Vision 2020

Introduction

About a year ago, I wrote the article entitled Vision. It was dedicated to a vision of a new post-capitalistic society based on the idea of recovering human wisdom, which has been covered over by indoctrination produced by around 10,000 years of brutal stratification, which continues through today in the form global capitalism. The proposed society, called Wisdom Society, would have an egalitarian structure powered by the altruistic cooperation.

However, the reasons driving the urgent need for such fundamental change have grown to such an extent that the old version of the Vision article is somewhat outdated. During this period the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, and still continues. It has dramatically revealed the fragility of capitalism and its reluctance to do what needs to be done for fear it may hurt the most sacred of sacred: the economy.  Also, during this period, the degeneration of the farce of democracy has become more and more evident. The destruction of the environment has sped up beyond what was predicted a year ago, including the destruction of the Amazonian forest, a faster increase in global warming, and the drying of enormous swaths of land.  

At the same time, more and more people are waking up to the present situation and engaging themselves to introduce meaningful changes. Considering that, I have realized that vision alone is not too helpful and have decided to dedicate this site also to actions which we can do now, which both will be helpful and provide a path leading to Wisdom Society. The first step leading to that is the post called Urban Nucleus.

Consequently, I decided to re-write the old version of the Vision article, which has been moved to the Archives category. The new version is bolder in the proposed structure, economy, and approach to future science and technology. It also outlines a path leading to establishing the new society. As well, it includes links to dozens of posts and video talks, which I have made over the last year.

Finally, I would like to clearly emphasize that this is a vision of Wisdom Society and not a systematic description and plan for its creation.

Historical background

The proposed Wisdom society, which is described briefly below, is not some new invention. It is also not some idealistic utopia, Atlantis, Golden age, Paradise Lost, or the mythical Kingdom of Shambhala. It is not a modification of more modern Utopian socialism or revolutionary ideas of Marx or Bakunin.

Its key principles of egalitarianism and altruistic cooperation have accompanied humanity, in various forms, from its very beginning over 100 thousand years ago. The original social form of Homo Sapiens was to live as hunter-gatherers in small groups of 20-30 members. These were egalitarian – there is no archeological evidence of any form of social domination or economic inequality at that time. Their identity was based on the mother principle, called matrilineality. It was not easy, since their genetic inheritance from their predecessors, the great apes, was strictly patriarchal. Their altruistic cooperation can be easily inferred from their incredible accomplishments, which could not be done otherwise. The most important and astonishing was their survival as a species. All the rest of their hominid “cousins,” including the Neanderthals, perished. This happened because retaining the old patriarchal structure based on competition obviously had not worked during the thousands of years-long period of the incredibly challenging conditions of the last Great Glacier.

However, these early humans not only survived but invented and produced technology, art, and, most likely, religions. We rarely appreciate what cooperation and intelligence were needed to create sharp tools, garments produced from pieces of leather, bows, harpoons, or boomerangs. The quality of their over 30,000 years old paintings and graphics,  displayed on the walls of many caves, has astonished modern artists like Pablo Picasso. More details on the topic of the paleolithic era of the human race can be found in the article Our egalitarian past.

But nothing lasts forever, and that applies to the egalitarian format of humanity. With the end of the last glacial epoch, the warm and humid climate prompted humans to create their perhaps most significant invention, agriculture. They domesticated several animals, like sheep, goats, or pigs, which they used for meat, and cultivated edible plants. For a while, they continued their egalitarian and cooperative structure. The communally worked to produce crops, which they somehow shared without resorting to private ownership. However, gradually private ownership of land and crops became a new norm, which gave rise to the first form of stratification: those owning more land became more wealthy than others.   

However, stratification had not yet reached its full extent. Equality in the social status of gender had still not changed. But that did not last long. The hunters-gatherers also discovered another form of livelihood, pastoralism. Domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and horses were herded and used for meat and milk products. Their human masters, called pastoralists, were much more conflict-prone, brutal, and aggressive. The genetic inheritance of patriarchy found fertile ground, and gender equality was destroyed: men dominated women, who were considered a form of property.

