Fearless Humanism

An Occupy Manifesto

It’s been over two years since I wrote this Manifesto. The Occupy movement was in full swing; they had Wall Street occupied and America hypnotized. It hadn’t yet branched out into all areas of American life, as it has done since, in an attempt to rehumanize the way society, business, health-care, and pretty much everything else works.

Occupy everything. And this was what I was trying to prove, through theory — that not only is it correct, from all points of view, to occupy everything, but it also required of us. That just as capitalism (or corporatism, if we must make this distinction, although corporatism is merely an offshoot of capitalism, and whether or not you can have one without falling into the other is just speculation at this point, and the kind of speculation the world can ill-afford right now) is destroying the basic factors required for human life to persist, and that this seems to be its imperative, its vector of force, the application of capital over and against intelligent and compassionate use of resources, so must it be our imperative to use our energy and our presence in the opposite direction, by re-occupying the earth in one broad, life-affirming movement.

The Occupy Wall Street work-group had just released a Manifesto a day before, and I was shocked at how it lacked perspective and essence. In many ways, the world was laughing at that Manifesto and, in consequence, at the intelligence of the movement itself. So I sat down and started writing, because there was something far greater in the Occupy movement than that Manifesto alluded to. An incredible amount of natural intelligence lay in the act of occupying, in the will to occupy, in the energy, the breath and the breadth of occupying. Except — these things are hard to put into words, hard to explain in the mathematics of social discourse, which at the time was still completely dominated by the false and illusory “precision” of stock-market doctrines. Writing cannot be a communal undertaking. You cannot vote your way to a great text. Just like you cannot occupy on your own, you cannot multiply your body and make it into a thousand bodies that fill a square — just the same a square cannot unite its thousand voices into one precise voice and then narrate through it. That was the failure of the Occupy Wall Street manifesto.

As for the movement itself, to this day its most glaring flaw is its inability to generate precise, useful open-source knowledge. We seem stuck in the documentary art-form, in the need to prove through visual memory both our humanity and the inhumanity of all the brands of oppression currently at work in the world. Yet the more we document, the more we obsess over proof, the more we miss our ability to concentrate the available knowledge of the world into hyper-usable forms. Forms capable of spreading quickly and changing conditions and destinies in communities the world over. If, as a group, we would unite the focus of our attention, we’d accomplish this far quicker than any single human can. In a way, the internet already does this naturally. The efforts of the many are available to the many. But as long as they are not concentrated and open sourced with the same boundless enthusiasm that led to what Linux is today, then they will not become widely used and certainly not available to those not fortunate enough to have countless hours researching a topic online. Or a computer. This lack of concentrated attention has the same root problem as everything else. The modern world tends to absorb attention in undue ways, and the topics required for the survival and prosperity of civilization are many — from ecosystems to medicine, from mechanics to natural building. As stated at the end of this manifesto two years ago, this is what I have been working on, but right now it’s just half-finished books, which will be free and distributed as both books and open source websites. I relish the moment when, for example, all the currently available knowledge of permaculture will be amassed with precision and available to everyone, for free. As per my work, it is still some months away, or, if I get hit over the head too hard at a protest, maybe a lot more than that.

I wanted this Manifesto to become completely useless within a year. I hoped it would age a lot faster than it did, but the world still hasn’t managed to work its way towards a usable vocabulary that defeats and escapes the downwards vectors of capitalism. All the terms are there, within the various sciences, they simply need to be put together vigorously. As for the text ahead, it was written not with academic rigor in mind, but with a deep wish to make simple truths directly obvious and available.

*****

Whether or not you agree with this fundamentally human perspective, I promise you your time here will not be wasted.

Many have asked, repeatedly, with either disgust or confusion, what good could ever come of the ongoing Spanish and Greek “popular uprisings”, the European Revolution, and the Wall Street Occupation. Long before there was ever a talk of lack of demands, there was talk about the lack of possible solutions. Even talk of a lack of possible outcomes.

What change can there be from powerless, futureless young people desperately massing together without a cause?

But that question doesn’t matter; it simply doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or says about this, what anyone computes and approximates because as long as people are doing it, it’s the most basic, most fundamental human response possible.

