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A READER'S JOURNAL
Sic Itur Ad Astra, Volume 1
Andrew Joseph Galambos
A Course in Volitional Science, V50T
Published by The Universal Scientific Publishing Company in 1999
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©1999
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For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.
— Henry David Thoreau
On many occasions I have been struck by the resemblance of the ideas on freedom of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rudolf Steiner, and Andrew Joseph Galambos. When I have commented on that, I have been greeted by a soupçon of disbelief. That is understandable since Emerson is the quintessential transcendentalist philosopher, Steiner the clairvoyant occultist, and Galambos the inveterate materialistic scientist — three diverse backgrounds and approaches to life that make a syzygy of interests unlikely.
In his landmark book of 1898, The Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner writes about the essence of what it means to be free. Here are eight brief quotations that sum up his ideas:
[page 102] This is to progress from morality based on authority to conduct based on moral insight.
[page 105] General standards always presuppose concrete facts from which they can be derived. But fact are first produced by human action.
[page 107] But the blind urge that leads to crime does not originate in intuition and does not belong to what is individual in the human being but to what is most common in him, to what is the same in all, and out of which a person works his way through the individual aspect of his nature.
[page 104] In so far as the reason for an action springs from the spiritual aspect of my individual nature it is felt to be free; in so far as it is carried out under the compulsion of natural instincts or because of obligation to moral standards it is felt to be unfree.
[page 108] Ethical individualism is the only standpoint from which freedom of action is conceivable.
[page 108] To live in love of action, and to let live in understanding of the other person's volition, is the fundamental maxim of free human beings.
[page 111] Man replies: 'Freedom! Thou friendly, human nature, thou who encompasseth all that is morally beloved, all that my humanity values the most, and makest me the vassal of no one; thou who settest up no mere law, but awaitest what my moral love itself will acknowledge as law, because in the face of any merely imposed law it feels unfree.'
[page 112] A free person acts morally because he has a moral idea; he does not act morally for the sake of morality. Human individuals, with the moral ideas belonging to their nature, are the prerequisites of a moral world order.
Here are eight quotations from Emerson's essay, Self-Reliance.
A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side.
There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.
Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.
Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.
The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. Who is the Trustee? . . . The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct. We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions.
There are two confessionals, in one or the other of which we must be shriven. You may fulfil your round of duties by clearing yourself in the direct, or in the reflex way. Consider whether you have satisfied your relations to father, mother, cousin, neighbour, town, cat, and dog; whether any of these can upbraid you. But I may also neglect this reflex standard, and absolve me to myself. I have my own stern claims and perfect circle. It denies the name of duty to many offices that are called duties. But if I can discharge its debts, it enables me to dispense with the popular code. If any one imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its commandment one day.
Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow.
A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
How appropriate that I should be writing this review on July 4, 1999, the last Independence Day to be celebrated during the old millennium. I cannot write this review except as a person who took the nineteen week V50T course some seventeen years ago of which this book is a transcription. The course was recorded in 1968, and even though I took it in 1982 and am reading it in 1999, the contents are as fresh as they were in 1968. But I have had these many years to muse over the ideas of Galambos and to read Rudolf Steiner's works. The ideas of both Steiner and Emerson are aligned directly with Galambos on freedom, but Galambos adds a scientific precision to affairs involving human action that has been lacking, up until now. Here's how Galambos defines freedom using a precise operational definition. An operational definition is one that allows you to operate using the definition to determine whether some amorphous condition satisfies the definition. No other definition of freedom has met that criterion before this one. [I have paraphrased the definitions only for gender neutrality and merged the definition of property into the definition of freedom.]
freedom is the societal condition that exists when one has 100% control over one's life and all non-procreative derivatives of one's life. (1)
As Galambos predicts, you may be thinking that is impossible, and his response to that is a simple question, "What natural law does it violate?" So I ask you to ponder that question. For that is the question that determines if something is impossible — it is impossible if it violates a natural law. At one time, about one hundred years ago, it was thought to be impossible for man to fly, but flying in a heavier-than-air machine did not violate any natural law, and two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio invented the aeroplane. Now WordPerfect® doesn't like that spelling of the name of the machine, it prefers airplane, but aeroplane is what the Wright Bros named their invention. That's the spelling that Galambos used, and the name I will use in this review out of gratitude to the innovators. And gratitude, he tells us, is not to be confused with "thankfulness."
