Chapter 8: CULTURE, Sustenance and Enrichment - Let's Prehend
Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

Chapter 8: CULTURE, Sustenance and Enrichment

"Human life is [not necessarily] on the far side of despair."
—J. P. Sartre, The Flies

Culture as a Whole

Human ecology is another term for anthropology, the study of humankind. Anthropologists expand their study of their fellow creatures with psychology, sociology, politics, economics, archeology etc. in there attempt to integrate all these great concerns into a holistic view. The term `culture' implies humanity's total process, including adaptation and modification of the supporting human and natural ecosystems. Our DIM minds struggle to make things perfectly clear, yet we must fail with such mind boggling complexity.

Nevertheless, as objectivists we are obliged to continue, abstracting and generalizing as we must, to grasp human ecology as best we can. Perhaps the Evaluation and Diagnosis charts can help by offering a frame work for thought and discussion. Perhaps the visual and quantitative nature of these charts can rid us of the RIDly compulsion to narrow and fixate our mental model of reality.

Design as Discomfort

Culture Design, CD, is not only intimidating in its challenge, but may even be threatening in its implications. A common view is that culture is not to be designed. It just grows, as if by the Hand Of God. Most of modern intellectual culture not only denies human responsibility for culture design but also abhors the very idea as `totalitarian'. This abhorrence in understandable given the contractive nature of our RIDly intellectual traditions. The inevitable and painful distortion derives from the FF and TT problems inherent in the human mind as an information processing machine. The HOGs tradition demands that MOM and other non-conscious processes are responsible for the culture. This tragic tradition holds that intrusion by conscious control inherently threatens us with authoritarian oppression and the degradation of human values, limiting the freedom and self actualization of the precious human spirit.

The degree of revulsion against culture design may roughly measure the contraction of intellect and culture. Culture Design triggers a projected RIDly authoritarianism and underlying adversarial hostility. CD certainly runs counter to the Denial Ideology of the HOGs, and may even suggest `communism' with conformist terrors from the 1950's McCarthyism and further back to histories of religious, ethnic, and class oppression.

This objectivist model considers the rejection of CD as a RIDly rejection of CD responsibility by the HOGing HUGs, the GEEs, ICErs, CGMs, all depriving themselves of expansion and participation. The RIDlys might well counter this image asserting that "WE OOPs find the greatest value in the individual's highest Ei, up the isohealth line, indulging TW, enabled by the orderly and supportive masses."

But the RIDly view is discarded by objectivists. Replace definition with description, narrow specialization with holistic thinking, and irresponsible `freedom' with expanded responsibility. Thought reforms such as these protect culture design from authoritarianism and the "1984 syndrome". Objectivists are enabled, by DIPL, to put aside narrow personal interests and distortions from their own particular and peculiar personal psychohistory, then proceed with the development of human ecology and its application to culture design.

Current Chaos

Unfortunately, all is not well in human culture. The Dissociations cause distress to most humans and threaten the ecological support systems which have nurtured human evolution and culture thus far. The D-A Chart analyses of human culture helps to visualize and quantify what has been rigid RIDly thought mired in dichotomies instead of parameters. Real and surreal hazards of authoritarian personal and social RIDly rationalizations must be replaced with the objectivists minimal interventions, omnist images supported by the "understanding heart".

A good argument can be made that generalizations about cultures should be left to the humorist, who are most skilled at distinguishing and characterizing cultures. The Irish and Italians, the Serbs and Sicilians, elicit stereotyped images, but also demonstrate that we humans easily develop rich and varied mental models of cultures as organisms. Imagine cultures as a giant organisms with a life of their own, LOO.

Unfortunately, these images are grist for the mill of the contracted mind, raw material for the ego to assert its status, superiority, disregard and disdain for the outgroup. These tertiary emotions are rife with the RIDlys.

Current Cliches

Common cliche holds that all cultures are equal in value and health. Objectively, such cultural `relativism' is a know-nothing attitude, a RIDs hangover. Cultural relativism is an assertion of mindlessness, denial ideology, DI, a devious mode that functions to obscure what's going on. This common mode is a denial of responsibility for human ecology and participation in culture design.

