The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Struggle for Peace: The Roots of Change

[This article is a preview of the next issue of The Cepia Club Strategy Gazette]

Civilization, in a the world-view seen by The Cepia Club, has four main parts: Political, Economic, Social, and Cultural. Politics rules everywhere families, business, government and communities exist. While based on institutions, politics takes the form of personal, individual decision-making and action. It takes its most complex form at any level in a system of alliances, coalitions, and understandings between as few as two people to an almost unlimited number of beings. In a way, politics begins and ends with one person, even when that person exercises the power from the end of a gun. In that case, political decisions and actions need one person to pull the trigger. Personal liberty to decide and act, or the choice not to do so, from consent to coercion in any form, determines political order, from the household and the workplace to Congress and the UN.

In modern economics, humans live in the make-believe world of a global economy, where multi-national corporations supposedly rule in their own interests, and where nation-states pretend to provide the measures and means to supply the needs and wants of its citizens. This is a false representation of economics. Unfortunately, the idea of a market economy driving the world for several hundred years undermines the freedom of men and women–all humanity–to choose options that best suit and serve their own interest before that of business and government. Economics means supplying needs and wants, not for the world or the nations, but for a much more personal reason.

In civilization, from the first human need to gather food, provide shelter, and make clothing, economics provides first of all for the material security (or excess) of the family. If one overlooks this basic “rule” of interests, that people really make economic decisions based on the needs of wants of hearth and home, the entire foundation of business, in open, restricted, or even closed markets, whether on main street or Wall Street or elsewhere, will disconnect from the reality of its true purpose. At that point, the whole system falls, with a likely result of the entire human race in actual slavery.

Society straddles relationships over the entire world. They are people relating to people. Most readers may be familiar with the “6 Degree” rule of one person being 6 people away from knowing everyone in the world via a social network. Can one consider a “human society?” Of course, just as the earth has societies much smaller. Societies in history have a likelihood to be determined on the legitimate independent rule exercised by a sovereign. In ancient times and even today, it was and can be based on tribal societies (multiple clan-based families). As history advanced, the city-states came became a reality, Greek civilization but Athenian or Spartan society; Italian civilization with a Venetian or Florentine society.

The rise of modern empires in Western civilization, beginning with the Holy Roman Empire in 800 AD, forms larger areas and peoples under an independent ruler, but along a feudal system of vassal societies; for example, Charlemagne’s empire or the Holy Church but Italian, Frankish and Teutonic societies. The nation-state with legitimate powers to rule became a reality between the Renaissance, the Peace of Westphalia (which ended Europe’s religious civil wars) and the American and French Revolution. The nation-state as the practical basis for organizing and maintaining a world-wide political order remains. What do we call this world order? Nothing, except the symptom of the modern illness in the system: The Clash of Civilizations. As far as the society of a nation-state, the social system is structured around the institutions that keep the legitimate rule running, functioning, growing, and repaired–governments, religions, associations, organizations, and the like. Society is a social network of institution, but institutions run by people. But what logically comes next for the world after the nation-state system? A human civilization? An Earth-centered society as opposed to the potential to start a society off the planet? “World” society, whatever it is now, is governed by a system of nation-states relating, bargaining, arguing, trading, and fighting each other, either one-on-one or in groups. Inevitably, all societies must answer the question: If the nation-state failure, past and present, to ensure individuals liberty, prosperity, and peace continues, how can humanity do better? Does it go bigger and more powerfully from the top down?

Politics, economics, and societies do not really holds things together. Politics competes between the liberty of individual choices, including the choice not to choose. Economics is a fight for survival or material domination of a “family unit,” even when considered in the next step, a “clannish” corporate, business enterprise in which the “family.” Societies, with their own interests, cooperate when needed or profitable, or fight when forced or desired. One needs to look at this not so much as a hierarchy of competition–personal, family or nation-state (or the international order of nation-states). It has a more multi-dimensional aspect, a web of interactions between them, in politics, economics and society.

