This article is part of a series: ‘Stigmergy: Systems of Mass Collaboration’.
It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world. – Mary Wollstonecraft
In Individuals in Society I wrote of a state of nature where society did not exist. In truth, such a state has never existed outside of social contract theory because humans are social animals and we have always created societies. In today’s structure, society with its dependencies and relationships has been converted to a completely monetized system of dissociation. For the first time in human history, people have been effectively dissociated from each other and are living in a state of no society. [Side note: For those who ask what does Occupy want, this is one of my personal two answers. Humans are social animals; they want a society. The other answer is we want our human dignity, including the right to attain adulthood and achieve our full potential. Both of these are biological needs hardcoded into humans and we feel deep unrest at their removal.]
This image is a placeholder until I have time to make an image that describes what I am saying or some kind person contributes one.
In the diagram above, everything that people in society need is enclosed in the space called System. This can include food, housing, health care, education, lifework, and even family. These essential resources are separated from society and held in a space not accessible to the user group. If the resource is health care, a member of the public is not able to review the work of the health professionals; they do not have access to pharmaceutical studies, cannot choose the remedy they wish, and cannot assist others. All resources are funneled through the second space, called a leech. A leech is a blood sucking parasite that attaches itself to a host and drains the host while contributing nothing. In society, our leeches are financial institutions, old style media institutions (the ones internal to each system as well as public broadcasters), regulatory bodies, training and licensing institutions, and all other bodies set up to regulate the flow of resources to the society. None of these leeches contribute to society, they control access to resources.
In the food system, duty, trade restrictions and trade treaties control access to food and government regulatory bodies control both production and distribution, even preventing food sharing between people or scavenging from waste food (for example by requiring chlorine bleach to be poured over food in dumpsters). In the education system, the universities control who can learn, control their learning, and produce a credential that allows a person to perform work; the freedom to learn and the power of peer promotion is removed to an outside regulatory body in almost every profession. In science and art, intellectual property laws prevent collaboration, study and use of prior work and encourage secrecy and information hoarding. Even sport (games) are strictly controlled and entertainment is regulated by bylaws, causing both to be largely replaced by professionals with access funneled through leeches. Every conceivable resource has had access removed from the society and placed in the control of leeches.
This system of dissociation is so entrenched in society that it is very seldom questioned. Money for health care is equated to money for insurance, even though insurance companies do not provide health care. Banks need to be propped up to provide housing, even though banks do not provide housing. The almighty economy must be saved even at the cost of untold lives or life on earth itself; but we can’t eat the economy. Education and information are controlled, not produced, by existing institutions; both could and should be replaced by transparency and open access. Distributors should be replaced by farmgate importing, information wants and needs to be free, and choosing one’s own lifework is a basic right not to be removed by regulatory bodies.
In this system of dissociation, individuals have no societal protection. Each is dangling from the leech by their own little vein with a limited access to resources; there are no direct relationships or dependencies. Even if the access allows the person plentiful amounts of everything, there is a built in awareness of shortage and reliance on the system that strongly discourages sharing. If one person’s vein is broken, their need is met by hostility from the others dangling by their own veins; to rescue another is to weaken oneself. Predictably, rescuing those in need requires the creation of more leeches in the form of NGO’s and government regulatory bodies for people in crisis, resulting in a transference of responsibility that prevents society as a whole from spending much time considering those who their society fails.
Ironically, the individuals whose access to the leech is for some reason broken are referred to themselves as leeches. As discussed in The Financial System, The Tax Payer was invented to assert control over other members of society such as children, anyone in crisis, prisoners and anyone who dares to work outside a corporate approved role. The Tax Payer is encouraged by relentless propaganda and enabled by the financial system to consider themselves both the backbone of society (as evidenced on monetary flowcharts and nowhere else) and personally robbed by all others. When people look for the source of the obvious flaws in the systems of dissociation, they are always pointed to those that are not acting as The Tax Payer. Seldom does society look past the propaganda to the real leeches.
A society is formed by a mother* giving birth to a child. Once a mother becomes pregnant, dependency has been created and she must surround herself with a support network, or a society; at the very least, if her society is to survive, she must create a support network between herself and her child or find another caretaker for her child. A woman and a child is the basic unit of a society, a unit with dependencies and unequal ability working for a common goal. This is where a new society must start to plan a new direction.
