Log in Register

Log in

There are no products in your cart.
Shopping cart
There are no products in your cart.
You get free shipping!

Scitech

Scitech Video 1

Lily goes for a naked drive, and does something wonderful, something no king or emperor of the past ever did. Go with her and find out all about it, and find out about all the wonderful things that science and technology are doing for us today, if we only let them. This is the first in a new series of videos about the influence of science on our world.

Scitech Video 2

When Agriculture yielded to Science & Technology as the economic basis of society, humanity garnered three major benefits: democracy, capitalism, and the end of war. Unfortunately many people were too foolish to adapt to these changes, which has caused the history of the last 200 years to be full of problems, as you can see in this program.

Scitech Video 3

Humanity made a huge step forward when agriculture was developed, but the advance required many changes in ideas and patterns of behaviour. Now we are going through an equally great change, from agricultural society, or Agsoc, to modern science and technology, or Scitech. Our ideas and patterns of behaviour have to change again, but humans are slow to adapt. Racism, women’s rights, and democracy are just some of the areas where problems have arisen. We live in exciting times, and many wonderful advances will come to us if we only adapt to Scitech. Disasters will come if we do not.



Scitech Video 3



Scitech Video 4

 

Science And Morality

A Series of Essays
by Charles MacFarland

 

The Three Ecotypes and the Morals Revolution.

Science changes human morality. It changes the way we think and the ideals we must believe. If we fail to change our ideals to suit science, the result is generally disaster.

Most of the history of the last two centuries can be understood in terms of people's failure to adapt to the moral demands of science. Essay II in this series gives several detailed examples.

This essay deals with the three ecotypes which have dominated human history and determined human morality. Ecotype is a new word which for some reason has never been coined before, even though the three ecotypes themselves are quite familiar.

The first ecotype is hunting and gathering, the stage of human development which lasted for most of our biological history. The second ecotype began with the Agricultural Revolution around six thousand years ago, a change which brought not only farming and herding but also cities, writing, kings, and many other social developments. The third ecotype began with the Industrial Revolution about two hundred years ago, which launched our modern age of science and technology.

For convenience, these three ecotypes will be labelled Tribal, Agsoc (for agricultural society), and Scitech (for science and technology). Each ecotype is not only a matter of how goods and services are provided in a society (its economy), but also a whole host of ideas and attitudes (which we might call its social ecology).

The main purpose of this whole set of essays is to show that what we call "traditional morality" is actually Agsoc morality. Because the age of Agsoc is over, traditional morality is out of date. It has to be replaced by a new Scitech morality.

For example, the Christian religion is an Agsoc religion. It is tied to agricultural society in many ways: the Good Shepherd, the Good Seed, the King of Kings, and God's only son, to name just a few. It is patriarchal, monarchistic, and hierarchal, all of which are Agsoc notions. These ideas are covered in detail in Essay VIII.

Other Agsoc notions that have to be changed in a Scitech society are: organized warfare, slavery, attitudes to the natural world, family, censorship, and systems of government, to name just a few. We'll consider all of these, and many others, in this whole set of essays.

Of course, some ideas of morality are common to all three ecotypes. Murder, for example, has always been considered an evil, with the usual exceptions of war, self-defense, and so on. Stealing is wrong too, for the most part, in all three ecotypes. There's no need to assert that this "basic morality" has ever needed to be changed.

But many changes are forced on people as they change their ecotypes. People who fail to adapt, or who cannot adapt, must face suffering and disaster. We face suffering and disaster if we cannot adapt from Agsoc to Scitech.

The best way to understand this is to consider the three ecotypes in more detail, and, for a start. to consider the changes and calamities that occurred when the Tribal ecotype had to yield to Agsoc.

Tribal Ways.

The hunter / gatherer ecotype existed from time immemorial for humans (and indeed, this is the way nearly all other animals have always lived). People hunted for game or gathered plants in nature. They lived, in the charming old phrase, "off the fat of the land."

The Tribe had to be a fairly small group, because hunting and gathering is not very efficient. As a rule of thumb, a square mile of land could only support about one person. So if a tribe occupied an area of about thirty miles by thirty miles, it was limited to about a thousand people. Such figures vary considerably depending on the land, of course, but tribes were rarely much bigger than this.

This meant that everybody knew everybody in a tribe, which meant that tribes were generally communistic. The food which was hunted or gathered was shared. It just wasn't possible for some to eat while others starved. That would have caused tensions which might have destroyed the whole tribe.

For the same reason, decisions were also shared. Tribes are basically democratic. There were chiefs, of course, but they rarely had the power to command obedience. In American Indian tribes, for example, chiefs could decide to go to war, but individual warriors could stay home if they wished. It just isn't practical to try to push people around if you have to live with them on a day-to-day basis.

For the same reason crime was not generally a problem. You can't steal things when everyone around you sees exactly what you have and knows who made it. Many other crimes, like rape and swindling, were not practical either.

The nuclear family was not very important because children were raised by the whole tribe. In particular, it was not all that important who a child's father was. Often, important aspects of the child's raising were assigned to other relatives, such as the mother's brother. If a son didn't take after his father, for example if he were spiritual rather than warlike, it wasn't a problem, as it often is in the modern world. He could toddle after the shaman while his father taught fighting to other boys.

AGSOC Ways.

All these things changed when Agsoc arrived. Farming and herding were not just changes in the way food was produced. They caused many changes in social organization.

Farming and herding are much more efficient than hunting and gathering, in terms of the amount of food produced per unit of land. As a rule of thumb, Agsoc can support about 100 people per square mile, so the population soared.

Also, people no longer had to move around. The same area of land could support crops or herds year after year -- especially in the Nile valley and other river valleys, where the soil was replenished by floods -- so people could begin to build permanent houses. They also could create and enjoy permanent possessions, like furniture and pottery and religious artifacts and works of art. Tribal peoples were very limited in such things because they had to be able to carry everything as they moved around.

Living in one place also meant that food could be stored. Huge graneries meant that people had a strong defense against famine. Herds of animals were a source of food any time they were needed.

For awhile, humanity must have gone through a golden age. Agsoc was a huge leap forward. People had plenty of food, and they could enjoy better houses and wonderful possessions of all kinds. Writing was invented, probably to keep track, initially, of fields and herds and all the other things people could now own. But soon writing was used to record many things, like poetry and knowledge. History was invented.

Ownership was a major new concept. In the tribe, there wasn't much to own, and people shared things anyway. Hunting and gathering were group activities, and the whole group shared.

But when a man goes to the trouble of clearing a field and raising a crop on it, he tends to want to keep the crop to himself. Land itself became private property, not like the tribal "hunting grounds" which were seen as owned by the whole tribe. Houses and their contents became private property too. Ownership became important because there were so many wonderful things to own.

Soaring population plus the ability to stay in one place soon led to the appearance of cities. Cities led to crime, like stealing and rape and swindling. It's the same today. There isn't much crime in tiny towns, where everybody knows everybody and strangers stand out, but big cities are anonymous and make crime possible. Tribal democracy also disappeared. Cities had too many people for group democracy, and representative democracy, with elections, was really not possible. The mass of people were simply too ignorant. Instead, strong rulers developed into kings. Strong rulers were necessary to keep order and prevent crime in the cities, and also because of another Agsoc development, war.

Of course, Tribal peoples had war of a sort, raids on other tribes to steal horses or women. But the increased wealth of Agsoc created organized war. Kings could gain huge wealth if they organized their enormous populations into armies to invade other Kings' cities and steal their graneries and houses and wealth. Kings gained power and prestige this way, and found themselves rulers of huge empires. The common man found himself drafted.

Agsoc rulers were nearly always men because of organized war. Agsoc rewarded aggression and competitiveness, which seemed to be male qualities. Thus began the patriarchal society.

Inheritance was vital in Agsoc, partly because ownership was so important, and partly because of the lack of democracy. Both ownership and political power were handed on through inheritance, so it became vital for a man to know who his sons were. Strict laws of marriage and the suppression of women followed from this. Thus began the whole dreary panoply of virginity and the double standard for women.

Also, the family became important. The cohesive community of the tribe was lost, especially in the cities, and something was needed to replace it. The importance of inheritance meant the family took over. Now kids were raised by their parents only, or their extended family. The most important things in life were who your father was, and making sure your sons knew who their father was.

The Collision of Tribal and AGSOC

This series of essays is primarily about the changes that humanity is facing in adjusting from Agsoc to Scitech. To understand these, it's useful to look first at the changes when Tribal society had to give way to Agsoc.

The most dramatic example of this collision, and the one we are most familiar with, is the expansion of Europeans at the expense of Tribal peoples around the world. The advance of pioneers in America at the expense of the Indians is especially familiar.

Indians had no real sense of ownership in the Agsoc sense. When they admitted the White Man as brothers, they naturally agreed to let him share their hunting grounds. They had no idea of cutting down the trees and exploiting the land as farmers did, nor did they realize that this meant they would be excluded from the crop and indeed from the land altogether.

Indians believed in sharing, so they helped themselves to white man's things. This got them a reputation as thieves. They were unused to the idea that a man would want to keep his things even if he wasn't using them.

The Indians had no idea how numerous the farmers were, being used to the low population densities of hunter / gatherer ways. They had no idea how quickly all the land would be fenced off and cleared.

These differences soon led to war, but Tribal war, which is mainly raids and skirmishes, always had an element of gamesmanship about it. Western Indians, for example, "counted coup," which meant bravely rushing up to an enemy and touching him with a stick. Agsoc war was organized and bent on exterminating the enemy. When the braves counted coup, the European soldiers shot them down.

Like Tribal peoples everywhere, the Indians were revolted by the new ecotype. They considered farming dirty and undignified. Warriors could not imagine adopting the Agsoc ways, and so, as the farmers overwhelmed their land. they had no lifestyle left to them. Disaster was the only possible result.

Yet they were right to despise the farmers' lifestyle, for we need to consider now the bad aspects of Agsoc, which were many.

The Miseries of AGSOC

Ownership led to inequality. The man who owned a few fields or herds had a much greater income than the man who did not, so the owners rapidly owned more and more. Soon Agsoc began to have a division into rich (the king and his nobles) and poor.

As the population expanded, the poor had to work harder and harder, on smaller and more marginal pieces of land. People became crowded, and diseases spread more easily.

There were also many more diseases. Living close to animals meant that people started to catch diseases from them, such as tuberculosis, which was a disease of cows. (The great benefit of the Scitech technique of pasteurizing milk was that it prevented the Agsoc spread of tuberculosis.) Plague was another example, brought by the rats attracted by the graneries.

Even worse were the diseases brought by contaminated water. Tribal peoples drank from fresh-flowing rivers and springs, but Agsoc rivers and wells were soon polluted by animal wastes as well as human pollution. Dyssentery, typhoid, and cholera became a scourge.

Another problem with Agsoc was environmental damage, especially the destruction of forests. Agsoc people cleared the forests to make fields, and also for fuel and building material. As time went by, they cleared the trees further and further around.

Cutting down forests, as everyone knows today but they probably didn't realize then, can affect the water supply and the local climate. You can get floods and droughts. And of course, the animals who depend on the forests disappear, such as birds who might once have kept down the insects that destroyed the Agsoc crops.

Easter Island is an example of what could happen when Agsoc people abused the environment. The island was a Paradise, covered with trees, when it was settled by Polynesians from the west. Gradually the people cut down the trees to clear fields for farming and make rollers to move the gigantic stone heads for which the island is famous. When all the trees were gone, the islanders could no longer make the giant canoes they needed to fish in the open sea, and they were marooned on their tiny island. Without fish, they farmed more intensively, ruining the land. Crop yields got worse and worse, yet the population continued to expand, leading to civil wars. When the white man arrived, only a tiny number of miserably poor people remained on their abused island.

Another possible example is the Anasazi, the Indians of the southwest who developed agriculture and in true Agsoc fashion built cities, called pueblos. The people eventually had to abandon their cities, driven out by droughts that may have been caused by their cutting down the trees all around. The same sort of desertification is occurring in Africa even today.

With problems like these, it's not surprising that Tribal peoples all over the world have resisted the spread of Agsoc. Farming, once you depend on it, is a harsh life. It's no fun, plowing in a hot field all day, following a horse's ass over the dusty ground -- and a lot of people didn't even have horses. With each expanding generation, land became more and more expensive, and you had to use less and less attractive land, and you had to dig irrigation, and haul fertilizers, and fight weeds, and if crops failed, the famines became more and more severe.

Agsoc was miserable for most people. In fact, the conviction gradually grew in Agsoc that life for humans was inherently miserable, an idea that Tribal people never entertained. This was the source of Agsoc religions, which we will explore in detail in Essay VIII.

SCITECH.

Science and technology were developed largely to combat the many miseries of Agsoc, such as diseases and the struggle to raise food. The Agsoc fondness for war also inspired advances of Scitech.

But just as Agsoc demanded new forms of behaviour, different from Tribal ways, so the development of Scitech demands that we change our old Agsoc ways. Many people don't realize this, and cling to Agsoc "traditional morality," but the changes demand to be made.

The changes are the subject of this whole set of essays. We can summarize a few of them here.

War and slavery, for example, two hallowed Agsoc traditions, are obsolete, a fact explored in detail in Essay II.

Agsoc was very hostile to the environment, regarding man as the master of the world, free to exploit it and populate it as he wished. Scitech demands changes, especially in attitudes toward population, discussed in Essay II.

Agsoc misery was catered to by religion, especially Christianity, which tried to relieve Agsoc misery by claiming that misery was virtuous, and then went on to spread that virtue through the Christian Rule of Misery, as discussed in Essay VIII.

Scitech, in contrast, offers the Pleasure Principle, discussed in Essays III and IV.

Agsoc and Scitech notions of the family are discussed in Essay VII.

Agsoc was hostile to democracy and approved of censorship, which are discussed in Essay IX.

Scitech offers us a wonderful life, but we are slow to embrace that wonderful life. That, and some of the problems caused by Scitech, are discussed in Essays V and VI.

People are slow to adapt to a new ecotype. The Tribal peoples found it hard to take on Agsoc ways. Some people even today find it hard to adapt to Scitech. The main reason is that people tend to think of the morality of Agsoc as being unchanging and eternal, because Agsoc existed for most of recorded history -- indeed recorded history, like writing, was a creation of Agsoc. But this is false. So-called "traditional morality" is merely an adaptation to the Agsoc ecotype.

People see their morality as the only morality that ever is or was, brought down from the mountain, carved in tablets of stone. The result is that many people would rather die than change their outmoded ideas.

And many people have done just that. Scitech offers us the chance for a wonderful life, or it offers misery and destruction if we fail to adapt to it.

The choice is ours. These essays hope to help people choose the wonderful life that Scitech is trying to give to us.

Scitech Video 1

Lily goes for a naked drive, and does something wonderful, something no king or emperor of the past ever did. Go with her and find out all about it, and find out about all the wonderful things that science and technology are doing for us today, if we only let them. This is the first in a new series of videos about the influence of science on our world.

Scitech Video 2

When Agriculture yielded to Science & Technology as the economic basis of society, humanity garnered three major benefits: democracy, capitalism, and the end of war. Unfortunately many people were too foolish to adapt to these changes, which has caused the history of the last 200 years to be full of problems, as you can see in this program.

Scitech Video 3

Humanity made a huge step forward when agriculture was developed, but the advance required many changes in ideas and patterns of behaviour. Now we are going through an equally great change, from agricultural society, or Agsoc, to modern science and technology, or Scitech. Our ideas and patterns of behaviour have to change again, but humans are slow to adapt. Racism, women’s rights, and democracy are just some of the areas where problems have arisen. We live in exciting times, and many wonderful advances will come to us if we only adapt to Scitech. Disasters will come if we do not.



Scitech Video 3



Scitech Video 4

 

Science And Morality

A Series of Essays
by Charles MacFarland

 

The Three Ecotypes and the Morals Revolution.

Science changes human morality. It changes the way we think and the ideals we must believe. If we fail to change our ideals to suit science, the result is generally disaster.

Most of the history of the last two centuries can be understood in terms of people's failure to adapt to the moral demands of science. Essay II in this series gives several detailed examples.

This essay deals with the three ecotypes which have dominated human history and determined human morality. Ecotype is a new word which for some reason has never been coined before, even though the three ecotypes themselves are quite familiar.

The first ecotype is hunting and gathering, the stage of human development which lasted for most of our biological history. The second ecotype began with the Agricultural Revolution around six thousand years ago, a change which brought not only farming and herding but also cities, writing, kings, and many other social developments. The third ecotype began with the Industrial Revolution about two hundred years ago, which launched our modern age of science and technology.

For convenience, these three ecotypes will be labelled Tribal, Agsoc (for agricultural society), and Scitech (for science and technology). Each ecotype is not only a matter of how goods and services are provided in a society (its economy), but also a whole host of ideas and attitudes (which we might call its social ecology).

The main purpose of this whole set of essays is to show that what we call "traditional morality" is actually Agsoc morality. Because the age of Agsoc is over, traditional morality is out of date. It has to be replaced by a new Scitech morality.

For example, the Christian religion is an Agsoc religion. It is tied to agricultural society in many ways: the Good Shepherd, the Good Seed, the King of Kings, and God's only son, to name just a few. It is patriarchal, monarchistic, and hierarchal, all of which are Agsoc notions. These ideas are covered in detail in Essay VIII.

Other Agsoc notions that have to be changed in a Scitech society are: organized warfare, slavery, attitudes to the natural world, family, censorship, and systems of government, to name just a few. We'll consider all of these, and many others, in this whole set of essays.

Of course, some ideas of morality are common to all three ecotypes. Murder, for example, has always been considered an evil, with the usual exceptions of war, self-defense, and so on. Stealing is wrong too, for the most part, in all three ecotypes. There's no need to assert that this "basic morality" has ever needed to be changed.

But many changes are forced on people as they change their ecotypes. People who fail to adapt, or who cannot adapt, must face suffering and disaster. We face suffering and disaster if we cannot adapt from Agsoc to Scitech.

The best way to understand this is to consider the three ecotypes in more detail, and, for a start. to consider the changes and calamities that occurred when the Tribal ecotype had to yield to Agsoc.

Tribal Ways.

The hunter / gatherer ecotype existed from time immemorial for humans (and indeed, this is the way nearly all other animals have always lived). People hunted for game or gathered plants in nature. They lived, in the charming old phrase, "off the fat of the land."

The Tribe had to be a fairly small group, because hunting and gathering is not very efficient. As a rule of thumb, a square mile of land could only support about one person. So if a tribe occupied an area of about thirty miles by thirty miles, it was limited to about a thousand people. Such figures vary considerably depending on the land, of course, but tribes were rarely much bigger than this.

This meant that everybody knew everybody in a tribe, which meant that tribes were generally communistic. The food which was hunted or gathered was shared. It just wasn't possible for some to eat while others starved. That would have caused tensions which might have destroyed the whole tribe.

For the same reason, decisions were also shared. Tribes are basically democratic. There were chiefs, of course, but they rarely had the power to command obedience. In American Indian tribes, for example, chiefs could decide to go to war, but individual warriors could stay home if they wished. It just isn't practical to try to push people around if you have to live with them on a day-to-day basis.

For the same reason crime was not generally a problem. You can't steal things when everyone around you sees exactly what you have and knows who made it. Many other crimes, like rape and swindling, were not practical either.

The nuclear family was not very important because children were raised by the whole tribe. In particular, it was not all that important who a child's father was. Often, important aspects of the child's raising were assigned to other relatives, such as the mother's brother. If a son didn't take after his father, for example if he were spiritual rather than warlike, it wasn't a problem, as it often is in the modern world. He could toddle after the shaman while his father taught fighting to other boys.

AGSOC Ways.

All these things changed when Agsoc arrived. Farming and herding were not just changes in the way food was produced. They caused many changes in social organization.

Farming and herding are much more efficient than hunting and gathering, in terms of the amount of food produced per unit of land. As a rule of thumb, Agsoc can support about 100 people per square mile, so the population soared.

Also, people no longer had to move around. The same area of land could support crops or herds year after year -- especially in the Nile valley and other river valleys, where the soil was replenished by floods -- so people could begin to build permanent houses. They also could create and enjoy permanent possessions, like furniture and pottery and religious artifacts and works of art. Tribal peoples were very limited in such things because they had to be able to carry everything as they moved around.

Living in one place also meant that food could be stored. Huge graneries meant that people had a strong defense against famine. Herds of animals were a source of food any time they were needed.

For awhile, humanity must have gone through a golden age. Agsoc was a huge leap forward. People had plenty of food, and they could enjoy better houses and wonderful possessions of all kinds. Writing was invented, probably to keep track, initially, of fields and herds and all the other things people could now own. But soon writing was used to record many things, like poetry and knowledge. History was invented.

Ownership was a major new concept. In the tribe, there wasn't much to own, and people shared things anyway. Hunting and gathering were group activities, and the whole group shared.

But when a man goes to the trouble of clearing a field and raising a crop on it, he tends to want to keep the crop to himself. Land itself became private property, not like the tribal "hunting grounds" which were seen as owned by the whole tribe. Houses and their contents became private property too. Ownership became important because there were so many wonderful things to own.

Soaring population plus the ability to stay in one place soon led to the appearance of cities. Cities led to crime, like stealing and rape and swindling. It's the same today. There isn't much crime in tiny towns, where everybody knows everybody and strangers stand out, but big cities are anonymous and make crime possible. Tribal democracy also disappeared. Cities had too many people for group democracy, and representative democracy, with elections, was really not possible. The mass of people were simply too ignorant. Instead, strong rulers developed into kings. Strong rulers were necessary to keep order and prevent crime in the cities, and also because of another Agsoc development, war.

Of course, Tribal peoples had war of a sort, raids on other tribes to steal horses or women. But the increased wealth of Agsoc created organized war. Kings could gain huge wealth if they organized their enormous populations into armies to invade other Kings' cities and steal their graneries and houses and wealth. Kings gained power and prestige this way, and found themselves rulers of huge empires. The common man found himself drafted.

Agsoc rulers were nearly always men because of organized war. Agsoc rewarded aggression and competitiveness, which seemed to be male qualities. Thus began the patriarchal society.

Inheritance was vital in Agsoc, partly because ownership was so important, and partly because of the lack of democracy. Both ownership and political power were handed on through inheritance, so it became vital for a man to know who his sons were. Strict laws of marriage and the suppression of women followed from this. Thus began the whole dreary panoply of virginity and the double standard for women.

Also, the family became important. The cohesive community of the tribe was lost, especially in the cities, and something was needed to replace it. The importance of inheritance meant the family took over. Now kids were raised by their parents only, or their extended family. The most important things in life were who your father was, and making sure your sons knew who their father was.

The Collision of Tribal and AGSOC

This series of essays is primarily about the changes that humanity is facing in adjusting from Agsoc to Scitech. To understand these, it's useful to look first at the changes when Tribal society had to give way to Agsoc.

The most dramatic example of this collision, and the one we are most familiar with, is the expansion of Europeans at the expense of Tribal peoples around the world. The advance of pioneers in America at the expense of the Indians is especially familiar.