Humanity must accept its common interests in solving common “moral” problems, like famine, poverty, or spiritual crisis to threats as varied as global thermal-nuclear war or environment failure, pandemic or “other” sources). Common interest are hard to see between rich and poor on the level of nation-states, although national leaderships across the world have personal interest more in common with each other than their own subjects. From a strictly nation-state/society-level standpoint, can human civilization build, create and preserve enduring personal liberty, economic prosperity or world peace? Can Personal, family/corporate, or national interest reach a permanent and lasting satisfaction imposed from the top, in world-level initial, without dictatorship, terror, and a “suicidal-genocidal complex?” It has not since 1648 and most likely will not before it is too late. The Kings and generals have tried and failed. Not even the risk of nuclear war prevented the fractioning and competition of power in the Cold War. Too much is at risk in case of failure or mistake.

How can humanity preserve and progress liberty, prosperity, and peace? In short, the answer lies IN the very local culture where these things are best secured by consent and cooperation within a community. Culture of community is formed where the people and who they are meet the land and what it is. Culture does not come by artificial means, like the media or Hollywood or popular art. It cannot be purchased. It cannot nor sold. It just happens. Artificial substitution, manipulation, money, usually by greed, create “false” cultures like pop culture, fads, trends, and, of course, counter-cultures. The true test between real and false culture comes from the test of time. Real culture is unbreakable and last for decades, centuries, or more. False cultures rarely hold on for long in a mass or accepted form. If they do, false cultures rely on few or, if the read will excuse, fringe individuals.

As a case between a real culture and a false culture, public relations and propaganda became “art” forms and effective tools of marketing by psychology in World War I in order to make more effective warfare against other cultures. In a way, these forms of cultural manipulation only succeed, temporarily, by inspiring a “big lie” that raise hate and anger, or jealousy, vanity and greed. As the purveyor of lies in order to motivate a culture, the light of reason is the only thing that destroys the negative myth or “anti-myth” created. When no longer needed, or when proved wrong, the effect of the of anti-myth stops. The false culture ends just as abruptly as when created. The real culture reverts to normal and the people carry on with their lives as before. Between the tools of manipulating or manufacturing a culture, the danger comes when the lies don’t stop, or they are not challenged with the light of reason, free discussion, or open-mindedness. True culture, where people and place are one, always exists on its own.

From where does culture come? From the people themselves, in their diverse backgrounds, traditions carried onward from generations past, in the dialect of their language, their pictures and writings of the things they see in their own lives–whether family photos, paint on canvas, journal entries, or in their local newspapers. Culture is not created from above. Culture starts in the people and it has its roots in the very land on which they stand and where they live, among neighbors and family and friends. It lives in memory, through songs of any type, duringyearly festivals celebrating community’s history, telling and hearing ghost stories about the haunted house or scary cemetery, inside the places where people worship in prayer or celebrate among small gatherings their gratitude for a harvest, or birthday, or anniversary of loving union.

Culture comes from all these things. And all these things, whether good or bad, celebrate, indeed REMEMBER the things that make us happy, or help us grieve. Above all, in culture in its roots, the only place it can exist in reality, is either in people’s minds about the good life or a struggle to make things better. Pop culture? Mass media? Flashy trends? These things do not–have not–and cannot last if created from the peaks of society, from the level of politics, business or organizations isolated from the people, nor by those who forgot, ignore, or never had the benefit of knowing the good life found in a sense of comfortable place and belonging in true fellowship. Place and fellowship produce a spiritual awareness of acceptance, tolerance, patience, love, caring. Among classmates. Among friends.

Decision-makers, myth-makers, and image-makers may do polling and test groups, but only so they get what they want from the people, not necessarily in the people’s interest. What do the people get when they who know and love their family, their friends, get along with neighbors and help them out in times of tragedy and danger? At the grass roots, in the culture of the local area community, the people need life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at the very least, because that is what God gave them and theDeclaration of Independence and Constitution secured for them.

From these natural rights which no human or governmental power can deprive without justice by a fair jury, what do people want? Liberty to choose for themselves how to believe such things as spirit or matter. A good, secure job to provide a material barrier against poverty, starvation and disease. A free, independent, unified country protected from danger. And, as muttered every year in December, often hopelessly, people want all humanity to have peace on earth and goodwill toward men and women. They want safe, long, happy, fulfilling lives for their children and children’s children.

