting to panic, a bit. Me, I was just watching.

Clouds followed the boom. Dark, roiling monsters that blotted out the heavens.

Shortly after, what I can only describe as rainbow clouds appeared. Not your standard rainbow, arcing from one point to another. These were more like shifting bars of light, high in the air and perpendicular to the landscape, their colors moving through pure reds, blues, and greens.

That's all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

V for Ve know vere you sleep

No doubt you all remember how AIG had it's bottom pulled out of the fire by the American people last week. And maybe you've heard how the executives had an all-expenses paid corporate resort weekend at a spa in California. Bless their hearts, I'm sure their nerves were just wrecked by the trauma they'd undergone in the near collapse of their livelihoods. A weekend of pampering was just the thing that was called for!

This is just a thought, but since we know that they're planning another getaway, and we know where it's going to be ... well, wouldn't it be kind of cool if someone were to pay them a visit? Or many someones? A great gathering, perhaps?

Now, I won't be anywhere near the place in question. But I figure there must be a lot who are. Would it be asking too much, for a flash mob to gather on top of them while they're being massaged and bathed and dining on their organic produce, and, well ... put the fear of G-d into them?

That would send a fun message, don't you think? Just a thought.

Monday, October 6, 2008

People of the Circle

Read the following short article, and ponder everything you think you know about history.

"We do not know why, but all of the 4,000 Cucuteni-Trypillians settlements were intentionally burned," said Sergiy Krolevets, director of the National History and Culture Museum of the Republic of Moldova.

Gee, I wonder why anyone would've wanted to do that?


Free will and evil.

Small words with big implications. They're two of the biggest problems in philosophy and theology. Resolving them isn't easy. For millenia, priests have asked how we can have both an omnipotent, omniscient, and omi-everything-else-ient deity, whilst still maintaining Free Will for either It ot It's creations. And if one of It's other omni's is omnibenevolance - something every authentic tradition agrees on (though sometimes you have to hold 'em upside down and give them a bit of a shake to see it, as they they don't all use the same word for it) - well then, how do you account for a creation that contains within it so much pain and horror that it can as easily be a festering hell as a verdant heavan? The usual answer is that Evil occurs because all entities within creation excercise Free Will, and I think while that's not really far from the truth, though it doesn't really get us out of the woods because all of the Creators other attributes really seem to work against the whole 'Free Will' thing being anything but an illusion, an artifact of our impossibly narrow perspectives.

Traditonally, science has seen it a little differently. Evil isn't so much of a problem; in an inherently random universe, with a meaningless history that amounts to little more happenstance and an endless series of (un)fortunate accidents, it isn't really hard to see how what we call 'Evil' has come into the world. The tricky part is, again, Free Will, because the picture science generally paints with its metaphors is that of a world that reduces to the deterministic, mechanical operations of atoms and various subatomic particles. It's all a great and fantastically complex Machine, and Free Will is, again, an illusion, this time an epiphenomenon of minds that, for some reason, would go insane if they didn't believe in their own Free Will.

Well, okay. That's a bit of a strawman, I admit; the image of old science, hollowed out with age and the creeping toll of it's own contradictions. There is also New Science, a strange mixture of quantum mechanics and ecology, it's math a heady brew of cellular algorithms, fractal geometry, and nonlinear dynamics. It's still in it's infancy, and if we continue to call it science at the moment it is only because we do not have a better name for it. We will, though, because when it matures it will be as different from science today as science is from the Aristotelean academies of the Middle Ages.

But that's not our topic today. Today, we're talking about free will, and evil, and seeing if they have any relation to each other. Or, indeed, if they exist at all.

The astute amongst you may be scratching your heads around now, wondering why on earth the title of this post is 'Ahimsa', the Hindu concept of non-violence. There's a connection there, I promise, if only you're a little patient.

Free will exists, because it has to. At any moment, you have a choice. Right now, you could continue reading, go to another page, get up and go to the bathroom, go outside for a smoke, get back to thinking about how to go to Mars, or just about anything else. No, really, the choice is yours. In the next moment, you could be doing any of an uncountable number of things, and before that moment comes, there's no way of knowing just what that thing will be. Not for you or for anyone else.