Indians had no real sense of ownership in the Agsoc sense. When they admitted the White Man as brothers, they naturally agreed to let him share their hunting grounds. They had no idea of cutting down the trees and exploiting the land as farmers did, nor did they realize that this meant they would be excluded from the crop and indeed from the land altogether.

Indians believed in sharing, so they helped themselves to white man's things. This got them a reputation as thieves. They were unused to the idea that a man would want to keep his things even if he wasn't using them.

The Indians had no idea how numerous the farmers were, being used to the low population densities of hunter / gatherer ways. They had no idea how quickly all the land would be fenced off and cleared.

These differences soon led to war, but Tribal war, which is mainly raids and skirmishes, always had an element of gamesmanship about it. Western Indians, for example, "counted coup," which meant bravely rushing up to an enemy and touching him with a stick. Agsoc war was organized and bent on exterminating the enemy. When the braves counted coup, the European soldiers shot them down.

Like Tribal peoples everywhere, the Indians were revolted by the new ecotype. They considered farming dirty and undignified. Warriors could not imagine adopting the Agsoc ways, and so, as the farmers overwhelmed their land. they had no lifestyle left to them. Disaster was the only possible result.

Yet they were right to despise the farmers' lifestyle, for we need to consider now the bad aspects of Agsoc, which were many.

The Miseries of AGSOC

Ownership led to inequality. The man who owned a few fields or herds had a much greater income than the man who did not, so the owners rapidly owned more and more. Soon Agsoc began to have a division into rich (the king and his nobles) and poor.

As the population expanded, the poor had to work harder and harder, on smaller and more marginal pieces of land. People became crowded, and diseases spread more easily.

There were also many more diseases. Living close to animals meant that people started to catch diseases from them, such as tuberculosis, which was a disease of cows. (The great benefit of the Scitech technique of pasteurizing milk was that it prevented the Agsoc spread of tuberculosis.) Plague was another example, brought by the rats attracted by the graneries.

Even worse were the diseases brought by contaminated water. Tribal peoples drank from fresh-flowing rivers and springs, but Agsoc rivers and wells were soon polluted by animal wastes as well as human pollution. Dyssentery, typhoid, and cholera became a scourge.

Another problem with Agsoc was environmental damage, especially the destruction of forests. Agsoc people cleared the forests to make fields, and also for fuel and building material. As time went by, they cleared the trees further and further around.

Cutting down forests, as everyone knows today but they probably didn't realize then, can affect the water supply and the local climate. You can get floods and droughts. And of course, the animals who depend on the forests disappear, such as birds who might once have kept down the insects that destroyed the Agsoc crops.

Easter Island is an example of what could happen when Agsoc people abused the environment. The island was a Paradise, covered with trees, when it was settled by Polynesians from the west. Gradually the people cut down the trees to clear fields for farming and make rollers to move the gigantic stone heads for which the island is famous. When all the trees were gone, the islanders could no longer make the giant canoes they needed to fish in the open sea, and they were marooned on their tiny island. Without fish, they farmed more intensively, ruining the land. Crop yields got worse and worse, yet the population continued to expand, leading to civil wars. When the white man arrived, only a tiny number of miserably poor people remained on their abused island.

Another possible example is the Anasazi, the Indians of the southwest who developed agriculture and in true Agsoc fashion built cities, called pueblos. The people eventually had to abandon their cities, driven out by droughts that may have been caused by their cutting down the trees all around. The same sort of desertification is occurring in Africa even today.

With problems like these, it's not surprising that Tribal peoples all over the world have resisted the spread of Agsoc. Farming, once you depend on it, is a harsh life. It's no fun, plowing in a hot field all day, following a horse's ass over the dusty ground -- and a lot of people didn't even have horses. With each expanding generation, land became more and more expensive, and you had to use less and less attractive land, and you had to dig irrigation, and haul fertilizers, and fight weeds, and if crops failed, the famines became more and more severe.

Agsoc was miserable for most people. In fact, the conviction gradually grew in Agsoc that life for humans was inherently miserable, an idea that Tribal people never entertained. This was the source of Agsoc religions, which we will explore in detail in Essay VIII.

SCITECH.

Science and technology were developed largely to combat the many miseries of Agsoc, such as diseases and the struggle to raise food. The Agsoc fondness for war also inspired advances of Scitech.

But just as Agsoc demanded new forms of behaviour, different from Tribal ways, so the development of Scitech demands that we change our old Agsoc ways. Many people don't realize this, and cling to Agsoc "traditional morality," but the changes demand to be made.

The changes are the subject of this whole set of essays. We can summarize a few of them here.

War and slavery, for example, two hallowed Agsoc traditions, are obsolete, a fact explored in detail in Essay II.

Agsoc was very hostile to the environment, regarding man as the master of the world, free to exploit it and populate it as he wished. Scitech demands changes, especially in attitudes toward population, discussed in Essay II.

Agsoc misery was catered to by religion, especially Christianity, which tried to relieve Agsoc misery by claiming that misery was virtuous, and then went on to spread that virtue through the Christian Rule of Misery, as discussed in Essay VIII.

Scitech, in contrast, offers the Pleasure Principle, discussed in Essays III and IV.

Agsoc and Scitech notions of the family are discussed in Essay VII.

Agsoc was hostile to democracy and approved of censorship, which are discussed in Essay IX.

Scitech offers us a wonderful life, but we are slow to embrace that wonderful life. That, and some of the problems caused by Scitech, are discussed in Essays V and VI.

People are slow to adapt to a new ecotype. The Tribal peoples found it hard to take on Agsoc ways. Some people even today find it hard to adapt to Scitech. The main reason is that people tend to think of the morality of Agsoc as being unchanging and eternal, because Agsoc existed for most of recorded history -- indeed recorded history, like writing, was a creation of Agsoc. But this is false. So-called "traditional morality" is merely an adaptation to the Agsoc ecotype.

People see their morality as the only morality that ever is or was, brought down from the mountain, carved in tablets of stone. The result is that many people would rather die than change their outmoded ideas.

And many people have done just that. Scitech offers us the chance for a wonderful life, or it offers misery and destruction if we fail to adapt to it.

The choice is ours. These essays hope to help people choose the wonderful life that Scitech is trying to give to us.

SCITECH I: THE THREE ECOTYPES

Science changes human morality. It changes the ways we ought to behave if we are to lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Science itself is constantly changing and has been changing rapidly over the last two centuries or so. These changes have required people to adapt their morality, that is, their patterns of proper behaviour, but people have often been slow to make the correct adaptations.

When people fail to adapt their morality to the demands of science, the result is generally disaster. Most of the history of the last two centuries can be explained in terms of people's failure to adapt to the moral demands of science.

The second essay in this series will give three detailed examples of incidents in history can be explained in terms of people's failure to adapt to science. But first, in order really to understand the changes that science has required, we need to understand the history of humanity and its moral systems.

This essay deals with the three ecotypes which have dominated human history and determined human morality. Ecotype is a new word which for some reason has never been coined before, even though the three ecotypes themselves are quite familiar. We can understand the word ecotype best by detailing these three examples.

The first ecotype, or system by which humanity lived and gained its needs, was hunting and gathering. People hunted in the woods and grasslands for animals which provided meat, hides, and bone, or gathered plants which provided food, housing, and medications. They lived, in the charming old phrase, "off the fat of the land."

This ecotype goes back for thousands and even millions of years, right back to the origins of human existance. This is the way our primate relatives live, and indeed virtually all animals, the carnivores being hunters and the herbivores gatherers.

The Australian aborigines still lived in this ecotype when Captain Cook arrived, as did many American Indian tribes when Europeans first arrived in their lands. People in this ecotypes generally lived in small groups called tribes, and so we shall call this the Tribal ecotype, since the phrase "hunter/gatherer" is awkward to keep repeating.

The important thing is to realize that the Tribal ecotype determined their morality -- that is, the way they lived and the way they needed to live in order to be successful and happy. The same is true of the other two ecotypes. To jump ahead, the other two ecotypes are agricultural society, which we shall call Agsoc for short, and science and technology, which we shall call Scitech.

The main purpose of this set of essays is to show that what we call traditional morality is actually Agsoc morality, and that we have to change over to a new Scitech morality. If we don't, the result will be continual disasters. The best way to understand this is to consider the three ecotypes in order, and so we return to Tribal morality.

The Tribe had to be a fairly small group, because hunting and gathering is not a very efficient way to satisfy human needs. As a rule of thumb, a square mile could only support about one person, so a tribe on its patch of land perhaps thirty miles square had to number less than a thousand. These figures, of course, are subject to considerable variation, but tribes were rarely bigger than this.

This meant that everybody knew everybody in a tribe, which meant that tribes were basically communistic. The hunters' catch was divided among everyone in the tribe, as was the gathered plant food. It just wasn't possible for some to eat while others starved. That would have caused tensions which would have been destructive to the whole tribe.

Tribes were also broadly democratic. Decisions affected everyone personally, so everyone had to be consulted. It isn't possible to exploit people politically when you have to live with them on a day-to-day basis and when your own welfare depends in many ways on their actions.

Of course, there were priorities. There were tribal chiefs who had more weight in decision-making, just as there were certain people who had greater rights in food sharing -- pregnant women, for example. The good of the tribe was foremost -- but that generally meant being fair to everybody.

The small size of tribes also meant that crime was not generally a problem. You can't steal possessions when everyone around you sees exactly what you have and knows who made it. Rape and swindling were also not very practicable.

Tribal peoples did not have many of the concepts that we take for granted. Ownership was not very important, for example. Everything they had came from nature, and you couldn't own nature. Tribes had their own "hunting grounds," but these were owned communally by the whole tribe.

Another concept that wasn't very important was family. Children were not raised solely by their own parents but by the whole tribe. This was a very happy arrangement for the kids, incidently, because it avoided our modern problem of what happens when a child and its parent or parents don't suit each other. If a father was the warrior chief of a tribe, for example, and his son happened to be thoughtful and spiritual, the son didn't have live unhappily with his father. He could toddle off after the shaman, while the father coached the sort of boys who would become football players in our society. It was all one, since they were all members of the one tribe.

Tribes also generally didn't have the concept of competition. It was bad form to excell and make others feel bad. Equality was more important. You could show off a little bit, in foot racing or making an ornament, but if you were too talented it was more polite to hide it.

These few examples show some ways that the Tribal ecotype determined tribal morality. Many more will appear in the course of these essays, but for now let's turn to the Agsoc ecotype. This ecotype is important, for it's the one from which modern people have to escape if we are to adapt to Scitech.

Somewhere along about six or eight thousand years ago people discovered that you could change Nature. Tribal peoples simply lived on what Nature provided naturally. But somehow some of them discovered that you could improve on Nature.

People took seeds of certain useful plants and planted them so they would provide food when and where the people wanted. Other people caught animals and herded them so they would be there to kill whenever the people wanted. No more wandering through the woods looking when you wanted plants or animals. No more "living off the fat of the land."

Thus was born agricultural society, the Agsoc ecotype.

At first, this seemed like a great idea. People could grow a lot more food than they could get by hunting and gathering, and the food supply was a lot more reliable too. No more famines when the game got scarce.

People no longer had to move around. The same area of land could support crops or herds year after year -- at least it could in the Nile valley and other river valleys, where the soil was replenished by floods -- so people could begin to build permanent houses. They also could begin to create and enjoy permanent possessions, things like furniture and pottery and works of art. Tribal peoples were very limited in such things because they had to be able to carry everything as they moved around in search of game.

Living in one place also meant that food could be stored. Huge graneries meant that people had another defense against famine.

For a brief while, humanity must have gone through a golden age. But there are many problems inherent in Agsoc, and these soon turned the golden age to leaden misery.

One main problem was that the population soared. Agsoc peoples apparently had no effective means of birth control. The population rapidly rose to take advantage of and then swamp the increased food supply. Before long, land was at a premium, and the threat of starvation returned.

Increased population brought many problems. Cities began, where no longer was it the case that everyone knew everyone else. Crimes like stealing and rape and swindling became possible. It's the same today. There isn't much crime in tiny towns, where everybody knows everybody and strangers stand out, but crime is rampant in the anonymity of the big city.

Crime led to the need for a strong central authority. Kings began. Presumably the old tribal chiefs became rulers of a city and then of many cities. Soon these rulers did not know everyone, and so they didn't have to consult everyone. They became more autocratic.

The rise of the ruler was also caused by the new concept of ownership. When people starting clearing land and plowing and planting and doing all the other work of farming, it became very important to them to receive the fruits of their labours themselves. The same was true of herding. So people began to think of themselves as owning land and herds privately.

The community was no longer paramount. It wasn't right for somebody else in the city to come and harvest your crops or kill your cattle and keep the food for himself, nor did you have any obligation to share with others. You'd done the work; they hadn't. You owned the results.

The concept of ownership caused great difficulties when white men dealt with American Indian tribes. The Indian tribes, when they signed treaties, probably just thought they were giving the whites the right to hunt and gather in their forests, as they themselves did. But the whites assumed that buying the land meant they could cut down the trees and farm the land and keep all the crops for themselves, thus destroying the Indians' lifestyle. The Indians must have felt betrayed, and probably they were betrayed, but to some extent it could have been a misunderstanding caused by differing notions of ownership.

Ownership led to problems in Agsoc as well. Unfortunately, it's in the nature of ownership that one person,or a few people, soon own everything. The reason is simple. If I own a couple of fields, and you only own one, I receive more wealth than you do, and my ownership increases faster than yours.

In Agsoc the King, along with a bunch of nobles, soon wind up owning most everything. This increases their distance from the people and their autocratic power.

With the rise of kings came war. Of course, Tribal peoples had war of a sort, raids on other tribes to steal horses or women. But the increased wealth of Agsoc made war much more attractive, and the increased population made it much more formidable. The King could gain huge wealth if he could attack other Kings' cities and steal their graneries and houses and wealth, and he could gain power and prestige as well. The common man suddenly found himself drafted.

Meanwhile, Agsoc had other serious problems. The number of diseases among Agsoc peoples increased rapidly. This was partly because of crowding due to increased population and the development of cities. Diseases spread easily when people are numerous and close together.

Living close to animals meant that people started to catch diseases from them, such as tuberculosis, originally a disease of cows. Rats, attracted by the graneries, brought plague. Animal wastes, as well as the wastes of crowded humans, got into the water, and diseases of polluted water, like dysentery, typhoid, and cholera, became a scourge.

Another problem with Agsoc was environment damage, especially the destruction of forests. People needed wood for fuel and building houses, and once they were settled permanently in the same place, they cut all the trees around and had to go farther and farther to find new ones.

Cutting down forests, as everyone knows today but they probably didn't realize then, can have serious consequences. You affect your water supply, and you can have floods and then droughts. You may even affect the local climate.

One of the mysteries of archeology is what happened to the Anasazi, the American Indian peoples who built quite elaborate cities in the shelter of cliffs in the American southwest. They were the only peoples to live a true Agsoc style of life in what is now the United States, but they abandoned their cities and disappeared in about 1150 AD.

What happened? We know that they destroyed the forests of the area, and tree-ring evidence suggests that they suffered two twenty-year droughts that made their lives impossible. Did they somehow bring on these droughts themselves by their lifestyle? When we moderns understand climate better, perhaps we'll be able to tell.

But it's certainly true for Agsoc in general that life tended to get harder and harder. Farming, once you depended on it, became a miserable existence. It's no fun, plowing in a hot field all day, following a horse's ass over the dusty ground -- and a lot of people didn't even have horses. Human labor was the only source of food, and the need for food became more and more desperate.

Farming was OK when you just had to toss a bunch of seeds on a fertile riverbank and watch them grow, but as the population soared, land became more and more expensive, and you had to use less and less attractive land, and you had to use irrigation, and haul fertilizers, and fight weeds, and the whole thing became more and more critical, because if you didn't get a full and rich crop the many hungry mouths made famine a real threat.

Life became miserable for most people. In fact, the conviction gradually grew that life for humans was inherently miserable. This was the source of religion, a subject which we will explore in detail in Essay V.

For now, it's only important to notice that the idea that human life is inherently miserable is an Agsoc idea. Tribal peoples never thought so. Life had its difficulties, but life was inherently wonderful for them. This is one of the aspects of Tribal life that is awakening the admiration and respect of modern people today.

Archeologists sometimes note with surprise how slowly agriculture spread after it was invented in the Middle East. It took thousands of years for the ecotype to spread through Europe. If you think of Agsoc as a big improvement, this is puzzling.

But in fact, Agsoc only spread when its population increase forced farmers to seek new land. They would then conquer neighbouring communities, and steal their land for farming. This business of farmers taking tribal lands continued right up through the nineteenth century, especially in America. The Indians constantly fought the whites, a clash of ecotypes, and always lost because the farmers were so much more numerous.

The same must have happened in Europe. The Tribal peoples, used to ranging the woods freely in search of game, would have felt nothing but scorn for the dirty cramped life of farmers. But when the farmers needed their land, the result was always the same. The farmers may not have been as healthy as the hunters, nor as trained in war, but they overwhelmed them with their more prolific genitals.

It was progress, of a sort. For we must not forget that Agsoc, for all its misery, was the source of many successes.

The cities brought buildings, for example, sometimes of great beauty, like temples and palaces, and sometimes of stupendous size, like the pyrimids.

Mathematics was developed, to keep track of crops and herds, and to measure the fields, and to design the buildings. Writing came with it. At first writing was used just to keep track of wealth, but before long people were using it for history and poetry and recording all sorts of useful ideas.

Art in many forms thrived in Agsoc -- sculpture, painting, plays, songs, and all the things that began to make humanity seem in its own small way a bit glorious. Though people were often miserable, and often very cruel, occasionally they managed to be noble and splendid.

But Agsoc had too many inherent miseries to last forever. Science and technology began, sometimes in an effort to cure the miseries of Agsoc. The Scitech way of life evolved.

People embraced Scitech as soon as it began. We can see that happening in the third world even today. People marched off their farms and into the factories as soon as those factories developed, first in England, then in the rest of Europe and the United States, and so on across the world today.

We know all about the ecotype of Scitech, for we live in it. Unfortunately, though we and peoples all over the world are embracing the technology of Scitech, we are much slower to adapt its morality.

We tend to think of the morality of Agsoc as being the only morality that ever is or was, because Agsoc existed for most of recorded history -- indeed writing, and hence recorded history, was a creation of Agsoc. But this is false. So-called "traditional morality" is merely an adaptation to the Agsoc ecotype.

We have to make new adaptations to the Scitech ecotype. But people find it hard to change their morality, partly because they don't see their morality as an adaptation. They see their morality as the only morality that ever is or was, brought down from the mountain, carved in tablets of stone. The result is that most people would rather die than change their outmoded ideas.

And many people have done just that. The next essay discusses three of the disasters of recent history that have been caused because people would not give up their outmoded Agsoc ideas. The disasters are not a pleasant topic, but we need to face them if we are fully to realize the importance of adapting to a new morality of Scitech. The disasters are what I call the Adaptive Agonies.

Only after them can we begin to discuss all the wonderful properties of our new Scitech morality.

SCITECH II: ADAPTIVE AGONIES

Science changes human morality. But sometimes the changes are difficult for people to accept. This nearly always leads to trouble, and sometimes to calamities, which may be called adaptive agonies.

We will consider three examples of adaptive agonies in this essay, an obvious one, a more subtle one, and a huge vast and complex one which is going on even today. We begin with a total disaster.

WORLD WAR I.

By all accounts World War I was a disaster, not only for the losers but for everyone in it. The number of French soldiers killed or wounded was equal to one tenth of the entire population of France. The number of German soldiers killed outright was equal to one twentieth of the entire population of Germany. Great Britain lost 20,000 young men killed on a single day, July 1, 1916, in the Battle of the Somme, plus 40,000 more wounded in that terrible day.

Worse still, the young men killed were often the best and brightest of their generation -- the natural leaders, the idealistic ones who volunteered and went out first. Millions of others were maimed or injured for life, and even those who were physically untouched were often demoralized by the horrible suffering of the trenches.

The economic cost was enormous, and standards of living all over Europe were much lower after the war. And the war was fought almost completely for nothing. Within 21 years the same countries were at each other's throats again, often fighting on the same battlefields.

Historians often wrangle over the causes of World War I, but really explain nothing. The assassination at Sarajevo, the Schlieffen Plan, mobilization and misunderstanding -- these were not causes, but symptoms.

The real cause of the war was an obsolete idea. The idea was, quite simply, that the way for a nation to be great was to beat up on its neighbours and steal their possessions.

This was an Agsoc idea. In Tribal times there was war, of course, but it was fairly limited, mostly raids to gain trophies like horses or women. In fact the main purpose of tribal skirmishes was often just to the men a chance to show how brave they were. War was thus filled with gamesmanship, as in the American Indian custom of counting coup.

Tribes are generally fairly closely tied to their land, so war in order to take over territory was rare, and only occured if population pressure or a natural disaster like drought forced people out of their lands.

With Agsoc, however, things changed. The vast populations which farming made possible led to a need for a central authority, and soon there was a ruling class with its own police force, which served as a standing army. The ruling class culminated in a King, and soon the business of the King was war.

Why? Well, for one thing, the King needed achievements to convince people he was worthy of his authority, and war was a quick and obvious way. For another, Kings tended to be bored egomaniacs, and war was an amusement for them, since they were often far back from those doing the killing and suffering.

The main reason, though, was that in Agsoc there was so much wealth to be gained by war. Agsoc cities had stores of food and treasure, and houses and castles and palaces, all there for the taking. There was rich land to be had, and women for the soldiers, and men and children to be slaves.

The King could take over city after city, nation after nation, and eventually create an empire. The whole history of Agsoc -- which, as we've said, is basically the whole written history of the human race, since Agsoc invented writing -- is a long chronicle of the rise and fall of empires.

All great civilizations are based on war -- that's a truism of history, and it is true for Agsoc. The great empires all started by beating up on their neighbours and stealing their property -- Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Rome, the Mongols, France, and England, to name just a few. The great empires all ended because someone else beat up on them.

In 1914 the English empire was the envy of the world, and all the European nations believed that the way to greatness was the traditional Agsoc way, by war.

To be sure, in 1914 people didn't put it quite that bluntly. In 1914 people talked about national honour and prestige, and said a nation had to be strong to be great, and believed that war developed character.

A sign of this was that the recently-revived Olympics were first organized in 1908 along national lines. The depressing litany of comparing countries based on their athletic results, which still continues today, began then. In sport as in battle, the fittest nation was the one with the best arms.

People believed in war. We can see that by looking at the vast armaments they built up. And when they looked at the deadly new weapons, they could easily have seen the disaster they were creating. Only, they didn't see it. It's not tempting, when you look at new weapons, to think about what your enemies, armed with those weapons, can do to you. Better to think about what those weapons will do to your enemies. People don't like to be realistic.

Of course some people, especially religious people, had been wringing their hands for centuries over the immorality of war, but no one paid much attention to them. Sure, people might give lip service to the idea that it was wrong to kill people, but everyone believed that war was the best way for a nation to become rich and great. Religious morality was unrealistic, and thus never worked. Only Scitech had the force to force us to change.

The last major war in Europe had been in Napoleon's day, when men fought with muzzle-loading rifles and cannons. Napoleon did succeed in making France rich and great through war, for awhile anyway. But by 1914 war had changed. Scitech had created many horrible new weaons, like high-power artillery, poison gas, barbed wire, and machine guns.

