This is the Prologue to my book, The Evolution of Consent: Collected Essays.
We live in a Universe of which we can only begin to gain understanding, but beginning, in itself, is quite a feat! The fact that the human brain has any capacity for reasoning at all, in a Universe of increasing disorder, is nothing short of miraculous. We, humans, are complex creatures, capable of many things that have (so far as we can tell) never before been imagined in the history of entirety. There is a reason that ancient mystics derived anthropomorphic conclusions from their studies of the Cosmos: We’re nearly as complex as it is.
If anything is capable of ascribing purpose or meaning on our scale of existence, we seem the most suited to do so. Unlike the purely material world, content to sit about, moving only when directed from the outside, life is eager to stir around, restless to express its internal will. This assigns us an important role, should we decide to take it. We may be here to awaken the Universe from its hibernation, to release its will. Our purpose is perhaps opposite in many ways to that of the mythical demiurge of the Gnostics, demigod, and facilitator of material being.
This is a sentiment which, perhaps, will be ridiculed as outdated, outmoded, or defunct; but we must ask ourselves why this is so, and whose interest the derailing of spirituality in the popular outlook serves. If it is true that spirit is synonymous with will, who gains by its conclusion?
Who else is to gain from the absence of will in another being but his or her owner? If the whole world of beast and fowl, and plant and fish— which humankind the ages over has drawn from for its benefit— were to cease in their will to live, to drop and die after losing desire to continue, Homosapien would surely fall with them. Lacking their ownership, humanity depends on their autonomy, but for those unlucky enough to be drawn forth, dominated, and with the temperament to withstand the cruelties of servitude—the ox, the horse, the ass, for instance—, the captor benefits by relinquishing— indeed, breaking— their spirit.
One can certainly influence, lead, and even direct another without taking ownership, but one must do so through appeal, or otherwise convincing the other party of the necessity of taking such action in an honest fashion. It is only when convincing is facilitated by threat, or direct application, of force, or by means of trickery, that one can be said to truly own another being. After all, we only own that over which we maintain control.
This little book of essays isn’t partitioned, but it perhaps has two inseparable aspects: one which is more metaphysical, in which I focus on topics of a more spiritual nature, like cosmology, theology, ontology, and epistemology; and the other more physical, in which I consider themes of a slightly more material nature, such as sociology and political economy. As I hope to make clearer throughout the book, in essays such as “Class Antagonism and its Metaphysical Implications,” these two aspects, though admittedly different, are not disconnected. Rather, they are quite interrelated.
The Evolution of Consent is dedicated to exploring the condition, capacity, and development of meaning, purpose, and freedom in the human context. Informed by many traditions, the philosophical focus is multidisciplinary, synthetic, and holistic, and includes discussion on topics as diverse as God and the Universe, the limitations of empirical knowledge, the abolition of government, free market socialism, and more. I will decidedly espouse and promote a doctrine of spiritual pantheism and political panarchism, more specifically dualist pantheism and geo-mutualist panarchism. This book will clarify the meaning and intentions of these worldviews, and unite them and solidify their co-dependence. They are treated both separately and together.