With lack of outcomes, and unnatural, abusive complexity encroaching from all directions, the only thing left to do is to soundly reject it. And that rejection – although not many saw it as dignified at first – is essentially dignified because it stems from a silent and primordial statement of human value.

In fact, it is not rejection, and it is not a statement; it is pure being – being unto itself, being in the name of values which are universal and go beyond the discursive paradigm of any particular situation. It is being that is self-referential in the way that natural rights and citizenship are self-referential, because they have self-nature – they are, no matter what, a reflection of higher good which transcends the barriers of history, political systems, and false justice enforced through threat of terror and death.

It doesn’t matter who does this, as long as it gets done. Your names and faces and place of origin, your skills and your age, the ways in which you may be defined by your lacks and faults, criticized for them, none of it matters while you’re standing up for pure, simple being, because the importance and beauty of being there – of occupying the public spaces which belong not to a narrative of centralized greed, but to one of refined human civilization – begins with the pouring of energy into space, opening it up, then flowing further into minds and opening those up.

Money is a virtualization of the basic energy flows of primary biological production, human work, and energy production. Primary biological production is the ability of plants and certain bacteria to create biological matter without consuming other life forms, to directly transform sunlight, heat, and physical substances from the air and earth into living tissue. Without primary production there can be no life, there can be no food and there can be no economy. Through design of ecosystems we can take advantage of primary production and channel it into ever-evolving webs of natural complexity – creating vibrant health and beauty – but money is generally a very poor design system, and disastrous when it comes to creating and sustaining life. As money also virtualizes work ability and intellect, it can and does separate human experience and human mental powers from primary production flows, even pitting them against each other, creating fundamental flaws in biological production and human life, leading to global social imbalances and aberrant human development that spirals down into avalanches of increased personal and social tension.

Occupy Wall Street can be seen as a basic, natural, global response to this fundamentally flawed state of things. The mindless segregation of life and energy flows from human consciousness is what led to the existence of the flowing crowds of Spain and Greece and Portugal and the rest of Europe. They have very little past and no apparent future, and as such cannot be understood through economic theory, although they are created by it. Fundamentally, human communities should cover the full spectrum of evolving life, from primary biological production, through innately collaborative social life, to consciousness and then mind.

Instead, the current state of things sees rural and urban areas feeding off of each other in production cycles that deplete the earth, social ties, and individual lives. The reason is simple – while they may appear to be separate and different communities, in fact they are only one community, its production and social flows stretching over very long distances. Capitalism speaks of competition, consumption, business, and trade as essential factors which create value, but the reality is that these are low level processes which only make sense between partially developed communities.

Trade ties two societies into one – it turns two societies that have been unsuccessful at internally designing their structure and fulfilling their needs into two interdependent pieces of one slightly more evolved whole. But this interdependence is always poorly designed itself, and it only leads to more and more aberrant development – loss of jobs, loss of life and work standards, loss of ecosystems in the search for a competitive edge – this is the same downwards spiral of destruction of value and life on all levels. Trade is only an example that is very dear to the “minds” of corporate economists the world over. In a low-level society, such as ours, consumption and business follow the same patterns and are ultimately more destructive several times over. Capitalism, by quantifying and virtualizing work, disengages it from its fundamental human potential and purpose, thereby reducing our interactions to transactions that are lossy, fearful, and antagonistic. This is friction, and friction generates heat. The friction of large masses of people and mass-produced goods is the inevitable heat death of capitalism. If heat-death isn’t a strong enough word for you, know that capitalism is simply a weak bully on a collision course with the mother of all forest fires. All the failures and abuses of capitalism are due to its fundamental inefficiency in dealing with energy flows, its unintelligent design, and its simple, pure weakness.

In a fundamentally good society, all functions are created with awareness that there is a human imperative and a life imperative – the both the life and potential of human beings and other beings are at stake, that the way we construct our society and cultivate our evolution is exactly what our destiny will be. Our destiny and that of countless generations to come, which, born in a place with no true avenues for human development, for the development of our innate strength and beauty, will be more and more stunted.

