Yup. That's the Number One objection.
-"too far out there"
...pie in the sky...
...you get the picture.
Here's a recent question from a reader:
"I've been reading a bunch of stuff on here, and WHOA... this is SO far out... I mean, don't get me wrong, I LIKE these ideas, they're GOOD, in fact they're, like, PERFECT, in the sense that, if we could *actually* figure out a way to implement this vision, it would be the best possible world conceivable.
But... that's exactly why I'm afraid that it WON'T work - it's TOO utopian. It's so far out of the mainstream of what the current public currently accepts. We're having quite enough trouble as it is, getting the public on board with really moderate progressive ideas, and you're talking about transforming into a totally enlightened society, like, almost overnight?
How will you get the public to go along with something this brazenly utopian, when they're already resisting even the small, incremental changes?
I mean I get that we definitely could use a little *dose* of utopianism right about now, I'm not gonna deny that. We need progress. We need some new thinking. We need evolution - major evolution. But this stuff is just SO utopian, SO out there, SO perfect... it's like, completely zero-ly possible. Utopia doesn't win elections."
Thanks for the very honest question.
Yes, we get it. You were a starry-eyed idealist once. You believed in utopia. You had faith in humanity's potential.
But then you saw the world, and you saw defeat, and disappointment. You got belittled for being an "idealist." You lost elections, and you needed an explanation for why. And everyone was all too happy to provide you with one: You were too idealistic. You asked for too much.
We get it.
But they were lying to you.
You didn't lose because you were too idealistic. You lost because you weren't idealistic enough.
It's because you held back.
Yes, that seems counter-intuitive. It goes against everything we were taught.
Conventional politics tells us that electability is inverse to idealism. In other words, the more idealistic something is, the less electable.
All our lives, we've been bombarded with that message: "idealness and electability are inverse variables."
Represented visually, it looks like this:
This is considered to be "common knowledge" - a basic fact about how politics works.
The pundits acted like this was some kind of immutable property of physics, derived from the fabric of reality itself.
But we believed it, because it was hammered into our minds, so relentlessly. "Repeat a lie often enough... and it becomes truth..."
Whenever we won a victory, the public dialogue attributed it to us having compromised, and having been "moderate".
And whenever we suffered a defeat, the blame was placed on us for having been "too idealistic."
They've really done a number on us, when you think about it. They've gotten us thinking that the very goodness of something is inherently the reason why it's unattainable... and that this is some kind of metaphysical law of the universe - that the more good and ideal something is, the less practicable.
The healthier and saner a world is, the less likely it is to come about.
Purely because of its healthiness and saneness.
What a mindfuck.
So, we learned to hold back - to hold our tongues, to conceal the fullness of what we believe. We may have a vision - a beautiful vision of the way the world could be - and one that's entirely practicable (if other people would just agree to it) - but we hold back from sharing it.
We think it's "too much" to share "all at once." At most, we can share only a tiny sliver. We only give people one small glimpse at a time.
All dreamers, idealists, utopians... all progress-minded people... are in a near-constant condition of "holding back."
Haven't you noticed that?
And aren't you getting tired of it?
Aren't you tired of always refraining from speaking the fullness of what you know to be true? Tired of being afraid?
Aren't you tired of the game?
You know, the game we play, where we try to find a "balancing point" between "progress" and "electability." Not too much of one or the other. If we say "too much", then we'll alienate the audience. So we try to find this "sweet spot", to fit the most progress into our message without going over the line at which the audience would shut down.
It's like Blackjack. You try to get as close to 21 as you can, but not over.
Or like those games at the amusement park, like Roller Bowler, where you push a ball down a ramp and then up a hill, and try to get it in that little valley without going over the hill again. You try to exert just enough force to get it over the hill the first time, but not so much that it goes over it the second time. Sorta like that.
All progress-minded people have been playing this game, to one degree or another. We've been watering down our messages, to avoid going over 21, or over the hump that second time.
Aren't you getting tired of this?
Don't you realize that we don't have time for this nonsense anymore?
The planet can't afford this!
The rainforests are in flames, the Arctic is in flames, the oceans are turning acidic and hypoxic, and species are going extinct at 10,000 times the background rate. We don't have time for this crap.
We don't have time to hide the truth. The world needs the truth, the REAL truth, and the WHOLE truth - and it needs it right NOW.
The first thing you do when facing an existential crisis is you tell the truth. You assess the situation - the real situation. Then you ask yourself this question:
"What will solve the problem?"
You do NOT ask, "what's politically feasible", or what's "sellable", or what's mild enough that you can persuade others to support it." You worry about all that stuff LATER - AFTER you do one thing first.
