Freedom Digital Library


Civilization and Beyond
A Metaconscious Mosaic Outline


The Bottom Line*

The "Bottom Line" is that "we're all a-goin' to hell on a sled." And the "sled" we're all "a-goin' to hell on" is named Civilization. And if some of us don't get off of it, and that pretty damn quick, well, that'll be that for good ol' genus Homo on planet Earth. This is an informal summing up of the human predicament.

My contribution to a solution to the human predicament is summarized in the following twelve observations:

  1. There is "somewhere to go" for those who are ready to bail out and allow civilization to take its course without us: specifically, the tribe, a social formula for humans perfected and polished over the course of millions of years by the metaconscious process of natural selection.

  2. Metaconsciousness is spontaneously associated with proliferating richness, diversity, variety, complexity, and liberty in naturally or artificially occuring information-sharing systems. It is not "mindless," "purposeless," or "accidental," and it may be thought of, and related to, as the everywhere-always presence of the gods.

  3. The "path of the gods" is an endlessly expanding spiral of ever-enriching, proliferating metaconsciousness. It is what creates, sustains and enriches all Life, and those who arrange their lives in harmony with it may be said to be living "in the hands of the gods," a condition that provides every living thing the maximum possible richness, diversity, variety, complexity, and liberty in all their endeavors.

  4. Civilization is the invention of a very peculiar tribe who made their appearance about 10,000 years ago and distinguished themselves from all other tribes by taking the Law of Life out of "the hands of the gods," and assuming it themselves. For this reason, we call them Takers, and distinguish them from all other tribes and cultures, who leave the Law of Life "in the hands of the gods." These we call Leavers.

  5. Civilized people, Takers, and civilization in general, are at war with the gods, and are the enemies of metaconsciousness, because of a mythology which insists that
    • The earth was created for us, and we were created to conquer and rule the earth;
    • Our way is the only right way to live, and all people should live as we do;
    • Humanity was destined from our earliest beginnings to create civilization;
    • Civilization must not be lost or abandoned under any circumstances;
    • Civilization is the crowning achievement of humanity.1
    That is, the "path of civilization" is the path of pre-emptive force, which is inherently destructive to metaconsciousness, to the gods, and to all Life.

  6. It is important to understand that the civilized war against metaconsciousness cannot be effectively dealt with by attempting a counter-war against civilization. Any strategy that employs even a nuance of pre-emptive force is doomed to ultimate failure, because it unavoidably proliferates the very predicament it is presumably endeavoring to solve. Not only do "the ends not justify the means," the means are the essence of the ends they ultimately achieve. This is not a "moral pronouncement," it is an inseverable mechanical linkage between "cause" and "effect." It is the way things work.

  7. The only hope civilized people have of "rescue" from their / our predicament is to change our mythology and walk away from civilization; just as the only hope of rescue the passengers and crew aboard a sinking ship have is to abandon ship and man the lifeboats!

  8. The only "lifeboat" available to civilized castaways is a social structure entirely other than that of civilization. Fortunately, such a social structure exists, in endless potential variety, and it has been polished as near to "perfection" as any castaway might wish. It is the structure of the tribe, and it has a "proven track record" of several million years in the field.

  9. Unfortunately, civilized people have no "memory" of our ancient tribal heritage, so it is not intuitively obvious to us how we might enter a "tribal lifeboat" to escape the collapse of civilization, or adapt a tribal pattern to our immediate civilized circumstances. How should we go about it? Do we have to find a tribe somewhere, and join it? How do you do that? We hardly know where to begin.

  10. We can find solutions to our dilemmas in the very predicament we face. Because we can clearly see, if we look, how civilized people destroy metaconsciousness, and pre-empt the very gods, we can quite sensibly make choices which accomplish the exact opposite. Even if we know nothing about tribes, or the tribal way of life, we can deliberately place our own lives "in the hands of the gods," and foment metaconsciousness. Such choices, which can only be made by sovereign individuals (as opposed to "mass movements"), automatically distance those making such choices from Taker culture, and draw us closer to Leaver culture. This is a "good direction" to be moving, if it is our intention to walk away from civilization.

