Thursday, October 25, 2018

Why I should be Minister of Phynance (revisited)

"It is the artist/scientist/architect who is the mover of history. Under our present nation-state system, the artist/scientist/architect is enslaved in a world where the politicians are entropically concerned with their own fragmented power and wealth. The visionary is unemployed and finds it difficult to fit into the rigid educational system that is becoming more financially exclusive each semester." ~ Libby Hubbard, paraphrasing Buckminster Fuller

"We find all the no-life-support-wealth-producing people going to their jobs in their cars or buses, spending trillions of dollars' worth of petroleum daily to get to their no-wealth-producing jobs. It doesn't take a computer to tell you that it will save both Universe and humanity trillions of dollars a day to pay them handsomely to stay at home." ~ Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path (1981)

First of all, I readily admit that I know next to nothing about money. The word “economics” leaves me cold. The concept of busyness (as in business) makes me yawn.

Second of all, if you look at the self-appointed phynancial wizards who have each claimed to be some sort of “foremost authority” in his field (and it’s still pretty much a male precinct; can’t think of any female economic advisors offhand) it’s obvious they have completely screwed up at every turn.

If these economic experts were worth their own weight in salt, would there be so many starving children in some countries – and so many obese ones in others?

Doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out that these “economic strategists” are essentially a bunch of conmen who serve the narrow interests of a tiny elite cabal and not humanity as a whole.

The deep background to this out-of-whack state of affairs makes a fascinating study but I won’t delve into it here. Those interested are encouraged to do a bit of Googling on the Anunnaki colonization of Planet Earth and how they manufactured a slavish subspecies (Homo sapiens sapiens aka the Adama) to perform menial tasks - and inadvertently got genetically entangled with Adamic humanity’s evolution towards autonomy and spiritual consciousness.

Coming back to my appointment as Minister of Phynance, here are some good reasons why I feel I’m the best person for the job.

For a start, I’ve become expert at minimizing overheads. I quit my last full-time job on April 1st, 1977, and have managed to live modestly but comfortably since. In those 40-odd years I’ve acquired intimate knowledge of the true value of everything.

If you‘ve been trekking up and down several hills through the forest for four hours, you most certainly will appreciate what shelter means: to arrive finally at a cosy lodge with facilities for boiling water and making tea, and to be able to put your weary feet up and sip sweet black tea and listen to the jungle – that’s certainly an enriching experience. Moments like these, what’s a cup of tea worth to you? Or a warm bed to lie in? How about the company and conversation of a few good friends?

In the real world – and I don’t mean the dog-eat-dog “real world” cynically alluded to by moneyed folk and crime syndicates – where nature reigns supreme, our understanding of what constitutes wealth becomes grounded in tangible experience. For instance, if you find yourself lost in the desert and you’ve been trudging in circles up and down sand dunes under a blazing sun for hours on end, which would you rather stumble upon – a well containing potable water or a bag stuffed with currency notes or even uncut diamonds?


Our sense of values has become distorted over many generations with the introduction of money as a symbol of wealth. To a hungry man, a bunch of bananas and a pitcher of cool, sweet water are worth infinitely more than a gleaming new Porsche or a platinum credit card with unlimited access.

As Minister of Phynance I would shut down the stock exchange and turn it into a budget hostel for young travelers. It’s totally absurd that people think it’s okay to make money with money. It’s not okay, folks – because money isn’t real!

It’s just a puerile game wherein folks with surplus cash are lured into investing it in big corporations, thereby giving them sufficient financial clout to wreak total havoc with their endless expansion schemes. Giant corporations are an unhealthy phenomenon as they tend to grow and grow like a cancer, devouring everything of genuine value – especially natural ecosystems - in their path.

What do people with surplus cash do with the stuff then? Well, they can donate it to a community trust fund managed by a panel of respected citizens and this trust fund will supersede the parasitic insurance companies and the Employees Provident Fund. Anyone who requires financial support and funding for adventurous and worthwhile projects may apply for a grant from this fund. If they accrue a financial surplus from any of these projects, they are expected to donate it to the fund so others can benefit from it.

What constitutes a financial surplus? If we calculate the cost of supporting an adult human for a single day and multiply the amount by ten to make sure that his or her quality of life is at least ten times better than basic – anything above that amount would be considered as surplus.


For example, I estimate that an adult human can manage comfortably on a budget of RM50 or €10 a day. Ten times that is RM500 or €100. So in a month of 30 days an adult human would be more than comfortably supported on a income of RM15,000 or €3,000. If he or she lives frugally, at least half the monthly income can be saved in an interest-free account. This way, those who tend to be spendthrift will end up with hardly any surplus; whilst the thrifty ones will have plenty of surplus to donate to the community trust fund.

Those who donate their surplus to the community trust fund will acquire the status of community elders and therefore share the responsibility of governing their communities. By living well within their means and managing to accumulate a monthly or annual surplus, they would have demonstrated their maturity, inner discipline and freedom from self-indulgent habits and addictions.


Essentially, this will help resolve destabilizing imbalances resulting from generations of financial mismanagement at the hands of those who tend to be most extravagant and undisciplined in their misuse of energy. To be sure, they won’t be overjoyed about this – since this class of humans has traditionally set themselves up as the ruling elite by dint of the fact that they were descended from the Anunnaki creator gods – or were able to become leaders of armed gangs that routinely plundered the land, terrorized the populace, and proclaimed themselves overlords.


And where will the guaranteed income come from? It will accrue from harvesting free energy and effectively converting and rechanneling it for specific tasks. Back in the early 1970s, whole systems thinker Buckminster Fuller calculated that if we could efficiently tap the daily universal income of raw energy from our nearest star, Sol or Ra, and convert it to its monetary equivalent in US dollars – we would receive sufficient energy from the Sun alone to pay every living human on Spaceship Earth a daily wage of approximately USD400,000.