As for much else in the macroscopic human realm, there's a quantum mechanical analogue here. The wavefunction of any subatomic particle will continue to evolve for however long it's wavefunction isn't being collapsed by observation (or measurement, or whatever else you want to call it); as it evolves, it ceases to be a definite point in space and probabilistically smears, occupying an infinite number of different positions simultaneously: some highly probably, some vanishingly improbable, but all, to one degree or another, possible. Once it's observed, it snaps into one or another of those myriad states, and it does so randomly. Neither an observer nor, one suspects, the particle knows what state it will occupy immediately after a measurement. Of course, physicists generally speak of the particle's wavefunction randomly 'collapsing' to a certain state, but we might as well impute a tiny fraction of consciousness to the particle, and state instead that the particle, itself, chooses.

Electrons with Free Will. Now isn't that a concept that turns everything on its head.

Free Will, you see, is inherent in the very structure of the laws of physics. It's there, right from the beginning, and it's there all the way up to the very top. As such, it's a very important, dare I say even Sacred, thing. There may be no principle more fundamental to the workings of the All.

Now. Evil. Well, that's simple: Evil is whatever attempts to abridge Free Will. Whenever one entity tries to limit the free choice of another, it is engaging in an evil act. This can be overt - a mugging, a murder, a mob or a mass bombing - or it can be covert, as in advertising and propaganda, or any other form of lying. All lies are attempts to deny others of their free will by altering their perception of reality. This is manipulative evil. There's also coercive evil, which tries to make people do things through brute force, and preventative evil, which attempts to keep people from doing things. Regardless of what shape evil takes on, it is identifiable, always and everywhere, by one over-riding principle: it is that which attempts to weight choices, to make one entity choose A over B.

Hold on there! Am I really making such a sweeping statement? Surely there are times when it isn't evil to deny Free Will. For instance, what about when one is trying to prevent evil?

Here's the kicker, folks. Free Will is so fundamental a principle that even those who are doing and pursuing an Evil path are excercising their own Free Will, and Must be allowed their own Choice.

And that, my friends, is Ahimsa. Nonviolence. Not just being a Vegan anymore! (and since when has that ever been a viable ethical stance? What, just because they're plants it's okay to eat them? You think having a nervous system privileges animals when it comes to pain? Even cells sense. Hell, even electrons sense, and respond to that sense: they too can be repelled, and there you have the essence of fear and pain together. No, you don't get off that easy. You can't just change your menu to keep your conscience clean.)

Surely, though, it's right to intervene, to do what you can to stop evil-doers from harming others? That's what some of you are thinking, I'm sure. Others, who know it's right, jump right to pointing out the consequences of just letting evil people do as they please: looting, rioting, murder in the streets and anarchy in the countryside. In our society we have Rules, damnit! There are Laws here, and all must Obey, for if not it would be a Hobbesian nightmare, the war of all against all.

That way of thinking, right there, that's one of the greatest tricks Evil ever pulled on this planet. It's got the best of intentions, but what it fails to take into account is that when you fight evil, you feed it. Fighting fire with fire just feeds the fire. The aim of Evil is to abridge free will; when you fight it, you're first of all violating your own free will (because you're reacting instead of acting), while at the same time violating the free will of whoever is engaged in whatever particular evil du jour is being fought today. By definition you're engaging in evil. By fighting the monster, you become it.

Ahimsa is a very different path. It's one that says, sure, evil exists. And what of it? It is Evil's choice to be evil. And it is my choice to be ... however I am. One on the path of non-violence will of course not attack another, but that is just the beginning. Neither will they counterattack one who assaults them (which doesn't mean they will stick around to be hit!) True ahimsa, of course, is impossible in this world: merely by living, we unavoidably prey upon other creatures, for survival is impossible without it. It can only be followed to the degree that one refuses to violate another's free will.

This doesn't just mean not hitting people, and not hitting back. It means not attempting to pursuade people through lying or cajoling or any other way of manipulating; nor trying to restrain one person from doing something bad to himself, or to another.

It is not an easy path. When you see someone being beaten in an alleyway, it's natural to want to help. When the country's laws are lax on air pollution, it's only normal to want to campaign to change those laws. When your nation is invaded, or your family threatened, there is nothing more human than to throw one's life on the line to defend it.