The discovery that horses can be used for riding and for pulling chariots, combined with the invention of the smelting iron for the production of weaponry, gave the pastoralists an advantage, which they used to invade the agricultural societies and enslave them. At that point, the majority of the human race has been subjected to complete stratification, both social and economical.

The new order enforced by violence also needed some additional justification. That has been accomplished by systemic and systematic indoctrination. A critical role was played by new patriarchal religions, and by political structures based on the hierarchy of domination, laws, and philosophies.

Such stratification changed its form, adapting to progress in technology and science, as well as to different ways of exploiting the lower strata of society. Slavery was replaced by feudalism, though in some forms, it continued until the 19th century. Finally, capitalism emerged, which continues to rule through the present.

On the political side, egalitarianism was abolished and replaced by various forms of domination, such as by kingdom, empire, dictatorship, and oligarchy, and finally by a  mixture of all of them ironically called democracy.

A more detailed description of this process is presented in Millenia of indoctrination and Poison of patriarchy articles.

The present situation

History brings us to the present situation. From the beginning of the 21st century, there were signs of future problems. First was the farcical Y2K hysteria about two digits storing of dates forgetting the leading “1” would change to “2”. Of course, nothing happened, though some people were storing food and building bunkers. But soon after came something more serious –  the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Centre, followed by the incredible crash of the stock and bond market. The recovery lasted only very briefly because of the bursting of the “Techno bubble” in 2002-2003, when the overheated ITC market blew up. But nearly immediately afterward, the two perverse idiots, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, began the invasion on Iraq, which as a repercussion, produced ISIS and contributed to the ongoing turmoil in the Near East, including in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Many million people died and kept dying as a result of that.

On the economic side, as the result of the absurdly overheated real estate market, in 2008, the collapse of Lehman Brothers started a domino effect and economic catastrophe. After numerous interventions, the market stabilized and began recovery, making the propagators of the capitalistic economy deliriously happy.  

But then came COVID-19, and everything collapsed within a few months: massive unemployment and a half million of death so far. The pandemics have exposed the unbelievable incompetence of the vast majority of ruling governments, which oscillate between containing the pandemics and opening the economy. What is going to happen we do not know, so stay tuned for the continuation of this horror show.

What I have written to this point about wars, plague, death, and the economy is far from complete. There are several topics that I missed in the original version of the Vision article, which have to be explored. First is the agricultural production of food for animals, which then are slaughtered to be sold as meat. For example, the amount of land needed to produce beef is 20 times larger than the growth of nutritionally equivalent amounts of legumes. That leads to absurdly imbalanced agriculture, which destroys the soil and overuses water, contributing to drying out of the planet.

Tourism, an over $2trillion industry, is responsible for significant growth in air and car travel, which is based on burning fossil fuels. By the way, highly publicized electric cars help only a little, because we ignore that the electricity which they use is produced mainly from fossil fuels. The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear: since tourism came to a halt and the use of cars for traveling to work and shopping diminished drastically, suddenly carbon, and noise pollution shrank, and inhabitants of large cities could breath cleaner air, see the clear sky and even occasionally hear a bird. In articles Absurd of cars and trucks -1 and Absurd of cars and trucks -2 you can find more about the role of cars and trucks in the devastation of our social and natural environment.

On the social side, the world’s attention has focused on racism, which is one of the oldest forms of stratification. This contributes to waking up to social reality and seeing as it is, without politically correct pseudo optimistic disguise. However, this focus is often kidnapped by political extremism, whose main goal is increasing social tension and violence. The growing division between different social groups becomes progressively more and more violent. This is connected with the continual growth of herd mentality, fuelled by consumerism and political maneuvers empowered by social media, destroying whatever is left of human relations based on discernment, self-confidence, and altruistic cooperation.

