Three magnificent Tall Ships sailed into the Archipelago of Bliss yesterday and anchored only 200 yards away from AVENTURA. I consider the sailing ship humanity’s finest blend of form and function - or as I prefer to describe it – beauty and purpose. So, seeing such majestic examples of this artistry had my heart astir.
Because the evening light was insufficient for my camera, I decided to row over early this morning to snap some photos. But one ship had left just after dawn, and another had upped anchor and was headed out to sea as I comically attempted to catch her. However, I was able to get this nice shot of the remaining beauty.*******
Rowing through the dreamy mid-winter tropical sunshine back to my little ship, I had a sudden realization. If I could rewind the film of my life’s movie, I would not go to college. Instead, I would find a Tall Ship, where I could apprentice myself and eventually work my way up to Captain.
My lifespan has more or less paralleled the renaissance of classic sailing vessels. In my youth there were no Tall Ship parades or festivals that I ever knew about. So there were obviously not many captains’ positions available. But now if you search Wikipedia you will discover that there are over 225 Tall Ships scattered about Planet Ocean.
Some of them are training ships for the Merchant Marine academies of various countries. Others are excursion vessels for adventure travelers. Some represent various cities with nautical heritages, and serve as floating goodwill emissaries. And many are “semester-at-sea” sailing ships. I would probably toss my sea bag aboard one of these floating classrooms.
However, given my passion for understanding the world and sharing that evolving awareness, I undoubtedly would not be a typical captain. The sea literature that I was so fond of in my formative years – think Conrad and Stevenson and London – was full of eccentric ship masters whose decades of direct contact with unbridled Nature and men in traumatic circumstances provided them with very unconventional attitudes about Life.
So, I would have a great legacy to fall back upon when I was criticized for trying to pollute the minds of young people with my radical ideas. Indeed, Jack London’s classic, The Sea Wolf, is a tale of a worldly captain who expands the horizons and philosophy of a narrow-minded city dweller, who he rescued after he fell overboard from a San Francisco ferry.
This pleasant image of commanding a handsome Tall Ship, filled with young people anxious to experience a very different world OUT THERE, enchanted me enough that I decided to explore it in this essay.
Typically, a Captain will give a welcome and warning speech to greet the students and to remind them that they are now in an environment far more dangerous than what they are used to. After doing this, I would let everything “settle in” for a week during which they would take classes in the normal high school curriculum as well as in seamanship and navigation. Then it would be time to introduce them to the Captain’s Class, which might more accurately be entitled “Subversive Ideas 101.” That first lecture might go something like this.
Hello everyone. You are all looking terrific. Already I can see how well you are responding to this life of Sea and Sun and Sky and Stars. Bravo! Our format for this evening’s session will be my short lecture followed by lots of questions and answers and discussion. My goal is to be the catalyst for a wide-ranging and free-wheeling conversation between all of us.
Let’s begin by clarifying the purpose of education. My belief is that its true mission is not to pump you full of historical facts and boring dates, but to teach you how to THINK CRITICALLY. The great poet Walt Whitman had a perfect five word synopsis for what this should entail. He counseled everyone to: “Question much - and obey little!”
In order to persuade you tonight of the need to think critically and to deeply examine the world around us, I will defend two significant propositions. The first is that we have been lied to about almost everything in the past. And the second is that this deliberate deception is just as prevalent in the present.
Fortunately, most of your daily curriculum is comprised of studies that are not subject to interpretation or distortion. Your math and grammar and celestial navigation calculations are all indisputable. It is when we delve into the realm of human affairs that falsehood and manipulation arise. More specifically, I am referring to what I call PREM history – as in Political, Religious, Economic and Military history.
We are taught that the Human Story has been a tale of ceaseless improvement, and that great men made wise decisions to insure the betterment of our species. Yes, we are instructed, that there have been villains along the way, but largely it has been an ascent towards noble progress. Whenever, I hear the human condition described in such idealistic terms, a wonderful word from British street slang leaps to mind – BOLLOCKS! This essentially translates to “what a load of garbage!”
PREM history has not been a cavalcade of heroic, enlightened men nudging Humanity upward through the strength of their vision and character. Instead, it has been an unending trail of tears and violence and injustice as powerful men strive to oppress everyone else. It has indeed been “rule by the few” and “might makes right!”
This is not the version of history that you find in your textbooks, and I can tell from the expressions on your faces that you are shocked by my analysis. But it gets even more surprising. That’s because this dreadful inequality began with the introduction of what is widely perceived as one of Humankind’s crowning achievements –Agriculture!
Sedentary –stay in one place agriculture – began only about 10,000 years ago. Prior to that, for at least 10,000 generations, Homo Sapiens was a species of itinerant hunter/gatherers. We lived in small tribes where everyone knew each other and the common good was the highest priority. Everyone could forage and find shelter and build a fire. Self-reliance was a hallmark of this type of life.
But when Capital A Agriculture arrived, dependency swiftly replaced independence. Soon villages became towns and towns became cities. Then Division of Labor reared its ugly head. Suddenly, individuals were no longer self-sufficient. The wheat grinder relied on the farmer who relied on the plow-maker. Division of Labor quickly led to a division of society into the few who ruled and the vast majority who were ruled.
Soon the most manipulative and ruthless psychopaths snared the reins of power through hierarchal governmental systems. These control junkies were soon aided by the monotheistic, patriarchal religions with their sky gods. Religious leaders could provide perfect cover for the tyrannical policies of any ruler by claiming that it was god’s will that this pharaoh or emperor or sultan be in charge.
Relentlessly, down the centuries, wealth and power were transferred to fewer and fewer people. These Political and Religious elites condemned most of humanity to a life as an Economic serf. And, if these people rebelled, the Military would crush their uprisings. The PREM hierarchy now had a stranglehold on the planet. This led to a social structure drowning in atrocity. I could name dozens, but here is a handful of disgusting evils that such top-down rule has imposed upon the world:
· Subordination of Women
· Destruction of Nature
Occasionally, as the human caravan stumbled forward, there would be a glimmer of hope for the Common Man - A Magna Carta or a Gutenberg printing press or the 18th century democracies. But always the powers that be, who I prefer to describe as The Malignant Overlords, found a way to co-opt these movements and retain an astonishing amount of control.
Our history books teach us that our foundational principles of Agriculture and Civilization have been wonderful for all of us. But in fact they have been beneficial to only a few of us, while they have been catastrophic for most of us. Our historians have lied to us about our past. Napoleon realized this long ago when he said, “History is a series of lies that we agree upon.”
Unfortunately, we are still being lied to. But they are more masterful in their methods of doing so. One of the movies that we will be showing onboard in the next few weeks is called “Wag the Dog.” It is a perfect example of how modern spin doctors – otherwise known as highly paid liars – can cleverly distort the truth.
They told us that cigarette smoking would not lead to health problems and early death. They told us that they would find ways to safely store nuclear waste. They told us that they were not spying on our phone calls and emails. They told us that moving good paying jobs overseas would be great for the economy. They told us the 2008 bank bailouts were necessary to save Main Street, but they only bloated Wall Street.
So, here is a summary of my position that I will leave you with before we open the deck up for questions. The “history” that we have been told is true and objective, is in fact a litany of lies that The Malignant Overlords have used to justify their greed and malice down through the generations. They lied to us in the 17th century and they still lie to us today, on the 17th of January, 2016.
My sincere hope is that by the end of this cruise you will have sharpened your critical thinking skills - and perhaps even more importantly- that you will have developed a first-class BOLLOCKS detector!