[page 777] Gratitude is not a superficial characteristic. It's a very deep underlying concept, and those who are not able to express an understanding and therefore, an ability to make acknowledgment, and therefore, compensation for value they have received, are said to be ungrateful.
But when every one has control over one's own property, that would be anarchy! Galambos points out that an — archy means without a leader and that is the farthest thing from his meaning. No archy or no King was what Thomas Paine said when he wrote the words that became known later as the Declaration of Independence in 1776. What Galambos says is that political leadership is to be replaced by ideological leadership. Political leadership requires coercion; ideological leadership requires no coercion. The ideological leadership or leadership of ideas as developed by Galambos provides leadership without coercion. Political leadership cannot provide freedom, only ideological leadership can provide freedom. Galambos replaces the Left to Right of the Political spectrum by the 0% to 100% Freedom of the Ideological spectrum. Who in their right minds, given the choice of 50% freedom or 100% freedom, would choose 50%, or given the choice, choose anything less than 100%? Unaware of a choice in the matter, most people in the world have settled for much less than 100% freedom, up until now.
People all over the world with the advent of the leadership provided by Galambos' ideas, his ideological leadership, will have the option to choose 100% freedom from now on. The choices are laid out in this book, in detail, many times, often in repetitive detail, for all to see and judge for themselves. This is the Second Phase of the American Revolution according to Galambos, and he is careful to note that a revolution is not a fight, but a turning about of ideas.
How do we get from freedom to morality? If everyone's free to act, what would keep them from acting in some way counter to someone else's interests? Mustn't we have a state to keep that from happening? The answer to the last question is "No!" An understanding of morality is what keeps them from acting counter to someone else's interests. Here is Galambos's definition of morality:
[page 768] . . . the criterion is the action being absent of coercion. To make it moral there is no coercion involved. Whenever there is any coercion involved, that action is not moral. Whenever there is no coercion involved, that action is moral, regardless of whether it affects the pursuit of happiness of one person, ten million, the whole population, the whole species, or whatever.
Galambos gives us an operational definition of morality that is simple, easy to understand and to explain, "any action is moral that does not involve coercion." In other words, any action taken in freedom, is moral, by the definition of freedom. "To live in the love of action and to let live in the understanding of the other person's volition is the maxim of free human beings," as Steiner said. A moral person is one who lives in freedom and uses the 100% control of one's property in harmonious synchronism with other moral persons and all remain free human beings thereby. If this sounds impossible, it's not, as it violates no fundamental law of nature. If this sounds like it's never existed before, it hasn't. For a short time following the founding of the United States of America, when the forces of coercion had not yet organized, enough ability to have 100% control over one's property existed to foster an enormous increase of prosperity. Soon the coercion of the King had been replaced the coercion of the bureaucracy and the United States began its slide down from the 100% Freedom end of the Ideological Spectrum to something much lower.
Galambos uses two fundamental postulates to derive the ideological leadership that will allow us to achieve freedom, to build freedom, in our lifetimes. These are:
I. All humans live to pursue happiness.
II. All concepts of happiness pursued through moral action are equally valid.
If your happiness consists of attacking any generalization or postulate that someone puts forth, have at it, but all your efforts will only bolster the first postulate. Whatever action some person takes, no matter how lugubrious it may appear to others, rightly understood, that action was taken for the perceived increase of happiness of that person. The second postulate was offered by Galambos in the face of the claim of Ludwig von Mises, a man he greatly admired, that the Scientific Method could never be applied to human behavior. By the addition of the limitation "through moral action", Galambos was able to formulate Postulate II and have it apply to volitional human beings.
[page 801] A postulate doesn't have to be a truth about the content of the universe; it can be also a true statement about the validity of a value judgment, if you're dealing with a creature that makes value judgments.