In Napoleon's day, people won wars by marching directly at the enemy's guns, which could only be fired about twice a minute. The machine guns of 1914 could fire four rounds a second, and the men who marched toward them did not reach their goal.

The strange thing was that men kept on fighting the same way. People ought to have seen that Scitech made a difference. Anyone who thought seriously for even half an hour about modern weapons ought to have sen that traditional war was impossible. Everyone ought to have understood, and to have changed their ideas about war immediately.

The funny thing is, nobody did. Everyone continued to talk about noble sacrifice and duty to country, and no one seemed to be able to stop this war which was costing everyone so much. People find it hard to change their ideas. In fact, most people would rather die than change their obsolete ideas.

And in World War I, lots of people did.

Even after the war, many people clung to their old Agsoc ideas. They believed that nations grow rich and strong by conquering other nations and taking all their property. This is exactly what England and France tried to do after World War I.

England and France believed that war had to have a glorious end, that it had to earn something for the victor, so at the Versailles peace conference they stripped Germany of its colonies and some of its territory, and imposed huge reparations payments.

The result was the economic chaos and social disorder that produced Hitler. In a sense the English and French created Hitler. The Germans resisted Hitler as long as they had a scrap of prosperity, but the Great Depression finished their resistance. The Americans also helped Hitler by not supporting the League of Nations, and by their greedy stock market speculation that led to the Depression. Everyone was responsible for this new and useless war.

For World War II was useless, despite what people may think. People love to cling to the idea that war is glorious, but what did World War II really achieve? Did we convince the Germans that democracy is better than totalitarian rule? They knew that already. They accepted Hitler because he seemed the only way out of the chaos that the victor nations had imposed on them.

If World War I and World War II had a purpose, it was to convince us that they were useless, that war with the weapons of modern science is too terrible to achieve anything. It's a lesson we could have learned more simply, by thinking. But most people would rather die than think.

Fortunately at the end of World War II we got the Marshall Plan, and it is to the everlasting credit of George Marshall and the United States that finally human behaviour got in line with the glaringly obvious. The United States gave huge sums of money to get Europe back on its feet again, and they gave that money not only to their allies but to their former enemies.

The result was that Germany and Japan not only became prosperous but also became two of America's strongest allies. The lesson is plain. The Scitech way, the only way that can work nowadays, is to make sure everyone is prosperous.

The English and French, after World War I, continued to arm themselves, and stoutly refused to let Germany rearm, in the idea that their national security depended on it. They were wrong. The only national security nowadays is for the other country to be just as secure.

This is especially true in the days of thermonuclear weapons. The other country, even if it's a relatively small country, can now inflict incalculable harm. The only security we have is to make sure they has no reason to.

There are some signs that we are learning this lesson. The developed nations are helping the undeveloped nations, even though it may mean painful competition somewhere down the line. The United States is even helping Russia, a little bit, now that times are tough there.

All over Britain and her former colonies are monuments to war inscribed with Kipling's words, "Lest We Forget." But what should we remember? Not the wars, but the change they have forced us to face. The lesson that we must not forget is that these men, whose names are inscribed on the sides of the monuments, died for nothing. They were sacrificed to an obsolete idea.

SLAVERY.

Another widespread idea that Scitech made obsolete was slavery.

For thousands of years slavery was a part of human history. The Greeks and Romans built their great civilizations with slave labour, and slavery was so much a part of life that Jesus never said a word against it.

Slavery was an Agsoc idea. Tribal societies are generally fairly democratic, probably because the tribe is small and everybody's lives are so intertwined. When tribes captured members of other tribes, they either killed them or adopted them as full-fledged members of the new tribe.

Agsoc, however, found slavery an ideal way to build the cities and temples and palaces that were needed to magnify the King. A main purpose of Agsoc war was to enslave rival populations and make one's own empire great.

Slavery among Europeans gradually died out in the Middle Ages, not because it was seen as wrong but merely because people bought their freedom. The nobility of the times were hopelessly careless spenders and were always strapped for cash.

But people still believed in slavery, nonetheless. Like Christopher Columbus. On his second voyage he brought back 500 natives whom he suggested be sold in Seville as slaves. Fortunately Queen Isabella vetoed the plan and returned the natives to Haiti, but hoards of other American Indians, especially in the Spanish colonies, were not so lucky.

When the Indians died out, black Africans were imported as slaves. Many great fortunes of the early American colonies were made in the slave trade. Even so progressive a group as the authors of the U. S. constitution accepted slavery, though with signs of reluctance.

For a great change was in the air. Suddenly, around the year 1800, slavery became a big issue. Britain abolished it, and then tried to abolish the slave trade in British ships. Other countries followed suit, and even Russia freed its serfs by 1861.

In America slavery became a terrible issue, and it dominated politics for thirty years, until finally it broke out in the terrible Civil War. Though some people point to other causes, slavery was the emotional issue that caused four years of bitter fighting and about half a million deaths.

What was really going on here? Why did an institution which had been accepted for several thousand years suddenly inflame such passions? Did people suddenly become more moral in the nineteenth century? Was this a spontaneous ignition of human progress?

In fact, no. Once again, the driving force in this great change in human morality was Scitech.

Scitech made slavery obsolete. The kind of work that humanity needed could no longer be done by slaves.

The Industrial Revolution started in Britain in the 1700's. Machines appeared, and factories, and new ways of powering factories too, such as water power and the steam engine. And that meant a new sort of worker was required. Slaves were no good anymore. You can't have a slave working in a factory. It's too easy for a slave to break a machine, for example just by dropping a spanner into it, which he can do easily without being discovered. Besides, slaves have to be kept ignorant, and ignorance is a natural enemy of machines.

In addition, human power just wasn't strong enough anymore. The steam engine made slave rowers obsolete, just as the steam train made slave bearers obsolete. Even the most ardent slave- master in the Old South would never have suggested that riverboats or railroad cars should be pushed along by slaves. On farms, the tractor and other machines soon had the same effect.

It's no accident that Britain, which was the first nation to experience the Industrial Revolution, was also the first to abolish slavery. It's no accident that it was the Northern states that abolished slavery, because that'w where the Industrial Revolution took root when it spread to America.

Unfortunately, Scitech had a different effect in the Southern states. Oddly enough, Scitech at first aided slavery. Cotton was not economic in the 1700's because it was so hard to remove the seeds from the cotton boll. But in 1793 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, which removed the seeds mechanically. Cotton became a valuable crop in the South, and cotton made slaves profitable.

It's a sad accident of history that Scitech produced the cotton gin without producing a cotton harvester at the same time. A provisional version of a cotton harvester was patented in 1850, but a really good economical machine was not created until the 1880's. So Scitech, which was making slavery obsolete everywhere else, supported slavery in the Old South.

Even so, the terrible suffering of the Civil War might have been avoided. Many Southerners were embarrassed by slavery and were not anxious to fight for it. If peace could have been kept somehow til Scitech made slavery obsolete, the Civil War need never have been fought.

But in 1861, by a minority vote, America elected a Bible-quoting, Puritanical president who was clearly against slavery. He launched an Agsoc attack on a problem that even then was working toward a Scitech solution, and so the war was on.

I realize that many people think of Abraham Lincoln as a great president, and of the presidents who preceded him, Polk and Buchanan, as mere nonentities. But Polk and Buchanan kept the peace, and Lincoln's election started the war. Perhaps, if America had found a few more Polks and Buchanans, Scitech could have been allowed to do its work, to finally find a way to change our ways.

It's hard to judge. There were four million black slaves in America, and they might have had to endure slavery for another ten or twenty years. It's inconceivable that slavery could have lasted much longer. Against this we have to balance the suffering of millions of white Americans, not to mention the blacks who fought with them.

Did the Civil War achieve anything? It did free the slaves, but left such bitterness in the South that the blacks were kept in humiliating subjection there for nearly a century. Even today it's an open question whether the blacks in America have reached the status of other citizens.

If Scitech had been recognized as the driving force of history, perhaps the people of 1861, like the people of 1914, could have avoided disaster. Much the same is true of the people of today.

POPULATION.

The most amazing change that we have failed to make since the Industrial Revolution is our failure to control population. In this we have made some of Scitech's greatest gifts to humanity into a source of evil.

The greatest achievements of Scitech are undoubtedly in medicine. People can argue that other Scitech inventions, like automobiles, rockets, or pesticides, have been mixed blessings. But hardly anyone would deny that the defeat of smallpox, diptheria, cholera, yellow fever, polio, and many other scourges, were great achievements for the good of people everywhere. Hardly anyone would stand in the way of scientists today who are striving to defeat heart disease, cancer, and AIDS.

Yet once again, people have not adapted their behaviour to Scitech advances. We have learned to control death but not birth, and we are headed toward disaster. People have allowed population to skyrocket out of control.

Population is making nearly all our modern problems worse. Pollution gets worse as population soars. Energy and resources diminish. Traffic gets worse. Housing costs rise. Animals become extinct through loss of habitat. Our national parks become more and more crowded. And hovering in the background, the Greenhouse threat increases.

And yet there is not a single government policy which is directed toward controlling population. Hardly anyone sees a family of three or more kids as immoral, but a family of three or more kids is like a gun pointed at the heart of society. Anyone who has lots of kids, especially kids they can't afford to raise properly, is diminishing our quality of life, just as much as if they had broken into our houses and stolen our goods.

Think of almost any country, and how much better off it would be if the population stopped rising. Imagine how great it would be if by some magical process population could be spirited away. Pollution recuded. Cheap land everywhere. Cheap houses. Less traffic. No more threats to national parks and endanged species. Oh, happy day. Room for everyone.

And yet the magical process is no mystery. Since people die eventually, population will drop, if only we learn to control our runaway genitals.

It's difficult to see why we allow this problem to go on. What do we gain from population increase? There are already more people that we can ever hope to meet, more cities than we can ever hope to explore, more movies, more football games, more everything than we can ever use. Population increase just makes each of us feel small, not to mention poor, and harassed.

It's even more difficult to understand when we think of what a burden children have become. Many of the things that children need, like housing, medical care, and education, have become more expensive in our complex modern world. We'll explore this aspect more in Essay V on The Family.

It's become a common picture: the young couple get married, have children, money becomes a problem, endless new expenses, the wife loses her looks, the husband loses his interest, desperately struggling, child care, no time together, the father sick of the burden, runs off, mother left in poverty with the kids -- and then the father starts it all over again with a younger woman!

The reason for this calamity of kids is obvious, the same reason as always: Agsoc values.

Agsoc wanted lots of kids. The King wanted kids for his armies and his taxes. The religious class wanted big congregations. Besides, kids on farms were not really a burden. They could help with the chores from a very early age, and so many of them died that population growth was slow. Indeed, in times like the Great Plague and the Hundred Years' War, population declined.

But now, Scitech has changed things, and we have to adapt.

To be sure, people are naturally jealous of their genital freedom. People like having kids, and that's fine, if they stop at two. The fact that kids are so expensive is making that happen even now. In fact, really sensible people tend not to have any kids, which means a few families of three or more is OK.

There's a lot of talk today about "family values." If "family values" means taking good care of kids, that's fine. But if it means expanding the population, that's not so good.

People who advocate any policy that causes the population to expand are destroying us with their old-fashioned morality. They're rather like the people in World War I who told the soldiers that they could win if they would only be brave and patriotic enough and charge straight at the machine-guns.

Scitech demands that we change our behaviour. But the changes happen slowly, because human beings hate changing their ideas, particularly obsolete ideas. They would much rather risk their lives. And we are risking our lives, and inviting disaster, when we fail to adapt our morality to fit the wonderful advances of Scitech.

SCITECH III: THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE

THE NEW WORLD OF SCITECH

Let's imagine that we're riding in a car down one of the many highways of our modern world. We're in an ordinary car, and we're going at a moderate speed, about 40 miles an hour. Nothing special about that, you might say.

Yet it's worth remembering that we're doing something that no one ever did throughout the entire history of humanity, until about a century and a half ago. Travelling 40 mph. Not much by modern standards. But no human being ever travelled so fast, in all of history, until Scitech began -- unless someone fell off a cliff, of course.

We human beings get used to things very quickly, and take things for granted. But it's worth thinking about all the things that no one ever did, in the whole history of humanity, until this century. It's worth remembering all the gifts Scitech has given us.

Until the era of Scitech, no one ever flew. No one ever heard a sound recording, or talked further than his voice could carry. No one ever had light at night, except from a fire, and of course no one ever saw that most entrancing of flickering nighttime flames, the TV screen.

No one knew anything about disease. People died of the simplest problems, like uncleaned cuts or unboiled water. People suffered for lack of iodine and died for lack of lemon juice. No one ever survived an attack of appendicitis, and surgery was almost unknown. There was no relief from toothache but extraction, and no relief from pain but opium.

Ordinary people live a life now which in previous centuries would have been the envy of kings. Have you ever enjoyed an iced drink in summer? That was a treat reserved for emperors in Roman times. Have you ever eaten an orange in winter? The Medieval kings in their splendour never did. Have you ever taken a hot shower? Even a century ago that was a treat reserved for rich people.

People sometimes complain today that life is difficult, that we have to work very hard to earn a life of few pleasures. But you can hardly say that if you look at history. We live a life surrounded by pleasures, and this has caused perhaps the greatest change which Scitech has made in human attitudes.

Scitech has made it possible for life to be agreeable for everyone, not just the privileged few. Pleasure, in fact, has become a ruling passion in our lives, the way getting to heaven was in the Middle Ages, or patriotic duty was for the Romans and for some Englishmen in the last century. I call this the Pleasure Principle.

THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE

The Pleasure Principle is perhaps Scitech's greatest gift to humanity. The greatest Scitech change in the way people behave, that is, in their morality, is that people today can live for pleasure, and they do. I don't say it's the only thing they live for, but it's important. It is, in fact, a firm basis of society.

The reason it's so important is that if people have pleasure in their lives, they are less likely to make trouble. Civilization today rests on the idea that ordinary life can be agreeable. When people find no pleasure in their lives, they are apt to turn to savage ideals, and cause no end of trouble.

The Vikings, crowded out of their homeland by overpopulation, terrorized and brutalized the civilized world. Devout but bored and poverty-stricken Christians surged across Europe to the Holy Land in the Crusades, causing an unholy chaos and slaughter wherever they went, and unhappy Christians continued to iburn and pillage Europe for centuries with their religious wars. The Germans, vindictively punished by the Great Powers after World War I, and impoverished by the Depression, turned to persecuting the Jews, and then made war on nearly everybody, as we've seen.

Even today, horrible fighting is common in non-Scitech areas of the world, like Africa and the Muslim countries. Wars have many causes, like nationalism and the macho idea that "war makes a man of you," but I often think that sheer lack of pleasure in people's lives is a mainspring. As the two murderers in Macbeth put it:

FIRST MURDERER: I am one, my liege, Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world Have so incensed that I am reckless what I do to spite the world.

SECOND MURDERER; And I another So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune, That I would set my life on any chance, To mend it or be rid on't.

Of course, we still have discontented people today, and with the help of Scitech they can make a disproportionate amount of trouble, like the Unibomber or mass killers or the people who blew up the government building in Oklahoma. But fortunately, many of us in the Scitech world can live fairly tranquil lives -- if we wish to. We can, and do, live according to the Pleasure Principle.

So this essay, and the nest one, discuss pleasure -- one of the great gifts of Scitech. Often it takes a bit of getting used to, the pleasure of life. We have to change our behaviour and our ideals.

But that's what Scitech always demands of us. That's what this whole series of essays is about: the changes we need to make in our attitudes because of Scitech. Surely getting used to a life of pleasure shouldn't be hard.

It is for some people though, because of the attitudes of the past. People find it hard to adapt to the Pleasure Principle because of attitudes learned in Agsoc.

PRINCIPLES OF AGSOC.

Let's review the attitudes essential to Agsoc, in order to imagine what life was like then. Agsoc societies introduced the following:

KINGS -- the strong man who was able to keep order in a society too large for everyone to know everyone else.

OWNERSHIP -- of fields, herds, and houses, which meant that those who owned got richer faster than those who didn't, accelerating the difference between rich and poor.

INHERITANCE -- the rich gave their property to their sons, and the king gave his political power to his sons, meaning it was vital for men to know who their sons were, hence marriage and chastity for women.

WAR -- the best and most practical way for kings to extend their power and the rich to own more was to beat up on neighbouring countries and steal all their property.

The history of the world -- which, as we said before, is basically the history of Agsoc, since Agsoc created writing -- is almost entirely about kings, ownership, inheritance, and war.

But what about common people? What was their life like? History doesn't say much about them, but we can easily imagine.

ORDINARY LIFE IN AGSOC.

The life of common people was pretty much the same, whether we are talking about peasants in ancient Egypt, or serfs in feudal Europe, or farmers in nineteenth-century America. Or common people in the third world today, for that matter.

The vast majority lived the miserable life of farmers. Indeed it was not til 1910 that the number of Americans living on farms went below 50% of the whole population.

Farmers work all day long, and most of the work is unpleasant: plowing, sowing, fertilizing, weeding, harvesting, threshing, and so on. It's hot work, out in the open sun, and hard work, even if you have an animal like a horse or mule to help. The fields are either muddy or dusty, and smelly too, considering what they used for fertilizer.

Without modern science, the yields were generally meagre, and the fields were generally too small too, because without birth control there were always too many people. Natural disasters like floods, drought, and bugs often cancelled all their labors. If they did have a good harvest there were always the taxes of their own king or the soldiers of a neighbouring king ready to take it away.

Disease was a problem, because of overpopulation, poor nutrition, the proximity of animals, and consequent contamination of the water supply. If you did get sick, or injured, there was almost no effective medical care to help you, though doctors did take away a lot of your money.

Pleasures were few. There were occasional feast days, with village games and religious ceremonies, but even these depended on a good harvest. You could have sex, and you could get drunk, but that was about it, and both could have serious consequences.

There were no movies, or television, or even books, for most people couldn't read. You couldn't go travelling, not for pleasure anyway, because it was so difficult -- our very word "travel" comes from the French "travail," which means hard work and suffering.

Because life was all hard work, with the constant threat of disease, life was generally short. This was especially true for women, because of the dangers of childbirth. Women's work was just as hard and tedious as the men's: cooking, washing, tending children, making clothes, etc.

PRINCIPLES OF AGSOC MORALITY.

Because life was like this for most people, the following principles of morality came to be accepted in Agsoc:

HARD WORK -- since common people had to work so hard, hard work was considered a virtue. This was enshrined in the concept of duty, which is basically a way of getting people to do things they don't want to. This virtue of hard work persists today in our notion that everybody ought to have a job, and that anybody who doesn't is somehow valueless, especially men. This make retirement upsetting for many men.

SUFFERING -- since life was full of suffering, suffering too was seen as a virtue. It had to be, for the sake of social stability. The Christian religion makes this especially important, as we shall see in Chapter VII.

SIN -- if we consider hard work and suffering to be virtues, the natural next step is to invent the concept of sin. In Christianity, all the pleasures were made into sins. Eating was called Gluttony, sex was called Lust, and not doing your duty was called Sloth. Even such innocent pleasures as singing and dancing were frowned upon.

PATRIOTISM -- since war was so important in Agsoc, the common man had to be encouraged to fight by the concept of patriotism, which like duty is basically a way of telling people that they had to do things they didn't want to. Patriotism meant paying taxes and training for the military and fighting, and for the women having lots of sons, and being considered a failure if they didn't.

These principles of Agsoc have made the transition to the Pleasure Principle of Scitech somewhat difficult for some people. Nowhere is this more evident than in matters of sex.

SEX.

Sex is one of the great battlefields of the transition from Agsoc morality to Scitech morality. Indeed, if you ask anyone my age (I'm a boomer) about the effects of science on morality, the very first thing they think about is sex.

In the days of our youth the pill and other contraceptives, along with medical advances like antibiotics and easy abortion, turned sexual morality on its head. Those were exciting times, when we thought anyone could make love with anyone, and generally did.

Of course, Scitech has had some setbacks since then, notably herpes and AIDS, and promiscuity has had to draw its breath a bit. But mostly the changes are still in place. It's worth looking back just to see how much has changed.

People my age and older can remember a world in which the very mention of sex was cause for embarrassment and laughter. People were not supposed to have sex at all unless they were married, especially if they were women. Masturbation was a perversion which could theoretically take you into an asylum, and homosexuality was a crime which could in fact take you into prison. And any attempt to prevent having an unwanted child, or to avoid catching a loathsome disease, was considered immoral and probably illegal.

To give some specific examples, anal intercourse was a crime in Great Britain punishable by life imprisonment until 1959, even if done between consenting adults, even if they were man and wife. Condoms were illegal in Connecticut, my home state, until the year I graduated from high school, 1962. Abortion was illegal in many areas of the U. S. even later, til the famous Supreme Court decision of Roe vs Wade in 1973.

This insane and self-destructive world was blown to smithereens by Scitech in the 1960's. Of course, other factors helped. The Vietnam War convinced most young people that the politicians in office were both crazy and intent on destroying our youth. From there it was only a step to realizing that Church authorities and givers of morality were equally crazy. People like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot seemed a lot more appealing as guides to morality.

Of course, we're using the word "morality" in the narrow sense here. For this series of essays the word "morality" generally means patterns of behaviour which lead to human happiness. But still, for many people, the word "morality" tends to mean sexual morality. Scitech requires us to change our morality in both senses of the word.

Why was Agsoc so restrictive about sex? Well, for one thing, as we've seen, Agsoc created the ideas of ownership and inheritance, and these concepts were vitally important to social stability. For another, promiscuity was a serious threat to Agsoc. They had no way to fight sexually-transmitted diseases, and they had only limited means to prevent or terminate unwanted pregnancies. A child without a father was a calamity in Agsoc.

The Agsoc answer was of course marriage. Sex had to be sanctioned by a legal contract. This was especially true for women, and thus began all the tedious fretting about virginity. A woman was horribly trapped, with calamitious penalties if she had sex before marriage or outside of it.

Women had this burden despite the fact that men constantly tried to seduce them into sex, either pre-marital or extra-marital, which are, of course, the two most delightful forms. Women were the victims of a double standard, and were considered either virtuous or whores.

This was unfortunately essential in a world where inheritance governed not only wealth but political power. Think of all the fuss about Henry VIII, for example, and his frantic efforts to get a legitimate male heir. The most important quality of a good king, one sometimes thinks, was properly working genitals. The politics of Europe, right up until the present century, were run along the lines of a stud farm.

One curious result of the marriage perplex was that children were regarded as non-sexual beings. They had to be, since children are not old enough to sign a legal contract, and thus they couldn't have marriage, and thus they couldn't have sex. Many people today still believe that children are not interested in sex til they become adults, an idea for which there is no evidence whatsoever. Even a casual observer of children will quickly see that the notion is ridiculous.

Our system of film and TV censorship is a good example of how people cling to the an old Agsoc notion. Sex is somehow supposed to be unnatural or bad for children, and a film or TV show can be categorized as being too sexy for children under 13 or 15 or 18. The result is that children under 13 or 15 or 18 are obsessed with getting to see such films, if they can.

