The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters

This text was written under the impression of 9-11. In 2003 it was still current ...

Finances do not suffice

Let`s look at the monster. What is it? What is its name? One could call it "everyone for himself and God against all". Or, abbreviated, JFSUGGA, pronounced "Jesu Gaga" [Wordplay; first letters of a German movie title: "Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle"].
What stands behind it? The profit machine of our current economic system. Politicians mouth human rights and democracy, yea, many may really mean it - but in the end, they must bow to the dictate of economics: "We cannot finance that any more ..."

The short-sighted view solely on money robs us of a wide view to the horizon. It is not enough to look on money alone; other things have also to be taken into consideration which are more important.

Of the hundred biggest organizations, measured in 2001 turnover, less than half are nations, the rest are multinational enterprises (multis). And multis function like predators that want to survive. After all, the shareholders demand dividends and more than just saving account interest! The measure stick for survival is profit. According to the laws of population biology the big get bigger, mono- and oligopoles arise, the small ones are trampled underfoot or eaten, unprofitable employees are "set free". Even in Japan, where the law of loyalty held for a long time: If the employee was loyal to the company, the company was loyal to the employee. This is over, too.

Here in Europe welfare systems exist which buffer human hardships at least financially. But how long can this last? When will the profit calculators come, openly talking about that the dole system does not pay [for society]? Why haven`t they come already? Perhaps the current system is the cheapest solution that is accepted without throwing the mighty from their podest?

Wars do not work

Now, all this sounds like revolution and violent overthrow, but this is not what is meant. Revolutions haven`t worked in the past. If there is a revolution, then in the thoughts of the people. In view of super-terrorists who use passenger planes as living bombs for the annihilation of thousands of lives, we realize: who is fighting are value systems. It looks like the USA stands on the one side and the terrorists on the other, as if the contrahents are democracies and totalitarian systems. However, one could say also soulless rationality and mad passion. These are the demons that are fighting here and both are inhuman and destructive. The profit machine just kills slower than terrorism.

What both have in common is a disregard of human dignity, of human life as such. Every side says: We are the good guys, the others are evil.

I believe in the democratic system. I also believe that democracy may not regulate everything - the fewer laws, the better, I think. But democracies only work well with well-informed citizens.

Can one only be rich if there are enough poor people?

The currently dominant myth of "It is better if I have more money than you" leads to lessening human fellowship. One looks lesser after one another, everyone minds his own business [sic!]. It is like a panic in a sports arena - they say, the smallest number of people are hurt, if everyone only minds saving himself. Perhaps this is so. But it is inhumanly cold.

Everybody must fight, everone must want to be better than the others, everybody has to fend off others, diplomatic chess moves, machiavellistic power games, in-groups, conspiracies, and being silent about truths, because knowledge is power. Lying, deceiving, hiding, secrecy. Everone has to be active at all times, more, more, no break, breathless, unconscious, quick, fast, even faster.

Some people do not want that anymore. What if everything were different, if we would see also ourselves in the other man? There would be no singles in the current sense, at least no cases, where, after weeks, when the stench becomes unbearable, the neighbour`s flat is opened and a corpse is found. The anonymity of the city would vanish. Everybody would be known well, at least to a greater circle of people in his living context. With these people the person would have, would have to have, regular contacts. Persons would be more open, we would know more of each other.

"No credit" or "unconditional human fellowship"

Instead of Jesu Gaga there`d be "one hand for the ship and one hand for the man", "together in God`s hand", "everyone carry each other`s load", "together we are strong", "there`s nothing good, except one does it" and so on.

Why is it not so today? Because everyone mostly thinks of himself, has no time for others, and it is too much effort to care for others. Everyone is occupied with survival, because the times are turbulent.

Where does caring human fellowship still exist? Perhaps in church[-like] organizations. But some people want to be alone. Perhaps they search a solution in silence, are trying to undestand the "silence of God" in view of the problems of the world. Or they have redrawn and do not search contact for fear of being hurt. So the cause is fear? Perhaps. The fear, not getting enough, being taken advantage of, being tricked and deceived, and rights and privileges taken away. "And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully" Paul says [2.Tim.2:5]. Surely the right striving, the good striving, the ethical striving is important. But not a fight with inhuman means.

Signs are set on "storm". Despite that, I believe in the democracies and hope that they are no passing phenomenon of affluence. We need the whole intellectual and moral power of each and every one who is no longer allowed be a mere little wheel in the machine or just a receiver of orders. Everyone must work in her sphere responsibly, ethically, and humanly and aim for an even higher standard than before. Everyone has to work daily on his own improvement, but this does not necessarily mean "career" or "rising in the hierarchy".

What might be the consequences if the profit machine and the terror machine would unite "peacefully"? An inhuman reign of terror and global unimaginable suffering of millions. What`s it all about? A humane future.


Where do the terror-millions come from, that finance such super-assaults [like 9-11]? Probably from illegal trade in drugs, weapons and human beings. Imagine this would be legalized.

TV spots for the new hand firearm, the new body armour. Drug vending machines at every corner. Armies of impoverished criminal drug addicts and nobody willing to pay for their therapy. Slavery would be legal, people-hunts in the style of the movie "Running Man", gladiator-fights and organ robbers, these are just some of many sadistic possibilities. Who can in earnest want such a hell world?

Well, computer games and novels exist that contain such elements. One sees, such thoughts occupy many people. The question remains, if the existence of these media furthers a healthy catharsis or the latent socially harmful addiction leading to realization. The debate over depictions of violence in the media still goes on.

On the other hand, if the demon fight between democracies and terrorists, legal profiteers and illegal criminals escalates, what happens?

Every side needs more power and will therefore polarize the people in their sphere of influence. Democracies have an advantage here, because they have more people. The opposite side will try to appeal to the lower instincts with drugs, sex, armed force, [political] pseudo-parties, truth-distorting audiovisual media, and other dark temptations. It is of utmost importance how each one reacts to that, how strong [her or] his will is to stand for human rights, democratic and loyal to the law.

Therefore it is a battle in the heads of the people, for attention and power, for time and money, a battle which can only be won if the great majority of humanity has a basic set of values. Something like human rights and the basic ethical values of the great religions which have proven their worth through the millennia.

The final countdown

In the last twenty years there has been an escalation of violence mostly against American institutions. This means that the terrorists have gained influence. What happens if the powers get equally strong? Then we`ll have World War number three, which knows no clear front lines but happens everywhere simultaneously. Attacks, murders, assassinations, explosions of important buildings. At the same time more police-state installments, controls, supervision. Nobody will be as safe as today. Suburban ghettos of high-security housing for the wealthy and inner city decay. In the cities discontinuation of almost all social services like hospitals, meeting places, cultural organizations, police. The cyberpunk scenario of a civilization that is slowly crumbling, mangling itself in its downfall.

In the end the powerful will be too exhausted to fight on and everything dissolves into a barbarism of small states. It is imaginable that in those dark times, in that chaos full of suffering, true human fellowship will sprout again. Perhaps nanotechnology will come, easing the tiresome way for humanity, if somebody can assemble sufficient resources for that.

no killing, no lying, no stealing, restraint, compassion

Learning by reason or suffering?

Let`s hope that this enormous war will not be needed to make humanity leave its never-changing paths of ant-like routine, but make people look forward courageously into the new, steering towards good (individual and collective) goals and continually improving itself, materially, socially, and ethically.

Original 2001-09-13, Thu
Version 2003-11-23, Sun
Translation 2004-07-28, Wed

[Addenda that are not in the German original are marked by brackets.]


© Copyright 2004 Mario Hilgemeier, email: contact