And the thing you do first is, you ask:
"What will solve the problem?"
And then you find the TRUTH.
Then, AFTER you've done that, without giving a hoot about what's "palatable" to others, and you have your real, true, uncorrupted, unadulterated answer - THEN, and only then, do you start dealing with the "public relations" aspect of it. Only after you find the answer without influence from public opinion, do you start thinking ABOUT public opinion.
What does this world need?
What will solve the problem?
And the answer, which you know in your heart, is all the utopian things that you were told aren't possible because of how utopian they are.
We need the end of money. We need the abolition of borders. We need universal recognition of natural law. We need economic democracy. A resource-based economy. We need to re-establish the Village as the primary human social unit, and return the production of basic necessities of food, water and energy, to the local sphere, within walking distance of where we sleep. We need to abolish lawns and replace them with gardens. We need to tear up the concrete, and let it be living soil. We need to clean up the oceans and clean up the land. We need to restore the forests. We need to abolish dominionism, and capitalism, and speciesism.
And we need to figure out a way to do all this in as smooth a way as possible, that avoids shocks and upheavals, and includes everyone - not just the rich, and not just those in rich countries, but everyone. We need to learn how to share with those who don't look like us, who live far away, and seem like they're "other" because of nationalistic mind-control telling us we're only citizens of one "country", and that the people on one landmass matter more than people on another landmass. We have to get over that immature shit. We are citizens of the Earth.
And we need a healthy humanity, a mass-consciousness that has healed, in order to pull this all together. And that requires the complete legalization of all visionary plants and fungi, and not only their "legalization", but their full embrace by society as the first and primary method of psychological medicine.
That's what we need to do.
If we don't do this, we probably won't make it.
This is not optional. This is what we need to do, to survive. If we don't do this, then we will all die by either starvation or war. Sorry not sorry. We need the truth.
For a more detailed description, the Earth Party provides a master plan, called the Blueprint for a Mature Civilization. Read it here.
That's what will solve the problem.
And we need to do it in the face of a mountain of ignorance, an ocean of propaganda, a corrupted voting system, and all the other pressures of surviving day-to-day in this world.
But... we have an advantage, now.
You see, we now KNOW what to do.
We've admitted it to ourselves, right there in those specially color-coded green paragraphs!
With the knowledge of the truth, we can now speak it.
And once we speak it, it's all out on the table, and we KNOW what we're aiming for. We can SEE our goal.
And when you can SEE it, even if just in your mind, you now have something REAL to convince others of. Oh, it might not be physical yet - but it's still REAL, as long as you can truly SEE it in your mind's eye. The vision is the first step in the manifestation of any change.
We weren't manifesting it before, in years past, because we didn't have that vision yet. We were too afraid of it. Too afraid to picture it. To show it to others. We hid it.
But we can't afford to play this game of hiding anymore... just look at the planet. The capitalist dominionist paradigm has entered its endgame - the phase where it completes its consumption of the host planet, eradicating most life, and then spawning spores to go out and colonize and devour other planets, via billionaires in space capsules. We're running out of time.
So it's time now to say FUCK PUBLIC OPINION, go within, come up with a Vision of how we want the future to be, and then fight for our lives to spread that message, as far and wide, and as unapologetically as possible.
Vision first... public relations second.
And if you don't want to spend the next 10 years living as a hermit in the forest or on the mountaintop, searching for the clarity to come up with such a vision, and put it together piece by piece over the span of months or years, and you want to get active NOW, and start getting into conversations, and doing the work of bringing others on board NOW, then the Blueprint for a Mature Civilization can serve as a handy guide.
Now you might be thinking:
"I understand the "cycle." You have a point, for sure.
But what's the solution? It would seem to be... that we should go in the other direction. Get more ideal. More progressive. Start being bolder. Asking for more.
But what about the graph? The curved green line thingy with the downward slope. Doesn't more progress mean less electability? Or... is the graph wrong?"
It's not "wrong" - but it is only half-true.
Because they're only showing you half of the graph!
The first part of the graph is the same one from before... but if you go all the to the end of it, the downward trend reverses, and there's a whole other curve that takes shape, going upwards!
In other words, if you present a more ideal vision, it will be less electable. But if you go really, really ideal - past that bottoming-out point - you start becoming more electable.
They'll never ever tell you this on the corporate news shows.
It seems to be the biggest secret in politics.
"OK. I understand the concept. It's interesting. But it just doesn't match my personal experience. I've tried advocating for utopian ideas before. But people just laugh at me! Or, even if they take me seriously, they think my ideas sound absurd. It's so different from what they're used to.
And frankly, I don't blame them. Utopian ideas are just so... out of place. The word "utopia" literally means "no place." It's like describing a wholly different world."
