Monday, September 5, 2016

Race and the modern world

What you are about to read is a science fiction story in reverse order, in which you'll be introduced to the Time Artists and my contact with them, Arthur, before you know who or what they are.

"Come with me," said Arthur, and before I could give informed consent I had already come with him to a vast hall that can best be described as "somewhere."  When I say the hall was vast I mean it was big beyond my power to measure.  The walls looked like those of a gothic cathedral, columns streaming upwards and arching across the ceiling, but they looked miles high, the ceiling at cloud level. The distance between where I stood and the walls was maybe ten, twenty miles in any direction. There were crowds of people, worshippers perhaps, moving over the ornate marble floor, miles away, looking like ants.  A circular table in the apparent center of this floor space was occupied by fifteen Time Artists, appearing like a council of wizards.  Again I wondered, as I had with Arthur's appearance, if this was a show for me, based perhaps on their detecting my secret wish to be a wizard rather than a superannuated nightclub performer.

One of the Time Artists had obvious authority, judging by his bigger build, higher chair and taller pointed hat.  He gestured to me to sit in an empty chair next to him, which I did.

"Greetings, Harry the Human," said the imposing figure, "I am Fred, Director of the Time Artists in District 32."

"Fred?" I asked stupidly; "District 32?," I continued, stupidly.

Fred cracked a brief smile.  Great bunches of gray hair flowed out below the brim of his hat.  His face, seeming both old and young, looked like it was peering through several dimensions.

"Our names are for you convenience," he explained, "and as for District 32, that encompasses your galaxy and several others nearby."

"'Fred' is an informal name form in our culture, connoting little authority," I offered, emboldened at this point to speak to the Time Artists as, potentially, an equal.

"Maybe we have a sense of humor, too, Harry the Human."  At this all the Time Artists at the table chuckled.  I stared at Fred.

"Harry, we've had a chance to review your revelations about major political figures of Earth, and we feel, tentatively, that if you show some cognizance of the constraints that weigh on us, you might be able to assist us in running the time/history continuum in your sector of District 32."

"Gee, thanks!" I gambled and was much relieved to see the Time Artist's guffaw and nod approvingly.

"We have decided to give you an assignment requiring your telepathic powers, but you will need to discuss the relevant issues with us first.  Are you interested?"

"Yes, I'm very interested!"  That's what you say when expressing lack of interest might be the last thing you ever express.

"It's about the Chinese and the Russians," continued Fred, "America's two great rivals."


"We are tracking the interplay between the three powers and we see something distinctive arising."

Fred looked at me for a while before asking, "What comes to mind, Harry, when you think about the most important difference between American society versus Russia's and China's?"

"Race," I responded.  The Time Artists nodded and I realized they had already perused my head on this subject.

"Indeed," Fred resumed,  "The Russians and Chinese can roughly identify their respective nations with a relatively uniform race: Slavic people comprise most of Russia, and people identifying as Chinese comprise most of China.  Though the terms "Slavic" and "Chinese" include a variety of sub-groups, the unifying racial identity of each population with its country is strong, compared to the racial identity of the United States, which is too weak to be a unifying force, as you might expect in an empire of many races. Confusion arises here, since the states making up America are, technically, voluntary members of a republic, not conquered peoples.  American blacks are the exception, since many of their ancestors were captured, empire style. They do not see their race as the national race, but in this they are like the many types of "white," "brown" and "yellow" people who also have no image of a national race to identify with. America needs a few hundred more years of intermarriage to produce a national race, but don't expect that process to begin promptly in a culture formed by the British, who are fussy about their mates.  Harry, in your view what does this portend for relations between the three 'super-powers'? We know you've thought about this."

"I have," I responded.  "The United States' lack of a central racial identity makes it vulnerable.  Humankind's races formed over thousands of years with specific purposes, if UCLA anthropologist Jared Diamond is right.  Diamond maintains that racial awareness is essentially sexual.  To contain and promote distinctive mixes of strengths, both inherited and learned, along with a culture designed to be closely compatible and supportive of its lifestyle and dovetailing with the local environment, races developed and promoted sexual attraction between their members, discouraging mixed-race mating as a threat to competitive status.  

"Modern nation-states were created mostly to reflect and serve the primary races that founded them. So Sweden has racially identifiable Scandinavians.  Bulgaria has many of Bulgar descent, etc.  But America was designed to contain many races, even though most of its founders were from one race.  While America was growing and becoming dramatically more powerful, the ability to draw on the disparate talents of many racial groups was a major advantage.  But as America approaches the depletion of its windfall, it is turning inward and questioning itself."   

"We have doubts, Harry," interjected He of the High Pointed Hat,      "about the ability of American culture to survive without its surplus, as that culture was fashioned with consumption in mind."

I looked at the Time Artists for a moment, then ventured, "America's attempt to improve race-relations has serious limitations." I paused, not wanting to end up lecturing this high council, but Fred nodded and said, "Please continue, Harry."