`Liking' one culture or aspect is a subjective indulgence, perhaps an appropriate topic in itself for a psychoanalysis. To limit objective concern to one's subjective preference, to limit one's thoughts to one's life-style, is to condemn one's intellect to the limitations of one's peculiar happenstance. Ironic or not, objectivists must clearly dissociate their theories from their personal lives and psychohistories, DIPL. How else can thoughts be free and designs be responsible?

Objectively evaluating and diagnosing cultures does not suffer subjectivist indulgences such as superiority, depreciation, pride or shame. Instead it deepens and decorates the love of all mankind, a mini-orgy of objectivist's subjectivism. Subjectively, go for the primary emotions, don't use this important subject just to fuss with ungenerous criticism. Objectivist human ecology and culture design promotes deeper concern and aims toward increasing the value and remedying the ills of human life in culture.

As objectivists, the trivializations and fixations (FFs and TTs) of cultural images can be both acknowledged as DIM demands, and yet transcended in a good natured DIPLed approach to culture. Corrected by objectivism, cultural stereotypes become generalizations, never true or limiting, always flexible and changing. Since culture is a living organism that demands intelligent protection, nurturing, and guidance; cultural generalizations become important and powerful tools for human ecology and culture design.

Culture as Organism

Think of cultures as organisms, like ecosystems but even more complex, with higher Ei. Let's clarify this comment on complexity: cultures rely on ecosystems, but ecosystems do not rely on cultures - barely survive them perhaps as modern abstract culture degrades its own supporting ecosystem.

Imagine an E Chart of Human Culture. The vertical i might measure the integration of various horizontal E components of human process. When early hominids evolves speech, i, their social grouping, E, increased from a dozen to a hundred - whatever numbers the anthropologists with their archaeological supporters are able to guesstimate. The development of printing accelerated the advance, i, and dissemination, E, of human knowledge and technology. [TOW, TRAGEDY OF LITERACY] Now the internet provides another leap for humankind, or a temptation to jump off the cliff.

Evolution of culture, like evolution of life, is an increase in Ei, complexity, value, up right on the E chart. Think of Ei as the quantity of culture, the total amount of what's going on among human beings. Similarly, the health of the culture is measured on the D chart, up right, increasing both harmony and intensity. Think of Ai as the health of a culture, the degree of dissociation or accord between the controlling minor systems and the culture as a whole.

Culture Value, E Chart

Culture is the broadest view of human life, including all the subcategories of mind and society. Culture is the entire web of life, all the relationships, patterns, subsystems, everything that's happening. The complexity of culture makes it all the more difficult to analyze and all the more important to use these simplistic E and D charts as a framework to grasp and group the complex dynamics of humanity.

Using the E chart, we can imagine the amount of culture, the Ei complexity, all the processes that make up the organism called culture. The chart from SOCIOLOGY, representing family relationships might be a starting point. Economic relationships might also be part of it. A chart of religious relationships, or similarly, the grouping of people at the shopping mall is cultural process. Even a chart of pubs or PASTIMES, the grouping of neighbors in a quilting party or neighborhood watch, all add to the quantity of culture. Culture is measured by the amount of relationship, the quantity of complexity of the human fabric.


     i ^     i                       __    
 i ^  9│ (1,9)  s                     /│ (9,9)
 n │  8│           o                /      
 t    7│              v          / 
 e │  6│                 a    E  
 n    5│                   U l 
 s │  4│                L        u
 i    3│            A                e 
 t │  2│        V 
 y    1│ (1,1)                           (9,1)
       0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   E
                      E  x  t  e  n  t - - ->

To begin, let E be the number of people; and i the `integrative role', such as influence or wealth, from the income distribution chart. For example, at the highest levels of cultural status, the number of the cultural elite is quite small, such as Dan and Marilyn Quayle, William F. Buckley and a few others. Included at the bottom is the mass population. A simple measure of income distribution roughly measures one aspect of cultural status, more important in some cultures than in others.

High Culture

As another exercise in human ecology, practice the E Chart of Culture by juxtaposing cultural richness, measured perhaps by the development of popular art as detailed in ART. Try it with Bali, Bangladesh, Bermuda, and Boston, an E CHART of Bs. Perhaps let i measure the richness as religious or artistic life and E the number of people involved at each level of i.