You've just expressed a deeper truth than you might realize! It is part of a different world. You're right about that.
Utopian ideas are not tweaks or adjustments to the existing social system. They're components of an entirely different system.
And hence, they don't appear to make sense when you look at them within the wider context of the current system.
When they're evaluated in the context of the current system, they appear wacky. It's about context.
No nation states?
No private land ownership?
If you offer these things as standalone ideas - when you insert them, one at a time, into the current system - they appear completely out of place.
Because they are wacky! In the context of the current system.
They do, however, make sense in the context of a different system. Far more sense than anything in the current system. (The current one is turning the planet into a barren toxic garbage heap. Any system makes more sense than that system.)
The different system is necessary for our survival. We don't want to call it a "new" system, because it's not, in fact, "new." It's ancient. It's what humanity grew up with, for many thousands of years, before the current system supplanted it.
Yet, since it's been so long, and most of us have so thoroughly forgotten it, it appears new - and mysterious, unknown, and alien.
But some of us remember. And we try to bring it back. To spread the message.
The problem is - and this is very important:
We usually only bring that message in fragments. We bring each idea as a standalone concept, without bringing along the full picture of the new system that the idea is a component of.
And so, when our audience evaluates the idea, they do so in the context of the current system by default, since they have no other system in which to evaluate it. And it looks out of place.
It's like a jigsaw puzzle. Look at a just a single piece, and it looks wacky, doesn't it? If all you did was look at just one piece, without seeing the cover (or without even knowing that there is such thing as a cover), it would seem to be one of those nonsensical "modern art" works, where a person just scribbles and splashes paint randomly. Since the audience doesn't have the full PICTURE from the cover yet, they can't fit your piece into any larger context.
So, they'll do the only thing they have available to them: Try to fit it into the existing system, that they know. Which is a completely different picture. And since your piece - your idea - is now being evaluated in the context of a picture it's not even supposed to be part of, it looks... wacky.
And you know whose ideas do make sense, in that picture? Theirs. The rightwingers'.
As long as you're using their picture - presenting your ideas within the context of the current system - it's just not gonna work.
You have to show them a new picture - the cover of the puzzle box.
The far end of the Electability Graph is not simply "more progressive", or "super-duper progressive." It's the acknowledgment of the need for an entirely new system for organizing human society.
To make this work, you've gotta think really outside the box. But the good news is... once you get out of that box... all the utopian ideas that previously "didn't make sense in the current system" suddenly start to make sense - a lot of sense - far more sense than anything in the current system.
With the whole picture in view, the specific piece has an actual context to go in - and it finally makes sense.
"Can you give an example of a specific issue, so I can see how this works in practice?"
Sure. Let's talk about nations and borders.
Right now, we're all using a governing system. It's called the "nation-state system." You're familiar with it. It involves the carving up of the planet into chunks, with each chunk being a self-governing unit, which can do basically anything it wants within its borders, including decide who, from a different chunk, may come in, and for how long, and under what conditions.
If we're going to use that system - and have these things called "borders" - then it makes sense to have a secure border. The right-wingers are correct about that. Like, come on! Why even have a border, if you're not going to secure it?
And, furthermore, what do you do if you're having trouble securing it?
Well, it would require more resources.
But what if no amount of human vigilance - i.e. guards and patrols - is able to fully secure it?
Well, then it you'd need to build some kind of... physical barrier.
They're right about that too.
If we're operating within the current system - the nation-state system - then such ideas make sense.
And it's like this with just about every issue. On every issue, the conservatives, the right-wingers, their ideas do make more sense - in the context of the current system.
And progressives have to acknowledge this.
We have to acknowledge, that as long as we're advocating for our ideas from within the context of the current system, they're not going to make sense, and the right-wingers will continue looking like the "sane, reasonable" ones, in the eyes of the majority of the population.
Which means that they're going to keep winning (for as long as we keep advocating in the context of the current System).
"So what do we do?"
If you want to stop them from winning, then there's only one way to do that: by shifting to a completely different System entirely - a system in which their backwards ideas don't make sense, because the new System makes more sense.
On the issues of borders and immigration, this means evolving beyond the system of nation-states, and recognizing that we are all one planet, and adjusting our society's shape and organization to reflect this truth.
We have to go all the way.
All the way to utopia.
But even that idea - what we call planetary consciousness - is itself just a component of an even larger solution - a jigsaw piece of a still larger puzzle picture.
That picture - the big, big picture - is the Mature Civilization.
This is the idea that the "center" of any debate is formed by the location of the two opposing poles. And it implies that, if you want to gain ground, you have to move your own pole, to be more extreme, in order to move the center in your direction.