How idealistic, how foolhardy to think that the average person will ever understand any of that hi-faluting philosophizing, you may think. And you would be right, the average person will never understand any of this stuff, any more than they understand Maxwell's equations before they turn on their television set, which set would not exist but for the laws formulated by James Clerk Maxwell in 1864. For twenty years only a few people understood his laws, and then Heinrich Hertz actually used the principles in the equations to transmit a spark across a room. Soon wireless telegraphy was saving the 700 lives of the survivors of the Titanic after it sank at sea.
[page 561-562] How do you get people, in general, to respond to things that they don't know about? Only through explaining to them the benefits, not the theoretical and conceptual understanding of what is involved. Most people won't listen to a long argument of what it means. You can imagine how disastrous the experience of a television salesman would be if he tried to sell television sets to his customers by explaining Maxwell's equations. He would not succeed. He has to tell them the benefits of the particular set from the standpoint of the programs, and the fidelity of the screen, and the fidelity of the sound and the quality of the furniture in which it is encased, and so forth. All this sells the set, not how it works. Another thing that sells it is how easy it is to operate — fewer dials to twiddle. That also sells. How easy it is to operate, not how hard it is to understand how it works. Incidentally, the more thinking there is in the creation of the product, the easier it is to sell it, because it becomes easier to operate.
So freedom is not something to fight for, not a cause, not something that comes after you overthrow a tyrant, rather it is something that one builds. And once built, it will never be destroyed. When I first heard Galambos say these words about freedom being indestructible, I was a little skeptical. Then in 1990 I read The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod, and I highly recommend this phenomenal book. In it, he devised a serial "prisoner's dilemma" game in which he sent out invitations to 63 experts to send their strategies for scoring best on the iterated prisoner's dilemma. The prisoner's dilemma is a classical thought exercise from Game Theory: two prisoners interrogated separately: if both cooperate [with each other], neither will tell who did it and both will get small sentences. If one defects by confessing, he goes free and the other gets the large sentence. If both defect, they both get jail sentences. In the Game, these are converted into number values for computation.
The 63 experts were to submit Fortran code and then he would play each entrant against the others. One strategy, submitted by the great general semanticist, Anatol Rappaport, won over all the others. Strange thing was his entry was the shortest and simplest to explain. Some five lines of Fortran code. Then Axelrod sent out the results to all the 63 [including the winning code] and suggested that folks, based on the evidence of the results, submit a new entry. Rappaport sent the same code back in, and it won hands down again.
What was the strategy? It was this: "cooperate on the first move, then do whatever the other does on the next." If the other continues to cooperate so do you. If the other defects once, you defect one time on the next move. Then cooperate until the next defection, etc. This simple strategy won over many much more complex strategies, and even when the entrants knew it had won and tried to devise a better way, they were unable to improve on Rappaport's strategy.
In a followup experiment, Axelrod send out some 255 invitations to lots of experts in many more fields of endeavor and once more the simplest one, by Anatol Rappaport, won. The name of his strategy is called "Tit for Tat". What Axelrod did next is more difficult to explain, but imagine a large matrix of folks playing this game using defect strategies, these are the strategies in which the first move is a defection. Now seed into a few isolated locations some cooperate strategies like "Tit for Tat", what do you suppose happens?
After many moves, the cooperators's neighbors, who have been losing in the long term using their defect strategies, begin to adopt "Tit for Tat". The islands of cooperation grow. Freedom begins to be built. What I mean is that using a cooperative strategy in the prisoner's dilemma game is similar to using morality as defined by Galambos, that is, you use an action that is non-coercive even though you live in a milieu of others who operate using coercion at will. In such an environment, consider what happens when you locate and identify a person who operates morally, you continue to cooperate, i.e., do business, with them to the preference of the coercive majority. As these tenuous links of cooperation or non-coercion build up, the coercive majority begins to shrink. The build-up is monotonically increasing for the simple reason that a cooperator will avoid a defector, that is, a moral person will avoid a coercer whenever they find one. But's here's the most wonderful part: the process is asymmetrical! When you seed islands of defectors into a matrix of cooperators, the defector islands disappear over time. Non-cooperation damps away. Thus freedom will build up until, as in Axelrod's computer simulation, it will fill the environment, and once built, it can never be destroyed. Thus Axelrod by computer simulation was able to prove the statement that Galambos made on the basis of deductive reasoning from his two basic postulates and associated definitions.
