9 01 2007

And finally, I would like to remember the recent death of Robert Anton Wilson, who has for over twenty years been one of my inpirations, for his ability to merge spirituality, psychology, and politics—and never lose his sense of humor. This excerpt from his 1980 book, The Illuminati Papers, is typical of his advanced thinking.

“If there is one proposition which currently wins the assent of nearly everybody, it is that we need more jobs. ‘A cure for unemployment’ is promised, or earnestly sought, by every Heavy Thinker from Jimmy Carter to the Communist Party USA, from Ronald Reagan to the head of the economics department at the local university, from the Birchers to the New Left.

“I would like to challenge that idea. I don’t think there is, or ever again can be, a cure for unemployment. I propose that unemployment is not a disease, but the natural, healthy functioning of an advanced technological society.

“What I am proposing, in brief, is that the Work Ethic (find a Master to employ you for wages, or live in squalid poverty) is obsolete. A Work Esthetic will have to arise to replace this old Stone Age syndrome of the slave, the peasant, the serf, the prole, the wage-worker — the human labor-machine who is not fully a person but, as Marx said, ‘ a tool, an automaton.’ Delivered from the role of things and robots, people will learn to become fully developed persons, in the sense of the Human Potential movement. They will not seek work out of economic necessity, but out of psychological necessity — as an outlet for their creative potential.

“(‘Creative potential’ … refers to the inborn drive to play, to tinker, to explore, and to experiment, shown by every child before his or her mental processes are stunted by authoritarian education and operant-conditioned wage-robotry.)

“As Bucky Fuller says, the first thought of people, once they are delivered from wage slavery, will be, ‘What was it that I was so interested in as a youth, before I was told I had to earn a living?’ The answer to that question, coming from millions and then billions of persons liberated from mechanical toil, will make the Renaissance look like a high school science fair or a Greenwich Village art show. “
This is the kind of creative thinking that I would like to foster in contemporary politics. Given the current decrepit state of our economy, is such utopianism still possible? Well, as Peter Singer pointed out, there really is plenty to go around; and Wilson himself said, in one of his last interviews, “My optimism rests on the fact that, historically, in emergency, people often mutate in unpredictable and creative ways. As John Adams said, the American Revolution took place ‘in the minds of the people in the 15 years before the first shot was fired.’ I suspect a similar revolution is occurring in the minds of educated people worldwide.”

That means the revolution is over, and we have won; all that’s left to do is to implement our program. Let’s roll!

music: Kate Wolf, “Friend of Mine”




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