jrm&aFLUX magazine by J.R. Mooneyham
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The early through mid-1990s predecessor of this web site was an interactive electronic magazine named jrm&aFLUX, that exhibited many eerie similarities to the World Wide Web of today (circa 2002). It was a hyperlinked document, available online, displaying both text and graphics in a fully interactive environment, offering many ways end users could self-publish in the format themselves, as well as contact channels for many, many other resources external to and independent of the magazine and its publisher-- a description remarkably like that of a well done web site today!
Below is the gist of the 'mission statement' for that precursor of today's web site. Although the appearance of the World Wide Web has since eclipsed many of the original self-empowerment features jrm&aFLUX magazine offered its users, the validity of the magazine's original values looks stronger than ever.
We hope to make the world a better place by making it easier for new ideas to be presented to a wide audience.
As of early 1993, when our first issue went into release, access to mass audiences was pretty much limited to those in power, or those directly employed by them. As this group rarely amounts to more than one tenth of one percent of the total population, the odds this tiny group could come up with the breakthroughs required to fix the world's ills are almost non-existent. Plus, even if someone among this privileged minority did hit upon a great new idea, they'd often have many good reasons for holding it back or concealing it, and few for revealing it or putting it into action.
Why might the majority of the rich and powerful NOT want to exploit such great new ideas?
Because really great ideas generate enormous changes in their wake. And changes upset the status quo.
If you're presently on top of the world, it can be difficult to view big changes as anything but risks to your personal welfare-- for such could topple you from your current idyllic settings.
No, we're not suggesting a great conspiracy here-- only the natural tendency of most everyone to instinctively look out for their own personal interests. But the synergistic effects of highly placed people across many industries and fields of endeavour all working separately to maintain the status quo, to protect themselves and their loved ones, will essentially bring about the same results as a conspiracy.
The truth is that the fears of the elite aren't always unfounded. The easiest changes to affect tend to cause ripples of zero-sum gamesmanship to spread throughout a society; and the rules of those games demand losers for every winner. It's often easiest for politicians to target the wealthy for soaking, or the intellectuals and liberals as scapegoats, than to deal with the real roots of a problem, like figuring out exactly where wealth comes from in the first place, and how you might increase it for everyone. The rich and/or educated have many times throughout history been singled out for cruel and unusual punishment, by parties from many different ideologies. Sure, the poor suffer more consistently, thoroughly, and often, but the elite have seen their share of horror, too. More than once in the twentieth century have people of some nations in turmoil been marked for harassment, torture, or death merely by the fact they wore eyeglasses-- and so were considered either intellectual, or well off, or both, and thus deserving of punishment.
So although the have-nots may see change as their only chance to escape evil circumstances, the haves may rightfully fear change as an invitation to chaos and mayhem, instead.
History also shows that the poor don't necessarily win where the rich lose; in communist Russia the plight of the poor only grew worse in many ways, after the wealthy were exterminated or expunged, and their assets seized; the wealth merely passed from the first group to the bosses of the new communist party, with little or no benefits trickling down to the peasants below, for all they contributed to the 1917 Revolution.
And we all know what came next: seventy years of ever-intensifying terror, hardship, and totalitarian government, for all but those lucky enough in the new lottery to be among the very top classes within the Soviet state.
Fortunately though, big changes don't have to result in zero-sum games. The more and better options are discovered, the easier it can be for all sides to find one acceptable and beneficial to everyone. So the more ideas-- good ideas-- the further away from destructive zero-sum games we can get.
Another great advantage of good ideas is they're infectious, like the flu. Once one gets firmly planted into the population, there's practically no stopping it until it's run its course.
So all that's really necessary to better the world is to provide a way for these good ideas to get into the public consciousness in the first place.
Once a really great idea is out there, some part of the status quo is truly doomed-- since those in power won't feel threatened by the concept, and so won't rise to defend what is from what could be. It might take just a few months, or it might take as long as decades, but sooner or later the great idea will take its rightful place in the order of things.
One of the primary purposes behind FLUX is to provide a launching pad for such great new ideas. To offer a fresh new national stage on which innovators may present their concepts to the public.
The world desperately needs new ideas. New ideas mean more options, more choices, more opportunities for everyone. For some, like the starving and the homeless, such ideas can literally mean the difference between life and death. Thousands of children die every day in the Third World, for little more reason than that there's a lack of good, workable ideas on how we might save them. At present we have so few ideas we often think the only way to insure prosperity for some is to deny it to others. We constantly fight and bicker over who to tax next, and by how much; whose government benefits to cut, and whose to expand; how heavy the regulatory and tax burdens can be made on business and individuals without killing them; such behavior is short-sighted, usually unnecessary, and almost always detrimental and unjust to someone.
Suffering a shortage of ideas, we find ourselves again and again engaged in the "zero-sum" games described before-- contests which dictate that someone lose for each that wins.
Thus do we institutionalize the evolutionary theory of the "survival of the fittest". From knowledge accumulated over the past few centuries, we've come to believe that such may be the most advanced way to resolve problems. That "losers deserve to lose", whether it be in the arena of tooth and claw, or politics and economics.
But that philosophy is obsolete.
New scientific discoveries now indicate that that theory may be severely flawed. More and more, evolutionary success appears not to be based on straightforward competition between species, but of mostly random selection incurred by changes in the environment.
More and more, it appears the secret to evolutionary success has not been so much competition between species, but diversification in the means of survival, which reduces direct competition between species(!) while increasing in other ways the chances that some will survive even the most catastrophic changes in the surrounding environment; changes such as the comet or asteroid strike which doomed the dinosaurs.
In other words, evolutionary success is based less on competition and more on lots of new ideas being regularly thrown into the mix.
The truth is that everyone can win, given sufficient options. There is no need to rob Peter to pay Paul. No need for a quota of losers to justify every winner.
All that's really needed is a plentiful supply of good new ideas to play with and choose from.
We at FLUX believe the critical shortage of good ideas is a major source of the world's problems today.
This shortage limits the options of our leaders in tackling tough social and economic problems, and makes it difficult for all of us to maintain our present living standards, much less raise them.
Will our global future be one of shortages, technology-based dislocations, and both trade and nuclear wars? Or will it be one of plenty, with employment opportunities limited only by the imagination, and a human economy expanding to the stars, thereby deflating pressures for economic protectionism or military adventures?
Is that glow on our horizon the nuclear fire of an apocalyptic "Mad Max" future? Or the shining cities of a "Star Trek" utopia?
With your help, we can do our best to bring about a better world for everyone, by offering FLUX as a platform for fresh ideas and perspectives on our social and economic problems, as an early warning system about new threats we may encounter down the road, and finally, as an incubator for new entrepreneurial ventures aimed at enriching and improving the lives of us all.
Thanks for listening!