The story the Leavers have been enacting for the past three million years isnt a story of conquest and rule. Enacting it doesnt give them power. Enacting it gives them lives that are satisfying and meaningful to them. This is what youll find if you go among them. Theyre not seething with discontent and rebellion, not incessantly wrangling over what should be allowed and what forbidden, not forever accusing each other of not living the right way, not living in terror of each other not going crazy because their lives seem empty and pointless, not having to stupefy themselves with drugs to get through the days, not having a new religion every week to give them something to hold on to, not forever searching for something to do or something to believe in that will make lives worth living. And I repeat this is not because they live close to nature or have no formal government or because theyre innately noble. This is simply because theyre enacting a story that works well for people a story that worked well for three million years and that still works well where the Takers havent yet managed to stamp it out.
One-third to one-half of humanity are said to go to bed hungry every night. In the Old Stone Age the fraction must have been much smaller. This is the era of hunger unprecedented. Now, in the time of the greatest technical power, is starvation an institution. Reverse another venerable formula: the amount of hunger increases relatively and absolutely with the evolution of culture.
Yes, it is true that one generally needs to speak to the members of the key audience for a product or service. But as we are not trying to plumb an individual psyche for psychological motivation, but are rather trying to elucidate the relevant symbolic cultural meanings and practices, information garnered from those who do not like something is also relevant to understanding the cultural picture. In fact, contestation between points of view and meanings is a crucial aspect of the social dynamic. These nodal points of disagreement and different points of view can be precisely the most intriguing domains of cultural movement and thus new opportunities.
-Paint-My girlfriend is so besotted that she can't take her eyes off me. After we've turned out the light she puts on her night-vision goggles, and watched me as I sleep. Quite often I am woken by her sighing and involuntary yelps of happiness. This has been going on for years, and is showing no sign of abating. Once I asked her to stop all this infra-red activity, but it didn't really work; I'd wake up to find her covering me in luminous paint, and softly whispering, 'Sometimes I wonder if you know how much I love you.
See,' said (Liberty Hyde) Bailey, 'how the leaves of this small plant stand forth extended to bathe themselves in the light... THese leaves will die. They will rot. They will disappear into the universal mold. The energy that is in them will be released to reappear, the ions to act again, perhaps in the corn on the plain, perhaps in the body of a bird. The atoms and the ions remain or resurrect; the forms change and flux. We see the forms and mourn the change. We think all is lost; yet nothing is lost. The harmony of life is never ending.' The economy of nature provides that nothing be lost.
Considering the comparative lifespans of simpler tribal societies and that of the more advanced agri-urban empires of antiquity, even here in the New World, it would be possible, indeed, to make out quite a case for illiteracy as a factor of the safety in keeping population and essential supplies in a working balance, with little or no damage to the basic sources of renewal.