Sunday, September 22, 2013

Empire and the City: A Thing Whose End Must Come

The emergence of the City as an institution marked a sea change in Mankind's history. When they arose, they quickly came to dominate the affairs of those nations that established them. Culture, economics, politics and religion--in those days, closely connected elements--soon centered on the city, and with it those who dwelt there; this perverse effect warped the perceptions of those so effected, devaluing and dehumanizing those still on the land while those in the city came to believe themselves superior to their country cousins despite their state of total dependency upon the country-dwellers for their food and other necessities of life (as well as anything their culture required). This centralization of power and influence, and the warping of perception, is an environment ideal for Empire.

In the ancient world, Empire operated through religion. The sacrifices, the prostitution, the fraudulent claims of divine authority (and the abuses that always come from such lies), the human trafficking (What else do you think slavery, corvee labor, prostitution, etc. are?), the incidents of genocide or similar mass slaughter and so much more--while they existed prior to the City--exploded in scale, scope, frequency and regularity once the City emerged and became a fixture in Man's existence. The City centralizes, and centralization is a vulnerability that psychopaths--and Empire is psychopathy in its raw form as a toxic meme--routinely exploit to wield stolen power (for all political power is stolen from the people) for their own aggrandizement in a manner that today we say is "just business". The City, I postulate, is actually a technology that enables the vampire-like parasitism of Empire and its Thralls against Mankind. Like Empire, the City cannot endure on its own; it is not, never has, and cannot ever be self-sufficient because it has no real substance of its own- what it has is what it steals from others, and it cannot replace what it consumes so it must continue stealing to fulfill its great and unceasing hunger (much like the vampires I liken it to), but when that theft stops it (like vampires) collapses into itself and becomes a ruin within weeks if not days. The City, therefore, is a deathtrap and we common folk would be wise to walk away from it.

The mainstream narrative for the emergence of the City downplays the role of religion in the ancient world, when it was both the economic and political infrastructure that unified a culture in that long-ago era, as surviving records and relics of both living and dead faiths reveal to us. This narrative does not tell the truth about the City. Instead that narrative focuses upon convenience of location, economic (i.e. trade) networks and the general effects of transitioning from a nomadic to an agricultural socio-economic paradigm. While relevant, the narrative ignores the prime place of religion as the load-bearing pillar of Man's existence in the ancient world. Economic, political and cultural activity served religion first and foremost; all other functions were there to ensure that this primary function endured and operated as intended by the cult in control. This has ever since been the function of the City: to centralize power and influence, and then wield that monopoly like a club to subjugate the nation and keep it enslaved to Empire's will. No attempt to use the City in a manner akin to the responsible use of fire, in the thousands of years of known history, has yet succeeded; I therefore conclude that this cannot be done, and therefore alternatives to the City should be made and promulgated that has the same beneficial effects but lacks the flaws that centralization presents as a threat to Mankind.

We now have the means to make this happen, instead of displaying the insanity that repeated usage of the City displays in the historical record, thanks to advances in technology. Far from going the Luddite or Amish route, we should instead take up the Internet and its decentralizing effect upon things as the backbone of our not-City alternative. We should embrace 3d printing and similar manufacturing breakthroughs that allow decentralized creation of goods. Decentralization of knowledge, with plenty of redundancies (e.g. multiple digital backups with multiple power sources, and a print catalog archived in a climate-controlled space), and the earnest spreading-wide of knowledge across the world is key to achieving this replacement of the City and its removal of the environmental effects that putting far, far too many people into far too little space has--and has had--upon Mankind. Eliminate all barriers to information creation, dispersal and application (which means ending the current Intellectual Property regime, which begins with simple and outright refusal to use it). Living as families on self-sufficient homesteads, in rural communities, is actually best for Mankind's development; until then, the City should be scaled down to the barest minimum necessary to fulfill the functions for which they are allowed to exist- and most of the functions should be stripped from them and dispersed across the countryside instead.

This is one viable course of action, a form of walking away from Omelas, that will result in Empire's fall.

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