Primary production has to be channeled through intelligently designed, sustainable biological systems, resulting in higher complexity flows of matter and energy. Healthy and abundant food, clean and abundant energy, available at ground level – produced at the most basic level, not as the result of complicated and inefficient political-corporate systems. The highest expression of primary biological production is social usefulness, its ability to support higher levels of human existence. Social usefulness as a design quality and system value is the opposite of the friction and competition of capitalism. Thus, primary production is transformed into human value, it supports consciousness as an universal and fundamental factor of existence, of humanity, refinement and pleasure. And above consciousness comes the ultimate adaptive, knowing and governing structure of any society, the mind. Fully developed to its potential and power, it responds to surrounding systems and stressors while maintaining the fundamental values which are its actual substance – mind perfectly reflects and perfectly protects life.

Business is supposed to create value. It doesn’t.

Societies, culminating in the transcendent human mind, are what create and sustain value. Segregated urban/agrarian communities are supposed to lead to rapid technological and mental advancements by focusing certain kind of higher-level activities in a single, highly urbanized area, but the technological advances that happen in this way are almost completely separate from and unaware of the primacy of human life. Any value they create is purely related to form and formal functions, and mostly relegated to those places which already have value, and therefore can purchase more of it. This leads to towers of derivative value, layer upon layer of it, with no connection to primary production, human values and healthy, prosperous, and purposeful communities. By not cultivating full human beings, with consciousness and mental potentials that can transcend paradigms and solve fundamental issues, these urban accumulations of technological value are relegating their historical status to third-rate also-rans. And while that in itself doesn’t mean much, the loss of life and loss of potential of life which will result from it is the very definition of tragic – the classical meaning of tragedy refers to the fulfillment of that which is fundamentally wrong, to the detriment and ultimate destruction of fundamentally good human factors, which were present all along and could have turned the tide at almost any point if only they had been aware of and acted upon their inherent potential.

Our society never leads to problem solving, or even a preoccupation with problem solving. We are preoccupied with form, and the functions of our forms are only meant to aid in the consumption and production of more forms. This is the result of an entropic, almost morbid preoccupation with existence as a simple drive to fulfill desires, and it comes from the lack of cultivation of consciousness in our current society. Even architecture, one of our pursuits which is closest to pure form – is perennially caught in a form-function dichotomy – and cannot seem to reason its way towards an understanding of a fundamental human form, which would include beauty (a consciousness-enabled understanding of form transcending tension) and usefulness (a consciousness-enabled understanding of multiple functions as coalescing into a higher level of social/human purpose).

The full framework of understanding required for inter-disciplinary action is never given – the mere existence of people completely segregated into disciplines suggests that even the framework for wanting to solve problems rarely exists. Most of the time, we are not aware of the need for making things right – and it even seems to us that it is contradictory to the commonly held belief that a constant state of pressure is what leads to evolution in the first place. This is the backwards rationalizing of an entropic system whose race towards the unknown is fueled by the pressure of it own unconscious and unconscientious destruction. Even when someone does awaken enough to want to solve the riddle of the state of things, our understanding of ourselves and the world, being caught somewhere between derivative forms and derivative desires, does not allow for it.

Business then, is very ineffective consumption and even more ineffective in the creation of high level human values and human existence. The very fact that human existence depends on competitive consumption practices and their accompanying virtualized mathematical models is ridiculous, laughable, and murderous. It murders life in the most direct way, and it keeps consciousness and mental powers from evolving – the very things that can challenge the death built into the system. That can overturn its ineffectiveness.

Life cannot depend on an entropic process. It’s a deadly logical flaw.

The human mind isn’t meant to build a slightly better gizmo. Wall Street will have you believe that business finances people with ideas. But ideas going through countless business and manufacturing loops, energy being lost at every one of them, is not what the mind is about. As modern wisdom goes, it’s said that you could not have the current level of human development without massive urban concentrations. But even putting aside the fact that the way we sustain these urban centers is not developed at all, that our agriculture and social practices and political process are all primitive and result in a very low level of human existence, human interconnection, and friendly care for each other – putting all this aside, we are still left with a fallacy. It’s not the crude massing of forms – urban forms and processes – that leads to mental development, but focus on the mind itself.

