A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Apocalypse Planned – Beyond Choice

(essay three)

Preamble: It is typical of human cognitive process to attempt to find patterns in events that are seen as significant. This behavior has led to the greatest discoveries as well as the most bizarre, often frighteningly common, beliefs. What follows is one of the unbidden patterns that has formed from following closely present events:

During the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s I wrote, as an exercise to better understand the forces operating at the global level, a “business plan” for a hypothetical one tenth of one percenter. As I went through the various sources of wealth, forces and influences on retaining and increasing wealth, sources of competition and impediments to success certain very basic values and questions kept coming up. The first was an absolute underlying principle: wealth had to increase; there really was no other goal. Small business people have goals like increasing the market share of a particular product, or even the betterment of a community through development and job creation; at the highest reaches of wealth, it seems to be the wealth that has taken on the foundational sense of reality. Wealth comes from transactions; dirt must be dug, ore must be smelted, things must be made, moved and consumed; but it is the control of financial transaction that grows wealth. The greatest dangers to wealth come not from “competition” with others who are wealthy, but from “below,” those who see the accumulation as obscene and immoral; and from disruptions of the economic system of fantasies that allow and maintain a general belief in “ownership,” property rights and the efficacy of the abstract tools of wealth.

Another source of danger forming on the horizon is the environmental crisis creating disruptions in supply of materials and loss of life sustaining free services (water, clean air, climate stability, absorption of wastes). The wealthy are as sensitive to and influenced by science and the rational intelligentsia as others – even more so since they must often act quickly and forcefully to retain their place and grow their wealth.

When I reached this point in the “business plan” my hypothetical tenth of one percenter appeared to be faced with this dilemma: disburse much of his wealth to help stave off the coming dangers, with no clear prospect of financial return, or conspire with others in his position to kill off billions of the multitude and position himself to consolidate and control the tiny bits of “wealth” associated with the human units removed.

Perhaps there was to be a “New Frontier;” the wholesale restructuring of major parts of the planet! While not believing with any certainty that such plans were forming, I did decide to keep my eyes open.


Humans face a number of increasing challenges, some concerning the “inside baseball” details of economics, politics and social expectations, and some about whether we will, as a species behaving in the biosphere, damage ecological balances to a point that there are major collapses of environmental services. The consequences of such events could, in the worse possible case, ruin the earth’s surface as a place for complex living things; in the best case the earth would enter an extinction event including the destruction of most human social, economic and political systems[1].

The two general options that could ameliorate these outcomes are: one, rapidly formed great changes in the behaviors and social/legal expectations of billions of people so that they supply directly many of their primary needs, restoring some degree of personal power and responsibility over individual action; this would have to be associated with a great reduction in total energy, material use and “life style” measures. The other option is to rapidly and greatly reduce population as a way of reducing total consumption without having to reduce per-capita use or seemingly change lifestyle[2]. From the point of view of the world’s multitudes, an attempt by political and economic elites to reduce population as a means to retain their preeminence is an immediate danger that would trump any other attempts to address our dilemmas.

Is there a plan being constructed for the forced reduction of worldwide population? It is not a crazy question. If it occurs to me, a mild mannered ordinary sort of fellow, then it is likely that those who would actually benefit directly from such planning would be way ahead of the rest of us. If there were such a plan, what would it look like as pieces of it come out in the light?

We know that there are plans being made to “control” widespread and populous dissent. Truly powerful “Crowd” control weapons are among the most aggressively pursued military tools today (examples 1, 2, 3). Operational plans have “leaked” for the use of military force for dealing with an unruly population within the US[3]. While touted as ‘humane’ these weapons are actually most useful, only partly because they avoid messy, bloody death, because they can cover large areas driving back or disabling every sensate being in their range while not damaging ‘infrastructure.’