Large parts of the world have this sort of peaceful fellowship within their communities. Many do not, as they are the victims of politics, economics, and social institutions (including religious ones). Where peaceful communities exist side by side, it is often where a culture where a similar sort of common interest in survival or benefit that secures a “web-like” chain of personal, family, or social connections across whole nations. Indeed, the United States of America is not so much a nation, but a collection of all the communities.

If culture can be manipulated by the top, to oppress liberty to the point of genocide of “other people,” to rob prosperity via tax theft and redistribution of wealth (in either direction), or to organize by an ideology to pursue greed or boil to fear, then to reverse these injustices to nature’s promise to all humanity, then the solution is to empower culture, to strengthen it, by getting people in communities to become aware and active in the causes of liberty, freedom, peace, and fellowship on earth.

Power from the top ALWAYS has its own interest, and it most often will serve the interest of whatever faction or party controls that peak of decision-making. True power, as proven by history, always rests in the people themselves. The people on the land they dwell and live have the power to create an overwhelming force, around the world, to build the communities where families live. Communities are often unrecognized, but where unsuspected they can be built; built around the good life, the shared grieving, and that comes from real culture taking charge of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. From the bottom up, and then side-by-side, if everyone works for it, the people can build anything, with faith to see the hope that it can be done.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Club Report--Club House Opens Dec. 1st

Great news!!! Personal circumstances, and much Providence, have presented the opportunity for which the Club has been looking since June. By that I mean no less than what the Club IS has been preparing: “BETA Club.” Beta Club is the opening, running and growth of a store front office Clubhouse. Checking out the ads Fri. night on-line, I wrote down some options. I vaguely thought I recognized the second number I dialed and to my surprise it was my old landlord from Oz when I had an apartment for 4 years. So, Sat. afternoon we made arrangements to meet. Now, a word about the landlord. He is a very decent, straight-up, honest and likeable good guy. I would rent any place anywhere in the world from him. If people are responsible, considerate, straight-up, decent and honest, like we in the Club try to be, my experience is they receive a fair deal, EXCELLENT service, and quality accommodations from him. So, when I looked at the place, the landlord pretty much said he was willing to work with me on anything we needed.

I forgot to bring my camera, but here is layout. It is about 700 square feet in all–the right size and arrangement at the right price to begin. The landlord had just remodeled (with 2 and ½ feet insulation around and above the space), repainted, put in modern and efficient zone-controlled base-board heating in all the rooms, installed a full kitchen with new cabinets in the corner (with space and hook-ups for a range and refrigerator), new water heater, new air-conditioning unit, one bathroom, one work room with water hookups for water. This place is totally efficient. It is painted warm, light, and neutral beige.

The large store/conference/recreation area with the kitchen will be used for on the “right side” looking toward the door as our “free-market space” for sale items. We have already secured Club Friend Abe’s line of Holy Creations food and other products as a feature item. Abe and I will work out the details this week. Other Club things will follow. Next to the kitchenette, on the “left side,” we will have our “free-minds over free-coffee” space, where we will set up a round-table and some comfy chairs, and “sit, learn, and share” policy magazines and national newspapers, and television and radio news center. Right in front of the door, on a table against the wall, we shall have our own free publications and our “preferred” free literature for Club friends. We will be able to rent this space to outside or Associated groups during scheduled times, including any extra cost use of the kitchen with the group held responsible for cleaning up (to get deposit back).

We will not sell food or beverages for consumption at this store. On special occasions, like the party my friends and I were planning this evening for after the holidays, we shall be able to cook our own meals. On extra special occasions, we will bring in a chef. At all times when open, we will have a coffee pot or even two going and an espresso machine available. For this space, our advertising will have in bold letters, “Free-minds, free-markets and FREE COFFEE.” This very concept was in the original Club outline in 1994. In warm months, we will have chairs and tables out front (if permitted). And every day we are open, we shall honorably and properly display my great uncles United States of America flag in ceremony upon opening the door. Anyone present will be invited to join the pledge of allegiance as it is lawfully constituted at this time. At the proper time of dusk, or when the weather and flag etiquette requires or permits, the flag will be taken down in ceremony. (Which reminds me, I don’t know where I put my flag etiquette book. Will anyone donate one?)

