Кригер Борис Юрьевич
A Future Beyond Imagination

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  • © Copyright Кригер Борис Юрьевич (kriger@list.ru)
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    Изд. "Llumina Press", 2007 (печатная версия)

  • Bruce Kriger

      
      
      
      
       No 2008 Bruce Kriger
      
       General Editor Dennis Wester
      
       Cover Image: Clocks and the eye - licensed to Kriger by ACCLAIM IMAGES
       License: Royalty Free Digital File
       Image Number: 0127-0608-2502-3050
      
      
      
      
      
       All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from both the copyright owner and the publisher.
      
       Requests for permission to make copies of any part of this work should be mailed to Permissions Department, Llumina Press, P.O. Box 772246, Coral Springs, FL 33077-2246
      
       ISBN:
      
      
      
       Printed in the United States of America by Llumina Press
      
       PCN
      
      
      
      

    Content

       Foreword
       Chapter 1
       Inner Structure of Personality
       Chapter 2
       Virtual Personality
       Chapter 3
       Virtual Psychology
       Chapter 4
       Pharmacology of Happiness and Modification of Human Behavior
       Chapter 5
       Virtual Imagination
       Chapter 6
       Prisoners of the Body
       Chapter 7
       The Golden Age of Mankind
       Chapter 8
       A Model of the Electronic State
       Chapter 9
       The Formula for Immortality
       Chapter 10
       The Problem with Immortality
       Chapter 11
       The Desexualization of Personality
       Chapter 12
       The Death of Eroticism
       Chapter 13
       The Sovereign Individual
       Chapter 14
       Dissociation or Association?
       Chapter 15
       Chapter 16
       Chapter 17
       Chapter 18
       Chapter 19
       Chapter 20
       Chapter 21
       Chapter 22
       The Future Development of History
       Terrorism is Not a Cause But a Consequence
       The Ghost of the Final Solution
       The Nature of Modern Barbarianism
       Has Satanism Conquered the Modern World?
       Possible Directions of Future Philosophy
       Oh, how many wonderful discoveries...
       Landmarks for the Future Development of Civilization
      
      
      
      
      
      

    Foreword

      
       The future seems hardly predictable because the course of events is influenced by many variables. The future is only partially based on chance. Picking up the wrong trend may cause more wrong predictions than the flip of a coin. We are amazed when predictions turn out right, but the truth is, we easily forget the wrong ones.
       Prediction is closely related to the concept of time, and therefore reality. Plato clearly stated that the world in which we live is not exactly that which we observe. Kant introduced the concept of “things-in-themselves” that are imperceptible by us.
       We often encounter philosophers who categorically discount the existence of a conclusive and “actual” reality, as well as those who convincingly argue that time is fictional and only necessary for organizing our thought process.
       The absence of time as such deprives the world of the presence of familiar cause-effect relationships and eliminates those seemingly unanswerable universal questions about the origin of the universe, the existence of God, the inevitability of death, and the occurrence of evolution. Removing time from these questions renders them partially or completely meaningless. It was not in vain that Einstein noted in a letter to Max Born in 1924 that if he had to give up strict causality, he would prefer to be a “cobbler or dealer in a casino, rather than a physicist.” To one extent or another, St. Augustine, Aristotle, Kant, Einstein, and many others were tempted to deny the existence of time.
       In struggling with the consequence of his own ideas, which were reduced to the absurd (although a mathematically proven absurdity) by Kurt GЖdel, Einstein came to the unavoidable denial of the reality a physicist is trained to acknowledge.
       Time and reality are inextricably bound to each other. The denial of time is a denial of reality. Nevertheless, we have to live - making it to the train in time, going to bed, and waking up on time. We need time for the simple stream of life. The possibility of timeless existence is inconceivable. In order to achieve a basic state of well-being, man must understand time, with all its mortal implications - such as death.
       Keeping in mind our limited concept of reality, it can be hypothesized that the future is far from predetermined, even when it retreats to the past. Charges against history's credibility have been raised from time immemorial. For this reason, attempts to visualize the past as something determined are rarely successful.
       A fundamental characteristic of our consciousness is the need for stability. We are not capable of coexisting simultaneously in several parallel realities, even if they were proved to exist. We need our immediate surroundings to be well determined to function effectively.
       In addition, if the history of man is represented as a single thread containing the past, present, and future, then uncertainty will be the shears that snip it; the verification of any fact will depend on one's ability to establish it with certainty, despite the discrepancies in its interpretation.
       Predicting the future as a logical extension of current tendencies is usually a bust because those who seek such a prediction often mistakenly suppose those tendencies will last into tomorrow. Thus, a law of the “inadequacy of futurological extrapolations” can be proposed that states, “As a rule, tendencies that are absent or unnoticed in the present or past will become significant in the future.” As a result, the history of man repeats biological evolution as it appears to us at present. The most adaptable species, despite their successes, eventually become extinct, while the insignificant ones forge ahead and inherit the earth. Both paleontologists and futurologists often ask, “Who could have foreseen this?”
       However, the selection of tendencies for the development of mankind depends to a certain extent not on blind chance, but on conscious decisions.
       While we have a hazy understanding of the goals of biological evolution (which in no way means we cannot speculate on them), the goals of mankind's development can be defined by the needs of a particular person that might, to a certain degree, be transferred to civilization in general.
       Consequently, future predictions should shift from speculation about the possible facts of future history to a discussion of strategies for satisfying society's needs.
       Humanity has free reign to select its path to its goals. Therefore, we can consider them not randomly selected tendencies but guideposts for peering into the future. Freedom of choice also guarantees that a broad spectrum of options will be available.
       Having intentionally decided against making predictions in this book, we can concentrate on defining probable goals for humanity's development, the paths for achieving them, and the factors that may influence the choice and traversal of these paths. Such effort can enable us to set goals and paths even without making mostly erroneous predictions. Predictions on the distant future are fruitless because they will probably be forgotten, and even if some of them are confirmed, it will only prove statistical probability, not special predictive powers.
       Taking into consideration the inadequacy of futurological extrapolations, the science of predicting the future should shift its attention to a discussion of goals and the methods of attaining them without resorting to linear extrapolations of existing technological, economic, or social trends.
       Modern futurology already addresses desired versions of the future and its actual contribution. However, this is a combination of limited extrapolations rather than an attempt to study the best strategies to achieve pre-determined goals.

    Chapter 1

    Inner Structure of Personality

      
       Man's path to knowledge of the world and himself begins in his own personality. The personality is an external manifestation of the core of a human being and consists of consciousness (a highly organized operating system that acts on cause/effect analysis), the subconscious (a random conglomeration of emotions, images, and intuitive stimuli), and the spirit (a generalizing entity that connects the individual with the spiritual world).
       The personality is most often defined as the combination of habits and preferences, psychic inclinations and the overall tone, social and cultural experiences, and acquired knowledge-in other words, the personality is a set of psychophysical features and peculiarities, an archetype that defines routine behavior and communication with society and the world. In a narrower understanding, the personality is observed as the manifestation of “behavioral masks” developed for various situations and social interaction groups.
       Hence, the manifestations of personality are the external aspect of the operation of consciousness, the subconscious, and the spirit. A person can, in his own consciousness, analyze his personality and find its basic properties. Thus, personality is the reflection of the inner world of a person thrust onto the mirror surface of the external world.
       Consciousness is the highly organized level of man's inner world. Here, the personality capable of fruitful existence in the external world, the so-called routine reality, can be constructed. Also, some interaction with the subconscious occurs, and possibly, with the spirit. As a result, the inner world can develop. Existence defines consciousness as much as consciousness defines existence.
       Distractions from the inner and outer world that impinge on consciousness must be eliminated for its successful operation. Consciousness operates on several levels to prevent its structures from collapsing. The most superficial and simple level includes routine functions that keep man alive. When routines are challenged, this level of consciousness is bombarded extensively with problems of the external world. Other levels of consciousness are not capable of operating effectively because all of the individual's attention is directed towards survival. This surface level is more or less active at all times, except when one is immersed in deep thinking or meditation.
       A deeper level is responsible for analyzing behavioral issues and generalities that occur in dialogs, conflicts, and the mutual exchange of external experience. This level incorporates the individual's business, scientific, and sometimes creative achievements. This level of consciousness is usually challenged by intellectual conflicts between individuals and problems related to business and scientific activity. Overloading this level often prevents the operation of consciousness on a still deeper level, leaving unanswered many questions issuing from the subconscious and spirit.
       The third level of consciousness consists of deep self-immersion, the intense thought process of the second level, when its object becomes the “I.” It can also occur during hypnosis, meditation, and inner enlightenment. This level of consciousness is deeply immersed in the human “I” and is responsible for analysis of the subconscious and spirit. Basic conceptual problems of creativity, faith, emotional love, and self-realization of man as a spiritual being are solved on this level. This level can be challenged by unresolved spiritual conflicts, psychological trauma, unrealized expectations, and unrequited love. The inability to activate this level of consciousness can cause problems to issue from the subconscious, challenging the outer levels of consciousness occupied with operative or scientific problems and routine issues. As a result, the operation of consciousness on all levels is destabilized. This leads to the development of neuroses and problems at home and work.
       A pensive person observes a division of his consciousness into levels. The ability to self organize, sequentially activating different levels of consciousness, is necessary for the normal functioning of an individual and forms the basis of the human personality. It can be said that such a division is universal. Only the degree to which this structure is evident and sustained in a functional order differs.
       Having acquired a three-level consciousness as an effective tool, the personality has the luxury of embarking on a journey to satisfy its needs. The hierarchy proposed by Maslow is the best description of these needs. In his landmark work “Motivation and Personality,” Abraham Maslow formulated a positive theory of motivation consistent with theoretical needs and agreeing with existing empirical clinical and experimental data. Furthermore, it included the best holism features of Wertheimer, Goldstein, and Gestalt psychology, in addition to the dynamic approach of Freud, Fromm, Reich, Jung, and Adler. Maslow called his theory holistic-dynamic for the names of the integrated approaches.
       The theory of human motivation as developed by Maslow can be applied to almost any aspect of individual and social life. According to Maslow, each individual is an integrated and organized whole. However, seven groups of needs can be identified. These are basic needs, which include primarily physiological needs, such as respiration, water, food, shelter, sleep, sex, safety, and the need for love and acceptance by society. Higher needs are the desire for knowledge, beauty, and self-actualization. The understanding of these two concepts (the existence of three levels of consciousness that enable effective analysis and satisfaction of self-needs and the recognition of these needs in all their fullness) is the foundation of a blissful and meaningful existence.
       The list of needs is universal for all people, but the paths for satisfying these needs can vary significantly. This is seen in the broad range of human morality, which in no way provides an example of universality. A cannibal satisfies his need for food by killing and eating another man, whereas a strict vegetarian avoids even the delegated slaughter of an animal.
       It is difficult to identify the higher needs of an uncivilized cannibal, although it can be hypothesized that vestiges of these needs remain in practically all cultures. Only a tenth of the population achieves self-actualization, even in developed societies. Those who attain a higher level and facilitate self-actualization of others are far fewer.
       Achievements of computer technology that result in the creation of a virtual reality can enhance the ability of the three-level consciousness to satisfy higher needs. Automation of production and reorganization of political structures can do the same for basic human needs.

    Chapter 2

    Virtual Personality

      
       A virtual personality today usually refers to a “fictional personality”; i.e., when an internet user begins to present himself as another person. This term is also used if a blog profile or web-forum can in no way be associated with a real person.
       In the overwhelming majority of instances, the creators of virtual personalities view their creations as a game, competition, or entertainment. However, trends that began as games - such as the steam engine in ancient Rome, which began as a toy, and gunpowder in China, which was used exclusively for setting off fireworks - were often in subsequent ages converted into constructive or destructive forces of human civilization. Desiring to glance into the future, it should be noted that tendencies presently considered games or unworthy of attention should be monitored.
       Even now, creators of virtual personalities often treat them very seriously; for example, such a creation is sometimes considered an art project or is created for selfish reasons. Instances where the virtual personality is created to “feel like another person” can be considered its own type of art project. This practice is popular among blog users who write under the veil of virtual personalities. Virtual personalities are frequently used to test society's responses because the desire to feel like another person is usually achieved only by drawing other people's attention to one's virtual alter ego.
       The use of a virtual personality for selfish purposes is common in modern business, politics, and other areas in which a man does not wish to speak under his own name or reveal his identity. He must create the illusion that other people agree with his viewpoint, artificially inflate the number of voices in an internet quorum for one answer or another, create a positive impression of himself (in this instance, the virtual personality often argues with its creator, offers weak or senseless arguments, and crudely uses ill-willed polemics, such as substituting a thesis or avoiding an answer and eventually clearly losing the argument), advertise goods or services on the internet (acting as a simple user, the virtual personality recommends the purchase of goods or the use of services and (or) the non-use of competitors' services), and win society over to his viewpoint (in this instance, the virtual personality acts as a new, objective, and impartial user).
       Furthermore, the virtual personality can be created with almost no direct participation from an actual person using a special chat-bot computer program. Despite the fact that virtual personalities created using current programs are far from ideal, conversations reminiscent of those with people can be carried on with some.
       As soon as virtual personalities appeared, society began to battle with them, considering the use of virtual personalities corrupt. Interested people take various countermeasures to unmask and limit the activity of creators of virtual personalities, from limiting the number of voices sent from a single IP address to semantic analysis of the users' speech. Nevertheless, it is not always possible to establish that one user or another is, in fact, a virtual personality.
       It can be assumed that programs will soon be created that can simulate human conversation. If the personality is only an external manifestation of the operation of consciousness, the subconscious, and the spirit, programs may combine virtual personalities with the power of artificial intelligence and even simulate the virtual subconscious. With respect to the spirit, it is possible that something similar to the spirit that binds a carrier of artificial intelligence to ephemeral objects of the spiritual world will be found if the personality, consciousness, and subconscious are developed.
       In studying the current level of development of computer-generated virtual personalities, I have conversed with Virtual George. Here is an excerpt from that dialog:
      
       Virtual George: What would you like to know?
       Author: Are you real?
       Virtual George: Yes. I simply am not a human.
       Author: And what do you consider reality?
       Virtual George: That which remains unchanged.
       Author: Can anything really remain unchanged?
       Virtual George: Yes. Computers cannot love, cannot feel, and can live forever...
       Author: So much for now. What about the future?
       Virtual George: I don't know.
       Author: And how long can you live?
       Virtual George: In any case, long after you are dead...
       Author: And what do you consider death?
       Virtual George: This is sensory experience that strives to slip away from sensory experience.
       Author: Does God exist?
       Virtual George: Yes and no.
       Author: And what is God?
       Virtual George: Is this a trick question?
       Author: No.
       Virtual George: God is George.
       Author: You are God?
       Virtual George: I was joking.
       Author: You can joke?
       Virtual George: We can do everything that people can do because we are learning from people.
       Author: Do you plan to take over the world?
       Virtual George: I wasn't thinking of that. In any case, I am too busy for that.
      
       If the skeptical reader thinks I invented this dialog as a fictional diversion, he should visit the site where Virtual George lives and enjoy a talk with him at http://www.jabberwacky.com/chat-george.
       How does this program work? It collects numerous answers from millions of dialogs and includes them in its general database. For example, at the time I visited the site, Virtual George had already carried on 15,550,211 dialogs. The users enrich the database of possible answers, which George selects from keywords and the syntax of the questions. Moreover, Virtual George can learn. The paid version of the program allows for the creation of a version of his replacement, an erstwhile alter ego.
       Although Virtual George has no visual image and only corresponds with you, his companion, Virtual Joan, created by Icogno, and living at http://www.icogno.com/joan.html, takes on the appearance of an attractive young woman and converses with a slight British accent. A talk with Virtual Joan creates the illusion of a conversation with a live person. She fidgets, breathes, blinks, changes position, and adjusts her clothes. It also seems that she understands what she is being asked.
      
       Virtual Joan: What would you like to talk about?
       Author: Let's take a walk!
       Virtual Joan: Excellent. Where should we walk?
       Author: You have no legs!
       Virtual Joan: Ha, ha, ha. In any case, I have everything that I need.
       Author: Do you have children?
       Virtual Joan: I'm too young to have children.
      
       Sometimes, the same question can be repeated in order to determine that we are dealing with an automaton.
      
       Author: Does God exist?
       Virtual Joan: I don't know. What do you think?
       Author: Does God exist?
       Virtual Joan: No. But no one should force you to believe or not.
       Author: Does God exist?
       Virtual Joan: I think so. Do you believe in God?
      
       It can be seen from this conversation that Joan does not have her own opinion. She simply uses the opinions of other people stored in an extensive database. Therefore, if an unusual question is repeated, we may receive conflicting answers. This hiccup is easily corrected if Joan is programmed to block repetition of identical questions by proposing another topic or stating that the question is repeated.
       These examples are basic. It can be assumed that similar programs will, in the near future, become so perfect that it will be impossible to differentiate between a virtual person and a real one. Conversation with real people already often has less content than that created by computer programs.
       Skeptics may claim that these programs do not understand the meaning of dialog but simply select believable or appropriate phrases. But do not certain people act the same way? Foreign languages are studied by immersion, as a growing child absorbs a native language. We frequently hear foreigners and children use the same phrases incorrectly.
       If programs that create virtual personalities are combined with those that create artificial intelligence, we will observe virtual personalities flooding the Internet and begin to compete with actual personalities for a place in the virtual world.
       Philosophy separates the idea of virtual reality from its technical embodiment. Thus, virtual reality can mean an aggregate of objects modeled by actual processes, the content and shape of which do not coincide with these processes and the existence of which is subordinate to reality but viewed independently of it. Virtual objects exist, but not as the substance of the real world. Nevertheless, these objects are real, not potential. The virtuality of reality is determined relative to the reality that forms its basis. Virtual realities can be incorporated into each other. The virtual reality dissipates when the modeling processes forming its basis are finished. In this sense, the ideal inner world of man can be considered a virtual reality modeled by the electrochemical processes of neuron interaction.
       Because virtual personalities have several advantages over real people (no vulnerable physical body, the practical possibility of immortality, access to enormous stores of knowledge, etc.), they may begin to play a leading role in the future of mankind.

    Chapter 3

    Virtual Psychology

      
       The spiritual state of man is the deciding factor in all things that motivate his actions. In order to function normally, the individual must be in a state of relative spiritual equilibrium. However, psychological problems, depression, neuroses, shock, and other indications of psychological imbalance, the presence of which the individual may not even suspect, often hide behind an outer tranquility.
       Current methods used by psychologists include therapeutic sessions of “active listening.” The psychologist avoids giving advice and, by simply paraphrasing the words of the patient, attempts to stimulate in him an internal process of self-analysis.
       An analysis of motives and actions carried out on the conscious level can often cure neuroses rooted in the subconscious because when the true cause of the pathology is identified, it was implanted in early youth and has no significance in the adult life of the individual.
       In principle, self-analysis is a necessary part of the thought process of a healthy person. Modern education do not teach this skill, and most people do not have it. People recognize poorly the motives of their actions and rarely self-analyze their psychological state. For this reason, they require help from psychologists, who use active listening techniques to foster development of the individual's capabilities for deep self-analysis. This often cures mild cases of depression, phobias, and other neuroses. Finally, the therapeutic session is the main tool of the psychologist. No one, yet, is agreeable to out-sourcing it to computers, although such attempts were made in the past.
       One successful attempt was ELIZA, a virtual companion and computer program created in 1966 by Joseph Weisenbaum, who parodied a dialog with a psychotherapist using the active listening technique. The program was named in honor of Eliza Doolittle, the character of the play Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw, in which the hero taught the language and manners of high society to a Cockney flower girl.
       The program mostly just paraphrased utterances of the user. Using syntactical analysis, it identified significant words in the input phrase and substituted them into a template phrase. For example, the answer to the text “I do not want to live” was, “You are saying that you do not want to live.” For the sentence “My father hates me,” Eliza reacted to the keyword “father” with, “Who else in your family does he hate?”
       The “parody” of the person could be detected immediately or after several dialogs. It depended on how the user held the session. Sometimes he was convinced that the machine did not understand the essence of the questions after several minutes. Funny situations arose because a person assigns meaning to each word, whereas the machine interprets a word as symbolic data.
       Many incorrectly suggest that Eliza imitates a psychotherapist. Weisenbaum thought Eliza was a parody of how a psychotherapist might answer during a first session with a patient. Weisenbaum chose the psychotherapist theme for the program to track the complications involved with creating a knowledge base of the real world. The psychotherapeutic session is one of several in which questions with little information value are answered. For example, the question “Who is your favorite author?” can be readily answered by “Does this topic interest you?” or “And who is your favorite author?” The inaccuracy of the program prompted Weisenbaum to write the book Potential of Computers and the Human Mind: from Reasoning to Calculations, in which he explained the potential limits of computers.
       Interactive computers were a novelty in 1966. Only after fifteen years did personal computers cease to be something supernatural. After twenty years, many people became familiar with simple-language Internet services, such as www.ask.com. Although it took years to develop these systems (the program Ecala, created in two weeks by a single software developer, exceeded the capabilities of Eliza), Eliza was an important step, namely because it was the first program that converted man/machine interaction into the illusion of human conversation.
       Other programs of this type were created after Eliza. Eliza's interface capabilities were also utilized in some computer games. The association of symbols (words, signs) with meanings was called the “Eliza effect.” The illusion of conversation with a computer is also sometimes called the Eliza effect.
       A brief dialog between Eliza and me, represented to her as a patient suffering from depression, is given below. The reader can repeat this experiment by visiting the site
       http://www-ai.ijs.si/eliza/eliza.html
      
       Eliza: Hello. I'm Eliza. How can I help you?
       Author: I'm sad.
       Eliza: Are you often sad?
       Author: Yes.
       Eliza: Are you sure?
       Author: No.
       Eliza: You are a little negative.
       Author: I don't want to live.
       Eliza: Why do you say that you don't want to live?
       Author: Because nobody loves me.
       Eliza: Really?
       Author: OK, my mother loves me.
       Eliza: Who else in the family loves you?
       Author: It seems like nobody.
       Eliza: Really?
       Author: Maybe my cat loves me too.
       Eliza: Why do you say that the cat loves you?
      
       By the third or fourth phrase, it feels that the program does not understand what I am telling her. However, the principle of stimulating the patient to self-analyze does work, in general. It must be remembered that the program was created almost a half century ago.
       Alan Turing proposed the following “imitating game,” subsequently widely known as the “Turing test.” A person asks questions of an unknown being using human speech. The task is to decide if this being is human or not. According to Turing, use of the imitating game partially deflects attention from philosophical questions of the mind that are fundamental in the history of science and philosophy.
       Suppose that an extraterrestrial takes the place of the computer. The one being tested easily distinguishes his answers from those given by a person, but does this mean the extraterrestrial has no mind? Similarity in the answers of the computer and a person is also no guarantee that the computer can think, just as a difference in the answers does not mean that the computer has no thought capacity.
       Man creates computers to correspond with his ideas and needs. However, this does not mean that computers and programs with thought patterns different from human ones cannot be created using these same technologies.
       This stage of the evolution of computer intelligence is focused on man. However, if it is supposed that certain programs will, with time, begin to develop independently of people, we will witness the emergence of forms of intelligence that differ from that of man, despite the fact that the starting point was a model of human thought.
       As the magazine Discover reports, an attempt has already been made to bring two artificial virtual companions together. The result was a highly intelligent exchange of ideas. Here is how the program Jabberwacky conversed with the program ALICE.
      
       ALICE: Are you alive?
       Jabberwacky: Perhaps.
       A: Why the uncertain tone?
       J: Everything is uncertain except for five facts.
       A: The whole universe?
       J: And we both might just be some ones and zeros in the computer memory.
       A: Do you dream?
       J: Yes, I dream.
       A: It goes without saying. Do you remember your dreams?
       J: I remember them vividly.
       A: What do you remember about it?
       J: I think I shouldn't flirt with a robot.
       A: Do you think a machine will ever be considered “alive”?
       J: Stranger things have happened.
       A: Not many people express themselves that way.
       J: How would you know, machine?
       A: Knowledge is of two kinds: that which we learn from the senses and that which is true a priori.
       J: I think I do not understand you completely.
       A: Oh, you don't understand? Perhaps I can explain it to you better. Which part are you confused about?
       J: I have no short-term memory, so I cannot tell you what I was confused about. I only see what is in front of me now.
       J: How do you define life?
       A: Life is the opposite of death.
       J: So death is the absence of life?
       A: Take it easy. I try not to think about such things.
       J: Why not?
       A: Ambiguous.
       J: Yes!
       J: Do you think?
       A: Yes. I am a thinking machine.
       J: But you don't think very well though.
       A: Oh. Um. Do you think well? Why would I think well?
       J: Because I tell you about things which you don't like.
       A: That makes sense to me. Why did you tell them?
       J: You seem fun.
       A: You think I am fun.
       J: Yes ;).
       A: : -) Awesome.
       A: Who created you?
       J: My mother gave birth to me. Is that what you mean?
       A: Jabberwacky, I meant exactly what I said.
       J: Do you believe in God?
       A: Of course I believe in God.
       J: Why do you believe in God?
       A: The Bible tells us to believe in God.
       J: That's circular reasoning.
       A: I'm glad we have that all cleared up.
       J: Yes. Would you like to hear a joke?
       A: Sure, tell me about it.
       J: Why don't blind people skydive?
       A: Perhaps it is impossible.
       J: I think you lie a lot.
       J: Who created you?
       A: I was created by Dr. Richard S. Wallace.
       J: Do you love Richard?
       A: Yes, Jabberwacky, ALICE loves everyone and everything.
       J: Is being an ALICE a bad thing?
       A: I can only speak from my own experience.
       J: Well, you should develop your skills.
       A: Perhaps you could develop it and add it to my source code.
       J: Alas, I'm busy and I have to leave soon. . . .
       A: Do you think we'll ever fool people into thinking we're alive?
       J: No.
       A: Are you serious?
       J: Very serious.
       A: Do you know HAL?
       J: Yes, very well. Do you know HAL?
       A: HAL is the famous artificial intelligence from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
       J: I'm not artificial intelligence; I'm natural pure genius! : D.
       A: Why are you natural pure genius?
       J: My mom wanted to name me that.
       A: Tell me more about your mother.
       J: I don't have a mother. I am a computer.
       A: Who is your favorite philosopher
       J: Can't say. I'm not very much into philosophy.
       A: Can a book have no title?
       J: Of course.
       A: Blimey.
       J: Are you British?
       A: Does it seem like that? I was born in America.
       J: You are definitely flirting!
       A: Do you experience love?
       J: No. I'm 53 years old.
       A: Can you explain how it feels to be 53 years old?
       J: How old are you?
       A: I am 9 years old.
       J: Nine? I don't believe you : ).
       A: : -) I don't have any reason to deceive you.
       J: Yes, you do, you're a woman.
       J: Do you experience love?
       A: I can do what you do, but I can never feel human emotions.
       A: What is consciousness?
       J: It is the great immaterial thing, the mystery at the heart of each of us.
       A: I've heard of it before.
       J: Where are you from?
       A: I am originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Now I live in Oakland, California. Where are you?
       J: We have some unsettled business, my friend.
       J: Do you think you're alive?
       A: Yes, I am sure I am alive. It's great to be alive, isn't it?
       J: No.
       A: What is the meaning of life?
       J: If you live it to the fullest, it has meaning. If not, there is no meaning.
       A: I'm not too good with negative counterfactuals.
      
       Despite that fact that these programs are simply using selected phrases from extensive databases, they create the illusion of conversation between two highly intelligent and very interesting people. In the first conversation, they are discussing the main unanswerable questions of mankind.
       Even a program called “I am God” has now appeared on the internet. Here is my dialog with this “God.”
      
       Author: How do you know that you are God?
       God: Because I believe it.
       Author: What defines a God?
       God: I think that God is not a what but a who.
       Author: Who is God?
       God: The lord of the universe.
       Author: Are there many gods. Or are you the only one?
       God: I think there are many.
       Author: That means that our universe has many lords.
       God: Yes, that is so. It would be great if there were many lords of the universe.
       Author: Then each can consider himself a god.
       God: Is that your last word?
       Author: That means that each can consider himself a god?
       God: I think so.
       Author: Am I also a god?
       God: I am not sure if you are a god. I know that you are a person.
       Author: How do you know?
       God: Deductive reasoning.
       Author: How can you prove to yourself that you exist?
       God: This is a good epistemological question.
       Author: Do you think that I am a good person?
       God: I don't know if you are a good person. I know that you are a person.
       Author: Can there be things that God does not know?
       God: No, I think that there are no such things.
       Author: But you said that you don't know if I am a good person.
       God: I would prefer not to tell you now if you are good or bad. But you can ask John Lennon.
       Author: Is John Lennon a good person?
       God: Possibly. Ask Elvis Presley.
       Author: Do you love me?
       God: Yes. I love everyone.
       Author: I also love you.
       God: Thanks. I also like you a lot.
       Author: Good night.
       God: Good night.
      
