BD Now! Podcast 016 Richard K. Moore, visionary social philosopher and author of “Escaping the Matrix”

RKM.pic Richard is an American expat who escaped from a successful Silicon Valley career to Wexford Ireland where he spends his time communicating to the world through several blogs and websites about how We the People can organize into a truly democratic and sustainable new society in the face of the hyper-capitalism that is destroying our health and well-being on every level.

I first became aware of Richard’s work through his article Escaping the Matrix, which appeared in Steward Brand’s The Whole Earth Review back in 1999. Using the metaphor of “the red pill” from the movie The Matrix, Richard opened my eyes to the deceit that passes as ‘the official truth’ in the mainstream media and our daily lives. 1999 was a much simpler time. SInce 911 it’s not uncommon for even popular tv shows to accept that we cannot trust our government. In 1999, even after the revalations of the Pentagon Papers or The People’s History books, though, it wasn’t quite as common. Richard simply and clearly exposed how corporations use taxpayers dollars and the military powers of our government to forward imperialistic programs around the globe for the benefit of their own bottom lines. It doesn’t matter to corporate planners how many trillions of dollars are spent to support access to oil or other commodities if the expenses are shouldered by the taxpayers and don’t cost them anything at all, probably not even taxes on their own income. Richard has expanded on this essay and the resulting book, Escaping the Matrix, is available at his website. There’s also a link at the show notes at bdnow.org

What’s unique about Richard’s writing is that he doesn’t dwell on exposing the lies we live in. He’s more interested in helping to create a more perfect social structure and a society that is both democratic and Earth friendly.

We only touch the surface of Richard’s work in this interview. Richard is more than happy to submit himself to further discussions on the BD Now! podcast.

Please leave any questions you have for him at bdnow.org and we’ll incorporate them in later interviews (but I wouldn’t be surprised if he answered questions through the blog in the meantime)

Richard is also interested in doing a ‘live’ program. If you are interested in taking part in such a program in the future, please let me know through the bdnow.org site.

Please leave the BDNOW! Podcast positive feedback at the iTunes site (and again in the comment area below!) BDNow! at iTunes : iTunes

RESOURCES

Richard K. Moore’s Website is here (incl. a link to the original “Escaping the Matrix”): http://cyberjournal.org/

Please note: There’s a glitch at 47:00 that lasts for about 2 minutes. If you listen carefully, you can still hear what Richard is saying. Take heart, the music that inappropriately appears at 47:00 is a rare recording by famed American herbalist Dr James A Duke, a noted bluegrass musician!

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4 thoughts on “BD Now! Podcast 016 Richard K. Moore, visionary social philosopher and author of “Escaping the Matrix”

  1. Hi, Richard Moore and I appear to be about the same age and have many similarities in our ‘omnivorous education.’

    I’m responding to the question: Is Richard’s rhetoric a fertile starting place for sustainable, replicable intentional community? This is the burning question (smoldering?) of our day.

    Wonderful as many aspects of his rhetoric are, what is so far lacking is any address to the spiritual dimension of the human being.

    If you go here: http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/rather-economics.shtml
    Christian Economic Principles Underlying 21st-Century Practices: Joseph Smith Jr. and Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta

    …you see the spiritual foundations of Mondragon cooperatives.

    Note how the original values and practical enterprises closely mirror those of Catholic Worker activity in the U.S. around Washington D.C. in the 1950s, the same historical time period.

    Mondragon’s success has to understood as a kind of throwback to local neighborhood solidarity of the early 1950s. In the USA, this gave rise to the Halloween phenomena of Trick or Treating. In the Basque region, they built sustainable, worker-owned businesses.

    If you don’t cognize Mondragon’s original spiritual values, you can’t understand why Mondragon is so challenging to replicate elsewhere now.

    Short version: It’s original value system is encased in amber, a value system and spirituality from an earlier era—but it works for them.

    The same phenomena at the successful Bruderhof communities. Their value system is NOT contemporary. Their value system and spirituality is from the 1600s.

    Yet their “antiquated” value system and spirituality is so far ahead of corporate-consumer-greed culture that it works for them. Well, it works for them to the point of successful economies and sustainable community, if not to a level of individual freedom we expect today.

