An article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend.
After the Dark Ages, what Comes Next?
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha'Tara]
The "great minds" of the 17th and 18th centuries who inaugurated the ages of Reason and Enlightenment called the previous political times the "Dark Ages" not because they were so dark, as we were taught to believe, but because they needed a demarcation line to differentiate their age from the previous one. Before I continue
with this, let me point out that these "great minds" were, until the 19th century, almost entirely composed of males, or if there were females involved, history, being always written by the victors, chose not to include them in the records. Perhaps in retrospect that is just as well. At least if and when the world ever learns the real history of the Age of Reason and of Enlightenment, women will be able to say, "we were not part of that."
These latest Great Ages, as in all great ages, had their well-meaning men and their sociopathic types. It is perhaps inevitable, certainly obvious, that the sociopaths came to the fore very quickly by riding the rising fresh ideas of science and technology. The ones who could have made a difference chose "the arts" in order to express their own understanding and attempt to communicate changing values to the rank and file. Philosophers in various disciplines, teachers, writers, composers and musicians, painters and sculptors, these for a time did make some people think. Aided by the burgeoning concept of public education, their ideas spread among the working class, resulting in social revolutions and a renewed quest for social justice. But then, simply put, they were bought out: an amazingly efficient way to muzzle the intent of their efforts. Ah yes, the Matrix had learned that making martyrs out of them would only fire the passion of the masses for desperately needed change. But making them popular and relatively rich guaranteed the downfall of the liberal arts movements. It could be controlled by government handouts and snuffed out selectively that way.
On the other hand, science was given a great helping hand to gain the limelight by the simple expedient of pitting it against the one religion that had managed to take a strangle-hold over the world: Christianity. Foolishly and predictably, Christian leadership began its losing battle of false faith (superstition) against the pronouncements of scientific expansion, pronouncements that were quite often utterly ridiculous in themselves, but which Christianity had no possible way to disprove. Oh, here's one example: scientists were certain that the size of one's head determined one's intelligence. That being a scientific fact it was simple logic that men were by far smarter than women—and they did not have to prove it, the size of their heads did it for them.
As R. Scott Bakker writes – There is nothing the ignorant prize more than the ignorance of others. (from "The Prince of Nothing") This "Ignorance versus Ignorance" is still pitting these two adversaries to this day, however much Christianity in order to survive has had to swallow it's pride and lies time and again and not only side with science, but learn to use many scientific "discoveries" to its own ends.
So, what did we really get from this Age of Enlightenment or Reason? Quite a bit, much more than an essay can really touch. We got oodles of hard technology that revolutionized the growing and moving of food. Simple, stop-gap medicine that increased man's years quantitatively if not qualitatively. That alone resulted in an exponential upsurge in global population and mechanization meant that less people were needed "on the farm" and millions moved to inflating cities. Uprooted hungry multitudes became easy prey for all kinds of speculators, oppressors and abusive politicians, entrepreneurs, bosses and landlords. They ruled over sprawling slums and powerless assembly line production workers. In a nutshell.
What now? Turn of the 20th Century, and eager beavers with new ideas for new machinery are lining up for patents, stymied by the slowness of the pace. You need a war to really get things moving, so you manufacture one. A Big One, mind you, none of those nasty little local affairs that slaughter but a few tens of thousands racial or political enemies. The Real Thing replete with lovely carnage that only science and technology can provide. So with money thrown in Right places, and removed from Left places, abetted by a ducal murder and discontented, mostly European multitudes, the dogs of war begin to bark. They would bark for years and millions would die, like rats in mazes, atrociously and pointlessly, except of course, for the knowledge gained by technology and science and the billions in profits piled up on the altars of Money.
Then the guns were silenced, at least long enough to sign a ridiculous peace pact. Well, they weren't all silenced. Lenin and Stalin kept on shooting their enemies and enslaving entire nations while America, having gained internal peace by slaughtering its native populations, spread out to swallow up what it could of the old Spanish empire. Germany groaned under reparations and gradually returned to its belief that war is the only way a super race can adequately settle national disputes, right wrongs, or spread its hegemony. Again with money placed in the right bearings, newly greased wheels of terror began to turn. Germany needed oil and food-growing lands and eastern Europe was the obvious godsend. The invasions were launched, predictably and with devastating impact.
By this time the world had shrunk due to radio and other means of quasi-instant communication and speeded up land, sea and air transportation. The growling in the far east was heard world-wide as Japan joined the fray to expand its own borders, attacking China for easy resources and slave labour to build up its own military might. The most unlikely trio of all unlikely trios, the Third Reich, Italy and Japan joined forces as the Axis Powers and their intent was to divide the prone carcass of a conquered world among themselves. They had the technology to do it, the resources and the slave labour. But unbeknownst to these myopic fools, so did some significant others who would be known as the "Allies."
Comes World War II – and at the end, science has provided the means to destroy the entire planet with a judicious application of nuclear and chemical warfare. Man Kind would soon be on its way to the planets, then the stars, to conquer and plunder... for what other use can a universe have?
The Matrix isn't stupid: it is necessary, always, to maintain a balance of terror. Never let one gain too much ascendancy over another. Look at history. When it seemed as if Alexander (the Great!?!) would succeed in conquering his then known world, he was "murdered" by those who had egged him on in the first place: his gods. It's an old trick that still works: look what happened to Saddam Hussein after he actually took over Kuwait. His sponsors, who had assured him he was free to take such action, used it as an excuse to invade the Middle East and gain greater control over the oil and eventually murder their puppet dictator.
But WWII never really ended, did it. It changed locale or was redefined as the "Cold War" which gave justification for endless wars of aggression by the believed victors. The Korean war; the war of secession between Pakistan and India; the Vietnam war and other wars of plunder all over the territories of the Old British and French empires and the silent gulag wars waged by the Kremlin against the people of all the nations and territories it had conquered and claimed control over behind its Iron Curtain.
What else did the Age of Enlightenment and Reason give us, apart from cancer from cigarettes, heart attacks from fatty fried fast foods, Aids from prejudice and famine from greed? It gave us Wall Street and the Corporate world, fronts for the rule of Money. Whatever the rag-tag remnants of religious and political powers may claim today, Money is the one world power. It is believed in by all parties involved in whatever competitive enterprise or conflict and for whatever reason, all over this benighted world. Money: the final legacy of Enlightenment and Reason. Do I need to say anything about Money?
Well yes, there is one thing. The Capital of Money is America, or perhaps better put, was America. Land of free Capitalists and home of brave Capitalists. And now, without either Enlightenment or Reason, this great bulwark of totalitarian capitalism plummets to the nothing from which it artificially sprang. And rightly so. Money is a totally artificial concept with no intrinsic value and so must be whatever is propped up by it.
And now we brace ourselves. Having made it through the so-called Dark Ages to Enlightenment and Reason and discovered that all that gave us were expectations based on false economics, i.e., economics of raw exploitation of natural and human resources, all we can look forward to, in order to balance the slate, is another Dark Age, one that has already begun and that will last for the next thousand years. That is going to be some journey for the billions slated for annihilation and their surviving descendants.