However, I must clearly say that I do not pretend to be the only one who sees this situation. Numerous organizations and individual people try to do their best to help the world. The most promising is the emergence of the “green wave,” which is a metaphor for forcing the ruling class to legislate and others to directly involve in slowing down the degradation of the environment. There are also numerous attempts to create more human socio-economic forms of living, such as Eco-villages and Intentional Communities.

As well, there is the growing popularity of using various forms of meditation to lower the degree of self-obsession and to see our connection with others and the possibilities of helping them.  However, the spiritual disciplines, which are their source, primarily Buddhism, in their pure form have not, in spite of their good intentions, accomplished any significant socio-economic progress during  2500 years of their existence. Also, certain forms of meditation are often “kidnapped” and perverted by numerous kinds of coaching or management and leadership training.

Unfortunately, these two positive trends, that is, the introduction of socio-economic changes and of mind training, are not adequately interconnected. The necessary socio-economical changes require ongoing practice on our mindset. We cannot expect that we can remove the results of 10,000 years of indoctrination by legislations, revolutions, or well-meaning social movements. Ignoring that was the fundamental error of the creators of less stratified socio-economic vision, such as Marx and Engels, which led to disastrous consequences in the Soviet Union and Maoist China.

Philosophy of Wisdom Society

The vision of Wisdom Society proposed here joins three aspects: socio-economic structure, its implementation, and a description of a mental practice to remove the results of indoctrination inflicted by the millennia of stratification.

The socio-economic structure would be based on a modern form of ancient egalitarianism, which continued for hundreds of thousands of years since the arrival of Homo Sapiens on our planet. However, it will include all the positive accomplishments of humanity in science, technology, art, medicine, education, and communication. Its name Wisdom reflects using our innate ability for altruistic cooperation, creativity, collective intelligence, and discernment. However, it acknowledges the genetic inheritance of our predecessor, the Great Apes, which can manifest as a tendency for domination or aggressive leadership. Therefore, it will require vigilance to recognize this and “nip it in the bud”, as is sometimes done in the still-existing aboriginal societies.

The mental practice for removing the effects of indoctrination is adapted from an ancient meditation practice called trekcho, as presented by the 14th century Tibetan scholar and practitioner Longchen Rabjam. This practice has been chosen because it suits itself to be presented in a very simple form conducive to modern scientific views on reality. Also, it can be practiced in its basic form during the everyday activities of our 21st-century life. In this way, it differs from many other practices which require some special environment, body position, etc.

One of the basic aspects of Wisdom society that it is aware of the inseparability of humanity and its natural environment. Consequently, the structure of this society would prevent humans from adding further destruction and enable recovering and rebuilding from already inflicted damages. However, that would not lead to some utopian and spiritual ideas like the Gaia principle or natural farming. Instead, Wisdom society would use the power of modern science and technology. Since this society would be liberated from the fundamental obsession of stratification and the desire to increase wealth and possession, its approach to technology would be free from the drive to make its results profitable and competitive. That, combined with altruistic cooperation, would open the horizons of human creativity.

One of the goals of the Wisdom Society is complete self-sufficiency. It means that the life of members does not require any reliance on the external social, economic, and political environment. This self-sufficiency includes food, energy, research, education, medical care, industrial production, and transportation. At the same time, Wisdom society adheres closely to local or governmental laws and rules. As much as possible, it helps the community in which is situated, so it is viewed as a local “jewel” and asset, rather than as an oddity.

Such self-sufficiency would protect Wisdom society from the danger of products polluted by chemicals like Monsanto Roundup, which continues to be legally used despite its carcinogenic properties. Another advantage of self-sufficiency is the isolation of its own health service from modern medicine, where pharmaceutical giants dictate the rules. The last, perhaps the most important, would be the ecologically neutral production of electrical energy, most likely using already available geothermic sources, particularly deep closed-loop technology. The availability of abundant electrical energy would make feasible the production of hydrogen fuel and the desalination of seawater.