In today’s un-society, the core element has been two or more men* shaking hands. That is not a society, that is a trade relationship. A trade relationship must occur among equally advantaged partners if one is not to be taken at a disadvantage. Dependencies are abhorrent in a trade relationship. Dependencies and sharing weaken a trading partner; ownership strengthens them.
There are many dependencies in a full society besides children. The reason children are the core is of course because without them, a society dies, but a full society will also have people with a variety of mental and physical limitations and gifts. In today’s society people with any dependencies are seen as worthless, or at best inferior, instead of different. Today’s ideal is a young, healthy, intelligent adult with no dependencies. The fallacy of equality for women is dependent on their simulation of that ideal; women have an equal opportunity to participate in trade relationships. As long as women or men perform society building roles such as child rearing, including protecting, feeding, educating, sheltering and clothing children, or all of the support services required in a healthy society, they are vilified and abused by the structure today. Educating children pays far less than educating adults who are perfectly capable of educating themselves; parenting usually pays nothing at all. Giving birth is a financial, health and social liability; killing people is a lucrative and highly respected career. Advocates for women seek to empower them to leave society building roles for corporate endorsed ones instead of creating a society that respects and values societal support as a role for all.
There have been several instances of people in the west today seeking to create a moneyless society, but these people are predominantly (exclusively?) healthy and male, or partnered with a healthy male. When a child, an elder, or someone with severe mental or physical dependencies can live in a money free society we can call it a society; until then it is a trade relationship. There is a great deal of work ahead before dependencies can be supported freely and with no real or implied charity.
This image is a placeholder until I have time to make an image that describes what I am saying or some kind person contributes one.
A true society is shown above which is starting to manifest in various forms around the world. In it, every system includes the entire user group and no one but the user group. No one outside the user group can control the activity inside. Access is restricted for none. Information is available to all through transparency. Education is available to all from their peers, and through epistemic communities with knowledge bridges, and anyone can submit work through concentric user groups or stigmergy.
* Women give birth. Women do not have control in trade relationships in places where men refuse to allow them control. The use of the words ‘mother’ and ‘men’ in these statements is factually correct.
Thank you for your work. You have no idea what a relief it is to find humans still alive. Humans who understand today’s suffering and are willing to deal with it. For me you’re also talking about consciousness of the “whole”, the whole of life, the fact that we share “life energy” when we share healthily with each other and are depleted of it when we don’t. One of the difficulties seems to be that the privileged are even more starved of human connectedness than the less privileged who are less inflated, less numbed. There seems to be a serious impediment to experience suffering and those who expose the misery in which everyone is living are made into “homosaccers” one way or another, as if killing the messenger dealt with the message. It is as if the whole class had acquired the traits of the sociopath: great charisma in the outside but no connectedness in the inside. That is dangerous because it is a straight forward road towards the fascist personality. Thank you again.
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Thank you so much for the comment and for reading. Yes, I have a lot more to write in this space … but yes, this is primarily a revolution of the creators who have been repressed by the destroyers, people who are not motivated by what we consider ‘normal’ but as you say, are so common today. I find a lot of the physiological aspects of sociopaths very fascinating … if you accept that sociopaths are impacted by certain environmental conditions (ie diets of gluten, dairy, excess sugar etc) it is very interesting that those environmental conditions are then perpetuated and increased by the sociopaths in a real life vampire role. ‘Life energy’ yes, and an auto-immune disease attacking it. It is also fascinating to me that this is the first revolution to include women at the highest levels in every country, from Kim Jinsuk in S Korea to the Saudi women drivers to Pussy Riot; it is as if we are finally saying, society did not come from a rib, people are not property and society is not a trade relationship, society came from a vagina and it has a completely different structure. But it is in no way a male / female war, as there are plenty of both on each side. Just the creators vs the destroyers.
Thank you for your reply and the possibility of dialogue. Could I further the exploration?