Now that is way beyond my recommended basic daily wage of RM500 or €100. Buckminster Fuller was merely stating a point in very broad terms. It’s unlikely that we could harvest 100% of the daily energy income we receive from the Sun. 60-70% would already be more than sufficient to provide a daily energy income to each human worth approximately USD280,000. And since each human will be guaranteed only RM500 (approximately USD142) per day, it means that at least USD279,858 per human would accrue to the planetary energy pool for infrastructural design, development and maintenance.

In effect, after deducting the basic daily cost of maintaining each adult human, there would still be an enormous amount held in reserve for large-scale operations like the building and maintenance of transport systems, ecosystem rehabilitation projects, educational networks and a state-of-the-art planetary communications grid.


Notice that I have omitted any mention of defence systems or military forces. We really don’t need these archaic institutions anymore. If we haven’t matured enough as a species to resolve our conceptual differences through philosophical engagement, interpersonal interaction and conflict resolution, then Homo sapiens sapiens truly deserves to become extinct. And the rest of the universe won’t shed a single tear to be rid of such a virulent and warlike lifeform.

In order to make such a planetary scale transformation possible, it would of course be much easier if there existed an enlightened planetary administrative body modeled after the United Nations – but minus the political bullying that currently makes the UN a mere symbolic gesture rather than an authoritative unifying and coordinating force.

Many of us are disturbed by talk of a New World Order or One World Government and rightly so – because the ones pushing this nefarious agenda are merely perpetuating the ancient caste system wherein the most aggressive egos form themselves into an overpowering elite cabal and systematically exploit and enslave the rest of humanity.

What I’m discussing here is the cosmically kosher counterforce to the Illuminati’s One World Order agenda. In effect, the most aggressive and immature egos will no longer be allowed to plunder the Earth for their own aggrandizement and the enslavement of the ignorant masses.

Instead, because of their lack of self-control, they will be allowed to do what they wish within the generous means granted them – but will have no say in the management of their communities, since that responsibility will be assigned only to those who have developed sufficient inner discipline and wisdom to accumulate a surplus and donate it to the community trust fund.

Give this some serious thought and if you still think I don’t deserve to be appointed Minister of Phynance, I shall be forced to use the pschittapump on you.

-------
Literary footnote: The spelling of “finance” as “phynance” and the introduction of the pschittapump were inspired by the pataphysical works of Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), originator of the infamous Ubu plays.


APPENDIX: Notes by Libby Hubbard

Wealth is defined by Buckminster Fuller as the "technological ability to protect, nurture, support, and accommodate all growth needs of life." The computer will show us that at least 70% of jobs in Western private-enterprise countries are work that creates no life support, therefore no real wealth. Examples of these jobs are: "inspectors of inspectors, reunderwriters of insurance reinsurers, Obnoxico promoters, spies and counterspies, military personnel, gunmakers, etc." It is more economical to pay these people to stay at home and not drive their cars to work since it cost "nature well over a million dollars to produce each gallon of petroleum."

The Sun does not make us pay for the energy the Earth imports. It wants to us succeed in the cosmic scheme by using what Fuller calls "cosmic costing accounts." Cosmic accounting can never go bankrupt, since the sun is always shining, accept when humans make the mistake of withdrawing our critical "capital" assets as we are doing presently with fossil fuels. So one can see how we are living in a bankrupt state of affairs, wasting our fossil fuels and burning fusion and fission nuclear energy which Fuller says is "burning our terrestrial production equipment," when we should be living syntropically by the sunlight being imported to Earth.

When we begin living in a syntropic way on a "cosmic-energy wealth income" by wind, wave, and solar power, big businesses will see no way for putting a meter on these forms of energy to run their bureaucracies and war machines. National governments and big business continue to use up "nature's energy savings account," that is, fossil fuels and by atomic energy which is what Fuller calls "Spaceship Earth's physical hull," even though scientists can find no solution to the problem of nuclear waste. (Fuller thinks we should rocket the waste back into the sun). But because of our intuitive wisdom strongly forming an anti-nuclear energy movement, the energy owners have turned back to the coal and shale mines to convert them into meterable and pipeable liquid fuels. Fuller writes: "This selfishly exploitable energy fuel strategy will inexorably destroy the atmosphere's capability of supporting biological life on planet Earth."

[First posted 26 November 2009, reposted 20 July 2015]

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Blast of Good Vibes from Paul Hawken (repost)

The Unforgettable Commencement Address
by Paul Hawken to the Class of 2009, University of Portland, May 3, 2009

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” No pressure there.

Let’s begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

“... the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.”

This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, don’t let the earth get overcrowded, and don’t touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food—but all that is changing.


There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn’t afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.


When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, “So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.” There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.

“YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING.”

You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.


There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice,” is Mary Oliver’s description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.

Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown — Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood — and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations, and companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.

“Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.”

The living world is not “out there” somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can’t print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. And dreams come true. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a “little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven.”

“We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells.”

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.


This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn’t stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.


Paul Hawken is a renowned entrepreneur, visionary environmental activist, and author of many books, most recently Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. He was presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters by University president Father Bill Beauchamp, C.S.C., in May, when he delivered this superb speech. Our thanks especially to Erica Linson for her help making that moment possible.
[Thanks to blogger Michelle Yoon for alerting me to this blast of good vibes from Paul Hawken, whose name I fondly recall from reading his marvelous account, The Magic of Findhorn, published in 1975. First posted 22 October 2009]