I begin this collection of essays with works such as “The Journey of Realization” and “The Duality of Perspective,” which are pantheistic in flavor, describing God to the best of my limited ability, before entering discussions about the role of consciousness in evolution, in “A Mystical Look at Evolution” and “God, Bees, and the Choices We Make.” I then connect metaphysics to revolutionary politics in “Class Antagonism and its Metaphysical Implications,” “Two Incentives for Cooperation,” “The Role of Metaphysics in Socio-Political Revolution,” and “Spiraling into Our Future.” I bring psychology into the picture in “Gnosis, Psychosis, and the Society of the Demiurge” and “Information and the Dissolution of Authority.” After this, I open up the discussion on anarchy, with “Government and its ‘Solution’,” “Anarchy, de Facto and de Jure,” “Why Anarchy is Not Possible Today (But is Tomorrow),” and “Welfare, Minus the State,” before giving introductions to mutualism in “The Dialectical Thought of Mutualism” and “The Mutualist Cost-Principle.” I then enter into the specifics of mutualist banking in “Mutual Credit: Its Function and its Purpose,” “Credit, Collateral, and Spot-Pricing,” and “The Proper Rate of Money,” before opening the door for discussing the resolution of mutualism and Georgism, in “Interest & Premium: A Geo-Mutualist Synthesis” and “On Mutualism & Interest on Capital,” concluding the thought with a geo-mutualist resolution of the non-aggression principle in “Cost, Aggression, and Access to the Land.” I touch on mutualist gradualism and agora-syndicalism in “Revolutionary Incrementalism and Rebellions of Scale,” before concluding by putting my neck out in “Mutualist Sex Economics,” wherein I analyze the effects of capitalism on straight, cissexual, relationships.
Several of the essays were originally written as lectures, and have since been edited for publication. Others have been written simply for the sake of them being read. They were all posted on my blog at one point. This could very well be the first of many collections of essays, so entitled. I do hope you enjoy them.
I’ve had a good deal of fun putting this together, but it has also taken a lot of effort. Had I the remaining time and energy, I would have garnished this book with a glossary of terms, but after the work involved thus far, this can be looked forward to in subsequent editions.
My work would be impossible if not for key influences. I feel I have made all necessary attempts to distinguish ideas that are my own from concepts which have been inspired in me by others, but in the case I have not been clear, allow to me to state briefly in one place my strongest influences and how they have been of influence to me. Some of these are not mentioned in my text, although they have certainly contributed to my thought processes, while others mentioned in the text will not be found here, as their work has been used more for illustration than for recognition of their influence on me.
My pantheistic beliefs have been inspired somewhat intuitively, but the readings of Baruch Spinoza, Georg Hegel, and Pierre de Chardin have been most inspirational to my theology, and have given me words to express it more fluidly. Baruch Spinoza has done this especially through his expression of “the thing in itself,” and by dividing between substance, attributes, and modes; while de Chardin— along with the yet mentioned Ulisse Di Corpo and Antonella Vannini— has influenced my use of spirit-matter attribute-dualism, and has better allowed me to understand Omega Point cosmology. Georg Hegel, of course, has inspired my dialectical approach, though I don’t make hard attempts to go by his method or claim to be a scholar on Hegel. Paul Harrison has certainly detailed some of the finer points of ancient and contemporary pantheism, and for that I am grateful.
My views on mysticism have been inspired by ancient philosophies such as Atenism, Zoroastrianism, Hermeticism, neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, and Taoism, as well as neopagan and shamanist beliefs. Manly P. Hall, Santos Bonacci, and Ken Wilber are the more recent thinkers I enjoy in this area. I have found Michael Schneider to be an inspirational numerologist.
My ontological views are probably most influenced by the work of the Italian statistician and psychologist, Ulisse Di Corpo, and his partner, Antonella Vannini, and their Syntropy Journal. These two and their colleagues provide some of the strongest arguments I am aware of for retrocausality and syntropy in general. Aristotle’s virtue ethics also play a role in my ontology. Amit Goswami’s understanding of quantum physics and Rupert Sheldrake’s models of morphogenetics have also played a role, as well as Ken Wilber, and more classical astrophysicists such as Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson.
My epistemology is, again, largely Spinozan, eudaemonist, and syntropian, but is also influenced by what I’ve read of Hegel, William James, Henri Bergson, the quantum physicist, Amit Goswami, Ken Wilber, and classical empiricism, like David Hume, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill, as well as by rationalist thinking in general.