As an exercise in culture design, imagine programs which might move these various cultures up and to the right on an E CHART of ARTS. Put any culture at the center, x at 5,5, then use arrows to represent how a new library or a new prison or a block party or a neighborhood school or a church enriches the culture, Ei.

Media as Mind of Culture

One simple gross measure of the amount of culture, Ei, is the actual amount of communication between human beings. Face-to-face talk is rapidly declining as the culture falls into the black hole of commercial media. Demand for distraction from the stresses of outrageous MAC drives people down the isohealth line for less Ei meaning. Zombie TV dominates the mental environment. It is truly an abstract media, communicating as it does from the top down and leaving the recipient with no option to communicate, or move, or barely to live.

John Scully touts the `more' button of interactive media, enabling the viewer to get news and information in depth. It seems likely that stressed out zombies would make less use of such access, and would prefer to veg-out in mindless passivity. The dissociation of the mental life from the physical or participative response becomes a most personal and pervasive pathology. Worse than the degradation of content, the damage done by the present media system is the inherent prohibition of the ability to respond. Yelling at the TV may help but not much. TV's artificial social life displaces and destroys the fabric of family life. The artificial family life, apologies to Bill Cosby and the Simpsons, becomes a pathetic alleviation of the loneliness of lost family. But hi-tech communication systems need not degrade the culture, and one task of culture design is to develop the role of high-tech communication in an organic culture. Objectivists are not concerned with hope or hopelessness, but attend the task, as elaborated in JELLY AND JAM.

Culture Pathology, D Chart

To analyze cultures on the D chart, below, let i measure the technological development and the D-A scale the degree of dissociation of various cultures.

For example, at A., 2,9 (left side, top) would indicate a type A culture: high-tech and competent, but also competitive, adversarial and high stress, like the USA. At B., 8,9 (right side, top) is a type B culture: high-tech and competent, but also cooperative and nurturing, like the stereotype of Sweden. At C., 9,2 (right side, bottom) is type C, a primitive culture, low-tech but harmonious, like a monastery is supposed to be. Finally type D, 2,2, (lower left) is a savage culture, primitive and adversarial, like the mail sorting room at the post office.

Review these designations from Chapter 3, PSYCHOLOGY. Type A, etc., refer to Dr. Hans Selye's personality types used in predicting coronary artery disease:

  • Type A is hard driving high cortisol high risk, gets a lot done but hard on himself and everyone else.
  • Type B gets a lot done, but is more harmonious in himself and with others. We might analyze these on the D chart: Personality type A is up-left, high i dissociation, the ego at war with the world and the cardio-vascular system. B as more harmonious, up-right. We might push the good doctor's theory for two more letters:
  • Type C is harmonious with self and others, but never gets anything done, low-right.
  • Type D doesn't get along with self or others, and messes everything up, low left.

Notice the problem with the i scale. The i scale can refer to technological level, but more generally to the gross amount of interpersonal process, or even the gross complexity of human life.

Let's simplify i to a rough measure of social structure, reviewing the E chart from SOCIOLOGY Fig. 4-4, as a measure of social process, then deriving the D chart as a measure of social dissociation.

The individual can have more i if one rests upon the support of family and tribe, contrary to the rationalist-idealist, RIDs, notions that the individual stands alone, or rather rests upon on a support system of inferiors. The abstract culture, left below, depicts the alienated individual, less developed than in the organic culture.

Fig. 8-1   Derivation of D CHARTS OF CULTURE   Fig. 8-2

  i ^                       i ^   /  Organic life
    ├┐ / Abstract life        │└─┐    
    │└┐                       │  └──┐   high Accord
    │ └┐   low Accord         │     └──────┐
    │  └─────────────         │            └──────
    └─────────────────>       └────────────────────>
                    E                            E

This left chart becomes the left, D, side of the Dissociation chart below. The right chart becomes the right, high Accord side. Then we might well broaden the chart with more anthropological descriptions:


 i 9│     A. Authoritarian          B. Omnist
    │                   \        /
    │                      /   \    
    │     D. Savage     /         \  C. Primitive
   0└───────────────────────────────────────>  A, Accord
    0   Dissociation <-  - - - ->  Accord   9
        (power <- - - - - - - - -> harmony)

Culture Dynamics

The charts can also be used to describe the dynamic of change or the movement of any particular process, represented with arrows. For practice, put any particular culture in the center, O (5,5). War increases stress, up-left. War stimulates the economy and the social cohesion but tightens the security system and limits freedom. An example is US in WW II girding for war. Of course, losing a war can be quite depressing. WW III would degrade the process, downward, and decrease the harmony, left, since survival of the victorious is unlikely.