Another curious result of the Agsoc fixation on marriage was that all forms of sex other than marital sex were regarded as crimes. This included prostitution, homosexuality, and masturbation. This is, and always has been, one of the most distressing aspects of Agsoc.

Because of the double standard, the punishment for prostitution landed on the women, who were not really the originators of the act and who were often victims of society. Homosexuals were also victims, if one accepts the idea that people are homosexual by birth or other factors beyond their control. Masturbation is the only one of these three "crimes" that might be practised by the male establishment of Agsoc, but of course, masturbation is a "crime" that is rarely caught.

The whole dreary panoply of sexual "crimes" in Agsoc doesn't end there. Practices within marriage which did not lead to pregnancy, like anal intercourse, cunnilingus, and fellatio, were also outlawed. Birth control was also strictly forbidden, and that great bastion of Agsoc mentality, the Catholic Church, still forbids it.

For sensible people all these sexual crimes seem ridiculous now, but a man my age still cannot laugh at them with quite the same ease as, say, laughing at the British royal family.

SCITECH SEX MORALITY.

Scitech has given us a whole new world of sexual morality. Though some of the changes are under attack, many are undoubtedly permanent. Sensible people no longer look down on masturbation or homosexuality, especially since sensible people have realized that population growth is such a serious problem. Public opinion is growing more tolerant of prostitutes, even giving them a new name, "sex workers."

Hardly anyone now would criticize a young couple for living together, and indeed any more virginal prelude to marriage would be regarded as reckless and foolish. Some people even question nowadays whether marriage is appropriate at all, for many people.

Sociobiologists claim that women naturally believe in marriage, because a pregnant woman in most periods of human history was relatively helpless, and needed a faithful husband to protect and feed her and her child. Any woman who was promiscuous, they argue, would not be likely to survive, and neither would her children. Thus any genes for promiscuity would soon die out.

This argument does not take in to account the Tribal ecotype, however. Women and children were protected and taken care of by their tribe in most of human history, not solely by their husband as in Agsoc. In our modern Scitech society, in any case, a woman can be completely promiscuous, and have a great time doing it, especially if she chooses not to have children. She can have men aplenty, and they will have many good times together, if she wants that.

So far, it seems that women are inclined to be monogamous, but that could just be the result of centuries of Agsoc rules. Under Agsoc, a woman was disgraced if she was promiscuous, and was considered a failure if she didn't have a husband and kids. It was a narrow world.

One of the great things about living into the 21st century will be to see how many women start taking control of their lives, and choosing how to live their lives sexually, and whether or not to have children. Will most women continue to want children, despite all the problems? And what about men?

The question is worth asking. Sex is potentially a source of great pleasure, but perhaps we can never realize most of the pleasure because of the limitations built into us. Only the future can tell.

Indeed, the future will show us about many human pleasures. Scitech has given us enormous potential to enjoy ourselves. Perhaps we won't. Perhaps we will be our own worst enemies, incapable of enjoying the Pleasure Principle. The issue is so serious that we shall make it the subject of the next essay.

SCITECH IV: DESPISING JOY

THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE (CONTINUED).

It's worth looking back sometimes and thinking about all the wonderful changes Scitech has showered upon us. The wonders have come so quickly that it helps us to understand why we humans are still not fully acclimatized.

There are still people alive, for example -- though they would have to be over 80 -- who can remember the impact that radio made when it arrived, and talking pictures. People over 60 can probably remember the first time they saw television, which hit humanity like a whirlwind. People over 40 can remember when VCRs arrived, not to mention home computers, pocket calculators, microwave ovens, automatic teller machines, and photocopiers. Even if you're only 20, you've already lived long enough to see startling innovations, like compact disks, digital video disks, computer-generated movies, and ever smaller mobile phones.

In one sense, people get used to such changes rapidly. Computer games that seemed amazing only a couple of years ago now seem awkward and simple. Many video buffs scarcely remember that once video cameras had to have a separate recorder attached to them by a cord. But in fact camcorders -- camera and recorder combined -- have only been around about 15 years. We quickly take new inventions for granted.

But in another sense people do not get used to scientific changes quickly. Some scientific changes require a change in our ways of thinking and behaving. These changes are harder. People cling to their old ways of behaviour. That is, their morality does not change.

Driving is a good example of this. You would think that having a car would be a delight. To be in control of a valuable machine which would take you anywhere you like, anytime you like, and which would require only minimal care in return, would seem to be a wondrous dream come true. It's the stuff of fairy tales of the past, like the marvelous wooden flying horse that would take you anywhere you like with the turning of a wooden pin, or like the flying carpets of the Arabian Nights.

But in fact, driving is yet another good example of the way we abuse, refuse, and misuse the pleasures of Scitech. People seem to be incapable of enjoying the wonders of our modern world.

In fact, when I drive in the country, it seems to me people must hate driving. They want to get it over with so quickly.

This urge to go fast produces a paradox of modern car ads. Generally the car is shown travelling through beautiful scenery: national parks, winding mountain roads, etc. Monument Valley is the cliched favourite. But the car is going so fast that the people inside coundn't possibly see the views, much less savour and enjoy them. They must be bouncing around inside the car like pieces of angry candy in a box. What can possibly be the appeal of that?

And in the city -- well, just watch the traffic sometimes. They sit fuming at a red light, racing their engines and tapping their hands on the wheel, and as soon as the light changes they go roaring off so they can get to the next red light as soon as possible. Then they slam on their brakes so they can sit fuming again.

It is possible, of course, to drive slowly toward red lights, enjoying the relaxed pace and the views of things you pass by. The light might even change by the time you get there, so you wouldn't have to stop at all. That is, it would be possible, only someone is sure to jerk out around you and race past, risking your life and his so he can be sure to reach the next light while it's red so he can sit there and curse you.

If people had learned how to adjust to Scitech, it might be possible to enjoy driving. It might be possible to drive at a leisurely pace everywhere, especially through the countryside, enjoying the fields and farms and forests and streams. Only, once again, Mr. Risk-Your-Life is ferreting behind you, flashing his lights and cursing the very thought of your ancestors.

People create their own reality. People think of driving as miserable, and their thoughts make it so. This is especially true in the city, but even spills over into the country. We could have attractive country roads, with roadside rests and lots of pleasant places to stop, and friendly people enjoying travel. Instead people dirve at high-pressure speeds, and take insane chances to pass, and when they have their inevitable accidents, they talk of "killer roads."

Then they build freeways, so called, I suppose, because they are free of all enjoyment. They free us of the joys of travel and substitute high-speed tedium.

People not only damage their pleasure, they even damage their own possessions. One of the rules of Scitech is that every machine will wear out quickly if used at the height of its capacities. Cars are no exception. Cars are the most expensive machines most people ever own, and you'd think they would want to treat them kindly.

But look at any roundabout. The road is grooved and potholed by the force of cars' wheels as they tear around the turn. And if the cars' wheels are doing this to the road, what mustthe road be doing to the wheels? The force and stress on the cars' steering, brakes, and suspensions must be terrific.

Sometime when you're driving, watch the road for awhile. Wherever there's a turn, or a stop at the foot of a hill, the pavement is torn up and twisted. What is that doing to our cars? What is it doing to our lives?

THE ADDICTION PRINCIPLE.

The other major Scitech miracle that people constantly misuse is television.

Yeah, we know, I can hear you saying. Here he goes. Every modern intellectual abuses television, and says what a wasteland it is.

Well, why should I be any different?

But in fact I am different. I think television is wonderful. Every time I watch it, I think what a miracle it is.

I even like the programs, most of them. I admit some of them have more appeal than others. I like documentaries and science programs. I like shows about reality, rather than things people try to make up. I understand how difficult it must be to make up new and interesting stories 24 hours a day.

But that's just my personal taste. I understand how other people can like very different programs: quiz shows, talk shows, situation comedies (which I call unlikely situation comedies), even soaps. Everybody needs fantasy sometimes.

But I emphasize the "sometimes." I think the problem is that we don't take advantage of the wonderful variety of our modern Scitech world. We haven't adapted to Scitech. As always, the result is misery.

People become addicted. They find a pleasure that they like, such as TV, and they keep turning to it again and again. They wear it out, and make it boring. The human mind, like the human body, develops tolerance for every drug; that is, the drug has less and less effect the more you take of it. TV is no exception.

People forget how many other interests there are in this wonderful modern world. Computer games, the Internet, and videos, for example. Or if you want to avoid the tube, there's reading, and games at home, and conversation, and going to the pub, and gambling machines. Backyard cooking, and crafts, and hobbies, if you want something a little more strenous. Or for the really strenuous, there's sports, hiking, climbing, sky diving, swimming, and thinking.

Some of these pleasures are from Scitech, and others have been around a long time. But Scitech has given us the time, and in some cases the wealth, that are necessary to enjoy them. No longer does the average person have to slave all the daylight hours away, and then sit home in the dark. No longer do we have to work all the time just to scrape together enough food to survive, with a little left over for the other necessities.

Scitech has given us a whole world of pleasures, and the time and money to enjoy them. But as always, we have to change our habits, our morality. We have to handle them properly.

The important thing is not to fixate on things. Just because something gives you joy, like smoking, doesn't mean you should do it all the time. People turn again and again to the same pleasure, choosing simple-mindedness rather than imagination. The result is they get addicted.

American Indians had tobacco, but never got addicted, because for them smoking was a ritual, something special. And because they smoked infrequently, smoking was special for them. Like any drug, including TV, tobacco has a much stronger effect if you use it infrequently. So by treating it as a ritual, the Indians made it more powerful, made it a sacred experience. A good example of creating one's own reality.

THE CHANCE OF HAPPINESS.

There's an old Chinese proverb which says:

If you want to be happy for three days, get married. If you want to be happy for a week, kill your pig and eat it. If you want to be happy all your life, learn to fish.

I think this is true. Not because I'm a fisherman; far from it. For me, the magic in this proverb is in one word. The magical word is "learn."

We don't put much emphasis in our society on learning about pleasure. We still stick to the old Agsoc ideals, and one of these was a suspicion of pleasure. Pleasure wasn't taught because in Agsoc it was generally regarded as an evil.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing Agsoc ideals in themselves. They were perfectly right for Agsoc times.

The farming techniques of agricultural societies, such as ancient Egypt, or the Middle Ages, or even nineteenth-century America, were hopelessly inefficient by Scitech standards. It took 50% or even 80% of all the people slaving on dirt farms just to grow enough food for everyone. Only a few nobles and clergy could devote themselves to anything else.

As we said in the last chapter, farming without machines is a miserable life. You break your back to clear, plow, sow, harrow, and harvest the land, and the yield without fertilizers or modern techniques is miserable. What's worse, half the time you lose your crop to bugs or flood or drought.

Under these Agsoc conditions, you have to teach people to be suspicious of pleasure. You have to teach them that life here on earth is a misery, and that virtue consists in accepting that misery patiently. Agsoc people would go mad if they didn't believe that. Indeed, they sometimes did.

If people have to be poor, you'd better teach them that it's virtuous to be poor. At least they can have virtue in their lives, if nothing else.

But Scitech has changed all that. Scitech has given us a world of incredible abundance. With Scitech, our stores are filled to overflowing with goods. With Scitech, we have so much food that our problem is overeating, not starvation.

All of our food is grown today by about 2% or 3% of the population, not 50% or 80% as in Agsoc times. The rest of us are free to work at other things. Many of us produce the fantastic range of goods available today. Others devote their lives to human services.

Teachers are a good example. In Agsoc days, there was so little wealth that there were hardly any teachers at all. The sons of nobility could have tutors, and sometimes priests would help a promising village boy by teaching him to read and write. Most people never learned to read or write at all, and they certainly didn't study mathematics or history or geography. Even the kings didn't always know how to write, like Charlemagne, though, being one of the greatest kings in history, he did manage to learn how to read.

Other human services are ust as abundant. Compared to Agsoc, we have an abundance today of doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and lawyers. Some people even think we have too many lawyers.

It's hard to imagine any goods or services that are not in abundant supply today. Of course, we work hard for them, but they worked hard in Agsoc days too, much harder than we do, probably. The abundance is due to Scitech.

We have so many goods and services we even need an industry to persuade us to buy them. The advertising industry grew up with Scitech, and never existed in the days of Agsoc. You don't have to beg people to buy food when they're starving.

What we don't have, curiously, is an advertising industry for pleasures. That is, we make very little effort to teach people about the joy of living.

In our schools, for example, we have classes in driver education, but how much time do we spend on teaching the joy of driving? The joy of travelling at a pleasant pace, and enjoying the scenes you pass by, and taking the time to stop in pleasant roadside rests.

Do we teach people the importance of having scenic, enjoyable roads, with lots of roadside rests? If so, we're not succeeding. Do we teach people the importance of designing our cities so driving is a pleasure, locating business and houses to avoid heart-rending commutes? I don't think so.

In our schools we also have courses in sex education, sometimes. But how many of these classes teach the enjoyment of sex? How many tell us the ways and means of truly pleasuring each other? How many tell us to go out and do homework on the subject?

And what about the other pleasures of life, like eating well, or hiking in national parks, or sport, or travelling, or creating beautiful surroundings? What about fishing? Do we teach ourselves the abundance of joys around us?

It's not surprising that people rely on manufactured pleasurss, and become addicted to whichever ones they happen to find they like. It's not surprising we're surrounded by unhappy addicts.

DRUGS.

Drugs are a fine example of the way we mishandle our modern world and spoil our pleasures. We mishandle drugs much the same way as we mishandle driving or TV. We don't achieve all the joys that they could offer in our lives.

Many people don't even think of drugs as a source of pleasure, because they're illegal. But obviously drugs are a real delight, since so many people risk so much to use them. Marijuana is used by a large section of our society for pleasure and relaxation. Stronger drugs are used by some for intense pleasure or spiritual values.

Drug-taking is a natural human activity. All societies have their various kinds of mind-altering activities. Some American Indians used peyote and tobacco and other plants for spiritual experiences. Others would fast or expose themselves to suffering for the same purpose, just as Christians once did in the days when Christianity was a spiritual religion.

Tribes all over the world, and even some Agsoc societies like Rome, had their Dionysiads and Saturnalias and rituals of transcendent delight. Even modern children love to spin themselves around or roll down hills to experience a new and whirling world in their minds.

Besides this, of course, there are the people who use drups as therapy, to relieve the pain of difficult lives. In this sense drugs are medicine, just as much as aspirin or penicillin.

Unfortunately, drugs run against the mindset of our times. Many people still cling to the old Agsoc idea that everyone has to work all the time and that being miserable is virtuous. Drugs offer so much pleasure, with so little effort, that many people have trouble accepting them. In this sense drugs are just like Scitech.

Scitech has added to the range of drugs. Of course, many drugs are natural. Tobacco, marijuana, peyote, and opium are natural plant products. Alcohol is easily made from several plants, and various forms of alcohol have been know to every society in the world. But Scitech gave us a new kind of alcohol, in the form of hard drinks like whiskey and rum, when distillation was developed in the 18th century. Heroin was developed from opium in 1898 by the same company that gave us aspirin the year before -- hence the similar endings to their names. Morphine and cocaine are also laboratory producets from plants. LSD and exstasy are laboratory products which are wholly the gift of chemistry.

All of these drugs except tobacco and alcohol are illegal today throughout the world. Why? Is it because drugs cause harm to others? Hardly. Most drugs cause people to withdraw into themselves and be completely harmless to others. Oddly enough, the only drug which sometimes causes people to become nasty and aggressive is alcohol, which is legal.

Is it because drug users are harmful to themselves? Well, they are sometimes. People grow thin and unhealthy and sometimes even die from drug use. The main reason is that drugs are illegal, and therefore expensive, so drug users have no money to spare on health care or even food. Also, since drugs are illegal, you never know how strong they are, or if they've been adulterated. Even penicillin and aspirin would be dangerous under circumstances like these.

But harm is also not the reason. Alcohol is harmful if used excessively. Tobacco is harmful even if used "properly." Purveyors of harm have our society's seal of approval.

Besides, we don't ban cars because they are harmful. We see cars as necessary and useful, but we don't see drugs this way. Pleasure and spiritual experiences are not seen as either necessary or useful in the mindset of our society.

Drugs are seen as unusually dangerous because they are seen as addictive, of course. As we've seen however, addiction is characteristic of people who don't learn about pleasures. Heroin is physically addictive if you use enough of it long enough, but people just have to learn that it's risky, and it's probably better to stick to non-addictive drugs like marijuana, LSD, exstasy, and (possibly) cocaine.

The people who do get addicted to heroin generally have such miserable lives they don't care what happens to them. That's a real problem for society, but it's not the real reason people support the drug laws. The kind of people who gsupport the drug laws generally don't give a damn about the miserable people at the bottom of society.

No, the real reason for the drug laws is different: drugs offend Agsoc morality. They offend the Agsoc notions that everybody has to work all the time, and that virtue involves being miserable.

There's a popular story in U. S. history about the very first settlers in Jamestown, led by Capt. John Smith. He admonished them that "Those who don't work, won't eat." It was a good idea for its time.

But today the idea is causing no end of trouble. As always when we fail to adapt to Scitech, the result is disaster.

Drug laws cause far more misery than the misery they seek to prevent. The drug laws have created a huge black market of drug sellers making enormous profits, and many enterprizing young people are drawn into it. Often they are killed in gang wars or in drug deals that go bad. Many wind up leading useless lives in prison, and costing the rest of us a fortune to keep them there.

The drug users also resort to crimes like burglary and credit card fraud and prostitution to pay the inflated prices which the drug laws cause. The drug laws also cause the drugs to be uncertain in dosage and content, which causes some drug users to wind up in hospitals, costing the rest of us another fortune.

The police are also turned toward crime by the drug laws. Policemen, after all, lead hard lives and get little pay. It's not surprising that the siren call of drug money reaches their ears too. After all, they have access to large quantities of drugs from drug seizures, and they know just who to sell the drugs to as well. And when they come on a roomful of drug money -- well, what would you do?

It's important to remember that drug crimes are different from any other kind of crime. In most crimes, like rape, burglary, and murder, there is one person committing the crime and someone else -- the victim -- who doesn't want it to happen. The police have natural allies in the victims and their friends.

But in drug crimes, both the seller and the buyer want the crime to happen. The police have no one on their side, except sometimes the neighbours, who are often too frightened to speak. The police often even have other policemen against them! And because of the harshness of the drug laws, both buyers and sellers can be quite dangerous if the police get near them.

To add to all this, drug crimes are unusual because they become more attractive when the police are successful. If the police make a drug haul, the prices of drugs rise because the supply is limited, so selling drugs becomes more profitable. Imagine if this were true of bank robbery! The more money was to be made, the more bank robbers were caught!

We've had sixty and more years of constant effort to enforce the drug laws, and thrown billions of dollars into the effort, and ruined countless lives, and put so many people in jail that the U. S. has by far the worst prison rate in the developed world, and the result of all our efforts is that people can buy any drugs they want, anytime they want, almost anywhere in America.

The people who support the drug war are rather like the man who was trying to cure his headache by hitting his head against the wall. It hadn't worked so far, he said, so he resolved to hit his head harder.

No amount of effort or misery is ever going to make the drug laws any more successful. It's hard to imagine any commodity more suited to smuggling and illegal distribution than drugs. Drugs are easy to conceal and a small quantity is worth a fortune. No amount of police surveillance is ever going to succeed, especially since some of the police will inevitably be on the side of the dealers. All we can possibly achieve with stronger measures is to ruin our civil liberties.

Even more importantly, the drug laws run counter to our times. The Agsoc age of slavish obedience is over. People are not going to give up their pleasures just because somebody tells them to. People today live by the Pleasure Principle. People deserve to -- they've waited throughout history for the chance.

We need to learn about drugs -- not ban them. We need to follow the sage advice of the old Chinese proverb. We need to learn about what drugs do, and what harm they may cause, through sensible observation. -- this is the Scitech way, It is pointless to follow the old Agsoc way of throwing up your arms in horror at pleasure.

After all, people are sensible. If some drugs are truly dangerous, people will tend to avoid them -- especially if they can turn to other, safer drugs. If some drugs truly are addictive, people will avoid those too.

The old Agsoc technique of trying to blind and terrify the people into obedience is neither sensible nor democratic -- and it won't work. It isn't working.

Agsoc mentality is causing nothing but misery, and will continue to do so, until the misery forces us to change. It's a pity that people find it so hard to make obvious changes. But as we said before, most people would rather die than give up their wrong ideas.

All across America, and all across the world, the drug laws are killing people and making people miserable, and it's all because we refuse to accept the wonderful life that Scitech is trying to give us.

SCITECH V: WHY ARE WE SO POOR?

THE IDEAL.

The year is 1800, and a new century is beginning. We're watching a young man cutting a field of hay. It's a job that people have been doing for 6000 years or more, and the way he's doing it has not changed much in all that time. The blade and design of his scythe may be a little better, but basically he's still doing the whole job by hand.

The amount of hay he can cut has also not changed. If he works hard he can probably harvest about an acre in a ten or twelve hour day. It's boring, back-breaking work, but people have always done it this way, and will continue to do so for another couple of generations.

Now let's jump forward to our own time, and look at another young man setting out to harvest hay. He climbs into the cab of a giant combine. There won't be any bending or stooping for him, and the cab is air-conditioned, and he can listen to music as he works. He'll work ten or twelve hours too, but he'll harvest over a hundred acres.

What a difference! The modern worker does 100 times as much work as the worker of two centuries ago, and he does it in more pleasant conditions. We owe it all to Scitech.

Scitech has done much the same for many other forms of work. The truck driver of today moves 10 times the weight of goods, and moves it 10 times faster, than the man with a cart of two centuries ago. Once again, a factor of 100. Similar increases apply to the clothing worker, the office worker, and many other productive people today. And of course, many people today produce goods which were not even possible two centuries ago: light bulbs, plastics, home appliances, electronic gear, and many other things we take for granted.

All this means we ought to be a lot richer than people of the past. If the productivity of jobs has gone up 100-fold, we ought to be living in a fairyland of wealth. But are we?

Or another way of looking at it is that we ought to be living in a fairyland of leisure. If the modern farm worker can finish his acre of hay in six minutes instead of twelve hours, why doesn't he just knock off for the rest of the day?

Of course, the machine has to be paid for, but even so, it would seem that the modern worker ought to be able to work a lot less than the young man of 1800. Most Scitech inventions were created to do work for people, after all. But do we work less hard?

And do we have more time? With all the "time-saving" gadgets of Scitech, it seems like we ought to have lots of time nowadays to enjoy the many amusements of Scitech, or to cook nice meals and enjoy them with our families, or to read about important aspects of modern life (like Scitech) and discuss them with our friends.

Do we have the leisure? Do we have the wealth?

THE REALITY.

Probably not. The picture painted by the media and by most books on the subject is very different. Most people are frantically busy. They don't live a life of leisure, and what little free time they do have is spent in mental emptiness, watching TV. They're too tired for anything else.

We're not wealthy either, despite the dramatic increases in productivity. Many people are in debt, and if they lose their jobs, or even get laid off for awhile, the result is disaster.

What has happened? Why has Scitech failed in its efforts to give us a life of leisure? Where has all the wealth gone? In short, why are we so poor?