Walk away from any of those struggles, and you risk being branded a coward, even if only inside your own heart.

But all of them violate ahimsa.

It's a difficult path, there's no question.

It's also a path of unexpected power. Witness the British leaving India: Ghandi wouldn't give them the time of day, a hundred million Indians saw him doing that and thought, hey, that's a good idea, and before you know it, the Raj is gone. Without a shot fired. For no other reason than that a large number of people decided not to believe in it anymore.

Ponder that. And look out at the world we live in, the Planetary Control Grid and everything else that has been wrought by our desire to fight evil. By fighting evil, we've become evil. The harder we fight, the stronger it becomes. And the stronger it gets, the harder we want to fight.

It's an ugly cycle. Until you grok it (and very few have, by this point, but have patience, they will) you're a rat on a wheel you don't even know exists. But once you do, that hard path of ahimsa starts to look a lot easier in comparison.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Waking Up

Years ago, I used to think I was awake. Most other people walked blithely through a nonlinear world, holding fast to their unstated, unconscious beliefs, but me? I could see the writing on the wall. The Singularity was on its way.

A year ago, in the clamor of cognitive dissonance following my first 9/11 truth video, I thought instead that I'd woken up. The masses lived in a delusion, brainwashed by shadowy Powers that used them for their own cynical and heinous ends, but I? I was on to their Game. I had woken up, roused from my pleasant dreams as though by an alarm clock ... and a glance at the time told me that I had only a little time to get to class. A rude awakening, perhaps, but better than being jerked awake in the small hours of the morning by the sound of armed intruders storming every egress.

There weren't many people in the classroom. It seemed most of the student body was sleeping off a hangover, and was declining to attend their lessons. And if I was in class then, it was halfway through the semester, and I've had to scramble to get up to speed. That said, I counted myself lucky, to be attending these classes. One of the few awake. An elite.

Well, then, am I awake? Am I really? I'm not so sure of that, any more. The rabbit hole goes deep indeed, and if its seemingly endless depth teaches no other lesson, in and of itself, it teaches us at least this: reality is not real. It is all a dream, an illusion. No one is ever truly awake, though some few achieve the One and only then and thus do they awaken. Certainly I dare not count myself as one of them, for that would be a Lie of the worst sort.

But at least I am, I think, waking up.

I am not alone in this. There are millions of us out there, who have felt the call, for whom the curtains of reality have started to peel back, if ever so slightly. The images we perceive are indistinct, blurry, as though we're still wiping the sleep from our eyes. But already, we can make things out. We can see others sitting up, rubbing their eyes and yawning, still others running about, trying to shake a few last people awake, though there isn't much time. You see, the other thing we can see is that the house is on fire, and outside, laughing maniacs on horseback are brandishing torches and trying to shoot anyone who escapes.

I speak in metaphor, but you take my meaning, I am sure.

Anyone who's woken up even halfway knows that the only thing that can save this planet now is a spiritual revolution. Nothing less will suffice, for that is just how dire the situation is. Unsolvable crises and unresolvable conflicts are converging from every direction. The odds of destruction are growing so great that the chances of survival are becoming positively quantum. Opening that narrow dooreway into a world worth having will be a miracle, one that reduces those of myth to mere special effects. A miracle so powerful, a million Ghandis, Boddhisatvas, and Christs would be required to pull it off.

And their appearance would in and of itself be a miracle of the highest degree.

But then, in what age other than the sort we're living through now would they appear? Where else, but where they are in need of most? And when else, but at the very last moment?

I'm not talking about saviors descending from the sky on beams of light (though I'm not ruling it out.) There is no need for such ostentation. No, I'm talking about spiritual enlightenment, striking real people around the globe as though God Itself is methodically flicking the lightswitches inside their brains ... though of course, it's not so simple as all that. We have to find the lightswitches ourselves; but then, we've all been placed, exactly where we need to be, exactly when we need to be, decades in advance. So in the end, when the switches all come on at the same time, the effect will be the same.

We're waking up. Millions of us. And when we're awake, what a different world we shall see.