Conditions of peace seem to allow complex systems both to develop (E chart) and also to heal (D chart) moving up and right on both charts. Such growth is represented by the value direction on the E chart and the health direction on the D chart.

Practice human ecology by comparing several cultures on the D chart measuring such positive elements as ease of communication up and down the social classes or participation in public ceremonies. Start with two easy ones, such as US and Canada. They are close. But which has the most cultural cohesion and which has the least crime?

Ceremonies themselves can be analyzed on the D chart: public hangings and yellow ribbon parades on the left, Mardi Gras and religious pageants on the right. Watching sports on TV on the left, playing sports on the right. Practice culture design by imagining or comparing programs which unite and harmonize communities, contributing to the reconstruction of organic cultural life, ROCL:


      i ^
  i    9│
  n ^  8│    ?                ?
  t │  7│       \          /   
  e    6│          \     /
  n │  5│             O 
  s    4│          /     \
  i │  3│       /           \
  t    2│     ?                ?
  y    1│
        D  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9   A
        Dissociation               Accord
         contraction <- - -> expansion  

On this chart use arrows to indicate how various cultural processes move in the Ai scales. Do it in a group or seminar for a lively time. Try it with patriotic parades, public floggings, increased alcohol tax, war on drugs, food stamps, income tax reform, or any other issue of the day. The direction of the arrow indicates its health direction. The sequence of events may not be straightforward so the line might be bent, improving then leveling off. The length of the arrow (vector) indicates its importance.

Descriptive Terms

Let's use the D chart analysis to give a more quantitative meaning to common descriptive terms. Such an exercise offers relief from the reductionism of RIDs definitions towards the richness of objectivist descriptions, a more dynamic intuitive image. It may also be useful as a tool to translate so-called left brain RIDly rationalisms into right brain quantitative intuitions. Adjusting these terms to fit your own vocabulary and sharing them with friends may help in applying the D chart and provide an interesting group exercise.

System               D, Contractive      A, Expansive
  ethnicity            xenophobic          enriching
  humor                hostile             endearing
  mental health        schizoid            integrated
  authority            power               harmony
  economy              competitive         cooperative
  wealth               concentrated        disbursed
  society              isolated            communal
  law                  adversarial         compromising
  justice              punitive            rehabilitative
  education            directive           organic 
  ideology             authoritarian       democratic
  status system        elitist             egalitarian
  responsibility       laissez-faire       noblesse oblige
  business             rip off             service
  profit               extrinsic           intrinsic
  work                 alienated           participative
  love                 Victorian           familial
  jobs                 exploiting          contributing
  farming              abstract            organic
  government           authoritarian       totalitarian

Culture Accord Dynamic, CAD

The subsystems of culture coordinate and support each other in complex ways. For example, a contractive culture has contractive aspects of law, sociology, personality, even language structure. But a culture can endure only so much contraction as it moves up left on the isohealth line, exchanging harmony for intensity. According to the Dissociation of the Minor System, DMS, the minor system tyrannizes its own supporting sub-systems until the total system regresses, degrades or collapses. It may be more intense, 1,9 on the E Chart, but it jeopardizes its own support system, dropping toward 1,1. Let's call this oscillation Cultural Accord Dynamic, CAD. It derives from the Contraction Expansion Dynamic, CED.

Hitler's Germany is the archetypal example of CAD: developing with Nietzsche's "Triumph of the Will", barely healing from the Versailles Treaty reparations and inflation, deeply remembering the ancient Roman occupation and the consequent castles, having been invigorated and brutalized for centuries by the invasions from the north. All these stresses driving up-left to the orgy of WWII.

In those good old days, before the bomb and other overt and covert super weapons, the orgy of high intensity war was not omnicidal, though it seemed that way for so many. What better use of surplus wealth than entertainment by the tribal orgy of war? But next time, all-out war can be omnicidal, you can bet on it. The general pattern is the same: oscillation up and down the isohealth line, Ai = c, up until the support system is overly stressed by the abstraction, down again by disaster or retrenchment.

