Now what?

So why did I write The Plan For The Future? And why may it be used? I am not more gifted or deserving than other people. Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau could solve every mystery, not because of his superior investigative methods or any other personal quality, but because he was a fictional character in a story. This universe might exist for entertainment and we may be fictional characters in a story too. And the story may be that this particular plan is going to be used. That may be all there is to it.

In 2008 the end of civilisation seemed close. The financial system was about to break down. The financial crisis could trigger a new depression worse than the Great Depression that led to World War II. For decades I had an interest in interest-free money as interest would be the cause of the coming collapse. The crisis made me think of that again. And then I did a remarkable discovery. Interest-free money with a holding tax and negative interest rates can prevent a depression and bring peace and prosperity, possibly forever. You can read more about it in Natural Money And The Economy.

From then on things were getting weirder by the day. It appeared that Natural Money could be part of a greater plan and that God is a lady I once met. Over the years there had been peculiar coincidences referring to her. This universe could be a virtual reality created for entertainment by an advanced civilisation. It could have an owner we may refer to as God. And God might be a woman who could have avatars and appear as ordinary human to us. You can read more about that in The Universe As A Virtual Reality and God Is A Woman And Jesus Was Her Husband.

There have been plenty of nutcases believing themselves to be on a mission of God. Perhaps I am one of them but there is some chance that Natural Money might turn out to be useful. The financial crisis of 2008 was halted by central banks but the underlying cause of the crisis, interest on debts, has not been taken away. The next crisis may only be solved with negative interest rates. And that is where Natural Money comes in. Indeed there may be a plan behind Natural Money. Only time may tell.

And so the script could be that humanity is on a suicidal path but that doom can be prevented in the nick of time by some unexpected turn of events. Natural Money may help to prevent a collapse of the global financial system and become the basis of a better future. That’s my guess for what it’s worth. I am not a politician so I am not going to promise you anything. For now the best option seems to prepare for what might happen and to think ahead. So here is the plan in a nutshell:

  • preventing the collapse of the financial system by implementing Natural Money and bringing financial sanity by ending usury;
  • putting human civilisation on a sustainable path (which may require negative interest rates, hence Natural Money);
  • making the world fairer by trying give everyone a reasonable treatment (human civilisation must be on a sustainable path first).

As a teenager I was interested in learning the lessons from history. Perhaps I was even a bit obsessed with that. Most notably, the Byzantine Empire caught my attention. It survived several setbacks and existed for 1,000 years. With the benefit of hindsight, this preoccupation with an empire that lasted 1,000 years is a bit peculiar considering later developments and a prophecy in the Bible. At some point I came to believe that there is no point in knowing so much about the past and learning the lessons of history. For my job in information technology it didn’t seem much of an advantage.

I’m not aware of too many things
I know what I know, if you know what I mean
Philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks
Religion is a light in the fog
I’m not aware of too many things
I know what I know, if you know what I mean, d-doo yeah

Choke me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep

What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or what?
What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or what?

– Edie Brickell, What I Am

Writing The Plan For The Future suddenly seemed to make learning the lessons from history important again. History is an unwieldy pile of people, ideas, conflicts and dates, and it is hard to see the bigger picture. More data can blur your view and prevent you from seeing what really matters. But there is help. The historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote a book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. It is a good read and it is brief like the title suggests. It was of great use. It can also help you to get a proper perspective. This plan leans heavily this book and most notably the idea of collective imaginations.

Human civilisations are based on collective imaginations. Collective imaginations don’t exist in objective reality but only in the minds of groups of people. For instance money, ideologies, nationalities, corporations and laws are collective imaginations.1 People imagine that euros and dollars have value but they are just pieces of paper or digits in a computer. Euros and dollars only exist in the imagination of humans. They believe that euros and dollars have value. Humans also imagine they live in nation states and that they have rights and obligations. Gods and religions are collective imaginations too.

Collective imaginations aren’t mere delusions. If you are the only one imagining something like human rights, others may think that you are delusional. But if you can convince others to share your belief, it becomes a collective imagination. Collective imaginations can be useful as they facilitate cooperation.1 For instance, to produce a mobile phone, you need the assistance of strangers working for several corporations, and money to make them work together. Humans imagine corporations and money to make a mobile phone. That’s what makes humans so successful as a specie.

That’s also what this plan is about. It aims at making you work together on changes to the social, political and economic order by proposing a collective imagination about the nature of reality and the identity of God. Success may depend on you believing the imagination or at least considering it to be useful. In other words, you may need faith. Your survival may depend on it. Proof may be hard to come by but the proposed collective imagination could be the most plausible explanation of our existence. The proof of it may be that the plan is going to work. It is not going to work if you keep on pretending that this is only my personal delusion. It is up to you to believe it, spread the news, and make others believe it too.

1. Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.

Lionheaded figurine from Stadel in the Hohlenstein cave in Germany

About the origins of religion

Humans have become the dominant animal species because they can cooperate on large scale in a flexible way. Social animals like monkeys and dolphins can cooperate flexibly, but only in small groups. Other animals like ants and bees can cooperate in large numbers but not in a flexible way. Humans are special in this respect. Language enables this distinctive human feature. Some animals use signs and calls but humans use far more words than any other specie.1 Cultures define how people cooperate. Cultures change and that makes humans flexible.

Another distinct feature of humans is that they can think of and to talk about imaginary things. To make large scale cooperation possible humans have invented laws, money, property, corporations and nation states. These collective imaginations only exist in the minds of humans, not in reality as such.1 For instance, humans imagine that a law exists, and therefore the law works. The same applies to money. I can tell a dog about the benefits of using money to pay a corporation to produce dog food, why there are regulations that guarantee the quality of the product and governments to implement these regulations, but all a dog can think of is dog food. And you cannot make dogs work together in a corporation to produce dog food by paying them money. The ability of humans to imagine things exists longer than agriculture and civilisations. Already 32,000 years ago humans made a sculpture of a lionman, which is a lion head upon a human body. And lionmen did only exist in the imagination of humans.

Religions can be seen as a method of making humans cooperate. Gods are figments of human imagination just like laws, property and nation states. People who share a religion can go on a holy war together and slaughter a lot of infidels. Alternatively they can do charitable work or build a house of prayer. Above all, religions promote social stability by providing a justification for the existing social order and promising rewards in the afterlife for those who accept the existing social order. This is what makes humans special. Their imagination makes them do things other species aren’t capable of. You can’t make a dog do tricks and subject itself to the order of the pack by promising that if it is a good dog it will go to dog heaven and enjoy an everlasting banquet of delicious dog food after it dies.

Early humans were hunter gatherers who believed that every place, animal, and plant has an awareness, feelings and emotions. Harari came up with the example of a deer hunter who addresses a herd of deer, and asks one of the deer to sacrifice itself for the hunt. If the hunt succeeds, the hunter then asks forgiveness of the dead animal so that its spirit will not trouble him later on. These early beliefs preceded religions and they concerned visible objects like animals, plants, rivers and rocks. Over time humans began to imagine beings like fairies and spirits. Early humans felt that they were more or less on an equal footing with the plants and animals surrounding them.1

But then came agriculture. As soon as humans started to subjugate plants and animals for their own use, they needed an ideology that justified this new arrangement. To this aim, gods were invented as well as myths in which those gods created the universe and ordained that humans are destined to rule all the plants and animals in the world. In polytheistic religions there are a number of gods, each with a different role. Monotheistic religions emerged because people became so emotionally attached to a particular deity that they came to believe it to be the only god that rules the entire universe.1

Monotheistic religions won out because monotheists are intolerant. If you are very fond of a particular deity, other religions can be an affront. But if you believe in many different gods then it is no big deal when others choose to love a particular deity more than others. To the monotheists there is only god worthy of worship. They think that the worship of other gods should be eliminated.1 Yahweh is a jealous god, the Bible claims. Those who had other views and religions were often forcefully converted or killed.

Most people prefer a god who cares for them and answers their prayers. There is no point in worshipping a deity that is indifferent. There is no point in praying if prayers aren’t answered. This particular desire evoked some difficulties. Not all prayers are answered and there are many bad things going on, so how can an almighty god let this happen? The obvious answer is that there is no god or that God doesn’t care but that wasn’t the answer people were looking for. And so they came up with Satan, God’s evil adversary who makes all these bad things happen.1

Science found a possible explanation for the origins of life and human existence. Humans could be the product accident and evolution and serve no higher purpose. That isn’t an inspiring discovery so most people remained faithful to their religions at first. Over time the gods were replaced by the idea that all humans are unique individuals, each with his or her own destiny and entitlements. And indeed, humans are unique because their imagination can make them do things other species aren’t capable of. Science may have enabled humans to make their fantasies become reality. Humans may have turned into gods themselves when they became immortal and created virtual reality universes for their own entertainment. We may be living in one of those universes.

Featured image: Lionheaded figurine from Stadel in the Hohlenstein cave in Germany.  J. Duckeck (2011). Wikimedia Commons.

1. A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.