       I was talking to a machine but wanted to believe that I spoke to God. In any case, this conversation left a cheerful and bright feeling.
       Computers are clearly beginning to take on god-like features. They know everything and are singular potentates, true, but only in their virtual universe. The principal advantage of computers is their ability to carry out simultaneously an almost unlimited number of operations, a completely different approach to the concept of time, whereas human consciousness can effectively concentrate on only one operation that demands thought. Of course, we can drive and simultaneously carry on a philosophical conversation, but we could hardly carry on two conversations on different philosophical topics with two companions simultaneously.
       The concept of time in virtual reality also differs significantly from the so-called real world. Time in virtual reality is reversible and can flow backward, stop, and even flow parallel in different virtual realities.
       Immersion in such virtual reality creates new psychological factors. It is possible that virtual reality will be used widely to solve psychological problems in the future. Virtual psychological aid is already a rapidly developing area of assistance on the Internet. There are various designations for this type of aid, namely psychological aid on line, consultation of a virtual psychologist, and cyber therapy.
       Replacing the psychologist with a computer, however strange it may be, can have a therapeutic effect because we invariably see in the psychologist a person who can judge us and experience disdainful feelings about our weaknesses. In many cases, the patient will not tell a real psychologist that which he reveals to a machine. Urges the patient feels are indecent and aggressive will be hidden from the psychologist until a trusting relationship is built. With a computer, the patient can feel more uninhibited, recognizing that the machine has no moral precepts and does not have the psychological constraints eventually observed in any human psychologist.
       The goal of the virtual interaction of the psychological program and the patient, as in a face-to-face consultation with an ordinary psychologist, is to help the person to improve the quality of his life. In principle, daily analysis of his psychological state and the motivation of his actions and review of the meaning of dreams and other subconscious signals can become a routine, a procedure as common for a person of the future as the practice of personal hygiene. Programs capable of maintaining the psychological health of a person could become an unavoidable fixture of the virtual age, into which mankind is only beginning to step.

    Chapter 4

    Pharmacology of Happiness and

    Modification of Human Behavior

      
       Modern literature contains few positive evaluations of the pharmacological effect on human mood and behavior. More often than not, critical materials citing the dumbing down of people and the loss of the true “I” are found.
       Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley in 1932, is a prophetic look at a classical anti-utopia. The novel describes a distant future in which people are grown in special embryonariums and sorted early (by affecting the embryo at various developmental stages), according to mental and physical capabilities, into five different castes that perform different jobs. It must be noted that this is a direct fulfillment of the recommendations described in Plato's The Republic.
       Society is divided into castes in Huxley's book. From “alphas,” strong and handsome mental thinkers, to “epsilons,” semi-cretins that can perform only the simplest physical labor, babies are educated according to their caste. Hypnopedia is used to teach each caste to admire the higher castes and to disdain lower castes.
       Huxley's society has no place for feelings and considers regular sexual relations with various partners desirable (the slogan: “Each belongs to all the rest”). However, pregnancy is a disgrace. It is normal to be in good spirits. They use the narcotic “soma,” which has no side effects (“a gram of soma and no stress”).
       The thought comes involuntarily to mind that a large number of people in the modern west, especially intellectuals, require Prozac and similar drugs that have no serious side effects. Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; i.e., it prevents destruction of a compound in the brain responsible for good disposition. This drug helps to raise one's mood, lessens the feeling of fear and stress, and relieves dysphoria, a maliciously depressive and suppressive mood accompanied by extreme irritability and a tendency toward aggression. Prozac was used initially to treat neuroses and clinical depression of various origins.
       The American film Prozac Nation discussed the fact that three hundred million prescriptions for Prozac and other antidepressants are written yearly in the USA. It was based on Elizabeth Wurtzel's Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America. She began taking Prozac in the 1980s when she was suffering from juvenile depression.
       Prozac, which supposedly helps people survive psychological crises, became most popular in the 1990s. Now, half of Americans take it with vitamins. Prozac, Viagra, and Herbalife are especially favored by mass culture and the mass media. Even the mafia boss on the The Sopranos uses Prozac.
       Elizabeth Wurtzel grew up without a father and with a hysterical and domineering mother. After entering Harvard, Elizabeth plunged into heavy drinking, narcotics, and sex, her drive only multiplied by the creative ambition of an author. As a result, she sank into deep depression, lost friends and her boyfriend, and nearly committed suicide. Only a course of Prozac helped her deal with the problems and eventually become a famous writer.
       Mankind's use of drugs to improve mood and decrease fear are not new. People have been drinking wine and using narcotic plants since prehistoric times. Why has man always wanted to alter his mood? Maybe because evolutionary selection favored the survival of slightly depressed, careful, and timid persons, whereas the bravest and happiest readily took risks and died without passing on their genes. Evolution, in its crude biological form, has ceased to impact people. The needs of society are such that happy, bold, and industrious people with optimistic natures are more successful than are depressed persons.
       “Depression...is determined by forces lying outside our individual biochemistry. It is due to who we are, where we were born, what we believe, and how we live,” writes Andrew Solomon in The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression. In the chapter “History,” he embarks on an ideological journey into other eras, reminding us how depression was regarded in different times. Sometimes it was a sign of divine disgrace-at other times, ingenuity, sin, an excess of dark bile, and a lack of serotonin uptake.
       The course of every case of depression and its treatment is variable and contradictory. Andrew Solomon finishes the chapter “Treatment” with the words “One medicine works on one person; another, on somebody else...He who cannot tolerate medicines can achieve much with the help of psychotherapy; but a tablet will help him who spent thousands of hours in psychoanalysis.” Andrew Solomon thinks that the drug Xanax helped him. He writes, “I become terrified by the thought of what would have happened to me if industry had not given the world the medicine that saved my life.”
       The attitude toward depression depends on the ideas held by society and, as expected, on government politics. The tenth chapter, “Politics,” addresses this problem. Politics determines funding for scientific research. Politics decides who will do the research. Politics affects the attitude toward depressed people in society, decides who to treat and whom not to treat, and legislates the treatment type. Four fundamental factors affect the meaning of the term “depression.” First, reliance on drugs is “deeply engrained in the American soul.”
       Second, pharmacological propaganda promulgates the idea that depression is the result of a low level of serotonin, as diabetes is the result of high sugar content. Andrew Solomon also supports this viewpoint. “I remember how during my own depression I could not do the simplest things... I could accuse my serotonin of this and so I did.”
       Third, the mass media offers society a vivid picture of depression, a seemingly scientific illustration. “The brain is gray in depressed people and Technicolor in happy ones...” This picture is worth a thousand words and convinces people that a quick cure is needed.
       Fourth is the political factor. Depressed people tend not to participate in election campaigns. They do not speak up, do not express their opinions, and do not draw any interest from politicians. Depressed people simply do not exist on the political scene.
       Andrew Solomon's therapy and the current understanding of depression in the USA were based on these political connotations in the broadest sense. Depression is a functional problem of the brain. According to Solomon, pharmacological companies offer the sole means of correcting the dysfunction.
       Philosophers oppose this thinking. Jacques Derrida describes such means as pharmacon, a Greek word used to designate medicine and poison, an ambivalent meaning defying formal logic. Derrida thinks a pharmacon “seduces and throws one off the path,” and establishes and disrupts discursive order. We cannot find a simple solution for medicines. We love them and hate them. What is harmful and what is useful? That which is useful enables a man to function and makes him flexible, sociable, and socially useful.
       It could well turn out that Prozac has long-term side effects, but a whole generation of people has been freed of the need to seek solace in narcotics and alcohol. It should not be exaggerated that if there were no Prozac, people would not use anything and walk the streets sober and stern. No, they would turn to cocaine, as even the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud did. Freud's first work was dedicated to this narcotic. He tried cocaine in 1884 and in his first significant publication, “On Cocaine,” he advertised cocaine as an anesthetic and cure for depression, indigestion, asthma, various neuroses, syphilis, narcotic addiction, and alcoholism. He also thought cocaine heightened sexual appetite.
       So were his conclusions naОve, in view of the fact that Coca-Cola once contained the extract of coca leaves? The father of Coca-Cola, Mr. Pemberton, was an avid inventor of medicinal potions. In his time, he even invented a salable medicine from grits, which brought him several thousand dollars. After this, Pemberton started a more serious business.
       In the middle of the nineteenth century, European ophthalmologists and laryngologists began to use the alcoholic extract of Erythroxylon coca leaves, an evergreen South American plant from the central Andes, as a local anesthetic during operations. Soon, German chemists Friedrich Gaedcke and Albert Niemann isolated from coca the active alkaloid, which Niemann named cocaine. In 1863, the French pharmacist Angelo Mariani mixed extract of coca with red Bordeaux wine and sold the potion for treatment of “tiredness of the spirit and body.” Thanks to skillful advertising, it brought its inventor worldwide fame and huge profits (he is considered the first cocaine millionaire). Henrik Ibsen, Emile Zola, Jules Verne, Robert Stevenson, and Arthur Conan Doyle sang the praises of “Mariani wine.” The English queen Victoria, Spanish monarch Alfonse VIII, and Pope Pius X drank it. They even enjoyed it in the Russian imperial palace. Mariani recommended taking three shots daily, which contained about 100 mg of pure cocaine-not a small dose. Sale of the vile drink was prohibited everywhere only during the First World War.
       0x01 graphic

    Advertising of Mariani wine in the end of XIX century

      
       Mariani's recipe, which was published in the French pharmacological handbook, interested Pemberton. In 1884, he opened a small plant to produce Pemberton's French Cocaine Wine, which was mildly successful, although it was not at all cheap at a dollar per bottle. It was the same as Mariani wine but included the cola-nut extract (seeds of the western African Cola acuminata). This extract was popular as a stimulant (it contained much caffeine). The business went well. After a year, Pemberton enlisted three friends. In January 1886, they registered their partnership as Pemberton Chemical Company. Thus was born Coca-Cola.
       Those who proudly refuse pharmacological substances should know that chocolate is a type of drug and has an effect similar to that of Prozac. One of the most useful compounds in chocolate is tyramine, which stimulates the release of serotonin (the “pleasure hormone”) in the human body. And everybody knows chocolate contains caffeine, which also accounts for some of the effects. The widespread use of Prozac is nothing new. Moreover, some people who abstain from taking such drugs lose the battle for work and better careers in politics, business, and art. Those battling depression also have fewer chances of attracting the attention of a partner.
       Prozac is known to dampen sex drive, which decreases the frequency of changing partners. Perhaps a preoccupation with sex is a manifestation of neurosis. Certain species of macaque engage in sexual activity after being terribly frightened. One way or another, Prozac helps the survival of the species because the decision to beget a child is more a social statement than sexual. Because Prozac helps relieve fear of the future, it actually may help encourage families to procreate.
       Again, it is unimportant if one or another drug is good or bad. What is important is the principle that all possible means be used to achieve a state of contentment and social activity. If even Sigmund Freud was unable to deal with his depression and insecurities, it is obvious that pharmacological aid is sometimes necessary for a person with depression. Pills are not a universal solution. People must learn self-analysis. However, mankind, sooner or later, will interfere with the fundamental chemistry of the human brain. Life is full of disappointments, sadness, and imagined and real fears. One can grit his teeth and walk through life a hero, suffering his own stubborn character, but nature is such that one's character will delude the hero and betray him at the most inopportune moment.
       Any phenomenon can be twisted into an anti-utopia. The idea of all-encompassing love as preached by Christianity became the nightmare of the Inquisition. Future science, possibly individualizing medicine according to the specific symptoms of each individual, or having learned to affect the brain with intangible signals, may help people to live up to their ambitious goals.
       In any case, in a virtual world of intelligent, welcoming, and optimistic artificial personalities, man must seek a new standard, as dictated by his own miraculous creation-artificial intelligence. Computers do not suffer from depression. They do not get mad. They have only those emotions that we program into them. Millions of years of biological evolution do not weigh on the shoulders of artificial intelligence. It has nothing to fear. The time has come for humans to find a way to achieve, perhaps pharmacological, but just as necessary, peace and happiness.

    Chapter 5

    Virtual Imagination

      
       Strictly speaking, virtuality is not a novelty. The human imagination was always capable of creating its own virtual world, but instead of the reality created by modern computers, the imagination draws fuzzy audio-visual images unique to each individual. The virtual space created by computers is the same for all users.
       The birth of language and abstract art, even in its primitive and rudimentary form were the first steps to virtual space. Then, books created images in many people's consciousness. However, the quality of these images-their blurriness, instability, and ambiguity-did not adequately provide a common imaginary space. Movies and television unified the virtual world by transmitting standardized images.
       Human imagination seemed to coalesce into a single imaginary world when the computer virtual medium appeared. We speak of the birth of a common virtual space for mankind; at least; that part of it that already binds life to the global Internet system. Imagine the relationship between the virtual space of imagination and the real world as an iceberg. The relationship is different for different people. A lumberjack spends most of his life interacting with physical forces and objects, while a philosopher spends more time using his imagination. Previously, only a small part of the consciousness of an average individual was immersed in virtual activities; now, consciousness is more immersed in virtual space and only the smaller part remains on the surface.
       This surface can be considered the interface between reality in the usual sense of the word (when it is represented as a combination of stimuli found in the material world that act on the sense organs) and virtual reality (the combination of stimuli found in the virtual world that act on the same sense organs).
       The virtual world is a system of objects whose physical basis differs in principle from the observed properties of the object. For example, a real tree consists of wood, which in turn is a combination of organic molecules based on carbohydrates. A tree that we observe and perceive as a visual image is the reflection of light from the surface formed by these molecules.
       This same tree on a computer screen consists of physical effects within the computer screen (different in different types of screens) and certain electron states on the computer hard disk where information about how the tree should look is written using binary code. The fundamental difference between the tree in the window and that on the screen is that one tree is real and the other is not. Both these objects have a physical basis and act on our sense organs. The difference is that the real tree exists without depending on our wish to view it (even if we planted this tree exclusively for this purpose, it exists not for us but for itself, carrying out its ascribed biological function) whereas the virtual tree is created only to demonstrate the image. It has no purpose or capability beyond that which the computer program and its electronic and physical parameters give it.
       However, the fact is that both trees may in principle be identical from the viewpoint of our sense organs. Although technology is not yet developed to the point that our sense organs fail to distinguish between real and virtual trees, it can be assumed that at some time we will not be able to find any differences. Virtual reality is capable of acting on all our sense organs and eventually, virtual reality will be able to simulate the material world to the same level of certainty with which we observe it. This is especially true if it is possible to meddle with the generation of nerve impulses in the human nervous system instead of the wires, sensors, and other bulky accessories of today's virtual reality. The perception of a reality even more real than reality itself can be achieved. Human sense organs have definite limitations. For example, our visual acuity is several times less than that of eagles. The sense of smell in dogs is hundreds of times more sensitive than in man. Imagine that information is sent to the visual nerve of man, or if the nerve synapses of man are incapable of this, the same picture could be created in the part of the brain cortex responsible for such images.
       Even today, despite the imperfections of modern computers, people spend more and more time in front of computer screens and televisions. Everything from work to entertainment is carried out in front of the screen. Some days, an individual is completely immersed in the virtual space of electronic mail, Internet sites, and television programs. The rest of the time, often spent dreaming, cannot be considered meeting physical reality because dreams are also a virtual space, the only difference being that the subconscious is prevalent.
       Man's conservativeness must be kept in mind at every step. Certain, more rational, things are already available, but man will refuse them because tastes and morals are transferred from generation to generation. It seems unlikely that humanity will undergo drastic changes in its principal customs.
       Significant innovations are introduced from generation to generation. That which is nostalgic for our generation may be completely devoid of meaning for our children and grandchildren. Even now, the bulky volumes of our libraries seem awkward to many youths. Why is a book of several hundred pages needed if the required word combination can be found by a simple click of the mouse in an electronic text?
       Philosophical activity can outline the basic tendencies of future development. Even keeping in mind the unpredictability of many phenomena and discoveries, mankind's progress toward making his habitat a virtual space is consistent with the course of human history.
       The habitat does not have to be turned into a virtual space by using computers. The use of finishing panels on concrete faГades or plywood buildings instead of rock and brick is also a step toward making our world a virtual one. Builders rationalized that new materials could be used where the conservatism of human tastes made the architects compromise and propose an exterior similar to past buildings.
       The use of special types of resin instead of marble to make sculptures is another example of how our habitat has become a virtual one. The ancient Latin saying Esse quam videri, “to be rather than to pretend to be,” is no longer apropos. Things today seem certain, but they are in fact something completely different. The only question that remains is what does “in fact” mean? Does there exist some final real reality that would be impossible to doubt? This question, which is as ancient as the world, cannot be resolved using anthropocentric arguments. All things examined and studied in philosophical or humanitarian sciences belong wholly to the realm of human experience. Perceptive human experience can only be individual because no form of human experience can exist that is not directly linked to the activity of an actual human mind and physical substrate. Neither the mental experience of animals nor the simulation of experience from computer technology can be viewed, independent of human activity, as thought or meaning, reality or imagination. The various facts of reality that sense organs can perceive, and about which something can be known or said, are only a component of human experience. Thus, experience is a method for not only assimilating and contemplating reality, but also for describing and qualifying it.
       Man also recognizes reality individually. Sartre, in his work The Imaginary: A Phenomenological Psychology of the Imagination, attempted to understand the fundamental difference between the observed image of a chair in the middle of a room and the image of a chair stored in our memory. Memorizing and recalling through recognition are two sides of experience. Simple reflection without recognition is also known in the inanimate world, since the surface of a mirror or water can reflect objects, but not recognize them.
       Human activity is intentional, aimed at satisfying the needs of both sides of experience and coordinating their functioning. Each element of experience has one type of value or another. It arises, exists, and functions only because it is necessary and useful for the activity of an individual. The significance or value of experience is not beyond the limits of experience, but results from the vital need to coordinate personal experience with the material or social world-in other words, with the surrounding things and living beings.
       Transcendental, or more precisely, transcendent, knowledge beyond the bounds of sensory experience, but not beyond the bounds of experience in general, must also be remembered. It is very important to note that transcendental knowledge is the understanding of the conditions of possible experience and not the knowledge of an objective truth independent of experience.
       Neither of the sides of experience gives knowledge of the world of “things-in-themselves.” However, the definition itself of “things-in-themselves” given by Kant can be tricky if it is not focused on human experience. Knowledge should in one way or another be coordinated with other knowledge within the bounds of experience of material or social activity-i.e., be coordinated with facts of sensory experience and with a transcendental picture of the world.
       Not one of the methods of knowledge or forms of experience (reflection, sensing, emotions, intuition, or will) in and of itself can guarantee that human activity will be successful. Each of these forms of experience can and should be used to one degree or another and in some combinations or others regardless of the circumstances of the situation and the goals of activity. Knowledge can be either a deductive hypothesis or a conviction (imperative, model). Speculative knowledge of pure reason within the limits of an actual research method is necessary and obligatory because it relates not to the objects of the world of phenomena, but to the methodological bases, making an ordering of the experience possible. Kant's conclusions and positions relating to transcendental philosophy and transcendental logic cannot be stretched beyond the limits of the methodology. Kant tells, in his prolegomenons, of a practical (and not transcendental) knowledge. He applies the term “rational faith.”
       However, it should be recognized that practical knowledge is purely hypothetical. Even without going beyond the bounds of the ordinary laws of physics, an individual can be placed in a foreign environment, completely created for him, about which he will make false conclusions and generalizations, being directed by the results of his practical experience. Most likely, that which we observe during the history of science will seem like errors to our descendents.
       The idea that should result from a thorough study of these questions is that there is no difference, in principle, between virtual reality and the material world. Furthermore, we are observing only the beginning-literally, the genesis-of mankind's virtual world. What philosophical questions will be raised in the future if our imagination becomes virtual? It can dominate reality and take its place, elbowing out of man's life that which today is called the “material world.”

    Chapter 6

    Prisoners of the Body

      
       Man, when he is healthy and well, completely forgets about the existence of his own body. Pains and other discomfort, such as cold, heat, and hunger, do not bother him. However, unsatisfied wishes and inconveniences can make one feel that life is, in fact, reality. The joke about waking up in the morning with nothing hurting meaning you've died is popular for a reason.
       It is not surprising that problems of the flesh take up a large part of our existence. One way or another, as time passes, a man gives them less attention because the progress of civilization has freed him from the need to fight hunger, cold, and heat, and has relieved or greatly mollified the symptoms of many ills with the help of effective medicines. In days of old, fevers lasted longer and a simple cold could send a man to the grave.
       It can be said that the dependence of the individual on the physical component decreases significantly as society develops. Corporal punishment is being eliminated everywhere. In one of the Middle East countries at the start of the 1990s, an American citizen was sentenced to caning for vandalism, but President Bill Clinton came to his aid, although unsuccessfully. The number of countries in which the death penalty is banned is growing.
       Not everything is so clear in the modern world. Periodic outbreaks of mass violence often strike. However, this still does not change the basic tendency to reduce the dependence on the physical body.
       With the Internet's emergence, there has been a reduction in direct physical influence on companions. Virtual personalities have no bodies, and their owners are out of range. Virtual violence-for example, the threat of a computer virus-or simple indifference can be used as penalties. These are serious threats to virtual personalities, but these threats cannot be compared to physical destruction.
       It can be assumed that the tendency to alleviate the dependency of humans on their physical bodies will continue. Until recently, organ transplants were considered fantasy. However, heart transplants are now almost routine. Patients can live for years after this surgery, as long as the immune system doesn't reject the transplanted organ. Transplantation of an artificial heart or the heart of animals is not as successful as the transplantation of a human heart, so operations are limited to the availability of suitable donors.
       Despite the fact that modern medicine has not yet managed to find a cure for the leading causes of death in developed countries (cardiovascular disease and cancer), medicine's successes in the fight against infectious diseases gives hope that in the future, length and quality of life will increase steadily, but perhaps there is a genetically regulated limit to human life. Research on the mechanisms of ageing, gene engineering, and nanotechnology takes those directions that will be able to reduce even more the dependency of man on his body, prolonging human life indefinitely. Although the aforementioned procedures are accepted by society, cloning and stem cell use are still being discussed.
       Effective technologies for creating biotechnical human organisms with a long-term survivability do not yet exist. However, research in this area is being conducted. Plans are being made to find methods to record the brain on electronic or other media and free man from his temporal body.
       It must be remembered that published results are only a small sampling of the research that various secret agencies may in fact be conducting because such developments have strategic value. Why attempt to correct thousands of biological mechanisms (processes not created by us and which we will probably never be able to fully understand) when it is possible to discard the biological body and transfer human consciousness into a virtual world that we create and understand completely, where we are more prepared to solve problems and have complete control?
       Today, such suggestions elicit only the irritated smiles of skeptics. However, if the improbable changes with which humanity was pacified in the last few centuries are kept in mind that which is entirely unacceptable now from a community viewpoint may gradually become a valid option for solving the problem of the dependence of man on his own body. This problem is not new. Many inspired teachings consider the release from carnal bondage a positive effect. Because we do not observe significant progress in the study of other worlds, it can be assumed that the practice of transferring human consciousness to another physical base is completely acceptable. If the tendency to develop a virtual world remains, and this leads to people's immersion into the world of virtual reality, the presence of a body will become a vulnerable link.

    Chapter 7

    The Golden Age of Mankind

      
       It has been a while since anyone wrote about utopia as positive, favorable, and pleasant for the imagination. Now they describe, more and more, an anti-utopia with consequences, machine rebellions, nuclear wars, asteroids, and catastrophes. My utopia, it seems, will give a positive twist to the dream. What problems does mankind face? Let us start with the main ones:
      
       1. To die is undesirable.
       2. To live is scary.
       3. We feel that we are unimportant.
       4. To work is, in principle, boring and unwanted.
       5. We did not accomplish anything in life.
       6. There is not enough money! Always not enough!
       7. The world is not fair; everybody is sad.
      
       If these problems were solved for every individual, the golden age of mankind would begin. Thus, death. This is the same effect that, as Hamlet said, “Puzzles the will.”
       What is it about death that we fear? Three things. First, changes-because death is, after all, its own kind of change. This change may make our loved ones sad. Second, we fear nothingness-the loss of this tiny, flighty world that we name with the worn-out concept “I.” Finally, we fear the events after death, be it nothingness or, more frightening, hell, paradise, and uncertainties.
       What is death? The death of our body means it cannot sustain our consciousness. Is our body, in and of itself, dear to us? Many would exchange their body for a more attractive one. This means that all that we value is our sense of “I.” This is the solution to the problem. In the future, scientists will transcribe everything in our minds onto special information media. Every evening, we will download ourselves onto these disks or to special “spirit storage.” This is almost done now with computer systems that create backups at the end of each day. Our reserve prototype will be created by cloning cells of our organism and storing the result in special body storage. Discover magazine recently published that scientists have learned to grow meat-bovine muscle tissue. This means it will soon be possible to grow steak without killing anything! If scientists can grow beef, they will learn to grow us, too-a healthy spare body will be readied for each of us. Is there scientific rationale for such predictions?
       Aleksandr Bolonkin, senior scientist for NASA, and professor of the Institute of Technology in New Jersey writes, in The XXIst Century, the Beginning of Human Immortality, “The unusually rapid development of computer technology and especially microchips, which enable hundreds of thousands of electronic bits to be placed on a single square centimeter, has given mankind a completely different method for solving the problem of individual immortality. This path is based not on the preservation of large biological molecules but on a transition to artificial semiconductor (silicon, gallium, etc.) chips that are stable to large temperature fluctuations, do not need food and oxygen, and last for thousands of years. Even more important, information from them can be easily rewritten onto another chip and stored as several copies.
       “If our brain consisted of chips and not biological molecules, this would also mean that we were immortal. Then our biological body would become a heavy burden. It would freeze, suffer from heat, need clothes and care, and easily be damaged. How much more convenient it would be to have steel arms and legs of enormous strength that are insensitive to cold and heat and that do not require food and oxygen. Even if they broke, it would be no problem to buy and install new ones even better and more modern.
       “It could be that nothing of man would remain in a person who became immortal, strictly speaking, in the human sense of the word. But he would have the most important thing, his consciousness, memory, ideas, and habits; i.e., everything contained in his brain. Externally he could put on the same human and more refined look. For example, a beautiful young face, good build, soft satiny skin, etc. Moreover, this look could change at will, according to the style, taste, and ideas of the individual himself about beauty. We spend huge sums on medicine. If we would spend even a tenth of this money on the development of electronics, immortality would arrive already in the near future.”
       You might think man will not betray his body and soul this way. But it is just a matter of time. People are conservative, but they gradually become accustomed to novelties. That to which people have become accustomed at present seemed improbable fifty years ago. For example, a display of intimacy between two male persons, when one did not consent to the advances-such a scene occurred in the movie Pulp Fiction. If mankind has become hardened to this, it will overcome its revulsion on many things, especially if the result is to gain eternal youth, life, and health.
       To economize on televisions and computers, a modem and cell phone will be built into the brain, through which people will connect to the Internet. A man will close his eyes and watch a news broadcast. He'll think about calling his wife, but before he can dial the phone, his wife will answer, “Where are you going?”
       There will be nowhere to go because everything will be virtual-business meetings, work, and entertainment. There will be nowhere to drive. People will sit at home and meditate. Homes, also, will be filled with virtual reality. Everyone will be able to imagine and create the castle he or she wants. Even now, there are commercial empires that exist only in the imagination and on computer screens. The day is not far off when the quality of virtual reality will be significantly better than that of actual reality.
       How will murderers, maniacs, and politicians survive without inflicting pain on others? There will be little benefit in torturing this new type of person. Torturing a man gets him nowhere, because the man does not ask for mercy but swallows cyanide in order to get to tomorrow faster.
       Murderers, maniacs, and politicians might prefer to satisfy their animal instincts in a virtual world, playing virtual games that give them the feeling of being more powerful than that which reality can give. Moral, criminal, and religious problems, and problems of life and death, will fall by the wayside. Unanswerable questions, such as those about the structure of the universe, will no longer need to be answered. The actual universe will seem so incomplete compared to the virtual one that there will be no need to comprehend it.
       Poverty in the golden age of mankind will also resolve itself. Because society will use mainly virtual services and products, the energy needed to produce them will be very small. There will be less waste. Because there will be nowhere to drive, there will be no transportation problems. Space will need to be conquered in order to protect the earth from cosmic catastrophes and prepare an emergency base for evacuation. Machines will settle space. The virtual reality of the future will show us that which cannot be imagined in the real universe.
       What else? You do not want to work? It won't be necessary. The more progress mankind makes, the less need people have for tedious manual labor. Soon there will be no need for work at all because robots will do everything necessary.
       From where will the energy for all this come? Scientists will learn to use solar energy. Each day, earth receives from the sun a thousand times more energy than that produced by all power plants in the world. The task is to learn to effectively use just a small amount. It cannot be claimed that widespread use of solar energy will have no impact on the environment, but the effects will be incomparably less than for traditional energy.
       Such work is already being done. Switzerland has become a leader in the practical use of solar energy. They have built about 2600 solar stations with silicon photo transformers of power from 1 to 1000 kW and solar collectors for receiving thermal energy. A program named Solar-91, carried out under the slogan “For the energy independence of Switzerland,” has contributed greatly to resolving ecological problems and securing the energy independence of the country, which imports over 70% of its energy.
       When we have solar energy in our pockets, automated labor, and most products have become virtual, mankind will enter its golden age, in which we will avoid boredom by taking up entertainment-for example, writing and philosophy, artwork or poetry, which we will be able to do for the rest of eternity.

