The following is the fifth chapter from We Can All Win!.
Timothy Wilken, MD
Today human life is not synergic. Most of humanity are ignorant of the natural law of Synergy. Most humans ignore or hurt each other. Most humans ignore or hurt the environment. This is the source of nearly all our current problems.
In the free world, we have created a system of human Neutrality as a mechanism to avoid the loss of Adversity. This is the system that brought us capitalism and the great market.
Remember that the neutral relationship originates in the plant world. Sunlight provides unlimited energy for the plants. And so each individual plant needs only the sun, and adequate water and minerals to survive. Plants are solar energy collectors. They use the sun’s radiant energy in photosynthesis to manufacture glucose, carbohydrates and other plant cells. Individual plants do not relate to each other. They relate only to the earth and the sun.
No plant will deliberately hurt another plant, its success or failure depends solely on its own efforts. Individual plants have no relationship with each other. Plants have no awareness of each other, they ignore each other. To survive as a plant, you must be self-sufficient. Plants are the truly independent. They need no other life form to survive. Each plant lives or dies on its own. If it sits luckily in the Sun with an abundance of solar energy, it does not assist its brother in the shade. The motto of plants could be to live and let live.
The values of human Neutrality parallel the laws of plant neutrality. Free and independent citizens relate to each other as equals. They are prohibited from hurting another free and independent citizen, but that are not required to help another citizen.
The mechanism of relationship is conducted through a free and fair market with the honest exchange of merchandise of good value at a fair price.
FAIR TRADE –def–> The bartering to insure that the exchange is fair – to insure that the price is not too high or too low – to insure that neither party loses.
Human Neutrality is about fairness. The market place is a fair and safe place to exchange goods and services. Neither seller nor buyer should be injured in the exchange. Products should represent a good value and be sold at a fair price. All citizens are guaranteed freedom from loss.
In the free market of Neutrality, our identities and personal relationships are unimportant. We purchase products anonymously, usually without knowing the seller’s name, or he ours. When I enter McDonalds to purchase my lunch, I see only the product, the hamburger stacked in the warmer. I ignore the clerk. I don’t know her name or her story. I see the hamburger, that’s what I want. The clerk behind the counter ignores me. She doesn’t know my name or my story. She sees my five dollars, that’s what she wants.
The store is clean and I feel safe. I expect the kitchen is clean and I will get a good product for a fair price. We will trade. We will speak the neutral words of the trading ritual. I never knowing her name, she never knowing mine. “May I help you?” “Thank you and have a nice day.” We trade.
Now our trade is fair. By definition, the lunch McDonalds is selling has a fair market value of $5.00. My five dollars has a fair market value of $5.00. We trade fairly. Economically nothing much has changed for me. I had five dollars in cash when I entered McDonalds, and I left with five dollars worth of lunch. My net worth is the same.
While I obviously got some utility from the exchange, I preferred the lunch to my cash. In a strict economic sense, I am little changed by this exchange. In fair exchanges, $5.00 in cash equals $5.00 in food. In fact, McDonalds created the lunch for less than $5.00, the fair market price contains some profit for the seller. But, when I earned my $5.00, I did it by I selling some product or service that cost me a little less. I’m entitled to a profit when I sell products or services. That’s the neutral way.
If we analyze neutral relationships, we discover that in a neutral exchange (1+1) = 2. Humans institute Neutrality to escape Adversity – to protect themselves from loss.
The first principle of human Neutrality is to AVOID LOSS.
In the language of games, where you can win, lose, or draw, we are obtaining a draw. We, like the plants, will be ignored by the experience. We will be the same after the experience as before. The advantage of changing from Adversity to Neutrality is not that we will win, but rather that we will avoid losing.
Neutrality offers a safe haven for humans. With Neutrality it is possible for us humans to avoid playing the adversary game. We are free to work without fear that others will hurt us. We are free and independent citizens. We are free to create products or provide services and sell those in the great market for a fair price.