Wisdom practice

Before talking about the structure and economy of Wisdom society, it seems to be necessary to discuss the mental practice leading to remove our attachment to stratification. This is the most important prerequisite, and without it, the idea of creating a Wisdom society would be indeed utopian and naïve science fiction, which can never be realized. The overall purpose of Wisdom practice is the gradual softening and eventual removing of our attachment to various beliefs and concepts and, built on those, opinions supporting the stratification. These have been deeply ingrained in our consciousness by the purposeful indoctrination imposed upon humanity during the 10,000 years of stratification. They are discussed in more detail in the posts Millenia of indoctrination and Poison of patriarchy mentioned above. They penetrate our view on humanity and the world around us, our language, culture, philosophy, psychology, and even science. Consequently, intellectual reasoning pointing to their effects is very helpful, but not sufficient to effectively deal with them. Therefore, Wisdom Practice adds to our intellectual understanding of the influence of this indoctrination two experiential forms: basic and everyday living. Both focus on reducing the size and intensity of the avalanche of thoughts, continually produced by our mind. These create mental noise-blocking access to the discerning faculties of mind, which are necessary to distinguish which of our concepts may be useful, and which are just a result of indoctrination. Through Wisdom Practice, we discover that only a small fraction of thoughts are needed, while the rest block not only our ability to discern but also our creativity, self-confidence, and ability to altruistically cooperate, love and humour.

The basic practice relies on an extremely simple technique of allowing our minds to rest. When the practitioner becomes aware that instead of resting, they are immersed in thinking, this very realization dissolves the energy of thoughts and mind spontaneously and effortlessly returns to a state of rest. There is, as yet, no proper neuroscientific explanation of this phenomenon, but, nevertheless, it works. As a result of this practice, our discernment permits us to see more clearly attachments to the indoctrinated concepts. Some are described in textual form: Strategy of dealing with concepts, and Mind resting, which describe the core of the Basic practice, and Practicing outdoors.

The everyday living practice is similar but much more challenging since it is combined with other activities. During such practice, we encounter focused perceptions provoking thoughts, and arousing emotions, and feelings. However, if we look closer, we discover that all these are simply more “energetic” thoughts. Consequently, we deal with them identically as in basic practice: by the act of becoming aware of their presence, they dissolve in the resting state of mind. More details are presented in the video-talks 1-16 (see playlist Wisdom Training) and in textual form (Perception, Memory and Emotions, Fear and Hope and Guilt and depression). I plan to describe both forms of Wisdom practice soon in a better organized textual form.

To these two experiential forms, Wisdom Practice adds a more intellectual one, which suggests the development of 6 attitudes. These are particularly helpful during our everyday life activities, but also can be used in addition to basic practice. More details can be found in video talks from Talk 16a to Talk 23. Also, in textual form, there are the articles on Openness, Dignity, Patience, Joy of action and Discernment and humour.

It is necessary to say that despite its simplicity, the Wisdom practice is not a few weeks long affair. On the contrary, the attachment to various beliefs is very strong, and thinking about them may return again and again. The practitioner should be prepared for that and must not be discouraged by their persistence.

The Wisdom Practice presented here may not be the only one that can remove the effects of stratification embedded into our minds. However, among all those known and practiced by the author, it is the simplest and most effective, which can be practiced during everyday life.

Structure and economy

The fundamental building block of Wisdom society is a Wisdom Nucleus or simply nucleus. This is a group of people consisting of 20 to 30 members, including children. Its size is not chosen haphazardly – this was usually the size of groups of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers. Such a small size permitted important decisions concerning the group to be based on consensus. It was necessary to assure their fully egalitarian social structure. Otherwise, the views of some members would dominate those of others, which is the case in democratic systems where the majority dominate. This consensual format of decision-making has continued for several thousands of years in some still surviving aboriginal societies, such as the Hadza people in Tanzania.