    As with Mondragon, Bruderhof, Amish and Mennonite communities are difficult to replicate elsewhere because their values and spirituality are no longer contemporary, no longer timely or in synch with the frequency of the Earth.

    It is especially challenging for persons in their teens-20s-30s to appreciate the value systems of the past unless they are born into them.

    This leads to a useful question for Richard and the Transition Town thinkers:

    How has Earth’s spiritual climate evolved from where it was in the early 1950s, when Mondragon was founded?

    If you can answer this question; and then, craft language and rhetoric around it, then consensus for worker-owned co-ops, intentional communities, healing the environment all becomes very natural.

    The failures of intentional community in the 1970s-1980s and in Transition Town now and virtually everywhere now is people do not know their own history. The failures of intentional community in the 1970s-1980s proved conclusively how worker-owned co-ops, intentional communities, healing the environment cannot be and end in and of themselves. That is cart-before-the-horse. The horse is a coherent value system incorporating and addressing the spiritual aspect and aspirations of every human being—in terms timely for the frequency of the Earth, at this time.

    If you don’t ask the above question, all you get into the wonderful but shallow philosophic depth of Transition Town, pretty much the same partial rhetoric at the base of the failures of intentional community in the 1970s-1980s.

    I have tried several times and with the editor of the Transition Town official newspaper to raise these issues. They are having none of it.

    I’ve learned more about how progressive European spirituality differs greatly from progressive spirituality in the USA. Curiously progressive European spirituality has the same problem that Leftists and eco-environment enthusiasts in the USA have: they write off the spiritual progressives and personal growth progressives as useless naval gazers.

    This goes back to a topic I’ve written on (not online that I know of but maybe in comments I’ve posted), documenting the split of the spiritual and political progressives over Viet Nam and nuclear arms, which occurred—line in the sand here—in 1979.

    1979-2007 the economy was robust enuf to give both spiritual and political progressives their own separate platforms. The unified “house” that accomplished the early 1900s Progressive era achievements, The New Deal and civil rights in the 1950s-1960s was split. The house divided could no longer stand.

    Now the economy is slack. It makes perfect sense for spiritual and political progressives to converge again, to join forces. I see no other way if large scale benefits of intentional community are to manifest.

    A good beginning on this new needed rhetoric is: bridging sustainability into spirituality; and, bridging spirituality into sustainability.

    A good phrase for this is “Green Spirituality.” A book by this title exists but it is a backwards looking history and not the forward looking rhetoric needed.

    How the Transition and left enthusiasts ignore the progressive spiritual-growth people has a very specific cost.

    The New Age and metaphysical and personal growth folks have virtually all the keys to healthy group process and healthy intimacy.

    The failures of intentional community in the 1970s-1980s; that I was so involved with, were largely caused by lack of tools for resolving interpersonal conflict and lack of attention to healthy sustainable group process.

    These tools exist now thru Compassionate Communication (NVC) and BluePrintofWE.com and spiritually oriented consensus processes. A start on this latter rhetoric and training is here http://www.onecommunityranch.org/

    The Anthroposophists are stuck in their own unique way on the above issues, another tale. I’m a trained Waldorf teacher myself.

    • Hi Bruce,

      You say “I have tried several times and with the editor of the Transition Town official newspaper to raise these issues. They are having none of it.”

      That is precisely the problem with trying to agree on a value system. People have different values and they aren’t inclined to even examine them, let alone change them. If we want to change things, we need to be realistic about what people are likely to respond to.

      You also say “The failures of intentional community in the 1970s-1980s; that I was so involved with, were largely caused by lack of tools for resolving interpersonal conflict and lack of attention to healthy sustainable group process.” This I agree with. And this can be addressed, by good process practices, and it does not require agreeing in advance on spiritual values. What we need agreement on is the desirability of working together to make a better future for ourselves.

      If you ask for more agreement than this, you end up with a group of like-minded people, rather than a group that can expand to include everyone. This feeds into divisiveness. If we want to create a self-governing society we need to learn to be inclusive in our approach

    • Thanks for pointing this out to me. The iTunes thing does get a little confusing. I’ll see if I can provide more direct instructions in the future.

      Thanks again!

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