The capitalistic economics of Neutrality produces a major advance over the economics of Adversity. Humans using neutral organization are much more successful than those using adversarial organization. Because human needs and wants are many and complex and there is no way any individual can meet these needs, we have evolved the great market. We operate as independent producers and consumers. Each neutral citizen is responsible for purchasing their own needs and wants.
Neutral government is committed to fairness for all its citizens.
The government’s only legitimate purpose is to insure economic independence and protect individual freedom. To insure a safe and stable environment that allows the free market to work best.
Today’s free world is dominated by Neutrality in the form of neutral government, neutral nations, neutral organizations, and neutral value systems.
The unchallenged success of human Neutrality in the United States and within the rest of the Free World has established that most modern values and beliefs are neutral ones. Modern humans are strongly convinced that they are self sufficient and independent, or at least that they should be self sufficient and independent. They believe in their right to own property and to freely and independently control their property. These beliefs are so strong in our present culture, that it is almost impossible to imagine things any other way.
Trouble in paradise
But, is neutrality really the best way for humanity?
With careful analysis of the neutral relationship, we discover that the best one can get is only equal value. The best result of a neutral relationship is a draw. We are ignored by the experience. We are the same after the experience as before. At worst, the price is less than fair, we get cheated. We lose. Or the product is not good, we get ripped off. We are less after the experience than before. At best within a neutral exchange (1+1 )= 2, at worst (1+1) < 2.
And while today’s beliefs in freedom and independence may be our most highly prized values, many of our neutral values are not very humanitarian.
While hurting others is highly discouraged, helping others is rarely encouraged. We are focused on products, and help is just another product. Generally, we ignore each other. The free market is a neutral, anonymous and completely impersonal place.
You don’t know the person serving you at McDonalds. You don’t know their name and they don’t know yours. There is nothing special about the relationship. You may eat your lunch there every day for a year, but go in once without your wallet, and you won’t eat. They will ignore you. If you don’t have the admission price. You don’t get in. In a world where the highest value is independence, why should I help anyone. Everyone should be independent and not require any help. In the world of human Neutrality only products and their fair prices really matter. If you can’t pay your way you don’t exist.
Despite all our pride in being free and independent, we humans are blind to the true nature of our neutral relationships. Being truly independent means you are alone. You are all by yourself. There is no one to help you if you get in trouble. The casualties of human Neutrality are numerous. Because we are independent, because we are self sufficient, we are encouraged to ignore the problems and difficulties of others.
It’s always someone else’s job to help others not ours. If my coworker gets fired it’s not my problem. If there are hungry children in my community, it’s not my problem. Neutral humans are indifferent. Neutral humans ignore.
Today we have enormous and evergrowing levels of human poverty and suffering and starvation effecting hundreds of millions of humans worldwide. Millions of children die needlessly every year.
Today, homelessness is an institution found in every city and town in America. Large numbers of humans live out their short lives completely ignored. Hundreds of children disappear every day from the streets of our cities and towns – many without notice. Neutral governments are indifferent. Neutral governments ignore.
Neutrality only works well when there are unlimited resources. Remember the plants have an unlimited supply of sunlight.
As solar collectors, they are the truly independent form of life. Their independence requires unlimited resources.
We humans share the animal body of the space-binder. And good space is limited. This is why Adversity dominated human life until the 17th century. As Hazel Henderson in conversation with Fritjof Capra explained in 1988:
“Until the sixteenth century the notion of purely economic phenomena, isolated from the fabric of life, did not exist. Nor was there a national system of markets. That, too, is a relatively recent phenomena which originated in seventeenth century England.
“Of course markets have existed since the Stone Age, but they were based on barter, not cash, and so they were bound to be local. The motive of individual gain from economic activities was generally absent. The very idea of profit, let alone interest, was either inconceivable or banned.” (1)
Human Neutrality emerged in the old world with the creation of national markets, but it was a partial Neutrality strongly dominated by the adversary systems still in place, and constrained by limited resources.