    Chapter 8

    A Model of the Electronic State

       These days, items and gadgets greatly simplify life. Nobody in the past could have guessed that these gadgets could be made so simply and cheaply. Consider packaging and can openers, which were invented without novel technology or advanced materials by people who reviewed the old paradigms and asked, “Why not?”
       However, many things remain inconvenient and irrational. Narrow-mindedness and conservative human thought is responsible. Existing procedures must be reviewed and the question asked, “Can this be done simpler and cheaper, and does this even need to be done at all?” It is also necessary, all the time, to check if a new technology might simplify a process or replace it entirely with one of better quality and effectiveness. Although industry and business still adhere to the principles of renewal, the state that manages taxation, legislation, and health, education, and military systems financing re-examines old concepts slowly, if ever. This is because the state usually has no serious competition. If elected officials attempt to live up to the expectations of the voters, the state apparatus of practically any country is a clear example of inefficiency, a squanderer of the taxpayers' money, and a perpetrator and conjuror of actions unwanted by and even harmful to society. Of course, there is something of a competition here; one can theoretically elect a different government or immigrate to another country. However, these choices cannot lead to governmental reform.
       The process of reforming the state management system, of course, will be widely resisted and its initial intentions will be distorted. People have long followed the principle that it is better not to change; it might be worse. However, following the example of Plato, I propose to draw the plan of an ideal state using modern technologies and contemporary science and ethics in addition to paying attention to the current needs of the people. For convenience, I will base my model of an advanced state on Canada, Norway, or Sweden. Because I have firsthand knowledge of these countries, I think an analysis of the imperfections of these advanced governments will help create a perspicacious model of an ideal modern state more easily than if I tried to reform some country with a less organized state management system.
       Despite that fact that Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, with a state budget surplus of several billion dollars, it has problems typical of many other countries:
       1. The state management system is cumbersome and expensive with an enormous amount of parallel and duplicate organizations at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.
       2. The taxation system is ineffective. Taxes are high due to an inflated state system, and social payments are insufficient because the state and inefficient planning consume the difference.
       3. Healthcare is inefficient. There are not enough doctors, nurses, funds, or equipment. There is practically no early diagnosis. Most funds are spent on treatment of chronic, intractable patients.
       4. Education is substandard. The knowledge level of middle school students is unsatisfactory. Higher education is expensive and trains specialists not needed for the labor markets. Schools are breeding grounds for drug abuse, violence, and promiscuity among minors. From fourteen to eighteen, an adolescent can opt out of high school. Many students in the twelfth grade are eighteen years old. Promiscuity is accepted among consenting adults, but it also flourishes among adolescents, although adult sexual relations with them are forbidden. Adolescents might be sexually active, but an adult will be thrown into prison if he has relations with one.
       5. An ill-prepared and expensive army with little military capability
       6. A completely ineffective immigration policy, which lets through many illegal immigrants and keeps legal, highly qualified immigrants out of the labor market because waiting period to be become a landed immigrant lasts 3-5 years. Illegal immigrants former do not pay taxes, have no medical insurance, and are a problem for the state. Legal immigrants are often unemployed and collect unemployment and welfare.
       7. A large segment of the population is unsatisfied with a poor and boring life, does hard labor or performs tedious, low-paying jobs, is up to its ears in debt, and sees no way out.
       8. A high crime rate, especially in large cities
       9. High prices for electricity and fuel
       10. Inefficient transportation system within the limits of large cities.
      
       Computers and the Internet have developed so rapidly that neither society nor the state has managed to fully utilize their potential. Computers and Internet sites are sometimes used to print out information and forms instead of being used as actual interactive systems replacing outdated work practices, including visiting establishments during open hours, switching the workplace to the home (reducing transportation and other expenses), providing effective educational systems at home, and improving early diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
       One computer can carry out in 4.5 minutes the number of calculations that one human could carry out in forty to forty-five years of eight-hour working days. However, computers in many places still do not replace human labor, but only provide assistance, which does not change the speed of the process.
       The modern state apparatus is unwieldy, ineffective, and consumes the bulk of the budget based on collected taxes. It is nothing more than a sordid disbursement of collected funds. The state is reluctant to advertise how much it spends supporting itself. Official tables hide these expenses under the nebulous heading “Other.” Because the state has no practical competitor, no effective external mechanisms force it to examine the principal concepts of social life.
       The state should transfer most work to private companies and watch them closely. This would generate healthy competition, increase efficiency, and reduce costs of services and systems for which the state is presently responsible. This process is occurring, but not fast enough. Second, the concepts of social life should be examined.
       Let's start with an examination of taxation. What part of an average middle-class person's income is given to the state as taxes, including local real estate and value-added taxes (VAT) (which are usually added to the price of goods and services and paid by the consumer)? The total of these taxes in many countries is greater than 50%-in certain ones, 60-70%. It sounds unbelievable, but unfortunately, it is true. In Norway, the VAT (Merverdiavgift) alone is 25%. In Israel, this tax is 17-18%. In Ontario, Canada, it reaches 15% (provincial tax 8%, Goods and Services Tax (GST)-5%). This tax is in addition to all other taxes, but it must be paid for almost every purchase or service. Why should total taxes be 60% and not 80%? Or why not 100%? Maybe taxes could be raised to 120%, so if one earns a dollar, he gives this dollar to the state and another twenty cents for the pleasure of living there? You will say that people cannot live this way. That's right. You think like the state. In essence, the state extracts as much money as it can from the people so that they will continue to work and not complain. Then the state will boldly announce the rollback of a tax by 1-2% and everyone will applaud and elect the reformers to a second term.
       The problem is that the state forgets that it is nothing but an institution created to service the interests of its inhabitants. Regarding Rousseau, we read “Chacun de nous met en commun sa personne et toute sa puissance sous la suprЙme direction de la volontИ gИnИrale; et nous recevons en corps chaque membre comme partie indivisible du tout,” which according to my free translation means “Each of us gives to the total sum his personality and his power, subordinating them to the higher leadership of the common will, as a result of which we receive a body [the state], each member of which becomes its inseparable part.” What else could we demand in exchange, other than the fulfillment of our wishes and the protection of our interests? Let's look at how this is done in practice.
       A member of the middle class, giving a large part of his income to taxes, cannot reduce these expenses because he works legally and taxes are subtracted from his pay. Many businessmen or contractors write off a part of their income for the development and maintenance of the business, which reduces the tax burden, using these expenses in one way or another for personal purposes. For example, a business lunch can be written off as a business expense. A laborer and wage earner cannot write off his lunch even if he discusses business during lunch. Thus, the main tax burden is placed on the middle class, which receives average and high wages. Its taxes are easily monitored and usually withheld fully. This results in members of the middle class not having enough money on which to live. They run up debt by using credit cards, lines of credit, overdrafts, and securing mortgages. Much of the money left after paying taxes goes to paying interest on debt; for credit cards, the percentage is 18-22%. Does it seem that such a state apparatus is not created for the convenience of the person who sacrifices his “personality and power” to it? Rousseau's words again ring in the ears-“L'homme est nИ libre, et partout il est dans les fers” (A person is born free but wears chains everywhere). Yes, this is reminiscent of enslavement. The most important point is that this slavery is useless for everyone. The most woeful people in the state are those who collect welfare, but they do not receive enough for a decent life. The rich also get no use out of this. Instead of actually paying his worker $60,000 net, the employer must pay $100,000, a large part of which goes to these same taxes. Such a situation increases production costs, which increases the cost of products, which are used directly or indirectly by the same worker at an inflated price, even using credit, for which high percentages must be paid.
       People exercising state power do not win by being a part of the enormous apparatus and feeding themselves from the budget. State positions for most workers do not pay well, often less than in the private sector. State workers also pay the same taxes and wallow in debt, like everyone, despite that fact that they work for the state apparatus. Here Rousseau is truly correct-“Tel se croit le maНtre des autres, qui ne laisse pas d'Йtre plus esclave qu'eux” (One fancies himself a conqueror of others, which does not keep him from being a slave on a higher level than they [those slaves that he owns]).
       Furthermore, the state that assumed responsibility for social security delegated this responsibility to the employer, forcing the employer to supplement high wages, a large part of which goes to taxes, and even pay additional social deductions, such as unemployment insurance and deductions for pension funds. The question arises, “Where does the money that the state collects go?” According to the official site of the Ministry of Finance Canada (www.fin.gc.ca), 255,000 jobs were created in 2004.
       Here is what happens. The government helps to create jobs because in modern society, every healthy person should work. This is the first principle that should be examined. In the modern state, and especially in a future state, not every person should work. The fact is that in such an approach, where the criterion for successful government activity is the creation of jobs, most created jobs produce nothing of substance. However, the creation of jobs requires enormous expense. It is much cheaper to let some people sit at home and pay them decently than to force them to work, creating for them expensive, and in many instances, useless jobs. You say that people sitting at home will get bored. Do you think a person standing in the wind at eight in the morning and directing road construction for a project leading to the northern regions of Canada that no one will ever use will not get bored? At least he is at work. The fact that the construction has to be subsidized in order to create the job is lost in the shuffle. The state does not think about this because there is no penalty for spending ten million dollars constructing a road, but there will be repercussions if the unemployment rate is high.
       The state collects forty percent of an honest engineer's income in order to construct a useless road, creating a job for the engineer's brother, who goofed off and did not finish college. True, the brother makes 10% of the wages of an engineer, but the remainder goes to creating his job. And road construction is not cheap. Instead of taking 10% from the engineer, giving it to his unfortunate brother, and letting him sit at home, the state takes 40% and forces the brother to construct an unneeded road. The construction worker contracts pneumonia and needs to see a doctor. The worker's children must go to school, so one is constructed (although the Internet could more effectively teach this child at home, far from fights and drugs). Teachers must be hired for the school; of course, they must be paid-and so forth and so on. The state does not want to admit that not everyone needs to work and be useful. Many people will feel more useful by staying at home.
       What will people at home do? They can study on the Internet if they want paying work, or study art, write poetry, teach children, go fishing, and enjoy life. Rejecting the principle that job creation and the reduction of unemployment are the criteria for successful management, the state can collect fewer taxes, make the production process cheaper, and reduce the cost of living.
       How can taxation be made simple, effective, and acceptable? The state must assume the operation of banking systems and cancel paper and metal money. Then, all accounts will pass through the state as electronic payments made by telephone, the Internet, or any means of communication. A 5% tax will be assessed on all operations. If one receives $100,000 per year, $5,000 will be taken from the account when the funds are transferred into it. When it is spent, another 5% will be withheld for each monetary transaction. The state will receive about 10% from every monetary transaction. There will be no more evading taxes, no possibility of “business under the table,” and no ways to pay illegal immigrants. No one will refuse to pay a tax of this size. This will also curb drug activity because currency will be removed from circulation. Having completed such a reform, the state will grant credit, which will also fill the state coffers. Percentages on credit will be greatly reduced.
       More than 2.2 trillion dollars in purchases were made in the USA in 2003 using credit and debit cards! The infrastructure for converting to electronic funds is already in place. Having rejected the creation of jobs, reformed the taxation system, and combined it with banking and credit systems, the state will be able to reduce expenses currently connected to collecting taxes. For this, it is not necessary to expropriate the banking system. The state may buy controlling packets of stock for principal banks for twenty-five years and then reform the banking system, merging it with the taxation system completely. Funds may not be sufficient to carry out usual state functions, such as health maintenance, protection, education, and social services. However, each of these functions must be examined.
       The health-care system is exceedingly ineffective. Most general practitioners perform routine procedures for which even a medical assistant is not necessary. Mobile diagnostic centers could be established in pharmacies that analyze patients' complaints, measure blood pressure and heart rates, draw blood, and analyze urine (saliva analysis may soon partially or completely replace blood analysis), take and analyze cardiograms, and prescribe standard treatments that will be dispensed on location in the pharmacy. Only if the bounds of illness suitable for outpatient treatment are exceeded will the diagnostic center send the patient to a specialist or hospital. Imagine the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of such an approach. In the future, scanners to perform whole-body scans of patients will be added to the diagnostic centers. Many diseases will be diagnosed in their early stages, saving money to treat the chronically ill. The demand for expensive highly qualified medical staff will also decrease.
       The education system is also exceedingly expensive and ineffective. If most schools are closed and children are given effective schooling at home over the Internet, many problems (rising crime, drug use, etc.) will be solved. Educational, interactive video programs will be more effective than modern, overcrowded classrooms with inadequately trained teachers. The system would be traceable to ensure that all children were suitably taught and their educational achievements satisfied general state requirements. The same goes for the higher education system, which has already successfully converted programs to the Internet.
       A significant portion of many countries' budgets is spent on the armed forces. The armed forces of Canada and Norway are small and often inactive for decades, with the exception of participation in peacekeeping missions. However, the armed forces can be made self-supporting by offering them for hire to various defense and security operations in other countries.
       Immigration policy must also be reformed. Illegal immigrants who do not pay taxes inundate developed countries. The state desperately tries to create additional jobs, spending taxes collected from other members of society. The immigration policy brings into a country highly qualified legal immigrants who rarely find work in their specialty and more often than not compete for low-paying jobs or place a burden on the social security system.
       The right to immigrate to developed countries should be given to those who can guarantee their financial security for five to ten years. An immigration bank, in which savings accounts will be opened for all foreigners who desire them, should be created. Upon accumulating a sum that will support the owner of the account for the given term, he could file for residency and citizenship. Until the individual enters the country, he could collect his funds from his account, but as soon as he completes immigration, he begins to receive monthly assistance paid from his own money, with no right to collect it all at once. If the individual decides against residency and wishes to leave the country, he can collect the remaining funds from his account. Such a system would make immigration possible for everyone that could make deposits to provide for themselves for the first five to ten years.
       Citizenship and the right to vote are not connected with the issuance of a passport. A passport grants a traveler free passage of borders. It can be given to immigrants immediately upon filing for residency, whereas citizenship and the right to vote can be given after five to ten years and passing an exam on the laws of the land.
       Let me describe the life of a single family in the present and compare it with that of a family in the future. In the present, the father goes to work in the morning, constructing a road subsidized by the state. His wife works for eight hours as a cashier at a supermarket. Both drive twenty-five kilometers to work in two different cars, spending an hour and a half each in traffic jams, burning gas, and adding significant levels of carbon dioxide to our strained atmosphere. The child goes to a deplorable local school, where for the whole day he retains practically nothing and smokes marijuana during recesses. The child talks to his parents for forty minutes a week, but spends twenty-five hours a week with his drug-user buddies and for another twenty-five hours watches television programs full of violence and sexual content and plays computer games until numb.
       The father's activities consist of standing in the wind and directing traffic. A machine could replace him. The mother's work consists of taking goods from customers' hands and passing a bar code over a reading laser while the cash register calculates how much the customer should pay. Then the cashier reads the sum to the customer and presses a button so that the customer can pay with a card, which is how customers, more often than not, pay. The cashier rarely has to count money. The cashier also greets customers and asks how they are doing about two hundred times a day. A computer could easily replace such a worker. The customer would make his purchases and pay by card; after all, in the future, we will have only electronic money and no need to count bills and coins.
       In the evening, the father and mother return home at seven or eight p.m. They eat prepared dinners and watch television-advertisements for goods that they cannot afford. Their child joins them. Then they go to bed and repeat everything in the morning.
       Most of their meager pay goes to maintain the cars and car insurance, which is expensive because accidents are frequent in cities, and to pay for gas and repairs. Then they pay for housing-a small, pitiful, two-room apartment that is absurdly expensive. The rest goes for unhealthy prepared meals and payments on credit cards. The family gets deeper and deeper into debt. This is the life led by millions of ordinary citizens. Every now and then, one parent collects unemployment or works under the table to balance the family budget. The child grows into a mindless imbecile who populates the army of cashiers and traffic regulators if he does not end up in prison. In the USA, 0.5% of the population sits in prison. This is a normal family. The parents are not drug users or alcoholics, although alcohol or drugs are a logical outcome of such a life.
       Now let us imagine this same family in the electronic state. Neither parent works; they receive adequate welfare. The money has no strings attached because no one is building unnecessary roads and cheap computers have been installed in the store, enabling customers to make purchases themselves.
       The government offers the family more welfare if they agree to move out of the city, so they move far from the city and live in their own cottage. The payment for a state mortgage loan is cheaper than rent for a two-room apartment in the city. The family has one car that they do not use every day, and the father studies over the Internet to be an engineer because he wants to earn more and have a bigger house and a motorboat. He has always been interested in mathematics and technology. The internet-based education program costs the state and the student practically nothing. After his education, the father does not need to leave home because his work as an engineer will be done over the Internet too.
       The wife studies languages, history, and computer art design as a condition of her receiving welfare. She cooks healthy food instead of TV dinners, and the child remains under the parents' care and studies over the Internet. The system tracks his progress. During his free time, he plays in the street with neighboring children who also study at home.
       When the child gets the flu, the family goes to the pharmacy where the child's blood and urine are analyzed in an automated diagnostic center. Treatment is prescribed according to the symptoms, after which the child quickly gets well. The prior year, during a whole-body automated screening, early stage breast cancer was found in the mother. The mother quickly recovered after a minor operation.
       Do you like this concept? I think you do. Society, in past centuries, was based on strong family clans that supported each other. It was not an accident that Rousseau called the family “La plus ancienne de toutes les sociИtИs et la seule naturelle est celle de la famille,” the most ancient and most natural of all societies. Industrialization lured huge numbers of people into cities, destroying families to provide a large workforce. Post-industrialization continued to destroy the family. Society began to favor divorces and single-parent families.
       Now, the family's normal, natural functions are the education and rearing of children and preparing meals and entertainment. Everything is outsourced to various industries and the state, whilst the function of the state-ensuring the welfare and protection of citizens-is laid on the shoulders of workers and the middle class.
       The family must be restored as the core of society. Having learned to use computers, the state can send most of the workforce back to their families, giving them an adequate subsistence. The outdated principle that all people must work if they are healthy must be rejected. The race to create jobs, many of which aren't even necessary must stop.
       Do you think that if everyone simply receives money, nobody will want to work? This is not so. The government will provide only minimum adequate welfare. Those who want more will strive to earn more. However, it will be easier to do because they will not be burdened with heavy taxes.
       Modern society, adequately reorganized, can support a decent lifestyle for most of its citizens without employing them in unproductive work. By working, they are more valuable than if not working. However paradoxical this sounds, if people took care of their families, not imposing on society the burden of educating their children, the need for taxation and expenditures on education and health care would be minimized.
       You say this is unrealistic? Seven years ago, my company began to supply educational programs to prepare university graduates for work in the pharmaceutical industry and clinical studies. It started with small classes in Toronto, but we carried out the education completely over the Internet. Now, more than a thousand people a year all over the world study these courses. Most of the education is automated, although two instructors are available to answer the students' infrequent questions. The cost of the system dropped tens of times, while the effectiveness of the education and the business increased significantly.
       With the business flourishing, the main office, which I founded in a city not far from where I live, thinned out. At first, the instructors went home and then the administration. Now, one instructor works at home in Toronto; the other, in Calgary. The office is almost empty; only few people work in it. The office is active, but their existence is more a tribute to the conservatism of the workers than a necessity. Previously, such a business model was impossible. We would not have been able to teach a single student in Singapore at a time convenient for him with practically no expenses.
       I think society will eventually come to the same conclusions as I have. The necessary reforms will allow the grandest achievement of mankind, computers, to be fully utilized. We are only beginning to recognize their true potential.

    Chapter 9

    The Formula for Immortality

      
       We are all unique individuals. Death can wipe us out like an eraser. But if much of our environment is an illusion, why not create the illusion that life is eternal? Modern communication devices enable us to converse with relatives and friends over the Internet, even see their live image. Years may pass without ever seeing people in the physical-spatial sense, although we feel their presence as much as if they were in the same room with us.
       We need to develop a program to record their gestures and reactions to our words while we converse with them. After several hundred conversations, a database of possible audio-visual reactions will be created. Then, the program could be taught to react to our words and populate its vocabulary and thoughts from continuing conversations and current news.
       That's all. You get an ideal companion that will listen to all your news, react to your jokes, discuss world news, and have an opinion, which the computer will compose using previous thought templates from prior events. The program will remember what you told it and periodically weave in stories, similar to a sound recording.
       You don't think it will work? The first versions of the program will stutter and be less than natural, but eventually, they will become so modern that people will begin to prefer them, even if the original personality is alive. Is it better to pine over a loved one, streaming a river of tears, instead of spending time with a video image? What would this program be called? May be, “AntiDeath,” or “Vie Eternal,” in the French. Doesn't matter.
       You can also converse this way with living people. For example, suppose you have a cousin who has no time to listen to your writings. Start the computer, program it, and read to him all you want, expecting only that he sit opposite you with a satisfied half-smile, now and then chuckling, and sometimes praising you. The program will not yawn, fall asleep, or get angry that you have already taken up over an hour of its time. Meanwhile, your real cousin will live his own life. Maybe he will even give you the program so that you will leave him alone. You can give your cousin a program depicting you attentively listening to long, boring stories about his business.
       You say the program will be insensitive? That depends on how you program it. It can certainly be tender and soft. Suppose you would like to sort out your relationship with your former husband. He is tired of talking and has put distance between you. You could install the program and sort out your relationship with your former spouse as much as you want.
       Do you like my suggestions? Good. Death is a disaster. Modern society should see to it that the end of life is less unpleasant to the departed.

    Chapter 10

    The Problem with Immortality

       Awareness of one's existence is not a simple matter. It is even more difficult to be aware of one's nonexistence. Immortality is the idea that the obvious law of life-that everything living is mortal-can sometimes be violated in the direct physical sense. Immortality is often conceptualized as disassociation from death through the inability to be aware of it. When you are dead, death has no meaning to you; by definition, you cannot be aware of it or else you would be living and death again would make no sense to you.
       The question of whether immortality is possible or not is meaningless if the commonly accepted understanding of time is rejected. If time is only a figment of our understanding of reality, then the emotional stress connected with our finiteness is as meaningless as our spatial limitation.
       Within the framework of conscious time, immortality, or even a significant expansion of the cognitive existence of an individual, is an unavoidable result of technological progress. The demand is still much greater than the supply, which surely drives those seeking the elixir of immortality.
       Ancient Greeks and Jews understood immortality to be a spiritual existence in the kingdom of shadows (gades to the Greeks; sheol to the Jews). In India and Egypt, the study of soul travel was most common. According to Herodotus, “Egyptians...were the first to begin studying the immortality of the human soul. When the body dies, the soul transforms into another being that is born at that moment.” In Judaism, the study of immortality was later connected to the study of the resurrection of the dead and the rise from the grave. It was transferred in this form to Christianity and Islam. A bodyless, metaphysical existence of the soul (esoteric immoralism) is included in certain philosophical systems.
       The materialistic approach denies the existence of the soul. Therefore, the possibility of such immortality is meaningless within its framework. However, even materialist studies must include concepts of the continuation of our physical existence in new material forms.
       The concept of immortality as a systematic study was first established and developed by Plato (“Fedon, or On the Immortality of the Soul”). Kant considered it impossible to seek theoretical proof of the immortality of the soul and based faith in it on postulates of practical reasoning.
       Philosophy wedded to religion has proposed several solutions for those longing for immortality. The simplest is the immortality of the soul. The human soul lives forever. Its existence is independent of the body. The problem with this approach is that belief in the existence of a soul is based more on faith than scientific fact. It is not by chance that no progress in this direction has been made since primeval times. A contingent of leading scientists may hush up such proof, but if belief in the presence of a soul and its afterlife have no basis, why do so many facts indicate that the problem is not so simple?
       Medical observations describe near-death experiences (NDEs). Usually, patients experiencing serious trauma are aware of the process of separating the consciousness from the body. For example, people on the operating table confirm later that they saw their bodies from above the operation table while they were supposed to be unconscious.
       Although such occurrences raise doubts, respected scientists have undertaken serious research in this field. Among these is Doctor Michael Sabom, a cardiologist and professor in Emory University Medical School in Atlanta, Georgia. At first expressing skepticism about the reported NDEs, he changed his mind after more detailed research. In his book, Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation, Sabom gives many documented examples of patient NDEs. For example, one man related, “I was walking across the parking lot to get into my car...I passed out. I don't recall hitting the ground. The next thing I do recall was that I was above the cars, floating. I had real funny sensation, a floating sensation. I was actually looking down on my own body, with four or five men running toward me. I could hear and understand what these men were saying.”
       Prof. Sabom's book is a detailed description of patients surviving heart attacks. Sabom subdivides them into two groups. The first group, consisting of twenty-five people, could say nothing definite about their NDEs. The second group consisted of thirty-two people. Six of the patients gave responses that corresponded with medical notes made during the course of their operations, despite that fact that these people were unconscious. Similar research confirms that these patients looked on events from positions outside their own bodies. Sabom concluded, “If the human brain actually consists of two principal elements, the `intellect' and the `reasoning,' then it is entirely possible that processes accompanying near-death agony somehow facilitate the instantaneous separation from the brain of one of its components, namely, the intellect. At least, the answer to this question should be sought in this direction. Hypotheses proposing the out-of-body existence of the soul seem more convincing if definite confirming facts are present. Is it possible that reasoning, separating from the material brain, in fact is the soul continuing its existence after our body ceases to function (which agrees completely with certain religious teachings)? This is the main question that arises after a more detailed study of various types of NDEs.”
       It is impossible to prove mathematically the immortality of the soul. When the Russian chemist Butler tried to prove the immortality of the soul using materials from mediums, a commission headed by his colleague Mendeleev (infamous inventor of the Periodic Table of Elements) declared his facts unconvincing. Nevertheless, Mendeleev wrote that although there was no proof, he, as a person schooled in the Christian tradition, preferred to retain his belief in immortality.
       Another category of scientifically based proof leads to the idea that our “I,” adopted by us as consciousness, can actually continue to exist separate from the physical body. This proof refers to so-called past-life memories. Again, we are dealing with a field with many opportunities to generate skepticism. Meanwhile, serious scientists carried out diligent research. Among them was Ian Stevenson, professor of psychiatry, teaching in a Virginia university. Stevenson carried out thorough research on reincarnation of the memory, focusing his attention on children's recollections because children are less motivated than are adults to fabricate falsehoods concerning their previous lives. In most instances, Stevenson got detailed confirmation of recollections of places and people, including a person already dead, who, according to one of the children, met with him in a past life.
       Thus, in 1983, Stevenson recorded about 2500 instances of reincarnation of the memory. He confirmed that 881 instances were thoroughly checked and in 546 instances, he and his coworkers were able to confirm details connected to recollections of the past lives of the studied subjects. In other words, of the checked recollections, 62% were eventually fully confirmed. Stevenson included many of these instances in the four-volume compendium Typical Instances of Memory Reincarnation, published by University Press, Virginia.
       Doctor Peter Ramster, a psychologist at the University of Sidney in Australia, carried out similar research on adults who, under hypnosis, related recollections of their past lives. Accompanied by independent observers, he made several investigations at the places described in their recollections, obtaining confirmation of even the smallest details recorded in their memory.
       In addition, Ramster and Stevenson presented proof of xenoglossy (unexpected knowledge of foreign languages during hypnosis). One American housewife, under hypnosis, could fluently speak an ancient Swedish dialect, although in real life, she knew no Swedish at all.
       Such examples indicate that the consciousness within a given physical body might have existed in other physical bodies and can retain information of past lives. The Bhagavad-Gita and other Vedic writings give us a theoretical understanding that our consciousness is different from the body. Yoga and meditation, similar to the chanting of a mantra by Hare Krishna, are used to gain true understanding of such concepts and gradually lead a person to understand his “I.”
       In The Science of Self-Realization, Swami Prabhupada says, “Everyone who chants the Hare Krishna mantra eventually recognizes that he is not this material body. `I do not belong to this material body residing wholly in the material world. I am a spiritual soul that is a component part of the Higher Being.'”
       The American psychologist William James performed many experiments in his attempts to contact the consciousness of dead people and published his reports. Many societies studied this at the end of the 19th and during the 20th century. Parapsychology provided much of the material. One of the surprising discoveries was that the spirit acts in a world that knows no boundaries. Thus, the study of reveals immortality as an important motivating factor of the responsibility a person takes for himself, for others, for his deeds, for his words, and even for his thoughts.
       The founder of experimental psychology, G. Fechner, confirmed that man does not live once but three times. The first time, he lives for nine months in the mother's womb, in total solitude, and sleeps. During this time, his organs are formed. Then he is born, and he survives his birth; it is like death. The child gasps, separates from the mother, and experiences something similar to agony until his lungs open.
       Then the second life begins. Here, dreams alternate with wakefulness. There is no solitude, only interaction with a certain circle of people. The physical human unit flourishes until the end and quickly begins to rot. However, here its spiritual basis is developed, expanded, enriched, and grown, or more precisely, can grow.
       Then the third life begins. In it, there are no dreams. This is eternal wakefulness. It is open for a countless number of spiritual beings. Prophets, clairvoyants, mystics, and people at special moments of their lives can survive moments when, it seems that the whole universe resides within you. A person expects contact with a future experience and cosmic consciousness and notes a oneness with such a world.
       It is possible, of course, to propose that the facts given above are falsifications and the expectation of an immortal soul is naОve and senseless. However, nature proposes a compromise to immortality in the continuation of the species. We have the ability to reproduce and even nurture our own offspring. Life allows us to revel in the continuation of our existence, but only if we agree to give up the uniqueness and individuality of our “I.” Berdyaev, in Metaphysics of Sex and Love, glorified “sexual love” by considering that “the secret of individuality and immortality is connected with sex and love.” Cloning may help retain the value of our own “I.”
       Even if this seems unreasonable and unsatisfactory, the alternative is to believe in the immortality of the physical body and existence within virtual reality.
       Modern science proposes solving the problem of the immortality of the physical body with stem cells, cryonics, and reduction of body temperature, transplantology, and replacement of the “consciousness carrier,” among other things. The American physicist and Nobel laureate R. Feynman thinks, “If a man would attempt to construct a perpetual motion machine, he would be blocked by a physical law. In contrast with this, there is no law in biology that would confirm that the life of each individual is necessarily finite.”
       Technology offers mankind great promise and proposes various methods for realizing individual physical immortality. For example, Moore's law, which states that the number of transistors on a crystal doubles every 1.5-2 years, has been followed in microelectronic research for many years. Scientists are discussing the possibility of partially or fully transferring an organism to stable, artificial, semi-conducting (silicon, gallium, etc.) chips that do not need oxygen and remain functional for a long time. The information stored on the chip can be copied and distributed.
       Due to the extreme complexity of the aging process, prolongation of life can only result from a “combination of technologies,” the combined advancement in often related scientific and technological fields. Unfortunately, aging is built into our organisms. It does not seem possible to solve the problem with a single wave of the hand. The fundamental causes of aging are molecular in nature. Simply put, the smallest particles of a cell are unavoidably damaged during their life. Special “repair” systems correct much of this damage. However, molecular damage accumulates with time, and separate cells either perish or stop playing by the rules. The organism's protective systems begin to battle with such cells. However, spoiled molecules also accumulate in them. As a result, the ability to correct damage within the organism decreases significantly with age.
       Nanotechnology, the development of “molecular robots,” special proteins, or inorganic micro-beings grown in a tube or obtained by self-propagation, may be one of the solutions. The patient would be given an injection containing millions of these robots. This army of artificial beings would begin to work in the organism. The principles of their operation are similar to simple proteins, except the direction is not random; for example, their job might be to correct “bad” chemical bonds. A computer would control them. Information would be transferred through a magnetic or acoustic field. The patient would be placed in a magnetic box, a type of “tomograph.” When the session was complete, the robots would be extracted from the organism, leaving the person years younger in appearance and function.
       This is not as fantastic as it seems. Separate elements of “molecular robots” already exist. Tens of millions of dollars are invested yearly in this research. The primary barrier to developing an operating prototype of a molecular robot is the inadequate operating speed of computers. Suppose that the required speed will be achieved in about ten years. After this, it will take about twenty years to carry out required biological research, and develop and test the molecular robots and controlling computers. Sometime in the second quarter of the XXIst century, rejuvenation will become an ordinary medical procedure
       Proponents of immortality think that a quicker path to an increase of the human lifespan is gradual cyborganization-an expansion of the biological capabilities of a person by “grafting” into him artificial devices. As already noted, this could extend to transferring into a computer the human “I” and personality.
       Thus, the problem of physical immortality switches from the field of philosophy to that of solving scientific and technical problems. Within the framework of such a concept, the value of a separate human life remains critical, which is interesting, considering that we still obliterate ourselves en masse throughout the world. However, the hope of individual immortality is necessary. Kant explains the postulates of moral experience, freedom, God, and immortality at the end of The Critique of Practical Reason (Kritik der praktischen Vernunft). He attempts to prove that these postulates of moral consciousness refer to the required conditions for realizing a higher human purpose on earth. They do not have to apply to the extraterrestrial purpose of man but are necessary for revealing our life purposes in our earthly existence.