Corporations are the shadow of a shadow of a shadow, drawing virtualized profits from virtualized transactions with virtualized people. There can be no community where human time is divided between corporations and entertainment services. There is no citizenship there, no natural rights, no real room for consciousness to evolve, embracing all other human potential. Freedom of expression, creativity and design are counted in monetary value, in a mindless squabble where friendly understanding is reduced to the insane act of having to sell each other things – or worse – knowledge and education – just to survive.

Our countless failures in every field, and in the field of putting it all together and solving the world’s issues, shows that the focus is not on the mind, not on the world, not on humans, but rather on the process of urban existence, consumption, accumulation of status and goods. For all those of you having a knee-jerk reaction at this attack on some of your favorite things, I’ll simply have to add that an evolved consciousness and a strong mind trump all these phenomena of modern life, in the most pleasurable and natural way possible.

Community, small or large, rural or urban, endowed or not with beautiful architecture and a variety of goods, can only solve its problems and the world’s problems by focusing on mind, biological life, and human existence as being the fundamental theoretical units of our understanding. By focusing on consciousness and mind, we can grow it to high levels anywhere. Ultra-high capital science is only needed in a desperate scramble to offset the issues created by our fundamentally flawed, entropic design, and ultra-high capital science could be much more easily sustained by a world without fundamental flaws. It would correspond to a human imperative instead of a consumption imperative.

The powers of the human mind, modern or otherwise, are not a result of capitalism or technological improvements. Never be fooled into believing that.

Our creative avenues, from art to design to entertainment, from journalism to entrepreneurship to social activism, from science to construction to ecology, from film to documentary to intimate individual life, are all flawed, because they have evolved, as we have, in a system that has no direct contact with humanity. Our creative avenues are derivative, endlessly derivative and frail, at odds with giving birth to answers, or beauty, or even a cry for help.

The reason? We are so remote from direct, inclusive understanding, from leaps of faith and intuition, that we cannot comprehend ourselves as a whole and as part of a whole. A theory of solving everything can only start with the basis of what it means to be human, and what it means to be alive. These are things that have self-nature, whereas starting from the current system and trying to rearrange its pieces in some meaningful way cannot work – very few of those pieces have any self-meaning.

Mostly they are derivatives. Financial derivatives are only one sort of derivative – a derivative, of any kind, is what happens when unprincipled, weak men of little cultivated human potential are set loose upon the world for several generations. It’s an evolutionary process at the level of form – the form of the world is changed so much that it becomes completely unrelated to its original life-giving function.

Society has the duty of directly and immediately addressing its fundamental problems, and in doing so eventually reaching the highest level of human development and understanding. Any society that doesn’t do that will eventually crumble under its own weight – the weight of generations that do not fulfill their potential. For a society to stand the test of time, and reach permanence, it needs to tackle the ever renewing flow of basic biology, by educating the inflows, helping them evolve, and in this way avoiding the build-up of tension and opposites. The entropic nature of any society that doesn’t transform its low-level biological flows leads to ingrained systemic destruction of value on all possible levels, then change through revolution, or a system cleanse through war.

In this sense, Occupy Wall Street and the European Revolution are an attempt to stop the destruction of value through a spontaneous shaking up of that biological human level, which right now, on a global level, is stale and fearful and fragile and has been the target of systematic abuse.

Many of us are born in what are known as democratic republics. A republic guarantees the primacy of fundamental individual rights. There is no majority that can ever take that away. A republic understands the mental potential of the individual as being the basic building block of human society, and the life of the individual as being an inviolable asset. No thought or majority decision can violate structures of life and mind, because thoughts and decisions are below such structures. A democracy allows for full expression, and for uninhibited decision regarding one’s own destiny.It does not allow for power over another’s life or mind. An individual must cultivate his understanding of things so that he can express democratic choice without making the mistake of threatening the fundamental rights of others through that choice. The choice of the majority over a minority can only happen when the decision does not threaten individual rights, or the fundamental values of a democracy or a republic. And the result is that no cultivated individual would take such decisions, and indeed such decisions can only happen when uncultivated minds are exposed to desperate situations. We must not say that we are right because a 51% majority can rule over any 49% minority – the history of war has proven that one to be wrong many times over – but because both our natural rights and our democratic process has been tampered with and destroyed by a minority which has long stopped upholding the ideals of a democratic republic.

