by Hugo Salinas Price, Plata:
The disturbing fact regarding human life on planet Earth is that we are, all of us, and I include myself, living the life of lunatics, because we are all out of touch with Reality. I except from this condition, the few remaining tribes of primitive people living in the remote jungles of places such as Borneo, the Amazon river basin and other similar locations.
Some few humans, among whose small number I count myself, know that this is our condition, but the vast majority of humanity are not aware of the dire situation in which we live.
One result of the collective insanity which prevails in our modern world is that it has allowed the very worst of the lunatics, possessed by destructive impulses, to rise to dominant positions in human societies.
Whether a few of us humans are aware of our deplorable condition of living out of touch with Reality – the definition of lunacy – or not, this is the situation in which we have to live.
The prevailing condition under which humanity lives today – the loss of contact with Reality – began at the time of the Renaissance of Learning, in the 16th Century. It began with a revolt against the Catholic Church of Rome, which during more than one thousand years had been in control of the great “narrative” regarding human life, that held that the condition of human life under Creation, is unalterable. What the Church narrative held, in this regard, was not a religious dogma, but a simple statement of fact, which remains a fact today.
The English Puritans of the 17th Century rose up in revolt against the Church and disregarded the fact of life postulated by the Church. As an example of the Puritan flight from Reality, we have the celebration of Thanksgiving: the Puritans who arrived in North America in 1620, decided to adopt an unrealistic policy in their social organization, where each man would contribute to a social stock of food, from which each family would be granted a portion for their sustenance.
This policy, essentially Communistic, was a flight from Reality and had disastrous consequences: after the first Autumn harvest, it became evident that the Puritans were facing starvation, and a change of policy was imperative. Under the force of circumstances, the Puritans resolved that henceforth, each man should work for himself and his own family. Not surprisingly, at the next harvest there was abundant food. In celebration of this event, the Puritans gave thanks to the Lord, for his benevolence – the first Thanksgiving. The Puritans had been forced to correct the mistake of adopting an unrealistic policy.
By the 18th Century, the Church had lost control of the “narrative” regarding the unalterable condition of human life. More and more thinkers began to feel quite certain that human life could be improved by taking thought and imposing adequate measures; and this confidence in the possibility of improving human life found support in the vast increase in scientific discoveries, which were daily impacting upon society.
In the 19th Century, the novels of Jules Verne, a Frenchman, convinced young people that the future of humanity was very bright indeed, made possible by the miraculous advances of Science. Other thinkers began to make plans for the establishment of improved societies, or even totally altered societies – pre-eminent among them, of course, Karl Marx.
The fundamental statement of the Catholic Church, that the condition of humanity under Creation is unalterable, came to be regarded, as it is regarded today, as a statement that unfairly favors the rich against the poor, those who think as against the unthinking; as a cruel statement that some must starve while others gorge, and that some must freeze to death while others wine and dine in palatial comfort.
The idea that personal charity should operate to alleviate the suffering of the poor was discarded as ineffectual: in the new, improved version of the State, it was the State that would look after the poor. The wealthy approved of this, as it allowed them to indulge in the enjoyment of their wealth, relieved of any humane responsibility regarding their fellow humans.
In brief, in this 21st Century, we live in a world totally disconnected from Reality, where we all – willingly or not – must take part in efforts to establish a more perfect and just world, and repeatedly see that those efforts lead to even worse conditions than those they sought to remedy.
However, as I stated in my first paragraph, there are still some small, primitive societies in existence in the world, living in the remaining jungles of our planet, who are quite sane; they live their daily lives just as their ancestors did many centuries ago. Why have they remained sane – ignorant perhaps, but sane – while the rest of the world has gone mad? Why do these societies live in peace, while we are going mad?
The huge mass of accumulated historic information which is available to us, gives us no answer to these questions. We must resort to an understanding of the nature of the puzzle, cutting through statistics, which are historic in nature.
History tells us what has happened, but what we want to know is why things happened as they did, and how things might have taken place differently.
During the past 500 years, humanity has been in revolt against the dictum of the Catholic Church, that the condition of humanity under Creation is unalterable – which, I repeat, is not a religious statement, but a simple statement of fact.
For 500 years, humanity has been under the spell of the idea that human nature can be modified to serve the social interest rather than its own selfish ends, and that society can thus be transformed into a better, more just society.
This spell of idealism is a revolt against Reality; experience has shown that it is not effective and leads to worse conditions than those it wished to correct.