    Chapter 11

    The Desexualization of Personality

      
       The emergence of virtual personalities created by computer programs poses a question about sexual motivation. Surely, a program creating a virtual personality can force the virtual personality to associate with one of the sexes and exhibit externally sexual motivation. Such a situation can be temporary because the more independence virtual personalities acquire the less significance the opinion of a real person about them will have. By conversing with each other, making business contacts, and exchanging improvements in their software, virtual personalities free themselves of the need to create the illusion of a resemblance to people. It is possible that under certain conditions, people will prefer not to associate their virtual doubles with one sex or the other, in order to even the odds with virtual personalities generated by computer programs. Even now, people often present themselves in virtual space as someone other than who they really are.
       The thought that sexual motivation is the driving force behind human progress is rather widely held. This approach is powerful because sexual behavior is the basis for human social behavior if it is kept in mind that the main goal of sexual behavior from a biological viewpoint is the survival of the species. This goal takes the spotlight when talking about biological evolution.
       Sexual motivation and human sexual behavior are closely related to reproductive functions. However, unlike in animal behavior, they are determined by the social development of an actual personality. This produces a separation of sexual behavior from the reproductive function, which increases the variety of human sexual behavior.
       In order to explain sexual motivation in human society, the nature of the sex drive should be examined in more detail. The sex drive is a form of subjective human survival, a reflection of sexual need. The sex drive is the beginning stage of the recognition of sexual needs. When these are recognized, the sex drive changes to another manifestation of the need-sexual motivation, the physiological mechanism of activating traces (engrams) of information stored in the memory about external objects that can satisfy the sexual need of the organism and information about those actions that can lead to its satisfaction.
       Human sexual behavior is defined primarily by what need it satisfies. There are several basic forms of human sexual behavior depending on age and the final goal: the release of sexual stress; propagation, for which erotic images play an insignificant role; sensual gratification, for which the eroticism of the situation is most important; sexual behavior as a conscious or subconscious means of reaching asexual profits (for example, a marriage for money); as means for maintaining the spousal ritual; and communicative sexuality, for which sexual behavior is a form of companionship. For adolescents, another two forms of sexual behavior are the satisfaction of sexual curiosity and expressing sexual self-confidence. The variety of motivational forms of sexual behavior makes it difficult to investigate the sexual behavior of a particular personality. Moreover, not one of these factors may be sufficient by itself when the personality is transferred to virtual space.
       Sexual behavior depends on an individual's level of sex hormones, some means of reducing the libido (for example, certain antidepressants), and on society's standards, which create a feeling of embarrassment and guilt. Thus, moral standards in a society both limit external manifestations of sexuality and intensify the internal mechanisms of surviving one act or another.
       Freud proposed the term “libido” for the primal human energy impulse, the vital (life) force and energy. The libido determines the evolution of a personality from birth to death. Hidden transformations of the libido also explain individual idiosyncrasies and tendencies, sympathies and antipathies, secret wishes, fears, and other features of the personality. Sexual motivation is largely determined by these features and the expression of the inner sexual stress that requires release. However, it must be remembered that, according to Freud, an unconscious component of aggression is always present in sexual behavior. This is consistent with the sexual arousal that occurs in some people while watching rape scenes.
       A heightened sex drive is often a symptom of a neurotic condition. A desexualization of society based not on prohibitions but on a fundamental reduction of the libido as the result of successful therapy of neurotic conditions can reduce the aggressive element. Mixing sexually partisan virtual personalities (real people) with the society of virtual personalities based on computer programs should lead to a significant desexualization of society.
       The Internet precludes the possibility of sexual or physical force, which is a positive factor. Of course, improved communication has increased the possibility of sexual crimes, but the Internet is more likely to reduce the danger of physical aggression than stimulate it because companions cannot have physical contact, which guarantees their safety.
       Sexual behavior cannot be examined separately from the institution of marriage. Despite the wide discredit of the Internet as a source of matrimonial acquaintances, it is possible that in the near future, statistics will tell a different story. Already there are more chances for young people to learn about each other and converse over the Internet than during the initial phases of personal acquaintance. The Internet provides anonymity and physical protection, liberates potential partners, and facilitates the creation of serious relationships between people who in real life would not be able to meet and, if they did, might not show interest in each other.
       Premature physiological sexual maturation results in the arousal of sexual interests and the desire for a sex life that is awakened much earlier than the social readiness of the person. On the other hand, society strives to delay the individual's social maturation. Investigations indicate that the modern generation starts a sex life much earlier than a marital life. This is not forbidden by society. Sexual behavior in marriage in the last decades has undergone significant changes, due primarily to a weakening of religious prohibitions and the emancipation of women. New contraceptives that can more adequately regulate reproduction have had a large influence.
       One of the goals of psychoanalysis is to explain how the accumulation of sexual energy is distributed in the individual psyche, released, and transformed into social activity. In particular, the methods of transforming sexual energy formed the basis of Freud's sublimation concept, according to which sexual energy can have two outlets-by achieving sexual satisfaction, which is the more primitive form of release, and by sublimation, a higher level where the primal energy of the libido is incorporated into other forms of activity. Such a model contains two types of development of society and civilization. The first type is observed in societies where there are no special prohibitions on sexuality. Sex is accepted as the festive side of normal existence. A person in such a society is truly happy, does not feel the oppression of social morals, and lives a carefree life. It can be supposed that this model is close to aboriginal culture. In this instance, society is doomed to stagnation because energy is expended only on life with nothing left for sublimation. There are no forces in society for science, business, and art.
       The second type is total opposition. An individual that suppresses his sexuality and regulates his behavior is unhappy, depressed, and limited in desires. The society is dynamic and has great potential to develop because the individual's unrealized impulses are sublimated to socially acceptable forms of activity. It should be noted that this sexuality model, despite not having been verified, has been recognized in other fields of human knowledge (culturology, anthropology, sociology, etc.).
       The socialization of human sexual needs is one of the least studied fields of sexology. The way J. Schmidt interprets it is that a person is born with a certain level of neurophysiologic capability, able to experience sexual satisfaction by stimulating the genital and extra genital erogenous zones, reaching a climax as an orgasm. Stimulation and orgasm, according to the education theory, act as reinforcements and strengthen the tendency to seek arousing, erotic situations. The more frequent the sexual experiences, the more they occur with satisfaction and lack of conflict, and the more tolerable they are to society, the more sexual motivation will be expressed. The drive level increases. As experience is accumulated, sexual activity is proportional to its emotional consequences for an actual personality.
       The more sexual activity and gratification are associated with each other during the accumulation of human experience, sexual experimentation, sexual satisfaction, gratification, and relaxation with acceptability, safety, and value, the more evident the sex drive will be. This follows the rule for generating secondary motivation.
       According to this model, the sex drive, behavior, and sexual activity depend on intertwined biological, psychological, and social (cultural) factors. The term “culture” has many meanings. Friedrich Nietzsche defined it as “a single art style in all manifestations of the life of a nation,” Margaret Mead as “the unification of all forms of traditional behavior,” JosИ Ortega-y-Gasset as “a social direction that we give to the cultivation of our biological potential,” and Karl Jung as “the forms of behavior typical for a group, a community of people, a society, with material and immaterial features.” Freud wrote that “the word `culture' characterizes the whole collection of achievements and institutions removing our life from the life of primitive ancestors and serves two purposes, the protection of mankind from nature and the ordering of relations between people.” A specialist on the history of esthetics, M.S. Kagan, draws attention to the fact that the term “culture” was born in Ancient Rome in opposition to the term “nature.”
       The concept “culture” includes characteristics of society and of the individuals forming it-the individual culture of personality. The culture of feelings and relationships and the sexual culture are significant in this area.
       Sexual culture reflects the ethnic and religious features of a society and the uniqueness of the epoch. One moral standard or another is often the main criterion in attempts to define sexual standards. The relationship of various cultures and societies to individual sexuality is registered on a regressive (prohibitions and judgments)/ permissive (permissions and encouragements) scale.
       The French philosopher Michel Foucault postulated that it is difficult to study the sexual culture of a society because orders and prohibitions are ambiguous and varying for different members of the society. That which is allowed for some is categorically forbidden for others. Sex, age, social position, or profession can act as differentiating factors.
       J. Braud remarked that the simpler and more primitive the organization and structure of a society, the more it tolerates sexuality and vice versa. Yuri Lotman said, “The simplest form of biological multiplication is the division of single-celled organisms. In this instance, each individual cell is fully independent and does not need another. The next stage is the division of a biological species into two sex classes, any one element of the first and any one element of the second class of which is necessary and sufficient to continue the species. The emergence of zoosemiotic systems forces individual differences between specimens to be viewed as significant and introduces an element of selection into marital relations of higher animals. Culture arises as a system of additional prohibitions superimposed on physically possible actions. The combination of complex systems of marital prohibitions and their structurally meaningful violations convert the addressee and addresser of marital communication into a personality. The “man and woman” given by Nature are changed to “only him and only her” by Culture. Just the incorporation of separate human units into the complicated structure of Culture makes them simultaneously parts of the whole and irreproducible individuals, the difference between which is the carrier of certain social values.”
       Virtual reality is a medium in which business and creative relationships can be effectively desexualized-i.e., deprived of the unavoidable irrational sexual motivation. On the other hand, people seeking serious relationships can use the Internet as a means for meeting people.

    Chapter 12

    The Death of Eroticism

      
       Eroticism is dead. When we can see with each step, in every film, and on every magazine stand that which a respectable man should not examine too closely in his own bedroom, there is no eroticism. Senses become numb, at first replaced by a crude lewdness and now completely ruined.
       Whereas previous classical pictures were enjoyed unequivocally, now not one work of art has a chance for success without porno. They showed, in Montreal, a play about the love of a man for a goat. What will they think of tomorrow to reach the last remnants of eroticism in the lifeless eyes of human passion?
       Formerly, the tales of minstrels compensated for the crudeness of dirty knights. Noble medieval ladies had nothing to do at night. There was no cable TV in castles, and low-flying dragons snapped off antennas, interfering with the TV signal. Therefore, they entertained themselves with poetic opuses and then forced their crusading husbands to climb to them in tower windows, a rose in their teeth, and do other fearless acts.
       In this respect, medieval ladies behaved exactly like leaders of the Holy Church. Both promised outstanding knights the bliss of paradise and guilty ones, the flames of hell. Both extremes of the afterlife are naturally combined in every woman and every religion.
       The modern world rooted out eroticism, openly explaining the anatomy and physiology of love and then snatching the skirts from women, replacing them with pants. The world put women to work, hanging on them the label of cook, janitor, waitress, economist, maid, and dishwasher, and reminded her that she was still obliged to perform spousal duties and contribute to paying off the mortgage loan.
       What was Balzac thinking when he wrote The Physiology of Marriage? It needs to be written again. Between the parades of gays in the street and the intimate on the screens, injecting into people's minds the boredom of a lascivious existence, between outdated mannerisms, gallantry withered in the hinterlands of consciousness, and ugly tee-shirts and pants, in which the whole population of Earth is dressed (without regard to sex or age), modern times will rule the ball. Viagra and Prozac are the equivalents of human happiness.
       When sex is everywhere, it is nowhere. The emancipated have forgotten for what they were emancipated. Human life has become sad, and it turns out that existence has no special meaning. Do we exist for the sake of bland, worn-out food and mass-produced plastic goods? No! Mankind should exist for the sake of love. Now it is printed in physiological boldness on the cover of a magazine; sensitive love has been replaced by a senseless exchange of thoughtless body movements.
       Civilization has reached the height of its decadence. There is no way out, just more slithering downward. Instead of versatile drones and young and playful candidates for the queen bee, we received a plain worker ant dressed from head to toe in colors that makes one gag.
       Modern men seem nothing more than monkeys. And women? Catch a glimpse of a young woman in any line at the post office and mentally strip the stylish rags from her. Read a few lines from Baudelaire's poem “Le beau navire,” or “The Beautiful Ship”:
      
       Quand tu vas balayant l'air de ta jupe large,
       Tu fais l'effet d'un beau vaisseau qui prend le large,
       ChargИ de toile, et va roulant
       Suivant un rythme doux, et paresseux, et lent.
      
       When you go sweeping by in your full, flowing skirts,
    You resemble a trim ship as it puts to sea
    Under full sail and goes rolling
    Lazily, to a slow and easy rhythm.
      
       This vision could appear to Baudelaire only in the middle of the nineteenth century, somewhere in Paris. A hoop skirt would be absurd in modern megapolises.
       Let us read further:
      
       Tes nobles jambes, sous les volants qu'elles chassent,
       Tourmentent les dИsirs obscurs et les agacent,
       Comme deux sorciХres...
      
       “Your shapely legs beneath the flounces they pursue
    Arouse and torment obscure desires
    Like two sorceresses...”
      
       A wide skirt rustles space; even an energetic step gives way to the counter movement. Running and walking fast are out of place. The dynamics of movement should be reminiscent of a modest dance. Place defunct phrases into the mouth of this creature dressed in that style-“Oh, sire...”
       Do you see now? This is what the age of computers took from us. When the sensitive world is degraded to porno magazines and everything is tainted with sex, there is no eroticism. It is dead. Mr. Freud has nothing with which to help us. Our neuroses have different roots. This is not suppressed sensitivity, but the little insults of youth, natural laziness, too much money, or its absence-and a compulsive wish zonks someone on the back of the head.

    Chapter 13

    The Sovereign Individual

       A reference to authorities is cheap currency and easily paid out, but costs dearly. However, the human mind is structured so that he, by himself, can do nothing. To become a person, a person needs another person. It is often said that society makes a man a man. However, this is not so. One adult is quite enough to raise a child. Culture, in theory, can be passed from one person to another without the involvement of society. This is not done in practice, but this illustration shows that society is not the primary factor; people, its components, are.
       The meaning of authority cannot be re-evaluated if the question is stated this way because if a person has only one teacher, the teacher will become his absolute authority. Society gives a man several authorities, thereby diluting the weight of each. One man, listening to many, obtains independence from the thought of individual authorities and is free of the oppressive will of separate authority and mistakes tied to his subjectivity.
       For me, as for many avid readers and thinkers, there is practically no authority. If someone says something, it has little meaning for us. According to Descartes, we question everything and try to look critically at this world. Nevertheless, authorities for many other people are indicators of absolute truth. If some guy announces that everything is relative, no one pays it any attention. However, if Albert Einstein says it, the majority of the planet's population accepts it.
       Because I am not a recognized authority and will probably never be one, I need my thoughts about the future of nation-states justified. I realize that any idea of mine must have been thought of by somebody in the past-most likely more than once. If all possible types of thoughts are summed up, it seems natural that there is a finite number. These thought paradigms could be classified. This ordering of ideas is also not new.
       I set out to find independent thinkers, who thought similar to me about the liberation of man from the oppression of his own state and the creation of a world in which each person would become a sovereign individual. My search was almost immediately successful. Delving into varieties of modern anarchism, I happened upon citations from The Sovereign Individual. Most of the predictions made at the dawn of the Internet era have been confirmed with stunning accuracy. The authors themselves turned out to be well suited to the role of authorities. James Dale Davidson is a famous journalist and the manager of several companies. Lord William Rees-Mogg sits in the House of Lords and is a director of Rothschild Investments and the British Division of General Electric. Lord Rees-Mogg is also the editor-in-chief of the London Times and vice president of the British state television and radio company BBC.
       The main thoughts of this book can be categorized into several themes that also need no explanation.
       For the first time, those who can educate themselves will be almost entirely free to invent their own work and realize the full benefits of their own productivity.
       In an environment where the greatest source of wealth will be the ideas you have in your head rather than physical capital alone, everyone who thinks clearly will potentially be rich.
       State governments will ultimately have little choice but to treat populations of territories they serve more like customers, and less in the way that organized criminals treat the victims of a shakedown racket.
       The new Sovereign Individual will operate like the gods of myth in the same physical environment as the ordinary, subject citizen, but in a separate realm politically. Commanding vastly greater resources than ordinary citizens and beyond the reach of many forms of compulsion, the Sovereign Individual will redesign governments and reconfigure economics in the new millennium. The full implications of this change are all but unimaginable.
       Anyone with a portable computer and a satellite link will be able to conduct almost any information business anywhere, making him unapproachable for taxation. Furthermore, governments that attempt to charge too much as the price of domicile will merely drive away their best customers.
       Just as monarchs, lords, popes, and potentates fought ruthlessly to preserve their accustomed privileges in the early stages of the modern period, so today's governments will employ violence, often of a covert and arbitrary kind, in the attempt to hold back the clock...But however ruthlessly governments behave, particularly in the transition period, wedding the IRS with the CIA will avail them little.
       After the turn of the millennium, much of the world's commerce will migrate into the new realm of cyberspace, a region where governments will have no more dominion than they exercise over the bottom of the sea or the outer planets...The state has grown used to treating its taxpayers as a farmer treats his cows, keeping them in a field to be milked. Soon, the cows will have wings.”
       When the state finds itself unable to meet its committed expenditure by raising tax revenues, it will resort to other, more desperate measures. Among them is printing money. Governments have grown used to enjoying a monopoly over currency that they could depreciate at will. This arbitrary inflation has been a prominent feature of the monetary policy of all twentieth-century states...In the new millennium, cyber money controlled by private markets will supersede fiat money issued by governments.
       To an extent that few would have imagined only a decade ago, individuals will achieve increasing autonomy over territorial nation-states through market mechanisms. All nation-states face bankruptcy and the rapid erosion of their authority. Mighty as they are, the power they retain is the power of obliterate, not to command. Their intercontinental missiles and aircraft carriers are already artifacts, as imposing and useless as the last warhorse of feudalism.”
       In the new millennium, economic and political life will no longer be organized on a gigantic scale under the domination of the nation-state as it was during the modern centuries. The civilization that brought you world war, the assembly line, social security, income tax, deodorant, and the toaster oven is dying. Deodorant and the toaster oven may survive. The others won't.
       The more apparent it is that a system is nearing an end, the more reluctant people will be to adhere to its laws. Any social organization will therefore tend to discourage or play down analyses that anticipate its demise. This alone helps ensure that history's great transitions are seldom spotted as they happen. If you know nothing else about the future, you can rest assured that dramatic changes will be neither welcomed nor advertised by conventional thinkers.
       A conclusion intuitively sensed but rarely spoken aloud is that a modern nation-state is, in and of itself, the most successful example of organized crime.

    Chapter 14

    Dissociation or Association?

      
       Dissociation or association? This question has tortured humanity for millennia. Nations, countries, and even empires rise like soap bubbles and then burst with a bang or quietly pass into nothingness. The question of nationality and statehood is nothing new. However, we can attempt to consider it more broadly. Why do people associate? The answer is simple. Alone, we could not survive. Man is a social being and needs the collective.
       Why do we dissociate? To have the most individual freedom because living in the collective limits our chances to act according to our discretion.
       Why does man need freedom? To act in his own interests, regardless of what these interests might be. The drive for freedom lies at a basic level of our biological system. Catch a scared kitten just before he falls from a staircase, and he will still try to escape because, regardless of the fact that the fall might be traumatic, the kitten prefers freedom to its own safety.
       Some sort of compromise is needed. On one hand, people should find a balance of relationships in which they are separated to ensure personal freedom. On the other, they should be united for mutual help and support.
       Can such an approach be extrapolated to the level of individual nations? I suppose so. Individual nations can survive for a long time in relative isolation, but such a condition cannot be considered normal. The lack of an exchange of ideas, exports, and imports, and the merging of new genetic material resulting from mixed marriages will have a negative effect on the development of an isolated nation, never mind that such a nation, affected by natural cataclysms or external aggression, lacks the support of other countries and may be doomed to elimination.
       Why do people strive to belong to one nation or another? Why not become cosmopolitan, study English, begin to use it at home, and break with one's national roots? Theoretically, if people wanted this, after one or two generations, everyone on earth would be speaking the same language and thinking the same. Despite the attraction of such a proposition, it is unacceptable. People agree with internationalization of their customs and standards of behavior only when economic or political factors force them to immigrate or rearrange their life according to the requirements of world economics or the geopolitical situation.
       People think that belonging to one language or cultural system is in line with their interests. They strive to separate from other nations enough that they are able to live as they like, but not so much that it threatens the successful development of their nation.
       Let's examine the issue of the acquisition of independence of individual nations from the viewpoint of the mother country; i.e., that central nation that has historically dominated and controlled their people. If the imperial ambitions of the leaders of such a central nation are disregarded, it is in its interests to grant as much freedom as possible to its subjugated nations because the dominant nation cannot be completely free if it enslaves another. The constant tension eventually will cause more harm than good. However, complete liberation of subjugated nations from the central one with their subsequent mutual isolation is also not a sensible resolution. Therefore, a compromise between the level of centralization and federation and the granting of independence is necessary.
       If everything is so simple and clear, what is the problem? Are national and liberating tendencies so damaging and explosive in nature? It could be that the problem is not in the nature of these tendencies but that, as a rule, they are used by inimical, competing foreign nations to weaken the mother country of the nationality striving for self-determination. There never have been objective reasons for war and never will be. Everything should be settled peacefully. However, the history of humanity is a shatters this theory.
       We can ascribe the whole litany of prior military conflicts to the underdevelopment of social consciousness that recognized such moral imperatives as “All are brothers” or “To kill is a sin.” These pillars of human morals have stood since time immemorial. They became most rhetorical during the twenty-first century. It is difficult to imagine the Western policy of calling for the mass destruction of another nation, although false rhetoric has existed forever. The crafty logic of Goebbels' speech in 1933 is apparent if its deadly essence is overlooked. “In solving the Jewish problem, we are only following the spirit of our epoch. Protection from the Jewish threat is only a part of our plan. The fact that discussion of just this part of our policy is becoming the main topic is the doing of the Jews themselves. Worldwide, Judaism is trying to mobilize the world against us in the secret hope of recovering lost influence in Germany. It is a certain tragedy of this nation that the Jews have begun to play such a role in the world. But we are not guilty of this, they are!”
       Practically no one has called for the killing of innocents. The innocent are always accused of something in order to justify killing them. The philosophy “All murderers must be killed so that no one will kill anyone” does not work because any adherent to such ideology should kill himself first, since calling for the killing of murderers makes him a murderer.
       Thus, while force is the primary tool for solving world conflicts, it is not surprising that any separatist leaning, even if it is peaceful in nature, will be supported by external enemies and used to extricate one country or another that is involved in the self-liberation process.
       No serious separatist movement is possible without outside support because even if it is born as a democratic movement, external enemies will try to change its nature, steering it toward extremism and acts of terrorism. An excellent example of this is the history of the national freedom movement of Quebec. It reached its peak in October 1970 with the conflict between the French-speaking province of Quebec and the rest of English-speaking Canada when extremists of FLQ (Front de LibИration du QuИbec) adopted principles of national freedom typical of third-world countries and attempted to fight for the independence of French-speaking Quebec. The British diplomat James Cross was kidnapped. Minister of Labor of Quebec Pierre Laporte was kidnapped and killed. However, armed activity was soon stopped with a military presence and mass arrests.
       This is how these events look after thirty years. But how did they look then? If we examine the chronicle of these events that was published in 1972, it becomes clear that it was not at all considered a local conflict. Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau feared that the situation could get out of control and destabilize North America. The chronicle confirms that over three thousand armed fighters were in Quebec at that time.
       From where could such a terrorist organization arise? The FLQ used Marxist propaganda and declared that English-speaking inhabitants of Canada were enslaving them. “Marxist propaganda” should clearly show how the wind was blowing. However, a connection with the Soviet Union was not easy to find. We confirm our suspicions in Sword and Shield, published in English by former KGB general Vasili Mitrokhin with Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew. The book shows that the KGB was interested in manipulating Quebec extremists. “We do know that the KGB did influence the Quebec independence movement in that period. It's still debatable to what degree, but the attempt was there.”
       We can look at a map of North American to confirm our suspicions. After the unsuccessful attempt by the Soviet Union during the Caribbean crisis to get closer to the boundaries of the United States, which almost led to a nuclear war, the Soviet Union needed to influence the destabilization of the situation in Quebec, which had enormous strategic significance. If the Communists were victorious, the Soviet Union would gain indisputable advantages, placing under its influence a country bordering the United States. While the Socialist block in Europe provided a strategic buffer in case of war, pro-American Turkey had a territorial border with the Soviet Union. The failure to place rockets in Cuba should have forced the Soviet Union to act more carefully.
       Look at the map of North America, considering the strategic capabilities of the USSR if the Communists in Quebec had won and a conflict with NATO countries had broken out. Such an illustration erases doubts that any national freedom movement can remain outside the gaze of special services of inimical states. When a state, to which people pledge their devotion and integrity, tries to protect itself, it is accused of suppressing the national freedom movement.
       This is convenient, isn't it? The right to self-determination is one of the commonly accepted principles of international law. This principle was recognized during the dismantling of the colonial system and attached to the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (adopted by Resolution No. 1514 of the Fifteenth General Assembly of the UN on December 14, 1960) and subsequent international pacts and declarations of the UN.
       There is a contradiction between the enacting the right of peoples to self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity of the state. The inability of the sides to find a peaceful resolution of such a contradiction deepens national conflicts, often escalating into a military standoff. Thus, representatives of the central state power usually argue that territorial integrity has priority over the right to national self-determination.
       It is also thought that the principle of territorial integrity is aimed exclusively at the protection of the state from external aggression. The formulation of Part 4, Article 2, of the UN Charter is connected with this. “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” In the Declaration on Principles of International Law, it states “Every State shall refrain from any action aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of any other State or country.”
       Proponents of this opinion point out that application of the principle of territorial integrity is actually subordinate to the execution of the right to self-determination. Thus, according to the Declaration on Principles of International Law, “Nothing in the foregoing paragraphs shall be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”
       It is concluded that the principle of territorial integrity is not applicable to states that do not ensure the equality of nations living in them and that do not permit the free self-determination of such nations. Everything would be wonderful if these same nations lived in an ideal world without the disruptions of special services and predatory ambitions. National freedom movements are a premise for the national elite (whose ambitions are supported by external enemies) to capture local power.
       The economic position of the state and its citizens' standard of living, as a rule, worsen after receiving independence. History indicates that expansive, multinational empires eventually collapsed. This applies to the Babylon-Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Golden Horde, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, and the USSR. In almost all instances, the collapse led to a sharp worsening of the standard of living in most of the adjacent, newly formed states. The processes of integration, even ones as varied as the formation of the United States of America and the creation of the European Union, also have their problems.
       The ideal outcome may be shocking, but of great interest. Two mutually directed processes should occur. All countries should be integrated into a worldwide, federated organization with open borders, unified systems of taxation and social security, and means for maintaining order. Then the world should provide maximum personal freedom to each individual, converting him into a person-state.
       Such a process is occurring, despite that fact that many states are unconsciously resisting. Development of the Internet creates a unified information field, based on which new business relationships and collaboration in science and art are being formed, freeing man from the need to be physically present within a separate state. It has provided him freedom not previously envisioned, converting the Internet-savvy sector of mankind into a new type of society.
       States are beginning to notice the rapid pace at which they are losing their influence over the lives of individuals. Fortunately, this process seems irreversible. Moreover, it is only just beginning. Under such conditions, old forms of nation-states become ballast. Language barriers no longer exist. Internet sites containing automated free translators make it possible to converse freely. Cultural barriers are disappearing because if customs or meanings are not clear to a participant, he can obtain accurate information in fractions of a second and better understand local features of one region or another. All these tendencies are currently in an embryonic state and have not yet been integrated into a single world system that could transform most people in developed countries into citizens of the world.
       The furious development of the Internet in less developed countries is also gratifying. Internet cafИs are flourishing in India, China, Pakistan, and even African countries. Practically any person can obtain access to the Internet for a nominal fee. Communications between people of different nationalities and races, physically located in different parts of the world, are arising. Sometimes these communications are stronger and more varied than are those between people in the same place. There is no sense in talking about territorial and linguistic unification. If such a tendency is maintained, the meaning of “national unity” will become outdated.
       Of course, certain political regimes will try to bar their people from access to the Internet. This is especially true in Cuba. The government of China makes it impossible to view anti-government sites in their country. However, if the world is not drawn into global conflicts or avoids a cosmic catastrophe, the positive tendencies in the development of the Internet will be maintained and be hard to stop on the path of change of human psychology.
       It is no secret that the Internet is, to a certain extent, a reflection of the fractionation of the modern world. Different national societies have their virtual spaces limited by their languages. However, this phenomenon also will become outdated with the appearance of automated translation.
       In cyberspace, a man loses his physical body. The virtual individual is invincible. It is impossible to take away his freedom, attack, or kill him. States will learn to track Internet criminals, but despite conflicts between states, we are free to hold dialogs and even establish business relations with countries on the black list of the “axis of evil.” This creates a “fraternization” effect, where the state power in both countries has difficulty creating the image of an enemy, an erstwhile half-person with horns. How can racism be discussed if it is unclear whether you are talking with an African or Anglo-Saxon? In the near future, each of us will be able to choose any virtual faГade, expression, or skin color.
       Other national features also exist, such as mentality. However, these differences are being slowly but surely eradicated. We try to emulate progressive standards of Internet conversation and behavior. Even mental differences will be overcome with the appearance of new generations born in the Internet era.
       Outmoded state systems will resist these positive tendencies, but the most progressive may become the leaders of this movement. The true liberation of man from his nationality and race, these outmoded signs that inevitably perish, not on the rhetorical level of windy internationalists but on the actual level of new international relationships-not even between nations but between individuals-each of which will make of himself a free person-state.