Well, one answer is that we're not. One of the bad habits of human beings is that we quickly take good things for granted. We get used to our pleasures and forget how lucky we are. We are in fact a lot better off than people of the past.

It's well worth reminding ourselves of this, because it can make us feel better. Let's take a few minutes and look at a budget prepared in 1851 by Horace Greeley, the famous newspaper editor. It lists what he considered reasonable weekly expenses for an average American family of five.

The food budgeted for this family consists of a diet of flour, sugar, butter, milk, meat, potatoes, coffee, and tea. That's all. Most people today would consider this pretty bleak. There are no enjoyment foods like potato chips or soft drinks, and no prepared foods or restaurant meals at all. There are also no vegetables and fruits. Of course, the family might grow their own, but this reminds us there would have been no fresh vegetables or fruits at all in winter. All winter long.

The budget allots money for rent and clothing, but nothing for entertainment at all. There were no movies, music recordings, sports centres, or nightclubs in those days -- not even the humble television. There was also no money for transport -- evidently, if the family wanted to go anywhere, they walked. There were horses and carriages and a few railways in those days, but they were very expensive, so the pleasures of travel were almost unknown to ordinary people.

Pretty barren life, eh? And yet the main shock is still to come. The total expense of this budget is $10.37 per week, and that was about twice what a working man could earn in most jobs. A highly skilled worker like an engineer or machinist might earn this much, but for most people, even this bleak lifestyle was out of their reach.

People complain nowadays that both parents have to work to earn a decent standard of living -- but in 1851, even if the whole family worked, they could only achieve a barren life of boredom.

In the year 1851 Scitech was starting to take over from Agsoc. Most people still lived on farms, but many were migrating to factories. The standard of living was rising, and even on farms people were beginning to enter the age of machines.

If we go back farther, to the Middle Ages, when Agsoc was in full force, we find an even bleaker picture. A loaf of bread cost half a day's wages, and a shirt took a whole week's work. For most people, food cost 60 or 70 percent of their working time, and meagre clothing and housing cost all the rest. They lived a life of ignorance, hardship, and toil, with virtually no pleasures, except perhaps sex, with a bit of singing and dancing now and then. "And of course going to church, if church be considered a pleasure.

We live in a world of wonders, and we should take time out now and then to remind ourselves of the things we have -- the things Scitech has given us. The bright lights of cities simply didn't exist til around 1880. Home appliances that we take for granted -- vacuum cleaners, washing machines, hot water heaters, electric stoves, power tools -- did not exist before the twentieth century. Not to mention microwaves and home computers and video tape recorders, whose invention many of us can easily remember. And we can look forward to many even more remarkable inventions, like high-definition TV and computers we can talk to and a power lawn mower that really works.

It's worth remembering all these things. Still, it has to be admitted, people work hard today, and they often run out of money. It's still worth asking, why are we so poor?

EDUCATION.

Scitech has its price. One area in which Scitech has been a burden, as well as a blessing, is education.

In Agsoc, there was very little education, as we said in Essay 4. The kings and nobility might have tutors for their sons, and some learning might be promoted by the clergy, but otherwise, schooling was rare. Most people couldn't even read and write, even the nobility.

Obviously, this would not do for the Age of Scitech. To take part in today's complex world you need to go to school for many years, probably to the end of high school, and in many cases to university and beyond. And/or you need to find education in many other forms, from the media, from friends and job experiences, and from reading intelligent essays.

THIS IS A GOOD THING. Scitech demands education, but our lives are much better for complying with this demand.

The people of Agsoc lived in a terrible darkness. The common people were ignorant and credulous, and it was easy for the rulers to manipulate them, to make slaves of them, and to trick them into doing things that were completely against their own interest, like war.

Most of the rulers were no better off. They were ignorant, narrow-minded, and vain, and it's no surprise that they often made stupid and dangerous decisions in war, and wasted money and lived boring lives in peacetime. A few clever and educated rulers, like Marcus Aurelius and Charlemagne, managed to rise above the morass of stupidity and to do good for their people, but in general the history of Agsoc is a dismal catalogue of inept rulers committing disasterous folly.

But the price of education is money. The general public has to bear the cost of schools right through Year 12, and the cost is enormous, especially in a time of expanding population.

Universities are even more expensive, which is money well spent because they are powerhouses of Scitech progress. If the cost is borne by parents, it can be a well-nigh crushing burden, and in many cases the money has to be borrowed by the students themselves, which saddles them with a burden throughout their early working lives. Companies also have to bear a huge burden sometimes of education for their workers. In some cases this burden falls on the workers themselves, for example if they need to retrain for a new profession. In all these cases the education takes up a great deal of time.

Scitech has its demands. Our lives are much better for these demands, but they do suck up our wealth and time. An even better example of this is medicine.

MEDICINE.

As we said in Essay 2, the one area in which everyone recognizes that Scitech has been spectacularly successful is medicine. It is possible to argue that many other Scitech creations, like cars and plastics and rockets, have been mixed blessings, but hardly anyone would criticize medical advances like the elimination of bubonic plague and smallpox and polio and infections.

The triumph of medicine has also been quite recent. In the 1800's, doctors had few useful medicines, and many of the techniques they used were wrong. Surgery, such as it was, was performed without ether right up through the Civil War, with enormous cost in suffering and death. No one understood infection. The only effective pain killer was opium. Even aspirin wasn't developed until 1898, as we said in Essay 4, by the same company that developed heroin the next year -- a company nobly dedicated to relieving pain.

I once read that it wasn't til 1913 that your chances of surviving a sickness were better if you went to a doctor than if you just stayed home in bed. I don't know if that's really true, but the point is well made. Horace Greeley's budget allows nothing for health care. In his days, maybe that was a good idea.

The first person whose life was saved by penicillain, a young woman at Yale in 1940, is in fact still alive today. I myself can remember being forbidden by my mother from going to public swimming pools because of the terror of polio, which was triumphantly vanquished by Dr. Salk's vaccine in the mid-1950's.

Now we have a fantastic array of medical treatments and drugs. We take it as normal that children can grow up and live long lives, and we forget how recently we've gained that confidence. My mother's family, for example, lost two baby girls in the early years of this century, and such tragedies were regarded as normal. Now we consider it a tragically early death if a person dies at 50, or even 60.

Wonderful changes -- but they come at a cost. Complex drugs and hospitals full of amazing machines do not come cheap. Doctors have to train longer and longer, and charge us more and more. Health care is a terrible financial burden to us, whether paid by the government through taxes or by individuals through insurance. Many people in the U. S. cannot even afford insurance.

Naturally, this makes us feel poor. But we need to keep a sense of proportion in such feelings. After all, who wants to be a rich man in a cemetary?

HOUSING.

Another expense that swallows up the wealth of Scitech is housing. This is in dramatic contrast to the other two necessities, food and clothing. Scitech has made food and clothing very cheap, in contrast with the Middle Ages, as was said above. Then, food and clothing took basically all one's wealth, but now they can easily be purchased for a small fraction of one's income. (I speak, of course, of serviceable food and clothing, not high-fashion clothes or the food of deluxe restaurants.)

Horace Greeley's budget allows $3.00 for rent out of a total budget of $10.37, or about 30%. We don't do much better today. All of Scitech's advances in the building industry, such as new materials, new techniques of building, and labor-saving tools, haven't made housing any cheaper.

Why not? Well, for one thing, houses are much more complicated today. In Greeley's day, a house was just a wooden shell. Now, a house has many complicated internal features, like plumbing, wiring, insulation, central heating, and even air- conditioning as well. Our houses are much better, but such advances cost money.

The other reason housing is expensive is population, that great bugbear of modern times, a subject we've already considered in Essay 2.

The Paddington area of Sydney is an example of this. A hundred years ago, when the beautiful terrace houses of Paddington were built, it was a worker's suburb, more or less on the outskirts of the Sydney of the times. It's about a mile from Paddington to the centre of Sydney, so workers in those days could walk it in about 20 minutes, or take a tram.

Now, Paddington is a wealthy man's suburb. The homes have been restored and refinished with modern conveniences, and they sell for half a million dollars or more. Only the wealthy can live this close to the city. Ordinary workers now have to commute 10 or even 20 miles to work, and because of traffic it takes them at least an hour.

Population in the Age of Scitech does everything to make our lives more difficult. The U. S. adds a city the size of Boston to its population every year. Americans have to build that many houses, that many schools, that many roads, every year.

All of our problems are made worse by population: pollution, depletion of natural resources, crowding in our parks and beaches, crime in our cities, and competition in our jobs. Our failure to control population is perhaps our most spectacular failure to adapt to Scitech.

Scitech protects our lives with modern medicine, and makes food and clothing much cheaper, and gives us wonderful houses to live in, and the natural result is that everyone lives longer. If we don't control our genitals, this naturally means the population will soar. This is a burden for everyone.

Yet amazingly, some groups actually oppose controls on population. They oppose the development of birth control devices and the education of kids in their use. Most amazing of all, they oppose free access to abortion, forcing women to have babies they don't want.

Such groups, whatever their motives, are clearly promoting human misery. What more devastating way to ruin two lives than to make a woman have a child she doesn't want? What more perfect way to frustrate Scitech and burden our whole society that to promote population growth with unwanted children?

Scitech has little chance of being successful as long as people think their genitals are more important than their brains.

KIDS.

This series of essays is about the many ways in which Scitech has made our lives richer and better, and how it will continue to do so if we only adapt our behaviour -- that is, our morality -- to the changes of Scitech.

We've just gone over three areas -- education, medicine, and housing -- in which Scitech has made our lives much better, but also much more complicated and expensive. The striking thing is that all three of these areas are essential to raising children.

If you want to have kids, you'll need medical care when they're born and when they get sick. Even if they never get sick, you'll need to pay much more for medical insurance. Kids also require you to have a larger place to live, and you'll have to think about their demands for schooling too, and perhaps university education. The government will help with some of these expenses, like schooling and perhaps medical care, but there's no doubt that, for most people, having kids will probably swallow up most of their income.

In America, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, a child born to a family earning $60,000 a year will cost $11,000 in the first year of its life, and $350,000 by the time it reaches 18. Figure in college expenses and a kid will cost you $450,000.

Hence the truth of that familiar saying: If you can't afford a Rolls, you can't afford a kid. This is a major change of the Age of Scitech.

In the old days of Agsoc, right up to the nineteenth century, having kids was easy, especially on a farm. You just let them play in the mud til they were old enough to plow in the mud. In fact, kids were an asset on a farm. They could hoe vegetable gardens, milk cows, tend livestock, bring in wood and water, and do a thousand other chores. And there wasn't much that oculd happen to them either, as long as they kept out from under the horses' hooves and didn't fall down the well.

Agsoc made a virtue of large families. Parents wanted kids to look after them in their old age -- still a big factor in the population growth of third-world Agsoc countries like India. Education wasn't a problem either. Jobs for ignorant people were plentiful, either down home on the farm or away logging, sailing, or trading. If nothing else, kids could always be used for cannon fodder, and since Agsoc societies were generally at war, this meant large families were approved by society as well.

Nowadays, everything is different. Take child care, for example. Kids must be supervised constantly, for modern homes are full of wonderful features which are, unfortunately, dangerous to kids: home appliances, power tools, medications, electrical outlets -- the list goes on and on. Outside the home, the dangers of a Scitech world, especially cars, are even greater. The mother who has to get a job to pay for kids then has to pay for child-care services as well.

It's a challenge to have kids today, but on the whole this is a good thing. Population growth has many bad consequences, and it is fortunate that Scitech is making childification so difficult.

People in the Scitech world are starting to think twice about whether they want to have children. Even those who do love children, and cannot find happiness without them, are happily contenting themselves with one or two well raised, rather than many dragged up.

We live in a different world today, and it's a better world. Children deserve a better chance. The world in which they spent their lives slogging in the mud on a farm, or ran away at twelve to become ignorant loggers or sailors or cannon fodder, was a bad old world, and we are well rid of it.

A human being is valuable. A human being deserves good medical care, decent housing, and careful education. If children are getting more expensive, that's great. Children deserve it. We shouldn't have kids if we aren't prepared to give them every opportunity we can.

THE GOLDEN AGE.

There are other factors that continually frustrate the wealth of Scitech. War, for example, still costs a huge amount, as it always did in the days of Agsoc. Most of the armaments we spend so much on are, fortunately, never used, but they swallow up our wealth nonetheless.

Transport is another new aspect of life forced upon us by Scitech. In Scitech, very large quantities of goods are produced in one location, by a factory, and they have to be shipped to users of the goods living over a wide area. It's no accident that trains and roads and better ships were developed as the Age of Scitech began. Transport was necessary for factories to exist.

Centralized workplaces also gave rise to the phenomenon of the commuter. Just as goods had to be shipped out, workers had to be brought in, not only to factories but also to offices in large cities. Commuting has helped to make life a nightmare for many people under Scitech, though the blame should probably be shared by poor urban planning -- another example of a failure to adapt to Scitech.

All these example make Scitech seem, sometimes, like a frustrating source of misery. Sometimes our lives seem frantically busy and poor, trying to keep up with the costs that Scitech forces on us.

But we should never forget that Scitech, for all its problems, is helping us to live better lives. In fact, people today can live far better lives than they ever could before, especially if they think a bit, and plan, and adapt to Scitech.

We live in a Golden Age. We live lives today that could only have been a fantastic dream for people even just a century ago. And if Scitech is forcing us to change our morality, well, maybe that's a good thing too.

Maybe we have to give up some of our old notions, like spawning useless population across a burdened Earth. Maybe Scitech is turning us toward other things in life, like enjoying our beautiful world instead of exploiting and destroying it. Maybe Scitech is heading us toward a future that will be like a fantastic dream to us, just as our lives are a fantastic dream to the past.

We have a bright and wonderful future in the Age of Scitech. All we have to do is to change our old ideas and embrace it.

SCITECH VI: FRANKENSTEIN'S CHILDREN

 

A PROPHETIC PARTY.

The year is 1800, once again. A group of young English expatriates is touring France and has reached Chamonix, at the foot of Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. They've decided to spend the winter there, and to amuse themselves during the long winter nights, they decide to tell stories.

One of the young people is Lord Byron, the most famous poet of the times and a real celebrity. Another is Shelley, a poet whose work will one day come to be even more highly regarded than Byron's.

With Shelley is his wife Mary. She wasn't well known then and even now is not especially famous. But the story she invented that winter, and the creature at the heart of it, are far more well-known than any of the real people there.

She expanded her story into a novel, and the name of that novel is Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley's novel was an immediate success and a source of delicious terror all over the world. The monster has been seen in many movies, and the idea of a science somehow accidently creating a strange creature has been imitated again and again.

To be sure, the Frankenstein monster is more a figure of fun today than a real terror. But what gave him this tremendous power to frighten us, that endures in some ways even today?

We have only to look at Scitech to find the answer. Frankenstein is a symbol. a mythos of our times. The monster embodies the fear that Scitech will create some sort of device or process that will get out of control. Frankenstein is the fear that Scitech will destroy us.

THE BOMB.

Scitech has given us genuine reasons to think that it might someday go horribly out of control. The best example is the atomic bomb.

The atomic bomb has been used just twice, in the two explosions that ended the war with Japan. People are still debating whether it was right or wrong to use the bomb in those cases, but no one questions the horrible suffering the bombs caused.

It's well worth reminding ourselves how horrible nuclear war would be, especially since Scitech has given us hydrogen bombs of much greater power.

We have cities today of more than ten million people, like New York and Mexico City, and we have cities that stretch across forty miles and more, like Los Angeles and Cairo. It's worth remembering that any one of these cities could be completely destroyed, and everyone in it killed, by just four hydrogen bombs. These four bombs could easily be carried in a single airplane or missile. Thousands of these bombs exist today.

Fortunately, human beings have made a certain amount of progress with this terror. When the bombs were new, the bestseller lists fairly swarmed with novels of warning like On the Beach and Alas Babylon. Films and books about the dangers of nuclear war still occur occasionally, and the danger is ever at the back of everyone's mind.

As long as these terrible weapons exist, modern life will always have an accent of terror. But it's reassuring to one's faith in human nature, at least, that so far these monsters have not gotten out of control.

OTHER FRANKENSTEINS.

Scitech history is littered with other examples of monsters that threatened to get out of control. Nuclear power, for example, was a very promising technology that ultimately had to be rejected.

At first nuclear power seemed to offer a golden age, with electricity so cheap that we wouldn't even need to meter it, just as water is not metered in many areas. But scientists in their enthusiasm overlooked the fact that these plants create huge amounts of radioactivity, and radioactivity is insidious.

Radioactivity cannot be sensed in any way. You could have a bit of radioactive matter in the room with you, or even in your food, and you couldn't sense its radioactivity by sight, or sound, or taste, or touch, or anything. Yet it could burn you so badly that you would die a horrible death within hours. Even worse, perhaps, it could bring on cancer years later.

Scientists were helpless before a threat to the human psyche like that. It was quite useless for them to make safety claims, and talk about how minimal leaks were likely to be, especially since it was the small undetectable leaks that were likely to cause cancer years later.

The human psyche couldn't stand insidious risks like that, and perhaps it's just as well.

Other Scitech failures, that looked so promising at the start, and then proved to be so dangerous, are well known. Thalidomide was given to especting mothers in the early 1960's to help ease their pregnancy. Only after several thousand babies were born with missing or deformed arms and legs did doctors realize thalidomide was causing these birth defects.

DDT was spread across thousands of fields to kill insect pests, and produced huge crop yields. Unfortunately, DDT never breaks down, and is a cumulative poison, working its way up the food chain to the insect-eating birds, killing them and thus paradoxically making the insect plagues worse. Fortunately Rachel Carson brought out a beautiful book called Silent Spring which warned us of the dangers before it was too late.

The environment seems particularly prone to disasters under Scitech. Modern fertilizers and pesticides wash into the rivers and kill the fish. The fishing industry puts out nets which kill innocent species, like dolphins and turtles. Mines and factories spill pollutants which contaminate the landscape for miles around, and factories give off gases which kill trees for hundreds of miles around. Our world is demented with Frankenstein's children.

To be sure, Agsoc had its environmental disasters too. As the American West was opened up in the late 1800's, huge forests were cut down for their timber all across the headwaters of the Mississippi. The result was that rainwater, which once the trees held back, gushed out of the hills in wet seasons and caused huge floods all along the river.

Farmers on the Great Plains plowed the soil, breaking the cover the plains grasses had given and causing terrible erosion problems and eventually a dust bowl. The farmers went broke and the land was ruined, all for nothing.

Such Agsoc disasters have occurred throughout history. Petra, for example, is an amazing stone city carved out of the living rock in a canyon in Jordon. Once it was a great and powerful centre on the trade routes between Europe, Arabia, and the Orient. But the people cut down the trees for miles around, destroying their supplies of water and turning the land into a desert. The beautiful city, carved out of the rock with so much labor, had to be abandoned.

The Anasazi of the Colorado plateau in North America, as we mentioned in Essay l, did much the same thing to their environment. Cutting down the trees made a desert of their land, and the land remains a desert to this day.

We can see the same thing happening today all over the Agsoc areas of the Third World. The rainforests of Brazil, for example, are constantly being attacked by farmers, who cut down and burn the trees for the sake of a few years' farming til the soil is exhausted. Then the farmers move on, still poor, to devastate the rainforest still further.

THE ENVIRONMENT.

The destruction of the world's rainforests is just one of many threats to the environment of our world today. In fact, when we think of Scitech becoming a Frankenstein today, most of the possible disasters are environment.

Environmental pollution, for example, seems to be out of control in many areas. Toxic wastes in many areas, acid rain destroying the forests, agricultural runoffs killing fish in rivers and oceans, and air pollution in the cities are problems we hear of every day in the media.

A longer-term worry is energy. Scitech today depends on oil and coal, but these are limited resources which are gradually getting harder to find and thus more expensive. There is still lots of coal in the world, but it seems likely that oil shortages will begin to be serious in a decade or two.

Even more insidious and long-term is the greenhouse effect. The carbon dioxide given off by burning coal and oil, not to mention rainforests, is gradually increasing the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This makes the atmosphere better at trapping the sun's heat, and our planet like a greenhouse is gradually getting warmer.

Just as nobody knew where Frankenstein's monster would go or what he would do, so the greenhouse effect is unpredictable. One major effect of global warming will be to melt the polar ice-caps and thus raise the level of the oceans, but nobody knows how soon or how high. Since nearly all the world's large cities are on the seacoast, along with some densely populated river deltas such as the ones in Egypt and Bangladesh, any rise in sea levels could be serious.

The energy of hurricanes comes from the warmth of the sea -- that's why Carribean hurricanes are most common in September, at the end of summer. So if the temperature of the oceans rises, we can probably expect more and larger hurricanes. Rainfall patterns all over the world will be changed by global warming, but no one knows for sure just how.

Humanity, it seems, is in for an exciting time. But no one even knows that for sure. There may be counterbalancing effects. Plants thrive on warmth and carbon dioxide, for example, so perhaps they'll catch some of the carbon dioxide Scitech gives out. Or, if the air is warmer, there may be more clouds, which tend to reflect back sunlight and thus cool the earth. Nobody knows.

The sensible thing, of course, would be to cut back on coal and oil use. Quite aside from preventing the greenhouse effect, such measures would have many other benefits, such as cutting down on acid rain and air pollution, not to mention easing the global stress on having to depend on Arab oil. These benefits would make the changes worthwhile even if the greenhouse effect turned out to be false alarm.

We could, for example, turn to solar power for making electricity, and even, perhaps, for synthesizing auto fuel in some way. Solar energy is plentiful, especially in countries which are now desperately poor, for example in the Saraha and the tropics. It would be a happy way to balance the wealth of the world. The technical problems are not serious, though it would take a large investment in design and building. And there are many other possibilities, like wind power or maybe even controlled fusion power.

Unfortunately, humanity is not doing a very good job of coming to terms with this long-term impending problem. When a disaster is clear and immediate, like the Y2K threat, people can act and prevent it, but when it's as vague and unpredicable as the greenhouse effect, they don't seem to do so well. And, of course, there are vested interests to contend with, like the oil companies, who are hard to defeat because they own the U.S. Congress, and sometimes the Presidency too.

The greenhouse effect, like most environmental problems, is related to the population problem. More people means more cars using more oil, and more demand for electricity, most of which is made from coal. If we could solve the population problem, and cut down the world's numbers to, say, one-tenth what they are now, the environmental problems would become more manageable or disappear altogether.

PERSONAL SOLUTIONS.

Within limits, individuals can make their own adaptations to Scitech, and make their own lives immeasurably better. By now these essays should be making that plain.

The slave-holders of Essay 2, for example, could have done well for themselves by selling their slaves and finding a slave-free way of life, for example by starting a factory with the money. The young men of 1914 could have saved themselves a bad time by avoiding the military and going away somewhere safe, like America, which never had a draft. These decisions would not have solved slavery or World War I, but they would have saved the clever individuals anyway, who did the smart thing and adapted their lives to Scitech.

The same is true today. Anyone can live a much more prosperous life today by (for one thing) learning the lesson of Essay 5 and avoiding kids. Perhaps some people would feel that their lives are not fulfilled without offspring, but even these people can adapt to Scitech to some extent by having just one or two.