Other industrial nations are acting in similar ways. London, especially, and British Isles, in general, are becoming privacy free zones. Almost everywhere in the world requires “papers” that define at some level whether a person is in the right place and doing the right thing. The assumptions of natural rights, strongest in the US in many ways, has eroded here to a mere numbering of rights no longer felt or believed sufficiently for them to have a true social power. If a cop wants to search a car and if the subject is poor or a minority, then the cop just laughs at a protestation about the 4th amendment; and the public applauds! It is possible that a young man was killed by a policeman on the San Francisco BART for “mouthing off,” under most circumstances a 1st amendment right, and the crowd just watched (and photographed).

A model for reducing world population can be found in the greatest single population removal in history; the depopulating of the North and South American continents after 1492 (if the extermination of between 10 to 100 million people doesn’t immediately pop into you mind, you are not alone). There was a policy, come to independently and in slightly different forms by all the invading powers, to remove the indigenous peoples from control of the land by any means necessary. The removal was accomplished with a combination of war, famine, disease and economic domination. Many obligingly killed themselves in the torment of their loss. By the late 1800s indigenous numbers were in the tens of thousands, not the tens of millions. Many groups, along with their cultures and languages had ceased to exist.

But that was a slower time. The expansion of Europeans, and their capacity to control, was inhibited by limited technology, and the vastness of the ‘space to be filled.’ Today one person with one machine can dominate thousands of hectares. A billion or so “wage slaves” with the right technology could easily supply the needs of a few million elite humans. Humanity’s ecological footprint could be greatly reduced, biodiversity preserved, anthropogenic biospheric influences reduced back to environmental “free service” levels. And all this in only a few years with sufficient planning and implementation.

The 2003 pentagon report on climate change, “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” projects a possible future driven by unlikely climate events, but many of the same possibilities could and would occur in an environmental and economic collapse. The report is almost certainly the tip of an iceberg of preparation for controlling populations in crisis; not the crisis of a Hollywood disaster film, but the real crises that will attend the population disruptions of disease, famine, economic domination and war.

In fact the whole ‘war on terror’ looks like preparation for popular uprising. It is madness to invade countries with multi-billion dollar mechanized armies when the people that are said to be being hunted are a few loosely organized groups with rifles and homemade bombs; and while I have great respect for the power of Madness, there is some chance of ulterior motives. The laws enacted and redefined, the changing organization and population management mission of military and paramilitary forces, the containment facilities, the strategies practiced all seem clearly, to me, to be easily adaptable to unruly, and potentially ‘unnecessary’ civilian populations[4].

I am running long yet again. The essay needs to shift focus and so will be continued.


[1] We have been in an anthropogenic extinction event for some time now. How major it is or will become is yet to be seen. Given the history of the earth, it is essentially certain that life on earth would continue on and evolve in response to the reality of environmental stabilities. What would happen in any detail is completely unknowable.

[2] It is possible that humans could produce a plan to reduce population in humane ways, conscientiously distribute real wealth in such ways that suffering is reduced, education is greatly supported, environmental stabilities are sustained and human life is refocused away from material accumulation and toward relationship and spiritual connection to ecological order and beauty. There is an increasing understanding of the value of such a possibility.

[3] It is just as likely that the potential use of the army to act in an enforcing function inside our borders was intentionally put out into the press. This would serve 3 functions: 1) to prepare the population’s expectations, 2) to weaken the negative response when this happens on a military scale and 3) to test the waters so as to gauge the sorts of reactions to expect when there is military action against a civilian population.

[4] I am a statistical thinker. The world is not a matter of what will or will not happen. It is an interplay of probabilities. There is, to me, about a 95% chance that most of these observations are related to some centralized plans for dominating and controlling the world’s multitudes in the coming disruptions (oil, water, food shortages, other economic and physical dislocations), and about a 60% chance that there is an actionable plan or plans to “restructure” regions by killing off the people and re-allocating “ownership” and use. These possibilities would, of course, change with new data. What matters most, however, is the probability threshold for action; certainty cannot always be an absolute requirement.

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