Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Survival /
@ K., early 2000s
Christianity familiarized the western world with the word “savior.” An older concept, one unencumbered by dogma, is “hero.”
My own Christianity has changed, radically. (Welcome to the club, pk.) No, no. I know I am not the first sentience to find his epistemology modified, even altered. That’s common. What I am instead is also common, but far less common: like there may be lots of mayflies, but there are still far fewer than there are mosquitoes. No, the smaller club I am a member of consists of those Christians who themselves tried to join Jesus as a savior.
Christianity is populated with devotees who inflict wounds on themselves. We’re not all masochists, we’re trying to express solidarity with the sacred hero. Most Christians think that Jesus died for them: and they owe nothing for the blessing. (Oh, OK, they owe a penny to the poor box.)
No, stop right there, pk. You’re trying to find common denominators among people with Jesus complexes.
Well, maybe, a little. That is a common pk occupation: perhaps a fault. But don’t throw out the baby with the bath. There’s something else I’m trying to do. But I’ll come back to it. Here I’ll jump straight to the beginning of my point in launching this module:
Christianity familiarized the western world with the word “savior.” The world already had the word hero: someone who sacrifices his own comfort and safety for the good of the group. The hero also sometimes has to battle the group in order to champion the group. In the Jesus story, Jesus was battling not only Satan, and not only Romans (and kleptocrats), but other Jews. There — I cannot overemphasize — Jesus had to battle his fellow Jews in order to sacrifice himself for his fellow Jews (and his fellow humans)!
But even that is familiar. I’m trying to establish something rare.
Christianity teaches us that God suffers on our behalf so that we can be immortal (for a penny in the poor box). I’m no longer a Christian in the way I was taught. I will always be a Christian no matter what I believe, we never separate ourselves from our backbone however we’re repainted. My Christianity has changed not only in that I no longer take “God” literally (I’m not sure I ever did); my Christianity has changed in that in I longer believe in Christians. I no longer believe in Americans. I no longer believe in humans.
I don’t mean that I don’t believe that there are humans. Of course I do. I’m one. You’re another. (But I (and you too) may also be something other than just human: Eve was a member of the parent species, but she was also the first member of the new species!)
Still, however I yearn and yank, I’m still not quite at my target. I no longer believe that Jesus — that group fiction which I too (and you too) have a right to edit, to rewrite, to recreate — was a savior who saves; I now believe that Jesus (our group fiction) was a savior … who … offered to save us: and we rejected the salvation!
And that too is the kind of savior I now see myself as: not the first, not the last, but another. (Though one day, when we’re extinct, something will have been the last.)
Anyway, this is still all far too anthropocentric: I no longer believe that God intended to save us; I believe that God intended to offer to save us and that he and Satan together then expected us to reject it. Thus they, God and Satan, were right. They predicted failure for our species, once we got civilized, and we have proved true to form: we’re failing.
Now, reverting for the moment merely to diction: I offer a synonym for savior, one less misleading:
Now: do you know what I’m talking about? Do you have any idea what I’m talking about?
I too offered salvation: me, a mere human. No, I’m not deluded. I’m not a megalomaniac: I don’t say that my offer or the salvation I offered were either divine or magical; merely human, merely biological: merely Christian on the human side of Christian. In 1970, following Ivan Illich, a clear contemporary disciple of Jesus (that group fiction), I offered a cheap low-tech internet. I offered it as a solution to overpopulation, to kleptocracy. My offer was a civilized act of anti-civilization librarianship. I offered to store and retrieve and distribute public information without managing that information!
I’m telling you, listen: Jesus invented the internet! Jesus, that group fiction, came among kleptocrats, when Jews who had pushed other people around under King David were now getting themselves pushed around by king Caesar (Rome, under a centralized executive), and tried to remind us of the simpler, more human humans we used to be. Humans depend on competition: and on cooperation. Kleptocracy shifts the balance: toward managed competition: You Jews stay in the concentration camp while we Nazi oligarchs practice a socialism which favors competition among the Aryan few: The contract will be bid on between Goebbels and Goering. Getting rid of the dominance of the dominator is what it’s all about. Centralized kleptocracies use information to control. The public could free itself by using the same techniques. The only way to get out from under the stage-illusory American democracy would be for the actual public, grass roots people, to obviate the centralized authority of government, the fake democracy, by using cybernetics to create their own democracy, by inventing their own information system: one modern, one cybernetic, but one Not Centrally Managed, and above all, not coercively financed.
Did you follow that? It’s hard, I know. Let’s try again.
Ivan Illich, as a Christian priest, as a Christian hero, a saint, saw decentralized cybernetic information storage and retrieval as the means for human beings to undo the evils of kleptocracy (the First World of the 1960s). Coercive governments manage information in partnership with their (far-from-)free media. If the public created its own ancient marketplace by creating a local public library, not with books by Plato and Virgil and Shakespeare, but of the living resources of that community (AND with books by Plato and Virgil and Shakespeare as well!), then what would the public need to pay taxes to Washington for? Why would be public need to pay school taxes when parents could un-kidnap their kids from the state. People could “educate” themselves and their families “freely.”
Governments would be powerless against people who seized rights to their own information.
This idea is Ivan Illich’s. Surely you see that it comes straight from his inspiration by Jesus (that group fiction of which Illich was being an active redactor). I saw Jesus (that group fiction of which I wanted to be, and was trying to be, an active redactor) as the author of Illich’s idea. Informational anarchism comes straight from God: the anti-authoritarian authority.
Contradictory? Yes! Yes! Maybe you are beginning to get it after all!
Man is a social species. We’ve chosen survival strategies that trust groups. Whether that’s wise or foolish, that choice was already made. But then our groups have made choices that have been very foolish: six billion humans on the finite planet earth with its finite biosphere is very foolish if the humans haven’t first been housebroken.
I believe we headed for disaster over ten thousand years ago. I believe that the only way to avoid the disaster we’ve been committed to involves some serious resetting of default values. No, the state is not an acceptable substitute for God, for god, or for the family. No, the state is not an acceptable substitute for an individual and a family’s right to defend itself.
Getting out from under the state may be costly. There’s no guarantee that our liberation might not itself kill us. Still, I’d rather die trying to save myself from the crash just ahead, than by sitting passively while we crash.
What a mess. Another draft or two may help. But at least I’ve blurted some things to cover.
Meantime, see my new word, see its appropriateness. God and Satan cooperate in giving us chances, to survive, to fuck up and not survive. At some point they saw that the scum in the petri dish wasn’t what they wanted. What to do? Leave it alone. Go home, get drunk. Let the scum take over the whole lab. Come back Monday, sterilize the whole place, start over.
And I have to complete the image of Jesus inventing the internet: Illich was Jesus-inspired. I too was Jesus-inspired and wanted to wed my minor inspiration to Illich’s major Jesus-inspiration. I did. Jesus reinvented human cooperation, human tolerance, human love meaning political and cultural forbearance. Illich termed humans getting along as “convivial.” Conviviality was the goal. The question was, could titular Christians become actual Christians? Illich saw decentralizing information as the way. So did I.
Illich’s local public networks were proposed to replace the coercive centralized school system. But I saw Illich’s free “educational” marketplace as the model for a free marketplace, period. Illich promoted local networking, I proposed inter-netting the networks. I tried to do it. I was corresponding with more than one hundred local networks worldwide by 1972, them seeking my leadership, me telling them that we should share.
We didn’t. But that’s what I said we should have done.