“Create ships and sails capable of navigating the
cœlestial atmosphere and you will find men to man
them, men not afraid of the vast emptiness of space.”
— Johannes Kepler, 1610
by Jim Davidson
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
"You never change things by fighting the existing
reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing
— Buckminster Fuller
This essay is about creating places for people to thrive. It is not a new topic. Indeed, based on the research I’ve been doing for the last several decades, it seems to be a topic roughly as old as humanity. Shrouded in the mists of antiquity are stories of ancient sages sent to encourage peace, prosperity, and dignity. Also obscured by time is evidence that human cultures on Earth have risen and fallen again and again.
Given the high level of fragility of the current culture, its apparent inability to resist calls for censorship, domination, authority, control, and rigid hierarchies, it has long seemed important to build a different, better, more resilient and anti-fragile, culture. Why?
Well, as L. Neil Smith has noted many times in his books and essays, Americans are fighting a culture war. To win a culture war, he has said, requires that one have a culture.
My friend Skip coined the term #collapsitarian (which, by the way, no longer shows up in Twitter when one times the hash tag and a few characters, because, presumably, the censor enthusiasts who run Twitter fear it and object to it). He did so to make it clear that the existing system, economy, and mockery of civilisation is going to collapse. It will fall, like all past empires, and it will do so in its own peculiar spectacular ways. We may as well have something better, and while we are prepping and awaiting those aspects of the collapse that are going to affect each of us, we may as well be doing something with our time.
There is abundant evidence that has begun coming to light at least since the discovery and carbon dating of Gobekli Tepe and other ancient sites that several past civilisations have reached a high level. There is now a huge amount of peer-reviewed research illustrating the high level of astronomical, technological, and philosophical understanding of past cultures in Anatolia, the Yucatan, the highlands of Mexico, Peru, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Egypt, Cambodia, India, and elsewhere.
Some records point to a continental in the Far East that has been, at times, called Mu. Mu may have been an extension of the Asian land mass joining it to New Guinea and Australia by land that was above water due to the much lower sea levels. Why were sea levels lower in ancient times? Much of the water was frozen in vast ice sheets, miles thick in places, called the Cordillera, Laurentide, and European ice sheets, and in glaciers on high mountain ranges all over the world.
There seems to be evidence that Mu existed as early as 300,000 years ago and was destroyed in a series of cataclysms in the time since, including by the same flood that eradicated the civilisation Plato called Atlantis, which is also recorded in surviving Egyptian texts by another name. You can read up on these topics in recent books by Graham Hancock and others, or look around for information on the web.
It seems clear to me that after the destruction of Atlantis by the cataclysms associated with the start and end of the Younger Dryas era some eleven to twelve thousand years ago a series of culturally important figures with names like Viracocha, Quetzalcoatl, the seven sages, and many other names in various places, taught people to live together in harmony, employing resilient ways, and without violent hierarchies. Between eleven thousand years ago and roughly four to six thousand years ago, extremely violent hierarchical societies arose and displaced those teachings to a large extent.
Since then, we’ve reached for the planets. Mankind has vast capabilities in science and technology that allow us to perform most of the same things written about in early Hindu scriptures - flying craft, space travel, high speed communications, amazing missiles, vast destructive powers.
Two facts have been significant to me since the late 1980s. One is that in 1610, Johannes Kepler wrote to Galileo saying "Create ships and sails capable of navigating the coelestial atmosphere and you will find men to man them, men not afraid of the vast emptiness of space." Kepler and Galileo understood the nature of our solar system, and our place within it.
The related fact of significance is that, about 400 years later, mankind has navigated through space to reach the Moon, to land robotic systems on Mars, and to reach toward the heliopause in inter-stellar space, while flying by nearly every planetary body that one might choose to name. In 1610, about 90% of Europe was rural, lived on or very near a farm (within a few miles at most), and industrial technologies like steam engines, nitric acid chemistry, and high speed digital looms had not been invented. Only four hundred years were needed by mankind equipped with the scientific method and a sense of purpose to explore beyond our atmosphere for huge advances to be made.
As well, we now know that biologically modern humans were on Earth 300,000 years ago, possibly earlier. There are, of course 750 periods of 400 years one might arrange linearly reaching back 300,000 years, during which similar advances might take place.
While one can easily see that the murder of Archimedes when Rome conquered Syracusa and the various burnings of the libraries at Alexandria and the destruction of the Houses of Wisdom in Baghdad destroyed nascent cultural revolutions at various points in history, it seems unreasonable to suppose that at no other time in the 750 sequential periods of four centuries that a level of technology comparable to our current level was reached. And, indeed, flying vehicles and many other technologies are described in ancient Hindu, ancient Mayan, and ancient Egyptian texts. Even ancient Greek oral traditions such as the Iliad and the Odyssey speak of robots and motion pictures.
Why is this aspect of things important? Simply because what has happened is possible. What we’ve done before, we can do again. And the fact that corrupt, hierarchical, and evil civilisations have been destroyed before seems to indicate reason to anticipate that the highly corrupt, hierarchical, and demonstrably evil civlisation we now find all around our world is going to be destroyed, either from its internal instabilities, or from outside forces such as natural disasters, and by the will of God.
What to Build
The short answer is: communities. Wherever you are, find people near you in whom you can place trust, whose integrity is consistent in your opinion. Build a network with these people. Be aware of each other’s locations, find ways to help one another, find ways to engage in trade and commerce, and do as much as you can to build privately, keeping communication secure.
Apps like Signal, Telegram, and WhatsApp offer encrypted communications, as does the Enigmail plugin for Thunderbird. You can find ways to encrypt if you make even a casual effort. Remember, wherever communications have been compromised in warfare, the side that has the most insight into the plans of the others has won.
Physical communities can be built in different locations, and many entrepreneurs are working on these now. Wendy McElroy, Chris Boehr, Titus Gebel, Spencer MacCallum, and Spencer Heath are among the many authors who have written on this topic. Resilient Ways Foundation has links to several of these efforts, and new ones arise all the time.
Some new technologies are now available to make it easier to be "off the grid" including advances in highly efficient (upwards of 20% efficiency) solar cells. There are new techniques in mesh networks and in related technologies that make self-establishing, resilient communications networks possible. These are worth looking into.
Preparedness means being able to feed, clothe, house, and defend your home, family, and those with whom you choose to be in community. Your network of friends, family, and associates should be able to help one another in emergencies, solve problems, and survive disasters. There is plenty you can do as an able, well-trained individual which you can do more easily working with others who are similarly capable and well-trained. Training together is a very important part of succeeding.
Where to Build It
Over the last few thousand years, the places that have proven hardest to conquer are in mountainous areas. There are lots of places with mountains in America, including the various ranges of the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Ozark Mountains. There are mountains on all the continents. You’ll find good people living in these places, people who frequently have reasons for moving uphill involving resentment toward established authority.
"Whatever you would do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic within it."
There is no time like the present, except the very near future a second or two from now, and the very recent past just a second or two ago. You may as well start thinking about these ideas. What else are you going to do on a Sunday?
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