You state: “This can include food, housing, health care, education, lifework, and even family. These essential resources are separated from society and held in a space not accessible to the user group.” There’s a parallel in what you’re describing to how cults function: members in a closed cult depend on it for their instinctive needs so the whole sphere of the instincts is compromised and dependent on the cult’s status quo. Families and friends, if they join together, are separated and if not, included in the “six billion sleep people on earth” and also separated, taking control of the whole emotional sphere of people’s lives. Members are intellectually brainwashed to think only the cult’s dogma reducing their intellectual capacity and their sexual lives are equally controlled. There’s a very small difference between the way cults are functioning in our societies and society itself. Status is given by money and everyone wants the status more than the money. Human beings as you say want “society”, to be part of the whole and if that is achieved by having a lot of money then every possible sacrifice is legitimate. The impulse itself is legitimate, what is a detriment is the way the “connectedness” with each other is carrying itself out. Then come the social values associated with it and with them the fact that humaneness is sacrificed to justify the rampant abuse of privileges at all levels. In association with that inhumaneness that takes hold of the whole corporate class, it’s interesting to observe particular characteristics such as the isolation in clubs, the relation to time, to love and to money and the way these are dealt with in accordance to the hierarchy that they place themselves in. (The pattern seems similar to male-female relations in the patriarchal clan that we are still so ingrained in but with the addition of women performing equally dominating roles as men are used to adopt in the macho character. But while some men still hold some kind of genuine protectiveness, some females who’ve adopted the role seem to have disconnected completely from their emotional life and a kind of “super independent executive” working for her own personal achievements has developed) Money is given out much more easily than love or as a form of love but with it comes the condition that the receiver is submitted to the giver and the peer to peer relationship is thwarted from the start. The unhealthiness of the contract is clear: the life energy moving between those involved tends to reduce the empowerment of the receiver with submission bringing about a state of depression and a false empowerment in the giver. The giver’s ego is inflated and the receiver’s, depressed. The objective effect of the transaction is that of deforming both participants into inhuman proportions. “Human” is neither submission, nor domination. That is the natural condition in the instinctive life of animals but humans are not animals no matter how much our own instinctive realm is overpowering our will.
I hope this input is positive to your work. If I am extra-limiting myself in quantity please don’t hesitate to let me know because I am eager to continue exploring things further.
Interesting re the creation of cult-like dependency. Exactly. Everything submitted to a trade relationship. This is a comment I made a couple years ago re the corporate invasion into everything in our lives, including sex. https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/privacy-sex-and-democracy/ And of course, our infantilization is a key part of this dependency and the guardian coup d’etat over our human rights. https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/individuals-in-society/ Re men and women, neither are happy in this structure and of course men are every bit as happy providing societal support as women are; everyone has been twisted out of our natural impulses, except of course the sociopaths who are doing quite well!
Conversation from Take the Square on n-1:
Brilliant insight, that ‘A society is formed by a mother* giving birth to a
child’. It is the core which is unacknowledged except in idealised form as
Here is an elegant paper which is very relevant –
Click to access ZamanA61.pdf
It is interesting to me how we have rewritten that basic unit to the myth that society came from a rib and therefore ownership is implied and society is trade relationships. If we acknowledge that society came from a vagina, and it is dependency, not ownership, that dictates the first relationship, we come naturally to a very different place. What Mary Wollstonecraft tried to explain 220 years ago.
So nice to hear from you.
The similarities between cults and corporations has been better studied in the links connected with the following one:
I find cults particularly relevant because in their study we can look at a microcosmos of society and understand the forces at play and then better grasp society at large. The pleasure for me in finding your writings is that much of it is already there and pushing forward. Thank you!
Ha, I remember reading that post years ago! So true! And corporations in general behave as rogue states where workers leave basic rights at the door … You are very welcome, I am happy to meet you!
Conversation from Take the Square on n-1:
I don’t know about Mary Wollstonecraft, but I don’t feel totally happy with
the ‘dependency’. I prefer to see it as mutually dependent. We have so much
to learn from our children.
It is, as Michel Bauwens has agreed in another context, the primordial
template for a non reciprocal relationship, the first P2P relationship. It
is the essence of the gift of life, which we all experience, the gift which
does not demand a return. Charles Eisenstein talks about this in his Sacred
Economy, and quotes the poem by Hafiz,
Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
‘You owe Me.’
Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole SkyIt has always existed, and was once the primary
social relationship … and our task is to make it so again! (Michel
Thinking of “It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.” In our world ‘dependency’ is an ugly word, but what is society without dependency? Independence is really our word for being able to survive without society and what follows is the idea that if we are independent, our contributions to society are charitable. What we are missing in my view is a path where everyone is free to take what they need without question and without the feeling of ‘charity’ … and without an authority assessing need. Which would require far more of a community feeling than we have now.
With you all the way – not charity, which implies inferior status. But then
so does dependency. I wasn’t thinking of ‘independence’ but mutual
dependence, ‘interdependence’, which is what the community feeling is about.
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