Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Womb days womb days, dear ol' tummy-tomb days..."

In his groundbreaking 1970 book "Expanded Cinema", Gene Youngblood is the first author to make the case for video as an art form.  Bucky Fuller wrote the introduction to the book.  Following are the opening paragraphs of that intro.
"At all times nowadays, there are approximately 66 million human beings around Earth who are living comfortably inside their mothers' wombs. The country called Nigeria embraces one-fourth of the human beings of the great continent of Africa. There are 66 million Nigerians. We can say that the number of people living in Wombland is about the same as one-fourth the population of Africa. This 66 million Womblanders tops the total population of either West Germany's 58 million, the United Kingdom's 55 million, Italy's 52 million, France's 50 million, or Mexico's 47 million. Only nine of the world's so-called countries (China, India, Soviet Union, United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Japan, and Brazil) have individual populations greater than our luxuriously-living, under-nine-months old Womblanders.

Seemingly switching our subject, but only for a moment, we note that for the last two decades scientists probing with electrodes have learned a great deal about the human brain. The brain gives off measurable energy and discrete wave patterns disclosed by the oscillograph. Specific, repetitive dreams have been identified by these wave patterns. The neurological and physiological explorers do not find it extravagant to speculate that we may learn that what humanity has thus far spoken of mystifiedly as telepathy, science will have discovered, within decades, to be ultra-ultra high-frequency electro-magnetic wave propagations.

All good science fiction develops realistically that which scientific data suggests to be imminent. It is good science fiction to suppose that a superb telepathic communication system is inter-linking all those young citizens of worldaround Wombland. We intercept one of the conversations: "How are things over there with you?" Answer: "My mother is planning to call me either Joe or Mary. She doesn't know that my call frequency is already 7567-00-3821." Other: "My mother had better apply to those characters Watson, Crick, and Wilkerson for my call numbers!" And another of their 66 million Womblanders comes in with, "I'm getting very apprehensive about having to 'go outside.' We have been hearing from some of the kids who just got out— They say we are going to be cut off from the main supply. We are going to have to shovel fuel and pour liquids into our systems. We are going to have to make our own blood. We are going to have to start pumping some kind of gas into our lungs to purify our own blood. We are going to have to make ourselves into giants fifteen times our present size. Worst of all, we are going to have to learn to lie about everything. It's going to be a lot of work, very dangerous, and very discouraging." Answer: "Why don't we strike? We are in excellent posture for a 'sit-down.'" Other: "Wow! What an idea. We will have the whole population of worldaround Wombland refuse to go out at graduation day. Our cosmic population will enter more and more human women's wombs, each refusing to graduate at nine months. More and more Earthian women will get more and more burdened. Worldaround consternation— agony.  We will notify the outsiders that, until they stop lying to themselves and to each other and give up their stupid sovereignties and exclusive holier-than-thou ideologies, pollutions, and mayhem, we are going to refuse to come out. Only surgery fatal to both the mothers and ourselves could evacuate us."

Another: "Great! We had might as well do it. If we do come out we will be faced with the proliferation of Cold War's guerrillerized killing of babies for psycho-shock demoralization of worldaround innocent communities inadvertently involved in the abstruse ideological warfare waged by diametrically opposed, equally stubborn, would-be do-gooder, bureaucratic leaders and their partisans who control all of the world's means of production and killing, whose numbers (including all the politically preoccupied individuals around the Earth) represent less than one per cent of all humanity, to whose human minds and hearts the politicos and their guns give neither satisfaction nor hope. Like the women in Lysistrata who refused intercourse with their men until they stopped fighting, we Womblanders would win."

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The search for economic freedom

In her important new book "This Changes Everything", Naomi Klein argues that we will not be able to avoid the worst-case climate change scenario if we continue to work within the "current rules of capitalism".

She suggests that one critical step towards escaping the clutches of capitalism and create a more equitable society would be to establish a Guaranteed Minimum Income - a system that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions.

The concept of the National Dividend was invented by engineer C. H. Douglas between 1916 and 1920 and subsequently modified by poet Ezra Pound and Buckminster Fuller. The basic idea (although Douglas, Pound, and Fuller differ on the details) is that every citizen should be declared a shareholder in the nation, and should receive annual dividends on the Gross National Product for the year over and above their earnings, to help bridge the gap between purchasing power and prices.

Bucky Fuller was quick to point out that the very notions of humans "having to earn a living" and governments' fixation on having to create jobs run counter to evolution which is fast-tracking humans towards increased unemployment as we learn (of necessity) how to do "more and more using less and less."

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

An interesting approach to achieving some measure of economic freedom by sharing the wealth of the commons can be found in a proposal put forward by Peter Barnes in his book "Who Owns The Sky: Our Common Assets and the Future of Capitalism".

The Tree Media Group is in the process of crowd-funding a film "Total Freedom" that explains why the time has come for an Unconditional Basic Income for All.