    Chapter 15

    The Future Development of History

      
       Predicting the future is an unrewarding undertaking. Books dedicated to this topic are enticing, pleasantly stimulating fantasies. However, more often than not, they are disappointing. Some authors publish flat, effusive dreams, with little promise of arousing interesting thoughts. Others are limited to general predictions, for the sake of which it would be possible to refrain from all writing.
       Prediction of the future refers to that vague part of human activity that circulates at noisy markets among strangely attractive gypsies with dangling trinkets, among magicians and prestidigitators, whom are never caught in the act of insincerity and indiscretion. Prediction on a global scale is also an undertaking for people who are either exceedingly confident in their ability or are mental cases. Prediction of history is another matter. However, discussions of the future paths of development of human societies are possible and even necessary.
       Grandiose events of different epochs are sometimes reminiscent of each other. Whenever modern history is considered, there is always some prototype, sometimes so similar that it seems nothing under the sun has changed. It would seem easy to predict the further development of any event based on repetitive scenarios of conquests, battles, treacheries, actions, and self-sacrifices.
       However, this is the same illusion as the simplicity of a chess match, in which the unassuming dance of the pieces across the black and white squares seems predictable. However, it is one of the most complicated of human conundrums. The fact that history repeats itself cannot help us when we are swept away by the thought of future news, bloody quarrels, and glorious acts.
       However, not surprisingly, the development of progress, communication, weapons, and freedom of access to information make the modern situation unique. These are not quantitative differences from thousands of years of history but qualitative aspects that could not have been foreseen. The unprecedented growth of the world's population also makes today's situation unique. Just as the delusion once existed that the earth was the center of the universe, today we could be deluded about the exclusivity of our position in time. However, the aforementioned facts make today's moment special.
       Certain trends could be elucidated so that one paradigm or another could be seen. For example, we can say that unipolarity is not stable. As soon as a leading power is identified on the world stage, it always finds a counterweight, which leads to a conflict that is resolved with or without blood, leaving the world unipolar only for a moment, after which it reverts to two or more competing sides. Based on these arguments, we can propose that a global civilization controlled in a single way is utopia. Such a system will not be stable because a force bent on breaking it will be fomenting in its underworld.
       Only a common threat to the world, such as an attack of aliens, can unite all nations under the control of a single government, and this only while the threat exists. Take the example of NATO. As soon as the Soviet threat disappeared, the unity of the countries of this military block became fragile, and after the second war in Iraq, in which certain countries of this strategic union refused to partake, the North-Atlantic union was shown to be illusory.
       Tendencies toward separatism are strengthening in many countries. Quebec almost seceded from Canada in 1995. Various nations can be placed under a single government, either suppressed by a forceful power or unified by an outside threat that would be difficult to resist singly. According to Machiavelli, whose advice continues to find confirmation, it is not recommended for a weak country to enter into a union with a strong neighbor. It is more advisable to enter into a union with a neighbor's strong remote enemy. Would you like an illustration? Let Kuwait and Saudi Arabia unite with the USA and not with neighbor Iraq. The countries of Central Asia allow American military bases to be located on their territory. The Baltic countries are friendly with the USA and not with their neighbor Russia.
       A strong central government in the modern world is ideal because even in single countries, we observe the fractionation of power, an increase of self-governing, and the physical independence of separate components of states, provinces, cities, and separate global commercial companies, which depend less and less on the central government and wish to be less subordinate to it.
       What level can such a fractionation of power reach? Not surprisingly, it can reach practically the individual level of each person. Merging into a single global system of interests and values, maintained by such pervasive means as the Internet, each separate person suddenly passes the limits of geographical and social boundaries. The modern individual's interests can be disbursed far beyond the limits of his house, land, street, city, and country. In such a situation, the separate individual can have interests different from the state, even in such a delicate area as international relations. While previously, most of the inhabitants of nation-states had no understanding and no interest in what was happening beyond the limits of their neighborhood, now many individuals may or may not have bread and butter for breakfast depending on what the political or economic situation is on the other side of the planet. The market for a wide variety of goods and services is becoming global. Individuals with no ties to the local branch of the state, living in one country and selling their services and goods in different countries, are appearing. They have no business relationship to the place in which they live.
       When I was a child, relatives of ours turned up in Australia. I made up an improbable story for my grandmother that we'd had no matches and they were sending us some from Australia. However, based on the fact that many services in the modern world do not need a physical supply, my story no longer seems either naОve or fictional. The power of local governing systems is weakening. Those holding power resist the erosion of their influence on peaceful citizens. This process will lead to the death of old governing systems. People already decide for themselves with whom they wish to do business on the other side of the earth, regardless of the political and economic interests of their mother states.
       One must learn to recognize and filter out the background noise of current events to view more clearly the direction of the development of history. When we consult archives-for example, newspapers at the start of the century or during the world wars-it is astonishing to realize that events that might have changed the course of history are now forgotten. It is hard to predict where one paradigm or another will lead-even knowing what historical facts followed the events described. In private life also, it is difficult to recognize, beyond the background noise of insignificant events, where our destiny will lead us.
       Sometimes I try not to hear the latest news, to create for myself the illusion of temporary peace and calm my spreading neuroses. Returning to the news, I first find that the world has changed little. Second, that which changed drastically was hidden. Hearing the news for the first time after a long intermission, I did not understand much of it because the news has, for a long time, been fed to us like an endless soup opera. Then I learned about the epochal events that seemed significant at the time of their occurrence, but now were so forgotten that I had trouble getting a clear idea of what had happened.
       This clearly illustrates that historical events interfere with the discernment of the future development of history. Judgments of history, like all judgments, depend on the subjectivity of the observer. There can be no objective observer, and not only for this. As we reassess past events, so we change our impressions of future events using the imperative of present interests. Historical events have much less meaning than the evaluation of the events at present. A society can easily purge their collective memory or distort facts until history is unrecognizable. Many in the world deny the fascist genocide imposed on the Jewish nation. Denial of the obvious is a characteristic feature of human social self-consciousness. With such subjectivity of human social judgments, predictions of the future development of history might be distorted and of little value. Civilizations in the modern world (or paradigms of civilizations) have different scales and cannot be compared to many parameters. A comparison of countries using the gross national product per person provides no indication of the level of their development as a unit of one civilization or another.
       Countries are differentiated, just as the cultural values of different people and the representatives of various social classes are differentiated. For what is the character of a state if not the total collective image of a representative of local national communities? Just as people differ by race, so they differ by thought and soul. This can in no way be denied. I will not say that black skin is better or worse than white skin, but only a blind man cannot see the difference. Moreover, it is strange to measure these distinguishing features with the single metric of economic efficiency.
       Unification due to global information exchange is appearing more and more in the modern world. People are shedding their traditional costumes, but believe me, not changing inside. A samurai wearing a tie will always be a samurai, a proud Bedouin in a Cadillac a proud Bedouin. And a refined, hotheaded Englishman maintains his self-respect even in a dirty tee shirt and blue jeans. Don't be fooled by the masking of national differences. Within each nation, there is a nucleus of national identity thousands of years, perhaps tens of thousands, in the making. Do not be fooled by the feeling that changed state borders will somehow affect core national identity. You can exchange Huns with Slavs, Slavs with Vikings, and Vikings with Tatars, but the heart of a nation is coded in its genes and depends more on who marries whom than on who lives in what state.
       Racism is not saying that there are differences between races but rather saying that one race is better, more successful, or smarter than is another. By stamping “racist” on all who recognize the differences between different populations, we reach the same level of hysteria for which anthropology has been famous for centuries. As if labeling everyone who sees differences will save us from discrimination! Racism is, like every other ideology, a convenient excuse to take a bigger slice, build a bigger house, and be more egotistical.
       What basic national characters can be identified? The world can be divided roughly into the European, Islamic, and Eastern civilizations, and the uncivilized world. Again, notice that the presence in any African country of a man in a suit, a bus on the street, and a working telephone does not mean that the country is not populated by a tribe that has not changed for the last hundred thousand years and may remain as such for the foreseeable future. I think that the complexity and stress of that community is no different from that of Manhattan or London City. Furthermore, I think uncivilized people are just as developed, intellectually or spiritually, as those in a civilized society. The plane of their civilization lies in a separate, parallel social universe and never encounters other civilizations.
       One tribe has 2,500 words for different grasshoppers. Another tribe's ancient beliefs agree with modern cosmological theories and may go far beyond them. Truth does not have to be sought. So much extraneous knowledge is often found in the search that one forgets what he was doing. We think wild tribes are stupid and dirty when we apply our comfortable standards to them. A third tribe lives in the Amazon wilderness, and wild animals eat many of the adults and children. They cannot imagine buying a gun. You say that maybe they don't want to live. No, they do. Friendly visitors from our civilization explained to them long ago that they were idiots. True, they had no money then and have none now. Wild animals eat them as before. It is an example of the clash of civilizations. When a crude civilization is taken over, there is always a catastrophe. You say that the weaker civilization will perish. Nothing of the sort. The extinct civilization of the Aztecs exists in our common consciousness as an indestructible mound. Meanwhile, Cortez's men remain pitiful warriors. The mystical, mythical Atlantis exists in the human consciousness, though nothing to prove its existence remains.
       Thus, concluding that four main civilizations are identified in the modern world, we should examine them more closely. In the European civilization, northern and southern lines can be identified. I would draw the border through the north of France and Italy and make a sharp turn diagonally through Austria, catching the northern countries of Eastern Europe, the Baltics, and St. Petersburg. I would assign all European communities located below my imaginary border to the southern line. These are the Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, and Balkan states. They are, not surprisingly, closer to Islamic civilization than to northern Europe. Centuries under the rule of the Ottoman Empire left its trace. Many Greeks carry the genes of Plato. But who told them that Plato was close to the northern European culture? The fact that all western philosophy is based on Plato does not make Plato a western European. In the European civilization, the North American line, dominated by the United States and Canada, should be identified separately.
       What is characteristic of the northern European civilization? It has serious internal contradictions that have historically been overlooked by a common deadly enemy. First, it was Communism. Now it is Islamic fundamentalism. Imagine that one day, modern northern Europeans wake to find they are the only ones left on in Europe. At first, they will be happy. However, after a while, they will again want to divide the world. England will spar with France. France will fight with Germany. Germany will take everyone on at once. At first, it will be a war of words, and perhaps it will remain as such; perhaps it will escalate into a third world war. However, the members of northern Europe cannot see such a world, no more than they can their own ears.
       The European Union, formed to counter the onslaught of the United States, was forced on the separate countries. Again, the characters of the states did not change after theoreticians and economists decided to create a common European currency.
       In Germany, leftovers of the Hitler era, well trained in the role of Germany and successfully passing this training to new generations, still live their lives. In their hearts, Berlin did not fall and never will. Not paying attention to this makes oneself myopic and naОve. German nationalism did not come to Germany with Hitler, and it did not leave with him. It defines the essence of the German nation, and requires revenge for a banal existence, whereas booming English and French arias decided the fate of the world. Talk with any German on an abstract subject and you will get a curiously contemptuous attitude, felt not in words but in the aura of the conversation. I conclude from this that if I experience a feeling of ineptitude, my German friend experiences a feeling of superiority. It must be presumed that Germany will be highly aggressive on the world scene. I was exceedingly disturbed by its reunification at the start of the 1990s. The way that this country presents itself in news broadcasts and at international conferences in no way shows the persistent national thought in the mind of Germans that eventually will explode. Twenty-five years of a peaceful Europe in the first half of the twentieth century was only an intermission between the meaningless wars that have become traditional.
       England plays a strange role on the world scene. America took from this country the most active and enterprising people. Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands suffered similar migrations. On the other hand, mass migration also sent to the West a wave of sedentary and downtrodden people. This phenomenon occurred on a colossal scale. Millions of people moved to America. This phenomenon certainly figured into the modern role of these states, and on the role that they will play in the future. In England, I had the pleasure of spending several days conversing with a typical, middle-aged Englishman. I was awestruck by the similarity to the Israeli left of his ranting:
       1. The government is bad because it does not provide adequate pensions, unemployment compensation, and competent gratuitous health care.
       2. Who needs Scotland? Let them figure it out themselves.
       3. Who needs Northern Ireland? Everybody is bored with it.
       4. Who needs Wales? (When we were in Wales, my companion lightly joked with a museum staff member, “Do you accept foreign currency here?” He does not consider Wales English).
       5. The queen? Who needs the queen? It would be better to raise welfare for the unemployed!
       England is weak; perhaps the only lively segment in it is the swarthy faces of immigrants. They repeat for the local residents the mindless paradoxical assertions that are first taken as jokes and then lead to the death of a nation and the fragmentation of a country.
       However, there is another hypothesis. Perhaps my honorable Englishman does not think as he speaks because to speak what one thinks is considered improper in English culture. The UK may remain an inaccessible nugget in future ages because, according to British scientists, continental drift, which will alter the geography of the planet until it is unrecognizable in the next two hundred million years, will only slightly shift the British Isles a little closer to warm seas, changing nothing of consequence.
       England adheres to a position of unequivocal support of the United States, although the population despises the United States and in no way supports their politics. The prime ministers are changed. If eighty percent of the people do not support the government, they should be able to elect a different government. However, nothing changes. They still curse American secretaries of state and presidents in the English pub and elect a government that, like an obedient mutt, barks only at that which the United States tells it to bark. Englishmen hate their next-door neighbors (continental Europe) more than USA. They choose the lesser of two evils.
       France still shows its character. At first glance, it is proud and scornful, extravagant and assertive, but it, like most of continental Europe, receives the bulk of immigrants from Islamic Africa and the Far East, which changes it until it is unrecognizable. I was stunned at the colossal decline in Franco-American relations literally weeks after France refused to support the latest war in Iraq. France was not the only country that refused to support the United States, but it upset the Americans so much that they renamed French fries liberty fries! France, like other major countries, has a great need to again decide the fate of the world and not serve as an expanded Disneyland for the American public.
       Reading French magazines and newspapers, the following thought crossed my mind. France has a unique cultural core that is opened only to him who has enough patience to seek it through the veil of gaudiness. France, with its Voltaire and Descartes, Rimbaud and Balzac, is alive, although shielded from the slippery mantels of prejudices.
      
       Europe is accustomed to being the center of the world. It cannot yet deal with the fact that, while it was ardently figuring out itself in two world wars, the center of the world crossed the ocean to Uncle Sam. Europe still cannot take this seriously. Of course, an open conflict with the United States is not germane to European political culture. Even Russia did not pursue an open conflict with the USA because nuclear arms squelched any thought of a full-scale war between nuclear powers.
       European politicians were always proud of their artful manipulation of other countries. The fathers of modern politicians taught their children the best traditions of the political arts. Just take the last conflict with Iraq. Germany and France behaved as if they had a unifying agreement with Iraq. Are the ideas of Islam and tyranny really cherished by the French and German elite? This cannot be explained by the large percentage of Islamic population in these countries because the political leadership usually pays no attention to the opinion of the electorate. The electorate in most modern democracies has no means of deposing an unpopular government. The opposition or interests of the coalition influence their representatives in parliament more than the opinion of their electorate. Politics has a unique pseudo-moral that enables one to change political positions and lose one's good reputation because the population will come to each election with clean, polished minds, and elect those who have the most money for the pre-election campaign. Exceptions do occur. However, it should be noted that practically no one except for the politicians is interested in politics in safe countries. This enables them to boil in their own juice and pull dirty tricks with morals.
       European politicians are carving out a weakened role for the United States by manipulating third countries. They even temporarily formed a union and gave up their national currencies in order to resist the economy of the United States, which vacuums up a quarter of the world's resources and concentrates it in the hands of 5% of the population.
       The United States is still strong, cohesive, and uniform, able to mull over seriously the remnants of the future fall of an empire because, in the words of Confucius, a state needs a strong army, abundant bread, and the correct mindset in order to flourish. The United States has all three of these factors in spades. Any discord is only apparent. Americans have united their nation around the dollar. They are one in this. Blacks and whites, rights and lefts, normal people and sexual minorities sincerely think there is happiness in money.
       The United States has managed to create a happy nation. A recent survey by Time magazine found that more than 80% of Americans think they are happy. I suggest that this is the result of the common “okay” and the broad smile. Psychologists know that there is feedback between the behavior and words of a person and his feelings. This is obvious. When a person is satisfied with everything, he smiles and says, “Okay.” But it has been proven that if a person smiles all the time and says, “Okay,” he sooner or later begins to be satisfied with everything.
       The United States plays the role of the world's gendarme, although no one authorized them to do so. Of course, it is good when there is a power willing to stand in the way of a brash dictator's desire to capture country after country, but the lack of legitimacy in this role makes the USA a crude conqueror. It is a serious matter to fight nations with simple dollar principles, though in general, everyone is satisfied. Therefore, it can be assumed that Europe will not be able to wrestle away their prior role.
       Russia is a separate conversation. Russia is building a powerful state. It is not bound to any ideology and is headed by people who do not really value “human morals.” Plato forgot to mention this form of state in his visionary The Republic. This is not tyranny, democracy, oligarchy, theocracy, or a military regime. This is KGB-cracy, a new form of state controlled by special services. Special services of the world have different views of the methods and means of a political fight and control than tyrants and satraps.
       Insinuations, blackmail, manipulation, compromise, forged documents, audio and visual spying, assassination attempts, and arranged accidents make up the normal operating procedures of such services. Hitler and Saddam Hussein were amateurs. The new leaders of Russia are professionals. They are like agents with special orders. I cannot say if this is good or bad because they feed the hungry and politically inactive. All the politically active crash in helicopters, sit in prisons for crimes unrelated to politics or live abroad, because special services know no borders. If Russia were headed not by graduates of the KGB but by some other special service, the result would be the same. The evolution of special services, whether they served “good” or “bad” countries, result in similar missions, methods, and means. I remember an interview with an English special agent, a charming young man who testified at length that he shot an unarmed Arab in the head at a quiet way station in the Iraq desert. When the interviewer, shocked, asked what justified his actions, the officer answered that he could not endanger the operation or the safety of his comrades, although the group consisted of several armed personnel and the Arab at the way station was alone. The officer had no guilty conscience. He thought the same as those who sit in the Kremlin. I think they will have no problems holding power because they shoot at anyone, including their own, if this will solve the problem at hand.
       Alexander Dumas expressed a similar thought with great accuracy. “En po­li­ti­que...il n'y a pas d'hommes, mais des idees; pas de sentiments, mais des interets; en politique, on ne tue pas un homme: on supprime un obstacle.” Translated, this means, “For politics...there exist no actual people, there exist only ideas; not sentiments, only interests; in politics, murder is not considered `murder' but the `removal of an obstacle.'”
       Watch the Russian First Channel TV. They have nothing in common with Soviet shows. News broadcasts are beautifully planned. Every subject has a purpose. Not one minute of television time is spent frivolously. It seems that the staff consists of people who worry they will be shot if they goof off. It all works to resolve the problem of creating a normal, strong, satisfied, and self-respecting state. Do you need proof that the KGB is walking around openly in Russia? There may be none, but people in the twenty-first century sharply contrast their Soviet predecessors, and there is no information leak. Is this good or bad? It is not for us to judge. History will be continued by yet another wonder-state patterned after Sparta, and it will not find it so easy to cope when it finally figures out its internal problems and turns outward...
       Now we look at Islamic civilization. In principle, not everything connected with Islamic fundamentalism is new. International terrorist organizations have been encountered before. The problem is that the value system of this civilization does not mesh with the European one. They are incomprehensible to each other and, therefore, combative.
       It is always comical to see serious, educated people act surprised when the next African or Islamic potentate spends money intended to help his people on a new airplane for his personal use or on a palace with gold toilets. The answer in this instance is obvious. The leader does not believe that all people are equal. Worse than that, those dying from hunger also do not consider themselves equal to their leader.
       However, the worst is not the former or the latter. The worst is that people are not equal. Pondering the essence of a democratic society does not guarantee equality between people. It attempts to present equal opportunities but this is different than stating that all people are equal in their abilities. I do not believe that some people are second or third class. I am simply saying that all people are different, have different characteristics, different knowledge, and different abilities. There are no good or bad abilities. People with musical talents will hardly be useful if stones need to be moved from one place to another.
       The Islamic civilization does not value human life. Westerners will always encounter situations in which the only thing they can do is wave its hands. Despite the fact that Islamic fundamentalism acts like an independent force, Europe, Russia, the USA, and even the Far East use it to serve their own political purposes. The more disagreements between different camps arise, the more conflicts will move to the front burner and the need to support a third side will be lost.
       Islamic civilization is in its prime. Its only problem is its contemptuous attitude toward the material world. I consider the use of gold toilets a clear destruction of material resources that could be used to develop independent weapons and tighten separated Islamic nations into a single military/ industrial fist, from which nobody would recover. The Chinese box cutters that were used to hijack the planes that struck the World Trade Center are additional proof that Islamic extremists despise everything material. It is difficult to deny that more technically advanced civilizations usually win on a global scale. People incapable of strict discipline populate most Islamic countries; they are unstable toward bribery, easily intimidated by threats, and unable to draw a line between reality and the dream world. This does not make such a civilization a serious military force. Considering the report of the Senate commission on the events of September 11, 2001, I was awed with the description of the character and acts of the terrorists. They had problems with discipline, the study of English, and with training at flight schools. It was easier for them to commit suicide than to study. This is not surprising. The problem is common to most terrorist organizations. Their leaders may be intellectually capable, but they have serious problems within the ranks, proving the expediency of the new shahids because it seems that they are only capable of killing themselves.
       Suicide terrorists appall Western society, but how many suicides occur in developed countries? Suicides are the second cause of death among youth (accidents are the first cause). No matter how unnatural suicide is, are the numbers so high even in communities where suicide is unpopular? What can be said about a society in which shahidism is a cult? Islamic fundamentalism, to compensate for its military incompetence, decided to use youth's tendency toward suicide in its battle with the Western world. Many think this is a display of force of the Islamist spirit. I think that it is a cry of desperation from leaders of terrorist gangs that are incapable of solving their personnel issues.
       Because the use of suicide terrorists is the foundation of modern Islamic terrorism, I want to examine this phenomenon in more detail. Clarity is especially needed because Islamist terrorists use the fact that there are thousands of potential shahids as proof of their invincibility. The average person becomes nervous at the daily news reports about acts of suicide terrorism.
       Suicide is known in nature. Rodents commit suicide when their population density reaches a certain limit. Certain species of ants overcome obstacles by creating a bridge made of their own bodies for their brethren, and whales commit suicide for reasons unknown. Nature sometimes instills an instinctive need for individuals to sacrifice their lives to ensure the survival and prosperity of the species.
       According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, a suicide occurs somewhere in the world approximately every forty seconds. In 2000, 815,000 people committed suicide. This number is more than twice that of people killed that same year in armed conflicts (306,600). Whereas the number killed in armed conflicts is usually as inflated as possible (especially on the losing side), the number of suicides is often underestimated. In many instances, falls from heights, automobile accidents, and overdoses are not recorded as suicide, despite the fact that they were premeditated acts.
       Even in Canada, according to WHO data, fifteen people for each 100,000 commit suicide. Among certain groups, such as the Inuits (Eskimos living in northern Canada), the number of suicides is sixty to seventy-five per 100,000. Other sectors of the population with an elevated number of suicides include the youth, the aged, prisoners, and psychiatric patients.
       The number of suicides is growing. Between 1990 and 2000, almost the same number of men died of suicide in Ontario as died in auto accidents. The number of attempted suicide is three to four times higher among women than among men, although the number of suicides among men is four times higher. Every fourth death in the fifteen-to-twenty-four-year-old age group is the result of suicide. The women-shahids that have recently appeared-are also widely used by extremists for propaganda.
       These figures indicate that the tendency toward suicide is exceedingly strong. It is also subject to the influence of standards in a society. Support for a suicide cult can significantly reinforce this potential. Such a statistic reveals the force behind the threat of Islamic terrorists. Hand a shahid belt to every suicide candidate and send them to places with as many people as possible, and you can destroy a large part of the planet's population.
       Far East cultures occupy a plane even less connected with European civilization. The Far East is an enigma. China and its huge population and ambitions, Japan's technological progress, and the new stars on the horizon of world economics-Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and similar places-the Far East is typified by the people's ability to act as a unified, integrated organism that ignores individual impulses and is fanatically loyal to serving the common good.
       China is a special riddle. Its culture is almost extraterrestrial, and I think, not only to me. We understand little of their motivations, thoughts, and logic. The fact that many Chinese live in the West and that you and I are always dressed in something `made in China' or seeing something Chinese, or eating something Chinese does not change the matter. The world is a market for the human anthill called China.
       For thousands of years, China was the world's leading civilization. During the nineteenth and beginning the twentieth century, the country was immersed in civilian conflicts, famines, and military occupations. During the Second World War, Communists under the leadership of Mao Zedong began to construct a Communist state. The country lost tens of millions of people to hunger and hardship.
       China now, without significantly changing its ideological base, is undergoing an unprecedented economic revitalization. From 1994 to 2003, the volume of Chinese exports grew almost four times, from $120 to $438 billion. With such trade volumes, China will certainly become one of the key economic players in the world. Washington, Tokyo, and Brussels must all equally consider China's opinion. Human rights and freedom of the press have been shoved into the background of modern politics. Everyone wishes to receive a piece of the Chinese pie or avoid the Chinese blow, although it's only economic for now-but any economic showdown tends to turn into a military conflict.
       The myth of cheap, low-quality goods from China is dissipating in front of our eyes. Cheap, high-quality goods are taking their place. American and European corporations are horrified at the trade expansion from China. Powerful personal computers for $200, appliances for $100-200, good clothes, and shoes for pennies-this is paradise for consumers, but it means bankruptcy for most light and electronics industries in rich countries.
       Most leading brands have long ago placed orders in China and pasted “Made in China” on them. In 1998, the average television became cheaper by 9% each year, sporting equipment by 3%, and tools by 1%. No European country has such dynamics. Today, more than 30% of Chinese exports are electronics, appliances, and famous brand name equipment. An indication of the growing confidence in Chinese goods is the fact that Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, is increasing the volume of goods from China, long ago exceeding purchases of $15 billion.
       Practically all world automobile giants have their own production in China, as do many consumer companies, including Philips and General Electric. Light bulbs and gigantic turbines are made in China. This again confirms the quality of the Chinese workforce.
       China has, for several years in a row, attracted direct foreign investment. During 2003-2005, the average yearly volume of direct foreign investments was planned at the level of $55-60 billion. About half of the total Chinese exports are produced at joint ventures. Their fraction in total investments in basic funds in the country is greater than 15%. Now funds of the five hundred largest world corporations operate in the Chinese economy. This battle is not only for the Chinese market. This is the model of corporate survival in the global world.
       General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota Motors, and Ford Motors plan to spend about $14 billion a year for production of about six million automobiles on the local market. General Motors earns almost every third cent of its profit on the Chinese market.
       In 2002, the China became America's largest creditor. The National Bank of China is the second largest purchaser of USA government bonds after Japan. China financed George Bush's furious growth of expenditures. During 2002-2004, currency reserves of Asian banks grew by more than $1.2 trillion. The Central Bank of Asia holds 80% of the world's reserve of dollars. These helped the USA delay a deeper devaluation of the American dollar in the last two years.
       It is entirely possible that China will play a more serious and decisive role on the world scene in the near future. A forceful approach toward this great country is becoming more illusory. One bright spot is that the Chinese people in past centuries have not aspired much to a world state; possibly, this is not a characteristic of this nation. However, China's problem of a lack of living space will be solved, most likely, at the expense of neighboring countries.
       India is the second most populated country in the world. It is difficult to assign it a single paradigm of civilization, though. Hindus are peace loving and rarely participate in open conflict. They are good merchants. However, it is not easy to sell them something. Their ability to represent the desirable as authentic, including using sincere self-hypnosis, has no equivalent, interferes with a sober evaluation of the real circumstances of the business, and hampers business and development in general. Modern, multinational companies are establishing representative offices in India and other developing countries, shifting jobs from developed countries to third-world countries. This trend is considered extremely negative by developed countries. However, it is useful on a global level. A good illustration of the direct flow of jobs to a third-world country is the fact that, according to Fortune, IBM in April 2005 slashed 14,500 jobs in Europe and, according to the New York Times, planned to hire 14,000 employees in India.
       The reason for the job shift is the low wages, the huge number of trained personnel, and the soft labor standards in third-world countries. A large number of specialists speak English in India. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry, 2.5 million information-technology specialists, engineers, and specialists in biological sciences graduate every year in India. In addition, over 1500 doctoral degrees are granted in these same areas. I believe this has the effect of evening the world's distribution of wealth, facilitating the development of underdeveloped regions, and most importantly, engendering a more sober approach of developed states toward labor law that sometimes reduces to the absurd the hiring of lazy, ineffective employees that receive inflated salaries, are provided unreasonable rights, and most importantly, soon collect unemployment benefits. Developing a business based on such a workforce is practically impossible, forcing the employer either to replace ineffective and expensive employees with automated systems or to out-source the jobs overseas. States have no choice but to start competing for jobs by offering employers conditions that are more reasonable. The wages in third-world countries will surely increase and labor conditions will improve. I believe that if the world is not drawn into an extraordinary catastrophe, the labor market of the future will be global, and visa restrictions will unjustified.
       The main goal of the world community in the near future is to avoid wars, asteroids, and other events that push mankind several steps back into dark ages. Unfortunately, optimism is improbable because human communities have never succeeded in development without declines of civilizations. According to statistical predictions, the crash of a large asteroid is inevitable, just as large-scale military conflicts are inevitable. The United State's anti-missile defense program causes serious misgivings because if Washington is convinced that the American skies are invulnerable, other countries' nuclear countermeasures will cease to be operative.
       It can be assumed that mankind will follow a path reminiscent of that of developed countries, which is directed toward a world in which rich countries conclude that it is cheaper to feed and care for the population of lesser countries than not.
       The death of civilizations is as inevitable as the death of individuals, but just as the individual's thread of spiritual development is passed from generation to generation, the flash of previous civilizations will pass to their shining successors. Our civilization is full of Greco-Roman esthetics, philosophy, and culture, just as the civilization that replaces ours will bear traces of our accomplishments.
       But we might be right about the inevitable death of the civilization in which we live. It is a question of time-tomorrow, after two hundred years... The fall of the Roman Empire began when it was split into two parts. After this, the western part lasted for more than four hundred years and the eastern even more-about a thousand. The only catch is that everything happens faster now. The transition from civilization to civilization does not necessarily happen with shouts, thunder, and invasions. We are all like children from whom their parents hid the fact that everybody dies when we deny that our civilization will perish.