As was the case in paleolithic societies, the Wisdom Nucleus can be viewed as a form of an egalitarian extended family where relations among its members are based on altruistic cooperation. It implies that not only biological parents but all adult members feel equally responsible for raising children. This could have an extremely beneficial influence on children’s development because a child experiences more diversified views and attitudes than those provided exclusively by biological parents. Some evolutionary archeologists attribute this relationship to the success of early Homo Sapiens.

Each nucleus selects one of its members to be its coordinator. Of course, like any major decision, this is done by consensus. The coordinator’s role is to coordinate the activities of the members and to make less critically important decisions. The length of tenure of such a coordinator depends on the decision of members of a particular nucleus.

A nucleus is situated in a middle-density rural setting on several hectares of land. The members’ living accommodation is a co-housed building, while the rest of the land is used for agriculture, manufacturing of other products or research facilities, with a substantial portion dedicated to cultivating the natural environment. This is necessary for realizing the fundamental principle of Wisdom Society, which is rebuilding and maintaining the natural environment.

Co-housing makes possible everyday personal connections of members and collective performance of daily activities like cooking, cleaning, etc., as well as taking care of children and elderly members who may require help. It is also more economical than living in a collection of single-family dwellings. More details on the nucleus are presented in the playlist Structure of Wisdom Society – Nucleus. Also, there are textual posts on this subject: Overview of Wisdom Society, Principle of Wisdom nucleus, Creation of Wisdom nucleus, Pragmatics of Wisdom nucleus, Education in Wisdom nucleus, Joy of daily life in Wisdom nucleus -1, Joy of daily life in Wisdom nucleus -2, Joy of daily life in Wisdom nucleus -3, and Relation of Wisdom nucleus natural environment. However, such a collective form of life must not become some form of Soviet-style imposition. Therefore, each member, including children, has their own separate hotel-style apartment, to ensure the occasional need for solitude.

The key element of the second level of the hierarchy of the structure of Wisdom Society is the Wisdom Village, or simply village, consisting of 20 to 30 nuclei. This fundamentally differentiates Wisdom society from, for example, Eco-villages and Intentional Communities, which form a loosely connected network of individual entities with no particular structure. The only unifying aspect is similar ideology.

The nuclei comprising a village should be geographically connected, or if not possible, they should be close to each other. This closeness is extremely important to ensure easy personal communication and cooperation. Here, the fundamental principle of Wisdom society, altruistic cooperation, is expanded and applied not only to individuals but to groups.

Management of a village is executed by a village council, consisting of representatives of its nuclei, most likely their coordinators. Similarly, since, as in a nucleus, the size of the council is purposely small – up to 30 members – it can make its decision unanimously. Relations among members of the council are as close as possible. Before making any major decision, they have had the opportunity to live together for some time, similarly to how that happens in a nucleus. Thus they have an opportunity to establish altruistic cooperation among themselves. Likewise, as in a nucleus, they select a village coordinator. This form allows the egalitarian structure to be expanded beyond a single nucleus.

Because of its size, a village can increase its degree of self-sufficiency beyond that of a nucleus, in areas such as medicine and education. More details on the village are presented in the playlist Structure of Wisdom Society – Village.

It is easy to see that this approach to the hierarchical structure of Wisdom Society can be expanded as far as needed. The next level would be Wisdom Town consisting of 20 -30 villages (see playlist Structure of Wisdom Society – Town)

Creation of Wisdom Society

Realization of the Wisdom Society may be extremely difficult, for a variety of reasons. A first and most important obstacle is our deeply ingrained conviction that people are selfish, greedy, aggressive, quarrelsome, and so on. We experience it personally and see it all over the world. Even if we intellectually agree that these qualities are not innate but are a result of millennia of indoctrination, we often deeply believe that they cannot be changed.