  11. The essence of fomenting metaconsciousness is directly counter to the path of civilization, because it establishes "synaptic connections" among individuals, groups, races, and tribes in every possible way; yet it opposes nothing. By doing just this "little thing," i.e. deliberately, purposefully, persistently enriching the metaconsciousness within the circle, each of our individual reach, our efforts may combine synergistically to kindle the human metaconsciousness into a transcendental consciousness, intelligence, and creativity beyond the experience or imagination of anyone on Earth.

  12. Having thereby ceased being Takers, and by our own sovereign individual efforts, commenced being Leavers, we may eventually find ourselves in the best possible circumstances for rebuilding the Leaver world, once the collapse of civilization has entirely run its course.

Foregoing is my contribution to solving the human predicament. If you, dear Reader, upon examination and reflection, decide that it represents a viable strategy for dealing with contemporary human circumstances, I suggest you bring it to the attention of those within your personal circle, with or without your editorial commentary. The idea of fomenting metaconsciousness is only an idea, unless it is able to proliferate successfully among significant numbers of individuals with "resonance" to the idea. Because everyone reading this, including its Author, have been indoctrinated and trained, "from cradle to grave," generation after generation, for ten thousand years, by the very culture from which we must walk away if any of us are to survive, it is not surprising that this "little idea" may not be easy for contemporary minds to assimilate. I have endeavored to condense it down to a single page consisting of 12 related thoughts, linked to sufficient material to make the idea comprehensible to those willing to give it their attention. In a culture habituated to "sound bytes," this may appear to be a "long shot." Maybe it is.

On the other hand, survival is a powerful motivator, and it ought to be coming clear to increasing numbers of people along about now that survival is exactly what is at stake here, right now: your survival; my survival; Earth's survival. This is not a joke, nor is it theatrical rhetoric. As long as we're still drawing breath, we may have time to change the course of human destiny on planet Earth; yet it must be obvious that we don't have very much time left. If we put what time, consciousness, intelligence, and creativity we do have available to us, to "good use," we may be able to turn the situation around and point ourselves toward an alternative destiny that is glorious, and a joy to contemplate, and an even greater joy to experience. But none of us can do it alone.

Remember Frodo Baggins, the "hero" of the myth of Middle Earth? of The Lord of the Rings? Remember when (one of the times) Frodo was at the end of his rope, and didn't seem to have the strength to go on, Galadriel appeared to him in a dream, and with seemingly boundless love and gentleness told him, "Frodo, if you do not find a way, no one will." Find a way, that is, to bear the Ring of Power to Mount Doom in the heart of Mordor, and destroy it in the only way it could be done.

Actually, Frodo wasn't the only "hero" of the myth. He couldn't possibly have done what he did – at the end, even in spite of himself – if a whole lot of other "heros" hadn't played their parts as well: Gandalf, Samwise Gamgee, Merry and Pippin – even Gollum, whose motives were decidedly "mixed." Yet finally, at the last moment, somehow the thing that had to be done was done, and the myth had a "happy ending."

Today, the myth being played out on contemporary Earth is similarly approaching its "end." Only, as yet it is still unclear whether that "end" will be "happy" or "unhappy." There are many "heros" and "villains" on the stage, playing our parts, and deciding what our parts shall be in the myth. What part do you have to play? What part do I?

I would like to suggest to you that "Frodo Lives!" and that you, I, all of us, are Frodo! And I would also like to suggest, with boundless love, and infinite gentleness, "Frodo, if you do not find a way, no one will."

Love, Peace, Joy, Now,
     – Harmon


* Source: Original piece, written for A Metaconscious Mosaic.

1. After Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1999. See The Tribe for suggested "Leaver-oriented" alternatives to some of these beliefs. See also The Tribal Ideal.

Civilization and Beyond copyright 2004, 2005 by J. Harmon Grahn. Copying and redistribution, in whole or in part, are permitted in any medium provided this notice is included.


Civilization and Beyond
A Metaconscious Mosaic Outline