"Thank you," I said, aiming to stay polite in consideration of the vat of molten lead Arthur had, the day before, threatened to drop me in. "Liberals can be faulted for overlooking the sexual aspects of what we call 'integration,' the legally mandated placement of racial groups with a tense history in close proximity to each other, often in residential, recreational, educational and work settings.  Diamond's evolutionary model is corroborated by the American experience with mandated integration, which frequently produces sexual tensions resulting in behaviors ranging from violence and alienation on one side to the dissolving of racial boundaries, both emotional and sexual, on the other.  The latter leads to mixed-race children and ultimately the creation of new races, not historically a bad thing, since such integration processes have contributed to the formation of everyone. Contemporary people, however, as the outlines of past cultures are worn away by modernity, often experience intense anxieties about fundamental change, and it's not enough to throw them together and say, "Figure this out."  Our government, which forms the pressure cooker of integration, is silent on its dynamics, offering only centuries old Enlightenment generalizations as guidance.  Liberalism is essentially an economic theory, not a psychological one.  Economics can accurately describe certain aspects of life, but its description of race relations is incomplete and has produced a liberal mindset that is almost Puritanical in its refusal to acknowledge the role of sexuality in race relations and evolutionary history.   Humans tend to have half-theories like this, because much of the time they can’t handle talking and thinking about the true nature of things.”

"What about the role of conservatives in America's race relations?" Fred asked.

"Conservatives," I answered, "have avoided discussion of the same sexual dynamics that liberals have.  Basically no one anywhere is discussing race in a rational way because sexual psychology is not considered."

"Ok," said Fred, "Let's proceed to the dramatic and abrupt future that awaits your species and indeed all of earth's biosphere."

Fred paused and looked at me, waiting for me to intuit his direction.

"You mean the bio-engineering and artificial intelligence revolutions?"

"I do indeed," said Fred.

"Well," I began, "those revolutions, which are in their preliminary stages, spell the end of traditional races and cultures, as they involve re-engineering humans from the chromosomal level, and re-engineering human cultures too.  In a couple of years there won't be much point in agitating for your own race or culture in competition with other races and cultures.  More likely, traditional races will need to band together to resist the planned obsolescence of the species as we've known it."

"You also have a theory," Fred interjected, "which we've read on your blog, that the 'managers' of humanity, as you call them, are manipulating people of all nations and races into a global war, the purpose of which is to wreak devastation and chaos, to serve as cover for the introduction of a synthetic human genotype as well as new software-based human cultures.  Inserting a new humanity under cover of war would avoid the appearance of a hostile purge of the old order, as the new order could be presented as the savior of the old, offering for instance cures for diseases introduced in biowarfare, robots to work in poisoned wastelands that were cities, etc."

"Yes," I responded, "I do have such a theory."

"Well," said Fred, "I see why Arthur finds you a possible candidate for an adjunct position with us.  You have an intuitive streak, but, as a...(looking at Arthur) what's the term....?"

"Mortal?," Arthur suggested.

"Yes, as a mortal," Fred continued, "there is no way you can see the big picture that we see.  You would need to take direction from us most of the time."

I felt the first stirring of resentment since overcoming my fear of molten lead. 

"Fred," I argued, "maybe I can comprehend more than you think, if you would just try me."

There followed a silence.  Fred looked at Arthur, who returned his gaze.  Then all the Time Artists looked at each other, conducting a telepathic discussion to which I was not privy.

Finally Fred looked back and said, "You be the judge, Harry.  Open your mind now, please.  I'm sending you a vision."

I relaxed my defenses and suddenly felt a draft of fear- something unknown was approaching.  It entered my mind, causing immediate disruptions at many levels.  On the conscious level, I saw humanity, indeed all of earth's "life" as a sort of burn-off of escaped planetary gas, like those flaming exhaust pipes you see on the beach by the offshore oil rigs around Santa Barbara.  Fred's vision was of random chemical reactions, in place of the accustomed grand pageantry of our species. I saw that our definition of life is pinched into a biased and fearful little space. We are just one kind of life, a very fleeting kind, byproducts of a planet whose surface is fracturing as internal chemical imbalances climax.  All human history and culture- from the rise of the agriculture/architecture based death-cults to the enlightened making of money- is basically a kind of oil spill on fire. The Time Artists were dispatched here to clean it up.  Oh shit.

"I see what you mean," I said, "this is like Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when Zaphod Beeblebrox enters the Total Perspective Vortex to see if he can handle how tiny and peripheral humanity is, only worse."

At the name of Douglas Adams the whole table lit up in animated discussion.  Fred and Arthur looked at me kindly.

"Let's give this puppy a try!," said He of the High Pointy Hat.

And in a flash I was back in my Pearblossom shack, sitting in the kitchen looking at the small TV on the linoleum table.  It suddenly turned itself on and there were President Obama and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping at the end of the G-20 Summit, live on CNN taking turns at a mike and looking strained, as if the irrelevance of their official words were a source of exhaustion.  Making use of my techniques for telepathic intercept via broadcast waves, as well as new directional brainware that Fred, I suspected, had downloaded into my head, I picked up the following non-verbal conversation streaming from Obama's and Xi's "subconscious" minds:

Xi: The Americans have no central racial cohesion, no race-based culture to pull them together, only ideology.  

Obama: The Chinese have no national ideology like we do, ever since their communism morphed into state-capitalism.  But with their central racial consciousness to provide cohesion, they don't need an ideology as much as we do.

Xi: America's ideology is weakening as trust in its institutions weakens, not good in a country that lacks racial solidarity. Americans think they need better weapons.  What they really need is an updated ideology, one that anyone believes in, to make up for the racial solidarity they lack.

Obama: The Chinese ideology is that the Chinese must succeed in whatever direction they can via whatever ideology is available.  How do we compete with that?  

It goes on like this.  As noted, the Time Artists directed me to post my findings as an experiment, to see if the effects I have on my readership support the Time Artists' far-reaching plans.  "My readership" means you.  In other words, I have made you part of an experiment to see if self-awareness in humans leads in a good direction according to extra-terrestrials who secretly control our history.  I hope you don't mind.

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