Some cultures do not oscillate so widely, and stable cultures seem to alleviate CAD. For example, Australian scholar Fitzgerald in his classic REVOLUTION IN CHINA points out how the ruler's "Mandate of Heaven" changed with the dynasties. The hordes from the North were seduced to comparative peacefulness, presumably by the cuisine. We might infer from their huge population, that they made slightly less war than love, another CAD.

War as CAD: Greed, Pork and Theater

Extremes of CAD are no longer tolerable, since the next oscillation into total war will be the last. To this moment the deterrence deters, enabling the game to continue on an artificially low level: more weapon power is built but less is used. Warring continues, but only of the colonial variety, never among military equals as explained in PROLIFERATION OF DETERRENCE. WWII was the last war among equals of the First World. The lesser wars in Korea, South East Asia, Iraq, etc, simply maintain the free world, that is, the GLOBAL EMPIRE, GE.

Institutionalized greed is the most basic cause of war. Not so much human greed as the INTERNALIZATION OF THE CORPORATE ETHIC, ICE, in contrast and in conflict with the human ethic. Perhaps a third of the defense budget is necessary to keep control vast investments in the Third World. What would US do if Brazil and Argentina emulated Cuba and Iran by taxing or even confiscating GE investments? With careful economic planning, US living standard would shrink by half - but a more likely scenario is chaos.

The other half of the military, beyond pork barrel, is Theatrical Indulgence, TI. Continuing survival under this shadow of impending holocaust suggests a secondary cause for the war, a psychocultural cause, geared not to destruction but to theater, TI. Psycho-culturally, modern war policy seems more a system's Theatrical Imperative, TI, rather than some basic human instinct to war. Human nature is versatile, and everyone can be trained to act the warrior, some more than others. Respect the military trainers, who, over the millennia of human history, have become expert at this training process. But human nature is versatile and adjustable, usually not warlike or peaceful unless called upon.

It is widely recognized that American political power was usurped by the elite of the movie industry around 1980. From the organic point of view this WARRIOR ETHIC, WE, manifests itself as a war polity and a war psychology. The President as Commander in Chief has as his primary responsibility the entertainment of the electorate. The pollsters prove it works.

Peace, Just around the Corner

But just as the new technology makes war omnicidal, so the new technology offers the means to permanent peace and prosperity. The tools of human ecology and culture design help enable and promote peace and prosperity.

Certainly the ecosystem is no limitation. True, the world's contracted cultures promise to degrade the ecology below that needed to support advanced life forms such as homo-not-so-sapiens. Nevertheless, the solution is technically easy. It is easy to design and build a world culture that is sustainable and luxurious, high in both ecological survival and quality of life for everyone, as described in SUSTAINABLE LUXURY. Ask Amory Lovins and countless others how to do it.

Cultural Maturity & Regression

Regression occurs in cultures as well as in individuals. Any advertiser, politician or journalist identifies the mental level most appropriate to his message. As the culture degrades, the general maturity level of all aspects regresses, threatening the health and stability of the culture and depriving the individuals of mature awareness and participation.

As an exercise or discussion topic, imagine the Decline Of Maturity, DOM, of pop-entertainers from Bing Crosby to Michael Jackson. Bing was a romantic crooner in mid-century, essentially adult in his concern with the family's White Christmas. Then came Frank Sinatra, a romantic Romeo, late teens in his aspirations. Then Elvis Presley, seems perhaps age 13, sometimes trying to love-me-tender, but most interested in being a hound-dog. Then Michael Jackson, playful, androgenous, pre-sexual age 8 or 10 in his behavior, interests and companions. These are not the characteristics of people, these are the brilliantly crafted images of the spin doctors, grabbing the heart of mass culture as maturity level regresses.

This regression of maturity may have even deeper routes in the mechanisms of Darwinian evolution. Why would the MAC `middle class' make itself increasingly helpless and dependent, as explained in THE ETHICS OF THE LUMPEN BOURGEOISIE, ELBY. Perhaps there is some process by which complexity is enabled or enhanced by retaining earlier evolutionary forms, as explained in CULTURAL NEOTENY.