The second obstacle is equally difficult to overcome. Despite mounting evidence that the present system is degenerating into a quagmire of inequality, economic and political oligarchy, dictatorship, aggression, violence and degeneration of the environment, and cannot continue for too long, the fear that this may be true forces us to ignore it and believe that somehow it can be fixed.

The third reason is that there are no modern precedents that a socio-economic structure similar to that proposed for Wisdom Society can be created. The archeological and anthropological evidence that something like that existed 10,000 years ago is hardly is sufficient to convince future participants to abandon their present lifestyle and trust others in creating egalitarian and cooperative life.

Taking all this into consideration, I came to the conclusion that it is necessary to propose a gradual approach. This would allow people to re-discover their wisdom themselves rather than be told that it can be done. Therefore, to this version of Vision 2020, there is added the idea of creating urban nuclei, which may provide concrete proof that the proposed ideal Wisdom Society is implementable. The term “urban,” though it does not have to be taken literally, is used because the majority of potential members of Wisdom society live in an urban or semi-urban environment.

The least demanding form is Virtual nuclei, which is a community formed and based on internet communication, where personal physical contact is difficult or only occasional. This kind of community becomes more and more acceptable and popular due to the continual improvement of communication technology and its use by the media. Also, for many people, living through COVID-19 pandemic, internet communication has become an everyday experience for personal and professional reasons. Virtual nuclei can use a variety of popular internet applications where members can exchange and discuss their individual Wisdom practice and everyday experiences, as well as experiment with group wisdom practice (for more details see Interactive communication). People can also use these forms to make consensual decisions concerning the nucleus (see Urban nucleus).

The next level is called the Neighbourhood Nucleus. This form can be used by people who live at a distance, permitting regular personal meetings. This form of virtual nucleus makes it closer to the rural version of Wisdom Nucleus discussed earlier. Members can personally and experientially discover that Wisdom practice actually works and that the idea of communal activities can be useful. They can meet on a more or less regular basis to practice, discuss and make decisions. The description of group practice is provided in the post Basic group practice. Numerous possible advantages of this form of nucleus discussed also in the Urban nucleus.

The last form of the Urban nucleus is the cohabitation nucleus. It is very close to its ultimate form described earlier. It differs because of a lack of possibility of food self-sufficiency and of re-development of the natural environment due to a shortage of the necessary land, which in the urban setting generally would be too expensive. However, cohabitation makes it possible to partially enact many other qualities of the rural nucleus. The degree of closeness to the rural nucleus depends on the form of living spaces. For example, the idea of each member having an individual room or space large enough for communal dining may not be possible. Again, more on the subject of cohabitation nucleus is discussed in Urban nucleus and Wisdom workers cooperative and cohousing.

The urban nucleus, because of its gradual structure, permits members of this loosest virtual form to gain confidence that ideas of egalitarianism and altruistic cooperation are not as alien as we may think. Further on, in the neighbourhood, nucleus members may discover the joy of nonaggressive and friendly communication, as well as some practical advantages. This may lead them to gain sufficient confidence and courage to make a big step and enter into the phase of cohabitation.

Closing remark

During the one year between the publication of the original version of Vision and now, the degradation of our world has exceeded my expectation. The inability of some governments to deal with COVID-19 epidemics due to their cowardice and desperate desire to preserve economic stratification becomes more and more clear. The latest events following the video of the murder of George Floyd shed light on another form of stratification: racism. The year-long spectacle of increasing brutality of dictatorship in numerous countries, combined with the fact that our present political systems permit various socio- and psychopaths to have enormous power and rule other large nations makes it clear that something profoundly has to change, because ignoring and hoping for the best definitely does not work.

On the other hand, more and more people are waking up and seeing this reality. To those people, I address this updated Vision 2020. The proposed solution may not be the best or even realistic, but it is at least something, which may help. If people would like to contact me, I am available: pietoma@gmail.com.

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