Okay, you may be thinking, this is fine for computer simulation, "But how would this technology work in the real world of people and business?" The best way I can think to answer this question at this time is to tell you a true story. I took the long successor course to V50T, V201T — it was 52 weeks of 4 hr sessions. In that course, a man named Dick Schmidt told me this story during a break between classes. He owned a roofing business; he did large commercial buildings. This guy in town had this fantastic roofing process that Dick wanted, and Dick spend many hours in this guy's office asking him to share his process with Dick. He persevered, became friends with the guy, and one day the guy relented and told him the secret. Dick said his roofing jobs were so much better thereafter that he sends this guy $500 for every roofing job he completes after that, even though the guy had not asked for any money for the secret. This is the kind of cooperation that will wipe out the coercers and defectors. This type of cooperation will not be forced on folks, but simply through understanding of how to push the buttons on this technology, to use this new ideology of freedom, people will learn that it profits them more to behave this way than not. Profit is defined by Galambos a good received through non-coercive or moral action. Freedom will come when the average person has learned "not only the morality of profit, but also the profitability of morality." (page 643)
How can we build a society of folks who cooperate this way? One at a time. For enough people who are both curious and rational to take the V50T course or to read this first book of Dr. Galambos can do the trick. This excellent soft-cover book with sewn-in signatures, large format 8.5" by 11", of 942 pages is available from amazon.com on its website.
One argument about government that has been popular is that we the people must give up some of our rights to the government in order for it to do its job. John Jay spells out that argument in the quote below made at the founding of United States of America in its present form:
End Notes"Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers." — John Jay, Federalist No. 2 [From Jan. 6, 2005, The Federalist Patriot Founders' Quote Daily]
Note that Jay's definition of government presupposes a coercive bureaucracy of the type which currently passes for government in these United States. But a true government of the type Galambos proposes makes it unnecessary for the people to cede to it any of their natural rights as it will have no power other than to provide services to the people who require them. It will be a power of the type we invest in a restaurant to provide us with food — a power that can be withheld if the restaurant fails in its obligation to our satisfaction.
What do primary thieves often do? They steal inventions and use them to kill people. This happened with gunpowder invented by Alfred Nobel for peaceful uses, the aeroplane invented by the Wright Brothers for peaceful purposes, and the radio invented by Nicola Tesla for peaceful purposes. We know what has happened with gunpowder and the aeroplane, but what about the radio?
Here's how the Nazi Joseph Goebbels put it, "It would not have been possible for us to take power and to use in the ways we have without the radio." (from the beginning of Anthony Doerr's novel, All the Light We Cannot See.)
What about the greatest invention of all, fire? Galambos said in a lecture, "The inventor of fire was likely burnt at the stake." A perfect way to highlight the problem of primary thievery: it leads to the use an invention in ways not permitted by the inventor who owns its primary property. I drew this Padre Filius cartoon with him observing a caveman inventor of fire being executed by a primary thief.
---------------------------- Reference Links for for Sic Itur Ad Astra ---------------
A Reference Page to Material written by Bobby Matherne about Dr. Galambos's work on Volitional Science
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ footnotes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. Note: I have carefully avoided using the word property in this definition of freedom. For some people it is a loaded word, reeking of self-seeking money-grubbers. It is not so in Galambos's amazing definition — property, he says is an person's life and all non-procreative derivatives thereof. He goes on to distinguish three levels of property. Primordial property — one's life and body. Primary property — one's thoughts and ideas. Secondary property — everything else one can be said to own: right to use a piece of land (although land is not property by this definition), a car, a house, clothes, jewelry, etc.
Return to text below footnote 1.
Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne
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