That we are a majority is a good thing, something to bolster our courage, but what we want is in line with the ideals of justice, not with dominating the individual rights of a minority. We have no relation to their rights – their rights are far from the issue – since they have no right to tamper with the lawful processes which create prosperity for all. It is good that we are a majority, that 99% of people are in a similar situation, whether they realize it or not, but the situation is economically and socially deadly, so it should not take a majority to speak up against it. Fundamental rights allow even the smallest minority of one to speak up against things that seek to destroy the balance of a democratic republic.

So do not pride yourself simply on majority, but on the truth of the justice you seek. On the other hand, our society has a glorious track record of ignoring truth, so make sure you pride yourself on majority as well.

A citizen is inherently part of a community. A citizen is important through his potential, all his innate human potential – the powers that human beings are capable of developing – but equally important, he is the fundamental unit of that community. With a breakdown of the community, there is a certain chance that a human might continue living with his internal structure unharmed, but a community’s structure is completely destroyed once you break down the citizen.

If, with courage, you win the battle for people’s consciousness, and then, with unrelenting focus, you win the battle of minds for the right to plan and enact a future, then there is a chance you will see the day when you can change the physical make-up of reality into something fundamentally right, fundamentally healthy, and fundamentally human – with no glaring flaws of design and understanding, no overcomplicated yet underachieving structures, no giant leaks at every corner, wasting huge, murderous percentages of our life-flows and potentials, and then damming them, locking them up altogether when the flow reaches the right point in the rigged system.

Compromise will have to come from the government, in the form of an adaptation to human values. An adaptation to the necessary ideal of citizenship as the functional unit that drives all processes within a society. This is called transcendence. America was founded by humans who transcended all the mental and moral limitations of the world they lived in. They opened up space, created a complex civilization in it, and took care to imbue it with the ideals that would create more transcendent men in generations to come, men who would refresh the values and processes of their civilization.

This transcendence is merely the wisdom that comes with truly being human, open and enduring over a certain period of time. Have it, it is more and more yours with every day you spend opening up squares and cities and souls and minds.

An entropic system erodes all life and all values. It erodes ecosystems, it erodes communities, and then it erodes vision and hope, and finally, when all true mental power is gone from the system, and all that is left are impotent derivatives, there also lingers idea that, once, greatness used to be possible. And with that idea, all that is left is the most simple and biological of courage, and the only way I could describe this courage would be by saying it is akin to that of cell colonies divided by toxic space, yet still fearlessly projecting the greatness of the natural immensity they once came from.

This is the courage of Occupy Wall Street and the European Revolution. Perhaps it is not yet high minded, and it may not be fully clean and refined, not beyond the reproach of those who can afford perfect formal cleanliness to offset the horrendous dirt of the jobs they perform in this world. It may not be calm and composed, and therefore worthy of our neutered politics and sterile, homicidal military-industrial complex.

It is a strange and unexpected courage, confused, but it has a heart which is beating. First with angst, then with courage, and now with hope – which, when you look at how hopelessly misguided our civilization-building efforts have been for the past century, and centuries before that, when you look at massing police forces and then at how small and fragile each of these people are, the so-called 99% – this hope might seem ridiculous.

Don’t be fooled by sound-bytes. There is no 1% and 99%. There is no inclusion and exclusion, there is no economic reform that will safely and painlessly save this mess. There are no clean-cut demands to be made, because there isn’t a system currently capable of enacting them. And there can be no talk of the opposite of capitalism being socialism, when capitalism itself is so morally bankrupt that the only thing which can oppose it is desperate, raging humanism.

A friend who almost died in the Romanian revolution of 1989 told me that, after having been captured and taken outside the city during his second day of being on the streets, as he was literally being trampled and bludgeoned to death by soldiers, the many tens of thousands of workers of Bucharest finally came out into the streets. this saved him, as it forced the soldiers to abandon the beating, leaving him with a severely cracked skull and seconds away from his death. The way he recounted it to me is, he can never truthfully think of that time in terms other than — anyone not participating that day, anyone not coming out into the streets, was for his death, and for the death of many others, and death in general, whereas each of those who did march, saved him, and saved many others. I thought of this as I watched Spanish women being beaten by police, hit over their faces with riot sticks, and at that moment, and for a long time afterwards, I wished I could have been there and taken every one of those hits in their place.