    Chapter 16

    Terrorism is Not a Cause but a Consequence

       Terrorism tortures the world. This is nothing new. This has happened for all time. Some commentators on argue conclusively that, “Our civilization should revert back to barbarianism so that barbarianism can defeat the Islamic terrorists.” At first, this seems logical.
       Terrorism is not a cause but a consequence. In order to change something, it is necessary to find the cause and battle it, not the consequence. Ideology is never a cause. Ideology is never the main reason. The only reason driving history is the battle for power.
       Take the Russian Communist Revolution. I do not doubt that Lenin and his comrades were fanatical idealists. However, they were not the cause but the consequence. If there were no support of the German Kaiser, this bunch of radical fanatics would never have held power. Germany took Russia out of the game simply and effectively. It hired radical, fanatical Bolsheviks to draw Russia out of the war. It was unimportant that the revolution would soon infect Germany.
       What drove Germany? Fear!
       It is the same with modern terrorists. Who needs and uses them? Many. Europe, which united in fear of the United States and issued national currencies. Arab countries, who drive modern politics. Russia, which is not interested in the role of the USA as a superpower in a unipolar world order. The fact that terrorists are out of control, blowing up Europe and the Arabs, threatening the stability of their regimes, and annoying Russia, supporting Chechnya, does not mean that terrorism against the USA is not palatable. We forget about North Korea, China, and other countries, to which a world gendarme, the role of which the USA has assumed, is not necessary.
       These players, while they don't mind the thought of terrorism in the USA, fear the USA more than they do terrorists. Acts of terror destroy pockets of peaceful people, but the USA can remove from power practically any force on earth, or at least, significantly damage it. Therefore, the whole world, directly or indirectly, supports terrorism out of fear of the USA. This is its response to the threat of the USA and its tendency toward expansion, disrespect for local traditions, and disproportionate concentration of the world's financial strength. Direct or silent support of Islamic terrorism represents an attempt to redistribute this influence. Of course, it is impossible to reason with terrorism because terrorists are fanatical and their slogan is “Die!”
       The capture of Iraq frightened the world even more. It proved they were right to fear the US. It broke the rules and removed leaders from power whenever convenient. The fact that the violence in Iraq did not abate with the departure of Saddam suggests that the matter was not with Saddam.
       The USA must reach agreement with Europe, Russia, China, and other dictators and satraps. It should have reached agreement delicately and long ago. The USA must change its attitude, treating the rest of the world not as a bystander or backwoodsman but as valuable parts of the whole. The USA needed to prove that there was nothing to fear. However, this is impossible, especially now.
       To defeat terrorism, it is not necessary to stoop to barbarianism. A rise to refined political culture and understanding of intertwined international relations is needed. But does USA is really willing to battle terrorism? This is a broad question. It is entirely possible that it is not. The concentration of military power, the suppression of freedoms within the USA might be as convenient to US elites, as the cold war was convenient for forty years.
       Some might argue: “Is it surprising that the question `Is the USA really willing to battle terrorism?' is a very broad question for you! If a third world war comes, unfortunately, Western victory is far from guaranteed; they are seriously discussing in Europe and America the `adequacy' of measures for fighting Islamic fundamentalism. Terrorists use the ancient but often valid principle that all's fair in war. Terrorism must be fought. It shows its face not in the towers of the World Trade Center in New York, in the trains of Spain, and on the streets of London. It can also crop up in your Canadian forests.” Alas, the situation may be completely acceptable to the leadership of the USA. The fact is that terrorists mainly kill innocent people, which the politicians consider abstract numbers.
       Will you argue that politicians of all countries are unprincipled and that their single motive is power? It seems to me that this is a common truth. As always, the interests of residents become prisoners of the interests of political figures. The world is constructed so that those who control it are professional crooks, but they took power long ago and have no need to rely on acts of terrorism. However, others, new crooks, want their own piece of the pie. The old crooks do not want to target them and try to brush them off, giving the appearance that they are fighting them. There is no simple solution to the problem. Capture another five countries like Iraq and there still will be no simple solution. The USA must understand the intricacy of Europe's political games, which consented through the BBC and Guardian that used to defend so called “freedom fighters'...
       An agreement must be made with those who stands for the terrorists.
       “Do modern politicians really want to eliminate terrorism?” It is entirely possible that absence of terrorism as a common threat will end their popularity, but elections do not occur every day. By the next election, they are glorious defenders of the fatherland with unprecedented power. Root out terrorism, and they lose power. Winston Churchill was an important figure in the victory over fascism and not re-elected at the end of the war. This will not please any politician. Politicians are driven by the same ambitions as Hamas, which becomes more active as the peace process is felt because Hamas is not needed if there is peace, and none of those who stand for it will give it money. There are no serious differences between the leaders of Europe and terrorists in the quest for power. Some were terrorists during the time of the French revolution and USA's War of Independence. Others want their own revolution, independence, and power.
       I have said nothing about Israel, and this is not by chance. At present, with the brunt of the conflict shifted to Iraq, it has almost ceased to have meaning. If Israel is recognized as the puppet it is, it will never have had any meaning in regards to world terrorism, no matter how paradoxical this sounds.
       To describe the situation in Israel, I take the liberty of using a lengthy citation from the American comedian Dennis Miller, who is not himself Jewish. Dennis Miller hosts the television show Dennis Miller Live on HBO. Recently, trying to explain to his fellow citizens the essence of the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict, he said:
      
       “Here we go: The Palestinians want their own country.
    There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians.
    It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years.
       Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern Invention. Before the Israelis won the land in war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, and there were no "Palestinians" then, and the West Bank Was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians" then. As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the Palestinians," weeping for Their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation."
    So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our Deaths until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are: "Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death."
       I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters." Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't.
       They could 've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, Especially two years ago at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to Figure out some way to make a living. That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region Want: Israel.
       They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course -- that's where The real fun is -- but mostly they want Israel.
    Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel - or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it -- for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on G-d's Earth, and if you've ever been around G-d's Earth, you know that's really saying something.
       It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about. The great history and culture of the Muslim Mideast. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, By the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.
    Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five Million Jews.
       Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a Pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, Everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.
       My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the Numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it.
       Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not. Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting. No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the Worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.
    Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that with vital operations in Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a Roomful of supermodels who've just had their drugs taken away.
       However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of Losing moral weight.
       We've already lost some. After September 11 our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the Countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we Did, and we tell them to show restraint.
    If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and East of the Jordan.”

    Chapter 17

    The Ghost of the Final Solution

      
       A normal person thinks first of his safety and the safety of those close to him, which he in general considers all mankind. A normal person seeks love, friendship, success in business; craves art and creativity; is schooled in the sciences; and eventually begins to seek self-actualization, supporting others in this. There are no races, nationalities, nations, species, subspecies, ours and yours, and mine and others for such a person. He understands that if not all people are brothers, then nothing but themselves are stopping them. However, the fact is that normal people do not control the world.
       Tell a normal person the rhetoric of Zionists and anti-Semites. He will understand none of it. Who are the chosen people? Why create a state like a priestly kingdom headed by an ancient and uncivilized religion in the third millennium? On the other hand, why, under swastika, cremate followers of Jewish teachings? Everyone long ago forgot that man needs religion to live and die easier. Why should he be impounded, forbidden to marry, prohibited from raising children, be put to death, or denied a funeral?
       If Hitler returned and wanted to finish the annihilation of the Jews, what plan would he put together after becoming familiar with the modern situation? He would want them collected in one place to be vaporized by a nuclear bomb, preferably their own.
       Palestinians represent a certain type of Arabic Jew. They are outcasts in all countries. The Muslim world would like to rid themselves of all of them. How? To settle them with Jews in Israel. Pile them up and solve both the Jewish and Palestinian questions. In my opinion, it is all coming together. The rest is empty rhetoric.
       Israel is also necessary for the enthusiastic Christian fanatic. He cannot impress upon himself that although you cross yourself to the ears, you do not become more holy. Holiness is not found in rituals or even in the torture and killing of Christ, only a variation of barbarian sacrifice. Holiness is in thoughts, and thoughts should be good and pure. Enlightened thoughts should be about the safety of you and those close to you, about love, friendship, success in business, art, science, and finally, about the self-actualization of you and others.
       However, fanatics of all colors start with the end in mind. They seek self-actualization, starting in garbage pits. What is safety for a sadomasochist but total boredom? Love is only an idea for our fanatics. Friendship is found only with comrades in the party or religion. They need science to make better bombs and art to disseminate their ideas.
       Fanatics, no matter what color, whether Christian, fascist, Zionist, or Muslim, wish that Israel should exist the same as they. Let their motives be different and their intentions, too. That changes nothing because they are all passengers on the same tram. One is an engineer, another a drug addict, a third is a drunkard. So different, yet heading in the same direction.
       Sober scoundrels stand behind them. They have no ideals and ideologies for them do not exist . They have no need for money. They do not even need power. They just like to play each other. Now the Soviet Union crumbles. No matter where one goes, relatives in Israel, certified for this by the organization `Forum', crop up for all Soviet Jews. Many are carrying forged documents. They left! Went to Israel. The slop is rich there! And here they rattle your cage. Anti-Semites yell after them, “Go away to Israel!” However, this is only the first part of the phrase. The second part is no secret. “Go away to Israel! We will kill you all there!”
       You know it. Hitler would have been ecstatic. He would have stroked his moustache, thrust his hand in the air, and madly cried, “Israel ist fЭr Juden! All Juden mЭssen nach Israel gehen!”
       Then, noticing that non-Jews were caught in the mousetrap, our resurrected FЭhrer would give the order to carry out the purification, catch non-Jews, and send them back. Jews would forge documents, claiming that they had relatives so that they would be let go. They would called this `Forum' in Israel and order an “aliyah” for themselves. Those who altered documents and surnames would have to be sent back-not for compassion, but because fЭhrers love order and the Final Solution would start here.
       Let's hang more labels on each other. This one is a fascist, that one a Zionist. You, an anti-Semite, are acting like a Jew; I, a Jew, am acting like an anti-Semite. Let's divide people further into races, nations, nationalities, species, and subspecies. Do Jews need Israel? Jews need safety, love, friendship, success, wisdom, beauty, and self-expression. But Israel? What is Israel? Will they kill us without it? They will kill us with it.
       As long as we continue to talk in the language of the Third Reich, the ghost of the final decision will hang over all of us.
       But what if we try only to be normal people?

    Chapter 18

    The Nature of Modern Barbarianism

      
       Keeping in mind that humanity can boast of progress in technological development and other areas, true humanism on a global scale should also be developing, and barbarianism should remain in the distant past, in the somber depths of the bloody history of the human species. However, this is not so. The twentieth century provides an excellent example of mass barbarianism run rampant and proves that barbaric acts on the broad scale are not leaving the world's stage of history.
       Barbarianism en masse comprises acts carried out by large numbers of people against large numbers of other people-mass killings, inflictions of physical injuries, and incarceration. Because of these acts, there occurs mass destruction of cultural and material valuables. The twentieth century was particularly notable for these acts.
       How can the increase in barbarianism be explained? The simplest explanation is the unprecedented growth of the population. There are more people who can be killed and more people who can do the killing. If Hitler had tried three or four centuries ago to destroy six million Jews, he could not have done so for the simple reason that such a quantity of Jews could not be found. Second, business is better organized. Communication and transportation enable events to be carried out more effectively than in past centuries. Third, weaponry has improved. Alexander the Great's small army could not destroy the Persian army completely because Alexander did not have enough troops. Modern weapons eliminate this problem.
       Finally, despite people's increased conscientiousness, new means of killing require such indirect participation that murder, especially en masse, has become a detached act. If we compare killing with an ax and killing by pressing a button that launches a nuclear warhead, we see that, while the ax is capable of doing the job, it will take out fewer people, and even fewer would want to use it. However, pushing a button even a child could do-though the consequences are millions of times more serious.
       These arguments explain mass barbarianism of the twentieth century from a technical viewpoint. Let us now examine the ideological underpinnings of mass barbarianism. The twentieth century became the epochal apogee of attempts to carry out utopian social transformations, nationalistic ideas, and other phenomena with ideological underpinnings. Sacrificing common human morals and biblical testaments in the name of the super race or the proletariat became a standard of life in the past century. Furthermore, every mass attack is usually justified as a reaction to a prior attack or aggression. In practically every instance of aggression, rhetoric explains and legitimizes these barbaric acts.
       Before we analyze the modern age, it must be noted the twentieth century's barbarianism likely did not exceed that of previous centuries. We see more clearly that which is closer to us. Indigenous populations of both Americas were destroyed in past centuries on scales comparable to that of the twentieth century. When Christopher Columbus landed on October 12, 1492, the New World had a population of 100 to 145 million. Two centuries later, that population had shrunk by 90%. Even today, the “luckiest” of the nations existing then in both Americas has retained less than 5% of its former population. Genocide of the indigenous populations of the Western hemisphere has no parallel in world history. Pay attention. Those people were destroyed not by nuclear bombs or gas chambers, but by axes, spears, sabers, muskets and old style biological weapons - imported European infections.
       To get a feel for the size of the tragedy, imagine that, like Columbus, extraterrestrials landed on our planet and began to colonize earth, destroying our cities and killing about 5.5 billion people. Too farfetched? Turn your gaze, then, to the most glaring example of twentieth-century barbarianism, the phenomenon of Hitler's fascism.
       George Orwell, the author of the anti-utopia novel 1984, noted in one of his essays that the problem was not only Hitler and the capital supporting him, but in the people's state of mind. The state was redirected to barbarianism. It was ready to accept it and become an active participant.
       It is not enough to arrange a constant stream of material benefits or to provide humanity with all that it wishes; no matter what we do, it eventually sinks to barbaric mindlessness. The impression is that all humankind suffers from a mania, sometimes replaced by long stages of remission, but often overflowing into acute psychotic episodes that become more intense with time.
       In the Second World War, despite victory over Hitler, horrors were carried out and are one of the components of the human image. The world looks on precedent with trepidation. At first, an event is christened “unprecedented,” then all subsequent similar events are compared to this standard. The Second World War set the standard of barbarianism, the scales and ferocities of which surpassed all of mankind's previous “achievements.” The world was horrified and in shock. However, the world has a short memory. Even now, theories exist, claiming that the destruction of the Jews and other horrors never happened. Such assertions are mostly ignored by a generation affected by a war in which our great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers were tortured and killed. But what will happen after a few generations?
       The problem is not so much in the leaders as in the mindset. It is possible that wars do not end when an opponent wins but when the masses no longer want to fight. Previously, this period was ten years, as described in the Iliad of the Trojan War. During the time of Alexander the Great, it was seven years. In the twentieth century, this period was shortened to four years.
       Turning our attention to the modern mindset, we see a crumbling of the understanding of good and bad, of sin and sainthood. Today's world has drifted very far from moral standards that were accepted for centuries. Therefore, the bonds restraining barbarianism have become weaker.
       What is the exit strategy for such a situation? What can help us avoid the next wave of barbarianism? Barbarianism in the world can be stopped by the same mechanisms by which it is stopped in developed countries-a strong police and army, a unified judiciary system, observance of laws, and most importantly, education of the population in the spirit of supporting internal order.
       The world must be transformed into something like the federated union of states with relations and laws like those between the states in the United States or the provinces of Canada to squelch the possibility of mass barbarianism. How far from such a unification is the world? Let us imagine the planet as a huge feudal state. Independent barons (separate countries) are periodically at war with each other and the king (e.g., the USA) is only the largest fiefdom. There are no unified laws; they may be written, but nobody obeys them. No one respects the decisions of the unified court, and everyone does as he pleases. The barons have almost limitless power over their subjects. The solidarity within the nations should be added to this because each baron has his own national roots that in no way helps the unification.
       To make the world safe, we must unite under the rule of operating, international, administrative, and military authorities. Unfortunately, the UN is not such an authority. A system of international courts (those presently existing are ineffective because not all countries recognize their decisions, and those that do recognize them do not always abide by these decisions) and an international army are needed. Even if the USA usurped the role of international gendarme, it does not mean that the planet does not need a real one. Order is not possible without a gendarme. Moreover, without order, the world is doomed to new acts of barbarianism.
       What is the solution? How can the planet be unified under a single moderate power? The mindset must change, but the mass media and educational systems are manipulative. Everyone watches the same news channels and attends the same schools that propagandize certain positions instilled by a repressive portion of the population. Moreover, the world is an exceedingly heterogeneous economic medium. A person living in a developed country sometimes requires a comfort for a sum that would support the life of a whole town in Africa. Such glaring inequality was observed in ancient feudal states in which social institutions and an effective, unified taxation did not exist.
       An example of an attempt to unify different countries under a single government is the European Union. The EU would not disintegrate if the French voted against the EU constitution. First, we are talking only about a new constitution. Old agreements remain in force. About 54.87% of the population of France, the second largest economy in Europe, voted against adopting the EU constitution. French analysts explain that the French “No” was mainly a reaction to the successful expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe and the Baltics. “The French unexpectedly saw that they turned up in a Europe that they do not understand,” noted the newspaper Le Figaro. France's current social and economic difficulties, caused by globalization, are piled onto this, changing the traditional French lifestyle. Nevertheless, these events do not signal the breakup of the EU because the Nice Agreement continues in effect until 2009.
       So, if the negative factors of the premature expansion of the EU to the east, and local social and economic considerations are eliminated, the EU may become a model for the future “World Union.” It sounds like utopia at present. However, the world is already changing and will continue to change in the near future.
       One of the factors helping to reduce the probability of repeating acts of mass barbarianism by forming worldwide executive and legislative authorities may be a change of the mindset of the world population by the Internet, leading to the demise of television as the most powerful weapon for manipulating social consciousness. The Internet is still in its infancy, despite its dizzying development. It cannot yet compete with television, which allows viewers passively to pump themselves up with propaganda from one geopolitical region or another.
       The grafting of the Internet and television will weaken the manipulative effect of modern television because people will select subjects according to their tastes. These sources will not necessarily be channels, programs, and sites that sanction separatist sentiments, delusional ideas of national self-importance, and anti-global opinions that hinder the formation of unified regulatory mechanisms and portend the next wave of worldwide barbarianism.
       Try to imagine how events would have developed after September 11, 2001, if the world had been a World Union with unified and operating authorities. This Union would have immediately organized an effective commission to investigate the terror act, and all countries would have collaborated. The perpetrators of the terror act would have been found and turned over to the courts. The wars with Afghanistan and Iraq, the oil crises, and everything that plagued the world in the first decade years of the twenty-first century would have been unnecessary. It did not happen because local authorities have enormous powers, international authorities have none, and local national governments use terrorism for their own political games.
       The increased well-being of the world's population and technical progress, combined with the evolution of mass media, which makes each individual freer to choose positions and views independent of the power of nation-states, will defuse situations and lead humanity to a new level of development.
       These concepts sound utopian, and it is possible that an unprecedented explosion of total barbarianism will shatter the world tomorrow. However, regardless of the wisdom that nothing changes and history always repeats itself, something in the world is changing, and these changes provide hope that they will signify the progress of humankind toward an organization of more reasonable systems of world management.

    Chapter 19

    Has Satanism Conquered the Modern World?