This is a particularly happy solution because, unlike the slave- holder who sold his slaves, or the young man who avoided war, the man or woman who controls his issue will in fact help the population problem. Such people will be doing the planet as well as themselves a favour.

Individuals can counter the greenhouse effect in other ways that help themselves as well. If you can control your urge for a gas-guzzling egomobile, you will save money as well as oil. If you can cut down on wasteful electricity use, you can save coal as well help the air. You can conserve paper and many other resources that will help the planet as well as giving you a better life.

Above all else, you will have the satisfaction of living well. The spenders and the wasters may well be more show-offey than you, but there is a quiet satisfaction in knowing that when you use things, you use them well.

The whole point of these essays is to remind ourselves what a magical world we live in, and that much of that magic comes from the understanding of Scitech. We owe it to ourselves to use this world well, and to care for it, because it is such a magical place. We owe it to ourselves to adapt and be aware of Scitech.

The people who misuse and do not appreciate our world are boring people, too close-minded and foolish to see the wonder all around them. They waste and misuse because they are foolish, for example by needing a huge and overbearing car because they have no real understanding of what a magical thing a car simply is.

They make themselves addictions, and lead dull lives, because they cannot see the magic and variety all around them. Such people are miserable, because they cannot change. As we said before, when people fail to adapt to Scitech, the result is generally calamity.

Individuals can improve their lives, and be much more prosperous and happy, by adapting to Scitech. In the case of population, they will also be helping solve the problem. Unfortunately, there are limits.

We only have one atmosphere, just as we only have one planet. If the majority of people go on causing population, pollution, and the greenhouse effect, the results will affect all of us, even the ones who have adapted to Scitech and behaved wisely. As we've said several time, most people would rather die than change their wrong ideas. It seems like the greenhouse effect is on its way.

No one knows just how bad the greenhouse effect will be, but it seems likely that the world is in for a bumpy ride. We are all on a roller-coaster, and we cannot get off. The most individuals can do is make their lives better in some ways for awhile.

There's satisfaction in that, of course, just as there is always satisfaction in living well. But sooner or later, other people -- and there are more and more of these -- are likely to impend. The world's ever-expanding population seem mostly dedicated to making a Frankenstein of Scitech.

SCITECH VII: FAMILY VALUES

 

A MODERN PUZZLE.

In many areas, the changes in morality demanded by Scitech are obvious. For example, the morality of slavery, which was universally accepted in Agsoc, is now reversed. Slavery is now regarded as immoral, and universal freedom and equality for all humans are the rule.

Similarly for war. We learned in the 20th century that beating up on your neighbours and stealing all their goods is no longer a practical way to make your own country rich and powerful. Accordingly, war is now seen as immoral, which it never really was in Agsoc, where soldiers and warrior kings were glorified. Peaceful negociation is now seen as the ideal, and aggression is the evil.

Similarly for sex. Gradually we're discarding the old Agsoc strictures on sex, such as the double standard for women and the persecution of homosexuals. Sexual morality is heading toward an ideal in which any non-hurtful activity is acceptable, at least between consenting adults.

In the area of the family, however, the changes are not so clear. Scitech has done much to attack the family as a social or moral unit, but it has not yet provided anything to take its place. This is the cause of many social problems today.

The attack of Scitech on the family comes in two areas. The first, as we have already seen, is children. Having children is a much more expensive and complicated business under Scitech than it ever was in the Agsoc or tribal ecotypes. Young adults who blithly engender suddenly find their lives assaulted with a whole host of problems and demands. Indeed, their whole lives are swallowed up by the demands of kids. As the saying goes: these days, you can have kids, or you can do everything else in life.

The other attack of Scitech on the family comes in the area of personal freedom. Scitech has made it possible for most people to live interesting and independent lives. Women as well as men can have worthwhile careers, can own their own homes and cars, can travel to interesting places, and so on. This is great, but it puts a lot of pressure on a relationship.

In Agsoc days, most men were stuck on a farm or in a craft, and rarely left their home area. It was easier for a man to stay with one woman in those days, and the women, of course, were supposed to be totally subservient. Tribal society was just as easy. People rarely left their tribe, and everyone's role was clear within the tribe.

Most modern family problems come from one of these two areas. Relationships are under considerable stress nowadays because both members of the couple consider themselves, quite properly, to be free and independent, and thus they are dragged apart by different jobs, different interests, different friends, different ideas about where and how to live.

Once the family has children, the stress becomes even greater. The couple suddenly finds itself with a lot more work to do, and the financial pressures are enormous.

The Scitech ideal of personal freedom also puts another curious stress on the family because it has changed our ideas of how to raise kids, or rather, left us with all sorts of different ideas. Should kids also be seen as free and independent? What sort of obedience should parents expect, and what sort of guidance should they provide? How, in short, does one go about raising kids properly? Our society has many answers and no real answer.

In the area of the family, Scitech has destroyed the old morality, but has not provided any clear new morality. What answers can we find? At this point perhaps we should go back and see what answers tribal societies and Agsoc provided.

FAMILY HISTORY.

Every tribal society ever studied by anthropologists has had some form of marriage. In this sense marriage and the family have to be seen as natural human institutions.

But marriage in tribal societies takes many forms. Many tribal societies are matriarchal. The important aspects of a child's life, like his or her clan, are determined by his mother, not his father. In the raising of boys, the most important person may be his mother's brother rather than his father. Some tribes are so matriarchal that important decisions are made by women, such as whether to go to war with another tribe.

The seriousness of marriage varies widely too. The people of some tribes mate for life, while in other tribes, divorce may be common. Among the Waranachi, for example, when a man marries a woman he simply moves into her tipi, and when she's tired of him, she can divorce him simply by throwing his possessions out the door.

The most important factor in tribal family life is that in tribes, the raising of children is really a tribal matter. The family is involved, but it is not crucial. The tribe will take care of the children, and see that they are raised properly, no matter what the parents do, or what happens to them.

So in tribal society, the family is not such an important unit. There isn't a lot of pressure on the family, and it doesn't matter much if the family sticks together. Given the difficulty of men and women getting along together, this was a very happy situation. But Agsoc changed everything.

Several factors of Agsoc made the family into the most important social institution. Marriage became vital, and the endurance of marriage was essential. For children, the most important thing in their lives was the family they were born into.

The first factor was the enormous rise in population which came about because Agsoc made food supplies so much more abundant. Cities grew up, as we said in Essay 1, and the nation, not the tribe, became the overall social unit.

In the course of this population explosion the old coherence of the tribe disappeared. Suddenly children without parents were a problem. The tribe was no longer there to take care of them. So it was important that the family unit, the mother and father, stay together. If the parents should die, the extended family had to rally around and take care of the children.

The second factor was that Agsoc was generally patriarchal. Men took over all the important jobs when agriculture came in. Farming was woman's work in its earliest days, when tribes farmed in a small way along river margins and such, but large-scale farming became man's work, probably because it was so demanding. Physical strength is important in clearing a field or pushing a plow.

As we've seen, war became important when Agsoc came in, so soldiering became another important male profession. All the rulers in Agsoc were male, especially the King, who was generally the war leader. Matriarchy disappeared. Political power went to the males, and it was generally inherited.

Inheritance was the third factor which made the family vital in Agsoc. Onwership became important in Agsoc because there were so many things to own: fields, herds, houses, stored foods, furniture, works of art, jewelry, and accumulated wealth of all kinds. Tribes didn't have much of this because they could only own what they could carry around.

In Agsoc there were lots of goods to inherit, as well as political power. Since Agsoc was patriarchal, the goods and power went from fathers to sons. In Agsoc, the most important thing about your life was who your father was, plus other relatives. This persisted right down to the last century, and still persists to the present day in some respects.

The family was therefore vital. The family had to stay together. To be disloyal to a member of your family was the ultimate sin. The people you could turn to, the only ones you could really depend on, were your family.

Furthermore, since inheritance was so important, it was vital for men to know who their children were. The only way for them to be sure about this was for them to demand total "faithfulness" from their wives. Adultery, in Agsoc, became a dreadful sin, for women.

Thus began the whole dreary business of the double standard for women, and the obsessive fixation on virginity before marriage. Women had to be trained to avoid sex, and to permit it only with their husbands. Anything else was too threatening to the laws of patriarchal inheritance.

If women were allowed to have sex before marriage, the result might be a child without a legal father. This was a calamity in Agsoc, for there would be no one to pay for the child (men had all the money), and the child would have no inheritance, which meant no role or station in life. If women were allowed to have sex outside marriage, a father might wind up paying for and giving his station in life to someone else's child. This was the essence of Family Values.

FAMILY VALUES.

Agsoc was around for so long that most people came to accept these conditions as somehow natural for human beings. People forgot that humans lived in the tribal ecotype for nearly all of their biological history.

Sociobiologists, for example, support the idea that women are "naturally" more interested in permanent relationships than men are. They point out that a woman is relatively helpless during pregnancy and while raising small children, and assert that she needed a permanent man around to provide food, protection, etc. Hence women, even today, inherently want "commitment" from a man.

But this is plainly nonsense. In tribal societies the children are cared for by the tribe. It doesn't matter much who their father is. Food is shared by the whole tribe, on a traditional basis. Clothing and shelter are made for everyone by various people, through traditional tribal roles. The tribe itself is the defensive unit that protects children and their mothers. Women have no need of a permanent husband to provide for their children in any way.

Women's need for a husband is really only a factor of Agsoc life, not tribal. If women today have a preference for permanent relationships, this is something they have learned, not something in their genes. Even today it is drummed into women, by magazines and films, that their only happiness is through a permanent relationship, and so the old idea persists. But the sociobiologists are chasing a will o' the wisp.

The Church also preaches Agsoc family ideas as if they were natural. Jesus, despite his advanced ideas about some aspects of morality (such as war), railled frequently against promiscuity and especially against adultery, as well he might, considering how confused his own parentage was. His exact relationship to Joseph is as bewildering as his mother's exact sexual relationships. One thing certain is that Jesus was considered to be the hotshot he was because of Who his father was. That's definitely an Agsoc notion.

Political conservatives -- those who stick to Agsoc notions -- also like to consider Family Values as natural. In America, interestingly enough, such groups often are centred in areas where farming is predominant, like the Middle West and the South. Modern farming is really an aspect of Scitech, with its huge machines and engineered seeds and fertilizers and pesticides, but somehow there's enough of the old spirit of farming in these areas to make the people cling to old values.

For these people, the pattern of life is clear. A young man and woman meet and marry and have children. The marriage is for life, and the children are raised solely by their parents, who provide all their guidance and values. When the children grow up, they go off and do it all again. The family is always the most important factor in their lives.

This pattern ignores the fact that for most of human existence, human existence has been tribal, which means communal. It also ignores the assaults that Scitech's new values, like equality and education and the richness and variety of life, are making on the rather boring world of Family Values.

But what other pattern does Scitech offer? As we said, that's still in the process of evolving -- still not clear.

SCITECH POSSIBILITIES.

One way that we have of handling children in modern times is to send them to school. The school, as we've seen, is a Scitech creation. Children need education in order to function in a Scitech society, and it's a happy extra that the school can also look after them and raise them.

This combination works so well that schooling seems to be expanding in our world. Day-care centres now look after children from very early infancy, and also after school. A modern child may easily spend almost all its time, from morning to night every day, in some sort of school. And then its vacations in other group institutions like camps.

In effect, this is communal child care, much like the tribal ecotype. The parents live mostly in the background of children's lives, as they probably did in tribal times.

The question, of course, is whether children can get along with this alone. Do children need the individual care of their parents? Is there any way parents could be brought into the life of the schools? This has been tried, but hasn't worked out very well, partly because most parents are too busy with jobs.

Schools are also not very attractive to many kids, particularly as the kids get older. This is because schools in our society have another function in addition to their educative function. We can call this their judgmental function: schools are used by our society to sort out the "bright" kids from the others, and thus to decide who's going to get the desirable jobs. This is why schools have to give grades, and, naturally, why many kids hate them.

Communal raising of kids was also attempted in various communes of the 1960's and since. This was in fact one of the big advantages of living in communes: children found it a great environment to grow up in, as many of them, now grown up, will assure you today.

Unfortunately, communes don't work very well in most other ways. People today have very strong ideas of ownership, which we got from Agsoc, and also of individual independence, which we got from Scitech. Communes, which are basically an attempt to return to the tribal ecotype, just don't work very well.

Communal raising of children still keeps appearing, though. Groups of mothers, especially single mothers, will often band together to share child-minding. This is better than nothing, but it's not exactly a Scitech ideal.

Another modern ideal, which is a curious survivor from the Agsoc era, is the Romance ideal. This is the idea that, if a young person can only find the right romantic partner, a whole lifelong world of happiness will magically open up. It's an ideal that provides virtually the sole subject matter for popular music and which is a domineering element in nearly all feature films.

In Agsoc the Romance ideal was used as the foundation for Family Values. Romance was the spark that ignited the marriage and was the glue that held it together for life. The curiously mixed metaphor of that sentence shows why the Romance ideal often didn't work.

In fact, if there were a brand of automobile that failed and led to disaster as often as the Romance ideal does, it would be banned from the roads.

We cling to the Romance ideal for a good reason: sexual magic does in fact provide the most powerful and wonderful experience most of us will ever have. And every once in awhile, with certain lucky couples, the Romance ideal does work, and they stay together happy all their lives. But the Romance ideal also often fails, for the same reason that Family Values don't work: Scitech has arrayed too many forces against it.

The opposite of the Romance ideal might be called the Promiscuity ideal: the notion that the way to be happy is to have lots of different sexual partners as often as possible. Or at least, to have a series of partners for various lengths of time, which we might call the Promiscuity Romance ideal.

The Promiscuity ideal was prominent in the heady days of the sexual revolution of the 1960's and 1970's, and there are still many people who believe in it, especially men. Homosexual clubs vibrate with this ideal sometimes, as do swingers' clubs. But sexually-transmitted diseases have scared this ideal a bit, and large numbers of people who've been raised in broken marriages are repelled by it.

Scitech seems to have left us with a variety of ways to deal with sex and the family. The Family Values pattern has been abandoned by most but not all. The Romance and Promiscuity ideals are scattered here and there. Raising of kids is done in a smorgasboard of ways including schools and communal groups and lone parents and a few rare traditional families.

The future may see a new Scitech ideal arise, but I don't think so. The most compelling characteristic of Scitech is the variety of life that it creates. Sex and the family will go on breaking up into different currents and directions, some of them not so successful perhaps, but others much better than the old Agsoc ways. We can only comfort ourselves the the knowledge that, amidst the uncertainty and occasional disaster, our Scitech future will be always be vibrant and exciting.

 

SCITECH VIII: A MODERN PUZZLE

 

A MODERN PUZZLE.

In many areas, the changes in morality demanded by Scitech are obvious. For example, the morality of slavery, which was universally accepted in Agsoc, is now reversed. Slavery is now regarded as immoral, and universal freedom and equality for all humans are the rule.

Similarly for war. We learned in the 20th century that beating up on your neighbours and stealing all their goods is no longer a practical way to make your own country rich and powerful. Accordingly, war is now seen as immoral, which it never really was in Agsoc, where soldiers and warrior kings were glorified. Peaceful negociation is now seen as the ideal, and aggression is the evil.

Similarly for sex. Gradually we're discarding the old Agsoc strictures on sex, such as the double standard for women and the persecution of homosexuals. Sexual morality is heading toward an ideal in which any non-hurtful activity is acceptable, at least between consenting adults.

In the area of the family, however, the changes are not so clear. Scitech has done much to attack the family as a social or moral unit, but it has not yet provided anything to take its place. This is the cause of many social problems today.

The attack of Scitech on the family comes in two areas. The first, as we have already seen, is children. Having children is a much more expensive and complicated business under Scitech than it ever was in the Agsoc or tribal ecotypes. Young adults who blithly engender suddenly find their lives assaulted with a whole host of problems and demands. Indeed, their whole lives are swallowed up by the demands of kids. As the saying goes: these days, you can have kids, or you can do everything else in life.

The other attack of Scitech on the family comes in the area of personal freedom. Scitech has made it possible for most people to live interesting and independent lives. Women as well as men can have worthwhile careers, can own their own homes and cars, can travel to interesting places, and so on. This is great, but it puts a lot of pressure on a relationship.

In Agsoc days, most men were stuck on a farm or in a craft, and rarely left their home area. It was easier for a man to stay with one woman in those days, and the women, of course, were supposed to be totally subservient. Tribal society was just as easy. People rarely left their tribe, and everyone's role was clear within the tribe.

Most modern family problems come from one of these two areas. Relationships are under considerable stress nowadays because both members of the couple consider themselves, quite properly, to be free and independent, and thus they are dragged apart by different jobs, different interests, different friends, different ideas about where and how to live.

Once the family has children, the stress becomes even greater. The couple suddenly finds itself with a lot more work to do, and the financial pressures are enormous.

The Scitech ideal of personal freedom also puts another curious stress on the family because it has changed our ideas of how to raise kids, or rather, left us with all sorts of different ideas. Should kids also be seen as free and independent? What sort of obedience should parents expect, and what sort of guidance should they provide? How, in short, does one go about raising kids properly? Our society has many answers and no real answer.

In the area of the family, Scitech has destroyed the old morality, but has not provided any clear new morality. What answers can we find? At this point perhaps we should go back and see what answers tribal societies and Agsoc provided.

FAMILY HISTORY.

Every tribal society ever studied by anthropologists has had some form of marriage. In this sense marriage and the family have to be seen as natural human institutions.

But marriage in tribal societies takes many forms. Many tribal societies are matriarchal. The important aspects of a child's life, like his or her clan, are determined by his mother, not his father. In the raising of boys, the most important person may be his mother's brother rather than his father. Some tribes are so matriarchal that important decisions are made by women, such as whether to go to war with another tribe.

The seriousness of marriage varies widely too. The people of some tribes mate for life, while in other tribes, divorce may be common. Among the Waranachi, for example, when a man marries a woman he simply moves into her tipi, and when she's tired of him, she can divorce him simply by throwing his possessions out the door.

The most important factor in tribal family life is that in tribes, the raising of children is really a tribal matter. The family is involved, but it is not crucial. The tribe will take care of the children, and see that they are raised properly, no matter what the parents do, or what happens to them.

So in tribal society, the family is not such an important unit. There isn't a lot of pressure on the family, and it doesn't matter much if the family sticks together. Given the difficulty of men and women getting along together, this was a very happy situation. But Agsoc changed everything.

Several factors of Agsoc made the family into the most important social institution. Marriage became vital, and the endurance of marriage was essential. For children, the most important thing in their lives was the family they were born into.

The first factor was the enormous rise in population which came about because Agsoc made food supplies so much more abundant. Cities grew up, as we said in Essay 1, and the nation, not the tribe, became the overall social unit.

In the course of this population explosion the old coherence of the tribe disappeared. Suddenly children without parents were a problem. The tribe was no longer there to take care of them. So it was important that the family unit, the mother and father, stay together. If the parents should die, the extended family had to rally around and take care of the children.

The second factor was that Agsoc was generally patriarchal. Men took over all the important jobs when agriculture came in. Farming was woman's work in its earliest days, when tribes farmed in a small way along river margins and such, but large-scale farming became man's work, probably because it was so demanding. Physical strength is important in clearing a field or pushing a plow.

As we've seen, war became important when Agsoc came in, so soldiering became another important male profession. All the rulers in Agsoc were male, especially the King, who was generally the war leader. Matriarchy disappeared. Political power went to the males, and it was generally inherited.

Inheritance was the third factor which made the family vital in Agsoc. Onwership became important in Agsoc because there were so many things to own: fields, herds, houses, stored foods, furniture, works of art, jewelry, and accumulated wealth of all kinds. Tribes didn't have much of this because they could only own what they could carry around.

In Agsoc there were lots of goods to inherit, as well as political power. Since Agsoc was patriarchal, the goods and power went from fathers to sons. In Agsoc, the most important thing about your life was who your father was, plus other relatives. This persisted right down to the last century, and still persists to the present day in some respects.

The family was therefore vital. The family had to stay together. To be disloyal to a member of your family was the ultimate sin. The people you could turn to, the only ones you could really depend on, were your family.

Furthermore, since inheritance was so important, it was vital for men to know who their children were. The only way for them to be sure about this was for them to demand total "faithfulness" from their wives. Adultery, in Agsoc, became a dreadful sin, for women.

Thus began the whole dreary business of the double standard for women, and the obsessive fixation on virginity before marriage. Women had to be trained to avoid sex, and to permit it only with their husbands. Anything else was too threatening to the laws of patriarchal inheritance.

If women were allowed to have sex before marriage, the result might be a child without a legal father. This was a calamity in Agsoc, for there would be no one to pay for the child (men had all the money), and the child would have no inheritance, which meant no role or station in life. If women were allowed to have sex outside marriage, a father might wind up paying for and giving his station in life to someone else's child. This was the essence of Family Values.

FAMILY VALUES.

Agsoc was around for so long that most people came to accept these conditions as somehow natural for human beings. People forgot that humans lived in the tribal ecotype for nearly all of their biological history.

Sociobiologists, for example, support the idea that women are "naturally" more interested in permanent relationships than men are. They point out that a woman is relatively helpless during pregnancy and while raising small children, and assert that she needed a permanent man around to provide food, protection, etc. Hence women, even today, inherently want "commitment" from a man.

But this is plainly nonsense. In tribal societies the children are cared for by the tribe. It doesn't matter much who their father is. Food is shared by the whole tribe, on a traditional basis. Clothing and shelter are made for everyone by various people, through traditional tribal roles. The tribe itself is the defensive unit that protects children and their mothers. Women have no need of a permanent husband to provide for their children in any way.

Women's need for a husband is really only a factor of Agsoc life, not tribal. If women today have a preference for permanent relationships, this is something they have learned, not something in their genes. Even today it is drummed into women, by magazines and films, that their only happiness is through a permanent relationship, and so the old idea persists. But the sociobiologists are chasing a will o' the wisp.

The Church also preaches Agsoc family ideas as if they were natural. Jesus, despite his advanced ideas about some aspects of morality (such as war), railled frequently against promiscuity and especially against adultery, as well he might, considering how confused his own parentage was. His exact relationship to Joseph is as bewildering as his mother's exact sexual relationships. One thing certain is that Jesus was considered to be the hotshot he was because of Who his father was. That's definitely an Agsoc notion.

Political conservatives -- those who stick to Agsoc notions -- also like to consider Family Values as natural. In America, interestingly enough, such groups often are centred in areas where farming is predominant, like the Middle West and the South. Modern farming is really an aspect of Scitech, with its huge machines and engineered seeds and fertilizers and pesticides, but somehow there's enough of the old spirit of farming in these areas to make the people cling to old values.

For these people, the pattern of life is clear. A young man and woman meet and marry and have children. The marriage is for life, and the children are raised solely by their parents, who provide all their guidance and values. When the children grow up, they go off and do it all again. The family is always the most important factor in their lives.

This pattern ignores the fact that for most of human existence, human existence has been tribal, which means communal. It also ignores the assaults that Scitech's new values, like equality and education and the richness and variety of life, are making on the rather boring world of Family Values.