For Neutrality to work, there must be unlimited resources. A more complete and purer form of human Neutrality was institutionalized by the American Revolution that founded the United States of America. The early colonists were in the right place at the right time.
The right place was the empty continent of North America. Millions of acres of arable land and forests, filled with abundant water in millions of steams, rivers, and lakes and stocked with uncountable numbers of wildlife. This was further enriched with enormous reserves of iron, coal, copper, aluminum, zinc, lead, gold, silver, oil, and much more – all available for the taking.
The right time was 1776, by then the collective power of humanity’s time-binding had discovered, invented, and developed the tools and knowhow that created the mechanism of the Agricultural, Industrial, and Transportational Revolutions. The level of knowledge and technology available to the American colonists coupled with enormous North American reserves, provided them with cheap food, cheap power, and cheap transportation. Thus, conditions were perfect for the success of human Neutrality. America would have the equivalent of unlimited resources for the next 150 years.
The North American continent was nearly empty when human Neutrality began, today it is getting full. We no longer have a limitless abundance of natural resources available for the taking. Our world of plenty is being reduced to a world of scarcity.
In 1776, there were less than a billion humans on the planet, today we approach 6 billion.
As things start to get scarce, the humans lose their option for Neutrality. Soon they have to learn to do without. They go without owning their own homes. They go without higher education for their children. They go without free time for recreation as they are forced to get a second job. Or, they sidestep back into the adversary world – they steal, embezzle, or defraud.
Today, within the United States, the very center of human Neutrality, we see declining quality of life, declining compensation for all workers, deteriorating nuclear families, and declining numbers of humans able to own their own homes. We see increasing mental illness and child abuse; ever escalating health care costs, and more humans without access to medical care. Examining today’s youth, we see declining numbers of college graduates, mixed with increasing drug and alcohol use; increasing suicide; casual sexuality and unwanted pregnancy.
And there are even bigger problems facing Americans and the rest of humanity.
Acid rain, ozone depletion, water and air pollution, toxic buildup, strip mining, deforestation, erosion & topsoil depletion; greenhouse effect, ice age, nuclear winter, el nino, and even asteroids threatening the planet. These big problems are invisible to indifferent governments and ignoring citizens. Whose problems are these anyway? In Neutrality, they belong to no one. They are certainly not mine.
Human Independence is an Illusion
When we humans institutionalized Neutrality over two hundred years ago, it was a great advance over Adversity, it dramatically reduced the pain and suffering for humanity. In the 18th century, Neutrality was a major advance for humankind. The neutral system gave individuals opportunities for great economic success. The birth of capitalistic economics greatly enriched the human condition. Neutral organization was more powerful than adversary organization. Neutrality did work well in the free world for many humans who inhabited it two hundred years ago. This will all be explained in The Past section of this book.
Human independence is an illusion. We humans bought into this illusion in the ‘free’ world that was created in 1776, and many of us have lived by the rules of Neutrality ever since. But things have changed, today, Institutional Neutrality no longer works for humanity – not even for those ‘living’ in free world.
We humans are not independent, we are interdependent.
In summary then, Neutrality was instituted by humans to avoid the loss of Adversity. It is a mechanism most suited for independent organisms which humans are not. Its great benefit over adversity is as a mechanism to avoid loss. Neutrality is dominated by fair trade – the bartering to insure that the price is fair – that neither party loses in a fair exchange. The market is everything.
Neutrality avoids losing, but at best only gets you a draw.
You are ignored by the exchange. (X + Y) = 1. Neutrality only works when there are unlimited resources. The plants – a naturally independent form of life – have unlimited sunlight.
Earlier in our human history, we had relatively unlimited resources especially in the new world of America. Things have changed. Our human population has grown from less than one billion in 1776 to nearly six billion. Neutrality is no longer an option.
1 Hazel Henderson, Quoted by Fritjof Capra, Uncommon Wisdom–Conversations with Remarkable People, Bantam New Age Books, New York, 1989
2—A Limit to Knowing
4—What Do We Know
The Present — Crisis: Danger & Opportunity
The Future – A Synergic Future