Too many times to count, I’ve pointed out that when greed is our only gawd, sociopaths assume control. Finally, I’ve come to realize something even worse: Sociopaths assume control, regardless of the desires of the populace, in any civilization.
Civilization allows food to be stored (hence, controlled). As one of many adverse consequences, human-population overshoot is assured. And then, as surely as darkness follows the setting sun, some people take advantage of others. The lazy, manipulative “takers” arise because not everybody is able to keep track of everybody else. This situation does not arise in societies small enough for everybody to know everybody else (i.e., anarchism, tribalism). Empathy, the most important of human attributes, becomes a tool for exploiting those who have it by those who don’t. If civilization springs forth, sociopaths assume control.
My naivete on this topic, and many others, was largely removed during the summer of 2011 when my teachers at the mud hut conclusively demonstrated how badly misplaced was my faith in humanity. Finally, far too late to positively influence my own life in any meaningful manner, I realized the lengths to which some people will go in pursuit of personal gain. On a positive note, I learned to let go, instead of being dragged. I thank my teachers every day.
One outcome of the primary lesson given by my late-in-life teachers was that I could never again achieve greatness as a teacher. Fortunately, the lesson came late in life: I could not have committed myself to a life of service, much less a life as an excellent teacher, had I known at an early age the horrors lurking in the hearts of humans. Great teaching — that which facilitates learning — demands faith in, and knowledge of, every student. Once the veil of sociopathy is removed, there is no putting it back.
There’s another factor, too, underlying my latter-day learning. I’ve long known, and taught, that birth is a sexually transmitted disease. Furthermore, it is lethal in every case. And yet Earth’s human population has grown more than 40% since I began my (apparently futile) academic career in 1988. No evidence suggests my own students have followed my lead regarding procreation. Or, rather, its absence.
Faced with environmental catastrophe and the near-term extinction of humans, I’m often informed I cannot understand the gravity of the situation because I have no children. Paradoxically, a strong motivator for me not having children was because I understood the gravity of the situation before I began teaching in the academy.
Of course, the human-population issue is one predicament among many that arises from civilization. I’ve spent decades observing the horrors of civilization, and many years documenting them. I’ve often pointed out that the world is becoming a worse place every year, contrary to the perspective of my contemporaries. In my own words, and occasionally those of others, I am a witness to the horrors of civilization and imperialism. In bearing witness and reporting the horrors, I don’t fit into the dominant culture.
Unlike most people afflicted by civilization, I’m free of hope. Hope and fear — both four-letter words — are the two sides of the same “unknowable future” coin. Acting on either emotion is a prescription for disaster, as I illustrated clearly when I left the life I loved to pursue the counter-cultural path that has brought so much pain. Now, finally, I’m going forward, freed from the cage of hope.