I still do now, as I remember, because human pain is also transcendent, and therefore, any society that has no direct and immediate solutions for the homeless man living down the street as winter approaches, but has only sly, abusive rhetoric whose projected effects are measured in decades, is simply not a human society.

It isn’t human.

Beyond demands, further global action is needed in the same spirit and with the same sense of immediacy that the Wall Street Occupation has. Turn this into direct action democracy, E-democracy, turn this into a social justice platform capable of homing in on any level of injustice with massive multi-regional force, turn this into pledges from both social groups and local government, turn it into local currency, into community creation, into support and creation of the kind of economic and social platforms that citizenship requires. Turn it into a virtual platform for the creation of justice and prosperity and human values, leveraging the many skills and potentials and situations that everyone, literally, everyone everywhere has. This is open source prosperity, the only kind there is.

While broadscale economic reform needs to happen, it’s much more important to simply the massive destruction of value to cease immediately – with no more bailouts followed by seizing of property, both on a personal scale, with home foreclosures and massive job loss, and on a national scale, with sale of historical and social assets, as is happening in Greece.

There are current reforms and actions that can be enacted by our governments with immense and immediate effects on all levels of society. This could be done by transcending the relationship between debt and infrastructure, forgetting conversations on debt altogether and focusing on building infrastructure with high social relevance. Add to this a transition to an international model of cooperation instead of coercion, replacing planned international interdependency based on debt with a higher trust model, and understand that even in the stock market, planned trust is more valuable than planned debt, since the stock market is so volatile when it comes to global human factors.

But even working within the debt model, there are continents of people young and old, students, workers and entrepreneurs and farmers, intellectuals and scientists that can rebuild a functioning economy given the right freedom and support. Even capitalism can work out when it is conscientious and happens within the framework of a democratic republic, not that of a corporate dictatorship. Capitalism and corporatism are very different animals.

Despite the inherent design flaws of our current system, it could still be more productive, gentler on ecosystems and human beings, and ultimately result in more capital/monetary gain for all involved. Making it work that way is essential to gaining and spreading the resources needed for building fundamentally human communities, on all levels. And the only way of getting government to act in a sane, constitutional and human manner is to keep protesting, keep occupying, keep opening up spaces, keep being human and standing up for rational human ideals. This in itself must continue to grow, but we must also build a direct democracy platform, and use it to keep the system in check and enforce positive changes.

Just as importantly, we must build a roadmap of the knowledge and actions required for the creation of self-sustaining and highly evolved communities, and the way such communities can positively influence the world around them. This combination of human activism and occupation, massively direct and focused democracy using virtual platforms mixed with immediate change, and the building of fundamentally healthy communities that support citizenship and take advantage of the full potential of biological and mental flows – is the only thing that can truly change the world. Without direct democratic action platforms, communities cannot positively change the conditions around them, and become vulnerable to government and global factors. Without building communities, the existing global factors are the only ones we can interact with – and that is a losing game.

I will be working on this knowledge roadmap, organizing virtual groups for the evolution of solutions. And I will try and wish to be there to physically and peacefully take every baton hit and pepper spray shot, which now seem to be mostly aimed at women. My physical structure can take them, because it is human, strong.

If you do the task before you always adhering to strict reason with zeal and energy and yet with humanity, disregarding all lesser ends and keeping the divinity within you pure and upright, as though you were even now faced with its recall – if you hold steadily to this, staying for nothing and shrinking from nothing, only seeking in each passing action a conformity with nature and in each word and utterance a fearless truthfulness, then the good life shall be yours. And from this course no man has the power to hold you back.
– Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Concentration and equanimity conquer all things.

Luca Oprea was on site for the anti-Chevron resistance in Pungesti, then protests in Bucharest and the occupation of a government building. Follow him at https://twitter.com/LucaOprea. Read other articles by Luca.