But what other pattern does Scitech offer? As we said, that's still in the process of evolving -- still not clear.

SCITECH POSSIBILITIES.

One way that we have of handling children in modern times is to send them to school. The school, as we've seen, is a Scitech creation. Children need education in order to function in a Scitech society, and it's a happy extra that the school can also look after them and raise them.

This combination works so well that schooling seems to be expanding in our world. Day-care centres now look after children from very early infancy, and also after school. A modern child may easily spend almost all its time, from morning to night every day, in some sort of school. And then its vacations in other group institutions like camps.

In effect, this is communal child care, much like the tribal ecotype. The parents live mostly in the background of children's lives, as they probably did in tribal times.

The question, of course, is whether children can get along with this alone. Do children need the individual care of their parents? Is there any way parents could be brought into the life of the schools? This has been tried, but hasn't worked out very well, partly because most parents are too busy with jobs.

Schools are also not very attractive to many kids, particularly as the kids get older. This is because schools in our society have another function in addition to their educative function. We can call this their judgmental function: schools are used by our society to sort out the "bright" kids from the others, and thus to decide who's going to get the desirable jobs. This is why schools have to give grades, and, naturally, why many kids hate them.

Communal raising of kids was also attempted in various communes of the 1960's and since. This was in fact one of the big advantages of living in communes: children found it a great environment to grow up in, as many of them, now grown up, will assure you today.

Unfortunately, communes don't work very well in most other ways. People today have very strong ideas of ownership, which we got from Agsoc, and also of individual independence, which we got from Scitech. Communes, which are basically an attempt to return to the tribal ecotype, just don't work very well.

Communal raising of children still keeps appearing, though. Groups of mothers, especially single mothers, will often band together to share child-minding. This is better than nothing, but it's not exactly a Scitech ideal.

Another modern ideal, which is a curious survivor from the Agsoc era, is the Romance ideal. This is the idea that, if a young person can only find the right romantic partner, a whole lifelong world of happiness will magically open up. It's an ideal that provides virtually the sole subject matter for popular music and which is a domineering element in nearly all feature films.

In Agsoc the Romance ideal was used as the foundation for Family Values. Romance was the spark that ignited the marriage and was the glue that held it together for life. The curiously mixed metaphor of that sentence shows why the Romance ideal often didn't work.

In fact, if there were a brand of automobile that failed and led to disaster as often as the Romance ideal does, it would be banned from the roads.

We cling to the Romance ideal for a good reason: sexual magic does in fact provide the most powerful and wonderful experience most of us will ever have. And every once in awhile, with certain lucky couples, the Romance ideal does work, and they stay together happy all their lives. But the Romance ideal also often fails, for the same reason that Family Values don't work: Scitech has arrayed too many forces against it.

The opposite of the Romance ideal might be called the Promiscuity ideal: the notion that the way to be happy is to have lots of different sexual partners as often as possible. Or at least, to have a series of partners for various lengths of time, which we might call the Promiscuity Romance ideal.

The Promiscuity ideal was prominent in the heady days of the sexual revolution of the 1960's and 1970's, and there are still many people who believe in it, especially men. Homosexual clubs vibrate with this ideal sometimes, as do swingers' clubs. But sexually-transmitted diseases have scared this ideal a bit, and large numbers of people who've been raised in broken marriages are repelled by it.

Scitech seems to have left us with a variety of ways to deal with sex and the family. The Family Values pattern has been abandoned by most but not all. The Romance and Promiscuity ideals are scattered here and there. Raising of kids is done in a smorgasboard of ways including schools and communal groups and lone parents and a few rare traditional families.

The future may see a new Scitech ideal arise, but I don't think so. The most compelling characteristic of Scitech is the variety of life that it creates. Sex and the family will go on breaking up into different currents and directions, some of them not so successful perhaps, but others much better than the old Agsoc ways. We can only comfort ourselves the the knowledge that, amidst the uncertainty and occasional disaster, our Scitech future will be always be vibrant and exciting.

SCITECH IX: Going Tribal

In recent years people have begun to be sympathetic to Tribal ways. Books like Little Big Man and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, movies like "Dances with Wolves," and many exhibits and documentaries about the American Indians have been popular. The aborigines of Australia, the rainforest Indians of the Amazon basin, and tribal peoples everywhere have been given not only sympathy but admiration.

The unrelenting hostility of Agsoc to tribal peoples is waning because Scitech is replacing Agsoc. Scitech, interestingly enough, has some important aspects in common with the Tribal ecotype. Two of these are democracy and caring for the environment, and this essay will explore these in turn.

THE RISE OF THE COMMON MAN.

One of the striking things about Scitech is that the greatest contributions to it have nearly always been made by common men. The nobility, who under Agsoc were supposed to be such exalted and superior beings, hardly ever achieved anything of value in Science and Technology, despite their advantages of wealth and education. This undoubtedly helped to undermine the whole idea of even having an aristocracy, much less letting it govern.

The great Sir Isaac Newton, for example, who until this century was widely regarded as the greatest scientist of all time, was the son of a miller. Michael Faraday, who single-handedly laid the foundations of modern electric power, was the son of a blacksmith and started life as a bookbinder. Louis Pasteur, who did so much for medicine and modern health, was the son of a tanner. Albert Einstein, the only man to rival Newton's achievements in physics, was the son of an industrialist and started life as a clerk in a patent office.

The great technological innovators were often even more lowly in origins. James Watt, who did so much to develop the steam engine, was the son of a bankrupt merchant and started life as an instrument maker. Thomas Telford, who developed Britain's system of roads, was the son of a shepherd, and George Stephenson, who developed the steam locomotive, was not only the son of a coal miner, but couldn't even read or write until he was 18. Henry Ford was the son of a farmer.

These examples, especially that of Newton, did a great deal to convince people that the nobility didn't amount to much. Gradually they came to realize that the important thing was what a man did, not who his father was. The slow erosion of the patriarchal system of Agsoc, which is still going on today, inevitably followed. Scitech also fostered democracy because it made education possible for the common man. In Agsoc societies of the Middle Ages and before, there simply wasn't enough wealth available for people in general to be educated. Pre-Scitech agriculture was so backward and poor in yields that it took 70% or 80% of the people all of their time just to grow enough food for everybody. There was no time or energy left over for schools to be built or people to go to them. What education there was was for the nobles, or possibly for one or two bright village boys to go into the priesthood.

The common people were hopelessly ignorant, which suited the rulers because that made them easy to manipulate and control. Democracy just wasn't practical. Any flashes of democracy, like Wat Tyler's rebellion, were naturally hotly resisted by the rulers anyway.

There were one or two early attempts, such as the democracy of Athens in the fourth century B. C., and the Roman Republic soon after, but these didn't last. In any case, they were democracies only of the limited few, the wealthy male property owners, who had money and leisure enough to be educated.

But as Scitech got going, gradually it generated enough wealth so that more and more people could go to school. The common man began to know enough to make political decisions. He could read, for example, so he could use books and newspapers to help him make political judgments. Books and newspapers gradually became more common, helped, of course, by Scitech advances in printing.

This was a snowball effect, for the value of giving common people education became more and more evident as various common people began to make Scitech discoveries that created more wealth to make more education possible. In fact, it would be inaccurate to say that Scitech caused democracy. Really, the two grew together. Scitech advances helped democracy, but democratic advances helped Scitech. Developing together, the two have completely changed the world.

THE IMPACT OF DEMOCRACY.

As it became more and more obvious that the common man could achieve things, the idea that only certain people could govern -- that rare and privileged class called the nobility -- became less and less tenable. The whole importance of birth dimished. No longer was political power allotted on the basis of who your father was. The politics of Europe, though the change took a long time, were no longer run along the lines of a stud farm.

The end of slavery was one natural consequence of this. If common people were as good as the nobles, why then, maybe slaves were as good as the nobles too. It was wrong to limit a man's freedom and opportunity like this, wrong not only for him but for society too. Give him a chance; see what he can do. Maybe race doesn't make any difference as to what a man can achieve for society, any more than who his father was.

Gradually such remarks were seen to apply even beyond the male gender. Democracy spread to women. Women were entitled to freedom and opportunity too, and education, and eventually even the right to vote. These things were for all people. Maybe even women could be people.

The right to vote thus spread like the ripples spreading from a stone thrown into a pond. Originally the vote was only for white male property owners. Then it was given to all white males, and eventually -- not without a considerable struggle -- to all males regardless of race. Finally -- thanks to another considerable struggle -- the vote went to all adults. A good deal of modern history is summed up in this spread of the vote, a great example of the impact of the new ecotype.

The rise of the right to vote also went hand in hand with the rise of human rights, especially freedom of speech and freedom of the press. These are essential to democracy.

Under Agsoc, the common people were seen as being incapable of making good decisions for themselves (and, with their lack of education, this was perhaps true). Democracy, of course, is founded upon the opposite idea. People can make decisions for themselves, and in the long run, these decisions will be the best ones.

Under Agsoc, it followed that the people had no right to freedom of information. They couldn't make good decisions anyway, so it was best to censor and control what they learned. But under Scitech, it is essential that the people know as much as possible. Informed decisions come from good information.

Even today, we occasionally forget this. We occasionally wish we could stifle people who voice unpopular opinions such as support for racism or changing the drug laws or allowing child sex. But, natural as such feelings may seem, they miss the whole point.

The whole point of democracy is to give free expression to all ideas, all opinions. We have faith that the people, once they have learned all sides of a question, will make the right choice among them. There is no need to suppress an opinion and thus bury it to fester like a hidden wound. Let all opinions out into the open air, and if some of them are hideous and wrong, why, the people will reject them. We do not need to fear bad opinions. The people will reject them if they are bad.

The motto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper is "Give light and the people will find their own way." This is a noble and beautiful expression of what democracy is all about. There is no need to censor or amend. If the people have light, they will find their own way.

CHRISTIANITY VS. DEMOCRACY

Under Agsoc, religion was taken over by the state and used as a means to control the common people. As we've said several times before, the common people under Agsoc were generally miserable. Agsoc farming is a rotten life for the most part, especially once Agsoc over-population gets under way, and the common people also had to endure taxes and military service to aggrandize the King. All this required a lot of control, and religion was one means.

Christianity was the Agsoc religion par excellance because it kept the common people down in two ways. For one, it made misery into a virtue, and promised people that the more they suffered, the better their chances for happiness in the future. Not in this life certainly -- in this life they had to sacrifice themselves entirely for the King and the Church -- but in the blessed heaven of the next life.

The other way was to teach people that they were fundamentally bad. This was done through the Doctrine of Original Sin. We've already seen how this doctrine was invented by the Apostle Paul as a means of justifying and explaining the gruesome death of the Original Christian. The Doctrine proved to be very useful in other ways.

If people share in Adam's and Eve's Original Sin, then all people are in some way fundamentally bad. It follows, then, that they cannot make their own decisions. They can't get to heaven on their own.

This is the source of the constant hammering in Christianity of the necessity of Jesus. No one can be saved except through Jesus. Saved from what? Why, from Original Sin of course. People are basically bad. They cannot make it to heaven without their Saviour. They have to follow God's Son, their Heavenly King.

And on this earth they cannot make decisions for themselves either. They have to follow God's annointed, their earthly King.

Thus Christianity is fundamentally opposed to democracy. Christianity is founded on the idea that people are in some way basically bad. Democracy depends on the idea that, in the long run at least, people inevitably find the good.

Christianity teaches that we can only find happiness in heaven through the King. Democracy teaches that we can find happiness on earth by ourselves.

Since people are bad, Christianity believes in censorship. When Christianity was politically powerful in the Middle Ages, this meant the Index of Prohibited Books and, ultimately, the Inquisition. Now it tends to be merely sporadic attacks on certain books in school libraries and codes of censorship for movies and television.

The idea behind Christian censorship is that, since people are basically bad, they will probably follow bad ideas, if they are exposed to them. This is the opposite of democracy, which believes that people are basically good, so that bad ideas can be aired freely and the people will reject tham. This explains something that puzzles many people: the fact that Christians are so right-wing and conservative in our times. Given the radical ideas of their Founder, like forgiving and loving everybody, it seems odd that Christians are so anxious to limit human freedoms and rights.

But Christians support censorship because people are basically bad. Christians also support strict laws and prisons and the death penalty for the same reason. There's nothing you can do with criminals but throw them away, hopefully forever. If you let them near the common people, the common people will also go bad.

To be sure, Christianity itself has a strong spiritual element which has often tried to assert the goodness of man. Christian churches often suffer internal turmoil because members take Jesus at his word and reject the oppressive functions of the Church. Church history is filled with the uprisings of idealists, from St. Francis to modern revolutionary priests, who would like to give the common man a break. Much of Church history is about having to discipline and control the sincere and earnest.

Tribal peoples find all this rather puzzling. To them, the earth is a wonderful place, in fact sacred. The idea that life is inherently miserable would seem odd to the point of perversity to them. The idea that people are basically bad would also seem bizarre, because every person is sacred, part of a sacred whole.

In this, Tribal ideas are much closer to Scitech. Modern Scitech peoples are striving to make the earth into a wonderful place, and in part succeeding. The Agsoc idea that earth is "a vale of tears," the place of misery and sin, is gradually declining. Love of the earth is steadily growing. This leads us to the second parallel between Tribal and Scitech ideas, caring for the environment.

THE ENVIRONMENT.

A widespread delusion of modern times is that Scitech is hostile to the environment. In fact what has happened over the last two centuries is that we have continued to apply Agsoc ideals with Scitech techniques.

Agsoc hates the environment. In Agsoc, the first act of civilization is clearing the forests. The forests are the enemy, the source of insect and animal pests. All of Nature is the enemy, bringing frosts and fires and floods and droughts to destroy the crops.

Scitech tries to work with Nature. When a scientist tries to make an airplane, or any other invention, he studies the laws of Nature and tries to work within them. He discovers the law of Nature that faster moving air exerts less pressure, and he designs an engine to pull his craft through the air and a wing designed so the air on top is moving faster. His aircraft is literally sucked up into the sky by the laws of Nature. An airplane is as natural as a bird.

All the achievements of Scitech are natural. Scitech goes out into nature and finds new uses for things that in Agsoc were merely disregarded, like petroleum and tungsten and (unfortunately) uranium. One of the great arguments for preserving rare and threatened plants and animals is that Scitech may well find useful things in them. Scitech sees penicillin where Agsoc just saw mold.

Agsoc sees Man as the master of the world, free to destroy plants and animals according to his own selfish desires. This is stated in the Book of Genesis, which also teaches Man to "be fruitful and multiply," leading to the population growth which is today the greatest environmental threat to our planet.

With Agsoc tools, these Agsoc ideals were not really capable of leading to anything worse than human misery. Medieval Europeans, for example, were not capable of destroying the forests or the wild animals living within them. Agsoc communities did manage, on several occasions, to destroy enough of the environment to destroy their own livelihood, such as the Easter Islanders and Anasazi mentioned in Essay l. But they couldn't threaten the planet.

But with Scitech tools like bulldozers and chainsaws and (unfortunately) DDT, Agsoc ideals are capable of devastating much more than their own neighbourhood. We could quite easily destroy large species like tigers and elephants. With a bit more effort, we could destroy the rainforests. We can threaten the world.

Tribal peoples, in contrast, revere their environment. They see the land and all the living things on it, including themselves, as sacred. When they kill animals, they apologize to the spirit of the animals and strive not to deplete the species as a whole. They revere the female principle which is essential to preserving the species and themselves.

This spirit is reassuring to modern people. It closely resembles the true spirit of Scitech, which is to work with Nature and within Nature for the good of all. Thus it's not surprising that modern people are coming to respect and even revere Tribal ways.

Consider, for example, this statement of the principles of withchcraft by Melissa Deitz, a young witch, quoted in Marie Claire magazine, January 2000, page 41. Witchcraft is enjoying a modern revival as one way of replacing Agsoc religion.

"Witchcraft is a nature-worshippping religion that places great emphasis on the sacredness of the individual and the land. It's democratic, egalitarian, and not patriarchal. It's a way of tapping into a deeper level of personal consciousness; in other words, performing 'magick'."

This quotation beautifully sums up the ideals shared by the Tribal and Scitech ecotypes. For Scitech, it still remains a goal to be realized, as we throw off our Agsoc notions and begin to live with Nature and within Nature. The future will be bleak if we fail, bleak as the prospects of the Easter Islanders or the Anasazi or many other failed Agsoc communities.

But the future will be bright if we succeed, and this is just one more example of the beautiful world Scitech is trying to hold out to us, if we will accept it.

SCITECH X: Living Free

 

We began Essay 3 in this series in a car, and Essay 5 in a huge modern harvesting combine. This time let's make it a truck.

Two hundred years ago, before the Age of Scitech, if you wanted to haul goods you used a cart or wagon. With a good horse you could haul perhaps two tons at a walking pace, about three miles an hour. This modern truck can haul about ten times that much, at a pace twenty times faster. This means the truck is doing about 200 times as much work.

The combine we rode in Essay 5 also did a lot better than the worker of two centuries ago, something like 100 times better in fact. And this is a general rule for Scitech: goods of all sorts are produced at a rate hundreds of times faster and better than in the Age of Agsoc. Not only that, we produce many goods today that were completely unknown in Agsoc, like cars and light bulbs and computers and televisions.

In short, we're far wealthier today than we ever were in the bad old days of Agsoc. Not as wealthy as we'd like to be perhaps, because, as we said in Essay 5, Scitech has made some things more expensive, like defense and housing and medical care and education.

Still, the fact remains that we are much better off. We live longer and healthier lives. Our houses are warmer and brighter than in the Age of agsoc, and they're filled with modern conveniences. Our food and clothing are much cheaper and have a lot more variety than ever before in the whole history of the world. Scitech has made us amazingly rich.

We sometimes forget that, if you wished to live the life of a common person anywhere and at any time in the whole history of the world, you could not possibly get a better deal than to be alive right here and now. On a physical basis, at least. The future, perhaps, may be better, but these are centainly the golden days of all the times humanity has ever known.

At least, this is true in the developed nations, the ones that have entered the Age of Scitech. One can't say the same for the undeveloped nations, the ones that are still mostly in the Age of Agsoc. It's not surprising that the third-world countries are developing as fast as they can.

The developing world, for now, is far behind us, and this difference of wealth is mirrored to some extent in our own society. In the midst of all our wealth, some people are poor. What should be done about this? Should we do anything?

This is an interesting question, because for the first time in history we have sufficient wealth to make everybody, if not rich, at least comfortable. In Agsoc there was never enough wealth to avoid poverty for some, even if the wealth had been shared equally, which it never was. Jesus said, "the poor you will always have with you," and he was quite right for Agsoc.

This essay is about sharing the wealth, and thus, in a broader sense, it is about how we should live our lives. Who should get a share in the wealth of Scitech? The workers? Soldiers disabled by war? The sick? People disabled by accident? The handicapped? Women caring for children without a husband? The unemployed? The lazy? The crazy? The bums?

To understand these questions, we first need to understand that Scitech has given us a new source of wealth, scientific knowledge. This is in addition to the traditional sources of wealth, which are labor and ownership. To learn about these, let's think again about the three ecotypes.

LABOR.

In the Tribal ecotype, there was only one source of wealth, and that was labor. If you wanted food, you went out and looked til you found it, either hunting or gathering. If you wanted tools or weapons or personal adornments, you made them yourself. Nobody owned anything, except for these few personal possessions.

Of course, the real source of wealth was the natural world, but that belonged to everybody and was always there. The tribe had its hunting grounds, which belonged to the whole tribe. Indeed the whole concept of ownership was nebulous; that was just the way things always were.

This vagueness about ownership led to serious problems when the white man came with his Agsoc ways. The tribes who "sold" him their land probably thought they were just sharing with him the chance to hunt and gather in it. They had no idea he would cut down the trees and farm it and lock them out from the proceeds. They couldn't even conceive of an ownership that would exclude them. They belonged to the land, and the land was part of themselves.

OWNERSHIP.

Ownership, however, was a perfectly natural consequence of the new Agsoc ecotype. If you clear land and farm it, you naturally want the proceeds to be yours. Ownership of land became obvious and essential.

Ownership also extended to many more things. Tribal peoples were limited basically to what they could carry around. Agsoc people began to build permanent houses, and to store grain and other foods, and eventually to create spiritual buildings and works of art to adorn them and to achieve many other forms of wealth. Life was much richer and more complex.

Ownership became important, not only because there was so much more wealth, but also because ownership became a source of wealth. The person who owned houses could get rent. The person who owned fields got part of the food raised in them, even if others did all the work. The person who owned flocks or herds, like Abraham in the days of the Bible, not only was rich but also had a good income.

The new Agsoc concept of ownership led to some new and important developments. One was money. People needed a way to pay rent or buy land or pay laborers to work the fields. Money was developed, usually in some form of gold or silver.

This led to another source of misunderstanding between the white man and the Indian tribes. The white man had a lust for gold and silver that the Indian couldn't understand. He would tear up the land, and kill the Indians on it, for what seemed to them like a mental aberation.

Another new development was writing. People needed a way to keep track of ownership, first in terms of notations on clay tablets or other surfaces, and gradually iin written words. Thus they could record ownership of fields, and stocks of grain, and business matters of all sorts.

Many of the earliest writings of humanity are a bit disappointing, because they consist mostly of lists and inventories. For example, one of the great triumphs of modern archeology was when Michael Genlis, a brilliant young Oxford scholar, finally translated the Linear B script of Minoan Crete, one of the earliest civilizations. Most of the tablets he translated turned out to be records of business matters and ownership.

People were kind of disappointed at this, but they shouldn't have been. That's what writing was originally for. Things like poetry and religion and the annals of kings came later, much more beautiful and interesting perhaps, but not of the essence.

The most important new development of the new concept of ownership, however, was neither money nor writing. It was the separation of people into rich and poor.

In Agsoc, wealth came not only from labor but from ownership. People who owned things got rich twice as fast, because they could work like everyone else and they also got money from owning things like herds and lands and houses. This was a snowballing effect, because people who owned things could use the extra money to buy still more things, and thus increase their income even more. They could get rich faster and faster, and eventually wind up owning everything.

Before long, wealthy classes emerged, and society began to divide into two groups. The owners soon merged with the nobility, the ruling class. Sometimes the nobles became owners because they had the rights of taxation, or perhaps the owners married into the nobility, something we could see happening as recently as the nineteenth century in England. The vast majority of people remained peasants, poor people who owned nothing and thus had no source of wealth but their labor.

Agsoc societies always consisted of nobles and peasants. All ancient civilizations showed this division, and it lasted right up to the Middle Ages. The king and his nobles owned everything: herds, tools, houses, and most importantly, the land. They did no work, but got most of the wealth. It seems unfair, until we remember the same situation persists to some extent even today.

SCITECH KNOWLEDGE.

Scitech introduced a new source of wealth: scientific knowledge. Knowledge of how to build new machines that could do work for us. Knowledge of how to make new materials, like chemicals and plastics and new alloys. Knowledge of all sorts of ways to keep ourselves healthy.