James Burke suggests the thesis that literacy, in addition to enhancing the transmission of information, also degraded the maturing and integrating role of the elders, discussed in TRAGEDY OF LITERACY, TOL.

Author Duane Elgin in AWAKENING EARTH discusses "co-evolution of consciousness and culture" agrees that human civilization is in its teen age period, but not as a regression explained here, but as an optimistic though threatening portrayal of cultural immaturity.

Compulsion to the Abstract Life, CAL, a Review

The Compulsion to the Abstract Life, CAL, is everywhere evident. Its source is deep. It derives from the Dissociation of the Minor System, DMS: all complex systems are organized by a minor system that tends to dissociate itself from its own support system. In the human being, this DMS is manifested as the Triumph of the Will, TW, by which the ego struggles to assert itself over other systems to the detriment of its own support system. In sociology, TW degrades the extended family toward isolated individuals. In economics, the dynamic concentrates wealth. In politics, TW moves the system toward authoritarianism. This general dissociation or abstraction is called the Compulsion to the Abstract Life, CAL.

CAL, on the individual level, is the breakdown of psychological health. In the name of equality and independence, individuals become increasingly incompetent and insecure. It is intuitively obvious that different cultures foster appropriate personalities, and vice versa. It has been asserted by anthropologists and others that stable cultures, with organic social support systems of extended family and tribal process, have lower suicide rates and fewer stress illnesses. Unfortunately, this topic is almost taboo and such research is under-funded.

Individual conformity is often a question of ethnicity. Perhaps we should leave ethnicity to the humorists, but as objectivists we are free to evaluate and diagnose without judging. Notice that in a contractive culture, any variation from the conformity becomes dangerous. On the other hand, an expansive culture can enjoy diversity with little danger. Weeds in a farm are wild flowers in a meadow.

Modern Abstract Culture, MAC & BigMAC

"Modern" culture is how the peoples of the earth refer to it, especially the Third World people: cars, big buildings, little homes in the suburbs, TV, schools, fast food from stores and restaurants. Modern culture means the abstraction of all aspects of life. Don't blame the technology. Such cultural abstraction is enabled by high-rise cities and automobile suburbs, but not compelled by them. The technology may promote this cultural pathology, but it can just as well heal it. Let's call this trend toward "Modern" by our more descriptive and analytical term, Compulsion to the Abstract Life, CAL. The result of CAL is Modern Abstract Culture, MAC, and to stress the world wide nature of culture, it is referred to as BigMAC, BM.

The stable cultures, what's left of the old cultures, are rushing headlong toward modern abstract culture. If they do otherwise, they risk further vanquishing by GE. Yet the world's people and cultures need and deserve more protection and support than they get. The challenge of culture design is to create a frame of reference to move in this direction, from the smallest suffering child to the largest United Nations of Ecology.

BigMAC Family

Family life, what little is left, degrades even further: The organic social life of tribe, extended family, and nuclear family degrades toward the single person household. The children resist the ghostly life, enjoy the quasi-tribal processes of school and gang, but eventually succumb and become `educated' to incompetence. The old people withdraw and die of depression, alone or in morbid groups. The youths, deprived of role models or other maturing mechanisms, advance into marriage, or at least coupling, but then regress again to singlehood. Real estate markets and the entire infrastructure "go for the money" and thereby enhance and compel the abstract life.

On the tribal level, the automobile has enabled, but not compelled, the end of neighborhood. Quasi-tribal groupings, such as work place and church, gradually thin as people become increasingly isolated, poisoned by the adversarial modes that enhance and enable CAL. The mass media displace tribal process with abstract one-way communication. TV, like alcohol, is a common but inefficient remedy for loneliness. Institutions become more impersonal and loyalties more mercurial. Ethics lose their integrity and laws become more complex and arbitrary.

BigMAC City

The city may have compelling historical roots; nevertheless, most cities have become sewers of decaying culture, mechanisms by which people torture themselves and each other as described in HIGHRISE.

Cities can be and often are beautiful environments, rich in culture and stimulation. Urban ecologists such as Richard Register and may others have made great contributions to urban ecology. Organic Architect William McDonough anticipates a major transformation from cost-performance-aesthetic toward "humanity, nature and technology" designing buildings and broader cultural entities that are truly sustainable. Like trees, buildings can support and contribute to the value and health of the ecosystem rather than consuming and degrading it.