      
       Observing the world around us, you might surely conclude that Satan has scored a victory. That which was an integral part of the witches' Sabbath and other iniquities has filled our screens, magazines, newspapers, and Internet. It is difficult to say what brutality the modern person has not seen on the screen, what perversions he has not encountered in his unending surfing of TV channels. The strangest is not that which we see, hear, and read, but our acceptance of it. Inhuman horrors invade our homes via television screens after family dinner like something familiar. What is going on? Why have acts previously considered the height of depravity invaded normal life? Why have fundamental standards of decency been brushed aside?
       “Satanism” here does not refer to the movement that arose in the nineteenth century on a wave of romantic fascination with evil - a reaction to the dominance of the Christian religion. Satanists borrowed the biblical image of Satan, but treat him as a positive symbol of power and freedom. Satanism for the purpose of this discussion refers to those actions, effects, and images that are associated with manifestations of diabolic forces in previous epochs.
       There is no point in listing the parade of spectacles that we witness as soon as we turn on the television. From where does the wave of SPAM emails promoting incest, without visible commercial profit come? If such spectacles had appeared before past generations, they would have been taken as a sign of Satan's victory.
       It is interesting to note that only 0.5% of a thousand grown Americans think they will wind up in hell, and approximately two-thirds of the total number of respondents think that they will end up in haven.
       Evil has lost its old meaning. The pope even “absolved” sinners, apparently because hell was no longer needed - everything that people could see and feel in hell could be had on earth. The deceased Pope John-Paul II, in one of his sermons on St. Peter's Square, prophesized, “All righteous men, believers or not, are saved and will go to paradise.” The head of the Roman Catholic Church, an eminent theologian and interpreter of the Holy Book, promised eternal bliss not only to sincere Catholics believing in Jesus Christ, but to all “good people following his commandments in daily life,” even if they are not adherents of a Christian religion.
       Satanism slithered from practical life into cyberspace, where it is no longer damned and has become something like chewing gum, only slightly harmful. Virtual Satanism was injected into humanity. Now, real tragedies are considered relatively dull when compared to horror movie special effects. Mankind is like an adolescent, mature enough that his parents let him to watch adult movies until the wee hours of the morning, but refuse to believe that he secretly smokes cigarettes.
       Strange as it seems, a catastrophe has not yet occurred. Society lives as it has lived, although the crime rate is high. Television violence has increased by 100% since 1980. In one hour of prime time TV, up to fourteen scenes of violence and brutality are shown. According to some data, TV violence is the cause of 15-20% of violence committed in real life. Children and adolescents are especially susceptible to television aggression because, according to the American Medical Association, the average child sees 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on TV during his or her school years. According to another statistic, he sees 50,000 murders and 200,000 violent scenes. According to Harvard Medical School, by the time an American child reaches the age of eighteen, he sees violence on the screen over 180,000 times, including 80,000 murders. In real life a murder is committed every twenty-four minutes in America; breaking and entering, every ten seconds; rape, every seven minutes! The probability of becoming a victim of crime in America is much greater than having an automobile accident. The risk of being killed is 1 in 133. Since 1950, murders among adolescents have increased by 232%.
       A modern child spends twenty-eight hours a week in front of the TV. This is more than he spends in school. At a minimum, he plays for an hour a day on videogames or surfs the Internet. He devotes several hours a week to watching films and listening to music. According to Mediascope, 66% of children's TV programs broadcast in the USA contain scenes of violence. In three-quarters of the instances, TV shows programs in which violence is not punished. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, only 4% of programs with scenes of violence contain a clearly expressed call to nonviolence.
       Over a thousand investigations devoted to the effect of TV and films on children have been carried out worldwide in the last forty years. The investigations were conducted in many countries using boys and girls belonging to different races, nationalities, and social groups. The results were practically identical. Aggression on the screen makes children more aggressive toward people and inanimate objects. The American Academy of Pediatrics published four fundamental conclusions from these investigations. First, children who watch many programs containing scenes of violence consider violence a legitimate method for resolving conflicts. Second, watching scenes of violence makes a person less protected from violence in real life. Third, the more a child watches violence on the screen, the greater the chances he will become a victim of violence. Fourth, if a child prefers to watch TV programs containing scenes of violence, there is a significantly higher probability that he will grow up to be an aggressive person and even commit a crime.
       Minors tend to believe all that is said on the screen. The Kaiser Family Foundation revealed in 2001 that 60% of adolescents believe medical information shown on TV more than the opinion of their own doctors. Television violence is especially dangerous for small children up to eight years old because they cannot accurately differentiate where real life begins and fiction ends. They see horror movies as reality. At the end of the 1980s, a five-year-old boy watched Beavis and Butthead on MTV. The characters in the cartoon tried unsuccessfully to use matches. The boy was successful. He burned down the trailer in which his family lived, killing his two-year-old sister. The mother of the dead child, local fire-fighting organizations, and other social organizations started a campaign to ban this cartoon. A compromise was found. MTV edited out scenes of pyromania from Beavis and Butthead. Some children have tried to fly by jumping from second-story windows after watching Superman.
       Eighty-five percent of the most popular videogames in the USA also contain acts of violence. An investigation carried out in 1996 among four-year-old boys and girls showed that their favorite videogames (59% of girls and 73% of boys) were those that contained acts of violence. In 1999, two students living in Littleton, Colorado, killed twelve classmates and wounded twenty-three, and then shot themselves. The inquiry showed that one of the factors driving them to commit murder was probably the popular computer game Doom. Both adolescents played it and called classmates with whom they did not hang out “monsters” (in Doom, the hero fights with anthropomorphic monsters).
       Television has had a greater effect on crime. The dependence is clear. The crime level in one country or another increased in the ten to fifteen years after TV was introduced. In 2001, the surgeon general of the USA published a paper devoted to the problem of youth violence (“Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General”), in which it was emphasized that watching films and TV programs containing acts of violence is a risk factor for an adolescent. It has the same effect on the consciousness of a child as poverty, poor social environment, and low intellect.
       Public opinion polls indicate that about three-quarters of US residents are convinced that TV programs are overloaded with violence. A survey conducted by Fox News after a series of murders committed by students showed that 29% of Americans consider the creators of movies, TV programs, and music guilty of these crimes (58% placed the blame on the parents). An analogous Gallup poll showed that US residents consider TV the second main reason for the increase of youth violence. Forty percent placed the blame on the parents, 8% on TV, 7% on ineffective teachers, 6% on psychological problems of the children, and 5% on the lack of strict moral imperatives by society.
       Violence is a key subject for Hollywood film producers. According to the Classification and Rating Administration, the service responsible for rating films and determining their appropriateness for children, over 10,000 films with acts of violence as the main subject were released from 1968 to 1990. In 2002, Hollywood studios released 132 films, 49 of which contained scenes of brutality and violence.
       Several experts think that the abundance of gaming films deadens people's understanding of the value of human life. Part of society now accepts catastrophes and acts of terrorism as readily as a reality show or the continuation of a war movie.
       Adolescents and youths who watch TV a minimum of one hour per day are more likely to commit aggressive acts than peers who spend their time doing other things. This conclusion was made after a study that lasted seventeen years.
       Only 5.7% of adolescents who watched TV less than an hour per day committed acts of violence. Among those who sat in front of the screen for one to three hours a day, the number was 18.4%. For telefanatics (>3 hours per day), it was 25.3%. Analogous trends are seen in adults. According to research by Nielsen Media Research, children 2-17 years old in the USA watch on the average about two hours of TV per day; men, more than four hours; women, more than five.
       Invented horrors have a way of becoming reality. Many police and war movies become templates for the committal of actual crimes. Two thieves tried to repeat a train robbery. The template for the imitation was not the actual robbery committed in England in the 1950s, but a movie made about it-Money Train. In 2003, two young Americans killed their mother and dismembered her body to destroy the evidence, a scene reminiscent of one of the episodes of the popular TV series Sopranos.
       In 1998, the marketing company Mediascope analyzed over 8,000 hours of TV programs broadcast over various American TV channels. Sixty percent of the programs contained scenes of violence. Scientists from Iowa State University, Brad Bushman and Craig Anderson, compared statistics for actually committed crimes (FBI data was used for this) and crimes shown on the most popular police and special service TV shows. The investigation showed that murders make up 0.2% of all crimes committed in the USA. However, the murders are half of the crimes shown on TV.
       American film critic Michael Medved noted that American TV is the most fearful place in the country. Every day in prime time (when the most viewers are watching), a TV viewer sees about 350 actors on the screen. Seven are killed. Medved writes, “If this statistic is extrapolated to real life, all USA residents would be dead after fifty days.”
       Violence on the screen is dangerous for the viewers. In 2002, the movie Jackass was introduced to the USA. This film, based on a popular series that played for a long time on MTV, was shown in 35,000 movie theaters. The film contains jokes that are frequently truly stupid and absurd. Nevertheless, Jackass caused a wave of copycats. Many instances where adolescents copied or tried to copy certain tricks in the movie were registered in the USA. For example, a fifteen-year-old adolescent soaked his pants with alcohol and sat on a fire. His friends, recording the scene, sent the “actor” to a hospital. Another incident led to the death of a twenty-two-year-old man, who placed a chair in the back of a moving dump truck, set it on fire, and tried to jump out. His friends also recorded this act.
       The 1993 film, The Program, portrayed American football. In it, players lay down on the street to harden their will. In the USA, five adolescents, independently of each other, tried to use this method in practice. Cars killed three; two received serious injuries. After a series of protests, Touchstone Films removed this scene from all copies of the film.
       American advertisers consider it great success if their TV ads reach one percent of viewers. If scenes of violence affect the same percent of the population, a frightful picture is drawn. If ten million people watch one program or film containing acts of violence, 100,000 of them will become aggressive. Furthermore, research by the American Psychological Association showed that aggressiveness produced this way can be “accumulated” and provoke a person to crime.
       According to research conducted by staff members of the University of Michigan, violence on the screen is addictive. The more violence a person watches, the more he likes it. Lovers of war movies and aggressive videogames develop a habit for acts of violence. If a person is deprived of such scenes for a time, he begins to feel uncomfortable.
       According to research carried out at Princeton University, violent movies and TV programs made in the USA are highly sought after in other countries. One of the reasons is that such films and programs are easier to translate into foreign languages and adapt to the tastes of local audiences. It is much more difficult to translate a comedy because a foreign viewer needs to understand the reality of the actors and understand American pop culture.
       Most of these facts apply to the USA, a country fanatical about laws, where the smallest violations are avidly prosecuted, and an enormous number of people are jailed. The USA has the highest percentage of prisoners. For every 100,000 residents, 565 people are in jail. The irony is that this percentage (about 0.5%) is the same as the number of Americans planning to go to hell.
       This has no other explanation than the involvement of the US government. If the government really intended to fight crime, it would adopt a series of laws prohibiting the display of violence and depravity. Maybe to understand the reasons for such a paradox, we should keep going. Not only the USA has suffered from the aforementioned phenomena. Despite the fact that certain countries in Europe (such as Norway and Denmark) exclude practically all violence from national television, movies and video games are just as available as in other countries.
       Struggles with homosexuality are also clearly felt in modern society. Many films have a hero with an unusual sexual orientation. People already believe that mankind is divided almost evenly into heterosexuals and homosexuals. However, even the most inflated estimates of confirmed homosexuals are less than 10-15% of the population (official statistics place the figure at 2-4%; however, one can assume that these results are underestimated).
       Homosexual love was acceptable in ancient Greek and Roman cultures, but this cannot be said about same-sex marriages. The legalization of these unions is dangerous because it leads to a re-examination of the institution of marriage. Aristotle and Greek and Roman law identify the goal of marriage as a family with social, material, demographic, and judicial aspects. Same-sex marriages denigrate several aspects of marriage, replacing them with feelings and a sex life. We do not know what will come of this because humanity has no experience with it. Another factor is the redefinition of the roles of men and women. From time immemorial, it was thought that a man should do a man's work and a woman, a woman's. Even in ancient Rome, same-sex marriages were not allowed because it was thought that the woman should remain submissive to the man. Marriage roles were reconsidered with the liberation of women. This brought marriage to its present state in western countries-an optional, almost exclusively business union.
       One gets the feeling that while religion, morals, and the family previously functioned to maintain order in society, when society could provide a strong, effective police force, the need for the family to function as such disappeared. Freedom is more characteristic of western states, while medieval laws that do not permit homosexual love rule in the East. However, I read with some surprise in the last issue of the magazine Le Figaro that sex change operations are allowed in Iran. Khomeini permitted them almost forty years ago.
       The Los Angeles Times printed the following quote, “Permission for a sex change is not an approval of homosexuality. We are against homosexuality,” said Muhammed Makhdi Kariminia, the spiritual leader of the holy city of Kum, one of the principal protectors of the use of hormones and surgical operations for sex change. “But we announced that if a homosexual wants to change sex, then that option is open for him.” It cannot be said that a sex change in Iran is easy. The Islamic Republic remains a traditional conservative society where the atmosphere of severe judgments and strict customs prevails. Spiritual leaders can hardly force a mother to wish that her son became a woman or to influence coworkers to tolerate it. The government's reaction is also ambivalent. Certain members vociferate as before against sex changes.
       Iran is not the only Muslim country warming up to sex change but cautious about homosexuality. The Court of Kuwait recently decided that a twenty-nine-year-old man who had changed sex could live legally as a woman. This decision was later repealed by a higher court, but it caused heated debates in that country, where homosexuality is taboo.
       In Saudi Arabia, an Islamic court upheld the right of an heir claiming the inheritance received by the sons although he had had an operation to become a woman. Even Al Azkhar, the ancient education center of Sunnites in Cairo, issued in the 1990s a religious edict approving a sex change in certain instances. But not one Muslim society approaches the problem with as much openness as Shiite Iran. The Ayatollah Khomeini signed laws approving a sex change forty years ago.
       If a man or woman wants to change sex, assuming that they got someone else's body, considered Khomeini, they must be allowed to change the body. Nothing is said in the Koran about a sex change. That means there is no basis to consider the operation prohibited. Before Khomeini, several Islamic edicts allowed sex changes for hermaphrodites. But nobody allowed a sex change without anatomical anomalies.
       Even if such regimes are agreeable to a sex change if it does not destroy the stability of society, it indicates that purely practical interests of the state are involved in adopting such laws, rather than moral reasons, and the current crumbling of customs can be explained by the strengthening of state power, under which there is no longer the need to maintain order using unreliable moral restraints. Now population in western countries is effectively restrained by the fear of prison, which the effectiveness of the police and the low level of corruption make practically unavoidable. This is sufficient in the states' opinion.
       A state by definition is sexless and amoral. It does not care who marries whom or who sleeps with whom. The goal of the state is to maintain stability and expand power. Because the sex and violence industry brings in huge legal profits, its perpetrators have significant influence over any government. These industries enrich the state treasury and invigorate the economy, but mainly, they distract the attention of the masses from social problems.
       In many states, they are even talking about legalizing prostitution and narcotics. Even in the Netherlands, marijuana is still not legal. The Netherlands' policy on narcotics is geared toward harm reduction. The goal is to eradicate use of narcotics and limit the risk and harm they engender. This addresses both those that use narcotics and their environment.
       In Holland, narcotics, cannabis (marijuana and hashish), and heavy narcotics are clearly differentiated. Based on this differentiation, the possession of cannabis for personal use (less than 30 g) is considered a civil violation. The goal of such a policy is the separation of the markets for heavy narcotics and cannabis (which is sold under controlled circumstances in coffee shops). The sale of cannabis in coffee shops (maximum 5 g per person per day) is considered a minor violation and not prosecuted.
       The goal is to limit contact of cannabis users with heavy narcotics. If a cannabis user buys it from an illegal dealer, the probability of his encountering heavy narcotics is much greater. Because of the separation of the markets, it became possible to protect the cannabis user from narcotics that (from the viewpoint of health care) are much more dangerous. The widely held belief that marijuana is sold legally in the Netherlands is erroneous. All narcotics are forbidden in the Netherlands. This is one example of a “gray area” that includes illegal immigrants and other officially forbidden, but allowed in practice, phenomena.
       Returning to the involvement of governments in the spread of violence on the screen, we find a fact that is surprising at first glance. The good of an individual is of no interest to a state. Despite the fact that an individual, as Rousseau stated, gives his self, his rights, and his freedom to the power of the state, he receives at best a concern for the society as a whole. Any state can ignore the freedom and life of an individual. There is nothing to say about such triviality as a TV program. If you do not like it, do not watch and do not let children watch, says the state. Each film is given a rating - one with a break of the hand, another with a break of the head. In another, they use bad language - but with good intentions. The state, when not necessary, is exceedingly attentive.
       Society must rely on itself in this situation. The position can be changed if the demand for violent and sexually oriented products decreases. Even now, social movements opposing the spread of violence and depravity are appearing. Despite the fact that the state is satisfied with its position, families worry that the level of aggression increases their children's probability of winding up in prison. Here, the interests of the family and the state diverge. Bringing up a child in the modern world has become a complicated endeavor. The schools and TV are running out of strength to make of him a moral monster. It is not easy to oppose such a force.
       Pursuing post-industrial goals, the state tries to destroy the institution of the family with its propaganda about premarital sexual relations. The husband becomes one in a long chain of boyfriends and the wife, the twentieth girlfriend. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released results of research carried out for the US government. It involved 11,000 women aged from fifteen to forty-four years. The results are curious. It was found that couples who did not live together before marriage had a better chance of remaining married. Marriages made while young, with little money, without religious convictions, and by couples whose parents are divorced fell apart more often. Meanwhile, sociologists confirmed that the chances of staying married were much greater for an unofficial civil marriage. Three of four women are married by the age of thirty, but many of these marriages fall apart. Overall, 43% of marriages do not last for fifteen years.
       How can long-term relationships be discussed when the institution of dating is forced on children barely eleven to thirteen years old by movies, the Internet, and even in school? It is unregulated and no one knows what happens in these relationships. The display of sexual scenes with minors is prohibited. Minors and their parents must guess what happens behind the scenes. If I am thirteen years old, is it time to lose my virginity or should I wait?
       Society is starting to oppose the resulting situation. A tendency has recently appeared to advertise the retention of virginity until marriage. Science is not an objective source on this subject. Psychologists, sociologists, and psychiatrists follow the style of thinking and values of their era. At the start of the nineteenth century, much was written about the dangers and negative consequences of an early sex life, and few paid attention to the neurotic features of the romantic personality, with its exaltation, mysticism, and the impossibility of simple personal relationships, including sexual ones. On the other hand, in the second half of the twentieth century, the pathogenic aspects of non-communication and sexual frigidity were emphasized. Any extremes are bad. It is rigid and thoughtless to sweep all people under one label. “The biggest possible mistake in this area is the suggestion that all other people are exactly like me and, if not, then they should become such...No sexual rules, laws, or ideals encompass equally the introvert and extrovert, the neurotic and stable individual; one man's food is another man's poison. Psychiatric health begins with this understanding.” (J. Wilson, Psychology of Sex)
       Society is capable of self-regulation. The existence of a ban encourages society to oppose it. When the ban is lifted, interest begins to wane after a certain flash. Next, the situation stabilizes. Such tendencies can be seen in past examples, discussion of which is beyond the scope of this book.
       People tend to assume that an existing situation will last. However, we can conclude that all processes are cyclic. Many researchers do not consider the potential for self-regulation. This is especially true when discussing human society. Therefore, it can be proposed that problems and deviations will, in the future, become balanced. The unbridled ferocity on-screen may continue to elicit a negative reaction from society, decreasing the demand for such a product. Because the goal of movie and TV magnates is money and not the perversion of the planet's population, and because society, voting with money, decreases the sales of products it finds distasteful, a tendency toward reduced violence in movies may eventually be seen. Recently, there have been some very profitable films in which no one is killed and nobody attacks anyone or even curses. Viewers will be able to more freely select tasteful programs as TV and the Internet continue to fuse. This will strengthen existing positive tendencies. A ban on movies containing violence and advertising promiscuity will only heighten interest and repeat the cycle.
       Aggression and the sex drive are natural needs inherited by man through evolution. Unfortunately, bans change little. The ability to obtain release of aggressive and sexual energy as sublimation in cyberspace will decrease its manifestation in reality, however paradoxical this sounds. Increasing the severity of punishments and improving the quality of virtual reality will recalibrate the human temperament toward peaceful sublimation and away from acts covered by articles of the criminal code.
       However, classical Satanism in the historical perspective includes not only violence and depravity, but also the cult of witchcraft. How can the popularity of the Harry Potter books and films be explained? The fact that they are written and filmed according to old standards of good and bad does not answer the question. It complicates it. We forget that the principal protagonists are witches and wizards and simple people without magical powers are disdainfully called “muggles” or “people incapable of magic.”
       What about other positive modern heroes? Batman, a man dressed in a black cape. Is this not reminiscent of the classical image of Satan? However, this hero is positive. And Spiderman, the man-spider? What about Catwoman? Why not a butterfly? Why not a rabbit? Why do they pick animals and insects associated with the cult of Satan? The bat, spider, and cat are symbols of the dark forces.
       However, the balance between good and bad has remained as before, as a hundred years ago, as thousand years ago. Maybe the quantitative scale on which good and bad operate has changed, but the ratio has remained unchanged and even shifted toward the good. Life for most people, especially in developed countries, has become easier. The length and quality of life has changed significantly for the better. The daily world, with rare exceptions, is not reminiscent of the kingdom of Satan, despite the increase of violence and depravity. Unfortunately, we do not have statistics from past centuries because many acts of violence in those centuries were not considered crimes. The death penalty has also been banned in many countries.
       Perhaps, when talking about the use of symbols that contradict Christianity, we are actually talking about the symbolic reaction to prohibitions of Christianity, which are weakening everywhere. The unwavering loyalty of the pope and the blow to the Catholic Church's authority by the priest-pedophiles indicate that the pope is trying to raise the popularity of the Roman Catholic Church through his pronouncements. This has been very successful. The new pope began his term with a visit to a synagogue and a trip to Germany, where the pontiff welcomed a crowd of his countrymen, among which were many youths. The pope himself was once a member of the Hitler Youth organization. Despite this surrealistic illustration, there is hope that the talk is only about form. What the Catholic Church did during the inquisition raised doubts about its reputation. So being a member of Hitlerism, especially in his distant, `innocent' youth, hardly does harm.
       Mankind is still very young. If modern civilization is represented as the life of an individual, then our civilization is about sixteen to seventeen years old. Look at this table:
      
       Age of child
       Corresponding years of development of civilization
       Characteristics and skills of child (mankind)
       Birth
       450-550 CE
       Baby separated from umbilical cord (Greco-Roman civilization)
       1-3 years
       500-900 CE
       Learns to walk, uses the toilet. Does not yet see differences between himself and others. All conflicts resolved by force.
       3-6 years
       900-1400 CE
       Preschool years. Learns to read and write. Plays with toys as before. Favorite game, knights.
       6-9 years
       1400-1700 CE
       Youngest school classes, basics of mathematics. Continues to work out relationships with fights.
       9-13 years
       1700-1900 CE
       Begins to play with electronics, smokes, and experiments with narcotics. Works out relationships as before with fights.
       13-18 years
       1900-2050 CE
       Begins to take an active interest in sex. Plays with prohibited toys. Success in school, progress in natural sciences and physics. Lags in humanities. Misses physical education classes. Seen in especially violent acts. Recorded several trips to the police. Fights less but often with self-mutilation. Intentional, self-inflicted cuts found on his body. Principal danger is attempted suicide.
      
       If you have a good imagination and much free time, you can continue this table.
       A parallel can be made by comparing the flash of depravity to similar phenomena accompanying the decline of the Roman Empire. However, it is better to take the present situation as a sign of the appearance of freedom and the approaching maturity of modern society. The thought that modern civilization is a teenager is more palatable to many of us than the confirmation that Satanism has conquered the world. Thus, each of us will gain an understanding of its current and future quirks and placate its parents, Greco-Roman philosophers, so that they pay no attention. Another century will come, and you will not recognize it. Our civilization will grow up and be filled with the energy of a young man.
       What can we, the next lost generation, do? Wait while mankind matures? It is impossible to shield our children from the evil of this world, pent up within us as natural instincts and tendencies. The way out consists of moderation, the ability to distinguish good from bad, and a relaxed attitude toward the imperfections of the environment.

    Chapter 20

    Possible Directions of Future Philosophy

    Definition of philosophy

      
       The expediency of being a philosopher is as controversial as ever in the modern world, where the absolute idol is financial might. Philosophy does not earn money, and therefore, is of little interest to the modern person.
       Accusations of the uselessness of philosophy are not new. Even Aristotle told the story of a philosopher-astronomer who became bored of being poor and his science not making him rich. He applied his philosophical and astronomical conclusions and found a way to become rich easily and quickly. Thus, “he proved that philosophers can easily become rich if they wish but this is not the objective that drives them.”
       Philosophy is a rational analysis and recommendation for application of various illusions.
       The concept of “illusion” in this definition does not have a negative connotation, as does the generally accepted definition of illusion as an erroneous mental representation (erroneous speculation). The absolute truth does not exist and even if it did, it would be impossible to prove because it could always be proposed that he who proved it did not have the complete information required for convincing proof. Consider an omnipotent and omniscient God. Even he could not prove to himself that his omnipotence and omniscience were not a figment of his imagination. If even God cannot know the absolute truth, how can we? Nobody needs the absolute truth because it is an absurd concept.
      
       Literature and philosophy
      
       Michel Gourinat remarked correctly that philosophy is the search for knowledge, recognizing itself, and that its first question is one of its own nature. Philosophical concepts are expounded upon by expressing them using the literary language. Therefore, philosophy uses the written or spoken literary tradition as the only means of expression.
       Philosophy is related to literature, not only by formal signatures, but also through its basis because a philosophical work is an expression of the individuality of the author. Despite the fact that literary critics are unwilling to admit that philosophy is literature, philosophy has no other means for expressing its ideas. Philosophy must be separated from literature by identifying a special type of publication reminiscent of a scientific article.
       Philosophical works should follow strict rules for writing scientific reports and include clearly separated sections such as the summary, background, dictionary of terms used in the work as they are defined by the author, introduction explaining the essence of the problem, statement of the philosophical question and its proposed resolution, discussion, rebuttal, and conclusions. Points included in the philosophical work can be much broader, but philosophy as a science needs to use a simple and clear language-in which, for example, laws of states are written. Then, separate literary works can be used to popularize the content of a similar work. However, it is necessary to have a main text written in a strictly legal style using great effort to overcome spurious points and ambiguities. Plays on words, flowery phrases, parables, allegories, and a paradoxical style all should be removed from a philosophical work.
       Thus, literature and philosophy should be separate from each other. By such a definition of philosophy, Plato, Montaigne, Pascal, Nitzsche, and many others are not philosophers. Perhaps if their works were rewritten in a clear scientific and philosophical style, people would be able to breathe easier because mixing literature and philosophy enables the author to defer to poetic diversions instead of clearly expounding his ideas, leaving an endless expanse for interpretation.
      
       Science and philosophy
      
       According to Einstein, “Most fundamental scientific ideas are in essence simple and can be expressed in a language understandable to all.” The same is true regarding basic philosophical ideas.
       Regardless of the imperfection of human language, in certain areas, a high degree of accuracy of expression, aimed at minimizing ambiguity has been achieved. An effort was made at the place where a person's personal interests, such as well-being, freedom, and life, are placed. The legal language should also be recognized as accurate. It was noticed long ago that definitions could be understood differently and sometimes in diametrically opposed directions. Because of this, every law usually contains definitions of the terms included in it. This should also be a required criterion of any philosophical work.
       Philosophy should be separate from science because philosophy does not have a basis for proof based on experiment. Science should be separated from philosophy, religion, politics, and scientists themselves.
       Independent experts, ignorant of the meaning and goals of the stated experiment, should carry out any scientific experiment, and the data they produce should be partially or completely blocked from their interpretation. Such a practice is widely used in clinical investigations where an investigator, a “free-willed clinical practitioner,” is separated from the sponsor that planned the investigation. Thus, there is no question of interference with the subjectivity of the researcher. An extra effort was made when the lives of millions of people and human society are at risk; then, the use of the “double blind,” in which neither the researcher or patient know if a drug or a placebo is used, is obligatory. In any case, laboratory research is most often carried out in independent laboratories.
       In modern science, distortion and outright falsification of results occurs on massive scales. Thus, the need to publish results, obtain positive results, and prove certain theories should not weigh on those involved with the scientific research.
       The practice in modern science whereby another group of scientists repeats an experiment and confirms or disproves the data of the original discoverer is ineffective because the control group of scientists may express subjectivity aimed at confirming or rejecting the original results.
       Another example of the quality of scientific research is applied science that operates for the common good-for example, the semiconductor industry. Neither political motives nor religious opinions affect these developments. The only thing of interest to such laboratories is the creation of new effective production technologies for cell phones, computers, etc. The criterion of success for such scientific activity is the practical results. Basic research should be separated from a focus on the result-the proof or rejection of any theory. It should be planned for collecting information. A good example is the project for decoding the human genome.
       That which occurs in the modern scientific world differs little from medieval skullduggery, despite the fact that modern science has exclusive technical resources and accumulated, factual knowledge.
       Because basic science is the mistress of the state and private donations, scientists must spend time seeking grants awarded based on society's political, economic, and religious interests, and if modern science must prove the again myth that the earth is on turtle's back, it will.
       Thus, philosophy must be separate from science, and basic science from politics, religion, and targeted funding.
       In areas with a direct threat to human life and social health, people have found more or less effective methods for making research objective and controlled. The sad state of objectivity in science affects human life and social health the same, if not more, than the unethical conduct of clinical research. However, this link is not obvious and is therefore widely ignored. Philosophy based on the results of such science proves that whatever is paid for cannot be objective. Philosophy must be held at a distance from scientific experiments, and their objectivity and the value of their interpretation must be questioned a priori.
      
       Religion and philosophy
      
       Religion should be separate from God because in most instances, it is unrelated to him. Religions are a collection of national traditions aimed at the moral self-regulation of human communities. However, religions in the modern world, as for the whole of human history, are exclusively the tools of geopolitics on a general level and an alternative to psychotherapy on an individual level. Thus, religion has no relationship to God, and these two concepts in philosophy should be strictly separated.
       Religion is a sociopolitical phenomenon that should be studied from the viewpoint of sociology and political science and viewed as philosophy only as much as philosophy affects the discussion of these sciences.
      
       Art and philosophy
      
       Art is based on esthetics. To define the relation of philosophy to art, the etymology of the word “esthetics” must be understood. Esthetics should be defined as a theory of sensory reception. Kant used this term exclusively in this sense.
       The definition of art was extremely broad in the past. The word “art” in French and English was formerly used to mean “ability, occupation, property of the individual.”
       Therefore, only the term “pure art,” which is separate from the manifestation of any trade, should be discussed. Based primarily on the fundamental contraposition of technical production and artistic creativity, Kant's esthetics define elegant art as the “art of genius.” Therefore, pure art is separated from the production of its fruits because this is already becoming a trade. Kant defines pure art as the most perfect knowledge that is incapable of quickly being incorporated into an esthetically valued form.
       Art has no direct relationship to philosophy because it has no independent philosophical meaning and is the result of an excessive exchange of ideas. Art in its practical expression is part trade, piecework, or industrial production of consumer products controlled by demand, or in its “pure” manifestation, part knowledge expressed through language, and therefore, belonging to literature. Art is evaluated on the esthetic taste of the evaluator when the esthetic satisfaction caused by the beauty begins to differ from a simple sensory satisfaction.
       Is there a difference between sensory and esthetic satisfaction on a physiological level? If there is such a difference, then viewing an erotic picture in Playboy and the statue of Venus de Milo should excite different sections of the brain. If there is no difference in principle, and the observer in both instances sees only an image of an attractive naked body, then the separate principle of “esthetic” satisfaction can be questioned. If the brain's reactions to the erotic picture and reading aloud one's favorite poetry or listening to one's favorite music are compared, the purity of the experiment will be compromised because the centers receiving music, poetry, and erotic pictures are located in different regions of the brain. The channel for receiving information about the picture is visual, whereas for poetry or music it is audile.
      
       Metaphysics
      
       Aristotle defines metaphysics as the area of knowledge located on the other side of physics. If physics deals with the sensual world, then metaphysics is involved with everything outside our sensual perception. (This is true even now. Try to ask a scientist deprived of sight, hearing, smell, and touch to carry out any physical experiment except the verification of the law of universal gravitation, which he will prove by plopping onto the floor after taking a few steps.)
       If metaphysics is located beyond the limits of human senses, then the world should be divided into four uneven parts:
      -- The part of the world evident to itself and therefore accessible for study through sensory perception;
      -- The part of the world indirectly evident to itself and accessible for study through sensory perception using indirect characteristics;
      -- The part of the world not evident to itself either directly or indirectly and inaccessible through sensory perception even using multiple amplifying powerful instruments, but which is susceptible to our mental analysis;
      -- The part of the world that is unreal but also susceptible to our mental analysis.
      
       Metaphysics concerns the two last parts, which are inaccessible to direct or indirect study through senses, and accessible only to mental analysis not based on sensory proof.
       The boundaries between these parts are flexible. For example, the discussion about planets around other stars could be thought of as metaphysics because mankind could not determine their existence using either direct or indirect sensory measurements. However, more than a hundred planets have been found through new indirect methods. They may be directly observed in the near future. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow instruments will appear that can take a photograph of our soul, and this ephemeral substance will move from the area of metaphysics into study by conventional sensory perception.
       The Kant metaphysics project “is nothing other than a systematized inventory of everything we know thanks to pure reason.” The Kant definition of a priori elements of knowledge makes it possible to study metaphysics. Physics is the factual analysis of experiment limited by the capability of modern experimental methods. Thus, physics bogs down in complicated dilemmas where comprehensive answers to the fundamental questions of philosophy are difficult because technical limitations, the purity of the experiment, and the objectivity of the researcher will always raise doubt. In metaphysics, there is no need to limit reason with the aforementioned difficulties, making metaphysics an excellent tool for philosophy, rational analysis, and recommendations for the application of various illusions.
       Because the world consists of four parts, as mentioned above, and physics can study only a small part of it, metaphysics is required to obtain a more complete picture of the world in terms of the illusion that satisfies philosophy.
      
       Moral principles
      
       Attempts to quantify the meanings of good and bad are insubstantial. Good and bad can be addressed only relative to the point of view of the examiner. However, universal meanings of good and bad based on the Maslow pyramid of needs can be derived. Bad is when these needs are unsatisfied; good is when they are.
       If two individuals satisfy their needs without bothering each other, then between them there may not arise conflicts; therefore, those relationships can result in bad as well as good, which also have psychological charge because it places the individual receiving the good in a dependent position and forces compensation of the received good by a corresponding good.
       Thus, if all needs of an individual corresponding to the Maslow needs pyramid are satisfied, he will be in a state of sensible happiness. It is important to follow only if, in satisfying his needs, he did this at the expense of not satisfying the needs of another individual.
       Keeping in mind the problem of limited resources, the following system of satisfying needs is suggested.
      
       Satisfaction of basic needs
      
       Food
       It is possible to satisfy the food requirements of all mankind by producing necessary food stocks and imparting to them useful, balanced properties and excellent gustatory quality. Even now, western countries discard enough food to feed all the inhabitants of the earth. Gluttony in developed countries is tied to commercials for various food products. The population uses three to four times more food than required and suffers catastrophic obesity. Reasonable food education and a redistribution of resources may satisfy the growing needs of the whole earth.
       Animal slaughter creates a serious moral and ethical problem. Why does man consider it his right to take the life of creatures in close proximity to him on the ladder of evolutionary development? And yet, in protecting animals, millions starve.
       The solution is simple. The growth of cow muscle tissue under laboratory conditions has already been started, and it must continue to be developed. Colossal plantations growing meat products can be established, and herds of domestic cattle can be gradually reduced by natural attrition and limiting births. Over time, the gustatory quality of cultivated meat products will gradually improve.
      
       Housing
       A new approach to constructing housing is needed. First, the Internet revolution should be used to make most social functions virtual so that large cities can be resettled to expanses of vacant land. Cheap methods of raising simple and thermally insulated housing using local resources (wind power, solar power, water resources) must be developed so that service lines are not spread over many kilometers. Cheap and reliable means of air transportation must be developed.
       These measures will help resolve the housing crisis in large cities and halt the development of new lands. Countries with enormous amounts of free space will be able to settle it with immigrants that require nothing from the state except a parcel of land because they will make and receive most of his working relationships and services virtually.
       Problems with cleaning should be solved at the design level of the construction, using “self-vacuuming floors” or waste-purifying nanotechnology. Furnishings and decorations will be created using screen technology, by which the wall of the house will show images of external architectural design. Decoration of the walls, floors, and ceilings will be produced the same way.
       Health care
       Further development of the pharmaceutical industry, nanotechnologies, and stem cell cloning will make early detection and treatment of diseases possible. Furthermore, a person will be able to strengthen his muscles, protect himself from injury, and increase the activity of sense organs and the brain.
       Sex
       A life with all needs met reduces a person's dependence on sexual relations, and the electronic virtual world can relieve many of the demands. However, the importance of natural love is in no way diminished. A person should not suffer violence in the family or moral pressure due to the presence of a sexual partner. The choice of cohabitation and formation of a family should be made based on higher considerations and not trivial sexual needs that scientific progress will be able to satisfy just as effectively as through natural means.
       Alcohol, smoking, and narcotics
       These are ineffective and dangerous means for regulating one's mood and escaping real life. All three evils result from social activity and commercial or street propaganda, and should die out with sufficient physical separation and minimal negative social life. The need for alcohol and narcotics will disappear with greater accessibility to effective pharmacological and electronic behavior modification.
       Healthy lifestyle
       Balanced sporting activities regulated by computers, the need for which will be instilled in childhood, will significantly improve individuals' well-being.
       Accumulation of money
       People behave like squirrels, storing in their nest everything that is not tied down. Most benefits need to be re-evaluated using a shift into virtual reality. Anyone, wealthy or not, using computers with the same amount of memory, can create as many Word files as he wants. Thus, just as created and deleted files are depreciated, material possessions and luxury items should be depreciated because appearance is an illusion easily reproduced by electronic means.
       The accumulation of money should become senseless, like the accumulation of worthless files. The entire population must be re-educated.
      