The driver of our truck is not working any harder than the peasant with his cart two hundred years ago, but he's achieving a lot more. The modern farmer in his combine is not working any harder than the peasant with his scythe, but he too is reaping a much greater harvest. The same is true of all workers today, because they are working with Scitech knowledge.

Of course, knowledge has always been a factor in wealth. The Indian had knowledge about what wood to use for his bow, and how to shape and fashion the arrows. The Medieval farmer had some knowledge of how to raise his crops, and the miller had knowledge of the machinery of his mill. The Scitech difference is one of degree, but it is an enormous difference all the same. Scitech knowledge makes us overwhelmingly wealthy.

Who is going to profit from this wealth? Should the man who drives the truck be the one to get all the extra wealth that Scitech gives? Or should it be the owner of the truck? Or should it be society as a whole? Should the sick or the unemployed or the impoverished get a share in this Scitech wealth?

To think about the answer, let's look at a Scitech struggle a century ago.

LABOR VS OWNERSHIP.

The year is 1892. America is just about to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery with a huge Exposition at Chicago. But in Pittsburg, things are not going so well.

America is in the midst of a depression, and Andrew Carnegie, owner of the huge steel mills at Homestead, has just demanded that his workers take a cut in wages. To enforce his demands and protect his property, Carnegie sends two boatloads of Pinkerton detectives up the river to the mills. This precipitates a riot.

The workers head for the river with every weapon they can lay their hands on, including an old Civil War canon left over from the Battle of Antietam. They don't have too much luck with the first shot, which takes off the head of a young worker named Silas Wain on the opposite bank. But soon they get the range, and showers of splinters start to leap upward from the Pinkerton decks. Some of the splinters are bloody.

The cause of this battle, like most battles in the last two centuries, is a failure to adapt to Scitech. The Scitech machines in the mills produce enormous amounts of money. Carnegie believes that this Scitech wealth should go to the owner, himself. The workers think some of it should go to them.

Carnegie's belief is inherited from Agsoc, when the privileged classes owned everything and got all the money from ownership. Like Medieval peasants, his workers got only enough to keep them from starving. There was nothing they could do about it, because the population explosion meant there was an oversupply of workers, especially during hard times. They had to work or starve.

Or else revolt. All through the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, workers fought hard, through unions, for a share in the wealth of Scitech knowledge.

Looking back from a century later, their demands seem fair. Carnegie did not invent Scitech knowledge, in this case the processes and machinery for making steel. That was done by scientists, who generally were working for the good of everyone. Of course the scientists themselves deserved a goodly share, through patents, but in many cases the scientists had been dead for years. Why shouldn't the workers share in the profits?

Look at our truck, for another example. It does its work because of the scientific discoveries of men long dead. The men who developed the internal-combustion engine. The men who developed the electrical systems. The men who studied hydraulics to make its brakes and alloys to make its metal parts. The men who discovered how to refine crude oil.

Should the wealth of all this Scitech knowledge go only to the person who owns the truck? Or should some of it go to the driver?

Or, for that matter, should some of it go to everyone?

SCITECH SHARING.

One of the striking changes of Scitech is the gradual expansion of groups of people who get money even though they don't work. In Agsoc, in contrast, no one got money unless they worked (minimal), or owned things (lots).

Soldiers who've been crippled in war started to get pensions, for example. To be sure, in Agsoc times retired soldiers would sometimes get grants of land or other benefits. But even as recently as the Napoleonic Wars, many a soldier who'd lost a leg had to beg, even though he'd lost the leg in the service of his King.

In recent wars, many a soldier who would have died in times past has been saved by Scitech. This means that the proportion of seriously-injured survivors from the Viet Nam War, for example, is much higher than from previous wars. Nonetheless, the Scitech wealth is so great that we can give pensions and benefits to them all.

Old people are another group who've benefitted. France began the first old-age pension in 1850, followed by Germany in 1889. America, as usual well behind in such matters, got its Social Security system in 1933.

The unemployed are another group to benefit. Most Scitech countries have regular weekly payments to anyone who can't find a job. Even laggard America has various state and local programs.

Sick and handicapped people get benefits in most developed countries. Many countries, but not the U. S., have national health schemes which pay for some or all medical care. These are paid for by taxes on companies and workers -- that is, by part of the wealth created by Scitech.

In some countries, women with kids but no husbands get a share of society's wealth. Australia enacted the "supporting mother's benefit" in 1973. It's a weekly allowance, roughly comparable to the weekly unemployment or old-age benefits. Supporting fathers can also qualify.

Scitech sharing is the subject of many hot political issues. Even as I write these words, the U. S. congress is debating whether to extend free health care to poor children, using money from tobacco sales. Unemployment benefits are a controversial political issue everywhere.

SCITECH UNEMPLOYMENT.

Some people see the unemployed as being lazy, shiftless, and worthless. Of course, everyone can find himself unemployed for awhile, but any enterprising person will soon find a new job. Or so they think. "There's plenty of jobs if you look for them," is their motto.

But it's important to keep in mind that Scitech creates unemployment. After all, that's what it's for. The whole idea of Scitech inventions is to take away work from humans. Machines are supposed to do our work for us. They're supposed to make our lives easier. We're not supposed to work forever -- not at onerous jobs anyway. The success of such machines is well-known. There are automobile assembly plants which do not require any workers -- not to do physical labor anyway. In every line of work, machines take over the human effort. A recent example is the way computers with word processors are taking over secretarial work. There are even computers that can take dictation.

The result is that jobs are continually disappearing. A spectacular example is the agricultural business, the heart of Agsoc. In the Middle Ages, 80% of the people were farmers, and right up to the middle of the nineteenth century more than 50% of all Americans lived on farms. Now, only 2% of Americans are able to grow all the food we need, and they even export some too.

It's a stunning achievement, but it makes us wonder, where did all the unemployed farmers go?

Well, to some extent, they went to new jobs created by Scitech. The automobile business, for example, or even the farm machinery business. Scitech is creating new industries all around us even now. The video business opened up not so long ago when video tape recorders were created. Computers create new industries every year.

Still, there's a gap, and many people fall into it. "The unemployed you will always have with you," is what Jesus might say if he were alive today. Some people seem to get stuck in unemployment for long periods.

In Agsoc morality, only people who work are entitled to a share in society's wealth -- and of course, people who own things. If we stick to Agsoc morality, we are probably going to have more and more people who have nothing. Such people will have miserable lives, and some of them will turn to crime.

Computers will make the problem more acute. It's only a matter of time until someone develops a computer that can drive a truck, for example. Check-out clerks in supermarkets will be replaced by computers, and perhaps fast-food workers as well. Even service jobs, like teaching and nursing, can probably be much truncated by computers.

The crest of the changes will be reached with the development of factors, machines which will not only produce all goods but be able to direct themselves as well. They will not be robots, in the sense of machines that walk around and look like humans, but they will do almost all the productive jobs we need.

THE SCITECH FUTURE.

It seems likely that many people will always want jobs. They like the extra money that jobs provide, and the sense of self-satisfaction that comes from doing a job well. Besides, many people would be bored without jobs. People may complain about having to work, but in reality many people are happier working.

But the Scitech reality is that not everyone has to keep working. The wealth of Scitech is great enough so that the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the unemployed should all be able to be given a moderate income. Not as much as the employed, to be sure, for the employed deserve a reward for their labors. But it's fair to tax them, and companies, to share their Scitech wealth.

Most of our modern wealth comes from scientific knowledge, and that should be the property of everybody -- especially the knowledge that comes from researchers long dead. Many scientists have been extremely open-hearted people, and did their work for the good of humanity.

Thus the old Agsoc rule, that wealth should only go to those who work and those who own, is obsolete. People still cling to it, but as always, people who cling to Agsoc ideals only cause misery.

The cost of sickness, for example, obviously should be borne by all. People aren't sick because they want to be. Sometimes people bring sickness on themselves, for example by smoking, but in that case the sickness is punishment enough. Our wealthy Scitech world should be able to provide medical care for everyone.

This change has already come, and also universal unemployment benefits, in most of the Scitech countries, always excepting laggard America. In the future, I think the Scitech benefits will be made truly universal. That is, everyone will get a benefit if they simply choose to have one. No one will have to work if they don't want to work.

LIVING FREE.

The great opportunity of Scitech is that people will be free to live as they choose. Some will work, and enjoy working. But many will find other paths of life.

These people will actually be performing a service. As Scitech takes over jobs, it will be good for people voluntarily to leave the work force. That way, those who wish to work will still find meaningful pursuits.

What will these volunteers do? Many things. Wonderful things.

Some will follow a spiritual life. They will meditate, or take drugs, or study the scriptures. Their whole lives will be a prayer.

Some will take up causes, for example the environment. They will spend their days trying to protect Nature from exploitation or working to restore damage already done. There are plenty of other causes, like service to people, or spreading an idea, or preserving things.

Some people will live a life of knowledge, reading and doing research and finding out new things.

Some people will simply need to develop or restore themselves. Teen-agers, for example, who've had a bad school experience or a rotten family life or personality problems, will be able to live without working. They can just heal themselves, with lots of surfing and sex and drugs, until they get enough of these things and put them away. They can start a rewarding life when their penalizing life is behind them.

And some people will simply loaf, enjoying the simple pleasures that their moderate wage allows them. Without such people, we tend to forget that life itself is wonderful, and sacred. Their job, as George Eliot puts it, is simply to maintain Earth's reputation as an agreeable planet.

When Scitech allows us to reach this stage, Earth will indeed be a wonderful place, and maybe large parts of Outer Space too. Once again, if we cast off our Agsoc strictures, Scitech can give us a wonderful and expanding world.

SCITECH XI: Living Right

 

Science changes human morality. By now, we've given so many examples of this that the implications should be clear. People who wish to live a successful and happy life in the twenty-first century should adapt their lives to the demands and conditions of Scitech. This goes for groups (such as nations) as well as individuals.

NATIONS

For nations the chief change required is an end to war. In Agsoc, war was the chief tool of foreign policy. The way to get rich and powerful was to beat up on your neighbours and take over their lands and goods. Many great empires were founded this way, and these empires did advance civilization. But this way of progress is ended. War under Scitech is simply too terrible to be considered, and no net benefits can be expected.

Under Scitech, the way to be prosperous is to be sure all your neighbours are prosperous. Scitech has created a world that is so interrelated and so full of potential wealth that the possibility of being wealthy at the expense of other countries is obsolete. The way for any nation to be wealthy is for all nations to be wealthy by working together. This was the lesson of the Marshall Plan.

Of course, whether humanity can learn this lesson of no more wars before destroying itself is still an open question. Can we adapt our minds to the new way of thinking? The last fifty years, though plagued by small wars, give us hope that there will be no more large war. But there is still time in the twenty-first century to destroy ourselves.

To adapt to Scitech and end war, nations also have to give up another cherished tradition: intolerance. In Agsoc, it was normal and in fact beneficial for each society to have its own customs and religion, and to deplore the customs and religion of all other societies as silly and degenerate. This helped an Agsoc society to be more uniform and aggressive, and was the backbone of many a great empire.

In Scitech, however, intolerance of others' customs and religion has to be changed. In American history, the cost of intolerance has been vividly illustrated. America has always had an underclass: the Irish, the Jews, the south Europeans, the blacks, the hispanics, and many others. This has always led to social friction and disorder, and in the case of the black slaves led to the Civil War.

In the twentieth century, America faced World War II, which was caused largely by intolerance. The social ferment of the blacks and hispanics in America has been violent and is still going on. It has become obvious, again and again, that in a Scitech world intolerance is destructive for both sides.

Scitech celebrates variety. We live in a larger world with Scitech, through television, newspapers, magazines, travel, and the wonderful education opportunities that Scitech wealth supports. We know cultures around the world and we enjoy a historical perspective unparalled in history.

The result is that we can sample and enjoy many ways of life and in some cases even adapt the best parts of them into our own lives. There is no longer any need to feel threatened because other people do things differently. If we, and they, observe each other, without the threat of war or coertion, we can enjoy our differences and sometimes benefit from them.

INDIVIDUALS

For individuals the variety of Scitech means an end to addiction. Addiction is for individuals what intolerance is for nations: a failure to enjoy Scitech variety.

An addiction begins when we find something we enjoy. We turn to that pleasure again and again, which is only natural, but the addict focuses on it and turns to it excessively. This is self-defeating, because most enjoyments lose their pleasantness if used excessively. The addict hammers at them, taking larger and larger doses, using them excessively until the pleasure is virtually nil.

This is the case with television in our society. Television is actually a dazzling pleasure if you only watch it once in awhile. Even silly programs can be enjoyed for their silliness, and shallow programs for what they tell us about society. And there are in fact many fine programs.

But people turn on the tube again and again, night after night, and then they wonder why there's nothing on. They've worn off the charm. They've become jaded and depleted. Like any addict, they've reached the stage of exhaustion.

The greatest addiction in our society is romance. The man and woman meet, enjoy each other's company, and derive intense pleasure from it. So they focus on each other, and obsess on each other, and keep turning to their relationship, "forsaking all others," for their enjoyment of life.

In a few cases this works. There are couples who are so in tune with each other that they can go on deriving enjoyment from each other indefinitely, moreso than from anyone else. But this is rare. In most relationships, if pursued exhaustively, exhaustion sets in. The magic goes out of their romance, and indeed most of the enjoyment.

Romance is a form of intolerance, and as usual, it winds up hurting the folks who are intolerant the most. If jealousy sets in, the man cannot enjoy any other relationships with women, and the woman cannot enjoy any other relationships with men. Life for the couple, as well as the people around them, is poorer, which is usually the case with addictions and intolerance.

Many people, to be sure, consider romance to be natural for human beings. If so, we human beings are in for a bad time, because Scitech is plainly against it.

In Agsoc morality, as we've already seen, marriage was vital, because Agsoc is patriarchal and political power as well as wealth were inherited through the male line. This made marriage essential, and the double standard as well. Women were the personal property of their husbands, and women could have sex only within marriage, or else they would pay a terrible price.

In Scitech, these ideas have changed. Women are not willing to accept inferiority, nor should they. As far as anyone can see, women can function as well as men can in most areas of our Scitech world, like voting and employment and dealing with money. Scitech has made men and women equals, which is certainly a more appealing situation for everybody.

But it's hard on marriage and romance. Even in recent times, marriage worked well because the wife was a kind of satellite of her husband. If the man's job moved him to Chicago, off went the wife with him. She cooked and cleaned for him, and unless she was unusually strong, he spent the money he earned the way he chose. With equality, the pressures on romance has become terrific. Couples are torn apart by differing careers, differing ways of wishing to spend money, differing ideas on who does the chores, and especially the constant flood of variety and new ideas the Scitech world offers.

It seems to me that women, in gaining equality, need to give up the idea of romance. The idea that two completely free people can be locked up together seems obsolete. But I think people are only just beginning to realize this. As always, when people cling to obsolete ideas, the price is misery.

Of course, sometimes romance seems to work, and then everything is fine. But in our time, on an individual level, romance seems to cause more misery than anything else. Heartbreak, separation, arguments, money troubles, jealousy, even physical violence. If any make of car broke down and caused harm as often as romance does, no government would allow it on the road.

The only other competitor to romance for causing misery to individuals in our time is a related activity, raising kids. As we've seen, Scitech has made the job of raising kids very expensive as well as very time-consuming. Traditionally the money was provided by the man and the time by the woman. But now, in most cases, the man cannot earn enough money and the woman has to go to work too and so she doesn't have the time and anyway she wants her own life because she's a free modern woman so she tries to get the man to help with the chores and looking after the kids and he's got a career to think of for Christ's sake and she deserves something better and neither of them ever thought it would be like this and on top of it there's all the expense and . . . crash.

Another car that should never have been on the road.

Of course there are many other addictions to avoid. In our society Scitech has given us so much wealth that it is easy to get addicted to overeating or owning things or working, as well as the traditional addictions like gambling and drinking and smoking and other drugs.

Scitech is so powerful that the traditional addictions have probably become relatively unimportant. Gambling, drinking, smoking, and drugs, probably cause far less human misery than our modern addictions to television and romance and overeating and working and owning things. So it seems.

In any case, the formula for moral behaviour, and hence happiness, on an individual level in the Scitech world, seems plain. Scitech provides variety, and it also rewards variety. We need to avoid addictions of all kinds, and instead enjoy the variety that Scitech extends to us. We need especially to avoid romance and kids, and this will have the added benefit of helping to ease the pains of a grossly overpopulated world.

If we do have kids, we need to be prepared for a life of considerable effort and expense. If we do want romance, we need to be ready, not only for considerable effort and expense, but probably also a loss of considerable individual freedom. Anything else would be immoral. And being immoral, it won't make us happy anyway.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Agsoc had its Ten Commandments, which everybody knows. They were good for their time, but their time, thank goodness, is gone.

Can we make a similar formula for our time? Can we make a Ten Commandments of Scitech?

Well, of course we can't. One of the major lessons of Scitech is that there are no commandments, no lessons from on high. There are only acts and their consequences, which we must evaluate as best we can, by our own standards.

But we can, if we like, run through the Ten Commandments of Agsoc, and see how Scitech has changed them.

I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
ST. There are many gods, and intolerance of any gods, or of any peoples, is wrong.

II. Thou shalt make no graven images.
ST. Imagination is magical, and creates endless and wonderful variety. The more graven images you have, the better.

III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.
ST. You should not take any pleasure in vain, or foolishly.

IV. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
ST. If Scitech succeeds, all days will be the Sabbath.

V. Honour thy father and thy mother.
ST. Honour thy father and thy mother, and all people, and all creatures, and the Earth.

VI. Thou shalt not kill.
ST. You shall not kill, and this time we mean it. No wars.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
ST. Enjoy sexual activity in all its forms. But be careful.

VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
ST. You shall not steal.

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
ST. You should not bear children unless you are willing to accept the consequences, which will dramatically limit your life, and burden an over-populated world.

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, or anything that is his.
ST. Wealth for anyone depends on wealth for everyone.

But we don't need to pontificate. The advantage of the Scitech world is that it allows us to see cultures and ideas from everywhere, from all times and places. We can take our ideas from the best of sources.

From the tribal world, we can take the idea that we are part of Nature, part of the Earth, and that whatever happens to the Earth happens to ourselves. Earth is a heritage to care for, not a dominion to exploit.

From the world of other religions, we can take ideas to feed the spirit, and know the varieties of paths there are to peace.

From the world of the past, we can study the miseries of Agsoc, and the adaptations we have to make to be happy.

SCITECH HAPPINESS.

On a personal level, the way to be happy in a Scitech society is easy. First, avoid the pitfalls, and second, cultivate the pleasures. Above all, avoid outmoded Agsoc ideals.

The major pitfalls are romance and having children. These are inordinately difficult because they are not suited to a Scitech world. Those people who cling to the idea that they are necessary to happiness are probably in for a bad time.

Scitech offers us great wealth, but another pitfall is using that wealth badly. You need to dedicate the necessary money to the things that are still expensive in our Scitech world, especially medical care and real estate (the latter mainly becaus of over-population). If you go in for romance and kids, these will probably swallow up all your money. Otherwise, there should be lots left for pleasures.

Scitech itself offers pitfalls, as we saw in Essay 5, because Scitech is sometimes used unwisely or has bad unforeseen consequences. As an individual, you cannot always escape these; the person who is careful about energy and gasolene use will be engulfed in the Greenhouse Effect as fully as the fossil fuel guzzler. Sometimes, though, you can avoid popular calamities, for example by living well and being careful what you eat.

Cultivating the pleasures of Scitech is easy. You merely have to seek out and learn about the pleasures, and then be free and open to enjoy them: television, travel, games, good foods, good drugs, sexual pleasures, collecting, creating, and cultivating. Above all, cultivate yourself.

If you do this, it will be easy to avoid addictions, the main personal pitfalls of a Scitech world. We have so much wealth that addictions are easy. Learning about the variety of Scitech pleasures, and avoiding the Scitech pitfalls that cause misery, are the best ways to control addictions.

If you follow these simple principles, you can hardly miss having a contented life, unless you have the bad luck to be struck by one of those few diseases or calamaties that Scitech still hasn't learned to solve.

Doesn't seem too hard, does it? Scitech makes it easy. After all, that's what Scitech is for.

THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

Humanity began in the Tribal Ecotype. Life was easy, there were hardly any diseases, and the population was low. It was a pretty good situation, and maybe we should never have left it. But these wasn't much wealth, and there was hardly any change, or progress.

Into this world Agsoc fell like a bombshell. Sowing seeds and herding animals seemed like a good idea at the time. No one could have imagined the overwhelming effects they would have.

But humanity entered a difficult time. Farming became hard work, as the population grew. People got all sorts of disease from the larger populations too, as well as living with animals and staying in one place, causing bad water supplies. Cities grew up, and that meant kings, and bureaucracies, and police, and taxes, and oppression. There was lots of wealth, but some people seemed to get all of it before long, usually the king. Before long, there were wars.

It was all so miserable for the common people that religion soon had to explain why they were so miserable. Misery had to be made into a virtue, and soon the religion itself was making people miserable. Priests were everywhere, and they seemed to spend all their time making up rules for misery.

But there were good things about Agsoc. Architecture began, and all the arts. There were magnificent buildings, and soon magnificent songs and music and paintings and sculptures in them. There were parts of life that were absolutely glorious.

There was lots more knowledge too. Mathematics began, to lay out the fields and make the buildings. The priests began astronomy. Writing began, to record it all. Soon writing itself became an art: history and plays and books. Civilization was full of wonderful things.

People even began making gadgets, to make life easier. That was another idea, like sowing seeds and herding animals, that had unforeseen consequences.

Humanity tumbled into the Scitech world. Soon Scitech began to solve the problems of Agsoc: diseases, and hard work, and the famines of over-population.

Scitech also solved the social problems. Scitech brought democracy to replace the kings and oppression. Scitech made the priests and wars obsolete.

Scitech, indeed, brought the best of both worlds. We have all the good qualities of the Tribal and Agsoc ecotypes. Like the tribes, we have free time, simple living, democracy, peace, and good health. Like agsoc, we have wealth and a wide variety of pleasures.

At least, this is the happy situation that Scitech is trying to create. But just as when Agsoc overwhelmed Tribal society, there are lots of adaptations to be made. That's the point of these essays.

Some people would rather die than give up their outmoded ideas. And they do. The price of clinging to outmoded Agsoc ideas is nearly always misery, and sometimes catastrophe.

But for those who adapt to Scitech, and the virtues that are inherent in it, the result is generally happiness. Scitech is the high road to happiness. You could say, virtue is its own reward.


About shipment

1 DVD/Blu-ray  5.00 EUR 
2 DVDs/Blu-rays 6.00 EUR
3 DVDs/Blu-rays 9.00 EUR
4 DVDs/Blu-rays 12.00 EUR
5 or more DVDs/Blu-rays 15.00 EUR

Get the newsletter

Add your email to our list!

Contact

Synetech Video Co. Europe
P.O.Box 42
56501 Chocen
Czech Republic

Phone: (+420) 465 473 972
FAX: (+420) 465 473 972


Synetech Video Co.
P.O.Box 838
Byron Bay NSW 2481
Australia

Phone: (02) 6684 - 7337,
0431 393 320
 
e-mail: shop@synetechvideo.com