by Ray Jason
“Sailing away from it all” remains one of the most alluring fantasies in our modern world. The idea of abandoning the misnamed “real world” and escaping to the South Seas on a sailing boat still intoxicates millions of people. But it is not the fantasy of the sea gypsy life that entices me. It is the reality of it.
Far out on the Wide Waters, it is imperative to recognize things as they are rather than as you might wish them to be. Delusions can swiftly become deadly. The Sea has taught me this lesson so convincingly, that I now perceive it as part of my core being. Fortunately, this lesson in caution has spilled over into my assessment of many other aspects of life.
The result has been that I believe that grave prospects are looming just beyond the horizon for the Human Project. But instead of just directing attention to these possible catastrophes, my mission has been to share my idea of a viable escape option for the disruptions ahead. I call my plan The Sea Gypsy Tribe, and I discussed it thoroughly in my previous essay which is located about an inch below this one.
That article described several emergencies that could affect the planet. It included such grim possibilities as famine, nuclear war, power grid failure and pandemics. Many other equally apocalyptic scenarios could have also been included. I then proposed that small bands of sailors on self-reliant, ocean-capable sailboats could weather all of these disasters far better than any other option. My belief is that the mobility and self-sufficiency qualities of offshore sailboats make them ideal survival pods.
At this point, let me again emphasize that I hope that the world keeps slouching away from Bethlehem without any Armageddon event occurring! However, if there is some sort of global catastrophe, and the Sea Gypsy Tribes manage to survive, they will be faced with a momentous philosophical decision. The typical reflex response would be to just rebuild the current world paradigm as best they can with whatever is left of the 21st Century Techno-Industrial civilization. I perceive this as a – let me find a strong enough word here – ah yes - as a CATACLYSMIC mistake.
I emphatically suggest that all of the foundational structures of the modern world do not combine to produce a planet that is beneficial for humans or animals or the living systems that sustain us. Instead, the only winners in the contemporary arrangement are the very rich and the very powerful. In my work I refer to these domination addicts as The Malignant Overlords.
By wielding the control mechanisms of Religion, Nationalism, Patriarchy and Capitalism they have managed to shape a world where billions of people go to bed hungry each night, where human guinea pigs must test the killing and maiming power of the latest military-industrial complex weapons systems, where hundreds of millions of entitled people defecate in water cleaner than any water that billions of others have ever drunk, where millions live in ghetto squalor while handfuls live in gated splendor. Good luck trying to convince me that any survivors should retool a society that tries to replicate such obscene injustice!
Instead, I propose a vision that I call Humanity 3.0. If one defines the hunter/gatherers as Humanity 1.0 and the city-dwelling civilized agriculturists as Humanity 2.0, then the wiser version would be a hybrid of the two strains that combines the best qualities of each approach. I have a catch-phrase that describes this more evolved humanity – “Mozart without the Mushroom Cloud!”
If I were a sea gypsy Tribal Elder speaking at a Council of Deciding, here are some of the suggestions that I would propose. Note that I say “suggestions” and not “commandments.” My desire is to inspire and not to impose.
· HUMANITY’S NICHE – The elemental flaw of the civilized version of humanity is that we now perceive ourselves not as human animals but as human “beings.” More importantly, we believe that this differentiation implies that we are superior to all other creatures and are entitled to rule over them. The geometry of Life is not a pyramid with us at the apex as gods. It is a web with humankind as one strand amongst many, many others. Our sense of superiority should be replaced with an understanding of our interconnectedness with the creatures of the land, the sea and the sky.
· AFTER THE UNRAVELING, CHURCHES SHOULD NOT BE REVIVED - Many of the most vicious acts in human history have been committed in the name of some god. For hundreds of thousands of years humans flourished without monotheistic, tyrannical sky gods. They did not annihilate each other because they had no holy books to dictate morals for them. And they did not lack for spiritual enrichment. They found it in Nature and in the Universe.
· STATE RHYMES WITH HATE – One of the major institutions for diminishing freedom and for inciting the “us against them” aggression, which has haunted humanity since the arrival of Civilization, is the nation state. For tens of thousands of generations humankind flourished without this domineering social structure. But since national borders arrived on the scene, hundreds of millions of people have been massacred through wars and genocides. A re-birthed humanity does not need any more of the “my country right or wrong” lunacy.
· GROWTH HAS BOUNDARIES – Only someone intellectually challenged can fail to recognize that you cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. That expansion requires resource extraction which has economic, ecological and spiritual consequences. The several dozen remaining indigenous tribes scattered around the planet, still realize that Earth is our mother to be cherished - and not a commodity to be exploited and annihilated.
· CAPITALISM BREEDS CATASTROPHE – Any system which elevates profit over both people and the planet will end up being a disaster for both. When greed is not just perceived as good, but as a god, the consequences are bound to be horrible. Common sense suggests that we should dismantle the Capitalist system which only enriches a tiny elite, while it destroys the environment upon which our very survival depends.
· MORE TECHNOLOGY CAN’T REPAIR TOO MUCH TECHNOLOGY – The Luddites in England and the last Samurai in Japan were probably correct in their crusade against the seductive charms of uber-technology. The over 400 nuclear power plants around the world are a great example of high-tech that is also extremely high risk. Plus the plethora of personal electronic devices has greatly enabled the ability of the Malignant Overlords to keep the populous distracted and under surveillance. On the other hand, ocean-capable sailboats are a perfect example of low or appropriate technology with profound usefulness. They are a path across to “the old ways.” Or as I like to say, “The road to the future leads to the past!”
Hopefully, these last two essays have helped alert more people to the possible risks that are out there just beyond the event horizon. And even more importantly, my wish is that I have alerted some of you to a very viable method of preparing for even the direst of eventualities. The compact little life raft on the deck of AVENTURA is the perfect metaphor for this. I hope that I never need it, but I am damned happy that it is there.