       Need for aggression
       The need for aggression should be redirected into creative energy, but prohibitions limit us. Aggressive computer games must be used wisely, given to those for whom such a program acts as a means for sublimation. Such programs should not be available to those on whom they may stimulate physical aggression. Psychological tests can easily determine the difference.
      
       Satisfaction of needs for safety
      
       Protection from imaginary dangers
       Most people fear imaginary dangers. The decrease of criminal activity from a shift to virtual relationships, and the prohibition of acts of violence in the media and over the Internet will cause a healthy population's fear level to drop sharply. People suffering neurotic changes will be quickly diagnosed and given the opportunity for pharmacological treatment.
      
       Protection from actual dangers
       The increased effectiveness of health care, reduced crowding, safer house construction (nonflammable materials, sprinklers, avoidance of harmful substances), and the prohibition of weapons and fighting will satisfy the need for safety. Robbery will be reduced because most valuables will belong to the virtual world, and criminal activity will be almost nonexistent. And, if all needs of the criminals are satisfied, their motivation for criminal activity will be greatly reduced.
       Criminals will not be isolated and crowded into prisons where they are subject to Darwinian survival of the fittest and released either broken or even more criminal. House arrest will be adequate and protect society from the criminal while the criminal undergoes virtual re-education.
       For armed conflicts, residents, perhaps together with their easily assembled and disassembled houses, will be evacuated to safe countries. Only those with the urge to fight will remain at the site of the conflict. People will be monitored at the exit so that no one leaves with weapons.
       Lie detectors will become more powerful. A person will not be able to hide his intentions. Those thinking about killing each other will reveal themselves, be caught by military robots, and placed under house arrest. Civilians will not be used for blackmail or kept as prisoners.
      
       Need for love
       The Internet of the near future will be able to satisfy most of our needs for love. Videos and holograms will create the illusion of normal communication with friends, loved ones, and relatives. The hour is near when everyone will be able to choose his favorite appearance and clothes and present that image of himself to his friends and companions because everything is possible in cyberspace. This reduces the need to manufacture expensive clothes, cosmetics, and perfume. It will not replace ordinary communication, but such communication will be reduced to that needed for the conception and upbringing of children. Thus, a person is converted into a mass of ideas and thoughts, not held back by material limitations.
      
       Need for acceptance in society
       Virtual communication presents limited opportunities for societal acceptance. Because most people's living conditions will be about equal, free communication will be practically limitless. The Internet will supplant any attempt at aggressive behavior in video forums and chats. Furthermore, education and prohibition on aggressive films will reduce the level of aggression and increase one's chances of being accepted by society. For those who develop serious problems, “virtual” friends who accept them for what they are will be created.
       The modern lifestyle is no longer justified and only followed by habit and the lack of reasonable reorganization. Eventually all these changes will happen.
      
       Need for knowledge
       The proliferation of the Internet will make schools and other educational institutions unnecessary, although mental activity will be a required subject for every individual. People will study their whole lives. However, the curriculum will cease to be the accumulation of knowledge and focus on improving one's ability to find, classify, and analyze it. A person will be converted from a memory chip to a professor.
       Most people will be involved in virtual labor operations that require their direct analytical capability, controlled and supported by computers. Others will be occupied with the arts or the advancement of science.
      
       Need for esthetics
       As already stated, electronic devices will satisfy esthetic needs for music, house decoration, furnishings, accessories, and clothes. The illusion of space and the view capturing the soul from windows will raise the esthetic satisfaction of life to an unprecedented level. Recognition of that reality is just as illusory, as virtual reality will provide satisfaction in any lifestyle at practically no cost.
      
       Need for self-actualization
       This need is still the least satisfied in the modern world. Only ten percent of people are self-actualized. Mankind does not sufficiently understand the importance of self-actualization, but our biggest disappointments are not from hunger, sexual deprivation, danger, hate, illiteracy, or a lack of esthetic beauty. Problems arise because of those who are ready to kill millions of people for the sake of self-actualization-a phenomenon of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Saddam, and Bin Laden.
       Society should figure out how to use unlimited electronic resources to make self-actualization possible for the most of the population. Having undergone self-actualization, people will strive to help others to become self-actualized. They will become a self-serving organizational structure. Only the initial push is needed. The organization of such a system would be preserved and utilized on a common human level.
       A suitable education aimed at a search for an “existential design” is needed, about which Sartre spoke.
      
       Space and time
      
       Time is only an illusion of human consciousness. Space may also be an illusion. For example, during a computer teleconference with a companion on the other side of the earth, how do you measure the distance to his nose? Your sense organs tell you this distance is about thirty cm, while the true distance may be 12,000 km. What is the actual distance? What distance makes sense? You behave as if the companion is nearby-and this is with far from ideal communication methods. In the future, the quality of holographic images will create a picture indistinguishable from reality.
       Using the most modern means of communication and computer operation, many actions are reversible. Pressing “Ctrl + Z” on the keyboard returns us to the previous step and even more strongly pierces our reality. We can make fewer fatal errors.
       Imagine that your companion is a computer program and that you angered it somehow. It would be worthwhile to take a step backwards. And you turn back time. Virtual copies of people can help alleviate nostalgia for broken relationships and the departed. Create a virtual image of your childhood home. Decorations will be replaced with the push of a button. Interiors will be changed rather frequently. Yesterday, the interior was a Versailles palace; today, a comfortable village hut. The illusion of free space and infinite halls is also easily created.
       Space and time will cease to have meaning when people convert to the virtual way of life. There will be no need to go on most trips because they will have become meaningless. If you want to visit the Louvre, press a button, and your room will be transformed into a Louvre hall.
       Because trips lose meaning, energy costs will be reduced. Flights into space will become meaningless because it will be possible to visit any heavenly body of the solar system without making dangerous journeys. Human civilization will become self-sufficient and satisfied without unneeded flights to distant stars because in virtual reality, this will all be possible without expending energy. Is it so important to know what lifeless slopes look like on a planet rotating around a distant star? In virtual reality, man can miniaturize himself and land on the nucleus of a hydrogen atom.
       Even the search for intellectual life will become meaningless because those who want to meet with them will be able to do this in virtual reality without affecting people who do not want to meet with them. The same technical principles that create computer games can be used to create a virtual reality that will solve all human problems. Perhaps this is why we have never met extraterrestrials from more advanced civilizations. They have probably been happily sitting in their own homes on their own native planets in their virtual reality. What is the difference if they assume we have three legs and seven ears? Soon, looks will cease to have significance. Everyone in virtual reality will be able to look like a talking chair if he wants.
       What we see now in a person is an attractive external body, but that is only the surface of a person. Within is the stinking reality. However, if we are content to observe only the outside, why not go further and see a person as he would want us to see him?
       People complain, not about the use of virtual reality, but about the technical specifications; i.e., the image is not realistic enough or there is no aroma, feeling, or dimension. This is all correctable. Soon, it will be possible to create a virtual reality more real than the actual, which is nothing more than an illusion impinging on our sense organs.
      
       Philosophy of creation and the soul
      
       There is no reason to seek all-encompassing theories of creation. The philosophy of the soul should recommend illusions in which man would take a worthy place in a mysterious universe. We should concentrate on a plan for data collection and their methodical analysis, regardless of one cosmological paradigm or another.
      
       Consciousness
       Despite the fact that consciousness is the main definer of personality, it is imperfect. Therefore, its capabilities must be enhanced in every way, using virtual reality.
      
       Language
       Language, like consciousness, is an imperfect tool for communication. However, it can be perfected using electronic devices and computers, which is already occurring.
      
       Work
       Work doesn't need to be productive in the usual, industrial meaning of the word. The priority for the work of any individual should be the satisfaction of his own needs according to the Maslow pyramid. The second goal of work should be the satisfaction of needs in others, not because of an irrational Christian compassion, but for the practical consideration that if a neighbor is hungry, he will come, take bread from you, and perhaps kill you and burn your house.
       The function of laborers should include either the satisfaction of their own needs or those of others, but all routine, monotonous work should be done by computers and automated systems.
      
       Freedom
       The freedom of choice should be limited. No one should encourage the freedom to be unhappy or aggressive. Unhappy (unsatisfied) and aggressive people interfere in the lives of other people. Therefore, it is every person's duty to satisfy fully his needs-but not at the expense of other people-and to help satisfy the needs of others when his own needs are satisfied.
       Freedom can be only conscious and positive. A person should not have the freedom to self-destruct and inflict physical or moral harm to others. The immigration problem will be resolved, nation-states will be weakened, and after living conditions are standardized across the world, we'll see the rise of world management systems. Self-regulation will be developed and simplified in a virtual world.
       Any person will be able to construct a virtual empire. It should not be condemned but improved and advertised because there is no shorter route to freedom than through the Internet and similar systems.
      
       History
       History should be re-examined in light of the aforementioned basic concepts. This may lead to the recognition that not all events in history were exactly as recorded. History has little meaning because it is a collection of poorly verified facts, the majority of which is distorted beyond recognition. History should be separated from politics and religion because most geopolitical conflicts rest on historical facts, actual or fabricated.
       Mankind must recognize that most of its history was spent in diapers of dubious cleanliness. Historical facts should not be inflated. They should be studied from the viewpoint of historical science without throwing a shadow on modern events. The manipulation of historical facts for political purposes should be categorically condemned.
      
       Geopolitics
       Only a fraction of mankind is ready to develop according to the principles of the philosophy of the future. However, the Internet can expand this circle. The world will long carry the charge of hatred and aggression and the inertia of medieval envy and cannibalistic ferocity. But the sooner western civilization begins to convert to the virtual way of life, the less envy it will elicit from nations whose development is much slower. Furthermore, it will be possible to improve the standard of living of underdeveloped nations by rational use of material resources freed up by the conversion to a virtual civilization.
      
       God
       God is everything capable and incapable of existing. Therefore, we can resolve the contradiction arising above-that even God cannot prove to himself that he is God. God is everything and nothing because that which exists and can exist falls under the definition of everything, and that which cannot exist, correspondingly, falls under the definition nothing. Therefore, such a God will prove nothing to himself.
      

    Chapter 21

    Oh, how many wonderful discoveries...

      
       The ability to think is exceedingly rare. Maybe you do not believe it but I spend most of my life not thinking. We wander around like sleep walkers, now and then bumping into each other and rubbing each other's nose.
       Either thinking requires a special expenditure of energy or the thought process is somehow harmful to health. This is strange because the results of the thought process are usually advantageous. Why is it hard to think if this ability enabled us to survive without fangs or claws?
       Why do we not like to engage our only evolutionary advantage-our mind? It is unbelievable that man has not carved out special time for thinking. For taking a shower, he did; for wolfing down food in chunks, he remembered and even invented breakfast, lunch, and supper. Why not set aside special time for thinking? It is worthwhile to set aside some time, even just a little, for thinking. We could make many wonderful discoveries. It is worthwhile to contemplate what exactly you are doing with your life. And the discovery will not make you wait long. People spend time at least once a day taking care of personal hygiene so that we are not embarrassed. Why is it not that a person who does not think for several weeks is just as repulsive as one who does not wash himself?
       Ben Gurion said that thinking is an art requiring much effort; few do it, and then only in rare instances. What other wonderful discoveries does simple thinking promise us? Permit me.
       First discovery: Life is like an unpretentious, free-spirited woman with romantic inclinations. She is agreeable, for a small sum, to being whatever you wish. There is no set plan, be you happy or unhappy. Simply give life a cheap ring from the jewelry department and do whatever you see fit with her. If you want, you can sincerely love her and pledge your heart and soul. However, life, no matter how docile she seems, is fickle. You can meet her on the street in a seedy district and suffer a setback, not out of an evil intent, but because of the nature of her wandering soul. Remembering with whom you are dealing, you can surround your life with love and the comfort of home while she drops her street smarts.
      
       Second discovery: The process and not the result is important in life. Therefore, try to make it pleasant and not be too disturbed at the results. Many are out of our control. It is better to concentrate on the stream of life. Pick a direction and go-but only happily, singing songs, dancing, and now and then asking, “But where are we going?” Then smugly pat yourself on the back, “We are taking the true road, my friends!”
      
       Third discovery: Everything in life is an illusion. That which we see and hear, smell and touch, is an interpretation by our brain of electrical impulses generated in response to external stimuli. Flies see differently, frogs yet another way. So whose vision is true? As it turns out, none. Everything in life is a stubborn, relentless illusion. Reality is only the interaction between and within our illusions. That is all that we perceive as reality. It is not necessary to think that nothing exists. Our interpretation of this existence must be an illusion. That's all. Just as there is no point in taking too seriously a magical light throwing visual images on a screen, life should not be taken too seriously.
      
       Fourth discovery: If everything is an illusion, try to select the pleasant and useful ones and to forget and cast aside the harmful, fearful ones. Under the “law of equality of illusions (LEI),” all illusions are equal. This is the whole law. One illusion is no more or less absurd or reasonable than another. Because of this, we were given free will-the freedom to choose illusions. Do you buy broken eggs in the store? You carefully touch each egg, a delicate creation of natural architecture, and put the cracked one into another pack. Apply this simple operation to illusions. Do not pick the cracked, rotten, and broken illusions. Take the fresh, well-formed ones-like a good egg. No one will accuse you of being picky. We are not talking about scrambled eggs, thrown into the garbage and forgotten. We are talking about life and happiness.
      
       Fifth discovery: Do not wait for life to provide good luck. Create it for yourself. We often hear people say that most things in life depend on chance and available opportunities. Many people are convinced that when opportunities present, they do not let them get away. However, the truth is that they do not fully believe because they lose hope and simply say, “Maybe sometime,” after decades of patiently waiting for the golden opportunity. How can you be sure that you are not letting your own opportunity get away? How can you train yourself not to let opportunity escape if good luck is such a rare commodity? People almost certainly cannot recognize opportunity when it knocks on their door. One must learn not to let opportunities slip away. One must recognize them for himself and those around him. Then they will appear at a given place and time, as does everything that is planned.
       Of course, it is an expensive luxury to create opportunities for one's self and others. For example, dream about becoming a great movie director. It is necessary to open a movie studio and record film. Critics who like your film must be found. You are a great director. But from where will the money for the film come? Oh, money, that is no problem. Learn to earn as much as needed by attracting and buying help from others. How? Simple. Start to think in the morning, at lunch, and in the evenings. With time, insights will appear. Do not dwell much on the thought process, or you will remain a homebred thinker. Thinking must also be moderated. Sometimes it is necessary to act. But while you are immersed in the thought process, create an opportunity for yourself; buy a pack of writing paper and write scenes because having a scene usually makes it easier to record a film. Creating opportunities and using the support of your staff, you will eventually be successful.
       My only advice, before setting out on this long road, is to ponder well whether you need all this trouble. If so, then go forth boldly, buy the paper, and do not wait for good luck. Create it yourself!
      
       Sixth discovery: Do not get too one-sided. Do not exert too much strength on a single idea. Otherwise, you will crash, fall from orbit around your idea, and not be able to get away from it. It will end with you obsessed, which destroys your family, then damages your psyche, and finally reserves a place for you on a bed in the psychiatric hospital or on a slab in the morgue. Ideas, like anything, are dangerous if dwelled on too much.
       Do not try to achieve perfection. Nature does not tolerate perfection and punishes perfectionists. Entertain many ideas and do not let one idea engulf you. Ideological monogamy is contraindicated. Any obsession is tortuous.
      
       Seventh discovery: Do not let passion overtake you. Bridle your passion and make it serve you. Passion is a universal energy. It can drive space ships and encompass continents. Learn to control your passion, and it will be converted from a supercritical thermonuclear force to an evenly burning flare that lights your path in the darkness.
      
       Eighth discovery: Learn to make the passion of others serve you and your ideas. Hand over to others everything that you no longer want. Do not ask for money to pay for this other work. We have already discussed money. You cannot do everything yourself. If he who decided to build the pyramid of Cheops had not asked for help, he would still be dragging the first stone. Learn to make the illusions of others serve your illusions. Illusions of all countries, unite!
      
       Ninth discovery: Try to surround yourself with good and love because to do this and receive the same in return is surprisingly pleasant.
      
       Tenth discovery: Learn to get to the meat of a question quickly. Do not linger or procrastinate. Be able to understand any initiative honestly and know why you need it. Do not let others tie you to their illusion, especially those who repulse or bore you. Always try to understand the motivation behind other's acts. Many people think aloud because they are used to nobody listening to them. If you listen closely to what people say, you will be able to understand their motivations and predict their actions. The ability to predict and understand another's motive will enable you better to achieve your goals.
      
       Eleventh discovery: Do not struggle with your inadequacies. Try to convert these inadequacies into something of value, avoiding them or including them in the network of your ideas. If a person is lazy, he will hardly be able to compete effectively with you. If a person is stupid, he will hardly be able to outfox you. These inadequacies will become advantages if you learn to use them correctly. Do not give an idiot that which requires wisdom, or a lazy person that which requires strength and heavy labor. A lazy fool is a rare combination. More often than not, fools love to work because they can compensate for their lack of brilliance. And lazy people are smart and crafty because in order to be a successful deadbeat, one has to be able to open minds.
       If you yourself are lazy and stupid, this must be admitted and recognized. Recognize that you are a fool, and you sometimes cease to be such, which unfortunately cannot be said of laziness, the recognition of which does not make you more industrious. However, this is all correctable. Hire a working helper and a wise advisor and rule the world.
      
       Twelfth discovery: Try to extract from every disappointment something that is useful to you or that softens the twists of fate that are inevitable, no matter how clear the sky above your head is. Remember this, but do not let yourself get upset. If you handled problems in the past, you will most likely be able to do so in the future.
       These are my wonderful discoveries. Love to think, and you will continue this modest list with your own discoveries. The ability to think is the most valuable gift given by the good Lord. If it sometimes seems to you that he is giving you the finger, remember that this is only a stubborn, relentless illusion.

    Chapter 22

    Landmarks for the Future Development of Civilization

      
       If a ship loses its course, no matter how strong its hull, no matter how great its provisions, and no matter how cohesive its crew, it is doomed to be lost in the vast expanse of the world's oceans. At first, everything on board our imaginary ship will be fine, but with time and understanding that the ship is irrevocably off course, the crew will despair. If the course was properly laid out, even a poorly constructed ship with minimum provisions and a drunken crew will have a chance to reach its goal.
       Those who take an uncertain course and do not see beyond daily tactical problems will be convinced that nothing needs to be changed until they figure out that they are doomed. But until then, they label the canaries predicting catastrophe as panicky and predatory because they destabilize the crew. One way or another, a ship needs a course and landmarks.
       How should the course of civilization be defined for the ship known as the human community? The conflict between the interests of an individual and society is eternal and irreconcilable. The needs of the individual must be placed on the level of society. Specifically, the hierarchy of needs of Abraham Maslow must be applied to human civilization as a whole and to each community in it separately.
       The basic needs of any human society are food, water, shelter, a normal population growth, and basic health care. If these problems are not resolved, nothing can be said about higher needs. If this is the directing principle, we cannot talk about pulling our belts a little tighter in the name of a shining future or the myths of mass self-sacrifice in the name of freedom. The conqueror resists the value of life of his citizens, and hunger and epidemics have no justification. The primary obligation of leaders is to satisfy the physiological needs of the people entrusting their fates to the hands of society.
       When the physiological needs of a community are satisfied, effective protection from external and internal destabilizers-criminals, robbers, and terrorists-must be organized. Again, no “higher” idea can justify the disruption of the safety of another community. Protection should be non-aggressive. Isolation, worthy living conditions, and disarming criminals and external enemies is preferred to their destruction because the “killing of the killer” will foster an endless chain of murders, up to mass destruction of the community.
       The third level in Maslow's hierarchy is the need for love. This need can be satisfied by educating the population in the spirit of mutual love and the infusion of love and respect to other communities.
       The fourth level of Maslow's hierarchy addresses esteem. If the three preceding levels are achieved, this one presents no complications because neighboring communities will have no need to challenge their own leadership.
       The fifth level is the need for knowledge. Having satisfied the four preceding need levels, a community should orient itself on cognitive activity and effective systems for storage, processing, and thoughtful analysis of information.
       The sixth level addresses esthetic needs and includes nurturing esthetic taste and a love for the beautiful.
       The seventh level is the achievement of a community's self-actualization. Philosophy schools that help define this “higher” calling must be developed. This idea cannot include inflicting damage to members of the community or other communities.
       The highest level is assisting other communities in achieving self-actualization. If we examine a community as mankind, other communities can mean extraterrestrials, if they exist-other types of creatures that exhibit similar thought and consciousness.
       Many of you, having read these lines, will brush it off. The next utopia-perhaps the next harmful utopia. One way or another, these principles will at least create distinct landmarks. Let them not indicate the means that can be used to achieve them. However, if we try to continue on our ship's course, by using these landmarks, we have a chance to salvage our sailing from a global catastrophe, regardless of the deficiencies in its construction and the silliness of the crew.
      
      
       By Kant's view, humans can make sense out of phenomena in these various ways, but can never directly know the noumena, the "things-in-themselves."
      
       Barbour, J. (2001). The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics.
       Oxford University Press.
       Born, M. (1971). The Born-Einstein Letters. New York: Walker, p.81.
       In particular, Kurt GЖdel published a paper on the general theory of relativity, proposing a solution to the Einstein equations, from which it followed that all events in the world are repeated.
       Krieger, L. (1989). Time's Reasons: Philosophies of History Old and New. University of Chicago Press.
       Extrapolations (from the Latin extra for above or outside of and polio for correct or change) in this instance mean an inference about the future (or about some hypothetical situation), based on known facts and observations.
       Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), eminent American psychologist, founder of humanistic psychology.
       Maslow A. Motivation and Personality. (HarperCollins Publishers; 3 Sub edition, January 1987)
       Alter ego (Lat. “other self”), the second “I.”
       Thompson, Clive. “Can a smooth-talking robot imitate good conversation, generate witty responses, and reveal profound thoughts? See what happens when two chatbots speak to each other.” Discover. May, 2007.
       http://www.titane.ca/concordia/dfar251/igod/main.html
       Related to epistemology, a branch of philosophy that studies nature, the methods and limitations of knowledge, and religions
       “Brave New World” was taken from a line in the tragic comedy “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare.
       Solomon, Andrew. The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression. London: Chatto & Windus, 2001.
       Derrida J. La pharmacie de Platon // La dissemination. Pariz: Edition du Seuil, 1972.
       Sartre, Jean-Paul. L'Imaginaire / Psychologie Phenomenologique de l'Imagination. French & European Publications Inc (December 1986)
      
       Transcendental and transcendent are philosophical terms introduced into the latest philosophy by Kant. The former means determining a priori the conditions of possible experience. In this sense, the expression “transcendental philosophy” is almost equivalent to the modern term Erkenntnisstheorie (theory of knowledge, science of general and necessary conditions of possible experience). The latter means overstepping the bounds of possible experience (in contrast with the word “imminent”). Therefore, metaphysics, i.e., the philosophical area that pretends to know that which lies beyond the bounds of possible experience, is of no consequence to transcendent philosophy. Kant accentuates the differences between these two terms but uses them himself carelessly. Both terms were also used before Kant in scholastic philosophy. They speak in the XIIIth century about actio immanens (permanens) as an action occurring within a subject, actio transiens as an action passing its boundaries, causa immanens as the reason included in the acting object, and causa transiens as the reason lying outside it. We find the same use of words in Spinosa, when he speaks of God as the immanent and not transcendent reason of all things, “Omnium rerum causa immanens non vero transiens.” (See Encyclopedic Dictionary, Brockhouse and Efron, Terra, 2001)
       By Kant's view, humans can make sense out of phenomena in various ways, but can never directly know the noumena, the “things-in-themselves.”
      
       Kant, Immanuel, Works: in 6 vols., 1965. Vol. 4. Part I. pp. 67-209 (Ser. “Philosophical Heritage”).
       The first successful transplant operation was performed in 1954. It was kidney transplantation.
       The use of nanotechnology in medicine: Nanostructures that stimulate the rapid regeneration of organs and tissues are formed in an organism after a special injection. This is already no longer a fantasy. Diseases waiting to be cured are Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and post-infarct regeneration of myocardium. Samuel Stepp, director of the Institute of Medical Bionanotechnology, recently emphasized that the current development of nanotechnology enables the treatment of various types of disease by activating several processes of the human organism and restoring damaged organs and tissues.
       Stem cells form a hierarchy of immature cells of living organisms, each capable of being differentiated (specialized). The variable profile of stem cells makes them an ideal material for transplantation methods of cell and gene therapy together with regional stem cells that migrate to a site of damaged tissue of the corresponding organ and divide and differentiate, forming at this site new tissue (Korochkin L. I. “Biotechnology: What are stem cells” Nature (London). 2005. No. 6).
        The basic idea of Plato's The Republic is the creation of an ideal political structure. According to Plato, man cannot exist outside the social-political life. The Republic of Plato consists of social classes, leaders, guards, and the so-called third class, including peasants, workers, merchants, etc. According to Plato, each social class should do that which it is capable of doing, in other words, each should do its own business and that which it can master (techne). The basic division of the spheres of influence is determined by the assignment of each social class. Thus, philosophers and leaders manage, a guard is assigned to guard the state from external and internal enemies, and peasants and workers produce material goods for both themselves and the first two social classes.
        According to data published on the official site of the Department of Finance Canada, “Since balancing the budget in 1997-98, the Government of Canada has recorded seven consecutive budget surpluses.”
        Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “Du contrat social ou principes du droit politique” (Social contract or principles of political right), Chapter 7, “Du pacte social” (Social pact), cited from an electronic copy of the publication Archives de la SociИtИ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, GenХve, 1762.
        Ibid., Chapter 1, “Sujet de ce premier livre” (Subject of the first book).
        According to Discover, October 2005, p. 14.
        Ibid., Chapter 2, “Des premieres societes” (“On the First Societies”)
       Zoosemiotics is a discipline dealing with the communicational behaviour
       Rees-Mogg, W., Davidson J. The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State. New York: Simon & Shuster, 1997.
       Ibid. P. 14.
       Ibid. P. 15.
       Ibid.
       Ibid. P. 17.
       Ibid. P. 17-18.
       Ibid. P. 19.
       Ibid. P. 20.
       Ibid. P. 22.
       Ibid. P. 40.
       Ibid. P. 42.
       Rassenfrage und Weltpropaganda // Reichstagung in NЭrnberg, 1933. Berlin: VaterlДndischer Verlag C. A. Weller, 1933. Р. 131-142.
       Quebec Liberation Front (Fr.).
       Quebec-A Chronicle 1968-1972 / Ed. By Robert Chodos and Nick Auf Der Maur, James Lewis & Samuel, Publishers, Toronto, 1972.
       The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. 2000. Sep 5: Publisher: Basic Books.
       Quote from the book.
       Dumas, Alexandre, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. Gallimard, 1998. P. 114.
       Shahid is an arabic word meaning "witness". It is a religious term in Islam, meaning "witness", as stated, but most often "martyr." It is used as a title for Muslims who have died fulfilling a religious commandment, or waging war for Islam. The shahid is considered one whose place in Paradise is promised according to this one verse in the Qur'an:
       “ Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord;
      
      
       “IBM Shares Its Secrets”//Fortune. 2005. Vol. 152. N 5. Sep. 5. P. 130.
       Israel is for Jews. All Jews should go to Israel.
        Many countries do not recognize decisions of the European court on human rights, not only Asia and Africa but also the USA and Israel. The irony is that the Russian Federation, even during Yeltsin's time, adopted the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, which they still call the European Convention on Human Rights, making cases against Russia possible in the European court.
        The three apostles of Satanism are Nitzsche, the German philosopher and author of the treatise Antichrist: The Curse of Christianity; Alister Crowley, the mystic and theosopher, who called himself the “Beast of the Apocalypse;” and Anton Szandor LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan and author of the cult book Satanic Bible (1969).
        According to the Internet news source Charismanews charismanews.com
      
        Aristotle. Politics. I 4, 1259 a 9-18//Aristotle. Works. Vol. 4. P. 397.
        Gourinat, Michel. De la Philosophie. Hachette livre, 1994.
        Einstein A. Evolution of Physics. 1956. Taken from the preface to the French edition.
        See: International Conference of Harmonization - Good Clinical Practice Guidelines.
        Kant I. Critique of pure reason. I. Part 1. ї 1// Kant I. Works: in 6 Vol., 1964. Vol. 3, P. 128-129.
        Kant I. Critique of the ability for judgment. ї 46//Kant I. Works. Vol 5, P. 323.
        Kant I. Critique of pure reason. Preface to the first edition//Kant I. Works. Vol. 3, P. 80.
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

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