The place has a lot of small storage crannies for our supplies, archives, etc. The workroom is having the new bathroom sink cabinet replaced with a laundry tub. We’re going to try and get work benches, etc. in there and use it as a dark room for T-shirt making. So generate ideas for our T-shirts. Details on the T-shirt making group (rentals, supplies, storage, etc.) will be worked out as soon as we are ready to go. We’re still hoping that the “free to use” T-shirt equipment is available for the Club. The use will be restricted, however, to a few people, but we get to use it for free. Somewhere in the nook and cranny advantages, we will do live web-radio broadcasting. On the presently named “Club Radio Free World,” we will play our own audio materials AND any local, grassroots, or just garage bands who will allow or contract with us to play their songs. Until we get a good enough group of people to manage 24-hour news and free form dj materials, the live portion will start slowly at preset times.. To support the radio “station,” we will either sell or trade and barter our own-produced or other-produced radio commercials.

Down the hall, we shall keep an orderly bulletin board for ourselves on one side and for the public on the other. At the end of the hall is the main bathroom. To the right, with front windows, sits our office. When I saw this room, I knew for sure it was a Providence thing. It was already painted Cepia “Joint” lavender, the exact same tone as our first banner made 10 years ago. In this workroom, we will have the Club “preferred” library and our computer and office equipment. In this room, which we will equip with cable-modem, and later an internet video conferencing and phone, we shall work on our business matters and toward a peaceful people’s revolution for positive change and a better world.

The price for rent is very, very affordable for us, especially now with my personal opportunities. The electric bill will be pricier for the hardware we will be running during open hours, but the efficiency of Club office’s construction and heating is not a concern. The site itself is rather perfect in the “big vision.” It is on main street Centuria, WI. “Centuria?” you ask? What is in Centuria? Regardless of what is there now, the real question with the town itself is, “What can we bring to it?” The second is, “Who will follow us to make it better?” The possibilities are, well, boundless. The REAL advantage lies in its location. For three years, during the Club proto-type, we have successfully established a “base” area in Polk County, and our concept and our Club 21 business plan works. Centuria is astride a main WI highway, 3 miles north of this area’s main federal highway, about 6 or 7 miles from the county seat, and within 20-25 minutes from all of the village and cities of Polk County.

The most important aspect of The Cepia Club’s success will be maintaining our Principle of a “community ending public ignorance and apathy.” Our sole purpose for existence is to support humanity in finding reason, reality, dialogue, acceptance, tolerance, and open-mindedness toward THE common ground between everyone for a better world today and into many, many tomorrows. By finding this common ground, it is all up to individuals, once aware, to work in their own way to make it a reality. And when people cooperate for mutual benefit (within the Club it is about holding ourselves responsible and accountable to the Four Commitments), things happen. There will be one little sign on the door to protect the integrity of the building (for me most of all). There will be one big sign for which I have been developing the words since June (but are not quite finished). Those words will say, “Friendly, open-minded, informative dialogue always welcome. Inspiration, creativity, and honesty needed. Civil behavior, acceptance, tolerance and peace toward others required.” That is the gist of it. We will have no place at our Club for argumentative, violent, or hostile attitudes.

It will take time for this to work and work well. What we do in this Clubhouse will largely determine our success or failure. How big it grows, if at all, no one can foresee. Whatever happens as a result of the effort will have some sort of impact on at least a couple of people. All we have done so far was set forth in Oct. 2006 in our Club 21 plan. (Email me at for a copy of that “epic” volume and for the two 2007 A and B annexes, if anyone is interested). The Club advisors meeting is set for Tue., Nov. 27th at 1:30 PM. The place was tentatively set, but with this new development, we should really do it in the office. Those wanting to attend not already signed up as “definite maybes” can email me for details or call the Club’s temporary phone number at 715-268-2963. At this meeting, we shall determine the future of the Club from this point. We will settle things like how it is structured, how is it managed, what policies or other things we need to have in place, etc. Now that we have an office, per our 2007 Annex B “Beta Club” goal set in July of this year, we are ready to revolutionize for liberty, freedom, peace, and community in 2008!

This is an exciting time for the Club. I hope to see everyone at some point at our Clubhouse.

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