My ethics are, first and foremost, influenced by the cost-principle as first formulated by Josiah Warren, or the proper rate of increase as discussed by Pierre Proudhon, which have both been expanded upon by others, some of whom have solidified my interest in the cost-principle, and who are listed with my mutualist influences. I am also influenced by hedonism, classical utilitarianism, the egoism of Max Stirner, and, to a lesser degree, Ayn Rand’s objectivism, as well as Peter Kropotkin and Gustav Landauer’s communalism, by Rudolf Rocker’s anarchosyndicalism, and by the Wobblies in general. I am also influenced by the non-aggression principle, as generally expressed in libertarian literature. I do like John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism. I’ve read more about Kant than by the man himself, but I am sympathetic to the sentiment I am getting from the categorical imperative as well. Michael Tomasello has played a large role in my ethical views, by demonstrating the innate will to cooperate which exists within humanity.
My socio-anthropological understanding is greatly influenced by the social evolutionary models of Gerhard Lenski and Patrick Nolan, as well as by Jared Diamond. My psychological understanding is influenced by concepts by Freud and Jung, and my social psychology is influenced by the frustration-aggression theory as presented by Nicholas Pastore and John Dollard, and the loci of control models of J.B. Rotter and of H.A. Dengerink and his associates, which were first introduced to me by Worchel and Cooper. No doubt, Michael Tomasello, and articles by others related to evolutionary psychology, also play a role, as does the work of Robin Dunbar.
My environmental outlook is influenced by folks like Ralph Borsodi, E.F. Schumacher, Aldo Leopold, and Bill Mollison, but is complimented by the work of futurists such as Ray Kurzweil, and by spiritual teachings. They are not fully expounded upon in these texts, but I do touch on the idea of sustainability once or twice.
My outlook on anarchism has been gained by reading such classical mutualists and individualist anarchists as Pierre Proudhon, Josiah Warren, Herbert Spencer, Lysander Spooner, Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Greene, Ezra Heywood, Benjamin Tucker, Francis Dashwood Tandy, Dyer Lum, Silvio Gesell, Clarence Lee Swartz, and others less known. It would be nothing short of truth to say that I have great respect for the contemporary mutualists, Kevin Carson and Race Matthews, for Larry Gambone, and also for the historian, Shawn Wilbur, and furthermore for many of the contributors to The Center for a Stateless Society, such as Gary Chartier and Roderick T. Long. Panarchy, which I consider to be mature anarchism, or the “Anarchy de Jure” in one of my articles, was made of interest to me by way of John Zube’s website, so entitled. It is without a doubt that Thomas H. Greco, Jr. has shown a bright light on my understanding of mutual credit, and Bruce L. Benson is my preferred scholar of market-oriented law.
My outlook on Georgism is largely influenced by the work on the Henry George Institute website, as well as by George directly. Fred Foldvary opened my eyes to the possibility of geo-anarchism, and I have also found articles by Dan Sullivan to be helpful to my understanding of libertarian Georgism.
My outlook on feminism is primarily and generally inspired by individualist feminism, such as that of Moses Harman, Ezra Heywood, Wendy McElroy; by anarcha-feminism of many leanings, such as that of Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre, the Mujeres Libres of revolutionary Spain, and many others; and by post-feminism and equity feminism, such as the work of Christina Hoff Sommers. Susan Walsh inspired me to look into sex economics from a post-feminist perspective, and Tracey Cox wrote an article I cite which opened my eyes to the masculization of society.
I am but a vessel, and, although I may interpret the information I synthesize, I am not capable of supplying all of the knowledge in this book. The value of my work should not be found in pure originality, but in my originality of synthesis and interpretation. As demonstrated above, “I stand on the shoulders of giants.”
I’d like to specifically thank Jo Paul González-Torralva, Dan von Bose, and Scott Kern for feedback on some of the essays; and my sister, Tracy, for being the first to read the book in its entirety. Thanks to all of my friends and family for the positive encouragement, and to all who have ever attended a workshop or a meeting, have attended any of my public lectures, read my blog, poured my coffee, or supported me in any other fashion. One love.
 I mention Frank Tipler once, but I’ve read more about him than by him. I aim to correct this.