Most of the good experience of city occurs in the immediate vicinity, not in the sprawl, not from the high-rise, but in the village within the city, the neighborhood. Such reconstruction of organic city life alleviates the problem of the stranger. Even strangers get a good feeling just being there, if there is a there there. [Poet Gertrude Stein complained of her home town Oakland, California that "there is no there there", long before Jerry Brown was elected Mayor.]

Neighborhoods can be reconstructed, at any and every economic level. The actual interpersonal processes to promoted are endlessly varied and complex from the sidewalk cafe, Spike Lee's Pizza Parlor, [In Spike Lee's movie, DO THE RIGHT THING, the Pizza Parlor functions as quasi-extended family and clan process, but succumbs to the inexorable destructive forces of CAL in MAC.] the neighborhood garden, community center, all enriched by that milk of community, gossip. See a modest proposal in WARD PROGRAM, and follow organizations including URBAN ECOLOGY.

Current examples of the Reconstruction of Organic Urban Life, ROUL, include the community organization of some few public housing complexes, the growth of cohousing, and the construction of the ecological "Village Homes" in Davis, California, and Florida. The advancing technology makes luxurious living gradually less expensive and more ecological, even though our anti-libertarian political economy succeeds in making everything more costly. Technical progress promises support and the healing of society, given the tools of human ecology and culture design.

Condemnation of the cities may throw the reader into a slight panic, perhaps because the city's anonymity seems to offer some protection to the frazzled self that is already sick with its alienation. But the objectivist does not succumb to such subjective distractions. The contracted mind, when deprived of the city as the ideal of neotenic culture, is apt to respond to the emptiness as a frightening vacuum, not an opportunity. This fear of emptiness, FOE, is a derivative of the DIM, the demand for the integrity of the model, which is in turn derived from the basic DMS. That's why the images of the urban ecologist such as Richard Register, Ernest Callenbach and the world wide Aquarian Conspiracy is so crucial. These heroic dreamers present elegant images that are economically and ecologically sound, but also ease the panic of the neophyte.

BigMAC Professions

Let's consider the institutionalization of BigMAC in the professions. The medical profession is too fragile at this point in history and politics to endure objectivist analysis of the corruption from their science through their financing to their clinical practice, NOTES ON THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF MEDICINE, NOTAM.

However, we are thankful to the Law not only for providing a prime example of MAC, but also a continuing opportunity for generous good humor. Objectivists refer to concern with misbehavior and all the institutions from law, police, courts, prisons, etc as the Criminal Professions, CPs. They are a mainstay of the US economy and employ a share of labor and resources comparable to military mobilization, a Domestic War, DW, as it were, manned by the MAOs. The obsession with crime permeates the culture, an i dissociation of major proportions that roughly measures the health of the culture. The Principle Of Punishment, POP, is a major indulgence of modern abstract culture. [The California Dept. of Corrections spends $700 million/yr. housing and treating 19,000 mentally ill offenders, and $1.4 to 1.8 billion to arrest, prosecute and jail them. James Bennett of the Self Help Program in Sacramento comments, "You confuse what you have to do to survive with who you are." Sacramento County Sheriff Blamas suggests we should save this 13% of the budget spent on the 8000 mentally ill and "...spend it on quality of life... ."

BigMAC Future

Many people argue that human civilization is lurching headlong to its demise in the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY. Objectivists acknowledge this process, but nevertheless simply set out to turn the trend around. How did it happen that human beings, God's greatest gift and perhaps highest achievement, has sunk so low while living so high, as outlined in AMERICA? While outlining the problem in CULTURE OF OMNICIDE, let's continue designing alleviations and improvements.

Of course, as soon as the rudiments of human ecology and culture design become dispersed, the world condition will become more valued and more healthy. Because of this new unified systems theory and the widespread use of the evaluation and diagnosis charts, humankind will use the new paradigms to empower the aquarian conspiracy, pass the turning point and make rapid progress toward ecotopia.

< Chapter 7: ECONOMICS, Money and Value Chapters   Essays Chapter 9: EDUCATION, the Tolerated Disaster >
Copyright © 2017 Earl Williamson. All rights reserved. Feedback Last updated Sunday, May 24, 2009 15:54 UTC